My first year of being a blogger

My first year of being a blogger

“Blogging is not rocket science, it’s about being yourself and putting what you have into it.” ~Anonymous

How often do we make wish lists and write down our dreams. And yet, how often they remain just that on paper. But when we do see some of our deepest desires come to fruition, the thrill is incomparable. That’s how I felt when I created this blog last year – one amongst many of my wishes.

The idea of this blog was shelved for more than two years as I contemplated whether or not to share my experiences from life. Was I ready to open up and speak my heart out? Clearly, I wasn’t then. So what made the difference? Inspiration from other women who blatantly came out with stories of their lives. In conferences that I attended, in articles that I read and many in person, these women boldly spoke about their real-life experiences. Some of them were horror stories of abuse and betrayal; few highlighted their resolve to bring about substantial changes while some were just plain facts of survival. Then there were celebrities who were breaking covert and revealing how they dealt with depression. All these voices were being heard and making an impact. Their stories were creating ripples amongst many like me. That was enough to push me out of my state of reluctance and into action mode, giving me the courage to start this blog. 

It’s been exactly a year since I created SoulMom and posted my very first blog post here. Ever since, it has been an interesting one year of blogging. The things I have learnt, the connections I have made and the effect this has had on me has made it all very special.

Highlights of my first year as a blogger:

A new-found identity

Becoming a blogger is a new label that you earn, both in the online as well as offline world. It feels wonderful when people come up to tell you that they enjoy reading your blog and that you write very powerful content. Being recognised and appreciated makes me want to write more.

Being an inspiration

The day I launched my blog on social platforms, a single mom reached out to me with her story. The fact that I could influence even one soul made this whole creation so much worth the effort. I do hope to touch upon more lives over time.

My own internal dialogue

When I acknowledge my fears, I find more ways to overcome them. As I reveal  my own insecurities, it’s easier to accept my situation rather than conflict it. Every time I write a new post that unleashes my emotions and when I put it out there in the online space, my own internal dialogue enhances.

New connections

In April earlier this year, I participated in my first A to Z Blogging Challenge. This is an online worldwide event where bloggers from across the globe share 26 blog posts in a month based on a theme, each post beginning with a letter of the alphabet for each day. It was such an exciting place to be in. Through this challenge and through my social media channels, I discovered so many other bloggers who were blogging on various themes. It is enriching to make new connections based on one common interest.

Transforming into an author

Within a few months, I fast tracked from a blogger to an author with my first eBook – ‘Small Servings of Wellness’. Becoming a published author was a new high. With the help of blogging platform Blogchatter and its eBook carnival, we ebook authors also had the privilege of becoming official Goodreads authors. This felt very fulfilling.

I have discovered that blogging is a self-learning process. One which requires time, effort and patience. My biggest lesson in my first year of blogging is that it truly helps if we are passionate about what we write.

I am grateful to all my readers for being with me on this journey as a blogger. I sincerely hope you stay on and keep enjoying my content!

 

Also read:

Reflections on my first A to Z Challenge

#BookReview 3: A to Z of Healing by Ishieta Chopra #BlogchatterEbooks

#BookReview 3: A to Z of Healing by Ishieta Chopra #BlogchatterEbooks

This April 2017, I took up my first challenge as a blogger – The A to Z challenge of blogging. Writing 26 posts in a month based on a theme, each post beginning from a letter of the alphabet and a new post to be posted everyday except Sundays. It was indeed an exciting challenge during which I discovered several diverse blogs and connected with many bloggers. At the end of it, I became an author with my first ebook: ‘Small Servings of Wellness’

As a part of the #BlogchatterEBookCarnival, we authors of ebooks have to review at least three books from the carnival. ‘A to Z of Healing’ by Ishieta Chopra is the third book I am reviewing.

Why I chose this ebook for review:

Over the last many years, I have developed a strong affinity towards the spiritual aspects of life, which include various modalities of energy sciences and healing. One of the many blogs that had caught my attention during the A to Z Challenge was ‘isheeriashealingcircles’ by Ishieta Chopra for the sheer similarities of interest. I was instantly attracted to review this ebook of Ishieta’s so that I could read in detail the interesting content all over again. There were also some common practises that we both regularly indulge in, like meditation, writing the swastika symbol at the start of each new book and burning incense at home to name a few!

My views on the ebook:

‘A to Z of healing’ is essentially a compilation of nuggets from the author’s experience of many years as a healer. It encompasses various elements that one would associate with alternative healing, energy sciences, spirituality, promoting positivity and well being. Her knowledge of so many aspects of the ethereal sciences is commendable. This book introduces the readers very subtly to the A to Z of healing subjects, prompting them to explore more.

Though I was blissfully aware of several subjects from this ebook, some of the facts were quite a revelation for me:

  • That we need a Guru to awaken the Kundalini within us.
  • The prayer flags represent sending out prayers to the universe, and when they start tearing off is when our prayers are being answered.
  • I have studied the science of chakras through pranic healing and reiki. Yet I was not aware that each of our chakras is associated with planets and seed mantras.
  • So also essential oils are associated with zodiac and astrology.
  • Hynotherapy was used in childbirth in ancient times to calm the mother in labour.

Very few healers I know cover so many diverse aspects of healing modalities. I congratulate Ishieta on all her healing endeavours and wish her success ahead.

Key takeaways for me:

This book has inspired me further to grow in my spiritual pursuits. Tarot card deck is something I have been meaning to learn, so that is something I will act upon soon. I practice different styles of meditation regularly, so using water images with all our senses for meditation is something to look forward to. I am an advocate of alternative medicines. Having heard of Bach Flower therapy from a friend who practises it, maybe I should explore that a bit more.

Rating: 4/5. What could have been better in this ebook is consistency in text formatting for flawless reading,

About the author:

Ishieta Chopra was introduced to the world of Healing, Numerology, and Magick by the oldest school of education and learning –her mother! She has been practicing alternative methods of healing for over a decade and a half. She is the Co-Author of the eBook: “Numerology – The Power of Numbers” (available on Amazon.in.) A practicing Numerologist, Tarot Reader & Reiki Healer & Master, she has set up Isheeria’s Healing Circles to help people Learn, Heal & (Re) Design their lives through the Esoteric Arts and Healing Methods.

You can reach Ishieta on:

Twitter: @Isheeria1

Facebook: IsheeriasHealingCircles

Instagram: 1.isheeria

You can contact her at: team@isheeriashealingcircles.com for personalised readings and predictions.

 

#BookReview 2: Off Beats by Gayatri Gadre #BlogchatterEbooks

#BookReview 2: Off Beats by Gayatri Gadre #BlogchatterEbooks

Writing our first book can be such a pleasure, what with having earned the label of becoming an author! As a part of the #BlogchatterEBookCarnival, each of us authors have to pick 3 ebooks for reviews on our blog. My first review was of the eBook ‘Writing Tools’ by Cheryl Sterling: #EBook Review

Here’s presenting my second review for the #BlogchatterEBookCarnival with the ebook ‘Off Beats’ by Gayatri Gadre.

Why I chose this ebook for review:

Travel is one of my strong passions. To pick a book on offbeat travel destinations to review – I knew that would be something to look forward to. It’s always interesting to read on varied travel stories. Every traveler has their own experience of looking at a place and describing the details from their lens. I was curious to know of Gayatri’s perspective of travel as well as her style of writing. Another reason why I picked her book – she was the only blogger from the A to Z Challenge 2017 I had the privilege to meet offline.

My views on the ebook: 

Gayatri shares an honest account of her travel tales in a simple, conversational – like informal tone. She writes about a variety of places – from the countryside of Bath in UK to our very own Elephanta caves in Mumbai. Her interests as a tourist reflect diversity – whether enjoying the museums in London to paragliding in Kamshet; from spotting a unique orchestra on a railway station to camping under the stars.

Gayatri shares important information out of her own learning from different places. Travel tips like how to best reach the destination, what not to wear, what to avoid, what is a must-do and sharing important info links all serve as handy tips for passionate travelers.

How I wish I had the luxury and time to travel like her, with long road trips and unplanned stopovers. Like she rightly says, we live multiple lives while traveling! What stands out is her vivid expressions of the places. What also strikes out is her own personal connect with the place, for e.g. when she describes the Stonehenge or shares the poignant message of the Corpus clock at Cambridge.

Key takeaways for me:

The lesser-explored places have their own charm, each place speaks its own story to each traveler. Anne Frank’s museum will definitely be on my list when I visit Amsterdam. ‘Off Beats’ is a recommended read for those who like to take the untrodded travel path.

My rating: 4/5

Connect with the author:

Gayatri Gadre likes to call herself an explorer than an author. She offers digital marketing services to companies worldwide and in her free time she pursues various hobbies such as Latin ballroom dancing, Pottery, Origami and craft. Watch out for her soon to release debut novel.

Connect with Gayatri:

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Goodreads

 

Domestic violence is not just physical violence: #ALetterToHer

Domestic violence is not just physical violence: #ALetterToHer

“Your story could be the key that unlocks someone else’s prison. Don’t be afraid to share it.” ~unknown

Just happened to read this quote as I begin to write this post for the Womens Web Blogathon on domestic violence: What letter would you write to a woman subjected to domestic violence? My letter to ‘her’…

Dear Me

Here you are, writing about the subject that you have discreetly kept under wraps. Something that had occurred in your life and yet you had no clue about it. How could you have known? Coming from an aristocratic family background where values and ethics were strongly entrenched right from your early days. You belong to a family known for its religious and cultural heritage. You had such a protected and shielded upbringing. Yes, you had heard about atrocities and injustice meted out to others. In books you had read and movies you had watched and stories you had heard. Aware yes, but seen anything personally in close proximity, no. How blissful were you in your state of ignorance and innocence. Where marriages around you were examples of loyalty and longing in relationships. How beautiful did it all seem, the love and the romance between couples. Then why would you even think of the term ‘domestic violence’ in your life?

Little did you know then that just by thinking ‘this could never happen to me’, does not mean it cannot really happen to you!

For domestic violence did take place. Of course, you were caught completely unaware. There was no physical violence, sure. But you were subjected to emotional torture. There was verbal assault. You were deprived of your financial rights. There was unjust criticism thrown at you for no reason. You felt a sense of alienation creeping in your own home. You didn’t know why all this madness was happening. So caught up were you in your thoughts to save your marriage and shield your kids from it all, that you were ready to bend over more than you could. Or should. Engulfed in self-doubt, you questioned your own actions. Only to realise that there was no way you could save your marriage if your spouse is hell bent on breaking it.

It was much later when you found out that domestic violence does not mean only physical violence, as is the common notion. It includes emotional and financial abuse too. You were shocked to know that you were a victim of domestic violence. We Indian girls are taught about our responsibilities but not so much about our rights. By then, you were out of that house and in a safer environment. But the trauma remained with you. You had two choices in front of you then. One – to file a legal case of domestic violence against the people who had done you wrong. Two – not to file against the folks you called your own for more than a decade.

It was no easy decision to make, a battle of the mind v/s the heart. You had to think of the repercussions of both choices and face the consequence on your own. Much though it seemed against the raging emotions of the logical mind, you went by your heart and chose the latter. Your decision stemming from a space of love for your kids than hatred for the rest. You were not willing to have your little ones linked in any legal rigmarole. By then you had decided you did not want to waste any more time over what had already happened. You chose to channelise your energy and emotion on enhancing your well-being and that of your children. It meant a choice of not pushing any action against the wrong doers and let karma do the rest.

You silently bore the brunt of it all and decided to move one. You took a huge leap of faith in making all the choices you did back then. With conviction in your heart and your spiritual fortitude, you only wanted to look ahead. You let go. Gradually, bit by bit, you let it all go. The hurt, the injustice, the anger, the pain. It seemed effortless to those around you, as you kept the bitter currents under your calm countenance. It was hard to believe you came out of your troubles unscathed. But you hid your tears and saved them for your solitude. You were all broken inside but managed to maintain a fortress of strength in front of your little children. For them, you had to quickly pick all your pieces and rebuild your life. You chose to follow the spiritual path of healing.

You survived the storm!

Ever since, see how far you have come after leaving it all behind you. Look how much you have grown in surmounting all obstacles. You came out so much stronger and resilient, nothing in life can break you anymore. You dived into your innards and pulled forth all the courage and wisdom to keep going. In doing so, you have earned the respect and admiration of many. You are one powerhouse of nerves. And you know that karma is doing its job after all.

Here you are, writing this wonderful blog to express all that you have learnt from your life story…so that those who face similar challenges find hope to survive….to inspire and to thrive. Life is still not easy and nor does it look all sorted. Yet you keep moving and facing it all in good faith.

Go girl, and give yourself a pat on your back!

Yours truly!

 

This blogpost is my contribution to the Womens Web Blogathon – an initiative to speak up about domestic violence and not keeping it hushed. I am intrigued to read Meena Kandasamy’s book ‘When I hit you‘ as anything related to women and women empowerment is a subject close to heart. The journey of victimhood to victory is always an interesting one.

How writing can help the healing process

How writing can help the healing process

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” ~Anne Frank

Recently, a dear friend of ours lost their little baby just a few days after her birth. In spite of a healthy pregnancy, the baby had suffered severe brain damage. She was kept under treatment in possibly the best neo-natal intensive care unit in the country, yet ironically her recovery was beyond the finest team of doctors. The family had been distraught to learn that she will not survive.

During this traumatic period, the parents had resorted to penning down their thoughts, which they subsequently shared with us. It was heart wrenching to read their account of emotions as they helplessly saw their little daughter dying in their arms. A life event of this nature can be extremely painful to deal with and their agony only unfathomable. Yet, it was heartening to know of their strength to express the flood of sentiments raging through their hearts and their courage to eventually share their reflections.

Writing about any traumatic event we face is known to have helped the healing process and lower stress hormones. Be it in the form of logs or diaries or blogs, writing down our thoughts is therapeutic. Especially to help us deal with bereavement, traumatic events and setbacks, the daily practice of maintaining a journal or a diary has proven to be cathartic. This I can vouch for with my own experience of blogging here.

Keeping a personal journal

Writing a diary or journaling is akin to having an honest conversation with our true self. It can even take the form of ranting or venting or rambling anything that comes to mind. It is the flow of words in sync with the flow of our true emotions. Writing in confidentiality knowing that this will not be read by anyone can provide great relief. There is no one to judge or question our thoughts. No what’s and why’s asked. There is no one to impress or please. No grammar or writing skills or fancy language required. It could even include drawings, scribbles, doodles or pictures. It is simply for us to know what and why we are writing.

I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say. ~Flannery O’Connor

The beauty of journaling is that it tends to say it like it is without any flair or fluff. It is a beautiful and relaxing way to connect with our self. In a way, it is time spent in listening to our inner guidance that helps express our thoughts. And as we let them out, our perspective of looking at certain things goes through changes eventually.

An aid to healing

This uninhibited dialogue with the self often unravels feelings that were hard to face or even brushed under the carpet. It helps us recognise the reality that was difficult for us to face initially. It opens up the process of acknowledging the hard feelings in the first place, thereby opening up our hearts to healing. The process of wording our feelings, coping with them and internalising them brings in clarity of thought.

Writing changes the way we think. It serves as an all-important outlet to express our feelings. The darkness that accompanied our cluttered emotions slowly gives way to light. This release is essential to organise our emotions. We are then ready to learn from them, go past them and move on gradually in peace.

Journaling acts as our own therapy session with the self. By touching upon the various intra-personal dimensions, it indirectly aids in knowing ourselves better. It is, thus, a personally empowering way to self-heal. With this handy coping mechanism tool, we can be well equipped to confront challenges that lie ahead.

Keep a diary and someday it will keep you. ~Mae West

 

 

 

 

#BookReview 1: Writing Tools by Cheryl Sterling #BlogchatterEbook

#BookReview 1: Writing Tools by Cheryl Sterling #BlogchatterEbook

The A to Z Blogging Challenge in April saw many bloggers like me transform into authors with their first eBook. The Blogchatter platform was instrumental in encouraging this transition. As a part of the #BlogchatterEBookCarnival, each of us have to pick 3 ebooks for reviews on our blog. So here I am with my first eBook review:

Why I chose this ebook for review:

During the challenge, I got to know of so many bloggers blogging about various things across a whole lot of topics. Some of the bloggers did leave an impact, whether through their content or comments or connection – Cheryl Sterling was one of them. I enjoyed reading her posts, though couldn’t read them all in detail and told myself – I would like to revisit her blog. Her eBook ‘Writing Tools’ with 26 tips for improved writing and marketing surely seemed very appealing to the newbie blogger in me. Thus this first pick for my reviews.

My take on the ebook:

Cheryl has been an author with a career spanning eighteen years. Her experience and professionalism is very evident in her writing, an essential aspect of the book that first came through. The ebook encompasses essential tips required for writers to learn and market their content. The language is simple even for the non tech-savvy to comprehend and the content flows well.

While the author impresses upon us what one should do during the process, she is also candid in expressing what did not work for her so that we do not pursue the same thing. The author’s personal learning experience with certain tools acts as a foolproof testimony.

I was amazed with the depth she goes into for certain aspects of writing. For example, developing her fictional characters using Myers-Briggs personality test and Numerology. Her analysis across comparative tools (e.g. Draft2Digital vs Smashwords) is well-articulated. The book highlights the various social media channels and how to use them optimally including networking, importance of groups, scheduling, etc.

The ebook indicates the author’s passion as well as expertise in the field. I only wish that the related links were highlighted in a separate colour or underlined for a quick reference/click.

Ebook recommended for:

‘Writing Tools’ by Cheryl Sterling is a valuable collection of tips for all aspiring authors, content writers, digital marketing students and anyone who wants to know the precious tools in the content marketing world.

My rating: 4.5/5

About the author:

Cheryl Sterling is an American author of several paranormal and contemporary romance novels and short stories. Her first novel, What Do You Say to a Naked Elf?, was a finalist in the TARA contest and was later sold to Leisure Books, an imprint of Dorchester Publishing. Cheryl is a co-founder and past president of Grand Rapids Region Writers Group in Grand Rapids, MI. She has conducted several workshops that focused on the writing craft and co-chaired their first “I’ve Always Wanted to Write a Book” regional conference. Her passion is learning and improving her craft, but mostly, she is a teacher. Cheryl currently lives in Phoenix with her husband and their cat, Coco Xena.

Connect with her:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Email

 

Read more about Blogchatter: https://www.theblogchatter.com/

 

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