Sunday, December 25, 2005

Blogging gone wrong...?

What exactly does that mean? Someone just told me (posted to me on EZ Board, actually), that my blog is cited by those at her shala as an exanple of how yoga blogging can go wrong.

To me, blogging (any blogging, yoga or otherwise) goes wrong if it veers into the illegal or the tortious. An example of illegal might be the conveying of material, non-public (insider) information on a publicly traded stock. An example of tortious might be telling a lie about someone, also known as libel. I suppose blogging goes wrong if it conveys misinformation or omits important information, and the readers are relying upon it as an authority for accurate information. An example of that would be a blog about childproofing your house that fails to recommend anchoring heavy furniture to the wall. Blogging could also go wrong if it harms the blogger - if the blogger is constantly scuffling with his or her readers. I saw that on one blog: the blogger couldn't seem to stop himself from answering the obnoxious charges of some angry reader, and so he eventually and wisely removed the blog's comments capability temporarily until things died down.

But other than that...how can blogging go wrong?

The blogger usually has a purpose in blogging - self-expression, clearing out the cobwebs, practicing writing, practicing writing to an audience, conveying information that the blogger thinks is going to be relevant to someone. Whatever that purpose is, the blogger is wise to stay with his or her intention. Ultimately, the desires of the readers may shape those intentions down the line. And in some cases, perhaps they don't.

The reader's job is to read blogs that interest him or her. Continuing to read a blog that annoys or inflames him or her is just really self-harm. Writing scathing critiques to the blogger in response then becomes harm to the blogger. If I weren't into all the yoga lingo, I might substitute the word "abuse" in place of "harm".

A troll is someone who plants seeds of discord in a public forum. A blogger cannot be a troll because the blogger's forum is not exactly a public forum. It is essentially a private journal laid open. Its purpose is defined by the blogger and the blogger alone. A blogger "goes wrong," I suppose, however, if the blogger spends more time answering trolls then following the blog's original intention.

Bringing it back to the personal, the intention behind my blog is primarily personal and creative expression. I do not do extensive research about ANY topic I blog about. There may VERY WELL be misinformation on here, and I do not lead anyone to believe that I am an authority on...well, ANYTHING. The secondary intention behind my blog is to process my thoughts in an orderly fashion as a way of stopping the chatter. Although there are those who believe that my writing is creating the chatter, it is actually quite the other way around. I write in order to dispose of the thoughts. I put them on paper, and that way I don't circle around and back to them. If I can't exactly quiet my monkey mind, I can certainly "crate" it...here.

There is no way I am going to censor my writing in order to appear more enlightened than I am, to appear less ego-driven, to make sure that I am not writing something that betrays a lack of understanding of whatever yoga I am practicing or whatever else I am endeavouring to do, be it knitting, cooking, mothering, shopping. I don't know about other bloggers because I am not in their heads. If their blogs reflect a mind freed from the bonds of ego and desire, then wow, they are lucky, and I can see that yoga works and works FAST. If their blogs reflect a desire to appear that way (hey, fake it til you make it, right?), then, well, that is absolutely their prerogative, and, I respect it completely. Freedom of expression. Use your blog for whatever you want to use it for. Use it to tell your honest thoughts, or use it to tell the thoughts you wish to be true. Use it to confess your weaknesses. Or not.

How can a blog that does any of that go wrong?

Like many people (I want to say "most people", but I really don't know if this is true), I see myself as an amalgamation of many things, many traits, many identities. I live a VERY mainstream life, I am married to one of the most mainstream men I could ever have dramed up, I live in a mainstream neighborhood, I socialize with mainstream people for the most part. Sometimes I veer toward the spoiled - I like luxury. Sometimes I veer toward the crunchy - I can't seem to practice yoga on the Upper East Side (try as I have) and always end up in the East Village. I color my own hair (my mainstream girlfriends gasp in horror!), I never wear my jewelry unless the Husband practically forces me. I was an English major in college, not an Economics or International Relations major like most people from my mainstream world. My favorite English professor used to scratch his head at the contradictions my persona presented..."Intellect with a JAP clip in her hair" or something like that.

But most relevantly to this discussion, I am a yogi with a Type A personality. I was born with my personality, and to the extent that I wasn't born with it, I learned it growing up in a family of overachievers. Hi Mom! You can take the yogi out of the Type A family, but you can't take the Type A out of the yogi. Or maybe you can! But I am not there yet. I just simply am NOT! SO WHAT! If we were all born at the enlightened ends of our journeys, there would be nothing left to accomplish in our lives.

I embrace my flaws. They make me me. If someone doesn't like me and my flaws, they should read someone else's blog - someone who either IS fully enlightened and freed from the bonds of ego and desire, or someone who pretends to be or someone who wishes to be...(no judgement from me here...and I am not talking about ANYONE in particular...I read A LOT of blogs, and not just yoga blogs either).

People tend to get upset about that which they see in others which reminds them of themselves.....If my ambition, my ego, my impatience...my current place on my yoga journey...makes you feel all constricted inside...makes you feel like fixing me....makes you feel angry, then maybe I can help YOU: ask yourself what it is I can teach you via my flaws and weaknesses. And then listen to the answer.

YC

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

hey Yc
you really really really don't need to explain yourself on your own blog. So what some people don't like your blog and have said so to others. So what if people have publicly disagreed with you on your own blog, they are allowed to do so--since you let them.

Don't get your feathers ruffled and don't spend your valuable writing time defending yourself and your blog. From what I have seen I guesstimate that you do this about once a month. Stop the madness and just ignore those folks.

you don't owe anyone an explanation just keep doing what you want to do.

Anonymous said...

Hi YC

I think your points will be well taken by many.However I think the idea that you are "mainstream" is kind of wierd. You are a former lawyer who was able to become a yoga teacher because you didn't have to use your profession for economic dependance.You have money which allows you to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world and study a fairly elite(costly for most dedicated ashtangis)form of yoga.
You drive an SUV and have paid for surgical procedures based on vanity issues. That to me is not mainstream.
Upper middle class maybe, but definitely not mainstream. But maybe you are "mainstream" in a "ladies who lunch" type of way. I don't know, It's really not for me or anyone else to judge.

Blogging serves some kind of purpose for you, and you should continue as long as you enjoy it. Don't let detractors take your focus from it away. By acknowledging them in your recent postings you are letting them kind of take over your space here and I think that is a total waste of your time.


happy haunakah,
a former student

yoga chickie said...

I knew that "mainstream" would be kind of weird...I really wasn't thinking in terms of economic status. I was thinking in terms of non-boho. I hear you though.

Lauren

Anonymous said...

I didn't read the EZ post yet but just wanted to say that I think you're an example of "blogging gone right." I enjoy reading your blog -- you're honest, forthright, and yes, maybe flawed, but hey! So what?

I live a fairly privileged, mainstream (non-boho) life as well so I identify with a lot of what you write. Thanks for putting it out there.

Yogamum

Anonymous said...

" A troll is someone who plants seeds of discord in a public forum. A blogger cannot be a troll because the blogger's forum is not exactly a public forum. It is essentially a private journal laid open. Its purpose is defined by the blogger and the blogger alone. A blogger "goes wrong," I suppose, however, if the blogger spends more time answering trolls then following the blog's original intention."

A blog is a public forum, esepcially when u allow people to comment. I don't know why you are defining what a troll is in this recent post but if you keep using your post to answer disagreers(sp?) then I'd say you are well on your way to trollhood per your definition.

u are letting the discord folks really get under your skin Lauren. It's not worthit if you ask me.take the highroad and just ignore them.

samasthiti said...

Hey Lauren,
I think you should have a t-shirt made..
Blogger Gone Wrong!
Or Yogini Gone Wild! LOL!

You know what I think, I think the yoga community tends to be lacking in any sense of humor. Too serious, too many rules, too much pretension. Judgemental. All very non yogic traits last I checked. There is a place for all of us in the practice of yoga, no matter who you are.
Not one of us is better than another.

As long as this is your blog make it what you want, a reflection of who you are; an intelligent, funny, crazy, impatient, loving, spiritual, whirling dervish, yoga practitioner.

GD said...

Maybe you should try speaking to some of your detractors directly, since it seems like from some of your previous posts that you actually know who they are?

It seems like this is the wrong place for them to point out your flaws. Or atleast i wouldn't do it this way if I were a "concerned friend".

The computer age is killing real time communication!

just a suggestion.


GD

Anonymous said...

You are my favorite read. Although I may not always agree with you, you are definitely my first blog read of the day!

My favorite subject is the practice. Of course:0

Sally

he's dead jim! said...

Lauren, ignore what they say/write and keep on doing what you do. You provide a service to your readers. Your fresh, honest perspective is great for yogis and non-yogis alike.
Warm wishes during these special days.
Namaste.
~HDJ

suziecolumbus said...

Keep it up Lauren no matter what some people say. I like to read the writings of people who are honest, who post their real thoughts, who let it all hang out, who do not hold back. You are one of the very few ashtanga writers who qualify. More, more, more please. Even though I do not always agree with you, I always read you.

Another lawyer, ashtangi, mom, and "mainstream" person.

Suziecolumbus

suziecolumbus said...

Keep it up Lauren no matter what some people say. I like to read the writings of people who are honest, who post their real thoughts, who let it all hang out, who do not hold back. You are one of the very few ashtanga writers who qualify. More, more, more please. Even though I do not always agree with you, I always read you.

Another lawyer, ashtangi, mom, and "mainstream" person.

Suziecolumbus

Anonymous said...

Lauren, I've been off for a few days, and I'm just catching up.

It bothers me that people still have the nerve to comment on what you write on your blog. We've been through this, if they don't like what you say, don't read it or comment about it, it's pretty simple.

Happy Hannukah!
Beth

Anonymous said...

Mainstream? Because you only wear your jewelry when "the husband" insists? You realize that by making this sort of a statement that you take yourself right out of the mainstream, right?

You lead an incredibly priveleged life . . . not the mainstream.

A Worker Of The World

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» International Trial Of Novel Breast Cancer Drug
14/12/06 07:03 from Breast cancer blog from medicineworld.org
-------------------------------------------------------------
A clinical trial of a new targeted breast cancer drug, led by
physicians at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer
Center, has begun enrolling patients. The TEACH (Tykerb
Evaluation After CHemotherapy) trial will investigate ...


For useful content on breast cancer under 30, breast cancer need to know and early breast cancer detection: check
the url is http://breast-cancer1.com

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About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.

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