The ringer on my cell phone woke me early this week. When I finally grabbed it there were dozens of LinkedIn messages congratulating me. Congratulations for what?
LinkedIn remembered something I forgot. It was An Empowered Spirit’s fifth birthday! I paused to think about that fateful day when my trembling hand almost didn’t push the PUBLISH button on my computer.
All 97 words of a post that no one read.
I had no idea what I was doing, no clue about SEO, keywords, snippets, widgets or alt tags. All I knew was I wanted to write, to use the power of my words to try and ease people’s anxieties about whatever adversities they were facing.
I‘ve learned a lot since then, more than I imagined. The first thing I learned is that blogs don’t succeed without the support and loyalty of its readers.
An Empowered Spirits’ readers are intelligent, compassionate and inspiring. I feel their love in the comments they write. When they trust me with their stories of sorrow, happiness or tragedy I feel a sense of responsibility to continue earning their trust with each consecutive post I write.
I learned what resonates most with readers are not platitudes, starry skies or rainbows. What resonates is honesty, by wearing my heart on my sleeve and holding nothing back from my story. I think of what Elizabeth Lesser wrote in her book Broken Open:
“If we do not suffer a loss all the way to the end, it will wait for us. It won’t just dissipate and disappear. Rather, it will fester, and we will experience its sorrow later, in stranger forms.”
Readers yearn for the truth, and in those golden moments of connection we help one another rise above our challenges. Whether it’s disability, sadness, anxiety, anger or loss we can, as Sheryl Sandberg says, lean into each other to find our strength. Together.
I’ve met incredible, like-minded bloggers, both off and online. We are kindred spirits traveling this midlife journey together, helping each other feel less alone during life’s joys and sorrows.
In those moments social media is at its best.
I adore the Multiple Sclerosis community. They face illness with intelligence, faith and bravery. They lift my spirits by facing their challenges with hope for better medicine and a cure. I am blessed to know every one of them.
I believe my diagnosis was given to me for a reason, to lead me to my life’s purpose of writing and advocating for others. An Empowered Spirit has provided me with a platform for that.
The people I’ve met, the places I’ve traveled to, the conferences I’ve attended and the friendships I’ve cultivated have molded me into one grateful blogger,
All blessings, indeed.
On my fifth birthday I’d like to thank YOU for what you’ve given me. For those I’ve known for years or recently met. For the people I’m blessed to work for and with who work tirelessly to create a world of better health for the MS and disability communities. And for my loved ones who’ve supported me from the beginning.
Thank you for from the bottom of my heart.