#AtoZChallenge Create your Zendo by @kaushiva

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In our daily busy-ness of lives, consciously or subconsciously, we create our own little pockets of ‘me’ time. A place where we go to when we are feeling a little stressed, tired, angry or upset. For some it may a hot cup of chai in the company of the early morning rays, for some their fitness regime, for others a meaningless hour of TV surfing or that devoted bedtime reading to fall asleep with wonderful fantasies in their heads. For me it was always dancing; I called dancing my meditation. But a few years back, when on a very upsetting day dance couldn’t bring me out of my sulk, I turned to something else. Pen met paper, word flowed, my feelings outpoured and just like that I could disconnect with the unhappy event and move on. Thus started my tryst with writing and blogging.

At first I was a passive blog reader, content to know that there people out there who feel and think in the same way. Strangely, I felt more connected to these strangers than the people around me in real life. Inspired, I decided to shed away the shyness, clicked on blogger and created my blog. My blogspace has since then come to be an almost spiritual space. Blogging has helped me not only to rediscover myself, but also reflect on my life and make few changes for good. It has also, on the way, taught me a very important life lesson, one that people call ‘Zen’ism – to learn to be present at all times, to live in the moment.
I am still a learner but as they say if you know your goal, half your work is done. And my aim is for my blog space to be my ‘zendo’.

Zen-dō (Chinese: Chántáng) or senbutsu-jō is a Japanese “meditation hall”. In Zen Buddhism, the zen-dō is a spiritual dōjō where zazen (sitting meditation) is practiced. However, any place where people go to practice Zen can be referred to as a zen-dō.

So how, you may ask, I plan on creating my Zendo? Well, by following few very basic practices, which at some point have crossed each of our minds. It is just that at times the implementation of it lags behind our very good intentions.

1. Don’t stress – Write for the love of writing. You’ve perhaps heard this a million times, but this truly is the commandment to stay happy. Blogging is a huge community and when you first enter it can become quite overwhelming. You see bloggers entering contests, getting freebies and you jump right after them…some may swim, some may sink. Well, as for me, late night one day when hubby came from office and pointed out my frantic behaviour as I was tapping away to finish a post in the nick of time for a contest, I decided that was it. I was cranky and not happy, no point in writing when you don’t feel the love.

2. Be yourself, know yourself – So personally I haven’t entered many contests since then and I am not a fan of freebies. Having said that there are a few bloggers who write sponsored posts so so well, without loosing their individual essence, that I can’t help but admire them! Creating your Zendo, will help you rediscover yourself.

3. Be in the moment – One of the essentials towards creating your Zendo, being in the moment, can be practiced by being aware of what you are doing and avoiding distractions. If you are writing a post, try not to think of what will come after you hit publish. Thinking about increasing your readership, number of likes and shares, and comments may not be productive. Try not to let your mind wander. Easier said than done, right? I struggle with this too, with so many distractions (read scrolling down your Fb page) it gets difficult to put a leash on those urges. But those who have successfully managed to disconnect, concentrate and perform their tasks being ‘in the moment’ will tell you how satisfying it is. Ask Zen Mommy Shailaja!

4. Live – Being in the moment, also means that you know when to switch off from blogging and go live. Go out, travel, be with your family. Enjoy idleness too, refresh your minds and come back renewed. And during this time, remove the words ‘guilt’ (of not writing or visiting blogs) and ‘fear’ (of losing)  from your dictionary.

5. Spread Love – Last but not the least, give some love and share fellow bloggers posts. Sharing helps you grow as a person, teaching compassion & empathy along the way. It expands your zendo to create a community of like minded people who will make the journey a lot more enjoyable.

Now, not so difficult to create your Zendo, is it?

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Blogger Bio:  Aditi Kausiva

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A dreamer. A believer. An enthusiast. I’m in love with Life and I strongly pursue ‘Life is what YOU make of it‘. A banker by profession and a blogger by chance, I’m here to share my world with you. It may not always be perfect but I certainly strive to make it beautiful. If you happen to visit my space do leave a comment…share your life’s snippets…I’d love to strike up a beautiful conversation with you!!

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Blog-A-Rhythm’s theme for the month of April is 

Blogging Bytes

Come back everyday this month (except Sundays)

to read 26 guest posts on facets of blogging!

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#AtoZChallenge Y is for Youth by Beloo Mehra

 Y is for Youth

Written by Beloo Mehra

Blogger at: Beauty Interprets, Expresses, Manifests the Eternal

 It seems one of the key reasons why many bloggers write is to express and share their thoughts, opinions, ideas and also some insights gained from their life experiences. Sounds very reasonable. Generally, the focus is on blogger’s personal expression, rather than the target audience. This too is fair, given the way blogging has evolved.

In this post however, I want to offer the possibility of blogging with a specific audience in mind. I am speaking of the youth, the future of our societies, nations and the world. Most of the younger population today, particularly from the reasonably educated and socially-aware sections of our society, is highly tech-savvy and globally connected via technology. Given the younger generation’s proclivity to get most of their information from the online world, why can’t we bloggers target some of our writings particularly to educate and inspire these young minds and hearts?

Quote-pic for Y post for BAR A-Z

Having youth as one target audience for our blogs, or at least for some component of our blogs, can not only give a specific focus to the topics we want to write about, it can also help us become more reflective of the larger purpose of why we write. In today’s world where online world is full of all kinds of material that may often negatively influence the vulnerable youth, we bloggers can do our little bit by flooding the internet with some positive, inspirational material specifically geared toward the youth. This doesn’t have to be didactic, moralistic, preachy type of material. Surely, we bloggers can create some well-thought and creatively-presented content touching upon some specific topics relevant to the youth. The content, of course, will be as diverse and varied as the world of bloggers itself.

In my own context as a blogger from India, and given the specific focus of my blog, I believe many of my posts have had some educative focus. I am particularly thinking of sections “Current Events” and “Satyam Shivam Sundaram”, and also several posts tagged under “Indian Culture.” Without specifically writing for the younger generation, I have often hoped that some young Indian readers will find some of this content thought-provoking.

Perhaps I should be more explicit and start a specific focus-area on my blog directed at youth. This will also mean paying attention to the voice and style that I use for youth-specific writing. That’s a work I hope to take up on my blog in the months to come.

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Blogger Bio:  Beloo Mehra

Beloo Mehra

Many years of experience in the field of education and social science research led me to the discovery that the central thing is to constantly un-school oneself and become a freer and truer learner.

My life generally revolves around some reading, some writing, some teaching, some gardening and a whole lot of reflecting on life, living, society, politics, religion, art, literature, India, the World, and everything else under the Sun and the Moon. My blog is inspired by a certain view of life and living, art and beauty, individual and society, nation and the world, and I try to stay true to that inspiration as much as I can. Having published several research papers, scholarly articles and chapters in various journals, books, magazines etc. in the past, I now enjoy expressing my thoughts and also thoughts that inspire me in varied forms on my blog.

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Blog-A-Rhythm’s theme for the month of April is 

Blogging Bytes

Come back everyday this month (except Sundays)

to read 26 guest posts on facets of blogging!

#AtoZChallenge An ‘X’perience by @MDWeekendBaker

 

X

I have been blogging sporadically since 2010 / 2011.

 

I blog about baking and about the cuisine of my community, the Pathare Prabhus.

 

You may be wondering what the title of this post has to do with any of these seemingly unconnected facts. I’ll cut a long story short by saying that this post is about my journey as a blogger and my gratitude list of the many and unexpected benefits, discoveries and experiences along the way.

In addition to counting the bonuses, this list is also a reminder to myself to keep at it even on the days/weeks when I suffer from brain fog, writers’ cramp and the ‘I have no time for my blog’ syndrome.

 

So here goes –

 

  1. Blogging was what kept me sane-ish through my post partum haze 3 year ago, giving me something other than nappies and feeds to think about. In short, it was eXactly what I needed at the time.

 

  1. I am working on turning my blog into a community cookbook, of sorts. However, currently, I’m thrilled that my mum and my grandma take such a keen interest, sharing their top tips and adding their eXperience and eXpertise to the pot.

 

 

  1. I’m reviving links with the Pathare Prabhu community, now spread across the world and making some new friends in the process, eXchanging notes and handy tips for adapting our cuisine to modern times and with global ingredients.

 

  1. At a more practical level, my blogs give me a platform for eXpressing my creativity : very valuable, especially after a busy day at work

 

  1. Having a foodie family means that sometimes I have to manage ambitious eXpectations but planning for the blog helps me be more organised for at least some of the meals in the week.

 

  1. I’m thrilled to be eXpanding my blogging knowledge via the 101 sessions, tips and tricks that are so generously shared at the B-A-R and through the A-Z challenge. (You know who you are and you rock!)

 

  1. I’m loving the eXcitement of making new blogger friends and discovering fabulous blogs. (Thank you A-Z 2014 and my fellow B-A-R goers!)

 

  1. In sum, I would describe my blogging journey so far as eXtremely satisfying and enriching!

Thanks for staying with me till the end of my list.

I wish you all an eXhilarating ride on the blogging rollercoaster. It’s so worth it!

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Blogger Bio: Monica Deshpande

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 I’m a working mum, a weekend baker, yoga enthusiast, avid reader, curious cook, collector of cookbooks, traditional recipes and articles on baking and cooking.

My perfect weekend includes time with family and friends, a good book, great food and a bar of dark chocolate (or two).

I blog at The Weekend Baker and Varan-Bhaat.

Stop by and say Hello!

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Blog-A-Rhythm’s theme for the month of April is 

Blogging Bytes

Come back everyday this month (except Sundays)

to read 26 guest posts on facets of blogging!

#AtoZChallenge W for Writing by @indywrites

Writing for our blogs is an outlet for us and many of us are with no formal skills in writing or degrees in creative writing, journalism or English Honors neither have we done a crash course in blogging! Yes there are plenty of blogging coaches out there who will groom you for money – just Google it and see.

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.

Robin Williams

write

Writing for many of us ‘bloggers’ is about relaxation, unwinding and putting our thoughts across. It is a deeply personal and judgmental work. Your blog is not just a bunch of pages and words but a representation of you. Who you are, what you want to say, what moves you, motivates you and gets your knickers in a twist! Yes, our blog showcases our good, bad & ugly many times without us even realizing it.

Have you not heard and read this a million times?   Not all of us have the intent, time and resources to take our blog to the next level , monetize it, have a flock of passionate followers & steady commenter’s but that should not stop us from doing the right thing by our blog.

So,

Feel – Always deeply feel about what you want to express.

Think– Always offer a lot of thought to what you want to say and why you want to say it.

Hope – whatever you say, do it with the hope and positive thought for a better future.

Passion – be passionate, bothered and concerned about your words and the impact they create.

Skill – utilize the best of your skills

So where does the W of Writing come here? Yes, all of you is reflected not by the buttons, icons, style or templates you use but by the words you use. Herein lies our ‘W’ All that style and jazz will be useless if your words don’t have conviction, honesty and emotion.

How important those words are can be emphasized by this acronym WRITE stands for…………………..

WONDER – about all things, looking at the same old with new eyes,

REASON – with thoughts and ideas, search and question all views,

INITIATE – action about things that matter; be proactive,

TREASURE – all your thoughts, all things about you and the blog,

EMOTION – is the most powerful part of you, channelize it and always be passionate.

 Writing is not just putting across the fact but it is telling the audience how you feel about what you are writing.

I leave you with these words by Maya Angelou , Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.
Keep writing,

Inderpreet Kaur

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Blogger Bio:  Inderpreet Kaur Uppal

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Inderpreet Kaur is a Freelance Writer, Blogger and Lecturer. She has a Masters Degree in Human Resources Management and loves to read, travel, discuss and write. Writing comes to her naturally as a gift from her parents whose love of the English language and correct expression has become a way of life for her. She writes about what moves the heart and awakens the mind and celebrates beauty in everyday life. She can be contacted for writing and editing, beta reader projects, assignments, book reviewsblog posts and articles.   What you have in mind will be on the paper. She likes demystifying the dynamics of excellent expressions with simple sentences for all your writing wrangles at Eloquent Articulation

 

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Blog-A-Rhythm’s theme for the month of April is 

Blogging Bytes

Come back everyday this month (except Sundays)

to read 26 guest posts on facets of blogging!