The Story Behind the Blog

Recently I’ve been asked by new readers about the origins of the blog and how it came about. More than five years along on this incredible, life changing journey, now seems like the perfect time to share the story behind the blog.

I decided to use some of the questions I’m asked as launching points for the answers. Feeling a bit cheeky, I chose to use an interview…with myself…format.

Whether you are a faithful reader, journeying with me these past five plus years (thank you!), or a new companion coming alongside, I appreciate you.

The Story Behind the Blog

Why Start a Blog?

I’ve loved writing since childhood, and throughout my life I’ve found myself returning to that love over and over. In 2013 I attended a conference during which this question was asked.

“What’s ONE thing you could do every day, that would change your life?”

In my notebook I scribbled write every day. Full of fresh determination,  I set the intention to write something….every single day. My new resolve lasted four days.

In reality, I found that without a purpose it was very difficult to write every day. I needed a reason to write and therefore I asked for one, as part of my ongoing conversation with the Divine.

The answer came a few days later when I read about Lu Ann Cahn and her book, I Dare Me. Lu Ann challenged herself to do something new every day for a year, to revitalize her life. I was drawn to Lu Ann’s story and I loved her idea. My word for the upcoming year of 2014 was Beyond. My desire to move beyond my comfort zone and limiting beliefs seemed the perfect reason for practicing a Year of Firsts.

Beginning January 1, 2014 I tried something new every single day…and wrote about the experiences in my brand new blog. Initially my intentions for blogging included creating the daily habit of writing and accountability. Little did I know then how blogging would impact my life.

The blogging journey continued the next year…and the next…and the next. By the end of 2018 I had written at least one blog post a day for 1,826 days, beating my previous record of four days!

The Story Behind the BlogMy symbol from the Year of Firsts…the bird outside the birdcage…representing freedom and moving beyond limitations.

Where Did the Name ‘Cindy Goes Beyond’ Come From?

For three years the blog was actually called Going Beyond, based on my word for 2014. I was inspired by a chapter in Michael A Singer’s book, The Untethered SoulHe writes:

“Spirituality is the commitment to go beyond, no matter what it takes. It’s an infinite journey based upon going beyond yourself every minute of every day for the rest of your life. If you’re truly going beyond, you are always at your limits. You’re never back in the comfort zone. A spiritual being feels as though they are always against that edge, and they are constantly being pushed through it.”

That’s what I wanted. It is still what I want, to keep going beyond my comfort zone and my old beliefs, and to explore fresh perspectives and new experiences that help me to grow and expand.

When I moved the blog from WordPress.com, a free site, to WordPress.org, a self hosted site, I changed the name to Cindy Goes Beyond to reflect my continuing desire to live Michael’s words. The name still works for me, on multiple levels.

The Story Behind the BlogMy symbol from Year of Journeys, the Open Door, symbolizing opportunities and my desire to leave the familiar behind and go on adventures.

The Story Behind the BlogMy symbol from the Year of Surrender, the river, representing the flow of life.

How Has Blogging Impacted Your Life?

The impact of blogging every day is huge and ongoing. My life shifted as I opened to opportunities and possibilities and expanded my perspectives.

Each year a new word is Divinely given to me, as a guide for the next twelve months, and a new symbol arrives to represent my desires. Looking back I see the progression of the blog, which matches my life journey. My blog grows and changes as I do…and the very act of blogging creates those shifts by increasing my awareness.

The Years

The years of blogging look like this:

Year of Firsts – 2014 – word Beyond – symbol bird outside the birdcage. This year opened my life in tremendous ways as I challenged myself to literally “go beyond” my comfort zone.

Year of Journeys – 2015 – word Journey – symbol the open door. This year focused on living an adventurous life and exploring my inner world as well as my outer world.

Year of Surrender – 2016 – word Surrender – symbol the river. What a big year this was, as I learned to live in the Flow of Life, going where that flow led and letting go of resistance.

Year of Inspiration – 2017 – word Inspiration – symbol the lightbulb. The wonderful actor Alan Rickman inspired this amazing year with these words:

“If only life could be a little more tender and art a little more robust.”

I embraced those words and took them to heart, creating art through a variety of mediums. At the same time, I sought to make life a little more tender for others.

Year of Stories – 2018 – word Story – symbol the feather quill. Last year I focused on storytelling, which is perfect for a blogger! Every person, every item, every event has a story to tell and my joy became sharing those stories.

Year of Enchantment – 2019 – word Enchantment – symbol queen chess piece. This year my desire is to be aware of the magic in life and share it with others. Enchantment literally means to sing or speak something into existence. For many reasons, it is the perfect word for the year and for me.

The Story Behind the BlogFrom Year of Inspiration, the lightbulb symbolized the light of creative ideas.

The Story Behind the BlogFrom Year of Stories, the feather quill perfectly represented writing.

 

Where to Next?

This is indeed an ongoing journey. In 2017 I began a second blog, focused on health. Journey With Healthy Me provides a platform from which to write about a very specific niche.

This year I stopped writing a post for Beyond every day. I placed a tremendous challenge upon myself last year, writing 10 blog posts a week…seven for Beyond and three for Journey. I completed the year as I intended, and realized I needed to shift.

Currently I write five days a week, three posts for Beyond and two for Journey, with occasional posts over the weekend if needed. My desire for both blogs is to go deeper, go bigger, go further.

Last year I awoke with a Divine question“Do you want to be the Queen of your own kingdom, or a pawn in someone else’s?”

It wasn’t difficult to answer that question. I know what I want, and this year is about living in an enchanted way, and creating the reality that I desire.

There are huge opportunities ahead, for both blogs. I’m excited…and a little scared…and totally in for what comes next.

I’m a Queen, after all, playing a part in a much bigger story. This is my kingdom, and it is expanding.

The Story Behind the BlogThis year’s symbol, the queen chess piece, represents building my own enchanted kingdom.

 

 

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Launching a Second Blog

I am excited this evening to announce the launch of my second blog, Journey With Healthy Me, a blog dedicated to my ongoing healing journey. My intentions for this year are three fold: to make life a little more tender, make art a little more robust, and continue on the healing journey that began six months ago. This blog focuses on making life more tender and art more robust. Journey With Healthy Me has the dual purpose of sharing about my healing journey, and encouraging others to take responsibility for their own health and well being.

Art a Little More Tender-Blogging, Journey With Healthy Me

I am excited about both adventures. This is where my journey is currently, and I am open to the possibilities and invitations life, and inspiration, offer.

As I worked on the second blog, one of the first actions I had to take was to create and register a name for the blog. I tried out various names, checking to see if the domain name was available. Taking a break to check my Facebook news feed, I saw a meme featuring a minion…which made me think of Despicable Me…which sparked an idea. What about Healthy Me? As I typed out the words to check for availability, I saw something else. The words Healthy Me could be divided to form the words Heal Thyme.

Art a Little More Robust-Blogging, Journey with Healthy Me

Art a Little More Robust-Blogging, Journey With Healthy Me

All kinds of possibilities flashed through my head. I grow the herb thyme (pronounced like time) in my garden. Thyme is a great medicinal herb. I make a health infused tea from it often. What a great icon the plant would make, for a blog about health and healing. And then of course, there is the play on words….Healthy Me….Heal Thyme…Heal Time. It was the perfect name!

I checked to see if there were any websites or blogs in existence using the name Healthy Me. I didn’t find any. However, when I began setting up the second blog, and checked domain names, I discovered that Healthy Me was not available after all. Someone has it registered. Back to thinking up a name. But I kept returning again and again to the words Healthy Me. Needing to make a decision, so I could keep moving forward, I was tossing out possible names, out loud, when Greg called out from the other room, “What about Journey With Healthy Me”? I liked it! I liked it a lot. The more I said the name aloud, the more it resonated with me.

This is a journey I am on, a healing journey. I remembered from my Year of Journeys, that the word journey comes from the French word jornee, which literally means, a day’s travel, or the distance I can travel in one day. This healing journey is indeed taken one day at a time. Day by day, I am becoming more healthy and more vibrant. I am learning, growing, releasing, strengthening and sharing to encourage others.

Hence forth, all posts about my healing journey, about me being the best version of myself, will at www.journeywithhealthyme.com .  I hope you will join me, often or occasionally, the choice is yours. Come journey with healthy me!

Art a Little More Robust-Blogging, Journey With Healthy Me

The Light of Inspiration shines bright, as I am working on my second blog. The blue light of the computer created an interesting effect on my face. It reminds me of the Scot, William Wallace, in Braveheart. A good omen, I think! 

 

 

 

 

 

Journey 140: Cindy 500

Cindy 500

I’ve been in a playful mood, thinking about my blog post for today. It’s been a week with a couple of milestones so far: the completion of Aubrey’s first year of school, Dayan’s 16th birthday. I decided to write about a milestone that I’ve reached as well, while making a play on words for the blog title, this weekend being the Indy 500 race.

I’ve reached 500 posts on my Going Beyond Blog…507 posts, actually, over 505 consecutive days. 505 days of writing…every day.

The amazing part about this accomplishment is that two years ago this summer, I was challenged to do one thing, every day, for 66 days. The idea was that by doing something every day for 66 days, a new habit would be formed. I thought for only a moment before jotting down this word: WRITE. I wanted to write every day for the next 66 days, creating the habit of writing.

Cindy 500 if you wish to write, write

I’ve long had a interest in creating in this way. One of my gifts as a young child was a typewriter. I’ve had story-telling modeled for me my whole life, my mother being an amazing creator of stories. She told them to my sisters and me, as  children, and later wrote stories for our children, eventually publishing stories in books such as The Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She’s also had three children’s chapter books published. I started on that tiny typewriter, and wrote for years, into early adulthood….stories and poems primarily…later writing with a pencil in notebooks.

And then life got busy, with a husband and children. I thought, When the kids go off to school, I’ll write again. And I did, for a short time. Then I made the decision to bring my children home and educate them myself. We became homeschoolers and life shifted in huge ways. I set the writing aside, with no regrets. I raised my kids, taught my kids, was taught life lessons, by my kids. And when they entered college or married and left home, rather than return to writing, I entered real estate.

Cindy 500 youve got to write

No excuses. I could have made the time, structuring my day so that I had plenty of time for writing.  I did keep my desire to write alive. I created a monthly homeschool newsletter, with a feature article about what adventures the kids and I were involved in, and included samples of their work or cartoons and drawings they had done. In real estate, I created a monthly email as well, for several years, writing in an informational way. I even started a real estate blog years ago. Strangely enough, I found myself writing not about real estate in that blog…but life. Seeing the dichotomy, I posted in it infrequently, confused, I think, about what I wanted to share.

Life kept offering invitations, though, kept reminding me of my desire to write. That desire grew, fed by speaking and teaching opportunities. It is so beautiful, so amazing, that the challenge that was issued to me, to pick one thing to do, and do it for 66 days, came at a workshop led by Gary Keller, the owner of Keller Williams. That reminder came through real estate. I shouldn’t be surprised. It was where I was, and life meets us exactly where we are and invites.

Cindy 500 writing quote

I’d like to say that I nailed it two years ago…writing for 66 days. I wrote every day…for four days. And then I quit. It was difficult. I dawdled. I floundered. I let other things get in the way. I failed at that attempt at writing daily, however, the intention went out, the desire went out. I want to write…every day. And life, or the Divine….to me, life IS part of the Divine…brought me the perfect way to accomplish my intention.

I had no purpose connected to writing every day, when I made the first attempt. I had nowhere to go with it. For me, it wasn’t enough just to say I was going to write every day. I had to have a reason to write. So one arrived. As 2013 was drawing to a close, my new word, Beyond, came to me. I heard of Lu Ann Cahn and her amazing year of first things…doing something new every day. I embraced her idea, knowing that doing something new, daily, would definitely push me beyond my comfort zone. And to be accountable, to capture what I was doing each day, so I wouldn’t forget, I began the Going Beyond Blog…and wrote in it EVERY DAY….for 365 days. What I couldn’t do before, I was able to do with the blog, because I had a reason for writing. I linked creating with purpose.

Cindy 500 alchemist

The amazing gift of writing every day for a year was that I learned the discipline of writing. Full days, being busy, not feeling like writing…none of those excuses deterred me. I just did it. And I loved it. I reconnected with that creative energy that I had as a child and teenager….and I wrote. A laptop, and sometimes my cell phone, replaced my little blue and white typewriter. The sheer joy of writing became the force behind my daily posts…so much so that as 2014 was winding down, I knew I wanted to keep going, keep writing.

505 days of writing, and counting…that’s 501 days longer than what I was able to do before. I am so grateful that as my intention went out….life answered, and the Divine presented my word, my symbol, what I would do, as a way of offering me the opportunity to live my desire. There’s no stopping me now. I don’t know where this path is going to take me. I don’t need to know. I just need to write. And the Divine, and Life, will arrange the rest.

Cindy 500 box of crayons

Journey 80: The Art of Blogging Class

  

Today’s journey was also a delightful first. Alice Lynn Greenwood, director of artCentral in Carthage, MO, invited me to kick off their season of workshops with a class about blogging. 

I’ve been consistently blogging since January 1, 2014, posting daily, learning as I go.  While I’ve shared about blogging with many individuals, one on one, I’ve not taught a class on the subject until today. We gathered in the board room on the second floor of the gorgeous Hyde House, home to artCentral. Alice Lynn gave a gracious introduction and then I had the pleasure of sharing with Diana, Helen, Randy, Leesa, Paula and Jan for the next couple of hours. 

What an amazing group of people. They took notes and asked wonderful questions and came up with great ideas for blogs of their own that will share their passions and knowledge with the world. It energized me to stand before such a class. 

  

Leesa, Paula & Jan. All photos taken by Alice Lynn. 

Sharing my from own journey in blogging, I divided the class time into three segments: Why blog? Blogging Tips and online show and tell using my own blog as an example. Preparing for the class was excellent for me, as it allowed me to examine the past 15 months and see the ways my life has shifted as a result of blogging. I’ve learned. I’ve grown. I’ve found my voice and my writing style. 

I was able also to consider why I blog and offer six ways my life has been enhanced by the experience and why blogging can offer the same expansiveness to others. The Tips section showed how easy it is to set up a blog. From there we discussed how to hone writing skills and grow a community of readers.

I’m so grateful to artCentral and Alice Lynn for this opportunity this morning. Teaching the class embodied one of my favorite things about blogging…meeting new people. Each person present today was there for a reason, crossing my path because we were meant to meet. I was encouraged and inspired by each one and I enjoyed the interaction during class and chatting afterwards. That’s why I do what I do…for the privilege and honor of journeying alongside another for a time. For this, I was made. 

  

             Diana, me, Helen & Randy

Day 337: Sharing Blogs

Blogging

In spite of the fact that I’ve written daily in my Going Beyond blog, since January 1 of this year, it has taken me a while to recognize that I am, in fact, a blogger. Surprisingly, it’s just been in the last month or so that I’ve understood that I don’t just journal, or write, I blog. I share my journey with others in a public way through my site. I know, that should be a given. But when I started this adventure, I began the blog so that I would have an account of my firsts, a roadmap that showed where I started and where I finished up. It was a personal accounting, and a way of remembering, because I knew at the end of the year, there would be no way that I’d be able to remember what I did as firsts last month, much less in January!

It has been a surprise, and a delight, to develop a following and find out that others read and enjoy the blog. I smile when I walk into a business and the owner says, “Oh, I hope this is your first today!” Or when someone walks up to me while I’m out and mentions a blog post that she or he read. It is humbling and encouraging, to know I can impact another’s life. Blogging has become a very important part of my life and I’ve found that the blogging community is full of supportive, creative people. My desire, for my first today, is to share just a few of the blogs that I visit regularly, in support of blogging and these amazing writers and tip sharers.

The Hometalk Blog: Full of DIY projects and tips, this blog was created to share trends, news and updates from a team of contributors. I can find holiday crafts, gardening tips and repurposing projects here. There is also the occasional give away. If you enjoy Do It Yourself projects, this site will keep you supplied with endless possibilities and easy to follow instructions.

blogging hometalk

The Inspired Room: This beautifully done blog by Melissa Michaels focuses on creating a lovely, livable home. She shares simple, very doable ideas to decorate, organize and love the home you have. Here you can learn how to simplify house cleaning and make no-sew curtains, decorate with what you have, and prepare for house guests. Melissa includes home and room tours to really show the reader her results and lovely pictures from her home and a variety of other sources.

blogging the inspired room 2

Elizabeth Gilbert: Author of EAT, PRAY, LOVE and The Signature of All Things, among other books, this down to earth soul shares from her heart about her own journey and the lessons she’s learning. I have really connected with Liz’s writing lately and every post I read of hers uplifts and encourages me. I appreciate her honestly in sharing both her struggles and her triumphs. Her ahas and insights are always right on target for me.

blogging elizabeth gilbert

Lu Ann Cahn Blog: The woman who inspired me to create my own year of firsts, Lu Ann traveled this path in 2010 as a way to get “unstuck” in her life. Out of her blog came the book that I found last year, “I Dare Me”, which both chronicles her year of firsts and offers suggestions on firsts that the reader can do. Lu Ann continues to dare herself to experience new things. She would say, and I agree, that life opens up and becomes so much more rich and amazing as a result of doing first things.

blogging lu ann cahn

When I blog, I am giving others a peek into my life and often, into my heart as well. Last year, I attended a One Thing Conference, taught by the owner of Keller Williams, Gary Keller. When he challenged each of us to choose one thing that we wanted to do, and create a new habit by doing that one thing every day for 66 days, I wrote down writing. I wanted to develop the habit of writing. I confess that I failed at writing every day, for 66 days, last year. My intention went out, however, and came back to me late in the year when I allowed myself to be drawn to having a year of first experiences and blogging about it every day. I haven’t just written for 66 days. I have written for 337 days. It has become more than a habit. It has become a way of life for me, one that I am enjoying immensely. I love how that intention flowed back to me as an opportunity….and an invitation. I am so grateful that I accepted it.