July 27, 2013

The Story of my Blog

What is the story of my blog? It's a good time to answer frequently asked questions.

It seems your blog has changed over the years. Can you explain the evolution of this space?
My blog originated (in 2008) as a place to document my teaching experiences, but quickly morphed into out-of-the-classroom observations. Yet I couldn't find my authentic voice. It felt like I was giving advice rather than sharing in a natural way. So I stepped away from the blog for years. When I became a student of photography, my images led me back to this blog. Pairing words with photos feels creative and genuine. And I've found an authentic voice.

Why is your blog named Born Joy?
Truth: it was the name I liked best with an available URL. But it's grown on me--there are layers to the name. Most obviously, I was born with the name Joy. And birthing joy in our lives is a wonderful mission. How is joy born? Sometimes it's innate,  sometimes it's grown with care, and other times it's fiercely forged from the difficult moments.

Some bloggers prompt readers for comments. Do you welcome reader feedback?
I love to hear from readers, whether a post resonates with them, makes them laugh, or disagrees with them. In the comments, readers can share whatever is on their minds or in their hearts. And if commenting feels too public, I welcome email from readers. (I don't include question prompts because that doesn't fit with my particular voice; but I value feedback.)

Do you take all the photographs included on this blog?
Every single one. 

What's the deal with the self-portraits?
Initially, self-portraits were difficult for me; they tapped into a vulnerability with which I wasn't yet comfortable. But embracing the self-portrait--and truly embracing myself--has made a big difference in my life. Self-portraiture is a rich learning environment. I learn much about photography and about myself.

Other bloggers are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, why aren't you?
My plate is already full with email, Flickr, and blogging. If I joined Facebook and Twitter, I would fall into an abyss of attention-grabbing activity that would disconnect me from creativity. (I just know this about myself. I need to abstain.) With regard to Instagram, I own a flip-phone used sparingly. My Nikon is what I use for photography.  

Do you think this decision affects the ability to spread your message?
Perhaps. But here's the more important issue: my message is only authentic if I'm connected with myself. I'm at capacity in terms of social media. If I do more, I'll be too distracted to be authentic. I'd rather my message be genuine than widely heard (if there must be a choice).

How does Buddhism fit with your blog?
The Buddhist philosophy resonates with me. I read the dharma. I sit in meditation. I attend silent retreats. But I don't expect my readers to know anything about Buddhism. The Buddhist teachings come through in my writing simply because that's how I live my life. Yet there's no need for me to use Buddhist-specific language. In the words of the Dalai Lama: "My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness." Kindness, mindfulness, curiosity--these are all themes in my blog, because they are themes in my life.

What is the creative mechanism behind your posts?
My blog is an interplay between words and photographs. And it's an honest look at my life--the ups and downs and in-betweens. Typically a post germinates from an issue or insight I've recently experienced. Sometimes my photographs generate an idea for a post. What's most important to me is that my voice sound genuine. Occasionally I write a post that feels forced (e.g., telling not sharing, or writing about a topic that doesn't capture my heart). Those I try to delete before publishing.

What do you hope for the readers of your blog?
I try to create community by sharing honestly. This includes baring difficult truths about myself. I'd love for us, as a culture, to feel comfortable sharing not only the happy emotions, but also the difficult emotions. And for that sharing to occur without judgment. So I include the joys and the sorrows; the light and the dark (and the playfulness). My hope is this makes readers feel less alone and more understood, even if in a small way.


  1. as a fairly newer reader of yours, as well as a new blogger, i really enjoyed this post. sooo wonderful to hear your perspective on how this space has evolved, and the role it plays in your life.

    1. thanks for this kind comment. i'm really glad you found the post helpful. good luck in your blogging adventures--i love the story of your blog name!

  2. i loved this... getting to know the why behind your blog.

    1. thanks, cathy. i always love when you stop by.