WYSIWYG

What You See Is What You Get. This is a journal blog, an explore-blog, a bit of this and that blog. Sharing where the mood takes me. Perhaps it will take you too.

Menoculayshunal; Vocational Imperative

Reflections 2021 #atozchallengeAs life (and blogging) settle back into a familiar routine, there is just this one remaining task... to reflect upon the AZing experience. Why put it under the label of 'menoculaysunal', which till now has been reserved for the narration of my Sandeepany experience? Quite simply, as much as the spiritual drive gives me reason to live, the outlet of writing is as much an expression - an imperative need - tied to that. 

This year, on the Wild YAM bloggy, I made myself a little more 'naked' than usual, looking back over a personally very challenging year that got all wrinkled up with the COVID crisis... and how much of that craziness came through in the political scene. Those posts served as a catharsis and demanded a certain consistency of purpose, style, and creativity. It's all very well having a spiritual approach to life, but if it does not allow pragmatism and process to assist the management of that life, it serves little more than intellectual hubris. 

In the same vein of being less guarded on the personal level, I undertook a series based on my life in Australia over at My Take photoblog. Far from complete, but glimpses of my beloved other country. Still on the photo theme, I undertook the AZing on Instagram. Whilst not, strictly speaking, a blog, I felt it valid in that I could express the letters creatively and still wrote something about them. That was, arguably, the most fun part of the four places... Four?!

Yes, this glutton for punishment took this opportunity to relaunch the Aatmaavrajanam bloggy. It turned out that I had to truly relaunch with a new URL and setup. The previous one had got locked in some way (can that happen in the ether, rust from disuse?!!!) that I could make no changes to it that I wanted and, more cripplingly, the comments box refused to play. It, naturally, had significantly fewer readers. Still, those who did visit left strong and engaged comments, and in spiritual philosophy, if the difference is made to only one life, it has been worth the effort and presence.

This brings me more directly to the challenge itself. Initiated quite some years ago as a booster to encourage regular blogging and meaningful exchange, I found myself being quite reserved about the blogs I selected to visit. Something I had picked up on in my first attempt three years back was definitely present this year - a certain expectation of doing things a certain way. I get some of it - having the 'badge' present for the duration with the link back to the originating blog is fair enough. But this is little more than a glorified bloghop, and I really don't want to be dictated to how many blogs I should be visiting and that I am obligated to comment in reading an article. I do not expect all my readers to comment and do not feel the need to do so in my turn. I have 80 blogs on my reader; I also have a life outside the ethernet. That said, one of the joys of connecting through blogging is the sharing of views and leaving of meaningful, pertinent comments that demonstrated one has actually read the content, comprehended it, and have something to offer in return. I engage in this activity not for quantity but quality. I select blogs with a view that I will comment on a regular (not necessarily daily) basis. The majority of those bloggers return that compliment. There were a handful of one-off 'fly-bys' dropping a 'nice post' and then links to their own blogs, but mostly the readers who joined my regular buddies have added colour and texture to my comments boxes, and I am so glad to have made their acquaintance. In turn, all who receive a comment from the YAMster will have found out that I like to fully engage - and honour all who read those comments with the wits to follow my profile to reach my blogs without my having to hyperlink here, there and everywhere. (I do link from time to time - but only where it has some bearing to the comment/subject overall.)

I made it clear from the outset that I had selected a dozen blogs from the initial 'announcement' list, knowing what I would be able to manage. (Ended up with sixteen on the list.) I wished to locate bloggers who might have something to add to my already, for me, well-curated range of blogs for daily/weekly perusal. I deliberately look for at least half of that number to be outside my usual area of interest or comfort zone, as I like to think of being online in the same manner as mingling at a large party where one may know one or two, but most are strangers. It's fun to get to know and hear different views and life experiences. It may be only for the duration of the party... but if one is lucky, there may be something more lasting to come of it. I still have four bloggers with whom I exchange readings from my 2018 sojourn in the AtoZ.  I admit there was some anticipation of equalling that. There was a good mix of bloggers from both the popular platforms; I am happy to visit both versions, but I suspect that some on the blue side just will not cross over to the orange...

Of the sixteen I nutted out of the list, three ended up not blogging at all. After a fortnight of consistent commenting from me, two other blogs I dropped as there was no reciprocation at all. That's their prerogative, but I have no compunction about moving on. Of the remaining eleven, three were pals from 2018 AtoZ. They remain valuable and worthwhile places to visit. 

  • Pradeep at Time and Tide used this year to tell us about his city of residence, Bengaluru.
  • Arti at My Ordinary Moments shared insights into the concepts of Ichigo Ichie.
  • Deborah at Temenos delighted us yet again with her amAZing knowledge of obsolete words.

The balance of the blogs being newly explored by me, I shall be continuing to follow (and hopefully build a further connection with) are;

  • Anne Higa - whose imagination is second to none! Her short fiction pieces kept one thinking.
  • Iain Kelley - a fellow Scot who has a trilogy out (they're in my Kindle awaiting my attention! He's also a fine flash-fiction writer.
  • Martha Reynolds Writes - showed us around her residential patch on Rhode Island - a great way to travel!
  • Tea, Sigh, Create - Steph kept us on tenterhooks with the story of Holly, the herbalist on a generational ship... Loved this, look forward to more.
  • The Old Shelter - Sara (Jazzy Feathers) told us about WW1 and its social ramifications. This was a well-researched and excellently written series. 
  • Whatever I Think Of - Jamie's reflections on the last year echoed my own in many ways but were presented in her own personable style.

That leaves two... one is a long-term blogpal, and I loved that Beth decided to take on the challenge for her photoblog - well done, my friend!!! The second is Lissa, The Memory Tourist. I did enjoy the inventiveness and spontaneity of her offerings, but hers is not a blog that I feel the need to maintain on my list. Do visit it, though - it might suit you - and her artwork is delightful.

I particularly wish to thank Anne, Pradeep, Steph and Arti (plus one or two stray ins) for commenting over at Aatmaavrajanam - I am delighted that you all found the posts worth your while. That blog is pertinent to my 'menoculayshunal' journey, so those comments are gold!


Blogging by the alphabet is a great discipline and I thank the originators for getting it going. Will I engage in the full sign-up and kerfuffle of 'the official' again? I might - but as usual, I'll adapt it. It must never become a chore or competition or a numbers game. 

Okay. As you were...




27 comments:

  1. Terrific wrap-up! Thanks for the synopsis of the other A-Z you were following. I really enjoyed your A-Z, alas this last month was too busy for much exploration. I found it difficult just posting and keeping up with visiting the blogs of those who comment, much less stopping by the 80 blogs I try to follow. I thank you for commenting on Marv's Blog! And I will try to do a depth dive on yours! I hope you have a marvellously happy week!

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  2. I truly enjoyed your Wild YAM, Take Too and Instagram entries! I totally missed your reactivation of the Aatmaavrajanam Blog and will try and visit during my Road Trip visits! Thanks again for giving my a nudge to do the A to Z, I had a wonderful time!!

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  3. I now thinking about doing a self A to Z although relating to becoming healthy.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

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  4. It strikes me in years to come, this A to Z series will be serve as an excellent and moving record of a time of both personal and worldwide trauma. A most impressive undertaking. I'm now off to take a peek at the Rhode Island blog.
    Cheers! Gail.

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  5. So much to comment on and some 'thinking' prompts. We like your debrief of the A-Z month and like too that you assessed and linked the blogs you followed. Finding other blogs to read is often a haphazard process of finding one (we stumbled on Local Kiwi Alien when looking for sensible opinions of foreigners who have made homes and lives in Greece) and then just bumbled around in lists of blogs that are followed, or checking out those who comment. A few were read and declined, and the ones we now follow are a collection of happy accidents, like people encountered on a long foot journey. One does wonder what other interesting or thought provoking stuff is out there, walking on a parallel road a mere arms length away, and never yet discovered. Furrings and Purrings Mr T

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    1. Hari Om
      ...in there lies a germ of idea for a post... but in brief, when I started blogging I had no idea about building a reading list for myself or finding readers for my own blogs. It was purely a process of writing for the sake of writing - that vocational imperative!!! I really have no idea (...no memory?) of how it is that those first readers arrived at my online door; Joanne of Cup On A Bus, Gail and Bertie, Deepak (Magiceye), Cecilia (Madi cat's mum). I do know that by visiting them in return I found many wonderful links and from each of those in turn, other links. Then others come here from their blogs. It is absolutely like a long walk - or party networking.

      Not everything that each of us likes is necessarily what other's would like, but it is a wonderful system, when you think about it... I do hope you have found my blogroll at the bottom of the page where you can see who it is I enjoy. I suspect there will be a few there you would also appreciate. (Note to self - the lists need updating...) Yxx

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  6. Thank you not only for the shout-out, Yamini, but for following my blog. I feel much the way you do - each year, I try to discover new blogs, which I did, but never felt the pressure to follow and comment on a certain number of blogs. If a subject doesn’t interest me, why would I get involved?! Anyway, thanks very much. 💕💕💕

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  7. Morning YAM...I thoroughly enjoyed your A-Z challenge...so much so I my mind's eye might try it next year. I will find a focus for the entire event. today you introduced me to some new links...to explore
    Hugs Cecilia

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    1. Hari OM
      Ooh yes, HiC, you definitely ought to give it a go - you saw how well Beth did! You are so good at seeing the details around you I am certain over the next twelve months you could collect something to represent every letter!!! Yxx

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  8. I am a type A personality and can NOT BE TOLD what to do. that comes out in blog hops and memes. I just can't do them, once in a while I do, but the knowing what I have to do for a post makes me crazy. My posts have to POP in my head, and I don't sign up on the hops because I feel bad for not visiting the others that do. It takes a huge part of my day to just keep up with those i consider E-friends, my husband has already accused me of loving the computer and the dog more than him. which may or may not be TRUE!... finding ways to limit time on blogging is where I am now.
    that said, i can't imagine my life without my friends in blogland.

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    1. Hari OM
      I agree - and although I have the FFF meme, one of the reasons I dropped the linky thing is because I don't particularly enjoy those myself!!! I join in the odd one or two, but that's it.

      I value deeply those connections I have made through blogging - yourself included and it is a joy that many have deepened into genuine friendships. Given that (even without COVID) my social and environmental circle is extremely limited, my daily visits to the ether make up an essential part of life!!! Yxx

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  9. I like that you refer Bloggers and Wordpress user as blue and orange. But I agreed with you that some on the blue doesn't always want to go over toward the orange side and it's the same with some orange ones.

    I haven't leave as many comments as I would like. I did stopped by to read your posts but often, I don't seem to know what to say.

    I admire you for posting to four places during the challenge - that's a lot of work. I think just posting to one blog is a lot of work so it must be more with that many blogs. I don't know how you have the energy for it.

    Thank you for linking my blog. And I'm grateful that you've left so many comments. It's very generous of you. So thank you.

    Congrats on finishing the challenge.

    Have a lovely day.

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  10. it's been fun meeting some bloggers, and hosting you here in SE Ontario! There are such interesting people blogging, although many have stopped. I know JB likes to read my blog to see what he's been up to! xx

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  11. I only came to your bog part way through the challenge - I've enjoyed it, and think you have one of the best comment columns going. You put a lot of effort into generous replies and it shows. Blog challenges are satisfying but tough to keep going - I used to blog more regularly than I do now, but I try to write with meaning and purpose each time I do.

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    1. Hari OM
      Well, thank you sir! I'll be interested to know what you think of Wild YAM in its regular guise as an eclectic 'magazine' of YAM's life! It is always my hope that all posts will add something to any and all readers' day ... even if it is just "That YAMster's gone off the porch this time..." &*> Yxx

      (pee ess, I hope you saw the post where I linked The Bike Shed!)

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    2. I have now - thank you for that.

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  12. Thanks you for mentioning my blog and for stopping by during A to Z. I liked your posts and how you saw the past year from your perspective.

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  13. I know I've mentioned it before, but I'm utterly impressed with your taking on multiple challenges. I offer multiple rounds of applause. I found your reflections thoughtful as all your posts are, and setting clear boundaries for yourself and a limit on the number of blogs to interact with seem like such useful and supportive strategies. I appreciate the kind mention of my blog, and always the continued connection.

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  14. Hi Yam - well done ... I got fed up with the dictatorial way of doing things ... especially by that stage I'd already done 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 years of the A-Z ... I'm not surprised the numbers have dropped to 307 - in the heyday ... it was over 1,000 regularly. Anyway - I'm glad I've run into you somewhere along the line - and I so enjoy interacting with friendly interesting bloggers ... thanks once again - I certainly couldn't do more than one sign up! Stay safe ... cheers Hilary

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  15. I'm glad to see you back at the A-Z and super impressed with your taking it on with four blogs. Congrats! Glad too that I found your blog through that previous A-Z.

    And I also did it my way this year...much smaller, much curtailed, didn't have the headspace to do it any bigger.

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    1. Hari OM
      ... and I realise now that I've had a meno moment and not included you, my fourth AZer from 2018!!! I apologise - no excuse, because I visited your blog every post!

      There really isn't any need to get all caught up in 'counting coup' with that masterlist. The concept is fine and fun, but it really doesn't need to be more than that. There are other priorities - for all of us - at this time. Stay strong and well blog sister. Yxx

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  16. Thank you for the mention (s) dear Yamini.

    You echo my sentiments perfectly vis-à-vis quality vs quantity.
    I'm still in awe of how well you managed the 'quadruple' challenge. Bravo!
    I'm your life-long student on Atmaavrajanam, so I'm happy to read that the rust has been removed:)

    I sincerely hope I can tame my wild ways just enough this year to become a more regular blogger;)
    Have a wonderful day.
    Hugs. xx

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  17. Your kindness is much appreciated! I enjoyed your comments and visits and your deep knowledge! This has been a "challenge" in the true sense and I am glad it is only once per year! Next year I will require much more planning in order to stay sane. I do not know how you manage so many. Peace.

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  18. Great reflection post, Yamani :-)
    And so inspiring. The last year has been a challenge for me too, and I'm afraid that I fell a bit off the blogging path. I've kept writing, but had less and less time (or stimuli?) to read other people's blogs.
    The AtoZ (and your reflection post) remind me that it isn't so difficult to keep up. I do want to go back to a more regular netweorking with my old and new friends.
    I'm so happy I've found you on this challenge. Let's go on from here :-)

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  19. You are a blessing to have found on the internet. namaste, janice xx

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  20. I very much agree with your comments about bloggers, reciprocity and taking a limited number of blogs to follow during the challenge. I did see your comments on other people's posts and I find that I share a love of about half of the blogs you single out though I didn't discover yours till now and I intend to fix that over the coming weeks.
    I have just decided to move my Blogger blog over to the Blue one for reasons of having a bit more control over certain features but I certainly won't be turning my back on my orange friends - I would loke to know more of the differences you perceive about the two camps...

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