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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Challenges of Virtual Living

Those who know me well have heard my mantra of these past few years along the lines of, "How did I end up here?"  I am an introvert and a somewhat private person - or at least until I founded AWBA and was invited into the social media realm if we wanted any opportunity to connect with all of you.  Although this land with AWBA feels very unfamiliar at times, it often feels like something I know from a very long time ago and had forgotten.  As I work to integrate my inner life and outer life, the tension of walking the fine line between Public AWBA Life and Private Judy Life has become more noticeable within me.  I am AWBA and AWBA is me.   The line is fading.  I realize that so much of leading a nonprofit is grounded in building a relationship between the organization and those being served.  This includes myself as the founder, and our board members who are very active in helping get the word out and building relationships within their own circle of influence.  The AWBA virtual community must have a sense of who we are as individuals before you trust us with your financial and in-kind donations, trust us by registering for an event, and trust us by referring people to us who you believe could be served by what we do.  

I do recognize the need to put myself out there with some degree of vulnerability through these blog posts, our Facebook page, the AWBA newsletter and other avenues of communication.  It is inviting me well beyond my safe comfort zone,  and I suspect some of you resonate with that as well.   I think at the root of all of this is getting past the initial sense that I am publicizing myself in some way.  As I follow other online, non-profit founders through their virtual world meanderings, I see deep sharing in what they post.  It always draws my attention to their personal growing edges (which is a helpful connection for me) and to their ministry to others.  It is my deepest hope as I continue to learn how to "do this" that you, as our readers, will always be drawn to what AWBA is about and to my own personal journey as it connects with your journey.  

I guess all of this is offered as preface to the fact that I went beyond my comfort zone yet again.  I have shared in prior communication about my connection to Abbey of the Arts - a virtual monastery founded by Christine Valters Paintner.  Christine has played a huge role in so many facets of my spiritual growth.   A few months ago, she asked me to write a guest post for her blog.  Although I quickly agreed to it at the time, as the deadline approached the Private Judy Life came to the forefront.  With God's help, I pushed past it and wrote in a stream of consciousness.  You can read it here.  If something in this story resonates with you, take a moment to comment on our blog by clicking the comment link below and/or by sharing a response on the Abbey's blog post.  Either will find its way to me.  I now know it was a good step to take in the midst of great discomfort.  AWBA is receiving inquiries, and additions to our newsletter list.  So, I am breathing a bit easier today :)  Take time to visit Christine's Abbey.  She offers a wonderful array of opportunities if this is something that intrigues you.  

The virtual world can be used in ways that are not helpful which, I suspect, is where the discomfort arises.  However, AWBA and many others are learning how it is used for good.  Thank you Christine for making AWBA a part of the Abbey.  Thank you Stacy Wills for posting us on your Sacred Alter Blog.  Thank you to others who share about who we are via their virtual world, and I don't necessarily know about it.  Drop me a note to let me know.  

1 comment:

  1. Thank *YOU* for doing all that you do, Judy, to help a population that is so often overlooked and under-served in the spiritual community. I know people who are dealing with chronic illness or caring for others who have special needs, and I see what they go through, and that look in their eye when someone "gets it." I will happily and always want to share and promote AWBA. I also totally understand that public/private dance we introverts do on the internet. From where I sit, you're dancing beautifully. Enjoyed your guest post over at the Abbey so much...I'm so glad our paths crossed there when they did. :)