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January 16, 2013

Internet musings.

I am an avid researcher and an invested learner of all things. My brother recently asked me, "Kacy, what would you do without the Internet?" I laughed, then paused. That is an extremely great question. Touche. "I guess I'd spend a lot of time at the library."

I am also a very deep thinker; my thoughts go so deep that I surprise myself sometimes. I most often try to avoid television news because it can be depressing and one-sided, but I definitely do spend a lot of time online. I get my news from social media because it's impossible not to, and I try and listen to the voices out there, what they're carrying and how it relates to my life. I follow authors and bloggers, photographers, freedom fighters and activists of all kinds.

I find the Internet to be both a great and not so great thing. There is a wealth of information at my fingertips at any given moment. I can look up anything that pops in my head and find all kinds of opinions about it, most claiming to be the truth. There are theories about everything and so critical thinking is something I am really working on. I tend to be an emotional person and things can tug on the heart strings quite quickly if you let them. So I challenge myself to weigh both sides of the story before I form an opinion. I also challenge myself not to have an opinion sometimes and leave my judgement out of it. Most importantly, I filter things through spiritual truths and let my faith play a role in my thoughts about what I read. I notice in doing that, I am learning a great lesson about how I can look at things with more compassion and love.

The Internet is a powerful tool which gives each and every one of us the ability to have a voice. We all have a story, things to share that can teach others, and I believe each and every human is valuable and important. I am inspired by so many people who put themselves out there through blogging, in the world of social media, photography, activism, etc. The list is endless, and I find inspiration everywhere. People dedicate their lives to really amazing causes and the Internet can provide a platform to reach many people. It also seems to be this generation's way of leaving behind their legacy. The things we put out there stick around long after we are gone, almost like the technological version of a buried time capsule.

In thinking about this, I feel it is important to be mindful about what kind of legacy I want to leave behind online, or maybe not even leave behind but just put out there every day. I have been asking myself what my intentions are not only in having this blog but also my various social media accounts, etc. I'm aware of  how simple things such as commenting on Facebook posts and liking certain things can contribute to my voice.  I chewed on this a lot last night, and discussed it with my husband quite a bit as well. In an age where we can instantaneously decide to acknowledge and affirm others by commenting on or "liking" their pictures, posts, or statuses, does this sometimes contribute to us feeling "likable" or not? Is the real intention to have a lot of fans on my Facebook page and followers on Twitter, or is it just to find value in being a part of a community of shared voices? I admit sometimes it's nice to post a picture of my boys and have lots of people tell me they are cute, because I sure think so, or to find that others relate to what I have posted, but that kind of thing can so easily go to my head and make me forget the real reasons I do the things I do.  When I find I am comparing my writing, photography or my art to somebody else or wondering if anybody cares about what I have to say, I have to remind myself that it's really not about that.

This blog is  the documentation of my family. To have a platform which allows me to weave together words and pictures about the things we enjoy in the present moment is really amazing in and of itself. It is an outlet for my inspirations and creativity. It is a place where I feel safe to share who I am and where I choose to be as real as possible about myself because I have always found it easier to open up with words. It is also a space where, in thinking carefully about what I want to publish and put out there, the brightness of life tends to find me. Often it seems to happen that I'll sit down  with a subject in mind and realize that in digging deep for the words, I have dug up some inner joy to reflect into my writing. I always walk away fulfilled and happy.

I definitely have hope that in writing this blog and also through the way I live my life, my voice carries enough that it could possibly help or touch someone's life in some small way. But I really have no control over whether that happens or not or even who reads my words or not. So, my other hope is that in finding the beauty and merit in expressiveness, I learn to expand my own uniqueness and celebrate who I am, who my family is. That I also learn to celebrate others, everywhere, and really value their words and efforts to own their voices. It's hard to put yourself out there in life. The Internet is just one small way we do that, but in it I have found a great lesson in solidarity and recognizing that we humans are truly connected even in all our differences.

“The important element is the way in which all things are connected. Every thought and action sends shivers of energy into the world around us, which affects all creation. Perceiving the world as a web of connectedness helps us to overcome the feelings of separation that hold us back and cloud our vision. This connection with all life increases our sense of responsibility for every move, every attitude, allowing us to see clearly that each soul does indeed make a difference to the whole.”--Emma Restall Orr
"You better live your best and act your best and think your best today, for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that follow." --Harriet Martineau

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