In celebration of five years of writing A Whole Heart, I’ve looked at my WordPress statistics that show which blog posts have been most popular. The blog was created in November 2012, in a burst of intense inspiration, just before the presidential election. That creative energy opened my heart. Over 400 people took a look on the first full day. By the end of 2012, I had published 10 pages and posts. One of them, Ten Elements of the Quaker Spiritual Journey was a brief overview of the material that later became my book Our Life is Love. Each year since then, at least 730 viewers have gone to see that blog post, and it’s been viewed more than 4,500 times. It is, by far, the most popular post I’ve written overall.
This year, however, a new blog post drew the most viewers. Opening to Divine Guidance has been viewed more than 1000 times. Posted at the end of 2016, it contains a link to a twenty-two minute guided meditation, “A Meditation to Heal and Reveal,” my own variation on the Experiment with Light meditations. 556 times someone has clicked on the link to hear or download it. A few people have told me that using that meditation has become a regular spiritual practice, and someone asked me to make a five-minute version, a project that is now on my long To Do list.
Some other popular blog posts were also rough drafts of material later published in Our Life is Love, including The Refiner’s Fire and Following Leadings Today. Two popular posts that did not become part of my book were The New Birth (on early Quaker ideas of spiritual rebirth) and The End of Life and After, which tells about accompanying my father as he was dying, and explores ideas about what happens after death.
Statistics aren’t the only way to measure the best writing on A Whole Heart. My hope in writing the blog is to offer evocative words, information, ideas, experiences, stories, connections, prayers, and visions that can contribute to the shift of heart and mind needed in our world today. Writing each post has had a heart-opening effect on me.
The one I may have most enjoyed writing, with my whole heart, was A Movement of Love, for Life, about the 2016 Women’s March; I especially loved including photos of the creative signs and energized people I saw at the march in Philadelphia. It was important to me to testify to the loving motivation for the march and to identify the largest movement for life in the world today.
My latest blog post may have required the most courage. At the very least, it required overcoming huge inner resistance ingrained in me by decades of living in a patriarchal culture. My husband, who is the first editor of my blog posts, says it’s the most powerful one I’ve written so far. In Hidden Stories of Christmas, it was liberating to write about divine Wisdom (Sophia). For over a thousand years, divine Wisdom has been largely deprived of her rightful place in Christianity and the Bible–and, more importantly, in our hearts and minds.
As I mentioned, I have a long list of topics I’d like to write about in A Whole Heart. I have tried to be true to the intention of the blog, however, which is to write from the heart, from spiritual inspiration rather than from even my best mental ideas. So when I find myself pushing to write something, I set it aside. I wait for words and ideas that seem to flow from the heart as well as from the head. Sometimes I feel a powerful creative energy, like a fire inside, that wants to be expressed in words. It’s not always easy, of course, to discern divine inspiration from my own enthusiasm about something. I have made a rule to first check my blog posts with an editor, almost always Terry, who is a discerning reader. Then I wait at least one night before finishing and publishing a post. Usually I find many more things to revise when I look at it fresh the next day. Sometimes a blog post waits many days or months before it feels finished. In writing one, I often feel my heart is being stretched open, like a bow, and that the blog post is the arrow that flies from my heart when I finally press “publish.”
Once this summer, when publishing Looking at the Shadow That Blocks The Light, I did not follow my own rule. I went to bed on the evening of August 20, 2017 with no idea of writing a blog post about the Shadow (though I have given a lot of attention to that subject both in my inner work and in my book.) When I woke up on August 21st, however, a message was waiting for me to write it down. A total eclipse of the sun would soon pass over the USA, from coast to coast. I drafted it in a couple of hours. Terry looked it over. I revised it and then sent it out quickly, in time to get to a friend’s house to watch the eclipse. Of all the blog posts written in 2017, it’s the one that has been viewed most often.
When I named the blog “A Whole Heart,” I was expressing my aspiration for the kind of whole-heartedness that allows us to see God. Writing it has been a joyful experience that has helped me become more whole-hearted, and also helped me to sense the ongoing guidance and loving, creative energies of divine Wisdom, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. I hope I’ve been faithful, and that this blog serves God’s purpose.
I have the sense that in the coming year I’ll keep moving into a wider field. In the beginning, I focused a lot on the experiences of the first Quakers, to find guidance about being Spirit-filled and faithful today. Now my focus is on whatever truth-filled knowledge and stories can help us face the realities of our time and allow us to co-create, with love, the best possible future that can emerge if we follow divine guidance.
By the standards of the most popular blogs on the web today, A Whole Heart has a tiny readership. I’ve been heartened, however, by the people who have read and commented, either online or in person. WordPress tells me that people in 87 countries have viewed my blog this year. In the past five years, A Whole Heart has been viewed from 141 countries. To those who have been readers, whoever you are and wherever you live, my heart goes out to you with love and gratitude. Thank you!
The Best of A Whole Heart: Do you have a favorite blog post, piece of information, or story from A Whole Heart?
For information about other upcoming courses and workshops with Marcelle, go to Teaching and Upcoming Workshops.
Our Life is Love: the Quaker Spiritual Journey, by Marcelle Martin, is available from Inner Light Books in hardback, paperback, and ebook. An excerpt and a study guide are also available on that website. Reviewed by Friends Journal, the book was designed to be a resource for both individuals and groups to explore their own experiences of ten elements of the Quaker spiritual journey of faithfulness.