Growing community

One of my favorite corners of our house....looking very peaceful this morning

One of my favorite corners of our house….looking very peaceful this morning

As many of you know, since I started writing this blog (it will be 3 years on Feb 2nd), I’ve not found a comfort zone with regard to responding to comments. I do read every one. I appreciate every one. And something inside of me always feels a little rude for not at least saying, “Thank you”. On the other hand, I’ve thought that if I commented every time, I might be taking the focus away from the community; like I was trying to insert myself into every conversation. This morning, after reading a comment that actually spoke to this (my responding or not) I thought, “Why not put this out as a question to the community?”

So I am asking for your honest feedback here. My feelings will not be hurt if you tell me that you find it annoying, discouraging, or inconsiderate when I do not respond. I really want to know what you are feeling. As I write this, the words, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” are going through my mind. How do I feel when I comment on someone’s blog and they respond…even with just a “thank you Mary”?….I love it.

So, maybe I’ve gotten my answer, but I still want to hear from you…AND I am going to respond!

The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community.” William James

53 thoughts on “Growing community

  1. I think when you write a blog it IS YOUR conversation. So comment away. :) And it is nice to see an occasional (or other bloggers) response tucked in with the rest as it reminds us that you are reading the comments. :)

  2. No need to reply to any comment I make. I understand that you are grateful.To say thank you after each comment would be redundant. That said, it is always lovely to hear from you.

    • Well, thank you Tish! I am laughing here because what you and Anna and Charlotte have all said is what I thought you might,…. I appreciate this conversation so much, Love, Mary

  3. I agree with Anna B. When I do see a response from you, I feel like a million dollars, but that’s not why I read your blog. I truly think you should do what speaks to you. I am so grateful to you and to the community and the last thing I would want to do is put pressure on you to respond to every comment.

  4. Mary – I do not find it “annoying, discouraging, or inconsiderate” when you do not respond. I can’t imagine feeling that way about anything you do (or don’t do)!! I certainly enjoy reading your responses, as well as others’ comments. To feel you have to respond to every comment, especially on days when there are many, could put an unnecessary burden on your shoulders. I would take it on a day by day basis and see how you are being led at that particular moment.

    Love and hugs to you – Pam

  5. In my humble opinion, if you replied to each comment – wouldn’t it be more like doing “email?” I love your blog and am inspired by it – and forward the photos of your kitties to my daughter. I’m still using your Skin Survival Balm and just love it! Thank you for sharing some very private parts of your life to the world.
    Joan

  6. Good morning Mary! Hmmmm…what an interesting question and thanks to you for asking us! For me, I’ve not had the expectation that you would comment on everyone’s comment every time. Knowing you I think it is a given how much you enjoy, appreciate and value every comment that is written. And there are days when I think it would take a lot of your time to comment back to each of us. That said, it always feels good when there is an affirmation from you. I don’t think your comments back interrupt the ‘flow’ at all…quite the opposite…you ALWAYS enrich the conversations that you inspire in us in the first place. Yet I will also admit that there have been times when I’ve written a comment and that super-sensitive side of me will go back and reread it to make sure there is not room for misinterpretation or that I said something ‘wrong’. So I am not even sure if my thoughts this morning help you in any way! But I do know what I enjoy most…sometimes one of us will ask a question or make a statement and you will clarify something in your response. I love that because I always find another nugget of gold in your reply! I believe I know where your heart is and that your intentions are always of the best and highest energy. Thank you!

  7. .. It is SO wonderful when you respond, Mary . Some of your answers further illuminate and explain questions that we might all be thinking , too . For example your reply to Sarah’s question from the previous post. That reply really touched a cord within me.
    Oh, I think your prerogative is to reply ( or not ) as you can , feel inspired or able to . I respect too , that if you reply to some , and haven’t gotten to mine, you had time for just that much , you had gotten interrupted or busy. I feel I need to respect you and your time and efforts as well. I am happy if you can , or if you can’t, or with a brief thank you . It will make the blog even more instructional , interesting and dynamic. If you and all of us come to a free and easy acceptance of how your inspiration to reply unfolds, that would be wonderful. For example : no hurt feelings if you reply to someone other than me. It’s just the direction you were going and we need to respect that! We need to respect your time and efforts.
    Being a deaf person who tries to relate to everyone , this is my only way to participate in a group experience. It is very wonderful for me, I appreciate it more than I can say.
    ( oops, sorry I posted on the previous day’s blog here it is again..

  8. Mary, like those who have already answered, I enjoy your blog without any further expectation. An answer can be lovely, if needed, but I think trying to answer all the comments would take the joy out of your blog for you. It would become a burden. Follow your heart. Finally, I too love your cat photos.

  9. Mary,

    I love when I respond to a blog, and the author responds. I know that it is time consuming, and probably a bit egocentric of me to imagine that the author would spend the time to respond, it does feel good. Although sometimes, your writing is so beautiful, I want to let you know that I am in agreement, and I appreciate your comments! So, this probably doesn’t help with the question that you posed!

  10. I believe that our responses are for US; we feel deeply moved by your words or that the message is for us personally. (It’s amazing how often that happens– that we’re struggling with something and you address it!)
    No response necessary!! You write the blog, we’ll respond if moved to do so…
    It’s a little like writing a thank you note for a thank you note: You could spend your whole day doing it. I love that you even READ all the comments.
    XO

  11. HI Mary -

    When I feel moved to comment, it is mostly because I have an urge to say thanks for the gift of your words. Your posts seem to arrive like magic in my mailbox, just when I need to hear them. The words “Whitefeather Farm” stand out from the rest of my mail like a real white feather, and even seem to glitter a bit – I think of you as The Internet Fairy!.

    Since I often don’t get around to checking the comment section after I post, I wouldn’t expect you to respond. However, I really want you to know that I’m out here enjoying your posts, seeking out the wonderful books you have quoted from, and appreciating what you are doing very much.

    Susan

  12. Well, since you’re asking…I try to respond to every comment on my own because I feel that if you took the time to read my post & to comment, then I should take a few moments to respond back. I believe that in responding to comments, our community bond grows. I don’t expect a response every time I comment on a blog, but it does make me feel happy to get one. You have to do what you feel is right for you as it is your blog! ♥ Either way, we are here!

  13. I find it heartwarming when you respond to comments. Makes it feel like a special and more personal community. Nice to know you enjoy reading the comments, and take the time to show your appreciation, as time permits.
    Thank you for this gift of your blog……… :-)

  14. Thank you for your posts -and in response to your request I think it is nice to get a response if the comment really touched you, or you feel a natural response, but I personally don’t mind not getting one – I so enjoy your posts / thoughts & musings – always read them & feel a connection anyway – thanks for asking – x

  15. I agree with everyone who said that it’s not necessary for you to respond, but it always makes me feel good when you do. I can’t imagine how you would possibly have the time to respond to every comment sometimes when there are so many! I think we all know that you are sending good thoughts our way even when we don’t hear directly from you.

  16. Hi Mary. I do appreciate an acknowledgement however I find them distracting when reading everyone’s input. I have a friend who responds in a group comment after so many comments. That seems to avoid distraction when there is a conversation thread going. Just my two cents!! I know whatever you do we will all still benefit from your thoughts, experiences and wisdom.

  17. Hi Mary, I always read, but don’t always comment on your blog. Sometimes people engage in this way on a daily basis and other times it’s more sporadic. I tend to be a quiet person and comment only when I have something particular to add to a conversation. Since this is most often a personal reflection, I am touched when you respond to that. But I appreciate your responses for their spontaneous nature. Something I said moved you to respond, just as something in your post moved me to comment in the first place. It is an unexpected gift. I like the idea of a group comment letting others know you have read and appreciated their taking time to write.

  18. I think responses simply for the sake of responding are unnecessary, but I do think if you feel a desire to respond, or it is a topic you’d like to keep a conversation going on, then respond away!

  19. That you would even reach out to all of us in this way Mary, with your concern and questions, already speaks volumes about you! I sort of picture our group now after three years, as women friends sitting in a circle. And in a large group discussion there always has to be a leader. You put forth your observations about life experiences with great thought – you put yourself out there too, making yourself as vulnerable as any one of us that may respond. And even on days I may not respond, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t deeply absorbing your post – sometimes others just say it better or what I would say may feel redundant. We all know that we are deeply valued by you, – otherwise the blog probably would have fizzled out long ago. But picture that circle of women with a leader putting out a thought provoking question. Were we all sitting in circle, and the leader felt compelled to respond to each person’s comment right then and there, I think the group’s effectiveness might diminish. You are like the gentle rain that falls on us all – each of us with different needs on any given day. We drink in your wisdom, your own self doubts mirroring our own some days – your own affirmations building up the values we cherish and hold dear – We absorb the nutrients in every posting, but like the gentle rain, it doesn’t have to do anything but fall. Be assured that your offerings are gift enough – we respond in this crazy cyber world we live in now, and instantly see ourselves in each other, women of all ages from all places in this country and world. You have found a very unique ministry Mary, and we are all the richer for every minute and hour you have poured into making US, your White Feather Farm Much love to all, Susan

  20. Mary, I mirror what many have already said here. I read your blog as part of my day, I comment when I feel moved to do so and I am thrilled when you personally respond to a comment I have posted. That being said, I feel it would lessen the “specialness ” if you responded to each and every comment it seems it could become burdensome to you. Just you being you is what I love about your blog, so just carry on dear Mary, carry on.

  21. Mary,Mary, – i don’t comment that often on your messages, which seem to arrive at just the right,(make that needed time) – My thanks to the above Kathleen Carpenter, Jeanness, tpemsSusan, Cara and Laura who expressed everything I wanted to say but more eloquently – Now go and enjoy and thank you for sharing all that you already do!!! Mary B.

  22. I enjoy reading the comments of others on your blog, Mary, even though I don’t do it every day. I don’t feel the need to have you comment or weight in on anyone’s comments unless you feel particularly moved. to do so. Thanks for asking the question.

  23. Hmmm…I always imagined that as you read comments, you already felt grateful for the community and sharing that your reaching out had fostered. You plant seeds and we sprout (or spout, once in a while). You tend to us– a comment if needed, but otherwise you wisely give us room to grow our thoughts. Perhaps a response, like a dose of fertilizer, is best given on an “as needed” basis.

    I trust your wisdom and judgment.

  24. I would never you imagine not to be grateful for your community. With that said, I think you should do what feels right to you. It does not offend me if you don’t respond to me– though honestly, I don’t always have time to come back and see if you do. I don’t click on the notification button either to be notified only because I follow many blogs and if I did that, whew, I’d have many emails. But I do love when you have a moment and pop over to my blog and if something there resonates with you, you leave a comment. As someone who has a blog, I love responding back. I may not do it right away, or it may be short, depending on time, but I appreciate very much thoughts from others. It inspires me to keep writing. So keep writing your posts, Mary! :)

  25. Mary,Not to repeat what others have said, I agree with almost all of what others have written. It is your blog; you fashion it the way you wish, it is distracting to see you respond to some and not others, so you’d have to do all, for those not responded to might wonder why…I think it just gets too complicated if you respond often. If people want to connect with you, they can do so privately. You’ve said your piece when you write and post your blog, those who wish, respond. I enjoy reading these responses, in addition to your posting because it gives different perspectives and I might think that the way I take the post is how it’s meant and yet, reading other’s responses sometimes surprise me and I think…why didn’t I think of that. So, no, don’t respond to each and every response. It is visually distracting.
    SandyP in Canada

  26. Mary, I agree with many of the ladies above, a comment from you here and there is always appreciated. I only respond with a comment after reading your postings when I feel moved or compelled to say something in response. Personally I want you to carry on in a way which YOU feel comfortable, I don’t want you to feel pressured or obligated, that would diminish the essence of the blog.

  27. Mary
    I do not often comment, but I am a faithful reader. As an introverted thinker, I prefer to read what you offer as a jumping off place for my own process. I do not often read other people’s comments because I am primarily concerned with my own process, not theirs. There are times when someone else’s comments serve my needs very well and I am grateful for those times. But I choose to come to this blog because of you. Your integrity and your commitment to growth is clear and I appreciate you.

    Because we share the Mind of God, we are already connected. In my heart, I am already communicating with you whether I comment on your blog or whether you acknowledge my comment with your comment. The Mind of God is my connection to you, Mary, and I am grateful for you.

    Be well. You are loved.
    Stoney

  28. Reading your blog is part of my morning routine, but I remain “the quiet kid in the class who doesn’t raise her hand (comment)” because someone else has either said or will surely say what I’m thinking. I appreciate your sharing your thoughts and knowledge with us and would rather think of you getting on with enjoying your day than replying to every comment…the spontaneous comments are wonderful. I think what you are doing is just right!

  29. I have found it refreshing to read others’ comments on your posts which are powerfulling insightful, and have never felt like you “had to” respond, especially since each post is sort of “free-standing,” like a snapshot in time. I would imagine you have wanted to respond to individuals, and that’s your perogative. I think the blog community has been enriching to your posts, and that in itself is an added gift to them.

  30. I have read blogs and know bloggers who respond to very single comment. Generally it is because, as someone mentioned, they feel obliged to comment since someone is taking time to read and comment on their writings. Eventhough I think it is lovely to have a conversation with a blog author, author comments on every post seem forced – or at least something rote to be ticked of the to-do list. I prefer it be organic.

  31. Mary, I love it when you respond to my comments, but I don’t feel the least bit slighted when you don’t! I read your blog for the lessons it brings and also, very much for the camaraderie among this ‘flock.’ I enjoy their comments, as well, because we’re a community….all among friends, here.

    So I would say to you, blog away, dear heart, and fill our souls with your wonderful lessons. And if you are moved to comment, then do so. But do not ever feel obliged!

  32. I began to answer each comment this morning, and It was my intention to sit down at the end of my work day today and continue, but as I began to read your words; thoughtful, deep and caring words, I realized that (as many of you said), saying thank you after each comment somehow felt off, and wasn’t even what you were looking for. There is so much depth here. We are all, it seems, drawn to this depth of sharing and you want no less from me. Thank you. I am grateful for that and humbled. It is like you are saying, “Show up real”.

    So I am going to continue to go along, no formula will work (as if it would anyway!), At times I will still probably feel rude for not commenting, but those are my feelings to work though. At times, I may say “thank you” because those are the only words that feel right and I need to say them. At times, I will say more.

    I have always appreciated this community, but I must tell you, as I sit here this evening with Fred on my right, and Noah on my left, curled up on the couch with a cup of tea, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and love for you all. We are really something special. Love to you all, Mary

  33. Mary, I have to agree with all of the above comments. It is sweet that you do take the time to respond on occasion but it is never necessary. I’m so thankful for all the time that you take out of your day to do the blog. The messages are always heartfelt. Thanks for such a safe supportive blog and flock.

  34. Clearly, the task of responding
    Would tax the time you have free.
    So I’ve got a simple solution….
    Just respond solely to ME!!!! [tee hee]

    Spoiled brat that I am couldn’t resist this. :)

    But seriously, while each of us feels personally connected to you, Mary, that speaks to the level of impact you make on all our lives. I love the visual (thank you, tpemsSusan) of you as an internet Tinkerbell, showering us with heart-centered glitter to shine love and wisdom on the day. You’re just perfect!

  35. I look forward to your thoughts and absorb them. However, I do wish you would live the “e” out of judgment, since you use the word frequently.

    an old English teacher (please do not use my name) Thanks.

  36. Hi Mary, I have been reading your blog since you began, but have never commented. I read every one and appreciate all you have written. I usually just read your message to be inspired……so now is the time to say “thank you”!!!! I have saved your blog with the Road Block Prayer and refer back to it often when I feel troubled. I am always watching and listening.

  37. Mary, your message is a gift to me. You should do whatever you feel comfortable with. I love the photos of your cats, especially Fred, and your words always touch home with me, one way or the other. Am recuperating today from my second cataract surgery in two weeks, so hope that my message isn’t too garbled. Thank you each day for your digest. Sandy M.

  38. There is probably a difference between a response and an acknowledgment, though both can be expressed by a “thank you”. I am sure your many readers appreciate that you can’t respond to everyone, but an acknowledgement–however brief–would be welcome.
    Having several cats and one dog, I always enjoy your animal photos as well as your thoughts.
    Christa in Texas

  39. Truthfully, I have seen many wonderful blogs change dramatically once comments become a hefty part of it’s process. Not only does it seem to create a scenario where unrealistic expectations cannot be met it can open the door to a type of “ownership” on the part of some readers that can be somewhat unhealthy. I’m sure that there may be comments that compel you to respond but it seems that should be as your own internal guidance leads you, not as a rule. But I am not you – you should do whatever you are most comfortable with. If I let my fear talk, it would say that I would hate to lose the very special connection to this blog that is not weighted down by the expectations of external forces. But again, you know what your spirit and intent is and it shouldn’t be impacted by anyone else as we may have selfish motivations. = ) Your voice is clear and beautiful just as it is and this blog is part of my daily meditations. I have claimed some of the things you have shared and saved them as internal guideposts I thank you for what you so graciously share with us all.

  40. Like everyone, I enjoy reading your message – it inevitably uplifts my spirits. I do not need a response to my comment. I am just thankful you share your insights with us so generously.

  41. Hi Mary, For me, Susan Alcantra nailed it. Your blog has helped me in so many ways. Personal response or not. I read the responses but certain members always stand out for me. (probably for you too) I’m thinking of the Billy Joel song “Just the Way You Are”.That song is for you Mary.
    Love, Cindy

  42. Like the rest of the flock, no comments are necessary, we know you are listenening. Thank you so much Mary for asking and always being who you are. I have gained so much reading your words and feeling like I know you and the flock. This is such a warm and safe place for me.

  43. Mary, I gain perspective and always come away from reading your postings with a thoughtfulness and some sense of peace within myself……….. you are a tool for me to search my own soul through your sharing of thoughts. Thank you for that. I believe you should respond when it is in your heart to do so………….. and only then, never out of feeling you *should*. Susan in Calif

  44. Mary your blogs are so valuable and I often feel rude not commenting to YOU with a thank you. However, I would like to say that your time and efforts are most valuable to all of us (who learn from and appreciate your writing and approach to our shared challenges) when spent composing and sharing your blogs. I love the community here and enjoy their responses as well. Unless you feel driven to respond to a comment, I would say, just keep composing. Thank you to you and each of the wonderful individuals in this community.

  45. Mary, I don’t always have time to read the comments, but love your emails and blog. Susan Alcantara said it all in her response to this post. I would love a synopsis of the responses when you ask a question. Perhaps a future blog? Reading the comments, the agreement among this community seemed to be, “go where spirit takes you” regarding writing and responding to comments.

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