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The Challenge of Sharing My Journey

I recently had another one of those birthdays that mark that slow march through the "senior" years. This one didn't make much of an impact; it came and went. What did come to mind, however, was the legacy of my work. What have I accomplished in my books and articles? The answer, of course, depends on your measure of success.

The insights, understandings, and revelations lovingly shared in my work have been deep and valuable for me. I remember the day years ago I went into bookstore, my vision scanning all those myriad books on personal growth and spirituality, and realizing that I would buy none of them that day because no one was writing what I wanted to know. From that moment on, I began to write for myself - books on the integration of psychology and spirituality and the tasks of life's second half. What I didn't understand then was how difficult it was to get published, and if you did, how difficult it was to get anyone to read your books. Becoming a "successful" author measured by sales is probably less likely than playing in the NFL or NBA (over 350,000 books were published in 2012 in the United States alone! How does one needle get noticed in such an enormous haystack?).

Despite these odds, I kept writing and searching for publishers who looked past the instant-best-seller dream for journeys into the meaning of life and its problems. I submitted endless query letters, received endless rejections, but it only takes one "yes" to get published. My hope was always that if I wrote something that made it into print, was marketed and distributed by an established publisher, then kindred souls would find it. But I have to tell you, it's been a very slow climb and you don't write for the money, you write because you have to, because your soul demands it.

Another difficulty was my independent nature. I didn't belong to any particular religion or community, so I had no built-in channels for announcing my work. For a time, I taught at a wonderfully diverse retreat center, rubbing elbows with teachers of all faith traditions. While my understanding of spiritual life grew from all religions, I belonged to none; I just couldn’t limit myself to a single system. So instead I pursued a Doctor of Ministry in interfaith spirituality and ordination from an interfaith seminary. Looking back, I see that I have always both been too far ahead of the curve, and too far behind it, to fit in. Still I kept writing.

With the advent of self-publishing and the new social media, the writing and marketing game changed completely. I didn't want the headaches and expenses of being my own publisher, distributor, and salesman, so I stayed with small publishers. And I kept writing. I always kept writing.

But now, slowly and steadily, I seem to have found ways to reach out through these channels to make new friends in the world of aging sites and blogs, friends with the same questions and interests and warm hearts. I can't express how wonderful it feels to find this community of kindred souls. I am beginning to understand that success isn't measured by sales, it's measured by people you meet and love to hear from.

Little by little more people are dropping by my website for a visit. I am hoping that they find something of what I have found, insights that awaken new visions of spirituality, aging and ultimate reality, insights that awaken our common journey into meaning. While my work has often been ahead of the curve, I think the curve is catching up. Welcome to JohnRobinson.org. I’m glad you're here.
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