Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

state of grace

Somehow, somewhere in the last week or so, I slipped into a state of grace. I don't think you can will yourself into this place. Believe me, I've tried. I've found moments of grace during prayer and meditation--where the mind quiets, the heart beats quietly and steadily, the inner voices are still, and only the voice of Spirit whispers. But it's never been sustainable, and I'm sure it isn't now. But it is a place I've never been before. A place where I move through my day and then something triggers an emotional feeling that pulls me off my center and it feels as if my energy flies out the window. In the past, I would stay feeling energy-drained and emotionally upset for hours, days, even weeks. Now, it is as if a wise witness is observing this behavior. Once noticed, I stop, tune in to what occurred that triggered the response, and once I accept whatever feelings got triggered (usually it's fear of something), I slip right back into the state of grace.

My two biggest insights during this spiritual retreat I began before the holidays is, one, the triggered feelings are almost never about the other person and two, that I've been living my life backwards. I used to try to fit spirituality into it, perhaps a church service on Sunday. Read a spiritual book here and there. Now, I'm trying to fit my life into my spirituality, living from the spiritual place and doing an activity here and there. Trying to live my spirituality during activities.

How do you balance spirituality and living your life? What does grace mean to you?
Blessings,
Karen

Saturday, February 6, 2016

some thoughts...

I was watching a news program and it mentioned that companies will pay 1/2 a million dollars to have an ad during the Super Bowl. Does anyone else find that disturbing? So many folks in our country are poverty-stricken, or can barely make ends meet. And corporations have that kind of money to spend so that more people will buy their products?

I was in Public Relations for years. I understand the need for publicity and I don't have a problem with it. But it got me thinking. What if all the companies that are purchasing advertising space during the Super Bowl took that money and did something charitable with it? And then the news folks talked about all the good the company was doing with the money and how many people were being fed or clothed or housed.

Wouldn't that make you purchase that company's product much more than an ad would? I know the advertising industry will hate me for this, but, oh well. I'm retired...

Just a thought.

Blessings,
Karen

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group - February

It feels like yesterday that I did January's post. Yikes, time is just flying by. Thanks to Alex for starting this group and for making it such a huge success. To find out the scoop about how to join, please visit Alex at www.alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com.








LOOK AT THE COOL NEW BADGE ALEX CREATED.

I really don't have anything to say this month about writing because I'm not...writing that is. At least not on a novel or any of my other nonfiction project that were started before I spent the last six years getting my novel done. I am still working on the issues that surfaced during my spiritual retreat over the holidays and a lot of growth is occurring in my personal life. I'm also working on getting physically stronger. Those two things are taking up all my time, energy and attention. And that's fine with me. It's just odd to not be writing. But I know that when the time is right, I will write again.

Blessings,
Karen

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

uh oh - the case of the disappearing followers

So, is blogger at it again? I've lost 20 followers in two days.
What say you, bloggers?
Blessings,
karen

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Feeling strange

I'm feeling so strange. I'm not working on a writing project. At all. Haven't since my novel came out at the end of October. Instead, I'm dancing 9-10 times a week (that includes Sugartime and Sophisticated Ladies practices). Some days I'm dancing 4 hours (two hours each practice). My body isn't used to this much physical activity. I spent two years not able to exercise because of my heart problem. Now that I don't have A-fib anymore, I can be more active, but my heartbeat still goes irregular if I get aerobic. The kind of dancing I do doesn't raise my heart rate enough to make it aerobic, which is a good thing.

I've never been athletic, although as a kid I played squash and some softball and rode a bike and roller skated. I don't do any of those things now. And I hate hate hate gyms so I don't do that. I've asked a good friend who is athletic and knows a lot about the body and exercise to help me come up with something I can do at home to strengthen my core and my legs. My legs are weak, especially the ankle I fractured in seven places in 2006. But I'm determined to get stronger. I know that as I age, this is very important to keep my mobility and functioning.

When I'm writing, that seems to take all my time, energy and attention and I don't have the energy for much else. Now I feel that way about all this physical exercise. I don't have the energy for writing.
Maybe someday I'll have the energy for both, but for now, I'm getting used to feeling strange about not writing.

Blessings
Karen

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Women and weight and aging and beauty


I just had to post this recent article from the New York Times about Princess Leia and the fact that she's older and bigger and wiser, but no one's talking about that!

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/10/opinion/sunday/when-can-women-stop-trying-to-look-perfect.html?mwrsm=Email

Since this is an issue I've struggled with all of my life, I'd really like to know when, if ever, we women will ever stop worrying about how we look!!!!

Blessings,
Karen

Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday Musings: perceptions

How I perceive myself and how others perceive me can be two very different phenomena. I'm someone who is constantly working on changing the things about myself that don't work. Sometimes I'm successful. Sometimes I slide back and behave in old ways. I've been thinking a lot about how I perceive myself and last Friday an incident made me think about how I am perceived and how that affects my relationships.

I used to be nervous and anxious most of the time about just about everything. Being that way I'm sure had an impact on how others felt being around me. And knowing that about me, their responses to my conversations took my anxiety into account.

But what if I'm not nervous and anxious anymore. And yet friends are still responding to me as if I am. Is it possible to change perceptions without having to say it out loud? Can people see and hear changes?

That led me to thinking about just how present and consciously aware we are. How many of us go through life pretty much on auto-pilot, wake up the same time each morning, have pretty much the same breakfast, go to work or, for those of us who are retired, go to our daily activities, maybe have lunch or dinner with a friend. If we're not fully present, of course we won't notice subtle changes in ourselves or our friends.

My spiritual retreat, which began during the holiday season, has led to some deep, life-changing insights and shifts in how I move through my world. Long held negative beliefs are leaving my psyche and my soul and I feel different inside my own skin.

Perhaps as my perceptions about myself and my world change, the perceptions of those around me will begin to shift as well.

Do your perceptions of yourself match the perceptions of those in your life?
Blessings,
Karen