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

Friday, September 4, 2009

Letting Go

Buddhists practice non-attachment. The 12-step programs have slogans which preach a similar concept: Let Go and Let God, Take the Action and Let Go of the Result, Live and Let Live. All are saying the same thing. Do what you do but let go of the outcome.

I struggle with this on a daily basis in several areas of my life. In my writing, I send out query letters to editors, desperately wanting them to say yes. But I have no control over whether they do or not. With my weight, I eat as healthily as I can each day, trying to lose the last 5 pounds. But I have no control over what the scale will reveal or whether my body will maintain its weight, add a few pounds, or let go of some.

It’s been a difficult lesson for me to understand that the only thing I do have control over is my own actions, thoughts, and reactions to life. The struggle is how to have passion for something, but not care about the result. Non-attachment is not not caring, though. I think I’ve had them confused in my mind. I care about the outcome, but I need to not be attached. I care what happens to my weight, but I can’t attach emotions to the fluctuations. I care about whether my writing gets published, but I can’t attach emotions to whether it does or not.

So that begs the question, what emotions are okay. Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of Letting Go.



L. Diane Wolfe said...

Napolean Hill calls that The Master Key to Riches - the only thing we can control is our attitude!

L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”

Mrs. Major said...

I prefer the part where we do have control but just not directly. What religion is it that says your positive outlook can cause positive things to happen?? I like that one! ANd, things will happen when they are supposed to. I like that one too.

Karen - you can not be alone. There are many of us out there that hate we can't see cause and affect.

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

I am SO in that place lately. One day I'll wake up and be in a place of joy and gratitude. The next day I'll be all about self-doubt and worry. This being human stuff sure is complicated!!

Jody Hedlund said...

There are just some things out of our control and sometimes it's hard to let go of our disappointment and to accept what we can't change. I'll look forward to hearing more!

Patricia Stoltey said...

This is a good topic to explore, Karen. I'm interested in hearing more. Sometimes I think it gets easier as we get older, and then I get caught up in a new attack of anger or anxiety and think I've made no progress at all.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I'm really interested in your thoughts on this topic, Karen. I'm such an impatient, Type A person that I need to learn more on giving up control.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Anonymous said...

Emotions are powerful and can be used to reinforce positive or negative ties to people and things. Personally, I use the EASY button (Staples commercial) to disconnect from those petty things in life such as stuff that accumulates in the garage and needs to go to Goodwill.

I have seen too many people become emotionally attached to stuff at the expense of people. They make those around them serve things rather than have things serve people.

Stephen Tremp

Stephanie Faris said...

I attended an RWA chapter meeting about setting resolutions once...and it changed the way I looked at things. All I can control is what I do every day to get published. So my goals don't need to be "get published." They need to be, "Send two queries out a month and enter one contest" or something to that effect. I have found the more things I have out there, the less rejection stings.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

This is an interesting subject. I'm not sure that it's possible to be passionate about something and not care about the outcome. I guess it's a matter of learning how to accept things that don't go our way and move on - which is so much easier said than done.

Helen Ginger said...

This is why I love coming to your blog. You make me think. ('Course, trying to do that tends to singe my hair.) Working toward something, but not stressing about the end result is a difficult concept. You have to do what you can do then let go, I think.

Straight From Hel

Galen Kindley--Author said...

What to leave in and what to leave out of your emotional painting is a tough nut to crack. Being a shallow bubba type, my solution is to not think too much about it.

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

The Old Silly said...

As a former and formally trained Zen student, and still to this day an ordained Buddhist lay-minister, I can certainly appreciate THIS post. The Buddha said that desire and attachment is the root cause of all suffering. If you wanna get it, ya gotta give it all up. Flow like water, take on the shape freely of whatever vessel you are in, take the path of least resistance, and never get stuck and stagnant.

Marvin D Wilson

Tabitha Bird said...

Too true Karen. How'd you get to be so wise?! Hope that email of mine reached you and that you are smiling today :)) Thanks for your honesty. I so value that in a person. Makes me proud to be knowing you :)

N A Sharpe said...

Very interested post. Its true that emotions, while a very essential part of the personality, needs to be kept in check. Like the old adage says control your emotions don't let your emotions control you. Profound observation about detatching yourself being different from not caring. Its all about balance.

Nancy, from Realms of Thought…