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

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


It's so interesting to me that as soon as I realized I needed to start standing up for myself, my energy shifted. Rather than feeling resentful about taking my mother-in-law to the eye doctor today, I enjoyed my time with her. And she was right; her eyesight had worsened in just a few months. So the trip was well worth while.

I am becoming aware of how energy affects me in so many ways. In Europe, there were many places where I felt an energy that made my soul happy. Other places, I felt nothing. When I meet certain people, the little hairs on my arms stand up, and I immediately want to leave their presence. Other people, my heart opens and I want to spend more time with them.

Energy permeates everything. If I'm in a bad mood, that impacts others around me. If someone else is cranky, if I don't remain centered inside myself, my attitude can become infected, just like catching a cold.

I know it isn't possible to maintain a good attitude every single minute of every single day, but by standing up for myself and monitoring what I agree to do and not do, my energy seems to be more stable.

How do you remain centered in the midst of the chaos of life--children, parents, friendships, relationships, and the daily activities of simply living our lives?



Cyndi said...

That's a tough question. How do I remain centered? It's still an ongoing process for me so sometimes, with the help of Xanax. Other times, I meditate or just do a short breath-work exercise, try to keep things in perspective and not take things personally, and most importantly, try to be aware of and stop my own negative self-talk.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

I'm teaching myself to stop, breathe and consider in the course of life's events these questions: "How important is this situation? Is it something I need to let go and let God? Do I need to walk away and forgive and forget? If I have to respond to it, then how would God want me to?

Tough not to plow ahead and be caught up in other people's "energy" and not have it be a negative affect on me. Also tough not to have my down times affect others. I find that being honest and telling someone that I need to be put in "time out" and I'll be back to them, is helpful.

Martha Nichols said...

Very difficult question, Karen, and so crucial for women writers. I remember being in a feminist experimental poetry class once where the teacher's main premise was that women's poems are often nonlinear and "fractured" for a reason--as mothers, children of elderly parents, or general caretakers, our attention is often fractured.

Last week was a bad one for me, with the discovery of a missed bill payment and then locking myself out of the house and then...etc. Sometimes my kinetic state of mind seems to directly transfer to physical objects, making everything behave neurotically(!)

I'v been working very hard lately to avoid being sucked into the bad energy of certain family members. Sometimes I feel selfish, but I do think the negativity just breeds more pain rather than positive solutions. Still, it's a balancing act for me, too, and sometimes the evil guilt-inducing spirits win out.

Glad to hear that your recent fall--a literal unbalancing, no?--didn't hurt you much.

Jen Chandler said...

You're right! Negative energy, even if it's just the product of people with conflicting personalities to our own, drains us and prevents us from making the right decisions for ourselves and our lives. I really needed to read this today; thank you Karen.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Sometimes I *don't* remain centered. I'm trying to work on that. If I can keep a certain amount of awareness and detachment to my reactions to situations, I do better.


Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I wish I could stay centered but it's so much easier said than done. I think just getting away - whether it's a walk in the park or an impromptu lunch with friends - helps me to calm down and refocus.

DebraLSchubert said...

I remain centered by realizing I have control over my feelings ONLY! Last night my husband was in an ugly mood after a bad day at work. I could have easily bought into the bad mood, but I didn't. I gave him love and remained supportive, but chose not to let it ruin my evening as well. Positive energy, like most things in life, is a choice. ;-)

Jennifer Major said...

My sister preaches positive energy. I try very hard to maintain it but fail so much. Especially when my young kids are fighting for the 10th million time within an hour. I keep telling myself, Life is short, enjoy it or you'll regret it. But i forget a lot :)

Garret Gillespie said...

I've heard it said, "Just because someone throws you the ball, doesn't mean you have to catch it." These days I go ahead and let a few get by, so I can focus on the ones I want and need to catch.

Joanne said...

Negative energy is insidious, it has a way of permeating situations, people. I guess it's a matter of being aware, being really in tune with your own feelings, and most importantly, respecting them. When you did so here, acknowledged your own needs, your energy changed. That was an important lesson for all of us, thanks for sharing it.

Marvin D Wilson said...

Ultimately, of course, everything is energy and there is ONLY energy. And the more we develop spiritually the more we tap into that energy and realize it si more real than the illusion of our physical bodies and worldly reality. I use my Zen training to stay centered. The Buddha always watches. The Buddha ONLY watches. It's the difference between being swept along in the current of the river of life and being able to sit on the river bank and watch the river of life passing through.

Loved this post. Also appreciate you sharing your spiritual journey like you do so well on this blog.

The Old Silly

Crystal Clear Proofing said...

I felt as though I was reading about myself when I read your post, Karen.

It's taken me a long time to not be a sponge to the negative energy around me. I think it's a work in progress, and any improvement we see is reason for celebration!

Like you and many of the others who left comments, being aware is the key. Once we recognize and identify just what's going on with our emotions, the better equipped we are to "get a handle" on them.

I wish there was a certain "thing" that could be done to eliminate this dilemma. Unfortunately, for me anyway, it's something I'm always having to remind myself to be conscious of and work on.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I try to take a moment and breathe. Walking outside, even just for a few minutes, helps. I still need to work on this, I'm certainly not there yet.


Anonymous said...

Karen, I loved your blog today and I enjoyed reading everyone's responses. I would answer your question by saying 1. Get plenty of sleep. 2. Practice empathetic listening: Acknowledge the feelings of the other person, but you don't have to feel the negativity yourself. Your observation about negative vs positive energy coming from people is right on. As everyone else above says, we are all works in progress, but your words remind me to continue working at it. Thank you. -Simona