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, November 4, 2009


We always have choices. Do I want meat or fish? If I want fish, what kind do I want: salmon, tuna, shrimp? How hungry am I? Do I just need a small snack or a full meal? What do I feel like doing? Am I in the mood for a movie, music, hanging out with friends? If it's friends, who do I want to spend this particular time with?

All these choices, if I am really present and paying attention, force me to check in with myself to see what I need. Tuning in to my body is a new experience. I've been alive on this planet for 60 years, but it is only now that my awareness of my body is so prevalent. As a victim of early childhood sexual abuse, I learned early on to numb my body. My senses were also dulled. Often I felt as I imagine a mummy might feel.

Yesterday I had plans to visit an 83-year-old friend. I hadn't seen her in quite awhile. She doesn't get out much any more and seems to really enjoy my company. But I'd had a very busy day on Monday and didn't get any writing done. That didn't feel good. So Tuesday morning, I tuned in. What I really needed was to remain at home, in my jammies, assimilating the workshop experience from Sunday and opening myself up to the next phase of that journey.

Hard phone call to make, telling my friend I wasn't coming. Boy, this business of standing up for myself sure is making its presence felt in my life these days. But it was so absolutely the right thing for me to do, even if it disappointed someone I care about.

Choices. In every moment of every day, we have choices. What are you choosing?



Unknown said...

My Goodness Karen, I know I've said this before, but with some differences in regard to pieces of our pasts, we were made from the same mold!

I teeter back and forth with choices and decisions a lot. If I don't stay "tuned in" to myself, the borderline OCD, which I've done so much work on and come so far with, will overcome me and then the choice or decision is impossible to make.

Doing what's right for us, especially when it has some kind of impact on someone else - IS difficult. It's hard. But it's those hard and difficult situations from which we grow. From the inside out. And it gets easier, the "guilt" lessens as we move forward in our journey...

Cyndi said...

After a lifetime of people-pleasing it's tough to start taking care of you first isn't it? But doesn't also feel great?! Plus, you now have no reason to resent your friend, which would have been the result of putting her first in this instance. Yay for assertiveness! :)

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Every day is full of choices. I'm working on making the right ones. Usually I'm a "jump right in" person which often ends up being a wrong choice. Now I'm waiting on the Lord and praying that the choices I make will be in His perfect will. He may have to handcuff me to a chair and put a gag in my mouth to get my attention and keep me from blabbing out the first thing I want to do and scurrying off to do it!! Some lessons are so hard to learn for a stubborn child like me!!!!

Anonymous said...

I choose life! Life is short, and I choose to be thankful and look at the blessings in my life and live in this realm.

Stephen Tremp

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I really hate deciding between different choices! It's really difficult for me. I usually try to balance everything--which is sometimes an exercise in futility.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Unknown said...

I used to hate choices. now I love them. I feel good standing up for myself, my kids, my loves.

Recently my mother asked me if I could take my oldest out of school for a day so she could go with her on a weekend trip. It wasn't for anything else but company.

I said "No."

It felt good.

Marvin D Wilson said...

We can't take care of others if we do not first take care of ourselves. Choose you, take care of you, love you and nurture you, and then the ability to reach out and help others will be much more fluid and healthy, a natural choice born of abundance and wanting to share.

Thus Sayeth The Old Silly

Jody Hedlund said...

Hi Karen,

The hardest choices we have to make are the ones we know will hurt or disappoint others. But setting those personal or professional boundaries are so necessary. There are SO many good things that can eat up our time, but in order to maintain our writing, we have to say no to even the good things sometimes!

Sharon Lippincott said...

Great post Karen, and great comments. Making the decision to actively make choices rather than drifting on autopilot is a huge choice!

Susyhayze, just one thought -- as both a grandmother now and a young granddaughter once upon a time -- personal time with grannie's is so precious, and the sort of memory that sticks long after anything learned in a classroom fades. I don't know the situation with your daughter and school (maybe she's struggling to keep up or missed many days lately for other reasons?), nor do I know your relationship status with your mom or how your daughter felt about going, so I don't question your decision, and I do salute the courage it obviously took to make it. I just "made the choice" to follow my impulse and share that thought, for whatever it may be worth to you or someone else.

Joanne said...

The right choices aren't always the easy ones. But if you didn't make this choice about cancelling the visit with your friend, you'd have been disappointed in yourself, and maybe resented the visit a little, which shines through our words, expressions. You made the right call in so many ways.

Helen Ginger said...

We each have to make a choice to take care of ourself. Not an easy choice to make for a lot of us (probably for women more so than men, but I could be wrong). I'm working on this, too. I'm about to tell a friend that I can't go with her on Saturday to an event. I hate to do it, but yesterday I went with friends to lunch then a tour of the Poe exhibit in town and came home exhausted (still getting strength back after the H1N1). I've actually been putting off emailing her, but I'm going to do it.

Straight From Hel

Anonymous said...

I try to make choices that are good for me and those around me, especially my family. Sounds like a cliche :) , but it's easy to get lost in life and make to many commitments and become overwhelmed.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Sometimes we have to say no. If saying yes causes great distress, then it's not worth it!

JennyMac said...

Choices are such a part of life..not just choices for self but now with family, spouse, and children...and saying no thank you is such a big part of that...I choose to be in charge of my life and part of that is making decisions, easy and hard, when I need to ...its empowering.

Elspeth Futcher said...

I admire your bravery in saying no; I'm not sure I could have made the same decision.


Galen Kindley--Author said...

Yes, I think it's true, we are the choices that we make. Some luck plays into it, sure, but in the main, people who make good, logical choices are generally better off (whatever that means) than those who don't. Sometimes my choices are good...sometimes not. Do the best I can and try not to agonize over it..
Best Regards, Galen

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Tabitha Bird said...

I love this post Karen. I too have had to make some of those phone calls and I never find it easy to do. I find it hard to admit that what I need is NOT selfish. Good for you for making that phone call :) Looking after ourselves is always the right thing to do.