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

Thursday, March 25, 2010

taking responsiblity for oneself

I've worked hard on myself. The process began in 1978 when I lost custody of my only son. That was also when I began keeping a journal, which led to wanting to write, which became.... you get the idea. My memoir, "Following the Whispers," is about that journey.

One of the most important lessons I've learned is that I must take responsibility for my actions and my behavior. The last couple of days have been really hard for me. My hubby is away on a business trip and our dog, Buddy, is not doing well. It began with a disc problem in his neck (we are still unsure where that's heading) and ended with his being diagnosed with diabetes.

I spent all day Tuesday, alternately crying, feeling sorry for myself, beating myself up for my thoughts, and crying some more. I had a singing rehearsal scheduled that night. I wanted to cancel the rehearsal, but we have a gig Saturday and we needed the practice. Singing when you are an emotional basket case is not a good idea. Trying to manage a rehearsal when off center is definitely not a pretty picture. Normally impatient anyway, I tend to snap when I'm dealing with stuff.

The key Tuesday night was taking responsibility for myself. After I felt I had snapped at one of the women, I stopped, turned off the music and said, "Listen you guys, I'm really sorry. Buddy was just diagnosed with diabetes, I'm worried sick about him, about the money to take care of him, I'm alone this week and I probably shouldn't have done this tonight. My mood has nothing to do with any of you and I'm really sorry."

The love and support that came back at me was lovely. Now, sometimes, though, even if you do take resonsibility for yourself, you won't get such a positive reaction. But we can't control anyone else's behavior--only our own.

Yes, I'd like to get to the point where I can behave wonderfully in every situation, but that will most likely never happen. Until then, I need to learn to take responsibility for myself when I notice I'm not acting from my highest self. That's all any of us can really do--be the best we can be in a given moment and own up when we're not.

How do you handle it when you feel you've mis-behaved?



Stephanie Faris said...

(((HUGS))) I'm so sorry. I had a dog with some health problems a few years ago and I know how tough it is. People who don't own dogs don't seem to understand...but they become part of the family. You usually end up spending more time with your pets than much of your extended family. Hang in there...it will all get better in time.

Cyndi said...

We all have our moments. I think it's huge that you were able to tell your singing group what was going on so as to avoid hurt feelings. I swear, direct communication is the key to all relationships but so difficult for just about everyone! I'm sorry about Buddy. :(

I pretty much always think I'm misbehaving so I tend to over-apologize and apologize for crap I didn't even do or at least think about apologizing. It's easier with my husband to be direct and own what's mine but I really struggle with bosses and co-workers.

Mostly I just continue to re-frame my self-loathing thoughts. It's a long freakin' process though isn't it?!

Jen Chandler said...

I'm so sorry about Buddy! It's never hard to watch an animal hurt. It would be a little better (just a little, mind you) if they could tell us where they hurt, what's wrong, and how we could make them more comfortable. I feel that way a lot of times about my cat. She lives with my mom still (I don't think she's survive a move!) and everytime I see her I realize she's over 14 years old. It's hard. I sympathize with you. I'm so glad you have such a supportive group of friends who understood and were able to offer you love and support.

Thanks for the encouragement on my blog today! I appreciate it. This blog title goes along with what I'm going through as well. We have to take responsibility for ourselves and seek the necessary changes in order to progress to who we are called to be.

All the best,

Mason Canyon said...

I think sometimes we all have to let some "steam" off when things are going wrong. Friends understand that and will do it themselves sometimes. Hope things with Buddy improve.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Good for you! You're right - the only thing in life we can control is our attitude.
Usually only my husband sees the negative side of me (yes, Spunky does have one!) and I try to let him know that it almost never has anything to do with him.

Ann said...

Well done Karen. Taking responsibility is a very difficult thing to do. I applaud you for your honesty and bravery. If more were so inclined the world would be in a better state!

Best wishes to you and I wish Buddy a speedy recovery.

Sharon Lippincott said...

Brava! Well done with your group! Check that lesson off the list.

I was recently listening to an interview with some woman who ... has become "enlightened" ... knows about manifesting ... does life coaching ... and gets herself interviewed on the endless stream of personal growth webinars that I so love to download and listen to while doing mindless chores. I have forgotten her name, but her message lingers: "Nobody every has it made. No matter how enlightened you become, how aware, how in the groove, in the flow, you never get to the point where you always know what to do. The tests and lessons keep coming. Keep asking yourself, WHAT'S THE LESSON IN THIS? What' the blessing?"

Ah, that a little discouraging (I do keep hoping) and enormously comforting. It's not that I haven't learned, not that I'm not perfect -- I HAVE MORE TO LEARN!

Lucky me, lucky you. I'm so glad we are in class together.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

The best you can do is what you did - apologise. I understand your situation completely - I've had to go to rehearsals when my life was filled with crap. I learned to be able to 'leave it at the door' and concentrate on what I was supposed to be doing and worry about all the crap later.

Marvin D Wilson said...

Wow, Karen, you sound like Owen Fiddler - the "awakened" Owen at the end of the book. (wink). Well realized and said, my friend!

The Old Silly

Helen Ginger said...

I think the best thing you can do - and you did it - is to apologize and share why things happened. When something's on your mind and weighing you down, it's difficult to go on pretending everything's fine. You end up getting tied into knots inside.

Straight From Hel

Joanne said...

I agree, Karen, you did the best thing. Everyone has days when we lash out, and who or what we're targeting isn't really the source of our discontent. But those closest to us sometimes are at the receiving end. The kindest thing to do is apologize.

arlee bird said...

I didn't know dogs could get diabetes. Do you have to test blood sugar levels and all?

But I agree with much of what's been said. Owning up to one's actions and apologizing if necessary is about as much as any of us can do. We all can have our bad days and decent friends and associates understand that.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Oh, you handled that well. I'd like to THINK I'd apologize...but I'd probably just make up for my rudeness later by doing something nice. I'm a fan of the one-thing-canceling-out-another-thing doctrine. :) But an apology would be much nicer.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Patricia Stoltey said...

I apologize when I think I've been rude or inconsiderate. Except with my husband. With him I just try to look innocent.