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, April 28, 2010

Random Thoughts

I like the idea of Monday Musings so much, I thought I'd do it again today, only call it Random Thoughts. Actually, since I'm leaving town on Monday, I think this will be a series while I'm away. Things for us all to ponder and comment upon (hopefully). I'll be going to Portland, Oregon, the city I consider my spiritual home.

 Last night I watched the video my hubby took of Sugartime's birthday concert Sunday. There were things I was pleased about and things I wasn't happy about at all, in terms of my and our performance. I was more frightened than I'd been in a long time. For the last few months, performing at retirement communities, I've had no stage fright at all. Just enjoyed being up there singing and playing with the audience. This time, I felt as if my heart was going to leap right out of my chest, it was pounding so hard and so fast. For those of you who have tried singing, it is virtually impossible to sing the right notes if your heart is pounding - you can't breathe properly. One of my three solos was the second song on the program. It was awful. The other two were fine. As a group, we aren't together in our choreographed moves. And sometimes we don't sing quite together. But on balance, we come across really well. Our joy of singing and our love for each other comes through loud and clear.

So here's my random thought for the day. How important is it to be perfect? Or as perfect as we can be, since perfection really isn't possible. I think we strive for the best, but then we have to accept reality. I can't change the fact that when I'm nervous, my voice doesn't do what I want it to do. It goes off key. I hate that, but I can't change it. Does that mean I should give up singing in front of others? This is a rhetorical question--I know I must answer this for myself.

But how about you? Do you strive for perfection? How do you handle the reality of whatever it is?


Tabitha Bird said...

Perfect is a myth. it doesn't exist. I try for as good as I can get. And then try to be happy with that :)

Sharon Lippincott said...

Boing! I just closed my journal, after filling four pages with thoughts on this general topic of perfection. My conclusion: I don't have to BE anything -- perfect, a writer, a friend, beautiful, problem-solver, sexy. I just AM! That's ENOUGH. I've caught glimpses of this before, but today I felt a shift. This concept moved from hunch to full knowingness.

I'll still do the best I can at any given moment with whatever my hand finds to do, but perfection? What does that really mean? The quest for perfection is the root of all fear and perfect love casts out fear. Let's have a Love-In! I want to wear garlands of flowers in my instantly long and flowing hair, and dance in a circle to the music of Sugartime, starring Karen Walker! Perfect...

Mason Canyon said...

I know I'm not going to be perfect in anything I do. I just do the best I can and hope that's enough.

Thoughts in Progress

Joanne said...

I think perfection is actually the effort that leads to the creation, and the joy that shines through. It's what we react to, those perfect intangible qualities.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I struggle with perfectionism every day. It seems to trip me up more often than it helps me out...

Mystery Writing is Murder

Linda Austin said...

From StoryCircle Network I heard you took singing lessons at "midlife," - like me! I have a limited range, but played guitar and sang duets with a partner at our church's services (yes, we got invited back a lot). I decided that, while I know better than to go on American Idol, I will not be afraid to sing out. One of my fav sayings I saw posted at my daughter's school: "If only the bird with the most beautiful voice sang, the forest would be a quiet place." Good for all walks of life.

Karen Walker said...

Tabitha, you are so right. It doesn't exist. Being happy with what is is all there is.
Sharon, I will carry that image of you dancing to the music of Sugartime far beyond today.
So glad your glimpse of this truth became reality.
Mason, you're ahead of the game if you know this already.
Joanne, what a beautiful way to look at perfection.
Elizabeth, all I can say is awareness helps - if I recognize I'm trying to be perfect in the moment I'm trying to be perfect, sometimes I can let it go.
Linda, thank you for sharing that beautiful saying from your daughter's school. It certainly is good for all walks of life.

T. Anne said...

I strive for perfection but I never seem to hit it. Why is that????

Jen said...

I've accepted the fact that I'll never be perfect so I try and make achievable goals. Sometimes I expect more out of myself than others and that's when I fall, the ground hurts, especially when no one is there to catch you!

So needless to say I've given up on perfect and just accepted me for me :)

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I want to do something as well as I can. Is that perfectionism? Maybe so. I am a harsh judge of myself.

Helen Ginger said...

If you're on American Idol, they want you to be perfect. But in real life, I'm looking for someone who's good, but more importantly she's having fun and draws me in so I'm having fun. I'm no singer and wouldn't know "perfect" if if whacked me upside the head.

Straight From Hel

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Shoot for the moon. If you miss, you're still heading towards the stars. Perfection is an absolute, an abstraction.

Doing our best however is something that is wise to try to maintain as a life habit. Our best at any given moment changes. But striving for it always makes us grow as human beings and as performers.

Have a great weekend, Roland {See? I'm already looking ahead.}

Eric W. Trant said...

Perfectionism is a disease.

At least, that's what my therapist told me.


- Eric

Karen Walker said...

T.Anne, because it's not possible!
Jen, yeah! I'm working on that for myself. Just accepting me for me.
Yes, Elspeth, me too - a harsh critic of myself that is. Striving for the best isn't wrong. It's what we do to ourselves if we don't think we got there that's the problem.
Yeah, Helen, me too - looking for the real life coming from the heart kinda place. Even the judges on Idol are forgiving of pitch issues if the person sings from their heart.
Roland, right you are. Striving is okay - it makes us grow. Where I need to be careful is if I feel I've fallen short.
Eric, you and your therapist are right. It is a disease if we use it as a weapon against ourselves.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I think we’re too critical of ourselves. I have a very hard time watching or listening to my own interviews as I tend to focus on small things instead of the overall effect. As long as you enjoy singing, I say sing away. I bet your audience doesn’t notice the slips.

Ann said...

I am sad to say I am a perfectionist. It is very hard to accomplish anything with this debilitating idiosyncrasy. Well done you, for singing and trying and improving.

Marvin D Wilson said...

Good post and muse. And what Tabitha said? That's what I say.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm a perfectionist in some things and others - well, pardon my French, but I know how to half-ass a job when necessary! But I believe we should strive for excellence rather than perfection.
And you are journeying close to my home! Born and raised in Salem, OR.

Patricia Stoltey said...

No, no, never stop singing, Karen. I can tell from your posts how much you enjoy it and how good it makes you feel (even on the butterfly days).

I'm a weird mix of perfectionist and slob. Some days a perfect chapter is important, the next day I write from the gut. Same with cleaning the kitchen. Weird.

Jemi Fraser said...

Perfection is way over-rated. If you have to be worried about being perfect, you don't have time for fun. Perfect doesn't happen in the real world. I always say to my kids (real and school) "your best is always good enough". And it is.

R. M. Iyer said...

When I was young, I think I read somewhere- "I am Me, and I am the best possible variety of Me that there can be".
I may be wrong, but I think the important thing to aim for is not perfection, but to be the best we can in whatever we choose to do.
Stop singing the day it stops giving you pleasure. Till that day (and may the day never come), sing for yourself, and if anyone else wants to hear, they are the richer for it.

~ Rayna

Karen Walker said...

I am so grateful to all of you - for taking the time to read what I write - and for your thoughtful and loving responses. Thanks for the encouragement and support. Rayna, wherever you read that quote, thank you for sharing it here. I have to remember that, always. I am the best variety of ME that there can be.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I strive for perfection too much in some areas and not enough in others!!!!

There's not enough time to be perfect at everything!!!! But maybe I need a better balance?