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, June 18, 2010


Glynis Sym passed on The Meat and Potatoes Award to me. This is the link to her blog

http://www.glynissmy.com/. Thank you, Glynis, for thinking of me. I'm going to pass on passing this along for now, but reserve the right to do so at a later date. And now for the topic for today: Detachment.

There was a slogan in the 12-step programs that said Detach with love. It was meant for the co-dependent person who was enmeshed with an alcoholic. We were taught that because we didn't cause the disease, couldn't control it and couldn't cure it, we needed to detach from the alcoholic with love. This didn't mean to necessarily remove ourselves from the relationship altogether, although sometimes that is probably necessary. It means to disconnect from the behavior, the negative energy, the drama.

Although I learnt about this almost 40 years ago, I am really just beginning to get it. In every moment, we have choices about how we behave, respond, react. Like the other day, one of my closest friends, upon hearing that I thought she was annoyed when she heard my voice on the phone, said, "No, Karen, that's just you."

I could have just let it go. But I chose to say," No, it's not me. Your tone of voice sounded pissed off."
She then said she'd been expecting the call to be someone else. People have no idea how they come off sometimes. I am continually surprised when someone shares how they perceive what I've said or done.

In the past, I would have been incredibly attached to the above-mentioned conversation and its outcome. I would have worried that she was angry at me. I would have been concerned that if I shared how it made me feel, she'd get even more pissed. Now, however, it was more important for me and my growth to share my feelings with love and detach from the result.

Doing the kind of spiritual work I do, where I am continuously looking at myself, sharing my strengths, my weaknesses, my character flaws, I realize I am placing myself in a vulnerable position for all to see. And comment upon. So if I tell my friends my hormones are bonkers and I'm a bit irritable, that's the filter they than see me through, even though that behavior isn't all of me.

So, detaching from the opinions, thoughts and feelings of others about me and who I am is where I'm at. My work is to be the best Karen I can be in every moment. I succeed some of the time. Some, not so much.

How are you at detaching from the opinion of others?


Tabitha Bird said...

I love this. Share your feelings with love and detach from the result. Oh, that is so wise. Thanks for this post.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Great point, Karen. I'm still working on the detachment! Sometimes, though, I think that I have a handle on this because I'm not a perceptive person...so I'd never have noticed if someone sounded mad on the phone. I think your sensitivity to mood is great--and you're smart to also develop the detachment that's needed to go along with it!

Love your blog's look!

Joanne said...

Interesting that your friend immediately tried to put the whole annoyance thing on you. I'm glad you spoke up, for your own sake and hers.

Mary said...

When there's someone you love but must walk away from is most difficult. But there are times that for safety and sanity you no other options.
You handled that call with grace.

Giggles and Guns

Cyndi said...

Love the new blog design!

Detachment was difficult for me to grasp, let alone practice. I still struggle sometimes too. My husband and I had a classic codependent relationship (minus the addictions) and when he was upset about anything, I could barely function. I assumed it was me and that I needed to fix it. It was so tough to untangle that web of nonsense that we ended up separating for 5 months and lots of counseling.

I agree with you too, it's always an ongoing process. Yes, we learned it but those old habits die hard and we have to continually check in with ourselves. You seem to be doing an excellent job.

Have a great weekend!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Detaching is a difficult thing. I try to remember never take anything personal and not place my ego on the line. Doesn't always work, but I do try!

Well deserved award, Karen!

Ann Best said...

Living for 7 1/2 years with an alcoholic husband, I learned A LOT about detachment which helped me with my first (ex) husband too. But, it takes a VERY LONG time to really do it. Now I'm adept at "letting it go." (Reading this post drew me back to your book, which as you know I read recently and wrote a brief review on one of my posts.)

Helen Ginger said...

I'm still working on that, Karen. I really appreciate the example you're sharing here.

The Old Silly said...

Congrats on the award. As far as detachment, I first consider the source, then weigh it accordingly.

Glynis said...

Enjoy your award, you deserve a large portion. :)

It has taken me years to learn that others are not as sensitive as me. Now I turn it around, it is their problem, not mine. I can tell when they are pissed off on the phone, but I now realise it is not my fault. I have not caused their upset.

Interesting post.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Well, I faced that very question yesterday when a writer friend discovered I didn't share her political views -- she looked at me like I was the enemy. At first I was shocked that that would make a difference how she felt about me, but then I let it go. I can't spend a lot of time worrying about folks who are that locked into their own ideology or prejudices.

By the way, I ordered your book with my most recent buying binge and it arrived last week. I can't tell for sure when I'll read it because it went into my giant TBR stack, but at least I now have it on hand. I wish I had a whole month to do nothing but read. That would be heavenly.

Karen Walker said...

Oh, Patricia, I understand so well what you speak about here. And you are right, you can't worry about folks locked into their own stuff.
Thanks so much for ordering my book. That means a great deal to me.