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

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Telling the Truth Tuesday - What a difference an attitude makes

As those of you know who follow this blog regularly, I sing at retirement communities. The singing is a major part of my healing journey--a journey where I am reclaiming the power of self-expression, which was shut down at a very young age due to childhood sexual abuse and dysfunctional parenting.

Until this past Saturday, each time we were to perform, my anxiety would overtake my knowledge that this was supposed to be fun. This anxiety would cause me to hit wrong notes, become irritable with my fellow singers and others. I wasn't able to enjoy the performance because I was too worried about how I'd do, how the audience would like us, etc. I've blogged about all of this before.

But Saturday, the paradigm shifted. I woke up that morning, and during my meditation and prayer, a calm energy came over me and I felt gratitude. Gratitude for the opportunity to be doing something I've always loved and wanted to do. We are performing Broadway songs and old standards and pop songs from the 50s and 60s. And I felt gratitude for being able to bring music to those who can no longer get out and hear it or do it themselves. So I just thanked Spirit for this amazing opportunity at this time of my life and decided I wouldn't let anything that happened - either equipment glitches, weather, wrong notes, whatever - affect my attitude. All of those things happened, but I didn't care.
At our first performance at 10 am, an 82-year-old gentlemen appeared in a cowboy hat and boots. Sat right down in the front row. Mouthed the words to the old McGuire Sisters hit, Sugartime, our signature song and the name of our group. After the set, he asked if we were going to come back there some time. We told him we were singing again at 1 pm that very day. Sure enough, at 1 pm, there he was, front and center, tapping his foot and swaying his head. When we finished, he asked for our picture. I was inspired to ask someone else to take a picture of us with him in the middle. He lit up like a Christmas tree.

This is a photo of Sugartime. That's me on the far left. If we only touch one person in our lives in this way and give them some joy, we are lucky, indeed. My attitude of gratitude enabled me to really let go and just be me up there. I have never had more fun singing or just being. When something is challenging, it's hard to remember the gratitude attitude. But on Saturday, it made all the difference in how I maneuvered in the world that day. And I believe it made a difference to those around me as well.

How's your gratitude attitude?


Jody Hedlund said...

Love the picture, Karen!! And what an excellent lesson. If only we touch one life, then we're a success. We don't have to reach millions. We only have to touch the one life that's before us at that moment. And I need to remember that!

BTW, thank you too, for your encouraging comment yesterday on my post. I appreciate your wisdom and nudge to look at the situation with my son from a deeper perspective! :-)

Vicki Rocho said...

I'm betting you touch many more lives. It's just a gift when we are able to witness the touching!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

What a lovely post. Yes, if we are able to touch even one life, we are blessed.

Mason Canyon said...

Great post. I'm sure there are so many lives that are touched by your singing. Most are probably just not as outgoing as this gentleman.

Thoughts in Progress

KarenG said...

Love the picture! That man looks so sweet and interesting.

Karen Walker said...

Oops, clarification. The man in the photo is not the man who was in the audience. The man in the photo is part of Sugartime. Sorry, I didn't get a photo of the gentlemen who sat thru both performances. Darn!

Joanne said...

It's amazing how attitude alone can sway our mood, the day, our outlook. Everything can look better through its lens. Sending some gratitude for your perfect reminder today :)

Glynis said...

I love how new days bring new surprises for us. The little things in life can move us onward.

So glad you had a positive singing day.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That is an awesome attitude, Karen! Just touching one life - sometimes that's enough.

And love the new bloggy look.

Helen Ginger said...

Love the picture and your attitude. Think of all that you do for those who hear you sing! That's wonderful.

Jemi Fraser said...

What a lovely post Karen! Being grateful can quickly change lives. It sometimes just takes a quick peek outside ourselves to see the tragedies and grief surrounding us. I believe we can make a difference to others by doing those small things - having this gentleman in you photo is an excellent example. :)

The Old Silly said...

You had me with the TITLE on this post!

Crystal Clear Proofing said...

Great picture, Karen! It warms my heart just imagining how much it meant to that gentleman to be included in that picture!

Your post is, as usual, *right on* and timely – for me at least. Lately I've found myself caught up in a myriad of *stuff.* My gratitude attitude got lost and I didn't even realize it until reading this post.

How easy it is at times for us to be preoccupied with circumstances, fears, doubts – joy, excitement – any emotion really, that we forget to step aside and reflect on what's really going on, what's really important…what really matters. Thanks for reminding me to keep that attitude in check.

And I LOVE the term *gratitude attitude." I'm going to make a few little signs (or post-its) and put them around the house!

Tabitha Bird said...

Hey I love your new blog look, very clean and professional looking. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I do have tattoos. Two in fact, but sadly no, that one of the cherry blossom is not mine. I have a butterfly on my ankle with my husbands name under it and two smaller butterflies on my right shoulder with my children's names on them. Butterflies represent hope and freedom to me.

Memoir is important. I wrote that post thinking of you and how important your words were to me. Never forget the value in having shared your story. Fiction can never grasp even a thread of what good memoir holds. Real life is powerful. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Karen, one of my blogging friends is trying to make a list of bloggers from all countries and all states and he's lacking NM. I mentioned your site and if you want to visit DL - http://dlcruisingaltitude.blogspot.com/2010/06/blogging-buddies-around-globe-epic-fail.html

Karen Walker said...

Jody, so glad my words helped a bit.
Vicky, witnessing the touching is such a blessing.
Rayna, yes touching people one person at a time is my new motto.
Mason, it's true, many folks don't show they're touched.
Karen G - thanks, the man in the photo is actually partof the singing group
Joanne, Glynnis, Diane, Helen, thanks so much for being part of my bloggy world.
Crystal, glad you like the phrase -I do too.
Tab, coming from you,those words mean so much to me. Real life is powerful.
Diane, I left a comment on HL's blog. Thanks for the heads up.

DL Hammons said...

Karen ~ So very nice to make your acquaintence! I know it seems like such a random way to connect to one another (50 bloggers in 50 states), but I'm confident we'll both be the better for it.

PS. I loved this post about your singing. We all have 'gifts' that we take for granted far too often.

PSS. Diane rocks...HARD!!!!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful story. Attitude does make us see our world different.
A wise woman once told me to write even if only one person reads and connects with your piece. We don't know the outcome, but do it anyways. The spirit planted within us always, always has a purpose even if we don't 'see' it right away.
Thanks for the reminder.

Jen Chandler said...

I love this! I'm so glad the anxiety is letting you go so you can thoroughly enjoy the singing that you love so much. I used to work in a retirement home. The residents always loved it when singers would come in. I think what you and your group are doing is fabulous.

Love the new blog design, by the way!