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, August 31, 2010

Telling the truth tuesday - positive thinking, being realistic, and having faith

I've been on a spiritual journey 30+ years now. That's a long time to attend workshops, read a gazillion books, and live a life as prayerful, meditative and contemplative as possible. I've learned a lot, some of which I've managed to incorporate into my daily living.

Much of the metaphysical teachings say we need to think positively. Frankly, that didn't work for me because it sets my expectations way high. Then, when things don't go the way I expect them to, I can be devastated, or disappointed, or whatever. I go into things with no expectations. That's different than negative expectations. No expectations allows me to turn the whole thing over to the Universe or God or Spirit. Whatever outcome happens, it's what is.

Being realistic is another aspect I've struggled with. Being realistic as opposed to being in denial, i.e. that person just told me they hate my guts but I'm still making excuses for their behavior. Or being realistic as opposed to fantasy land, i.e. My weight is 132 pounds and I'm going to lose 15 pounds by next Sunday because I have an event to go to. Being realistic means knowing the facts, accepting the facts, and and moving on from there.

Faith means trusting in the unseen, the unknown, the mysteries of life and spirituality. It doesn't mean that if I turn everything over to Spirit it's all going to be all right. There may still be an outcome I hate. And that's the part of the spiritual journey most difficult to handle. My family member who has some disturbing symptoms might have a disease that will completely alter their life. We won't know for awhile. All I can do is continue not to have expectations, one way or the other, gather the facts, and trust the journey. As I'm writing this, I'm realizing the same is true for my writing - no expectations, write the words, and trust the journey. Hmmm.



Jules said...

Just so you know....I think we are on the same road. See me waving to ya?

I truly identified with this; lovely post.

With positive expectations, I'll say a prayer for your loved one :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Natasha said...

I completely identify with this post. Freedom from expectations is so hard, and yet the only way to set us free.

Mason Canyon said...

We do expect too much of ourselves and it's hard to let go of that. When we finally can, life is easier. Very thought provoking post.

Thoughts in Progress

Cyndi said...

I hate all that false positive thinking nonsense. It only sets us up for disappointment because not everything is positive. Having said that, throw reality and detachment from specific outcomes into the mix, while turning off the negative internal voice and focusing on your true gifts...and you've got the right mix of positivity and reality. We can't control anything but our own thoughts and actions. Thanks for making me think this morning...the coffee wasn't doing the trick! :)

Anonymous said...

Life takes faith. I have faith in God that he knows what He's doing. And he rewards that. Either in this life or the next.

Stephen Tremp

Helen Ginger said...

Guess I'm still working toward the goal. I still have expectations. I'm not sure things would get done if I didn't.

It sounds as though you're in a peaceful place, which is something to work toward.

Edlund said...

I've tried to be positive this whole year and nothing good has come out of it. Still no book published...still no agent.

Jemi Fraser said...

I tend to be able to think positively most of the time. I do have a harder time with realism and realistic expectations. That's where I take my roller coaster rides :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm going to slaughter this saying, but - Faith is the belief in something, the evidence of which is yet unseen. Okay, yes, I killed it, but I know it's close!

Tamika: said...

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen."

Each day I'm learning not to put limitations on God. I fully expect Him to give me His best, because each day "His mercies are new...and His compassion does not fail."

Praying for you:)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I tend to be too realistic. But in some areas, I do have total faith.

Jules said...

I know Wednesday is your day off but I will have something for you on my post. :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Patricia Stoltey said...

The magic words--trust the journey. I finally learned to tone down my expectations. It's a good thing for me, because I have less anxiety and fewer disappointments. I tend to think things tend to work out the way they're supposed to in the long run. And they usually do.


Glynis Peters said...

Keep smiling through. You are so strong now. Every day brings new challenges and joys. I hope your days are filled with goodness always.

I loved your book. We have backgrounds that have a lot in common. It was quite hard to read some pages as reality was staring back at me. Then I let go and dived into your life. Glad I did. ♥

Sharon Lippincott said...

Beautifully put, and also in the comments. Blessings to all.

Karen Walker said...

Thanks everyone for the kind words here. It's nice to know I'm not alone with these kinds of feelings. I know that, deep down inside, but sometimes I forget.

Alexis Grant said...

I like the "trust the journey" part -- Sounds very wise. I, too, sometimes struggle with finding the balance between being positive and realistic. I think it's better to lean toward positive... but always be able to bring yourself back to the center point when you need to.

Erin MacPherson said...

This is great... I like how you end it... write the words... trust the journey.

Ann Best said...

I like "trust the journey" also.

When I was young, I was a dreamer; I still have some "dreams," but they're tempered by reality.

I also lean a lot on prayer, mainly for comfort. I like what C.S. Lewis said: Prayer doesn't change God; it changes me. Or something like that.

We all have experiences in this life, some more difficult than others. The main thing is how we respond to what we're dealt. I think you have dealt beautifully with some very tough things in your life. Keep smiling!!

Ann Best said...

p.s. I re-read what Stephen Tremp said above, and I echo it: "Life takes faith. I have faith in God that he knows what He's doing. And he rewards that. Either in this life or the next." I too have great faith in God!

Tabitha Bird said...

Oh I just can't do that. Maybe I should. But I can't. I have expectations. I chose to want. I want this memoir published. My expectation is that some day it will be. I will trust that I am able to deal with the disappointment should that not be the way God wants things to turn out. But that is what I want. I guess I have faith that whatever path my life takes me down it will be the right one, since I believe God wants me to get where He wants me to go even more than I want to get where He wants me to go. I feel like I am in good hands. And from that position I have my expectations. :)

Thank you for my comments on my blog. I am still writing so I am doing okay. when I stop writing you know I have gone under. the thing is I trust that I will resurface. I have done it many times before :) Sometimes the journeys most worth taking in life are the ones that we fear we won't make it through. I expect I will though, with a raw and honest and hopefully wise book to share with the world. I am hopeful that is not too much to expect :)

Karen Walker said...

I am blown away by the depth of the comments to this post. Thank you all so much for taking the time to read it and let me know how you deal with wishes, expectations, being realistic, and having faith. I hope the message wasn't that I think we should stop wanting things. Wanting things is such an important part of living. It's how we deal with whether we get what we want that I'm talking about. And for me, expectations, negative or positive, get me off balance. I truly have to take action and let go of results. The results are not in my control, nor are they in my hands.