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, July 30, 2010
Good, clear, communication is crucial in any interaction, but it is especially crucial with those we love. Because harmful, hurtful words never leave us. Each time one is hurled (either our way or by us at someone else) it erodes a little bit of the love. If such things continue, at some point, there is no going back. It cannot be salvaged.
So what can we do to avoid such damage? I've trained myself to calm my internal emotions down when someone is saying things I don't want to hear. I must do this in order to listen. If I don't understand what the other person means, or I am making assumptions about what they are saying, I ask questions to get clarity.
Once we are both clear about how the other feels, we can then begin to work our way through the issue. This is the hard part, because I've learned I must speak my truth, and sometimes that means the other person will be hurt - not by my words, but because of what I feel I must do. But for me, the consequences of not listening to my own heart and soul are much more devastating than the consequences of not speaking my truth when disagreements arise.
How about you?
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Writing my memoir fundamentally changed how I move through the world. It was as if I stepped into the person I was trying to become. This piece is moving me further along that path. And here I thought I'd arrived...heh heh. I guess we don't ever arrive at who we are becoming until our last breath.
My time commitment is, hopefully, easily attainable - two sessions per week, twenty minutes per session. More is permissable. Less is not. Yesterday was session one. I did it. That's all that counts for now.
Do you make commitments to yourself? How are you at keeping them?
Monday, July 26, 2010
Now, at 61, if I self-identify as a writer, I don't feel very good about myself because I don't meet society's expectations of success. So when I looked at other writers I've become acquainted with online and see all they are doing for their writing careers, I knew I wasn't cutting it. Not because I'm not good enough. But because I haven't been willing or able to do those necessary things.
My take-away from this self-exploration is that I do not see writing as a career. In 1999, when I quit my job, I did see it that way, however. Now, not so much. Writing is simply something I must do. It's the way I make sense of my life and my world. If my writing finds its way into the universe somehow, that will be wonderful. and I will figure out what I need to do around that issue when and if it happens.
But for now, I am simply going to keep writing...
Friday, July 23, 2010
But the truth is, I haven't had the energy to do what it takes to make this blog more successful. And to market my memoir. Which makes me ask myself why I'm writing in the first place. Because it's what I do. And I don't want to stop. But what I need to shift is how I label myself. If I label myself a writer, then if I'm not doing all the writerly things I think I'm supposed to be doing, then I'm not successful. Then I get down on myself. Then I'm miserable.
So, I am going to stop calling myself a writer. I'm Karen. It's who I am, not what I am. I'm on a journey of healing. I seek to grow emotionally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. On that path, I write, I sing, I folkdance, I read, I hike, I play with my hubby and my friends and my dog, and I share here about all of the above.
Comparison is an act of vengeance against yourself. I heard this in the 12-step programs. It's something I need to remember. How about you?
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Truly, I thought I was done once I hired a nutritionist rather than do another diet. That was a huge shift. Then, after losing 40+ pounds, something else changed. I no longer wanted to overeat or indulge myself with food. Yes, I still craved things that weren't good for me, but I didn't always have to listen to those cravings. Since I've been maintaining this weight loss for a few years now,I thought this issue was over for me.
But a few weeks ago, a good friend gently told me she thought I was still a bit obsessed with food. It made me angry. Then it made me think about whether it was true. Sadly, I think she's right. Even though I don't obsess about what I'm going to eat every minute of the day, I do worry when I eat out. I worry when I don't poop enough (sorry, I know, TMI). I worry about how much water I'm retaining.
Now, how much of this is obsesion and how much of this is because I'm hypoglycemic, I'm still trying to figure out. The hypoglycemia forces me to eat every few hours so I don't panic and get extremely anxious and irritable. This means I'm eating when I don't necessarily feel hunger pangs in my stomach. Roth advocates not eating until you are hungry and learning to distinguish between thought hunger and true body hunger. I'm all for that, but if I wait until my body hunger kicks in, I'll be a raving lunatic.
I'm slowly working my way through the book and realizing food truly is an obsession with me. Obsessions obscure emotions we don't want to feel. So once again, I am looking deep inside to see what lurks in my unconscious that I don't want to see, hear, feel, or touch.
Are you obsessed with anything? Does it rule your thoughts as food does mine?
Monday, July 19, 2010
I'm by myself this week. Hubby is on a business trip to Charlotte, NC. I've had to ask our dog-sitter to come by every morning and evening to give Buddy (our dog) his insulin injections. We don't want me passing out while I'm home alone, do we? I don't think so. But Buddy's doing great - he's blood sugar levels are regulated and he's his peppy self again. Whew!
My writing isn't happening. I'm beginning to be okay with that. I don't know if there is some internal mulching going on, or I need a time out, or what, but I am so working on not judging what I do or don't do, feel or don't feel, think or don't think. Performing has taught me that. We can make mistakes, but the audience doesn't care as long as we show up and give them something of ourselves. If I'm fully present, and sharing myself, if my voice cracks, so what? I've learned to shrug it off. Because truly, in the scheme of things, what matters is being here and being the best we can be in a given moment. And when we're not our best, recognize it, acknowledge it, and move on.
I guess that's enough musing for one morning. What are you musing about today?
Friday, July 16, 2010
My father didn't have a lot to be happy about in his life. He was most proud of his time in the military. In my heart, I am dedicating this performance to my father, a man who made my life miserable most of the time growing up, but whom I came to love and honor during his last years on Earth. If you want to read a bit more of my story with my Dad, check out the articles/essays tab and read "My Father's Keeper."
How is your relationship with your father?
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
There is a reason Native Americans honor their elders in ways our culture does not. Once I attended a Native American ritual. The elders were seated in a place of honor and treated with the utmost respect and dignity. When the meal was ready, the elders were served first. The whys of this are varied, but mostly, I think it is because elders have lived longer, learned much, and have come to a peace within themselves about life and living.
I am an elder in my family now, as both my parents and my husband's parents are gone. It is an odd feeling, because I am still hyper-aware of the younger aspects of myself still with me. But more and more, there is a wise energy that permeates my being, keeping me grounded and centered. And quiet.
Monday, July 12, 2010
As I've worked on myself these last 30+ years, I've reclaimed many of those lost parts of myself. I'm very in touch with the damaged little girl inside me who was so terribly hurt. I have great compassion for the teenage part of me who made such poor choices in order to feel loved and accepted by boys. The young woman who lost her young son is always with me. There are some wounds that don't ever heal--you just learn to live with them. But I'm just beginning to try to find that very small creative child who believes anything is possible, and when she can't find what she needs in the real world, her imagination takes over.
This is so far out of my comfort zone, it is hard to put myself in the meditative place I need to go to allow the magic to emerge. But one day at a time, I'm inching closer. What about you? Has the magic of childhood followed you to adulthood? How does it manifest in your life?
Friday, July 9, 2010
I know it's probably an aging thing, but sheesh, that makes me mad. Why can't we do a brain dump or something to rid our brains of data we no longer have use for to make room for new stuff? Today it is so time-consuming for me to learn lyrics. I have to sit down and think about the story arc of the song--what's it saying, in what order are things happening, what triggers can I use to remember the sequence. Then I have to sing it over and over and over and over again until it sinks in. Oy!
The same with names of things. This weekend we hiked in the Pecos, where the wildflowers were spectacularly sprinkled throughout the forest and in the meadows. I don't know the names of most flowers and plants, but my friend R. does. No sooner would she tell me the name of one, then we'd see it again a few minutes later and I couldn't remember what it was called. Sigh!
What I've realized about all of this is that one, I have to accept this--I really don't think I can be doing more to keep my brain active than I already am. Two, if something is really important to me, I have to work much harder than I used to to get it into the brain and keep it there. And three, getting upset about it only adds stress to my life that I don't need right now.
Truly, my goal is to age as gracefully as I can, rather than go kicking and screaming about the changes that are sure to come along. So, how about you? Are there things you've noticed that don't come as easily? Do you have any tricks of the trade for remembering new things?
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
We shared our cabin with good friends, a couple with whom we play mah jong once a month, and who folk dance with us. We've known them quite a few years. Here's what I want to talk about today - how I am having to learn not to take things personally when someone I care deeply about makes comments about me and my life and how I do things.
Those of you who have been following this blog for awhile know that I've lost 50 pounds over the last few years and have been maintaining that weight loss for the last two years. I'd lost and gained weight more times than I can count for over 40 years, so to be stable in this area is huge. In order to maintain my weight, I need to manage what I eat and when I eat it. There's a difference between managing and obsessing. I used to obsess about food. I'd wake up in the morning thinking about what I would eat, could eat, should eat. Now, I pretty much know what I can and can't do and what the consequences are if I do something different.
Managing my food means I don't always eat what others are eating. So at the cabin, for example, one couple is responsible for say breakfast, cooking for all. The other couple is responsible for dinner, cooking for all.
R & T were making breakfast for us. I knew their breakfast would contain way too many calories and throw my balance of proteins, carbs, fruits, fats, etc., completely off, so I brought my own breakfast.
Later on in the weekend, as we were packing up to go home, R and I sat on the porch and the conversation came around to food. I said something about being grateful I no longer obsess about food, and R looked at me and said, "I think you do still obsess about food."
Now, normal people probably would not have gotten upset about that remark, but I'm not normal. I didn't get upset the way I used to, doubting myself, getting all emotional, having a heated discussion. I simply asked her what she meant. She explained that not eating the same food as others when we're together, to her is obsessive. I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day. I also cook things in the crock pot and hubs and I eat during the week. There are two reasons for this. One, I don't enjoy cooking, so this means I don't have to cook every day. And two, I really don't care all that much about food any more. My life is not about the food. Food is just sustenance. R, on the other hand, is a gourmet cook and cannot imagine eating the same food every day.
There's one other factor for me. I'm hypoglycemic and if I don't eat at certain times, I get panicky and extremely irritable. So I frequently have to eat before everyone else. I still sit at the table and share in the conversation, but I may not be eating. For me, the meal is about the company and the sharing, not the food. Some folks have an issue with this as well. Why can't I snack before hand and then eat the meal with them, they ask. Well, it's more calories than I want in my body if I do that.
So it made me think about how our culture is so heavy on food being the center of entertainment. Am I being rude by eating my own thing in social gatherings? I told R that perhaps I needed to add additional foods into the mix, but for now, what I was doing worked for me.
What do you think? Would you be offended if we went out to eat and say, it was 7 pm and I'd already eaten at home? Or if I came to your house for dinner and I only ate certain things that were served and not others.
Inquiring minds want to know....
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
How will you spend this holiday weekend?