Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here on Monday and Tuesday. 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.

"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

"The way to do is to be."
Laotzu

"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, October 26, 2010

Telling the truth Tuesday - technology

Our television started fritzing out. Since it's 15 years old, we didn't even investigate what was wrong with it - just decided to get a new one. Hubs is not one of those guys who needs every new-fangled gadget that comes out, thank goodness. And certainly, neither am I. But we both love watching movies, so we thought one of those big, flat-screened, HGTV ones would be nice. As we researched, we had to learn about plasma versus LCD versus LED. Turns out plasma doesn't work so well in high altitudes, so that was out. LED lasts longer than LCD, plus it's better energy wise for the environment. Then we were told there was one that had a Netflix app on it so we could stream movies to the TV instantly, rather than having DVD's mailed to us.

That sold us. We got one. Happy dance over here. Till we tried to access Netflix. No dice. Called the cable company. Called the maker of the TV. Called Netflix, who told us that the TV maker jumped the gun and said there was an app when there wasn't. After spending several hundred dollars more to have this, I was not a happy camper.

Then I decided to try accessing the app one more time. Voila! It went thru. Called Netflix back and told them their customer service rep needed some coaching. We're still having trouble with slow internet access, which interrupts the movie to reload or whatever.

The good news is I'm getting better at handling all this tech stuff that used to terrify me and make me very cranky. The bad news is, just like bloggydom and surfing the web, I pods, and other tech ways of living our lives, I have to beware that this doesn't become another time suck that keeps me from what is truly important in my world.

Blessings,
Karen

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Musings

Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and prayers and kind words about my friend, G. He's recovering, slowly but surely. I'm still working through what this potentially life-threatening event teaches me. How being angry and holding grudges hurts no one but me. How clinging to dysfunctional relationships keeps me stuck. How important it is to put myself in a loving, gracious, kind energy in every moment I can. Allowing my light to shine through and touch others. When my light dims, it affects everyone around me. That is true for all of us. So I am learning to pay attention to when my light dims, seek out the reasons why, and figure out ways to remove the obstacles to my light shining as brightly as it possibly can.

My singing group, Sugartime, actually received some money this past weekend from two different retirement communities. Yahoo! It's peanuts in the scheme of things, but it does reimburse us for props and CD's and such. And it makes our hearts happy dance.

Still trying to balance singing, household responsibilities and writing two books. Seems as if the writing is what always gets sacrificed. It's like now that I told myself I'm retired so it doesn't really matter, I think I can let that go. Uh uh. It's one of the two things that most feeds my soul. But I can't seem to go to the deep place inside me that I need to go for this writing to emerge if I can a to-do list on my mind. Sigh!

I'm feeling a bit disconnected from bloggydom these days. So many people are high energy promoting their books and it's wonderful to watch and see that. At the same time, it makes me sad that I couldn't do that for my own book. I started blogging after my book came out and now it feels too late to do a book blog tour. But the truth is, my energy just isn't there for promoting "Following the Whispers" anymore. Perhaps whoever needed to read it has already found it. We'll just have to see.

How about you? Where is your energy being spent and is it in the right places?
Blessings,
Karen

Friday, October 22, 2010

Life is Fragile

Helen Ginger, over at http://straightfromhel.blogspot.com/ tagged me in a meme about handwriting. I am supposed to answer the eight questions, handwritten, and pass it along to other folks. Helen, thanks so much for thinking of me, but I am going to pass on this one. I have an awful handwriting, let's just leave it at that.

I didn't do my usual Telling the Truth Tuesday because of Alex's humongous internet blitz of his debut novel, so I am going to speak my truth today instead. Last Thursday, a very dear friend of ours was riding his bicycle with a buddy. The buddy was in front. Our friend, G, said, "I don't think I ate enough." A few minutes later, his buddy heard a thud. When he turned back, he found G unconscious on the ground. The paramedics arrived within five minutes and G was taken to the trauma center with a concussion, a bleeding brain, a broken collar bone, several fractured ribs, and one eye closed shut with muscle damage (thankfully, the vision  is not impaired).

It looks as if G will be all right, but it will be a long, slow recovery. What this brings home to me is how fragile life is and that it can turn on a dime. It doesn't mean we live life in fear of what will happen. For me, it reminds me to live each moment as best I can, as full out as I can, because you just don't know.

So I am asking myself if there are things I want to be doing that I'm not. Are there things I'm doing that I don't want to be doing and can I let go of them? Are there people in my life with whom I don't feel comfortable? Are they adding to my stress or relieving it? Can I do something about it?

Even if it means potentially hurting someone's feelings, I am scrutinizing my relationships and will be saying and doing the tough things I normally avoid. Because life is too short not to.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Blogger Buddy Alex Cavenaugh's debut launch

CassaStar by Alex J. Cavanaugh
We're going to skip Telling the Truth Tuesday in order to help out blogger buddy, Alex Cavanaugh. His debut novel, CassaStar, launches today.
All over bloggydom you will find hosts letting their readers know
about this exciting new science fiction/adventure/space opera.
ISBN 9780981621067 Dancing Lemur Press LLC

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…
Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard.

Much to Byron’s chagrin, the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential.

As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?

Library Journal says this about the novel:

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

You can view a book trailer here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67YBjQve00U

Links to purchase:

AMAZON - http://www.amazon.com/CassaStar-Alex-J-Cavanaugh/dp/0981621066
BARNES & NOBLE - http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/e/9780981621067/?itm=1&USRI=cassastar

Bio:

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He’s experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Currently he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

You can find Alex at his blog: http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/

Happy adventures, Alex...
Karen

Monday, October 11, 2010

Unplugged

I am out of town this week dealing with a family member's health issue. Before I left, however, hubs and I went to see the movie, Secretariat. I think everyone needs to embody the heart of a racehorse like this one. I don't usually recommend movies, but this one was so inspiring. Although I am not a fan of racehorsing, I remember getting caught up in these races in 1973. My son had just been born, I'd had two major abdominal surgeries within six weeks of each other and was recuperating and caring for a newborn when Secretariat won the triple crown. The horse was born to run - it's what he loved to do. And the owner, Penny, believed in him and in herself enough to fly in the face of everyone and do whatever it took to keep the horse. The message for us writers is the same. Keep doing what we believe in and write what we need to write if that is what we feel we were born to do.The outcome doesn't matter, although of course, with Secretariat, he was the greatest racehorse that ever lived. It's all about his heart and our hearts and listening to what's inside.

Wishing y'all  a great week and I'll be here again on Monday, 10/18.
Blessings,
Karen

Friday, October 8, 2010

Unplugging

Dear Readers,

Alex Cavanaugh http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/ was kind enough to give me this award. It so suits where I am right now. I've been to several parties and don't feel like talking to anyone. I am beginning to inhabit the time period I am writing in and my characters. I used to read about fiction writers and wonder what it might be like for this to happen. It is a bit weird. Thank you, Alex, for thinking of me.


On another note, I will be traveling next week to deal with my family member who is having health issues, so I will be unplugged until Monday, October 18. Be well everyone and I'll catch up when I return.
Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Telling the truth Tuesday - friendship

Our local newspaper, the Albuquerque Journal, which I don't read because, having grown up with the New York Times and then the Oregonian in Portland, OR, which are good newspapers, it's just, well...I don't want to sound like a snob or anything, but it just doesn't cut it. But once a month there is a supplement called SAGE, which contains articles for, by, and about women on womens' issues. I've written for them in the past and like the philosophy and approach. This Sunday, the feature article was about women and friendship.

It was perfect timing for that subject because it is an issue I have struggled with in the past and continue to have problems with even today. I don't know what is appropriate to expect from a friendship. How close is okay? How much intimacy? When do you step back? When do you confront? When do you just accept things as they are? When do you try to change things if they are not working for you? Actually, as I'm writing this, I'm realizing these issues are true in any relationship, not just friendship.

Sometimes people come together for a particular reason, there might be something in common that you can commiserate about, or an activity you both like. But what happens when the something in common disappears, or one or both no longer participate in the activity? Can the friendship survive.

As I pondered these things regarding one of my friendships, I realized something important about myself. I am a person who only feels connected to people when there is intimacy - and I don't mean sexual. I mean the kind of talks where you really open up and share how you feel and what you are grappling with. I don't expect these deep conversations every time there is communication, but I do want to know what is going on in the hearts and minds and souls of the people I care about.

But alas, not everyone wants this kind of intimacy. So I am faced with figuring out how to feel close and connected when those around me aren't disclosing their feelings. When they are only talking politics, or movies, or work. Recognizing the differences in people is key to having successful relationship. Learning to negotiate your way through challenges without insulting, yelling, demeaning or disrepecting each other is also crucial.

What does friendship mean to you? Am I alone in my need for this kind of intimacy in my close friendships?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday Musings

I'm not sure if there's anything much better than hanging out with friends. Friday night, we were invited to a potluck with 10 others, all of whom are close friends. After dinner, we watched a slide presentation of one family's six-week summer vacation trip to Egypt and Israel. Afterwards, we all sat around talking and drinking wine. To just BE, in the presence of people who love and accept you, no matter what, people who can tease you about eating at home before the potluck, people who can ask you if everything is all right because you seem withdrawn and quiet lately, people who care about the answer. It doesn't get better than that for me, because I didn't feel unconditional love from my family.

It is Balloon Fiesta time in Albuquerque. Crowded streets, way more traffic, restaurants filled to capacity. I no longer get up pre-dawn to get to the field in order to watch the balloons launch, although everyone should experience this at least once in their lives. But this year I did go to one of the adjunct events, the Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival to support a photographer friend exhibiting there. I am in awe of those with artistic ability. Their creativity is astounding.

Our dog, Buddy, is almost completely blind from cataracts. His diabetes and thyroid are under control, so he is is lovable, somewhat energetic self. But he can't see very well - it doesn't seem to bother him too much, but we can no longer take him to places he is unfamiliar with, which means leaving him home over Thanksgiving weekend. Isn't it funny how we can begin the grieving process long before someone we love leaves us?

I was told a story this weekend about someone who is 100 years old. When asked advice about living, this person said, I wake up every morning saying, "This is the best day of my life."

How's that for a way to approach each day?
Blessings,
Karen

Friday, October 1, 2010

Awareness, Acceptance, Action

I spent nine years attending 12-step meetings of Al-Anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings back in the 1980s. My parents weren't alcoholics, but they were so dysfunctional that I had many of the same characteristics children whose parents do drink have. Much of my healing journey comes from what occurred in those rooms where I heard others describe feeling the same way I did, teaching me that I was not alone. The healing happened from sharing my pain with others, listening to and empathizing with others, and learning tools for daily living. Slogans were one of those tools and one of my favorites is: Awareness, Acceptance, Action.

What this slogan taught me is that before I can do anything about a particular problem or issue, I must first become aware of it. That means doing some soul-searching. For example, with my 89-year-old friend for whom I am now doing some caregiving, I needed to really discern whose responsible for what regarding her caregiving. As her confused state disappeared and her mental functions appeared normal, I became aware that I was trying to control and fix her and that just isn't my job.

The second part of the slogan is acceptance, which is not resisting or trying to change the situation as it is. My friend did not want me involved in her finances beyond a certain level, and even though I feel she isn't doing enough to ensure the care of her handicapped, dependent adult daughter, I had to accept my friend's wishes. That doesn't mean I have to like it, but I have to accept it.

Lastly, comes action. Moving towards action before becoming fully aware and accepting a situation often means disastrous consequences. Once I accepted what is, I became clear about my own role and was able to step back and see that I was operating in old behavior mode, trying to control a situation that isn't mine to control and isn't possible to control anyway. Then I could utilize another favorite slogan, Let Go and Let God.

Awareness. Acceptance. Action.
What might you not be aware of or not accepting?
Blessings,
Karen

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