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, January 14, 2011

The Grapes of Wrath

I'd never seen the classic John Ford film "The Grapes of Wrath" before Tuesday nite, when hubs and I cuddled up to watch it. Made in 1940, it is a snapshot of itinerant sharecroppers, forced off the land their families had farmed for years. Many headed for California, lured by flyers promising work for high pay. To me, the mark of a great film is if I feel like I am a fly on the wall in the lives of real people, not actors portraying people. I carried the images for days afterwards and am still haunted by the extreme poverty and harshness these folks endured.

It made me think long and hard about life. If you read history, you realize life has always been hard. We have always had to endure hardship, draughts, floods, fires, plagues. Technology has made daily living easier, life itself--it's still hard. M. Scott Peck tells us that in the first sentence of his seminal book, "The Road Less Traveled." He says life is difficult and if you accept that, it gets easier.

For this reason, I'm going back to a way of living I'd forgotten for awhile and that is to have no expectations, which is different from having negative expectations. It doesn't mean expect the best or expect the worst. It means don't have expectations. Period. Just do the best you can and let go. You can't control what happens anyway, so why concern yourself with it. 

Truth is, we can't know what is to come, unless we're clairvoyant, which I'm not. So it's back to living life one day at a time--sometimes one minutes at a time, without projecting about the outcome.

How about you? Do you live life full of expectations, either negative or positive?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I try to expect good things, but I'm always prepared for the worst.

Vicki Rocho said...

I agree with you. It's not really an optimistic or pessimistic approach. It's more letting go and it DOES help. We expect so much every day. When we do something nice we expect people to say thank you and when they don't, we get aggravated. When we get a hair cut, we expect people to notice and when they don't, we worry it doesn't look nice. No expectations takes us away from all of that. Very freeing.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

All you can expect is the best from yourself.

Karen Walker said...

Alex, being prepared is the boy/girlscout thing to do, isn't it?
Vicki, yes, it is very freeing.
Diane, you are so very right.

Jules said...

Are you a fly on my wall? Yesterday I spent getting a biopsy and now am fighting expectations of the results. I am going for positive thinking :) Perfect timing my friend.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

KarenG said...

Expectations can really mess with one's head! Best to do without them altogether. Way to go, Karen, and hope this new attitude improves your year!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I love classic movies. Some really touch your heart.

You're post made me think about how important it is to live in the moment. Which is not to be confused with eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die, but more along the lines of enjoy where you are in life. Learn from it. And hope for a brighter future.

Karen Walker said...

Jules, good for you - I'll say some prayers.
KarenG, yup, that's my new motto - no expectations.
Kathi, hello and welcome. I love the classics as well. And yes, it is so important to live in the moment and if we're into expectations, either negative or positive, we're definitely not in the present moment. Thank you.

Sharon Lippincott said...

I've traveled far enough down my road to be able to look back, see points where I was totally stressed out, and see that everything worked out just fine. So I've decided that moving forward, I'll skip the stressing out part, insofar as possible, and enjoy the adventure rocks add to riding along the road.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I try not to have a lot of expectations because I know life can change for any of us in an instant. Living one day at a time seems smart to me, but I also believe that we need to work and prepare for that possibility we may be around this earth way longer than we expected. Can we do both at the same time? I think so.

Jen Chandler said...

You know, I've tried living without expectations but I just can't help it! I have a terrible habit of expecting really fabulous things ;) They don't always happen, but at least I'm looking for them so when they do, I won't miss them. Be prepared for the bad but always expect the good.