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 21, 2011


On turning 62
It’s funny how when I tune into things spiritual the right word or phrase or book or movie appears and I hear something that propels me forward from the stuck place. I picked up Sue Monk Kidd’s memoir, Traveling with Pomegrantes, a memoir she wrote with her daughter during a time when they were both trying to find themselves and their way back to each other. Monk is describing her journey from perimenopause to menopause and it is all about death and rebirth. Her daughter is trying to find what she is meant to do with her life.
I find I am in both places at once. I’ve gone thru menopause, although I’m still having hot flashes - perhaps I always will - my mom did. I am trying to find what gives my life meaning and what feeds my soul while grappling with the physical, emotional and psychological changes that are occurring as I move into this next phase of my life.
In a book on Kaballah, it says death comes when one can no longer grow spiritually. That tells me that our purpose here is spiritual growth. We are here for our souls to evolve to wherever it is they are supposed to evolve to. That is so freeing in some ways because it truly is out of my hands.
When I think about those on social security, I think about older people. But now I’m one of those older ones. I know people say 60 is the new 40, yada yada, but the truth is, in our society, 62 is getting up there. I no longer have parents and only have one aunt of my parents’ generation left alive. Once she’s gone, I am the eldest one in my family.
Since I met JR back in 1975, I had become someone who was on a quest to grow and change. I will forever be grateful to him for lighting the way to a path of healing. That growth continues. I still have much to learn. 
I have grown so much quieter inside myself that I no longer know the me I’ve known my whole life. The chatter inside my head, the nattering that doubts everything and questions whether people love me or what have I done to make so and so pull away -- that nattering has pretty much gone away. That leaves space, inside my mind, the space of time to fill, the space of blank pages, the space of energy that is stagnant right now. Aha! No wonder the two pounds are not shifting. It’s because my energy is stagnant. That is why it is important to move each day. 
Kidd, in her memoir, says the key is giving consent to the death of whatever. I knew that, but I’d forgotten. It’s hard because I’m dreading what comes with true old age. Like what will life be like when I can’t open a can by myself or drive any more or read and write. What if I can’t remember phone numbers and passwords on the computer. I don’t like to think about that, but some of those things are probably going to happen. But that is projection. That is not living in the moment. Right here, right now, in this moment, I am fully functioning, despite pain in my left knee. So what am I going to do with this space? To be continued....



L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's why you write, Karen - so you will remember.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I love your thoughts about living in the moment--that's exactly what I want to do and rarely seem to be able to.

Jules said...

I know I'm your junior but dang it if we don't have the same mind set. I use to say,"born in diapers, back to diapers the circle of life." The diaper aisle now scares me :)

I wish you a peaceful, spaced filled weekend :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Karen Walker said...

Diane, oh, that's right, isn't it?
Elizabeth, it is so hard, but I'm trying.
Jules, same back at ya!

Sharon Lippincott said...

"That which I fear has come upon me."

Set aside those fears lest you bring them upon you!

I agree that 60+ does bring changes, and perhaps due to my choice to spend huge chunks of time sitting at my warm desk rather than shoveling snow, I don't have the stamina I did thirty years ago. But not everyone has the problems you describe. My dad turned 90 a month ago. He still lives alone in his house, fixes his own meals from food he drives himself to the store to buy, and he has no more password problems than I do. His computer and software are newer than mine, and we often compare tips on Photoshop technique.

My mother-in-law lost the ability to read about a year ago -- she's 98 now. She still lives in her own apartment, though she does eat dinner in her retirement community dining room. She was 95 when she quit driving.

I can't imagine what the world may be like more than five years ahead. Why worry?

Karen Walker said...

Thanks, Sharon. Yes, I know a few elders like the ones you describe here. They are definitely my role models.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Beautiful, simply beautiful. We all share that fear of growing old and of death - it's part of the human experience. How we treasure ourselves and others and nature and each moment is the real test of life; how we manifest our souls in the world is the real beauty of the human experience. The precious present. That is all life ever is.

Joanne said...

I think it's important to keep growing in many ways, too. To be in touch with society, with technology, with current trends and events. To resist and say that we prefer the old way is a way of staying in one place and being left behind. So keep learning, keep asking questions, and be inspired by the answers.

N. R. Williams said...

Nice to meet you. It's so true, my circle seems to be a little bigger right now.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sixty two is NOT old, Karen! You still have thirty to forty more years in you.

Karen Walker said...

Debra, coming from you, that means a lot.
Joanne, yes, continuing to grow and learn is crucial as we age.
Hey there, Nancy, thanks for dropping by. I've been in awe of your book tour.
Alex, I know, I know it's not old. I actually still feel quite young. It's just the whole notion of collecting social security that's thrown me into these reflections.

Jemi Fraser said...

I always feel better and stronger when I visit here. You give me that. Thank you :)

Karen Walker said...

Jemi, makes my heart very happy to hear that. Thank you.

Tabitha Bird said...

Live. That's what you'll do with your space. You will live and because you are Karen, you will likely inspire a great many others while you do it. :)

Karen Gowen said...

Well my mom was 93 when she died and she never felt old, until the last few months after her strokes. She never complained or talked about age she was young at heart and full of vitality. She says it was the vitamins but I think it was her attitude. That's how I want to be, kickin' it into my later years!