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, January 4, 2011

Telling the Truth Tuesday - Finding center

After being dealt a devastating blow near the end of 2010, I needed a break. I didn't know how badly I needed a break until I found myself on the cruise ship, no internet, no cell phone, just me, hubs, two friends, and 2300 strangers, floating on the Caribbean (or sometimes the Atlantic) and sometimes not floating, but rolling and pitching. Yes, I needed dramamine, but it worked!!

I feel as if I am at a crossroads in my life. I've accomplished so many of the things I've always wanted to do: Write and publish my memoir, sing and dance, be in a loving, healthy relationship, go to Europe, heal broken relationships, heal myself - just some of the major things on my list.

Each year around New Year's, I reflect on the past year and do an exercise by someone named Lakein. You take 3 minutes to write your lifetime goals as fast as you can, without thinking. Then you take 3 minutes to write 5 year goals. Then your goals if you knew you only had six months to live. It has never failed to help me get my priorities straight.

When I did the exercise this year, my six months to live answers surprised me. Here's what appeared: keep singing as long as possible, eat ice cream (I never eat it because I'm lactose intolerant), spent time with hubs and son, write my life lessons in a letter to my son to be read after I'm gone, see Greece and Turkey, and that there is nothing left to do but just BE.

I'm turning 62 in April and will begin collecting Social Security, since I'm not making any money as a writer. Jane Fonda calls this time her Third Act. My list tells me what's most important to me and what my priorities need to be. Now all I need do is BE.

What would your six months to live list look like?


AlexOngNYC said...

More laughter and love in all forms.
Continue to make peace with food and self-image.
Get out of my own way to create the life I've always dreamed.

Be well,

Breakfast Every Hour

Jules said...

Probably not change a thing and yet absorb as much as possible, I would hope in that 6 months to feel peace. I try to live my life with the idea that, "It is not how many things I touch but rather how many people I touch."

Your ask how I am. I'm in the same place as you my friend, reflecting, searching, surveying the crossroads. But I'm still smiling or least I try to.

A HUGE cyber HUG to you :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

You've given me some food for thought, Karen. That's definitely something that I need to take a look at, especially at the start of the year.

Hope things start looking up for you, Karen.

Karen Walker said...

Alex, love the idea of more laughter. And keep on keeping on with food and self-image - I lost 50 lbs 3 1/2 years ago and still maintaining - after a lifetime of yo yo weight. If I can do it, anyone can.
Jules, cyber hugs right back at ya.
Elizabeth, glad it made you ponder a bit. It always makes me sit up and take notice of how I'm spending my time and energy.

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Karen, this is a beautiful post. How wonderful that you've fulfilled most of your life dreams. Being, for me, is HUGE these days. Allowing myself to be who I am, who I'm not and shifting my focus from my day job to my 'job' being a writer.

I clicked over from Alex Ong's blog, nice to meet you! that rebel, Olivia

Karen Walker said...

Olivia, thank you so much. Welcome. It is nice to meet you as well.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My six months would include more time with friends and my wife.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm well into my Third Act and loving every minutes of it, Karen. If I only had six months...I'd write faster, eat more chocolate, drink more wine (and an occasional martini), give more hugs, and call my distant family members and friends more often. And maybe take one more trip to Paris...

Karen Walker said...

Thanks, Alex.Sounds good.
Patricia, yes,I'm with you on chocolate and the hugs. And Paris...hmmm maybe another question should be where I'd like to be during those six months.

Jessica Bell said...

What a great idea. (Yes, visit Greece! I'm here, let's have lunch! ;o)

Hmm .. what would I do?

Stop worrying about uspetting people and just do what I feel like because what I feel like doing shouldn't upset people - the people have weird issues. I gotta get a handle on that somehow ...

Karen Walker said...

Jessica, I'm going to hold you to that lunch....as for worrying about what others think--that gets easier as you get older, but I always think about my intentions. If my intentions have integrity, others' reactions are their problem.

Joanne said...

My family adopted an attitude last year that we've made permanent ... Keep it easy. I've found that it really keeps life, and my goals in perspective. So I'm hoping to move forward with my writing this year, and keep things easy and peaceful along the journey. Happy New Year Karen, all best in 2011!

Ann Best said...

This is a very thought-provoking post, Karen! How good you must feel at this point in your life. I have 8 years on you, but I hadn't yet thought about what I would do if I had only six months to live (maybe because I'm planning to live to 95 and that's 25 more years!! LoL).

I hope all of us ENJOY whatever we decide to do. And hey, Social Security at 62, great. I don't think anyone makes much money from writing books these days, but there IS the satisfaction of having written a GOOD book such as yours. It's an awesome accomplishment!!

The thought is out there among some of my followers, I've noticed: to just BE. I think this is a great goal.

Have a wonderful year. I look forward to continuing our "Blogger Friendship."

Stephen Tremp said...

I'd spend most of it on a warm sandy beach. I can visit the rest of the world online.

Helen Ginger said...

Mine would probably be to stop everything and spend time with family. Hold them close and let time march on.

Karen Walker said...

Joanne, love that - keep it easy - I always seem to complicate things unnecessarily. Thanks.
Ann, oh yes, enjoy what we do - that is so key
Stephen - warm sandy beach - hmmm - just left that to come back to frigid temps.
Helen, yes, I would stop most things as well and hold family and friends close as well.

Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

Karen, powerful post. I've had a chaotic last quarter--or last two years-- too, and have cleaned out ever drawer, closet, pantry, office, etc. that I have in my house. One to go, but hubby promises to do that so I can go back to writing. He's worn out just watching me! So--my goal this year is to complete and submit the two NIP on my desktop!Sylvia Dickey Smith

A War of Her Own

Jemi Fraser said...

Very, very powerful post, Karen. I love your list. Mine would be all about spending time with family and friends and making sure everyone would be taken care of when I'm gone.

Hope your 2011 is all about the positives :)

Linda Hoye said...

Six months? Easy. Quit work and move back to Canada to be close to the kids and grandkids.

Karen Walker said...

Sylvia, yes, clearing out clutter is important for me too. Good luck with your submissions.
Jemi, thanks. Yes, making sure everyone is taken care of is so important.
Linda, wow, no brainer for you, huh?

Jen Chandler said...

Happy New Year, Karen!

It sounds like you had a much needed rest at the end of the year. Good for you!

Six months, huh?

Easy: I'd quit my soul-sapping job, write my heart out and see the UK via hiking boots, taking notes along the way.

Jen xo

Janna Qualman said...

Beautiful, Karen! I admire you for your place in awareness right now.

I would live life deliberately, aware of each moment, making something count at every turn.