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

Monday, April 11, 2011

A-Z Challenge: I - If only

Do you spend a lot of time in the land if if only...if only I'd lose those 10 pounds, if only I'd told so and so exactly what I think, if only so and so liked me as much as I like them?

I spent most of my life in if only land and let me tell you, it keeps you from living life fully in the here and now. Because in if only land, you are either in the past wishing you'd done something different, or in the future, imagining what life will be if such and such happens.

I have to work very hard at staying present inside my skin. The easiest way for me to lose myself is to become unconscious. There are so many ways I do this - watching junk on TV, playing spider solitaire or mah jong solitaire (for hours).

One way I've taught myself to stay aware is to focus on details - what color shirt am I wearing, what is that person saying over there. This has actually helped me as a writer, to focus on specific details.

How about you? Are you living in the land of if only or are you right here with me?
Blessings,
Karen

30 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but only the present moment is mine,


Loved your post, great to read.
Yvonne,

L. Diane Wolfe said...

If only empowers the problem. We need to focus on the solution, not the problem. And yes, I wallow in it somettimes, too.

Jules said...

I'm right here with you but I do that unconscious thing as well. Thanks for the detail hint, I'll try to turn that up a notch :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Karen Walker said...

Love that, Yvonne. Thank you.
Diane, hadn't thought of it that way, but it does empower the problem.
Jules, yeah, helps me stay focused on right here, right now.
Karen

Lucy Adams said...

I don't ponder "If only" as much as I ponder "What if." It carries the same problems, however.

Lucy

Jingle said...

We do ponder if only...

insightful post.

Joanne said...

I'm right here with you, Karen. If-only, what-if, don't really accomplish anything. Seize the moment and own it :)

Angeline said...

I used to live very solidly in the world of 'if only', but these days, when an 'if only' slips back in there, I get up and do something.
I've achieved more in the past 18 months than I ever have, and I am loving it!

Darlene said...

I find myself spending time in If Only Land. It doesn't make me happy! I also spend too much time playing Spider Solitare! What a time waster, but I just KNOW I will win the next game. Thanks for those great hints on details. I definitely need work in that area! (I'm following you, too)

Ann said...

My Grandfather used to say, "If is an obstacle that stands in your way. And If it wasn't for If we'd be happy today."

I try to live in the now...but that pesky "If" does raise its ugly head more often than I care it too. Great post Karen.

Mara Nash said...

I spend too much time in If, but there have been times in my life when If was all that saved me from the despair of here and now, so for that I'm grateful.

However, the here and now has gotten much better in recent years, so that's good. But as a writer, If is an important place to access because it helps with inspiration and character building and plotting. The trick is to balance time in and out of If, right?

Thanks for visiting my blog. I finally managed to get "I" posted, too!

K.C. Woolf said...

I spend quite a bit of time in the past and even more in the future, but I do believe in putting effort in the now to make those dreams coming true.

It's like writing, isn't it: you gather what you've seen, read, experienced, heard, learnt ... in the past, and dream of the book it'll become in the future. But the creation happens right here, right now.

T C Mckee said...

I used to be a "If only" kind of person too. But life is way to short for that. I think we have to adopt a, "what if I don't" kind of attitude. Sure has made me a happier person. Thanks for visiting my blog. I followed you back;)

Sarah Allan said...

I try my best to stay out of "If Only" land. Sometimes it's difficult, sometimes it's easy, but no matter what, it helps to remember that there are some things you can change and some things you can't. Definitely have to keep perspective. Great "I" post, and you've gained a new follower!

Karen Walker said...

I am so glad to know I'm not the only one who wallowed in if only land. Yes, in writing what if works, but that's so different than if only. Thanks everyone for all the insightful comments and follows.
Karen

Jean said...

Mom always said "hindsight's 20/20" and she's right. Sad thing is most of us dwell on the past and ignore the present.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I try not to linger. Usually I just end up forgetting!

nutschell said...

If only's only make things worse. I find that it hurts my neck less when I look straight ahead, instead of looking back. Carpe diem! Seize the day! is a great motto.
nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Julie said...

Hi Karen! I love this post for "I," what a great choice. I spent way too much time in "if only" land, and I finally realized that all I was doing was draining my energy and holding myself back. This year I resolved to move out of that land and so far it's been wonderful, I hope I can stick to it.
Great to meet you! :)

Lynn said...

New A-Z follower - what a great post! Looking forward to reading more!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

What a thought-provoking post! The way I look at it, dwelling on the WHAT IFs and the IF ONLYs is like staring at the rear-view window while you're driving down the road. It's impossible to enjoy the ride or to appreciate what's coming if you're overly obsessed with what's already behind you. I mostly live in the here and now, but I enjoy occasional trips down memory lane, too.

Linda H. said...

I am a travelling. I go between the land of what ifs and being in the moment. Sometimes it is hard to stay HERE. But something usually reminds me and I pull myself back to the moment.

I enjoyed your post very much.

Dafeenah said...

I am more of a nomad. Traveling here and there. Sometimes in if only land and sometimes in reality. It just depends on what day of the week it is as to which place I am.

Thanks for stopping by!
Dafeenah

Gabriela Lessa said...

Oh, the "if onlys".... If only we could live without wondering what would've been....

Jemi Fraser said...

Intriguing post Karen. I don't think I've ever lived in if only land for long. Well, maybe for a while when I was a teen! :)

Jeanmarie Anaya said...

I agree with a previous poster that I am more of a "what if-er" than an "if only" type person. Sometimes what helps me is to flip the thought around....instead of thinking "What if my work is never published?", I'll force myself to think "What if it IS published? How great would that be?". Granted, it takes a certain mood for me to dig down for that kernel of positivity within me, but I try. ;)

Thanks for visiting my blog today! happy to have found yours too!

Arlee Bird said...

I sometimes consider the if-only's but I have come to realize that I am who I am now because of what was and I'm pretty content with where I am in my life and what I have. If I could go back and change anything in my life I don't think I'd mess with it because things might turn out worse and I wouldn't want to chance it.


Lee
Tossing It Out
Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

Anonymous said...

I lurked.
-Simona

Kylie said...

I've had a look around your blog and like much of what I read. I will be back I'm sure!

Brianna said...

I've spent too much time wondering 'if only.' But I have learned that it does more harm than good so I've made a conscious decision to stop that train of thought when it comes barreling down the track.