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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A-Z Challenge: Z - Zen

This is the last day of the a-z challenge. I want to thank all the hosts for putting this challenge together.  Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out 
Jeffrey Beesler at World of the Scribe 
Alex J. Cavanaugh at Alex J. Cavanaugh 
Jen Daiker at Unedited 
Candace Ganger at The Misadventures in Candyland 
Karen J Gowen at Coming Down the Mountain 
Talli Roland at Talli Roland 
Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs

My blog has grown in followers and commenters and I have met so many great, creative bloggers. 

For the last letter of the alphabet, "z," I've chosen the word zen. To me this word embodies the inner peace I have been striving to find my entire adult life. It means ridding oneself of the outer and inner clutter. It means connecting with Spirit and our Higher Selves and making choices and decisions from that place, rather than the place of fear or anger or discontent.

My life has become about getting to a zen place and staying there as long as possible. And finding ways to bring myself back to zen when I lose my way.

Have you found zen in your life? If so, how do you stay there?

A big fat thank you to all the a-z participants who have chosen to follow me. I hope we can stay connected.



Lauracea said...

I've never fully understood what zen is all about, but now I'm curious because I think I may well need it. Lovely to meet you Karen on the A-Z, it's been a great experience.

Claudia Moser said...

Amazing, I chose ZEN as well, isn't that simply funny :) And for sure we stay in touch, we were all brought together by a great idea and the blogging must go on :) Well done!

sue said...

Karen, congratulations, it's a real achievement, and a great feeling of success. I think for most of us a Zen state is very difficult to achieve for more than a short time, but is worth striving for. I look forward to dropping by your regular postings. Sue@JumpingAground (Alliteration & drabbles)
Sue@traverselife(Workplace bullying)

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Congrats for completing the challenge.
This one is every bit as excellent as the other 25,
Thank you also0 for your supp-ort to me.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. yay - zen to end the Challenge .. it is so difficult to experience zen .. I'm going in that direction .. but am not there yet.

Glad you have found it at times and can get yourself back to that serenity of life ..

Good to be here and no doubt see you around the blogosphere .. cheers Hilary

Pixiebaby said...

Hi Karen, really good post. I'm on a very similar path in my life. It's refreshing to have peace as a focus instead of the hustle bustle feeling of constantly trying to get somewhere or achieve something. Of course I still have achievements I'm aiming for, but it all seems to go so much smoother with the search for Zen in the forefront of it all. It's been so great meeting you through the challenge and I'll continue to follow you because I love your blog!

Darlene said...

Congratulations on making it to Z! I hope this doesn't make me sound "uppity", because I'm not trying to, but, I find peace by knowing and dwelling on Jesus Christ.

Odie Langley said...

I think we are all looking for it and need to have something to strive for.

Joanne said...

I've worked really hard to make my home that place of zen, for myself and my family. To me, that's so much of what home is all about.

Karen Walker said...

Sue, I've never studied zen, but I do think it is about inner peace.
Claudia, great minds think alike!
Sue, yes, zen is not easy to attain and I do think we can only achieve moments of it. I'm so grateful for those moments.
Yvonne, it's been wonderful getting to know you.
Hilary, ditto!
Darlene, not uppity at all - just your truth.
Odie, yes, yes
Joanne, your home must be a wonderful place to be.

Laura Eno said...

I find zen when I'm writing.
Congrats on completing the challenge and it's been wonderful to connect with you!

Ann said...

I find my zen in writing, in walking on the strand breathing in the sea air and seeing my children all sitting around the table laughing and joking together.

COngrats on a very insightful and thoughtful A-Z.

K.C. Woolf said...

I will definitely have more time for 'zen' in my life now the challenge is over. ;-)

I wouldn't have missed it for the world, though, or I might never have 'met' you and found your blog. I'm glad I did.

Thank you so much for your A to Z topics. Each one of them was insightful and inspiring, and makes me want to come back for more.

See you around!

Karen Walker said...

Laura, yes, writing does it for me as well. I'm so glad we connected.
Ann, oh yes, those sound like very zen-like moments.
K.C, yes, more time will be nice - I agree - I wouldn't have missed it either - then I might have missed you, too. Thank you.

Holly Ruggiero said...

Great questions. Learning to let the little things go and enjoying silly things like the blue-jay squawking outside.

Robyn Campbell said...

I find zen as I'm writing. Great posts, Karen. I never get upset anymore if Ivy (Our only girl out of seven.) wants to cut her hair in a style that I'm not particularly pleased with. It's just hair, after all. Sheesh. :-)

Pearson Report said...

Zen - what a meaningful "Z" word.

Being able to connect with "Spirit and our Higher Self" is wonderful and very enlightening.

Letting go of that which we cannot control, which is basically everything, and living in the absolute moment, is truly finding Zen.

About four years ago I found myself in a Buddhist temple and have never looked back.
Now, if I do any looking "back" it is purely to reflect on my journey and acknowledge the roads I have travelled to get where I am today.

I have immensely enjoyed finding and reading your blog - you are on my "reading list" so I will be back to visit, often.

Happy Thoughts,

Julie said...

Wonderful ending to the Challenge. Zen is something I'm working on as well, getting there!

Yay, we made it! Congratulations on making it to the end. I've really enjoyed your posts and look forward to keeping up with it. Best wishes!

Mary Aalgaard said...

Zen - through yoga, stretch, long soaks in the tub, coffee conversations with friends, journaling, creating, playing piano, working with students. Looks like I have many places to turn. Thanks!

Bish Denham said...

Zen...a lovely word, the search for enlightenment through meditation and other means of being self-aware. Jung's process of individuation is another means of getting there.

Working to be in a Zen state is a minute to minute thing. I am seeking the way.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

Awesome word. Congrats on making it to the end!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Karen, it has been very nice to meet you through A-Z! Zen is a good way to end the challenge, that is for sure. I have come to the point where I just have to avoid the toxic people that I am stuck with and stop with others that I am not.

To change my mood when things get bad, I try to remember to sing church songs. It helps!

Have a great weekend,

Kathy M.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Karen, we did it! Congratulations! I have an award for you!!

Manzanita said...

A great choice word to end with. What a fun trip this has been. I enjoyed you posts and will continue to do so. We'll stay connected.

Karen Walker said...

Holly, exactly, noticing those things like blue-jays. Awesome.
Robyn, what a great mommy that is to let her 7-year-old have her hair the way she wants.
Jenny, that's wonderful. I may need to look into Buddhism a bit more. I love the philosophy. Me, too your blog.
Julie, thanks, and ditto right back at ya.
Mary, love your list, except for coffee, mine is similar.
Bish, yes it is minute to minute for me as well.
Paul, congrats right back to you.
Oregon Gifts, getting rid of toxic people is a very zen thing to do, I think.
Elizabeth, why thank you so much. I'll head on over and pick it up.Congrats to you as well.
Manzanita, thank you - it has been fun. Definitely stay connected.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Yeah, I think I've finally reached a kind of zen now with my home life and personal.
So glad to have met you too!

Melissa Sarno said...

Congrats on finishing, Karen! I don't know if I've found complete zen in my life, but when I find those moments I want to hang on to them. Great word to end on :-)

Brianna said...

Congratulations on completing the challenge! I loved meeting you and plan to continue reading your blog regularly :)

I hope you'll stop by for a visit to my blog after the challenge to read a blog that's been written from my point of view rather than a Bible character ;)

Langley said...

Great Z choice. I'm trying to clear the clutter as well. Congratulations on finishing the A-Z Challenge.
Langley Writes about Writing

Ella said...

Congrats on crossing the finish line! I did Zen last year for Z! Nice way to wrap it all up~

Laurie Peel said...

I find snippets of Zen in my Tai Chi practice, and when I spend quiet time in nature.

So glad we connected through the A-Z challenge. Congrats on crossing the finish line with another great post.

Paula Martin said...

Congrats on completing the challenge, and thanks for visiting my blog!
Writing is my zen!

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Zen is such a great choice for a Z word! I'm a writer AND a yoga teacher, but that doesn't mean I can stay in "zen" all the time - in fact April was a totally out of zen experience and I am trying to find my way back. I made it through the A to Z challenge - it helped me stay grounded during a crazy time (see my T,U and V posts!!) I find zen in yoga practice often, but like many others who comment, I find zen most often in nature and by simply checking out from the world. look forward to your future posts. Stop by and visit me at http://writeryogini.blogspot.com

Karen Walker said...

Jennifer, that's wonderful.
Melissa, not sure who ever finds Zen and stays there unless we're Buddha or a Saint or something.
Brianna, thanks and will do
Langley, thanks.You, too.
Ellen, thanks, you, too
Laurie, I'm glad we connected as well. Tai Chi - hmm, maybe I'll look into that
Paula, thanks and you're welcome.
Melissa, thanks so much - glad things have calmed down.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Ann,Oh my gosh - Albuquerque1 If you are coming up to Santa Fe ever, let me know. If you want to take a yoga class, I can give you a free pass to a class at YogaSource! Oh - we have T'ai Chi too!