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, June 28, 2011
Saturday hubby had to work, so I took myself to the $1.50 theater and saw African Cats. It had come out on Earth Day this year, but I missed it. It follows two mother cats, one a Cheetah, and one a lioness, who live in Kenya on opposite sides of a river.
I'm in one of those serendipitous places in my life where books, movies, conversations, etc. can help me process whatever it is I am working on. Currently, that is a book on buddhism called "Awakening the Buddha Within." I am learning about the concept of impermanence and how everything in our life is like bubbles on a stream.
Seeing African Cats helped me get that in a visceral and visual way. Life there has so many hazards, seen and unseen. A pride of four male lions trying to overcome the one male lion who guards the lionesses and their cubs. The crocs lurking in the river. Hyenas, birds of prey. You get the idea.
Life is impermanent. So what are we going to do with the moments that we have? Me, I'm going to give my energy and attention to that which feeds my soul: my family and friends, Sugartime, and writing.
How about you?
Monday, June 27, 2011
I will be having a book blog tour to launch "Following the Whispers" as an e-book, beginning on 7/11/11. I hope you'll join me as I visit some of my favorite bloggers. Here is the schedule and topics:
7/11/11 - Spunk on a Stick: Managing Expectations
7/12/11 - Ann Best: Writing and White Hair
7/13/11 - Whole Latte Life: What I Love About Self-Publishing
7/14/11 - Pk Herzo: An interview with moi
7/15/11 - KarenG: to be determined
7/18/11 - Mystery Writing is Murder: Finding Balance While Juggling Life
7/19/11 - Thoughts in Progress: Finding Success as a Writer
7/20/11 - Tossing it Out: Do's and Don'ts When Writing Memoir
7/21/11 - StraightfromHel: Writing Memoir versus Writing Fiction - Is There a Difference?
7/22/11 - Alex J. Cavanaugh: 10 Ways To Maintain Sanity While Writing
In other news, Sugartime is having its 15 minutes of fame. Here is a link to an article which appeared in yesterday's Albuquerque Journal, special section Boomer Magazine. Hope you enjoy it. Sugartime story is on page 5 and continued on page 8. http://epaper.abqjournal.com/Olive/ODE/AJSPECIALS/Default.aspx?href=SP/2011/06/26
What are you musing about today?
Friday, June 24, 2011
There is so much going on in the music staff: how many beats to the measure, whether to play soft or loud, whether to crescendo or de-crescendo, whether to play the pedal or not. I'm finding that I don't see all the things that are there, telling me what to do. I can only focus on one or two elements at a time.
Isn't that a lot like life? We don't see everything there is to see, to follow, to listen to, to pay attention to. And life is also hard. In some ways, it gets easier as we get older, because we have more wisdom and experience dealing with the ups and downs. But in other ways it's harder because of the limitations that begin occurring.
My piano lessons are also teaching me patience, which is not one of my strongest virtues (that is the understatement of the century). I can't just look at a piece of music, sight-read it and play. I am having trouble recognizing the notes of the left hand. So I pluck away, one note at a time. Then, each day, I play that piece over and over. At some point, the notes are familiar and the music begins to sound like music.
I'm only up to songs like Alouette and Kumbayah, but hey, I'm playing songs on the piano. And loving the lessons--both for piano and for life.
How about you? What are you learning?
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I won't give anything else away, but it was fascinating to learn about Japanese culture and its attitudes about the body and death. It made me realize that our culture, although we might do similar things, does not treat dying and death with the kind of dignity and respect I would like. Hospice workers are an exception to this. The ones I've worked with are exceptional and do treat the patient with kindness and respect. But with retirement communities and assisted living facilities and nursing homes, our loved ones live with strangers, for the most part. We were lucky we could bring hubby's mom home to our house during her last month, and it was a sacred time for all of us.
The film has me thinking that each and every moment of each and every day is sacred. And how we speak to and treat one another should be sacred, too. Not just when someone is dying or has died. I don't want to take life or any one in it for granted. Not for one second. Departures taught me that.
Monday, June 20, 2011
My back had been twinging for a couple of weeks, but then, last week it twanged big time. I couldn't straighten it when I stood up. The spine is all about supporting the body and it got me thinking about support systems and how necessary they are to a healthy life. I think when we're younger, we take our healthy bodies for granted. I know I did. I abused mine with too much food for so many years. And I didn't exercise nearly enough.
Now that I'm 62 and keenly aware of the aging process, I have a deeper respect for the body and wish I could have a do-over. I'd take much better care of it. I have a physical therapist who does a kind of cranial sacral technique and it helped, but it's taking longer than it used to for my back to normalize again. In the meantime, I took the time to get quiet and do some journalling.
One of the strongest support systems in my life these days is this online writing community. All one has to do is mention an issue or a problem or a situation and dozens of responses pop up offering empathy, wisdom, advice, or just an acknowledgement, letting me know I was heard. Do you have any idea how valuable that is?
What are you musing about today?
Friday, June 17, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
I think it has something to do with personal boundaries. One of the effects of having been sexually abused as a young child is that boundaries are blurred. There is confusion about your body and your mind and your spirit and what is your responsibility and what isn't. You blame yourself for what happened long after you know it wasn't your fault. You feel responsible for fixing it, but you can't because you are six years old.
As an adult, if you haven't worked through these issues, these same kinds of boundaries can surface. I have worked on them - a lot. Yet sometimes something bubbles to the surface where I take responsibility for something that isn't mine. It starts with empathy - you are in pain over something in your life. I want to help you feel better. I start by listening. Then, before I know it, if I don't remain conscious inside my own skin, I am offering advice, telling you how to deal with it, and trying to take over your process.
Detachment. They used to say in the Al-Anon program, Detach With Love. Listening is where I must start. And stop. Don't offer anything. Unless I'm asked. Just my ears and a part of my heart.
How about you? Are you able to detach when those you love are in pain?
Monday, June 13, 2011
You guys asked for it - here I am in all my red-headed glory, getting ready to do a Sugartime gig. Why does being a red-head show up so many more freckles??
I don't know if it's the smoke and ash and haze from the Wallow Fire in Arizona that has cast it's spell over Albuquerque, or just the fact that it's hot, but I am feeling so darn lazy. I can remember being a kid in Queens, NYC, and playing hopscotch and catch and tag in 90+ degree heat, with humidity.
Now, mustering energy to get into my car to run errands is difficult. There are air quality warnings not to be outside unless you have to. I can only imagine what it is like in Arizona, in close proximity to the fire. We are 200 miles away and it is bad. They say it's like smoking heavily over a short period of time. Our poor lungs.
But summer always meant a time for slowing down after a hard year of school work. So perhaps it is nature's way of telling us to take it easy. Since I am feeling more inner peace and contentment, I am putting down the whips I perpetually wield on myself that I'm not doing enough. Whatever I accomplish in a day is just fine. It is a new space for me--not to give myself a hard time. Thanks to all of you who told me not to over-think the new-found contentment and just enjoy the ride. I am.
What are you musing about today?
By the way, if you don't know, check out these photos of a volcanic eruption in Chile. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1394503/Chile-volcano-causes-ash-cloud-lightning-tears-sky-apart.html
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Karen's book is a slight departure from traditional memoir in that it is not a memoir of Karen's life, but that of her mother, Lucille Marker Jones. As Karen explains in her introduction, there were good reasons for this, as she wanted her mother's "voice" to come through, not her own. She succeeded brilliantly.
What struck me most was the authenticity which came through as a result of the family photos sprinkled liberally throughout the book, as well as in the exquisite, lyrical detail in the narrative.
Karen couldn't have bestowed a finer blessing on her mother than honoring her in this way by shining a light on this particular time and this particular place and on this particular young "farm girl." And for me, New York City born and bred, it was eye-opening and profound.
Please check out Karen's blog: http://karenjonesgowen.blogspot.com/, if you haven't already done so, where you can purchase Farm Girl, as well as Karen's other book, Uncut Diamonds.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
You can find Ann blogging at: http://annbest-jen.blogspot.com/ to find out how to purchase her memoir. You won't be sorry.
P.S. Please don't forget to stop by on Friday, 6/10 for a guest post by Elizabeth Spann Craig. She's going to talk about staying encouraged during the querying process.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
How about you? How are you feeling today?
Monday, June 6, 2011
Elizabeth always has sage advice for us. I especially love when she ties writing to things that are happening in her own life as lessons for us.
Elizabeth will write here on Friday as part of her blog tour promoting her new book, Finger Lickin' Dead. Her post will help us with staying motivated through rejections. I can't wait and I know you won't be sorry if you come back and meet Elizabeth.
In the meantime, my Monday musings....
Thursday night Sugartime "auditioned" (I have never auditioned for anything in my life) to be part of a community theater production of "Radio Days." After two short 15-minute pieces, Sugartime will sing three songs from that era. Then the production finishes with a 30-minute piece. We were referred to the theater company by one of the activity directors of a retirement community where we sing on a regular basis. The nice thing about it is we will get to have the experience of singing on a live theater stage, which fulfills my childhood fantasy of wanting to sing in Broadway musicals. Of course, this isn't Broadway, but we can still fantasize, can't we???
What are you all musing about today?
Friday, June 3, 2011
With no surgery on the horizon, I am hoping I can shift my energy and attention back to this voice which came to me in Ireland and asked me to tell its story. I've got 12,000+ plus words so far; the story is emerging, albeit slowly. Why is it so difficult to allow myself to get into a meditative state in order to write. What am I afraid of? It feels so wonderful when I do it, it just doesn't make sense that I'd resist, but I do. Any thoughts?
The lazy, hazy days of summer are a perfect opportunity to hunker down and get this story flowing on a regular basis.
How about you? What are you plans for the summer?