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, February 28, 2011

Monday Musings - baby magic

There's nothing like cuddling with a cooing seven-month-old baby to cure all ills. And on top of that, soaking in hot mineral springs and a great massage, and I'm feeling back to myself for the first time in a long time. Drove 8 hours by myself from Denver airport home to Albuquerque yesterday and I'm quite tired, so this will be short and sweet, but I'll be back tomorrow, catching up with all of you.

Blessings,
Karen

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Musings: girl trip adventure

This is a short week for me. On Thursday, two sisters-in-law arrive and we take off to Ojo Caliente, a natural mineral and hot springs resort and spa in Northern New Mexico. It's one of my favorite places on the planet. There we will soak and get massages, then on Friday, drive to Denver to meet a new member of our family. She's seven months old, but I haven't met her yet. Can't wait.
Sooo, won't be blogging on Friday this week.

The weekend was lovely. So nice to have hubby back home. We caught up with each other, watched some flicks, went folkdancing Saturday night, and talked through vacation options for the year.

My life is pretty uninteresting right now. No major crises, a few body issues here and there, but nothing major. I don't have much to blog about. Soo, given that, I think I'll skip Telling the Truth Tuesday as well as Friday and just take a much-needed break.

Catch up with all of you next Monday.
Blessings,
Karen

Friday, February 18, 2011

Beating the Blahs

I want to thank everyone who commented on my Telling the truth Tuesday blog - am I depressed? The responses were loving, thoughtful, kind and very wise. I have come to the conclusion this is not depression. It's just a period of low energy. Perhaps I am re-charging after some difficult life changes which occurred at the end of the year. Rather than worry about why, I am focusing on what I need to do in each and every moment. The advice I received to get physical is helping. I'm making sure I walk or dance every day. I am eating healthily. I am singing, which, even if I don't feel like it before, once we begin practicing, my soul soars.

Part of the reason for the blahs is my writing. For 10 years, my memoir occupied every waking (and some sleeping) moments. I was energized by it. Then came publishing. I was energized by that.  I'm not feeling that way about my current projects, however. They are very different. I knew the story for my memoir. I'd lived it. Creating something from absolutely nothing - honestly, I don't know how you fiction writers do it when there is no plot, no story line to follow. Each day, I need to go deep inside myself and connect with the characters and see what they have to tell me. Sometimes a few paragraphs happen. Sometimes nothing. I am learning to be content with this.

This life transition from super productive to just being is challenging. I find myself looking for things to take charge of, then I have to remind myself not to do that. There are enough people and things that will need my attention without my looking for them.

Anyhoo, I am, for the moment, beating the blahs. How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Telling the truth Tuesday - Am I depressed?

I'm having a very hard time making myself do anything - exercise, practice singing, write, see a friend, feed the dog. It's as if all the energy has been sapped out of me. I don't feel this way every minute of every day, but I do feel this way a good bit of the time.

I'm having a hard time figuring out if it's mental or physical. I did go to the doctor and had some blood work done  - no results yet. I have been depressed before and somehow this doesn't feel the same.
In the past, I've felt this way when something in my soul wants me to pay attention. Perhaps I'll use these next few days while hubs is out of town to do some journal writing and explore.

In the meantime, I do make myself do all the things I need to be doing each day, so no worries, please. I'm okay. I'm just doing what I do, exploring myself and what it means to be me.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday musings: adrift

Hubby left this morning for a business trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. He won't return till late Thursday night. Aside from missing him, it makes it difficult with our dog, Buddy, because hubs is the one who gives Buddy insulin injections twice a day. If I did it, I'd pass out. I have to ask a neighbor to come in morning and night to do it, and I hate asking for favors.

I like the word adrift. It makes me think of a small boat just floating aimlessly along with the current. When the current shifts, the boat turns. Don't have to row it or motor it, it just moves with the current. That is what I am trying to do more of in my life: move with the energy current inside me in any given moment. Sometimes that energy yields some words on my novel. I am ecstatic when that happens. Sometimes that energy yields a nonfiction piece or a blog post idea. Sometimes the energy encourages me to get up and move, and I either dance for a half hour or walk outside behind our home. Sometimes it urges me to stay home, even if I have plans to meet a friend. If I don't pay attention to that urge, I sometimes get sick.

Paying attention to and trusting that energy is my life's work right now.
How about you?

Blessings,
Karen

P.S.
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY EVERYONE. IF YOU DON'T HAVE A LOVED ONE TO SHARE IT WITH, DO SOMETHING LOVING FOR YOURSELF. YOU DESERVE IT.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Outsider

At least two different bloggers that I know of wrote about being an outsider this week. It is something I've written about before and something I think about a lot because it is something I feel frequently. I've always thought this was a flaw in me. Now I know differently. It's part of what makes me me. I want to thank Dani Shapiro http://danishapiro.com/ and Tabitha Bird http://tabithabird.blogspot.com/ for their take on this. Both posts helped me move closer towards accepting myself just as I am.

When I was a child, I looked at other families and wished I belonged there. When I would see friends laughing and giggling together, I wished I belonged there. When I saw couples who seemed to be deeply in love, I wish I belonged there. When I saw a mother/father/child out together, enjoying each other immensely, I wish I belonged there.

For a long time I sought the answer to where I belonged, where I fit in. Now I know that although I am not always comfortable or happy, I am exactly where I belong--right inside my own skin in a world I get to create by my choices. I still feel like an outsider, but it no longer makes me feel freakish or as if there is something wrong with me. I think we are all outsiders to some degree or another. Some of us act as if a whole lot better than others of us.

What about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Telling the Truth Tuesday - "You cheered us up."

You all probably know I sing in a trio, Sugartime. We perform at retirement communities. This past Friday, we sang at a facility we hadn't been to before. We're always nervous - are they going to like our repertoire, our voices, us? After we finish our program, we always go out to the audience and say hello to each and every person, thanking them for coming. One woman said, "Thank you, my dear. You cheered us up."

Bingo! That is why we do this. Why we spend hours choosing songs we think they will like and balancing that with songs we want to sing (not an easy task). Our mission is to bring the joy we feel singing to those who can't get out and hear music any more. Another lady, who smiled through the whole performance, said her husband used to play piano and their girls would sing along.

What a blessing it is that even though I am not the best singer on the planet, I get to do something I love and cheer people up in the process. More and more, I am wanting to focus on the things that bring me joy and let go of the things that don't. And sometimes that includes people I have been close to.
There is just so much time and energy and I am becoming very protective of how I spend both.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Musings: Entering the Magic Circle...Writing for My Life

My article, Entering the Magic Circle...Writing for my Life, is in the February issue of Talking Writing, on virtual stands today at:
http://talkingwriting.com/. Please take a few moments to check it out.

It felt so good to exercise these particular writing muscles. Had not written an article in quite a long time. For those of you that don't know, I had a 30+ year career in public relations, and so wrote lots of articles, mostly with other peoples' names on them.

The folks at Talking Writing have put together a quality publication. The whole experience was extremely professional, including editorial suggestions and copy editing. I strongly urge those of you interested in doing this kind of writing to check it out and submit your ideas.

Blessings,
Karen

Friday, February 4, 2011

Good days and Bad days

I think we all have our good days and our bad days. I've been thinking about this lately and trying to determine for me, what makes a good day or a bad day. Here's what I've discovered so far:

  • It's a potentially bad day when I get on the scale and have gained a wee bit despite eating the way I always eat and didn't gain before. If I can't let go about this, it becomes a bad day.
  • It's a good day when I do what I set out to do. I have 4 main things I want to accomplish each day: 1) exercise; 2) blog; 3) practice singing; and 4) write. If I do all these things, it's a good day. If I don't, guess what? If I can't let go about this, it becomes a bad day.
  • It's a bad day if I haven't slept well. This means at least six hours of semi-uninterrupted sleep. This rarely happens, so I can potentially have many bad days - UNLESS - I can let go about it.
  • It's a bad day if I begin ruminating about things I have no control over - like other peoples' illnesses or emotional pain. If I can't let go about this, it becomes a bad day.
  • It's a bad day if I let my various and sundry aches and pains get me down. My knee hurts pretty continuously just now. My right thumb is acting funky and is painful. My lower back aches. Since I have to wait another two weeks to see my doctor, this could potentially be several bad days in a row, unless I can let go and focus on all the blessings instead.
Can you see the pattern here? Letting go is crucial for me in determining my mental health in any given moment. I get to choose whether it's a good day or a bad day. It doesn't just happen. So accepting that I can't control events or outcomes but I can determine how I respond to them is a fundamental lesson I am continuing to learn.

How about you? Do you have good and bad days? And if so, how do you handle them?
Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Telling the truth tuesday - cooking

I am not the greatest housewife on the planet. Far from it. I have lower back problems, so I hire someone to clean my house once every three weeks. I don't enjoy shopping for groceries and I don't enjoy cooking either. Wish I did. Wish I could make myself get into the joy of lovingly preparing food for my loved ones. But that gene is missing from my DNA. So I make simple things like meatloaf, pork loin roasts, pork chops slow cooked in the crockpot, things that will last several days so I only have to cook once a week.

I know hubs would prefer a fresh-cooked meal each night, something different, but after 15 years together, he totally accepts this wifely flaw. We kid around that when he retires in about seven years, we'll cook together. But since this is telling the truth Tuesday, I can tell you that probably won't happen. The gender roles will shift and he will do the cooking while I most decidedly will not be fixing things around the house. I will be reclining with my cup of tea, my blankie and a good book. Or I'll be engrossed with my laptop, writing, blogging, or playing spider solitaire.

Your turn now, fess up. Any of your roles or chores you despise?
Blessings,
Karen