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, November 29, 2011

Telling the truth Tuesday - Adapting

When you get to be 62 years old, you hopefully learn a few things as you move through this journey called life. One of the thing I'm learning is to adapt. In fact, as I learn to incorporate meditation into my daily routine, my mantra is Adapt/let go. In the past, I had difficulty adapting. If things didn't go they way I wanted or expected, it threw me so off kilter, I couldn't get back. Then I learned to get back, but it was kicking and screaming all the way. Now, as soon as something doesn't go quite right, I shift my thinking, which shifts my feelings, which shifts my reacting to adapting. Isn't that cool?

But that's not all. Once you adapt, there is one more step. Letting go. You can't hold onto the way you wanted or expected things to be. You have to let go.  And in letting go, that is where the inner peace comes.

So, my dear friends, this is one more lesson in my journey towards inner peace. Adapt....let go....adapt....let go....adapt....let go.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Musings

Hello everyone,
hiking at Tent Rocks
Well, company is gone, Thanksgiving is over, it's time to get back to normal, whatever that is. All I know is that I am in some kind of transformational state. My reactions and responses are different--whereas before I might fly off the handle, now, I am aware of an intense emotional feeling but am not letting it loose. Here's what it feels like. All my life, I felt as if I were hiking a steep trail up a cliff with no guard rail, filled with jagged rocks and other hazards. Needed to be hyper-vigilant to feel safe. Now, it feels as if I am on a flat trail, no rocks or other hazards, no cliff.
park behind our home - early morning


Here are a few photos from my Thanksgiving break.


How about you? Are you walking a hazardous trail or one where you feel safe?


me and Clara at Tent Rocks

Hubs, me, Dennis and Clara - Tent Rocks

Tent Rocks State Park

Battleship Rock - Jemez Mountains


With many blessings and much gratitude,
Karen

Monday, November 21, 2011

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE. ENJOY THIS TIME WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND BE GRATEFUL FOR WHATEVER BLESSINGS YOU HAVE IN YOUR LIFE.

Karen

Friday, November 18, 2011

Good Friends

Some very dear friends are visiting from Portland, Oregon, where I lived before moving to Albuquerque in 1994. I am going to enjoy some quality time with them and my hubby during the Thanksgiving holiday, so I wish everyone a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving as a I take the next week off from blogging.

Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Telling the Truth Tuesday - a review of House of Diamonds by Karen Jones Gowen


House of Diamonds, by Karen Jones Gowen...a review
Usually, a novel has one protagonist the reader can focus on. You follow their journey step by step, wondering what they will do, what will happen to them. You can’t wait to turn the page to find out.
In Karen Gowen’s novel, House of Diamonds, it felt like there were four: Marcie, the mother of seven who secretly yearns to be a writer; Cindy, her sister, whose baby has a brain tumor; Baby Jordan, who has the brain tumor, and the Mormon Faith, which did, indeed, seem like a character in and of itself.
On the surface, it’s a story about a family and its every day travails. As an only child, I was fascinated by the details of what a day in the life of a family with seven children is like. It’s also a story about love and loss and death and grief and above all, Faith.
Gowen masterfully draws us into this family dynamic, showing us the internal and external struggles of both Marcie and Cindy, both as siblings and as individual women and as moms. It is heartwarming and poignant. 

To learn more about about Karen Jones Gowen and to purchase her novel, please visit: http://karenjonesgowen.blogspot.com/

Preorder print book House of Diamonds from the publisher's website and get Uncut Diamonds for free! 


Links: House of Diamonds for the Kindle   House of Diamonds for the Nook   

Summary:
In this sequel to Gowen’s debut novel, Uncut Diamonds, she follows sisters Cindy and Marcie as they reach a crossroads in their lives. House of Diamonds tells the story of two women, one facing opportunity the other tragedy. Can their bond endure?
Marcie pursues her dream of becoming a published writer while Cindy faces a terrible tragedy. In this gripping story of faith, loss and the transcending nature of sacrifice, Gowen gives voice to a beloved baby who has none. She shows the incredible power that comes to families when they pull together to overcome challenges. It is at these times that a house of pain can become a house of diamonds.

Website: karenjonesgowen.com
Blog:      Coming Down the Mountain: A Writer's Blog


The lovely Karen Jones Gowen
Here is some background information on Karen:

Born and raised in central Illinois, the daughter of a Methodist minister from Indiana and a school teacher from Nebraska, Karen has down-to-earth Midwestern roots.

She attended Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, then transferred to the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. After converting to Mormonism at the age of 20, she transferred to Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, where she met her future husband. She obtained her degree at BYU in English and American Literature.

Karen and Bruce have lived in Utah, Illinois, California and Washington, currently residing near Salt Lake City. They are the parents of ten children. Not surprisingly, family relationships are a recurring theme in Karen's writing. 



Blessings,
Karen




Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Musings - entering the new tech age

Well, I finally did it. On Friday, as part of helping Jessica Bell day, I posted on my blog about purchasing Jess's debut novel, String Bridge. When I went to do my part on Amazon and purchase the book, there, right in front of my eyes, were the adds for the different types of  Kindles. Well, I'd wanted to purchase Talli Rolland's book, which was only available on Kindle right now and I've been on the fence about e-readers for a long time, and if I signed up for the Amazon credit card, I got $40 off my purchase. Soooo, I bought a Kindle Touch and Jessica's book. And ordered Talli's book. So, I'm now part of the e-reader revolution.

I'm not ready to give up my paper books yet. I'll let you know how I feel reading books on a screen after I get it and read a few.

Also, on Friday, I got some insights into why the words aren't coming for my novel and it makes sense. There might be a change occurring with how I've structured it so far. So, another lesson in learning to trust this process I'm in.

What are you musing about today?
Blessings,
Karen

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Celery Tree is up and running

Karen Jones Gowen,http://karenjonesgowen.blogspot.com/ author of Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds, and just out, House of Diamonds, has launched a new service for both authors and readers. It is called Celery Tree, and it is a website where authors can sell their remaining books. It is a wonderful idea and I hope all of you will go check it out. Here is the link:http://celerytree.com/


Blessings,
Karen

Friday, November 11, 2011

Help Jessica Bell day

Today is THE day to help Jessica Bell's debut, STRING BRIDGE, hit the bestseller list on Amazon, and receive the all-original soundtrackMelody Hill: On the Other Sidewritten and performed by the author herself, for free!

All you have to do is purchase the book today (paperback, or eBook), November 11th, and then email the receipt to:


jessica.carmen.bell(at)gmail(dot)com


She will then email you a link to download the album at no extra cost!

Here's how you can purchase String Bridge:


To listen to samples of the soundtrack, visit iTunes.


If you are not familiar with String Bridge, check out the book trailer:



Rave Reviews for String Bridge:

Jessica Bell’s STRING BRIDGE strummed the fret of my veins, thrummed my blood into a mad rush, played me taut until the final page, yet with echoes still reverberating. A rhythmic debut with metrical tones of heavied dark, fleeting prisms of light, and finally, a burst of joy—just as with any good song, my hopeful heartbeat kept tempo with Bell’s narrative.~ Kathryn Magendie, author of Sweetie and Publishing Editor of Rose & Thorn Journal

“Poet and musician Jessica Bell's debut novel String Bridge is a rich exploration of desire, guilt, and the difficult balancing act of the modern woman. The writing is lyrical throughout, seamlessly integrating setting, character and plot in a musical structure that allows the reader to identify with Melody's growing insecurity as her world begins to unravel … String Bridge is a powerful debut from a promising writer, full of music, metaphor, and just a hint of magic.” ~ Magdalena Ball, author of Repulsion Thrust and Sleep Before Evening

Jessica Bell is a brilliant writer of great skill and depth. She doesn't pull back from the difficult scenes, from conflict, pain, intensity. She puts it all out there, no holds barred, no holding back. She knows how to craft a scene, how to develop character, how to create suspense. This is an absolutely brilliant debut novel. I look forward to reading her next novel, and next and next.” ~ Karen Jones Gowen, author of Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds and House of Diamonds




 Here's the blurb on the jacket flap...


Greek cuisine, smog and domestic drudgery was not the life Australian musician, Melody, was expecting when she married a Greek music promoter and settled in Athens, Greece. Keen to play in her new shoes, though, Melody trades her guitar for a ‘proper' career and her music for motherhood. That is, until she can bear it no longer and plots a return to the stage—and the person she used to be. However, the obstacles she faces along the way are nothing compared to the tragedy that awaits ....


I don't know about you, but I can't wait to get this book, so bye for now, I'm off to Amazon....
Karen






Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Telling the Truth Tuesday: a welcome change

Before I left on our trip to Greece and Turkey, I did some forgiveness work. There were several people from my past that I still hadn't forgiven in the deepest parts of my heart and soul. I had known for a long time I needed to do this work, but just wasn't ready. Then, suddenly I was. What I did and how I did it will remain private, but I certainly wasn't prepared for the soul-shattering experience of truly letting go of the feelings of anger and resentment I was still harboring. It felt as if my very cells and molecules were shifting. When they finished re-shuffling, I felt whole.

While walking through an ancient healing tunnel in Pergamon, Turkey, a whisper came, loud and clear: "You are healed." When I had some time to reflect and journal about this, I understood that it was a healing from the early childhood traumas and losing custody of my child. All the years I've spent on this spiritual and emotional healing journey brought me to this place of wholeness. Now, my Spirit can continue to expand from this new place, without the emotional baggage I've been carting around for 60 or so years.

I'll keep you posted on how it feels to move through my world from a place of wholeness rather than brokenness.

What's your truth today?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Musings: Being a writer

If you would ask 100 writers what being a writer means to them, you would get 100 different responses. True, there are some things that are the same for all of us. We each have ideas. We each put those ideas down on paper in our own way. We each agonize over those words. Okay, some of us agonize. Some probably don't, but I don't want to even know those people. We each hope in some secret part of our soul that our words will be read by others, hopefully in a published version.

To me, being a writer means I think about things in a different way than most of the people I know. I move through the world in a different way. My perspective is usually different than most. I used to feel other-worldly, like an alien from another planet. Now, I am embracing my uniqueness. Even if I am not writing any new words on my current projects, I know that I am a writer because, without writing, my world doesn't make sense.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Wonders of Turkey - final post of journey

These are shots from the ancient city of Troy. Back then, it was a port city. Now it lies about 4 kilometers from the sea. I cannot tell you how it felt to stand on the ground where perhaps the scenes of the Trojan War played out.
a portion of the original wall in city of Troy
the theater in Troy






Here is my hubby in front of a replica of the Trojan Horse. I just remember being in school and learning about Paris running off with Helen of Troy and how that began a 10-year war and thinking how romantic that was. Now I know better. There may be different reasons for wars beginning, but they are still happening. Have we learned nothing?

a tunnel from an ancient hospital
Here I am walking through a tunnel at the ruins of an ancient hospital in Pergamon. It was a major healing center at the time. One would arrive and be evaluated. If the healers thought they could help, you were accepted. If not, you were turned away. As you walked through the tunnel, the healers called down treatment instructions from up above. Then you went to a sleeping chamber to heal.


the home of the Virgin Mary after the Crucifixion


The calcium magic of Pamukale

 Pamukale was, indeed magical. There are hot springs atop the hills and an ancient Roman bath. We got to dip our feet in the hot springs, along with hundreds of other tourists.




Cappodocia
Cappodocia was one of the highlights of the trip for me. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I love rock and rock formations and it feeds my soul to clamber around on rocks - not rock climbing, just being with and on the rocks. Cappodocia is an other-worldly landscape and we were lucky enough to both walk around it and ride a hot air balloon over it.



a whirling dervish

Here is a monk doing a whirling dervish dance. Unbeknownst to me, it is part of a religious ritual. They perform part of the ritual so outsiders can get a feel for what they do. It was very special to get to see this. They are part of a sect founded by Rumi, and from what I understand, it is a very loving philosophy.



The Blue Mosque
 Here are hubs and me doing some Turkish folk dancing at a folklore experience. Do I need to tell you how fun that was?

At right is a shot of the Blue Mosque, one of the most stunning architectural achievements I have ever seen. When I entered, I teared up from the sheer beauty of the building, not to mention the spiritual peace I felt, not withstanding the hundreds of other visitors. Beauty does that to me.


Interior of Blue Mosque


Windsor Castle

We ended our trip by flying into London for one night. We arrived around 1 pm and as soon as we got to our hotel, which took some doing, we found our way to Windsor Castle by bus. It was well worth the effort. You are not allowed to take photos inside, but let me tell you, the Queen has one of the most extensive art collections in the world, and there are several amazing pieces of art here, along with the opulent furnishings and chandeliers and rugs. One of my favorite things was Queen Victoria's life-sized doll house.


hubs and me


A big fat sigh that the trip is over. When you have dreamt of something for practically your whole life and then it is over, there is somewhat of a letdown of energy. I guess it's time to dream up another adventure.

What are you dreaming???Blessings,Karen



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Insecurity versus conceited

When I was a little girl, my mother told me I shouldn't try to win at games because my opponents would feel bad. Now, as an adult, I can analyze that statement and see how odd it is for a parent to encourage their child to lose. The message I got was that it was better that I feel bad than to make someone else feel bad.

To be successful at anything, you must have the drive and ambition to succeed. Now admittedly, playing games is different than living life, working at a career, etc. In life, someone else doesn't have to lose in order for you to win. But the intention is the same. To emerge victorious.

My insecurities kept me from having the confidence in myself to "go for it." I felt "less than" in every way imaginable: looks, brains, athletic ability, creativity. The other extreme, though, is conceit. You know, the ones who strut about, knowing they are stunning, never questioning themselves, believing they are always right and perfect.

To me, somewhere in the middle is where I'd like to be. And I'm getting close. I know I can write. I know my words can touch other people. I also know I'm not the best writer in the world, and that's all right with me. I intend to be the best writer I can be. That's all we can ask for.

As for my insecurities. Some are still there. Others have left or shifted into some other energy. The ones that remain, I am learning to manage. Self-acceptance is key to inner peace and with self-acceptance comes acknowledgement that we have flaws as well as gifts. We're human, after all.

Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Telling the truth Tuesday - impact of travel

I'm going to take a break from posting pics from our trip and talk a bit about what this trip meant to me. I feel so blessed that my hubby and I are healthy enough and financially stable enough to make a trip like this. It wasn't always that way. In fact, this is the first trip I was not either vastly overweight or injured in some way. That meant I could walk as much as I needed to and was able to see everything I wanted to see--and more. I am so grateful.

When I was at the Oracle of Delphi, I received a message that I don't need to travel to far away places to find wisdom. Everything I need is right inside me. It validated what I'd already come to on my spiritual journey. You reach a certain point on the journey where you begin to trust your feelings, your instincts, your sense of right and wrong, your impressions of others, etc. It's not always easy.

Tomorrow I am facing the possibility of having to hurt someone because I have to make some decisions that are for my own good that will impact this person. It is very difficult when one's own needs conflict with the desires of someone we care about. But I have learned that to ignore what is good for me in order to please someone else, doesn't really work for either party.

Travel opens me up by allowing me to connect with the past as well as with other people and other cultures. It shows me that we are really all connected. There are more similarities than there are differences. If only we could find those commonalities rather than focusing on what sets us apart. I am equally at home in a synagogue, church, mosque, or out in nature practicing an Earth-based religion.

How does travel impact you?

Blessings,
Karen