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

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season. I'll be spending time with family and friends, and hope you are, too. See you again in 2012. Happy New Year!
Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Telling the Truth Tuesday: Getting Ready for the A-Z Challenge

The intrepid Arlee Bird has created a special blog totally devoted to the A-Z Challenge, a very successful blog hop. Today, you can find my reflections on last year's challenge. Please check it out here:
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

My truth today is that I'm not sure I'm up for that kind of challenge right now. My writing is sporadic at best and I don't want to put undo pressure on myself. On the other hand, I gained so many wonderful followers and made so many wonderful connections that I'm leery of skipping it. Thank goodness I don't have to decide until April. Right?

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Musings - Happy Chanukah

Just thought I'd throw Happy Chanukah wishes out there for all my Jewish friends. I love the lights of both Chanukah and Christmas because they both symbolize bringing in the light to the darkness of winter.

Blessings,
Karen

Friday, December 16, 2011

New Year's Exercise

Every year I do a special exercise for the new year. I got it from someone named Lakein back in the 1980's. You take a pad and pen and set a timer for 3 minutes and free write (without thinking) your lifetime goals. Stop. Set the timer for another 3 minutes and free write your three-year goals. Stop. Set the timer for another 3 minute and free write your goals if you knew you only had six months to live.
Gets my priority straight and clear every time.
How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Telling the truth Tuesday - I'm cranky and I don't know why

Do your moods shift in a nanosecond? Can you be happy and joyous one minute and snapping at your best friend the next? I've worked on myself for so many years now and I still haven't figured out why I can turn irritable so quickly. It's embarrassing. I know food plays a part - I'm hypoglycemic and if I don't eat every few hours, I get cranky. So I plan for that.

This past weekend, hubby and I were out running errands and we did something we don't do very often. Go out to eat together. A new Vietnamese restaurant opened several months ago with rave reviews and since Vietnamese is one of my faves, I wanted to check it out. But I don't eat out very often because every time I do, I gain 1-2 pounds and it takes a few weeks to get it back off. I have to be careful, because if I don't get it back off, the next time I will gain another 1-2 pounds and the next time, etc. etc. By monitoring this and doing what I need to do, I maintain my weight loss.

After the most delicious lunch, we went to the Apple Store, where I'm pretty sure hubby got my XMAS present. While he was doing that, I went to a little specialty shop where they have the cutest tops, unique ones you don't find anywhere else. The normal prices are $60-88, and I almost never buy anything. But on this day they were $15-24. I got four new awesome tops.

My mood, after being exhilarated for about a 1/2 hour at my wonderful bargains and my happy tummy, plummeted and remained there the rest of the weekend. The only thing I can figure is that I can't handle being happy for very long. Isn't that crazy? I think it is.

But when I think back to my childhood, my mother couldn't stand for me to be happy. She was jealous of my accomplishments. Don't think too harshly of her. She had a tough time and she did the best she could. Although, truthfully, her best wasn't up to snuff. I came to peace with all of this a long time ago, but it makes me sad that even now, I have trouble maintaining joy.

The good news is that with awareness comes the ability to shift my thinking and I'm working on that. For most of my life, I remained down in the dumps for very long periods of time, without knowing why.

So here's to feeling all the joy there is to feel in this holiday season.
With Blessings,
Karen

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Musings - dancing again!

Just had to share this photo, taken by a folk dancing friend, Simona. It's the ending to a favorite Israeli dance called Shir and it symbolizes pure joy!

What brings you pure, unadulterated joy?

Blessings,

Karen

Friday, December 9, 2011

Staying Healthy

This is a busy week for my singing trio, Sugartime, and my new singing duo, Serendipity. Oh, I probably forgot to mention I'm singing with another woman. She wanted to join Sugartime, but that didn't work out, so I'm singing with her, just the two of us. This week, Sugartime has two big special events where we are the entertainment. We're actually getting paid for these. Serendipity has one gig, today. But everyone around me is sick. Two friends have sinus infections. Another is in the hospital. A third got stomach flu. I'm kissing nobody, including my husband, taking homeopathic remedies, and basically staying home unless I have to go out for some reason. Just have to get through Saturday night.

What do you do to stay healthy in winter with all those germs running around looking for homes?

Blessings,
Karen

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Insecure Writers' Support Group - December

My insecurity has reached new heights. I posted on Friday about feeling all dried up. Nothing. Nada. Sometimes I tell myself I'm mulching. That makes me feel better for a few minutes. Then those voices, you know the ones I mean, start shouting, we told you so. You're no writer. Who did you think you were anyway. So you wrote and published one book. Ha. Means nothing. Bet you can't do another. You're too old to be doing this anyway. Doesn't matter that Whistler's mother painted at 90. Stop kidding yourself.

Then I get quiet and ask myself, who would I be if I don't write anymore. I could simply say I'm retired. It's legitimate. I'm going to be 63 in April. But am I done? Don't I have more to say? More to learn? More to figure out? More to communicate? I thought so. So why isn't it flowing? All I know is that I have to trust this process and hope that this dry place is temporary. And tell those nasty voices to go away. And perhaps quit trying to pin labels on me that make me crazy - if I'm a wife than I have to do "wifely" chores. If I'm a writer, I "have to" write. If I'm a mother, I have to "mother." Why can't I just be.....me?

Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Telling the Truth Tuesday - telling the truth

Last week I wrote about being all dried up. No new words in a long time for my novel. The next morning I woke up early with a thought about a new character. Then, yesterday, voila - two new paragraphs. It made me re-learn something I tend to forget. If I dig deep down inside of me and tell myself the truth about what is going on, the energy always shifts. Maybe not right away. But at some point, it does. This was the first time I didn't come down hard on myself for not writing, but simply rode the "all dried up" wave.

So, there's something else I'm feeling that I need to tell the truth about. It is very difficult to maintain my sense of well being and inner peace and joy when others around me are suffering. It's similar to being taught not to win at games because others will feel bad. Now, with games, I know it's ridiculous. But how do you keep smiling when you're face to face with someone's pain?

Thoughts?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Musings - String Bridge

I finished String Bridge Friday night and just had to write about it. I have come to know a lot of writers through the online community. I have read many of their books. Some I had to make myself finish just because I said I would. Then I had to find some nice things to say about a book I would not have purchased in the first place or ever finished. Others were good and I was honored to say so.

Jessica Bell's debut novel, String Bridge, took my breath away from the very first sentence and held me in awe until the very last. Jessica is the real deal. As a writer, I can talk about the characterizations and how rounded they were; the conflict and tension that was taut throughout; the metaphors that oozed off every page. But it is as a reader that makes the most difference, I think. And as a reader, Jessica's book did what I want every book I read to do, and few do these days. It had characters that I really cared about - characters I came to feel as real, characters who made me mad and whom I was really happy for when something went well for them. It had a story that spoke to me - one I could relate to. And it held my interest throughout.

I hope with all my heart that Jessica's life leads her to a place where she can devote all her time and energy to writing because it is clearly what she was  put on this earth to do.
Great writing is inspiring. And that's what String Bridge is and does.


Blessings,
Karen

Friday, December 2, 2011

All Dried Up

It's been weeks since I've written any new words on my novel. I feel all dried up. I don't know what's going on except that I'm not upset about it - not really. It's frustrating, though. I've never had writer's block and I don't think that's what this is. I'm supposed to be trusting myself and this process, but that gets hard when day after day, nothing is coming. It kind of feels like depression, only I don't have that cloak of heavy doom that depression feels like wrapped around my being. I'm just going to ride this one out a while longer and see what happens.

Ever feel all dried up?
Karen