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

Friday, January 13, 2012

Little things

Years ago I realized I would probably never do or create anything magnificent. I was not a Gandhi or a Martin Luther King or a Joan of Arc. I wasn't really "great" at anything. But does that mean I'm insignificant? No. because it's the little things we do and say that make a large impact on those around us. When I realized I wouldn't ever be famous or "great," I made a decision to be the most loving Karen I could possibly be. That became a long, difficult journey to uncover the reasons I hated myself and and then finding ways to overcome that hatred and learn to love me. As I am able to do that, I am able to love others more as well.

So each day, I am working on the little things. Like not flashing "irritable" when something happens to annoy me. Or responding with kindness to rudeness (this one's hard, I must admit). Or smiling at a stranger even if I'm hurting inside.

Can you share some little things you do that make a difference?


P.S. I won't be able to respond to comments or visit you today as I am singing at a Senior Center today and then taking a friend out for her birthday. I'll check in some time over the weekend.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I hope that what I do online for others makes a difference.

Jenn June said...

This was a wonderful post, Karen. I know you've stopped by a couple times and left me comments and I'm sorry I haven't been able to be here more often. Today is a rare day for me when I actually have a day for myself and reading my favorite blogs is at the top of my list. I love that Steve Jobs quote you shared! It is so true that we can be discouraged and disuaded from persuing our dreams and the calling of our true spirit by the opinions of others. I'm working very hard to listen to my inner voice and, as you put it, follow the whispers. I, too, am on that journey of learning to love myself. I find that the more accepting I become of myself, the more empathetic, accepting and loving I am able to be toward others and the joy I am experienceing now, because of that, seems to feed off itself - growing and multiplying in ways I never imagined. The change of focus has been a wonderful thing for my life and opened many new opportunites for growth and communion with others. A couple days ago, I was approached by a writer who is about to (hopefully) publish her first novel and she wanted to use a photo I took and shared on my blog for the cover. I was so elated! I told my husband last night that even if the book doesn't get published, this will live in my memory as a very amazing experience. I may never be "expectional" or famous but I am finally happy. Cheers to that!

Joanne said...

I second Alex. I hope that in some small way, my blog inspires people to live what they love, some way, somehow.

April Plummer said...

Wow. "So each day, I am working on the little things. Like not flashing "irritable" when something happens to annoy me. Or responding with kindness to rudeness (this one's hard, I must admit). Or smiling at a stranger even if I'm hurting inside." That's exactly what I have been working on. I get thrown too easily when I lose control of a situation. I lose patience and take it out on those I love. Or, even working my day job, I'll get frustrated when my boss asks me to do something b/c it takes away from something I'd rather be doing. How wrong is that? Thanks for this post. It's good to know I'm not alone in this struggle...a struggle I know is worth it every time I remember to breathe rather than snap at my daughter or husband or coworker. And smile. I force myself to smile sometimes, even when I don't want to. Before you know it, the smile is real, and you've forgotten why you didn't want to smile before. :)

L.G.Smith said...

Let's face it, 99.99% of us aren't going to do anything on the greatness scale of MLK or Gandhi.

But I think helping where we can, meaning giving aid or comfort to those nearest to us we know are in need, can make a big difference.

Jen Chandler said...

Wonderful post, Karen. I believe the best thing any of us can do is to be the best US that we can be.

I try not to let traffic bother me. I try not to get emotionally involved in things that don't concern me. I try to do my best to fulfill my call in this life.

Have fun at the Senior Center and enjoy the time with you friend.


Southpaw said...

I try to be cheerful when I'm in a long line and I'm running later, etc. and smile. It's nice to get a smile back too.

Laura Eno said...

I think you nailed it. If we can bring a smile to someone else, we've achieved an act of greatness.

Tracy Jo said...

Karen, you have made a difference in my life...your blog was one of the first I ever started reading and the things you say...help. You are "great" in my eyes. Even the fact that you are able to look in the mirror and start the journey of love. Not everyone gets there. :-)

Tracy Makara said...

Karen, this is a powerful and empowering post. I think that you are being an awesome Karen :) In the end...that's all any of us can aspire to...being the best that we can be. I hope that you have a lovely evening singing and with your friend. Have a great weekend!

KarenG said...

I just want to take this post and keep it in my heart and mind forever.

Belle said...

Wonderful post. I'm trying to do the same thing. I used to get irritated at my hubby often, but I'm learning to let things go. They aren't worth getting mad about. I bought your book today. It will take me awhile to read it as i have three library books I have to finish yet. Hugs to you.

Tonja said...

Being a mommy has taught me to be less self-critical. I stood up for myself more, but try to do it in a way that's a good example to them. Now that they are a little older, they flash me a look when I do the wrong thing, so they definitely keep me in check. Don't be so hard on yourself, everyone has the right to be irritable. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for SUCH a lovely post, Karen!

Taking care of my daughter for over 25 years is what has helped me to love myself. Also, after living for almost 72 years, I no longer feel the compulsion to try to do *everything.* I've learned to slow down and be more patient as I've realized and still do what the *real* priorities in life are.

Having read your beautiful memoir, I will never forget the incredibly meaningful words, "Following the Whispers." We all must follow those whispers that define who we are in order, I think, to find inner peace.
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

Misha Gericke said...

That's an excellent way to live. I hope you enjoyed your singing. :-)

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Wonderful to read, hope you enjoyed the singing as well as writing.


Karen Walker said...

Alex, you most definitely do
Jenn, thank you so much for these lovely words and that is wonderful when someone recognizes something we've done and wants to use it - savor that!
Joanne, you do do just that and I love it!
April, so true - and it is lovely to not feel alone in our "stuff."
L.G., yup yup yup
Jen, traffic for me depends on my blood sugar level!LOL
Southpaw, oh, long lines - that's a really hard one for me.
Laura, lifting peoples' spirits is inspiring, ins't it?
Tracy Jo, you have made my day - thank you.
Tracy, thank you so much for these kind words
Karen, wow - thanks
Belle, it humbles me when someone says they've bought my book. Thank you for the vote of confidence.
Tonja, yes, it's different with small children. And truly, I'm not being hard on myself - it's just an awareness about a character flaw I'm working on
Ann, I've missed you - thanks for these loving words. I could say the same right back at you.
Misha, thank - and yes, I did! It was incredible.
Yvonne, I'll post about the experience on Monday.
Thanks everyone for these wonderful comments. You guys are the best.

Jules said...

It's the little things... ain't that the truth. Sometimes you don't have to do anything more than be there.

A great weekend to you. :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Marjorie said...

It seems like nothing, but the other day i let a man cut me in line because he had just few items and I had a basketful. I guess random acts of kindness help. I truly believe the person in this world we deserve love from the most is ourselves.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I try, although sometimes I don't feel like I'm succeeding. Where I see evidence most is in my speaking engagements. When the light comes on in someone's eyes, it's magical.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. love this idea - it is the little things ..

I am doing voluntary work up at the Nursing Centre - giving quite a few residents that extra bit of time ... quite a few of whom don't have many or any visitors ...

I try and be polite, kind, smiling and compassionate at all times - and that's not easy, nor was it my nature (well I wasn't awful) just quite self-centred ... I even got called how patient I was - that I've learnt from being around my mother, and elderly uncle before he died. Giving time to people probably is the most important thing ... I think - and it must have a smile adorning it ..

Bet your seniors love your singing and dancing .. if I did that they'd run far away .. and I guarantee you they'd find their legs again!!!

Cheers - enjoy the weekend .. Hilary