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, March 30, 2012

Songs that move me blogfest

The spunky Diane Wolfe http://circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com/ is hosting her first blogfest today, Songs that inspire you. Diane is one of the first friends I made through blogging and she is just delightful. So please, check her blog out if you haven't already done so.

Here is the list of songs that inspire me:


  • Amazing Grace
  • You'll Never Walk Alone 
  • Make Someone Happy
  • Sunrise Sunset
  • Blowin' in the Wind
  • Somewhere
  • People
  • Danny Boy
  • I Believe
  • Climb Every Mountain
Happy Blogfest, Diane.
Karen

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Telling the Truth Tuesday - blogfests

Blogfests terrify me. I participated in the A-Z Challenge last year and it was totally awesome in terms of finding new blogging friends and increasing the number of followers. But I am working so hard on not worrying about increasing the number of followers and worrying about how many comments I get, and questioning whether a post spoke to people or not because hardly anyone left a comment and am I being a good enough blogging buddy because I don't visit all the blogs all the time. So I very rarely choose to participate in other blogfests, but then I think I'm not supporting my other blogging friends. You see why they terrify me?

So, this year, since the A-Z Challenge is about to begin, I am changing my attitude. I have written posts for each of the letters of the alphabet. They are scheduled to post. I have the link list in a page header on my blog so it will be easy for me to go down the list of participants. I will make every effort to respond to comments on my blog by checking out new bloggers and following where appropriate. I will get to as many participants as possible on a given day, each day. And then I have to let go and not judge myself or anyone else for that matter.

How about you? How do you handle blogfests?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Musings - Looking ahead versus being in the moment

I love planning ahead. I am a superb organizer and detail person and have always excelled and planning and executing things, both in my career and in my personal life. We plan vacations way in advance so there are no surprises at the last minute. Unexpected things stress me out so I try to minimize them.

I have a lot to look forward to this year--a lovely road trip with hubby to several national parks, a really close friend is getting married, Sugartime has lots of performances scheduled, and my writing is moving along nicely. But looking forward keeps me from being in the moment. So, I am learning to bring myself back to the here and now. And right now, this moment, my priority is to allow this novel to emerge. And to do that, I need to spend time with it each day.

How about you? Are you a planner or do you spend your time in the present moment?
Blessings,
Karen

Friday, March 23, 2012

Trust

A few posts ago I wrote about routines, questioning why, when I figure out something that works, I still find it difficult sometimes to make myself do what I know works. Part of it is that I get bored easily. But what it's really about is trust--trusting myself, trusting my process, and trusting the journey. Perhaps if, one day, I don't feel like writing, it just might be that I need more time to mull and allow my subconscious to work. And if I don't feel like exercising, it just might be that my body needs a day off.

There are good reasons I don't trust myself. But they are old reasons. Reasons that no longer matter. I am not the same person who made bad choices. It's time to refresh my internal computer, upload new software, use new applications, hmm, I like this metaphor. Oh how I wish it were that easy to refresh the tapes running through our heads. But bringing them out of the darkness and into the light of awareness is a great first step. So today, I am going to begin to trust myself.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Telling the Truth Tuesday - the truth about why I sing

Okay, my telling the truth Tuesday segment has been about telling the absolute truth. That doesn't mean I have to share every deep, dark secret I have. Oops, I've already done that in my memoir. But it does mean that if my telling the truth might help someone else discover theirs, so be it. I'm willing.

I'm re-reading Gary Zukav's "Seat of the Soul" and in it he talks about intention. About how getting clear about our real intentions helps us be more in touch with our soul's desires. So I asked myself why I go and sing in public when, according to one of my best friends, "you don't have the best voice in the world."

The top intention was, it makes me happy. Underneath that was, it brings the audience joy. But there was another intention lurking underneath those two. The little girl who still lives inside me--the one who was sexually abused at 7 and whose daddy called her a whore at 7 because she wore lipstick at her first dance recital and quit dancing after that--desperately wants someone to admire her and say, "Oh, Karen, you have a wonderful voice. You are so good."

Recognizing that this was a core, unconscious motivation perhaps paved the way for the relaxation that came on Friday because I could honor the little girl who was so hurt and so desperate for that kind of attention, but know that as a 63-year-old amateur, that may never happen and that is not the right intention to have. I simply have to be me and let my light shine.

What are you intentions in your life?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Musings: Being relaxed

I don't know why it happened, but it did. Last Friday, for the first time since I started Sugartime three years ago, I was totally and completely relaxed about everything related to doing a singing gig. In the beginning, it was having people look at me that threw me. I'd get so nervous, I'd stutter and go off pitch or my voice would crack. Then it was the equipment - I am techno-phobic so it took a very long time to understand which wires hook to which piece of equipment and what they all do. Until recently,the equipment still made me nervous because if something didn't work right after it was all hooked up, I didn't know what to do. Then there is the hauling of 14 pieces of equipment down the stairs in my house, into my car, out of my car, into the facility, setting up, tearing it down, putting it back in the car and hauling it home and back up the stairs and setting it up again.

On Friday, absolutely none of this mattered. I was relaxed as we hauled the equipment in, piece by piece (there was no cart to load it onto). I was relaxed as we set up. I was relaxed as we did sound check (which is the most challenging thing we do--trying to get all three headsets at equal volume). And I was more relaxed than ever before while singing.

All I did before I left for the gig was ask that my Light shine, meaning that I be centered inside myself and let my soul light, not my personality issues, shine through. My prayer was answered.

Are you relaxed about the things that are important to you?
Blessings,
Karen


Friday, March 16, 2012

Keeping to a routine that works

I find it odd that when I finally figure something out that works for me, it then becomes very difficult to continue doing it on a daily basis. What does that say about me? That I sabotage myself? That I can't sustain good feelings? That I am incapable of following through?

I found a daily routine that really fits me and my personality and my issues. Get up, eat breakfast, exercise (which I now call movement), shower, dress, meditate, write, practice singing, then blog. It works. If I do these things, in this particular order, I am done around lunchtime (this is if I wake at 6:30). I feel wonderful to have accomplished all these things by noon.

So why oh why do I do it Monday, Tuesday, then by Wednesday I'm deciding, oh maybe I'll blog first. Or I'll exercise later. Or, whatever stupid idea comes into my head to change it up. Then, of course, I don't exercise later and the writing is out the window for the day.

I am going to take my own advice and go inward with this dilemma to see what the triggers are that make me want to change what is working. I'll let you know what I discover.

Do any of you have a similar situation where you don't do what you know works?

Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Telling the Truth Tuesday - a new self-help tool

On Sunday I caught a few minutes of an Oprah show on her network called Soul Sunday. She had one of my favorite authors on, Gary Zukav, who wrote "Seat of the Soul." He was talking about the difference between our personality and our soul (or higher self). The negative emotions we feel such as jealousy, anger, fear, etc. are our personality. When we know we are spiritual, creative beings, it is our higher self operating. The new tool is about what to do when we catch our personalities behaving in ways we don't want. Zukav said to catch yourself when the impulse comes up to say or do something hurtful or destructive and rather then respond externally, go inward. There, search for the underlying cause of whatever triggered your negative feelings. It is almost always fear, and underneath that is powerlessness, and underneath that is unworthiness. This is brilliant folks stuff. What you do then is have the power to choose your response, rather than just go on automatic pilot. I just love this, don't you?

Blessings,
Karen

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Musings - I was lost and now I'm found

Sometimes depression is a good thing. It forces me to stop everything and go inward. I was feeling so lost.  It took such effort to make myself do anything. I began writing in my journal again, to try to get a handle on my thoughts and feelings and make some sense out of them. I realized that moving into one's "third act" as Jane Fonda calls it, is not something to take lightly. It is preparation for our final act. So I began asking myself questions like, is there anything that I'll regret not doing when I get to 90? What I discovered doesn't matter as much as taking the time to ponder the journey. A couple of things I found. I cannot stop writing. This novel is my spiritual work right now. Singing is important to the state of my soul. Having a morning routine that has priorities in the right order helps tremendously. And letting go of having to be "productive." I find if I'm "productive" in the morning, I can relax in the afternoon and watch a movie or read a book or just "zone out" if I feel like it. Yeah, retirement has its perks, doesn't it?

Blessings,
Karen

Friday, March 9, 2012

Reciprocation

Long ago, my friends and I came to an understanding. We wouldn't buy each other birthday or Christmas presents unless we really found something we wanted to purchase for the other person. We didn't want to do it just because we felt we had to. That has worked really well.

The same is true if someone does something nice for you or helps you out in some way. We then feel compelled to do something in return.

Reciprocation is nice, but does it need to be a requirement?

In the blogging world, it seems to be necessary to reciprocate. You follow me, I must follow you.You leave comments on my blog, I must comment on yours. You purchase my book and talk about it, I must purchase yours and do the same.

I think it all must come from a different place. A desire to want to help others, not a "should." Perhaps you follow me and I go to your blog and I don't relate at all to what you talk about there. Should I become a follower anyway? Isn't that ingenuous, because I probably won't come back to visit again.

I want to be a good blogging buddy. I have tried to purchase everyone's book with whom I have formed a connection - a continuous connection, not just a one or two time thing.

How do you all feel about reciprocation?

Blessings,
Karen

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group - March

What could make a writer more insecure than not writing at all? The mind just doesn't stop spinning those awful negative thoughts - maybe I'm not a writer after all; perhaps I'm a one-hit wonder; why bother trying, you'll never get an agent; and on and on. All this before you've written one word.

I've spent the last few weeks pondering whether I am still meant to write and the answer came, loudly and clearly. You get sick when you don't write, Karen - either physically or emotionally. My depression was partly due to not writing.

I think anyone who does anything in the arts has some insecurities. Either we're comparing ourselves to others and coming up short, or we're finding all our little flaws and neglecting our assets. But if we've chosen writing, or rather, if it has chosen us, which is much more likely, we must let go of all of that and just allow the words to flow from our hearts onto the page. I have gone back to my intention of writing for a minimum of 10 minutes a day. So far I write much longer than that, but I must do at least 10 minutes.
Insecurities, be damned.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Telling the Truth Tuesday - Getting off the roller coaster

Do you ever find yourself riding someone else's roller coaster ride? I mean, your emotions, your thoughts, your feelings are all about someone else, so if they are up, you're up, if they're down, you're down. Well, I was doing that for the past few months and I realized I can't do that - I'm no good for anyone. I'm on my own roller coaster and I can't be on two rides at the same time. What I need to do is wait at the bottom for the other person and either share their exhilaration or comfort them in their pain. Waiting can be hard, but definitely not harder than riding a ride that isn't mine.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Musings - having fun again

As many of you know, I had a rough patch there for awhile, but I slowly made my way back to myself and am once again having fun. Sugartime is going great guns - we've had several gigs that were just a blast and I am folk dancing about once a month so I don't blow my knee out too soon. Both of those things make my heart do a happy dance.

Another thing that's made a huge difference is I've changed my morning routine around. Before, I blogged first thing after breakfast, and before I knew it, the day was gone and I hadn't exercised or written a word. Now, right after eating, I exercise, only I'm not calling it that. I'm calling it "movement." Much more appealing, don't you think? Then I meditate to get myself into the right frame of mind to write.
Then I am free to blog and surf the net or whatever else I feel like doing.

It's fun having fun again. How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Friday, March 2, 2012

Energy

Whatever we do in life, it is the energy we bring to it that makes the experience whatever it will be. With my singing, I have to know the lyrics, the melody or harmony, choreography moves, put that all together, practice it, and then sing from my heart. With writing, I have to get myself into a meditative state and allow the words to flow from deep inside me. With friends and family and hubs, I have to show up, be fully present and conscious, listen well, share myself. With all of the above, a great deal of time and all of my energy is needed in order to have a full, rich experience.

I've noticed that with blogging, my energy isn't there anymore. Successful bloggers, those with 1,000 or more followers, put a lot of time and energy into it. My energy pie is pretty much divvied up according to priorities and there isn't any pie left for more than an hour of blogging time per day. I used to beat myself up because I didn't have X number of followers or get X number of comments (I still do occasionally) or if someone decided to unfollow me. That serves no purpose.

This blog is a place for me to share my thoughts and feelings about issues, topics or concerns I have related to this journey we call life. I need to think of it in the same way I thought about my memoir--that hopefully someone who needs to hear what I have to say will find their way to the words and to me. Otherwise, I need to let go and not try to hard. With singing, if I try too hard, my voice becomes gravelly and sounds as if I am straining. If I sing on the air of the breath and focus on what I am singing, the tone is clear and pure.

I am going to try to apply that to my writing here on this blog.
How about you? Where does blogging fit in your energy pie?

Blessings,
Karen