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, April 30, 2013

Telling the Truth Tuesday: Reactive versus Proactive

I am reading a book on ancient mysticism. It says that a major step towards spiritual enlightenment is to become proactive rather than reactive. What that means is that all those negative emotions, like jealousy, envy, anger, hurt, etc. that we react to in ways that are harmful to ourselves and others, well, we have an opportunity to transform by changing those reactions to love or acceptance, non-judgment. Being a very reactive person myself, I have my spiritual work cut out for me. How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Musings: Gratitude

I turned 64 last week. It was a great birthday. Threw myself a birthday bash with great good, good friends and fabulous music to dance to. Friends took me to dinner another night. Hubs yet another night. I had tons of Facebook wishes on my timeline. The phone rang all day with birthday greetings. I am filled with blessings and love and gratitude for the richness of my life.
Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Telling the Truth Tuesday - retreat musings

I love going on retreat. To break away from daily routine, disconnect from phone, computer, TV. To only read spiritual books. To have my journal and pen handy for any insights which might come my way. This retreat took place in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and a tiny hot springs resort on the Rio Grande river. Aside from the other guests, an osprey perched on a pole a good deal of the day. Many other bird species visited for a while. But most importantly, my soul opened up to receive more wisdom about this human existence and how to elevate my awareness to connect more with Spirit Light.

I get in trouble frequently when my intentions are not coming from the right place. If I am looking for ego gratification rather than coming from a place of sharing who I am, then I have expectations that always leave me disappointed. I'm learning I must have good, clear intentions and no expectations in order to feel inner peace. I couldn't figure out why I always have a wonderful experience singing at retirement communities but not when I sing at an event when friends are present. What I discovered is that my intention at the retirement places is to share my joy - no ego involved. My intention with my friends is to show what I can do and I have certain expectations about the response I will get. I always screw it up and am always disappointed in both myself and the responses. Now I know why.

How about you? Do you "retreat" from daily life and ponder stuff?
Blessings,
Karen

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Retreat

I am off to a retreat. Catch up with everyone next week.
Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Telling the Truth Tuesday - Letting go of expectations

Last Thursday my singing duo, Sugartime, performed at a senior center. We'd never been to this particular one before, so I was a bit more nervous than usual.  It was a special brunch to honor volunteers and we were the entertainment. It was a large crowd and they were all being seated as we were setting up our equipment. That means we had to do our sound check with our audience already in the room. My mind started to do its thing. This audience will not like the Broadway tunes - it's not a Broadway crowd. My mucus problem is going to embarrass me. Yada Yada Yada.

Right before we were to start singing, I told myself none of that mattered. I was there so share my joy and have fun, because if I have fun, the audience will have fun as well. You know what? I was right.
They loved us, including the Broadway songs. Even though they didn't sing along with those, they were smiling and tapping their feet.

My truth for today. I have opinions inside my own head about what other people will think, like, feel. And I really don't have a clue about that. Moreover, it's none of my business. Love that saying, what you think of me is none of my business. I do so much better when I let go of any expectations about anything I am doing and just be and do whatever it is, with love and joy in my heart if possible.

How about you?
Do expectations get in the way of your enjoyment?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Musings: the danger of suppressing emotions

The other day I did an exercise. I had been driving earlier in the day and needed a few things from the grocery store. One store had one thing but not the other things I needed. Another store didn't have another item. I ended up in three different stores to get four items. Earlier in the day, I had received a contract that had mistakes in it. I told the person about the mistakes and then received a revision with the same mistakes in it. There was another incident earlier in the week, equally frustrating. I realized, while driving that anger is not an emotion I really allow myself to feel. I'd known this before, but I thought it was enough to realize that for me, rather than feel angry, I get hurt or depressed. It's not enough.

I am in a grieving process for losses I experienced in my life that I never grieved. Part of the grieving process is anger. So the exercise I did was to make a list of all persons and situations that hurt me or made me depressed and said (inside my own heart) how angry I was. What I noticed was, with each person or incident, I felt the anger in a different part of my body (neck or shoulder or lower back, or jaw, or between my eyes). That's where I've been holding the unexpressed emotion. No wonder I'm tense all the time. Oy!

Then I asked to release all the emotions I am still holding around these people or events. What I'm learning is that if I don't express how I really feel, my body pays the consequences somehow. This doesn't give me permission to blast my anger out at the world. But I can learn to express it in a healthy way, rather than suppressing it and making myself sick.

How about you? Are you comfortable expressing anger?
Blessings,
karen

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Telling the Truth Tuesday: self-nurturing

I had lunch last week with two dear friends who happen to be quite a bit older than me. One is in her 90s, the other in her mid-eighties. I love the wisdom I glean from listening to the two of them. I may not always agree, but I always learn something of value. This time it was about self-nurturing. And it's funny, because when one of them speaks, I jump to the conclusion that what she is saying has absolutely no relevance to the conversation, but I am almost always wrong. She just has a winding  way of getting to her point. And sometimes that roundabout has value as well. I thought I was a good listener, but I'm not. I'm an impatient listener. Must learn to slow myself down. With everything. I eat fast. I talk fast. I listen fast. Where am I rushing to?

Anyway, back to the lunch. They both shared that I am an intense person. I drive myself really hard and exhaust myself in the process. Then when I get the result I want, I've worked so hard for it, I hardly enjoy it. Hmmm. Do I really even know what it feels like to truly be relaxed. To not have my shoulders scrunched and tense. To not have my mind chattering away. To not be breathing too fast because I'm anxious. Not!

So I am learning to be more self-nurturing. I'll let you know how I do that as I figure it out.
How about you? Are you good at nurturing yourself?

Blessings,
Karen

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday Musings: re-training

I made a huge discovery this past month. I uncovered a pattern in my life that whenever something really good happens, something bad follows. I've been into metaphysics for a long time and I have a hard time believing we create everything that happens in our lives because random things happen for no rhyme or reason. But if we have deep-seated core beliefs that we aren't aware of, then our subconscious does create or cause things to go along with those beliefs.

For a multitude of reasons, I developed a core belief that feeling joy was not okay. So when it bubbles up inside, something had to happen to suppress it.  I have fractured my ankle in 7 places after getting my college degree in my fifties; severely sprained my ankle after landing in Mexico to vacation with dear friends; torn my rotator cuff after planning a dream trip to Machu Picchu, etc. etc. etc.

I firmly belief that once you become aware of an issue or a pattern or a behavior, you can change it. I am now in the process of re-training my mind and body that joy is a good thing.

Have you ever had to re-train yourself?
Blessings,
Karen

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group - April

It's that time of month again. Time to support our fellow writers. This is the brainchild of the intrepid Alex J. Cavanaugh http://www.alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com. Here is this month's entry.

I finished the first draft of my novel. And that is what I want to talk about today. I finished writing a novel. When I write that, and when I think about that, I realize what a monumental accomplishment that is. I was a nonfiction writer for 30+ years. Never dreamed of writing a novel until I went to Ireland/Scotland in 2009 and that darned voice came, asking me to tell its story.

I did it, kicking and screaming along the way, because I didn't think I could. Didn't think I knew how. Didn't think it would be any good even if I did figure out how to do it.

But you know what? It doesn't freakin' matter. What matters is that I stuck with it. I allowed this story to emerge, I don't know whether it's any good. I don't know if anyone besides a few close friends will ever read it. I don't know if I can find an agent/publisher or whether I will self-publish. All I know for sure is that I finished writing a novel. And I feel pretty darned good about that.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Telling the Truth Tuesday: Grief

Do you ever think you are done with working on an issue? Perhaps you've done therapy, you've talked with a friend, you've written in your journal. And you think you have a handle on the crux of the thing so you can let it go and move on? Well, I thought I was done working on my relationship with my mom, who has been gone since 2001. We didn't have a close relationship and I didn't have the opportunity to heal things with her as I did with my dad during the last three years of his life. But I've processed a lot around her and really did think I was done.

But another layer has surfaced and it's about grief. I am grieving the loss of a deep, loving connection with my mother while she was alive. I am thinking of fond memories of my time with her, rather than painful ones. And in this process, I am recognizing my mother shut down and cut herself off from her Spirit Light, or Higher Self, or whatever you want to call it. And as a result, cut off the love she felt for me. Now, with this work I am doing, I am beginning to have tremendous empathy for the loss she experienced in not living the life she could have lived and grieving the loss we both experienced by not allowing love to flow between us in a natural way.

Truly, forgiveness is not about the other person. It is about us. It is so we do not carry the burden of anger, resentment, guilt and hurt. So we can be free to love. It is about freedom from emotional pain.

Are you holding onto anything you shouldn't? I'm working on it...
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday Musings: choices

Making choices can be difficult. Take the A-Z Challenge, for example. I've participated in it the last few years and had fun making new connections. Got more followers. Met some wonderful peeps. But the downside is the commitment to not only place a blog post every day, but visit as many other bloggers as possible. That is a huge time commitment. I had to ask myself, why would I do this when I am having trouble doing the things that are most important in my life, like exercising, writing, practicing, etc. The answer was simple - I would participate for two reasons. One, to get more followers. The other would be to not feel left out of a big blogging event. But when I think about that, I realize I have to be true to my own needs and not just say yes because so many others are saying yes and having fun. There are some things I will miss out on because of my choices.

How about you?
Blessings
Karen