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

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Musings: Taking a break

Well, it's that time of year when the holidays roll around and family and friends gather. Everything in bloggydom kind of slows down and so will I. Not sure how long I'll unplug, but I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays, good health, and good cheer.
Till next time....I'm going to leave you with this quote:

Live not for the battle's end.
Live not for the end-of-the-song.
Live for the along.
                Gwendolyn Brooks

Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Telling the Truth Tuesday: what to do if you don't like violence?

I'm finding it harder and harder to find a movie or a television show (other than sitcoms) that isn't violent. I discovered a few years ago that when I watch violence, or really dark stories, they stay with me, as if the energy has seeped into my consciousness. I really don't want that kind of energy inside me, so I chose not to see them.

I used to love going to the movies, especially on Friday nights. It was such a great way to end the work week and get into the weekend mentality. But I am somewhat hesitant to go, unless it's a romantic comedy or a love story. I don't want to be surprised by some unwanted something that will stay with me.

I'm not saying I'm a Pollyanna who only wants light, positive things. I don't live in a world of fairytales. I know there are bad people and dark things happening in the world. It's just that there's enough of it in reality that I don't want it in fantasy.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Musings: ebooks

Saturday night I didn't feel well. I'd been out shopping all day for non-toxic cookware and there were some tough decisions to be made. I've had a cough and tickle in my throat for several months and every few hours get a coughing fit. My a-fib acted up for the first time in weeks. So I opted to stay home, rather than go folk dancing.

There was nothing I wanted to watch on TV. And although I have hundreds of books in my house, nothing appealed to me. I pulled out my Kindle, which I forget I have most of the time, and sigh, there was nothing on it that I wanted to read either.

But then I remembered I could go on the Kindle store and get a book. As soon as I clicked on Wi-fi and went to the store, there were recommendations for me by some of my favorite authors. I instantly chose one and within 10 seconds, I had a book to read and instantly got lost in it.

I'm telling you, talk about instant gratification. Now, I love bookstores and always will, but when you don't feel like getting up, getting dressed and driving somewhere, there's nothing like an ebook.

How about you?
Blessings
Karen

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Telling the Truth Tuesday: Blogfests

I made a decision a while back not to participate in any blogfests except the Insecure Writers Support Group's monthly meeting. That decision was made for one major reason - time. I only want to spend perhaps an hour on the internet stuff and I don't even want to do that daily. I am someone who needs perhaps more down time than other folks. Plus there's the writing and singing, which take up a good amount of time. Factor in my hubby, the household chores, and friends, and well, there you have it. So I pick and choose very carefully how my time will be spent.

But here's the thing. If you're a writer and you are writing a book and at some point your book gets published, how are you to find readers? Through social media, in addition to speaking engagements and all the other promotional activities we can do. My blog has remained pretty static in the number of followers. And the only way I know to increase readership of a blog is to participate in blogfests.

How do you all feel about this issue? Curious minds want to know...

Blessings,
Karen

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Musings: Finding help when you need it

Every once in awhile, the stars, the moon, and sun align just right in my life to help me make sense of what is going on. For many years, writing in my journal helped me do that. The ten years it took to bring my memoir to publication did that in a major way, helping me understand how I got to be where I was and the things I did to overcome a difficult childhood and young adulthood.

Two things happened Friday to bring things into alignment for me. One was a session with someone I'll simply call a healer. She is a Ph.D. and uses a number of tools and resources when she works with a client. In that session, we arrived at a core issue of mine that causes me to shift into a negative space when good things happen. That is an over-simplification, but I can't go into the details in a blog post. I was overwhelmed and exhausted after that session, but I had scheduled the first session with my writing coach, Mark David Gerson, http://markdavidmuse.blogspot.com, and wasn't going to cancel.

Mark David wrote my favorite book on writing, The Voice of the Muse, a vastly different approach to writing than anything I'd read before, but one that resonates with me on a very deep level. I had several things going on: my health deteriorated back in February when I suddenly developed A-Fib and Thyroid disease at the same time. As a result, I was tired, irritable, losing my hair, mentally confused, and gaining weight, which made me depressed. I also finished the first draft of my novel. At the same time, I began having throat problems and singing was more and more difficult.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I had completed several more drafts of the book and decided it was done. I simply needed an editor who would guide me through revisions. Mark David said some things to me after reading the manuscript that pushed me into that negative space I referred to earlier. What I heard (not what he said, mind you, but what I heard) was that I needed to completely re-write the book. And there was no way I was going to do that, so I got more depressed. Four years down the drain, yada yada yada.

Friday, at our meeting, I was finally able to hear what he really said, which is that there is a difference between story and making a story into a book. My story is complete, but it's not yet a book. I don't want to say too much about the particulars, because I would give away too much of what my book is about, but suffice it to say, just as I needed to open myself up to the voice that came to me in Ireland and Scotland asking me to tell her story, I need to open myself up to the energy of the book that wants to be brought into the world. It is not a re-write. It is an expanding of what is already there.
The hard part is injecting the emotional realism into the characters, because as we all know, we feel whatever it is our characters are feeling.

Oh, and the last piece. I truly belief my health issues are related to not wanting to do this hard work. All my life, the essence of who I am was suppressed for a number of reasons. This book really represents that essence and to suppress it means to suppress me. We always have a choice, but to choose not to write this book would have serious consequences for me.

So there you have it. Sorry it was such a long post. Hope you hung in there with me.And hopefully, as always, I hope that sharing my trials and tribulations and successes, just might help someone else out there with theirs.

Blessings to all of you.
Karen

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group - November

This is November's installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, conceived and made real by the infamous Alex J. Cavanaugh alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com. It is one of the most brilliant things ever dreamt up for the Internet, in my humble opinion. Here goes:


Am I insecure this month? Hmmm, let's see. Damned right I am. I have my inner child terrified of this journey we are about to embark on, my adult self knowing I've overcome much more difficult obstacles, my dark side telling me, "who do you think you are to think you can do this" and my Light side blocked in the shadows.

In other words, I'm stuck. I know I will shift out of here. I've been here before and this too shall pass. It always does. But it's not fun until it does. I am distracting myself with friends, movies, and spider solitaire.

Till next time...
Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Telling the Truth Tuesday: what if?

Trying to live in the here and now, being fully present in each moment is challenging for everyone, I think, not just me. We get so caught up on what ifs. For writers, it's what if I don't finish this manuscript. What if I finish it and it never gets published. What if it's terrible. What if it's fabulous. And on and on.

In our lives, the what ifs are even more difficult. What if my child or spouse gets sick. What if I lose my job or my home. What if there's a nuclear war. What if a hurricane or tornado or fire wipes out everything.

As I get older, some of my what ifs have come true. What happens when I can't do such and such. Right now I can't sing. And singing is a huge part of fulfilling my soul's needs. I am learning that rather than wallow in self-pity, I must accept that bad things are going to happen. And, as Tonja commented in my last post, it's not my fault. It's how I deal with those things that makes all the difference. And acceptance is key. One of my favorite lines from a book, The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck, is the very first line.  I don't remember the exact quote, but it said life is difficult and when you accept that, it gets easier.

So, I'm trying to let go of my what ifs and be as present in my body as I can each an every moment.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday Musings: moving forward

Thank you all so much for your loving, kind comments on my last post. I so appreciate all of you.
After an initial depression, I am moving forward with extensive revisions to my manuscript. I will be working with writing coach extraordinaire, Mark David Gerson, whom I've worked with before. What I've discovered about myself, and as a result, about my writing, is that it's as if I am living my  life on a rainbow of one color. If I'm to move forward in my spiritual growth, and in my writing abilities, I need to open myself up to the other colors. It's the inner child in me who is terrified of this, because she had to navigate childhood and life on her own, with no guidance. The adult me knows I have the skills to do this and that there is nothing to be afraid of. A dear dear friend suggested I think about this next phase of my journey like a fairytale. As I set out, I will encounter and overcome obstacles, but in the end, I will "live happily ever after." That metaphor works for me, so here I go into the land of "once upon a time..." and imagine a whole new world, just like Dorothy in the  Wizard of Oz, going from black and white into a world of color.

How about you? Are you living in a world of color, or stuck on one?
Blessings,
Karen