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, January 28, 2014

Telling the Truth Tuesday: Accepting what is

In my spiritual journey, I've come to believe that whatever happens in my life is meant to be, no matter how hard or how joyful. That if it's challenging or painful, there are lessons for me to learn. For the most part I have been able to accept what has happened, even though there are still things impacting me from my past that I must work through and manage.

Acceptance goes hand in hand with surrender. If you let go of control, you must accept whatever outcome and therein lies the rub. All of my life I have believed I have control over outcome. If I work hard enough at something, I'll get what I want. If I diet and exercise, my weight will get where I want it to be. If I love someone hard enough, they'll love me back. Even though I learned a long time ago to take the action and let go of the results, I still try to control them.

What if my current health challenges are part of the journey? What if there are lessons I must learn from experiencing them? What if they don't get better? Can I accept that my twilight years, years I had a very specific vision for, one that included a healthy me, might be more challenging than I had hoped much sooner than I expected.

The answer, unfortunately, is that I have no choice but to accept. Because it is what it is. I can keep trying to make myself the healthiest I can possibly be, but once again, I can't control that outcome.
With acceptance comes a certain measure of peace, even if I'm not happy about it, I am more at peace.

Spirituality is a practice. You don't reach nirvana and stay there. It is a moment by moment struggle. My thoughts are my biggest enemy and I am learning to catch them mid-flight and turn my energy and attention to the Spirit of Love, which is whatever you choose to call God. This is not an easy path by any means.

How do you all handle acceptance?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What's the saying? Change what you can, accept what you can't, and have the wisdom to know the difference?

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I think acceptance is a key to a happy life - we need to cede control sometimes to things that are out of our control, if that makes sense.

Manzanita said...

Did you ever sing that song, "Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again?" That is a good mantra to have.

Manzanita said...

P/S Now that song is in my head and I'll be humming it all day. Ha

Karen Walker said...

Alex, yes, the serenity prayer -
Optimistic - makes total sense and I agree with you
Manzanita - yup, LOL, that happens to me all the time. Sometimes I can't sleep cause I'm singing songs in my head

Anonymous said...

I read Alex's comment and I think it applies to me also.
Have a good day Karen.


BECKY said...

Hi Karen ~ I always say "Everything happens for a reason," too. Sometimes it's certainly hard to figure out what that reason is at the time, though, isn't it? I've gone through many ups and downs in life, as everyone has, and sometimes it's taken me years to really see and understand things. My sense of humor has helped tremendously, too. AND....speaking of songs, (I love to "break out into song" all the time!)...here's one I just love. "High Hopes"....Oops there goes another rubber tree plant!

Robin said...

My mom and I were recently talking about blessings in disguise. Of course they are disguised by the misery that accompanies them. It is only when you are on the other side of that painful span of time that you can see the blessing. I think that acceptance is part of that progression. When we stop beating ourselves against it is when we move with the flow. And that flow eventually pushes us to somewhere else. In time, we get the perspective on that "horrible situation" and can see the positives that came from it.

Liz Fichera said...

I love this: "take the action and let go of the results."

I needed that today. Thanks, Karen!

Karen Walker said...

Yvonne, yes, the serenity prayer is wonderful
Becky, I love that song, too - Sugartime sang it at one point.
Robin, such wisdom - thank you for sharing
Liz, glad it helped!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

For someone who feels happiest when in control, learning this kind of acceptance and letting go is very difficult. I usually deal with it best by saying "it's not meant to be" or "it's meant to be"-- either one acknowledges God's hand in my life and that makes it easier for me to accept.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen - I can understand what you're saying .. Alex' and Manzanita's comments confirm your thoughts.

I use the idea I started when my mother and uncle were ill ... and something happened ... I'd mentally turn on my heel and look at things in another way ... and not get anxious or upset at the present outcome.

Preparing for our future is a mental challenge, let alone what is happening physically - I've learnt a lot from my elder generation and hope to bring that into my own life.

Good luck with your adjustments .. cheers Hilary

~Sia McKye~ said...

There are some things you have to accept and make peace with what is.

I don't except that what happens in my life is what's meant to be. Nothing is written in stone--too many variables which can effect and change the outcome. I prefer to change what I can. The knack is know which things you can change and which you can't. I change my attitude and focus my attention accordingly.

Sia McKye Over Coffee

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

An interesting post that I enjoyed reading.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

Mason Canyon said...

I always try to remind myself that things do happen for a reason. I might not always like the reason or agree with it, but then I just have to make the best I can of it. It's hard sometimes to know that no matter what we do, we can't change an outcome. But then we have to keep trying anyway.

LD Masterson said...

In recent years I finally found a way to say, "Okay, God, I'm tired of wrestling with this one. I'm putting it in your hands."

Misha Gericke said...

So true. I find that acceptance and trust in God go together. It's a lot easier for me to accept stuff when I know He's in control.

Tracy Jo said...

Oh Karen, I could go on and on about this. This is a hard one and I don't think anyone can really understand until faced with health issues. I know that I didn't. Until my Dystonia, I thought everything could be fixed. I still find myself trying to control it. There is this crazy balancing act of accepting but yet not giving up. I feel like if I surrender to it, I will get worse and I have to fight. All at the same time, I have to accept my limitations or end up really making myself sick. I try to just really focus on what I CAN do & the positive things in each day. Sorry for the rambling. Just something I'm passionate about. :-)

Brandon Ax said...

I think acceptance is important. Not in that we don't strive for more, but to accept things can allow you to hold off worry and stress, which can only hold you back.

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Ugh. I dislike the saying about getting old not being for the faint of heart. But this last year, scary things have happened, including friends dropping around me, and suddenly thoughts of morbidity and mortality bring that age-old question, "Oh NO! Is it a heart attack?"

No. It's anxiety. "Anx-what-ety? Me?" Yes. Me.

I don't know your particulars Karen, but I'm walking that path too. And I'm not giving up. Hang in there on yours. And thanks for the words of encouragement earlier!

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Pk Hrezo said...

Your last paragraph says it all for me. It's a daily struggle, and there are days when I don't feel God or shut out my spiritual side. It's when I stop and mediate and pray, that I feel that connection again.
Acceptance and letting go, go hand in hand for me. There's no sense holding onto and stressing over things we have no control over.
I try to remind myself to keep a perspective too--how there's always others out there who have it so much worse than I do.
Keeping you in my prayers, Karen, that those challenges aren't more than you can bear. ((hugs))

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