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, February 25, 2014

Telling the Truth Tuesday: I'm coveting an iPhone

I'm coveting an iphone. I won't even talk about how long I've been coveting an iPad. I'm one of those people that doesn't really desire many "toys." I've never been someone who has to have the latest this or that.

A few years ago I got an Android phone. I didn't like it much and found I wasn't using any of the bells and whistles. So when I started wanting the iPhone recently, I was puzzled. But when I went to talk to the folks at the store, they said lots of folks felt that way about the Droid back then. It wasn't easy to use. They've improved a lot since then. But I'm an Apple girl - have an iPod Touch and a Macbook pro and love them, so if I'm going to get a smart phone, it will be an iPhone.

The thing is, I don't "need" it. But I've learned that it's okay to want things that you don't need. Where I get stuck is deciding whether to give in to the want or not. Are there certain reasons whereby it is okay to allow yourself to get what you want? I will not go into debt to get what I want. I believe in credit card use only if I can pay the bill at the end of the month.

How do you decide whether to gift yourself with the things you want or do you just go for it?
Blessings,
karen

P.S.
I did it. I got one. Now I have to figure out how to use it!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Musings: giving up some things I love

There is a mineral hot springs in Northern New Mexico that I love. It is one of my most special places, one where only a few minutes in the quiet, restful baths can feel like a week-long vacation. The waters are soothing and healing and I almost always have some kind of insight, be it spiritual or some puzzle about my life I've been ruminating about.

On Friday I went to the mineral spring resort for the first time in about two years. The day was lovely and I was relaxed and happy. Until my heart started beating irregularly for the first time in months. At first I tried to ignore it, thinking maybe I was just imagining things. But it persisted into the night and the next day as well. By Sunday it had started to calm down. But I hadn't. I really thought, because it hadn't happened in so long, the issue was resolved. So I went on the internet and googled hot tubs and arrhythmia. Lo and behold, there are articles that caution against using them if you have heart issues. Something about the blood vessels contracting and diverting their energy to the skin, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance.

Although I am sad that I no longer feel comfortable soaking in hot water if it is going to cause my heart to go awry, I am grateful that I think I found the reason the irregularity started up again. Keeping my fingers crossed that my system will get back in balance and stay there once again.

How about you? Have you had to give up something you love?
Blessings,
karen

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Telling the Truth Tuesday - obsessing about nutrition and good health

Trying to eat healthily, get the nutrients and minerals our bodies need, indulge ourselves once in awhile, and not obsess about all of this is becoming more and more difficult.

I love tuna fish with mayonnaise and celery. It's a comfort food for me. I haven't been able to eat it for years because I can't eat mayonnaise. But recently I found a dairy-free, soy-free, organic vegannaise product that tastes just as good as mayo and I have been enjoying tuna fish again. Until a health provider told me I shouldn't have it too often because it has too much mercury.

Everyone says you should get enough fiber - eat those fruits and veggies, but than a health provider tells me fruit has too much sugar so eat less. And it's hard to do grains if you have problems digesting wheat and gluten.

Dr. Oz has a two-week weight reduction program that is very healthy, but it has Greek yogurt on it, which I can't have.

Sigh! What's a girl to do. I am in the process of designing a food program for me that will list several breakfasts, lunches and dinners I can choose from so I don't make myself nuts trying to decide what to eat all the time and obsessing about whether it's healthy, whether I'm going to lose or gain, or whether I'm going to have a sensitivity to a particular food.

But every once in awhile I am going to eat whatever I damned well feel like eating and hang the consequences

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday Musings

February is a busy month in the Walker household. It's hubby's birthday. Valentine's Day. And our 18th anniversary is on the 24th. For those of you who have read my memoir, I don't need to tell you what that means - all the losses I've endured and the broken relationships and friendships. To be in a loving, respectful, joyous marriage is a gift and a blessing beyond words.

I am still struggling a bit with my energy level--meaning I have very little. It is adrenal fatigue. But my doc is wonderful and we are working on it diligently. There is already progress with this physician--my heart much improved, as is my thyroid. So I am cautiously optimistic that the adrenals will wake up and start doing what they need to be doing very soon.

I feel somewhat disconnected from the blogging community because there is so much buzz around the A-Z challenge and once again this year I won't be participating. There are two reasons. One, I'll be gone for the first 10 days of April. The second, I really really really don't want to blog six days a week and feel obligated to visit as many blogs as possible. That is so much pressure and my poor little heart just can't take any additional pressure right now. But it's hard to watch all the excitement building and know how much fun it will be for those who do join. I will cheer heartily from the sidelines.

Well, that's all that's on my mind this morning.
How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Telling the Truth Tuesday

Saturday, hubby and I streamed a movie on Netfix which had come highly recommended by a dear friend. It's called The Intouchables. Anybody see it? It's a French film and if I tell you what its about, you probably won't want to watch it. I didn't either. But I trust my friend, so I did. It's about a quadriplegic and his caregiver.

It is mesmerizing, inspiring, brilliantly acted, and simply exquisite. I know that's a lot of adjectives that really say nothing except that I loved it. But the message I got from watching this (based on a true story) shifted something in me that has needed shifting for a long time. With the right support, loving care and attention, absolute honesty, and humor, you can accept just about anything and still have a full, enriching life.

Blessings
Karen

Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday Musings: Emotional over the Beatles? Why?

        This weekend, the media was filled with documentaries and stories about the Beatles coming to America 50 years ago. It was February 7, 1964. I have been glued to the radio and TV, hungry for the sound and the photos from back then and tearing up more than I want to admit. 
On Sunday, Parade magazine devoted a good portion of the issue to this phenomena. An essay by Chris Matthews helped me understand a little of why I was so emotional. President Kennedy was assassinated in November, 1963. It was only three months later the British invasion began with the Beatles arrival in the U.S. As a 14-year-old girl, I was distraught over the assassination and filled with despair. The Beatles were so alive, so talented, so witty and so adorable. And their songs, in the beginning anyway, were for the most part, happy. They brought back hopefulness.
In a decade filled with civil rights violence and a foreign war nobody wanted or understood, music helped balance the emotional turmoil. Musicians like Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, Peter, Paul and Mary, Pete Seeger (and the rest of the folk music scene), along with the Beach Boys, The Four Seasons, and of course the British music, voiced what many of us were feeling and couldn't articulate. John Lennon's Imagine asked us to envision what a world would be like without war. Bob Dylan's Blowin' in the Wind touched on the same subject.
Music has soothed my soul, from the time I was a small child hiding in my room listening to records to drown out my parents fighting. But I'd never made the connection to the turbulence of the sixties and how music helped a generation get through it.

  Thanks to all the songwriters and singers who made a tough time a little bit easier.

Blessings,
Karen


Friday, February 7, 2014

Beatles - 50 years ago today - yikes, I feel old

February 7, 2014

cover of Beatles VI album
50 years ago today the Beatles came to America. I remember sitting glued in front of the TV screen watching as screaming fans greeted the band as they landed at JFK. I was 14.

When they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, I sat on the edge of my parents bed (the small TV was in the bedroom, not the living room at that time) bouncing up and down. I remember my father saying, “Oh, they’ll never last.” Ha. Years later I caught him humming along to a Beatle tune played as muzac in an elevator, only he didn’t know it was a Beatle tune.

The Beatles are such a huge part of my adolescence, along with the Viet Nam war, the Civil Rights Movement, Womens’ Rights, and well, trying to grow up.

A journalist said today that the Beatles had 7 number one hits out of 16 songs the first two years and 200 songs over the 6 years they were around as The Beatles. He said he bet most of us could hum or sing along with most or all of them.

I can. Can you?

Blessings,
Karen

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Insecure Writers Support Group - February 2014

It's that time again - the gathering of writers online who share their fears, joys, thoughts, feelings, insecurities, challenges, and successes about their works in progress. It is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh: alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com. If you haven't already met Alex, which I can't even imagine, please go say hi.

I want to share some good news about my writing. I am making very good progress. I just completed a series of meditations with the characters, and once I added the things they wanted included in the story, my word count went from 30,000 to 40,000.

My next step will be to do meditations on setting and then go back through the book and flush that out as well. At that point, I will take a small break, regroup, and then re-read the book out loud. If I am satisfied, it will go to my editor.

I never dreamed I would be writing a novel and I had no idea how challenging it would be. My memoir took 10 years (but that included a four-year semi-hiatus while I went back to school to complete a college degree). I am now into year five of this book. Thank goodness I consider the writing of this book to be my spiritual journey because otherwise I would feel quite insecure about it taking so long.

Well, that's all folks. Till next time....
Karen

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Telling the Truth Tuesday: Insomnia isn't fun

So here's the good news - I'm off my heart medications because they contribute to lowering my blood pressure to a point that is dangerous. So far I've had no a-fib episodes and my heart is beating fairy regularly most of the time. My thyroid numbers are moving in the right direction and the adrenal fatigue has lifted somewhat. I have energy most days for most of the day.

The bad news - I have insomnia. It is not fun. You lie there with your eyes closed, expecting to drift off to sleep at any moment. Instead, you are singing songs in your head, redoing conversations you had earlier, writing essays, planning trips, doing your shopping list, worrying about your health, trying to figure out a solution to a problem. When you try to stop the thoughts, they only get worse. Trying to meditate doesn't work either. You've been told not to get up and get on the computer because the light isn't good for promoting sleep, but after hours of these non-stop thoughts, you must do something to distract yourself. And spider solitaire fits the bill.

What causes insomnia on some nights and not others, I wonder. Will I ever be a person who gets a good night sleep on a regular basis again? I used to be such a good sleeper.

Thoughts, anyone?
Blessings,
karen

Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday Musings: Perfect moments

Fairytales lie. There is no such thing as happily ever after. All we can hope for are moments of happiness. Maybe those moments expand into hours or days or weeks. If we're lucky, months. But at some point something is going to happen that will cause us to get angry or sad or scared. It's okay. It's called life. For most of my life, I have been emotionally reactive. I've been navigating this journey without a roadmap and it has been quite scary. 

I am turning 65 in April. I am already enrolled in Medicare and have purchased a Medicare supplemental insurance and prescription drug plan. When I was caring for my elderly parents, they were on Medicare. I associated Medicare with old people. I am not happy that I am now one of those people and was becoming quite depressed about it. Until I realized that every day I have a choice about how I feel. I can choose to be depressed or I can choose to feel joy. And when I find myself feeling anything other than joy, I can choose to bring myself back. It's not easy. But as I do this, I am having more and more happy moments. And spending less time in the negative places.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen