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

Reader Comments

Here is a sampling of comments on "Following the Whispers" from readers:

I have just this moment finished your memoir. My two-year-old decided to
have a mid day nap today and I decided to rest on the bed and finish your
book. What I wanted to tell you is "Thank you."

Thank you for deciding not to end your life in the Mojave desert. Thank you
for fighting for yourself. Thank you for all the work you have done in your
life to find the voice within, the quite whispers that lead you to life and
to the reality of who you are, and who you want to be. Because your memoir
speaks powerfully to the triumph of life and living and to the importance of
the craft of memoir. The ability to tell our stories matters far more
than the healing we experience through writing them.

Your memoir has mattered to me in a very personal way. Thank you for writing a book that
inspires and celebrates you, womanhood, motherhood and life.
Your words spoke to me in ways I can probably never fully explain. Much of
what you said I have fought hard to find out for myself and I think there
will be so many people who read you memoir who are looking for that voice
within but aren't sure what they are even looking for. I think your words
are both sigh posts and warm hugs. I see you as a fantastic success. If my
sons grow to see the strength in me that your son sees you to be I
will be blessed. I took so much from the 'failures' you saw in your
mothering. I am always taking my 'motherhood' temperature. Good enough?
Failing? And now I think I see that motherhood is far too complex to be
measured in such linear terms. How can connections between hearts be
measured? Where is the yard stick? I am the mother my boys were supposed to
have. I am enough. I am not perfect. And no mother is. But I am building a
life time of heart connections and even mistakes take nothing from that if I
am willing to face them and be honest with my children, just as you were
with David. Thank you for sharing such a personal journey.

Your memoir is a blessing. It blessed me. I am sure it will bless others.
I am encouraged to pursue my dreams for my memoir even more so.

Thank you.
T.B.

I really enjoyed your writing, especially the piece on your father! I can really identify with that one, I guess. Not exactly the same story, but many similarities. So thank you!
E.K.

You are an amazing writer, I just read My Father’s Keeper. What a wonderful telling of that story! You’ve accomplished so much – congratulations!
D.S.

I stayed up much of the night reading your book. I finished it this morning. I am flattened at what a vulnerable place you put yourself in in order to give birth to this book. I was especially touched by your stories around reconciling with your son. I met my birthmom when I was 29, and had many questions about why she gave me up. It has been a very healing process getting to know her, and to understand how hard it is to let a child go, even when it is the only truly life-giving option. I am grateful for the gift of you, and for your willingness and braveness to share at such a deep level. You are a truly amazing person.
A.M.

I started reading your book and I couldn’t put it down, until it became very late and I began dozing in bed. I had read about a third that night. I continued reading all day Saturday, and finished before dark. I was impressed with your writing, and moved by your story. I admire how open and honest you are, and willing to share. Reading your book, I related in many ways to the feelings and emotions you experienced.

I, too, experienced incessant emotional abuse (for me it was from my mother’s second husband). This went on from the age of 5 until his death when I was over 30...I felt totally frustrated as a kid, and as an adult I blamed her. The bitterness is not all gone... I, too, knew the depths of despair... As I read your accounts of soul searching, I recalled my own experiences with self-help books, meditation exercises, New Age thought, and therapy...But my feelings of self-doubt and struggles with self-esteem interfere with my ability to socialize, especially in mixed company...I appreciate your book for...the opportunity to think about myself more. I can envision your book having a profound effect on many who read Following the Whispers.
M.H.

Karen Walker has clearly voiced her experiences from the depths of her soul. She speaks of her private nightmare so that many others who read about it can learn and transform as she has done. One out of ten women who are physically abused and one out of three who are emotionally abused are some of those who learn to hide under weight gained to make them invisible. Karen is one who gained the weight and hid inner as well as outer beauty. She opened up because she has the talent to do so through writing and many other artful skills. She shares her story that others can find inspiration to overcome their own trials. People in this situation need to explore their own inner voices through the arts, as one avenue! I believe that people who have undergone this situation feel alone. The more accountings they read of others who walked that lonely road, the more likely they can begin their own healing journey.
R.C.

I finished your book this morning. My son is a reaserch psychologist. He has been doing his research in working memory. He told me that the most significant results in health came back when a person would sit down and write about the negative experiences of their life. The more concise the narritive the greater the health response was. I feel this is exactly what has transpired for you.
D.B.

The book is fascinating, and unique among all I have read. It reminds me of an autobiographical case study in a psychology text, except that it is more warmly and intimately written than any text material I recall. It would be entirely appropriate as a textbook ... But mostly I liked it for the frank and open way you lay it all out -- direct, but not at all self-pitying. Yes, I liked it a lot. Your experience has been remarkable indeed, and your success in healing should be encouraging to legions of readers.
S.L.

Your story is so very powerful, and very brave... Thank you for taking such a risk to connect the past and the present, and show the way to other abused people about how to face the past and to heal old wounds.
LJM

I enjoyed your book, especially the second half. I too suffered parental alienation for many years and was in Al-Anon. Thanks and Congratulations!
D.C.

I am writing to tell you that your book is not just a quick read for me, and I am a fast reader . I am halfway thru and want you to know that you have healed some issues within me that have been eating away at my self-esteem and my soul for too long...I'd like to say I don't care, but I do. But perhaps can now let it go or let it flow into the book I keep maintaining I need to write. NEED to - not just want to. One of my counselors said I have likely been abused but have blocked it. I don't think I need to know at this time, but have some lurking suspicions...It is in my thoughts that S. knew what she was doing by asking me to review your book - so that I could inhale your words and free my mind a bit - I would never have had the bravery to put my stuff in writing until reading yours.
JAM

I had just enough time today to complete reading your life's work. It is deeply touching how you constructed your memoir on the experiences of your life, bringing it full circle to the reader along with the healing you experienced as a result of a series of events one could only hope but most likely not expect to have happen. You are ONE TREMENDOUS SPIRIT to write of the pain, the path to resolution and healing and the steps separating the two... your story is also powerful,tragic and with a resolution that no one could see coming...Your book has given hope to those who are hopeless, meaning to those who are struggling, and peace to those who are distraught.

Just started your book. So far, sounds very familiar. I am glad I know there is hope out there. It is all I can do to read the book now.
A Twitter Follower

Karen’s is a very personal and poignant memoir: a “fifty-year emotional odyssey…” The exploration in this book follows very much the principles that are outlined in Carol’s. There is much in Karen’s book that resonated with me and I will look forward to sharing a glass of wine with her in Texas. I found the writing brutally honest and hard-hitting especially about the detailed childhood experience(s) with her parents, a loveless early marriage, the pain of separation with her son, and the immensely revealing thoughts about the molestation. She actually said what I always have felt and have enormous difficulty in admitting and have struggled with the shame of feeling for years and that is captured in just a few words – “Almost done – just that small spot in the corner and I can go. But it feels so good, but I better go. But. But. But. Hurry up and finish. Hurry up and finish. There. All done.” And the telling of growing into adolescence and adulthood never understanding the affect of the sexual abuse on relationships, choices, feelings, behaviours. I admire this book for so many reasons.
Debra

This week my 8 Women task was to read Following the Whispers by Karen Walker.
It’s a perfectly sized read, 164 pages. A beautiful deeply and sometimes painfully personal evolution.
I highly recommend it to women struggling with depression.
The writer does an excellent job pointing out a symptom, a behavior, naming it, relating things she sought and found to help her through her struggle and where all of that work can lead.
Especially moving were the spiritual teachings Karen sought and welcomed into her life whose long term effects so complimented all the other efforts she worked at to find herself, free herself and love herself so she could truly love everyone in her life.
I challenged myself to see new teaching in a personally familiar story.
Because life in this particular state of existence, is what it is, one can become so depressed or depressed long enough that when ease and happiness start to arrive again you miss it.
Following the Whispers reminded me that it will get better and sometime soon you will be happier.

Alyse