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 27, 2015

Telling the Truth Tuesday: wanting a tablet

I have coveted ipads for years. Most of my friends have them. I have a mac computer and an iPhone. I have a Kindle. How many devices do I really need? But it isn't about need, is it? It's about want. Now, I can justify this because my new nonfiction writing project (which isn't really new - it began about 4 years ago) will require my doing interviews. It will be much easier to shlep a tablet with a keyboard on it than my computer. I do not want to record on a device and then have to transcribe.
There! I have a good reason for my desire.

Do you have to justify your wants before you can purchase? Is it ever okay just to buy into consumerism just for the fun of it?


Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Musings:

Memorial Service - done
Organize rest of stuff to do for estate - done
Decide how to start exercising - done
       (Have I started yet?) Duh - no
Decide on vacations for the year - done
       (have we planned them all?) - no
Uh oh - found notes from 4 years ago for nonfiction book I wanted to write. Asked inner guidance if I am meant to write this now - yes. Asked inner guidance if I am supposed to keep re-writing Part III of novel - yes. Uh oh.
Oh yes, remember my new motto - there is enough time for me to do everything I want and need to do.
Remember, one step at a time.
Friends? Oh yes, schedule lunches. Must not isolate. Must stay connected.

How about you? What are you musing about today?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Telling the Truth Tuesday: it's begun!

I started the rewrite of Part III of my novel. I only have about 3500 words, but the good news is--I have 3500 words. I know where it begins. I don't know where it's going yet, but it's on its way.
Now all I need is time to keep going. Perhaps after the memorial service this Saturday, things will calm down a bit.

How are you all doing with your various projects?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Musings: handling difficult situations

Being the executor of someone's estate is not easy. It's one thing when it's a parent, but this time around, it's a close friend and it is not comfortable for me to have authority over someone else's finances and to be making decisions that person can no longer make for themselves. I wish I hadn't accepted this responsibility, but I did, so I'm doing the best I can.

There are extra stressors, like having to work with someone closely who handles things very differently than I do. And having a long list of things to do while grieving the loss of my friend. And trying to fit my life in between the list of to do's.

I feel, in some ways, like a teenager who is learning to navigate the world on their own for the first time. I now have tools and ways and means of handling my emotional landscape way better than when I was a teenager 50 years ago. I am on firm foundation now.

I wonder. Does life ever get easy? Is there ever going to be a time when I don't have some kind of physical issue going on - oh, I forgot to mention my back is out? Or a time when I won't get pulled so off my center so that I don't have mini emotional breakdowns?

I know this sounds like whining, but I don't really think I am. I just wish I could find the place in the river of my life where there are no rapids, no sharp bends ahead, where I can just drift safely for awhile.



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Telling the Truth Tuesday: my new motto

I have enough time to do what needs to be done. What needs to be done might not be what I think needs to be done. I must trust my process.

I am always in a hurry. I have always been in a hurry. My mother told me I was in a hurry to be born, coming quickly an easily. I am compulsively early to appointments. I am one of the world's most impatient people. I hate waiting. I even hate when I get the impulse to go to the bathroom--I don't want to miss anything.

I thought this was simply a character flaw. Well, it might be. But it also wreaks havoc with my body, particularly my digestive and nervous systems. I am in a constant state of worry and anxiety about time.

Hence, my new motto. When I catch myself in "hurry" mode, which is pretty frequently, I am learning to stop, breathe, and tell myself there is enough time. Even to finish my novel, despite the fact I am turning 66 this year.

Do you rush around frantically, worried there isn't enough time?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday Musings: Life and Death

Losing a close friend is hard. No way around that one. Even if they were 93. Your head understands they lived a long life and it was their time to go, but there is still a hole in your life where that friend lived. What's left are memories.

I went to pick up MA's ashes. Memories of having to get my mom's ashes back in 2001 surfaced. Mom was in a cardboard box in a shopping bag. The idea of my mother reduced to the contents of a shopping bag nearly felled me. Funeral homes should prepare you somehow for the reality of a human body becoming like sand.

Ma's remains rested beside me in the passenger seat, just as MA herself used to sit on our adventures together. I remembered her infectious giggle and us singing together and telling stories. It was hard to wrap my mind around the bizarreness of her now being in a box at my side.

I know there is a cycle of to life. We are born. We live. We die. My recent heart condition made me all too aware of the last part of the cycle. But of one thing I am sure. We are not to live our lives in fear of death. We are to live our lives with the knowledge that death will come; we don't know when. And what we do with our time is what matters.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group - January 2015

Another year, another month, another contribution to the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by our wonderful Alex http://www.alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com.

By way of introduction, I have been writing since 1999. Aside from articles and essays, I published a memoir, "Following the Whispers," in 2009. I am currently writing my first novel (after 35 or so years writing non-fiction). The process is not pretty, which leads me to my post for this month. But before that, I'll say I am happily married, live in Albuquerque, NM, enjoy folk dancing, singing, reading, hiking, and hanging out with friends.

I thought I was done. After five years, multiple rounds with my editor, losing count of how many drafts, I was ready to publish. Until I decided to hire someone to help research small publishers. To do that, she needed to read the book. And when she did, she had a few thoughts. Her thought about the last part of my book was that it felt like a different story--like it didn't belong in this book. Ugh!
But when I reflected upon her thoughts, I remembered that my idea for the last section of the book came from a story I had written in a college fiction class. It felt right when I was writing the first draft of my novel to include it. And I never questioned it. But she was right.

So now I am going inward and allowing this last part of my story to emerge. Organically. Authentically. From the same place the other two parts came. My same old insecurities have emerged. Will it come? Will it be any good? Can I do it? I already know the answers to these questions. Yes, Yes and yes. I just have to keep reminding myself.

How about you?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Telling the Truth Tuesday: More reflections on 2014

I received orders from my cardiologist to start exercising again. I must work my heart. I've been afraid because it was doing it's own aerobic dance and if I made it aerobic, it stayed there for hours and I felt terrible. Now I must begin to work my way back to physical fitness. I HATE TO EXERCISE. Did you get my energy around this issue? But I love to dance. So I've pulled out all my old Richard Simmons "Sweatin' to the Oldies" aerobics DVD's and will do one a day. That's the goal anyway. I think I'll have to work up to that, though. Wish me luck!

Sugartime, my singing duo, had a great year and I'm excited to get back into the swing of things this month with four gigs. I am so fortunate to have a way to do something I love doing and bring joy and smiles and happy memories to others while doing it.

I want to "Do" less and "Be" more in 2015. I believe we are all Body/Mind/Spirit. For most of my life I worked on my mind. Now I must focus more on the physical and spiritual aspects of myself. And to do that I must be fully present in my body.

Please share your thoughts and feelings about this past year and what you hope for in this one.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Monday Musings: reflections on 2014

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. I'm looking forward to re-connecting with the blogging world. My holidays were a mixture of joy and sadness. For those of you who read my memoir, you might remember that I moved to New Mexico not knowing a soul, not having a job or a home. A then 72-year-old woman named Mary Alice opened her home and her heart to me and allowed me to live with her until I figured out whether I wanted to stay. If it weren't for her, I'd never have met Gary, nor would I have the amazing circle of friends I have now. She passed away on Sunday, December 28. She was 93. I know she is at peace where she is now and I am fine with that. It's just that I will miss her.

My heart is doing much better than before the ablation procedure, but it's not 100%. Won't know for another six weeks whether the procedure worked perfectly or not, but I have much more energy and feel so much better.

My son got married in October and I am still over the moon about that.

I thought I was finished with my novel and ready to publish, but I'm not. A very trusted reader (the person I hired to do the research of finding a small publisher) read the book and shared that Part III did not resonate with her, that it felt like a different story. Well, here's the truth. When I was writing it, I thought that a story I had written in one of the fiction classes I took when I went back to college would work for this story. All during the editing process, this part was problematic, but it didn't dawn on me why, until Terry said what she said. It didn't work because it didn't come organically like the rest of the story did. Sigh! I am actually looking forward to seeing how the story will evolve now that I know what's wrong.

Guess that's enough reflecting for one blog post. What are your reflections of 2014?