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

Friday, June 17, 2016

Why I Write

I've written two books. Neither one of them has made much money. I've always said that if my words touch one person than I can consider myself successful. But that's harder to live by than you might think. Our society is set up for us to measure success by financial rewards or fame. 

I made a connection with the woman who owns the house where I had my retreat last week and during the course of our conversation, we discovered we were both writers. She asked if she could read my books and I agreed to send her two print copies. This morning when I woke up and checked emails, I found this:

"I just finished reading your book--Following the Whispers.  You were so courageous to write your story and share it with the world. I read it in two days--kind of unheard of for me--but I couldn't stop reading it, and I'm trying to think what the difference was between reading your book and other memoirs/novels/or even non-fiction, which I always put down, and sometimes even carelessly lose track of.  I think the difference is that I met you briefly, and everything you said about yourself in the book, made me look at you differently--in a deeper more meaningful way.  It's so interesting to get to know you this way--through your writing.

Your story is very moving.  So very deeply expressed.  Artfully expressed, and so healing to read. We have all lived such richly conflicted lives--rich in story, but the conflicted part is not so easy to live through--especially having your son taken away from you!  I think we're here on earth to find the grace and wisdom in the messy entanglements of life, and when I put your book down, I felt your grace and your wisdom wash over me.  All your complex difficulties were mine, too.

I feel like I have made a new friend!

Thank you so much for sending me your books.  I just started reading The Wishing Steps...I love that the main character listens to Source!"

I don't have words to express how this makes me feel. Maybe I should put this up in big letters where I can see it every time I doubt whether I should keep writing. Yet I don't want to write because of some external validation I might receive. I guess the bottom line is, I write because I can't NOT write. Writing helps me make sense of my world. And I guess as I share that struggle with others through my words, one or two others might make sense out of theirs as well.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

the beauty of a retreat

Retreating from every day life -- it is such a gift to give ourselves. Time slows down because we slow down. I'm always in such a hurry to get this done over here so I can get to that thing over there. On retreat, there's nothing to get done and nothing to get to. Just being.

I got clear about several things on this retreat:

  • I am no longer going to weight myself every day. I don't want the the number on the scale to determine my mood for the day (and believe me, it has).
  • Writing is crucial to my daily well-being.
  • I no longer want to waste time during the day watching television or playing computer games. At night, that's fine. But during the day, that is my time for actually being and living, not escaping.
  • My body really enjoys taking a walk in the morning and then again in the evening after dinner.
  • I want to get back to writing in my journal on a daily basis after spending time in prayer and meditation in the morning.
  • I received clarity about the direction my writing project wants to be. I'll be writing more about that here as it becomes clearer to me.
  • I began writing on a project that has appeared on my priority list every year but I'd never started.
  • I plan to go on retreat on a quarterly basis from now on.
  • It's possible to create a "retreat" experience at home by being in silence and turning inward, but it's much harder to sustain because of all the distractions.
Do you ever go on retreat? Do you unplug from phones, computers, and other electronic devices?
How does that impact your life?


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Insecure Writers Support Group - June

Oops, I almost forgot to post this month. Once again, thank you, Alex, for starting this amazing group. To find Alex and info about us, please go to http://www.alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com

After an initial flurry of enthusiasm and energy around a new writing project, I am once again stuck. But I've learned that stuck doesn't necessarily mean something bad. It might mean I'm mulching something unconsciously. Or it might mean perhaps I'm off on a slightly wrong track.

In order to find out exactly why I'm stuck, I'm going on retreat next week - someplace with no phone or TV, just my laptop, notebook, and me. There is another project lurking in my consciousness that might need to take precedence over the one I thought I would write. The only way for me to know, s to get quiet and allow the images and words to come.

How about you?