Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here on Monday and Tuesday. 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.

"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

"The way to do is to be."
Laotzu

"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, November 30, 2010

Telling the truth Tuesday - Fear versus Faith

I am in a battle that I haven't fought for a long, long time - fear versus faith. I'd reached a point in my life where fear did not show itself very often and my faith remained strong. Despite facing difficult choices and having some bad things occur, I never doubted that there was a Higher Power at work in my life. And I trusted that I would be taken care of.

But fear is making me question my beliefs. In those spaces in between the fear, I know my beliefs to be true, but in the dark of the middle of the night, the monsters of doubt take over and I feel lost.

I am continuing to pray and ask for guidance and help, despite my doubts, despite the fears. It is all I know to do.

Blessings,
Karen

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Musings

Traveling home today.
I'll be back visiting your blogs hopefully tomorrow. Till then,
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, November 22, 2010

HAPPY HOLIDAY WEEK

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!!! BACK ON MONDAY, 11/29
Blessings,
Karen

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I got some pretty devastating news on Wednesday. The family member I've been so worried about does, indeed, have a progressive, degenerative disease. I feel as if I've been hit by a mack truck--I was so sure it wasn't so. I shift from waves of intense pain to numb, to anger, to fear, to wanting to jump into action mode and do something, to abject despair and loss of faith. I can't say much more because I'm trying to protect their privacy.

I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving holiday. Hubs has the week off and we are going to be spending some very needed time together, and we'll probably be going to be with our family member, so there won't be any new blog posts next week. I am trying to  remember to be grateful for so many things, despite chaos and suffering all around me.  Hope you find many things to be grateful for as well. I'll be back on Monday after Thanksgiving.

Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Telling the truth Tuesday - hard times on the planet

Is it only here in Albuquerque, or are most people facing hard times right now? I don't just mean the economic crisis our country is in. I mean personally. Almost everyone I know is facing challenges right now. My friend G had his serious bike accident and he and his wife are still dealing with the repercussions and will be for a long time. Another friend's daughter is getting a divorce and there are custody issues. Yet another friend's daughter is struggling with substance abuse and relationship problems. J lost her job two years ago and has been unable to find another at her level. She's afraid if she takes a lesser position, it will hurt her career in the long run.

Are the stars out of alignment? Is Mercury in retrograde? Is there some dark force at work here? Until this past week, I've maintained my point of center despite all this stuff swirling around me. Was I feeling guilty because my biggest problem (aside from my family member with the potential health crisis) is that I'm not writing very much? I tend to absorb the energy of those around me. I can take on someone's mood in a nanosecond. If I detach myself emotionally, I feel disconnected, though. I'm trying to learn how to stay connected, but not take on the moods of others. Big challenge.

How are things in  your neck of the woods?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Musings

Thanks to those of you who left such kind and loving comments on Friday's blog. The self-hatred monster has left the building and I am back to my self. Good riddance.

Does anyone know why, despite choosing healthy food when eating out, each and every time I eat in a restaurant I gain anywhere from 1/2 to 2 pounds from one meal? Some say it's salt (which means water weight). But if it's water weight, it should disappear the next day or so, but it doesn't. It takes a week or two.
I maintain my weight by not eating out so much, but friends are starting to grumble a bit.

I'm having to learn 7 new songs for our next Sugartime program. That means getting lyrics into this brain of mine, choreographing moves, and teaching those moves to the others. It's a blast, but the older I get, the harder it is to get new material to stick. Maybe that's why Sugartime has taken priority over everything else. I feel as if I have this window of time (60-70 or so) when I will be able to still sing and dance fairly well. I want to take full advantage of it.

My family member goes back to the specialist for a second visit this week. I'm still holding positive thoughts that they do not have a dreaded, degenerative disease. I'm also holding my breath...

Blessings,
Karen

Friday, November 12, 2010

Self-hatred

I haven't hated myself for a long time. Now comfortable inside my own skin and, on most days anyway, not wishing to be inside anyone else's skin, it is rare when self-hatred rears its ugly head. But rear it did on Wednesday. I haven't a clue what triggered the attack, but it was vicious. I looked in the mirror and saw someone I called fat, old, and ugly, with no talent and no value. The good news is that I was aware of it on a conscious level, which was not the case for most of the years I lived with those feelings festering inside me.
The bad news is, I had no clue what triggered it.

I'd been harboring some envy of other blogging buddies who are having great success with book launches and blog followers, and mucho comments on their blogs. But that wasn't enough to cause this kind of self-loathing. I also found myself comparing myself negatively to the two other singers in my trio, but still, that wasn't it.

At dinner with a friend that night, I shared how I was feeling - not an easy thing to admit - yet here I am admitting it to bloggydom - at least those of you in bloggydom who do read this blog. She was astounded. She started listing the things she is in awe of that I've accomplished over the years we've known each other, including going back to get my college degree when I was in my fifties. Completing and publishing my memoir and almost selling all the copies in print. Starting Sugartime when, as she put it, "you don't have the greatest voice in the world," but now you're singing in front of 250 people at the Mayor's State of the City address.

So where does the self-hatred stem from? The best I can figure, it is old old old stuff - and the bottom line is that I can get to a place where I don't feel like I have value - to anyone. That I make no difference whatsoever in anyone's life. It's how I felt as a small child in my home. It's how I felt in my first marriage. It's how I felt as a mother, especially after losing custody of my child.

Today, I know these feelings aren't facts. I can't seem to get rid of them altogether. But by being aware in the moment how I am feeling, I can take steps to shift the energy back to center, back to where I know I matter. By talking with a friend and then doing a NIA class (movement always seems to shift the energy), the self-hatred left and I was back to my normal inner peace.

Do old negative feelings ever plague you in the present? If so, how do you deal with them?
Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Telling the truth Tuesday - inner peace

Seems as if I'm always learning lessons about living life in a way that keeps me centered inside. It has been such an intense journey at times, beginning with losing custody of my son when he was 4 years old. At that time, I wasn't even conscious inside my own body. I didn't know what I was feeling or why, let alone know how to deal with feelings in a healthy manner. I ate to cover emotional pain. Didn't exercise. Was in one bad relationship after another. Yadadada.

Now I consider myself healthy - physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. A piece that just came to me is focusing on my body and how it feels in given situations. I think our bodies absorb a lot of our feelings, whether they are painful ones like grief or loss, or happy ones like celebrations of births, weddings, or book launches. Since I wasn't conscious inside my body for so many years, it's taken me longer to recognize the symptoms my body is giving me. So if I get an anxious feeling in my sternum area, it is a signal for me to pay attention - something is upsetting me. If my stomach gets upset, I check what I ate. If that's not it, I look further for a disturbing conversation or something like that.

How about you? Does your body talk to you?
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Musings

All is well with Sugartime. The member who left shared that it was absolutely the right decision for her--space is already opening up in her life for more of what her heart wants to do. Whew!

I had a week of technology challenges, but things seem to have settled down in that area. I hired a sound technician from Grandma's (where I bought all our equipment) and will get lessons on what the knobs and buttons do and how and when to use them. We replaced cheap cables with better ones, and will learn how to set the headset volumes to match each other. Who would have thought I'd be into all this stuff at 61. It's a blast, but challenging and frustrating as well.

There is light at the end of the tunnel on hubby's major project. Maybe by the time we leave for our cruise, it will be completed and he can breathe a sigh of relief. I hope so. The stress is starting to get to him.

Haven't done much work on my novel and nothing on the nonfiction book, but I'm okay with that. I'm learning that each day is a journey and there are different steps to take each day, depending on my energy and where Spirit is leading me. If I pay attention to the signals my body is giving me, Sugartime is where my passion is right now. That doesn't mean I'm not passionate about writing, but the creative juices are flowing from my heart to my speaking voice, not my writing voice right now, so that is where I am.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Friday, November 5, 2010

Timing and Unexpected Opportunities

As many of you know, I belong to a singing group called Sugartime. We perform at retirement communities, health fairs and other special events. One person in our group was presenting problems - difficulty learning and retaining the choreography, voice not blending well with the other three in group songs. We knew we couldn't take our group to the next level with these issues. We kept trying to fix it, but things weren't changing, so I had lunch with her the other day and said we needed to make some changes. She could sing two solos with us, but could no longer participate in the group numbers. It was a very hard thing to do, because I have been on the receiving end of that kind of communication and had no desire to hurt someone in that way.

She said she'd been feeling the frustration as well and needed to make some changes in her life. On Tuesday of this week, she called and told us she was going to withdraw from Sugartime and that it was the right choice for all concerned, including her. We are sad, but relieved. One hour after receiving that phone call, another member of our group received a call with an opportunity for Sugartime to sing three songs at the Mayor's State of the City address at Albuquerque's convention center. It is an entree into all sorts of potential opportunities for gigs at other city events, as well as business events, since the Chamber of Commerce will be there. We are to sing the National Anthem and two other songs in front of 250 people.

I couldn't help but feel that by speaking my truth, as difficult as that was, to the one member, it shifted the energy so that we could move more towards what we are wanting to do. This opportunity may have presented itself anyway, but it would have been a more complicated situation if the letting go hadn't happened first.

Do you believe in coincidences?
Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Telling the truth Tuesday - being true to ourselves

My writing coach and dear friend, Mark David Gerson http://markdavidmuse.blogspot.com/ has been staying with me for the past five days. If you don't know Mark David, he wrote what has become my favorite writing book, "Voice of the Muse," as well as a fantasy novel, "Moonquest." But it is through his coaching that I have come to know him best.
I have been working with him during the past six months or so to help make the transition from nonfiction to fiction. The journey, as with everything else in my life, is spiritual in nature--overcoming the obstacles that keep me from living the life I was meant to live. But Mark David is also on his own mind-boggling journey. He has been blogging about it, but seeing it up close and personal while he is here in my own makes it that much more real.

We had a long talk the other day--one in which we both ended up in tears as we realized that as incredibly difficult as this journey is for him, it is so very right. And it is so very right because he is walking a path that ultimately allows him to be true to himself and his purpose in every single way. It doesn't look normal - in fact, some would say it's crazy. It doesn't meet conventional standards or conventional wisdom. But so many people who follow all the rules and live their lives the way they think they are supposed to and the way society says we are supposed to, are unhappy.

If I hadn't followed the whisper of my heart to leave Portland, OR and come to New Mexico, I would not have the very blessed life I have right now. Those whispers are sometimes very hard to hear. And once we hear them, they may be very hard to listen to. How do we trust ourselves and our journeys when we come right up against our biggest fears? Mark David doesn't know the answers as to how. But he does know that he can't go backwards, doing the same things he's done before in order to find a way to this new level of living.

As for me, I keep discovering my truths, about me and my issues, about the way I maneuver through my world, and seeking ways to do it better. Sometimes all I can do is trust the process. I have a teacher in my life that is modeling that in the deepest way possible. Thank you, Mark David.

Blessings,
Karen

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Musings

Hope everyone had a happy Halloween. I don't know why, but the holidays aren't holding much meaning for me this year. I'm not depressed or anything. Just somewhat disconnected. We had a singing gig on Saturday at a retirement community where we were the entertainment during their Halloween party. Some pre-schoolers were there to trick or treat with the residents and everyone was dressed in costumes - except us. We weren't told it was to be a party. Luckily, we all dress in black, so we fit in. At one point during one of our solos, a little one stood up next to the singer and started dancing. At another point, one of the residents started singing a song. Our concert was interrupted for costume-judging contests. We figured, if we could get through that gig keeping our cool, we can get thru anything. And each time something like that occurs, we get more comfortable performing.

I am looking forward to this week, as I don't have too many outside appointments and am hoping to get some writing done. I am sorry I haven't been visiting your blogs too often - I'm hoping to rectify that this week.

Thanks for all the thoughts and good wishes for my friend, G. And the reminders for me to take care of me. I am doing that in ways I never could have before.

Blessings,
Karen

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