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


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "Z"


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

"Z"

My "Z" word just has to be Zebras because when I look at them I think - miracle. Zebras are one of those things that make me wonder how any one could doubt whether there is a God. I don't want this to become a religious discussion, since this is not that kind of blog. But why isn't a Zebra a regular horse? Why does it have stripes and horses don't? And why are the stripes black and white, not red and white? Don't you think they are miraculous?

Well, can't believe we've come to the end of the 2012 A-Z challenge. Many thanks to Arlee Bird for creating this in the first place. It is fun to challenge yourself to come up with 26 posts relating to letters of the alphabet and then seeing what everyone else has come up with. And having the opportunity to make many new blogging friends.

Blessings,
Karen

Friday, April 27, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "Y"


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

"Y"

I am grateful for the years I have lived my life (63 this month) and for the years that I hopefully have to come. A year is a long time in one's life. So much can change from one year to the next, not just how we age physically, but in the lives of those we love. It's hard being far away from loved ones. In my mind, I picture them the way I saw them last. Then when I see them again a year or so later, I am shocked at the differences. People who knew me 10 or 20 years ago would not know me now. And not just because I look different physically, but because I have changed so much. So I am grateful for the years of my life, whatever the rest of them may bring.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Gratitude - Letter "X"


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

"X"

You're going to laugh, but I am grateful for the TV program "Xena, Warrior Princess." Why? Because she was a powerful female role model in a world which has few of those. She knew who she was. She had physical strength as well as physical beauty. She wasn't afraid of anything or anyone. She could take care of herself, yet be tender and loving at the same time to others. Writing this, I need to channel my inner Xena. How about you?

Blessings,
Karen

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "W"

This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

"W"

Today I am grateful for wandering. So often, we are stuck in our routines, having to get through our to-do lists. How wonderful it is to wander off the routine, or stray away from the path we are walking and wander wherever our hearts and minds want to take us. It opens up so many opportunities for new discoveries, new teachings, new experiences. How about you? Do you ever let yourself wander?

Blessings,
Karen

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "V"

This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

"V"

I love the word vivacious, don't you? Doesn't it conjure someone who is outgoing and fun, and energetic and charismatic, but not overly so. Too much of these things can become obnoxious, someone who is trying to garner all the attention. But one who is vivacious is just naturally so. Their inner spirit of joy just shines through.

Do you know any vivacious people? I have a few in my life and just adore them.
Blessings,
Karen

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "U"


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

"U"

Understanding. This is a huge word, and I don't mean because it has 13 letters. So much conflict comes from misunderstanding. How many times have you mis-heard what someone said because you are thinking your own thoughts while the other person is speaking. Or you mis-interpreted what was meant because you made assumptions that just weren't true. Our relationships will flourish if we make an effort to understand ourselves better as well as really paying attention to others so we understand them as well. Understanding creates empathy which makes room for acceptance, even if there are differences of opinion. So I am extremely grateful for the understanding that has come to me through the years.
How about you? What do you understand to be true?

Blessings
Karen

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "T"


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

"T"

There's an old song called "Try a Little Tenderness" and those words mean so much, so that's my grateful word for the day - tenderness. Imagine the kind of world we'd have if we all spoke with a little more tenderness in our voices. Even words that might seem harsh would sound better if they were said tenderly. That doesn't mean you can say mean things tenderly and think that's okay. That's not what I'm saying. It's just we don't pay all that much attention to the tone we are using when we speak and if we come from a tender place, our words will be received so much better. What do you think?

Blessings,
Karen

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "S"


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

"S"

Sugartime, Sugartime, Sugartime. For those who don't know, Sugartime is the name of my singing trio. We perform at retirement communities, nursing homes, special events like the State Fair, fundraisers, private parties. We sing some Broadway, old standards, oldies, pop and country and have a blast doing so. We also choreograph our songs, which makes it a show as opposed to just a concert. Our audiences seem to love us and we love them. My gratitude knows no bounds to have the opportunity to do something like this in my 60s. As a little girl I dreamt of being on Broadway. This is as close as I'll get, singing Broadway songs. And you know what? That's okay.

Blessings
Karen

Friday, April 20, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "R"


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

"R"

I had a post scheduled for "R" - it was reading. But Dick Clark died and so my "R" gratitude has to be Rock 'n Roll. Dick Clark and American Bandstand were so much a part of my childhood. Every day (yes, back in the day, American Bandstand was on every day, not just Saturdays), I would rush home from elementary school and get home in time to watch The Mickey Mouse Club and then American Bandstand. For those who don't know, it was a show that played music and kids danced. They'd rate the music based on how good it was to dance to. And there were live acts as well, from Stevie Wonder to Buddy Holly to Chubby Checker to Madonna. I wanted to much to be one of those kids dancing on the show.

Rock 'n Roll is so much a part of my soul. I began singing as soon as I could talk. First to my parents records (Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, etc.). At four I was singing along with Patsy Cline. But when Bill Hailey and the Comets hit American Bandstand and Elvis came along soon after, my life, and the life of so many others, was changed forever.

So here is my homage to Dick Clark - thank you for shining a light in what was otherwise a fairly dark childhood. And thanks for all the years of rock 'n roll pleasure you gave so many millions of people. We'll miss you.

Did you watch American Bandstand?
Blessings,
Karen

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "Q"

This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

"Q"

My gratitude today is for those times when I can find real quiet. It's difficult in our world to really be in silence, because noise is everywhere. Airplanes, cars, horns, people, computer noises, television, radio, music, etc. I am lucky. I live in a quiet neighborhood in a small cul de sac with a small park behind our house. There are houses to either side of me, but no noise emanating from them. I hear dogs barking sometimes, but other than that, it's quiet in my home. I need that. To think, to meditate, to write. If I am surrounded by too much noise, I tend to withdraw inside myself and kind of shut down. I can handle it for a little while. But then, I need to get back to where it's quiet.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "P"


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

"P"


Oh, this one's easy. It's got to be Peter, Paul and Mary. They are probably the first folk group I ever heard.  Their songs, Blowin' in the Wind (I know, written by Dylan, but Peter, Paul and Mary's is the version I love best), Puff the Magic Dragon (which they say was Not about drugs), If I Had a Hammer, Leavin' on a Jet Plane (written by John Denver, but immortalized by Peter, Paul and Mary). They were so much a part of the 60s and consequently, of my growing up years. I got to see them a few years ago, about a year before Mary Travers died. I am so grateful for them individually, for their music, for their exquisite harmonies, and for what they stood for and how they helped those of us coming into our own, understand certain values and how to stand up for them.

Do you know their music? Here's a link to Blowin' in the Wind on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3t4g_1VoGw4

Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Gratitude - Letter - "O"


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

"O"


I just love the expression "Oy Vay!" It's Yiddish and it really can't be translated literally, but it means oh my goodness, oh my, uh oh, and several other feelings all rolled into one. I didn't grow up in a religious family and my parents didn't speak Yiddish, but the neighborhood I grew up in did have many Jewish families where the language was spoken, so I learned a few things. I have gratitude for Oy Vay because when English words fail me in response to certain things, Oy Vay does it. I think it may even have crossed over to use by those who are not of Jewish heritage. Has it?

Blessings,
Karen

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "N"

This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

"N"

Today I am grateful for those in my life who are just plain "nice." I have to start with my wonderful hubby, who is one of the nicest guys I've ever known. He is very even-tempered, will do just about anything you ask him to do, willingly and with good cheer, and I have never heard him say a bad word about anyone. Come to think of it, he is the very definition of "nice." Sometimes I am not so nice. If I am tired, I can get very cranky and irritable. Also if I go too long without eating. I try not to get to hungry or tired. I am also nasty to telemarketers sometimes. I think I need to take a page from my loving husband and work on being nicer more of the time. It will affect my karma if I don't, right?

Are you nice?
Blessings,
Karen

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "M"


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

"M"


My gratitude today is for mindfulness. I spent so many years on auto-pilot. I can still lose myself in a movie or a novel. If I consciously choose to do that because I need down time, then that is fine. But if I am using that behavior to avoid feeling something, it isn't okay. Somehow the pain I am avoiding will be revealed, and usually not in a good way. So I am practicing mindfulness. Trying to live my life by being as conscious as possible in each and every moment. Setting intention for what I am doing, and being mindful each step of the way. Not easy, but I sure am more centered.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

P.S. I am out of town this weekend, but I will catch up with all of you Sunday night.
Karen

Friday, April 13, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "L"

This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

"L"

My gratitude word for today is "Listen." How many times have you been in a conversation and spent the entire time planning how you were going to respond to what the other person was saying? I spent most of my life communicating that way. I had to teach myself to focus and pay attention to the other person.  It's not always easy, especially if they are saying hurtful things. But if I truly listen, I am giving both them and me a gift.

The other important aspect of listening for me is to listen to myself. To my own inner voice and wisdom. To my body. What is it trying to tell me? What happens if I don't pay attention. Most of the time, if I don't listen, I get sick, or hurt, or miss an opportunity. Some negative consequence happens.

So I am learning to tune in more and more and listen, both to myself and to others.
How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

P.S.
I am out of town this weekend, but will catch up with everyone Sunday night.
Karen

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "K"


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

"K"


How can I not be grateful for kindness. Imagine what the world would be like if we were all kind to one another in every moment, in every situation, with every person we come in contact with. I am spending a lot of time thinking about intention and how that comes from living life consciously. In every moment, if I am awake and aware, I have a choice about how I think, feel and act. Gary Zukav, author of "Seat of the Soul," says if we would only pause before acting or speaking to allow a gap of time between the impulse to do or say something harmful or destructive to ourselves or to others, then we would give ourselves the opportunity to choose, rather than go on automatic pilot. Isn't that brilliant?

So, be kind to one another, okay?
Blessings,
Karen

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gratitude - Letter ' J"


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/


"J"

I am grateful today for the word "just." It has so many meanings that really speak to me. First, let's take it as it relates to justice, which means it is the right and "just" thing to do. Then there's "it's just me here," which says to me, "I'm enough." Or there's "just in time," which means I made it right when I was supposed to or I might have missed something crucial. And then there's "Just you wait," which means take a pause. I just thing just is such a great word, I just had to use it as many times as I could.

How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gratitude - Letter 'I"


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

"I"

Gratitude for "I" definitely has to be imagination. Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." I agree. Where would we be without imagination? We wouldn't have Harry Potter. Or The Wizard of Oz, or any of our fiction books for that matter. We wouldn't have movies because no one would have imagined how to have them. So today I am definitely grateful for imagination and all the creative energy it brings.

Blessings,
Karen

Monday, April 9, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "H"


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/


“H”
“H” just has to be gratitude for happiness - any way we can get it, find it, and keep it. Only we can’t keep it. If I’ve learned nothing else in my 63 years on this planet, happiness comes in moments. Moments which rarely last forever. All we can do is continue to find what brings us joy and be grateful for those magical moments when we feel that soaring feeling inside our chests that lets us know we are happy.
Blessings,
Karen

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "G)

This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

“G”
I love to play games, so today’s post is about that. I am grateful to all those who invented my favorite games: Charades, Monopoly, Scrabble, Canasta and mah jong. Charades is such a fun party game and is great for all ages. Our folk dance community has children, young adults, and those of us with grown children. We can all play, although we don’t always know the references.
Each of these games definitely include laughter, which is such good medicine, as we all know.
What are some of your favorite games?
Blessings,
Karen

Friday, April 6, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "F" - Friends


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/



“F” - Friends
Gratitude for “F” just has to be friends. Without my friends I’m pretty sure I’d be dead or locked up somewhere. I have been so blessed wherever I’ve lived to find kindred spirits--people I can really talk to and really be myself with. And that is such a blessing. Don’t have to hold back or pretend to feel other than what I feel in any given moment. And here in bloggydom, it is similar. We find kindred bloggers and there are connections and friendships formed even though we’ve never met face to face. So here’s to friendships, both real and virtual.
Blessings,
Karen

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "E" - Energy

This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

“E” - Energy
Everything we are, everything we do, everything we eat, smell, touch, is energy. When I finally realized this, and that wasn’t too long ago, I realized I had to portion out my energy so I didn’t use it all up. One of the hardest things about growing older is that there is less energy to do the same things that used to use up less. I wear out faster. But there is also energy for inner work and when my physical body needs a rest, my spiritual energy takes over. I am so grateful for this awareness about energy and how I can use my energy best in my life.


How about you?
Blessings,
Karen

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "D" - Insecure Writer's Group April post


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/.

It is also part of the Insecure Writers Support Group, created by the intrepid Ninja Captain Alex http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/, who is also a co-host of the A-Z Challenge.

Now, how am I going to tie in my gratitude theme for the A-Z challenge with a post for the insecure writer's support group?? Hmmmm....

“D” - Darkness
As a beginning writer, I spent a lot of time in the darkness. The darkness of despair, loneliness, isolation, fear. I quit a successful public relations career in 1999 to write full time. I spent the next 2 1/2 years on my memoir, only to be told by an editor that "you have a book in you, Karen, but it's not on these pages."
I spent the next few years re-writing, and well, the rest is history. The memoir was published in 2009--a huge milestone in my life.


I no longer dread the darkness. I've come to be grateful for the dark times that come as depression for me. It is a signal that something needs to change or something is going to happen. In my writing, the darkness is the time when I am mulling things over and my subconscious is at work. I just need to allow things to gestate.


So, for both the A-Z challenge, and the Insecure Writer's Support Group, today I am grateful for the darkness. It is always always always followed by the Light.

Blessings,
Karen

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "C"


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/


“C”
I wanted this post to be about gratitude for chocolate, but since I can’t eat chocolate anymore because it makes me phlegmy (is that a word?), I will talk about change. I used to hate it. I wanted everything to remain the same, but without change, life would be oh so boring. And I would be oh so miserable. For example, I used to weigh 183 pounds. Now, 130. If that hadn't changed, I'd be extremely overweight and unhealthy. And I wouldn't be having so much fun with new clothes. If I hadn't broken my ankle in 7 places back in 2006, I wouldn't be singing with Sugartime. If I hadn't moved to Albuquerque to heal from a painful divorce, I wouldn't be married to my wonderful hubby. Sooo, today I am extremely grateful for change. How about you?

Blessings,
karen

Monday, April 2, 2012

Gratitude - Letter "B"


This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/


“B”
The scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz sang, “If I only had a brain” and learned he’d had one all along. I used to wish I was smarter, even though I skipped 8th grade and was always in the smartest class in the grade, it wasn’t enough. I would focus on the one thing I couldn’t do well, like math, and allow that to color my perceptions about myself. Now I do know better. We all have strengths and weaknesses, flaws and things that make us shine. They are the things that make us unique. So today I am grateful for my very own brain and how well it has carried me so far.

Blessings,
Karen

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Gratitude - letter "A"

This post is part of the 2012 A-Z challenge, created by the intrepid Arlee Bird at: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/. My theme for the challenge is gratitude, so each day I will write about something I'm grateful for.


“A”
Despite the political woes, economic fluctuations, sociological issues, and whatever else is plaguing us these days, it is a blessing to live in America. I have the freedom to do whatever I choose to do, as long as I don’t break any laws. I have the freedom to practice whatever religion I choose, even if others don’t agree with my religious beliefs. I have so many privileges that are not in the realm of possibility for folks in some other countries. So “A” is for America and I am very grateful we won our independence from Great Britain.

Blessings,
Karen

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