Are You a Clickabator?

Self-Abuse in the 21st Century

Do you feel stressed out? Do you feel like there’s too much to do and too little time in which to do it?

If so, you’re not alone. I’ve written in the past about our increasing need to stay connected with everything and everyone one 24/7/365. It’s exhausting! So I came up with a new way of expressing it.

Clickabation

It came to me the other day when I remembered the term, “Googlebation.” Have you heard of that? Googlebating is when we Google ourselves. It’s a good idea to do that from time-to-time. You might be surprised with what you’ll find.

I realized that I’m guilty of “clickabating,” though that might be “tapabating” or “swipabating” if you spend more time on Tinder, Grindr, or Match.com than you do on YouTube or NPR news. It could be considered Internet self abuse.

What over-clicking, -tapping, and -swiping is doing is ramping up the need for more and more. It’s cocaine for our fingertips, but doesn’t do our brain any good at all. Like that other kind of abuse, it seldom satisfies, often leaves us empty for what we really want, and makes us crave for our next fix.

Take the time to think about what your fingers are doing, where they are leading you, and how that next site or profile will either enhance your life, or leave you drained and empty. It’s all about choices, dearie!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2018 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
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You Ain’t For Everyone

Being Boldly NOT for Everyone

Are you comfortable in your own skin? Though they might not admit it, I’m sure you can think of someone in your life who thinks they are just fine, but their actions prove otherwise.

In fact, could that be you? It’s perfectly normal to second guess ourselves from time-to-time. We think, Should I really have said that? Or, Should I have thought twice before doing that?

Entrepreneurs and just about everyone else need to understand very clearly that they are not going to please everyone. We are just not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. For example, I have one particular critic that continues to chide me for the using contractions in my writing. She feels it’s unprofessional. (I’m still trying to get her to understand the difference between blogging and writing for an academic journal!)

More than one time I’ve been chastised – once quite publicly – because I swear occasionally in writing. They obviously don’t know me personally because I can assure you it happens a hellava lot more in person.

For the contraction issue, when I use or don’t use contractions in published writings depends on the intent of the contents, and to whom I’m writing. As far as the limited use of profanity, I quote Bette Midler, who had a perfect line for that. I’ll refrain from printing it here. Suffice it to say my mother would use both my first and middle name to show her dislike!

You are who you are. Accept and work with it. We don’t have to annoy people or swear just to make people raise their eyebrows, in other words, just for the effect of being outrageous. But God (Spirit, Higher Power, Universal Intelligence, whatever!) gets to express Itself uniquely through you – don’t let us miss out! Go forth boldly as you – which is NOT going to be for everyone. And you know what? That’s friggin’ perfect.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2018 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
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Hurry Up and Wait!

Long-term Results in an Instantaneous World

Can you believe how impatient we’ve become? I just made myself a cup of hot chocolate, with miniature marshmallows, of course. No, I didn’t heat the milk in a saucepan over the stove. I stuck it in the microwave.

Less than two minutes later I’m thinking, What’s taking it so long to get hot?

Not too many years ago I would have needed a block of chocolate to shave off; melted the chocolate over a low heat; and, then gently added the milk while stirring continuously for several minutes.

Young people growing up today have no concept of life without a microwave; phones that were only in one room and didn’t leave the house; long-distance and international calls that went over cables, not the Internet, and cost a fortune; or, banking that had to be done only in person. Times have changed!

And yet, we can become so invested in instantaneous gratification that we forget some things still take time. (Take it from a gardener – I know!) Are there areas of your life that are getting you anxious because you’re not seeing the results you want? Here’s what Robert Louis Stevenson wrote about that:

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

One trick that we can all employ is to enjoy the moment, as well as making sure what we are doing in that moment is what we want to do. If we are working in a place that we hate; if we are living in a home we can stand; or, if we are in a relationship that’s over-stayed its welcome, then it’s hard to enjoy the moment.

To create a life worth living we must focus on what we want, not what we don’t want. We do this by planting seeds now that will grow into the results we want to reap. Consider your thoughts right now. Are they in line with want you want?

If so, plant those seeds, nurture them, and enjoy the harvest when it arrives. If not, it may be time to change your thinking to change your life – both for now and the future!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2018 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
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How Successful Do You Want to Be?

I Believe In You

Do you believe in yourself? I mean, do you trust your decisions, and feel that you have control of your direction in life?

It’s not wrong to doubt ourselves. In fact, self-doubt can work to our benefit by exposing attitudes we still have that no longer serve us.

Admitting we don’t have the knowledge or skills required for a new career we want can make us decide to go back to school. Acknowledging we can’t do everything alone opens a door inviting others to help us.

But if we don’t have at least some trust in our own abilities, success can elude us. Norman Vincent Peale, the well-known author of “The Power of Positive Thinking,” said it this way:

When people believe in themselves, they have the first secret of success.

One major point of encouragement we can give ourselves is that we are never alone. We are all part of, or rather a unique expression of, a power that is greater than us. One energy flows through everything seen and unseen; it runs through our every cell in our body.

This power comes with the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of universal consciousness. It’s truly the biggest, invisible library we can imagine, gathering together the history and information of the cosmos through all time.

The beloved religious science practitioner and pastoral care minister, the Rev. Dr. Juanita Dunn, used to say to me, “Within you, dear child, is the Knower that knows. You do not have to have the answers. Just believe that the Knower does.”

You answers are within you. When we feel that we “don’t know what we want” we can remind ourselves that if we don’t know then who would? We get to chart our course. Nothing is predestined; and, any decisions we find that haven’t panned out the way we expected can be altered. We can almost always “choose again.”

Choose wisely. Know that you have within you the power to change whatever your circumstance is should you desire to do so. The power of decisions in the past has resulted in our present. If it’s not to our liking, change it. Believe in yourself. Believe you have the power within you to affect change in your life.

I believe in you! You can do it! I’m just amazed at how friggin’ fantastic you look doing it!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2018 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
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It’s Time to Take Action

What’s Stopping You From Being Magnificent?

Last week ago, a group of teenagers in Florida decided to take on the federal government, lawmakers – Republican and Democrats, alike – the judicial system, the President of the United States and the National Rifle Association.

It took courageous, pissed off high school students with little or no prior experience in activism or politics to be the ones who finally stood up and took action that’s already making a difference. They’re articulate, focused, and reasonable in their approach.

What will it take for you to move forward in your own life? Hopefully it’s not going to take a tragedy like these young people experienced to motivate you. But, there’s something you want to do that you’re not doing. There may be somewhere you want to go, or someone you want to get to know better. What’s stopping you?

It takes a great deal of strength, a great deal of power, to move on in the face of fear and uncertainty. Moving on to a new job, a new city, a new relationship or a new way of life is a big step. It can be a simple step to take, though not necessarily easy. It may be exactly what you want to do and know you must do. It may also be a step for which you have little or no support from the others closest to you.

At this time it’s as if we’re standing at the edge of the Olympic ice rink. We know we must step onto the ice, hear the applause, and do the particular sequence of twists, jumps, and turns we have practiced over and over again for years. Only this time, it’s the Olympics.

Our personal reputation as an athlete, our country’s pride, our family’s years of sacrifice, and perhaps our future in this profession is riding on the next three minutes. We can skate onto the ice, confident in our training, or we can turn, walk backstage, giving into the fear.

Fear is something to which most people give a lot of power. It appears that fear stops us from going forward. We allow it to paralyze us in our tracks. Fear, in and of itself, has no power. It only has as much power as we give it. Most of the time we not only give it the power, we steal power from other areas of our life and fuel the fear.

Change is necessary. Fear is one of the most powerful factors we allow to keep us from changing. Fear does not stop us. We allow fear to stop us. People fear change because even if the situation in which we find ourselves is far from ideal, at least it is familiar.

My Grandma Esther used to say that it was like being up to your neck in horse manure. Eventually you get used to the smell and at least it is warm. The warmth of even the worst relationship or difficult job is that it is familiar. That familiarity is a sense of comfort to us even though it seems to run contrary to any logic given the circumstances. Here is how Ernest Holmes defined fear in his book, The Science of Mind (1938, page 156):

Fear [is]… nothing more [or] less than the negative use of faith … faith misplaced.

Faith misplaced – we have faith that something is going to go wrong. With that attitude something probably will go wrong or we will make ourselves sick in the process. In cults, people are expected to believe what they are told to believe without any explanation and follow orders without question.

You don’t have to take the word of someone else. There are universal laws in place to support you. The universe is actually conspiring right now for the complete and perfect success of your desires. The only question is, what are you showing that you desire by the thoughts you concentrate on? Are you planning for success, or thinking of all the ways you’ll fail to achieve what you want.

We have freedom of choice, but not of consequence. Choose wisely.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2018 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
Excerpts from How to Find Your Vision and Get a Life! © 2014 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

To check out other available titles by Terry Drew Karanen, click here.

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Speaking Out About Parkland – “Making Sense of Life” Special Edition

Guns in America

We have a problem in America. In fact, of all the countries in the world, the United States has the most pronounced evidence of this situation. And, yes, it involves guns, but that’s not the complete problem, nor is banning all guns tomorrow the perfect solution.

First, our children and the adults dedicated to educating and protecting them are being repeatedly, savagely, and willingly gunned down with malice, forethought, and intricate planning. And, second, as a society, Americans have been complacent in our actions to prevent the re-occurrence of recent events.

This writing is not to oppose guns. I hold a unique position in life which most of my readers do not:  I have shot guns and know how to use one; and, I have been shot in the face during a mugging. But this is not about my experience or about outlawing anyone’s constitutional right to own a firearm.

There are two reasons for my message today, and both come via my local high school of which my husband, Kevin, is a department head and educator.

First, one of Kevin’s former students wrote this poignant thought:

According to our Congress, the AR-15 that was used to kill 17 people (to date) at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has a “constitutional right” to exist. That same Congress, however, has also made it clear that health care for the injured, as well as mental health care for the survivors, their friends, and their families is a “privilege.”

It doesn’t take a high degree of education to understand the disparity and how utterly ludicrous this is.

Second, there is a suggestion that could be implemented in your local schools that could reduce or eliminate more murders the next time this happens. (I’m not being pessimistic here. Without a radical change, which doesn’t seem likely in the immediate future, tragedies like this will continue.)

Our local high school has a very specific protocol for fire alarms. Drills are announced in advance; teachers, administrators, students, staff, and parents know the day and the time of all scheduled drills. If an unscheduled fire alarm goes off, the principal makes an announcement immediately over the loud speakers indicating that there is an emergency requiring evacuation as instructed. Without that announcement, each class room is locked by the instructors, window shades drawn, and students gathered safely.

People often ask, What can I do? Knowing these procedures means you CAN do something. Contact the school districts in your area. Find out what procedures they have in place in such circumstances. If guidelines and protocol don’t exist, work to make sure you get them designed and implemented.

This blog and my work continue to be about “Making Sense of Life.” In this regard, no one can make the available to or used by the general public. The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States speaks clearly about the right to bear arms, and I don’t dispute that. But, nowhere in that document does it indicate citizens have a right to own and use weapons of mass destruction. The AR-15 is designed to be just that:  A weapon of mass destruction of human life.

Our President, our Vice President, and the many members of Congress whose campaigns are well-funded by the National Rifle Association would like us to believe this most recent shooting and others like it must be stopped by addressing mental health issues. This is utter nonsense, unfounded in its assertion, cannot be backed up with reliable research or facts, and speaks to just how desperate our current government is to hold onto its self-serving, anti-democratic, and privileged positions.

If you don’t know who Ben Dickmann is, you might want to click on the link below. “He's a ‘responsible, highly trained gun owner,’ [who] doesn't see a need for the average person to own the powerful firearm [referring to his AR-57, a variant of the AR-15].” Click here to see what his background is, why that’s significant to the most recent shooting, what he’s done, and how others can follow suit.

Speak out. Dialogue with others. Act, instead of reacting. Don’t wait for leaders. We must be the leaders we seek.

Terry Drew Karanen © 2018

Copyright © 2018 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
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Pick a Side!

Are You Your Labels?

How are you personally dealing with the polarization going on in the world? Have you noticed how if we are for one thing that we are often expected to be against something else?

There are those who still believe we live in a black/white, gay/straight, right/wrong, yes/no world. The world has never been that way, although the ideal does give one a false sense of security. It a sign of longing for a past that never really existed:  Play by the rules and you are guaranteed to succeed.

The problem with that thinking is nothing is guaranteed. The only constant in the universe is change. And, humans are a species of contradictions.

Being pro-life doesn’t necessarily mean one is totally against abortion in all cases. Being a feminist doesn’t mean one hates men. We love to categorize people for our convenience and may even be proud of the labels we’ve given ourselves. But social media and life in general in the twenty-first century have opened up our private lives to public record. If we are talking the talk, but not walking the way, eventually someone is going to call us out for it.

Conservative and liberals can embrace parts of the opposing ideology when it suits them. Several years ago one of the Popes lamented the “cafeteria Catholicism” practice by Americans – in other words, taking from the religion what works for them personally instead of embracing everything, comfortable or not. But such an approach to religion has been around since religion began; only we just talk more about it now.

We are frequently much different in our thinking and how we live our lives than what other people assume. It comes down to judgment, primarily judgment of others. However, it also speaks to how, when, and what we express on issues currently unfolding in our lives.

There is, however, a way around all of this:  Communication. By listening to understand, instead of listening only for the opportunity to criticize an opposing viewpoint, we open the door to dialog. We might even stand to learn something in the process, not only about an issue, but about ourselves as well.

Would you be willing, starting today, to put aside your preconceived notions the next time you hear something you immediately judge as outrageous, unbelievable, or distasteful? Could we all seek to understand more and criticize less?

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2018 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
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They Aren’t Going to Like This

Can You Stand Up to Criticism?

Are you feeling more like a leader in life? In my blog two weeks ago I opened a conversation that we ought to have with ourselves:  Am I willing to be a leader? How’s that going for you?

There’s a truly inspirational speaker who I very much enjoy hearing, particularly because he challenges me to be a better, stronger, and more focused leader. Seth Godin is a remarkable author and several books and champion of new ideas. This week I’m sharing a quote from his book, “Tribes – We Need You To Lead Us.”

So the challenge, as you contemplate your next opportunity to be boring or remarkable, is to answer these two questions:  “If I get criticized for this, will I suffer any measurable impact? Will I lose my job, get hit upside the head with a softball bat, or lose important friendships?” If the only side effect of the criticism is that you will feel bad about the criticism, then you have to compare that bad feeling with the benefits you’ll get from actually doing something worth doing.

Leadership, like so many other qualities, begins within our own consciousness. We can’t be leaders in the world, in our communities, or in our families if we can’t lead ourselves. What does that look like?

It means that we must be willing to succeed. Does that sound like a no-brainer? It isn’t. Do you know why people fail at projects, ideas, and even relationships? It isn’t the fear of failure.

It’s the fear of success.

Why would we fear success? We fear success because it’s something that may have eluded us for years. We all know failure. We know what it feels like not to get ahead, to be single when we’d like to find a mate, to have a no-where job, or be unable to balance the checkbook. The enticement of failure is that it’s familiar. Our egos love the familiar because they know how to react from our history.

Change scares the crap out of our ego, even if it’s a good thing! Thomas Troward wrote that principle is not bound by precedent. In other words, just because something’s always worked out one way in the past doesn’t mean it has to be that way in the future. The criticism that Godin wrote about can come from within us as well as from others. It’s up to us to go for it, whatever “it” is, and be willing to accept the good that comes from our success.

Consider this week how you might be allowing actual, perceived, or expected criticism to stop you from leading the life you want. The universe will conspire for our good – but we have to open our consciousness to accept those blessings. Go for it!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2018 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
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How DARE You Bring That Up!

A World Without Privacy

Have you ever posted a comment on social media, and then have it come back to bite you in the ass?

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt … and the bite marks, which in one case is still healing.

I’d be hard-pressed to think of anyone I know that, if asked, wouldn’t respond with a roll of the eyes, a very deep sigh, or by throwing their hands up in the air. It’s one thing to misspeak, or say something out of a brief moment of anger or upset directly to another person. It’s a completely different ballgame when what we say can literally fly around the world in a manner of minutes … or seconds.

I “friended” my mother on Facebook® some time ago – if you follow my personal or professional pages you’ve probably found her comments are quite “insightful” at times. She’s expressed horror at my swearing and once pretty much told everyone I was lying about something. (She understood later, however, that this wasn’t the case, although my perspective on the given topic and hers were miles apart.

I was intrigued by one of her posts (on her FB page, not mine), about how people should keep their profanity to their private conversations at home, not out in public. I took exception to this and for this reason.

First, in the world of social media there is no privacy; so, mean what you say online or in print (and in person) and standby your convictions. I do, however, strongly believe that social media is not necessarily the place to work out some ideas or how we feel on any number of given subjects. Neither do I recommend posting when one is intoxicated or otherwise “loose as a goose,” nor when one is completed and totally pissed off at someone else. Not that I, personally, have ever done this, but I’ve heard it’s highly suggested not to do this by those in the know.

Ahem.

Above and beyond the lack of privacy, however, this issue is part of a much larger conversation about how we present ourselves, both privately and to the world. Granted, we are going to act differently in some ways with friends as opposed to business colleagues or strangers. But none of our actions or words should be diametrically opposed to the essence of who we are as a person.

As I told my mother, a faithful, practicing Christian who doesn’t make a habit of swearing no matter where she is, Shouldn't true Christians be acceptable to their God 24/7/365, and not just when others are watching? And for that matter, shouldn’t we all be consistent in our thoughts, words and actions?

I don’t believe in a judgmental God/Goddess or Higher Power. I believe in a user-friendly universe that is set up to conspire for our good. The universe I experience is one that only says “Yes!” to my requests. When my life isn’t the way I like it it’s not a God/Goddess punishing me; rather, it’s that I’m saying I expect something, but then am not willing to do what it takes to allow that to happen. In other words, I want change without changing.

News flash:  That doesn’t work.

If you believe in a God that sees everything you’re doing, then remember that in the privacy of your bedroom as well as when you’re screaming crap in CAPITALS on your social media. Either way, it’s a great lesson in who we want to be if we remember that nothing we think is private really is anymore.

Chew on that one.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2018 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
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Lead, Follow, or Get Out of My Way

Where Are the Leaders?

What are leaders supposed to do?

Leaders are supposed to lead.

Duh.

Seems like a no-brainer, huh? Yet we see very little leading today in the news.

We certainly see people in power spouting rhetoric and hyperbole – these are socially acceptable, polite ways of expressing the same old crap without any solution and telling out-and-out lies to make oneself, ones party, or ones ideology look good. The latter is particularly effective for convincing the easily-led-astray, uneducated, or people in agreement with hatred, bigotry, and xenophobia.

This writing is not to encourage you to sign petitions; show up at demonstrations; tweet and post; vote, or register to vote; or, run for public office. Those suggestions are excellent ways to affect change in our world and local communities, of course. But I’m thinking about something a bit more basic.

To lead effectively a sterling quality is required, seldom seen in many politicians and other leaders:

INTEGRITY

This also requires an action step that is more difficult than finger-pointing and blaming:

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR OWN ACTIONS

One former president who spoke to this was John Quincy Adams. He’s quoted as saying:

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.

You’ll note the lack of need to bully, to lie, to mislead, or to get people to do things for one’s own benefit anywhere in this admonition. What it does speak to is our need to take personal responsibility with integrity to serve others. How can we best do that?

The best way to demonstrate that we are committed to any cause is to act in a way that is consistent with the values of that undertaking. To be effective, we must be consistently mindful of our vision and mission in life. In other words, if the basis of who we are as an individual is in opposition to what we are attempting to promote, we will fall flat on our face.

We’ve seen this all-too-often in politics. The legislator who derides gay men is found having sex with a street hustler. We discover that the religious leader who speaks out against abortion took her daughter to a clinic to have one. This list goes on and speaks to another issue that we must recognize.

NOTHING we do is private any more. We’re going to talk more about that next week. In the meantime, consider how you might better lead by example, or take on a leadership role. And, in that process, recognize that – titled or not – you are a leader. We all are on some level. The only questions that remain are whether or not we’re going to embrace this responsibility, and how best to exercise the power we all have.

Lead us.

P.S. John Quincy Adams is not remembered as one of our greatest presidents. But his back story gives us even MORE insight into how we can lead. For more on this, scroll down!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2018 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
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John Quincy Adams

I was drawn to the Adams quote used in the blog above. But I really don’t know that much about the man or his presidency.

To assist with my education, I turned to my historian husband, Kevin. In some ways, the actions of Adams before and after his presidency are far more impressive than his time in office. I see a parallel here in the work we see today by President Jimmy Carter. Here’s what Kevin said when I told him about the Adams quote I was planning on using!

Hmmm … interesting one to select. It is a good quote from John Quincy Adams, but when it comes to leadership and his presidency, Adams is usually ranked about in the middle. He was hopelessly weakened in terms of leadership after the result of the 1824 election – often referred to as “the corrupt bargain” – since he lost the popular vote to Andrew Jackson but won the election (sound familiar?). He really was a poor politician in his day. He said he would serve as a man above “the baneful weed of party strife,” but that never materialized during his presidency.

His idea that the federal government should set the national agenda was far ahead of his time and very much rejected by politicians and state officials in the 1820s and 1830s. His career before and after his presidency is much more leadership oriented. He was an excellent diplomat, as he set the essential marks of American foreign policy for the next 100 years – freedom of seas, halt to European colonization in Western Hemisphere, isolation from European affairs, etc. Basically he is the reason we had two generations of peace with Europe until 1898. He also was a principled politician after serving as president, focused on the antislavery movement. It is his battle against slavery in the halls of Congress after his presidency that greatly redeemed his presence in the eyes of history.

Kevin A. Wagner
Program Chair, Social Studies 7-12
Carlisle Area School District
Carlisle, PA, USA