Transitions

Transitions 
Such a huge day yesterday in the forward movement of our country as the Supreme Court of the United States moves us closer to marriage equality! Not everyone is pleased - we've seen that before in civil rights issues, so no surprise. In fact, here's the official statement from the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg on the Court's decisions:  "Everyone should be treated equally, but it is not discrimination to treat differently things that are different. The difference is the difference." That's one of those "WTF?" moments, meaning, of course, "Where's the Faith?"....ahem.
Yes, we still have work to be done. (The lead story yesterday in The Sentinel  was on the theft of a garden gnome - clearly we have work ahead in Central PA!) What lies ahead for each of us depends on how we want our lives to unfold. In other words in our teaching, business as usual! We are not surprised to see this sweeping change toward equal rights in our country, or the world for that matter. We have worked hard to open the doors of our Centers and the closed mind of the bigoted. Not to downplay the excitement and joy, but seriously...if we didn't expect success then why did we treat or pray in the first place? Celebrate that we have this manifestation? You bet! Rejoice and make plans for future weddings (or begin taking applications, as two of minster friends have started doing!). Of course! But be "surprised?" No, not for those in our teaching. Besides the celebrations and fireworks we rest in the peace of knowing that Divine Right Action takes place for everything, not just the "big stuff."
 
You see, that's what faith is all about. It's easy to get caught up in the realization of the possibilities and acknowledgement of all couples through the decisions of the Supreme Court. I certainly did. As I read through Facebook posting after Facebook posting I was bawling like a baby. But we must stay focused on equality for all people. Along this line I want to acknowledge the work in New Thought that has already been done.
In 1995, Unity Worldwide Ministries (The Association of Unity Churches) created a diversity statement for the organization. I am told by ministers involved at the time that there was a lot of discussion and not just a little dissent in the member churches, but the organization as a whole accepted the statement and proceeded accordingly. Today Unity churches are still some of the most welcoming to our diverse population.
Two other examples exist within our own organization, Centers for Spiritual Living. Almost immediately after the Court's decisions were handed down yesterday our current Spiritual Leader for the organization, the Rev. Dr. Kenn Gordon, issued the following press release:
"Everyone is equal in the eyes of God. Marriage equality is a basic human right, This is a spiritual question, not a political one. Today's U.S. Supreme Court decisions are important steps toward the ultimate goal of full marriage equality. It is inane for us to put laws forward in our social contract like marriage and say it is OK for some but not for everyone. Everyone is equal in the eyes of God. We believe that love is the foundation of all major religious philosophies, and therefore we support the expression of love in same-sex couples and the right of same-sex couples to marry. Religious Science endeavors to get to the spiritual truth of the matter and through that lens we see that marriage equality is about human and civil rights. It is not up to a court to deny basic human rights to anyone." 
Long before it was popular, the former president of our organization (then Religious Science International), the Rev. Dr. Arleen Bump stood up for marriage equality. My late partner, Frank, and I were honored to be the first gay couple for whom she performed a union ceremony. It was held in our church, then the Glendale Church of Religious Science, and she performed the ceremony in full doctoral robe and hood in honor of my ministerial path and for the relationship. The year was 1993. Her actions were significant and provocative according to some in the organization at the time. More than a few ministers raised an eyebrow and their objections - oddly enough, most of them were gay themselves. It wasn't a legal union, but she fearlessly upheld the sanctity of our relationship by refusing to cave to any protests. I honor Dr. Arleen today for being a leader in supporting marriage equality for over two decades.
So where do we go from here? It may not be a "we" - it might be an "I", or an "us." We don't need societal approval to work toward the goals we desire or to live our lives as we choose. This week marks a major transition in my life as I leave Unity of Harrisburg as their spiritual leader and begin making the necessary preparations to build our Center for Spiritual Living Cumberland Valley. I have made many dear friends at the church and throughout the Unity movement. It is my hope once our Center is more fully established that Unity of Harrisburg, Unity Church of Palmyra, Unity of Lehigh Valley and our Center will form our own local "New Thought Alliance" in bringing our unique New Thought principles to the people in south central Pennsylvania. Here we grow again! 
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Trust

Trust, or the lack thereof, is one major issue that can make or break a relationship. Honesty and commitment are certainly in there as well, but trust (or faith, if you prefer) in the person or persons with whom we are in relationship is crucial to the success of the relationship.
I need to digress for a sec – bear with me. (I know I usually admit I’ve digressed after I’ve taken you on an “Oh! Shiny Object!” moment, but today I choose to warn you in advance.) When I talk about “relationship” please think beyond the person you are married to, dating, or the person with whom you hope to create a new life. Let it be ANY interaction you have. Face it. In the Universal scheme of things we’re all one anyway, so all relationships are with ourselves on some level.
But have you ever thought of the relationship you have with the cashier at the grocery store or the person who just let you into traffic on the freeway in the same way you view your beloved? What if we saw everyone as our beloved? They really are, you know! We’re so afraid of being intimate (because in Western society intimate means we had, are having or will have sex), that we’re totally afraid of expressing our emotions.
I remember asking my friend, Melissa, about her ethnic background. She’s half Bahamian and half Irish. She has the most soft, beautiful milk chocolate skin I’ve ever seen. She’s gorgeous, but in a totally unassuming way. She walks into the room and turns heads. I had often wondered what her ethnic background was (people often do with her), but hadn’t ever asked because I felt it was rude. When she expressed one night in to our graduate class how annoying it was to her when people assumed her background, I asked. In class. Out loud and in front of everyone. I simply said, “I think you are one of the most exotic and beautiful women I’ve ever seen and I’ve been dying to know what your background is. So, please tell us.”
She was stunned for a second. She said no one had asked her in such a way and it was the beginning of our friendship. I can tell Melissa anything…and have. I truly love this woman. I could cuddle up with her and watch a movie, or go walking in the park with my arm around her or holding hands. We’d never hop into bed together – first of all she’s half my age and second my husbands wouldn’t appreciate it -  but we have a delightfully, honest and intimate relationship.
THAT’S what I’m talking about. And to understand that you HAVE to get your head out of the Western idea of labels, boxes and categories about people and just friggin’ accept that our intimacy and love can come from so, so, so, so many other places than where we’ve been taught in the past. Perhaps that’s why there are so many men and women pining for love. They have such a stilted idea about what intimacy and love is that it could slap them upside the head and they’d STILL miss it. SHEESH! (Picture the Universe exuding a collective “groan.”)
Now back to the topic – did you enjoy the “Oh! Shiny Object” journey with me? To have the relationship we want or maintain the ones we have we MUST trust. Pure and simple. However – and now we REALLY get to the reason I thought of writing this! – we have to get back to basics and really communicate effectively with one another. Now, I DO understand that we communicate in more ways and far more frequently today than we did twenty years ago … or even five. But our cyber communications can be as much of a threat to our relationships as they are a tool of connection. Why?
Because we suddenly have more access to our lover’s or friend’s lives as we ever had before. What if we see a post on our partner’s Facebook page from someone we don’t know? How does s/he know my husband? They seem awfully friendly. Why? Wait a minute! Are they messaging each other privately, too? I’d better check his/her computer while they’re at work! Hey! How come his/her history shows them on THAT site! What are they on THERE for?!?
The madness begins. The fear explodes. The relationship implodes. Trust. Pure and simple. We must trust if we are to maintain our relationships. Cyber access has suddenly made us privy to everyone’s diary, with our inner most thoughts and fantasies exposed for all to see. It’s a mine field we need to stay out of at all costs, or the cost may be our relationships, our friendships and even our connection with our blood family members or family of choice.
Take time this week to trust someone at a whole new level – meaning stop worrying if he hasn’t texted you in the past five minutes or she hasn’t share the purchase of her grande mocha latte frothing whatever…with caramel drizzle. Be willing to be trustworthy. And, if you are having problems with this, ask yourself:  If I can’t trust my partner/spouse/friend, then why am I in relationship with them in the first place? We’re here to love, enjoy and explore life with each other, not be each other’s babysitter, judge or jury.
As my husband, Kevin, says, “Hey! Jus’ bein’ me.” So this is me “jus’ bein’ me” – sharing with you my week, my life experience, my hopes, my dreams, my successes and perhaps what I perceive as my failures. This thing called life, as Ernest Holmes put it, is who we are, warts and all. Live life to the fullest and as authentic and unique as you are. Love ya!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry

Moving Through Pain

I believe in and teach to others the Science of Mind® philosophy as created by Ernest Holmes. This unique blending of spirituality, science and philosophy has been the guiding force in my life for nearly thirty years. One of the foundations of this teaching is a type of affirmative prayer called “spiritual mind treatment.”
When we pray we don’t do anything to God. The real purpose for prayer is to change our consciousness so that we are receptive to the blessings of the Universe and to recognize the answers to our questions, challenges and problems. Some people might think just because we have this wonderful teaching and a terrific tool called treatment that we shouldn’t have any problems or be sad about situations in our life.
As one of my southern friends might say, “Well, sugar booger (that’s a term of endearment, BTW), life just ain’t like that!” And you know what? She’s right. We can recognize the absolute perfection of God/Spirit/the Universe, but as spiritual beings having a human experience we can get very muddled in the physical and emotional “stuff” at times. When that happens we may need a little time to mope about, feel sad, and take the time to heal. We can’t always predict our emotions. A fellow minister I know is currently on a trip in Asia where he has taken messages from people to a sacred spot to be offered up as a release to those who have departed this realm. He recently shared how overcome with emotion he was after doing this. What a gift he has given himself and all those who participated to release these emotions and energy!
I’m deeply moved when I see other spiritual leaders admit their own emotions, but doing so can be difficult for the people who have placed their minister or spiritual guide on a pedestal. We often do this to our leaders – spiritual or otherwise – and somehow expect them to not have “our” problems. Yesterday I posted a poem on my Facebook account. Some people take trips to sacred places; I write. I was expressing my deep sadness of the loss of a relationship. My friend will still be a peripheral part of my life, but we will no longer have the intimate relationship I’d come to enjoy. These things happen. People change and go their separate ways. That doesn’t mean just because we live by a spiritual code that it doesn’t hurt like someone stabbed us … repeatedly.
What surprised me was the response I received from people. I was touched by the concern of so many people who wrote on my wall, sent a private message, or contacted me by text or email. Some asked if my primarily relationship had ended; others were concerned for my safety feeling I might be depressed enough to harm myself; and, still others wanted me to get better … quickly … because they aren’t comfortable if I’m not happy. I thought about taking the poem off my page, but I didn’t want to erase what I shared just because it was difficult for some people to believe that I – of all people! – had personal problems or grief from time-to-time.
Perhaps that’s a result of my current mission to live more authentically that I ever have in the past. I’m 58 years old, 6 foot 2 and weigh in at around 200 (okay, okay….206….whatever…), and I’m finally beginning to realize that I don’t have to be afraid of anyone or what they think, that I most definitely MUST be the religious science minister/spiritual leader that I am, and that if people don’t like the authentic me then I wish them well to go their own way. I refuse to change who I am anymore just to make my other people comfortable. I don’t go out of my way to tick people off, but it does happen … occasionally.
The philosophy in which I believe and teach saved my life in 1985 … literally. If it weren’t for this teaching I would have died. I don’t write weekly, speak on Sundays, teach classes or counsel people because I have all the answers. Do I know how things will work out in your life or mine, I mean exactly how? Nope. The “how” is God’s job. I do what I do because I’ve been in the “dark valley of the soul” more times than I can count and because of this incredible teaching I know the way out is the way through. The tool that makes this possible is spiritual mind treatment, the most effective, incredibly simple and immediate process of changing our life situations to which I have ever come into contact.
This week be willing to face a dark area of your life. Practice unconditional love for yourself and others, and know that in doing so you will come out the other side to light, love and your own magnificence. If you want help with that, email me. I’d be delighted to write a treatment for you.
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry
P.S.  If you’re not on Facebook, here is the poem to which I refer to above:

When A Dream Dies

When a dream dies,
When we love deeply,
With all our heart,
It may mean that we will
Experience a pain that runs as
Deep as the love.
Unconditional love is Divine,
But when practiced by humans
The pain of doing so
May feel
Unbearable.

- Terry Drew Karanen (c) 2013

A New Phobia

Have you ever done a Google search on phobias? Even for professional therapists it can be an eye-opening exercise. Just yesterday a colleague introduced me to a new one – FOMO. The acronym stands for the “Fear Of Missing Out.”
Teenagers, especially, have had this affliction for decades. There are so many things from which to choose in school – drama club, sports, etc – and it’s nearly impossible to do everything, though God knows many try. Everyone wants to be seen here or there with this one or that one. What to do?
Part of this phenomenon is caused by the way we are overly-informed in our techno-cyber society. I’ve written about this in the past and I’ll be address it again with regard to relationships and trust in next week’s blog. But it’s not just teenagers and we can’t blame it all on our smart phones. So what is really behind this unreasonable fear?
A friend of mine called this week in a complete knickers-in-a-twist state. The issue was attending a function (which he admitted he didn’t really have any desire to attend) or not to go (but if he didn’t go what would he miss?). GET A GRIP! What earth-shattering announcement, pronouncement or experience might he be missing? Doesn’t that fly in the face of knowing that the Universe supports us in supplying everything we need?
Of course it does. Ernest Holmes describes “fear” as faith misplaced. Fear is not a lack of faith. It is faith in a negative outcome, one which we do not wish to experience. Fear leads to worry. Worry leads to stress. And long-term stress leads to at least a pimple if not a heart attack. What could possibly be worth either one?
Fear of missing out is based in a consciousness of lack and a belief that we aren’t enough. I have a man in my life that I consider a multi-lifetime soul mate. He’s torn in his love for three different men: one whom he loves, another whom he likes and a third man that brings impossible to a whole new level (at least in his mind). Which one will he choose? He’s getting very close to making a decision. But will it be the right one?
Whomever he chooses will be the right one for now; which boyfriend he chooses is quite irrelevant. By making a definite choice to which we can fully commit the Universe supports us in seeing that decision to its conclusion. When we do that we are often filled with a sense of peace of mind and clarity that was impossible to experience while we were stuck in FOMO. When we stay stuck in the muddle and anxiety of FOMO the Universe can only support us in continuing the chaos. Love in, love out. Chaos in, chaos out. Simple.
As Grandma Esther used to tell me, “For God’s sake, Terry, make a decision, even if it’s wrong!” I don’t believe necessarily that we make wrong decisions (though it can seem that way in hindsight), but she was basically right. Fully committing to a course of action may lead to our desired goal. Or, we may receive more clarity to move us closer to what we want. Either way, it’s impossible to miss out on life and our friends and family will appreciate that we’ve stopped constantly bitching. This week stop kvetching about whatever it is you’ve been making the object of your anxiety and make a decision. Get out of the muck and start enjoying life!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry