Using Methodical Madness to Our Advantage

Do you ever create a “To Do” list, or what I like to call my “Accomplishment List,” only to find it screaming at you later in the day? I am often asked how I keep all the different parts of my life organized. Granted, using Evernote on my mobile devices and desktop has become an indispensable tool. But there is another reason. I see my life and all that I do, both what others call my ministry and what I call my life, as One.
There was a time when I was a man of many masks – not faces, masks. I was a completely different person depending on where I was and with whom. Sure, I still use what my partners call my “flight attendant voice” at times, but today pretty much what you see is what you get. We cannot be authentic if we are always being what other people expect us to be, or changing our persona to fit the circumstance. Frankly, if I can’t be myself where I am then I have to question why I’m there in the first place.
There’s a term I think about when life gets a little crazy at times:  Methodical madness! I heard that term on NPR a while back referring to someone who has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). I have learned to enjoy the madness of my tendency toward ADD to accomplish more than I ever thought possible.
My partners tell me that what I really suffer from is “AD...OSO,” or “Attention Deficit….OH! SHINY OBJECT!” Kidding aside, I do not suffer from ADD or anything else. I am not willing to claim it. Remember in the Bible when God brought the animals to Adam? Scripture says that Adam named them and he received dominion over them. It is a wonderful metaphysical lesson:  Name it and it’s yours, only in this case what we name gains dominion over us.
I call it a “tendency toward ADD” and not my my ADD. When we own a disease, condition, person or situation it becomes a noose around our neck. Sometimes it becomes a life sentence. Recognizing the areas in our lives that are out of balance and taking responsibility is one thing; allowing something to run or ruin our life is another thing entirely.
Is there something in your life that is stopping you from living life to the fullest? If so, ask yourself why you continue to put up with it, work around it, or allow it to force you to live a life that is less than stellar. I love to see people make decisions to thinking differently about physical or psychological issues. We can affect change and create lives truly worth living instead of “just getting by.”
Let me help you with some problem that’s been nagging you for longer than you’d like! Call, email, or make an appointment to spend some time together to get to the bottom of the problem and move beyond! We are all One Mind – within YOU is the Knower that knows the answer to any challenge you face.
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry
My First Guest Blogger!

Do I like introducing one friend to another? I love doing that! It's especially fun when people are from different backgrounds and organizations. I get to do that for you today!
I was privileged to be the spiritual leader at a Unity church for about a year and a half. One of the best parts about that experience was meeting some amazing ministers in that denomination. Today I get to introduce a woman to you who I count as both a colleague in ministry and a trusted friend,  Ellen Debenport
Ellen is a celebrated author and speaker. Her book, The Five Principles, is a sophisticated but clear explanation of the universal spiritual laws that are the foundation of human living. While it's discussing Unity principles I tell people it's also one of the clearest explanations of our Science of Mind(R) principles around! She is currently minister at Unity of Wimberley near Austin, TX.

The Creative Impulse
Ellen Debenport
Several people have asked me lately where I get ideas for this blog or for the talks I give.

When I'm honest, I tell them the idea is usually dredged from somewhere in the back of my mind at the last minute.

I envy those people who bubble with ideas all the time, who have so many ideas they don't know which ones to pursue, or fear they won't have time for all of them.

Even so, I wonder how many of us would describe ourselves as creative.

Creativity is more than just talent with words or art or music.
  • It's a chef, an entrepreneur, an event planner, a gardener.
  • It's a parent making a long car trip fun for the kids.
  • It's a teacher finding just the right stories and pictures to explain a new concept, whether for first graders learning arithmetic or rocket scientists reviewing a launch sequence.
I don't actually know many rocket scientists, but I know creativity doesn't have to be loopy and right-brained. It can be methodical and disciplined. Think of what it takes to design software for a video game. That's creative!

Romantic love inspires creativity, of course. You know you're in love when all the songs on the radio make sense. Now marriage proposals have become an art form.

I believe creativity is our most divine expression.

So why is it ever hard? Why do we not recognize it in ourselves more often? Why do we not cultivate it every day? And why do we procrastinate?

I admire a young woman in Canada, Samantha Reynolds, who noticed her life was being consumed as a new mother and vowed to write and post a poem every day just to keep her creative juices flowing.

Since her second baby, the poems are no longer daily, but she still sees through a poet's eyes. And, she noticed recently, so does her little boy.

If we are made in God's image as creators, if creativity is a child's natural approach to the world, then why is the inner critic so vocal when we attempt something new?

God created the earth and saw that it was good.

Whereas many of us look at our creations and say:
This is awful.
Everyone's going to hate it.
I'm too embarrassed to put this out into the world.
Maybe I should just start over.

When did we lose the joy in creativity? (I would say it was the first time we were graded, but that's another soapbox.)

I know so many people now who are working to recapture their creative joy, and – like children – they are less concerned with whether they have natural talent than with expressing themselves.

Good for them.

The focus required for creativity may be the best way we have to stay in the present moment. It's a spiritual practice.

Even better, many of us know divine help is available for these endeavors.

You've heard the story that every blade of grass has an angel bending over it, whispering, “Grow, grow.”

So do you.

I'm teaching a class right now based on a little book called Hiring the Heavens, about creating angel committees to help with any project. It's a fun way to organize the divine power of good in the universe.

And personally, I imagine angels – or whatever forms the Source of Creative Imagination takes – are cheering us on.

So, back to the original question -- where do my ideas come from? I ask for them.

Most weeks, I tell the angels that I absolutely, positively have to have a new topic, overnight. And it's nearly always there in the morning, popping into my mind while I'm still half-asleep, just in the nick of time.

Of course inspiration can be triggered from outside as well – books, speakers, a walk.
The fact is, we are creators every second of the day, creating events and experiences with our deepest thoughts whether we know it or not.

Even at the conscious levels of personality, we are composing our lives – where to live, which jobs to accept, whom to marry, whether to have children – and choosing our reactions with each new encounter.

We can't NOT create.

Wouldn't it be more fun to claim it? To think of ourselves as brimming with creativity and turn ourselves loose on the world?

If you could create anything right now, what would it be?

Where Is Your Focus?

Have you ever noticed just how quickly our moods can change? For example, what happens to your outlook when you think of a tragic event in your life or in the life of someone else? Immediately our minds focus on the details, perhaps imagining the experience worse than it was.
I had a lucid dream at some point last night. If you’re not familiar with the term “lucid dream” it means that you realize in your dream that you are dreaming. Dream Viewsdescribes it as a person realizing they are in a dream after experiencing something and then stopping to question their reality.
In my dream I experienced something unpleasant having to do with an organization in which I have had conflict in the past. I knew very well it was a dream, but the experience was such that it perfectly scripted a hidden fear about confrontation in general. All-in-all it was most unpleasant.
I awoke completely focused on the dream that had gotten me so upset. I “forgot” to do my morning stretches before getting up and also neglected my meditation work that follows. I put too much milk in my coffee and found myself totally annoyed about it. Fortunately my higher self slapped me back into reality. I often hear the “still small voice” of intuition, but additionally I seem to have a “slap-Terry-up-side-the-head” spiritual connection that lets me know when I’m out of sync! It’s annoying, but helpful.
There was a time in my life that I would have allowed that dream to ruin my whole day, have been a complete grouch, and probably gotten into an argument with a lover, co-worker or unsuspecting clerk at a store. I give thanks for my teachers and daily spiritual practice that allows me to focus on what I want, instead of what I don’t want, which results in a happier life. But, it was a stark reminder for me that my thoughts definitely control my life and my attitude. As Mike Dooley says, “Thoughts become things – Choose the good ones!”
What are you focusing on right now? Is it what you want to happen? If not, why give it any more of your time? Unhealthy, unproductive thoughts that live rent-free in our mind don’t do us or anyone else any good. This probably isn’t news to you, but if you’re like me it’s a good idea to remind yourself. Commit right now to focus on what you want.  Let go of the fear and uncertainty of worrying about your future or fretting about the past. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow will be the experience you create today!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry

Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding!

Do you have a “Cardinal Rule?” I do and I broke mine today. How? I went to the mall.

You see, it’s the week before Thanksgiving. That means it’s after October 15, my “drop-dead-last-day-in-a-mall-before-Christmas” Cardinal Rule.

I don’t do last-minute Christmas shopping. I shop a great deal online, which means much of my shopping is done before fall begins. We also frequent craft shows, antique stores and festivals, all of which are in abundance in south central Pennsylvania. Plus, we celebrate “Boxing Day” (December 26) thanks to my fiancé’s Anglophile perspective on life. Shopping for all sorts of presents begins the day after Christmas. You should only HOPE to get the deals we get!

So why did I chose to title this week’s blog, “Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding?” You have endured my three paragraph, “get-to-the-point, Terry!” set-up – a minimum requirement I’ve set when I’m sleep-deprived, had too much caffeine and some ADHD has kicked in – so you deserve the answer! Two words:

SALVATION ARMY

Really? November 20th and the bell ringers have to be out already? I mean the mall isn’t even decorated for Christmas yet. Seriously?

ARGHHH … another Christmas holiday has arrived, regardless of what the calendar says, and “BINGO!” – all the things I still need and want to do before the holiday arrives comes flooding into my little brain, causing me a mini-minor scheduling meltdown.

Do you ever feel that way? You’re cruising along in life, having a delightful day, feeling like you have the tiger by the tail and the world is your oyster, and THEN it happens! You remember you were supposed to do something (like write a major article whose deadline is ten days away); you’re having guests for dinner and the food you were supposed to lay out to thaw is still in the deep freeze; or, you answer a call to find out that a friend has been waiting for the last hour for you to show up for lunch. You get the idea.

I don’t know what might cause you to have these “Shut-The-Front-Door” moments, but I can tell you how it usually is for me. Normally when stuff like this happens I find that I have scheduled so many things to do, or that I am so overwhelmed with worry about a situation, that my mind just plain stops working.

I can’t find my keys – probably a good idea since the last place I should be at a time like that is behind the wheel of a vehicle. I forget to feed the fish. I forget to feed Terry. I simply stop remembering what I’m supposed to be doing and find my mind off on an Australian-style walkabout. While amusing to others it can be most annoying to me.

There is another reason I felt the way I did earlier today with the bell ringer. It’s completely and totally ego-related. I don’t recall giving my consent for the Salvation Army to set up this week (not that they’ve asked in the past, mind you), and since they did so without any warning (HOW RUDE!), I was literally forced into the realization that Christmas is closer than I thought.

Now isn’t that just silly? I mean it’s not like it’s Easter or Hanukkah that changes every year according to the lunar calendar. There it is, right there, smack dab on December 25, every year, year after year. Amazing how that works, non?

I hope you’re relating to this. Quite frankly, I’d hate to think I was the only person in the world who has ever has this type of thing happen to them. The way I deal with ego meltdowns is to laugh. That probably annoys the dickens out of my ego, but I’m not going to lose sleep over that. If you find you are a little surprised by events, the actions of others, or just something that doesn’t fit your pictures, might you be willing to try that? Just laugh. I mean have a good, old fashioned belly laugh. You’d be amazed at how well this works.

I mean, compared to world peace, how important are our problems or upsets anyway?

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness (and laughter!)

Terry

Who Supports You?

Are you one of these persons that everyone calls in a crisis? Do you know just what to say and when? Have been there to take charge and calm the mob from burning the town?
Perhaps not the later, though if you’ve done that do email me the details – I’d love to know about it! But if you’re reading this the rest of previous paragraph probably describes you. I know it clearer speaks about many of my readers who I know personally. The question is, To whom do you turn to when times get tough?
It can be a difficult question to answer, particularly if you are a leader, a minister, a supervisor, or just that one particular person everyone thinks has it all together all the time. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I will. I’ve been seen that way since I was 17 years old. At the time I had a real problem that finally came to light. The people who helped me had no idea anything was wrong. “We thought you had the world by the tail,” I was told.
I didn’t. I couldn’t find my own tail let alone anyone else’s. I was fortunate and blessed to have people who cared enough about me to intervene in my life and stop what was fast becoming a downward spiral. The fact is, however, it doesn’t have to get that bad to be dangerous.
Is there something in your life that you keep putting on hold? Something that bothers you, that you know you ought to take care of, yet something you never seem to have the time or strength to address? If so, I encourage you to reach out today for some kind of support to get you through whatever the issue is. It may be contacting a counselor or minister for guidance. I might just be coffee with a friend. Whatever it is for you, please take the time to take care of yourself.
I can’t force you to do this, but would you be willing this week to do just one simple, loving thing that is just for you? In other words, take some time to bask in a completely selfish act of some kind that nurtures, revitalizes and pleases you. If it’s something you’d like to share, skip down to the bottom and leave a comment. Who knows, perhaps that one thing you do this week will be just what someone else is looking for to help themselves! Have a great week!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry