Stop, Step Back and Breathe

Throughout the year we are presented with a slices of time, about three weeks give or take, in which we may find our lives going awry for no apparent reason. There are very good explanations for what is happening around us, as with most situations which cause us to be perplexed and confused. But for the purpose of brevity, I ask you to just go with me on this, because one of those slices of time starts tomorrow.

Whether it’s bad karma, some stars in or out of alignment, a Universal Law we are fighting or a devil doing his work (depending on your take on life), we all have these moments where no matter how hard we try to make things go right everything seems to be going wrong.

Psychotherapist and coach Lynn Grodzki, LCSW, calls this as an “AFGO,” or “Another Friggin’ Growth Opportunity.” People often say they want to grow spiritually or improve in their lives, but then complain that they don’t want to try something new.

But doing the same thing over and over and expecting difference results is a great definition for insanity; it’s also counterproductive and frustrating. At such times in our lives it does us good to stop, step back, take one heck of a deep breath, and see if the AFGO before us requires a change in the perspective we have on life.

Ernest Holmes wisely taught us that changing our thinking changes our life. He was not explaining a one-time experience. It’s not like you “change your oil, change your car” and the vehicle works perfectly for the rest of the time we own it. Changing our thinking only changes our life when we are practicing this principle by examining our sacrosanct paradigms on a daily basis. It means we must challenge our own ideas with the same intention that others dare to do.

If we have built our life on a firm foundation as expressed in our personal vision and mission, then the changes, frustrations, obstacles and other AFGOs that present themselves allow us to move forward instead of stopping progress and/or staying stuck.

Over the next three weeks or so be more acutely aware of those AFGOs, of frustration on the part of others, or perhaps yourself. When these golden opportunities present themselves, stop, step back, take one heck of a deep breath, smile to yourself as you recognize the AFGO for what it is and go with the flow of the Universe.

Just remember this when you go with the flow:  YOU get to pick the stream.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Copyright © 2011, 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

You Have GOT To Be Kidding Me!

I read a great blog last week by my friend and colleague, Ellen Debenport. I realized right away I had to share it this week.

Stay with it - even though it's difficult at times! It's SO worth it!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

 

 

The Greatest Spiritual Teacher, by Ellen Debenport

Who is currently the greatest spiritual teacher in your life?

Good chance it’s Donald Trump.

Stay with me on this, because it’s true whether you like him or not.

A spiritual teacher doesn’t have to be spiritual himself. He doesn’t even have to understand his role as a teacher. The learning happens within us.

If you don’t like Trump, the spiritual challenges are pretty obvious. Acceptance, forgiveness, patience, understanding, finding the good and even being grateful for some things. These are familiar spiritual tools to traverse upset.

But what if you like the new president? Let’s say you think he’s making some long-needed and beneficial changes. How is he a spiritual teacher then?

I believe we find spiritual challenges whenever we are winners or in the majority. Your majority might be political or racial, you might be a winner in terms of money or education, or even when your favorite sports team wins a game.

What do you do when a great many other people are disappointed and left out of your joy or privilege? That’s a spiritual challenge.

NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN 

If you approve of the new administration’s undertakings, you must be aware that half the country doesn’t approve.

Conflict and division seem built into every policy decision being made in America, no matter who makes it. Half the people will believe Trump is wrong regardless of what he does.

This really isn’t an unusual situation. All new leaders have to overcome resistance to change – new bosses, new ministers in churches, even new stepparents.

Having authority over people who may not like or trust you is a spiritual challenge. How do you innovate with integrity? How do you bring the old guard along and get their buy-in for new ideas?

Well, it’s not, “Nanny nanny boo boo, you lost and I won.”

It’s not, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

And it’s not necessarily, “I’m in charge. Do what I say.”

Personally, I think it helps to find out exactly what is already being done. Now that you’re on the inside, you might find there are good reasons for the way things are handled, which you couldn’t see when you were criticizing from the outside.

That’s true whether you’re the new majority party in Congress, the new teacher in a classroom or a new member of a church board.

Ask and listen. You might hear some good ideas and avoid some missteps.

You can also appreciate the old guard for their years of service, rather than making them feel obsolete and in the way. Introduce your ideas in a way that enrolls them, rather than accusing them of wanting to destroy the country (or company, school or family).

That’s all standard management advice. And it’s true, the old guard might continue to be resistant, and you might eventually part ways.

But there’s another way to handle being in a new position of authority or majority: Pray a lot.

ONLY THE HIGHEST GOOD 

Pray for the highest good of every person concerned, especially the ones who are angry and obstructionist.

Pray that everyone finds his or her perfect place of service, here or elsewhere.

See each one as enlightened and well-meaning, someone who loves the country, company or church as much as you do and wants the best.

Notice, you’re not praying for specific outcomes.

In the case of Donald Trump, one side might be tempted to pray he leaves office while the other affirms he’s the best president ever. That’s no different than praying your sports team beats the opponent. It’s your ego’s preference.

The advantage to a truly spiritual solution is that everyone can win.

As you hold a strong vision of harmony and understanding, the molecules of the universe will begin to rearrange themselves into that pattern.

And one of two things will happen.

Some people will begin to change and grow in what seem to be miraculous ways. They will not create the problems you expected. They might astonish you with their newfound creativity and accomplishment.

Or they will drop away. Those who can’t match the frequency of a new undertaking will leave it.

That’s true whether you believe the new frequency is higher or lower than the old. It’s a new vibration, and it will attract only those things, people or ideas at the same frequency.

Picture a hot air balloon rising off the ground. It has been held in place by heavy sandbags, but those bags can’t rise with it. Their perfect place of service remains on the ground. They have to be released.

People who aren’t a match to a new consciousness, whether it’s in a political administration or an office complex, will find other places to be.

BASIC SPIRITUALITY 

Do you see what I mean? You can rearrange the circumstances of your life by affirming the highest good of all, without taking a position on whether the people involved are good or bad.

I once prayed a difficult boss out of my life. I affirmed the best for him in whatever form it might take, while searching for good in him. (I learned he was a great dad.)

Eventually he was promoted to a job that took him away from me. Win-win.

So I’m not suggesting you pray for or against Donald Trump. Just affirm his highest good, in whatever form that takes. And could we also agree to affirm the highest good for the country?

When we all start doing that – giving up vociferous opinions and affirming a bright future with enlightened leaders – it will be interesting to see who stays and who goes, which bills pass and which don’t, who rises up and who fades away, how the courts rule, how the agencies operate, and who becomes the majority in the next go-round.

This is basic spirituality: Set an intention for what you want – peace and prosperity, health and harmony, justice and freedom – and hold that vision while the universe figures out how to bring it about.

You will have done your part as a citizen and elevated your spiritual consciousness. And you might be surprised how well things work out after all.

Ellen Debenport © 2017
http://ellendebenport.com

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Point of Order

How’s your knowledge of parliamentary procedure? I’m spending five days right now with a couple thousand teenagers from all over the globe who already know far more that I do about the subject.

I’m in New York City for the 2017 National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN) conference. I’m one of five chaperones who have accompanied the 60 students from Carlisle High School to the Big Apple. It’s my ninth year and these young people continue to amaze me.

The students I watch over are nonchalant with gender fluidity and don’t think twice about a mixed-race relationship. They are quick to question authority, but just as quick to listen to dialog and be willing to engage in honest debate with integrity and respect.

Can we adults say the same? Are we posting information on our social media accounts that point out the splinter-sized issue in groups with whom we disagree, yet unwilling to see the rafter-sized problems in the eye of our own cause or organization? Do we listen intently at what the other person is saying during a conversation, or are we too busy waiting for them to take a breath so we can interject our viewpoint, totally disregarding the ideas being expressed?

Young people are idealistic, often unrealistic, and frequently in a state of utter dismay when their schemes don’t go according to plan. We probably were, too, when we were in our teens, groping about in life trying desperately to find our way. But in some ways, we are still right there, stumbling through the dark when all we have to do is turn on the light.

What are your dreams, your aspirations and your desires? What’s it going to take to get from where you are to where you want to be? Perhaps it’s time to stop and take stock. The students I’m with this week are very familiar with the term point of order in their various committee meetings. It’s a statement that something needs to be addressed or corrected.

I believe I have a “point of order” moment that you might find useful in your life. Next Wednesday, March 22, I’ll be presenting a 30-minute webinar, live with a Q&A segment included. The topic will be,

“What’s Stopping You From Being Magnificent?”

Here at NHSMUN 2017 I’m more excited today about this upcoming webinar for next week than I was when I first planned it. When I’m around these students it’s impossible for me to not be infected by their excitement and hopes for the future of our planet, as well as their own lives, as they unfold into adulthood.

This will be a free, live broadcast at 1:00pm and 8:00pm, U.S. Eastern time, Wednesday, March 22. Here are the links to sign up and reserve your seat:

1pm:  https://expertise.tv/webinar/what-s-stopping-you-from-being-magnificent/landing/4070

8pm:  https://expertise.tv/webinar/what-s-stopping-you-from-being-magnificent-2017-03-23/landing/4069

Join me for at least one of the sessions – see you next Wednesday!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

“Mr. Watson – Come here – I want to see you.”

Do you know where your cell phone is? Perhaps not. Many of us misplace them more often than we’d like to admit. Today, of all days, we might take a moment to appreciate why we have them in our lives.

It was 141 years ago today, in 1876, that Alexander Graham Bell is purported to have spoken the words of today’s blog title to his assistant, Thomas Watson. “The rest is history” pales at best considering where we’ve arrived today. But exactly where is that?

It’s been said that the Millennials don’t know how to communicate because we find their noses in their phones instead of talking to one another out loud. The opposite is actually the case. That generation keeps in touch in real time more effectively, in the sense of exchanging information, than does any other generation. The instant social media platforms are their apps of choice; email and voicemail are for older people. Communication, however, is not the issue.

The problem is the lack of meaningful, physical connection that Millennials don’t seem to have. But they are not alone. What so much of today’s society has become – both young and old – are communicators without intimacy. The emojis and other pictographs aren’t the same as seeing the smile of our beloved, the sparkle in someone’s eyes, or receiving the hug we desire.

That day in 1876 Bell was not interested in conveying information to Watson; the inventor wanted to see his assistant in person. We can learn from that on the anniversary of the beginning of telecommunication. Our devices are tools to be used by us, not gadgets to enslave us. Yet the latter is exactly what they have become.

May I offer you a suggestion? This idea will be as psychologically and spiritually uplifting as it is economical – you’ll save on your data plan! Here it is:

Stop getting constant updates on all your apps.

We have become a “what if” society. We don’t want to risk missing out on anything. We may feel compelled to be the first person to post the latest travesty of government or tragedy of a celebrity onto our social media pages.

Starting right now, check your email no more than twice per day, then disconnect from it. If someone really wants to get a hold of you they will text or (gasp!) call you. Set your other apps so that you have to access them to get information, as opposed to being pinged, tinged, jangled or otherwise alerted every other minute.

Seriously, our brains aren’t evolved enough (yet) to handle this kind of information overload. According to recent studies being bombarded data has become one of the top reasons for stress, anxiety, depression and anger in our society.

How much we resist this idea of disconnecting is a glaring indication of how addicted we are to our electronics devices. Consider all the time you’ll have for other activities when you aren’t spending all your time occupied by what others are doing, or deleting yet another spam email every three-to-five minutes. Amazing! Join me?

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

Gay is Wrong; Bestiality and Magic? No Problem.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/03/us/theater-shuns-disney-beauty-over-gay-moment/index.html

I find it odd that people calling themselves Christians are boycotting the new "Beauty and the Beast" movie just because the character, LeFou (Gaston's sidekick) is shown questioning his feelings for another guy. THIS bothers the Bible belters even though Jesus said nothing about men loving one another. But ...

... the fact that some young girl is falling in love with a magically-transformed beast that looks more like a buffalo isn't a problem for them at all! Little Jesus boys and girls have been watching the animated version of the story for years with little if anything being said about the hint of bestiality or the presence of magic and witchcraft - all three frowned upon from what I remember of my days in the religion of my youth.

True Christians know Jesus said he “came to fulfill the law.” He then gave his followers two laws: Love God. Love one another. Christians aren’t bound by the over 630 laws in what modern-day Christians call the “Old Testament,” more correctly called the Hebrew Scriptures. Yet, since Bible belters of all colors and religions seem to love to cherry pick passages out of Mosaic law to shore up their prejudice, racism and homophobia, let’s just take a quick look at those pre-Christian writings.

In the Bible, when King Saul's son, Jonathan, was killed, David (the man who would become king of Israel) wrote that "more precious was my love for you than the love of women."

Later, King David’s own son, Solomon, wrote in Proverbs that a "true friend sticks closer than a brother." Passages like these are scattered throughout both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Greek-Aramaic (New Testament) Scriptures, including the passage about the “disciple who Jesus loved” laid his heard on the Lord’s breast during the meal.

The “I-can-live-on-a-pedestal-and-judge-others-because-I-love-Jesus” Bible thumpers don’t speak out against Biblical passages like these because their small minds find it inconvenient to consider. I’m not suggesting that David and Jonathan were “an item.” We get into major trouble when we try to wrap our 21st century concepts around the way ancient civilizations lived. But they were obvious very, very close. VERY close.

Men “get” one another. Women “get” women. Belly dancing wasn’t created to stimulate the males of the species to want to copulate. The art was developed to help easy the pain of women in childbirth. Western civilization and homophobic Bible thumpers just don’t get the difference between sensuality, sexuality and sex.

And that is exactly why they have their knickers in a twist because LeFou is infatuated with Gaston.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

Eavesdropping is So Enlightening

We live in a small town. The main post office is quite neighborly, with many of the patrons chatting back and forth while waiting in line. The line one day this week was quite long. I was able to pass the time listening to what other people were saying. Oh stop gasping, for heaven’s sake – it’s not like they were trying to be private!

Here are some of the comments I overheard:

  • “I’m doing good. It beats the alternative!”
  • “It just keeps getting worse and worse. Floods, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes. What’s next?”
  • “You oughta know by now I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.”
  • “She needs to put a smile on her face, that one does.”
  • “It don’t matter. Nothing does.”

Each of these folks believed what they were saying. They came in all colors, ages, socioeconomic status and educational levels. The majority of the other comments showed a range of despair, resignation or fear.

The expressions accompanying the words resulted in frowns, slumped shoulders and sighs. Rather than judge what these folks should be doing to change their thinking, I chose to think about what negative self-talk I had engaged in that morning.

I am my own worst critic. I am particular about many things, often fighting my anal-retentive or dogmatic tendencies about certain tasks, and must remind myself daily that no matter how hard I try I will simply never please everyone. Putting myself down, however, doesn’t help the situation.

Would you be willing today to take just one hour and listen to what is going on inside your head? Ask yourself if that is what you want to believe. Think about what the reaction would be from a good friend if you talked that way to them.

Hopefully your thoughts are filled with encouragement, praise and support. If not, consider what it would take to lovingly guide yourself back onto the path you wish to travel!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.