So You Want Stability?

Fantastically Temporary

Have you noticed how quickly attitudes, concerns, and outcomes are changing? At my “day job” in the aviation industry, nothing seems to stay the same. I’ve been involved in that line of work one way or another for over four decades and it’s always been that way.

Not all people want a fluid lifestyle. I was raised to think that one did this and that happened, whatever this and that were at the time. I came to find out that’s not how life works. As my mother says, “Life is what happens while you’re making plans.”

In truth, nothing is forever. Sure, we may like to think that we have stability in the material world, but it’s a fallacy. Scripture tells us that “time and unforeseen occurrences befall us all.” In other words, Shit Happens. Does this mean that we can’t rely on anything.

Not at all! There are universal laws that never change; the basic one is the Law of Cause and Effect. What we want to happen is more likely to happen if we are convinced it will; or, at least if we are moving in that general direction instead of figuring out how we’ll fail. Knowing this means that we must be mindful of what we are doing and what signals our actions are giving to others.

Recently Timber Hawkeye of Buddhist Boot Camp, wrote this in his newsletter:

We tend to either get obsessively passionate about something or disturbingly negligent, yet only in the middle can we joyfully live our lives by accepting everything as it truly is:  fantastically temporary.

“Disturbingly negligent” and “fantastically temporary” – how awesome are both of those terms! This moment, as you read these words, will never come again. What you read at the beginning is already in the past. The end of the message is in the future. We can only live in the now. How are you enjoying each “now” throughout your day?

I expect you will live a long and joyous life, but that’s not guaranteed for any of us. I’m sure you know someone, or know of someone, who died too soon, too young, or too tragically. Our fragile lives can be snuffed out in an instant.

That is why it’s so crucial to live life to the fullest and in the moment. It’s not to worry about the future, or feel like we can’t rely on anything. In fact, we can enjoy greater assurance of our success by knowing that we are the power behind the life we live. What life do you want to live?

Let me help you create a life worth living, or break through a barrier with which you are dealing with right now. Just click the link below to make an appointment for a free, 30-minute support call!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
This message may be re-printed, copied and/or forwarded without permission, as long as the content is not altered in any way and credit is given to the author.

Pin Your Tail Back On, Eeyore!

Rewiring Our Thoughts

Are you accused of being a Pollyanna about life? Pollyanna was the little girl who always saw the silver lining in every cloud. Personally, I’d rather be Pollyanna than Eeyore from the Winnie the Pooh stories, the latter who sees the cloud in any silver lining.

If you’ve read my work for any length of time you probably know I’m not one to spout trite affirmations. Phrases of positive content are definitely helpful in reshaping our thinking, but we must supplement them with equally positive actions. Some people seem to think thinking, saying or writing affirmations is the end all; then they’re upset when their desires don’t fall in their lap, or appear wrapped up with a pretty red bow and delivered by a hunky FedEx® guy in shorts!

Still … just being positive appears to have clinic evidence to recommend the practice of going for the good, instead of anticipating the bad. Social psychologist Alison Ledgerwood is a researcher who “investigates how certain ways of thinking about an issue tend to stick in people's heads.”

Not surprising is that positive thinking leads to more positive results than negative thinking. But there’s a more bizarre and quite eye-opening fact about the opposite. According to Ledgerwood, thinking from bad-to-good, or losses-to-gains, requires more work on our part than moving from good-to-bad, or gains-to-losses. And, in most cases, our brains never quite get all the way back to the positive, as we experience a bit of “residual doubt” even when the worst thing we can imagine doesn’t happen.

This may have served us well as hunter/gatherers thousands of years ago, but in modern society it can be a serious problem. One would think that going from A-to-B would be the same as going from B-to-A, yet studies indicate the opposite. In other words, if we want to have a more productive, satisfying and successful life we are better out starting out with the positive angle of anything, instead of looking for all the negative consequences.

Ledgerwood reports that research from University of California Davis suggests that “writing just a few minutes a day about the things we’re grateful for can boost happiness, well-being and health.”

In a world that focuses on what’s wrong it can be a challenge to focus on what’s right. However, stepping up to that challenge is exactly what the clinical research tells us we must do for not only our success and happiness, but for our peace of mind and physical well-being.

So here’s a thought:  Instead of assuming that the next tragedy reported via the media is definitely a terrorist attack fueling the “phobia du jour,” why not move directly to compassion and support for those affected?

If you’re not already doing so, start each day even before you get out of bed by focusing on the positive things that you expect to happen. (Side point:  EXPECT good things to happen!) And, before retiring, write in a “Gratitude Journal” about just three things that happened that day for which you can give thanks.

P.S.  Click here to watch Dr. Alison Ledgerwood’s TEDxUCDAVIS talk on this subject!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
This message may be re-printed, copied and/or forwarded without permission, as long as the content is not altered in any way and credit is given to the author.

Memorials and Monuments

Are we destroying history?

Monuments and statues symbolizing the Confederacy are being removed from public view in the United States at an increasing rate. Doesn’t this deprive our citizens of the memory of people who deserve to be remembered?

No.

Those protesting the removal of these monuments and statues have confused a monument with a memorial.

Slavery and racism is not something to be celebrated. The monuments and statues in question glorify the murders, persecution and racism committed upon blacks and other non-white, non-Christian, non-heterosexual groups. They are monuments to racism, hatred and, ironically so, un-Christian acts by those who would claim to be followers of Jesus.

There is no glory is their acts. There is no reason to celebrate they they did.

As Rashid Robinson from Color of Change wrote on August 13, 2017, “White supremacists killed someone in Charlottesville yesterday. Friday night they marched through Charlottesville and the University of Virginia grounds, carrying torches that evoked a history of violent racial terrorism intended to intimidate a community that had recently renamed Robert E. Lee Park to Emancipation Park. It is past time that we nationally stop the veneration of people who committed treason in the name of slavery!”

White supremacists want to (literally) “white-wash” our history. Educators from this camp wish to rename slaves as “servants,” pretending the horrors of the slave trade never existed. The same has been done to the Native American indigenous populations for the past two hundred years, venerating whites while vilifying the conquered peoples who resided here before the European invasion. Recent immigrants and citizens of the United States, particularly in Hispanic or Muslim communities, continue to be objects of hatred by this same type of people.

American could well look to Germany as an example of how to remember history. Yes, there are Neo-Nazi groups in that country who continue to protest the remembrance of the Holocaust. But the country uses their memorials as a teaching tool to education the new generations of their past, vowing to never again engage as a nation in such deplorable actions.

Americans should do the same.

I belong to an organization with a desire to help foster “A World That Works For Everyone.” Sadly, one of my own colleagues, who apparently doesn’t agree with the organization promoting this, publicly taunted another colleague about recent white supremacist actions. “This is what you get in ‘A World That Works For Everyone,’” he wrote.

No. It is not.

It is what you get when groups and individuals promote a testosterone-driven, “I have to be right (literally) and you have to be wrong,” attitude. A world that works for everyone means that everyone in the world would never do anything that would harm others. It would mean that we would be willing to accept the truth and the facts, not continue to harbor prejudice, bigotry and hatred because it suits our own beliefs.

We are not there yet, but we are moving closer every day! This is NOT the time to be cowering in the shadows. People throughout the world are bombarded with bad news from both reputable and non-reputable media sources. But, there are also thousands of great stories out there of hope, love, compassion and cooperation. Promote these. Post these!

Hatred, racism, prejudice and bigotry are not inherent. They are taught, usually by religions or governments, or in so many cases, a collusion of the two. Muslims and Hindus lived together in peace in many places in India, until the British Empire created modern-day India and Pakistan. The “Dark Ages” were produced by a union of State and Church – the land barons provided safety in this life; the Church in the next life – which produced a very rich State and Church, and poverty for all others.

These are exciting and amazing times in which we live. Never before have we as a species been faced globally by a life-threatening situation that we can do something about. This is the time to stand up for peace, for cooperation, for love, and for understanding. It is the time to support leaders who can move us forward into a better world.

It is NOT time to sit around bitching, moaning, and complaining about what “they” should or shouldn’t be doing. And, there is one leader we need to support without fail in this effort for world peace. Who is that?

Look in the mirror. It’s up to you.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
This message may be re-printed, copied and/or forwarded without permission, as long as the content is not altered in any way and credit is given to the author.

I’m Surprised At You!

Are You True to Yourself?

Do you ever find who you are, who you really are, conflicts with what others think you should be?

It was Terry Cole Whittaker who wrote, “What you think of me is none of my business.”

Many of us know this to be true. Few of us are willing to admit just how many times we’ve failed at applying those simple words. Perhaps one of the reasons this happens is we are more concerned with what others think about us than we are about seeking to be ourselves.

One blogger recently wrote that our health, relationships, careers and financial status is reflected in the lives of our five closest friends. While this may or may not be true for each of us, I found it enlightening to consider. The tipping point for me is that if I have to change who I am to be around the people with whom I want to associate there is something wrong.

It comes back to that adage to walk the talk, not just talk the talk. Years ago I worked at a prayer ministry. At the end of the shift we’d tally up the issues we’d been asked to pray for by the callers. Inevitably, the largest numbers turned out to be for an issue we ourselves were having difficulty with at the time. It’s an eye opener to be giving counsel to others on a topic we are fussing about – one of those “SNAP OUTTA IT!” moments.

Is it time to re-think how you live? Are you willing to step back from your life and reflect on whether or not what you see supports you in the ways you need to be supported? It can be scary – what if we start being who we are and our friends run away?

Truth be told, our “friends” won’t. And, if there is a vacuum of any kind, the universe will fill it with what we need, not what we settled for. The universe abhors a vacuum and you are a magnificent child of the Divine. You don’t have to settle for anything less than what you know you deserve.

The question is, What is it that you know you deserve? Got it? Now go accept it!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
This message may be re-printed, copied and/or forwarded without permission, as long as the content is not altered in any way and credit is given to the author.

Listen up, Buttercup!

Do You REALLY Listen?

“YOU’RE NOT LISTENING TO ME!” How many times in your life has someone screamed that at you? I’ve been on the receiving end of that frustrating communication. And, speaking solely for myself, I have to say that almost without fail when those words were thrust in my general direction I most certainly WAS listening.

The problem was that I didn’t want to hear what was being said. I can listen to a garbage truck outside picking up our weekly refuse. However, it’s not exactly the sound I want to have whilst doing my daily meditations.

The response to the accusation above is usually something along the line of, “And, YOU are not listening to ME!”

Of course, we aren’t talking about listening, are we? We’re often trying to get one of two points across to the other person. The first possibility is that our idea of the other person listening is that they agree with us, tell us we’re right, and then beg our forgiveness. The second is that while we are listening, we aren’t “listening aright.” Instead of listening to understand, we’re listening to be understood.

Here’s what I mean by that. Have you been in a conversation with someone and you can tell beyond any doubt that s/he doesn’t believe a word of what you’re saying? This fact is verified as soon as you take even a small breath or dare to pause. Immediately the other person will begin telling you all the reasons you’re wrong, why they are right, thus proving they are more interested in preaching than discussing.

As soon as we seek to understand, rather than trying to be understood, we open a completely unexplored avenue toward peace with one another.

Okay, enough about “them.” What about “us?” In the midst of a much divided world, with the polarities of human thinking at such opposite ends of the spectrum, what we do with regard to communication is probably more vital than ever before. We can find peace and mutual aid by seeking to understand the viewpoints of people whose philosophies or ideologies are diametrically opposed to our own.

In spite of how wrong we might think someone is, they have a right to their opinion and belief. If that person is a stranger on a street corner we pass once in our life it doesn’t much matter. It’s a completely different scenario if the individual with whom we clash is the one in our bed. And, of course, there are all the people in between.

Just for today, would you be willing to engage others in new and open ways to understand them? This suggestion should never be undertaken in cases of someone attempting physical or psychological harm to us, but hopefully that’s not your experience of life. The payoff by seeking to understand is that the other person senses the shift in our consciousness, an openness to communicate, and will thereby be far more willing to entertain our point of view as well.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
This message may be re-printed, copied and/or forwarded without permission, as long as the content is not altered in any way and credit is given to the author.