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.

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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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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

 

What Did I Just See You Do?

Accountability and Success

How are those New Year’s resolutions of yours coming along? Or, did you (like me) not make any? It usually takes about two weeks (or three weeks max) for New Year’s resolutions to fall by the wayside.

I’m not being Negative Nellie here, but statistically we aren’t stellar at following through on most of the New Year’s resolutions we make. Why is that? Why aren’t we accountable to ourselves for the plans or resolutions we claim to want?

Our success is doomed as soon as we agree to something if we didn’t really want to do it in the first place. This situation often occurs when we agree to something because we feel we have to do it (READ:  Guilt).

To guarantee our success we must be accountable to our decisions to affect change in our life. The critical factor here, however, is that we are discussing our decisions – not our partner’s/spouse’s decision, not our friend’s decision, nor anyone else’s.

What’s right for you to change in your life today to have a life more worth living? What are you willing to commit to today to affect that change? It might very be a New Year’s resolution, or it could be some long-time desire that only you know about.

Do you need additional motivation to follow through? Here’s one great idea:  Do it for you! Do it just because you want to, because you want to see the change more than anything. It doesn’t even matter if you never share it with anyone. The inner satisfaction of following through and being accountable to ourselves can be the most wonderful gifts we can receive.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2018 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
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This May Tick You Off

Women of Power

Have you noticed a resurgence of women acting powerfully? It’s not like there hasn’t been a growing stream of upwardly mobile females in the workforce in the past 50 years. But the #metoo movement acknowledging what men have denied for decades if not centuries, growing numbers of allegations of sexual harassment, and apologies by contrite abusers has brought about a whole new level of conversation.

There’s only one problem:  Too many women still think they have to act like men to be powerful. Conversely, too many men think they have to be bullies or assholes “to be real men.”

It’s not unusual. History is full of how the oppressed have overcorrected when they were no longer subjugated. Freed slaves have turned on their former masters, or worse, enslaved others. The poor have revolted against the aristocrats, and then started acting like the class they despised. Gays and lesbians have flaunted their private sex lives to heterosexual society, largely for effect. And, too many women continue to act like men to get ahead.

Studies down over the past five decades have proven the futility of this approach. Yes, today women become CEOs and make lots of money, but that alone doesn’t make them a success. We have evidenced-based, clinical studies documenting an increase in male-patterned baldness, hypertension, and heart disease, to name just a few issues, among women working in executive careers. But, here’s the real kicker:  This way of life doesn’t work for men either!

Are we still playing stereotypes from 1957 that might not have worked for women or men back then anymore than they do today? I feel for women who are objectified in the board room. It’s a damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don’t situation. If a woman shows up in the corporate world dressed to the nines and wearing six-inch heels she’s accused of buying into what men expect (even if that’s what she wants to wear!).

But whether she arrives looking like she just stepped off the runway at a Paris fashion show or in a three-piece Brooks Brothers suit the result is still the same as soon as she asserts her power. She’ll be derided by men for being a ball-busting bitch (that’s a bad thing), yet if a straight man takes control he’s clapped on the back for being a bastard (and that’s supposed to be a good thing!).

Then there’s the woman who decides to be a homemaker, care for children, and support her wife or husband who remains in the workforce outside the home. It’s the opposite end of the spectrum, but comes under just as much criticism.

We can’t talk about women in power without acknowledging ALL the places women make tremendous contributions to our society. And, we can’t discuss women in power without talking about men in power, and why and how that’s different. It’s complicated, but worth the discussion, which ultimately leads to people in power and how we are each individually and uniquely able to express leadership, guidance, and hopefully, compassion.

We are challenged in the 21st century with new and confrontational ideas about gender, gender orientation, and what it means today to be a man or woman. Frankly, I find these discussions to be as exciting as they are challenging.

But let’s not miss the point:

Rather than figuring out why others are or aren’t expressing themselves, let’s be more mindful of who we are. How do you express power in your life? Or, where do you feel disempowered?

If you’d like to join in this discussion, jump over to my blog page by clicking here and make a comment!

P.S. Remember this: A woman of power is dynamic, unique, and a force with which to be reckoned - no matter where she is. Ladies ... please ... show us whatcha got in a way only you can!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

 

Copyright © 2018 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
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She Has Risen!

Freedom in Darkness

As the days grow shorter, and the nights longer, have you found yourself a bit darker emotionally? Granted, given the world stage, it’s quite easy to slip into feeling morose after the initial anger fades on the issue or bizarre Tweet-of-the-Day.

Yes, many believe we are in dark times – politically, meteorologically, and astrologically. Yet that’s not a bad thing. Our conditions – planet wide or personal – simply “are.” We make them bad or good depending on our personal judgment. We often think of darkness as a negative. Another way of looking at it is that it is very freeing. How?

Darkness never overtakes light. The light can be extinguished, but it cannot be made subservient to the darkness. Conversely, take the smallest candle into a darkened room and the obscurity starts to fade.

Today is the winter solstice, which is why you’re receiving this blog today instead of Friday. It’s the time when it is the darkest on our part of the planet and the time when the daylight hours get longer and the nighttime hours get shorter. Yule, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are all festivals of light – life becoming brighter as we exit the darkness on our way to the birth of spring and new creation.

This past year has been full of events we wish had never happened. That’s a statement most people will agree with regardless of race, gender, gender orientation, religion (or lack thereof), age, or political affiliation. No one is happy about the massacre in Las Vegas; no one is rejoicing at the loss of life and property from the Thomas fire in southern California. I won’t take the time to list so many more events and tragedies we of which we are all-too-well aware.

But from this darkness we derive the strength like bring light where there is none. We are no longer willing to put up with injustice, terror, and inequality. We are willing to individually and collectively do whatever it takes to return sanity to our families, our communities, our nations, and our planet.

That doesn’t start with bitching about the government or what “they” are doing.

It begins with each of us – taking personal responsibility to make planet Earth a better place to live.

As we come out of the darkness I hope you will take time to find what is important in your life, enjoy it, cherish it, and celebrate it. Chances are, it's not going to be your computer, your mobile device, your car or anything else that’s material.

May your holidays and the new calendar year be filled with love, joy and prosperity!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

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I Demand Justice!

Revenge v. Justice

Haven’t you ever wanted to see someone who’d hurt you “get what they deserve?” Most of us have. Grandma Esther used to say, “Every dog has its day.” Rest assured she wanted to be there to watch it happen, if not personally take part in the act.

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves. - Confucius

Grandma wanted revenge, not justice. There is a big difference between the two. Revenge satisfies our ego. We get to be right. We are there to observe the punishment. We get to feel vindicated, justified, and may feel like we’ve turned the tables on the person who we allowed to victimize us. But it will never give us what justice does:

In his new documentary series on The National Geographic Channel, actor Morgan Freeman examines how peoples all over the world deal with the results of war, and how peace is possible. In one episode, he sits across from a Tutsi woman whose family was killed by the Hutu people during the genocide in Rwanda.

Next to her sits the man who was part of the Hutu militia. The man was personally responsible for killing those family members. Over two years of communication has resulted in these two people from different tribes becoming friends through the help of a local bishop in the area. They are part of an “ambitious reconciliation program.” The man who murdered her husband, brother-in-law, and two children now helps her with her farm to provide income for her family, making amends for his actions.

We are more aware today more than ever before of the injustice in the world. This is so because of 24-hour-a-day news coverage, the Internet, and our smart phones. Because of the information we receive it can become extremely easy to react to events and reports, often without a full understanding of the complete picture. We want to stop the violence, but we frequently lack any knowledge of why such horrible events are happening in the first place. We can become so fixated on the solution that we ignore why the problem exists.

Revenge is easy. Justice takes time. We must gain knowledge; we seek to understand; we can then act in wise ways to correct the problem; and, we begin the healing process.

“Revenge is a dish best served cold,” is a phrase attributed to Pashto origins, shows up in the Italian culture, and even said to be of Klingon origin in Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan. Regardless of the actual source it dooms us to a cold, heartless, and unsatisfying life, instead of warming us to a brighter future.

In the television series, Revenge, a “double infinity” symbol was used emphasis unending love – in a sense, “double forever.” That same symbol reminds me every day that revenge, not justice, continues the cycle of hate, anger, and lack of forgiveness.

Is there someone in your life upon whom you are seeking revenge? Are you investing your time, treasures, and talents in the pursuit of getting back at another? Seek this week to heal those thoughts. Determine to forgive, so that the psychic bindings holding you to that person or situation are severed for all time.

We have within us the power to change. It’s a quality which we are born with, but often fail to use. We are only victims of the past if we chose to be so.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

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