Is Your “Give-A-Damn” Busted?

Forgiveness Doesn’t Mean Pitching Self-Respect

Do you ever feel like forgiveness makes you into a doormat? It can if we let it, but I hope that a new look at forgiveness and moving forward in life will make that a thing of the past for you.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says that “acceptance is the answer to all my problems.” Acceptance, however, does not mean approval. In the same way, forgiveness does not mean allowing people to continue abusing us.

When Jesus said to “turn the other cheek” he was not suggesting that the left hook felt so good we should turn our face to accept a hard right hook. No. What he meant was to turn away from the problem and look toward the solution. In this way we not only remove ourselves from the situation, but we also maintain our own self-respect and dignity.

Sometimes, turning away from the situation means turning away from certain people. When a person says, “I’m not good enough for you,” believe them. They know what they’re talking about.

As Jo Dee Messina says in her classic song, “My Give a Damn’s Busted,” we really do try to care. We really do want to dig a little deeper to understand. But at some point, when we are not getting anything in return but more heartache and disappointment, it may be time to cut ties. When or if that is necessary with someone in your life only you can know.

Ask yourself how hard you’re trying in any given situation, be it with another person or some other circumstance. Ask yourself exactly what it is you’re trying for; and, are you the only one putting in the effort?

You’ll have your answer. Forgiveness is a foundation piece of experiencing a life worth living, a life of happiness. Forgiveness is not, however, an invitation for being less that you are and being recognized for it by the people around 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 WAY Beyond Pissed Off

Where Is Our Focus?

My blog this week is a day early. It needs to be.

First, if the title of this blog shocks or offends you then you really don’t know me, and perhaps shouldn’t if you’re in high-bustled, righteous indignation that the minister has a mouth on him. It really is that simple. Either people get that I swear sometimes or they don’t. I’m not everyone’s coach, author, minister, counselor or best friend. If you want pat affirmations, unicorns spreading rainbows across the sky and bunnies, they’re out there for you all over the place. Blessings on that journey!

Second, I’m just starting to feel better after ten days of battling an E. Coli virus, three days of which were in hospital, so I really don’t have any patience for anyone challenging me with my language. I’m 62 years old and don’t need another lecture on, “But ministers don’t swear.” Yes, some of us do. So do priests, rabbis and imams. I’ve picked up some of my best profanity from spiritual guides.

Third, yes, I’m totally pissed off that the United States of America once again is the butt of the world’s jokes and I know many of you are as well, both here in the States and abroad. If we weren’t a laughing stock of the planet before today’s latest edict from Washington, DC, we certainly are now.

Well. I feel better.

Best one gets all that out, instead of keeping it in, as my grandmother would have said. I mean if you don’t let it go you’ll get a pimple, or high blood pressure, or a stroke or something else. Not a good idea.

So how the heck do we find ANY good in the actions of June 1, 2017? Here’s how. Decades ago the founder of the Science of Mind® philosophy, Ernest Holmes, wrote this:

We all look forward to the day when science and religion shall walk hand in hand through the visible to the invisible. Science knows nothing of opinion, but recognizes a government of law whose principles are universal. Yet any scientist who refuses to accept intangible values has no adequate basis for the values which he has already discovered. Revelation must keep faith with reason, and religion with law — while intuition is ever spreading its wings for greater flights — and science must justify faith in the invisible.

The day that Holmes predicted occurred in a big way when The Parliament of the World’s Relgions – the Global Interfaith Movement – spoke in favor of science and common sense against an action of ignorance, intolerance and planetary disaster. The Parliament first met, if you are not aware, in Chicago in 1893. It’s the closest thing planet Earth has to a “spiritual United Nations.”

In its letter, The Parliament stands with science and the Paris Climate Agreement, a pact signed by 195 nations and formally ratified by 147 nations. (To read the full copy of The Parliament’s letter, click here.) THIS is the action upon which we must focus our attention, and NOT on the seemingly endless strokes of a pen from a desk once used by truly great men to further the principles of the most powerful nation in the world.

Nothing we hear on the news should surprise us. Most of the controversial reports we hear are nothing more than the actions of a man who is doing exactly what he promised he’d do, regardless of whether or not those actions are prudent, kind, legal, moral or ethical. We must not give these feats of grandiosity and overcompensation any of our energy.

We must focus on what we can do to make our planet a better place by working locally for the changes we know must occur to insure safety, security and prosperity for all people. We can take actions that are right with our own consciousness and pursuit of peace. I invite you, if you so desire, to join me and many others around the globe who pray without ceasing for all world leaders (yes, ALL of them) to lead with justice, honor and dignity.

None of this means we turn a blind eye, thinking saying a few affirmations will save the day. The universe is here to support us, but it can only do for us what it can do through us. Stand up to bullies. Speak out for equal rights for all. Wear orange for National Gun Violence Awareness Day, on June 2, 2017.

DO something to create and foster change.

We’re beyond bitching about it, folks. It just doesn’t cut it anymore.

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.

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.

What’s In Your Consciousmess?

Is that a typo in the title? No. But when you think about it, consciousmess just might describe life as we know it right now. At this moment in time it seems a lot of us are angry with this mess we believe humans have made of our planet. But under the outrage is another, simpler emotion:  Fear.

Our government seems to be imploding, with actions reported on domestic and international news networks that we might more commonly expect on late night TV or “Saturday Night Live.” To add to the madness this week, we include a Russian “spy ship” off the coast of Delaware. So, yes, there’s a good deal of concern, fear from many, about what’s next.

Philosopher and writer Ernest Holmes once wrote that “fear is faith misplaced.” In other words, we have a strong belief that something will go amiss. The result of such thinking is a consciousmess; it’s messed up thinking about the occurrences around us.

Without constant vigilance we can easily take this mess into our lives. Some of us are acting like it’s an honored houseguest. We nurture it, post constantly on social media about it, and “what if” ourselves into a stupor.

The principle of cause and effect – that we have control over our experience of the conditions in our lives – is simple. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy. And, it doesn’t mean we’re helping to heal the situation by spreading our doubts and fears all over everyone around us.

The consciousmess we are dealing with right now has been created by a series of events, but if it’s our face now then it must be there for a reason. It has the potential to involve and affect us in inspiring, healing and amazing ways should we choose to participate in this manner.

The question is either how much we want world and national events to affect us, or whether we want to affect change in whatever way we can with what we’re faced with today. We have the option to act in love, instead of reacting in fear. It’s long-passed time to watch others suffer and do nothing. And, it’s very human not to want to scream “I told you so!” along with all the articles, facts and data that are so abundant to support our causes.

Still, some people are not willing to change, at least right now. The best we can do is to make sure we are living by the principles we believe are being broken by others, and not joining in the fight against everything we find adverse to the peace we know is possible. Here’s a quote to consider from Albert Schweitzer:  “Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.

In other words, this is going to take time. We’ve seen the havoc that can be caused when a nation believes complex problems can be fixed through simple solutions or unenforceable mandates. The consciousmess in which we find ourselves will not be solved overnight. But it’s already unfolding into a newly-found confidence of hope through change being brought about by positive action. What part will you play?

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

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“Only In New York”

I'm home for a week and using part of my time working on a new project I plan to have available to the public before the end of the year. In my research I ran across a piece I wrote in 2001. In light of the contentiousness of current times I thought you might enjoy it.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

"Only In New York"

“Only in New York” is a phrase hard to explain unless a person has had the joy of living in Manhattan for any length of time. Yesterday I was taking the 1 train down to Midtown to run some errands. An older, black woman burst into our car right after I’d boarded the train, ran into my shoe with her over-filled shopping cart of worldly possessions and screamed at me, “MOVE YOUR GODDAMN FUCKING FOOT, ASSHOLE!”

Charming, I thought.

I reacted as any other New Yorker would:  I avoided her glance, moved my foot, turned up the volume on my CD player (Dixie Chicks, in case you wondered) and continued reading my book. I began mouthing the words I was reading so as to focus on my material rather than the political tirade upon which our homeless picture of ebony femininity had now embarked.

Okay, so when she got to that part about the evil white Devil in the White House I had to nod slightly (forgive the political commentary), but the truth was that this woman was becoming somewhat compelling. She was preaching and I suddenly realized I was the choir. I just had to be amazed at how focused she was on her message about politics, poverty, the rearing of children and healthcare for the elderly. No one else dared to look at her or respond to her, though snickers were abundant.

At 110th Street I turned off my CD player, replaced my book in my backpack (black, of course, as was my outfit — this IS Gotham after all!), and headed for the door — the one next to Miss Congeniality. “What’s this stop? 86th Street?” she hollered.

I looked down at her, the filthy clothes and the pieces of this and that which made up all her worldly possessions. Apparently, I saw something no one else did at the time. Her face opened and revealed something no one else saw.

I smiled at her, not a condescending smile, but a sincere and painless effort to show her affection. “No, my love”, I said, looking straight into her angry brown eyes, “It’s 103rd Street — you’ve got a few more stops to go.”

The anger peeled away, her face brightened and I saw the Christ in that dirty, brown face. “I love you” she said, looking up at me. I smiled back and said, “I love you, too! Now you have a blessed and wonderful day.”

As I walked off the train, she sat quietly, still beaming, with the majority of the eyes in the car on her, mouths slightly a gap, eyebrows raised. I love New York.

Copyright © 2001, 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

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Food Pictures, Anyone?

Are you craving non-political, non-outrageous social media postings? You’re not alone. The past couple of weeks have been exhausting!

One of my co-workers posted this the other day:  “I've done a lot of unfollowing lately. Please bring back the posts of what you are having for dinner.” I get what she’s saying:  I want a simpler time, a happier time, a more carefree and “normal” life.

Okay, news flash. That ain’t happening anytime soon, so fasten your seatbelts ‘cause we’re in for a bumpy ride. For better or worse what we see before us is our current “normal.” Personally I’m not willing to perpetuate that if I can help it.

I remembered four questions to ask ourselves before we post that juicy tidbit. You know, the one that bitch-slaps our current most hated and despised individual, which could be Kellyanne Conley for some of you and Sen. Elizabeth Warren for others.

These suggestions are called “The Work,” and come from Byron Katie in her book, “I Need Your Love – I That True?" For any possible posting (and also for any problem or situation in your life), ask:

  1. Is it true? – Or is it just supporting our biases, prejudice and unresolved hatred for someone or another ideology.
  2. Can I absolutely know that it’s true? – That means vet before we post, not just because what we’re reading agrees with our own beliefs.
  3. How do I react when I think that thought? – In other words, how do we react internally to question #2? Do we get defensive? If we do then we just might be defending our own ignorance and refusal to see the truth.
  4. Who would I be without that thought? – Does posting this idea or report benefit us personally and make the world a better place? Or, to put it another way, are we informing others from truthful information (to the best of our knowledge) to encourage them to take positive action for change; or, are we just gossiping about shit which means we’d rather bitch about others than actually do something that makes a difference?

We’ll probably still post things we haven’t checked out thoroughly, or wish we hadn’t stirred up a hornet’s nest. But taking these four very simple, but important, questions into mind in posting – as well as in our lives in general – just might allow us to sleep a bit sounder at night. Believe me; the people who are making the news would be delighted to know they’ve interrupted your slumber. Don’t give them that power.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

“No” Is a Complete Sentence

(Revised and expanded from the original, published in December 2, 2011)

Do you have a problem telling people “No?” It seems many of my friends or acquaintances feel over-scheduled or stressed-out because of the demands they have put on themselves. Like attracts like, so I too fall into that category more often than I would care to admit.

Please note that responsibility for this situation does not fall on the demands placed on us by others, but rather those that we place on ourselves. We have only ourselves to credit with being too busy, even if it was at the insistence of someone else that we do something. Why? Because we said “Yes.”

We frequently say “Yes” because we cannot think of a convenient, believable or acceptable reason why we should say “No.” How about “I don’t want to do that” for starters?no

“No” is a complete sentence. I am usually amused, sometimes annoyed, by people who respond negatively to a request I have made because they follow their answer with a litany of reasons or excuses why they cannot comply. “No” is a complete sentence!

Personally, I don’t need reasons or do I want excuses. If you do, fine. I don’t need that sort of thing because I hope someone is unable to fulfill my request because they have something even more wonderful and exciting to do. Good for them!

If you don’t want to do something someone else asks of you, please say “No, thank you!” Not, “No, because …,” which is only going to set you up for a discussion of why you should relent. Acting out of obligation instead of willingness doesn’t encourage clarity; neither does making excuses that sound like our own personal pity party. When we agree to do anything we don’t want to do we muddy the energy around us. Instead of enjoying the task, we experience an underlying, nagging feeling of resentment. Why not respectfully decline and allow someone else who wants to fulfill the request be given the opportunity to serve?

Just for part of today, think carefully before you answer “Yes” to something you don’t want to do. Weigh the outcome, take a deep breath, and then answer from your heart. If you can say “No” without anger, resentment or attitude you will find a freedom you haven’t experienced up until now.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

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Terry Drew Karanen © 2011, 2016

Who Are You Listening To?

What is really important in your life? I mean, with all that’s going on in the world, what do we really need to know?

Apparently several papers and the Internet media feel the impending divorce of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt is front page news. No, seriously. A local news radio station reported recently this was actually on the front page of several newspapers.

This is not about all the other events that could have taken precedent. We can all name several, but this media feeding frenzy speaks to just how much our news sources concentrate on the negative.

So after 12 years of being together, Bradgelina is about to be a thing of the past. One reporter said, “Another Hollywood marriage has broken up, not that we’re ever surprised about that.” Really? Statistically Pitt and Jolie have been together longer than the average marriage, which ends in divorce within eight years (McKinley Irvin, 2012). The media is not interested in the 50-year marriage Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward enjoyed, or that Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have been together over 30 years.

Similarly, the media is quick to tell you that half of all American marriages end in divorce, but fail to mention that ALSO means half of all American marriages survive! You get the point.

In New Thought we teach that our thoughts create. We can say all the affirmations we want and create beautiful affirmative prayers, but if we are constantly listening to every piece of gossip and tragedy from the media then it’s like shopping for organic groceries, and then going home to drink drain cleaner.blog22

Stop the madness! Let’s fill our minds with uplifting information. That doesn’t mean we ignore what’s going on in the world. Ernest Holmes, the founder of the Science of Mind philosophy never taught us to ignore our problems or the plight of others. He did, however, write that we deny the necessity that they should continue.

We have a responsibility to feed our minds with productive thoughts and an obligation to act on those ideas to the best of our abilities for the benefit of our planet. Not preachin’, jus’ sayin’.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Similar and Different

Have you ever met someone, thought how similar you were, but then discovered some glaringly different beliefs? It can be most unsettling. We think we’re on the same wavelength and suddenly realize this isn’t true at all.

I remember accepting a temporary secretarial position many years ago that required proficiency with the Word and Excel programs. While my abilities were more than sufficient, I was stopped dead in my tracks when I sat down at the Apple computer in front of me. I’m a PC guy and couldn’t even figure out how to turn the darn thing on.

When situations like this occur it can be quite jarring to our sense of peace. But it’s also a great reminder that one of the great constants in the universe is change, as paradoxical as that may be. The question is not so much whether change will occur in our lives, but how we will deal with change when it’s staring us in the face. I was at that temp job for three months and got along smashingly with my new Apple friend!

If everything in our lives were similar or identical it would be pretty boring. Consistency doesn’t have to be sameness. We have evidence in nature of how just different landscapes can be yet all beautiful in their own way.

Perhaps the next time you think one thing is happening only to discover that some very different is occurring you’ll think of this discussion. Take a deep breath and relax into the change that’s happening. Even in the differences, what can you find that is similar?

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

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2016 © Terry Drew Karanen