You’ll Never Guess What’s Killing Men

Husbands and Buddies and Friends, OH MY!

If you’re reading this, there’s an 80 percent chance you’re female. My subscribers are predominately women and 35+. (If you’re a guy – thank you for subscribing and reading my work!)

Truth is, I’ve always attracted more women than men in my work, which given that I’ve been an out gay man for over four decades has always been a bit puzzling to me. Even when I had my church in Pittsburgh, I had a majority of lesbian members, and the lesbian minister at the MCC had all the gay guys. Go figure!

So, ladies, bear with me while I focus this week’s blog on a guy issue. Hopefully, you can forward this to some man you know! (Stick around though - there's some great stuff here for you to consider, too!)

Guys, regardless of sexual orientation, seem to have a more difficult time in our society making true, intimate, male friends. Women may have tons of girlfriends, but we guys may only have a handful of other men in our life – if any – upon we can call on when we are down and out.

Sure, we may have the “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, dude!” or “Get a grip, man!” friend who will tell us to stop whining and acting weak. “Be a man about it, for crissakes!” he’ll scream, as he tosses you a fifty-pound medicine ball.

Right.

Much of it has to do with our societal homophobia, and this goes for gay, bisexual, and straight men. We are taught to be terrified of intimate male friendships, because our western culture associates intimacy with sex. This misconception screws up our chances of male bonding, as well as making it more difficult for men to have deeper relationships with women.

The truth is all humans – male and female – will have times when we are feeling weak, when we have allowed ourselves to be victimized, or when we can’t see the forest for the trees. But men are more likely to tough it out and isolate instead of seeking help.

And this, dear reader, is the real message of this blog:

Male social isolation is killing us.

In the December 1, 2017, issue of Bottomline Personal magazine, then editor Karen Larson notes that “social isolation increases the risk for heart disease, certain cancers, and dementia while decreasing immune system functions” in males.

Further, Dr. Richard Schwartz, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School believes male social isolation “has as important an effect on our health as smoking, high blood pressure, or obesity.”

Retired men often have few social connections other than their spouse. While women have been acculturated to make new friends, the same is often not the case for men. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible and we CAN learn to do so. Here are a couple of ways:

  • Seek out the companionship of other guys you admire or connect with
  • Join a community or group where you will be surrounded by other supportive men
  • Refuse to buy into the men have to be powerful all the time and never vulnerable
  • Create standing times with the men closest to you
  • Learn that intimacy doesn’t have to mean sex

Still have questions? Get in contact with me and let’s talk!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2018 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.

Don’t Tell Me What to Do!

You Know You Should …

Do you like to be told what you should or shouldn’t be doing? I don’t. People often try to be helpful by finding solutions for us. It’s not usually as helpful as they’d like to believe.

I bring up “shoulding” because perhaps you’ve noticed how some people will often compliment you on an accomplishment and then, without even taking a breath, proceed to tell you how you should have done it. I find that amazing – almost entertaining – at least most of the time. The rest of the time I find it downright annoying.

One of the most difficult things to experience is criticism from others, even if those attacks are couched in a compliment. It’s at these times that we must dodge and deflect. If we allow others to throw us off balance we can lose sight of our own vision and our goals.

What dodging and defecting unnecessary criticism can do is strengthen our resolve and shore up the core foundations of our beliefs. If we are not careful we can get caught up in the negative attacks. We often find such attacks are based on the person’s own insecurities or feelings of inadequacy.

In the midst of that, however, is the infuriating fact that regardless of the person’s intent (conscious or subconscious), the poor “should-er” might just have an idea we ought to consider! Like I said, it’s somewhat infuriating. It’s a lot like your ex or your mother-in-law calling you on your stuff. You get the picture and it’s not pretty.

It is an issue of balance. If we can hear criticism constructively and objectively we will become more confident and often find some fine tuning of our actions that we can do to accelerate the progression toward our goals. After a while we’ll be able to hear the words, pick what we can use and cast away the rest. Now that’s power.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2012, 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

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Who’s Killing Your Dreams?

Why a “Dreamkiller” May Be Your Best Friend

Do you find the complainers in your life a total drag? Do some people seem to suck the very life out of you?

Psychic vampires. That’s what they’re called.

This type of person is especially drawn to those of us who are sensitive to energy, as well as people who are natural givers. We are also drawing them to us, though most people who consider themselves victims of psychic vampires and negative friends may not be aware of it.

Negative people and those who constantly complain are not bad folks. But they sure can be the Debbie and David Downers of our lives, and at the most inopportune times. This is especially true when we are expressing a dream we have, or some grand plan we are working on to unfold. That’s when they become total “Dreamkillers.”

They mean well. Most of the time, anyway. They don’t want us to be disappointed, or are afraid we will be working ourselves too hard.

Dreaming is a more passive form of visioning. Neither of these processes are about making plans or figuring out how something is going to come to fruition. Dreaming and visioning allow us to explore our desires. Then we open ourselves to whatever we are drawn to as a next step in the process.

Dreamkillers CAN be our best friends, though! Often we’ll find out that Debbie and David are there to express our own inner fears. A negative friend can allow us to explore our doubts, as if the sludge from the bottom of the trash can is bubbling to the top, ready to be skimmed off and tossed aside! (Oh, I DO hope you’re not eating!)

The next time you find a Dreamkiller or any other negative person staring you in the face send them love and compassion. Do not try to change them. It’s like trying to teach a pig to sing. It doesn’t work and it annoys the pig. Allow any negative comments to be your best friend. Recognize them for what they are:  A representation of your doubts, your fears, or your nightmares.

Then, bless them and send them packing. The late Dr. Juanita Dunn used to tell me that, “You are the Divine Child, the Royal Prince, of the abundant and prosperity Royal Ruler. Child, God don’t make no junk.”

Our lives are exactly what we make of them. Will you choose to look at all the bad around you? Or, will you choose to bless all the good?

Go out today and rule your kingdom with love, prosperity and kindness, Your Highness!

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.
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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.

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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