Are You a Clickabator?

Self-Abuse in the 21st Century

Do you feel stressed out? Do you feel like there’s too much to do and too little time in which to do it?

If so, you’re not alone. I’ve written in the past about our increasing need to stay connected with everything and everyone one 24/7/365. It’s exhausting! So I came up with a new way of expressing it.

Clickabation

It came to me the other day when I remembered the term, “Googlebation.” Have you heard of that? Googlebating is when we Google ourselves. It’s a good idea to do that from time-to-time. You might be surprised with what you’ll find.

I realized that I’m guilty of “clickabating,” though that might be “tapabating” or “swipabating” if you spend more time on Tinder, Grindr, or Match.com than you do on YouTube or NPR news. It could be considered Internet self abuse.

What over-clicking, -tapping, and -swiping is doing is ramping up the need for more and more. It’s cocaine for our fingertips, but doesn’t do our brain any good at all. Like that other kind of abuse, it seldom satisfies, often leaves us empty for what we really want, and makes us crave for our next fix.

Take the time to think about what your fingers are doing, where they are leading you, and how that next site or profile will either enhance your life, or leave you drained and empty. It’s all about choices, dearie!

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.

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.
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.

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.
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.

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

 

“Do Something, Even If It’s Wrong!”

Living By Default

Have you ever found yourself nearly paralyzed with indecision because you couldn’t figure out what to do? It’s possible to have this happen when we become so overwhelmed with possibilities, or the domino effect of a choice that we – in hindsight – realize wasn’t a wise move.

My Grandma Esther used to say, “Do something, Terry, even if it’s wrong!” It was her way of expressing frustration with my indecisiveness as a child. (Over 20 “Estherisms” are discussed in detail in my new book, “From the Trailer Park to the Pulpit” – look for it soon!) Looking back over my life I can see how I missed out on opportunities because I lacked the confidence to depend on my own intuition.

We are the best source of council when we must make a decision. True, having wise counselors, be they trained professionals or trusted friend can be invaluable. Most of the time we know exactly what must be done, though we are afraid of the fallout. Those results can range from the mild disapproval of friends to societal outrage at our actions.

I heard Marie Forleo say one time that when we don’t make decisions we’re “living by default.” There are a number of problems with living this way, but here are two reasons why some people live by default for most of their lives. First, they don’t want to take responsibility if things go south. Second, if things do go south they get to blame someone. That’s living in fear or blame.

What a positively yucky (for lack of a better, more academic word) way to live one’s life!

This concept was once stated as, “Not choosing is choosing.” By not making our own decisions we are choosing to allow others to do so. It’s like the person who says they don’t care which restaurant at which to have dinner, but then complains about the choice someone else makes. Ridiculous, not to speak of annoying.

And yet, haven’t we all done that at one time or another? Perhaps today you’ll make the decision to no longer “live by default.” Even if our decisions don’t pan out the way we expect them to, we have the knowledge that we can choose again. A mistake, a missed opportunity, or whatever we want to call it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world.

It means we can choose again. And this time, when we do choose, we’ll be making decisions with the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to see our situation through to a more desirable conclusion.

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.

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.
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.

When Chaos is Perfection in Motion

Do you ever feel like your life is out of control? You know, the feeling like you’re on a runaway train heading for a sharp turn? Or, feeling everyone around you is a talking head, screaming at you about what you should be doing?

UGH! Been there, done that, got the T-shirt and the photo mug to go with it. It’s not pretty, but my mom has a great saying when it feels like that:

“Life is what’s happening while we’re making plans.”

It happens to most of us. If I’m in the middle of a writing project you do NOT want to see my desk. Same as when I’m cooking. I use every pot in the house and NO one wants to be in the kitchen. Total chaos, or so it appears to the rest of my family. (They seldom complain, however, while they’re eating the meal I’ve prepared!)

A colleague of mine is an executive of a large corporation. Her company is in the midst of a massive re-organization. She knows the changes will eventually result in a better, leaner and more efficient office. But in the meantime, she recently described it to me as,

“Swirling out of chaos into clarity.”

So if it seems the horses are out of the barn and running through the fields of your life right now, consider my friend’s explanation. No, it may not be pretty right now. I get it. Stand your ground, firmly planted in your principles, but calmly wave and gently move like the palm tree in the hurricane.

You WILL get through whatever you’re going through. The light at the end of the tunnel is NOT a freight train. It’s the Light that will shine the answers to you, with grace, ease and perfection. Can I help support you in some issue through the affirmative prayer known as “spiritual mind treatment?” Give it shot by replying to this email with your request. Or, just click here and we’ll set up a time to chat!

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.