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.
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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.

To check out other available titles by Terry Drew Karanen, click here.

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Speaking Out About Parkland – “Making Sense of Life” Special Edition

Guns in America

We have a problem in America. In fact, of all the countries in the world, the United States has the most pronounced evidence of this situation. And, yes, it involves guns, but that’s not the complete problem, nor is banning all guns tomorrow the perfect solution.

First, our children and the adults dedicated to educating and protecting them are being repeatedly, savagely, and willingly gunned down with malice, forethought, and intricate planning. And, second, as a society, Americans have been complacent in our actions to prevent the re-occurrence of recent events.

This writing is not to oppose guns. I hold a unique position in life which most of my readers do not:  I have shot guns and know how to use one; and, I have been shot in the face during a mugging. But this is not about my experience or about outlawing anyone’s constitutional right to own a firearm.

There are two reasons for my message today, and both come via my local high school of which my husband, Kevin, is a department head and educator.

First, one of Kevin’s former students wrote this poignant thought:

According to our Congress, the AR-15 that was used to kill 17 people (to date) at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has a “constitutional right” to exist. That same Congress, however, has also made it clear that health care for the injured, as well as mental health care for the survivors, their friends, and their families is a “privilege.”

It doesn’t take a high degree of education to understand the disparity and how utterly ludicrous this is.

Second, there is a suggestion that could be implemented in your local schools that could reduce or eliminate more murders the next time this happens. (I’m not being pessimistic here. Without a radical change, which doesn’t seem likely in the immediate future, tragedies like this will continue.)

Our local high school has a very specific protocol for fire alarms. Drills are announced in advance; teachers, administrators, students, staff, and parents know the day and the time of all scheduled drills. If an unscheduled fire alarm goes off, the principal makes an announcement immediately over the loud speakers indicating that there is an emergency requiring evacuation as instructed. Without that announcement, each class room is locked by the instructors, window shades drawn, and students gathered safely.

People often ask, What can I do? Knowing these procedures means you CAN do something. Contact the school districts in your area. Find out what procedures they have in place in such circumstances. If guidelines and protocol don’t exist, work to make sure you get them designed and implemented.

This blog and my work continue to be about “Making Sense of Life.” In this regard, no one can make the available to or used by the general public. The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States speaks clearly about the right to bear arms, and I don’t dispute that. But, nowhere in that document does it indicate citizens have a right to own and use weapons of mass destruction. The AR-15 is designed to be just that:  A weapon of mass destruction of human life.

Our President, our Vice President, and the many members of Congress whose campaigns are well-funded by the National Rifle Association would like us to believe this most recent shooting and others like it must be stopped by addressing mental health issues. This is utter nonsense, unfounded in its assertion, cannot be backed up with reliable research or facts, and speaks to just how desperate our current government is to hold onto its self-serving, anti-democratic, and privileged positions.

If you don’t know who Ben Dickmann is, you might want to click on the link below. “He's a ‘responsible, highly trained gun owner,’ [who] doesn't see a need for the average person to own the powerful firearm [referring to his AR-57, a variant of the AR-15].” Click here to see what his background is, why that’s significant to the most recent shooting, what he’s done, and how others can follow suit.

Speak out. Dialogue with others. Act, instead of reacting. Don’t wait for leaders. We must be the leaders we seek.

Terry Drew Karanen © 2018

Copyright © 2018 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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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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Let It Go

Does It Really Make a Difference?

Have you found yourself watching someone’s mouth move, but not being able to be interested in the nonsense you’re hearing? I do my best to be engaged and concerned when someone is relating a story to me. Really I do! But there are times, and I know you’ve been there, when I just look at the person and say, “And, you’re telling me this because…?”

Sometimes we just need to vent. I get that. My friend, Nancy, and I used to have an agreement that I could call to bitch about anything I wanted for exactly five minutes. No more. She would cut me off at five minutes, done or not. Well, I might not have thought I was done, but Nancy was and that was that.

At some point it behooves us to take a deep breath and say, “Does it really make a difference?” We may be terribly upset about the way someone has treated us. Or perhaps someone has walked away from a commitment she or he has made to us or to our organization. It’s done. It’s over. We can pick up the pieces and get on with our life, or we can whine, scream and moan. Why would we choose the latter?

You see, the simple truth is that some people bless us by coming into our lives and some people bless us by leaving. This works personally, professionally and in our communities or organizations. Ever notice how some people can leave a group or relationship with dignity, class and mutual respect, while other people have to make everyone wrong, create havoc and basically re-define what it means to be a raging drama queen?

We don’t have to be the latter. We also don’t have to be affected by someone who chooses to wear that badge. Know that in the universal scheme of things, all is progressing exactly as it should. It may not look pretty at the moment, but when the dust settles the right people will be involved and the perfect outcome will be assured. By feeding the drama with our crazed upset we are only continuing to strengthen the psychic bond we wish to severe.

Take time this week to let go of the drama of change and embrace the flow of peace in your life. The people that leave us are making room for the people who want to be with us. And so it is!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

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Copyright © 2011, 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
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“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.
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