Strength and Empowerment Through Failure

Have you failed at anything? That’s an interesting question. If you’re like the majority of people who get asked that you’re already feeling some kind of emotional reaction.

Guilt, shame, anger, disappointment and denial are just five of the most popular you’ll encounter. The denial response is often found among New Agers and even some New Thought students who believe failure is impossible; or worse, unthinkable!

But here’s the kicker with ignoring or explaining away failure:

We miss the gift in failing.

By ignoring the fact that something didn’t work out the way we planned we gloss over the problems that most need our attention. Our ego will rise up through a dramatic entrance to any situation that even mildly alludes to us being wrong, incapable or inadequate. Guess what? We can be all of these things at times no matter who we are.

Ever watch a toddler learning to walk? She tries. She fails. She tries again. She falls down, probably giggling. Eventually, after many unsuccessful attempts, she stands on her own power and takes her first tentative step. That shows strength and character. Her ego hasn’t developed enough yet to be judge and jury for every minor or major foible she will encounter in growing up.

It’s not solely from the disappointment alone that we learn from our failures. It’s from recognizing what didn’t work and knowing that we have within us the power to do better next time. No matter how badly we screw up we have the assurance that we did the very best we could with the information available to us at the time.

When we have improved information, perhaps from failing at a task or relationship, we are better prepared to make more informed decisions in the future. Knowing that it was our decisions that created the situation with which we are now dealing assures us that we are empowered to change our thinking and enjoy results more to our liking.

And, even if the outcomes we come across appear to have been creating by others, we still have the choice to be at the effect of those situations, or draw upon the power within us to change our experience.

More than one person has said that if we aren’t failing from time-to-time then we’re probably doing very little and taking few chances. Step out now and move forward. If you’d like to be further encouraged by the successes of others who have dealt with failure, click here for a link to a truly inspiring webpage from the University of Kentucky.

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.

Need An 18-Hour Bra?

Finding Consistent, Effective and Loving Support

Remember the Jane Russell commercials for the 18-hour bra from Playtex®? I know; it’s a totally off-the-wall question for a spiritual column, right?

By now you know who you’re dealing with here, so I doubt you’re shocked. My blog is called, “Making Sense of Life” for a reason. We can look at life from the reality of human joy and excitement, as well as from the pain and suffering we sometimes encounter.

Being spiritual beings having a spiritual experience on the human plane of existence means we get to experience the full range of human emotions and sensual understanding. We will have pain at times, often for our own protection.

However, remember this:

Pain is a given.
Suffering is optional.

One of the ways to avoid the agony that accompanies our pain is to seek support. The beauty in the teaching of Ernest Holmes philosophy, The Science of Mind®, is that our healing can come from wherever, whomever and whatever our consciousness allows.

The healing can be the pill; or the affirmative prayer, also called “spiritual mind treatment” by Holmes; or, through the chiropractor, physician, therapist, counselor, etc. We have so many possibilities. It’s up to each of us individually to find what works for us in our current circumstances.

There is an interesting support system that happens in the waters off of Mozambique. Brittle stars, normally a sea bottom dwelling creature related to starfish, attach themselves to drifting jellyfish, living safely among the stinging tentacles of their host. Does the brittle star do this for protection from predators? To glean food not consumed by the jellyfish? For transportation, just hitchin’ a ride? And, why doesn’t the jellyfish eat the brittle star? What’s in it for the jellyfish?

Marine research scientists are unsure of the answers to these questions. What we can learn from this example is that what’s happening in this interspecies support relationship is obviously working for the ones involved. We don’t have to understand it for it to work for them.

In our lives we might need more support at times than others. It’s up to us individually to determine what that support will be. And, just like the brittle star, no one has to understand what works for us.

At times we might have to call in the 18-hour bra support, while other times a sports bra, the latest from Victoria Secret® or we might just decide to run through life nipples to the wind! (To my few male readers, substitute jockstrap, cup, briefs, boxers or commando – didn’t want you to think I forgot you!)

Do you feel the need for support to move you through and beyond something you’re going through? Reach out to someone or some practice that you know works for you. Get the help you need to move through the dark tunnels to the light of Truth and beauty that awaits you!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

P.S. If you need a review of Jane’s commercial, here’s the link.

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.

Do You Find it Difficult to Make Decisions?

Do You Need to Have it Your Way?

Do you find yourself faced with too many choices? It’s definitely a “first world” problem. People in third world countries search for clean water on a daily basis. Meanwhile, we’re stumped at our grocery store trying to decide which of the 20 different types flavoring we want in our bottled water.

A great thing about realizing we are empowered in life is the power to choose. The downside of that is that we may be confused about what to choose. We know we can manifest that which we desire; but exactly what it is that we want?

There is a rule of thumb when focusing on a goal or using affirmative prayer:  Be specific. Yet part of the joy in seeing our desires come into our life is watching how those things occur.

Being specific in our desires doesn’t mean we have to control the process. We can continue to be precise and detailed, but then turn it over to universal intelligence for the work necessary and the guidance needed. We don’t have to design detailed ways for things to happen. If fact, putting too many parameters on the way we expect our desires to come about can slow down or even stop the process.

If we truly believe in a power greater than us that we can use, then we would do well to balance our pragmatic desires with some good, old-fashioned trust. There are numerous examples in my own life and the life of others that I can think of where the outcome came about through completely unexpected means.

It’s not that the outcome was unexpected – there’s not much point in praying about something if we don’t expect it to happen! Rather it was the way in which it happened. By trusting in the process we open ourselves up to personal fulfillment as well as unique and amazing ways to be supported.

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.

Marines Don’t Do That

Are there things you just “don’t do?” In 2013, Michael Wheeler wrote an article entitled “Marines Don’t Do That:  Mastering the Split-Second Decision.” In it, he quoted retired Marine Major David Dixon who said Marines are taught the concept of “Marines don’t do that” during their training.

It got me to thinking about how I live my own life and what I simply “don’t do.” I’m usually the one who speaks up and makes at least a few people uncomfortable if someone is telling an inappropriate joke or being discriminatory. I have no tolerance for it. I used to. I used to be afraid to speak up for fear someone might start attacking me, or making fun of me for not “being one of the boys.”

Now I’m glad I’m not one of those boys. Becoming comfortable with my sexual orientation as well as my belief in New Thought teachings – neither of which are universally accepted – has positioned me to speak out. It comes from a foundation of confidence and security, not from one of reaction, indignation or anger. Admittedly, I still feel some of those things when I witness gross injustices, but I’m not out to prove anything to anyone.

What guides your life course and your interactions with others on a daily basis? Do you allow discrimination or injustices to go on in front of you? How we deal with what we consider inappropriate behavior here in America is vastly different than in other countries, including our neighbors directly north of us. But regardless of local customs, how will we act (not react) in an unfair situation the next time it happens?

It might not be a situation of sticking up for someone else. It might be having the opportunity to disregard our own personal ethics, for example tossing our cigarette out the window, accepting more change than is due us, or ignoring someone who is differently-abled than we.

If we are truly the person we want others to believe we are, will we stand up for righteous and fair treatment of others? Or, will we remain silent while those less able to speak up are put down, embarrassed, ill-treated, injured, or killed? Will we practice what we preach to preserve our planet, or will we make excuses because we are too busy to go the extra mile?

Those aren’t easy questions to read or to contemplate. I would, however, suggest to you that they are ones we should all entertain. When faced with the hard questions of life no person of integrity turns a blind eye to the situation.

We just don’t do that.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Copyright © 2013, 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

Eavesdropping is So Enlightening

We live in a small town. The main post office is quite neighborly, with many of the patrons chatting back and forth while waiting in line. The line one day this week was quite long. I was able to pass the time listening to what other people were saying. Oh stop gasping, for heaven’s sake – it’s not like they were trying to be private!

Here are some of the comments I overheard:

  • “I’m doing good. It beats the alternative!”
  • “It just keeps getting worse and worse. Floods, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes. What’s next?”
  • “You oughta know by now I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.”
  • “She needs to put a smile on her face, that one does.”
  • “It don’t matter. Nothing does.”

Each of these folks believed what they were saying. They came in all colors, ages, socioeconomic status and educational levels. The majority of the other comments showed a range of despair, resignation or fear.

The expressions accompanying the words resulted in frowns, slumped shoulders and sighs. Rather than judge what these folks should be doing to change their thinking, I chose to think about what negative self-talk I had engaged in that morning.

I am my own worst critic. I am particular about many things, often fighting my anal-retentive or dogmatic tendencies about certain tasks, and must remind myself daily that no matter how hard I try I will simply never please everyone. Putting myself down, however, doesn’t help the situation.

Would you be willing today to take just one hour and listen to what is going on inside your head? Ask yourself if that is what you want to believe. Think about what the reaction would be from a good friend if you talked that way to them.

Hopefully your thoughts are filled with encouragement, praise and support. If not, consider what it would take to lovingly guide yourself back onto the path you wish to travel!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

Are You Your Labels?

Do you like to be labeled? Try asking that question to five people and you’ll find that most if not all will assume the term label to which you may be alluding will be derogatory. I’m not sure why, but it’s a fun experiment.

While we may not like to be labeled we are often guilty of labeling others. Have you noticed that when we meet someone new it’s not uncommon to find the questions steered in very basic directions:  Are you married? What do you do for a living? What kind of a car do you drive? Where did you go to school? And on it goes. We get that information, pigpen-hole the person through classifications (labels) and create our judgment of the person.

(I apologize to my foreign readers – you’re probably saying to yourself, “That’s SO typically American!” And though I have just as much evidence as you that it is so, it’s also another form of labeling. This is another example of how labeling is critical, not complimentary.)

On the other side of this discussion are the labels we stick on ourselves and then refuse with tenacity to peel off when they are old and tired. The unhappily married couple must face the truth of their relationship once the kids leave home. The corporate executive or factory worker is forced to reassess her place in life when she is laid off. Who are we without our spouse, our careers, or our homes?

James Baldwin is quoted as saying, “I have become afflicted with so many labels that I have become invisible unto myself.” Would you be willing today to make a list of the labels you have for yourself? Do they serve you? Is this the way you want to be known or remembered?

The other Baldwin quote in the graphic above is our guide. Perhaps today is the day we can ask ourselves, Am I my labels? Once we answer that question we will discover whether or not our labels enhance who we are, or obscure us to the point of being invisible unto ourselves.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

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.

Go Ahead. Feel Bad.

Do you enjoy finding new writers to read? I do and I also enjoy sharing those people with my friends and readers.

For that reason I'm going to be sharing the writing of several people from time-to-time this year with you.

One such person is my friend and Unity minister, Rev. Ellen Debenport. Her blog for this week is below and speaks to me on a very deep level.

Admitting where we are instead of pretending everything is great is one of the foundation principles I believe in. I hope you'll enjoy Rev. Ellen's viewpoint this week. I'll be back next week - Have a great weekend!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

GO AHEAD. FEEL BAD.

We in Texas pride ourselves on many things, but tolerating cold is not one of them.
 
When it was 16 degrees Sunday morning, any number of the people I know just abandoned the idea of getting out. No church, no lunch, no afternoon plans. They hunkered down to ride it out.

Which got me thinking about how often we let outside circumstances dictate our lives.

I keep insisting we can choose what and how to think, rather than reacting to what’s outside of us. But sometimes circumstances matter.

When it’s 16 degrees, you will need a coat, no matter how elevated your consciousness is.

When someone you love dies, you most likely will be sad.

If your money runs out, it’s hard not to worry.

Just how reasonable is it to expect yourself not to react to outer circumstances?

THE GOOD AND THE BAD
 
Some circumstances are so fabulous, we wouldn’t want to miss them.

Falling in love.

Bringing home a new baby.

Watching a full moon rise.

Listening to the pounding surf as you walk on the beach.

If it’s permissible to enjoy the parts of life we label good, then why can’t we have a human reaction to the things we call bad?

I’m afraid that, in the name of spirituality, a lot of us have convinced ourselves we should never have a negative feeling. Or if we do feel bad, we feel guilty about it. Like spiritual failures.

So, once and for all, please let me officially give you permission to feel bad!

Go ahead and feel sad about your losses, scared about the uncertainties in your life, annoyed with people or events that disrupt your peace, regretful of past mistakes, or downright angry about a layoff or an election or a football game.

Even if, in some metaphysical way, you created or attracted whatever has happened, you are entitled to your feelings about it.
 
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
 
Right about now, someone is thinking, “Yes, but I don’t want to wallow in it.”

Wallowing gets a bad rap.

I will grant you, some people get stuck in their stories. They relish thinking of themselves as victims. They rehash the same events over and over for years, refusing to feel better or move into a new point of view.

Most of us, however, will get sick of hearing ourselves talk before we wallow very long. We will naturally be ready to move on.

And at the same time, why should we insist on recovering from a major event quickly? Life can really, really hurt. Grief and recovery take as long as they take, and it’s different for each person.

I fear those of us trying to live from a higher consciousness sometimes talk ourselves out of our feelings.  And we miss an important part of the human journey.

Why do you suppose we came into human form? We wanted to delve into human life, right?

And doesn’t human life have its ups and downs, good and bad, easy and difficult? Doesn’t the prince always have to slay a few dragons before he can kiss the princess?

WHAT HARM IS A LITTLE NEGATIVITY?
 
I’m not encouraging you to feel bad just for the sake of feeling bad.

I’m encouraging you not to miss the human adventure.

Maybe someday, after we all are living in divine consciousness, there will be no more tears or anger or disappointment. But I’m increasingly convinced we are here to experience all that human life has to offer, not to transcend it.

It probably won’t all be pleasant, but it all will be part of your growth and learning.

And when we compare notes on the Other Side, I suspect the tough times on Earth will make some of the best stories, give us the biggest laughs and leave us grateful we had the courage to live as humans for a while.

Even when it was freezing cold in Texas.

PS - The beautiful picture of icicles at the top of this blog was taken by my friend Laura Shepard in Idaho, not Texas. But once it gets below about 40, this picture represents how it feels to us.

Now What?

It’s been quite a year, non? That question is an understatement. Well, at least for me and the majority of my readers.

It could seem like the year is ending with uproar and confusion. Added to that is a year ahead which holds more questions than answers. How do we handle the situation? The question, “Now what?” makes complete sense in a state of affairs that is full of uncertainty.

There really is only one constant:  Change. Much of what we’ve heard around the world is returning our communities to “the way things were,” as if this fantasy past had no problems. Change happens and we can’t move forward into the future while we’re clinging to the past. The truth is that the past had as many problems as we have now, but it’s now that we’re finally talking about them.

The consciousness of the planet is changing. Inequality, lack of equanimity, discrimination and bullying on the local or global level are things that intelligent, educated people are no longer willing to tolerate simply because the answers are inconvenient. To re-write the movie line, “Fast your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy [year]!”

So fasten your seat belt. Get a firm idea of where you want to be next time this year. Put your affairs in order, get your ducks in a row, or do whatever it is you must do to realize the security you need to attain contentment and happiness. NO ONE gets to put us down or make us feel less than we are without our consent. REFUSE to consent in any way shape or form to being anything else but your magnificent self!

This will be my last message to you for the year. I leave tomorrow for three days of flying before returning home to celebrate a belated Christmas with my family. Enjoy this beautiful season in spite of the unrest we see around us. As Jesus admonished his followers, be in the world but not of it. In other words, be present in the moment and know the Truth:  You are whole, complete and perfect just the way you are. You are precious and loved. YOU are the Light of the World. Shine brightly now and forever! We’ll chat again in January!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
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@TerryDKaranen
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Terry Drew Karanen © 2016