What Do You MEAN You’re Satisfied?

Have you ever questioned your happiness? I did recently. I found my life so very settled in one special moment; I felt an overwhelming sense of contentment. Then my analytical mind took over and I wondered, Am I experiencing complacency? Why am I satisfied? Don’t I want more?

Isn’t it somewhat pathetic when we ruin an amazing experience by questioning it? I realized, in that moment of contentment, that I was experiencing what it was like to stop and to appreciate my accomplishments and blessings. In a world that admires accomplishment, we can forget to enjoy the goals we reach.

Peaceful place

We are bombarded with the idea of “more is better.” Stores want us to believe we don’t have enough of whatever it is they want to sell us. We are encouraged to buy yet another pair of jeans, a different car, or a larger home.

The advertising industry is counting on us wanting more. We are assured over and over again that if we buy this widget or get that thingamajig we will be happy. But when is enough ever “enough?”

It’s definitely possible. However, when we learn that we are in control, that we are directing our lives, it may not be quite that easy to accept. Why? Because we understand that we have the power to make the changes we desire in our lives. Change is necessary to reach our goals; we are encouraged to remember we don’t have to be stuck in anything. It’s then that we might think that being content is a sign of complacency, if only because “this was great, but could it be BETTER?”

While that’s not necessarily true, it does bring us back to the question of is enough ever really enough. Madisyn Taylor recently wrote about the topic and said this:

If we do not have the ability to be happy with the blessings we have in the here and now, nothing can make us happy in the future.

It’s by appreciating our blessings that we can move forward in life. Just because we are aware that we can create a life worth living doesn’t mean we have to feel compelled to be working at it all the time. In fact, it’s only by stepping aside and allowing Spirit do Its job that things get done. If we don’t celebrate our wins, rejoice in our accomplishments, and appreciate our blessings we will find reaching a goal rather bland.

Instead, consider celebrating your wins. If you find a dime on the sidewalk, rejoice in that additional prosperity, instead of thinking, “Well, it’s only a dime. It could have been a quarter.” If you want a different home, de-clutter and clean up the one you have and then bask in the beauty you’ve brought forward.

The more we criticize the more we’ll find to complain about. If we celebrate our accomplishments we’ll bring our consciousness to a higher level that will make complacency impossible. Would you be willing to find contentment in your life this week?

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.

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Have you ever felt victimized? You may have been taken advantage of by someone you trusted, felt cheated out of an opportunity, or perhaps physically harmed in some way.

Unfortunately, at least one of these possible scenarios may seem all-too-familiar to you. Much of what happens in our lives is a direct result of our choices, though more often than not with most people the choices are unconscious ones.

There’s another area that brings up the situation of looking like a victim. Scripture tells us that “time and unforeseen circumstances befall us all.” We all know that in spite of our best plans and actions, shit happens.

Right now in the world there are events occurring to concern or infuriate us perhaps more than any time in the past. Dwelling on the tragedies may cause us to fear the unknown to such an extent that it stops us from even leaving our homes without anxiety.

In spite of the unthinkable situations we’ve seen, we’ve also repeatedly heard of communities that have been the target of a terrorist attack and have healed through their own tenacity. The people do not stop living their lives or refuse to live in fear. They continue to hold onto the ideals that define them.

It’s in group and individual situations like these that we choose being the victor over being the victim. Even if we don’t have a clue how to move forward after a community, family or personal challenge has come to us, the very fact that we are willing to get up the next morning and go about our life shows we possess the power to heal.

If you have moments of despair due to world or local conditions, immediately start to do something small to change your perception. One way is to stop the constant flow of news reports – often conflicting – that may be flowing through your mobile device.

Another way is to decide what YOU want out of life, instead of being engrossed, as it’s so easy to do on social media, with the “tragedies” of others. Seriously, compared to world peace, do you really give a rip about her broken fingernail or the fact that the barista misspelled his name on the latté cup?

Don’t let the media and the “sky is falling” mentality stop you from living. The uninformed and uneducated will continue to freak out; and, there are plenty of people who purposely attempt to mislead us for their own gain. Stand up for what you believe in. Refuse to set aside your principles, ethics, and morals. BE the type of person you say others should be.

I’m committed to stop blaming my problems on the actions or inactions of others. Will you join me in being a victor? Together, we CAN have a world that works for everyone.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

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.

Gay is Wrong; Bestiality and Magic? No Problem.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/03/us/theater-shuns-disney-beauty-over-gay-moment/index.html

I find it odd that people calling themselves Christians are boycotting the new "Beauty and the Beast" movie just because the character, LeFou (Gaston's sidekick) is shown questioning his feelings for another guy. THIS bothers the Bible belters even though Jesus said nothing about men loving one another. But ...

... the fact that some young girl is falling in love with a magically-transformed beast that looks more like a buffalo isn't a problem for them at all! Little Jesus boys and girls have been watching the animated version of the story for years with little if anything being said about the hint of bestiality or the presence of magic and witchcraft - all three frowned upon from what I remember of my days in the religion of my youth.

True Christians know Jesus said he “came to fulfill the law.” He then gave his followers two laws: Love God. Love one another. Christians aren’t bound by the over 630 laws in what modern-day Christians call the “Old Testament,” more correctly called the Hebrew Scriptures. Yet, since Bible belters of all colors and religions seem to love to cherry pick passages out of Mosaic law to shore up their prejudice, racism and homophobia, let’s just take a quick look at those pre-Christian writings.

In the Bible, when King Saul's son, Jonathan, was killed, David (the man who would become king of Israel) wrote that "more precious was my love for you than the love of women."

Later, King David’s own son, Solomon, wrote in Proverbs that a "true friend sticks closer than a brother." Passages like these are scattered throughout both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Greek-Aramaic (New Testament) Scriptures, including the passage about the “disciple who Jesus loved” laid his heard on the Lord’s breast during the meal.

The “I-can-live-on-a-pedestal-and-judge-others-because-I-love-Jesus” Bible thumpers don’t speak out against Biblical passages like these because their small minds find it inconvenient to consider. I’m not suggesting that David and Jonathan were “an item.” We get into major trouble when we try to wrap our 21st century concepts around the way ancient civilizations lived. But they were obvious very, very close. VERY close.

Men “get” one another. Women “get” women. Belly dancing wasn’t created to stimulate the males of the species to want to copulate. The art was developed to help easy the pain of women in childbirth. Western civilization and homophobic Bible thumpers just don’t get the difference between sensuality, sexuality and sex.

And that is exactly why they have their knickers in a twist because LeFou is infatuated with Gaston.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Copyright © 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.

“Only In New York”

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

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

"Only In New York"

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

Charming, I thought.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

So MUCH To Complain About!

Have you got complaints? “Have I got complaints? You should only HAVE the problems I have!” It’s not enough that we have our own issues to deal with. On top of everything else there’s the constant stream of bad news coming to us from social media. What can we do?

First of all, we can stop complaining. I realize, quite acutely, that you may have someone in your life that has made bitching about everything into an art form. It’s not healthy. What we focus on increases in our life. Do we really want all these personal and global issues to get worse? Hardly.

There’s a balance, of course. We don’t turn a blind eye to what’s happening around us or in our personal lives. The balance comes from the discernment we exercise in what to handle ourselves, what to allow others to handle with our help, and what to let go of. Michael Michalko put it this way, “Change the way you speak, and change the way you think.”

That’s a form of the famous Ernest Holmes phrase, “Change your thinking, change your life.” Michalko, however, brings a excellent point to our attention. It’s one thing to think about some issue or desire. It’s a completely different thing to speak those thoughts. Not only are we thinking them, but we are hearing what we say; in doing so we’re reinforcing the thought. Additionally we are putting those thoughts out so that others hear us, and thereby take those thoughts into their consciousness as well.

Unity minister, Will Bowen, created the “Complaint Free World” several years ago. The challenge is to be complaint free in our speech for a full 30 days. The first time I took the challenge I was doing good to get through 30 minutes. But, with intense practice, patience and determination, I finally made it to 30 days.

During the last few weeks I have found myself doing a little complaining here and there. Okay. I’ll fess up. I’ve been bitching my fool head off, as my Grandma Esther would have said. I decided last week to once again stop complaining about things over which I have no control. That encompasses about 98.9 percent of what I see on social media.

Would you be willing to do what you can for your personal, family, community and global effort toward peace this week? Start by being a citizen of action, instead of reacting through the bitchy cycle so many have found themselves wrapped up in. It’s a nasty little hamster wheel you don’t need to be on.

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.

Being Centered Through Mindfulness

Do you find yourself becoming increasingly agitated as the United States moves closer to the 2016 Presidential Election? You’re not alone. I’m hearing from people locally, throughout the country, as well as abroad. They are feeling everything from disgust to sincere fear.

This writing is not to affect your vote for one particular candidate. It is, however, using the election, the debates and the misinformation of the media on all candidates as an example of how easily we can become hot and bothered by the opinions of others.2016-presidential-candidates

Being centered – meaning we are calm, confident and secure in life – is not what we are seeing around us with any regularity. That doesn’t mean we have to buy into the terror and the turmoil of the world around us. That goes for the latest office gossip, to family drama, to presidential elections and world crises. But how do we do that?

The Buddhist path has been one to lead us in the practice of mindfulness for thousands of years. And what is mindfulness? In its simplest form it’s to be aware, to be in the moment and is the diametric opposite of multi-tasking. In his book, “Mindful Living:  The art of remembering to remember,” author Dennis Merritt Jones tells us:

“Mindful living is a lifestyle – it is a way of walking a sacred earth, incorporating purpose and an awareness of God’s presence in all we say, think,
and do on our journey of a lifetime.”

We live in an ever-increasingly busy world. However, how busy we want to be is up to us, not the world or society. We have the ability to put down the mobile device during dinner; to choose television programs and films that are uplifting; to insure that we get our information at our pace, not on the news outlets schedule; and, to step back from the bait when those outrageous and annoying postings occur on social media.

Give yourself the gift of creating a centered life through mindfulness in everything you do. Yes, take time to smell the roses. Love yourself enough to enjoy where you are, because like it or not, this moment will never be here again.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#TheGlobalVision
#AWorldThatWorksForEveryone
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Terry Drew Karanen © 2016

Why Rituals Are Important

Do you have sacred rituals in your life? Unless you are practicing a religion where ritual is part of worship this may not seem to be important to you. There’s a lot, however, to be said for ritual.

First, we ALL have rituals in our life, whether we see them that way or not. Monday Night Football, Wings Night at the corner tavern, holiday meals and just sitting around the dining room table reading the Sunday paper together are all rituals.

Second, everything we do is sacred. Our very breath, the words we use, the emotions we express are all sacred acts. Our lives reflect how we feel about the Divine. Why? Because we are sacred spiritual beings having a spiritual experience on the earthly plane.

Unfortunately, our modern society doesn’t always include formalized or consistent rituals to mark events or the passage of time. It may be up to us to create that as a way to more closely and personally connect with our Higher Power.burning-bowl-ceremony

"Science of Mind" magazine publisher Dr. David Goldberg recently asked the question, “What day of the year is your personal spiritual apex?” (Daily Guides, September 10, 2016) He suggests that we create or honor a “specific tradition or a day that may be special” to us. Here are some suggestions you might find useful:

  • Your birthday
  • October 31/November 1 – The end and beginning of the year in the Old Religion
  • Yule/Midwinter/Mōdraniht – the time when the earth is darkest and the light begins to grow
  • December 31 – New Year’s Eve (or another New Year’s Eve if you use a different calendar)

All these, and ones you might come up with, are about honoring and releasing the past, as well as embracing the future. You might want to use candles, incense, song and special foods to create a ritual. A “burning bowl” is a popular way to write down on paper what no longer serves us and then throw it into the fire. One of my favorite rituals is to go through my contact lists twice each year – on my birthday in May and on October 31 – releasing the people who no longer support me and honoring those who do.

Rituals give closure to the past. They also provide a more formalized way of giving focus to our desires. What sacred rituals would you like to honor in your life?

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Terry Drew Karanen © 2016

Why Bother?

Ever ask yourself that question? Perhaps you’ve tried relationship after relationship, but nothing seems to have any longevity. Maybe you’ve tried for years to please a relative or mate without success. You may have some examples of your own.

It can seem so hopeless, so frustrating.Blog

Why bother? Why bother, indeed!

I’ll tell you why. Because you matter. You deserve to be magnificent. You deserve to have fulfilling relationships, a great career or retirement pursuits, exceptional health and all the money you can spend, share and save.

And that’s why we bother. We bother to find out what is really motivating us to do the things we do. Our actions, goals and desire must not be based solely or primarily on pleasing others. We must decide what our purpose is in life, what enriches our soul and tickles our fancy.

If we can do that we won’t find ourselves frustrated by the actions or lack of actions of others. While we’re bothering to be our brilliant, unique selves, we’ll draw those people, places and things into our sphere for which we’ve been searching. We’ll be there not only to love and support them, but also to enjoy the pleasure of being loved, supported and enriched by their unique gifts as well.

Are you willing to bother with YOUR happiness as much as you may be doing for others? Give it some thought!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#TheGlobalVision
#AWorldThatWorksForEveryone
#IAN1

 

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