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.
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.

You’ll Never Guess What’s Killing Men

Husbands and Buddies and Friends, OH MY!

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

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

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

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

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

Right.

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

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

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

Male social isolation is killing us.

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

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

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

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

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

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2018 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
This message may be re-printed, copied and/or forwarded without permission, as long as the content is not altered in any way and credit is given to the author.

This May Tick You Off

Women of Power

Have you noticed a resurgence of women acting powerfully? It’s not like there hasn’t been a growing stream of upwardly mobile females in the workforce in the past 50 years. But the #metoo movement acknowledging what men have denied for decades if not centuries, growing numbers of allegations of sexual harassment, and apologies by contrite abusers has brought about a whole new level of conversation.

There’s only one problem:  Too many women still think they have to act like men to be powerful. Conversely, too many men think they have to be bullies or assholes “to be real men.”

It’s not unusual. History is full of how the oppressed have overcorrected when they were no longer subjugated. Freed slaves have turned on their former masters, or worse, enslaved others. The poor have revolted against the aristocrats, and then started acting like the class they despised. Gays and lesbians have flaunted their private sex lives to heterosexual society, largely for effect. And, too many women continue to act like men to get ahead.

Studies down over the past five decades have proven the futility of this approach. Yes, today women become CEOs and make lots of money, but that alone doesn’t make them a success. We have evidenced-based, clinical studies documenting an increase in male-patterned baldness, hypertension, and heart disease, to name just a few issues, among women working in executive careers. But, here’s the real kicker:  This way of life doesn’t work for men either!

Are we still playing stereotypes from 1957 that might not have worked for women or men back then anymore than they do today? I feel for women who are objectified in the board room. It’s a damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don’t situation. If a woman shows up in the corporate world dressed to the nines and wearing six-inch heels she’s accused of buying into what men expect (even if that’s what she wants to wear!).

But whether she arrives looking like she just stepped off the runway at a Paris fashion show or in a three-piece Brooks Brothers suit the result is still the same as soon as she asserts her power. She’ll be derided by men for being a ball-busting bitch (that’s a bad thing), yet if a straight man takes control he’s clapped on the back for being a bastard (and that’s supposed to be a good thing!).

Then there’s the woman who decides to be a homemaker, care for children, and support her wife or husband who remains in the workforce outside the home. It’s the opposite end of the spectrum, but comes under just as much criticism.

We can’t talk about women in power without acknowledging ALL the places women make tremendous contributions to our society. And, we can’t discuss women in power without talking about men in power, and why and how that’s different. It’s complicated, but worth the discussion, which ultimately leads to people in power and how we are each individually and uniquely able to express leadership, guidance, and hopefully, compassion.

We are challenged in the 21st century with new and confrontational ideas about gender, gender orientation, and what it means today to be a man or woman. Frankly, I find these discussions to be as exciting as they are challenging.

But let’s not miss the point:

Rather than figuring out why others are or aren’t expressing themselves, let’s be more mindful of who we are. How do you express power in your life? Or, where do you feel disempowered?

If you’d like to join in this discussion, jump over to my blog page by clicking here and make a comment!

P.S. Remember this: A woman of power is dynamic, unique, and a force with which to be reckoned - no matter where she is. Ladies ... please ... show us whatcha got in a way only you can!

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.

I Demand Justice!

Revenge v. Justice

Haven’t you ever wanted to see someone who’d hurt you “get what they deserve?” Most of us have. Grandma Esther used to say, “Every dog has its day.” Rest assured she wanted to be there to watch it happen, if not personally take part in the act.

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves. - Confucius

Grandma wanted revenge, not justice. There is a big difference between the two. Revenge satisfies our ego. We get to be right. We are there to observe the punishment. We get to feel vindicated, justified, and may feel like we’ve turned the tables on the person who we allowed to victimize us. But it will never give us what justice does:

In his new documentary series on The National Geographic Channel, actor Morgan Freeman examines how peoples all over the world deal with the results of war, and how peace is possible. In one episode, he sits across from a Tutsi woman whose family was killed by the Hutu people during the genocide in Rwanda.

Next to her sits the man who was part of the Hutu militia. The man was personally responsible for killing those family members. Over two years of communication has resulted in these two people from different tribes becoming friends through the help of a local bishop in the area. They are part of an “ambitious reconciliation program.” The man who murdered her husband, brother-in-law, and two children now helps her with her farm to provide income for her family, making amends for his actions.

We are more aware today more than ever before of the injustice in the world. This is so because of 24-hour-a-day news coverage, the Internet, and our smart phones. Because of the information we receive it can become extremely easy to react to events and reports, often without a full understanding of the complete picture. We want to stop the violence, but we frequently lack any knowledge of why such horrible events are happening in the first place. We can become so fixated on the solution that we ignore why the problem exists.

Revenge is easy. Justice takes time. We must gain knowledge; we seek to understand; we can then act in wise ways to correct the problem; and, we begin the healing process.

“Revenge is a dish best served cold,” is a phrase attributed to Pashto origins, shows up in the Italian culture, and even said to be of Klingon origin in Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan. Regardless of the actual source it dooms us to a cold, heartless, and unsatisfying life, instead of warming us to a brighter future.

In the television series, Revenge, a “double infinity” symbol was used emphasis unending love – in a sense, “double forever.” That same symbol reminds me every day that revenge, not justice, continues the cycle of hate, anger, and lack of forgiveness.

Is there someone in your life upon whom you are seeking revenge? Are you investing your time, treasures, and talents in the pursuit of getting back at another? Seek this week to heal those thoughts. Determine to forgive, so that the psychic bindings holding you to that person or situation are severed for all time.

We have within us the power to change. It’s a quality which we are born with, but often fail to use. We are only victims of the past if we chose to be so.

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.

 

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.

You Have GOT To Be Kidding Me!

I read a great blog last week by my friend and colleague, Ellen Debenport. I realized right away I had to share it this week.

Stay with it - even though it's difficult at times! It's SO worth it!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

 

 

The Greatest Spiritual Teacher, by Ellen Debenport

Who is currently the greatest spiritual teacher in your life?

Good chance it’s Donald Trump.

Stay with me on this, because it’s true whether you like him or not.

A spiritual teacher doesn’t have to be spiritual himself. He doesn’t even have to understand his role as a teacher. The learning happens within us.

If you don’t like Trump, the spiritual challenges are pretty obvious. Acceptance, forgiveness, patience, understanding, finding the good and even being grateful for some things. These are familiar spiritual tools to traverse upset.

But what if you like the new president? Let’s say you think he’s making some long-needed and beneficial changes. How is he a spiritual teacher then?

I believe we find spiritual challenges whenever we are winners or in the majority. Your majority might be political or racial, you might be a winner in terms of money or education, or even when your favorite sports team wins a game.

What do you do when a great many other people are disappointed and left out of your joy or privilege? That’s a spiritual challenge.

NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN 

If you approve of the new administration’s undertakings, you must be aware that half the country doesn’t approve.

Conflict and division seem built into every policy decision being made in America, no matter who makes it. Half the people will believe Trump is wrong regardless of what he does.

This really isn’t an unusual situation. All new leaders have to overcome resistance to change – new bosses, new ministers in churches, even new stepparents.

Having authority over people who may not like or trust you is a spiritual challenge. How do you innovate with integrity? How do you bring the old guard along and get their buy-in for new ideas?

Well, it’s not, “Nanny nanny boo boo, you lost and I won.”

It’s not, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

And it’s not necessarily, “I’m in charge. Do what I say.”

Personally, I think it helps to find out exactly what is already being done. Now that you’re on the inside, you might find there are good reasons for the way things are handled, which you couldn’t see when you were criticizing from the outside.

That’s true whether you’re the new majority party in Congress, the new teacher in a classroom or a new member of a church board.

Ask and listen. You might hear some good ideas and avoid some missteps.

You can also appreciate the old guard for their years of service, rather than making them feel obsolete and in the way. Introduce your ideas in a way that enrolls them, rather than accusing them of wanting to destroy the country (or company, school or family).

That’s all standard management advice. And it’s true, the old guard might continue to be resistant, and you might eventually part ways.

But there’s another way to handle being in a new position of authority or majority: Pray a lot.

ONLY THE HIGHEST GOOD 

Pray for the highest good of every person concerned, especially the ones who are angry and obstructionist.

Pray that everyone finds his or her perfect place of service, here or elsewhere.

See each one as enlightened and well-meaning, someone who loves the country, company or church as much as you do and wants the best.

Notice, you’re not praying for specific outcomes.

In the case of Donald Trump, one side might be tempted to pray he leaves office while the other affirms he’s the best president ever. That’s no different than praying your sports team beats the opponent. It’s your ego’s preference.

The advantage to a truly spiritual solution is that everyone can win.

As you hold a strong vision of harmony and understanding, the molecules of the universe will begin to rearrange themselves into that pattern.

And one of two things will happen.

Some people will begin to change and grow in what seem to be miraculous ways. They will not create the problems you expected. They might astonish you with their newfound creativity and accomplishment.

Or they will drop away. Those who can’t match the frequency of a new undertaking will leave it.

That’s true whether you believe the new frequency is higher or lower than the old. It’s a new vibration, and it will attract only those things, people or ideas at the same frequency.

Picture a hot air balloon rising off the ground. It has been held in place by heavy sandbags, but those bags can’t rise with it. Their perfect place of service remains on the ground. They have to be released.

People who aren’t a match to a new consciousness, whether it’s in a political administration or an office complex, will find other places to be.

BASIC SPIRITUALITY 

Do you see what I mean? You can rearrange the circumstances of your life by affirming the highest good of all, without taking a position on whether the people involved are good or bad.

I once prayed a difficult boss out of my life. I affirmed the best for him in whatever form it might take, while searching for good in him. (I learned he was a great dad.)

Eventually he was promoted to a job that took him away from me. Win-win.

So I’m not suggesting you pray for or against Donald Trump. Just affirm his highest good, in whatever form that takes. And could we also agree to affirm the highest good for the country?

When we all start doing that – giving up vociferous opinions and affirming a bright future with enlightened leaders – it will be interesting to see who stays and who goes, which bills pass and which don’t, who rises up and who fades away, how the courts rule, how the agencies operate, and who becomes the majority in the next go-round.

This is basic spirituality: Set an intention for what you want – peace and prosperity, health and harmony, justice and freedom – and hold that vision while the universe figures out how to bring it about.

You will have done your part as a citizen and elevated your spiritual consciousness. And you might be surprised how well things work out after all.

Ellen Debenport © 2017
http://ellendebenport.com

Tags:

Description:

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.

Now Is the Time

Are you concerned about your future? Perhaps that’s a rhetorical question, since who isn’t apprehensive at times in our world today from time-to-time? Yet, think about this:  Beginning today, what has changed?

Have racism, hatred toward minorities and religious groups, denial of scientific facts and violence against women, gays, lesbians and the transgender community suddenly begun? Hardly. These outdated ideas and deplorable actions have been going on for centuries. Hard as it tried centuries ago to deny the facts, the Church had to finally concede that our planet is a globe, racing through space around a star, not a flat disk, and certainly not the center of the universe.

Rulers come and rulers go, some too soon, some not soon enough, which depends on our belief systems. Fortunately in the republic in which I live, the United States of America, we do not have rulers, dictators or demi-gods. We do have the Office of President of the United States, an office I will continue to respect for as long as I am American, but one that has far less power to make things happen instantaneously than certain people with self-serving agendas of either political party would like to believe.

Like all democratic forms of government, it is with cooperation, understanding, debate and compromise that change is accomplished. We all have the obligation as citizens to take part in that process on a federal, state and local level. We may not always get what we want. For example, the people spoke on November 8th year, but the popular vote did not carry that candidate into office. Ironically, the process by which she was denied the Office was the same mechanism originally designed by the Founding Fathers to stop what has ultimately occurred. So how are we do view today, November 20, 2017?

It’s a significant day, no doubt about it. Today ends eight years of the most inspiring leadership we’ve seen in the White House in decades, without any scandal, and all carried out with dignity by a loving, faithful husband married to a beautiful, gracious and passionate Ivy League attorney, and father to two beautiful daughters.

But today has a beginning as well! Today, November 20, 2017, marks the beginning of our individual commitment to be, say and do all that we hold dear. It’s up to us to live the lives we desire and to pave the way for others to do the same. We need not drag people along, but we can reach back, offer a hand and stand together in joy, happiness and mutual respect, thereby honoring ourselves and the planet upon which we live.

I do not wish you or us “Good Luck!” today. I KNOW in the inherent power that you are. Presidents, kings and ego-driven demagogues will come and go, but the power of love is the only force that prevails, century after century.

Be that love. Do your part to make every day a better one for yourself and those around you. Speak out against injustice. Let no racial slur or derogatory remark about anyone go unchallenged. Do you want change in our world? BE that change.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Copyright © Terry Drew Karanen 2017

 

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