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.

Is It Time to Quit?

Are you a quitter? “Of course not!” you might exclaim as if being classified as a quitter is worse than being a murderer. In some ways, you’d be right.

We are taught never quit, never give up. It’s drilled into our heads that quitters are losers. However, recent studies indicate that quitting a job, a relationship, a project or any number of other things might be one of the more healthy actions we can take.

Economist tells us that there is a point where we must cut our losses and move on; we have to sell the stock or take the loss on the investment. To get out of an investment is hard enough; relationships – another area hard to quit – can be even more problematic.

As Ennis says to Jack in the film Brokeback Mountain, “I wish I knew how to quit you.” We decide we need the guy to provide for us since we haven’t worked in decades. We determine that she’s only violent when she drinks and she’s always remorseful. After all, those partners have “so much potential.”

The problem with sticking with anything after its expiration date is that we only make ourselves sick, miserable and feeling like a victim. If only jobs and relationships had a “sell by” or “discard by” date like our milk products and other perishable food items do.

We wouldn’t drink curdled, tainted milk or think twice about tossing moldy leftovers found in the refrigerator. Yet we continue to stick it out in life situations hoping, without any logic and historical perspective to the contrary, that s/he/they will change or this time our horse will win.

Quitting a losing battle by moving to a job we love or leaving a relationship that is abusive or has a “past due to discard” date is empowering, energizing and freeing for everyone concerned. If you think you have something like this in your own life at this time please take the time to put your thoughts down on paper. List all the positive aspects of your situation, as well as the more negative circumstances. How does this list balance out?

Take this into prayer and meditation over the next two or three weeks. It’s seldom wise to make a snap decision on affairs of the heart or when we are feeling like making a change will brand us a quitter. But change is the only constant in the universe. Nothing stays the same.

Give quitting a chance. Realize that leaving what no longer serves us signals to the universe that we are willing to live dynamically and in new ways. In doing so, we bless ourselves and all those around us.

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.

“Mr. Watson – Come here – I want to see you.”

Do you know where your cell phone is? Perhaps not. Many of us misplace them more often than we’d like to admit. Today, of all days, we might take a moment to appreciate why we have them in our lives.

It was 141 years ago today, in 1876, that Alexander Graham Bell is purported to have spoken the words of today’s blog title to his assistant, Thomas Watson. “The rest is history” pales at best considering where we’ve arrived today. But exactly where is that?

It’s been said that the Millennials don’t know how to communicate because we find their noses in their phones instead of talking to one another out loud. The opposite is actually the case. That generation keeps in touch in real time more effectively, in the sense of exchanging information, than does any other generation. The instant social media platforms are their apps of choice; email and voicemail are for older people. Communication, however, is not the issue.

The problem is the lack of meaningful, physical connection that Millennials don’t seem to have. But they are not alone. What so much of today’s society has become – both young and old – are communicators without intimacy. The emojis and other pictographs aren’t the same as seeing the smile of our beloved, the sparkle in someone’s eyes, or receiving the hug we desire.

That day in 1876 Bell was not interested in conveying information to Watson; the inventor wanted to see his assistant in person. We can learn from that on the anniversary of the beginning of telecommunication. Our devices are tools to be used by us, not gadgets to enslave us. Yet the latter is exactly what they have become.

May I offer you a suggestion? This idea will be as psychologically and spiritually uplifting as it is economical – you’ll save on your data plan! Here it is:

Stop getting constant updates on all your apps.

We have become a “what if” society. We don’t want to risk missing out on anything. We may feel compelled to be the first person to post the latest travesty of government or tragedy of a celebrity onto our social media pages.

Starting right now, check your email no more than twice per day, then disconnect from it. If someone really wants to get a hold of you they will text or (gasp!) call you. Set your other apps so that you have to access them to get information, as opposed to being pinged, tinged, jangled or otherwise alerted every other minute.

Seriously, our brains aren’t evolved enough (yet) to handle this kind of information overload. According to recent studies being bombarded data has become one of the top reasons for stress, anxiety, depression and anger in our society.

How much we resist this idea of disconnecting is a glaring indication of how addicted we are to our electronics devices. Consider all the time you’ll have for other activities when you aren’t spending all your time occupied by what others are doing, or deleting yet another spam email every three-to-five minutes. Amazing! Join me?

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.

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.

#Resist

Have you seen the hashtag, #Resist? I’ve been using it, but today a colleague of mine brought up an interesting question.

We are both part of a group of individuals who believe in being for something, as opposed to being against anything. How, he queried, can we “resist” if our focus is on being a positive force for good by acting, not reacting?

It was an interesting question, one that I contemplated for a moment or two. I found it most jarring at first, because I felt like my use up until now was suddenly suspect to criticism I thought just might be warranted. (That’s a great place to be, BTW, no matter how uncomfortable!)

Here’s what #Resist means for me:

I’m not resisting a person, place, ideology or thing. I don’t believe in being a doormat. But I’m not going to waste time trying to teach a pig to sing; it doesn’t work and annoys the pig. Here’s what I’m resisting:

  • I resist thinking I’m clueless. I’m dedicated to challenging myself to lead, instead of being led all the time, and frequently by persons, organizations and ideologies which are far less qualified to determine my good than I am.
  • I resist being afraid. I will not succumb to worrying about what could happen. I will be focused upon what is happening and what I can do about it.
  • I resist thinking that I don’t make a difference. Even if I never know how my actions affect others I know that by acting instead of reacting I move from victim consciousness to empowerment.
  • I resist the temptation to take on more than I can handle, and acknowledge with joy the things I can do.
  • I resist blaming others instead of taking responsibility for being the force of change.

It’s a growing list for me. I’m glad I got challenged because it’s helped me to re-enforce my commitment to excellence and in my purpose. We all have a choice to make about how to respond to adversity and conflict. How we choose to do so will make all the difference in our lives and health … and for our planet.

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.

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

 

Who Are You Listening To?

What is really important in your life? I mean, with all that’s going on in the world, what do we really need to know?

Apparently several papers and the Internet media feel the impending divorce of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt is front page news. No, seriously. A local news radio station reported recently this was actually on the front page of several newspapers.

This is not about all the other events that could have taken precedent. We can all name several, but this media feeding frenzy speaks to just how much our news sources concentrate on the negative.

So after 12 years of being together, Bradgelina is about to be a thing of the past. One reporter said, “Another Hollywood marriage has broken up, not that we’re ever surprised about that.” Really? Statistically Pitt and Jolie have been together longer than the average marriage, which ends in divorce within eight years (McKinley Irvin, 2012). The media is not interested in the 50-year marriage Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward enjoyed, or that Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have been together over 30 years.

Similarly, the media is quick to tell you that half of all American marriages end in divorce, but fail to mention that ALSO means half of all American marriages survive! You get the point.

In New Thought we teach that our thoughts create. We can say all the affirmations we want and create beautiful affirmative prayers, but if we are constantly listening to every piece of gossip and tragedy from the media then it’s like shopping for organic groceries, and then going home to drink drain cleaner.blog22

Stop the madness! Let’s fill our minds with uplifting information. That doesn’t mean we ignore what’s going on in the world. Ernest Holmes, the founder of the Science of Mind philosophy never taught us to ignore our problems or the plight of others. He did, however, write that we deny the necessity that they should continue.

We have a responsibility to feed our minds with productive thoughts and an obligation to act on those ideas to the best of our abilities for the benefit of our planet. Not preachin’, jus’ sayin’.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Why?

How often during the day do you ask or hear, “Why?”

“There is no answer to a ‘why’ question.” I was once told. I believe the comment was in response to what a minister should say to comfort the surviving family of someone who had recently died.

Actually, that’s probably not a good time to ask why. It’s a time to comfort one another, get through the next few days, weeks or months, and look for answers later. Another time when “Why?” does little good is when we are discussion the actions and the subsequent outcomes of what other people do.

06AWe figure if we know why then we’ll understand. Guess what? We don’t need to know why someone died or someone else made a really stupid choice. (This is where you are asking “Why?” so I’ll humor you for the purpose of discussion!) The reason is that we can’t figure out the actions or outcome of others when they often don’t know themselves.

There’s another reason. If we’re focused on other people we don’t have to pay attention our own situations, problems and circumstances. That takes the pressure off us for the time being, but it doesn’t do much for moving forward in our own lives.

This week’s them is, “What is your why?” Over at the Facebook® page for Spirit, Mind and Body Foundation, we’re going to be discussing the whys and wherefores of living our daily life and planning for the future. We’ll also look at how we are in essence blindly backing into our futures while we’re turned around figuring out someone else’s “why” of the past. Finally we’ll contemplate what our world could look like in which personal responsibility joins with social conscience in the political, corporate, academic and social sectors.

Yeah, I know. Another jammed-packed week of looking at our lives, how to better our expression of love, working with our planet and being happy. It’s my life. Why?

Because I know that sharing my thoughts might stir your thoughts, even if your thinking is the opposite of mine. Because sometimes you share those thoughts with me, and that helps clarify my own thinking and that of my readers. And, because staying positive and looking forward helps me to help others have lives worth living. Join me!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#TheGlobalVision
#AWorldThatWorksForEveryone