I’m Surprised At You!

Are You True to Yourself?

Do you ever find who you are, who you really are, conflicts with what others think you should be?

It was Terry Cole Whittaker who wrote, “What you think of me is none of my business.”

Many of us know this to be true. Few of us are willing to admit just how many times we’ve failed at applying those simple words. Perhaps one of the reasons this happens is we are more concerned with what others think about us than we are about seeking to be ourselves.

One blogger recently wrote that our health, relationships, careers and financial status is reflected in the lives of our five closest friends. While this may or may not be true for each of us, I found it enlightening to consider. The tipping point for me is that if I have to change who I am to be around the people with whom I want to associate there is something wrong.

It comes back to that adage to walk the talk, not just talk the talk. Years ago I worked at a prayer ministry. At the end of the shift we’d tally up the issues we’d been asked to pray for by the callers. Inevitably, the largest numbers turned out to be for an issue we ourselves were having difficulty with at the time. It’s an eye opener to be giving counsel to others on a topic we are fussing about – one of those “SNAP OUTTA IT!” moments.

Is it time to re-think how you live? Are you willing to step back from your life and reflect on whether or not what you see supports you in the ways you need to be supported? It can be scary – what if we start being who we are and our friends run away?

Truth be told, our “friends” won’t. And, if there is a vacuum of any kind, the universe will fill it with what we need, not what we settled for. The universe abhors a vacuum and you are a magnificent child of the Divine. You don’t have to settle for anything less than what you know you deserve.

The question is, What is it that you know you deserve? Got it? Now go accept it!

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.

Is Your “Give-A-Damn” Busted?

Forgiveness Doesn’t Mean Pitching Self-Respect

Do you ever feel like forgiveness makes you into a doormat? It can if we let it, but I hope that a new look at forgiveness and moving forward in life will make that a thing of the past for you.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says that “acceptance is the answer to all my problems.” Acceptance, however, does not mean approval. In the same way, forgiveness does not mean allowing people to continue abusing us.

When Jesus said to “turn the other cheek” he was not suggesting that the left hook felt so good we should turn our face to accept a hard right hook. No. What he meant was to turn away from the problem and look toward the solution. In this way we not only remove ourselves from the situation, but we also maintain our own self-respect and dignity.

Sometimes, turning away from the situation means turning away from certain people. When a person says, “I’m not good enough for you,” believe them. They know what they’re talking about.

As Jo Dee Messina says in her classic song, “My Give a Damn’s Busted,” we really do try to care. We really do want to dig a little deeper to understand. But at some point, when we are not getting anything in return but more heartache and disappointment, it may be time to cut ties. When or if that is necessary with someone in your life only you can know.

Ask yourself how hard you’re trying in any given situation, be it with another person or some other circumstance. Ask yourself exactly what it is you’re trying for; and, are you the only one putting in the effort?

You’ll have your answer. Forgiveness is a foundation piece of experiencing a life worth living, a life of happiness. Forgiveness is not, however, an invitation for being less that you are and being recognized for it by the people around you.

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.

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.

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.

“No” Is a Complete Sentence

(Revised and expanded from the original, published in December 2, 2011)

Do you have a problem telling people “No?” It seems many of my friends or acquaintances feel over-scheduled or stressed-out because of the demands they have put on themselves. Like attracts like, so I too fall into that category more often than I would care to admit.

Please note that responsibility for this situation does not fall on the demands placed on us by others, but rather those that we place on ourselves. We have only ourselves to credit with being too busy, even if it was at the insistence of someone else that we do something. Why? Because we said “Yes.”

We frequently say “Yes” because we cannot think of a convenient, believable or acceptable reason why we should say “No.” How about “I don’t want to do that” for starters?no

“No” is a complete sentence. I am usually amused, sometimes annoyed, by people who respond negatively to a request I have made because they follow their answer with a litany of reasons or excuses why they cannot comply. “No” is a complete sentence!

Personally, I don’t need reasons or do I want excuses. If you do, fine. I don’t need that sort of thing because I hope someone is unable to fulfill my request because they have something even more wonderful and exciting to do. Good for them!

If you don’t want to do something someone else asks of you, please say “No, thank you!” Not, “No, because …,” which is only going to set you up for a discussion of why you should relent. Acting out of obligation instead of willingness doesn’t encourage clarity; neither does making excuses that sound like our own personal pity party. When we agree to do anything we don’t want to do we muddy the energy around us. Instead of enjoying the task, we experience an underlying, nagging feeling of resentment. Why not respectfully decline and allow someone else who wants to fulfill the request be given the opportunity to serve?

Just for part of today, think carefully before you answer “Yes” to something you don’t want to do. Weigh the outcome, take a deep breath, and then answer from your heart. If you can say “No” without anger, resentment or attitude you will find a freedom you haven’t experienced up until now.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#TerryDrewKaranen
@TerryDKaranen
#IAN1

Terry Drew Karanen © 2011, 2016

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

Similar and Different

Have you ever met someone, thought how similar you were, but then discovered some glaringly different beliefs? It can be most unsettling. We think we’re on the same wavelength and suddenly realize this isn’t true at all.

I remember accepting a temporary secretarial position many years ago that required proficiency with the Word and Excel programs. While my abilities were more than sufficient, I was stopped dead in my tracks when I sat down at the Apple computer in front of me. I’m a PC guy and couldn’t even figure out how to turn the darn thing on.

When situations like this occur it can be quite jarring to our sense of peace. But it’s also a great reminder that one of the great constants in the universe is change, as paradoxical as that may be. The question is not so much whether change will occur in our lives, but how we will deal with change when it’s staring us in the face. I was at that temp job for three months and got along smashingly with my new Apple friend!

If everything in our lives were similar or identical it would be pretty boring. Consistency doesn’t have to be sameness. We have evidence in nature of how just different landscapes can be yet all beautiful in their own way.

Perhaps the next time you think one thing is happening only to discover that some very different is occurring you’ll think of this discussion. Take a deep breath and relax into the change that’s happening. Even in the differences, what can you find that is similar?

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#TheGlobalVision
#AWorldThatWorksForEveryone
#IAN1

2016 © Terry Drew Karanen

I Love You – Now Change!

Have you noticed how we hold celebrities and spiritual leaders to a higher standard than others? We can be quick to criticize the conduct of people we hold in high esteem if what they do or say doesn’t fit the pictures we’ve created of them.

For example, if celebrity couples separate or divorce the gossip rags go crazy, citing the events as yet another example of how famous people can’t manage relationships well – as if the general public can cast the first stone or look to their own record as evidence they can!

As a writer and speaker I get messages and comments on my blog and Facebook pages that are not just critical, but actually angry explanations of how I’ve somehow betrayed the trust of my readers by admitting something has pissed me off. One ministerial colleague recently exclaimed, “Is THAT the way a TRUE minister of Religious Science should act/talk/write?”really-seth-and-amy

Admittedly, I swear more than some people think I should, though considerably less than I used to. Others believe a profane word should never be heard from me because I’m supposed to be “spiritual,” which I am and they are, no matter what they think. I’ve even been told I shouldn’t use contractions in my writing and blogging, because that’s not professional – although my judicious use of the Oxford comma is LEGENDARY, if I must say so myself!

Further, even though the New Thought philosophies in which I believe and teach embrace the love in all faiths and philosophies, my experience in and practice of pagan arts and traditions make even some of my closest friends and family suspect, squeamish or uncomfortable.

None of this is my problem.

The fact that some individuals, colleagues and even friends are taken aback or critical of how I live my life is their issue, not mine. You know how this works; it’s the same way you rub some people the wrong way when you act like you do, simply being “you.” I certainly don’t expect you to censure your magnificence and I’ll be damned if I will either.

We are living in one of the most – not if the THE most – exciting, innovative and, at the same time, potentially terrifying times in human history. The exponential explosion of technology has advanced far beyond what our brains have evolved to handle. Yet within that same technology lie answers to problems which have plagued civilization for centuries, even though that same science raises as many questions as it answers.

This can be scary, so the uneducated and timid who are experts in playing the victim look to others to be more than they think they themselves can be. New flash:  The people we idolize and think never have problems DO have challenges and also look up to others. Those esteemed leaders go through many of the same doubts that we do.

The difference in being a leader – whether it’s of a corporation, a spiritual community or our family – is that we don’t give up. We acknowledge our mistakes, make course corrections and move on. But the truth – whether you think you’re a leader or not which, by the way, you are! – is that we must be the authentic, real and unabashedly unique individuals we are no matter what. To do any less is robbing ourselves and everyone else of our true expression of life.

We also accept each other for who we are, not for who we want each other to be. I stand by this quote that I first penned over two decades ago:

You cannot have a relationship with someone’s potential.

This also means that we may not be everyone’s cup of tea. If that’s the case, best to allow those relationships and connections to dissolve organically. We might need to burn a bridge or slam a door or two; if we’re absolutely sure that’s what needs to happen then so be it.

So why do we cling to that and who which no longer serves our vision of life by encouraging us, uplifting us and loving us, particularly when we’re trying so hard to be there for them? Because the other side of that equation is that while we’re “working on someone else” or trying to get them to change, the work we ought to be doing on ourselves goes right in the toilet.

It’s time once again that we all stepped back from the world around us, looked in the mirror just one more time, and figured out what we have to give to the world, as well as what we want out of life. Don’t you deserve to have a life worth living with people around you who celebrate YOU?!?

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1

Terry Drew Karanen © 2016

Are You Missing Out?

Do you like to “people watch?” Considering the amount of time I spend in airport terminals for my “day job” it’s become a major pastime for me.

I was having breakfast in Miami International Airport this week with a view to the terminal concourse. Many of the passengers, airport employees, TSA agents and flight crews were all doing the same thing:  Walking by with their noses buried in a mobile device.

There was little if any interaction with other people around them. Sadly, they were missing so much! There was a latina woman struggling with a toddler who was determined to walk, NOT be carried. He won. An amazing woman in skin-tight blue jeans with multi-colored patches, sporting purple hair, and toting an outrageous handbag that would have made Mary Poppins jealous, nearly got run over by a courtesy cart.phone_2799032b

One young man nearly fell into a recycling bin cruising a hunk in a muscle shirt who was scratching himself. (Grandma Esther always used to tell me that in public “you should never scratch where it itches; scratch where it looks good.”) A Muslim couple stopped an African American TSA agent for directions and was greeted with a smile, graciousness and apparently received whatever it was they were asking for.

None of this is earth-shattering. But it was a slice of humanity, an interaction with human communication and quite entertaining. We can be so afraid of missing out on what everyone’s doing through being addicted to social media that we miss out on our own lives.

The question I pose to you is this:  Are you missing out? We’ve all been glued to our mobile devices or 24-hour cable news so we don’t miss out on the important stuff. But how important is that picture of someone’s dinner?

Our society has become more informed than ever before, yet at the same time less intimately connected with our friends and loved ones. Today people meet, date and breakup via text messaging. Don’t tell me that we aren’t marginalizing our intimate behavior and emotional consequences by hiding behind a touch screen.

How interested are you in your own life and what’s right in front of you? It’s an interesting question and it begs an answer that must include being more mindful of our surroundings, living in the moment and appreciating the life we have.

Not a sermon, just a thought.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
#TerryDrewKaranen

Terry Drew Karanen © 2016

 

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Description:  We can be so afraid of missing out on what everyone’s doing that we miss out on our own lives.