What Are We Doing to Affect Change?

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Have you notice how many requests you’re getting for donations or financial aid via email and letters to your home? Two major hurricanes, wild fires, worldwide poverty, and human rights violations are only a few of the reasons. So what can we do?

Whether we say that “actions speak louder than words” or “what you appear to be is so loud it drowns out what you’re saying,” the meaning is the same. If we want to affectively talk the talk we also have to walk the walk.

Part of this situation is the difference between recognition and acknowledgment. Understanding the difference is crucial not only in responding to the need of others, but it also applies to affecting change in our own lives.

We have Eugene Holden to thank for this differentiation. In his article, “Surrender to Your Greatest Good in Five Steps,” published in the April 2016 issue of Guide for Spiritual Living:  Science of Mind® magazine, he makes the distinction in this way:

Recognition and acknowledgement are not the same. For example, I can recognize someone across the room and not acknowledge them.

That simple example hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks when I first read it. I ended up stopping, re-reading it, thinking about it, and re-reading it again. The effect has stuck with me for some time.

How often do we recognize a situation and not acknowledge it? We see the homeless person, but we refuse to make eye contact. We notice yet another email from a non-profit organization and may delete it without even a glance. We see the clutter in our home, the way our clothes need updating, or recognize all-too-well that the reflection in the mirror is not what we desire to see.

Yet we are not really acknowledging it. Why won’t we acknowledge it?

Because acknowledgment means that acting may, and most likely is, required of us as a result of our acknowledgment. In other words, we don’t want to deal with it. So while we recognize it, we don’t take it to the next step of acknowledgment. Why?

Fear that we can’t handle it; anger that we’ll have to deal with it eventually whether we want to or not; or, perhaps we don’t want to take action at all, but feel guilty about that.

One word:  DRAMA!

I’m seeing how this discussion could easily become a series of blogs, but for now let’s close on this idea. How about starting to be aware of the next time we recognize something in our path that shows up. Will we acknowledge it and deal with it? Or, put it aside … again?

As with all things, the choice is ours.

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.

Schläger Schmläger

Refuse to Compare Yourself to Others

How much do you compare yourself to others? If you’re anything like me, probably more than you would like to admit.

Why do we use precious energy to put our lives side-to-side with someone else? What’s behind this very common need we have to relate our accomplishments to that of our friends? Who really cares if someone else’s business or projects get bigger accolades and profits than ours if we happy with who we are and what we’re doing?

And yet, we do. At some point almost all of us feel less than, inferior to friends, or people we consider more successful than us. Much of this nonsense is just that:  Nonsense. Being more concerned about what other people are doing instead of focusing on our own goals is fueled by advertisers and marketers whose job it is to make is feel we or our businesses lack something. Of course, the product they’re hawking is exactly what we need. In fact, we MUST have it!

“But WAIT! There’s MORE!”

“Act NOW! This offer will NEVER be repeated!”

“Don’t miss out!”

“Don’t be the LAST person you know to take advantage of this VITAL opportunity!”

Advertiser and shysters love exclamation points.

Nonsense. That’s all it is. Nonsense. One of my favorite guides, Marie Forleo (@MarieForleo) calls this “Compareschläger.” This potent action is like the intoxicating liqueur, Goldschläger, a Swiss cinnamon schnapps, with very thin, yet visible flakes of gold floating in it.

Forleo says, “Compareschlägering is when we compare ourselves or our work with others and their work.” Like its alcoholic counterpart, it’s lethal – as anyone can testify who’s had too many shots can testify based on the way they felt the next day.

Compareschläger, like Goldschläger, is expense. We are spending time on something we can do little if anything about, instead of investing time in bettering ourselves or honing our business decisions. Like those little gold flakes, the promises of success or veneer of the public display of affluence are tempting and sparkly. It doesn’t mean they are desirable or that we need them.

Do not allow yourself to be sidetracked with comparing your success, your looks, your house, your relationship, your job/career, or anything else to others. If you admire someone, ask them to mentor you. If your idea of happiness seems evident in the lives of others, figure out what you can do to receive those blessings, instead of lamenting your apparent lack in the shadow of what others already enjoy.

To achieve contentment and peace in our life we must decide what it is we want, work toward that, and avoid the comparison game. A great question we can ask is, “How much closer to my goals and the life I want will I be if I spent as much time visualizing the good, instead of wailing about how s/he has what I lack?”

The answer is that we’d be a lot closer to that happiness and be relating far less to this piece.

Visualize and work toward what you want! It’s yours to receive!

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.

Pin Your Tail Back On, Eeyore!

Rewiring Our Thoughts

Are you accused of being a Pollyanna about life? Pollyanna was the little girl who always saw the silver lining in every cloud. Personally, I’d rather be Pollyanna than Eeyore from the Winnie the Pooh stories, the latter who sees the cloud in any silver lining.

If you’ve read my work for any length of time you probably know I’m not one to spout trite affirmations. Phrases of positive content are definitely helpful in reshaping our thinking, but we must supplement them with equally positive actions. Some people seem to think thinking, saying or writing affirmations is the end all; then they’re upset when their desires don’t fall in their lap, or appear wrapped up with a pretty red bow and delivered by a hunky FedEx® guy in shorts!

Still … just being positive appears to have clinic evidence to recommend the practice of going for the good, instead of anticipating the bad. Social psychologist Alison Ledgerwood is a researcher who “investigates how certain ways of thinking about an issue tend to stick in people's heads.”

Not surprising is that positive thinking leads to more positive results than negative thinking. But there’s a more bizarre and quite eye-opening fact about the opposite. According to Ledgerwood, thinking from bad-to-good, or losses-to-gains, requires more work on our part than moving from good-to-bad, or gains-to-losses. And, in most cases, our brains never quite get all the way back to the positive, as we experience a bit of “residual doubt” even when the worst thing we can imagine doesn’t happen.

This may have served us well as hunter/gatherers thousands of years ago, but in modern society it can be a serious problem. One would think that going from A-to-B would be the same as going from B-to-A, yet studies indicate the opposite. In other words, if we want to have a more productive, satisfying and successful life we are better out starting out with the positive angle of anything, instead of looking for all the negative consequences.

Ledgerwood reports that research from University of California Davis suggests that “writing just a few minutes a day about the things we’re grateful for can boost happiness, well-being and health.”

In a world that focuses on what’s wrong it can be a challenge to focus on what’s right. However, stepping up to that challenge is exactly what the clinical research tells us we must do for not only our success and happiness, but for our peace of mind and physical well-being.

So here’s a thought:  Instead of assuming that the next tragedy reported via the media is definitely a terrorist attack fueling the “phobia du jour,” why not move directly to compassion and support for those affected?

If you’re not already doing so, start each day even before you get out of bed by focusing on the positive things that you expect to happen. (Side point:  EXPECT good things to happen!) And, before retiring, write in a “Gratitude Journal” about just three things that happened that day for which you can give thanks.

P.S.  Click here to watch Dr. Alison Ledgerwood’s TEDxUCDAVIS talk on this subject!

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.

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.

Do You Talk to Yourself … a Lot?

Are You Spending or Investing?

Do you spend or invest? We do both, of course, but you’re probably thinking about money, right?

This blog has nothing to do with currency, bank accounts, retirement funds, or a stock portfolio.

What then? I’m glad you asked!

It’s about the way you talk to yourself.

Huh?

Yep. We’re going to get down and dirty and find out all the lies you’ve been telling yourself. Or, rather, you’re going to figure it out and be thankful you did. Why? Because you’re going to find out doing so is a major key to your success and having a life worth living.

Neville tells us we “… are totally unaware of [our] inner talking and therefore see [ourselves] not as the cause but the victim of circumstance. … Right inner speech … is the greatness of the arts.”

My friend, Natasha, and I both posted on social media about the “board meetings” we have in our heads, usually while driving back-and-forth to work. Speaking for myself, these conversations that often develop into full-blown, knock-down, drag-out fights can move from my brain to my mouth with me missing the fact that I’m now using my “outloud” voice instead of having a private consult in my own little noggin.

Every third night a committee holds a meeting in my head.

James Lee

Seriously? Are THESE the jokers in your head that you're letting stop you from having a life worth living?

This is what Neville calls spending our time. In this case it’s similar with money. When we spend the cash it’s gone. We hopefully received goods or services in return for our currency, but those goods are eventually used up or the services completed.

On the other hand, instead of spending time worrying about the past, hating the present and fearing the future (all the spending of time and energy), what would it be like if we thought about where we wanted to be instead of where we were, are, or afraid we might end up?

Ah! We’d be investing in our time in a future we want, instead of one we fear. “Alter your inner speech, and your perceptual world changes,” Neville admonishes us.

I challenge you to take charge of the board meeting in your head today. Almost all those other voices are your ego in disguise. While our egos are well-meaning, they are notorious for keeping the status quo. It’s time to exercise your control as board president and CEO of your life.

YOU are in charge of your future, with all its potential for greatness and success. YOU have the power within you to change your thinking. In doing so, you’ll be investing your time in future that will prove your life has changed for the better!

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.

Strength and Empowerment Through Failure

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

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

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

We miss the gift in failing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
This message may be re-printed, copied and/or forwarded without permission, as long as the content is not altered in any way and credit is given to the author.

Do You Find it Difficult to Make Decisions?

Do You Need to Have it Your Way?

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
This message may be re-printed, copied and/or forwarded without permission, as long as the content is not altered in any way and credit is given to the author.

Here’s Why Multitasking Sucks

Why being bad at multitasking may be a very good thing

Are you good at multitasking? If you say, “Yes!” you’re not alone. I’ve often said I’m very good at it. Many of my friends tell me they are, too, and they do so with a great deal of pride.

This blog is about why we’re dead wrong.

lot's to do

It’s also about why being bad at multitasking may be a very, good thing.

I completely understand multitasking. When my husband once told a colleague what I do for a living (full-time job, run my own business, head up a non-profit foundation, and volunteer extensively), his friend remarked, “Oh, so you’re telling me he really hasn’t figured out what he wants to be when he grows up.”

Ouch!

One of my heroes, Marie Forleo (marieforleo.com) describes herself as a “multi-passioned entrepreneur.” I can relate. Like me, Forleo has followed a number of passions and paths to get to the level of success she enjoys today. The trick, however, is that when we multi-passioned entrepreneurs are working on one of our areas of interest we are working ONLY in that area.

That’s the key to being involved in many activities and interests:  We must be focused on only one thing at a time. We must practice mindfulness.

Forleo explains that the act of multitasking is a conflict between having a single versus a split/multiple-focus. “A split- or multiple-focus approach will slow things down – it’s obvious, but we don’t always admit it!” she teaches.

Being a consummate multitasker for years I immediately objected when I heard her say this in an interview. But, given that she has a proven track record in success I decided to try it out for myself.

For about a week I refused to attempt doing two-, three- or more things at once. To help with this, each night before bed I created a list of accomplishments for the next day, categorizing them by level of importance.

The next day I followed the list to the letter. Plugging in space for unforeseen events or circumstances helps with this. I checked and responded to email and social media once in the morning and once in the afternoon (unless a list-related action required posting). I took time to make food for myself and/or my family; no reading, use of mobile devices or TV watching during eating. I even stopped making or taking phone calls while driving, even though I have a hands-free Bluetooth system in my car.

Boy did all that slow me down! But here’s the kicker:

I got more done.

My lifelong work has been to teach others how to have a life worth living through the use of vision and mission statements. There are many points to my method in doing that, but the two most important are focus and intention. Letting go of multitasking – which I’ve also called “doing many things poorly and getting little accomplished” – allows me to re-focus my intention.

The results over the past few months have been stunning. I’m happier, more content, definitely more productive, and my blood pressure is lower.

If you’re used to multitasking and feel you’re only successful if you’re exhausted at the end of the day from completing a list, give the information in this blog some thought. What are you willing to let go of so the project or direction you want to see manifest can get there more rapidly?

Hop on over to my “Making Sense of Life” blog to leave a comment! That link is:

http://blog.terrydrewkaranen.com

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.

Looking Forward to a Good Whine?

What do you look forward to in life? Have you noticed how you may be excited to see some friends, but dread running into other people? One reason might be the energy and attitude those people bring to the party, regardless of it being encouraging or depressing.

Granted, we all have those times when we’ve over-planned and over-scheduled our lives. We may be living the life we love, but have gotten out of balance by too much work and not enough relaxation time. That can lead to us becoming cranky and irritable, with a tendency of leaning toward having a good whine.

It starts out innocently enough. Someone asks us about our day and before we know it the flood gates of all that bothers us come surging forward. We go into excruciating detail – most of it unnecessary – and the bottom line is that we just want someone to feel sorry for us.

The problem with that line of reasoning is that we’re asking the other person to validate our own actions, the over-planning and over-scheduling, that got us into the situation in the first place.

We want someone else to pity us and, like it or not, we can slip into being very whiny … and VERY annoying. We become the type of person we ourselves don’t want to be around. But don’t we have the right to whine now and then?

I used to have a prayer partner years ago. If one of us had the need to whine the other one would set a timer. We had five minutes to verbally hurl all over the other one. But when five minutes was reached that conversation stopped. “I’m not done yet!” one might exclaim, but the other would counter with, “Yes, you are. Now what’s the Truth?”

Whining and other less productive ways of complaining are examples of two actions:  focusing on the problem and playing the victim. What we focus on increases; focus on the problems, the injustice, or the inequities and we get more of the same. But turn our full attention to solutions and violá – those appear.

And, while we may be a victim from time-to-time through unforeseen circumstances or our own doing, we do ourselves a disservice by staying in that mindset any longer than is necessary. One might ask if it’s ever necessary. That’s something for each of us to determine. Everything we do – whether it seems productive or destructive, positive or negative – has a measure of value for some reason in the scheme of things we call life.

Perhaps having a good whine every so often is like having a good cry. Our whining might just lead to a good laugh when we realize how ridiculous we sound, just like a good cry can rid our body of toxic chemicals through the release of our tears. Would you be willing to observe your own whining today? Don’t judge yourself, just observe whether or not you’d like to listen to what you’re saying or thinking. Oh, yeah, forgot that part. Most of our whining is in our own heads. Cool – nothing like setting ourselves up to lose without the help of anyone else, right?

Here’s a great note from the wise Mike Dooley. It speaks to how we seem to have a bit more to whine about these days than ever before:

What we're seeing is the "storm before the calm," spontaneous and unpredictable flares of individual and collective angst, caused by a pent up demand for a more fair and just world. The temporary blockage, however, has come from many expecting a broken system to fix itself, instead of realizing only individuals can do that.

Our choice. Our decision. Our life. All we have to do to change our experience is change our thoughts and actions. Let’s be less concerned about what others are doing that we view as wrong, and be more concerned about what actions we are taking to affect the changes we desire.

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.