Lead, Follow, or Get Out of My Way

Where Are the Leaders?

What are leaders supposed to do?

Leaders are supposed to lead.

Duh.

Seems like a no-brainer, huh? Yet we see very little leading today in the news.

We certainly see people in power spouting rhetoric and hyperbole – these are socially acceptable, polite ways of expressing the same old crap without any solution and telling out-and-out lies to make oneself, ones party, or ones ideology look good. The latter is particularly effective for convincing the easily-led-astray, uneducated, or people in agreement with hatred, bigotry, and xenophobia.

This writing is not to encourage you to sign petitions; show up at demonstrations; tweet and post; vote, or register to vote; or, run for public office. Those suggestions are excellent ways to affect change in our world and local communities, of course. But I’m thinking about something a bit more basic.

To lead effectively a sterling quality is required, seldom seen in many politicians and other leaders:

INTEGRITY

This also requires an action step that is more difficult than finger-pointing and blaming:

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR OWN ACTIONS

One former president who spoke to this was John Quincy Adams. He’s quoted as saying:

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.

You’ll note the lack of need to bully, to lie, to mislead, or to get people to do things for one’s own benefit anywhere in this admonition. What it does speak to is our need to take personal responsibility with integrity to serve others. How can we best do that?

The best way to demonstrate that we are committed to any cause is to act in a way that is consistent with the values of that undertaking. To be effective, we must be consistently mindful of our vision and mission in life. In other words, if the basis of who we are as an individual is in opposition to what we are attempting to promote, we will fall flat on our face.

We’ve seen this all-too-often in politics. The legislator who derides gay men is found having sex with a street hustler. We discover that the religious leader who speaks out against abortion took her daughter to a clinic to have one. This list goes on and speaks to another issue that we must recognize.

NOTHING we do is private any more. We’re going to talk more about that next week. In the meantime, consider how you might better lead by example, or take on a leadership role. And, in that process, recognize that – titled or not – you are a leader. We all are on some level. The only questions that remain are whether or not we’re going to embrace this responsibility, and how best to exercise the power we all have.

Lead us.

P.S. John Quincy Adams is not remembered as one of our greatest presidents. But his back story gives us even MORE insight into how we can lead. For more on this, scroll down!

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.

John Quincy Adams

I was drawn to the Adams quote used in the blog above. But I really don’t know that much about the man or his presidency.

To assist with my education, I turned to my historian husband, Kevin. In some ways, the actions of Adams before and after his presidency are far more impressive than his time in office. I see a parallel here in the work we see today by President Jimmy Carter. Here’s what Kevin said when I told him about the Adams quote I was planning on using!

Hmmm … interesting one to select. It is a good quote from John Quincy Adams, but when it comes to leadership and his presidency, Adams is usually ranked about in the middle. He was hopelessly weakened in terms of leadership after the result of the 1824 election – often referred to as “the corrupt bargain” – since he lost the popular vote to Andrew Jackson but won the election (sound familiar?). He really was a poor politician in his day. He said he would serve as a man above “the baneful weed of party strife,” but that never materialized during his presidency.

His idea that the federal government should set the national agenda was far ahead of his time and very much rejected by politicians and state officials in the 1820s and 1830s. His career before and after his presidency is much more leadership oriented. He was an excellent diplomat, as he set the essential marks of American foreign policy for the next 100 years – freedom of seas, halt to European colonization in Western Hemisphere, isolation from European affairs, etc. Basically he is the reason we had two generations of peace with Europe until 1898. He also was a principled politician after serving as president, focused on the antislavery movement. It is his battle against slavery in the halls of Congress after his presidency that greatly redeemed his presence in the eyes of history.

Kevin A. Wagner
Program Chair, Social Studies 7-12
Carlisle Area School District
Carlisle, PA, USA

 

Memorials and Monuments

Are we destroying history?

Monuments and statues symbolizing the Confederacy are being removed from public view in the United States at an increasing rate. Doesn’t this deprive our citizens of the memory of people who deserve to be remembered?

No.

Those protesting the removal of these monuments and statues have confused a monument with a memorial.

Slavery and racism is not something to be celebrated. The monuments and statues in question glorify the murders, persecution and racism committed upon blacks and other non-white, non-Christian, non-heterosexual groups. They are monuments to racism, hatred and, ironically so, un-Christian acts by those who would claim to be followers of Jesus.

There is no glory is their acts. There is no reason to celebrate they they did.

As Rashid Robinson from Color of Change wrote on August 13, 2017, “White supremacists killed someone in Charlottesville yesterday. Friday night they marched through Charlottesville and the University of Virginia grounds, carrying torches that evoked a history of violent racial terrorism intended to intimidate a community that had recently renamed Robert E. Lee Park to Emancipation Park. It is past time that we nationally stop the veneration of people who committed treason in the name of slavery!”

White supremacists want to (literally) “white-wash” our history. Educators from this camp wish to rename slaves as “servants,” pretending the horrors of the slave trade never existed. The same has been done to the Native American indigenous populations for the past two hundred years, venerating whites while vilifying the conquered peoples who resided here before the European invasion. Recent immigrants and citizens of the United States, particularly in Hispanic or Muslim communities, continue to be objects of hatred by this same type of people.

American could well look to Germany as an example of how to remember history. Yes, there are Neo-Nazi groups in that country who continue to protest the remembrance of the Holocaust. But the country uses their memorials as a teaching tool to education the new generations of their past, vowing to never again engage as a nation in such deplorable actions.

Americans should do the same.

I belong to an organization with a desire to help foster “A World That Works For Everyone.” Sadly, one of my own colleagues, who apparently doesn’t agree with the organization promoting this, publicly taunted another colleague about recent white supremacist actions. “This is what you get in ‘A World That Works For Everyone,’” he wrote.

No. It is not.

It is what you get when groups and individuals promote a testosterone-driven, “I have to be right (literally) and you have to be wrong,” attitude. A world that works for everyone means that everyone in the world would never do anything that would harm others. It would mean that we would be willing to accept the truth and the facts, not continue to harbor prejudice, bigotry and hatred because it suits our own beliefs.

We are not there yet, but we are moving closer every day! This is NOT the time to be cowering in the shadows. People throughout the world are bombarded with bad news from both reputable and non-reputable media sources. But, there are also thousands of great stories out there of hope, love, compassion and cooperation. Promote these. Post these!

Hatred, racism, prejudice and bigotry are not inherent. They are taught, usually by religions or governments, or in so many cases, a collusion of the two. Muslims and Hindus lived together in peace in many places in India, until the British Empire created modern-day India and Pakistan. The “Dark Ages” were produced by a union of State and Church – the land barons provided safety in this life; the Church in the next life – which produced a very rich State and Church, and poverty for all others.

These are exciting and amazing times in which we live. Never before have we as a species been faced globally by a life-threatening situation that we can do something about. This is the time to stand up for peace, for cooperation, for love, and for understanding. It is the time to support leaders who can move us forward into a better world.

It is NOT time to sit around bitching, moaning, and complaining about what “they” should or shouldn’t be doing. And, there is one leader we need to support without fail in this effort for world peace. Who is that?

Look in the mirror. It’s up to 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.

“Only In New York”

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

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

"Only In New York"

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

Charming, I thought.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Are You Paralyzed or Progressing?

How do you feel about that question? Many people, including me, have gone through periods of feeling absolutely paralyzed due to conditions in our world that seem to be out of our control. When we allow issues to become monumental in our lives we can feel frozen, unable to do even the simplest of daily chores.

That’s a horrible way to live. It’s indicative of seeing ourselves as helpless victims of circumstance. We may believe we are justified in feeling that way, as we can surmise that we have done everything possible to stop something from happening. Yet still, here we are, with life presenting itself in ways we thought not possible.

To move through these emotions and beyond we must recognize we where are in consciousness. Nurse practitioner Marcia Upton, creator of the NaturallySlim eating program, says we only have four emotions:  mad, sad, glad and scared. When considering all our emotions with just these four words we find ourselves without the drama we so willingly add to our lives, particularly in the politically-motivated times in which we live.

It’s drama that creates the energy to spend more time in our upset than in working toward a satisfactory result. When we describe our emotions as “incensed,” “inconsolable,” “ecstatic,” or “terrified” instead of mad, sad, glad and scared we open up a whole new level of drama. Is that a bad thing? No. As a professional writer I love to use the plethora of words we enjoy in the English language.

But as a sociologist and counselor I also acknowledge that we can become far more effective in our own lives by losing the drama and getting down to the business of changing our undesirable circumstances and thereby enjoying our blessings.

We must move beyond the outrage, the indignation, the shock and, yes, even the elation, to progress forward into lives that matter. It’s by losing the drama that we become more effective in changing our thinking, which in turn causes conditions to change not only for us but for those around us.

There are plenty of issues out there that bring up our emotions of sad, mad, glad and scared. I’m sure you can think of several without much difficulty. The question is whether we will let the actions of others paralyze us with those emotions, or whether we will use those feelings to change the world in which we live.

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 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

Say WHAT?!?

Theme for the Week of April 18:
Consciousness Creates Reality

“We believe that the manifest universe is the body of God.”
– Ernest Holmes

Say WHAT?!?

Are you enjoying the themes so far this year? Please let me know what you think! While I’m committed to joining other spiritual communities in this quest of #TheGlobalVision - #AWorldThatWorksForEveryone, I want to make sure that we are discussing and thinking about how these themes and ideas fit into our own lives, how we can live happier, more productive lives because of them. Let me know what you want to hear more of, if you’re not getting what you want from this blog!

Take this week, for instance. Do you still see God as the “Old Man in the Sky?” It’s not as uncommon as you think. Plenty of people have been raised to see God as far-off, distant, judgmental and to-be-feared so as not to displease Him. And, oh yes, God is definitely a “Him.”

Not so much … really! First of all the Judiac-Christian Bible, if that is your holy book of reference, must depict God as male due to the patriarchal nature of those societies. Yet to think that God is physically male is to negate the fact that anything we believe as God must not have actually corporeal form, even though we’ve been taught to see God as such.

If we go back to the consciousness of Oneness (that we are all made of the same “stuff”), then that means God is that same stuff, too. So whatever we see around us is a manifestation of God-stuff. Or, as Holmes put it, “the body of God.” So, our consciousness creates reality. Say WHAT?!?

Yep, and I know that brings up a LOT of different emotions. Over the next week on the Facebook® page of Spirit, Mind and Body Foundation we’ll be discussing how to increase our awareness of “God made manifest” within us and all those around us. How will that look and how will that help us have a life more worth living?18

Well, if our consciousness creates reality – meaning that we are cause to the effect in our lives – how can we have more of what we want; and, conversely, less of what we do NOT want? How can we deal with seemingly impossible choices or disastrous events? We’ll include all of that and more. Intrigued? I am! So please join me daily and let’s get to the bottom of this!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#TheGlobalVision
#AWorldThatWorksForEveryone

Realizing the Power of Mind

Do you ever find yourself knowing something, but just can’t figure out why or how? Do you occasionally or regularly experience some form of intuition that guides you to the perfect solution? Then you understand the power of Mind.29

Not your mind, or my mind, but Mind. This mind is the Mind we all have access to, both universally and individually. You have probably heard it said that we use only a fraction of our minds. There are untapped and amazing powers which we all have access to – we just have to learn how to do it.

Throughout this month both in the weekly blogs and daily editions we’ll be delving into the possibilities we have to change the conditions in our life, our relationships, our bodies, our finances and our careers, to name just a few.

We all have powers we can start using right now. If we are already aware of such abilities we can “up the ante,” so to speak. What does that look like?

Not much if we don’t believe we have the potential. It’s like what I’ve written in the past, You can’t have a relationship with someone’s potential. This includes ourselves as well. We can’t experience and enjoy the untapped powers of our mind if we don’t accept we have the capability to do so.

I offer you the opportunity – a challenge if you prefer – to join with me this month in exploring the power within each of us; to see how you can personally affect change in your life in a greater way than ever before; and, to see more than ever before how changing our thinking, redirecting our focus, can truly change our lives.

The following Mondays in March will help us discover more about the Divine Mind within and daily exercises will be available on the Facebook® page for Spirit, Mind and Body Foundation. See you there and here next week!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#TheGlobalVision
#AWorldThatWorksForEveryone