Go Ahead. Feel Bad.

Do you enjoy finding new writers to read? I do and I also enjoy sharing those people with my friends and readers.

For that reason I'm going to be sharing the writing of several people from time-to-time this year with you.

One such person is my friend and Unity minister, Rev. Ellen Debenport. Her blog for this week is below and speaks to me on a very deep level.

Admitting where we are instead of pretending everything is great is one of the foundation principles I believe in. I hope you'll enjoy Rev. Ellen's viewpoint this week. I'll be back next week - Have a great weekend!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

GO AHEAD. FEEL BAD.

We in Texas pride ourselves on many things, but tolerating cold is not one of them.
 
When it was 16 degrees Sunday morning, any number of the people I know just abandoned the idea of getting out. No church, no lunch, no afternoon plans. They hunkered down to ride it out.

Which got me thinking about how often we let outside circumstances dictate our lives.

I keep insisting we can choose what and how to think, rather than reacting to what’s outside of us. But sometimes circumstances matter.

When it’s 16 degrees, you will need a coat, no matter how elevated your consciousness is.

When someone you love dies, you most likely will be sad.

If your money runs out, it’s hard not to worry.

Just how reasonable is it to expect yourself not to react to outer circumstances?

THE GOOD AND THE BAD
 
Some circumstances are so fabulous, we wouldn’t want to miss them.

Falling in love.

Bringing home a new baby.

Watching a full moon rise.

Listening to the pounding surf as you walk on the beach.

If it’s permissible to enjoy the parts of life we label good, then why can’t we have a human reaction to the things we call bad?

I’m afraid that, in the name of spirituality, a lot of us have convinced ourselves we should never have a negative feeling. Or if we do feel bad, we feel guilty about it. Like spiritual failures.

So, once and for all, please let me officially give you permission to feel bad!

Go ahead and feel sad about your losses, scared about the uncertainties in your life, annoyed with people or events that disrupt your peace, regretful of past mistakes, or downright angry about a layoff or an election or a football game.

Even if, in some metaphysical way, you created or attracted whatever has happened, you are entitled to your feelings about it.
 
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
 
Right about now, someone is thinking, “Yes, but I don’t want to wallow in it.”

Wallowing gets a bad rap.

I will grant you, some people get stuck in their stories. They relish thinking of themselves as victims. They rehash the same events over and over for years, refusing to feel better or move into a new point of view.

Most of us, however, will get sick of hearing ourselves talk before we wallow very long. We will naturally be ready to move on.

And at the same time, why should we insist on recovering from a major event quickly? Life can really, really hurt. Grief and recovery take as long as they take, and it’s different for each person.

I fear those of us trying to live from a higher consciousness sometimes talk ourselves out of our feelings.  And we miss an important part of the human journey.

Why do you suppose we came into human form? We wanted to delve into human life, right?

And doesn’t human life have its ups and downs, good and bad, easy and difficult? Doesn’t the prince always have to slay a few dragons before he can kiss the princess?

WHAT HARM IS A LITTLE NEGATIVITY?
 
I’m not encouraging you to feel bad just for the sake of feeling bad.

I’m encouraging you not to miss the human adventure.

Maybe someday, after we all are living in divine consciousness, there will be no more tears or anger or disappointment. But I’m increasingly convinced we are here to experience all that human life has to offer, not to transcend it.

It probably won’t all be pleasant, but it all will be part of your growth and learning.

And when we compare notes on the Other Side, I suspect the tough times on Earth will make some of the best stories, give us the biggest laughs and leave us grateful we had the courage to live as humans for a while.

Even when it was freezing cold in Texas.

PS - The beautiful picture of icicles at the top of this blog was taken by my friend Laura Shepard in Idaho, not Texas. But once it gets below about 40, this picture represents how it feels to us.

What’s Your Daily Practice

Did you enjoy watching the 2016 Rio Olympics? In spite of the various controversies surrounding these Games, it’s hard not to be impressed with the dedication of the individual athletes.

It was fascinating to watch the competitors mentally rehearse their routines before it was their turn to perform. But this wasn’t playful fantasy. It was vividly remembering years, if not decades in some cases, of practice along with successful completions in past competitions and training of what they were about to attempt.09Blog

Are we that dedicated to our personal and spiritual goals? Few of us have achieved a lifestyle whereby we can spend eight-to-ten hours per day training our minds spiritually as the Olympic athletes train for physical competition. But that doesn’t mean we are at a loss for time.

Studies have repeated proved that people who meditate just five-to-ten minutes per day notice an increase in productivity, satisfaction with life and the experience of joy; and, a reduction of stress, depression and physical ailments. Does that seem like a lot of time for that kind of return?

Ask yourself how long you stood in line last time for an outrageously expensive cup of coffee? Or, were you enlightened, encouraged and inspired by the time you may have spent on social media clicking from one negative political posting to the next? You get the point.

I invite you to take just a few minutes before bed tonight and decide what’s really important for you to do tomorrow for your personal growth, spiritual progress and inner satisfaction. Write that down and THEN slot in everything else in your life.

You’re worth the effort! With practice you’ll go from being on the sidelines of some area of your life, to placing and finally medaling in whatever you choose as your event. Yes, I acknowledge that you might not feel on the sidelines of anything and should be proud of where you are already. But isn’t there something you’d like more of?

Imagine how we’ll leap for joy when you’re standing on the medals platform, we see you grasping your gold medallion with pride, and cheer for the Anthem of YOU!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#TheGlobalVision
#AWorldThatWorksForEveryone
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@TerryDKaranen

Getting Everything We Want

Can we have everything we want? I’ve often said that we can have everything we want, but we just can’t have it all at the same time. That seemed logical until recently.

Turns out I’ve wrong all along.Multi-Armed-Flight-Attendant-75476

Mike Dooley of tut.com says the correct answer is, “Absolutely not!” He gives us “[three] areas in life that success can never be assured.” He calls this the "Bermuda Triangle of heartbreak and disappointment.

1. Insisting that specific people behave in specific ways
2. Attaching to unimportant details
3. Messing with the “cursed hows”

Decades ago the founder of the Science of Mind philosophy, Dr. Ernest Holmes, was asked to write out his basic beliefs. It showed just how far he thought we could affect change in our lives. One of the things he said was that we believe in the “control of conditions through the power of this Mind.”

Those conditions, however, don’t include controlling the actions of others. Why would we want to control other people anyway? Is it because we think we know better than our friend does? How blatantly arrogant of us! Half the time some of us – or anyone of us on some days! – don’t know what we want, let alone what should be good for other people.

Our ego can get in the way of our hopes, dreams, goals and vision by deciding not only what we want, but when the manifestation of our desires must occur. Again, pure arrogance on our part. How dare we say we rely on God or universal wisdom to produce the results we desire and then mess with the perfection that is unfolding in our lives!

Finally, as Dooley says, those “cursed hows.” The how is never our job. Yes, we can force the issue, but we are much better off preparing the place for our desires rather than wasting time deciding who should be our next partner or how we are going to get rid of the boss so we can have her job.

There are many things we can do to manifest the life we want or maintain and grow the life we have. One of those things is to make sure that we are acting in alignment with the goals we’ve set for ourselves. We can also enlist the help of others who we know we can trust to support us along the way.

It’s a great idea to step back from the busy-ness of our lives every so often just to obtain an overall picture of where we are. In the process, perhaps we’ll see that the person we thought we needed or wanted isn’t really necessary to the end result. We might become willing to let go of the control of every detail. And, we might even decide to stop figuring out the how.

I don’t know about you, but doing that would definitely uncomplicated several areas of my life! What about you? What’s your challenge in this regard? Share your thoughts with us below and allow our cyber community to work together in support of one another.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

‪#‎DrTerryMakingSense‬
‪#‎TheGlobalVision‬
‪#‎AWorldThatWorksForEveryone‬

What Are Your Traditions?

What sort of traditions do you have? While we experience our personal, family or cultural traditions throughout the year, it seems the winter holiday season often hold the most cherished or memorable.

Do you attempt to re-create those traditions year-after-year? If so, how do you feel when something (or someone!) doesn’t live up to your expectations?

I’ve been traveling a lot lately. The massive decorating that happens at our home in December has fallen on the rest of my family. And, I must say, they have outdone themselves this year! One morning a week or so ago I came in from a trip just a few hours before dawn to find Christmas had literally exploded inside and outside the house in my three-day absence. It was beautiful…but something wasn’t right.

You see “areas” have been designated over the past three years that we’ve been living in this house. The snowmen, Santa Clauses, elves, angels and bears all have their particular “home.” A few pieces were not where I expected them to be. OMG! CHANGE!!!

I chided myself for being gone and not showing up to be part of the decision-making process. I quickly released that thought and decided pondering my angst could wait until I’d had some much-needed sleep. But when I awoke surrounded by all the beauty I completely forgot about my guilt-induced criticisms from a few hours before.

The danger of having traditions is that we can use them as a way of ignoring the fact that nothing stays the same. Paradoxically, 01 Ornamentchange is the only constant in the universe. We long for stability, a sure foundation and base of operations from which we can venture out into the ever-changing world. Putting too much faith in constancy can result in a rather jarring realization when change occurs despite our best intentions to maintain some condition as static.

Traditions – be they holiday decorations or just reading the paper together over coffee on Sunday morning – are essential to our relationships. But, like our relationships, over time those traditions will change. Sometimes we make a conscious decision to alter our behaviors and other times we find our traditions expanding, morphing into something greater or different, or dissolving all together.

The delight of these changes can be exquisite. Fighting change, on the other hand, can cause us to lose sight of the very reasons we hold our traditions so dear to our heart. As you move through the winter holidays consider enjoying and savoring all your traditions, both large and small. Revel in the joyous memories some of those acts will cause to bubble up. And, if a long-held tradition does not live up to your expectations, would you be willing to enjoy the moment anyway, treasuring these new memories in the making?

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry

Where Is Your Focus?

Have you ever noticed just how quickly our moods can change? For example, what happens to your outlook when you think of a tragic event in your life or in the life of someone else? Immediately our minds focus on the details, perhaps imagining the experience worse than it was.
I had a lucid dream at some point last night. If you’re not familiar with the term “lucid dream” it means that you realize in your dream that you are dreaming. Dream Viewsdescribes it as a person realizing they are in a dream after experiencing something and then stopping to question their reality.
In my dream I experienced something unpleasant having to do with an organization in which I have had conflict in the past. I knew very well it was a dream, but the experience was such that it perfectly scripted a hidden fear about confrontation in general. All-in-all it was most unpleasant.
I awoke completely focused on the dream that had gotten me so upset. I “forgot” to do my morning stretches before getting up and also neglected my meditation work that follows. I put too much milk in my coffee and found myself totally annoyed about it. Fortunately my higher self slapped me back into reality. I often hear the “still small voice” of intuition, but additionally I seem to have a “slap-Terry-up-side-the-head” spiritual connection that lets me know when I’m out of sync! It’s annoying, but helpful.
There was a time in my life that I would have allowed that dream to ruin my whole day, have been a complete grouch, and probably gotten into an argument with a lover, co-worker or unsuspecting clerk at a store. I give thanks for my teachers and daily spiritual practice that allows me to focus on what I want, instead of what I don’t want, which results in a happier life. But, it was a stark reminder for me that my thoughts definitely control my life and my attitude. As Mike Dooley says, “Thoughts become things – Choose the good ones!”
What are you focusing on right now? Is it what you want to happen? If not, why give it any more of your time? Unhealthy, unproductive thoughts that live rent-free in our mind don’t do us or anyone else any good. This probably isn’t news to you, but if you’re like me it’s a good idea to remind yourself. Commit right now to focus on what you want.  Let go of the fear and uncertainty of worrying about your future or fretting about the past. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow will be the experience you create today!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry

Who Supports You?

Are you one of these persons that everyone calls in a crisis? Do you know just what to say and when? Have been there to take charge and calm the mob from burning the town?
Perhaps not the later, though if you’ve done that do email me the details – I’d love to know about it! But if you’re reading this the rest of previous paragraph probably describes you. I know it clearer speaks about many of my readers who I know personally. The question is, To whom do you turn to when times get tough?
It can be a difficult question to answer, particularly if you are a leader, a minister, a supervisor, or just that one particular person everyone thinks has it all together all the time. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I will. I’ve been seen that way since I was 17 years old. At the time I had a real problem that finally came to light. The people who helped me had no idea anything was wrong. “We thought you had the world by the tail,” I was told.
I didn’t. I couldn’t find my own tail let alone anyone else’s. I was fortunate and blessed to have people who cared enough about me to intervene in my life and stop what was fast becoming a downward spiral. The fact is, however, it doesn’t have to get that bad to be dangerous.
Is there something in your life that you keep putting on hold? Something that bothers you, that you know you ought to take care of, yet something you never seem to have the time or strength to address? If so, I encourage you to reach out today for some kind of support to get you through whatever the issue is. It may be contacting a counselor or minister for guidance. I might just be coffee with a friend. Whatever it is for you, please take the time to take care of yourself.
I can’t force you to do this, but would you be willing this week to do just one simple, loving thing that is just for you? In other words, take some time to bask in a completely selfish act of some kind that nurtures, revitalizes and pleases you. If it’s something you’d like to share, skip down to the bottom and leave a comment. Who knows, perhaps that one thing you do this week will be just what someone else is looking for to help themselves! Have a great week!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Getting Happiness Back In Your Life

This week I want to chat with you about how scented balls led to a change in my thinking and attitude. Now you might be wondering exactly what those are and how they might enrich your life. Or, you might be taken aback by what fear could turn into a very different discussion. Either way I can safely say that you probably have a smile on your face.
Or not. I hope so, though! The scented balls I’m talking about are those gel-like, round beads that you may have seen in a candle store. They scent rooms or your car with a far lighter scent than a candle or incense. My partner got one for me and it fits perfectly in the backseat cup holder in my car.
But after a couple of weeks of summer heat, all that was left of the puffed up nodules were some very small hard, seed-like looking grains. The scent still lingered, but what to do? Just for fun I filled the jar halfway with warm water. In less than 30 minutes I had a jar full of those gel-like beads again, as well as a more pronounced scent for my car!
I marveled at how quickly and easily they transformed back to their intended appearance and function. (Side note:  I’ve done this process again at least twice with the same result!) It occurred to me that sometimes I feel just like those dried out scented balls. My heart becomes hard and feels like it’s going to crack in half. Then someone smiles or is kind to me when I’m out running errands. Or, I may read something funny online that makes me question my sadness or anger. My heart softens and the world no longer looks so cruel and cold.
How quickly that can happen! In an instant – far less than 30 minutes! – we can be transformed. Our lives become immediately happier and we don’t feel as alone. I don’t know what the triggers are for you, either for feeling down or rejuvenating yourself to the person you love to be. But I do know it’s important that we all find what it is we do to change our attitude. For me it’s a Beach Boys album or a Cher disco CD. (Give me a break here? I grew up on the Southern California coast and came out in the late 1970s!)
Find something you know will make you happy. Perhaps it’s a reading, a place, some music or the kindness of a friend. Keep that action on mental speed dial. Our spirit may be eternal, but our lives in these bodies have a very limited time on the planet. Take advantage of every second of every day!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

“Genie, You’re Free”

Are you thinking about the death of Robin Williams today? With all the news channels reporting it, Twitter feeds going wild and the many photos on Facebook it’s pretty hard not to think about it.
I’m publishing this week’s message early, unedited, unproofed and completely raw form. Why? Because that’s what many of us are feeling right now:  raw emotions. We’re feeling sadness at how much we’ll miss his humor and crazy antics. We’re experiencing rage or anger that he died. Why didn’t someone see this coming, or why didn’t his family or friends do something?
As a minister, and also a licensed social worker I’m well aware of the truth of just how much depression and anxiety permeate our society. Studies indicate around 16 million Americans suffer from some form of depression and most of those cases go either undiagnosed or untreated. A psychiatrist one said, because he’s a medical doctor, that a death from suicide to him is no different than any other death. How can that be? Isn’t that callous? He explained that the reason he felt that way is that it is still a death from the disease of depression. In that light, it is no different to him than the death of a person from the disease of kidney failure, heart failure or a brain tumor.
Ponder that a moment. Do you see depression as the dis-ease it is? It is a condition that is treatable through many methods, including medication, behavioral therapy and the complimentary treatments of affirmative prayer, meditation, movement, exercise and massage, to name a few. I have used all of those for my clients. But, more importantly, I’ve use them for myself as well.
I’ve dealt with, and at times suffered from, chronic depression from the time I was a child. I’m 59 and I’ve allowed this condition to affect me in various forms for about 55 of those years. I’m no longer ashamed to say so, any more than I would be “ashamed” to be dealing with diabetes, lung cancer, HIV/AIDS or any other physical disease. Just as these other physical ailments can be treated through Spirit, mind and body, so can depression. At the time I’m writing this we’re hearing that William’s death was a suicide. I don’t know that for sure. What I know is an incredibly talented man, one who made so many of us laugh, cry and ponder ideas, is gone.
We can’t bring him back. What we can do in this country and abroad is stop vilifying people who are experiencing depression and anxiety like they are some kind of weaklings. It’s a disease and it’s highly treatable. Wouldn’t you rather be the catalysts to someone getting help with their depression, rather than being yet another nail in the coffin by saying things like, “Just pull yourself up from your boot straps,” “Get a grip!.” Or “Man up, you pathetic substitute for a man?”
If you know someone with depression, reach out to them. If you are depressed for more than a few days without have recently experienced tremendous loss, reach out for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 and their website is http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org where you can find links to local organizations. Reach out to a spiritual counselor who can help you deal knowing you’re not alone, and then refer you to a licensed social worker, licensed professional counselor or other mental health professional.
No, this isn’t my normal happy-peppy column. Being a spiritual being having a human experience means we must deal with all the human experience – all of it – even the parts we don’t want to talk about. You are not alone. There is a Power within us that is greater than us that knows exactly how to move forward in life. Open up to that Power within and allow it to guide you to the perfect person or right action to face whatever is standing in the way of your happiness. As always,
With Spirit, Joy and Playfulness …. And my love,

Terry
"Genie, You're Free"
R.I.P. Robin Williams