“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 Drew Karanen © 2011, 2016

Guidance and Responsibility

Theme for the Month of May

The Global Vision:
Spiritual Guidance and Personal Responsibility

Theme for the Week of May 2:
My Mind Is a Center of Divine Activity

“We believe that life is the logical and necessary outcome
of the infinite self-knowingness of God.” -  Ernest Holmes

Do you realize we’ve completed one third of the year already in our discussion of The Global Vision:  A World That Works For Everyone? I hope you’ve been enjoying the topics created through Centers for Spiritual Living (csl.org).

In May our chats and debates will reflect on two parts necessary for the development of our vision:

Spiritual Guidance
Personal Responsibility

02BAs a caveat for my readers who are atheist and agnostic, may I suggest you think of the spiritual guidance aspect as the group of people, individual or organization to whom you look to when you desire guidance in your life?

And, what about taking personal responsibility for the creation and nurturing of this vision? That might seem like an awesome task. Remember that with us all working together it simply means we will each do our part to the best of our ability.

For our discussions this week (which you’ll find over at the Facebook® page for my ministry – Spirit, Mind and Body Foundation), we’re going to look at the activity of our individual minds being a place of activity of more divine or universal activity.

In a world that works for everyone we believe in the unity of all life. That means that our thoughts are creating both our own experience as well as building the collective consciousness. Yes, it sounds like a pretty important ability. And you know what? It is!

Join me this week and throughout the month to experience the joy of focusing on what you want, instead of what you don’t want, as is more common in our society. Learn how to access the knowledge, understanding and wisdom of all time through meditation and reflection.

Sound like fun? It’s going to be! See you this week over at the Foundation’s Facebook® page and weekly on my blog, “Making Sense of Life!”

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,


Train Your Brain!

Theme for the Week of March 14:
Your Mind and How to Use It

“We see a world in which humanity rediscovers
the creative power of thought.”

Do you believe we live in a world of choice? We do, even if we don’t always like the choices.

It often comes back to wanting to eat our cake and have it, too. In case you haven’t already discovered it, that saying indicates a tremendous belief in lack and poverty. How?

Because if we truly know we are abundantly supplied by a user-friendly universe, then we have no need to stop ourselves from enjoying our lives or possessions. It’s the same as being afraid to gift those clothes we haven’t worn for six months (or twelve months, if you live where there are more distinct seasons). 14A

An unwillingness to release that which no longer serves us is a belief in lack, a state of being afraid and built on a foundation of fear. The same goes for being reluctant to make a decision, a choice.

Ernest Holmes taught us that “fear is faith mis-placed.” In other words, we’re manifesting more fear of the unknown than we are in what we claim to believe about abundance. Believing that we have freedom of choice is the first step to empowerment and unlocking the shackles of being a victim.

So why don’t we choose wisely all the time? Because we lack faith that there is a Mind in operation that is conspiring for our good. Because we don’t want to disappoint our mother. Because we are afraid he/she/they won’t like it. The list goes on and on.

There is responsibility in choice, which is another reason why we sometimes avoid making decisions. Here’s a thought I’ve been developing for the past couple of years:

We have freedom of choice, but not of consequence.

Consequence doesn’t necessarily mean something negative, but there will be a reaction to or from our action. That’s why it behooves us to choose wisely!

In the coming week, we’ll be discussing the practice of how to use our minds in the various areas of our life over at the Facebook® page for my ministry, Spirit, Mind and Body Foundation. It does take practice and it takes work. You are up to the challenge and the pay-off will be beyond what you have ever experienced up until now.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,




Divine Compassion

Our thoughts become things. Most religious and spiritual beliefs teach this concept in one form or another. But what happens when tragedy or harm occurs in our life?

Here’s what does NOT work: “That’s horrible! What do you think was in your consciousness to cause THAT?”

NOT cool … or kewl, either!

I know because that’s what someone said to me the day after I received a gunshot wound in my face over twenty years ago. If hadn’t still been in shock I’d have probably slapped the snot out of her. My ministers at the time offered to do just that, though I declined to give them her name.

We are not here to analyze why something has happened in the lives of others. It’s compassionseriously none of our business. The 224 passengers and crew of the recent Russian Metrojet airliner accident didn’t have some collective death wish. Neither did the six million Jews and the five million non-Jews who died during the Holocaust.

We are here to love one another.

We are here to comfort one another.

We are here to be of service to one another.

Ellen Debenport recently put it this way:

I … understand the need for God with skin on, and that’s who we can be to each other. It’s who we are anyway, the divine in human form.

At the same time we must insure that our well-meaning empathy does not deteriorate into a form of sympathy and pity. We are not here to encourage or foster a victim consciousness, one that is completely disempowered of any change or healing. If we are to be of service to others then we remember we are each “the divine in human form,” as capable of change, growth and self-respect.

I invite you this week to consider yourself as “the divine in human form” on a deeper level than ever before. Not from a place of authority and judgment, but from the mindfulness of divine compassion. How might you be able to be of service to another this week? What might you say to someone in pain that you yourself would like to hear if the situation was reversed?

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,


Making Mother Smile

I used to frequent a very special beach on the Jersey Shore every year. It's the only place like it in the area. While peaceful during the week, the weekends are full of crowds, many of who are not there for the beauty and uniqueness of this shoreline. A friend of mine taught me to do a garbage run before packing up to leave. We take along extra plastic bags and fill them with as much trash and litter as they can hold and then dispose of them at home.

Many people remarked how nice this was and what a wonderful idea it was. We accepted their kudos, but I also suggested they do the same, either on that visit or their next. But why pick up after others who obvious don't care?

It is because we can care.

If we are constantly concerned with who has done what to whom, or what someone else ought to be doing, we will become increasingly dissatisfied with life and the world. It is much easier to find fault with others, rather than look at our own lives and see where we are lacking. It does have some appealing points, though. People who engage in such a waste of time are rewarded with an attitude of arrogance, superiority and elitism. This might be appealing to some, but far from desirable to anyone concerned with the peace of our planet.

The next time you look at a cigarette butt on the sidewalk and scowl about an inconsiderate smoker, think about using the paper on the ground somewhere nearby (there will be some) and picking up the butt to throw it away. Take a large trash bag through your neighborhood once a week and collect anything that is unsightly. When neighbors notice what you are doing, enroll them to help you. Even if people may think you are crazy, who cares? It does make a difference, at least to the planet. We all seem to enjoy making our mothers happy. Why not take a moment and give Mother Earth a smile?

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,


Why? Just WHY?!?”

Have you ever heard the expression, “Mind your own beeswax,” or used it yourself? I was an inquisitive child. My grandma Esther would use that phrase on me quite liberally when I was being too nosey about things that she thought didn’t concern me.

The phrase is simply a nicer way to tell someone to mind their own business, in spite of all the urban myths about the history of why this saying came to be. But recently I found myself saying it to myself.

What will follow will be a somewhat self-deprecating story about why I was scolding myself. If you are one of the two people in the world that thinks I can do no wrong and never make mistakes, run along and read something else or wait till next week’s blog because I really did a number on myself this week.

I was surfing through Facebook postings when I could have been using my time more wisely to accomplish writing I really did want to get to (like this blog!), when I found a friend had “Liked” something on his page and decided to click on that link.

The “Liked” page was of a drop-dead gorgeous guy, which admitted caught my interest more than the content of the posting. I was intrigued (read:  nosey) as to why my friend was interested in him. It seemed so out of character.Shocked-man-at-computer

Fifteen minutes later after viewing every legitimate site on the guy – as well as a few illegitimate ones (use your imagination) – I stopped clicking and started channeling Grandma Esther. WHAT was doing? Why, just WHY?!?

Wasting time, for one thing, but it was more than that. What business is it of mine what my friend likes or dislikes? None. Why do I need to know why they are into the activities they are into? I don’t, unless they choose to share it with me. And yet, people around the world are glued to their televisions throughout the week doing just that with reality TV shows of all kinds.

Here’s what one woman in recovery said to her sponsee regarding being more interested in the lives of others instead of our own:

Don’t you have enough character defects of your own to worry about?

Ah, but there ‘tis, isn’t it? If we are busy being up in someone else’s business we don’t have the time to be digging into the lives of others. It does, however, serve a purpose.

That self-imposed “need to know” stops us from doing what we know we need to do in our own lives. It takes precious time away from helping us hone our skills by studying something new, cleaning out the closet we’d like to get to, weed the garden or do the dishes. And, when those things don’t get done we can lament (to anyone who will listen, usually by way of a social media post) that we just don’t have enough time in the day to get everything we want to get done. Poor lamb!

So … you have a choice now. You could write me an email or comment on this blog, analyzing all the ways I could have done things differently and what my psychological need was to “investigate” something.

Or, you could mind your own beeswax and get much more accomplished. You can do whichever you wish, of course, particularly if you have absolutely no character defects of your own with which to content. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a closet to clean and a garden to weed!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,



gossip, nosey, judgment, criticism, responsibility, choice, arrogance

Celebrating Our Failures

There is a danger about living our lives in a positive way. What’s that, you ask?

We may feel ashamed when things don’t turn out the way we thought they would. We might feel that if our desires are sincere then the outcome should be assured. To avoid the pain we may even refuse to admit the situation.

“What a wonderful opportunity I’m having,” we may say when our experience goes south. Okay, I get it. I know bad events, even tragedies, can turn out months or years later to have a blessing of some kind. But stay with me.

What I want to suggest is that we start being a little more willing to use the “F” word in our daily lives. Not that “F” word! This one:


“But we don’t fail! It’s just a success that didn’t work.” Oh for God’s sake! I couldn’t ever quite put this into words the right way until I read Beth Kanter’s article in the Harvard Business Review, “Go Ahead, Take a Failure Bow.” It finally showed me just how positive a failure can be!

Kanter quotes the work of psychologist Sol Rosenthal who shows how a index finger wags at us or how we wag our index finger at someone else. Instead of using the failure as a way of bettering ourselves, we can easy blame others, be blamed or blame ourselves.

Even more harmful is to ignore the situation altogether. It’s that SEITL Syndrome – “Smelly Elephant in the Livingroom” Syndrome. Just keep ignoring it and it will go away or at least after a bit of time we’ll get used to the smell.

There are going to be times when what we do just doesn’t work out the way we planned. Instead of trying to make a sow’s ear into a silk purse, we can happily throw our arms up in the air and shout with pride, “I FAILED! I FAILED!” It’s not about blame; it’s about taking responsibility for the result. Then we laugh at the situation or foibles and decide what we can learn from the mess in front of us to move closer to what we really want.

Kanter’s approach works in a business environment or a personal one. It gives us permission to make mistakes on our way to success! How refreshing is that, instead of shaming ourselves or others?

I invite you to rejoice and celebrate a failure of your own some kind this week. If you have a moment or two, give Kanter’s article a look-see at:  https://hbr.org/2013/04/go-ahead-take-a-failure-bow


I promise you won’t be disappointed. I especially liked the joyful funeral eulogy to the death of the failure and the staff that wears pink boas to celebrate their failures!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,


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,

We Can’t Whine Our Way to Happiness

We’ve heard it before. Most if not all of us have done it before. What is “it”? It’s whining for what we want. Fill in the blank anyway you choose: I wanna new job. I wanna new boyfriend. I wanna a new/young/slimmer body. Whine, whine, whine! (Be sure to look pathetic while you’re whining – it’s almost required for the full, desperate effect.)
There’s nothing wrong with wanting more out of our lives and embracing change to have it happen. All of those desires above, or ones you might have come up with yourself, are worthwhile goals. The reason whining doesn’t work to affect change in a lasting way is that whining comes from the despair of a victim. To truly have the lives we desire we must come from place of empowerment and confidence.
This requires faith on our part. It also demands that our prayer work is one of acceptance and not petitioning. Madisyn Taylor put it well in her recent article, “As You Believe.” In it she states, “When we ask the universe for something, the unspoken message is that what we want does not exist, and the universe accepts this as truth.”
Understanding that what we are seeking is already ours in Truth is first step to manifesting the change we pursue. Simple, but not always easy. It’s not easy to feel abundant and prosperous if our checking account is overdrawn, our wallet empty and bills are multiplying on our desk. This is where faith and responsibility become our friends.
We must have the faith that our current situation is not the way must live in perpetuity. If our faith is lacking then it’s time to call a trusted spiritual partner or guide to “borrow” some of their faith. By allowing another person to know the Truth about us, to have faith in our potential, we usually find that our burden is lighter.
Taking full responsibility allows us to move out of blame and acting like victim. I firmly accept that I have been completely responsible for every event in my life. In many cases, if not most, the situation was caused by negative or self-deprecating subconscious thoughts I failed to rein in. I must admit that at the time I didn’t necessarily recognize my personal responsibility, but in retrospect I know it to be so.
Empowering ourselves and taking responsibility for the lives we see before us and the body we see in the mirror is a key to freedom. It releases us from the shackles of negative thinking and undesirable results. Join me this week to affirm your faith and achieving your desires through personal responsibility for the outcome.
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,