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,

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.

Need An 18-Hour Bra?

Finding Consistent, Effective and Loving Support

Remember the Jane Russell commercials for the 18-hour bra from Playtex®? I know; it’s a totally off-the-wall question for a spiritual column, right?

By now you know who you’re dealing with here, so I doubt you’re shocked. My blog is called, “Making Sense of Life” for a reason. We can look at life from the reality of human joy and excitement, as well as from the pain and suffering we sometimes encounter.

Being spiritual beings having a spiritual experience on the human plane of existence means we get to experience the full range of human emotions and sensual understanding. We will have pain at times, often for our own protection.

However, remember this:

Pain is a given.
Suffering is optional.

One of the ways to avoid the agony that accompanies our pain is to seek support. The beauty in the teaching of Ernest Holmes philosophy, The Science of Mind®, is that our healing can come from wherever, whomever and whatever our consciousness allows.

The healing can be the pill; or the affirmative prayer, also called “spiritual mind treatment” by Holmes; or, through the chiropractor, physician, therapist, counselor, etc. We have so many possibilities. It’s up to each of us individually to find what works for us in our current circumstances.

There is an interesting support system that happens in the waters off of Mozambique. Brittle stars, normally a sea bottom dwelling creature related to starfish, attach themselves to drifting jellyfish, living safely among the stinging tentacles of their host. Does the brittle star do this for protection from predators? To glean food not consumed by the jellyfish? For transportation, just hitchin’ a ride? And, why doesn’t the jellyfish eat the brittle star? What’s in it for the jellyfish?

Marine research scientists are unsure of the answers to these questions. What we can learn from this example is that what’s happening in this interspecies support relationship is obviously working for the ones involved. We don’t have to understand it for it to work for them.

In our lives we might need more support at times than others. It’s up to us individually to determine what that support will be. And, just like the brittle star, no one has to understand what works for us.

At times we might have to call in the 18-hour bra support, while other times a sports bra, the latest from Victoria Secret® or we might just decide to run through life nipples to the wind! (To my few male readers, substitute jockstrap, cup, briefs, boxers or commando – didn’t want you to think I forgot you!)

Do you feel the need for support to move you through and beyond something you’re going through? Reach out to someone or some practice that you know works for you. Get the help you need to move through the dark tunnels to the light of Truth and beauty that awaits you!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

P.S. If you need a review of Jane’s commercial, here’s the link.

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.

What Not to Say

I was trained as a hospital support person early in my ministerial career. One of the things I was taught, and eventually shared with nearly 100 volunteers over the years, is that to support a person we must determine how we are to do that. There’s really only one sure-fire way to do that:  Ask the person we desire to help.

When we support a friend or a stranger our purpose is to act in such a way that fully encourages and serves that person. As a minister and counselor I’ve seen so many people try their best to make a horrible situation better by saying the most outrageous things. People don’t try to be unkind or uncaring. It is, in fact, this very reason that causes us to say the things we do:  We’re genuinely trying to help.

In the April 15, 2017, issue of BottomLine Personal magazine, Editor Karen Astrid Larson give a list of four things NOT to say to someone with cancer. However, her advice is applicable to almost any given scenario when tragedy or hard times hit. Here’s what she wrote, as suggested by Nikhil Joshi, MD, author of The End of Suffering, and a Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer survivor:

  • “You’re going to be fine.” This could be taken as dismissive of a very serious situation.
  • “You’re strong, so you’re going to beat this.” Surviving cancer is not about the strength of the patient. It’s about the type of cancer … how advanced it is … and the effectiveness of the treatments.
  • “Have you tried praying/the latest alternative treatment/organic foods/quitting smoking?” This is not the time for lectures or proselytizing.
  • “How are you feeling?” Asking a cancer patient this forces [the person] to think about how bad [s/he] feels.

One of the reasons we grasp at straws when faced with serious issues like a friend or colleague diagnosed with cancer is that we want to help. More than that, we just want to do something. We want to fix it. The fact is, however, it’s not our job to do any of that.

The way we can support a person with cancer or anyone going through difficult times is to listen. Be there and listen. Someone going through chemotherapy and radiation treatments feels like crap warmed over and often looks worse. That’s not being unkind; it’s the experience most cancer survivors have gone through. It’s also not the way one wants to present oneself to even their closest friends, let alone the world.

Each of us goes through challenges differently. The important factor to remember in supporting others is that if we are truly desirous of supporting them it must be on their terms, not ours. We also have to be willing to admit that we might not be the perfect person to help at any given time.

As long as we are coming from unconditional love – and not judgment or trying to take charge – we have a pretty good chance of the other person understanding our good intentions. In the case of going through cancer treatments, people are poked and prodded with unending zeal by technicians and physicians alike. It can appear everything is being done to them, not for them. Because of this it’s important to emphasize that they are in charge of everything, including how they are served by those of us who seek to help.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,


Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

Do You Want to Be Alone?

Theme for the week of April 11:
You Cannot Disconnect From Life

We see a world in which we live and grow as One Global Family
that respects and honors the interconnectedness of all life.

Do you ever want to get away from it all? As complicated as our modern lives can get at times it’s no wonder if you do. We all deserve a break from the daily grind. Or not! We could talk about when we let ourselves get into jobs or lives that are a grind, but that’s not our topic.

11Apparently, Greta Garbo has been mis-quoted for decades – that happens a lot more than we’d like to admit! She didn’t say she wanted to be alone; she said she wanted to be let alone. There IS a difference!

I once heard a saying, “Wherever you go there you are.” In other words, we can't run away from our problems, at least not for very lone. The same is true if we try to completely disconnect from life. It’s not possible. Sure we can go camping for the weekend in the woods, or go completely off the grid, but we are still interconnected with all life around us.

To some that might feel like we can never be alone with our thoughts. To others it might be a comfort to know we always have the support and energy of others with us. How do you feel about it?

It can be exhausting if we think we have to do it all, go it alone or tough it out. As long as we can get our ego to suspend judgment, asking for help or working with others provides something that we all crave on one level – connection. The physical, social, philosophical and sexual connections we experience nurture and sustain us as we move through our spiritual experience in our human forms.

Over the next week on the Facebook® page of Spirit, Mind and Body Foundation we’ll be discussing how to increase our awareness of the interconnectedness of all life. And, we’ll look at new ways of using our connections to have truly amazing lives. Join us!

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,


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,