Saturday, December 10, 2016

Defending Your Life

Recently I watched an older movie called “Defending Your Life” starring Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks.  The movie was about two people who died and arrived in Judgment City, the place they go before advancing to another level or being sent back to earth for a do-over.  While there, they stand trial by reviewing events in their lives where they had let their fears rule their decisions.  Did they overcome their fears or did they let their fears overcome them?

I’ve read a lot of near death and afterlife books, and most, if not all, have said that people who have crossed over and come back to life have said that they had to watch a review of their lives.  Many were asked if they had loved enough. After we make our transitions and it’s time for us to review everything we did or didn’t do in our lives, how would we feel?  How did we treat others as well as ourselves?

This movie got me thinking about fear, particularly my own fears.  Fear is a huge issue in all of our lives.  Many people don’t live the lives they want or are meant to live because of it.  We’re afraid to take chances and go for our dreams; therefore, we live our lives trying to please everyone around us.  We’re afraid to stand up for ourselves because we’re afraid of what others might think; therefore, we let people walk all over us and treat us badly.  We’re afraid of success and we’re afraid of failure.  We’re afraid that nothing good will happen so we don’t even try.  Fear can become all consuming.

People also use fear to manipulate and control us.  They use it to propagate hate against others who may seem different than us.  There are media sources and talk show hosts who are consistently promoting fear against others and people buy into it.  This type of fear almost becomes like a contagious disease that spreads to all who are conned into believing whatever they say.  There is also an extreme amount of fear in today’s political climate with how much harm some politicians want to do to our country and the world.

How do we overcome fear?  We can only keep working at overcoming it.  We can ask ourselves, are we choosing love…or fear?  Marianne Williamson said, “Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.”

I can only hope that when it’s time for me to cross over and I watch my life review, I hope I chose love more times over fear.  I’m still a work in process.

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper December 9, 2016.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

It's That Time of Year Again!

Tis the season of bringing good tidings of great joy!  Children look forward to Santa’s visit bringing them delightful gifts.  Adults attend parties and buy presents for each other and their families.  Homes, stores, businesses, schools, towns, and cities are brimming with holiday decorations, and lights sparkle in an array of colors everywhere you look.  In other words, Christmas is upon us!  People love the Spirit of the season!  They’re a little kinder, more compassionate, and they give a little more generously to those in need.  This is the bright side of Christmas and the holidays and I love that loving Spirit!

Unfortunately, there’s also a dark side to Christmas and the holidays.  Not everyone looks forward to them for whatever reasons.  Some experience depression, may feel alone, and some may have lost loved ones during this time in previous years and it brings up too many sad memories; therefore, it is a very difficult time for many. 

It is also the season of fighting and arguing and it can bring out the worst in people.  They fight over whose holiday greeting we should use and they get nasty if you don’t say their greeting of choice.  They fight over whose decorations should be put up and where.  And then there’s the argument that always goes around that there’s a war on Christmas.  There is no war on Christmas.  If there were, it would be illegal to celebrate Christmas at all.  Just look around during this season and everywhere you look, all you see is Christmas!  On TV there are countless Christmas movies and TV shows, Christmas commercials, and decorations galore everywhere!  Also, there is no law saying you can’t say Merry Christmas. 

Christmas has become so commercialized that sometimes I think it should be called ‘Commercialistmas.’  Just look at the way people behave on Black Friday!  Many people go into debt buying gifts for their families and friends because they don’t feel they can have a Christmas without presents.  And add all that stress!

The Spirit of Christmas is supposed to be about the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the very one who taught us to love one another unconditionally.  If we really want to celebrate this holiday, then let’s practice those teachings.  Bless and honor other’s holidays and maybe even share them with your friends.  Greet people with the same greeting they give you and do so with love and kindness.

I have rarely seen any decorations or mention of any other holidays during this time such as Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Bodhi Day, and so many others, and these deserve to be celebrated as well!

W.C. Jones said, “The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing others’ loads, and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts, becomes for us the magic of the holidays.”      

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season (whatever holiday you celebrate) with much love, peace, happiness, prosperity, joy, and magic!

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper December 2, 2016.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Building Beliefs On a Foundation of Love

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone believed and thought exactly the way we do?  If they did, the world would then appear to be a much better place and we could all get along well with each other.  Except that’s not our reality.

All our beliefs and ways of thinking differ and that causes us stress because others aren’t living up to our expectations of the way we think they should be.  We feel that those who don’t believe, think, or live the way we do are wrong.  The thing is those on the ‘other side’ think and believe that we’re wrong because we’re not thinking, believing, or living the way they think we should. 

Most of our beliefs are either taught to us by our parents or caregivers from the moment we are young, or they are learned through our experiences.  Then as we grow into adulthood, we put those beliefs in a belief box and we wrap them up very tight with invisible duct tape because we don’t ever want to think that we could ever be wrong in some of our beliefs.

I will be the first to admit that my beliefs have changed drastically over the years; therefore, I’ll usually tell people that this is what I believe at this time in my life.  Even then, as I grow and gain wisdom and knowledge through Spirit, my beliefs will change again.  What I’ve found, though, is that those beliefs are now based more and more in unconditional love for all of humanity and for all living beings, including animals and our Mother Earth.  I know that love is the only answer, and I’ll know if I’m truly living my Truth by how love leads or doesn’t lead in my everyday decisions. 

There are some people who think I should believe the way they do and will tell me that I’m wrong just because I don’t.  Some people will even try to chastise me in public forums.  I will never tell anyone what to believe or that they have to believe the way I do.  I also will not argue with people over beliefs.  If we don’t agree, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

In fact, as a minister and inspirational speaker, my purpose is to try to help people find their own beliefs based on a foundation of unconditional love.  I can only plant the seeds and it’s up to God, the Universe, Life, or whatever name you use for the All-That-Is, to see how they grow.  I can also only share with others what I have learned for myself.  In my talks I always tell people that it’s okay if they don’t agree with me; just take what works for them, ignore the rest, or even just ignore the whole talk.  People can even do this with my writings.

People particularly hang onto their beliefs when it comes to their religions.  As of 2014, there were an estimated 4,200 different religions in the world, all believing something different.  Just within Christianity alone, it is estimated that there are approximately 41,000 Christian denominations and organizations in the world, and the difference in those beliefs vary sometimes to the extreme.

Remember that at one time, people believed the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth.  People were imprisoned or killed if they believed anything different.  Later, we found out that what they said was true.  Therefore, even ‘facts’ can change.  If you think about it, facts have changed continuously throughout history.  Another thing is that anyone can pretty much write anything they want anymore whether it’s true or not.  It’s even interesting how many people will believe information from the countless fake news sites on the Internet, and they will blindly believe them without doing their research.  Therefore, their beliefs are then not based in truth.

There is so much turmoil in our country and the world right now all over differences of beliefs.  These range from unconditional love to outright hatred of others.  Billy Graham stated, “Racial prejudice, anti-Semitism, or hatred of anyone with different beliefs has no place in the human mind or heart.”  

We are each responsible for what’s in our own hearts and how we treat others, and one day when we cross over, we will all have to answer the question, “How much did you love?”  Personally, I would like to answer that at least I tried my best.  When the foundation of our beliefs is built on love, it can’t help but raise humanity’s consciousness.  As our consciousness expands, love and peace will prevail.

“When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.”  Joseph Campbell

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper November 25, 2016.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Loving So Much It Hurts

Feeling overwhelmed, I went into the woods and sat on my favorite rock by a stream.  Listening to the water flowing down the hill, as well as all of nature’s music, brings me peace and comfort.  But this time was different.  My heart was heavy and I couldn’t help but break down sobbing, my tears falling into the creek and being carried to who knows where.  It’s like my very core was being torn from my body and the pain was unbearable. 

All of a sudden, I heard a rustle of leaves behind me and then a snap of a twig.  Startled, I turned around, and of course, it just had to be him.  “Jesus!  I don’t think I’m up to talking right now.”

With compassion in his eyes and voice, he gently replied, “It’s okay.  You don’t have to talk.  We can just be together.”

After a few moments, it all came pouring out of me.  The pain, the fear, the anxiety…everything I was feeling.  “My heart is aching so much for so many people right now, Jesus!  I just can’t imagine the fear they are feeling.  Many are being beaten, harassed, picked on, people are calling them the most horrific names, telling them to go back to where they came from, and some of the most vitriolic words and pictures are being written on walls and windows toward these people.  Even little children are feeling the fear.  Children!  What’s the world coming to?!?!”

Jesus sat down on the rock next to me and cradled me in his arms while wiping my tears with the edge of his long-sleeved shirt.  Brushing a strand of hair from my face, he said, “Karen, I understand.  I, too, am feeling the pain of the way people are treating each other, and I feel it deeper than you could ever imagine.  You would think that after so many thousands of years, people would finally understand my greatest commandment to love one another.  But they don’t.  Sure, some people say they believe in me and follow me, and yet they are doing everything but love one another.  And that breaks my heart.”

Looking into Jesus’ eyes, I sobbed, “But what can we do?  We’ve got to be able to do something!  I feel so lost, disillusioned, and my faith has taken a real hit in all this.  The pain I feel for what so many are going through has just become so excruciating that I feel like I’m about to fall apart.”

“Karen, never lose faith.  I am always here, and I am here through all this turmoil.  Man has free-will so he does what he does based on his beliefs.  Know that I am here in the midst of love.  The pure, unconditional, perfect love that I’ve always taught.  Now is the time for all of you to raise your loving vibrations so high that love can’t help but embrace others.  It’s happening.  People from all over are coming together to share the love, to stand up for each other, and support one another.  It doesn’t matter what they look like, what they believe, or what they represent.  They’re standing for love.  That is the love that we should build upon.  That is the love that will change lives and change the world.  That is the love that all spiritual masters from all religions have taught.  And many are taking that love and light in their hearts and becoming the light in other people’s darkness.  Remember that hate teaches us to love.”

Taking a breath, I asked, “You mean there’s hope?”

Jesus smiled and replied, “Yes, Karen, there’s always hope.  Never give up on hope and never give up on humanity.  They’ll always surprise you.”

At that, Jesus gave me a handkerchief to wash my tears with the cooling water of the creek.  When I turned back, he was gone.  When I looked to where he had been sitting, I found a sparkling crystal rock in the shape of heart.  I don’t know what’s going to happen, but my faith that love would always prevail was renewed and I felt at peace.

Note:  Many are wearing safety pins to show their love and support for their fellow sisters and brothers on this planet.  If you see someone wearing this pin, it means, “I am safe.  If you are Muslim, a woman, LGBQ, person of color, Latinx, trans, an immigrant, disabled, afraid…I am here.  Speak…I’ll listen.  I’ll hold you.  Stand up for you.  Sit down for you.  Shut up for you.  Do what I can to let you know…I love you.  This sign is how you’ll know me.”

“I see a world where our love of cooperation is greater than the fear that drives us apart.”  Gregg Braden

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper, November 18, 2016.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Power of Your Thoughts

I accept and receive unexpected good, unexpected money, unexpected love, unexpected kindness, unexpected generosity, unexpected offers, unexpected prosperity coming in unexpected ways from unexpected places in my life and the life of others.  I am constantly guided and boldly empowered to receive the lavish abundance of the Universe.  I accept the principle that abundance and prosperity have already been given to me.  My acceptance makes it real and opens the space for manifestation to rush in!  I open wide the doors of my consciousness to receive and to give!  It is done now!  (Author unknown)

I recently saw the above posted on Facebook and immediately printed it so that I could read it over and over to have it become part of my every day mantra

Thoughts have power, a lot more power than we have ever known.  Peace Pilgrim said, “If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.”   Buddha stated, “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”

I’ve been a student of New Thought for some time now, except it’s not really New Thought…it’s more like ancient wisdom, which has been around since the beginning of mankind.  I have read probably hundreds of books about the power of our thoughts, so I know the information; except knowing and doing are two entirely different things. 

People who know me know that I’m pretty much a very positive and optimistic person.  The thing is, they don’t know that there are many times when I’m not thinking so positively.  In fact, I sometimes go into that deep pit of negativity and fear, and I go there more times than I care to admit.  I just don’t show it outwardly because I don’t want to be responsible for bringing others down with me. 

When my mind is filled with positivity and love for all as well as for myself, my life is so much better and brighter, things go better, and I feel like I can take on the world.  I know that everything is going to be all right, that I can rest in the knowledge that everything is in Divine Order, and that I don’t have to worry about a thing.  One thing about being an impath, though, is that I tend to take on the energies around me, and those energies aren’t always so positive.  Therefore, it just takes constant monitoring of my thoughts by overcoming the negative with the positive and loving. 

Wayne Dyer wrote, “Begin noticing and being careful about keeping your imagination free of thoughts that you do not wish to materialize. Instead, initiate a practice of filling your creative thoughts to overflow with ideas and wishes that you fully intend to manifest. Honor your imaginings regardless of others seeing them as crazy or impossible.”  Confucius said, “The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.”  Gandhi stated, “Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”

James Allen wrote a great little book titled “As A Man Thinketh” and I would highly recommend reading it (free at  He writes:  “‘As a man thinketh in his heart so is he,’ not only embraces the whole of a man's being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.

Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself. He also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. By the right choice and true application of thought, man ascends to the Divine Perfection; by the abuse and wrong application of thought, he descends below the level of the beast. Between these two extremes are all the grades of character, and man is their maker and master.

Of all the beautiful truths pertaining to the soul which have been restored and brought to light in this age, none is more gladdening or fruitful of divine promise and confidence than this - that man is the master of thought, the molder of character, and maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny.

As a being of Power, Intelligence, and Love, and the lord of his own thoughts, man holds the key to every situation, and contains within himself that transforming and regenerative agency by which he may make himself what he wills.”

“Change your though - change your life!”  Wayne Dyer 

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper November 11, 2016.

(Picture is from website [self-help for people who wouldn't be caught dead doing self-help])

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Power of Now

There is something to be said for living in the now.  Not the past or the future, but in this very moment.  But how many of us can do it?  It’s definitely not easy.  It takes work and lots of practice.

Most of us live either in the past or in the future.  Our beliefs, words, and actions of today are usually influenced by things that happened in the past.  On the other hand, we are also constantly thinking or dreaming of the future and wishing how we would like for things to be.  When we live in the moment, this very second kind of moment, the past and future disappear and we are just ‘being.’

Suffering, stress, and fear only occur when our minds are in the past or in the future.  We’re stressed, angry, or upset because of something that happened or because of what someone said or did to us, and we re-live those experiences over and over in our minds as if they just happened.  We allow our past to dictate our present moment and that can lead into what manifests for us in the future. 

Yes, things in the past actually happened, but in the present moment, they’re just a memory and can no longer control us unless we let them which most of us do (including me).  When we live in the future, we can become upset because our lives aren’t going the way we think it should; consequently, we can become depressed and some become even suicidal because we don’t think we have any control over our lives.

Some experts say that our minds don’t know the difference between what’s real or not so whatever we think upon becomes our reality.  People can change their lives and have even healed their bodies and minds of illnesses and diseases just by the power of our minds and the thoughts we think.  There are those with split personalities whose individual personalities can even change the way someone appears just by the power of their thoughts.  Thus, our thoughts have more power than we could ever imagine.

If you think about it, we’re always thinking.  For some of us, our minds never shut up!  There are times, though, that thoughts are quieted such as when we’re watching a movie or TV show and we’re in the moment of what is happening on the screen.  We could be listening to music and we’re in the moment of the lyrics and melody.  We could also be meditating where we clear our minds of all thoughts and just sit in the moment. 

There’s a lot to be said about meditation.  I wish I liked to meditate more than I do, but I can only meditate for a few moments here and there (sometimes longer), and that’s okay.  When I quiet my mind, I become aware of my loving consciousness and of my connection to everything around me.  On those occasions when I can just be in the moment, all the stress that I feel of the past and future goes away and I can feel completely at peace with my life.  It happens more when I’m in nature and connected to Mother Earth.  It also happens when I’m listening to meditation music.  I wish I could live in the present moment all the time, but in reality, it’s almost impossible for the average person to do so, especially when our lives are so busy. 

When I do have troubles quieting my mind in meditation, I have found that if I smile even slightly, my mind stops chattering.  I’m not sure of the connection, but I do know that smiling gets the feel good critters going in our brains so it must help put the mind at ease.

If you are interested in learning more about living in the now, I would highly recommend reading “The Power of Now - A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” by Eckhart Tolle.  It was recommended by Oprah Winfrey, has sold millions of copies, and has been translated into over 33 languages. 

Tolle states, “As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love - even the most simple action.”  He also said, “Enlightenment is not only the end of suffering and of continuous conflict within and without, but also the end of the dreadful enslavement to incessant thinking. What an incredible liberation this is!”  And lastly he wrote, “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper November 4, 2016.

Friday, October 28, 2016

It's Time for a Lovelution!

Is anyone else tired of all the human nonsense occurring in our world right now?  The hate, bigotry, ignorance, lying, fighting, arguing, separation, and on and on it goes?  I know I am!  Therefore, I think it’s time for a Lovelution!  A Lovelution is different than a Revolution in that a Revolution tends to be violent and promotes more of the same because it gets people riled up to commit even more violence.  Violence doesn’t get anyone anywhere except to harm great numbers of people even further. 

A Lovelution uses unconditional love to unite and bring people together for the greater good of all.  If I had to come up with principles for this Lovelution, I think the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis would do very nicely.  “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.  Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.  O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”  (You can change the word ‘Lord’ to Universe, Life, Love, or the God of your understanding, as it doesn’t necessarily have to be of a religious nature.)

Lovelutions aren’t new.  They’ve been occurring since the beginning of time.  Our great Spiritual Masters such as Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Moses, Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, and so many others throughout history (and today) have been teaching and promoting Lovelutions.  These Masters are the epitome of Love.  Their values are peace, kindness, compassion, loving one another, understanding, honesty, integrity, diversity, humility, spirituality, acceptance, generosity, forgiveness, truth, righteousness, non-violence, taking care of each other, and so much more. 

Sometimes I wonder how we as a human species can be so hateful and violent, and yet we’ve always had that segment of our societies since the beginning of time.  It just seems worse since there are now more people on this planet and because of easy access in the media with modern technology.  Something happens in the world and boom!  It’s in the news and on social media (whether it’s true or not).  And since the media only communicates mostly the negative, we never hear about the good that is occurring.

I never in my life could have ever imagined that I’d hear politicians, religious leaders, and others spew forth such hateful vitriol towards others, and yet again, it’s always been there.  And yet people believe every word they say and are doing their bidding by further promoting the hate and violence, which is the direct opposite of what their Spiritual Masters taught.

Again, we’re experiencing a spiritual awakening and everything that isn’t working is coming to light so that we can see it, cleanse it, and heal it.  It’s going to take those of us taking part in the Lovelution to see everyone and everything surrounded and embraced in the pure, unconditional, perfect Love of that All-That-Is.

If you so choose, you can decide to be a part of the Lovelution or the Revolution.   One lifts up with love and the other destroys.  Whichever one you select, it will define your true beliefs, what your core values really are, and will show whether you are actually following and practicing the teachings of your Spiritual Masters or the teachings of man. 

Ever since I began my serious spiritual journey, I’ve been working hard at being a part of the Lovelution.  I’m certainly not perfect at it as I’m continuing to learn to be the greatest expression of who I was meant to be.  I’ll fall and trip more times than I would care to admit, but I know what it is I want to aspire to, and I will always try to focus on unconditional love.

Bishop Carlton Pearson said, “As a people and nation, we will survive, arrive, and thrive. As an individual, you create in consciousness the manifestation you desire in your present as well as your future reality. Some people call this faith, others call it positive thinking, and still others call it expanded consciousness. Either way, it's energy and energy means movement. Both faith and fear contain momentum and momentum possesses and processes your life in this earth realm.”

As the great Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Be the love, peace, compassion…  No matter what you choose, remember that love always prevails. 

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper October 28, 2016.