Ten Perfect Minutes

I found ten perfect minutes today – sitting in the shade outside the coffee shop – all alone in the space set aside for patrons, sipping my blueberry-spinach-coconut milk smoothie. I watched the sailboats and paddle boarders and kayakers gliding by on the bay – and, with my mask securely fastened about my face – asked a pair of friends who’ve known each other for 40 years if I could take their photo for them – they said yes and thank you.  Another pair of friends – a black woman and a white woman – walked by and stopped on the walk in front of me to look out at the water – and I had to comment on the beautiful sweater one of the friends was wearing – she smiled and thanked me and told me she ordered her sweater online. Just as I was contemplating leaving and continuing on with my walk a family came out of the coffee shop and joined me in the space for patrons – my table was the only one in the shade, and I told them that I was leaving and they could sit where I was. They smiled and – making sure to keep the proper social distance – we moved around each other and they took over the table out of the sun.

Ten perfect minutes is a pretty wonderful thing.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

A Karen Reflects on True Identity

“The sense of identity is the root of all suffering.”
Mooji, Vaster Than Sky, Greater Than Space

Your true identity does not depend upon
a job title or a five-star review or your age
or the money in your bank account
or how many followers you have on your page
or your gender, weight, height, skin color, or name,
or your religion, political party, family or fame.

Your true identity is eternally held and maintained
safe in Love and Truth, free from shame.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Karen to Andrew: I’ve lost my parents; I’ve lost my youth; I’m losing my hearing; I’ve lost my beauty; I’m not a teacher anymore; now even my name stinks.
Andrew: You know what comes next?
Karen: The grave?
Andrew: (Laughing.) Nah, you get closer to God.

I just had a HUGE breakthrough, my friends! Lately I’d found myself feeling some negative bias towards people who used my name as a synonym for a white supremacist anti-mask Trump supporter. I’d come to believe that those who use “Karen” as a pejorative were not original thinkers, tended towards bigotry, were prone to labeling and stereotypes, enjoyed deriding and laughing at others, were bullies, and were unkind. BUT…

NONE OF THAT is the truth about ANY of us! If I accept that lie about even ONE of God’s children, I am allowing myself to get pulled into a whole tangled rat’s nest of nonsense – that, in the end, is going to bring me nothing good.

“When we identify ourselves with the sense of personhood, we are much like a wave on the surface of the ocean. Rather than resting in the vast space of pure Being, we become identified with some kind of passing event, thought, or emotion – perhaps a wave of anger, a particular role in our life, or even our entire sense of personhood.”
Mooji, Vaster Than Sky, Greater Than Space

“Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you ‘What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?’ Instead they demand ‘How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?’ Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

Quotes on “identity” from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy:
“The divine Mind maintains all identities, from a blade of grass to a star, as distinct and eternal.” (70)
“The one Spirit includes all identities.” (333)
“The universe reflects God. There is but one creator and one creation. This creation consists of the unfolding of spiritual ideas and their identities, which are embraced in the infinite Mind and forever reflected.” (503)
“The divine Mind, not matter, creates all identities, and they are forms of Mind, the ideas of Spirit apparent only as Mind, never as mindless matter nor the so-called material senses.” (505)
“This scientific sense of being, forsaking matter for Spirit, by no means suggests man’s absorption into Deity and the loss of his identity, but confers upon man enlarged individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive love, a higher and more permanent peace.” (265)
“The loss of man’s identity through the understanding which Science confers is impossible; and the notion of such a possibility is more absurd than to conclude that individual musical tones are lost in the origin of harmony.” (217)
“Error supposes man to be both mental and material. Divine Science contradicts this postulate and maintains man’s spiritual identity.” (287)
“Breaking away from the mutations of time and sense, you will neither lose the solid objects and ends of life nor your own identity.” (261)
“The material body and mind are temporal, but the real man is spiritual and eternal. The identity of the real man is not lost, but found through this explanation; for the conscious infinitude of existence and of all identity is thereby discerned and remains unchanged.” (302)
“Identity is the reflection of Spirit, the reflection in multifarious forms of the living Principle, Love.” (477)

An alpine butterfly flits among the flowers on Table Mountain. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

I Am Tired, My Friend

Message to a friend –
Plato told us to “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I know some of the battles my friends on here have been through that you know nothing about. I’ve been through my own battles that I don’t feel comfortable sharing on a public thread. I’m going to assume YOU are going through your own battles, too – probably dealing with stuff that I know nothing about – and that is what is giving me some restraint here. I am busy enough dealing with my own flaws and foibles and don’t have time to spend working on someone else’s.

But some of the things you’ve said on my threads have, frankly, horrified me – you seem to think it’s alright for federally-funded storm troopers – people my tax dollars have employed! – to round up innocent protesters, beat them, and detain them unlawfully – and that is… I can’t even wrap my head around it. You have implied American citizens should stop using their constitutional rights because federal thugs have become violent towards them. And no – what should happen there is that the federal thugs should be the ones removed from the streets – not the protesters. In my mind, you have it backasswards – the thugs shouldn’t be in control; the law-abiding citizens should.

I am tired, my friend. Worn down by the insanity. After reading your comments and other comments by other friends on other threads, I am losing hope for my country. The last three years have exposed to me things about the people I consider “friends” that… I am, frankly, shocked and disheartened by the callous disregard for other people; the hate-mongering and fear-mongering; and the fact that some of my friends are okay with storm troopers in our streets, bullying my fellow citizens.

What has happened to common decency? To caring for one another? To reaching out a hand to those in need of support? To standing up together against bullies and bigots and thugs? What has happened to the Golden Rule?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Our Prayer for the World

Let’s do a prayer for the world together. I’ll start, and then you all can add on with your own prayerful thoughts. Let’s keep this non-political. Let’s keep this kind. You don’t have to belong to any particular religion – or any religion at all – to participate. This is just going to be about embracing the entire world in a big ol’ loving hug. ❤

Here we go –
I feel the presence and power of Love enveloping each and every one of us – protecting us, guiding us, sheltering us, providing refuge and sanctuary, giving us direction. I feel Love filling the universe with light – there isn’t the teensiest tiniest nano space that isn’t touched by Love. No one is out of the reach of Love. No one is out of the reach of Truth. No one is out of the reach of harmony and peace, kindness and honesty. NOTHING can separate us from Love – not fear or anger or hate or confusion or ignorance or guilt. We are RIGHT THIS MOMENT where we need to be, doing what we need to be doing, supplied with everything we need. We are worthy. We are deserving of good. Every moment we are new. We are meant to be here.

Okay, your turn… 🙂

New Birth

“Behold, I make all things new…” – Rev 21

she died yesterday –
and took with her all the guilt
and resentment, the squabbles
and ego battles and losses
and victories – none of that
can touch her now
she is beyond it
and a new expression
emerges – a new identity
new day, new she, fresh start
– all things new
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.”
– Isaiah 43:18,19

 

Indian Memorial at Little Bighorn, MT

The Intrepid Little Sunflower

One happy story has emerged from the Slug Battles this summer: The Story of the Intrepid Little Sunflower.

The slugs and snails have been voracious this year. When my little sunflowers first sprouted I covered them every night with jars. When they outgrew the jars I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and go on Slug Patrol – looking for any snails or slugs that might be chowing down on my sunflower youngsters (in the morning I would take the slugs and snails out to our wetland – what I’ve dubbed my “Snail and Slug Refuge” – and ask them to please stay down there). Eventually I started wrapping copper tape around the bottom of the sunflowers’ stems and that seemed to work pretty well – UNTIL one morning I found a slug or snail had chomped through the stem of one of the sunflower youngsters and the top three inches were hanging from the bottom three inches by mere threads. I tried to tape it together, but that didn’t work well. Finally, I pulled the top part off and – finding I didn’t have it in me to toss it in the compost – I put it in a little bottle filled with water and put it on top of a book case, and waited for nature to take its course.

But the little sunflower did not die. In fact, it appeared to me that it even grew a few inches.

A couple weeks went by and the leaves started turning yellow. It was obvious to me my little sunflower teenager needed nutrients. On impulse, I put about half an inch of soil in the bottom of the bottle and made sure the bottom of the sunflower stem touched the soil – I hoped the plant would somehow suck up the nutrients it needed – maybe it would grow roots? I wasn’t sure how that worked – but it seemed possible to me.

And today when I looked over at the sunflower teenager he seemed to have grown six inches overnight! I looked at the bottom of the bottle and there were roots in there!

I planted him in a planter out on the deck. Right now he is out there, straight and getting taller, and waving happily in the breeze at me. 🙂
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

The Need to Share What Matters

Four years ago, during the last election season, strangers would suddenly appear and comment on my public Facebook posts and they would say things with weird phrasing and syntax – stuff like “you are a big banana butt” and “you are a person brainless” – and sometimes their names were spelled with characters that are not used in the English language (μονοσε πουλι). These strangers would tell me to fu#& off and wished harm to me and my friends. It was an odd and interesting time.

I blocked those people (to block the names with weird characters I had to do a copy and paste – my keyboard doesn’t include weird characters on it) and learned from that experience to disallow commenting on my public posts from people who aren’t my friends.

I’m pretty sure now – looking back – that these strangers were not fellow citizens of my country. (Duh, right?) I’m not even sure that they were actually human beings.

I don’t want my posts to be divisive – that is not my intent. I don’t want to see my friends ganging up on each other and calling each other names. I don’t want to promote hate. I don’t want to let myself or my posts be manipulated or used to create havoc and confusion.

But.

I also have a real need to share things that matter to me; to share things that are important to me; to share the things that give me hope, and the things that feel like a punch in the gut, too; and to share things that might help us learn from each other.

I am struggling with how to proceed on Facebook. Honestly, sometimes the hate and mean-ness I encounter there is so overwhelming that I feel the need to leave. And sometimes I just get bored with myself – yada yada blah blah blah – and realize I have nothing more to add.

Anyway. We’ll see how it goes…
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Response to Friends Who Talk About Rioting

A couple of my Facebook friends have talked about the rioting and violence that have occurred concurrently with some of the Black Lives Matter protests. I’ve been responding individually to their comments, but I thought it might save me time if I just did a copy and paste of my last response to a friend and saved it here:

Yeah. I hear you. CHOP in Seattle was a mess – I ain’t going to disagree with you there. But… if you scroll down my wall you’ll see an interesting post about who’s actually been causing the mayhem – and, according to a story in the Washington Post, it is apparently not “antifa” – it’s been caused mostly by ‘local hooligans, sometimes gangs, sometimes just individuals that are trying to take advantage of an opportunity.’ According to the article, the alt-right “Boogaloo” movement has played a part in the violence, too.

From my own experience participating in the local BLM rally in Burlington, the only maybe threatening and intimidating element I saw there were the half a dozen Trump supporters standing off to the side with their rifles, self-appointed to “keep the peace.” The actual police officers there – whom I thanked for their support – were very calm and friendly – and the protest was entirely peaceful.

The racism and hate crimes in this country need to end. Now. None of us who are true Americans can allow it to continue for even one more day. And when the bulk of our president’s Fourth of July speech is loaded with division and hate for his own constituents – instead of the compassion and understanding we all sorely need right now – we need to call him on it.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

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Black Lives Mattered Then, Too

I just had a flashback from 40 years ago. I was on a ferry from Seattle to Bremerton – I think I’d been visiting a friend in Seattle. I was standing at the railing of the ferry by myself, looking out over the water. A good-looking young man with blue eyes approached me and started chatting. He was visiting from another state, he said. Out here to lead a meeting or a gathering – I don’t remember his exact words now. He thought I might be interested in going to this meeting. I asked him what it was about. He said he was with the KKK. I remember feeling like I’d just been kicked in the gut – thinking he did not look like what I thought a KKK member would look like – shocked that there was anyone in the KKK in Washington State – wasn’t the KKK a southern thing? I told him no, I was not interested in his meeting. He tried to convince me to join him. I remember saying something like: “The KKK is against rights for blacks. The KKK hates black people.” And he smiled this really charming smile and said that no, the KKK wasn’t about hating black people – the KKK just wanted to make sure white people had rights, too – or something like that. I told him no, the KKK is racist, and no, I was not going to go to his meeting, and I walked away.

And here we are. Forty years later. My heart is breaking.

Grateful for Our Connection

Back in February and March – when COVID-19 was first making the news – I had terrible fears for a loved one who was traveling though Europe. (Maybe someday I’ll share more about that.) My terror caused me to pull out all the tools I’d acquired in my life to get me through troubling times – and one of the chief tools was expressing gratitude for all the good in my life.

I remember lying in bed one night in particular – my thoughts were all agitated and I couldn’t find peace. I was just staring at the ceiling, trying to calm myself, and I started listing in my thoughts all the people I was grateful for in my life – my sons, husband, Mom and Dad, siblings, nieces and nephews, in-laws, friends from grade school, junior high, high school, university, Mount Rainier friends, neighbors, colleagues, church friends, Humoristian friends, FB friends, WordPress friends – and then I found myself including people who might not be considered “friends” – people I thought had maybe treated me unkindly or unfairly, people I’d had a rift with – and I found myself genuinely grateful for THEM, too, and for my connection to them.

It was a cosmic moment for me. I felt my connection to all of God’s, Love’s, creation – and each and every expression of Life. I knew this overwhelming gratitude that I’m not solitary and alone in this vast, infinite universe – grateful for my connection to all the infinite expressions of Life. I felt Love’s presence with me – supporting me – sure and comforting and healing and powerful. My fears dissolved away and I was able to go back to sleep.

I’m going to practice having more of those cosmic moments.

And I know those moments begin with love.

Blue Cosmos (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)