Mount Rainier’s Still There

Enveloped in the natural beauty of autumn
on Mount Rainier. Two days of peace,
immersed in the sounds and smells
of The Mountain – waterfalls and birds
and glaciers and hemlock and heather.

And then we’re leaving The Mountain –
driving through traffic and diesel fumes
on the freeway – past metal warehouses
and box stores and billboards
advertising cars and drugs and hamburgers.

And there’s Rainier – rising above the concrete
and car dealerships and rusty storage units,
and I feel sad that humanity seems so heedless
of her beauty – so unappreciative – almost
disrespectful in the ugliness it’s built in front of her.

Two hours from The Mountain, I look back
and get one last glimpse – she’s still there –
still with me – majestic in the distance –
untouched by the fuss and folderol,
the ego and greed of human-kind.

And as I think about this it occurs to me
that this is true of everything that’s real, isn’t it?
All the ugly and fuss that ego builds in front
of our identities can’t destroy our real selves –
can’t destroy what we really are:

The manifestations and expressions of Love.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Spiritual interpreted, rocks and mountains stand for solid and grand ideas.”
-Mary Baker Eddy

(Photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)




 

Sending Our Little Egos into Battle

Well, dang. I just found myself
getting caught up in the endless loop
again – that spinning hamster’s hoop
again – that weird compulsion we
humans have to prove we’re right –
to send our little egos out to fight
in a battle that no one will win.

Hurling opinions and catpulting “facts”
believing that where our data lands
will bring us fresh new fans
And getting frustrated when it doesn’t
work out quite the way we planned.

Because that’s not how Love works!
Love works in kindness –
in the ties of caring that bind us.
Love brings us together for each other
– to help and hold and heal
and to embrace what’s lasting and real.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell







What Will Matter in Fifty Years

Last night as I was falling asleep I thought again of that one-star rating someone gave me for my audio book (that rating appears at the top of the page any time I google myself) and I came to terms with it. Sort of. I figured it was going to be there as long as I needed it to be there. I decided to be grateful for whatever lesson I need to learn from it. And then I thought bigger than that. When I die, I realized, none of any of that is going to matter – not the five stars, not the one star, not my name or my reputation or my popularity – that stuff – all of it – will soon be forgotten and in 50 years nobody will even remember “Karen Molenaar Terrell” was here. The one star and the five stars have nothing to do with who I really am – with my real identity as a child of the Cosmos. What WILL matter in 50 years is that I was kind while I was here, and honest. Even though my name won’t be remembered, I figure any kindness I leave behind me will leave an impression – a ripple maybe – that will join all the other ripples of kindness and help bring our little boat of mankind to the shore in a wave of Love. (I know. I am so deep, right?)

So anyway – this morning – the first morning of 2021 – I googled me again (I cannot help myself – remember that scene in “Schitt’s Creek” where Johnny asks a freaked-out Moira if she “googled” herself again?) and some kind someone had added a 5-star rating to my audio book! Bless their heart. That brings my audiobook up to three stars now. And – to be honest (and because I’m still human) – that feels a lot better than one star.

Thank you, kind person.

Just a Happy Old Bat

I’m no one’s competition anymore –
and I’m so grateful I’ve moved past that.
Any youth and beauty I might have had before
brought me into a rivalry I was never good at.
Now I’m just a happy old bat!
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“As the physical and material, the transient sense of beauty fades, the radiance of Spirit should dawn upon the enraptured sense with bright and imperishable glories.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Ego Shmego

My ego has been struggling the last month or so – and that can sometimes seem painful as it’s happening – but it has also meant huge growth for my true sense of be-ing.  

“…all things work together for good to those who love Love…” 
– Romans 8:28

So a month ago I decided to google myself. (Note to the wise: DO NOT GOOGLE YOURSELF. EVER. FOR ANY REASON.) What has come up in the past have been links to my books, maybe some letters I wrote to newspapers, a link to my blog, a couple stories about my dad. Stuff like that. And I’m used to seeing four or five stars come up with my books. And my ego has really enjoyed that.

But what has been coming up for the last month or so on the first Google page of my search has been a one-star rating for an audiobook I made of Blessings. And that one-star rating is stuck to that first page like a slug to my sunflowers.

A little background about my audiobook: Back in 2013 – after one or two of my vision-challenged friends asked me to do this – I used my husband’s garageband app on his Mac and a headphone and mic I bought for $29.95 at Best Buy to make an audio recording of my book. My son showed me how to click on stuff – showed me how to watch the sound-waves and moderate the volume – and then patted me on the back and wished me luck.

I never actually expected anyone to buy this thing – except maybe those one or two friends who’d asked me to make it. And I haven’t thought much about it. I mean… until I found the one-star rating on the front page of Google.

I know it’s been good for me to find it there: It’s nudged me to contemplate what constitutes my true identity and value; to snuggle in close to divine Love;  and to spend some time in self-reflection. And I’ve learned something about myself: At first, I was tempted to just delete the recording – but then I thought of the reason I’d made the recording in the first place – as an outreach to my friends who are struggling with their sight – so I sucked it up and kept the recording there. And I feel good about myself for that – for putting my friends ahead of my ego.

Anyway. Apparently Australia has its own audible.com audiobook site and yesterday I found some dear (and highly discerning ) soul in Australia had given the exact same audio recording 5 stars all across the boards. Bless that person.

Of course, I had to take a picture. 🙂

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.

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

Of Pea Soup and Spinning Heads

(Reworked from a post originally published in 2014.)
I’ve never seen The Exorcist, but I have seen that scene with the pea soup and the spinning head – and lately I’ve seemed to encounter a lot of what I would put in the “pea soup and spinning head” category. There have been times, recently, when personalities have seemed to spin themselves out of alignment with the individuals they really are, spewing out all kinds of hell – anger, frustration, jealousy, fear, revenge, hatred, finger-pointing. And I’m embarrassed to say that on at least a couple occasions recently I myself was the spewer – feeling really angry and hurt about someone I felt had treated me unfairly.

It none of it felt good.

But then I came across yet another spewing-spinner on a discussion board, and found myself just stepping back and kind of observing in interested fascination as the pea soup flew and the vitriol sprayed. The pea soup and vitriol had been intended for me, but they were so over-the-top and spewed so high in the air that it simply erupted above the spewer’s head and ended up landing back on her. It didn’t touch me at all. And, standing there on the outside of the mess, it became really clear to me that the spinning-spewing personality was not at all the real individuality of my fellow poster. It was obvious that what I had just witnessed was nothing but a spinning-spewing counterfeit of the real man and woman, made in God’s likeness – made in the likeness of Love.  And it also became clear to me that I had no desire or need to spend my time engaged in conversation with a counterfeit. I was able to step back and move on and find other interesting dialogues that better served me.  I didn’t give the counterfeit the power to push me OUT of a space where I belonged, and nor did I give the counterfeit the power to pull me INTO a space where I didn’t belong. I didn’t have to react or respond to the counterfeit at all.

This encounter with the counterfeit poster helped me come to terms with my feelings of anger and wish for vengeance towards the personality who had treated me so poorly in the past. I had to recognize that the real man is the child of God – that God loves him no less than he loves me – and that God is instructing him, and leading him down his own path in life, with its own lessons waiting for him. And none of that is any of my business.

My business is keeping watch on my own thoughts and actions. Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Christian Science commands man to master the propensities, – to hold hatred in abeyance with kindness, to conquer lust with chastity, revenge with charity, and to overcome deceit with honesty. Choke these errors in their early stages, if you would not cherish an army of conspirators against health, happiness, and success.”

As Paul says, we all must work out our “own salvation.”  It’s rewarding work. It’s satisfying work. And it’s also enough work to fill my moments and my days for eternity. Who has time to worry about working out someone ELSE’s flaws and foibles, when I have enough of my own to worry about?

Spinning heads and pea soup, be gone!

The Humbling

Unfed, shred, and shed
every humbling shrinking
the ego until it loses all
hold, all importance, all
power and perspective
shifts and what’s true
emerges from the tatters.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

And maybe someday I will say more about that. 🙂

Quiet Time of Quarantine

Enfolded in a sense of perfect well-being
a pure peace and stillness and quiet
surrounds me as I glide on my bike past
green fields and red barns and little yellow
flowers framing the craggly snow-topped
volcano in the background. I can smell
the briny bay and the sweet new buds
on the alders and the earthy scent of the
dairy farm – familiar and comforting.
One or two cars pass me, but I am mostly
alone on this road on the flats. Is it selfish
to say that this quiet time of quarantine
has been a blessing for me? I have thirsted
for a break from the angst and agitation,
the buzzing busyness and frantic, frenetic
frightful panicked pace of politics and ego.
I am enjoying this simple time of just be-ing.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Peace, be still.”
– Mark 4:39

mount baker this one (2)