Week #24 – Victory is mine.

A flock of Trumpters

Check this out – I know the focus on the actual subject totally stinks, but any guesses as to what these are?

Hee!  That’s an entire flock of Trumpeter Swans on their way to… wherever it is that they go!  I kid you not, they flew right over the truck on my way home from the Bluff after taking pictures of the sunrise this morning!  I’d seen them in pairs, but never in these massive numbers!  And that brings to mind my greatest benefit from the MKMMA; everything I see is new.  Everything I see is beautiful.  The trail to the eastern overlook of the Bluff where I take my morning photos is 0.83 miles long, and on the way down today I found myself taking a deep breath – not to settle nerves or calm a negative emotion, but just to taste the scent of melting snow and old leaves, and fill my lungs with crisp, clear air and I said, “What a gorgeous morning.”  And the thing is, it wasn’t the most vivid sunrise that I’ve seen so far… yet it was beautiful.  I hate getting up early in the mornings – which should give a whole new dimension to the sunrise photo project – and yet on the two mornings I’ve not made the trip to the top of the bluff, I’ve missed it.

Come the summer, I’m planning on just doing my sit up there after I take my pictures – the spot is perfect.

These days I’m often reminded of the scene in “Renaissance Man,” where Danny DeVito’s character tells his students, “Victory… starts here.” and points to his own head.  (If you haven’t seen the movie, you should give it a look; there’s so much that mirrors exactly what we’ve learned over the last 26 weeks.  Y’know, and one of my gratitude cards says, “I’m grateful for being able to see the universal wisdom in everyday things.”)

So all that mental fussing back at the beginning, all that fretting over whether or not I would finish what I start this time, and day by day it’s suddenly done as if there was nothing unusual about its happening.  And looking back… I don’t feel any different.

There are some down sides.  I’m getting less done day-to-day than I was before the course started, I have less financial abundance, in the back of my mind is the possibility of soon having less time abundance.  The last week or two I have not been faithful to  On the other hand…

I know better how to discipline my mind.  I’ve been reminded of how I manifest the exact conditions in my life, so if I want time and financial abundance, I can create them.  I’ve got the materials and I have my course set for my next six months… and the next… and the next.  I now have a clear idea of where I’m going, and how I’m going to get there.

And…

And now there’s always something to take pleasure and rejoice in.  There are miracles everywhere, however large or small.

Still a lot of work ahead, mostly around going ahead and doing what I’m designed to do and now I can be of service when doing it.

I’m forty-two (and a half) years old; it’s time to finally start LIVING!

Week #23 – Strange mixture

Taxes, taxes, icky icky taxes.  Ordinarily I’d have them done long before now, but been putting off catching up on my business expense tracking, and now have to do that before I can calculate and file my taxes.

There are times when I really, really want to do what my brother does – gather up all the papers and receipts and mileage logs and just hand them off to someone else.  Make the numbers – and making sense out of them – somebody else’s problem.

I used to actually like this time of year.  There was a time – back when the numbers were my friends – when I’d have everything ready, everything kept up each month, taxes would take me less than a week after I’d gotten all the W-2s and 1098.  There were years when we’d get our refunds back in mid-February.

I’ve done no writing for the past four days and barely any photography except for my dawn project, because I’ve been focused, not on filing taxes, but preparing to file taxes.  And I don’t like that.  I all kinds of don’t like that.  Told a fellow MKMMA member today, “This is soooo not ever happening again.”  Once caught up, I am taking steps to stay caught up… proving once again that succeeding really is less work than failing.

On the flip side of the equation, I’m getting more and more focused on what it is I really do want, which parts of my life are no more than annoyances or distractions.  I attended the meeting of a writing group today and each person had to stand and talk about themselves and current projects for up to three minutes (which, as Leanne observed, explains why it was a three-hour meeting!) and among the first words out of my mouth when I stood were, “I love stories.”  Whether it’s writing something true for my website or blog, or spending time in my own universe with my “imaginary” friends, those times are when all is right with the world.

And I don’t do enough of it.  I don’t do enough of it because even though it is my be-all and end-all, for some reason I prioritize it lower than things like housework, dishes, bookkeeping, laundry, learning and applying network marketing skills, and a multitude of other gnat-like tasks that I do simply because nobody else is going to do them.  (And for the love of geese and little green apples, do NOT quote the OATS or the parable of the rocks, pebbles, sand and water at me!)  My aim for this upcoming week is not to figure out why I prioritize it lower, ’cause that doesn’t matter.  No, my focus is to rebuild the habit of doing more writing,  Everything else will fall into place after that.

Week #22a – Putting into practice

Dawn on the Mississippi

Dawn on the Mississippi

Choices, choices.

So last week I called the temp agency – partly because in working from home, I was hardly ever in the world, the only person I really dealt with was my husband, and I felt like a cheat since I never really applied what we’d been learning under real world conditions.  Would my happiness and optimism hold, if surrounded by negative people?  Could I maintain my equanimity when interacting with the angry and bitter?  If I never tested myself, how would I know?

I was scheduled for overnight shifts on Monday and Tuesday at a local food packaging plant, from four PM to two or three or possibly four AM.  Monday morning, I got a text from a friend:

Ivan text

And I was torn, I truly was.  I didn’t really want to go back to work in the regular world, I didn’t think it would be a good, productive use of my time, though I really did need to, to test what I’d learned at the very least.  And I had agreed to the two shifts; in effect, I had given my word.  But, oh, the lure of more pictures… some of which might work as stock photos and earn moola for us… and ice formations don’t last forever.

So I called my mastermind partner, to help me hash it out.  The question I asked her was this: Which would do me more damage in the long run, failing to fulfill a committment, or failing to take an action that would further my DMP?

Her train of thought, bless her, very closely mirrored my own.  In the end I decided to go with my first instinct and call the temp agency to tell them I would no longer be available for the shift that night, and meet Ivan between 2:45 and 3:00 with camera and tripod in hand.  And there were no negative consequences from the temp agency; they understood completely and appreciated that I would still be in to work on Tuesday.

Mike drove his own car, and Ivan and I followed him in the pickup.  Mike was as excited as a kid over the chance to show us this sight, and wished that he would be riding with us so as to see the expressions on our faces when we caught our first glimpse.  (Mike’s an awesome fun guy.  His passion is collecting documents.  He specializes in the Civil War, but has others, several of which would not be out of place in the Smithsonian.  I love to listen to him talk about his documents – what he has in his collection, the history of each, how he acquired them.)

We drove down the Wisconsin side of the river, past a couple of small towns, and then Mike turned up a county road.  Ivan was telling me about the road, and how fun it is to drive on the motorcycle – all curvy and twisty, with the great scenery you would expect of limestone bluff and river country – when we came around a corner to see giant whitish-blue mounds to the right of the road.  Our jaws dropped; I said, “Holy crap,” and Ivan said, “Wow.”

Nick Bayer memorial

Turns out the man who owns the place is a plumber, and hooked up pipes and hoses to the artesian wells that are so prevalent in southwest Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota.  He does this every year, just letting the water run, so that wind, water, and winter weather create enormous towers and ripples and tunnels for people to enjoy, as a memorial to Nick Bayer, a local fellow who died in an accident in 2009.  I don’t know the whole story yet, but I will soon, and then the story will go up on my website for other people to find and enjoy.

I can’t wait for next year, when I can go out to watch the sculptures forming, and to see them lit up at night!

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And if you were wondering, the shift on Tuesday went really well.  I’d forgotten how fun line work can be – the sheer physical nature of it, playing the game of how-well-can-I-do, how-fast-can-I-go, getting to know new people.  I couldn’t use my left hand at all the next day and my sleep schedule got all messed up and I needed to take sunset pictures on Wednesday instead of sunrise because after getting home at three in the morning and soaking in a hot bath to try to soothe aching muscles and then deciding to take a quick nap before heading out the to bluff I could not force myself to get up two hours later and hike up that hill… and even if it wasn’t a good use of my time, I wouldn’t trade the experience.  I found out what I needed to know, I laid some old ghosts to rest, I am a better person for the experience… which I guess makes it a good use of time after all.

And apparently I impressed them at the packaging plant; the temp agency called the next day and said they needed people that night and had asked for me specifically.

And in taking the sunset pictures, I met more people up on the bluff – including three young highschooler-age kids who were up there for pretty much the same reason.  I offered to take their picture with the one girl’s phone so that all three of them could be in the photo with the fiery sunset in the background; they were pleased and grateful, and who knows?  Maybe that was part of the reason I ended up being up there at sunset instead of sunrise on Wednesday.

Red Wing sunset on Barn Bluff

Red Wing sunset on Barn Bluff

Week #22 – In mental neutral

Barn Bluff sunrise photo

This week, I went to write my blog post only to find I literally have nothing to say.

No, really.  Not a word, not a thought, nary a concept…

Stop laughing.

Cardinal on the deck

It’s forgivable; it does sound ludicrous, but I’m really not kidding.  I have run out of insights, wisdom, questions and energy.  I suspect that lack of sleep has something to do with my mental state being in neutral.  I started a new photography project on the first of March; taking pictures of every sunrise for a year, from the top of Barn Bluff (a local geographical point in Red Wing).  I’ve tried changing my mind, influencing my thoughts, deciding differently, and I’ve come to the conclusion that while mornings and I can get along when we have to, we will never be fond fellows.  I’m one of nature’s night owls, and I am perfectly happy that way.

Why then am I taking sunrise photos, particularly from a place 1001 feet above sea level that takes forty minutes just to walk/climb to?

Because I’ve never done it before.  Because I like taking pictures, and sunrises are great subjects.  Because it’s going to be difficult to do for an entire year, especially once the days get longer and longer and the sun starts rising at 5:30 AM – which will mean I’ll have to get up at four to be there on time – and even more difficult in the waning part of the year when the temperature drops, since if there’s anything I dislike more than getting up in the early morning it’s being cold.  Because it’s quiet up there, and there’s a kind of magic in watching a town wake up.  Because stellar mechanics are fascinating, and I’m looking forward to watching the sun migrate back and forth on the horizon over the year.  Because I hadn’t been doing much with my camera recently and I’d missed it.  Because I’ve been feeling more like a fraud with every week that passes and I’m not out among people to put these new techniques to the test, and not yet manifesting abundance in my personal or professional life – at least, not that I can see.  And I’ve had trouble with schooling my thoughts despite the Master Keys and Og’s Scroll IV… which is probably no more than my old blueprint and peptide addiction for feelings of low self-worth talking (thank heavens).

Cardinal on the feeder

So on my walks up to the top of the bluff and back down I’ve been thinking about last Sunday’s webinar – thinking a lot of things, really (and recording my mental ramblings for my photo blog) – specifically about the part where Mark said basically that even if we have the desire and the ability to become everything we’ve ever dreamed, we need to pick one or two and stick with those.  It kind of reminded me of a scene in a book by Merguerite Henry (one of my favorite authors.  Wrote great horse stories about real-life horses and people, and did just exhaustive research for each book, but still made each book entertaining, easy to read, and real).  In Born to Trot, a book about the champion trotting mare Rosalind, main character Gibson White and his dad, accomplished trotting horse trainer Ben White, are at the doctor’s office – Gib’s been getting sick too often and his dad is concerned.  To draw an analogy, after finding out that Gib plays basketball, football, boxes, runs track and helps his dad at the track with the trotters, the doctor asks Gib, “What would you say if I had a promising yearling and I asked you and your dad to develop him into a runner, a trotter and a hunter?”  Gib says that he’d say he and his dad were too busy to take on any more horses.  When the doctor inquires why Gib would turn him down, Gib says, “Because it wouldn’t be fair to the horse.”

It’s unfair of us to expect of ourselves to be great at everything we ever wanted to do, even though we can be great at anything.

I love to write.  I love to take pictures.  Reckon that’s enough.  I don’t need to be a race horse, polo pony and jumper all in one.

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Time for me to hit the rack; the sunrise waits for no one.