Week #19 – Do the unexpected

Okay, those of you following the daily sunrise posts on my photography blog know that I had a bit of a shock this week.  Rather than going over it again here, I’ll post a link:  2016-02-12 – Writing copy… exposing weakness, underscoring strength

On the plus side, I managed to avoid an argument and get Jerry to modulate both his voice and his emotional state this week.

Years ago, a family of friends had a dog named Cinder.  He was a German Shepherd-type, though being taller with a narrow, deep chest there might have been some greyhound in his background, and he went to become a police dog.  He washed out of training – a bit too high strung; he broke out in hot spots.  When he came back, he was still the same energetic dog, but he’d developed a quirk; you couldn’t put your face down near his.  He’d tolerate it for a few seconds, then he’d develop this strange, almost feral, look in his eye, and he’d lunge for you.

One afternoon he tried it with me.  He wanted a walk in the worst way, and he shoved his muzzle up to where it was almost touching my nose to plead silently.  As our gazes met and held, I watched his expression change, then – just before he would have lunged – I turned my back on him.  Mom Terwilliger laughed and said later his face was something to see as he tried to work out what had just happened and what he should do.  I let him make friends with me again after about five minutes of him circling around, whimpering and poking at me with a paw.

So this week, Jerry’s been in a temper most of the time.  He shouts, throws tools, and congratulates himself for ‘getting it all out’ so he ‘won’t turn into a wife beater.’

First of all, I have a serious problem with that phrase.  Basically what it means is that he’s content to not be a bad person, rather than wanting to work on improving himself to that he can be a good person.

There was a matter we had to discuss, and he wanted to shout and engage in hyperbole and empty threat rather than talk.  I was tired of his volume, I wasn’t going to start shouting in return; imagine my surprise when I found myself turning my back on him, given that I’d all but forgotten that incident with Cinder.

And like Cinder before him, Jerry didn’t quite understand what was happening or what he should do about it.  When he stopped shouting, I said over my shoulder that I wasn’t interested in discussing anything with someone who couldn’t use a conversational tone.  Twice more he started shouting; twice more I turned my back until he stopped. We eventually got the burr under his saddle talked out in a reasonable fashion.

It felt good.  No muss, no fuss, no anger feeding back on itself and growing into massive proportions.  And it was satisfying, too, because for weeks I’ve resented (while trying to choose otherwise) the fact that because of the MKMMA and the Franklin Makeover, he could say anything he wanted, however inflammatory or hurtful and I couldn’t.

I’m starting to suspect I need to spend less time around him, as long as he’s determined to be anxious and angry.

Week #18 – Fitting together nicely

Sunday’s webinar was marvelous, made better by the company I was in; I was masterminding with Don before the webinar, and taking pictures of a droolsome Valentine Day meal that Leanne made as a supplement to her Gluten-free cookbook (coming soon!) after the webinar.

Being around the right people can do worlds of good for your mood and attitude.

And it came in perfect timing, too.  Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been trekking to the eastern overlook of the nearby Barn Bluff – a hill here in bluff country that stands 1001 feet above sea level, and you have to hike about 343 feet upward to get to the top of the ridge.  I’ve pushed myself to get up early enough to make the half-hour drive in to town and the forty-minute walk to the overlook; dealt with snow and ice on the trail, winds and fog and twenty-below-zero (Fahrenheit, now, not Centigrade) temperatures.  I’ve taken pictures of a sunrise that was only theoretical, the clouds were so thick and grey; seen vivid reds, deep purples, fiery oranges and molten golds fair fit to adorn an artist’s palette.  Each day I’ve posted those photos of sunrise on my photo blog, along with a story of a thought that occurred to me on the trail – sometimes photography advice, sometimes a tale related to self-development or a particular challenge, sometimes words that have nothing to do with anything.

Nothing has stopped me yet.  Not snow, not ice, nor cold, or wet numb feet; not the increasingly-early hour or a brief bout with a wretched cold, nor nights of short sleep; even the nasty huge specks on my camera sensor didn’t do more than slow me down a bit – sent my camera in for cleaning while a kind friend loaned me his.

The “I” in me had decided, the die was cast, and there was no longer any doubt; I am getting my 366 Barn Bluff sunrises this year.

So when my photography buddy Ivan and my husband Jerry started saying to me earlier this week that “unforseen life events happen, and you have to prepare yourself for not getting all your sunrises,” and “it’s not as if you have to get them all in one year, as long as you get photos of each day of the year,” it was something of a blind-side strike.

I told them both, “No life events are going to happen that will prevent my capturing the 366 sunrises, and you need to mind your thoughts because I don’t need those intentions sent into the Universe.”

Dream-stealers, however well-intentioned, aren’t going to stop me, either.

Well, got an e-mail this week from a gentleman that I met on January 1st; David is a member of the group Friends of the Bluff.  They’re local folks who help maintain the paths, work with the park services when controlled burns are necessary, promote the Bluff as a spot of interest.  David says they’re starting a newsletter among their members and other people who have expressed interest in the Bluff, and he’d like to feature me and my project in their first issue!  He wants to get me traffic to my photoblog and share some of the photos and stories of the Bluff.

Pretty cool, huh?

And on the publishing front, the print-on-demand service that I had my eye on for my journals is running a special for the month of February; they are waiving the one-time $50 setup fee for all new titles!  I’d been wondering where I would come up with the funds to get all six volumes of the meditation journals done!

Question asked, and the Universe answered.

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One more event of note this week – southern Minnesota was supposed to get slammed with a rip-snorter of a winter storm on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I asked, ever so politely, that the snow not start until after I was home on Tuesday, and that by the time I was on the road Wednesday morning the roads would be clear and easy to drive.  And barring a bit of drifting and some patches of ice on the county roads (easy to spot and perfectly safe to drive over so long as you slow down), what happened was exactly what I asked for.

Week #17HJ – A dream I didn’t know I had

So several months ago I took a course on how to create low-content books (books like journals, coloring books, anything with less than 5,000 words).  I’ve been formulating, creating outlines, learning software – you know, procrastinating and not getting anything done while at the same time pretending to be busy doing things.

I am pleased to say I have the content finished on the first five of my planned journals, and will be sending at least one to the printers to produce a proof by the end of the weekend!

It’s been a fun and sometimes frustrating process, learning what works and what doesn’t on the design software, incorporating tips and techniques to make them look professionally produced, and of course, coming up with the writing prompts, structure, and background images.  The best part, though?  These first six (still working on the final volume) are meditation journals designed to be paired with Haanel’s Master Keys, so I’ve spent the last week absolutely immersed in his beautifully-constructed sentences and perfectly phrased wisdom.  I’ve also included quotations from other folks on each day’s journaling pages.

And I’ve got outlines for sooooo many more journals!  Cruises – 3-day, 5-day, 7-day and 14-day, each cruise length its own separate book – road trip journals, an airshow journal, hunting and fishing journals, coin collector’s journal (which can then be easily modified to become a stamp collector’s journal), gardening journals…  The goal is to produce one per week this year.  Of course, they still have to meet quality standards – not going to produce junk just to meet a goal, I can tell you that!

But, add the journal work to my sunrise photos and related daily photoblog, and my week has been both full and focused.  Also got some work done on my photo library, sorting through and tagging the candidates for “Minnesota Skies, a 2017 calendar” that I’ll be printing up between June and August this year.

Driving home from Barn Bluff this morning (and it was another colorful morning, which is always wonderful), I was contemplating this growing enthusiasm and skill for publishing design.  And I found myself wondering:  Is this why I could never interest a publisher in my work?  Because once upon a time I ate, slept, breathed writing.  I worked with great joy and enthusiasm, had it all planned.  I was going to write wonderful stories that my chosen publishing company would see as a hidden gem, people would love the books and I’d get to go on book tours and signings and maybe even develop a worldwide following and when I wasn’t writing books I would be breeding and training search and rescue dogs who would eventually be paired with a search and rescue human who suited each other perfectly.  It was planned.  Visualized.  Worked on daily, with always the goal in view of becoming a full-time writer.

None it ever materialized.  Always, my manuscripts were rejected.

Only now I’m learning how to publish for myself from Kristen Joy the Book Ninja, learning techniques for making self-published work look professionally done; listening to her teach the intricacies of the book publishing world, from ISBNs to barcodes to LoC registry and prepping a book for Kindle publishing rather than hard copy…

… and it comes at a time when I’ve been working really hard on myself, too, learning who and what I am and what I truly want and become acquainted with my own power to the extent that I have the confidence to take a leap of faith…

It’s only a gigantic coincidence if you don’t believe in Universal Mind.

Week #17 – As above, so below; as within, so without

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Wow – is it Thursday again already?  Yep, must be – it’s written on my schedule to write and post a blog today.

You know, honestly, I follow along with the MKMMA, I do my best to meet all the requirements, and yet I find I am learning more about myself, what I’m meant to do, how to arrange my life so that I am happy, through my sunrise project on Barn Bluff than I am through the MKMMA exercises and webinars – making the walk, taking the pictures, writing my photography blog.  I suppose it’s partly because there’s lots of time for introspection and contemplation of the world within while walking the trail.  But it’s also that I’m out here doing something that I enjoy.  If you’ve gotten all this way into the MKMMA course, you should already be doing things that support your deepest desires – the DMP, the index card with the Plan of Action and all, should take care of that.

But if you’re not – if you’re still wrestling with who am I really, and what am I meant to do? – then do yourself a favor.  First of all, STOP OBSESSING.  Mental effort defeats itself, remember?  Just… get out of your own head.  Commit to a daily series, whether it be writing a poem a day, or taking a set of pictures, or sketching, or painting, whatever you like to do.  Find the time, find the attention to spare for it.  You’ll discover that the very act of commitment, followed by the activity every day, will accelerate the process of change.

_MG_5284And along the way, you’ll inevitably find yourself answering the questions of who you are, what you want, where your life’s purpose lies.  Because meeting the demands of that daily series is very like another type of meditation; you’re focused; you’re present; you’ve opened the door to that secret, creative part of your mind and heart and you’re listening to what it says.  It’s… like studying the reflections in the water in order to understand what they’re an image of.

And I’ve discovered that in making the walk up to the top of Barn Bluff, in taking pictures of the sunrise and being aware of what’s around me, the Master Keys and Og and the exercises all make so much more sense.  I can apply the principles to my actions, my thoughts, my plans.  It’s a connection that I just don’t feel in the Alliances or during the webinars.  I read, I listen, I understand… but I don’t feel.  And I see blog posts and shares in the Alliances, people who are manifesting exactly what they’ve always wanted, which feeds belief and enthusiasm, which accelerates the change, which in turn fuels greater belief and enthusiasm, and those folk are radiating gratitude and appreciation of Mark, Davene, and the guides… and sometimes I wonder what’s wrong with me, that I continue to view the people and the process with the eyes of an outsider, an observer, a non-participant.

On the other hand, maybe some of that is how it’s supposed to work.  We start out dependent, feeling our way into the power of the world within through the help of Mark, Davene and the guides, taking uncertain steps into the darkness until we find our light – following the gurus, however little they want to be thought of as such!  But then, because we’ve been openly and yet subtly retaught how to think for ourselves, we graduate to forging our own meanings, our own interpretations:  Haanel, Og, Campbell, Wooden, Allen, Hill, as their wise words apply to us, specifically, instead of a more sweeping, generalized, one-size-fits-all outlook.

The principles remain; solid, unchanging.  But the details of the application become more personalized, tailored to our own uniqueness.

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Week #16 – A shield of uniqueness

So, some of you know that I’ve embarked on a year-long photography project; capturing 366 sunrises in a calendar year from the same spot – namely, Barn Bluff in Red Wing.  Each day is a blog post with accompanying pictures; each blog post details an experience, a photography tip or technique, a story.

This morning, I had one of those terrible human moments.  It centered around an email that I’d gotten yesterday from a group that I follow; Great Escape Publishing.  The newsletter is titled “The Right Way to Travel” and featured an interview with a gal who had built a passive-income website that this year was allowing she and her husband to spend eight weeks away from a Chicago winter.  Connie Reed is a fun writer, she enjoys what she does, she’s good at describing events and places.  Her website is organized, pretty, and while there are ads they aren’t overwhelming.  The problem?  The title she chose is the Midwest Wanderer; my travel website is the Midwestern Wanderer.  And as I was paging through Connie’s site and thinking how nice it looked and how mine was… well, was basically a reflection of me:  sloppy, inconsistent, focused on stories instead of conveying information about places and events, and I thought, what do I have, what is it about my writing and my chosen niche that are good enough for me to think I can attract a following?

Photography blogs are a dime a dozen; travel sites even cheaper.  And fitness blogs?  Hah!  Everyone and their sister has a fitness blog.  What about me is so unique that people would come to my website and share their story, read and enjoy the stories that are there?  In what way would I ever stand out, other than the fact the articles were written by me?  And who – other than me – would be interested in reading a thing that, essentially, is all about me?

What possible justification could there be for me to have a website at all?  Not an expert, no area of great skill, no education beyond a year and a half at what amounted to a trade school, what about me is so doggone interesting that it would ever leave a mark on the world?

What if there’s nothing left behind to remind anyone that I was ever here?

Fortunately, it was snowing lightly in Red Wing; the slippery stuff had already coated the ground.  And as a wave of cold terror rolled over me, the truck skidded pulling up to a stop sign.  I was reminded very sharply to pay attention to the here and now, and let the there and thereafter take care of itself.  And sitting at the stop sign, waiting for my heart to slow back down to a more normal rhythm, Og’s Scroll IV sprang to mind:  I am nature’s greatest miracle.

And it occurred to me that these new phrases that we are pounding, pounding, pounding into our brains are more than just new habits of thought and repetition that we’re using to create the future; they’re also a shield against the old and more destructive patterns of the past, springing to mind in our new self’s defense whenever the old habits rear up to strike at us from out of the darkness behind our eyes.

What’s unique about my websites is me.  Nature’s greatest miracle, like no other before me and never again to be repeated.  My fellow Midwestern storytellers will find the site whenever the Universe decrees the time is right for them to do so; they’ll share their tales, with me and with others that frequent the site, and fond memories will be preserved on the ‘net for all time.  And maybe I’ll put ads for passive income on it and maybe I won’t – right now, I’m leaning toward ‘not’ no matter how big the site gets.  The farthest I’ll go would be affiliate marketing for the specific hotels that I’ve stayed in and can favorably recommend.

Because that is part of my uniqueness that I place on display.

Week #15 – Getting Organized

2016-01-04 Sunrise

2016-01-04 Sunrise – Pretty, isn’t it?

Since I work from home, I’m not in the world much (I might have mentioned that before).  So during the weeks of the Franklin Makeover, most of my results will be from Jerry, myself, and the people whose webinars I regularly attend (Tony Laidig.  Kristen Joy.  Dom of Elite eCoach.  And of course the MKMMA).

Once upon a time, the files here at home were meticulously kept, bank statements reviewed and logged regularly, and any piece of financial information could be located in less than a minute.  The last year and a half, that’s no longer the case.  And the longer the papers were in that condition, the easier it got to put off organizing it again, because facing the mess they’d become was too, too depressing.

Well, it’s tax time again.  And having that information organized and readily to hand is now vital.

Can you guess what virtue fills the first blank in my Franklin Makeover?

So I got myself a day planner – because using a notebook to plan my days wasn’t cutting it, and nor was the scheduling of reminders in the iPad.  The first three days were experimental; I filled them in with what I wanted to get done and guesstimated how long each task would take.  (Just as a side note, I did awesome at keeping up with the schedule those days.)  The evening of Sunday the 3rd, I sat down with a pocket notebook and the day planner and asked “What do I want to get done this week?”  Wrote a list.  Sketched in how much time each would take, then added a bit.  Checked with Jerry – was there anything special he wanted to do this week?  Looked at his medical stuff – yep, one appointment at Mayo on Wednesday that would take a goodly chunk of day.

Day plannerDrew up the schedule.  There have been some hiccups; some modifications, a couple of regular weekly items I missed writing down, but all in all the week has been enormously productive (if a bit lacking in sleep).  I’ve posted every day of my sunrise blog, complete with pictures.  I have my very first low-content book, a meditation journal, on schedule to be ready for publication by Saturday evening.  And I’ve gathered every paper unfiled and out of place and have them sorted into stacks on the kitchen table.  Next step is to sort the piles into chronological order, then scan them to a searchable file with my printer/scanner (that is so cool – did you know some printers can do that?  If your scanner has the right software, you can tell it to create a searchable document, where it recognizes the text and you can sort and run searches by keywords!); third step (third week of January) is to file everything away in boxes; fourth step, the last week of January, is collating all the business-related financials and filling out the taxes.  After that, of course, is to maintain the proper organization and collation of information as the year passes, rather than waiting for the end of the year to do it all.

And you know what?  Apparently this part of the MKMMA is contagious; Jerry’s been organizing the basement.  He built a closet in a patch of odd space, and in that is to be stored towels and washcloths for the downstairs bathroom, plus games and puzzles and my sewing bins of fabric and tools.  Bookshelves have been shifted, reorganized, and repopulated.  The basement is starting to look magnificent, and I’ve told him so several times.  (Of course, that was between scolds to stop lifting things that weigh more than twenty pounds!  He has an inguinal hernia; the surgery is scheduled for the 21st, and I don’t want it strangulating before then!)

I should have taken the picture during the day, but you can still see his winter leaves!

I should have taken the picture during the day, but you can still see his winter leaves!

Oh, and hey, check this out – my hibiscus is still flourishing, and you can tell the difference between the summer and the winter leaves!  The winter leaves are the lighter-colored larger ones that have rotated themselves toward the window, so the greatest surface area is facing the winter sun.  Law of Growth!

Gotta go.  Time to get more paper sorting done.

Week #14 – Chain of events

(So just as an author’s note – I know our movie reviews are due this week.  I detest anything that smacks of a book report; so far as I’m concerned, it’s nothing more than a way of proving that yes, you actually did do the assignment.  I’ll get it done, no fear.  Thing is, I can actually spot the requisite keys – DMP, PMA, POA, MMA – in just about every movie I see these days; once you’re conscious of the fact those elements exist, you see them everywhere.  But the story below is the important bits of this week.)

I have issues with the concept of ‘give more, get more.’  When interpreted a certain way, the principle seems to suggest that giving is essentially selfish.  If we must give in order to get – and everyone wants to get something – how then are we not being self-serving in giving, knowing we will be given what we desire (so long as it does not take another’s good) in exchange?  It seems to reduce the spiritual choice of giving to a cold, rational equation.  And that, quite frankly, is not why I give my time, my feeling, my thought, and yes, my money, in an effort to find or create gifts other people might like.  And I can’t help thinking that giving  because you can’t get unless and until you give will contaminate whatever the Universe tries to give you.  Intention counts.  Intention always counts.

But.  There is no question that an exchange is taking place.

My buddy Ivan is a great guy; generous, inclusive, supportive.  He’s also quietly imaginative, self-contained, somewhat… hmm… antisocial definitely isn’t the right word; he enjoys being around people who are upbeat, don’t constantly complain, have good senses of humor, but he also very much enjoys solitude – particularly when he’s working on a photography project.  Introverted, maybe… though that doesn’t really ring true, either.

Anyway.  Ivan is the reason I and my brother Ted have a place to go hunting; Ivan invited us both into the hunting group, and his family owns 300+ acres here in southern Minnesota.  Well, Ted found a CD that Ivan has always wanted and gave it to him for Christmas – because he knew Ivan wanted it, and he was grateful for Ivan’s friendship and the long-standing invitation into the hunting group.  Well, like I said last week, Jerry and I (and Ted and Mom and Dad) all went out east to visit family for the holiday; it snowed about six inches while we were gone.  Jerry and I were on our way home, I was fairly sure the township road we live on had been plowed, but I wasn’t looking forward to needing to snowblow the driveway – particularly after nearly a week in seventy-degree temperatures!

But as we turned up the driveway from the township road, I saw that the driveway itself had been plowed, all the way up to the garage.  I was thrilled.  Seriously, there is nothing like that feeling; seeing the cleared area, knowing I won’t have to deal with the snowblower, excitement as I wonder who might have done us such a wonderful kindness!

(Ivan said it was the snowplow fairies.)

Well, as I was shoveling the deck, I was thinking about my folks, still out east until after the 31st.  They live about twenty minutes away, so more than likely their driveway needed doing, too.  I thought about the lovely surprise Jerry and I had been given, and thought, we should give my folks that same gift.

So we took a trip over to their house, only to find their driveway had been plowed out, too!

I’m still going back tomorrow to check the mousetraps, snowblow the sidewalk, and create a path to the propane tank for the LP guy.  Because I like to be kind to the people who deliver the fuel, and if I were them, I’d rather not have to slog through the snow to get to the tank.  And because I know my parents like to have the sidewalks clear and I would rather Dad not have to do it – because he’ll be thinking about needing to do it in ten-to-fifteen degree weather after being out east for a week of seventyish-degree temperatures.

And that is harmony.

Week #13 – Past, present, future

Full moon at Christmas

Not a long post today.  Just kind of a short note.

The whole family is together this year; my sister and brother-in-law are hosting at their new home.  Sixteen of us all under the same roof, and it’s delightful.  There have been many opportunities this week that trigger an MKMMA-related thought, generally regarding the subconscious and its unerring ability to create the exact circumstances that are being focused on.  With so many early birds in the house, I’m trying (with difficulty) to shift my nocturnal schedule.  I need to do that anyway if I’m going to go back to photographing sunrises.

But mostly I’ve been fascinated with my baby nephew Everett, just seven and a half months old.  He is pure potential.  His baby noises make me think of a singer; his wordless prattle brings to mind a public speaker; his constant attention to any and all activity around him suggest he might be a people person, or maybe a scientist examining the world he will live in.  I wonder if he will grow up liking football or hockey, cars or trains, music or art.  When he is yowling with hunger and cuts it off midyell to start saying, “NummMMMmmmm,” as a spoonful of baby food touches his tongue, I wonder if we’re born knowing the syllable for tasty, or if he has just learned it that early.  He fell asleep in my arms today, his ear resting just above my heart.

He’s just about ready to start crawling.  He’ll get up on hands and knees and rock back and forth; he’ll scoot himself along, pulling his belly along the ground with forearms and hands gripping the carpet, toes shoving from behind.   He hasn’t crawled yet with his midsection up in the air.  But, oh, does he already understand the unfairness of letting him army-crawl toward a toy only to move it once he’s almost reached the goal!  His squall of protest is loud and emphatic then!

I wonder what the cement of the world will make of him; I wonder what his light will make of the world.

Looking forward to finding out over the next twenty-thirty years.

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Week #12 – Imagining the future

First of all, since I know you’re going to notice – No, I did not post my Week 11.  You don’t get to see my week eleven.  An honest writing of week eleven (and yes, it would have been a couple days late) turned out far too intensely personal to be allowed into the world at large; and to modify it enough for me to be comfortable sending it into the world would not have been honest.  So some form of compromise was necessary, since this experience is designed to evoke the authentic self.

What I will tell you is that week eleven was spent in various stages of anger.  And I’m okay with that.  Why?  Because once the anger finally burns itself out, it leaves behind clarity.  I welcome clarity.

There is a difference between truth and faith; there is a difference between resisting changing an internal blueprint and denying the authentic self – the key lies in determining where one stops and the other starts – because sometimes the one looks awfully like the other.  Asking questions is critical to figuring out which is which.  And so is listening – sometimes to the most unlikely of sources.

But enough about last week.

This week is not so angry – mostly because of anticipation.  We are heading out to the east coast to visit with family – the whole lot of us (16 people from Mom and Dad all the way down to seven-month Everett!) are getting together for Christmas!

There is a part of me that wonders how well my no opinion, no judgement, no negative thoughts or statements, is going to hold.  Family has a way of knowing the most sensitive buttons to press.  But it is more curiosity than concern, which I reckon up as a good thing.  Seeing as how I have firmly in mind that nobody but me chooses how I feel (even if certain members of the family try to tell me what I’m thinking and feeling in any given moment), I should do just fine.  I shall craft in my head wonderful conversations, beautiful experiences, form them so firmly and thoroughly that the universe cannot help but arrange matters exactly how I imagine them.

The long dark is nearly over – soon the sun rises longer and stronger, day by day!  Each day I create a new low-content journal to publish, each week I rewrite another chapter of my current book; soon I shall be photographing sunrises again!  I have only a year left before we head to South Dakota; and I want those 366 sunrises from the eastern overlook of Barn Bluff!

Week #10 –

“I want to tell you everything, everything all at once.

“I don’t want to be plod-patient, setting it down in sequence:  first the plague, then the cave-in, then the years of Other Business, when everything seemed like a burden to get out of the way before real life could start.  Everyone knows this is real life, it’s all real life, sixty seconds of real life every minute, no one gets less.

“But you can take less.

“…You live through a day, and at the end you grumble, “But I didn’t do anything” …but second by second you did do things, you occupied every second, just as you occupy every second of every day.

“Here’s the thing, the cruicial thing:  your life is full.  And if you don’t realize that… then you’re just like the rest of us, but that’s no excuse.”

-Faye Smallwood

“Vigilant” – James Alan Gardner

What story shall I tell, this week?  Shall I tell of persistence (“I will persist.  I will win.”) and the role it played in winning the NaNoWriMo Challenge (1700 words a day, every day, for thirty days)?  Shall I talk about hunting, and then processing the deer our hunting group took, and how you can find new and unexpected ways to appreciate nature even though it’s an activity that occasionally has people frothing at the mouth over how morally objectionable it all is?  Shall I go further and speak of those differences in philosophy?  Should I relate difficulties, or talk of boredom with the exercises and repetitions and how that very state is yet another example of resistance by the old blueprint?

What story would you like to hear?

Because life is all about stories.  All that life is, really, is stories, each story a crystal drop of memory, shining and glittering, telling you just that little bit more about yourself.  The stories you experience.  The ones you tell yourself, in the silence of your mind.  The ones you collect from other people – because the stories you find appealing or appalling still tell you something about who you are.  The ones you share.

The one you become.

And whether or not we are proud of our story ultimately depends on how closely we come to match the siren call of our true selves – our inner ideal.  The explosive and confident imaginings of a child, tempered by life and inattention of the Guardian at the Gate into vague underpinnings of dissatisfaction and a feeling that something’s just not right.

What is the result when a dynamo is generating electricity, the circuit is cut off and there is no outlet?  The Dynamo stops.

It will be exactly the same with you, if you entertain thoughts which are not in accordance with the Infinite and cannot therefore be polarized…”

Master Key 10:19 and 20 – Charles Haanel

And yet abundance will not simply drop out of the sky – you have to identify what it is you want and then make the application – you have to work for it.

But really, what is the point of drawing imaginary shapes on the wall and manipulating them in orientation and color?  What does that have to do with finding and creating the life you’ve wanted all along?

What’s the point of a child finding shapes in the clouds?  Just random play?

Not likely.  Like the exercise, finding shapes in the clouds sharpens the imagination; sharpening the imagination allows us to more clearly define our vague desires into a whole that is clearly seen, intricately mapped.

And yet it’s an elusive exercise, this one – oh, it’s easy enough to run through the entire thing with eyes closed, seeing the figures with visual internal imagination; but with eyes open?  Seeing with the physical eye as the mind’s eye draws it?

Impossible, you say.  It’s imaginary; how can I possibly see it when it doesn’t exist?

How do you see your future, when it doesn’t yet exist?  How do you see figures in the clouds?  How do you see the imaginary lines that create constellations out of random stars?  For that matter, how do you see intangibles like wisdom, courage, strength, freedom?  Yet you know those exist; as, perhaps, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny do not.  But as Terry Pratchett pointed out in the Discworld book Hogfather, we start out by believing in the little lies so as to prepare us to believe in the big ones like freedom, like justice – because you can’t show me an atom of mercy; you can’t sift down the substance of the world and locate a grain of hope.  But you know they exist.

And yet it’s all tricks of the mind.  Just like seeing an imaginary figure with physical eyes.  How sharp will you let your imagination become, in your quest for your future?  How much will you play at seeing shapes in the clouds?  Because that’s a key component to it, too; working hard to force it to come will get you nowhere but frustration – employ the law of relaxation and just play.

I still can’t see the whole figure yet; three adjoining lines is as far as I’ve gotten.  But I will persist.  Like NNoWriMo, it’s just a matter of doing a little a day, every day, until the cumulative effect is felt.