I love maps.
Maps are some of my favorite things. Every time I drive somewhere new, I add a state map to my collection. Did you know that state-sponsored rest areas are now giving road maps away for free? I damn near drooled at the thought when I first found out about it. All I have to do for a complete collection is drive to each and every state… Hawaii might be difficult. The bridge across the Pacific hasn’t been built yet.
Periodically I lay all my maps out on the pool table and highlight the routes I’ve used to get places. (One of these years I’ll get new maps all of the same type, cut out the state along the border, and make a to-scale United States wall in the barn or something. Haven’t yet worked out all the details of how I’m going to be able to add new routes while keeping the maps waterproof and protected from the elements, but as soon as I do I ‘m making my wall.)
Maps are awesome. They show you where you’re going. They show you where you’ve been. And they show you all the possibilities that exist along the way.
My favorite ‘possibilities’ are museums. Right now I’m planning a trip east and then south along the eastern seaboard. This particular trip I’ve been planning for about ten years now – changing the route, changing the focus, adding new destinations – and I’ve decided that 2015 is the year. We’re going to stop at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio; spend about a week, maybe more, at the Mall in DC, visiting the memorials, monuments, the Smithsonian(s) – oh, and the International Spy Museum, too, of course; then the Naval Air Museum, NASCAR and Richard Petty museums, tour Talladega track, spend some time at the Kennedy Space Center (did you know you can walk the length of the Saturn V rocket in the Rocket Garden? It’s so darned tall they had to lay it lengthwise along the ground!), and we’ll come home by way of Space Center Houston and the National World War I Museum – plus whatever cool other places we can find along the way (Roadside America is one of the neatest apps there is!).
Because what I’m after when I travel are the stories. Museums not only have their own stories, they house a treasure trove of them! People’s interests, their triumphs, their hardships – little pieces of their hearts and souls, hearts and souls that we are all connected to through Universal Mind.
See, stories… stories are kind of like maps. Every person, every event, every object, has a story. Those stories tell us where we’ve been; they suggest where we might like to go; they show us what possible destinations there are along the way. Stories are humanity, all curled up into a nutshell. Our regrets. Our mistakes. Our victories. Our achievements. Our educations at the hands of the Universe.
And they don’t need to be tampered with in order to be good stories.
This week we were to watch a movie of our choice from a list of four. I’m planning on watching all four; Rudy and October Sky have been on my list for a while, and I’d never heard of Door to Door, but Cool Runnings was the one I decided to go with first. I’ve also noticed in the blogs I follow that most of us watched that one for the exercise. All the elements we’re learning about are there in the movie. Derice Bannock has a burning desire to get to the Olympics, as his father did. He believes it will be as a sprinter – just as his father did – but sees the dream snatched out of reach when he is tripped and falls with two other runners in the trials. He goes to Mr. Coolidge and asks to have the race run over; he’s told the race can’t be rerun and advised to either work on his boxing or cycling – since those are the only other two sports in which Jamaica competes – or to prepare for four years later, when the Olympics will be held again.
Derice’s burning desire will not allow him to accept either of those choices. He’s determined to be an Olympian that year; an Olympic gold is his destiny. So he finds another sport in a picture of his father in Mr. Coolidge’s office; wondering about the other man pictured there wearing a gold medal. Mr. Coolidge tells him that’s Irv Blitzer, a bobsledder living now on the island (“Unless he’s been shot or arrested.”) who had a wild theory about Jamaican sprinters making ideal bobsledders and wanted Derice’s father to change sports.
So Derice starts recruiting his mastermind – his best friend Sanka, and Irv Blitzer as coach. They are joined soon after by Yul Brenner and Junior. All desire to be in the Olympics, though for different reasons. Coach Blitzer puts them to work: “Winning a bobsled race is about one thing: the push start. Now, I know you dainty little track stars think you’re fast. Well, heh, let’s see how fast you are when you push a 600-pound sled. Now, a respectable start time is 5.7 seconds. If you speed demons can’t whip off an even six-flat, you have a better chance of becoming a barbershop quartet.” And there’s the plan of action. And so they practice pushing a Volkswagon bug, and on hills with a rickety, makeshift sled until they achieve a pushstart of 5.9 seconds. Then it comes time to go to Calgary.
Throughout the story, Derice holds fast to his purpose; his and Sanka’s positive attitude carry the team until Yul and Junior develop their own as the four plus coach become a cohesive team. The story develops, they overcome adversity and though they don’t win a medal, they show themselves to be worthy competitors in a sport that is not the first one a person would think of when considering the tropical island of Jamaica.
(And just as a sideline; I detest book – and movie – reports.)
It’s a fun Disney movie with personal growth and a strong moral to the story, and I very much enjoy watching it, over and over again. There are some phenomenal moments in there, such as when Junior explains to Sanka why Yul’s dream of living in a palace isn’t a foolish one.
Unfortunately, it’s wrong.
One of my personality quirks is that I research whatever interests me – I want the story. That’s how I learned about the XB-70 Valkyrie and how the one in the Air Force Museum in Daytona is the only one left (there had been two, but one was lost during a publicity photo shoot for GE) and that the Valkyrie was eventually replaced by the Blackbird, which was in development at roughly the same time. That’s how I learned that the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona (specifically, the number 88 test mule which is now on display at the Talledega Raceway Museum) was the first car ever to break the 200-mph speed barrier in March 24. 1970. There’s a great story about how Buddy Baker, the driver, had been putting duct tape on the car throughout the day as adjustments were made to transmission, suspension and engine. The last run of the day, after a 200.096 mph lap, the crew pulled off all the tape; on laps 33, 34 and 35 of that next run, the car clocked three consecutive times over 200 mph, one of which was a record-setting 200.448. After the run, Buddy ceremoniously retrieved his roll of duct tape from the car and threw it in the trash. And I’ve added other facts, tales, stories, remembrances to my collection whenever my interest is piqued.
The true story of the first Jamaican bobsled team is of a challenge by an American named George Fitch (portrayed in the film by John Candy’s Irv Blitzer, which is where the movie is worst wrong; Fitch was not nor had ever been a drunk disgraced Olympic bobsledder). While stationed in Kingston, Jamaica, as the American embassy’s Commercial Attache, George developed a friendship with Ken Barnes, father of former Liverpool soccer star John Barnes. Fitch was transferred to Paris, but returned to Kingston for a friend’s wedding; Barnes bragged then about how well Jamaica was going to do at the next summer’s Olympics in Seoul. “But what about the Winter Olympics?” Fitch said. “You got great athletes and a great athlete should be able to do any sport.” Now, the pushcart derby did provide the inspiration for the new sport to be bobsledding, but Fitch couldn’t get any of the currently-training athletes interested, nor anyone in the sports clubs – they knew how dangerous bobsledding was and didn’t want to get injured.
The story could have ended there. It didn’t, because Fitch was determined, and went to Ken Barnes, who then didn’t dismiss the whole idea out of hand. Ken went to Major George Henry of the Jamaican Defence Force, who selected two sprint champions and a helicopter pilot for the first Jamaican bobsled team – which, incidentally, was welcomed by the other teams in fine Olympic tradition. If you’re interested, you can get more of the story from ESPN, Business Insider, or even on Wikipedia.
I honestly have no problem with the Disney version. Like I said, it’s a fun movie, and I enjoy it every time I watch it. But it’s mostly fiction. And the original story as it stands is just as good. It didn’t need to be tampered with. The elements that go with inevitable success – DMP, PMA, POA, MMA – they were all there.
Likewise, it follows that if each of us is a story, then every story – yours, mine, everyone’s – is good enough. It doesn’t need to be tampered with!
But like Hollywood, the world around us tampers with our stories anyway. We get told, over and over, that our heart’s desire is silly. Impossible. Not practical. Won’t put food on the table or a roof over our heads. Won’t get us an education or a good job. And so we get lost, separated from our real story, our own most personal map. Details and distractions become diversions from the World Within to the World Without, which then causes us to apply Universal Mind and the Law of Attraction in a negative fashion – much like most everyone all of us know.
And, frankly, finding the MKMMA as a map back to me concerns me as much as it thrills me. Because every week I read blog posts on how the MKMMA is the answer to all life’s problems and questions, and warning bells go off in my head. See, that’s the mistake that religions, alternate belief systems, political parties and even governments keep making: They assume that because their way works for them, it must therefore be the one and only way that there is – the “One True Way.”
Which means, by logical extension, that everyone who disagrees with them is wrong and must be shown the error of their ways.
Do I believe the Master Key system is the best way for me to get where I’m going? Absolutely. Do I believe it’s the fastest? Again, yes. And more than that, it’s a way that has been traveled before us, so we have sources of support and guidance through the rocky parts of the trail. But the Master Key System is not the only way that exists. I’m sure it would be difficult to find another system which packs as much wisdom into as few words as Haanel does; I’m equally sure that one exists. And while I will certainly encourage my friends and other people I meet to participate, I am not going to tell them that it’s the only way that there is for them to learn how to live in harmony with Universal Mind and thus manifest their dharma.
See, because to other people, we and the MKMMA are part of their World Without. And if we tell them that we and only we have the answer, how then are we different from any other fad belief out there? Yes, okay, our content and the value of it, but if we phrase ourselves the same way self-help gurus do, we won’t be doing ourselves or anyone else any favors.
Which leads to another thought. One of my favorite lines from Cool Runnings is when Derice is studying turns and Coach Blitzer sticks his head in the door to see if he wants to come grab something to eat with the rest of the team. Derice asks him about why Blitzer cheated. He replied that he had to win. He’d made winning his whole life, and when you make winning your whole life then you have to win no matter what. Derice doesn’t understand; Irv had had two gold medals, he’d had everything. And Blitzer said, “A gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you aren’t enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.”
And so I find myself thinking, Am I enough? Do I really, truly, believe that I’m enough? Because that concept applies even to the MKMMA, which is not the same thing as Universal Wisdom. If the MKMMA were taken from me tomorrow, would I be enough – would each and every one of us be enough – without it? Would I continue to apply the principles that I’ve learned? Would I seek wisdom through my inward connection to Universal Mind, unfettered by my tendency to follow slavishly the people who I think hold the answers in the World Without? Would I hold a thought and mix it with a chosen emotion to create a belief that propels me to action?
Probably. After all, it would be very hard indeed to live my own story – which is a good story – if all I’ve been doing thse past fourteen weeks has been blindly following someone else’s.