Week 1 – A more detailed map

A September sunrise

A September sunrise

Week one again!  It’s thrilling – I’ve missed the webinars, the wisdom, the automatic companionship with other MKMMA members.  It’s intimidating – working full time plus, in addition to a daily photographic project and related blog, will I remain faithful to the exercises?  Haven’t always been so, in the past when my schedule was easier, though I’ve muddled through, muddled through.

And it’s promising.  Because it’s a human truth that if you don’t know where you’re going, then

  1. any road will get you there, and
  2. you won’t actually know when you’ve arrived.

After two years of asking myself, over and over, what do I want?, two years of retraining myself to believe that I can have what I truly and deeply want, the answer is crystallizing.  I know myself better now, understand more of what my gift to the world actually is… and how to most effectively give it away.

The Northern Lights

The Northern Lights under the Big Dipper

And to think the realization had its roots in a chance comment of mine, that once I wouId have paid no attention to, a comment I wouldn’t have been in a position to even make, if not for the past two years of studying Haanel and Og and Emerson.

Since January the 1st, I’ve been taking pictures of the sunrise from the eastern overlook of Barn Bluff in Red Wing, MN.  Barn Bluff is a local landmark overlooking the mighty Mississippi; from the easternmost point of the bluff, you can see for ten-twelve miles – which is a feat in southeast Minnesota, let me tell you!  By the end of the year I’ll have photos of 366 consecutive sunrises, all from the same spot!

And word’s been getting around; I was recently interviewed by a writer from the Rochester Post-Bulletin about the project.  One of the questions he asked was why.  Why the project, why Barn Bluff, why every single sunrise for a year.

“I want to show people how pretty the world is,” was what I said.

It was a flippant, off-the-cuff answer meant to sound good for the interview… and yet it resonated with every layer of my being, from conscious to subconscious.  _MG_0682The voice of my deepest self seized an unguarded moment and spoke clearly.  We miss so much of beauty, particularly in our own back yards, because we never look up from our technology and stress and hectic schedules long enough to notice what’s right there – the liquid ice sculpture of a dew-covered spiderweb in the morning sunlight;  the first flowers of spring, poking up through a late snow; the constantly-shifting, fathomless patterns in the clouds on a stormy day; a baby’s laugh; the warm and steady rumble of a cat’s purr.

Beauty everywhere.

Time to get all these new realizations down in my DMP!

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


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.


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 #3 – So. Many. Thoughts.

I’ve started keeping notes for blog posts while I’m reading the Master Keys.  My creative energies are running rampant, firing off thoughts and connections left, right and center, which set off new thoughts and connections, which lead to others, and still others, I feel like a firework!  (Is this one of the side effects of changing?)

Fourth of July


I’m getting to the point where I need to do an extra sit, but the second time work on channeling my mind and imagination into something manageable; there have been times in recent days where I couldn’t follow a thought from the beginning of a sentence to the end; I’d interrupt myself, going off on a tangent, get distracted by a new association, interrupt myself again to head off on a different tangent, then notice what I was doing and drag myself back to the original conversation, only to find I couldn’t remember what it was I had been saying.  Even worse, sometimes those gymnastics have been purely mental, occurring while I was talking to someone (usually my brother Ted); I’m sure he is occasionally wondering why I seem so incoherent.

Strangely, even though my mind is definitely running faster than my mouth these days, my stutter hasn’t become a problem again.

Of course, during the sit where I’m focused on quieting all thought and this week adding physical relaxation to that, I’m having trouble keeping my body still; I keep nodding off.  I sit, get comfortable, start my timer, focus on relaxing and NOT THINKING… and then start to fall asleep.  As I start to fall asleep, I fall forward; my muscles automatically contract to bring me upright again… and then I have to start over, because I moved.

But what I really wanted to talk about is my DMP.

Rough draft of Shadowed Flight

This isn’t my DMP; it’s part of a novel I’m working on. This IS what a typical rough draft of mine looks like – except this one is actually a bit cleaner than most.

Last week I incorporated my guides’ suggestions into my first-draft DMP.  I was feeling decent about what I had so far, and understood that it was only a second draft; there were going to have to be more changes.  And you know, it didn’t feel right, either.  Something missing, wrong focus, I couldn’t be sure – it just wasn’t right.

After the webinar on Sunday (and I am so grateful for the examples of what not-right DMPs look like, and why they aren’t right and how to potentially make them better, thank you Davene, Mark, Heather and Trish, and anyone else I might have forgotten!), I started mentally chewing on my current draft of my DMP.  Not specific enough.  Not enough feeling.  Only one specific date, and it’s phrased wrong.  And how – really, how – does it fit in with my PPNs?  I can’t see either of my PPNs in my DMP the way it’s written now, and yet I know I’ve got the right ones!  Well… I’m pretty sure I’ve got the right ones.

(Oh no!  What if I don’t have the right PPNs?  I’ll fail!  I’ll put in all the work and effort and heart into it but fail anyway, ARRRRRGGGGH!!)

I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve (or – until this blog – in my writing).  Never have.  Displaying how I feel is a major point of vulnerability that I don’t need people using against me.

I’m a writer!  I create stories that evoke emotion from people, and I’m darn good at it.  My characters are real people with pasts, lives, flaws, strengths, dreams, WHY is this plan for my future so abominably difficult to write up and get right?

Besides, I haven’t chosen dates for when a lot of this is going to happen!  How am I supposed to know when it’ll happen?  And if I make that kind of a decision and do the work to make that date happen and it doesn’t happen even after that kind of faith and effort, what then? What if this program is all just a bunch of hooey in spite of the scientific support?!?

Deep breath.  Pause.  Old blueprint, I am no longer listening to you.  I’m writing my DMP out the way it’s supposed to be, I’m making it come true (because I always keep my promises), and it’s going to be magnificent.  And you know what?  I don’t have to know the future in order to create it, and since my DMP will evolve as I do, it won’t paralyze me or lock me into stasis; when I’ve achieved the first DMP, I’ll write another.  And another.  And another.

So take a hike, old blueprint.  Old, DEAD blueprint.  Me and the subby, we got this.

Hibiscus in bloom

Beauty in the dark, reaching for the light

Week One – Am I really ready for this?

So, just kind of an excerpt from my journal on the day I was accepted:

“September 17th, 2014 – Wednesday

“Oh my gods, I got in, I got in, I got in!!!  What a fantastical birthday gift!  I found out while I was canning today; Leanne texted me at the same time Don called to let me know!  I wasn’t going to look at the list until tomorrow – easier not to feel anxious or crushing disappointment if I give them a lot of time to get through the applications on their way to mine.

“Ohhhh…. what if I do something wrong?  What if I lose the scholarship?  I need this!  Ted needs it too.  I wish he’d apply, but I just can’t get him interested – I must not be explaining it right.”

Fast-forward a couple of weeks, and we’ve now had our first webinar.  That was a lot of fun.  Ted, Lee, Leanne, Don and I all met at Don and Leanne’s house – we weren’t sure if we all had to log into the webinar to get credit, or what, and I was a little concerned we wouldn’t all be able to, all at once, but it worked out.  Every time a video glitched or there were technical difficulties, we chuckled; the first SNAFU, where we couldn’t hear Mark, Ted commented, “I like that they’re having problems, and that they’re letting us see them – proves that it’s not canned.  I’d hate for this to be canned.  That’d be such a let down.”

And the whole time I was wondering in the back of my mind what I was going to write for my blog post.

Then, the last three mornings in a row, I’ve woken up between three and four in the morning with my mind buzzing, running hither and yon, and I couldn’t slip back into a sound sleep until I gave up and started my day, groggy and a bit puzzled.

Blurry clock

You know that line in Scroll One of The Greatest Salesman?  “As the words of these scrolls are consumed by my mysterious mind, I will begin to awake, each morning, with a vitality I have never known before.  My vigor will increase…”  That was the first thought in my brain as my bleary eyes opened to take in the red lines on the clock.  Then came, You have got to be kidding me.

I’m indolent by nature.  I like sleeping.  I like relaxing.  I like sprawling full-length on the couch doing nothing other than providing a hot-water-bottle effect for the cats and maybe doing some reading at the same time.  I don’t do much of any, simply because there’s so much else I want – and have – to get done.  And the past three mornings, ever since I started reading Scroll One, are interfering in my six-to-eight hours of lovely, delicious, uninterrupted sleep!

The thought occurred to me last night as I was penning my journal that the hours between when my mind wakes buzzing and when I would ordinarily get up could be my most productive of the day.  The thought occurred this morning that I did swear to myself I would take the changes that came, embrace them and allow myself to develop naturally through these next six months.

Oh, but it’s interfering in my sleep.  And I wonder if resisting building a new blueprint is ever acceptable.  I wonder if I really am a morning person disguised as a night owl.  I wonder, if I ignore the fact I’m waking up, will my sleep patterns go back to normal once my subconscious assimilates the new programming.

I swear, if I wake up tomorrow morning at between three and four, I’m getting up and blogging the stream of consciousness running through my brain until I’ve downloaded enough to sleep again.  Then when I wake up for real I’ll post it for everyone to read, whether it makes sense or not.

Because this can’t be part of the bargain… right?

It’s not sleep I’m going to have to sacrifice for the achievement of my DMP and the creation of my new self… is it?

Seriously… is it?