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 #2 – Association

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The information came fast, without much time for reflection, and still my mind sparked on a distracting thought during the webinar on Sunday.  It was the seventh slide, the “Let’s Review Keys;” and more specifically, when Trish first started talking about Law of Dual Thought – we can observe and choose the effect.

My instant mental association was with a book Terry Pratchett wrote few years back called “Wee Free Men,” in which main character Tiffany Aching, twentieth grandchild of Granny Aching, learns she was born to be a witch by virtue of First Sight and Second Thoughts:  First Sight means you can see what’s really there, and not what your eyes tell you that you ought to see; and Second Thoughts is when you think about what it is you’re thinking – you know, act as an observer inside your own mind.

Love Terry Prachett.

I also love finding wisdom in unique places.  The subonscious is always aware, always absorbing information, and popping up with intuitions – even when we’re not paying attention.  I had one early this morning, as I was watching and photographing the lunar eclipse.

Night of the 2014-10-08 eclipseThe skies were bright; the full moon casting long shadows.  A chill night breeze rattled the long, browning leaves in the cornfields, and one lone, brave cricket chirped, slow and infrequent.  Only the brightest stars were visible – six out of seven in the Big Dipper, a couple in Orion, who was just starting to peek through over top of the trees behind the house, one or two in Cassiopeia.

Then the eclipse started, and the quality of light changed somehow.  The Earth’s shadow hadn’t touched more than a sliver of the moon, the shadows were just as long and intense, and yet the world was darker.

I paced around, trying to keep warm, taking pictures periodically.

The moon continued to disappear, the skies to darken… and the stars began to appear, one by one.

Just before the moon went red, I had to head into the house to warm up; I could barely hold the camera release cable, I was shivering so badly even through my longjohns, two pairs of socks, hat, gloves, winter jacket and boots.  When I came back out, I had to use my headlamp to find the camera and tripod again.  And the stars were shining, full and bright; even the band of the Milky Way appeared.  And I thought, Wow.  How often do you get to see stars on the night of a full moon?  A billion billion little lights that we can only see when the greater light is muted.

And it struck me, there in the dark and the chill of predawn, with only the night noises for company, that this was exactly what the quieting of all thought was for, this is exactly what the MKMMA is designed to do; mute the light of the conscious mind, get it and our egos out of the way, and let the billion billion lights of the subconscious shine.

Bonfire stars


Week #1 – Random thoughts and progress

Just some reflections over the past week:

Hemingway Rewritten

I still haven’t managed to make my blog site look like I’d visualized.  That’s okay, though; I’ll figure it out, and if I can’t, the Digital Connections is starting this week, and I’m sure I’ll learn.

HomeworkI was thinking it was going to be really hard to keep up with the homework… but I’ve managed to submit all three “Tangible” items and keep up with reading Scroll One three times a day, reading the MasterKey once a day, the BluePrint Builder out loud once a day, and of course my DMP.  Out loud.  Three times a day.  Once I’d actually written it out.  Geez, does that feel weird the first few times!  Now I just hope I won’t have memorized it too much, because today I got my first set of suggestions back from my Guides!  Time to go back to work!


Ellen sitting stillSitting still for fifteen minutes a day was actually the easiest portion of the homework for me; I used to meditate regularly.  I do think that on Thursday I went above and beyond though.  As always, the door was shut so the cats couldn’t be furry, attention-demanding, distractions… but there was mosquito in the room.  And I sat still as it buzzed and whined… and stopped.  And then buzzed and whined… and stopped.  And then buzzed and whined, and this time when it stopped I could feel it walking around on my forehead!  And I made myself be still until the timer rang (I’d worked myself up to eighteen minutes by then).  Ugh!

Elen's booksElen's booksNot that reading is hard!  I love to read (well, obviously – you can see my office.  They’re for research.  Honestly.  No, really – part of being a good writer is reading a lot so you can get a feel for writing styles and genres.  Okay, okay; they’re only for research in a very minor way.  Mostly I have them because I love to read).  No, my difficulty with the reading was in the mental focus.  In the back of my head, I kept reacting to the words I was reading by remembering other times and associations I have with the information in the MasterKeys.  So… scattered consciousness.  Not Good.  Oftentimes I’d have to read the same sentence three or four times before I was focused on the words and only the words.

One of the thoughts that keeps recurring is a long-held belief of mine, carefully kept silent whenever the subject came up after the first few times I tried to share my viewpoint.  Raised Catholic, I’ve had trouble with religion since just before I was an adolescent.  I’m fine with people believing whatever works for them, and I really dislike when people try to force-feed me their truth.  One of the areas where I differ from the mainstream is in knowing in my heart of hearts that I was not sent to this world incomplete, or ill-equipped for the challenges I would face.  I was born with all the internal tools and abilities I need to live and grow as a spiritual being; to me, seeking help from a source outside myself – as I was taught to do when I prayed – is tantamount to an insult to my creator, a suggestion that I can’t handle what I’m facing because S/He/They built me incorrectly.  So when I read the lines, “Nature has already supplied me with knowledge and instinct far greater than any beast in the forest…” and “All power is from within, and is absolutely under your control…” I feel…

I feel relieved – I’m not crazy.  I feel, yes, vindicated – I’ll have to work on that, since the people I shared this belief with (however derisive they were toward me), don’t need my beliefs force-fed to them, and I shouldn’t care what they think anyway.  And I feel cautious – this could simply be a misinterpretation of the MasterKey on my part, fueled by those years-ago forcible squashing of my truth.

Eagle spooked by truck


So here I am now – ready and waiting to take flight and see where the winds take me!