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 #8 – Holy Cow, was that an epiphany?

Exercises, daily.  Practice, practice, practice.  Work on linking-linking-linking, colors to shapes to words to ideals and visualizations.  When does it start getting automatic?  When do I start seeing colors and shapes instead of belatedly realizing my eyes just skipped over them again?  Why is this so hard?

Stay away from the TV.  Delete Netflix from the iPad – it doesn’t serve me.  Minimize Facebook perusal – not a lot of time spent there, but too much negativity.  Deconstruct battleships in my mind’s eye, over and over – what’s the purpose?

And always the search – what do I want?  Am I on the right track?  Am I being authentic?  Am I loving what I’m doing even when it’s tedious and frustrating?  When will it start paying off?  Dear gods, are we going to have enough funds to pay the bills this month?  What if we don’t?  Oops, was that a stray negative thought?  Stop it!  Start the mental diet over again.

Then I came across this meme:

Stages of enlightenment

I’d heard of the five stages of grief, of course – who hasn’t, these modern days?  But this… it was a sudden, sharp shock to the brain.  A splash of cold water to the awareness.  And subby reached out to grab my conscious mind; HEY, YOU! THIS IS IMPORTANT!!

I scrolled back up; was this an MKMMAer?  Nope… they were referring to how hard it is to get up on Monday mornings…  Why is it important?

Then I realized:  It’s a metaphor.

Part of you hears the call to greatness, the summons to the hero’s journey.  The rest of you says,

Denial – What, me?  There’s nothing special about me.  I don’t have anything to offer the world.  Greatness is about people with special talents, like <favorite historical figure> or <favorite sports player> or <personal hero>.  It’s not for people like me.

But maybe you accept the call anyway – there’s something missing from your life, something that would fulfill you, might make you great/wonderful/rich/successful/popular.  You sign up for the MKMMA in great spirits, thrilled and excited and eager, vowing that this time you’ll finish what you start, you’ll see it through, you’ll stick it out, you’ll follow every single requirement ’cause anything’s better than what you have now.

Then you discover that creating a dream requires work, that old, easy pathways through your brain have to be rewritten from the ground floor up, and suddenly:

Anger – How can they expect all this work out of me?  I have a life!  I have a job/kids/comittments/activities/things I enjoy and don’t want to give up!  WHY ISN’T THIS EASY?!?

But you slog through.  You want that promised payoff.  But the exercises are eating away at your time, and every week there’s something more you have to add – recitations, meditations, recordings, posters, OH MY GODS, WHERE AM I GOING TO FIND THE TIME?  And you start saying:

Bargaining – Well… maybe it won’t hurt to skip the sit just this once.  I need that twenty minutes to fix supper, and I’m supposed to put my family first, right?  And darn it, I missed my midday reads today – well, I’ll do ’em twice tomorrow.  That’s the same number of times, so my results’ll be the same, right?  You know, and when am I going to start seeing the proof that this is going to work for me?  Before I put any more effort into this, I want to see it work.

You might stay faithful to the letter of the exercises; you might not.  You might get focused on how hard/tedious/boring/overwhelming all this is and lose sight of the reason you started in the first place.  You might even quit.  If you don’t, it’s because the glowing possibility of what could be, the ethereal wisp of a dream, the insistent feeling that you were meant for something better, something more, remains and that keeps you hanging on, even if it’s by no more than a fingernail.

But your whole heart isn’t in the work anymore.  In spite of the promises made by the guides in the MKMMA, you can’t see how what you’re doing will ever lead to what you want.  And that leads inevitably to:

Depression – what am I doing?  Why am I sticking this out?  It’s obvious it’s never going to work for me… where did I go wrong?  WHY IS THIS SO HARD?  Doesn’t anyone else have this problem too?  What am I supposed to do?

You feel alone and lost and helpless, sunk deep in the mire of your own negative thoughts, the spiral of dark energy and habits that led you to place your hope, your trust, your fledgling faith, in this MasterKey process in the first place.

Maybe someone reminds you of that.

Maybe, once you’ve hit the bottom of that black pit, you remember one key phrase from the early weeks that meant something to you, something that calls you back to your dream.

Maybe you have what you think is your first small success, and that causes you to recall another, and another, and another… and you start to realize, dimly, that the process has been working for you the entire time, exactly to the extent to which you allowed it to and you wonder how much further along you’d be if only you’d not focused on what was wrong but rather on what was right…  You start to understand what ‘personal responsibility’ actually means

And then it blossoms in your mind:  What you want; the steps you need to take to get there; the kind of effort it’s going to require.  You find your hope, your determination, your faith, renewed and you go back to the exercises, catch up on the ones you missed and decide that’s not going to happen again.

Acceptance.

Five stages of grief.  Five stages of waking up.

Five stages of enlightenment…?

Week #8 – (Re)commitment – and maybe I oughta be…

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.  Stay positive.  Apply “Squirrel!” mentality (otherwise known as Attention Deficit Oooh, Shiny!) to thoughts of ‘I’m lesser.’  And in the words of Logician Jahana Shaharan ar-Drindi of Orocno, “Stop emoting and analyze!”  Figure out what I’m addicted to, and why, then set up mental guards to shift the stimulus (thank you, Mark!  That was one of the pieces I was missing).

Monday I caught up on household chores – felt good not to have them hanging over my head any more.  When I did my reads I held in the back of my awareness the memory of flying from when I went parasailing in Catalina – I actually laughed with delight through the words I was speaking.  No TV, limited iPad and computer (no computer anyway – it won’t boot up properly again.  Which also means I’m cut off from my pictures); I used a notebook to scribble my writings in so I’d have the rough draft handy and could just type the words in quick when I turned on the device.

Attending the funeral of a long-time family friend (to which I was nearly late), I found myself wondering why I do this kind of thing to myself – I’d fallen back to sleep after my alarm went off and I’d done my first read of Greatest Salesman and woke up just barely in time to have my shower and drive to the church.  I got there before the service – by about three minutes.  (Beautiful ceremony, by the way, but I kept wondering why religions encourage people to look outward to a Source greater than they, rather than inward to a Source greater than yet part of themselves…)

But.  I’m addicted to the peptides I produce when I think about ‘sleeping in’ even when I don’t need to physically, and apparently I’m also addicted to rushing, rushing, rushing.  Reminds me of a poem from Black Beauty that the character Jerry Barker would sing –

“If in the morning you throw minutes away,
You can’t pick them up in the course of a day.
You may hurry and scurry and flurry and worry,
But you’ve lost them forever, forever and aye.”

What to replace those two stimuli with?  Haven’t decided yet.

I was twitchy about the no TV thing.  I didn’t think I would be.  After last week I’d already decided to do what we were going to get told to do on Sunday, so why the craving?

(Because it’s a form of mental dissipation that releases peptides I’m addicted to.  What can I substitute…?  Constructive imagination for new novels, that’s what.  Keep a pen and notepad handy, scribble outlines – still need an alternate main character and beginning for Guardian’s Genesis: The First Guardian.)

So I didn’t yield to it – point number 2 to celebrate – not even when Jerry got home and immediately turned on his video game and then later the Monday Night Football.  Instead I dug out an old workout DVD, loaded it into my laptop and put some time into exercise.  (That might be pushing at The Rules a little bit – but I wasn’t doing it for entertainment.)

I also did my requisite 2,300 words for NaNoWriMo.

For those who aren’t familiar, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.  A group of friends back in the nineties challenged each other to write 50,000 words in 30 days; it’s grown through the years from that core group to include thousands of people worldwide, all busily writing away during the month of November.  And it has to be either a completely new novel, or you have to add 50,000 words to an existing one.

You can write an entire book in 50,000 words, did you know that?  The Great Gatsby was 47,094; Old Yeller, 35,968; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was only 30, 644!  I’m behind this year – first the cruise, then the lazy fit – I didn’t actually start writing until the 12th.  But as of last night I have 20, 982 words and the story is moving along.

I was also doing a lot of thinking around the idea of ‘Everyone has exactly as much faith as everyone else.”  Where am I applying mine?  To believing in faith, or believing in doubt?

Tuesday I made more recordings to play when I’m at the gym walking the treadmill, alternating Master Key reads with my DMP/PPN/POA recording – that felt good, too.  Then I went to the gym and walked my three miles, and wonder of wonders, I didn’t feel that urge to cut my exercise short at the end of the first mile – that was when the music-based recording of my new reality cut in, and I found the pace of the treadmill (3.5 mph) was just too slow.  I got my requisite writings done and posted on my website and blog, and they were decent as far as quality goes.

Today – Easier to get up this morning.  I have two blog posts done.  I’ve rewritten my Movie Trailer card ’cause I found out when making the recordings that the sentences aren’t quite right, and because I was out of lines on the WPOA side.  I’ll have lunch, do my second reads, and go to the gym for my walk.  Then write a post for my other blog (1 hour on the timer!), and after that I’ll be free to saran-wrap the windows for the winter and write my 2,300 words for NaNo… might see if I can push it to 4,000, since Jerry’ll be home by then and he’ll want to play his video game.

(I’m glad we put the door back on the room that is my office; shutting out the cats was regrettable but necessary, as they never did understand why they shouldn’t park themselves on my keyboard and stare at me until I petted them.  The door also blocks out most of the sound from the living room.  I actually work better to silence; I can hear my own thoughts and imagination better that way.  I don’t play music when I’m writing, or in the car when I’m driving, either; I find it distracting and sometimes a bit irritating.)

But this week is a good week.

Mental detoxing,
Not easy to do –
So many words in there,
Yet not one ‘I love you.’
To get bad words out,
Good words must go in –
Words.  Are.  Power.
Their proper use, a ‘win.’

Week #5 – Effects

I need to get to reading and commenting on my fellow MKMMAers posts, but I wanted to get this down while it was still fresh in my head.

I had written a post for the end of last week – didn’t publish it.  I was not seeing the kind of results in my life that I kept hearing about, and I was wondering:  Was I doing the exercises wrong? and Am I not focusing properly? and Did I put enough feeling into reading my index cards, DMP, Blueprint Builder?  Am I putting less than 100% in, and if I am how can I tell?  WHERE IS MY BREAKTHROUGH?

I decided to just have faith a little longer; it’s a process.  There’s no set schedule.

I had written a post Sunday evening after the webinar, detailing how my mind was running in frantic circles over the 7-day Mental Diet ‘no opinion’ requirement for the next two weeks:  What counts as an opinion?  Am I going to have to stop giving away compliments?  Will I have to keep face, voice and body expressionless, because all those give away my opinions, but I don’t WANT to be an emotionless statue again!

Didn’t publish that one, either.  Decided that the exercise was going to be only just as difficult as I was going to make it, and that if I focused my thoughts to my subby on being a non-judgemental observer, I would be what I willed to be.  The exercise became a game, and I’ve been developing the practice of always looking over my own shoulder – Was that an opinion?  Are you SURE you’re doing this favor without hope of reciprocity?   No, keep your mouth shut, that isn’t either a question or an observation.

So today I had an appointment at noon; Jerry had arranged for me to show our network marketing business to two of his coworkers during their lunch break.

I’ve never shown it all by myself before.  I don’t like getting up in front of people.  But in the back of my mind was my DMP and PPNs: Liberty; Spiritual Growth; certain dollar amounts by certain dates; the certainty that if I want that, I have to do this.

I set out everything I would need, double-checked I had everything in the car; in my head I was reviewing, rephrasing, repeating.  As I was driving, I was saying aloud, “I can be what I will to be, I can be what I WILL to be, I CAN be what I WILL to be!”  That sicky feeling in my stomach started when I was about halfway there – but before self-doubt and stage fright could paralyze me, I heard inside my head, “But the man who knows he has a solar plexus will not fear, he is too busy radiating courage, confidence, power.”

And I thought, I want to be magnetic.  And in my head I heard my business and MKMMA buddy Don say, “There’s a thin line between fear and excitement.” and Davene’s voice sounded right afterwards, “Fear and excitement release the same peptides.”  So I decided to feel excited.

And then I needed to set the cruise control so I wouldn’t speed.

I learned today that breakthroughs don’t have to be huge, or come with trumpet fanfares – they can be quiet, biding their time, and you won’t even know they’re there until you need them.  And it’s true, so true, what the Master Keys say, that “the physical tissue is changed and the individual sees life in a new light.”  The exercises, the readings, have begun to wear new grooves into my brain, my subconscious is starting to produce what I need to hear in order to keep moving forward instead of huddling in the past and allowing it to imprison my future.

Setting up a presentation at Jerry's work

Setting up a presentation at Jerry’s work