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:
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.
Five stages of grief. Five stages of waking up.
Five stages of enlightenment…?