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

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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.

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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 #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

Week #4 – Questions

There is so much I could blog about.  I might need to start doing an entry a day.  How much of the world do we miss, for no better reason than we simply don’t notice?  Or we think it’s normal.

Today (Tuesday) I had a strange moment.  I’m reluctant to share – once a thing is on the web, it’s there forever, immortalized and immutable; there are no takebacks.  And yet… there’s this little voice inside saying “Share it – it’s important.”  So here we go.

First a bit of background.  Jerry, my husband, has a condition called Marfan’s.  ‘A genetic mutuation that causes a weakening of the connective tissue’ is the simplest way I’ve found to explain it.

I challenge you to find any part of the body that doesn’t contain connective tissue in some form.  Even blood vessels; they’re built in layers which are joined by – you guessed it – connective tissue.  Heart valves? Attached by chordae tendoneae – tendons.  Which are connective tissue.  Bones?  (Surely there’s no connective tissue in bones!)  Bones incorporate lamellae, which are concentric rings of mineral salts and collagen fibres.  Guess what collagen fibres are.  That’s right, they’re gelatin!  (When boiled.  Jello, anyone?)  They’re also connective tissue.

Marfan’s has threatened Jerry’s life at least twice; as a child, when severe scoliosis and the caving in of his rib cage began crushing his internal organs, and as an adult, when his aorta dissected (the layers tore apart).  There are also other, non-life threatening conditions.  His hips, for example.  He has the human version of hip displaysia, again caused by the Marfan’s.  Recently it’s been getting more and more painful for him to stand, walk, do his job (he’s the head detailer at a local Ford dealership).  So he finally – stubborn man that he is – went to talk to his doctor.

See, in January 2012 we went to Mayo Rochester (yes, the original Mayo Clinic here in Minnesota, and fortunate we are to have it!) for a full workup by doctors who know enough to specialize in Marfan’s; they discovered the abnormalities in his hips, which severely reduce Jerry’s range of motion in the joint.  They told us then that he would eventually have to have the hips replaced, and Jerry swore he was never having another operation, ever again.  Stoicism does have its limits, though.

hip x-rayThe upshot of all this is that his hip joints and lumbar spine have degenerated further, to the point where hip replacement is now necessary.

Now we come to the strange part.  My attitude toward all this has been one of relief at the desicion, and anticipation of Jerry’s physical renewal.  Yes, there are risks to putting him under.  I’m not worried about it; I’ve already decided the operation is going to be a complete success, and he’s going to enjoy life far more than he has in recent years, becoming physically pain-free just in time for him to retire and us to play for the rest of our lives.

My Dad phoned me today (Tuesday) to ask if he could come out and use the air compressor, and then he said in hushed tones better suited to a funeral home than a casual conversation, “And your mom and I, we’re so sorry to hear about Jerry’s hips.  That’s a terrible thing to have happen.”  It was as if he thought Jerry’s coming hip replacement was a tragedy.

I had to take a moment or three to process what he’d said.  They were sorry to hear that Jerry is finally going to get his hips fixed?  That’s a terrible thing to have happen, that he’s finally going to be able to stand and walk and maybe ride a horse (one of my favorite activities, that I don’t indulge in out of a desire not to leave him out) without pain?

Whoa.  Mental reset.  Dad was focused on the opposite side of the situation, the side that is afraid of surgery risks, that concentrates on why-do-bad-things-happen-to-good-people.  For him, where his mind goes is to the worry, anticipating all the things that can go wrong, thinking of scarce funds and how can “the kids” possibly afford the surgery, a thought process that feels so alien to me now that none of the dire possibilites he was no doubt thinking even occurred to me.  And for him, that’s normal.  It’s rational.  It’s realistic.

And I thought, This is one of the people who helped to shape my old blueprint.

Four weeks ago, would I have thought the same as he does?  Would I have focused on the wrong things?  And is there any way I can help him see that there is nothing to fear, that worry only makes happen what you worry about?  How dark and confining that style of thought and living seems to me now!

Just when I was starting to wonder if I’d made any real progress yet.

Fall colors on Oxford Mill Road

Sunshine through the clouds!

 

Week #3 (and a half) – Synchronicity

Us at The View

From left to right, Ted, Lee, Tia, Leanne, Jerry

So I reckon that quite a few, if not most, of us are members of a network marketing company.  I’m not going to talk about mine; we all promised we wouldn’t.  But on October 18, 19 and 20, ours held one of our four annual national events.  Two of the other three are dedicated to skill building, the third is dedicated to developing a feeling of team and family with members and reps from all over the world; this one is dedicated solely to personal development.  Our director of training (the best that ever was!) dresses up and becomes characters in a teaching form he calls “edutainment” – where we learn concepts the same way we learned, say, The Brady Bunch theme, or where to snap our fingers during “The Addams Family” song.  Ted, Lee, Leanne and I are all MKMMA members; we all brought our GS books, our index cards, our Master Key lessons and DMPs – we read them in the car as we drove all night, read them aloud to each other, kept our promises on the cards by completing our daily requirements no matter how tired we were or how early the next day would start.

And this year, as the seminar opened, Marc (our director of training) played Krewella’s “Enjoy the Ride.”

We were born ready, ready to be free, chasin’ every thrill we could see – With our eyes steady, waking to the dream, aching to be thrown in the ring – If nothing comes easy, as long as we’re breathing, we’ll go all the way or go home, We were born ready, wherever it leads, what we have is all we need.

‘Cause if it’s fast or slow, all I really know, is I’m gonna enjoy the ride – and if it’s hard or soft, before we get off, I’m gonna enjoy the ride.  Enjoy the ride.

We were born hungry, hungry for the rush, screaming when they tell us to hush – Hit the ground running, leave ’em in the dust, only run with those we can trust – If nothing comes to us, we’ll fly where it’s bluest, we’re ready to face the unknown, We were born hungry, we’ll never get enough, ’cause we’re only here this once.

Enjoying the ride was one of the central themes of this year’s View From The Edge.  Ah, but how can we enjoy the ride if we’re constantly wallowing in fear – fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, fear of loss of esteem in our community?

And that was the secondary theme:  Abolish fear.  Because fear is an illusion.  And we buy into it because we just don’t know any better, because the people who taught us fear didn’t know any better, because the people who taught them didn’t know any better, and so on.  Death is coming for us, one way or the other!  And He doesn’t care if we’ve really lived or if we’ve hidden our lights from the world behind layers of apathy, indifference, pride, ego, cynicism, or criticism.

Death makes an appearance at The View

 

How will our fears help us LIVE?  When Death comes to claim us, do we want to be saying, “Oh, no, not yet! Just give me a little more time, I never did the things I really wanted to do, never lived up to my potential!” or like Steve Jobs do we want to be saying, “Oh, wow!”

And then Ted, Lee, Leanne and I ducked out of the seminar (Wail!) to attend the webinar.  And what did we hear?

Create intense feelings of joy and satisfaction and attach those feelings to our DMP, our Service cards, our PPNs.  And eliminate – NOT overcome – fear.

Sometimes the Universe whispers to us, and we have a hard time hearing, especially when the Universe is speaking to us with our own voices; other times, She shouts.

Abolish fear.

Enjoy the ride.

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 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?