Week #24 – Victory is mine.

A flock of Trumpters

Check this out – I know the focus on the actual subject totally stinks, but any guesses as to what these are?

Hee!  That’s an entire flock of Trumpeter Swans on their way to… wherever it is that they go!  I kid you not, they flew right over the truck on my way home from the Bluff after taking pictures of the sunrise this morning!  I’d seen them in pairs, but never in these massive numbers!  And that brings to mind my greatest benefit from the MKMMA; everything I see is new.  Everything I see is beautiful.  The trail to the eastern overlook of the Bluff where I take my morning photos is 0.83 miles long, and on the way down today I found myself taking a deep breath – not to settle nerves or calm a negative emotion, but just to taste the scent of melting snow and old leaves, and fill my lungs with crisp, clear air and I said, “What a gorgeous morning.”  And the thing is, it wasn’t the most vivid sunrise that I’ve seen so far… yet it was beautiful.  I hate getting up early in the mornings – which should give a whole new dimension to the sunrise photo project – and yet on the two mornings I’ve not made the trip to the top of the bluff, I’ve missed it.

Come the summer, I’m planning on just doing my sit up there after I take my pictures – the spot is perfect.

These days I’m often reminded of the scene in “Renaissance Man,” where Danny DeVito’s character tells his students, “Victory… starts here.” and points to his own head.  (If you haven’t seen the movie, you should give it a look; there’s so much that mirrors exactly what we’ve learned over the last 26 weeks.  Y’know, and one of my gratitude cards says, “I’m grateful for being able to see the universal wisdom in everyday things.”)

So all that mental fussing back at the beginning, all that fretting over whether or not I would finish what I start this time, and day by day it’s suddenly done as if there was nothing unusual about its happening.  And looking back… I don’t feel any different.

There are some down sides.  I’m getting less done day-to-day than I was before the course started, I have less financial abundance, in the back of my mind is the possibility of soon having less time abundance.  The last week or two I have not been faithful to  On the other hand…

I know better how to discipline my mind.  I’ve been reminded of how I manifest the exact conditions in my life, so if I want time and financial abundance, I can create them.  I’ve got the materials and I have my course set for my next six months… and the next… and the next.  I now have a clear idea of where I’m going, and how I’m going to get there.


And now there’s always something to take pleasure and rejoice in.  There are miracles everywhere, however large or small.

Still a lot of work ahead, mostly around going ahead and doing what I’m designed to do and now I can be of service when doing it.

I’m forty-two (and a half) years old; it’s time to finally start LIVING!

Week #23 – Strange mixture

Taxes, taxes, icky icky taxes.  Ordinarily I’d have them done long before now, but been putting off catching up on my business expense tracking, and now have to do that before I can calculate and file my taxes.

There are times when I really, really want to do what my brother does – gather up all the papers and receipts and mileage logs and just hand them off to someone else.  Make the numbers – and making sense out of them – somebody else’s problem.

I used to actually like this time of year.  There was a time – back when the numbers were my friends – when I’d have everything ready, everything kept up each month, taxes would take me less than a week after I’d gotten all the W-2s and 1098.  There were years when we’d get our refunds back in mid-February.

I’ve done no writing for the past four days and barely any photography except for my dawn project, because I’ve been focused, not on filing taxes, but preparing to file taxes.  And I don’t like that.  I all kinds of don’t like that.  Told a fellow MKMMA member today, “This is soooo not ever happening again.”  Once caught up, I am taking steps to stay caught up… proving once again that succeeding really is less work than failing.

On the flip side of the equation, I’m getting more and more focused on what it is I really do want, which parts of my life are no more than annoyances or distractions.  I attended the meeting of a writing group today and each person had to stand and talk about themselves and current projects for up to three minutes (which, as Leanne observed, explains why it was a three-hour meeting!) and among the first words out of my mouth when I stood were, “I love stories.”  Whether it’s writing something true for my website or blog, or spending time in my own universe with my “imaginary” friends, those times are when all is right with the world.

And I don’t do enough of it.  I don’t do enough of it because even though it is my be-all and end-all, for some reason I prioritize it lower than things like housework, dishes, bookkeeping, laundry, learning and applying network marketing skills, and a multitude of other gnat-like tasks that I do simply because nobody else is going to do them.  (And for the love of geese and little green apples, do NOT quote the OATS or the parable of the rocks, pebbles, sand and water at me!)  My aim for this upcoming week is not to figure out why I prioritize it lower, ’cause that doesn’t matter.  No, my focus is to rebuild the habit of doing more writing,  Everything else will fall into place after that.

Week #22a – Putting into practice

Dawn on the Mississippi

Dawn on the Mississippi

Choices, choices.

So last week I called the temp agency – partly because in working from home, I was hardly ever in the world, the only person I really dealt with was my husband, and I felt like a cheat since I never really applied what we’d been learning under real world conditions.  Would my happiness and optimism hold, if surrounded by negative people?  Could I maintain my equanimity when interacting with the angry and bitter?  If I never tested myself, how would I know?

I was scheduled for overnight shifts on Monday and Tuesday at a local food packaging plant, from four PM to two or three or possibly four AM.  Monday morning, I got a text from a friend:

Ivan text

And I was torn, I truly was.  I didn’t really want to go back to work in the regular world, I didn’t think it would be a good, productive use of my time, though I really did need to, to test what I’d learned at the very least.  And I had agreed to the two shifts; in effect, I had given my word.  But, oh, the lure of more pictures… some of which might work as stock photos and earn moola for us… and ice formations don’t last forever.

So I called my mastermind partner, to help me hash it out.  The question I asked her was this: Which would do me more damage in the long run, failing to fulfill a committment, or failing to take an action that would further my DMP?

Her train of thought, bless her, very closely mirrored my own.  In the end I decided to go with my first instinct and call the temp agency to tell them I would no longer be available for the shift that night, and meet Ivan between 2:45 and 3:00 with camera and tripod in hand.  And there were no negative consequences from the temp agency; they understood completely and appreciated that I would still be in to work on Tuesday.

Mike drove his own car, and Ivan and I followed him in the pickup.  Mike was as excited as a kid over the chance to show us this sight, and wished that he would be riding with us so as to see the expressions on our faces when we caught our first glimpse.  (Mike’s an awesome fun guy.  His passion is collecting documents.  He specializes in the Civil War, but has others, several of which would not be out of place in the Smithsonian.  I love to listen to him talk about his documents – what he has in his collection, the history of each, how he acquired them.)

We drove down the Wisconsin side of the river, past a couple of small towns, and then Mike turned up a county road.  Ivan was telling me about the road, and how fun it is to drive on the motorcycle – all curvy and twisty, with the great scenery you would expect of limestone bluff and river country – when we came around a corner to see giant whitish-blue mounds to the right of the road.  Our jaws dropped; I said, “Holy crap,” and Ivan said, “Wow.”

Nick Bayer memorial

Turns out the man who owns the place is a plumber, and hooked up pipes and hoses to the artesian wells that are so prevalent in southwest Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota.  He does this every year, just letting the water run, so that wind, water, and winter weather create enormous towers and ripples and tunnels for people to enjoy, as a memorial to Nick Bayer, a local fellow who died in an accident in 2009.  I don’t know the whole story yet, but I will soon, and then the story will go up on my website for other people to find and enjoy.

I can’t wait for next year, when I can go out to watch the sculptures forming, and to see them lit up at night!

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And if you were wondering, the shift on Tuesday went really well.  I’d forgotten how fun line work can be – the sheer physical nature of it, playing the game of how-well-can-I-do, how-fast-can-I-go, getting to know new people.  I couldn’t use my left hand at all the next day and my sleep schedule got all messed up and I needed to take sunset pictures on Wednesday instead of sunrise because after getting home at three in the morning and soaking in a hot bath to try to soothe aching muscles and then deciding to take a quick nap before heading out the to bluff I could not force myself to get up two hours later and hike up that hill… and even if it wasn’t a good use of my time, I wouldn’t trade the experience.  I found out what I needed to know, I laid some old ghosts to rest, I am a better person for the experience… which I guess makes it a good use of time after all.

And apparently I impressed them at the packaging plant; the temp agency called the next day and said they needed people that night and had asked for me specifically.

And in taking the sunset pictures, I met more people up on the bluff – including three young highschooler-age kids who were up there for pretty much the same reason.  I offered to take their picture with the one girl’s phone so that all three of them could be in the photo with the fiery sunset in the background; they were pleased and grateful, and who knows?  Maybe that was part of the reason I ended up being up there at sunset instead of sunrise on Wednesday.

Red Wing sunset on Barn Bluff

Red Wing sunset on Barn Bluff

Week #22 – In mental neutral

Barn Bluff sunrise photo

This week, I went to write my blog post only to find I literally have nothing to say.

No, really.  Not a word, not a thought, nary a concept…

Stop laughing.

Cardinal on the deck

It’s forgivable; it does sound ludicrous, but I’m really not kidding.  I have run out of insights, wisdom, questions and energy.  I suspect that lack of sleep has something to do with my mental state being in neutral.  I started a new photography project on the first of March; taking pictures of every sunrise for a year, from the top of Barn Bluff (a local geographical point in Red Wing).  I’ve tried changing my mind, influencing my thoughts, deciding differently, and I’ve come to the conclusion that while mornings and I can get along when we have to, we will never be fond fellows.  I’m one of nature’s night owls, and I am perfectly happy that way.

Why then am I taking sunrise photos, particularly from a place 1001 feet above sea level that takes forty minutes just to walk/climb to?

Because I’ve never done it before.  Because I like taking pictures, and sunrises are great subjects.  Because it’s going to be difficult to do for an entire year, especially once the days get longer and longer and the sun starts rising at 5:30 AM – which will mean I’ll have to get up at four to be there on time – and even more difficult in the waning part of the year when the temperature drops, since if there’s anything I dislike more than getting up in the early morning it’s being cold.  Because it’s quiet up there, and there’s a kind of magic in watching a town wake up.  Because stellar mechanics are fascinating, and I’m looking forward to watching the sun migrate back and forth on the horizon over the year.  Because I hadn’t been doing much with my camera recently and I’d missed it.  Because I’ve been feeling more like a fraud with every week that passes and I’m not out among people to put these new techniques to the test, and not yet manifesting abundance in my personal or professional life – at least, not that I can see.  And I’ve had trouble with schooling my thoughts despite the Master Keys and Og’s Scroll IV… which is probably no more than my old blueprint and peptide addiction for feelings of low self-worth talking (thank heavens).

Cardinal on the feeder

So on my walks up to the top of the bluff and back down I’ve been thinking about last Sunday’s webinar – thinking a lot of things, really (and recording my mental ramblings for my photo blog) – specifically about the part where Mark said basically that even if we have the desire and the ability to become everything we’ve ever dreamed, we need to pick one or two and stick with those.  It kind of reminded me of a scene in a book by Merguerite Henry (one of my favorite authors.  Wrote great horse stories about real-life horses and people, and did just exhaustive research for each book, but still made each book entertaining, easy to read, and real).  In Born to Trot, a book about the champion trotting mare Rosalind, main character Gibson White and his dad, accomplished trotting horse trainer Ben White, are at the doctor’s office – Gib’s been getting sick too often and his dad is concerned.  To draw an analogy, after finding out that Gib plays basketball, football, boxes, runs track and helps his dad at the track with the trotters, the doctor asks Gib, “What would you say if I had a promising yearling and I asked you and your dad to develop him into a runner, a trotter and a hunter?”  Gib says that he’d say he and his dad were too busy to take on any more horses.  When the doctor inquires why Gib would turn him down, Gib says, “Because it wouldn’t be fair to the horse.”

It’s unfair of us to expect of ourselves to be great at everything we ever wanted to do, even though we can be great at anything.

I love to write.  I love to take pictures.  Reckon that’s enough.  I don’t need to be a race horse, polo pony and jumper all in one.

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Time for me to hit the rack; the sunrise waits for no one.

Week #21 – Worthy?

(This actually was going to be a share in the Alliances, but it turned out a bit loooooooong to put in there!)

Been thinking a lot about unworthiness this week.  See, I have an easy life these days.  I don’t have a regular job and yet I don’t have to worry anymore about having enough income to pay bills and keep a little for unexpected expenses.  Wasn’t always this way – I remember skipping meals when I couldn’t buy groceries because every cent I had needed to go to the rent or gas for the car; a roof and getting to and from work trumped eating.  So I’m intensely grateful for what I do have now thanks to some shrewd decisions on the parts of Jerry’s Dad and his family.  But it leaves me with nagging feelings that I don’t deserve what I have.  Now, that drives me to do something to make myself worthy, which looks correct on the surface of things, but

Because the real problem is definitions.  Feelings of unworthiness keep us from doing things that might lead to liberty, growth, autonomy, legacy, and so on – deep down, we don’t believe that we deserve good things, so we in essence sabotage ourselves so we don’t ever get any.  But who decides what constitutes ‘worthy?’  What standards are you following if you are ‘being worthy’ of the life you desire, with all the symbols that go with you living your bliss?

For most folks, worthiness is something imposed from the outside, usually by the herd.  As adolescents, our worthiness, our value, is determined by our popularity with our peer group; if you aren’t popular, you’re second-class or lower.  As adults, our value is determined by our coworkers, our bosses, our spouses, our in-laws, our friends, generally based on what they think we can do for them.

But letting an outside source determine our worth is an untrue measure.  If all true power comes from within, as Haanel says, then all true value must also come from within.  What do you believe you are worth?

But thinking that way, we run afoul of the question, what do I need to do in order to be worthy in my own eyes?

In other words, if I do a, b, and c, then I become worthy of x, y, and z.  And seriously, in the light of what we’ve been learning the last twenty-odd weeks, what kind of sense does that make?  Because as soon as we start to think that way, we fall right into living life backwards and constantly-moving goalposts.

So how to answer the question?  If others can’t truly define my value, and I can’t either, then what determines worth, and what measure can be used?


Haanel says very clearly that we carry within us a piece of Universal Mind/Divinity/God/Source, which at its heart is indivisible.  If we are in the Divine and the Divine is in us, how can any of us, even those who don’t understand the world within, be ‘unworthy’ of receiving the abundance of the Universe?  That would be Universal Mind saying, “You are a lesser part of me,” to bits of itself, bits that are the “same in kind and quality as the whole, the only difference being one of degree!”

Which then therefore means that the whole idea of worthy/unworthy is just as much of an illusion as fear.

We are pieces of the Universe made manifest.  By definition, we cannot be unworthy of receiving the gifts ready and waiting for us to claim them – though if we won’t have them if we are not in harmony with universal law.

Works for me.  How about you?

Week #20 – Searching

Suzuki S40 Boulevard

It’s that time of year again.  I’ve been staring at white, dirty white, and brown for months; my eyes are aching to see warm, living greens.  I miss the bass growl of thunder and the syncopated staccatto of rain on the roof, colorful flowers, the hum of bees, the smell of damp earth.  My favorite moment of the year is that day, that one day, after the snow has melted and the new grass has begun to poke through the still-wet dirt; the crocus, trout lily and trillium are sending up stems and leaves and the trees are budding out… nature is waking up and having a stretch.  One day the limbs and twigs of the woods are bare and brown, and the next there’s a fine haze of various shades of bright green all around, and I look up and smile and say to myself, “When did that happen?”

And meantime, my lonely and idle motorcycle wants to know why we don’t live in a place where we can ride all year.

I’m starting to wonder about the whole concept of anthropomorphism – as in, maybe we’re mistaken in thinking we’re assigning human qualities to an animal or object.  From MK 20: If Source is in me, and I am in Source, and Source is also in “the infinitely small as well as the infinitely large” and understanding and appreciating that fact “will enable us to absorb its essence” – in other words, it isn’t just our “I” that’s connected with Universal mind, it’s every living cell in our body individually (whether they think or not) as well as every living cell in an animal, a tree, a blade of grass, an earthworm, and even the inorganic.  In MK 10:8-9 “The plant reaches down into the mineral world and touches it with the mystery of Life,” because “We have seen that there is an impassable barrier between the organic and the inorganic, and the only way that matter can unfold is to be impregnated with life; as a seed reaches down into the mineral world and begins to unfold and reach out, the dead matter begins to live, a thousand invisible fingers begin to weave a suitable environment for the new arrival, the Law of Growth begins to take effect…”

So if dead matter can be subject to the Law of Growth, it must therefore be connected to Source or Universal mind and the spark of Source or Universal mind in us can connect with any other spark of Source because they are all one in kind and quality, the only difference being one of degree, and therefore these individual sparks are in truth indivisible, because Source/Universal mind/spirit/God is omnipresent.  So feeling that spirit in a cat, a dog, a tree… a house, or a machine that has been created by the power of thought which “is the secret of all inspiration, all genius,” and is the “only activity which a spirit possesses,” is that really so far-fetched?

I just heard my brother roll his eyes and sigh.

Just a thought.  I’ve actually believed for years that communication – and therefore cooperation – with animals, the natural world, and inanimate objects not only is possible, it exists.  I never will forget the day at work when I heard one of the components I was building into a fax machine or copier clutch shouted, “Whee!!!!!” as it rolled down the pile of cases, across the counter and off the edge.  It was a loud factory, one with required hearing protection because of the banging and hissing of assembly presses, the thump and grind and click of the assembly robots.  There’s no way I could have heard the physical sound that the case made as it went rolling, and I wasn’t facing that section of the table at the time.  I heard that shout of glee and I turned to catch it midair.  I’ve never doubted that it actually happened, but I’v always been careful about who I spoke to about it.  I don’t like it when people give me sideways looks and start edging away from me, or mutter about schizophrenia when they think I can’t hear.

Well, now through Haanel, I’ve discovered logical reasons supporting the belief.  If Source is omnipresent, and the mineral world can be imbued with Life in order to support life, then inanimate objects having a spirit of their own is possible, and it’s equally possible for the spirit in us to hear the spirit in them.  Especially when they’re being loud because they’re having fun.

So there.

But I digress.  What I actually wanted to talk about this week was more along the lines of a minor frustration.  I’m linking, connecting, I’m building good habits.  I was writing an article for my website earlier this week about the Reno gang – the gravesites of Frank, Simeon and William are in Seymour, Indiana – and thought about how their criminal activities and their eventual end was a perfect example of Emerson’s Law of Compensation.

I had trouble with this week’s Master Key – I think I’ve mentioned before that my beliefs are not mainstream, so I had to keep substituting words and concepts for “God” which had better connotations for me… even though that’s kinda distracting.  Up until now, Haanel’s kept his verbiage very general, which I have appreciated.  And truly, it all is just a matter of semantics.  Universal Mind is Source is God is Omnipresent Spirit.  I just haven’t gotten to the point yet where I can read it in Haanel without feeling my shoulder muscles ripple in mild distaste.  A sure sign I’m still living at least partially in associative mind.

But what bothers me most at this point is that week to week, I am writing about the same old things – applying Haanel and Og to my life, how the exercises affect my daily life, observing minor changes in myself.  No brilliant, earth-shattering insights.  No quantum leap in lifestyle or business or happiness.  Just ordinary, everyday growth in an ordinary, everyday way, and me combatting self-critical behavior because I can’t force an acceleration.  It’s irritating, is what it is!  And it’s not as if I’m saying this because I feel the need validation of the process or myself – I don’t need exterior support anymore.  And that is definitely more than I had before the start of the course – progress of the Slight Edge variety.

‘Cause it’s more like the change of the seasons than the burst of a firework.  For months everything is slowed down, dormant; and then before you know it, your world is bursting into life faster than you can keep track of, and the roads are clear and dry, and you turn around to see the haze of green on the trees and ask, “When did that happen?”

And then you take your motorcycle out for a ride… which makes it very, very happy.

S40, ready and rarin' to go!

Week #19 – Imagine what we’ll know…

Holy cow – in the homestretch of the course.  I say ‘of the course’ because this kind of process never really ends.  I’m interested to hear about Mark and Davene’s exit strategy; myself, personally, I’m going to start all over at the beginning, read the master keys again week by week – I’m sure I’ve missed lots of the nuances, kind of like how Jeff Olson explains it in The Slight Edge:  “I can read a book like As a Man Thinketh, return it to my bookshelf, then come back a year later to read it again – and it feels like somebody sneaked into my room while I was sleeping and completely rewrote the book!”  I’m looking forward to seeing things I didn’t see the first time through.  Hopefully we’ll still have access to the webinars, but even if we don’t, maybe some mastermind partners and I can get together and have discussion sessions.  (My favorite uncle, who passed away a couple years ago, read The Divine Comedy by Dante every year in the original Italian with a group of friends and then they would discuss the passages and each relate what new wisdom they had gained.  This process has been seriously rough in patches, but why invest so much time and effort only to stop after the twenty-sixth week?  That’s just silly.)

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Lotsa thoughts buzzing around in my head this week.

When reading Master Key 19, that scene from the first Men In Black keeps occuring to me.  You know the one.  Where Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is recruiting James Edwards, who becomes Agent J (Will Smith) and says, “Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe.  Five hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago you knew that humans were alone on this planet.”  And his voice drops to that gravelly, impressive Tommy Lee tone – “Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.”

Appearances are deceptive because we don’t know all there is to know yet.  Everything new that we learn, once we’ve developed the neurons necessary to be able to think about it, changes how we perceive what is.  Myself, personally, I’m not sure we ever will know everything – at least not while we’re still physical beings.  The mind might be unlimited, but the meat brain can only hold just so much and Universal Truth is so… Very… All-Encompassing… that at our stage of evolution our brains would fry if we tried to comprehend it all, all at once.  So we get glimmers.  Flashes of insight.  Flickers of intuition.  And we keep asking questions, pushing boundaries, developing new neurons, and eventually learn and accept enough to change what is “common knowledge.”

(You know, learning that really explained a lot for me.  I’d wondered throughout my life why it was I would grasp some things so quickly and yet require time to mull over others that seemed so much simpler.)

Hey – do you remember when Mark was talking about the compound in Kauai, about how he had envisioned himself and Davene, and Davene had envisioned the entire family, and turned out The Fab D’s vision was the stronger of the two?  So one of the thoughts kicking around my head this week is wondering what determines that stronger vision.  Emotion, determination, certainty?  (I know, I know – “Unbridled enthusiasm.”)

Trouble is, I can be enthusiastic, but I just don’t do ‘unbridled’ enthusiasm.  Even when I’m excited about something, there’s a measure of deliberate control involved, and there’s always a part of my mind watching and evaluating.  So how does strength of vision work under those circumstances?

Rather well, apparently.  It’s been four weeks since Jerry’s hip replacement surgery; he was scheduled to go back for a checkup and he was less than confident about it.  I told him, “We will go, the doctor will give you a look-see and be pleased, he will give you a clean bill of recovery and then you can drive home.”  (That’s what’s bothered him the most while he’s been recovering – not the driving so much, but that temporary loss of independence associated with not being allowed to drive.)  And Jerry’s response was, “Oh, I don’t know.  I think maybe he’ll have seen a lot better, and want me to come back in a couple more weeks, because I’m really not that good.  But it could go like that, I guess.”  Completely overlooking the fact that he doesn’t even use the walker anymore, and never went through the intermediate stages of crutches or cane.  And I said, “It will go like that, I have decreed it.”

Doc Maybry said of Jerry’s new X-rays that they were “perfect” and Jerry’s recovery “couldn’t be better.”  He cleared Jerry to drive and start resuming side-to-side motion of the leg, though with the proviso that the restriction “If it hurts, stop” is still in effect.  Still more healing to be done over the next several months, with the first three being the period when the major mending happens.  But unless Jerry or I have questions or concerns, he doesn’t need to be seen for his hip until the one-year mark.

I never exercised any concsious enthusiasm toward the outcome, but I was absolutely confident it would work out the way I envisioned; Jerry was less certain and more pessimistic, but his overall emotion was stronger than mine – it always is, always has been; he’s a far more emotional being than I am.  So what’s the defining line?  How does it work?

Looking forward to exploring more and finding out… even after the course ends.

Jerry driving for the first time in four weeks

Jerry driving for the first time in four weeks

Week #18 – Explorations

“This week concentrate upon your power to create; seek insight, perception; try to find a logical basis for the faith which is in you.” – MasterKey 18:33

Webster's Dictionary 1962

Jerry’s mom was a warm-hearted, generous lady.  A caretaker.  She gifted me with this a few years after Jerry and I were married, knowing I would value it.  It was printed the year Jerry was born, and she had kept it on her shelf for almost that long.

I know, I know.  The accuracy of reference material changes over time, and more rapidly now as technology and knowledge advances.  But the book I will never let go of, and much of the information is still good.

Here’s what it has to say about faith:

  Definition of faith  Definition of faith pg 2

My thesaurus lists these synonyms:  assurance; conviction; credence; reliance; trust; belief; creed; doctrine; dogma; tenet; constancy; fidelity; loyalty; promise; word.  (My thesaurus was printed in 1986.)

Notice what’s missing?

All right, maybe a couple more.  Mirriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines it both as a noun and a verb.  Under ‘noun’ it lists these:

: strong belief or trust in someone or something

: belief in the existence of God : strong religious feelings or beliefs

: a system of religious beliefs

and under ‘verb’ says:


:  believe, trust

See it yet?

Maybe this’ll help.  This is my cat Firefly.  (Yes, she is asleep.  I was watching her twitch in her dreams as I was typing this.)  She’s getting to be close to ten now – I still remember when she was a tiny fluff-ball barely bigger than the size of my cupped palms bullying my 60-pound German Shepherd-Husky mix to the point where poor Ninya wouldn’t even walk up the stairs if Firefly was sitting at the top.  And Firefly will sleep with her belly exposed in a way that most cats won’t, in my experience.  She sleeps like that because she has absolute faith that she can… that none of the humans will reach over and play “pet the Buddha belly!” with her, that none of the other cats will attack in ire or in play.  She has faith that this will never happen, because it never has.

Firefly sleeping upside down

In other words, she has tested this belief over the years, and found it to be fact.  And so she can take this vulnerable position without fear (though I will admit it’s a less vulnerable position for a cat than it is for a dog, given the location of the primary weapons of claws and teeth and the speed with which a cat can apply them, even if they’ve been woken suddenly), and hold it for half-hours at a time.  Similarly, Reggie – and when he lived, brother Indy – had absolute faith that their humans would not drop them, even to the point of being so relaxed they habitually rolled over in our arms to plummet to the floor.  (Their belief in this was rewarded – never once did we drop them, no matter how unexpected the move or how bonelessly they flopped toward a fall.  They had faith that we never would, because we never had.)

So I guess it’s not really surprising that Haanel says we must test our convictions until they become more than mere belief – which means nothing – but fact.  And yet… if we test our belief and support it with fact, that negates the need for faith, does it not?

Except that in none of the definitions above does it say that faith is belief without proof.

Isn’t that interesting?

So I went looking for my logical reason for my faith in my own creativity.  I’m sure that everyone has experienced it – that state of pure creation, where we are so involved in what we’re doing, so in the now, that we’ve lost track of our external environment and all that exists for us is the image we are creating – whether it be via words (spoken or written), paints, inks, clay, camera, sliderule, drafting tools, keyboard and mouse or any other medium.  And I asked myself in my sit, when I’m there, where is my ‘I’?

At the heart of my creative nature, certainly.  But where is that?

Deep in my center.

And where is my center, that point of perfect balance between Self, Universe and Earth?

That’s the point where I touch what Haanel calls Universal Mind, that place that is the same in kind and quality in me as it is in the original, though the original is larger in degree.

But how do I know?  What makes that something that I know, rather than merely something I believe?

The fact that in that state I’ve written such brilliant pieces of my stories I couldn’t quite believe they had come from ordinary, everyday me; how that point feels – connected, relaxed, at peace and yet at the same time exploding with words and ideas and plot points, so much so that I couldn’t get them all down on paper before they flitted away… or rather, before I lost my hold on that expression of the Divinity Within and returned to the mundane semi-depressed ground state that used to be my norm.

Oh, yes.  I have faith in Universal Mind.  I have tested the belief, it exists, and I continue to work toward the day when I can touch it at will, from moment to moment, and never again lose those precious moments of creation when the Universe tells me stories that are mine to share with the world.

Week #17 (review) – Finding the missing pieces

Puzzle with missing pieces

(What am I pretending not to know?  What in the world does that mean?  What’s the context?  What am I pretending not to know about WHAT?)

It was one of those perfect moments.

I’d had a blog post all prepared, but was hanging onto it for some reason instead of publishing – didn’t know why.  Then Jerry and I were out running errands and stopped at the local Chinese buffet for lunch.

Jerry likes Chinese.  I can take it (no pun intended) or leave it.  The food tastes good, but there are a lot of dishes that have onions (which I’m allergic to) so my selection is usually pretty limited.  S’okay, though; I’m rather fond of sweet and sour chicken.  This place in town is a nice one; small, friendly atmosphere, cheerful waitstaff no matter who’s on duty.  Today there were some folks chatting when we arrived.  It was pretty obvious that these two groups had only just met; they were talking about “getting to know you” stuff – profession, families, where they live, the price of farmland, that sort of thing.

Now, I’m generally very… courteous, I suppose would be the word.  If people are having a conversation in a restaurant, I assume their words are not for all and sundry and I turn a deaf ear.  Granted, a restaurant is a public place, and granted that for some folks their normal speaking volume really carries.  But that’s no reason to listen, and doubly no reason to remember what I hear.

(Reading obituaries?  Well, that’s a little macabre, isn’t it?  I suppose it might be an exercise in learning what others have done with their lives – how they’ve filled in the “dash” on their tombstone, whether or not they’ve made their own Hero’s Journey or spent their lives encased in the cement – but how can a published paragraph or two paid for by the word possibly give the true measure of a person?)

‬iPad download 2015-01-30 437This older gentleman, though, was talking about his kids – he has three, one of whom is a Master Sergeant in the Air Force permanently assigned to the National Guard Armory in Hastings.  The talk moved on to retirement and finances, and he said something to the effect of “We’ll never be rich, but we’re not poor, and we can do some of the things we always wanted to do.”  And I found myself wishing there were something I could do, some way to have a conversation where I could bring the talk around to offering him… something, anything, to change that accursed resigned acceptance of less than.

(Service, schmervice; chores, schmores.  Don’t care what word it’s called by, it’s still doing things I don’t want to do for other people who nine times out of ten either won’t say ‘thank you,’ or will use my generosity as an excuse to treat me as a doormat.  That’s always the way it happens, calling it a service doesn’t make it any less an imposition, and I resent being forced by Universal Law to sacrifice myself in such a fashion!)

The five of them were engaging in a Minnesota goodbye; saying farewell, mentioning they had to go, then starting a new conversation.

I might have mentioned a time or two that I come from a family with strong military ties.  Among other things, that facet of my life grants an almost automatic kinship with other military family members.  I wasn’t thinking of my Franklin Makeover virtue for the week – courage – or about that half-formed thought I’d sent into the universe, or even about the conundrum that revolves around the Law of Giving, the Law of Compensation and the principles in the Strangest Secret – specifically, “give more get more” yet we are to give without expectation of reciprocity even though just being conscious of the dynamic involved means we can expect to be given to as we give.  It’s a puzzle in logic that I play with (and yes, I do actually know what the answer is, it’s just more fun to toy with the question).

(Mmm, hero’s journey.  Every High Fantasy series ever written is the hero’s journey – the innocent hero, the wise mentor, the helpers along the way… and the Quest for the Magical Object – a person’s Authentic Self, in this case.  Don’t know that I like the fact there’s a built-in ‘get out of jail free’ card for the teachers, though – where’s the check and balance, if they can simply say that a person has failed to heed the herald’s offering of the quest and then ignore whatever the objection was that caused those folks to drop out?  It was a pretty interesting parallel to the Stages of Grief… though if Mark was talking the Kubler-Ross stages, he missed “Bargaining.”  Should probably listen to the webinar again.)

So I got out of my seat and went to tell him, “Thank you,” for his part in raising a Master Sergeant as he was waiting for his folks to finish their farewells.  He said he hadn’t done much, and mentioned he also had a daughter in the service (a Captain in the Air Force), and I mentioned my brother who was an E-6 before he was honorably discharged, and we got to chatting.

‬iPad download 2015-01-30 115Then he asked what it was I did for work, and I told him I was a writer.  It came out smoothly, automatically.  And mind you, this is one of those questions that I’ve had trouble answering in the past; it’s true in my head, but it’s also not how I earn my living… yet.  So as a part of my mind was wondering why in the world I just said what I’d said, he said, “Really?  I’ve got this great idea for a story…”

(And all around the MKMMA, other writers are cringing.  Ideas are a dime a dozen; so many times people offer their ideas for us to write up and then believe it’s a 50-50 proposition and the profits should be split evenly.)

Well, we both laughed about that, but turns out he has a brilliant idea for a niche website.  See, retired military and the immediate families of active duty members can rent rooms on bases around the country, rooms that would ordinarily go empty.  It’s a win-win; families and retirees get basically hotel service in a secure area, and the base gets the funds for what would have been wasted space.  Prices have gone up over the years – used to be $20 a night, Steve was telling me – but now it’s comparable to or maybe a bit more expensive than a Motel Six.  Well, some years back he and a friend thought that it would be nice to have one place where a person could go for information on the base housing – prices, locations, and the quality of the place.  Because apparently bases vary wildly in those categories; some, he says, are finer than 5-star hotels; others are real dives; and still others are clean and amenable but constructed along institutional lines – ‘institutional’ as in a mental hospital.  But he’d convinced himself that nobody would be interested knowing things like that, and honestly where would you publish those kind of articles anyway?  So the idea remained dormant.

And I said, “I would be more than happy to help you out with that.”  Because writing, after all, is what I do.  And while I resent ‘being of service,’ I LOVE ‘doing favors.’  And I have some small experience with passive-income niche websites – which I suspect Steve doesn’t know anything about.  And there’s no denying that knowing what style and quality of base housing is available would be valuable to military families who want to visit loved ones, or just take advantage of some of the travel perks.  And I can think of so much that could be added to the reviews of the bases!  What’s nearby, for example, both for dining and activities.  The best travel routes – not everyone has a GPS.  Base events that visiting families could attend.  I mean, seriously, I’ve already started to organize the website in my head.

There are details to work out, for sure.  We exchanged contact information and I’m to call him in a month.  The tentative idea is for him to provide access to the bases, and I’ll write the articles and take the pictures – and more than likely transcribe some of his stories…

And once the website has a solid followership, gift that passive income stream to him so that his own travel and experience then become self-sustaining.

How cool is that?

iPhone import 2015-01-30 387

Week #17 – The Nature of Truth


Don’t really have much of anything to say this week – sometimes that kind of worries me, as the weeks progress.  If I were really taking these lessons to heart, internalizing, believing and implementing, I shouldn’t run out of things to say, should I?  It isn’t as if finding three hundred words is particularly difficult…

Ah, but three hundred words plus that actually mean something – that’s something else.

Decisiveness is my word this week.  I was a little concerned when Mark said during the intro video last webinar that each week we should be finding more examples of our word than we had of the word the week before… there were so many examples of kindness in week two of the Franklin Makeover that I lost track of my count!  And I was in the world outside my home more, which helps.  This week, I’ve kept going back to the beginning of the MKMMA, reminding myself that indecisiveness is the worst kind of controlling personality – even when the indecision is directed at yourself.

Been contemplating symbols an awful lot this week, too.  The symbols of power, the symbols of prosperity – I’ve experienced that moment, you know, that Haanel talks about, where you have what you thought you wanted in your grasp only to have it turn to ashes in your hand, leaving you even emptier than you were before.  And this week I’ve wondered:  What is abundance?  Seriously, really, truly.  I know what it feels like.  I know how the word is defined.  But words are of themselves only symbols, sounds that give shape and definition to thought.  And I’m reminded of a Buddhist saying, “A path that you can identify as a path is not THE path; a truth that can be put into words is not true enough.”

And that in turn reminded me of a conversation I had with my Dad a few years back.

(I’ve always been a seeker.  Of knowledge, of wisdom, of experience.  Not really looking for anything so much; the whole point was the journey of seeking.  Like I’ve said before, I research what interests me.  And research has gotten so much easier over the years!  Of all the things I’m grateful for, I love having information literally at my fingertips so long as I’ve got an internet connection and device to connect with!)

So I was trying to explain to my Dad why it was I kept an open mind on virtually all subjects, and he was trying to explain to me why I was wrong to do so.  One of the things I said in an attempt to illustrate my point was that Truth is actually too all-encompassing for our minds to hold in its entirety; we can only catch little flashes of that greater whole, usually through intuition.  So the little truths that we believe to be immutable and complete are really nothing of the kind; those truths can be changed with a shift in perspective, with more experience, with better information.  And if it can be changed, how can it be said to be TRUTH?

The rest of the conversation didn’t go well.  Partly because in my Dad’s mind I was wrong before I even opened my mouth, but I reckon the bulk of my failure to convey what I meant was rooted in the fact that I was trying to use clumsy words to give voice to my assertions, those tidbits of knowledge and intuition that struck right to the core of me, picking me up and shaking my soul like a dog with a rag bone.

How can you explain TRUTH with mere symbols?

It’s an interesting question.  Almost circular, Rene Descartes-like.  Ripples on a pond, only heading inward instead of outward, always seeking the center