MKE 2017 Week 1 – Today I Begin a New Life!

As this year’s Master Key Experience begins I approach it as one who has been given a blank slate to design life the way I choose it to be.  The seeming conflicting emotions of excitement and fear race through my body and mind.  Excitement that I can choose whatever path is before me.  Fear that I can choose whatever path is before me.

Cheshire Cat and Alice

I’ve spent a good deal of time the last couple of years crafting my Definite Major Purpose (DMP) which is to act as my road-map to my future.  This year I feel like I need to scrap everything and start over.  Not because I didn’t really want any of the things I put in my previous DMP, but because it just feels like that’s what I need to do.  Maybe some of the things I’ve included in past iterations of my DMP will still be included in the new one…maybe it will look totally different.

I don’t know yet.

I feel free, though, to really reach into the deep recesses of my mind to rekindle the passions that were extinguished by the “red pencil” of life.  Nothing is off limits.  I must draw out of my subconscious mind the things I really want…those things that cause me to be excited about each and every day.

I’ve started down this path a few years ago not having any idea that I’d be where I am today in my life.  As hard as it has been I would not change any of it.  The challenges I’ve faced have not only made me a stronger person (that’s sooo cliche) but a better person.

I am alive.

I replace complaining with finding beauty and joy.

I replace blame with accepting responsibility for my life.

I am grateful for EVERYTHING in my life…(yes, everything).

Almost forgot!  I wanted to share a photo from earlier this summer taken at the MKE Live event.  Most people don’t like to see themselves in photos that other people take.  I’m no different.  However, this is quite possibly my favorite picture of all time!  Thank you Sarah for capturing my happiness and my happy place…with all of you!

Kauai MKE 2017 Happiness

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DMP Comes to Life

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I’m laying in my bed at our lodge outside of Yosemite National Park just reflecting on the past few days here. The main reason for coming here was to hike Half Dome. Hiking to the top of Yosemite Falls was a secondary goal. It turned out that we (my daughter Annie and I) did not understand the process for getting the hiking permits completely and as a result were only able to apply for permits for today. Which we did not get. That turned out to be a good thing because after hiking Yosemite Falls on Tuesday neither one of us were in any condition to attempt another hike of that difficulty anytime soon.

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We’ve still had an amazing time at what I will argue is the most beautiful place in the planet! Standing at Glacier Point today overlooking much of Yosemite Valley was just awe inspiring! I don’t think I’ve ever felt so small and insignificant in my life as when I sit and stare at the wonders of creation. My troubles and problem are but a passing moment that years from now will not matter and will be forgotten.

I heard a saying recently that focusing on the past leads to depression and focusing on the future leads to anxiety. Live in the moment today and in the moment we will find peace.

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Week 23 – Finishing Strong

These past couple of weeks have been a real struggle for me to be honest.  I feel as though I regressed a bit.  I allowed some circumstances distract me to the point I totally jettisoned all of the habits I’ve worked so hard to develop over the past few months.  My focus went totally to the approaching situation and the imagined outcomes that I have no control over.

As we come to the end of the Master Key Experience the last couple of weeks is not how I want to finish.  So I’m back on track with the habits and digging in to retool my DMP.  Focusing on what I want and replacing all the bullshit from the past with visions of the future.

I’ve actually had some pretty amazing successes in spite of myself these past few weeks.  This past week I’ve hit a major milestone in my journey back to a healthier ME!  I’m down 60 lbs in the last 11 months and I’m lighter than I’ve been in over 15 years.

I feel great and I’m looking forward to completing one of my DMP goals this summer of hiking to the summit of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park in California this June with my oldest daughter.  For those of you uninitiated on Yosemite National Park and Half Dome the hike is 14 miles round trip and usually begun before sunrise to ensure completion in one day.  The only time I’ve been to Yosemite was sometime around 1980 and I did not do the Half Dome hike then.  But I’ve dreamed about returning to Yosemite for years and hiking to the top of this geological wonder.

Half Dome 1

 

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I’m refocusing on what I want and choosing to be master of my emotions as Og describes in Scroll VI.

“Strong is he who forces his actions to control his thoughts”

Week 22 -“Burn it!”

Over the past several weeks I have really taken to heart the admonition of the MKE staff to become the detached observer of myself.  No passing judgments about being right or wrong about anything, just observe my feelings and attitudes about various situations as they arise.  It has really been eye opening for me.

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This past weekend I attended a seminar with a friend that was focused on changing our deeply held beliefs about money.  The organizers of the event asked the attendees to each bring a single $100 bill for what was described as a “very impact-full demonstration”.  When it was time for this part of the seminar the speaker asked everyone to take out their $100 bill and look at it closely.  He made some other remarks then asked “Do you control money or does money control you?”  A very good question.

What is my relationship with money?

    -We’re seeing other people?

    -We’re separated?

    -I’m a slave to it?

     -It’s a tool to accomplish my goals?

Many other thoughts went through my mind as I considered this question.

As the room full of attendees were contemplating their own relationship to money the speaker gave some safety briefing about following his directions closely from this point on to prevent any injuries or damage to the facility.  He then asked other staff members to bring in their equipment.  Several people filed in from the back of the room carrying fire extinguishers, buckets of water and long table candles.  The staff with the candles lit them upon reaching the front of the room.  The speaker  reiterated the safety precautions then asked everyone to take out a pen and paper and document whatever was going through their mind.  “Does money control you or do you control money?” he repeated.

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He then invited everyone to line up in front of one of the burning candles in preparation for lighting their $100 bill on fire then extinguishing it in the bucket of water.  I was sitting fairly close to the front and would have been the 3rd or 4th person in line to light my money on fire.  That is when I stepped to the back of the room and excused myself from this exercise.

Some of the things I had written down earlier in the demonstration:

     -I don’t need to burn my money to prove anything to anyone.

     -I don’t waste money by burning it!

     -I’m telling this Benjamin to get back in my pocket!

Just as the first people in each line were preparing to depart this seminar with the charred remains of their hard earned money…the speaker instructed the staff with the candles to extinguish their candles and directed everyone to return to their seats.  “I knew it!” I said to myself.  No one was burning anything today.  Whew!

But the bigger lesson for me was the observations about my own thought process during this event and observations about the other attendees.  Out of a room of over 100 people it was myself and one other woman who refused to line up to burn our money.  Everyone else was ready to watch their cash disappear into ashes.

I am a self directed thinker and not a lemming subject to the group think zombie-like mentality.  I surround myself with like minded self directed thinkers who challenge me daily to question my motives and be true to my authentic self.

Are there areas in your life where you are just following the crowd?  Jump out of line and think for yourself.

 

Week 20 – Expanding my Comfort Zone

This weeks webinar really pushed the envelope for me.  I’ve really been focusing on my connection with the Omnipotent and Omnipresent like I never had before.  Thinking about how penetrating this is through all matter, time, and space has really opened my mind to this reality.  This lead to the realization that “I” am a channel for the power of God to be manifested in the world.  God works through people to accomplish his will.  I need to allow myself to be the conduit for His purposes.

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If I choose to look through the eyes of a cynic at the world then life is a horrible experience.  If I choose to see the miracles that surround me then life is filled with joy and wonder.  I can experience each new day as an adventure to be discovered anew and squeeze every drop with enthusiasm.

I am the curious discoverer in my own life observing my emotions as I move through each day.  It’s difficult at times to allow myself to truly experience the waves that hit me unexpectedly.  In the past I would stuff any uncomfortable feeling into the far corner of my soul until it would not be contained any longer and burst itself free with fury.

It was interesting for me to hear Davene explain that sadness is just anger turned inward.  I’ve described much of what I have felt recently as sadness.  I’m still trying to unpack the sadness/anger connection and make sense of it.  I’m certain I’m angry about many things right now.  How does that become sadness?  Is it that I’m blaming myself?  I’ll need to sit with this idea for a while.

Back to miracles.

Og writes in scroll IV “I am natures greatest miracle”.  For much of my life I have ignored this truth.  If I reject this idea then I must reject all thought of the miraculous.  If, however, I accept this premise then I must also ask myself what will I do with this knowledge.  Certainly I have not been created to fill my life with sitcoms and trivial hobbies.  I need to give myself permission to believe in myself…believe that I have been created for something greater.

This permission will of necessity push on the walls of my comfort zone that has kept me living a life of mediocrity.  I must be true to my nature…to my authentic self.  I’ve had glimpses of my authentic self several times this past year and it seems that he has been a more frequent visitor in my daily life over the past several months.  I really like that guy.

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Week 19 – Roller Coaster Ride

This past couple weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster ride for me.  I’ve experienced some incredible thrilling emotional highs as well as some equally scary lows.  Utilizing the Law of Dual Thought (Any thought is the combination of ideation and feeling – we can attach any feeling to any thought) I feel as if this last week has been an exercise in regaining control of my thoughts.  I have to admit it has been a difficult battle.  One of such intensity that there were many days my hands were constantly shaking from the adrenaline pumping through my body.

A few days ago I watched the supplemental TEDx video for the Week 19 lesson on body language and posture.  I immediately adopted the “Superman” pose during several of my out loud recitations of my affirmations.  It’s amazing how effective this has been in having a noticeable change in my physiology.  I also threw in the “Rocky Balboa” (arms/fists raised high above my head) for added emphasis.  I could not help but feel more powerful, more energized, and more happy during these moments.  Just thinking about doing this as I write these words gives me a similar charge.

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On a similar note I’ve been fairly consistent with writing out three gratitudes each day and journaling a sentence or two about a pleasant experience of the day on 3×5 cards.  Then I review the cards I’ve accumulated several times each day.  This has been a great inoculation against negative thoughts getting a permanent resting place in my mind (The Law of Substitution – The mind cannot hold two thoughts simultaneously).

I’ve missed not having the webinar last week and unfortunately I am working during this week’s webinar.  So I’ll have to catch the replay when it’s posted in a couple of days.  With that said, I’m starting to feel like a truly self-directed man…maybe for the first time in my life.  Up until now it seems like I’ve been controlled by my circumstances.  In reality I allowed my emotions to be reactive to my circumstances instead of my having control of my emotions without regard to my circumstances.  This is a new experience for me.  Maybe that’s why I’m feeling like I just stepped off Top Thrill Dragster almost every moment of the day lately.   Whatever the reason I’m trying not to over analyze it and just be present in the moment….living each day as it is my last!

Week 17 HJ – What Am I Pretending NOT to Know?

In the webinar from this week Mark J asked the question above.  At first it seemed like a nonsensical query.  “What the hell is that supposed to mean?” was my first reaction.  I know what I know.  What else is there to know?

The longer I considered that question the more things I added to my list, things that I’ve chosen to ignore or push to the dark recesses of my mind in an effort to avoid responsibility for that knowledge.  Essentially, I’ve been lying to myself.  That way I could claim I was a victim of circumstances beyond my control.  If I didn’t know how could I have done anything about it?  It’s not my fault!

The Master Key Experience is continuing to unfold a whole new world of thought to me.  I’m learning more each day how my inner world really is the source of everything I experience in my outer world.  The Law of Growth – What we think about grows; What we forget atrophies  has become a tool I’ve been using on a minute by minute basis to experience more happiness in my life than ever before.  The Law of Substitution – We cannot think about 2 things at the same time.  Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts  has become a habit that took a bit more work to implement.  I was previously programmed to dwell on the negative.  But I’ve learned I can choose what I think about.

I forget where I heard this first but this metaphor really does describe the control we have over our thought life:

You cannot keep the birds from flying over your head.  But you can prevent them from nesting there.

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So, what am I pretending NOT to know???

I’m not sure I’m ready to be too honest about that just yet.  Maybe it’s a cop out.  Maybe I’m afraid of really identifying what those things are.  Then I’d have to do something about them.

I think I’ll sit with this question a bit longer.

 

Week 17 – Free Falling

There are so many thoughts I want to share this week I’m not sure if I will be able to do them all justice.  I feel a bit like a first time skydiver who has just leaped out of the aircraft at 30,000 feet.  As I tumble toward terra firma in what can only be described as endless summer saults and rolls.   I catch glimpses of my winged transport continuing on its path above without a care for the excess baggage that has just departed.  Several questions run through my mind simultaneously:  “What have I done?”  “Is there any chance of getting back on the plane?”  “Will my parachute open?”  “Am I going to die?” 

I start to gain control of my descent and settle into more of a recognizable free fall.  My equilibrium is still a bit unstable after so many rotations as I watched the earth then the sky then the earth again enter and leave my field of vision for I don’t know how many dozens of times.  Slowly the dizziness subsides and the nauseous feeling in my stomach fades away.  Good…I don’t think I’ll puke after all.  Could you imagine the kid in his back yard playing ball and out of nowhere getting hit with….never mind.    

Yeah, I chuckled at that thought too.  Sorry kid.

 

 I look around a bit surveying a view of the earth too rarely seen.  Everything is so small (but it’s getting bigger).  It is so beautiful and quiet, save for the sound of the rushing air past me.  The sensation has transformed from free fall to floating in space.  I can direct myself by any small movement of my arms and legs even controlling the rate of my descent by the angle of my body relative to the ground.

This is what living by faith is truly meant to look and feel like.  Right now it seems as if every day I am stepping out of that airplane to experience these sensations over and over again.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”  Heb 11:1

 Faith, I’m learning, cannot be lived in my comfort zone.  It requires me to step into the unknown and trust that my parachute will open.  The thing about that though is this…what if I packed a backpack full of stuff for a picnic and have that on my back as I leapt from the aircraft?  The provisions in the backpack are good and meant to provide for my nourishment.  But it is wholly unsuited for the adventure in which I have just  engaged.  So it really does matter in what I place my faith. 

 

 Am I still afraid?  At times, yes.  However I’m also learning that what I focus on expands or grows.  So I remember this: 

 

 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things”  Phil 4:8

 

 I only have control of one thing – WHAT I THINK ABOUT!

 

 I cannot control things external to me but I can control how I think about them and how I feel about them.

 

 “…for I perceive, at last, that all my problems, discouragements, and heartaches are, in truth, great opportunities in disguise.  I am no longer fooled by the garments they wear for mine eyes are open.  I look beyond the cloth and I am not deceived.”  Og Mandino scroll IV.

 

 For far too long in my life I have taken a “Whoa is me!” approach to my circumstances.  I was the victim of things beyond my control.  Life was happening TO me and I was no more than a passenger on the bus without a clear destination.

 

 Today I choose to enjoy the free fall. 

Week 16 – The Franklin Makeover

Through the Master Keys Experience I’ve been learning that my circumstances or my outer world is merely a reflection of my inner world.  The visible trappings of my life, my relationships, material well being, are all a reflection of the world that I’ve created in my inner being through the sum total of the thoughts that have dominated my mind up to this point.  If I wish to have a different outcome in my outer world I MUST create different thought patterns.  My external world is the EFFECT; my internal world is the CAUSE.

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With this in mind the participants of the MKE were presented an exercise molded after one of the greatest minds the United States, and maybe the world, has ever known – Benjamin Franklin.   Franklin would carry a small notebook with him and daily track his effectiveness in displaying a variety of virtues that he deemed necessary for living a wholesome and fulfilling life.  He would list the virtues on the page and daily give himself a red mark if he fell short of one of the virtues.

Does the red mark sound familiar?  How about the red marks you received on your schoolwork pointing out how many answers you got wrong?  It has been repeated often throughout the MKE that what we focus on grows and what we forget atrophies or diminishes.  So why would we continually focus on what we do wrong?  If we only get more of what we focus on why would we not focus on what we want more of in our lives?  This has been a major trap that I am breaking free from and it has already created some incredible changes in me.

Back to Franklin…

So instead of marking down when I fall short of a virtue I have been tracking anytime I have displayed one of the virtues or have seen in the world around me.  It doesn’t even have to be in a person, it could be seeing the enthusiasm of a dog playing in the snow.  The point of the exercise is to become aware of my surroundings and see the beauty in life around me.  Which in turn will pull me toward displaying those attributes on a more consistent basis in my life and toward the people I interact with on a daily basis.

Here is a list of Franklin’s virtues:

• Courage
• Imagination
• Persistence
• Self-Control
• Decisiveness
• Well Organized
• Cooperation
• Pleasing Personality
• Taking Initiative
• Enthusiasm
• Specialized Knowledge

• Kindness
• Seeing God in others

And here is my personal Franklin makeover journal for the past few days:

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Give this a try and see if this has a positive effect on your outlook and general disposition.  I dare you.

 

 

Week 15 – Collateral Beauty

This weeks post is not going to be what I initially thought it was going to be.  I’ll save that idea for a later post.  This week’s post will probably be pretty raw.  Because that is how I’m feeling at this moment…raw.  I’ve just had one of those guttural deeply emotional releases that cleanses your spirit and makes the sun shine brighter.

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That’s what was coming out of my eyes not a half hour ago.

I knew it was coming at some point.  It had been building for some time.  I was supposed to go to work tonight to start four 12 hr night shifts.  Instead I called in for a “mental health” day.  I’m not certain I would have been able to finish my shift tonight after what I’d just been through.

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So what triggered this release?  I went to see a movie…by myself.  In fact I was by myself in the theater until another lone soul came in at the last moment and sat to my left in the row in front of me.  We exchanged pleasantries but other than that kept to ourselves.  Which was good because my eyes started leaking pretty early in the movie.  I was also relieved she sat in front of me so she couldn’t see me wiping  my face throughout those moments that caught my inner tough guy sleeping.

After the movie was over I went out to my car to drive home and called a friend to tell them they had to go see it…and then the storm clouds let loose on this bitter cold sunny day in Minnesota.  My little car filled with saline water that gushed from the deepest parts of my being.

I might as well let everyone know, not to attract sympathy, but so this will all make better sense.

I was served divorce papers two days ago after 29 years.

For some of you who know me this may come as a complete shock.  It’s not that much of a shock to me.  I’m the one who created the conditions that have lead to this…all of it.  I saw this coming during the six week gap in my blog this year.  I knew we were in trouble earlier in the summer and attempted  to right the course of our lives together.

This is going to be a huge change in my life and I will be a better man because of it.  I already am.  I concentrate my thoughts for 30 min daily upon the task of thinking of the person I am becoming thereby creating in my mind a clear mental picture of that person.

Thank you to all the people who have been by my side these past weeks and have helped me navigate through the storm.  You know who you are.  I look forward to paying this forward as I create my new life.  Giving without the expectation of reciprocity from the channels I enrich because I am in the dynamic flow of giving.

Today I begin a new life.

Go see this movie.  NOW!

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