I did what I said I would do!

One thing we started during the MKMMA class was to begin reading “The Greatest Salesman in the World” by Og Mandino. And read it “As Prescribed”. The book has a section of 10 short chapters each called a scroll, each scroll is supposed to be read 3 times daily for one month. 10 months in all. I made it.

My final read was July 31st. It just so happened that I was in Florida that day, so the following morning I was on the beach early, and read all 10 scrolls, out loud, while walking the shoreline. It was a wonderful conclusion to a project that has yielded much mental clarity for me. You really have to experience this book as the author intended to understand how I felt.

The Fabulous Davene and her sidekick the Big J. have put together a wonderful class and fantastic group of people to help us poor souls looking for guidance. I have many entries about them in my gratitude journal and expect there will be more as the years fly by.

Me is not the me that started this journey.

And if you don’t want to make the committment to go through the MKMMA, at least by Mark’s book “Standing Tall”. You won’t regret it.

I did what I said I would do, and I am grateful that I did!

Peace

peace

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Week 24 – The End

No photos, nothing fancy, no earth shattering revelations you don’t already understand.

Damn good class, learned lots, experienced big changes, now it is time to go apply these new principles!

I wish every one of my classmates all the best. May the Lord bless you and your days on this wonderful planet we have been given to explore. Open your heart and see.

-Rex

Week 23 – Piglet

Gotta crank out a blog earlier than usual. I won’t be able to post late in the week and there ain’t no way I’m gonna miss one being this close to the end!

OK – Dr. MJ keeps asking if we are happier now than when we started this course. Are you?

I am. My youngest daughter has remarked that Janet & I both are more relaxed, happier, and “not so stressed”. So there, you have an expert’s opinion.

piglet

 

Piglet is happy. Oh, there are times when he is down, such as the time Owl takes over Piglet’s home after the big storm, but being Piglet, he agrees that it IS a nice home and that Owl WOULD be happy there. Content, polite, happy-go-lucky. I hope I can be like Piglet. Blissful with the beauty of a flower.

Yup, the class has been worthwhile, I would do it again, and I will continue with the reading, the cards, the affirmations. And I hope you do as well.

Wow – almost the end. Hang on!

Week 22A – Hope

OK – I’m still here. 20+ weeks of reading stuff that’s hard to comprehend, repetitive daily reading of a book (and a pretty good one at that), forcing myself to actually achieve some little goals, being nice to people, and listening to the Big J get excited every Sunday.

I remind me of some of the cars that would come into the body shop. Pieces of crap, neglected, rotting away. Every bolt requiring a blowtorch to loosen and every piece of rubber or plastic cracked and faded. Personal control of my mind? -NOT!  Neglect, years of neglect. Not that I didn’t learn stuff, it just hasn’t been the kind of stuff that makes one a “better person”, well, unless learning how to get up backwards on a slalom ski, deepwater, suffices as “better person” trait. Heck, nobody ever told me I could control thoughts let alone how big an influence they have on the flow of our lives.

Car

Stumbling into Mark’s class was the equivalent of pushing the junker into the body shop. Everybody in the shop walks around the heap, pointing out the few undented areas, looking for any glimmers of hope.

Hope. A few months back I read the statement “Hope is not a Strategy”. Had it printed & hung on the wall for a while. But I took it down a couple of weeks ago because I needed something to hang on to, something to help me make it to the finish line. I didn’t need no damn strategy, I needed something to believe in, a ray of hope.

It must have worked. Tonight is as close as I have gotten to the deadline for my blog, and 20 minutes ago I was ready to head to bed. I pray than my perseverance will give someone else a bit of hope.

I believe in all of my classmates, hang in there. I hope your lives are better due to the generosity of Mark and the Fabulous Davene. Mine is.

And I thank my MasterMind partners, Daniel & Jim. You guys rock!

 

Week 22 – Sit Quietly Amidst the Tumult

That guy Mark is pretty smart. He knew if he had asked us to do this week’s task within the first few weeks, people would have run away in droves.

Sit quietly with NO electronics or distractions, no reading novels, no talking, no music, QUIET, for an entire day.

Wow, even after this many weeks listening to our manical leader I am not sure I can handle this. What a challenge!

Creek01

So I have spent some time over the last few days listening to a recording by Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra, and have picked out a couple of gems which may help me, and you, to become quiet. I think of this as “preparing” myself for the “Big Quiet”.

Deepak speaks of sitting quietly, with the chatter that goes on in our heads, and calls the brief moment between when your mind jumps from one thought to the next “The Gap”. He says focusing on this sliver of quietness is the key.

“Slip into the gap, have the desire, release the attachment to the outcome and let the Universe handle the details. It is handling them all the time anyway.” …  “In pure love, you no longer feel separate from the Beloved.You ARE the Beloved.”  -Deepak Chopra

Deepak also led me to the following wonderful passage, something that I am going to have to meditate upon….

“The same stream of life that runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measure runs through my veins night and day. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.”  -Rabindranath Tagore

Beautiful writing to say the least. So much wisdom comes from India.

Be at peace.

 

Week 21 – Mayday! Mayday!

In this week’s lesson, Haanel points out something which hit me between the eyes. Blindsided.

21.16. If the desire is one which requires determination, ability, talent, courage, power or any other spiritual power, these are necessary essentials for your picture; build them in; they are the vital part of the picture; they are the feeling which combines with thought and creates the irresistible magnetic power which draws the things you require to you. They give your picture life, and life means growth, and as soon as it beings to grow, the result is practically assured.

It seems that I have the picture in my mind and have been driving towards the “end point”, the person I will be after I have climbed the mountain, not the person I need to be to actually do the climbing. How could I have missed this important point?

Short blog, big task ahead. I believe I have inadvertently been preparing to be a 3 Star General without ever having gone through Basic Training. Gotta go, there’s a shitload of pushups to do!

(please don’t tell Dr. J.  He might just call on Big Vinnie & have him blow smoke in my face while chastising me for my utter lack of competence….)

Dang, only 5 weeks to get this straight.

Week 20 – Lilly’s Rosary

Last evening Janet & I attended a Catholic Funeral Vigil for our friend Lilly. For those of you unfamiliar with Catholic traditions, this is a prayer service for someone recently deceased and usually includes praying the Rosary. I had never been to any Catholic services before I started dating Janet (boy THAT sure goes back a long ways….), but when you marry a Catholic, you marry their Family AND their traditions as well. It has turned out to be good for me.

The last couple of weeks in our MKMMA journey we have been reading obituaries, thinking of our own impact on the world and most recently, getting into our little brains some idea of the short TimeLinetime we have left to get the important things done in our life. Dr. J. has asked us to write out a card showing a timeline of our life with the current position indicated to help us visualize where we are at in this incredible journey called Life. Being an Engineer I just had to use a ruler. Of course, the endpoint I chose (95 years) is debatable.

So how should I feel about the fact that I am over half way to the end? Two thoughts come to mind:

1.  I can be like the brat at the arcade when mom says they are leaving in 10 minutes and the child throws a fit.

2.  I can be like the child at the arcade when mom says they are leaving in 10 minutes and the child makes a beeline to the favorite arcade game to wring the most joy out of the remaining time.

I don’t want to be remembered as a brat.

Lilly was 91. A smiling short Italian lady, usually meeting us at the door, waving us in, pushing food in front of us. The kind of person everyone should be blessed to know. Funny how an elderly person can seem so content, but yet be worried about everyone else’s well being at the same time. She managed to wring value from every day.Compass01

I wonder if she is content with her timeline? I wonder if she would be content with mine and how I have lived? My plan is to be sure that friends like Lilly are proud of how I live my life.

The compass, remember the compass………  (and as I said before, my watch doesn’t have a battery in it)

Week 19 – I love(ed) My Blueprint(s)

Did you ever stop to wonder how we ended up here? Here as in “HERE” doing what we are doing, living where we are living, loving that which we love, struggling with our struggles? Our path to the now has been creating as well as been created by “our blueprint”. Our belief system, our thought processes, and how we react to our environment. According to Mr. Haanel, we draw the environment to us, making it quite difficult to blame the circumstances surrounding us for our troubles. We can only blame ourselves.

This package of thinking we hold in our head (or – some may argue in our heart, rightfully so) that carried us here has been referred to as our “old blueprint”, with progress to a new way of thinking and living being dependent upon disposing of this faulty programming. I am not qualified to do this, but I am about to challenge how many of us think about this process (and I have to thank Daniel H. for helping think this through).

I remember sweeping the floor of a dingy auto body repair shop “free gratis” with the hope of being asked to stay around to learn the trade. My blueprint of that day is what carried me to a labratory as a graduate student in Electrical Engineering. I remember walking out of a wonderful Engineering design facility in Phoenix, walking away from a successful career, allowing my Blueprint to carry my young family and I back to Nebraska, to family, with me completely unaware that in a few short months I would be holding my father’s hand as he breathed his last. An experience I wouldn’t have if my Blueprint had not taken me away from that job.

So why refer to this past way of thinking in any sort of negative way? If I speak of my old blueprint in derogatory terms, somehow I am discrediting me, the me that got me where Me is today. Now I understand that there are things in life that any one of us would rather be without (or maybe with), but how about thinking in terms of “getting better” instead of “getting rid of”?

I love the old blueprint that took me from a slacker, barely passing my sophomore grade in highschool math to an A student in college calculus and physics. I love the determination my blueprint exhibited as I labored to build the house I now live in, have raised a family in and am perfectly happy to end my days in. I love the blueprint that took me from what could have been a depressing career repairing office equipment to a rewarding career designing world-class scientific instruments. I love the blueprint that took me from what could have been a drinking habit to maybe two or three beers per year.

There have been stacks of blueprints in my head. I love all of them, they all served their purpose. Each better in some obscure way than the previous model, each serving a need, taking me somewhere I needed to go. Our work in this MKMMA class is about learning how to change a blueprint, accelerating this change, and observing the things that need changed to achieve a goal. All VERY valuable, but for myself to abhor the old blueprint – I ain’t gonna do that. I love Me, warts and all.

Mantis01

Hah – you think you’re gonna change ME?

Now, I do know that the blueprint in there now will have to change. It has some issues which need resolved. Tomorrow it will be slightly different than today. The next day, different again. And as long as I understand that I am in charge of the improvements, and can significantly alter how I think about myself, where I am going and how I treat people, then I KNOW I will love the next Blueprint as well. The Big J. is helping us make these blueprint revisions much faster, and I am eternally grateful for his unselfish work.

The last line of my DMP is:

     “I love my life”

Does that mean everything is perfect? Absolutely not. But it is definitely getting better.

Week 18 – Ed Kinney liked me.

To summarize my experience to date with the MKMMA journey – I am happy. I have always been a positive sort of guy (OK – always is a stretch, but you get the idea) but I feel happier, more “tuned into” my surroundings, paying more attention to feelings than I did before this class. A day doesn’t go by that my wife & I make comments like:

Are you asking my expert opinion? (accompanied with some chuckling)

That was kind… (of you, or them).

That is OK, they are where they are supposed to be in their life.

Being content, happy with what happens. Happy knowing the outcome will be OK.

Last week we were to read an obituary or two each day. Presumedly to get us thinking in terms of our legacy, something I have never done much of. Then last Friday I awoke with this week’s blog in my head. I had not started thinking of what to blog, this was just “given” to me. Funny that I had written “Ed Kinney liked me” on a gratitude card a month ago, maybe Ed is reminding me that an important part of our legacy is the memories we leave with others. Memories of him certainly came back to me after all these years……

Ed Kinney was a farmer in central Nebraska. I met him when I was a young boy at my father’s gas station. Dad’s gas station was located on the edge of a town of maybe 130 people surrounded by corn farmers with a few raising cattle or hogs. The spot where everyone went to get their gasoline back in the days where we washed the windows & checked the oil and tires for free, when gas cost 28 cents a gallon. Ed was a life-long bachelor, lived in a run-down single wide trailer house and drove his tractor everywhere he wanted to go. Ed was no more than 5′ 6″ tall and kind of scrawny with the skin of his arms and face tanned dark brown from years under the Nebraska sun.

Ed was a hoot. His volume levels were either whisper or shout and he was exuberant about life. When you spoke with Ed he looked you in the eyes, fully connected to every word you spoke. Although he never finished school (he may never have attended any for all I knew, his signature was limited to a crude “X”) he was masterful of his crops and the weather. Oh, and of his tractor.

JD2020

John Deere 2020, or as Ed would say “trinny – trinny”. The one possession of value held by Ed. He drove it everywhere. His trips were timed to fit into his farming and the destination determined by the week’s needs, and they were day trips, meaning he spent most of the day at the lucky location. He would arrive at the gas station when the tractor needed some attention or he needed to pay his bill (this was the age when people got gas or an oil change or a tire repair, and left, with us attendants recording the transactions, no signature needed). His arrival was announced by much shouting and hollering and laughing, and usually some jumping or shoving for good measure. Although he didn’t have much, he lived a full life with many friends. Some people didn’t much care for this old man wearing bib overalls having spots of dirt or grime, old round-toe boots, unkempt hair and skin with the powdery Nebraska soil ground into the pores of his face. But Ed liked everybody.

He would be sitting in the shop listening to the other farmers bitching about corn prices or the weather or the latest government official, and when it got quiet for too long Ed would spring to his feet and holler “I’M GONNA KICK THE BUCKET!”, which was always followed by “tch, tch” a sound he made not unlike what a rancher uses when coaxing a horse out of the barn. Ed could jump up, land on his knees on the concrete and bounce back on his feet, then run up to you, usually much closer than most people are comfortable with, look you deep in the eyes and whisper, “how do I look, do you think I’m gonna make it?”. I cannot remember a day when Ed arrived and didn’t announce to everyone that he was gonna kick the bucket. If the group of farmers which we there when he arrived left, to be replaced by others, he made sure they knew as well.

I don’t remember when, but someone started a game we played with Ed, much to his despair. Since we knew he would be at the shop for the day we started hiding his tractor when he wasn’t paying attention. Out behind one of the buildings, or sometimes wedged between two pickups where he couldn’t get it out by himself. Ed would moan and holler and plead, all the while laughing or trying to shove someone against the wall as if this little man could strongarm them into releasing his prized tractor. Then one of us would take Ed to the local grocery store to help him pick up some essentials for the week (usually limited to canned goods and a loaf of bread).

Ed was the poorest person I have ever known, poor in the sense of not having any material things beyond his beloved tractor. He always wore bib overalls and boots, he was always dirty and lived in a trailer house that should have been burned to the ground. I remember one blustery winter day when he arrived and I thought he was going to loose his ears from frostbite as he only had a seed corn cap on his head (for those unfamiliar, the seed corn companies always gave baseball-style caps having their logo on them to the farmers as a way to advertise. Usually thin to keep one’s head cool in the summer sun). I had one of these stupid hats that was ugly green, quite heavy, fur lined & had earflaps. I gave it to Ed and you would have thought I was a long lost brother. He wore that hat every winter thereafter.

Then, when I was in high school, Ed kicked the bucket.

I don’t remember much about that spring, I suppose due to being too involved with school and more “important” things to worry much about than this farmer who wasn’t going to get to plant another crop. I stayed at the gas station the Saturday of his funeral to allow the older guys to attend. It turns out there wasn’t anyone who could remember a funeral in Wood River Nebraska with half as many people in attendance. It would seem that Ed spent his free days at other gas stations, other grain elevators, other shops, hollering and laughing and entertaining everyone. Jumping up and shouting  “I’M GONNA KICK THE BUCKET! tch, tch”. He had LOTS of friends.

It took a few years to sink in, but I think Ed taught me a few things. Not to say I am good at them, but I’m working on them.

          Look people in the eye when you talk with them.

          Everyone likes laughter. Make them happy.

          Be happy with what you have.

          Take good care of your tractor, it may be the only one you get.

Thank you Ed.

Week 17.5 – I am one of a kind

In this chapter of “The Greatest Salesman in the World”, Mr. Mandino is trying to get us to believe that we are special, unique, valuable, a miracle. Some might argue that it is a miracle I have made it this far (in life, not the class…..).

This morning I awoke with the thought to put into this space filled with Masterful Minds something which would energize me, cut off the easy retreat to a life of comfortable indifference, to share my cards….

So be it. I am learning to not only listen to but to heed that inner voice, Mr. Intuition. So here goes, a list of all of my cards whichI have written regarding why I am special, perfect in every way. The proof of my uniqueness will be in your replies.

I have jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.

I am an outstanding electrician

I shook hands with Harold Edgerton.

I have seen men wearing wooden shoes.

I have walked down the railroad tracks.

I have cried at a movie.

I have been an excellent manager.

I have been to the top of Pike’s Peak.

I keep a gratitude journal.

I rode on Goliath.

I scratched my name on the bluff above Rock Springs, Wyoming.

I can print black & white.

I know how a laser works.

I flew an airplane solo on my 16th birthday.

I have been to Holland.

I graduated from High School.

I am a good plumber.

I have cut down a tree.

I know how to use an oscilloscope.

I have a great sense of humor.

I lived at Stuhr Museum.

I have replaced the battery in a cell phone.

I am an excellent tutor to college (and high school) students.

I can ride a bike.

I saw The Blue Man Group.

I can type.

I have seen shooting stars.

I have repaired cameras.

I graduated from college.

Ed Kinney liked me.

I synchronized the carburetors on a Jaguar.

My mom is proud of me.

I crawled through the storm sewer.

I keep my cars clean.

I have been to Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin.

I am on the cover of TN News.

I have seen dolphins in the wild.

I have given a bird a bath.

I have a graduate degree.

I have grown orchids, keeping them vibrant for years.

I can be very creative with my test equipment.

I saved a bunny in the window well.

I am a great photographer.

I had $135,000 in cash in my Blazer (a story for another time).

I have unloaded barrels of oil from a semi trailer.

I can read a vernier scale.

I have seen a whale.

I can use a 10 key keypad.

I passed 3rd grade (barely).

I have disassembled & repaired computers.

I witnessed the births of my beautiful daughters.

I made coffee today.

I am good at math (much to the surprise of my teachers).

I have changed the oil in cars and trucks..

I have held a WWII Japanese sword.

I painted my blazer.

I gave the old man a ride home to get his car.

I make a great cup of coffee.

I have driven 140+ MPH on a motorcycle.

I won a cruise.

I can develop film.

I make friends easily.

I drove the PCH from San Francisco to San Diego.

I am a good mechanic.

I am good at painting the interior of homes.

I have a $20 gold coin.

I helped an officer in need.

I have been to the top of the Cabauw Tower.

I went pheasant hunting with my Dad.

I can read & write.

I can fly a model helicopter (sort of).

I climbed trees.

My dogs loved me.

I have seen several tornadoes.

I drove a State Patrol car (yet another story).

I designed and built a beautiful home.

I can cook.

I do an outstanding job of washing windows.

I am a skillful and safe motorcycle driver (see above).

I have fixed tractor tires.

I can repair refrigeration systems.

I know how a slide rule works (but I am not proficient at using one).

I can sew.

I visited Florida.

Puppies like me.

My name is on a patent.

I went to a Papal Mass.

I can write software.

I can fix almost anything.

I rebuilt an engine.

I am a good writer (my teachers would not believe this).

I am good at cleaning floors.

I am a terrific father.

I drove Doug to the hospital after he broke his arm sliding into first base (idiot).

I designed an IC.

I rode in a hot air balloon.

I did EMP testing on a military radio.

I can set an irrigation tube (a lost art).

I share my tools.

I have lots of friends.

I can repair tires.

I can design digital circuits.

I can draw.

I have replaced the battery in an iPod.

I am good at using a computer.

I am a great shot with a pistol.

I cut my hair using a FlowBee (and I look great).

I am great at finding my way around.

I designed a world-class light sensor.

I have held a luna moth (I didn’t even see one for over 50 years of my life, then this guy wanted me to hold him!)

LunaMoth

Some of you will have similar cards, but there won’t be anyone claiming to have all of these same sentences on their cards. Which means, both you and I are nature’s greatest miracle.

We are all connected, all on a never ending journey.  And Yes, you are Perfect.