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.