OK, I’m starting a new blog! I’ve been listening to a lot of Brene’ Brown recently, who researches courage and vulnerability, among many other things. She talks about putting yourself out there and really being seen and being vulnerable. Yikes.
If everything I want is on the other side of fear- and I believe it is- then the fear of putting myself out there seems like a good place to start. For me, putting myself out there encompasses almost all of my other fears (fear of taking risks, trying something big and failing or flailing, fear of being extremely raw and vulnerable, fear of dealing with negative/hurtful feedback, fear of taking in helpful feedback but in a public format, fear of not saying things in the best way, fear of hurting someone, fear of offending others, fear of the messiness that comes from actively engaging in life, fear of mistakes, etc.) The list could go on and on. But, I do believe that on the other side of this fear of really stepping up, really putting myself out there in a big way, is absolutely everything, and anything I want.
So, I’m entering my next phase. My next phase starts with this blog. I’ll be taking an amazing personal growth class and mastermind group (hopefully!), beginning work on my new emerging business and writing a book. I’ll share my thoughts and experiences here as I challenge myself, and grow into, putting myself out there!
It’s the last week of our 6 month course, the Master Key Experience (MKE) and Mastermind Group!
So sad for the course to end, but many of us will be in touch, many of us will continue to mastermind with each other, and many of us will continue to be involved with the experience and with next year’s experience.
The readings, the webinars, the lessons, the homework, the habits we’ve developed, the mastermind groups, the mastermind partners, the founders of the MKE, the guides… all the learning and positivity that has been packed into 6 months has been nothing short of AMAZING.
It is difficult to explain. Now I understand why when I watched those videos early on of people saying this experience is “life changing” — now I understand what they were talking about — even though I can’t express it in any compact way.
This has been LIFE CHANGING.
That sounds vague, but it encompasses so much. I’ve been told by other coaches that I am different than I was, and that my coaching has exploded to another powerful level.
I will never be the same again.
Now for the themes and lessons of the week:
One more reason to observe our thoughts…
One of the lessons and themes I’ve talked about in prior posts is that of being a nonjudgmental observer. Noticing my own thoughts. Observing them. Noticing my own judgments or opinions. Using the law of substitution to change my mental state. (The mind cannot focus on two opposing emotions or thoughts in the same moment.) We’ve put forth mental effort to be very intentional and vigilant about noticing our opinions or judgments and refraining from putting them out there into the world. This frees up our own mental state and energy. I’ve become very protective of my mental environment and I don’t want a lot of “noise” blocking me from reaching my core, or interrupting the chance to connect with Spirit or Universal Mind. I also don’t want to add to the noise out there for other people, and I don’t want to add to other people’s cement. (This references a story of a golden Buddha statue that was covered in cement. The cement represents anything external that we might have taken as our own such as societal and cultural expectations or beliefs. The story is based on a real golden Buddha https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Buddha_(statue))
However, this week we also looked more deeply at another reason to be vigilant about being the nonjudgmental observer. Another reason to become an observer of my own processes and my own thoughts is because the observer can often influence the very thing that is being observed! Take a look at some of the material out there on “observer effect.” In short, this is the theory that the observation of a phenomenon can change that phenomenon. There are many examples of this from social psychology to computer programing to physics, such as when an electron is “seen,” the path of that electron is actually changed. (We watched a cool videos about particles that I can’t even begin to explain.)
The point is that there is some evidence that mere observation can change outcome. And there is some support for the concept that when we observe ourselves, including our behavior patterns and thoughts, the observation alone can contribute to change in the pattern or the thoughts. So merely observing thoughts that go through my mind, without judgment, may contribute to me changing the pattern of my thoughts in a positive way!
Focus on noticing our true nature…
One of the things we observed this week is our own true nature, as well as the nature of anything else. Since what we focus on expands, when I observe myself being true to my own nature, and when I observe anything else being true to its nature, my tendency to be true to my nature grows and expands. (For several weeks now we have focused on a virtue or trait we would like to amplify on ourselves and noticed this trait in ourselves as well as in others, as a way of helping ourselves expand that trait.)
Why do I want to expand my ability to be true to my nature? That goes back to last week’s post (and others) and the Law of Least Effort. Because when I am in Harmony with the Universe, when I am in touch with Spirit/God/Intuition, when I am acting from my true desires or gifts, when I am true to my nature — life flows more easily, there is less struggle, and I am actually more effective in my life. (See the story of Og, the Law of Least Effort or the metaphor of Row, Row, Rowing your boat! https://myjourney2blackbeltliving.wordpress.com/2020/03/21/727/)
I definitely want to increase being true to my own nature and acting from my true gifts! So, just as I focused on other traits in previous weeks, such as the trait of courage or the trait of self-discipline, this week I also focused on noticing when living things (people, animals, plants) are true to their nature. Here are some of the things I observed:
One of the easiest to notice was my dog, Kipper. It’s easy to observe my dog being true to his nature, because he always is. In fact, all animals are true to their nature. Never do they try to be anything that they’re not, never are they confused about what their true nature might be. I observed my dog trying to engage me in a game of chasing him with a toy around the table, even though he just took an hour long walk and I thought he should be exhausted. It is in his nature to be playful and try to engage me in play no matter how much exercise he’s had. I observed him doing whatever he thinks will get him food; bark, sit quietly and look cute, bop me with his nose… because it’s in his nature to do whatever he can for food.
While sheltering in place, I’ve observed my kids being true to their nature. My younger teenage son has been playing video games with friends online (obviously he can’t do this in person), but he naturally takes breaks from this absorbing himself in a text book on screenwriting and jotting down plot and character development ideas. When he needs a break, he watches a great movie or show to see how everything he just learned about screenwriting applies to the show. And, he occasionally teaches himself piano on his keyboard. It is amazing to observe him being true to his nature and his gifts. You see, in second grade, he decided he no longer wanted to be a concert pianist, because he wanted to be a writer. That one stuck. He has liked games, creating music, and most of all writing, ever since.
While stuck at home my older teenage son has been doing pull-ups and core exercises, texting with friends, and having long 2 and 3 hour deep conversations with his mom! He takes breaks from these activities by acting silly and slap-happy, play fighting and pestering his mom and younger brother. This has been awesome to observe because he’s been very physical for a long time, and he has always been a deep thinker. Friends of mine called him an old soul when he was very young because he was extremely perceptive, observant and wise. It wasn’t uncommon for him to throw out an observation that blew everyone away and seemed like it should have come from an adult. And it’s been so wonderful to see him acting silly like just like that little kid who used to talk in funny voices and make funny faces in the mirror! (Don’t tell him I told you. :D)
I’ve also observed my partner being true to his nature. As a long-time martial artist and a personal trainer, he is extremely physical and loves living through his physical body. He is also deeply spiritual and compassionate, and from the stories I’ve heard, he’s been that way since he was an adolescent. (He thought about becoming a pastor.) Well, his way of sheltering in place is to get up at the crack of dawn so he can keep his social distance while he exercises in the park. He’s been finding creative ways to work out several times a day and taking long meditative walks. (His preferred method of mediating is to take daily 30 mile bike rides through trails at super-human speeds, but that is not an option as he is recovering from an injury.) He takes breaks from this by compassionately and empathically responding to others on facebook and reaching out to people in supportive ways. I love to observe him being true to his nature by being supportive, loving, spiritual and compassionate as well as insanely physical.
What a pleasure to watch my loved ones being true to their nature. As I’ve been on on a journey to gain more clarity about my true nature and learn what my gifts are over the course of this Master Key Experience, I observe myself while sheltering at home. How I’ve been true to my nature at this time?
What have I noticed myself doing or engaging in while sheltering at home?
After spending all that time engaging with my family, I have thrown myself into projects to develop my business as a coach and an author. I’ve noticed that I’ve had to discipline myself to begin projects such as working on the proposal for my book, but once I am engaged, I am enlivened by the creative process. When a creative idea comes to me through a meditation, I’ve felt compelled to draw it as a flow chart in my journal – or my book of ideas, development, quotes, images and things that are important to me. I find myself adding colors that symbolize concepts for me. I found myself getting out colored pencils and pastels for this. I find myself listening to audio books that further my spiritual development. I’ve been sharing my experiences and creative projects with new mastermind partners through Marco Polo (a video messaging app) and through mutual coaching sessions with fellow coaches. I’ve been connecting with friends and family and re-establishing some old connections. I take breaks from my projects by going on long walks, and interacting with my doggy.
Oh, and filming martial arts videos with my partner. 😀
How are these behaviors indicative of my true nature and my gifts?
It’s easier for me to observe my loved ones and connect their behaviors to how they were as children (or puppies). How does my way of social distancing represent who I was as a child?
Well, before the internet (yes I’m revealing my age) I would write long notes back and forth with friends. Once email came out, I loved writing my thoughts out in an email and sharing them back and forth with friends, which is probably why I now enjoy blogging. I kept journals at a young age and as I look back, I realize that I always worked out my thoughts through either journaling, writing back and forth with friends, or doing some creative projects that I found soothing. I can see now that how I am spending my sheltered time right now is not too far off from what I did as a kid. I am writing thoughts, being creative, and clarifying thoughts through writing and through creating visuals which I still find both soothing, and invigorating. It soothes me to work on projects like this — to “color,” and create images. It also energizes me and adds “aliveness” to my life. When I’ve done a project, even if it’s just describing my business ideas by drawing and coloring a flow chart that came to me in a meditation, I feel excited and alive and stimulated, as well as soothed! After reading my first “self-help” book as a teenager, I also wanted to one day write some sort of book.
What else do I notice about my recent behaviors and who I was as a child?
Since I discovered “spiritual” concepts when I was an adolescent, I have been intrigued, inspired, fascinated and invigorated by them. I would say that my introduction to positive spiritual concepts probably began when reading Jonathon Livingston Seagull as an adolescent, which remains one of my all-time favorite books. The readings in the course and the meditating have been deeply fulfilling and energizing for me.
All of us
It is my belief that fundamentally, underneath everything, the true nature of all of us is spiritual. Our true nature, at our core, is Divine. It is Universal Mind, it is God. Our individual gifts are our unique expressions of the multiple facets of God. We are individuations of The Divine. We are individual expressions of the many unique facets of God. Underneath that, we are all Spirit. We are connected; we are one.
From my personal viewpoint, that is a humongous underlying take-away from the course. Other people may word that differently. Those are the words that appeal to me. Other people have different major take-aways. I can’t begin to write down the thousands of take-aways from the course. But for me, this affirmation of what I know at my core, underlies and supports all of the other wonderful learnings.
We are all connected. We are all God at our core.
Peace, harmony, wellness, health, beauty and love to the world right now as we go through this and find ways to support each other, serve each other and love each other.
Again, many thoughts and themes swirling through my mind from last week’s webinar, the readings, my meditations and masterminds. Of course so much of this is in relation to what’s going on in the world. I still have so many thoughts about going within and and knowing and acting from what’s true for me, as I wrote about last week. I’m also thinking about a theme from our most recent fabulous webinar; The Law of Least Effort, and how that relates to my gifts and how I can serve.
The Law of Least Effort, taken from Deepak Chopra’s wonderful book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, is about being in tune with Spirit, being in harmony and going with the flow or what we’re called to do. It’s about acceptance of what is, taking responsibility without blaming, and letting go of attachments or defenses about our views. Actually acting on our dreams, following our bliss, or taking the road less traveled can seem like the most difficult path to take. However, it ultimately requires less energy, less effort, less “trying,” less strife and less personal toil and toll than NOT following our bliss.
Yes, I know, that can seem unbelievable at times. But ultimately true.
I can’t quit thinking of the story that was told about the author of a book we’ve been reading every single day, by Og Mandino.
The story of Og
Here’s the short version.
Og planned to go to college for journalism, but his mother suddenly died of a massive heart attack, while in the kitchen preparing his lunch. Instead, he took time to work in a paper factory. He then joined the US Army Air Corps where he became a bomber pilot. After this, he had a difficult time getting a job, as few companies were hiring bomber pilots, so he got a job selling insurance.
On the road selling insurance, Og would sit in the bars at night and he became an alcoholic. Because of his alcoholism, he had trouble keeping jobs. His first wife and child left him due to his drinking. One morning, he came very close to taking his own life.
Instead of ending his life, he followed an intuition to go to the library. At the library, he found himself attracted to books on self-help, motivation and success. He started studying them. He went to more libraries. He studied more. His studies began to help divert him from his alcoholism. He was particularly influenced by W. Clement Stone’s classic, Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude. He was also very influenced by Napoleon Hill (who was influenced by Charles Haanel and the Master Key System) and Emmet Fox. All of these authors and thought leaders became associated with the New Thought movement.
Following his studies and battles with alcoholism, Og wrote The Greatest Salesman in the World, first published in 1968, and went on to write more books. His books have now sold over 50 million copies and have been translated to over 25 languages.
The Greatest Salesman in the world is known for it’s scrolls which are designed to build positive mental habits when read and thought about several times per day. The book is applicable to any goal or desire, not just being a salesman by profession. It’s been an amazing part of my journey recently and our journey through the course.
When someone is On Purpose… when someone is tuned into Spirit/God/Universal Mind and acting solely from that place… when someone is doing exactly what he or she is meant to be doing at the moment he/she is meant to be doing it… when someone is in Harmony with Universal Mind and completely engaged in that thing that speaks to him, that thing that calls him or makes his eyes light up or makes him lose track of time without any thought or worry about how the world views his endeavors… then Life Flows. There is Effortlessness. There is Ease.
I’m not saying there is never a need for self discipline in this scenario. One may have to rely on self discipline to get himself back to what he feels inspired to do. But the point is that the overall energy expended when one is in the flow, when one is in harmony with the Divine, when one is on purpose… is LESS than the energy that must be expended when one is not in tune, not in harmony, or trying to “make oneself” do what he thinks he has to do.
When Og was simply trying to get a job, as he must have thought he had to do, there was an underlying misery. When we are trying hard to “motivate” ourselves because we are not actually aligned with what is naturally easy or exciting or attractive to us, then success requires much energy and effort. The side effects are often finding ways to numb, to check out, to escape. This takes place through addictions to alcohol, drugs, food, Netflix, video games, etc.
I’m not saying those things are bad. I’m saying we can get sucked into them as a way to escape a subconscious knowing that we are not on track. However, many people (myself included) are not even aware that they aren’t aware. We are doing what we think we are supposed to. We are doing what we’ve been taught. We are “being realistic.” It was mentioned in our Mastermind class that Society “attacks” us from the time we are young. We are “attacked” by fear and ideas about what we should and shouldn’t be doing in the world, by culture and society.
When we follow inspiration, when we follow the energy, when we discover our gifts and become actively engaged in giving them away… life flows more easily.
Again, I’m not saying we never have to inject self discipline. I’m saying that it is actually easier in the long run to be in harmony with Spirit/God and to act on those things that others may tell us are “unrealistic,” impossible, require too much effort, are unlikely, silly are a waste of time or ridiculous; than it is to subconsciously push down our real desires or bliss and eventually die with our music still in us.
When Og was doing what was normal, finding a job to pay the bills, denying his calling and his inspiration to write; he became an alcoholic, lost family members, and almost killed himself.
When Og followed his intuition into the library, read the books that called to him, and followed his desire and gift of writing, his life flowed. He influenced billions of people over time in a positive way. His impact was tremendous. And THAT was actually easier than stuffing it all down and NOT following his destiny, and paying the toll.
Deepak Chopra’s Law of Least Effort
So how to put the Law of Least Effort to use in our own lives? First, I believe for me the answer is to meditate, go within, and learn what my gifts are, what I love doing or what I feel called to do, and then to become so actively engaged in those things that I am acting from Spirit or God rather than ego. (The ego seeks external validation, approval or recognition, acting from inspiration or being in harmony with The Universe does not.)
The other components of the Law of Least Effort as written about by Deepak Chopra:
I will practice Acceptance. Today I will accept people, situations, circumstances, and events as they occur. I will know that this moment is as it should be, because the whole universe is as it should be. I will not struggle against the whole universe by struggling against this moment. My acceptance is total and complete. I accept things as they are in this moment, not as I wish they were.
Having accepted things as they are, I will take Responsibility for my situation and for all those events I see as problems. I know that taking responsibility means not blaming anyone or anything for my situation (and this includes myself). I also know that every problem is an opportunity in disguise, and this alertness to opportunities allows me to take this moment and transform it into a greater benefit.
Today my awareness will remain established in Defenselessness. I will relinquish the need to defend my point of view. I will feel no need to convince or persuade others to accept my point of view. I will remain open to all points of view and not be rigidly attached to any one of them.
I’ve talked about those concepts in prior posts, especially my last post. I am now saying these affirmations or commitments to myself every day and this helps keep me in the flow, engaging the Law of Least Effort.
I was lucky enough to hear Wayne Dyer speak a few times before he died. I remember him talking about the song “Row, row, row your boat.” He said that this simple song is a song of deep spiritual meaning and wisdom. He pointed out that the song doesn’t say “Row your boat UP the stream.” No, it says to go with the flow, go with the Universal Energy.
“Row, row row YOUR boat“
Notice that Dr. Dyer also points out that the song encourages you to row YOUR boat. Not anyone else’s boat! It’s up to you to row your own boat, to follow your own inspiration, to be uniquely who you are. Remember as Og says “You are a Unique Creation of Nature.”
Row YOUR boat and nevermind what anyone else is doing in their boat!
Other people’s boats are none of my business! I am engaged in rowing my own boat!
“gently DOWN the stream”
Again, the song does not say to struggle and work to row your boat UP stream! It says to go with the flow, go with the Universal Energy, be in tune with Spirit, in harmony with the Universal Mind and row GENTLY!
The song does NOT say that you must STRUGGLE or that life must be a struggle. It doesn’t say you should make it hard by rowing upstream for no reason. It says to go with the flow of the stream and row gently. (Law of Least Effort!)
“Merrily, merrily, merrily merrily”
And have fun doing it! Row your boat with JOY! Merrily go with the flow and row your boat downstream with joy! Follow your bliss! Follow your inspiration! Be in the moment! Be fully engaged! And be thankful for the flow!!!
“Row, row, row”
Wait a minute, that was already said, right? Let’s go back to that for a second.
Not only does it tell you to row YOUR boat. Not only does is say to row GENTLY. Not only does it say to row DOWN the stream… the first thing it says is:
I DO have to row!!!!
I’ll also point out that although it says to row the boat downstream, be in the flow, be in the Universal Energy, go with the Universal Mind, there IS some rowing involved!
Action is still required. Just not the taxing and mostly futile action of rowing Upstream!
I still gotta row!!!!
I’m not just closing my eyes Willy-Nilly, blindfolding myself, lifting my hands in the air and saying “Wheeeeee” while the boat is slammed into rocks, flies over rapids and is overturned.
I GOTTA ROW!
Yes, I row GENTLY. Yes I row DOWNSTREAM. Yes I row MERRILY.
BUT I ROW.
I still do take action. I follow up on that inspiration, that inclination, that energy that calls me.
I row my OWN boat and not anyone else’s boat.
Ideally, I pay no attention to what the person up the river or down the river is doing in his own boat. I am lost in my own activities, taking in the beauty of my own journey, oblivious to that person in that boat over there who may be hurling criticisms or judgments or fears at my boat. I don’t get caught up with the person in the boat upstream who is telling me all the reasons my path will lead to my demise and that I should in fact be following him up the stream.
I go with the stream gently; I don’t try to fight an upstream battle against nature, against God, or against my own true nature.
But I row.
But that rowing is actually easier in the long run, than rowing upstream or not rowing at all.
AND, I can give more to the world when I do this. I have an obligation to do this. I have gifts and desires and inspirations for a reason. And that is to give them away.
I don’t have them so that I can push them farther down to my subconscious and bury them under food (binge eating), partying, Netflix or “busy-ness.” (Again, those things are OK for me, but in moderation.)
I’m not meant to die with my music still inside.
Following inspiration, accepting what is, being responsible for myself, recognizing the beauty and perfection in people’s journey and the world’s journey, and letting defensiveness go … actually requires LESS effort in the long run. It takes less of a toll to follow inspiration, than to ignore it.
But it still does require me to act. It still does require some self-discipline.
It still requires me to row.
That being said, I commit to interjecting some discipline to keep myself on my path.
But, I recognize acting on my inspirations is ultimately easier, more fulfilling, and just more fun than not. And that’s how I give to the world and am of service.
From my boat, I’m also asking myself how I can act on inspiration and be of service during this pandemic, and committing to follow up on ideas and inspirations. XOXO
*Also take a look at these other great blogs posts by a few of my fellow Master Keyers:
So many things last week, right? No matter where you are in the world. Doing my coursework; my meditations, my readings, my masterminding… a few themes kept rising to the surface that all involved knowing and acting from my truth. This was especially timely as I found myself going within in order to know what I thought about the pandemic. In the early days of this, I wanted to do research, and then to go within to know what I thought about all this, and what I knew for me was the right thing to do. In the first few days I found this not to be easy, as there were so many opinions out there. The themes that were coming up repeatedly in my readings were so fitting and helpful to get me through this — and to know how I wanted to handle it.
For me, those themes were:
-Go within. (Sit/meditate. A knowing will come.)
-Be absolutely 100% true to myself. Don’t shove myself (and definitely not my opinions or my judgments- that I try to keep to a minimum) down any one else’s throat. But be absolutely true to myself and my inner knowing.
-Let go of any attachments to anyone seeing my point of view, seeing my truth, or even understanding who I am or what my inner knowing is. What anyone else sees or knows or believes or understands is none of my business.
-My inner knowing can change. That’s okay.
-Know that everyone else is perfect and whole and beautiful exactly as they are exactly in this moment in time. Know that the world is perfect and beautiful and growing exactly as it needs to be in this moment in time, if not yet complete in its journey.
-Destiny/purpose/meaning/dharma is intricately tied to going within, and with being 100% true to myself.
-There is no need for external validation, recognition or approval.
The prior week it was suggested in my course that we schedule a 48 hour sit or meditation! Okay, it doesn’t have to be a straight 48 hours of meditation. We are welcome to sleep, eat, exercise and take walks in nature. But the goal is to schedule a 2 day meditation retreat.
When I heard about this I was SO EXCITED!!! Isn’t that fabulous and amazing? At the start of this course, almost 6 months ago, would I have thought that I’d be excited to take 2 full days to meditate? NO! I would’ve thought you were crazy if you would’ve told me I’d be excited to do that. But as I listened to the assignment in the course, I was eager with anticipation! I had tears in my eyes because I KNEW I would get exactly from it whatever I need. And how could I know this? Because I’ve practiced.
Not as regularly as I’ve liked. I’ve missed a few days of meditating. But I now know the value. I know that the sit, or meditation or gowing within, is where the answers are to be found to just about any question. I know that’s where I find myself and my future self, and God. I know that’s where I connect with the part of myself that is of God.
I know I will get whatever I need.
It was hard to schedule my meditation retreat, around working regularly in martial arts, shifts I’d taken for others, my own pet business any day of the week, and having my kids 50% of the time. (Of course all that has changed and everything is up in the air now.) But I have some time scheduled that I may be able to go away and be alone (who knows?), or I can do it in my house. But SO excited for this!
Be absolutely 100% true to myself
After taking something to a sit, I find that I usually know how I feel about it. Or I know what I want to do. Or I know what I want. Or I know what I feel I know. Whatever the case may be. From there, as I take this inner knowing back to the world, I have to be true to that. I have to act on that.
I don’t want to shove my opinions down anyone else’s throat. I firmly believe that we are all here to get in touch with our own knowing and to think and feel and make decisions for ourselves. But I want to make sure I am acting from my own truth, my own feelings, my own knowing, and not then being swayed or influenced by others or by others’ approval or acceptance. It is my goal to recognize and be aware of these moments when I might be tempted to go along with the majority, and continue coming back to myself. Again, this doesn’t have to be loud; it can be quiet. I don’t have to get anyone to agree with me.
“Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“You will manifest greatness only when you begin to stand alone.”
This doesn’t mean that I have to be a loud/in your face kind of nonconformist. It DOES mean I think for myself. It DOES mean I go within and know what is right for me. It DOES mean I then try to act on that knowing.
Let go of any attachments
This is worth restating:
Let go of attachments to anyone seeing my point of view, seeing my truth, or even understanding who I am or what my inner knowing is. What anyone else sees or knows or believes or understands is none of my business.
I am reminding myself to act from my truth, but to give up attachments to whether any one else sees, understands, believes or agrees with my truth. That is their business. I respect all humans as having the capacity to go within and discover their own truths.
“What others think about you is none of your business.”
“What other people think of you is not your business. If you start to make that business your business, you will be offended for the rest of your life.”
“Mind your own business. It is no part of your mission in life to correct people’s morals, habits, or practices. Lead a great life, doing all things with a great spirit and in a great way; give to him that asketh of thee as freely as ye have received, but do not force your help or your opinions upon any man.”
“Do not meddle with the personal habits and practices of others, though they are your nearest and dearest; these things are none of your business.”
My inner knowing can change
“Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today. — ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood:… To be great is to be misunderstood.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“…live ever in a new day.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I aim to live every day in the moment and speak what is true for me now. Rigid adherence to what I remember about what I said yesterday for the sake of consistency is not true authenticity. Live each moment from what is in my heart and soul.
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Know that everyone else is perfect and whole and beautiful
Everyone and everything is perfect for where it is at this moment in time. I know that’s a hard one, but at some level I do believe it is true. During moments in meditation I get the sense that all is perfect and what it is supposed to be. So we are who we are supposed to be. We, or the world, may not yet be complete but we are were we are supposed to be at this moment.
All of us.
I can’t find it in writing, but I attended a talk by Marianne Williamson once and I remember her saying that she tells her daughter (she was probably young then) something like “Never forget that YOU are a child of God. And so is everyone else.”
What that left me with was to recognize and act from my own greatness, my own oneness with God; don’t play small; and know that every other person is also a child of God, and has greatness within.
“Think of yourself as a perfect being among perfect beings, and meet every person as an equal, not as either a superior or an inferior.”
“Remember that every person is perfect on his own plane; you cannot improve on the work of God.”
My purpose depends on being 100% true to myself
“All men are my brothers yet I am different from each. I am a unique creature. I am nature’s greatest miracle…
None can duplicate my brush strokes, none can make my chisel marks, none can duplicate my handwriting, none can produce my child, and, in truth, none has the ability to sell exactly as I. Henceforth, I will capitalize on this difference for it is an asset to be promoted to the fullest…
I will begin now to accept my differences; hide my similarities…
I am a unique creation of nature.”
And, to our latest reading of Og:
“Today I control my destiny, and my destiny is to become the greatest salesman in the world.”
When I read that at the end of the scroll, it plants a seed. “What is my unique destiny?”
In the story, his is to become the greatest salesman in the world. I think Og’s was slightly different, slightly more unique. I always leave the scroll with these thoughts.
As Og writes “I am a unique creation of nature.” So,
“What is my unique destiny?”
” What are my unique gifts? What is it my purpose to give away?”
Recently in the Master Key course it was said that “The meaning of life is to find your your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
I like that. Discovering my gifts helps me find my purpose. I have something unique to contribute. How do I discover my unique gifts?
I had a coaching business for years that focused on Personal Branding. I spoke and facilitated workshops that focused on helping people define their personal brand based on their authentic values, passions and talents. (Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss any of that material.)
However, what helps me most with this now is simply going within. Going within, meditating, connecting with The Universal Mind/God/Spirit is how I discover. In fact, I expect that I will gain more clarity about this when I do my extended sits, my meditation retreat that I am so excited about! I will ask for clarity about my gift, my purpose, my message. Not just then, but in other sits as well.
I am so moved when I see people who seem to be truly on purpose in life. When they seem to be doing exactly what they should be doing — not “should” be doing by anyone else’s standards — but being exactly who they are and giving their gifts or their message to the world in everything they do.
To live truly on purpose I must be 100% myself. Period.
There is no need for external validation, recognition or approval
I want to catch myself every time I notice myself wanting or wishing for any type of external validation, approval or recognition. All that matters is going within and living from within; acting from my truth. I mean, if I am a child of God, If I am connected with Infinite Spirit, why would I go anywhere else for answers? Again, what anyone else thinks of me is none of my business.
“Ask no honors and seek for no recognition”
“All that is necessary is to be guided absolutely, in all things, by your inner light, your perception of truth. Obey your soul, have perfect faith in yourself. Never think of yourself with doubt or distrust, or as one who makes mistakes. “If I judge, my judgment is just, for I seek not honor from men, but from the Father only.”
“Dismiss all thought of reliance on externals, whether things, books, or people.
Furthermore, we are happier beings when we are not dependent on externals for recognition or for validation.
The subject of internal vs external validation has been a subject in psychology and internal validation and motivation has been linked to long-term effectiveness and to happiness.
If I look back over my life and remember a time when I was seeking some type of reward or appreciation or recognition for some sort of achievement, and then didn’t get it, what kinds of feelings did that bring up? Not good ones, even if the feelings were short-lived. What about the times in my life when I was SO focused on what I was doing, that I didn’t even care if anyone recognized it, saw it, approved of it, or validated it? When I am incredibly focused on what I am doing, when I am living in the moment and aligned with purpose or my true self… NOTHING ELSE MATTERS!
How cool is that? I want to live from THAT PLACE more and more often. I want to live from the place where I am acting from my soul and engaged in the moment and engaged in what I want to be doing, totally unaware of whether others recognize or approve.
THAT is an incredible place to be and to live!
“Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security or love — you have treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.”
“The priveledge of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
*Also take a look at these other great blogs posts by a few of my fellow Master Keyers:
Gratitude is always a hugely important part of my week and my days. It is coming up BIG TIME this week.
Love and prayers and a quick shout-out to Nashville and central TN. My heart has been broken for all of Nashville and central TN, and I have also been keenly aware of how fortunate I’ve been. My tenants and house are good, the tornado having whizzed by within a mile. I am heartbroken about the losses there, and am sending love and prayers to the area. I also recognize that I’ve been extremely fortunate. The sheer proximity has reminded me to be even more grateful for the cities and areas I love and the communities that make them great. I hear that people there are showing many kindnesses by rolling up their sleeves and helping each other out and supporting one another and rebuilding.
So, gratitude has been a huge theme for me this week. Last week, I talked about using some negative emotions, such as fear and overwhelm, as tools for expanding my comfort zone. This week in the Master Key Course, we learned many additional examples of how negative emotions can be used as tools. That brings me back to gratitude. I aim to be in a state of gratitude as much as possible, even when seemingly negative events or situations or emotions have occurred.
I know it gets into controversial areas, but I’ve previously talked about being grateful for EVERYTHING, recognizing that I can’t always know or see how an event or occurrence might be beneficial to me or someone else. I know that some things in life are so horrific, it’s hard to imagine any kind of silver lining or positive effect. However, I still believe that the seed of something good for me or my growth is within everything that occurs in my world. Sometimes I may not be able to see it for quite awhile. A few situations, I don’t see it for years. But I know it’s there.
“All conditions and experiences that come to us do so for our benefit. Difficulties and obstacles will continue to come until we absorb their wisdom and gather from them the essentials of further growth.”
Furthermore, I know to be grateful for all my seemingly negative emotions as well as the situations that give rise to them initially, because I know that they are opportunities in disguise.
“I have been given eyes to see and a mind to think and now I know a great secret of life, for I perceive, at last, that all my problems, discouragements, and heartaches are, in truth, great opportunities in disguise. I will no longer be fooled by the garments they wear for mine eyes are open. I will look beyond the cloth and I will not be deceived.”
I experience an emotion, feel it, and then I decide what to do with it. The first thing I decide to do with it is to be grateful for it. I know, I know… how can I realistically be grateful for a feeling such as fear, anger, hurt feelings, guilt or unworthiness? I’m starting to actually be able to do that, and to do it more readily and quickly than in the past. I KNOW these feelings pass through me and can be used for growth. They can be used for good. If it is difficult to muster gratitude, I think of all those times that I was able to see growth from my experience sometime after it occurred, even years later. I’m not perfect at this, but getting better. I trust now, that The Universe has my back.
So, how can feelings such as fear, guilt, anger, hurt and unworthiness be used for good?
As mentioned last week, we had been thinking about how we can use them as tools to expand our comfort zones. I know they can be tools. However… here’s another mental shift… They are also COMPONENTS of my comfort zones!!!
Emotions such as these can be viewed as part of the comfort zones when we do what most of us have mostly done… tried to avoid them. When we feel them but then look for distractions and things to take ourselves out of them, without looking at the messages they bring, without looking at the opportunities for learning, without looking at the opportunities for growth and expansion, without recognizing our chance to take them and become better, stronger, deeper, more fulfilled, or richer people… then they can serve to keep us in the cycle of comfort and familiarity. When I numb, medicate, eat, drink, or otherwise stuff these emotions without appreciating them, I avoid them in order to stay comfortable. I’m not expanding my comfort zone. I’m not growing and expanding as I am meant to do on this earth, as a “creature of God” as one of nature’s greatest miracles. Furthermore, this stuffing or avoidance leads to more feelings of inadequacy because I know deep down, that I am choosing to maintain the status quo, rather than to grow and expand my capacity for fulfillment.
There is so much awesome material in the mastermind course about how every one of these feelings can also be used as tools to EXPAND our comfort zones. I’ll talk about one. Last week, I talked a lot about overwhelm. I looked at overwhelm as a signal that I need to stop, and like a light on the dashboard of my car, look under the hood and examine what I may need to alter and then move forward. Take the overwhelm into a sit or a meditation, see what needs tweaking (or oiled or replaced or cleaned up) and then CONTINUE MOVING FORWARD. I took it as a reminder that I want to continue moving forward on those BIG goals that bring on the overwhelm.
This week, I’m diving even deeper into that one, as I learned that overwhelm is tied to feelings of unworthiness.
Overwhelm is intricately tied to feeling unworthy.
How is that?
If I am feeling overwhelmed with a million things on my plate, if I am overloading my plate, if I am feeling stuck by the millions of tasks, choices, options, goals and passions that I’ve loaded up on my own plate — then I am wiggling the magnifying glass.
Bear with me here. What happens when you put a magnifying glass over a tiny bit of paper in the sun, and hold it still?
Literal, fire! It is POWERFUL!!! Focused energy is POWERFUL!!! What happens when you hold the same magnifying glass over the same bit of paper in the sun, and WIGGLE it?
Literally, nothing happens. No fire. No power.
So, when I overload my plate, when I become stagnate because of an overfilled tray of tasks, options, goals, visions, ideas, interests and even passions in front of me (think plastic tray at a Smorgasboard — is it coincidence that I absolutely LOVED going to the smorgasboard when I was a child so that I could get small tastes of so many good foods, so many options?), I am ineffective. No power. No focused energy. No fire. I am wiggling the magnifying glass. Nothing happens.
When nothing happens and I am ineffective, that leads to underlying feelings of inadequacy, because I am not really nailing, or becoming my best at any of these things. It leads to underlying feelings of unworthiness. Subconsciously, I tell myself “Well, I must not be worthy of any of these desires.”
What is the TRUTH?
The truth is:
I can have ANYTHING I want… I just can’t have EVERYTHING I want, at the same time.
It has nothing to do with worthiness or competence or skill or talent.
It may seem like a burden, to not be able to have everything under the sun at the same time (maybe I want to be the absolute best mom I can be, best doggy mom, best pet-business owner, best personal coach, best martial artist I can be, martial arts instructor, top speaker, awesome writer, awesome book author, leading workshop provider, landlord, Airbnb business owner, traveler, blogger, girlfriend, friend, spiritual seeker, etc), but it’s also a tool.
I can use this overwhelm as a tool to remind myself to make choices that are aligned with my gut, with Spirit, with the Universal Mind. I can use this overwhelm as a tool to make choices and be POWERFUL. To make FIRE!!!
I can use it as a reminder to check-in, take it into a sit/meditation and as a reminder to go with my GUT, WHATEVER THAT IS, with absolutely NO judgment! No judgment about what I think my priorities “should” be, or what society or culture says they should be.
Because I know that when I go with my internal DESIRES, that is of God. That is given to me by The Divine. That is powerful. And when I tune in and listen to Spirit, that is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing on the planet.
And the ironic thing is that other things tend to fall into place. Maybe not immediately. But things tend to fall into place when I am on purpose and doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I may have to get through a little chaos or opposition or obstacles, but time will tell and I know The Universe has my back.
When I focus and move forward, knowing that I am absolutely worthy of every single one of my desires, passions, goals and interests (if not all at once)… I tap into my power. I tap into the power of The Universal Mind.
I harness the power of the sun to create fire.
When I notice any feelings of unworthiness or overwhelm, I recognize them as a tool to put me back on track. I choose based on my gut, based on my Dharma. I commit.
I choose and commit.
I own and harness my power.
I can have, and I am worthy of ANYTHING I want, just not EVERYTHING I want at the exact same time.
I choose. I commit.
Let’s go create some FIRE! 🙂
Also take a look at these other great blogs posts by a few of my fellow Master Keyers:
I’ve known for a long time that when I feel fear (a fear that puts me on the edge of excitement, not one that is life-threatening), that is a signal to me to do the thing that is causing the fear. It’s easy for me to see how that expands comfort zones. I do the thing, and then eventually it gradually becomes more comfortable, which means my comfort zone has expanded until the new thing pops up that scares me.
I can think of some examples in my life showing this. I always loved martial arts. When I was in my 20’s I studied a form of karate. But I was always afraid of sparring and, although I still had to spar, we were given a choice to focus on Kumite (sparring) or Bunkai. To study Bunkai was to study the self-defense applications of the Kata, or form. There are several possible applications of various parts of the Kata. The Kata can be broken down in several ways, into sets of movements or series of movements. These series of movements can be interpreted in different ways and have more than one application. Needless to say, I chose Bunkai for my focus. 😀 It was my job to break the kata apart in different ways and to come up with various applications for parts of the kata.
Decades later when I started martial arts in the school my kid had chosen, I knew I would no longer be able to avoid sparring. And, I knew that was meant to be. I knew I had to get more comfortable doing what scared me.
And so I stayed.
And so I sparred.
At this school, in the beginning, I was also afraid of grappling. So I started going to grappling classes (Jiu-Jitsu). I remember a few people telling me they thought I loved it. I did not love it at first. I first chose it because it scared me. So I knew that meant I had to do it.
On another note, public speaking is pretty darn scary for many people, and I was no exception. So, when I had my first coaching business, also decades ago, I decided to make public speaking my primary way of marketing my business and attracting new clients. That seemed incredibly scary. Which meant I had to do that. (Of course, marketing through social media didn’t really exist then either.)
I’ll take a huge risk and put one out here I haven’t done yet, as a way of holding myself accountable. At a coaching workshop, also decades ago, we had to look into things that would be some of our biggest fears. One that came up for me was “improv.” This came up as one of my biggest fears. Standing up in front of others? (This was before I had done speaking.) Being entirely myself and having to think on the spot? I’ve never been good at thinking off the cuff. Being funny? I’ve never really been thought of as especially funny… Weird? Yes. But funny only to myself. (I do crack myself up.)
So, yes… “improv” is now on the list as one of those things to try.
But what about the other “negative” feelings? What about when I feel hurt or angry or overwhelmed? How are those feelings tools to expand my comfort zone? Well, right now I am also looking at them as signals. Like signals on the dashboard of my car telling me that I need to stop and check things out or do something different.
It takes much more these days to get me really angry or hurt, because I can more easily apply the law of substitution to little things that come up. Don’t get me wrong, I still get hurt feelings, but the intensity was far greater before I started the Master Key course. In this way, my comfort zone for “negative” feelings has already expanded since the start of this course.
When something does come up that I do feel “upset” about, how is that “upsetness” a tool for expansion?
Let’s look at overwhelm, for example. What if I look at overwhelm as a signal? Just as fear is a signal that I need to do the very thing that scares me… Overwhelm is a signal that I need to do the very thing that overwhelms me. BAM! I may need to stop and check it out and examine it more closely, just like I may need to look under the hood of my car (or have someone else do it… hahaha). Just like we look at what needs to be adjusted, oiled or replaced when a signal light goes off in our car, if overwhelm is a signal, then I need to look at my plan and perhaps see what needs some adjusting. Maybe I need to chunk the plan down into smaller pieces. Maybe I need to oil or focus on one part before the rest will work sufficiently. Maybe I need to replace a part of my current plan with a new strategy. Whatever I need to do differently, the overwhelm is a signal that I need to stop and check things out. Even more than that, it is a signal that I need to MOVE FORWARD. Just like fear does NOT mean that I need to run away from the fear stimulus, overwhelm does NOT mean that I need to run away from my goals, projects or passions. It simply means I need to check things out, adjust if necessary, and do the VERY thing that is causing me to feel overwhelmed and stagnant. When I face a fear and do the thing I’m afraid of, the thing eventually becomes more comfortable until the new fear arises. When I feel overwhelmed now, I am reminded it is a tool for expanding my comfort zone. I remind myself that after a while, my comfort zone will expand and the “stuff” in front of me now will no longer feel so overwhelming.
Wham!!! There it is! This is HUGE for me! This is huge because IN THE PAST (I will now use the modifier, IN THE PAST, because I don’t want to tell my subconscious that this is something I still do) I succumbed to feelings of overwhelm often. I felt so overwhelmed with everything I wanted to do, that I procrastinated and did nothing toward any of it. However, now I know to look at those feelings of overwhelm as a SIGNAL to check under the hood, make small adjustments, and KEEP GOING! Just like when I feel out-and-out fear, I know I just HAVE to do the thing I’m afraid of — now when I feel overwhelmed, I’ll know that means I just HAVE to keep going and move forward. I have to. It’s a signal. I can’t ignore a signal. If I ignore a signal on my dashboard, bad things could happen. If I ignore this signal, bad things will also happen. Like dying with my music still in me.
“Don’t die with your music still inside you.”
What about anger, sadness, guilt and hurt feelings? How can these feelings be tools for expanding my comfort zone?
In the next part of the course we’ll be going into some ways that those can be used as tools to expand comfort zones. For now, I will know that they are signals. Every time I feel one of these emotions, I will recognize them as a signal. Each of these feelings is a signal to stop and check under the hood, make adjustments, clean off the parts, possibly replace components, and then KEEP DRIVING. Keep on going toward my Vision, my DMP.
Keep going, keep growing, keep advancing toward my true desires, keep expanding those comfort zones!
We are meant to grow.
“We’re meant to grow so we have something to give.”
In week 20 I was noticing some of the changes in myself since starting the Master Key course and mastermind group. A few of those changes really rose to the surface during this week.
The change that stood out for me was that I did not panic, freak out, go into overwhelm, stress out, get stuck, get ants in my pants, or really even worry when two big events occurred in my life that would have previously caused more than a little anxiety.
The first was when a wheel fell off my car.
While driving it.
Yes, I said a wheel fell off my car. I thought I had a flat. I thought that flat came on awfully suddenly. No, I didn’t have a flat at all, just a wheel that was askew and poking out diagonally from the driver’s side of the car.
Thank God I was going slowly. Thank God it wasn’t during high traffic hours. Thank God I wasn’t on the highway. I was near my boyfriend’s house and by a warm hospital with a waiting room from which I could make calls. The tow-truck driver arrived quickly and was very kind. He was so kind that he gave us a ride back to my place after taking the car to a shop. The car ended up being in good hands with good people who found discounts for me and worked with me. My car was ready by the end of the next day. The weather was warm (for Chicago in February) and the shop was close enough that I decided to forgo public transportation and took a nice brisk walk all the way there!
Oh my gosh, so many things could have been worse. And, I originally wanted to go out of town to a retreat that Saturday and thought about trying to arrange for my kids. So glad I hadn’t bothered with that!
Again, so much could have been worse.
The next event was taking my doggy to the vet. He has a growth on his side and needs surgery to have it removed to send it in for a biopsy. I am told that in the vast majority of these cases this particular growth is nothing to worried about. So I am not really worried. If I find out later there is something to worry about I can do that then, if I choose. After all,
“Should I concern myself over events which I may never witness? Should I torment myself with problems that may never come to pass? No! Tomorrow lies buried with yesterday and I think of it no more.”
Without realizing it, I am naturally doing these things. Taking yesterday and tomorrow and burying them and instead focusing on what’s in front of me today.
“I will live this day as if it is my last… The duties of today I will fulfill today… If I waste today I destroy the last page of my life. Therefore each hour of this day will I cherish for it can never return.”
The amazing thing is that I realized that I was doing this… or not doing this… NOT freaking out or stressing about anything! And I wasn’t even “trying” to do the things above. I wasn’t “trying” to focus on the now or “trying” not to worry about the future. I didn’t have to talk myself through anything. Just noticing that I am different than I was in the past.
“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
“The art of life is to live in the present moment.”
My underlying trust in God/The Universe is strengthened. I trust that events show up for a reason that I may not be able to see in the moment. I trust that my subconscious and The Universe will be able to work aspects out such as the money. Yes, it still occured to me that this is a heck of a lot of money at once, and there are still moments of nervousness about the money. However, there is not panic. I know I will come up with the money, I know The Universe has my back, and once I look at learning from an event, I choose to put “worrying about the future” or “dwelling on the past” aside and go back into my day because all that worry can do is take me out of harmony with Spirit, and what is in my internal world will show up in my outer world. So, if I spend time in worry or anxiety more of the same will show up.
“Thought which is in harmony with the Universal Mind will result in corresponding conditions. Thought which is destructive or discordant will produce corresponding results. You may use thought constructively or destructively, but the immutable law will not allow you to plant a thought of one kind and reap the fruit of another.”
If I plant thoughts of worry, I grow more anxiety and worrisome situations. If I plant thoughts of gratitude, awe and amazement, I grow more gratefulness and more situations to be grateful for.
I choose to focus on gratitude.
So much to be grateful for surrounding these incidents. So grateful for the kindnesses and love that has shown up around these situations. So grateful for my puppy dog (my awesome, weird, crazy, cat-like ridiculously cute doggy)… and my car! It’s an awesome car! So grateful for my loved ones and friends who are helpful, loving, caring and kind. So grateful for the kindnesses of strangers and the learnings and the deepening of trust.
When I trust Spirit/God, I am in harmony with Spirit/God. Afterall, the difference between The Universal Mind and me is one of degree.
Watching documentaries about the interconnection of all of life, and about the Hero’s Journey. There is a new trait I am focused on developing, in addition to the usual readings, meditation, affirmations, and connecting with my Mastermind.
My thoughts this week have been on a meditation. The instructions for meditation following a chapter in the Master Key System were to concentrate on the idea that appearances are deceptive.
Appearances are deceptive.
Here’s what came to me in meditation:
Appearance: There are many opposites or polarities or dichotomies in the world.
Many concepts and experiences in life appear to be in direct opposition to each other, and are thought to be extreme opposites. A few that come to mind are good vs. evil, knowledge vs. ignorance, truth vs. lie, or mind vs. body.
“They are names given to two different parts of one quantity. The two extremes are relative; they are not separate entities, but are two parts or aspects of the whole.”
In reality, they are all part of the whole. The two extremes show us contrast, but they are not completely separate. Most people are familiar with the yin yang symbol. In ancient Chinese philosophy, the yin yang represents seemingly opposing forces as complimentary and interdependent. For nature, or for humans, the idea is that we all have each of the seeming opposing forces within us. Both the “masculine” and the “feminine,” both the hard and the soft, both the giving and receiving forces are within us all. Not only re they in us all, but they are necessary for our full development, full expression and full effectiveness. For example, all martial arts have each of these components or seemingly opposing forces. Some martial arts may emphasize one side or the other, but both are important and interdependent. To throw a “hard” punch or kick, one’s muscles have to be at some point “soft” or relaxed. If the muscles are fully tensed the entire time, the punch (or kick) would not be very effective. Relaxation adds speed which can add power. Sometimes “receiving” power or force that is directed at you, and redirecting it, can be more effective than meeting it with equal force or “hardness.” Bruce Lee added two arrows around the outside of the yin yang symbol to represent the fluidity and interdependence of both parts.
“Know the masculine, but keep to the feminine. And be a valley to the realm.”
Seemingly dichotomous, separate, opposing concepts are actually interdependent and all part of the whole.
Appearance: We are all separate.
We seem to be separate from animals. We appear to be separate from all other forms of life. We are all completely separate beings, right? We’ve been taught that we are completely separate individuals and must, therefore, be competitive. Tom Shadyac, in his documentary, I AM, looks into these concepts by interviewing thought leaders and some unusual research which points to the conclusion that all people, all forms of life, are connected. Philosophers and ancient religions have been telling us for centuries that we are interconnected and that we are ONE.
“We are the same as plants, as trees, as other people, as the rain that falls. We consist of that which is around us, we are the same as everything. If we destroy something around us, we destroy ourselves. If we cheat another, we cheat ourselves.”
“When you extend your goodwill in every direction, regardless of circumstances, you begin to see that we are all one.”
We seem to be entirely separate beings, separate from each other and separate from other forms of life. The reality for me is that we are all connected, we are all one. We are individuated forms of Spirit, but are also Spirit.
Appearance: There are good things that happen to me and bad things that happen to me.
We often talk as if there are good circumstances that happen to us and there are bad. There are fortunate events and there are unfortunate events. However, what if the reality is that they are neither good nor bad? This may be controversial for circumstances that are overwhelmingly described as negative, and I know this brings up much pain, but what if the underlying reality is that circumstances are not universally good or bad? Many religions purport that there is a larger reason or plan, or bigger picture that we cannot fully see or know. When I look back over my life, I’ve had many experiences that seemed “bad” or unwanted as I was experiencing them, but later I could see how I grew from them, learned from them, or how they opened up the pathway to something better in my life. No, I usually could not see this in the moment of experiencing the “negative” event. But looking back I can see the potential for growth that they carried… the potential for something better. Sometimes years later, I could see that they gave me the opportunity to grow into who I was meant to be.
“It is neither good nor bad, it simply is.“
“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
“… and now I know a great secret of life for I perceive, at last, that all my problems, discouragements, and heartaches are, in truth, great opportunities in disguise. I will no longer be fooled by the garments they wear for mine eyes are open. I will look beyond the cloth and I will not be deceived.”
It seems as if awful things happen to us. The reality might be that the thing, or circumstance, is not good or bad and may actually help us grow, provide opportunities or be part of a larger picture — a forest we can’t see through the trees.
Appearance: My DMP, my Future Vision, is about me. And, it’s all up to me.
Naturally, if my future vision, my DMP is about me… and especially if it is up to me… I am more than a bit nervous about it. In fact, there’s a whole lot of “Holy Crap!” going on with that. It could start with that little bit of nervousness, moves to “Holy Crap!” and then explodes into full-blown worry, fear and angst.
In my meditation, I saw that my Larger Vision is not really about me. And it is not all up to me. It’s about being in harmony with Universal Mind and with others. It happens over time by being in tune with Spirit. The Universal Mind seeks expression through individuals. When our DMPs, or Future Visions reflect our true selves, their manifestations are an expression of Spirit. My life, when I create it to be uniquely me, when I am most authentic and true to myself, and when I am in harmony with Spirit, is an expression of the Universal Mind, or God.
In my meditation, I saw all the aspects, all the details of my DMP as an expression of Spirit. I saw it as a beautiful masterpiece. A masterpiece in progress. I saw all the details of my Future Vision appearing, manifesting, as if being painted. I saw the house in Nashville renovated and decorated in a way that I love, an Airbnb created from that with a warm and fun environment, the camper/trailer (or rolling home) cool and unique, fun and retro… I saw the excursions we go on with our truck and rolling home, I saw the clients of coaching and courses, the participants in workshops and all the cool people I interact with and mastermind with all growing and blossoming and feeding each other’s growth and energy. I saw perfect timing occurring for me and for clients, and for my guests, and for my readers, and for friends and for mastermind partners. I saw everything flowing and coming together (my life, my DMP) in a beautiful piece of art.
And the art wasn’t about me, and it certainly wasn’t all up to me. It was one individual expression of the Divine. One of many. And it came together as all the pieces began to flow together and build on one another and play off of each other. The beautiful artwork, the masterpiece in progress, came together through interactions and interdependence with others, and from the Universal Mind. (We always tell our martial arts students that no one reaches their black belt on their own! It takes the help of many people!) And each person and the life each person creates is an individual expression of the Divine and a unique facet of God.
It appears that I alone am responsible for bringing my DMP into fruition, but the reality is that an authentic DMP, the Larger Vision of what one wants, is one individual expression of the Universal Mind, or the Divine, and it comes together through the interplay of many individuals, many people whose lives are unique expressions of God.
“Appearance is something absolute, but reality is not that way — everything is interdependent, not absolute.”
As always, there is so much learning and depth in each week of the Master Key course that I can’t possibly cover everything in a blog post. However…
That really sums it up.
One of our assignments is to continue reading Obituaries and asking ourselves questions such as:
“What might that person give to change places with me and have one more day?”
Talk about amplifying our gratitude.
“Who can I tell today how grateful I am for their presence?” What if I were not here tomorrow? Who needs to know how much they mean to me? That question leads to increasing my communications with others, reaching out to others, and just letting people know how much they mean to me or that I love them.
“How would I behave today if I was finishing the beautiful masterpiece that is my life?” That question appeals to me because I love viewing my life as a beautiful piece of art, my masterpiece in progress. What if I were around no more to add to this masterpiece?
“If I waste today I destroy the last page of my life. Therefore, each hour of this day will I cherish for it can never return.”
What if today were the last page of my story? My life is a work of art in progress or my life is a story in progress… What if this day, this last hour, this moment were the last I added to my artwork, the last page or the last paragraph of my story? Would I live those last moments any differently?
That is a question I am training myself to ask more often, throughout the day.
“Why have I been allowed to live this extra day when others, far better than I, have departed? Is it that they have accomplished their purpose while mine is yet to be achieved? Is this another opportunity for me to become the man I know I can be? Is there a purpose in nature? Is this my day to excel?”
I read that line and I think about the amazing night I had with my teenage son last night. My son had mentioned to me that he wanted to get back into playing the piano, just for fun. I searched the virtual marketplace and surprised him with bringing home a keyboard. The evening started with him playing the keyboard, but from there it was just one of those nights that we interacted for hours and simply had the best time. It was one of those nights that would never happen if I tried to force it. We had many discussions about all sorts of topics.
At times our discussions were topical. At times they were philosophical, and other times deep and personal. At times we were talking lightly, interacting and being silly. At times we were slap-happy and laughing. And at times we were laughing so hard we couldn’t stop!
I laughed till I cried and my belly hurt! 😀
I had the thought, that in those moments, my purpose was exactly that.
My purpose in those moments, was to be in those moments, with my son.
There were no doubts for me about that. When I awoke today I was not plagued with thoughts about the work that did not get done or how much more productive I could have been. Last night I was fully in the moment I was supposed to be in; fully engaged as if it was my last day. That WAS my purpose that day. Being fully in those amazing, fun, deep, silly, thoughtful, hilarious and thought-provoking moments with my son, was absolutely my purpose.
That WAS my purpose in those moments.
If I had to leave this earth today, what better interaction to leave my son with than that one?
I went into work in the dojo yesterday with similar thoughts. I went in with the thoughts of “What if these were my last ninja turtle classes to teach?”
Mr. Kovar teaches instructors to go into every single class with the mindset that THIS will be my best class ever! I began my classes yesterday and today with the thought that I might not be here to teach another class! What if this was my last class? What impression would I want to leave with these little ninja turtles?
We have many sayings in our martial arts school, some of which are often used like cadence calls. The instructors ask a question and there is a standard answer that students learn to shout back. This serves to help students re-focus, keep the energy level up, and respond together as a team. When an instructor is counting for drills and about to ask for the last repetition of a drill, the teacher may yell “LAST ONE!” And the students shout back “BEST ONE SIR!” (Or MA’AM!) This is to help the student focus on that last rep and really make it their best one.
Again, what if this last repetition was really my last one? What if THAT was the one that really counted?
What if this was the last martial arts class I would ever attend as a student? How would I be as a martial arts student?” Would I be even more focused? Would I give every drop of energy? How would I take initiative? Would I be more helpful to the person next to me?
How would the person I intend to become, participate in the class? An awesome question for the week is:
“What would the person I intend to become do next?”
My word or virtue for the week was initiative. What if I did not take initiative and this was my last day on the planet? What if I faded into the background today and played small, and it ended up being my last day? What opportunities may have gone by?
I attended a networking meeting. It was the first Chapter meeting of an organization to help people write, publish and market a book. I went to that meeting thinking “I have no idea how I will take initiative at this meeting, but I have to find a way to take initiative as if it was my last opportunity to do so.” What if this were the last networking opportunity I would ever attend? Would I want my last networking event to be one where I sat in the corner and didn’t engage, didn’t talk to anyone? Or would I initiate conversation with the person next to me or the person across the room? (Thankfully, I did the latter.) Would I take it upon myself to make connections and gather a list of contact information to start an email list for everyone in the group? (Happily, I did that too.)
Depth of relationships and connections with others really came to the forefront this week as I thought about lasts. Thinking that my time with others could be my last time with them made a profound impact. When I went into classes or events, the people in those events seemed to be the most important aspects.
During a meditation this week, as I was visualizing my DMP (Definite Major Purpose), my future vision, come to life. All of a sudden, the relationships were emphasized. Within each aspect of my big future vision, my DMP, I saw myself deeply connecting with loved ones as well as acquaintances and the depth brought tears to my eyes.
I saw details of the connection with my loved one as we were traveling, and building our life together. I saw the depth of connections with my adult sons as they visited. I saw the awesome conversations and interactions with the guests of my Airbnb. I saw the meaningful and rewarding connections with my coaching clients, class and workshop participants and readers. Details of these connections became alive and vivid.
The connections stood out.
Especially the connections with my loved ones. Everything I did, everything I experienced, everything I saw was more extraordinary and significant when underscored by love, appreciation and connection.
Speaking of connection… the connection underlying all connections is our connection to the Universal Mind.
I am an individuation of God, and so is everyone else. So, when I connect with others, I get to know God. I am a part of the whole, and these connections add meaning and richness to my life.
“It is evident, therefore, that the individual is simply the differentiation of the one Universal Mind “which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” and his so-called individuality or personality consists of nothing but the manner in which he relates with the whole.”
That might explain why connections with others have become especially meaningful and rewarding this week as I focus on living this day as if it were my last. As I focus on every single thing I experience as my last.
I will live this day as if it is my last means:
I will teach this class as if it is my last.
I will be a student in this class as if it is my last.
I will perform this repetition as if it is my last.
I will engage with people at this event, as if it is my last.
I will travel and share it deeply with my loved ones, as if it is my last.
I will connect with my guests this time, as if it is my last.
I will facilitate this group, this session of this group, as if it is my last.
I will conduct this coaching call with this client, as if it is my last.
I will connect and discuss and engage deeply in conversation with my son (my child, my partner, my coworker, my client, my teacher, my student, my friend, my parent) as if it is my last.
I will laugh with this person until my eyes water and my belly hurts, as if this time is my last.
I will play with this doggy, pet this doggy, connect with this cat as if it was my last time.
I will take in this moment, appreciate, savor, relish, cherish and enjoy this moment doing whatever I’m doing… as if it is my last moment on earth.
“And if it is my last, it will be my greatest monument.”
“A happy thought cannot exist in an unhappy consciousness; therefore the consciousness must change, and as the consciousness changes, all conditions must gradually change, in order to meet the requirements of the new situation.”
This quote from an earlier chapter of Haanel jumped out to me as I had previously written about this concept — the idea of preparing and cultivating our internal environment (the soil) to give our dreams, our DMP, our ideal vision the absolute best chance to take root, grow and flourish. I thought about this further and substituted different thoughts for “happy.” Underlying our ideal visions are a few core concepts such as being happy, being connected, having loving relationships, having abundant wealthy lives and being healthy with abundant energy to enjoy life and leave a legacy. Our DMPs, our ideal visions represent our own unique examples of abundance, love and health.
Let’s try some substitutions:
“A happy thought cannot exist in an unhappy consciousness;“
Similarly, thoughts of abundance, wealth or riches cannot exist in a consciousness of lack and competition.
If one believes in a world of scarcity and lack, one cannot successfully grow and manifest thoughts of riches and wealth. Thoughts of abundance can’t take root, grow and bloom in an internal environment where one is focused on scarcity and operating routinely on the competitive plane.
“therefore the consciousness must change, and as the consciousness changes, all conditions must gradually change, in order to meet the requirements of the new situation.”
If I desire wealth and abundance, I do not focus on scarcity. I concentrate on riches and abundance. This is how my consciousness begins to change. Moreover, I see the riches and wealth as services. I focus on riches and wealth as the means to an end, not the other way around. I concentrate on abundances all around me and I know that the abundance of wealth and of riches are opportunities for giving. I cultivate the mental environment in which I see riches and wealth as giving love, giving happiness, giving kindness and helping solve problems or challenges. I know that riches are opportunities to serve and to continue being in the flow of giving and receiving. This is the mental environment I cultivate rather than one of lack, and my conditions also gradually change.
Let’s try another one:
“A happy thought cannot exist in an unhappy consciousness;“
Loving thoughts cannot exist in a consciousness of judgment, resentment, prejudice or hatred. Thoughts of love can’t take root, grow and blossom if the mental environment is full of judgments of others; if the internal world is hanging on to anger and blame; if the internal state is consumed with fear, or if it is filled with negative predetermined judgments.
“therefore the consciousness must change, and as the consciousness changes, all conditions must gradually change, in order to meet the requirements of the new situation.”
To give love, and loving thoughts, the best chance to flourish and multiply, we concentrate on love, gratitude and kindness. I can’t maintain and grow thoughts of love if I am focused on judgment or fear. Instead, I focus on seeing kindnesses all around me and I am alert to opportunities to be kind. I cultivate a habit of being grateful. I take note of things, people, places, experiences, concepts, feelings and ideas that I am thankful for and I take a moment to really feel the gratitude. I concentrate on love and Spirit, my connection to nature, The Universe, or God or love, and let these thoughts permeate my being. I look for opportunities to love and to be loving, and my conditions gradually change.
Health and Wellness
“A happy thought cannot exist in an unhappy consciousness;”
Healthy thoughts, so important to manifesting what we want to create, cannot grow and flourish and manifest in an internal world that is bursting with thoughts of stress, anxiety, worry, and even anger and despair.
“therefore the consciousness must change, and as the consciousness changes, all conditions must gradually change, in order to meet the requirements of the new situation.”
Thoughts of health, wellness and energy can take root and blossom when the internal state is relaxed and the mind is focused on love, gratitude, and being connected with Spirit or God. With practice, I can recognize when my thoughts are spiraling into despair, hopelessness or self-hatred and replace the thoughts and feelings . The mind cannot be fully immersed in feeling gratitude, love or spiritual connection and feel fear, anxiety or hatred simultaneously. The practice of meditation can aid the relaxation of thought and one can also practice changing their internal state by substituting pleasant thoughts for painful ones. As the consciousness changes, so do the conditions and a person can be more often in gratitude and happiness and grow their thoughts of health, energy and wellness.
Each of these examples involves a becoming. The conditions of the internal environment must change in order to meet the requirements of the new desire, the new demand.
“In order to do something you’ve never done, you’ve got to become someone you’ve never been.”
You can’t achieve new things without becoming someone new. Changing the consciousness of our internal world will be reflected in our outer world. In this process of becoming, we are actually becoming more of ourselves. More of who who were meant to be.
When I first thought seriously about authoring a book, (when my thought changed from a distant wish “I’d like to write a book someday,” to a proclamation “I’m going to write a book,” I realized I would have to BECOME an author. I realized I would have to become something different. In this case, I would have to become someone who can put themselves out there in the world very vulnerably and authentically. I must become someone who can deal with criticism, backlash and even cruelty. (I watched a video of Brene’ Brown talk about all the nasty comments she gets about her weight and the clothing she wears when she speaks!)
When I became a life coach, I had to grow and expand my comfort zones and BECOME a bigger version of myself. When I earned my black belt, I had to BECOME someone who could face some of my biggest fears.
In order to manifest my DMP, in order to realize my ideals, I will be BECOMING in all kinds of new ways. I am shifting the consciousness of my internal world. I will be BECOMING someone different in order to manifest each piece of my DMP or vision. (If I don’t have to become someone new, I probably did not aim big enough when formulating my DMP.) I have to change my consciousness, my internal state and my conditions. I have to become my better, bigger self. I have to become that person I saw in the mirror when we did the mirror exercise (We did an exercise where we looked ourselves in the eye, in the mirror, and repeated the one-sentence version of our DMP for 50 whole minutes!) In this exercise, I saw that I would clearly need to BECOME, in order to realize this ideal. In fact, I even changed my one-sentence version of my DMP during the exercise, and made it BIGGER, with the clarity that I would have to BECOME bigger.
As I become something bigger, I am becoming more of my true self. This definitely doesn’t work if you try to become someone you are not, at your core. Although I am becoming something new, I am actually becoming more of my best self. I am becoming more of who I was meant to be.
Two very profound questions came up this week which are instrumental in helping me with my becoming:
“Where do I need to grant myself permission?”
Granting ourselves permission can be extremely powerful. We grow up having to ask permission to do just about everything. This habit is ingrained. Giving ourselves permission can counteract so many Gremlins, fears or self-defeating thoughts. Sometimes we are holding back, and granting permission allows us to let go and play full out.
Ways I’m granting myself permission:
to be happy
to live abundantly
to view work as fun, enjoyable and flowing (as opposed to struggle)
to view my Larger Vision, my DMP as something that flows easily
to be great in any of the roles that I play
The next question that was asked this week hit me over the head as extremely powerful. I will continue asking myself this question on a regular basis and I believe this will be life-changing:
2. “What am I pretending not to know?”
That one is huge. That one cuts through to my core, to my spiritual center. That one answers the above questions and more.
I was writing down some answers to that question, “What am I pretending not to know?” in a journal. The amazing thing is that I know that when I let these answers come from within, that place where I am connected with the Creator, I am answering from my better future self. When I was writing, I had been going through an incident with my teenage son. My default when going through something difficult or challenging is to question myself. (Some people default to blaming others, I default to critiquing myself.) So the answer that topped my list was:
“I AM a great mother.”
Similar answers, or truths were written in my journal regarding other roles I play in my life, as well as the roles I will play in order to realize my DMP for my future. And, when I connect with my future self, I am given these knowings. Other truths that came to me were knowings such as “I know I am connected to Spirit,” and “I know I am an individuation of the Universal Mind, or God, and so I too am a creator, I too am love, I too am capable of serving others in great ways.”
When I was writing down my answers or my truths, a text from my partner came in at the same time. He was responding to an earlier conversation about my teenager. He said “Yes, you will be aware and you can improve and get better, but — You ARE a great mother…” and then he proceeded to say some of the other EXACT same sentences I had just written down!
He texted me several of the EXACT sentences, word for word, that I had just written.
Ok, in my opinion that was the Greater Intelligence working through him in order to affirm to me that these are INDEED my truths.
I am becoming my future self.
I am becoming the person in my DMP.
I am becoming.
*Here’s to becoming our truest, most beautiful, most happy, healthy, loving and abundant selves! 🙂
And here is just a taste of some great blog posts from other MKE Masterminders!
It’s week 17 in the Master Key Course and Mastermind group. What am I noticing this week?
I’m still noticing kindnesses. Last week was the program-wide focus on kindness. So cool! Everyone in the entire program, in several countries, was focused on kindness for the entire week. Everyone was noticing acts of kindness all around them, looking for opportunities to to be kind to others, looking for opportunities to perform random acts of kindness, and sharing them for ideas and inspiration. Noticing acts of kindness all around me motivates me to carry out more acts of kindness, and we’ve been witnessing the law of growth in action!
The trait I’m focusing on this week is discipline. Noticing when martial artists around me are disciplined. Noticing when my kids are disciplined. Recognizing when I decide to do something that will benefit my future self rather than just my right now self. And, as I listened to Earl Nightingale’s 1957 spoken world record, the first spoken word record to go gold, I decided to take on his 30-day challenge. A 30-day challenge that will require the utmost in discipline!
Here’s another thing I’m noticing. My DMP, or definite major purpose, is being normalized! Woo Hoo! The DMP is the vision we’ve been working on that reflects our deep desires and passions. It is what we want for our future. Our ideal. It is our ideal minus anything that might be influenced by our friends, families, culture, society, what we think we should want, or what we believe we can have. It’s the ideal of what we want for our future with no limitations. As if limitations are not a thing.
I’m noticing a fundamental difference in how I hold my DMP or my vision, in my mind. While I was first crafting my DMP, it was somewhat distant. There was a leap, a gorge… a valley separating me from that ultimate vision. That is no longer the case. As I concentrate on being one with my ideal; as I let myself meld into my vision during my meditation, I become one with it. While I am in my meditation, for small blips of time, I am ONE with my future vision. Then, when I am out and about in my life, I notice that this vision is not as distant as it once was. The believability gap has been bridged. I notice a strengthening of faith. My DMP no longer feels like an exciting dream in the far-off future, but something that simply… will be.
Here’s what got me thinking about this. Over a year ago, I started a project to write a book. The project got put aside because I chose to focus on becoming a black belt in martial arts instead. It’s taken me awhile to pick my book project back up and actively work on it. I am in an author’s group, and one of the first assignments was to video myself giving an “I am an author” speech. The assignment was to video myself talking at some point in the future (speak as my “future self”) as if I’ve already published the book. When I worked on this assignment over a year ago, I struggled with it a bit. I wrote down notes and it took several recordings for me to finally post my video.
Since I’m pretty much starting my whole program from scratch now, I decided to do a trial run, a re-do of this assignment while I was out and about during my day. I thought “What would it look like if I did my “I am an author speech over again now?”
Guess what? It came easily! No notes and just one take.
Easy peasy. One and done.
What was the difference? Why was this a struggle my first time around and this time I didn’t have to prepare anything or record it more than once?
A huge difference is the believability gap. There’s no longer a valley or even a gorge separating me from my future author-self, or any other part of my future-self. There’s no valley between myself and my “authordom.” There’s no gorge between me and my flourishing “online-preneur.” There’s no ravine between me and my rockin Airbnb-business-owning self.
The gap has been bridged. The gap, no longer a ravine or a gorge or a valley, is now just a bit of time, covered by some steps on a bridge. The bridge has been formed by clarity, a strengthening of belief, and familiarity.
My DMP has been normalized! That’s pretty cool actually. In the beginning, my future vision felt like something in the distance that I maybe could make happen with a lot of hope. Now, with all my readings of my DMP, with seeing it in pictures around my house and in my pocket, with writing it in various forms, seeing it as a movie trailer, reading it as a press release, and seeing it as a sentence… and most recently… becoming one with it for blips of time during my meditations… it’s become clear and familiar.
It’s been normalized!
Remember those times you became aware of some new fashion that you thought was “Gawd Awful” and ridiculous and you swore you’d never wear it, and then you slowly kept seeing it more and more and more until it eventually didn’t seem ridiculous — just normal — and you realized you were wearing that same article of clothing or hairstyle?
Or, I know someone (we’ll call her Kathy) who thought at one time that sparring, especially boxing, was ridiculous and something she would never do in a million years. She took some martial arts classes and was slowly introduced to the idea of sparring. Kathy not only feared sparring but thought those who participated in it — especially boxing — were ridiculous. (Because she’s a very nice person and didn’t want to hit anyone for sport.) She decided to take some more classes to learn more about it. And she did. In fact, she started getting good. She then decided to get some more training, augment her training at an additional gym, and work with awesome coaches. (You see where this is going.)
Kathy became a Golden Gloves champion and a sparring instructor!
Now that took a boatload of courage (Courage is something you get AFTER you do the thing that scares you) and a truckload of determination. But competing in the Golden Gloves became more real and believable, slowly over time. The believability gap was bridged as her future vision became normalized.
That’s what I noticed this week. That’s what I noticed with my “I am an author” video. That re-doing my speech was easy peasy because the vision is clearer and less distant. The believability gap has shortened.
Now, I just need to stay on that bridge, one step at a time.
When I get sideswiped by fear; when I dig my heels in with resistance, I will concentrate on my DMP.
To concentrate is to become one with it in my mind. When I become one with it, there is no gap. It simply is.