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Randy's Master Key Journey

Week 15 – The Dash

This week has been an eye-opening experience.  At least in a small way, I have seen this course in a new light.  For the past several weeks I have gone through the different requirements in an effort to maintain my scholarship.  This week I was trying to procrastinate one more time as to doing the sitting and reading.  Somehow it suddenly dawned on me that whether or not I do these things, it has no effect on anyone-anyone but me.  When I fail to do the reading or the sitting I miss out on one more opportunity to grow in the direction I want to grow.  I only hurt me.

It is important to grow because I want to fan the flame of dissatisfaction that daily grows in my chest.  At the end of the day, how my life turns out is entirely up to me.  This week a friend sent a poem that describes our lives from birth to death as The Dash.  I always told my children that all men were created equal-from then on the race is on.  I wanted them to know that whatever they achieve in their lives-or failed to achieve-was on them.  No one else.  Whether or not I succeed in this class is entirely upon my shoulders.  I have placed the poem in this weeks blog.  I hope that in some small way it will encourage you as well.

The Dash
by Linda Ellis copyright 1996

This poem was removed.

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Week 14-A Slight Detour

I have to admit that this holiday season was one of the best I have had in decades.   All of this positive thinking, releasing the negativity stuff is working.  However, I must be honest in that while I was enjoying the past two weeks, my efforts in the MKMMA sort of took a detour.  As you can see, this post is a bit late as well.  I’m sure I am not alone.  OK.  It is what it is, but now I have a choice.  I could sit back and say to myself, “What’s the point going on”?  Or I could get up, pick up and get moving again.  I choose the later.  Mark has said that once your mind has been stretched to new dimensions, it can never return to its original size.  I don’t think I want it to go back to the way it was.

So, I’m getting up, picking up and setting off on my journey of discovery.  I remembered that I called this blog my master key Journey.  Every journey has its challenges, its setbacks and, yes, its detours.  I have found that many times the detour turned out to be the most interesting part of the trip.  It was an opportunity to stop, recharge and recommit to the cause.  It was an opportunity to see the advantages of my new lifestyle and to see just how far I have come.  In some ways I stopped when I reached the crest of the mountain.  It is a glorious view and it reminds me of what it was like to live in the valley.  I can also see the next crest on the mountain and the next.  They don’t end there.  I can see the mountain, but the pinnacles are hidden far above the clouds.  I honestly don’t know where those crests are or what they hold for me.  I do know there is only one way to find out.  Come along and see what those peaks hold for you as well.

mountain

Week 13-A Glimmer of Success

You may have noticed that this entry is posted a couple of days later than usual.  I was working on the Master Keys and eliminating negativity from my thoughts this season.  If you read the last entry, you may have noticed that for many years, I have hated Christmas.  Not in any way normal people do, but in a way that requires years of practice and brown stamp collecting (more on brown stamps later).  I was adamant that this year would be different, but a little apprehensive that it may not work.  Coming into the Christmas season I mentally erased those negative thoughts that I had cultivated and nursed along all these years.  That was difficult, but not impossible.  Whenever I remembered a negative thought from years past, I simply used the Law of Dual Thought and replaced it with the hopes of a joyous season this year.  I focused on what I wanted, a happy Christmas, and not what I didn’t want.   Focusing on the negative brings only more negative thoughts that eventually give birth to negative actions and experiences.  Years ago, I read a book that described the collection of negative thoughts and experiences as brown stamp collecting.  Many of you are old enough to remember green stamps.  When you collected enough green stamps you were rewarded with the ability to trade those stamps for prizes selected from a catalog.

green-stamps

Brown stamps are just the opposite of those.  The are brown because they are the color of … you get the picture.  By collecting enough negativity we can rationalize anything we choose.  Get enough brown stamps from our spouse and we can rationalize our divorce.  Get enough from our employer and we can rationalize why we quit our job.  Only when you have had enough will you throw away the brown stamps and change your life.  I had had enough.

With the brown stamps gone and my new collection of beautiful gold stamps could I trade those in on positive, wonderful experiences.  gold_bond_stamps

As with everything in life we choose the color of the stamps we collect.  Trust me, I prefer the gold stamps every time.  This Christmas turned out to be the best holiday I can remember.  I chose to have a positive attitude and the universe, and my family, returned the favor.  With our new Christmas tree and the songs of Christmas coming from the stereo, the wonderful feelings of the season returned.  As I purchased Christmas gifts for friends and family, I remembered the part of the Law of Giving, “I promise to give without the expectation of reciprocity…”  I relished in the law and it returned much joy.  I will redouble my efforts now because I know the power of positivity.  I know the power it has to change the landscape of our lives.  I have seen the glimmer of success.

Week 12 – Scrooge No More

I HATE CHRISTMAS!  Although it’s sad to say, for as long as I can remember I have always felt this way.  Perhaps it is from the dysfunctional family I where I was raised.  Or maybe it’s from all the holiday seasons I spent alone.  Being a single father for several years knowing my son would spend those days with his mother and her extended family.  It may have been just a self-protection mode, but saying I hate Christmas would be an understatement.  In truth, I would give Ebeneezer Scrooge a run for his money.  Speaking of money, I always thought that Christmas was a huge expense and for what?  To give gifts that no one really needs and receiving even worse gifts.  I’ve always heard that it’s not the gift, but the thought that counts.  I agree.  Good thoughts bring good gifts.  I wonder what the thought was behind so many of those horrible gifts. Bah humbug!  Even churches have lost the meaning of Christmas.  Last year I saw a church program that did a play about a post-apocalyptic box with a light in it.  What the ….?  Bah humbug, again.

Sorry, if I’ve gotten you down or if I’m starting to dampen your Christmas spirit, but that’s not the end of the story.  All those years I have hated the holiday, somewhere deep inside I have always love the classic tale, A Christmas Carol.  If you’ve lived on some other planet and have never seen the movie (everyone knows the best version is the one with George C. Scott) or read the book, you’ve missed out.  It’s an amazing story of an old miser, Ebeneezer Scrooge (my namesake in Christmas attitude), who is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.  It is a story of reflection, restitution and redemption.  In the end, Scrooge discovers that his feelings about Christmas not only hurt himself, but all of those around him.  I always wanted that story where I would wake up and someone would intervene and show me the meaning of Christmas.  I guess that’s where the Mastermind comes in and brings that intervention.  It all started with the Mental Diet, I found that it is up to me to eliminate the negative attitudes and the past memories that destroy my joy.   The diet is sort of the Ghost of Christmas Past, showing the path to forgiveness and my own personal redemption.

christmas5

Perhaps that makes Mark and Davene, the Ghosts of Christmas Present.  Their ability to open my eyes and see the world as it is and where my negativity has brought me.

christmas4

They also have shown that I have the ability to choose my reality and make it what I want it to be.  In my analogy, I am my own Ghost of Christmas To Come.  Having seen the possibilities, I know that I can never go back to the mental world I left behind.  Refusing to change creates my own sad, horrific ending.

christmas1

Luckily, this story has a happy ending.  I can choose to create a different, better reality.  I am happy to report that I am the proud owner of a new Christmas tree.  I haven’t had one in many years.  It lights up my home and reminds me daily of the changes that are bringing new realities into the physical world.  My closet is full of presents because I know that I must “give without the expectation of reciprocity.”  I need to give, not because others need what I present, but because generosity builds my character.  I titled this blog Scrooge No More, but in the end, I really want to be like him.  Scrooge recognized his dead-end path and changed his destination.  I am, too.  At the end of the book Dickens wrote, “…he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!”

Week 11 – I am a lion

“I am a lion and I refuse to talk, to walk, to sleep with the sheep”

-Og Mandino

I must admit that when I read those words I got a surge of adrenaline.  It resonated with me that as I walk about with the mass of men each day, I am, in some new and exciting ways, not one of them anymore.  Normally, I would think that the mental image of a lion would tend to make me aggressive.  Not that I have I have never been referred to in that manner.  Over three decades in law enforcement can do that to a guy.  I tend to say what I think and do what I say and really don’t care what people think.  My wife has told me I have a harsh personality.  Maybe she’s on to something, but I digress.

Most people like to think of themselves as a lion until it’s time to do what needs to be done and then they find they are still sheep.  There are those who don’t know it yet, but they are lions waiting to emerge.  Take the guy who works six or seven days a week to support his family.  He does what he needs to and without complaint.  Undiscovered lion.  The single mom who works three jobs to support her children and barely gets by.  Undiscovered lion.  Shakespeare wrote,

 All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts...


Every man has their part, but I submit to you that each one of us can choose their part.  Many people in our world just don’t know how to discover the greatness inside, while many just don’t care.  The worst of them are the ones who can see greatness, the lion inside, and just choose not to do the work.  “It won’t work for me.  I can’t do it.”  Not willing to even try, they continue in their lives as sheep until the final act.  Understand, there’s nothing wrong with being a sheep.  Sheep are beautiful, peaceful animals that don’t hurt anyone.  They pay their taxes, go to their jobs and love their families.  But so do the lions.  Given a choice, I’ll be a lion.  I guess the truth of the matter is we all have a choice.  We can choose to continue in a life we tolerate and toil through day by day.  Or we can choose the great unknown, the undiscovered part of us that leads to greatness.  I choose to do the work, to find that part of myself that will only accept the very best life has to offer.  I choose to be a lion.

 

Week 10-The Fate of the Bull

I have to admit when I read the scroll this week, I was a bit dismayed.  The chapter starts with the story of how bulls are trained for the fighting ring.  Og writes that the bull enters the ring to be tested for courage by the matador and banderilleros.  The picador actually uses a lance to pierce the large muscles of the bull’s neck, initiating the loss of blood and weakening the animal.  The courage of the bull is described as his ability to continue to “charge in spite of the sting of the blade.”  I could go on and describe the rest of the fight, but you get the idea-it doesn’t end well for the bull.  Now, I understand that the point in Greatest Salesman is to inspire persistence and perseverance.  I guess my point is-if I needed to choose an animal to show persistence, I would have chosen another.

Enter the tardigrade, also known as the water bear.  Never heard of it?  Neither had I.  It is easily the most persistent and resilient animal in the world.  This little beast is only 1.5 millimeters long, so the tardigrade can exist hidden in sediments and seas, unnoticed by potential predators.  The small aquatic invertebrates are nearly invincible, able to tolerate conditions and temperatures that would kill nearly any other living creature.  Earth’s most tenacious creature can live in boiling water, solid ice, and the intense radiation of space. It can survive a decade in a desert, without a drop of water to drink, or in the deepest trenches of the sea.  When faced with extreme conditions, tardigrades can dry out completely, replacing almost of the water in their bodies with a sugar called trehalose. As a result, they’re able to survive environments that would otherwise kill them.  To test the true resilience of tardigrades, Swedish researcher K. Ingemar Jonsson from Kristianstad University launched tardigrades into space on the FOTON-M3 spacecraft on low-Earth orbit in 2007. Exposed to open space conditions, most of the tardigrades survived exposure to vacuum and cosmic rays, with some even surviving deadly levels of UV radiation.

tardi1

OK, not most beautiful creature, but an amazing symbol of persistence and resilience.

Alright, I can hear some of you jumping on the bandwagon, “That’s not the point of the bull story”.  I counter that with I think the story is bull… (it’s my blog and I get to express my opinion!).  Seriously, I get the point.  And actually the point of persistence has come at a really good time in my journey.  The chapter is about persistent until I succeed.  I will be persistent and I will succeed (repeat this line several times a day).  I will continue on when life tends to stab me with its many pains.  The enemy of discouragement will not overcome me.   But at the end of the day, I will not be the bull who is eventually destroyed.  I will persist-I will survive!  I’m a tardigrade!

tardi

Week 9-The Mechanism

Throughout the Master Keys, Haanel continually refers to the mind as the mechanism.  As I read he continues by saying that the mechanism continues to grow by use and exercise.  It brought back the thought that sports at a high level combines both physical and mental exercise.  Haanel writes, “Learn to keep the door shut, keep out of your mind, out of your office, and out of your world, every element that seeks admittance with no definite helpful end in view.” That means to eliminate the voices that tend distract you or discourage you.  They are the sounds that come from friends, family, pundits, naysayers and everyone who really want you and I to fail.  I am reminded of a movie that I like entitled, “For the love of the game”.  It’s about an aging baseball pitcher who relives his romantic relationship throughout his last game.  While I’m not really a fan of romance movies, it does contain a fair portion of baseball, so I don’t really think my man card is in jeopardy (I hope not anyway).  As the game progresses, the pitcher, Billy Chapel, has to shut out the distractions and the voices of the critics-he has to clear the mechanism.

When we “clear the mechanism” we are able to clear out the sounds and voices that seek to distract and ruin our determination.  Haanel writes that this can only be accomplished through endless practice.  I know, I know, but it’s so hard.

This week the course asks us to visualize a flower, from seed to bloom-backwards.  I wondered what that might look like when I found the following video.  As I watched, it occurred to me that not only is this a great representation of what our visualization would look like, it is a demonstration of my growth as I move through the Mastermind.  I wish I would progress faster or, at least, have one of those amazing “ah ha” moments.  Not yet.  But, you know, that’s OK.  I know like this flower I am growing at the pace I was designed to grow.

Enjoy the video.

Week 8-The Fear of Looking Back

This week the Master Keys stated, “Learn to keep the door shut, keep out of your mind, out of your office, and out of your world every element that seeks admittance with no definite helpful end in view.” Having just come out of the week 7, where we are learning to eliminate negative thought.  News flash…I have a lot of negative thoughts and attitudes.  Instead of getting easier, this journey seems to be getting harder.  Turns out, this is HARD WORK.  Now, the resistance is fighting valiantly to gain a foothold.  The temptation comes and brings the desire to go back to the life of leisure I knew before; to relax; to quit.  Like the sirens of old singing to the sailors to come in closer to the shore until it was too late.  I heard the song wafting softly on the cool night air and started to head toward the shore.   I will admit, I struggled this week.

I began the week with the desire to put even more into the program and to extract even more from it.  I did my readings, my chore and celebrated the victories.  I turned off the TV all week and felt really good about the efforts I put in.  Then why didn’t I feel better about them?  Honestly, instead of getting more out, I feel like I came away with far less and just wanted to  watch TV.  There’s a frustration when you don’t really want to go forward, but you know you can never go back to where you were before.  I’m not the first to feel like this and I seriously doubt I’ll be the last.

In 1519, the Spanish explorer Captain Hernán Cortés landed on the shores of Veracruz to begin his conquest of the Aztec Empire.  He had only a few hundred men for the conquering of an empire and for any sane man, this was a death wish.  This dar­ing under­tak­ing was made even more insur­mount­able by the fact that for more than 600 years, con­querors with far more resources at their dis­posal who attempted to col­o­nize the Yucatan Penin­sula, never suc­ceeded.  Cortés gathered the men on the beach and gave them a spirited speech of the great wealth and glory that would be theirs.  Then he he stated three words, “Burn the ships.”  They were left with only two choices, victory or death.  About a thou­sand years before, the world’s great­est empire builder, Alexan­der the Great burned his boats upon arrival on the shores of Per­sia.  By burn­ing his boats, Alexan­der com­mit­ted his men to vic­tory over the Per­sians, who far out­num­bered the Greeks in great num­bers.

This history lesson provides a great insight for where I am in my journey.  I need to burn the ships.  Just what are those ships I am so eager to torch? They’re all the ideas of turning back to the old life and surrendering the future of my  dreams.  They’re the moments of procrastination that seek to sabotage my progress.  They are a thousand little negative thoughts that cling to the bowl as they are being flushed down the toilet.  I’m sure as this journey progresses I will find many more ships that will meet the same destiny.  That’s right, up in smoke.

 

Week 7-The 7-Day Diet

I’m sure in the big scheme of life the fact that the 7-Day Diet was this week was no accident.  The idea that I shouldn’t entertain negative thoughts was a Herculean task.  Allow me to explain.  As I was growing up I was never very politically minded, but as I am getting older I tend to pay a lot more attention to the things going on in our country and our world.  You would have to have lived in a cave for the last eighteen months to not know that this political campaign season has been one of the most contested, vile and downright violent in recent history.  Regardless of what side of the isle you sit on, someone has something mean and disgusting to say about it.  Enter the 7-Day Diet.  Now how exactly do I monitor what is going on in our world and not entertain negative thoughts?  Good question.

I knew I had to handle this very carefully.  Emmet Fox wrote in his book that negative thoughts do not affect the diet as long as I don’t accept them.  Which is sort of funny because acceptance became an issue in this campaign.  The candidates were asked if they would accept the outcome of the election.  You can see by looking at Facebook or watching the news that many don’t want to accept the outcome.  That’s really what Fox was talking about.  The negative things that affect the diet are when I “accept them, by fearing them, by believing them, by being indignant or sad about them, or by giving them any power at all.”  In the end I could only cast my ballot and understand the result was no longer in my control.  And just how am I to react to the actions, words and attitudes of others?

With Love.

If you’re like me, that sound like an almost impossible task.  I thought so as well.  Then I saw the picture in this post.  I can decide to react with love.  I can choose love.  Fox writes that to expel the negativity is a choice, we can choose to be loving and positive.  He ends the paper by writing that the words and actions of others cannot throw me off of the diet, only my reactions can.  I choose to stay focused and answer with love.

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