Monthly Archives: January 2015

Week 17a – I’m Dying a Little

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks.  I’ve been struggling to keep up with the group in MKMMA.  I had trouble doing all the daily exercises.  And for some reason I felt alone, sad, and even a little lost.

Well, come to find out that’s NORMAL!

Lately I’ve been seeing my unique flaws more so than my gifts.

What I didn’t know then — and I thankfully know now — is that these “flaws” are my call to greatness!

My feelings of isolation, sadness, and loss are a result of the “old” me dying on the inside, and my subconscious struggle to let go of that “old” self and allow space for the “new” self to enter.

But that transformation isn’t easy…I am subconsciously hanging on to my “old” self and resisting change.  My “old” self wants to fight for self-preservation…even though I consciously want the changes to occur.

And so, the struggle begins.

There are 4 Stages of Death:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Grief
  4. Acceptance

Throughout the process, I have never felt anger, so that’s not it.

In the past few weeks I have felt sadness and loss, so grief may play a part.

But I am stuck in Denial.  I know this because I haven’t been as committed to the exercises as I have been in the past.  To be here — especially at this point in the game — and NOT be here 100% is to be in Denial.  And, since harmony is a requirement, I must commit to change.  And I commit to that change consciously…and just have to wait for my subconscious to catch up.

There’s a story about how to catch a monkey:

You put a banana in a jar with an opening just large enough for the monkey to put his hand in.  When the monkey grabs the banana, his fist is too large to remove his hand and the banana from the jar.  So the monkey is “trapped” by the banana and gets captured.

Just like the monkey, we humans can get “trapped” by our thoughts and beliefs.  We get stuck and don’t see a way out, when in reality all we need to do to get unstuck is to change our thoughts and beliefs.

If we wish to change our thoughts and beliefs, we must give ourselves permission to be happy, and we must learn the art of forgiveness.  Forgiveness relieves depression, anger, and hate.  Forgiveness frees the mind.  So if you can forgive then you can be free.

Drop the banana.  Be free.

story_monkey_jar

Week 17 – Being YOUnique

Now that we’re in Week 17 of our 26-Week Master Key Journey, we are nearing our “destination” of a new self.  And we’ve been advised that temptations may arise to slip back into our old habits.

As a result, Paul Simon’s “Slip Sliding Away” has been running through my head all week.  I haven’t been able to get it out of my head!

Perhaps it’s because we ARE nearing our destination, and perhaps it’s because it has been a challenging week for me on a person level.

While there is much to be thankful for about my present, recent events have reminded me of feelings of sadness, loss, and isolation…especially because I’ve been reading:

Since the beginning of time never has there been another with my mind, my heart, my eyes, my ears, my hands, my hair, my mouth.  None that came before, none that live today, and none that come tomorrow can walk and talk and move and think exactly like me.  All men are my brothers yet I am different from each.  I am a unique creature.  I am nature’s greatest miracle.
~ Og Mandino

These words have spoken to me this week.  Not in a subtle, quiet, whispering voice, but a loud, booming, in-your-face voice that forced me to stand up and pay attention.

Why?

My whole life I’ve felt out of place.

Different.

As a young child I wasn’t allowed to play with the kids in my neighborhood because we “lived in a bad part of town.”  I went to a private school, and none of the kids that went there lived near me.  (I refer you back to the fact that we lived in a bad part of town.)

So I was isolated.  I was alone.  Books, music, and TV were my friends.  (Perhaps that’s why I think in songs and movie quotes, and tend to sprinkle them into conversation often.)

Even though my family later moved to a “good” part of town, I never got past those feelings of isolation and being different.  (I also never got past quoting books, music, and movies…but that’s not the point.)

Throughout high school, college, grad school, and even to this very day I’ve always felt like “there’s no one like me.”

I think different.

I act different.

I AM different.

I could have embraced my uniqueness…

…but I didn’t.

Instead I felt left out.  Isolated.  Alone.

Many times I was made to feel like my uniqueness was odd, weird, or just plain wrong.  To quote a “classic” phrase from my youth, I felt like people were essentially saying:

Well, because these feelings have been bubbling up this week, I’ve been flipping through my “flash cards” more often, and you know what?

It’s made me realize I Don’t Give a Damn About My Reputation, because I am Whole, Perfect, Strong, Powerful, Loving, Harmonious, and Happy.

I am ME.

And I am UNIQUE.

 

Week 16 – A “Kind” Makeover

I’ve had plenty of makeovers over the years…

Several different makeup looks, different hairstyles, new wardrobes…

These makeovers are typically passive.  By that I mean you just show up and let the experts work their magic on you.

But the 13-Week “Total Personality Makeover,” is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!  This makeover requires awareness and action…it’s anything but passive.

Our makeover is modeled after a concept in Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography about heightening your virtues by becoming aware of these virtues, both within ourselves and the world around us.

You can read how Benjamin Franklin conducted his “makeover” – in his own words – here, or just read on for our “new and improved” version:

Make a spreadsheet with the days of the week across the top as column headings and each row heading will be a characteristic or trait to focus on for the week.

Now, pick a characteristic or trait to focus on for the week.  For this week, everyone in our group was focused on “kindness.”

Are You Ready? … Get Set … GO!

Put your antennae up and recognize every time you exhibit that trait or observe it out in the world.  The thought is that the more you see and do an act of kindness, the more you will receive, and kindness becomes a more natural part of who you are.

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Every time you perform an act of kindness – or observe one – you put a dot in the square for that day.

Do at least 2 random acts of kindness a day…without getting caught!  (It’s not as easy as it sounds!)

I made a game out of it to increase my numbers every day (I’m pretty competitive).

If you go through this process with enthusiasm and treat it as an experience rather than an experiment you will notice some wonderful things happening both within – and around – you.

I had three main takeaways this week:

  • The more acts of kindness I performed, the easier – and more exciting! – it was to perform more.
  • The feeling behind the kindness lasts far longer than the act itself.
  • An act of kindness rarely exists in a vacuum.  It may set off a “chain reaction of kindness” with the recipient “paying it forward” to another.  Or it may inspire someone – especially children – nearby to do the same.

What’s one example of an act of kindness you performed or observed this week, and how did it make you feel?

Week 15 – Rise and Shine! You ARE a Diamond Mine!

When I was a kid, my favorite cartoon — and childhood hero — was Speed Racer.  Speed’s little brother Spritle, and Chim Chim the monkey, absolutely LOVED candy.  Every time the word “candy” was spoken, their eyes turned into these spinning peppermint pinwheels and they did a little “happy dance” with their candy.

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Spritle and Chim Chim, from the Speed Racer Cartoon

Why do I bring up Spritle and Chim Chim?  Because my eyes felt just like those spinning peppermint pinwheels during this week’s MKMMA webinar when “diamonds” were mentioned.

Perhaps it’s because I’m a jewelry girl.  Perhaps it’s because I’m newly engaged and have diamonds on my mind…

…but the lesson in those diamonds was priceless.

Let me share a story with you…

Legend has it that there was a traveler in a remote area of South Africa, and one day he watched young boys playing with some small stones resembling marbles.  The traveler was mesmerized by these stones, as they were unlike any stones he had ever seen before.  He asked the boys’ father if he had any more of these stones.  

He sure did!  The man brought out a bowl full of these stones, and the traveler offered about 30 cents’ worth of tobacco for the stones.

Interestingly, the man thought he was taking advantage of the traveler, but he traded the stones anyway.

And this is how the largest South African diamond mines were discovered.

You see…the boys’ father was not aware of what he had.

And neither do most people.  Most people do not know what they have, and what lies within them.

file000981375454You see, we ALL have great riches within us…just like the bright, shiny diamond that lies within the rough.  Perhaps we don’t know we are that bright, shiny diamond yet.  Or perhaps we’ve been conditioned to believe we’re not that bright, shiny diamond.

In either case, we ARE that diamond-in-the rough, and it’s our responsibility to shine!

file7171273536699We just need to be KNOW that we have that bright, shiny diamond within us…and then set out to polish it up.

Ready?  Happy Dance Time!

So, this week we begin our 13-week “total personality and character makeover” to help us reveal the rich treasures that lie within us.

I’ll share more about that makeover in my next post.

Until then…

Rise and Shine…You ARE a Diamond Mine!

Week 14 – Cool Runnings, Mon!

This week we had an “assignment” to watch a movie and then observe and report the 4 Tiny Habits that create persistence.

Oh, no!  Watch a MOVIE???  Don’t throw me in that Briar Patch!  😉

I’m somewhat of a movie junkie…I’ve even been known to quote movie lines in everyday conversation…OFTEN.

So I chose the movie “Cool Runnings.”  It’s based on the true story of the 1988 Jamaican Bobsled Team.

Now, if you’re thinking “Jamaican Bobsled Team?  WHAT???”  Then you’re right there with me when I heard about the story.  If you’re familiar with the story, then I guess you were paying attention to the Olympics in 1988.  (I, however, was in my first year of college, and lived in what was affectionately known as “The Baylor Bubble” where only select information made it through to us students…)

But I digress…

THERE ARE 4 TINY HABITS THAT CREATE PERSISTENCE

  1. A Definite Purpose, Backed By a Burning Desire For Its Fulfillment
  2. A Definite Plan, Expressed in Continuous Action
  3. A Mind Closed Against Negative and Discouraging Influences (A Positive Mental Attitude)
  4. A Friendly Alliance With One Or More Persons Who Will Encourage One To Follow Through With Both Plan And Purpose

HABIT #1
A DEFINITE PURPOSE, BACKED BY A BURNING DESIRE FOR ITS FULFILLMENT

Derese was a track star and Olympic hopeful whose dream was to compete in the Olympics.  He “knew” he would make the Olympic team at tryouts, yet his dreams of running in the Olympics turned to dust as a fellow Olympic hopeful tripped and took down two additional runners…including Derese.

Yet Derese didn’t give up.  Far from it!

He was inspired by a photo of his father — a fellow track star — standing next to a man who was an Olympic Gold Medal Winner…in the Bobsled.  This gentleman wanted Derese’s father to be a bobsledder, as he believed that sprinters would make the best bobsledders.  Yet Derese’s father stuck to what he was good at…running.

With just 3 months until the Olympic Games, Derese set his mind on a new goal:  representing Jamaica in the Olympic Games…as a member of Jamaica’s first bobsled team.  And he convinced his friend Sanka — “the best push cart driver in all of Jamaica” — to join him on his journey.

Derese located this man, Irv, who, conveniently, lived in Jamaica, and “stalked” him until he agreed to coach Jamaica’s first bobsled team.  Derese then held a meeting to find teammates, and Irv did everything in his power to convince the attendees NOT to join the team.

Somehow they found two teammates (the other two Olympic hopefuls who lost the opportunity to compete in track and field), and a team was born.

The odds were stacked against them:

  • They were track stars…they could run…on LAND.  But what about running on ICE?
  • They didn’t know what a bobsled WAS…three months before the Games.
  • They didn’t have the ability to practice in the snow.  (Forget “snow”…they didn’t even know “cold!”)
  • They had a reluctant coach.
  • They didn’t have a bobsled.
  • They didn’t have the money to get to Calgary.

But they had the BURNING DESIRE to get there.  Each of the team members had their own burning desire, and their combined desire led to their living their dream.

HABIT #2
A DEFINITE PLAN, EXPRESSED IN CONTINUOUS ACTION

These young men knew NOTHING about bobsledding.  They had to start from the very beginning learning the fundamentals of the sport…with just 3 months until the games.

I’m reminded of Vince Lombardi, who was passionate about the fundamentals:

Gentlemen…this is a football.

These men had to start with the fundamentals:

  • What is bobsledding?
  • Who are the team members, and what are their roles?
  • What is a push start?
  • The importance of cold weather endurance.
  • Running…on ICE.
  • The responsibilities of the Driver.

On top of the fundamentals of the sport of bobsledding, they team also had to raise the money to get them from Jamaica to Canada.  In the movie, the team raised money by street performances, arm wrestling, a kissing booth, and selling a very expensive car.  The first-hand participation in the fundraising events is proof of the BURNING DESIRE these men had to attend the Games.

The team — especially Derese, as the driver — continuously visualized their goal.  Derese studied photographs of the turns and mentally went through the motions of navigating the turns.  And the entire team went through the turns sitting in a bathtub.

Nobody had that much fun in a sled since Santa Clause!  ~ Sanka

HABIT #3
A POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE

Everyone laughed at these men for being the pioneers from their country in the sport of bobsledding.

They were different.  People are afraid of what’s different.

But they never lost sight of their vision…competing in the Games.  Representing their Country.

Other teams laughed at them.  These men brushed off their negativity, because they had a BURNING DESIRE to achieve their goals.  They KNEW they could do it.

Rise and Shine!  It’s Butt-Whipping Time!

HABIT #4

A FRIENDLY ALLIANCE WITH ONE OR MORE PERSONS

Sure, these men had a BURNING DESIRE to achieve their dreams of competing in the Olympics, but they couldn’t do it alone.

They needed the support of others.

They supported each other as teammates.

Yul to Junior:  

I see pride! I see power! I see a bad-ass mother who don’t take no crap from nobody!

They returned to their roots and expressed their authentic selves:

 All I’m saying, mon, is if we walk Jamaican, talk Jamaican, and *is* Jamaican, then we sure as hell better bobsled Jamaican.

When they became JAMAICAN bobsledders, they released their TRUE power.  Ah, the power of authenticity!

They changed their push-start lead-in from “eins, zwei, drei” to…

Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, its bobsled time! Cool Runnings!

That’s more like it!

Their bobsled was named “Cool Runnings,” which translates to “Peace Be The Journey.”  (Hmmm…talk about being in harmony with MKMMA!)

Even though the team lost control of their bobsled and never finished the race, they still won.  While they may not have won their medals, they won the respect of the world that watched.

WHAT’S IT ALL MEAN?

The bottom line and moral of the story is summed up in this quote from Irv:

A gold medal is a wonderful thing.  But if you’re not enough without one, you’ll never be enough with one.

It all starts from within.

Cool Runnings, mon.

jamaicabobsled