Archive for January, 2014

MKMMA Week 16 – Insight and the Ideal

Friday, January 17th, 2014

As I’m re-acclimating to the daily tasks of life back here after my ten days in Guatemala, I’m finding that the conversation on clarity, the precision of words and Insight in part 15 of the Master Key is flowing seamlessly into part 16’s observations that wealth has value only in its exchange value, and the necessity for clear visualization of your ideal.

No doubt another of those many “coincidences”, I found that being in a different environment, and especially one that is in reality part of the fulfillment of my DMP, seemed to open my thinking to a more focused and accurate vision.

We’re used to thinking of what we want in dollar amounts – what is necessary to acquire those things. Being immersed in the sensory stimulations of the ideals themselves caused me to be able to focus on the end desire, and not worry about the means and trying to “help it along” with thoughts of “having ‘this’ will give me ‘that’”.

I’m not finding a need to rewrite any of my cards or DMP, other than perhaps to reorder things a bit. The words are correct, and I’m now experiencing a new-found clarity in visualizing the ultimate ideals, and allowing the details of the “how” to the purview of Universal Intelligence.

That’s not to say sitting and dreaming, but rather sitting and visualizing, with the understanding that the action steps necessary are being shown to me. I recognize and take action on those rather than trying to engineer the process, realizing that each is just the right thing to do at the right time.

 

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MKMMA Week 15-16 The Sandwich and the Latte

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

First, let me give many thank-yous to all of you who have been following the activities of the past week at our Design4Kids InFocus workshop in Guatemala. It was a tremendous success – as they always are, thanks to the outstanding Fotokids staff and the talent and motivation of the students themselves.

Due to the schedule and the technical limitations I’ve been working with I haven’t been able to post a week 15 blog until today, and was unable to tune in to the January 5th webinar or see the replay of the week 15 and 16 videos (bandwidth just wouldn’t support them). So I’m a little behind and out of the loop.

I was able to get in on the Sunday Jan 12 webinar from my hotel in Antigua, and as seems to always be  the case, the topic fits perfectly into my activities for the past week. Coincidence, of course. J

I’ve been completely faithful to my readings all week, albeit on a slightly altered schedule. I’m finding I eagerly look forward to them, and can’t finish the day comfortably until I’ve completed them.

And my sits every late afternoon after classes out by the lake, as the sun is dipping behind Vulcan (volcano) San Pedro have set a new standard for my quiet time. I may be returning to my living room in Maryland, but each day I’ll be seeing the sunset over the lake.

Likewise my morning readings of the MK and Blueprint Builder at the lake in the early morning light before breakfast.

Did I mention in the past that I’m already living some of my DMP? J

 

Giving and kindness are two qualities that are everywhere down here. It seems that 90 per cent of the “gringos”, both ex-pats and visitors, are here in some mission or NGO capacity. Working with orphan groups, building and maintaining schools and libraries, feeding the kids, extended outreach educational programs (like ours). Everyone here is under-fed and everything under-funded.

In addition to our Fotokids workshop this past week in Santiago Atitlan there were two more groups at the hotel (la Posada Santiago, sort of “gringo central” in Santiago). One was a bunch of college-age kids and adults, 20+, from the Lancaster, PA area, building a foundation for a new building at an orphanage. Another, who had come together from across the US, were working to help build a playground at the library and pre-school next door to the hotel.

The logo for Amanda’s school an library was Design4Kids’ first workshop project five years ago.

Seeing the sense of satisfaction, gratitude and fulfillment that everyone in those groups felt mirrored the feelings I experience every time I’m here. I’ve always said, and it continues to be more true with each experience, that while I may be giving my time and resources to teach and help these kids, it feels I’m receiving more in the rewarding from seeing their growth and success than I can possibly give.

 

Back in Antigua on Sunday prior to returning to the US on Monday, I was at a café on the central park for a coffee Sunday morning.

There are a number of indigenous Maya who sell all sorts of textiles and trinkets in the park. Over the four plus years I’ve been coming down I’ve gotten to know several, getting beyond the “You buy something mister?” and “Gracias, no” conversation that is the usual constant interaction. We’ve talked about each others’ families and lives – they’re actually really people, not just pestering peddlers.

This trip I met Mario, who shines shoes. There are a number of shoe-shine kids, and they’ll offer to shine your sneakers, sandals, and the shoes that the last kid just shined five minutes ago. It’s actually a valuable lesson in persistence. Sales shyness and hunger are mutually exclusive conditions. So Mario is now my go-to shoe shine guy.

Anyway, while in the café, which is open to the sidewalk, another little guy, maybe 10 or 11 years old, came up to me selling postcards. This is a little bolder as the shops usually chase them away to keep them from bothering their customers.

There’s always the line between wanting to help – this is how they eat, when they do – and just having so much stuff you can’t bring back any more.

I initially said, “Gracias, no”, but he stayed and began a conversation. He’s Antonio, from Santa Catalina, about two hours away. He comes to Antigua every weekend to sell postcards. No doubt his family in the park selling other wares.

Then he asks me “buy me a pan? (bread)”. Now I thought THIS I can do! Nothing more to try to bring back home. So I ask the waiter to get him what he likes and Antonio orders a ham sandwich. His sandwich comes, he smiles and says “Gracias, Stu” and scoots away.

The waiter and waitress smiled as he left. It cost me about the same as a second cup of coffee. It may be the only thing he eats that day. Or weekend.

I felt so much joy the rest of the day I thought I would burst. I didn’t tell anyone about the episode – I didn’t feel right, thinking I would sound like I was boasting. I’m glad that Mark has sort of given “permission” to share this sort of thing here. Not to tell you how great I am, but in the hope that I can in some way give you some of the joy I felt that day, still feel. There is far more than one person can hold.

Early Monday morning before going in to the city and the airport I went back to the same café for a coffee. Now a normal work day, and the square is much quieter than on the weekend at this hour.

The same waitress/”barista” who was working on Sunday when I met Antonio was there. She smiled at me and took my order. This time I ordered a latte for something a little extra.

I imagine you’re familiar with the “latte art” that creative baristas make in the foam on top of the coffee. She gave me my latte.

In the foam was a heart.

 

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MKMMA Week 14A – And Now A word From Our Sponsors

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Here’s another example of the Hero’s Journey story written about in the  previous post.

A young photographer working for Reuters is assigned to cover the civil war in Guatemala in the 1980’s. She becomes deeply attached to the Guatemalan people and following the war is assigned to photograph an assignment on the many families literally living and foraging for their subsistence in the garbage dumps of Guatemala City.

While photographing the young children living in these atrocious conditions, the thought occurs to her: “what if I give the camera to the kids and see their lives from their point of view?”

Thus was born some 21 years ago the “Out of The Dumps” project, striving to help lift these young people from their seemingly hopeless existence, to develop a sense of meaning and belief in themselves and in their future.

Now, over twenty one years later, the project which became Fotokids is a world-renowned program developing the creative drive and thinking in the disadvantaged youth of Guatemala.

I met that photographer, Nancy McGirr and Fotokids about four and a half years ago when a “coincidental” encounter put me in contact with Jeff Speigner, a graphic designer who had met Nancy a year earlier and had just developed the fledgling Design4Kids project. The story of that “coincidence” is a whole post in itself, and a monumental example of the Law of Attraction in action.

Design4Kids is a group of graphic designers, photographers and professionals from various areas of experience who have come together to help teach business-based skills to the Fotokids students, furthering their quest to create a positive, meaningful life for themselves and their loved ones. The for-profit design firm, Jakaramba, is now well into its third year, a result in great degree of the Design4Kids program.

Design4Kids Workshop, Santiago de Atitlan, Guatemala June 2009

This week ahead I’ll be in Guatemala to teach what will be the first of a departure from our usually graphic design and photography related, client oriented workshop projects. I’ll be the sole mentor working with Nancy and Linda Morales teaching advanced photography skills and portfolio development to a group of some of the more advanced Fotokids students in Santiago Atitlan. Linda, by the way is a former Fotokids student and is now one of the program’s chief instructors. She’s a highly accomplished artist and educator.

Now most people, when they hear about something like this, they get a bit curious, maybe excited, maybe even a little teary-eyed like I still do. But frankly, a few don’t. You probably know the type – they’d rather sit down in their little hole in the world, thinking that small gestures can’t have big impacts, saying that whatever is happening with some kids they don’t know in some out of the way place they know nothing about has no significance to their hopeless little lives.

So would it be okay if a share a few links with you?

I’ll be posting daily updates on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/design4kids so go ahead and “like” our page to receive updates on the workshop and what the kids are doing. You can check out some of our previous workshops there too. You can also see more info on Design4Kids at www.design4kids.org.

And you definitely want to see the whole Fotokids story at www.fotokids.org.

Be sure to like our page, www.facebook.com/design4kids, and tell the people you know all about it too.

Hasta pronto.

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MKMMA Week 14 – With Apologies to Gene Siskel

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

During this “holiday break” week we were tasked with watching one (or more) or four movies – October Sky, Cool Runnings, Door-to Door and Rudy, looking for the classic “Hero’s Journey” characteristics in each.

Interesting how even Napoleon Hill and Haanel before him recognized the epic saga of human accomplishment in the same way, if not in the same words. The characteristics we are to look for: a Definite Major Purpose, a Positive Mental Attitude, a Plan of Action and a Mastermind Alliance.

I’d seen Cool Runnings back when it was relatively new and though hadn’t watched it since, can still remember the presence of all of those characteristics in that story, if not the details.

The other three were new to me, and Door-to-Door appears to be nearly out of print, so I opted for October Sky, easily available for rent through iTunes and Amazon.

Our hero in this story is a high school student in a West Virginia coal mining town in the mid-1950’s. The classic “company town” where everyone was born into mining families, grew up to work in the mine and eventually, one way or another, died there, he is inspired by the notoriety of the launch of Russia’s Sputnik to become a rocket man.

Predictable he’s met with cynicism and sarcasm by friends and family who want to “keep him in his place”. Predictable not only as a movie plot but as the common reaction we all face when we try to leave the status quo of mediocrity and seek something more, something better. The fears and jealousy of those around us try to hold us back, to reassure themselves least we invalidate their existence.

None the less he focused his desire and built into a burning purpose of his life, and became determined that he would succeed. He created a Mastermind Alliance, gathering his friends and making new ones to surround himself with a group of like minded individuals. He also employed Hill’s “Invisible Councilor” in his correspondence with Werner von Braun.

He created a clear Plan of Action, learning everything he could about rocket-making and soliciting the help of his Mastermind group to fill in the gaps.

Though facing numerous setbacks and obstacles he never truly lost his Positive Mental Attitude, persevered and succeeded.

The underlying “Hero’s Journey” that defines this story is that which truly defines every endeavor in our human existence. Weather factual (as this story is) or fiction, we all seek the meaning and fulfillment of the hero who sets out to rise above the rest and return successful.

Some will always seek the achievement vicariously, through movies, sports, novels, while a few of us at some point decide to embark on our own Hero’s Journey and discover the greater meaning in our lives.

 

 

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