Archive for February, 2014

MKMMA Week 20 Do-Be-Do-Be-Do

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

That’s how Frankie sang it. That’s how we all learned to attempt to build our lives. And it seems for me to still be the difficult change in thinking to make. Because in reality it should be Be-Do-Be-Do-Be.

Our old blueprint is that we must do things to make us what we want to be, what we want to have. Not do things as in taking action – that is still necessary – but as in directing and controlling the whole process.

Concentrating on the “how to”, rather than on the ultimate result we desire. Directing the Universe, rather than concentrating on the result and letting the Universal Mind do the work, the way it’s supposed to.

I am improving. Focusing on what and who I want to be and letting the answers to “how” flow to me. And I experience the results of doing that when I do “get it right”, when I let go of trying to oversee the process. It’s often – at this point I’d say it’s usually – in a completely different form than what I originally envision, and what I would have planned and directed by my conscious mind “being in charge”.

But it winds up being exactly what I asked for.

And yet I still find myself wanting to direct the process at times. Whether I feel things are not happening fast enough, don’t seem to be progressing in the direction I want, when I start to think that my goal is “too big” to be left to “chance”, I start to focus on designing the process rather than concentrating on the outcome. Thus probably slowing things down, rather than helping.

The good news it that I am noticing things happening in spite of my interference. When I find myself dwelling on a negative aspect – catching myself and redirecting my thoughts, but still not staying “pure” and “clear” in my thinking – I find that I experience the desired end result after all.

I’ve read somewhere, I’m not sure that it is in the MKMMA or Mark’s stuff, but in something I’ve read over the years, that there’s a tipping point, a “51%” level, where the preponderance of your thinking governs events.

Perhaps I’ve achieved that level. Maybe that’s the best we can expect at any given time. It appears that many of us are realizing that this is not a simple, clean, once-and done process. Making over our lives is a continuous work in progress. Life itself is a continuous work in progress.

There is no ultimate “getting there” where it’s all smooth and easy and finished. It’s all about the journey. Each experience creates new opportunities, new options, and new challenges. We’re continuously making and re-making ourselves. There’s always something.

And I’m okay with that.

… Strangers in the night, hm hm hm hm hmm …

 

 

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MKMMA Week 19 – Reboot

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

It would seem that the several “lost weeks” in January had a greater impact on me that I expected.

I’ve already written of keeping up as much as possible, and doing my best to maintain the polish on my Buddha in a steady stream of cement. (Interesting, when you Google “cement Buddha” for a quick spell-check, you find a myriad of offers to sell Buddhas made of cement, but only the faintest whisper of the concept we’re familiar with begins to appear four or five pages deep.)

At any rate, now back to the pace of what more or less constitutes “normality” for me, I find that while I’m back on track with the exercises and assignments and staying on pace in principle, something is missing. More and more I find I need to force myself to concentrate on following the “habits” that we/I have been steadily introducing over the past four and a half months.

It appears that those fragile new habits have been disrupted by the brusque intrusion of “outside world reality” they were subjected to, and rather that instinctively react and respond as I’ve been training myself to do, I once again have to consciously act with intention and attention to overcome the old blueprint.

Those seemingly silly and simple little exercises we’ve been doing since October have taken on a renewed meaning as I assign new “services” to retrain myself in my new habits. The 7-day diet is restarted about once an hour. Rather than being instantly aware of the display of the characteristics of the Makeover, I find I’m realizing them only later in conscious review of the day’s events.

I suspect I’m discovering what some of you have already realized, and what Mark, Davene and the crew are well aware of – that this entire 26-week program is not a one-time head-to-toe makeover fix. Go through it once and it’s done. Uh-uh.

As long as we’re striving to excel in a world dead set on mediocrity, as long as we’re determined to become more than the “norm” says we should be and to be what we are all truly capable of, we are in a constant process of growth, setback, recovery and regrowth.

Hopefully, and most certainly as we become stronger and the new blueprint we’re instilling becomes more and more our controlling guide, each stage is more two steps forward, one step back. If at this point it’s the other way around, well, that just means we’re still developing those mental and emotional muscles.

This week’s exercise of focused concentration is quite timely for me, as I find this is the only way to force myself back on track.

When we’re subjected to a physical injury – a broken bone, severe cut or the like, that point at which that injury heals, the scar, becomes the strongest point in that part of the body when subjected to stresses that could cause re-injury. I suspect there’s some of that going on here as well.

 

 

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MKMMA Week 18+ – Dead Men Tell No Tales

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

But their next of kin will talk your ear off!

Due to the scheduling challenges I’ve experienced over the past few weeks, I just today was able to view the week 18 webinar replay. There I learned that the assignment to read at least two obituaries each day had been extended through this week.

With no knowledge that this had been assigned, I had already been following this daily exercise on my own since its beginning, as a fascination of what I learn with each reading. I realize this is my second post on this subject, but I was moved to share additional insights even yesterday, prior to learning this afternoon that these reading are part of our current week’s itinerary.

In the event you’re not familiar with newspaper concepts, “column inches” are the standard by which all newsprint content is judged. As an editorial writer the greater space your article receives is often viewed as a  reflection of your implied status to the paper. Advertising space is sold in column inches.

And obituaries, which are typically paid for by the poster, appear in column inches. The Washington Post obit pages are six columns by the full newspaper page length – measured at about 21 inches with a small allowance for borders.

A typical obituary in the Post will run about 2-3 inches in one column. Add an inch if there is a photo. (The photos chosen for obituaries are a topic for an entire post in itself – especially recalling that it’s the family who chooses how the departed should be remembered.)

So why all this review of the technical workings of the fourth estate?

What caught my eye yesterday were two listings that were two-column by five and six inches respectively. It stands to reason that the greater the space, the more room for copy content. And as you’re reading these you probably realize that the more typical posing is 80% a listing of the surviving next of kin – in some cases looking like the writer feared reprisal from any even distant family member left off the list.

These two-column memorials were no such thing. Rather , both were moving mini-biographies of the departed’s life and legacy. Each left me feeling rewarded for having shared the experience of their life.

And then today I discover a listing that runs two columns by an entire half page (about 11 inches)! It was a grand biography of the accomplishments in the life of a clearly beloved family member.

Thinking of the first of the three questions posed as we read these obits, I sense that the people I “meet” in these extended memorials, rather than ask for one more day, would ask me to live up to the challenge: “seek to live as rich, full and meaningful a life as possible, that you will be remembered this way too.”

 

 

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MKMMA Week 18 – Attention Works – Be Careful!

Friday, February 7th, 2014

The Master Key, 18-32: “The incentive of attention is interest; the greater the interest, the greater the attention; the greater the attention, the greater the interest, action and reaction; begin by paying attention; before long you will have aroused interest; this interest will attract more attention, and this attention will produce more interest, and so on.”

Hoo boy, isn’t that ever the truth!

One of the effects of this annual Auto Show project is that I get to see and be reacquainted with people I haven’t seen for a year. From the cadre of photographers – I’m one of several working on the project – the public relations people who are key to creating the social awareness of the show and all its events, to the show producers and convention center staff, we all come together from all over the country to make the event happen.

It’s difficult to effectively describe the intensity of the project to someone who hasn’t personally experienced it – everything is RIGHT NOW, half a dozen people always looking for the same things at the same time, always reacting to the ever-changing events of the moment rather than following an orderly plan (like the sudden appearance of the Vice President! This is the Washington, DC Auto Show, after all).

It is a high stress two weeks. The constant teamwork and aggravations, the intensity of emotions, rivals a group of people thrown together in some catastrophe or natural disaster.

It is a highly emotion-charged environment.

Many of the people working on the production have been together for the show as long as my 10-years there. Some are people I enjoy and look forward to seeing after a year’s absence. Some are – teachers – who remind me exactly where I am in my personal journey, and just how far I still have to go.

Those of us here in the MKMMA community have become accustomed to interacting with a group of like-minded people. Some are experiencing these concepts for the first time, others may have been exposed to and even believed we’ve studied them for a while. But we’re all discovering a new and deeper understanding and realization of who we are and what our potential is. We’re comfortable in this environment.

WE ARE NOT NORMAL!!!

This is good news and bad news. Good because we’re “super-normal”, beginning to discover and appreciate our potential and our journey through the world. Bad because when we leave this community and roam about in the “real world” we are constantly encountering those who haven’t quite come to this place yet. To put it mildly.

This applies to the auto show crew as well. Though a few are working on a higher level of awareness, if not consciously thinking in MKMMA terms and concepts, the majority are not.

Which means two weeks of constant bombardment of the “old blueprints”, those “other ideas”, in an environment filled with intense emotion. To avoid giving it attention is, put it mildly, challenging.

Ever been picked up by a tornado, spun around for two weeks and dropped unceremoniously into a tree top? If you have, consider yourself fortunate – you could be feeling like I felt at the end of the show!

Attention with intense emotion. I think we’re all familiar with that formula.

I did my best to keep up and focus on my exercises. While I rarely had time to check in to the community, and was only able to access the webinar replays and videos piecemeal in short windows of opportunity, I did manage for the most part to at least keep up with my daily readings (except for a few mid-day Ogs) despite total physical and emotional exhaustion at the end of the day.

That had an effect similar to trying to bail out the Titanic with a spoon. A soup spoon, perhaps, not a teaspoon – but still, a spoon. Things kinda got ahead of me.

It has literally taken most of this week in the aftermath to regain my pre-show equilibrium, to just get back to even. Just now am I ready to continue to move forward. I have some catching up to do, but at least the storm has passed.

Yes, the greater the attention, the greater the interest, action and reaction. And the more you try to avoid giving something attention, the more attention you give it. The formula works flawlessly – regardless of the quality of the thing or thought given attention.

Be careful out there.

 

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MKMMA Week 17 – Thank You, Brother

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Yes, these posts will be a little out of order – I’ll do my best to put them up in some semblance of chronological sequence. After working the Washington Auto Show for the past two weeks with no time to write (and barely time to think!), they’re all in my head and trying to get out at the same time. Guess I could have worse demons.

 

One of the activities I participate in during my annual Washington Auto Show photography project is working with the “celebrities” who make appearances to draw attendance to the show.

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interact with a number of sports personalities, television stars, wrestlers (always the biggest draw in terms of fans!) and the famous, once-famous and near-famous in various walks of life.

Here’s one thing I’ve learned – drum roll please – they’re people. And just like any other group of people you’ll likely encounter, each has their own unique personality.

Some are truly star-struck by their own popularity. Some are humble, simple people who turn on the character when they’re on. Some are a bit aloof and blasé and maybe a bit too fond of themselves. Others, the majority, are there because they truly love the attention of the fans, and clearly adore them as much as the fans adore the stars.

This year I had the unparalleled pleasure of working with Kevin Mack and “Horny Mike” two of the cast of History Channel’s “Counting Cars”.

That’s Counting Cars, on the History Channel, Tuesdays at 9:00pm Eastern. I know this by heart because that was the consistent plug they put in to anyone who might have been a little fuzzy as to who they were. Always delivered with a grin and a chuckle, but – always – delivered. Always promoting.

Telling everyone they meet who they are and what they do. Where have we heard that concept before?

These two guys are as real on the show and off, and are perhaps two of the most genuine, sincere people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. The show is in the “reality TV” genre, and as Kevin put it, about 5% of what you see is show for the entertainment value, but the other 95% is everyday real life. With or without the cameras rolling.

They both admit that the show has put them in a position of celebrity neither would have ever imagined, and they are truly grateful for that. The show is an spin-off from History’s immensely successful “Pawn Stars”. All the guys from the various shows have know each other from long before the TV days.

Horny Mike – Mike Henry, though you have to dig a little deep to pull that out of all the online bios – has carefully crafted his persona, even before the show. Mike is the airbrush paint artist on the custom paint side of the shop. His moniker comes from his penchant of painting (and putting) horns on anything he gets the chance to.

His character is the young, silly, goofball wild and crazy guy. And while he may be a little wild and fun, he’s anything but a silly goofball. He spent years creating and fine-tuning his character, down to his trademark – and I do mean literally trademarked – horn headband, name and accoutrements.

It’s all part of his long-term business plan. Yes, the character “Horny Mike” has and is the result of  a carefully crafted business plan. Anyone else sensing the elements of a DMP in here?

What really cause these two to stand out from everyone else I’ve met is the way they interact with the people who’ve come to see them. First off, the main star of the show, Danny “The Count” Koker was originally slated
to appear at the show. He came down with a serious case of flu at the last minute and asked these two to come in his place. Most if not all the people who were in the crown had initially been disappointed when Danny came off the schedule, but had come that night specifically because they learned that Kevin and Mike would be there in Danny’s place.

Many of the celebrities will make small talk with the fans as they come up to meet them, usually talking about their show (the actors), the game (sports figures), the big show (wrestling – truly an entertainment experience).

Kevin & Mike engaged everyone in a personal conversation, wanting to find out about them. In the end I felt like I’d spent two hours in their living room with several hundred of their closest friends.

And every time – every time – someone ended with “thanks for coming out to be here” Kevin’s and Mike’s instant, unwavering reply was “Thank You brother – you’re the reason we are who we are.” Total, sincere gratitude for what they have and for the people who make it happen.

And I’m extremely grateful to have met these two fantastic people.

 

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Week 17A-ish (I’m All out of Sync) – A Tale of Two Lives

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

I realize I’m woefully behind in blog updates, and I’m not sure exactly where this one fits, but it’s perhaps one of  the most memorable recent insights. The project I’ve been working on has consumed ALL of me the past two weeks. But it’s also created a plethora of insights that I’m anxious to share, so watch out this coming week – what I’ve lacked in promptness may well be made up in volume!

Fitting that the assignment of reading an obituary each day coincides with the beginning of Scroll V in The Greatest Salesman, “I live this day as if it is my last”.

While scanning the obituaries one morning I noticed “Larry Speakes”. The name was familiar but I didn’t immediately place it. The first line cleared the confusion.

“Larry Speakes, Chief Spokesman for President Ronald Reagan for six years, died of  Alzheimer’s disease in Cleveland, MS in Friday, January 10, 2014.”

The Washington Post doesn’t receive obituaries from everyone in Cleveland, MS, but this one makes perfect sense.

The notice described his accomplishments in his career in journalism and then in public service in government. As one would expect.

It then goes on to describe his favorite pastimes, all in the company of his wife Aleta, including their passion for hiking the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. It even mentions their favorite hiking trails. He was an avid photographer – something I did not know and which of course caught my attention.

After reading the memorial notice I felt uplifted, happy and grateful to know more about the life of this man. It was truly a reflection written by someone who has achieved acceptance and a celebration of a life well-lived.

My eyes then were attracted to another – this one with a full-color photograph, and the name “Bruce”. The full name is listed in the memorial, but I’ll refrain from posting it here.

The first lines read “August 30, 1941 – January 31, 2011. Another year has passed but a sadness continues to shadow my days.” The balance relates how her life has changed forever since the loss of her beloved husband. And that he “lives for as long as we carry him inside us.”

Clearly wracked with grief, but I’m not sure she’s even past the stage of denial. I personally know someone who lost her husband a year ago – her telephone voice mail message still informs you that you have reached the number of (her husband’s name) and her.

Continuing to read other memorials, I realize that they all seem to fall into two categories. One written by those who have reached acceptance and realize that the best way to remember a loved one is in celebration of their life (I include in this group the dear woman who “will be missed by all, including her cats” who were each individually named). The other by someone who has yet to accept their loss and whose own life is paralyzed, immobilized by their grief.

Not surprisingly, the most uplifting and encouraging memorials are those written in acceptance as celebrations of a life, while those in grief and denial are heavy, depressing and difficult to connect with.

This truly was a tale of two lives, but not that of the lives of the departed – rather a telling tale of the lives of the survivors.

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