Posts Tagged ‘Observation’

The Sun Goes Up, The Sun Goes Down

Friday, March 21st, 2014

I’m not sure whether Scroll IV of The Greatest Salesman in the World has arrived in harmony with my current events, or whether my reality is trying to copy the near manic-depressive cycles Og alludes to in the scroll, but the timing as always is perfect.

The past two months have humbled me and splashed a cold dose of reality on what I had been feeling was a confidently effortless progression of the first three and a half months of the MKMMA.

Recent events are constantly challenging my new inner poise and composure, and I find myself continuously restarting the mental diet. Perhaps the awareness that I do need to restart the diet illustrates progress from who and where I was back in September.

This week’s addition of the Law of Least Effort to our daily experiences has taken this all to a new level. I find that there are situations where I seem to be applying the qualities of acceptance. Responsibility and Defenselessness completely unconsciously, where perhaps in the past I would have been more critical and opinionated.

But it’s the times where I find myself catching my reactions and consciously applying these three steps that give the most pause. The more challenging the situation the greater the effort I need to apply to cause myself live within these principles.

Isn’t that a bit of a contradiction – the greatest effort to experience the Law of Least Effort?

As always this just illustrates that we’re on a continuing, evolving journey, not arriving at some final destination. Whenever we find ourselves complacent in having achieved some level of consciousness that’s the Universe’s cue to remind us that there is no such condition in life as static equilibrium. we are always in motion, and if we’re not intentionally moving forward we’ll soon find we’re falling backward.

The one thing I find I can latch onto in these challenging events is the realization that I’m being presented with new opportunities, and by focusing on finding what and where those are I tend to accept and not defend almost naturally. Not so much by “not doing” the thing but that by concentrating on looking for the opportunities I ignore the demands of emotional reaction and opinion, and by doing so, those thing dissipate.

All the way back to the beginning – what we give attention to grows, what we ignore atrophies.

Maybe somewhere deep inside all of this chaos the progress of the past five months really is there at work …

 

 

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MKMMA Week 22 – A Capitol Idea

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

The recommendation this week to spend three days in silence is extremely appealing to me, especially as the current events in my life pretty much preclude it happening at the moment. Too many activities that require human communication.

True, that is a choice, and I could choose to ignore those activities and retreat to a prolonged silence, but I would most likely not be pleased with the long-term outcomes of that choice. So I choose to do those things now, and look forward to days of solitude in the months ahead.

Instead I’m using the “power nap” approach, finding silence where and when I can, 30 minutes here, an hour there. Sometimes in the most non-traditional places.

Most people have at least heard of the Capitol Beltway, that 66-mile ring of pavement surrounding Washington, DC. You can drive around the nation’s capitol in circles for hours and even days and never go anywhere; most appropriate for a ring around THIS city. I suspect its original intention was to try to contain the inmates within the confines of Washington, but that never worked.

So it’s now the most direct and occasionally convenient route for intercourse between Maryland and Virginia, allowing us all to bypass having to drive by the White House and be strip searched by Homeland Security every time we need to run an errand across the river.

On Wednesday, following my meeting in Virginia, I got on the Beltway to return to my home in Maryland. Entering in free-flowing traffic, at what is pretty much the last place on or off before reaching the Potomac and the bridge to Maryland.

And braking with everyone else just a short distance later (though beyond sight of the road I had just come off, where I still had a chance to take an alternate route). All four lanes at a complete standstill.

I turned on the traffic radio just in time to hear that “the big story today is the jack-knifed tractor-trailer just before the American Legion Bridge heading from Virginia into Maryland.” Blocking all four lanes. Making it a less convenient route at that moment.

The road sign along the highway declared “GW Pkwy 2; Potomac River 2-1/2”.

Miles, not a score. No one was winning this day.

So there I sat, 2-1/2 miles behind the accident that blocked my path home, with no way to get off the Beltway.

But an interesting thing happened. Or, perhaps I should say I made an interesting choice.

Rather than fuss and fume and restart the mental diet every thirty seconds as I would have done in the past, I realized, “I’m going to be here for a while, alone in the car – looks like a great time for an extended sit”.

That hour and a half silence, as well as several other extended sits this week, together with last week’s conversation on thinking Big Thoughts, has caused me to reconsider my DMP much more clearly.

I realize that previous attempts at re-writes were always still just rearranging the list of “things”, rather than focusing energy on the core purpose. I’m now in the process of a much more meaningful re-evaluation of the DMP, a leaner, cleaner more concentrated look at the true Big Idea behind it all.

But I’m still going to be sure I tune in to the traffic report BEFORE I get on to the Beltway from now on.

 

 

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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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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 7 – Picture This

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

This week’s Friday MKMMA blog deadline finds me immersed in a work – a rework – in progress.

It seemed like a simple enough task. Week/Chapter 7 of Haanel’s Master Key System charges us to apply Visualization to our thoughts.

Well, this should be a gimme for me. I’m a flat out “Visual” on the VAK scale (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic).

Heck, I’m a photographer! I “see” the world in pictures all the time. I look at things and picture them in ways that make people say “dang, how’d you see THAT?”

I see things that aren’t even there!

Okay, that’s probably a topic for another story.

So Visualizing my DMP should be a no-brainer, right?

Well, yes. And no, not quite.

Maybe because I respond so strongly to visual images, this week it really became clear that as grand and lovely and emotional-sounding as my DMP was, the true, core feelings and emotions in me aren’t happening.

It’s written well. Lots of emotional sounding words. Lots of noble sounding thoughts. But it still isn’t igniting that burning fire that will cause me to push through any barrier to get to it.

As good as it reads, it’s still features and benefits, not the core emotions, not the true criteria.

So it’s more sitting. And walking. Not that I haven’t been sitting and walking before.

I’ve done plenty of sitting, looking for answers in its embryonic stages, working to come up with what seemed like just the right DMP.

Heck, it seems like there were days when the only time I wasn’t sitting was when I was laying down sleeping. I’m becoming the Forrest Gump of Sitting.

“Sit, Stu, Sit!”

And walking? Ha! I’m doing plenty of that. Why, if I stopped walking “in circles”, starting and coming back to my front door, and just set off walking in one direction, I’d probably realize one of my DMP goals of “Seeing the Entire World”, just walking to figure out this DMP thing.

“Walk, Stu, Walk!”

So I’ve decided to approach it quasi- Ben Franklin style, but with different column subjects. I’ve taken all the goals in my current DMP and listed them in the left column. Realizing that they’re mostly “features”. Then a center column, which lists the “benefit” of that feature.

And then, on the right is the true criteria column, the “what’s important about that” column. And in some cases maybe another column, “what’s really important about that?

I know how to do this in conversation. Time to look inside and have that conversation with myself, and get to the true core of what I really want, what it’s really all about.

So that’s where I am. It isn’t there yet. Won’t be tonight. Maybe not for a few nights. Like I said, a re-work, a work in progress.

But then again I guess that’s what we all really are, all the time.

I’ll get ‘er done. I’ll see it through, and create that true image. And when I do I’ll show you what it looks like.

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MKMMA Week 6 – The Shapes of Things to Come

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

We’ve been using colored shapes in our DMPs, movie trailer and promise cards for most of the past five weeks. This week we’ve bumped it up a big notch, creating posters and adding our PPN’s into the shapes.

If we’ve been casually observing them in the world around us previously, this week they’re impossible to avoid!

it’s interesting that on last Sunday’s MKMMA call Mark mentioned someone who had begun to notice green triangles in pine trees. I had been seeing the same thing during that week before.

Seems we’re all seeing similar things lately. Mass illusions or Mass-terminding? Is there really a difference other than the focus and purpose of the thoughts – the mechanism of our concentration?

 

It’s early November here in the Mid-Atlantic. Come to think of it, it’s probably early November wherever you are too …

Well, anyway, what that means here is for the past two weeks  my fellow photographers, photography students and I had all been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the “fall colors”. They seemed to be very late in appearing, and many had concluded that this would be a less-than spectacular fall, with leaves just turning brown and dropping.

Then late last week, they seemed to have changed overnight. One evening we all went to bed with green and brown trees, and the next morning woke up in a sea of color!

I went out for a walk in the neighborhood that day. (Walking is my second, and sometimes even more beneficial form of “sit”.)

At first I began to notice the green triangles in the evergreens, from the towering white pines to the small sculpted bushes in the landscaping surrounding all the homes. Then I realized that the big glowing yellow maples had a sort of square-ish, if free-form shape to them.

Then there were the red dogwoods, the red-orange cherries, and those shrubs I don’t know the name of that are green all summer and turn a bright red in late fall. All brilliant red orbs.

I was surprised too, upon really concentrating, how many of the homes have blue siding, blue shutters, and how even the blue sky, viewed through the frame of our field of vision, takes on a blue rectangle form.

Now I’m completely surrounded by reds and greens and yellow and blues, all anchored to my personal pivotal needs and purpose!

And then there’s that one house, Williamsburg blue siding, yellow window trim and shutters, with 20 – maybe 30 little green evergreen cones along the front, the red Japanese maple, the red dogwood, the red-orange cherry, the blue sky behind … BAM! Fuggeddaboudit!!

“No, really, I’m not staking out that house. No I’m not lurking. No really, call Mark, he’ll tell you all about it, no, wait, I … oh cool, your light bar has little flashing red circles in it …”

 

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