Monthly Archives: February 2014

Fractal

Succeed on Your Own Terms – Week 21

February 23, 2014

I have come to believe that one must succeed on one’s own terms, or not succeed at all. After all, each of us is unique, with individual talents and interests. No one of us is exactly like another. If we’re willing, we can take that individuality and build on it to paint the masterpiece of a life well and fully lived.

In the past several weeks, we have been instructed to read each day at least one obituary with a picture from that day’s printed newspaper. This has been an interesting exercise, designed, in part, to help us internalize the reality that each day might be our last. This accords with Scroll V in Mandino’s Greatest Salesman, which begins, “I will live this day as if it is my last.”

I feel privileged to have received another benefit from my reading. No two obituaries of more than a paragraph are even remotely alike. This is natural, and it reflects what is now for me a treasured truth: no two lives are even remotely alike.

I’m a big fan of patterns, and human behavior does seem to roughly fall into a relatively small number of large patterns. However, like a fractal image, the closer you look, the more detail is revealed. And God is in the detail (contrary to the proverb).

Perhaps it is an American cultural trait to celebrate individuality. If so, well, but there’s no denying individuality no matter your race, gender or culture. Each of us is as a snowflake, no two of which, it is said, are exactly alike.

Snowflake

My predisposition to like patterns initially led me a little astray for a while. You see, intellectually (though not much in practice it seems) I like the idea of learning from the mistakes of others. Couple this with the tendency to live in the “less than” box, and you get an evil combination of fearing error without the confidence to understand the message of eternal truth.

The truth is that no one can succeed like I can, because no one else has my unique gifts and talents. Likewise, I cannot succeed like anyone else, because I do not have their gifts and talents. I must succeed on my own terms, or not succeed at all.

This becomes obvious when you realize that if someone else is setting the goal posts, the goal will always move just as you seem to reach it.

Does this mean I cannot benefit from the roads and bridges others build? No. All it means is that my destination is, figuratively, my own home in the city I choose. No one outside my mastermind can build my home, and no one else can live there.

Golden Gate

Thus we see the truth of the Hero’s Journey: each person becomes a hero by treading a unique path, with unique adversity and uniquely crafted assistance.

I used to think, erroneously, that a unique path required me to travel alone. Now I know the truth. I can only succeed, even individually, with the assistance and fellowship of trusted, harmonious companions and advisers. And, yet, my journey is mine alone.

No one can live my life for me. I must do it. If my life is to become a masterpiece, it is not because someone (even God) laid a template over me and painted my life by their numbers. Good thing God doesn’t want automatons for children. We are His heirs, if we’re willing to claim His kingdom for ourselves. And part of that heritage is the freedom and obligation to craft and live a unique life.

My promise to you is that what you want wants you. The success you want, on your own terms, wants you. You’re designed 1st class, by 1st class, and you’re entitled to go 1st class as long as you live your own 1st class miracle.

I rejoice in your companionship along the journey of success. As we achieve the success we envision, we lift those around us and help make the world a better place. As we do well, we indeed do good, if that is our desire.

Name your terms, smile and pay your price.  “Take what you want,” says God, “and pay for it.”

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Painting Heart

It’s Whatever You Need It to Be – Week 20 Supplement

February 19, 2014

Had a transcendent experience this morning as I pondered over an event yesterday in a collaborative healing session with my craniosacral therapist. We were talking about energy exchange, and he told me of a Sitka Spruce tree anomalously growing in one of our local parks. It’s anomalous because it belongs in a rain forest, and our locale is not one of those. However, being near Seattle, we get out fair share of rain most years, and this park does include wetlands.

Steve (his name) told me I should visit the tree to feel its energy field. He then invited me to discern whether its energy was male or female.

I learned from Steve years ago that physical distance is no barrier to sensation, so I visited the tree remotely from the treatment room. I concluded that the tree’s energy was male. Steve told me that was interesting because he thought its energy was female.

Then (I know now) came the most amazing revelation. I told Steve that he perceived the tree’s energy as female because that’s what he needed it to be. Those were the right words, but I hadn’t yet perceived the spiritual reality.

And, this morning, the lightning struck: the energy of many things in God’s creation is fluid, flexible and responsive. It becomes whatever we need it to be.

The energy type, if you will, of many things is fixed, as well. My energy is predominantly male, because gender is an essential characteristic of my existence and identity. Therefore, if you need male energy and are willing to collaborate with me, I’m a great source.

However, there is an infinite pool of completely generic energy constantly available all around us. We need not attempt to draw female energy, for example, from an inherently male rock. In fact, all I need to do is identify the energy I need, and I can invite it into me with every breath, if I’m willing. See, e.g., Haanel, Part 20, paragraph 20.

Money, which we call currency and is simply a symbol of life energy, is energetically generic. It is whatever we need it to be. If I need money to be scarce or difficult, it is. On the other hand, if I need money to be abundant and free-flowing, it is that, as well.

The “trick” if you want to call it that, is to access your needs, your true needs. You can get a feel for these needs by looking carefully at your life as it now stands. Is money tight for you? Then that is (or, until recently, was) your need. Want a new reality? Change your needs.

My situation yesterday might illustrate. My wife had then been absent for a week, and, upon pondering Dr. Paul Zak’s TED talk about oxytocin, it struck me that I was manifesting symptoms of oxytocin deficiency. I’ve embedded that talk here for you.

I estimated that getting a massage might not only relieve tension, but it might prompt oxytocin release from human touch. That didn’t work. Part of the problem was a lack of connected touch, so no energetic circuit occurred. I left the massage disappointed, blaming myself and the apparent lack of skill and emotional availability of the masseuse.

I found out later by inspiration that I could have participated in a “touchless” energetic circuit if I’d been more aware of the possibilities. After all, there is an infinite supply of generic energy universally available. All I needed to do was create a demand or need.

I’m still a big fan of massage and personal touch, as some touch is essential to most of our health. Next time, I’ll go in with a clearer sense of my part in the circuit, and I’ll make sure to wait for a masseuse who better suits my needs.

In all this, I learned, even more importantly in the long term, that I had imagined and affirmed a bright future without really creating a need for it. That error essentially left me waiting for some mysterious force to “grant” me my future rather than effectively creating it from within.

A couple things about need may also be helpful. The need must be for your own good and for the good of people around you. It must not take anyone else’s good, and you must be willing to receive your “need” on proper exchange. As is popularly and pithily repeated, “There ain’t no free lunch.” Equally importantly, you get to pick whether receiving your “need” is hard or easy.

A couple good ways to start “paying” for your “lunch” are:
• Keep all your promises. You have to trust yourself, others need you to be trustworthy, and infinite supply is increasingly available only as you make your integrity more pleasing. I wrote a post about that. Your integrity becomes more pleasing as you carefully consider each promise and then keep it. It makes no difference to whom the promise was made. Might be yourself, your spouse, your family or your God. Keep all your promises.
• Make a conscious choice to control the flow of your life energy. The most fluid elements of that energy are time and money. If you don’t consciously choose control (until that habit becomes automatic), your time and money will randomly and haphazardly leak into the nearest sink. I use “sink” generically here to mean any place or thing into which energy flows and stays. Some of my “sinks” are video games, TV and entertainment. A goal without a plan is only a wish, and calendars and budgets (two weaknesses that are becoming strengths for me) are great tools for planning.
• Become aware of the needs of others. Give to every person you encounter, in some way, shape or form. Smiles are great gifts, as are random kindnesses. A sincere compliment is always well received, too. Money becomes no object when you become open to the possibilities. Are the best things in life free? Give those, abundantly.
• Welcome the abundance of others. Greet their gifts to you with a hearty, “Thank you.” Participate in the flow of giving and receiving.

My wife and I have created a need for schools for children which affirm their possibilities, preserve their curiosity, and reward their inherent passion. We also have a need for “schools” or programs for adults which allow them the same privileges. This need only becomes a demand, however, when I flesh out the detail so I have a firm idea of the intended structure and the amount of life energy needed to make it happen.

You already have in mind at least a vague idea of what you want your life to look like, feel like and be like. You may be making good progress, or you may find yourself foundering. You’ll gain ground on your dream as you add detail and create real need.

If you’re ready for this, I rejoice with you. I embrace and affirm the new reality you’re creating. I know you’re walking with me, and I welcome your company. After all, there’s an infinite supply of generic energy just waiting for us both to welcome it in.

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Heart in Hand

God is Love – Week 20

Sunday, February 16, 2014

We learn from scripture and experience that God is Love. Jesus Christ taught His disciples that the pre-eminent commandment is to love God with all one’s heart, might, mind and strength.

The second commandment is similar: to love one’s neighbor as one’s self.

Study of Haanel’s Masterkey System is a great companion to studying scripture. Truth is truth, and variety of expression can be mind-expanding. For me, it can even seem soul-expanding.

This week I experienced a dramatic failure from failing to apply an industry best practice. I think I’m in good company having initially resisted this best practice, and pondering Haanel’s Lesson 19 led me to understand the nature of my error. I’ll give some detail later on about the failure and the best practice to assuage your curiosity, but the main lesson is more important in that it has universal application.

In Lesson 19 we learn that the only principle in physical, mental and spiritual matters is “mind” or thought. In Haanel’s lexicon, “principle” means a concept that has power. “Power” is the ability to create a pleasing result. Power provides the energy necessary to change polarity and thus cause movement. Movement can be physical, mental and/or spiritual.

Therefore, right thinking is the only positive power, and access to power is immediately granted to one who thinks correctly.

And what is the ultimate “right” thought? Put another way, what is the ultimate “right” motivation? The title to this post gives away the answer to all who are ready to receive it. All good, and all power, can ultimately be attributed to one thought, one motivation: love. God is love, because His only thought is love; His only motivation is love.

Love is multilayered, at least to my mortal, temporal mind. I can, and should, love God, love myself, love my wife, love my family, love my neighbors, love my community, love my nation and love my world. It is appropriate for me to draw motivation from each and all of these layers.

As I demonstrate love for God:
• I revere Him and trust Him;
• I love myself and the rest of His creation;
• I recognize His love for me in His commandments and instructions;
• I embrace His gift to me of agency, personal power and divine potential; and
• I obey Him, not out of fear or a sense of obligation, but out of a desire to honor Him by manifesting the best of which I am capable, always remembering that each act or thought of obedience expands my capacity.

As I demonstrate love for myself:
• I invest in personal development every day, always listening for God’s whisper inviting me to receive knowledge from additional sources;
• I choose nutrition appropriate to my needs;
• I respect my body by adopting appropriate exercise habits;
• I search out my divine destiny, mission and purpose to make sure my life’s ladder is leaning against the best wall;
• I embrace my potential by creating a detailed vision, image and/or statement of that purpose;
• I embrace the need to gain specific knowledge to help me achieve my purpose;
• I rejoice in visualizing, articulating and “owning” objectives, strategy and tactics calculated after due consideration to help me manifest my purpose;
• I choose one or more companions who will join with me in perfect harmony to pursue the path of purpose; and
• I keep all my promises, knowing that every promise kept is a blessing, and every promise broken is a burden.

I could go on a bit, but if you’re ready, you’re already getting the point.

Thank you for reading this far. Now, to relieve your curiosity, here’s what happened.

In an attempt to build a relationship and to collect a decision, I followed up with a friend, who is also one of my health care providers. I had answered his request for information with a conditional delivery of data and other resources. The condition was that he actually read and/or view the data and resources and report to me what he thought of them. He didn’t report, hence my follow up.

Despite my best shot at being supportive and non-confrontational, my “friend” was unable to resist what he perceived to be an invitation to provocation, and he totally went off on me, accusing me of social ineptitude (which may be true), and disparaging (without foundation) my industry, company, products, and personal integrity. He didn’t disparage my ancestry or progeny, but he came close. 🙂 The incident definitely damaged the relationship, and it might have destroyed it.

Lessons learned: twofold. One, my friend did not feel my love. Some aspect of my motivation and communication must have been selfish, self-serving, judging or condemning to provoke his reaction. Unless, as was observed by one of my mastermind partners, my friend is mentally ill, in which case his response was outside his control anyway.

Two, and equally important to the future of all my relationships, I did not love my friend or myself enough to make sure he was a “prospect” before offering him information. I learned in Go90Grow a method to employ up-front contracts (Hero’s Journey Skills) to distinguish between a “possibility” and a “prospect,” and I simply rebelled against using them. Mark J reassured me in a private conversation after the incident that my rebellion is unfortunately pretty typical. If I had operated from the sole motivation of love and applied the HJ skills, there is no way I would have invited my friend to receive information in the 1st place, let alone experienced the awkward and exceptionally unpleasant consequence mentioned above.

It happened that my friend and I attended a church leadership meeting this evening. A brief apology, expressions of love and a sincere hug later, our relationship begins anew. Trust will build with time.

Some knowledge, for me anyway, can only be acquired at a great price. I hope you are willing to accept it at “market” rather than unnecessarily paying extra. You and everyone around you will be happier, I promise.

Appropriate to today’s post, the closing hymn for our morning worship service was “God is Love.” It served as a wonderful affirmation of the inspiration with which the day started. God is love, because love is His only thought and His only motivation. Natural Action: He serves, without attachment or expectation of reciprocity. Natural result: He is Master.

Thus we see that Haanel, with Christ, really is offering us the Masterkey. As love becomes our only thought and our only motivation, we likewise gain mastery, line upon line, precept on precept, here a little and there a little, until we come to the measure and stature and fullness of Christ.

I hope you, too, know and feel God’s love. Join me in embracing and embodying love, won’t you?

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Mt Rainier

Addicted to Projection – Week 19

Are you more in love with your potential or your excuses?  For me, the answer too long was the latter.  That was a consequence of addiction, addiction to projecting my excuses onto the people around me.

This was part of the blueprint that was keeping me small and stuck in my previous reality.  That reality was far short of my dreams, and, more to the point, far short of my potential.

A few examples may help you understand me.  You can liken these to yourself if they fit.

Most of us understand the Law of Attraction to state that we attract what we inherently are.  (E.g., Haanel, paragraph 19-17.)  As I thought myself to “be” prosperous, and I could see that I wasn’t, I projected my own (I know now) weakness onto my wife.

That’s three logic errors for the price of one:  externalizing the cause of my reality, projecting my weakness onto my wife, and denying the reality of my own mental state.

All you married folks will realize that the logic errors are just the tip of the error iceberg.  The larger portion of the problem is denial, blame, lack of progress, poor economic results (at least in comparison to perceived ability), and destruction of trust and emotional intimacy.  Not a pretty picture, especially when that wasn’t the only weakness I projected onto my wife.  That she stayed with me is a testament to her strength and her commitment to her covenants with God.

Our society offers two choices for celebration: ability or disability.  This being the season of the Winter Olympics, celebration of ability is almost constantly before us.  Every political season gives us cause, if we want it, to celebrate disability.  Part of my insanity, as mentioned in previous posts, was coming from a “less than” box, where I believed myself to be less than others.

As a consequence, part of me liked the idea of being celebrated for being disabled.  My affliction with depression was at least partially disabling.  Whoo hoo!  I’m disabled.  Wait!  I don’t want to live on disability income, so I can’t really go there.  Nor do I want to live dependent on frequently ineffective mental health meds with terrible side effects. That wouldn’t do at all.

I always perceived myself to be a good student.  After all, you really can’t gain entrance into law school nor pass a bar or CPA exam without being a good student.  That’s all good, as far as it goes.  What about the “weightier matters”?  I was great academically in formal education.  I could remember, assimilate, synthesize, analyze, and logic through others’ problems.  What about my own?

“Knowledge does not apply itself,” says Haanel repeatedly in his Masterkey System.  And, so, I was left with a logical conundrum.  I believed Haanel (and many others writing similarly), and I had a firm grasp of the text.  And, yet, at least through 2013, I still didn’t like my results.  Two choices immediately appeared: blame the teacher, or admit my failings as a student.

Up until recently, I blamed the teacher.  I can see that now.  I disclaimed responsibility for my ability as a student, largely as part of my larger “externalization” of success.  All the books, tapes, programs and systems offered me “magic” that would transform me via external influence into the person I felt I could become.  And I projected my weaknesses and failings onto the teachers.

Fortunately, persistence is a virtue, and it can be learned.  My basic personality helped.  I was always too stubborn to give up.  I am always ready to wake up to a new day and try again.

Why? I can’t tell you.  I suppose I’m like a mountaineer.  “Why did you climb the mountain?” asks the reporter.  “Because it was there,” replies the outdoorsman.  He had a motivation different from the reporter, and such will really forever remain foreign to the spectator or critic.

Through the grace of God I always had before me a vision of who I could be, and that was far beyond my current state.  The mountain of my potential lay constantly before me, and I could not give up until I found a way to summit that peak.

Hence, I celebrate each day’s progress, each day’s chance to renew the upward journey.  Today I found a new insight: that I have been more addicted to my excuses than to my vision.

When I combine that knowledge with the conviction that the power of success is within me, I gain strength, and I gain compassion.  I also gain motivation to continue the upward climb, because I know many coming after me will need my example to give them strength to continue their own climb.

Join me, won’t you?

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ID-100167261

Bringing Your Own – Week 18 Supplemental

What if you could find the spark that would ignite greatness within you? How would you feel?

I know how I felt recently as I realized one of the things that had been missing. My performance was sporadic and not all that effective. My spirit was depressed. My belief in myself was low.

I knew in my heart I had all the tools I needed to succeed. I knew I was good enough, I was smart enough, I was sufficiently diligent and I wasn’t afraid of hard work. I had the gas, I had the air, but I was missing a spark.

And then, there it was!

Like a bolt out of the blue, I knew what Billie Holiday meant. She sang, “God bless the child that’s got his own. I’ve got my own.”

As soon as I really believed in myself, I had my own! And, as the hymn says, “We give thee but thine own.” Whatever I owned would come to me as if by the hands of angelic ministrants. If you own it, no one else may lay claim to it. It is yours by right.

Didn’t I hear Paul say it? “We are the children of God. And if children, then heirs, and joint heirs with Christ.”

But my heirship lay out of reach, awaiting my claim. My vision was distant, pushed far away by my unbelief.

Praise God for the gift of insight. Faith really did come by hearing, but only when my ears opened. The long night of mediocrity is over. The day of excellence is dawning.

My joy really is full, because not only do I have the gas, God has given me all the air I can use, He has further revealed to me the spark, and He has also provided me the perfect vehicle.

And guess what? All was within me all the time, simply waiting for me to awake, arise, and be a man.

There is a reason one of God’s names is “I AM.” He doesn’t have to “be something” to be God, He just is. As a child of God, I have the same birthright. It doesn’t have to be hard. I can let it be easy. I don’t have to be any particular way. I can just “be,” letting my actions unfold my destiny. Join me, won’t you?

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ID-100158083

I Am? – Week 18

We were under assignment this week (or next) to watch one of two movies.  I chose to watch Tom Shadyac’s self-discovery opus, I Am.  I loved it, and I hated it.  I’ll explain.

I loved the main points of the movie.  For me, these were:

  • The voyage of self-discovery can be enlightening and fulfilling;
  • What I do matters, both in my own life and in society as a whole;
  • The power is in me to do good and to do well or to do poorly and to do ill; I get to pick;
  • I am connected with all of God’s creations, including all the world’s people;
  • It’s not OK to project one thing on Sunday at church and something else the rest of the week; and
  • Acquisition and achievement offer no guaranties of happiness.

Take those messages to heart, and you have a foundation for connection, self-actualization, peace and happiness.  That’s wonderful, and I heartily endorse that journey.  After all, in that, Shadyac mirrors Haanel’s assertion that the primary human needs are for health and happiness.  Acquisition, beyond what one considers essential or beneficial, adds nothing to one’s happiness.

My dissatisfaction with the movie was in the subtext.  Subtext is often the most powerful part of the message of a piece of art.  This is because most people are not prepared to guard the gates of their minds, and the subconscious is the intended target of a movie’s subtext.  In this case, I found the subtext noxious, offensive, unenlightened and stupid.  You’re welcome to disagree, of course.

Here’s what I saw:

  • Shadyac naiively buys off on the ridiculous, laughable, patronizing “Noble Savage” ideal as applied to Native Americans.  There are things to admire about all cultures.  However, Native American cultures were neither monolithic nor uniformly peaceful.  There is a good reason many sports teams have had Native American warriors as mascots.
  • I found it even more patronizing to assert that an Anglo-European view of private property is mentally ill.  Acquisition and notions of ownership are cultural values.  Private property rights are at the core of American prosperity.  That Shadyac had the resources to create this film at all is a testimony to his embrace of that system.
  • The Church came in for criticism in the film as well.  Shadyac, bless his poor benighted soul, failed to learn the lessons that gave rise to such noble souls as Mother Teresa and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  He lauds them in the film while criticizing the American church which teaches the same doctrine.  That is a typical human nature reaction to finding that one’s habitually practiced values are not in line with one’s new, re-born ideal.  Response: blame the teacher rather than take responsibility for having been a poor student.
  • America is further caricatured in I Am as a greedy, competitive, materialistic ogre,  spreading consumerism and economic mayhem across otherwise pristine,      saintly cultures abroad.  The hardscrabble, persistent, inventive individualism that is at the core of American exceptionalism is completely ignored and discounted.  Again, Shadyac displays his unwillingness to accept responsibility for having adopted much of the worst of what America offers while rejecting much of the best.

America is the most generous country on the planet both in terms of gross donation dollars and per capita donations.  That little nugget seems to have escaped Mr. Shadyac.

It also seems to have escaped the dear director that America was the first country on earth to have voluntarily ceased the practice of human slavery.  Native American cultures did not do that.  They were forced by subjugation to make that change.

I could go on, but you get the point.  We are responsible for being guardians at the gates of our minds.  If someone secretly offers me a pot-laden brownie, I can spit out the first bite and refuse the rest.

My conclusion:  I Am‘s buffet was loaded with BS, but it did include a few tasty, suculent morsels.  Those I consumed with joy, and left the rest alone.

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