Monthly Archives: April 2014

Painting Heart

Love Over Labels – Week 28

As I worked the label machine this week, I noticed something important beneath the labels: self-image. My self-image choices control which labels are available for my experiences.

If I feel at risk, my experience of vulnerability might be limited to the labels of fear or anger.

If my self-image is stronger, vulnerability becomes just that, an experience of humanity, but not a source of anxiety.

And, yet, the need to “run” the machine and “label” my emotional experiences to make them more productive and less fearful seems like camouflage for something deeper.

What if the need to label was just my “subby” running the old programming and unwilling to be interrupted? My subconscious gives me the appearance of conscious control without relinquishing control at all. AARGH!

What if the need to label instead of just experience in the present moment was a defense mechanism?

I listened to a professional coach today who opined that change is a function of 3 factors:
• Leverage
• Awareness and
• Decision

As I pondered this, it struck me that I often substitute “relabeling” for active listening. Real listening, being completely present, requires a lot less recapitulation and is much more beneficial.

The path to beneficial listening and life experience? For me, love. Love for self, primarily, and love for the people with whom I interact. As in Mandino’s Scroll 2, I can use love as a shield if I need to, but I can usually cast it aside in a posture of acceptance, responsibility and defenselessness, living the law of least effort.

Thus, combining the law of love with the law of least effort allows the experience of vulnerability without any sense of risk.

As I processed this, I felt liberated. The chains of unnecessary control over the language of my experiences began to fall away. With them, the needs to judge, evaluate and control began to fade, too.

I could see another layer to the “opinion” diet. Rewording the ideas and concepts of others was a really good way to keep the opinion machine cranking while seeming to appear caring and concerned. That was a “win win” for the old blueprint. Oops!

Another idea the coach expressed was about time. He opined that “subby” doesn’t know time, just like it doesn’t know size. Uh-oh! That can’t be true, can it? You mean it doesn’t have to take a long time to transform? Oh, no! All my excuses are crap!

This is me laughing at myself as Mandino recommends in Scroll 8. I was definitely taking myself way too seriously!

Biggest benefit this week: without the burdens of opinion, defense and judgment, I’m a lot lighter on my feet as I dance through life.

I’m glad you’re dancing with me.

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Balance Scales

Work Life Balance – Week 27

Work Life Balance is a popular topic these days as baby boomers age and echo boomers reach mid-career. Balance is an interesting word.

Physically, a balance (think “Scales of Justice,” interestingly misnamed) is a device of comparison. To use a balance, one compares a known weight with the unknown weight of another object. If the two objects weigh the same, they are said to be “in balance.” A simple laboratory scale is a form of balance with variable weights. Other scales do not “balance” at all. They measure weight by comparing compression and/or expansion of a spring or other such object.

Athletically, balance is demonstrated when one is able to navigate a narrow object, as with a balance beam, a women’s gymnastics apparatus. Another familiar example is a successful tightrope walker.

A less prosaic example of balance is in a field sobriety test where a law enforcement officer may test the balance of a driver suspected of driving under the influence of an intoxicant.

Many people want “more” work life balance. In fact, literally examined, everyone has a balance between work and “life.” One may not like the nature of that balance, but there’s still an existing balance. The question becomes how to change that balance.

Each of us has two contrasting voices inside, one saying “go,” while the other says, “stop.” Whether or not there is an objective God or an objective Devil, there are still within each of us the contrasting voices. A comic may illustrate this with an angel on one shoulder and a demon on the other, but the truth remains. No wonder the “new thought” writers like Charles Haanel opined that God and the Devil are subjective rather than objective.

What came to me recently was to compare the two voices to the two trays of a balance. This comparison allowed me to see, as in real life, how little pressure it takes to change the balance. I can put my “thumb” on the scale and change the balance any time I like.

Thus, if my life seems overbalanced towards work, I can put my thumb on the leisure tray and change the balance with very little effort. Even a thought may be sufficient.

For more deeply ingrained and intractable situations, I may need to alter the predominant thought giving rise to the situation. When the thought is changed, the situation naturally changes, seemingly of its own accord.

How about you? Do you like your life’s current balance? Try putting your “thumb” on the “scale” and see what happens.

Thank you, as always, for joining me on the journey of a transforming life.

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Dymo - Old

Dancing Through Life – Week 26

A couple years ago, my son’s dance company used Dancing through Life, from Wicked, as the theme for its annual concert. While the lyrics aren’t necessarily completely whimsical, the tune is catchy, and the basic message I caught was encouraging.

Since then, I have looked for ways to “dance” rather than “trudge” through life. I recently went as far as buying two versions of that song from iTunes, intending to use the karaoke version as background for recorded affirmative statements.

As usual, life is full of vicissitudes. Ups and downs are the common lot of every human. What we do with our experiences makes the difference in our results. How we perceive our experiences makes the difference in our actions.

It struck me this week that sometimes I dance through life, sometimes I trudge through life, and sometimes I hide from life. As I want to be the person Haanel describes in paragraph 11-21, the one who completes every task with a “happy knack,” it made sense to “battleship” my actions to see the thoughts and beliefs underlying.

The battleship exercise is to undo the process that created a physical object step by step, all the way down to understanding the motives in the minds of the people whose demand(s) created the object. When I did this a couple months ago with a battleship, I could eventually perceive the individual needs for personal security and cultural continuity that underlay the motive for providing for a common defense via an armed military.

As I exercised this time, an image from my youth came to mind. As a young adolescent, I remember my Dad bringing home one day a Dymo label maker. This was a mechanical device that formed letters, numerals and special characters by embossing them on adhesive-backed plastic tape. I know, my gray hair is showing. It was very convenient to attach an adhesive label to things, as the previous technology was paint or ink.

As I remembered the fun I used to have working the label maker, the answer to my query appeared. I could see that I had a label maker in my mind, and that, like every other human, I attached labels to the tasks before me. And, also not surprisingly, many times my labels are arbitrary and a consequence of programming I’d borrowed from others. Many of my labels prompted me to heed the “stop” voice rather than the “go” voice.

Another benefit from the battleship exercise was the insight that sometimes my actions (or lack of action) gave rise to anxiety feelings. As I revisited these feelings, I saw that they arose when I denied the truth of who I really am. I grew anxious when I was acting (or failing to act) in a way that best gave voice to the magnificence within.

Therefore, one way to be happier in the performance of my tasks is to change my internal labels. I’ve already found this to be true for one task, and learning how to apply the principle to other tasks will yield similarly desirable results. By so doing, I will more frequently dance through life and complete more tasks with a happy knack.

Will you dance with me by taking control of your own label maker?

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Mt Rainier

Commencement & Recovery – Week 25

This week we “finished” the Masterkey Experience (MKE) with Mark & Davene Januszewski. At least, Sunday last was our final webinar. We thus begin (commence) a fully self-directed life, at least in theory.

For me, something seemed right about that, and something seemed to be missing. I felt increasing control over my thoughts and feelings, one of the main objects of the course. And with that independence of thought, I had a clear idea of the forward path.

I knew what I should do: continue with the complex progressions I’d worked so hard to build in the last 6 months. Why? I didn’t know exactly.

A scripture struck me as I pondered. It says this:

19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 31: 19-20

Likening this scripture to the Masterkey Experience, I could see that continuing on with my reading, DMP (definite major purpose) recitation, meditation, gratitude, kindness, etc. would be like me pressing forward, feasting on the knowledge gained, until I reached a point of more automatic functioning.

Then it struck me. The coursework for the Masterkey Mastermind Alliance began with neural science. We learned in studying neural peptide conditioning that our habitual thought and feeling patterns in essence create chemical addictions in our cells because of the endocrine chemicals prompted by those thoughts and feelings. Addiction!

A conversation with a mentor came back to me. He said that for most addictions, a year of diligent 12-step practice would be required for each year of addiction before one could be anywhere close to secure in recovery. Again likening this to the MKE, I could see why I felt impressed to continue my readings, etc.

I am new into recovery from the old neural peptide addiction, and retrogression is almost sure if I stop progressing.

Just like with a “standard” addiction, ground gained in recovery is dearly bought, and giving it up devalues the sacrifice inherent in the purchase. To go back here is to even more painfully and significantly reject the hero within. I’d be giving up on the hero’s journey, never to fully realize the greatness I’ve felt beginning to unfold.

Giving up would be like a dog returning to its vomit, so much better is my new life than the old. That would be too big a waste.

And so, like the recovering addict I am, I will stick with my recovery structures so I can continue to progress and enjoy the fruits of a new life.

Not coincidentally, it turns out, I felt impressed a couple weeks ago to seek a new service opportunity. That makes perfect sense in the context of addiction recovery. Step 12 can be stated this way:

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

What we see encapsulated there is nothing more than an affirmation of Haanel and Emerson, whose instructions mirror the Master’s teaching. To save one’s life, one must lose it in the service of others. You only keep what you’re willing to give away.

The context of addiction recovery also makes clear why a true mastermind is required for success in realizing the life changes intended in a declaration of definite major purpose. Every recovering addict needs a sponsor. A sponsor is a confidant to whom one can turn when the winds of adversity blow, and one with whom one can move forward in perfect harmony of purpose. No sponsor, no recovery.

I feel intensely grateful for all that I’ve learned and all that I’ve won in the last 6 months. I’m confident, too, that the next 6 will be even more wonderful. I’m glad you’re still with me on the journey.

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