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Week 16 — “So, How’s That Workin’ For Ya?”

Just when I hit my stride, just when it looks and feels like I’m in the flow, just when things are running smooth as silk… BAM!  The alternate reality… the one I began this program with (… the one with which I began this program?)… THAT ONE!  The Ol’ Subconscious (Subby) slides back into place like a hand in glove and starts getting all comfy & cozy.  Swept away on the sweetness of the siren’s song.

You know what I’m talking’ about.  Eating comfort foods instead of healthy greens and beans; watching or listening to “death/porn” (NCIS & CSI) instead of PBS and Frozen for the 17th time; staying cooped up and isolated instead of out and about spreading love, joy and kindness.  All occurring as if to nullify everything that’s transpired to date.  Man, that old sh!t runs deep.  And if anyone whose ever worked a 12-step program knows, when you deviate from the plan, think you know better, go rogue and start doing the things you used to do, someone whose been there and done that is gonna walk up to you and ask, “So, how’s that working’ for ya?”  Damn!  I hate that!  In.  Your.  Face!  Geeez!  Personal responsibility.  It requires constant vigilance and discipline.

Vigilance: the quality or state of being wakeful and alert; the degree of wakefulness or responsiveness to stimuli.  THE WATCHMAN AT THE GATE!  The conscious mind giving [the right] direction to the subconscious.

Discipline: activity or experience that provides mental or physical training; a system of rules of conduct; to train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way; to be a disciple unto one’s self.  Replace those old bad habits with good new habits.  Say Hallelujah!

In The Master Key Haanel says [16:15], Whatever enters the mind through the senses or the objective mind will impress the mind and result in a mental image which will become a pattern for the creative energies. These experiences are largely the result of environment, chance, past thinking and other forms of negative thought, and must be subjected to careful analysis before being entertained. On the other hand, we can form our own mental images, through our own interior processes of thought regardless of the thoughts of others, regardless of exterior conditions, regardless of environment of every kind, and it is by the exercise of this power that we can control our own destiny, body, mind and soul.

So here’s the thing.  Despite my relapse(s), despite my Subby’s best efforts to lull be back into complacent, compliant, no-risk behavior — working the MKMMA program is making profound inroads into my psyche.  My dreams now include recitations of the Seven Laws of the Mind.  I wake up in the morning thinking about the Law of Growth, the Law of Forgiveness, the Law of Substitution.  Opportunities for work are off the hook!  Old relationships are healing.  There’s real transformation happening here.  And let me take a moment to make a clear distinction between change and transformation.

“Change is rearranging the furniture. Transformation is burning the house to the ground and building something better.” ~Erika Napoletano

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In Part 15, Haanel reminds us [15:5], “We cannot obtain what we lack if we tenaciously cling to what we have. We are able to consciously control our conditions as we come to sense the purpose of what we attract, and are able to extract from each experience only what we require for our further growth. Our ability to do this determines the degree of harmony or happiness we attain.”

Three-hundred years ago, 17th century Japanese poet and samurai, Mizuta Masahide, wrote…

“Since my house burned down
I now own a better view
of the rising moon”

So, what are you still holding onto?  And, how’s that workin’ for ya?

As for me:  Still way too much.  Gettin’ better at lettin’ go.  And, lovin’ life, no matter what!

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Week 15 — It’s Just a Choice Away

My beloved teacher, Angeles Arrien, would smile slyly, and tease us, her students, mercilessly about our state of mind with the phrase, “It’s just a choice away.”

Two days ago the connection between choice and insight became clear in one of those classic  “ah ha” moments.  And then I lost it.  The thread vanished.  And then tonight, through considerable effort.  I think I got it back.  And, by effort, I mean Googling the bejeezus out of the words “insight” and “choice” and their derivatives.  Here’s what I discovered from the dictionary and thesaurus regarding insight…

INSIGHT — noun: the ability to understand people and situations in a very clear way.  An understanding of the true nature of something.  Synonyms: discernment, wisdom, perception, perceptiveness, perceptivity, sagaciousness, sagacity, sageness, sapience.  Sapience?  (Sounds rather ape-like.)  But no, it stems from sapiēns, present participle of sapere to be wise, literally, to taste, have taste.  My take — to have experienced.  That’s how people become wise — through trial and error.  Through experience.

From the Master Key, Charles Haanel writes (5:30)  “Insight must be exercised [practiced] so that the thought which we entertain contains no mental, moral or physical germ which we do not wish objectified in our lives.”

Further (15:31-35) “Insight enables us to…

  • examine facts and conditions at long range.
  • understand the difficulties, and the possibilities, in any undertaking.
  • prepare for the obstacles before they cause difficulty.
  • plan and turn our thought and attention in the right direction.

Insight enables experience.  Experience produces wisdom.  Wisdom informs choice.  Choice leads to consequences.

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And then I remembered a story.  A grandfather’s story.  One filled with wisdom and insight.


A young boy came to his Grandfather, filled with anger at another boy who had done him an injustice.

The old Grandfather said to his grandson, “Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and hate does not hurt your enemy. Hate is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.”

“It is as if there are two wolves inside me; one wolf is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offence when no offence was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way. But the other wolf, is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper.”

“He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, because his anger will change nothing. Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, because both of the wolves try to dominate my spirit.”

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which wolf will win, Grandfather?”

The Grandfather smiled and said, “The one I feed.”

Remember to clothe yourself in the words you want your life to be.

It’s just a choice away.

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Week 14 — As Above, So Below. As Within, So Without

“I and the Father are one.” ~John 10:30

“The only difference between man and man the world over is one of degree, and not of kind, even as there is of trees of the same species.” ~Mahatma Ghandi

The totality of all that exists, with all this variation, is the Universal Mind, or “Nous.” The Nous includes everything that exists in reality, with all the differentiations. It includes everything that can be perceived or experienced and anything that can be conceptualized.  ~ A. H. Almaas, Diamond Heart Book, p. 332

In Part 14 of The Master Key, Charles Haanel states, [20] “The Universal mind, being infinite and omnipotent [all powerful], has unlimited resources at its command, and when we remember that it is also omnipresent [everywhere at once, ubiquitous], we cannot escape the conclusion that we must be an expression or manifestation of that Mind.

[21] A recognition and understanding of the resources of the subconscious mind will indicate that the only difference between the subconscious and the Universal is one of degree.  They differ only as a drop of water differs from the ocean.  They are the same in kind and quality, the difference is one of degree only.”

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Og Mandino, in Scroll Marked IV, says, “I am nature’s greatest miracle.  None that came before, none that live today, and none that come tomorrow can walk and talk and move and think exactly like me.”

I knew it!  I am special, dag nabbit!  Peerless.  Unparalleled.  Incomparable.  Unrivaled. Dare I say god-like?  (Hey, this is my experience… remember?)  From the Native American perspective, I possess original medicine.   I have unique gifts and talents to bring into the world.  There’s only one of me to a planet.  OK.  Now what?

Just what is it I’m supposed to do with this great big, exciting, en-THUZ-iastic ME that’s occupying this particular spot on this particular watery blue orb hurtling thorough space at roughly 872,400 mph.  (Yeah, I know, it seems to  move that fast some days, doesn’t it?)  More will be revealed.  Meanwhile…

Back to Haanel, [14:27] “If you enter into the discipline necessary to bring about radical change in your life, you must do so deliberately, after giving the matter careful thought and full consideration, and then you must allow nothing to interfere with your decision.”

And, this is the central theme behind all four films that were recommended during our holiday break: Cool Runnings, Door to Door, Rudy and October Sky.  All four films were a treat to watch.  But, Door to Door and Rudy had me bawling like a baby.  Regular three-hanky events.  What was that all about?

Well, psychologically speaking, getting the “weepies” enhances my empathy, decision-making and social skills.  But, more importantly (and here’s the cherry on the sundae) it’s providing me with that emotional context for my Subby to take off and run with my…  you got it… My Burning Desire!  Freaking Brilliant!

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I was really touched an moved by Rudy.  In reading the end credits, I saw that Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger was listed as “Fan in the Stands.”  I rewound the DVD and found him behind Rudy’s dad (Ned Beatty) during the final seconds of the game.  So I Googled Rudy and caught this awesome 15-minute talk where Rudy (today) explores passion, determination and heart.  BONUS!  Enjoy.

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Week 13 — “Embrace the Mystery…

…it’s the not knowing that drives me bat sh!t crazy.”

Spoken like a true, card-carrying control freak.  I can always be counted on to go for the laugh.  It’s part of my nature.  Keep it light.  Serious can be bad for your health.  Serious people are mean people.  Mean people suck.  I don’t want to suck.

I’ve endearingly referred to this as self-depricating humor.  Seems benign enough.  Humor being the operative word.  Well, check this out: to deprecate means to criticize or express disapproval of.  In olden times it originally meant “to pray against, as in an evil.”  Whoa!  Evil?  Seriously?  Me?  (I guess it depends on who you poll.)   RESET Mental Diet… again.

Why am I deprecating all over myself?  What’s the payoff?  And, what’s the cost?  Let’s do a little cost-benefit analysis.  Payoffs: Laughter is considered a non-threatening behavior; my approval and acceptance needs are met; superficiality, distance and safety maintained; Costs: loss of self-respect; zero authenticity; escape from intimacy; it effectively kills my hopes and dreams.  Holy crap!  

OK.  Let’s break this down a little further.  The Law of Substitution states, “We can only think one thought at a time – be it positive or negative.”  While the Law of Growth says, “For every seed planted a harvest is received.  Or, whatever we think about grows.”  Be it kale or deadly nightshade.

Further, if we don’t consciously focus on positive thoughts, negative thoughts will grow automatically.  Why?  The brain gives more attention to negative experiences over positive ones because negative events pose a chance of DANGER.  Remember, the lizard brain is always checking; ready to impulsively react to any possible threat: “Fight?  Flight?  Freeze?”   Worries, concerns and anxiety will grow automatically if we don’t consciously fill our minds with positive thoughts thereby creating positive experiences, events and circumstances in our lives.

Looking at it from another way of learning… that of math.  Try this simple equation:

(Law of Substitution + Law of Growth) x Attitude = Current Reality

The Universal Laws are constants, never changing, always in play (like gravity).  Attitude is the variable.  Haanel writes (13:16),  Thought will bring about conditions in correspondence with the predominant mental attitude. Therefore, if we fear disaster, as fear is a powerful form of thought, disaster will be the certain result of our thinking. It is this form of thought which frequently sweeps away the result of many years of toil and effort.

“We become what we think about all day long.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”  Galatians 6:7

Lastly, once you let the Universe know what it is you want, then just relax… let it happen.  This is the Law of Relaxation.  It says that in all mental working effort defeats itself. It is the opposite to physical effort whereby the more we put into it the better the results.

So the goal is to keep our focus on what we want, to confidently believe, whilst relaxing (not pushing) on the outcome knowing what we want will come to us when we are ready for it.  That is, give it up to God.  It will happen when it’s supposed to happen.  Be open to outcome, not attached to outcome.

Embrace the mystery…

Nuff said.


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Week 12 — Surrender

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Time and time again I get into a situation where I’m at my wits end.  I’ve tried, and tried, and tried again to figure it out to no avail.  It feels like I’m beating my head against a wall in a slow, incessant,  rhythmic pace… and it feels good.  Because it’s real.  It’s immediate.  It’s strangely comforting.

I had one of those moments this week.  I had somehow lost the ability to post comments.   Every time I’d write a comment to a fellow student’s blog and hit the “Comment” button I got this error message that said I wasn’t logged in under the correct email/username/whateverthehellit’ssupposedtobe string of characters.  Truly Kafkaesque.  Bewildering.  Maddening.  Reset the damned Mental Diet.

My ego was completely attached to an outcome.  I finally threw up my hands and admitted my incompetence to the Fabulous Davene in an email.  Crap!  This asking for help is a tough one to swallow.  Fixing things.  Finding solutions.  It’s my riason d’etra.  “OK, I admit it, I don’t know what I’m doing and I need help.”  SEND.

And I swear to sweet baby Jesus in less than six keystrokes – BAM! – the answer pops on my screen.  Quite unexpected.  Totally obvious.  I was using an email address that I have never used in the past.  Huh?!?!?  “How can this be?  How did the machine even know it existed?”

Haanel writes in 12:20, “It’s the operation of this marvelous law of attraction which has caused men in all ages and all times to believe that there must be some personal being who responded to their petitions and desires, and manipulated events in order to comply with their requirements.”

Synchronicity?  Kismet?  Un pequeño milagro?  Or, am I simply starved for attention, desperate to make a connection… under any circumstances.  So, I create a situation (good or bad), to force an action (good or bad), to produce a result (good or bad).

So, what’s going on here?

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Addiction.  Addiction pure and simple.  Numm, num, num, num.

This all seems like it’s just, you know, so three weeks ago.

And, that’s where I’m stuck at the present moment.  All this work…  and I’m stuck.  Maybe because I missed out on a big portion of the Week-12 webinar I craved some interaction, and this is the only way I could create it in my life.  Maybe I created the missing webbie just to test my dedication and resolve.  Dang!  Now, that’s some powerful sh!t.

Again, Haanel in 12:25 says, “The intention governs the attention.  Power comes through repose.  It’s by concentration that deep thoughts, wise speech, and all forces of high potentiality are accomplished.”

So, it’s that time of year.  It’s a time of letting go.  And, it’s that time of day.  It’s time to sit.  It’s time to open myself “to the channels by which persistent practice and concentration lead to perfection.”  It’s time to surrender… again.

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Week 11 — The Funeral of I Can’t

At the moment, I feel rode hard and put away wet.  I think I’m coming down with the flu. But, never fear… I will persevere.  “I will persist until I succeed.”  This is the crux of Og Mandino’s Scroll-III.   “I will never consider defeat and I will remove from my vocabulary such words and phrases as quit, cannot, unable, impossible, out of the question, improbable, failure, unworkable, hopeless and retreat.”

Napolean Hill went so far as to clip the word “impossible” out of his dictionary.  He didn’t even want to consider it as a possibility.  It doesn’t exist.  This reminds me of a story  told to me about 7 years ago.

“The Funeral of I Can’t.”

It’s my favorite story about replacing I CAN’T thinking with I CAN thinking.  It comes from the book Teacher Talk by Chick Moorman. The story concerns a fourth grade teacher named Donna who devised a creative way for her students to stop thinking in terms of I CAN’T and start thinking in terms of I CAN.

One morning early in the school year, Donna asked her class of 31 students to takeout a clean sheet of paper and write the words “I CAN’T” in big capital letters at the very top of the page. Then she asked the students to make a list of all the things they couldn’t do.

Here’s what some of them wrote:  “I can’t do 10 push-ups.”“I can’t eat only one cookie.”“I can’t do long division with more than three numerals.”“I can’t get Debbie to like me.”

While the students labored away on their lists, the teacher was busy making her own list, such as: “I can’t get Alan to use his words instead of his fists.” “I can’t get John’s mother to come in for a teacher conference.”

When the lists were completed, Donna asked the students to fold them in half and drop them in the empty shoebox on her desk. Once all the papers were collected, Donna put the lid on the box, tucked it under her arm, and instructed the students to follow her out the door. On the way down the hall, Donna stopped at the custodian’s room and grabbed a shovel, and then led her students out the door and onto the playground.

Donna marched the students to the farthest corner of the playground. Turning toward them with a solemn expression, Donna announced, “Children, we are gathered here today for a very serious occasion. We are going to bury I CAN’T.”

She then proceeded to dig a hole in the ground. The digging took 10 minutes because all of the kids wanted to have a turn. By the time each child had dug out a shovel-full of dirt, the hole was three feet deep. Donna gently placed the box of I CAN’Ts into the bottom of the freshly dug grave.

A Eulogy for I Can’t

Then she turned to her students and asked them to form a circle around the grave, join hands and bow their heads. Here is the unforgettable eulogy Donna delivered:

“Friends, we gather today to honor the memory of I CAN’T. While he was with us on earth, he touched the lives of everyone … some, more than others. His name, unfortunately, has been spoken in every public building — schools, city halls, State capitols and, yes, even our White House.

“Today we have provided I CAN’T with a final resting place. He is survived by his brothers and sisters — I CAN … I WILL … and I’LL DO IT RIGHT AWAY. They are not as well known as their famous relative … and are not as strong and powerful… yet. Perhaps someday, with your help, they will make an even bigger mark on the world.

“May I CAN’T rest in peace … and may everyone present pick up their lives and move forward in his absence. Amen.”

Then Donna and her students filled in the fresh grave before returning to the classroom, where they celebrated the passing of I CAN’T. As part of the celebration, Donna cut out a large tombstone from butcher paper and wrote in big, black letters these words:


This paper tombstone hung in Donna’s classroom for the rest of the year. Whenever one of her students forgot and said “I CAN’T,” Donna would point to the tombstone. More often than not, the student would smile and rephrase the statement.

I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting the teacher in this story, but I guarantee you, I’d enroll my children in her class in a heartbeat if she were teaching at the local elementary school! Just think how much people could accomplish if they’d hold a mental funeral for all their I CANT’s!


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