Week 13 – A Lesson In Persistence

I’ve always thought of myself as a person possessing a great amount of perseverance…being able to work at something long enough to master it. Persistence, on the other hand, has been a word I’ve associated with nagging willfulness. I haven’t given it the same high marks as perseverance. Given that the past couple of week we’ve been studying persistence in MKMMA, I thought I’d look into the differences and similarities of the two and see what I could come up with.

According to Virtues Project Reflections Cards perseverance is defined as [bold added]…

“The will to carry on. Once we discern our true direction, we stay the course for however long it takes, regardless of obstacles that arise. When creativity inspires us, we do the work required to bring it to fruition. We patiently pursue our goals, remaining steadfast and focused. We persist with a task until it is completed. People can trust us to finish what we start. When our relationships are tested, we have the commitment to work things through. We are determined to succeed.”

WOW! That describes and defines the MKMMA intention exactly! So what then is persistence?

We learned in week 13 that persistence is not a character trait but actually the indoctrination (hard work) of four simple habits into our way of being…

DMP – Defining a direction and life’s purpose. You first need to know the path you wish to pursue or all your efforts will be lost in the shiny penny syndrome…chasing someone else’s dream.

PMA – Practicing daily habits that lead to your life’s purpose. Rendering continuous action without excuses. This to me is the heart and soul of persistence. It is the daily action of taking the next step, without letting excuses derail our decision to follow through.

POA – Service = love = growth. Defined as…putting into action a continuous life-long pursuit of service-oriented actions that inspire others and contribute to planet well-being.  The by-product of these actions is spiritual growth, wealth, and happiness.

MMA – Master minding with like-minded individuals on a regular basis. To me this means to associate with those who recognize greatness and acknowledge it in themselves and others. It is also being around people who push you to excel.

I recently watched the movie “Wild”, a true story of a woman named Cheryl Strayed (played by one of my favorite actresses Reese Witherspoon). She makes all the wrong choices after her mother, and best friend, dies suddenly of a fatal disease. She is lost, lonely, and takes out her anger in ways that are harmful spiritually, emotionally, and physically. In her quest to find herself she decides to solo hike the Pacific Crest Trail. A 1,100-mile trek that changes her DNA forever.

The lesson in this movie is the purposeful pursuit to find herself one step at a time. She did not give up…even when fellow trail mates did. She pushed forward, single and a woman in the wild in compromising situations. She relied on her mother’s memory and ideals to keep her on a steady path through rain, snow, dehydration, inadequate gear, and many more trail mishaps.

I believe this movie demonstrates Cheryl’s persistence and perseverance. I was inspired to keep going towards my dreams even though I feel inadequate at times and don’t know how I will get there. What I do know is that one step forward and then another and then another will eventually get me there.

Being in MKMMA is teaching me the true meaning of persistence. To wake up, exercise, eat right, meditate, give service, etc. Every day…without excuses. It takes discipline to be persistent. It takes perseverance, hard work, and 1,000+ mile trail to realize your dreams.

Keep going…persevere in persistence.

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there’s love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” ~ Ella Fitzgerald

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Week 11 – Whatsoever Things Ye Desire

My thoughts are a real force. This is an important sentence…

My thoughts are a real force.11image-thoughts-are-real-forces

What I do or gain in the world becomes significant only because of what I perceive (or think) about while I’m in the doing. I could be washing the dishes and in my head be mulling over a conversation I had 2 hours a
go. This could make me angry, upset, or happy based on the story I create around the conversation. I appreciate the mental focus of keeping my mind on the task at hand. This keeps me out of my story telling head where my ego likes to play the game of who is right or who is wrong. Instead I can move to forgiveness, understanding, and let go. This is so freeing to my mind! Now I have room for things I want to do and to connect with my desires.

Practicing the mental diet – starving my thoughts of negativity 24/7 – has been challenging yet so rewarding. With so much “time on my mind” not thinking negatively…I have more room for the things in my life that I desire. And you know what I found out? It’s scary to think about what I want. I have fear around making my dreams come true. In fact, I’ve had such a mental block about it that I find it hard to dream big. So many of my dreams did not come true. Why? Because there was no emotional feeling behind it…I merely stated in my head that it would be “nice” to have _______fill in the blank but took no time in my mind to create a burning desire for it. Instead I built up resistance and fear…How do I make it happen? When will it take place? What if my dreams don’t come to full fruition?

I’m beginning to see where I have built up this habit and can stop myself and change it…in good part because of the mental diet and meditation.

For example: I plan a workshop. Normally I get excited about it and dream big and am open to having a lot of people show up for it. Then it’s time to sit down and write a newsletter. I put it off. What am I going to say? The fear builds. Who is going to have enough time to show up? I start an energetic downward spiral. I’m dooming myself and my workshop slowly but surely. This would go on for two weeks until I would finally write the newsletter apologetically because I simply didn’t stay in the flow of creation and follow my plan of action with a burning desire for the outcome.

The way I am changing that behavior is this…now I am catching myself in this habit (fear based thinking and shrinking) and changing the thought. When it’s time to write that newsletter I think, “People need what you are offering. This will bring peace and comfort to those who attend. Do it NOW!” When I think about the change that will take place in the lives of those who attend I get excited and create that “burning desire” to take action on my plan.

In the New Testament Mark 11:24 it reads…

“What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

It is important then to cultivate a real burning desire for what we want.

Burn baby burn!11lanaDelRey

Illustrated by Lana Del Rey in her passionate song Burning Desire.

My thoughts are a force (cause) that move me into action which creates outcome (effect). When I create a burning desire around the outcome through thought my actions nearly always manifest my desires (a full, meaningful, and productive workshop).

The work (and it is work) I’m doing in the Master Keys Mater Mind Alliance is about changing the subconscious blueprint. How? By being conscious. Hey, I preach this every day in my yoga classes. For sure the old adage applies: Practice what you preach. I’m realizing how much room I have for growth in this area.

It’s about faith, confidence, growth, and moving forward with ENTHUUUUSIASM building new habits.

Week #9 – I Am Whole

The expression “I am whole” is about a true a statement as you can get. When I say it I can sometimes feel the powerful message I am telling myself;  I am whole; I am well; I am who I am and in this moment I characterize a piece of wholeness; I design, create, and orchestrate my life based on the universal law of attraction.

There are other times, however, when my mind shuts down at this statement and says, “Yea but…you’re not this and you haven’t achieved that, etc.” I feel inadequate with the statement “I am whole.” Really? What does it mean to be whole?

Let’s look at a piece of pie. (I’m using the pie analogy because it’s Thanksgiving a  round here and pies are a plenty.) When you eat a slice of pie are you eating a whole pie? Trick question. The answer is of course, yes! A slice of pie has every ingredient that a wpieshole pie has. Every slice tastes, smells, feels, and looks like the whole pie. Would each slice of pie then be “whole”? What if the slice of pie said, “I’m not good enough to eat because I’m only a piece of pie.” Or “Don’t bother with me I’m pumpkin and the chocolate pie over there is better because it’s rich and dark.”

That would be absurd.

Just as slice of pie contains all that the whole pie is, so do we contain or have access to the Universal mind or the power of God or creator in us. We are a part of the whole and therefore a container for all that the whole is and has access to.

In Master Keys 4:7 it reads, “To know the Truth is to be in harmony with the Infinite and Omnipotent power. To know the truth is, therefore, to connect yourself with a power which is irresistible and which will sweep away every kind of discord, inharmony, doubt or error of any kind, because the “Truth is mighty and will prevail.””

I have access to the infinite and Omnipotent when I am in line with my true nature, when I connect myself to a higher power or “plug in” with my maker. Prayer and meditation is the way in which I do this.

Visualization is another powerful ally in my quest to remain in a state of recognizing my wholeness. It allows me to go beyond what is present and happening now to seek and see myself in potential as a whole well rounded being.

This week I have noticed that the more I set out to work on showing love to others and staying in “the truth”, the more people around me show up in a state that tests my ability to do this. My husband, for instance, comes home from work and feels unappreciated, over-worked, and tired. His first words are…

“ Why doesn’t anyone do anything around here? I come home and have to put all the dishes away from yesterday. It’s like no one lifts a finger around here but me.”

“Well EXCUSE me!” Is the response I have from the inside. All I want to do is argue the moot point that I do indeed clean and pull my weight around the house. Then I remember my readings…

The only way to get love is by giving it and that the more I give the more I will get.

So I turn and ask, “What would bring you peace in this moment?”

The conversation is diffused and instead of lighting into a heated discussion, we are cordial and mindful. Later, my husband apologized for being so dramatic and expressed how much he did indeed love and appreciate me. In the words of Frederick Elias Andrews, “Affirm the good, and the bad will vanish.” Words to live by.

This week I took every opportunity to use the affirmation suggested in Master Keys Part 9,

“I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy.”

Words to live by and words I can live into.

Week 8 – Breaking the Addiction

Part Eight of the Master Keys talks about imagination. If you can imagine it you can achieve it. Just as every physical object in the world was imagined first and then later manifested, so too is every experience in life first imagined and then manifested. Sometimes we are a part of someone else’s vision coming true but more often than not our life is a direct result of the constructive or destructive thoughts we have given our daily attention to.

In 8.5 of the master keys it states, “If your thought has been critical or destructive, and has resulted in any condition of discord or in-harmony in your environment, it may be necessary for you to cultivate a mental attitude which will be conducive to constructive thought.”

I’ve been working on this mental attitude for 8 weeks now. This week when I started the mental diet of not entertaining a negative thought I found it perfectly difficult. This is the week my husband decided to vent about what wasn’t right in the world and how I had contributed to the lack he was feeling. Immediately my defenses went up and I wanted to put on the boxing gloves. How dare he! I felt so disempowered. It is moments like this when my ego says, “to heck with all this trying to better myself, if the people around me would just quit being selfish, mean, thoughtless, etc…I could easily master the mental diet.”self-discipline

Immediately, my mind pops up with “Give more of what you want to get more of what you need.” Hmmm…what do I need? I need my spouse to show kindness, compassion, consideration, and validation. OK…time to pull up my big girl pants and BE HUMBLE. If I’m not getting what I need then the law says that I can give what I need. Hard? YES! Stated in 8.18 of the Master Keys…

“The law of attraction will certainly and unerringly bring to you the conditions, environment, and experiences in life, corresponding with your habitual, characteristic, predominant mental attitude. Not what you think once in a while when you are in church, or have just read a good book, BUT your predominant mental attitude is what counts.”

In other words, I get to BE the person that I want to SEE in others. This doesn’t mean that I am a door mat for bad behavior from others…what it does mean is that I can show compassion when my spouse is hangry (that’s a made up word for angry due to hunger) and has had little sleep, working long hours, and in a state of disharmony. I can accept where he is and maintain my ground and choose in the moment to table the discussion until we can reframe our state of mind. I can resist the temptation to go into the old mental habit of creating more discord.

MY CHOICE!

“I can be what I will to be.” I choose harmony.

Week 4 – Give It Up!

Every week my mentor sends my DMP back with at least one of these comments…“Where is the sacrifice?”, “What are you giving up?” I think…”I’m not giving up or sacrificing anything! I’m gaining commitment, passion, knowledge, and energy” Why do I need to give up something? This part of my Dharma was not clicking…until this week’s webinar.

In this week’s webinar Davene stated, “Everyone will QUIT this week.”

WHAT??

I leaned in to listen.

“Yes, everyone is either going to QUIT the program or QUIT giving a percentage.”

“Really? Throw in the towel? Me, give something up? No way, I will go down with the ship!”

Davene went on to explain….each of the participants would either quit 100% or quit giving only a partial percent of energy to the process and instead full effort as in 100%. WOW! That was difficult to swallow. I was giving about 70% effort. Go BIG or go home was the message. But…but…but…My ego was spewing out the excuses left and right, reeling in defeat. In the end, the light bulb clicked on.

I AM sacrificing…

  • I’m giving up being mediocre.
  • I’m giving up indecisiveness.
  • I’m giving up vagueness.
  • I’m sacrificing the ego-driven need to be RIGHT and surrendering to understanding another’s point of view.
  • I’m surrendering to excellence, integrity, and being true to my word and sacrificing the pull to be everywhere and doing everything.
  • I’m surrendering to putting my foot in the sand to take a stand and say YES to only those activities that promote the cultivation of my Personal Pivotal Needs.
  • I’m giving up doing things on my own and stepping outside my comfort zone to enlist help from others. BECAUSE I CARE!

OK! I can give up! I CAN surrender to the peace of living a fruitful life. I can give up trying to juggle all the balls in the air. I CAN let go of correcting other people and allow them to enjoy their own journey.

THIS IS HUGE!! What AM I SACRIFICING in order to obtain my dreams and get out of the “stuckness” that I’m in? Although this has been a HARD one for me to get, I GET IT! I will need to shed my old skin and be willing to lead a NEW LIFE! This new life will absolutely look differently than the old life as I sacrifice what no longer is serving purpose in my life. I promise to put in 100% effort (my BEST effort) to MKMMA. I always keep my promises.

Week 3 – Generating Healing Energy

Side Note: Every day I have a new epiphany while reading something out of the Master Keys. Cool. When I want to access that epiphany later to blog about it my mind shuts the door and locks the key. Nothing. Nope. Nada. I clam up like a class of 5th graders in inquisition.

Thought: I remember that the first step of any endeavor is to get out of our own way (or my own head) and Just Do It, and do it NOW. OK. Bear with me as I bare my thoughts.

One of the notes I wrote while re-writing my Dharma (Definite Main Purpose) is to allow it to be what it needs to be. It only needs to be right for me. That epiphany was freeing. It allowed my thoughts to flow freely without judgement or having to get it “right”. After re-writing my Dharma, reading it this week has brought more clarity and purpose to my day.

My favorite read for the week comes from the Master Keys Part Three as it describes the Solar Plexus and the way it is controlled automatically through the Sympathetic Nervous System (our unconscious or involuntary system). Of course that makes sense. We don’t need to think about it…unless we want to change the programming. That requires voluntary action from the cerebro-spinal system, or our conscious awareness.

As a yoga instructor I teach and observe students and how they move and transition through the physical asana practice. There is an unconscious pattern (either skillful or unskillful) that invariably emerges in each student as we move through class. For instance, if a student’s shoulders are hunched forward in Tadasana they will also follow a similar pattern when we add a twist or raise the arms overhead. This can create a muscle memory in the body that over time results in injury. Unless the basic alignment is consciously attuned, bad habits and possible harmful effects will follow. What we radiate outward from the Solar Plexus is no different…”the quality of the thought which we entertain determines the quality of the thought which this sun will radiate, and the character of the thought which our conscious mind entertains will determine the character of the thought which this sun will radiate…and consequently will determine the nature of the experience which will result.” (MK 3:12) Change the mind. Change the habit.

Just as the skillful yogi monitors the alignment of the body to create strength and healing, so do we monitor our thoughts to create a life we love. It is our habitual movement that creates either true health or illness. It is our habitual thoughts (or autonomic thoughts) that are the source of our energy and power. Practice, practice, practice. And thus, I will continue in my pursuit of losing control of what is outside of me and rather, focus mainly on control of the cerebro-spinal system (my daily thoughts).

Week four? Bring it!

Week 2 – Keeping Up With The Zen’s

“Our difficulties are largely due to confused ideas and ignorance of our true interests [or true nature].”

This quote from Part Two of The Master Key strikes a chord with me. If “clear thinking and moral insight are of incalculable value”, then I question whether I have the spiritual capacity to find my true Dharma.

This week’s requirement was to re-write our Definite Main Purpose (AKA Dharma). You’d think that I was asked to navigate a rocket ship to the moon! DIFFICULT. My mind plays head games, overanalyzing what to say until I give up on writing anything at all.

Have you ever felt like your head is spinning in so many directions that you can’t focus on a single one? Where is the ZEN in that? How is it that I cannot uncover my true essence or Dharma? What do I really want in life that I don’t already have? Peace? Intimacy? Good communication? These are the questions that have been rattling around in my head all week.

I do enjoy moments when I feel like I’m in the flow…in the know…and serving in my fullest capacity as a citizen, mother, wife, and/or teaching/coaching but it is fleeting, slippery, and annoyingly elusive. One minute a brilliant idea comes to mind and the next minute I’m having a full on discussion about all the reasons why that idea cannot come to reality.

The exercises we’ve been assigned to do this week are all about how to be mindful of how our thoughts are ruling the subconscious. This is good. The bad is that I’m realizing just how much work is required to master the art of power thinking.

My experience in 15 minute meditations to clear the mind have born some fruit. On one occasion I had a clear vision of a book that I am supposed to write. Very cool. The transition of thought into action requires the belief and feeling that what we think has already come to pass.

This week I’ve been telling myself to just keep going. Do the exercises. Stay enthusiastic. All in the name of keeping up with the Zen’s.