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MKE Week 7– Enduring Sadness

 

As O.G. Mandino says in scroll 2, “Yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge.  Yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul”.

This past Thursday, I received a call from my sister-in-law, Sandy, and my step-brother, Marc, and they shared with me that our sister, Debra, had died.  I was speechless and thought that maybe I misinterpreted their words, but sadly I hadn’t.  Debra had just had her birthday, a month earlier and had turned 57 years old.  I couldn’t believe her life had ended; she was too young, and after all I thought she would probably live for ever or out live me.

Her life began as an identical twin and she was the oldest because she was first born. Sadly, she was born with cerebral palsy and weighed a little over 4 pounds.  Her sister, Diane, out weighted her by one pound.

Debra was always full of spunk, determination, and persistence.  When Diane learned how to ride a bike, nothing doing but Debra had to learn.  No matter how many times she fell, she got back up and tried again until finally after a long period of practice she got it.  The same thing happened when Diane took up skating.  Debra had to try this out too.  She had so many bruises on her poor little legs, but it never stopped her from trying again & again. After many months of practicing she became successful and had fun skating in the patio area and then later out in the street since she lived on a cul-de-sac with hardly any traffic.

As Debra got older she had always wanted to work at Sea World and of course would not take “no” for an answer.  She applied for many types of jobs at Sea World until finally she got an interview and got her dream job.  She had to wake up earlier than normal in order for her to catch the trolley and get to Sea World.  She could travel anywhere either by bus or trolley and seemed to have no fear of anything or anyone. Debra worked at other jobs, such as a bakery shop where she learned how to make delicious cookies, cupcakes, and breakfast muffins.  She was very clever and never shared the recipes.  She also worked for Long’s Drug store for over 5 years.  She won a special reward for her faithfulness and diligence.  She also was in the newspaper for public recognition of what she had done.  She was so thrilled over this, as she finally did something that Diane hadn’t done.

She lived most of the time by herself in a couple of apartments with her stuffed animals of Snoopy, which became her family.  She loved Snoopy and would light up when anyone gave her a Snoopy or something with Snoopy on it.  She went to Grossmont College because Diane had graduated from college and so she thought she would go too, but she didn’t quite understand that you had to take a set number of courses in various subjects in order to get a degree and not just take PE classes.

She loved walking or taking a bus to Denny’s.  This was the highlight of her day and she would order a tall glass of tea along with something to eat, sit, and talk with the waitresses.

She was on a bowling team and had her own bowling ball.  She always seemed to make strikes and it seemed to tickle her soul.  She could also play pool, which was amazing to see her shoot the balls and get them in the holes.  She seemed to have so much fun.

She loved family gatherings like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthday celebrations. All of these times were special to her as she got to visit with family.

One of her favorite places to travel to was Disneyland.  She would catch a bus and off she went. She would go on rides, eat, walk around, enjoy the musical parade, and the great fireworks.

She was always friendly and loved to give everyone a big bear hug.

Debra was a special person, a unique sister and someone who I will truly miss. Her memories will live on forever within my heart.

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MKE WEEK 6— The Three Powers of the Mind

Every thought sets brain cells in action.  In this blog let’s look at three powers of thought: (1) the power of discernment, (2) the power of attention, and (3) the power of thought.

First let’s look at the power of discernment. The power of discernment gives a clearer understanding and appreciation of facts. It also helps you if you want to learn something new the brain will cause the creation of a new neuron network to be formed which reinforces the new mental representation.  For example, the first time you tried to ride a bike, you probably failed to do it.  The reason was because the neuron network was being established.  By trying to ride the bike over & over again the neuron network got stronger, and all of a sudden you rode the bike without thinking about it.

Second, the power of attention can be more readily understood by comparing it with a magnifying glass with which the rays of sunlight are focused.  The magnifying glass possesses no particular strength as long as the glass is moving about and the rays of light are directed from one place to another.  However, let the glass be held perfectly still and let the rays be focused on one spot for any length of time, the effect will become very apparent.  The power of attention can be used to overcome obstacles that appear in your path only by acquiring the power through practice.  Practice makes perfect in this, as well as in anything else.  In order to cultivate the power of attention, for example,  take a family photograph and examine it closely at least  5 minutes; note the expression of the eyes, their clothing, the way their hair is arranged, and other details shown in the photograph. Now cover it and close your eyes, try to see it mentally.  If you can see every detail you definitely have a good power of attention.  If this is difficult then you need more practice in similar exercises until you can do it.   By being able to develop the power of attention you will finally be able to control your mental mind, your attitude, and your consciousness.

The last power that we’re going to look at is the power of thought, which is training your mind to focus your attention or concentration on any single purpose for any length of time.  By doing this you’ll discover nothing becomes impossible. An example of using the power of thought is trying to improve your self-image, breaking out of your current belief system.  You can change your self-image through the power of thought and positive affirmations.  You can change the way you look at yourself through seeking new truths, and changing your negative thoughts.  You will be able to accomplish anything you put your mind to. You have to acknowledge your tremendous power within, the power of thought.  As Thomas Jefferson once said, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”  When you begin to believe in yourself you also realize the power of thought.  You have conditioned yourself to act, behave, and think in a certain way.  When results start to materialize, it will reinforce new beliefs in yourself which, in turn, will produce even better results.  It becomes a positive spiral that keeps accomplishing more of the things you desire.  You change the way you’re thinking and awaken the new you inside-letting out your special uniqueness.  A person might ask, how do you apply the power of thought? The answer is by surrounding yourself with positive- supporting people, by using affirmations, and creative visualization.  By doing these, you will be inspired, and spurred on.  When at times the goal seems far away, your supportive friends can get you back on track.  The power of thought will help you believe you’re capable of anything you set your mind to.

You can do more and be more by using the three incredible powers of the mind. Norman Vincent Peale expressed it by saying, “When you expect the best, you release a magnetic force in your mind which by the law of attraction tends to bring the best to you.” Try using these three powers of the mind and watch the harmonious relationship with the universe be created and your way will be made manifested.

MKE WEEK 5– What Makes Up a Choice?

 

Life is how we interpret the world and with it comes the ability to make choices. In this blog the discussion will be around:  (a) the definition of choice so that everyone is clear on the meaning, (b) whether the number of choices have an effect on the process, and (c) how do you make choices?

According to Wikipedia a choice involves decision making. It can include judging the merits of multiple options, and selecting one or more of them.

Research has focused on how individual behavior differs when the number of choices to choose from is low versus when it high.  What was discovered when there is low number of choices were available, it seemed easier to make an acceptable choice over when more choices were available.  Some evidence show  that while a greater number of choices has the potential of improving a person’s welfare, sometimes there are too many choices or choice overload.  This leads to an escalation of expectation.  Also, with too many choices available people may come to believe they are to blame for an unacceptable result, because with so many choices, they should have been able to pick the best one.  If they have one choice available and it ends up being disappointing, the world can be held accountable.  When there are many options to choose and the one that is chosen turns out to be disappointing, the individual is responsible.

Now let’s look at how choices are made.  There are six suggestions on how choices can be made, but of course you have the final say.  The first suggestion is to make a choice by your gut feeling.  Listen to your inner feelings and decide accordingly. Second is to sleep on it, but just one night—allowing your subconscious to massage the choice.  Third is to get into a stress free state and mediate on it. Fourth is to talk the choice over with a select few and mastermind about it.  Fifth is to consider the long term consequences of your choice. Will this choice affect others as well as yourself?  Sixth is to analyze the four step cycle of making a choice.   This four step cycle includes the following steps: Step one-  Make a choice. Respect yourself and the choice you’ve made.  You have to take responsibility for the outcome.  Check out your feelings about the choice.  Does it expand you or contract you? If you feel the action or choice makes you feel heavy, weighted down, or uneasy-maybe the choice is not right for you.  However, if you feel light, at peace, and calm about the choice then it will be right for you.  Step two is to focus or concentrate on your choice.  Ask yourself, “Why am I here, what is my purpose, and how can I fulfill it?”  Feel your body & your energy.  Feel your breath as you breathe in & out.  Is your breathing stagnant or blocked in anyway? Step three is to put your choice into action. Express yourself in movement, dance, drama, or verbally which could include singing and talking.  Encourage yourself by not judging yourself but instead praise yourself three times a day.  Next say, “I’m doing well” and end it with a big smile.  Last of all for example,  envision, yourself losing the weight you want to lose. Imagine how your health would be at a lower weight.  Imagine the smaller size of pants that you will wear, and all the extra energy you will have.  Don’t limit yourself.  Often our thinking process puts conditions on situations.  Our thoughts have caps of limitations.  Erase these limitations by focusing on your uniqueness.  Step four is to repeat steps one through three as needed.

No one else can express ourselves to others like we can.  Each of us has a special value to give to the world. We might have layers of negativeness that we have to break through, or get over our blockage of not hearing our heart.  Giving our love & our special talents to the world is our essence. As J.K. Rowling said,” It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”   Choices pave the way to who you are so make them wisely.

 

MKE Week 4 The “I of You”

 

What is “I”?  It’s the ninth letter of the alphabet and it’s the Roman numeral for one.  The “I of You” is much more than a mere letter or number.  In this blog we are going to look at what the “I of you” is not, what the real nature of the “I” of you is, and the why for getting to know it.

According to the Master Keys the “I of You” is not the physical body.  The physical body is simply an instrument which the “I” uses to carry out its purposes.  For example, when you say “I think” the “I” tells the mind what it shall think or when you say “I go” the “I” tells the physical body where it shall go.  The “I” cannot be the mind, for the mind is simply another instrument which the “I” uses to think, reason, create, and plan.

What then is the real nature of the “I”?  The real nature of this “I” is spiritual, and is the source of real power when people come into a realization of their true nature which is the “I of You”. If you thoroughly understand this true nature of the “I of You” you will become  undefeatable, as long as your purposes are constructive and are in harmony with the creative principle of the Universe. The greatest power that the “I of You” gives is the power to think.   But sad to say only a few people know how to think constructively or correctly as shown by their achieving indifferent results. Some people allow their thoughts to dwell on selfish purposes without realizing that the germ of defeat is in every selfish thought. If we don’t allow our ego to pop into our thoughts we can have a chance of knowing our true “I of You”. Looking for your true “I of You” is nothing for us to create or fix but rather to uncover and to discover.  Therefore you need to disengage from aimlessly thinking or letting your mind roam.  You can stop this habit by focusing on sensory awareness like colored shapes, sounds, smells, or getting plugged into some body- awareness exercises.  Some examples of body awareness exercises are: the touch of your shirt on your neck, feet touching the floor, or consciously tensing and relaxing the muscles of your body.  By learning to take control of your thoughts and yourself, you will discover the world within, which is controlled by the “I of You”.  The “I of You” is one with the Infinite I which is the Universal Energy or Spirit.

Some people may ask, “Why do we want to know our true “I of You”?  The answer to this is that by focusing on our true “I of You” it brings us back into the beauty of each moment of our life.  You get a chance to appreciate yourself as the gift you’ve always been looking for, the love your heart desires.  Knowing your “I of You” doesn’t mean that all your questions are answered, but just makes them not your focus.

Do some mediation & get to know the “I of You”.

MKE Week 3 The Important Things About Habits

 

How can we determine what a “habit” is? Let’s see what the dictionary tells us.  A habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary; a particular practice, custom, or usage.  In this blog let’s examine how to get rid of bad habits, let’s look at how to acquire good habits, and lastly let’s look at 8 habits that can help improve your life.

How do we get rid of bad habits?  I’m sure we all have a few that we need to get rid of.   OG Mandino tells us in scroll 1 of the “Greatest Salesman in the World” just how it is done.  He says, Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure and must be destroyed so that new furrows can be prepared for good seed which is good habits.   The way we drive out bad habits is to replace them with new habits which will bring you closer to success.  For it is another of nature’s laws that only a habit can subdue another habit.

How do you acquire good habits? A good habit is born when the act becomes easy through constant repetition or it becomes a pleasure to perform.  If it is a pleasure to perform it, it is man’s nature to perform it often.  When you perform it often, it becomes a habit.   For example brushing your teeth & using a water pick.  The more you do these things the healthier your teeth will be and the fewer cavities you will acquire.  If you have pretty teeth, you smile more, and you are enjoyable to be around.

Frances Bridges recently did a study on Habits and I felt it was pretty powerful and so will be sharing key concepts from her study.

She discovered 8 habits that can help improve your life if you chose to implement them and practice daily.  The first habit is “Discipline”, which I have found is not an easy one to master.  Discipline is the foundation of achieving goals.  You use a “To Do List” and check off  the completed work every day.  You achieve your goals for the day, week, month, year by having the discipline to press on.  The discipline could be completing a work project, building your network, or striving to exercise more.  It is having the discipline to do things when you don’t want to do them.   As  Aristotle wrote, “excellence is not an act, but a habit.”   Having the discipline to create good habits is what will improve your life.

The second habit is “Time Management”.  Goals are met one day at a time.  The key to completing tasks for each day is to learn how to work efficiently and manage your time.  Prioritizing and  allotting the time you need for each task will keep you on schedule so that you can complete everything you need or want each day.

The third habit is “Exercising”.  Exercise helps to clear your mind, temper anxiety, and relieves stress.  Studies have also shown that exercising can improve your quality of sleep.  Carving out time to exercise will increase your energy throughout the day, encourage you to eat healthier, and helps build a routine.

The fourth habit is “Treat Yourself”.  When life gets hectic it’s good to know that some of the responsibilities in your life can be given to others to do.  For example order in dinner, send laundry out, have groceries delivered, have someone mow your lawn or clean your house, and hire someone to complete an errand.  Knowing when it’s worth paying a bit more to help yourself is a key to improving your mental success.  As Maya Angelou said, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”  You like who you are by knowing who you are, living by your values and practicing habits that help fulfill your potential.

The fifth habit is “Journal Writing”.  Writing in a journal each day- logging your goals & progress is incremental.   It helps to track your productivity, motivation, and inspires new goals.

The sixth habit “Embrace Failure”.  Failure seems to be the precedent to success. Failure isn’t permanent.  Failure is temporary and it too will pass.  Thomas Edison had to fail many times; he tested more than 3,000 designs for the light bulb before he could patent his electric lamp. You need to be resilient, look for key learning moments in your failure and progress despite failure.  Failure is what builds success.  Embrace failure, keep moving, and watch for the positive results.

The seventh habit is “Limit Screen Time”.  When you are being involved with too much screen time it means you are watching TV too much, playing with phone apps, video games, being in front of a computer screen, etc.   All of these apparatuses have an effect on your quality of sleep, your eyes, your personal relationships, and social skills.  You need to turn off all these devices an hour before you go to bed.  Also by decreasing the amount of time you spend on these items will free up time to improve your quality of life.

The eighth habit is “Get Outside.  Being outside improves focus, outlook, and mental health.  It also strengthens your immune system.  Feeling the sun, breathing fresh air, and taking walks to observe nature helps you re-energize and refocuses on the important things of life.  Making some time for yourself to be outside will pay dividends as you work more efficiently throughout the day and it helps in personal relationships by being less stressed.

Good habits are the solid foundation of confidence, sense of self and self-worth. It’s a small price to pay for success. So grab some good habits & start practicing.

 

MKE WEEK 2–HOW TO HANDLE THE CHALLENGES OF LIFE?

 

Challenges can come in many sizes from a computer program not working to a car engine not starting causing you to be late for  work.  Or a severe challenge of a hurricane destroying everything you own and wondering how to survive.   In this blog you are going to look at eight methods to overcome challenges.

The first method is try to focus on the positive and what is right around you.  Find reasons to appreciate everything in your proximity such as a beautiful butterfly or an elegant flower or a newborn baby.  Try to look for things that take your breath away.

The second method is the importance of exercising—just taking one minute every hour to do some form of movement for that entire minute.  An example is squats, 5 lb arm curls, ankle rotation, sit-ups and longevity stretch.  What can exercise do for your challenge you might ask? Basically it improves your over-all self-confidence and gives you added energy to overcome the challenge.

The third method is to get out in nature.  Enjoying nature has many benefits such as improving the quality of a person’s life and helping their brain function more clearly.  The air is fresh, clear, and away from the chaotic, stress of the city.

The fourth method is journal writing.  Every time you find yourself stuck or facing a life challenge write down your thoughts in a journal that you carry with you wherever you go.  A journal helps you to get out of your head and separates you from the impact of the experience.  You can write down the challenge, how you feel about it, and include options to solve the dilemma.

The fifth method is to celebrate your summits.  Write down all of your successes that you’ve achieved in your life on 3 by 5 note cards. When you experience a win, stop & celebrate.  This will drive your brain to keep taking the action that led to the pleasurable moment. The 3 by 5 note cards are useful for encouragement when you are feeling a little down.  Just flash the cards and it will perk you right up.

The sixth method is schedule confidence.  Tony Robbins says, “If you talk about it, it’s a dream.  If you envision it, it’s possible, but if you schedule it, it’s real.”  Schedule all events on a family calendar so everyone knows what is going on.  Schedule family time together as well as just “honey time”.  Once these dates are booked on the calendar then all other events can fill up the slots.

The seventh method is to be still for 10-20 minutes a day sit in silence without distractions and just be with your thoughts.  This will improve your ability to focus on finding solutions to challenges.

The eighth method is to get something done.  If you want to figure out an answer to a challenge take action & accomplish something no matter how small. Set a task related to your challenge and finish it to completion.

For me, this week was a challenge, looking on the ins & outs of a computer program.   Yet as I stuck to the process it gradually became less of a challenge and more of a victory.   As Martin Luther King once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.  Challenges are not meant to be regretted but rather something to be thankful for.  Each challenge helps to build strength and character in your life.

MKE Week 1–HARMONY

 

As we look at the world around us and see all the chaos, destruction, and heartache we can’t help but wonder where is the “Harmony”?

Harmony begins with ourselves. It means the ability to control our thoughts, and determine for ourselves how any experience is to affect us.  It is realizing that I am my own foundation. I am my own pillar. I am my own strength, and power.  I can choose to build harmony or trample over it with my muddy boots.

In my readings recently I came across “Eight steps that you can’t forget if you want to live in Harmony with yourself.” I felt the author was right on even though the name wasn’t given.  The first step the article mentioned was to remind yourself that you are starting fresh. You might have to repeat this concept several times, mediate on it- visualize what it looks like to start a fresh- to start over-to realize a new beginning.  Allow yourself a new beginning each day.

The second step is to breathe life into your body only with love.  Don’t take in anger, self judgement, criticism, or what you desire next.  Just take in pure love.  It doesn’t mean you are throwing discipline and good sense out the window. It just means you are covering it in love, not tension and stress whenever you breathe in deeply.

The third step is the importance of deciding your own self-worth before others do.  Decide today you are worth your weight in gold, diamonds, or your favorite rare jewel and watch how nobody can dispute that once you’ve established your own worth.  Remember insecurities haven’t a chance against a decisively positive mind.

The fourth step is to accept your loved ones just as they are.  Our loved ones are who they are, and perhaps they are even better than we give them credit for.  So stop trying to change them; change yourself only and accept them as they are.

The Fifth step is to not allow anyone to make you feel small, guilty, ashamed, or insecure. No one has permission to make you feel anything unless you allow it.  Don’t allow people to be around you who makes you feel like rubbish.  Choose wisely on who you associate with.

The sixth step is to expand your heart & mind with books and education: constant learning. Learning happens on your time and on your watch, not necessarily at school or work.  When you are learning your mind will stay young, active, and sharp.  Read books & educate yourself.

The seventh step was to end your pursuit of accumulation of stuff and replace it with the collection of experience.  The path to minimalism is paved with true peace & harmony.  It is beautiful and one that everyone can travel.  It is the joy of seeing & believing that less is more.  We have all we need when we have harmony.

Harold Kushner expresses this thought quite well in this quote: “Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power.  Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter.”

The last thing in the article showed the importance of giving yourself permission to be human, to be who you are just as you are.  Don’t be so hard on yourself.  When we are hard on ourselves it doesn’t get us where we want to go, but only crushes our spirit.  Allow yourself time to heal physically and emotionally.  Take time to build your confidence once again.

Once these steps have been accomplished Harmony will bloom again within your inner self and be reflected in the world by harmonious conditions, agreeable surroundings and the disappearance of chaos .