Month: March 2016

Master Key Week 24 – And now…

It’s our last week of MKMMA and I’m at a slight loss for words. (Which is not helpful when one is supposed to write a blog post. In fact, it’s very inconvenient.)

How odd to think that this is the last week. I’ve done a lot of self-discovery, been inspired and encouraged by so many people just by reading their blogs, I’ve fallen down hard and gotten back up, I’ve…been growing up…and I am so happy to have been a part of this experience.

What a journey it’s been! When we first started back in September, I was a bit hesitant about “a whole SIX months!!!”. But I shrugged that small objection away, reminding myself that it would be over before school ended, so it was really not a big deal. Six months later, 26 blog posts later, and I…actually…want it…to continue. Whoa! I expected to be really happy when it was over and I had finished this course and it would have changed my life, blah blah blah. What I didn’t expect was that this course and everything we’ve learned is to be a lifelong journey – the six months was just the start…in fact, one might say, just preparation. Mark and Davene, Trish and the guides gave us the tools. And! – we have been changing (or, in some aspects, not changing – because we all fall down at times) our lives.

I feel like I’m only now realizing just how great this Master Key Experience has been. Duh, Arielle – you’re at the end – no wonder! But really…it sounded great when I first started, it felt pretty great when I figured out my DMP…but now that I’m at the end of the course and I see some of the changes in myself and I can look back and see the progressions of everything? – COOL. It is great.

This week my Franklin focus was “taking initiative”. I’m getting really good at being the observer! Every day I’ve been filling my spaces with lots of dots! Yesterday I was so proud of myself because I actually observed three things in one action. Allow me to relate the story…I went to our favourite local Italian restaurant to pick up some food. When I got there, one of the waitresses asked if I needed help taking the food to the car because there were three bags. Since there were salads, pasta, etc., I gratefully accepted the offer (with inward regrets that alas, I was not related to an octopus and therefore could not provide enough limbs to carry the food…kidding) On the 30 second walk to the car, we had a nice little chat about the weather and a couple other simple little pleasantries. Before MKMMA, I would probably have said to myself, Oh, that was really nice of her to help me! But now – Hey, she took the initiative to offer and help me, she was kind, and she certainly had a pleasing personality…this is SO cool that I can identify these things!!!

I’d like to conclude with a couple of thoughts about love. (I’m absolutely NOT talking about romantic love – just “regular” love. There’s my “DISCLAIMER” for those of you who might have begun to roll your eyes at a teenager discussing love… πŸ˜› ) I think it was an absolutely beautiful moment in last week’s webinar when Mark said that our true nature is love…that love is the reason for our existence, the source of the spirit, and worth both living for and dying for.

It was a bit of an “aha” moment for me with my worldview…because the Bible says that God is love, and also that we’re created in His image…so it makes sense that our true nature would be love! πŸ™‚ Another thing the Bible says…”Love your neighbour as yourself.” And of course, Scroll II says “Henceforth I will love all mankind.”

I think C.S. Lewis puts it splendidly: “…we might try to understand exactly what loving your neighbour as yourself means. I have to love him as I love myself. Well, how exactly do I love myself? Now that I come to think of it, I have not exactly got a feeling of fondness or affection for myself, and I do not even always enjoy my own society. So apparently “Love your neighbour” does not mean “feel fond of him” or “find him attractive.”…For a long time I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life-namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it. In fact the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things…”

And how do we love our family? Our friends? We don’t necessarily feel love (noun) for them all the time (although it’s wonderful when we do, of course), but we do continue to love (verb) them.

Every single press release that I’ve read has service to others included in it – whether it’s helping children, publishing a profound book, or providing for family…it’s service. It’s love – as a verb. And I’ve been pondering this question…I wonder…could we take this love of ours, this true nature of ours, this love that we feel for our family and friends, this love that we show for our family and friends…could we take that and not only include it in our daily lives with “our neighbours” (Bible)Β  and “each whom we meet” (Scroll II)…but could we also channel that love into our DMP’s? Into our futures? Into the lives that we will touch? Because we all touch other people’s lives in some way…can we let it be through love? Can we shape our own lives through love? Can we take the pain that comes with the love (for love is caring A LOT, and when you care, you open yourself up to getting hurt) and continue to strive? To push for greatness? To overcome the new obstacles? To go and believe and never stop because there’s never an option to give up when you love something…whether it’s your mother or your daughter, your father or your son, your friend or your cousin…music or writing or doctoring…there’s a pull to love your family and friends, and there’s a pull to love your dreams – your DMP – your future life! Can we all feel the pull and go and love it and do it?!

To quote the trolls in the movie Frozen, “…love’s a force that’s powerful and strange.”

Farewell for now, dear readers and fellow students. What a marvelous journey it’s been! Let’s go be heroes and tell our own stories, shall we?

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Master Key Week 23 – Onward and Upward

O readers, I have a confession to make. Over the past month, I have developed an addiction. Please, if you know of such a thing as a GICAA association, that’s where I belong. (GICAA, by the way, stands for Gratitude Index Card-Aholics Anonymous) πŸ˜€ I finally realised the depth of this addiction when I began to panic when I saw that I was getting low on index cards, and when I was overjoyed beyond belief when my dad bought some more. It’s serious. It’s a peptide addiction, people…of the best kind. LOL. Joking aside, I really am enjoying the gratitude cards. I think they’re one of my favourite things to do every day. I keep putting the “little” “everyday” blessings on there…like hot water, coloured pens, email, spring coming, family, teachers, students, honesty, love, index cards (yes I really did put down index cards hahaha)…but it’s the “little” “everyday” blessings that make me smile…and I think it’s wonderful to be grateful for our daily lives – it makes living in the present easier, rather than waiting for something BIG! to happen.

Also! This week, my Franklin trait to focus on has been “Pleasing Personality”. I put this down as my best trait of all of them…which was kind of ironic because earlier this week I was acting a bit grouchy. What was funny, though, was that when I was being grouchy, it was on the day when I’m at home all day, so when I caught myself…Hang on – I have to put in some dots today, and I won’t really be interacting with anybody other than my family…so I’d better shape up so I can make a dot for myself! That helped my attitude greatly πŸ™‚

I liked that this week we kind of had two topics for our sit exercise: 1) concentrating on man being a spirit with a body; and 2) the soul of money is service. I haven’t had any insights to share on these two topics, but I think that just concentrating on them and keeping them in the back of my mind will be great – just for life in general.

Master Key Week 22a – Thoughts

This week has been rather lovely. It seems that all the “college stuff” is finally beginning to come together – nothing big has happened, and no scholarships yet, but just the process seems to be finally getting moving. Finally! I’m having some fun after all my (and my parents’) hard work πŸ˜€

I’ve been in a marvelous mood all week – I’m not super happy all the time; I do have some “down-ish” moments, but I’ve been…delighted…quite often this week. I’m not entirely sure why – perhaps it’s a mixture of spring and warmer weather and MKMMA stuff? – but I love it!

This week my attribute to focus on is “well-organized”. I think that other than the “kindness” week, this has been my best week for noticing the word. And! – this is also the week where I have been most successful in manifesting it in my life. I’ve been very organized this week! πŸ™‚ So after we get through our 13 weeks with these 13 words, I’m definitely going to start over and keep working through the Franklin exercise!

Something happened on Wednesday that seems, on the surface, rather small – so small that I wasn’t even sure whether I should bother to mention it – but enough to bug me into sharing it in this post. After dance class, I went to the coffee shop to get a snack. I had brought an apple with me, but since I needed to hit Staples before going home to dinner, I wanted to get something else to eat. I bought a bag of chips, and was eyeing the chocolate chip muffin under the counter. That muffin was looking absolutely delicious – but…I didn’t really need it (since I had the apple and the chips), and I also knew that I should conserve my money (especially since I had longer dance class in a couple of days and would probably be even hungrier after that one! πŸ˜€ ). So, I decided not to purchase the muffin at that time. Another thing that I had been eyeing for the past couple of weeks at that coffee shop was the cinnamon roll. Well, a few minutes after deciding against buying the muffin, the barista came over and asked me if I would like…a cinnamon roll! Nobody had bought it for the day, and she was going to throw it away, so she offered it to me – for free! So I was very happy that I hadn’t bought the chocolate chip muffin. Now, the question is, did I maybe have the idea of the cinnamon roll in my subconscious enough so that it tugged and attracted my desired result?…or, maybe, the barista is just really nice naturally. Or maybe both? – I don’t know. I wasn’t entirely sure whether to write about it – but then I remembered that, according to Einstein,

β€œThere are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

So I’m choosing to see this as a miracle. It certainly felt like one!

This week, after making my way through Emerson’s essay on Self Reliance, I began re-reading all the Master Key lessons, starting with Lesson 1 and working my way through. I’m not quite finished yet, but it’s been really interesting going back and reviewing. Some of it I remember, and some of it I’ve forgotten and then I think ooooh – good reminder; I needed that! And something that intrigues me has also been happening: when we were first reading these lessons, I highlighted the parts that I thought were most interesting or found most insightful. This week, reading some of those highlighted parts, I’ve thought to myself, Why did I highlight that? That’s pretty obvious…why didn’t I highlight this part? And I find some other sentence or phrase that I didn’t pick up on before, and the parts that I highlighted seem less amazing to me. I guess that shows that I’ve learned and internalized a great deal!

It’s also been nice creating my own topics for my sits this week. Practically every week, we’ve had an assigned focus from the Master Key lesson for our sits, so I haven’t really had a “free” sit. In one of my sits this week, I decided to trace my life from now until…well, as far as I could until the end of my 15 minutes. So I envisioned myself crying from joy from getting a full ride scholarship from my top university, going to that university, working in the summers, saving up money, studying in the school year, going from my dorm room to my classes and back (it helps that I’ve been on that campus a lot πŸ™‚ ), practicing piano in the practice rooms, etc…then starting my life after college graduation, teaching piano, getting my own car and apartment…gradual steps…at the end of my sit I was having a LOT of fun! Ohhhhmygosh my life is going to be SOOOO awesome!!!!!

Yet another wonderful thing that’s been going on this week is my gratitude cards. I had been doing them in the nights before I went to bed, but sometimes in the rush to get to sleep I’ve forgotten to do them, so to make up for not doing them on Sunday night I did them on Monday morning. I’ve continued doing them in the mornings throughout the week, and it’s been really nice to start off my day focusing on things/people that I’m thankful for. If for some reason I wake up in a less-than-optimal mood, I instantly get in a good mood after writing those cards. And two or three times this week I’ve actually done them in the morning and the night – because it’s felt like three things I’m grateful for just isn’t enough…or I had more than one positive experience that day that I want to record.

And last, but not least: although I’ll need to reread the essay on Self Reliance several times before I can fully grasp and remember Emerson’s points, I did see today, at the very end, this sentence that is absolutely splendid:

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.”

Also today, in my French class we were assigned this memory verse to recite (in French, of course, but here it is in English):

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6

I think that Emerson and the Bible are saying very similar things here. If nothing can bring us peace but ourselves, surely that means that we must be content with whatever we have?…because it’s ourSELVES, not our THINGS (or circumstances) that truly matter? And if we can relate “the triumph of principles” and “godliness” to each other – that sort of lifestyle is the one that will bring us peace.

My French teacher asked the class for our ideas on why “godliness with contentment is great gain”. I’ll put here the answer I gave her: I think the “great gain” part comes from the fulfillment and happiness that comes from being content with the things you HAVE, and then also, by being godly, being content with who you ARE.

I know that for me, “the triumph of principles” is really good for times when I’ve had to make a difficult decision – a decision that I really don’t even want to make, or one that I would rather choose the “easier” way out…but when I make the decision based on morals/principles, even though I may not like that decision, I do have the internal satisfaction of knowing that I chose to do the right thing. (And sometimes that’s the only thing you can hang on to!)

To conclude, this week has been wonderful.

Master Key Week 22 – I thought a thought…

Has anyone ever heard that tongue twister “I thought a thought but the thought I thought was not the thought I thought I thought”? That used to be my favourite tongue twister.

This week, though, with our newest Master Key lesson, I wonder if that funny little twister might have a bit of wisdom. In the introduction to Part 22, Haanel writes that “…thoughts are spiritual seeds, which, when planted in the subconscious mind, have a tendency to sprout and grow, but unfortunately the fruit is frequently not to our liking.”

Also, in sentence 7, “We are all using this (mental) power every minute. The trouble is most of us are using it unconsciously and thus producing undesirable results.”

I’m sure most of us imperfect people have had odd thoughts that we’ve allowed ourselves to dwell upon, yes? You walk down the street and you see someone whose appearance, for some reason (clothing, hair, weight, anything) is strange/odd/weird/not great/bad in your opinion. You have some sort of thought, like “Oh my gosh WHY do people dye their hair purple?” This type of thought could be just an observation, or it could be a passing state of honest puzzlement…or, it could be a judgemental thought. (Please note that this is just an example and that I have nothing against people in possession of purple hair πŸ˜€ ) Now, if we allow ourselves to dwell on this thought, eventually we will attract other such thoughts. “…every impression is a seed which will sink into the subconscious and form a tendency; the tendency will be to attract other similar thoughts and before we know it we shall have crop which must be harvested.” So soon, walking down the street, we spot more people with purple hair and become increasingly incensed at the widespread trend of this unnatural hue. You thought a thought (“Omg WHY do people dye their hair purple”), but the thought you thought, was not the thought you thought you thought (simple, with no far-reaching consequences).

For the record, I’ve had the unpleasant experience of having people point out other people whose appearance is somehow “objectionable”…not only does it mess up your own thinking and put you on a negative focus, but it also draws surrounding people into that negative focus.

I’ve often had the thought that “You know, my thoughts are my own, so I’m going to think whatever I want.” Fine. But! That was from the standpoint where I didn’t think that my thoughts -just my thoughts – had much power. Now that I’ve learned that they do, I’m trying to regulate them more. So this week I’ve been trying to, for about five minutes every day, go through an imaginary day (or part of a day) of my future self. At first it was kind of difficult, because I have to imagine my house and piano and surrounding areas, etc., but the longer I continue the easier it gets.

The first time that I read lesson 22 this week, during my first sit of the week, I got really excited. The lesson talks a lot about healing and disease and thoughts controlling physical health and all that…but what I really latched on to was the power of thought in creating oneself. “We are all using this power every minute.” So every minute, every moment, I am creating myself. Every minute I can examine my thoughts and figure out what “me” I am creating. Am I creating someone who I want to become? Am I creating a loving, wise person? Or am I creating someone who makes bad decisions? Who am I creating? That. Is. Amazing.