I HAVE MOVED to www.DetectiveofMagic.com!

WONDERFUL FOLLOWERS: I’m excited to tell you that I have become a DETECTIVE OF MAGIC! So I have a NEW INTERNET HOME at http://www.DetectiveofMagic.com Come on over! THANK YOU! This blog will be coming down soon.

But my blog posts from here have been transferred. And I’ve added new writing there: Master Key Experience Week 22: Healing “Magic” and Master Key Experience Week 22A: A Pen, Paper, Me, and SILENCE and Master Key Experience Week 23: Dance Your Light, which are NOT here. I’ll no longer be posting here. So bookmark http://www.DetectiveofMagic.com I hope you’ll join me there because I just love being a curious catalyst, a natural detective–and I’m uncovering LOTS about authentic magic that we can use in our daily lives. THANK YOU!

Master Key Experience Week 21: The Best Compass for the Hero’s Journey

Image by schaeffler from Pixabay

In the last several weeks I’ve confirmed something I’ve suspected but didn’t know for sure. I have the right compass for my Hero’s Journey! I AM THRILLED TO CONFIRM THAT. No looking back now.

I think a story I heard tonight says it best. A young piano student was super frustrated with her piano teacher. She complained to anyone who’d listen that the teacher was not only intense during the actual piano lessons, but that she gave too much hard homework to master before the next lesson and expected her to practice, practice, practice. “And she keeps adding new techniques and skills! It’s too much,” she’d wail. When she finally worked up nerve to complain to the teacher herself, the teacher only smiled, opened the piano book to the first piece the student had struggled over and played poorly, and asked her to play it. Amazingly, this time the student played that first piece easily and flawlessly! Dumbfounded, the very proud and now grateful student suddely understood what the teacher had been doing and why.

For these past 5 months I and hundreds of people across the world have been taking a university-level class called The Master Key Experience. It has been a huge time and energy commitment! In preparation for our Sunday night live sessions, we download and print three items: a workbook that we will use during the class, a checklist of assignments for the coming week, and the Master Key reading for the week. Once a week on Sunday evenings it’s a 3-hour commitment as we experience intense online presentations on new concepts, reinforcement of what we’ve learned, and a lively and inspiring Q & A session. Daily it’s a commitment of 60-90 minutes. We start each week checking off on an app that we’ve accomplished the assigned tasks for morning, after lunch, and evening. In addition to reading the Charles Haanel chapter for the week and sitting and thinking about it for at least 15 minutes, we also read aloud our six-step Blueprint, our Definite Major Purpose statement, our service cards with our commitments to accomplish, and other index cards with several inspiring phrases. These weeks we’re working on the Franklin Makeover and observing around us and working to incorporate another of his suggested virtues so we track how that’s going. I keep the pen out to write out six index cards for each day: 3 gratitudes, 1 moment in the day I relive and cherish, and 2 kindnesses I did or observed. I insert these new cards into two decks of index cards that have been accumulating and I take one deck and turn each card as I think warmly about the people I’ve connected with, the things I’ve accomplished over my lifetime, affirmations, question cards, and the accumulation of gratitudes, cherished moments and kindnesses. What a confidence builder! I then read the scroll for the month from Og Mandino’s THE GREATEST SALESMAN IN THE WORLD. I check my assignment sheet for the week to make sure I’ve left nothing out–these weeks we’re reading an obituary daily and asking ourselves 3 questions about it. There’s more through the day at other times–listening to the audio recording of my voice reading my DMP over my favorite music, studying my movie poster and imagining my life as an exciting movie, associating with my own Hero’s Journey four shapes/colors I have been instructed to put around the house and in the car, sharing on the Marco Polo app with others in my tribe, commenting on Master Mind posts online with other tribes , and more–depending on the week. Once a week I also attend our tribe’s zoom call, I think about and write my blog, and I check out nine other blogs and comment on them and share at least one of them to my social media. On Monday nights I take their class on how to better use media tools.

Like the piano student, I have often felt overwhelmed and pushed to and past my limits of personal energy and time available. On top of everything I have already mentioned, the readings themselves are dated and slow-going. I know that they’re the accumulation of what humans have discovered from ancient times about mind mastery and I’m intensely grateful that I have the privilege of interacting with this priceless wisdom. But Emerson’s essays are long and in the language of another time; Haanel was a genius whose dense writing style we no longer see; Og Mandino speaks in flowery prose. You grab a dictionary and wade into the deep waters.

But also like the piano student, I am now dumbfounded, proud, and grateful for all I have been empowered to be and do over these months. Why? Because recently I’ve had four other classes to compare the Master Key Experience to. Like you probably, I’ve been doing classes like this at the beginning of the year for decades. You know what they’re like–presenters doing their best to be creative and compelling as they talk about mindset and the need to get out of our comfort zones. They give us assessments and lists of qualities every leader should have. We hear again about vision, goals, daily action steps, and rewards for doing all that well. We resolve to do better this year. We accept or don’t accept their offer for paid coaching packages. Two months later we’ve not changed much.

ONE: The eager young coach excited about her own journey did an excellent job in 4 hours, providing us with worksheets to prepare for her sessions and homework after–I was really impressed with her creative insights about what works during Covid challenge times. TWO: A team of 4 seasoned leaders did their best presentations over 3 hours, including a live interview of someone like us but had little interaction from the rest of us. THREE: Another seasoned coach associated with a large coaching franchise is doing 2 hours once a week for 4 weeks and getting engagement not only through the zoom chat but on-camera participant input. Still, its wordswordswords but not much direction about how to turn them into habits to turly improve your trajectory . FOUR: Two people started a club to study a book on Thoughtsmanship. Fifty people, strangers to each other, showed up and despite everyone’s best efforts the exchange was boring.

I looked at all of these trainings through new eyes. These presenters and what they taught were similar to what I’d heard year after year. As I had done in the past, other participants gave huge kudos and thanks and were grateful because they don’t know there is something else out there like the Master Key Experience for which they can earn a scholarship! This year I finally understand why I never got farther than I have in my business and in my personal life, though I’ve always taken excellent notes, and even improved slowly and steadily.

The compass of the Master Key Experience may be antique like the one pictured above, but it still works and works better than anything else I’ve done. The map may be worn with use over thousands of years and for the uninitiated look old-fashioned and inaccurate. But the Hero’s Journey has been the same for humans throughout our history and the map will get us each to where we want to go. What Mark and Davene Januszewski and their team have lived, reflected on, and created is so far superior to anything I’ve been offered all my life! The other classes are like easy piano teachers of easy piano pieces. In contrast, the Master Key Experience is giving me a guide to write and rewrite my vision as I learn in detail how and why to write it a specific way. I speak it aloud at least 3 times a day and put color and sound and shape to it to work my brain’s corpus callosum for greater impact. I have been taught how to effectively step into the shoes of Future Shirley with the confidence I was lacking, with habits I was lacking, and with the scientific understanding I was lacking. Most of all I was lacking an intense commitment to give it my best, and an intense and committed high-level Master Mind to learn with and from–including guides who have successfully completed parts of their own Hero’s Journey with proof that this compass and this map create authentic magic in lives willing to pay the price.

Haanel gives another reason for me to be grateful in the reading this week. I know I’m truly blessed to have found the Master Key Experience. I rededicate myself to THIS compass and THIS map!

…nothing can permanently stand in the way of your perfect success when you learn to apply the scientifically correct thought methods and principles. Realize that you are externalizing in your environment your inherent soul potencies. Realize that the Silence offers an ever-available and almost unlimited opportunity for awakening the highest conception of Truth. Try to comprehend that Omnipotence itself is absolute silence, all else is change, activity, limitation. Silent thought concentration is therefore the true method of reaching, awakening, and then expressing the wonderful potential power of the world within.

Charles Haanel, Week 21, THE MASTER KEY EXPERIENCE

Master Key Experience Week 20: Wetiko

Thomas Peter Shadyac (born December 11, 1958) is an American director, screenwriter, producer, and author. The youngest joke-writer ever for comedian Bob Hope,[1] Shadyac is widely known for writing and directing the comedy films Ace Ventura: Pet DetectiveThe Nutty ProfessorLiar LiarPatch Adams, and Bruce Almighty. In 2010, Shadyac retired from comedic work to write, direct, and narrate his documentary film I Am, that explores his abandonment of a materialistic lifestyle following his involvement in a bicycle accident three years earlier. He is a former professor of communication at Pepperdine University‘s Seaver College.[1][2] In 2011, he was a participant in the Conference on World Affairs.[3] In 2015, Shadyac began teaching film at the University of Colorado Boulder, beginning with that year’s Spring semester,[4] Shadyac teaches film at the University of Memphis.[5] From Wikipaedia.

The words I am are powerful, aren’t they? People from my religious tradition will recognize them as what God gave as his name when Moses asked. I discovered the power of these words during my pre-school playtime as I’d pretend to be Cinderella or Snow White or Dale Evans or Peter Pan. To remind myself that I wasn’t any of them when I was finished playing, I invented the I am game. I’d repeat I am over and over till I’d realize a shiver of being…me.

So a couple of weeks ago I chose to watch Tom Shadyac’s documentary called I am when we were given a choice in the MKE of two films to check out. As with so many experiences in MKE, this 77 minute experience was life-changing. Not only did I rent it through Amazon Prime and watch it twice, taking copious notes, but I’ve bought it for my library. There’s enormous food for thought here–and ideas to master in order to share them effectively.

Tom Shadyac became wealthy and successful making people laugh. At a young age he had it all–worldly fame, famous friends, mansions, limos, planes, and everything else that comes with being a sought-after Hollywood director. When a severe brain injury that wouldn’t heal left him with weird sights and sounds in his head, he longed to die and began thinking what he wanted to leave as a legacy of what he had learned from his life before he left it. He pushed himself, when he was able to travel, and grabbed a film crew of 4 to criss-cross the globe to interview wise ones to ask two questions he wanted answers to. What is wrong with the world? How can we fix it?

The resulting documentary takes us with him across cultures and continents. We explore with him what it means to be human–specifically, are we made for competition or cooperation, kingdoms or democracies? We learn with Shadyac that science has finally caught up with what indigenous peoples and faith communities have known forever: to be human is to belong–to family, to community. Those who “interpreted” Charles Darwin’s genetic discoveries emphasized only “the survival of the fittest” instead of also noting how many times Darwin mentioned love and cooperation in his writings. How unfortunate.

This is where the word wetiko comes in. The work of Jack D Forbes, who specialized in Native American studies, is acknowledged in the documentary. He says Native Americans “have this word wetiko which means cannibal: one who eats not literally the flesh of another, but who eats the life of another.  …We very quickly realized when new people came from Europe they were infected with wetiko, which is a mental illness.” The narrative observes: It’s a challenge to face the culture infected with wetiko. Run, fight or become them.

“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good,” says actor Michael Douglas’ character in a clip from the movie WALL STREET that plays in the documentary. It not only shows that we didn’t run or fight. We created a cut-throat economy so that a portion of us goes along with, “Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionay spirit. Greed in all of its forms–greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge–has marked the upward surge of mankind [sic] . And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Telgar Paper but [also] that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.”

The documentary fit right into what we were reading from Haanel this week.

FROM THE INTRODUCTION: When the creative power of thought is manifested for the benefit of humanity, we call the result good. When the creative power of thought is manifested in a destructive or evil manner, we call the result evil.

PART 14 To become inspired means to get out of the beaten path, out of the rut, because extaordinary results require exteaordinary means. When we come into a recognition of the Unity of all things and that the source of all power is within, we tap the source of inspiration.

PART 15 Inspiration is the art of imbibing; the art of self-realization; the art of adjusting the individual mind to that of the Universal Mind; the art of attaching the proper mechanism to the source of all power; the art of differentiating the formless into form; the art of becoming a channel for the flow of Infinite Wisdom; the art of visualizing perfection; the art of realizing the omnipresence of Omnipotence.

Charles Haanel The Master Key Part 20

That’s what Shadyac did in his Hero’s Journey. He asked What’s wrong with the world? all over the world. In the documentary Shadyac says, “Here’s a true story to show just who we’ve become. Once there was a native tribe that lived in peace and harmony for thousands of years and every day the routine was the same. Hunters would go out from the tribe, and when they returned the bounty from the hunt was shared equally by all members of the tribe. No one went hungry when food was available, not even the weak, the sick, or the elderly. One day, the most skilled hunter said ‘I’m the best hunter! I kill more than my share of deer! Why should I share the bounty of my hunt?” And from that day forward he began to store his meat in a high mountain cave. And then other skilled hunters said, “We kill more than our share of deer, too. Shouldn’t we have the right to keep the bounty of our hunt?” And they, too, began to store their meat in high mountain caves. And then something began to happen in the tribe that had never happened before. Some people, especially the old, the weak, and the sick began to go hungry, while others were well fed.  In fact, it became so common place that no one even thought it unusual that some were starving while others had more than what they needed. And what’s even more strange, the tribal elders began to teach their young to emulate the hoarding habits of these few. Know that story isn’t true because it happened. It’s true because it’s happening! We are that tribe. I am that tribe.”

What can we do about it? is his other question. Here’s one of Shadyac’s answers. Along with this resolve he completely changed his lifestyle, sold properties, lives in downscale neighborhoods, bikes to work, teaches and mentors.

The documentary narrative says, “Nature is very clear on this. In fact there’s one fundamental law that all of nature obeys that mankind breaks every day.   Now this is a law that’s evolved over billions of years and the law is this. Nothing in nature takes more than it needs, and when something does, it becomes subject to this law and it dies off. An ocean, a rain forest, the human body are all cooperatives. The Redwood tree doesn’t take all the soil’s nutrients–just what it needs to grow. A lion doesn’t kill every gazelle–just one. We have a term for something in the body when it takes more than its share–we call it cancer.”

I delighted in the dozens of ways Shadyac catches us up on the new science that proves that humans are built for cooperation and not competition. Here are just a few. (1) You’ll smile as they show in a lab that the bacteria in yogurt in a dish in front of Tom mirrors anxous emotions when he has them–showing that everything we do affects invisibly, mollecularly, but REALLY the world around us. (2) Heart Math scientists show on a monitor “the heartbeat and then …this seemingly blank space in between, a pause. It turns out that has a lot of information that can be monitored. And that pause, for example, can tell us what emotional state the person is in. …And they found that positive states, particularly compassionate states are healthy, because these states actually renew our physiology. Love, care, gratitude, compassion–all the things that we tend to associate and label positive we do that for a reason…it’s the optimal [human] state. If the heart is sending a stressful or a negative emotional message or pattern–that literally inhibits our brain. We can’t think clearly…” (3) “The great apes, along with dolphins, and possibly elephants, have something called mirror neurons. And what we discovered is if a monkey observes the behavior that itself has performed it has the same neuron light up as if it itself is doing the action. In other words, there’s something in the brain that doesn’t distinguish between self and other–a very kind of mystical premise in in some ways–but also underlies empathic behaviors. When you see somebody suffering you feel it. That’s the mirror neuron. We’re really geared at a very primordial level to feel what another person feels. Big parts of our nervous systems, our brains, little chemicals in our bloodstream–all are shaped by genes that are there to help us connect, to care, and to cooperate. There’s this amazing bundle of nerves–the Vegus nerve.”

There’s much MUCH more here. But this is how Shadyac ends the documentary. “We started this film by asking what’s wrong with this world.  We ended it up discovering what’s right with it.  The science of connection and unity.  The universal nature of compassion and empathy.  The mystery and magic of the human heart.

“When GK Chesterton was asked by the LONDON TIMES to enter an essay contest and answer  that same question: What’s wrong with the world?  He wrote the following:  “Dear Sirs.  I Am.”  And in response to his response I write “Dear GK.  Bingo.”

“Howard Zinn says you can’t be neutral on a moving train.  And it’s true.  None of us are neutral. We all cast our vote each day by what we do and don’t do.  And yes the moving trains today are still hunger, human rights, war, and the devastation of the natural world.  But there’s another moving train.  It’s the new world that’s being born… “And here’s the good news for all of you on that moving train.  There’s no such thing as a tiny act.  The way you greet someone.  The joy you experience in nature with family, friends, and strangers.  It all matters.  The science is clear.  Each of us and the hundred trillion crazy, weird, miraculous cells that make us up really do have the power to change the world. 

“When I was facing death I wanted to tell you what I know.  This is it—that all things are connected and one.  And as long as we continue to treat each other, even our enemies, as separate, we will continue to have exactly the same world that we have.  There is a way out of this and it’s also shorter than GK Chesteron’s letter: LOVE.  Now that’s not Utopian.  It’s real.  It’s scientific.  It’s in our DNA.  So now I ask one more question.  What’s right with the world?  Here’s to the hope that one day we can all answer that the same way.  I am.”

Dear Tom. My response to your response to GK’s response: I am…less and less what’s wrong with the world. And more and more doing my part to fix it. Thank you for inspiring me with your power of one. And agan, thank you, MKE!

Master Key Experience Week 19: No yesterday. No tomorrow.

Image by S K from Pixabay

For 19 weeks I’ve been saying “Do it now!” 25 times out loud twice a day. It’s part of our practice in the Master Key Experience. It’s amazing what changes that little phrase has brought about. I pause to think whether to do this or that before the other when I hear the now ingrained “Do it now!” and…I do it now. It’s amazing how much this unburdens the mind and spirit. I no longer carry around a mental list of millions of things undone. Gradually the lists of a lifetime are whittling down.

But not until daily reading The Scroll Marked V in Og Mandino’s THE GREATEST SALESMAN IN THE WORLD have I appreciated fully the other context of the word NOW. “I will live this day as if it is my last” is the recurring statement in the scroll. This bring urgency and intensity of purpose to today.

But even more, Og forcefully reminds me that today is not yesterday and that I ought not be focusing on yesterday at all. So I’ve been observing how much of my internal chatter during waking hours is about yesterday. I suspect most of us keep touching back into past memories just as the tongue can’t leave alone a problem tooth. Why spend time in the past, though. This list of his is powerful.

…I will waste not a moment mourning yesterday’s misfortunes, yesterday’s defeats, yesterday’s aches of the heart, for why should I throw good after bad?

Can sand flow upward in the hour glass? Will the sun rise where it sets and set where it rises? Can I relive the errors of yesterday and right them? Can I call back yesterday’s wounds and make them whole? Can I become younger than yesterday? Can I take back the evil that was spoken, the blows that were struck, the pain that was caused? No. Yesterday is buried forever and I will think of it no more.

But he says not to think of tomorrow either! And I’ve been observing how much I do that as well, instead of focusing on today and instead of focusing on NOW with the intensity of my new determination to also “…live this day as if it is my last.”

…Forgetting yesterday neither will I think of tomorrow. Why should I throw now after maybe? Can tomorrow’s sand flow through the glass before today’s? Will the sun rise twice this morning? Can I perform tomorrow’s deeds while standing in today’s path? Can I place tomorrow’s gold in today’s purse? Can tomorrow’s child be born today? Can tomorrow’s death cast its shadow backward and darken today’s joy? Should I concern myself over events which I may never witness? Should I torment myself with problems that may never come to pass? No! Tomorrow lies buried with yesterday, and I will think of it no more.

Og is helping me understand to my depths that “this day is all I have and these hours are now my eternity.” He says

I will avoid with fury the killers of time. Procrastination I will destroy with action; doubt I will bury under faith; fear I will dismember with confidence. Where there are idle mouths I will listen not; where there are idle hands I will linger not; where there are idle bodies I will visit not. Hencefoth I know that to court idleness is to steal food, clothing, and warmth from those I love. I am not a thief. I am a wo/man of love and today is my last chance to prove my love and my greatness.

…The duties of today I shall fulfill today.

So! I will DO IT NOW thinking of now–NOW, in all the richness of that word.

Master Key Experience Week 18: Reading Obituaries

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

One of our recent daily assignments in the Master Key Experience has been to read one or more local obituaries, especially those with photographs of the deceased. We’re in the 2nd week of doing this. So many are younger than I am. So many were hampered by a difficult and/or painful illness when I am so healthy. So many left so many grieving loved ones. Some were suicides; some were murders; some deaths were the result of horrendous accidents. I was especially surprised that there are SO MANY obituaries every day even in my community of only 300,00. I am so blessed not to be there. In the past I would have been like the comedian George Burns who is said to have said, “I get up every morning and read the obituary column. If my name’s not there, I eat breakfast.” Sure that’s funny. But I’m no longer taking it lightly and just going on with my day. Here’s why reading obituaries has been a life-changer for me.

The obituary reading assignment goes along with “The Scroll Marked V” by Og Mandino in The Greatest Salesman in the World: You Can Change Your Life With The Priceless Wisdom Of The Ten Ancient Scrolls Handed Down For Thousands of Years. This is the next Scroll in the series and we’ll be reading it 3 times a day, once out loud, for the entire month of February.

The scroll begins, “I will live this day as if it is my last.” The scroll ends this way:

And if it is my last, it will be my greatest monument. This day I will make the best day of my life. This day I will drink every minute to its full. I will savor its taste and give thanks. I will maketh every hour count and each minute I will trade only for something of value. I will labor harder than ever before and push my muscles until they cry for relief, and then I will continue. I will make more calls than ever before, I will sell more goods than ever before. I will earn more gold than ever before. Each minute of today will be more fruitful than hours of yesterday. My last must be my best.

I will live this day as if it is my last. And if it is not, I shall fall to my knees and give thanks.”

Og Mandina, pp 73-77 The Greatest Saleman in the World

We’ve heard the term memento mori, which is “an artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death.” In my Roman Catholic tradition there were monks who had had an actual skull in the cell where they slept. A parish priest I knew in rural Kansas used as the coffee table in his living room a wooden coffin he had had crafted to fit his tall dimensions. Why would they do that? Isn’t all that morbid?

All this is far from being morbid! Instead, all of this shines a bright light on the excruciatingly preciousness of every minute of the time we have to use before our deaths. None of us is promised tomorrow. All of us are sent here with a purpose to accomplish. The needs of our times are enormous as are the needs of so many people we share these times with! Time is ticking. Why wouldn’t we want some way to remember and be fully aware of that every day?

I’m sure that’s why we are being encouraged to ask ourselves three things after reading an obituary–and to make this a practice and a personal memento mori.

“What would that person have done to change places with me and have 1 more day?”

“Who can I let know how grateful I am for their presence today if it is my last?”

How will I live today to finish the masterpiece of my life elegantly?”

Most of us don’t live this way, right? We have big dreams and then the money doesn’t seem to flow and we acquire responsibilities and debts and expectations from other people in our lives. We work hard, get tired, and stop taking care of the physical side of us that needs more sleep and activity and better food than the junk we eat. The years go by. We make excuses. We fall asleep watching TV or Netflix or Amazon Prime. We play computer games to keep ourselves distracted. We don’t stimulate our brains. We don’t let art from our contemporaries challenge us. We do our jobs well enough to get by. We find pleasure, laughter, fun and fulfillment where we can. We settle for getting by with a gray life, even though it is a seemingly great life. We don’t remember most days that time is ticking.

I was getting the memento mori message loud and clear in the live session for the week when our instructors kicked it up even another notch with a fabulous new question to write on at least 10 index cards to keep top of mind every day as we go through the segments of our days this week: “What would the person I intend to become do next?”

Isn’t that an excellent guide to living today to its fullest? She doesn’t waste a minute. She thinks only positive thoughts. She uses her body and mind really well, keeping them healthy and active and youthful. She rests when it’s time to rest and makes plenty of time for re-energizing fun and laughter. Daily she finds more and more ways to make life better for those her life touches. She’s focused on her Definite Major Purpose and works toward it daily using her mind skills to create authentic magic. She’s guided by the virtues of kindness, discipline, organization, courage, self-control, decisiveness, persistence, enthusiasm, imagination. She shapes a pleasing personality, takes initiative, and sees God in others–having incorporated into her personality the “Franklin Makeover” virtues she assimilated in the Master Key Experience.

Like her, I will no longer take tomorrow for granted. “I will live this day as if it is my last.”

Master Key Experience Week 17 HJ: Double-Checking the Hero’s Journey Recipe

Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay

Last week was Week 17 in the Master Key Experience. This week, interestingly, is being called Week 17 HJ. That’s because four months in we’re taking a bit of extra time to make sure we each have all we need for the challenges that are ahead in the Hero’s Journey. I’m double-checking the helmet of my thinking, assessing how much “cement”/false-thinking from my past I still need to chip off to lighten the load. I’m checking the protective armor of the interlocking habits I’ve woven and re-weaving over the weak spots. I’m making sure I’ll have enough of the the purest water of positive thinking along. I’m taking time to check over each recipe and choose the right ingredients to take along for the soul nourishment crucial to my sacred quest. I’m checking with my Guides and others on their own Hero’s Journey for tips and wisdom.

It’s a journey humankind has chronicled from the beginning of time. The illustration below is a summary of Joseph Campbell’s work in comparative mythology and comparative religion, showing that no matter the race, the area of the world, or the time in history, the Hero’s Journey has these components. I’m in the middle of it. I am determined to successfully complete it.

This internal Journey up till now has been far from easy. Already I have had to work through deep and paralyzing fears as well as an immense lack of self-confidence. I have struggled mightily with the time commitment I made to find ways to incorporate the Journey into an already super busy life–and struggled with my personal shame and my discouragement at not being able to do assignments perfectly. I knew it was necessary to majorly shake up my life to re-set my subconscious, but the shake up was uncomfortable and even harsh. My vision of my Definite Major Purpose was so fuzzy that the effort to see clearly was exhausting and often discouraging when week after week nothing I tried brought it into clear focus.

I understand that about 200 people who started with us have dropped out of the MKE over these 18 weeks for some or all of these reasons. I don’t want to be one of them.

So this week I took the opportunity given to re-focus, make course corrections, and get more organized. As I head into the next part of the Journey, this map is in front of me at all times:

DMP. Now that it’s clear and precise in 400 words, I read my Definite Major Purpose at least 3 times a day with immense enthusiasm, knowing that linking emotion to thought is the key to success. To take advantage of the best times for the mind to absorb, I hold the last hour of the day sacred to include this and other reading and mindwork. This has meant letting go of my cherished habit of falling asleep listening to an audiobook–a huge adjustment. In the morning, I listen to myself on an audio I did of my DMP over my favorite sound in the world–the ocean. I then re-listen to recorded MKE Lessons as I begin my day with water, nutrition, stretching, walking in nature, and morning spiritual practices. This has meant giving up my news junkie habit of checking the news from 5 different news outlets from first thing in the morning to last thing at night. Giving myself fertile quiet, I am daily growing into Future Shirley’s Hero shoes, reading the press release I’ve created about her unique contributions, and joining my thoughts and voice to hers.

PMA. A Postive Mental Attitude is true refreshment for the spirit. I am now an observer of my thinking, gently noticing why my mind goes in directions it does, and doing better and better as time goes on. After months of striving not to express an opinion (unless I’m an expert in the topic), I see what a more peaceful world we’d live in if everyone did that! My daily reading of Og Mandino’s positivity shores me up.

POA. I have my Plan of Action. With the Guides, I’ve built this day by day, week by week, incorporating all the kinds of learning so that the plan sticks. It has color and shapes and archetypal images like a compass, a key, and a magnifying glass. It has daily index cards of service and celebration, movie images with a movie poster, a movie trailer, and a press release. It has multiple contrasting and complimentary ways to combine all this in mind gym exercises and physical action. It has practicing and observing virtues around me in the Franklin Makeover. It has a weekly strategy session, a weekly TO DO list, and weekly readings. It has studying and incorporating specific applicable Laws of the Mind: Law of Substitution, Law of Relaxation, Law of Practice, Law of Forgiveness, Law of Dual Thought, Law of Subconscious, and Law of Growth.

MMA. I had an active imagination as a child and became an earnest seeker as a teen. As a young adult I delved into sacred readings as a Catholic nun. In my middle years I discovered Joseph Campbell’s work and voraciously read Og Mandino, Napoleon Hill and too many more to mention. In recent years I worked hard to incorporate into my life humanity’s breakthroughs in psychology, social sciences, and neurology. But I did not get as far in all those decades as I have in four months with my new Master Mind Alliance! How unique we each are, and the same truths filtering through others so different from me has amplified my experiences a thousand-fold. This is what I have been missing all my life–this community of wise ones on the same Hero’s Journey who generously share their wisdom and experiences and questions without hype or pretense. Their personal support, unflagging encouragement, and sharp challenge makes the map glow!

So! I’m ready to move forward!

The question isn’t if we will weather this unknown; but how we will weather this unknown together. So on this meaningful morn, we mourn and we mend. Like light we can’t be broken even when we bend.

…In this chaos we will discover clarity. In suffering we must find solidarity. For it’s our grief that gives us our gratitude, shows us how to find hope if we ever lose it.

So ensure that this ache wasn’t endured in vain; do not ignore the pain. Give it purpose. Use it.

…We’ll observe how the burdens braved by humankind are also the moments that make us humans kind. Let every dawn find us courageous, brought closer, heeding the light before the fight is over. When this ends, we’ll smile sweetly, finally seeing in testing times, we became the best of beings.

America’s inaugural youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman,
THE MIRACLE OF MORNING, April of 2020.

Master Key Experience Week 17: Food for the Body and the Soul

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

This past year I’ve learned a lot about food–food for my body, and food for my spirit. I’ve been amused to realize that food is food–whether it’s physical to feed my body, or in the form of words and thoughts that feed my soul. Either way, food is crucial–whether I avoid it and don’t perform at my highest and best, or overindulge in it and get bogged down.

FOOD FOR MY BODY. In January 2020 I signed up for Noom’s psychology-based tool for getting and staying healthy and slim. The app works like a coach in my pocket, always there to refer to. Daily lessons take about 10 minutes to read. We learn to apply the 5-6 bite-sized lessons and create a toolbox of practical actions that build strong habits of one kind or another. I love that Noom is based on sound psychology and scientific research about how our minds and bodies work separately and together. I was able to start and/or strengthen habits of mindful eating, consistent exercise, better sleeping, positive self-talk, better attitudes toward food, and strategies for dealing with things like discouragement, unhelpful friends and family (when it comes to temptations), and cravings. Inside the Noom app I got a personal coach called a “goal specialist” who is just a click and a text message away to answer questions, hold me gently accountable, make suggestions for the goal of the week, and shore me up when I need that. Also inside the Noom app is a forum where other “Noomies” assigned to a group coach answer questions, say what’s working for them, offer inspiration, share funny experiences, encourage each other, and celebrate victories.

Noom became a powerful framework for positive change. I’ve shed and kept off 43 pounds with just 7 to go to my ideal weight. I’ve locked in habits that I will keep for the rest of my life because I have now experienced the difference they make. I’m eating a mostly plant-based diet because I have learned to fix all kinds of yummy and filling combinations of fruit, veggies, and grains. I incorporate meat and oils in a healthy way. I eat mindfully at a nicely appointed table and savor each bite instead of skipping meals, eating on the run, and/or inhaling food mindlessly. I give myself wind-down time before an earlier and regular bedtime because I’ve learned the impact of sleep on weight management. I walk outdoors or on a rebounder first thing in the morning and in the evening and incorporate more movement throughout the day and evening, counting steps. As a result I’m really loving my leaner, lither body!

FOOD FOR MY SPIRIT. You’d think that with all that food-based change going on all year I would have realized sooner the food and eating similarity between Noom and the Master Key Experience/Master Mind Alliance that I began in late September of 2020. But it wasn’t until I read Lesson 17 this week that the similarity–one with food for the body and the other with food for the soul–became obvious.

Notice how Haanel describes food for the soul in words equivalent to physical food: “object of its attention,” “matter of importance,” “information,” “basic principles of things, the heart of things, the spirit of things,” and “the real substance.” He describes the process in terms similar to eating: “absorb,” “set in operation,” and “turned within.” He even starts out making the comparison between food/body and object/mind:

21. …As food absorbed is the essence of the body, so the mind absorbs the object of its attention, gives it life and being.

22. If you concentrate on some matter of importance, the intuitive power will be set in operation, and help will come in the nature of information which will lead to success.

31. Thought ordinarily leads outwardly in evolutionary directons, but it can be turned within where it will take hold of the basic principles of things, the heart of things, the spirit of things. When you get to the heart of things it is comparatively easy to understand and command them.

32. This is because the Spirit of a thing is the thing itself, the vital part of it, the real substance. The form is simply the outward manifestation of the spiritual activity within.

MKE Lesson Week 17 by Charles Haanel

Starting MKE, I noticed the many similarities in structure to Noom and even asked if the creators of Noom had taken the Master Key Experience! There are daily readings, an app for logging activity, a robust website full of tools and helps, a personal guide, group sharing and activity in the Marco Polos and group Zooms, underpinning from science and psychology, motivation, habit formation, and the proven success of students. In addition MKE has a weekly lesson, an introductory video, a workbook, and extensive notes to go with each webinar with time for questions and comments at the end.

But I find it really interesting that they both deal with food! They both give specific instruction on how best to feed the body in the one and how best to feed the soul in the other. In both the instruction influences daily food choices and eating.

In Noom I focus on 3 tasty and nourishing meals and snacks. In MKE I breakfast on a set of readings, I lunch on a set of readings, I dine late on a set of readings–some familiar, some new to add seasoning. The protein of my MKE food is my Definite Major Purpose–my strong desire and heart reason for being on earth–and I read it with enthusiasm out loud those three times. In Noom I choose a variety of snacks. In MKE I “snack on” a confidence-building futuristic press release, a movie poster of coming attractions, an audio of a meaningful tune playing behind my voice reading my DMP, and hundreds of index cards to flip through during the day, shuffling them to get interesting combinations and energizing mind movies of places I’ve been, people I’ve loved, things I’m grateful for, and accomplishments from an early age.

In Noom I focus on drinking enough water throughout the day. In MKE I focus on positive thinking and speaking, expressing no opinion unless I’m an expert in that area. We even call this our “mental diet.”

In Noom I exercise my body. In MKE I exercise my mind in a number of scientific ways that create flow across brain synapses because the MKE program deliberately incorporates all the forms of learning–spatial/visual, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, mathematical/logical, linguistic/verbal, and athletic. Just as one example, I constantly and actively seek connections between the shapes and colors all around me as I go through my day, linking them to the goals and Personal Pivotal Needs (PPNs) I associate with each shape and color that I have put onto flash cards next to the words I read aloud or silently through the day. Multiple daily actions and associations like this create activity across the brain’s corpus collosum where the two hemispheres of the brain (right brain and left brain) interact. I recognize, relate, assimilate, and apply (R2A2) so that I become a “Superior Observer,” so necessary for driving the activity deep into the subconscious which will then work constantly toward my abundant future. Together these exercises activate something called Neurological Associative Reactive Conditioning (NARC) which trains my conscious and subconscious to attach pleasure to activities crucial for my goals so that my mind compells me in every way possible to keep doing them and attach pain to not doing them. What a total brain workout!

In Noom I use psychological principles to establish and lock in lasting habits around food and eating to make my body efficient and strong so that I can be at peak performance. I learn to recognize foods in three categories–green foods full of water so that I feel full and satisfied when I eat them, yellow foods, and red foods. In MKE I use psychological principles to establish and lock in lasting habits around the mind and thinking right thoughts in the right way so that my mind is efficient and powerful enough to give me the self-confidence I need to achieve the Definite Major Purpose I focus on. I learn to use the times of day when the brain is at its most receptive, capitalize on the power of words, activate the power of emotions tied to the words, and stoke my burning desire. As a result I’m really loving the power of my new mental habits, my greater consciousness, my greater self-confidence, and the kinds of authentic magic (so-called “coincidences”) that are beginning to happen daily for me and others in our Master Mind Alliance.

As you can see, 2020 and now 2021 have been exceptionally powerful in my life. I am so grateful to have the right kind of food for body and soul, to be eating in the right way, AND TO BE GETTING AMAZING RESULTS!

Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Master Key Experience Week 16: Word Power

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Have you, like me, never thought of the word spell as having to do with spiritual power, as in “casting a spell?” Clearly people closer to the origins of language knew the power of words in a way we moderns don’t connect with. My Master Key Experience is showing me we ignore the power of the word at our own peril. Let me explain.

Spell in our common use has to do with language, right? It’s something those of us of a certain age grew up with everywhere. “Have you practiced your spelling words?” “When is the spelling bee?” “How do you spell that?” “Spell that out for me, please.” These days even the Microsoft Word program has a feature so we can spell check our Word document.

Spell referring to magic incantation is of different origin,” reports the Merriam-Webster website in an article they title “Spelling out the History of ‘Spell:’ Language is Magic!” They say spell “is strictly Germanic (from the noun spel) and refers to talk, storytelling, gossip, and a sermon. It also is the derivative of gospel (which translates to “good tale”) and is the source for the magical power and enchantment senses of spell.”

Weeks 15 and 16 of our MKE reading assignments from Charles Haanel talk a lot about the power of the word in the second sense and meaning of the word spell. After all, in the Gospel we learn that “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”

Because I love words and think of myself as a wordsmith, I just loved the additional power of the word unveiled here.

20. We know that the universal Thought has for its goal the creation of form, and we know that the individual thought is likewise forever attempting to express itself in form, and we know that the word is a thought form, and a sentence is a combination of thought forms, therefore, if we wish our ideal to be beautiful or strong, we must see that the words out of which this temple will eventually be created are exact, that they are put together carefully, because accuracy in building words and sentences is the highest form of architecture in civilization and is a passport to success.

21. Words are thoughts and are therefore an invisible and invincible power which will finally objectify themselves in the form they are given.

22. Words may become mental places that will live forever, or they may become shacks which the breeze will carry away. They may delight the eye as well as the ear; they may contain all knowledge; in them we find the history of the past as well as the hope of the future; they are living messengers from which every human and superhuman activity is born.

23. The beauty of the word consists in the beauty of the thought; the power of the word consists in the power of the thought, and the power of the thought consists in its vitality

28. There can be no question but that he who ‘is wise enough to understand’ will readily recognize that the creative power of thought places an invincible weapon in his hands and makes him a master of destiny.

MKE Lesson Week 15 by Charles Haanel

So we have the “creative power of thought” forming into word(s). We learn “the power of the word consists in the power of the thought, and the power of the thought consists in its vitality.” How careful we ought to be with words that have that kind of power of thought behind them!

Then in Week 16 we explore more about what that vitality consists of in the thought and the word(s) that give it form:

21. And finally, the vitality depends upon the feeling with which the thought is impregnated. If the thought is constructive, it will possess vitality; it will have life, it will grow, develop, expand, it will be creative; it will attract to itself everything necessary for its complete development.

34. The psychologists have come to the conclusion that there is but one sense, the sense of feeling, and that all other senses are but modifications of this one sense; this being true, we know why feeling is the very fountain head of power, why the emotions so easily overcome the intellect, and why we must put feeling into our thought, if we wish results. Thought and feeling is the irresistible combination.

MKE Lesson Week 16 by Charles Haanel

So the thought takes form in the word(s) and the vitality of both depends upon the feeling with which the thought and word(s) are impregnated. We must put feeling into our thought (and the word that gives it form) if we want results because thought into word with feeling is the “irresistible combination.”

Sixteen weeks into this process I understand more than ever why from Day 1 we have been taught to read the assignment thoughts-into-words with incredible enthusiasm! I understand why the guides returned the 400-word Definite Major Pupose statement so that its words captured our thought and our imagined vision as perfectly and as powerfully as possible in precise evocative words. I understand why we add color and sound and press release and poster! Thoughts into words with feeling have power to transform lives! Sixteen weeks into the MKE I’m seeing the proof of this everywhere in my own life and in the others in the Master Mind Alliance. POWERFUL!!!!

I am so very grateful to Mark and Davene Januszewski who read and re-read and digested words like these that summarize the wisdom of centuries that Haanel brought together. They mastered volumes so that they could translate them into a system of learning and application to make it accessible to those for whom the language of bygone eras is difficult to absorb. I so appreciate their creating the next step to getting this out to the world. I’m so excited that you and I can be part of it!

I am also wowed by the verse at the end of Lesson 16 for the shining vision it paints. I have edited it slightly and made my edits in bold to perfectly conclude this post. Words have immense and shining power.

A wo/man might frame and let loose a star, to roll in its orbit, and yet not have done so memorable a thing before God as s/he who lets a golden-orbed thought word to roll through the generations of time.

H.W. Beacher

Master Key Experience Week 15: Time Boundaries

Image by ThePixelman from Pixabay

I’m someone who has tried for a lifetime to manipulate time and push against boundaries. Time and limits were the enemy. I’ve lost most of those battles from a young age yet I’ve kept coming back for more. In grade school I’d stomp angrily at having to stop playing on summer nights because it got dark and was time to go in and get ready for bed. In high school and college I’d put off writing papers till the night before they were due and pull all-nighters. In adulthood skirmishes continued. I’d get to the Post Office two minutes after the grate had been pulled down, arrive a few minutes late to most meetings, have to apologize profusely for not meeting a customer’s deadline, send belated birthday greetings and Christmas gifts–you get the picture.

As we do when we’re unenlightened, I’d blame my time and boundaries issues on everyone but myself. I’d joke that it was my mostly my dad’s fault. After all, he’d INSIST that we arrive EARLY to everything. I especially hated being a half hour early to our Catholic church on Sundays where silence ruled–all the pews were empty and it was silent and boring! For years I’d joke as I apologized for being late that I was balancing out 18 years of being too early for everything.

I got to thinking about time and boundaries as a new year started and we began reading the 4th scroll in the Master Key Experience that has brought so many new insights to other areas of my life. These words struck me especially hard.

I will concentrate my energy on the challenge of the moment and my actions will help me forget all else. The problems of my home will be left in my home. I will think naught of my family when I am in the market place for this will cloud my thoughts. So too will the problems of the market place be left in the market place and I will think naught of my profession when I am in my home for this will dampen my love.

There is no room in the market place for my family, nor is there room in my home for the market. Each I will divorce from the other and thus will I remain wedded to both. Separate must they remain or my career will die. This is a paradox of the ages.

Og Mandino, THE GREATEST SALESMAN IN THE WORLD

I will concentrate my energy on the challenge of the moment and my actions will help me forget all else” is another way of saying the ancient wisdom BE HERE NOW. This time I’m hearing it loud and clear. Accept the time. Accept the boundary. BE HERE NOW.

Over these months we’ve learned a lot about how the conscious and subconscious work, about brain chemical addictions, and about the flow across the corpus collosum of right brain and left brain activity. We’ve been reminded that science tells us there is no such thing as so-called multi-tasking–that the brain is equipped to do one thing at a time. Multi-taskers are really misusing their brains, subjecting them to constant switching between tasks. Research has proven that we get more accomplished with focus on one thing at a time.

So I’ve finally been able to stop fighting time and boundaries as I move into this new calendar year. Why? Instead of expending all that emotional energy to fight against what is, I’ve been given new tools in MKE to embrace what is, including time. I am able to value boundaries. My new habits of thought and action away from multi-tasking that I’ve been building day by day for 3 months have brought me to a new level of consciousness, a new level of self-awareness, and a new level of peace. I’m clear about my Definite Major Purpose. I’m clear about how to spend my time. As the scroll suggests, I can now fully experience the marketplace when I’m in the marketplace. I accept its boundary, and no longer let work spill over into my personal life and personal time. For years I’ve let my personal life and my true love of spiritual exploration sit on the back burner and grow cold as I’ve let down personal boundaries to let work take over my whole life, thinking that was the way to cash flow. It wasn’t!

I’m so grateful not to have to be at war any more. Time has expanded. Boundaries are a gift. The new year will be abundant.

Master Key Experience Week 14: Mully the Movie

Mully the Movie” is currently available on Amazon Prime at https://www.amazon.com/Mully-Charles/dp/B076XS9YB1 Contributions can be sent to www.mullychildrensfamily.org

As a change of pace in the Master Key Experience, we were given a list of movies to choose from and watch over the holidays. We were encouraged to see how the principles we’ve been learning and putting into action are brought to life in each movie. A definite major purpose. A positive mental attitude. A plan of action. A master mind alliance.

Davene Januszewski told us as the week began that if we “got” the message in “Mully the Movie” we would more clearly “get” the passion behind the mission of all that she and Mark have been working to do through the MKE/MMA. So I was intrigued and found the movie available free on Amazon Prime. Little did I know I was in for a life-changing experience.

“Changing the World One Child at a Time” is the message. The movie trailer asks “What happens when a six-year-old boy in Kenya is abandoned by his family and left to raise himself on the streets? MULLY is no ordinary rags-to-riches tale…”

A DEFINITE MAJOR PURPOSE. Charles Mully’s family left him behind one night while he was sleeping because a small child would slow down their trip across country to find better living conditions. Over the incredibly tough and hungry years that followed, Charles succeeded by his wits, hard work, and the kindness of strangers. He established himself as a successful businessman, married and had children, and used his growing wealth and ingenuity to become even more successful and wealthier. He and his family lived in relative luxury. But Charles literally could not rest as he went out at night to find abandoned children all around him. Surely there was room in his home for one or two more. Week after week, one or two more. His life’s passion became to do all in his power to help each child in his path survive and thrive–“To see children, youth and the marginalized members of society leading a dignified livelihood.”

A POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE. Charles never looked back, never thought his dream was impossible, kept on keeping on no matter what, and his PMA was infectious. His children embraced his attitude, and though they grumbled and questioned and argued, they pitched in. Years later they describe in the movie what it was like to have children crammed into every bed and on every floor space. They talked about the incredible work it took daily to feed and nurture all of them. I can only imagine!

A PLAN OF ACTION. The same ingenuity that made Charles a success in business made him a success in finding water where he was told there was no water, and figuring out how to transfer the water into fields and green houses in order to grow food to feed the growing family who all pitched in to help feed each other. They became self-sustaining.

A MASTER MIND ALLIANCE. God bless Charles’ wife! She embraced his DMP and made it her own. Without her skills at making meals and creating family harmony none of this would have been possible. His children stepped up to the challenge, as did each new child brought in from the cold. It is so clear that to succeed we need a master mind around us.

The message to me was incredibly clear. Early on Mully learned how to use these four components to attract abundance into his own life and to make it real for everyone his life touched.

And so will we! This was a perfect way to begin a new year!