Week 1: What Have I Gotten Into?

Just before logging into the Master Key Experience webinar, and after reading the material for the first time, I broke down into tears…tears of fear, doubt, apprehension, and a myriad of other feelings, including relief, at the thought of writing my first blog without any experience.

Not knowing how complete strangers would respond had me terrified, but because blogging is a requirement to stay in the MMK course, I pushed past my fear & doubt and decided wherever the chips may fall, so be it. I’d only be giving up a stagnate life, based on the expectations of who others saw me as. It was at that moment, I decided I had nothing to loose.

As the week went on, there were assignments, such as giving up watching t.v., reading each night before retiring for the evening and sitting in silence afterwards, honoring my word – to myself…you know, the usual stuff, that requires action in order for me to stay qualified. Who knew these simple steps to help me find what my real purpose is would be difficult, yet liberating?

Yes, I made a promise to myself to honour my word. Something I have been working on for the longest time; and now, here was something that was shared with me after praying so long for a better life, one with purpose for myself, a life devoted to service, in any capacity, yet with direction.

Now, I am willing to be in discomfort, to do and complete each step of this Master Key Experience to become who I was birthed to be. As I do each exercise, I sense within my inner man that this is the “What”, the “Why”, that I’ve been looking for that will cause my life to be full, complete and filled with joy, peace and victory.

So, each week, I will chart what I am learning about myself and experiencing as I take on each exercise to fulfill the requirements of the course, but also in honour of who I am – fearfully and wonderfully  created!

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Week #14: Take Time

It really doesn’t take much effort to be thoughtful, especially when seeing the affects of the deeds put into action. How wonderful it is to take our minds off of ourselves, and give that part to someone who has a need. The appreciation, the thanks may not always come from the person it was given to, but the rewards for planting such a harvest is the same as a farmer who plants seeds…abundant harvest!

Just imagine, a baby, a puppy, just going about their day without a care, then suddenly they notice their fingers, toes and tails. What a smile it brings to the faces of those looking on, as they, as we loose ourselves in the delight of seeing them discover themselves…

What about the early weekend walks alone or with a partner on a well laid out path lined with the fragrance of local seasonal flowers; the beautiful colours, and when looked at closely, beautiful shades of a rainbow can be seen in them. Oooh, the strokes of God’s hands that captures our hearts and causes us to briefly close our eyes, inhale and smile as the peace of that precious moment fills our bodies…

Life is so precious. A child laughing. A puppy barking. Bacon cooking on the stove. A tune heard on the music box that takes us back down memory lane. A slow dance with our partner. A hug from mom…mmmm such precious moments…

Taking time to appreciate the people who have helped shape us during the ups and the downs – the myriad of emotions that can sometimes overwhelm us and cause us to feel vulnerable, these are precious moments.

 

Week #13: Grateful

Gratitude does something wonderful for the soul, it does something wonderful for the spirit…

I find myself going back to Philippians 4:8, MSG – Fill my mind and meditate on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not to curse. This particular scripture helps me do a heart check of myself, when I may be feelin’ a little selfish, annoyed, angry, insecure, fearful…you know, when I’m not “feelin’ good”! Who said one has to have a runny noise, body aches & fever to not feel good. I know myself well enough that when I’m feelin’ a little bit funky, I’ve been spending too much time thinking about my own little world – eekkk…!

Learning to re-train my thinking with the help of my Master Mind Experience brings the accountability & support that I’ve longed for, while helping me be truthful without the lame excuses I’d tell myself, giving me a really false sense of self-worth, that would have kept me on a downward spiral….eeekkk!

So, as I walk the 2.5 miles to work when weather permits, or peer out of the windows of my apt., or take a break from work to listen to the sounds of birds singing, children laughing and dogs parking, I realize how grateful & blessed I am, not to be the mean ‘ole person I used to be growing up.

Soooo, being given an assignment to write things to be grateful for everyday, has caused me to consider the people and experiences I have to be grateful for –

  • the ability to walk to work, even though I struggle with arthritis in my knees
  • holding a pen to write a letter or type an assignment, though my fingers tingle because of carpel tunnel
  • rebuilding relationships with my sisters, some, after years of not talking to one another
  • driving to Louisville, KY from Chicago, every other month to help my sister take care of my dad, who struggles with dementia
  • making plans to buy my first piece of property…YAY!!
  • looking for the day when I’ll be married…WHEW!
  • having a successful business in staging & interior re-design & real estate!
  • living pain-free after a neck injury
  • building terrific relationships with people in my Master Mind group!
  • currently working with very talented people
  • having a towel warmer in my master bath – great during the freezing Chicago winters!
  • having a triple layered pb & j sandwich
  • learning to fish
  • meeting my favorite music artist Yanni
  • and so much more…grateful to have the opportunity to develop appreciation, respect & gratitude for everyday experiences and relationships…

Week #12: Expanse

What a wonderful time to experience the Master Mind – now. I’ve been in a challenging place whereby I have had to press, as I continue at this moment, to prove to myself that I have value. The inner turmoil that I’ve been struggling with to give my best, to give my all, and surrender, and become vulnerable may be the biggest of all, with many eyes watching…

In this global world I am a part of, jockeying to find my place, I stand back and consider the other living creatures that seem to know instinctively what their roles are without a fuss or thought. The ant. The tiger. The pigeon. The oak tree. They have roles and play an intricate, yet intriguing part of the world humans live in, and upon looking closely to each species, there is an order that stays in balance without ever unraveling.

The difference is our gift of choice – the ability to think & create, knowing right & wrong and choosing to do what’s right for the benefit and growth of others. Things are not always what they appear to be, and being given this opportunity, I am grateful that my Master Mind Experience helps me to see things from another perspective, one that helps me to get “me” off of my mind and look at the gifts, skills & talents that I have and look at ways to bring relief, support & encouragement to others!

 

Week 11: A Friend to Talk to…

Call from a friend that I hadn’t talked to in awhile was refreshing. In listening and sharing our stories with one another, we found out we have similar tales of what’s going on in our lives. We’re both dealing with aging parents who have health challenges, we’ve had to put aside unhealthy relationships all the while dealing with our own issues.

We’ve both withdrawn from things we used to do in making time to help out where we can. It wasn’t a gripe session, it was an opportunity to remind ourselves of who we are – compassionate, sensitive people who sometimes get lost doing what’s honourable.

What made the call so meaningful is that I had a brief thought about her, just before she rang. I thought about her often, with every intention of calling, but didn’t and I’m grateful she called. I recall many past conversations when she offered such wonderful counsel & encouragement.

We didn’t talk long, but the content was moving, for both of us. As we exchanged stories with one another, we’d softly agreed or gave a slight sigh of understanding, and with every response from her, flowed a tear from me. I had allowed myself to withdraw, from shear exhaustion and trying to find out what I want to do with my life. Between helping my sister take care of my father and a meaningless job (yeah, I am grateful for the income, just no heart), I think I allowed myself to grow numb.

As we were about to hang up, she said, “Let me know when you want to get together, would love to see you and I’ll make myself available.” Those words caused an unleashing of tears that I’ve had bottled up for such a long time. It’s not often that I hear those words. It forced me to take a look at myself, and ask the question, “Victoria, when was the last time you extended yourself to someone, and showed you care about them?” “Am I so wrapped up in my own tiny little world that I’ve grown stale or selfish?” God forbid!

It was as if she could hear the conversation I was having with myself, when she suddenly said, “Don’t allow yourself to believe I’m so busy that I don’t have time for you. Just give a couple of days notice and I’m there”! I let out a quick scream, and we both started laughing and we agreed that at some point, we had been thinking the same thing about one another, which is why she made the call. In reality, it was an answer to prayer, as I had prayed that she & I would talk & see one another soon…!

Well, after hanging up, I realized that when I/we spend too much time alone, thoughts of dispare and discouragement can quickly set in like weeds on a lawn, and outgrow and destroy the beautiful landscape. I almost allowed myself to get too far from where I should be. My MKE exercises, which I think overwhelmed me, somehow got lost…now, with a renewed appreciation and willingness to move forward, “I will keep moving toward the mark that is set before me”, as Paul stated.

 

Week #10: City Views

I’ve been struggling the last few weeks emotionally & spiritually, and it’s put a tremendous strain on me physically. Chicago, for all of its beauty, is hard to live in at this time of the year – dark waking up, dark when going home, cold, ugly & overcast…eeekkk!

Sitting here in my living room on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon, looking west from the 15th floor leaves me practically intoxicated as I look out over the city; what a beautiful view, and so energizing! I would love to bottle up this feeling and carry it with me through the rest of the winter months.

Not much inside. Still hopeful…

 

Week #9: Planting Seeds…

I drove long distance out of town last weekend, something I really like doing, especially alone. The daily grind & toil of work takes it’s toll on the human body, mind and spirit, and the dash for the door, is a welcome respite at the end of the day.

Distance driving has always given me a sense of peace because it’s one of the only times I can “shower sing”! Think about it, you’re home alone, whether you live alone, or your roommate, husband, wife & children are out for the evening and it’s just you, and you’re feelin’ a little silly! So…whadiya do when there’s a song in your head?! You look through your stack of cd’s and find the tunes you listen to when you wanna get your groove on to clean up or in this case, drive for a few hours and having to stay awake – it always works!

I had to go through a couple of tolls and it was a perfect opportunity to pay it forward! Going through two tolls, I paid for the next three cars behind me at each stop. Who knew an ordinary driver could turn into a roller derby driver trying to catch up to me to thank me for the act?! It was a small act on my part, and like me, I’m sure there were some folks who didn’t have an I-pass, and had to use cash to continue their journey. As I continued the journey, I stopped at a rest area, where one of the drivers also stopped, and thanked me after the toll person told him why he didn’t have to pay.

I’ve always thought paying it forward as planting seeds. Doing something kind for someone always sets one up for a blessing, and it doesn’t necessarily come back from the person in which the act was bestowed upon. It’s something I practice daily, not so much expecting anything in return, but seeing someone smile or hear a story about something that had been giving that person a challenge at the moment I did something for them, always bring joy to me.

It’s humbling. That’s my life…speaking or sowing seeds of life, encouragement, joy & comfort.

Week #8: Thought Diet

Who knew one could think such wretched thoughts within a span of five minutes? I surprisingly find myself laughing at myself when I think about my thoughts; thoughts that linger on what someone has said that may me, my thoughts about what someone is wearing, the irritability I feel toward myself for not getting my clothes ready the night before, a smell that causes me to cringe…I could go on…

Being given the charge to think about what I’m thinking about and overcoming the challenge of letting go of dark, critical thoughts quickly, is something I failed as soon as instructions came! I didn’t cast a charge against myself, instead, I learned to laugh off what would otherwise be a continuous annoying trait.

No, I didn’t stop when time was “up”, because this is a lifestyle, just like healthy eating and exercising, I’ve continued to be aware of my thinking. I’ve charge myself to pay me ten cents when I my mind drifts to the dark side…lol! No, I don’t plan on paying off a house, however, the discipline right thinking will develop in me, the maturity needed to be the success I am moving toward!

To be continued…!cropped-break-thru.jpg