Week 14 – Gratitude

With the recent focus on creating a deck of gratitude cards it’s easy to turn my attention to gratitude for this Master Key Experience.  From the jump, my PPNs have been Spiritual Growth and Helping Others.  I challenged myself intensely on these choices as I’ve always had a strong success-in-business orientation.  But at this stage of life and career, with three grown children, ownership in a successful business partnership, and a long-term pursuit of life’s biggest questions, Spiritual Growth is my deepest, most passionate interest.

I cannot express how grateful I am for the most honest and direct challenge to the person and nature of Infinite Intelligence, the creator of the universe, I have ever experienced.  I have spent years studying and pondering the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent first cause of all we see, all we know, all we are.  What intelligence, energy, power had the original thought to bring this all into existence?  What part, or divine spark, did we each inherit?  Are we the image of our creator?  How do we participate in the creator?  How do we communicate?

Every step has widened my knowledge and perspective.  I am grateful for how the harmony and affirmation of what I’m learning here meshes with my knowledge and study of scripture.  In my observation two things are deeply compelling and indisputable; the scriptures we have are the most impactful writings on planet earth, and Jesus is the most impactful person in human history.  The wisdom of the ages captured and revealed in both.  My purpose is to pursue, know, understand, and live what is taught to us by scripture, by nature itself, and those who have gone before us.

Thank you MKE!


Week 13 – The Best Day of My Life

“Yesterday’s gone and we can’t get it back.”  – Augustus McCray, Lonesome Dove

This MUST be the best day of my life, because it’s the only one I’ve GOT!

Yesterday’s a memory, tomorrow’s a dream, today is a gift.  It is the present.  Value it, appreciate it, cherish it, LIVE IT!

Time is a mind-bender.  I’ve heard it said that time is the most valuable, the most precious thing a person possesses, but really, truly, it’s not time that is precious; it is LIFE.  People talk about saving time or managing time, but that’s really not what they mean.  One’s choices, activities, priorities, attention, love, emotions, etc. is what’s really being “managed.”  It’s LIFE management, not TIME management.

Tomorrow never comes, for tomorrow is today…  I greet the new sun with confidence that this is the best day of my life!

Week 12 – I Am

The verb “to be” conjugated in the present tense first-person singular is “I am.”  In the entire English language it stands unique among all verbs,

The exercise in our webinar Sunday brought this point home with incredible power.  Out of left field came the audacious challenge to stand boldly before a mirror, look self straight in the eye, and proclaim, “I am.”  Not once or twice, but repeatedly for the better part of an hour!  If you can state that phrase with understanding you have done the most powerful thing in the universe!  Any words that follow, if believed by the person saying them, are infused with the infinite power of creation, the infinite power of being.

I think, therefore I am.

This is a power-packed course.  There have been many awe-inspiring moments, but this was, so far, the topper.  It was soul-searching exhilarating.  From the first utterance I believed every word I said; I have believed, I do believe, I will believe.

…there you go man, keep as cool as you can.  Face piles of trials with smiles.  It riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave.  And keep on thinking free!…


Week 11 – A Christmas Carol

Dickens’ famous story is Lesson 11 played out.  At least for me, it seems this journey to date is a mirror held up to ask very poignantly, what are you doing with your life?  What have you created thus far, and where are you going with the rest of it?  The ghost of Christmas present is the herald.  He’s telling me: “Abundance, Goodwill, Generosity”

Carpe diem.  Seize the day.  Create Christmas future right now.  Because you already have!

“Whatsoever things ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them”

I have known this bit of scripture all my life.  Now I see how I can believe it!  Amazing!

Week 10 – Conjuring Cones

I was surprised to hear that some had difficulty conjuring these cones.  For me, this was the easiest of all the mental exercises so far in the course.  Not a boast, just an observation.  I was pulling cones off the wall before I even closed my eyes, lining up 10″ cones of every color and material along the wall of my conference room.

The first day I simply produced a set of four plastic cones; black, white, red, and yellow.  On the following days the collection expanded. ultimately adding every color of the rainbow and a whole variety of materials.  I produced wooden cones as well as glass, metal, ice, vapor, clay, marble, wax, play dough, and fabric.

Something I learned as my kids were growing up is that two of the three of them inherited my hard wiring, which is ADD.  I chafe at the label as I don’t see it as a disorder at all.  It’s just the way a large segment of humanity happens to be.  The best description I ever heard is that it’s “all channels open all the time.”  That is true.  And while people say we’re easily distracted, we are also very creative problem-solvers.  In fact, most CEOs are ADD.  Maybe that’s why I enjoy working with them so much.

Anyway, I enjoy these exercises; first the battleship, then the flowers, now the cones.  I’ve always known I have a fertile imagination.  Reminds me of the Stones tune, “It was just my imagination runnin’ away with me…”  THAT, my friends, happens all the time!

Week 9 – a rose is a rose is a rose

I live in Lake Oswego, Oregon, a Portland suburb.  Portland is known as the City of Roses.  It has a beautiful rose garden overlooking the city.  This photo was taken from there.  Image result for portland oregon

There is a fantasy kingdom known as Rosaria with a full royal court of real human dignitaries known as the Royal Rosarians.  Each year they preside over the Portland Rose Festival with its Queen of Rosaria and her 14 Rose Princesses (outstanding young women chosen from Portland-area high schools.)  It’s beautiful festive event, in a beautiful setting, at a beautiful time of year in Portland.  We love it.

The Rose Garden is home to many thousands of rose bushes and has been for over a hundred years.  It boasts hundreds of varieties of roses from every corner of the globe.

Rose is the middle name of our middle daughter and the name of our favorite Aunt Rosie.  It is my favorite flower, our daughter’s favorite flower (obviously), my wife’s favorite flower, and is always a feature of her birthday and, of course Valentine’s Day; she carried red roses in our wedding and red roses cascaded generously down the side of our three-tiered wedding cake.

Image result for red rose

Gertrude Stein wrote that a rose is a rose is a rose, meaning simply that things are what they are; the law of identity, or what the ancient Greeks would call a thing’s essence.

This week I enjoyed growing roses in my mind.  I grew clones of roses from our own rose garden right here at our Lake Oswego home.  Just as Lesson 9 instructed, it started with a tiny seed in a large pot on our sunniest deck.  Water penetrated the hull carrying micro-nutrients, which germinated the seed and called forth its life.  Tiny hairs multiplied over and over sending tender baby roots in search of more nourishment, then thickened into strong woody support, next bursting a thin green stem into the light of day.  Tiny green leaves appeared in order to soak in sun rays, creating food and energy to return the favor to the growing roots below.  Eventually the stem became strong and woody as well and produced sharp, protective thorns.  Next, tiny red buds appeared followed by sepals, the precursor to the flower bud itself, and finally the glorious red petals, wrapped tightly at first, then blossoming into the regal beauty of Rose!

After mentally constructing and destructing various navy vessels last week, including the destroyer on which I served, growing plants in my mind was fun and easy.  The power and depth of these exercises is nothing short of miraculous, spectacular, phenomenal!

Week 8 – Mistakes

All mistakes are but the mistakes of ignorance.  Knowledge gaining and consequent power is what determines growth and evolution.  The recognition an demonstration of knowledge is what constitutes power, and this power is spiritual power, and this spiritual power is the power which lies at the heart of all things; it is the soul of the universe.  (MKE Part 8, #22.)

With age comes wisdom, and wisdom at the expense of experience.  How else does one overcome ignorance?

To remain ignorant is a free-will choice.  It is a function of idleness, distraction, complacency, satiation.  If the purpose of life is growth, ignorance is the very antithesis of growth, and by extrapolation, the antithesis of life itself.  Knowledge is growth.

Growth through knowledge happens a couple of ways; either by study or by experience.  It is an empirical fact that experience is by far the more impressive teacher.  Experience and knowledge-gaining, the type that sticks and evolves to wisdom, inevitably involves mistakes.  Mistakes most often include pain and struggle.

Knowledge is learning, gaining awareness and understanding.  Wisdom is discernment, judgment, insight.  Knowledge precedes wisdom.  Knowledge is imbued, nay fraught, with mistakes.  Mistakes are not necessarily to be avoided, in fact they are inevitable.  They are to be expected.  They are a huge part of the human experience.  Embrace them.  For without mistakes, there would be no learning, no knowledge, no wisdom.

Week 7 – A Mere Seven Days

I can fast for seven days, I can focus for seven days, I can teetotal for seven days, I can go celibate for seven days, I can work out for seven days, I can go vegan for seven days, I can fake it for seven days, I can do just about anything for seven days.  Seven days; that’s nothin’!  Until you 1) try monitoring your every thought, and 2) try monitoring your every thought SPECIFICALLY FOR NEGATIVES.  Not for seven days; for ONE day!

When this assignment came up a couple weeks ago I lightly mused about it to my wife.  I said, “Hmm, I have to try going an entire week without entertaining a single negative thought.”  I was pleased at her equally light and positive reply.  She said, “Oh, that’ll be easier for you than most people.  You’re one of the most optimistic people I’ve ever known.”

So I read the pamphlet by Emmet Fox, listened to it a couple times on YouTube, and eased up to launch day.  I didn’t just jump in with “do-it-now” abandon.  The warning by Fox that this will be a vastly greater challenge than the most exhausting form of army gymnastics caught my attention.  I’ve been through boot camp.

But I was also captured by the promise of engaging in the “most thrillingly interesting hobby that anyone could take up.”  I mulled it over for about a week, tried monitoring my every thought just for practice and curiosity, and then made the decision, and launched.  I had already eliminated a number of negative sources from my mental diet by starting the MKE course.  It became immediately and abundantly clear that my steady diet of political news and opinion via multiple channels and sources had to stop cold turkey.  First, it is just bubble gum.  Second, it is massively negative.  Third, it is an utter and complete waste of time and mental energy.  It had not changed my life one iota, especially in any positive way.  Plus, other aspects of the MKE course were all very positive.  Not blatantly so.  It’s just the nature of the content.  So I was already “prepped” and biased in the right direction.  I was ready.  I can do.  I got this.  First try.  A mere seven days.  Just do it.

Oops!  Not so fast!  There’s more stuff in there than I had any idea.  Triggers galore. Automatics.  Wired and fired.  Subby is a very powerful thing!

But so is the conscious will.  I can be what I will to be.  And there’s another “mere” seven days directly ahead.


Week 6 – Thoughts Are Things

May I apologize in advance if I use too many words to say a simple thing here, but being  pressed for time and a bit weary, I’ll not be as concise as I otherwise would be.

A couple weeks ago we all wrote a “press release” set sometime in the future, assuming everything thought out in one’s DMP had come to pass.  My story was set several years in the future with the byline citing a marina at Pleasant Harbor, Washington as the location.

It was such a compelling setting and so real in my mind that I could feel the boat rocking, smell the diesel, taste the salt water, hear tide rigging, see the Puget Sound and sense the sea breezes.  It took me both forward and back in time.  I loved thinking about.  And I love thinking about.  I dreamed about it.  And I dream about it.  But I didn’t talk about it.  To anyone.

Within a week of writing this story and basking in the mental build-out of every sensory detail, we made a weekend getaway to Seattle for the main purpose of celebrating our son’s 20th birthday.  On a whim, my wife said, “Let’s take the ferry to Bainbridge and drive down 101 on the way back.”  She did not know of my Pleasant Harbor byline or my appealing dream of our motor yacht moored there.

She also didn’t know that other parts of my DMP (and the press release) includes close family ties, enjoyment of one anothers’ company, much time spent together, and celebrating birthdays and other milestones.  She wasn’t aware of the clambake I wrote into the press release or that I included our wonderful daughters in the story.

After our leisurely pause at Pleasant Harbor on our drive down 101 we stopped at the Hama Hama Oyster Saloon, an alfresco restaurant featuring a perpetual clambake, and enjoyed oysters, steamer clams, and cider with our two beautiful daughters.

I can see and feel my dream, my vision, my THOUGHTS becoming more and more clear and real and tangible.  Before my very eyes, my thoughts are becoming things more quickly than I would ever have believed!

Week 5 – Milestones

In the work I do with business transitions we break down the process with milestones.  The ultimate goal post is to get to Terms & Conditions on what it will take, what’s agreeable, between seller and buyer in order for ownership to change hands.  Milestone 1 is simply the “chemistry meeting.”  Do we like each other, communicate well, and can we work together?  Because it’s going to be a long, hot road toward the biggest deal of their life.  Milestone 2 is “discovery,” including a valuation of the business.  What are dealing with?  How much and in what form?  We’re not going anywhere until we know how much it’s worth.  Then it’s on to financial and legal analysis, Milestone 3.  What are the numbers?  Margins, trends, forecasts, exposures, liabilities, obligations, and so on.  Milestone 4 is strategy.  What are the options?  What’s a great deal for all stakeholders?  Not just seller, not just seller and buyer; but also employees, customers, vendors, lenders, suppliers, and everyone who benefits from this company continuing in business.  Finally, once all the previous milestones have been navigated successfully, we come to implementation, Milestone 5.  This where the rubber meets the road.  This is where all the toil of 30 years building a business comes to fruition; it blossoms and  produces something sweet.  Time to celebrate, mark a major milestone.  But it’s not finished.  Nope.  There’s maintenance.  It’s not a great deal for everybody if it doesn’t continue to thrive and grow under new ownership.  Gotta make sure the goose that lays the golden eggs continues to be healthy and fat and producing those eggs.

This is what MKE is like.  We just passed a milestone.  30 days have passed.  We’ve burned in some new habits.  We’ve opened up the mind.  We’ve made some new pathways and synaptic connections.  We’ve re-fired and re-wired.  I am transformed by the renewing of my mind, I am made a new creature, word is made flesh.  Like business transitions, there is an order and a process.  One phase at a time.  Don’t get them out of order.  There’s a critical path.  Follow it.  Rewards.