Week 25 MKMMA Thanks For The Times You’ve Given Me

Thanks for the times that you’ve given me
The memories are all in mind
And now that we’ve come
To the end of our rainbow
There’s something I must say out loud!

Lyrics from Three Times a Lady, by Lionel Richie


Those lyrics are the start of a beautiful song. Now they are being used to express my gratitude for a beautiful Master Key Experience.

Thank you to all those who wrote a blog and virtually shared their life with me. I deeply appreciate those who gave their precious time by reading, commenting, sharing, or following me.

Also, thank you to the coaches and teachers.  You are incredible.

Although the song states “..now that we’ve come to the end of our rainbow…” the rainbow never ends. In the case of the Master Key Experience, the rainbow appeared after a storm passed.

I’ve yet to meet a child or adult who does not marvel at the beauty of a rainbow. Dolly Parton says, “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”  We indeed put up with the rain.

Being a detached observer; changing the word work to service; sitting; truly grasping the “within” concept; and John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, were big deals to me. They were downpours that brought out brilliantly captivating rainbows.

The biggest activity to produce streams of rainbows was Kindness Week. It continues to impact me daily.

I’ve noticed a change in people. For example, there is a housekeeper in my office building who would never — and I mean never — look at me, or talk to me. I would warmly greet her, and anyone with her. No response. Nada!

Recently, I noticed her in the lobby. She turned towards me and flashed The Cheshire Cat toothy grin and said hello, before anything flowed from my mouth. I smiled and lovingly greeted her. Her action was a unexpected flicker on my radar. Since I had not expected anything from her, I wasn’t offended when she didn’t respond, nor was I shocked when she did. It was simply an act of kindness from her. An act I embraced.

Now Kindness Week didn’t make me go Pollyanna. I still see acts missing kindness. I wish I didn’t. I can’t do a thing about those activities.  All I can do is continue to be a kindness change agent. For example, wave at people who let me creep into traffic. Don’t look into the car of the person who rides my bumper and finally decides to go around.  Greet people. Hold doors open. Say thank you and may I. Be patient with telemarketers. Say something nice to the cashier or the customer service person who seems to careless about why I’m calling. Tell a store manager about kindness I experienced from an employee. Write a note, give a card or send an email complimenting someone. It just might be raining heavily  on the person I show kindness towards. That kindness just might bring out a rainbow.

Now that I’ve come to the end of this rainbow, let me encourage you to continue Kindness Week — it’s powerful, loving and life-changing. Do kindness activities once, twice, three times daily, and maybe you will give someone a moment they will cherish (my apologies to Lionel).

The energy from your kindness can only be transferred to fertilize budding acts of kindness.

Finally, I must say this outloud, be brave, share your love, be peaceful and be kind.





Week 24 MKMMA Lying and Anger

I don’t remember much of my childhood. If I took all my childhood memories and laid them out, what I recall would barely fill a Ziplock snack bag.

My childhood was difficult. I had two emotions — fear and anger. They were my shield and cloaking device. I used both emotions to protect my fragile existence, and to be invisible.

Fear taught me how to be cunning and a mental acrobat when I sensed harm or danger. Anger was my weapon when I didn’t want people to see my insecurities or how scrambled my young life was. If life gave an Oscar every year, I would have claimed the golden statue for several consecutive years. Best Actor. Best Animated Feature. Best Director. Best Original Screenplay. Best Adapted Screenplay. My early life was mostly fabulously forgettable.

Recently I’ve been thinking about one of my memories. It takes place on a unusually mild Fall day in the Windy City — Chicago. I was ordered to rake the leaves in the back yard. The yard had the dimensions of a professional football field — from a six year old’s perspective. I used the oversized rake and collected the leaves into a foot high pile. Not much, but enough to  give me a lesson on verbal self-defense.

I went into the house and got a book of matches. Back in the early 60’s parents seem to hide few things from children. Matches was one of those things in my household. I was suppose to know the consequences of touching matches. On this day, I didn’t care.

I took a match, swiped it across the striker and got a flame, just like I witnessed my dad doing. I took the burning thing and tossed it into the pile of leaves. They started to smolder, and smoke crept through the leaves. I stood mesmerized at the smoke, and the faithful scent of burning leaves. My hypnotic state was startled when I heard a man yell, “where are your parents!” I looked at him and I noticed his brown fedora hat, opened tan trench coat, and that finger pointing at me.

“Where are your parents,” he sternly repeated. Then I did it. I lost my truth virginity to a stranger. “My dad just went inside. He will be out. I was told to watch  this fire until he comes back,”  I said. The words flowed out of my mouth and persuaded some part of the man to keep going to his destination.

I often thought about that incident. I never focused on it until a few weeks ago. Answer to why I did what I did came to light.

I realized I was scared the stranger would knock on the door and tell my dad what he witnessed. Lying had just become my fortress. I absolutely needed to lie to protect myself. I didn’t want another beating. Maybe that is why I was convincing, or maybe the man heard the plea for mercy in my voice.

The lying didn’t stop. Every time I thought danger was in the area, my creative explaining rushed to the front. Another successful fortification built to protect me.

My youthful inexperience wasn’t much of a counselor or therapist. Truth dominated when I felt safe; lying was the commander when a threat was imminent.

The beatings caused me to fear and distrust everyone.  My mother tried to protect me. But there were only so many black eyes, bloody noses, and puffy lips she could endure. So, I became invisible. I stayed out of sight to avoid the fist of fury.

Eventually they divorced and he was forced out. Psychic damage was done by his departure date. I graduated from being fearful to being angry. That anger didn’t have any boundaries. The older I got, the more I released the anger hounds. My anger was expressed in put-downs, sarcasm, verbal attacks,  and self-directed anger. You name the anger and I probably practiced it.

In May of 2012 I experienced the cumulative effects of anger, and some other factors. I had five Ischemic strokes in seven days.

It took me nearly a year to admit what probably contributed to my life threating elevated blood pressure. My diagnosis — anger.  I still have residual effects from the strokes. One day, I started to feel the strokes were one of the best things to happen to me. I started to tell myself and everyone I am grateful for them.

Since 2012 I’ve struggled to manage my anger. I had a revelation on April 10. A situation that would have stirred up some negative forces didn’t manifest. I was calm, loving and able to observe what was happening. Instead of thinking things that were not there,  I only thought of the outcome I wanted. Seconds after expressing my desire, I realized what had just happened. I was proud of how I responded.

Saturday, April 11, I had another opportunity to “go off.” Instead calmness, love and courage took over. I expressed how I felt and moved on. Later that day the person I talked with apologized, and talked about how calm I was.  They told me my calmness made them think about their behavior, which resulted in an apology.

I contribute this emotional change to Master Key lessons, and applying the lesson into my life.

I get a sense of tranquility from,”I greet this day with love in my heart.” Telling myself, “I love me,” has given me confidence and self-acceptance. Understanding that life does not happen to me, but for me,” has helped to remove cataracts from my distorted reality . Sitting has allowed me to absorb and apply the lessons. Once the law of cause and effect penetrated my marrow I had two simple formulas for internal change.

The first formula: change the cause and I will change the effect. Formula two: find the effect I want and do the cause that will create the effect.

My childhood anger is probably piled up in some corner. This time I will do my best to use the skills I’m learned to avoid putting a match on the pile.




MKMMA Week 23 What Is It? Is It “I Love Me” or “Living Scared”

Talk about going from one end of the mountain to the other. This week I had exceptional spontaneous moments of ecstasy and one shattering 7-inch reality call.

Monday I awakened with the words “I greeted this day with love in my heart” marching in a rhythmic cadence in my head.

Tuesday I started telling myself “I love me,” as I walked my weekday, routine, half-mile trek from where I parked  my car, to my office. I was about a block away from my office building when a man about 10-feet in front of me turned, smiled, waved and stopped walking.

He waited for me to catch up. He gave me greeting as if we had been friends since the beginning of time. He asked me where I worked. I graciously responded. He then asked if I was a professor. “No. I’m on the staff,” I replied. Reciprocity stepped in and pulled “what do you do on campus,” out of my mouth. “I’m a physics professor.”  “Cool,” I joyfully responded.

He told me his name.  I repeated his name twice, because of his strong Ethiopian accent. He patiently enunciated his name both time. I think I got it close enough. He wished me a good day, turned left, and slowly disappeared behind the mathematics department building. That was different, I thought.

I repeated his name in my head and returned to my earlier affirmation — “I love me.”

I felt the might of King Kong and the peacefulness of Gandhi manifest within.

Wednesday I had a new affirmation. The menu I selected my daily mental feast consisted of three words, “I am powerful.” I felt absolute control over my thoughts and emotions. Not even the harassing buzzing of a mosquito could have ruffled me.

Thursday. Aha, yes. Thursday. The morning started with a triple decker, “I can be what I will to be,” I love me.” and “I am powerful.” The sky was bluer. The wind felt like hundreds of kisses from angles. I wished my morning and afternoon  could be my Groundhog Day movie. But how could it get any better?

On my drive home I put in a new company CD. I wanted to familiarize myself with it before I shared it with a new partner. Seven minutes into the CD a jackhammer crew destroyed a mental protective shield I had accepted as normal. The person on the CD said he discovered he was “living scared.” Those two words floated in like a butterfly and stung me like a bee on steroids.

It’s difficult to drive when tears clouding your vision, and the Mississippi River is flowing down your face. Why did those two words shatter my tranquility? I confessed like I was the final witness on Matlock . “I’m living scared,” I cried out. “I’m living scared.”


Twenty plus weeks and the cement is still falling.  I instinctively knew my life had just changed. In the words of Johnny Nash, “I can see clearly now that the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright, bright, sunshiny day.”

Friday was that sunshiny day. If you think it was a wave free day at the beach, it wasn’t. The difference was me. I was a detached observer. I easily brought calm, when lighting and thunder were attempting to rush in. Nothing could ruffle me. Things I would have remained silent about were address with diplomatic skills. I could express myself without feeling anger. Hesitation was sent on an extended vacation. I started to believe I own my life.

What fired-up the furnace in me. Maybe it was loving me. Maybe it was knowing I am who I will to be. Maybe it was because I’ve started to realize my power. Maybe it’s none of these.

What ever poked the giant within and woke him up, he is yelling, “I love me,” and living scared is yesterday’s news.

MKMMA Week 22 Shut Your Pie Hole and Listen to Your Heart

I was a 19-year old recruit at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego, CA, the first time I heard “Shut Your Pie Hole. ” I also believe the person wearing the wide brim Campaign cover added the word maggot — a drill instructor’s way of warming up to you.

I’ve never been a pie eater, so the phrase took me a couple of seconds to grasp. Quietness, wrapped in a smothering dose of fear and uncertainty, consumed the bus. The environment and the drill instructor’s rehearsed commands quickly branded the context into my brain.

As I listened to the DI give us a greeting from the commanding general, followed with a polished overview of what we were to do after the command “get off the bus,” I thought a split personality was erupting within my head. The moment  I “shut my pie hole” I heard my internal drill instructor go off, “I TOLD YOU JOINING THE MARINE CORPS WAS STUPPPPPPID!!!!   I felt the power of silence.

It’s been more than 40-years since I got off the bus at MCRD San Diego, but I still remember the six lessons I learned at double-time from silence.

  1. Silence creates a Salvador Dali surreal focus;
  2. Silence is noisy as a group of Cicadas, and allows the imagination to go buck wild;
  3. You must let the voice in your head run free until it is exhausted. The majority of the voices will be non-supportive of the silence, and will sing a hypnotic siren song to get you to surrender and break the silence;
  4. Your internal positive voice will chill in the background while the chatty negative voice gives you a mental workout;
  5. The positive, rational, solution-oriented voice will emerge like a jack-in-the-box;
  6.  You have to let go, enjoy the ride,  listen and discover what you heard but didn’t hear (think about it).

I’ve learned to love silence since becoming friends. No radio. No television. No meaningless banter. No problem.  I have taken long distance drives without radio or CD. For me, silence is absolutely golden.

The challenge is sitting for an hour or more and appreciate silence. Just me and my thoughts. No cell phone. No computer. No books. No soothing background music, or nature sounds. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

The intention is to hear what my heart is telling me. To intently listen to my heart without any obstructions or distractions.

The environment at MCRD forced me to embrace silence. I don’t know how many hours I’ll have to sit before my heart starts to talk. I pray it tells me it’s deepest desire when it does.




MKMMA Week 21 Give Up The Dream, You Are….

He heard a knock at his door while practicing. No one was at the door when he opened it, but there was a note pasted to the door. The note stated, “Give up the dream. Your voice is terrible.”

The note from a cowardly dream stealer had little impact. Fortunately, Grammer kept on practicing, singing and writing. Grammer, a platinum recording artist, has sold millions of records since 2011. His songs are filled with optimism, fortitude, encouragement and perseverance.

His songs include “Honey, I’m Good,” “Good to Be Alive,” “Fine By Me,” “Keep Your Head Up,” and many other toe-tapping songs.

As much as I love Grammer’s music, I love his dedication to his dream.

I’m sure you have had the joyous experience of encountering a dream stealer. A parent, close friend, teacher, relative, or even a stranger, has spewed the words “wake-up,” “get a grip,” “get real,” “not you,” “don’t quit your day job,” “are you serious,” “it’s really hard to break into that industry,” “you can’t make any money doing that,” “it’s a scam,” or my favorite — ta dah “no one in the family has ever done that.”

Just to be fair — now is a good time to testify and release — maybe you were a dream stealer, too.

God knows I know I’ve made discouraging verbal and nonverbal comments. I’ve snickered, mumbled under my breath, looked the person directly into their dilated pupils, smiled, and covertly attempt to  transfer my doubt filled opinion.

The worst dream stealer — y’all ready for this –is the “Guy or Gal in the mirror.”  Go ahead and give me a virtual high-five, you know it true.

Some years ago, I gave a speech to a group of people who were graduating from a job skill development program. I unequivocally told them to dump the people in their life who have held them back in the past, present, or those they meet in the future.

I wish I could talk with that group today. I would tell them to dump the person in the mirror who whispers dream stealing comments.  I would tell them to have the courage to take control of their life; to take ownership and responsibility for the conditions, circumstances, events and outcomes in their life.

I’ve learned there is a magnificent dream stealing repellent in taking ownership of one’s life. There is a synergistic effect when you know what you want, why you want it, and you have decided to persist until.

You will have the power to look a cloaked dream stealer in their empty eyeballs and say “Thanks, I got this.”

In addition, be encouraging and supportive of your other peoples dreams. Send them a text, email, or go old school and write a letter, or make a phone call, and inquire about their dream. Be a cheerleader!

Les Brown, author and motivational speaker has a quote I keep near me. It says, “The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry our their dream.”

I’m happy Grammer didn’t let the cowardly dream stealer halt his consuming desire to share his music. I pray I get to experience the masterpiece you want to share with the world.

In the words of Aerosmith, “Dream on! Dream on! Dream on! Dream until your dream comes true.”

I strongly recommend listening to the interview, at least the first 15 minutes. The link is at the bottom of the blog.


You can listen to Lewis Howes interview Andy Grammer by clicking on the following link: From Street Performing to Platinum Artist or on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/lewishowes/andy-grammer

MKMMA Week 20 Something Borrowed to Help Gag Your Inner Critic

I continually read an article from Chris Cade titled “In Order to Get Anything Done…Gag Your Inner Critic (http://www.chriscade.com/rishi/?section=getting-things-changed&page=mini-course&subpage=gag-your-inner-critic)

This article strongly resonated with me. It has become a favorite mental food. I read this article two to four times a week. I hope some part of this article inspires you, like it inspires me.

This article is being reprinted with permission from Chris Cade (http://www.chriscade.com). The entire article is below:

In Order to Get Anything Done…Gag Your Inner Critic

Remember this scene from the movie “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”?

Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is about to fly into an asteroid field to evade capture by Darth Vader and company.

“The possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field,” warns the fretting android, C3P0, “is approximately 3,720 to 1.”

“Never tell me the odds,” replies Han Solo.

After surviving the asteroid field Han Solo points his little spaceship in the direction of Darth Vader’s really, really big spaceship.

“The odds of successfully surviving an attack on an Imperial Star Destroyer are approximately…” ventures C3P0 until Princess Lea tells him to shut up.

Finally, CP30 pleads: “I really don’t see how that is going to help! Surrender is a perfectly acceptable alternative in extreme circumstances!” At which point Lea shuts the robot off.

We are all born with a C3P0 of an Inner Critic babbling away in our head — constantly telling us how the odds are against us and we should just give up.

In order to get anything done you need to bind and gag your Inner Critic. Once it’s out of the way you can start the journey – whether it’s one of self-discovery, of changing old habits, a new career or learning a new language.

But as long as you have a neurotic voice in your head telling you why you can’t do something then you won’t make as much progress as you are truly capable of.

That’s why we have to silence the self-sabotaging Inner Critic first, and then focus on changing our lives.

When the Inner Critic is out of your life (or at least silenced) you are able to fully engage with whatever program, book or teacher you are studying.

I bet you have a stack of personal development programs sitting on the bookshelf…

So when are you going to do them?

After you have liberated your mind from that voice in your head that is stopping you from using whatever personal development strategies you know will help you.

Right now your Inner Critic is telling you that you can never learn __________ or that you can never practice ________ every day.

Your Inner Critic doesn’t really care what “blank” is – it tries to tell you that you can’t do it.

“Photo-reading? Mind power? Italian? Martial arts? You can’t learn that!” says your Inner Critic. “Who are you kidding? Or even if you did make some progress it wouldn’t produce any real results. You could have spent that time enjoying yourself — watching TV and hanging out with your friends on Facebook.”

Sure, your subconscious may not come out and say things this clearly. Usually your Inner Critic is FAR more stealthy than that. But some subconscious or conscious variation of this is true for everyone who isn’t able to move forward in life.

As we’ve already talked about… your Inner Critic doesn’t want you to change your life. It only wants to keep you “comfortable.”

If you have enough food in the fridge for the next three days, your Inner Critic is happy. If you paid the rent or mortgage this month, things are good.

Like a baby it’s mainly concerned about eating, sleeping, pooping, peeing… Or much like our caveman ancestors who did not know how to stop food from rotting or to farm – the kill of the day was all that mattered.

But we are neither children nor caveman. We want so much more from life. And the distractions that 80% of the population embraces – celebrities, sports, beer – just aren’t fulfilling enough for people like you and me who want, and deserve, to live up to our greatest potential.

You want to move forward. You want to discover what your purpose is here on earth and what you are capable of.

But your Inner Critic won’t let you.

Your Inner Critic has to go.

Your Partner In Gagging Your Inner Critic,
Chris Cade
Liberate Your Life

You can get additional information about Chris Cade at http://www.chriscade.com

MKMMA Week 19 A penny for my thoughts might be a bit too much

Wednesday in Greensboro, NC, was a snow-birds weather dream day. The  sky was a tranquil blue with a touch of clouds. The temperature hovered in the 70’s, and there was a velvet touch breeze. Overall, a fantastic February winter day.

The gorgeous brightly lit sky, and heaven sent weather, made my decision to take a walk around the college campus easy.

I could not resist the call to continue  every time I considered shortening my walk. Instead of turning right and doing the 1.5 mile route, I tentatively decided stay on campus a little longer.

My intention during the walk was to focus on keeping my mind clear and noticing my seldomly observed surroundings.

I saw a shiny object on the ground about 100 steps into my new route. This contrasting piece of zinc boldly stood out against the white concrete sidewalk. I looked at it, and quickly debated if I should pick it up.  Keep going was the initial response. So I took two lengthy steps away from the object, then did an about-face and retrieved it.

“A penny,”I uttered to myself. Then a funny thought sprouted in my mind. The voice said, “a penny for your thought.” Right then I began to wonder where the phrase came from, and what it meant.

The phrase “a penny for your thought” dominated the remainder of my 25 minute walk. I did some quick research when I returned to my office.

It appears the exact origin of the phrase is unknown, but this is what is known. In 1546, guy name John Heywood penned a wordy titled book known as “A dialogue conteinying the nomber in effect of all the proverbs in the Englishe tongue.” The title was shortened to “The Proverbs of John Heywood,” in later publications — smart move. That was the first time the phrase “a penny for your thought” appeared in print. So Heywood gets the slap on the back.

I know, I digressed. Now back to the story. I’m sure a penny was very valuable in the 15oo’s. Today, a single penny makes a good golf ball marker, or a cheap donation at a local convenience store.

Thinking about the declining value of the penny, and the “a penny for your thought” phrase got me to realize something. Sometimes my thought(s) might hold a lot of value, and other times my thought(s) might be “worthless.” My positive, encouraging, growth-oriented thought(s) are priceless. My negative, life sucking thought(s) are as valuable as the penny.

I eventually start to reflect on the last time someone said “a penny for your thought” to me. My brain went into overdrive trying to find an answer. It could not recall when I was offered a penny for my thought.

That was a humbling exercise.

In reality, I know my thoughts, or the thoughts of anyone reading this blog article, are more valuable than a penny. Yet, maybe the phrase “a penny for your thought” holds a different message.

That phrase could be a hidden piece of wisdom. Maybe it was a polite way of saying “quiet, please.”






MKMMA Week 18 I Use to be Lost, Now I’m Found?

I recently read an article about understanding. In this case, understanding means comprehension.

In my previous life, I seldom admitted when I didn’t understand something. I would act like I understood, and then research the matter privately.

Now, if I don’t grasp something, I ask questions. Especially if it’s something that really interest me. For those things that don’t start a fire within, I let my subconscious go to work and report back to me when I need to know.

I’ll admit I use to be troubled when I “didn’t get it.” For example, Part Eighteen in The Master Key System. I’m lost. I really don’t get it. There are pieces that make sense, but only pieces.

I now find comfort and understanding about my lack of understanding of certain things. The comfort came from an daily email I get regarding A Course in Miracles. Here is a snippet:

“But while you may be able to accept it intellectually, it is unlikely that it will mean anything to you as yet. However, understanding is not necessary at this point. In fact, the recognition that you do not understand is a prerequisite for undoing your false ideas. These exercises are concerned with practice, not with understanding. You do not need to practice what you already understand. It would indeed be circular to aim at understanding, and assume that you have it already.” 

It’s true that I can accept the material intellectually.  It is also true Part Eighteen does not mean anything to me, yet. I whole-heartedly accept that “understanding is not necessary at this point.” That’s comforting.

Here is the key — It’s about the practice.

Step one: read. Step two: practice.  Step three: keep reading. Step Four: keep practicing. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

It’s a fantastic feeling to know that I don’t have to know or understand. Understanding will come in time. It will not come by magic, but with practicing.

How long do I have to practice? I got my understanding to that question a long time ago. The answer is found in the “Law of Maturation.”

I was once lost, now I’m found. Practice. Practice. Practice (and be patient).

MKMMA Week 17 Synchronicity or Just Plain Ol’ Eerie, Strange and Interesting

My Master Key Experience got a little eerie Sunday.

First let me tell you about a ritual I have, and then link why the Sunday MKMMA class got eerie — in a good way.

I say a prayer for those who have returned to their creator every time I drive past a cemetery, or a road side memorial. I also think about someone I personally know and say a second prayer.

Occasionally, I state I want the old me to die. Not a physically death, but to mentally transform into the person I want to be. I quickly make sure my conscious is clear  I’m talking about the person within.

Recently I started to wonder if I needed to seek professional help. I knew I was thinking about the transformation from a powerful, positive place.

Mark J started talking about death to the old self sometime during the Hero’s Journey discussion. I looked at the Hero’s Journey diagram and I saw the word Transformation. My focus got more intense.

A voice within started telling me this is what I’ve been thinking about for years.

I’ve watched Finding Joe. Did not get it. I’ve heard Mark talk about the Hero’s Journey in the Go90Grow course. Witnessed it with a mind filled with fog.

On January 20th, 2017 I told myself I need to stop thinking about this death thing. Then synchronicity “came a callin’.”

There was the slide with the heading “So Why Don’t People Answer the Call?” with four question. Then there was the “Can I let him Die” slide. Trailing closely behind was the slide “Refusing the Call The Death Stage. Then there was “Denial Letting Old Self Die is Hard.”

This is what I’ve been thinking about. Was this synchronicity? Was it some weirdness surfacing that I needed to flush from my brain? No. I was getting the message it’s time to take the Hero’s Journey. That presentation was a rapidly flashing neon sign broadcasting the words “You are on the right track.”

I clearly understood the four questions, especially, What’s worth dying for?  To me the question is asking what am I willing to give up. Am I willing to leave the ordinary world and start my life fulfilling quest; Am I ready to be a hero?

I have been having my Call to Adventure for a few years. I know I have a task that only I can complete.

A Hero’s Journey is unnatural. I get that.

There is that spooky unknown. Discomfort. Unpredictable risk. Rejection. Scorn. People laughing at me. Self-doubt. And of course Fear.

For me, accepting the call means growth and contribution (I shared my call during Week 16).

I’ve been concerned about having thoughts about wanting my old self to die. Now, I realize these thoughts don’t mean anything. The thoughts were the restless hero within working to break free, and signaling me it’s time to grab my rucksack, don my leather jacket and fedora and start my strange and mysterious adventure.

This will be interesting.




MKMMA Week 16 “You is kind. You is smart. You is important” and unique

When I first heard Viola Davis, playing Aibilene, a maid in “The Help”, say “You is kind. You is smart. You is important, ” to  Mae Mobley, a toddler, I wondered if Aibilene said the same thing to herself. My hunch is she did not.

Aibilene probably saw herself as being stuck, and required to live in a role society expected from people who looked like her. She is portrayed as a strong, caring, kind, loving, respectful, honorable, smart and committed person (this is my observation).

All these are excellent and admirable characteristics. Yet, the character, Aibilene, probably didn’t feel she was important. I don’t mean to the external world, but in the world within. Within, she probably felt like she didn’t matter.

She was defined externally by her job, income status, social status and most definitely by her complexion. Within, she seems to have internalized how others defined her.

In one part of the movie, Skeeter, played by Emma Stone, asked Aibilene if she ever dreamed of being something other than a maid. She simply nods her head. She never says what she dreamed of.

I understand Aibilene. Although her character was in Jackson, Mississippi in the 60’s, I was born and raised in Chicago. I lived in “low-income” high rise buildings call “Projects.”

I wasn’t expected to do much with my life. I finished in the top 40% of my class at a private Catholic high school. Yet, the guidance counselor didn’t recommend me going to college. He suggest going to the Army.

I got accepted to several colleges and I attended for one semester. I decided to enlist in the Marine Corps because I needed more discipline in my life. Yet, I did have a feeling that any college that let me enrolled wasn’t a very good college.

I didn’t know back then that I was living according to some external views. I did have a dream. I dreamed of being a broadcaster or a lawyer.

I attended a broadcasting school while serving in the Marine Corps. I did achieve my broadcaster dream after completing my enlistment contract. A couple of years into living my dream, someone woke me up with the words “You are fired.”

I lost my confidence and never made it back to my dream career. Again, I saw me as others described me. I finished my graduate degree and went back into the Marine Corps.

I served 14 years in the Marine Corps. Later I worked as a photojournalist for seven years, an evidence coordinator for four years, sold cars, sold Encyclopedia Britannica, worked as a database administrator for a year, a director of a technology training center for one year, and a technology support analyst for the past 11 years.

No dream anywhere in my jobs. I was the poster child for a “wandering generality.”

I’ve decided to “retire” from my technology job on July 1, 2017. Why? I started dreaming again.

I have a big, bold dream. I’ve gave myself permission to dream, and not “stay in my place,” or “stay in my lane.”

I honestly don’t have a clue how I’m going to achieve my dream, but I know I will. I must give it my best shot.

My dream is to be a philanthropist — just like the people on the “Secret Millionaire” program. That’s my dream. No, that’s my calling. My unique mission.

During the Master Key session Sunday afternoon, Mark said the magic word — Permission.

Making a contribution to strangers would be oh soooooo cool to me. Sometime ago it was just a dream. Months ago, during this Master Key experience it became a living DREAM! 

What changed. I GAVE MYSELF PERMISSION TO DREAM MY IMPOSSIBLE DREAM. I felt the shift. I felt the power from giving myself permission.

Yes, I is also Kind, I is also Smart, I is also Important. Let me add unique to those statements.

Out of the billions of people on this planet, no one has my dream. There are dreams that might look like mine, but they are only reproductions. My dream is unique. It’s mine.

It’s my mission to give it life. I am responsible to train my dream to walk, talk and grow in my unique way. Yeap, I must do it my way.  I proclaim I did it my way! (I got Frank Sinatra in my head https://youtu.be/6E2hYDIFDIU)

In the words of Lou Rawls, “I don’t want no gold watch for working 50 years from 9-to-5.” He continues, “I want to be happy and free living and loving for me. I want to be happy and free living and loving for me like a Natural Man” (https://youtu.be/gck1eSScRjc?list=RDgck1eSScRjc).

Nearly a year ago I started giving. I consistently remind myself to give and give abundantly. Now the time has come to leave the minors and play in the majors. I gave myself permission to do so.

With permission, time does not matter. The size of the gift does not matter. Other folks opinions don’t matter. Obstacles don’t. Doing does.

This is the ultimate self-permission statement from Lou Rawls:

“Well now, I tried to do what others say that I should do
They say that I should fit in, fool ’em, fake it, well
Those kinda dues just make me crazy and blue
Man, I just can’t take it”

I can take it, but I choose not to any more.

What have you given yourself permission to do, and what are you going to do with it?

You is kind, you is smart, you is important….and you is unique.