Good week! I’m focused on Discipline this week. At first, a few obvious examples were showing up like my son, a senior studying Mechanical Engineering. If ‘Academically Disciplined’ was something you could actually look up in the dictionary, you would see his name listed as the usage example. And for sure when you look up Tenacious you’ll see his name listed there. I’ve never known anyone as tenacious as that young man. Never ever look at anyone who has learned to play basketball riding a unicycle as anything other than tenacious. You want to know why so few people can ride a unicycle? Try it, you’ll understand. It’s easier to call it dorky than to acknowledge that you just don’t have what it takes to learn it. Another great example of Discipline is my buddy Vern. So disciplined with his health. Very inspiring. I see people walking past my house, the ‘Walkers’. They’re very disciplined with their walking. But eventually that obvious well dried up and I had to start looking for examples of Discipline as opposed to just noticing them. Then you say to yourself, “What exactly does Discipline mean?” The dictionary honestly wasn’t much help. So I settled on Discipline as being consistency, a decision to be consistent with specific actions and choices; it isn’t Perfection. And when I see evidence of Discipline in others, it’s not in every single aspect of their lives. That would frankly be a little creepy. And as I flashed through my card set, to what do my wondering eyes should appear, but “I am disciplined”. Took me aback. Really? I probably wrote that one in my original set of cards. So why would I put it with such a priority on my journey of observation? I’m disciplined in paying my bills on time. I’m disciplined in flossing and brushing my teeth. I’m disciplined with regular medical checkups. And unbeknownst to me, I have been disciplined for a while to work on cleaning out my garage enough to put a car in it because without much effort this week, I got my car in my garage. (And that discipline started with this MKE course with nary a related service on my service card!) That garage hasn’t seen a car in over 10 years. That’s huge! Lots of things popped up as examples of Discipline. And then there are lots of examples where I’m not so much. But if it isn’t about being perfect, I asked myself again, why is it a priority for my observations? And I suppose it’s because I haven’t made the choice and haven’t developed the habit for certain things in my life to be disciplined. Okay, so there’s not an On/Off button. It’s not that easy or I wouldn’t be having this conversation with myself. But I did immediately stop the self-loathing that comes from feeling bad that I’m not self-disciplined. And now when it pops up I immediately, like an involuntary reflex, see where I am disciplined and let it go. That’s Freedom, right there.
Another cool thing happened this week around my health. For years and years, every time I look in the mirror, put on clothes, get winded coming up stairs, have to take a stress test, or see myself in pictures, my immediate reaction has been “I have GOT to lose weight”. It’s an old old story I’ve been carrying around for a long time. This week I practiced that as soon as that thought knocks on the door, I immediately go to “I make healthy choices” (with conviction) and my heart is light and I’m centered in love and kindness and I move on. It’s new, so more practice to come, but to have access to NOT beat up on myself and focus on health instead of focusing on being unhealthy is quite miraculous. Now that I know that “I have GOT to lose weight” might have something to do with why my health is in the state that it’s in is truly life changing.
Dude, seriously. The whole Kindness thing. So much fun this week! I think kindness comes more naturally, or at least easily, when we’re in a general state of contentment or happiness. But I’ve always found that acts of kindness are key to helping me out of darker places. When I’m feeling down, being kind lifts me up. Many years ago I was going through a rough time at work, as were many of us. Layoffs were an every six month event, people were struggling with heavy workloads, rarely did you see a smile or hear anyone laugh. It was pulling me down deeper into a negative place and it was permeating all parts of my life. My husband worked at the same place so we were two Negative Nellie’s coming home from work every day. I picked five people at work and wrote short poems for each of them and anonymously left them on their desks. Three of them I sat near and was able to observe or hear about their ‘gift’. The other two I rarely worked with and never saw or heard about their ‘gift’ but I know there was a good chance they were well received. I felt so much better and those little gifts spread happiness because those five people were lifted, and their co-workers who saw or heard about the gifts were lifted. It didn’t cause a tsunami wave of happiness at work but it made it better for me. I had long since forgotten about this until this week. (And I found another thing to put on an index card.)
I believe people inherently want to be kind, most people anyway. And maybe kindness shows up differently for different people. Maybe someone who is gruff and seems short-tempered drives his neighbor for chemotherapy treatments and calls his mom every week. The outside doesn’t always reflect the inside, judging a book by its cover, all that. I think most people want to be kind and appreciate opportunities to express their kindness. You know how when someone is having problems and people say “let me know if I can help you”, they really do mean it. It may not mean that they will stop or disrupt their own lives for you, but let them help you. Tell people what help you need and most often, that help shows up. We don’t get to deprive others of opportunities to be kind because of our vanity to appear strong and fearless. My son told me one day in high school that he wasn’t going to hold the door for girls anymore. They would fuss at him and say they were perfectly capable of getting their own door (makes me chuckle). But now he’s 21 and he holds the door. He found people do appreciate it and he’ll hold the door now not considering whether they’ll appreciate it or not. He’s kind. And I stopped saying “you’re welcome” when they don’t say thank-you. No expectation of reciprocity. Just be kind.
I have a little confession to make and I apologize if I offend. As I looked at Facebook on New Year’s Day and saw so many posts with HAPPY NEW YEAR, I just scrolled right past those. It was sort of like observing people in a different culture celebrating something unique to them, not so much applicable to me. January 1 this year was really just another day. It was a work holiday which was way cool. But as the new year excitement kept showing up from others, my response was more like “all well and good but guys, I’m kind of in the middle of something here.” Right now I have Happy New Sunday where I get the next installment in instruction on redefining ME. I have Happy New Monday where I get the next chapter in Haanel. I have Happy New First Day of the Month where I get to discover the next Scroll. Trust me, these are FAR more exciting than another January 1. And there’s Happy Exercise, Happy Baked 10 Dozen Cookies, Happy Got My Teeth Cleaned, Happy Paid My Bills, Happy Time With My Son, Happy Fun Night Out, Happy Good Night’s Sleep. Ooooh, and upcoming attractions for Happy Disciplined Me!
Harmony. Such a blissful word. And truly, over the past few months harmony has been more present. I struggle with purposefully focusing on it, not really sure how to do that. I know how to feel it but I have some work to do to actually be able to think about it without sounding like a school teacher in my head lecturing on the meaning of harmony. I like harmony. This goes without question. Maybe it’s just being conscious of harmony when I look at my shapes and read my DMP. I can do that.
I do have one area where Harmony is eluding me. It’s a mom thing I guess. “Most persons concentrate intently upon unsatisfactory conditions, thereby giving the condition that measure of energy and vitality which is necessary in order to supply a vigorous growth.” When I read this the first time I went into a little bit of a state of panic. I mean, seriously. That is one massively powerful statement. And from that moment on, I couldn’t get the worry and fear for my child out of my head. When I read my DMP, my thoughts would involuntarily shift to that worry. And the more I fought it, the worse it got. I’ve tried all kinds of little tricks to interrupt it but so far they aren’t helping. I’ll get there. Just really took me by surprise.
That flurry of activity week, the week before Christmas. So much to do. And as with last week, things were just getting done. Do It Now. Persistent. Giddy up. I used to be a master at seeing the upcoming week and calculating backward on when certain things needed to get done for the week to run smoothly, and it would all happen in a split second in my brain. Over the past few years I seem to have lost that very useful skill; muddled foggy brain. But it’s coming back. Maybe it’s the thyroid journey I’m on to improve my thyroid function, but I suspect it’s a combination of that and the work in MKE. It’s different this time. There’s a pleasure and contentment present and when something gets done it’s not Check It Off the List, it’s YES (visualize that fist dramatically coming down in victory). More like that. And that makes it feel good to move on to the next thing that needs to get done. Plus I was looking forward to being with my family and each thing I got done was getting me closer to that.
I was flying out very early Thursday morning and had been invited to my neighborhood cookie exchange the night before. Historically, I would have skipped the cookie exchange because the night before a travel day would leave NO room for anything like that. I wasn’t going to be home to do anything with all those cookies anyway. But I know how much my neighbors love the cookies I bring (as do their husbands!) and it was my gift to them and I didn’t want to miss that opportunity. I left the cookie swap and handed over the basket full of 15 varieties of cookies to a neighbor who couldn’t make it, was handling a very stressful situation with her mom, was having family over for the holidays, and could definitely make use of those cookies more than I ever could. I had such a nice time and was present, not in my head thinking about everything I had to get done. When I got home, I just got on with it. But here’s the coolest thing of all. For a little moment, when I boarded the full plane and looked out over the faces popping up behind all the headrests, I felt a connection to every person there. A brief moment where we were the Universal, not strangers. And then I fell into a nice nap.
This is usually a really intense week for me. I’ve been in hyper online shopping mode and have a lot to wrap and ship. I’ll be spending Christmas out of state and I’ll be gone for a bit more extended time this year and there is a lot to do to prepare. I normally just push through with a good amount of suffering. And while I pushed through, there wasn’t any suffering. NO SUFFERING. Whoa. Things were just getting done, every day, little by little. I typically pull an all-nighter to get gifts wrapped and boxed up and I did it again Friday night but it was no biggy. I went to a holiday party Friday night and was present and had a blast, not experiencing any misery about what had to get done that night. I got home at midnight, changed into my comfy clothes, put on some Christmas music, and began the wrapping marathon. Got everything boxed up, labeled and loaded in my car, took a nice long nap as the sun came up, and got everything to my small local post office Saturday mid-morning. And those amazing postal workers behind the counter. The line was out the door, and they looked like they had run a marathon. If I wasn’t concerned about being arrested by the FBI, I would have hopped the counter and helped them out. Watch peoples’ faces in line at the post office. Everyone is staring at the postal workers, and typically not with a smile on their face. So I brought the smile! I was exhausted but I could certainly muster a smile. I’m in line with my official hand truck loaded with 3 big boxes (which automatically makes you the most evil customer in line), I chatted it up with the folks next to me in line and kept the conversations about happy stuff and you could actually feel the energy in the post office shift. And since I got this done a bit earlier this year (and therefore saved on some postage), I had the rest of the day Saturday to get other things done. By the time I went to bed Saturday, all of the packaging from the online shipments was cleaned up and ready to go out in recycling, the wrapping paraphernalia was put away, and I even had a clean kitchen (trust me – if you had seen it after I made fajitas to take to the party Friday night – you would understand how significant this is). I felt light. Just awesome! The week before I had done the prep work for the children’s advent craft activities for church and that whole mess was completely cleaned up earlier in the week. It’s like stuff was just falling into place and getting done. Kind of like magic. The whole week I was experiencing the joyous anticipation of being at my sister’s enjoying my family and having a great time but also enjoying where I was and being present. How ‘bout that.
My Service for last week, on my Service Index Card, was HUGE. It was a lot of work but it’s been hanging over my head for a year. I guess I can say I successfully avoided it for a year because I hadn’t completed it but oh the misery that came with that avoidance. Every time I read it on my Service Index Card and know that IT’S DONE is so HUGE. While I would have saved myself a lot of grief if I had just done it a year ago, I’m glad that now I get to celebrate it multiple times a day. I might just keep putting that one on each subsequent card along with four we carry forward. That one packs a punch and I truly celebrate each time I read it!
Found Haanel a bit challenging to read this week; contradictions, points I just wasn’t getting. But by the end of the week I just let go of the parts I didn’t get and focused on the parts I did. All good because the gift this week is so intensely powerful for me. Whatever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will. I always have a group of people included in my daily prayers, people with health or life challenges. I shifted my prayers last week to say each person’s name and they are Whole, Perfect, Strong, Powerful, Loving, Harmonious, Happy, and Healthy. This week I added gratitude for their restoration of health and joy and visualize them healthy and joyful (and me too). Really powerful. Makes me feel like my prayers have more meat and it’s a safe feeling of powerful love I can associate with those prayers instead of a somewhat helpless hopeful feeling. Big shift. And trusting that what I give, I get.
This being the second time we transitioned to a new Scroll, I had the same experience whereas the last couple of days of the month were upon me, I was clinging to the Scroll from which I was ‘graduating’. Like it was going away somehow. And while there is this huge excitement about the unveiling of the next Scroll (I don’t ever look ahead), there was this sadness of leaving something behind. My reads would become more intentional and I would reread parts if I found my mind wandering even the slightest amount, read with the same intensity and delight as the first time I read it. Not that all other reads during the month were bad, but sometimes you’re in a pinch for time or you’re tired and I wouldn’t be 100% present. It’s not like the words wouldn’t be there for me any time I wanted them. I mean, seriously, all I have to do is page backwards a couple of pages. But none the less, there is this Good-Bye thing going on. Just interesting to observe.
Definitely found the square on the wall, the circle, the cone, challenging. There was a specific spot on the wall I used for my focus. My brain kept wanting me to shift it down about 4 inches and I kept fighting it until I realized my whole sit for a couple of days was spent fighting over 4 inches. As soon as I gave that up, the faint black outline of a square appeared, with no effort. So who won? Me or me? Hahahaha
I get so annoyed by years of hearing self-improvement and life coaches saying Choose to be happy! Make the decision to Be Happy and you’ll improve your life! Seriously? If it was that easy, we’d all be happy! The truth is sometimes you just can’t get there. You can wake up one day and look yourself square in the mirror and say I Choose Happy! Yea, no. Nuthin’. All by itself, it’s a bit pointless. But I realized today that I’ve been feeling Happy. Yes, Sam was home for the week, which always warms a mom’s heart. Just his energy in the house made life brighter this week. But it was more than that. The Happy was deeper, all inside me and all around me. Not OMG I’M SO HAPPY!!!! But generally Happy. And it occurred to me. The books we’re using, the lessons, the work….I’ve been given permission to be Happy. Did I need permission? Well, apparently I did. Go figure. But it’s like I’ve just taken a peek. Just a little peek. Like general Happy is just the outer edge part. I don’t think I’ve gotten a whole eyeful yet. And that’s kind of exciting.
7 days with no television. Okay. I’ve got this. I mean seriously, no big deal. Maybe I have the TV on a lot these days, but I don’t NEED it on. Yes, it keeps me company now that the house is empty, except for me and the cat. But no big deal. I can do this for 7 days. Um, when exactly did it become so difficult to be by myself? I didn’t marry until I was 36. I didn’t need the TV on before that. Sooooo, what gives? Why was this so hard? I’m still astonished at how emotional this week has been. I’m a very strong person. Ask anyone who knows me. The women in my family are known for being rocks in time of crisis. We have that gift to be able to set emotion aside and take care of what’s in front of you; deal with your emotions later. I experienced repeated losses over a stretch of 5 years. I did my share of grieving and crying. It’s behind me, not forgotten, but behind me. I didn’t realize what a habit I had made of using the TV to squash something going on in there. I’ve eaten in front of the TV for two years now. Turning it off and dining at the table, alone, with all of those empty seats staring back at me. VERY uncomfortable. Lots of suggestions from others, for which I’m grateful. I tried a few things. But in the end, I have some work to do to be comfortable by myself again. And I have faith I’ll get there.