story examples

Darkness

This week has gone well, and for my old blueprint, darkness tends to follow.

This time, I asked myself: Why should I feel this way when things are going well?


darknessThis month’s reading in The Greatest Salesman is about multiplying your own value. It makes the analogy of a wheat seed and how it multiplies from one to many seeds, which then multiply to many more. But in this, Og Mandino writes:

To grow and multiply it is necessary to plant the wheat grain in the darkness of the earth and my failures, my despairs, my ignorance, and my inabilities are the darkness in which I have been planted in order to ripen.

So darkness has value.


I’ve felt that darkness has value for a long time now. I feel as if much of the problems of the world are an attempt not to feel, not to think, to avoid the potentially dark areas in ourselves, as if they had some sort of power. But they only have power when ignored and suppressed, as far as I can tell.

I get the feeling that a lot of people – in and out of the Master Key Experience – are surprised or put off that one of the items on my DMP is a story which is so dark that I’ve seen people read the back cover, put it down, and walk away, saying, “I can’t read this.”

I admit, it’s not for everyone. But neither is it simply a wallow in darkness. I believe that stories have great power, and when you’re in darkness yourself having someone tell you, “see, there’s someone else here too” is a comfort that those who shy away from it will never be able to give. But you have to be willing and able to go there in order to help.

Darkness has its own beauty as well. The smallest bit of light becomes even brighter, and this is where the seed is transformed, reborn if you will, to become something it could never have been otherwise.

Do you think the seed is doing well? It’s doing what it was meant to do, becoming what it was intended to become.

I realized this week that asking why I might be in darkness when things are going well was the wrong question. The real question is: am I doing what I was meant to do? Am I becoming what I was intended to become? Am I breaking the hard crust of cement which has surrounded my life? If so, darkness might be exactly where I need to be right now. 🙂

Week 15: failure and opportunity

Failure is not necessarily a bad thing. In it lie the seeds of opportunity, if you’re willing to look for it.

Let me explain. For the first time since starting this course in September 2014, I have failed to complete a weekly service.

(those of you taking the course know how ‘gasp’ worthy that is)

My weekly was to make a full-length Victorian dress for the event I’m going to next weekend. Not just one dress, but a reversible dress, with different colors and styles on each side. And my machine was broken, so I was going to do it by hand. While in the middle of a holiday week, while watching a marathon of Harry Potter movies with my daughter and her boyfriend coming over every day.

Okay, so I put myself in a situation where I was probably going to fail. This is straight out of my old blueprint, and looking back, it seems silly. At the time, it didn’t seem that way. But in the back of my head, I thought, “can I really do this?” so even then I knew.

Things were going pretty well, actually. The skirt was sewn, the bodice and sleeves were cut out, and fit great. But then a sleeve got put in inside out, and the neckline was wrong, and on and on and on. Finally, realizing I couldn’t do the buttonholes in time, I went to a local sewing shop on Sunday and bought me a new machine.

(They were technically closed, but they were renovating and when I said I needed a machine today and if they were closed did they know anyone who sold them, they said come on in. Good business, there.)

But the neck was giving me fits and it was 11:30 pm and I normally go to bed at 10 and I hadn’t gotten to the buttonholes yet and the skirt was still to be put on and that damn sleeve still wasn’t right and I had to admit I had failed.


Haanel tells a story about failure, right at the start of part 15, and when I read it, I found it inspirational.

Here’s how it goes: An experiment was done at the Rockefeller Institute by a Dr. Jacques Loch (MD/PhD) where potted roses infested with aphids (which have no wings) were put into a room near a closed window and allowed to dry out.

Now, these aphids were in trouble. They thought they had chosen a great place to live, but it had turned disastrous. They had no food, no water, and things looked pretty dim. They had failed spectacularly. What could they do? They were just bugs, crawling around on a dying rose bush. It seemed as if they were doomed.

So what did they do? Did they just lay down and die? No.

The only method by which they could save themselves from starvation was to grow temporary wings and fly, which they did.

(emphasis mine)

They took a failure and turned it into an amazing opportunity for freedom. They found resources and abilities within themselves they never had before.

When I first read this, I thought: if an aphid can do this, so can I. I am more than an aphid! So I began a little experiment of my own.

(no, I’m not trying to grow wings)

(according to Wikipedia, it’s actually their children who are born – very quickly, I’d presume – with wings)

(I’ll tell you about my experiment later. This post is getting too long as it is, and I have a lot more to say.)


So how does failure turn into opportunity? If you use it to learn something.

It didn’t hit me until yesterday that I had failed, and what that meant. I felt as if I let myself down, and I did cry a bit about that. But then I realized that I had been half-assing it for a while now. Reading Og once a day instead of three times. Not listening to my recording at all – it needs to be re-recorded and I’ve been putting it off. ‘Sort of’ finishing weekly tasks ‘well enough’. Not keeping my promises to my customers. No wonder subby figured I was going back to the old blueprint. I was.

Before I began this class, I had failed in every single area of my life. Every one.

(don’t even bother telling me ‘no, look at all the good stuff you did,’ because I have them on stacks of cards and almost every one is bittersweet, a record of great starts, even great accomplishments, ending in massive failure – and I guarantee you do not know the details)

So why in the world would I want to go back to that?

They say when you’re stressed, you seek out the familiar, and I guess that’s what I was doing.


A few months ago, someone who has known me since 1980 told me I was neutral evil.

(we were sort of having an argument at the time)

For those of you who have never played Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), here’s a fair description of the concept of alignment, and more specifically about the neutral evil alignment, although this other person and I go with the altruistic/selfish view of good/evil rather than the newer version, which is too simplistic to translate to reality.

(If you need more examples, here’s a whole slew of alignment charts applied to fictional characters. Some charts are more accurate than others.)

Now, at first him saying I was neutral evil hurt my feelings. I always thought of myself as neutral good, or at least that’s what I always wanted to be.

But then I thought about it a while, looked at my life, at who I really am, and decided that perhaps this is why the course has been so difficult for me: I am trying to change my alignment.

In D&D, changing alignment is a serious matter for a player-character: you change not only how you are as a person, you change everything, down to your gods. Changing alignment costs you, in a big way.

This explains some things. It’s making me re-evaluate my DMP, and why I do what I do, why I want what I want. This … failure, if you will (if not in me as a person but certainly in my relationships), is becoming an opportunity, because it opened my eyes to what I was pretending not to know.

I need to stop trying to change my life and change it.

(Sort of like Morpheus and Neo when they’re fighting.)

I’m scheduling this post. When it appears, I’ll be driving to New Orleans on Thursday, to go to Wizard World Comic Con and sell my book, and to go to a business conference. My dress will be done. How do I know? Because I have thought the matter through and starting at noon, for ten hours today (Tuesday) I will work on that dress. If it’s not done, then I will start at noon and work on it for ten hours Wednesday, or until it’s done.

I will make it happen.

(okay, now I really am getting silly here, channeling Palpatine, but it’s going to happen, and my week will be awesome)

So if you have failed, are failing, no matter how badly, it doesn’t matter. You can turn that failure into a chance to become someone that you weren’t before.

Look for the opportunity.

Find the resources and abilities in yourself that you didn’t know you had.

Make it happen.

See you next week. 🙂

Week 12: the connection

I read a short story a few weeks ago about a man who died and walked with God for a while, someone who looked basically like anyone else, and they talked. The main idea of the story was that this man who had just died was the only person in the universe, here to live every single life possible to live.

(God told him that his next stop was going to be to live as a woman in 5th century China.)

Once this person lived all their lives and learned all the things they needed to learn, they would be given their own universe, their own person, and get to talk to the person they were assigned to when they had completed each of their lives.


This week, Haanel reminds us of our connection to the Universal Mind, and gives a good suggestion as to how to recognize it: silence, what in the class we call the Sit.

I was out walking today (in silence), and considering the idea of us all being connected, how we have the same subby as everyone else does. This isn’t a new idea to me. But it hit me today: if I have the same subby as everyone else does, then there is only one subby.

As in the story, we are just one person.

When I see you, I see the part of me that is you: our subby. Namaste is how the Hindus put it, recognizing that part and honoring it.

My thought expanded on this: when I see an aspect of someone, I am seeing that aspect of me in them.

I see someone who is talented and wise, and I see the part of me which is this way.

I see someone who is prejudiced, and I acknowledge the times I have judged others by the way they looked without knowing anything about them.

I see a happy dog, or a smiling baby, and I see the joyful simple heart within me which delights in life itself.

I see a fearful xenophobic person and I see the fear which resists letting others in who might hurt me.

I see a generous person and I acknowledge the generosity within myself.

I see an angry, hateful person and I recall the times I have lashed out at others.

In a way, this thought turns having opinions on its head, because when I form an opinion about others it’s really an opinion about me.

Mark J said a similar thing last year sometime, but at the time I didn’t really get it: if we didn’t have an aspect of ourselves in us, we wouldn’t be able to see it in others. Sort of like the ‘vibratory brain cell’ Haanel talks about which we need to be able to grasp a completely new idea.

Combine this with the law of attraction and I have new insight about why letting go of judgment, or negative opinion, is so important: my thoughts attract what I think about to me and reinforce it. It’s all about focus, and what do I want.

There is only one subby, just as there is only one Mind. We can change who we are, and by extension, who everyone else in the world is, if we only make the connection.