Week 14 – October Sky Movie Review

October Sky is a 1999 coming-of-age film, set in a coming-of-age time in America’s mid-twentieth century, 1957.  The movie hearkens to a time before American innocence was lost.  And the nation as a whole was forced to grow up, mature and face many trials and tribulations in the coming decades.

Like the teenage “Rocket Boys” in the film, America was still young and fresh in it’s idealism.  We had not yet experienced the assassinations of John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, the rage of Vietnam War, Watergate, numerous economic crises, the Reagan years, NASA’s Challenger disaster, and the Gulf War of the 90s.

Directed by Joe Johnston the film, whose working title was Rocket Boys, is based on real life experiences of Homer Hickam and 5 friends detailed in the book, Rocket Boys, A Memior,

Rocket Boys was adapted for the screen by Lewis Colick, who won the Humanitas Award for Best Screenplay, 1999.october-sky-movie-poster-1999-1020190824

A fun factoid is that October Sky is an anagram for Rocket Boys.

I remember when “October Sky” came out and hearing reviews like, “The best feel good movie ever made.” (Rotten Tomatoes)  It was an inspiring story of how against all odds a coal miner’s son who dreamed of going into space,  learned how to build rockets, and landed himself a scholarship that eventually led him to fulfill his dream.  At the time, I had wanted to watch it, but life happened and I never did.  When we received the assignment to watch one of six movies during the holidays, as soon as I saw the title, October Sky, I knew this was the one I would watch for our movie assignment.

As I watched October Sky, I thought back to the time this movie came out.

I was working as a Pharmacy Tech in a local supermarket, living in an old dilapidated 1950’s trailer, off grid.  The road to my home was much like the muddy roads depicted in the mining town of this movie.  Often times, it took me 2 hours to drive 5 miles, because of the muck.  Wet caliche will suck the boots off your feet and the tires off your truck.  One neighbor lost three transmissions that year, trying to drive the back road of the canyon.  Almost all of us, lost our transmission at least once that year.  1999 was one of the most stressful years of my life.

It was before 9/11 and it’s aftermath.  The Sopranos had just debuted on HBO and The Family Guy on Fox.  I didn’t have cable or even time to watch TV, so I didn’t watch either.  People were worried about Y2K, and the Internet Bubble was just beginning its early stages of bursting.

Elon Musk was just starting a business that later merged with Paypal.  We didn’t know who he was, yet.  But his ideas of traveling to outer space and Mars were already formulating in his mind long before 1999.

Jake Gyllenhaalselection_004 who plays the ever tenacious Homer Hickam was young.  This is one of his earliest movies.  He received positive reviews for his portrayal of Homer.  And I remember Chris Cooper being especially praised for how he portrayed Homer Hickam’s father, adding depth to a character that many felt in a lesser actors’ hand could have been played too flat and one-dimensionally.

The movie was so praised for being inspirational and feel good that I was surprised when I started watching the opening scenes.  They were dark and dour to the point that I did a double check to ensure I was actually watching the right movie.

A spark of light in the dark

The film opens with a close up shot of a steel gray cable unwinding as the coal miners take the cable lift down into the dark mines.  A prelude to the unwinding of what we now know of the coal mining and steel industries in America’s last century.

It’s 1957 and the people of Coalwood, West Virginia go about their day as a typical coal mining town of the time.

Especially poignant is the scene of one miner carrying an old transistor radio on his shoulder as a crew of miners enter the mineshaft cable elevator.  He and the men standing near him listen closely to the radio announcer’s description of Russia’s Sputnik, soon to be visible to the naked eye in America’s October Sky.   As the coal mine shaft elevator drops down the radio loses it signal and the miners turn on their head lights.  The scene fades out to darkness and silence.  This is based on a true story.


A part of the *MKMMA assignment was to watch the movie in context of the Four Tiny Habits for Success/Persistance as outlined in our Lesson 11 Workbook slides.

1. A definite major purpose backed by a burning desire for it’s fulfilment. (DMP – Definite Major Purpose)

2. A definite plan, expressed in continuous action. (POA – Plan of Action)

3. A mind closed tightly against all negative thought and discouraging influences, including negative suggestions of relatives, friends, and acquaintances. (PMA – Positive Mental Attitude, Hill/Clement]

4. Friendly mastermind alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through on both plan and purpose. (*MKMMA)

His buddies, the Rocket Boys is his mastermind alliance.

I wonder if others can relate,

as I did,  to the conditions of Coalwood, in 1957, to similar times we may have experienced in our own lives?  Or perhaps, to what our nation is experiencing now as we enter 2017?

On his site, Homer Hickam shares how he has received countless, heart-warming letters from people touched by him and his friends, his father and mother, and the tough practical strength of the townspeople of Coalwood.

The story of the rocket boys happened almost sixty years ago.  Homer Hickam told this story almost twenty years ago; forty years after the actual events happened in his life.

It’s when people take the long view of their lives that they gain insight into their patterns, the long-term thinking patterns, that land them in lives they are living right now.  For Homer, this perspective happened in the late 90’s, when he first wrote about the Rocket Boys of his youth.  For any of us it can happen at any time, or maybe it has already happened?

The elder Hickam didn’t see his world in decline. The film captures this point well.  It’s a part of the heart of the story.  Homer’s father had come into his own in the mine.  It was where his spark had been lit.  He loved the mine.  The mine was his world.  It was the fulfillment of his Hero’s Journey.  And he whole-heartedly wished this for his son, … the life of a miner.

When Homer saw that speck of light fly across the night sky on October 5th, 1957, his own unique spark was lit inside of him.  He thought about it for days.  Then announced to his family, I’m going to build a rocket.  In that moment he established his DMP, his Definite Major Purpose.   It was his call to action, the call of his own version of the Hero’s Journey.

Almost immediately he met with resistance.  His dream was outside the realm of what was considered possible for most of the people in his life.  But Homer stayed focused on what he wanted.  He asked for help.  He started where he was at and did what he knew he could do, and with each mistake he learned the next thing he needed to learn, and set about learning it.  He persisted.  And persisted.  And persisted.  Continuous action over time led to his ultimate victory.

He could have given up at any obstacle.  And in fact, he almost did.  A turning point in the film is when his teacher, Miss Riley said,

Sometimes you really can’t listen to what anybody else says. You just gotta listen inside.

Early on in our *MKMMA experience, Mark J and Davene talked about the importance of deciding what we want regardless of what we think about the conditions of our lives.  Let the inside decide, not the outside.  Let subby determine the how, our job is to keep our focus on our “what”, our dream, our call to action from the spark inside of each of us.

Work the process, and the process will work for you. *(the answer to how is, yes)

12:  Commentary:  Homer now gives motivational speeches citing “Passion, Planning, and Perseverance” as the secret to a successful life. He stresses that planning in a sequential, incremental way is very important in reaching your dreams.


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Week 13 – Gratitude IS The Cause

In Sunday’s webinar Mark said something that continues to stick with me, “Gratitude is the cause, not the effect.” I love that!!!

When I heard him say that, I thought about how I say, “Appreciation is how I create.”  They are two ways of saying the same thing.  I didn’t always think this way, it’s been an evolutionary process.  One discovery, added upon another discovery, until eventually, one day … it all came together for me and I realized that over time, I had developed this process.

When I want something, first, I check within to ensure it is in alignment with the Highest Will and noble principles.  Then, I thank the universe for it, as if I already have it.  I appreciate what I already have.  Ergo, appreciation is how I create.  This is how I pray.  I do much more listening than asking.  My asking is mostly for inner wisdom, and guidance.  And I do a massive amount of thanking.

A Simple … Thank You.

Nothing complicated.  Heartfelt thank you’s.  Almost all day long, LOL.

(I’ve added another component since joining the *MKMMA.  Since I’ve clarified my Definite Major Purpose, my DMP, I also weigh in on what I want with my DMP in mind, too.  It’s a great “gate” process to help me manage opportunity costs.)

There’s a scripture in the Bible that used to cause me much consternation growing up.  Jesus was talking with a group of people and he says to them,

“He who has shall be given more.  And he who has not, even that which he has shall be taken from him.”

As a kid, I remember thinking… NOT FAIR!!!! NOT FAIR!!!!!

The whole idea went against my sensibility of what was right and wrong.  I didn’t have sufficient knowledge of Natural Law to understand it’s true meaning.

It wasn’t until I was in my forties that I finally understood what Jesus meant by this statement.  It became clear to me when I was reading a book on how Quakers make decisions together, *Practicing Discernment Together.  It’s a very interesting process.  Their meetings are mostly silence.  Something I can appreciate.  I love silence.  Sometimes, words can get in the way of that deeper inner connection.  It’s like they all get together and do a SIT.

The only speaking that happens is when someone in the meeting feels moved to speak.  There is a definite sense to this.  And they SIT in silence together, with an understanding that each of them, uniquely and collectively, are in communion with the same Higher Being, Beloved, Infinite Intelligence.

There is an enormous amount of trust that emerges from these silent meetings.

By the time I was reading this book, I had already been through A Course in Miracles three times.  The ACIM really brings home, over and over, how cause and effect actually work.  So I had the principle down by then.  Giving and receiving are one.  There is no separation, except in our perception.  If we block giving, we also block receiving.  And if we block receiving, we also block giving.  What we are blocking is the flow of energy that is one, which is why if we block one expression of that energy, we experience a block in overall expression of that energy, like flipping the on/off switch in an electric current.

Currency works best when it is in FLOW.

In any given moment, we are appreciating, or depreciating.  There really isn’t any neutral in this.  Neutral in flow would be like putting your foot on the gas and the brake at the same time.  I also like how Mark and Davene encouraged Movement in this webinar; the importance of moving, keeping energy in flow.

This metaphor of appreciation or depreciation of the flow of energy helped me FEEL how gratitude works in my daily life.

Inhale Love, Exhale Gratitude...
Inhale Love, Exhale Gratitude…

Gratitude ON, Gratitude OFF.

Flow ON, Flow OFF.

Low on energy, time to appreciate, or check where I am depreciating, and FLIP THAT SWITCH.

I’m human, I don’t always get this right, but it’s a metaphor I play with to help me.

*Practicing Discernment Together, spoke about this scripture, in a way that really helped me deepen the connection of its meaning.  To understand better what Jesus meant when he said what he did.  We can only give from what we have.  And if we perceive that we have nothing, or little, our perception will generate the experience of little, even more so.  We give from a sense of “little”.  This generates a downward spiral of the flow of energy.  Putting brakes on the flow of universal currency.

The concepts I learned from Cayce made sense on an even deeper level.  If you want to have friends, be friendly.  If you want to be loved, be loving.  If you want something, imagine what you want, and act as if it is already so.

This is powerful, when understood.  It is life-changing when applied, … when lived.

People often learn in stages.  At first an idea may be heard and automatically rejected as a matter of course, maybe even out of habit.  When it’s been repeated enough, perhaps, it may become heard, but not yet given real consideration.  Eventually, it can become understood, on what I call an intellectual level.  I noticed as a kid, that many of the adults around me, understood things intellectually, but didn’t necessarily apply them.

I was so influenced by Edgar Cayce, and he talked a lot, A LOT, about application.  And personal observation.  It takes time, and repeated action over time, to anchor an understanding deeper and deeper into our being.  To the point that a principle becomes much more than an intellectual exercise but rather a way of being, or as Og Mandino says, a new habit. (It’s brilliant what Mark and Davene offer in *MKMMA, super effective and fast ways of anchoring understanding into our deeper being.)

This is where the practice of patience can become a huge benefit.  As the saying goes,

“In patience, you possess your soul.”

Patience allows perspective.  And perspective smooths the way for persistence.  Each reinforcing the other.

Giving the gift of gratitude, living gratitude day in and day out, primes the creative pump for energy to flow through us and among us.

It’s the spiritual ecology of the human economy.

As Christmas and the New Year approach, I offer, GRATITUDE, Big Fat Dinny THANK YOUs to everyone who has encouraged and supported me, and each other, in OUR *MKMMA Journey.

Be kind and patient with yourself this season, and remember, YOU ARE LOVED.

GRATEFUL: A Love Song to the World | Empty Hands Music | nimo feat. daniel nahmod

* Practicing Discernment Together, Finding God’s Way Forward in Decision Making

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* Master Key Master Mind Alliance (MKMMA)

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Week 12 – This Is How I’m Fostering My Focus

Fostering Focus

Last week, I had an insight that I shared in the Master Key Mastermind Alliance Mental Diet Group,

I feel the greatest benefits of the Mental Diet are that it helps me gain Self-Mastery and helps me Foster my Focus.  It’s much easier to stay focused when I’m not getting derailed by internal drama.

The Mental Diet has come in handy several times this week, already!!! 🙂

At the same time, I made a decision to shift my daily schedule to focus first on my top priority action toward achieving my DMP.  I moved writing 2 to 3 hours at the top of my day, before I do anything else.  My brain and will energy are at their best, strongest and freshest first thing in the morning.

The theme of fostering my focus has continued into this week.

I’ve been playing with different ways to set up my editorial and writing schedules.

However, I’ve had difficulty sorting out how to get everything I am juggling in front of me, in a way where I could see and think, as I set up these various writing projects.

Sunday evening, I remembered once reading about using Google Calendar for setting up Editorial Calendars.  I pulled up that old article, and one thing led to another, and I started playing with layering Google calendars.

When layering calendars you create new calendars for each specific purpose or project.  In my case, I did this for each business, and project I have in play right now.  Then I scheduled the times slots for each calendar as recurring events.  And started customizing each recurring event to what I want to accomplish each day.

I’m loving this process.  I’ve never used Google Calendar before and this tool is doing exactly what I want it to do for me, and more.

Super Jazzed … !!!!screenshot-of-editorial-calendar

As I play with the calendars I can hide or display what I need to laser in my focus, or zoom out for a bigger picture.

I’ve color-coded the various calendars, too.

Today, I’m playing with the tasks tools in Google to set up check lists for repeatable actions.  This way, I’m not reinventing the wheel every time I do something.  And it also allows me to tweak and fine tune my processes. *Kaizen

Yep… I’m a systems gal… LOL.

The calendar automatically updates on my phone.  (I’ll be honest, I don’t know how that happens, or why.  It’s just a serendipitous add-on benefit.)  So, I have easy access to everything on the fly.

If you haven’t discovered Google Calendars, check it out.

With the “Sit”, the Mental Diet, and Google Calendar … I can do anything.  🙂

How about you?  How are you fostering your focus?

* Master Key Master Mind Alliance (MKMMA)

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Feature Image Credit:  sasint @ Pixabay



Week 11 – Owning My Plan of Action (POA)

Last week, while on one of my morning walks, I had an epiphany.

I made a decision to OWN my POA.

Really OWN it.  Make it mine.  Customize it to me, and to what I want to accomplish, every day, in moving me toward achieving my Definite Major Purpose. (DMP)

Once it happened, it was a “no-brainer”, an idea that is so obvious, I wonder why I didn’t think it already.  But, this happens, doesn’t it.

Habits can become neurological ruts in our brain pathways.

Our minds get locked into a certain way of thinking and we tend to forget to see beyond the edges of what my Mom often called the “ruts”.  Neurological pathways in our brain that have become so well entrenched that we automatically takes those pathways, by habit, without thinking about them.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I found myself a little stuck and floundering when it came time to move our Plan of Action (POA) onto new index cards and the backside of our DMP paper, while also introducing combinations onto this new POA index card.

Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.

Napoleon Hill

So, I’m rocking along, walking the dogs, drinking in the morning sunshine, and pondering very loosely, in my mind about how to write up combinations on the new index cards.

I’ve also noticed that some of the good habits I had already created before *MKMMA were slipping, and I didn’t want that to continue.  These previous habits would fall in the PPN category of True Health.  True Health habits are lifestyle habits.  While there may be specific goals to reach, True Health is more a process, a way of life rather than simply meeting a specific goal, such as a target weight.  (Once you’re in maintenance mode, after you’ve met your goal.)

This was also, loosely, on my mind, too, while I walked that day.

Then whammy, blammy – like a news flash, the previously not-so-obvious, become super-obvious.

My inner landscape suddenly shifted.  And a new way of seeing, and thinking, about the index cards emerged.

I thought to myself, “Write those previous habits that I want to keep into the new index card in combinations and in a sequential flow that supported the flow of my day”.

Just like how we bring the 4 completed services forward onto our new service index cards.  I can bring forward the healthy habits I want to keep, too.  Incorporate what I am already doing into the new habits I am building.

Weave them all together in a way that flows and works for me.

In short, OWN my POA.

There was a huge release of pent-up energy with this realization.  Whew…

One of my Personal Pivotal Need’s (PPN’s) is Recognition for Creative Expression. The reasons this need has not been met are:

  1.  I’ve been in denial that it was even a need. I’m one of these people that have tended to put my needs on the back burner for everyone else around me.  It’s a habit.  An old habit that I’m letting go.
  2.  Because I’ve been in denial, I haven’t given it priority in my life.  I didn’t schedule time for it and give it purpose, meaning and direction.

I’ve danced around it enough, … most of my life.

But I never gave it genuine respect.  With *MKMMA, this has changed.  I made peace with the energetic fact, that to fulfil my definite major purpose, I need to embrace this particular personal need within me.

This was one of my biggest and earliest breakthroughs in working with the *MKMMA.

Because I’ve danced around the edges of this need throughout much of my life, I’ve done lots of personal journaling.  And I read a lot about writers, and writer’s lives and processes.

Last week, I revisited Stephen Pressfield’s book on resistance, *The War of Art.”  In it he describes his own writing process, his daily writing routine.  The way it flows for him.

I stepped back from that description for a moment, pondering on it a bit.  Again, reflecting on how I can apply his insights into my own life.

Thresholds and inner shifts …

Thresh holds
© Dmitry Bruskov  (123rf Photo)

I decided to make a cup of tea.  Tea and thinking go hand in hand.

I walked from the dining room to the living room, on route to the kitchen.  Have you ever noticed there is something about physically crossing a threshold? Physically moving from one space to another in our outer environment often correlates to an inner shift in our inner environment.  Lots of times people will have an idea and then when they go into another room, they forgot it.  If they will step back into the room they had the idea in, the idea will likely pop up again.

It was at this threshold of space between my dining room and living room that I had another epiphany.

A huge AHA!  I spontaneously spoke out loud to myself, “I’ve been doing it all backwards.”

In studies on the will centers of the human brain, there are *3 of them in the pre-frontal cortex (1), we’ve discovered that people have more will energy first thing in the morning.

The epiphany I had involved rearranging my daily schedule in a way that puts writing in the top priority of my day.  The first thing I do when I wake up.

Of course, to do this, means I had to let go of some ideas I had about how I think the day should roll.

I had become attached to these ideas, and had to sit with myself and reconsider what I thought.

The idea to get up and write first thing, for 2 to 3 hours before I do anything else, is not one that would work for every one.

But, the beauty of the *MKMMA systems that we are learning is that we get to customize our Plan of Actions, our POA, to our selves and our lives.

I let go of all those “shoulds”, and acted on this idea immediately.

I now feel a sense of clarity about my daily plan of action that I didn’t have before.

Yesterday, I wrote all this out on my new POA index cards.

Last night, as I was falling to sleep, I could easily imagine this morning with crystal clarity.

Everything just synced, and I am so psyched, jazzed, excited, … LOL … super-charged to get up every morning and take action on my DMP.

(1) * The Willpower Instinct, by Kelly McGonigal

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* Master Key Master Mind Alliance (MKMMA)

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I love how Allen is connecting and linking and combining so much of what we’re learning in MKMMA

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Week 10 has been a week of definitely staying on guard when it comes to letting any negative thoughts or feelings get a foothold in my consciousness. The one thing I’m really noticing is that you have to turn the intensity up and keep it up. Just when you think it’s safe to go in the water, it ain’t safe. There’s still sharks constantly roaming in that sea of thought and feelings. I’ve got to constantly use all my bag of tricks ( my affirmations: I AM WHOLE, PERFECT, STRONG, POWERFUL, LOVING, HARMONIOUS, HAPPY. I CAN BE WHAT I WILL TO BE), looking at my dream board, reading scroll 9 of the Greatest Salesman, and the Masterkey Lessons with more vigor and enthusiam each time I do any of these exercises. I’m starting to feel like I’m Van Helsing fighting off Dracula the prince of Darkness and all of his…

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