This chapter marks the breaking point for the first third of this adventure.
12 seemed, somehow, just right to me. My impression stemmed from my experience in the breaking of difficult habits: especially drinking and smoking. Each of those tricky endeavors had similar timelines with multiple points: 3 days to whip physical withdrawal--then a week, a month, three months to signal new growth in mastery.
But whether it's three months or four months, we all reach the same moment of truth--where we have to do something bold and dramatic: grow out of the act of NOT doing and start to positively DO. This phase of my journey took four months, not three. I wondered why. And with some help from my good friend Google, I learned:
--Twelve is a sublime number, one that has a perfect number of divisors, and the sum of its divisors is a perfect number also.
--The human body has twelve cranial nerves.
--The Twelve Olympians were the chief gods of the Greek pantheon. Odin, the chief Norse god, had twelve sons. King Arthur's round table had seats for twelve knights. Christ had twelve disciples.
--There are twelve days of Christmas.
--Virgil's epic poem, The Aeneid contains twelve books divided into halves.
--Alcoholics Anonymous has twelve steps, twelve traditions and twelve concepts for world service.
And on and on and on. My instincts and experience both seemed spot-on to me: the time has come to graduate. So today I throw a party for the lessons nailed so far:
1) Working a list of five principles, on a rotating basis, gave me both variety and a comforting sense of consistency. (Know what you don't want...Know what you do want...Get clear where you're confused or undecided...Feel your intentions already achieved...Let go of the need to control specifics--or of painful past experiences that still control you.)
2) Even so, I needed to put a slightly spin on the daily questions from one rotation to the next: e.g., day one, rotation one, 'What is my list of Don't Wants." became in the next rotation :"What are the top two Don't Wants that can most impact the rest, if corrected?"
3) I needed to whittle my lists down to size: ten Don't or Do Wants proved to be unmanageable. But if I arranged them in blocks? No such sweat. E.g.: Job discontent, financial stress, third-shift exhaustion and lack of time blocked together naturally: I don't want a crappy third-shift job that exhausts me, bums me out and leaves too little free time. Or: I do want a M-F day job that offers a comfortable salary, affording me more time to write. Etc.
4) I also learned to subdivide the lists. No need to tackle even five or six large blocks at once. Handle two or three, tops, in the next third--and handle those that best empower me to tackle the remainder in the final third.
5) The most challenging list proved to be the Don't Wants. And, remember, the goal is not to 'fix' these completely at this point--but rather to shift our focus to the list of Do Wants. After four months, I've managed to whittle my list by a third--things I don't think of as Don't Wants at all...but rather as their opposites: things that I Do Want and am committed to achieving.
So I celebrate the foundation today. And a handful of solid achievements, including publication of my sixth ebook with Amazon (The Suiting: 25th Anny Edition)...commencement of new job search...decision to relocate next fall...mending strained relationships and atoning for past wrongs...training for new fall photo...preparations for strengthening my online presence and promotional activities while taking care at the same time to better look after my friends..began the second rewrite of the next Boss MacTavin novel, due sometime early next year.
The adventure doesn't end with this twelfth chapter--it reboots. So be on the watch, my friends, for the Phase Two Bulletins!