The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, February 17, 2006


In many ways, everything I say in this newsletter—or on my blog, is just a different way of trying to express something I’ve grasped over my years of writing and living.   Something that has enabled me to accomplish every goal I had as a child, and MOST (but not all, by any means!) of my adult goals.  This thing can’t quite be put into words, but by approaching it from different directions, and encouraging you to try different thought experiments, you can glimpse the same mountain I’ve been climbing, and decide for yourself whether it is worth the time and effort.

When I talk (endlessly!) about fitness, and relationships, and career, it is not that these things are some end-all be-all in and of themselves.  It is that if you learn to succeed (by your own definitions) in these three arenas, that you learn some very interesting things about life, things that the great sages have been trying to express in words for centuries.  They elude precise definition.  But in actions, truth can be clarified.

Let’s try looking at it another way.  Everyone reading this has had what they would consider success in at least one of these areas.  Who among us has not learned a difficult subject?  Or excelled, even for a day, at a sport?  Or found a healthy, loving relationship, even if we could not sustain it for long?

What I ask you to do is to go deeply within yourself, and ask WHAT WAS IN COMMON BETWEEN THESE EXPERIENCES?  This is so slippery, and so hard to express with precision.  Let me try this way: at that moment in time, you were able to produce energy, and use it appropriately.  You were neither less nor more than you needed to be.  You were able to simply BE, and in that BE-ing, you found, just for a moment, excellence. 

You glimpsed it. You probably lost it.  We sometimes spend the rest of our lives seeking to find it again.  Note that most stories that have lasted for generations deal with people placed in high-stress situations: they love, they lose, they are threatened, they seek power or glory or revenge or relief.  SOMETHING knocks them out of their complacency.  Objects at rest tend to remain at rest.  Objects in motion tend to remain in motion.  You can’t teach an old dog new tricks because the old dog is tired, and wants to simply do the same things over and over again. 

We are the same way.  If you want to get different results, you have to do different things.  To do that you have to raise your energy, and then match it to the current situation in an appropriate fashion.  This is HARD, people.

And what three things motivate us the most?  Love/Sex, power, and survival.  Madison avenue has understood this for a long time.  Almost every product you see is pushed using one of these three.  It requires a more evolved, spiritual, and mature person to be motivated purely by intellect or spirituality. 

Energy.  Passion.  Drive.  Motivation.  Ki.  Chi.  Prana. Num.  So many terms that dance around a central truth. 

Where in your own life do you experience the most natural flow of energy?
Where in your own life is this energy most blocked?  Where do you feel the greatest fatigue and depression?
If you were to evaluate your successes and failures in the arenas of relationship, physicality, and career (please alter these definitions so that they make the most sense to you) is there any common pattern that would yield wisdom or understanding of your own process?

Let us seek the source of our energy.  Once we’ve found it, let’s find the way to most appropriately use it in our lives.  Yeah.  Stalking energy.  Sounds like a good use of our time for the next few days or weeks, doesn’t it?

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