The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Your turn in the barrel

I've been implementing the 101 program on myself for the last month, and it may be entirely coincidental, but I've gained more personal time, am sleeping less (healthfully) my body is recovering from my workouts (which are intense and brief), and some VERY interesting career things are happening.

Now, while my belief system includes some things that some folks would consider magic, this last part is clearly the result of months and years of work. I'll be able to let you know some time next week (hopefully) but let's just say that:

1) Shadow Valley is finished, and looks great.

2)"In The Night Of The Heat" is poised to be a break-out.

3) "The Good House" goes to Fox Searchlight this week.

4) I got a phone call yesterday that was the single best piece of Hollywood news I've gotten since moving back down here. Now, what FELT the best was the news that, a year or so ago, a certain someone signed a contract long in negotiation. DAMN we needed that money. But this news comes as we actually have a measure of stability, and it's STILL rockin'. More later.

##

But the most important thing about the 101 program is engaging with all three arenas of human life, and then consistently refining and raising your energy, while noticing and correlating your results, maintaining behavioral flexibility, and modeling the success of others. Also, to connect your new philosophies with whatever spiritual or philosophical structures you were programmed with before the age of puberty (unless they are disastrously unhealthy--in which case you have some VERY heavy lifting to do.) You need to search for those beliefs that produce positive results in all three arenas, so that you aren't doing "different things" but rather "expressing your essence." Just being who and what you are, although the situations and contexts vary. For instance, "The Way is in Training" means that whatever is important in your life, you have to work at it every day.

EVERY day I tell my friends and family that I love them, and inquire as to their needs.

EVERY day I move my body with grace and intensity.

EVERY day I deepen my understanding of the greatest writing in the English language, and how to produce it.

Every damned day. What did the great pianist say? "If I don't practice for one day, I can tell the difference. If I don't practice for two days, the critics can tell the difference. If I don't practice for three days, the audience can tell the difference."

YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO. Your life is composed of countless small actions. The actions are based on decisions. The decisions are based on your values, beliefs, goals, and emotional states. ALL OF THIS STUFF MUST BE ALIGNED. If you are in conflict with your own internal states, you will sabotage yourself---guaranteed. Meditating is one of the ways to clear away the smoke, inspect the wiring, clean the internal mirrors and windows so that you can see where you really are. Goals, and your success at them, comprise a map of your territory, and your travel plans. How long would you drive without checking street signs? Wouldn't you want to know where gas stations, rest stops, restaurants and motels are? When you go for a long drive, don't you almost always have a general if not specific destination?

Unless you are one of the fortunate few who just Zen's their way through life and ends up someplace delicious every time, you need to align your inner and outer worlds, your remembered past and prospective future, your loves and your fears.

Since they don't give you a "how to" manual for life in Kindergarten, it is your responsibility to create it for yourself, day by day...and then pass whatever you have learned that you have PROVEN VALID to your friends, children, community. This is the only way Mankind has progressed.

It's our turn in the barrel, Dudes and Dudettes.

14 comments:

Frank said...

Unless you are one of the fortunate few who just Zen's their way through life and ends up someplace delicious every time

Um, this isn't possible. There would be no delicious or not delicious. Or more precisely, it's all delicious.

The point at which "I am" meets "right now" is the miraculous singularity.

It is too easy not to recognize this for what it is for a whole host of reasons: Not the least of which is judging situations to be delicious or not.

But the point at which "I am" meets "right now" is the presence of the divine.

And it is as close to you as your jugular.

Mike Ralls said...

Posts like this are why I read this blog almost every day.

salina said...

"YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO. Your life is composed of countless small actions. The actions are based on decisions. The decisions are based on your values, beliefs, goals, and emotional states. ALL OF THIS STUFF MUST BE ALIGNED. If you are in conflict with your own internal states, you will sabotage yourself---guaranteed. Meditating is one of the ways to clear away the smoke, inspect the wiring, clean the internal mirrors and windows so that you can see where you really are. "

WHEW. Ditto what Mike said.
STRUGGLING to maintain SOME semblance of health and sanity. Uprooted and relocated my entire life to norcal for this Phd program was MUCH MUCH more than a notion. I'm exceedingly grateful for the opportunity, but being successful requires an absolute paradigm shift. The smalling of myself, albeit sincere will NOT serve me well amongst some of the BEST and BRIGHTEST here. Being female, Afrikan (Black), older than even my advisor lol,(im 37), and rocking cultural tattoos and loks makes inconspicuosity in this place (lol is that a word?) virtually impossible. All manner of self doubt and fear are creeping up and yes, the potential for self-sabotage. They chose me I have to remember. I AM what I DO, and by all accounts I've done it WELL, I hope... Thank you for the constant motivation to REFLECT and PUSH back on myself.

Sean said...

Outstanding post Steve... I recently got the 5MM/Lifewriting DVD and had a chuckle when you gave the stat about college grads with and without clearly written goals and plans...

I chuckled because I never had a 5 year plan or goals or anything other than ideas and "wouldnt that be cool" moments. And I drifted a lot, ran into all kinds of problems, blamed the world, lost touch with friends and wondered what life would have been like if i had a plan. Its never too late.

Ditto Mike...

Althea said...

Wow, Frank. I actually agree with you. Wow.

I'll ditto on what Mike and Salina said as well. Steve, you always give me something to think about. You make me look at my actions, thoughts, and beliefs and to see if they are in alignment with each other. And right now they are not, hence, I got much work to do.

I may not agree with all the commenters here, and I don't need to. With 6 billion people on the planet, we will never all agree, but it's nice to see that the majority of people who comment on this blog are thinkers.

Reinestorm said...

I guess my comment is more of a question? Do you believe in a higher power or God? Do you think that all our good fortune is of our own doing?

Steve Perry said...

Lot of folks believe in a God or Higher Power, but don't necessarily believe that such a phenomenon has to be hands-on.

There are folks who believe that God notices the fall of every sparrow.

There are others who think God set the universe spinning like a top and went off to other business.

There are plenty who don't buy any of either.

If you are talking about predestination, or being rewarded
or punished by somebody paying attention up in the sky, that's a different critter from believing that God exists but pays less attention to us than we do the ants in the neighbor's yard ...

Dan Moran said...

Frank, beautiful post.

Pagan Topologist said...

Salina, I love your post. And I also love the word inconspicuosity. Thanks for the coinage. Maybe I will use it.

Steve, this post is so overwhelming that I am going to have to read it several times to grasp it all. Thanks.

David Bellamy

Shady_Grady said...

This is a really good post, Steve.
Nothing but truth.
Thanks.

Steven Barnes said...

Frank--
I love your post. I hope we get to sit down face to face and talk life some day.

Steven Barnes said...

I know God exists, but not a God limited by human concepts of life, consciousness, or ego. Such images of God are very useful for guiding thought...but we have to be careful not to anthropomorphize, or we create God in our own image.

salina said...

and creating God in our image has PROVEN to be a BAD look (colloquially speaking, pun unintended) ESPECIALLY when the OUR leans toward a supremacist-patriarchial-malcapitalist slant.

Have the old heads on here noticed that I've graduated from ellipses to parentheticals and caps? just wonderin. lol

Thanks PT for the kind words.

Josh Jasper said...

Frank, there's a Chinese painting called "The Vinegar Tasters" you might want to look into.