Doing Coach Sonnon's "R.O.P.E." program today. More pulling engagement. Feels quite well-rounded, and as smart as TacFit.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Today I fight zombies again! It's back to my new novel with T., "Devil's Wake." Let's see...it's snowing in the Siskiyou pass...
Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:15 AM
I get tired of people blaming bad behavior on drugs or alcohol. That explanation might work...once. After that, if you EVER use those substances again, you have CHOSEN to behave badly.
Posted by Steven Barnes at 8:32 AM
The agony! I just discovered Justin Bieber and I share a birthday (March 1).
Posted by Steven Barnes at 8:00 AM
Monday, August 30, 2010
If I don't stretch my body every day, it gets terribly stiff. My mind is even worse!
Posted by Steven Barnes at 6:48 PM
"If the days of our old age are more numerous than those of our youth, of them must we think"
Posted by Steven Barnes at 11:32 AM
Fear is your body and mind preparing you for action. Take action, or succumb to paralysis, guilt and anger!
Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:39 AM
On the day you were born, did they say “poor baby” or slap you on the butt?
When you learned to walk, did you do it on the third try, or did you fall down for weeks?
When you learned to ride your bike, how many times did you fall over?
When you first learned about love, how many times did your heart get broken?
If you look back over your life, how many things that you have accomplished followed oceans of sweat and blood?
Then why...why...do you continue to tell yourself the lie that life is supposed to be “easy”? That if you aren’t “talented” you can’t do it? That if you aren’t willing to spend 10,000 hours of practice, you’re just being “practical”? Everything in life that you want...EVERYTHING...is on the other side of fear, effort, and honesty.
Who told you it was going to be easy? Whoever it was...they lied.
Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:17 AM
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Jason starts school today. Last year, he had behavior issues that landed him in “Red.” And, yep, they were real. The question is whether they were genuinely dysfunctional, or evidence that education systems are aimed at one set of emotional/behavioral traits, and Jason has another. Specifically, my opinion is that he is a hunter in a world increasingly filled with farmers. Well, I need to teach him to run and control his energy differently. Slacked off a little over the summer, but hit it again this morning, and happily...he seemed to pick it right back up. Here’s the program.
1) School starts at 8:15. We wake him up at about 7:00. At 7:30 his little butt is mine. We do a little yoga first. This morning this means a “Sun Salutation,” one of the finest start-from-cold multiple joint exercises in the world. I like it myself, just as a test of how well my body is processing exercise. If I’m stiff and sore in the morning...I’ve pushed a little too hard. Jason’s little body is so flexible in some ways, but a Sun
2) After the yoga, we sit cross-legged facing each other and chant “Om” for 5-10 breaths. I have him do the counting: it helps me keep track of his powers of concentration. It also helps him to learn to control the physiological symptoms of stress and anxiety.
3) Finally, he recites his little morning catechism. It is composed of five principles which, in combination, will produce his desired result: being on “green” at the end of the day:
a) Pay Attention
b) Keep your hands to yourself.
c) Do What you are told
d) Be Still
(saying “exhale when stressed” is a lot better than saying “breathe” because a lot of people will inhale and then hold their breath. If you concentrate on exhalation, the inhalation part of the cycle is automatic. The reverse...not so much.)
Anyway, we’ll see what this year is like. Just got back from walking him to his first day of 1st grade. Sigh. They grow up so fast...
Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:02 AM
Monday, August 23, 2010
In the most recent radio show, we discussed writer’s block, and a request was made to relate the same basic patterns to the arenas of relationship and physical fitness/health. In order to do this, let’s first break down the pattern so it can be related across disciplines. And we’ll relate that to the flow of the Hero’s Journey.
1) Hero confronted with a challenge.
a: To be a published writer, supporting oneself primarily through the work.
b: to have a lean, healthy body that matches one’s own standards of attractiveness.
c: to find a healthy, supportive, passionate relationship.
2) Rejection of the challenge.
a: Fear that we aren’t talented enough. Or that the market is too restrictive. That we haven’t time, energy, or support.
b: Fear that losing weight will make us more vulnerable, or attract the wrong attention. Fear that if we have more energy, it will just be stolen from us. Fear that we are too old, lack the knowledge, that it will take too much time, or haven’t the genetic potential.
c: Fear that intimacy will just cause pain. That there aren’t enough men/women available. That we cannot trust our own judgement.
3) Acceptance of the challenge
a) Decision to become writer, despite the problems.
b) Decision to develop the healthiest, sexiest, most energetic body we are genetically capable of having with three hours exercise per week. (If you think you really can’t spend 1/60th of your time caring for your body, you’re lying to yourself)
c) Decision to find and/or nurture a healthy, juicy, heart-healing relationship. To become the kind of person who can attract such.
4) Road of trials.
a) writing two stories a month, sending them for publication, and reading 10X what you write.
b) adopting a simple, basic program of exercise AND dietary control (until people are ready to actually lose weight, they will do one OR the other) and measuring the results.
c) Defining your perfect partner, and what that partner’s perfect partner would be. Moving slowly and steadily in that direction. Performing meditations and exercises designed to increase self-love.
5) Allies and Powers
a) Find teachers, role models, writing groups, editors, critics and others to support your goals. Expand vocabulary, focus, clarity, poetics, knowledge of human nature.
b) Find teachers, role models, exercise and/or eating support groups, and friends who will support your goals. Learn more about what people have done to improve their physical health and fitness--and how they did it.
c) Find people who have found lasting love and partnership. They have different values and beliefs from those who do not. Take different actions. Learn what they are, and begin to change your life.
6) Confront Evil-fail
a) Learn techniques for dealing with writer’s block and rejection slips.
b) Learn to identify the patterns of promise-breaking and diet-busting. You will ABSOLUTELY “fail” as you try to lose weight. Everyone does. The trick is getting back in the groove as quickly as possible and learning swiftly.
c) See above.
7) Dark Night of the Soul
a) Learn to identify the negative voices warning you, criticizing you, weakening you. ANY negative voice that weakens you is not your friend.
b) See above
c) See above
8) Leap of Faith
a) Have faith in something larger than yourself. Commit your actions to this cause. Believe that there is a deeper source of strength within you than you have ever known. Identify members of family or friends who can be trusted not only to support you, but hold you to your highest good.
b) See above
c) See above
9) Confront Evil--succeed
10) The Student Becomes the Teacher
a) In your writing, help people understand the process of failure and success, as you understand it.
b) When you create a healthier body, show it off! Tell people your story. Tell the truth.
c) When you are in love, let it shine. Warm others with your light. Show them the path from loneliness to fulfillment.
Just a quick look at these three arenas. More soon!
Posted by Steven Barnes at 11:27 AM
Friday, August 20, 2010
Today is the day I’ve been waiting for for about two years. The MASTERING F.E.A.R. program was originally going to be an important segment of a much more expensive program. But after I surveyed you guys about what you wanted in a writing class, what surprised me was the fact that FEAR kept coming up, again and again. And I realized that if I wanted to help people the most, I’d have to create this program first, price it VERY reasonably (downloads make that possible!) and collect every email I’ve gotten over the last two years concerning fear, stress, anxiety, guilt, shame, and every other emotion connected with the “flight” side of the “fight or flight” drive. And create the very best set of tools possible for disentangling this critical aspect of our psyches, responsible for so much misery, failure, sickness, and violence. If you know anyone who is deviled by these demons, do them a favor and point them toward:
Two hours of audio. Over 300 pages of workbook. 1/2 the price. This one is 100% by request. Enjoy!
Posted by Steven Barnes at 10:48 AM
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Here’s what it comes down to in terms of my reaction to Dr. Laura’s recent “N-word” rant:
1) I don’t think she is particularly racist. I do think she is a typical human being: thinks that her group, however she defines it (Jewish, white, Conservative) is superior, but is too polite to say it out loud.
2) Her position that because SOME black people use that word, and SOME black people enjoy hearing it (or don’t criticize) then NO black people have the right to complain when it is used...is asinine. Just asinine.
3) The fact that that word is used frequently on HBO has NOTHING to do with whether it is appropriate to use it on broadcast radio. Nothing. She needs a serious fine...if Janet Jackson triggers one for showing a nipple...
4) It is disingenuous to pretend not to understand that there are context and situational meanings to actions and words. Things said within a group, or between friends or family, have ALWAYS been different when said by outsiders. I doubt there is an adult or child who doesn’t understand this. She is lying if she says she doesn’t.
5) And if she really doesn’t understand this, she has NO business offering any social or psychological advice to anyone. I would be totally stunned by her ignorance.
6) Consent is the core issue here. If I have sex with a woman, with her permission, it is called “Making love.” If I don’t have her permission, it is called “rape.” Same act.
7) Words have both connotative and denotative meanings. To pretend not to understand this, is rather amazing.
8) I think what you have here is another evidence of a majority group which once had total, unequivocal power starting to feel psychological pressure as the demographics shift. Human beings want to believe that the entire world revolves around them, their families, people who worship, think, or look like them. It is fascinating to watch the dysfunction accelerate.
9) My take on this lady is that she doesn’t trust her own judgment, and leans on her particular version of Judaism rather rigidly. I enjoyed her show back when I listened to it some years ago. Thought that she did a LOT of good for the people who called in: never heard her give a piece of advice I found damaging. Basically, I thought she was pouring a quart of guts into some pretty spineless wimps. Then...something happened. Her rigidity about homosexuality rose up to bite her when gays targeted her right as she was about to make the move to television. They KICKED HER ASS. It was almost painful to watch. And she never really recovered--became more rigid, less flexible, less fun to listen to...but simultaneously less honest. Clearly kept her attitudes about gays, but wouldn’t talk about it any more. Not good.
10) Despite her family problems, everything she said seemed to default to the question “what is best for the children”? And while she took a rigid perspective (that seemed based in her particular religious convictions), I always thought her heart was in the right place. I still think she means well--but that she has become so ideological that her humanity and common sense is secondary to “Hey! This makes sense from my political perspective! How dare anyone insist their position is as valid!”
That’s a shame. She has become tone-deaf to human emotion. Political certainty is no substitute for an open heart.
Posted by Steven Barnes at 8:52 AM
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The Seven Faces of F.E.A.R.
Part Seven: Spirit
And so we’ve reached the last level, one which has some fascinating connections to the very first. Whereas the first level of fear relates to core survival, literal physical extinction, the last level deals with the disposition of our non-physical being. Every culture in the world has an answer to the question: what becomes of us after death? And the flip side of that questions speaks to the first level: what were we before we were born?
Think of the countless millions of pages of print attempting to address this question, a question that cannot be ultimately answered. We simply don’t have the data. We may be the only species with conscious awareness that we are going to die. That our vital flesh will one day return to the base clay.
And what have we done? Created a vast spectrum of theories, beliefs, fables, songs, prayers, and practices around this question. Now, if you are devout, you may believe that your “way” is the correct answer. And of course, you may be right. But can you hold the possibility that more than one religion or philosophy may be “correct”?
This concept is difficult for most people. And because the cost of being “wrong” is so high, think of the vast amount of terminal, existential fear held in check by the belief that “their” answer is the right one. Fear. Raw, raging, fear. Terror that their immortal soul might be at risk if they get some tiny part of the ritual chain or belief system wrong. And how many wars have resulted from people desperate to belief that THEY, and they alone, have the ear of God..?
I remember speaking to a young man on Hollywood boulevard. A rough-looking gentleman who was selling copies of “Watchtower,” the Jehovah’s Witness magazine. I spoke with him, and he tried to convince me that his particular interpretation of Christianity was the only protection against Hellfire. I didn’t try to change any of his beliefs, but the very fact that I didn’t agree with him was causing him serious stress. He grew angry. Threatening. And I suddenly realized that I was dealing with a gentleman with...shall we say a familiarity with the ugly side of the legal system? And that he had locked his criminal tendencies, anger and violence behind a door of dogma? That when I failed to agree with him, it created the tiniest crack in that armor, the only thing keeping him on the straight and narrow?
That’s exactly what I think. And I extracted myself from the conversation as gently as possible, leaving him to cast a (rather sorrowful) “you’ll burn in Hell!” after me.
It would be impossible to estimate how many lives have been destroyed by the fear relating to our inevitable deaths, and the myriad religious and spiritual traditions that attempt to channel that fear so that we can live our lives with dignity and grace. Remember that fear competes with love for control of our hearts. All major world spiritual traditions say much the same at the core: do no evil. Love one another. Have faith. Do good works. Connecting with this core, without fear, frees us to experience life as a wonderful adventure.
This is your legacy, your birthright. Just being willing to examine the effects of fear in your life reduces its power. Be one of the few willing to stand in the light of truth.
Walk in the Light...
Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:23 AM
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
The Seven Faces of F.E.A.R.: Part Six--Intellect
The sixth arena of fear encompasses the world of the mind. Intellect. Logic. Reality maps. Epistomology and Cosmology. How does fear influence us here?
Well...stress can decrease functional intelligence. It makes us nervous about leaving “the herd,” striking out to explore new territory. Human beings are communal creatures, and if you are afraid to lose your “group” you may submerge your true opinions just to “get along” in the same way that “politics makes strange bedfellows”--in order to create a movement, the leaders search for what everyone can agree upon, and manage to ignore areas of disagreement.
Fear of criticism stops people from pursuing business ideas. Fear of being ostracized stops people from disagreeing with plans popular to the masses. Think that we might have used such a person during the lead-up to the Iraq war? Think that both sides, both Republicans and Democrats, Left and Right, found themselves swept up in a rush to judgement which lead to a misinterpretation of intelligence data?
It’s possible that a little more independent thinking, a little less herd behavior, might have saved America a trillion dollars. And Iraq tens of thousands of lives. Where have you been afraid to speak your truth, promote your ideas, write that original work, propose a new theorem, or file a breakthrough patent?
How many times have you had a thought, quashed it, and then a year later watch someone else get rich with that very idea? Creativity flows from a wellspring of confidence, otherwise we would strangle all our ideas in their infancy. Writer’s block is simply lack of confidence in the first draft. Fear makes us doubt that there are answers to our questions. We lose faith in our ability to problem solve, and the world looks like it is staggering toward disaster.
When we fear, we forget that there are resources beyond our knowledge and capacity, that we can reach out to others to create “mastermind” groups to brainstorm our problems. Fear separates us from our genius, our special voice.
But fear hides in the darkness. Admit that fear is your Achilles heel, and set yourself free!
Posted by Steven Barnes at 8:12 PM
Monday, August 09, 2010
In this fifth part of our series exploring
the entanglement of our fight-or-flight
response, we’ve reached the level called
Vishuddhi in Sanskrit. This is the throat
chakra, and involves communication. And
I’ve got a lot to say about the snarl of
love, fear, and communication.
1) Yesterday, a student emailed me about
his urge to self-publish. He realizes
that it originates from a fear of being
rejected. If you publish your own material
--voila! Book! He wondered if he was
cheating himself of an opportunity for growth
and maturation. My answer: yes.
2) Today, a student communicated that a
new relationship has overlapped with an
old one. The new guy is jealous of a trip
she is taking to see a beau in another
city. Should she have been honest? Should
she cancel the other date? Should she tell
the new guy to back off, he has no right
to her? None of the above. She should be
honest about the fact that she is a vital,
sensual woman who has had a life before she
met the new guy. That the unexpected
deepening of their relationship has nothing
directly to do with her long-standing
relationship with the other gentleman. I
suggested that she offer him the following:
when she returns, they can begin their
relationship over again from the beginning.
If they want to try exclusivity, they
can. But HE must accept that she was a
grown woman before they met, just as she
must accept that he has narrower definitions
of intimacy and sexuality than she may feel
comfortable with. But he was honest about
his emotions, and she must be honest about
hers. Only honesty provides a breeding
ground for a real relationship.
Writer’s Block. Public speaking.
Communication in relationships. Being
honest about your wants and needs. Keeping
a dream diary. Submitting or pitching your
work. Asking for a raise. Telling someone
you love that you love them. Expressing
your sensuality and creativity with every
step you take...
We must feel free to speak our mind, risk
rejection, tell the truth, to KNOW the truth
about ourselves. Nothing stops us but
fear: of disapproval, of revelation of our
true, ugly natures. Of being alone. Of
being attacked. It’s all fear. Fear and
love compete for the same place in your
heart. If you have a dream you are not
expressing or approaching, this is where
the brake and the gas can be found. Learn
to operate them properly, and you’re on
Speak your Truth!
Posted by Steven Barnes at 10:12 AM
I recently bought food for a homeless woman and her dog. Talking to her while we waited, it was clear that her thinking was a bit disorganized (couldn’t keep time lines straight). And it came out that her father had been sexually abusive. Yes, people say things like that to me on first meeting. I thought back three weeks to another homeless woman I met, who has two kids by two different fathers, and her attitude was that she could raise them fine by herself (she had temporary housing at this time.) She said “kids today don’t need fathers, right? I didn’t have one.”
This ties in with a recent conversation over on Facebook regarding the question “can good parents have bad kids?” My position was that I will define “parenting” in terms of results, not intentions. That if you think you have a bad kid, you can’t simultaneous consider yourself a “good” parent (unless you have multiple kids, and the others are “good.”) The idea was pretty simple to me, but it caused a lot of controversy. What if your kid is mentally ill? (Does that make them “bad”? I certainly didn’t suggest that) and then all sorts of other conversations about the choices kids make, and the environment, and so forth.
None of which was relevant to me. If you had a nightmare kid, then, quite simply, you never had the chance to be a “good” parent, regardless of your potential or intentions. It was simply a definition of the term “parent”, not a judgement of the worth of the person, get it? Maybe “good” or “bad” can’t be quantified when it comes to this. But IF you can decide what a good or bad kid is...then you can do the same for parents.
Now, then...my point would be that the set of people with good children has a subset called “good parents.” In other words, some people turn out fine even though their parents are assholes. So I’m not saying that “everyone with good children is a good parent. Everyone with bad children is a bad parent.” In fact, I never said anything about “if you have a bad kid, you’re a bad parent.” But boy, that was the way people reacted.
One of the themes that returned repeatedly was the idea that kids would just be what they were, and you couldn’t do much about it. That’s one attitude. Not mine, but that’s all right, as long as you and your kids are happy with the results (and here’s another thought: by my way of thinking, in general, your kids will agree if you’ve been a good parent. Maybe not until they’ve had kids of their own, but they will. Communication is a part of the package.)
How much do parents contribute to the health and well-being and success of their kids? How valuable is a two-parent family? Do kids need fathers?
Welll...I’m certainly not going to convince people who have a political position on this. Won’t try. I’ll only say this: if you go to prisons, the number of violent prisoners who came from stable two-parent families is almost nil. When I talk to homeless people, the percentage of them who had fathers in their homes who were even minimally engaged...almost zero. Talk to women who have had multiple children by multiple men without being married to any of them...absent fathers.
People making bad choices because they have no idea what a good choice is. Had no support. Don’t even know where “health” can be found. Have never seen a good marriage, or had the deep support of someone who loves them and will place a child’s happiness higher than their own.
While it proves NOTHING, I have seen so much of this over the years that I performed a thought experiment:
1) If at the moment of death, I saw with absolute clarity that I could have made my children’s lives better, healthier, happier had I assumed that they needed me there, needed both a mother and a father to be the best they can be...it would be excruciatingly painful if I had not done my best.
2) If, at the moment of death, I saw with absolute clarity that my kids would have been the same regardless of my efforts, that any extreme efforts or guilt were misplaced...you know something? Big deal. I can handle that just fine.
Vastly, hugely, with no comparison, I would rather err on the side of doing too much. By a huge margin, the kids I know who grew up “bad” had too little, rather than too much, engagement. Their parents were erratic, alcoholic, abusive, self-serving. While some parents who “hovered” had kid problems, there was simply no comparison. And that’s looking back over more than forty years of observation.
We cannot ultimately determine what is caused by nature, and what by nurture. I choose to take the harder path--I’m going to act as if my presence and actions make a huge difference. It is the harder decision, and it’s been my experience that, in relationships, the harder path turns out to be the right thing to do in an irritatingly high percentage of cases.
My kids deserve the benefit of the doubt.
Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:50 AM
Friday, August 06, 2010
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:18
We’re doing another Talkshoe.com talk tomorrow, at 2pm PST
Phone Number: (724) 444-7444
Call ID: 77111
The Seven Faces of F.E.A.R.
Stage Four: Love is the Gas, Fear is the Brakes
We’re using the yogic chakras to examine the seven basic levels of human existence, especially where it relates to love and fear. And this makes the fourth chakra--Anahata (the heart center) Ground Zero in the fight for our souls.
And this makes today’s note a goldmine. All you have to do is look at the synonyms (and masks) for love: affection, admiration, attraction, fondness, lust, etc...
And then those for fear: hatred, anger, antipathy, grief, guilt, shame, aversion, repulsion, etc...
And then ask yourself: which is dominant? There are only two basic ways to create the life you want: either increase your love or decrease your fear. Either “step on the gas” by clarifying your goals and the benefits you will obtain by pursuing them, or “take off your brakes” by neutralizing or reducing the amount of fear you experience.
101 Day students: what is today’s goal? What emotions have interfered in your capacity to reach it?
Lifewriting students: What is your character’s major goal? How can you increase her motivation or help her deal with her negative emotions? What stops YOU from finishing your current project, marketing it, or getting on to the next?
Diamond Hour students: In a single hour, you can clarify your goals, clarify the steps to their accomplishments, or identify the true roots of your resistance. Fear loves the darkness--turn on the lights!
Take off your Brakes!
Posted by Steven Barnes at 8:14 AM
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Having just celebrated my twelveth anniversary with my soulmate, it is amusing to watch the daily fluctuations of surface feelings: stress, fatigue, excitement, success, failure...
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:09 AM
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Mikhaly Csíkszentmihályi described flow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost."
And flow is the doorway to higher-level mind functions: we MUST move beyond ego to access them. We must develop the ability to focus on process, not results, which means that the "I" must dissolve. For reasons both profound and mundane, it is vital to expand beyond the ordinary concept of self. Ironically from the perspective of ordinary mind, to be all we can be, we must be nothing at all.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:26 AM
Part Two: Sexuality
As we look at the different ways fear
hides in our lives, I want to restate
the masks in phase #1. Survival fear,
primal fear, would include words such
as fear, stress, terror, anxiety, etc.
--concerns for continued life. Such
stressors affect health, joy in life,
life expenctency, energy, sleep, and more.
The second level is fear associated with
“Sex pleasure...is a kind of
magic spell; it demands complete abandon;
if words or movements oppose the magic of
caresses, the spell is broken.”
Simone de Beauvoir
Words, or movements, or emotions. The
causes of sexual dysfunction are many:
rape or abuse, power issues, body image
issues, estrangement, guilt, shame.
Fear that a sex drive is too strong or
too weak, that we lack bedroom skills,
or that our tastes and preferences are
somehow out of line with society or
There are more, of course, but the ways
they manifest are simpler to list: anything
that prevents a deep, full experience
of sex with our partners (and/or alone!)
with full excitation to an earth-shattering
orgasm might well be considered a
dysfunction. IN THE PAST MONTH ALONE my
clients and students have expressed the
1) A woman who lost her ability to orgasm
following a pair of armed robberies.
2) A man who lost his sex drive when his
career fell apart.
3) A couple that has not had sex in years,
due to financial and life stress.
4) A woman who resents her husband’s lack
of compassion, and with holds her passion
--will not orgasm with him.
5) A woman who has gained over a hundred
pounds due to a rape.
6) A man who, although a fine martial
artist, is dealing with rape trauma and
cannot lose the last fifty pounds
7) A woman consumed with guilt due to
childhood sexual experimentation that
has left her making inappropriate choices
for thirty years.
8) A man who is so insecure that he
interprets the slightest reluctance on
the part of his wife as rejection.
These are just a sample. It is so easy
to fall into the “sex is evil, bad, wrong,
risky” crevasse. After all--it IS risky.
Choosing the wrong partner can lead to
violence or disease. Combine that with
using the wrong birth control method can
lead to pregnancy, abortion, or a lifetime
of being bonded to someone you don’t love
or respect. Think of how vulnerable both
men and women must make themselves to
their partners in order to experience
pleasure. Think of the guilt many parents
and institutions grind into their children
to prevent sexual exploration. That is
NOT easily remedied. Guilt, shame, anxiety,
the inability to “turn off” the conscious
mind and simply flow with the moment...
actual emotional pain, feelings of
worthlessness and insecurity...how many
other emotions have you associated with
sex, or seen others associate with it?
Identifying the problem emotions, and the
masks they hide behind, is critical to
the healing process. Sex, expressed
healthfully in the life of a mature
adult (or in a mature relationship of
whatever duration) can be one of the most
healing, joyful, positive and wonderful
things in the world. Anything that
stands between you and an ethically valid
sexual expression is NOT your friend.
1) What were the earliest rules you learned about sex?
2) Is sex “dirty” or “nasty”? Why, or why not?
3) When is it appropriate for a person to first have sex? Why?
4) Under what circumstances is sex healthy
and natural? Under what circumstances is
it wrong, sinful or dangerous?
5) Is your sex life satisfying? Can you
fully enjoy it...or are there doors you
fear to open?
WRITERS can apply the above thoughts to
their characters. Better still, take one
of your own attitudes and experiences,
and exaggerate it into a character’s
foibles or challenges, devising a story
that expresses, reveals or challenges
the sexual status quo.
EVERYONE ELSE: Grasp that our sexual
energy is directly related with creative
energy, second only to survival. Unknot
this one, and your ability to embrace
life can soar.
Embrace Your Life!
Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:09 AM
Monday, August 02, 2010
The Seven Faces of F.E.A.R.
I’m going to be taking a little time to lay out a pattern for you, and over the next seven posts you’ll get a preview of some very important thinking.
1) Interested in increasing time efficiency?
2) Breaking Writer’s Block?
3) Finding love and success?
4) Dealing with fear?
Look...there is a limit to what can be expressed in language, but what we can do is approach the mountain from multiple directions, describe the journey from multiple routes. You will recognize some of them...some of them will appeal to you...you may have experienced some yourself.
We’re going to take a look at the ways Fear crops up in our lives. The ways it hides, and what it costs us. Seven pieces that you need if you are going to master your life.
1) Level One. Core Survival Fear. This, at least, is honest and direct: we don’t want to die. Not much lack of clarity on this one. The trouble is that in the modern world, few of our existential crisis actually have to do with life and death. The Fight or Flight response is designed to keep us alive in a world of lions, poisonous insects, and constant threat of starvation.
As a result of the human capacity for memory, projection, abstraction, extrapolation and fear of our own future death, this core drive, so simple in most animals, disguises itself in a variety of guises, and attacks us in multiple ways. If there is no sabre-tooth tiger then we cannot run, and we cannot fight. We put our brakes on emotionally, and the stench of psychic smoke chokes our lives. F.E.A.R.--a Fountain of Energy for Active Response--is about dismantling the illogical fears so that we can function at a higher level. To free ourselves from fear is the beginning of what might be called “advanced adulthood.”
What are Fear’s masks? How does it hide? Grief. Guilt. Anger. Anxiety. Blame. Shame. The core fear of death hides on every level of our existence: sex, health, weight, relationships, self-expression, intellectual creativity, and even spiritual awareness. We’re going to strip away some of these masks. This is why you need this, why you should print out the next six days of notes and bind them into a book:
Understanding the Faces of F.E.A.R.
1) creates energy in you own life.
2) lets you help those you love create energy and health
3) allows you to understand the actual emotions driving negative behaviors (great for disarming the anger of adversaries, spouses, even muggers!)
4) allows writers to create multi-level characters, and design stories to strip away their false identities and illusions
5) Is the path to finding and embracing lasting love and success.
This is the first step. Survival fear, mutating into other negative emotions, and stealing our lives. In the next days you’re going to get the perfect tool to fight back: truth.
“In large part, it is our psychological interpretation of arousal feelings that determines whether we will feel fear, anger, or a combination of both.In large part, it is our psychological interpretation of arousal feelings that determines whether we will feel fear, anger, or a combination of both.”--Harry Mills, Phd
Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:45 AM
No. We do not need spiritual teachers, in the main. But we can want them healthfully, and we can find useful things in their statements. So long as we remember that it is the work, not the words, that frees us from illusion, teachers can be valuable. But for too many people, the search for teachers is actually a distraction from doing the work of dismantling illusion--it is far less frightening to follow another than to delve deep within our own hearts, and confront the mythology of the "I."
Teachers have been wonderful along my path. But the first who asked: "who are you? What is true?" pointed the way. The rest have just been entertainment.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:03 AM