The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, April 23, 2012

Return from Oddcon

Just got back from Oddcon SF convention in Madison, Wisconsin, where I was Guest of Honor. Lovely people, and a lot of fun, and Jason had more freedom of action and movement inside the hotel than we'd ever given him in the past...and he handled it well. After speaking to several people there about the ADD program I've crafted for him, I'm convinced to actually begin detailing it in a program I can I will.

Please let me know if there are specific issues or questions you want me to cover, but the thrust will be the creation of a daily ritual to provide the resources necessary for a boisterous child to learn to discipline mind and body. I'll address the best ones in the program, and the best five questions will get free copies.
The Five Minute Miracle is the idea of taking five very short (about 60 seconds) "breathing breaks" during the day to re-wire the body-mind stress response. It works wonderfully, but the very most important part of the process is NOT the physiological re-wiring but the fact thta you actually have to think about it. You have to actually stop and interrupt the process of coasting unconsciously through the day. That you have to actually take responsibility for your own internal process. That, in essence, you have to wake up. And this is what stops most people--they don't want to wake up. They wan tot have a nice dream. I'm not in that business.
An extraordinary thing happened at the convention. I had had a lovely conversation with a gentleman of Indian extraction, discussing life and spirituality. He took me aside and told me that he had, during a trip to Central Asia, visited a town in which there was a resurgence of interest in Buddhism, and had obtained a cutting of the tree beneath which the Buddha had sat to receive his enlightenment. He had brought back several leaves...and presented me with one. I was thunderstruck, and frankly didn't know quite what to say. I asked my good friend Charles Johnson, a devout Buddhist, what he thought, and he said the following:

"My thoughts? I think that gift is WONDERFUL. If I'd been given such a gift, I'd do everything I could to preserve it. Heck, I'd probably keep it on my writing desk (where I have a small 16th century Burmese statue of the Buddha that I bought in Thailand in 1997, a Tibetan prayer wheel, and a model of Da Vinci's "Flying Machine") so I could see it every day and be reminded about the real goal of life, which is awakening and liberation."

Beautiful. As fine a definition of the meaning of life as I've ever heard, and that sounds like a plan.
One of my favorite things about the convention was having the chance to see Larry Niven, my dear friend and mentor. One of the things I miss most about being in L.A. is the ability to see him more frequently, so I treasure the opportunities. We celebrated the successful release of THE SECRET OF BLACK SHIP ISLAND as an Amazon E-book, and discussed the possibility of playing a bit more in that world. Success, after all, breeds success.

We also talked about our next potential project, a sword and sorcery piece. Things look good. We've never done anything like this together, and I very deliberately wanted to create something unlike our previous efforts. That makes things fun.
Spent the weekend checking out Avengers reviews, and just can't wait. Again, I'll be catching the first show after 12 noon at Universal Citywalk on May 5th with Nicki. Hope to see some of you there! Afterward...I think Bubbah Gump Shrimp works. I'll be in line by 11am, I suspect. Avengers Assemble!
Creating a "mastermind" partnership with at least one other person can be the cornerstone for your success, and as I've said, is the only way I know to compensate for lack of ability. Strategic partnerships can be a life-saver. But it has to start with you, with being certain that you believe that:
1) You CAN succeed.
2) You SHOULD succeed
3) You have a clear idea of what success IS in the first place.

Remember: Clear Goals TIMES Faith TIMES Constant Action TIMES an "attitude of gratitude" equals success. And that means that if you "zero out" in any one category, you will destroy your chances of succeeding in life. It is not additive. It is multiplicative. A critical thing to remember. your "Diamond Hour"--have you taken sixty minutes to write out your goals? Clarify your values? Create plans expressed in continuous action? And in your "Five Minute Miracle" sessions--do you breathe dynamically and visualize some simple symbol representing your success? If not, you might be sabotaging your future!

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