The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Art of Being You

What is "Art?" That is an old question, which has been endlessly debated by people much smarter than me. Nonetheless, let’s try this: "Art is Self-Expression."
Wait, you ask. Is that it? Is that all there is? Is it art if my 2-year old dips his hand into the potty and smears a handful of goo on the wall and says: "Looky what I did!"
Well...yes and no. Consider "Art" to be like the water within a vase. What allows us to appreciate that art, or judge it in comparison with other offerings, is generally the shape and style and quality of the vase. appreciate art we need craft. If I look at the people I've known who were successful artists (proud of their work, popular with their audience, acknowledged by their peers) there are a number of things in common about them. Here are three:

1) They put in that "10,000 hours." Every time I've ever gotten close to someone who is considered a "master" (one in whose presence dedicated students feel uplifted. One who has mastered basics sufficiently that they can be re-combined, under pressure, to create spontaneously and unconsciously) what has been obvious is a lifetime of focused work. Millions of repetitions of the basics, whether you are talking martial arts, writing, or spiritual disciplines. I have been blessed to know masters in each of these three arenas, and they mirror each other beautifully.

2) They did not scatter their efforts. Although they may have astoundingly high skills in a number of arenas, they did NOT try to "chase two cats at the same time." There was something, SOMETHING that drew them most strongly, and they pursued it to the limit of their capacity, monomaniacally. This, BTW, comes of having clear values. Some have this quality naturally. Others must work at it. But if you would master your life, it is critical that you have a single thing that is more important than everything else. If you had a fever, and someone woke you up out of a deep sleep and asked you what was the most important thing, you could tell them, instantly. For me, it is "balance." What is yours?

3) They believed their own inner voice. They trusted their instincts. Now, this is NOT to say that they were not plagued by doubts. When you bet EVERYTHING on the belief that you have something to say, that you can be great...when you cut off paths of retreat, and sacrifice parties, and fun, and casual entertainments, and security for the privilege of spending their lives actualizing childhood dreams.

Take a look at Musashi's first two principles: DO NOT THINK DISHONESTLY, and THE WAY IS IN TRAINING. The first encourages you to ask the most important questions in the world: "What is true?" and "Who am I?" This is an inquiry into the Self. The true self, not the presenting aspects of name, occupation, history, gender, race, nationality, etc.

The second ("The Way is in Training") is a simple reminder that whatever you want to be good at, you have to do every day.
For the things I care about, that means:
Work breath, movement, and structure in yoga and martial arts EVERY DAY.
Read and write EVERY DAY
Meditate and connect with those I love EVERY DAY
Re-assess my goals and plans EVERY DAY.

With all of them, continually asking: "Who am I?" and "What is true?" Deeper and deeper. There will be no end to it, until I get to the answers that cannot be reduced further. And if you are measuring results in the external world, you'll notice that your work is sometimes better, sometimes worse, but that overall it improves, sometimes massively. But you will be practicing the "art" of being you. And that is the highest, deepest art in the world.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Cost Of Your Dreams

There are three basic aspects of the "Lifewriting" process, the
CHILD’S STORY: A short “fairy tale”, about 100 words, about how you grew up to be the adult you are today. “Once upon a time there was a little girl/boy who…”

ADULT STORY: A written statement of your commitment to step #1. No more than 50 words. Your vow to take control of your life.

FUTURE HISTORY: Write the story of your life, starting today, and continuing until the day you die. Have goals in ALL THREE MAJOR AREAS. Make it as sensory rich as you can. BUILD INTO YOUR LIFE STORY WHAT YOU ARE WILLING TO GIVE IN EXCHANGE FOR WHAT YOU ARE RECEIVING.

This last part is essential. Most people will set goals, but have no idea or commitment as to the price, the cost, of achieving them.

1) Determine the cost. To do this, find people who have already accomplished your goal, or a goal as close as possible. Preferably, starting from where you started in life.
What actions, beliefs, allies, and resources did they need?

2) Decide if you are willing to pay that cost. Don't lie to yourself. Losing weight and keeping it off demands BOTH exercise and dietary discipline. Improving finances demands BOTH increasing income AND budgeting more carefully. Improving relationships demands BOTH improved self-love, self-respect and empathy AND better communication skills, courage, and honesty.

What is your emotional damage? Everyone has it. Willing to face your demons? To ask for help and build teams of allies? Deal with the inevitable defeats? Is so, walk on. If not, CHANGE YOUR GOALS. There is nothing wrong with changing goals, deciding the cost for time, effort, money, or discomfort is just too high.

If you want to get int o the top 1% of any discipline, you'd better be prepared to spend 10,000 hours at it. If it isn't worth that, choose another goal.

3) Put your failure recovery process into place FIRST. Whatever emotional, financial, or physical safety net you are going to need (and you DO know what it is, right? You HAVE actually spoken to, or studied the words and lives of people who have accomplished your goal, right? Right?) before you begin.

4) Analyze where you are in life currently. Subtract this from the overall mass of work you will have to do to accomplish your dream. What remains is what you must acquire to build the life you want.

5) Plan to do 1% of this work every week. Divide it up. Plot and plan. Build mastermind groups. This is Musashi's "The Way Is In Training." Work out every day, seeking slightly deeper knowledge of the body-mind IN EVERY SESSION. Write a short story a week, or every other week. Take your meditation a fraction deeper every day. Begin to take healthy chances in your love life.

6) Fail successfully. When you fall on your face, get rejected, or relapse--and you will!--journal what you have learned. Enjoy the fact that you've had the courage to try (most won't), get up and try again.

7) Repeat process until it reaches unconscious competence. Until this rhythm is totally instinctive. And...if you have chosen your goals in balance (body, mind, emotions, and finances), you will find yourself growing in unexpected ways, and beginning to understand the meaning of life in a direct, divine, non-linguistic fashion. It is an amazing experience, one with no downside.

If you think the disappointment of failure is hard, just try the regret of never trying at all.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Flexible Mind, Flexible Body

Boxing fans, remember the “Rumble in the Jungle”? Mohammed Ali was fighting George Foreman. Foreman was the biggest, strongest, most powerful heavyweight anyone had ever seen. Bombed Joe Frazier out pretty frighteningly fast. People thought Ali might die. Ali beat him, because he perceived that Foreman, given a clear target, would throw bombs all night long, unable to believe that he couldn’t kill anything he could hit.

Ali’s own trainers were afraid, because this brilliant boxer devised a strategy IN THE RING, UNDER FIRE, that no one had ever used before. He understood the physics of the ropes (that would be a practical, not necessarily intellectual understanding) and knew that if he leaned back against them as Foreman pounded, his body would be able to dissipate much of the shock into the ropes, rather than the shock merely traveling through his body, damaging internal organs (although he was peeing blood the next day!)

Foreman, unable to adjust his style, kept pounding until he was nearly exhausted, and Ali knocked him out.

There is something called “The Law of Requisite Variety” that suggests that within any system, the most flexible part will control the system. In other words, the part that can adapt.

An operative definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

In life, this might be termed “keep trying something different until you get the result you want.”

Think about what what a guerrilla army can do to a traditional army. A traditional army is designed to destroy or occupy the infrastructure of a geopolitical entity. This works great when fighting another traditional army. But against an enemy that can fade away into the hills or the civilian population, the actions of a traditional army actually recruit more enemies, while exhausting its resources and will.

Think about a writing career. When you first start writing, you might want to create a specific type of work. The chances are that that particular genre or sub-genre was a means, not an end. The end was self-expression and financial gain. If you aren’t careful, very careful to understand what you were actually trying to achieve, you’ll beat your head against a wall until you are bloody, rather than trying novels…and short work…and fantasy…and military fiction…and screenplays…and whatever else you can do, until you get the result you want.

In a family, if you aren’t flexible, your kids will beat the hell out of you, because THEY are infinitely flexible. Try to remain stolid, and they will simply find your “edges” and “cracks” and work around you. They are like water flowing to the sea. Oppose them without a backup plan, and you are beaten before you start. In intimate relationships, this is just as important. Remember that your GOAL is a harmonious, happy, productive, passionate relationship—not simply winning some particular argument or “getting your way” at some particular time.

In the world of exercise, this is vital. Jack LaLanne says that you have to change your workout routine every month. Your body simply gets used to ANYTHING you throw at it, and the results will start to diminish. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t have consistency: I love Bikram yoga, and it is exactly the same routine every time. However, I can vastly vary its effect on my body by
1) concentrating on different visualizations.
2) concentrating on different body parts.
3) pre-exhausting or pre-stretching different muscle groups before I go to class, etc.

In other words, it can LOOK the same from the outside, but be different. Beware of anyone who suggests there is only one way to do something, and that anyone who suggests another way is a fool or a knave (lots of that going on politically in America right now.) They are merely revealing their own inflexibility. Don’t blame them—feel sorry for them. Fear tends to “flatten out” behaviors, forces people to see the world in black-and-white, and to be hierarchical as hell. This is a very human response, and people fall into it in business, love, and health.

Commit to flexibility. By the way—in Yoga they suggest that a flexible spine leads to flexible attitudes. I’m not sure, but I HAVE noticed that a large percentage of the most psychologically or politically inflexible people I’ve known have bad backs. Go figure.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Three approaches to writing--and life

Recap: The three basic approaches:
1) Start at the beginning and work to the end.  This is the typical approach
2) Start with “the end in mind.”   Write the last chapter or scene, and then align everything else to lead up to it and reinforce the meaning of these last images.  This is what Margaret Mitchell reportedly did with “Gone With The Wind.”
3) Simply make notes here and there, adding scenes, dialogue, description and what not as the ideas come to you.   Writing programs like “Scrivener” make this approach a joy.

Note that this relates to three basic ways of approaching life.
1) Most people just get up every day, work it, do what is directly on their plate, without strategic thought about their future actions.
2)  Goal-setting is the single easiest way to increase efficiency.  Just knowing where you’re going increases momentum and decreases wasted movement.   If you add alignment of values and beliefs, wow!
3)   This approach can be the most advanced.  Assuming you have internalized your basic structure, and have experienced the full flow-through of a project from beginning to end often enough to have it at the level of “unconscious competence” it is possible to live life just moving from one interest to another, with “work” replaced by fascination, and completed projects almost creating themselves.

Do you use one of these, or a combination?   Have I omitted one? What do YOU do?


Friday, September 21, 2012

Cleaning the internal archetecture

I'm working hard at work formalizing the complex "inner work" methodology that covers the majority of what seems to actually work for cleaning the psychological architecture. Three primary pieces: Heartbeat meditation (self-love, forgiveness), Inner Child work (embracing life, creativity, healing abuse, energy, survival), and Inner Elder (acceptance of death, spirituality, ego extinction).

Having to try to create (or suggest) a syntax for addressing the work (basically in the above order: start in the "middle", drop to the "base", express "upward" from there) and spoke of a piece of the puzzle, the "Child Story" exercise. The following letter triggered a response:
Hi Steve,

I enjoy your stories and your
knowledge base about life in general.

Boy did I hit an emotional wall with
 the Child story exercise; as my
father was emotionally unavailable,
no doubt from a personality disorder,
and mom completely old school
co-dependent, and my only older
brother molested me for several
years beginning at age 8 or 9.

However, was not really "aware" of the
 implications until a traumatic incident
 prompted my father, upon questioning,
 to make some very bizarre statements
about my childhood obedience--and
 like that the flood gates opened and
 reality came rushing in, my "lost
 child" still around, everywhere, after
all these years.

Anyway, one of the things I'm now
trying to figure out is what part of
 my family was real and what part is
my mythical family--a true search
 for the "father," and big brother.

I read some years ago that many
important writers had sustained
 trauma at some point prior to
developing their "voice." I find
myself redeveloping that voice,
for better or worse, with a new
understanding of my daemons.

And so, a humble thank you, for
being one of life's teachers---you
 have truly helped me along my path.

Best wishes, and keep up the "good" work.



Couldn't wait a minute to respond.
There is a process that will help you:

1) Make a careful guess about the "oldest"
you who was undamaged by your
environment. Perhaps six?

2) In your meditations, see light within your body.
This may take a few sessions. Imagine that you
are looking at yourself in a mirror. See the light.
Note and measure the QUANTITY of light.
(This will represent your perceived degree of health)

3) concentrate that light into a human figure.
The amount of light will determine the size
 of the image. If there is only a tiny bit of
it, you might make something as tiny as
 an embryo. Even a single fertilized cell.

4) If you concentrate on the light, it will
 begin to grow, but DON'T let it grow
 beyond the point that you believe the
damage occurred. You might maintain
this practice for weeks, months, or years.

5) When you have an internal sense
of being "ready" then let the "energy self"
speak to you. Quiet yourself and listen
 deeply. I promise you will be transformed
 if you will take his advice.

Blessings to you, my friend, and I am
 honored to be a guidepost on the path.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stretch and Cut...or be yourself!

“Procrustes was a son of Poseidon with a stronghold on Mount Korydallos at Erineus, on the sacred way between Athens and Eleusis.[1] There he had an iron bed, in which he invited every passer-by to spend the night, and where he set to work on them with his smith's hammer, to stretch them to fit. In later tellings, if the guest proved too tall, Procrustes would amputate the excess length; nobody ever fit the bed exactly, because secretly Procrustes had two beds.”—Wikipedia


One of my first memories was something a little difficult to explain. At the age of about four, I had the ability to look at people and "see" their intent. If one mixes sensory metaphors, I "felt" about people the way Star Trek's 3D chess "looks." In Trek, it is an expansion of two dimensions of movement into three. In my case...God, I don't know.

What I do know is that it was stupid for me to actually tell people what I saw. That the fear and anger projected back at me was stunning for a young child, and I taught myself pretty damned fast to keep my insights to myself. It took decades for me to reclaim this ability, first through what I called "Mind Reading"-- a way of looking at the imbalance/balance ratio of body, mind and spirit and "looking into the cracks" or perceiving the negative space, the meaning of the "holes" in their manifestation. It's difficult to talk about if you don't have a feel for this.

It was years later, taking an Aura Perception workshop   in Phoenix (the gentleman known as "Gunnie Reagan" on Facebook conducted the workshop) that I finally came to understand what I'd been doing, and realized that, in a natural tribal setting, I would have been a shaman/healer. That the warrior arts had attracted me because I had no tribe to protect me. No warriors. So in order to feel safe enough to be "myself" I had to learn to hurt people enough to stand up to the bullies and destroyers.  In other words, I had to complete my "inner archetype wheel" because my external one was badly flawed.

Dear God. I remember coming back from one of the workshops, where I'd triggered a series of visions (and no, I don't know if auras are "real" separate from perceptions, or "merely" what is called a "complex equivalent"--the mind creating a simple symbol to represent a vast range of impressions, in this case modifying the visual field with an hallucination. I don't know. I can tell you it was unusually stable for an hallucination) and breaking down in tears for the boy I'd been, so confused, so alone.

But when I dug inside and connected with him, he wanted no pity. Instead, he was proud of me, the man I became, and hugged me for remaining on the path of creating a career and becoming a warrior despite the massive disconnect between my basic nature (healing) and the external intent of the arts (destroying). This of course necessitated an embrace of a non-dualistic view of the process, something NONE of my instructors were able to convey to me. Frankly, the schools sufficiently philosophical to embrace the mental aspects I needed were deficient in the self-defense I needed. And those powerful enough in the self-defense aspects were hardly masters of esoteric philosophy. But man, could they kick butt!

We all change ourselves to survive in the world. That is an adult reality.  One of the keys to thriving is to keep track of who and what you were as a child, and to justify your current behaviors and situations in terms that younger self understands. 

  • Numerous times I've heard women say that they were warned not to express their intelligence, for fear men would not be attracted to them. And that this had a negative influence on their academics or career. Questions:
    1) I would be interested in hearing any women who felt this was true in their lives, and how it affected them.
    2) Men: were any of you ever warned not to express your intelligence? Why? What was the impact?
    3) Men and women: were there any other basic qualities or capacities you were warned, or learned, not to express? What, and why?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The "Child's Story"

One of my favorite "Lifewriting" exercises is what I call the "Child's story." This is a short “fairy tale”, about 100 words, about how you grew up to be the adult you are today. “Once upon a time there was a little girl/boy who…”

Phrase it in terms that a five year old would understand. The point is to create an emotional link between your current self, and the youngest part of your personality--this is where the passion, emotion, and creativity bubble up.

the result of this exercise is to give you a strong foundation from which to combine "adult" concerns and core motivations. Very powerful stuff.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Are you tired..?

“I’m so tired of people needing a reason for doing everything in their lives. Do it because you want to. Because it’s fun. Because it makes you happy.”

This quote is interesting at least partially because it is in denial of the fact that our positive emotions have practical value. Remember the equation? (Goals) X (Faith) X (Action) X (Attitude)= results. In other words, you should ideally START the process of any goal with the attitude or emotions you hope to have at the end. Being happy now, satisfied now, grateful NOW is as much as 1/4 of the entire game.

1) What were your favorite activities as a child? Which of them still appeal to you?
2) What was the last time you gifted yourself with pure joy?
3) Can you think of ways you can increase your joy NOW, today?
4) Can you think of ways you can bring joy to someone you love or work with or know today? (Remember: expansion in life comes from increasing the joy for EVERYONE)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Practice, Practice, Practice

Last weekend, Jason's soccer team The Knights played their first game of the season, on a new and larger field, against a group of older kids...and still beat them.

There was a fabulous moment in the first five minutes of the game where Jason ALMOST scored the first goal of the game. He blocked another player's drive, his teammate stole the ball, passed it to Jason, and without thought Jason kicked with perfect timing and angle, slamming the ball into the net...

Or it WOULD have gone into the net, except that the goalie ALSO responded instantly and blocked the shot. The other team was rattled by our rhythm and speed, and never recovered. We won 2-0 and Jason was singled out by the coaches for excellence in play.

But both HIS action and the opposing goalie's response were a matter of instant, automatic engagement. There was no time for thought or planning, only response. And on both parts it was beautiful.

Only...a little more beautiful on our side. Ahem.

Any life skill demanding mastery must first be expressed in flow. And no skill can be expressed in flow unless the most basic building blocks are first reduced to unconscious competence. For those unfamiliar with this process, let's look at riding a bicycle expertly:

UNCONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE: You don’t even know the skill exists. Bicycle? What’s that?

CONSCIOUS INCOMPENTENCE. You know that a bicycle exists, and that people ride them. You’d like to learn!

CONSCIOUS COMPETENCE. With practice, you get to the point where you can ride a bicycle as long as you concentrate all your attention on the task of moving your feet, keeping the bars steady, maintaining balance, avoiding obstacles…

UNCONSCIOUS COMPETENCE. All the basic skills have been absorbed. This is the “look Ma, no hands!” point where you can start having fun, just playing with the skills. ALL SKILLS MUST BE TAKEN TO THIS LEVEL BEFORE “ART” BECOMES POSSIBLE. It is here where you can enter the flow state, and it will just “happen.” Yeah, right…if you’ve done your homework. And you are, aren’t you?

In all four basic arenas of life, it is critical to identify the most basic components, and practice them until you can "do them in your sleep."

Here's how I use these principles:

WRITING (mind): I write every day. EVERY day. "The Way Is In Training", Musashi's second principle. What did you THINK he was talking about?

MARTIAL ARTS: Daily practice of either martial skills or the elementary motor components which compose them. Every. Single. Day.

FAMILY: Daily interaction with my friends and family, seeking always to understand how their issues and challenges are reflections of my own. Learning to see yourself in others then challenges you to understand yourself more deeply. Hint: any time you hear people saying "what's wrong with those ____?" you are dealing with someone who lacks either empathy or self-knowledge.

FINANCES: Daily re-writing of goals. Daily strategizing and financial meetings with my core partner, Tananarive.


If it's important, you must be expert. To be expert, you must be able to relax under performance pressure. To do this, you must reduce the component skills to unconscious competence. And to do this with greatest efficiency and must perform every day.



(do you have your FREE copy of THE MORNING RITUAL for ADD children? Get yours at:!)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Roach Motel of Life

Put down a couple of roach motels, and after a week, caught the big bastard I'd seen running around our bathroom. Pardon me: big bitch. As I've seen numerous times before, the roach, caught in the sticky stuff, expelled an egg case. The glue was dotted with baby roaches, also caught in the mire. Some core instinct: I am caught. I have gone as far as I can. Have and/or free my children so that they will have a chance to take my plasm a bit further.

And perversely, I thought of people I've known in ghettos and trailer parks having unprotected sex. Spewing out babies who are also caught in a cycle of poverty. And remembered the countless, reasonable criticism: "why is she sleeping with all those men?" "Why won't he use a condom?" "What the hell is wrong with these people?"

From the outside, it is easy to see how self-destructive this is. But no one who has not mastered ALL of their hungers has the right to criticize. Better to ask what we need to do to control our own diet, exercise regularly, heal our emotions, stop smoking, have a healthy and loving relationship, and balance our finances.

And what of those who HAVE mastered all those arenas? I have found them to be humble, kind, understanding of human frailty and too focused on their own growth, and attempting to lift up those around them to spew hatred and judgement at those who see so few options for their own lives that their reproductive urges overwhelm their intellect. They don't feel superior to anyone, or anything.

Look at the election season. I've stopped posting political comments (although I will comment on other people's posts: it's fun!) because it is simply too difficult to say anything that is not polarized, or polarizing, and I feel a little sick with myself when I do. But look at the distortion, the anger, the hatred, the pure VENOM spewing out and I see it all...ALL of it, as raw fear. Shutting down the intellectual circuits, compressing reality, reducing the world to two dimensions, draining the color of nuance into a black and white puppet show.

There are real issues in life to be discussed, addressed, labored and agonized over. But the sheer panic triggered by the survival drive shuts down...everything. Everything except the most basic hungers. Survive. Reproduce. Feed.

Heaven help me, I have too much work to do myself, growing and changing, and helping those who wish to be helped. Marking a path to growth as clearly and honestly as possible. Who am I to mock the frightened, sleeping children? I would not exchange my dreams for their nightmares for a world of gold.

We are all caught in our web of habits and history, our resentments and frailties. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of our full potential.

Life takes everything from everyone. Checking "In" to our own private hells is as easy as rolling downhill. Checking "out" is a muddy, uphill slog with those who want to distract themselves from their own labors hurling feces from the sidelines.

Is the most flawed and fearful who spend the most energy throwing stones from within their glass houses.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Attention Deficit: The Morning Ritual

After many requests, I've finally made the MORNING RITUAL that I use to help Jason with his ADD. I'm charging a special VERY low price, and there is a FREE offer for the genuinely needy. This is not about profit, it is about helping children. Please, please...if you know anyone who has a child who could use more focus or better emotional control please pass THIS link on!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Happy Days, Happy Life

Successful Days, Successful Life

It simply isn't possible to have thirty successful days in a row without having a successful month as well. And it follows that all you need to do to have a successful life is to live that life one day at a time...and each day an hour, a minute, a moment at a time.

How to do this? Ah, that's the meat of it. Life throws you curves. That's what it does. The last week I had plans to complete the next rewrite on my script, and copyedit the galleys for DOMINO FALLS, the sequel to DEVIL'S WAKE. But family issues drained a huge chunk of energy, and I was forced to postpone some of my career goals in order to deal with more important things.

Because the most important thing in my life is family. When your values are clear, decisions are rapid--even if they are difficult. And when you can decide what is most important, then you can ask where you want to be (in terms of your major goals, which reflect your major values) in ten years, five years, three years, one year, and six months. Three months, one month, one week, and tomorrow.

When you take the time to clarify your values in all four major arenas (body, mind, spirit/emotions, and money) and defined the most important goals, you can then determine what needs to be done TODAY to stay on track. And if, every day, you do all that can be done THAT day...there is no way you can fail in life. No fear. No guilt. Just clarity and clean effort, and the joy of creating a meaningful life.

One day, one hour, one moment at a time.


Friday, September 07, 2012

Diamond Hour and other fun stuff

Diamond Hour September show. -

Saturday, September 8 2012 1:00 PM Pacific Daylight Savings time (4:00 PM Eastern)
Connect via phone or VoIP (Skype, etc.)
(724) 444-7444

My life is so busy right now that it is hard to do the Diamond Hour show as often as I'd like, but my producer, David Roel, nudges and bugs me until I give in, darn him. So...tomorrow I'll be doing the September show. There are a number of subjects I've been asked to deal with:

1) Anxiety and fear

2) ADD (I'm not an expert. Just a concerned observer with a son on the low end of the spectrum, and a certain level of expertise on yoga, meditation, and advanced stress-coping strategies.)

3) Spiritual vampirism--especially the "false guru" phenomenon. The short lesson: you don't need gurus, beyond an initial bit of direction. The rest is up to you, and never let anyone tell you otherwise. You have two questions to answer: "who am I?" and "what is true?" No one can do this work for you, any more than a coach can run your laps or do your pushups.

4) The "Goal x Faith x Action x Attitude" equation

5) Writer's Block

6) Advanced meditation techniques


I'm going over the galleys for the sequel to DEVIL'S WAKE, titled DOMINO FALLS. The story is our first little step deepening the world of DW, and we reveal a few secrets and give you a grasp of what this story actually is. I love secrets!

What this re-write is about is tweaking, comparing the communication styles of my different characters, and feel the flow of the language. This is the fun part. I use a method of watching television while reading simultaneously, using what one of my teachers called "second attention." Oh, I can turn the television off if there is something complex to be handled, but it is interesting that if I split my attention a bit, I can work all day long, never get bored, and get a huge amount of work done--all while watching Netflix out of the corner of my eye.

In fact, I have to look for just the right kind of movie. Rarely dialog-driven, usually a light action film, or comedy. Something entertaining enough to keep about 1/2 of my brain busy, while the other part gets the work done.

I think that most projects reach a place where this kind of "split attention" can be useful, fooling yourself into thinking that something that might be potentially dull as dishwater into a fun day.

A James Bond marathon (getting ready for SKYFALL!) while doing work is pretty close to heaven.

Live your dream!


Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Five Minutes a Day

The Five Minute Miracle

I recently was asked a question

about this practice, and wanted to

return to it: as this is a cornerstone

of Lifewriting and the 101 Program

1) Every three hours, at every hour

divisible by 3 (6,9,12, 3, 6, 9) stop

what you're doing and breathe

deeply for sixty seconds.

2) The breath should be low

in the belly, and slow as

comfortably possible.

3) As you breathe, you can read

your goals, remember the

steps of the Hero's Journey,

or any other basic patterns of

life that will inspire and uplift you.

A simple, deceptively powerful

practice. It disrupts the spiral

of stress into strain, and can

change your life.

Steven Barnes