The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The "DANGER WORD" miracle: Faith and Action

I’m doing the last two chunks of “the Secret Formula” today, because our DANGER WORD campaign ends tomorrow at 12 noon PST.  Again: we’ve raised our basic funds, and our movie is happening!   But if you want to participate in this historic event, a little time remains, and we genuinely wanted to make a “last call”.

We’ve discussed “gratitude” and “goals” and either of these subjects could be addressed for years.  We’re just skimming over the surface, but what a surface it is!

Remember: this is about how to create MAGIC, by any reasonable definition, and quite a few un-reasonable ones.  It is also about what is missing from most people’s view of “The Secret.”
All right.  We have two pieces left: Faith and Constant Action.

1) Faith.   In the Hero’s Journey, “Faith” gets you through the Dark Night of the Soul, the inevitable “crash and burn” phase of a project.  The Dark Night is analogous to the 11th rep of a 12-rep weight lifting set, when you are SURE that you’ve got nothing left.  But if you are exhausted by 11, what rep is it that really gives you the growth?

That’s right.   13.   And you won’t get there unless you have a coach, a trainer, a buddy, or a voice in your head that says: “yes, it feels like you’ve got nothing left…but that feeling is a lie.”

And you gut it out. And that 13th rep sends a message to your hind brain that you must grow.The body follows the mind.   You have to BELIEVE that you can, you should, you MUST.  Believe that your actions are in alignment with your values. That they represent mutual benefit and welfare.  That everyone involved will grow from this action.  It hurts no one, benefits everyone.

That means faith in:

1) Yourself.   I knew I could do this.  I’ve done wonderful things in the past.   And I encouraged everyone on the call to remember how wonderful THEY are.

2) Our companions.   As a team, we’d come so far, so quickly. Done so much.    We could look around the “room” and see that we all believed, we had track records, we were bringing everything we had to the game.    Putting all our cards on the table.  By any metaphor you choose, we had every right to believe in each other.   WE CAN DO THIS!

3) A higher power.    God, faith, “the universe”, Gaia, the Universal Pattern, fate…I don’t care.    In my experience, the person who works only for themselves lacks the power of someone who strives to create value that goes beyond his own life, his own family.  His own ego.  Ego crumbles under the pressure of transformation.  What remains after that pressure “breaks” you is a deeper sense of who and what you are, what you are committed to, what  ultimate values you embrace.
Every action in your life should, optimally, be some version of asking the question “who am I?” and “what is true?”

 I try very hard to live my life so that if the people around me could read my mind, they would be MORE at ease, more confident in my decisions and actions, rather than less.  That means to align myself with whatever might be called “the ethical structure of the universe.”  Or…the mind and heart of God. 

Or…spiritual gravitation.   So many ways to put it.   Almost everyone has some sense of the universe having a pattern that evades conscious thought.  Faith has to do with those patterns.  And a totally disproportionate percentage of the highest-performing people I’ve known have such a sense.  And that implies to me that, whether there is such a pattern, such a force, such a being or not…IT IS AN EXTREMELY USEFUL BELIEF.

Get that?  So in the call, what we had to do was see how what we are doing goes beyond us.  Our families.  We are creating a story we genuinely consider inspiring and valuable.

Creating a document of HOW to create a small film.  How to crowd-fund.   How to build a “family” to create things you cannot create by yourself, with a commitment to sharing.

That we were publicly documenting the entire process.

That we were allowing people to invest their love, frustration, creativity…whatever they chose to invest in the creation of something they felt they wanted, needed, and cared about deeply…or just wanted to cheer us on from the stands!  It wasn’t about “us.”  It was about ALL of us.

That makes it all different.  

Once we had the long view, it is easier to believe that if we are serving a function in the world, and can communicate our value, that the world will support us if we have the self-love  to demand to  be treated with respect.  To lead by example.

Faith.  In our project, ourselves, each other, and the community we are committed to serving.   
The last step was the step I see most often missing from those who speak of “The Secret.”  And that is Constant Action.    Folks—if your goal and faith isn’t powerful enough to change your behavior, on what basis do you believe the universe will mystically respond to you?  Are you kidding?

The bad news is that your ship isn’t coming in.
The good news is that you can row out to meet it.

We had to define CLEARLY what we needed to do to finish the project.  What each of us could and must do to make it happen.  What action we needed to take TODAY, and then tomorrow, and then the next day, to make it happen.   What we were committed to.  How we would keep ourselves on track.

And then…see ourselves succeeding.  Arriving at film festivals.  Happy audiences.    Thrilled fans.    Eager investors for a feature film.

Can we be sure any of this would happen?   No!   Could we celebrate anyway?   Hell, yes!  Why?  Because we had done everything humanly possible.  We had asked for nothing but the chance to work our butts off.  Because we had “chunked down” the process until the component pieces were small enough that WE COULD DO IT OURSELVES.

At every step, we refused to turn ourselve into little Orphan Olivers, holding our begging bowls to the universe saying: “please, sir, I want some more.”

No.  With joy, we’d bared our teeth and said: “if it’s to be, it’s up to me.” We formed a tribe.  Did a war dance, and then went out to die trying, with a smile.

(I ask you to remember: when you don’t have a job, you can’t get a job.  Until you’ve got one.  Then the phone mysteriously rings with offers.  When you don’t have a lover, you can’t get one.  Until you’ve got one.  And then…the phone mysteriously rings with offers.  And the unifying principle is..?)

And you know what happened:

To recap briefly, we needed to raise 12,500 for post production.  We’d only raised 2500.00 with 21 days to go.  We went over the budget with a micrometer and realized that, with only 1800.00, we could produce a rough cut we could use to raise the rest of the money by targeting foundations and big-ticket donors.

THE CALL ENDED AT 1:10 EST.   BY 1:30 EST, we had a notification from Indiegogo that we had a FIVE THOUSAND DOLLAR donor.    This “crashed the system” at Indiegogo, and they went into “credit card fraud” mode, certain something was wrong.  This was FIVE TIMES  the largest donation we’d received up until this time!

It took tons of emails, phone calls and strategizing to figure out how to get our money out of the system, but five nail-biting days later we not only had that donation, but one from this angel’s mother as well, for ANOTHER five thousand dollars!

We were flabbergasted.   All we had to do was be totally focused (goal), have faith, take massive action, and feel damned grateful for what we already had…and the universe opened the doors.

Now, this was such an amazing parallel to the precise way I found my soulmate, and the way I earned my fourth degree black belt, that it hit the “Trifecta” of body, mind, and spirit/emotions.   This is foundational.   This is big enough for me to stop, say “what the @#$$?” and immediately write this up and publish.

Yeah, it’s “magic.” But the scientific method, that thing that rules 1/2 of my head (the other half is shaman.  Yeah, I know it.  Sue me.) says that you observe a phenomenon, postulate a theory to explain it, formulate an experiment to test the theory, and if you like the results, publish so that others can try it as well.

These last few essays represent “publication.”

If you have questions, PLEASE ask them.  If you’ve found this to be of use, please share with your friends.

And if it is fascinating, and you want a recap of the entire process, get yours as part of our “Seven Dollars or Free” program at:


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