How we feel depends upon what we focus on
Last night, as usual, Jason was beating the hell out of me. Originally I was confused about why this was so important to him, but he informed me that the answer was simple: "that's how boys play." Geeze, I wish I'd known THAT fifty years ago. I thought the other guys didn't like me, and it turns out they were just being boys. Seriously. I didn't know.
Anyway, he dove over me, rolled, and hurt his hand and fingers. They still hurt this morning--he was wincing (although less. There was no swelling or discoloration, and the fingers articulated better now than last night...so I think it was just a little sprain, and startle-induced fear) when he came down to my office. I decided to make it a part of our morning ritual. "Your mood is determined by what you focus on," I said.
I asked him to imagine that he is in a fight, and his opponent damages his right arm. If he wants to survive, he might well have to ignore that pain and take that guy out--THEN go to the hospital. If he lets the pain and fear control him, he might die. So I experimented with having him concentrate on his breathing...then the vibration of "Om". That was too subtle.
So...I turned our breath counting into a "staring game". The first one who blinks, loses. He's a competitive little cuss, and within twenty seconds of wide-eyed unblinking "Om"-ing, he was grinning like a wolf pup, focused on beating his Dad. After a couple of times beating him, I let him win, and his grin got wider. We finished, and then I asked him what his job was ("to be good"), what the Laws are (The first three Musashi's Principles: Do Not Think Dishonestly, The Way Is In Training, and Know the Ways of All Arts), the School Rules (pay attention, keep your hands to yourself, exhale when angry or frustrated, do what you're told), and his main goal (to ace an upcoming exam).
And after we were finished, I asked him how his hand was. He blinked, surprised to realize he'd forgotten all about it.
That's how we are as human beings. People say that it's impossible to "not think of a purple cow." Sure you can. As soon as someone says that, think of eating your favorite ice cream. Because while you can't "not think" of something, you CAN simply put your attention on something else. And as long as you do, you won't even notice that you're "not thinking" of purple cows.
If you want pain in your life, think of all the frustration, injustice, pain, failure, betrayal, injury, age, and loneliness. If you want happiness, focus on a flower growing through the sidewalk, a child's smile, a kitten's purr, a hope for the future, a remembered act of kindness. It is up to us.
"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. " Hamlet was referring to the interpretation of an event. And our ability to control the perceived meaning of an event depends upon what aspect of its impact on our lives we focus on. THE CHOICE IS YOURS. A certain number of bent wrists and twisted fingers in life is inevitable. But we get to decide whether they make us quit, or simply teach us new things about physics and physiology.
The choice is yours. Jason was smiling when he left my office. I don't know about you, but that sounds like victory to me.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
How we feel depends upon what we focus on
Posted by Steven Barnes at 4:41 AM
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
#14 What resources can you align NOW to meet you along the road?
Remember--these questions take on their true significance not when you ask them of your ordinary, conscious mind, but when you ask them of different aspects of your "internal community." Unless you effortlessly achieve your goals almost "zenning" your way through life, there are competing intentions, values, beliefs, and/or goals, and you are going to need to get internally aligned. The symbolic images of (say) child, adult, elder, chakras, light, etc. just give you "complex equivalents" of different ways of experiencing the infinitely varied reality of the restless ocean of consciousness.
And when you tap more deeply into your intuition, you will tend not to set goals that you cannot reach. When you are aligned with your deepest goals, every action is suffused with energy and meaning throughout the day.
The greatest gift of the Hero's Journey is the implication of a syntax for future action. It is the combined wisdom of the world's storytelling elders, teaching the younger generation what they can expect in life. And one critical lesson is that, if you seek any transformative goal, you must take responsibility for your situation, deal with the fear, take constant action, seek out role models to educe new skills and behaviors...and prepare for the inevitability of failure. INEVITABILITY. Not "maybe". Not "sometimes". But inevitable. In the process of learning to walk, we fall down. Period. The unfortunate thing is that we forget this, and every time we try something new, the same sneaky voices pop into our heads, trying to convince us that failure means that we cannot do it.
Optimists tend to remember their pasts as being better than they really were. Pessimists tend to remember their pasts as being worse. I had a teacher challenge me on this: "not everyone can build on success. Some people have no successes to build on."
I said to her that if she could understand what I was saying, converse with me...or if you, my friend, can read these words, then you do indeed have success to build on. You've learned to speak, to understand language, to read.
Ah! (You say) that's no success! Everyone does that...
So then, you've defined a "success" as doing something others cannot do, or that is unusual to do.
Let me know how that works for you, because mastery is a matter of doing small, simple things more often, more regularly, and with more attention than others do. In other words, there is nothing "special" about the building blocks of mastery in any field. It is the mundane opening the door to the extraordinary. And it is in the most basic lessons of life: walking, talking, dressing ourselves, feeding ourselves, reading and writing--that we first encounter the "basics" of the advancing life.
So...as we progress, we will meet every shadow-self we contain along the road. Every pain and disappointment, every negative belief and self doubt. Every limit and bad habit. And hey! Just to make things more interesting, the environment will also respond to us in entertaining ways. Unless you have accidentally chosen a perfect goal, at the perfect moment, with the perfect allies just waiting to help you...you're gonna fall on your snoot. That's just the way it is. And if you've ever seen this recipe for success: "fall down 99. Get up 100" then you know that the most consistent quality of "masters" in any field is that they simply do what they do every darned day. Day in, day out. That's the recipe.
So...what stands between you and your dreams is whatever stands between you and a daily ritual of success. There are no accidents here. And you KNOW before you begin that both internal sabotage and external resistance will push against you. You know this by watching any kid learn to walk or read or ride a bicycle: the frustration and doubt and anger and fear, prior to breakthrough. You may not remember your own process: one trick of the ego is to deny us the internal resources we need to thrive. So we don't remember the fact that we go through this cycle again and again and again...
But watch children. They are an enormous gift. They remind us of what we were, and how we became who we are.
So, once again...if you KNOW that you are going to hit a wall, then you can, before you ever begin your process, put in place the resources you need when you fall into the pit of depression. What has worked in the past? Hugs? A letter from your past self? A trip to the zoo? Getting up and dancing? Ginger snaps? A yoga class? A talk with your best friend?
Part of the price of adulthood is learning to push your own buttons, figuring out how you're wired up and taking the controls away from your parents and teachers. Putting your own hands on your steering wheel.
You know what's coming: doubt, fear, fatigue, discouragement. You've been this way before. What resources can you place in advance, what allies will you need, what can you do NOW to prepare yourself for the moment in which those who never achieve their dreams turn back?
THAT is the question to ask your conscious mind. Your "inner child". And your "inner Elder" or death-bed self. The differences, and similarities, in their perspectives are enlightening.
Posted by Steven Barnes at 4:52 AM
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
(and yes, I'm skipping around a bit...it amuses me.)
"How Many Times Are You Willing To Hear "No"?"
Here's a big one if you choose to create a life of satisfaction and evolution. "No" is a word , a look, a closed door, a rejection slip. It is a failed diet, a training injury or loss. It is a broken contract, a writer's block, a weakness of the body or mind, a lost relationship.
On the way to love, to success, to stability, to increase or healing of any kind, we meet failure. And it is important that you ask yourself (and the different "aspects" of yourself, if clarity eludes...)
1) How many times are you willing to hear no?
2) What exactly does failure mean in this particular arena?
3) How many times did your role models fail before they achieved success?
4) What is the observed difference in what failure means to successful people in this arena, and UNSUCCESSFUL people in this arena. I promise--there is a huge one.
5) What have you succeeded in in the past, after multiple failures?
6) How did you convince yourself to keep trying?
7) What does your "inner child" say about the meaning of failure?
8) What does the deepest, wisest being within you, your "inner elder" think of failure?
9)Is there any difference between what the male and female aspects of your personality think about failure?
10) What would be the most empowering belief you could have, or action you could take, in relationship to a "no"?
Salesmen know that it is simply a numbers game: if you knock on enough doors, you'll eventually find someone who wants your product. If you ask enough girls to dance, one will say "yes." If you paper your walls with rejection slips, you are on your way to being a real writer.
In my own life, my mother tore up or burned my early stories. My teachers and career counselors told me my dreams of being a writer were fantasies that would destroy my life. I was told that people of my ethnicity "did not write". Told I wasn't smart enough, lucky enough, talented enough. Had story after story after story rejected, until I asked myself the critical question: how many more times am I willing to hear "no" before I quit? And what I decided was that I would write, polish, and submit 100 stories and have them ALL circulating, before I even began to judge whether I was on the right track. And you know what happened? I got to about story twenty-two before I started selling, and have never looked back.
That was my commitment to myself. It wasn't that I didn't cry, feel cheated, hear the negative voices, doubt myself, or anything else. It was that I loved my dream of being a writer so much that I was willing to walk through the emotional fire, willing to push myself through pain, doubt, and fear...drawn by my dream of being an artist. The little boy inside me adores my "adult" self for demanding that of myself. And he rewards me with the energy and creativity I need to get up every day and hit is HARD and just love the entire process, even when it's hard.
And my "elder"? He tells me life is both terribly short and achingly long. Too short to live without getting that daily "juice" of becoming your truest self. Too long to live with the regret of abandoning your dream.
The choices are yours. How many times are YOU willing to hear "no"?
Be the Hero in the adventure of your lifetime!
Posted by Steven Barnes at 4:02 AM
Monday, February 25, 2013
2) What small steps can you see toward your goal? What action can you take today?
The second of the Twenty Questions is deceptively simple. Basically, once you have determined your four basic goals (body, career, relationships, finances) you have a foundation to build anything you desire in life. And there are two things you need to to to create optimal benefits in each:
a) Take some action toward your intended goals every day.
b) Never leave the site of a new decision without taking an action.
What you want is to create dynamism, momentum. Enough momentum to keep you going when you are tired and discouraged, or apparently walled in. These questions are used during your meditation time: you can simply imagine speaking to your "child" self or "ancient" self. You can write the question with your dominant hand, and write the answer with your non-dominant hand. You can simply listen to the "child" and "elder" selves conversing. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
Yesterday, for instance, the following steps made a difference in my four major arenas:
1) Planned the next major chunk of the fantasy novel I'm working on with Larry Niven.
2) Forty minutes of yoga.
3) Forty minutes of reading with Jason (he loves the "Diary of a wimpy kid" series!). Have my little Oscar party with Tananarive, snuggling on the couch and cheering our favorites.
4) Organize the bank deposit I need to make today.
Now, most of yesterday was laziness, but even in the midst of my day off, I like to know I've taken some small step toward any goal that is important to me. Forty minutes of yoga could have been five minutes of joint recovery. The writing might have been just writing down a single idea for tomorrow's writing.
I asked my "child" self what the single most important thing I could do...and not surprisingly, it was "spend time with Jason." So we ended up putting on the gloves and whacking each other around in the gym until he was exhausted with hilarity. He just eats it up, and is developing a hell of a reverse punch, let me tell you. My elder told me to take time to congratulate my friend on his Oscar nomination, just let him know win lose or draw how proud I am, and how happy for him.
It was a good day--because I listened, and took action. What can YOU do today to deepen your understanding of your quiet voices, and move toward your goals?
Get to know yourself, and you'll never be alone.
Posted by Steven Barnes at 3:57 AM
Sunday, February 24, 2013
One of my FaceBook friends recently celebrated his fifth anniversary as a non-smoker. I asked what his method was, and what he said tied in so closely to the Ancient Child technique that I wanted to share it. The following back-and-forth took place:
FB: “I’m glad you asked. It's kinda personal but I'm not shy. I knew from personal experience about a psycho-personality model commonly referred to as the "inner child," which works for me though others may identify with other terms like "higher" and "lower" selves.
STEVE: Different imagery produces different associations, and relates to different aspects of our internal territory. Male/female, animal/spiritual, child/elder are just some of the possible splits. The smart thing is to work with different symbols and see which ones, in which syntax, have power.
FB: Anyway, that's a deep discussion/digression. Bottom line is that after trying many times to quit, I reached a point where I could almost see that "inner child" part of me that needed to rebel, to be pacified, to do what he wanted.
STEVE: Note the similarity between this and people who have difficulty finishing, say, a short story. Or can’t decide which of several different projects to pursue. Or have a difficult time disciplining themselves to endure an unpleasant “now” in exchange for a blissful tomorrow. This could easily be seen as a “war” between the child who wants to watch cartoons, and the adult who pushes the completion of homework.
FB: And so I had an inner dialog. Literally. I (the adult "I" who is more or less in charge) made him a deal. I said, "We both know this smoking is killing us, right? It's time to put it behind us. It's Sept. 5th. Let's agree to smoke like a chimney if you want until the end of the month. No restrictions, no judgment. And come Oct. 1st we put it down and don't look back. Deal?"
STEVE: I’ve noticed that if I say: “Jason, it’s time for bed” he might flip out. But if I say: “in two minutes it will be bedtime” he has time to make whatever internal shifts he needs, and can adjust far more easily. “Stop now” produces no results. “I will count to three…” is about ten times as effective. Why? Not sure. But it works, and that’s all that really matters.
FB: And I actually felt "him" acquiesce. It felt like I was at peace with this decision, instead of fearful like before. I didn't think much about it during September 2007, except to occasionally remind my inner kid when I lit up that we had a deal. And then the 1st came. And that was that. Never looked back. Very little withdrawal issues. Very little urge for a few weeks I guess and then none.That's it in a nutshell.”
Again, this is a lovely adaptation of the “Parts Party” theory of internal communication. Version of this can be found in every meditative discipline I’ve experienced, many psychotherapeutic models, and in the spontaneously devised methods of successful people—when they can describe their internal process. I strongly suspect that even people who CANNOT describe those internal processes are doing something similar.
Much, much to study and extract here!
Posted by Steven Barnes at 4:59 AM
Saturday, February 16, 2013
I'm hoping you'll join me today on the Diamond Hour.
I'll be making the first public presentation of the
"Ancient Child" meditation, and addressing questions
of applying it to emotional issues, physical performance,
stress, goal setting, enhancing intuition, writer's block...the entire spectrum.
It is important to me that this fantastic technique, which
can be accessed in as little as sixty seconds a day, be available
to anyone and everyone. Please join us...and if you can't, please
ask for a specific application in your life, or the life of someone
you love, and I will gladly answer if possible.
The "Ancient Child" technique is not a miracle. YOU are
the miracle. The Ancient Child is just a mirror in which to
discover that truth.
Diamond Hour February show. - Saturday,
February 16, 2013, 1:00 PM
Pacific Standard time (4:00 PM Eastern)
Connect via phone or VoIP (Skype, etc.)
Posted by Steven Barnes at 6:46 AM
Friday, February 15, 2013
Tomorrow, I'm doing the Diamond Hour show I missed doing last Saturday. The "Ancient Child" meditation is an approach to the meditative systems I've studied for the last thirty five years or so. There is a unity between the internal spaces navigated by zen, yoga, Tai Chi, self-hypnosis, Transcultural Shamanism, Sweet Medicine, Flow State Management, NLP, and more. There really is, and all I've done is looked into the overlap. Amazing knowledge in these disciplines. What have the aspects of this technique been applied to?
1) Releasing Fear, anger, grief
2) Goal setting
3) Finding love
4) Healing childhood trauma
5) Stop smoking
6) Stress reduction
7) Increasing energy
8) Problem solving
9) Writer's block
10) Weight loss
And much more. My friends, students and clients have been using aspects of this for over twenty years. Tomorrow, I want to go "live" and discuss specific applications BUT I NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR ABOUT. The audio will be available later very inexpensively--or free to those in financial need. Please help me create something special. What do you want? The "Ancient Child" is not some kind of miracle. YOU are the miracle. The Ancient Child just helps you understand how miraculous you really are.
Diamond Hour February show. - Saturday, February 16, 2013, 1:00 PM Pacific Standard time (4:00 PM Eastern)
Connect via phone or VoIP (Skype, etc.)
Posted by Steven Barnes at 5:16 AM
Thursday, February 14, 2013
We had technical problems last Saturday. Let's try this again! We'll discuss the Ancient Child meditation, and it's application to creativity, stress, self-healing, goal setting...everything.
Diamond Hour February show. - Saturday, February 16, 2013, 1:00 PM Pacific Standard time (4:00 PM Eastern)
Connect via phone or VoIP (Skype, etc.)
Posted by Steven Barnes at 3:39 AM
I've finished basic recording for the
Ancient Child meditation, and it
will be available the minute I have
the chance to edit. But meanwhile,
I wanted to give away as much of
it as I possibly can. After laying
down the basic structure, I decided
to use a non-linear approach to
unifying the inner and outer worlds.
To align your goals, actions, emotions,
values, beliefs, resources and emotions
creates a kind of power most people
have never experienced, and I
want that very attainable reality
to be available to each and every
one of you.
So...the purpose of the Ancient
Child is to specifically concentrate
on aligning your passion and your
deepest values and core principles.
When you measure your day-to-day
actions as if you are walking a
path between birth and death,
with BOTH your childhood
dreams and death-bed values
alive in every action, every word...
we begin to align that internal
world. It is key to the "I.D.E.A."
concept, becoming a "human
laser" in the sense that your
brakes are off, you can go full
steam ahead, running "downhill"
with no fear of tripping and falling.
So to do this, you begin by playing
a game of "Twenty Questions."
There is nothing special about
any single question, but they
have been chosen quite carefully
and deliberately, and together
they link together your inner
world in a unique way.
So...here we go. The "Twenty
Questions" are to be used this way:
1) Select a goal that will transform
your life for the better.
2) Use a journal, and write your
answer to the question(s).
3) Then...visualize your child
self. Ask HIM (or her) the
same question concerning your intent.
Note: is there a difference between
what you say, and what your "child" says?
4) Then...visualize your Elder
self, beyond ego and ambition,
clear on the meaning of your
life whether YOU understand
it currently or not. Ask HIM
the same question. Note: is
there a difference between
what you say, and what your
"Elder" said? How about
between "child" and "elder"?
5) Get out of the way, and
allow "Child" and "Elder"
to speak together of these
things. Stay out of the
discussion as much as
possible. Write down as
much as you can.
6) BONUS: Bring an appropriate
role model into the discussion,
implanting at the appropriate
Chakra (for instance: if your goal
is to find a Soul Mate, find a role
model who has been happily
married long enough to enjoy
their grandchildren together.
Visualize this person in your
heart-space) and let them take
part in the discussion. Record
7) ADVANCED BONUS: Visualize
yourself in your inner mirror.
Transform your gender--flow from
male to female, or female to male.
See yourself as you would have
been, if born into the different
gender energy. Ask your questions.
Repeat with your child self. Repeat
with your elder self
Now...here's your first question:
1) a) If you go full-tilt boogie
toward your goal, what is the
worst that could happen?
b) Exactly how do you know
what you think you know
about this situation?
c) How do you know you are
correct? What is your
error-checking procedure here?
Oops. Is that four questions?
Maybe. But they all relate to a
single issue. Ask them of your
intention, and get commentary
from your conscious mind,
your child and elder selves.
If necessary, write their answers
with your non-dominant hand.
Get ready for a bit of magic.
Posted by Steven Barnes at 3:31 AM
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
I just saw Steven Soderburgh's new film "Side Effects", which is terrific. On one level it is a psychological thriller about a woman dealing with depression, her husband's return from prison, and a maze of pharmacology. On another, it is an expose on the way our culture is becoming more and more dependent on these drugs...and vulnerable to their side effects.
Now, I'm not knocking the use of these substances if they are really necessary for our survival and welfare. I believe in having a powerful resource circle of experts, and our emotional health should be near the top of the list. But I also believe in not taking chemical intervention unless and until you have tried every natural way of raising our energy, clarifying our mood and living a life of joy and contribution.
So...if you are dealing with depression and stress, allow me to offer a few suggestions (and if you are under a doctor's care, please don't disregard their instructions!) that have no negative "side effects" at all...
1) Breathing 5X a day. Just taking five sixty-second "breathing breaks" during the day (one every three hours) can change your life.
2) Are your actions in alignment with your values? If any major aspect of your life: career, relationships, etc., are wildly out of synch with your deepest values, it will tear a hole in your heart. Find a way to bridget this gap.
3) Do you feel more pain than pleasure in connection with your actions and circumstances? Some part of you perceives threat in that arena. Anger and guilt are just sneaky versions of fear.
4) Do you move every day in a way that reminds you of your health, energy, and aliveness? It could be a brisk walk. Dancing. Yoga. Martial arts. But the fastest way to "reset" your emotions is to move in a new way. Get up RIGHT NOW, put on a favorite song and shake your booty. Breathe smoothly and stay WITHIN the flow of your breathing. Dance in slow motion if you have any physical limitations, but MOVE.
When you stop moving, you start dying.
5) Get hugs. Physical contact. We are herd beasts. We came to life within a living body, and would have died in infancy without contact. We are PROGRAMMED to need touch. Find a way to get a dozen hugs a day from people who respect, honor and love you.
6) If you don't have such connection (or even if you do) spend 15-20 minutes a day listening to (feeling for) your own heartbeat.
7) Write out the emotions that arise when you practice any of these great techniques.
The "Ancient Child" meditation is coming very soon, and it will be the biggest bargain you've ever seen (or FREE!). But I didn't want to wait to offer you hope.
Make TODAY a masterpiece!
Posted by Steven Barnes at 3:58 AM
Monday, February 11, 2013
"Side Effects" (2013)
From time to time you see a movie you don't want to review, because the less the audience knows about it, the more they'll enjoy it. Let's just say that "Side Effects", said to be director Steven Soderbergh's last film, is one of those movies. And that I think it's safe to discuss the first five minutes of the movie, and after that you're pretty much on your own.
Rooney Mara ("Girl With The Dragon Tattoo") is an emotionally fragile woman whose husband, (Channing Tatum) is just finishing a three-year stretch for insider trading. She seeks help for her bouts of depression from psychologist Jude Law, just as she did earlier from psychologist Catherine Zeta Jones.
Let's just say that all is not what it seems. Lying, cheating, suicide and corruption become topics of conversation.
I can tell you the performances are impeccable, the writing tight, and the suspenseful movie that emerges from this basic set-up is a twisty meditation on our growing chemical dependence, the industry that supports it, and the...oh, the heck with it. Just see it.
If this really is Soderbergh's last movie, he went out on a high note indeed. An "A."
Hero's Journey view:
Hero Confronted With Challenge: Sorry, I don't even want to give away THAT much!
Posted by Steven Barnes at 3:44 AM
Sunday, February 10, 2013
I just received a note from a lady in Canada who enjoyed some
of my writings on consciousness, worldly action, and in this case,
sexuality. She is connected with a group that walks that path, and
invited me to come and speak to her folks. That might happen: we'll
see. She also very politely indicated that some of my teachers are or
were...controversial. Wow. THAT'S news. Show me a great teacher who
ISN'T! I wrote out an answer to some explicit and implied questions,
and thought that it might be of interest. Identifications redacted as
Hi, T. Thanks for the note. XXXX XXXX is only SLIGHTLY provocative? Hah! Boy, would he be disappointed to hear THAT. He's a trip to say the least, and one of my favorite people...but most certainly not to every taste. I seem to have developed the ability to extract meaning and value from odd situations without being much influenced by the...provocative aspects. Nicely languaged, there.
My primary connection to the little energy dance called reality is through the martial arts, my primary body-mind discipline. Writing certainly accesses flow state, focus, creativity and deep empathy, but the physicality is kinda weak. The world of relationships is closer, but the emotional component can be very confusing--it is easy for people to lose themselves in the complex dance of children, career, commitments and so forth. Here, I have to admit that I enjoy Anthony Demello's question: "would you want me to love you at the cost of my own happiness?"
Unfortunately, too many people would answer "yes" and you'd best believe they will act upon it. Your salvation is to be extraordinarily clear on what you want in life, and who you are. And while much of this can be complicated, if you hold onto one arena where you have clarity, you can find your way through the maze.
Sexuality is one of these arenas--we love powerful, healing, shattering orgasms. Yum. The only thing more basic in life is survival itself. My own breakthrough came from realizing that the intrinsic energies of Tai Chi or Aikido, the deep flow states I'd accessed in writing, and the deep burning calm of the run-up to an intense orgasm bore similarities both qualitative and quantitative, and that the sacred texts spoke of in certain deep meditations. It was the same energy, manifesting on different levels. And it flows between the youngest nascent self and the oldest, wisest "elder" who is beyond ego and self-deception.
The trick is to ride the "wave" of creative energy that surges through our lives, live as close to it as possible, "surf" it to destinations in alignment with our deepest values and beliefs. Sex binds us to others and opens the doors of our own perception. It can of course be deceptive--great sex feels like love, and the immature can be quite confused by the similarity. But it is one of the most basic forms of life energy, something separate from any specific application of that energy.
What I suggest is that our sexual contracts be in alignment with 1) the youngest self (are our partners respectful? Supportive? To the reflection they offer suggest we are on the right path? There is little more disturbing to people than the notion that we attract what we are--but that butt-kicking reality opens the potential for us to take control of our lives in an extraordinary manner). 2) We have to align our sexual nature with the OLDEST self we can access. Our "deathbed" self. Are our sexual actions in alignment with our deepest values? Honesty? Compassion? Self-expression? Are we being true to our deep selves, or sacrificing our true in exchange for a little intimacy?
If either the youngest and eldest selves are discontent, there is work to do. Aligning values, or changing actions. But once you have that alignment, you have real energy.
The reason is that matter and energy are different forms of the same thing, and you can fiddle with the entire system by getting ahold of either end. All the external things in life can be judged by their ability to raise and coordinate energy and pleasure in life. And sexual energy can be a direct connection to intuition, motivation, creativity, partnering...flow state, ego dissolution...my, it does go on and on.
Parallel lines meet somewhere in infinity. And all valid paths of self discovery converge as well. The lovely thing is that, if you work long and hard enough, you begin to see how the whole thing fits together, even if the language to express it escapes you. The lovely thing about including sexuality in your personal work is that, beyond being efficient and effective...it is such delicious fun.
I wish you all the luck in the world in your journey, and thank you for reaching out to me. If it is appropriate to both our paths, I'm sure we'll meet. That would be terrific.
Posted by Steven Barnes at 5:30 AM
Friday, February 08, 2013
My "machine" is cooking along right now. Three books in active creation, proposals for three more, three different movies (a full script and two proposed adaptations) with the producer. 2013 is looking good.
What makes it possible to juggle such things? For me it is daily ritual. Just what I do day after day, whether I'm "up" or "down" or "sideways" (you've had those days...)
To do this, I use two things, the "machine" (the specific input-output equation for my chosen activities. For writing this is writing 1000 words a day, reading 10,000 words a day) and the "Ancient Child" meditation form, crafted from forty years of active meditation practice, culled from a variety of traditions which all addressed the same "mountain" even if they used different paths and different terminology.
When you create the rituals that enable you to move forward consistently, slowly and steadily improving...wonderful things happen. Once you have that, life gets simple. Intense, but simple.
Join me tomorrow on the Diamond Hour as I detail the "Ancient Child" technique.
Saturday, February 9, 2013, 1:00 PM Pacific Standard time (4:00 PM Eastern)
Connect via phone or VoIP (Skype, etc.)
Posted by Steven Barnes at 4:49 AM
One reviewer said that this is a movie so twisted and knotted and surreal that she isn't sure whether the title is true or not. If you dig Cronenburg or Harlan Ellison, chances are very good that this won't bother you a bit.
"John Dies At the End", the latest film from "Phantasm" and "Bubbah Ho Tep" director Don Coscarelli, is a warped tale of a man named Dave (Chase Williamson) who is introduced to a very odd drug called "soy sauce" by a guy named John. To say more wouldn't be fair. It would also require watching the movie again, because I frankly had to absorb it as a series of independent mind-bending scenes as Williamson narrates his bizarre, apocalyptic tale to a reporter (Paul Giamatti, having great fun).
Look, if I suggest that this is exactly the kind of movie you'd expect a roomful of stoners to orgasm over, that would probably be accurate. I'm not sure what else is, however. If you like innovative low-budget monster films, sly and subversive humor, Trauma-style effects and actors clearly enjoying working with a rather legendary B-movie director delivering a creepy, smart, entertaining creature feature...see "John Dies At The End." You could do a LOT worse. I'd give it a B+, but then I'm sick.
And oh, trying to apply the Hero's Journey to this would require watching it a couple more times to sort it out. Also, it's too recent. That said, Dave is confronted with the challenge of sorting out what is going on, and what has happened to him. He rejects that challenge initially because it demands that he discard everything he thinks he knows about reality, as well as abandoning all hope. But forced to confront him because...ummm...let's just say it gets personal. And after that, you're on your own.
Posted by Steven Barnes at 4:20 AM
Thursday, February 07, 2013
I love Facebook. Such interesting conversations, if you scan carefully. For instance, I published the following comment:
"There are two basic ways to evolve your life. Either change the way you use your body: posture, breathing, motion, composition. Or resolve the conflict in your heart. Success in either is mirrored in the other. In this arena, the conscious mind is mostly useful to help accomplish one of these two. And unless these evolve, you have not changed."
A reader posted the following:
"I'm counseling a college student about dealing with her emotionally abusive, Taliban-level controlling parents. After long encouragement from me, she has started to regularly just sit with herself, breathing and observing thoughts (as a precursor to true meditation practice). She said last night that she just realized that every move/conversation she has made in her life (24 years) has been focused on dealing with how they will act to block her if she dares step even the littlest bit out of their control. Her seed of core strength is forming, from the small act of sitting. I hope she can escape safely, but at least she now sees that she can empower *herself* to work towards the Light."
I love this. Good, solid generative work. And replied as followed:
Dear XXX--sounds like she found a good mentor in you. May I suggest some manner of "inner child" work--she needs to re-parent herself with deep, unquestioning, non-conditional love. If she can be the "mother" to her own "child" she can sort of "wire around" the damage from her parents, and recover her power.
The capacity to heal ourselves, to align our dreams, values, emotions and actions, and to access our deepest intuition lies within you, within each of us. I am so grateful to my teachers over the decades, who led me to that light. The "Ancient Child" meditation is my humble effort to take the cream of this teaching and present it in a linear, incremental fashion. Please join us Saturday on the Diamond Hour, where I will address origins, methods, and applications.
Diamond Hour February show. - Saturday, February 9, 2013, 1:00 PM Pacific Standard time (4:00 PM Eastern)
Connect via phone or VoIP (Skype, etc.)
Be the Hero in the adventure of your lifetime!
Posted by Steven Barnes at 7:49 AM
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Diamond Hour February show. -
Saturday, February 9, 2013,
1:00 PM Pacific Standard time (4:00 PM Eastern)
Connect via phone or VoIP (Skype, etc.)
We'll be dealing with practical and esoteric applications of the "Ancient Child" meditation form
"You have the right to your actions, but not to their fruits. Act without any thought of results. It is the only path to serenity."--the Bhagavad Gita
That is a hugely elevated perspective. For most, it is better to begin in a perspective grounded in worldly balance, which (for most of us) requires goals. Once our values, beliefs and emotions are integrated, goals can be disposed of--we naturally do our duties in life, and the very doing of them brings health and joy. But most times must be "grown through", not evaded or skipped over. If you don't have these worldly aspects mastered, you do yourself little favor to try to jump to a purely spiritual realm. I've seen as much damage done in such a way as I have watching people addicted to drugs or sex. It is a dream of evolution, rather than the path itself.
My work-flow between my Ipad and desk-top is still not ideal. Since there's no Scrivener for Ipad, I have to take relatively clumsy steps to email text, or send it from one program to another. This isn't ideal because it takes me out of flow, and flow is where all the artistic elegance originates. But...it's still enormously productive. Just need to use a bit more "adult" Steve than I really want to use.
Now, then...what do these two things have to do with each other? If it isn't clear, it is that I see my worldly tasks as gifts to my spiritual self. If you don't have such an intent, you can take advantage of this "mental streamline" technique, simply identify whatever YOUR highest value is in life. Family? Growth? Pleasure? Service?
Once you've identified it, look at your top four goals (body, career, relationship, and finances) and create 3-10 reasons that your actions will contribute and support your deepest loves. Describe this in such a way that your daily goal actions are empowered. Every word you write, every rep of exercise, every day you help your kids with their homework, every day on the job...EVERYTHING you do takes you closer to your core self. This is magic, on an individual level.
Submitted for your approval...
Posted by Steven Barnes at 6:17 AM
Friday, February 01, 2013
Just got this today. Notes like this NEVER get old (name redacted to protect privacy, but yes, his name is Barnes!)
XXXX X. Barnes
As I am sitting here in my new digs in Beverly Hills, I took a moment to reflect back on the journey that has gotten me here.
When I was just a kid (about 11), I was dealing with a very rough childhood and life was not that great. I was a social outcast, abused, and had a very profound speech impediment (stutter).
So one day I was walking past a library in Washington DC and decided to go in to get away from the drug dealers that typical harassed me on my way home from school. I began looking thru the paperbacks on the shelves. I wasn't very interested in reading and my family didn't really encourage it. But I came across your book Street Lethal and saw that it was about a black man. And then I got a little happy because it was written by someone who had my same last name.
I sat down and began reading. I lost track of time as I BECAME Aubry Knight. I sat there so long reading that the librarian had to kick me out at closing time. She was nice enough to let me take the book home even though I didn't have a library card.
That day I became the definition of a voracious reader. I got a library card and would take home 15 - 20 books a week. All different topics, different genres, hundreds of authors. I read constantly to escape the hell that was my life. My grades went from failing to straight A's, due to my expanding vocabulary and the fire that was lit in my mind.
I also began training in the martial arts and improving myself physically. I became more confident which began to help me control my stuttering.
Anyway... Fast forward to the present and I now live in LA and have begun a journey in the entertainment industry for the last 3 years. I am in post production on my second feature film which I wrote and directed.
I wanted to take a moment to thank you, my brother. Your work changed the life of another potential statistic. My love of the written word has changed me and the ability to read and to write has opened up new worlds which a little scrawny kid from DC could never had imagined if it had not been for your books.
To this day I the Aubry Knight series is still my favorite.
Thank you for doing what you do. You changed my life!
XXXXX X. Barnes
Steve back now. Whew. I had to wipe away a tear. Listen, people, NEVER underestimate the power of your dreams. Never give up on them. And understand that every action you take ripples out into the universe endlessly.
submitted for your approval,
Posted by Steven Barnes at 3:22 PM