The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Thoughts on Mastery

In a few hours I climb into the truck and start driving back to Cali.  Tonight, I’ll sleep in a little town called Monroe, Louisiana.  Tomorrow, Maybe Abilene Texas (as long as they have AMC.  I’m not missing Breaking Bad!).

I’ll be listening to Sherlock Holmes short stories, and the multidisciplinary Big History audios (my favorite Teaching Company lessons, covering the history of the entire universe.  Yow!) and thinking. A lot.

Who am I now?  What do I want to do with my life?   What do I want to teach?  Write?   If I was emptying myself out, the most important 20% first, what would that be?  What is the most important gift I can give the world, as a way of saying “thank you” for giving me everything I ever wanted as a child?
So strange.   As a boy I wanted to master martial arts and writing, and the art of loving and living with another human being.

To do that, I had to define what “mastery” was.  Tricky subject, because of the media images we accept in such arenas.    But having been around people considered in the top .1% of various fields, people totally committed to their crafts, people who other experts consider “masters” I began to compare what they were saying about it, this sacred thing, this holy grail of human performance.

Because that was what I wanted.  And a few things kept cropping up in common between all arenas of human life, things said by these “masters” and more importantly…by the people who were clear and powerful enough to lift others up to this almost mythical level.

1) Mastery isn’t a noun.  It is a verb.  It is a path, and those who are committed to that path, wherever they are upon it, may be masters.

2) Mastery isn’t about complicated skills.  It is about simple skills, drilled to the point of unconscious competence, such that they can be re-combined into complex patterns even under stress.
3) Mastery isn’t a mask, not something you “put on”.  It is a natural expression of who and what you are.   You write the way you talk.  You fight the way you live.   You love others as you love yourself.  It isn’t a big deal.  It’s just what you are.

4) Mastery isn’t a matter of learning something new.   It is more a matter of cutting away the inessential.  In that sense, in life there is a point of gathering together, and another point of throwing away.   And while masters continue to learn their entire lives, it isn’t that they are learning “more stuff”.  They are seeing deeper and deeper connections within and between the things they already know.

5) Masters see the path, not themselves.   They know that the concept of “mastery” is a joke if it is supposed to mean you are complete.  Hell, in martial arts, most beginning students think a black belt is the end of a process.  Yeah, the process of being a beginner.  It is analogous to “touch typing”—you know where your fingers and thumbs go on the keyboard, but that doesn’t make you a writer.

6) Masters don’t compare themselves with other people.  Not often.    When they do, they are slipping out of that state, and into ego.  Mastery comes from the real you, the hidden you, the unconscious you.  Oh, you can certainly piss a master off and get that ego going, but they often are somewhat embarrassed afterward.  They know that no matter how far or how fast you go, everyone is the same distance from the horizon.

7) Masters are somewhat embarrassed by the term “master.”    They know what it meant to them when they began the process.  And now that they have surpassed their original dreams, all they see is how much more they don’t know.

I remember years back, after a morning martial arts class, I went to breakfast with my classmates, and was grousing about my performance. One of the other students, a black belt in another system who thought highly of my skills, stopped me.   “Steve, don’t say that,” she said. “If someone as good as you are still feels insecure, what hope is there for the rest of us?”

And I got it.  While the process of growth is endless, and the labels without ultimate meaning, the concept that someone can spend forty years practicing a discipline with all the heart and energy you have, and still feel like a beginner can be depressing to someone who is not learning the inner game.  Who is building a wall around their insecurity.

About thirteen years ago I was teaching a martial arts workshop with a fine young black belt.   Afterwards, we were talking, and he got very quiet.   “When will I stop feeling like a fraud?” He asked.  “When will I believe in myself?”

I had no answer.   About seven months later, he blew his brains out.  When I heard, I realized the depths of his misery, of the “impostor syndrome” that was crippling him, of the fact that he had armor-plated his fear rather than actually draining the swamp.  And the demons had simply bred in the dark until they destroyed him.

And grasped that so many of us seek a way out of that darkness. We seek masters, the golden few who have achieved some standard of skill, or strength, or happiness.  We don’t want to know about their insecurities.  Don’t want to know about their sadness.  We want to know how they got there, and that it is worth the journey.

So…the term “master” isn’t about the master.  It is about the student.   About the need to believe in something worth fighting for in life.

And I know that despite all of the struggle, the sense of incompletion, the failures and heart-crushing setbacks…that my life is wonderful.  I have my soul-mate, even if she drives me crazy sometimes.   I have my writing career, all of the fans and money and awards and acclaim…even if there are ups and downs and side-ways ripples.  I have my martial arts, even if I surround myself with people so much better than I am that it feels like I know nothing. But they accept me as a brother on the path of mastery.  If I accept the gifts they have given me, I don't have the right to luxuriate in insecurity.

Wow.   I will never walk away from my family.   Never stop writing and teaching.  Never stop practicing the martial arts I love.

I guess that makes me a master, whether I laugh myself silly thinking about it or not.  And all I want to say to others is that you really can achieve your dreams, but grasp that the doubting voices will never shut the @#$$ up completely.   It’s their job to natter.   It is yours to walk the Path.

In other words: sharks and icebergs and undertow and all…come on in.  The water’s fine.

(P.s.—remember the special “moving sale” on MASTERING F.E.A.R, THE LIFEWRITING YEAR LONG and THE ULTIMATE WRITING BUNDLE”.  Good until I reach L.A. Next week!)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Leaving Atlanta

Atlanta was a necessary journey for Tananarive, and I adore her and Jason, so this is where I had to be, regardless of the cost.   Now I have to go back home, and see what my life is like.   There is, in all honesty, a huge question mark around much of it, but I can live with that.  It is what it is.   I suspect that teaching will be a larger part of my life than it has been in the past for multiple reasons. The largest is that so many of my teachers have died over the last few years, and that puts the burden of passing on the wonderful gifts they gave me.  Just have to figure out what form that will take, so that my family doesn't suffer in the process.  Thats...just logistics.    I’ll be doing more courses, more private coaching, more lecturing.  

But let me just offer to you a central truth: love yourselves, and each other.   Begin by asking what stops you from having a totally open heart.  Need to feel safer?   Made some mistakes in the past?
Then protect your heart by aligning it with your mind.  Clarify your values.  Know yourself.  Never enter a relationship with anyone who conflicts with your core values, or would diminish your self-respect.  Never enter intimate space with anyone who does not honor and support you.

Need more?  Connect with your child self.  Many of us cannot feel protective of ourselves, but CAN feel protective of our children, nieces, nephews.  It’s instinct.   So ask yourself: “what advice would I give my own most beloved child? Would I want them to behave this way?  Associate with this person?  Hold this belief?”

If you align your adult actions with your child’s heart and the values you hold most deeply, life becomes simple.  Not “easy”, but simple and clear.  And every step you take is taking you closer to your true self, and opens the door to your destiny.

There is nothing, nothing in all the world that is superior to the sense of growth, expansion, contribution…and owning your own life.

This is the core of everything I teach and do, everything I was ever given.  And it is my gift to you.

As I said yesterday, I feel like having fun as I drive across the country, but that means going outside the budget for the move.    The one area of flexibility I have is money generated on the Diamond Hour site, so I'm having a "moving sale" for the next few days,   The "MASTERING F.E.A.R.", "LIFEWRITING YEAR LONG", and   "ULTIMATE WRITER'S BUNDLE" courses will all be 1/2 off.  Several other courses are now part of the "pay whatever you can afford" program, and the rest are very reasonably priced.

If you've ever wanted to score one of these, please use this opportunity.  You'll save a ton, and I'll giggle my way across the country.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Don't tell my wife, but...I want some fun!

On Saturday, I climb into the cab
of a honking big moving van,
 and start driving from Atlanta
to California.    I wanted to do
it as a ritual of passage from one
stage of my life to another, but
Tananarive   put me on a strict
budget for the five days the trip
 will take.   But I'm tricky, and
the Diamondhour "special sale"
 money is in a different account...
and I really, really want more
"fun money" to blow on food,
hotels and entertainment as I
travel.    So...I've decided to have
 a "moving sale" over on   The
BUNDLE" courses will all be
1/2 OFF for the next five days...

I'd call that a "win-win".  You get
 some of my best work at a deep
discount, and I get to have fun
while I move my family!

But...SHHHH!  Don't tell Tananarive!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

First feedback on DANGER WORD

We had our first screening of “DANGER WORD” Saturday night, and are over the moon.  We primarily had cheers, and a couple of very sober, excellent critiques.  And spoke to Reggie Hudlin last night and HE also had input to make.   A few things arise from the current situation clearly:

1) We have a winner.  People love it, and a few sharp-eyed folks see ways for us to make it even better.

2) The primary critique is that IF there is a way to make it shorter while preserving the emotional “punch” we should do it.

3) Award-winning Filmmaker Ayoka Chinzira suggested a very specific way to tighten, and explained why.   Part of her suggestion had to do with the “visual poetry” of film, which is slightly different from the primarily linear approach to story that my conscious mind prefers.  There is a “dream logic” to it, and I realized that I needed to SHUT UP that part of my mind, and listen to what she was saying.

There is a time for the conscious mind to work.  And then there is a time to just let yourself “feel” your way through the process.

This ability to move back and forth between your conscious, direct goals and the “texture” or interstitial emotional material that your audience actually consumes.  To look at it another way, plot is the “bones.”  But…we don’t eat bones.  We eat meat.   The meat is the emotions, and they are non-linear, associative, illogical, and constantly blind-side you.

Plot is important, but the emotions are what they must deliver.  A seriously advanced writer can write simply following images and feelings, and deliver something that is exquisitely structured.  We mere humans need the bones.  Goals are critical for the same reason, unless you are one of those advanced, intuitive souls who just awaken in the morning, follow your bliss, and find yourself fulfilling all obligations and constantly improving and expressing yourself.  I’ve met a few of these people, and usually they were folks who DID plan and set goals at an earlier time in their lives…but have integrated goals, values, and dreams to the point where it is automatic.

The conscious in the service to the unconscious. The logical in service to the emotional.   Total attention to the nuts and bolts of learning to ride a bicycle in service to the inevitable “look Maw!  No hands!” moment we all seek.


Another lesson to learn is that we need the input of other minds.  One of the most precious things about life is constantly surrounding yourself with the best, most challenging and perceptive people you can find.  AND THEY MUST BE COURAGEOUS.   I watched Ayo’s face, and she was reluctant to speak.  Why?  Because the rest of the room was raving about what they’d seen.  But probably more importantly, because SHE DIDN’T KNOW HOW WE WOULD REACT.

Many artists SAY they want brutal feedback, but they can’t actually handle it.  They don’t have enough genuine confidence in themselves to be able to hear that something isn’t perfect.

A mature human being doesn’t want to “think” they are good. They want to actually BE good.  The best they can be.  And that means they must accept criticism without expanding it to a global condemnation.   (Can’t leap to: “it all sucks!”  This is childish and indicative of binary thinking.   I see this in political arguments: criticize anything about America, and you are saying “America is the worst country in the world.”  Oh, please.)

I know I have blind spots in every area of performance.  If I don’t get feedback from people who love me ruthlessly, I will never be the artist I can be.   I cannot solicit critique and simultaneously protect my ego.   I have to associate with the dream of being my best, not the illusion that I already am.

It is a delicate balance, indeed.  


Friday, September 20, 2013


Forgiveness.   There was recently a discussion of the concept of forgiveness.   Words are all we have, but they are partial.   Require additional explanation so that referents are as clear as possible.   I wanted to examine this controversy from my perspective.  I encountered multiple definitions, INCLUDING the concept of abandoning calls for punishment or restitution.

This last is problematic. To forgive a predator once one has determined that said predator can and probably will repeat the behavior is not in my lexicon.  This is not what I spoke of.
The definition: “to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.” Is closer to what I meant. 

The first allows whatever danger the person poses to the community to continue.   The second simply suggests that you give up YOUR negative emotions toward them.

The reason to do this is that carrying the negative emotions are damaging to YOU.   So Dan Moran, who suggested that forgiveness requires a transaction, was responding to the implications of the first definition: that without contrition, without being 99.999% convinced that this person will not repeat the behavior, no wish to punish them…or remove them from the community…is possible.  And from that position, I agree.

However, a person who is genuinely sorry for what they have done will not, I believe, ask not to be punished. They would understand that it is possible to pretend remorse.  If I hurt someone, I would want that person to be SAFE in the future.  If punishing me sent an example, I would want that punishment.  Would not ask for mercy.  It would be part of my restitution.

This is complicated—as I said, we have nothing but words, and it is often necessary to go deeper: what sense of a word?  In what context? In all instances?  And so forth.

So: Forgiveness means releasing the negative.  If the person is still a risk, you can enforce separation or punishment without negative emotions, as dispassionately as swatting a fly or wiping down a counter with anti-bacterial spray.  Nothing personal.  If they “got away with it”, if you’re going to use that negative emotion to accomplish something, and no other emotion will suffice, then go ahead and hold onto it…but release it as soon as possible.

BUT—if the person is incarcerated?  Or dead?   Or out of your life?  Or you are no longer in relationship with them or they no longer have power over you?  And you still hold onto the emotions even though you have no intent or opportunity of “punishing” or “communicating” with them, and those emotions are damaging your life?  Then for your own sake, you should seek a way of releasing those emotions, or they will poison your life, and those who hurt you continue to do so.

Forgive…but take whatever steps you need to be safe, and keep your community safe.  We hold onto negative emotions because we fear that without them, we will not be safe.  But if you learn the lesson, you can release the emotion.  If you can take action from an emotionally neutral position (admittedly more difficult, a higher level of action) you can act from duty, free of karma. 

You deserve a happy life, with love, and warmth, and healing.   The more we hang onto the damage of our pasts, the less we can have these things.  If you are not experiencing dynamic loving partnership, a healthy body, and a joyous contributory career that expresses your essence, unless there is a PHYSICAL issue, the problem may well be in the emotions you carry from your past.

We all have damage.   But I refuse to let my enemies win.   I won’t let them continue beating me, even after they are dead.

(And thanks to Dan Moran and David Gerrold for their comments)

Love isn't enough

 Some people say that if you love someone, you must forgive them…and they mean “forgive” in the sense of allowing them to maintain relationship with you, even in a context where they can harm you.
I suggest that it might be useful to look more carefully at their definition, and see if it serves them. “Love” is that sense of emotional connection. But it is separate from “trust”, which is an evaluation of their values as expressed in action.  I can love Jason, but I wouldn’t “trust” him to drive me on the freeway.  A person who is emotionally or ethically crippled can be worthy of the one, but not the other.    A marriage, for instance, is not just about love.  In fact, in human history marriages have been more primarily about trust, shared values and commitments, and willingness to protect each others’ lives, property, and genetic investments.  Love was often a luxury. 

There are too many cases where I coach someone trapped in a loveless, damaging, abusive relationship that damages the children, and when asked about the genesis of the relationship, what comes out is the sense that they knew the husband or wife was damaged, or emotionally unstable, but that they had no right to judge. 

Unless they are saying that this was the best they could do (closer to the truth) they are deluding themselves. Their obligation was not to the potential partner.  Their obligation was to any children they might bring into the world.  Anyone who doesn’t find the healthiest, most stable and sanest partner that their heart can hold is a fool.  And in being a fool, they are getting what they deserve—until they wake up from the nightmare.

What makes a marriage or relationship?  My choices would be friendship, love, passion, physical attraction, trust, shared values and interests, similar communication styles, shared goals, matching or complementary energy levels.    Any of these things by themselves might be great for a friendship, but when you blend lives, EVEN IF YOU DON’T WANT CHILDREN you would be smart to ask if you would WANT this person to raise your children.  Because if not, you need to ask yourself why you are trusting them with your heart, and your life.  And exactly why you deserve less than those children might.   In “Ancient Child” language, what advice would you give yourself if you were your own most beloved child?

And if that advice is different than you currently give yourself…you have work to do.


Mandela and Mickey Mouse

At the ceremony for Tananarive’s Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts, I had the great pleasure of meeting Antoine Fuqua, director of “Training Day” and “Olympus Has Fallen” among other terrific films.  And I had the great pleasure of speaking with him at some length about his work.  A phrase he used caught my interest: that successful artists in Hollywood must be “smugglers of meaning.”

“Smugglers of meaning.”    An evocative phrase, yes?  What he meant by that is that the studios want entertainment.  But once you have pitched the story, and made the deal, you have to find a way to make the story personally relevant to you.  It has to MEAN something to you in some way, find an emotional entry point, or it is just hack work.

“Training Day” was a battle between good and evil for the soul of Ethan Hawke, Denzel as Mephistopheles.   “Olympus Has Fallen” is “merely” a Hero’s Journey riff, a character who needs redemption descending into the belly of the beast and emerging with a healed heart.    The question of whether such “mere entertainments” are substantive is a valid one.  Isn’t this just self-deception and justification on the part of a commercial artist?
I say no. 

1)  There are researches suggesting that people sitting in emergency rooms waiting to hear life-and-death news concerning their loved ones cope better if reading fiction than non-fiction.  I believe that the patterns of fiction allow us to take perspective on our lives.  That any valid dramatic structure has to reflect some perspective we have on life itself.  And that in watching others struggle and either win or lose we see ourselves, and can learn without actually suffering the trials.

2) The classic movie “Sullivan’s Travels” deals with a comedy director who wants to write something “of substance.”  His agent and studio tell him he doesn’t have any damned substance to write about, so he gets into a lavish motor home   and sets off on a motor-trip across America to “connect with the people.”  Hilarity ensues…until he loses his memory and identification and ends up on a chain-gang, where he is hip-deep in “substance” and “the people.”   While there, the only respite is a Friday night movie, a Micky Mouse film, and these tormented lost men roar with laughter at the animated hijinx, Sullivan along with them, for just a moment forgetting his problems.

A Hollywood justification?  Not according to comedian Chris Tucker.  While in South Africa, he had the honor of meeting Nelson Mandela.  Humbled by this great man, he mourned aloud that he had done so little in his own life and career.   Mandela would have none of it.  While imprisoned on Robben Island for 27 years, he said, one of the only rays of light sustaining them was…American comedies, especially those with black performers.  Seeing people like Chris Tucker being successful and free, thriving and making people laugh, gave them hope that their own world might change.
“Mere” entertainment lightens stress, gives hope, allows the “heavy lifters” we admire find the strength to keep going.   Don’t ever criticize the work you create, if you are doing your best.  Give it all the heart you have, and you are helping to heal a heart, give hope.  Perhaps free a soul…or a nation.

Steven Barnes

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What the world needs now

In the forty years I’ve been practicing the martial arts, I’ve seen physical confidence in students allow them to release the fears of their pasts…including abuse and neglect issues. But they have to allow the physical movements modeling animal and human confidence to penetrate to their cores.

Motion creates emotion.

Help them breathe, move, hold their faces and use language (words, tonalities, pace and rhythm) like a confident, healthy human animal. In my martial arts, whether they are Yin or Yang, there is health and safety. In Tai Chi, you yield while maintaining your center, allowing an attacker to over-extend and destroy their own balance.

From that position, your counter attack is devastating.

In karate, you deflect an attack while denying target…and then counter with crushing speed and power, part of that power created by the collision of vectors. When these tactics become metaphors for dealing with aggression, guilt, shame or anger, the movement of the body in conflict teaches, at the neurological level, how to be safe in the midst of conflict.

How to remain calm and safe even when others are trying to maim or kill you.

And when you ask questions about the core beliefs, attitudes and perceptions that allow mastery in this arena, and begin to apply them to your emotional, intellectual, personal, or financial life, the results are generative.

You change the way people move by changing their emotions. And change their emotions by changing the way they move.

When you remove fear, what remains is love and passion. That heals, and then drives personal evolution.

Our work changes lives. And changed lives change the world. The inner exploration is vastly superior to the external.

As Captain Nemo said in "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea": "this world does not need new lands. It needs new men."


Sunday, September 15, 2013

"We Accept the love we think we deserve"

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”   That line from “The Perks of being a wallflower” haunted me, and became the core of yesterday’s Diamond Hour show.  The reason I’m working hard to put the “core” aspects of my programs on the “pay what you want” program is that I see so much pain in the world around that issue.

That means that abuse, neglect, negative self-images and more damage the connection we have with our own hearts.  The   “heartbeat meditation” technique is incredibly powerful for this, especially combined with the “Ancient Child” method.  Add journaling and the Five Minute Miracle and you have something incredibly generative.    Let me list a few of the varieties of heart-damage I’ve encountered.   In every case, the relationship history was disrupted—no marriages, bad marriages, or inability to bond to another human being.

1) A biracial woman raised in the South, whose mother had been raped by a white employer.  She spent her whole life knowing it would have been better had she “passed.”

2) A man neglected by  his parents, who had a string of gold-digger marriages, who now faces a massive health crisis due to eating patterns.

3) A woman raised within an abusive family, sexually abused by her sister’s husband among others.   Luckily, this woman has found her way to embracing a goddess and heart-centered belief system, and is finally spewing up the venom these monsters pumped into her.

4) A boy abused by the husband of a famous author whose fans denied it was going on until there was no more room for denial.  The last I heard, he sleeps in the street and trades his body for drugs.

5) A girl abandoned by her father who has chosen mentally ill male partners, and struggles to leave their orbit and influence.

6) A man whose mother encouraged him to sleep in her bed into his teens, who became a sex addict.

7) Endless men and women who married people who abused and manipulated them, had children with them, and used those children to control and drain their resources.

I could just go on and on, endlessly.  In childhood, we desperately need the approval  and protection of adults.  Our neurologies are wide open, and we are genetically and socially programmed to drop our ego walls to let them in…or construct our identities  to gain their approval.

In adolescence, we begin to wonder how to gain the notice of the people we are attracted to, and start shaping ourselves to the approval of our peers.  In young adulthood, we seek a steady supply of sex and love.  The psychological moulding that occurs during high-energy human encounters…especially when you combine the emotions of sex, love, and hope, CANNOT be overestimated.

In a sense, we are all children looking for love.  And when that love is twisted against us, ESPECIALLY when the first “twists” (even if it involves love or parenting, not sex) occur before puberty, it can and, I dare say will,  shape us for the rest of our lives.

But we can heal. The healing starts by finding SOMETHING that we love in our lives, and realizing that we only feel the love we have within us.  That if we feel loved by someone else, we are just allowing that person to release loving emotions we already had…within us.  Love is our natural state.

But love and fear compete for the same space in our hearts.  

Find someone or something that you love, and grasp that you can only feel it because it comes from within you.  Find a time you felt love, and connect with that feeling…and it is ALWAYS there.   Babies who are not held and loved, at least at SOME point in their infancy, wither and die.   If you are alive, at some point someone loved you.    Go deeply enough into your memories or imagination, and you can find an image or remembrance of love: for you, from you.  Whatever.   FIND IT.

Then…bring it into your heart.   Almost everyone has a son or daughter, brother or sister, niece or nephew that you love, and who love you.    DIVE INTO THAT LOVE.  Let it wash over you.   Cry for its power.  

And commit to love yourself as much as you love that child.  You deserve it, with every fiber of your being.  All you have ever done in life, even the bad things, was an attempt to feel that love and connection in one way or another.  To return to the peace you know you felt, if only in the womb.
You are now a grown-ass man or woman. YOU are now the “parent” of the “child” self within you.   You must commit to protecting your heart with the fierceness of a mommy lion.    Turn your anger and self-loathing against the people who harmed you: true, eventually you will want to forgive even them.  The chain of damage and spoilage goes back forever, and they were doing the best they could, just as you have done the best you can.  Forgive yourself deeply enough, and you begin to understand how you have been and done and created your life.

The reason you hold onto the fear and anger is that you are afraid that without it, you will be hurt again.  LEARN THE LESSON, AND YOU CAN RELEASE THE FEAR.    Vow to protect your heart to the death, hold your heart, your emotions, your “child image”  tenderly and fiercely, and it will blossom for you in ways you may not have experienced since…forever.

You have a 100% responsibility to protect yourself, love yourself, nurture yourself.    You have a 100% right to feel love and passion and creative flow, to feel safe in the world.  ANYTHING that stands between you and that state is artificial, and was added to the mix somewhere along the path of your life.

Learn the lesson, and you can release the negative emotions.    If you don’t, you will pass that pain on to others.  You can’t help it.   

You can end the chain of emotional violence, by accepting love.   Love does not mean pain.  Sex is not love.    Love does not even mean trust.  You can love someone, and know that they are mentally or physically diseased, and will hurt you. 

Love does not oblige you to destroy yourself, or accept abuse, or neglect.  But if you don’t love yourself, you will seek it from outside, and the BEST you will be able to do is a co-dependent relationship, two one-legged people bonded together and limping through life.  Sometimes they can help heal each other, and that is a blessing.

Too often, the gentle, wounded souls attract predators, like wounded gazelle attracting lions.  It is these souls who have my full support and concern.

However damaged or needy that “child” part of you may be, all of the love and happiness and health it seeks is already within you.  The world conspired to convince you otherwise.   You don’t need anything you don’t have.  We can WANT relationships, someone to share our life path, love and passion with…but if you NEED them, there is work to do.

Your heart needs love…but you are the only one who can actually supply it.  Connect to that source, and you are healed…and free.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Diamond Hour Today! "We accept the love we think we deserve"

Our subject: "We accept the love we think we deserve"

Diamond Hour September show. - Saturday, September 14, 2013 1:00 PM Pacific Daylight Savings time (4:00 PM Eastern)

Connect via phone or VoIP (Skype, etc.)

(724) 444-7444

Friday, September 13, 2013

"We Accept the love we think we deserve"

That fantastic line from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" is the subject of tomorrow's Diamond Hour show.  Join us!

Diamond Hour September show. -
Saturday, September 14, 2013
1:00 PM Pacific Daylight Savings
time (4:00 PM Eastern)
Connect via phone or VoIP (Skype, etc.)
(724) 444-7444

Subject: LOVE.  Finding it, keeping
It, nurturing it.  Starting with yourself.

Last Day for The Erotic Intelligence sale!

Today is the final day for the reduced price on the EROTIC INTELLIGENCE package.    The more passion you have in your life, the easier it is to motivate yourself, manifest creativity, and create your dreams.   Conversely, the more power you have, the easier it is to create a safe space to explore and express your passions.  Whether you are trying to create a new body, a new career, a new relationship…or simply take your current body, career, or relationship to a new and more dynamic level, pulled by hunger rather than driven by discipline…the Art of Erotic Intelligence is what you’ve been looking for.   At Midnight PST the sale is over, so don’t miss out!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A lever and a place to stand

Had a coaching call yesterday with someone who wants to build a ten million dollar a year business in four years.    I was a little wary about this until I found that up until now his best year had been 700k.  That means that at a 50% growth rate, he’d reach his goal in about 6.5 years.   And that’s only about a 1% improvement per week.  Very close.  

What I wanted to see is if he actually believed he could do it, or was he setting himself up for failure to validate some internal map of failure.   The “there are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic time frames” perspective found it plausible.

And possible, if he had real confidence in his earning potential.  Poking around, I discovered that he had a weight issue that could be resolved in a year, and a marriage that was strong, even if he had some beliefs from childhood that positive change could cause loss of friends.  Nothing seriously out of whack.   Very nice.  A challenge, but he seemed the kind of person who relishes a good challenge.  

Starting with believing that he COULD make such a shift, the trick was helping him see how he SHOULD: why it was the expression of childhood dreams and ultimate values.   Why it would be a sign of the amount of value he is adding to the lives of those around him.  How much good he could do if he could be that kind of role model. 

The next step was to show him a route to HOW he could do it.  Now, I’ve never earned ten million a year.      I never had that kind of goal, but honor and celebrate those who are willing to aim at such massive success.  And I DO know  how people organize their internal and external resources to achieve dreams beyond their ordinary levels.

And a core means is the “mastermind”: two or more people aligned in a spirit of perfect harmony working toward a specific end.   The alignment of external human resources with your internal drives.    This is elegant, because not only is this man adding direct resources, but he is also calming the part of him that says “I will be alone.”

He must start with his wife.  If he loves her, and is committed to her, then if there is any part of him that believes success will damage his marriage, THAT PART WILL SLAM ON THE BRAKES.  And to create a new future he is going to have to be willing to
1) Believe the new goals are a deeper, truer expression of who and what he really is.
2) Believe that working for his goal will bring more pleasure to his life than pain.
3) Believe that NOT achieving his goal will bring him pain (which means that he must define “success” as the ACTIONS and ATTITUDES he adopts, not specifically the external results, which are out of direct control)
4) Be willing to destroy any illusions about himself, and step forward into his truth.
5) Be TOTALLY aligned internally, not fighting himself. 
6) Seek at least ONE person with  whom he can externally align.  In this case, a loving wife.  Someone willing to share his vision.   Someone to reality-check him, and with whom to share tears and laughter.
7) Believe that he sees a path that requires only his constant, rising action and insight.  Not looking for “luck” to help him.  Oddly, the people who take such full responsibility find “luck” aiding them at every turn.
8) Raise his energy level, prepare for a marathon not a sprint, and go for it.
9) When failure inevitably occurs, learn the lesson, have faith that he can overcome, get back up and hit it again.

Recognize the “Secret Formula” here?   Goals times Faith times Constant Action times Gratitude equals Results?

Simple, powerful, direct.  It suggests that we have within us the resources we need to heal, to grow.  That if we look into our pasts, we can find positive things, a “rock” to stand on.   Our tactical grasp of methods of approach give us the “lever.”  Archimedes famously said “give me a lever and a place to stand, and I will change the world.”   Give a human being a place to make and emotional “stand”, and a tactical “lever” and they’ll do more than move the world.  They’ll MAKE their world.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Balancing Male and Female

The “Secret of Sex Transmutation” chapter of THINK AND GROW RICH suggests that you take the same “energy” invested in thinking or engaging in sex and apply it to your material dreams.    That the the mingled emotions of faith, love, and sex intensifies human thought to its highest level,  and that men and women who achieve at the highest levels also tend to have very sexual natures, which is highly related to their drive, ambition, creativity, and accomplishment.

“The Art of Erotic Intelligence” takes this idea and runs with it.  Amara Charles has studied sexual magic from multiple traditions, and taught workshops in this challenging—and delicious—discipline around the world.  The kind of lady who will literally climb mountains in Tibet to spend a few hours with the right teacher.  Very much a kindred spirit.

I knew I could not write such a course on my own.  Why? Well...

1) While I’ve studied the disciplines, I don’t  “live there.”  I have the knowledge in my body and unconscious, but lack the languaging, and conceptual mastery to teach.

2) I’m kind of a guy.  That means that no matter what I do, I’m going to see things from a Yang perspective first.   I can ignore this, or over-compensate, but I can’t simply relax and flow without skewing perspective.  I NEEDED that feminine energy to complete the balance.  

Amara and I clashed for years on what this or that aspect of this concept meant, or could be or should be applied.   But ultimately, we realized that the very lack of total agreement was no weakness, but rather a strength. That we were actually representing, in every “spirited discussion”, the very difference in perspectives that has  deviled (and enlivened) the relationships between men and women through history.   But it also represents the difficulty we have mastering communication within ourselves.  The Left-Brain/Right-Brain split.   The Parent-Child split (and flip a coin as to which is which.  No pejoratives implied!) The Healer-Warrior, or Artist-Engineer,  Explorer and Homemaker, Flesh and Spirit, or Heart and Head, or Creator and Banker, or…or…

If you have experienced imbalance in any of these arenas.  If you suffer writer’s block, can’t quite figure out how to get paid for the work you do, lack drive and motivation, keep getting dumped into the “friend” category in relationships,  can’t access your intuitive or calculating sides, “need” the love and approval of others, can’t “understand  the opposite sex” or satisfy your sexual hungers ethically and without masks or deception,  or any number of other manifestations of imbalance between the “male” and female” aspects of their inner or outer lives…then “The Art of Erotic Intelligence” is for you.

Now, Amara is in an ecstatic relationship with her partner Shyena, so this isn’t a matter of heterosexuality.  That duality goes WAY beyond mere physical gender.  The male and female aspects aren’t like livers and kidneys—they don’t precisely exist outside of human perspective.  But they are superb metaphors for the internal world, as well as relating to the joining together of human beings in loving,  sexual relationships, social or commercial relationships.

In Tantra yoga, the model of human evolution includes the “chakra” system, where the balance of male and female frees “energy” to rise to the next level and confront the next set of challenges.  In life, balancing your creative/editing, long term/short term planning or fear/love drives can create chaos, stagnation, and unbelievable frustration.   While  the techniques for accessing the “left brain” aspects can be written and described easily, the “right brain” flow state aspects are more elusive, more magical, and seem esoteric or even mystical to those stuck in the linear mode.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  Men and women can have both.  It is your heritage and strength.  The “Art of Erotic Intelligence” is pretty close to unique, a first step to blending these two arenas in a way I’ve never seen, and that, if you actually hear what is being said, and PUT IT INTO YOUR BODY by performing the exercises (which are unbelievable fun!) you will, in thirty days, grasp a truth of our existence that cannot quite be put into words.

For just three more days, this breakthrough course is available at a reduced price, and with special incentive.  If any of what I have said speaks to you, this may be what you have always sought…a hunger you couldn’t quite define, let alone satisfy.

Passion is power.  


A teacher passes

Harley Reagan, known also as "Swift Deer" or "Thunder Strikes", was my teacher, friend, and brother.  One of the most fascinating human beings I ever met.  He taught me judo and jiu jitsu for years, and never charged me a penny.    He passed last night at 6:45.  I will miss him terribly.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What is Erotic Intelligence?

Now, some of you have asked exactly what this course is about, and I can say is that it has eluded precise languaging.  However, I would say it is about truth, about energy, about tapping into your passions and using them to pull you toward your future self.   What Amara says is:  “erotic intelligence is about having the ability to clearly express and actualize your desires using your masculine energies and your feminine energies wisely for mutual benefit and welfare.”

What our first tester said was: “Wow!  Steve, you’ve done it again!” 

And that makes me happy.  Words are all we have to communicate most times, but we captured a bit of magic on the ART OF EROTIC INTELLIGENCE audios, something that required the dance of male and female energies.   If you are “stuck” in any arena of your life, or need deeper access to your creativity, or yearn for that connection with another human being…find the connection within yourself FIRST, and you will be delighted by the results.

Four more days for the special offer!


Monday, September 09, 2013

So I’ve been telling you how Amara Charles and I created the Art of Erotic Intelligence program.  We conducted a special event in December of 2012 in front of a live audience, testing and refining the approach.  Then, we had to transcribe the presentation.  We created supporting material, and then a step by step, a "Thirty Days to Erotic Intelligence” program to put the juice back into  your life, whether you have a partner or not.

Then  we added bonus after bonus, including  an annotated version of one of the greatest success texts in history, relating it to sensuality and sexuality.  The ART OF EROTIC INTELLIGENCE is not for children, or those who wish to remain asleep to their potential.   It is intended to be a step along  the path to Awakened Adulthood, acceptance of the challenge to embrace life on every level, and seize this one existence we have for all it's worth. 

Demanding that life give up all of its pleasures:  Health.  Wealth.  Love.  Happiness. Contribution.
Why not have it all?

This is a first, a joining of esoteric and practical considerations, opening the door to what can only be called a magical life.

To begin every day with a sense of possibility and gratitude.  To know how to raise your energy, then direct it to your own healing and awakening.  To fulfill all of your obligations with joy and creativity, every word, thought and act flowing toward your future as naturally as water flowing to the sea.
THIS is your birthright, heritage, and destiny.  And it is nothing less than this we want to give you.
How much is it?    I told an early tester the price I had in mind, and she said the following: “No!  It should be closer to $149; it is worth more than that...

My conscience would be clear if we charged 149.95.   Or 99.95. But we aren't .  The price is only 49.00, but because we want you, our “family” to have access first, for the first five days ONLY, until FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 13TH  it will be only 39.95.   Then the price goes up to 49.95.   Order now!


(P.S.—as an added incentive, just for the first five days, until Friday September 13th, you will ALSO get two additional bonus MP3’s—Amara’s NINE EROGENOUS ZONES and Steve’s  ANCIENT CHILD meditation, perfect for emotional healing.  Don’t miss this opportunity!)

Friday, September 06, 2013

The KUNDALINI EQUATION is available again!

Out of print for decades, thank God for ebooks!    KUNDALINI has been a favorite of mine for decades, and I love the fact that its back!

Just Three Days...

So… I’ve been telling you about how Amara and I began exploring converging lines of inquiry from the perspectives of each of our lives and disciplines to find the keys to this thing called Erotic Intelligence. Laughing well into late evenings (as well as shedding a few tears), we shared what worked and what did not in the arenas of career, health, and love. Our accomplishments were streaming with the practices and inspirations we actually used to pull us through the toughest times of our lives and we discovered the surprising patterns of success that have made all the difference.

As I mentioned, we never actually agreed on the definition of "erotic intelligence", nor the methods we have used. (for example, every time I talked about writing down goals, Amara would  cringe a little, explaining that every significant dream she’d realized did not happen this way)… But, then I saw something special about the way Amara does things…

So both from what we tested that works, and presenting our different approaches, we used touchstones from yoga, martial arts, the Quodoshka, Taoist principles, and Wallace D. Wattle’s  The Science of Getting Rich as well as our own personal experiences with sexuality, creativity, love, relationships, and health. We offered specific exercises and answered all questions from our enthusiastic audience of tantrikas.

They loved it, and begged for more. They loved the concept of empowering every aspect of life with the same passion you feel toward a lover…and learning how to let every other aspect of your life support your intimate relationships.

We knew we had something special, a blending of the mundane and esoteric, masculine and feminine, of body, mental and emotional hungers that seemed unlike anything any of us had ever seen.  And then we had to get it right.  We spent eight months refining and polishing and re-working what we’d began…and now we are finally ready to deliver it…after another eight months of work!

And that was just the beginning of the magic. But the suspense is almost over. In just three days you the doors open!


Wednesday, September 04, 2013

I knew I needed a partner...

Yesterday, I was very, very happy to say that the Art of Erotic Intelligence course is ready to go, and will be available in just a few days.  The idea is to teach you how to use your passion to empower every aspect of your life, a core secret of high-performing lovers, artists, inventors and business folk since the beginning of time: energy is energy, but we don’t always understand how to access it.  But if you can release it in ANY arena of your life, you have the doorway to opening it in EVERY arena of your life.

 I knew I couldn’t write the  Art of Erotic Intelligence alone.     To be effective, it had to blend  male and female energies, and no matter how balanced I might be, I was always going to come down harder on the "male" side.  Fortunately,  I didn't have to go looking for someone to do this with.  For twenty years, it has been my honor to be friends with an extremely impressive teacher of Spiritual Sexuality, AMARA CHARLES.  Trained in traditions ranging from the Sweet Medicine Sundance Path to the Taoist sexual arts,  Amara has traveled the world gaining knowledge of these esoteric energies, and we've had endless conversations and friendly debates about how to harness, express, and teach them.  We never agreed totally, and it suddenly hit both of us--that lack of total convergence wasn’t a weakness, that was actually a strength! 

We were both sick of teachers who pretend to be in alignment on every little aspect of their teaching. 
The truth is that human beings never agree totally.  Heck, you don't totally agree with what you thought YESTERDAY! So we had a unique opportunity, because while we don't agree totally, we DO respect each other's positions.  Amara has mastered her discipline, and has clamoring, devoted students around the world.   She has  a beautiful sensual and emotional relationship with her lovely partner Sheyna, and has published numerous best-selling books and courses on the subjects of love, sexuality, and the spiritual life.    Amara  is a success by any standard I care to apply.  So we decided to try teaching a workshop together, and a little bit of magic happened...

And I’ll tell you more about it, very very soon!


Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Something big is about to happen!

Hi. Steve here, and I'm finally about to open the doors to a fabulous project I've been working on for years, called The Art of Erotic Intelligence and we had to get it just right.

My passion in presenting this program comes from my desire to give you the cherries of what I've learned about how to harness your erotic sexual energy with intelligence in order to manifest anything.

Remember your first innocent kiss where there was a distinctly different kind of hum that moved through your whole body? Pretty yummy, wasn't it? Now...think of a time when you were immersed in something you totally loved doing...where you lost track of time... and you were completely in the flow.

Stop. DON'T JUST READ THESE WORDS. Actually stop and remember. Do this, and you'll begin to sense the connection between these things. Imagine being able to tap into this core life force energy on demand, whenever you need focus, motivation, inspiration, or a Jolt of creative energy.

Erotic Intelligence is the ability to navigate through life manifesting by moving in a relaxed, intelligent way from one thing to the next, being PULLED by your passion rather than pushing yourself or others.

It's about increasing your attraction and energy in certain ways so that instead of running after people and things, they are drawn to you. It is aligning your entire life so that every action creates more juice, takes you closer to your true goals and generates the kind of awareness that makes you an attractive, magnetic light who draws the highest opportunities into your world.

NOTHING is sexier than sincere confidence and magnetism. A man or woman aware of who they are and where they are going is naturally erotic, and if he or she uses this energy wisely, their intelligence will be as attractive as their bodies. Expressed as confidence in a man, and magnetism in a woman, it's like a prowling cat on the hunt ...a simultaneously spiritual, loving being strong and confident enough to be open hearted.

We're going to show you how to have both. Just a few more days now!

Live with passion!

Steven Barnes

Monday, September 02, 2013

How I spent my summer vacation

Last weekend we drove down to Marianna, Florida, to exhume the body of Tananarive's grand-uncle, who died under mysterious circumstances at the infamous Dozier School For Boys, so recently in the news.    Here's a link to the CNN story.  And yes, that's my family.