7. As Love Is A Shy Creature, Thou Shalt Commit To Indirect Action.
I’m not saying that the people use dating services, matchmakers, singles bars and so forth specifically seeking partnership are wrong. I’m saying that you need to concentrate on the things that you can control, and you cannot control the actions and reactions of others.
What you CAN do is become the person you were intended to be, or be firmly upon that path, with your heart happy and accepting of where you are, right here, right now. And that combination of dynamism and centeredness is addictively attractive.
Another thing: the “Secret Formula” is a luck magnet. I’m telling you, when you have clear goals, believe you can and should do it, are taking constant action (and of course noticing your results and making micro-adjustments, while committing to constant improvement) and living every day with an “attitude of gratitude” you attract allies like crazy. And most strangely, “luck” multiplies. Opportunities come to you with the predictability of American Express and Visa offers arriving in the mail if you raise your credit score. When you don’t need money, people offer you credit. When you don’t have a job, you can’t get a job, but as soon as you have one other people offer employment. When you don’t have a relationship you can’t get one, but as soon as you have one people mysteriously start showing interest.
“A watched pot never boils” is another way of looking at this. Or the line from Broadcast News I love so much: “wouldn’t it be great if needy were a turn-on?” Well, it isn’t, except for the wounded, and predators. What IS a turn on to healthy people is other healthy people. “Who are you, and where are you going?” are questions lurking just under the surface of the social chit-chat that we engage in for the first hours of a new relationship.
You have to know who you are, and where you are going. That creates an “energy signature”, a “vibe” that you are putting out to the world: this is who I am. These are my values. This is where I’m going. If this looks interesting to you, let’s talk.
Not very complicated, really.
1) Seek to be balanced in your physical, emotional, and career aspects. This maximizes your attractiveness (we should do all we can to be attractive BY OUR OWN STANDARDS), opens our hearts to the beauty of life (an amazing aphrodesiac, seriously), and improves our “nest building” (finances.)
2) Start your day by re-writing your goals, or preferably a “daily ritual” of thought, motion, and focused emotion. Know what your most important three-five actions of the day are, and do them before you do anything less important. We must prioritize according to our values. This will place you on the “radar” of others with similar values, saving you a gigantic amount of wasted time.
3) Here’s a fantasy way of looking at this: when you chase after relationships you lose energy and “mass.” As you focus on becoming, you increase energy and “mass.” Gravity can be seen as a bend in space-time, and the greater the mass the more powerful the attraction.
4) Concentrating on all three aspects of self demands deeper engagement with the world. Every dollar you ever earn will come from another human being, so you have to understand human needs and drives, build short and long-term alliances, and build “master mind” groups to fill the gaps in your own knowledge and capacity. As you learn new skills you will need coaches, teachers, and come in contact with students at your own level. As you express a hobby or interest, you will come in contact with others with similar enthusiasms.
5) You are probably no more than three degrees of separation from a Soulmate. Quite possibly only two. Let your light shine, purely and energetically, broadcast to the world who you are, be the equivalent of the man or woman you would be attracted to, and someone in your circle will be struck by how much you remind them of, or would be a good match for, someone in their circle. Countless relationships have begun at work, church, the gym, because friends introduced…you just don’t know.
6) Be happy who you are, where you are. Don’t go looking for love, instead be loving and share that sense of abundance with the world. A man or woman who walks into the room with purpose, energy, enthusiasm, sensitivity to others, genuine interest in life, and deep self-love that bubbles over to others will hit the room like a BOMB. Everyone wants to know who that is.
7) Be honest about who you are and what you want. Courteous and empathetic to all, draw boundaries. Don’t give yourself away just because someone asks. Have standards, hold yourself to them, and make it clear through action (more than words) that you will not be dragged down or away from your path and destiny.
8) If you are doing the things that increase self-knowledge, self-love, healing and open-hearted compassion, while increasing energy and engaging in daily action you are sending out a clear message to the universe. In a forest of a thousand trees and a million birds, the bird who sings a clear, bright, loud song can be heard miles away, and will attract a mate who is looking for THAT.
9) Every day, every thought, every action should be some version of one of the two major questions: “who am I?” and “what is true?” Everything, and I mean, EVERYTHING, connects with one or the others. And as you can probably guess, they are actually different versions of the same question, a question that can’t quite be put into words. When you resolve the duality, you enter another realm of thought and experience.
10) Your goals, beliefs, values, actions and emotions should be aligned. You should be genuinely willing to spend your life following your bliss and sharing joy with the world, even if you walk alone. Alone isn’t “lonely.” When you are content being alone, committed to your healing, have high standards THAT YOU MEET and give yourself the love wounded people seek from others…you are operating on another level. And the “tribe” you have just entered is welcoming and warm almost beyond belief, filled with others who are tired of the games, and prepared to welcome you. And it is here, while you are too busy to watch the pot, that that sucker will boil over.
And heat like that is something absolutely not to be missed.
Monday, December 30, 2013
Posted by Steven Barnes at 10:27 AM
6. Thou Shalt Demand The Very Best From Thyself–And Refuse To Settle For Less Than That From Others.
I have to say this again and again: you have the right, and the responsibility to bond only to the very healthiest and most appropriate person your heart can attract and hold. Almost every day, someone posts about their crazy husband or wife or ex-husband or ex-wife, who they made children with, and now hold those children hostage in a savage divorce or custody battle. The kids are whiplashed, impoverished, abused or neglected. When questioned, it is clear that there were obvious clues that SOMETHING WAS WRONG from the beginning, or at the very least that the man or woman in question allowed simple attraction to overrule common sense. What is pitiful is when they say something along the line of “well, I thought that they deserved love too…”
Well, sure, but that doesn’t mean it has to be YOURS, for goodness sakes. What other comments: “he told me he wouldn’t treat me the way he treated the others…” “I didn’t know anyone who knew him…” “she promised she would change…” “she got pregnant…” “I was lonely…” “I was just coming out of another relationship…”
And so forth and so on. Recipes for disaster. Here are some things to consider:
1) The best predictor of the future is the past. Try to meet people who your intended dated or married prior to you. If you can’t, consider that an orange flag.
2) People who mistreat other people will eventually mistreat you. If they gossip about others, they’ll gossip about you. Watch the way they treat their pets, too.
3) Everyone feels alone and afraid. There are only two questions: a) what do they do with their loneliness and their fear? b) What story do they try to sell you about it? If a) and b) do not match, another orange flag.
4) Any potentially reproductive activity triggers bonding responses. Don’t kid yourself. Your hind-brain doesn’t speak “birth control.” The crazy behavior we often see in supposedly “casual” relationships is competing value structures crashing and burning.
5) Be scathingly honest about why your body, career, and relationship history. In the depths of your own heart, accept no lies or blame on others. Musashi’s first principle: DO NOT THINK DISHONESTLY. The more honest you are, the more you take responsibility for who and what you are in the world, the easier it is to see through the lies, excuses, distortions and manipulations used by others. The more of a liar someone is, the less congruence there will be between words and actions. Humans are exquisitely tuned to detect such clues, unless we are blocking out the information. “I’m not perfect, what right do I have to expect others to be?” None. But you can demand honesty and growth from yourself—and from anyone who wants to enter your intimate space. For the sake of children unborn—and your own heart—you must be prepared to demand nothing less.
6) “Ruthless Compassion” is a principle I hold dear. When you force your children to do their homework, or deny them ice cream for breakfast, it doesn’t matter that they scream and beg. That’s their job. Your job is to be the @#$$ adult. Period. The same is true for your non-optimal hungers. If you let the nattering voices in your head control you, you are pretty much screwed.
7) Pay attention to actions more than words. If the actions and words do not match, assume that you are being lied to. Only then pay attention to those words—what is the story the intended is trying to sell? TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. Unfortunately, you will only calibrate them by making mistakes, so start with small judgements and slowly work your way up as you refine your sensitivity.
8) You’ll never get to 100% predictive capacity. You will, however, be able to understand everything that people have done, in retrospect. When you see how love and fear mold you and the people closest to you, you have a basis for understanding others.
9) Test your judgement, beginning with asking why you did the things you did in your own life, without excuses. Everything you’ve ever done, you did because you considered it your best bet for increasing pleasure and reducing pain. Every discipline you’ve accepted was in the belief that pain now means pleasure later. You’ve done the best you could with the resources you have. Love yourself enough to forgive yourself, and you can look at the worst behavior without blinking. This will open the door to understanding and appreciating others.
10) Forgive your past relationships. Remember that YOU chose them. They weren’t forced upon you. Remember also that, like you, they did the best they could with what they had to work with. If you can’t let go of the anger, it is because you are afraid that, without anger, you will make the same mistakes again. Be hurt again. LEARN THE LESSONS AND YOU CAN RELEASE THE PAIN. You can avoid pain, resist predation, even kill an enemy…without fear or anger. You will know whether you have evolved to the next level, and learned the lesson, if you can see what happened in those earlier relationships without blame, guilt, or shame.
11) You can trust other people to the exact degree that you can trust your ability to evaluate them. What are their values, beliefs, goals, and capacities? And you will gain clarity there if you don’t need other people to ignore your flaws. Most relationships are based on “don’t call me on my b.s. And I won’t call you on yours.”
No. As you would for your own child, you should aspire to being all you have the capacity to be. And the only way to do that is to surround yourself with people who see and beleive in the very best from you. You support them, and let them support you. Love yourselves and accept yourselves for where you are…but remember that when you’re green, you grow. When you’re ripe, you rot.
Stay green. Keep growing.
Posted by Steven Barnes at 10:26 AM
Thursday, December 26, 2013
5. Thou Shalt Love Thyself, And Heal Thy Own Heart.
It would be impossible for me to overestimate the importance of this step. Almost every day I get posts, emails or queries that relate to this aspect of our being.
1) Emotional damage can be the result of early abuse (social, familial, personal), failed love relationships, parental absence or neglect, conflicting belief or value patterns, and so forth.
2) Evidence of such damage can be choosing inappropriate partners, inability to accept love, inability to trust (if you are worthless, then anyone who expresses interest in you must be a fool or a predator, right?), rushing into sexual connection, inability to accept a healthful discipline, self-damage (obesity, bulimia, cutting, addictions, etc.)
3) A beautiful and elegant way to determine if you are dealing with such an issue is the following question: “would I wish this behavior/emotion/relationship upon my own most beloved child?”
When we go to relationships seeking to fill holes in our hearts, we are placing an unfair burden upon the partner. It is OUR job to heal ourselves, if we are to be adults in the world. Wounds attract wounds…and predators. Be cautious.
There are many ways to approach healing, but the best assume that we already possess the strength and wisdom necessary to repair ourselves. In essence, we find the HEALTHY part of our psyche, and nurture that aspect, while simultaneously starving and scrambling the negative memories and thoughts until they can no longer control us.
Some of the options include:
1) Therapy and coaching. If your issues are deep and pervasive, if they involve self-damage or a string of ugly relationships, you may want to bring a serious professional into your resource circle.
2) Meditation. Grow quiet enough, and you can hear the different “voices” within your head. Identify with the one LISTENING to the voices, instead of the voices. Who are they? What are they saying? Do you consciously agree with their positions? To achieve a goal, you must have your values, beliefs, and positive/negative emotional anchors all aligned. Do you have conflicts on these levels? Where did they originate? Would you consciously accept these patterns as an adult, or were they implanted in childhood?
3) Various visualization/mentalization techniques. The “Ancient Child” meditation is designed to help you make contact with the undamaged part of your personality, and allow it to grow and propogate. Visualizing light, color and so forth, filling your body with warmth and healing has been a positive path for countless people.
4) Affirmations. The “Morning Ritual” is a powerful, powerful tool. Basically, you move your body in a positive way: walking, running, Tai Chi, etc. Simultaneously, you speak and think a series of affirmations. A very workable sequence is
A) One-five minutes of “every day in every way I’m getting better and better.”
B) One-five minutes of gratitude for past blessings. (“I’m so grateful for X and Y…”)
C) One-five minutes of gratitude for FUTURE blessings (goals)
D) One-five minutes of “All I need is within me now” chanting. (“All the love I need is within me now. All the healing I need is within me now…”)
Note: you have to infuse these statements with EMOTION and be MOVING POSITIVELY and intensely. Just as someone screaming negativity at you day after day will have an effect on your psyche, positive statements will as well—but you have to add the “magic” of emotion and motion.
5) Heartbeat Meditation. My personal favorite, and the way I begin every morning. Growing quiet enough to feel my heart pulsing my body. Rotate my consciousness through my body, feeling that pulse in every limb. Better still, quiet my breathing enough that I can perform joint mobility work WHILE simultaneously “feeling” my pulse. Fascinating work.
6) Deliberately “gifting” yourself with pleasures you craved as a child. But…make them positive. Not just eating or staying in bed. When was the last time you went to the zoo? Caught a matinee of a silly movie? Walked barefoot in the surf? Played on a swing? Do something purely pleasureable, for its own sake.
7) Think of a child you love. A niece or nephew. A brother or sister. Your own son or daughter. SOMEONE. Imagine them being threatened. Pump up the emotions until you can imagine yourself entering a life and death struggle to protect them—willing to kill or die. Now…apply that emotion to yourself. Commit to doing WHATEVER IT TAKES to protect your own heart. Swear by whatever you hold sacred that you will die before you let anyone hurt that precious, sweet, innocent child that once you were. Be the dragon at the gate of your heart. Visualize a guardian with a flaming sword, guarding the playground. I spent a year bringing toys to a visualized “beach” to re-connect with my heart, every day. A year. That’s how long it took before my “inner child” visualization was willing to trust me again. And when he did…I swore I would never, ever leave him again. “Daddy is here,” I said. And that was the sweetest hug of my life.
There is no substitute for owning yourself. Re-claiming your life, your mind, your heart. If your relationship history, or present status, is anything but wonderful, I strongly suggest that you are not holding yourself as precious. The good news is that if you can read these words, you have the capacity to find, integrate and utilize the resources necessary to heal, and live in greater harmony with your own essence.
It may take twelve months of purposeful withdrawal from the “Dating Game.” Personally, I think there is nothing more worthwhile you could do with a new year.
Posted by Steven Barnes at 7:58 AM
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Years back I met a lady who was a professional therapist. Her opinion of the male of the species was…rather low, shall we say.
“Men are pretty dumb and unpleasant,” she said. “And I have the experience to know, because I’ve been married six times.”
I had to laugh at her. “There was only one thing in common between all your relationships,” I said. “You were there.”
It is very very easy to find a tribe of men or women willing to trash the opposite gender. Frankly, I suspect that deep down these are people who don’t think much of humanity in general, but that’s another discussion for another time. But it is better, healthier, and more adult to take responsibility for your past…including your relationships.
There are plenty of wonderful men and women in the world, and if you haven’t found one of them, it may not be “the world’s” problem. It may be about the person in the mirror. There are a number of things to consider:
1) Where did you learn your rules and laws of relationships and love? From actual healthy human beings with lasting relationships? From unhappy people? Even worse…from fiction?
2) Is there a common pattern to the unappetizing aspects of the people attracted to you? What could this be saying about you? For instance: some women attract large numbers of married men. What might this suggest about their actual emotional availability?
3) If you put all your ex’s together in a room, would they have a common opinion of you? Of the reason your relationship ended? WHAT DO YOUR RELATIONSHIPS LOOK LIKE TO YOUR PARTNERS?
4) Let’s take this further: what would an impartial observer say about your relationships? What would your parents say? What would a therapist say? If you have healthy friends with healthy relationships…what would THEY say?
5) What would you have to change about YOURSELF to begin to attract a “better” class of partner? Healthier emotionally, more successful in their careers, more appealing physically?
6) The ability to look at these things requires nerves of steel. It also requires enough love of self, belief in one’s own innate preciousness that the flaws in our current presentation and actions are NOT seen as indicative of our ultimate essence. Consider them false signals, signs of our fear, dishonesty, and internal conflicts. Remember that we’ve been given countless (and usually conflicting) instructions during our lives. Its not surprising that we sometimes have “system crashes” comparable to a computer slowing down or crashing with conflicting programs. Damaged self-images result in accepting people who treat us badly. Low standards in our own lives attract others who are comfortable with low standards.
7) To put it bluntly, people who complain about the low quality of the people they attract are dealing with serious issues that only they can address. Don’t mistake their little insular misery mazes for the whole of humanity. There are wonderful men and women in the world, honest and good people with passion and drive and the capacity for giving and accepting love. All you need to do to access that tribe…is to be one of them.
8) Again, you must believe that the true expression of your Self is a beautiful thing, a worthy thing. If deep down you feel soiled, damaged, worthless, whatever…you have had an unfortunately common human experience, probably in childhood. It is your responsibility to heal yourself, nurture yourself, fill yourself with love so that you overflow and can offer, without conditions, that overflow to others. But also to be honest enough about who you are and how you have become the person you are…so that you can detect the incongruities and deceptions of others. That you can trust your instinct about who people are, and what their values are, because you watch their actions, not what they say about their actions (that’s entirely secondary, although interesting)
9) It is not “fair” that life is like this, that there is a price for everything we want…and that that price is paid in advance. It just “is.” You can rage and rail against it all you want, and not change a thing. Or…you can grow up and grasp that it is perfectly fair that people deserve someone who can understand them, support them, nurture them, love them. They deserve others who are “on their frequency.” Don’t you? The trouble of course, is that getting someone on your frequency can be a blessing or a curse. A full course meal…or just desserts.
In this Christmas season, why not give yourself the gift of love. Go deep. Accept responsibility. Take control of your life, and your love.
Posted by Steven Barnes at 7:50 AM
Friday, December 20, 2013
Posted by Steven Barnes at 8:31 AM
Thursday, December 19, 2013
1. Thou Shalt Define The Term “Soulmate” So That Thou Canst Succeed!
Part of the attraction of teaching the “Soulmate” teleconference was the need to condense over six hours of material down to an hour. To do this, we used a very simple structure that covered the basic aspects, and would help people understand what we are up to.
So I used the “Secret Formula” structure, as well as a “Ten Commandments” structure for their simplicity and resonance. The first step is to define the term “Soulmate” itself. You MUST define it in a manner that it makes sense to you, appeals deeply to you, and gives you the opportunity to win, to actually achieve it. I remember coaching a famous television actor, now well past fifty and never married. His definition of a soulmate was someone with whom there would never be conflict. She would look at a sunset and think and feel the exact same things he thought and felt. She would laugh at the exact same things in a movie, and know what was on his mind without him saying a word.
In other words, he wanted a psychic clone. And that childish, immature, unrealistic view of what relationships are explains perfectly why he has never married. I mean, get real—you don’t have a relationship that deep and conflict-free with YOURSELF. We lie to ourselves, disappoint ourselves, break promises to ourselves, and change day to day. Wherever he got that definition, someone gravely misinformed him.
But…what is it, really? The first definition I ever heard that made sense to me was that a Soulmate was someone who, when you meet them, you can feel and see the door to your future opening before you. Here are a few thoughts on the subject—but whatever I or anyone else says, you MUST have a definition that makes sense to you, turns you on, and is possible to achieve.
1) A soulmate must appeal to you on the basic levels of mind (values and goals), emotions (similar or complementary emotional nature) and body (you guys should have similar energy levels, and standards of attraction)
ALL THREE. Any two will probably make a decent relationship…but we want more.
2) We have more than one. For goodness’ sake, how unfair would it be if there were only one such person in all the world? What if she was in Outer Mongolia? Based on our surveys, I suspect that about one out of every ten thousand people could connect with you in such a fashion, on average. And no, that doesn’t mean ten thousand speed dates. When you “put yourself out” in the world by following your life path with intensity, it is amazing what happens.
3) If you are only six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon, I’m going to guess you are only about three from someone who fits our definitions…and is available.
4) A Soulmate, to be clear, is someone who can share your love, passion and life. Someone who will support and encourage you to be the very best you can be. Someone for whom you need not “change”…but WILL have to continue to stretch and grow and tell the truth about who and what you are. Your energetic gender-appropriate “mirror.”
5) You must resolve the dualities: “water seeks its own level” and “opposites attract.” The core values must be similar enough to sustain a relationship, but given that, the more differences you can embrace and connect across, the more “energy” and dynamism you will see in that relationship. The greater the “gap” the spark has to jump, the fatter the spark.
6) But there is a gap too great for the biggest spark, and that limit can only be determined by judgement. And judgement is the result of experience. And experience is the result, quite often, of bad judgement. There is an irreducable amount of pain involved in learning anything profound. A course like “The Soulmate Process” gives you the tools to shorten the learning curve and reduce the amount of pain…but no matter what, life has bumps. Get ready, grit your teeth, and enjoy the ride!
The SOULMATE PROCESS is a fantastic Christmas gift to yourself, the gift of a new life for the new year, available at a special reduced price until December 31st. Check it out today at: www.soulmateprocess.com!
Posted by Steven Barnes at 7:40 AM
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
THANK YOU! Each and every
one who made our first
such a success!! Some of you
weren’t able to get on-line,
and as promised, HERE is your
For the replay!
Just wanted you to know
that regardless of how much
wealth we gave away last
night, the full course is 100X
as powerful. It contains:
1) Over six hours of audio
2) Full notes and illustrations
3) The techniques needed for
emotional healing and centering
4) The full version of my
conversation with Tananarive
about our journey to love
5) And much much more.
Very deliberately, it was
designed to be the highest
dollar-value product I’ve
ever produced, because love
is the very center of everything
I’ve taught for twenty years,
and the critical starting point.
Until December 31, it is being
offered for ten dollars off,
only 39.95 to give yourself a
new emotional life for 2014.
Love and a full, passionate
life are your birthright and
heritage. Claim them!
Posted by Steven Barnes at 7:24 AM
Monday, December 16, 2013
I've received a dozen emails and messages from people who either didn't receive their confirmation for the Soulmate Teleconference or don't have access to work computers to fetch the information. So...I'm going to go ahead and post the sign-up info here. We switched to a different service, so we have room for everyone!
1. 9pm EST/6pm PST Dec 16 Monday
2. Dial-in: 1-712-432-3022
3. Conference code: 474990
5. For Questions: 5*
See you then!!
Posted by Steven Barnes at 4:31 PM
"Good morning Soulmate!" was the first thing T said to me this morning. "Good morning!" I said back.
"Good morning WHAT?"
"Good morning Soulmate!"
Uh-oh! She's already in the groove. We changed services so that we can handle more people, and there's still room (we went WAY above the original 96.) If what we've said about finding the love you desire, nurturing the love you have, or healing your heart has touched you at all, please join us at 6pm PST today. Sign up at www.soulmateconference.com
Posted by Steven Barnes at 7:06 AM
Sunday, December 15, 2013
“After searching for literally years for the "perfect" woman without success, I turned to Steven Barnes. He said things I had never heard before. It intuitively made perfect sense. "Be who you want to attract." Easier said than done, but I can attest it works! I'm now happily married to my dream woman. I never knew she existed until now. Thank you, Steve!
Tomorrow I’ll share with you EXACTLY what I told Andy, based on the same fifteen years of study and teaching to find the best and simplest way of communicating what what we all should have learned in childhood about relationships. Ultimately, anything about relationships that is true deals with two core questions you need to ask every day of your life:
1) Who am I?
2) What is true?
Career, Relationships, and physical health are the three most critical arenas. You can start with either your health, or your relationships—concentrating on the Career at their expense is suicide. Relationship is possibly the most generative, leading to the most change, and providing the most opportunity for deep life satisfaction. It requires an exploration of love of self and others. The capacity to extend the definition of “me” or “I” to others. Self-respect. Boundaries and centering. Patience and passion. Maturity and child-like faith. Honesty on a level few other arenas of life ever demand.
Please, join us tomorrow, December 16 at 6pm PST. If you’ve already signed up, great. If not, please do so if this arena is an issue in your life. If you know someone who is losing their faith that love is possible in their lives…please pass on this link: www.soulmateconference.com
Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:03 AM
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
I’ve discovered something strange. For months now, I’ve successfully used Shiva Rae’s “Moon Salutation” to overcome residual muscle tension and turn off my brain for sleep. But to be honest, sometimes I am too lazy late at night to do approximately seven minutes of yoga. Those nights, if I’m not careful, I’ll toss and turn and get up in the morning un-rested.
So I made it a rule: at the very least, I do a simple Sun Salutation before going to bed (and usually waking up in the morning as well, although I might do a set of joint recovery drills instead.) That came pretty close to doing the trick.
Then about two weeks ago I did something different: after getting in bed, instead of counting sheep or even going through the WARRIOR SLEEP program (which works like gangbusters…but like I said, sometimes I’m lazy) I visualized myself going through the “Moon Salutation” sequence.
It was strange. I had a hard time holding the sense of being in “First Person”—performing it from the “inside.” I kept flipping to watching myself do it as an observer. I relaxed, focused, and slipped more deeply into the drill…
And suddenly it was morning. I was shocked, and have tried this every night for the last few weeks, and have only gotten to the end of the sequence once. A few times I woke up again about four hours later, used it, and went right back out.
Now…I don’t know if this would work for others. Whether you need to practice yoga, or practice the Moon Salutation sequence, or whatever. This might be something anyone can do because of secrets locked in the movement pattern, or something that works for me and no one else. So…I’m putting it out there, and would like feedback.
Because if it works for anyone….wow!
Posted by Steven Barnes at 6:56 AM
Monday, December 09, 2013
(Well, really reasons I’m glad I’ve lived this long)
Stuff makes sense. People make sense.
And that is HUGE.
My largest single conceptual breakthrough came after writing almost two million words of fiction. For decades I’d taught and used the Hero’s Journey as a “plotting” structure that also mirrored the path of creating work, and the living of life in general. With minor tweaks, I could make it fit any story, movie, incident, project, or anything else, and have never encountered a situation that didn’t fit (sometimes I have to minimalize or abstract, but in general, if it doesn’t fit the pattern, human consciousness won’t recognize the input as “story”.)
The other piece of the puzzle was the yogic chakras, which at some point I began using for characterization. Mapping over beautifully with Maslows Hierarchy of human needs, or Milton Erickson’s therapeutic model, the chakras represent six thousand years of yogic psychology: theoretical, observational, experimental and experiential.
Good enough for me. The breakthrough came from asking myself about the relationship between story and character. It seemed pretty obvious that the argument about whether character or story was primary was a false choice.
Non-dualistically, character and story are the same thing. In other words, a situation is not a story. Story is created by dropping a person of certain needs and capacities into a given scenario and watching what they do. What they do reveals who they are. What they SAY about themselves reveals a secondary level, but the primary is action.
I remember having fun in my novel “Firedance” with the little hermaphrodite assassin “Leslie”, the deadliest human being (pound for pound) who ever lived, who is performing courageous, self-sacrificing, hugely effective feats while running an internal monologue constantly trashing herself. The conflict between these two things—action and thought—revealed personality, specifically the damage wrought by the interaction of conflicting value structures and belief patterns.
If Maslow was right, as we satisfy lower needs (and by “lower” I certainly don’t mean less essential or worthy) we automatically begin to evolve toward the higher. Since I was using the “create a perfect human being, damage them, and then give them a route to wholeness that requires shedding illusions” general approach to characterization, it seemed reasonable that the HJ could be seen as the route from a lower to a higher “chakra.”
I saw this as a series of tight little spiral traveling up that vertical line, one spiral between each of ‘em: survival to sex to power to emotion to communication to intellect to spirit.
Again, it made sense to me. Then I thought of the overall process, the journey from survival to spirit, as one huge spiral, and the whole thing began to resemble a sphere. The dynamism of the interaction between the two created a 360-degree revolving sphere of the thing called “story”.
And my grasp of the big picture congealed. And has never changed. Note that this is like a wire-frame model in my mind. It isn’t infinitely predictive. But everything made sense in retrospect, and it was a hugely valuable tool in structuring and writing.
Build a character and test him to destruction—and growth. Or, create a situation and ask what character would be perfect to explore this, resolve it, or wreck it.
All the thousands of books and films and stories I’d seen or read or heard collided in my mind, suddenly simplified hugely: they were always either stories of growth, decay, or simple expression, a human organism seeking to evade pain and gain pleasure, operating at various levels of “sleep” or “awakening”, trying to navigate his existence to the best of his ability at the time.
Because I also used the HJ to plan the actual work (for instance, there is ALWAYS a point in my writing of any project where it feels as if nothing is working and it’s all falling apart. This is just emotional crap…get used to it), and the Chakras to look at my own progress and blockages, something odd happened.
After about three years of using this dynamic model for writing and executing writing, I started seeing it in other aspects of my life. In fact, once I “tweaked” to that perspective, I found it impossible NOT to see it. And then saw it in the lives of others. And then all around me, everywhere.
Again, and this is critical: it was not “predictive” in the sense of knowing what was going to happen before it happens. But explanatory? Frankly, once I saw it, people stopped being puzzling. And there just weren’t human beings of vastly different aspect. On the most important core levels, we were all the same—with the same infinite variation found in snowflakes, of course, such that we were either as different, or as similar as you could want, depending on perspective.
It was wonderful. If the use of this juxtaposing was a “wire frame” with writing, it was the ghost of a wire frame dealing with real human beings: perceptable to intuition and emotional “flash” but dissolving if I looked at it directly: subliminal, not conscious. Peripheral, not foveal.
But there. And as three points gives you a circle, and four points gives you a sphere, the rest was just filling in the “dots,” and there just weren’t any dots that didn’t fit. There are experimental stories that depend upon an educated and sophisticated audience that brings their own deep knowledge of story with them and can react to implication, minimalization and deconstruction of story and personality. And there are human beings with scrambled wiring, people with basic psychological urges out of balance or addicted to hungers and perspectives that were healthy in one context or degree, but loathsome and damaging in another.
Fascinating, and the beginning of a realization that I’d reached a different point in my life and career. It was a great feeling: life wasn’t a cheat. If you paid attention it really did make sense.
More on these things later…
Posted by Steven Barnes at 8:23 AM
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Registration is open for the FREE December
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Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:58 AM
I thought I'd mention a wonderful application of the "Secret Formula", one having to do with the way odd happenstance comes into your life if you are fully occupied in your conscious path. One major milestone in my coaching career came during a financial down-turn almost a decade ago. Due to an odd set of circumstances I found myself lecturing a roomful of MDs at a Neuralfeedback Conference in Palm Springs about eight years ago. I was actually teaching at a story conference being held in the same hotel, and the sponsor was holding the other event as well.
At lunch, I got into a conversation with the sponsor and one of the Neuralfeedback attendees, and mentioned the research and study I’d done for one of my novels, in the arena of releasing fear through a specialized somatic technique rooted in Russian research (I’d learned it originally from Scott Sonnon). They were fascinated and asked if I would be interested in making a presentation at the medical conference.
To say I was nervous was an understatement. I mean, I’d dropped out of college, and there I was explaining to a crowded room the technique and theory of using an obscure aspect of neuroplasticity to reduce fear even in neurotic or deeply phobic patients.
They were polite and mildly skeptical as I explained and offered examples of what we refer to as “The Spider Technique” because my first application was with a client with arachnophobia. I was a wreck. Probably looked confident on the surface, but underneath was all of the “Impostor Syndrome” stuff you can possibly imagine:
1) What was I doing there?
2) What are they thinking!
3) Am I a fraud?
4) I don’t have double-blind experimentation! I don’t have a degree! What right do I have to speak about these things!
And on and on. All that kept me going was the practical knowledge that I’d used it in my own life and with at least ten clients, and that in every case it had decreased their fear by about 20% per application. I can promise you that I wish I’d had the time to apply it myself before the talk!
After I finished there was silence. Then one of the doctors said: “damn. That would work. Why haven’t I heard about this before?”
I was congratulated after the talk, business cards were exchanged, and my heart sank down out of my mouth. One of the attendees introduced himself as clinical director of psychology at an exclusive Counseling/Stress relief clinic in Santa Monica, and he wondered if I’d be willing to come out and give a presentation to his staff.
I said yes. A week later, I found myself at one of the most prestigious, exclusive clinics in the United States—(certainly one of the most expensive!), catering to what satirist Tom Lehrer once referred to as “Diseases of the rich.” It was an amazingly beautiful site, every decoration and furnishing seemingly chosen to sooth and comfort. The people I spoke to were experts in a dozen different disciplines, PhDs, MDs, licensed therapists of many kinds.
And now they weren’t out in an audience somewhere. They were touching distance, and if I made a single misstep, I was toast.
But I’d had time to use the technique myself in the intervening days, and was dead calm. I simply told them the truth: I was a life-long martial artist, and science fiction writer. Where other writers specialize in history or physics or biology, I’d just specialized in the technologies of human mental, emotional, and physical improvement, and if anything I’d encountered or studied was of use to them and their clientele I was humbly grateful.
I explained the method, gave it historical and psychological context, related it to other spiritual practices, and gave specific instances of its application, as well as suggestions for integration with their own practices, ways they could test, and possible other supporting techniques.
They were…agog. There was silence for a moment, and I wondered if they were about to call the guys with white coats and straight jackets. Then I thought: “oh, wait. These ARE the guys with white coats and straight jackets..!”
One gentleman cleared his throat, and was the first to speak. “Excuse me,” he began, “but when you are applying what I can only refer to as The Barnes Technique, are you…”
I was laughing so hard inside I could hardly answer his heartfelt, respectful question. I was offered a chance to work with their clients as a movement counselor (years before I’d been a recreational therapist at Whitney Young Jr. Memorial hospital, so I guess there was precedent) and this became an income stream at a time when we SERIOUSLY needed it.
And I had an opportunity to test my chops, work with a variety of very, very stressed people with extreme demands on their minds and bodies: athletes, heirs, entrepreneurs, mega-stars, even a Saudi prince.
I was operating as part of a wellness team at the highest level, and just loved it. And I most remember a plaque in one of the alcoves, a wood sculpture and fountain that seemed derived from a Balinese art form. The plaque read: “The entrance into the human soul is the highest privilege and most sacred obligation.”
I always believed that to be true. Always used that to guide my work and practice at every level. It was a beautiful statement of my personal truth.
My three years working at The Clinic, while simultaneously working to rebuild my Hollywood career, were some of the most rewarding of my life. There, in an actual clinical environment, surrounded by actual medical and psychological professionals, I had the opportunity to hone my skills, and see how the knowledge I’d gained over the years purely for research or my own health fit in with a high-level wellness team. I learned my strengths and limitations, and had an opportunity to get pain to grow.
That was wonderful, something I’ll never ever forget. Oh…and the receptionist, who booked clients, told me very privately that the clients asked for me more often than requests for anyone else on staff.
If that is true...it can only be because I knew I was nothing special, but have been blessed with the very best and kindest teachers...and never wanted to do anything but help people heal. If I've succeeded in that, I am grateful beyond measure.
Posted by Steven Barnes at 8:34 AM
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:16 AM
Monday, December 02, 2013
#2: I finally understand “Magic” (No, I’m not saying I live there. But I visit more and more often)
I was teaching a writing workshop at Chapel Hill in North Carolina, and hapel Hill, and a lady asked me about fear and writer’s block. I gave her a slightly flip answer… and then looked at her eyes.
She had said she’d traveled hundreds of miles to speak to me, and suddenly my ego-shit went out the window (I love when that happens!) and I was in that “Real” space I get thrown into more and more often these days. So I told her I was going to take her seriously, and give her some magic. Taught her the Fear Removal exercise.
A gentleman who had done me the honor of challenging everything I say (I love that, too) had been hovering around, and asked if I had any fear. I said hell, yes. Ah hah! He said. Then the technique doesn’t work? Sure, it does. But I only use it on fears that are irrational, and that inhibit my ability to accomplish the things that are in alignment with my core values. Why not on everything? He asked.
Because it’s not fun, son. It hurts a bit. It’s worth it if you are removing the block to love, or health, or success. But do it on my fear of… I don’t know, say asking strange women to dance. I still have a bit of shyness left over from my geeky childhood, and have no interest in removing it. It’s kinda cute, reminds me of where I came from.
He kept grinding in at me (good for him!) and I mentioned that the technique often has to be repeated, if the fear creeps back: it isn’t permanent. Ah-hah! He said. Then it’s not Magic, is it..? ## And here I realized that I’m living in a completely different world than this gentleman. He got his concept of magic from novels and movies: wave a wand, and presto! An elephant disappears from the living room, in denial of all rules of physics. The universe doesn’t ripple at all, and Mandrake does it again. Wow. Cool. Having been around shamans who played very seriously with these things, I am of the opinion that the approach to magic in life has steps that go something like this.
1) First, Clarke’s law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Magic is not a violation of the laws of nature, any more than airplanes violate the law of gravity. It may seem so to the ignorant, but it ain’t so.
2) Second, one must have a genuinely profound map of reality, integrated at the level of unconscious competence.
3) Set goals and then take actions. Note the gap between the results and your intentions. Learn all you can about the reasons for the failures and successes, keeping both conscious and unconscious channels open.
4) Begin to differentiate between your needs and desires. “You can’t always get what you want,” the song goes. But we generally get what we need. We’re evolved to get our NEEDS from the environment. Otherwise, we wouldn’t survive, and our ancestors wouldn't have, either. Peeling away the inessential, until we are in alignment with life. Needless to say, doing this in a consumer culture requires both strength and clarity. Most will prefer to remain asleep, trust me.
5) Once your survival needs are in alignment with nature (you have these things at the level of unconscious competence), use prayer, ceremony, meditation, etc. to make your goals, actions, and values all in alignment: you do what you say you’ll do, and you aren’t fighting yourself in the process. In the beginning, it can be hell to achieve this. It is worth the fight.
6) When your inner and outer realities are in alignment, and your reality map is accurate, a bizarre thing happens: you stop wanting anything you cannot have. You don’t set goals that are out of reach. You understand your abilities, and the context of life, so well that your desires never materialize fully unless you have the tools and resources to bring them into existence. You are, in essence, playing with a loaded deck. You say you want to do something, and it happens. To the uninitiated, it looks like magic, while to you, well…it's just the way the universe works. Nothing special about it at all.
But do you see the hard, brutally honest work it takes to get there? You have to genuinely calibrate your perceptions, and most people would rather do ANYTHING than expose themselves to truth. It is really sad to watch, when the way to truth is fairly clearly marked: just overlay all major world religions, extract the core teachings, and do THAT stuff with all your heart. Read between the lines. Ignore the teachings of people whose actions are out of alignment with their words. Keep your word to yourself, until truth becomes easier than lying. Somewhere along that path, you’ll notice that you are living a non-ordinary life.
Posted by Steven Barnes at 7:45 AM