The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Walking The Path

It’s time to make a formal announcement.  Scott Sonnon, the man I trust the very most in the arena of body-mind exercise technology, finally created the tool I’ve been looking for for a decade, and we’re using it as the core of a new workshop  called The Path.  The first Path workshop was scheduled for April 22 2006 in Portland.  It sold out in three weeks. The next has been set up for June 24th in Los Angeles.


Let me back up a bit, and talk about the origins of all this.  My entire life, I’ve been fascinated with the eternal human puzzle: how shall we live?  How can we become the good, moral, successful, loving, healthy human beings I believe it was our birthright to become?  As a child, my mom drilled The Power of Positive Thinking and Think And Grow Rich and Psycho-Cybernetics into me until I thought I’d barf, but as I went out into the world, I found that some part of me believed what she had programmed me with, and I began to shape my life to those philosophies, adapting what worked, discarding the rest.

They worked, in a Newtonian action-reaction way, but as Maslow’s Hierarchy suggests, as soon as we resolve problems on one level, the next level of abstraction presents itself.  The question of leading a spiritual life that does not conflict with material success and worldly happiness popped into my little brain, sending me off in other directions.

Fast foreward to about 1990.  Teaching at UCLA, I accidentally made the connection between Joseph Campbell’s model of the Hero’s Journey, and the internal world of our hopes and dreams.  As a results, I began teaching the “Lifewriting” workshops, using this pattern to organize resources for success.  Those resources were pulled from too many disciplines, from too many cultures, to list here.  The “Lifewriting” workshops were a huge success, but something was still missing.

In one of the yogic disciplines I’ve been fortunate enough to study, they have an expression: “You can awaken the Kundalini (intrinsic human evolutionary energy) from the body up, or from the heart out, but never from the head down.” 

And in looking at this, I realized that this was exactly what I was trying to do: help people change their lives without engaging their hearts or bodies properly.  Could I start with their hearts?  How? Once they leave the workshop, they are right back in their ordinary lives, surrounded by their prior relationships.  Good, strong, decent, honest people get dragged down by the toxic environments they built while in less resourceful states.  So while healing the heart is paramount, the only safe way was to go in through the body.

But how?  I needed something that I couldn’t even quite define.  There simply was no tool I knew of that could do what I needed here.  For this, and other reasons, I stopped teaching Lifewriting for ten years.


Living in the Northwest, I heard about a masterful martial artist named Scott Sonnon.  Investigating him as part of my never-ending search for cool exercise stuff, I discovered that he was really a guru in a warrior’s clothing, a man who had tripped across a genuine mother load of radical data while training in Russia, and had then brought it back to America and transformed it through his own genius and gut-busting hard work.  And somewhere in there, he’d made a real breakthrough.

His techniques for removing fear from the physical body were simply unprecedented. His concept of “being breathed” by motion was so wonderful that I based an entire DVD around it, The Five Minute Miracle. In the years we’ve sold it, there hasn’t been one single request for a refund.  Not a single one.  And Scott’s “Flow State Performance Spiral” simply upset Descarte’s apple cart, linking mind and body so directly, and in such a practical fashion, that I had to listen to the tape fifty times to be certain I understood what I was hearing.


For two years, I begged Scott to create a tool that would bring his extraordinary technology to the average person.  I reasoned that if he could do that, if there was a way to allow anyone, of any fitness level (not just the advanced and professional athletes he was used to dealing with) to trigger what he referred to as the Neuro-Immuno-Endocrine response, an aspect of neuro-plasticity that creates the phenomenon known as “Second Wind.”  This response, properly guided, can create a fear-coping mechanism that is effective beyond any technique I know of or have ever heard of.

Scott went beyond what I asked for, creating a multi-phasic exercise simple and easy at the beginning, but ultimately tough enough for a SEAL.  In other words, for anyone from Gramma to Grandmaster.  Unreal.  It also specifically dissolves the planes of muscle tension created by stress.  With no equipment, learnable in about two hours, and infinitely scalable, it provides all BASIC fitness requirements in about ONE HOUR A WEEK (three twenty minute sessions.) This is not a joke.  I’m talking basic flexibility, cardiovascular conditioning, upper and lower body strength, coordination and balance, rhythmic endurance…the whole enchilada.  Not advanced fitness, although anyone who can do the top-level for  20 minutes is in gnarly shape indeed.

Now, then.  An entirely new possibility opened up.  What I’d dreamed of doing fifteen years ago was now possible.  Everything I’d learned over the entire course of my life could be boiled down into a core workshop.  Remember   that my buddy Tim Piering, one of the best and most successful men I’d ever met, said that what you needed to succeed in life was “Well defined written goals and the ability to take action despite the voices in your head?”  Well, totally independently, two students, one my daughter and the other George, a 400 pound guy with no toes on his right foot due to diabetes, were coached through this technique.  Totally independently, without my goading, they said the same thing: “It turns off the voices in my head.”

The light went on.  I could create the workshop.  Guide people to clarity in a balanced matrix of healthy, achievable, well-formed goals.  Then teach them a technique  that, in only one hour a week,

Would provide all basic fitness
Help them deal with the fear that arises whenever we try to change.
Raise and sophisticate their energy.
Help them deal with stress.

If they would then commit to practicing this for an hour a week, for just six weeks…I think that something extraordinary can happen.  Yes, there is more to The Path that Scott and I are laying out.  But I wanted to make a clear statement of our basic intent.  And no, if you already have

The physical fitness you want
The career you want
The love relationship you want

This won’t be something radical and world-shaking for you.  Absolutely.  But I have honest reason to believe that we’re doing something very special, and very new here, and I can’t wait to share it.  If this sounds like what you’re looking for, go to and learn more.

June 24th, 2006 in Los Angeles.  It’s going to be phenomenal.


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