The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Back Home

Back home, typically exhausted by vacation (mostly hopping between time zones, and having to sleep and get up on other people's schedules) but you guys have made my job easy for me--there's lots of meat in yesterday's comments.

Suzanne: fire wasn't invented, but the CREATION of fire was. Fire-bows, flint and steel...the ability to create fire on demand was different from the ability to shelter and/or share it when discovered by lightning strike, volcanic activity, spontaneous combustion, or whatever. It is this ability to make fire on demand that I speak of.


Anonymous #1--understand that I don't know you, and am perfectly aware that I could be wrong. But it is my observation after fifty-plus years on this planet that, based upon what people say a couple years down the line, I'm more often right if I trust my instincts than if I pay attention to what people initially say. And it is my instinct and observation that most people do indeed want healthy, sexy bodies, solid passionate relationships, and enough money to pay their bills easily and support the people and/or causes they love. And that, due to programming and negative experiences along the way, they associate pain with the process, and begin to lie to themselves and others about it.

In your case, if you were my student or client, I would say that you have boundary issues. Working in and around Hollywood most of my life, I've known and observed uncounted gorgeous women, and among them are some of the smartest ladies I've ever met. They have resources you apparently do not: the ability to shine male assholes on. The avoidance of the power of beauty would be exactly equivalent to men who don't want money because "people will just steal it" or "my family would pressure me more" or "I won't know who loves me for myself."

Or people who avoid relationships because they "will just get hurt again" or "you can't trust people" and so forth.

My position on all of these things is that you need to acquire the skills and perceptions and balance that make it possible to express yourself fully while remaining safe. There are plenty of incredibly sexy and beautiful women who are taken WAY seriously by men. But they know how to carry themselves, and how to respond to inappropriate behavior in a way that empowers them rather than diminishes or places them at risk. I wouldn't try to get you to "lose weight"--I'd recommend working on on your sense of power, balance and self-possession. As they develop, the natural result is a fully expression of self, which includes qualities of grace, proportion and physical efficiency which are interpreted as a "smokin' hot body"--a simplistic phrase expressing a wide range of qualities related to hunting, gathering, performance, energy, focus, self-love, and presentation.

Yes, there are too many men who see only their sexual fantasies. As there are too many women who see only a man's money. But who and what other people's shortcomings may be shouldn't stop us from being as healthy, happy, energetic and creative as we can be. When I stop hearing overweight people complaining about their backs, knees, energy, blood sugar or lack of success in the mating game, I'll change my opinion about this.


Marty S.--

All organisms try to move away from pain and toward pleasure. When people say "I don't care about money" and then later complain that they can't go back to school, help the causes they believe in, or support their loved ones...I know they're lying. When they say they don't care about physical fitness and then complain about their energy, health, or being "overlooked" by the opposite sex...I know they're lying. When they say they don't want relationships, and then complain about loneliness and emotional isolation and self-loathing...I know they're lying.

"Excellence" is an interesting word, and applies perfectly to your stated values. Certainly, you want to be excellent at producing happiness, contentment, and a lack of tension, right? So when you say "few people need a billion dollars..." I find that curious, since I've never suggested anything remotely like that. Of COURSE you should be more interested "in a healthy body than a smokin' hot body". I've very specifically said that health is more important than appearance and fitness.


Anonymous #2: depression is a serious matter. I would suggest a regular interaction with a professional on such issues. 101, or any "distance learning" version of a self-help program, should be supplemented with the appropriate medical or psychological or spiritual support.


Hospodi: I fully appreciate the value of humility, mercy, and help from above. It is my observation that the process of addressing all three mundane arenas of your life simultaneously automatically guides you toward the higher levels of awareness.


Again, I'm not saying "everybody" wants these three things. I've met a few people who genuinely don't. But it is my belief that most people started their lives wanting the childhood equivilencies of these things, and slowly began to associate their efforts with pain, lost their belief in themselves, and slid into denial and self-deception. Life is about more than is also celebration, growth, and artistry. When I hold that position, and do not allow myself to buy into people's stories, I've found that the percentage of people I help goes WAY up. And that's what it's about for me.


I like it! said...

Steven, thanks for your blog, for putting love first! I find your work insightful. I want my goals more inline with my actions, more goal getting. I have a problem with when my [unstated] goals conflict. kids and fasting, partylove v conditioning; baby needs new shoes v accumulating $$$s. Happy to try some of your suggestions:
* writing clear goals for a 101 day period for body, heart and success. [Maybe the LifeWriting 101 will have some help here.]
* diligent fasting. Here one goal may interfere with another. Love, sharing and including kids in the meal may conflict with fasting.
* remembering Soulmate Process--looking at relationships as a mirror.... [no clear work here but very true]
* The Five Tibetans. I'll look 'em up
* e) Triangle Goal setting. Five times a day, at every hour divisible by a three, you stop and breathe for sixty seconds, while visualizing a triangle. In the middle of the triangle you visualize the end point of your three major goals (body, mind, relationship) that you want in 101 days. [I guess that is three interlocking triangles - what are the other legs if the end points are the goals?]
I'll give it a go and... Thanks again.

I would have written a shorter missive if I had had more time [writer's joke]

Anonymous said...

To Steven (or anyone who knows, actually): Could someone give me a tip on comment etiquette, please? I don't read this blog every day, so my comments wouldn't necessarily be added that same day. Should I comment anyway, or does late writing disrupt the flow of communication? (For instance, I'm tempted to make a comment to Steven and Anonymous - nothing earth-shattering - on the Nov. 11 blog, which I just read, but don't know if it's kosher.)

Some guy

Anonymous said...

some guy

go right ahead and post
some of us actually go back
and check older threads
to see if new comments have been written . . .

I like it! said...

the quote was

If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter - T.S Eliot

I like it! said... expired on 10/22/2008 and is pending renewal or deletion
* Network Solutions

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Steve, what advice do you give to thin people who have problems with their knees, backs, and/or energy level?

Anonymous said...

Hi, Its a good job, .. Nice blog. I am sure that I havn't came across this article before.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Reviving an old topic: Plays about the Iraq war are very successful while movies flop.

Since I can't believe that there's any subject which is superbly suited for the stage but unworkable for movies[1], I don't think we need complicated explanations for why Hollywood kept making Iraq war movies which fails. I think they had a feeling it was possible to do something that would work, but they just couldn't figure out how.

[1] I might be wrong about this, of course. Let me know if there's something that works on the stage but not the screen.

Steven Barnes said...


Try cinematically "fading between" the goal end-points. An image of the body or physical performance you want, followed by an image of the family situation you want, followed by an image of the financial balance sheet, or car, or house.
Experiment until you find something that works for your mind...the right combination/approach varies for different people.

Hal said...

Steve, the problem I have with using the refrain, "I know they're lying," is... No, you don't.

Because a lie isn't a simple untruth. A lie is an untruth with the intent to deceive.

So if they see the connections between their actions and their goals in the same way you do, and agree with that assessment, and then say there's no connection... Then they're lying.

But it could well be that they don't see the connections. Or that they simply disagree with you, sincerely and genuinely.

That's not lying.

And the word "lying" is sufficiently emotionally charged that when it's used in what seems a careless and reckless manner... Well, if your goal is to get people to see what's standing in their way, and overcome those obstacles, people's negative reactions when they don't feel the word applies to them just creates more difficulties for you.

Proving, or even just demonstrating, people's motives and intentions is well-known for being difficult, as any lawyer in a perjury case can tell you.

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