On Love and “Deathbed” Values

A gentleman named Rob Pray wrote: 

9 hrs ·

“Nothing to post this evening. Just a quick history. About a decade ago I went through one of those fun events in life, a heart attack. I had ignored symptoms and in doing so I complicated things. My ventricle was damaged and I underwent open heart surgery. It was amazing what they could do. There was one point when, well when I was more aware of the world we can’t see, and in that place for some moments that seemed like a very long time I saw, felt such great things, about us all, about how we should live, it was oddly a wondrous moment. This was not about learning new things, but it was about knowing what trials I had followed and believed correctly, and where I had wondered astray. I knew life was best not feared. I learned I could not help everybody. I was not told what I must do, what I must say. I just knew fear was my own invention. I had to learn that we need not fear trying to help people see that above all things, kindness and understanding were simply the right way to treat one another. They smiled at me. “It is not his time yet.” That was when I awoke. |

Still, despite all the feelings shared with me in those hours, I did not learn how to deal with people who could not see beyond the hate. I don’t know how to get my words across. I don’t know how to help people become stronger. I can not stop hate, not alone. I can only ask my friends to listen, to follow the path to tear down the hate, the bigotry, the false anger in so many hearts. We were not created to hate! We are all of the same family. Lets build our family, not tear it down.

Love you all. I am so glad I have such friends in my life, such a strong family, and I will do my best to enjoy this life. I do not fear the next, but sure don’t wish to miss any of what we have here. I will find something to post to make you all smile, at least those of you who stick around to watch. *bows*”

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Yeah, Rob. Take a bow. That was lovely.

I had intended to speak about rituals to anchor states in your body…but that is the “how” of the equation.   More important (by far!) is the “what” and the “why.”

 

Remember: the Path is to live your adult life in alignment with BOTH your childhood dreams and your deathbed values.

The paragraphs above are totally typical of deathbed epiphanies, “what’s really important”-type revelations.

Let me unpack it just a tiny bit.

  1. Life is best not feared.    We have fears, that is normal human stuff. But when they stop you from loving, or manifest as anger that cannot be immediately expressed as action, that fear can poison your life.

 

Fear that is a primary emotion is one of the greatest allies you can have.  “I am afraid.  Why?”   Just yesterday there was a horrid example of this, a reference to a story about a transsexual who only revealed her truth after having sex “of a kind” with a man.    And that man erupted in rage, stabbed the transexual 119 times, including three throat slashings.  The murderer got forty years.

 

How much rage do you have to feel to stab someone 119 times?  ANGER IS A MASK OVER FEAR.   Do we really need to dive into how terrified of your own emotions and responses you’d have to be to respond like this?  I mean…back in the day, something like this would lead to someone getting the hell beaten out of them.  I can “get” that response, even if it is still assault.   But 119 stabs?  That is a level of existential terror that, had it never been specifically triggered, would still have poisoned the killer’s life.

 

That’s what fear does.  And fear is usually produced by anticipation of something to come.  In the moment, there is action. In the past, guilt or relief.  But fear is about what might happen NEXT.  A breakdown of ego-shells.  One suspects that “I really LIKED that” implying something about your being that is in massive conflict with an ego identity, the sense that “you killed me! (My self image).  I’ll destroy you! (The evidence of my disgrace, and my temptation to future actions).”

 

I cannot calculate the amount of human misery that has resulted from such reactions.

 

Life is best not feared.    The tiger crouching in the grass can rip us to shreds, so it is important to be aware. But it is AWARENESS and PREPAREDNESS that keeps us safe, not fear.  Fear keeps us safe if it increases awareness and capacity for action.   Love can do the same thing.  Enough love to protect yourself, to engage with your surroundings, to pay attention to your emotions.

 

Your childhood dreams evolved from and affect your core identity. When you can live your day-to-day adult life in alignment with them, this is happiness. But when you can align both with the deepest values, those you will hold when all ego has gone, all competition is meaningless, the “game” is over…THAT is the door to a different level of human existence.  Kind of a “human laser”.

 

Love and fear compete for the same place in your heart.

Fear protects you…until you have taken care of your basic needs, at which time fear begins to consume you: you must shift to love.

Anger is a mask over fear.

 

##

 

So…to evolve toward “Lasing”, start by

  1. Loving yourself.  Enough to be aware and safe, with permission to protect yourself.
  2. Love another person.  Enough to begin the process of opening your heart and expanding your identity.
  3. Understand history without guilt, blame, or shame.  This does NOT mean allowing people to hurt you, or accepting bad behavior. It is learning to ask “why are these people behaving so badly?  What are they afraid of?”  And then, understanding, to…
  4. Find and nurture your tribe.  Do NOT waste your time engaging with trolls, or trying to wake sleeping children.  While you do that, snakes will bite the children of your tribe.  Take care of the people who have opened their hearts to you.
  5. Win.   With honor, courtesy and compassion.  Treating others as you would wish to be treated.  But seek to live a life in alignment with both your childhood dreams and deathbed values. What does that mean for a society, by the way?   I’d say to seek long-term pleasure and happiness through positive actions and exchanges with your community that keeps your eye on the fact that we are building something to pass to future generations.  Ensure survival, and then make room for self-expression and growth.

 

Easy to say, hard to do.  But…it starts with you.  If you cannot see the humanity in the people around you, even those who oppose you, you lose the right to expect others to see it in you.  And that’s a world that will drown in blood.

 

 

Our children deserve better, and so do you.

 

Namaste,

Steve

www.lifewritingpremium.com

The Power of Compassion

“To a surrounded enemy, you must leave a way of escape.”

–Sun Tsu

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There is a story about a great conqueror who arrived with his troops in a foreign land.   He ordered his officers to set fire to the ships, and as his troops watched the smoke rise to the sky, the conqueror said: “that was your way home.   It is gone. There is no retreat. We win, or we die.

They won.

 

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The “Parts Party” technique from Ericksonian hypnosis suggests that we have multiple aspects to our “selves” and that if you go into a relaxed state and begin to envision these different aspects, you can actually get them to interact more peacefully:   “passion, meet fear.   Adventurousness, meet intimacy” in a way that acknowledges that EVERY part of you has just been trying to move you away from pain toward pleasure.  But they can have conflicting perspectives on how to do that.  If your parents had horrible screaming arguments about money, you might think that money means safety but also pain, and the loss of love.  Imagine THAT mixed message–you would constantly work to have enough money to survive…but couldn’t ever enjoy success, and would risk sabotaging your own efforts.

 

In essence, you would have your brakes on.  What do you do?  Constantly beat the hell out of yourself for your errors, when there is a part of you that actually believes that “success=pain”?   This stuff goes deep.

 

The part of you trying to sabotage your finances IS NOT YOUR ENEMY.  And treating it as if it is will accomplish nothing.  There is a belief in some shamanic cultures that the demons haunting your soul can become allies, protective dragons, if confronted and challenged: what do you want?  What are you trying to accomplish?

 

Our problem is not that we contain multitudes. The problem is that those multitudes don’t talk.  Don’t communicate.  Blame and condemn rather than consider.

 

When you do that, that part puts its metaphorical fists up, stops listening, and FIGHTS.  What is worse, is that if you don’t understand that “Money will destroy love”, desperate to protect you, will ally itself with a negative belief like “money is evil” and “successful people are thieves” and even “love equals pain” because, after all, you DO need money…

 

What a mess.  And this mess exists within us as individuals, in relationships (where people often blame their partners without ever acknowledging that THEY chose those partners), and it happens daily on the national level, where political parties demonize each other.

 

If you don’t  give people a way to connect with the goodness within  themselves, not see that they have done the best they can with the resources they have…they cannot but fight.  You have placed them in the position of win or die.  The precise position that creates the fiercest fighters.  You do NOT want to fight with someone who will die if he loses.  For your own sake, always give your opponent a way out. A way to see their INTENTIONS as positive, even if their actions have been negative.

 

The more critical it is to win, the more important it is to look to the words of strategists like Sun Tsu, not allow yourself to fall into hatred, fear, and anger.   They are seductive. And they mobilize.   But this isn’t arm-wrestling, it is chess.  Play to win.   Compassion with yourself, your partner, your neighbors is a WINNING TACTIC, not just a “nice way to be” or a “pipe dream.”

 

And when the battle is for the future of our children and grandchildren?    Act with passion, yes…but strategize in the very coldest blood, while always remembering that it is better to create alliances than destroy fortresses.

 

Always.

 

Namaste,

Steve

www.octaviatoblackpanther.com

What’s Your Story?

A critical point to remember is that the stories we tell influence the way we interpret events.  Think of any court case. Both defense and prosecution have the same set of facts.   But they spin DIFFERENT STORIES about them, and each hopes that the jury will buy THEIR version of the story.

 

THE PERSON WHO CONTROLS THE STORY CONTROLS YOUR EMOTIONS.  Every election cycle: same set of facts, two different candidates spinning two different stories about what it means.

 

Two different products: say Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola, or Burger King and MacDonald’s.   Selling basically the same product, but creating different “stories” about what it means to use one source of cheap carbohydrates and caffeine rather than another.  One source of institution-grade beef and processed cheese stuff than another.

 

What about parenting?  You have to spin a STORY for your children about what homework, cleaning their rooms, obeying adults, doing chores and so forth mean in their lives.  Fail to do this, and you cannot lead them.

 

And every culture develops its own mythology that connects them directly to creation, the divine. That paints them as descended from great heroes, capable of overcoming all obstacles.

 

Every human being needs to have these stories.  And so does every culture.  Afrofuturism is nothing more than this healing process playing out on a cultural level, and it is wonderful so see.

 

Do YOU have a personal myth that:

  1. Explains your current life situation
  2. Clarifies what major outcomes you need to establish to move to the next level of your life
  3. Marks out the daily actions to accomplish them
  4. Defines the new abilities and allies you need to succeed
  5. Helps you cope with failure along the way
  6. Celebrates victory
  7. Defines how you can help and support others on the path

 

 

Have these things, and you have the key to constant, ever-ending growth.   Treat them like a checklist for a couple of your major outcomes, and see what results you get!

 

 

Namaste,

Steve

 

(We had a wonderful time on the OCTAVIA TO T’CHALLA seminar last Saturday, and wanted you to have a chance to watch it if you missed it.  Also didn’t want you to miss the special offer we made, that is “live” until tomorrow midnight.

https://app.webinarjam.net/replay/19618/55dc7a2932/0/0

The Micro in the Macro. And Vice Versa

The damage that takes place in childhood stays with us FOR LIFE unless we can heal it.   Insistence that we should “just get over it,” let alone the insistence of the abuser and enablers that it didn’t happen at all are phenomenally destructive to children, and the adults they become.  Let alone if that child then later gets into an abusive relationship with someone who “gaslights” them, swearing that there is nothing going on.  Forcing you to doubt your own perceptions and memories.  “Don’t trust yourself.  Trust ME…”

 

And if you haven’t noticed, I believe the exact same thing happens on the “Macro” level, with social issues and the history of groups.  A group has its own mythologies and experiences and interpretations, and while individuals within those groups can do beautifully, it is the average you have to look at.

 

This is very similar to someone abused in childhood who is VERY competent in business (for instance) but carries severe wounds on the level of relationships or the physical body.    It is the OVERALL performance that tells the story.  Drugs, alcohol,  sexual issues, overeating, inability to sustain a meaningful career, inability to maintain a loving relationship, self-destructive behaviors…all are potential by-products of having been damages in childhood, inappropriately touched or stimulated, abuse, neglect, and lack of support.

 

Babies who are not nurtured DIE. Children who are not supported and nurtured can be warped for a lifetime.  Generational trauma takes generations to heal.

 

The damage is bad enough. The gaslighting insistence that “nothing happened” when it did is even worse, and whether on the personal or social level, it is one of the most vicious and destructive things a person or society can do.

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The key to healing is to START with the belief that you are precious and loved.   To connect with that sacred Buddha baby energy: “Earth below, heavens above, no one in the world like me!”

 

And then…to begin to march up the “chakras”, the model of what a healthy human being does in life.

 

Take responsibility for your actions, emotions.

Learn to protect yourself, and perform those functions that lead to security and power.

Satisfy our needs for pleasure and intimacy with integrity.

Master the physical body

Find a mate to share life with

Create your world, reproducing memes and/or genes

Learn to create goods and services to exchange with your community for mutual support (Make money!)

Learn to speak your truth without letting fear stop you

Create a map of reality and test it constantly, to refine

Grow old with dignity.

Die at peace.

 

 

That’s all that Milton Erickson did for his clients–get them on that “train.”  That’s the path Maslow saw. That’s the path that the oldest psychological model I know of, the chakras, says exists at the core of our being. The path of “self-directed human evolution.”

 

The path between these levels is The Hero’s Journey.  Damage on ANY level can be best healed by organizing your resources to leverage their power in a very specific order.  Here is a generalized tale of a disruption in this process:

 

Once upon a time there was a little boy  who loved his family, and life.  She dreamed of growing, and opening the doors to wisdom one at a time, as his body and spirit were ready for the changes.    But then one day something happened that damaged this flow: opened a door inappropriately soon, replaced fear with love, damaged his belief in himself.

 

Although on the surface things seemed fine, those who knew him closely saw that he could no longer function with full love and joy in life, and struggled to handle some basic things, although in others he excelled.  He said “just look here, at the thing I’m good at! Don’t look at the man behind the curtain…”

 

But inside, he took no joy in his accomplishments. Inside, ALL he could see was the “man behind the curtain” constantly leering at him and saying “you are worthless.”

 

Then one day, the boy realized that there were others who had been hurt, and managed to find lives of balance and love and joy anyway.  And committed to do the same. He didn’t know HOW he was going to do it…but committed anyway.

 

Because to act, moving toward being a healthy, happy person BY HIS OWN STANDARDS. And acted, gathering allies and new abilities, constantly testing and working, and loving himself.  Using everything, love AND fear, to motivate him to keep moving.  Keep moving.

 

And one day he met a woman who was also wounded by life (as he discovered everyone was, really) and their wounds complemented rather than reinforced each other, and by bonding to her, their partnership became stronger than either could have been apart. And they created things in their life, children of their minds, hearts, and loins, and by nurturing these various creations they stopped thinking about their wounds, thought only of how they might contribute more and more every day to the people around them…and it was safe to do so because they NEVER allowed anyone to hurt them, and supported and protected each other.

 

And one day…that boy looked around and realized that, by every standard he had once set, he was healed. That his mentors and companions and teachers and customers and friends and students and all the experiences of his life had taken him deep into the part of himself that had NOT been damaged, found that eternal essence, and allowed it to sprout, until he was strong…stronger, perhaps, than if that original damage had not taken place.

 

THAT is what we’re programmed to do, if we have the right nutrients and guidance along the path.  THAT is what we cannot do without those mental and spiritual and physical nutrients. Or if we let the monsters behind the curtain whisper to us that we are not worthy without snarling “you shall not pass!” in return.

 

He saw that his adult self had stood at the gate of his inner garden, a place where his child, and the child of his beloved, could play safely…and heal together.

 

And realized that he was now able to teach what he had learned, and did so, and became as the teachers and mentors who had led him.  And saw, in that moment, one of the secrets of life.

 

We heal by focusing on our wounds, and the path we might have walked had we not had them. But once healed, we progress even more by helping others.  That is the only way we can repay those who came before us.

 

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That little boy was me.  If he is you as well, what I say speaks to you.   If as an individual, or as a member of a group, you were lied to, diminished, damaged…and especially if the monsters afterward asked you to doubt your perceptions, asked you to believe a story about your past that places them higher in life or closer to God than you…

 

Wake up.  Stop letting the monsters whisper in your ear.   Take adult responsibility.

 

And then stand between those monsters and the other children of the world. The other sleepers.  And when they become restless in THEIR dreams, whisper to them: “this is the way out.    Tell your own story, in which you are the hero.  Remember that the very people who hurt you will try to convince you that they are your friends, and that you are a spear-carrier in their story, rather than the hero of yours.

 

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AFROFUTURISM is the healing of a cultural breach.  The mythologies of any culture place them primary to existence.   The children of Africa had all of that ripped away, and replaced with myths that empowered their captors.   For the first time in our history we are taking control of the mechanisms that control this process.

 

Watching the way it is happening with the children of the Diaspora can show you the strategies to affect change in YOUR group, however it is defined.  So long as you come from love, and respect for the spirits and hearts of others, and believe in the equality of human groups, I see no harm that can come from GOING FOR IT 100%.

 

And what works for groups…works for individuals.   The Micro in the Macro.

 

Its all right there.

 

What is the story YOU tell about your ability to rise, to overcome, to find joy?  What would happen if you change it?

 

THAT is what we are investigating.  “Lifewriting” is the science, the overall theory, the application of Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” not just to myth and story but to life itself.  “Afrofuturism” is a specific exploration of this process applied to cultural history.

 

Everything is connected.

 

 

Namaste,

Steve

(A replay link for yesterday’s webinar: https://app.webinarjam.net/login/19618/55dc7a2932/0/replay)

 

From Octavia to T’Challa–tomorrow

www.octaviatoblackpanther.com

I remember the single most memorable reaction heard from female friends who watched “Wonder Woman”.  It was a reaction to the “No Man’s Land” sequence. And the comment I heard about ten separate times was: “I sat there with tears streaming down my face.   I had never seen anything like that, and I didn’t even realize how badly I needed to see it.

 

I heard a LOT of argument about that.  People (usually men) pointing out different previous female superheroes, saying there was nothing unique about Patty Jenkins’ movie. And…it seemed to me that they were missing the point. They weren’t asking: “why is this movie triggering that reaction?

 

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Same thing happened during “Captain America: Civil War” when T’Challa appeared in an intimate moment with his father…followed by scenes of blistering action…followed by regal poise…followed by “Move…or be moved.”  I saw that movie in a black audience, and know for a fact that several of the black women in my group had NO interest in comic book movies…until that moment.  And when the teaser trailer for “Black Panther” appeared online, it broke the internet.  People went nuts–fans of all races–but black people who otherwise had had little interest in “comic book movies” were suddenly salivating.

 

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Just yesterday a NW fan asked the question “why is fandom so white?” and a couple of answers mirrored things I’ve heard editors say over the years: black people just aren’t interested in SF.  

 

I have this nasty habit on Facebook. When I see people say things like this, I’ll go and look at their friends list.  And invariably, the people who say things like this have a  Wonderbread friends list.   And statistics show that the average FB person’s list is MORE diverse than their actual “real world” friend circle.  Oops.

So they evolved this notion precisely how? And when they actually argue with me about it, I have this odd vision of a virgin arguing sex with Hugh Hefner.

 

Here’s the truth: when I came into SF, there was almost ZERO representation of black people in SF books and films–and there was still a smattering of black fans.  In other words, black people were more interested in SF than SF was in them.   As that representation has increased, movements like “Afrofuturism”, black SF, black comic books and futuristic art and film  have exploded.

 

I remember Will Smith in “Independence Day” piloting that alien ship into space, saying: “I’ve waited my whole life for this.” And I sat there, tears rolling down my cheeks, whispering “damned straight.”

 

To grow up as a person excluded from the circle of heroic action, of intelligence, force, courage…and fight your way to that table despite images of degradation or death (oh, yeah…just how many times did I have to watch Paul Winfield die in SF movies?  Terminator?  Serpent and the Rainbow?  Damnation Alley?  Wrath of Khan?   Geeze!), feeling the pain of exclusion (watching “When World’s Collide” and realize that every human being considered worth saving was white) and craving those movies anyway.

To be such a person, and then have people tell you its YOUR fault that you don’t patronize the very films that discount your humanity, the books that exclude you from the world?

The mind boggles.

How desperate I must have been to continue in the field, knowing that some of the gate-keepers and decision makers justified their choices in such a fashion.  Ugh.

 

Yes, I understood why the women watching Wonder Woman went crazy for an image of a woman who defined herself as a human being, not “in reaction” to men, acting with greater power and authority than any woman I can remember seeing onscreen before.  Ever.  I got it.

 

And yes, I clearly remember guys saying: “girls just aren’t as interested…”  just like I later heard white people saying “black people just aren’t as interested…

 

Without asking if maybe we’re just like them, and want to see ourselves reflected, and have the same heart, the same pains, the same hopes and dreams and fears.   There is something about the notion that MAYBE WE’RE THE SAME that is threatening as hell to a certain kind of person.

 

Here’s what I know: the stories we tell ourselves control our reactions to the world we see. Stories contextualize the past, help us survive the present, and offer hope for the future.  There was apparently a panel at Comic Con where someone said that “Star Trek  is a bad thing, because it offers hope for a utopian future, and current events prove that’s impossible…”

 

That’s his story.   With a fully functional ego but a rather disturbing lack of historical perspective, he has simply decided that humanity is lost, because HE can’t see any answers to current problems.

 

A different person, telling themselves a different story, simply sees the flow of history, the give and take, and that we’ve cycled endlessly before, but that anthropologists tell us that there is less violence now than every before, as well as greater connection and complexity.

 

The story you tell means everything.   It is why we tell stories to our children, why all societies have history, mythology, religion, to contextualize their existence.

 

Those stories were ripped away from Africans, and what was given to them were myths that defined them for the convenience and security of their masters.    Now, finally, after almost 400 years, we’re taking our stories back.  Women, Asians, gays, ANYONE who wants to control their own destiny…we need to examine what this process is, why it is critical, and how we can use it in our own lives.

Tomorrow Saturday July 22nd at 6pm pst, we’re doing a free webinar:  FROM OCTAVIA TO T’CHALLA, discussing the growth and meaning of this movement, and why it is important.   You’re invited to join us at: www.octaviatoblackpanther.com

See you there!

Steve

http://www.octaviatoblackpanther.com

Loving Yourself pt 3: Recap

So let’s stop for a moment and look at what we’ve done.  The concept is simple:

  1. Everything you’ve ever done has been an attempt to move away from pain toward pleasure.
  2. Ultimately, everything you’ve ever done, that ANYONE has ever done, has been an attempt to re-create the sense of connection and joy experienced in infancy, or even prior to birth.  Call it connection to the life-force, or to love, or to God.  Doesn’t matter.
  3. That the damage you sustain going through life can cut you off from this simple, basic source of power.    IF YOU CANNOT REMEMBER BEING TREASURED, YOU HAVE BEEN DAMAGED ENOUGH TO WARP YOUR MEMORY.   Healing this is essential.   The damage will almost always affect your relationships, career, or body.
  4. By visualizing your “inner child” you are beginning the healing.   By collecting the “light” you can find within yourself and seeing how large a “child” you can create from it, you can even estimate the age you were when the damage kicked in.
  5. By daily meditating on your heartbeat, you are connecting with a kinesthetic/auditory anchor for that place of peace you knew prior to birth.
  6. Be aware that your ego will do everything it can to throw you off: making you sleepy, telling you it is pointless, distracting you, making other things seem more important.
  7. The ideal period of meditation is probably 20 minutes twice a day, plus stopping for resourceful breathing 60 seconds every hour.
  8. The minimum is stopping for 60 seconds once every three hours. Breathe, relax, visualize.

 

 

Any questions?

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There was a man who was hugely successful, but dealing with extreme obesity and a string of failed relationships.   Call him “Troy”.   Troy had no memories of being happy as a child, and therefore chased after money as a symbol of success, as well as surrounding himself with “friends” who were happy to spend and enjoy his financial success. The problem was that he was a human “doing” rather than a human “being”.  He was only of value so long as he produced.

 

And because he was in a creative field, his “little boy” was dancing as hard as he could, and getting no real love and nurturance in return.  This guy almost died pushing himself harder and harder, making huge amounts of money, but the inner world remaining empty.

 

He began to sort through his values.  He had children he loved, and as an abstract, could see how taking care of himself was connected to loving them. That gave him the strength to go deeper.  After weeks of work, Troy managed to connect to pleasant childhood memories.  The trick was that he needed to connect the powerful man he is NOW to the child he was THEN.

 

He used his non-dominant hand (his left) to write messages from that younger self to his current self.   In them, Young Troy asked him for approval, love, acknowledgement.  And the “Older Troy” got to visualize and hold that child, and promise to protect him.

 

There is a problem: the business Troy has mastered is filled with pretend friends, people who are there when you are useful…and disappear when you are not.  It is an ocean filled with sharks pretending to be dolphins.    Navigating it successfully will take everything he has.  Making money? That will be easy. He’s brilliant.   Finding love? Taking care of his body?  Exponentially harder.

The Hawaiian Huna say that the body is a “black bag” where you store your unprocessed emotions. To be healthy physically, he will have to make contact with the ugly emotions: the betrayal, rage, and fear he has buried.  To do that he has to forgive himself for having fallen into that trap.

Can you see the trap?   That he will be tempted to define himself in terms that do not serve him, encouraged by people who do not care, but will extend faux friendship, impersonal sex, and tons of money if he just forgets who he really is?

 

Personally…I’m betting on Troy.

I think he’s smart enough to find his way out, if he can just remember that the real reason he does ANY of it is not to make money…not to make friends…not to be famous…

 

But to be happy. To stop hurting.  EVERYTHING else was and is a means to that end.

 

And always has been, and will be.  Grasp that.

 

Intelligence is problem solving.  Wisdom is knowing which problems to solve.  If you are smart, and unhappy, you may not have ever actually sat down and clearly stated the problem, so that you could begin looking for answers.

 

You want, and need to be happy. To do this, you need to connect with the love within you, your original emotional state.  Do that every day, and you BEGIN with the emotions others chase after.

 

And that is a totally different level of the game.

 

 

Namaste,

Steve

http://www.lifewrite.com

Loving pt 2: The Ancient Child

  1. Love yourself
  2. Love one other person
  3. Understand human history without guilt, blame or shame
  4. Find your tribe. Support them. Don’t waste time fighting with trolls.
  5. Win with compassion and integrity…but WIN.

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I still remember the first time I formally applied the “Ancient Child” technique to a client.   Was working at the high-end clinic out in Santa Monica, and a wealthy, famous client came in.  You’d know his name.  This person was a movie star, and a sex addict who had destroyed relationships with his inability to be faithful.

 

My model of sexuality is that it is related first to genetic survival (reproduction) with a strong individual survival component (pair bonding) and health and pleasure benefits.  Very powerful tool.  The Second Principle is to “Love one other person” and the ecstasy of sex, the way love dissolves ego boundaries, the humanizing consequences of having children…all combine to make the experience of bonding with another human being one of the most powerful.

 

This person wanted to be able to love and be loved, to commit to another human being, permanently. I am not a therapist, I’m a coach. I don’t heal broken people, I help people who can already perform perform even better.

 

So my assumption is that there was a part of him that interpreted his current results as “winning”, and all I had to do was get the parts of him that had a better idea to speak to him.

 

That suggested a “parts party”, but I had a different idea.   I first had him take physical actions to anchor him into his body.  The Five Tibetans would have worked fine, but I used FlowFit until he was breathing strongly.   Then I had him sit and face the wall. Close his eyes.  Visualize that he was looking into a mirror.   Imagine the breath and heat in his body to be like light.

 

When he could see the light in his body, I had him gather it together into the shape of a child. As it happened, he could create a “light ball” about the side of a soccer ball.  That means maybe a six month old baby boy.  I had him imagine holding that little boy in his arms, while I told him a story:

 

Once upon a time there was a little boy who wanted to be loved.  He didn’t know how to just love himself, so he learned to judge how good he was by feeling and seeing the reactions of other people.  THEY could tell him how wonderful he was, and it felt good.   He ran after pleasure and away from pain, as healthy boys do.  And he had a problem: there were two kinds of happiness he loved: happy in his heart, and happy in his body.  And as he learned to be a very clever boy, he got lots and lots of chances to be happy in his body, and that was fine…except that what he really, really, wanted was to find a woman who would be like Mommy.  Who would love him and cherish him and be there for him, even when he wasn’t being the Clever Boy. Who would see that he wasn’t just a performing puppet, but needed love.  And that love was a lower, more constant fire than the body’s roaring flame, and sometimes seemed inadequate in comparison.

 

And again and again, he chased the blaze, and forgot to tend the gentler fire. And the women who might have really loved him could not compete with the body blaze, because their fires settle down after a while, to something that can warm a house rather than burn down a forest, that soul-searing heat that says: “Me! Me!  Choose Me!”

 

But all fires settle down. And there will always be a new blaze.   And since he wanted to find someone who would stay for him forever, he had to learn not to be distracted.

 

He had to grow up to the point that he was a father to the little boy within him.  And say: “I’m going to find you a mommy.  Someone to keep you warm.  It’s been selfish for me to chase after the forest fires. And unfair even to them: because each of those little girls sharing their heat knows that their fires will cool too. They have to, or the business of life cannot be conducted. So if they can take you away from another…they know that another can take you from them, as well. And the dance begins with fear, rather than love.”

 

He was crying by this time.  In a very open and vulnerable space.  I chose my words carefully.

 

“But there is a new opportunity.  To realize that every little girl is a woman, every woman a little girl.  That he needed to find a playmate for the little boy, a helpmate for the man.  A woman who could protect the child within him, but also let him protect her little girl. And that meant he had to be worthy of her.  He had to be able to hold her little girl and say honestly: I love YOU.  More than anything in the world.  And I will never, ever walk away from you, if you will make the same promise with me.  And I will keep my word to you. Tell me what you need.”

 

And he knew that the kind of woman he wanted for his little boy would have a little girl who would look at him with shining eyes and say: “be my daddy. My playmate.  My protector.” And her mother would say: “be my lover.  My helpmate. Be the one who will stay with me, after the bloom of youth is gone. Be the one who can see the girl I was, remember all I gave, and all I am.  Be that one for me, and I will be that for you.  And I love that little girl within me enough to settle for nothing less. It is what she, and I, deserve.”

 

And I let him cry for a time, and then I asked if that little boy inside him might have a secret message for him.   I didn’t need to hear it.  And his lips moved silently for about three minutes.

 

Then he was still, and quiet.   Slowly, I brought him back into the room, and we sat, and held each other.  And he thanked me, and went away. I never saw him again.

 

But…I do know that he was married a year later. And is still married to this day, so far as I know.

 

 

 

Namaste,

Steve

www.lifewrite.com

Loving Yourself part 2: Heartbeat Meditation

 

 

We have identified love as the primary tool of transformation and healing for yourself and the world.     John Steinbeck’s “Once There Was A War” is a collection of his   essays from WW2.  Brilliant stuff, of course. But there is only one scene that totally stayed with me. It took place on a naval vessel, during mess.  A huge rush of hungry human beings, and the food service staff that shoveled calories and protein into their empty maws.

 

An endless tide of appetite.   And Steinbeck referenced the expression on a cook’s face.  The description was priceless: “the expression of someone who suddenly realizes there is no way to feed a man once and for all.”

 

Remember that about meditation.  There is no way to do a “one and done” so long as the ego-shell continues to re-constitute, and for all practical purposes, that means EVER.   If you are going to love yourself, and deal with internal garbage, it will re-assert itself the moment you take your attention off it.  And it is IMPOSSIBLE to constantly remember to keep your focus positive.

 

So…the answer is a daily ritual. I suggest morning.  Morning AND night is better still. And if you are in an emergency?  Dealing with real issues?  The “Five Minute Miracle” notion of taking a short break to balance and focus once every three hours. And if I was in a serious funk?   ONCE EVERY HOUR.  Top of the hour.   At least sixty seconds.  Set your damned watch.

 

##

 

But what do you do?   Well, the single best meditation I know of is called “Anahata” Meditation.  Allow me to define terms, please.  Meditation is a matter of attention.  Consider it tuning your internal radio to a particular station. Sometimes this is focus, and sometimes relaxation, and often a combination of the two.   You can focus on a word (mantra), a sound, a sensation, a visual symbol (mandala), or other things. The intent is to produce a desired state of mind, which might be increased focus, decreased stress, increased energy, dispelled illusions, healing, structuring a new personality, dispelling illusions, brainstorming ideas, improving sleep and so forth.

 

It is the “pure” version of mental or emotional skills you might apply in a vast number of arenas: sports performance, anger management, writer’s block, artistic performance, memory enhancement, and on and on.  Spiritually, dispelling illusions and connecting with the deepest loving sensations or resolving dualities points you in the direction of healing and unity.

 

There are infinite different forms, but the most powerful ones are not totally safe for various reasons I’ve hinted at.  And the safe ones aren’t always effective. There are “placebo” meditations. They don’t take you very far, but deal with some surface effects.   The POWERFUL ones could, taken far enough, unravel the ego cocoon and dispell illusion to the point that that pesky concept “enlightenment” becomes a real potential destination.

 

Trust me: in all probability you don’t want it.  In all probability what you want is either having a nice dream, or what is called being “an adult, aware, awake human being.”   That’s quite enough. Really.

 

The first part of the  “consciousness continuum” goes (SLEEPING CHILD > SLEEPING ADULT) > AWAKENED ADULT

 

Inside the parenthesis is the “dream” state. The “Matrix”.  All racism, sexism, tribalism is inside this structure.  All politics and commerce.  Much human interaction, positive or negative.   Fun place to visit. Nothing wrong with it, innately.

But your first goal is to awaken WITHIN the dream, (which is why “lucid dreaming” is a powerful spiritual discipline: learning that you can awaken within a “dream dream” begins to hint that you can awaken within the “real dream” as well. But…I digress).  Your next goal is to awaken FROM the dream.   That’s a lot harder.

 

Your guilt, fear, anger drain your energy and lock you in the Dream, which is dualistic as hell.  The way out is to start realizing you determine your emotions, chose your action, can control the emotional filters that determine your perception of reality.

Two problems: if you don’t have compassion, you will start blaming others for their life situations.   RESPONSIBILITY is not BLAME.   Assuming you would have done better in their life is presumptuous as hell.   You are not who you think you are.  Most of what you are operates at the level of unconscious competence, a slow accretion of ego-elements gained by bouncing off your environment, mentors, experiences, at different points when your learning centers were ready to integrate the experience.

 

In other words, if you think that “you”, put into someone else’s life, would do better than them…you may be correct. But the trick is that “you” aren’t “you.”   And you have no @#$$ idea who you would have been had you had their experiences and resources.   “There but for the grace of God go I” is a damned fine attitude.

 

But the even worse problem is more primary: if you don’t love yourself, you won’t be able to look HONESTLY at what you’ve done in and with your life.

You’ve hurt people. Stolen.  Lied. Broken promises.   Lived in illusion.   Failed to live up to your potential.  Failed to learn from experiences, because you COULDN’T without admitting things about yourself you weren’t ready to admit.

 

Can you grasp the amount of guilt and shame you’ll have to process to reach your truth?

 

But…if you love a child, you will hug them when they fall down and skin their knee. You can change their dirty diaper a thousand times, without blaming them for the stink.  Hey, its just shit.  You can cheer them on as they fall down again and again, because your love opens the door to faith.  You have FAITH that if you give them the room to grow, to fail, while always seeing Mommy and Daddy smile and laugh and speak words of encouragement…eventually they will walk, and talk, and run, and ride bicycles, and navigate the social world, and learn to take care of themselves.  They will eventually fall in love, feel the ego-rocking ecstacy of sex, and have their own children…and/or watch their parents age.  Either of those things teaches the actual structure of life, dispels illusions. And by the time you have children AND lose a parent, most of us begin to see that structure, feel it, and become “restless in the dream” , glimpsing something beyond the schoolyard games.

 

And according to the Sufis, enlightenment is the clarity of perception that comes at the moment of death…the Seeker merely seeks to open that door before their final breath.  To “die before they die” as it were.

 

We all get there.  But sometimes it can be useful to steal glimpses from the end of the path to provide illumination at the middle.

 

##

 

So…that’s meditation. And while there are countless varieties, the one I learned from Sri Chinmoy is both powerful AND safe, and specific to this thing called loving yourself.  Simple, and deep.

 

Sit quietly. Head held as if by a string from above.   Listen for/feel your heartbeat.

 

That’s it.  Call it 20 minutes.  I could teach on this subject…well, forever.  But a few hints to start the conversation:

  1. Yes, you can do it for shorter or longer. But 20 minutes is, on average, the “sweet spot” for most meditators, the minimum recommended dosage.
  2. The first fifteen minutes you are likely to get nothing but mental garbage.  This is both the crap you have stuffed into your system AND your ego’s attempt to slow you down or stop you.
  3. Some days will be better than others.
  4. It will take most people about 100 days to really start digging in.
  5. The voices in your head will try to convince you that ANYTHING else is more important than this.  Cutting the neighbor’s cat’s toenails starts looking mighty good.
  6. You will hear the internal chorus of “this is pointless.  Why bother. This is bullshit…” over and over.
  7. You may have an almost overwhelming urge to go to sleep.
  8. Focus on the beating of your heart. Feel it in your fingers, your throat, your wrists…wherever.   The more you relax, the easier it is to feel it.
  9. Imagine yourself as an embryo, that your heartbeat is the beat of your mother’s heart.
  10. Be patient with yourself.   Your ego will try to tell you that if you don’t get results FAST, you won’t get them

 

##

Let me tell you a story.  When I moved to the Northwest, it was on the heels of a serious heartbreak. I had to lose a chance with the woman of my dreams to wake up to the fact that my damage had thrown me off the path (remember that you have to do your work DAILY?)

 

When I started meditating again, it felt as if I was squatting in a cess pool. Horrible.   Every day, I was dealing with a level of pain and perceived filth and unworthiness that broke my heart every single time.  All that kept me going was that I visualized my little boy in that filth.  “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” comes to mind. I would NOT leave him there.

I would NOT.

 

And every day I ran “the aquarium filter on the fish tank of my soul”.   The sump pump on that bubbling cauldren of emotional feces. EVERY DAY.  Day after day.  Week after week. Month after month. And then…one day I realized I could see the floor.  It was dirty, but I’d pumped out most of the crap. There was a crack in the floor, and up bubbled more filth. But now, by pumping every day, I could stay ahead of it.

 

And then…one day I realized that that little boy could run the pump himself. That he had learned how to do it.  Now when I meditate, the “basement” is clean. Cluttered, yes.  But that horrid emotional filth is no longer there.

 

If I had NOT gone through this, I can promise you:

 

  1. I never would have been worthy of Tananarive.
  2. I could never motivate myself to exercise every day.  Why bother protecting your body if you have a secret loathing of your physical existence?
  3. I could never have kept writing as I have, despite the endless roller coaster of victory and disappointment.  Baby might have tried to walk 100 times, but without the love and encouragement of my internal family saying “good baby!” I’d have given up.

 

That’s the truth. A simple exercise with vast breadth and depth.  Start here.  Every day.  It is a foundation that will affect every aspect of your life.

 

And if you don’t have 20 minutes?  Try 15. Or 10.  Or ultimately, five. If five, space it out to one minutes every three hours.

 

And if you don’t have five minutes?  YOU ARE LYING TO YOURSELF.  It’s taken you five minutes to read this.    If you’re on Facebook, you are blowing more than five minutes every day. The average television is on some six hours a day.  YOU ARE LYING and you have to get clear on why you are so afraid to look into your heart.

 

It will have something to do with a fear that, deep inside, you are not lovable.  Not precious.  Not wonderful.  In other words, the very poison the medicine will counter.  Your ego DESPERATELY wants to stop you.

 

Its kinda like internet trolls. If you take a strong stance on social media, you will be attacked by swarms of people who have nothing better to do than try to drag others down to their level. The level they THINK they are.  They are limited by their own fears, their own damaged, shar-edged ego shields.

 

In other words, people who need to love themselves, and learn to see themselves in others.

 

The best way to help those who can be helped?  Deal with them with BOTH love and strength.  Show them that it is possible.  And if they aren’t too deeply enmeshed in a walking nightmare…they just might wake up. I’ve seen it. It happens.  They will be tender, frightened children emerging into a new world. Be gentle with them

 

To do that, you must deal with YOUR fear.  YOU must come from love, not anger.  If you can do that…well, you can be the Awakened Adult in the room.

 

The world needs you.  So…love yourself.   Every day.  Then begin to see that your “self” is connected to every other human being on the planet.  And when you see anger, you are seeing a frightened child squatting in the cess pool of their own emotions.    You may not be able to run their pump for them…but you might be able to show them that pumps exist. That it is POSSIBLE to heal, and be loving, and still be safe.

 

No matter what, whether your intents are selfish, or global…start with loving yourself.

 

Don’t ever expect the world to be better than you are.

 

Because ultimately…there’s no one out there but you.

 

 

Namaste,

Steve

www.lifewrite.com

Boiling it down

To boil down today’s “Lifewriting Live”: committing to love yourself can be the first step in healing, if your family or social context was damaging. That commitment, just SAYING it, is the beginning. You might try writing
“I am my own mother. I am my own father. I commit to being that ecstatic, loving, strong protective parent to the child in my heart. Every day. For the rest of my life.”
And reading that to yourself, every day. Or you might simply look in the mirror and say: “I love myself! I like myself” without the slightest hint of irony, innocent as a child. Then…you earn the right to ask to ask: what kind of life would I want for my most beloved child? And accept only positive inner dialogue.
Then you begin to take those actions, measuring your actual love of self by how joyfully you can accept both joy and discipline. This is the first step. LATER, we’ll refine techniques and find the approaches that work for you best. Then, we work on expanding your sense of self to include others. But this is where we begin.
Sound good?
More tomorrow!
Namaste,
Steve

The Wisdom of Meatloaf

Storytelling  is the cross-referenced answer to “what is life?” by all the world’s elders, trying to convey their life wisdom to the children of the tribe.  The “Hero’s Journey” is an extraction of a core sense of how this all works, in the simplest form I know.

 

But it begs the question “what is the hero”?  A hero is a human being overcoming obstacles to achieve a worthy goal.  The bigger the obstacle, the more noble the intent, the more we admire that hero.

 

In general, the more universal the motivation, the more important I think it is.  Life itself, the urge to survive, generally trumps EVERYTHING, to the point that a human being capable of risking life to achieve a goal, or GIVING his life to contribute to his tribe or adhere to a value, is considered about as heroic as they can get.

 

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends..”  Or family.  Our country.  Or the principles that blend him with the universe.

 

Such a love is the strongest thing in the world.

 

##

The core animal drive is to move AWAY from pain, and TOWARD pleasure.    The adult world is largely a matter of learning to postpone immediate pleasure to avoid future pain.  Major lesson. One we struggle to give our children.

 

We can do this for others. Men and women sacrifice their lives, personal dreams, comfort, and freedom to provide security for their families. Because they love their children.  We can see this, all over the world, men and women alike, if you’ll just take off your blinders.  We will run into burning houses, jump into storm-tossed oceans, cough our lungs out working in coal mines, starve ourselves so that others can eat…

 

And all we ask is a smile, a kiss, a hug, a connection to the protection and love WE received in childhood.  There is nothing sadder than talking to someone abused in childhood, criticized in adolescence, condemned by their own parents as adults. They sometimes have no memories of EVER having been loved, protected, treasured.  That is a lie.  Human children who are not nurtured in infancy don’t survive. It is called “failure to thrive” and they wither.

 

So somewhere in your past, arguably before you formed permanent memories (about 2-3.5 years old, depending on the study) you were the recipient of love and caring. Someone gave you food and shelter and hugs and kisses even though you could not ask for them.  Imagine floating in your mother’s womb.  All needs supplied: warmth, nutrition, shelter. The very definition of being loved.

 

You are born, ushered out into a world of sharp hard things, of cold and hunger, shocking in its intensity.   All positive things relate to “love”, all the negatives are things that can hurt you: loud noises (predators and natural disasters), falling, hunger, cold.   Fear.

 

Two emotions, of primary import.  When you are in total love, you literally or figuratively roll over and expose your tummy.  Forebrain shuts down. Pure sensation.

 

When you are in total fear you can curl into a ball, paralyzed, forebrain shut down..  Pure sensation.

 

There is an expression that there are two wolves fighting in our hearts, love and fear. Which one wins?

 

The one we feed.

 

Why don’t we live in  a state of love, if that is what we are endlessly pursuing (pleasure instead of pain)?  Because over time we learn that if we are too open, we risk emotional or physical injury.   Fear, even if it numbs us to pleasure, keeps us alive. The primary instructions, even more powerful  than “survive” for most  is “get your grandchildren into the gene pool.”

 

Even if you feel no love.  Enabling your children’s survival, for your children, IS a way of saying “I love you.”  In fact, it is a way of saying “I love you” that sacrifices your own hopes and dreams.  How many of you had fathers, or mothers (more common with fathers) who never said “I love you” but when you challenged them later will say “I put food on the table and a roof over your heads.”

 

Unsaid: “I had dreams as a child.   I wanted to explore, and be a hero, and have adventures. Be a cowboy, or an astronaut.   Instead, I had a family, and the instant I held you, I saw the reality of my life, that I had to do everything in the world to protect you. Even at the cost of my own dreams.”

 

And most of those men and women did. Their dreams often rotted within them, poisoned the joy they might have felt, the “care for your family” meme fighting with the “express yourself.  Life is short. Fly free!” meme.

 

If you’re a parent, you’ve felt this conflict, right?

 

##

 

The path to spirit is one of healing the more basic levels, providing your needs on the basic levels. Each journey: to survive, gain a steady supply of sex, control your environment, find and share  love, express yourself, build a map of the world…is a separate and overlapping “Hero’s Journey.”  You can be driven by pain and fear (survival) or by love.  Until you have your basic needs taken care of, it is perfectly reasonable to be MORE motivated by fear.  Simply pursuing what you love can rip your guts out, because the urge is to GIVE EVERYTHING.

 

And that attracts others who want to give everything, yes…but also predators, the halt, and the lame.

 

It is sad to watch open-hearted people limping from bad relationship to bad relationship. When questioned, they’ll often say “well, they deserve love, too.” Yeah, but it doesn’t have to be YOURS.

 

The question is: “would you want your own most beloved child to be in a relationship with this person?  Have this job?   Practice this habit pattern?  Feel these emotions habitually?”

 

No? Then to have a good life, something has to change.

 

There are many “secrets to life” and the most important ones are all saying the same things…

 

 

Once upon a time there was a fertilized egg. It grew in darkness until it developed a complex nervous system, and perhaps an awareness of comfort/discomfort.   It got the nourishment and comfort it needed automatically, and spent most of its time sleeping, at peace.

 

After nine months it was ushered into a world of bright colors, cold, and sharp hard things.  For the first time it knew what would later be called “fear” and “anger”, but all it wanted was to return to that sense of peace. When other human beings provided that sense of safety, nourishment, and connection, it was called “love.”

 

Both feelings come from within us, depending upon the way we interpret what happens outside us.  Pain and pleasure.  Fear and Love.  That’s where it all begins.

 

We grow, and as we do, worship the amazing godlike beings who give us pleasure, or can withhold it to give us pain.   All we want is to spend as much time in the Pleasure space that we can.   But we learn that if we stay there, we actually experience more pain.

 

It is a paradox. And the process of adolescence is learning to resolve it.  To be happy, we must be free to pursue our pleasures. To be free, we must take responsibility, learn how to follow rules in the adult world.  We must accept pain to gain pleasure. Must do what we fear to gain love.

 

What is worse is that we are raised by human beings injured by this very process, who grew as children thinking they would follow their dreams, do what they wished…but then to survive and satisfy their most basic hungers found themselves channeled into a world of discipline and responsibility.  They did what they MUST rather than what they WOULD.

 

In other words, unless they are very clear on what they are doing and WHY they chose to do it, it’s Meatloaf’s wonderful “Paradise By The Dashboard Lights.”  A seventeen year old boy, in response to a demand that he commit to a lifetime of fealty to gain access to a seventeen year old girl’s reproductive track:

 

“--started swearing to my god and on my mother’s grave

That I would love you to the end of time

That I would love you to the end of time

I swore that I would love you to the end of time!

 

Ah, and promises made in haste are repented at leisure…

 

 

So now I’m praying for the end of time

To hurry up and arrive

‘Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you

I don’t think that I can really survive

I’ll never break my promise or forget my vow

But God only knows what I can do right now

I’m praying for the end of time

It’s all that I can do

Praying for the end of time, so I can end my life with you!!”

 

You know couples like this, right?  Who fell into sex love and fought to make a life with a stranger “to protect the children” and keep their vows.   Both men and women are trapped by this…unless they can master their emotions, transform their stories into a tale of choices made for THEIR reasons, and service to those they love.

 

If they can’t, and they end that relationship, their chances of blaming the other person and carrying that mistake forward is enormous.

 

Self-love gives you the strength to tell the truth.  And the truth will set you free. And even if you need to let someone go, to realize they were YOUR choice gives you the power to change, and do better next time.

 

##

 

 

People blaming their children for their own choices.  Incalculable amounts of pain there.

 

That’s you, by the way.  You were those children.  Who, when those parents were not careful, were blamed for the lack of freedom, the death of dreams.

 

You may be those parents as well.   Who, when you are not careful, let your sense of disappointment poison your relationships with what could be the greatest joy in your life.

 

One way or another, everything you have ever done has been an attempt to move away from pain toward pleasure.  Even the things that brought temporary pain.  Even those things that risked your life. 

 

Pain and Pleasure

Fear and Love.

 

All tied up there. And just as social ills like “racism” “sexism” and “homophobia” can be related to the tribe trying to survive, fear and guilt and anger all relate to the individual trying to survive.

 

Trying to recapture the peace of the womb.  Of the cradle. Of the soft arms that once held us, singing, feeding us something sweet and good, so good.

 

##

 

We spend our whole lives chasing that feeling, and the most successful people learn to “eat bitter to taste sweet”: to exert mighty discipline to gain greater and greater senses of accomplishment and peace. The unhappiest people chase accomplishment for its own sake, not realizing that there is no level of external accomplishment that will give you the internal peace.

 

The happiest people START with the sense of internal peace, and then learn to extend it to those they love through protection and contribution.

 

To do that, they often have to “clear out” the junk ideas and corrupted reality maps and broken beliefs and conflicted values given to them by people who may have loved them, but were dealing with their own pain.

 

And if you are the abused child of a society that needs to demean and control you?   You are carrying TONS of psychic garbage.  Brothers and sisters, if you don’t clean it out you are building your palace atop a cess pool.

 

(One of the reasons why I will not allow victim blaming. When you see dysfunctional people, and your first thought is that they asked to be this way, or this is the limit of their capacity, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM if you don’t factor in their childhood.   And when you extend this to groups? When you ask “why do X’s have all these problems?” and don’t factor in their history, you are just as blind. The very worst thing is when the abuser pretends the abuse didn’t happen, and poor little Nephew Willie sleeping in the dumpster giving blowjobs for crack ended up there by himself, that it had nothing to do with those midnight visits.    Anyone who cannot imagine what I’m suggesting on the broader social level isn’t paying attention.  Blindness is just blindness. But if you are complicit, and pretend not to understand…that is evil.  And “complicit” is a very flexible concept.)

 

99.9% of inter-personal problems relate to this war of fear and love, pain and pleasure.  If you want to change the world, heal this within yourself.  If all attacks are defenses, and defensiveness is triggered by fear, then coming from love stops violence.

 

BUT.  To be open hearted also makes one vulnerable to injury and exploitation unless you are also strong, and love YOURSELF enough to turn away those who are not healthy for your “child.”

 

The “child” self should remain open-hearted, loving, optimistic, creative.  For this to happen, the “adult” self must be watchful, disciplined, willing to “eat bitter to taste sweet” and to have “thick face, black heart” if necessary–to stand up to criticism and attack to protect that tender child within. But this can go too far as well, unless that adult accepts that we are NOT individual mushrooms, we are the underlying micelial mass.

 

The child says “I am”.

 

The adult says “I must.”

 

The elder part of you, which has seen the whole game, survived the “roar of the glands” that channels those dreams into family, has seen beyond the drive to own, compete, win, accumulate…that part of you has the secret of existence.  And a the end of life, NO ONE wishes they’d spent more time at the office.  It is “I wish I’d danced more.  Helped more. Sung more. Been less afraid of being myself.  Taken more chances. Told the people I love that I loved them more…”

 

What the elder sees is that all is love.

 

And the secret to life is to have the enthusiasm of a child, the work ethic of an adult, and the wisdom of an elder, who knows that all the things of this world are merely games. Important games, sure. But they will not make you happy unless you listen to that child within you.   And will not ultimately give you peace unless your actions, every day, are also in alignment with your deepest values.

 

Open hearted.  But also safe. Do you want to know how to do this?

 

By tapping into the core “wiring” all humans have not just to survive, but to protect our genetic investment.   Twine THOSE two drives together and you have something amazing. Healing.   With total permission to SURVIVE.  The majority of abuse happens to people who don’t have permission to maim and cripple the ones abusing them.  

 

We KNOW that a parent, male or female, who s a blind eye to the abuse of their children, who would not fight to protect them, is BROKEN.    You may have had “broken” parents.

 

If so…then YOU must be the parent you wish you had had.   One who will love unstintingly, but also discipline.   An undisciplined child is a terror in his house.  And is IN terror. Because he knows that

 

  1. He is not strong enough to support and protect himself.
  2. His parents are not strong enough to control him.

 

 

NOT a good combination. Remember that fear manifests as anger.  And anger causes violence.    Both love AND discipline are necessary to create healthy, happy, children…and adults.

 

It is never too late.  All you have to do to start the process is admit that you are afraid (anger is a mask over fear) and then love yourself.  Totally. To start with a commitment:

 

“I am my own mother. I am my own father.  I commit to being  that ecstatic, loving, strong protective parent to the child in my heart.  Every day. For the rest of my life.”

 

 

A statement like this, written out, read to yourself in a mirror, can produce a flood of emotions.   We are our commitments. We are the degree to which we can trust our promises.   START WITH THIS.  The commitment.

 

The rest is “how?”  You have to start with “what?” which gives direction, and “why?” to give you the fuel.

 

 

WHAT: to love yourself

WHY: so that you can live the life of your dreams. To be as healthy and strong as you are capable of being. To we the wellspring of your own essence, to get all you NEED from within yourself, which gives you then the freedom to love because you CHOOSE to. To be an ecstatic parent or partner, who can give without needing in return.

 

Wanting?  Sure.   Nothing wrong with that. But no one can hold you hostage.  No co-dependent relationships.

 

It starts with WHAT.   Self-love.

And WHY.  What would be different about your life if you had a deep and abiding love for yourself?

 

This is where you begin.   Remember: all you have ever wanted is the peace you experienced in infancy. Or in the womb. Or if you are spiritual, in your original sense of connection to the divine.

 

That’s all you’ve ever wanted.  And the greatest barrier will be the realization that that is all ANYONE has ever wanted.

 

The implications of this are stupendous.  We’ll visit them tomorrow.

 

But for today…just write out what you want.  If nothing else, “I LOVE MYSELF” and hold that piece of paper up to a mirror and/or look into your own eyes and say those words until you can say them without flinching.

 

Because if you flinched every time you said that to your baby girl, your baby boy…

 

Don’t you think they’d FEEL that?  Don’t you think they’d know?    And don’t you think that would matter?

 

So…start there, and we’ll take another step tomorrow.

 

 

 

Namaste,

Steve

www.lifewrite.com