It makes the world go ’round

 

Tuesday is LOVE SOMEONE ELSE day!

The emotion of love, in the human heart and brain, creates a favorable field of magnetic attraction, which causes an influx of the higher and finer vibrations which are afloat in the ether. “–Napoleon Hill

 

The second principle of the “Five Fold Path” to heal our world is to love another human being, deeply enough to bond and commit to them.  Remember the idea that “Faith, Love, and Sex” are the most powerful emotions, that together they can raise your “energies” to the level of genius?

 

Well, the biological bond between a man and woman is the basis of all human life.   Therefore, nature has given us a massive load of rewards in exchange for our service to its genetic aims.    My observation says that gay relationships, or relationships without children,  trigger essentially the same wiring   so I have no interest in suggesting they are not the same.

 

Love is love.  Sex is sex, in terms of propulsive motivation. And once you have tangled these strands together, the thought of building a life together inevitably triggers trepidation. You are gambling your finances, genetics, sacred honor, emotional and spiritual welfare…all in a choice based on limited information.  The ONLY way to be sure of making a healthy decision here is to know yourself and love yourself enough to look deeply into your own past, understand your successes and failures, forgive yourself for flaws and simultaneously take a stand that you will LEARN from them and WILL NOT REPEAT them.

 

Do this, and you can look at another human being in all their flaws and magnificence, see both their strength and vulnerability, and see where the two of you can create a unit stronger than either.

##

When I was researching GREAT SKY WOMAN, I found a book on the Koisan people of South Africa written by a pair of anthropologists who had lived among them.   In this book was a discussion of their spiritual practices and beliefs, and I found one that was just lovely.  It was the concept of “Num”, which roughly means “one soul looking out through many eyes.”  It was a statement of the unity of human beings, the idea that when you see another person, you are looking at yourself.

 

My study of spiritual sexuality unearthed a fascinating concept about orgasm, present in several different cultures.  Rephrased slightly, it was that “the intensity of an orgasm is in direct proportion to the amount of ego released at that moment.”  In other words, if you can remember your name, it wasn’t very good sex.

 

Re-read that. And then…realize that this is speaking of the place just beyond “flow”.   It is the dissolution of the subject-object relationship.  For a writer, it is the place where you sink into the page. Where the reader dissolves into the story. The painter into the painting. The martial artist becomes one with the opponent.   The runner blends with the effort and the environment.  “She’s moved into the danger zone, where the dancer becomes the dance.”  The lover melts into the beloved

 

All other things being equal (focus and proper craft continuously refined) this capacity is the core of genius.  Every single “master” I’ve ever observed in any field spends as much time in this state as possible, and to an enormous degree, your ability to achieve excellence will depend upon it.

 

In other words, Love, Faith, and Sex, the very qualities present in most lasting relationships, are the doorway to excellence in ANYTHING.  Loving another human being not only forces you to expand your sense of self (“we” instead of “I”) but philosophically, neurologically, and practically rips apart your illusions of separation from the rest of humanity.  IT IS ONE OF THE MAJOR DOORS TO WISDOM.

 

Combine this with the notion that our attractions and relationships guide and influence us, that they mirror our essence and reveal our true desires and ambitions…and letting yourself love one other person is so obviously a path to becoming an Awake, Aware, Adult human being that if you remove its biological aspect  from the equation all human life ceases in a single generation.  

 

So…

  1. Love yourself.  Forgive and understand and discipline yourself with ruthless affection.
  2. Love another.   Strive to open your heart, and be worthy of the partner of your dreams, seeing your own humanity in them.

 

Do just these two things, and you have the foundation for all else.

 

Namaste,

Steve

Loving yourself is the starting point

 

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”— Lucille Ball

 

Monday is LOVE THYSELF day.  That’s right: love yourself. Deeply, fully, without reservation, as if you were your own most beloved child.

 

This is the beginning of everything. Without it, everything you try to accomplish in life will stand on shifting sand.  If you don’t love yourself, treasure yourself, know you are made of the same stuff as the stars, why discipline yourself?   Why have FAITH that you can accomplish beyond your current manifestations?  How can you have the courage to speak your truth?

How can you honestly and honorably fight for your rights?

Why not “settle” for whatever crumbs of affection or justice that are thrown your way?  Why discipline yourself to change your body, your relationships, your finances?  Why not allow others to tell you who and what you are?

 

LOVE YOURSELF AS IF YOU ARE YOUR OWN MOST BELOVED CHILD.

 

Look at that sentence.  Imagine what you would do for your own child if she was trapped in a burning building. If a bully was threatening her.  If she was hurt, or tired, or afraid, and needed nurturance.  My guess is: WHATEVER IT TAKES.

 

This is what you need to give to yourself.  This is what it will take to go deep, deeper, deepest into your resources, tear away the lies and justifications that you’ve used to stop yourself from discovering who you really are.

 

Remember the two questions?  “Who am I?” and “What is true?”   My tribe is made up of those who believe we are love: worth sheltering, protecting, disciplining, nurturing.  ANYONE, any person, institution, group or ANYTHING that ever told you different was lying.

 

Really loving your child doesn’t mean accepting their bullshit. In fact, you know that accepting the lies and negative behaviors, tolerating the tantrums and allowing your child to dominate the household is an act of emotional cowardice: you are allowing your son or daughter to threaten you by withholding their affection or approval, and as a consequence they are unprotected, unguided, AND THEY KNOW IT. They know you are weak, and  will become even more erratic and disobedient, in a descending spiral until they either destroy themselves or finally run into someone or something strong enough to stop them.   Life itself. Or gravity. Or the limits of flesh. Or law enforcement.  This can be tragic.

 

And so it is with your ego.  Love yourself.  Your REAL self, not the collection of excuses you use to justify your sloth, cowardice, lack of focus, self-abuse, or lack of ambition.   This lack of self-regard is where you must begin, the cess pool beneath the palace of your dreams you MUST drain if you would build a strong and lasting structure.

 

How?  Two tools are Heartbeat Meditation and The Ancient Child.  But there are so many others: meditation, prayer, journaling, healthy movement, disciplined diet, all with the specific intent to love, nurture and support your deepest self.

 

Begin here.  You’re worth it.

 

Namaste,

Steve

http://www.createthenarrative.com

Heaven on Earth, one writer at a time

UPDATE:  Tananarive just won the prestigious British Fantasy Award  for her collection GHOST SUMMER.   I can’t believe this woman.  Yow!  And to get that news right after returning home from our best vacation ever…just blows me away.  And now I return you to our regularly scheduled post…

###

Heaven. We just got back from heaven…and brought a little back to share with you.

IMG_0689.JPG

I just got back from the 2016 Writing Excuses cruise.  Exhausted and exhilarated, I crawled into bed last night after a 20-hour day with four hours of sleep, and woke up this morning to perform my usual meditation…and something had changed.

The “Ancient Child”, connecting my child self (usually a little boy at the base of my spine) and my “inner elder” (usually an old man on his death bed at the crown of my head) are tethered to my heart, and once joined, I can just focus on my heartbeat and let the two of them talk. Sometimes I can hear them, sometimes not.  But this morning was different.

The little boy had a sister.

The old man had a wife, standing at his side leaning on a walker.

Oh my God.  A new and higher level of integration, no slightest question about it.

##

When Tananarive and I were asked to go on the cruise, I thought it would be a fun time, paying for a terrific vacation with a few hours of teaching.  This was a HARD summer, having to move without having planned the resources for it, which was just…awful.  But we did it, with the kind help of friends and relatives.  Bless you: you know who you are.

But then things were looking up: T is making progress on her novel THE REFORMATORY, which I promise you is going to be one of the best things she’s ever done.   My new novel with Larry and Jerry, (temporarily titled THE CTHULHU WAR) has passed muster with our wonderful agent Eleanor Wood, and is turning into a killer SF/action novel.  We just got a contract to create a television series (once again, we can’t announce until the studio does, dammit.) and that means our bills are handled for the rest of the year.

And we were planning our REVOLUTIONARY WRITING workshop, to open on October 1st.  Yeah, Social Justice Writers, that’s us.   A discussion of books that have changed the world, and how you create them.  I don’t care where on the political spectrum you are, if you want to share your truth, and are willing to respect and love others whether or not they agree with you…you are my tribe, and I want to help you join the discussion.

The goal? To gather one million awake, aware, adult human beings. The strategy?  To gather and support one thousand awake, aware, adult WRITERS.  But dear God, when I got to WXC, I saw my tactics.  Here, in this group, were 135 people who were already on the path, committed to being more than “mere” entertainers…while understanding that entertainment is CRITICAL to communication. As Robert Heinlein told Jerry Pournelle, “your book has to be as entertaining as a six-pack of beer, because the price point is comparable.”

Here was a group I wanted to serve.   We pushed back the opening of the workshop to October 8th to give us a chance to just absorb what people were saying, what they needed, their dreams and hopes and goals.

Because if I could help them, the door was open to the kind of change that needs to be made in the world: simple reality-based writing, representing life and humanity as it is, and not as some special interest group wants it to be.   That’s all that is required to make this world a wonderful place.

Tananarive and I got to close out the cruise, giving back-to-back 90 minute lectures (and yes, they were recorded).  T’s was on characterization (“who am I?”) and mine on “Sociobiology and World Building” which was actually the history of the universe and where we stand in 13.7 billion years of change (“what is true?”)

Before I gave my talk, I went into the rest room and prayed.  “Please,” I said.  “Give me the strength and clarity to empty myself into these people.  Let me give 100%.  Someone in this group needs to hear something I don’t even know I am capable of saying.  Let it all flow.  This is the moment.”

By the end of that talk, and the attendees gathered around to thank me, I was sobbing.  They saw their own potential, their place in the universe, the growth and rise of life and humanity and society.  How we got here, and a way forward through honest loving communication.

Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

That’s all I’ve ever wanted.  The “Five Fold Path” which represents a lifetime of study:

1) Love yourself without guilt, blame, or shame…but responsibility

2) Expand your sense of “self” to include and love one other person

3) Expand your sense of self to include all mankind, again without guilt, blame, or shame.  We’ve done the best we can, and the only way to do better is to take responsibility…and let it go.  Remember that most violence stems from fear, that even anger is just a mask over that primary emotion.   And only love and faith can conquer fear.

4) Find your tribe. Grasp that others can disagree with you without being knaves or fools.  They may well be asleep…let them sleep. Trust me: we are ALL asleep in one way or another.  But also…realize there are snakes. Smiling monsters. Avoid them or be prepared to defend the children and sleepers from them. If YOU are not capable of dealing with them, be sure to include Warriors in your tribe.   And honor them for descending into the snakepit, doing what you cannot or will not do. Love them.

5) Succeed.   Massively, fully, passionately.  Nothing succeeds like success, nothing is as attractive as someone who is in love with life, is happy, healthy, and successful and in a passionate partnership.  Yum.   People will ask how you do it.    And when they do?   Hug them and whisper in their ears: “first, love yourself.”

And the cycle begins anew.

There are only two things to write about: “who am I?” and “what is true?”  And if you believe you see a truth of reality or humanity that is deeper and stronger than the dream or consensus reality (and remember that one man’s dream is another man’s nightmare!) then weave that truth into your actions, speech and writing, while avoiding dogmatism.   Become part of the cultural conversation.  That’s all it takes: SPEAK THE TRUTH.

I don’t care where you are on the political spectrum, if you are willing to communicate with honesty and compassion.  Truth is truth.  If it is true, we need to know it, and there is ultimately nothing to be afraid in it.

All my life, I’ve been playing with these thoughts.  “Who am I?” in the matter of being male, or black, or a writer, or an American.   “What is true?” in terms of the world, of the path to accomplishment, of how society reached this point, in terms of what art is or should be.

In terms of the way ahead.

I believe in us, as a species, as a country.  In writers as the ones who weave all of reality and history together in an eternal braid.

Humans are wonderful creatures…no more wonderful than ants, but no less wonderful than the stars. And each and every one of you has a song to sing.  Those who want to sing that song with the intent to actually communicate?  Actually touch the hearts of thousands?  Millions?  YOU ARE MY TRIBE, and I’ve sought you all my life.

As I write this, I just learned that Tananarive won the British Fantasy Award for her collection GHOST SUMMER.  THAT’S who my baby is.  I am proud to stand at her side as we open the doors of the REVOLUTIONARY WRITING workshop.  Please…if you are touched by these words, if you have the magic within you and are just looking for a way to let it out…join us.   This is real. This is the time.  I believe humanity is at a tipping point.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Take a look at what we’re doing at: WWW.CREATETHENARRATIVE.COM.

I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Bless you all…

Steve

Three major arenas

Those who have been reading my words for a while will realize that everything I say is merely the repetition of a single core idea, addressed from multiple directions: balance. Whether body, mind, and spirit, or the Chakras, it is all the same.

Even the Hero’s Journey is merely the path that we walk evolving from one level of balance to another: satisfy the lower needs and we automatically rise to the next level of concerns.

The Lifewriting system evolved to address balance after a lifetime of observing intelligent, educated, good-hearted people simply flailing about, unable to create the lives they desired, eventually consumed with despair and anger. And the answer seemed simple (although not easy). They had theoretical models for the way the world worked, but failed to understand that EVERYONE deletes information from their conscious input. It is simply impossible to take in all the data that exists. So the danger is that they delete everything that confuses their model of the world. We must all have a cosmology—a world view. But we must also have an epistemology—an understanding of the way we gather information, and a way to determine if our methods of gathering or correlation or extrapolation are accurate. Since experimentation with the outside world is often beyond us, the only laboratory we have to test our ideas is our own lives: our bodies, our careers, our relationships. To be certain, some aspects of these are beyond us as well, but we have infinitely greater control here than we have of events in the outside world, or events on the level of international politics.

Briefly:

1) Body. Our bodies are created by our daily behaviors. They obey the laws of physics: the balance between calories in and calories out must be respected. Yes, some people have slower metabolisms than others. Perfectly true. Life isn’t fair. Get over it. The smarter you are, the easier it is. It is possible to get all the exercise you need to be basically healthy in less than two hours a week. Diet is a nightmare of conflicting opinions. Again, if you haven’t been able to navigate this maze, notice that there are a few constants, and stick to those: large percentages of fresh fruits and vegetables, few processed foods, only eat carbohydrates to replace the fuel burned during the day. Calories must be below the amount burned to lose weight. Forget the fancy stuff.

2) Career. We have to balance income with expenditure. It is possible to be happy (or content, or at peace) in any life situation. If you are miserable at work, then it is your responsibility to either make change, or to change your own attitude. I’ve known people who waste their entire lives blaming their jobs, when it is their own lack of courage and emotional/creative flexibility that keeps them there.

3) Relationships. In relationships, you can have anything you can afford. The coin is passion, health, intelligence, self-respect, confidence. Men and women get into terrible trouble because they are attracted to people more attractive than themselves, and can’t be honest about it. Women complain that men want beauty, while men complain that women want power. Get over it. We’re wired up that way. The sooner you stop complaining, the faster you’ll be able to make decisions about the level of beauty or power you are willing to manifest in your own life to get what you want.

In each of these three arenas, there are painful truths we must face: we are lazy, we are dishonest, we are confused, we childishly wish the world to recognize our genius and follow our advice. If you can’t master these three arenas, don’t think you can save the world. I know many, many people who are balanced in these three areas. Few of them are geniuses. But they are honest, hard-working, loving people. And they have a certain deep wisdom about life that is acquired by actual contact with the realities of their existence. And they are happy, in ways that those who have mastered only one of the three arenas rarely are.

The more blocked or imbalanced you are, the more unfair the above will seem. And yes, there are those relative few who don’t want financial security, fitness, and an intimate relationship. But then, they will NEVER complain about not having those things. These things are attainable by about 95% of those in our culture through discipline and self-awareness. Some are born to poverty, or bad metabolisms, or horrific family situations… and will have to work harder than others. But it can still be done.

-Steve Barnes

“Mind Reading”

We talked about a piece of the technique known as “Mind Reading.” It is based on looking at all three major areas of a person’s life simultaneously. If they are an adult, you must assume that they have responsibility for their results. The way to calibrate this is to first apply it to yourself.

1) Fitness. This is not measuring yourself against some perfect-bodied swimsuit model. Even THEY don’t look like that between photo shoots and air-brushings and Photoshop. But you should be energetic, healthy for your age, and when you look at yourself naked in the mirror, should want to screw yourself. Hey, I know how that last part sounds, but if YOU don’t think you’re hunky or juicy, why the hell should anyone else? Shouldn’t you at least live up to your own standards?

2) Finance. You should make enough money to support yourself and one other person, doing something you enjoy doing. Optimally, it should be something you’d do as a hobby, or for free if you won the lottery.

3) Relationship. If you’re in a relationship, you should feel blessed to have the person you’re with. If you’re not in a relationship, you should feel content in your aloneness, and be deepening your contact with your spiritual core through ecstatic living or meditation or prayer. Can you see the face of the divine in your beloved? Do you grasp that the person you live with is an expression of your own self-image and self-worth?

##

The problem again is the lies we tell. The reason this technique works is that as we dig through the self-justifications, lies and pain that block us from having abundance in these three arenas, we learn so much. And the excuses we tell ourselves aren’t terribly different from those used by others across the country and around the world. For all practical purposes, EVERYONE wants to be healthy and sexy. EVERYONE wants to have the financial freedom to spend their lives doing what they want, and enough abundance to be of service to the people and causes they love. EVERYONE wants love and passion, or at least the inner connection and integration that brings peace and happiness.

Maybe .001 percent of people don’t want some version of these things. You are FAR more likely to be right if you assume they want them, regardless of what they say. Yes, you’ll be wrong sometimes… but less often than if you listen to their stories.

But you must start with yourself. So the question of the day comes back to truth or fiction again, the lies we tell ourselves to survive:

In which of these three arenas have you told yourself and others the biggest lies? And what were they?

Your Life Story, in advance

 

(My archivist found this from 2006.  Wow!  It was ten years ago that Scott Sonnon and I created the Path workshops?  Ahead of its time!  The new incarnation of this unique body-mind experience is the FIREDANCE TAI CHI experience.  Join us in Los Angeles for the next one at: http://www.firedancetaichi.com)

###

Yesterday, I was working on one of the exercises for the upcoming Path workshop. It consists of writing out my own obituary. This symbolizes a sense of rounding to life…there is birth, and there is death.

In-between those critical moments is the passage known to us as life. What will we do with it? What do we want to accomplish? Leave behind? What contribution to the world do we care to make? What lives will we touch, and how did we touch them? What did we make of the miraculous body we are given? What friends did we make, and what of the family we built?

These and other questions are central to the creation of what I call the “Life Story.”

Why not try this incredible exercise yourself, over the next week? Just write your life story, from today until the day you die. It can be in any form you want, and doesn’t have to be longer than one page. It does, however, need to cover the three most basic arenas:

1) Career
2) Health and Fitness
3) Primary relationship and family.

Look at it carefully—does it contain implications of the price you are prepared to pay for what you want? Remember: there is a price for everything you want in life. And the price is always paid in advance.

-Steve Barnes,

What does your life say about you?

Look at the three major areas of human life: body, mind, and spirit. What does your body say about you? Believe me, it says worlds about your values, discipline, emotional health, habit patterns and more. What does your career say about you? Are you operating at full efficiency there? Do you complain about money troubles, but not do anything about it? Do you dream, but not perform? Or are you working at a job that you would continue to do even if you won the lottery? This is a major sign of an optimal, active, healthy intellect–the ability to problem-solve until you are doing  for a living that which you would do for free.  (There are two ways to approach this: to either do the thing you love, or learn to love the thing you do.)

What about your relationship with your husband/wife/significant other? This is where you reveal yourself most clearly. You ARE your partner, flipped upside-down and inside out. If you like what you see across the breakfast table from you, great. If not, you have work to do. Remember: whoever you see over there was the best you could do. If you could have gotten someone smarter, handsomer/prettier, emotionally healthier–you would have. So take a hard look. Often, you can learn more from a person’s partner than you can from meeting the person.

Viewed in this way, there is a lifetime of study in understanding the people around us, and in understanding ourselves as well. And a lifetime of potential stories in examining how people’s flaws and gaps keep them from achieving their full potential. It can be painful to look at this stuff, but the only thing more painful is being terminally untrue to your own spirit. That, my friends, is a true tragedy. Better the pain of awareness than the agony of self-betrayal. By a long shot.

-Steve Barnes

Tai Chi, Yoga, martial arts, deep massage… All of them have the capacity to stir up emotions locked in the body. The Hawaiian Huna saying that “the body is a black bag where you store unprocessed emotions” comes to mind here. And unless you are prepared to process them, you will slowly become less and less comfortable with your physical transformation, until you eventually give up, or sabotage them, or arrange to injure yourself, or… We’ve all seen it countless times, and it isn’t just about the body.

Try making more money, or gaining more success than fits your self image or is supported by your family dynamics, beliefs, or values. Financial suicide.

Try diving into a relationship more deeply than you are prepared for. Watch the self-destructive behavior. The truth is that we were born with the capacity to love deeply and well, thrive financially, and relish our physicality. And anything less than that is damage we picked up along the way, or conflicting “programs” in the biocomputer.

The way out of this mess, the way to cut through the Gordian Knot our lives can become (we’re all raised by amateurs!) is to start by loving ourselves enough to conquer fear, anger, and guilt but also enough to commit 100% to PROTECTING ourselves, our dreams, our hearts. And thence to healing.

The next step is to simultaneously awaken ourselves from “sensory motor amnesia” and increase our energy.

Learning to move like a healthy animal demands healthy emotions, and the feedback loop is stupendous. And that means stupendously bad (physical abuse encodes fear in the body; fear builds walls; those walls not only protect us but confine us) or stupendously good (love dissolves fear and anger, leads to faith and gratitude; filling our hearts leads to the desire to share, leading to relationships, but also to the natural, healthy urge to hunt and gather for both self AND family, to having a blissful sexual relationship with someone we can share our life with; the physical body is the vehicle for all of this, and pride in its maintenance is a natural thing; anything else is UNNATURAL and learned.)

So yes, meditation and movement in the same package. However you manage to process your emotions (journaling, therapy, meditation, etc.) you’ll need to clean away the schmutz or you will push and push and push… and rebound back to your lower, more comfortable level. Don’t even try to pretend you don’t know what I mean: we’ve all done it, and watched it done by others, countless times.

Create your own combination of physical, mental, and emotional tools, and skyrocket.

-Steve Barnes,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k72z8ZjWqBI

Wow!  I found this this morning. This is the precise audio condensation of “Think And Grow Rich” that my mother used to play for me when I was a kid!  Over and over and over again, every day, until I thought I was going to go nuts. But…it sank in.  I began to find my behaviors falling in line with it, and my attitudes, and emotions, and strategies.  And to the degree that they did, I began to create the life I dreamed of.

Only forty minutes long, if you haven’t yet read the book, or haven’t read it recently, there is NOTHING you have on your schedule this week that is important enough to stop you from clicking on that link and listening to Earl Nightingale interpreting this amazing book.

The one caution I will add is that this is a book about thought, emotion, and action all combined.    Take ANY of those three out of the equation, and it falls apart.  You cannot JUST “Think and Grow Rich”.

Emotional people often think wanting something is enough.

Intellectuals often think that having a “good idea” is enough.

Physically compulsive people often think that simply charging around “doing things” is enough.

No.  You have to have a plan, WORK your plan daily, and deeply emotionalize your days so that your actions are charged with desire.  Here is a quote that boils down this pattern (and wow.  Mom lit me up with this every damned day.  What a lady!)

This is part of a “Self Confidence Formula” to be written down and recited daily:

I know that I have the ability to achieve the object of my Definite Purpose in life, therefore, I DEMAND of myself persistent, continuous action toward its attainment, and I here and now promise to render such action.”

Wow.  If you simply begin to do this, constantly notice the results you are getting, and make continual research and learning part of your “action” it is very difficult to see what could stop you in life. You’ll constantly get feedback that tells you what works and what doesn’t work.  What hurts and what heals.

Do this long enough, and you’ll develop a map of how behaviors create results short and long term.  IF you are constantly researching and trying out different things, and notice the results while keeping your eyes on the prize, you are like a traveler who can see a distant mountain while he tries a variety of paths.  So long as you can continue to orient yourself, your chance of reaching that mountain are greatly increased.

And once you’ve found a path?  You can mark it so that the next person can find it more easily.   And this is where “modeling” is so powerful—by modeling the success of others, you can often cut years or decades off your thrashing blindly.  Imagine the difference between trying to build a house from scratch, without any idea how it works other than having lived in one or seen one on the street…or buying a blueprint, or working on a construction crew in some menial position and observing everything the plumbers, builders, roofers and carpenters are doing.

But you have to have that definite purpose, aligned with your passions, and acted upon daily.

##

One of the fun things about the Earl Nightingale condensation is the bowdlerizing of the “Sex Transmutation” chapter.  I can understand that: prudishness around this issue would have appealed to my mother and many of her generation. But substituting the term “Enthusiasm” is rather laughably shallow, barely even scratching the surface.  NOTHING except the raw survival drive triggered by a near-death experience is more motivating than the desire for sex.  For most healthy people, find a way to convince yourself that you’ll get more, hotter sex, or that you will be providing for your family by performing action X and X is pretty much done.

Just a thought.  But still, I love this recording!

Namaste,

Steve

Eating the elephant in the living room

You were instructed, in the last of the six steps described in the chapter on Desire, to read ALOUD twice daily the WRITTEN statement of your DESIRE FOR MONEY, and to SEE AND FEEL yourself ALREADY in possession of the money! By following these instructions, you communicate the object of your DESIRE directly to your SUBCONSCIOUS mind in a spirit of absolute FAITH. Through repetition of this procedure, you voluntarily create thought habits which are favorable to your efforts to transmute desire into its monetary equivalent.”—Napoleon Hill

At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you… everything’s going to go south and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem… and you solve the next one… and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home. All right, questions?”–Mark Watney (“The Martian”)

##

If you combined Napoleon Hill and Mark Watney’s advice, I suspect life would have a very hard time slowing you down.      So intense and compact is Hill’s paragraph that I want to dissect a key sentence:

You were instructed, in the last of the six steps described in the chapter on Desire, to read ALOUD twice daily the WRITTEN statement of your DESIRE FOR MONEY, and to SEE AND FEEL yourself ALREADY in possession of the money!” 

Wow.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times high-performing people have  talked about how there is a part of their minds that is ALWAYS thinking about their goal.  Martial artists who have a little space in their heads where a guy is always doing kata, or looking at every human being’s body language. A writer who is listening to people speaking around him, or keeping a notebook to write down impressions.  I remember Linda Miller, a wonderful animator I knew in college, constantly carrying a notebook and drawing ALL THE TIME.

Note that you are told to read aloud a written statement.   That means that you have engaged kinesthetic, visual and auditory mechanisms ALL AT THE SAME TIME.  Flooding all your senses.   Feel yourself already in possession?   Lots of reasons: but one of them is that if you have 100% confidence, you take your brakes off.   You don’t “hold back” for fear of failure.

Guess what? You’ll survive failure.  People do every day. But if you don’t believe you can accomplish something, the doubts and demons in your mind will absolutely eviscerate you.

If you visualize yourself accomplishing something (say, publishing a book that rises to the top of the best-seller list) then you have imagined a successful end-point of a long process.  Back up to the point where you see yourself promoting the book: radio interviews, internet chats, bookstore appearances.

Back up to seeing yourself turning the book in. When?  What date?  How long is the book?  Divide by the number of days until your deadline, and you can see how many pages you need to finish per day to make that goal.

Back up to the writing process.  How much research are you doing?  How about ten pages of research for every page you write?  Can you see and feel that work?  Can you see yourself ENJOYING THE PROCESS?   Making the time, organizing, shepherding your energy?

How about your emotions?  Do you BELIEVE everything you are imagining?

If you take twenty minutes a day to visualize these things, its like programming your GPS before you set out on a trip. Can you see what you need to do today?  Every step? Feel the emotions that would support it?

Then, all you have to do is chart, every day, whether or not you are on the right path.

The “Morning Ritual” takes this and combined it with physical movement.   If you have a goal of peak performance, and your physical health is part of that (and it should be, in a “braid”), and your chosen movement system is a part of that goal, then “just” performing the Ritual itself is actually succeeding, day by day.

Then… “mere” affirmation becomes process.   When you perform the Ritual you are, right then and there, creating your dream. The demons in your head will snap at you, scream at you, insist that your goals are worthless and impossible…but if you actually ARE fulfilling your goal as you speak, those voices begin to sound foolish. You begin to realize that all your life, they have spoken lies to you, and you’ve given them power.

There is NO arena of human pursuit to which this sort of auto-suggestion has not been applied: spiritual, financial, emotional, physical, social.

Prayer, journaling, affirmations, visualization, anchoring, whatever you want to call it, its all the same: aligning actions, emotions, intents all in the same direction. Breaking long-term goals into short-term daily actions. The fear that holds you back from your dreams obscures the elephant in the living room—the desires you’ve had for a better life, a better world, all your life.

How do you eat that elephant?   One bite at a time.

You head toward your goals.  Every day, just do THAT DAY’S work.   Solve the problems you can.  “Science the shit” out of your life (as Dr. Watney said!), studying the lives of people who have accomplished your goals, and DO WHAT THEY DID if you can extract the “critical path”, the most important actions, attitudes, and concepts they applied.    

One step, one action, one forkful at a time.  Emotions, thoughts, actions all aligned.  THIS is the power of the “Morning ritual”—doing every day what you can do THAT day.  No more. No less.

##

We’ll be crafting and designing our life dreams and morning rituals at the FIREDANCE TAI CHI workshop on November 5.  I hope that you’ll join us.  Www.firedancetaichi.com