Asleep and Awake

Let’s look at the way two different models interact.

(Sleeping child–>Sleeping Adults)–>Awakened Adults

The arrows indicate the direction of growth.   A “sleeping child” is someone who  has accepted the consensus reality maps, and holds others responsible for their feelings, actions, and welfare.  A “sleeping adult” has accepted responsibility for his feelings and actions, but is still wrapped  up in the stories of life they got in childhood.

The parenthesis includes (for all practical purposes) all young people at one point, but as you reach the age of having children and losing parents, most begin to awaken and shed the automatic roles handed them by society, beginning to ask deeper questions about their existence.   The Sufi expression to “die before you die” suggests that real “awakening” comes to all of us at the moment of death, but that seekers attempt to open this door before they end their physical existence.

 

What stops us is fear.

 

Now lets look at another model: the Chakras.  Here, we have the notion that you can “awaken” two different ways: by engaging yourself with the physical world (mastery of the body, ethical sexual relations, building and maintaining a home, opening the emotions, learning to speak honestly and open the mind, building and testing a map of reality, and finally preparing for death).   You can also advance simply by opening your heart, then learning to navigate the world and protect your loved ones with integrity to your values.

 

What you CAN’T do is “open the way” by forming concepts that aren’t heart-centered or based on our animal relationship with reality.  That is the trap of the intellectual, and it is a vicious one (they sound SO reasonable).

 

A healthy human being will evolve naturally as they experience life. But abuse, trauma, dysfunctional family or social situations can slow or confuse this, retard development.  As the “sleeping” state includes the possibility of high financial and worldly success, there are PLENTY of people who  stay here.   The advantage of being an “awakened adult” is the advantage of playing Monopoly without hallucinating that you can move into Boardwalk.  You are “in the world but not OF the world,” and that allows you to avoid some of the traps of stress and ego. Some.   Useful state, and one available to almost anyone willing to do the work.   (There are more integrated states that can still be labeled, but they’re another matter).

 

That path of development is one you must claim for yourself. Societies will not encourage you.  In many ways they thrive on keeping you in an extended adolescence, or pretending that that a raise from 100k to 105k is more important than a year of hugs from your little girl.   Society needs dogs, not wolves.

 

The route to healing is so simple that people seek complication. “It CAN’T be that simple!”

Yes, it generally is.

 

  1. Love yourself.  Enough to connect with your natural instinct to protect your own child. Changes EVERYTHING.
  2. Love one other person.   A connected adult relationship.  Sex as part of that equation is powerful fuel, shattering ego walls and hitting a “reset button” on self-concept.
  3. Understand human history without guilt, blame or shame.  My personal preference is to also understand it without the typical human “my tribe is better” bullshit, but that’s a matter of faith, not rational conclusion.  But understanding that humans have done the best they could, that forgiving them is the doorway to doing better NOW, and not being afraid of the future is I think critical to being that awakened adult.
  4. Protect your tribe.  Don’t waste time arguing with sleepers or trolls.   The people and institutions that hurt you will also waste your life energy, trying to get you to convince them that water is wet while your children drown.
  5. Win with integrity.  Remember that you’ve been wrong before, and will be again. That you might win this time, but you will be down again, and that the BEST you can hope for is being treated as well as you treated others.

 

If you follow the road of asking “who am I?” and “what is true?” you will get there, so long as you anchor your answers either in love or physical experience.

 

If you follow your heart, connect with your Child self to unshield that rabid Mommy/Daddy Wolf, you will also get there.

 

Love yourself.  Love others. But don’t take shit from anyone.

 

It works.

 

Namaste,

Steve

www.afrofuturismwebinar.com

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“Who Am I?”

Every morning, I look at the comments on my thread and respond to them.   Never know what will catch my eye.  This morning I saw a comment from a black person raised by white parents, dealing with deep confusion and identity issues. Yet another FB friend is dealing with the fact that a mentally ill mother married an abusive, sexually predacious husband.

 

Two different types of damage, but both can be deeply affected by an inquiry into those core philosophical questions: “who am I?” and “what is true?”

 

Therapists, counselors, ceremonial leaders, gurus and coaches all have different approaches to dealing with the kinds of issues produced by damage and confusion in the early parenting years.   However you approach it, a suggestion:

 

Start with a picture of what life would be, internally and externally, if you had the peace and healing you seek.

 

You might start with “I would love myself. Be able to love others. Have a better instinct about what others want and who they are and what I can expect from them.   Be courageous in relationships and asking for what I want, demanding what I need, and walking away from people who will not meet me on equal terms.”

 

Define these things.   Seek out joyous people who accomplish their goals, find ecstatic love partnerships AND have healthy alive bodies–the chances that you can have all three of these things and still carry massive unhealed wounds is almost zero.   If you cannot, find people with as many of these things as possible, and study their attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors.  Study enough of them, and you’ll see that they overlap, and eventually you will emerge with your own theory of what a healthy, whole, integrated human being must be.

 

Once you see it, you then commit to have it.  And commit to taking daily action to get there.   Get your circle of allies, professional or personal.  Meditate, journal, engage in therapy and self-inquiry.   The “Ancient Child” is designed as one such inquiry, but if you suffered physical or emotional abuse, I strongly suggest you have professional  allies to provide “safety rails” for your process, just as you would go to a doctor to set a broken let.

 

But the first step in all such cases is to love yourself.  Forgive yourself for not being perfect. Believe that if you dig deep you will find something precious and beautiful, something worth the effort.

 

The horror of abuse is that it damages this core.  The tragedy of even a loving home is that our parents can never, ever be all we need–we must walk the last mile to self-discovery alone.   If the gap between us and our parents is wide enough, it can feel like an abyss.

 

But all they really NEEDED to do is love us.   Teach us to love ourselves.  Given that divine spark, the next steps, while lonely, are at least illuminate by the light of an open heart.

 

It isn’t everything we might want.  But it is enough.  Who are you?   Someone as precious as the stars.  What is true?  It is never too late to touch this truth.

 

 

 

 

Namaste,

Steve

www.fiveminutelifehacks.com

Creativity, and bringing down Stringer Bell

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Remember “The Wire”?  The entire focus was to bring down drug kingpin Stringer Bell.  He was too well protected for the police to tackle, so for a time he seemed untouchable. Then they decided to create a special team.  This team took all the information they had, put each piece onto a separate card, and posted them up on a board.

 

Then, a week at a time, they drew connections between people, places, actions.  And when they did…patterns began to emerge and even if they were defeated week after week, we could feel the noose inevitably tightening.  We’ve seen this process before. We know how it works.

 

And ultimately…it did.

 

We’ve seen this in cop shows countless times, a pattern of taking what is known, clarifying your end result, and then drawing the connections until you have a pattern you can use to achieve your goal.

 

This is what we want in our writing.  When the unconscious process works perfectly, you just wake up with a fully  formed idea.  Sometimes people dream the ideas, so that they literally wake up and just have to write it down. But if you don’t have a blessed situation like this, you can follow this same pathway to success, imitate the way your brain works when it is operating at full efficiency. YES, there are “geniuses” who do this automatically. But if they don’t understand their process, if they have a breakdown they often don’t know how to get started again.  “Writer’s Block.”

 

  1. Write down everything you know about the project. Just dump it out.
  2. Everything that suggests a scene, even if you don’t know where it goes, should be put onto a separate 3×5 card.
  3. Put a rubber band around the stack of cards. Carry it with you. In spare moments sort through it.   Re-arrange.  See if different orders bring different feelings.
  4. Don’t worry about what you don’t know.  Focus on what you DO know.
  5. Continue to feed your unconscious stories and films.  Study structure so that you have a “sense” of the overall “circle of story”.  Seek to organize the cards into a pattern that “kinda sorta feels like a story.”
  6. Don’t worry about “nailing it”.  Just try different orders.  Add scene.  Throw scenes out.
  7. Just keep re-organizing.
  8. From time to time, take those cards and pin them to the wall in rows. Step back and look at them all at one time.  You can color-code for characters, themes, sub-plots. The point is to give your mind a simultaneous overview of the entire thing.
  9. From time to time, write a synopsis of the story based on your current “stack”.   No more than 1-3 pages long.  Read it out loud. Read it to a friend. Watch their face as you do.  Ask them what they FEEL about it.

 

What you’re doing is allowing your mind to form patterns, to wiggle the information around in different ways without pressure.  As you do, as you use index cards, post-it notes, outlining programs, synopsis, mind maps or anything else, you are looking at the same story notion from different positions, deliberately shifting from THIS to THAT to THE OTHER until you find things that make sense. I seek a sense of “music”, as if I am composing.  Looking for an arc of emotion.   FEELING my way through the mass of thoughts and scenes.

 

And…if you continually focus on the Hero’s Journey, you’ll find that stack of cards organizing more and more elegantly, until one day you look at it and BANG!

 

OH MY GOD!

 

It’s a story.  And that is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

 

Namaste,

Steve

 

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Creativity can be easy, and fun.   What we’re doing in Afrofuturism and THE SUNKEN PLACE is feeding your conscious mind patterns so that your unconscious has a foundation to stand on.  If you are a fan, you will deepen your appreciation of the brilliance of your favorite art. If a teacher, you will understand how to help your students as never before. And if you are a creator…you have just hit the mother load.

 

www.afrofuturismwebinar.com

www.sunkenplaceclass.com

The Escrow Caper

Here’s a view of my process, regarding the new story: “The Last Adventure of Jack Laff: The Escrow Caper. (As transcribed by Steven Barnes)”
 
1) First I started with a social issue I wanted to comment on (I was specifically asked to write an “if this goes on” story)
2) Then I roughed out, on index cards, a potential story.
3) Then I created a 1-3 page outline of the story.
4) Then I transferred that outline to Writer Duet.
5) I broke it down and expanded it in script form, five pages a day until I had a 35 page script that, in rough form, felt “right.”
6) Then I transferred that script to Google Docs to turn script to prose. Again, five pages a day.
7) Transferred that file to Microsoft Word for formatting and polishing.
 
Somewhere in the process, I gave Tananarive a link to the document. She reads and comments. I also talked through a critical and delicate aspect of the story: I want to be responsible and considerate about an issue that is…touchy.
 
And she is finishing her notes now. I think I’ll finish the story today and get it to the editor for comments. Note that this is so broken down that at no point do I feel stress or confusion. It’s just “what needs to be done today?”
 
I love that feeling.

A Spoonful of Sugar

“In every job that’s to be done, there is an element of fun. Find the fun and SNAP! The job’s a game!”–M. Poppins.

Mary Poppins – A Spoonful Of Sugar (from “Mary Poppins”)

The most successful people in the world consider their work to be a game.

 

 

I love fantasy and SF films, and movies in general.    Storytelling. I consider it “meat and potatoes” of human society, not “frosting.”    I believe that artists should remember that they are BLESSED to be able to “play” to make their living, that their fans, readers, viewers need something back for the money and time they spend.  That if you remember that EVERY healthy person thinks the fruit of their hearts is precious, and you have an obligation to seek constantly to increase your value and communicate that value to the right audience, you have the best chance to make a living.

 

What are some of the values that you can provide?

  1. Your honest perspective on life.  That’s a precious one, and where you should begin. What do you actually believe is “true” from your own experience? What do you feel, think, what motivates you?  All of these help people answer the question “who am I?”
  2. Your honest perspective on other human beings.   Mine is that we are all basically the same.  If you believe otherwise, then have the courage to say it clearly.  There are enough people who will agree to support you, if you are honest and clear.  Don’t hide it–that is cowardly.    What do you think of love, and fear, and hate, and hope?
  3. If you have solved a problem in your life, you can easily create a story in which someone has the same challenge, and your solution helps them out of the maze.

 

Back to Mary Poppins.  So…the idea is that children must learn discipline and focused thought/action to become adults.  Without this, life becomes chaos. When adults don’t accept adult responsibility, the REAL children are not safe.  Adults, on the other hand, must not lose touch with their childhood enthusiasms, or life becomes a drain and a drudge.

 

 

So…children must learn discipline, and adults must remember play.  For children, the road is usually to wish to please their parents (and later their teachers).   Cleaning, obeying, courtesy, and homework teach the basic lessons that lead to the adult world. And as the first jobs available after school are usually minimum-wage jobs, you have to ask how you “climb the ladder” to jobs with greater fulfillment, more options, greater rewards.

 

Generally, it is by looking at the boss, learning his job, learning to see the company from his position. You strive to be MORE valuable than your current salary, and to learn ways of PROVING this to your boss.  Generally, if he BELIEVES that you make his life easier, and that you can leave to go elsewhere, he will WANT to keep you for his own reasons, and that leads to greater opportunity and reward.

 

You know what doesn’t work?  “I need more money.”   Yeah, you and everyone else.  What DOES work?  “You are cheating yourself if you don’t keep me. Here’s why.”  Now you are appealing to their selfishness. And that ALWAYS works.

 

How do you do this?  How do you perform a meaningless drudgery for enough time to become excellent?

 

  1. You must learn a way to become ENTHUSIASTIC about your job.  If not because you actually like the job, then because it can LEAD to a job you want, or because it will enable you to pay your bills to support people you love, or enable hobbies and enthusiasms.   Ever been out of work? Were you happy the day you got a job?  You can learn to recall that happiness, bring it into day after day.  Focus brings results.
  2. You must learn to COMMUNICATE the value you bring to the job.   Every human being is motivated by the urge to avoid pain and gain pleasure.  Show them how YOU decrease the pain in their lives, and if they believe you…if they believe that they will experience more pleasure by keeping than losing you, you are in great shape.  “Blowing your own horn” is kinda critical here.
  3. Enthusiasm leads to focused time. Focused time, if you are modeling excellence, leads to excellence. Communicating that excellence leads to reward.

 

So…teaching children to focus their enthusiasm even into things they don’t want is one of the primary jobs of parenthood.But REMEMBERING enthusiasm is the key to maintaining aliveness as an adult.

 

WHAT do you want?

WHY do you want it?

HOW will you do it?

 

The “what” is to develop excellence while having fun.

The “why” is a combination of joy, contribution, security, freedom, reward.  Moving toward the jobs that have greater self expression. Working “for the paycheck” is dreadful unless the paycheck is clearly seen to provide for people or dreams you love.

The “how” is modeling excellence, communicating value to those who can reward you, having the confidence that you have been developing unique skills, and the ability to trigger positive emotions on demand.

 

If you can see that, then you can see that this little scene in Mary Poppins, filled with light and song and joy, is actually an important life lesson, told with artistry and technical magic, a complex moment expressed simply, and one of the reasons the film is a classic.

 

 

Namaste,

Steve

www.afrofuturismwebinar.com

The power of honest emotion

Jordan Peele talked to us about “The Sunken Place”, the hypnotic abyss into which Chris sank in “Get Out”.

 

It is a place of darkness and shadow, from which Chris screams, unable to affect his own life.    Terrifyingly…it resembles a movie theater seat.  Jordan stated that the scene relates to his feeling about the Prison-Industrial complex, where a disproportionate number of black men and women are stripped of rights and the ability to speak and act with freedom.

 

That when he wrote this scene, he broke into tears. And that was how he knew he had to write it.  I just wanted to pull a single thing out of this–his emotional response.

 

You see, your emotions tell you when you’ve tapped into the actual fuel that motivates you.  Your SKILL is what enables you to communicate that emotion to others.  What did he need in that moment?

 

  1. A kickass horror moment. The audience had been waiting for something to happen, and he had to deliver.
  2. It needed to be unique imagery, designed to produce an emotional response even without dialogue.
  3. It related to a “sunken place” Chris felt psychologically, because of a belief that he had failed to save his mother.   This was the psychological chink the hypnotist exploited.
  4. It related to a larger social issue.
  5. This gives you congruence between multiple levels: intrapersonal (Chris within himself), inter-personal (between Chris and the hypnotist), social (the larger prison metaphor).

 

Jordan thought this through until all the different levels worked.   Then when he read it and got an emotional response, he knew he’d done his job.

 

This creates a story which, when consumed by the audience CAN ACTUALLY HELP TO HEAL THEM.

 

How?  By opening OUR emotions.  WE feel because JORDAN felt.   We then get to look at the events, perceptions, memories, thoughts that triggered those feelings.  We talk about them with others, in an enhanced national conversation.  This is just the way Greek Theater was supposed to work: after the play, citizens would go to wine shops (coffee shops?) and discuss what they had just experienced. Leading to questions like “what are we?” and “what is true?”

 

Answer those questions, and as individuals we get to align our animal, human, and spiritual drives. As a culture, we get to align these individual drives to the cultural values.   Who are we? What do we want? Where are we going?

 

We MUST discuss these things intra-personally (love yourself), inter-personally (love one other person) and socially (understand history) in order to be healthy and happy, to take responsibility for our lives and harness the amazing power of simply being honest about our fears and passions.

 

Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to ask questions.  Horror asks questions about powerful negative emotions: why do we fear?  What do we fear? Why do we seek to make others fear us, or do things that trigger that emotion?

 

Black horror just gets even more specific: what is it specifically that one American community deals with that had historically or currently triggered fear.  And if it is a fear that has not been discussed, the very energy of TRANSGRESSION “juices” the audience. “Wow! I’ve never seen THAT before.” And careful choreography of honest emotion can produce as much power as millions of dollar of special effects.

 

 

Namaste,

Steve

www.sunkenplaceclass.com

Our first SUNKEN PLACE class is in the can!

“The Class is Phenomenal!”–Lacroix Scott

 

We’re just starting to get the feedback from our SUNKEN PLACE class.  This is so wonderfully fulfilling.  Once you build the business structure, you can put 100% of your emphasis on SERVING THE STUDENTS.  Giving them everything you can, in a format that is both educational and entertaining.

 

We believe art is a critical human activity, the science of heart-to-heart communication. That drama allows us to both express ourselves and open minds.    This isn’t “just” about horror, although we certainly deal with the nature of it. Or “just” about race, although race has been a generational nightmare for millions of children of the Diaspora.   It is about what we are as human beings, the way we make sense of the world, and what we can do as individuals to create that shared future.

 

If you are a fan, a teacher, or a creator of dark fantasy (pun deliberate)–join us on an amazing journey.   Www.sunkenplaceclass.com

MLK, America, and the Hero’s Journey

 

MLK had to cut a Gordian Knot.  And the weapon he chose was a combination of love and righteous strength.    It is fascinating the way people have tried to neuter this firebrand, who forget that the same words used to demonize movements like BLM were used against him at the time. He was a rabble rouser, a Communist, a pervert, and on and on.   After he died he became a saint, and the exact same words were used against people who used the same tactics King was using 50 years ago.  It would be funny if it weren’t so sick.

 

He wasn’t something superhuman. He was a man willing to die to accomplish a goal, and that made him dangerous to the status quo.  He fully understood that he probably wouldn’t live to see the fruition of his dream.  Probably understood that his words would be turned against his children by the very people who used to use fire hoses and dogs against him.

 

He got that.  It was part of the process.   And I think he’d recognize where we are right now.

 

The Civil War got us about 50% of the way. MLK got us another 25%.  And now, right now, we’re looking at another 12.5% as we proceed asymptotically toward the Promised Land.  Make no mistake: the racial component of the political chaos is a reaction to the progress we’ve made.  If you do not embrace love, and do not have faith, and believe in equality—not “legal equality”, not “in the eyes of God” equality, but that the different families of Man really are equal–then this is a moment of terror. The dark night of the soul.

 

The Hero’s Journey is the story of a human being making progress…or an entire nation.

  1. Hero confronted with a challenge.  To live up to the wonderful words of equality in our constitution.
  2. Hero rejects the challenge.   The most natural thing in the world is to assume your family, your neighborhood, city, school, state, political party, tribe or race is the best.   When you combine this with the economic need for cheap labor, you have a nightmare.  You aren’t just giving up that economic advantage–if you admit you wronged these people, the guilt and fear are massive.
  3. Hero Accepts the challenge.  Those who didn’t need the economic advantage were first able to see the evil, in the same way that vegetarians find it easier to grasp the misery of the slaughterhouse.  And America began to realize it was going to have to make a decision.
  4. The Road of trials.  Painful struggle, no question about it.  Horror show of abolition and succession and war, Jim Crow and Segregation.  One could create an entire cycle within each of these realities and reactions.
  5. Allies and Powers.   We formed this country with a mighty dream of human freedom, one which will guide us out of the woods, whatever snakes and sleepers we have to avoid along the way.  MLK was one powerful ally, one who called us to the better angels of our nature.  And because he spoke of love rather than fear, faith rather than despair, it was possible for even those who didn’t want us marrying their daughters to grasp that there was something terrible happening, and the cry of “State’s Rights” was just an excuse to prolong the agony.  He was, in this context, perhaps the single most powerful ally our Hero, our Country, has ever had.  And died for it.
  6. Confront Evil, Defeat: We awaken in stages.  Those most deeply in the dream, as well as snakes, burrowed themselves deeply within the system, learned to change their rhetoric, and create alliances with people who needed their votes.  As the world continued to change, they were compressed and cornered enough to create a politically Newtonian counter-action.    It was not “all about race”.  But anyone who thinks race was not a component hasn’t been paying attention.
  7. Dark Night of the Soul.  Listen to the despair, fear and anger, mostly from people who were not around during the 60’s, or weren’t paying attention to how bad things were.
  8. The Leap of Faith.   Between the Civil Rights movement and the Cuban Missile Crisis, there is simply nothing we’ve not seen before.  And we got through it. And THEY were not as bad as things the human race has fought through for all its 250k years of existence on this planet.   We endure. We grow.  We connect.  And when we speak to each other, from the heart, we see our own souls in the eyes of others, and if we feel love, we can begin to drop our guard, don’t need to defend the sins of our ancestors, and face the future.
  9. Confront Evil–and win.   This is the next step.   If we’ve taken the previous steps, we can have confidence in the next one. There will be doubters, of course, and those who fight against it, and those who are so beaten down that they cannot believe.
  10. The Student Becomes the Teacher.   Whenever we learn, grow, find a new and better path we can lead others.  America held up its ideals for centuries, and we’ve shed blood to try to live up to it.   We are part of that dream of freedom and joy the human race has nurtured, with only fear and predation preventing us from embracing each other.

 

Love and faith conquer fear.  And I have a dream that we will finish awakening from the nightmare.  Get down to that last 12.5%.  I might even live to see the next “bump” of about 6.25%. But you know something?   I’m damned proud of us. We’ve come a long way.

 

And MLK was, as I said, one of the greatest allies the national conscience ever had.  Just remember that he wasn’t a cream puff.  And that the crap you hear hurled at “Social Justice Warriors” today was hurled at Civil Rights advocates 50 years ago.   And for the exact same reasons: trying to fight the future.

 

The future always wins.

 

 

 

Happy MLK Day!

Steve

www.sunkenplaceclass.com

For those irritated by compassion…

People who think I’m bending over backwards not to hate, to see humanity as united, to see most violence and cruelty as springing from fear rather than raw evil,  to open my arms with love even to those who have wronged me, I wish you to consider that, in absolute candor…this is the mode of thought I adopted in childhood to keep from hating white people.

When you ask me to hate conservatives, or to “admit” that men are worse than women, or Muslims less than Christians, or take a side in most other binary equations (save those specifically related to behaviors)  this is exactly, precisely, the attitude you are asking me to change. I could not change one setting without affecting the others.

 

And no, you wouldn’t like me if I did.  Conservatives who do the “Liberals hurt black people more than slavery” are NOT making a case for Conservatism. They are making a case not to trust any white people at all.   I sometimes think they really, truly, seriously don’t understand that.

 

So…leave it alone. First, you can’t change me. I’m cooked. I’m who I am, and the chances that you can present an argument, or information, I’ve not already heard and discarded or integrated on a subject I’ve researched for thousands of hours aren’t terribly high.  You do NOT know me better than I know myself.  I have no reason to believe you know YOURSELF better than I know myself.

 

And second…if you could change that core position on humanity?  I promise you wouldn’t like the results.

 

Namaste

Steve

Stages of Grief

Karl J.  Martin said something very smart: that part of what we are seeing politically is similar to the stages of grief, or acceptance of death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance

 

Denial (“He didn’t say it”)

Anger (“Fake media!”)

Bargaining (“Well X and Y said things just as bad!)

Depression (Remember that depression is anger/fear with no one to fight and no where to run.)

Acceptance

 

What you have here is the reason Sun Tzu says to ALWAYS leave your opponent a route of honorable retreat.  Otherwise, they will fight to the death, and you will lose more men…or might even lose a battle you might otherwise have won.  There is nothing worse than fighting someone with nothing to lose.

 

As you see people moving through these stages, please remember to treat them as you would wish to be treated. And how is that?  Well…compare to a dysfunctional  or abusive relationship.   We have invested ourselves, given ourselves physically and emotionally, and it is HARD to admit we were wrong.  Remember what Swift Deer said: “Do not trust people. Instead, rely upon them to do what is in their best interests. It is up to you to be able to determine what that is.”

 

Proposed: much of the country made a mistake.   Conned?   Following a dangerous set of values, beliefs, and warped perceptual filters? Perhaps.  Afraid of future shock?  I think so, and I don’t consider that a sin: there is ALWAYS a tension between “we’re moving too fast” and “we’re not moving fast enough.”   Often, the caution is correct.  If it was not this time, if the urge to slow things down led to a seriously ill decision, remember that over the course of human history caution was a serious survival trait.

 

Most mutations do NOT create Wolverine.  And as society evolves, we are testing different ideas about humanity, gender, race, sexuality, spirituality.  “Who am I” (or: “who are we” or “who are they”) and “what is true.”

 

Its hard. It always has been.  I don’t try to track all the ideas that make up political platforms.  It is hard enough to gain or keep clarity about the underlying belief patterns. In the one I pay the most attention to, race (and regardless of what anyone says, NO ONE cares equally about everything and everyone.  Everyone prioritizes unless they are capable of making no decisions at all, paralyzed into inactivity). And my thought is that we proceed toward an acceptance of the notion of equality asymptotically.  The Civil War got us about 50% of the  way there, at dreadful cost.   The Civil Rights era, complete with riots got us another 25%.    It is possible that we are dealing with the next 12.5% right now.

 

Apply these same patterns to gender, sexual orientation, fear of America’s changing place in the world, economics, pot-versus alcohol, Christian versus Non-Christian, “We are part of the environment” versus “the world is ours to use” and so forth, and you can see that “who are we?” and “what is true?” stuff boiling away.

 

And…we’re trying to resolve it without actually bringing out the knives and killing each other.    Anyone who says “we’re more divided than ever” is really just saying “we’re more divided than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.”

 

THAT is probably accurate.   But it is also short sighted.   Humans are doing the best they can, and anthropologists tell us that our past was more violent and contentious than our present, by a wide margin.  We’re getting better.  Communicating better. Loving more and fearing less. Which implies seriously disturbing things about what our ancestors were dealing with.   The pains and fears our ancestors accepted as their daily dose of reality.

 

Respect them.

 

As for what is happening now, remember the steps:

  1. Love yourself.   Learn to deal with the stress in your life so that it doesn’t become strain.If you aren’t sleeping well and waking up refreshed, this could well be a factor.   DEAL WITH THIS.  Protect yourself, or the stress will break you.
  2. Love one other person. Open your heart.  It will teach you that no one is perfect, we all sin, we are all flawed.  We also learn that in arguments, fear shuts down the logical faculties, even when arguing about trivial things.   That’s what we do.
  3. Understand history without guilt, blame or shame.  If you can take responsibility for your own flaws, and love yourself anyway, and love others despite their flaws, studying history will show you that there is NOTHING happening now that has not happened before.   Trump was the very definition of a political Hail Mary pass.  People didn’t like the direction the country was going, and tried something drastic.   It didn’t work.
  4. Protect your tribe. Don’t argue with sleepers or snakes.  Most of the citizens of our country, or of the world, are decent people just trying to live and raise their families.  They make mistakes, as our ancestors did. As the people you love do. As you have.   Take no shit, but don’t GIVE more shit than you have to, either.  If we are one soul looking out through many eyes, you are seeing a lot of wounded, frightened people, people who don’t understand that the world is changing and that’s all right.  Some of them are awakening. If they do, remember that they are your brothers and sisters and children and neighbors. Welcome them in from the cold. Off them shelter. Few of them are snakes, even fewer are monsters. Most were just asleep.
  5. Win…with integrity.  We are winning.  The wheel is turning, and mythologies thousands of years in the making are breaking down.   Of COURSE there is resistance.  Fear. Anger.   Be strong, but gentle.  If you get angry, that is fear. If you are afraid, you are hypocritical not to grant others the right to be afraid. Deal with your fear, and your anger will dissolve.  And from there you can say:

 

You made an error. We all do.  Maybe next time I’ll need you to forgive me for my errors.    Let’s talk together as human beings, as Americans, and put the knives down.  If I am attacked, I will defend myself and my tribe–by closing the door.  And my tribe?  Anyone willing to address the question “who am I?” and “what is true?” from a position of human equality.  That’s the starting place.  If you can leave your need to feel superior at the door, there is a place for you at the fire.  And even if you cannot…I understand.  It is ultimately a matter of faith.  And whether you can make that leap or not…I still have faith in you, and nothing you can do can shake it.

 

I am stronger than your false self-image.  My truth is stronger than your nightmare.

 

 

Namaste

Steve

www.afrofuturismwebinar.com