Blind Leading The Blind

“We are Lemmings

We are crazies

We will feed our flower habit

Pushing Daisies

— “Lemmings” the National Lampoon off-broadway show


I remember driving up to Vancouver B.C. many years back to watch an episode of STARGATE SG-1 I wrote being filmed. And on the set was Jason Mamoa. He was hanging out with the other actors, an imposing hulk of a man, perfectly muscled. I asked him how much time he spent in the gym, and he sort of smiled and said that he didn’t really work out much. I felt my stomach drop out. WHAT? He just NATURALLY looked like…


After he wandered away, one of the other actors leaned over and confided “he just says that. He’s in the gym all the time.”


Thank you, Jesus. I could feel my mind throwing up every hissing voice: there are just perfect people in the world. Some folks are born that way. Its no use even trying…


All mind games of course. People who secretly work their asses off, experience every negative emotion and struggle imaginable but want YOU to believe that it is either easy…or you can’t do it at all.

The Myth that someone somewhere is having it easier than you.




I remember working out at my karate school, struggling to learn every technique, to manage my fear in sparring, and stay focused. A guy named Reggie walked in one day. He was athletic, but had no real skill. He was fast and aggressive, but I could handle him, because he had no skill. He was fearless and didn’t seem to feel pain, but he had no…


Oh, shit, I thought to myself. This guy, first day coming in, is a born black belt. Over the next weeks, he developed so fast it was frightening. And I felt so discouraged. I had struggled, and fought, and torn myself into pieces learning the skills Reggie was learning so fast it was obvious he’d be better than me in another month. Why even bother trying when there are “naturals” like Reggie…


And later I learned some things. Reggie owned a security company. He had grown up HARD, streetfighting every day of his youth. Grown up in a home with a father who hit him, so that he learned how to dodge and absorb pain and bare his teeth and fight back…from the cradle. In other words: he had, at great cost, learned literally every single attribute of a fighter other than the specific skills we were learning in class. He wasn’t a “natural.” He was a survivor.


You NEVER know the price other people have paid to be who they are. If you compare yourself to the supposed “naturals” you take your eyes off the only standard that matters: are you better than you were yesterday? If the answer is “no”, ask why, because you can ALWAYS improve something. If the answer is “yes” simply rinse and repeat.




I asked people to make comments, questions, or requests of us as we head into the last SOULMATE PROCESS. The entire class is NOT about learning “techniques”, it is more about removing the blocks that stop you from functioning as a natural human animal. Mating is EASY on this level…but we add so many twists and turns, our egos warp us into conceptual boxes, our fears stop us from accessing our love and energy, and we have so many false concepts.


Mike Ralls wondered if part of the problem is that Incels and their ilk have unrealistic expectations of relationships based on film, television, and magazine stories. Well, duh. We definitely get the wrong notion of how men and women are supposed to be in life…but it isn’t confined to relationships.


We get time-lapse training montages in “Rocky” movies that make it look easy to whip yourself into world-class shape


Time-lapse images of inventers and business people having “Eureka” moments or building empires.

Beautiful images of gorgeous movies stars stricken with that Hollywood disease that kills you while leaving your hair and makeup perfect, so that your family can gather around your hospital bed politely sniffling.

Blue-collar people with million-dollar apartments in Manhattan.


Writers who dash off a few pages a day (only when their muse arrives, of course) and are immediately rewarded with best-seller status.


And it isn’t “Hollywood”. Look at the cinema of any other country, and you’ll see exaggerations just as extreme, flights of fantasy just as damaging if you never grow up.


This is damaging. We believe the mythologies. Worse still, to protect our egos we join “pity parties” of other wannabes who develop mythologies to protect them from the fact that they aren’t on an effective path, or haven’t stayed on that path long enough to get the result.


“Incels” literally don’t understand the mating game, and blame women for sticking them in the “friend zone” instead of working on healing until they would be attracted to themselves.


People who can’t change the habits that lead to weight loss will literally blame their bodies for not obeying the laws of physics. Do NOT think I am exaggerating: I’ve actually heard those words.


Newbie writers will ignore the advice of writers and editors who have been down the road before them, claiming that things have changed so drastically that “the old rules don’t work” in spite of the fact that every day, a new writer gets published following those old rules.


People will be frequent posters on Facebook, but lie to themselves and insist they don’t have ten minutes a day to exercise, write, meditate, whatever.


If you are driven by fear, your ego will grab onto an unrealistic image of the process, and when you can’t live up to that unrealistic expectation tell you see? You can’t do it!


Why? Because ANY result that demands you let go of one image of yourself and grow into a new one will trigger fear. A comfortable illusion is prefered to a fearful transformation, EVEN IF EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER WANTED IN YOUR LIFE IS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT TRANSFORMATION.




One of the very best statements anyone has made about the Soulmate Process has to do with a question she has begun to ask herself: “Who do I want to grow old with?”


Wow. Just…wow. Do you understand how courageous, how honest, how CLEAR that question is?


Not “How can I pick someone up tonight?” or

“Who can I trick into marrying me..?”

Or “who would make my friends jealous?”

Or “who is the best I can do without changing..?


Or any other such short-term, shallow question. It is the question of an adult, aware human being.


This is the path of life. I wish to mature, have a family, work hard and be a part of my community, live with joy, experience passion and commitment, and grow old with dignity.


Who do I want to share this journey with me? Someone who has their own sense of destiny and is heading in the same direction. Someone who shares my values so that my habits and goals are in alignment with theirs.


Someone who has a similar relationship with their sexuality, so that we can rock each other’s socks off. Someone who can be my friend, and business partner, co-parent, lover, help mate.


Someone I can laugh and cry and work and play with. Who I can drop my mask with and BE MYSELF, DAMMIT.

And to do that…you have to know who YOU are, so that you will know what you really want. To love yourself enough to want the very best for yourself. To be honest enough to crave only an equal trade with another adult human being whose eyes are wide open. To have enough faith in yourself to be willing to walk the world alone, if necessary, and be joyous enough to radiate “here I am!” to the world, like a bird singing its song in the forest, knowing that somewhere among the trees is another bird listening for THAT song. Your song.


The person you want to grow old with, who also gladdens your heart and boils your blood. THAT is the right question.


Want a plaything for a weekend? Well…frankly, while you are working on yourself ,and projecting yourself to the world, you’ll certainly meet some interesting people. And have some very interesting times. Ahem. And that’s all fun, BUT ITS NOT THE POINT.


This notion works for everything. What path of physical development do you want? Ultimately what kind of career? What kind of financial future?


Find the people who come the closest to having that life. What is the price they pay? Get close enough to observe them. Read about them, study them…and remember that in life, there is a price for everything you want…and the price is always paid in advance.


Don’t believe in the stories of the “naturals”. Don’t believe in “talent”…trust in hard work, effective modeling, honest evaluation, passion and the magic of time compounded weekly, monthly, yearly. Of small improvements multiplied against each other. Of finding a path that warms your heart, and staying with it even if the rest of the world tells you you are wrong.


I have found that the people who have actually accomplished what you seek, once they know you are really on the same path, will encourage you and tell you the truth: its all work. Its all staying on the path. Its all loving the work you do for its own sake, and not paying too much attention to how the outside world rewards you. Don’t chase the glitter, just keep mining the gold.


Its hard, because there are so many lost souls trying to justify the maps they drew without ever knowing the territory. It isn’t them. It isn’t the map. Its these damned woods!


Sigh. Be careful. Its so easy to get lost. But the way out is clear enough: begin with the end in mind.

All it takes to get everything you need is everything you’ve got. The price of life’s ride is the same for everyone: one death at the end of it.


Keep your eye on the ball, and stop listening to the people who have never made it out of the woods. They may love you. They may be sincere. But they just don’t know, and when the blind lead the blind, it is easy to fall off a cliff.




“Incels” are Everywhere

The “Incel” phenomenon is basically people blaming the world for their own non-optimal habits and damaged emotions.  Confusing ignorance for wisdom.   Clustering in pity parties  and reassuring each other that there’s nothing wrong with THEM, it’s those damned X;s.    I see similar behaviors with physical, mental, and other social arenas.


It is so sad.  They spend more time evolving complex theories to explain their failures (“nothing wrong with US!”) than brainstorming solutions.    They listen to other failures, rather than studying successes.

Its heart breaking.  Some of these people are perfectly intelligent, attractive, whatever.  But they want the world to come to THEM.  They think their egos can survive the process of transformation.  Letting fear control their lives and kill their dreams.   I suspect there are “Incel” attitudes in every major arena of life.

As Jim Rohn said: there is a price for success, and the price is always paid in advance.

No, I don’t think smart people do more of this. It is just more disorienting  when they do.   (“But…they’re SMART!”)


Here’s something to think about:

  1. We make decisions emotionally and justify them logically
  2. Everyone is just smart enough to bullshit themselves.


I do not exclude myself from the above.  Ultimately, there are things I cannot “prove” about my positions, and I admit that.    Human equality is one.   Unlike Flat Earthers and Anti-Vaxxers and a few other things, there really are reasonable arguments on both sides.  So I just ask myself a few things, with the underlying “Faith-based” assumptions clearly marked:


  1. Do my beliefs allow me to love and understand myself and humanity?  (belief: at the core of human beings is a dance between love and fear)
  2. Do my beliefs put primary responsibility on the guy in the mirror? (belief: I have the power to determine my life experience)
  3. Do my beliefs take the “easy road” of assuming tribal superiority?   (belief: human equality between groups)
  4. Do my beliefs explain the past?   (belief: while human behavior cannot be predicted on the individual level, we CAN understand it after the fact)
  5. Do my beliefs explain current events?
  6. Do my beliefs point a clear path of action to a better future (beliefs: since a billionth of a second after the Big Bang, the history of the universe has been a continuing process of increasing complexity and connection.  Problems created by humans can be solved by humans)
  7. Do my beliefs empower humans or disempower them?   (belief: anything anyone else can learn something, I can learn it, and anyone with a healthy nervous system can learn it. Some, however, learn faster or transfer skills from one arena to another and seem to be “naturals”. The best single approach is to model the beliefs, actions, and strategies of people who have already accomplished your goals, especially those who started at a point close to your own origin.  But the smarter and more perceptive you are, the easier it is to extract these critical maps even from people in other fields, of other ethnicities or genders, nationalities, or born in different eras. The underlying human stuff is the same, and life has never changed in its essence)
  8. Do my beliefs explain extreme human behaviors without dehumanizing?   (Belief: at the core of EVERY human action is the desire to connect with the divine)
  9. Do I piss off the extremes on both sides?  (You betcha!)
  10. Are the first steps for change available to all?   (Absolutely: A) sixty seconds of deep, diaphragmatic breathing every 1-3 minutes.   B) Love yourself.   The beginning “buy in” is only five minutes a day.  Belief:   Anyone who says they care, but can’t find five minutes a day IS LYING TO THEMSELVES.)

There are probably others, but I thread those needles and ask:  Is it true?  Is it useful?  Is it kind?

If I can’t prove its true, it better the hell be useful and kind.

Sometimes the truth stings, but if the ego is the only part recoiling, I think that’s not excessive, when the potential gain is, literally, the love, life, passion, success and joy you desire.




Begin With The End In Mind

“Love is all you need”–John Lennon


We are about to wrap up the Core recordings for the SOULMATE PROCESS (you can still join the group at the last recording coming this Saturday.   We’ve explored the basic framework, which is NOT some short term “how to pick up chicks” or “how to make a man fall in love with you” nonsense, but rather the notion that healthy animals don’t have much trouble mating.   While the “pick up” crap is about faking being healthy, sexy, and available, the process of actually BEING healthy, open-hearted and energetic is vastly superior because not only are you maxing out your chances of finding a partner, but even if you don’t find one, you already have the ultimate goal: joy. Happiness.   Feeling connected to your loving heart.


I also had conversations with people who felt they could not achieve their goals because they had no “insider” resources.  What was most curious is that he was arguing, in real time, with TWO people who were…wait for it…insider resources.   HE COULDN’T SEE THE RESOURCE THAT WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM.   I started my career with NO contact with any “insiders”, but what I did have was a sense of urgency and necessity, a belief in myself, a LOVE of myself that made me willing to push for my own dreams as hard as I would fight for the people I loved. Why?  Because I saw how accomplishing my dreams would SERVE the people I loved, if in no other way because I would be filled with joy, and would be able to communicate that joy to them, use it to POWER my connection with them.



Another conversation had to do with the power of finding a mentor.   In saying that that connection can blow your limited self-concept out of the water, you are threatening the ego.  If I tell a black belt that I can’t move, fight, handle fear or focus the way the black belts do, the unspoken assumption is: “people with these abilities are a different breed.”


If one of them takes me aside and tells me his story, that he started where I did, and that someone told HIM that if I will just define the five things I think black belts have that is most critical to their capacity, and focus getting just 1% better at ONE of those things in every class, work on that ONE thing just a few minutes every day, and commit to hitting three classes a week for one year and journaling their thoughts, feelings, and learnings…


That at the end of that year, he promises that I will understand.  I’ll be in a new place in my life.  And if I BELIEVE him?  If I can find the faith to believe that the others have the same humanity, the same insecurities, once were clumsy or slow or weak or fearful, no matter how godlike they seem to my beginner’s eyes?


If I LOVE MYSELF enough to risk the pain of failure, the way I would risk walking through fire to save my children?   If I can find enough faith to take another step?


Its like driving in the fog.  You can only see for ten feet. But if you drive ten feet, you will see another ten feet.


All of the above is in my experience true. But just grasping that your life COULD have been different can trigger grief.  The road not taken.   Fear, for the shortened road ahead.  Anger, at the people who promised help and didn’t deliver. Or SHOULD have been there to help you…but weren’t.


Anger is fear.  The antidote for fear…is love.




Yesterday I posted a video of a masterful young Tai Chi player.   Maybe ten years old.  And wished that my parents had given me the gift of such body-mind unity at such an early age. And my friend Steve Perry asked if I was happy with what I had now.   He was encouraging me to check in: was I happy with who I was?




Then you have to honor the road that brought you to this point. To grasp that the person I was was a direct reaction to and the result of the challenges I”ve met in my life.  That the precise same focus, drive, tolerance for disappointment and exploration of fear that worked in this arena helped me succeed in my writing career, and have the courage to open my heart again and again after disappointments and disasters to enable me to find Tananarive.


Same struggles. Same guy.  It’s ALL part of the same thing.  It took me SEVENTEEN YEARS to work through the fear to earn my first black belt.


And because of that, there is nothing you, or him, or her, or ANYONE can tell me about their disappointment, and grief, and pain that doesn’t resonate with my own journey.  No, I won’t agree with any of them that they cannot have their dreams.  I’m not built that way.


Because I come from love. For myself, and the child within me. And because I see myself in them.  IN EVERYONE. And everyone in me.




I just saw a conversation about political opponents, where the basic agreement was that the opposition were coming from sub-human, horrible motivations.  And it is easier to say: go deeper.   If anger is fear, and you ask what people are afraid of, most of it boils down to personal or genetic death. Hind-brain stuff, connected to faith-based perceptions on the basic nature of humanity: people who believe in equality, REALLY believe in it, see themselves in others. Those who don’t, who fear the “Other”, who cannot see the humanity of their political opponents…


Aren’t they the same people struggling with racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia?  No matter what they SAY can’t you see the struggle within them to live up to their principles, to be a Ghandi, or MLK, or JFK, or Lincoln, or Buddha or Jesus Christ or Mother Teresa, or whoever or whatever else they hold as an ideal?  Under it all, can’t you feel the grief and fear of not living up to that ideal, and the sense of falling short of the glory that fills their eyes and hearts and minds when they fix themselves on that ideal..?


I am not enough.   I judge others as I would not wish to be judged.  I am a sinner, and can only pray no one sees what is really corrupted and broken inside me…


Anger is fear, remember.   Ask what they are afraid of…


But you cannot do that if you are at war within yourself. First love yourself.  Then see yourself in others.  The rest is just details.




That starting point works for so many things, in so many ways, that it is in essence a miracle.  Right in your hands. Right in your hearts. At ANY moment of your life you can commit to loving yourself.    You will know you do when you have the energy, fearlessness, and faith you have when giving to your family or children, when you protect your dreams the way you would fight for them.   When people spit venom at you and you see their fear rather than their rage.


Love really is the answer.    It does not make you weak. Rather, it connects you to the animal survival drives that turn you into an absolute BEAST if your core values, or those you love, are threatened.  That mother lifting a car off her child?   That’s the beast.  Would you want to screw around with someone that committed?


No?   Then if you would be safe in the world…if you would be loving or influential or courageous or energetic or evolved…


Start with love.   Begin with the  end in mind. And always, the end is joy, and peace…


And love.





“Captain Marvel” (2019)

Maybe I have a problem with Marvel’s approach to space fantasy. Maybe. For half of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY I sat in the theater not really impressed by what I was seeing on the screen. No one was real. It was all posturing, and call-backs to favorite songs, and archetypes rather than characters, splotched against a world of heightened colors and jokey one-liners. It wasn’t until a drunk Rocket Raccoon was raging about the monster he was that the masks dropped and I saw…people. With hopes and dreams and needs and fears. And , at the end, “We are Groot” just devastated me. Re-watching that movie now, understanding what Gunn was aiming at, I can dig the hell out of it from the first frame. And in the sequel, when Gamora says to Nebula “I just wanted a sister.” I FELT that. There is a beating heart at the core of it, and it fits smack dab in the middle of what I’ve always considered “the Marvel universe.” Sound and Fury and Technicolor fun…with a beating heart.

I’m sad to say there was no such moment in “Captain Marvel” (played with conviction by Brie Larson) I had the exact same feeling I had for the first hour of “GOTG” only this time it lasted the whole two hours. Oh, the tribute to Stan was wonderful and opened my heart, but diving into the fractured time-lines, and multiple character levels and alliances switched identities and enemies and locations without ever letting me really FEEL anyone, anywhere, was disorienting. Where are we now? WHEN are we? WHO are we? Is THIS what I’m supposed to care about? How about THIS? How about this action choreography that looks like dancing instead of fighting? How about this relationship between Pilot/Alien warrior Carol Danvers and her human friend (Lashana Lynch) , who grew up with her? Scattered memories, none of them triggering emotion in our character, extracted from her mind by aliens seeking information…or more honestly, by a filmmaker seeking to throw enough back-story at you that you would suspend disbelief for the CGI mayhem to come.

The story of an amnesiac warrior from another galaxy dropped into 1990’s Earth in search of a weapon or a star-drive (we have a galactic empire. Two of them. Maybe three. But none of them have developed a FTL drive, although they seem to hop around the stars rather blithely. I don’t understand).

All right…Carol Danvers is perky and intense and brave, maybe the story starts when we reach Earth? And meet “Agents” Fury (Samuel Jackson) and Coulson (Clark Gregg)? That was fun, and Coleson is a welcome de-aged sight…but de-aged Fury is off. In no way does he seem the hard-edged alpha badass we’d seen in the other films, let alone the original comic books, where he was the ultimate WW2 Sargent who was tapped to run SHIELD because of being such a dominant man of action. So…they move WW2 up to Desert Storm or something, right? No, this guy is comic relief, the kind of moron who stops in the middle of a world-saving invasion into a top-secret lab to coo over a cat. WTF? And in the entire film, the best thing he does is a junior spy move with scotch tape that we’ve all seen a hundred times, and hasn’t been impressive since the first Mission: Impossible? And then gives us an oh-I’m-a-clever-boy approval-seeking grin?

They could have grabbed me there, but no.

Back and forth they go, from one time line, memory stream, and set-piece to another. All competent, but feeling like the notes from the executive suite rather than the vision of a filmmaker who really, really loves comic books and heroes and remembers what it is like to sink into the dream and just feel. To go on a ride with a likeable rogue or hero (Tony Stark or Steve Rogers) or accept a world apart as a place with real people with real hopes and needs and aims (Wonder Woman or Black Panther).

I could feel them swinging for the fences, and whiffing it again and again. Tananarive said to me last night “this must be what people who don’t like superhero movies think they’re all like.”

I agree. I’d hate to look back ten years from now and feel: “Ah. Infinity War was Marvel’s Pixar’s “Cars 2” moment, the first time we could see that they were juggling too many balls to really bring the heat to every film.” Paler still is my thought that what made the Marvel films work is that unlike DC, the creative heart of all these books and sagas, Stan Lee, was still alive. The cheerleader, the creative heart of Marvel could sit in a room with the writers and producers and directors and communicate sheer PASSION to them, tell them precisely what the Bullpen was in the 1970’s, when they hit their stride and it was just a lava-flow of creativity. And I suspected that when he died it would fracture, and Marvel would lose its magic. Now, he didn’t die until after Captain Marvel was in the can, but his life-force had clearly been diminishing. Everything that rises falls.

If Civil War or Winter Soldier or Black Panther was the peak of their accomplishment, that’s still a hell of a ride. And maybe I’m seeing blips here. Can’t wait for the new Spider Man (oops…but that’s Sony) and fingers crossed for Black Widow and Black Panther 2 down the road. Fingers crossed…but there are troubling signs here, a little like watching Man With The Golden Gun’s fruit-loop slide whistle car-jump. Or speaking of jumps, I couldn’t help but think of Fonzie and the motorcycle and the Shark when “Captain Marvel” tried to hit the nostalgia button with a “Happy Days” lunch box.

I wanted it to work for me. It didn’t. It isn’t down there with the worst of the Marvel films (“Thor: Dark World” maybe? One of the “Hulk” movies? Not sure.) But this was so ambitious, and so fractured, that it might be the most disappointing.

Sigh. Well, I hope Stan liked it. I really do.



Can We Care Too Much?

There was a young psychiatrist who got into the elevator at the end of the day, disheveled and exhausted, as he was every day. In the elevator was an older psychiatrist, looking fresh and whistling a tune. As he did, every day.

The young guy looked at him in astonishment. “How do you do it?” he asked.

“Do what?” the older man replied.

The young man shook his head. “Listen all day, every day, to the terrible stories of pain and loss, of betrayal and death of dreams, of shattered marriages and sexual dysfunction and corruption and broken children. How can you do it?”

The older psychiatrist smiled. “Who listens?”


I made a suggestion that a reader under extreme stress, who felt crippled by it, incorporate a morning ritual to deal with that stress. Among her explanations and disbelief that I would ask such a thing (the depression made it feel impossible to do anything but minimal functions) was the following statement:

“I’d have to be heartless to be in control of my emotions right now.”

Her family was in crisis. She felt overwhelmed. And whatever neurological aspects there might be to the feelings, it was clear that there was also a component of belief that exacerbated the situation.

If you have the belief that your love for your family, or DEMONSTRATING your love for your family DEMANDS that you become disabled with stress…

That belief actually endangers your family.


Our emotions are caused by various physiological and perceptual and attentional feedbacks. And shifting any of them to the negative creates negative results. The difficult mirroring concept is that shifting any of them to the positive creates a positive result — but in the grip of grief and stress it can be impossible to make that shift, and someone sneering “just shake it off!” just causes even more damage. Ugh.

Note the loop that belief creates:

  1. If you care, you will suffer along with them (belief)
  2. If you suffer, you will lose capacity (a theory for observation and testing. Stress creates rigidity, tunnel vision and fatigue)
  3. If you lose capacity you cannot help as much (simple logic and observation)
  4. If you cannot help, suffering will increase.

And…we’re trapped in a negative spiral. Down the drain we go.

So…if you care, and believe you must share their suffering, you may thereby diminish your capacity to help. If you distance yourself, you can objectively help more, but people will accuse you of not caring.

Sometimes you have to make a decision who you are, separate from what people say about who you are.



When my mother was dying, my sister was upset that I wasn’t more upset. I’d even crack somewhat inappropriate jokes.

But…it was deliberate. Calculating. If I let myself really feel what was happening, feel the depths of the crippling, hollowing grief as the core source of love in my life dwindled away, first her body and then her mind…I wouldn’t be able to be there for her, and she needed me to be there EVERY DAY. I was. Every single day. And Joyce wasn’t able to do that: it hurt too much.

So what is more caring? Being there and taking care of business, or sacrificing your own heart to be able to function? It isn’t that I had no heart: it was ripped out of me every damned day. It was that my pain was not more important than serving the woman who brought me into the world.

The truth is that you don’t have to keep a distance: you can also go right into the heart of it. To accept life as it is, suffering and all. To not let your self-pity (“I’m losing her” or more to the point, “I am losing my illusions of immortality”) shut down your function.

Seems to me that this is what Mother Teresa did in finding the “beauty of suffering”. Without finding meaning in it, it would be impossible to function in that context. Absent that perspective, you would either go insane, or stop serving the dying. Is there a thin line between such a perspective and something sociopathic? I can understand someone feeling that way. Now, if M.T. went out and grabbed orphans off the street and blinded them to give her an opportunity to experience that beauty, we have a horror movie, and quite possibly a good one.

Jeeze. That actually is interesting as an internal motivations of a monster: a saint who went off the rails. I wonder if I’ll ever write that..?

Anyway. Caring is great, but if that caring interferes with your ability to function, you may have to bury your emotions to do good. And yes, people who think you should get down in the water and drown with them will criticize people who stand on the dock and throw life preservers.

How to break the cycle of stress? I’ll go back to basics…

  1. Set your smartphone timer for three hours. Every three hours, stop and do deep, slow diaphragmatic belly breathing for 60 seconds. If you are under killing stress, do this every hour.
  2. Begin to expand that first session, focusing on the breathing…and the heartbeat. Center yourself. Slow down. Relax and release.
  3. Focus more deeply on the heartbeat, symbolic of your connection to life and love. Much of our stress is fear. Love is the antidote.
  4. Observe the flow of your thoughts, all the garbage that flows up. On average, it takes 12–15 minutes to calm yourself so that the mind quiets. Under stress, it may well take longer.
  5. Remember that YOU ARE NOT THE VOICES IN YOUR HEAD. You are the one LISTENING to the voices. You are not your grief and fear. You are the one EXPERIENCING grief and fear. Don’t try to shove them away. Just observe, like someone watching logs float down the river.
  6. Your ability to calm with increase and decrease. Some days/times you just won’t have it. But if you continue the practice, you will notice that there are longer and longer moments when you have some distance between emotional waves.
  7. The time to plant a tree is before you need the shade. The best time to begin such a practice is BEFORE you need it. The time you need it will come again, there is 0% possibility you can avoid life stress. Don’t kid yourself. Start NOW.
  8. If you tell yourself you don’t have five minutes a day to start YOU ARE LYING to yourself. Stop lying. This is your ego protecting itself. Remember: it will kill you to stop you from killing it.
  9. When you start finding spaces of calm, start examining your beliefs. Not fighting them, just looking at them. Where PRECISELY did you get them? Do you still, as an adult, believe them appropriate?
  10. If not, commit to changing those beliefs. The precise methods are many, but just realizing YOU NEVER CHOSE IT will diminish its power. Knowing you are NOT the voices in your head diminishes their power. Realizing that fear is natural and not “weak” diminishes its power.

Wake up. Forgive yourself for being human. The people you love need you to be the best you can be. And sometimes that means moving beyond your ordinary sense of self.

You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice” — Bob Marley



“Finding Neverland” and the courage to seek the truth

Watching “Leaving Neverland.” Michael Jackson said he was innocent, and that should settle it. Exactly as much as it settled things when he said he hadn’t had plastic surgery.

Come on, people, you only needed one eye to know there was something horribly wrong with the man. And if you start with the assumption that any healthy, creative, dynamic, physically energetic man is sexual you have to ask where that sexuality was going.

When you can see it clearly, even in retrospect, you’ve awakened a bit…and are less likely to get stung by the next one. That’s part of the “Soulmate Process” you know–learning to recognize bad relationships.  Learning to spot liars and manipulators, and being able to say “I was wrong.”  If you can’t…you are just going to be taken again, and yet again.

Until you feel that people can’t be trusted.  If you are a sexist, you’ll blame it on the opposite gender: “MEN/WOMEN are dogs” or whatever the phrasing you want to use.   But I will never forget what Swift Deer said to me: “Do not trust people.  Instead, RELY upon them to do what they see as being in their self interest.  It is up to you to determine what that is.


Get that?  When you don’t trust people, then…what you are really saying is that you don’t trust yourself.  That you’ve been around men and women all your life, but haven’t figured them out yet.  And there is only one reason that happens: YOU DON’T KNOW YOURSELF.


You haven’t looked at your own lies. The times you broke promises to yourself. Your petty cruelties, your fears and angers.  Don’t understand your own emotions, have never been honest with yourself about your urges and drives and desires.


Because if you had…you’d understand why people do what they do.  You would pay more attention to their behavior than their word–if YOU are willing to be judged more by your behaviors than your words.


But if you need to lie to yourself…and you need people to ignore what they see in your behaviors and the results of those behaviors…you will NOT be able to tell yourself the truth about THEIR behaviors.  You are trapped in a co-dependent death spiral.


You see it in relationships, two damaged people lying about their damage, locked in a marriage and beating hell out of each other.


You see it in various fandoms, the inability to separate the artist from the art, such that if you love one, you must love and accept the other.  This is great when you are admiring your kid’s finger paints, but devastating when faced with the charisma of a world-class performer.


You sure as hell see it in politics, where if you admire the platform, you will excuse the personal behavior.  And then act surprised down the road when it turns out their personal flaws seeped into their public functions.



THE TRUTH IS RIGHT THERE.  But you have to be honest enough with yourself. In your private moments, alone in the dark, have the courage to admit that you are afraid, that you lied, that you broke your promises.  To ask “why?  Who am I?” and seek answers even if they are terrifying.


The first step is loving yourself.  As odd as that sounds, if you don’t, you will NOT seek the truth. You will be terrified that the deep truth of your being is corrupt and evil.   But as the saying goes: “If you fear the truth about yourself…you don’t know the truth yet.”


Look deeply enough into ANY human behavior, and you find a search for the divine.   And once you see that, know that, then it becomes easy to forgive yourself. And do that, and you learn. And learn enough, and you will see the terrible things damaged people do in their search for safety and love and peace.  TERRIBLE things at times. And knowing their ultimate goal (peace and love) does NOT excuse the horrors they can commit in a desperate thrashing against their fear, like drowning swimmers taking down the lifeguard.


All we had to do is ask: “is he honest?’

All we had to do was admit people are sexual and ask where it was being expressed.

All we had to do was realize that homophobia drives people deep underground, unable to express their true selves…and ask: “what would we have thought of Michael sleeping with little girls that age?”


And we’d have seen it. It was right there in his desperate, sick, sad attempt to become trans-racial.  Really, if that didn’t tell you something was warped terribly, how are you going to admit the truth about yourself? About the people in your life?  About the entertainers we admire and the politicians we vote for?


All you have to do is love yourself enough NOW to forgive yourself for those past errors.  To commit to loving the child within you  enough to commit to her protection with every ounce of strength you have, every bit of courage.


Even if the world tells you to shut up and not “be judgmental.”

Even if they need love…SO DO YOU.

Even if it breaks your heart.  You’re strong. You’ll heal.


If you look at people you trusted who hurt you, lied to you, and ask why YOU made that mistake, and what YOU can do to prevent making such a mistake in the future…


How much of YOUR power you have given away…


How much YOUR fear of loneliness or powerlessness motivated you to make poor decisions, and ask what courage, what clarity you would have needed to avoid making that mistake in the future…


Once is happenstance

Twice is coincidence

The Third time it is enemy action.


And the greatest enemy is always within. NO ONE can screw us up as much as we can, and intelligence doesn’t help–we are all precisely smart enough to tangle ourselves in logic knots, disguising the fact that we didn’t make those decisions based on our minds…we made them with our wounded fearful hearts.


Love yourself enough to forgive yourself, and commit to the truth, no matter where it leads.

Love others enough to commit to support and protect them.  Know that there is a perfect, loving child within them…and that that child would be horrified if it awakened to the damage it did to innocent people.


And love yourself, and them, and the world enough to stand between evil and its innocent targets, even if it breaks your heart.  Even if they plead with you to believe them…if their words do not align with their actions.


I told my first wife Toni, long ago: “if I ever hurt you, or Nicki, do NOT hesitate to defend yourself , or her.  Whoever it is hurting you…it isn’t me. It isn’t the person talking to you now, who loves you, and loves our daughter more than life itself.  Whatever that creature is, there will be a part of me deep inside screaming STOP ME.  Honor THAT part.  Do what needs to be done, if ever you loved me at all.”


It is not an act of love to close your eyes to evil. It is an act of cowardice and self-pity.


Be brave enough to see the truth.   And where do we find the greatest courage?  When defending what we love.  Love yourself, and you will find the courage you seek.


Without love, we have no courage. And without courage…we have no love.




Sometimes you have to take a stand

One of the things I love about my life is never knowing what I’m going to write about from one day to the next. My favorite thing is when someone asks a question, or offers a problem, or seeks my advice, or criticizes a statement and asks for clarification. That…is a conversation. And that is a wonderful thing. Got a great PM this morning that fits this bill precisely.

“Steven — I’m just going to call you on what sure looks like a violation of your own principles. You’ve said repeatedly that it doesn’t matter so much if one agrees with BLM (to pick a random example), but you certainly have to accept its members believe the problems in disproportionate police violence against blacks are institutional and racist. Believe THEIR belief, even if you question their conclusions is what I interpret you having written on multiple occasions. “

Yep. If you don’t believe THEY believe it, you are destroying any basis for a conversation. You are invalidating my own experience, and without a basic foundation of “you are reporting reality as you have experienced it, and believe it to be true” there is actually no way to move forward.

“So why does it take a working model of a libertarian government to accept that libertarians genuinely believe the rights of the individual should trump the authority of the state?”

I don’t believe I said I didn’t believe that, precisely. In fact, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t believe that to some degree. The difference is the degree, and no two people will agree on where that line is, precisely. So people who believe MORE in individual rights will often accuse those who support collective action of believing “the government should own/do everything.” Do people on the other side exaggerate? Sure. But I actually DO hear Libertarians say “government can’t do anything right” and “free enterprise does everything better.” And defend those positions if you question them. And call themselves Libertarians, and other Libertarians don’t seem to attack their positions, so it is reasonable for me to assume that this is not an uncommon attitude among Libertarians. But its along a spectrum. To the degree that you believe governments can’t do anything, you are simply the flip-side of someone who believes government should do EVERYTHING. I will ignore both ends of that spectrum as unrealistic about human psychology and sociology.

“How can you have a reasoned dialog with someone about an issue if your opening argument is essentially, “I’m right, and only people who agree with me have points I want to consider; those who have concerns or disagree are disingenuous or deluded.”

You can’t. I don’t know of anything I think “I’m right” about. There ARE things where I say “I am willing to take a stand here. I can’t know I’m right 100%, but if you don’t make a decision, you cannot act. So I will move forward with faith, while remembering that I cannot possibly be certain.” From the outside, that can certainly look like “I think I’m right” but there isn’t much I can do about how something looks to someone else.

I cannot think of a subject where I have not considered points contrary to my own. But let’s take BLM. Is it possible that the playing field is actually level? That black pain and negative statistics are the result of something innate about us, or an hallucination? Of course it is. Anything is possible. But I use the analogy of a burning house. I believe I see the house burning, and my children trapped on an upper floor. This is not the time to debate whether there is a fire, or discuss the combusting temperature of wood, or whether those were really my children in the window. This is a time for fireaxes and bucket brigades. And if I’m wrong? I’ve trampled my neighbor’s lawn, used up water they could have used in their gardens, and made a fool of myself.

But if YOU are wrong? If I pause and discuss with you when it feels to me that I see my children screaming, feel the heat and smell the smoke? Then my children are DEAD. And you saying “oops!” later on doesn’t help a damn. And worse…if you look like the person I saw creeping away from my back porch with a box of matches? I am going to find it very very difficult not to wonder about your motivations. I really am. And the conclusions I come to if I have to dig my children’s bodies out of the wreckage will not be pretty.

Sometimes, you have to act. And when you are in action, it is not the time to consider. Time for considering, discussing, debating is BEFORE action. Can you make mistakes like this? Yes. But discussing until everyone agrees simply ensures nothing will be done. And that, of course, is what the snakes want.

“I personally believe there’s room for compromise, but people opposed to UHC have some legitimate concerns that ought to be dealt with. Some of those concerns are actually based on real-world outcomes documented in countries whose UHC solutions have otherwise been successful. But simply ignoring the views and disparaging the ideals of people who see things differently seems to be part of the problem rather than part of the solution. That’s unlike you from what I’ve read these past several years, so I wanted to mention it privately and respectfully in case you hadn’t thought about it in those terms.”

I also never said that I don’t think there are legitimate concerns about UHC. In fact, I’ve listed some of them. What I DO believe is that the basic stats, that UHC supplies better health care on average to a population at a lower price, and that you can quantify that result by looking at life expectancy, infant mortality, and cost of delivery. And that those statistics are very clear to me, such that those who disagree are looking at reality differently enough that I will not trust their perceptions with more complex statistics (say, those dealing with Global Warming). As this is an arena where urgency is a factor — people are dying — it is one of those cases where no, I cannot be 100% sure, but yes, you have to make a decision and act on it.

Do I think that there are people who pretend to disbelieve the statistics? Yes, absolutely. I’ve seen it. Sometimes directly, and in other cases I have to infer based on comments they make in unguarded moments. My assessment: They prefer their individual health plans, and that private insurance costs less than the taxes they would pay for a UHC system. It is, in essence, “I have mine, and I don’t want to pay for yours.” It would be honest if they say that straight up (to be frank, I think that comments about “ethnic minorities dragging down the statistics” flirt with being this honest. On a tribal level, there is nothing more common than wanting to keep resources for “your own.”). But they don’t say this directly, for various reasons including not wanting to sound selfish. In a couple of cases, they knew that this is going to be decided democratically, and they could not motivate a vast swatch of voters saying “I have mine, screw you” so they literally play to the innumeracy of the crowd, trying to convince them to vote against their own best interests: “It doesn’t work! Don’t pay any attention to the fact that we are surrounded by poorer countries getting fine results by organizing differently in this arena.”

To admit you don’t want to pay someone else’s health care is one thing. To say it doesn’t work is another. And because I see that result so clearly, if you don’t see it it really is as if I’m looking at a mountain, and you’re telling me it isn’t there. I can either doubt my own senses…or doubt yours. Simple as that.

With BLM concerns it is more like I’m LIVING ON THE MOUNTAIN that you tell me isn’t there. I have to believe that you are mistaking ignorance for wisdom, or are a snake: you KNOW there is inequality, but are afraid of the consequences of admitting it, so you lie, lie, lie.


I wrote something for myself yesterday that had to do with making decisions in a group.

Say you believe a dam is needed. Who agrees on the need?

Of that group, find out who is motivated. Who can explain their interest, demonstrate passion, feels urgency?

Of the ones who 1) Agree, and 2) are passionate, you then, and ONLY then, begin to study the “how.”

Why? Because you are creating a proposal to put before the boss, ruler, or electorate. If a democracy, something that people can agree on to between 51–66% of the population.

The issue is this:

It is true that anyone and everyone should be in the “should we build a dam?” meeting. The more the merrier.

All of the people who raised their hands can then be polled to check out their motivation. Do NOT allow people who didn’t raise their hands to the first question here, because they will poison the water. Remember: people who don’t want to build a dam in the first place will come up with every reason in the world not to, including reasons totally obviated by necessity. And they will put up filters that even THEY cannot see. Don’t worry — they’ll have their chance to vote later.

The people who are not enthusiastic? Who cannot imagine more drinking water, better recreation, power generation, creation of arable land or what not? Their interest is too mild to make it through the development process. They will lose enthusiasm.

Now, to be sure it is fair, once created, you must submit your proposal to the group at large. If you cannot convince 51% of them then you must yield, or start over. But do NOT let doubters into the process of “should we?” when you are discussing “why should we?” or “why should we?” They will deliberately or unconsciously slow your progress to a crawl, hammer you with minutia until you are disgusted with the entire process and quit. YOU’D BETTER BELIEVE THAT THAT CAN BE A TACTICAL INTENT. Disruption is not an accident. It is the GOAL.

And if the majority agrees on a need, and we’re moving? You simply cannot stop and debate while in motion. There should be pause points where you evaluate the actions and the mission, yes. And if you take an action and it is proven a waste of resources or a violation of rights, you will lose the authority to do that again. Mistakes can and will be made. But by far, the biggest mistake is assuming you need to convince “everyone” before you do “anything.” That…is called paralysis.


Why don’t I accept Libertarian principles without sight of a Libertarian country, state, or town? Because the proposals tend to be radical, and it seems to me that they violate basic rules of human societies evolved over tens of thousands of years. Maybe more. I could be wrong, of course, but the way to PROVE to me that I’m wrong would be to show me a role model. Show me a thousand people in a town living by Libertarian principles and I’ll agree we should try it with 10k. That works? 100k. That work? A million. And so on, testing at each step. That’s how I work.

And if it feels to me that you ignore real-world examples (say UHC) but want me to accept a thought experiment without them (say Libertarianism), that is VERY different from the way I think, feel, and have lived my life. And at that point I ask: is it possible that I am just wrong, and this person is just right? That his (and most Libertarians I’ve spoken to are most certainly male. What this might mean is unclear) methodology, his epistemology, his cosmology is more accurate?

Well…my standard comment is that if you are smarter than me, clearer than me, if your map is more accurate than mine, you’ll get better results than I’ve gotten. I’ll look at your results in the three major arenas of life: relationships, fitness/health, and career. If you are more successful than I am IN ALL THREE AREAS, starting from a similar place that I started from in life, I’m going to empty my cup and bow before you to learn.

Seriously. I know people who qualify for this, and have learned massive amounts from them. In fact, I’d say that most of what I’ve accomplished in life has come from modeling successful people, whether they were better than me in one arena (say, Larry Niven) or in multiple arenas (say, Steve Muhammad).

I will say that Libertarians do seem to be more successful than the average science fiction fan. I’ll give them that. They tend to be smart people who see the world differently, have different theories of social contracts and human psychology. I disagree with their positions, but would love to actually observe a Libertarian society and see how it really works. Let me know when you find one.

Until then, there are lines which, if crossed, I have to regretfully shake my head and say: “this person doesn’t see the world I live in.”

Flat Earthers are there. 9/11 conspiracy theorists are mostly there. Global Warming deniers on the same spectrum, but less extreme.

And people who don’t share BLM’s concerns, and don’t believe the working role models of UHC are on that spectrum as well. Certainly not as extreme as Flat Earthers, but enough to believe that somehow, we aren’t seeing the same world, sharing the same values, have the same basic beliefs about human beings and the societies we make.

(I KNOW this is true with the BLM concerns, because a totally disproportionate percentage of the people who deny them cannot swear to believe in human equality. I notice things like that.)

And it diminishes the degree to which I trust their perceptions. I would assume that that if they REALLY believe what they believe, it will diminish their confidence in MY perceptions. I’m cool with that. And if they are really, truly convinced of their own positions? I don’t think they’d try to convince me of a damned thing. I certainly don’t try to convince them. I just realize we see different worlds, and wish them luck in theirs.

Because when it comes to things like BLM concerns, UHC, and Global Warming? As far as I’m concerned, the house is burning, and you don’t see it. And understanding that I could be wrong, it is time to stop debating “is it true?” and ask “what should be done?” Like grabbing buckets and fireaxes.

I do believe we should try not to trample your lawn, though.



Soulmate Questions

The first step in the “Soul Mate Process” is to love yourself.  The second is to love one other person, or to admit that you wish such a relationship.


Once admitted, we step into the danger zone: the “Soul Mate Process” is to make a clear, uncompromised list of the qualities you want in a life partner.  Then to find, within the circle of people you can reach, 1-3 people who come the closest to what your heart yearns for, and ask them what they are looking for in a partner.   If you’ve made your list well, what they describe is what you wish YOU were, because what you want, on a deep level, is to be an energetic match for the partner you desire.


This is confrontational as hell, I totally understand it.   But that’s the bull’s eye.    Let’s take a look at a comment from a student:


“You do realize that asking that to someone comes off as “coming on too hard”.

Or like “wow this guy is hitting on me” 

Some people don’t even believe in soulmates and just laugh it off.

My friend D.  n has worked with me snd we have tried different approaches. In truth a lot of women don’t know what the hell they want… so how can I become that which they have no clear picture of?

This concept is portrayed beautifully from a spiritual concept..but in real life application it falls very short on actual results.”


This is great–SO much to unpack.

“You do realize that asking that to someone comes off as “coming on too hard.”

Not if you aren’t, and they have powers of discernment.    Your responsibility is to be certain you aren’t hitting on them–which demands that you are being clear and centered.  Not coming from “neediness”.  How do you do that?   Remember the very first principle:  LOVE YOURSELF.   If you are really connected to your own heart, you aren’t “leaking” needy energy.  Not projecting needy body language.

SECOND: “The person within your circle”    If you are saying that you have no women in your circle who believe what you say, with whom you have rapport, then you need a deeper, more loving connection with your own heart, enough to embrace both masculine and feminine aspects, from where you can see the opposite sex as human beings, rather than as plumbing.    You default back to the first step!


If you are sincerely asking an honest question, without hidden agenda, and they cannot see this, then they lack discernment.   And you have to ask: was the ability to see truth on your list?    If YOU can see truth, if YOU are clear, you will start attracting people who are the same.  Remember: we attract people at our level…and below.    If you desire a quality you are not attracting, you lack that quality yourself, and have a new target to develop!


“Some people don’t even believe in Soulmates and laugh it off.”  So? You aren’t looking for everyone.  What “some people” laugh at isn’t your concern. You are looking for 1-3 people who will answer an honest, heartfelt question.


“My friend D.  has worked with me and we have tried different approaches.” 

Good!  You haven’t tried this one, I promise you.


In truth a lot of women don’t know what the hell they want… so how can I become that which they have no clear picture of?”


Whoa.   Can you see the anger and fear encoded into this, indicated by the expletive “what the hell”?    Let’s dive in here.   “A lot” is irrelevant, because you are only looking for 1-3.   “A lot of women don’t know…” as opposed to a lot of PEOPLE?   Implication: women are different.   Nope, you aren’t looking deeply enough  into your own heart.  You want someone with clarity.   Was that on your list?   No?  Then you didn’t know what YOU wanted, did you?   And…you are attracting what you are.  Clarity attracts clarity.  Confusion attracts confusion. And men who think women are aliens attract women who think men are aliens.  You guys have fun.

“How can I become that which they have no picture of?”   Well, once again, you’re talking about people who don’t know what they want.  Increase the clarity in your own life, and you start attracting others with that quality.  YOU CANNOT FAKE THIS. Just by starting this process, you have identified areas you need to grow.  EVEN BEFORE YOU’VE ASKED A SINGLE QUESTION,  you are learning, if you can listen to the voices in your head.


This concept is portrayed beautifully from a spiritual concept..but in real life application it falls very short on actual results.’


It isn’t a spiritual perspective. It is an holistic perspective, which INCLUDES the spiritual dimension. But you don’t have to include it yourself.  The “Soulmate Process” says to list everything that you really want in a partner.  EVERYTHING. Maybe you only want a slammin’ body, someone who is sane and healthy,  fun and frisky in bed, and makes 80k a year.  That’s decently balanced, with no real spiritual dimension on the list.

Even before you ask someone, all you’d have to do is start with the “equals” part of the equation: YOU have to have a slammin’ body, love yourself enough to heal yourself, free yourself of sexual inhibitions, make 80k a year, and you are going to attract people on that frequency.  But once you actually develop friendships with women sufficient to communicate with them open-heartedly, you’ll probably find that they have some additional needs that are complementary rather than equivalent.   The above mentioned woman, for instance, often is willing to accept a man with less fitness if he has more money.  In other words, she is willing to love a partner who invests his energy a little more in creating a stable home and wider behavioral options through a larger amount of financial power.

But just DEFINING what you really want automatically moves you in that direction.

“Real life application” is confusing unless and until you take the earlier steps: love yourself, clearly define what you want (and for you that would include clarity and wisdom, yes? If you don’t attract it, you don’t have it, and know precisely where you need to work)


This process cannot be faked. It is not “picking up.”  It is not a set of tricks for men to get women into bed, or women to make men fall in love with them.


It is seeing humanity as a mirror, and using that mirror to groom and heal and grow your own soul.  Ultimately, it is about YOU.  Who are YOU? If you are attracting only  confused, insecure women, THAT TELLS YOU SOMETHING.


Men: there are beautiful, powerful, mature,  balanced, sensual women out there.

Women: there are handsome, powerful, mature, balanced, sensual men out there.


The price for meeting them is that you must BE one.  If you feel you are not beautiful (for instance) then if you want beauty in a partner, you will either have to match or balance it.


If you can’t, then you must step back and take another look,  go deeper into your conception of self, until you pierce that veil and see deeper than the physical.  To love yourself even if you don’t match some external measurement of  “beauty”.  Can you see your wonder and power and sensuality despite not matching that external standard?   Yes? THEN YOU SHOULD NO LONGER DEMAND IT IN YOUR PROSPECTIVE PARTNER.


Simple.  Either step up or step back.


Either become what you desire, or stop demanding of others what you cannot yourself contribute to the relationship.   To do this, you have to love yourself enough to really see you’ve done the best you could with what you had, at this phase of your life.  How will you know you’ve gone that deeply? When you can see the beauty in others at a similar level.

Don’t demand what you can’t give.

“There is a price for success, and the price is ALWAYS paid in advance”–Jim Rohn.


The beauty of this process is its mercilessness.  You cannot fake it or “game it.”   You can walk the path, or not.

Last thing.  Let’s say you don’t yet have the courage, clarity and self-love to do the “Process” at its higher level, to actually step to a powerful, beautiful person and ask the truth of what their hearts yearn for. What do you do then?  The best you can.


  1. Start with loving yourself.  ALWAYS.  DEEPLY.
  2. Just listing what you really desire has power.   You are increasing clarity, which gives you direction
  3. You can simply set out to either become what you have listed (equal amounts of beauty and power) or complement it in Yin-Yang balance.
  4. Be sure that your list includes a partner who loves themselves, is emotionally healthy and balanced.
  5. Be sure that your list is not a “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” screed based on the notion that we are aliens who cannot understand each other.   Most of what human beings are is independent of gender. Gender creates spice and attraction, but the underlying human realities are identical across the species.  The degree to which you cannot see this is the degree to which you will attract someone who is the same. The two of you are going to enter a dangerous, and potentially toxic dance of mis-communication.
  6. Find people who have those characteristics who have been happily married for  twenty years or more.  If you don’t have them in your circle, widen your circle.  If you cannot do this, look in the mirror: what would need to heal within you to attract healthier, happier people? Heal it.
  7. Look into biographies and interviews with public figures who seem to have the qualities on your list.   What kind of partners do they bond to?  Look for the people who stayed married for a lifetime.
  8. Study multiple people. Extract what is similar in their partners, looking into body, career, and emotions.  Head in that direction.
  9. As you learn to see the opposite sex as human rather than plumbing (although that plumbing is wonderful!) you should develop friendships with the opposite sex. If you can’t, then you are sexualizing in unsexual contexts, and are NOT sufficiently connected to your own life force.  Go back to step #1.



Depending on how you look at it, this process is either deadly practical,  emotionally healing, piercingly psychological, or highly spiritual.  Start with either the PRACTICAL or the EMOTIONAL levels. Until you handle those…you aren’t ready for the spiritual. And if you do handle those…the spiritual level takes care of itself.





The View From the Ivory Tower

Arthur Byron Cover and Lydia Morano used to run Dangerous Visions bookstore in North Hollywood on Ventura Boulevard, and among other things used to throw great parties. I was at one of them, about three years into my career, and moved from group to group listening to the conversations.


Out on the patio there were a couple of guys, unpublished writers, complaining about how impossible it was to break into the business, or get anywhere.   My heart immediately went out to them: I remembered very clearly what it was like to be on the outside, standing on the sidewalk watching through the window as the people inside have fun and progress their lives.


Having started in childhood listening to “PsychoCybernetics” and “Think and Grow Rich” and so on, my natural mode was to not merely go after the things I want, but to offer a helping hand to people who are trying to accomplish something I’ve done.  So…I was as encouraging and positive as I could be, opening my heart, telling them what I knew about how to organize your mind and heart and energy to maximize your chances of success.


I stopped, probably panting a bit, expecting them to be grateful and maybe even impressed.  Instead, I felt a kick in the guts:


“You have no idea what we’re going through,” they said.  “From up in your Ivory Tower you can’t even see the people on the ground.”


I sputtered, and tried to explain that yeah, I understood, I was there…but wandered off, defeated.




The sad thing is that before I ever published, nobody thought I could succeed.  I knew no writers.  There WERE no black SF writers I knew about, and when I spoke of my dreams and plans, I was told “you don’t know the business.   There’s no room for someone like you.  Your positive thinking will just get you hurt. The real world isn’t a dream.”


And one friend told me that I not only built dream castles…I tried to move in to them.




And now, from time to time someone will tell me that my thoughts on modeling behavior, making connections, managing your energy and shifting your emotions to optimize your odds only make sense to me because I’m a “giant” and can’t have any connection to the real world of the “ants” down below.


So…if I’m not in the game, my attitudes have no relevance.

If I’m beginning the game, I’m already divorced from reality.

If I’ve been in the game my whole life, I have no idea what it is to be a writer with hopes and dreams.


No matter where I was on the road, I could not know the truth.


There is no difference between this and what I’m told about fitness.   I haven’t suffered enough, or had their specific issue, or its been so long since I did I can’t know, or I’m in the middle of the process, get back to them when I’ve accomplished it.


How about relationships?   I can’t have an opinion because I don’t have one. Or…I’m in the first flush of love, so get back to them when I’ve raised a family. Or…I’m too old, and don’t understand how relationships are today.


Note the common thread: if someone wants/needs to reject your advice, if they want/need to feel that their dreams are out of their control, there is nothing you can say, at ANY point in your journey, that will penetrate.   They are good people, probably better than I am in many ways, but there is a mis-match. What I have to say about these processes is not for them, at this point in their lives.


Our stories don’t match.


My story is that once upon a time I was a young man with dreams of being a writer. Everyone told me I couldn’t do it, and my mother burned my stories for fear I would destroy my life with a dream of being an artist.   But I kept writing and studying, met every writer I could and asked them what they did and how they did it, and listened to what they said AND DID IT.  Got my guts kicked out with every rejection.  Cried myself to sleep when my favorite writer told me my first solo novel was garbage.  Lost writing gigs because I wasn’t good enough, saw writers with better connections leaping ahead of me…


And worked, and worked and worked.  And one day, sat up and realized that because I’d kept working, I’d published millions of words, won awards, and taught writing at the University level, even though I had dropped out of college.


And realized that that voice in my head, the one that told me I shouldn’t, or mustn’t, or that it wasn’t fair, or impossible, or that I was tired, and should quit…


That voice was just a voice.   That I had no obligation to obey it, and that it often didn’t know what it was talking about.


That when other writers, great writers, spoke of their desperation and insecurity, THIS was what they meant.


That I was a real writer.  That my life was not “easy” but it was authentic. I was what I’d always wanted to grow up to be…I just hadn’t understood how it would feel.


And that all was well.


In “Lifewriting” parlance, that was a version of  my “child’s story”, the story I tell myself about how I grew up to be the person I am.  It is one of  three major written statements I ask students to make about themselves, that helps contextualize your efforts, fears, failures, victories.  Helps the “child” within you understand the journey “ahead” of you.


The story you tell about your life, your struggles, your goals and dreams, makes all the difference. Our emotions are controlled by three things:


  1. The way we use our bodies (anxiety has a posture)
  2. What we focus on
  3. The way we use language. Our self-talk. The stories we tell about ourselves.


Control one of those, and you’ll make progress. Control all three and you can shift your emotions whenever you wish, to whatever you want.


Of course, you reading this will have a story about who you are, what the world is, how you became who you are and what the future holds.  That voice in your head might say you’ve been waiting all your life for someone who speaks of these things the way I do. Or it might say that I don’t know, because I haven’t lived your life, or are too old, or too young, or too X or Y or Z to know you and your trials.


And if that is true, I’m sorry, because it means I believe in you more than you believe in yourself.  And I pray that you’ll find the path you need, and the teacher who speaks to you.  I certainly did, but I had to try a forest full of false paths, and organize my resources to their max, and decide that I might fail, might die trying, but would not quit.


Whatever it takes to find love, or build your career, or gain the fitness and physical skills you desire…I hope you find it, and make of your life a beautiful thing.





People With More Empathy For The Monsters than The Villagers

It happened again just yesterday, and I wanted to make something clear.

Yes, I have processed my anger about slavery to the point that I don’t think the people who practiced it in America had some innate moral failing. They lived in a context in which things we now see as terrible were normalized. That’s what human beings do when they think they need something.


I measure them against the average behavior of people in their context.  Rather than hate them, I praise those with the moral clarity to live in their context and be abolitionists, even if it was illegal.


But please understand: in that context, if you WEREN’T an abolitionist, it is safest to assume that you were the enemy, or their enablers and collaborators.


But…someone misinterpreted that.  Saw it as weakness.   Because the next discussion was about the fact that there are people on the Left who see racism EVERYWHERE (according to the thread owner)  in the current day.


My response was that yes, there were people who exaggerated that.  Now: prove that there are more on the Left who see racism everywhere than there are folks on the Right who see it nowhere at all.


For decades, the government lied about the dangers of marijuana.   Just…lied.  Now, the truth that it is no more dangerous than beer (and possibly less so) is increasingly obvious.  Some over-react by treating it like Mother’s Milk. Hey, its not only harmless, but its medicine!  Well…if it is effective medicine, it can’t be harmless.  Water can drown you.  Oxygen can burn your lungs out. Don’t try to tell me that something powerful is also harmless.  Hell, people can go crazy from meditation.


But if you have a pendulum artificially held to one direction, when you release it it swings  in the other direction, and will overshoot the mid-point.


Unless YOU, PERSONALLY faced down racists and called people on comments direct and subtle, unless you stood up for lives crushed by the demons of injustice, UNLESS YOU WERE THE MODERN EQUIVALENT OF AN ABOLITIONIST you have no right at all to complain when people over-react.  If you stood by and let them talk or act, or turned a blind eye to pleas for justice, complaining when people over-react in the other direction is just letting other people do your damned dirty work, and throwing rocks at the people trying to clean up the mess. YOU are the reason they over-react, and the people who tolerate it are your cousins and siblings.  You are looking in a mirror.


Like the view?




So…I was criticized for not condemning people who over-react (according to the thread owners and their posse). And I wonder what world they live in.  Let me get this right: for the sake of my own soul, I pierced the veil of ego and trained myself to see the humanity of those who did monstrous things…but you think I won’t do that to see the humanity of those who PROTEST those monstrosities?


Really?   What model of humanity are you following, do you believe in, if I would extend more understanding to the perpetrators than the protestors?   I can’t imagine there IS any model other than one:


You empathize with the perpetrators.  You see yourself in those masters, those overseers, those Nightriders, those who sought to maintain the social advantage stolen over centuries, and have absorbed their values.  With the ones weilding the whip rather than those whose flesh was torn.   Oh, you’re polite enough about it. Won’t say it out loud. But you empathize with them, not with their victims.


And when I speak of the humanity of people who do inhumane things, you think I’m seeing things from your perspective. You think I’m too cowardly to publicly speak a secret belief that, “yes, it happened…but thank goodness it did, because we of African blood needed Europeans to civilize us.  It isn’t politically correct to say this, but in the depths of my heart, in the dead of night, I know the truth…”


Yeah, I think that’s what you think is going on inside me.   Well…you need to know the truth.  There were times in my distant past when I played with such thoughts.  That is true.  Long ago.  When I was a brainwashed baby.


But now, I believe that the ultimate question of essence versus existence cannot be resolved, because the experiments necessary to test it cannot be conducted by anyone other than a multi-generational Dr. Mengele.   That people made their  decisions emotionally, and then justify them  intellectually.   I choose to have faith in equality, and although I can provide endless facts to support that position, I don’t delude myself it is not a faith-based decision.


But boys and girls…what would happen if I I DID lose my belief in equality?


Contrary to your spavined imagination, the first assumption wouldn’t be that black people are stupid. It would be that white people are evil.  So let’s not go there, shall we?




The natural, normal, average, typical thing is to believe your tribe is superior. What is fun when flags wave at a high school football game is bloody horror in a pogrom or a war or the slow holocaust of multi-generational kidnapping, rape, torture and murder.   I will not fall into the traps that sullied the legacy of good men like Thomas Jefferson and made him require my forgiveness.  I don’t have Jefferson’s genius.  What I can do is stand on his shoulders as well as the shoulders of my ancestors, and visionaries like MLK, and see further than he could.


Don’t mistake forgiveness for agreement.  Love for weakness.  Don’t make that mistake.   Yes, I see your soul. I also see the fear and the lies that you use to keep yourself from understanding what happened here, or the advantages your ancestors wrung for  themselves from the bodies and spirits of my ancestors.   You can step away from the sins of the past, condemn them without damning the souls of those who made those mistakes.


Or you can defend them, and live in an illusion.  It is hard to awaken.   But you are asleep, dreaming that you are awake. And we can no longer allow sleepers to drive the bus.


The past is gone. Only defending it, or ignoring its impact, or pretending its cold dead fingers still reach into our current world keeps it alive.  And if you are committed to protecting death…that is ultimately on your soul, and I cannot protect you.


I’m too busy protecting the victims.


Yes, I’m a lover. But that’s not all I am, and you would be best advised to remember that.