Steven Barnes and wife Tananarive Due on beach.

Malware, Adware, and Me

My new book STAR WARS SAVED MY LIFE made #4 on the Amazon bestsellers list!  Thank you for helping to make that possible!  


Hey there!  I’m in Portland right now, for the Orycon SF convention, where I”ll see old friends, get needed hugs, and officially launch my new book.  Staying with my friends and partners Victoria Whitlock and Michael Ormes, I was working on my computer, and up popped a yellow box telling me that my Mac was riddled with viruses and would probably explode if I didn’t buy their product.   This isn’t the first time this @#$$ thing has happened, and we have to go in and rip it out by the roots. The problem is that the little Adware/Malware thingie is tenacious, and when you rip it out, if you don’t get ALL of it, it will regenerate and crawl back up like John Carpenter’s THE THING.

Ugh.  But Michael is a wizard, and I am, for the time being, back in business.  Until the next time I’m tricked into clicking the wrong link.  Or something else long-buried in my system folders wakes up and decides to devil me.  Yuck.

But what I know is that this is JUST like our own brains.  You know, most of us have pretty similar computing power.  But where there is VAST difference is in our programming.   I’m not talking about the most basic ROM programming: survive, hunt and gather, eat,  bond, have sex, move away from pleasure and toward pain.    I’m talking about the vast morass of family, social, legal, business, economic, religious, political and other rules that we got starting in our cribs, the OVERLAY on the more basic survival drives.   A tangled web of conflicting instructions which, even if well intended, leads to system crashes, conflicts, using up resources, slowing down computational power…and sometimes losing years and years of hard work in a single moment of tunnel-vision.

What can we do?  How can we change the self-image, goals, values, needs, aversions, and unconscious drives hammered into us before puberty (and trust me–anything you learned before puberty is HELL to pry out of your head and heart.  These are core directions, intended to help you produce the maximum number of grandchildren…NOT to be happy, healthy, or self-evolved, let alone awake aware and independent.  Just…survive and breed.   Do that, and our genes are happy.  “Obey and produce” and society is happy.  Is that all there is?)


No, it isn’t.  EVERY SINGLE DAY, I have to wake up and remind myself who I really am, what I believe, what I am committed to.  Who I love and who loves me.   I do ALL of this:

  1. When I first awaken.
  2. During my “Morning Ritual”
  3. Five Times a day during breathing breaks (sixty seconds of bliss!)
  4. Before I go to sleep.

I remember my blessings, the people depending on me, the mentors who have guided me.  Connect them all to my heart and anchor them to my breath, so that every movement and action is a commitment to excellence, growth, love, sharing.   This transforms life from a series of disconnected actions to a constant, never-ending opportunity to find and give joy, to learn and teach, to express my true self while un-stressed, so that when the stress comes, I KNOW who I am and will not be moved by the winds of change, fear, or ego.

Every moment.  THAT is the key.  There is nothing anyone can do to steal the meaning from my life.  No task so petty or disagreeable I cannot learn from it, or see how it contributes.  No interaction with anyone, no matter how damaged and fearful, that can make me hateful.  

It all starts with waking up, and remembering who I am and what I am committed to and who I love and who loves me.

Please, commit to five minutes a day, DEAD MINIMUM, of such remembrance.   The habit can change…or save…your life.





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