A GREAT question this morning:


Steven Barnes : I have a question for you. Where does the faith in your equation come from? I’m struggling mightily in two areas of my life — money and physical health — and I’ve come to the conclusion that my obstacle is faith. I don’t know what it would look — or feel — like to be financially comfortable or be truly fit (and not just thin.) I’ve never been either of those things. So where does the faith come from? It’s strange because there are other areas — professionally, for example– where I am excelling even though I didn’t see anyone like me doing these things. But I believe in my intellect. I can’t understand why I don’t believe in my money management skills or ability to get out of debt or discipline to exercise.”

There are three major sources of faith:

  1. Faith in yourself
  2. Faith in your companions
  3. Faith in a higher power.


EVERYONE loses faith at times.  There is no way to avoid it. The question is: how long does it take to regain it?  This is the purpose of the “Morning Ritual” of motion, emotion, and focus.  Done properly, it sets your entire day up for success.  (Of course, you also need to have faith that you can do it!)


But this, ultimately, is like building a fire. With the right tinder and fuel, you only need a spark to create a blaze.   So where do you get that “spark”?


  1. Faith in yourself.   If you will stop and think, you will realize that there are countless times in your past when you lost faith in yourself, but somehow finished the job anyway, won anyway, arrived at your goal anyway.   Just knowing that you can keep going despite despair can be a fantastic thing.    How did you do it? What did you say to yourself?  Visualize? SOMEHOW YOU DID IT.  Figure that out, and you have leverage on yourself.
  2. Faith in your companions.  Did your friends help you?  Call you?  Support you?  Did you have mentors whose advice you followed?  Role models whose reality maps you followed?   Can you make contact with your own “inner child” and resolve to love and protect her with your life?  Often, we can do things for others we cannot do for ourselves.  USE THIS “SWITCH” IN YOUR HEART!
  3. Faith in a higher power.  Commitment to something bigger than yourself is a primary motivation.  Most world champions will say something like “I did this for/owe this to Mom/God/My Country/My kids” etc.  I rarely hear “I did this for me, and with no help.”  It takes a village/an expanded sense of self to really access your true abilities.


Are you aiming too high?  Trying to accomplish too much in a day?  Reduce your “minimum” until it is small enough that you CAN believe you can do it.  For instance:


  1. In writing, a single sentence per day.
  2. In exercise, three “Tibetans”.
  3. In meditation, sixty second “breathing breaks” five times a day.
  4. In finances, saving 1% per week.
  5. In general success, reviewing your goals daily


Keep the pieces small enough, and you will reveal that there are no logical reasons not to do them.  You have only your emotions.  FEAR IS A NATURAL THING. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Shame can be a weapon the ego uses to stop you from changing.  It took me SEVENTEEN YEARS to earn my first black belt, because I was dealing with so much fear, shame, doubt…and they fed on each other.


The first “break” in this was a gift from Shorei Shito-Ryu Instructor Terry Letteau, who instructed me to visualize a glass tube filled with water. There is glitter suspended in the water.  Watch it until the glitter settles.   It took about six weeks, twenty minutes a day, to get that glitter to settle. And then I saw that the problem was that I thought my fear MEANT something.   It was no more meaningful than being cold, hungry, or tired.  It was just a sensation, and perhaps a signal to take action.


This kind of “mental cleansing” needs to be done daily. My favorite practice?  Simply sit quietly and feel/ “listen to” your heartbeat.  Twenty minutes a day is great, but even two minutes is a start.


Look…the smartest thing you did was ASK THE QUESTION.  This means that there is some part of you that still has faith that THERE IS AN ANSWER.  The answers I’m sharing may not be the ones.  KEEP ASKING and you will eventually hear an answer that opens your heart.




One day at a time, hon. One day at a time.




One comment

  1. Faith in companions/mentors/real-life heroes: Meeting Master Barnes in person, in REAL life? And the most gracious sharing of a huge chunk of his time from a very busy schedule that he did with me? Intellect identified issues, wisdom knew it was time for solutions, faith (and a bit of courage) were needed to ask the question of someone who, rather than attempt to provide a definitive answer, asks the “right” questions, the ones that allow us to re-direct to our own answers.
    The reason I’m replying is that, like the original questioner, I used to hang what shreds of positive self-image I had on my intellect as well, and had extremely limited (or non-productive/negative) “faith”. Applying that intellect to ACTIONS with a tiny bit of positive faith in a goal of bringing balance and integrity (“wholeness”) to that self-image? Thinking/imagining changing the metaphor from “shreds” to “shards”, and the action steps being molten gold to make of the self-image a Japanese art form known as “kintsugi”.
    Melting the glitter, healing the breaks…
    Bless you, sensei.

    Liked by 1 person

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