These are stories from the life of Steven Barnes, science fiction writer, martial arts expert, hypnotherapist, teacher, public speaker, father, and lover of life.

Ever considered being a coach?

Six years ago, I was in Atlanta, separated from about 50% of my income stream. It was terrifying, seriously.  All I wanted to do was support my family in an honorable fashion.  But the situation had caused massive fear, with the attendant confusion and depression.


The following is an embarrassing truth: I saw no way out, and at one point was curled on the floor crying, the entire map of my life, created in childhood, shattered. Destroyed. I was lost.


So…the first thing I had to do was change my state.  I didn’t know if there was an answer, but did know that I wasn’t in a state where I could see an answer, even if it was dangling right over my head.


The Morning M.A.G.I.C. program came directly out of this, the realization that if I could use ALL the tools of positive emotion SIMULTANEOUSLY, my depression and confusion couldn’t win.


So that was the start, and the program I created for myself is fantastic and available at




But once I had found my balance, and was able to ask questions without being crippled by fear and shame and anger, the big question was:  “what can I do to earn money legally?”


It needed to:

  1.  be something with serious profit potential.
  2. Something that played to my strengths and (hopefully) interests
  3. Something that I could do from Atlanta, where I had no contacts
  4. Something I could control, where my efforts would relate directly to my results
  5. Something where I needed no specific person or organization to support me, so that no one could tell me “no” and make it stick.


I wrote these questions down (ALWAYS do this kind of brainstorming on paper or your computer.  NEVER in your head.) and puzzled over them.  Finally I tried something that has never failed: locked myself in a room with nothing but food and water, and didn’t let myself out until I had an answer.   Never had a problem that that approach didn’t resolve.


All day I puzzled over it, turning it over and around in my mind, looking at the problem and brainstorming answers and discarding them.


And then it hit me: Coaching.   Did I have something to teach?  My opinion didn’t matter as much as the comments of others over the years who had attended workshops, lectures, and classes of mine.  My approach to writing, life, and martial arts had attracted attention, and I’d made sushi money over the years by pretending to be professional about it.


But…what if I got serious?  What would I do?  How would I start?


I leveraged social media to promote my new business, fumbled my way through price structures and access (phone, email and Skype) and…


In the first year, starting from scratch, I made SEVENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.   I was shocked, really.  Didn’t believe it until T did the taxes. And that opened a whole new world.


Years passed, and the business matured until it was taking too much time from my writing, thereby decreasing my pleasure of life. So…that was when I decided to begin to take the lessons from life and writing (and…”Lifewriting”) and sell them as courses.  Invest the time up front, then sell them on “automatic.”  It worked…when the perception of value exceeded perception of cost.


Do YOU have expertise in something?  Teach school? Raise children?   Meditate?  Build a business?  Go camping?  Travel?   Cook? Garden?  ANYTHING that other people are interested in?


Specifically, do you now have knowledge you would have paid to have twenty years ago?  If so, all you have to do is find a “tribe” of people with similar values, communicate the worth of your offering, and set up your business.


That was my approach, and it was fumble-thumbed, but sincere. And…it worked.


But there is a better way, and I’ll tell you about it in just a few days.





The Macro and the Micro

There are, I think, a variety of situations facing humanity as a result of our SUCCESS as a species.


  1. Global Warming. The result of increased population and our search to control more and more of the biosphere’s energetic resources
  2. Overpopulation. The result of improved medical and food production and dominance over predators.
  3. Obesity. The result of severing the connection between calories expended and calories earned, industrialization and so forth.
  4. Gender Parity.  The result of effective birth control, having reached maximum population, industrialization and firearms leveling the playing field.
  5. Racial Parity.  The result of the death of racial mythologies due to actual contact between human groups: enhanced communications
  6. A.I.  The result of the endless human quest to extend our senses and physical capacities with our tools.
  7. Automation eliminating jobs.  The quest to accomplish more and more with less and less human involvement.  For individuals to do what used to require teams and groups.
  8. Pollution.  The result of increased population.


There are others, of course, but it is important to grasp that any or all of these COULD cause real problems, as every one of them upturns individual and social behavior patterns engrained for countless thousands of generation.   Every one of them.


What will happen depends on a couple of questions: what is true? And: Who am I?  They are related but not quite the same.


  1. “What is true” touches on questions of the structure of the universe.  Is it true that human beings are causing a rise in temperature?  That machines could actually behave as if conscious?  That there is a maximum healthy population for the planet?
  2. “Who am I?” is the “what is Man that Thou art mindful of him?” question.  What YOU are relates to what WE are.  Those who believe a “Universal Basic Income” would lead to a vast ocean of idle people either believe THEY, PERSONALLY would be idle, or that “they”, those “beneath” them, would.  Lots of racism and classism there.  Those who believe UBI would lead to a renaissance are the ones who think that THEY, PERSONALLY would take advantage of a “safety net” to learn, grow, explore, create.


Who is right?  Well, human beings have been arguing for a long time about what the basic nature of humanity is, just as we’ve been arguing about “what is true?”  That answer isn’t going to be found here.


But it is important to recognize the actual arguments being made when someone claims to know what is best for humanity. There is a REAL difference between the world views of someone who believes in basic human equality, and those who are tribal and hierarchical.


Note that I don’t say they are wrong. I disagree with them, but am aware you really can’t come to an absolute conclusion…ultimately there is an irreducible measure of faith involved.   You pays your money and you takes your chances.


But these issues are part of our future, and those who have a clear sense of those core answers AND are flexible enough to hear the perspective of the other side will be the most useful in deciding our actions.


Those who learn to recognize the beliefs underlying the political positions, and how people who believe in differential worth will almost NEVER say it out loud, will be useful.  Those who understand that it is possible to push “equality” into a cocked hat, creating a different sort of horror, will also be useful.


The answers will not be in the extremes.  Where are they? Well, again, this stuff has been argued for thousands of years. Your host has no absolute resolution.


I can say that I start…EVERYTHING that I believe starts with the assumption of basic equality of worth and capacity between most groups defined by birth. Not because I know it absolutely, but because I believe the potential for error is smaller, and has impacted my family and myself more than the opposite position.


But I don’t know. It is an ongoing investigation, and I have no reason to believe it can be resolved within my lifetime.


But I can live with myself much more by wasting resources if it turns out equality is NOT the reality than I could by withholding resources if it turns out people DID have equal potential. The level of evil seems to me much lower.


You will have to make your own decision. The only question is: will you make it consciously, and will you be honest once you’ve made it.


The choice is yours




An important request for my fellow Americans


All right, I consider that any good American citizen should be alarmed by this.  But also know that politics makes otherwise reasonable people unreasonable.


I am deliberately phrasing this message as neutrally as possible. Why?  Because there is NOTHING that would make the Russians happier than Americans fighting politically in the front yard while they sneak in the back door.


“Let’s you and him fight,” a tactic made famous by Transactional Analysis and endless Popeye cartoons (watch Olive carefully) is wonderfully Sun Tzu.  You don’t storm a castle, you divide the enemy forces by making them mistrust the very bonds that connect them.


So…some thoughts in order,  BECAUSE THIS IS TOO IMPORTANT FOR BULLSHIT, or even crafting a really careful essay.


  1. Let’s not name names here.  NO names. We can say “The President” and “The Russians”.  Names focus emotion.
  2. Let’s assume no conscious perfidy on the part of any Americans, because that discussion instantly tears up the front yard.  Instead, JUST for the purpose of this exercise, assume the following, because the potential for disaster if true and unaddressed is simply too large.  ONLY people capable of suspending that, just for this conversation, can participate.
  3. Players are those who can assume the following, JUST for the purpose of this discussion.  Those who cannot play by those rules will be deleted.
  4. Assume it happened.  It is REAL.  That the Russians tried to interfere with our last election, and are trying to interfere with future elections as well.
  5. The threat is SERIOUS.  Leave for another discussion whether it was already effective.   This is important: politics will instantly enter the discussion if you say it already did, or definitely didn’t. I’m interested in a different discussion.
  6. The threat is ONGOING
  7. The question is this: Given the first three, HOW SHOULD AMERICA RESPOND?   How should the President respond?  What should our position be?


Most valuable in this discussion would be those who voted for our current president, still support him, but see a serious threat to the integrity of our electoral process.   If any of you will come forward and offer thoughts (remember: not “did it happen” but assuming it did, whether or not you believe it influenced the past election, but acknowledging that it could affect future events) that would be valuable.  Attacks on them, so long as they play by the rules, will be deleted.


Because…this should be a concern to all Americans.  My attitude?


We should 100% support a totally transparent bipartisan Manhattan Project level investigation. Trust our intelligence agencies.  And be willing to be open to the conclusions NO MATTER WHERE THEY LEAD, so far as they are supported and documented.  Every American should be watching this, prepared for our preconceptions to be proven right or wrong…but trust the men and women who have sworn to protect this country.



That would be my recommendations.  Now…I ask for yours.



My countrymen, this shit is serious.  Wake up.



Dealing With Sleepers and Snakes

If you want to see how delusion works, look at this clip, and read the comments that follow.  The clip, in which Buzz Aldrin talks to a schoolgirl,  was posted on a thread by a  “Moon Landing Denier” who suggests it “proves” that we didn’t go to the moon.


He, and the commenters on the Youtube thread, mostly ignore the little girl’s actual question:  basically “why haven’t we gone to the moon in such a long time” which means “why didn’t we go back” and interpret Aldrin’s answer “we just didn’t” as meaning “we never went” rather than “we just never went back.” This answer is followed by reasons (money. There were too many other things the public wanted that money spent on) and his reasons for feeling that it was an inspiration for people all over the world, said very patiently and simply for a child.


Catch that: ignoring all the times he clearly said “went back”, and focusing on a misinterpretation of the first question, to support a conspiracy theory that would have to involve countless thousands of Americans, the U.S. Government as a whole, and any other country with telemetry or telescopes.  This is a kind of madness, and we can see it in some other things: Flat Earth is an extreme example, but Birthers and some other kinds of deniers are doing the same thing: excluding any evidence that runs counter to their beliefs, focusing on any apparent speck.  I could prove the sun doesn’t exist, or that any other historical fact never happened, using the same tactics.


The question is: why?  Because we make decisions emotionally first (“it just can’t be true”) and until the underlying belief shifts, NO AMOUNT OF INFORMATION WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE.


All of us have some of this, I have no doubt. But under pressure, say if our world view is threatened, we slide down a stress tunnel. Under stress, materials and minds become rigid.  May I suggest that we treat this as a fear response? Ask: “what are they afraid of?”  Maybe.


I remember a 9/11 Truther who believed the Twin Towers had been brought down with alien technology. She was a smart lady who was semi-homeless, emotionally scrambled, who had been married to a smart guy who swore he had a method of extracting free energy from the environment, but that the world was conspiring against them.  So terribly sad. I’d watched her self-destructive behavior for decades, one false step at a time.   She had slowly come apart, and the ultimate revelation of how she explains an impossibly complex demolition task with zero witnesses (alien tech) broke my heart.


What do you do when someone says something you have calm certainty is…evidence of a damaged logic system?  I mean, is it POSSIBLE that alien tech exists, and was used in 9/11?   More possible than time running backwards or entropy reversing, sure.   But it is folly to chase such uber-long odds theories when much simpler explanations are available.  Sigh.


What do you do?  Just yesterday, a thread was hopping with Birther conspiracy theories. From people who still believe it to be true (“he was adopted in Indonesia!”) to believe Obama caused the controversy himself, to those who claim “Hillary started it” to those who want to believe no one ever really believed it…and have to deal with people on the exact same thread who still claim he is a foreign national.


IMO, from insanity to conspiracy to deeply slanted interpretations of events.  Not all nut-ball, but all thinking arguing backwards from toxic or at the least HIGHLY politicized world views.


What do you do?   I’m not going to lie.  I have a bias toward being as polite as possible. I also do not argue with fools, trolls, or sleeping children.  If someone begins to speak from premises I have already decided are Flat Earth level nuttiness, yes, I risk being “closed minded” if I reject it out of hand. And this is where it is critical to have ways to evaluate your thought processes that have NOTHING to do with a specific situation.


Are you healthy/fit physically?

Are you happily bonded to another adult human being in a healthy romantic/sexual relationship?

Are you gainfully employed doing something legal that would support yourself and two others, doing something you find joyful and satisfying?


I submit that the closer you are to all three, the more certain you can be that your basic perceptions of the world are accurate. Your “map” is accurate, and your journey has been true.


You can trust your perceptions. And when you’re wrong? You’ll get feedback RAPIDLY, and your data collection apparatus will know it, and your sense of dynamic life balance will make corrections.


That’s the theory.  And yes, there will be people who still disagree, who also have these characteristics. But you know what?  When I see equal health and balance on both sides of an issue…I suspect that issue isn’t as black-and-white as I thought, and look more closely.


What do I do?


  1. Love myself. Enough to labor for my own dynamic balance
  2. Love another.  Which forces me to learn compromise and perspective: one of Niven’s Laws: there are people who think just as well as you…but different.
  3. Understand history.   That the majority can be wrong.  And crazy ideas can turn out to be right.  And that EVERYONE makes such errors. The trick is to detect and admit them as swiftly as possible.  We cannot be 100% certain about anything, but we still have to make choices.
  4. Don’t argue with Sleepers, snakes, and monsters.    Once you have decided that something (“Flat Earth” is the gold standard) is nuts, STAND YOUR GROUND.   If arguing, present your reasons for believing as you do. But then, if they continue…bow out politely.  They are asleep, or damaged.  Or…they are correct, and you missed a trick.
  5. Win, with integrity.   Gather and nurture the tribe of people who see the same world, avoid the attitudes and pathways held by toxic, imbalanced, frightened people. But…if the people on the other side are about as healthy and balanced as those on yours?  LOOK MORE CAREFULLY.  Be courteous. You’ve been wrong before, and might be again, and can ONLY be sure if you are willing to look at evidence when presented by sane, reasonable people.


Of course, once you’ve seen the evidence, you have no obligation to look at it again, or even to whole families of similar evidence, if it is all of a piece. And ultimately, you will have to discount people who reason or argue in certain ways, as your alarms will go off.


But…there is never a reason to be cruel. They may be asleep, or ignorant.  Or so damaged they cannot synthesize a holistic accurate world view.  Or so politicized that they are deep in “herd-think” and can’t free themselves.


Be kind, because YOU have been there. I have been there.  And it is the people who were kind but firm who helped me wake up.


Can you walk that balance?  It’s worth it.  We are all asleep in some ways. All “awake” to things our neighbors do not see. And must find ways to communicate and test ideas, if we are to continue sharing and growing as a species.




What Might Have Been

I was badly bullied when I was a kid.  I remember one guy, “Bryce”  I went to Mt. Vernon Jr. High with who simply insulted me and pushed me and mocked me daily, until it was almost more than I could bear.


Then one day I was at the bookstore   and saw a copy of a book called BRUCE TEGNER’S INSTANT SELF DEFENSE, and begged my mother to buy it.  Oh, it was a revelation.  When I was even younger I’d seen the line drawings for “KETSUGO! UNSTOPPABLE SELF DEFENSE!” or even “BLACK DRAGON FIGHTING SOCIETY!” in the backs of comic books, but never gotten up the nerve to purchase one.


Well, Mom got it for me, and I remember practicing chops and kicks on the poor grapefruit tree in our back yard.  I was still too frightened to actually USE any of this, but I was starting to channel my fear into action.   (I would not understand the power of this approach fully for another two decades, unfortunately).


I carried that book with me everywhere, even to school, where I probably hoped that people would see it and be intimidated into leaving me alone. Didn’t work. Bryce took my book and played keep-away with his buddies.  Humiliating.  The teachers didn’t help.  Bullies are great at knowing when there is no authority figure to help.


This kept up for six years, through   high school.  Then, finally, just the week before graduation, he insulted me one final time and something just SNAPPED inside me.   “I’ve had enough,” I finally told him one day.   “Meet me out behind the school. Bring your friends.  Bring a broken bottle.  I don’t care.  Let’s settle this.”


He looked at me, laughed, and said: “Aw, man…I know you know that karate shit” AND WALKED AWAY.


I stood there with my mouth hanging open.  WTF?  You mean all I had to do was call his bluff?  I had suffered through six years of hell because I’d been afraid to fight?   That was the first glimmering I had of something which, again, I didn’t fully learn for another twenty years: EVERYONE FEELS FEAR.  The only question is what we do with that emotion.


He coped by inflicting fear on others, trying to control through intimidation. I coped by becoming an intellectual “brain in a box” and then later through meditation, therapy, and martial arts.


But then, at that moment, he had pushed me out of our social game (him bully, me nerd) into reality: a real fight is two cats in a sack.  No social rules, just using “every fang and claw in the awfullest way you ever saw.”


He’d pushed me until I had forgotten my ego identity as small and weak.  I was just focused on hurting HIM.   I was ready to crawl into the sack with him (so to speak) and he was not.    Shit had gotten a little realer than he wanted.


It was an important rule, and one of the hidden principles of the martial arts:  “it isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog” is one way to put it.   “I’m ready to die, and I’m ready to take you with me” is another.

Sporting contests are decided by size and strength. That is why there are weight classes. The real world is determined more by who is more willing to go ALL OUT.  Who hits that point first. No bluff. No bullshit. No social rules.   Enter THAT space, and predators will leave you alone: they know they will be injured.

My own version of this: “no matter who you are, no matter what you know, no matter what you do to me…I’m going to take the left eye out of your head.”  You don’t SAY that, because if you say it aloud you challenge their ego.  You have that in your body language. In your voice, in the calm certainty of every action.    You cannot bluff this.  You have to mean it.  And the only way to actually mean it is to be very, very clear on what you are or are not willing to die for, and fight only for that.



The way I put it is that in every animal is the survival drive, that all-or-nothing response to fight or flight.   Fear arises from anticipation. Actual survival is IN THE MOMENT, and if you are acting, you don’t feel fear the same way at ALL.   That energy is going into fighting or fleeing.   The “I’ll get hurt” isn’t a factor because you are IN THE SHIT already. Its happening.  Anticipation will kill you.  Living in the moment sets you free.




The same thing is true in so many arenas.   Most of the really, really excellent people I know, in any arena, were not people with “innate talent”, they were and are people who love something so much that they obsess about it.   Artists draw all the time.  Singers sing.   Writers write, athletes play their sport and do drills all day.  And on and on.


And those afraid to enter that burning core, to commit, will talk about “talent”.   They never committed because they didn’t have the “talent.”   That’s fear of admitting they want it enough to be willing to give it EVERYTHING THEY’VE GOT.  They never picked the hill they were ready to die on. So…they often die for nothing.


I remember the day I realized that I’d rather FAIL as a writer than SUCCEED at anything else.  Boom. The world got simple. Ride or die, man.  This is me.


It wasn’t really any different from realizing I simply wasn’t going to take shit from Bryce any more, ever again.  Maybe I’d have gotten my ass kicked. Hey, I’ve had my ass kicked before.


Maybe I’d have died.  Hey, I have to die anyway.   What matters is how you live, and if you are totally absorbed by what you are doing, one day at a time, you really aren’t thinking about dying.  The people most afraid of dying aren’t doing much with their lives NOW.   If they were, they’d be too busy. Similar to worrying about “talent.”  If you are really focused on what YOU are doing, you are having such a good time (and you did choose something you love, right?) that you don’t really notice where other people are.


If you aren’t “observing yourself” you don’t notice if someone is ahead of you, or behind you.  It is said that a musician like Prince was hugely kind to other musicians and performers. He adored the icons who were ahead of him, supported those on the path behind him, and jammed with his equals as often as possible. He loved the PATH.


The time I attended the party at his house, and he jammed for us, he asked us to listen to the music and dance, NOT to look at him.  Enjoy the music, and the moment.   If our attention was on him he had to think about his performance, and all he wanted was to flow with the groove.   If we could be there with him, we were all One: lovers of music. Dancers, listeners, musicians, singers. All together on that patio under the stars.


The Path. Focus on it, and you enter a timeless space. If you notice fear…you aren’t there. If you are worried someone is better…you aren’t there.  If you take pride in being better than others–you aren’t there. Not at that moment.


What you want is to be “there.”  In the flow. Doing the thing you love. The people ahead of you have spent more time on that path, in that space.   They DESERVE the greater success, and it would be a cruel world if they didn’t have it.


And the greatest success is spending your life being what you want to be, with the people you love, doing what turns you on.    Being an authentic ‘you.’  That person is not your ego shell.  It is the “real” you and you can glimpse it in the moments you lose “yourself” in the moment.  Sex, by the way, can be GREAT for this, the most common human experience that extinguishes the ego, at least for a fear moments.  You know what I mean…if you can remember your name, it wasn’t good sex.


At the moment I told Bryce to meet me, I couldn’t remember my name.  At the moment I was deepest into any story I’ve ever written, I don’t know who I am.   When I’ve pulled off the best martial arts moments of my career, I wasn’t “there” at all.


How to learn this?  Focus on being present, five times a day, in sixty second increments of breath.  Focus on what you intend to accomplish today, and what you need to do and who you need to be AT THIS MOMENT to make it happen.


Connect those core outcomes to your survival, sexuality, power, love, communication, intellect and spirit.  Balance the child and adult, the male and female of “you” until you lose your language and enter the flow state, a world of emotions and images and feelings.


So wonderful. That part is the best and strongest “you”, and a wealth unknown to those who cling to their identities. Let it go. Eventually, you will, you know. Everyone does.


Don’t wait until your last moments until you learn this.  “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!'”– John Greenleaf Whittier





A Major new 5MM “Life Hack”?

I’m a mad scientist when it comes to personal development, and that’s kept me engaged with the process for decades.  On one level I ALWAYS feel that “the Perfect Program” is just out of reach…it’s a game I love to play.  Tananarive or Toni or Nicki could tell ya.  Notebooks full of plans.


Been percolating a notion for about a month.  It has to do with the cross-referencing of several things.


  1. 5MM.  The fact that if you take 60-second “breathing breaks” every three hours, you transform your relationship with stress.
  2. According to Pavel, the perfect number of reps for an exercise is 5: after 5, you cannot focus total concentration.
  3. Synaptic Facilitation suggests that a skill is best learned by practicing it in short sessions throughout the day, rather than all at once.
  4. There are Five Tibetans
  5. Islamic prayers are practiced five times a day
  6. The more often you remember your primary outcomes and motivations, and check where you are, the easier it is to maintain focus, and the more you accomplish.



What if I combined these?  Not “more time” spent meditating, exercising, renewing, but distributing and coordinating that time differently?  Can you see where this is heading?


I have longer blocks of time for some things, but that “Five Minute Miracle” every day…what can I do with that, as sort of a separate “track” of action?  Well…


WHAT IF YOU COMBINED THESE?  Here’s a sample protocol:


  1. Every three hours perform 5 reps of one Tibetan.
  2. With each, focus on the breathing, with a “cat vomiting” “be breathed” style exhalation/compression built into the rep.
  3. As you do, think of the Most Important Outcome for the day.
  4. Feel gratitude for the health to do this activity. Remember: one day you will NOT be able to.   Enjoy your body while you have it…remember it is just on loan.



How long would this take?  Five minutes a day.  What would the next level be?

  1. Increase the number of reps.  What would happen if the 21 reps of five exercises were distributed through the day instead of “clumped”?’d lose the mild “cardio” effect but raise the amount of focus on structural integration.  If you focus on the breathing, you are accelerating the rate of re-programming the body-mind for extraordinary function.   SERIOUS intervention.    Imagine a night’s sleep where you have to get up five times to pee. How restful is that?  YOU CAN INTERRUPT THE “WAKING DREAM” state exactly the same way.
  2. Add another action (like practice three minutes of martial arts or a yoga asana)
  3. Extend meditation/focus time.


Minimum investment?  Five minutes a day.   But I could add a yoga asana AND a minute of Kali/Escrima, for a total of Fifteen minutes a day.  That is an AMAZING amount of re-programming.


I don’t know for a fact that this is an effective protocol. It is a theory, and the experiment it suggests is obvious, and exciting to me.  I’ll letcha know!



(p.s. This is NOT to replace the block of morning exercise time. There are aspects of fitness/wellness that require extended engagement (triggering the neuro-immuno-endocrine response requires 12-15 minutes of steady-state activity to enter “second wind” which is great for a whole host of reasons, especially managing fear) But in an emergency…its an amazing five daily minutes, providing basic integration and mobility, focus, energy, motivation, positive emotions, discipline, centeredness, and much more.

A great little “Hack” for you to try!)



Steven Barnes

Twenty years of joy

Twenty years ago today, the amazing Tananarive said “I Due” to me in her parents’ home in Cutler Ridge section of Miami Florida.   I couldn’t believe my luck then, and I don’t believe it now.



My first marriage was going belly-up due to mis-steps along the way.  You can take such small actions, but over time, they magnify until you are lost, and Toni and I couldn’t find our way back to each other.  I was pretty miserable, but even more, I felt spun, unable to catch my balance.  Some time later I had a chance for a relationship with a fabulous lady who in many ways was an exemplar, the most attractive human female I think I’d ever seen.  I blew it, partially because we were on different paths, and partially because I was too open and eager.


A period of adjustment followed, during which I realized that to attract women I needed to be both focused and casual.  Otherwise I’d come across as either needy, or a predator.


Once I found that “relaxed focus” mode, things got scary easy.  I mean SCARY. I’d never been that attractive before, and I realized I could be one of the great dogs of all time…and didn’t want it.  Traveling to Clark Atlanta Universary for  the “African American Fantastic Imagination” conference, I encountered several ladies who…let’s say the connection was instant and almost overwhelming.   But…I was playing a game, and I didn’t want games. I wanted something real.


And that night, after arriving, I prayed.   I just asked God for a soul mate.  Someone I could really be myself with.  No games. And I was willing to wait the rest of my life for her, if that was what was necessary.


And…the next morning, coming out of my room, a cute little girl named Tananarive Due came out of the room next to me (!), asked if I was THE Steven Barnes, and asked if I was going to breakfast.


Well, sure, I said, a little confused. We had breakfast, and she was charming, and full of enthusiasm. She had published one book, THE BETWEEN, with another close on the way, MY SOUL TO KEEP.   I was polite, and just a little distant. But when I read a couple of pages of BETWEEN I realized that despite a fifteen-year head start, when it came to “memetic” or realistic fiction, depiction of the everyday world, that critical element that effective fantasy MUST possess…she was already better then me.  I decided that I would adopt her as a little sister, would support her and give her whatever I could to protect and propell her toward what I knew would be a hell of a career.


But…I wasn’t “attracted” to her, not consciously. I knew she was cute and smart of course, but I wasn’t in touch with anything else inside me.  We did some line dancing on the first night there, and I got to see how well she moved her body–a healthy, fit animal.  Very nice. But STILL nothing else kicked in.


Then…on our last day at the conference, she gave a talk about how she got Stephen King to blurb her second novel, and it was a complex strategy using her position at the Miami Herald, her skills on the keyboard, and the nerve to ask if she could play in King’s band, the “Rock Bottom Remainders” when it appeared at the Miami Book Fair.  She did, she made friends with him, and he agreed to look at her book…and the rest was history.


I sat in the front row watching her…and was thunderstruck. She wasn’t “smart”. She was SMART.  And…damn, she was really really REALLY cute, too…


And at that moment, a chill ran up my spine.  It was something I’d never felt before, like a door opening, revealing a path to my future.   “Oh, Steve,” I said to myself. “You are in TROUBLE”.


She lived in Miami. I lived in Vancouver, Washington. Opposite corners of the country. We were leaving Atlanta the next day. I had to get her attention FAST.


In situations like that, fully engaged, the WHAT clear (connect with Tananarive Due. See if this feeling is real, and if she could share it), the WHY (this was a potential Soul Mate.   Someone with whom I could create a life. Someone with similar values, energy, interests, skills.  She spoke my language and lived my life intellectually, emotionally, physically.  If I was right…this was the answer to my prayers)


All that remained was the “HOW.”  Have I said before that if the WHAT and the WHY are clear enough, the HOW presents itself?


She came down off the stage and was immediately surrounded by autograph seekers.  I looked around the room.  How could I catch her attention..?


And there, in the front row a few seats down, was a woman with a baby on her lap. Inspiration struck. I went to her.  “Excuse me, ma’am,” I asked.  “May I borrow your baby..?”


She looked at me blankly, wondering what this was about. She knew WHO I was (which was more than I knew, at the moment!) and I told a tangentially relevant truth: I love kids, and love playing with kids, and miss babies.    She said “o.k.” and handed me the child.  I got down on the floor in front of Tananarive, and started playing with that adorable little baby.


Now…if I hadn’t been serious, hadn’t been dead bang 100% blown away by her, that would have been an amazingly nasty and manipulative thing to do. I KNEW that there was no way an unmarried heterosexual professional black woman in her early 30’s could see an available professional attractive black man who loved babies without her hind brain going DING DING DING!!!  She would HAVE to investigate, find out if this was a possibility.


Was it foul play? Hell no. And I knew that if she was what I was looking for, she would understand even if I told her EXPLICITLY what I was doing.  I was communicating directly from hind-brain to hind-brain: I desire you.  I believe we are potential mates. And if you will give me a chance, and we both decide to go forward, I will love you all your life.  Give you children.  And die to protect them, if necessary.   All I am is yours, if this connection is real.


She got it.  I got my chance. We went dancing that night, and I kissed her good-night for the first time. And the next day, we were sitting in the Atlanta Hartsfield airport, our heads leaning against each other, holding hands and talking about how we could build an empire together.  That was the beginning, and we’ve never looked back.


I remember that prayer: give me someone to love.  Someone I could just be myself with.  I was tired of wearing a mask, or being anyone other than who and what I am.   If I could just find that person…I was prepared to strive every day to be the best man I can be, so that they never, EVER regretted the trust it would take to build a life together.


I’m not perfect.  But God, I love her.  From that first moment I saw her spirit and drive and creativity…let alone how well she danced and how good she looked doing it.


Sigh.  That’s the story.    I’m going to take her to breakfast now.  But if you want to know why every day, EVERY DAY in my Morning M.A.G.I.C. program I give thanks for “my beautiful, brilliant wife”…this is why.   The universe heard my prayer and answered.   I take my gratitude for that, for her, and pour it into everything I do, every day, and it has indeed made me a better man.


Thank you, baby. For the best twenty years of an already wonderful life.  The best is yet to come.





The Power of Love…and Tribe

Everything, every single thing I say about race and gender comes from a simple basic premise: equality.  Sometimes modified by complementarity, but basically…equal. Trust me, I take crap from both sides  about the implications of my positions. As the song goes, “Everybody Wants to Rule The World.”   If you think I feel anything but bemusement by the attacks, you don’t know me well at all.

Hang around. You will.



I posted a link to news stories about the recent event where a white guy named “Whitman” (come on, God.  If I was writing this story, people would throw it across the room) followed a black man named “Lovett” (and considering how he reacted, that name is just as cliche’d. Sheesh)   calling him the Verboten Word.  And…the  idiot let himself be videoed doing it.  The community reacted by withdrawing support from his business.  And of course he immediately went into “poor me” mode, and released a very lawyer-drafted sounding apology.


And as one can predict, from a certain corner of the political spectrum, complaints arose that, well, BLACK people use el Verboten Word.  Why not them?   The logical answer is: because words and actions are both low and high-context, and that social context determines the meaning of the communication. 

ME kissing my wife on the lips unexpectedly has one whole set of implications and meanings.

YOU kissing her unexpectedly on the lips means something else altogether. We instinctively understand this.  If you are mature, and intelligent, you have experienced countless examples.

So the question is: IF you are intelligent, and have lived long enough to stroll around the block a few times (“wisdom” in this sense being recognition of patterns to create better choices.  “Clever” would be solving problems.  “Wisdom” would be avoiding the problem in the first place by recognizing the root.  I’m not impressed by someone who survived countless barroom brawls. I’m impressed by the person who quickly realized that places where strangers gather to drink can be fight clubs…and avoid them) then…why can’t you generalize from a general principle (“language and communication is high context and culturally specific”) to a specific instance?  (“There are words and actions that mean different things WITHIN cultures than BETWEEN them”)


I suggest that there are “sleepers” here, but also snakes and monsters.  Let me explain.




I got a PM last night from a gentleman who thought to educate me on the hitherto unsuspected factoid that black people use El Verboto.  That, therefore, one might assume he concludes, it is no big thing.  “Sorry to say, but black people use this word the most…”

Wow. Thanks for that news flash.

Wearing my “Caucasian Whisperer” hat, I actually explained things a little to him.  It amuses me, and who know: he might actually be sincerely ignorant.

But he could also be a snake.   Snakes would react the same as sleepers here.   It is clear that people make a world map, fit into it, and when it is proven flawed, begin to go a little crazy. The “map” white people made of black people allowed them to treat us as sub-human and broadly manage the entire sweep of interactions, as well as program us and create the laws that governed us.  As that starts breaking down, the fear of what the true nature might be is starting to disrupt thought patterns.


Sad, and dangerous.


“Sleepers”  literally cannot or will not engage the logic necessary to engage deductive logic (from a general principle to a specific instance).


Frankly, I place most racists in this category. They literally haven’t the knowledge or capacity to step out of the immediate history and see the flow of humanity, such that the concept of “race” is revealed as, primarily, a social construct.  Often they don’t even realize that their attitudes are racist: they think they’re just being “realistic”.   Not necessarily bad people. But asleep.

“Snakes” know damned well what the issue is, but pretend not to understand, protesting, trying to guilt-trip or obfuscate and say it should be just fine.

The “kiss my wife” example doesn’t help?

How about boxing. If I agree to box with you, and you hit me in the face, it is very very different than if you walk up to me on the street and try to hit me in the face. Different meaning.  Different reaction.

Damned sure different result.

Are we understanding each other yet?

“Monsters” aren’t going to be stupid enough to get into this fight directly.  They are going to sit above the fray, clucking sadly.   Transactional Analysis calls this game “Let’s You And Him Fight.”

They don’t care about race much more than you or I care about red ants versus black ants.  They operate on gradients of power and money.  THAT is their tribe, and they often seem astonished when people who have gained money and power still care about tribal issues.  (This attitude isn’t confined to the powerful, but they’ve raised it to an art form).  They will use “snakes” and “sleepers” as cannon fodder and shock troops to keep the red and black ants fighting so that they can swoop in and steal the sugar.


Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.




What is the way out of this?  Extracting meaning from the traffic event, let’s look at how this works.  I’m unavoidably resorting to a little mind-reading here, and I ask your indulgence.


  1. Love yourself.  When Lovett was confronted with Whitman’s use of El Verboto, he kept his cool. Why? Because Lovett had an internally determined sense of self. What Whitman (starting to LOVE that name)  thought about him didn’t matter BECAUSE LOVETT KNEW WHO HE WAS.  If someone calls me a Martian, unless I’m afraid I’m a Martian, I’m not confused or frightened…UNLESS there is a history of people lynching Martians, of course.  Then I will interpret it as a threat, reacting with fear and anger unless I am very very centered.  More on this later, but just as “You Lie” was probably thrown at Obama in an attempt to educe a public “Angry Black Man” response to damage public support, what would have happened if Lovett had felt fear, and responded with anger and violence? Very different story.
  2. Love one other person.     When you love someone, you want to be there for them.    You also see yourself through their eyes.   You no longer have the right to react purely from individual ego: “stay calm.  Your wife/kids need you” becomes a factor. But also “Tonya loves me. She sees the beauty in me” allows you to counter the negative opinions of others.
  3. Understand history without guilt, blame, or shame.  If you grasp the enormity of the damage inflicted by 250 years of slavery followed by another 125 years of Jim Crow and segregation, you will have no fear of inferiority.  In fact, you are likely to struggle not to feel like a superior form of being, capable of absorbing massive damage and still standing tall.  Best believe that some of our Honorable Adversaries are afraid of just this.   Anger is fear, remember?  If you really grasp what human beings have done to each other out of fear for the last 250 thousand years, but that violence has actually been decreasing…personally I think you gain a sense of wonder about our species. We’re doing the best we can. We screw up, big time.  Multi-generational problems require multi-generational solutions, and that set of delusions about the meaning of dark skin will take more generations to break down. Remember: IF you grasp the history without first loving yourself, the chances of feeling some mixture of guilt, fear, rage, and other pale emotions is a living danger.  It requires real balance to avoid falling into that chasm.
  4. Avoid sleepers, snakes, and monsters if possible. But hew to, and protect, the tribe of human beings who can see through the illusion to the unity beneath, who are willing and able to move beyond fear and anger.  Lovett remained calm and polite, and video’d the encounter.  Love my Iphone.    Released it to social media because HE TRUSTED HIS TRIBE to deal with this.  Wasn’t going to get snared in a streetfight, in which he could be killed, or jailed, or descend to Whitman’s level of fear and confusion.  PERFECT response.  Kudos.  Note that social response: POC and non-POC alike, the tribe of those sick of the centuries of lies and ready to face the future responded swiftly: “I’m not a part of that shit.”
  5. Win, with integrity.  No one threw a Molotov cocktail through Whitman’s window, or burned a cross on his lawn.   Support was withdrawn from Whitman’s  business, based on individuals deciding that their custom was better invested elsewhere.  This is how it happens: those of good will standing together.  Sleepers awakening (“this shit still happens?  Damn!”) and snakes are forced back into their holes (moving away from pain).  The monsters will try to sound reasonable and wise and try to convince the ignorant that words are just words, and that there should be no difference in what things mean no matter who says them, something that simply is not true in human communication…and never has been.    We won. He lost.  IF Whitman’s regret is genuine, he will learn.  I certainly hope he manages to put his life back together. But it is good for society to draw a line: these actions (and make no mistake: talk is an action) will not be tolerated.



So the gentleman who PM’d me asked me what El Verboto means, and why it is so powerful. I gave him a short answer.  He asked for more, and I suggested he do his research. He said that clearly this was sensitive to me, so he would stop.


Nah.  It isn’t sensitive.  I have no fear about it, because I know myself.  If he is a sleeper, trying to awaken, it is best to sit up and do his own research. I’m not going to whisper bedtime stories to him, but I will point the direction of truth.  Shown him where “X” marks the spot.  If he buys a shovel and digs, he’ll be fine.


But if he is a snake, trying to suck up my time…I have no interest in indulging him.  If he doesn’t research it himself, he’s either too sleepy to learn…or doesn’t really care. And if he doesn’t care, why is he asking…?


Well, trying to tag-team me of course.  Lots of snakes out there, and they do focus on draining the energy of those they consider “SJWs”, a badge I proudly wear.


Unfortunately for them, if you give me shit, I’ll fertilize my lawn with it.    I LOVE this.  I was born and bred for it, and this is the time of my life when I can be just the hell who I am, and no one can do a damned thing about it.


It all starts with loving yourself.  And your family. And humanity.  And finding your tribe. And choosing to win–with integrity.


How do you win?   By knowing WHAT victory is, WHY you want it, and then devising a strategy to follow.


What is that strategy?   Programming myself EVERY DAMNED DAY with the basic principles I live by, reminding myself who I am and how far I’ve come, and what I need to do this day, this week, this month to bring Heaven to Earth.


My Morning MAGIC program, people.  Keeps me sane and balanced and focused.  Please…if all the current bullshit is buffeting you like a hurricane, remember that there is an eye of the storm, and if you learn to connect with yourself properly and regularly, you can spend your life there in that calm, shelter your family there, even though the winds howl.


And when you’re there, you can beckon to others of your tribe and show them the way. Protect your family. And nurture the child in your heart and keep her safe enough to remain centered when snakes scream insults.


They HATE that, don’t you know?





What will this week be for YOU?

Every Sunday, my primary “work” is to figure out the most important thing to accomplish in the next seven days.  Last week:


WHAT:  The most important thing I had to accomplish last week was a fabulous 20th anniversary celebration with Tananarive.

WHY: Because I adore her, and thank God every day that this fabulous, beautiful, brilliant, exceptional woman chose ME as her life partner.  And I never, ever want to take her or my life for granted, or let time pass without celebration.

HOW: An Air B’nB beach house in Malibu while Jason was off for a week of camp.


Get that?  Clear goal, clear reasons so passionate I vibrate when I think about it, and only then figuring the “how.”  Now…this week.


WHAT: Launch the “Your First 100k” course I’ve been working on for the last three years.   Rewrite the “Danakil” story for the blockchain “Celarius” project.


WHY: To provide a clearer road-map to my friends and students of how to take their passion to help people and turn it into the ability to support their own families and fulfill their dreams.   To finish a terrific shared-universe story


HOW:   By consulting with my tech guy Michael to be sure all the pieces of the marketing funnel are in place, all the contracts handled, the sales pages designed and executed, all the pieces of the course ready for download.  By editing five-ten pages of story a day.


WHAT then WHY then HOW.  Clear?




Once upon a time, I was a kid from a financially challenged, broken home, filled with fear about a world I had been told would destroy me if I was weak…or if I was too strong.  No role models, no one who believed in my dreams, and a mother who loved me but was destroying herself with stress and fear and toil.  But…she gave me a fantastic gift: the notion that our minds control our destiny.


And even if she was so rigid and wounded that she wasn’t able to take this notion to its logical conclusion SHE INFECTED ME WITH THE MEME.  And I spent my entire young life studying, searching, training…trying to find mentors, gurus, therapists, coaches, ANYONE who could help me achieve the things I needed to avoid catastrophe.  And…although Mom was limited by the rigidity of her traditional belief systems, I started seeing that all of these people, all these religions, all these philosophies were saying the same things in different ways, and slowly began to put it together.


Gaining success as a writer by writing every day.

Gaining success as a martial artist by training every day.

Building a beautiful family by being there as a husband and father every day.


I made mistakes.  Failed many times.  And deeply regret some of the choices I made along the way.  But…kept learning.   And growing.  Until one day I looked up, and realized that I’d literally achieved every goal I’d ever had as a kid.


Time for new goals.




The most evolved “Master” of any discipline I’ve had a chance to sit down and speak with one human being to another is probably Danny Inosanto, arguably the world’s greatest expert on Filipino and Indonesian martial arts, a walking encyclopedia, warrior, and gentleman.   At 82 years old he still teaches and trains every day, traveling the world every weekend to share his knowledge.


He is complex, not “complicated”.   In many ways a simple man of true genius, who teaches the history of his people as much as sharing their martial wisdom, which is phenomenal, music and mathematics on the kinesthetic level.  And all that makes him what he is is a clear goal:


WHAT:   to   be the best he can be.  To learn and grow and go as far as he can in his lifetime.

WHY: Because the weak deserve a chance to be strong.  Because bullies bleed too.  To fulfill a sacred promise to the great teacher of his life, Bruce Lee.

HOW: To train and teach every day.


That’s it.  A clear “What”.   An empowering “Why.”  and the “How” is simply doing it daily.


As the lady said, parenthood isn’t hard. Its just daily.  The same with ANYTHING else you want to master.


Know what your lifetime intentions are.   What your yearly outcomes need to be to reach them, and have a raft of kickass reasons to GO FOR IT.   What you have to accomplish this month to stay on track. What you need to do THIS WEEK to continue to refine your life physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually.


Know those things…and then know the minimum you have to do TODAY to make it happen.


Then…raise your energy by engaging with your body physically while visualizing your outcomes, chanting your gratitudes, and clarifying the ONE THING you MUST do today to take another step.


That’s all it is, people.   Mastery is a verb, not a noun. A vector, not a position.  It is being on the road, and learning and giving a little more every day.  Every.  Damned.  Day.


And, of course, celebrating your victories so that the little kid inside you, the sprite that generates all the energy and creativity, knows it is all worth while.


Do that, and the rest of life takes care of itself.  One day you’ll look up and have been married to your soulmate for two decades, have published three million words, and hold three black belts…


Or whatever the equivalent of those things is for YOU.   Or let’s put it more simply:


You’ll be happy to have been here on this planet, taking this journey.  One step at a time.





Millennial Woes

“While everyone else was telling these young white men to check their privilege, the alt-right was speaking powerfully to their Millennial woes.”



I honestly believe that our culture, perhaps our species,  is on an evolutionary cusp. A few of the core questions are:


  1. UHC and “Universal Income”.   As automation keeps the net wealth constant while reducing the number of jobs, our concept of what is “right” and “wrong” in terms of individual action, industry  and occupation HAS to shift, or the society dies. You simply cannot tell millions of unemployed people they are “bad” to be unemployed…unless there are jobs that will actually allow them to pay the bills.
  2. Global Warming.    Most of human history, we could be defined as the animals who use more and more of the biosphere’s energy per capita every few generations.    If you don’t think that a combination of this tendency combined with increased population wouldn’t affect the planet, you won’t be able to hear what I’m saying here.  This is not for you.
  3. Male-female relations.  Shifting drastically, due to birth control, industrialization, firearms, and post-optimal population levels.    It only makes sense that the sexual dimorphism the human race adapted to maximize the number of grandchildren would start to be less important, that the “walls” between the genders would grow more porous.   Those rigidly committed to those roles will be terrified, but the truth is that there is real freedom and power on the other side of this: both sides have suffered, and only those who can see that can lead the way to the future.  Men who blame women, or women who blame men, are each others’ natural partners, and the family gatherings won’t be fun at all.
  4. Racial demographics.  Tougher than male-female relations in some ways, because men and women are two sides of the exact same creature, whereas different races can easily be seen as competing tribes in a zero-sum game.   One tribe really CAN wipe out another…and thrive.   I believe this is one reason why the Civil Rights movement had such a spiritual component.  Why should I give up power, when direct material benefits are so difficult to see?  It requires a spiritual perspective, a deep dive into the question “who are we?” to produce a clear answer.
  5. There are others: alcohol vrs Pot, Obesity vrs. Lean bodies, etc.   Evolution, change, awakening, awareness.    We are in a challenging time.



The Alt Right boys strike me as males caught up in #3 and #4.   If you don’t think white males have good reason to wonder if their grandfathers were luckier than they are, you aren’t looking carefully.   Both men AND women fail to factor that the most basic human desire is NOT to have power or make money or be famous. It is to live. Life itself.  And men have been conned, tweaked, bred and programmed to accept their own lives as less important.  No, it isn’t women who controlled this, although they are certainly complicit: we co-evolved biologically and socially.   Our genetics and memetics are in control.  This arrangement got the maximum number of grandchildren onto the game board. All else was secondary.


Hapless “Incels” don’t understand the new dynamics of relationships, which aren’t really different from animal mating patterns, but ARE different from the prior social rules arising from them.  I will leave it as an exercise for the reader what the female equivalent of this might be.  Its a different discussion.


These young white males fear that shifting demographics will place them in a weakened position, or even lead to extinction.  If they don’t think they have advantage, then they MUST consider that the relative statistics of POC and white performance in America is due to innate differences.  (A great irony isn’t it? The belief that racism is not a powerful and damaging factor in American life is itself racist.  Wow. That’s kinda bizarre.)

They are, in other words, racist without being willing to speak that racism clearly.  Sometimes without realizing it.     The problem is that their fear is a real thing whether racism (the belief that one group is superior or more worthy than another, based on race or ethnicity) is a valid theory or not!


  1. The groups are NOT equal.  Oops!  Then “them durn SJWs” will destroy the system by lifting up inferior peoples. The monkeys will take over the zoo.
  2. The groups ARE equal.  In which case you have stupendous, mind-boggling guilt and fear.  Guilt over what was done in the past, and fear for possible revenge in the future. After all, THEY would want to kill anyone who oppressed them as those groups have been repressed. Projecting that naked fear onto others assumes that they are angry, and will take violent action the first chance they get.


For people like this, the future looks horrifying. There is literally no way out.   Worse, they can’t even see themselves forming healthy relationships with women, leaving them out of the reproductive stakes.


Death, on the personal and genetic level. Loss of power. Increase of pain.  Stress crippling perception, leaving them unable to grasp some basic realities:


Men and women are the same creature, and what is healthy for one will inevitably be healthy for the other.  The world as we see it was created by both.


The different “races” of human beings are more social constructs than anything else, and the gathering of the tribes is actually as natural and beautiful as the unfolding of the universe as a whole, a simple increase in connection and complexity.


Sigh.   The danger is fear, of course.   The answer is love.


  1. Love yourself.  Respect and care for yourself. Learn to nurture yourself with proper rest, proper physical and emotional nutrition, and calculated stress.
  2. Love one other person.   The process of unshielding your heart and soul to love another, ESPECIALLY if the union creates children, is one of the most powerful forces of awakening on the planet.
  3. Understand history without guilt, blame, or shame.  Human beings are just animals reaching for the stars.   Understand both the root and the flowering. Note what we’ve done to each other from fear and greed…but also the fact that violence has DECREASED over the centuries.   We really are learning and growing.  Have faith…but be cautious.
  4. Don’t argue with trolls.  Fear-driven people: black or white, male or female, will try to polarize this game.   Under the words is a belief that they are the superior ones.  Don’t fall for the comforting delusions.   We’re just people.  Instead, find the tribe of people who believe we are equal and complementary, and hew to that belief even when it is terribly hard.  You will be attacked by BOTH radical Right and Left.   Everybody wants to rule the world.  Until they realize they ARE the world…and the game changes.
  5. Win…with integrity.   Be kind, but take no shit.    Don’t drop your guard if you aren’t totally certain you can protect yourself (remember rule #1).   Be CLEAR on what your ultimate outcomes are, and why you want them, and never step away from your values and morality.   Moral strength, clarity of emotional and spiritual purpose is one of the most powerful forces in the world.  It is damned hard to stop someone willing to die for what they believe in.   But remember that most of your opponents are not snakes or monsters…they are afraid. Terrified. Don’t understand that their map is warped, that the cheese is no longer in the maze.



You will probably not be able to hear what I’m saying if you haven’t taken care of step #1–you will be in fear, and anger, and pain, and wish to strike out.  There is a time to strike out, there is no doubt, no slightest question.  I am not a pacifist.  I AM a lover of humanity. There is a difference.


But first…love yourself. That’s where it all begins.  If you are stressed out, set the countdown timer on your watch for three hours, and every time it goes off BREATHE deeply and slowly for sixty seconds, and then set your watch for another three hours.  That will get you started.


You deserve to have the best week of your life. Hard to get that, when you are filled with pain and fear.


Breathe. Love.


But protect yourself.