“As Good As It Gets” (1997): Equality or Complementarity?

In the 1997 Romantic comedy written by James L. Brooks, Helen Hunt plays a waitress, CAROL CONNOLY, a single mother with a chronically ill son.

There is a terrific scene where Carol brings a boyfriend home for (hopefully) some awkward sex on the couch of her shabby apartment. She wants him, he wants her…she hopes for a night of passion, something to make her remember she is a woman, filled with hope and life and love and possibility, and not just a mother or a worker drone. Hope. Hope is the only cure for desperation.

But even though both are willing, everything goes wrong, because her sick child needs her, and as every good parent knows, a child’s needs trump EVERYTHING else. After a humiliating (and painfully funny and real) effort to balance a sex life with Mommy instincts the potential boyfriend gives up and leaves, and she is left alone.

Meanwhile, one of her steady customers at the diner, MELVIN UDALL, is a miserable excuse for a human being, a misanthropic homophobe with obsessive-compulsive disorder…but a wealthy, successful writer. She somehow sees his humanity, and is one of the only people in the world who seems to actually connect with him, mostly over his phobia about germs.

Their tenuous connection creates the entire film (which is terrific, funny, and heartfelt) as these two terribly wounded and imbalanced people carefully circle each other. The expression “how do porcupines mate? Very carefully” comes to mind.

And by the end of the film, Carol and Melvin have the potential to create a healthy relationship. Two imbalanced people in a balanced relationship? Sure. They aren’t equal — but they ARE complementary. They have a chance. If they give honestly and fully of what they have,

On the surface, they seem so totally incompatible that the situation is absurd. But audiences and critics loved it, and I suggest that they loved it because there is an essential truth lurking under the surface.

And it is this: for two people to have a relationship they must be in balance. Note that I didn’t say “equal” — that may well be where we’re heading as a culture, but much of the world isn’t there yet. But if you were to divide people up into say 10 different arenas of life: income, intelligence, emotional stability, fitness, attractiveness, energy, judgement self-love, capacity to love others, joy, spirituality…whatever basic qualities you see in the world, and give them 1–10 points per category, what you’d see is that if you add up the points, you’ll never see a vast mismatch. An APPARENT mismatch, where one person is terrific and the other is miserable S.O.B. would lower points in the “judgement” category, wouldn’t it? The “Self Respect” category? Maybe raise points in the S.O.B.’s “charisma” category?

The future might well be “my level of beauty and power in exchange for yours” but the past, and perhaps the present is usually “His power for Her beauty”. Anyone watching supermodels dating old millionaires has seen this at work clearly, and it is up to your politics and view of humanity to decide who is exploiting whom.

I say let’s give them BOTH credit, shall we? Each has traded what they have for the very best they could get. What is that exchange? If it is not an even-steven equality exchange, is it security for fertility? Luxury and social mobility for Sex? Intelligence for Emotional balance? Whatever you want, but find that balance point, and you’ll understand people more deeply. And the beautiful thing is that unlike “Incel Insanity”, saying this HAS (often) been our past DOES NOT mean it is our future. We can change this. But we have to look at it without guilt, blame, or shame. And ask ourselves how we want relationships to work in the future.

But one thing is certain: there is no cheating. We don’t attract what we want. We attract what we ARE. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you have the power to improve yourself, and it begins with the honesty to admit we need to do it.

Helen Hunt has sanity, nurturance, beauty, emotional stability. Melvin has the financial stability, generated by writing romance novels filled with yearning. Note that he didn’t make his money selling manhole covers or something emotionally neutral: HE UNDERSTANDS THE YEARNING. He is just too damaged to connect with it in his own life.

Can you see the balance? If she had been more financially stable, do you think she’d have been as likely to bond with him? Hardly. And if he had been more emotionally stable, do you think it likely that he’d have found a woman with her positive characteristics, but less need and chaos? Likely, isn’t it?

There is nothing negative about this, unless you choose to see it that way. Each can heal and help the other. And that yearning, that need, that sense of two human beings seeking to “fit” each other’s lives like a pair of jigsaw puzzle pieces, once it “clicks”, IF it “clicks”…is “As Good As It Gets.”

Brilliant title, wasn’t it?

In a very real sense, that’s all there is to love. Equality or complementarity. Two lonely souls who fit. Feeling that together, you are more than you were alone.

Here is how you can test this notion: create a list of the basic human characteristics. Look for people who have been happily married for more than 20 years. And look at that list, giving them each rough scores in the categories. If you do this often enough, tweaking as you go, you’ll start seeing the pattern: stable couples are roughly equivalent, even if their scores in different categories vary wildly (as with Carol and Melvin). You’ll start to glimpse a truth, as well as start understanding your own values and potential and areas you might want to work on.

Its kind of like a see-saw, where the two people have to be roughly equivalent in order to balance. Society can shift the fulcrum, but if it shifts too much, if there is too much of a power imbalance, I suggest the society itself stops functioning, and they’ll be out-competed by a healthier culture. Men and women HAVE to treat each other with a certain irreducible amount of respect and care, or the whole thing falls apart.

See that, and you begin to end the war between loving human beings, and see that we’ve been doing the best we can do with the resources we have. We have new resources now, meaning new opportunities…but we have to understand how we got here to open the door to the future.

Love yourselves, and be kind to each other…




Beware Induced Confusion

I remember being in the office of a formerly great science fiction writer, a man who was a major force in his time, a volcano of creativity.   But…he couldn’t write any more.   The problem is that his very creativity, which had once made his fortune, generated a thousand options at every branching point in the story.  He, the character, the universe, the other characters could react in INFINITE ways to every stimulus.   Where once he had embraced those choices, and found the best, most brilliant and insightful (and often hilarious) options…now those same options froze him in place.


I know for a fact that if he had an editor to tell him what to do, he could still write.  But HE could not make the choice.   This may have been cognitive decline due to age or disease, or it might have been damage from a lifetime of indulgence in drugs and alcohol.  But it was so sad to see.   A TITAN.   Unable to make decisions unless someone made them for him.


This is why is is so important to have clear values.   A friend recently posted about an algorithm he’d created to choose between killing babies or old people in an out of control car.   It triggered some funny conversation but had a serious intent.  How DO we make choices of what to do?  If you care about everything equally, you can do nothing.  It is PRECISELY the same as caring about nothing at all.


We all create mental short-cuts to decide where to spend our energy, attention, money, time.   Who to give our love to, and who to shun.  The ONLY people who don’t are in asylums, unable to choose between urinating and tying their shoes. The results are kinda stinky.    Fear, lack of trust in your own judgement, lack of clear values, tunnel vision and clouded judgement can all contribute to this.


But so can deliberate confusion sewn by people who want to exploit your lack of capacity to decide in order to tell you: “you don’t know what to do!  Follow me!” or worse “Try to do everything at once” and therefore accomplish nothing.

Or worse “do nothing at all.”




The subject of “Stochastic Terrorism” came up. The term “Stochastic” meaning “randomly determined; having a random probability distribution or pattern that may be analyzed statistically but may not be predicted precisely.”

Reduce the friction coefficient on a road, and it is totally predictable that there will be more accidents, even though you cannot predict WHICH cars will crash.


Bin Laden was, according to the (possible originator) of the term, a “Stochastic Terrorist” because he encouraged holy war without giving specific orders.  SOME “True Believer” was going to take action.  You have used mass media to induce a response without a direct connection.   Predictable.

(By the way, our “Soulmates Process” uses “Stochastic Matchmaking”: rather than chasing after a particular person, you take the actions most likely to increase your real, natural attractiveness for the right people, as well as increase likelihood of meeting them.   You play to win the “numbers game.”)


I suggest that the current spate of violence is influenced powerfully by this phenomenon.  Politicians, political pundits scream violence or incivility, and the most radicalized and emotionally imbalanced listeners take action.   The pols and pundits get plausible deniability, but the actions are taken.  “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest” is suggested as a version of this, and we’ve all seen countless crime films where the Boss doesn’t DIRECTLY say someone should be murdered, but has surrounded himself with murderous people, such that when they say “George is a problem. Something should be done about that” we know exactly what will happen in the next reel, and that he has insulated himself enough to have…wait for it…plausible deniability.


You get to do what you want to do, without ever taking responsibility for it.   Cute.

A reader said:  “I don’t know how useful the term. I certainly know that the hate personalites are not doing what they do to spur the mentally ill into action. They are leading fostering the ideas of “the other” in their audience to grow unyield opposition to (political opponents) and to insulate their side from compromise. and common ideas with the “other side.””


My response was:  “It is hugely valuable IMO. Many of the things we do are not conscious, but still effective. Bringing it up to consciousness allows us to look at the result, not just the conscious intent. and then we get to make decisions about what kind of society we want. Only children can be excused based solely on intent. “Ignorance of results excuses no man” isn’t quite true…but if you don’t watch results rather than intents, you’ll miss much of reality.”


But let me look more carefully at that initial statement.   “I certainly know that…” and you “know” that precisely how?  Because no one has ever given an indirect command?  No one has ever stirred up a lynch mob, knowing that the weakest-minded will take the action.  Really?  You KNOW this?


No, you don’t. You might hope or believe that, but you cannot KNOW it.  And when you say “They are leading fostering the ideas of “the other” in their audience to grow unyielding opposition to (political opponents) and to insulate their side from compromise. and common ideas with the “other side.””  you are saying “they are building the sense of their political opponents as “the enemy.”


Do that, and if the issues are critical enough SOMEONE WILL COMMIT ACTS OF VIOLENCE.  That is human nature.  Really BELIEVE fetuses are human beings? Someone will blow up a birth control clinic. Really BELIEVE that rich people are evil?  Someone will kill one to make a point.

Really BELIEVE that Jews are controlling the government?  Someone will slaughter worshipers in a temple.


And if you step back and scream hatred and violence, and you don’t KNOW that this will happen if the rhetoric becomes violent enough and reaches the right ears? You are asleep.    There is a chance to wake you up.


But you know? I think that most of the shock jocks and political pundits aren’t asleep. I think they believe they can ride that bicycle, get close enough to the edge to emotionalize their audience , and if a few heads get busted, well, They Asked For It.


They aren’t respecting the First Amendment. They are HIDING behind it, to accomplish something terrible. And in the end, IMO they would tear the First Amendment down and say the government will allow only THEIR version of the truth.  And in that sense..the more you actually respect the first amendment, the more frightening that should sound.


They are snakes.  And if they are more than that?  If they are actually monsters? They will use that rhetoric to test the public. Will you allow me to say these things?  And if there are ugly results, will you excuse it, deny it happened or its origin? Will you say it is “free speech” as if “free speech” is the intent, rather than a means to an end, as if government laws are the only means of legally and morally influencing behavior?  Will you try to distract the confused from what is happening, because you believe the end justifies the means?


The monsters want total control, and sometimes the eradication of enemies and opposition forces. And the will test out words to see if they can get away with it.  And if they can, then small actions. And if people stay asleep…large actions.


Until one day people wake up and say “what happened?” or worse “I never knew this could happen.


Because it profited them to stay asleep. Because they WANTED certain actions (“hey, they’re pushing through my agenda.   I’ll let them do that. We’ll rein them in later.”  Historically, that actually doesn’t work very well.)


The time for us to grasp and state clearly that speech can and does lead to violence is now. Then, people cannot pretend they never were exposed to the concept. They can say they didn’t believe it, or felt helpless.  And those who APPROVE of the violence, or are ignorant enough to believe they can control it, will use same those weasel words.  It is not always possible to differentiate between sleepers and snakes.


But the first step is getting the concept out there. Providing words that clarify thoughts. And then starting the conversation about what we will accept. Those who will not agree that our elected leaders should be more careful with their words cannot be a part of the next step of conversation: WHAT TO DO?

What to do?   Clarify the position.  Force people to make a choice, or identify those unwilling to speak up and grasp that some of them are deliberately sabotaging without the courage and honesty to actually say what they are thinking.

The first step is getting clarity on who will agree that civility is critical in a society. If they try to distract from the power of leadership to shape actions and opinions, they are asleep at BEST.  They may be snakes.

And make no mistake: some are monsters.





“Get Away From Her, You B@#$!”

Remember “Aliens”? Sure you do.  Ripley (the great Sigourney Weaver) survived the alien attack on her space tugboat Nostromo, awakening decades later in a new world.   When she is asked to lead a group of tough space marines back to the planet where her ship originally made contact, she hates the notion…but must, both to save hapless colonists and stop her own nightmares.  The space marines are tough and willing, but overmatched by the ferocious aliens that have overrun the planet, underlead by an inexperienced officer.  Ripley, there only as an observer, must take control of the situation to save the lives of the savaged marines, escaping an ambush just in time to see their escape ship blown to pieces.


“Game Over Man!  Game Over!”


Trapped in the station waiting for a nuclear reactor to overload and betting all their hopes on the slender chance of getting a second rescue ship from orbit, Ripley leads the survivors in barricading the station, bonding to the single survivor of the initial alien assault: a little girl called Newt who managed to survive by crawling in the air spaces.  When the aliens overrun them, and Newt is taken alive, Ripley is pushed beyond terror to descend into the bowels of the station to save the child.   She does, but the alien queen follows them into their escape ship as the station blows up behind them.


All seems lost, but at this point Ripley, protecting her comrades and particularly the child she has sworn to save, goes beyond all fear, beyond any ordinary human consideration, becoming the Primal Mother, stepping into the strongest position any human being can come from: “I’m ready to die, and I’m ready to take you with me.”   Does anyone doubt that Ripley would have gladly perished, gone out that airlock with the alien queen, if that was what it took to save that little girl?  When she said those six words:  “Get away from her you BITCH!” the audience cheered as I’ve never seen.  She was beaten.  Wiped out. Finished. Out of options. All of the “space marines” were defeated or dead, her android torn in half, with no weapons, nothing but her mother’s heart and a ferocious will NOT to survived, but to die dealing death.  Few forces can stand up to such courage and power.


She won.  Not just her own life, not just defeating the alien queen, but winning the most precious things in the world: the love of a little girl (‘Mommy!”) and the knowledge that, yes…it was safe to dream again.


THAT is a movie.  And it works because it connects with a core truth.   It isn’t what you fight with, its what you fight for.   And she was able to rise to the occasion because she had pure motivation.


She did what I think ALL of us would do, if we understood what was at stake.





I remember talking to a student about a toxic relationship.  The guy she was with was just a nightmare of anger and depression, negative habits and needy accusations, flirting with violence.  She’d actually had kids with him, and the children were being negatively affected years after the separation. “Why did you marry him?”  She fumbled the answer a bit, but finally came back with “he needed love.,” she said.  Sure, he had problems, but “troubled people need love too.”


Yes, I said. But they don’t need it from YOU.


I asked a question that has been very valuable over the years: “would you have wanted your DAUGHTER  to marry him?”  And the vague, unfocused, defensive lok in her eyes disappeared and she came back sharply with “hell no.”


Predictable.  Why are we willing to accept for ourselves what we would not want for our children?  Because our children hold our hope for the future, our own dreams, rooted in our childhoods, reaching beyond our own lifetimes.    We love them with all our hearts.


Would that we loved ourselves the same way.  Our bodies and psyches hold a lifetime of scars, are “black bags” of unprocessed emotions, tangled values, confused beliefs and distorted memories.   Our CHILDREN are worth the moon…but OUR value is questionable.


But wait…if we make bad relationship choices, don’t those affect our future and present children.   Damaging them to continue this cycle on and on? Isn’t this a paradox? We’ll do it for our kids, but can’t do it for ourselves. And in not doing it for ourselves, we lay the burden on our children, creating nightmares for generations to come….



It can stop now.  Understanding the pattern gives us a new opportunity to come from love rather than chasing after it.   We KNOW how to stop the cycle.  All it takes is connecting to the “child” self within us, committing to protect our own hearts, and healing and improving ourselves until we are on the same frequency as the HEALTHY people who are looking for love.


It really is that simple. And if you don’t find them?  You are still happy and healthy. It is the ONLY approach that cannot lose, since the end point is and always has been finding joy in this world.




Spend a few minutes daily sitting quietly and visualizing the child you were, making them so young that whatever damage you’ve suffered has yet to hit.   See her vulnerability and promise, and commit to protecting her at ALL costs, making her life as wonderful and beautiful as possible. And never letting ANYONE play with her unless they pass your stringent standards.  And….disciplining her with love, as well, making sure she takes care of herself: discipline is love. SOMEONE has to be the parent, and she can’t do it.  You have to.


Do that…and you become the hero in your own story, capable of slaying dragons….or riding them, if you would.   Do this…and you earn your way into the company of other dragon-slayers, dragon-riders.  And if you think you could find a worthy partner in such company…


The door is open before you.





“A Star Is Born”: Wilting beneath the loving gaze

(Spoilers ahead)

There is a darned good reason that “A Star Is Born” has been remade three times, in different eras with different emphasis. But always with enough power to make a mark. There is strong emotional fiber in that story. The current version may just be the very best.

Ally (Lady GaGa) is a struggling singer who has almost given up her dream of a career. She meets Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) is a superstar driven by demons.

He has the external success, but the inner emptiness, a lack of force, and we see this in the moment when a cop intrudes on their privacy to demand an autograph. Jackson can’t tell the man “no”, protecting his space. Ally punches the guy.

Jackson sees something in her: a strength, a talent, a beauty. Her soul. She certainly sees him (especially in the moment he sings in her club, just for the pleasure of the other performers, not an impersonal crowd of worshipers.) His song: “Maybe its time to let the old ways die.” A song of loss, and pain, and desperate hope. SHE SEES HIM.

And this builds up to one of the “trailer moments”. “Do you write your own songs” he asks. She replies no. Which leads her to a painful truth: she doesn’t want to reveal herself, BE herself. Why? Because every executive she’s dealt with says that they like her voice, but don’t like her face.

Jackson looks at her and says: “I think you’re beautiful.” And her eyes widen, and for the first time she grasps that something is happening here.

Have you ever FELT that? That thrill of realizing someone feels for you what you feel for them? The astonishment? The feeling that something miraculous has happened?

I pray you have. It is one of the most wonderful things in all the world. But you have to be ready for it, or you’ll be consumed by the fire.

His green light was on…for her.

Her “green light” was on…for him.

The difference is that she had a foundation of self-worth to stand on, a fierceness, like a little wolverine. Whereas he was a walking wound.

But the tragedy that is A STAR IS BORN comes from the fact that one of these lovers cannot sustain the other’s gaze.

Have you ever had someone look at you with love and adoration, and felt something inside you wither? Have you ever expressed love for someone and had them recoil in distaste?

I had that pain, of dating the girl of my dreams, and had the horrible experience that the more honest and open I was, the more she backed away. I gave too much of my heart, too soon. Maybe I came off like a liar, or a weakling. Or maybe it was more than she could handle at the time. But what was clear was that it was too much, too soon.

The problem in “A Star Is Born” is that Jackson is so wounded, so frightened of the emptiness within him, that he is afraid he will drag Ally down with him, leading to the tragic conclusion. He would rather end himself than damage the woman he genuinely loves. He cannot believe that he is worth it, or that her love could be deep enough to fill the void within him.

Ally is a survivor: we see that pretty fast. She takes risks, can wear masks and remain herself, can take control of her sexuality and open her heart as only one who has had that heart broken then picked herself up possibly can.

She knows herself, sees her beauty in her father’s eyes. Jackson feels something broken within him, so the adoration of the crowd is actually painful: can’t they see who he is? That he is not worthy of their love?

Ally is the opposite: the adoration finds root in her heart because she has self-respect, KNOWS she is worthy of that acclaim.

If you are going to be able to find love, you have to be able to withstand the loving gaze, not wither and flinch away “If you only knew what I was…”

You have to feel that you could be GOOD for someone you adore…or you will run from them, or sabotage, or worst of all, tear them down to a level where you finally feel comfortable being with them.

Yes, there are worse things than destroying yourself. Destroying a loved one would be among them.

The problem was within Jackson. His “child” self had been trained to destructive behavior by his own beloved and admired father. The answer should have been to repair his heart, going deep and directly into the core of the problem. This is why “The Ancient Child” technique of emotional healing (dividing your consciousness into “adult” and “child” selves and visualizing a nurturing relationship) is central to the Soulmate Process: so that you believe you are worthy, and can give yourself to a loved one without fear that it isn’t enough, or that you will destroy them. So that you treat yourself with the respect and discipline that leads to a healthy mind, heart, and body, as a gift to your own soul, and to your beloved.

It must start within you, so that when that “Green Light” goes on…

You are ready to roll, not crash and burn.




Soulmate M.A.G.I.C.

You may notice that I don’t suggest that people go out to singles bars, dating sites, and the like.  Not that these things don’t work, but those are the OBVIOUS things to do.   The perspective is that the most important attainments happen not when we are focused on them, but when we are focused on other things.  This is the “A watched pot never boils” notion, taken to a different level.  It is the  “In order to move forward, you have to be happy where you are” idea that is so difficult to grasp.


This really hit home years back when, due to a family emergency, we moved back to Atlanta for three years.    I was DEVASTATED.  My childhood dream of a Hollywood career had already been damaged by ten years in the Northwest (another “family emergency.”  Hmmm…is there a pattern here?  Just maybe?  A subject for another time), but this was the coup de grâce.  I was dead in the water.  It felt like I had no friends, no family, no prospects, nothing except a desire to be a warrior for my family, throwing  an entire life of ambition on the pyre in the service of love.


My ego just…shattered.   Could see no way out of the trap. We’d exhausted our resources getting out there, and I had no idea how to generate more.  It wasn’t my world: I am NOT a child of the South.   I saw myself getting mired there, deeper and deeper, until I lost my identity, that sense of certainty that had sustained me through the worst setbacks and disappointments since childhood.

I was curled on the floor in a puddle of tears, broken, unable to see how I would survive.

What saved me was LOVE.  Specifically, a commitment to being my nine year old son Jason’s father. He needed me.  That I could understand. That I could focus on, no matter what.   That meant I had to take action. But…what?  How could I heal myself?

I decided to go back to the pattern that had created my success in the first place: the path my mother put me on in childhood: constant research into the mental, emotional, and behavioral paths to success.


I re-read THINK AND GROW RICH, and THE STRANGEST SECRET, and THE GOLDEN KEY and PSYCHO-CYBERNETICS and UNLIMITED POWER and on and on.   It was good stuff, and helped me fill that void inside me, so that my anger and fear were buried under a mass of affirmations and theories.  Not enough, but not bad.


Then I looked into THE SECRET.

I’d seen it before, of course, and it annoyed me.  Why?  Because people seemed to feel that if they WANTED something badly enough, it would come to them. And frankly, a lot of the people who followed it seemed to think they could sit on their butts on the couch, and all good things would flow to them.   Try sitting there and saying “I wish I had a sandwich” and see what happens.  Do you think the universe is your servant?   NO.  You are a PART of the universe.  In order to benefit from its wishes you have to flow with it, which, for us Geeks, demands understanding the rules.


But…I came across an article on the “roots” of THE SECRET, and they mentioned a book called THE SCIENCE OF GETTING RICH by Wallace G. Wattles. It was a very short book, and I bought a copy and devoured it in an hour.


And…COULDN’T REMEMBER A SINGLE WORD.  I was stunned, confused. Was I losing my mind?  I read it again. And yet again.  And COULDN’T REMEMBER A SINGLE WORD.  This was terrifying.


Then…I remembered a transformative workshop I attended in the 70’s.  One of those where they don’t let you go to the bathroom. Yeah, THAT one.  Anyway, it was about one in the morning, and all three hundred of us were exhausted.   And the facilitator introduced a new subject: money.   I watched an entire chunk of the room wake up, and another whole section fall asleep.  An actual “ripple” that you could see happening right in front of you.  Fascinating.  A half hour later he changed the subject: sex.


And…another whole chunk of the room fell asleep, and a different swath woke up.


WHOA!  Right then, they had my attention–not to the subject (I found their take superficial)  but to what I’d just seen, live and unplanned: when there is a subject people are interested in they wake up.

Well, THAT’S hardly revolutionary.    But I asked myself a different question: what does it say about the people who fell asleep?  They simply weren’t interested in sex? Or money?  Maybe.  But…what if I tried a different question: what if people with an emotional AVERSION to a subject will avoid information that is too confrontational?  What if they “delete” information, go “unconscious” when hit with something too close to home?


Remembering that, I asked a very important question: what if there is something in this little book so powerful that I can’t let myself see it?  Something threatening?


I devised a strategy..


What I did was read just one page at a time, and synopsize it with a sentence or paragraph.  Then move on to the next page, and read THAT one repeatedly until I absorbed and understood, and then synopsize  THAT with a sentence or paragraph.  And so on through the entire book.

I came up with about 20 pages of notes.   Then I read through THOSE and boiled THOSE down a page at a time.  Came up with about five pages.  Boiled THOSE down, and boiled THOSE down.  Until I came up with just five words.  Over the years I’ve refined those into the following form:




I looked at that , and stared at it and stared at it until the lightbulb went off.  Do you see it? Do you see why my brain didn’t want to absorb this information, was so desperate to ignore it that it literally wouldn’t let me absorb the information?  This was a MAJOR breakthrough in my life, and if you “get” it yourself it will be better. So…look at that again:




Action X

Gratitude X

Intention X



Stumped?  Well, I’m going to give you some hints.   See how many you need before you grasp what I’d discovered.


  1. M.A.G.I.C. is a convenient acronym.  “Action” is the daily WORK you do.  “Gratitude” is your positive emotions for the blessings you already have.  “Intention” is the specific Outcome, your Goal.  And “Conviction” is BELIEF in yourself, that you CAN and SHOULD accomplish something.


See it yet?  Let’s try another hint.


2. Look at the arithmetical symbols.  What is the significance of the fact that those symbols are MULTIPLICATIVE (“X”) as opposed to ADIVE (“+”)?





If you are a typical smart person, you probably thought something like: “if you have all of these, the effects are far more powerful. They multiply against each other rather than just adding up.”


And…while that’s a great answer, that wouldn’t create a situation where my brain didn’t want to hear something, would it?  Last hint:


3. Think of each of those things: Action, Gratitude, Intention, and Conviction, as qualities with a numerical value from 0-9.  NOW do you get it?






O.K.  No more teasing.  Here it is: YOU CAN’T MULTIPLY BY ZERO.   If you have a “zero” in ANY of those arenas…


If you don’t take ACTION

If you don’t have GRATITUDE

If you don’t have clear INTENTIONS

If you don’t have absolute CONVICTION


You might have a “1” in a category, and still survive. But if you have a “0” you are DEAD IN THE WATER.


Can you see it?  I was miserable in Atlanta. Wanted to get back to California. But in order to GET to California, I had to be GRATEFUL with my life in Atlanta!


NOOOOOO!  That was the LAST thing I wanted to hear.  But the conclusion was inescapable–that was what the book was saying.  Also inescapable was the possibility that this was an ego-busting, major breakthrough, BECAUSE MY MIND HAD FOUGHT LIKE THE DEVIL TO KEEP ME FROM SEEING IT.


I wanted my pain.  NEEDED my pain. Was defined by it. But…in order to thrive, in order for things to change, I HAD TO CHANGE FIRST.


How I did that is another story for another time. But if you can’t see the connection to relationships, let me make it explicit:


Needy is NOT a turn on except to predators and broken people.  To attract a healthy, adult human being YOU MUST BE A HEALTHY ADULT HUMAN BEING.


That’s it.  You can’t wait: “when I find someone then I will heal!”  No.  You set out toward healing, and on the path, you will meet people as healed  as you.  As you become more integrated, you will meet people who have their act together more and more. And…at some point they will cross the threshold “ah!  I’m attracted!” and you will cross THEIR threshold: “Ah!  He/she is attractive!” and you will be going in the same direction at the same frequency…and bingo, you have achieved lift-off.


Just that simple. Brutal, if you fight against reality.  But for the rest of us…it is saying WE have the power.  All we have to do is start with the end in mind: joy.  Gratitude.  Find your way to THAT, and the rest becomes almost inevitable.  Every chipmunk in the forest finds a mate. If you haven’t…the obstacle is right in the mirror.





When the lover is ready, the Beloved will appear

We’ve all felt alone and desperate, and the very worst thing about my deepest well of loneliness was that, by an amazing coincidence, the most attractive woman I knew gave me a chance to be with her. The chance of a lifetime. And…I totally blew it, dumping all my emotions out on her like a breached dam, washing away any chance I might have had. She was beautiful, sexy, smart, a lioness.


I’d been a rabbit.   I wasn’t on her frequency at all, and thank God I didn’t fall for the “Incel” insanity. At least I knew it was MY problem, and not hers in the slightest.


I realized a very hard thing for someone who prides himself on his intelligence: I was clueless about relationships.  Totally a “Geek”  about what worked in the dating “market.”  Despite considerable success in my career (I’d published fifteen novels) , and in my physicality (I had two black belts), I had met my wife in college, a pressure-cooker where we were literally thrown together every day by living in the same space.


I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO COURT. How to approach the women I was attracted to, or how to treat them once they gave me a chance to get closer.


And all of my errors rooted in fear.  Loneliness.  Worry.  Confusion.  A terrible dilemma was hitting me at the worst time:


I wanted a relationship so that I could feel joyful.  But the lack of feeling joyful poisoned my ability to find a relationship.


I had done life coaching and even created a system of personal development called “Lifewriting” with which I’d helped thousands of students.   Why couldn’t I help myself?   And asked myself: “If I was one of my own students, and came to me with this problem, what would I suggest?”


And the answer was: go deeper.  Don’t get lost in the surface of this.  That is a Gordian Knot. Go deeper, and find the truth.




I started to do two things: running to raise my energy, and meditation to use that energy to focus through the knots.


And started asking questions:


What did I want?  A girlfriend.

Why did I want a girlfriend?  Companionship and sex.  I knew that was true, because I ACHED for connection. It felt like I wanted to die, the rift was so wide, the abyss so deep.


Why did I want those things? To feel connected to my heart, and the world.


And then I asked myself a critical question: if I had that connection, deeply and honestly, what then?


I got a little quieter…as if asking the question helped to release a bit of the pain.


Well…I would feel less damaged and battered, less hollow and alone.  It was all true.  But admitting it exposed the rot in a way that felt…cleansing.


Deeper: and if I felt whole, and connected, what then?


Well…I would feel at peace.


And if I felt at peace, what then?


I would feel as if I had returned home, to a place of safety, and comfort, and joy.


And if I felt safe, and joyful, what then?


I would feel connected to the divine. Complete and whole.




And there wasn’t another question.  That one was the answer, the real answer. That I had sought relations with another to find the connection to my own deepest self.  That that lack of connection had poisoned my attempts to find a new partner.


I had a new plan.   IN ORDER TO FIND THE RELATIONSHIP OF MY DREAMS, I HAD TO ALREADY BE COMPLETE.  I had to find the joy within myself.  Otherwise I risked being an “energy vampire” begging for someone to love me, heal me.


And if I really loved women, and really wanted the best for them, I’d suggest they run like hell from a man like the man I had been.




What to do?    The path out of that trap was to create a daily ritual of action, emotion, and thought to heal myself.  I WAS RESPONSIBLE for my emotions.  And the “Geek” side of me combed through everything I knew from thirty years of yoga, martial arts, meditation, and study of philosophy to find the things that would connect me with…ME.


So that I would be able to live every day with joy, whether or not I was alone.


So that I would have something to give, not just be looking to get.


So that I would be the kind of healthy male human animal who could attract and hold a healthy female human animal.


It set me free, that realization.   It put my attention where it belonged: on healing, and being, and loving, and finding joy in life WHERE I WAS.


And the instant I did that, the very MOMENT I made that commitment, life began to change.  It was as if I was vibrating on a different frequency, and attracting a different sort of lady.  I was fascinated, but knew I wasn’t “there” yet.  More work, more refinement followed.    And attracted more attention.


Not yet.   I wasn’t whole and healed yet.  And then came the day that I realized I was complete within myself, and from that place saw the universal yearning for love and connection.


It stopped looking like a game at all. It was the most sincere and spiritual quest in life, and the idea of treating the search for love with anything but the utmost respect and care was anathema to me.  I saw the women around me as my sisters, my mothers, my daughters.


That unless I could give my heart wholly, I had no interest in asking them to extend that intimate trust to me. I could appreciate them without needing, or desiring, or craving.  I loved them for what they were, where they were, and committed to walking my life alone, if necessary, if that was what it took to find the woman I could really be with.


And…the very next morning, I met my Soulmate.


So simple. So powerful.  When the Lover was ready, the Beloved appeared.






Grokking Love

The term “Grokking”, coined by the great SF writer Robert Heinlein in his novel “Stranger In a Strange Land”, roughly means “understand (something) intuitively or by empathy.”  This would be one of the core outcomes of most meditative disciplines: to KNOW yourself, to go beyond the surface stories and the ego shells to discover an ineffable truth within.


If I map this over to what the wisest men and women on the planet have said about this journey over the ages, this would seem to be at the very least being “awake”, and possibly knocking on the door of the state referred to as “enlightenment”, which lies beyond the gate called “non-dualism.”  It is, in other words…extraordinary.  And probably beyond the majority of human beings to achieve through sheer will.  Life experience probably gets most of us there, in time…but sheer effort or focus? I don’t think so.


But one thing   that is true is that this state MIGHT be useful, or might not, in terms of living  in our world. Depends on too many other factors, including the fact that the state is a fictional creation, and we have no paths to it, no consistent real-world definitions, and no real role models for what it might mean, or the pathways to it.


Love, on the other hand, is available to the vast majority of us. Probably all of us.  And since a large percentage of religious and spiritual disciplines that say the core of us, the essence of us, is love…the search for love and the search for truth are aligned.


And since coming from that loving space is one of the best ways to connect with others, there is no downside there either.   What about defending yourself?  Wouldn’t “coming from love” weaken you, make you less likely to be able to defend yourself, being so committed to loving?


Not if you are in alignment with nature.  Not if you love your family enough to protect it, or want to get home to hug and kiss them one more time.  Not if you love the child you were enough to be willing to defend her. Defend him, to your last drop of blood and last breath.


Love helps you forgive yourself, and when you do that, you can look more honestly at yourself because you are not afraid of what you will find. We are flawed. We make mistakes. We have swallowed the opinions of people we trusted…and some of those opinions paint us negatively.  We have values conflicts creating self-destructive behavior. Fears that create procrastination.  Egos that war with the world around us.


If we don’t look at that ball of knotted snakes, we can’t unravel it.  And so the ego protects itself partially by discouraging the very introspection we need.  “You are less than perfect!” is true.  “And therefore you aren’t worth it!” is not.


Loving ourselves means disciplining ourselves, as well as accepting where we are. Knowing we’ve done the best we can do.  In accepting ourselves, we learn to forgive the imperfections of a potential beloved.   If you can love and accept yourself where YOU are, you will be able to recognize, accept, and love another on your frequency, traveling in the same direction at the same pace.  You recognize a kindred heart, a kindred spirit.  A potential soulmate.


So…because love is so healing, so central…I choose love.  “Grokking” seems to imply “understanding” to many people.   Absent a grounded body and an open heart, that can devolve to more “head case” stuff, dangerous to a person seeking a real experience of life.   Interesting. But if  Valentine Michael Smith, Heinlein’s very human Martian, had been a real human being, I’m sure we would learn wonderful things about what was meant by that term. Absent that…we’re just trying to understand. And in a real sense, understanding is the booby prize.


Love is the prize.




(tomorrow, we will begin a new adventure together, a path of love.  Join me!)

Love Makes You Strong

(Trigger Warning:  There is violent imagery in this essay.  No joke)


Coming from love doesn’t make you weak, or less capable of resisting evil.   Nope. It actually is the core of willingness to die killing something threatening your family or core values, which is arguably  the most powerful  and clarifying position in the world, beyond even personal survival.


I’ll tell a story I’ve told before.  Many years ago, I had a neighbor (call him “Bob”) whose daughter was a friend of Nicki, we’ll call “Janie”.   “Bob” was a nice guy, but there was something strange: he seemed to take some kind of odd offense with me. Challenged me verbally with intense emotions behind it.   Seemed to take pleasure sniping at me.   Called the police on my dog, and then came over to my house and bragged about it and dropped into a boxing stance to challenge me to fight him.  I just sort of shook my head, unable to figure out what the hell I’d done to trigger such a reaction.


I tried to make peace.    One day I was at his house, and Bob complained about a bad back.  I invited him to come over to my house and use our spa.   He gratefully agreed.  He came over a couple of hours later in his swim suit, and a folded towel.   He asked me to hold the towel for him. What it concealed was…a revolver.




I asked him why he was carrying it. Without blinking he said that he was having trouble with his boss at work.  That the man was a terror.  And he was SO ugly. And…he looked just like ME.


Oh, shit.   Well, isn’t THAT special.


I remember sitting down with Swift Deer at my next Judo lesson, and telling him what was happening. That I felt paralyzed.  “I don’t want to hurt  Janie’s’ dad.”


Swift shook his head somberly. “And that’s why he’s going to hurt you, brother” he said.   “That’s what he’s counting on.”


I was thunderstruck. Swift was right. Whatever was going on with Bob likely had nothing to do with me.   But he had focused his anger and fear on me, and my very affection for his family weakened me.  ESPECIALLY my affection for Janie, which was enormous.  I was frozen: damned if I did, dead or wounded if I didn’t.


I went home that night, brain swimming.  What should I do?  I couldn’t hurt Janie’s dad.  I had to deal with this. But I just couldn’t. My love paralyzed me.


Then a thought crossed my mind, one of those “cubic inches of opportunity” that slide in from the blind spot: HE WAS TRYING TO HURT NICKI’S DAD.


Boom.  Something deep inside me bared its teeth.  Oh, yes.   He was trying to make my daughter an orphan.  My wife a widow.


And for some reason…that was TOTALLY different.  QUALITATIVELY different.

He was trying to hurt Nicki’s Dad?   The hell he would.


So…what was I going to do?  I remembered a story I was told by…hmmm…I’ll be just a little oblique here.  Let’s say a martial artist friend and instructor of mine who is extremely savvy about the psychology of martial art, science, and sport.   Yeah, him.


He told me about a day when a belligerent gentleman came into his school spoiling for a fight.    Roaring “I wanna talk to X!” My friend and teacher listened to the ravings, and got very calm. Reached into his desk, and pulled out a loaded 9mm (he is legally permitted to carry). He set it on his desk. Then imagined the man breaking into his office. Imagined himself shooting the man right through the head.  Rather dreamily imagined the guy’s  brains splashing against the wall, and the body sliding down, death clouding his eyes.

And smiled warmly.

Put the gun away, went out and talked to the guy…who was INSTANTLY as mild as cream.


THAT would be my tactic. I imagined “Bob” swinging on me.  And responding with a burst of violence the likes of which he had never dreamed of.   Imagined breaking his limbs and curb-stomping him, and thoroughly enjoying the resulting mess.     Oh, yes…there is definitely a part of me that enjoyed that imagining.  Anyone who really knows me knows it is there, buried deep down, a rabid wolf I’ve been feeding for decades, with the promise that if the justification ever came…I’d let him out.


I warmed myself on that vision of destruction, then  went out of my office to my family.  Kissed Nicki. Kissed Toni.  Patted my dog good-bye.   And walked across the street.

Knocked on the door. His wife “Kathy” answered.  I said, “hello, Kathy.  Is Bob here?”

A little puzzled, she said yes, he was back in his office.  “May I speak with him?”

Why sure, come on in.  I walked back to Bob’s office, and there he was at his desk.  He  looked up at me with surprise.  I said “Hi, Bob,” and just talked to him for a few minutes, to his slight confusion. Perfectly pleasant conversation.  Then I looked at my watch, said: “well, I just wanted to come by and say hello.”

He walked me to the front door, I said good-bye, and left.   Weeks later Kathy told me that after I left Bob looked at her and said “You know? That Steven Barnes is really a nice guy.”


Why?  Because I had absolute clarity.  Was 100% ready to go.  The slightest twitch would have triggered it. And on an animal level…HE KNEW. I had left him no uncertainty to exploit.  No fear to strike into.  No lever to manipulate me.

Ready to die. Ready to take him with me.  Hell, I’d said good-bye to my DOG.  Can’t get more serious than that.

How?  By connecting to what I really, really loved: Nicki.  Toni.  And my dog, of course. That love swept away all mists of confusion.  I might be of several minds about my own safety, but NOTHING will harm my family while I live.

Connect with your love, and you have strength beyond fear.    Connect that love to your own inner self, and you change your destiny.

Heartbeat meditation and visualizing the child within me for 20 minutes a day, every morning, is my path.   I hope you find yours.

Nothing is stronger than love.





Love and Cleaning the Catbox…

A question came up yesterday: what happens if you have no healthy role models for relationships? What would happen if you grew up on an island, and the only people around you lisped?  You would speak in a lisp.  What if they all walked with a limp?  You probably would too.


When I was a kid, I was a four-eyed nerd with a pot-belly, no girlfriends and everyone told me my dreams were rubbish.  My mother and father had divorced by the time I was about eight (I don’t clearly remember) and I had no brothers, uncles or step-father nearby to model to figure out how to be a man, or how to interact with women and girls.


But one thing I did have, was CERTAINTY that my mom loved me. I never doubted that.  And that gave me the strength to do everything else.




When Nicki was a little girl, about 8,  a point came where she seemed to lack confidence, didn’t believe that she could accomplish something.  Again, I wish I remember exactly what it was.  Perhaps performing in a school play, something like that.  And I took her and stood her in front of a mirror and look in her own eyes and say “I like myself!  I love myself!” She was so nervous at first, almost as if she didn’t believe it was all right to say such a thing. But as she kept going suddenly she started smiling and giggling…a great smile. A heavenly giggle.


And she was saying it and MEANING it.  She liked herself!  She loved herself!

And whatever that challenge was, she went right out and CRUSHED it.


What a difference.




That’s where the SOULMATE PROCESS starts, yes. But it is also where the power to defend yourself comes from.   And the power to speak your truth.  In “Chakra” terms it is loving yourself (heart) enough to be willing to die defending what is most precious about you (Survival, “Root”).    You can go the other way: Root (Survival) by, for instance, slowing your breathing until the CO2 in your bloodstream triggers panic response, then connecting that energy to your heart, climbing “up” through sex and power along the way.


Either works.   And had it not been for that rock-solid love from my mom, and the bullies who made me fear for my life, burned pain into my body…and the methods of healing I learned from masters like Dawn Callan and Sri Chinmoy…I might never have learned how to heal the wounds that had trapped me in nerd-dom in the first place. I had been a total head-case, lived in a world of books and images and concepts, rather than in my emotions and physical body.  Too much pain there.   But if there had been LESS pain, just a little…I might never have been pushed to solve the riddle.


You, (yeah YOU) want to feel secure, to have unleashed passion, to have a body that mirrors what attracts you in a healthy animal sense, an open loving heart and someone to share it with, the ability to speak your truth no matter who opposes you, a clear and effective map of reality that allows you to achieve success and live with joy, and ultimately to make every day of your life a step along a path of growth and evolution and contribution.

(and the ability to forgive yourself for not living up to impossibly high ideals. I know people like that, and they rip themselves to pieces for not being perfect. Perhaps you know someone like that. Perhaps they live in your mirror)


Yes, you.  The first step will be to twine the emotions of Love and Fear together to get that pure survival current.   For most of us, that means increasing the amount of love.  Remember the WHAT WHY HOW pattern?


WHAT do you want?  It will be something that you love, or at the least an escape of some pain or fear.

WHY do you want it?  This will be some form of love, or escape from fear.  Pleasure, or relief from pain.


The rest is just tactics.  Really. Trivial in comparison.   Have a clear enough WHAT and WHY and know WHO has achieved it before…and the HOWS are just “stuff I do to get the things I want”.  At the very worst, it is like cleaning the cat-box.   Any one really ENJOY cleaning a cat-box?  Then why do you do it every day?

Because you love cats.

Same thing.  When you love yourself, you have the energy necessary to accomplish anything.  And the first thing you are probably going to do…and the first step to becoming a really mature human being…is to love another human being. The changes you go through once this happens are MASSIVE and once you open that door, there is no going back.


So…DON’T OPEN IT BEFORE YOU FIRST LOVE YOURSELF.  If you don’t love yourself, you will let anyone treat you any way at all, as long as they give you that feeling your crave.  You won’t be as sensitive to “predator” energy as you would be if that person came home with your son or daughter.   If you don’t love yourself, there is no value to what you have to give them, and you will feel you have to half-kill yourself just to break even. If you don’t love yourself, you will QUESTION THEIR JUDGEMENT.  I mean, if you aren’t worth love, how could they love you? They must be tricking you.  Or…they are stupid.  Or…they will wake up, realize their mistake, and leave you.




You have to start with self-love, and if you have not experienced it, it may take some time.  If the damage is deep, give yourself at least a year to really get in there, clean things out, and create a new foundation.   Be gentle.  You’re doing the best you can, and always have.


WHAT is to love yourself

WHY is to experience the joy and passion you crave and deserve

HOW is to connect to your heart and survival drives.


There are countless ways.  Google is your friend. But what I do every morning is spend 20 minutes listening to/feeling my heartbeat while visualizing the little kid inside me.  I listen to what he has to say. I bring him playmates.

(Aside: this morning it was the bifertile hermaphrodite “Leslie” character from the STREETLETHAL books.  THAT was really interesting.  Lethal little scamp.  Can play “girl” or “boy” with equal facility.  Considering that THAT is how I really see human beings, that I see males and females as having stretched and exaggerated their dimorphism to create safety for children (often at great price–for both men and women) seeing Leslie down in my “Safe Room” was fascinating. Wonder what it means.

Don’t know, but I like it.)


Anyway….this is the path. Start with your heart. Or start with survival. DON’T try to “figure it out”: that’s “waking up your kundalini from the top down” and perhaps the single most typical mistake made by Geeks and  Nerds.   Lovely, brilliant, often beautiful people who are top-heavy, trying to figure out the world rather than experiencing it.   Thinking that “understanding” is the point.


No. Being is the point.   That means you can’t be chasing after your most basic needs.  And that means connecting with the source of your life, within you.   When you can do that: you have taken the first step.


That’s the WHAT.   The WHY is to get your life, heal your heart. And…find your Soulmate.  The ‘Proto-Soulmate” is YOU. Connect with YOU…and the rest is frickin’ so easy its like magic.


When the Lover is ready, the Beloved will appear.




(Watch this space…we’ll be ready to really share with you next week!)

The Fourth Principle, Flame Wars, and Incels

Remember those five principles?

  1. Love Yourself
  2. Love One Other Person
  3. Understand History without guilt, blame or shame
  4. Don’t argue with Trolls: support your tribe
  5. Win with integrity


Right now, not a single day goes by that I don’t hear someone complain that they were arguing with some political opponent, and “could not convince them” and are SO frustrated about it. Angry.


Compare this to the number of times I see someone saying: “I argued with someone who had a totally different point of view and convinced them!!!”   About 10:1.  Easily.


In other words, arguing leads to an increase in the net amount of frustration, the net confusion and depression…not an increase in the net amount of clarity and connection.


What DOES?  Rather than fighting, insulting, arguing…step #4 suggests that, once you have calmly presented your view on the matter, if they see things differently, you grasp that there is a difference in some root belief, and that without addressing it, “arguing” is pointless.  It might make you feel better (“hey!  I stood up to those bastards!”) but you really didn’t accomplish your outcome.


Remember your outcome?  To be happy, healthy, successful, safe.  The rest is the MEANS to that goal.


There is a real, real difference between screaming at/about your enemies…and providing a motivating vision of the future.  Protecting and nurturing your tribe.  Moving toward your goals with malice toward none…but not taking any shit, either.


And you know what happens: when you are dynamic AND at peace AND happy, you will attract people naturally to your position…including some of those people you were arguing with.  And hey, even if you don’t, you haven’t wasted your time.




I just realized last week that this same process connects to the “Soulmate” concept.    I was able to map all five over from group dynamics to individual experience in about five minutes, and we’ll be talking about that more in the GEEK’S GUIDE TO FINDING YOUR SOULMATE, the live workshop we’ll be doing in January (you’ll have a chance to pre-reg next week)


Take a look at this mapped over to the discussion above.


I say it has uncanny echoes of the fear and resentment “Incels” display.  That people “trapped”  in the “friend zone” (when one person wants romance/sex, and the other only wants friendship) display.

“I HAVE to fight them.”  No, you have to get your outcome.  Fighting is only a means, at best.  When it becomes an end in itself…you have a problem.

“I HAVE to convince them to love me/have sex with me.”   No, you might well “have” to have love and sexual connection.   ANY GIVEN PERSON IS JUST A MEANS TO THAT END.


If you START with step #1: Love yourself, then you realize that love is something you give yourself, and then share with others. If you need to “get it” from others, you are going to be co-dependent AT BEST.  At worst, you will be a magnet for broken souls and predators.  Or become a predator yourself, in my opinion a fate worse than death.


But what about sex?   Am I suggesting a life of solitary sport?   Hardly.  But here is where I go back to that terrific quote from “Broadcast News”: “wouldn’t it be great if needy were a turn on?


Well…it isn’t. Then what is?  Confidence.  Self-respect. Aliveness. Awareness.  Energy.  Moving like a healthy animal.  People see that, feel that, experience that in all of its manifestations, and want to be connected to it.


The less you need people, the more attracted to you they are.  It is one of the cruelest paradoxes, but what kind of a world would we have if the opposite was true? If the weaker, more broken and needy people were, the more we were attracted to each other? What the HELL would we be breeding for?


Can you imagine this in the animal kingdom, in early humanity?  Applied to other arenas?  The slower and stupider you are…the worse you are at hunting and gathering…the less efficient you are at evading predators…the sexier you get!


Wow. I’m not even sure I could WRITE that story. That species is dead in about three generations.  Ugh.


But if you love yourself, if YOU would be attracted to YOU, and I mean really, deeply…then you won’t have much trouble attracting a partner who is on your frequency, and who therefore is an appropriate mate.  To do that, all you have to do is live up to your own standards.  Is that too much to ask?  Yes?


Then love yourself more.  Forgive yourself.  Really GET that you’ve done the best you could with the resources you had.   Do that…and you will see other people differently.  Less hierarchically. Sure, its fun to play the game of “how much beauty/brains/power can I attract and hold?” but you also know its just a game.


It is IMO probable that under survival situations, dropping ALL the bullshit, almost any two men and women could create a loving, sexual, mutually supportive bond.   That was of course the theme of Lina Wertmuller’s terrific “Swept Away.”   Once you add the social stuff back in, the confusion mounts and we have a very different picture.


Once you connect with the love within you, you stop playing games of “better or worse,” comparing yourself with others.   And when you do that, you see more clearly the price that other people pay to be who they are. And just as I would NOT have wanted Tananarive to marry me unless I could be good for her, you will have no fear of letting one person go…and preparing yourself to meet the next.


And the instant you can do that…you become more attractive.  It is a version of “the watched pot never boils.”   PRIMARY attention has to be on living your life.

Socially, you drive people away by fighting them. Doesn’t mean you don’t protect your tribe, but you don’t go looking for fights.  The good shepherd doesn’t go out looking for wolves to shoo away or convince not to be wolves.   He might well go out to kill them. Are you killing these people you argue with? Or just making them madder?  Are you arguing out of ego, or because it actually accomplishes anything?


Meanwhile, while you are out howling at wolves, your flock is frightened, wounded, needs succor and security.  And other wolves are sneaking in the back door. YOUR FLOCK is  your concern.  Comforting and protecting the flock.   Build fences to keep the wolves out, yes.  Destroy wolves who attack your flock–and I’m with you.  But what is the rough equivalent of Destroy?  Arguing?  Banning?  Get CLEAR on this, and stick to it.  The life of your flock is at stake.


And in dating…what precisely are you accomplishing by blaming, flaming, arguing, begging?  Looking at everyone but the wounded child in the mirror (your inner “flock”).  Nurture THAT part of yourself, and you get the energy and creativity you need to transform.   Become a person who is in alignment with your own values, and you will attract like people.  Increase the amplitude of your “signal” to reach more people, and you increase the likelihood of meeting someone appropriate: if I had never published, if T had never published, we never would have met.


It is brutally simple, really.    Don’t fight over anything you aren’t willing to die for, and you become a beast.  Don’t expose your heart wholly to people unwilling or incapable of loving you back.


To me, the principles map over beautifully.  What do you think?