(Note: I realize more every day that there are just a few basic things I learned from my wonderful teachers, that recur over and over. Attempts to language things that cannot quite be put into words. The “Ancient Child” is one of those. In a sense, the entire “Five Minute Life Hacks” system is just giving you different diagnostics for the integrity of the Child-Adult-Elder connection. The following note deals with one of the moments I realized how critical this is. I think it is pertinent to certain discussions we are having at this time, as a culture.)
My tribe are the loving, open hearted conscious adult s human beings on this planet. I don’t care about race, gender, religion, politics or nationality. If you embrace the universality of humanity, you are my tribe.
100% of my interest is my tribe being safe. I don’t care what you think about me, so my commitment is to speak the truth, not what is politically correct or emotionally “safe.” I speak to the ladies and gentlemen who can hear me, and trust that my heart is breaking for all the pain I see. There is an answer. Many will not want to hear me. I speak to those who can, and will.
Once upon a time I had a neighbor whose daughter was close friends with Nicki. This neighbor, call him “Bill”, had a problem with me, one I’m not sure of. He was trying to push me into a fight. Called the police on my dog, and then bragged about it, and actually got into a boxing stance and called me out.
Sheesh. I tried to figure out what to do. We were friendly with his family (he mostly got pugnacious when drinking) and while I was at his house one day he mentioned his back was hurting. Seeing a chance to make nice, I invited him to use my hot tub. He gratefully accepted.
When he came over to the house an hour later he had an object wrapped in a towel. It was a hand gun. He asked me to hold it for him. He said that he had it because of stress with his boss at work (!) He then said that I reminded him of his boss…and his boss was “so ugly.”
Oh, my. Well, THAT was fascinating. I was in trouble. I spoke to Swift Deer, who was teaching me Jiu Jitsu at the time, and said that I was stumped. He was ramping himself up to attack me. I was having real problems with this, despite all my training, because “I didn’t want to hurt (Nicki’s friend. Call her Shannon) Shannon’s daddy.
Swift looked at me with pity. “That’s what he’s counting on, Steve,” he said. “That’s why he’s going to hurt you.”
I was stunned, and realized he was correct. This, was serious. I went home that night in a funk. I was going to get hurt. Because I didn’t have my emotions behind me.
That night I was in a funk. I thought for HOURS trying to work through this. I was going to be hurt. Why? Because I couldn’t hurt Shannon’s Dad. Damn!
Then…something happened. I asked a different question, opened a different door. I thought:
“He’s trying to hurt NICKI’S Dad.” And suddenly, something shifted inside me. I felt something bare its teeth. “He’s trying to make my daughter an orphan.” That led to: “He’s trying to make my wife a widow.”
And suddenly I had the clarity I sought. I couldn’t do it for myself. I COULD do it for my family. Hell, yes.
Once you connect with that core survival place, all that remains is technique.
I have a friend and teacher who is an amazing martial arts instructor. He told me a story but didn’t give me the right to use his name in connection with it, so I won’t. Call him “Doctor Mack”
While Mack is a man of lethal skills, he is more than a teacher of physical techniques, he understands the “mind game” that makes it all work. And he told me a story once. He said he was sitting in his office and heard a gruff voice from out in his foyer: “I wanna talk to the DOC!”
Ego-driven, male-posturing bullshit. The kind of hierarchical behavior that gets people killed every damned day.
Mack looked at the door, and then at his desk. He opened his desk drawer and pulled out a gun. Placed it on his desk. Imagined the visitor storming into his office, and imagined himself shooting the man right through the head. Watched his brains splash against the wall and slide down in a mess.
Mack smiled. Put the gun away. Then went out to the foyer and had a pleasant conversation with the man, who, surprise surprise, had gentled right down.
The man left, Mack returned to his office, and got on with his day.
Perfect. How might I apply this?
I imagined him attacking me, with my helpless daughter cowering behind me. Pure “Daddy” circuitry. For the first time in my life, I imagined that rabid wolf in my heart, the thing that thrives on martial arts and violent films and imagery, coming all the way out of its cave.
Imagined myself crippling him. Stomping him. Enjoying it.
Yes, it sure as hell did.
I luxuriated in that sense for a few minutes, then came out of my office, hugged my daughter, kissed my wife, and walked across the street. Shannon’s mom opened the door. “Hello,” I said. “Is Bill at home?” Yes, she said, he was in his office. “May I see him?”
Yes, she said. And I walked back. Bill was on his computer. I asked him what he was doing, made polite inquiries into his life, and then after a few minutes said “well, I just wanted to say hello.”
He walked me to the front door, and we said goodbye.
A few weeks later in casual conversation with his wife, she said that after I left Bill turned to her, said “You know? That Steve Barnes is really a nice guy.”
AND HE NEVER MESSED WITH ME AGAIN.
Do you understand what happened here? The reason why the “Ancient Child” model of connecting the child, the adult, and the elder is so critical? How you can use it for self-defense, success, creativity, love?
Does this make sense?
The entire “Five Minute Life Hack” system is just a way to give you hundreds of different “mini-hacks” to work on your mind, your career, your emotions, your sense of love or fear. You start with a “daily ritual” of action and emotion, see where you stop yourself, and relate it to your child, your adult, or your elder selves. One of the three, or some combination, ALWAYS has the answer you seek, if you go deep enough. Always. NO exceptions.
This is why I spend an hour every day communicating about these things. It isn’t just success, it is also life and death.
You are my tribe. I want you to live.