Yin and Yang of action


There are two basic approaches to life, and I think the healthiest is a combination of them.   One is “The world must change for me to get what I want.” the other is “I must act personally  to accomplish what I want.”   I think they can be broadly referred to as “Yin” and “Yang” approaches.


With dominated communities  the split might be:

  1. Build alliances with fair-minded people to change the laws and make the world fair.
  2. Work twice as hard to get half as far. Be so excellent no one can ignore you.  Kick ass, take names.


With issues like personal safety you get:

  1. Organize to make the streets safer, educate people to help, encourage people to stop behaving in a criminal manner.
  2. Be alert, aware, learn self-defense, carry weapons.


Can you see this split coming down on issues like health care?

  1. We will organize society to create a health care safety net.
  2. I will handle my own health care needs individually.

How about relationships?

  1. Statistics say that there aren’t enough potential partners in my category. The average member of my category doesn’t marry.
  2. If there are two potential partners left in the world, I’m gettin’ one of them.


It is interesting to see how different groups and different people come down on one side of this or the other.

  1. The most successful MOVEMENTS have of course all been about group action. (“We can do it, together!)
  2. The most successful INDIVIDUALS have of course all been about (“If its to be, it’s up to ME.”)


There are some obvious comments that could be made about who chooses which approach.  There DO seem to be differences based upon gender or political orientation, and perhaps the relative strength or direct power of the people involved.  Neither approach is superior, although there are people attached to one approach or the other who bristle if you suggest there is another way.

Like I said, a healthy approach, to me, is a balanced approach.   I can want greater economic opportunity for my group, but if I want my FAMILY to be safe, I’d better not believe I can do nothing unless the whole world changes.  The sane approach is BOTH to work for social change AND to seek to be so damned good at whatever factors influence income that I perform at the top X% of my group.  My belief: The average person  can get into the top 10% of their category just by modeling the behaviors and attitudes of members of their group who are in the top 1%.


That doesn’t mean that things are “fair.” No, it isn’t fair.  But if you focus on “fair”, rather than “what can I do to maximize my performance and rewards?” you are waiting for spring to come, rather than chopping wood for the fireplace.  What’s that you say?  There IS no wood?   Are you as warm as the top 20% of people in your community?   I can promise that they were chopping wood earlier in the year than you started.  In fact, you may have laughed at them when they did.  That whole “grasshopper and the ant” thing.


Is NO ONE in your community warm?  Then you MUST act together.  Acting together to dig coal or plant more trees or move someplace there is more wood, or travel in bands further to find it, or trade with the “wood people” over the hill or storm the castle to get the vast storehouse of coal the evil baron is hiding makes sense to me.   Perfectly normal, healthy human behavior.


But if someone is warm because they did different things, and those things are not immoral or beyond your capacity?  If you aren’t in the top 20% of your group, defined broadly?   YOUR EFFORTS AND TACTICS, your BELIEFS and PERSPECTIVES will make a huge difference.


It will take both. The world CAN be made more fair. And should be.  And we can all act with greater efficiency and effectiveness and forethought.  And should.


If you can hold BOTH realities in your mind simultaneously, you are ahead of the game.





Humans are funny critters

A recent conversation triggered a memory…


I remember being at a southern SF convention twenty years ago. Someplace in Mississippi, maybe? Or Texas? MAYBE Midwest?  Anyway, after a panel dealing with diversity in the field, a young white man approached me, shyly, sadly, felt me out a bit until he sensed that I was open to hearing what he really had to say. And after a few preliminaries, he said in a sad soft voice: “it feels like a white man doesn’t have a chance any more. Everything is for black people.”


I wondered if he had any concept how deeply racist his attitude was (racism is the assumption of differential worth or capacity on the basis of genetics).    The statistics are clear concerning infant mortality, incarceration, inherited wealth and more.  If you believe blacks have a social advantage, but STILL underperform?  You have to have total contempt for us, even if you’re polite about it.  Even with all the advantages we can’t make it.  Wow.  That attitude, so deep that he didn’t  even question it.  It’s just…taken for granted.  The ground on which he walked, the water in which he swam.     How thick did his filters have to be to walk up to me and say that?


But…there was so much pain in his voice that I couldn’t be angry, or even laugh at him. Absurdly, I found myself opening my wallet, and showing him a few bills: “see?  Every image: white people”  Pointed out that every lead of every dramatic show on television–white.  All presidents–white.   All of the Senate–white.   Every head of a fortune 500 company–white.  And on, and on, watching his mood slowly, slowly improve as he began to agree that all was not lost.

Finally, his spirits lifted, he shook my hand and thanked me and went on his way.  I sat there, wondering what the hell had just happened, and hoping that he got down on his knees every night and thanked God he’d been born white, because if he’d been black, life would have crushed him like a bug.


I’m a very strange human being some time.   I really do love people, but it often feels like I love ’em from an alien and far-off perspective.





Step #3: Accepting the Challenge

(I know, I know. I go over and over and over these basic patterns. But repetition is the mother of skill!)

The Third Step of the Hero’s Journey is acceptance of the challenge.   And here, the challenge is to be either an awake, aware, adult human being…or an awake, aware, adult ARTIST-type human being. One who communicates this state through stories.   And since everything we say is a story, these are just people who do it consciously.


Everything you say or think is a story.  Think about that.


Being awake, aware, and adult means not being a sleeping child.  What does this mean?  It means that you cannot blame your life circumstances on how your parents treated you as a child.   Your childhood, negative or positive, was a real thing.  And so what?  If you are to live a happy life, you have to take control.


You cannot blame your circumstances on luck.  “Luck” is one of the most unuseful concepts in the world.   Except for people briefly thinking “I was lucky to meet X” or “I was unlucky to have Y happen…” luck is just part of the flow of life. Good things happen. Bad things happen.   But the majority of the people you have ever admired, heard of, created anything you find useful or amazing, had HABITS very different from the average person.  They spend the maximum amount of time actually engaged in the DOING of the thing they love.   If they pop up at the peak of human success, the golden 1% of the 1% of the 1%, did they have “luck”?  Sure.  But absent some specific and grotesquely ugly BAD luck, you can get yourself into the top 20% of almost any field by obsessive work.   Are you in the top 20%?  Then the question of “luck” is IRRELEVANT to you.    “Luck” is an excuse, a belief that masks the fact that you are too afraid to focus and commit.   If you did, you could get into the top 20%.  If you’re there, and you love what you’re doing, you’re too busy to spend much time worrying about who hit the lottery.


It means you take responsibility for your emotions.  If you have a clinical issue, you get to the doctor.  Otherwise, you know that what you focus on, what you say, and the actions you take control how you feel.


And please hear this: you know that you are responsible for your dreams, your safety, your welfare.   It isn’t fair, but it is real. There is no one else to do it.  Children can scream for their parents to come and rescue them.   ADULTS HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES.


Now, part of this can and should be building partnerships with others, value-for-value transactions: mentorships, masterminds, social fabrics, teams.  That’s all great.


But you are the bottom line. There is no one else. If you get whiplashed by the existential loneliness of that, then have a good cry, then get to work.


You cannot let yourself be hypnotized by the social Matrix of lies and mythologies about race, gender, religion, nationality. Human beings are human beings. The differences between us as groups are slight.


You don’t let yourself get dragged into pity parties.  You accept the universality of humanity EVEN IF YOU SOMETIMES CANNOT UNDERSTAND how some inequalities, cruelties, or abuses happen.  You know that you and yours would do the same things given the same pre-conditions, in approximately the same proportions.    The only reason to fail to see this is lack of understanding of yourself, your own emotions, the way your actions create your results, your emotions create your actions, your perceptions create your emotions.


How do you know if you are off target?  Look at your body, your relationship history, your career.   Animals are in balance with their hunting-gathering, they mate, they either avoid or combat predators or die.


If you are not the thinking version of animal drives, SOMETHING IS WRONG. The only reason not to see this is fear of what it might mean, fear that there is something corrupt or evil about you.


This is why we have to start with love.  Loving yourself so deeply that you can see that any problem is a distortion in the system, an illusion, and commit to awaken.   All that really exists is love.


What is the STORY you tell yourself about your career?  Do you think that you have something of value to give the world, but that money, sales, or marketing is less than a positive service?  How precisely does that work?  That “luck” keeps you out of the top 20% of your field?  Then you’re saying everyone in the top 20% is just “lucky”?  Really?  How exactly does that work, unless you’re doing the exact same things but getting very different results?


What is the STORY you tell yourself about your body?   Do you tell yourself that it requires money, exorbitant amounts of time, impossible effort to discipline and align yourself with your own values?  World-class genetics, or that genetics have somehow shifted massively in the computer age?   Come on…you know damned well the kind of men or women who catch your eye. Make you say “yum.”   Are your actions in alignment with that level of health and energy?  The entire ZNT (“Zero Net Time”) system I laid out was about shattering the comforting myth that you have no time or money to change.


What is the STORY you tell yourself about your relationship history?   If you are like 99.9% of humanity, you have the same urge to love and be loved, hold and be held, as the entire genetic line of beings who created you, back to our ancestors on the veldt.  If you don’t have that urge, I suggest that it is the result of specific damage, negative experience, pain and fear and horrible role models.   If you know no healthy models of happy couples, gay or straight, you are self-selecting for pain.  We’re out there, legions of us and you have deleted us.  We may not be perfect, but we honestly love each other and stand together in life.


If you don’t believe in success, if you don’t believe in health, if you don’t believe in love…you have to either take RESPONSIBILITY  for happiness in these arenas, commit to CHANGING those emotions and perceptions, or life will run you over.  You may not know HOW you will reach these goals, but you may have to look at the cycle of storytelling to step #8: FAITH.  Faith in yourself.  Faith that people like me aren’t lying to you about the chance to be happy, and the path to joy, if only you can love yourself enough to forgive yourself, commit to protect your heart, and make a vow to be an ADULT in your own life, to nurture and protect your “child” and childhood dreams.  To be your own mother, your own father.  Faith that you are not so out of alignment with your animal nature that you are being outperformed by the average chipmunk.

I mean…come ON, people.


Those are the basic things.  Look at any story you’ve ever loved.  One way or another, all of them involve someone seeking to move away from pain (survival) or toward pleasure (success) in the arenas of career, physical health, or love.  Write your own story.   Your challenge is to ACCEPT the challenge.


If you are a storyteller, you’ll have an additional challenge: to COMMUNICATE what you find once you set down this road.   If you choose to accept it, I promise you’ll find allies.   Promse that I won’t let go of your hand while I have a breath of life in my body.


But YOU must decide to take responsibility.  No one else can.







HJ #2: The Hero Rejects The Challenge

“Somebody should tell us…right at the start of our lives…that we are dying. Then we might live to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.” ~Michael Landon


Lifewriting is about being the hero in our own stories.  To do this, we must understand not only storytelling, but what heroes really are. They are not people without fear.  They are people who act despite fear.


It is FEAR in one form or another that manifests in step #2 of The Hero’s Journey: The Hero Rejects The Challenge




An example of this is the “Mountaintop” speech Martin Luther King gave the day before his assassination.  He knew.  He KNEW that he probably wouldn’t survive his mission.  And I don’t doubt at all that he prayed, and cried, and asked God to lift the burden from his shoulders.   He tried to reject the challenge.   And hinted at that in his speech, given to provide strength to his followers.


He probably saw what was coming, and this is what he said to explain why he didn’t walk away:


“It really doesn’t matter what happens now,” King told the church.   “I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us, the pilot said over the public address system, ‘We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we’ve had the plane protected and guarded all night,’ ”


Do you have to wonder why they needed to guard that plane?  HE KNEW. Everyone knew.


“And then I got to Memphis,  and some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?  Well, I don’t know what will happen now,” he continued. “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now,” he said. “I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land.

“I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.“


And then he went out to die.



He knew. As we all know.  When we are confronted with a challenge, whether world-changing or life-changing, we risk a death, whether large or small. Every time.  If large, it is obvious why we might shy away.


But what if the challenge is to change a job?  Stop lying?  Gain physical power?  Open our hearts to love?  Set goals we care about and admit we care?


The fear of admitting that WE HAVE AGENCY. That our actions influence our results, can cripple us. And it can hide as depression, anger, emotional disconnnect.  Belief that “it’s all luck”, that “it takes money to make money”, that “My body doesn’t work right” or “people are petty for judging me.”


That “relationships don’t work” or “there are no jobs” or “my life can’t be better until the whole world changes.” That “they are against me” or “I’m too old/young/black/white/gay/smart/uneducated to succeed.”  Whatever.


There is too much risk. We might hurt.  We don’t know what to do.


It is not up to us to know, in advance, what will happen. It is up to us to create lives of meaning and joy.  MLK’s joy was ecstatic: serving his God by serving his people, a joy so huge it was larger than his own life, and therefore larger than his terror of oblivion.  His attention was on SERVICE, on CHANGING THE WORLD in a direction he felt in alignment with divine purpose.


In all likelihood, your challenge, your purpose, is far smaller, won’t require anything close to what King needed to take another step.  But he felt what you feel. And by taking his attention off himself and ON the dream, he was able to change the world.


You can change your inner world, by acknowledging your negative emotions, not hiding from them. And finding a goal, a purpose so huge that overcoming the negative emotions is a heroic act.


  1. You need to remember the greatest moments of your life, moments when you were BEYOND YOUR BEST, when you were so proud of yourself you could hardly believe it was you.  You were a HERO. We all have those moments.  It is then, at those moments, that the people around you want to follow your example.
  2. You need to have a CLEAR OUTCOME. Something transformative.  Change yourself. Change the world.
  3. You need to see that every moment is a NEW OPPORTUNITY.   All you have to do is leave the past behind.  Not make incremental changes on what you’ve done before, but leave your fears behind. Be willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to bring your vision into existence.


There is something inside you that huge, that important. Something worth dying for, and therefore worth living for.  THAT is what makes a hero.


What is your story?  Lifewriting asks you to go directly to that question, to stop pretending that anything less will give your life, your love, your work, your destiny, the power and passion they deserve.


What are you committed to?  What is big enough to move you past your fear?  Find that, and you have won the fight before you step in the ring.







Lifewriting Manifesto 4/22/17

I’ve modified the “Lifewriting Manifesto” so that there are ten steps, each keyed to a step of the Hero’s Journey.   There are other story patterns, and other patterns of human change and growth. But Lifewriting is the only one that does BOTH.  Once you begin to apply it to writing a story (“plot”) the PROCESS of writing a story (“work flow”) and the process of living and growing in the world, you tap into something huge, a truth floating just beyond conscious thought.  And once you can sense this connection, you can apply it to relationships, and groups, and nations, and to the world itself.  This is the collected wisdom of all the world’s elders telling the young people of the village “this is how life will be.”  Make the implicit explicit, and you will understand your lives in a way few ever do.


Contained within it is a basic triad of human physical experience: career, relationships, fitness.   Look at the way YOU struggle to balance these you will gain understanding of human nature that will transform your writing.  And that as you begin to apply these understandings to the people around you, you will understand humanity, and life itself.


This manifesto is a work in progress only.


  1. Lifewriters are aware of the CHALLENGES in our  lives in all three major arenas: emotions, career, and body (“Hero confronted with the challenge”).  We have CLEAR OUTCOMES and know why we want them.  And know that the primary goal of life is happiness.
  2. Lifewriters seek to master the EMOTIONS that both stop and empower us, knowing that they are the fuel that powers our engines.  (“Hero rejects the challenge”)
  3. Lifewriters accept RESPONSIBILITY for their emotions and actions and commit to doing WHATEVER IT TAKES to bring their goals into the world in an ethical, loving fashion. (“Hero accepts the challenge”).  We care for our own health and sanity, knowing that wounded healers help fewer people.    We work from our hearts, or from the struggle of physical experience, not from our mental concepts or spiritual aspirations, knowing that these must rest on a bedrock of reality.
  4. Lifewriters take daily ACTION, at least one small step EVERY DAY toward our objectives, learning as we do.  (“The road of trials”). We are writers, filmmakers, teachers, leaders…who understand the power of STORY to create meaning in life, and know that we are the heroes in our own stories.  We are committed to being AWAKE, AWARE, ADULT human beings.  While we work from our hearts…we also protect ourselves and allow no one to damage or denigrate us, understanding the power of BOTH individual strength and group action.
  5. Lifewriters  understand the GAP between where we are and where we want and deserve to be, and seek MENTORS and ROLE MODELS who have accomplished these things, modeling their BELIEFS, STRATEGIES, SKILLS and BEHAVIORS. (“Allies and Powers”).  We know that if we try to communicate to everyone we reach no one.   We find our “tribe”, the people who speak our language and share our journey, and nurture them in return for their nurturance.
  6. Lifewriters accept that FAILURE is an inevitable part of the journey: “the only way you know how far you can go is by going too far” (“Confrontation with Evil–defeated).  That our external or internal obstacles can only be revealed by action…and we are at peace with this reality.
  7. Lifewriters know that DISCOURAGEMENT AND DEPRESSION come to all human beings, in different degrees. (“The Dark Night of the Soul”) and prepare for it…in advance.   Know that our emotions are controlled by how we move our bodies, what we focus on, and the internal language we use.  We keep track of the ways we moved through these painful emotions in the past, and collect resources so that we can “get back on the horse” more rapidly in the future…and forgive ourselves for being human.
  8. Lifewriters have FAITH that the future will be better and more meaningful than our past.   That we can have this reliance either on a higher power, our companions on the journey (friends, family, mentors), or…in ourselves, in that spark of ultimate potential within us.  That if we love ourselves as we would our own most beloved child, we will see the potential in that child no matter what. (“The Leap of Faith”)
  9. Lifewriters prepare for VICTORY, knowing that all change brings death to a small self-concept, and our egos will fight to keep us in place. We are humble and gracious in victory, as we were balanced and maintained equanimity in defeat.  We know that opportunities come again and again in life, if we continue to strive, focus, control our emotional states, learn and grow.   That any single opportunity may come only once…but the next will come soon enough, and we must be prepared.  (“Confront Evil…and emerge victorious”)
  10. Lifewriters make a path for others.    Lifewriters know that the final step, “The Student becomes the teacher” is the movement to the higher level.   Your knowledge is tested by your ability to help another to your level.   That mastery is a verb, not a noun. A process, not a position.  It is NEVER ENDING GROWTH AND IMPROVEMENT along the path of life.  And that the most precious thing in the world is helping another human being out of darkness and into the light  We love ourselves, and humanity.  We know that selfishness is not the problem: defining “self” as limited by skin color, nation, gender, religion or other external measures is the problem. We are not part of the problem…we are the answer.


We are Lifewriters.  And we are thousands strong.





A Black Belt In 24 Hours

I think the Dalai Lama is right: the purpose of life is to be happy.


Let me tell you a story.  Years ago, I was working at a women’s self defense workshop under Dawn Callan.  She is the greatest self-defense instructor I’ve ever seen in my life.  In two days, she could teach a woman more about protecting herself than most instructors can in two years. What did she do?  Drill a few simple techniques, and work through the negative emotional crap that comes up for civilized human beings when they consider defending themselves. Then give them a chance to go into “controlled berserk” against a padded attacker, anchoring the hyperemotionalized experience into their bodies.

They have to make connection with a spiritual truth:   we as beings have the right to be here, and the right to defend ourselves.


To be free of fear, which opens the door to happiness.


Anyway, there was one woman (call her “Ginger”) in the workshop who simply couldn’t hit the kicking shield. Ginger was so lost in illusion, so wrapped up in the rules we give women around social niceties that she was paralyzed by fear.  “I’m afraid I’ll hurt you” she kept sobbing.   No one could help her, and for some odd reason (yeah, right) they brought her to me.


After several prompts, Ginger just froze, and stood there with tears streaming down her face.   I had an intuitive flash about a way to reach her.


“Do you have a daughter?” I asked.  No.

“Do you have a little sister?”  She nodded.  Bingo.

“Do you love her?”  I asked.  Ginger nodded again, sobbing.

“Would you do anything for her?”  She nodded.

I took a deep breath.  I won’t say exactly what I said to her, but let’s just say it was a very explicit, ugly picture.  “If I get past you, I’m going to ______________”  The kind of thing I wouldn’t put in print.  Whatever you’re thinking, this was probably worse.


And…something happened.   Ginger’s  energy shifted, totally.   Instead of thinking about herself, she was thinking about her sister. She didn’t have permission to defend herself…but she damned well DID have permission to protect her sister.


And…Ginger knocked me across the room. And jumped on me, and beat the hell out of me. And it took three men to haul her off.


“THAT!” I screamed.    “That place, RIGHT THERE. THAT’S the place you have to go!”


Crying and sobbing she was…but Ginger also had just learned how to access that space  beyond fear and concern for social rules.


Survival. Protection of the tribe.  Rather than the “social” rules operating WITHIN the tribe, she played according to universal rules of survival that exist when core personal or genetic survival is at risk, and from there, she was an unstoppable force.


Some women think only women are taught this.  No.  SMALLER PEOPLE are taught their own version–don’t fight back, or you’ll be a target.  LARGER people are taught this.   Don’t be scary or people will hate and fear you.


MINORITIES are taught this.  Don’t make waves, or you’ll “reap the whirlwind” of violence and disapproval of the majority group controlling the law enforcement system.   Members of the MAJORITY are taught this: you benefitted by privilege, so shut up and listen, don’t defend yourself or you are an oppressor. 


There is no group that doesn’t get hit with this stuff.  In a world of social niceties, where everyone is playing fair, acting according to social rules is survival. Courtesies are social lubricant, and ease the way. There is a reason diplomats speak with so carefully.


But you have to know when it is time to forget the niceties. Forget the rules.   WHAT WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO DIE FOR?  That woman was willing to die to protect her little sister. That meant that she didn’t care what I or anyone else thought about her.  She didn’t care if she lived or died. She was only concerned with the maintenance of her ULTIMATE VALUE–her sister’s life.


When you are clear about this, you can, as that line from ROAD HOUSE goes…“be nice. Until its time to not be nice.”


If you have been damaged by life, it probably affected your sense of self, of being precious and divine.   This is true for women, men, entire social structures, humanity itself.   The truth is that the core attitude of the martial arts is something very close to: “I’m ready to die, and I’m ready to take you with me.”   A human being in that space either dies…or wins.


Want to be a black belt in 24 hours?   Spend that time alone in a room, and consider very clearly what you are willing to die for in life.  And then what you are willing to kill to protect. Get clear on the fact that no matter what you do, you cannot live small enough that death will forget to gather you up.   You may not be able to think of doing this to protect yourself, due to damage, due to the fact that you may not have been told that you are precious, and perfect, and made of the same stuff as the stars.  It is not “victim blaming” to say that we must be prepared to make such choices. It is enabling adult responsibility.  RESPONSE-ABILITY. The  ability to respond.  Anything other than this is learned helplessness.   As well as angels, we are also stone cold berserkers. THAT is the reality.  Anything else is what you were taught to survive childhood.  And ESPECIALLY if you were hurt or unloved in that childhood…you may have a very difficult time accessing your truth.


But…ALL human beings were nurtured at some point in their lives.  If you weren’t you would have died.  You may have no conscious memory of such a reality,  but the circuitry is there.  Dive deeply enough, and you can find that spark of divinity.  Once you find it, commit to protecting it at all costs.  Find the part of you that will bare its teeth like a mother tiger protecting its young. Once you find this place, and anchor it with a visualization or physical movement, you have a very different relationship with fear.


ANGER, pure homicidal anger…in the service of love.  Primal mother/father love.  From this position, you can change your life, express your art, right social wrongs, change the world.


Or die in the process.    All great leaders and creators understand that they are burning up the substance of their lives to create something new.    You have to die anyway…why not commit to spend your life energy for something you care about?  Some principle, some cause, your art, a better world, your family if necessary.   Dig deep, and no matter how much the world has tried to bury that live wire its in there, spitting sparks.  Dig it out and connect it to the dynamo of a righteous dream, and you can:


  1. Transform your body.
  2. Transform your career and art.
  3. Transform your relationships.


What can stop the power of a mother tiger diving through fire to protect her cubs?  THAT is the power of connecting.  My dream, of ONE MILLION AWAKE, AWARE, CONTRIBUTING ADULTS and THOUSANDS of awake, aware, adult artists and storytellers…simply asks you to connect with this survival power, and then apply it to something you care about. To move BEYOND fear to action in the service of something you love.


Love. THAT was what was on the other side of all that fear that “Ginger” experienced.   By the end of the workshop, when she had devastated our padded attackers like a Tasmanian Devil, she gave me the longest, sweetest hug I think I’ve ever had in my life, telling me I’d given her the best and most terrible gift she’d ever received, that for the first time in her life she had moved beyond the tragedy of a childhood of abuse to a sense of power…


We cried together. She got it. And by giving it to her, I’d connected with that precious place again, the place I found that day I stepped out into the traffic rather than be beaten by bullies.


Safety, in the heart of danger.


THAT is who we really are. The rest is social games to survive our families, or the world.   But playing small won’t protect you. It is just death, a little dose every day, draining all the pleasure from life until you have to numb yourself just to survive.


There is more than survival. There is life. And hope. And love.  But you must break out of the illusion that you are weak. You are not weak. You are more powerful than you have ever imagined. That is why they have to try to control you.


When you are free, you can act from love rather than fear. Take the steps to lead you to joy.  And you will have found your life’s purpose: to be happy.






(These principles are ESSENTIAL for committed artists, or activists seeking to change the world.  You will deal with fear on every level, from survival to social rejection.  The ANCIENT CHILD technique was specifically created to connect you to the primal power programmed into every human being, even if you have no conscious awareness of ever being nurtured. And now you can have it FREE if you will try one month of LIFEWRITING PREMIUM, the world’s only writing system that connects the inner world of the artist with the outer world of the art.  Go to WWW.LIFEWRITINGPREMIUM.COM and take your first step on a new path.  You have nothing to lose but fear of  your fear!)

The Next Step



We are approaching the next level of human maturity.  For much of our history, human beings hunted and gathered, and in many ways, that was a phenomenally good life, requiring only three or four hours a day to gather all the food we needed to survive.  Population pressures grew, and our extensive gathering patterns put us in conflict with other groups, one of the reasons that intensive farming patterns became more popular–the ability to extract larger amounts of food per acre of land.  With farming came greater population density, that aided farmers in battles with hunter-gatherers a little like farmers in westerns eventually had an edge over free-range cattle drivers.

With farming came seasons, and the ability to “take time off” after the harvest, contemplate life, develop philosophy and the mathematics to drive trade, and written language…and eventually what we call society.  Villages and cities and states, along with governmental systems to control it all, and centralized educational systems to bind millions of people into a common culture.


And the religions that gathered together tribal mythologies into a consistent tapestry, and the moral principles that bound us together to share lives and information and create the modern world.  Somewhere in there, we became what we are, and in many ways it is good.  Phenomenally good.


But we approach a time when we can make things even better.

  1. All humanity is in contact, for the first time in history.  We can pierce the veil of lies and cultural elitism, and see that we are all one. When I was in Tanzania, and saw Masaii warriors herding their cattle, leaning one-legged on their spears…talking on cell phones I knew something special was happening.
  2. Automation will soon keep the level of wealth constant, but collect that wealth in fewer hands. There will be far fewer necessary jobs.  At that point, the switch flips.  Remember: work was never about the glory of work.  It was about providing safety for our children. The rules that glorify it are about THAT, not something intrinsically important about stacking rocks or filing papers. But that’s not the Protestant Ethic: WORK!  Why?  FOR THE GLORY OF GOD.  Or THE GOOD OF SOCIETY.   THE SURVIVAL OF THE TRIBE.   Moving rocks is critical.  Art is optional.  Perhaps. But when this shifts, we will find our children, who begin to see a new world, in conflict with their grandparents, who built the foundations of the old one.
  3. As we mature, we lose contact with our own childlike wonder.  We did it to PROTECT AND CREATE children, the taking of responsibility that we MUST accept to mature to adulthood, to create safety for the children created by our sexuality and drive to connect.


If the purpose of life is to be happy, then the majority of what we have done up until this point in human history is simply to survive: to avoid pain. And I believe we are at a point where we can begin to ask the next question: can we regain Eden?  A sense of joy and connection when we played with our children, danced and sang and made love without guilt, knew the meaning of not just every action, but our connections to nature and each other, the meaning of life and death?


Our ancestors struggled unimaginably to bring us to this point.  If we are to be worthy of their sacrifice, we have to be able to set our children free, if that freedom does not place the NEXT generation at risk.  How can we measure the wealth and health of our culture? Things like life expanse, infant mortality, literacy rates, free time, subjective joy in life.   If we have that foundation…then we must ask “what next?”


Many science fiction fans would say: the stars.

And that’s fine.  Perfect, perhaps.  But to get there we will need creativity unleashed at a level we may have never known.  We can do that by  embracing our wildness, ending the war between men and women, black and white, gay and straight…adult and child.


It is my belief that this transformation will begin with transforming our own lives, and then sharing that transformation by communicating our dreams, and absorbing the dreams of others.


Readers, writers, actors, movie-lovers.  Musicians, artists, dancers.   On the foundation of a hard-won victory over the predators and natural disasters that threatened to wipe us out, we can declare a peace with nature, with each other, forgive ourselves for mistakes made along the way—and start the next epoch in human history.


One million awake, aware, adult human beings can do it.  The leverage point is thousands of artists and lovers of art, bound together with the power of story.  The stories we tell our selves. The stories that knit us together, help us understand how we got HERE.  The stories we tell to move us to a future more glorious than the greatest dreams of our fathers.


We’ve come so far.  Let’s take another step, together.



Escaping the Matrix: The war between head and heart



It is interesting to see people who claim to believe in equality between human groups actually making statements or accepting logic chains that lead in the opposite direction.  I suspect it is a conflict between the head and the heart: between intelligence/knowledge and wisdom.


The trick is this: what you are taught in childhood nestles in deeply, is set in stone.  Your intelligence sorts information but rarely goes deeper than your basic sense of reality.  If these basic beliefs are incorrect, but in alignment with socially agreed upon consensus, this is like re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.


The “heart” on the other hand, here represents the beliefs that we can sense connect us with love.   Ultimately, with spirit.  Spirit says All Are One.  We are all connected.  The intellect says “This or That.”   And I suspect that the war between them can tear people apart.


I was torn to pieces as a child.  Torn between cultures, races, gender identities.   The world was going to eat me alive, and I had nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.  No tribe to protect me.  THAT was why I went into the martial arts: I had to become my own squad of  warriors if my poet and healer were ever to be safe.   And the pain was horrible until I found my way out.




If you say you believe in human equality, but cannot forgive yourself for your own sins and failings, you do not understand human nature enough to admit the terrible things that happen when people feel they have survival needs.  Under such pressures as  hunger, lack of air, deep loneliness, we fall back on the most basic circuitry, leading to some truly ugly behavior: drowning swimmers taking down the lifeguard, honest people stealing bread, honest people embracing lies, loving people making political decisions that represent hatred and fear to others, if not in some impossible to determine objective sense.


I could not accept my own fear, and my shame of it, my fear of what it might mean (that I was small and weak, that I couldn’t, shouldn’t, or mustn’t, that I was a coward) was vastly more damaging than the emotion itself.  The emotion was just a feeling. The guilt, blame, and shame tore my heart out for decades.




I see this, fear of the fear, clearly with racism and sexism, for instance.  But it also manifests in religious bigotry. Politics is damned near BUILT on it.  All major religions claim to embrace a “do unto others” attitude, but when in conflict, they are great at accusing each other of being almost demonic, while excusing similar behaviors when committed by their own adherents.


Is it possible to look at the pain in the world through this lens, without guilt, blame or shame, but also without excusing the monstrosity, or allowing monsters to breed and kill our children?  I believe it is.  I cannot KNOW, because I’d have to be outside the system to really evaluate statements made within it. But it is interesting that the chakra symbol for “spirit” is outside the body.   If so, and I see this as representing thousands of years of elevated thinking on the subject, then the question is: what happens if I remain aligned with this ideal, while simultaneously serving the needs of the more fundamental (or “lower”) drives.


Remember: you can “awaken the kundalini” (align the full power of your humanity) from the “bottom up” or from the “heart out” but never from the top down. That means that trying to focus on spirit or intellect before you have actually grounded yourself is likely to destroy you.   But beginning with survival and then slowly re-aligning your sexuality, power, emotion, and communication with each other, moving TOWARD spirit, can be exquisite. OR…simply start with love, and simultaneously seek the root and the flowering.


THIS was my journey. A prayer: “God, how can I be in the world, but not trapped by its illusions?  Trapped by my own weakness?”  Asked that question a thousand thousand times, in front of a hundred different teachers, on my knees in prayer and cross-legged in meditation and fighting for my honor in a hundred different martial arts schools…until the illusions fell away.


And I forgave myself, and the world.  We’re all just human beings, children seeking love, our fear masquerading as anger, our violence stemming from that same witches brew of survival drives justified by our philosophies.

We do what we think we must, to survive.


What I’m saying is that we don’t have to incrementally build on what has gone before.  We actually have a NEW OPPORTUNITY to leave behind the guilt and shame and fear, simply by forgiving ourselves, forgiving our ancestors, but not trying to say the past didn’t happen, or that it doesn’t influence the present.  THAT is how we build the future.


If this is true,  and valid, what does it say about the illusions we fall into, and how we might view some basic conflicts so that we can move beyond them?   With the caveat that anything I say is caught in the system, as all words arise from that sea of poisoned milk (called “Halahala” in Sanskrit, I believe), I just offer some thoughts.


  1. In terms of gender, men and women are both caught in the priorities of   “The Selfish Gene”–the drive to produce the maximum number of grandchildren. Both men and women are caught in a straightjacket that is not determinative but strongly influential.  An emergent behavior that touches everything we do if we aren’t careful.  Unless you believe women are stupid and   cowardly, or that men are monsters who enjoy dying young (and violently) there is something going on here other than the common narrative of domination and submission.  There is nothing in gender interaction that cannot be explained by the fact that what is good for a species isn’t necessarily good for individuals–and that SOME individuals are just bad people, just as some are unusually good.  Death is GREAT for a species–it allows evolution.  Sucks for individuals.   Much of what we see could be explained by an equation: from the perspective of crankin’ out those grandchildren, “women’s dreams and men’s lives are disposable.”   Each side has illusions about what life on the other side is like.   Men are conned into believing it is great to march into cannon fire, women that they shouldn’t try to compete with Da Guys.  Humans are such silly creatures–but considering that our population has increased, along with our social organization until the natural world that used to dominate us is now in  danger FROM us…apparently it kinda worked. But we are in an era in which peak population, firearms, the industrial revolution, and effective birth control have offered a gender freedom unknown to our ancestors, a leveling of the playing field, a chance to ask very different questions.   The way ahead is forgiving ourselves, and each other.  If men REALLY are advantaged by the current situation, they will fight to the death to maintain their power.  But if the con game has stolen from BOTH sides, and also conferred advantage to both sides…all you have to do is wake up from the Matrix, and we walk into a better future.  Anyone who thinks women are inherently more peaceful and wonderful haven’t looked at the statistics of what happens in female-female relationships, or if the woman is larger than the guy.  Just as much violence and domination.   If you can understand that women have made less geographical  discovery, art, and science largely as a matter of the roles we’ve played up until this point, you can cut men some slack too.   Otherwise, you are a bigot.
  2. In terms of race, the black-white situation in America (my piece of that pie) required a few years of serious thought to pierce that illusion (if in fact I ever did!  That thought certainly devils me). Because the simple answer is pretty obvious, and can be heard wherever radicalized members of either society gather.   Either blacks are intellectually inferior, or whites are morally inferior.  That’s the simple  equation, heard in chat rooms, Facebook threads and barber shops across the country.  Sometimes thinly veiled behind polite speech, but there it is.  And the conflict with the heart/spirit here is trying to believe in equality of the soul, while being unable to reconcile history.  IF YOU CANNOT SEE HOW YOU, PERSONALLY, HAVE DONE TERRIBLE THINGS WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU NEEDED TO, you will never be able to understand how it happens on a social level. All that happened is that America had a need for cheap labor, and tried different things before settling on Africans.  That the harvesting of Africans was possible not because of genetics but because of differential levels of development over the last few thousand years of history, a mere blink in the 250k years of human history, and even less than that in the progress of primate evolution.   That that labor was more valuable in some areas of the country than others, and considered critical in the South.  That social institutions and philosophies evolved to support it, and those mythologies  survived the War that ended it.  That because there was no equivalent to the “Truth and Reconciliation” panels in South Africa following the fall of apartheid, or the massive anti-Nazi education following WW2, what I call the CSA–the Current Southern Apologia–was allowed and encouraged to fester (reinforced by literature and film), promoting an entire raft of justifications, distractions, half-truths, irrelevancies and outright lies to promote the idea that nothing unusually bad had happened. In human history?  Probably true.  In American history?  Compared to what happened to the Native Americans, probably true. In comparison to what happened to the armies of immigrants who FOUGHT to get here?  A bizarre and venomous fabrication, because there is no way to follow that conclusion without concluding someone is inferior.   Why was this collection of mythologies important?
    1. To protect from guilt and shame and cries for reparations and revenge.
    2. To protect from fears of moral inferiority. Remember: if you believe in equality, there is only the problem of developing the intellectual chunks to fill in the gaps between worldly experience and spiritual insight.   This ain’t easy: there IS  massive work to do to understand human history without needing to fall back on tropes of superiority/inferiority. But it is an exhilarating, joyous process.   But if you DO believe in inequality, under the polite rhetoric?  Then I suggest that your “fall back” position if you lose your belief in SUPERIORITY  is a swing of the pendulum NOT to “equality” but to feeling like the scum of the earth, like a manic becoming depressive.  If I can’t be superior, I must be inferior.  That is the opposite position. The CONTRARY position, equality, real equality, was never really on the table at all.


Why is the CSA so damaging?   Denying the severity of what occurred leads  naturally to a “why can’t you just get over it?” which leads to a “they can’t get over it because they just aren’t as strong and smart.”  Sorry, but I’ve heard that logic countless times over the decades of my life, from white bigots and even people striving to be “liberals” and most horribly, from black people themselves, scared and confused and no more perceptive than their white brethren, but at effect instead of cause.


When will we get over it?  The road STARTS when the lies STOP, and they didn’t even begin to break down until about 1970. When will all be well?  Not in YOUR lifetime, Bucky.   Wounds don’t heal in less time than they took to inflict.   Stop holding your breath.  If you’re tired of hearing about it, you’d never have survived living it.



The flip side of this, of course, is blacks who disguise their fears of inferiority behind mythologies of superiority. THEY wouldn’t have behaved that way, they say. All problems in the black community are caused by what white people did…and so forth.   As to this second, what is true?  That the crap in our community ABOVE THE NATIONAL AVERAGE is reasonably caused by our negative history.  The rest is our shit. Human shit. But what is harder to grasp is that no matter what the cause, it is still primarily ours to fix, in the same ugly way that if you got hit by a car, YOU have to do the rehab work, or you’ll never walk again.


But…if the people in that car, or their descendants, or people who LOOK like them laugh at you and suggest that you were born with your bones broken, it’s totally human to wish them harm.  Oh, yeah.  If you believe no car hit us, or that you would have dusted yourself off and walked away, or had fewer bones broken, or limped less, or felt less anger…you are the problem.


Yes, you.  Even moreso if you spread that bullshit around. Even more if you’re smiling as you do, claiming to be a friend.




Step back, and you can see that everything in both these arenas can be understood without resorting to beliefs in inferiority or superiority, or projecting any human evil that doesn’t exist in our own individual  hearts.  Can I prove this is “true” ultimately?  No I cannot.  Even if so, can I “prove” that this kind of reasoning can be applied to issues of sexual orientation, religion, politics, and more?  Can one maintain a balance that will prevent tumbling into a pit of moral relativism in which child abuse, rape, terrorism and other horrors cannot be condemned and combatted?


I believe so, but again, “ultimate” proof is not available.


Ultimately, it is a matter of  faith.  I BELIEVE in human equality because that is what I see and feel in the deepest moments of meditation and the calmest most centered moments of my life.


It is what saved my heart.  It was the way out of the Matrix.


Because it is a common vision between all of the men and women I respect the most, WITHOUT EXCEPTION…unless they were raised in a specific environment that programmed them  in childhood. Then, one can be extraordinary intellectually, but caught in a trap where that intelligence cannot be leveraged, compiling statistics that “prove” something you were taught by your parents and society, and filtering out counter-evidence that might have set you free.


The future I see rises above those dualities, beyond male-female, black-white, gay-straight, conservative-liberal, Christian-Muslim, or whatever.  And the resolution of those dualities produces more energy than I can say, energy that you can use to evolve to the next level of your life.


But I can’t prove it, and don’t try to.  All I can do is live it, and say that when I speak of supporting one million awake, aware, adult human beings, I speak of people whose perceptions align with this view: a future that  works for all our grandchildren, in which we can leave the sins of the past behind.  Our grandparents did the best they could.   We can do better.  The way out of the Matrix is not easy, but it is simple. It requires more energy than most people believe they possess…but all they have to do is abandon the dualities to claim it.   What is the path?


  1. Love yourself. Forgive yourself. But also protect yourself–you cannot open your heart if you are afraid of being attacked. And you will be.
  2. Love one other person. Love for another human being is the cure for selfishness. It FORCES you to expand your sense of self, and once that process begins, it cannot easily be stopped.
  3. Understand human history without guilt, blame, or shame.  Whatever your issues are, pierce the veil of human causality. There is no grand conspiracy (although there are certainly smaller ones!).  Most of this crap is just emergent survival behavior, simple commands like “survive”, “produce children”, and “protect the family” grown complex.
  4. Find your tribe.  Do NOT try to convince people who see things differently.  Their beliefs are ultimately beyond logic. So are yours.  They rest on a BELIEF in what human beings are, one that often must challenge apparent realities.
  5. Succeed. Prove that your way works. The purpose of life is happiness. If you are miserable and angry, why should someone follow your path?  But if you can be happy, and successful, and healthy, and loving and loved…then those without those things will want to know how you do it.  And even if they don’t…you’ve still won the game of life.



One million awake aware adult human beings. The strategy: thousands of adult, awake, aware storytellers. Anyone who believes in this vision is a brother or sister.  If you cannot embrace it…I still wish you well in your journey.  You’re on another track, and I hope you enjoy the folks traveling with you.


If you don’t, get off at the next station, and change tracks.  We’ll be along again, tomorrow.





Ten Thoughts on “Whitewashing”

The whitewashing controversy is pretty simple at its core:


  1.  if a character’s race is changed toward yours, you will tend to be sanguine with it. If it is changed away from yours, you will tend to object. If you have control of the property, you will choose changes toward you, on average.
  2. To this end, if you are group X, you will put X’s into makeup to resemble Y’s so you can control the image systems and keep the money circulating in your own communities. When that stops working, you’ll change the back-stories.   It all achieves the same result, and other X’s will support any change you make.
  3. The changers will not be honest about the fact that they simply preferred the change. They will blame the audience, the lack of actors, the material, another country. Anything but themselves.
  4. The audience prefers it too, but also will not take responsibility.  It is the creators, the material, other people.  Never them.
  5. As this is what is really going on, and everybody does it, you can remove this entire issue from the table and ask instead: what kind of world do we want?  I can answer this for myself: I want a world where art reflects the world as it is. Not “politically correct” but “demographically correct” which, we can see, translates into “economically correct.”  But #1 continues to dominate far too often, corrupting the creative process (thank God!) and creating under-performing movies and television and outright bombs.
  6. This will only change when the pain of doing it (social or economic) outweighs the pleasure of doing it.
  7. Those who point this out will be attacked verbally, gaslighted, accused of racism (!),  being “Social Justice Warriors” (which, to my mind,  is a little like insulting a guy by calling him a “stud”), threatened with rejection/loss of friendship or even physical force.  Impugning their intellectual capacity and moral or emotional health.   Its fun to watch, if you know who you are.
  8. The simplest answer is that when there is diversity among the decision makers, the images will be diverse. If you are an X, and X’s are in control, you will try to come up with ways to keep control and shut down the complaints. “Educate us.  We’ll do focus groups.   Show us the numbers.  Explain how it feels.”  Nope. It won’t be a matter of the same faces making different decisions.   The ONLY possible argument against rough statistical distribution is a belief in differential capacity. Those who believe we aren’t equal will rarely say it out loud, but they will object to the notion that the power should be shared. In fact, they will call you a racist if you dare to suggest that X’s shouldn’t have all the power. It’s funny once you grasp the beliefs that generate the words.
  9. This is a universal human tendency. All countries adapting material will shift it toward “them.”  When Japan licensed Spider-Man, you’d better believe he was Japanese.  The problem is NOT the tendency, the problem is lying about it.
  10. Why do I care so much about Asian Whitewashing?  Partially just from fair play.  It sucks. It isn’t fair.  I’m an Asianophile, having lived as a martial artist my entire adult life.   This shit is wrong. But…partially the very real, selfish knowledge that the exact, precise thing was done to my people, and would be done again given any opportunity.   And that it only stopped because we raised hell, stopped taking shit, dealt with the exact same excuses, the exact same delaying and gaslighting tactics, the exact same “you’ll reap the whirlwind!” threats if we didn’t shut the #$%% up and take whatever slop we were offered.    And I simply made a decision: I would rather die than have my grandchildren deal with this.  To the limit of my capacity, it stops NOW.  In this generation.


And the weapon of choice is truth, and love.  There is nothing particularly evil about all this. The people who make the choices or defend the decisions are not evil.  They are just obeying an unconscious directive, some combination of genetics and social programming,  a tendency to believe their dog is the best, their mommy prettiest, their daddy the smartest and strongest. Their country/ethnicity/race superior and central to existence.  That THEY are the essential, universal human, all others branches from that root.


That’s where we start.  It isn’t where we have to end.  You really can make a decision.  The 21st Century is asking us to put the 19th Century behind us.  My tribe are the science fiction people, the future thinkers, the open hearted, those brave enough to be called names because we don’t tolerate body-shaming, racism, sexism, because we believe in marriage equality and the right of children to grow up without fear, and to dream that they are the heroes in their own stories.


That doesn’t mean we want to throw out the values that created the foundations of our world. It means we are the generations who will decide the future.


There is room for you.  All you have to do is wake up, and tell the truth.





Asleep, dreaming that you are awake

Great, wonderful webinar yesterday.  THANK YOU to everyone who participated, and again to Cheo Hodari Coker (“Luke Cage”) for taking time from a killer schedule to offer wisdom.    One of the things I enjoy doing during interviews is probing for the core images and memories that empower peak performers, the people who absolutely knock it out of the park in at least one arena, without trashing the other two.  It is relatively EASY  to succeed in one arena of life (body, career, or relationship) but what you want to keep an eye on is the people who can juggle two or even three at a time.


Cheo is doing great, and late in the seminar he mentioned that his grandfather was a Tuskeegee Airman, one of the heroes who flew the Berlin Mission depicted at the end of “Red Wings.”  And that when he thinks of the difficulties in his own life, he imagines his grandfather’s responsibilities and challenges, and not only places his own life in perspective, but realizes the strength and purpose a human being can bring to his daily life.



One of our students asked the question (and I’m approximating here): “what if you are awake, have thrown off the illusions of weakness and insufficiency programmed into you and your people for centuries, are ready…but are still powerless?”


I say that you are still asleep, DREAMING that you are awake.    Still in the Matrix.   You have power, once you realize that every day of your life you make decisions, and that those decisions determine your actions, and your actions determine your results.


You have power to control your emotions, by deciding what you will focus on, how you will use your body, how you use language.  Your emotions fuel your actions, and your actions determine your results.


You have the power to choose your Tribe.  Your associations. To focus on people who have accomplished dreams similar to yours, and determining what beliefs, values and actions empower them…and to commit to embracing the same.


You have the power to speak your truth.


You have the power to find ways to multiply the power of your efforts. Every artist seeks to do this: to take their own dreams and visions, channel them with craft, and find markets that crave that communication.


You have the power of knowing you have one life.  That living small will not protect you from death.   That coming to grips with this gives not only power, but courage, and purpose.


You have the power of taking control of your inner world with daily rituals of action, meditation, and thought.   Starting with just five minutes. Starting with commitment to changing the world.  Starting with the decision that TODAY will be a magnificent day, that YOU are made of the same stuff as the stars, that no one and nothing in the history of the universe is more important than you…but nothing is less important either.  That we float between the infinitely small and the infinitely large, between intervals of time too tiny to measure, and eternity.


We are no less than the stars, and no more than ants.  And that deciding, simply deciding to care about yourself, your children, your beloved, your community, your fellow human beings, and the world itself is an act of power.


No one can take that decision from you.  One of the reasons I love The Matrix is that it speaks an ancient truth found in multiple philosophies and religions, one I first encountered in Tibetan Buddhism:


“You are asleep, dreaming that you are awake.  As you sleep, demons feed upon your substance.  They fear only your awakening, because awake, you are more powerful than you have ever dreamed.”


Wake up.