Sex Robots and “Incel Traps”

“Westworld” and other shows, movies, and prose as well as the headlines speak of sex robots which will become more and more indistinguishable from real human beings.   I suggest that they will become traps for dysfunctional people, and not something that threatens human reproduction as a whole.


Because I don’t think healthy relationships are difficult for healthy people to find, I consider them one of the primary maturation points for human beings.   Sex robots would allow people to avoid that step.  It would be like living in a world with tons of free food, and all physical work done by machines: obesity would skyrocket.


What you would have is the emotional/spiritual equivalent of that maladaption, and it wouldn’t be pretty.


What is necessary to find that real realtionship?

  1. Love yourself, deeply.  If you do, you will be able to be attracted to some of those attracted to you–you will see yourself in them. We are attracted to people at our level of energy and integration…and above. We attract those at our level…and below.
  2. Develop enough power to attract and hold the level of beauty you desire. Or, the level of beauty to attract the level of power you desire.  If your desires don’t match your ability to attract…see step #1.


The “how” would be techniques like Heartbeat Meditation, The Ancient Child, and the Morning Ritual.   There are others out there, of course, and if you are alone, I pray you will align your body, mind, emotions, and instincts.   If you are constantly attracted to people you cannot attract, this is a clue that there is work to be done.


Those who take the escape hatch of a cybernetic relationship are playing a very different game, and it is a dead end.


What is the most important thing I can do TODAY?

Morning Ritual starts when you wake up.   People who comment on my personal energy are sometimes amazed that I don’t “wake up” with it every day.  No, I have to work that Chinese Puzzle Ball, find the thing I am most committed to in life, think of the most important thing I have to do TODAY to bring it into existence, and how accomplishing it with style and joy will benefit every aspect of my life.




IMMEDIATE OUTCOME TODAY: Major progress on marketing plan, major progress on primary writing project, “Traveler.”


What can I do today to  move the marketing of the “Morning Ritual for Writers” program?   I can stay focused on who I was at the age of thirty: unsuccessful writer, unsuccessful martial artist, no relationship.  And…what “message in a bottle” can I send back to him to get him on track in just five minutes a day, and what would I have to say in an ad to attract his attention?


What can I do today to move “Traveler” forward?   I need to align the thematics from the different major chunks of the book. A major theme will have to be relationships.  If you handle survival, sex, power, and emotion with grace and balance the rest grows naturally.


What is the primary relationship I can look at today?    That would be Gus, the ex-cop hero of the story, a good man who has ruined his life and marriage…and has one last chance at redemption.  And his wife Athena, UCLA lecturer in Abnormal Sociology, a woman who was the light to his darkness, and finally left him to save herself.  Gus’ redemption arc is external (catch the time traveler) and internal (become a better man who can deserve a woman like Athena). Along the way he will have to learn, grow, win, lose, survive despair, heal, and become the hero she always saw in him.  Athena will have her own journey, and her insights into the human mind and the psychology of mass destruction will be central to the story.


“Love is not two people looking at each other. It is two people looking in the same direction.”  If true…then I’m saying that they love each other, but were heading in opposite directions. To “save” the marriage one or both of them must change. Gus needs the most change: it is his story, his arc.  Athena will have her own journey, but let’s drill down here.



Any writing expresses what you think about human beings (“who am I?”) and the ethical structure of the universe (what is true?”).  Where can I find a speck of truth about relationships, people, the world that I can insert into this book?  Use as a reference point in their relationship?  How about the scene where Athena tells him goodbye? That she’s had enough?


To get to that moment, I have to ask how we fall in love.   Some combination of hormones, visual anchors, matching of values beliefs and outcomes, smell, touch, and taste. At some point something goes “BANG” and you realize something is happening.


With Tananarive I thought she was cute and perky, then I thought she was very intelligent and talented.  The emotions triggered were protectiveness, not romantic interest or lust.   Acknowledgement of her attractiveness was certainly there: when I watched her dance, she moved like a healthy animal, and her body was fit, sinewy and quite…lively.  Ahem.


But I really, really didn’t “trigger”.  My only thought was: “here is a young lady with a future.  She has a destiny.  I think I could share what I know with her, and be a mensch.   She could use a big brother.”   The first night at the conference, we watched SEINFELD in her room, sitting on different beds. I was VERY careful with my body language: I wanted her to feel totally comfortable.


It wasn’t until the last day of the conference that something “clicked”.  It happened when she described how she got Stephen King to give her a cover blurb. I saw ambition, tactical and strategic thinking, the ability to think laterally, high-level skills in an apparently disassociated arena applied to a new purpose (using musical skills to get into King’s rock band) and more.


It hit me like a ton of bricks. I saw someone who had about every human quality I hold most dear, who was moving in my direction, revving up to take the world by the throat, unafraid of risk or rejection, with the self-love and emotional permission to care for her physical body in a way that made me feel “my tribe.”


NOTE: Remove any one of those major pieces and that devastating reaction doesn’t happen.  Now…which of those things are necessary for the CONTINUATION and elevation of those emotions?  Well, the things that relate to the basic nature of the person. In other words, if T got hit by a car, even though she can’t take care of her body the same way, she is still the same person. If she changed her values and stopped wanting to write…as long as she had that same intensity about, say, teaching, she is also the same person.


But what if you extracted those qualities and began to reverse them, like re-setting dip switches? How many of them could shift without deeply affecting my feeling of connection?


Everyone has limits.  Sweetness into meanness? Ambition into “laziness”? Activity into sloth? Discipline into excess?


How many?  When I look around at relationships that have gone sour, I’ve seen the following causes:

  1. Infidelity.  Especially serial infidelity.  Different intensities and meanings at different times in the relationship, and interpreted differently by males and females.
  2. Financial instability.  Huge.  More devastating than cheating.
  3. Lack of sexual compatibility
  4. Lying and manipulating
  5. Abuse
  6. Lack of emotional compatibility and empathy
  7. The sexual power polarities can change, creating tension…or boredom.  Seen this happen in “House Husband” relationships, and it wasn’t pretty.


The relationship can run out of gas, can become too explosive, or too painful.   I don’t think I want boredom to be a factor in this case.  More likely too much excitement and “drammer.”      Better to have Athena feel that Gus is becoming something dangerous to her psyche and sense of well being.


But what?  I have a very good sense of the cluster of negative behaviors and attitudes that Gus could have, that mirror real-world break-ups in a “useful” way. Why useful?  Because they have to be capable of being resolved with a story arc.


Ah…in what way?   Well…the perfect character is a window into a situation.  It is through their attitudes, perceptions, and actions that the situation becomes known. Why did I choose THIS character to deal with THIS situation?


Ideally…because the arc of external action (resolution of the plot) mirrors the arc of internal change (how they must grow or heal to move to the next level of their lives.)


“Die Hard” is about a group of terrorists taking over a building…but it is also about a cop who is losing his wife, and how he comes to realize how much he adores her. And a woman seeking professional self-expression, and how she comes to value the very things that drove her crazy about her husband.


Two people who were about to be torn apart by their egos, who come together when the shit gets real.  Defeating the terrorists is healing their marriage!   THAT is a terrific story, one often imitated but never excelled in the genre.   “Traveler” is in that vein, but different in that Gus is more at fault than John McClaine ever was, and he needs to “come correct” in a variety of ways that will require ego death.


HIS SELF IMAGE IS SIMPLY…WRONG.    And as  long as he clings to it, his marriage, his career, his life is in peril.  So the story has to be set up so that his inner and outer journeys reflect and amplify each other.


So…the scene where Athena tells him she’s leaving has to encapsulate the themes of the entire book, such that on one level the readers will think: “you think you can live without this man?  Just wait. You think you can live without this woman?  Just wait!”  but on another level, they will thrill to wonder just what will happen before that hopeful reunion.  They want the experience of closing the book thinking “Wow!  What a story!  I never saw THAT coming!” but also a sense that, on second reading, all the pieces of the puzzle were there…and that it all makes perfect, human sense.


So…what is the most important thing I can do today?  I can look at the structure of the three parts.   Think of the external journey.  And make major progress to make the inner and outer connect.


How long will that take?   Well…here’s a secret: REALIZING I NEEDED TO DO THAT WAS THE MAJOR PROGRESS I NEEDED.


I’ve already won, don’t you understand? Today is already a success. All I need do is write ONE SENTENCE in the script, a line of dialogue or description or summation that states what is needed.


Get it out of my head.  Onto paper.  No, writing it here on my blog, or on Facebook, isn’t enough…unless I drag and drop a relevant sentence into the actual Traveler document (currently at 245 pages on WRITERDUET).   Do that…and I win the game today.


Most important thing with Jason?  Just tell him I love him and am proud of his very good week. He did GREAT with his Algebra yesterday, and was rewarded with a theater party with friends to see “Jurassic World.” Blue is so damned cute!


Most important thing with T? Pick her up at the airport tonight.  Fetch sushi.


Most important thing with my finances?   Check my Mint account.


Most important thing with my body?  Yoga and Tai Chi/Morning ritual.


Bim, Bam, Boom.  I know what, and why, and the “Morning Ritual” is “how.”


Time to get to work!




Sick Little Games

I knew a guy whose wife struggled with her weight.   She’d been the sort of person who had ice cream on her waffles for breakfast…with a diet Coke.   Finally, she got serious.     And regardless of what she had said about hormones and slow metabolism and  so forth, the truth was that when she cut out the rich food and bore down on the exercise, the pounds came right off.    She looked great.


Then…she caught him making out with a girl at a party.  And…the weight went right back on.      I asked him one day: “what would you do if Kathy (not her name) was only pretending to try to lose weight?  If really, the game was to do just enough to get you off her back, but actually keep it on?”

He considered for a moment and then said:   “I would divorce her.”


Anyone feel like they don’t understand the sick game going on here?




Over the next year I found several different women who struggled with weight and never got it off, and if approached non-confrontationally, they said things like:


  1. If I lost weight, other men would be attracted to me, and I don’t want the temptation.
  2. If I lost weight, men would be attracted to me, and I would be at risk because I have bad judgement.
  3. Bad men would be attracted to me, and I would be at risk of assault…again.
  4. My husband doesn’t deserve my beauty.
  5. People wouldn’t notice I was in the room–the extra size is power.
  6. My business associates wouldn’t take me as seriously if I was little and sexy.
  7. I don’t have time to exercise. It takes hours a day.
  8. Food is my only reliable pleasure in life.


Guys had some similar ones.

  1. I wouldn’t take up as much space.  I would feel threatened.
  2. I’d be giving up the only real pleasure in my life.
  3. I would be competition to large male predators, and would have to butt heads with them.
  4. My body is nasty.  I don’t want anything to do with it.


What about in other arenas?  Money (and these were mostly  male answers):


  1. If I had more money, I’d just have to pay more taxes.
  2. If I had money, my relatives would just come and take it.
  3. Money is evil–only bad people have it.
  4. If I had money, I wouldn’t be sure people loved me for myself (note the similarity to the obesity reasoning for women)
  5. I don’t have enough money to save money.
  6. It takes money to make money
  7. I’m already working 60 hours a week.  I can’t work myself to death.


How about relationships?


  1. Sex is ugly and sinful, and only positive in a very  narrow range of behaviors and conditions.  And nothing non-reproductive: oral, anal, masturbation, homosexual…all evil.
  2. Men/Women are bastards/bitches
  3. People should love me for your “inner self”…but I will judge THEM by their “outer selves.”
  4. I don’t like myself unless someone else loves me.
  5. A bird in the hand is worth all the fish in the sea.
  6. I don’t have time to meditate. It takes hours a day.
  7. All the good ones are gone.
  8. A shared love of drugs/alcohol/bars is a great foundation for a relationship.
  9. Love is all it takes
  10. Sex is all it takes
  11. A relationship should always be effortless.


What about writing?


  1. It’s talent, not work.
  2. I don’t need to read other people’s writing.
  3. I can write the Great American Novel before I’ve published a short story.
  4. My first drafts should be as good as Steinbeck/Butler’s final drafts.
  5. I don’t have time to write.  It takes hours a day.
  6. A rejection slip means you can’t do it.




Ugh. I need mental floss just thinking about that toxic stew.

If you study people who have improved their life situations in one of these categories, you’ll see that their beliefs, behaviors and values are very different from those who never manage to change their circumstances for the better.


I’m willing to bet that ALL of you have shifted from negative to positive results in your lives, or observed people who have.


They didn’t just “get lucky”–some light bulb went on in their heads, and they began to act, feel, and focus differently.   Every day they did different things. And…their results began to shift.     Body (health and fitness), Relationships (with yourself, and your mate), Career (how you produce goods and services for your community), Finances (Saving and protecting the money you make).


Look at those four arenas.  Identify a mistake you used to make. What is it? Where did you get it?   When you improved, what new belief/perspective slid into place?


For instance:



Negative belief “You will fail and suffer if you try to become an artist” (from my Mom)

Positive belief:  “I would not be able to sustain the urge to be a writer if I didn’t have the potential.”


That new belief helped me counter my fear until I defined a path of action that would lead me to success.  There were similar negative and positive beliefs in the other arenas.


Can you name a negative belief you once had, where you got it, and what you changed it to, and the results you got?


  1. I wanted to be a writer
  2. My entire social context told me it was impossible
  3. I found role models who convinced me that it was work and focus, not luck or talent
  4. I worked my ass off for years, and succeeded.
  5. The grand irony: people telling me I was “lucky” or “talented”.


Oh, its fun.  And they do that to absolve themselves of the responsibility to focus their time and energy.   To that end, there really might be an innate talent: the ability to focus your attention over time.  Give them that, and they can acquire the ability to align their self-image, beliefs, and actions with their ultimate goals.


I will back that person against “talent” and “luck” for the creation of a happy, meaningful life any time.





Be Attracted To The Attraction

Yesterday I asked people what “message in a bottle” they would send back to their younger self about relationships, a core exercise of the “Ancient Child” program.   A gush of great answers!  One of my favorites was from Todd Jackson:


“Teach yourself to be attracted to a woman’s attraction to you, and disinterested in her disinterest.”

Man, could the “Incels” ever use THAT one.  It triggered today’s conversation.



Many years back, my agent Jonathan Westover asked me if I wanted to write for Baywatch.  I’d never seen the show, so I asked him to send me some episodes. I was living in Canyon Country at the time.  Nicki was about…maybe seven.  And we spent half a day watching VHS tapes of the show.  After watching about three episodes of jiggle-fest, I asked my daughter what she thought about the show. She pursed her lips and said rather thoughtfully “well…its about nice people working hard to make the beach safe so other people can have fun.”


Damned good answer.  “You know what?” I said.  “There’s lots worse stuff than that in the world.”


And I decided to give it a shot. My process was that I would generate at least 100 ideas, as fast as possible, writing each on 3X5 cards.  That might take a day.  Then I would sort back through them:


  1. Had I seen this idea somewhere before?
  2. Could this idea be executed in a time-frame, and for the money allotted to an hour show?
  3. Did it feel like I could write it without a lot of research, from my existing knowledge base?
  4. Did it feel FUN to write?
  5. Did it feel like there was a grain of truth, something meaningful and emotionally/philosophically valid in the story, or was it pure cheese?


I would prioritize the stories based on my responses to those and other questions.    Usually, this would pare down the possibilities by about 50%.  That left about 50.   Then I would see which ones naturally and organically broke down into three-act structure.  Now, there is nothing sacred about a 3-act structure.  That was basically just pee breaks for Greek actors, as far as I was concerned.   But we’ve programmed people to expect them, and uncreative Hollywood producers (who are NOT stupid, regardless of what you think. Entry level is often a law degree. But…they are not necessarily “creative” and so we need a common vocabulary to communicate across the abyss between the Left and Right brains, the “creative child” and the “moneybags adult” who have to cooperate to spend the 700k it took to make an episode of Baywatch)

If the stories naturally and easily broke down into three acts…and passed all the other filters…it went into a separate pile. Now we’re about three days into the process, and I had about 20 ideas.  Pick the ones that simply appealed to me the most. No explanations needed: just “FEEL” like Steven Barnes stories.


And pared those down to about five. And fleshed those out.    That was my process in those days, and it worked well for me.


I pitched all five, and if memory serves, they bought two of them. The first was called “Rescue Bay” and it was basically “Love Story” meets Bugsy Malone on the beach.  Here’s the set-up:   Hobie, the son of Mitch Buchanan (David Hasselhoff) the head lifeguard, joins the Junior Lifeguards, and there meets a really cute little girl.   She always wanted to be a lifeguard when she grew up, but there’s a problem: she has Aplastic Anemia, and isn’t GOING to grow up. She has only a couple of years to live (according to a doctor I consulted with, Aplastic Anemia is one of those really great “Hollywood” diseases: it will kill you dead, but you look great in the hospital right up till the end, allowing soft-focus camera work, lots of great acting from beautiful people, and swelling music until the face out.    Oh, Preppie…but I digress.)     Hobie falls in love with her, leading to the kinds of heart-breaking moments (as well as rescue-based excitement) that I felt would be a good show.


But there was something more important…I got to put in a line that aligned with my real values and beliefs about life.  “Love isn’t two people looking at each other.  It is two people looking in the same direction.”


At its peak, BAYWATCH was seen by a BILLION people worldwide. Get that? Steven Barnes was able to get one of his core beliefs about life out to 1/6 the population of the planet.   That flat rocks.

Attraction is interesting, but only if it is aligned with your values, beliefs, goals.   That means you have to know yourself, and where you are going.


If you love yourself, you won’t want to be with someone who drags you down. You will demand to be seen, understood, appreciated.  Demand that your potential partner supports you in your dreams. And…if you see yourself in them, you will demand that they let you support THEM.




If there are four aspects of life I’m focusing on: Family, Career, Fitness, and Finances, the one that is under your greatest degree of control is Fitness, because you can produce it in a room, alone, with no equipment and no direct support.  Prisoners in jail do it all the time.


One of the reasons the Morning Ritual uses a physical component is that the lies we tell each other about “not having time” will kill our dreams, and looking at our relationship to our bodies is one of the fastest ways to reveal these distortions and evasions.


The second simplest aspect is relationships.   To have a great relationship, you only need TWO people.

  1. Yourself.  You must love yourself, accept yourself, be your own friend.  In this way you will be on your path of personal development, constantly improving.  But you will also enjoy your journey, and appreciate your own efforts.
  2. One other person. Do the first,  and you will be attracted to people at your own level–and you will attract people AT YOUR LEVEL OF ENERGY AND INTEGRATION AND BELOW.   What percentage will be at your level?  I don’t know…call it 20% just for grins.    Of those, many will be a mis-match in terms of direction.





In my SOULMATE teachings, I say something that often gets raised hackles from the audience. I ask the guys: “want the secret to attracting any woman you want?”    The guys always lean forward and go “YEAH!!” and the girls lean back, cross their arms and wait for some NLP manipulative bullshit. Their eyes turn to ice. They thought I was a nice guy…until that moment.


I laugh.


“It’s simple,” I say.   “All you have to do is only want women who are attracted to you.”


Boom.   There it is.   How do you do that?  Well…frankly it isn’t that hard to fall in and out of love. All you have to do is focus on the positive aspects and ignore the negative.  Or vice versa.  Learn where those levers are in your head, and Bob’s your uncle.   So back in the day I would walk into a room, checking out all the ladies.   Who is most attractive?   Try to talk to her.  Was she interested?  No?  Well…wow. She wasn’t that attractive after all.  Hadn’t noticed that mole.  Move on to the next one. Was SHE attracted?  No?  Wow, her laugh is abrasive. Move on.


Now note…I didn’t dislike them.  Didn’t wish them ill.  They just move out of the category of “WOWSERS!!” and into “well, she’s interesting.  I wish her well.”


And move on…until I hit the one who smiled back. Ah, there are few things in life as wonderful  as being attracted to someone who is attracted to you. That is a real “sweet mystery of life at last I’ve found you” revelation.  And you can literally choreograph it simply by learning to only be attracted to people attracted to you.  Otherwise…they are interesting, but not magnetic.   Learning this trick will safe you a vast amount of pain…


BUT YOU MUST LOVE YOURSELF, AND LIKE YOURSELF. Otherwise you won’t believe that there are other fish in the sea.


Then, out of those you are attracted to, who are attracted to you, there are other questions that get answered as you get to know them:


Do their values and beliefs match yours?

Do their ambitions match yours?

Does they energy match yours?

Do you have enough shared life experience to have perspectives and “in-jokes” that feel natural and familial?

Is there enough complementarity to create a “spark”?  (That’s the “opposites attract” thing. The greater the difference, the bigger the spark–as long as you have enough similarities for that spark to jump the gap)




If you aren’t…you will tear each other to pieces.  Values.  Beliefs. Energy level.


Oh, THAT’S a big one. If you want a hiking companion, they have to move at the same pace YOU enjoy.  Maybe you like to stroll and smell the flowers.  Maybe race-walk to the summit. Maybe rock-climb up the face.  If they can’t match your pace, or want a different path, one of you is going to be very disappointed.


The same direction. At the same pace.


If you don’t know yourself, love yourself, you will sacrifice YOUR journey because you’re afraid of being alone.  Here’s the secret: you are alone. You will always be alone. But…you don’t have to be lonely.  Lonely is optional.




Learn to be attracted to the attraction.  Yes.  BUT…learn also not to be attracted JUST because there is attraction. That is desperation, and a road to hell.


Yep, its complicated.   But…less complicated than mastering a career (which demands cooperation from dozens of other people at the least) or your finances (which demands future-pacing to a savage degree, the ability to not only create relationships, read intentions and needs, discipline yourself to develop salable skills and tamp down the “I WANT IT NOW!” that allows you to save 10% of your earnings).  Only dealing with your body is under more direct control.

But frankly…when I ask myself what is more common to find, happy relationships or healthy fit bodies…I think the relationships are more common. Not “perfect”–that would require perfect people, and I ain’t never met one of those.


But every chipmunk in the forest finds a mate.  It really isn’t that hard–if you would be attracted to yourself, and you love yourself.  And you stop bleeding over the billions of people who will never want to boff you.   Let ’em go.


Be attracted to the attraction…then sort for what you need and want.


Works great.





The Thousand Mile Road

Larry Niven asked me what I was working on.    I mentioned a couple of short stories, a novel in deep outline script form, and a movie deal currently under negotiation. He laughed and said that I was as productive as six ordinary writers.


To the degree that this is true, it is due to one thing only: I know how to harvest every day’s supply of creativity.   Sometimes it’s a drip, sometimes it is a gusher. But there is SOMETHING every day.


God knows that sometimes it is a grind.  But I know my commitment is to writing for legacy, working to create the very best work of my life. But to do that, to produce Quality, there has to be Quantity.


And the urge for Quality can crush your ability to create Quantity. Why?  Because your ability to judge your performance will usually be more refined than your ability to perform.  Your own mind will crush your heart.


When I was a kid, I wanted just three things: to be a martial artist, to be a writer, and to have a family to love and protect.   Problems: I was a geek, no one I knew knew any writers (and in fact my mother destroyed my stories) and I was a total failure with The Girls.


There were times I felt totally rejected, crushed, defeated.   But then, one day I remembered that everything I could to: walk, talk, ride a bike, do basic math, read and write…I had once been unable to do. That if I looked around I could see that EVERYONE struggled with new things, and that I actually couldn’t think of anyone who kept working at their goals who didn’t make progress.  The only problem was that they sometimes didn’t make progress fast enough. So they quit.


But everyone who kept trying, as long as certain conditions were met, got better and better.  That suggested that maybe one day I would be a fighter.  One day a writer. One day know how to relate to the opposite sex.   But I needed to see what experts in those different areas said about how they developed their skill.   And then do THAT.


Ray Bradbury suggested writing a story a week, or every other week.

Musashi Miyamoto said “The Way is in Training”

And every popular guy said asking women out was “a numbers game.”  “Imagine being at a dance. You ask a girl to dance.  She says no. You smile, thank her, and move to the next girl.  Repeat until you are boogying.”


There are refinements, of course.   I never really got the “hang” of asking women I don’t know to dance.    I didn’t let that stop me, just realized that I needed to be in a social context where I met enough women that SOMEONE at that dance would be familiar to me. Ask those.


With writing, I would have to get used to rejection, experience it as evidence of my own courage and persistence.   Just like Rocky re-defining victory to mean simply being on his feet at the end of the fight.


With martial arts, I remembered Steve Muhammad’s advice:   “The only thing that cannot be overcome is death.   I will find a way, or make one.”


So…I didn’t have the raw emotional strength to just fight my way up through the ranks. I had to nibble around the edges. To study art A until I couldn’t get any further and my fear pushed me back out.  Then go to art B, until the same point.   Then art C.


Had I been able to stay in a single art, I’d be more advanced: go deep, and only after you have reached “unconscious competence” (somewhere between Brown Belt and 3rd  Black) branch out and study other disciplines.


But…every time, I learned a few different things. Not techniques–that’s garbage.  Ephemeral.   Expressions of some deeper truth applied to a specific situation.  What you want is to understand the intent behind the techniques.   The principles  that make them work. The mind of the master who, in a moment of stress DID SOMETHING and then tried to explain why and how they did it to a baffled observer or  eager student.


Given the right insights, you can create a hundred techniques an hour.  Ed Parker’s Kempo is chock-a-block with complicated combinations, and they mean NOTHING if you don’t understand the very simple principles at the core.


So by putting myself in the learning situation as much as I could, whenever I could, my emotional blocks were slowly worn away.  The “water” of martial progress seeped over, under, around, and through the blocks.  I was picking the locks, crawling through the transom, visiting neighboring spaces, seeing pictures of my destination, getting glimpses,  and occasionally moving into that new room for just a while.


And I remember attending a “Soft Work” seminar with Scott Sonnon, where by some arcane technology I don’t understand he choreographed an “ah-hah” moment that let me see, for about 48 hours, the flow demonstrated by masters.   If I hadn’t KNOWN it would fade, I’d have been grief-stricken to watch it run out through my fingers, until I was almost back where I started. Not quite.


Every experience gave me just a clue.  Either a step along the road, or a refinement of the map of internal and external territory.


Not one step was wasted, ever.   EVER.


Thousand mile road, indeed.




When you define the basics needed to reach your goal, the 1/1000th part of the process, and you commit to taking one such step every day, something magical happens. You see the territory. You begin to understand the value of work, and courage, and planning.   You see how the quality of your allies and companions affects your progress.  You take pride in being one of the few with the ability to get up to bat and swing again and again.


Because from time to time, you hit the ball, and DAMN that feels good.   Yes, some people hit the ball more often, but if you love the game, that’s all right.  Your only task is to do the best YOU can.  Nothing trashes you faster than comparing your progress to other people rather than to your own being.


Yes, this can seem contradictory: don’t you need role models?   Shouldn’t you compare your results with theirs?


Yes.  Carefully.  But always remember that no two people really have the same resources or experiences.   Not even possible. You can get as close as possible, but “identical” is out of the question.  So if you perform the experiment and don’t get the results, sometimes the equipment or context is faulty, sometimes you performed improperly, and sometimes…the theory is just wrong.  It’s an art.


But the only way you adjust is by modeling experts, taking actions and noticing the results, while keeping faith that you can reach your destination.  Some combination of these things produced every success you can point to in your own life, the lives of teachers and mentors and companions…anyone.


Magic Equals Action times Gratitude times Intention times Conviction.


And if you only have a “1” or “2” in the other categories, but have a “9” in “Action” you are going to dominate.  You will get so many results that if you sort through them and double-down on what worked, that cycle of action-evaluation-course correction-action will change your life faster than anything I know.  You do have to have control of your emotions (Gratitude and Conviction) and must have a clear intent (Intention) but Action is king.


Walk the thousand mile road.  One step at a time.  It is true that some paths, however energetically followed, don’t take you to your chosen destination…


So please enjoy the journey too, o.k.?





The Sneakiest Way To Fail

You could be the strongest man in the world, and lose every competition.  Know how?  Its easy: simply put one more pound on the bar than you can actually lift.   In fact, that’s also a great way to fail to develop a potentially world-beating skill level: just always take on a LITTLE more than you can do.  Do this, and you’ll develop a pattern of failure that will crush your heart.

But few will ever blame you.  It is an elegant way to be able to always say “I’ve done my best” while never taking responsibility for actually becoming a new person.


I was tagged to a page where a guy has injured himself, and wants to rehab.  His intentions are to practice a variety of different athletic and martial and dance disciplines.   And asked me my advice.


Well…first, I’d look at that list.    Each of those  disciplines he wants is a full-time study, in terms of skill, fitness, and MOST importantly if you aren’t a teenager…RECOVERY time.  Just looking at that list screams injury.  Each of them demands different things from your body, mind, and emotions. Different coaches. Different supplemental training programs, nutritional programs…sheesh.


Trying to get to a level of biomechanical perfection where you can practice at full intensity without blowing out joints, muscles and tendons with a SINGLE discipline is hard enough. But…four?


Listen carefully: instinct tells me that this person is programming himself to fail.  To be disappointed and unhappy.  He reminds me of an obese person who wants to lose a pound a day.   An unpublished writer who wants to write a novel in the next three months.  An Incel with no idea how to navigate relationships joining a speed dating service.


The chances of actually succeeding are small. How do you eat an elephant?  ONE FORKFUL AT A TIME.


I was asked today: “How do I succeed?”   The basic answer is: find at least three people who have succeeded at what you want to do, whose initial conditions were as close to your situation as possible. find out what they had in common.  Figure out what their daily rituals of action, thought, and emotion were.


Then…Do that.


People programmed for success will look for the similarities.   Those programmed for failure will focus on the difference.


People with PERMISSION to succeed will look for simple small actions they can take daily that will take them to their destination, then develop a higher and higher tolerance for intensity, as well as greater efficiency and effectiveness, so that they accomplish more and more every month.


People without this permission will either take on LESS or MORE than they can really do. Both are paths to failure.


Yesterday, I spoke with a lady who started at 125 pounds.  She married an abusive man who crushed her spirit. She has struggled with depression and weight for decades, and is now 240 pounds, and reached out to me.


Wow.  I know a few things: that she has for all these years practiced daily rituals of action that led her to where she is today.  And…she knows it.  She exercises, but has never been able to SIMULTANEOUSLY exercise efficiently AND control her diet effectively.  And she knows it was fear, and anger, and guilt all mixed together.    Her brakes were on.   She could “do something about” her weight by EITHER “dieting” or exercising, but not both at the same time. When she did, she lost weight. When that happened, her fear rose up and sabotaged her, in an endless cycle that has beaten her down.


My suggestion?   A medical professional to help her set a target and plan of action to get down to 160.  Specific therapeutic and meditative work to deal with the emotions that will come up (AND THEY WILL).  And a “Morning Ritual” that will either take her to her destination, or provide real-time feedback of her process, things to talk about with doctor and therapist weekly.


Look into Intermittent Fasting.  Speak to her health professional about the possibilities.  If her wellness circle is onboard, if she finally has internal PERMISSION to move forward, then and only then does it make sense to strategize.


WHAT does she want?

WHY does she want it?  Is there more pleasure than pain associated with action? More pain than pleasure associated with the status quo?

Now and only now does the HOW factor in.


This stuff is hard. Whether it is a writer doing “a sentence a day”, an Incel connecting with his “Ancient Child”, a couch potato doing a few Tibetans every day or a desperately broke person learning to save a percentage of ever dollar that comes their way…


All you have to do is make the “Minimum dosage” small enough that there is no rational reason not to do it, and the raw emotions beneath are revealed, so that you and your wellness team can deal with them.   GET YOUR ALLIES IN PLACE. The harder it has been in the past, the more times you have “failed”, the more important this clarity is.


WHAT do you want?

WHY do you want it?

HOW can you take a tiny daily action that moves you in the right direction, with real-time feedback?



Do this, and the Hero’s Journey suggests that you will have your very best chance to move to the next level of your life.


One step at a time.







There is a story about a game preserve in Kenya. The young bull elephants were running amok, attacking the females, tearing down buildings, and threatening humans.  One set of administrators advocated shooting them.  But a game warden had a radical notion: there were no older bulls, and without them, the young bulls had no guidance for their behavior.    They trucked in older bull elephants from another preserve.  And in short order the older bulls had dominated the young ones, corrected their behavior and gentled them down. All was well, the natural order restored.




The link above leads to vileness.   I can understand why it would be easy to consider these men inhuman.  Frankly, I’ve had the precise same thoughts when strolling through racist forums, where men and women (disproportionately but not exclusively men) say even worse things about blacks.  And IMO the vileness comes from the same space: fear.


The answer is the same, as well: strength and love.


There are things to be said about this being a “human” problem, and it is.  But MORE of this problem is about male-male transactions, especially laying out road maps for navigating the maze to get the relational cheese.  Fathers, grandfathers, and men who have “solved the maze” of healthy, passionate, lasting relationships need to speak up and stand up.    These Incel guys are clueless, and frightened of the degree to which the world is changing/has changed/will continue to change. No going back.




I would say that 80% of the real problem is in 20% of these guys.  The other 80% can be reached.   EVERY human being is motivated by pain and pleasure.  Every human behavior, no matter how terrible, is ultimately a cry for connection with a deep wellspring that some call “God” and others might simply call “peace.”  Yes, I suggest understanding, and compassion.  Always have about racism, and can see even less reason to consider sexists outside the human species.


Yeah, I’m bundling them: want me to consider men evil?  I’ll raise you drawing the same conclusion about Caucasians.   Don’t start nothin’, won’t be nothin’.


We are what we are, as a species. We want the same things.  What we’re seeing is the cost of upsetting an order that has existed for generations, and in all probability, EVERY time you get a sea-change like this, there is push-back, and panic, and anger, and the potential for violence.


The solution is love.  But…FIRST the solution is strength.   Be safe.   And then, come love, to love yourself enough to hear what people are saying without accepting guilt, blame or shame. That’s their shit.  But you’d better understand your opponents, or you are helpless to affect their behavior.   Even if you thought they were animals, hunters understand the psychology of their prey if they want to eat. Soldiers must understand the psychology of the enemy if they want to survive.


Know your enemy and know yourself, one can go through a hundred battles without danger.  Know not the other, yet know yourself, the chance of victory is only half.  Know not your enemy, and know not yourself, every battle is certainly a defeat.”–Sun Tzu


This is human stuff, things we’ve dealt with since the beginning of time: violence stemming from anger stemming from fear.  Those who need to demonize the broken souls will not be a part of the answer. The answer will be implemented by those who see the abnormal as on a continuity with “normal” ranges of human thought and action, who can see where these young men have gone wrong, what they are really saying behind the bravado and venom.  If you can’t see that, then I don’t blame you for simply consigning them to another species.


I don’t have that luxury.  Never did.  And cannot do it now.






After Twenty Years…

Some thirty years ago I created “Lifewriting”, the meld of Joseph Cambell’s model of the Hero’s Journey with the balance and personal evolution implied in the Chakras model.   Was having great fun and success teaching it.


And then…my marriage to Toni went belly-up.  As “relationship” was one of the Big Three (now a “Big Four”: body, career, relationship, and finances) I felt it would be dishonest for me to claim to know how they work if I didn’t have one.   And my standard for a successful relationship was high: it has to be happy, and last long enough to raise a family to the point they don’t need you anymore.  How long is that?  15-20 years.


Note that I’m totally aware that not everyone has kids, or wants to.  And that there are people who believe we weren’t intended to find one partner for a lifetime. Fine.


I wasn’t going to let myself off the hook like that.  I’d messed up.  There was NO way to put it off on Toni–at the very best, what was I saying, that it was all her fault?  In which case, at the least, my judgement was shit.


No.  My bad. I would take 100% responsibility for my actions and attitudes, just as, from HER position, Toni has to take 100% of hers.  That’s how it works.


I took responsibility. Realized that my actions, beliefs and emotions had not been in alignment with my values.  Then when I got out into the dating market saw that my perceptions about men and women and what they wanted from each other simply didn’t match observable reality.


Once I fixed those things, dating became childishly simple. And as soon as I had 100% confidence in my ability to satisfy sexual needs, I was able to realize that my emotions were NOT a matter of what someone else thought or felt. They were mine to deal with. And once I took responsibility there became self-contained in a way I never had been previously…and immediately “jumped up” a level of integration, and met and bonded with Tananarive, my soul mate.   Just that simply.


Our twenty year anniversary is right around the corner.  NOW I can relax again, and really teach what I know.  Yeah, got that specific balance I was looking for, the specific path. Not that there aren’t other paths, but this is the only one I can be an honest guide for.  The assumption is that most people (over 99%, I suspect) want:

1)Lasting love

2) A healthy, fit body that they themselves would be attracted to.

3) A career doing something for a living that they’d do for free.

4) Financial security, such that money is a tool rather than a nightmare.


And when you drill down, the same principles of focus, self-love, discipline and incremental actions apply in all four.  And even if you don’t GET them, pursuing them is an authentic journey of life.


And…if you have all four the Masters suggest that further levels (spirit, for instance) evolves automatically.


And..if there AREN’T any “higher levels” you’ve still had a great life.


And…if you aim at all of these, it is far less likely that you will hurt yourself than if you ignore any one of them.


It is relatively easy to be good in ONE of these four. Even two. But by the time you get to all four, I submit that it is impossible to balance them without actually engaging with the most important questions: “who am I?” and “what is true?” And those questions take you home.


Someone can have all the lovely theories in the world, all the rhetorical flourishes they want, can sound as convincing as anyone ever has…


But if they don’t have these four things, at the very least they are not on my path. Why should I be interested in their map?


And if they ARE on my path, then either they got a bad map, or they had some serious disadvantages they are coping with.  Handicaps which limited their expression.  If they are honest about wanting those four things, and dealing with handicaps, they are IMO unlikely to be debating the rightness or wrongness of their approach with me. They are more likely to actually be engaged with the process of moving away from pain and toward pleasure. I recognize those people: they are brothers and sisters.


I gladly listen to what they have to say about their journey.


The rest of humanity?  If they have my values, and have similar maps, we are on the same road and can trade information.  Those ahead sometimes leave notes for me, and I gobble them.  As I leave notes for others.


If you are on a different path, genuinely?  I wish you well. I’ll read some of your notes, too.


But if you want me to listen to your theories about writing…and you’ve never published?


Want me to listen to your theories about relationships when you’ve never had a good one?


Want me to listen to your theories about martial arts practice when you have about 5% of my experience?


How about listening to your money theories when you have never had any, or never kept it…?


You know, you might well have something interesting to say. But I don’t have time to listen to everyone.  Seven BILLION people in the world, each with their own theories. If I gave each of them ONE SECOND that would be about 210 years.


Now tell me again…why precisely do I owe you a second?  Make it good–there are 6,999,999,999 people behind you in line.



Not Whether, But When

Jason is fourteen, and for the very first time starting to talk more directly about wanting a girlfriend, specifically a certain tall young lady I caught a glance of a week ago.



And quite reasonably, T said that its time for That Talk.  Well, the core biology of it is handled through school and certain videos I know he’s snuck and peered at on the computer at least two years ago.   That certainly leaves a lot of gaps to fill in, but the big question, the BIG  BIG question, will be the “When?”   This, in my mind, is the reason why simulated violence is more accepted than simulated sex in films (the real thing is about equally taboo).   Violence in your child’s life is an “if.”  Sex is a “when?”



Every culture has different answers for this. Different religions, social classes, periods of history, and so forth.   And every parent has to deal with this.  Some abdicate the responsibility:  “I have no control.   Images, friends, society programs my child.   He/she will do what he/she wants.”


Not my attitude. Mine is that it is my job to clearly and directly  lay out the very best map of life I’ve created, testable at every level, and allow my children to test it once they get out in the world. They WILL rebel–it is what they are programmed to do, and without that we’d still be stuck in the trees.  But a healthy child comes to “this is me” rather than “this is not-you” and the difference is stunning.


I knew this moment would come with Nicki, and I spent the time between age six and age…fifteen? thinking about what I wanted to say that would minimalize life-altering mistakes, but leave the door open for a happy, healthy love life.   Why wait?  When is there a “green light”?  And how can I explain all of the social and religious rules around sex if it isn’t a matter of evil and danger and oogieness?


Hey…I knew the job was dangerous when I took it.




The “Incel” movement strikes me as low-self esteem high-ego low-skill “scared-I’m-beta” types with an inability to read social cues.  If you look at the chakras, you’d say they have no power (how many are living with Mom, or under-employed for their self-perceived levels of intelligence?), closed hearts and poor communication/empathy scores.  Inaccurate maps of reality.  Messes.


On an internal level, they are bags of broken glass. Externally, most of them don’t seem to understand the most basic animal levels of the mating game.  What’s the most basic level?


  1. Love yourself.  You have to feel that you have something worthwhile, something precious.  Otherwise you will “settle” for whoever shows interest.  One of the great experiences of life is the first time you are attracted to someone who is attracted to you.  Wow. The CLICK! you feel in your head and heart and crotch can be thunderous, all “sweet mystery of life at last I’ve found you!” stuff.  Danger, Will Robinson. It is NOT love, unless you are very very lucky indeed.
  2. Love one other person.  A healthy love is simply seeing your own being in another person. Feeling the other half of a potential whole.   If you REALLY see yourself in them, and you love yourself,  YOU WANT THE BEST FOR THEM. That means that you don’t want to possess them–you want to give to them, nurture them. And if you aren’t the best thing for them?  If you love yourself enough to have confidence in your preciousness, you know that you will find something wonderful, and with regret, you can let them go.
  3. Understand history without guilt, blame, or shame.   Here, it is simple. Look at human mating patterns around the world. Read poetry throughout the ages, and see that simple yearning for connection that has birthed every human being since the very beginning, continuous with mammalian mating patterns and primate tribal groupings. It all fits together. And what do we see?  We see that sexual relationships, while certainly involving pleasure, health, bonding, spirituality, self-expression and more, MUST lead to reproduction, or the species dies.   If you are a healthy potential partner to create, raise and protect potential young, you will have no problem attracting potential partners.   If you love yourself, you will be attracted to some of those attracted to you.  Bob’s your uncle.   “Pick Up Artist” culture seems to be about “faking” being a healthy resource-rich and confident male, just as the female equivalent is about faking eternal sexual and reproductive readiness.   This crap is so simple its scary. The 21st Century suggests that we can move beyond the traditional balance of the “Beauty-Power” axis, with BOTH partners bringing beauty and power to the table. Great!


And what does this mean?  It suggests that the “Incels” don’t grasp the need for self-love and genuine power–the ability to protect potential young. That is what makes the DING DING DING!   go off in the average person’s head.  Again, no genetic line that has lasted this long is likely to  lack that response.


So, proposed to Jason: The standard to attract a healthy, attractive partner is to be the male equivalent of the kind of woman he is attracted to.  Do you want healthy emotions?  Have them.   Physical attractiveness? You do all you can do to be a healthy physical and emotional creature, and you’ll attract someone you can relish.  Power?  That ain’t just “potential.” That is “demonstration.”

Like the old song said:

Yip yip yip yip yip yip mum mum mum mum mum…GET A JOB.


Yep. There you have it.   Every male bird in the #$%% forest knows to build a #$%% nest before looking for a mate.   And the SINGLE greatest most reliable way for a man to increase his attractiveness is owning his own house.


At a convention recently I spoke to the wife of a successful doctor.  She is a woman of high accomplishment herself in multiple fields, confident enough to simply laugh when she talked about what happened when they moved to a new town.    The single women began to buzz around: “oh!  A man with a credential!  Financially stable and successful!   Is he married?  Yes?” And then the low-throated QUESTION:   “Is it working?


Hah!   And is this “career” thing equally applicable to women?   Today…that’s where we’re going as gender roles shift, yes. I’d bet that way. But even if they hadn’t, this was still my recommendation to Nicki:   “When you have learned to focus your mind, emotions, and body sufficiently to create LEGAL products and services you can trade with your community to put a roof over your head and food on your table…you are an adult, and ready to make an adult decision.”


A woman who doesn’t have this is vulnerable to looking for a rescuer, a child looking out at the adult world without confidence.  I can’t do that, but if I can find a man…


Toxic. Dishonest. YES you can be an adult. Yes, you can learn what you need to know to step across that line.  And yes you should be an adult before you take a chance to create a human being. There is little more damaging to a society than babies raising babies.


For the sake of your heart. The sake of future children. And for the sake of attracting the most delightful partner, because the more power you have, the more beauty you can attract.  The rules are a little different for men and women, but there is still truth here.


And how PRECISELY would I jigger those rules for Jason?   You will hit the “sweet spot” of power to attract the kind of woman you want when you can support yourself and two other people.


Love yourself. Learn to focus mind, heart, and energy to create goods and services that you can exchange with your community to support yourself and two other people.    Bob’s your uncle.






Yeah, kids will experiment.  Yeah, ultimately he will make his own choices. But to the degree that I can tie ANYTHING I’m trying to teach him into his own long-term goals, he then has his own motivations for action.  Remember the RPM pattern?


WHAT do you want?   Say…To find a Soulmate, what Dad found.

WHY do you want it?   Happiness, passion, family, support, partnership, companionship.  And yeah, sex.

HOW do you get it?  At this point?  Get good grades in high school to prepare for college.  Strengthen your body to make it as work and play-ready as possible (remember: most sports, more traditional human motion relates to hunting, mating, or fight/flight behaviors). Love yourself. See yourself in others so that courtesy, kindness and warmth are natural, not “affect.”


What can’t I tie into that process?  Morality?  Industry? Creativity? Emotional mastery?  Discipline? Behavioral control?  Postponing pleasures?


I can tie EVERYTHING in to the question: “how do I satisfy my sexual needs with integrity?”  It all goes there. And by the time he’s sixteen, that driving question is gonna be blinding in intensity, as the glands kick into top gear. If he KNOWS exactly what he needs to do to satisfy it, WHY it is a good idea to postpone for a while, the “Sexual Transmutation” idea from Think and Grow Rich (transfer thoughts of sex to thoughts of career success or athletic achievement) then you have learned to hitch the biological horses to the heart-space needs and head-space goals.


You are aligned.    So…




All of that thought goes into an almost casual comment.   “Physical things should be postponed until you have physical resources.   Sex is an adult game. Being an adult means taking responsibility for your life and emotions.  That means some people are adults at sixteen. Others aren’t adults at forty. Work it out.”


Or put most simply?  Focus.  Finish school.  Decide who you want to be, and get good at it. Learn to market it, either to create a business or fit into someone else’s business.


Yip yip yip yip yip yip mum mum mum mum mum…GET A JOB.


And then?   Heh heh. Have fun, m’lad.

I sure as hell did.




A Letter To My Younger Self

I’m finally creating my full Morning Ritual program.  Part of what I need to do is unpack it so that I can really understand why so many of my teachers insisted on a Daily Ritual of physical motion, emotion, and mental focus across a balanced set of goals.  The Morning Ritual is magic, a body-mind sigil of transformative power.  It doesn’t care if you believe it works, only that you do it. If you do, you will change.

This morning’s thoughts deal with a tiny piece of that puzzle that transformed me.



I’ve talked about the fact that it took me seventeen years to earn my first black belt, due to bullying in my childhood.  And that it was a simple visualization exercise performed for a couple of months (visualize a glass tube filled with water. Glitter is suspended in the water, swirling. Watch until it all settles) that set me free.


And what I saw was that fear wasn’t the problem, it was (as Terry Letteau had said) lack of clarity.  I thought that the fear MEANT something.  That I was small, or weak, or cowardly. That I couldn’t, or shouldn’t, or mustn’t.  I had experienced not just fear, but guilt, and shame, and confusion, and other secondary emotions, each of which drained away the energy I needed.


If I’d had the resources THEN that I have NOW?  Simple.

  1. I would have realized that what I was experiencing was an emotional storm designed by my ego to protect itself.
  2. I would have used “the Spider Technique” in my heavy-bag workouts.  Basically, spend ten minutes imagining the toughest guys at my school cleaning my clock, beating the hell out of me.  And then…work on the bag, working myself into a lather for 15 minutes until I entered second wind.


Just do these two things, and I’m using my fear to power my practice, raising my game. That is what fear is SUPPOSED to do–“Fight or Flight”, remember?  Aid in your survival by making you more prepared for combat, or fleet in escape.


Depression, from this perspective, is fear with no one to fight and no where to run.




I was in an emotional knot for SEVENTEEN YEARS because none of the therapists, gurus, biofeedback specialists, coaches, or instructors understood the body-mind as deeply as I needed.  There were answers…I just hadn’t found them. And once I did, it was obvious I’d been pushing a door marked “pull.”  There really are answers.  You just need to believe that, and keep asking until you find someone who can help you.



But there is another question: WHY COULDN’T I QUIT?  Why?  If I believe that we seek pleasure over pain (and I do, totally) then wouldn’t the sensible thing to  have done is just stop spending time, energy, sweat blood and money to practice odd Asian arts of…well, of hurting people?  WHY DID I KEEP AT IT?


I remember CLEARLY driving down La Brea avenue in Los Angeles, tears streaming down my cheeks, totally miserable, and praying “God, will you either take away my urge to practice these arts, or just let me do it???  Please??”


I couldn’t stop.   I couldn’t go forward.   WHY COULDN’T I STOP?


I know now.  I didn’t then. Man, I wish I could send a note back to myself when I was about twenty-five.  This is what I would say:


Steve, this is your future self.  I know you feel emotionally trapped.  Let be explain what is happening to you.  When you were a kid, your Dad wasn’t in the home, and you had no brothers or uncles to explain male hierarchical behavior to you. Those bullies? They don’t hate you.  They’re just looking for where they sit on the hierarchy of power, which will influence the money they earn and the women they can attract.    THEY ARE AFRAID they will be low. May have been told that at home, or by society. So they will step on you if they can, just to raise themselves up.  If you’d kicked their ass back behind the gym?  Most of them would actually relax, knowing where they are, and make their peace with it.  A very few would keep coming at you. An even smaller percentage would try to snake you when your back was turned…but that can be dealt with, too.


What is important for you to know is that it wasn’t your fault.  You took it the wrong way. In some ways, the negative attention was a complement.  They KNEW there was something special about you, and had to try to take you down. What they sensed, but could not understand, is that you won’t be stopped.  Won’t quit.   Ever.   They hungered for that, and I promise you that if you encounter ANY of those guys twenty years after high school, not one of them will have kept the dreams they had in school. 


You, on the other hand, will.   That’s who you are.


Why?  Because at some point in your life, you made a decision: “I want an authentic life.  Not an easy one.”


Understand that?  Your entire experience of existence is built around answering two questions: “who am I?” and “what is true?”


And you understood long ago that the kinds of men you respect, and the kinds of women you desire, will not be attracted to you if you cannot be authentic. And you have identified an area where you lack authenticity.   You are an intellectual head case with scrambled emotions that prevent you from having a direct, simple connection to your animal survival drives.   SOMETHING HAPPENED TO YOU along the way: you had pain, fear, shame and a warped, twisted view of yourself hammered into your nervous system.  You found out that if you put your head up, you became a target.  You are very very smart, but afraid to really shine: your Mom, bless her heart, helped to imprint that self-doubt on you as an attempt to protect you from a racist world.  DON’T BE TOO EXCELLENT. “THEY” WILL KILL YOU.   When people mock the ‘don’t achieve’ meme in some inner cities, they never ever ask why that belief exists. How it protects from pain.


How is it protective?  Because there really are people that would threaten your life if they could.  Some are white, afraid of your mind. Some are black, who have internalized racist standards, are afraid to even try to achieve, and are intimidated by anyone who shakes off those chains.


But here is the truth: you MUST be the best you can be.  You must grow up, wake up.   Because otherwise the forces of evil win.


And you cannot allow that.   You could write and be a great writer.  You could marry and be a decent husband and loving father.  But if you never make your body alive, never reclaim that part of your psyche that is pure primal male animal…first of all you will NEVER attract and hold a primal female animal (and you know damned well that’s what you want) because you will never know who you are.


You will never have access to all your emotional and physical energy: you will have access to PART of it, but skitter back from the full “white light” of human experience, the balance of human and animal, male and female that actually drives excellence, creativity, sexuality…everything.


You were programmed by your society to be a partial human being.  But the other thing your Mom gave you was a connection to Spirit.  You sense that you were born to be more…we ALL were.  That anything less than the best we can be is a denial of life.  You crave an answer. When you see masterful martial artists, you know you hunger for that kind of confidence and power. For the way others, male and female, respond to such men.  And if you don’t discover how close to it you can come, you will have cheated yourself.


When faced by a choice of ‘should I try?” “Should I have goals that large?” Ask yourself one simple question:


How long am I going to be dead?

And…armed with the answer to that question, dare to pursue your dreams. ANY dream that anyone else has ever accomplished with roughly your resources and origin point is possible.  You cannot live a life small enough that death will not notice you.


You wonder if the struggle can possibly be worth it.   The answer is: yes. There is NOTHING more important than knowing who you are.  Completing yourself as much as possible in the one life you have to live.


There’s this thing called the Spider Exercise I want you to try…


And know that when you are on the other side of this problem, you will understand yourself, and human beings, in a way few do. Because most people turn back from the challenge of shedding their skin and being reborn. They identify with their histories, or their emotional storms, rather than their true Self.


Do this thing, and what you learn along the way will be able to help people in a way, with a clarity and power you cannot dream of.  YOU WILL KNOW things that theorists can’t dream of.  Because because of your past, martial arts are a cauldron for you, a forge that tests your heart in ways that no one who can practice it easily and simply could ever do.  You may not be the “fighter” they will be…but you will learn to fight for the things that are most important to you: honor, dignity, truth, love…and be as lethal IF THOSE THINGS ARE AT STAKE as any of them can be.  But most of them will never learn this, because they are blinded by the prizes along the way, the trophies, titles, and money, which are fine as long as you don’t lose your perspective on what is really important:


The Two Questions: ‘Who am I?” and “What is true?”


Who are you, Steve? 

A damned fine answer:   You are a human being, standing in the center of a wheel of archetypes, all the potentials of life. Healer. Artist. Lover. Teacher. 




 What is true?  That you like all animals was born with an innate instinct to preserve personal and genetic life.   And that ANYTHING scrambling that signal is an interruption of a billion years of evolution, millions of generations of creatures who could hunt, fight, or evade predators surviving to have sex and reproduce. It is your heritage, your terrible birthright, just as is the tenderness with which you hold a newborn child. 

The two are linked. The children are not safe, unless someone can face the wolves.


 Keep going, Steve.   What you feel, what you are, is part of that authentic journey.  Keep asking your questions: you will find the teachers you need.  Keep loving, and hoping and striving, and at the end of life, either you will have missed your goals but had an amazing ride…or you will realize that your life has been more than a blessing to yourself and others, it has paid respect to the uncounted generations of men and women who came before you.


 You stand on their shoulders, and can therefore see further.


You have no right to quit.  You have an obligation to discover everything you can be and have, and do in the world if it is in alignment with your values and ethics.


 Go for it, young man.  The world is yours.


 And that primal woman you seek?  She’s looking for you. How can she find you if you do not shine?