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.






Sex is for adults

There is a gentleman who has been reaching out to me for some time.  His problem is that his girlfriend is far more sexually experienced than he is, and apparently talks about it more than he likes.  He complains in pretty ugly terms about it all, and here are my thoughts, in general.

  1. In this context, in this instance, the numbers of her sexual history  means no more to me than how many people she’s played racquet ball with.  The more important question is: why does it hurt you so much?
  2. You are both attracted to her sexuality, and repulsed by the realization that it existed before she met you.   There are two broad possibilities, neither of which requires any real change from her.  One, that it is greatly positive, in which case you are responding from your Needy Wounded Abandoned child (wahhh!  Mommy’s hugged someone beside me!)
  3. The other is that it is greatly negative, in which case you have to ask yourself a serious question: the relationship you are in is what you can afford. The best you can do.  If she is such a mess, you are an equal mess.
  4. In either case, the ONLY thing of importance is: you are a bleeding mess.  Your only task is to stop hurting. That means either healing yourself to the point that her words about her past are irrelevant, or healing yourself until you can attract and hold a woman  more on your wavelength.
  5. I don’t know her, and only have your comments about her, which will be deeply prejudicial. She might be an avatar of sexual love for all I know.  Or, she could be greatly damaged and lurching from abuser to abuser.   No neutral data. The only thing I can be sure of is that she should NOT trust you with her heart.  If I was her, I’d rub it in your face too.  Why?  Because I’d KNOW you were judging me, and would want to watch you twitch and jump, to remind me not to trust you.
  6. 100% certainty: if she trusted you, opened her heart to you, surrendered to the relationship…one day when you were angry, you would call her a slut.   100% certainty.   I don’t know why she is in relationship with you, but she is wise to keep you at a distance.
  7. You have money issues, serious ones.   The easiest “fix” for you is to heal this wound.   You will be a different man then, more secure and self-contained.    From that place you will have fewer exposed nerves, more centeredness, less desperation. The other men she has related to will be less intimidating to you.  To do this you will have to produce goods and services your community finds valuable, learn to risk rejection through sales and marketing, and make adult value-for-value transactions with them.  Right now, emotionally, you are a child.  Children shouldn’t engage in reproductive behavior.
  8. The truth is that your best bet is to consider her to be above your level.   Let it go.  Spend a year healing yourself.    As it is, you are trying to overhaul your car while driving it on the freeway.
  9. THE PROBLEM IS YOU, NOT HER.    Can there be issues with “too many” sexual partners?   Sure.  Or too few.  Or none.  It is not my place to offer the slightest judgement: I’d need information I cannot get from you, and she hasn’t given me permission to look into her in that way.  No interest in it.
  10. The “little boy” inside you is desperately unhappy. You have abandoned him, and expect her to pick up the slack. She may be thinking that if you can grow the @#$$ up you’d be a good man.  I think she’s right.  But you are not that man today, and won’t be tomorrow.  Right now, you have to learn to take care of yourself, provide your own inner resources, and stop demanding things you have no right to ask from another human being. Maybe then you’ll be worthy of a good, mature, alive female of the species.  But not today.





Do you love yourself?

And so we come back to the question of loving yourself, possibly the central issue in the process.

The reason that I have placed so much emphasis on relationships is that they mirror who we are. True, an advanced soul can travel through life with no such connections (for instance, Sri Chinmoy, who I consider one such genuine soul, has no sexual or physically intimate relationships). But the problem is that about 98% of the people who have claimed not to need or want them strike me as being in denial–and often later confessed to have been so. They were manifesting damage, fear, doubt, lack of self-love, but covered it up with “I’m doing fine. I don’t need a relationship. Or I have a dozen people who love me, I don’t need a Special Someone.”

I don’t have the omniscience to say who is in this category and who is not. Only you, in your heart, in your most intimate, silent moments, know what is the truth. Those of you who eschew such intimacy for genuine spiritual or healthy emotional reasons certainly know that there are others who lie or deceive themselves about being in such a state. It is to those I speak, and not you.

My position is that it is impossible to have a healthy, happy intimate relationship without being on the road of healing yourself. And that such healing can be postponed by avoiding the mirror of a single human partner. Multiple partners, partnerships with non-equals (like your children), pets that substitute for human partners, partners living at such a distance that you don’t have daily intimate contact–all of these things are very different mirrors than what I suggest. Only you know if they are really sufficient. And if they aren’t, and you’re not ready to move forward, there is a very good chance you will lie to yourself, or to others.

So, the reason relationships are so important is that they tell us about self-love, and self-healing. We cannot give to others unless we have first given to ourselves. A relationship with a worthy equal is not co-dependent. It is not rescuing. Do you have any idea how often people talk about marrying someone to help them? To heal them? To save them? ALL OF THIS IS A DISTRACTION FROM YOUR OWN WORK. That wounded person you were trying to help was YOU. You just lied to yourself, told yourself you were strong and they were weak and needed you. No, no, no. You were too wounded to find a relationship with a healthy, stable person, did the best you could do, and then lied to yourself to feel superior, healed, powerful, like a rescuer, a healer, a knight on a white horse. It is one of the greatest self-deceptions that human beings ever perpetrate on themselves.

What? You say you deliberately bonded with a damaged person, had children with them, and thereby inflicted that damage on helpless babies? Deliberately brought less stability, love, health, and security to your nest than you could? For god’s sake, any higher animal will force a potential mate to prove its health and power before blending genes. You’re saying you loved your potential children less than a dolphin, an eagle or a wolf? I think not. YOU WERE DOING THE BEST YOU COULD.

Want to do better? Want to be able to tell yourself the truth about wanting to have a bonded relationship? Then learn to love yourself. The “heartbeat” meditation is wonderful. Can you look at yourself in the mirror and say: “I love you?” Can you meditate, and visualize the child you were, and hold him/her? Can you write yourself a love letter? Can you look at your love partners as mirrors and be proud of what you see?

These are basic tests, basic indications of health on this crucial, critical level. Remember, you can awaken your sacred energy from the heart out, or from the body up, but NEVER from the head down. You CANNOT create the world in the image of your ego. Tell me you can, and I will immediately look at your physical body, and your intimate relationships. If you are not healthy in these two arenas, I will assume you are dealing with massive damage you are unready to deal with. Too many times in my life I have ignored my intuition, listened to what people said about being “just fine” being broke, or alone, or fat. And then when, later, their lives collapsed they confessed that they had lied to me. I had been right all along.

I will never mistrust my intuition again, even as I keep in mind that it can be wrong. Again, I mean no insult to anyone. I know I might be wrong. But I have to trust my own senses and mind, more than I trust what anyone says. As all of YOU must learn to trust your senses and mind, more than what anyone says, no matter how much you love them. We lie to protect ourselves. We lie, and pray that someone will see through the lies to our secret, damaged, shameful, impostor selves–and love us anyway.

Do you love yourself? You must, in order to heal. In order to grow. In order to love others. What is the value of the gift you give your loved ones, if you yourself do not treasure it?

Do you love yourself?

-Steve Barnes,

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.




Triangles I’ve never spoken of

There’s something I’ve noticed in my meditations that I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned before, and am a little uncomfortable to speak of, because it sounds “woo woo.”   “The Secret”, which you know gives me a pain, by allowing people to disconnect effort from results.


Meditation usually starts in the morning, right after waking up. Listening to/feeling my heartbeat.   The, I see light floating inside myself, and try a series of different structures: overlapping or concentric circles, looking “down” along my spine from the top, or up from the bottom, etc.


One is different geometric shapes at different levels. The primary levels: belly brain, heart center, head center.


The geometric shapes: square, circle, triangle.  Sometimes circle at the heart, triangle at the base, square at the head.  Sometimes overlapping or concentric.  Sometimes a different order.  I don’t try to force it.


I have, over the years, noticed something odd (as I said before). When I visualize a triangle at my forehead level, money seems to come into my life.    I have to say this carefully, because I am not suggesting a causal relationship.  Or correlation. Or that it is anything but coincidence.   I just wanted to put it out there.  Here are some possible interpretations and thoughts.

  1. Pure coincidence.  Means nothing.
  2. When things are going well financially, for some reason my mind associates this with a triangle at head level, and pops one up.
  3. For some reason, Thinking this pattern relates to the sort of thought processes that are high-performance in the financial arena. In other words if I can do it, it suggests that in the previous weeks or months I’ve been doing the right things.
  4. That intuition knows when things are going “right” and gives me this symbol as what I’ve called a “complex equivalent”–a simple symbol representing a vast amount of complicated information, something that communicates to the emotions.


There are other possibilities, but those are the ones that pop up first.   They are all logical and reasonable.   As I’ve said, half my brain is a scientist, the other half is a shaman.  And if I went in from the other half, I’d say that creating a triangle symbol focuses my energy, which then goes out into the universe and creates what I want.


What do I think is true?   I think that a natural human being is in tune with the environment.  They feel pain and pleasure in proportion to the effectiveness and efficiency of their actions. That most of our modern malaise is the negative side-effects of all the positive change we’ve made over the last two hundred years or so.   Mostly great, with some ugly stuff that can be seen by our satisfaction with:


  1. Our relationships.  Mating should be natural.
  2. Our bodies.   The balance between intake and output should be natural.
  3. Our hunting and gathering.   Our relationship with the external world should be a natural extension of #2.


The ADVANTAGES of our post-agricultural world are many, and obvious. The costs…not so much.  An entire workshop, right there.  The point is that it seems to me that a shaman, a magician, or a natural human simply works to place their physical, mental, sexual, and emotional hungers in alignment with nature, so that the natural actions of life from awakening to sleep supply all basic needs.  We are satisfied with those basics, but also continue to investigate excellence, efficiency, effectiveness. So that slowly we peel back the mystery and progress as individuals and as a society.


A sense of playful curiosity, nurtured by doing what is IMPORTANT, not merely what is IMPERATIVE. That produces fear.  Most people are stuck there.


We bury our pain and fear and doubt and guilt. Meditation takes us in to our “basement” or “attic”, however you represent these things, and gives us a chance to sort through the detritus of our lives: our memories, values, beliefs, positive and negative emotional anchors, and allows us to line them up until, like putting the right numbers into a combination lock, we get access to that core survival energy and can channel it through the other arenas of our lives.


And that process, too complicated for the conscious mind, can be represented through symbols.  Like a triangle at your head.   The process CREATES results, but is also NURTURED by the conditions of your life.  If you are born into massive stress, you will have to do a LOT more work to create this clarity…but you are precisely the one who needs it.


It is both action and reaction.   Perhaps…it is mostly  sensitivity to the context.  Maybe you really aren’t controlling anything at all, any more than a surfer is controlling the wave. But there are a lot of waves, and a good surfer knows where to find them, and which ones to ride, and cares for his board, and makes sure he is a hell of a strong swimmer. Can hold his breath so that when the wave rolls him, he doesn’t drown.  Watches for sharks.


All in the service of riding that wave. And a person who understands none of that, none of the skill and sensitivity and work and willingness to wait for a lucky ride, might see that surfer on the wave and think they created it.  Or that they were just lucky.


I have no idea how far this metaphor goes. Whether a surfer wakes up in the morning and looks at the sky, or feels the earth, or smells the wind, and KNOWS by thousands of hours of experience and the mentorship of elders, whether today will bring a great wave, the ride of a lifetime.  I do know that it isn’t just “luck.”


Maybe…just maybe…they awaken with a feeling in their gut.  Or a triangle, floating in their minds.




Childhood and Adulthood

I like minimum investments, the smallest amount of work that will maintain forward momentum. Get them down small enough and you have an amount so tiny that there is no LOGICAL reason not to do them.  The real reasons are revealed as emotional.


Here are some examples:


  1. The “Smartphone” diet.  Simply take a digital picture of everything you eat before you eat it.  Don’t have to modify your eating at all–just be sure you are 100% conscious of every bite.  Amazing how hard this is. And how effective.
  2. “Five Minute Miracle”– one 60-second breathing breaks, one every three hours. A total of five a day.  Re-patterns your stress response.  Amazing.  Combine with your very best abdominal exercise, done very slowly (one sixty-second rep), and you up the game.
  3. A sentence a day.   First step of the Machine.  Because of a variety of logistical and psychological factors, you can ride a sentence a day to a book a year.  Again, it is amazing to watch.
  4. Morning Ritual. 10-20 minutes of movement combined with affirmation and dynamic focus.    “Flooding” yourself with positive emotions.


One of the saddest things that I see is people who feel that, without their pain, they would not be creative.   All I can wonder is: whose voice is that in their head? Who told them this?  What is their experience of joy?


Both pain AND joy can motivate us.  If I had to use one or the other, would definitely choose carrot over stick. If you cannot find pleasure to focus on, then pain will do…but wow, would you treat your own most beloved child like that?  And if you wouldn’t, why are you doing it to yourself?


Consciousness, speaking the truth, is a sovereign remedy for most of what ails us, even if it leads to temporary pain.  “These cigarettes will kill me” causes the temporary pain of discipline, guilt, withdrawal. And saves you the long-term pain of mortal disease.


Adulthood is about speaking the truth. Keeping your word to yourself.  Choosing long-term pleasure over short-term pain.  Taking responsible for your own emotions and actions.  We know this in raising children…

Why do we forget it for ourselves?

Don’t lie and say you don’t have “the talent” to do something: you don’t want to spend the thousand hours.  The fact that others might get more results for that investment of time is irrelevant. You can ALWAYS find someone doing better, or worse, than you.

Don’t lie and say you don’t have “the time” if you can start with five or ten minutes a day.  Ummm…you had time to read this, correct?

Don’t lie and say you have nothing to be grateful for.  You can read, correct?  You have the resources to get onto the internet, correct?  Wouldn’t you miss your eyes and computer if they were gone?  Then you can be grateful for them now.

Your focus determines how you feel. Your ability to tell the truth creates an accurate map. Your ability to keep your word to yourself determines whether you will take the small, constant steps that can lead you to love, or health, or success.

  1. Start by loving yourself.  (why change if you don’t love the person who will benefit?)
  2. Love one other person (we will do things for others we won’t do for ourselves.)
  3. Understand the world without guilt, blame, or shame.  (Forgive yourself. You’ve done the best you could, with the resources you have.  This will require that you forgive others as well–the same is true for them)
  4. Find your tribe.  (you cannot rise to your next level without allies and mentors.   Mentor and support others, and you gain the cosmic chips to ask for allies and mentors to help you.)
  5. Win.  (Define victory so that you can achieve it, EVERY DAY.   Five minutes a day will start you.  And from there…the world looks and feels like a different place.)







Don’t settle for less than the best you can do

David Roel is kind enough to dig through my archives to find thoughts he thinks will be of interest to his Buddhism mailing list. It is gratifying to see things that stumbled their way out of my thoughts a decade ago helping people today. Here’s a note:

“Thank you. As usual, exactly what was required this morning. I think we all play with the “Soul Mate Process”, but it withers away as soon as we find someone remotely close to the goal. The fear of being alone is louder than the fear of working on yourself. Thanks for the bump.”

This was sent in response to this series of my thoughts:

Wow! So busy yesterday I forgot to mention that August 1, 2008 was my tenth anniversary with Tananarive. She is absolutely the love of my life, and my perfect partner.

We had such a narrow window of opportunity to find each other. I was living in Washington state, and she, in Miami. We’d each gone through a massive amount of internal work preparing ourselves to find a partner. Such work involved, variously, therapy, meditation, self-discovery, journaling, and more. I believe in love, and that each of us, if we wish, can find a deep and lasting connection with another human being, one we can cherish and who cherishes us, who supports us without reservation, and is prepared, and willing, to be one of our better angels. There is an old saying: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I have a corollary to that: “When the lover is ready, the beloved will appear.”

Somehow, we recognized each other, and within 48 hours after meeting realized that we had to take a chance to be together, that the potential was simply too wonderful. In maybe two months one or the other of us would have met someone else: we were both ripe. It was a minor miracle.

On my own part, the most important things that prepared me for this were:

1) Convincing myself, totally and permanently, that I could get laid any time I wanted, and with the quality of lady I’d always desired. All insecurity about this was just gone, due to some very specific energetic work I’d done. Frankly, it was spooky how good I was getting at attracting women. I realized I could be a REALLY good Lothario, and realized that wasn’t me at all. That what I wanted, more than anything in the world, was a friend and partner, someone I could just be myself with. And I was willing to be celibate until I found her.

2) I had made a very clear list of all the attributes I wanted in a woman, without ANY compromises at all. Then I did one of the two or three smartest, most courageous things I’ve ever done: I found a woman who measured up to that list (a dancer of my acquaintence) and sat her down, asking her what SHE wanted in a man. What she described became my road map. I compared what she said with what I currently was–subtracted who I was, and what remained was what I had to become in order to attract a woman at her level. As soon as I began working in that direction, everything changed.

BTW–what were the differences?

1) she wanted a man with more of a spiritual life than I had at the time. I realized I’d stopped meditating, and promptly began again.

2) She wanted someone with less body fat than I carried at the time. I realized I’d stopped running, and began again.

As soon as I did both, it was as if I began “vibrating” at a different level, and women began reacting to me differently.

I have no idea how I came up with that, what I now call the “Soulmate Process”. Thank God I did. Another piece was realizing that the kind of woman I wanted was a lioness. She would be satisfied with nothing less than a lion. That meant that I had to be a hunter, and project that energy. I couldn’t be focused on finding a woman–what a lion hunts, he kills. So I had to cultivate an attitude of “intense but slightly distant” if you know what I mean. Once I found the right balance, the effect was absolutely devastating.

And then, I had to be willing to cast it aside, and just be myself. But without absolute confidence, and a real commitment to doing Whatever It Took to find a genuine heart connection, without a speck of bullshit, and be prepared to wait my entire life if necessary…while simultaneously working every damned day to be the perfect partner for that imaginary woman of my dreams…it wouldn’t have happened.

Don’t compromise. Decide what you want. Find out what it will cost. Commit to paying the price. And the price is passion, and commitment, and self-love, and self-respect, and honesty.

Ten years. And it’s gotten better every year.

I believe we can all have this, if we are just willing to actually reveal ourselves.



Where is God?

(from 2005)


One of the most frequent questions I get is, “Where is spirituality in your equation? Fitness, relationship, career… doesn’t seem to be much room for God there, now is there?”

I’d laugh, if this weren’t such a serious issue. And if I have to explain this a thousand times, it could never be too often. Look again at the chakras. Spirit is the tip of the tree, the top of the chakra ladder. As such, it is dangerous to attempt to approach it directly. “You can awaken the kundalini from the base up, or from the heart out, but never from the top down.” I have known many, many people who considered themselves spiritual, but were completely blown out in the more basic arenas, and spent their lives wandering from church to church, guru to guru, seeking inner peace. They craved relationships or material success, and hadn’t the slightest idea how to find it. They wanted healthy bodies, but would rapidly lose the first five or ten pounds… and then be stymied. And not understand why. After all, they are spiritual. God (in all His/Her worldwide aspects) promises health and happiness to those on the true path. The ability to manifest miracles. Why, then, are these simple arenas of fulfillment denied?

All right, I’m going to come out of the closet on this one, and speak plainly. Because these people are deluded. They think they have spiritual connection, and what they have is a desperate grip on a mirage. Yes, I’ve known people I considered deeply spiritual who were “overweight”, or “broke” or “celibate.” But that is not the same as a person who fails at diet and exercise, struggles with their finances through failed business after business, or is stuck in a loveless, sexless marriage. Sorry. You can’t take your failures and hold them up as badges of honor. The ascetic “small boat” is not for most of us, and I’d say that better than 99% of the people who claim to have a direct connection to God while their families splinter into dysfunction are simply conning themselves. It is so sad.

The reverse, on the other hand, is much more direct. It is my belief that in 99% of the cases, a person who is healthy in body, who provides goods and services valued by his community, and has the self-love and self-respect to demand what he is worth, and has a healthy, sexy relationship with his spouse and a loving intimacy with his children… that person lives in the light of God. It is very difficult to imagine otherwise, although I’m sure there are cases out there. It is the “big boat”, the path to spiritual development that is available to all who are willing to take responsibility for their past results, and commit to a balanced, healthy future.

Connie Rae Andreas of NLP Comprehensive in Colorado has a process she calls “Core Transformation.” It is unbelievably beautiful, and a major breakthrough in my conceptualization of these things. What I believe she proved is that all human behaviors, no matter how brutal and destructive, are attempts to access the divine. That’s right–including rape, murder, arson, and robbery. We are trying to satisfy those basic Maslovian needs for power and security in such a way that we can feel secure and rise to the next level. And if those needs are fulfilled, the natural and indeed inevitable result is that evolutionary surge. It is natural, as natural as all water eventually making its way to the sea.

God is like the wind. Invisible. You can’t see the wind, but you CAN see the effects of the wind–the grass blowing. Our eyes and minds cannot directly address the divine. But by choosing our “grass” carefully, we can see which way the wind blows. I’ve chosen body, career, relationship. Some of those on this board have made other choices, and I honor and love them. I can’t pretend to read minds, to know if those choices are genuinely satisfying, or if they are deluding themselves (as, indeed, I may be deluding myself. There are no absolute answers this side of the grave. That’s why they call it Faith). However, I’ve never seen a single person hurt themselves if they DO take responsibility for these three arenas as I’ve described them. And, as long as they understand progress is slow and gradual, and will involve many Dark Nights of the Soul along the way, they grow and change and blossom. That is what I wish for all of you.

So where is spirituality? It is in the center of the triangle described by body, career, and relationship. It is the place behind your eyes, the thing you cannot see. It is the human soul itself, hidden in the last place you would ever look.

Within you.

-Steve Barnes

Overview of the Soulmate Process

(a post from about 2007)


Let’s think some more about the heart, and how wounds to it manifest in other arenas. I’ve known heart chakra wounds to trigger suicide, and a loss of willingness to live. A dear friend was raped, and within a year contracted terminal cancer–It ate her alive within months. Fear, guilt, shame and anger cripple the sex drive, as well as resentments: I know several women who completely withhold their sexuality from their husbands, and several men no longer sexually active due to a lifetime of stuffed emotions. And anyone who has read this blog knows I think that people stuff negative emotions into their bodies. Rape, child abuse, fear, disappointment–all can manifest as obesity. I’ve had women tell me they were afraid that if they were sexually attractive, they’d cheat on their husbands. Men who say that they feel non-existent unless they are huge. Others who hide behind a wall of flesh. And of course heart wounds kill relationships: marriages, friendships, and the most critical relationship, the one with yourself. Heart wounds cripple the chakras above, as well: the ability to communicate is based on belief in self, and a sense that it is safe to be honestly expressive. My mother, who grew up in the lynch-happy South during the 30’s, warned me that “if you show white people how smart you are, they’ll kill you.” Can you imagine what this does to a young man’s head?

Probably the majority of fine writing is about wounds to the heart, and the ways we cope with them, try to heal them, how they poison our lives. Or about the glory of love. As much pain as love causes us all, the only thing that makes it worthwhile is the fact that, when it’s workin’, there is just nothing better. So next time (or real soon now) we’re going to address the question of relationships–how to find one, how to nurture one, how to keep one.

Fourth chakra wounds damage the health, cripple the sexuality, create obesity and anorexia, limit communication, and confuse the intellect. The expression “you can awaken the kundalini from the heart out or from the bottom up, but never from the top down” was making direct reference to the primacy of the heart. In Lifewriting, we use two major tools for connecting with the heartspace: heartbeat meditation and the dream diary. There are other meditations and therapies, but in many ways the very best medicine for the ailing heart is a healthy romantic/sexual relationship. For many people, the quest for love is a long, lonely road. I wanted to provide a few perspectives, and then in a day or two we’ll re-visit what I call the soulmate technique, an approach to finding and keeping the love you want.

I’d like you to consider a homily: “In life, you don’t get what you want. You get who you are.” If you find that you aren’t attracting people who you are attracted to, you may well have an unrealistic self image. Your lovers are mirrors for you, friend. You ARE your husband or wife or significant other, albeit flipped for gender and mirror-imaged. Searching to understand the ways that you and your partner are two halves of the same creature is one of the most fruitful things you can do–as well as one of the most educational. It can free you from anger and resentment. Folks, if you could have done better than your partner, you would have. If you misjudged them, whose fault is that? If you didn’t have the awareness, the self-confidence, the clarity, whose fault is that? Every human being does the best they can with the resources they have. You traded your intelligence, your sensuality, your beauty, and your power and energy and mental health for the greatest good you could find in the arena of relationship. When you stop blaming and start grasping that we are all both victims and beneficiaries of the human condition, you are on the road to healing.

Weight issues. This one is tricky. I think that the first 5-15 pounds of excess weight or so is no big deal. Just lifestyle and personal preference stuff. But by the time your secondary sexual characteristics become obscured, by the time joints are hurting, backs hurting, and it becomes a burden to walk up a flight of stairs, this is no longer lifestyle. It is no longer a little metabolic situation. It is emotional. I’ve simply had too many former obese people tell me that when emotional issues cleared up, they were able to drop the weight. Too much evidence that it relates to depression, anger, pain, fear, loss, and grief and resentment. I just don’t believe what I was told growing up: that overweight is simply a choice, or that it is a physical condition that can’t be helped. No. I don’t. Sorry. I’ve had too many friends die. DIE. From obesity-related illness. If I had spoken the truth to them, maybe they’d still be alive. But they surrounded themselves with people who would tell them pretty lies, and allow them to continue on down the road to self destruction. I will be damned if I will EVER do that again.

What we consider attractive usually relates to damned good reasons. Much (not all) of human behavior relates to survival of self and family. Most of what we consider beauty relates to health: clear complexion, strong bones and teeth, symmetrical faces, high energy. Or emotional health, like discipline, self-love and respect, clarity of purpose, emotional endurance, resistance to fear. When women say they are attracted to ambitious, intelligent, successful men–what the living hell is wrong with that? Aren’t they supposed to seek out the healthiest mates possible? And men are attracted to women who, by visual appearance, give them sexual stimulation: secondary sexual characteristics, self-confidence, sensuality… all of these things relate to mothering and fathering. Subtract these from the equation, and the entire human race collapses. So if you have moved beyond the need or desire to raise a family, fine! But better than 80% of the human race wants these things, so it’s legitimate to address them. In no way do I suggest that those in non-reproductive relationships are unhealthy, any more than if you’re in a marriage you are automatically somehow healthy. No. But if you’ve had a string of failed relationships, I suggest you want to look at that closely.

I don’t consider myself enlightened. I do consider myself on the path of enlightenment. This isn’t just about having a good life. It’s about having a good death, to be clean with myself about who and what I am in this world, and to do absolutely everything I can to leave it a better place than I found it.

I offer what seems to me, at this time, to be a pathway.
1) Be clear on who you are, and where you are going.
2) Be certain that you love yourself. Not just like–love. Be certain you have internal permission to be ecstatically happy.
3) Make a list of the qualities you desire in a partner. Find the person you know, or can find, who comes closest to that list, sit them down and ask them what they are looking for in a partner. Look at the gap between what they describe and where you are. To the degree that those changes are positive, incorporate them at the rate of about 1% per week.
4) As you head toward your dreams, make it clear to the people around you who and what you are, what your dreams are. Walk your talk. Begin to eat, sleep and breathe your intentions in the world. Make them positive, and loving, and powerful.
5) Don’t settle for less than you are worth. As you begin to express your beauty and power, people will be attracted to you. Be choosy. Be certain to spend your intimate time with those who actually match your values, needs, and desires, and empathize with your goals. Don’t waste your energy.
6) If necessary, celibacy might help you concentrate your energy.
7) Be honest, and kind. Treat prospective lovers and partners the way you would want someone to treat your brothers and sisters, your mom or dad, your own children. There is enough pain in the world. Don’t add to it.
8) Have faith. Believe. Love is real, and powerful, and transforming.
9) Be certain that you are heading in the direction of the values you want in a partner. Want a tight body? You’d better have one. Want someone successful? You’d better be manifesting. Want someone emotionally healthy? Lover, heal thyself. Remember the saying “you can’t have a relationship with someone crazier than you”? Well, you can’t have one with someone saner, either. If you want to go old-school, guys may well be able to trade a higher level of power for a greater amount of beauty in a lady. This has worked for thousands of years, and will likely work for a thousand more.
10) If your aspirations are higher than your accomplishment, be willing to partner with someone else who is “becoming”. After all, if you want someone to overlook your flaws, you had better the hell be ready to overlook someone else’s. Be brutally honest with yourself. If you wouldn’t want to jump into bed with you, live with you, love you, you’ve got your work laid out!
11) The meditation, goal-setting, exercise and self-reflection tools on this blog can help you. There are other tools scattered around the world. Find and use them. But start by loving yourself, and giving yourself permission to have a passionate, committed, long-lasting, healthy, supportive, bountiful, sexy relationship. It’s worth it!

-Steve Barnes.