Romeo and Juliet’s Journey #6: Confront Evil, meet Defeat

Look for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man“–Tybalt.   Wm Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet


Imagine the horror Romeo feels at the moment his best friend Mercutio dies.  In rage, he slays Tybalt (Juliet’s cousin), and is banished from Verona.  In a moment, the play spins from being a light romantic comedy into a tragedy. There is no coming back from this event.   A game for children has become a deadly serious adult matter.


Love into hate.   Faith into despair.  Rather than two families united, they are torn further apart.   The ultimate ending begins HERE.

It is important to grasp that “evil” can be an overstatement here. The forces that oppose us can be fear, confusion, ego, desire, values conflicts, mistaken beliefs.  With that understanding lets go forward:



I loved a woman once, and had dreamed of a life with her.  I was in heaven–it seemed the very best life I could imagine.  All my hopes and dreams, come to life.


Then one day I got a phone call telling me she had made a decision that seriously endangered both her, and our chances of a  relationship.  There was nothing I could do.  In that moment, I saw that our values were either totally different…or she had made a dreadful error.  There was literally no way to come back from what had happened, and although both of us knew it, we pretended to think otherwise for a while. The horrible telephone conversations, strained visits, and mutual accusations ripped my guts out. I wanted to act, but there was nothing to be done: she wouldn’t accept my help.  Every day that passed felt like another death: of dreams, of hopes…and of my own judgement.


Why hadn’t I seen it coming…?  And that, ultimately became a salvation.  If I was in horrible pain, if I could just keep my eyes on the ball: I will love again. I WILL find my way through this.  And…if I can learn the lesson here, I never have to make this mistake again.  What is the lesson? What is the lesson?


I remembered something NLP expert Tad James had said: If you learn the lesson, you can release the pain. The pain is only there to get your attention.


The lesson was that she hadn’t made a mistake. She was just being who she was. What had happened was a natural outgrowth of other decisions. She was on HER journey, not just a puppet on mine.  My martial arts and shamanic studies teacher Swiftdeer had once said: “Do not trust people.  Instead, rely upon them to do what they see as their own self-interest.  It is up to you to determine what that is.”


It was MY problem.   Not hers.  She was just being who she was. I HAD CHOSEN HER.   If I had attracted her, more importantly been attracted TO her, she was a mirror for my own heart and soul.   If I could look deeply enough into that mirror, learn that lesson, I could both support her in whatever way it was healthy for her to let me do that, and also go my own way.


If I loved her, let her go.  Don’t try to control.  IF there had been something I could do, then obsession might have had some point.   But if there wasn’t…well, loving her was fine, but didn’t I love myself as well? Didn’t I love that child in my heart enough to nurture him when he was screaming in pain?


Even though I was in agony, I could see that if I could learn the lesson…if I could nurture my own heart…if I could find my way out of this dark, frozen cave I had fallen into…


That on the other side of this I would be a stronger, better, healthier person.   Capable of making better decisions.  If SHE learned too…well, perhaps we would be able to meet on the other side.  BUT LET HER GO.   If I didn’t, and she was in a death spiral…I was going down with her. And if she was on her own journey, and had rejected my help, was I not infantalizing her to say she needed to take it?  And if she was that infant, what was I saying about myself, if she was the best I could do at that moment?


No. There was no way out but to find a way to die and be reborn.  God, I didn’t want to do that. But if I didn’t…I was finished.


And tomorrow, we’ll talk about the road back.



Love yourself…and share the love!


Romeo and Juliet’s Journey #5: Allies and Powers

Romeo and Juliet’s Journey #5: Allies and Powers


“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”

-Romeo, in Act 3, Scene 2, as Mercutio offers to protect Romeo in battle




The fifth step of the Hero’s Journey, “Acquiring Allies and Gaining Powers” is simple acknowledgement that we must learn and grow. Do different things, see the world in different ways.  If you do what you’ve done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve got. If you want different results, you MUST do different things.




I recently got a query from a student (“George”)  who had become enamored of a lady on a social media site.  They had corresponded, they had some mutual social media friends, and when she finally agreed to meet him in person, his heart was about to pound out of his chest.   He had wanted love, connection, passion for years, and here was the chance right in front of him!


She had expressed a desire for a fancy smartphone, and he decided to buy her one, and present it at their first date.  With his heart full of hope, he did just that…and then watched as she took it and then backed away, “ghosted” him, leaving him confused and angry.


It is easy to say that “George” made a mistake.    Harder to put your finger on what he could have done differently.  Wisdom is the result of experience, and experience is painful.


If “wisdom” is one of the “powers” Romeo needed to keep from committing suicide (the knowledge that the love he felt for Juliet came from within HIM, if he was complete within himself, he wouldn’t’ have killed himself, knowing that he would recover, his heart would heal and that he would find love again.   Paradoxically, allowing Juliet to “go” would have resulted in her awakening and a joyous reunion.)


How do you get wisdom without the experiences?  ASK OTHERS WHO HAVE BEEN ON THE JOURNEY.  It is simple, really. So simple that we forget that ALMOST EVERYTHING we’ve learned in life we learned by modeling the behavior of others: how to walk, talk, ride a bicycle, read, write…everything.


Love is no different.   The beautiful thing is that even among people our own age, experiences will vary.  You will be more advanced in certain arenas, your friends in others.  But the very best mentors are people who are older, who have experienced the journey of life for longer, and are further along the road.


“But things are different now!” yeah.  They always are. But there are things that are the same.   FOCUS ON THOSE.


I had the extraordinary pain of courting the woman of my dreams and watching it all fall to ashes.  The more I gave the faster she backed away.  Sound familiar? As my marriage had recently gone the way of the dodo, I felt horrible, desperate, confused. Was there something broken about me?  Was I so ugly and stupid?   What kind of idiot was I, that everything I tried to do was wrong?




WHY DID IT HAPPEN?   I had to learn by painful experience: relationships have a thing called “rapport”.   Each person is traveling at a given pace, in a given direction.   If they have experience, they know that people lie, and cheat, and wear masks.


So if a beautiful woman has had any experience at all, she knows that there are predators, men who will pretend to be what they are not.  And she will reveal herself one bit at a time, an unfolding, like a flower spreading its petals slowly.   Imagine that each of you is holding a deck of cards.  You put down a card: “Hi!  My name is Steve!” she puts down a card to match you:  “my name is Mary.”  And you proceed, putting down one card after another: what you do, what you like, where you’ve lived.  Bits of your relationship history, your hopes and dreams and values.


One at a time. You put down a “card” and then she does.  MAYBE you put down two at a time.  If she still only puts down one…OOPS! Slow down.


The “power” there is awareness of incremental progress. Building rapport and not breaking it by moving too fast.   You learn either by experience, observation…or modeling friends and mentors.  ASKING.


What had “George” done?  The same thing I did.  I gushed out my guts, dumping them on the table in a steaming pile: I LOVE YOU!!


From the way I’d come on, I had to be either a fool or a predator.  George had gone from zero to Engagement Gift before they’d shaken hands.   There is no way a

woman with self-respect and experience would not look at that and wonder what he wanted.


And if SHE was a predator?  A user?  He’d simply fallen into a trap. She got the goodies and ran.  If either of us had unfolded more carefully, revealed ourselves more gradually, MATCHED THE PACE OF OUR PARTNER…


A lot of pain could be avoided.   I asked, and observe, and finally learned. Applied what I learned. And when I had integrated that understanding, almost immediately I met the love of my life.


How do you learn?  ASK. Find people who have been married happily twenty years or longer.  Talk to them.   A LOT of them. You will begin  to see things in common, form your own theories.  Compare them with others.   This is a game for awake, aware, adult human beings. You are playing with the circuitry that creates helpless baby humans.  Whether you are using birth control, are gay, or even beyond the time of reproduction, the circuitry, more ancient than human thought, is still there, make no mistake.


If you have problems in an arena of life…if you want to rise to the next level…you need to find guides along the road ahead.


If only Romeo had done such a thing, that immortal play would have been a comedy rather than a tragedy.   Probably a minor work, yes.  Don’t let YOUR life be memorable for its tragedy.   Please


Love yourself…and share the love!

Steven Barnes

Romeo and Juliet’s Journey #4: The Road of Trials

The course of true love never did run smooth.“–Midsummer Night’s Dream


The fourth step of the Hero’s Journey is called the “Road of Trials.”


This is basically everything that the character does to bridge the gap from where they ARE to where they want to BE.


In my own life, I was alone, broke, and overweight.    Living in that one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver, Washington.  In order for me to prepare myself to meet and bond with my eventual Soulmate.


I had taken one major action: met the girl of my dreams and actually lucked my way into dating her. I had figured out two of the major flaws that kept me from being on the level of the woman I desired.  One was that I had lost my spiritual center.  It hit me hard, but I couldn’t deny it was true: I had stopped meditating, cut myself off from the source of love and deep energy in my life. Probably one of the reasons I was so attracted to this amazing woman: she HAD that energy.  I was at risk of being a vampire, because I didn’t have my own source.


I asked “what should I do?” and came to a decision: the spiritual guru I’d studied with, had a group of followers up in Seattle.  I could connect with them, and hopefully re-center myself.


I called them and it turned out that they met every Sunday to work in the kitchen of a restaurant they owned, and also play and congregate. With a heart full of hope, I drove from Vancouver to Seattle, smiling and singing.


The people were gentle, sweet, loving, filled with light and joy.  If the guys seemed a little “yin” to me, and the women just a little…bland?  No makeup, no “flirt” energy…oh well, that was fine. Maybe I was seeing something important, right?


We cleaned the kitchen, served and cooked food, and played vollyball. Great, great time.  And after, we had a feast.   I was so happy, felt at home, felt  my spiritual heart opening.  Everyone was talking about their plans for the week.  Someone asked me about my own life.


And I said that I was feeling great, and that on the way home, I was thinking of stopping to see a woman I knew, very attractive, and that I was feeling optimistic about the potential connection…


And the room went SILENT. Boom. Dead.  People gave me the side-eye and edged away from me.   WTF?


Slowly, the sound in the room picked back up again, but people weren’t talking to me. One of the seniors came up to me and asked if they could speak to me outside for a moment.  I said sure.


My stomach was filled with butterflies.  What was going on?   The guy looked embarrassed.  “Steve…” he said.  “Didn’t anyone tell you that Guru wants us to be celebate?”


If you had dropped me off a ladder onto my head, I couldn’t have seen more stars.  Oh CRAP!  THAT was the energy I’d been seeing.  And no, no one had said a thing to me, nor was it stated in any of the books or videos or lectures I’d seen and heard.  I instantly “got it”: these people, radiating a spiritual energy, were balanced in the male-female sense within themselves.   Heterosexual relationships are about creating that balance between two people. In THAT sense, from THAT perspective, the more balanced you are, the less energy there is for sexuality to release!


I was devastated.   Here was the greatest spiritual path I’d ever found, and it wasn’t for me. Why?  Because I am a sexual creature. That’s just the truth. And my attitude is that if God didn’t want me to have sex, he would simply take away my ability to physically respond, if you know what I mean and if you’re an adult I think you do.


Confused, disappointed, but just a critical bit enlightened, I realized that I had a challenge: to simultaneously open and deepen my spirituality AND stay connected to my sensual and sexual energy.


I had made a commitment to a journey (find love)

Along it I had learned I needed to grow (enhanced spirituality) to be an appropriate partner for the kind of woman I desired

I connected with my past spiritual path (driving to Seattle)

And discovered that it was no longer appropriate for me.


Was it ever?  I saw it was.  That there was a reason I’d not been told about the celibacy: because I needed something from it, a glimpse of something very special, which the Guru really did possess.   What I needed was to find that same energy while walking a path of loving connection to another human being.


I needed to find a new balance, something I’d never found. Something I wasn’t even totally certain existed.  But…others had found it.  I believed that with all my heart.


So it was out there.  And driving south that night, angry and frightened and more aware, I swore I would find that balance, a way to be centered in the divine without losing my fleshly hungers. There HAD to be a way for all those things to balance.


What seemed true was that I wasn’t going to be able to follow a clearly marked path.   My journey was MINE.  The masters had left clues, bread-crumbs, but no clear path for someone like me. And realized that  it was possible that this is just the way of life: if you are to live authentically, eventually you reach the end of the marked path, and must travel alone…for a while.


And with faith I proceeded, alone, and began to learn the lessons I seeked, and get the results I craved, until I was ready to emerge from the forest onto the path…where I found another soul who had been wandering, and we joined hands.


The road of trials.  You will have your own journey.  I can speak of mine.  And you can talk to others and get their perspective. But ultimately…you will walk alone, at least for a while.


Make your peace with that, and the rest is, if not easy, as natural as putting one foot ahead of the other.



Love yourself…and share the love!


Romeo & Juliet’s journey #3: Accepting the Challenge

So we know the story: against a background of family strife, the two lovers meet and BOOM!  Fall instantly in lust.  I mean love.  Juliet feels the pull as well, but quite sensibly insists that Romeo announce his honorable intentions. Overcome with lust (I mean love) he agrees to her terms, and opens his heart despite that family strife, and despite his general caddishness.


(by the way: this is why they are so young.  Juliet is only 13!  Romeo at least 18 or 19.  He is clearly immature, and while she is actually more mature than Romeo in many ways, still a child. This explains the explosiveness of their emotions:


These violent delights have violent ends

And in their triump die, like fire and powder

Which, as they kiss, consume


They are struck by the core, central inter-personal human drive: love and sex, combined in the same package. Devastating. But it is also the driver of human life, the creator of families, the creator of children who must be protected.  And the dawn of society, which exists to protect those children.


This force is second in universal experience only to personal survival, and once you have children, most parents will sacrifice even personal that survival for their welfare.


It is the door to adulthood.   The opening of the heart to wish the same good for your love that you wish for yourself.  It is sacred, and wonderful, and also disorienting and destructive if we don’t handle it well. Sex and love combined with faith (not necessarily in the religious sense, but that also) can move mountains and change lives. Who hasn’t struggled, worked, suffered for love more than they would for their own dreams?


We grow when we love. And eventually, something very close to ALL of us feel this pull, and wish to connect.   What if you are gay? Or beyond the reproductive years? Or simply don’t wish to have children?


I suggest it doesn’t matter. The same “wiring”, programming, biological, psychological, social or spiritual needs are there to CONNECT.


Do you remember that first moment when you felt mature love?  Not just attraction, but the sense that this person might be the other half of you? That you were willing to change your life, change your mind, become something better than you have been?


In the words of Peter O’Toole in “Creator”–do you see your unborn children in her eyes? Can you see yourself walking together and helping each other along the road of life after youth has fled, and animal passions died from a roar to a gentle nudge?


If you combine love, sex and faith in a future together IT CHANGES YOU.  And the first time you experience it, a door of perception opens that you might not have even known existed.


Eventually, you will accept the challenge of loving, or admitting you want love. The only thing then is to prepare yourself.  To be the very best “you” that you can be. To be as healed, and strong and beautiful as you can be, to be able to nurture and gladden. To find someone whose standards for power and beauty are enough like yours (and to live up to those standards!) so that you can relish each other, without the slightest sense of “settling” or “making do.”


Start with loving yourself. Really, thoroughly, deeply loving yourself, and you will know the value of your heart’s gift.


My bounty is as boundless as the sea,

My love as deep; the more I give to thee,

The more I have, for both are infinite.”


THAT is the true gift you have to give.  Do not doubt. And do not squander it.   It is more precious than anything that can be given one human being to another.


Start by giving it to yourself, and you will never mistake its value.


Love yourself…and share the love!


Romeo’s First Step

If we want to apply the “Hero’s Journey” model to relationships, it is valuable to be specific, so let’s start with the first step.


  1. The hero is confronted with a challenge.  “Come with me, Luke, learn the ways of  the Force” was the call to adventure in the original Star Wars film.


What is it with relationships?  The urge to model Mommy and Daddy?  Loneliness?  Sexual hunger?  The urge to reproduce or maintain social standards?


In the most famous love story in all of western fiction, ROMEO AND JULIET, Romeo is apparently a bit of a cad, who woos and wins and tosses women away like disposable napkins.  He speaks of Rosiline’s chastity and beauty, but we sense it is a childish thing, a “starter” relationship. He’s playing at it.


But it is when he meets Juliette that he is fully engaged, struck with “the challenge” of forming a mature (well…MORE mature, anyway) relationship.  Not just for sex or social position, but because his heart has been turned inside-out, struck by “the Thunderbolt” as the saying goes.


This urge hits us on the sexual and emotional levels. It has biologically reproductive as well as socially conditioned aspects.  It hits HARD, and it would probably be reasonable to say that about 99.9% of people, deep down, crave it at some point in their lives.


We do so much as a culture preparing our children for this “Thunderbolt”.  We know it will happen one day just like it did to Bambi and Thumper: you’re going to get “twitterpated”.



Do YOU remember the first crush?  How about the first time your crush looked at you and “crushed” back?  That sense of Oh My God, when you realized that someone who was beautiful to you found you attractive?  That can be one of the most intoxicating feelings in the world, and if your values are clear and your self-respect high, it can be one of the most valuable and transformative feeliings of your life.


In the classic self-help book “Think And Grow Rich” Napoleon Hill says that the combined emotions of love, faith, and sex combine to create extraordinary drive and clarity of mind, and have lifted countless people to highest of genius and accomplishment. THAT, as Huey Lewis once sang, is The Power of Love.


So the very first step is to tell the truth: you want it. Crave it.  And are willing to begin the journey to have it.  Without that admission, you cannot have mind and heart in alignment.  And that can be dangerous, because, as the saying goes…the heart wants what it wants.


Better to figure out which way the river is going, and then get yourself a boat.  Swimming upstream can be exhausting.


Although salmon seem to dig it…



Love yourself…and share the love!


The Story of Love

Many years ago, I was teaching a “writer’s toolbox” class at UCLA, and we were having a great time with subjects like brainstorming, flow state management, structure, characterization and so on.  On the second day a student raised his hand.


“Mr. Barnes,’ he said. “You’ve given us so many wonderful tools, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to use them.”


“Why not?” I asked.


“well, my wife doesn’t support my desire to be a writer.  My kids take a LOT of energy at home, and my job just chews up the rest of my time…”   I could feel the energy draining out of the room as everyone began to slot their own excuses and obstacles into what the first man had said.  I was on the edge of losing them.


There is an expression that  “from time to time life gives you a cubic inch of opportunity.   You either grab it, or it is gone forever.”


I got one at that moment.   “Well,” I said.  “If you were a character in a story you were writing, and at the end of that story the character got everything he wanted, what would you have him do next?”


I watched his eyes cross and the steam come out of his ears. And then, slowly, he began to speak.  “Well…I could trade chores with my wife, do more of the heavy things that take less time, to make more time for myself. I could enlist my kids by making them think it would be cool to have a dad who is a published writer.   I could take my lunch to work with me and eat at my desk…”


I was gobsmacked. Here, just a few seconds earlier, he had given up hope. And now he was generating all of his own answers.   I asked the rest of the class the same question, and they started generating positive suggestions so fast they couldn’t write them down.


I drove home that night in a daze. What had happened? Over the next few days I researched obsessively, looking for answers. And about three days later I came across the work of Joseph Campbell. A literature professor and expert on world mythologies, he developed a theory called the “mono-myth”, the notion that there is a single story underlying all world literature.


To the degree that Campbell was correct WHY was he correct? Why is there a common pattern?  Whether you listen to African griots, New York Playwrights, Eskimo shamans or Celtic bards…why is there a common core? Well, he  also was quoted as saying that world mythology is the extension of our personal stories, and our personal stories are the personifications of our cultural myths. That there is a connection between the external stories we tell, and the internal way we represent our experience and order our memories.


That what he called “the Hero’s Journey” is, in essence a distillation of actual life experience as we grow and change and learn.   This pattern has been expressed many ways, and my interpretation is as follows, applied here to the first “Star Wars” movie, “A New Hope”:


  1. The Hero is confronted with a challenge.  (“Come with me, Luke!  Learn the ways of the Force!”)
  2. The Hero rejects the challenge. (“I promised Uncle Owen I’d fix the moisture evaporators”)
  3. Acceptance of the challenge (“teach me to be a Jedi like my father”)
  4. The road of Trials (traveling to Mos Eisley cantina, Alderaan, the Death Star, etc.)
  5. Gathering of allies and powers (Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, R2-D2, etc.)
  6. Confront Evil–defeated (Obi-Wan dies)
  7. Dark Night of the Soul (the Death Star attack is failing)
  8. Leap of Faith (in his own powers, in The Force, in Han Solo)
  9. Confront Evil–victory (Blowing up the Death Star)
  10. The Student becomes the teacher (Luke and Han get medals, the group applauds)


I suggest a theory: what if stories are the way that the tribal elders pass the most important life lessons to the children?  What if they are saying “this is the way life will be!  You will be challenged. You will be frightened, but must accept them anyway if you are to grow.   The way will be hard and confusing, so choose your companions and role models carefully, so that you can learn the skills that you will need. And if you are facing a great challenge there WILL be defeat and loss, so you must prepare yourself emotionally IN ADVANCE for this stress. But if you do these things, and keep faith, you will win and grow. Then, when you do, you must help the next person along the path by showing them the way.”


This notion was the origin of the “Lifewriting” system of personal development, and it underlies the “Soulmate Process” which prepares us to find and nurture healthy relationships.


Let’s apply those steps.   At some point in your life you will crave a partner.  There may well be fear or insecurity associated with this need, but you will date and seek love anyway.    You’ll kiss a lot of frogs looking for that prince/princess, but look to those who have had successful healthy lasting relationships to learn the truth of how they work, and who you need to be to find one.  Eventually, you will fall in love, and in all likelihood the first time(s) you will have your heart broken.  It will feel like the end of the world, but eventually you will pull yourself out of it, and try again…and again. And if you do, and keep learning, and maintain an open heart you will eventually meet The One, and bond.   And then…if you live and love with joy you yourself become a role model for those who follow.


That pattern is eternal, and universal. It is the story of almost every human being seeking love, and once you see the pattern you can apply it to ANY task in life, but love is so central that I invite you to apply it there first.


If there is a single most important step, it might be “allies and powers”: to find role models of people who have loved successfully for over twenty years. Ask them of their struggles, and triumphs.  Ask their advice. How they met, how they wooed, how they maintain the passion in their relationships.


Keep track of the answers, and you’ll start seeing the patterns.  Once you see them, you have an understanding of a basic aspect of life we are rarely directly taught.


And…after you have found the love you seek, be sure to share your new knowledge, would you?  The children are watching, and hoping.



Love yourself…and share that love with others



Happy Halloween! And…don’t be scared, there’s still a little time left for your own “Treat”!


Happy Halloween!   Hope you are prepared for the goblins and ghosts and princesses and pirates that will be storming your fortress!


And while you are doling out sweets for the kiddies, I hope you have the most important “sweetness” in your own life: love.   Twenty-five years ago I was overweight, alone and broke, living in an apartment in Vancouver Washington a thousand miles away from my friends. It was horrific.  And today I am successful, in terrific shape, and just celebrating my 20th anniversary (August 1st) with my wonderful partner Tananarive.  While “Lifewriting” has always dealt with the balanced life, we’ve never taught a live class specifically on how two lonely geeks found each other in this world.


That is about to change, as we’ll be teaching the “Geek’s Guide to Soulmates” class in January.   Until midnight tonight we can guarantee a special VERY low price on this, as you guys will be our early adopters, and actually help us understand what you need to heal, love yourselves, and attract the love of your life.   We’ll be sending along the preliminary pieces over the next weeks, but you will be able to start IMMEDIATELY with our “Geek’s Guide” private social media group, and the classic “Ancient Child” self-healing program, yours free as part of the package.


If you would like to find that love and healing, please go to and take advantage of this amazing offer, and be part of the historic class in January.  The clock is ticking!





Halloween (2018) and “Toxic Humanity”

There is a terrific scene in the new “Halloween” film where three generations of Strode women: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, and Andi Matichak) face off against “The Shape” Michael Meyers.




The set-up is devastatingly simple: traumatized by the events in the original film, Laurie Strode (Curtis) has become a neurotic, agoraphobic recluse, convinced that Meyers will return to kill her one day, and sacrificing the love and warmth of her family to attempt to protect them and prepare them for the danger to come.  She has become a “gun nut”, obsessed with barriers and traps and the nearness of death.


Her daughter Karen (Greer) wants nothing to do with her, and her grand-daughter Aliyison (Matichak) would like to be the bridge between mother and grandmother.    When Meyers escapes custody and comes after them, the reality that Mom was right the whole time hits   like a ton of bricks. When   Karen and   Aliyson are trapped in the basement, Michael battering his way in, Karen grabs a rifle in a desperate attempt to protect her daughter and her own life…and the pressure breaks her.


It is an awful scene. This is her dying place, these cold walls and dark shadows her tomb.  She has let down her daughter, who will die under Michael’s knife.   She has heard of the horror, of this implacable hellish, soul-less creature her entire life and mocked the concept…and now it is here.


Death itself, is here.   She looks into what Dr. Loomis called “The Devil’s Eyes” and sees no mercy, no hope, nothing but her own ending, and the abyss sucks her in.


Even with a rifle in her hands, she screams that she can’t do it. She calls for her Mommy, paralyzed with terror.


Michael, the predator that he is, knows she is helpless, comes for her and…


She shoots him BOOM.  She was faking!   And what follows is one of the most satisfying sequences in horror film, as three generations of Strodes stand up to this terror, (at least temporarily) destroying it, and in the process healing their shattered family.  Wow.



The audience I saw it with went NUTS at the basement scene!  THAT was one of the great moments of horror cinema.   She was luring him in with the illusion of weakness, where in reality the training, her fear for her life, and her commitment to saving her daughter has actually moved her totally OUT  of illusion, and into a savage reality:


Women can and have protected themselves throughout all history. And throughout the animal kingdom.


Female “weakness” is an illusion, a game, an agreement between male and female that works great for producing more grandchildren, but is not based in biological or psychological reality.   Are males stronger, larger, more explosively powerful? Yes.  Does that mean females cannot defend themselves?




There is an expression: “it isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”  And a woman fighting not just for her own life but the life of her child is about as dangerous, pound for pound, as a human being can be AS LONG AS SHE STAYS OUT OF THE SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED ILLUSION.  Get out of her head. Get into her heart, and her body instincts.


If you step back and look at the game of male and female, it is arguable  that deep in prehistory the human race decided to play a game: females would pretend to be weaker more timid than they were, males would pretend to be stronger and braver than THEY really were.  The goal?  Produce maximum grandchildren via specialization.


And it had advantages and disadvantages for both sides.  The thought that “women’s ambitions and men’s lives were disposable” comes to mind.    Arguably, the human race, post-industrialization, birth control, the invention of firearms and overpopulation, has entered a new era, one in which we can question those gender roles and actually shift them if we choose.  This is new. And…the good news is that this change is actually good for both sides.


All that is required for this change is to awaken from the illusion.   To do this, start with the assumption of equality (with some inevitable reproductive complementarity).  It can be difficult because of all the politics, but just as with racial issues, if you START with an assumption of equality between groups, understanding that societies exaggerate the differences for its own purposes (mainly genetic or tribal survival), then “waking up” frees us.    If you stop needing to project guilt, blame and shame and instead ask: “how did we get here, if we are basically equal across gender and racial lines?” all of the answers will come, and WITHOUT demonizing either side.  Stop the war.   We have done the best we could as a species, and now we have the chance to do better. A chance to step into a new future that is rooted in our distant past, but builds upon it to create new options.


I ask you seriously, guys: when you saw Karen blow Michael Meyers away (well…or at least wound him. You know how these immortal monsters are!) didn’t that turn you on, just a little?  I can’t imagine a healthy male who would want a weak woman.  Could such a woman protect his children?  Protect HIM if he was sick or wounded?  Don’t you want the strongest life partner you can possibly find?


And I ask you, ladies: when you saw that, didn’t you cheer?  Didn’t you feel that that was YOU , given the right situation, the right motivations?  And what would you think of a man who looked at that and cheered? And was turned on by the notion that you could stand at his side, utterly female but utterly capable of defending your children, no matter what it took?


This isn’t a salvo in the gun control debate.  Stop the politics, just for a moment. We’re talking about primal survival, the creation of young, one of the primary drivers of human sexuality.  And ALL animals have the means of self-protection and the internal permission to fight for their lives.   WEAKNESS IS AN ILLUSION.    POWER IS SEXY.   That power can manifest as various forms of intelligence, drive, self-confidence, skill, talent, calm, balance and so forth, but except for BADLY wounded people and predators, weakness is NOT attractive.


I recently met with one of the producers of “Halloween,”  who  chuckled when I mentioned that Michael Meyers could be seen as an avatar of Toxic Masculinity.  Unstoppable, violent, dominating.   But that would only be half the puzzle, because the other half would be Toxic Femininity: pretending to be weak, begging for help she didn’t need,  thrusting the protective energy (Curtis) out to the hinterlands to harden the heart and then blame it for the very sacrifices that keep the home safe.


The path forward is for BOTH sides to awaken.  To end a “war” that has lasted tens of thousands of years.  Which once served a very real purpose which it may well have outlived   It will not be easy, because partisans on both sides are convinced the illusion is real. But there are massive rewards for those who can shake off that fantasy and embrace a new and better world.


And one of those rewards is the ability to love BOTH the male and female aspects of ourselves.  And therefore…each other. And the path is to connect to the child self, to commit to the protection of hat helpless one at any cost. From there, we can see we must harness everything within us, every drop of compassion and love, which then spins into a total commitment to protect and smashes the illusions.


We can be more. We can be free. We can love ourselves, and understand our world, and embrace each other as we walk this journey called life.


The answer, as always, is love.



Be kind to yourself…and love each other


Six Degrees Of Love

I remember having a conversation with a lady who had trouble in her love life. “All I meet are bad guys” she said. As I had at one time been attracted to her, and gotten no where, I thought that was an interesting answer, and dug deeper. Finally, I managed to get her to admit that not ALL the men she met were scoundrels and no-goods. “And what happens when you meet a nice guy?” I asked.

And reluctantly, she said: “I’m not attracted to them.”

Oh. That.


I had been attracted to her. She hadn’t been interested in me. I didn’t take it personally because I knew that somewhere in the world was the woman I was looking for, and if I was the man SHE was looking for…we would be together. I never doubted that, because I knew that if I was a woman, I would be attracted to me. And that feeling of worth will save you even if all the world seems to be saying: “No.”


Let’s unpack that. Start with the assumption that all human beings want bonded, loving relationships. True, some don’t, but the percentage of those who REALLY don’t want them is smaller than the percentage of people who will lie to themselves, and to you, about it…so for practicality’s sake lets just assume they don’t exist. People TRULY happy being alone will probably smile and shrug, and that’s fine. If you feel irritation, you might ask why.

So…proceeding with that clearly admitted assumption, it is reasonable to assume that we start out life looking to avoid pain and gain pleasure. To survive. To master the basic skills necessary to build a “nest” and provide for children (even if you aren’t interested in children, most are interested in building the resources sufficient to protect them. That seems part of “adulting” no matter where or when you look).

And of course, we seek to bond to another human being. What do we want? We want health, and maturity, intelligence and humor, success (however we measure it) and attractiveness (by our own standards).

But along the way, things go wrong.

We have negative role models

We acquire a damaged sense of self

We develop a limited sense of possibility.

We open our hearts to people, get curb-stomped emotionally, and generate scar tissue. And begin to lose faith in ourselves, in the world, in the very concept of love. We get into relationships with people we would NEVER want our own beloved children to accept, and it is somehow “all right.” The best we can do.”

We lose hope. There are unending supplies of the Walking Wounded, women linked in pity party circles (“men are dogs”, “there are no good men left”) and men who fall prey to Incel Insanity (“Women are garbage”, “there are no good women left”)

What really happens here?

Try this notion: they don’t really love themselves. Don’t REALLY like themselves. Why?

Well, let’s create a word for the level of energy, focus, attractiveness, intelligence, personal integration, self-confidence we possess. For the sake of simplicity lets call it our “frequency.”

If you’ll indulge the creation of such a term, it allows us to make a statement:

We attract people at our frequency and below. And are attracted to people at our frequency and above.

If this is true, then SOME of the people we are attracting are mirrors of who we are. If we love ourselves, we should be attracted to them. If NOTHING you are attracting is attractive to you, there is a very real possibility that the problem is that you wouldn’t be attracted to you either. That you are trying to cheat life, by aiming at someone at a higher “frequency” without being willing to actually step up and hit that mark yourself.

Would you be attracted to you? Do you love yourself?

If you do, if you would, then mating becomes an easier game. You simply put yourself in positions to meet people, being the healthy human being you are, and eventually you’ll encounter someone at your frequency, going in your direction, and available for a relationship. Bang. Call it “Stochastic Matchmaking”: the statistical outcome is inevitable, even if you can’t predict precisely who it will be and where it will happen.

No Incel Insanity.

No pity parties

No “Friend Zone” nonsense, because the person who isn’t romantically interested in you always knows other people. Be a good and decent friend to them, and their chances of hooking you up are greatly improved. SOMEONE you know knows SOMEONE you could love, and could love you. It’s the romantic version of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”

And…you avoid the kind of ‘tunnel vision’ where all you see is inappropriate people. You develop the capacity to let in the people who could love and cherish you. Unless you are ready, you won’t see them if they are right in front of you.

You must be healed, and strong, and loving. And if you have wounds (and who does not) but still love yourself, you will be able to love someone as wounded as you, and together help each other on the road of life.

And if you are so wounded that you would NOT want someone so damaged? Then your work is laid out for you clearly: you must heal yourself. Love yourself. Remember that the meaning of life is to be joyful, WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE IN A RELATIONSHIP. Only a person who is happy alone can avoid dysfunctional co-dependent relationships. Will not grab onto “whatever is available” out of desperation.

Heal yourself first.


The best single practice for this may well be Anahata or “Heartbeat” meditation. Simply sitting quietly and listening to/feeling your heartbeat for 10–20 minutes at a time. It is incredibly powerful, and healing. Try it for six weeks and see for yourself. If necessary, take your pulse to help guide you, but as you learn to relax you will be able to feel it. This practice can take you deep into your emotions, so journaling whatever comes up may be desirable.

START with love. Protect your heart. And open yourself to the possibility that there are wonderful, nurturing, loving, passionate people in the world…and that you are one of them.

Then you can begin to approach that blessing we all really want: unstoppable love, and sexual healing.

Don’t you deserve the best?

Believe in love…


Beware Induced Confusion

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


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


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


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


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

Or worse “do nothing at all.”




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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

And make no mistake: some are monsters.