Balance

Kill The Monster While It’s Small

A long time ago, I invested in a  weekend with master coach Joseph McClendon, who told a story about infomercial guru Tony Robbins.  Apparently, Robbins enjoys adventure outings with his friends, and took them all to a Fantasy Top Gun school.   Each had a jet (and of course a co-pilot actually doing the real flying) and the idea was that they would dog-fight.   Joe got into the air first, and before Robbins could get his own jet off the ground, Joe dive-bombed him and strafed him into oblivion.
“Why did you do that?”  I asked.

“Kill the monster while it’s small” he replied.

I loved that.

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A lot of our negative behaviors have threshold points.  At one point, we can control the urge, and at another, the urge is in control: the anger, fear, hunger, whatever, has us in its grip. Or…our financial problems have yet to spiral out of control. Or the relationship rift is still small enough to yield to honest inquiry.  And then the point comes when we are rageaholics, or scarfing down that Haagan-Daaz quart, or stealing, or beating the hell out of someone, or binge drinking.   If you can break the pattern BEFORE you reach this point, you can maintain control, and possibly even change a habit.
But you must “kill the monster while it is small.”

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I’d noticed that before Jason has what we call a “brain fart”–losing control, screaming, throwing things, disobeying etc.–he will make nonsense sounds, distort his posture or move without coordination, make small defiant gestures, and display unreasonable irritation with small things.
You can control your emotions if you control:

Your focus
Your internal monologue
Your physical movement.

One of the strengths of the “Five Minute Miracle” is that it forces you to “check in” on these three things during the day. You will eventually begin to check in automatically: what am I thinking? What’s my focus?   What is my posture and expression?  How am I breathing?
Just noticing these things and knowing what focus, thoughts, posture and breath patterns are optimal, and realizing you can make  conscious decisions that affect how you feel and therefore how you perform, is an incredibly powerful thing.
But could I give this to Jason?   I decided to teach him the concept: “Kill the monster while its small.” To point out to him the precursive behaviors that lead to an eruption.  Breathing. Voice. Posture. Movement.  Ask him what’s going on inside him.  Before he gets upset, are there internal sounds? Images? Muscle tensions? What happens?
After he comes “down” from a tantrum, ask him to describe what was happening inside him.  Did it have color?  Weight? Sound?  Motion? Temperature? Taste?  Smell?  Texture?
A headache thus addressed can often be eliminated (just rotate through the submodalities again and again. Every time you do, you’ll notice the pain diminishing).  Could it work for something like a “brainfart”?  I don’t know.  Worth a try, though.
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THE MORNING RITUAL
Jason comes into my office in the morning, every school day. Stands against the wall with his hands at his sides and waits for me to acknowledge him.  When I do he bows. Then he comes and sits in my lap, and we hug.
The next phase has always been breathing–count from one to ten, breathing slowly.  I would hold his hands and watch his eyes, and if his eyes left mine, I squeeze his hand to remind him to get back on point.  A couple of years ago he couldn’t meet my gaze, and now he likes staring contests.
But recently, he has wanted to do headstands in the morning.   Hmmm…breath counting while standing on his head?  Does that give me feedback about his focus? You bet.  And headstands are a “royal” exercise for scholars, writers, etc., a yogic balm with vast respect.  I decided to let him do it, using fingertip pressure to guide his balance.   In a few seconds I can get an excellent fast-and-dirty measure of his health, focus, balance, emotional state and more just by how he does this one exercise, as well as putting him on a path that can lead to real internal control.  I like that.
After he comes down (20-60 seconds or so) we sit cross-legged and hold hands.  I ask him:
“What is your job?”

“To be good”

“Were you good yesterday” (if not, what went wrong?)

“Yes” (Yaaay!)
Then:
“What are the laws?”

(And here he recites Musashi’s Nine Principles.  If he had a problem the previous day, it is almost always relatable to one of those principles)
“What are the rules?’

(And here he goes down a list of behavioral rules we’ve evolved to cover problems at school.  These can shift a bit if he masters one)
“What are your goals?”

(And here he has had two goals, including enjoying reading.   I ask if he accomplished them the day before.  If not, what went wrong? If so, great!)
And here I added a new one: “Kill the monster while it’s small.”
This has only been a part of his routine for a couple of weeks.   Every time he’s had a blow-up I’ve asked him about the precursive sensations, sounds, movements, and thoughts.
We recently changed his after-school routine so that he has to do his reading BEFORE he playstations or goes to the skate park. He hates that, but I’ve held my ground.
He gets to take 60-90 minutes off after school before reading, and had some REAL problems with not being allowed to do his favorite things during that time.    Three days ago he got VERY angry, defiant, stormed off up to his “boy cave” stomping his feet.  It looked bad.
Fifteen minutes later I went up to check on him, and he was looking at Ipad videoes.  Looked up at me kind of sheepishly, and quietly said:  “I killed the monster while it was small.”
Moments like that make this whole “Dad” thing soooooo much more fun.

Namaste,

Steve

(p.s.–what “monsters” do you have in your own life?  How can you “kill them while they are small”?  Can you think of ways this applies to larger life or social issues?)

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Surviving Valentine’s Day

 

It is true that not everyone wants or needs love, and connection, and a sensual sexual relationship.  But that’s the way to bet, and those who are genuinely disinterested have no emotional reaction to a claim that this is a near-universal desire.

 

For those who have the craving, but have yet to find a relationship, or have lost one due to breakup, divorce, or death, holidays can be hell.  And Valentine’s Day can be the absolute worst, triggering depression (“what’s wrong with me?”), cynicism (“it’s all about money!”), anger (“what’s wrong with THEM!”) and hopelessness (“things will never change.”)

 

The “Soulmate Process” addresses relationshps by suggesting that they are mirrors of our inner life, and that they are valuable arenas for growth. But they are NOT to be pursued directly–a healthy relationship is a byproduct of being a healthy human being fully engaged with life, filled with light and “energy” and simply following your path. Along that path, you will meet others traveling in the same direction at the same speed with the same values.   But the “a watched pot never boils” idea, the “money comes to those who don’t need it” notion, the “second attention” concept where an artist has to keep her eye on “the ball” of doing the work, without directly paying attention to the results 99% of the time, is critical here.  The Zen archery concept to pay attention to form, and mind, and emotions, and clarity, and let the result come as it will.  

 

This has to be applied to the heart as well. YOUR job, happily, is to be happy.   Relationships are not an end, THEY ARE A MEANS.  You want a relationship because you believe (and have experienced) that they bring joy.

 

If you have heard the Sufi philosophy that the beginning of evil is treating human beings as means rather than ends, on the other hand, you can see the problem.   To have a healthy relationship, you can’t be “trying” to find one.To receive from human beings, you must treat them like ends rather than means.  You must give to receive.  In “Soulmate” terms, you must BE the mirror of the person you desire…but you cannot “try” to do this “in order to find someone”.  That is watching the pot, trying to control the wind.

 

All you can do is be the best you you can be, be happy, healthy, and as dynamic and loving as you can be…and then nature takes its course.  Some thoughts to this end.

 

  1. Your first task is to be happy.   To feel love. And that means that you have to do this whether anyone else agrees with you, anyone else is there to support the feeling or not.   The sense that your happiness flows from others is poisonous in the extreme.   Take care of yourself!  Practice Heartbeat meditation to connect to love.   
  2. Use the Ancient Child to touch the most vulnerable and creative part of yourself, and commit to loving and protecting your essence. The critical thing about this is that once you have committed to taking care of yourself, and experience the vast ocean of love available to you, you will automatically begin to expand your realm. THE PROBLEM IS NOT SELFISHNESS.  THE PROBLEM IS A LIMITED DEFINITION OF “SELF.”  Manipulative people will try to shame you for putting yourself first–but grasp the dishonesty there: they have placed themselves first, and are trying to con you into doing otherwise.  Don’t fall for it.
  3. Be so busy “becoming” your best self that you don’t notice your results 99% of the time.    Be like a submarine, just poking your periscope up to check your bearings a couple of times a day to make course corrections.  Spend so much time in “flow” that you are aligned with your heart and head, just “being”.    
  4. Remember the “Secret Formula.”  Your GOAL is to be happy. Relationships and accomplishments and money are just means to this.   You must have FAITH that you can be happy, love yourself, and grow.  If you genuinely love yourself, and are growing, and are engaging with the world, you will meet others doing the same.  If you genuinely love yourself, you will find things to love in others who are at your level, moving at your speed. Thats the way the world works, and misery comes from NOT loving yourself, and hoping others won’t notice the crap you dislike about your own life and being.  Concentrate on healing this, not hoping others will settle for less than you’re willing to settle for.  You must take daily ACTION to be happy, and that means engaging with the “who am I?” question, aligning your behaviors to take you closer to your heart, one step at a time, each and every day.  And you must feel GRATITUDE for the love you already have within you, and what you have experienced in your life.
  5. EVERYONE HAS EXPERIENCED LOVE. If you think not, you are lying to yourself.  Unnurtured, human infants die.   Period. No argument, no exceptions.  You may have to “drill down” to a pre-verbal self to find these memories and emotions, but once you have, you can tap into them every day of your life.  That core, once exposed, can burn away the negative emotions, but you have to do the work every day to tap into it.  Once you have, it can power the actions that drive your healing/growing process.  And there is nothing more attractive than a person who is “becoming”, who loves herself.  Who respects herself enough to demand the best of herself…and the world.  Such a person can give freely, because she is noticing who gives in return, and surrounds herself with a tribe with the same values: people who enjoy giving.  And never lets anyone hurt her twice.
  6. Find a hundred different ways to make yourself smile.  Take yourself to the zoo. Write yourself a love letter.  Have a mix CD of favorite songs.   Take yourself shopping in the 99 cent store for toys…and then give them to the first children you pass.  Go see a silly movie.  KNOW HOW TO MAKE YOURSELF HAPPY.   
  7. Five times a day, once every three hours, stop and take sixty seconds of deep belly breathing.   Connect with your “Ancient Child”–the child within, and the “Ancient” you will one day be. Haven’t you ever seen the sacred connection between grandparents and grandchildren?  It is simple love, absent the stress of the parent-child connection.   You can experience this for yourself in your morning meditation, and once achieved can trigger it five times a day to remind yourself you are loved, you are loving, you are joyous…that while you are no more than an ant, you are also no less than the stars.  Feel that connection between the child just starting the journey, and the Elder nearing completion.  Touch your heart, go deep.  
  8. Make a study of being happy, remembering that happiness is probably as close to a one-word “meaning of life” that can be spoken aloud.  All one then needs do is align happiness with your conscious values: giving, growing, loving, contribution, whatever.   Do them to be happy.   Give without expectation of receiving. Take your attention off your emotions by giving Valentines at a homeless shelter or a retirement home.  Adopt a pet. Remember the good times with a departed love.   Embrace the totality of your emotions, even the sadness, with love.
  9. Never, ever, ever forget that sadness and happiness flow in cycles.  On Valentine’s Day, commit to at least five moments of joy, faith, and gratitude.  Just five.   For sixty seconds each.   You will have planted seeds that will grow all year.
  10. Make someone smile. And take joy from it.  A stranger. A child.  A cat’s purr, the wag of a dog’s tail.   Find beauty in small things.  Remember happy times.  

 

Be kind to yourself.   Remember that you have been, are, and will always be loved.

 

Namaste,

Steve

 

http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/deer_park/living/counseling-corner-surviving-valentine-s-day-without-someone-special/article_73e054a7-533a-50b0-997f-d6d3a5e623f5.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/debbie-robins/14-tips-for-surviving-val_b_456496.html

Part 2: The Secret Ritual. “Why my brain didn’t function”

Part 2: The Secret Ritual

 

So yesterday, I talked about how I read and re-read Wallace D. Wattles’ “The Science of Getting Rich” and couldn’t remember a word.  And came to the conclusion that there was something in that book my mind simply didn’t want to absorb, and that therefore it was critical for me to understand what the @#$$ that was.

 

So…I read one page at a time. Just one page.  Over and over again, until I did absorb it, and then wrote out a one-sentence synopsis of what I understood the page to mean.  Then and only then would I move on to the next page, and repeat. Went through all (approximately) 100 pages of the book, which left me with about four pages of notes.    Then I read through those notes and boiled each page down into a paragraph.  And then boiled those paragraphs into sentences.  And somewhere along that process, something “clicked” in my head, and I was able to boil those sentences down into five words, a formula:

 

GOALS X FAITH X ACTION X GRATITUDE = RESULTS.

 

Specifically, the CLARITY of your long term intent.  The DEPTH of your belief that you CAN and SHOULD accomplish these goals.  The CONSISTENCY of the daily/weekly actions, taken in such a way that you KNOW that if you sustained those actions for a thousand days, you would reach your goals. And then the amplitude of your gratitude, your simple joy in life.  To BEGIN your actions with the emotions that most people feel they cannot experience unless they achieve some external victory.

 

I stared at what I’d written in my notebook, and experienced an explosion of insight.  I knew just why my brain hadn’t been willing to absorb this.  Can you see it?

 

Here’s a hint: note that this is a multiplicative rather than additive equation (in other words, an additive equation would be GOALS + FAITH + ACTION + GRATITUDE = RESULTS).  What do you think the difference is?

Please stop and think about it.

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Most smart people will say something like “multiplying accelerates the process exponentially” which is true, and a great insight.  But it is NOT what I extracted from this.

 

Hint #2: remember that I was VERY unhappy living in Atlanta at the time.  In fact, I felt as if my life had been shattered, the plans I’d made since childhood in tatters.  I HAD to get back to L.A., and struggled every day with rage, pain, and depression.

 

Get it yet?

 

O.K., let’s put it together.    One last hint.    Take each factor (goals, faith, action, and gratitude) and give them a numerical value from 0-9, representing your clarity and fullness of expression in each category.  Get the joke yet?

 

Because Hah-Hah, the joke was on me.   All right, enough teasing.   The difference between a multiplicative and an additive equation is that you cannot multiply by zero.  A single zero in any category CANCELS OUT THE ENTIRE EQUATION.

 

Holy crap. Get it now?    IN ORDER FOR ME TO GET OUT OF ATLANTA, I HAD TO BE GRATEFUL TO BE THERE.

 

I can’t begin to count the number of people who feel that they NEED their anger, fear, dysfunction, resentment, whatever.  “I need my pain” Captain Kirk said in one of the Star Trek films.   Normal.  Natural. And wrong.  You need to take action.  You don’t NEED the negative emotions, even though it is true that they can motivate you.

 

Look at this.  It is saying that if you want to maximize your chances of success you must:

  1. Have clearly defined goals and plans for their accomplishment expressed in continuous action.  
  2. Must believe, really BELIEVE that you can and should do it.   Perhaps you will need new skills, resources, new allies or partners.   But you have “faith” that you can gather those resources, learn those skills, find the people who will help either increase your skills of performance or teach you how to market and sell (and trust me, if you aren’t making the money you want, the problem is almost certainly one of these areas.)
  3. Must take focused, committed, daily action.   Continually model the behavior of successes in your field so that you know what they do that is different from what you do.  Define the daily actions which, if you actually did them, would lead you to success in 1000 days.  Then the only question is: do you do it?
  4. Absolutely absorb and radiate gratitude.   Most people, as I’ve said, will say “I’ll be grateful/happy/joyous if I succeed.”  They have it EXACTLY BACKWARDS.  Don’t achieve to be happy. FIRST be happy, then go out and succeed.  And the truth is that this approach is the ONLY 100% guaranteed success formula, because EVERYTHING you do in life you do to move away from pain and toward pleasure.  The Dalai Lama said that “the meaning of life is to be happy.”  And that is about as close to capturing that meaning in language as I’ve ever heard. Everything else is a MEANS to that goal.

 

But what happens if you are focused, optimistic, busy, and joyful?  First, you access your very best work, as all channels are open. You learn at mach speed, because study and practice become play. You attract people to you like crazy–everyone will want to know how you manage to be so happy!  And you START your days with the emotions most people feel they can’t have until the END of the day.  

 

Why waste time?  Why not be as happy as you can, all the time?  I kid you not, I’ve coached thousands of people, and not a single one was unhappy or unsuccessful who implemented this formula. And every single person who has implemented it has accelerated their results massively.   

 

In fact, and I hesitate to say this…it comes the closest to “magic” that I’ve ever experienced.    Every time I’ve focused on these four aspects, life has SHIFTED and unexpected resources have dropped into my lap.   

 

And tomorrow I’ll tell you about the first instance, which created money out of NOTHING.  Unreal.  True.  Life-changing.

 

Meanwhile, if you are not living a life of abundance and joy, just look at these and I promise you at least one “link” in the chain is busted.  100% guarantee you.  And if you will commit to changing that reality, you can change your life.

 

Namaste,

Steve

Can you help me with “The Ancient Child”?

The “Ancient Child” program combines a dozen different incredibly powerful tools into a single “sigil” with (according to comments from students) amazing effectiveness and efficiency.    And because the specific way they came together was suggested by a text I no longer own there are implications beyond my personal experience.

For instance, if we look at the three major aspects involved: Child self, Adult self, “Ancient” self, they are not “objective realities” but rather psychological symbols of different aspects of our personalities, experience, and perceptions and skills or wounds.  By giving them a visualizable status, we can “see”damage as well as growth, and it becomes easier to shift our resources around.

But in addition, there are three major “energy centers” in the body-mind complex.  Again, not necessarily “objective realities” but ways to look at things (this perspective is so powerful in martial arts, however, that I know there is SOMETHING going on there.  What, precisely, is beyond my kin.  Possibly merely shifted perspective.   Or something.)

These three are: Belly Brain (below belly button. Core survival drives), Heart Center (emotions) , Head Center (logic, intelligence, ambition).

Now.   In morning meditations I originally started with my “Child” self in the belly brain (or at the base of my skull), the “Adult” in the heart center, and the “Ancient” in or slightly above the head center.

My morning meditations were then beginning with Anahata (heartbeat) meditation, running a line of “light” down to the belly brain, collecting that light into a “child” self, letting him conduct light up to my heart to create an “Adult” and then running it up to my head to create the “Ancient”.  Very nice.

But I later experimented with other orders.  For instance, I’ve noticed that when I want to concentrate on business, visualizing a triangle at my forehead (point “up”) seems to facilitate a more focused and successful day.   As it is the “adult” self that seems to be connected with worldly success, I could raise the “adult” up there, but that felt a little unbalanced, so I visualized my ‘child” rooting deeply into the earth, on the shoulders of my ancestors.  Nice.

 

I don’t want to be too specific.  What I want to say is that the three “Energy Centers” can be conceptualized many different ways, sure, but even if they were stable realities, there are at least six different arrangements of the “Ancient Child” three aspects.  And I suspect that each of them is a little different.

So I’m making an open request that those who have been practicing this amazing technique report back their experiences.  I suspect that different arrangements prioritize for:

Success, self-love, emotional healing, physical energy, creative energy, problem solving, sensuality, sheer fun, discipline, focus, and more.  

But…which orders?  Which emphasis?   I honestly don’t know, and even if I was certain what worked for me, I wouldn’t know if that was anything other than my own personal “recipe”, which might shift next year, and may not have any application to others.

 

Would you please do me the honor of reporting back what you have experienced?  It will help me help others, as well as develop Ancient Child 2.0.

 

Namaste,

Steve

Thanksgiving as a key to life

It occurred to me that holidays over the next couple of months give us a lovely opportunity to look at that “Secret Formula” equation in a different way.  Due to the communicative property, we can change things from my usual formulation:

GOALS X FAITH X ACTION X GRATITUDE = RESULTS

To GRATITUDE X FAITH X GOALS X ACTION = RESULTS and it works precisely the same.

THANKSGIVING is gratitude.  A time for contemplating all that we have to be happy about in life.  For me, it is family, health, all of the wonderful mentors and students life has brought me, the amazing experiences I’ve had.  Watching “Steve Jobs” yesterday, it opens with a clip of Arthur C. Clarke lecturing about the future of computers, against a backdrop of an entire room of IBM punchcard machines. I laughed because the laptop I was working on has far more computing power (heck, my Iphone does) but felt a very special warmth because I actually sat and had a private lunch with Sir Arthur at Larry Niven’s house, long long ago.  What a wonderful memory!

FAITH is Christmas.   Now, personally, I’m a Christian, and this holiday stems from a celebration of the birth of Christ, and revolves around the meaning of this in the Christian tradition. But it is also a cultural holiday, a time that most of us can tap into memories of joy and peace and possibility, of believing in flying reindeer and jolly fat men shimmying down chimneys and bringing toys to every home in the world.  Magic.  Faith in things unseen, and with the stress so many of us feel right now at this time in the world, a little Peace On Earth Good Will Toward Men action is pretty healing.

GOALS is New Years.  How many of us set New Years Resolutions?  The end of a year and the beginning of another year opens our eyes to the passage of time, the need to shake off the dust, open our eyes and choose to live in closer accord to our hopes and dreams and values.

ACTION of course, is what is necessary to bring our goals to life. Constant action.  And you WILL take action if you have Gratitude for where you are now (this vanquishes fear) and Faith that you CAN and SHOULD pursue and achieve your goals.  Action. Every day.   Do this, while modeling success and being prepared to be flexible about your approach, and you maximize your chances of external achievement…and are 100% guaranteed to win.  Why?  Because ultimately, all we want is to be happy, and when you BEGIN your day with gratitude, you are a winner, no matter what happens the rest of the day.  But guess what?  You have also maximized your chance of actually performing at your very best, because joy and love are an even more powerful motivation than fear and anger.   The last time you fell in love, didn’t it feel like you could fly?

 

You can feel like that every day.   So tomorrow…before you slip into a Tryptophan coma, think of all you have to give thanks for.  EVERYONE has things, even if they were in your past. Find them and hold onto them. Just as an incident of childhood abuse can poison an entire life, a single act of kindness or joyful memory can light the rest of your life, if you hold it close in your heart.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, whichever you celebrate, and however you celebrate them.

Namaste,

Steve

(p.s…I also considered suggesting Valentine’s Day for “Action”, because if you get your sweetie the right gift…oh, never mind.  That’s naughty, and with Christmas right around the corner, I’d rather be nice!)

Do Not Think Dishonestly

I hadn’t realized how badly I needed to write STAR WARS SAVED MY LIFE (available on Amazon Kindle) and get the most important 20% of the principles that lead to success down in print, so that we can reference and correlate them. All of them are shadows of another truth that can’t quite be put into words. But this book, silly as it might sound, comes as close as I’ve been able to come.

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“Do Not Think Dishonestly.”  This is the first principle in Musashi’s Book of Five Rings, and it is more important than I can say.  Human beings have a serious head-in-the-sand tendency, and when it kicks in, the amount of dishonesty that results can be life-shattering.  Here are some of the beliefs that trigger this response

 

  1. “If I don’t know of an answer, there is no answer.”   
  2. “If there is no answer, it is better to deny there is a problem.” (And it’s corrolary:  “If I don’t like the answers my political opponents offer, it is better to deny there is a problem.”)

 

Here are empowering beliefs:

  1. It is ALWAYS possible to define a situation such that it is possible to win.
  2. For adults, the harshest truth is better than the most comforting lie.
  3. The “Mastermind” principle suggests that two or more people operating in harmony have far greater intelligence than the separate individuals.  Therefore, harmonious discussion of an issue can find answers unknown to any particular individual, regardless of education or intelligence.
  4. The usefulness of a map is in knowing a) where you are on the map, b) where you are going, c) directional orientation.  Thus the necessity of telling the truth, having a definite goal/purpose, and clarifying your values.
  5. We become paralyzed when it seems there are too many moving parts, too much to do.  But if you simply deal with the “low hanging fruit”, the things you CAN do, you can always get to the “next step.”   What are some of the first steps?  Clarifying the current situation.   Forming a “master mind” of people in alignment with you.  Clarifying the desired goal, and…
  6. We must model success.  There is no human problem so bizarre and unique that no other human beings have ever faced…and successfully coped with…a similar or analogous issue.   No matter what your situation, there is someone who had less and did more.    STUDY THEM.  There is nothing sadder than a talented person who thinks they can “figure out” everything by themselves, eschewing the gathered wisdom of an entire species over thousands of years of written records.   
  7. GOALS X FAITH X ACTION X GRATITUDE = RESULTS

 

I’ve never seen anyone, not a single person, who has applied these notions and remained “stuck”.  Not even close.   If you can’t change a situation, you can change your attitude towards it, such that you can find happiness…which is as close to the “meaning of life” as you’re going to express linguistically.

Just take one step a day.  Just one.   1% changes, over time, will transform your life, just as compound interest builds a fortune.    Your life, your time, your energy is YOUR fortune.  Invest in yourself today…one step at a time.

 

Namaste,

Steve

Our First Review!

 

“The stories of this family come together to pretty much prove what I would like to call a fact.. If you apply what this book was teaching then you should be able to achieve the things you want in life.. Change yourself internally and take action externally to achieve what you want..”Star Wars

 

http://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-Saved-Life-adventure-ebook/dp/B0186DYDVY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1448289945&sr=8-1&keywords=Star+Wars+Saved+My+Life

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Great!   Been asking myself for years what the best way to move forward with my goal of one million awake, aware, adult human beings, and we’ve taken the next logical step, the creation of STAR WARS SAVED MY LIFE, our self-help book for lovers of SF films.   And while we made it to #4 on the Amazon bestsellers, the real reward is being able to engage in a conversation with the world, to look at every comment, positive or negative, and answer from a consistent framework.

Our first review (above) is five-star (Yayy!) and of course we’re eager to see the next ones, but let’s look at it.   The most important idea is the “IF” in “If you apply…”   It touches on the truth, the central truth in the book (if’s short, and can be read in a couple of hours, max).  If.

The truth is that most people who buy self-improvement books do not read them.  So we made it short: you can read it in a couple of hours, max.

The truth is that most people who read such books don’t implement them.  So we give you tiny steps you can take that will make a huge difference.  Just the “Five Minute MIracle” technique combined with the Morning Ritual (move while focusing mind and emotions for 10-20 minutes) will change your life…

And BECAUSE they can change your life, if you aren’t very careful, your ego won’t let you do them, not even something that small.  So we make it clear that no matter what your goals are (and we touch on the Big Four: saving money, creating career, finding love, losing weight) if you take certain actions regularly, you will reach your goal. The problem is sustaining a consistent acceleration, even if small.  Our emotions, habits, beliefs, values and previous associations all impact our ability to do this.

So…we must have passion. Must believe in ourselves, or our goals, or our companions, or the contribution we wish to make to the world.  Must have SOME belief larger than our egos, to keep us going through the inevitable “Dark Nights”.  And when I say inevitable, I mean just that.  There is NO way to move from one level of life to another without cracking our current “ego shell” and that means fear and aversion.  

Small, constant steps.  Improve 1% per week.  Write one sentence per day.   Get conscious of what we’re eating and how little we move.   Learn to love ourselves, and find joy in life. Spend less than you earn, and invest the rest.

 

Small steps.   The difficulty is less in defining what those steps are than being able to maintain that forward motion, let alone a constant mild acceleration.  Focusing on our goals, having faith we can and should have them, taking action daily, finding reasons for gratitude every single day.

This is the gift I want to give to each and every one of you–putting your hands on the “wheel” of your life, perhaps for the first time.  And you can.  GOALS X FAITH X ACTION X GRATITUDE = RESULTS.

Try it for just thirty days.  Test me.  Prove me wrong….or give yourself the gift of a new life.

 

Namaste…and May The Force Be With You…

Steve

The Awakened Entrepreneur

I heard online entrepreneur Marie Forleo say that if you’re in a job, and you don’t want to be your boss, you might be in the wrong business.  

First, I want to see who agrees with this.  

Second, if true, I’d like to examine the implications.  Since I don’t know  your answer to the first,  let’s go directly to the second.

My core life goal has achieved greater clarity:  the creation of one million awake, aware, adult human beings.    To accomplish this, for instance, I continue to refine my approach such that I want to create a thousand awakened writers, a thousand awakened martial artists, a thousand awakened lovers, and a thousand awakened entrepreneurs.   Those are the four arenas where I believe I have something to offer, and those people, trained to touch other lives, can accomplish the rest.  “Each one teach ten,” as it were.  I’m doing a morning core-dump, so the best thing I can do is to just empty my head and list, rather than try to organize carefully.

  1. A powerful road to awakening is balance: to simultaneously seeking acceleration and mastery in the most basic aspects of life: love, health, hunting and gathering.   
  2. There are both inner and outer aspects of each, and both must be mastered to achieve real success.
  3. “Mastery” can be defined as   ability to perform your discipline in flow, under stress.
  4. The following are artificial but very useful distinctions: your “child” self, your “adult” self, and your “deathbed self”.  The child has the dreams, energy, enthusiasm, creativity, love and sheer ecstatic life force.  Your “deathbed” self holds your deepest values and spiritual self, existence beyond ego.   The “adult” self merely navigates the world on a silver thread connecting the two: to act every day in alignment with both your childhood dreams and deathbed values.
  5. The most intimate is connection to our own hearts. The most expansive will be our finances (all money is gained by exchange with others).   Fitness and relationships can be seen as links in this chain.  Therefore, by looking at the connection between our hearts (say, Heartbeat Meditation, Ancient Child) and our careers/finances, we are forced to anchor the end points of that chain.   The middle “links”–our fitness, our relationships with others–can be supported and easily examined for flaws.

While students commonly share “wounds” in these center links, if you come from self-love, with the values and behaviors that implies…and also provide service to your community anchored with the kind of self-respect that protect your income and finances, you have one hell of a foundation for life.  Yes, you can start with any of these links, but if you handle survival, sex, power, and love you have a superb foundation for growth to intellectual clarity and spiritual awareness.

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So…”the awakened entrepreneur” is not a bad starting place.  Heal yourself?  Check. Happy and grateful?  Check.    Moving beyond fear?  Check.  Serving the world?  Check. Providing a role-model of possibility?  Check.

Remember the Biblical parable of Satan offering Christ “all the world” if only He would serve hell?  That is the lure of chasing money or sex for its own sake.  Yes, you can be a “winner” in that game.  But losing your soul is a very real danger.

So…how do you do it?    The answer cannot QUITE be put into words, any more than you can describe a salad thoroughly enough to nurture your body.  But we can point toward the path of experience.  In essence tell you where YOU can buy, or how YOU can make a salad. Then, if you consume it, you will have direct experience, and draw your own conclusions. There is no profound knowledge to be gained second-hand.

If the greatest wounds I see are in self-love and finances, then let’s heal them both at the same time.

Which takes me back to the initial question.     Should you work in a job where you wouldn’t want to be the boss?

  1. Well, you will almost have to at some point in your life.  Work is hunting and gathering, on the most basic level. Just sustenance.  Be grateful you HAVE a job!  Use that time to gain greater clarity about what you want, who you are, and what the world is.   And make your plans to move in that direction.
  2. But as you become conscious, you need to find a way to align your actions with your “is-ness.”  With your heart and intent.   The money-centric question is: “how can I make the most money, and then use that to support my joy in life?” And that is dynamite, it really is.  Some of the best and most interesting people live life this way.
  3. I think there is another Way, which is more in alignment with my own essence: “What is it that I am, most deeply, what Way of being most touches my soul?” and then, frankly: “how do I monetize it?”  Remember–there is nothing wrong with this. It is simply sharing your beauty with a tribe of humans who share your value, and then exchanging value for value.  Creation of value MUST be combined with marketing and sales, or you will be one of those artists or healers living in poverty. That might be fun in your 20’s, but by 35 or so it gets a little wearying.   You are abandoning your “child” self, letting her eat candy for breakfast. Someone needs to be the adult, or you are in serious trouble.
  4. The path of life includes both finding mentors and becoming one yourself.   If your own goal is to hunt and gather in alignment with your heart, then you must exemplify this.  In my own life, I learned to make a living doing what I’d do for free: writing.   And am currently studying the masters of business, to see how this applies to other career and life paths, so that I can teach it.  
  5. Mentoring is so critical in human life that without it, we’re not much smarter than chimpanzees. Really.   The idea that we make it alone is a joke, unless you taught yourself to walk, and talk, and read in a vacuum.   Yeah, right.   So as you think of how you can teach others, you must also think about how you will learn yourself. And the fastest way to progress along any path is to find people who are further along the path than you, and model their behavior, thought patterns and emotions.
  6. A perfect example of this is to work for someone you would want to be.   Such that every day you can observe, even at a distance, who and what they are and what they do and how they act and react.   If their behavior or character is not in alignment with your own values, you will ideally find a new job, with a new boss, until you WOULD be happy on that life path.  And then…give it everything you’ve got.
  7. So should you work at a job where you wouldn’t want to be boss?   Yes…to hunt and gather and not be worried about the rent and basic needs. Chop wood, carry water.   But your life is yours, so if you would avoid resentment and existential fatigue you need to understand every day how working there is serving that child within you, and in alignment with the Ancient one drawing her last breaths.   To the degree that you can find that joy and service, you will be happy.    You owe yourself that joy, don’t you?

Every day is the first day of the rest of your life.  It is also the last day of the first of your life. The balance point is both GO FOR IT and LOVE WHERE YOU ARE.   The fastest way to change includes being grateful for where you are RIGHT NOW.

Understanding that balance is critical. And one way to achieve it is to see how what you are doing today leads to your ultimate destiny.  And a way to do that is to be learning and growing and modeling and serving…right where you are.

You can’t PUT me in a job where I can’t learn something about myself, humanity, or the world. And if my understanding of any of those things deepens…so does my soul.

Namaste,

Steve   

Dissolving the barrier

I was thinking recently on the question of sexual connection, and specifically on the most fulfilling relationships or contacts I’ve had or observed.  The question was “how can I be a better lover?” or “how can I achieve higher level of sexual satisfaction?”

Curiously, over time I came to believe that the answer is connected to several other questions: how can I be a better friend?  How can I have deeper friendships?

How can I be a better salesman?  How can I better serve my community, and be supported in return?

And: How shall I be in the world?  Who am I, in the arena of relationships?  How can I tap into my deepest reserves of excellence?

And over time, these all melded together.  When I thought back over the very best lovers, friends, business connections, teachers and masters I’ve known, there was a thread of connection that became obvious in retrospect.  I cannot language it directly, but I can dance around it by speaking of the characteristics to be found.

  1. They concentrate not on themselves.  Or on you.  But on the relationship, the “isness” created by the two of you.   They feed the energy by treating your body as if it is part of theirs, actually gain pleasure by giving YOU pleasure.
  2. In other words, they enter “flow” in the sense that an artist becomes part of the art. In the words from the immortal Flashdance, they “enter the danger zone, where the dancer becomes the dance”.  The energy released is the “fusionary” response of dissolving the subject-object relationship.  The intensity of an orgasm is precisely this energy.
  3. They must maintain their balance, their center.   Must love themselves. Otherwise, they will give themselves away to the wrong person. Give EVERYTHING and get back nothing.  Only experience can teach you to recognize givers and avoid takers.   You’ll run into them, sure. But by paying attention to what people DO as opposed to what they SAY, you learn to identify your tribe, those who take pleasure in giving, and to do 80% of your giving to them.

Let’s look at how this works:

  1. In relationships, you nurture them as places to GIVE rather than get. But you also need to be aware and adult enough to realize you cannot give forever to someone who only takes.  You feed the relationship with your love, your energy, your creativity and awareness, and then share the banquet.
  2. In business, you are there to serve your customers, provide value, uplift and support them.   But you must be certain that they are honest, capable of fairly compensating you, and value the relationship as you do.
  3. In the physical realm, training partners can be the most valuable assets you can have.   And they must work with you not merely to dominate, or better themselves, but to join with you and help you as well.   To this end, it is best to spend ⅓ of your training time with people better than you, ⅓ with people at the same level, and ⅓ with people you can lead.
  4. In personal accomplishment, you want to immerse yourself so deeply in your task that the rest of the world disappears.     And here, you need to have enough “center” that you can give yourself totally to the activity without damaging yourself.

Look…these are morning thoughts. They are not polished, but I have been thinking of them over the last few weeks, trying to decide if or how or when to share.   If these thoughts are of interest, let me know, and I’ll dive deeper.

Namaste,

Steve

Fourteen days until…OMG

For those who have been tracking things, the TV Movie deal is still on track. Amazingly, we’ve heard from the studio, and they are eager to get it on the schedule. The next step will be some serious paperwork.  Keep you posted.

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But the trick to the “Secret Formula” is that if you want something to happen, you cannot NEED for it to happen.  You have to turn things over to the universe and get the law of statistics working for you.   “A watched pot never boils”–meaning that you have to have multiple irons in the fire, so that when decisions about something are taken out of your hands you have somewhere to focus all that nervous energy.

Part of the reason I’m building a new business structure.  And on Tuesday, I discovered that I’m going to have a fantastic opportunity in two weeks.  Will talk about it later.  Let’s just say that the least it can be is educational. And the most?   Life changing.   Even at the level of happiness I currently enjoy.   Mind-boggling.   Forgive me for not being more direct.  Perhaps I will be in coming days, but I feel a little shy about it.  But I do think that getting my thoughts on the next 14 days would be valuable for me, and I’ll share them with you, in case you want to know how I think about such things.

And when I say “life changing” this is no exaggeration in the slightest.   Two weeks.

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I can feel that my mind is trying to convince me that it cannot happen.   Think about this.  If it IS possible, and I think it isn’t?  I could kill my opportunity.  If it ISN’T possible and I think it is, I might be disappointed.   NO COMPARISON!!! This is a game, and I’m going to play it 100%.  I can survive disappointment. But if I don’t “show up” 100% and blow the chance, I’ll deserve the pain.

Need to clarify what I have to do.

I have a wonderful, wonderful opportunity coming up in a couple of weeks.   At this moment, EVERYTHING is going right.  That “Secret Formula” thing is fabulous.    GOALS X FAITH X CONSTANT ACTION X GRATITUDE = RESULTS thing is the best and simplest way to language the path to achievement I’ve ever seen.    Have spoken of it often, and want  to look at the other side of it.

That is: use this template to diagnose problems.  What is the “Shadow” of the Secret Formula?

Well, more specifically, what did I experience this morning that represents my ego’s assault on my efforts?  LACK OF FAITH.

What would “faith” be in this context?  That there is an opportunity, that it is positive, will bring more pleasure than pain into my life.  That I can and should do it.  That if I don’t currently have the ability or knowledge to accomplish it, that I WILL have it by the time the window of opportunity arrives. If I give the negative voices (and they aren’t really “evil”, they are trying to protect me.  Trying to save me from disappointment, or wasting effort, or even death.  After all, if I change, then my “old self” dies, from a certain point of view.)

That was the morning assault.  “The opportunity isn’t a 10.  It is a 1.  Nothing really amazing could come from it. There is no reason to treat this like a potential life-changing incident.   They won’t like you.  You don’t know enough.  How many times have you juiced up your enthusiasm and been disappointed?  You couldn’t even handle that level of success anyway…”

Wow.  Oh…just wow.   Faith.

I remember the very first thing I ever wrote for television, a Twilight Zone episode entitled “Teacher’s Aide” (a little piece about an inner-city remedial English teacher who gets possessed by a demon. Starred Adrianne Barbeau, which was an absolute trip, because not seven years earlier I’d been a set guard on “Maude” at CBS…which is another story.)

The point is that I was asked to write a 20-minute script, and I did.  AND THEY LOVED IT.  Said it was the best first draft script they’d ever seen.   And asked me to expand the script to 30 minutes.  I was stoked.

And…I froze.  

All the demons rose up in my head and absolutely shut me down.  I COULDN’T EXPAND IT.  I couldn’t do anything with with it.  I stared at the paper as if it was an alien creature.  I had no contact with my creative self, the part of me who had created that original work.   

It was terrifying instead of exhilarating.  Diminishing instead of expanding.  My impostor syndrome had kicked in BIG time.   I wasn’t good enough.  Trained enough. Smart enough. I’d only gotten the job because of Affirmative Action.   And on and on.   Absolutely poisonous, snakes hissing and coiling in my head.

Lack of faith.   I was not able to expand that episode, and ultimately it was cut down to 15 minutes and is an enormous disappointment instead of a sense of triumph.  When I first saw it I was at a room party at an early Norwescon.  Everyone congratulated me.  I went back to my room and cried.

##

This is the same thing, in a different form.  If this event takes place, and is as successful as it is POSSIBLE to be (probable?  Who knows?), I will change.  My life shifts.

THERE IS NO WAY TO REACH THE NEXT LEVEL OF YOUR LIFE WITHOUT GOING THROUGH THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL.   It is totally predictable.  And the way through the “Dark Night?”    

The leap of faith.

Oh, ho.   

So If I am on the Hero’s Journey, attempting to complete a new cycle, then it is predictable that my ego will try to stop me by keeping me from moving through this slough, and its weapon of choice will be obvious.

So.  Even in despair (and no, it didn’t get that bad.  Just a slight sick feeling. This time) I realized that I was having a Faith Attack.  It had begun the instant I heard about the opportunity.  A roller coaster ride…and then a plunge.  

And what is the way through? Well, what are the three aspects of faith?

  1. Faith in yourself. That you have abilities untapped. Have triumphed in the past. Am worth fighting for.
  2. Faith in your companions. That you have friends, mentors, allies, who believe in you and will support you, advise you, keep your head on straight.
  3. Faith in a Higher Power.   That God would not have given you the belief that you can accomplish something and allow you to sustain it over time, unless you had the capacity to achieve it.  That “miracles” can happen in your life.  If you align yourself with the forces of nature, you will always provide your basic needs, and provide a foundation for greater growth.

You only need one aspect of one of these three.   I choose to nuke myself and get all three.  So.

  1. Faith in myself.  Have I accomplished wonderful things before?   Brought my dreams to life?  You bet. That is my pattern. A good friend told me that not only did I build cloud castles, I had the disturbing tendency to move into them.
  2. Faith in my companions. I’ve reached out to and called a dozen of my closest allies and friends, and will talk to more. Explained the situation.  Gained their perspective.   And gotten almost nothing but support and encouragement.  A little doubt from a couple of them, but I can isolate that (“they love me. They just don’t understand the situation”) but lots of great advice (a huge amount of it was: “what would you tell a student, Steve?” or “What was it you told me the last time, Steve?”   My favorite was “what you don’t see is that you’ve already done all the work, Steve! All you have to do is show up and be yourself!”  Wow. That one only works if you believe in yourself.   That’s where something like the Ancient Child comes into it!)
  3. Faith in a higher power.  I meditate every single morning, connecting myself to the “light” inside myself, and connecting it to the heart of the universe.

How do I bring this all together?  My morning ritual.   I’ll listen to an inspirational MP3 while doing Tai Chi and doing my chants: “Every Day in Every Way I’m Getting better and better…I’m so grateful for (past)…I’m so grateful for (future)…I know exactly what I have to do today…All I need is within me now…

All of it.  While breathing, moving powerfully, smiling and breathing with authority, enjoying the moment.  This is my life.  THIS IS MY LIFE.   There is no amount of material success that is unreasonable, if you study the actions others took, and are willing and able to pay the price they paid.   If any other human being has accomplished such a thing starting from where I started SO CAN I!

I live in that space, move like that guy, feel and think like “that guy” for twenty minutes, until the voices in my head shut up, and I  am connected with my heart and body and mind.

And then I’m ready for my day.    

Bring it on.

Namaste,

Steven Barnes