love

TAGR #7: Procrastination

MONDAY, JANUARY 16, 2012
TAGR #7: Mastery of Procrastination

“Perfectionism is Procrastination masquerading as quality control.”–Steven Barnes

“Analysis of several hundred people who had accumulated fortunes well
beyond the million dollar mark, disclosed the fact that every one of
them had the habit of REACHING DECISIONS PROMPTLY, and of
changing these decisions SLOWLY, if, and when they were changed.
People who fail to accumulate money, without exception, have the
habit of reaching decisions, IF AT ALL, very slowly, and of changing
these decisions quickly and often.”–Napoleon Hill

Adjust the previous numbers for serious inflation, and the implications are stunning. You know whether or not you procrastinate. Consider this to be ANYTHING that stops you from completing projects, being rewarded for them, and creating the next project.

In writing: what is “writer’s block” is anything that stops you from writing, insufficient or excessive re-writing, submitting, and continuing on to your next project. Insufficient or excessive research, willingness to accept valuable input, In other words, ANYTHING that stops you from fulfilling your potential for quality and success.

In fitness: this is anything that stops you from moving your body daily, keeping track of your eating daily. Recording and evaluating your results, building support teams, and anything else that moves you in the desired direction.

In mental development, this means studying your occupation to see where you can improve, getting better role models. building rapport with your co-workers, developing a better mental attitude. Taking personal responsibility. Dividing the work into bite-sized chunks that can be completed by the end of the day.

In finances, this means balancing your checkbook, writing your goals daily, and saving 10% of your income for long term investment. I mean this money is NEVER to be spent–you will pass this to the next generation.

You must define the long and short term steps to your goals, break them into chunks, and track whether or not you are doing it. Procrastination is fear, and the first step to mastering fear is to acknowledge it exists.

Remember: you cannot live a life so small and inconsequential that death won’t notice you.

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“Put your fear behind you, your love in front of you, and run like hell.”

meanwhile…

FRIDAY, AUGUST 06, 2010
Seven Faces of F.E.A.R…part four
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:18

Stage Four: Love is the Gas, Fear is the Brakes

We’re using the yogic chakras to examine the seven basic levels of human existence, especially where it relates to love and fear. And this makes the fourth chakra–Anahata (the heart center) Ground Zero in the fight for our souls.

And this makes today’s note a goldmine. All you have to do is look at the synonyms (and masks) for love: affection, admiration, attraction, fondness, lust, etc…

And then those for fear: hatred, anger, antipathy, grief, guilt, shame, aversion, repulsion, etc…

And then ask yourself: which is dominant? There are only two basic ways to create the life you want: either increase your love or decrease your fear. Either “step on the gas” by clarifying your goals and the benefits you will obtain by pursuing them, or “take off your brakes” by neutralizing or reducing the amount of fear you experience.

101 Day students: what is today’s goal? What emotions have interfered in your capacity to reach it?

Lifewriting students: What is your character’s major goal? How can you increase her motivation or help her deal with her negative emotions? What stops YOU from finishing your current project, marketing it, or getting on to the next?

Diamond Hour students: In a single hour, you can clarify your goals, clarify the steps to their accomplishments, or identify the true roots of your resistance. Fear loves the darkness–turn on the lights!

Take off your Brakes!
Steve

(Note: since I wrote this, I identified a way to move forward in life even if fear is a large factor: you have to attach the fear to a terror of NOT FULFILLING YOUR DREAMS. “Put your love in front of you, your fear behind you, and run like hell.” Now, that’s not ideal, but at least you’re in motion.)

Emptying the bowl

I’m still trying to figure out how the “Ancient Child” evolved. That’s a big chunk of what this autobiographical effort is about. To that end, here’s a classic column from:

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 06, 2007
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In meditation this morning, I realized why I’ve had so much difficulty getting to the next level of my journey. The ego-walls I constructed as a child to protect me from bullies, the fear of rejection by the male (no father), and the fear that I could not achieve my dreams (cultural rejection) were insanely strong. That little boy, in many ways, was stronger than the man I’ve become. Makes sense: he was closer to being “real.” He was nearer the truth.

And the ego itself has a thousand thousand distractions. Imagine a miner sitting on a “mother load” that is thirty feet beneath him. He digs for ten feet, gets discouraged…and moves to another hole. Does this five, ten, fifty times. If he had ever remained in one place, he would have reached the gold. But it is so seductive to shift around, try something new, start a new hole. We do this in careers, relationships, with physical training programs. In “Mastery” George Leonard talks about this. That few people ever reach Mastery because they can’t bore through the “boredom” and “dissatisfaction with slow progress” and don’t understand that when progress slows, it’s often because we’ve begun to do the REAL work. This is where the rubber meets the road.

As often happens, when I hit a truth I need to look at, one of my friends will drop me a note, describing their own travails. In answering them, I am answering myself. This was waiting for me this morning:

##
Dear Steve,

I’ve been having a strange experience with meditation lately. It
feels good and yet I run from it; my consciousness shifts with
jarring suddenness like waking from a bad dream. I don’t really know
where to go with it.

A few months back I’d been enjoying “happy liver” meditation. I’d
seen the author of Eat, Love, Pray on tv talking about a man who had
told her that the secret to meditation was to smile; smile from your
scalp to your toes, smile until your liver is smiling. So I would
sit and I would smile, not a “feeling fabulous smile for the camera”
smile, more of a subdued “don’t worry, be happy” smile. I would
smile until my troubles sank out of me and I would think “my liver is
smiling”. One of the great things about ending with the thought “my
liver is smiling” was that I could induce a state of calm in myself
with those four words. My husband and I would be on the verge of
some petty squabble and I would think “my liver is smiling” and I
would just release all of that tension and fear. I would remember
that there is no threat, I have nothing to fear and I would gain that
emotional flexibility necessary to deal with whatever was really
needed and not get caught up in pointless bickering.

Then I stopped meditating ’cause there’s always something more important to do,
right? And I started losing my “happy liver.” I’d be under some
stress and say to myself “my liver is smiling” and from somewhere
deep inside I’d hear the voice of an organ with its hands on its hips
saying “I don’t know where you’ve been lately, but this liver ain’t
smiling.” I’d lost it.

So after seeing you (recently) I got back on myself about meditation.
I saw a tee-shirt ages ago that said “If you have time to masturbate,
you have time to meditate.” Well, honestly there have been plenty of
times in my recent life where I don’t have the time or the energy for
either, but there’s something to the sentiment. It doesn’t have to
be an elaborate ritual, I don’t have to have a big chunk o’ time set
aside. So I steal moments and sometimes I get enough to matter,
sometimes I don’t. It doesn’t hurt to try. So when the kids are
outside playing, or I’m waiting for the dryer to finish so I can
rotate laundry, little opportunities like that, I meditate. There’s
a lot more little opportunities in the day than I would’ve thought.
Only now I’m not doing the “happy liver” I’ve gone back to “I am… ”

Only I think the two are merging. I follow the curves of each link
in the “I am” chain. One day it will be relationships “I am X’s
mama, Y’s mama, Z’s wife,” et cetera. Another day it’s my
resumé ” I am a housewife, nanny, instructor for the developmentally
disabled… ” It’s like a great big bowl filled with little slips,
like fortune cookie fortunes, each one a different part of my
identity. But a couple of times now I’ve gotten to the bottom of the
bowl, no more slips, no more words. The only answer is this warm
feeling– it’s like the “happy liver”, and prolactin (the hormone
that makes frazzled, sleepless moms feel all calm and content when
they nurse), and finding that perfect spot in the bed on a morning
you get to sleep in, all at once. It doesn’t feel wise, I don’t feel
“enlightened”. I just feel sated. And for some reason I find this
feeling very jarring and meditation ends almost as soon as I realize
there are no more slips in the bowl, there is no more bowl. It’s not
a great connectedness to all things, it’s just a being okay with
whatever connectedness is or isn’t there.

So is a smiling liver an adequate answer to “Who am I?” Not that
I’ve been able to just sit and be in this warm feeling, but should
that be my goal? Is this non-verbal outcome a new destination, or a
new wall between myself and my destination? It makes me antsy, I run
from it when it happens and yet those are the meditations that seem
to give the most general clarity throughout my day. It’s just not
familiar territory for me. Any thoughts?

Thanks,
M.
##
M.

You’re doing fine. Fantastic, in fact. Don’t try to get to “Enlightenment.” The “you” that wants to get there can’t get there. The farthest you can get is “Awake.” The best state to aim at is “Adult.” “Adult” is the precursive state you’re looking for, and from my perspective, it is approached best by looking for light and clarity in the three major arenas. There are doubtless other paths, but I am certain that dealing with your shit in the arenas of body, mind, and relationship will turn all the lights on in your inner house.

THEN you can see what is real, and begin the next step. Until then, you’re just getting ahead of yourself, a virgin who has never had an orgasm trying to understand tantric sex from the ads in the back of men’s magazines.

##

When you get to the bowl, and it is filled with “slips” and then the slips are gone, and then the bowl is gone, you will glimpse a truth. The ego, at this point, will try to back you away from it. Instead, apply this “emptiness” to the three Gateways. If you are empty, there should be nothing stopping you from achieving a healthy body—it is just clay. Nothing stopping you from feeling absolute love for your partner—he or she is your mirror. Do you not love yourself? What reason is there not to? There ARE no reasons. One might ask what reason there is to LOVE self, either, if there are no reasons. The easy answer is that Love is what is, but that would be a dualism as well. You just have to stay there, contemplating Self, until you get it. And the third Gateway—mind/career. You should either love what you do, or do what you love. Anything else is a waste of your precious time in this world.

The ego has many many tricks. It will present false bowls, like a magician drawing your eye to his right hand while his left sneaks a dove out of his pocket, or showing you the false bottom of a cabinet within which hides his assistant. Keep going. Further. Further.

How? By having delicious goals, tantalizing and motivating, clear, time-bound goals in all three. Goals that make YOU dance with anticipation. That are worth awakening early and staying up late for. Long and short term. Do NOT neglect the physical, M.—that’s where your shit is really hiding. You’ll know the “bowl” is emptying (at least to the next level) when you have lost the weight. Until then, it is a magician’s trick.

But trust me…this is the work, darling. This. Right here. Right now. Every damn day, cleaning the mirror, emptying the bowl, opening the Gates.

You’re doing excellent, excellent work.

POSTED BY STEVEN BARNES AT 6:33 AM

The Wounded Child

http://acestoohigh.com/2012/10/03/the-adverse-childhood-experiences-study-the-largest-most-important-public-health-study-you-never-heard-of-began-in-an-obesity-clinic/

I 100% agree with what this article says: that behavioral dysfunctions are a form of PTSD, often related to childhood trauma. This is one reason that the “Morning Ritual” concept incorporates both the “Ancient Child”, heartbeat meditation, physical motion, and focus. Why I believe so strongly in dealing with the fear that lies at the base of all negative emotion. Sigh.

I can tell you the first time I realized how bad it was, and how I needed to trust instinct rather than the surface or presenting stories. I was a GOH at a convention in Texas, and teaching a morning Tai Chi workshop. There was a lady on the periphery of the workshop, trying to do the movements. She was extremely obese, and more, her teeth were rotted out. My first impression was that she was like one overweight person pushed into the middle of a second one, a very sweet small face and bright eyes in the middle of a puffy cocoon of fatty tissue. Over 300 pounds.

I am always very connected to the people in those workshops. All kinds of odd subliminal information pops into my head about them, their emotions, sex lives, all sorts of stuff. It isn’t esp. It is that our bodies reflect our histories. They store our emotions.

I worked with her a bit, and in adjusting her body, something horrible happened, horrible because I didn’t know how to handle it. Suddenly, I saw the sweet face as a trapped child within the massive protective cocoon. The bright eyes calling out to me from within a prison of flesh: HELP. A fear of being seen sexually, combined with a deep, desperate hope that someone could see her, and love her, and help her free itself.

And I knew. The teeth. The body. This woman had been terribly, horribly, serially abused as a child. And her brain had done what a brain is supposed to do: do everything in its power to prevent her from ever being seen as a sexual being again, to obscure the secondary sexual characteristics. Yes, I know it is illogical. But that’s what I saw.

Too damned clearly.

After the work shop I went to my room and cried. Just…sobbed. Something had opened inside me, and I felt like I was watching personal histories, not just physical bodies, in that convention hotel. Millions of individual behavioral choices arising from values and beliefs connected to emotional and physical pains and pleasures. If I respected them, I had to believe that they were doing the best they could. There was no laziness, no lack of wish to be healthy and strong and happy.

This was something very different. Post-industrial society has unteathered calories or immediate survival from physical performance for the first time in our evolutionary history, and we are seeing something extraordinary. In a few generations we will have figured it out, but right now…dear God.

I wanted to leave that convention, and if I hadn’t been GOH I would have. So I put on my face and went back down.

And…she followed me. Showed up at panels and signings. Always on the periphery. Smiling shyly at me. And finally, on the last day, she asked me if we could talk.

We had coffee. She said that she didn’t know why she was talking to me. Just…that there was something about me. She felt that I had seen HER, not just her body. And was driven to speak to me.

And there, while I sipped my latte, she changed my life. With only a tiny bit of reassurance and coaxing she described a history of abuse that precisely matched what I had seen. Her stepfather. Her stepuncles. A mother who pretended it wasn’t happening.

Abusive relationships. And a near-suicidal threshold that led to a solution: to become invisible in plain sight. Years of being unseen. And now a heart-wrenching urge to find a way out of the prison she had built for herself. Was it too late? She wanted to know.

And I remembered something that Leo and Diane Dillon, the great, great artists had once said to me when I asked if I had lost my way as an artist: “if you can even ask the question, it’s not too late.”
That was twenty-five years ago. I had nothing specific to offer this lady except hope, and love, holding her hands as we both cried.

But I changed that day. I knew that I saw things that were contrary to social narrative, and needed to trust my instincts more than the popular wisdom. And I knew that I had to find a way to understand what we are as human beings that we can be smart, and good and decent and still hurt each other and ourselves so badly, and remain in denial about it.

That was, in many ways, the beginning of my awakening.

I don’t remember her name. I don’t know where she is or even if she is alive. All I can say is that I hope I touched her as deeply as she touched me.

Whereever you are, my love, I see you. That perfect little girl who deserved to be loved, and held, and cherished, is still within you. And I pray you found a way to both keep her safe, and let her free.

Namaste,
Steve

Fear separates us, love connects us. Choose one.

In putting together an autobiography, I’m pulling from twenty years of internet writings. The following came from Wednesday, December 6, 2006.
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More First Chakra Stuff
Waking up at 6:30 to get a little writing done before Jason wakes up—sheesh. I remember sleeping until my body was really ready to roll. That was a luxury I didn’t really appreciate at the time…
#
I’d like to get up and then exercise immediately, but it takes a few minutes for my mind and body to recognize one another again, and I kinda like to make some use of that time. You’ll notice some spelling errors from time to time in these posts—too groggy to run the spell check! Still, my filters aren’t fully up, so occasionally I’ll say something that surprises me, and that’s worthwhile right there.
##
We talked about survival, the 1st Chakra stuff, and how it can trip you up. The need to be part of a herd, and how vital that is. Note all of the Polish, Italian, and Jewish actors and singers who changed their names to “blend in” with the Anglo-Saxon majority. The stories of Jews and Aramaics who had their noses bobbed to look more “mainstream.” The fact that virtually every black woman in the media (television, film, music) or public life (politics) straightens her hair. Blending in. Pretending you’re not different. Believe me, if someone came up with a “wonder pill” that would turn black people white, even to this day, they’d be a billionaire in a month.

I remember the devastating day that my mother told me (I was probably about 10): “Steve, if you let white people know how smart you are, they will kill you.”

What the @#$!!? Can you even imagine how damaging something like that is, said by someone you utterly trust and love? She’d grown up in the South, in a time of lynchings and beatings, and had had real, deep fear anchored into her body and psyche. She was VERY light skinned, and could have “passed.” I know for a fact that at times she regretted not having done so. She married my father, a fairly dark-skinned man, when he was a rising singer (he did backup for Nat “King” Cole). When his career stalled, it killed their marriage, I’m pretty sure—which led to her later trying to dissuade me from attempting a career in writing.

I often wonder what the effects of those terrible words were on me. Could they have influenced my performance at school? My damaging ambivalence toward education? My ability to put everything of myself into my work? The pattern I developed of world-class performance on my FIRST attempt at something (first book, first television episode for a given show, etc) followed by a relatively mediocre effort, and a struggle to regain the quality of that initial go? I don’t know. I hate to blame anything outside myself for anything. But we are so vulnerable when we are young. We so desperately need the guidance of those who love and parent us.

And with my father gone, that “male” parent was television, and books, and the American culture as a whole—which wasn’t exactly supportive.
#
The bedrock of who and what we are is the sense of being connected directly, biologically, physically, to the foundations of the Universe. All religions seek to give their adherents such a grounding, and this is no accident. Unless at the core of you you know that you are precious, and irreplaceable, that you are valuable in the eyes of God, your strength is based on your ego. And ego cracks under pressure.

I kinda suspect that this is a reason why torture doesn’t work as well as logic suggests it should. We use torture primarily on people who have committed to being soldiers, or warriors—who believe themselves willing to die to perform their duty. When captured, and tortured, the fear and shock take them beyond ego. If they are cowards, they would talk without torture. But if they aren’t, then they have grounded themselves in a deep and spiritual aspect of themselves. Torture, in other words, the destruction of their bodies, takes them out of their egos and into their true, deep selves. This is the part of us that lies within every human, that is capable of accepting death with dignity. It is more real than anything we ordinarily think of as “self.” Torture, in other words, gives them strength. The pain and fear of death takes them to a place where “reality”, the “ordinary world” is exposed as the illusion the sages have always said. In a way it is difficult to explain, it provides them with a glimpse of heaven. You could twist my arm and get the truth about a surprise birthday party. But you could pull my eyeballs out, and I wouldn’t shoot my daughter. Can you see the difference?
##
It is this place, beyond ordinary strength, beyond ego, beyond race or religion or nationality, that we must go to find the bedrock of our being. From this deeper place, we touch the ineffable core hinted at by masters throughout the ages. The “Lifewriting” approach and my teaching in general is based on the idea that striving toward goals in all three arenas simultaneously gives a glimpse of this place.
#
African immigrants, (or even those descended from Africans without slavery interposed) have a strength in this regard denied to those whose ancestors were slaves—their ancestors can trace themselves directly back to the dawn of time, to the creation of the world itself, in a way impossible for those who carry the names of their former masters. Those with that handicap can still find that place, but they must work harder, must be more extraordinary. They are standing in a hole, rather than on the shoulders of the kings, queens, and warriors who came before them.
#
But what must you do, what must I do to stand tall, so that my own children can stand on my shoulders?

FIRST, I must be there. This is why I have such contempt for absent fathers, or mothers who CHOOSE to become pregnant without the health to sustain a relationship.
SECOND I must realize that at this deep, core level, there is no race, no gender. Even the distinctions of alive/not-alive, existing/non-existing are illusions to surpass. You must move beyond love and hate, hope and fear. You cannot reach this place while carrying resentments and anger. A slight contradiction here: although you must move beyond anything that has an antonym, the emotion of love can carry you far enough to see the “horizon” of this space. Love is the doorway, if not the goal.

THIRD I must realize that the work is never-ending. Any day that I eat and breathe, I must engage with the process.

FOURTH I must realize that all, and I mean ALL, conscious beings are my brothers and sisters on this process. And that consciousness is a matter both of degree and kind. In other words, it is not for me to judge. It is for me to see the Light in all creatures, all people. The anger and pain I carry within me separates me from Being. I must find a way to vent it, drain it, neutralize it, cry about it, scream and complain and pound my fist against the ground…but understand that that is all the Child within me who wanted so desperately for someone to hold me and say that I am a good and beautiful thing. The search for a Parent outside myself is over, and has been for longer than I have been awakening. God the Father, the Universal Mind, the Deep Self—whatever I call it, my only hope of Salvation, whether viewed spiritually or psychologically, is to accept who and what it is I am utterly, and give myself over to the process.
##
That first Chakra stuff is a bitch-kitty. We struggle so hard to live that we kill our lives. Instead, kill the ego. Admit that you have dreams and hopes that are beyond our reach, ever, always, beyond our reach. Walk that odd balance between accepting worldly responsibility and abandoning hope. Tell the Universe that you accept the price for true awareness. That price is always the same: one death. Yours.
##
Fear has colored so much of my life. Fear of not being enough. Being too small or weak. Of not blending in. Of being horribly outnumbered. All of these relate to survival. Appropriate fears for a child. But now I am a father once again, with another chance to grab my psyche by the horns—or wings—and shake it until there is nothing left but truth.

And if I can do that, then my Son, and my Daughter, and every soul I touch will benefit from my struggle. And regardless of the cost, that would be a thing worth the accomplishment.

Soulmate #3: A Lioness Wants A Lion

By the way–some of ya’ll ain’t gonna like what I say today. Others are thinking I’m giving some formula for picking up girls. Think deeper, people, please.

##

So. Where were we? Yes, I remember. I had used the Beauty/Power axis idea to help me define my own pathway–that is, I defined the girl of my dreams, with the assumption that whatever I most deeply aspired to have in my life as a female companion was a mirror to my own idealized self. A theory worth testing! I found a lady. Call her Hazel. Hazel was the most devastatingly sexy woman I had ever known, and also smart and sweet and spiritual and financially stable.

1) She said she wanted a man who had lower BODY FAT than I had at the time. That’s fine–there is probably nothing that says more about you IMMEDIATELY than your body. It speaks of discipline, health, value hierarchies, the way you spend your time and energy, etc. It speaks of self-love, and emotional health. Let alone basic connection to our animal selves: could we hunt, gather, and either evade or defeat predators? It is also immediately a turn on or off to the hind brain.

2) She also wanted someone with deeper spiritual commitments. During the last months trying to work things out with my wife, I had tried to hard to please her (or so I thought) that I had lost sight of myself. Always a mistake. I’d stopped meditating, connecting myself to the divine.

So I started running again, watched my DIET a bit more (a sign of self-respect) and meditated more. Hazel and I started seeing each other–I’d fly out to Arizona to see her. But there was a problem: the sweeter to her I was,the faster she backed away, until finally she broke things off. (more…)

Soulmate #2: It’s not about someone else

So. When last we met, I was an emotional wreck after the dissolution of my first marriage. I realized my marriage was doomed. I’d decided to make a list of everything I wanted in a woman, then to find the woman who came the closest to what I had on that list–whether she was married or not, sit her down, and ask her what she wanted in a man.

Fortunately, I knew a woman who fit the bill. She was sexy, smart, spiritual, kind, sweet, incredibly beautiful, financially successful, and…did I say sexy? Truth be told, she was arguably the purely sexiest woman I had ever met. She lived in Arizona, and I was heading out that way to do some research on my upcoming novel “Charisma.” So, on New Years Day, 1996, I sat her down in a restaurant and said: “I think you are spectacular, and I would really like to know what kind of man you want in your life.” As it happened, my timing was GREAT–she was just coming to the end of a relationship. So over the next few months we saw each other, and I was able to extract from her the list of what she was looking for. To my shock, there wasn’t a huge gap between what she was looking for, and what I was. Two things stuck out:

1) She wanted a man with more of a spiritual base. I thought about that…then realized that life had been so stressful I had stopped meditating.

2) She wanted a man with a harder, more defined body. Believe me, her own body was (and is to this day) spectacular. She had every right to demand quality. I realized that I had stopped running since moving to the Northwest.

 

What this meant is that I had defined a direction for re-claiming myself.

Remember: the point of the exercise was NOT to get a woman. And certainly not to fall in love with miss X (although I did love her, and had great fun while we were dating–but more on that later).

The point was to get clear on where I had failed myself, stepped off my path. The theory is that if I got back on my path, everything else would clear up.

 

Well, weirdness ensued. I noticed that the more open and honest and caring and sharing with her I was, the more distant she got. It was bizarre: I had never dealt with anything quite like it before. Finally, during a trip to Los Angeles in March to celebrate my birthday, she broke things off with me. I was devastated. Where had I gone wrong? I brooded about that, and a few weeks later had another break-through…

More later.

Article Series

The Soulmate Process Part One

 NOTE: THIS IS AN EXPERIMENT.  I am in the process of creating my life story, and the first step is porting over articles I’ve created in the last 15 years on various blogs.   I will be cross-posting to Facebook from the new blog.  Please excuse!

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This is an intensely PERSONAL story–it could hardly get more personal, actually. Because of that, I am going to take the liberty to change some names and obscure some information: while I feel perfectly comfortable telling stories on myself, I have no right to broach the privacy of others.

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In about 1998, my marriage to my first wife, Toni, Nicki’s mom, hit a wall. We’d both made mistakes, we each paid for them in different ways. They added up to an untenable situation. For almost two years I tried to make things work, and finally ran out of gas. I mean, I completely crashed and burned.For the first time in memory, I didn’t even know who I was any more. Or what I wanted. Or what to do. I was utterly numb.

##

The wall had been hit between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the anniversary of my mother’s death, and always a tough period for me. This just made things a lot worse. But I decided to give myself a week to come up with an answer, to decide what direction to move in. Many of you might have noticed how much easier it is to solve other people’s problems, so I used that approach: What would I say if one of my students came to me with this problem?

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A theory   called “The Beauty-Power Axis” clearly states that our relationships are mirrors. Hmmm. I had said for years that our relationships say a lot about us. Hmmm. So I thought one of the smartest things, perhaps THE single smartest thing I ever thought: “I don’t know who I am right now. But I know what I am attracted to. So this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to make a list of everything I’m attracted to. I am going to describe the perfect woman, without any compromises. Her beauty, intelligence, sensuality, warmth, emotional health, spiritual centeredness…everything. EVERYTHING my deepest heart desires. Then, I am going to go out and find the woman who comes the closest to what I’ve described–whether she’s married or not (!), sit her down, and ask her what she wants in a man. If I’ve made my description carefully enough, and chosen carefully enough, whatever she describes is what I want to be–because, in my heart of hearts, what I want is to be a man who  can have a woman like THAT. And we can have anything that we mirror.”

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Needless to say, one of the most frightening things I’ve ever done, as well. What if she just wanted a billionaire? Well, then, she doesn’t really match what I had on the list, now would she? A woman attracted to a man with ambition, intelligence and success is onething. But to put a dollar amount on it was another. So I quieted my fears and put my plan into action…

 

More later.

Article Series