Thursday, October 1, 2009

What Sensei Had to Say

'Lo Peoples.

Her Tangh-i-ness is back to the subject of writing mentors.

I've been promising that I'd share with you some of what I've been learning from the man I call Sensei. Sometimes, there are questions I don't even realize I want to ask myself. Whenever Steven Barnes brings one up, a part of me bristles.

"But he's established," my inner procrastinator whines, "of course, he can spout whatever he likes." Next, my inner taskmaster kicks in, "Ri-i-i-ight. Have you already forgotten he's where you'd like to be when you grow up?"
My inner procrastinator mumbles something to the effect of, "Now that you mention it...."

Please note the following words in the email below are the intellectual property of Steven Barnes. I have his permission to repost this material from his newsletter. Remember, I get this and other regular free teachings via my inbox. How's that for ease of instruction?


Her Tangh-i-ness

-----Original Message-----
From: Steven Barnes
To: You know who
Sent: Thu, Jan 24, 2008 11:46 am

Subject: What if you KNEW you could not fail?

One of the most important questions anyone ever asked me.

What would you aspire to, if you KNEW you could not fail?

That's our question of the day. We limit ourselves in so many ways. Our heads are filled with ideas of what is not possible--for us, or for anyone. And yet the leaders and shapers of the world dare to dream beyond those limits. Sometimes they fail. So what? I remember someone saying to me: "Steve, you dream too big. You're setting yourself up for disappointment." So what? I'm a big boy. I can handle it.

But you know what I can't handle? Feeling that I'm not living up to my
potential. That's just me. I imagine two scenarios:

1) At the moment of death, it is revealed to me that my dreams exceeded my

2) At the moment of death, it is revealed to me that my capacities exceeded my

I don't know about you, but the second one sucks. I would rather go all out,
break my heart again and again and again, pick my self up bloody and bruised and hurl myself at the locked gate again, than slink off and nurse my wounds and join the "you can't win" crowd.

Now, better still is to simply operate in a Zen state of awareness where your
normal daily activities, approached with intensity but not strain, naturally takes you through your personal evolution. Just awaken every day, chop wood and carry water, love your spouse, play with your children, play with your toys, tend your garden, rejoice in the life God gave you, and go to bed each night pleasantly exhausted and ready for renewal and a new day. Effort, but no strain. Just hunting and gathering and loving and giving and growing.

And I think that it starts by re-claiming your dreams. So ask yourself: What
would you aspire to if you KNEW you could not fail? Choose goals in all three major arenas. Begin to move toward them. Find role models in all three areas, and determine their belief systems, mental syntax, and use of physiology. As you run into barriers, mark them on your mental "map": you are exploring the intersection of internal and external reality. As you experience fear investigate it, and see where your emotions are knotted. And every day, celebrate the joy of sheer existence.

Let' s make 2008 a fabulous year for all of us. There's enough joy to go
around. Love, health, and success are not a zero-sum games.


The LIFEWRITING YEAR-LONG is the essence of everything I've learned in thirty
years of professional writing. Everything that has helped me earn a living, support my family, and find personal fulfillment without selling out my dreams. Quite simply, there is nothing like it, anywhere. Period. What are you waiting for? Friend, you're all you've got. Today, this day, is all there is. Get MOVING!

©2008 Steven Barnes

Disclosure: Her Tangh-i-ness bought and paid for her own copy of Lifewriting for Writers program. The Lifewrite newsletter she subscribes to is totally free.

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