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Life Arts

Human Adulthood PART ONE

By       Message Steven Barnes       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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What is an adult? While we may argue about what a "Man" or "Woman" is, there is remarkable agreement around the world on the subject of Human Adulthood. An adult takes responsibility for his or her actions and emotions. While we can argue about many qualities and attributes, I think we can all agree that the world needs all the adults it can get.

The LIFEWRITING system of personal development addresses this core question of human maturation by cross-referencing two ancient cultural models of human life: the Hero's Journey (found in various forms in all world myth and literature), which proposes a ten-step process for growth and progress, and the yogic Chakras which suggest seven basic levels of human existence. This new series of articles is designed to address the basic Coaching pattern I use with clients, one step at a time. There will be eighteen basic parts--look for them!


The first step of the Hero's Journey is THE HERO IS CONFRONTED WITH A CHALLENGE. In fiction, this might be "Come with me, Luke, and learn the way of the Force!" or a mother finally realizing her child is autistic. In our lives, it might be a sense of unease with our careers, a dissatisfaction with our excess flab, or a yearning to find our Soul Mate. We can have the careers we crave, the bodies we admire (and in general, if you wouldn't find your own body attractive, there is a serious mis-match between your values and your actions) and a mate who appeals to every aspect of our psyche as well as supporting us in being the very best we can be. We CAN have it all--many have. But there is so much misinformation, as well as encouragement to be mediocre, that good people often can't find their way to health and happiness.

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LIFEWRITING, the process of using cultural mythic patterns to guide our own actions and lives, helps end this by, first demanding that you actually look at your lives. Look at all three basic aspects: career, relationship, physical health/fitness. Are you living up to your full potential in each? Is your career a source of pleasure or pain? Is your core relationship a source of infinite joy, or simply a dull coupling? Is your body vibrant and alive, or just a bag of negative emotions, a wall protecting a wounded heart, the easy movement and vast energy of childhood a distant memory?

Well, to change this, your first step is that you must SEE it. Must ACKNOWLEGE it, must wake up and stop dreaming, must stop numbing yourself with denial. If you are successful in any ONE of these three arenas, if you can look deeply enough, you will find the knowledge and strength to succeed in all three. But you must be willing to admit that you want more. Demand more. That is the first step, and it is a powerful one.

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First came the Word. The truth will set you free.


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Steven Barnes is a NY Times bestselling author, personal performance coach, and martial artist. He has lectured on creativity and human consciousness at UCLA, Mensa, and the Smithsonian Institute. Steve created the Lifewriting system of (more...)

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