Latest Entries »

When I was single and starved for my soulmate in the ’90s, I consulted bestsellers like Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus and The Rules for tips on how to create a lasting relationship.  Now I find books and articles like those patently ridiculous, even offensive. Advice that reduces relationships to broad gender stereotypes and game-playing is harmful rather than helpful. 

Last night, nearly 100 callers listened to the free Soulmate Teleconference I co-hosted with my husband, Steven Barnes (and Mushtaq Ali Al Ansari), and we discussed the process of finding one’s soulmate that worked for us: the soul-searching that begins within, and the hard work on the path to self-realization.    As a psychic once told me, “Become who you’re supposed to become–that’s when you’ll meet your man.”  Whether or not she had a true gift, her advice was wholly true.  I finished my novel and met Steve at a writer’s conference.  

If I had not embraced my writing dream AND embarked on a journey of self-repair and reflection, I would not have been in the right place or right mindset to meet Steve. 

To listen to the 90-minute teleconference free, CLICK HERE.  Listener response has been very enthusiastic. 

But the teleconference was just the first step in introducing our Soulmate Process course that lays out our most important principles toward creating lasting love in your life.  Steve and Mushtaq have spent years developing this course, compiling information and resources that can create true change.  My contribution is as Steve’s partner–and I tell my very candid story of my past relationships and the seemingly uncanny way that separate preparations brought Steve and I to each other. 

Whether it’s refining your definition of a “soulmate,” setting goals, taking responsbility for your relationship history or just having the courage to have faith, this is a step-by-step program to help you find lasting love.  And the course is on a SPECIAL HOLIDAY SALE PRICE until Jan. 1. 

Check out The Soulmate Process here:  www.soulmateprocess. com

If you are already in a happy relationship, please pass the link along to a friend.  

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! 

Christmas photo

 

In 1997, I met my now-husband and collaborator Steven Barnes at a speculative fiction conference at Clark Atlanta University.  Octavia E. Butler and Samuel Delany, who were also there, later told us they giggled together at our blooming love connection.  It was that obvious.

Steve and I practically knew each other on sight.  We were holding hands at the airport as we went to separate ends of the country to begin our 18-month courtship by email and telephone. Fifteen years ago, we married in my parents’ living room.

It happened so fast.  It seemed so…easy.

With the love of my life, Steven Barnes, at a birthday celebration in 2008.

With the love of my life, Steven Barnes, at a birthday celebration in 2008.

But in fact, I had waited a long time to find my Mr. Perfect.  And I’d waited in misery.

In junior high school, I waited.  In high school, I waited.  In college—while classmates paired, some of them for life—still I waited.  I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was 24, and that four-year relationship was my only one before I met Steve.  I lived alone my entire adult life, until I married Steve at 33.

I tried a psychic.  I wrote a Dating Column for The Miami Herald, working on my issues and publicizing my dating adventures every other week.  I weathered annoying advice:  “You’ll find him when you’re not looking.”  (That was sort of true, but annoying nonetheless.)

I made mistakes.  Huge mistakes.  And I learned.

But what brought me to my soulmate was not fate or luck: it was preparation.  I took specific steps to be ready for love.  Without my preparation, I would not have been ready to meet Steve.  I would have backed away from him the moment he shined his eyes at me.

Steve and I later learned that we had taken similar steps to prepare ourselves for each other, creating a process for finding our soulmates.  For years, we have talked sharing our process and what we learned, and Steve tested every piece of it with his private students.  And now, finally, we’re teaching the basics of the SOULMATE PROCESS in a FREE teleconference at 9 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. PT MONDAY, Dec. 16.

We originally had space for 96 participants, but the spaces filled so quickly that we have changed the venue to make more room.  To participate, simply sign up at www.soulmateconference.com.

Why will our journeys matter to you?  Because we do not believe we are unique.  We believe others can do what we did.  And we want to share what we have learned.

What is a soulmate?

The term will have different meanings to different people.  To me, a soulmate is not THE person you are meant to be with, but A person who shares your values, dreams and hopes…with whom you can create a committed, passionate partnership for life.

I know people who have been blessed with new love after tragic loss.

After they have been horribly hurt.

After they have not had role-models for healthy relationships.

And I believe you can find a soulmate too.

Please register today!  Once you sign up, call-in information will be sent to you.  The teleconference is free.  If you are already in a happy relationship, please pass this note on to your friends.

Love isn’t a myth.  It isn’t something that only happens on TV and movies.  It isn’t something only for “other people.”

If you’re looking for love in 2014, take your first step tomorrow.

www.soulmateconference.com

Talk to you soon!

 

 

 

 

In the past few months, our family has grappled with a cross-country move and my mother’s illness, which has taken a toll on both of us.  Because of the unprecedented stress we’re facing, hurt feelings, misunderstandings and disappointments crop up at unexpected times.

But we always agree on one thing:  our son, Jason.  So even on the days when it’s hard to remember the giddy glow Steve and I felt when we first laid eyes on each other, we never forget that we’re united at the heart on the mission to be parents to our son.

The good days always come back. Stress dissipates.  Silence becomes hugs. Desire stirs.  And Jason is our bridge back to the beginning.

Here’s a piece Steve just wrote about the importance of fatherhood on NPR.com:  “Seeing is Believing: Setting a Fatherly Example.”

I love both of my guys!

Steve with our son, Jason, as a newborn

The past couple of years have been among the most difficult in recent memory, just as they have been for many families.  Steve and I are both novelists navigating the dance between art and commerce.  We are raising a first-grade son who has trouble sitting still at school.  We work too much, and sometimes Date Night gets lost on the schedule.

Steve introduced major shifts in the fall of 2009, launching a business, gaining allies, always learning.

And in 2010…Steve brought it.  He killed it.  When disappointments reared, he shrugged and kept marching.  Time and again, he was willing to reinvent himself to be up to whatever new task appeared, any new mountain that needed scaling.

It couldn’t have been easy.  There were times I was in the fog of book deadlines, or teaching, or mothering, and didn’t always see how difficult a moment was for him.  Sometimes he had to dress his own wounds.

Steve was a leader in 2010.  He showed us something new.  Gave us new light.

“Would you marry me again?” he asked me last night.

In a heartbeat, baby.

Just like we vowed at the Atlanta airport, holding hands the first weekend we met after the writer’s conference at Clark Atlanta University—“We can build an empire.”

Thank you for being a warrior.

*******************************

This is an inspirational essay Steve posted on Facebook that will help you understand the man I am married to:

I am a warrior. I accept that life has challenges, that the road to success and mastery is strewn with the bodies of those who believed it would be easy, and did not prepare. I prepare. Every day I sharpen the sword of my mind, body, and heart.

I am a warrior. I know that fear is a constant companion for those who would live an authentic existence, free of comforting illusion. I make fear my friend, allowing it to empower me, to drive me toward my destiny. I put my love in front of me, my fear behind me, and run like hell.

I am a warrior. I take responsibility for my actions and emotions, for my destiny. I know that I am the only one who can bring my dreams into reality, and have organized my mind and emotions so that every action is in alignment with my most deeply held beliefs and values.

I am a warrior. I know that action creates emotion, and resolve to take effective action toward my goals every single day, without fail. However small, I will take at least one single step to clarify my mind, strengthen my body, and heal my heart. I break my long-term goals into bits I can accomplish one step at a time. Always, I remember that the Way is in training–in constant, conscious action.

I am a warrior. I have the honesty to know I cannot do it all alone, and form teams and tribes to help me reach my dreams. I know that my associations will limit or expand my accomplishments, and choose companions carefully. I know that somewhere out there my opponents and competitors are training, and commit to spending more focused quality time honing my skills than anyone who might ever stand between me and my intentions. My opponents have NO idea who they are dealing with. But soon, they will.

I am a warrior. I know that defeat is a natural part of the learning cycle, and commit to facing this small death with grace and calm–and to return to the fray as swiftly as possible. A warrior is not, as some mistakenly think, merely someone willing to die for what they believe in. That could also be said of a martyr. A warrior is willing to destroy in order to create or maintain. To match force with force, and fire with fire, if necessary, and without apology. And most especially, a warrior is willing to destroy his own ego, day after day, to make room for the best and most authentic essence of his true Self to emerge.

I am a warrior. I have faith that goes beyond that of common men and women. Faith in myself: my skills, heart, intellect and strength. Faith in my companions: mentors, comrades, health care professionals, career and financial advisors. My spouse, my family and friends. Faith in a caring, living universe that sustains me, in the God of my fathers, in something larger and more enduring than my transitory physical existence. I will never be limited by my own flaws and failings: I have more. I have faith.

I am a warrior. I confront my challenges and win. I’ll meet them head on if necessary, but never forget to be flexible and creative: I will go over, under, around and through. I’ll try new things. Try old things. Work harder, smarter, faster, better. Try early, try late. Give it everything I have, day after day when others have yielded to fatigue and doubt. And then I will work even harder. And I win. When I do, I am as gracious in victory as I was philosophical in defeat. Today’s opponent might well be tomorrow’s ally.

I am a warrior. I teach the world by example. Every step, every breath, every word, every action represents me. I behave at all times as if my most honored teachers and beloved friends know my heart and see my actions. I commit at all times to being my very best. I also know that every victory merely opens the door to the next level of action and challenge. Every ending is a new beginning. I also commit to teaching and sharing what I have learned, understanding that this is the only way the human race has progressed. I am a link in a chain of striving, caring, struggling human beings stretching back to the dawn of time, and forward to a brighter future.

Here and now, I vow to be the strongest link in that chain.

I will commit to nothing less.

I am a warrior.

(If you’d like to see more of what Steve has to say, check out his blog.)

I recently spent two nights sleeping on the gym floor at the house of my karate instructor, Sijo Steve Muhammad in Atlanta, who created the Black Karate Federation.  And when I knew I would be visiting with him, there was something I wanted to ask him.  Alone.  It was just too embarrassing, and too personal.

This was during a break between traveling to the Bahamas on the Tom Joyner cruise promoting From Cape Town with Love, my novel collaboration with my wife, Tananarive Due, in partnership with actor Blair Underwood.  Afterward, I drove to Florida to visit Tananarive’s parents and flew to Philadelphia to speak at the annual Art Sanctuary event, this year honoring Nikki Giovanni.

It was my longest time away from home—and my wife and son—in a while.  (Tananarive went home days before I did because we have a 6-year-old.)

Far beyond being “merely” the finest karate man I’ve ever known, Steve Muhammad is also quite arguably the best MAN.  Whatever it means to be an adult human being, Steve Muhammad exemplifies it.  Seeing him with his beautiful wife, Connie…watching him hold his grandson…seeing the way young men of all persuasions, races, and ethnicities react to him…not to mention the way women seem to know that they are dealing with a mature male of the species and not a boy or a wannabe…

He blows me away.  The man once voted “the most feared karate competitor in America” is my friend, role model, father figure.  But the advice I wanted had nothing to do with karate.

Last Thursday morning, I had the honor of attending Steve’s regular class. Four men sweated and moved in the room that serves as Steve’s gym.  After class we sat in our damp uniforms and spoke of martial arts, and life, and family…and suddenly, my private concern spilled to the tip of my tongue.

Under no circumstances to do I ever want to damage my relationship with Tananarive.  I have made mistakes in past relationships.  But as higher levels of success come to us, so do greater temptations and opportunities for mischief.  While I have maintained the integrity I promised her on our wedding day… hell, nobody’s perfect.  And I want so much to be perfect for Tananarive, since that is what she deserves.

But perfection doesn’t happen by accident.

Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due in the Bahamas on book tour

Steve Muhammad has mastered that aspect of his life, been surrounded by serious temptation on isolated Hollywood sets notorious for lax morality, and stood tall and strong.  I asked him how I might best follow his example.

He offered a specific path:  By mastering one appetite, we can master another.

Let’s face it:  The urge to eat is stronger than the urge to have sex.  For 30 years, he has been a vegetarian eating a single meal a day.  And if you can control that gnawing urge so basic to survival, you can handle the voices in your head that urge one to explore new connections, new energies, new bodies…no matter how inappropriate or destructive.  I thanked him.

I asked him point blank: If I called him at 2 a.m. asking him to support me in being the husband I am sworn to be…would he mind? He looked at me as if I was crazy: I’ll help you in any way I can, he said solemnly.

One by one, the other students in the class joined our vow—they would ALL be there for me.  And each other.  We spoke of the commitment to our families, temptation, and the fact that men must stand together against the evils both within and without.

We spoke of how we stronger together, that we could remind each other of our obligations, and of the men we have sworn to be as we walk in the world.  We shook on that, exchanged contact information.  And I felt that I’d touched something real and all too rare: Men sharing their vulnerabilities as well as their strengths, men swearing to stand together to protect our hearts, our souls, our families, our communities.

Was there a time men shared with each other more?  Once upon a time ,was it more accepted to admit that we are not perfect, that we need and crave help?

When did we as men—as people—stop admitting that we are flawed and limited, stop striving to be our full potential, and settle for the mediocrity of what we can accomplish as isolated individuals?  I don’t know.

I walked away from that workout with far more that physical skills.  I walked away with brothers who will help me protect my relationship and my family in a sacred struggle.

The struggle to be awake, adult human beings. The struggle to be worthy of the magnificent women who have deigned to share our lives. The struggle to be men in a world that celebrates eternal childhood.

That is the war worth winning.

Steven Barnes is a novelist, screenwriter and life coach.  His audio course on adulthood, The Hero’s Journey, is available at www.diamondhour.com.

What are the sexual rules of your relationship?

How would you handle it if you heard that your partner had cheated on you?

Have you ever faced temptation from a co-worker or friend?

What tools can you and your partner use to protect your promises to each other?

Steve and Tananarive at the video shoot for From Cape Town with Love

My husband, Steve, and I have the kind of relationship we wish everyone could have:  We not only share a home and a family, but we collaborate on novels and screenplays…so we visit each other’s imaginations.  As we like to say, our inner 10-year-old kids get to play together.

We met at a writer’s conference at Clark Atlanta University in 1997, and we knew within three days that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.  I was writing a dating column at the Miami Herald at the time, where I had written about the idea of “love at first sight”—but I never had experienced anything like it until I met Steve.

I had written about the idea of “love at first sight”—but I never had experienced anything like it until I met Steve.

He lived in Washington state, and I lived in Florida.  A year and a half later, we got married—but most of our prior relationship had been long-distance.  We never “dated.”  But we had worked on ourselves to prepare for a relationship, and we spotted each other on sight.

Now we’ve been married for nearly twelve years, so much of the heady mystery is gone.  But Steve and I have found ways to continue to surprise and delight each other.

I’m still fanning myself over the way Steve conducted himself as a fight choreographer on a recent video shoot to promote our novel From Cape Town with Love (May 18), which we wrote in collaboration with actor Blair Underwood, who directed and stars in the webisodes.  [VIDEO BELOW]

I knew that my husband was a fourth-degree black belt—but I hadn’t really seen it until I watched him planning the video shoot with Blair.  On a Friday, they were rehearsing Steve’s suggested moves in a conference room.  By Monday, they were improvising on the set.

The original choreography had called for the hero, Tennyson, (played by Blair) to rescue an abducted child by hiding her in a laundry basket.  But the basket was too rickety to be believable—so Steve and Blair returned to a concept they had discarded back in the conference room:

What if Tennyson does the whole fight while he’s holding the child?

The five-year-old actress and her mother agreed, so the scene changed.

Steve would attack Blair, go through their rehearsed kicks (all the while missing the child), and then get kicked into an unheated swimming pool.  I’d had a brief cameo as a jogger in an earlier scene, and I’d been a nervous wreck—but Steve was flowing with it as if he’d been choreographing stunts all along.

My man, Steven Barnes, rehearses with Blair Underwood

Steve can fly! Steven Barnes takes a dive at the video shoot

All I can say is, wow.  That’s my man!

Steve’s lifelong hobby has been martial arts.  Mine has been music.  Especially since we’re raising a 6-year-old son, we often pursue hobbies alone, giving the other time in solitude.  It’s part of the concept we call the “Diamond Hour”—an hour that belongs to no one but us.

Sometimes we use our time for exercising or yoga.  Sometimes we use it for reading or watching TV.  Or writing, of course.  Sometimes I’ll pound away on my little drum synthesizer, or Steve drives to his martial arts class.  We work at home and spend most of our days together, but our hobbies are slightly off-stage.

Spending time alone helps us stay fresh as a couple.

Because then Steve hears me play a new blues riff on my keyboard…

…or I’ll see him reinvent himself before my eyes, all while the cameras are rolling…

…and we love surprises.

Tananarive Due is a novelist and screenwriter based in Southern California.  You can also visit her writing blog at www.tananarivedue.wordpress.com.

CHECK OUT THE VIDEO for From Cape Town with Love

Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes and Blair Underwood (Photo credit: Frank Underwood Jr.)

It wasn’t your high school sweetheart.

It wasn’t someone you met in college.

It wasn’t your first marriage. Or maybe even your second.

By now, you’ve learned that finding your soulmate is going to be harder than you thought. You might have started listening to the chants of the disaffected who say that true love is a myth, and men–or women–aren’t worth the trouble. Is it really so bad to stay single?

There’s nothing wrong with being single. As writers, we enjoy our solitude too.

The problem is, you might be lying to yourself. You SAY you’d rather not find that person you have dreamed about sharing your life with, but it’s not actually true. You feel a pang when you see couples walking hand in hand.

And you ask: Why can’t I have a special partner in my life too?

We made mistakes. We had doubts. We had to wait.

But we found each other.

We think you can too.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.   –The I Ching

Life together

This slideshow requires JavaScript.