Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fantasy Hollywood: Restaging Classic Films with Black Models

Breakfast at Onomo’s, 2013. Photograph: Antoine Tempé

Back in the 80s, my classmates and I piled into Mbabane’s local cinema to watch Top Gun. We’d turn to each other, channeling our best version of Val Kilmer to spout “You can be my wing man anytime” – followed by intense laughter. Who doesn’t have a favourite line, an iconic moment from film lodged in our minds?

Dakar-based photographers Omar Victor Diop and Antoine Tempé were counting on just that, the shared experience and ubiquity of film, when the hotel group Onomo International invited them to create a series of photographs using the hotel as a backdrop. They turned to the silver screen, to iconic moments they’ve held onto to and mined for their collaborative project, ONOMOllywood.

In 20 images that pay homage to characters such as Truman Capote’s Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's, these reinventions begin with the a humble “what if…” A question looking to how popular global cultural translates to the local, what could it look like, and what new memories would it create. The project has created conversation, accolades and blowback, but in an interview with Another Africa, Diop takes it all in stride.

American Beauty, 2013. Photograph: Omar Victor Diop

Missla Libsekal | Representational art usually puts artists in the hot seat, audiences tend to have strong opinions. For example Samuel Fosso’s self-portraits as famous political figures or Pieter Hugo’s Nollywood series. Mimicry steps on the nerve of nostalgia, the sacred or even challenges the status quo. What tale does ONOMOllywood tell and does it hit any nerves?

Omar Victor Diop | ONOMOllywood is a celebration of cinema, as an artistic discipline and of the magic of a great movie. For Antoine Tempé (the co-author of the series who created 10 out of the 20 images) and myself, what makes a great movie is the fact that the strength of its characters, plot and scenes transcends all geographic, temporal and racial barriers. A great movie is more than a series of sequences, it becomes a moment that is lived across the globe by people who have very little in common, but who relate to extraordinary stories that allow them to dream.

The example I always give is the magic of a James Bond movie; back when I was a kid, I didn’t care whether Roger Moore was white or black, or whether I was a British citizen… to me, he was a hero I could impersonate. After watching A View To A Kill, I firmly believed my pajamas were a tuxedo and that my mom’s kitchen was actually some concrete jungle where I would chase after criminals… That’s what cinema has brought to me and it still somehow does, to my adult life. A great movie is a dream.

Psycho, 2013. Photograph: Antoine Tempé

ONOMOllywood did hit some nerves, especially in the US: after one of my interviews was published on CNN.COM . We were taken aback by the racial dimension of some readers’ comment. To my great surprise, I realised that this series could be seen by some as a sort of “revenge” of black people against a too “white” Hollywood. The “race war” in the comments section was quite epic!

It was rather amusing to see the way some readers resolutely eluded the fact that this project is the product of a collaboration between a French-American photographer and a Senegalese photographer. It was “just some black dude painting Hollywood in black because the world looked better like this”.

I guess this can be explained by a set of contextual factors. The article about ONOMOllywood was published in late July 2013, after a heated debate over a series of race-related affairs like the Trayvon Martin case in the US, a series of blackface incidents in fashion magazines in Europe, etc. I guess people from both sides were already prepared to shoot at anything that could be seen as an attempt to see the world from a racial perspective… Interesting experience indeed, we’re glad this project started a conversation in other continents, that’s the purpose of art, even though for us, ONOMOllywood remains a celebration, a well deserved homage to geniuses of cinema, to timeless moments.

Frida, 2013. Photograph: Omar Victor Diop

The series has received quite a bit of attention, particularly in the press and through social media, what if any part of this journey has surprised you?

Apart from the reactions this series provoked in some parts of the world, I was personally surprised to see to what extent this exposure confirmed my belief that people share the same visual references across the globe. I grew up here in Dakar, a tiny Francophone country which has always been very open to influences from anywhere in the world. I remember when my sisters used to go to the Indian movies back in the 80s and how it was THE THING to do on a Wednesday afternoon. We loved Michael Jackson just as much as we looked up to Youssou N'Dour and Congolese rumba master Tabu Ley.

People like to think this world is getting smaller due to the internet, but I think it has always been quite an incredibly tiny village. Last year, I had the chance to go to Panama City for a biennial of contemporary arts, and one night I was invited to a function at some Cuban diplomat’s residence, I started singing along to a Cuban classic rumba song and people were stunned. They couldn’t believe that people of my age grew up listening to Celia Cruz (La Guantanamera) and Tito Puente and Johnny Pacheco, for instance. These were huge stars in Africa too, back in the 60s and 70. Small world!

The Matrix, 2013. Photograph: Omar Victor Diop

When you first conceived this project, did you have particular audience in mind?

We did expect this series to be shown in various parts of the world indeed, but we certainly had no idea it could go this viral before it was even unveiled. We regularly receive letters and emails from many unexpected places; a few weeks ago, we saw on the internet that a lecture was given about ONOMOllywood to post-grads in a Brazilian university. Yhis is incredibly rewarding and humbling.

How did you choose the 20 film scenes, and which are your favourites?

Antoine and I brainstormed for quite a while, and then when we agreed on the idea of paying homage to our favourite cinematic moments, each of us was free to make his own list. Of course, some movies were on both lists, and at some point, we had to bargain.

Chicago, 2013. Photograph: Omar Victor Diop

Senegal has a rich history in cinematic film with notable names like Ousmane Sembène, Djibril Diop Mambéty etc. Did this influence your project in any way?

The series comprises scenes from various movies, mostly American and French, and even though Antoine and I are both very fond lovers of Senegalese/African classics, we didn’t include any of these in the series, mainly because we want to dedicate a future project to this fantastic era of African Cinema. Stay tuned!

Thank you for reading and if you liked this check out the other blogs or one my books on
Kyle Phoenix
Blog: simply type in Kyle Phoenix for over 25 paperback and digital books!
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My Art and Writing, Part 4, From Idea to Book by Kyle Phoenix

“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”― Toni Morrison

My students, emails from readers and professional colleagues are always pressing me about my output.  They ask that I discuss it, to write it down, to share it as if I'm doing something incredible for so much output.  I'll tell you honestly that I'm not outputting as much as I believe I should.  Within My Art (I'm now struggling with how to conceptualize an d contextualize so many areas)which so far includes writing, TV, film, business, teaching and soon music production, I'm always dancing between them all.

Right now my computer is slowly saving a high definition version of a TV show for February on Development: Business and Budgeting; I just finished reading a case study in Strategic Entrepreneurial Growth while traveling for about an hour combined on the bus to classes; I just re-read a few chapters on How To Write More; sitting on the screen in front of me is the rough draft of a book to be typed up; and here I am trying to maintain at least a majority presence in my stream of consciousness blog (I gave up months ago on trying to write a blog entry every day and my Facebook and Twitter feeds happening mainly because there are so any overlapping informational pieces that are emailed or streamed to me.)

Ok, ok, let me organize this better: I break things down into stages and outcomes.

Stage 1: Work With The End in Mind 
(yes, from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
Right now I, and the small but helpful team I work with, are mid to end finalizing about 60 more books of mine to come out in the next few months, that range from 150 pages to 600+ pages and cover sexuality, relationships, fiction, non-fiction textbooks, erotica and even fan fiction/superheroes (I'm just publishing that last one as a personal table book, fun-thing, though I do have a couple of fantasy titles that I'll be doing as graphic novels in the future.)
Some of us are writers, editors, entrepreneurs,, lawyers, printers...

Generally each project has a business and creative/content outline.  A book idea is generated by me and then presented back to the printer, editors, legal and I consider whether it's one worthy of minimally 150 pages and all of the sundry costs involved in that (time, money, attention) then I generally do a mock cover work up.  I find that having a basic cover for a manuscript helps me to visualize it as complete and I've even started making a screensaver out of the whole folder of book covers to keep me motivated.

Stage 2: Assemble the Ingredients, Sometimes With a Stripper or Two
I've mentioned before my love of notebooks and my equal love of writing longhand first.  This blog is an experiment in breaking that form, in being less editorial and less of a perfectionist with my writing; just letting my thoughts flow.  Though in order to jump start the blog this past year I started a full notebook for it and hand wrote about 50 blogs---half of which I've typed up and published here. There's a blog on the TV show Scandal that is pretty good that I'll probably publish soon and a few other book and movie reviews that are fun and short.

For books I have a notebook, I'm writing up a draft of each chapter after I work out an outline.  I generally operate in a maximum of 12 chapters for non-fiction work so depending on the complexity I buy a 70 to 120 page notebook (I love shopping for notebooks and larger books for journaling!), I tend to get multiple notebooks at a time and design covers for them, say up to 5 notebooks to comprise a full book.  I then segment them with Post It notes---Section 1 and then Chapters 1, 2, 3, etc. and the first section is generally a rundown of what each chapter should contain (this part I generally also type up and revise as I need a master template) then I get to writing.

Though I carry a laptop lots of times, I choose to hand write because I can do it anywhere---on the train, the bus, sitting and waiting for an appointment, at lunch.  A co-worker recently mentioned to me that she always sees me in the lounge writing, reading with my headphones on---I'm not being anti-social---that's generally an intensive writing time/deadline for me.
I generally sit back by the green lights.  Like a

I have sat and written in a bar here in Manhattan, No Parking generally on their lounge-y nights when there's about 20 people there.  I can get two or three drinks depending on the special for about $20 bucks, people watch, see a dancer or two, occasionally run into a friend, be sort of social and not isolated at a desk writing.  I've written so far 3 books there---1 fiction, 2 non-fiction---totaling about 700 pages.  I then spent a few months upon review of the fiction manuscript purposefully writing an additional 100 pages on a character to beef him up---the great part was he was sort of a club kid so it was great ambiance for the writing itself.
That's not my arm.

Yes, there are strippers.
Yes, I tip.
Yes, they tend to politely step gingerly over or past me.

I know it's odd but there's something about the dichotomy of music/sound, activity, writing and just a splash of a libation focused for about an hour or two that gets the whole of some work out.
I would defend though that plenty of writers like Hemingway, Parker, Bukowski, Beckett wrote in odd places, in public places and bars.

A friend told me that a guy he knows relayed to him that the guy came over to ask what I was doing and I answered honestly--"writing a book" probably and then he continued chatting me up but then got intimidated because I used a word he didn't understand.  Hilarious.  But he then went on to email me later that he'd bought one of my books and enjoyed it immensely.  Education at work!  Whooohooo!

My only regret about the place is that they don't have you know wings or mini tacos, tapas!  I'd be writing there 5 days a week!

Stage 3: Nimble Fingers
Typing.  I don't hate it because it's an additional step I've created in my writing process that if I just typed everything directly would be eliminated.  But this is my method for about 70% of my writing.  I have a few clever desk stands that hold up notebooks and pages so I prop them up and type away.  I can generally get a chapter typed up in about an hour.  In the typing I make my first small adjustments, sometimes my stream of consciousness writing is rougher than intended or other times because of the limits of paper I leave myself broad notes and directions for sections.  The irony of this process is that I write far more than I can catch up to in typing.  Right now I have probably about 300 to 500 pages of handwritten stuff to type up and maybe in my scheduling another 500 pages to hand write.

I don't dislike typing, I used to type up my manuscripts as a teenager---200-300 page opuses so by 18 I was typing about 50 words a minute.  If I push it and focus I can generally get up to 70 to 80 words a minute...I can even almost maintain this speed not looking.  This might seem impressive until I tell you that my mother does about 100 to 120 words a minute---when we used to Instant Message each other she would type tracts at a time and it would just unfold almost faster than I could read in the IM box.

Several times I've hired typists to type up longer manuscripts---there were some that I had hard copies of but couldn't for some or another reason transfer the original digital copy.  (I'm of multiple minds about saving things in some "Cloud" online but the other option which I currently do are this incessant number of back up copies on multiple hard drives and after awhile that just gets looney.)  Typists though are sort of expensive.  I was going to farm out a job a few months ago just to get 5 notebooks typed up so that it could go on to editing stage and it was creeping up in price to about $1000.  That wasn't such a horrible price, just confirmed to me that I need to do a better turnover of writing to typing.

Stage 4: Editing Alone and As A Group Activity
I enjoy the editing process that I do by myself, with the professional editors then with my mentors' advice in place.

Draft 1 & 2 is generally written draft then a typed draft.

I begin, young, fit, happy....
Draft 3 is the long process of organizing it into a book format generally speaking in a template.  Is there enough content?  Do I need a glossary?  Do I need footnotes?  This is where I tend to add some fat to the whole project.

Drafts 4 & 5 are about book format-font, justifying, punctuation, grammar, spelling, etc. as by the fourth or fifth edit I'm generally pretty tight on the content.

Drafts 6th and 7th edit generally involve the editor where I send it off to them and they get back to me with questions, points and feedback about both the content and the layout.  The layout is generally a "rough draft"---the Table of Contents again acting as the master template to the book.

Draft 8 about 90% firm as to what it will look like chapter by chapter but generally what happens is one chapter needs to be cut, beefed up on switched.

Draft 9 is TOC 95% , Readability Factor about 75%---does it flow well?  DO I like it?  Will others like it?

Draft 10 is generally a re-do where myself and the editor generally hack through it.  This part is unnecessary, this part repetitive, this part could be beefed up.  Ironically this is where paring happens from the beefing up in Draft 3.  (When I wrote those additional 100 pages (30 typed) for the fiction book in No Parking?  This is the version I was amending.)  Fiction and non-fiction vary somewhat I've found---I print out and carry around a bound galley/typed draft of fiction and do direct to page edits.  This is a really beat up copy by the end and sometimes there are multiple Draft 10's as I work out what works well and what doesn't.

Draft 11 is generally the formal proof where the printer sends out what it will look like as a book and he description and finalizing of the business stuff happens.  Who gets paid, how, how much, is the book over or under budget (generally determined by page number, word count, number of colors on the cover, coloring inside of the book, the really tight legal questioning of the content (Ironically the legal proofreaders are so good that I've had several books flagged because some of my work was somewhere else like a magazine, journal, etc. and it came up as in my book so I literally had to prove it was me to my own company to create a release for it to be used in a new production.  Got to love their due diligence though!)

Draft 12 is generally the final version but there's still a window open to catching minor revisions and changes.  Sometimes this means we got the permission for a pic we really wanted to use for the cover but didn't think would happen so Draft 12 becomes Draft 12a, Draft 12b, Draft 12c---yes, I literally have versions of my own books---generally one of each that has about fifty to a hundred Post it Notes throughout with things I like, dislike, changed, minor mistakes caught.  I've since learned it's never "perfect" but because you got it right in 2000 other ways, you let three errors survive rather than holding up printing to sell.
"The writing part is almost over!"

Twelve Drafts comes from one of my mentors Raymond Federman who taught me for years that a work wasn't "done" or ready for absolute submission until that 12th draft.  It might sound crazy and excessive but in the forthcoming novel Hush as an example---it started out as a novella/long short story of about 75 pages in high school.  By undergraduate I'd gotten it up to 150 pages and started working with Federman with it and he and another professor who was considering it for publication, Professor Ronald Sukenick of the University at Colorado Boulder gave me the feedback that the short stories it was bundled with were publishable and they would publish a few.  The short stories eventually became the first volume in a fiction collection, Escapades, Vol. 1.  But Sukenick explained that Hush was a novella/long story in Escapades that deserved to be a novel.  After expanding it to about 350+ pages, the next editor gave me back extensive notes, with the glaring point that I had to invest a bit more in one character, that it needed a fuller lead protagonist.  Hence the 100 pages I then hand wrote and typed in.

Non-fiction is faster and slower in some points because of whatever the topic at hand is.  The topic generally requires that you simply write every thought you have about something, reference it, point to the overall pattern and make some points and suggestions about what is interesting or what I've learned or what the reader can take away.  In some ways I find it more fluidic because 75% of my fiction work I have an ending in mind from the beginning or midway.

The rest of the work is more business-publishing related, that's another article.  I hope this one covers/answers the questions I got on writing, tips, suggestions for how to write and my process so far.

Be sure to email me about what you think and tell me your writing process!

Thank you for reading and if you liked this check out the other blogs or one my books on
Kyle Phoenix
Blog: simply type in Kyle Phoenix for over 25 paperback and digital books!
Thanks and enjoy! You can Like Us on Facebook or Follow Us on Twitter!
Don't forget to watch The Kyle Phoenix Show on Channel 56 (Time Warner), 83 (RCN), 34 (Verizon) and the Thursday/Friday 12am/midnight simulcast

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

No joke: How Seinfeld can help you get better at work

The comedian has earned millions of laughs and dollars. He shared sage advice on how to be consistently persistent. 

Jerry Seinfeld is one of the most successful comedians of all time.

Jerry Seinfeld performing at the David Lynch Foundation: A Night of Comedy honoring George Shapiro in Beverly Hills, Calif. John Shearer-Invision-AP
He is regarded as one of the "Top 100 Comedians of All Time" by Comedy Central. He was also the co-creator and co-writer of "Seinfeld," the long-running sitcom which has received numerous awards and was claimed to have the top TV episode of all time as rated by TV Guide.
Seinfeld reached his peak in earnings when he made $267 million in 1998. (Yes, that was in one year. No, that's not a typo.) A full 10 years later, in 2008, Seinfeld was still pulling in a cool $85 million per year.
By almost any measure of wealth, popularity, and critical acclaim, Jerry Seinfeld is among the most successful comedians, writers, and actors of his generation.
However, what is most impressive about Seinfeld's career isn't the awards, the earnings, or the special moments — it's the remarkable consistency of it all. Show after show, year after year, he performs, creates, and entertains at an incredibly high standard. Jerry Seinfeld produces with a level of consistency that most of us wish we could bring to our daily work.
Compare his results to where you and I often find ourselves. We want to create, but struggle to do so. We want to exercise, but fail to find motivation. Wanting to achieve our goals, but — for some reason or another — we still procrastinate on them.
What's the difference? What strategies does Jerry Seinfeld use to beat procrastination and consistently produce quality work? What does he do each day that most people don't?
I'm not sure about all of his strategies, but I recently discovered a story that revealed one of the secrets behind Seinfeld's incredible productivity, performance, and consistency.
Let's talk about that what he does and how you can use the "Seinfeld Strategy" to eliminate procrastination and actually achieve your goals.
The Seinfeld Strategy
Brad Isaac was a young comedian starting out on the comedy circuit. One fateful night, he found himself in a club where Jerry Seinfeld was performing. In an interview on, Isaac shared what happened when he caught Seinfeld backstage and asked if he had "any tips for a young comic."
Here's how Isaac described the interaction with Seinfeld:
"He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.
"He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red 'X' over that day.
" 'After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.' "
You'll notice that Seinfeld didn't say a single thing about results.
It didn't matter if he was motivated or not. It didn't matter if he was writing great jokes or not. It didn't matter if what he was working on would ever make it into a show. All that mattered was "not breaking the chain."
And that's one of the simple secrets behind Seinfeld's remarkable productivity and consistency. For years, the comedian simply focused on "not breaking the chain."
Let's talk about how you can use the Seinfeld Strategy in your life.
How to stop procrastinating
Top performers in every field — athletes, musicians, CEOs, artists — are all more consistent than their peers. They show up and deliver day after day, while everyone else gets bogged down with the urgencies of daily life and fights a constant battle between procrastination and motivation.
While most people get demotivated and off-track after a bad performance, a bad workout or simply a bad day at work, top performers settle right back into their pattern the next day.
The Seinfeld Strategy works because it helps to take the focus off of each individual performance and puts the emphasis on the process instead. It's not about how you feel, how inspired you are or how brilliant your work is that day. Instead, it's just about "not breaking the chain."
All you have to do to apply this strategy to your own life is pick up a calendar and start your chain.
A word of warning
There is one caveat with the Seinfeld Strategy. You need to pick a task that is meaningful enough to make a difference, but simple enough that you can get it done.
It would be wonderful if you could write 10 pages a day for your book, but that's not a sustainable chain to build. Similarly, it sounds great in theory to be able to deadlift like a maniac every day, but in practice you'll probably be over-trained and burned out.
So step one is to choose a task that is simple enough to be sustainable. At the same time, you have to make sure that your actions are meaningful enough to matter.
For example, researching good jokes each day is simple, but you're never going to write a joke by merely researching. That's why the process of writing is a better choice. Writing can actually produce a meaningful result, even when it's done in small doses.
Similarly, doing 10 push-ups per day could be simple and meaningful depending on your level of fitness. It will actually make you stronger. Meanwhile, reading a fitness book each day is simple, but it won't actually get you in better shape.
Choose tasks that are simple to maintain and capable of producing the outcome you want.
Another way of saying this is to focus on actions and not motions.
Mastery follows consistency
The central question that ties our community together — and what I try to write about every Monday and Thursday — is "how do you live a healthy life?" This includes not merely nutrition and exercise, but also exploration and adventure, art and creativity, connection and community.
But no matter what topics we're talking about, they all require consistency. No matter what your definition is of a "healthy life," you'll have to battle procrastination to make it a reality. Hopefully, the Seinfeld Strategy helps to put that battle in perspective.
Don't break the chain on your workouts, and you'll find that you get fit rather quickly.
Don't break the chain in your business, and you'll find that results come much faster.
Don't break the chain in your artistic pursuits, and you'll find that you will produce creative work on a regular basis.
So often, we assume that excellence requires a monumental effort and that our lofty goals demand incredible doses of willpower and motivation. But really, all we need is dedication to small, manageable tasks. Mastery follows consistency.

Thank you for reading and if you liked this check out the other blogs or one my books on
Kyle Phoenix
Blog: simply type in Kyle Phoenix for over 25 paperback and digital books!
Thanks and enjoy! You can Like Us on Facebook or Follow Us on Twitter!
Don't forget to watch The Kyle Phoenix Show on Channel 56 (Time Warner), 83 (RCN), 34 (Verizon) and the Thursday/Friday 12am/midnight simulcast

I Chose Weak Men On Purpose By Kyle Phoenix

Recently, within the past few months I've been having all of these deep conversations with friends and family---I think it has something to do with more and more of my writing becoming public/published in books and articles.  It's not a fame thing, it's just when stuff is in print, people can muse on it, ponder and think on it, come up with deeper questions than perhaps casual conversation always allows.  In quite a bit of my fiction work, if you know me there's always a fun possibility that I'm relating some of my own personal affairs, my sexual habits and my deeper love affairs.  I tend to be very mums the word, very Scorpio, never too detailed or name specific even to family and friends about whom I'm seeing.  Ironically I write and work a lot around relationship and sexuality advice/information.  And even more fun it sort of came out recently that I've, past tense, been involved with a couple of "known" people.

Up until my late twenties though I had a penchant for weak men.  I would say by default because they were often full of bravado, very verbal men who you wouldn't think of as weak but were.  The other night I was laying in bed, musing on books and ideas and a screenplay for a same sex love story and I got to thinking about my own past love stories...and why I kept thinking about these weak men.  I searched the crevices of my heart---I don't love them any longer, I'm not pining for them, and in person I sort of remember at the end not finding them attractive.  Yet I would find myself musing about that one sexually, that one's issues, that one's voice and considering contacting them.  Then I would fast forward to all the things I've done and still have to complete---more books, films, law school, teaching, travel---and realize that I couldn't have done or plan to do any of those things with them.  In fact---counting about 6 of them now---I didn't accomplish any of those things with them, doubly in fact---I didn't accomplish much of my own goals with them.  So why was I even with them?

Sometimes before, during and after the handful I'm thinking of, I've dated and slept with much physically handsomer men; much funnier; much smarter.  Yet when I look at the Love Category this handful reside there.  I've been watching Howard Stern recently on YouTube (I sometimes put something on in the background that I don't have to directly look at while typing) and I've found him to be a very insightful, probing interviewer.  I was surprised.  But some of his interview questions I reflected back at myself and I found these handful of men.   I discovered that in first medium ways and then in smaller and smaller ways I've tried to make people comfortable with my intelligence, my talents, my Art, my gifts.  I've more of tried to Appease than Please but it's the same realm within the Disease to Please.  By about 30 though I'd done two separate years of intense therapy and gotten the tools to dismantle the disease so now I can look upon my past with a more critical eye.

The handful of men, thanks to friends, the internet and acquaintance, haven't accomplished any of the things they boasted about, wanted to or even I cheered in their corner to do. In fact they're sort of that friend that we've all had with big dreams and know how to fix everything yet never accomplish anything but being critical.  They all have that as a flaw.  But I chose them.  One therapist told me that I surrounded myself with people specifically who were of lesser caliber than myself so that I wouldn't have to live up to my potential.  A high school teacher years before that, in one of the most revealing moments I remember from my teens, told me that some people are afraid to fail but that I was one afraid to succeed.

I dragged my exes in mental holograms through Harville Hendrix's excellent emotional/psycho-therapeutic work, the Imago System long ago that essentially shows how our childhood parents/guardians teach us love and dysfunction and we re-play that pattern out over and over until we're aware of the pattern and how to manage/change it.  I've taught this in workshops for years, so naturally I always look at myself and my upbringing when I get a hint that I'm playing out with my Imago.  And yes, my exes in many ways emotionally reflect aspects of my parents---their self-absorption, their unfulfilled dreams, their passive aggressiveness, their fear, their angers---yup, I sought it out in lovers.

I sit at home and traveling, with far more alone time ironically than I normally have.  I use a lot of that time to write and read and in my writing, I'm also editing stuff, re-printing old stories and articles...and re-visiting that work brings me back to that period of my life, to those relationships.  A couple of exes wanted to be writers or filmmakers---and unless they bust a serious move, I don't see that happening.  Yet for two of them, going to school together, I've done, currently do and will continue to do both.  Another desperately wanted to write and never will because of a host of other anxieties and I purposefully never told him how much writing I'd done, that I'd been published because I didn't want to be intimidating or overwhelming.  I used to remind myself to be more vulnerable thinking that was my issue, or at least one of them, and now I see that I didn't grow up with complete encouragement for my talents and gifts.  Howard Stern said that he spent so much of his professional life trying to get his father's esteem and when he finally got it, you suddenly realize how small it is, how little it now matters to you.  I feel the same sometimes when my mother tells me how proud she is of my books or schooling or TV show---I'm like...meh.  Mainly because I spent so many years learning to not need anyone's accolades for my work, to become almost invulnerable to criticisms and compliments and only interested in useful feedback.

I chose weak men because I knew I was spending my time and energy on them and not the other way around.  And honestly I walked away from all of them (and threw one out) and I also honestly knew that they weren't going to amount to much.  Somehow sitting with them, playing with them, expending energy and attention on them made me feel not guilty about the fact that we weren't of the same caliber.  People around me warned me about one or two, even my mentor Carlene Hatcher Polite when I told her about one who I thought was "The One" told me that he wasn't---he's not strong enough for you.  She was right.  But I think I was proudest of the fact that I was dating, in a relationship, paying attention to someone, that maybe I was being normal.  I've spent so much of my life being singled out as smart and talented that it's like you stand alone in your own category to superiors and inferiors alike so it's so nice when I'm just "normal".  But in retrospect those men were expecting me or using me as a form of enhancement,so I wasn't normal even to them.  I helped them get jobs, friends, money, pretty much the Grade A hook up and they provided distraction, distraction from my own talents from me.

I've always been so careful in life to be egalitarian, to lower myself or uplift others to the same levels...but now I'm recognizing that we're all built with the potential of equality and that I have to take charge and responsibility for my abilities.  And acknowledge the lack in others. That's hard.  Because I want to be nice and liked, though I think both states and social forms are detestable---I don't want to be a "bad" person though I think bad is subjective (I often remind my students in class that even Hitler thought he was doing the right thing) and morally based.  Yet I chose weak men to strain my emotional muscles on, to stretch for, just for the exercise because other than you know....amazing tales and plot twists in my fiction and archetypes and stereotypes and characters traits that make for interesting fiction---they haven't amounted to much more than when I found them.  I have to look at myself and realize that I am good, I am talented, I am growing and creative.  That's hard to do because I've been my only mirror since I was a child.  And by the time I got to teachers saying it to me, I was still trying to figure out what I was doing.  I sure as hell wasn't getting it from my parents or family members and I was practicing a lower form of lower echelon friends for years so lower echelon lovers was only natural.

I cleaned out some lower friends over the years, some knew it, some now realize they were kicked to the curb and others...well they were too dense to know much of anything to begin with.  One friend I knew for years and I decided to back off from our friendship when she said something hurtful in about 2002.  In 2009 she contacts me and leaves a message and says the EXACT thing as to why I stopped being friends with her years prior.  The same thing happened with an ex recently.  Maybe that and the writing is what has me wandering down lovers lane?

I'm better at embracing my talents and strengths and creativity and Art now.  I'm thinking of it more in terms of a large panorama of Art across the swath of my lifetime for the next 50 years.  And I'm starting to consider the many more lovers I'll have, as there is a sea of possibilities and potential always, millions of new choices.  I guess I think about the weak men I chose because they represent where I go mentally (and in their time physically) to be unproductive, to be depressed, to be ashamed of myself.

But I take responsibility for choosing them, and I'm accountable to the lack of results I got with them and in integrity I can say they are proudly my inferiority manifested because manhood is about operating from those three paradigms, their weakness manifested by their substantial lack in those areas.  I chose weak men on purpose...but they also chose a strong one and couldn't tie him down.

Thank you for reading and if you liked this check out the other blogs or one my books on
Kyle Phoenix
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Friday, January 24, 2014

Suicide and Sexuality, Part 1 by Kyle Phoenix

Recently brainstorming with my small team of friends and students on book topics we circled back to when I'd done several YouTube videos on depression.  There have been times in my life when I have been depressed, mostly out of frustration for some life situation I was in or at my family or at a failed relationship but never directly at my sexuality.  Insanely enough my sexuality is something I've never felt doubt about or allowed it to be trod upon.  Conversely there have been other areas of my life where I can't say I was always so bold.  

To some degree being very intelligent can be depressing because I'm also brown and this world projects a lot onto that physical state that I really had no say in.  That coupled with sexuality have often times put me out of sync with the greater numbers in my family, with classmates, with friends and even with lovers.  I had to learn how to manage my intelligence and not suppress it and I think I'm closing in within the next handful of years with having a grasp on "using it" properly.  By that I mean I've made some funky choices in friends and lovers and knowing that I was much smarter than the choices or even the friends./lovers has driven me to depression.  And inevitably depression suggests itself to varying modes of suicide.

In my teens there was the high school love affair break up that sent me spiraling in silence---because I wasn't out to anyone and the most melodramatic almost-suicide attempt with multiple credit cards, every sleep medication I could buy, a sojourn through Prospect park in Brooklyn and then as soon as I felt the effects of the pills---I ran to the hospital in Park Slope, delightfully next to my high school.  I wanted to die because I wanted Sean to love me and be a whole lot smarter and surer than he ever was capable of being as a teenager.  I wanted peace and rest from my own self, from my own thinking, from my life.  For about ten years after that my mantra was that "I don't want to die".

If I was job hunting and it got tough.
I don't want to die.
If I was in an argument.
I don't want to die.
If I was lonely.
I don't want to die.
If I had to pay a bill.
I don't want to die.

I lived a decade focused on not wanting to die as an overcompensation to at some point considering dying.  But that too, ala The Secret was calling in the impulse, the desire to die by considering death through not dying.  Every time I brought up to myself not wanting to die I was emotionally eroding myself, my inner strength so that when I stopped chanting it to myself I was left with the alternative of dying.  

Then I died.

To be fair, I was in the hospital and they gave me the wrong medication and the meds flipped my gourd out and I literally started to feel myself dying.  My body slowed down, my thoughts became sludge-like, my life didn't so much flash before my eyes as it went through an organized check list but I just kept getting sicker and sicker until one day I lay on the bed and accepted death....and closed my eyes.

Then much like my Lana Turner twist in Prospect park a decade earlier, I woke up.  It wasn't some sort of---"I want to live!" movie scream (good movie by the way) but it was more of----oh, I'm not done here yet.  Again. 

I try to take one day a week to just rest, to sleep, to get 12 to 17 hours of sleep---to rest this mind, this heart, this spirit.  I have found that I no longer have to be everything to everyone. I regularly give myself permission to curse people the fuck out and to walk away from any person, place or thing.  That was one of the big engines of my death revelry---I had a terminal case of the Disease to Please.  I caught this disease from exposure to sexual abuse, parents with multiple addictions and my own prodigious intelligence.  My knowing gave me so much insight early on that it flooded my brain with too much information and not enough emotional maturity to handle it.

Yet I was never conflicted about how I define my sexuality including men and women, and I guess transsexuals (there was that one time.....) but not animals nor children, as omnisexual.  I sit with a lot of men, some women too and they tell me of their angst at whichever way their sexuality wind blows---ohmigod, they lament it, they sail on the pain, they crucify themselves on their feelings, on their confusion.  People tell me lots of stuff because I am non-judgmental---that doesn't mean I don't have morals or some beliefs, it means that I'm extremely flexible in what I see in people, what I expect.  Rarely am I finger wagging as much as asking---"Was that your best thought?"   I simply can't imagine being so upset by it but I have considered killing myself over break ups that now I realize I was reallllllllly lowering myself to even try and attempt to love such a person.  That I was in truth, finding ways to abuse myself and here's what makes me a motherfucker---when I connect to the bottom line truth of what I'm doing---I shift immediately.  In order for the phoenix to rise, first it must burn.

I had a friend a few years ago who was self destructive and passive aggressive but I was loyal to this friend because one of the Disease to Please and two because we'd been through so much.  Then one day I found out, ahead of time, that the friend intended to betray me and ruin my work and home stuff with some financial madness.  Suddenly I got it about this person.  Not that I hadn't gotten it years before, not that people hadn't mentioned it, not that the writing wasn't on the wall but I got tired of softening the person's madness.  I got up and silently walked away.  Not a look back, not a dark word, just bounced.

Another time I was in looooooooove.  LUV---Love! and this dude was bouncing back and forth in his madness and I was I willingly participating with him.  We went to dinner and as I was letting him convince me that he was available if and maybe I did such and such  I looked at his teeth.  They were little rat teeth to my eyes.  I got up and walked away.  I yearned for this guy, I cried for him, I pleaded with the Universe to give me this---and suddenly he arrived back as a possibility and I said no.
I realized from the two instances that those were times that I died.  That with each of them I left some deformed piece of myself that was the key, the rope in our relationship.  I killed off some element of myself to free my belief that they were appropriate for me.

Are there days when I still don't' want to die or do want to die?  Yes and no.  Oddly once I popped back from the whole hospital stuff---the death urge was gone because I was alive.  I let go of that mantra because to my own knowledge at the time, closed my eyes in what was to be death.  Circle completed.  I wish I could tell you that as an only child, the healthiest member of my family, and I'm eating kale and every other green veggie to drop a few pounds and avoid diabetes and heart disease and cancer that have buzz sawed through my family, that I don't see death on the horizon directly and passively.  I see it in the horrendous things my family have done to their bodies, I see it in the amputations and the cancers and the high sugar levels and I know that I'm going to outlive them all.  On one hand---yay, I live! but on the other hand, I'll be alone probably within a decade or so---all of my original family will be gone.  Don't get me wrong---I don't like all of them and a few of them hopefully there will be some pain in their deaths---but I will have my other family, the family I've created but not those people.  

Another "me" will have died.  No one but me will hold childhood memories, secrets, knowledge of who's in various photographs.  And not being "known" but still existing I expect will be immensely freeing and terribly lonely too.  I discovered at my mother's birthday party a few weeks ago that a cousin remembered the walls of our apartment when I was what---3 or 4 years old and when he mentioned it---I had the blurry picture.  But only a couple of people remember that.

One of the roads my sexuality offers is a sort of spiritual/physical suicide of hope of self through fear and a rapacious predatory sexuality towards men---terming them meat or trade, debasing the homosexual with sexuality.  I teach a workshop where we work on dismantling fear of men, anger at men and once I prick the skin of that beast it all comes out.  I often stand a midst anguish and pain and I have to not identify with it but see it, comfort it, reshape it maybe even bring some closure to it.  Then I go home, both energized and drained and I contemplate my own selves, all the dead ones and if there are more within me, ready to die.  And how will I know when I lose a parent or a child or a lover, if the "me"that's dying isn't just a piece of useless char but one day, the real me, the totality of me?  

Thank you for reading and if you liked this check out the other blogs or one my books on
Kyle Phoenix
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Ten Ways to Use The Secret, Especially for Men and Sex by Kyle Phoenix

It was snowing, it was icy out, it was not a pretty weather day but we had a rollicking fun workshop and I promised I would write about it.  About 20-25 MSM of color got together to discuss The Secret, the Law of Attraction video/book and the application of it to life in general and men specifically.  Historically since it came out in 2006, I've been using it in workshops and classes because I find it gives a nice focusing exercise/addendum to educational work.  Especially when the work is more esoteric or less heavily formal classroom/homework, when it's more of a looser workshop.  It got loose last night!

The first question from the assembled men of color was how had I applied The Secret personally as I'd also spoken about it on my TV show.  I related, that one example, was  around June 2006, I'd been duped by a cousin into subletting an apartment from her---she never moved.  The entire family was trying to get her to change her life, get off of Welfare, move out of the city, and I was to pay her rent plus some above her rent to give her some moving/life money, as I could afford it.  She decided at the last minute to not move (after I'd moved in) thereby causing all kinds of drama and conflama and eventually I found another apartment and moved 3 months later.  But in that time, those 3 months there I was mad.  Like scary mad because I had given up a dog I liked to move into this no pets building, I'd gone against my inner guidance and given in to my family's prodding to help her out.  Ms. Crispy-Haired-I-Dress-Like-A-Hooker wasn't and still isn't the kindest person in my family.   In many ways I did it for her older sister, Pam, a cousin who has since died of cancer that I genuinely liked and loved.

While sitting there plotting my escape, I noticed that she was routinely going through my stuff while I was out to work.  There was nothing of grand value to be found, so I realized it was silly but I felt angry and further violated, so I wrote a letter.  I wrote a letter to myself from GMHC (on letterhead, signed by the Executive Director, dated) offering me a job (I wasn't too thrilled with my current job) at the salary of $80,000 a year.  I figured, let her find this as I move out and choke on my moving on up.  By October 1st, I was out and by February of the following year, GMHC, which had heard of my work and dancing around the wooing table offered me a job and yes, with all the bells and whistles and an extra consulting fee---they offered, what came to $80,000 a year.

Thought.  Feeling. Action.

But could it bring me also love, sex, big time happiness?

I then focused on a change from GMHC from the 18 months of the grant.  I'd known for about 4 years at that point that I wanted to go to Columbia University, to law school, I'd printed out the applications, wandered by the school and finally one day took time off of work and went to an orientation.  I thought to myself ok, I can do this but how will I survive, how will I work and afford school---what could I do?  I surmised that technically for the past handful of years I'd been teaching---so I could teach.  I wrote about this, focused on it and one day while standing in from of a classroom, I looked out of the window and realized I was standing in a 200 year old building on the Columbia campus teaching a class.  It literally hadn't dawned on me for a month that I'd gotten to this point.  My next focus was to get paid for it and three months later they were paying me.

Those are my two work examples but the workshop wanted the nitty gritty---they wanted man examples.

Could you use it to attract in a man?

One, I started by forgiving all of the men previously---mostly a handful---but I forgave them.  I use forgiveness in a different context.  I thanked them mentally for giving me all the stuff, good and bad they'd given me.  Without those experiences I wouldn't have taken some of the journeys I have, created some of the art I have.  I thanked the angels cleverly disguised as jerks who'd I'd invited into my life (gotta take responsibility in there too!)

I have a prayer I often repeat in meditation---"I forgive you and I release you to the Holy Spirit"----though I'm not Christian.

Two, I start writing fun stories or clever musings about meeting men in different ways....and I started having "meet cutes" I call them with men.  By designing in my mind and with my hand, my energy, that I was attractive, funny, willing to someone I was able to give that off.

Third, I studiously avoid men who have negative tales about men, woe begotten stories, treat men badly.  Oh, sure I listen, but mainly in a professional capacity, and I don't hang out with them nor let them into my house.  People who do get to visit my home often comment about how serene it is---full of plants and books, low music, candle lights, cinnamon, honey, pumpkin, and chocolate scents, soothing colors, very comfy pillows.  A space of comfort and peace and tranquility, a space that opens up and welcomes me and guests in, when entered.

If you haven't been to my home and have known me for years---hint, hint.  There's generally one of those small waterfalls somewhere nearby and I often leave music, very low playing in the background when I'm there and even when I'm not.   Or I put Toni Morrison on audio---I love her voice----reading from one of her books---it's a delight to suddenly have her words bubble to awareness in the middle of a passage, a line to my ears.  Poetry floating through the very fabric of my space.

Fourth, the images I have on my walls are loving.  By that I mean not graphically sexual (symbolically putting up perfection and graphic sex draws in that highly yang and yin, or balanced yang and yin energy, energy or that comparison to self.  I had a client whose house looked like a porno website ad...and he couldn't find a partner.  I suggested he take down the overly sexualized images and instead put up loving, love in action, people in joyous passion.  By comparison I mean if you're not a hulking GymBot with abs of steel it's energetically contradictory present energy to have so much of that around you.  Plus anyone who comes in has something to compare to you...which might not be your best competition.) instead pictures of couples, all genders, engaged in intimacy, in love, in adore.

I don't objectify men or women into simply sexual objects and my images are of masculine and feminine presence and power, strength and joy.  I also keep fun laughing pictures of friends and children around me.  I've started this slightly odd project of scanning into an old laptop magazine covers that I like and I'm going to set them up like picture frames on bookcases to randomly change, showing these images from laptops.  My ultimate goal is to get several giant screen TVs, hang them on walls and connect them to my laptops that have random art pictures in them and maybe put it on a timer so that every 10 or 15 minutes the scenes change like a screensaver but as sort of art installations of love and serenity constantly at home.

Fifth, I bought a Feng Shui book a few years ago and literally spent a month re-doing the whole house and finding and fixing every bagua (energy corner/space---every area  of one's life corresponds to a nodal direction---there's a Love space, Health, Creativity, Play/Children, Family, Money, Work, etc.).  The funny part about redesigning by bagua is on one level it drives you crazy because suddenly every space, every object must be considered and yet on a deeper level, it brings a symmetry to your space, it demands a consciousness about your personal self.

To that end, consciousness about one's self, I journal constantly about my business, my personal thoughts, my concerns, my fears, I have literally dozens of notebooks just pouring out some of these thoughts.  I think getting them out, some fearful but most self examining and some around gratitude, makes space in my being, my mind for new things to come in.  I literally hand write so much to myself, I'm start to have trouble recognizing what I've written!

Sixth, I started accepting fun, sexual offers, good dates, loving proposals when it came from a good place in others.  Lots of times I notice MSM try to be "good" by being repressive or denying sex in their sexualities---they try to mitigate or abolish their sexual selves.  I have realized I can enjoy it, I can be sexual, I can have a lot of fun without being stigmatized, bad or unsafe.  So I do.  I write like the Carrie on Sex and The City...but honestly, I'm the Samantha from the show.

I deliciously enjoy sex, my sexuality, erotica, flirting, men, women, their smells, the sight of them, their lewdness, their bodies, their ashé, their energy especially when they don't know they're giving it off!  And yes, I've been to strip clubs and I enjoy sometimes the sight of someone not desperate for the money but reveling in their body, their sexuality---it's similar to when I see Alvin Ailey---the enjoyment of the physical form, of the housing for the Spirit---it is the antenna both receiving and aiming and releasing ashé.

I do genuinely believe most MSM I've met would be happier if they fucked or were fucked more often and properly.  Over the years, it's not even a backlash from diseases, it's this attempt at the puritanical, at maybe mommy and daddy and society will accept me if I'm the "good homosexual" and I act like a chaste heterosexual? Again, most folk, but especially the thousands of MSM I've met and worked with---I believe that for about 75% they desperately need to be fucked more often, better, more honestly and more openly...but luckily, the other 25%?

I date them.

And boy........I have had some sexual fun with some men that I've dated who I taught three or four things to and they taught me one or two...or three! lol  Whoooooooooooooo, baby!  Manly men, effeminate men, tall men, short men, hairy men, Black, White, Puerto Rican, everybody just a freakin'!  Yes, Lord!

Seventh, I ask out men.  MSM bemoan: "I can't find nobody to date"...."No one wants to date"...and I calmly ask them how many men have you asked out on dates in the past month?
Here's a secret to applying  The Secret to meeting men: ask men out.
I set aside a little in my budget and I ask men out, handfuls at a time and I date them ( I meet them online, offline, at school, at political functions, at volunteer activities, casually strolling through the city, referrals from friends, nightclubs, etc, etc, etc.) .  I meet them at the planned date activity or the restaurant, I pay (or they pay---that's something I don't let become a huge issues.  Whomever asks pays.  Why sit around debating the etiquette and rights and your deep-seated desire to "not betaken advantage of"?  You know what I'm doing while you're rolling around in all that mental muck?  Dating attractive men who reasonably like me a little, a little bit more and sometimes a lot!) and I enjoy their company.  Sometimes I pretend we're on a talk show and it's my job to get them talking about things that excite them in life, that they like.  It always works.  I found that if you date enough you stop being nervous and stop projecting onto one man that he's The One.

Eight, I date more than one man at a time.  Because MSM are used to secretive coded lives I had to explain when I say "date" I mean date---it's not a euphemism for sex.  If I mean sex or fuck, I'll use those words, like a grown man.  I don't use "chill" or "hang out" or "maybe" or "see what's up"---uh uh---I'm clear in and to the Universe with what I mean, who I mean it with and what I mean to do or not do.

I'm upfront with men that I'm dating (not sexually involved with) several men and if you think you're the focus of the entirety of my attention Day One, uh uh.  That's not reality, that's obsession and generally why MSM dating runs it's course so fast.  Within this, men, real men, (not scared MSM who are worried that Mommy might see their face on Adam4Adam---though why your momma is on Adam4Adam befuddles all)---can handle competition.  If he is and I are so inclined, a smart man will step up to the plate (or I will) to take dating to the next level to courtship.

Nine, involves again energy, ashé, but this time from women, positively and negatively.  Positively women are a great repository for MSM in how to view men, how to treat one's self in relationship to men and how to love one's self in a feminine based way.

I gleefully feminine energy bathe myself with all kinds of scents and lotions and candles and comforters and silks and pashminas and sweets and salty foods and expensive treats and little useless baubles and hilarious statues (I have a SaMooRai statue!) and I take an extra twenty minutes and wander around the supermarket and Walmart and I went into Neiman Marcus and Saks the other day just to let them pamper me, be nice to me, be slightly flirtatious with me.  I sometimes wear loose, natural fibers and dance around the house and sometimes have to move a whole music system into the kitchen so that I can finish the ITunes Playlist while cooking dinner...and after a 3 year personal hiatus, I'm back to cooking and experimenting on my stove...all of these emotional, soft, fun things are feminine, are the feminine within me, are the expression of my soul had X and Y been different, are the echoes of genders from past lives.  And none of it threatens me nor my manhood, in fact it enhances it.

 and just relax, without hard masculine energy outcome being my goal.
I pamper myself.
I mentally see my energy within, my ashé, as energy and love that I hold within and share with others, that I expand.
To that end, if I don't' nourish that energy, support and feed it, I have no love to expansively give.

To that negative end about femininity---I ignore all MSM discussions about feminine/masculine blah blah blah.  If a man brings that up---"only seeking masculine men, not into feminine men, I'm very straight acting"---I generally avoid him, I generally don't see him again and if possible I try to minimize him in my life, if he's a friend.  To teeter to extremes in personality related to traits isn't spiritually healthy---again edit, edit, edit.  It also suggests, I've learned in my experience counseling and teaching workshops he has a inner imbalance.  Men who are comfortable with themselves don't announce it.  If he announces it, he's not comfortable.  And if you're not comfortable you'll start doing shit to compensate, overcompensate, convince yourself, convince others and honestly that's called neurosis in a clinical framework...and hot mess on a date.

Ten, lastly, I have a life outside of my sexuality, outside of men and women, outside of sex.

  • I'm fascinated by Howard Gardner's work on education---I just finished his book Creating Minds on great minds of the 20th century and how they were influenced by their passing through Vienna.  (One of my mentors, Carflene Hatcher Polite studied with Martha Graham so I was fascinated by the section on her work, creative process and thinking.)  I'm re-reading Frantz Fanon's Wretched of the Earth and Black Face, White  Masks for a project/book I'm working on.  
  • I've been trying to do more and more of my Qi Gong and Ashtanga Yoga DVDs.  
  • In my visits to my parents recently, I told them the emotional truth---both my mother and father when they said some out of whack shit---I cleaned it up, said uh uh to it and when they wouldn't stop a certain train of thought....stopped participating, got up and went home.  I used to be "in" stuff that held nothing for me.  No more.  
  • I've discovered using kale and mixed mustard and collard greens for salads---not exactly The Secret but still something new and interesting.  
  • I bought a course and cds on studying music and even a musical notation book as a I learn to write music.

The Secret is good, it's very good in fact.  There's a lot to it---I feel the Flow, I am often in it---I often check with myself in the morning, with my eyes closed---I generally meditate for 30 minutes or so before getting up---asking:
"Am I in Flow?"
"Am I where I'm suppose to be?"

I check on my life on it's Flow when I am clearest, when I am most mixed with consciousness, unconsciousness, dreams and Spirit---am I in Flow?   Because I want to know if I am in it, to move my life in harmony.

I've walked away from jobs, money, two men, handfuls of friends, groups, organizations, even political affiliations when it was no longer part of the Flow---the river of energy moving me towards my highest self.  What I can tell you of Flow is that it feels like no matter how angry or frustrated I am or want to be, it dissipates, because I am where I am suppose to be.

I tear up often with spiritual abundance and feeling/joy and gratitude at my life in the moment.  I realized that I am a source of energy, that the Presence of energy or God permeates everything because it is everything so that the Law of Attraction is really me, ashé, or even your energy, reaching out with intention and clear thoughts and consistent action to manifestation.  It comes back, it always has---I know it sounds out there but what have you got to lose?  Sitting on your couch watching porno ain't brought the things you want, right?  Review the 10 Steps---alter them for your life---but do them!  And draw in what you want.

A final point, I recently re-read something by Robert Greene to the effect that we've been sold a bill of mythological goods about possibilities in our own lives.  The myth is that there's a limit, that there's only so much, that a person can be too much (I shoot people down when they suggest that about me---Maya Angelou taught me that in one of her essays)---that you only get one soul mate, that you can only have so much possibility in your life, that you can reflect back and see missed opportunities and you can't manifest them again.
That's bullshit.
I even put up index cards to remind me that there's a million soul mates, there's a thousands times a million possibilities, there's a billion more opportunities coming---that this is limitless, this experience is limitless. So if you think you've missed out, you have, because you create your reality.  If you think there is none coming to you, you're right.

But know this---as you sit in the corner weeping about it....I'm chatting up someone who could've been your man and I will fuck, love, romance, befriend, date and enjoy him.  Thanks for dropping out of the race.

And when I said that to the workshop, they were like "Damn, you got to type that up!"

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Kyle Phoenix
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