From Miami, With Love

Steven Barnes
3 min readNov 21, 2022

Am in Miami International, waiting for my flight home from the Book Faire. Thinking about all there is to be grateful for, remembering that it is NOT selfish to be joyful in spite of the pain we see around us. First take care of yourself (“put your breathing mask on first in case of depressurization) but then be of service to those around you.

And your joy can help remind them that there is recovery from loss. All adults have suffered loss. We should by now have observed the cycles of grief, and know that helping each other through them is one of the most loving and sacred obligations of life.

I saw a little five year old girl running and pushing around her wheeled carry-on. Tananarive said “SHE must be a terror.”

All I could think of was that she felt safe, and secure. Orbiting away from Mom for a minute, then returning to safety. Mom was harried and distracted, but somehow knew when her little girl was near. They were connected.

Mom took care of business. Baby played and explored, feeling safe. This is a damned fine relationship between our child and adult selves. The adult takes care of business. Basically this mean that all BASIC pain-avoidance stuff needs to be at the level of unconscious competence. Then we can build on that foundation to create joy, and then service.

This is why knowing the drop-dead minimum of work we need to do, AND REDUCING IT TO HABIT is so critical. My minimum for my life might well be:

  1. Firedance morning ritual
  2. Martial arts
  3. The Five Tibetans
  4. One Sentence a day
  5. Meeting with Jason
  6. Blessing Dance With T.
  7. Basic social media posts.

Those seven things cover all the core needs for body, mind, emotions. I would like to add 30 minutes of quality input atop that, but if I have 60 minutes, I’m on track.

I know that, over time, If I can do 90 minutes (including quality input) I’m not just on track, I’m motoring.

And KNOWING that tells me the M.A.G.I.C. is alive in my life, and that I can focus on being joyful, and finding ways to contribute to the world. What can I give? Who can I help?

If Friday Firedance meetings turn into a regular thing, how can I be prepare myself to GIVE to the people who trust me with their time? I need to be sure every word passes…

Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes is a NY Times bestselling author, ecstatic husband and father, and holder of black belts in three martial arts.