Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Free yourself from addiction and win

After hearing from several independent and hard-core smokers of success quitting using Allen Carr's "Easyway" I got the book, read it, and passed it on - to Soulmate and the Princess, and a few others.

I woke up with Princess yesterday morning, watched her put on makeup. "Oh no," she says, "I have the smoky eye look." She's a jeans kinda girl, not the tights and boots that are spinning my head about since the weather got cold. But she has this waterfall of brown hair and she pulls her knees up on the chair when she talks to you. She sounds a little whiny when she talks but in a cute way, like Hayley McFarland (the Tim Roth character's daughter in Lie to Me). Too young for me. Not, evidently.

Watching her react to the easyway got me thinking a lot about addictions. Consider this. If you add up everyone who's addicted to smoking, porn, drinking, coke, heroin, eating, gambling, sex, coffee... you would get almost everybody. My own addiction experiences are porn and, now that porn is clearing up, I am realizing how much of a coffee problem I have. Having these compulsions you can't control has a few effects, all of which Allen Carr talks about in his Easy Way to Stop Smoking book. It makes you a fugitive. You doubt your strength. You hide from yourself and others. You are perpetually ashamed.

The shame thing is especially interesting if you're trying to have success with women. I mentioned this in a previous blog. Confidence is attractive. So is health. Nothing saps these things like addictions do. I can feel it happening in me already. If you can face a woman with absolutely nothing to hide, you can give off an impression of total congruence and sincerity. If on the other hand, you have these drives you can't control and are ashamed of, that is going to show up somehow in your body language, somewhere, and it will undermine everything else that you are trying to do when you want to attract someone. What's more, the freedom you have and the strength that you have is itself attractive. It is something that almost everyone wants. It's a little bit intimidating, actually, to people who have everyday addictions (especially to things like smoking or coffee) or hidden ones (like to porn or gambling or hard drugs).

Today's my second day off of coffee and hoo-wee have I got a headache. I walk through the PATH underground mall on my way to work and it feels like every Tim Horton's, Starbucks, and Second Cup is singing to me... "Come, Verbal. Comfort is here."

But I walk on, and take my comfort from the original pickup song. Long before there was a pua community there was "Bust a Move" by Young MC: "On the beach you're strollin', real high rollin' everything you have is yours and not stolen. A girl walks up with something to prove..."

When you're free of addiction, everything you have is yours and not stolen.

Friday, October 9, 2009

God is in the rain

Tonight I'm feeling a little like V for Vendetta and Evey rolled into one. I'm torturing myself... by re-reading and typing out all the letters that Soulmate wrote to me, like 20 years ago. The beauty in those letters, the beauty in us, and actually the wisdom too, is something I lost when I cheated on her and never regained. Isn't that strange? I was never stronger or more balanced, better able to love or be loved, than I was when I was 17. That can't be true and yet it feels and looks that way from here.

The memories are so intense, the encounter with this little girl's soul and my own, that it breaks my heart. And it is helping me somehow. There is a place that is way beyond game and way beyond rejection, a place of love and connection and people reaching out for one another and being true to themselves and each other and strong enough to face what comes and putting the other before the self. And I touch that place when I read those letters, I lived in that place, even though I was also in the school musical and the track team and lived a full-on high school suburban drama too. Now the rest of my life is so much more real and I have seen so much more suffering and tried to do so much in the world, but that wisdom and love feels like it's eluded me for so long. Why?

It all makes me want to reach out to my Soulmate but she's not the same person that wrote these letters any more than I'm the same person who got them and wrote back. And wisdom isn't in trying to relive those times. I'm blogging now instead of trying to write to someone or call someone because I am trying to do as V told Evey, don't run away from it. I have to go back to the letters now.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I just watched the first season of Lie to Me and quickly went and got the Microexpressions training tool from Paul Ekman's website. The show's amazing not just for Tim Roth's acting (or the fine work of the other actors, including Kelli Williams who is totally hot in this soothing calming way like a fine blanket of falling snow) but also for the science, which is fascinating. And fascinating even though I'm not sure I buy it. But I took the test and did the training and now I feel subjectively like I am seeing more in people's faces than I used to.

For those who don't know, Lie to Me and Paul Ekman's research are based on the idea that people's faces don't lie. It's similar to what Suzette Elgin (see her blog to the right, ozarque) says about tone of voice. People can't lie very well, if you know what to look for. There's a movie out (I've seen the posters on the TTC called "the invention of lying") in which one person can lie.

So I'm at a party the other night with this little beauty who's telling me that she thinks she's hideous and everyone thinks she's angry all the time. I tell her about Ekman and microexpressions. She says, so I can't lie to you? I say, no. What do you see? I'm angry, right?

"I don't see anger, and I definitely don't see hideous."

But what I do see, and this is the truth, is these intense expressions of sadness.

"I get sad, sometimes."

"That's what I see."

She starts to tell me more, and the party interrupts now and then. We leave off, and pick up again, a little later, when we're both a little more sober.

I'm intrigued by her, this muslim princess. She's a feminist and an activist and deathly afraid of her family and community, she feels guilty about all kinds of things that happen in her country, things her people do to other people. She's jumpy. It's fear and sadness, and I want to earn her trust. Is this part of her strategy with guys? To make us feel like we want to protect her? We play the games we play, conscious or not. What's hers? Does she want me to see the sadness and fear? Even when she laughs, it's like she feels like she's stealing it, like she's not supposed to.

A few days later I see her again. We're talking about her life and her plans. I'm deep into giving her advice, maybe to make things safer for myself, or maybe I am trying to attract her now. I don't trust my intentions. She's too young for me, I tell myself. But I am close enough to smell her hair now and I think about what it would be like spread on my bed. That's one feeling, and it's there. But so is my desire to make that sadness go away, to replace that fear with confidence, to tell her that trauma can be overcome through connection and understanding (connection with me maybe, I think to myself, and let the thought go).

"I'm going to go for a smoke," she says, "my lungs have breathed clean air for too long".