POLISHING the less than STERLING CHARACTER - A seminar for folks who have pals stuck in addictions or SHALLOW PALS,  you know, the kind with deficiencies (LAME ASS VAIN AND TRIVIAL folks or SOULESS USERS, Vampires in drag, or PATHETIC, 'STUCK' PEOPLE)  -- HOW TO SPOT 'EM, HOW TO CURE 'EM!

You know it's going to happen. One day you're going to realize that folks around you are mean-spirited users, jerks and crazy neurotic nuts. I mean the lovers, children, relatives, family members, kids, clients, your best friends -- are mostly shallow jerks!

The giveaway is that they are only concerned with infantile desires, hot romances, dates, and I include the much in vogue 'intimate sitting by the fire and taking long hikes and listening to Katy Perry".

These puerile sorts favor sweethearts and gourmet meals of elaborate and costly ingredients, and vacations to lush places and fashion, movies, rock stars. All of which they talk about incessantly.

The sybaritic life style involves tracking down superb wines, getting a repeat on their favorite yummies, willingly walking into food addictions, traipsing around shopping, acquiring duds, showing off their style, decor, their earthly perfection perhaps to engender admiration. They feed off admiration. ALL they are interested in is what others think of them. Hey it's their problem unless you're paying their credit cards for this food and finery. Then, you are going to want to wake them up with a gentle MIRRORING session, but be forewarned. Screaming. "YOU shallow sensualist," And "is this epicureanism all there is? or "You VAIN PHONY, who do you think you are? WHO ARE YOU TRYING to convince yourself and us that you are?" YOUR ACT JUST DOES NOT WORK !

They are asleep is what they are. These people are usually on automatic pilot. They are pawns of two forces, first the CULTURAL CONSUMERISM drive which teaches mankind to admire perfect coifs, jewels, ROLLS ROYCES and Lexuses, CASHMERE coats, trips to Europe....and SECOND the biological forces, their own pleasure hormones the ones that signal "THIS IS NEAT "or "FUN" and  conversely, UGH, aversion. Aversion to work, service, study, the things that create a better world. (And rumor has it, 30,000 babies die daily of most painful way to die, starvation, so this place needs all the help it can get.)

Note that the vain and shallow generally have no spiritual work at all in their lives. They have no mission. No sense of service to the planet. They are in fact, almost GODLESS but to cover that fact, many of them pretend they are very spiritual. They go to YOGA class, are vegan, carry pure water bottles with them and talk up pollution and spiritual matters day and night. They pull a nimbus out of the closet daily, fit it on their heads and go around shining. But the clue, the tell-off that they're utter phonies is -- their schedule is as empty as their closets are full. Nothing but holes in their day which they have to fill with going out for pizza with their girlfriends and meaningless chats to be like the cast of Friends.

Their dream, if you query them, is to have romance in their lives, to have 'someone close, intimate, so they can feel paired off.' They all want to find their 'other half.'  A hole indeed must exist and half of them arguably is missing so their solution? The ecstasy of the simple minded. That's one variety of jerk out there. Another favorite hookup for idiots is to have massive careers. High power long days and big money are the fantasies that suit these 'driven' people but not in medicine, social sciences or mercantile businesses that might feed many families. No, the girls are found seeking vanity-soothing careers, show biz, rock music modelling and the boys lean towards Wall street money jobs or stupid sport and race competition.

Another tic these folks have, a variation, is the mind that is stuck in the past and they never digested those events. It's stuck in their gullet and they're raging over it. They do not know what a 'now' is. They full time spout and spew incoherent gabble about past events. ONE more variation which I get a lot of: calling up the fortune teller to ask how and when they're getting the HEAVEN they want without any work, when they can break their lazy streak and get off pills, and what did everyone they saw in the last 24 hours think of how they LOOKED & everything they did or said.

What is the answer? These people appear to be from another planet entirely. How can we even converse with them seeing the infantile, narcissistic rut they're in? Well, what you gotta DO is never criticize or look down your nose at them. They'll sniff it out instantly and never learn from you if you do. You gotta really love people to turn one of these reptiles into humans cuz it's time consuming. You have to play their ego games for a while so they'll love you. That means admire them, comment on their fabulous clothes, hair, cars, apartments, houses, trips and bon mots. But when they really adore and trust you as you understand them, start to get out your chisels, your verbal tools and tinker a bit with their screws.

With two very sweet tools, praise and affirmation, you will find that you can get into people's psyches with your solid steel wrench and tinker. You can convince. You can imaginatively illustrate. You can RUN actual PROCESSES on dummies needing a wake up call. The third tool is Q&A.

Q&A, when it's all about them, is fascinating to these folks. To have a Q&A done on their head is endlessly interesting as long as they trust the guy with the shovel, you. The digging can be done without announcing anything. No 'let's run a process.' Nuh-uh. Do it at a cafe over a goblet of wine, as en vino veritas. Or it can be done on a phone as then you can take notes in case you want to quote their answers verbatim, later.

THE LAST 8 questions you want to ask are my own set for myself. Questions 1 thru 8.  But don't spring these eight, the HARD EIGHT, until you've done the others. So Skip them and come back.

1.) How are you planning to leave this planet better than you found it?
2.) What are your greatest talents. (note that we're sneaking up on them. No heavy artillery yet.)
3.) What glorious goals do you fear that you will not have accomplished by party's end?
4.) What Time wasters will you blame for separating you from this cherished goal? Simple seeming questions, but not really. People rarely let their own brains go over this terrain. It's good for them, fun even..
5.) What is the trap you are in?
6.) What are your addictions?
7.) WHAT would be the BOLD MOVE you could make to get out of the trap?
8.) What would you do or COULD YOU DO that MIGHT live on after you? Works? Creations? Ideas?

 Life Coach Nancie Shuman came up with these and they're much more reasonable.
9). What gives your life definition?
10). What have you done for someone else recently which brings you nothing?
11.)Who did you want to be like when you grew up?  And how close are you to being like them?
12.) What makes you happy which costs nothing?
13.) Are you comfortable being by yourself?  And do you like the company you are keeping when you are?
14.) Name one perfect moment in your life.
15.) If you lost everything, who would still be standing next to you?  And if the situation was reversed, who
would you be standing next to?
16.) How many real friends do you have?
17.) Who was the last person you told "I love you" where you really meant it?
18.) What truths/values do you hold to be unshakeable?
19). How much do you value yourself?  And how do you show that?

Writer Kathie Le Monaco had these ideas for conducting probing queries.
20)     In your estimation, what builds good character?
21)    Do you feel you have good character?
22)    If you answered 'yes' to #21, why/how do you feel you have developed good character?
23)    Name the top three things that are important to you.
24)     Explain their importance to you.

GERALYN with the B&B in Desert Hot Springs hot pools said ask:
25.) what type of relationship do you have with your family?
26.) Where are the problems with specific members, how did they start? What would it take to smooth them out?
27). What spiritual path are you on? How do you serve it & how does it serve you,  your community & the world? What community activities are you involved in & what activities would you like to be involved
28.) What are your feelings with regards to our country's political & environmental state of affairs, what needs fixing & how would you like to get involved to improve it?.....
29) What  do you visualize yourself doing  ( career & volunteer wise)  5, 10 and 20 years down the

With people who are stuck it helps to be able to throw the bios of great saints at them. So read the LIFE of the great saint, ALBERT SCHWEITZER and run it out to your subject. Ask, what about that kind of life?

It is likely that when you run the entire set of questions on them, you'll realize they are so pathologically empty and banal that being with them is a waste of your time. The inability to set down a piece of trash which is gummed to your hand requires another set of questions entirely. And those questions will all be for YOU!