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Why the parlor game “Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon” gives us hope

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” –Aibilene Clark, from the book and movie, The Help

This is a shout-out to the anonymous person who taped uplifting affirmations to the bathroom stall at the Sandbar’s new sub shop in Lawrence, Kansas.

Your words reminding me that “I am beautiful. I am powerful. I am capable of great things” made me so happy and reminded me that the simplest of things, the tiniest of actions can impact the world.

Your affirming words not only added joy to my day, but they elevated the energy of every person I encountered from that moment forward.

I once saw a comic strip where the boss scolded his employee who went home and took it out on his wife who then screamed at the kids. In the last frame, the toddler is sitting outside on the front porch shaking her finger at the puzzled dog.
That boss had no idea the chain of events he started when he chose to criticize rather than encourage.

You’re probably heard of the parlor game, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”, which suggests that any two people on earth are, on average, a mere six acquaintance links apart.

I like to think of those beautiful human bonds when I get discouraged, overwhelmed by the issues in the news. It’s tempting to wonder what I, one solitary person from Kansas, can do to solve the political chasm, what I, a single mom with a couple twitter followers, can do to stop gun violence.

And then I remember. I can invite my neighbor over for ham and eggs. I can bake a casserole for the new mom that just came home from the hospital.

Yes, we’re all different, have varying political beliefs and religious affiliations. But every last one of us eventually shows up in the same bathroom stall.

One tiny sheet of paper. Five simple lines. Tiny actions sending beautiful ripples out into the universe.

Leave a comment below with the words you’d like to leave on the door of your bathroom stall.

Pam Grout is the author of 16 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality.

71 Responses

    1. I agree 100%, before you label someone as “stupid” attempt to walk in their moccasins for about an hour, then judge. People do things for reasons that outside people looking in would not have a clue, and if they even tried to explain, outsiders would either not GET it or just won’t give a damned!—Patti Booker, St.Louis, mo.

  1. “Got Gratitude”
    I’ve got so much that today I’ve decided to share. I was on a hike and recalled how last Christmas somebody started decorating a dead tree at the top of the hill. I had the idea … why wait until Christmas to bring smiles? So, my plan is to go up next week with a little sign “Got Gratitude?” and some clothes pins and put it on the tree… It will be fun to see how many see it, maybe feel like playing, and come back another day prepared to share. Smiles all around!

  2. Thank you so much for such a ‘pay it forward’ idea!! This is what I have on my bathroom wall (really)….maybe a bit wordy but just what I need to read sometimes as a reminder….
    We spend our lifetimes searching for our purpose…if we just GOT IT that we are CREATORS…. in every second of every day, every drop of our time is spent creating… We could recognize that our attitudes and thoughts, the energy behind every one of them determines WHAT we will create. That this is OUR MOVIE we are creating…we create it, experience it ALL, if we don’t like our movie than we should change our attitudes and thoughts to change our stories….

    it helps me to get in perspective that I AM the one in control of this ride!!

    Thank you for asking, and I do so enjoy this blog, and loved your book, thank you sharing all of this with us!!

  3. You are worthy of everything good in life. Always trust yourself. Love unconditionally. Be grateful for this moment.

  4. From my friend Gloria: “Love yourself first and do not let your dreams be negotiable. If you are negotiable with your dreams, you are betraying yourself! If you can betray yourself, then you will be able to betray all humanity.” (www.happiestgloria.com)

  5. You are supported by more than you could ever know. Trust your thoughts become your counscious creation. So… Think happy thoughts as often as you can.

  6. Thank you God of the Universe for all (no matter how small) things you have blessed my life with! Even simple things that we just don’t even realize how people can be connected. My neighbor brought over cans of baked beans today that her family doesn’t want as they had too much given to them. I had been wondering who I could give 2 giant cans of mandarin oranges that our family just can’t eat and I didn’t want them to go to waste (we were given 6 giant cans and ate our fill). When the neighbor asked if we like baked beans I said yes…and it reminded me of my cans of oranges…I asked if they like mandarin oranges. How about that! We traded and blessed each other! Pay It Forward! Simple but perfect how things work out!

  7. You are cherished- there is only one you in this world and you are deeply loved. Be tender with yourself, let compassion infuse every cell of your being. Let compassion and love beam out from your heart. You are love, you are loved, you are loving.

  8. Touch someone today…..a pat on the hand, a hug,….we forget about the power of touch and its twin…..kindness.

    1. lovely. totally with you. But I noticed that inspiring events I went to, leaders make people hug. Usually, people are into it. Also, a hug can save a life.

  9. “Think big. Dream wild. Act soon. Be Love.” Or alternatively whilst sat there it might be kinda thought provoking to be faced with the comment: “SMILE! You’re always on candid camera to the Lord! Live it well”

  10. Thank you. Your words inspire me!!

    Sent via the Samsung GALAXY S®4, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

  11. Pam, I really like your writing. You just got another following reader to your list. I read a book a long time ago, of a French traveller, La Terre n’est qu’un Seul Pays, w/c roughly translates as, The Earth is Merely One Country.
    Merci , thank you for giving me hope .
    in Love and Gratitude,

  12. Go call your Mom and tell her you love her.
    Express gratitude
    Practice being optimistic
    Engage in frequent acts of kindness
    Savor joyful events no matter how small
    Practice forgiveness

  13. To borrow Mike Dooley’s famous line: “Thoughts Become Things. Choose the Good Ones.” If I saw that written in a bathroom stall – that would make my day!

  14. I am love.
    I am beautiful.
    I am capable of making life better for myself and anyone I meet today.

  15. Thanks Pam, for this spot-on, envy-inducing (ha, ha) post. I’m glad I got to read it.

    It’s especially poignant to read it after returning home from my “day job” as an assistant principal and the admissions director of one of America’s top high schools. We’re such a great school, in fact, that we regularly receive well over 2,000 applications for 400+ freshmen slots.

    This weekend was a Showcase of Schools in Louisville, KY. And I spoke to hundreds of eager, hopeful parents and children who were planning to apply to our magnet high school. As usual, our booth was absolutely mobbed by applicants and their families.

    As is true in most situations like these, I am continually asked the same few questions (“How do I get in?”, “How do I know if I’ll get in?”, and “What can you tell me about your school that will help me get in?”) These are, of course, understandable questions.

    Yet, answering them hundreds of times each application season (and this being my 13th year doing in this position) creates the potential for me to think, “Here we go, another person asking the same questions. Who really cares?”. In other words, the potential to devalue each individual – objectifying them by turning them into “just another face”.

    Yet the potential inherent in this Showcase event, also reveals the amazing transformative opportunity. You see, while those conversations offer the potential to marginalize and objectify people, they also equally offer me the potential to be alive in each moment and be fully present with each unique individual.

    How many walked away from me today thinking, “Wow! I was the most important person to that man during our conversation. He really cared about me, my circumstances, and my family. He took the time to really listen to me and connect with me.”? I hope every single person did…because that is how I chose to make best use of each conversation, each opportunity.

    The story I told myself today was, “I have the opportunity in each moment today to be of value and service. To brighten each day and uplift spirits with not only valuable information, but also affirming attention. Why would I want to waste this opportunity?” And its fun to imagine all the ways each person carried that good, positive energy forward and shared it with others!

    Inspiring someone is a high calling. I’m incredibly grateful when someone gives me the opportunity to do it. And I’m fortunate, through my “day job” and through my writing, that I usually get lots of opportunities. My life is exponentially richer for that!

    Isn’t it just delicious and thrilling to be alive?! Isn’t playing “Grow a Greater Me” the most amazing, fun thing you’ve ever done?!

    And I am also very grateful when someone inspires me. Thank you Pam – for doing that. Just as I hope those families pay forward my good will and positive energy, transferring it on to countless others, you have exponentially multiplied the good will of those bathroom messages by posting this.

  16. So many beautiful comments! I feel grateful to belong to this community of people who read Pam’s blog and who are attuned to the same high energy. Thank you, Pam. Love to all.

  17. Hi Pam what do u think of Alex Lloyd? Read your bk loved it but he made me feel that old beliefsthat maybe I don’t even no abt make my life so hard to change and yet u gave me so much hope please help…cheers share in.

  18. fav all –
    time saying” the human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it” it’s your choice

  19. I am a child of the Cosmos. I have no limitations. Nothing is impossible when you have stardust in your blood.

  20. Even if your friends don’t tell you everyday, remember, they DO love you. Tell THEM you love them TODAY.

    1. We love, bless and behold the INFINITE POTENTIAL (FP) in you ALWAYS!!!
      Dennis of San Diego

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