Upside down, flipped over, never the same
“It’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”–Bertrand Russell
British author Terry Pratchett once remarked that while most of us believe people (authors, poets, filmmakers) create stories, the truth is just the opposite.
Stories create people.
The stories we believe about ourselves and about the world shape us into the people we become. If we believe life is full of problems, we spend our lives solving problems. If we believe we are separate and alone, we fail to enjoy the deep connectedness in all of life.
The stories that wreak the most havoc are the subtle, cultural ones we don’t even realize we’ve subscribed to. The inherited perceptions we believe are absolute truth, unalterable, just the way it is.
As anyone who reads my work knows, I’m all about capsizing engrained stories. It’s the mission of the Taz Grout 222 Foundation. It’s why I begged my publisher to turn the pages of E-Cubed upside down. It’s my deepest prayer—that humanity will be released from all false stories of lack and fear.
In India, I experienced a completely overturned story that I will be musing about for the rest of my life. ServiceSpace that invited me to the Moved by Love retreat operates solely on the gift economy. That means everything is given out of love. There’s nothing transactional. Ever.
It’s so far removed from the accepted narrative that when I tried to pitch a story about it, my editor at People magazine couldn’t wrap her mind around it. “But how does it work?” she kept asking until finally concluding it had to be a fairytale and that I was missing something.
To be at the retreat was to witness insatiable generosity day after day, to enter a field where it’s safe to let your guard down, safe to wonder if, “Maybe this depth of kindness and care is actually human nature?”
It’s impossible to put this kind of experience into words. Words, after all, are a way of stopping possibility. Once you name something, it becomes that thing—no longer fluid, no longer bubbling with potential. It becomes difficult to “see” it any other way.
To state one small example: a tree. Is it simply a plant? A green blob with a brown stem (something kindergartners regularly draw)? Or, according to the capitalist story, a product we exploit for our own needs?
What if trees are trying to help us? I met several people at the retreat who regularly converse with trees including a prominent politician from Austria who finally left politics to do something he feels can better change the world. A Japanese calligraphy artist told the story of walking into a forest and having a particular tree say to her, “Hi! I’m Greege.” I think I might have the name wrong, but the tree definitely introduced itself and she has since met trees in three other locales (the California redwoods, for one) that she has introduced to each other. She and I decided we’d keep in touch by sending messages through trees from our respective homes across the planet.
All I know is that life is intertwined, interdependent and radiant with love.
We may think we’re trying to get something (a better job, more love, a bigger social media following), but the rock bottom truth is all we really want — the only thing we’ve ever wanted — is to give, to serve and to love with every fiber in our body.
Gifts keep pouring into my life including the opportunity to participate in this online “Be Your Valentine” fundraiser with all proceeds going to the Taz Grout 222 Foundation. Click here for the deets if you’re interested:
Have an amazingly awesome weekend, my loves. #222 Forever!
Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World).