The biggest secret in the world is we all really love each other

“The world is sneakier than I thought, more mysterious and filled with wonder than I boiled things down to.”—Lisa Gungorsheroremod3

I live near a river. My favorite coffee shops, restaurants, the local art theater are just on the other side so I often find myself walking across the bridge. The pedestrian/bike lane is small so I regularly pass fellow humans heading the other direction. I always smile, nod, give a courteous, “hello!”

But what my heart longs to do is high-five them, fist-bump them, to exclaim out loud. “Isn’t this cool? You and I? Here together? What are the odds? This moment will never be again. We could die. Why aren’t we celebrating?”

It’s a puzzling quandary. Why do we waste even one moment of time not loving each other, not celebrating our common humanity? Where did we get these crazy rules? That’s it’s okay to love people in specified relationships? That it’s okay to love people after they prove themselves “safe?” That it’s acceptable to give of your gifts when somebody pays for them?

We are wasting time, people. The world is filled with so many amazingly awesome beings and we could be loving them all—even if only for a moment, on a bridge.

Speaking of love, I’m excited to report that Sheroes Hangout, the first recipient of Taz’s 222 Foundation, is making good use of their grant. Abhay sent pictures of their new space which I’m thrilled to share here with you. Thank you, one and all, for your touching cards, your good wishes, your donations, your pictures of 222.sheroremod4

For those who haven’t heard, Sheroes Hangout is an incredibly inspiring café/coffee shop in Agra, India, not far from the Taj Mahal where I left part of Taz’s ashes. It’s run by victims of acid attacks, 10 women whose lives have been turned upside down after acid was thrown on them by people who allegedly loved them. Sheroes Hangout offers coffee and free food to anyone who stops by, no questions asked. sheroremod

Rather than protest their unfortunate situations, these women are changing society by choosing to give, by choosing to love, by choosing to demonstrate that, despite being culturally shunned, they are still beautiful and worthy and bursting with important gifts to bestow on the world.

I will be announcing a request for proposals for next year’s 222 Foundation grant soon. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I’m excited to let you know Course in Miracles for Badasses (my 20th book) debuts in early 2020. Yet another 2-2-2.

For now, though, I’d like to ask a favor. I’m currently collecting happy songs, songs that make you want to dance, to love, to be more of who you really are.

I’d be so grateful if you could take a moment and list your favorite celebration songs in the comments below.

And again, my friends, thank you SO, SO MUCH!!!!

Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side.

When life pitches a curveball

“Love is a mighty force, capable of raising us to the very pinnacle of being and into its darkest abyss.”—Andrew Anthony1ab222

I’m flying home from Virginia Beach this afternoon. I just gave a workshop on my book, Living Big, at Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment.

It’s a truly magical place. The sand on the beach contains healing crystals and every fourth person, it seems, is either a psychic or a medium. It’s the perfect destination for a mom whose current passion is keeping her own spirit alive along with the spirit of her daughter.

The elephant-in-the-room question came up during the workshop. How do you cope with the massive rip in your understanding of the universe? I’m the writer, after all, who regularly blogged about being the luckiest person on the planet.

I’m not sure I gave a very good answer. Losing your only child is brutal terrain. But I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

And I’ve concluded that I use many of the techniques I write about in my books and on this blog.

1. I use the two magic words. It’s okay. It’s okay to be tormented with overwhelming emotions, to wonder what she’d be doing if she were still alive. It’s okay to sob uncontrollably, to stay in bed after the sun rises. It’s okay to question whether life is still worth living. It’s okay to feel any emotion that happens to show its face.

2. I practice gratitude. I mean, I got to spend 25 years with this incredible being of light and love. I was a 37-year-old singleton with no real prospects in sight when she chose to hang out with me. Literally, she was a life-changing gift–the most amazing, the most compassionate, the wisest person I ever met. I also appreciate the fact I never had to struggle with issues many parents face: drug addiction, mental illness, etc. Taz was brilliant. She was kind. She was perfect.

Another upside of navigating the chasm in my life is that it puts life’s petty annoyances into perspective.

3. I choose thoughts that make me feel better.  Thoughts that don’t feel good, thoughts that suck the big one go like this:

This isn’t fair.
I’ll never be a grandparent.
She won’t get to experience so many important life events (weddings, kids) 

Believe me, those thoughts vie for my attention.

But, as I preach in my books and workshops, I get to choose which thoughts to animate into my life. And I’ve learned from personal experience that I am much happier and more hopeful when I focus on enduring connection, on life being bigger than this little flesh suit, on the idea that she’s still right here, as present as she ever was.

When I look through my 38 photo albums (yes, I was a proud momma), it’s easy to recognize life’s changing physicality. Even before she had the aneurysm, it was obvious Taz was no longer the darling five-year-old starting kindergarten with her flowered dress and her pink backpack. She was no longer the seven-year-old in the Bahamas with the parrot on her shoulder. She was no longer the 21-year-old standing among the ruins of Machu Pichu.

Now, instead of a body frozen into one reality, Taz is unfettered and free, joyfully dancing throughout the cosmos.

And there’s no reason (except my stubbornnes) that she and I can’t continue to communicate. The other day, I got an intuitive hit to run my car radio’s scan function. I use it when I’m traveling, but I was driving the familiar streets of my hometown. I know the local stations. I chose my favorites long ago. Why would I run a scan?

The first hit was a twangy country and western melody. Then I got some preacher railing about abortion or something. And then I got a “station” clearly broadcasting a familiar voice. There was no mistaking Taz uttering two words that always made my heart sing, “Hi mom!” It so floored me that my frantic efforts to stop the scan were in vain.

Call me delusional, appoint me mayor of crazy town (as my friend, Anita Moorjani says, Whenever someone suggests such a thing, she almost falls off her unicorn), but I choose to believe these happier thoughts. And I am remain grateful for all beautiful reminders that life is bigger and grander and more wildly miraculous than I will ever understand.

Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side.

Just in: My monkey mind officially announces its theme song

“When you get stuck fighting small battles, it makes you small.”—Hank Greenego

You’ve probably heard it: Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” The all-time favorite line of my monkey mind (the Course calls it my ego) is “I like big but’s and I cannot lie.”

Monkey mind doesn’t just LIKE big but’s. It throws them out like parade floats toss candy.

Here’s an example:

Spiritual wisdom tells me I’m love, light, peace and joy.

Ego’s big but: But you often feel like the possum that got hit by the Range Rover over on Lyons Street.

It’s Monday and I want to dive into an ambitious new project.

Ego’s big but: But it’s already 10:41 and you’re just getting started.

My intention: To see my TV series produced.

Ego’s big but: But you live in Kansas…..

My highest belief:   Taz and I are eternally connected. Remember the Henry Scott-Holland poem, the line about her just being in the next room?

Ego’s big but: But she’s not available to go for coffee.

Luckily, I’m on to the ego’s theme song. Instead of buying into its “big but nonsense,” I choose to focus on love and light, to launch my new project anyway, to keep believing in my TV series and to continue meditating with Taz every morning.

Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side.

No such thing as separation

“Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us all without words?” –Marcel Marceau coffee

Happy Thursday, dear ones!

My Course in Miracles book comes back from the editor tomorrow so I’ll likely be busy with rewrites. In the meantime, I wanted to send a quick update. And also share the wonderful latte designs from my favorite coffee shop.

As always, “shout outs” for all your kind notes, your donations to the 222 Foundation, your beautiful emails. I am so grateful for every one of you.

California was cool—both metaphorically and weather-wise. After giving my Sacramento workshop, I flew to southern California to hang out with my friend, Anita Morjani, who as readers of her books know, has an inspiring take on “the other side.” I also met with two other moms who have lost kids. We’re all in agreement that now’s the time to build a bridge. In reality, there is no “other side”—there’s just eternal life. All references to “other” are provisional, illusionary and just not true.

Taz’s bio dad, who used to own a winery in New Zealand, had a very clear vision of Taz welcoming the 50 from the Christchurch mosque. Coincidentally (or not) she had recently gotten her New Zealand passport and spoke Arabic.

I love getting all these signs that life is eternal and constantly working behind the scenes in ways that are far beyond my comprehension.

Because I’ve been M.I.A., I decided to resume one of the regular features on this blog—sharing stories from my inbox. Enjoy, my friends!

“Just got your book E Squared. First experiment got me thinking about way more blessings than I realized I had.

“Second experiment was crazy. Said to the FP, “let’s see orange cars today.” Well, my drive to work was uneventful. I was trying to see orange cars but I didn’t see any. However, I was listening to your Ted Talk where you mentioned singing “I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Wiener”.

I arrived at my office and I parked behind a “copper” colored car. Now in my mind, I convinced myself that it was orange. I thought to myself, “Okay, here we go”. I walked in and sat at my desk. I turned and looked out the window and there it was. The ultimate “Orange Car”. The Oscar Meyer Wiener Mobile was parked in my parking lot. Now you can’t get more orange than that. I laughed and thought of your Ted Talk where you mentioned Oscar Meyer Wieners.

On my drive home I saw around five more orange cars.

Thanks Pam, can’t wait for experiment #3.”

coffee2Thank you, Mark, and thank you to all of you for holding the vision for a kinder, more beautiful, more meaningful world. I love you all!

Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side

222 Forever: A treatise on eternal possibility

“Love is not a gated community.”—Frank Ostaseki

sheroes (2)

Yes, my friends, it’s finally here. The auspicious date when Taz’s 222 Foundation announces recipient numero uno of its annual $10,222 grant.

Sheroes Hangout is an incredibly inspiring café/coffee shop in Agra, India, not far from the Taj Mahal where I left part of Taz’s ashes.

I discovered this colorful, creative hangout in November when I was in India with TribesForGOOD. During seven-day social impact journeys, this innovative program pairs volunteers with small social enterprises, uplifting both volunteers and communities. That, of course, is how it should be. Win-win-win-win.

My radiant daughter Tasman, in her short 25 years on the planet, was relentless in standing up for those who are marginalized. Her continuous fight for the underdog is why I chose Sheroes Hangout. It’s run by victims of acid attacks, 10 women whose lives have been turned upside down by having acid thrown on them by people who allegedly loved them.

For example, Geeta and her two daughters were attacked by her husband while sleeping. He was mad that she hadn’t yet produced a male heir. The acid melted their skin, burned their eyebrows and disfigured their lips, faces and necks.

Today, rather than hide, rather than feel like outcasts, Geeta, her daughter and eight other women who suffered the same fate joyfully run Sheroes Hangout. They do the books, they cook, they manage the library and boutique where their creations are sold. Most importantly, Sheroes Hangout offers coffee and free food to anyone who stops by, no questions asked.

Rather than protest their unfortunate situations, these women are changing society by choosing to give, by choosing to love, by choosing to demonstrate that, despite being culturally shunned, they are still beautiful and worthy and bursting with important gifts to bestow on the world.

Not long after I was in Agra, the road near the café had to be widened so the grant from Taz Grout’s 222 Foundation will enable them to relocate to their new hangout.

Sheroes satisfies the mission of the 222 Foundation because it overcomes norms inflicted by society—norms like being defined and judged by our looks. Norms like believing it’s more important to look good on the outside than be good on the inside.

Because of their difficult circumstances, the women who run Sheroes Hangout have learned the importance and truth of inner beauty. They’ve learned how to give unconditionally. They inspire all of us to turn tragedy into something that helps others.

222 foundation 2Eventually, Taz’s 222 Foundation will be an incubator for brand new creative projects and ideas. I will put out a call for proposals in August of 2019 and every year moving forward.

For this first award–because it has taken me a while to get my bearings back and because I didn’t have time to receive proposals, do the interviews and make decisions–I chose Sheroes Hangout because they so deeply inspired me.

Here is the video about Sheroes that I played at Taz’s Celebration of Life.

Thank you all for joining me on this journey of eternal connection, joy and love.

Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side.

Love, only love

“The seeker of love escapes the chains of birth and death.”—Rumi
taz from willem 2

Long time, eh? Especially for a writer like me who believes in exercising her creativity on a daily basis.

Words have seemed a bit clumsy lately. How can I possibly summarize the journey of the past few months?

If anything, I’ve learned death isn’t the end of a relationship. Rather, it’s an invitation for a different type of relationship.

After Timothy Leary died, Ram Dass, his colleague at Harvard in the 60’s, was asked how he felt about the loss of his long-time associate?

Ram Dass answered, “What loss? He’s still with me.”

A different interviewer asked Julia Roberts, whose father died of throat cancer when she was 11 or 12, if she regretted never having had an adult relationship with him. She said, “Are you kidding? He’s with me ALL the time.”

Tasman still feels very present, living within me, changing me, walking through the world with me.

Whenever I veer off the path, when I choose to resist this new reality (which causes me to stiffen, suffer and basically hurt myself), she sends a sign. Like at a coffee shop the other day. An unknown college student sat down at the adjoining bookstore’s baby grand and played one of Taz’s old contest songs. Readers from around the world continue to send pictures of 222. Dear friends continue to offer up support and unconditional love.

I’m constantly reminded I have but one choice–to bow to the mystery, to recognize that whatever’s happening here is more profound than I–at least while in this body–can begin to understand.

I haven’t abandoned my beliefs in joy and gratitude. It’s just that now a gauntlet has been thrown for me to enlarge my reality, to view life from an elevated context, to truly smoke what I’ve been selling the past six years in my books and workshops.

I plan to head back out into the world soon. I recently turned in the manuscript for the Course in Miracles book. Look for ACIM for Badasses in early 2020. I’m giving a workshop in California in a couple weeks and I’ll be making the official announcement of the first recipient of the 222 Foundation on, you guessed it, February 22.

I continue to be inspired by the magical gift of my daughter. And I’m grateful I get to carry forward the beautiful world I experience through her eyes.

Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side.

Create relentlessly, love fiercely and do quiet, kind things for the underdog: an update on the 222 Foundation

“We never lose the people we love, even to death. They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make. Their love leaves an indelible imprint.”—Leo Buscaglia 222 foundation love

One of my greatest blessings is my inbox. Every day, I receive fist-bumping miracle stories, love notes and signs from the universe.

“Oh, Pam,” it often chides me. “You promised to do this… You agreed to write that.”

Today’s sign was an email from a reader wanting to know if it was too late to apply for the 222 Award. Which reminded me I vowed to post an update soon. So here goes:

I’ve chosen the first recipient of the 222 Foundation. Because of the short timing and the shock of all that’s transpired, I decided to dispense with the application process for this first award.

It will be given out February 22, 2019 and announced at Taz’s Celebration of Life which would have been on 2/22 except I’ve been scheduled to fly to California to give a workshop on 2/23.

I chose a group of beautiful women who live in Agra, India near the Taj Mahal where I left some of Taz’s ashes last month when traveling with the first Social Impact Journey of Tribes for Good.

Let’s just say the women I chose exude immense inner beauty, generosity and know from first hand experience that the world will never change if we spend all our time and money on clothes and makeup and society’s messages that there’s something wrong with our bodies, our looks and our strong voices.

Eventually, the 222 Foundation will be an incubator for original ideas with the potential to overturn the dominant paradigm.

The yearly grant will be given to innovators, artists, inventors and entrepreneurs who have a vision for creating a meaningful and generous world.

It will be awarded to go-getters and problem solvers who know that squeezing themselves into a big machine is a limited ambition and will never be as interesting and satisfying as creating their own thing.

As I wrote in Art & Soul, Reloaded, nearly everything we once counted on, invested in and believed in is, for all practical purposes, grinding to a halt.

The old life plan (go to college, get a job) worked for a long time. It created jobs and wealth and lifted people out of poverty. But turns out, the American Dream, a term coined by Fannie Mae to convince two-income, post-World War II families to take out mortgages, has a Dr. Jekyll lurking in the back closet.

The only way to keep the old system chugging along is rampant consumerism. And we all know that makes NO ONE HAPPY!

But giving of our gifts does.

Any donkey can tear down a barn. But how many of us are willing to build a new barn, create a new world, envision a beautiful world that works for all of us?

Speaking of beautiful worlds, here’s a shoutout to Torie Tiffany (that’s her artist name) who created the logo for the 222 Foundation, the one pictured on this blog. Isn’t it gorgeous??!!!

Finally, here’s the mission statement:

The 222 Foundation was started to honor Tasman McKay Grout who spent her 25 short years on the planet inspiring everyone who knew her to live and love better. Everything she did was some variation of this theme: create relentlessly, love fiercely and do quiet, kind things for the underdog.

Each year on February 22, a $10,222 grant will be given to an innovative project or person with a big idea to change consciousness and therefore change the world. We look for projects that support the following ideas:

1. A change in perspective is our greatest need. We believe all people (no exceptions) long to be generous and create beautiful things.

2. Today’s hopelessness is based on false premises. We look to defy the old story of scarcity, lack and the need to fight for resources. We look to prove that the universe, once liberated from no-longer-working paradigms of scarcity, is generative and endlessly abundant.

3. The us against them model is kaput. We believe all humans are interconnected and that even tiny actions have great significance.

A call for applications for the 2/20/2020 award will be posted the summer of 2019.

And, for those who have asked, there will eventually be a link to donate. For now, anyone who is interested can send a check to the 222 Foundation, c/o DCCA, 900 Massachusetts, Suite 406, Lawrence, KS 66044.

I also need to alert you that there is another 222 Foundation (again, I found out from a message that popped into my inbox), but it has a very different mission and is not Taz’s Foundation.

Thank you all SO, SO MUCH for your kind thoughts and messages over the past few months. Please know they have kept me going.

Like all relationships, my journey with Taz evolved over the years. First, I loved her as a baby. Then as a toddler, a teenager and finally a independent, free-thinking adult. And now, I’m continuing to love her as the unfathomable, unlimited spirit she always was and will always be. taz7 (2)

Here’s to a brilliant, inspiring 2019!

Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, >Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

“Closure is a perfectly good word for real estate and business deals, but it’s a terrible word in human relationships. Once you’ve become attached to somebody, love somebody, you cannot cut it off. It is part of your being. It’s a part of who you are.”–—Pauline Boss

Since writing E-Squared and hearing from so many readers around the world, I’ve noticed a trend. Many of my blog posts tell stories about signs–signs that the universe has our back, signs that miracles are freakin’ everywhere waiting for us to pay attention, signs that something infinitely greater than we are is running the show.

Lately, I’ve been getting my own signs from Taz and signs from many of you that involve 222. Like being reminded of the Emmy-award winning TV show Room 222 that ran for five years in the early 70’s. Set at the fictional Walt Whitman High School, this popular show delivered gentle message about tolerance and understanding, which was Taz’s M.O. and the purpose of the 222 Foundation.

When I was in India, I got a very clear sign at the Taj Mahal–thank you Taz for the goosebumps. Mary and I almost didn’t go there, figuring it would be a too-busy and potentially cheesy tourist attraction. Au contraire!

Taj Mahal is a magical, spiritual place that, as our Spanish-speaking guide informed us, took 22 years to build and involved 20,000 craftspeople. Commissioned in 1632, its 42 acres were designed as a tribute to love and to Moghul Shah Jahan’s favorite wife who happens to be named, Taj Mahal. Taz McKay made it very clear that part of her ashes should be memorialized there, as well.

Back home, I hear songs, see our special number and, because I can never get enough, I ask (beg, more like it) for indisputable proof that she’s still here and that we can still communicate.

The other day, a soap bubble appeared out of nowhere and began bouncing around my kitchen. It soared up. It soared down. It danced around the room for a good 10 minutes. Had I not been so stunned about this rainbow-hued soap bubble, I might have noticed if it was writing out words.

For now, I’m just happy knowing my beloved daughter is very much still with me only now, as the Red Hot Chili Peppers sing, she is “everywhere just like the sky.”

Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side.

Abundance, hoarders and why I’m a whole lot richer than #realDonaldTrump

“Only if there are angels in your head will you ever possibly see one.”—Mary Olivertaz4 (2)

Thought I should check in, let you know I’m back from India, still working on the Course in Miracles book and still moving full steam ahead with the 222 Foundation in honor of my epic daughter, Tasman.

I’ve even found what I think will be the first recipient for the upcoming February 22 award.

In the meantime, because I’m feeling a bit cheeky, thought I’d run a favorite post from four years ago.


“I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen.”–Bruno Mars
taz photo ???

I didn’t make Forbes’ list of billionaires in 2015. Unlikely, I’ll make it this year either. But I do know a secret that makes me deserving of the list.

I know with complete certainty that the world is limitless, abundant and strangely-accommodating. I also know that anything I could ever need or want is as easy to manifest as plugging in the toaster.

Take today, for example, I’m making limoncello for my daughter’s party, enjoying mochas and breakfast out. And in a few months, I’m flying to Barcelona to visit her in her new post.

Those billionaires? I doubt they could spare the time.

In fact, the only difference between me and “The Donald” is I choose not to carry my riches around. It’s comforting to know that anything I could ever want to do is available to me, but why flaunt it or drag around a bunch of material baggage?

In fact, I’d like to argue that amassing $10 billion, the dollar amount Trump claims to be worth, is not that different than hoarding old newspapers, leaky buckets and all the other junk collecting in the homes of the dysfunctional folks we watch on the A&E show, “Hoarders.”

No, my role model is Peace Pilgrim who, when she was very young, made an important discovery: “Making money is easy.”

Which is why she could give up her earthly possessions and walk around the world with nothing but the clothes on her back. As she said about her 28-year-old journey, “Life is full. Life is good. I have a feeling of always being surrounded by all of the good things, like love and peace and joy. It’s like a protective surrounding.”

That’s all anyone really needs. To know with sure conviction that “the world is limitless, abundant and strangely accommodating.”

It’s not the “stuff” you want. Jesus could never have brought Lazarus back to life and multiplied all those fishes and loaves if he’d been preoccupied by the desire for a beachside residence.

That said, I do not want to make you feel guilty for wanting a big home in Malibu. There is not one thing wrong with a big home in Malibu. Or anything else you want. Want it. Walk toward it with all your heart and might. Just know that there are higher rungs. And know that most people hoard material things out of fear. And fear, after all, is what we’re attempting to move away from.

Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side.


You can never say “I love you” too often

“In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

Every time I took off on a flight, I texted Tasman to tell her I loved her. You know, just in case.

Since she’s not currently taking texts, I decided to send this email out to all of you to let you know: I LOVE YOU!

Because, well, I’m about to take off for Mumbai.

Many months ago, I was invited to join Tribes for Good on their initial Social Impact Journey. It’s a weeklong trip for those of us with a heart to make a difference in the world, those of us who want to use our talents and energy to rewrite the dominant paradigm. We’ll be learning skills to bring people together, to get us all in the same vicinity so we can all finally get it that we really DO love each other. That we really DO want to take care of each other.

Because the mission aligns so closely with The 222 Foundation (and because my best friend from college agreed to join me), I decided to carry on. I decided to take Taz’s message to me (“Mom, you’ve got to take all that love you gave to me and give it to everyone else.”) and focus on the love. Focus on what I still have.

And you’ll be happy to hear I’m even practicing what I preach, being grateful that:

1. I got 25 years with the most loving, most amazing daughter on the planet.

2. That she changed her plans and decided to stay in my hometown for the last year of her life. Initially, after her year of European and African wandering, Tasman planned to teach in China. She landed a job in Beijing, jumped through all the hoops, got all the background checks and, right before she was scheduled to start, changed her mind and stayed here working with the Spanish-speaking families of the Douglas County Big Brothers/Big Sisters. So I am so blessed that I got an extra year!!!!!!

3. We’re starting a foundation to radically change consensus reality. I’ve got people all over the world holding the vision that Taz started. Love fiercely and do kind things for the underdog.

The Foundation will give its first $10,000 grant on February 22 of the coming year.

We’ll be looking for people like Hal Taussig, the CEO I once wrote about for People magazine. He passed a few years ago (I’m guessing he’s probably busy sharing ideas with Taz), but, just to give you a sample of the types of folks (and ideas) we’re looking to fund, I’m re-posting this story about the amazing CEO who gave 100 percent of his profits to projects that address inequality.


Hal Taussig will never make the Forbes list of highest paid CEO’s. It’s not that his Pennsylvania travel company isn’t profitable. Untours, the company he started in 1971 with a $5000 loan, pulls down annual profits of a million dollars, sending thousands of customers a year on shoestring cultural immersions to 24 destinations around the world.

It’s just that Hal donates every penny (yes, 100 percent) of the company’s profits to innovative projects that address poverty. He lives in a tiny two-room house with his wife Norma (she owns the century-old wood frame house that was built for mill workers), rides a bike to work (he gave his car away to a hitchhiker nearly 40 years ago), shops at thrift stores (his one suit cost $12 — “It’s a Brooks Brothers. I’m very proud of that suit,” Hal says) and refuses to take a salary. He has one pair of shoes that he resoles when they get worn and he reads newspapers and magazines at the library.

“I decided a long time ago I didn’t want to accumulate wealth,” Taussig says. “Things do not make people happy. Living simply is how I get joy out of life. I live a very rich life on very little money.”

In 1999, when John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Paul Newman awarded Taussig with a “Most Generous Business in America” award, he went to New York to accept it, but rather than staying in a hotel, he stayed in a $10-a-night youth hostel.

“I don’t feel right about staying in a five-star hotel when there are people who don’t even have a roof over their head,” he says.

As for the $250,000 award, he used the entire amount to help home health-care workers start their own business. His wife Norma had just had a stroke.

“The woman who was taking care of her was only making $8 an hour while the agency was making $18,” Taussig says.

“We give loans and provide a hand up, not a handout,” Taussig says. “I’m trying to make the poor into capitalists, to help them become self-sustaining, to give them a way to make a living.”

Since 1992, when he started the Untours Foundation, he has provided more than $6 million, in loans to support such ventures as NativeEnergy, which sells “green tags” to fund wind, solar, and methane power; strawbale housing on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation and Bionatur, an heirloom seed company born out of the efforts of the Landless Workers Movement.

“We look for really innovative things that have the potential to change the world,” says Elizabeth Killough, who works for Hal at the Foundation. “Hal is off the charts. I tell him I should pay HIM for the opportunity to work here. I used to be his consultant and when he asked me to work for him, I hesitated. Everybody needs heroes and I didn’t want to find out there was a dark side. But I’ve been here seven years now and he’s the real deal.

“Five years ago, he came to me and said, ‘Let’s make Media (Pennsylvannia where they’re headquartered) the first Fair Trade town in America. I laughed and couldn’t imagine what that would look like. I googled it just to humor him. And sure enough, there were fair trade towns in Europe. And we managed to get Media as the first Fair Trade Town in the U.S.or as they say in Europe, the first Fair Trade Town in the Americas.”

“He really walks the talk,” says his daughter, Marilee Taussig, who left corporate America to work for her dad’s company. “It’s an admirable way to live your life, but sometimes it’s hard to be a family member of someone who is such an idealist, someone who doesn’t believe in a safety net.

“I call myself the unheiress. If my dad had decided to leave me a million dollars, would I have turned it down? Absolutely not. But what he left me is something much richer and that is the ability to live what you believe in and put your money where your mouth is. It’s all well and good to talk about living simply, but it’s a whole other thing to live it.”

“Money is the least important thing a parent can give a child. My dad gave me integrity, a sense of humor and a sense of purpose,” Marilee says.

Marilee says the company itself is a real reflection of her dad’s beliefs. “It’s a nontouristy way of traveling.” He believes foreign travel means more if the traveler can live like the locals.

Taussig contends “Americans don’t really want to be herded about like sheep or cattle.”

His loyal customers, many who return year after year, agree.

As a boy, Taussig lived in a log house on a cattle ranch in Colorado. His mother made his underwear from flour sacks. After getting a college degree, he tried to get into the cattle business, but invested all his money in a bull that was sterile.

“I went broke and got fired before I found my calling,” Taussig says.

Taussig taught history at a high school for 10 years before taking a yearlong sabbatical throughout Europe. He and Norma and Marilee rented apartments, shopped in village markets and traveled by foot, bicycle, train, bus and boat.

“That was an educationally important year for me. It got me in deep touch with other cultures,” Taussig says. He wrote a book called Shoestring Sabbaticals and came up with the idea for Untours: a travel agency that enabled tourists to get to know a place intimately.

What does he think about AIG CEO’s making $17 million, Merrill Lynch brokers bringing in $32 million?

“I’m glad these issues are now being discussed. Piling up money doesn’t bring happiness. Having a huge bank account doesn’t produce a profound contentment in life,” Taussig says. “Wealth gets in the way of human kindness, joy and peace.”

Thanks guys. I must confess it hasn’t been easy. My friend Ivy who texts me a heart every day sent me this meme. 222b

Grief is a messy, complicated and ultimately life-changing process. But I do it with honor for Tasman McKay Grout and her beautiful vision of possibility and truth.

Never forget. Hug your loved ones close. And remind them how very much they are loved.

Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side