How I use gratitude to give all seeming problems the old one-two punch

“There are many words meaning thank you. Some you can only whisper. Some you can only sing.”—Mary Oliver

aaI was just invited to participate in a Gratitude Summit. As I told the organizers, the reason I answered “can’t wait” is because gratitude, as y’all know, is my wingman.

I use it like I use duct tape. Of all the tools in my kit (and believe me, when you have a thinking cap like mine, you need lots of tools), it’s the one I most often pull out. It’s a multi-purpose utensil whether I’m trying to heal a relationship, fix a physical boo-boo or just feel happier.

I’ve discovered it’s especially useful when I notice I’m marching across the desert towards some mirage that looks an awful lot like a problem. Once I finally lasso my racing mind, the mind that’s squawking “eeks!” “oh no!” “death is surely imminent,” I give it the following one-two punch.

Step One: (again I can only do this when I finally recognize that I’m making it worse by fretting and awfulizing) is to actually realize that this is a gift waiting to be opened. To say thank you that this “problem” is just another rat finally come up from the cellar, one I probably need to look and call out as the poser it is. So thank you “alleged problem” for so clearly showing me I still have resistance. This is an incredible gift when you recognize its healing potential. I mean, who doesn’t want Orkin down there shooing away the vermin?

Step Two: Recognize that whatever this thing my mind is trying to scare me with is one of hundreds of thousands of superpositions in the field of infinite potentiality. This imposter (be it seeming illness, poverty, a disgruntled boss) is literally a tiny spot, barely worth noticing. That’s cause for celebration.

So I can either continue to turn it into a big hairy deal. Or I can say “Hallelujah! Thank ya, Jesus” that I am all-powerful spirit that has temporarily descended into a body and that, with this power, with my very command, I can send it into the native nothingness from which it came.

The Course, above all else, tells us that our salvation lies in teaching the exact opposite of every single thing the ego (or that chattering, blustery mind) believes.

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.

More stories to rock your world

“I pray for the change in perception that will let me see bigger and sweeter realities.”–Ann Lamott dennis braun

My favorite thing in the whole world is miracles. I’ve been a student of ‘A Course in Miracles’ for more than 25 years. The TV series I created is set in an ecovillage called Milagro Springs. Milagro, of course, is Spanish for miracle. And I spend my days looking for miracles which, in reality, is nothing but recognizing Truth.

Let me repeat. Miracles are natural and normal and happen constantly…once we give up antiquated patterns of thinking.

To prove it, here’s yet another trio of miracle stories in honor of ACIM Lesson 253:

1. “I want to share a quick story with you that totally rocked my world! So, there is a retreat that I really want to attend, but my husband didn’t like the idea of me spending almost $2000 on a weekend away when we have a mortgage, bills etc. Fair enough I said, I’ll manifest the extra money to go then. He laughed and said ok, you do that.

“A few months passed and as the cut of date for the application and payment was due, I wondered if I would make it to the retreat? I still had Ziva Retreat postcards in highly visible locations all over my house and had faith (although admittedly, it was beginning to dwindle).

“Then, just yesterday my Chiropractor and one of the speakers/organizers of the retreat rang me to say that one of the crew members was no longer able to attend and would I like to take her place! I would be working behind the scenes, but would be sitting in on all of the sessions, plus all of my meals and accommodation would be paid for! As you can imagine, I was flabbergasted and totally amazed at the FP! (so was my husband haha).”

2. “This will be one of those e-mails telling you how right you are. How because of you today is going to be amazingly awesome. How putting positive thoughts out into the world comes back to you ten times over. Sorry about another one of those e-mails, but I hope you never get tired of hearing how your words inspire us! It’ll also be about a project – one inspired by you – that I’ve been working on for a few years.

“I’ve been a reader for a long time. When things get rough I re-read E-Squared and E-Cubed to put me back into the zone. The experiments worked when I did them the first time and still work my umpteenth time around.

“I’m writing to you today from a cruise ship in the Caribbean. This is our 60th+ cruise. Hubby and I caught the cruise bug years ago on a wedding anniversary and have gotten hooked. What’s so surprising for us is that we both grew up in poverty with free school lunch and food stamps and all. For us growing up poor, to be on a cruise, let alone get to go again and again and again? Never in our wildest dreams.

“But there is something else that has been against us. Hubby was born with cerebral palsy and is disabled. He’s not in a wheelchair, but most people assume he’s had a stroke because he doesn’t have use of his right side. He also was in renal failure and was bedridden a couple years ago. As for me, I have rheumatoid arthritis, have had two knee replacements, and have two shoulders full of screws holding everything together. I used to be scooter-bound, even. We’ve been through a lot. I often wonder about how we got through it and others didn’t.

“Sometimes I feel like I need to pinch myself to check if this life is really my life. How did I get here? Why am I one of the lucky ones who get to live a life like this one? I do know for sure we are blessed to have this life. These experiences. After some trips – and sometimes midway through some trips – I’m certain we are done. But by golly, we recover and regroup and find ourselves able to plug away one more day.

“I am certain that because of an idea you shared years ago, we have the ability to continue to live our lives to the fullest.

“For the last several years I’ve been giving away dollar bills with notes of encouragement. I used to hand write notes on packs of Post-It notes but I found the adhesive wasn’t sticking in high-humid climates we were traveling to. A couple years back I switched to making my own little money pockets and printing labels for them. I’ve left them in restrooms and airplane magazines and sugar containers. I’ve left them in windowsills and tip jars and hotel room drawers. I’ve left them on buses and taxis and trains and cruise ships. Sometimes I place one somewhere once a day and other days I drop them off multiple times. Most of the time I never find out who picks it up; other days I do.

“If you’re interested in what I’ve been doing with them, I did a blog post about it here.

“I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback about the pockets. I even had a grandma tell me she’s doing the project with her granddaughter. Yay!”

3. Last story is from Marc Medley, a school administrator who does a regular podcast called The Reading Circle. He interviewed me a couple Saturday’s ago.

If you’re interested in a listen, I’ve posted it below. Before we started the interview, however, Marc shared a miracle story about reconnection—my most favorite kind.

Family relationships, being what they are, can sometimes go off the rails. He hadn’t spoken with one of his daughters for awhile. After reading the story in E-Squared about my friend who healed a rocky relationship with her mother, he decided to follow suit.

Just like my friend, he started sending silent blessings to the estranged daughter. Every day, he’d wish good things for her. Within a few days, well, you can probably guess what I’m about to say? She called out of the blue.**

Also want to mention that this month, if anyone has yet to read Thank & Grow Rich, the digital version is going for a mere $1.99. That’s less than a small cappuccino.

**Another synonym for God.

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.

Practice being rich, skinny and madly in love

“You are what you practice most.”—Richard Carlson

When I played soccer, my team met twice a week at a park in front of Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to practice. Likewise, when I was learning Clair De Lune on the piano, I rehearsed it over and over again. Practice, of course, makes a new skill normal, second-nature.

Practice is also imperative when setting intentions. It’s important to practice being what you intend to manifest.

If you want money, for example, you have to practice being rich. Every day for at least an hour (or better yet, 24/7 once you get the hang of it), act like the prosperous person you want to become, BE the recipient of abundance you are in Truth. Make all your buying decisions from the perspective of a wealthy person. Ask yourself, “WWOD?” (That’s “What would Oprah do?” for those of you who’ve never worn one of those bracelets.)

When buying makeup, for example, don’t choose the cheapest kind. Act like a wealthy person. Act like you deserve abundance.

If your intention is to drop poundage, practice being skinny and beautiful. Strut around in the body you want to have. Feel that gorgeous beingness with all your heart and soul.

If you want a fabulous relationship, practice having one. One of my favorite stories about relationships comes from a therapist who was counseling a guy on the brink of divorce.

This lovelorn husband says to the therapist, “I cannot wait to get rid of my obstinate, unhappy, horrible wife. And I’ll do anything to make her pay.”

“Okay,” says the therapist, “Here’s what you do. For the next three months, build your wife up. Tell her how beautiful she is, praise her, act as if she’s the woman of your dreams. When you ask for that divorce down the road, she’ll be devastated that she’s about to lose that kind of attention.”

Six months later, the therapist runs into the same guy at a party. “Hey,” he asks, “Did you ever get rid of your obstinate, unhappy, horrible wife?”

The guy looks at him with utter indignation. “What are you talking about?” he says, “My wife is the most beautiful, perfect partner a guy could ever have.”

What do you want in your life? Start practicing.

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.

A place of joy, abundance, charity and endless giving

“It is with your thoughts then, that we must work, if your perception of the world is to be changed.”–A Course in Miracles
its-a-match
Depending on who you talk to, Tinder is either:

a) The world’s most popular dating app

b) An uber-easy scheme for hooking up

c) A surefire recipe for rejection

I’ve never tried it, but if I understand it correctly, Tinder is an app where you view pictures of available humanoids and, if you like the way they look, you swipe right. If not, you swipe left. I’ve worked harder at putting on eyeliner.

But either way, the direction you swipe is 100 percent up to you.

So you’re probably asking, what in the hen’s coop does this have to do with Course in Miracles? So I’ll tell you.

Like Tinder, we get to choose which feelings and thoughts to hook up with. We decide whether to embrace or reject the circumstances of our lives.

Most of us, I’m sorry to report, usually swipe left. We pick out the “pictures” we don’t like—the problems, the issues, the yucky stuff—and we spend our precious time with them.

ACIM Lesson 249 encourages us to swipe right, to pick the pictures that actually make us happy, the pictures we’d actually like to “date.”

As an example, here are three right-swiping thoughts that have really blessed my life:

1. I am the Bill Gates of free time and flexibility. (Swiping left would report I’m unemployed.) I’m a freelance writer so there’s no boss expecting me to clock in. I can travel whenever I want to. I can attend get-togethers in the middle of the day—like my spiritual entrepreneurs group—or lunch with a dear friend as I did yesterday for two and a half hours. Some people would panic without a regular job. I prefer to see it as having an abundance of time and a whole wagonload of opportunities to create new things.

2. I enjoy an unlimited supply of creative capital. (Swiping left would report not having a job for 20 years) I have so many ideas I want to write about, so many books and TV series and articles I want to produce. And to my way of thinking, creative capital trumps the other kind of capital because mine is capable of producing the other kind of capital and is lots more fun.

3. I have fun no matter what. (Swiping left would say, “But what about that time your back went out?) As a travel writer, I get to do a lot of cool things—meet South Pacific medicine men, hang with wealthy people at five-star resorts, eat every meal beside the ocean—but it doesn’t take that for me to have fun.

I’ve often shared the story of my trip to Belize where I was invited to write about the “end of the Mayan calendar” at Caracol, a jungle Mayan city still being excavated.

The night I was supposed to pack for my 6 a.m. flight, my back went out. I wasn’t able to go….at that time. So I lay in bed that first day in what some might describe as excruciating physical pain. I could barely get up to pee. But I, because of my commitment to fun and joy, actually had a stellar day. I was so happy–really!!! I decided to have fun anyway. I look back at that day as very important to my spiritual growth because I realized this:

My thoughts are the only thing that separate me from having every single thing I could ever want.

So up to you? Are you gonna swipe right? Or left?

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 longer subject to the rumors of my mind

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”–Bob Marley1 ab

Whew! So relieved today’s ACIM Lesson 248 didn’t come up back in January. To suggest that tragedy, chaos and unhappiness are nothing but a ridiculous rumor doesn’t typically sit well.

Polite company tends to be heavily invested in the inevitability of sorrows and trials.

Even making a joke about suffering not being a standard part of the human condition can get a gal burned at the stake.

 

So I’m hoping that now–after 10 months of thumbing our noses at illusions—we can finally just come out and say it. Life doesn’t have to suck.

The only reason we think it does is because that’s the reality that has been cemented into our consciousness by years and decades and centuries of conditioning.

Even death is a false idea that we should strike from the record books.

To believe there’s no way to escape suffering and pain and lack is to disown the truth.

This lesson asks us to disown falsity, to disown all the inevitable sorrows to which we’ve been so faithful.

Sure, it’s a hard pill to swallow, that we—you and me—made the mess we call material reality.

But look very closely at the building blocks of the universe and you discover they’re dicey at best. As renowned physicist Brian Greene, who is much better at explaining these things, says: “quantum fluctuations so mangle space and time that all conventional ideas become meaningless.”

In other words, we experience death and depression and limitation because that’s what we’ve come to expect, that’s what we think of as reality.

The exciting thing about this truth (that it’s us, not some random misogynist named God) is that another way IS possible.

We do not have to accept war and sickness and injustice. By disowning falsity, by refusing to buy the illusion, we can create a peaceful world that works for everyone.

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.

Changing my world one thought at a time

“I encourage everybody to open their ears and their eyes and especially their minds, wide.”—Christoph Waltz
django

Christoph Waltz won the Oscar, the Golden Globe and the BAFTA for his portrayal of King Schultz, a dentist turned bounty hunter in Django Unchained.

During pre-production, however, he was bucked off a horse and sent to the hospital with a dislocated pelvis.

Some people might have thrown in the towel. But not Waltz who claimed total responsibility.

“I hadn’t ridden a horse for 40 years. It’s a skill like playing an instrument. You have to do it every day,” he said

And that’s the perfect description of how we ACIM students “change our minds and therefore change our world.”

Here’s my daily practice:

Instead of focusing on “what I see,” I focus on “what I want.” Over and over and over again. Yes, I get bucked off the horse. Yes, I hit the ground of apparent problems, dislocate the pelvis of limitations. But I just keep climbing back into that saddle and focusing on what I want to be true.

Left to its own devices, the human mind is quick to jump to conclusions, leap towards fear and cower in the face of possibilities. That’s why I’ve made “training my mind” priority numero uno. On a daily basis, I instruct it to look for beauty. Encourage it to seek out the bigger picture, to focus on the love and the seemingly impossible.

Yes, it’s an incorrigible slacker. Keeps returning to familiar old ruts. Keeps listening to the spin doctor that looks at the world as a potentially scary place. Insists on focusing on the “information” from my five senses, from the news media, from the default setting that says, “Be careful. Worry. Don’t even think about learning to trust.”

So I just keep getting back up in the saddle, directing my mind to focus on what I know to be Truth.

People often ask me, “How is that even possible?” when the “what you see” looms so large in your mind.

And all I can say is it’s the same as the answer to the old joke, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

Practice, practice, practice.

Or, if you’re Quentin Tarantino, the director of Django Unchained, you take your character off the horse that caused the accident in the first place.

When the Oscar-winning director went to visit Waltz in the hospital, found out he couldn’t ride a horse for three months, he wisely said, “You know if you don’t talk much about it, I might get some interesting ideas.”

And that’s exactly what he did. Waltz’s character spends most of the movie riding around in a horse-drawn buggy with a giant tooth swinging from its hinges.

So, quit talking about the “world as it seems,” get back up in that horse-drawn carriage and use your imagination to take you all the way to a happier, more beautiful reality.

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.

Houston, there is NO problem

“We believe a lot of stupid things.”—Esther Hicksgo for it

Just a couple ACIM Cliff Notes for your weekend pleasure:

1. If it’s not wholly joyous, it’s not God’s will.

2. If it’s not wholly joyous, it involves some decision I erroneously made.

3. Because it was me who made the less than joyous decision (See #1) and because this decision was never forced on me (See #1) , I can change it at any time.

4. I just have to do is go back to the point where I made the erroneous decision and ask the Holy S to decide instead. I repeat. I don’t have to fix anything. In fact, the less I plot and plan and come up with action steps, the better.

5. This is really simple.

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.

Today, I take a different bus

“I don’t have to make the crowd go wild or get a standing ovation. Good enough means that I finally enjoy playing the game.” ― Jenni Schaefer
flying bus
My friend, Jay, an amazing life coach and cherished member of my possibility posse, told a funny story that perfectly illustrates the current Course section, “What is the World?”

The day before he was flying to California to give a presentation, he tried to check in to his flight online. He entered the confirmation number several times and was puzzled that the airline website kept insisting there was an error.

“Oh well,” he was busy, had lots of things to wrap up and finally figured. “I’ll just check in tomorrow at the airport.”

Next day at the kiosk, he got the same message. Finally, with less than an hour until his flight, he stormed up to Delta desk and demanded “What’s the deal?”

The attendant took one look at his ticket and said, “Oh that’s a United confirmation number.”

United, for those who don’t know the Kansas City airport, is in a completely different terminal. He had to catch a bus to get there.

Jay’s perception about his airline tickets, like so many of our perceptions about the world, are false.

We literally make up a story (I’m on Delta) and proceed to go to the wrong terminal. As the Course says, that’s when the mechanisms of illusion are born and from those illusions, we create a world to match.

The world we currently see revolves around a story of not being quite good enough. Our bodies aren’t quite good enough. Our finances aren’t quite good enough. Our relationships aren’t quite good enough. Our careers aren’t quite good enough. Nothing is ever quite good enough. And as long as that’s our perception, false though it may be, that’s the reality we create. That’s the terminal we live in.

The Course is like the attendant who kindly pointed out that Jay was basing his thoughts (and therefore assumptions and actions) on a false perception.

Once he let that go, he easily caught a bus to a different terminal where his plane was waiting.

ACIM Lesson 241 says today is a time of special celebration. Because in this very moment, we can let the false perception go. We can leave the terminal of separation, the one that claims nothing’s quite good enough, and catch a free bus to the terminal where errors vanish, false perceptions disappear and everything is perfect in every way.

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.

Set the dial back to zero

“People who judge you are just not your people.”—Constance Wu

green bay training campJust returning home after a few days in Denver (love to all the peeps who came to the playshop at the Halcyon Hotel) and then a quick press trip to Green Bay. I had a blast attending Packers Training Camp, finding a beer called Awesome Sauce and sampling cheese, beer, wine and chocolate. My career as a travel writer is, as I often say, a pretty sweet gig.  It was the universe’s solution for my desire to see the world.

Anyway, I’m back home, plunging into a new assignment and getting ready to embark on the new book, the book that you, my friends, helped facilitate. Yes, it’s on A Course in Miracles and, yes, it will be fun, inspiring and life-changing.

Today’s ACIM 235 is a reminder that the Divine’s plan for all of us is perfect happiness. This is such a good lesson for us to feel deep in our bones.

It doesn’t say happiness on the weekends. Or on our birthdays. Or on other momentous occasions. It promises happiness 24/7/365/all the days of your life. It’s radical and it’s real.

To drive home the point, here’s an email I read 5 minutes ago.

“I don’t normally say this to strangers but, I love you! YOU have helped me change my life! I got E2, E3 and Thank and Grow Rich in audibles and have been listening to them over and over ad infinitum, for the last 3 or 4 months. I have been trying to recruit as many of my friends as possible, recommending the books or audibles, I have bought them for friends – I want to help add to the growing collective and give out as many red pills as I possibly can. I began this at the behest of my boss, with E2.

“I am so thankful to him for pointing me in this direction – I am so thankful to you for writing these books! You, Pam Grout, please, take just a minute to sit back, smile and bask in the solace of knowing that you are living your best life and by doing so, helping others to do the same! I have too many examples to thank you for but just off the top of my head, without giving any thought at all really, I mouthed along with you “I can afford anything I want, in fact, I am so prosperous, I never need worry again…” that week, OUT OF THE BLUE, I got a promotion and a substantial raise.

“Another, more important example to me than that, in referencing quantum nonlocality, I went to visit my mother’s grave over the weekend. She passed away last year from complications due to Alzheimers. I had a great conversation with her, told her I missed her but I knew she was in a better place and more importantly, wasn’t suffering, and I could never ask her to give that up and come back here just because I missed her. But I did want to ask one thing – just to let me know that she was ok. IMMEDIATELY after I finished that sentence, it started raining. It was kind of cloudy but didn’t necessarily look like it would rain, there were even patches of blue sky and sun shinning through. I now know I have a direct line to my mom. Pam, you have given me the tools I need to live my absolute best life, I can never repay you for that so in an attempt to show my gratitude, I will endeavor to pay it forward to anyone and everyone with whom I come in contact. Peace and happiness to you, Pam.”

And peace and happiness to all of you.

Signing off from North Lawrence.

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 longer listening to my brain’s cliff notes

“Thinking the physical world is all that matters is like shutting oneself up in a small closet and imagining there is nothing beyond it.”—Eben Alexander

gabbyOne of the great joys in my life is knowing the universe is so much bigger than anything I can conceive, in knowing that miracles (or what we call miracles) reside right on the other side of the veil I’ve imposed with my very limited brain.

As cool as the brain is, a veritable network of millions of neural pathways, it actually puts up a tremendous barrier to Truth. It limits, it takes all the available input and boils it down to what I call “Cliff Notes for Dummies.”

Sadly, our Cliff Notes are restricted to what we’ve decide to let in, to what we’ve erroneously pick up from our culture, our family upbringing and the six o’clock news.

As the Course in Miracles reminds us,  we would be astounded, literally blown away, if we had even the slightest idea how many limits we have placed on Reality.

While we’re here, living on this physical plane, we put the brain’s two pounds of wrinkled mass on a pedestal. We believe everything it tells us, listen to its crazy promptings, its tendency to focus on the past and worry about the future. I amaze myself with how much time I sometimes waste thinking about some person who “did me wrong” or about some financial dilemma. Not a good expenditure of my valuable time.

The brain is so NOT reliable that, I believe, our very highest calling is to distract it as often as possible. That’s why meditation is so important, why I proclaim gratitude for everything that happens. These practices put an end (or will eventually) to the crazy person blathering in the brain. Once the brain gets out of the way, Truth can’t help but rise up.

I really hate to knock my brain. It has accomplished a lot in my life, but from here on out, I’d like to officially appoint it as secretary of my neurology, digestive system and other things it’s proficient at and leave the rest to Source, to Truth, to the Reality of Pure Bliss.

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.