A broader perspective is our greatest need

You must unlearn what you have learned.”—Yodataz yoga

A FB memory from two years ago popped up this morning of Taz and me in a photo booth in Stockholm, Sweden.

It made me happy to see the two of us clowning around, being goofy.

Taz and I had a lot of silly rituals. We watched every episode of “Gilmore Girls” together and our favorite character was the eccentric Kirk Gleason who, over the course of seven seasons, worked as everything from a bath mat salesman to a termite exterminator to a parachute jumper. We regularly sent each other pictures of Kirk, in all his glory. We called it “The Daily Kirk.”

On the first of every month, whichever of us proclaimed “Hedgehog” first, was guaranteed a lucky month. It started when she was in grade school, but even in college we’d text each other the simple phrase. Since she stayed up late, as college students do, she always prevailed at 12:01 on the dot. When she lived in Europe after college, 12:01 came several hours before I even qualified for our little game.

Someone emailed the other day, inquiring about page 92 in E-Squared. I told the story of baby Taz’s high fever, me being frantic with worry and hearing a voice with startling clarity: “I didn’t give you this great gift just to take it away.”

This reader wanted to know what happened.

I, too, sometimes wonder. But, in my better moments, I echo what Julia Roberts told an interviewer who asked if she regretted never having an adult relationship with her father who died of throat cancer when she was 11 or 12. She replied, “Are you kidding me? He’s with me all the time.”

On the first day of the last three months, Taz has sent me a hedgehog. On May 1, it came in the form of a news clip about British rocker Peter Doherty who was temporarily hospitalized after being stabbed with a…hedgehog spike.

On June 1, the word “hedgehog” came in as a text message…from (don’t ask me how?) Taz’s phone.

July 1, I was at the toy store buying a birthday gift for my friend’s one-year-old grandbaby. I asked the clerk what was the hottest new toy for a one-year-old. Without hesitating,  she took me straight to a stacking hedgehog pull toy.

So, as I told the reader who emailed me, “Taz hasn’t been taken away. She’s still very much here, albeit in a different form.

Taz now has the broader perspective I so desire and, like Yoda, she’s teaching me to unlearn everything I know.

So, my fine-feathered friends, I’ll say it once again: Go out now and have the very best weekend of your lives.

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.

There’s nothing to fix

“No exercise is urged except a deep relinquishment of everything that clutters up the mind, and makes it deaf to reason, sanity and simple truth.”—A Course in Miraclesmeantweets

Since 2012, Jimmy Kimmel has run a “Mean Tweets” segment on his late night talk show.

Celebrities ranging from Julia Roberts to Bette Midler to Barack Obama read aloud tweets sent by real internet trolls. George Clooney, for example, read, “If that gross, ratty old man can get a girl, the rest of you regular guys must be swimming in…” well, the tweet in question used a synonym for a small cat.

I use the same approach for the “mean tweets” in my head. Laughing is the only way to deal.

Because if I try to fix a “problem” I’m ragging to myself about (say, I notice my ego telling me I’m being lazy or getting fat or some other such nonsense), I only make it real. It gives my brain the message “this is dangerous,” “this is wrong.”

It actually takes a temporary reality and turns it into a problem. In quantum speak, it collapses the wave of a particular superposition, turns it into a material particle, makes it true.

When I believe some jerk “done me wrong” or that I’m in danger in some way, I literally pitch a tent in a “field” that’s not in my best interest. When I decide I’d better “fix this thing,” I add heft to the reality that something’s wrong.

Self-help, as it turns out, is anything but helpful.

If, like George Clooney, I read the “tweet” out loud and poke fun at its ridiculousness, it deactivates the brain’s danger signal. It says, “oh, that’s interesting,” allowing me to remain free, flexible, open and available for a more pleasant 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.

Rise Up: Why I’ve chosen to abandon the swamp

“You can ask just as easily for love, for happiness and for peace.”—A Course in Miracles we-are-all-one-quote-1

Buckminster Fuller, long a hero of mine, once said that if you spend your energy and time fighting against established institutions, you end up demoralized, exhausted and discouraged.

I’ve been thinking about Bucky today after reading some of the comments from my post, “Don’t forget to show love.”

I mentioned that, instead of following political news, I was following a pint-size superhero who passes out chicken sandwiches at a homeless shelter. It provoked a conversation—is that putting my head in the sand?

In 1976, Bucky made the observation that all the institutions of humankind are rooted in a “you or me” paradigm, a scarcity paradigm. It works like this: If you make it, it’s at my expense. Likewise, if I make it, you won’t have enough. This belief system has long-dominated our planet.

It’s a belief system focused on maximizing wealth, predicated on the material world being the end-all, be-all.

Bucky said all those institutions needed to collapse. He predicted that, within 50 years (according to my calculations that’s 2026), the current structures (political, religious, educational, etc) would come crashing down.

Maybe not the best news to start your weekend, but certainly a potent explanation for what’s happening if you DO like to tune into the “news.” As I mentioned in one comment, the “news” would better be described as the “olds.” Because it demonstrates what’s no longer working.

Here’s how I choose to deal:

First, I recognize that we’re on the cusp of an evolutionary leap. Before, we could pretend that this system of good guys and bad guys was working. We could fight to get “our team” back in power. It is so apparent that this me against you IS. NOT. WORKING. That’s good to know.

Secondly, I can’t help but notice that, at the same time these institutions are failing, there’s this other story rising. There are young people (like my five-year-old superhero) giving love. Like mushrooms living underground, countless heroes, lovers and changemakers are posed, waiting for their moment to rise, to bloom.

Lastly, I remember that all those “actors” on the repertory stage of this current “theater drama” are simply playing a role. It’s not who they really are. I love knowing that. I see my job as being a witness to the truth of love, behind the scenes.

Because despite how it looks, the invisible world holds all the power. That’s what our discovery of the electron established, what quantum mechanics proves. That’s the promise of the Course in Miracles. What we see here is basically a neural pathway malfunction. It may look like things are beyond hope, but there is actually a bigger, more beautiful story going on.

As I used to like to say on Fridays, go out, my much-loved friends, and have the best weekend of your life.

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.

Yet another trio of tales from the annals of magic and enchantment

“What power is this. I can’t say. I just know that it’s there.”–Alexander Graham Bell 222 sign

I have a magical inbox. It delivers miracle stories from readers of my books. Anytime I need a boost, l simply open my email and voila! an inspiring new story shows up. Lately, these stories often include pictures of 222.

It’s kinda amazing how creative Taz gets in communicating through all of you—bologna biscuits? Yesterday, for example, a reader who works in a bookstore said she was thinking of me when a customer named Tamsin signed up for a loyalty card and got the digital security code—222. She thanked me for reminding her of the beauty, magic and love that always surrounds us when we’re open to it.

Ashley wrote to tell me that, after taking her real estate exam and missing it twice, she started doing the exercises in E-Squared, going so far as to write her requests on a cocktail napkin. Not only did she get an unexpected check in the mail (she says it blew her away), but she passed the once-elusive exam with flying colors and has gone on to be quite successful in real estate.

As she says, “I have shared your book with 20 people so far because it has changed my life. To know we have the power to change our lives by simply changing our mindset is a game changer.”

This next story is particularly poignant because is demonstrates that it’s not what happens to us that determines our happiness. It’s how we choose to approach what happens to us. Thank you, Mari, for sharing this inspiring story and for running Girl Wise, a leadership program for young girls, that according to Mari is now incorporating gratitude.

Take it away, Mari:

“First of all, your books have helped me change my entire life. I started with Thank & Grow Rich last year and have just finished up E-Squared and am almost finished with E Cubed.

“You have helped me enjoy life more and play more, something I thought I lost a few years back. Just yesterday I made grocery shopping into an excellent adventure starting with blasting music on my drive there. When stopped at a stop light, a man came up beside my car and started dancing to the beat on the street and I danced with him in my care smiling and laughing with each other. Connecting with other humans is truly one of the greatest joys.

“To give a little background, I am a rising junior at Bentley University originally from upstate New York. I grew up on a farm with a close-knit family including myself, my sister, and my parents.

“I just recently read Experiment #4 in E Cubed and related more than anything and wanted to share my family’s successes due to remaining positive and faithful. This was inspired by this line from your book: “Many things at face value look like difficulties end up being miracles in disguise. The cancer that we might believe isn’t fair can be a pathway to Truth. It can be a door to potent opportunities. We get to decide.”

“Last June, my dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma which in the past has had a 5% survival rate within the first year. While others not on the frequency may have cried and screamed at God, my family, a bunch of German “do-ers”, simply thought out an action plan. My dad was going to live and there was no question about it. The first step was making a treatment plan to fix the physical problem.

“At the same time, we fixed other things. We turned family dinners into important events. Instead of all coming home from work and doing our own thing, we would share our favorite SNL skits. We started watching “Grace and Frankie” together every day from 8-10.

“We started making regular dermatology check-ups, a step we all should have taken years ago. We adjusted our diets to decrease other health issues. Where I had previously been caught up in basking in the short-lived fun of college with all of my friends and sorority sisters, I was brought back to the importance of family and went home to visit my parents when I could during the year, something I never used to prioritize.

“Although my parents have always had a healthy marriage, they realized that they had been wasting so much time that they could be enjoying each other. They started walking the dog together instead of taking turns, and cooking dinner or going grocery shopping as a team instead of alternating turns.

“Now a year later, my dad quit his job of almost twenty years to live and have fun. My parents moved back to their hometown and are now constantly surrounded by friends and family taking day trips to breweries, checking out the best farm stands in the area, and spreading love and joy as much as they can.

“They have started to travel again starting with a Spring Break exploring the Southeast, and currently planning a summer trip to explore and hike the Pacific Northwest and a Thanksgiving trip to visit me in Dublin, Ireland while I am studying abroad.

“Cancer was our truth. Cancer was the life altering sign from the FP saying “What are you guys doing?! You could be having so much fun and loving others so much more!!”

“We have all shifted back to the love frequency appreciating each other, appreciating nature, and appreciating all of lives gifts from our beating heart to the ability to wiggle our toes. Life is good and love is good. I have lost the belief that bad things happen at all. I am welcoming of every gift I am about to receive and I am ready to give gifts back.

“So thank you from the core of my soul. You have enlightened me on the joys and gifts of life. You have helped me reap an abundance of treasures that I did not even know were out there.”

Thanks again, Mari, for the reminder.

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.

Don’t forget to show love

“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.” –Harold Kushner1a2

I figure I have a choice. I can either read the political news which is the equivalent of dumping toxic sludge into my brain. Or I can read about superheroes like 5-year-old Austin Perine who started his caped crusade when he was only 4.

For an entire year, this mini superhero has literally put on a red cape and passed out chicken sandwiches at a homeless shelter in Birmingham, Alabama.

He started with his weekly allowance, but then Burger King got wind of his campaign and decided to pony up another $1000 worth of sandwiches. Steve Harvey threw in another $5 grand and before he knew it, little Austin was traveling to shelters all over the country.

Although Austin’s story has been making the rounds for about a year, I just learned about him. I particularly like the fact that he zooms by (like the superhero he is), tossing sandwiches and shouting, “Don’t forget to show love.”

It’s stories like Austin’s that the 222 Foundation is looking to support. And I am so glad that, in the next few months, I’ll be feeding my own soul with news like Austin’s.

Thanks, everybody, for showing so much 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.

Back to the Mothership

 

“Say yes to revealing an unseen energy that surrounds us, that we’re actually a part of. Our soul yearns to witness and experience this nonphysical energy, not only for us to fully heal, but also to make the absolute most of our lives.”—Christina Rasmusseneinstein

In my ongoing efforts to figure my life out (now that I’m a childless mother), I have concluded that, above all else, I need to write, to create. When I don’t, I tend to get cranky. You’d think I’d have mastered this daily ritual by now. After all, I wrote a whole book about it. Ever since second grade, when I wrote and illustrated “Paddy the Penguin,” I’ve known creativity is the thing that makes me feel most alive.

Even in the depths of my grief, I felt better when I wrote—whether a letter to Taz, a blog post or the book that comes out beginning of next year. So, I’m making a commitment to myself (and to those of you who have kindly put your trust in me) to resume a more consistent blogging schedule. As you can imagine, I have a few things I need to say.

I’ve been on a pretty intense journey the past nine months as I attempt to move beyond the physical realm, to connect to that bigger thing that feeds my creativity, that keeps me in sync with Taz, that offers a deep well of healing and peace. In the interest of transparency, you should probably know that some days I still struggle to hoist myself out of bed.

Luckily, Taz keeps sending signs and, among other things, she and a wonderful medium named Steffany Barton and I are toying with the idea of teaming up to write a book. And the 222 Foundation is steaming full speed ahead. Look for the Call for Proposals for the 2020 grant to be announced soon.

The amazingly awesome Karen Drucker has offered to sing a benefit concert for the 222 Foundation. My new friend Sigrid Drobner keeps painting weekly flowers with 3-D butterflies to auction off for the Foundation.

I have also gotten a lot of sustenance from all of you—book suggestions, postcards from the Camino de Santiago, sweet emails. Please know I value each and every one.

I was bragging to the Hay House marketing team this morning about all the music suggestions you sent. At last count, I’ve received more than 400 happy songs. All I had to do was ask. The team requested that I ask another favor. They want me to inquire about your favorite podcasts. Which podcasts do you like best, listen to most often? Let me know in the comments below.

Thank you again from the bottom of my patched-up heart. I love you and always will.

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 is being offered

“If I’m not careful, I freeze myself with certain descriptions of myself. And then I’m forced to play out some storyline that was true twenty years ago but might not be true today.”—Josh Radnortotal joy

Muchas gracias, mis amigos! I’ve been busy dancing to all your uplifting song suggestions. I can’t thank you enough. Once again, “Ask and ye shall receive” proves unequivocally true.

Not to give too much away, but I’m using many of your song suggestions in the new Course in Miracles book, still slated to makes its debut in early 2020.

One of the Course’s main themes is that SO MUCH MORE is being offered. Life offers so much more love, joy, intimacy and freedom than that which most of us avail ourselves. Every minute teems with countless gifts that get blocked with mindless thinking.

My focus now is THE MORE. I find when I zoom out, I leave behind myopic beliefs that I’m nothing but a body and that Taz is no longer here. I find comfort knowing we’ll have an infinite amount of time together in eternity and that this life is but a blip.

This current incarnation is is but one chess piece on the larger phenomenon of me. I love knowing our souls will all meet up again in other lifetimes, other cities, other fields.

The TV series I’m working on also addresses THE MORE. The characters who live at Milagro Springs, my fictional ecovillage, find the more so often blocked by societal expectations.

It’s like the question often asked by readers of my National Geographic books on meaningful vacations.

“How is it,” they want to know. “That these people in other countries who have nothing are so happy. It makes no sense.”

The answer is they “don’t have nothing.” They have the SO MUCH MORE that gets crowded out in our mindless search for more things, bigger houses, fancier cars.

Communal societies enjoy things like MORE time. MORE recognition of their profound connections with each other. MORE fun. MORE love.

That’s THE MORE we’re promoting with the 222 Foundation. Call for entries for the 2020 award will be announced soon. Thank you guys for joining me on this journey. I love you all to the ZOOMED-out-cosmos and back.

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.

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.