First, rewire the inner life

“We must move to the laboratory where radical change can occur—inside of our very mind, heart, and the cells of our bodies.”—Richard Rohr

The movie Love Story with Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal is one of the highest grossing movies of all times. The thing I remember most is the famous line, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

So I won’t say I’m sorry that I’ve been away from the blog for so long, because I know you all love me and I trust that you know I love and adore each of you.

As I mentioned (gulp, three, four weeks ago), I went to Cuba (the above pix is my daughter and me in one of Cuba’s many 60-year-old American cars) and then I went to the Loretto convent in Kentucky and well, I just let time get away from me.

I’ve also been pondering what to say about the political situation in this country that, to my human eyeballs, looks less than amicable. I finally decided to share something Richard Rohr likes to say, “The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better.”

By staying outside the system—as much as I can—I hope to, as Rohr says, “find a place of inner freedom, a place where public institutions and systematic paradigms don’t control my thinking or feeling or bottom-line belief systems.”

He suggests first coming to recognize the light within ourselves.

When I begin to recognize that something infinite, immortal, mysterious, loving and alive abides in me, I can bow toward that which is infinite, immortal, mysterious, loving and alive in everybody else. No exceptions.

As Rohr says, only then can I capably re-enter the conversation, the systems,  the public institutions, once I become aware of that inner sense of divine union.

Until I can testify to the aliveness and sentience of all things (including myself and our public institutions), until I can see the divine in every single person I encounter or read about in the news, it might be best to keep my opinion to myself.

For now, I’m learning to, as Rohr recommends, “live a generous and just life from my Infinite Source.” Or as ACIM Lesson 178 says, “God is but love and therefore so am I.”

Glad to be back, my friends!

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.

Rewriting the “laws” that run my life

“It’s the inner world that needs adjusting, tweaking and plucking when the outer world fails to please.”—Mike Dooley

lesson-155As a travel writer, I often end up confronting customs and laws different than my own.

In Singapore, for example, it’s illegal to hug in public. In Cannes, you can be arrested for wearing a Jerry Lewis mask. I’ve also heard of some pretty weird laws in my own country. In Devon, Texas, I’m told, it’s illegal to make furniture in the nude. Darn that, Devon, Texas.

We might get a chuckle out of these (and let me just add that I don’t plan to pack my Jerry Lewis mask my next trip to Cannes), but more than these “laws,” we are also at the mercy of arbitrary laws we’ve imposed in our own heads. Laws such as “life is a struggle,” “I have to do everything myself,” “It’s me against the world.”

The bad news is that whatever “laws” you believe in are activated in your life, creating a personal reality that reflects those beliefs. The good, shout-it-from-the-rooftops news is that you can rewrite the laws operating in your life by simply changing your beliefs.

Like the yogini whose practice is stretching muscles, my full-time practice is stretching my beliefs, changing the limiting laws that my darned ego kebeps sending memos about.

Here are just a few laws I’ve written on the books of my life:

1. The world is limitless, abundant and strangely accommodating.
2. Everything always works out for me.
3. Money is just energy and easy to come by.
4. By following my heart, I can lead a life of purpose and meaning and big-ass joy.
5. The more love I give, the more I receive.
6. Actually the more of anything I give, the more I receive.

I’m heading to Cuba tomorrow and don’t plan to take my computer so I’ll probably be incommunicado for the next week or so. Just know that I’ll be busy in Havana spreading molecules of joy and reveling in the beneficence of the universe. And for those who are wondering, today’s ACIM Lesson 155 is featured in the photo.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear in the comments section below a new belief you’re ready to sign into law

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

The optical illusion known as your life

“Everything is a prop to help us love more.”—Sue Morter

In Thank & Grow Rich, I mentioned the “visual” I used to prove that spending your life watching television is probably not the best use of your time.

For ACIM Lesson 151, I’d like to use this optical illusion to make my point.

If you’ve seen this Vincent Price-esque drawing, you already know that the big, ferocious monster chasing the little monster is actually the same size.

Optical illusions are great examples to prove how “off” our senses usually are. Our brains, as I like to say, are reducing valves, not reliable witnesses. The weirdest part, according to the Course, is that we believe what our senses report down to the last detail.

When you really think about how faulty are senses are, it’s quite ironic that we trust them so implicitly. And it’s downright damaging that we use these false-spouting senses to judge. We use them to judge ourselves, others, the world around us.

As this lesson says, it’s not that the act of judging is being yanked away.

It’s that our human bodies don’t have the proper “equipment” to judge. We literally limit the world and create a hologram to match our limited thinking.

The good news is we also have access to a connection that’s much more reliable. When we give our thoughts over to love, to the universal energy, all pain, disaster, suffering and loss disappears. It literally evaporates.

When we give our thoughts over to love, we learn that only good can come to us. We learn that everything, no matter how it may look, is a prop for love. Especially those monsters that appear to be chasing us.

So today, you can either believe the optical illusion of your senses, you can believe in the monsters or you can know that your true reality is love and that you are here to extend that love, to create and to dance for joy.

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

Maybe the invisible world really isn’t

“Carry something beautiful in your heart.”–Blaise Pascal
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So, I’ve been in Chicago, writing a couple travel stories, one that involves newspaper-delivering robots. Stay tuned.

I also managed to sneak in a performance of Hamilton (yay!) and the world premiere of Doppelganger, a hilarious send up of the downside of international development. My hero, Rainn Wilson, (the beet-loving Dwight Schrute from ‘The Office”) starred.

ACIM Lesson 150 is the end of a series of reviews, so I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss the invisible world.

This world that many call the spiritual world offers a secret hidden resource of guidance and blessings. When you tap into it, everything flows and unfolds in a whole new way.

The spiritual world opens up areas of ourselves we’ve forgotten and opportunities we’ve never known we could access. Most of us, in fact, reduce ourselves to our material biographies, to our stories.

People put more faith in their material lives mainly because the spiritual world is largely invisible. But maybe it’s not? Maybe it’s only our decision to believe it’s outside our purview that makes it so.

I’ve come to realize that even material things (things that are right in front of my nose) are also “invisible” as I proved whilst walking Chicago’s Michigan Avenue.

I have walked by Chicago’s Tribune Tower at least 14 times over my many trips to Chicago, probably more.

But it wasn’t until I went on a walking tour (and only after my guide pointed it out) that I noticed that more than 150 stones and artifacts from around the world are imbedded in its façade. There’s fragments from the Taj Mahal, the Berlin Wall, the Dome of St. Peter’s Cathedral, for example. There are stones form the Sydney Opera House, the Great Pyramids and the Great Wall of China.

It was fun to connect with all these worldwide landmarks without leaving downtown Chicago, but what made the biggest impact on me is the fact that I had never noticed them. Despite having walked right by them at least a dozen times.

The reason the experiments in E-Squared caused such an international uproar (in a good way) is because it proved what the Course in Miracles proclaims throughout. We see what we decide to see.

I hope this little fact (that material reality is malleable) is freeing to you. And I hope you’ll join me in opening up to the many facets, the depths and the immense resources offered by the invisible. Or is it?

Tomorrow is my friend, Jay Pryor’s birthday. I wrote the forward to his book, Lean Inside. As his birthday present to us (like me, he knows that the more we give, the more we receive), he’s offering the audio version of this book for a measly $3.99. You can check it out here.

Happy Wednesday, my friends, and Happy Birthday, Jay Pryor!

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

Joy is my mission statement, God is my CEO

“Stop giving your inner critic leadership positions.”—SARK
dream job
I just ordered the book, Blue Ocean Strategy. It’s about the importance of creating new markets as opposed to squeezing yourself into a slot within the existing structure.

Since ACIM Lesson 147 is a review (My mind holds only what I think with God), I decided to rerun this post about Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi Nobel prize winner who founded Grameen Bank.

Like me, he’s on a mission to overturn the dominant paradigm.

As Yunus points out, squeezing yourself into an already-existing slot is a limited ambition.

By virtue of being human, you are innately creative, extraordinarily talented. It’s in your DNA to be a go-getter, a problem solver. Fitting into a big machine will never be as interesting and satisfying as creating your own thing.

Our culture, in case you haven’t noticed, is in the process of being rearranged. Thanks to the democratization of digital technology, anyone who wants to can create their own job. The tools are now available for all of us to be innovators, artists, inventors, entrepreneurs.

We live in a time when one person writing at the coffee shop can reach millions. We live in an era when anyone who wants can gain leverage and create a platform.

As Yusuf says, “All people are smart people. Being from a special business school doesn’t make you any smarter than anyone else.”

Right now, without securing another degree or taking another workshop, you have all the tools, all the resources you could ever need to create an insanely meaningful, productive and prosperous life.

Because here’s the thing. The world as we know it is toast. Nearly everything we counted on, invested in, believed in is, for all practical purposes, grinding to a halt. That’s why we’re seeing such dysfunction in the political realm. People who benefited from the old model are trying desperately to hang on in our rapidly changing world.

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 besides, working really hard at someone else’s agenda will never satisfy our deepest needs.

But giving of our gifts will.

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

As Leo Buscaglia once said, “Without you, the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.” Your visions, your gifts, your creativity are sorely needed. I beg of you, please don’t deprive the rest of us of your unique vision.

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

Small sign, ginormous implications

“Facts, my dear Sancho, are the enemy of truth.”—Miquel de Cervantes
The brain, as cool as it is, mainly serves as a reducing valve. It takes the overwhelming flood of information available and filters it down to a trickle. It’s efficient for survival, I suppose, but it screens out most of life’s wonderment.

That’s why my job, in my books and here on the blog, is to point out all the miracles, signs and blessings we tend to miss with our rational, utilitarian minds.

Take yesterday, for example. When driving the windy roads to my dad’s memorial at an outdoor venue in the Great Smoky Mountains, I nearly ran over a turtle.

Thankfully, I managed to swerve and not hit the poor fellow. But here’s why it was extremely significant for me.

When I was growing up in small towns, my dad often took me for “Oh look at that” drives out in the country. We frequently spotted horned toads and box turtles and, 70 percent of the time, we stopped, picked them up and took them home as pets.

In fact, my turtle, Pokey, after three weeks of winning the Saturday night Turtle Races in Ellsworth, Kansas, held in the IGA parking lot, had to be retired. Race officials deemed it just wasn’t fair to the other contestants.

Keep in mind, I haven’t run across a turtle in probably 30 years. But yesterday, on the way to Dad’s memorial, smack dab in the middle of the road, just like I remembered, was a box turtle.

Most people would shrug, call it a coincidence, but I know better.

ACIM Lesson 143 is a review reminding me that if I choose, miracles are all I’ll see.

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

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing

“Leave your fear at the train station.”–Paul Selig


Today, I’m going to let Bob Marley take the floor. His “lesson” (sung below) personifies ACIM Lesson 141.

It’s all I need to know going into this next review. And for those still confused about the F word, here’s a post I ran last year.

According to the Course in Miracles, forgiveness (the F word) is the answer to everything. But like God, love and other important concepts, forgiveness comes with a cargo-hold full of baggage and is not well understood.

Forgiveness doesn’t suggest overlooking something someone did to me. The F word, according to the Course, means it’s impossible for anyone to DO something to me. For me to think, even for a brief moment, that I understand the world from the tiny bits of my perception is to make a huge mistake.

All I can see, all I will ever see, is what the viewfinder of my limited perception shows me. If my perception is fixed, nothing can come between the goal that it has chosen.

Let’s say I choose the perception that so and so is a misogynistic asshole. If that perception stays fixed (meaning I refuse to forgive) nothing—not a miracle, not a sign, not an evidential slap in the face, can allow any other truth to manifest for me.

Likewise, if my perception is convinced that money is hard to come by, the world’s unlimited abundance cannot get through my blockade. It’s right there, eager to unfold in my life, but my perception has put up orange cones.

Forgiveness means knowing my perception is forever tiny and incomplete.

Forgiveness means knowing I am blessed and that every single thing that happens, every single person who pushes my buttons is a gift. Everything is FOR me. Nothing is against me.

Forgiveness is to defy the lie. To defy the lie that something is wrong, that life sucks, that so and so is a horrible evil person.

The coolest thing about forgiveness is it relieves me of having to make judgments. Knowing I can’t and don’t understand the whole relieves me of having to decide what’s good and bad, decisions I’m incapable of making. It literally frees me. And that’s why the F word and I roll deep.

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

Proud to be high on the woo-woo-spectrum

“Your thoughts are the strongest currency at your disposal.”–Alan Cohen
A reporter from Fast Company asked me once, “So what do you say to skeptics?” She was interviewing me on the power of visualization.

Although I probably cited one of the many scientific studies proving its effectiveness, I was tempted to repeat a line from my friend Anita Moorjani. “Every time I hear that not everyone buys this stuff, I almost fall off my unicorn.”

ACIM Lesson 140 is one of those lessons that falls into the unicorn category. Even though it uses one of those words I try to avoid, it very clearly states that no miracle is any more difficult than any other. It’s no harder to cure Stage 4 Cancer than a broken fingernail, for example. It says the power lies in our mind, that healing is as near as our own thoughts.

This, of course, defies every cultural paradigm. Every bit of our mental architecture teaches us that there are easy things and hard things. To heal. To manifest.

Parking spaces? Butterflies? Piece of cake.

BMW convertible? Thirty-eight foot yacht? Not happening. Except that both of those things were manifested by readers of E-Squared within hours of making the intention. You can read one of those stories here.

And that’s why I like sharing stories, hearing stories. So I can wrap my mind around new possibilities.

At my workshop in Austin on Friday, I heard a funny story from a woman who was bemoaning how much she had on her plate. She said to her daughter, “My lawn is out of control. I just wish someone would come over and mow it.” Not 15 minutes later, she heard a lawnmower outside revving its engine. She looked out her window where there was one guy mowing her lawn, another weed-eating. She had no idea who they were. There was no sign on their truck, no notice of why they appeared. She never saw them again. But they did a fabulous job executing the very thing she had requested.

Isn’t it a fun possibility (and a guaranteed fact according to the Course) that everything (healing, every need) could be that incredibly easy?

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

Never forget there’s an off button on the remote

“Man’s chief delusion is his conviction that there are causes other than his own state of consciousness.”-Neville Goddard
SLS Booster 11X7 K65634
NASA Astronauts take an oath. They commit to their spaceship no matter what the weather, no matter how far off it goes.

That’s what ACIM Lesson 138 asks us to do. To commit to love. No matter what the weather. No matter how far off appearances go.

We can either buy into the world and its endless list of choices. Or we can trust in the one decision that takes our spaceship home.  We can trust in love, love that ensures we are wholly loved, wholly lovable and wholly loving.

Wholly, by the way, means 100 percent. No exceptions.

Everything else (our bodies, our woes, our countless decisions and plans) is a virus in our consciousness.

Long ago, our brains established a false sense of perception. Our brain’s left cerebral hemisphere, where the faulty interpretations and major fabrications started, plucks out a story and creates an image to match. This false perception judges, distorts and causes unnecessary emotional distress.

Suffice it to say, this spin doctor in the brain is not our best resource.

I realize it is EXTREMELY difficult to believe that news events, our bodies, our beliefs are made up. They seem so real.

But in this lesson, we commit to reach for a higher truth. We commit to love no matter what. We commit to guide our spaceship—no matter what the weather, no matter what the appearances, no matter what our brains are telling us.

Until we do, we will continue to question our purpose and wonder why we’re here.

Choosing love is not difficult. It’s just very, very different than the way we were taught.

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

Taking my brain off-line

“Everybody everywhere , has his own movie going, his own scenario, and everybody is acting his movie out like mad, only most people don’t know that is what they’re trapped by, their little script.” –Tom Wolfe
You probably heard. The writer Tom Wolfe died a couple days ago. His 1968 book, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, chronicled the experiences of Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters who traveled the country in a colorful school bus as they hosted parties involving LSD-laced Kool-Aid.

The idea was to achieve a different consciousness, an accomplishment ACIM Lesson 136 says will eventually happen when we take our brains off-line.

While our thoughts are on-line, we make up a story. Our brains produce images exactly .17 seconds behind light so even when ‘living in the moment’ we’re .17 seconds behind. This story always involves an identity, a separate ego and a body that, by its very nature, involves suffering. At best, it doesn’t suffer, but eventually dies.

In this lesson, I learn that none of it is really true. I learn that there’s a bigger thing going on, a bigger thing whose only purpose is to give me happiness.

Michael Pollan’s new book, How to Change Your Mind: What the Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence confirms this lesson.

It details the astounding results of ongoing experiments with psychedelics at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, NYU, UCLA and another academic research institute in London.

I guess I should clarify. Experiments with psychedelics are going on pretty much everywhere, but the ones Pollan writes about are highly-controlled, completely safe research experiments that are blowing old stories out of the water, proving that once the mind goes off-line, amazing things can’t help but happen.

Test subjects, in fact, claim that time spent shutting down the judgy, egoic part of the mind is among the top 5 experiences of their life, right up there with the birth of a child.

One participant described it like this. “No sensation, no image of beauty, nothing during my time on earth has felt as pure and joyful and glorious as the height of this journey.”

So this is what the Course promises.

It’s the truth we cover up with that part of our brain that likes to make up stories. We do this, the Courses says, to hide reality, to keep the truth from being whole. These stories seem to be unconscious, beyond our control. But they’re not.

So we pretend not to remember. This lesson assures us that this joyful, glorious truth is still there despite our pitiful and futile attempts to alter it with our defenses and ridiculous complaints.

It’s not even a question of whether or not we’ll get beyond the story. To quote the Course directly, “What is unalterable cannot change.”

Some of us “wake up” just like that– Eckhart Tolle, for example, or a large percentage of the participants in the studies Pollan details in his book.

Others of us decide to stall, holding on tightly to the mistaken notion that we are nothing but our bodies.

Either way, we will all eventually reach this inviolate Truth described by one test subject like this, “From here on, love is the only consideration. It was and is the only purpose.”

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