Writing a different caption

“There is a quiet light that shines in every heart. It is what illuminates our minds to see beauty, our desire to seek possibility and our hearts to love life.”—John O’Donohue

 

12new yorkerEach week, The New Yorker, on the last page, offers a blank cartoon. Readers are invited to compose and submit clever captions. This week, for example, a giant gingerbread man is lying in a hospital bed with six doctors in chef hats peering down upon him.

Editors choose three caption finalists and then readers vote.

It never ceases to amaze me how widely-varying the captions are. One simple cartoon, three astoundingly different captions.

This popular contest demonstrates just how completely different individual perceptions are. We may think everyone sees the world just like we do. But au contraire, my friends.

ACIM Lesson 27 says: Above all else I want to see.

I want to let go of my false perceptions, my own personally-captioned cartoon. I want only to see the insanely beautiful truth in everything. In everyone.

That sycamore tree in my yard is literally pulsing with life. The sky overhead offers a stunning new canvas each day. Each of my fellow humanoids are, as Hafiz says, “God speaking.” Today, above all else, I want to see the holy, the good and the beautiful.

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.

A mini lesson in miracle-mindedness

“Miracles are like pimples. Once you start looking for them you find more than you ever dreamed.”–Lemony Snicket 1pa

In the Cook Islands, a bare-chested medicine man with waist-length dreads plucked a black rock out of the river, handed it to me and said, “put this in the north corner of your living room and you’ll become a millionaire.” Turns out curing cancer with his encyclopedic knowledge of jungle botany isn’t all Pa (that’s him in the picture) knows.

Summer before last, I was unloading my dishwasher when my editor at People magazine called and asked, “Would you want to go to a party and interview Blake Shelton?”

Last November, an agent from Creative Artists Agency, the Hollywood agency that represents Viola Davis, Jennifer Aniston, James Cameron, Nicole Kidman, emailed me in Kansas to ask if she could represent me as a speaker.

I hadn’t made an intention to manifest any of those things. What I had done–and what I still do every day —is make the intention to erase all beliefs, thoughts and emotions that block the energy of God.

ACIM Lesson 26 basically says that any thought that’s not of love is an attack upon myself. And not only is it an attack upon my invulnerability (yes, the Course is teaching me that, in truth, nothing can hurt me), but it’s a solid energetic wall that keeps cool things like abundance and partying with rock stars (OK, so Blake sings country) at bay.

Did you get that? The universe WANTS all of us to have abundant lives and party, not only with rock stars, but with EVERYONE!!

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 Home Depot of Spiritual Practice

“Do not bend reality to your tiny experience or limit its purpose to your little personal thoughts.”—A Course in MiracleshNAI

The universe is kinda like Home Depot, offering an unlimited selection of tools to further my good.

ACIM Lesson 25 (I do not know what anything is for) assures me that every single person, every single thing that happens is in my best interest.

And since my best interest right now is to head to pickleball, I’m going to re-run one of my favorite posts from 2013. Enjoy!

Hans Schultz is the fictional sergeant to Colonel Wilhelm Klink in the old TV series, Hogan’s Heroes.

Even though Schultz knew about the shenanigans of the Allied POW’s who were running Special Operations from Stalag 13, he was famous for proclaiming to his inept colonel, “I know nothing” in a clipped, German accent.

I repeat that line (complete with the accent) quite often. In fact, it has become an important piece of my spiritual practice.

I have learned that any time I think I’ve figured something out, any time I believe I’ve found the route to this intention or that dream, I promptly proceed to get in my own way.

My understanding is sorely limited. But when “I know nothing,” like Hans Schultz, I leave the gates wide open for blessings to rush in.

Last week, for example, I got an incredible response to my first post on The Daily Love. It’s a popular website run by Mastin Kipp, a young entrepreneur who recently appeared on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday as one of the Next Generation thought leaders.

I happened to catch that episode, looked him up and discovered that, lo and behold, he grew up in my hometown. I decided that I wanted to write for The Daily Love and I did everything I could think of to interest Mastin in my “brilliant wisdom.” I even wrote an article about him in the local Lawrence magazine. I mean, c’mon, we talked in person.

Those initial pitches? That initial scheme I came up with for getting on The Daily Love? Futile. Nada. Didn’t work.

However, when I let go of my plan, repeated the Hans Schultz “I know nothing” and forgot all about it (“Set it and forget it” is a new mantra of mine), Madeline Giles, the editor of The Daily Love or the Love Curator, as she’s known, contacted me.

Out of the blue, she wrote to me, said she liked my new book and wondered if I’d be up for contributing to The Daily Love.

So, Hans Schultz, thank you for proving that inspiration and important spiritual practices can come from anywhere.

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.

Putting on my big girl panties

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” – Richard Bach
12hide
When I was a kid, I loved playing hide-and-go-seek. One of us would be “it” and the rest of us would hide in mom’s closet, underneath the coffee table or, if we were playing outside, behind the neighbor’s shed.

The whole point was to find someone who wasn’t really missing. One exuberant “olly-olly-oxen-free” was all it took to reunite all the players.

ACIM Lesson 24 contends: I do not perceive my own best interests.

The world we perceive is like a game of hide-and-go-seek. We think we’re here to find all the things that are missing.

We think our best interest is to spend our lives looking for problems and devising plans to make them right.  We think our best interest is to follow seven steps to financial freedom or three steps to being highly effective or to mastering the perfect bod.

In other words, we perceive problems, limitations, things that need fixing.

But what if our best interest is to recognize that nothing is missing? To admit that it only appears missing because we spend our time looking for it.

When I say, “I want this,” it makes the assumption I don’t already have it.

When I say, I need to be healthier or more spiritual, I embark on a journey to find the very things that are already my birthright.

It is only my decision to seek something that makes me perceive that it’s concealed.

Course in Miracles reminds us that we already have all the love, all the abundance, all the joy we need. And at any time, we can quit playing pretend and just say “thank you!”

As Robert Scheinfield says, “We are all quantum special effects animators.

I can pretend to be lacking. Profess the need to be skinnier. Or wealthier. Or shacking up with Mr. Right.

Or I can acknowledge that I’m the one who made the obstacle course. And call olly-olly-oxen-free.

And with that I’ll end with this excerpt from E-Cubed:

Peter Jackson was paid $20 million for the script of King Kong.

You’re not getting paid to create drama, so methinks it’s time to write a different script.

Here’s how:

1.Give yourself an Academy Award for the amazing “drama” you’ve created thus far. In a world that brims with beauty and plenitude, the fact that you have been able to create such a convincing “story” of lack and struggle is truly an accomplishment. The special effects you have employed to overlook the world’s unending largesse are truly mind-bending. Take a bow and ask yourself, “If I have been this successful at creating separation and pain (and believe me, we’re all worthy of gold medals), then what else might I create with a little imagination?”

2. Use the feeling for rocket fuel. Once you get it that everything is your creation, you can use that intense feeling to propel you into a different story. The only reason you’re still starring in the same, worn-out show (it should have been canceled in 1998 when Seinfeld went off the air) is because you’ve pitched a tent. You’ve completely forgotten that there are lots of other destinations on the map. Because you endlessly harp about where you are and what’s going wrong, you’ve driven in the stakes. At any time, you can move to a different location, a different story, a different reality.

3. Zip it up. You may not like the site of your present tent, but there is no need to tell the world about it. No matter where you’re camped, there are blessings and miracles nearby. Instead of bellyaching about the script, the campsite, the life you’re currently experiencing, focus in on everything that’s going right. Once you begin to use your laser superpowers for possibilities, miracles, and joy, you will suddenly find yourself on a whole new stage, accepting a whole new Oscar.

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,

It’s you, boo!

“There’s a difference between knowing the path. And walking the path.”—Morpheus, The Matrix

Cause And Effect

I simply must start today with shout-outs, high fives and fist bumps. You, dear readers, have been the fuel that has kept me blogging each day.

Still not entirely sure I’ll keep going. (I have upcoming travel writing assignments, speaking gigs, etc), but for now I’m pumped to keep sharing my thoughts.

Please keep in mind they’re just my thoughts and that there are a gazillion paths toward the light. A Course in Miracles is one of many.

That being said…

ACIM Lesson 23 may be the best news yet. It offers the secret key to the ocean of love that all these spiritual practices keep promising. It offers escape from the closed psychological structure that most humans have developed, the psychological structure that causes our pain, our problems.

It says: I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts. If you haven’t been clicking the links I’ve added, this might be the time to start. This one is definitely worth reading.

It succinctly explains that cause and effect is the organizing principle of the universe.

It says point blank, “There is no point in lamenting the world. There is no point in trying to change it.”

The world is merely an effect of my thoughts. That’s worth repeating. My thoughts and beliefs about the world are its cause. In quantum physics, it’s called the observer effect.

So while there’s no point in fighting to change the world, there is HUGE BENEFIT in changing my thoughts. That’s why this daily practice is so important. Why Morpheus said, there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

Like it or not, I am the image maker of the world. This is shout-it-from-the-rooftop exciting because all I have to do is change my thoughts and beliefs. The world, once I do, changes automatically. Beautiful experiences rise up. Joy, beauty, love and peace show up.

It’s also worth mentioning that–despite what all the self-help books and all the therapy sessions tell us–even changing our thoughts and beliefs is a simple matter of asking for help. Your good is already cued up. It’s waiting. All you gotta do is let go of any belief that a) it’s hard and b) that you have to do it yourself.

The universe is waiting, my friends, eagerly excited about interacting with you, blessing you, guiding you.

Can I get a big “Wahoo!”

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.

No longer using my thoughts to attack myself

“If beating ourselves up worked, we’d all be thin, rich and happy by now.”—Cheryl Richardsondancing_queen_by_jazza403-d4o2nrk

My friend, Anita Moorjani, wrote an amazing book called Dying to Be Me. It’s about her four-year bout with cancer and the NDE (near death experience) that completely revolutionized her ideas about life and death.

I can’t remember if this part is in the book or not, but after she returned from the other side and quickly began healing from the stage four lymphoma that had ravaged her body, she got out of bed (she’d been unable to walk for months before), shuffled into the bathroom and nearly fell over in shock when she saw her withered frame staring at her from the mirror. She looked herself straight in the eye and made this solemn vow: “I will NEVER do this to you again.”

Until she got cancer, Anita says she was afraid of everything. Like so many of us, she was a people pleaser. She worked hard to be liked, to be a “good person,” to be spiritual, to be a good employee. She tried to eat right. In fact, she says she worried constantly about microwaves, plastic containers, red meat, getting, you guessed it, cancer.

In other words, she was the poster child for Lesson 22 of ACIM: What I see is a form of vengeance.

At first read, this sounds pretty harsh, but when you hear stories like Anita’s or the story of Evy McDonald (which I shared last month and you can access here), you realize how vengeful we often are…especially in our judgments of ourselves. I know I would never dream of speaking to anyone the way I so often speak to myself.

Later in this lesson, we celebrate the joyous news that our countless fears and critical thoughts are not real. We learn that we can escape.

Anita had to die and go to what we call heaven to realize this precious truth. We get to do it today by simply asking help in seeing life differently.

And in case you’re wondering, here are a couple rules that Anita lives by today:

1. Don’t take life seriously.
2. Eat chocolate.
3. Realize YOUR OWN MAGNIFICENCE!!
4. Eat more chocolate.
5. Enjoy life and do what brings you joy.
6. Laugh at yourself every single day.
7. Start each day listening to “Dancing Queen” and singing along with it

And with that I’m signing off from Lincoln Street.


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.

Let’s build a brand new table

“You are a creative genius who came here to express yourself.”—Esther Hicks

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I mentioned in yesterday’s blog my intention for everyone (no exceptions) to get a seat at the table.

But I decided an even better intention is to build a whole new table. Which sorta leads to Lesson 21: I am determined to see things differently.

The old table is like that old gum I also mentioned yesterday. It’s old news. Its juice has been sucked out, it’s basically been-there-done-that-no-thanks.

The old table is reductionist, judgmental, a know-it-all. And it’s likely to have the same number of seats, just different players.

At the new table, we attend to the bigger, non-visible world. We trust that it’s every bit as alive as the material world. We have faith that the new story, the inclusive, everyone belongs story is really just a matter of re-engineering reality.

And we know that we have the power to do it. We know we can envision a different reality.

It doesn’t even have to be hard. Unless we choose to see it that way.

I herby resolve to quit staring at the old reality, to quit treating it as if it’s a circus freak show.

It’s only there because I and a lot of other people on Planet Earth have put our attention upon it. When we resist and oppose and throw our hands in the air, we basically give our energy to the old gum. We say to the universe “more please.”

I want my new table to be expansive, to recognize unlimited possibilities and ongoing creation.

We are here, you guys, to expand, to create. Not just art, but all the time. In all ways. As the subtitle on my latest book suggests, we are here to ignite our daring, audacious, creative side.

Today, as we are determined to see things differently, let us know that true creation, new creation is why we’re here.

P.S. Whoever drew this cute little illustration of E-Squared, thank you–I absolutely LOVE IT!!!

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.

Why I’m march/dancing for everyone—no exceptions

“If I can’t dance to it, it’s not my revolution.” ― Emma Goldman 1hermio

You better believe I’m heading soon to my local women’s march. Although I intend to dance, rather than march my way along the route.

And rather than be against anyone or anything, I’m FOR unity, peace, love, joy for all.

I’m dancing for the oppressed AND the oppressor, for the bullied AND the bully.

Because here’s the thing. You can’t leave anyone out of the equation. Otherwise, you’re still going to have the same old equation

Lesson 20 in ACIM is simple. I am determined to see.

It asks me to step up my game. I’m asked to remember my intention a couple times every hour, to apply my desire to see to every situation. And I’m asked not to give in to resentment or opposition.

Opposition only perpetuates the old paradigm of winners and losers, of somebody being left out of the equation.

Remember the story I told a couple blogs ago about the Bangladeshi store clerk who decided to forgive the swastika-tattooed vigilante who shot him? What he discovered, when he became “determined to see” is that his shooter had come from broken parents, broken schools, a broken prison system. He grew up knowing that if his mom had been able to scrape together just 50 more bucks, she’d have aborted him. Is it any wonder he might have a slight bit of anger and resentment?

Someone also sent me an inspiring story about Sarah Silverman, the comedian, who instead of resisting and opposing a troll on twitter who called her a cunt, decided to befriend him. He opened up, confessed he’d been sexually abused and had tremendous back pain, and well, she helped him (through her massive twitter presence) find a support group, a doctor and the money to pay for it. As of last report, he’d started a GoFundMe campaign to help others.

Like Esther Hicks says, “What we see now is like old gum with all the juice chewed out of it.”

It is time for us to see and create a radically new vision, one where everyone wins, everyone gets a seat at the table. And for that I dance.

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.

A Course in Miracles explained in 11 words

“Your being by nature is joy.”—Mooji 123

My motto is “smooth and easy.”

My signature party game (a practice I teach in my workshops) has two simple steps.

For those new to the party, here’s a link that explains it.

And as for the Course–while it seems really dense at times and bogged down in words–it can be summed up like this:

The universe has your back and everything’s going to be okay.

Everything else is just a big ruse that we, in our misguided thoughts, sent scouts out to retrieve from the field of infinite potentiality. In the Course, we learn to send scouts (AKA our beliefs, those all-powerful vibrating waves) in search of different things.

By practicing the lessons, we begin to “get it” that joy is our natural state. We begin to realize that fun is our guiding light and feeling good is our purpose. We even go so far to recognize that joy is why we’re here.

Lesson 19 is I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts

To reiterate yesterday, everything I think is being broadcast out to everyone on the planet. So when I allow my natural state of joy to emerge, my beautiful broadcast of happiness literally uplifts the world.

The same hum of joy resides in you. Sharing it is an important public service.

Since so many new folks have recently subscribed to this blog, I’m going to repost one of my all-time favorite YouTubes. It’s joyful proof that we are one. Or as Andrew Zimmern says, “The great thing about traveling is you begin to realize that people in grass skirts and people who speak in clicks are just like you.”

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.

We’re all in this together

“It is all about love and how we all are connected.”— Mark Wahlberg
we-are-all-one-quote-1

Ellen Pompeo (you probably know here as Meredith Grey) just became the highest-paid actress on a television drama. As of her recent contract, she walks away with $575,000 for every episode. Not bad for a kid from a blue-collar Boston suburb whose mom died of an overdose when she was just 5.

So what does this have to do with Lesson 18 of A Course in Miracles.
I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Pompeo said she became empowered through watching Shonda Rhimes, the creator of Grey’s Anatomy, become comfortable with her power. As Shonda shook off the shackles of the old paradigm (of not being worthy, of not being paid as well as her male counterparts), Ellen was able to do it, too.

And that’s just the beginning of not being alone in experiencing the effects of our perceptions.

In fact, the majority of our interactions with others occur in the nonphysical realm. All those thoughts you think you’re privately keeping to yourself? They’re not really private. You might as well be bellowing them over an intercom. Subtly, everyone is getting the message anyway.

Whether aware of it or not, you are connected to this giant data base of energy and are constantly exchanging energy, not only with those in your inner circle, but with every other being on the planet.

In E-Squared, I called it the 101 Dalmatians Principle.

The cool thing about being connected to everything and everyone in the universe is that you can use it to brighten the world. When you generate uplifting thoughts about someone, it contributes favorably to his or her energy. Conversely, when you judge others, even if you keep it to yourself, you affect their energy and weigh down the quality of your interactions.

You can literally uplift your world by lasering love, blessings, peace, and other high-frequency emotions to the people in your life. Our differences, as huge as we make them out to be, are superficial and meaningless. And it’s time we let them go.

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.