Just in: My monkey mind officially announces its theme song

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

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

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

Here’s an example:

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

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

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

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

My intention: To see my TV series produced.

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

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

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

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

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

No such thing as separation

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

Happy Thursday, dear ones!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

222 Forever: A treatise on eternal possibility

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

sheroes (2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love, only love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But giving of our gifts does.

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

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

Finally, here’s the mission statement:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s to a brilliant, inspiring 2019!

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

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!!!

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

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

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

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

Those billionaires? I doubt they could spare the time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

You can never say “I love you” too often

“In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert
222a

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vigorously and relentlessly making new possibilities

“Joy is the ultimate act of defiance.”—Bono222

Three things have kept me going over the past three weeks. Losing the one person, the only person I couldn’t live without has shifted me into a whole new cosmos.

My books, my workshops, my whole mission has been to defy consensus reality. But to defy does not mean to deny or to resist what is. I am grieving. I consider it an honor to grieve someone I love so much, someone whose very presence brought me such indelible joy.

I’m grateful for these three buoys that have kept me afloat:

1. An outpouring of love. I have heard from so, so many people. My home looks like a florist shop. My freezer is filled with casseroles. People are sending reports of seeing 222 everywhere. A lovely artist from Europe is painting a flower for Taz for the next 52 weeks. Someone in India is writing a book about Taz. I’m so incredibly blessed to have this kind of support. Thank you one and all for all the comments, the letters, the love. I feel you. And it means so much.

2. A story Lorna Byrne tells. Irish mystic Lorna Byrne, for those who haven’t read my book, Thank & Grow Rich, sees angels, spirits and other beautiful things the rest of us miss. She was 15 before she discovered that her brother Christopher, who she played with daily, had departed the planet before she was even born, when he was 10 weeks old. Our strict adherence to conventional reality precludes us from seeing friends like Christopher, the angels and other things that, to Lorna, are an everyday occurrence.

3. The 222 Foundation. I have decided to start a 222 Foundation in honor of Tasman. As you may remember from E-Squared, Taz and I had a thing about 222. We often texted each other photos when we saw our special number. We frequently got room 222 at various hotels. It was a thing.

Because Tasman was infinitely creative and gave her all to changing the world, I plan to give a $10,000 grant (maybe more) every year on February 22. I will field proposals for any and all creative projects that make a difference on the planet. I’m still formulating the guidelines and working with my accountant/lawyer, but I do know these projects will promote the fierce love Taz always stood for.

Each yearly project will:

A. Disrupt the old model. The us against them model is kaput. Taz and I (and Sister Sledge) firmly believe that “We are FAM—O–LEE.” We are all interconnected and even tiny actions have great significance.

B. Support the idea of a generous and abundant universe. What goes for “good works” now sometimes promotes scarcity, lack and fighting for resources. The 222 Foundation believes in the fundament of miracles. We believe the invisible world is our greatest resource. We believe this is not an impersonal universe and that we are not separate individuals fighting for our survival. Force plays no part in our vision for the world. And there are no enemies. We stand for a beautiful sense of the possible.

C. Change consciousness. A change in perspective is our greatest need. We believe in a world that’s alive and sacred. We believe all people (no exceptions) long to be generous and that today’s hopelessness is based on false premises. We intend to rewrite the current narrow reality that blatantly defies the larger process that’s going on beyond our understanding.

I will make an official announcement about the 222 Foundation soon. While I’m sure the projects will be more creative than anything I can list today, I’ll throw out a couple ideas just for fodder. Maybe we’ll fund people who create free energy devices or build wells in Africa or give trees to every second grader so they can plant and tend a living piece of our blessed earth.

Mostly the 222 Foundation will be about creating new possibilities for love, for connection and for all of us living in peace and harmony.

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.

My magical Taz: snapshots of a life of incomparable goodness, grace and gusto

‘There are certain things that happen to you as a human being that you cannot control or command, where you have to bow in the human humility that there’s something running through you that’s bigger than you.”—Elizabeth Gilbert

As many of you have pointed out, there really are no words. My beautiful daughter, Tasman McKay Grout, was epic. This photo essay is my way of celebrating her extraordinary life.

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The dazzling Tasman Grout

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We first met on October 8, 1993. I was so smitten with this beautiful soul that I refused to let her out of my sight. Whisk her off to the nursery? No way.

taz6 (2)She was and always will be my brown-eyed girl.

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With her best grade school friends from the hood.

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I was never a prim and proper mother. Luckily, she didn’t much care.

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Instead, we spent lots of time outdoors. In fact, the best parenting advice I ever heard was, “Don’t try to get her to hurry up and move at adult speed. Better to slow down and see the world through her innocent childlike eyes.”

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Here she is with my mom who died 9 days earlier. We had just returned from mom’s memorial when Taz had her unexpected aneurysm.

tazseaShe was named for the Tasman Sea.  Her bio dad is from New Zealand and I got my master’s degree in Sydney, Australia.  She finally met the Tasman Sea in February 2017. She even did a solo five-day hike around the Abel Tasman Coastal Track.

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She was quietly fearless and had a heart bigger than the sea for which she was named.

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She has the coolest friends.

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Who do the coolest things.

Once, she and her friend Marina posted an ad on Craigslist offering themselves up as superheroes willing to perform good deeds. For free. The only person who responded was the local newspaper wanting to write a story about the mysterious do-gooders.

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These are some of her friends from college who have all sent me the nicest notes about how much Taz meant to them and how much she changed their lives for the better.

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She graduated from Grinnell College with honors in May of 2016 with a degree in anthropology and Spanish.

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Another friend commented that Taz always reminded her of the importance of not taking life too seriously. One of the best compliments she ever gave me was “Thanks, mom, for teaching me that you’re never too old to play.”

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After college, she headed to Spain. Yes, she’s definitely her mother’s daughter. In her short 25 years, she traveled to more than 30 countries.

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In Morocco.

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In her beloved Barcelona

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Children adored Taz.  Something about her drew them in. While in Barcelona, she was an au pair for these darling twins.

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When she finally returned home after a year of wild wandering, she worked with the Spanish-speaking families of Douglas County for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. And because she definitely smoked what she sold, she became a big sister, as well, to Citlali, the girl with the cat ears on the right.

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Because I am such a proud momma, I literally have 38 (and I’m not exaggerating) photo albums of this gorgeous girl. But I’ll stop with the following photos of our travels around the globe.

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I wrote about our Costa Rica surf lessons with Jesus from Venezuela in my book, Thank & Grow Rich.

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One summer, when Taz was still in high school, we lived with a family high in the mountains of Ecuador, allegedly to teach Spanish lessons. Taz, who is fluent, actually performed her duties. I, who am not, mostly played street soccer with our charges. Here, we’re at an Ecudorian cooking class.

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In New Zealand.

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In Stockholm.

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We walked the Cotswold Trail from Stratford-on-Avon to Bath, England the summer before last.

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Our trip to Egypt was life-changing. We’ve also traveled together to Cuba, Peru, Europe and many Caribbean islands.

tazarmand And while we usually went casual, she could be quite glamorous when she wanted to be.

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Her life was far too short. But the incandescent flame that is Tasman McKay Grout will shine forever, sparkling and inspiring us all to live and love better.

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.