Tell it like you want it to be

“We have perfected the attitude of worry. If we don’t have something to worry about, that worries us.”—Michele Longo O’Donnell

Our ability to manifest material things is the reason most people get excited about the principles from E-Squared. But “manifesting stuff” is really a bit of a misnomer. The truth about the quantum field is that you are already connected to everything you could ever want to manifest.

What you end up drawing from the quantum soup of endless possibilities is whatever you focus your attention upon. What coalesces around you is what you invest your energy in.

Because the dominant paradigm focuses on problems, that’s what we see. When we focus instead on gratitude, on what is going right (so many more things than you can even imagine), problems dissolve back into the nothingness from which they arose.

Pam Grout is the author of 17 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the soon-to-be-released sequel, E-Cubed, 9 More Experiments that Prove Mirth, Magic and Merriment is your Full-time Gig.

“Reality” is a mental construct–make yours joyful

Thought for the day:

Our beliefs are cultural constructs and only as “true” as the investment we place in them. Reality is malleable and formed from consciousness. We can either join lockstep with the cultural paradigm or we can create our own reality, our own path.

We’re all in ruts, but we can break free. In fact, there’s great support from the universe once you begin walking in that direction.

Pam Grout is the author of 17 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the soon-to-be-released sequel, E-Cubed, 9 More Experiments that Prove Mirth, Magic and Merriment is your Full-time Gig.

The perks of brazen gratitude, Part III

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.” ― Maya Angelou


Being happy and feeling blessed is Step #1 when it comes to manifesting. As I said yesterday, that’s one chicken vs. egg dilemma that will never be in question.

Last week, when I was in Kenya, loving the heck out of my awesome career, I got this inspiring email from this amazing light named Madeline McCollom. I was so touched by her story that I asked if I could share. It demonstrates Step #1 in vivid technicolor. Enjoy!!

“In 2004 I gave birth to our second child, a son. Henry was born medically complicated (which I’d learned about at 5 mo. pregnant). He spent his first three years in and out of hospitals and surgeries.

“In a desperate attempt to gain health insurance to cover his expected medical costs, our family got poor and went on state health insurance which was a blessing in disguise.

“There is nothing like poverty to allow one clarity on what matters most. So, when Henry was almost one, I was at the local Planned Parenthood for my annual check up. I remember seeing a W fashion magazine as I waited in the reception area. I was so surprised to see one of my favorite high-end fashion magazines here – everything else was family/parenting focused.

“Anyhow, I opened it up and saw that there was an essay contest from Moet & Chandon (my favorite champagne in my early 20’s). I had worked at a Champagne bar down in the Virgin Islands for a year and learned a little bit about bubbly. So, I figured I’d enter the contest. Why not, right?

“The essay question was, “Why is your life FABULOUS?!” My husband couldn’t believe I was entering. We were flat FLAT broke, we’d lost everything we had when Henry was born– our new restaurant, our credit history, our hometown since we’d relocated to Portland for better medical care–and Henry was living on a feeding tube. We also had a beautiful 5-year old daughter who was definitely NOT getting the childhood I’d hope she’d have.

“Well, I thought, what the heck? We have buckets full of love. That’s what made my life fabulous. I said I could open a bottle of the Moet White Star, and for just a moment feel like I could be anywhere in the world.”

Long story short, “I won. My husband and I (an incredibly talented chef) were flown to NYC for a week of fashion shows in Bryant Park! We stayed at a hotel on Central Park!

“Although they gave us a $500 credit card to use, that was seriously all the money we had to our name for the trip. So, one evening we decided to go out to Per Se, a beautiful restaurant owned by Thomas Keller (of The French Laundry). We couldn’t afford to eat dinner, but I thought we might as well have one cocktail. We ordered some obscure Spanish Sherry – as I had learned a bit about sherry and we had sold a few at our restaurant in Eugene, OR.

“Well, the bartender comes over to us, asks us why we ordered sherry – no one ever did – and I told him our story. He shared with us that his fiancee was from the region in Spain where this sherry was made, and they had just recently returned from meeting her parents. He was so thrilled to have someone to talk with about sherry!

“We kept talking and found out we had both worked at the same wine bar in Portland, OR back in the early 1990’s! He asked if there was ANYTHING he could do for us – I’m guessing he could tell we couldn’t afford their menu – so I decided to go out on a limb and asked if we could see the kitchen. He paused. He said no one really got to go back during service. He went to the kitchen manager, shared our story, and led us into their kitchen.

“This is, undoubtedly, one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was like a monastery. Quiet and beautiful. It was breathtaking.

“So, the last thing I would’ve ever expected as I entered Planned Parenthood in a pretty economically depressed neighborhood in NE Portland – flat broke with a medically fragile little boy–that my husband and I would be whisked off to NYC on an all expense paid vacation and get to see something so magical.”



And, as you can see from the pictures, Madeline’s life keeps getting more magical all the time.

Pam Grout is the author of 17 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the soon-to-be-released sequel, E-Cubed, 9 More Experiments that Prove Mirth, Magic and Merriment is your Full-time Gig.

Four major stages of consciousness–where’s your tent pitched?

“Being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness.”
― Eckhart Tolle

When first crafting the spiritual/energy principles to be tested in E-Squared, I spent many an hour pondering the wording. On several, I stated “your thoughts and your consciousness” impact….this or that.

Part of me wondered, “Isn’t that redundant?” Writers would rather poke knitting needless in their eyes than be redundant. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that thoughts and consciousness, while certainly joined at the hip, are two different animals.

Thoughts are derived from our consciousness, but it’s our consciousness that provides the framework, the meat, the juice, the final answer. It’s the level of our consciousness that shapes and molds the reality that plays out in our lives. And there are many levels of consciousness, each with different rules, principles, characteristics and attributes.

For example, if you reside in the victim consciousness (“Things happen TO me,” “Life sucks and then you die” are a few standard thoughts from this level.), you can affirm and intend all you want, but your consciousness, the driver of your reality, which believes affirmations and intentions are a bunch of hooey always gets the last word. When you spend most of your waking hours in that consciousness (and it’s a very popular consciousness), your channels are plugged up. All the good that wants to come your way can’t get through.

Because we live in a multi-dimensional universe, there are dozens of different levels of consciousness, oftentimes residing in one person. For the purpose of this discussion, I’ve broken it down into four major consciousness categories. Each of these levels has dozens of subsets, all that play out in different ways in our lives. Let’s just say that my goal is to move closer to level four.

1. “The damn, not again” consciousness. The starting gate for most of us is some manifestation of victim consciousness. It varies from person to person, but the over-arching theme is we have no control over anything that happens in our life. The best we can do is work really hard, cross our fingers and hope that all the “shit” we hear about out there will somehow escape us.

2. “The woo-hoo! This is getting cool!” consciousness. One of the next levels (again it plays out differently in each person) is where we realize we have a say. We learn there are energetic laws that are just as reliable as physical laws. We discover that our thoughts are units of mental energy that play out in the world just as powerfully as the principles of gravity or aerodynamics.

Usually we move in and out of this consciousness, mixing it up with other levels. We still feel separate and still retain some of that “poor me” consciousness. In fact, we spend nearly as much time talking about what we don’t want as what we do. We still believe the things we want are out there, in the future, something we have to strive for.

3. The “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” consciousness. I am very happy to report that I spent nearly the entire year of 2013 in this consciousness. I got up every morning, celebrating, feeling good. I got up on the right side of the bed nearly every morning and boy, did things come to fruition for me. My book hit the New York Times bestseller list. I traveled to six different countries on four different continents. I got all kinds of new writing gigs. Editors contacted ME which, if you’re a freelance writer, you’d know never happens. I got emails from people all over the world, telling me how much they liked my book. And while all that was really cool and I’m intending it to happen again in 2014, the best part really was how blessed I felt.

And this is where the distinction should be made. People believe they will be happy when they achieve a certain level of success, when they find the perfect lover, when they heal from cancer. But that’s not how it works. All those things are byproducts of being happy.

This is one chicken vs. the egg that is not in question. Being grateful, being happy, feeling blessed ALWAYS comes first. In fact, most people say that when their “stuff” finally comes, the material things they got into this “thoughts creating reality” business in the first place they realize they’re beside the point. And that the gift, the real gift, is the joy they now see in the little things—the cute little heart the barista made into the foam on the latte, the squirrel running along the fence in glee, the softness of cashmere sweater you pull over your head.

4. “I am one with all” consciousness.
In this consciousness, which I must admit is not yet a 24/7 theme for moi, there is no sense of separation from anything. This consciousness knows it is one with Source. It knows it’s an indelible part of the F.P. It knows you are an unlimited being, hooked up with all that is. In this consciousness, everything is eternal and everything else (your thoughts, your reality) is subservient to this bottom-line spiritual Truth. When we’re lucky enough to view life from this consciousness, we are totally surrendered to the “all that is” and know nothing is missing from our life. And, in fact, by yielding to that consciousness, by giving it permission to play out in our lives, we come to realize that all those little intentions and manifestations we so dutifully held in our consciousness are small potatoes compared to this. It’s so much bigger and grander and woo-hoo’er than anything we could have ever imagined.

Finding Forgiveness and Freedom Through the Gift of Love: Guest post by the inimitable Klay S. Williams

“Clinging creates the bricks and mortar with which we build a conceptual self.”–Michael Singer

For you regulars at the party of this blog, it’s no surprise that a) I love all the friends I’ve made here in cyberspace b) I love supporting fellow creators and spiritual seekers and c) I’m leaving the country here in about 3 hours. So, with no further adieu, I’d like to introduce today’s guest blogger, Klay S. Williams, author and co-owner of a lifestyle-consulting firm.

Take it away, Klay!!!! Hey, that even rhymes!

I am a dreamer. I dream for a living. I am also an analyzer. I analyze for a living. What happens when you’ve been so graciously blessed with both a creative and analytical point of reference? Well, you attempt to select the appropriate times in which you should dream, while allowing yourself the ability to be dangerously free.

Doesn’t work like that, ey? Nah, I didn’t think so either.

The incredible gift of romantic love came and disturbed my being—shook my very soul and transformed it into an abyss of relentless freedom; the kind of freedom that does not ask for permission to enter or whether you’re ready to receive its delectable blessing.

I met my Aussie love on May 2, 2011, with the alluring backdrop of New York City as it dangled it’s DVD collection of every romantic movie ever created, to set the scene for such a new romance. Just as some believe the world was created in 7 days, so was our love. He, an actor, was visiting from Sydney, Australia (on holiday of course) for just a month. Fate would have it that we would haphazardly meet during the last 7 days of his stay, stateside.

Amazing, romantic Disney-like adventures set in. He left on May 9th, returned to Oz and we were left with the painful realization that some interactions, like ours, were needed for the soul, but a grand 24-hour time difference was a bit much. It was finished.

Time quickly passed. I dated a bit. He decided to fully reconcile with a former partner and that would be our story—until a year later, everything changed for both of us and I found myself in Australia, void of any NYC possessions, selling everything to make my way to the unknown world, releasing my apartment and trusting that this love would be so grand, awesome, adventurous and cosmic that I would figure it all out as each day would find it appropriately to be.

And, as if a character from my beloved journal of leading men would arise in real life, love courageously swept us off our feet, to never look back, to be what we both needed and ever dreamt of for one another. After 3 passionate months of effortless travel, easy love and sporadic adventures, we returned to the states together to begin a new life.

To say complication set in would be an understatement. Although, the Universe offered tremendous support for both he and I, it was just not enough to combat what my Aussie love needed to fully be honest with and what I would need to learn. He changed his mind and returned to Australia, with a lot of fear, unsettled dreams and a need to fully discover who he is—truly. I was left with a lot of uncertainty, a survivor’s mentality and the desire to try and not blame him for most things—but a mouth that did.

I had found my Prince Charming. The signs and writing on the wall that seemed to be clear about where he was in life was not as apparent to the lover’s eye—my eye to be exact. Although, I reasoned to myself, time over and over again, that I did everything right—I too, was caught up in love’s initial cast and knew that he was just not ready to be in a relationship.

While pointing the finger at him appeared to be so easy (and don’t forget believable) I remembered that we both participated in this relationship—and while I choose not to live my life as a scapegoat, I equally participated in what was our time, to come together, to give each other a remarkable gift—finding forgiveness and freedom through the gift of love.

I cannot equate all of the life lessons that my former partner experienced, but what I know for sure is that our souls attracted one another. Love (and remember it’s brilliantly pure) attracts us at our deepest levels of understanding, creating a pathway to not just be a feel good apparatus, but a teaching mechanism as well. I gave myself permission to travel back in time when I felt the highest exaltation of love—while simultaneously seeking to touch the bottom of the barrel where I felt pain. And, what I would discover, in between the layers of both sensations was the truth of love. He offered me a compass in reconnecting, and in some cases, connection to my true self—which in turn made a pit stop to the core of my belly where forgiveness presented a cheerful laughter of, “You will love again.”

Lessons are meant to be experienced, felt and learned—but rarely do we understand that lessons are also meant to be forgiven. Through the pain of dismissal and abandonment, the art of forgiving gave me the strongest sense of understanding the gift of freedom—that of which we would soon give to each other through the lessons found in our discomfort. Our beings attracted this moment…to not be a harsh mistake, but rather a forgiving mirror that we both needed in order to live out the highest expression(s) of who we were called to become. It’s never about right or wrong, black or white or your fault vs. mine. Yet, if we are serious about love—true love in all forms—we would understand that forgiveness holds the key towards living.

And, we are then rendered ready to love—not just for another, but most importantly for ourselves.

Klay S. Williams Headshot For more information on Klay S. Williams, reviews, video clips and other media, please visit:

Klay S. Williams, M.Div, is the author of There Is Only Plan A—A Journey Toward Self-Discovery and Renewed Purpose, and co-owner of Harrison Williams, a lifestyle-consulting firm based in New York City. Klay conducts personal and corporate client sessions, workshops, seminars and lectures internationally. Through his leadership and unique philosophy of “There Is Only Plan A,” Klay has unlocked a singular powerhouse where individuals can learn how to live their complete and best life.

It’s too late to undrink the kool-aid

“Pain is purposeless, without a cause and with no power to accomplish anything.”–A Course in Miracles

WordPress tells me that this blog post is my 200th since I began blogging 15 months ago. What a fabulous ride it has been. Despite my initial resistance, I discovered that I love blogging about these topics. Writing these posts is one of many highlights of my day.

The number 200 seems like a reason to celebrate and since I’m busy packing for my bucket list-crossing-off trip to Kenya tomorrow, I thought I’d post a sneak preview of the experiments you’ll be hearing about in E-Cubed, the sequel to E-Squared. I’d love to hear below what you think of these corollaries to the 9 principles of E-Squared.

Experiment # 1: The Red Pill Corollary or a Quick Refresher Course

Life emanates from me.

Experiment # 2: The Simon Cowell Corollary or Why you’re not Capable of Judging Anything

Nothing is absolute. Only our thinking makes it so.

Experiment #3: The “Everyone’s your Gayle King” Corollary or There is no “Them”

Being in love with everyone and everything brings you in alignment with the F.P.

Experiment #4: “Your new B.F.F. Corollary or “Money, it’s not complicated.”

Money is nothing but energy and a reflection of your beliefs

Experiment #5: The “Nature Vs. News” Corollary

The field of infinite potentiality offers a Divine 24/7 buzz.

Experiment #6: The “If you say so” Corollary or Your Words are the Wand that Shape your Life

You bring abundance and joy into your life once you stop talking smack about it.

Experiment #7: The Boogie-Woogie Corollary or The Importance of Not Being Earnest

The more fun you have, the better life works.

Experiment # 8: The Right Side of the Bed Corollary or The ten most important minutes of your day

Without cultural training, joy is your natural state.

Experiment # 9: The Ya-ba-da-ba-do Corollary

Life is miraculous and you can’t really die. Furthermore, transcendence is inevitable.

Appendix: The Bonus Marriage of Cana Experiment or It’s time to get D-O-W-N!!!

Pam Grout is the author of 17 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the soon-to-be-released sequel, E-Cubed, 9 More Experiments that Prove Mirth, Magic and Merriment is your Full-time Gig.

“The vibrations of mental forces are the finest and most powerful in existence”–Charles Haanel

“It’s a healthy thing to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”–Bertrand Russell

Not only do readers send inspiring stories about the experiments in my book, E-Squared, but they also send links and TED talks and lots of related anecdotes. This one came to me last week, and after securing permission to share, I’m doing just that.

Thank you, Michele, for sending this along.

“I was a single mom of two little boys and each night we did our prayers, but it was more me telling them that what they focus on will eventually come about. When my oldest son was around 6 years old we were doing our prayers when he announced that he wanted a turtle, and that is what he was going to ask for.

I couldn’t back down from what I always told them and I didn’t want to put any doubt in his mind at all. But what was I going to say when he didn’t get this turtle after I had always told them this “asking for and believing thing” works! Oh well, I kissed him and told him to hold that thought, but as I turned my back I immediately started to worry about what was I going to say and how was I going to explain to him when this didn’t happen!

“At around 10:30 pm there was a knock at my door, and believe me it scared me silly! I cautiously went to the door and peered through the window. I threw me off when I saw my girlfriend’s-cousin’s-husband standing there. Now he didn’t have a very good reputation and we never talked to each other, but curiosity won over and I opened the door slowly.

“Very sheepishly and with reserve he stammered and finally just blurted out, “So sorry if I startled you, but as you know I work as the maintenence guy for the county golf course, and occationally I find turtles on the fields. I just found this turtle and put it in my truck to take to my two boys. When I was driving home something just told me that maybe your boys would want this as I always bring these home for my boys.

“So, uh, heres a turtle if you think your boys would want it. Uh … good night….” and he quickly turned and walked away. I was dumbfounded! and said thank you and accepted this turtle, and that was it! I was not on his route home, he had to go out of his way. We never spoke of it, and really we just went on never speaking directly to each other again unless we were in a group.

“The next morning I told my son and he just went along like “of course I got a turtle, that’s what I asked for” attitude, but to me it was mindblowing and proof that we should always have the faith of a child.”

Why I always “sign up” for happiness

“Future historians might conclude that our age suffered from a pathological need to repetitively seek out reasons for how bad life is.”—Rob Brezsny

NPR’s Ira Flatow produces “Science Friday.” I’m offering “Science Monday” with three scientific reasons to choose happiness this week.

1. Your brain, still running ancient “Eat lunch. Don’t be lunch” programming is not hard-wired for fight or flight. Two-thirds of its neurons, in fact, are malleable and CAN. BE. CHANGED. You man the dials and can train those pesky neurons to seek out joy.

2. The new science of epigenetics is proving that even genes are not set in concrete. How they unravel depends on their environment.

3. By taking time to register within your mind that at this moment “I have all I need,” at this moment “Everything’s actually going okay,” you can rewire your brain.

Sadly, we spend our lives taking note and “registering” those times when something goes wrong. By actively stopping for a moment and registering moments of “Life right now is going okay,” we can literally re-sculpt our neurological structure.

We wouldn’t walk into a wedding or a funeral and not sign the guest book. Why do we fail to register for all those countless moments when life really is just fine the way it is?

Once you actively start noticing those moments, you’ll find the years will take care of themselves.

Pam Grout is the author of 17 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the soon-to-be-released sequel, E-Cubed, 9 More Experiments that Prove Mirth, Magic and Merriment is your Full-time Gig.

Gratitude is the gateway drug to abundance

“Expect abundance on every level.”–Eileen Caddy

Happy Friday!!

I just returned from the jungles of Barahona in the Dominican Republic where, among other things, I ziplined through the jungle canopy. I leave again Sunday for California so I’m so grateful for all my online friends who can fill in for me. This guest post is from Cloris Kylie, an author, speaker and radio host. Enjoy!!!

Good Things Come in Threes

As part of a large extended family, I can say the death of a relative is not foreign to me. From a very young age, besides noticing the shock and emotions that usually arose when someone died, I was always amused by a statement that many of my relatives proclaimed: “I wonder who’s next. You know what they say…bad things come in threes.”

Some of my older relatives would even affirm that when someone passes, he or she comes back from the other realm to snatch a couple of extra lives. The reason? That’s what “they say.”

Like many of us, I was being programmed to believe in this triple-tragedy bundle.

However, something inside of me made me reject this program from the first time someone tried to load it into my subconscious mind.

I asked, “Who is ‘they’? Where are the statistics that prove this theory?”

The answer I received was a recollection of past situations in which three people had died or three tragedies had happened within a short period of time.

In one occasion, there had been two deaths, but nobody in the family seem to be ready to die after that. That’s when someone discovered that Mrs. Kent, an elderly neighbor a couple of streets down, had passed. The Law of Threes had been proven once again, and its effects appeared to extend to any of our Facebook friends and their Facebook friends.

With an average of 150,000 people leaving our world each day, I can see how the Law of Threes has perpetuated for years.

However, if we’ve proven this “law” is true by expecting it to be true, can we prove the law is flawed by expecting it to be flawed?

Furthermore, can we create a new law that says good things come in threes?

The resounding answer is yes.

It all comes down to what we place our attention on.

It all depends on our expectations.

One of the life-changing messages in Pam Grout’s E-Squared is that “what shows up in our lives is a direct reflection of our inner thoughts and emotions.”

If we make a conscious choice to expect not only the manifestation of our desires, but the appearance of miracles in our life, we’ll experience our wishes fulfilled and a miraculous existence.

So now, every time something good happens, I expect two more great things to come. I look for the fortune in every circumstance, even when the circumstance in question seems to be unlucky. A few months ago, I learned that the manuscript I entered in a contest hadn’t been selected for a publishing contract. I chose to see this as the opportunity to get my book out on the market sooner through self-publishing. The new release date was perfectly aligned with timely endorsements from amazing authors such as Pam. Managing the publishing process has been one of the best learning experiences in my life.

When I’m “lucky,” my senses are tuned in to the people or events that will become lucky #2 and #3, and I have a feeling that if I focus on finding lucky #4 and #5, I’ll succeed. As quoted in E-Squared, “Miracles are like pimples, because once you start looking for them you find more than you ever dreamed you’d see.”

Did something awesome just happen in your life? Grab on to your seat, because two equally awesome things are coming! Has nothing great happened lately? Even better, because once that first wonderful event happens, two more will follow!

What is your experience with the lucky version of the Law of Threes? Share it in the comments section below!
Cloris Kylie is a personal development author, motivational speaker, coach, and radio show host from Connecticut who focuses on the inner power that each of us has to manifest an extraordinary life. A sought-after lecturer and receiver of top communication and leadership awards, Cloris Kylie reaches every corner of the world through her blog and radio show. Her new book is Magnificent…Married or Not: Reaching Your Highest Self Before, During, and After Divorce.
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A true story of international love: why travel breaks down worn-out paradigms

“Reality is up for grabs.”–Melissa Joy

As most of you know, I’m a travel writer. The past few months, I’ve been grounded. I had the new book to finish so, other than my talks in Hamburg and London, I’ve been sitting here in Lawrence, Kansas, wearing my PJ’s and finishing up the new book.

Well, it’s done, it’s at the publishers and, in less than 24 hours, I’m taking off on a whirlwind of travel. Tomorrow, I fly to Dominican Republic. I’m home a few days before a trip to northern California and then, a week later, I go to Kenya, a country that has been on my bucket list for years.

I wrote the following story this week. Even though it’s a travel story (it ran here on Huffington Post), I thought its message of international love sorta works here, too.


Important advice that travel books never tell you

Travel guidebooks have it all wrong. They tell us about hotels and restaurants and sights we don’t want to miss.

What they SHOULD tell us has but five words:

“Get to know a local.”


When that happens (and it’s a lot easier than you might think), real magic can begin. Locals, of course, know the best restaurants, have true insight about the must-see “sights” and will introduce you to things those writers of travel guidebooks couldn’t begin to know.

A recent example of this happened to me in Rize, Turkey. Rize is in the Black Sea region of Turkey and, as the guidebooks will tell you, it has stunning Alp-like vistas, ancient monasteries carved into cliffs and charming seaside villages, all of which you don’t want to miss.

But nowhere did any guidebook tell me about Cemal, Nazmiye and Fethi Yetkiner. This beautiful, open-hearted family invited me into their home one Sunday afternoon, fed me a meal that rivals the best of Istanbul’s many fabulous restaurants (and that’s saying a lot. Istanbul has really, really, really good restaurants) and made me feel like a treasured guest. Maybe I should rephrase that. They made me feel like an important part of their close-knit family.

Sure, I could have spent my day in Rize visiting the Rize Museum (according to the guidebook it’s an old Ottoman house complete with a weaving room and antiques) or the Genoese castle that, the guidebooks tell me, has its own tea garden.

But by instead hanging out with the Yetkiners, I learned a travel truth that is far more valuable. I learned about the connection that all of us humans have whether we speak the same language, whether we practice the same religion or whether we live thousands of miles away from each other. I also learned that the State Department doesn’t know everything.

The day before my trip to Turkey, the State Department issued a travel warning. It wasn’t a warning about the region where I was traveling, but nonetheless, it gave me pause. Plus, what news-savvy American hasn’t picked up the notion that we’re not likely to win any popularity contests with some Muslims? I don’t buy that kind of stereotyping, of course, but I’m a human with a reptile brain. I wondered, “Did I need to be on guard?”

Like most decisions made with my reptile brain, that question was so misguided, so off-base that I’m embarrassed to admit it here.


And to pay penance, I want to tell you how beautiful and meaningful my day was with the Yetkiner family. By the time I met them, I’d already been in Turkey for a week and I was getting accustomed to the call for prayer. Even in remote mountain villages where maybe two or three families lived, the Adhaan was piped over a loud speaker system. I had grown to love it, to look forward to it and to utter my own “wassup” to the Divine each of the five times a day it rang out from mosques and loud speakers across the country.

I also learned quite quickly that hospitality is an art in the Muslim world, a cherished virtue that encourages practitioners to view every person who comes across their path as sent to them by Allah himself. In fact, it’s next-to-impossible in Turkey to be in the general vicinity of another human being without being handed a fig or a hazelnut or a bowl of fresh yogurt made that morning from the milk of their own cow.

Hospitality is so over-the-top (commerce, it seems, is beside the point) that any crusty idea I ever had that foreigners are different or that life sucks or that the world is a going to hell in a handbasket were properly dashed against the inhospitable shores of the Black Sea, a region in Turkey that looks more like the Colorado Rockies than Lawrence of Arabia.

Sure, Nazmiye and Fethi disappeared for a few minutes every time the call to prayer sounded (to a room where they kneeled on their prayer rug) and our language barriers prevented us from burrowing deeply into long conversations. But none of that mattered. When they were off praying, I sat on their gorgeous balcony gazing over the misty tea fields, reveling in the beautiful chanting that reminds all who hear it, “There is more. There is more.”

When I faltered in trying to saying thank you (my “Tesekkur ederim” still sounds like something my 15-month-old granddaughter might say) for the five-course meal Nazmiye so generously prepared, she hugged me and let me know that she “got it” and that some things are bigger than words.

And after our feast (it’s really the only word that aptly applies), Cemal, who speaks perfect English, gave me a personal took of the tea factory (where he knew everyone and proudly provided anecdotes and perspective all guidebooks missed) and a craft factory (where prices were dirt-shockingly cheap), but he introduced me to most every one of his family and every one of his neighbors.
It’s an experience I will treasure forever. And a vivid reminder always that “there is more. There is more.”

Pam Grout is the author of 17 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the soon-to-be-released sequel, E-Cubed, 9 More Experiments that Prove Mirth, Magic and Merriment is your Full-time Gig.