“Like a loyal animal, the imagination will come when it knows the door is open.”
My favorite how-to book will never be found in the self-help section of the bookstore. It was written long before the term self-help was even coined.
It’s a children’s book called Harold and the Purple Crayon and it rivals Oprah when it comes to addressing the possibilities of the human condition.
Written by Crockett Johnson in 1955, this little 65-page masterpiece tells the story of a little boy named Harold who decides to go out for a walk one evening. When there isn’t any moonlight (and, of course, everyone knows a good walk requires moonlight), Harold just takes out his purple crayon and draws the moon.
He also needs a sidewalk (which he draws) that leads to a forest (he only draws one tree because he doesn’t want to get lost) that turns out to be an apple tree (or at least it is after Harold’s crayon gets ahold of it). Unfortunately, the apples aren’t ripe yet, so Harold draws a frightening dragon to guard the tree.
When he falls into the ocean, Harold is able to grab his wits and his purple crayon to draw a boat and set sail for a beach, where he draws a picnic lunch with nine kinds of pie.
The whole book is about Harold’s great adventures scaling a mountain, soaring in a hot-air balloon and touring a city, all created by his ever-faithful purple crayon.
It’s a powerful book because it demonstrates a great spiritual truth—we are the authors of our own lives. We draw every detail—even the dragons and the oceans we “accidentally” fall into.
Harold could have gone on his walk, noticed there was no moon and sat down and pouted. Isn’t that what most of us do? “Damn, no moon. Better call my therapist, hit some pillows.” Or he could have drawn his moon, compared it to El Greco, and said, “I’m a hopeless shame. What was I thinking? Me? An artist?”
Instead, he kept reaching for his purple crayon and drawing every event, every answer, every friend he needed. We all have that power.
Harold was only a kid. He hadn’t yet lost his imagination, his sense of wonder and awe. No one had explained yet that he couldn’t have whatever he wanted. As long as he had his purple crayon, he could ride the universe.
Remember that big box of Crayolas with the 64 awesome colors? With that one small gold and green box you could have absolutely anything-—navy blue carousels with peach prancing ponies, magenta castles with yellow-green drawbridges, puffy white clouds and purple grass although your teacher might have frowned on that kind of thing. “Grass is green, don’t you know.”
Each year of school, the Crayola stash gets smaller. By the time we graduate from high school, we’re wielding nothing but a blue Bic for figuring our checking account.
Let’s go out this week and get some crayons. Let’s create our world the way we want it. And if we happen to fall into an ocean or run into a dragon, we’ll just draw ourselves a lifeboat and head for the beach, where at least one kind of pie will be waiting.
Pam Grout is the author of E-Squared, 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality.
“I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine
Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen.”—Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars
I didn’t make Forbes’ list of billionaires in 2012. 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 this Wednesday, for example, I’m flying to Belize to visit Mayan pyramids and to snorkel along the world’s second largest reef. Next month, on my birthday, I’m flying to the Cook Islands where I’ll undoubtedly snorkel some more and stay in a couple five-star hotels.
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 $7 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.
Is the radio station in your head stuck on a self-defeating channel? Maybe it’s time to pick a better song.
“At every point in time,
there are infinite possibilities
and a parallel reality exists for each possibility.”
–Daniel Jackson, Stargate
Imagine this? A foreign exchange student from a tiny African village with no running water or electricity comes to the West and gets dropped off at a hotel room. The hotel maid, who has a giant crush on George Strait and loves to listen to the local country and western station, forgot to turn off the radio when she finished tidying up the room. Hours later, the student walks into his first hotel room ever to find a radio playing non-stop country and western music and loud, obnoxious ads.
He much prefers the drumming of his little village, but unfortunately he has no idea that a) the radio has an off switch or b) that, at any time, he could simply move the dial to a different, more pleasing station.
Hopefully, the above scenario has never happened, but it’s a perfect metaphor for life. An extensive line-up of music stations with an immense variety of options is available for anyone with a car, a boom box or a computer with Pandora.
Life, too, offers a dizzying choice of consciousness options. We can choose joyful thoughts or thoughts of fear. We can choose to celebrate or worry. The station we tune into is completely up to us. It’s the most important decision we ever make. Our consciousness channels create the quality of our life.
Most of us are like the exchange student, stuck on one channel and unaware that, at any time, we could pick a different reality. We are the captains of our fate, the master of our mind’s channels that all too often get stuck on an endless loop.
Before long, we start believing that reality is nothing but the loud, obnoxious C&W station playing in our consciousness. We fail to realize that a) there’s an off-switch, b) there are lots of other channels and c) the world only appears the way it does because, in our ignorance, we chose the wrong channel. Isn’t it time to change the dial?
Pam Grout is the author of E-Squared, 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality. And she chose to write about radio stations today in honor of next week’s debut on Hay House Radio.
“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” –Aibilene Clark, from the book and movie, The Help
I’m sending a shout-out today to the anonymous person that taped uplifting affirmations to the bathroom stall at Mirth Café in Lawrence, Kansas. Your words reminding me that “I am beautiful. I am powerful. I am capable of great things” made me so happy and reminded me that the simplest of things, the tiniest of actions can impact the world.
Your affirming words not only added joy to my day, but they elevated the energy of every person I encountered from that moment forward.
I once saw a comic strip where the boss scolded his employee who went home and took it out on his wife who then screamed at the kids. In the last frame, the toddler is sitting outside on the front porch shaking her finger at the puzzled dog.
That boss had no idea the chain of events he started when he chose to criticize rather than encourage.
You’re probably heard of the parlor game, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”, which suggests that any two people on earth are, on average, a mere six acquaintance links apart.
I like to think of those beautiful human bonds when I get discouraged, overwhelmed by the issues in the news. It’s tempting to wonder what I, one solitary person from Kansas, can do to solve the political chasm, what I, a single mom with a couple twitter followers, can do to stop gun violence.
And then I remember. I can invite my neighbor over for ham and eggs. I can bake a casserole for the new mom that just came home from the hospital.
Yes, we’re all different, have varying political beliefs and religious affiliations. But every last one of us eventually shows up in the same bathroom stall.
One tiny sheet of paper. Five simple lines. Tiny actions sending beautiful ripples out into the universe.
Leave a comment below with the words you’d like to leave on the door of your bathroom stall.
“Violence is interesting which makes it a great obstacle to world peace and more thoughtful television programming.” –P.J. O’Rourke
Crisis, conflict and violence are the prevailing themes of our 24/7 media. If some stranger talked to us the way newscasters do, we’d tell them to go jump in a lake. Likewise, if our boyfriends made us feel the way headlines often do, our friends would line up for an intervention. ‘Toss the jerk out on his head,’ they’d say.”
Living in fear sells products, creates economies, elects politicians and keeps the flying monkeys on the job. But it’s not the truth about the world.
The reality is that the world is safer today than at anytime in history. The murder rate has plummeted in the last ten years. School shootings are no more prevalent than they were in “Leave it to Beaver” days. In fact, collaboration, goodness and, yes, love are the norm.
It’s just that the dominant paradigm, the one we’ve blindly bought into is “life sucks.” Any thought to the contrary is sidelined immediately by the 27-inch box in the corner of most of our living rooms (and kitchen and bedrooms). In fact, if you pay attention to the box–and most of us use it to form our view of reality–you have little choice but to conclude that murder, rape, war, and genocide is the human condition.
But if you look at it scientifically, the math just doesn’t work out. For every Koran-burning Terry Jones, there are 335,000 ministers who aren’t burning the Koran, who are espousing peace and love and tolerance. For every Scott Peterson, there’s 58.9 million husbands who didn’t murder their wives.
Every day, we’re spoon-fed “news” about missing children, identity theft, the mild-mannered neighbor who walks into work with an AK-47 and a bomb pack and blows up his boss and 27 co-workers.
Why do we think this is news?
On the same day (February 18, 2008), two-year-old Karissa Jones was abducted from her home in Louisville, Kentucky (by her father, as it turns out), there were 53,298 two-year-olds in Kentucky who didn’t get abducted, who were safe and sound at home, happily sipping apple juice from their Winnie-the-Pooh high chairs. Nearly a million children of all ages in Kentucky also didn’t get abducted that same day.
Why is Karissa the “news?”
News, by definition, is new information that teaches people about the world. Picking out what happened to two-one thousandth of one percent of the state’s two-year-olds is not an accurate picture of the world. If you ask me, what happened to the other 53,298 two-year-olds is a bigger story. Or at least it’s more realistic news.
What you see on the newscasts at night, what you read in the morning newspaper is not a realistic perception of our world. It’s an anomaly, an out-of-character thing that happened at one moment in time. News junkies pride themselves on believing they’re well-informed. Because they know what Ann Curry said about the latest layoffs at Boeing and what Morley Safer reported on the earthquake in New Zealand, they smugly believe they’re up on current events.
But do they know about the African-American postman in Germantown, Tennessee who jumped into a lake to save a couple whose brakes went out of their car when they were coming home from a hospital dialysis treatment? Do they know about the Marysville, Kansas attorney who flew, on his own dime, to Israel to donate a kidney to a 10-year-old he’d never met?
Thinking you’re informed because you watch the news is like thinking you understand a zoo when you’ve only seen the “Z” on the entryway sign. It’s not a complete picture, guys. It’s not even a good picture. I’m not going to argue that you can’t find the letter “Z” at any zoo. But if you try to convince me you’re a zoo expert or even that you have a faint understanding of what a zoo is all about because you’ve seen a “Z,” well, I’m sorry, I have no choice but to argue.
Attention-grabbing headlines and newscasts are nothing more than a sales tool, no more “factual” than “The Simpsons.” Isolated incidences get turned into frightening trends and our own thoughts have become conditioned to leap to the worst.
The mission of this blog is to free readers from the straitjacket of the relentless news media. Instead of asking “What’s wrong?,” a question we hear over and over again, I’d like to pose a simple question with the power to change the world: “What’s right?”
Like everyone else on the planet, I learned ages ago that opportunities for pain and suffering are always going to be available and that if I was going to live with intention, it’s best to steer clear.
I’d have never become the author of 16 books, a reporter for People magazine and a world traveler if I’d accepted the onslaught of “negative invitations.”
“That’s not possible,” naysayers always insisted on telling me. “It’s hard to write a book. Even harder to sell it. You’re an unknown from Kansas. You got B’s in your journalism classes, for God’s sake.”
“Talk to the hand,” I’d always say to those voices. “That may be your way of seeing things, but I choose a different reality, a higher path.”
But in 2008, after three years of ever-increasing income, even being in a position to turn down a fourth project for National Geographic, I took the ego’s bait.
By then, a constant stream of bad news dominated the headlines. My profession, journalism and book publishing, was among the hardest hit by the global downturn. Publishers were cutting back their lines, lowering their advances. Many of my colleagues in the newspaper business were suddenly without work.
Again, I normally don’t listen to such nonsense. I much prefer a spiritual reality that proclaims abundance no matter what the circumstances. But by 2009, after little by little letting the dire news seep in, I plucked the aforementioned recession invitation out of the trash. I decided to take just a peek.
The party was in full swing. My agent was repeating the “nothing’s selling” mantra over by the punch bowl. Regular clients were on the corner sofas, moaning about the economy and their need to buy less.
Before I knew what happened, I bunny hopped right into the middle of the celebration. I began singing the “ain’t it awful” blues along with the party’s deejay. I told anybody who’d listen about my hard times.
Before long, I convinced everyone I know that my career as an independent author was over. I even fooled them into believing that, after all these years on my own, I was old, washed up and as yesterday as the History Channel.
I actually reveled in the sympathy.
Then one day, I got out my beat-up copy of Think and Grow Rich. As I read Napoleon Hill’s words about “thoughts being things,” I suddenly got it.
Look how powerful my thoughts and words had been. Look what I’d done to myself. If I can create this disaster with nothing but my thoughts, I can just as easily create the opposite.
When I think back about it now, I’m slightly embarrassed. How could I have fallen so bumpily off the wagon I’d use so successfully for so many years? I know good and well how this stuff works. I know that I create my own reality. I know that listening to dooms-dayers is the most futile exercise in the world.
I wasted no time using Hill’s famous advice.
Within a week, I had two new assignments. A new book contract came next. Rather than live frugally, the advice my friends were freely passing out, I decided to spend the summer overseas, volunteering and letting my newly-recovered faith pay the bills.
That decision to say, “I am prosperous and, of course, I can afford to travel overseas to volunteer” was the beginning of a more fruitful life.
Needless to say, I’ve taken that beautifully-engraved invitation and ripped it to shreds. And don’t bother sending anymore. Because from now on, my RSVP’s to any negativity will say one thing, “Have a good time. But don’t expect to find me there.”
Pam Grout is the author of E-Squared, 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality.
Kids know important stuff, stuff we mature adults work very hard to unteach them. But maybe instead of urging our children to “be careful” and “act responsible,” we should follow their lead.
Here are the top six things preschoolers have over us:
1. Make believe. You don’t have to tell a kid that “anything is possible.” They’re pros at “pretend” or what behavioral specialists call visualization. Olympic athletes, in fact, spend nearly as many hours mentally rehearsing their success as they do physically practicing. Well, duh? our kids could tell us. They don’t need anyone’s permission to be a pilot or a doctor or an architect. They’re already flying around the room and healing their dolls’ boo-boos and building sand castles. They know popsicle sticks can be boats, batons or bridges over moats. Or better yet, lined up all the way to Bulgaria.
2. The opposite game. Remember how much fun it was to state everything backwards, to say “I don’t like you very much” which, of course, meant “You are everything to me.” If we could only realize that our political opponents and anyone else who disagrees with us or nags at us or call us names are really just playing “the opposite game.” Then we could quit taking everything so personally and remember that the biggest secret in the world is “we all really love each other.”
3. Tag, you’re it. Instead of hogging all the attention, kids chase each other around and parlay being “it.” And, needless to say, we all want to be “it” from time to time.
4. Cry when they’re hurt. Instead of pretending to be all “cool” and “together,” kids just lay it on the line. The only games they play are for fun. They don’t care what color or sexual orientation or religion a playmate is. In fact, they don’t notice differences at all. I have a friend who lost his arm when he was in the Navy. Until kids get to the age of 5 or so, they don’t even notice that he’s missing his right arm. It’s remarkable the day kids he’s known since they were babies suddenly notice. “What happened to your arm?” they ask in utter amazement. Of course, their mom’s give them dirty looks and tell them to “pipe down.”
5. Show-and-tell. Think how much closer we’d all be if we stopped long enough to honor one another in a circle of show-and-tell. If we listened to one another’s stories, looked at each other’s creations. Why isn’t this a normal thing? Every week or so we should get together with families and friends and show them something we really like, something unique about us. Bring in some doodle we made on the side of a Visa bill or something we thought up while waiting at the dry cleaners. Adults still think things up. We just don’t tell anyone. We don’t think it’s important. Not with lawns that need mowing and mufflers that need fixing.
6. What’s the hurry? If you want to expand your world, go on a walk with a five-year-old. They notice everything. The sun glinting off the mud puddle. The snail making figure eights of slime along the sidewalk. The hawk perched on the neighbor’s mailbox. Sure, you know everybody’s Facebook status registered on a little screen. But preschoolers? They know everything else.
“One thing I’ve learned. Never set limits on yourself, not in the race, not in life. You may not win every battle, you may not win every race, but there is glory to be found in any worthwhile human endeavor.” –Hobart Brown
Hobart Brown, a metal sculpture artist, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1998. The reason? He has made happiness his occupation.
And, as he says, by “following my heart, by doing what seems to be the most fun at the time and by not doing those things that weren’t fun, I think I’ve lived a useful life.”
Indeed. Not only has this zany artist put Ferndale, California, his home of several decades on the map, but his invention of kinetic sculpture racing has inspired millions of people to take life less seriously.
As he likes to say, “It seems to solve the problem of how to have fun as an adult.”
When Hobart moved to Ferndale in 1962, this little dairy community of 2500 was almost a ghost town. The glorious Victorian homes were selling for a song, and city fathers were thinking about tearing them down, replacing them with modern structures. A great dissension reined between the farmers who had been there since the late 1800’s and the artists who were turning the cheap Victorian into funky studios.
Hobart’s crazy brainstorm, which eventually turned into the World Championship Great Arcata to Ferndale Kinetic Sculpture Race, brings a quarter-million people to town every Memorial Day weekend, pumps more than $2 million into the economy, and has totally healed the rift between the farmers and the artists.
Kinetic sculptures, in a nutshell, are works of art that move. Shaped like everything from giant bananas to two—ton dinosaurs to floating wheelchairs and 75-foot iguanas, these human-powered vehicles are peddled, pushed, paddled and pumped, Fred Flintstone-style. They’re made from scrounged bicycle parts, discarded lawn mower gears, painted septic tanks, old bathtubs and anything else inventors can come up with. Each machine is a testament not only to childlike imagination and engineering genius, but to artistic ingenuity, camaraderie, and well…insanity.
Hobart proves my point. One of the greatest ways to serve your fellow man is to figure out a way to enjoy yourself and to let people know that enjoying yourself is a good thing.
Vow today to approach your life with a sense of aliveness. Intentionally decide that you’re only going to look for the good and concentrate on the beautiful.
When you decide to practice the attitude of happiness, boredom turns into exploration. Canceled flights turn into a party. Waiting in line becomes a great opportunity to meet new people. Vacuuming the floor is a ballet performed to Van Morrison. And, of course, a rainy day calls for an indoor picnic with five kinds of cheese.
Make this revolutionary attitude switch now. Your joie de vivre will be contagious. Maybe you’ll even make the 6 o’clock news.
Man only likes to count his troubles, but he does not count his joys.—Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Before entering the hospital room of a tuberculosis patient, visitors are required to cover their entire bodies. They even don surgical gloves and face masks.
None of us balk at this seemingly overcautious behavior. We don’t want to catch tuberculosis. It’s contagious, for goodness sake. Of course, we’d go to great lengths to avoid being exposed.
Yet, we never protect ourselves from the bad news we see on television, the horrible reports we read in the newspaper. What we see on the nightly news is nothing like what we see in our own neighborhoods. The new media presents a grossly-distorted picture, an anomaly.
And, unfortunately, that picture of “America, the Ugly” is every bit as contagious and as damaging as those tuberculosis germs.
Poet and novelist Maya Angelou goes so far as to call negativity poison. She is vigilant in protecting herself from negative conversation. If she hears what she calls “a poisonous comment,” she quickly says “sayonara” and doesn’t feel a bit guilty about it. If anyone starts in at her home, she asks them to leave.
“If you allow it (negativity) to perch in your house, in your mind, in your life, it can take you over. So when rude or cruel things are said, I say, ‘Take it all out of my house.’ Those negative words climb into the wood and into the furniture and the next thing they’ll be on my skin,” she says.
She prefers what Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians. They wrote complaining about old men who were chasing young women, about church members who refused to tithe. And he wrote back, “If there be anything of good report, speak of these things.”
Your thoughts are magic. Not one of them goes unheeded by the universe. Whatever it is you think and feel the great universal energy stands up and says, “I second it.”
Why cast your spotlight in dirty corners? Why focus on negativity?
Our thought about ourselves, about our world, about our relationships create our reality. In a landmark physics experiment, researchers who theorized that light waves were curvy found curvy light waves. And those who deduced light waves were straight as Billy Graham? They found Billy Graham-straight light waves.
Who needs a mind reader or a psychologist to dredge up an unburied unconscious? If you want to know what there’s just take a look around. It’s all right there in living color. If you see dysfunctional relationships, finances that are always a struggle, a word of snotty sales clerks, then that’s what you’re spending your time thinking about. In fact, the thoughts come first.
Change your thought and your focus and you can literally change your world.
When we first learn about manifesting and the “law of attraction,” we tend to jump in with giant goals, things like new cars, new homes, boyfriends who look like Fabio. Those are all fantastic intentions and every single one of you deserves every one of those things.
But what I’d like to suggest is baby steps. Starting small. When you first learn to play golf, you break it down and master one step at a time. You spend a week practicing, say, keeping your eye on the ball. The next week you work on keeping your lead arm straight. It’s impossible to take it all in at once.
It’s the same with learning to manifest. In fact, jumping into the deep end, our normal inclination, tends to backfire and actually ends up being counterproductive. Let’s say you decide you want a BMW Z3 2.8 Roadster by oh.…next Wednesday. It’s quite possible that, instead of getting all worked up and excited about the new car, your predominant thoughts will be something like “eat my shorts.”
Needless to say, thoughts like those can only lead to disappointment. And I think that’s what happens. We get all fired up about this amazing idea that our thoughts create our reality. We start affirming and visualizing and being sure that this is our destiny and then the past starts creeping in. The negative thoughts. The way it’s always been.
Going from broke, depressed and loveless to rich, perpetually happy and a having a black book filled with numbers is a virtual chasm and can’t help but fail. When these intentions don’t happen overnight, which they won’t (They could. It’s possible. Gurus in India pull jewels out of the thin air), you’ll get discouraged and either give up or believe you’re not worthy.
What I’d like to suggest is starting small. Building muscle gradually.
Start with something you have absolutely no baggage around. Money, which is No#1 on most manifesters’ hit parade, comes with how can I say this politely, more suitcases than the Chicago airport.
If you start with something simple, something like say a blue feather, your thoughts won’t immediately put up their dukes and start yammering. In fact, small intentions are so nonthreatening that often we manifest them immediately.
For one thing, you’re not fighting the current. Most people, something like 95 percent of the human race, think manifesting money is supremely difficult. No doubt you’ve heard all the alleged facts about money:
It doesn’t grow on trees.
Making money is hard.
But I hasten to point out you don’t hear people going around saying, “It’s impossible to find blue feathers.”
So by starting with baby steps, you won’t immediately provoke the group consciousness. And, most importantly, you won’t trigger your own doubts and past failures.
Here are the three steps:
1. Go for something small, something you won’t be all “that’s impossible” about.
2. Make an intention and make it crystal clear.
3. Set a deadline.
In fact, for the next week, I’d like your help in creating some data for my new Hay House book: E-Squared: 9 Do-it-yourself Energy Experiments to Prove your Thoughts Create Your Reality.
I’d like your permission to enlist y’all as my test subjects, as my guinea pigs, if you will.
Using the three baby steps I just outlined, I’d like you to attempt to manifest the following five things:
1. Upfront parking spot
2. Blue feather
3. Free cup of coffee
4. Hearing from a friend from the past
5. Having something interesting and unexpected land in your mailbox or in-box
You’ve got a week.
And I hope you’ll send me an email or make a comment here to let me know which of these things you’ve manifested.
And just know that once you’ve got things like this down, moving on to money and that date with the Fabio look-a-like will be a piece of cake.
As we say in Manifesterland. “Today, a feather, tomorrow the world.”