Reboot your spirit: a guest post

“Joy is not an escape from reality’s hard edges, not a privilege of the few or a luxury to be allowed once the hard work is done. It’s a life-giving, resilience-making human birthright.”—Krista Tippett 00001c

I loved this essay by a friend of mine who describes himself as “Holder of lots of jobs, author, coach, nice guy.” I asked Dunn (see his bio below) if I could share here on the blog. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

A Perspective on All This

Sometimes God gets to call a time out, and while high school coaches get either 30 or 60 seconds, the Man gets as long as He needs, as long as it takes.

Why this? Why now? To me, something had to do it and if not now, when? And if not this, then what? We’ve been crippled before – we survived Ebola and Y2K – and we’ll never forget the days of September 11th.

Still, I recall September 12th, when perfect strangers hugged on the streets, when there were two-minute standing ovations to the National Anthem when the games began again. Now, as I’ve written, some don’t even bother to stand anymore.

For some reason, we were chosen – we were the winning sperm cells – we get to play. We’ve enjoyed piano recitals and 4th of July celebrations, competing win, lose, or draw. We’ve got to cry good tears and bad – fair and unfair – and quite frankly, we get to participate. I have to let that sink in as I write it – for some reason, we GET to participate!

We appreciated all this after 9-11 – for a while – and then we became a phone-staring culture – Screenagers as great writer Tom Greene wrote. We spent all this time doing and doing and doing and waiting for our next email while the world went unappreciated and our souls got corroded in the process.

I sit now in an empty school – not one student in here that needs to get a copy made, or to go to the bathroom, not one kid is flirting with another, there’s that lethal silence where there’s supposed to be slamming lockers, chirping voices, a Smart Board delivering some message.

We are on our knees – it’ll probably get worse before it gets better. Obviously, it’s time we take care of our bodies, though I contend it’s time to take care of our souls. I sit in an empty classroom, waiting in wonderful impatience for the next time 22 kids pile in here – all filled with piss and vinegar and life and dates and agendas.

I write crippled as you are – on my knees and with scabs that are getting worse. But I still write in gratitude. We have survived before. We will survive again. Life is here and for some reason, we were chosen to play.

Okay, so who the hell am I? Do I think I’m God’s gift? Yes, I do. And SO ARE YOU! Damn it, SO ARE YOU!

It’s time we appreciate that fact, take care of it, mentally and physically.

And in closing, I picture the day – not far away – when these halls refill, priceless smiles everywhere, the sounds of laughter replacing this God-awful silence.

I love that thought. And I choose to love this life.

Today, I’ll reboot my spirits instead of my computer. And I can’t wait to see you all again, cellphones be damned…Dunn, James Dunn

Dunn Neugebauer is the author of two books – Funny Conversations with God, and Rock Bottom, Then Up Again (and other spiritual essays). He lives and works in Atlanta as a Sports Information Director, Upper School sub, cross country and track coach, and football announcer. When not at school, he reads, writes, runs, and works crossword puzzles for sanity sakes.

Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World).

Rise Up: Why I’ve chosen to abandon the swamp

“You can ask just as easily for love, for happiness and for peace.”—A Course in Miracles we-are-all-one-quote-1

Buckminster Fuller, long a hero of mine, once said that if you spend your energy and time fighting against established institutions, you end up demoralized, exhausted and discouraged.

I’ve been thinking about Bucky today after reading some of the comments from my post, “Don’t forget to show love.”

I mentioned that, instead of following political news, I was following a pint-size superhero who passes out chicken sandwiches at a homeless shelter. It provoked a conversation—is that putting my head in the sand?

In 1976, Bucky made the observation that all the institutions of humankind are rooted in a “you or me” paradigm, a scarcity paradigm. It works like this: If you make it, it’s at my expense. Likewise, if I make it, you won’t have enough. This belief system has long-dominated our planet.

It’s a belief system focused on maximizing wealth, predicated on the material world being the end-all, be-all.

Bucky said all those institutions needed to collapse. He predicted that, within 50 years (according to my calculations that’s 2026), the current structures (political, religious, educational, etc) would come crashing down.

Maybe not the best news to start your weekend, but certainly a potent explanation for what’s happening if you DO like to tune into the “news.” As I mentioned in one comment, the “news” would better be described as the “olds.” Because it demonstrates what’s no longer working.

Here’s how I choose to deal:

First, I recognize that we’re on the cusp of an evolutionary leap. Before, we could pretend that this system of good guys and bad guys was working. We could fight to get “our team” back in power. It is so apparent that this me against you IS. NOT. WORKING. That’s good to know.

Secondly, I can’t help but notice that, at the same time these institutions are failing, there’s this other story rising. There are young people (like my five-year-old superhero) giving love. Like mushrooms living underground, countless heroes, lovers and changemakers are posed, waiting for their moment to rise, to bloom.

Lastly, I remember that all those “actors” on the repertory stage of this current “theater drama” are simply playing a role. It’s not who they really are. I love knowing that. I see my job as being a witness to the truth of love, behind the scenes.

Because despite how it looks, the invisible world holds all the power. That’s what our discovery of the electron established, what quantum mechanics proves. That’s the promise of the Course in Miracles. What we see here is basically a neural pathway malfunction. It may look like things are beyond hope, but there is actually a bigger, more beautiful story going on.

As I used to like to say on Fridays, go out, my much-loved friends, and have the best weekend of your life.

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.

Who rules the kingdom of your mind?

“Rule your mind or it will rule you.”― Horace
My Course in Miracles lesson a couple days ago was, “I rule my mind, which I alone must rule.” Each of us is in charge of the kingdom of our minds.

Right now, there are a lot of crazy people circling the kingdom walls shouting “the sky is falling.” And plenty of town criers preaching despair. There’s even an airplane flying overhead with a banner: “Danger, danger. Take cover.”

But there’s also a dot, dot AND. There’s also a bigger story going on.

Which is why in the kingdom of my mind, I frequently pose this question: “AND what else is true?”

Even in Houston right now, there are neighbors helping neighbors. People opening their homes. Volunteers and supplies pouring in. If you look for it, there is always an underlying love story.

My mind is sometimes lazy and lets its kingdom fall prey to anguish. It’s a scary rabbit hole to fall into. In that kingdom’s narrative, there’s no end to the arguments that “life sucks.”

But for me, it’s an indefensible way to live.

When the drums of distress start reverberating throughout the kingdom, it’s time–for me at least–to get up and look around, to see what else is happening?

To remind myself that this galaxy in which I live, one of a gazillion galaxies, has hundreds of billions of stars and enough gas and dust to make hundreds of billions more.

I remind myself that because of my connection to this expanding, cosmic mystery, I also have the responsibility to create new things, things that were not there the day before.

Looking for the love beat beneath the dominant melody and creating something that does not yet exist is the best way I know to rule the kingdom of my mind.

Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the just-released, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side

How the parlor game “Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon” gives us hope

“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.