“We are not rational enough to be exposed to the press.”—Rolf Dobelli
What I see in the news media is a tiny speck of a reality far removed from true Reality.
It’s so limited in dimension and scope of understanding that paying close attention is like unknowingly having one of those “please kick me” signs pinned to my back.
The news media feeds me small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern my life and don’t require thinking.
Out of thousands of news stories and tweets I’ve read, not one–because I consumed it–helped me make a better decision about a serious matter affecting my life.
“News” is just one corporation’s opinion. It’s mostly clickbait, completely irrelevant to my well-being. Truly creative minds–whether composers, mathematicians, scientists, authors or musicians–could care less what’s trending on twitter.
I’ve concluded that the important stuff I need to know is happening right outside my window, right here in my neighborhood, right in my own heart.
What really matters is the indestructible joy and pulse of life being broadcast from every tree, every star, every bird.
My mission now is to pay more attention to the collective rhythm and wisdom emanating from the larger whole, what I often call the Divine Buzz.
It might sound big and cosmic, but it’s really the most natural thing in the world. And it’s a gazillion times more resourceful and richer in content than anything I could ever hear on CNN.
So it’s Friday, my friends, and you know what that means. It’s time to go out and grab the weekend by the balls. Make it the best one yet.
“When you get stuck fighting small battles, it makes you small.”—Hank Green
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.
“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
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.
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.
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.
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.
“Let me be clear. I do feel like a contest winner.”— W. Kamau Bell
In a profound and heartbreaking scene on last night’s Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain tells W. Kamau Bell, as they gaze over the Kenyan landscape, that he has to f***ing pinch himself because he can’t believe he gets to do and see all this.
I know the feeling. I’m frequently dumbfounded that a preacher’s kid from small-town Kansas has been blessed to experience Kenya, Turkey, Japan, Peru and many of the same countries as the celebrity chef. But even more sublime is that I also get to experience, to feel and to know the life force that ACIM 267 so eloquently promises, that Anthony Bourdain temporarily forgot last June.
I get the joy of knowing I am surrounded by love, that peace fills my heart and floods my body. I get the peace of knowing that every single thing I need is given me, that my every breath infuses me with strength.
As for Anthony Bourdain, whose shocking suicide stunned us all, we have to ask:
Didn’t he know how much we loved him? Doesn’t he realize how beautiful he is, how much joy he gave us?
Having these thoughts reminds me of what our Source thinks about us as we go about our lives, not appreciating the truth of who we really are.
I know who you are, Anthony Bourdain, and I thank you for sharing your beauty and your truth with the world.
“While you’re caught up in why he didn’t return your call, galaxies all across the cosmic horizon are tumbling into the unknown faster than the speed of light.”—Deepak Chopra
We humans are an awful lot like Dobby, the house elf in the Harry Potter books. Thankfully, we don’t have the green tennis ball eyes or the long bat-like ears, but we do treat ourselves in much the same way.
Like Dobby, we continually settle for less. We refuse to fully accept our good. The universe is trying like bloody hell to pour out blessings and we’re so busy composing snarky tweets that we don’t even notice.
When Professor Dumbledore hired the heroic elf to work in the kitchen, he offered him ten galleons a week and weekends off. But Dobby wanted no part of it. He insisted on a single galleon and only one day off per month.
When Dobby, who always referred to himself in third person, explained his pay negotiations to Hermione, he said, “Dobby beat him down, miss. Dobby likes freedom, but he isn’t wanting too much, miss.”
That’s us. Never wanting too much. Never seeing our own beauty. Never recognizing that we have the power to create worlds.
And like Dobby, who often inflicted injury upon himself, we punish ourselves for simply being who we are. We may not hit ourselves in the head or iron our own hands, as Dobby did, but we certainly iron our hair, hit ourselves psychically every time we look in the mirror and constantly try to “improve” our perfect selves.
I prefer what British artist Ruby Etc. posted on Instagram. “The problem with my body? My brain for assimilating the concept of problem areas.”
So today, I say to myself, to Dobby and to every humanoid on the planet, “You are a perfect angel goddess rock star and I am so very, very proud of you. C’mon down and scoop up your gifts.”
“If it’s the Psychic Network, why do they need a phone number?”—Robin Williams
I’m a huge fan girl of fortune tellers, psychics, mediums, tarot readers, palm readers, the whole crystal ball of wax. What could possibly be more fun than paying a mysterious someone to peer into your future and deliver exciting predictions of what’s to come.
Even the warnings are riveting, providing a never-ending source of intel for making decisions.
Over the past decade, however, I’ve discovered an even better resource for predicting my future. And it’s absolutely free of charge.
The words coming out of my lips. The words I utter to my friends, to my family, the words that dogpaddle through my brain.
When I say (and think) things like “This is going to be an extraordinarily epic day” or “Things always work out for me,” I find that’s exactly what happens. When I complain about an ache or bemoan the fact I didn’t get the prerequisite eight hours (who made up that figure anyway?), I pave the way for a less than stellar day.
The words we use to describe ourselves and our lives are a powerful resource.
We can use them to prophesy a positive future. Or we can throw them around carelessly like confetti at a party.
When we say thing like, “Oh no, it’s flu and cold season” or “I’ve tried every diet out there,” we foretell an old story that has no reason to repeat itself except for our propensity to keep peering into the same antiquated and boring crystal ball.
The more I discover the power of my thoughts, the more I notice the psychic implications of my words.
At breakfast, a friend mentioned how she was blindsided over some event in her life. She uses this word a lot. Well, guess what? Every time I see her, there’s a new episode in her ongoing soap opera. I could probaby sell it to the networks: Blindsided: how one well-meaning drama queen unwittingly sows distress again. And again. And again.
So, while I’d never discourage anyone from consulting a psychic (the entertainment value alone is worth every penny), but it’s imperative to acknowledge that continuing to rehash the same old phrases and words and thoughts is a more accurate predictor of your future than any horoscope could ever be.
“You are defined by how great your thoughts are.”—Henry Winkler
Henry Winkler won his first Emmy last night for best supporting actor.
I have no idea if the 72-year-old actor has even heard of the Course in Miracles, but I do know he uses its principles in every aspect of his life.
When he was seven, he began imagining himself being an actor.
Because he had undiagnosed dyslexia, he was pegged in school as “the class dunce, not that bright. Stupid.” His parents practically disowned him because they thought he was lazy.
He called it ironic that he went into a field where reading was part of the drill. Monday’s script read-throughs on “Happy Days” where he played the leather-jacketed, bequiffed Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli filled him with dread.
But along the way, he learned something important, something ACIM Lesson 261 tells us. We live and move in a ginormous field of love and information.
He was unable to learn by using his eyes. Or his brain. So he learned by getting quiet and simply listening. By accessing the ginormous field of love and info coursing through his body.
“I have to wait,” he says.
But without fail, whatever he needs to know literally drops into his awareness.
The trick, he says, is getting beyond the neurosis in your brain. Once you wash anything that bothers you out of your body, everything you need to know is right there.
“Your inner voice, your instinct knows everything.”
“Why should James Bond have all the action, fun, money, and resort hotel living.” ― Paul Kyriazi
“Hm,’ said Bond. ‘That’s bogeyman stuff.”—Ian Fleming
My ego (that whiny voice that likes to inform me that so and so “done me wrong,” that this circumstance is a huge problem) is a double agent. It pretends to know everything. But he really did call you a skunk. You really DO have a good excuse.
It pretends to be my friend. It pretends to be working on my behalf. But it lies through its teeth. It has no allegiance to the higher cause. In fact, it’s employed by the patriarchy, loyal only to the dominant paradigm that says people are not to be trusted, that lack and limitation is the state of the world and that fear is the only emotion worth cultivating.
This pernicious double agent ego infiltrated my mind sometime before I was 5. It began transmitting disinformation by telling me I was somehow different from other people and that I was both better (sometimes it whispers that fictitious story) and/or worse (another popular tactic) than everybody else.
It gained my trust by scaring me, showing me its deceptive surveillance of the wretched and the ugly. This double crossing mole told me that life is hard, that people were not to be trusted, that abundance was for other people.
But today, I have but one goal. To stand with and for Truth. ACIM Lesson 257 promises me peace. And any operative that presents conflicting counterintelligence, I will immediately report to the authorities (the Holy Spirit) to handle as it sees fit.
Also want to share this video from www.tribesforgood.com. I’ll be joining them this November for the maiden Social Impact Journey. Any takers?
“There are many words meaning thank you. Some you can only whisper. Some you can only sing.”—Mary Oliver
I was just invited to participate in a Gratitude Summit. As I told the organizers, the reason I answered “can’t wait” is because gratitude, as y’all know, is my wingman.
I use it like I use duct tape. Of all the tools in my kit (and believe me, when you have a thinking cap like mine, you need lots of tools), it’s the one I most often pull out. It’s a multi-purpose utensil whether I’m trying to heal a relationship, fix a physical boo-boo or just feel happier.
I’ve discovered it’s especially useful when I notice I’m marching across the desert towards some mirage that looks an awful lot like a problem. Once I finally lasso my racing mind, the mind that’s squawking “eeks!” “oh no!” “death is surely imminent,” I give it the following one-two punch.
Step One: (again I can only do this when I finally recognize that I’m making it worse by fretting and awfulizing) is to actually realize that this is a gift waiting to be opened. To say thank you that this “problem” is just another rat finally come up from the cellar, one I probably need to look and call out as the poser it is. So thank you “alleged problem” for so clearly showing me I still have resistance. This is an incredible gift when you recognize its healing potential. I mean, who doesn’t want Orkin down there shooing away the vermin?
Step Two: Recognize that whatever this thing my mind is trying to scare me with is one of hundreds of thousands of superpositions in the field of infinite potentiality. This imposter (be it seeming illness, poverty, a disgruntled boss) is literally a tiny spot, barely worth noticing. That’s cause for celebration.
So I can either continue to turn it into a big hairy deal. Or I can say “Hallelujah! Thank ya, Jesus” that I am all-powerful spirit that has temporarily descended into a body and that, with this power, with my very command, I can send it into the native nothingness from which it came.
The Course, above all else, tells us that our salvation lies in teaching the exact opposite of every single thing the ego (or that chattering, blustery mind) believes.