The phrase “at the end of the tunnel” can be reminiscent of death. While this podcast isn’t about death itself, it often addresses the death of the part of ourselves that believes we don't have what we need in order to pursue our passion, our purpose, or our calling in life. It's a rebirth of what's truly important, which is saying yes to whatever is in our hearts. These conversations are about real people, with real obligations and real obstacles, that have somehow found the courage to say yes to what was in their heart. As a result, they found themselves on quite the adventure! This week's guest could be the poster child for that paradigm. Her name is Pam Grout, and she's a New York Times bestselling author, a travel blogger who has visited every continent except for Antarctica, and a student of A Course in Miracles. In this episode, Pam talks candidly about the loss of her daughter, the little rituals they shared, and how she has coped with the grief of her daughter’s passing. She shares the wisdom that she's gleaned from her adventures and from the rocky parts of her journey as well, because, even for those who know full well that we co-create our reality, life is still going to test us. Pam also describes her writing journey, the process of writing her bestseller, E-Squared, and her advice for those looking to write spiritual guidance books. Pam’s definition of success, after everything she has been through and after writing 20 books, is to see the face of God in every person she meets, and her whole story is incredibly inspiring, so make sure to tune in today!
Key Points From This Episode:
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
God Doesn’t Have Bad Hair Days
[00:00:04] PG: One of the things I’ve said before is, as Taz got older, she’s 25, just one week after her 25th birthday when the cops come to my door, that she’s at the hospital, that they’re Life Flighting her to Kansas City. I mean, we’d literally be texting on the phone and we're going to go see A Star is Born. I mean, this is not an expected thing. It was just a shocking thing. I do believe that somehow, she and I are working together on something we agreed to do, somehow way back when. I do believe that I will be joined back with her and that we will have infinity together. This time here on planet earth is so short. I get some comfort from that.
[00:00:48] LW: Hello there, friends. Welcome back to At The End Of The Tunnel. Somebody said that phrase reminded them of death.” Initially, I was like, “Death? No, it's not a podcast about death. Then I thought about it and I realized, it is about death. It's about death to the part of us that thinks we don't have enough of whatever we feel like we need, in order to pursue our passion, our purpose, or our calling in life. It's a rebirth of what's truly important, which is saying yes to whatever's in our heart. I don't mean that in an airy-fairy way. I actually mean that in a very practical way.
These conversations are about real people, with real obligations and real obstacles, and they somehow found the courage to say yes to what was in their heart. Because of that, they found themselves on quite the adventure. Speaking of which, this week's guest could be the poster child for that paradigm. Her name is Pam Grout, and she's a New York Times best-selling author, she's a travel blogger who's visited every continent, except for Antarctica, and she's a student of A Course in Miracles.
I first found out about Pam years ago, through her best-selling E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality. I can't remember how I originally came across the book but, long story short, it's a book that helps you prove that you are the universe and the universe is you. Again, not in an airy-fairy way, but in a practical way. She shows you how to gather pretty hard evidence that you're creating your reality through performing very specific experiments in your real life and then watching how things start to change. It's so much fun, it's very bizarre. I’ve done all nine experiments and I have to say, they worked to a T.
Anyway, E-Squared started a movement of tens of thousands of people, myself included, who began to reimagine what it means to manifest. In the process, we realized something really important, manifesting things doesn't stop or start when we say, “Ready, set, go.” What Pam's book reminds us of is that we're actually manifesting non-stop. The only question is are we aware of it or not? This was a very enjoyable conversation with somebody I’ve admired for a very long time. I’m thrilled that she accepted my invitation to come onto the podcast and share the wisdom that she's gleaned from her adventures and from the rocky parts of her journey as well, because, even for those of us who know full well that we co-create our reality, life is still going to test us.
Pam has definitely been tested in ways that you wouldn't wish upon anyone. More about that in the episode. For now, sit back, relax, and enjoy this delightful conversation into the journey of the incomparable, Miss Pam Grout.
[00:03:55] LW: Pam, thanks so much for joining At The End Of The Tunnel. As always, I like to start these conversations talking about childhood. If you could think back to little Pam, growing up in Kansas, I believe, what was your favorite toy or activity as a child?
[00:04:18] PG: Well, to go back to that library thing we were talking about before, I love going to the library and reading. I was actually born in Kentucky. My father was a Methodist minister. He got an assignment in Kansas when I was four. We moved to Kansas at that time. I didn't have a lot of toys. I mean, I had a doll. You know what? I think, I always was one of those kids that preferred making my own things.
I would build – I don't know. I loved to look through the catalog, like the Sears robot catalog, and I’d see furniture in there and I’d try to make it. I cut up cardboard and try to make it. I think I was always living in my imagination to a certain degree. There is no one toy that really stands out. I mean, we had blocks, things like that, but I didn't have a favorite toy that I –
[00:05:08] LW: Well, could be an activity as well.
[00:05:09] PG: Yeah. No, I would say reading. Reading, probably was it. Yeah. That sounds pretty boring, but that's what I like to do.
[00:05:17] LW: When you went to the library as a kid, what kind of books would you gravitate towards?
[00:05:21] PG: Oh, I started out with picture books. In fact, when I was in second grade, I won an award in my second-grade class. It wasn't an award that they normally had, but my teacher was so impressed because I read 256 picture books. They gave me a special award, to Pam Grout the reader, whatever. Again, they're just picture books. It's not like they were big [inaudible 0:05:42] or anything, but I’ve always liked to read.
I don't know. I used to read a lot of little animal stories and I don't know, a little bit of everything. I loved mysteries, actually, when I was young. I can remember, I tried to write a mystery book myself when I was in sixth grade. Basically, I think I just modeled it on some of these mysteries that I read. I did like those.
Actually, when I was way back in second grade, I would make little books myself. I had one Patty the Penguin, and I illustrated it and I wrote all about Patty the Penguin. I don't know. I just always had this love affair with the words and books.
[00:06:23] LW: Did your parents have to ever make you read, or you just naturally – to fill time, you would just go find a book and sit down and read? Because that's a very unusual habit for a child.
[00:06:33] PG: Really? That's so funny. See, to me it's normal. Okay, so you obviously didn't grow up in Kansas, where there's not a whole lot to do. I mean, I guess, because some ways when you're reading a book, you're going into this whole other world. I think for a kid from Kansas, I wanted to see other worlds and go to other places. When you're reading, like for example, you read Harry Potter, you're in the world of Hogwarts or whatever.
I mean, it sounds boring and only I would be excited by it but, in my mind, I was traveling all over and doing all these different things. I think that's why I enjoyed that so much. I also like making snow sculptures, when it was snow, and going sledding. I mean, I did all the normal kid stuff.
[00:07:19] LW: Did you have siblings and was your mom around as well?
[00:07:22] PG: Yeah. Yeah. I’m the oldest and I have a sister that's two years younger and then I have a brother who's four years younger. My sister's now in Savannah, Georgia, and my brother is still in Kansas, actually.
[00:07:36] LW: As little Pam, how would you have described your childhood? Was it pretty happy times?
[00:07:41] PG: Yeah, I would say so. My parents divorced when I was 16. I remember that shocking, like, “Wow. I didn't know this thing happened.” Again, in Kansas, a long time ago, that wasn't a real common thing. Now, of course, it is. No, I always thought – my dad, again, he was the preacher, so we had a lot of free time. He would play games with us at the backyard, tag, and kickball, and all these different things. I grew up just having a blast. Oh, that was a favorite thing. I loved kickball when I was a kid. We also had high jumps, and because I was tall, I could always beat all the boys in high jumps, so that was fun too. There were always kids around and we just played outside and I don't know, made forts, and did stuff like that.
[00:08:21] LW: What was it like growing up as the child of the preacher?
[00:08:24] PG: Everybody expects you to be a certain way. Even my dad, I mean, my dad was a really liberal, open-minded preacher, I would say, especially for the Methodist Church, but there's still those old-fashioned ways of believing. I would say that breaking away from that fundamentalist background was one of the biggest changes in my life. That probably started happening when I was in high school. It's like, “Wow, this story can't be true that I’m going to heaven and everybody else is going to hell.” Or not everybody else. You know what I mean? That story just didn't make sense to me. God is so loving, how could that possibly be a true story?
I started questioning things, then I got to college and just went wild. Just changed everything, particularly all my beliefs. I don't know if I changed them, they just evolved. I still very much believe in this bigger force that a lot of people call God. I did grow up believing in a pretty traditional type of God. Again, I had to go to church every Sunday, to be the preacher's kid and sit there on the front row. Well, I don't know that I sat down in the front row, but you know what I mean? You're the kid, all the people in the congregation are watching you. One thing that was kind of cool, again, these were small towns in Kansas, so all the people knew us. When I had my tonsils taken out when I was four-years-old, I probably got more presents than anybody else, because all the people from the church would bring me, I don't know, a book, or whatever they would bring me.
There was something really nice about growing up as a preacher's kid too, but you do – There are a lot of expectations. Sometimes, I can remember, people wouldn't want to, “Oh, don't say that in front of her. She's a preacher's kid.” I’m like, “What?” You're just like anybody else, but people do put you on some pedestal, or think you're different.
[00:10:08] LW: I grew up in a Methodist Church in Alabama. I remember, Sunday mornings being the most boring time I’ve ever had in my entire life. I’m curious, with your dad as the actual preacher, was it interesting to you at all?
[00:10:24] PG: Well, he was a dynamic speaker. He looked a little bit like Robert Redford. He had a convertible and he'd drive around. I don't know, he just really did have some charisma. I think, a lot of it depends on who the preacher is and what they're talking about, because honestly, church can be the most boring thing in the world. In fact, I don't regularly go to church anymore. If I find a church that has a really good speaker, just like going to a workshop, somebody that's really good at conveying truths that you're interested in.
I’ve had some good experiences in church. My dad, honestly, when I was a kid, I wasn't paying that much attention. People in the church would sit beside me and they'd take a pencil and they'd pencil in my fingernails, just to keep me quiet or whatever. It wasn't like I was paying that much attention. I remember it being okay. It was alright.
[00:11:12] LW: Do you remember his process? Would he really practice, or write on Saturdays?
[00:11:18] PG: I remember, my parents used to put us to bed early. Sometimes, I can remember being awake and hearing my dad practicing a sermon to my mom. I guess, really, I did hear any of the sermon. It might have been when I was laying in my bed, wishing I was not in bed, and listening to my dad give the sermon to my mom.
[00:11:35] LW: Obviously, you didn't grow up with money, because your dad wasn't probably paid very much?
[00:11:38] PG: Oh, yeah. We had no money, whatsoever. In fact, my parents, I could hear –That's the other thing. I could hear from the bedroom is them fighting about money. My dad just always believed in abundance, and he'd always get a new car every year, and all that, but we just didn't have it. I mean, preacher's salary, particularly in Kansas. I mean, very, very little money.
You do get a parsonage. They do provide your home. We didn't have that kind of an expense. Yeah, we didn't have any money. I didn't grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth. My name's not Rockefeller. I always knew that if I was going to do some of these dreams and these things I wanted to do with my life, I was going to have to create creative capital. I talk about that in some of my books. That was what I was going to do to leave Kansas and launch this bigger life that I wanted. I didn't have any green capital, or that kind of capital. I had to come up with creative capital.
[00:12:29] LW: What did you see yourself becoming as a teenager in Kansas?
[00:12:34] PG: I always wanted to write. Again, some people go, “Why did you become a writer?” I think, anybody that reads a lot, you start thinking, “I could do this.” Again, I started writing stories when I was in second grade. I wrote the mystery novel when I was in sixth grade. I always saw myself as a writer.
In fact, in some ways, my arc isn't all that interesting because I’ve always been a writer of one form or another. I mean, I’ve worked for a newspaper. I’ve done a lot of different kinds of writing. Basically, that's all I’ve ever done, is be a writer. If I had to suddenly find some new profession, I’d probably be in trouble.
[00:13:09] LW: Journalism was a foregone conclusion that you were going to major in that in college?
[00:13:14] PG: I don't know that I thought so much about journalism, but something to do with writing. That was just the only thing I knew to do with writing. Again, when you grew up in Kansas, you don't see – you're not exposed to a lot of different things. I mean, I could have been, what did I see in Kansas? The grocer, or the preacher like my dad, or whatever. There's just not a lot of things that you see.
I mean, nowadays with the Internet, you get exposed to everything. Kids can dream of all kinds of different things. One thing we did do, my dad's family was from Texas and my mom's family from Michigan. We took a lot of trips in our little family station wagon. I did always like to travel and I did always see other places. For the most part, I grew up in a little town and wasn't exposed to that many different things that I could do. Writing, I guess, seemed a natural thing. Writing, as far as I could tell, you had to be a journalist or whatever. That was what I decided to major in when I went to college.
[00:14:12] LW: What did your parents think about that?
[00:14:17] PG: My parents divorced when I was 16, so I don't remember them being too involved in anything that I did, to be honest. I mean, even before that, we were off doing our own thing; kids running around the neighborhood. However, I do think my mom, computers were coming out at that time. I mean, they'd been out a little bit, but she's like, “You need to be a computer programmer. That's a safe career.”
I don't think they thought writing, my mom particularly, my dad like I said, he wasn't around that much. I don't think she thought it was a very safe career at all, so she might have wanted me to do something else.
[00:15:00] LW: Then you studied journalism and you began interning, I believe, at the Kansas City Star?
[00:15:06] PG: Well, I actually first had a job at the Manhattan Mercury. Manhattan, Kansas, is the town where Kansas State University is located. I went to college at Kansas State University. Then after I graduated, I started working for the Manhattan Mercury and I wrote features. That was such a lucky break for me, because when you're a writer and you're trying to break in, you really do need to have clips. In almost any other field, they just have to take your word for it. With writing, you have things to show people like, “Oh, here's something I wrote.” They go, “Oh. Yeah, okay. You can write.”
I got very lucky and got that job with the Manhattan Mercury. I got a lot of clips and then I got the job with the Kansas City Star, but not immediately. I edited a magazine for Worlds of Fun, which is this theme park in Kansas City owned by Lamar Hunt. They used to own The Chiefs. I worked there and I was a PR person, so I wrote press releases and I edited the magazine.
I got to drive around in this white car with a balloon on the side, because Worlds of Fun was the balloon theme, whatever. All the kids in the neighborhood thought I was so cool, because I mean, little kids like, “Oh, she's from Worlds of Fun,” or whatever. Anyway, that was my first job out of college. Then I went to write for the Kansas City Star right after that.
[00:16:16] LW: Why do you suppose they chose you out of all the other people applying for those jobs?
[00:16:21] PG: I’ve always wondered that, because the Worlds of Fun job, I mean, a 135 people applied. I was really blown away that I got the job. I think they soon were sorry that they hired me. I’ve never been a real corporate person. I would wear flip-flops to work and I would – I don't know. You think theme park, how corporate is that? But it was a corporation owned by Lamar Hunt and I just never really fit in with that too much. I’ve always longed to do my own thing.
I would say that most of my life, I’ve done my own thing. I’ve done it the way I wanted to do it, as opposed to the way you're supposed to do it. Not that I haven't followed a lot of rules in my life. I mean, I certainly have, but I was always aware that there could be this other way and I was always seeking that other way.
[00:17:10] LW: You obviously, are pretty good at selling yourself as well.
[00:17:13] PG: Yeah, I suppose. I can be at times. Depending on the day. Yes, I think so. I mean, I did always – To be a freelance writer, which I ended up becoming, you have to be pitching all the time. You're constantly sending off query letters. I mean, now you can do it online, but it used to be I’d get these self-addressed stamped envelopes and I’d send off a bunch of article ideas to different editors, and got so many rejections, but I just kept trying because that's what I wanted to do.
I don't know. I think I’m just naïve, Light. I think I’m just naive enough to think, “Okay. Somehow, I could do it. This kid from [inaudible 00:17:54], Kansas, traveled all over the world, and write for these big magazines, and I did. I was able to do a lot of that, because I somehow believed I could do it.
[00:18:05] LW: The Kansas City Star has a legacy of hiring Walt Disney and Ernest Hemingway. I’m sure you knew that at the time. I was curious, what did your idea of success look like when you were working for the Kansas City Star?
[00:18:23] PG: I think that was success, to get the job there. I was really happy to do that. In fact, it used to feel like a party there, because – I don't know. It was just all the other reporters and we were all fun and we joked around a lot. I enjoyed working there. In fact, the only reason I left, I think, did I get fired from that job? Maybe. I have a history of getting fired from jobs. I think, maybe, I was going to Europe or something. I was going to go Eurail around Europe, and I think maybe that's why I quit. I’m trying to remember if that's how it all went down. It was a great job. It was fun.
I was writing features. Not anything real news-oriented, just features; something that could run tomorrow, or it could run in three months, basically. Maybe an interview with somebody, a person, a biography about some interesting person, or it could be, I don't know, about a restaurant. I did restaurant reviews for a while. Just various things, like features, what they call features, lighter stuff.
[00:19:22] LW: Did you see yourself becoming a novelist, or a New York Times best-selling author? Or you're going to become this really high-level journalist?
[00:19:30] PG: I did always want to be a New York Times best-selling author. I mean, that was always in the back of my mind. Back when you were doing lots of affirmations, I would do that affirmation. I was going to be a best-selling author. I don't know, maybe more one day at a time. I guess, I just wanted to make a living on my wood and my craft. I wanted to make a living doing what I wanted to do and I love to write. I mean, that's what I love to do.
Yeah, I don't know what I saw myself at that point. I mean, I always thought I’d write a book. I did actually, write a few novels that never got published. I have dabbled in other – I mean, I’m just all about being as creative as possible and trying a lot of different things. I mean, I’ve written screenplays. I’ve written plays. I’ve written novels. I’ve done a lot of different things. I guess, my biggest goal, or how I see myself is always being able to create and somehow eke out a living, being able to create.
I never had these big, grandiose dreams like, “Oh, I want to live in a giant house and drive a fancy car.” I never was really driven by anything material too much. I love experiences. I love traveling. I became a travel writer. That to me is everything. I’ve gotten to do all those cool million-dollar type things, but only because as a travel writer. Just the actual materiality stuff just never interested me. I wasn't driven in that way at all.
[00:20:51] LW: The travel writing started in your 20s, correct?
[00:20:55] PG: Yeah. I believe that'd be about right. Probably late 20s. I fell into travel writing, actually. I always love to travel and I would often write stories. I went to Nicaragua to pick coffee and I wrote a story about it. Oh, I went to Jamaica and I did a story about staying in a villa there. Those were travel stories, but I didn't think of them as travel stories. I had sent a pitch off to Ladies Home Journal. It was the stupidest pitch ever. I mean, it's amazing. It was like, “I’m a freelance writer and I’ve done this and I’ve done that.” I mentioned those two things.
She calls me up and she says, “Oh, are you a travel writer?” You never say no to an editor. It's like, “Oh. Oh, yes. I’m a travel writer.” She goes, “Well, where are you going next?” Well, I wasn't going anywhere, but a friend of mine was going to Tampa. I said, “Oh, I’m going to Tampa.” She goes, “Okay. I need 750 words, or whatever it was. I’ll pay you a $1,000.” Whatever it was. I call my friend, “Can I go with you to Tampa?”
I went with him to Tampa, wrote that story and then ended up writing a whole bunch of stories for them. Then found out there was this profession called travel writing, where I mean, you get invited to go all over. I mean, I’ve been on the best safaris in Africa. I’ve been every continent, except for Antarctica. I was once invited there too. I can't remember exactly what happened.
Anyway, so I just started doing travel writing and I literally have gotten to go everywhere and stay in five-star hotels. Oftentimes, I’ll be in a place and I’ll look over and see some celebrity golfing or whatever. Me, a kid from Kansas. Anyway, I’ve gotten to do some really cool stuff.
[00:22:33] LW: What was your spiritual foundation like when you were in your late 20s and doing all the traveling and the travel writing?
[00:22:41] PG: I’ve always believed there was something bigger and that this something bigger loved us. I had to give up that judgment. When I was growing up, there was a little bit of judgment there. Like, “Oh, you've got to follow these rules.” That was a little hard to break away from. I can remember the exact date when – or not even the exact date, but the time when someone had said something to me. She brought up “Oh, don't you feel guilty about that?” I realized, “No, I don't.” Up until that point, I think I would have, because I might have said something about God, or something that she didn't think, this friend of mine, didn't think was appropriate.
I remember very clearly thinking, “You know what? That doesn't bother me anymore,” because I believe what other people are telling you, is somehow they're reflecting back to you what's in your head. I realized, wow. Then from that point on, I haven't ever felt that need to follow all those rules that I grew up with anymore. As far as what was my spiritual practice, I think that there was this loving benevolent force that really does want to bless us, that wants to interact with us, and wants to guide us. I always believed in that.
When I would become a freelance writer, I did, I appointed God. I still call it God, the CEO of my career. I always wanted help from that bigger thing. I guess, I was always really aware that my own resources were limited. I needed the help of the bigger thing. For a long time, I have visualized myself doing some of these things that I want to do. As I’ve gotten older and more mature in my spirituality, I’ve come to trust what The Dude, as I often call it, wants more than what I think I might want. I often just trust that I’m going to be given good things, or I’m going to be given cool things to do. It usually works out.
[00:24:27] LW: Long before I got involved in a conscious spiritual path, back when I was maybe 16 or 17, I had an experience in the ocean, when I went to the ocean for one of the first times, and I got caught in the riptide. I didn't know what that was. I heard this inner voice saying to me, “Swim to the side.” I’m wondering, did you, before you got into your conscious path, did you have any crazy experiences, or coincidences that made you think, “Whoa. There's something else happening here?”
[00:24:58] PG: Oh, I love that story. Wow. Because to me, that's a huge – voice will speak to you. I mean, one of the things I wrote about in E-Squared, there were a couple times I felt like I heard God's voice. One of the times was I was worrying about money. I remember hearing God saying, “You don't need to worry about money. It's all taken care of.” I mean, it just felt like it was something different than me. I did feel like I got that guidance.
Then one time, and this is something that I really wonder about today, but my daughter had a high fever. She was really small and I was just – I was up at 3:00 and she was running a 103-degree fever, or a 100, whatever it was, and I was really scared. I remember God's voice saying to me, “I didn't give you this great gift just to take it away.” Of course, the irony then is that, later, I don't know that God took her away. Obviously, she is off now dancing in the cosmos somewhere, instead of being here in the physical plane.
A couple of things like that. I love that, because obviously, that makes you so sure that you've got a purpose, because you were guided to do this thing to save your life, because you could have lost it at that moment.
That's pretty cool. I wish I had a good story like that. Unfortunately –
[00:26:16] LW: Well, it's things like that, because you mentioned, I think, in one of your blog posts, how being in journalism school inspired you to question the source of things. I know, growing up as a preacher's daughter and having that indoctrination about Jesus and what you mentioned earlier, which is the only way to really be saved is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior and all those things that we learned growing up, it makes you really question all of that. Maybe when life just gets busy and you're in your 20s and 30s, you don't really think about it as much, but maybe there are some things that can occur in the background.
Or when you are presented with this more esoteric experience, it makes you wonder, is that legit? Because the whole world is telling you, basically, that all you need to know can be perceived in the five senses.
You were invited to a meet and greet that led to a month-long experience at Esalen. Can you talk a little bit about that story and when it happened?
[00:27:19] PG: Yeah, that was awesome. I don't remember the meet and greet necessarily, but I think I was running away from some broken heart. I had a relationship that didn't work out, and so I decided to go to Esalen, and just absolutely fell in love there. Well, I fell in love with Esalen, and I loved my month that I spent there.
[00:27:40] LW: You studied A Course in Miracles.
[00:27:42] PG: Yes, and that was – it wasn't because I necessarily wanted to study A Course in Miracles. It was that I wanted to do this month-long program. I think there were maybe two possibilities there. Julian Silverman, who was a long-time gestalt teacher at Esalen, and A Course in Miracles later on in his life, he was teaching it, so I just signed up for that one. That's the one I ended up doing. I don't think it was the first time I’d heard of Course in Miracles though. I was basically familiar with it, but it did get me started on that path.
[00:28:13] LW: At the end of that 30-day work study, what was your experience with Course and do you see it as something you were going to do the rest of your life, or was it just this thing, you had a fun time?
[00:28:24] PG: I did buy a copy of probably, the first copy that I had. Maybe I already had one going in. I don't remember that for sure. I’ve been a dabbler. I think, Course in Miracles, I keep coming back to. I’ve always tried a lot of different things, everything from tapping to Byron Katie work. I’ve done a lot of different things. I think I’ve just always identified as a seeker. For whatever reason, I just always would go back to Course in Miracles. I would continue to do Course in Miracles year after year, at the same time, doing other things as well.
[00:28:59] LW: Were you living in Connecticut at the time?
[00:29:01] PG: When I was at Esalen, or –
[00:29:03] LW: After you left Esalen, were you going back to Connecticut?
[00:29:05] PG: No, not at that time. I was in Connecticut when I got pregnant with my daughter. Then I came back. That's when I really started taking Course in Miracles seriously was when I was driving across the country, seven months pregnant, not knowing where I was going to go. Didn't work out with her dad. I was literally like, “You know what? Something's not right here. I need to make a few changes.”
I would say at that point, even though I’d done Course in Miracles and been aware of it, I started to really follow it in earnest and to really turn things over to this other voice that hopefully would have a better plan for my life than the one that I was coming up with.
[00:29:42] LW: I want to go back over that moment in a little bit more detail, but can you just talk about, for people who haven't heard of the Course in Miracles, A Course in Miracles, can you just talk, give a synopsis of what that is?
[00:29:54] PG: Yeah. It's a channeled work and it has a pretty interesting history. It's been around for about 50 years. There were a couple professors at Columbia University. The head of the department, I think it was medical psychology, there was just so much infighting and department squabbling. Everybody hated everybody, kind of how it is in our country right now. Just things weren't working out.
One day, his name was Bill Thetford, he threw his hands in the air and says, “There has got to be a better way.” Almost as if him saying that, his research assistant, Helen Schucman started – this voice, started talking to her, “This is the better way. This is a course in miracles.” The two of them worked together for seven years. She would get these voices, these whatever. Then she’d tell him to him and he'd type it. It was almost like part of their assignment was to work together.
It gave him a lot of things that would help their own relationship and it would help the relationship in the department and a lot of that stuff was taken out of the course. There was a lot of stuff in there about forgiveness and about changing how we see things, that most of what we believe is upside-down, it's not even true. We just see this big illusion. We're so invested in the ego and this identity that we have as these separate individuals, instead of this oneness that's really the truth of the way the world is.
Anyway, these two guys channeled it. I don't even know if they were doing it for themselves, whatever. For seven years, they did this. Then they typed up a bunch of copies and they gave it to, I don't know, a 100 friends or something. People read it, “Oh, my gosh. This needs to be turned into a book.” The Foundation for Inner Peace then did publish this book. Then I don't know, just little by little, it started taking off, I guess, you could say.
Like you said, for people that haven't heard of – I don't know that it's taken off yet, but because maybe a lot of people haven't even heard of it. Well, one thing that is interesting, if you go to most spiritual conventions, or circles, or whatever and you ask people, "How many people here have a copy of A Course in Miracles?” Most people that are in the spiritual circles will have a copy. Then you ask the follow-up question, “How many of you have actually read it?” All but one or two hands will go down, because it's really dense. It's really hard to read. I mean, I think I read it for seven years, went through the lessons for seven years and had no idea what I was even doing, or what they were talking about. I mean, it really is a complicated thing.
I mean, on one hand, the Course in Miracles is so simple, it's just so different than the way we do life. To do life the way Course in Miracles suggests is just completely different. It's not hard. It's just real different, because we believe so strongly in this material world. We believe so strongly that there's scarcity and that we need to protect ourselves. Because we believe this so strongly to go a different way and to say, “I’m going to choose a different path,” there's a lot of forces that try to reel you back in to believe those other things that pretty much is the dominant paradigm that everybody believes is a fact.
[00:33:02] LW: Speaking of messages being received, you – so now in Connecticut, you were invited to a psychic reading. I wanted you to tell that story before we get into the fact that you were pregnant.
[00:33:16] PG: Yeah. I had just finished a rebirthing program. Again, I was kind of a gypsy, traveling all over; was freelancing. You just have your computer, you can go anywhere. I was living in Connecticut, did a six-month rebirthing training and it's a breathing process that I learned and then I got certified in. When it was over, again, I’m a freelancer, so I had no real need to move anywhere real fast, so I hung around for a while. A friend of mine was going to the psychic reading thing. It was a psychic that had come in from California. I thought, “Oh, I’ll go along,” or she invited me to go along.
This psychic goes around the room and tells each person what their next purpose in life. She got to me and she goes, “Oh, this is interesting.” Says, “Your next purpose in life is motherhood.” We walked out of that and I said to my friend, “That is the biggest piece of plumbing I’ve ever heard. There is no way.” Within a few weeks, I discovered that, indeed, I was pregnant. It's like, wow. That's psychic maybe was a little bit better than I thought she was.
Yeah, so I got pregnant and then things didn't work out with the dad. I ended up leaving when I was seven months pregnant, leaving Connecticut, and traveling. Originally, I thought I was going to Breckenridge, Colorado. I got back to the Midwest, into the area that I had lived. My old boss said, “Why don't you stay here with me for a while?” I did. Here I am still to this day.
[00:34:41] LW: You described that as being kicked out. You said you were kicked out.
[00:34:44] PG: We were struggling. We were living together. We were struggling. He wanted me to stay in Connecticut and get my own place, because I had moved into his place. I thought, “Why would I stay here in Connecticut?” Because all the people there were – 20 people in my six-month program and most of them had dispersed, because the program was over, so they weren't around.
The whole time I was there in that six-month program, we just did so much together. It wasn't like I was out making friends. I mean, I was with those 20 people. The father of my daughter, who happens to be from New Zealand, he was one of the trainers in the program, one of the head rebirther guys that did it. Anyway, we had gotten together in Greece, because our whole group went together to Greece, and so we got together.
Then after the program ended, we just stayed together. Then, like I said, I got pregnant and it just wasn't working out. Basically, yeah, he kicked me out. He goes, “You know what? This isn't working. I want you to stay here, but not in my home, so you have to go find your own place.” At that point I thought, “I’m leaving. I’m taking off.”
[00:35:44] LW: It was July. You didn't have an air-conditioner and your car had faulty air-conditioner, or something like that. You're by yourself.
[00:35:49] PG: It quit working. It was very hot. I had all my possessions, stuff in this little blue Toyota. It was like a 100 degrees out. I had to drive really fast. You know when you're pregnant too, you're even hotter than normal. I’m driving across the country sweating and trying to keep moving, so the heat wouldn't get me.
[00:36:06] LW: What was your income like at the time? Did you have money saved up, or what was your –
[00:36:11] PG: Well, I was freelancing. I mean, that's the thing. Most people would think I’m crazy, because I’ve always been daring enough to not have a regular job and to freelance. I would always have to be pitching stories and trying to get some new assignment. When I first was pregnant, some of my friends thought, “You know, you probably ought to get a regular job and settle down.” It might have been wise advice but, as it turns out, now it really – I just continued to do what I love to do and it ended up being the right path for me. Again, I’m lucky with my career, because I’ve always been able to do what I like to do.
[00:36:47] LW: Were there any, a Course in Miracle lessons that helped you through that time that you remember that stuck with you as you were maybe driving back out and reestablishing yourself in Kansas?
[00:36:58] PG: One of the big things is, when thoughts come up, troubling thoughts, you want to be mad at somebody, you want to say, “Poor me,” you ask the Holy Spirit, “Help me see this differently.” One of the main things is to help me see this world differently, because the way I’m seeing the world right now is I am broke. I am pregnant. Life sucks. I needed help seeing the world differently.
Literally, you appeal to this higher source and say, “Help me see this differently.” Little by little as I gave up the reins to the world has to be the way, I think it is, then little by little, things started changing. There were times when I was pretty broke. Somehow or another, I would always get a new assignment and some new money supply would come in somehow.
[00:37:48] LW: Do you remember having a strong faith or trust that that was going to happen at that time, or were you on the brink of your sanity, waiting until the 11th hour?
[00:37:57] PG: I mean, there were moments I’d be really afraid, but I never did go get a job. No, there were a couple times I did apply for jobs. Just about the time that I get offered a job, I’d get some new assignment from say, travel and leisure, or some – big publication that I really wanted to write for. I felt I was always given guidance. In those times, I would get really scared and try to get a job. Something would always end up working out. Always.
In 2008, when everything changed, the Internet, I mean, books started – People weren't buying books. Magazines were dying, shrinking. There wasn't work for writers. That was back in 2008. This is about the time Taz is going to college, I’m thinking, “What have I done?” Even after all this time like, “Wow, what have I done?” Surprisingly enough, some guy that I didn't even know, he was from California, he calls me up. He wants me to read his book about – I don't know. For some reason, it had Kansas in it, so he asked me to read it. He had made a bunch of money. He had a publishing company. He paid me a bunch of money to read his book.
AAA called me and they wanted me to do this travel webinar. This is back when webinars were new. Always, just about the time when I’m like, “Oh, what am I going to do?” Something would always happen for me. Again, I think my naivety kept me pounding away and something would always come up that made it okay to keep freelancing and keep pursuing my great love of writing.
[00:39:29] LW: Your beautiful Taz was born October 8th, 1993. When she was a baby, there was an affirmation that you would repeat every day. Do you remember what it was by heart?
[00:39:39] PG: Hopefully, I can repeat it. I don't say it anymore. Into my will, let there pour strength. Into my feeling, let there flow warmth. Into my thinking, let there shine light, that I may nurture this child, Tazman McKay Grout, with enlightened purpose, caring with hearts love, and bringing wisdom to all things.
That was my appeal to the universe, my appeal to the bigger thing. This is what I want to do. I want to be a worthy – I want to do right by this beautiful child that decided to bless me with her presence.
[00:40:15] LW: Did you channel that, or did you find that somewhere and adopt it?
[00:40:19] PG: No, it wasn't. I’ve always been big into Waldorf education. Are you familiar with that?
[00:40:23] LW: Uh-huh.
[00:40:24] PG: Rudolf Steiner. Yeah. I had read a book, I don't know if it was specifically a Waldorf book, but that affirmation was in there. I might have changed it around a little bit. Basically, that was because the Waldorf education believes your emotions, your heart, your thinking, I mean, those three work together and that's why it's a beautiful educational system, because it's more than just learning facts and figures.
I mean, there's such a much bigger thing than just the intellect. In our world and our culture, we're just so, I don't know, the intellect is everything. It's so not true. Anyway, Waldorf’s just a way of touching into these other areas that in my opinion are so much more important and bigger and more valuable than the intellect.
[00:41:07] LW: Taz is three-years-old. You're getting pickup jobs here and there, you decide to self-publish a book. Jumpstart Your Metabolism. Why that book? Why that time? How did that go?
[00:41:19] PG: Well, I had this breathing program that I’d done out in Connecticut. When we were there, there was this woman that had lost a whole bunch of weight. She was doing a lot of breathing, because a lot of breathing practice and she'd lost all this weight. Then I start hearing these other stories – oh, Gay Hendricks had talked about how he'd lost a lot of weight when he started breathing. I kept hearing all these different things. I’ve always been a relatively – I mean, I hadn't had to worry too much about my weight.
Anyway, I started doing research about this, wow, this is a real connection. Most people do not breathe properly. Most people take in about a third of the oxygen that they're capable of taking in. I started doing a lot of research, and so I ended up writing that book. To be honest, I really enjoyed it and I did like it, but I also wrote it partly because I thought it would sell. Everybody's always wanted to lose weight, right? I mean, that seemed something that could be big. I self-published it and I sold it. I was on Howard Stern's show, which it's so funny. Howard Stern, and here I am, this person from Kansas. You know how he is. “Show us your boobs,” or whatever.
If I went ahead and played along, I didn't do that, but I played along with Howard Stern. His very large male audience, I sold hundreds of books from being on Howard Stern, which is funny. Again, one of those things that just happened to work out for me. I got quite a bit of publicity about that book. That was how I was able to self-publish it. Eventually, I was on a talk show in New York. I was there with this guy and his publicist was there. The publicist said to me, she saw my little segment on this show. She said, “Hey, would you be interested in selling your book, if you had self-published, to a publisher?”
I’m like, “Well, yeah. Maybe.” I think she was with Bantam or something. Before I sold them the rights, I didn't go with Bantam in the end, but I got ended up getting an agent, a literary agent. Then she ended up putting it up for auction and then eventually, sold it to Simon & Schuster, one of the divisions of Simon & Schuster. That book's still out there selling, so it's funny.
I was interested in breathing and I had taken this whole training. I knew quite a bit about breathing. The breathing I did was rebirthing. It's a way of getting in touch with patterns in your life and trying to overcome patterns in your life. It wasn't specific, because the breathing we learned wasn't specifically about losing weight, but I just discovered this connection there and then I figured, that would be –
In fact, in some ways, if you read that book, it's really about the importance of breathing and using the hook about jumpstart your metabolism, is just a way to get people to learn more about the breath. Because again, everybody wants to lose weight. If they think they can do it in an easy way, they'll buy the book. Anyway, yeah.
[00:44:00] LW: That was back in the day before Create Space and all these self-publishing.
[00:44:04] PG: Right. I had to hire a printer and publish it. Yeah, nowadays it would be so easy to do that.
[00:44:09] LW: You have to pre-order 5,000 books off the top and store them in your garage and all of that.
[00:44:15] PG: Right. Yeah. It's so much easier now, with Create Space and all that. In fact, you can do it as print on demand, so you don't even have to have – Yeah, I had 5,000 books. Then I had to reorder. I mean, I did sell. Thanks to Howard Stern. I did a lot of radio interviews and things like that for that book. Yeah, it sold pretty well.
[00:44:34] LW: Were you fulfilling them yourself?
[00:44:37] PG: No. I hired a fulfillment house. I found out that this fulfillment house wasn't really paying me for all the books, because a lot of people would tell me, “Oh, yeah. We bought your book and I never” – Anyway. No, they did that. Eventually, I guess I got them back and I did start fulfilling myself.
I can remember, when Taz was little, I’d be running to the post office with this bookstore here and this bookstore there and sending all these things out. Again, I’ve always been a DIY person. I’ve always just done it myself, from creating my website to doing whatever. I did a little recycled book that I published on brown paper grocery bags. Taz and I worked on that one together. Well, she did the artwork. Yeah, I just always figured, “Okay. I can do that.”
[00:45:20] LW: That was Recycle This Book, right?
[00:45:22] PG: Recycle This Book. Yeah.
[00:45:24] LW: Awesome. You had a travel blog shortly after that as well. You were one of the early bloggers on the Internet.
[00:45:32] PG: Right. I did a travel a blog. I think I called it Now Where Was I. I had a column called Now Where Was I. I was mostly, rather than trying to blog about travel, I was mostly trying to sell travel articles. I really wanted to continue traveling, so I was constantly pitching. To think about being a writer, whatever you're interested in, all you have to do is get a pitch and get an assignment, then you can go find out about it. Somebody pays you to go find out about it, or go whatever place you want to go to.
I actively, even though travel writing isn't the highest paying of writing, again, it satisfied that urge, I had to go and explore and be an adventurer. I was really pitching travel stories big time. Then the blog, again, back in 2008, like I was saying before when everything crashed and burned as far as in the writing business, that's when I – I had done three books for National Geographic and they wanted to pay me. They wanted me to do a fourth book, but they wanted to pay me a lot less, again, because nobody was buying books, blah, blah, blah.
At that point, I didn't take their offer. I did start a blog that GeorgeClooneySleptHere.com. It's a take-off on George Washington slept here. People used to always say that. That's what it was. I thought I’d do a blog. Again, okay. I’ll try this. I’ll try that. Growing lots. I always say that I’m always sending boats out there. A lot of them never come back, but everything, just enough of them come back that keeps me going.
[00:46:56] LW: Who was your biggest supporter at that time? Who would be so excited when you would talk about, “Hey, I got this book, Recycle This Book here. I’m on Howard Stern.”
[00:47:05] PG: Well, probably Taz. Although, I don't know how excited as a kid about their mom's successes. She would be excited. I’ve always had friends that have been supportive and I’ve always had various boyfriends and different people that would support me. I don't mean support me financially, but I mean, support me in whatever projects I was wanting to do. Yeah, I’ve had a long stream of people that have supported me in various ways over the years.
[00:47:38] LW: Talk a little bit about the lead up to God Doesn’t Have Bad Hair Days, because that was basically E-Squared before E-Squared.
[00:47:48] PG: Funniest thing, I was sure that was going to be it. I was like, “Oh, wow. What a great idea.” I had an agent that pitched it and they loved it. What happened, the title, God Doesn't Have Bad Hair Days, they end up hiring a fundamentalist Christian publicist. I’m like, this book is so not fundamentalist Christian.
Anyway, I don't know what happened to it. I often think and I’ve said this a lot, my frequency, if you want to talk about that, this idea that we're resonating on a particular frequency and we're collapsing away from all these infinite possibilities out there. I think, maybe I wasn't ready for the big time, because that book basically was the book that became E-Squared, that became –translated into 40 languages, New York Times number one best-seller. I maybe just wasn't ready yet. My frequency maybe wasn't in that place, where I could accept all that good, or whatever.
Also, I thought, Taz went off to college when E-Squared came out. Maybe when she was younger and God Doesn't Have Bad Hair Days, I always thought, I mean, I used to do the affirmations, “Oprah will read God Doesn’t Have Bad Hair Days, and I will be on Oprah show.” Everybody wants to be on Oprah. I was doing those affirmations and wanting that, but it didn't happen.
One thing I did do when it didn't happen, it went out of print quite soon thereafter, the few people that read it, loved it. I mean, I did get some good feedback, but it just never took off. In fact, my editor at that publishing house said, “I don't understand this. Your book is just like The Secret, because it was a –” It came out about the same time as the movie The Secret. She says, “Everybody's crazy about The Secret. Your book's the same. Why is nobody after it?” I said, “Well, you hired a Christian publicist for one thing.” I didn't say that to her, but that was what I was thinking.
Anyway, I didn't get too upset about it. I just like, okay, I went on and I again, sent out more books. I ended up doing the three books for National Geographic. Didn't fret over it too much. Then I decided, I really loved that book. I still think it's a good book. Then I repackaged it as E-Squared, and I took out one of the experiments, and I sent it off to Hay House, and they liked it and decided to publish it.
[00:49:58] LW: Before we get to that part, you mentioned that it was almost the exact same book as E-Squared, minus the page that the reader had to rip out? In order to write that book, obviously, you had to become very familiar with these nine experiments, which means you probably started with maybe 20 experiments, and then you maybe combined them a bit. I’m thinking as a writer, because I did the same thing with my first book, which I self-published, called The Inner Gym, which ended up being six exercises, but their first draft was 24 exercises.
I thought, nobody's going to do 24 exercises. Let me pare this down a bit. I’m just curious, how did you come across these particular experiments and, literally, were you standing in your living room with coat hangers? How did all that evolve?
[00:50:48] PG: Hey, my favorite video of the coat hangers is still the one you did. I mean, that was such a cool thing. I was just so thrilled with that. That was really cool. What happened with the book, okay, so, I wanted to talk about these spiritual principles that I felt represented the way the world was, that there is this force out there. That was the due to buy. That's the first experiment.
Rather than just have a bunch of experiments, I had principles that I wanted people to prove, because as I said in the book, we all know this stuff, our thoughts create a reality. There's this force out there that loves us, blah, blah, blah. Ask and you shall receive, way back in the bible. The problem is it's mostly a theory. People aren't putting it into practice. I mean, they just don't. I mean, people read self-help books and they never do them. I mean, honestly. It's sad to say, but it's really, that's what happens.
What I did, I thought, well okay, I’m going to trick people into doing this. I set up these principles in terms of scientific experiments. I mean, I had a thesis. I had everything, just like a real scientific experiment, including the fact that, if it didn't work, you could feel free to write this off. Rather than have all these experiments, I had principles I wanted people to discover work, that we are energy. That wand one was that everything is energy and our thoughts are putting out energy. That's why you hold it and you have the thoughts and the wands do various things, depending on what you're thinking, and talk about a way of really proving it.
I mean, that was so visible. I mean, you can see it happening right in front of your eyes. I mean, one thing that's been so cool about this book is I get these e-mails from people. You start with you are never going to believe this. Of course, I believe it, because that's what I think. That's what I believe. I have heard so many, many, many, many stories.
I don't know if you ever read EQ, but I did talk about some of that. In fact, I had a chapter called Well, Duh. I had, just talking about some of the stories that people sent to me about what happened to them when they did the experiment.
[00:52:46] LW: Had you market tested the principles/experiments for God Doesn't Have Bad Hair Days before? Were you running to your friends like, “Hey, you got to try this out before I put it out.”
[00:52:55] PG: Oh, well. I was going to a unity church and some of the YOUs, Youth of Unity, they were doing some of the experiments. They're in the wire hangers. I had various people doing things, but not big. I mean, I laugh when people go, “Did you do market research?” I’m so not a market research person.
If I ever did market research, I’d wonder what was happening. How did I get talked into doing this, or whatever? I mean, a publisher if they want to do market research, that's fine, but doubtful, I’d be doing a lot of market research.
[00:53:27] LW: Then that was your third book?
[00:53:30] PG: Well, E-Squared was my 16th book. God Doesn't Have Bad Hair Days, okay, so I did three books for a seminar company that they would sell at the back of the room. One was on mentoring. How to be a mentor? How to be more creative? What was the third one? It was called –
[00:53:43] LW: That was in your first handful of books, God Doesn't Have Bad Hair Days?
[00:53:46] PG: Right. Those three books. Then I did the self-published breathing book. Then I did, what came next? Art & Soul. It was about creativity and spirituality. Then the next one was God Doesn't Have Bad Hair Days, I believe. I think that's how it went down.
[00:54:02] LW: Seven years later, you decided, “I need to put this out in the world again,” which is a pretty interesting thing, because I know a lot of publishers don't like to republish material that's already been published. How did you talk your way into that one?
[00:54:16] PG: I mean, they didn't pay me very much for it. I don't know what they thought it was going to do. I mean, it was Hay House. They did pay me for it. I know Reid Tracy, who's the publisher of Hay House. He used to tell people, he'd love to talk about me in these writers workshops. “Oh, Pam. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Then she had this big hit.” I was already a writer and that was my 16th book. I’d already written for lots and lots of big magazines.
In his mind, he likes to show how you could start really small and then this book can become a best-seller. It wasn't quite exactly the way it went down. They didn't pay me much. I don't know, they had real big expectations. For whatever reason, that book went wild on social media. I didn't really promote it that much. I started blogging, because Hay House had sent me a book called Platform. It was like, you need to have a platform and that way people will read your book.
I did start blogging. I hadn't really blogged up until that point. I thought, “I get paid to write. Why would I want to put a blog out there?” I started doing it and I really loved it. I mean, it ended up leading to all these other books too. I did that. I mean, it wasn't even me. Again, God, my CEO, said, okay. Then it just took off. It was all other people writing about it, talking about their experiments and loving it. I mean, you did that video. I mean, that thing is how it took off.
In fact, Hay House didn't have any expectation. For about a month there, people couldn't get the book. I mean, they had only published what, 5,000 or whatever. It wasn't very much. I mean, people were just going nuts over this book, and so they had to hustle around really fast and get it out there. Then by the summer, it came out in January by the summer. It was number one on the New York Times best-seller list. It could have been probably, a lot more have may been prepared, but they just didn't know it was going to take off like that.
I guess you ask, how did I get them to do it? They didn't put much investment in it. It wasn't like they thought, “Oh, well.” They just thought, “Well, it's a good idea. Let's try it.” I don't even know why. In fact, Hay House says, you can't send things over the transom, which is what they call without an agent. I’ve had agents before, but I just sent it to them without an agent. Even though it says you can't do that, they picked it and they bought it.
[00:56:21] LW: Where were you when you found out you were the New York Times number one bestseller?
[00:56:27] PG: Oh, wow. I think I might have been in the Cook Islands, actually at the time I found out. Because your publisher, they get real excited. When you get on that list, they're excited. They call you up and go, “Oh, guess what? You're on the list.” Then the next week, they call, “Oh, guess what? You've moved up whatever, whatever.” Then when you get number one, then they get super excited.
In fact, the New York Times even wrote a little tiny piece about it in their book review. I was like, “Wow, that was pretty cool.” I don't know. I was traveling a lot then, so I’d hear about these various things when I was out doing my travel writing and I’d be some island out in the pacific. Oh, okay.
[00:57:03] LW: Did you feel any different though as a writer? Did you feel you had finally been validated, or just feel the same?
[00:57:10] PG: I would say it's some validation. I don't know that I feel all that different really. Again, my goal is just to keep writing, keep creating, keep living in the world of my imagination. Yeah, that's really cool. It certainly took off the need that I have to write. I mean, I was motivated. Like I said, I wrote that breathing book, because that was the way I could probably make some money.
Once I did make some money and I didn't have to worry about money so much anymore, it frees you up to be able to write what you really want to write about. For the most part, I did it anyway. I didn't throw out those projects that oh, this one will make a lot of money. The thing about it is I found that whatever I’m writing about, because again, I’ve written hundreds of articles over the years. Sometimes people will assign me an article, I’m like, “Well, that doesn't sound that interesting.”
Once you start interviewing people that love that topic, people that are experts in that topic, it usually ends up being interesting, because people love that thing you're talking to them about. Almost anything's interesting if you're talking to people that love it. I have come to find out that any topic is interesting. When I would pitch stories, mostly I’d try to pitch stories that I was already interested, and that's why I wrote spiritual books, because that's the stuff I was interested in.
I love metaphysics and learning about, I don't know, affirmation. That rebirthing training that I did out in Connecticut, in addition to the breathing technique, we also did a lot of affirmations too. That's where I got some of that as well.
[00:58:35] LW: Do you feel your writing had taken on a larger purpose at the time? Were you aware of that?
[00:58:39] PG: Always. I have felt that the best writing didn't really come from me, that I was channeling. I was just like the satellite dish, bringing it in. I’ve always felt that way. Now since this book became such a big hit and then all my other books too, I hear from so many people that tell me I changed their lives. I really recognize that my work is important, or it has changed people's lives. That's very humbling and makes me feel really good, it gives me a purpose.
Did I always think that? I mean, I always wanted to change the world. I’ve always had this desire to change the world. I always say, my big goal is to change paradigms. We believe so many things that aren't true. I just think, a big revolution is going to be happening. I mean, I think that's what's happening now, that revolution is coming. I mean, a spiritual revolution, where we're recognizing there is something so much bigger and the days of going for profit above all, just all these things that we thought were so important, I think, are just crumbling.
I think the spiritual aspect is coming in to take us to the other side, so to speak.
[00:59:47] LW: You've also said before that your inbox was one of your biggest blessings. I see you, I went back and looked at some of your older blog posts, and you're all up in the comments and everything. I mean, that’s very time consuming. You obviously enjoy that engagement with your readers.
[01:00:04] PG: In the beginning, I did that quite a bit and I did really enjoy it. It got to the point where I couldn't keep up with it. Now it's like, okay, if I happen to have an extra hour or something, I might go on there and do that. In the beginning, oh, I tried to answer every e-mail. I mean, I was thrilled, because I had written all my life, but you don't get that much feedback really. You write an article for say, People Magazine. I mean, every now and then somebody will write a letter and say, thank you, whatever.
I mean, it's not like you got a lot of feedback. I was just so thrilled. Wow, people are responding. I mean, I guess throughout my life, all my books, I’d have various people. I wrote a book called Living Big. That might have been the one that was actually before God Doesn't Have Bad Hair Days. Anyway, and some guy called me and he wanted to buy a bunch of coffee. I mean, I’ve had some of that feedback before, but not like this one to where there was so much.
I was just so thrilled in the beginning. That's why I was really trying to answer and trying to respond to people. It just became too hard to do it anymore. I still do now. I mean, I have some time to do it now.
[01:01:03] LW: You're seen as a spiritual teacher, really. I mean, there's no really no other way to put it, because you're putting this out there. You're helping to empower people and to help people understand that their thoughts create their reality. Then, in 2018, that becomes your 2020. Basically, your dad passes in April, your mom passes in early October. Both of them were in their 80s, and then something else happened after that, a couple weeks later, your daughter passed unexpectedly.
You described it as a PhD in grief. I wanted you to talk a little bit about how you processed that, given everything that you knew about those realities, those principles of life, initially, because I think a lot of people – In fact, I had a best friend pass. He committed suicide a couple of weeks ago and I got so many calls from people.
One of the questions was, "How are you doing? How are you doing? How are you processing this?” It's interesting, because I don't think I ever really fully admitted how I was truly, truly processing it, because I don't really see him as being gone. I know that's hard for some people to understand and it's almost like, you have to play the game of – I’m not belittling anything. I know, as a parent, that must be the last thing you can ever imagine, but how were you really dealing with it at the time?
[01:02:29] PG: Well, it is definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. In some ways, I was lucky that I had a lot of background in the very thing you were talking about with your friend, how you know there's this big reality and they're not really gone. I already knew a lot of that theoretically. In fact, I remember Taz telling me at my mom's funeral, which was literally a week from when she passed, “Mom, you're handling this so well. You're so much better than” – I knew. I’ve read so many books. I’m friends with Anita Moorjani, who's went to the other side. I was always interested in that.
One of my friends, in fact, makes me think of your story. When her husband died, he was in his 90s and she was there with him. They were Jewish and everybody was like, “Betty, you seem happy, or you seem okay.” She didn't feel that grief, because she saw that beautiful spirit going. Then now to the point where when somebody gets cancer, is going to die, her comment is, “Oh, I’m so excited for them.” I mean, that's how she sees it.
When it's your kid, you can't really see it that way. It has been just gut-wrenching, to be honest. I was in the middle of finishing my Course in Miracles book. Of course, one of the main tenets of Course in Miracles is I am not a body. I am free. Who I am as my spirit? Unfettered, dancing across the clouds, because that's who I really am.
I got some comfort in the things I was writing about. I think just having that discipline required to finish the book, because I could have easily said, “Hey, look. I just can't do this.” I did. I ended up going to India, because I was already committed to go to India for this TribesForGood, and that ended up being a really beautiful spiritual experience that helped me with starting the 222 Foundation I started for my daughter.
A lot of things have happened, but it is a roller coaster. They say grief is a roller coaster. I don't think you ever get over it. I think you learn to carry it. One of the things I’ve said before is, as Taz got older, she was 25, it was one week after her 25th birthday when the cops come to my door, that she's at the hospital. They're Life Flighting her to Kansas City. I mean, we'd literally be texting on the phone and we're going to go see A Star is Born. I mean, this is not an expected thing. It was just a shocking thing.
Even before that, it was very apparent to me, because she was no longer the baby in the crib. That physical reality was gone. She was no longer the five-year-old going off to kindergarten in the little pink backpack, little flower dress. She was no longer the fourth grader, the 21-year-old. She was evolving. Now she's no longer in a physical body, but I believe that I can continue to communicate with her. I believe that there is a bigger purpose here. I mean, whatever purpose it is, I would gladly give it away ever. I mean, if I could have her back.
I mean, I don't want this purpose. I do believe that somehow, she and I are working together on something we agreed to do, somehow, way back when. I do believe that I will be joined back with her and that we will have infinity together. This time here on planet Earth is so short. I get some comfort from that. I don't know if I’m really answering your question. I mean, I have been everything from unable to get out of bed some days, staring at the ceiling fan. Literally, just so distraught with grief.
Again, I had this background and that there is more, there is more. That has been helpful. Again, I guess one of the cool things that's happened, she and I had a lot of little weird rituals that we do. One of them was, the first of the month, we'd always say, hedgehog. Whoever said it first was supposed to have a lucky – When she was in college, she's a college kid, she stays up to 12:01 and then she immediately texted me ‘hedgehog’. Okay, you won.
Then she went off to Europe. Of course, again, five hours, six hours, whatever, earlier. The first few months, I didn't see any hedgehogs, but starting in May, so that have been she died in October, so I don't know, five, six months later, on May 1st of 2019, six, seven months after she died, a hedgehog came to me. I mean, in a weird way. From that point on, the first of every month, I get a hedgehog of some kind.
Sometimes it's really bizarre in that it'll come from her old phone. The other day, I was doing an interview, just like you and I and the person that was interviewing me, she was in Maine, and a hedgehog wanders into her yard. I mean, and it was on May 1st of this year. Taz sends me signs. it's easier for me to believe that she's still here and to know that I will see her again. I also have to think, like when she went off to Europe, I was sad. Like, “Oh, I won't see her for a while.” I mean, I did go visit her. You know what I mean? It's like, she's gone, which went to college. I knew I’d see her again.
In some ways, I know I will see her again. This is not at all what I wanted to happen. I can really feel sorry, “Oh, never have grandkids.” She was my only child. I’ll never have grandkids. She never got to get married. She was looking at buying a house. All those things. What she is doing now, I believe, is probably so much more exciting and fun than what she'd be doing here on this material plane.
I always say, my task in life is to change the dominant paradigm. Talk about the ultimate, dominant paradigm is that death. I mean, everybody's afraid of death. To be able to change that, and I’m not saying I’ve changed it in my head. I’m not saying I’m not sad, because I am. I would do anything to change it back. I do feel there is some greater purpose here that I haven't quite figured out yet, that Taz and I have agreed to do.
[01:08:06] LW: The number 222 is very significant for you and Taz.
[01:08:10] PG: Yeah, another one of those rituals, when she was in junior high, who knows why, but she put up a Facebook group, The Amazing Awesomeness of 222, or something like that. Her friends would call her at 222. If they'd ask her, how much does that cost? She'd say, “$2.22.” Or, they'd say, what time is it? If it was 5:00, she'd say 2:22.
When she started that, she and I had gone on a couple trips that summer. We had gone to Alaska. Of course, what hotel room did we get, but 222. We go to London, get the room 222. From that point on, she and I always would send each other pictures of 222. I mean, it's just a thing we always had, or we'd be somewhere and we'd stand under a 222. It was just our number.
Anyway, I decided after she died, to start a foundation, I’d call it Taz Grout’s 222 Foundation. Our big plan is to change the consciousness of the world. I’ve got goals to try to move away from this belief in lack and that all people long to be creative. It has a lot of various things that Taz stood for. I started the 222 Foundation. It's given me some meaning and it keeps her legacy alive.
The other thing that's happened, again, I’ve got all these readers that are always sending me e-mails. They're always sending me pictures of 222. I mean, I get those all the time from people. I feel in some ways, that's Taz communicating. She's made all kinds of difference in people's lives too, I believe.
I mean, this could be far-fetched, but her father from New Zealand, he was back in New Zealand and he didn't really get to know him until later. Anyway, after that thing happened at the mosque in New Zealand, Taz spoke Arabic. That was after she had passed and he had a dream, where Taz was in heaven or whatever, welcoming them, those people that passed in that. It's so much bigger. All I can say that I know with innate surety and I know nothing – well, I know nothing. That's one of my big things I love to say. I channel Han Schultz all the time. I know nothing, is that it's so much bigger and that what I know is so minuscule to what's out there, to what's possible. I just have to surrender to the bigger thing, because I don't understand it. That's for sure.
[01:10:24] LW: That part of your story, it reminds me of The Alchemist, which I’m sure you've read before. For those listeners who have not read that book, there's a plot point in the end. In fact, the story behind the book itself, it was released by Paulo Coelho, it collected dust. Nothing happened to it. He got the rights back. His publisher gave him the rights back. Then he just didn't feel right that the book didn't really get any recognition. He shopped it around again a few years later, and this other publisher ended up taking it on, and that's when it started to pick up traction over the next nine years. Then it became a bestseller.
He could have easily just let it just collect dust. He said that the thing that inspired him to revisit the idea of publishing the book was the book itself, he reread it. He reread his own book and it inspired him to say, “No, I know the universe is conspiring for me.” Then the plot point at the end of the book is that the young boy, Santiago, who's the hero of the story, he comes into good fortune. He ends up getting this gold, because of this sequence of things that happens. The alchemist, who he's hanging out with at the end, he ends up giving half of Santiago’s gold away to this monk.
Santiago’s like, “What the hell? Why are you giving away half of my stuff?” Well, he comes up with this very spiritual reason for doing it. Anyway, Santiago goes off to see the pyramids and he ends up almost dying. He gets robbed and these people leave him for dead and they take all of his stuff. On his way back, he goes back to the monk and the monk gives him the half of the gold that he thought he was losing earlier in the story.
My question for you is how often do you go back and revisit your material? Because it seems like, there's a reason why you had to research and develop all of these experiments and write and study the course of miracles. Every year, you go back through the lessons over and over and over and then this thing happens, this monumental traumatic thing happens. It's almost like, it could not have happened to a better person, or more prepared person spiritually than yourself.
[01:12:48] PG: Well, I think there is some truth to that. I’m so glad you told me that story about the alchemist. I didn't know that story that he had, again, publishing – sounds very similar to my E-Squared. I do go back and read my stuff from time to time. Whenever I was giving a workshop, I’ve been all over the world giving workshops around E-Squared. I mean, I’ve been to the Philippines, and Finland, and Peru, and you name it.
Anyway, so while I’m on the airplane going to give a workshop, I would re-read my book and I’d, “Oh, this is really great.” Or the other day, I actually re-listened to this podcast that I’d done. I was like, “Oh, my gosh. That really inspired me.” I think all the time, I mean, in some ways, I think we write partly, because this is what – I think I write, because that's what I need to hear. That's what I need to know. I would say pretty frequently, I mean, not like I sit around and read my own words a lot, but my writing is often aspirational. I don't always live up to all the things that I want to be. I’m still a work in progress.
I think I can read my words and wow, inspire myself. I do think I write for myself. If anybody else happens to like it, that's just all the better. Yeah.
[01:14:00] LW: You have so many stories that you've heard from your readers. You have stories that you've reported in your books and just talking about people who have crossed over to the other side. Obviously, there are tons of theories about what actually happens and maybe nobody knows for certain. You do tell this one story in E-Cubed with the four-year-old, who wanted to talk to his baby sister, I believe. Can you just recount that story?
[01:14:25] PG: I love that story. It's about a little boy, whose parents are having a new baby. After the little baby sister was born, this little boy's like, “Oh, mom. I need some alone time with my baby sister.” I mean, he was just insistent. “Just me and her. Me and her. Me and her.” They're like, well, they'd read the books about sibling rivalries. They're going to put a pillow over the head. I mean, what what's going on here?
Finally, because he would not give up this desire he had to have his alone time with his baby sister, they went ahead and let him go into the room and they stand outside the nursery. He tiptoes up to the crib and he looks over into the crib and he goes, “Tell me about God. I’m starting to forget.”
[01:15:11] LW: Wow. It seems like you and Taz worked out that little 222 connection, so that she can make sure you don't ever forget, and that we don't ever forget.
[01:15:28] PG: Yeah. Well, I will never forget. I mean, that wouldn't be possible. I have to have dementia really bad that I would forget.
[01:15:34] LW: No, I mean, about the God, the God connection, that this is all –
[01:15:36] PG: Right, exactly. Yes, for sure.
[01:15:40] PG: There's a bigger picture at play. After everything you've been through, the loss of a child, which is probably the greatest loss anyone could ever experience, the New York Times bestseller, all over the world traveling, how would you define success these days?
[01:15:56] PG: Wow. I just did this Laddership Pod with a 175 people from 27 countries. I think they asked some question like that. I said, “My biggest goal was, to be able to see your success, would be to see the face of God in every person I see. To see the light.”
In fact, one of the things I try to remember to wake up in the morning and ask myself, what would a being of light do today? What would I do if I knew I was this being of light? I mean, you even have the name. I don't know, is that your original name?
[01:16:32] LW: No, it's not.
[01:16:33] PG: Okay. I wondered about that.
[01:16:34] LW: I changed it for this conversation.
[01:16:36] PG: Well, no. I knew you've had it before this. It's a perfect name. We should all be named, Light. Although, we’d get mixed up as which Light we were talking to. Anyway.
[01:16:48] LW: If someone came to you, Pam, and they were an aspiring writer of spiritual books, what life guidance, or advice, or suggestions would you offer to them?
[01:17:03] PG: Well, I always believe just write, write, write, write, write. Again, you write so much that eventually, you feel that spirit coming through, where you're actually, again, channeling something else. I mean, some people, maybe the book just comes to them anyway, and so they're already doing that, but I think a lot of people come up with, “Oh, I’m going to write a book.” You have to be disciplined. You have to show up. You have to prove to the muses, to the bigger thing, to God, whatever you want to call it, that you're serious, that you really are going to be there. You'll be the secretary. Whatever you've got to say out.
Maybe there's a lot of messages that the world needs to hear. I think we need more secretaries that are going to bring that message out to the world. It's almost like a surrender. Like, okay, here I am. I’m going to sit here at my computer and you tell me what to say. Like that. I guess, I would say something like that. To not do it unless you really feel that you need to do it, because it's not an easy field, or an easy road to host, so to speak. It's something you have to really love. You have to love it to where you can't do anything else, I think. I mean, to be a full-time writer. Maybe not to write a book. Certainly, people can write books if they feel called to do that.
I think, mostly to listen to your guidance and listen to that voice, that inner voice that is urging you to write and is willing to work with you and be your partner, the way Bill Thetford and Helen Schucman were partners together, to create that thing, and you have to partner with God, The Dude, that bigger thing.
[01:18:33] LW: I like to tie this back into childhood, usually at the end of these. Sometimes people will say, what was your favorite toy? “Oh, it was a barbie doll, or it was a BMX bike or something.” Now they started their movement. Yours is pretty obvious connection. You've always read and written, and so it looks you were born with this purpose, whether you realized it or not. Everything that's happened along the way has just helped you to evolve and get to that point. I think that the most evolved person is the person that gets to the point and where they realize, they don't know anything. All I know is I know nothing.
That also means they're being completely led by their heart. You're led by your heart. You're embodying that Course in Miracles principle, which is this whole, “I need do nothing. I need do nothing.: I think that's it. That's the answer, along with 42.
[01:19:38] PG: That's what I mean. The Course in Miracles isn't hard, it's just so different. I mean, who would tell you, I need do nothing. I mean, that was one of the main things A Course in Miracles tells you, don't do anything. Let the spirit, let this universe, let this bigger thing work through you, but that's totally the opposite of what we're taught, how we're trained. That's why I think we're shattering a lot of paradigms now.
Anyway, so yes. That is one of the best things from Course in Miracles. I need to do nothing.
[01:20:07] LW: Your book came out just in time for lockdown, Course in Miracles Experiment.
[01:20:12] PG: Well, you know what's funny, the epigraph in the beginning of that book says, “Go forth my book and destroy the world as we know it.” It's like, “Oh, my God. Why did I put that in there?”
[01:20:23] LW: This is your fault.
[01:20:25] PG: Yeah, I guess so.
[01:20:28] LW: Okay. What are you working on next? What's next for Pam Grout?
[01:20:31] PG: Okay. One of the coolest things happened. After Taz passed, this artist from Hamburg, Germany wrote me a letter and she said, “Your daughter was beautiful. You've inspired me. Your daughter was a beautiful flower. You've inspired me as an artist,” because she had read Art & Soul Reloaded. “I’m going to paint you a flower every week for a year.” Also, she's going to blow a glass butterfly, because the butterfly is supposedly the secret to the soul, or sing to the soul or something.
She started, the first Saturday she sends it to me, second Saturday. I thought, there's no way she's going to keep doing this. This woman did this 52 weeks, sent me this flower, told me what the flower meant, the glass blown butterfly. Then she auctioned them off to raise money for the 222 Foundation. Because she has these beautiful flower pictures, I’m currently working on a card deck and it's a better way to do death. By that I mean, if we're about shattering paradigms, again, this fear of death. I mean, there's so many different things. Also, this belief that they're gone, that we can't communicate with them, just like you know about your friend, that you're still with him or her, that you still can communicate.
It's a shocking thing for people. They don't believe that. It's like a card deck that you pull out one a week. I think there's so many books about grief and losing kids and all that, but I don't know if there is a card deck like this, so that's what I’m currently working. Each of those 52 flyers with some story of hope. Some of the things that have to be about the hedgehogs, or various things like that. That's what I’m currently working on.
[01:22:10] LW: The 222 Foundation, you award $10,000 every February 22nd.
[01:22:16] PG: Right. $10,222.22. The first year, it was so cool. I was in India. I go to the Taj Mahal. Have you been there?
[01:22:26] LW: Not yet. No. I’ve been to India several times, but –
[01:22:29] PG: It such a spiritual place. I mean, it's amazing. It's a monument to love and it's just – because we thought how cheesy, everybody goes. Everybody feels amazing. Anyway, so we get there, the woman that it's a monument to – her name is MumTaz. MumTaz. This mogul built this monument of love. It took 20,000 workers 22 years, so there's the 222, to build this monument to love.
We ended up leaving some of her ashes there. Then we leave there and we go out to this place, there's this place called Shiro’s Hangout. It's run – it's a little coffee shop, tea and little snacks and things, run by these women that are acid attack survivors. In India, there’s still, guys will be mad, you didn't give me a male heir and they'll throw acid on their – I mean, crazy stuff. For years, they'd go into hiding when that would happen. These women, they're out there, they're giving of their gifts, they're being beautiful. Their light is just shining.
They were getting ready to move location. That was the obvious first recipient of the 222 Foundation. I feel like Taz led me right to them, after this thing MumTaz, the 222 at the Taj Mahal. Then we leave there literally and find the Shiro’s Hangout. That was the first recipient. Last year, we had a school, built a school in Nepal and a Tazk force with 2,222 trees. Then we did this little other project. I’m getting ready, taking pitches now actually, for the 222 award for this coming February.
[01:24:00] LW: How do people apply?
[01:24:02] PG: I’m going to do a blog post about that tomorrow, actually. They just sent a pitch to me. Again, I’m DIY, so I can't remember what the e-mail is, but I can give it to you if people want to apply. I would love it. I mean, there's three things we look for; changing consciousness, this idea that everybody needs to be creative. We look for really creative projects, things that really can change the world. Because if we're going to change the world, we have to change the consciousness first. As long as we stay with these same ideas, we're just going to keep getting the same old stuff, so we have got to change consciousness. Any project that has something like that.
Anyway, I just have an e-mail and people just send it to me. Then I have a little committee and we go over – last year, I had a 100 applications. It's really hard to decide, because there's so many great ideas out there. Anyway. It's not a huge amount, but it can help somebody.
[01:24:50] LW: I love your blog. You post so regularly. You inspire me so much, because I started in 2016, I started a daily e-mail that I sent out called The Daily Dose of Inspiration. As you can imagine, you run out of inspiration sometimes and you're like, “What do I write about?” Then your blog is one of the blogs that I go to for inspiration, for the inspiration guide. Not that I steal your stuff, but it helps me to see things differently and you always post the best quotes to start them off with.
[01:25:23] PG: I do love quotes.
[01:25:25] LW: You do. Yeah, your quotes are all throughout your books. I highly recommend following your blog and reading your books. I mean, we didn't even get into E-Squared and all of that. I mean, that's a whole other podcast, but they're so fantastic, they're so accessible and it's a really fun way to embody, not just learn about these principles, but to really embody the principles into your everyday life, because there's so many –
You do a great job of helping people see their day through these principles. It's like, you can't even have a dull moment anymore, because you could be surprised by something you see, or something you hear at any time, at any moment, in any place. It can just create a story for your whole day that you just get so excited about telling people about.
That leads me to my last question. This is really off topic, but I think it's also relevant for people who are committed to this work and this way of living their life is how have you experienced dating, as someone who is a student of a Course in Miracles, and you understand consciousness and the God? Because it seems like, most people aren't necessarily like that and it just causes you to see things and maybe communicate about things a little bit differently.
What's your experience been in that regard?
[01:26:44] PG: Well, I’ve got a partner that I’ve been with for gosh, 18 years. I mean, I have other groups. I call them my possibility posses, where if I really want to talk about this stuff. Here, I find somebody like you, like-minded people. He's Catholic and he still goes to mass and he believes in the bigger things, but he's a little more traditional. One of the great principles of Course in Miracles is we don't judge. Everybody has their own path. It's not my place to try to convert him or whatever. He's a really loving, wonderful person. I don't know. I haven't dated for a long time.
I think, back in the day, back when you're making a list of affirmations of things that you wanted, of course I would want someone that shared my spiritual beliefs. While we share some spiritual beliefs, we're not totally lined up. Anyway, it seems to work out.
[01:27:36] LW: Beautiful. All right, Pam. Thank you so much. I look forward to meeting in person one of these days. I know we've been talking for years about that. I’m happy that you jumped in on the podcast in the meantime, just to have this conversation. I do feel that our paths are destined to cross at some point and I look forward to that day.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[01:27:58] LW: Thanks for listening to my chat with Miss Pam Grout. Pam has written 20 books, with the most recent one being The Course In Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind, which is a bestseller. You can check out the rest of her books, including E-Squared and the follow-up, E-Cubed everywhere books are sold.
In the meantime, if you want to hear more stories like Pam's, please make sure to subscribe to the podcast and also poke around a little bit in the archive. You're going to discover many other episodes with inspiring people who've overcome all kinds of odds in an effort to discover their purpose, or their calling.
The common theme you're going to hear again and again is that at some point, they all said yes to what was in their heart and they kept saying yes, even when it seemed scary to do so. In other words, the path to your purpose is already built into your life and all you have to do is say yes to whatever you're feeling and sensing in your heart right now. I know, it seems too simple to be true, but that's why I’m committed to sharing these stories week after week, so you can hear the same blueprint repeated over and over and over through the lives of different people, enough times to either take action on what's in your heart. Or if you've already been taking action, to remind you that you're right where you should be right here, right now.
I’m also appreciative of those of you who've taken a couple minutes to rate and review the podcast. The time you spend doing that is going to help countless others discover these incredible stories. Maybe they'll be inspired to find their purpose as well. You never know.
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In the meantime, I’ll see you back here next week with the next amazing story from the end of the tunnel.