What a fascinating conversation with a most interesting man. Pierre shared wisdom he has gleaned from an incredible life. It was an honor to be in his presence. In this interview, we focus on his latest book. But, there is a lot more to him than this book.
Can you imagine what it would feel like to never feel any resentment for any wrong done to you? To respond with full awareness of all situations rather than react from your gut? What freedom that would entail! Well, this is just one of the gifts the practice of blessing from the heart, sending out focused love energy, will do for you. This book, from the bestselling author of The Gentle Art of Blessing, will help you learn to bless all situations and people as you go through the day and add overwhelming joy and presence to your existence.
About the Author
A true world citizen, Pierre Pradervand has labored a great deal of his life for social justice, living in or visiting 40 countries on every continent. From his Geneva home, Pierre is now active as a writer, speaker, and workshop facilitator, helping people to live simpler, yet richer, more contented lives. His workshops provide personal development tools that empower attendees to strengthen their internal anchors and advance on their spiritual path. Pierre is also an independent celebrant for weddings, burials, and other events.
Brian Smith 0:15
Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried, but what if like a seed we’ve been planted and having been planted, who grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes, open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Hey everybody, this is Brian back with another episode of grief to growth and today I’ve got with me peer pressure event, I should have asked you how to pronounce your name before we get started.
That’s perfect Brian
Brian Smith 1:11
So I’ve got with me PR predator grant van. Pr is a fascinating man who’s lived a adventure filled life I would say I’m going to read a short bio Peter or Pierre and then we’re going to talk about his latest book. So here is a true world citizens labored a great deal of his life for social justice, living in or visiting 40 countries on every continent. He now listened to he in Geneva, Switzerland is active as a writer, speaker and workshop facilitator, helping people to live simpler yet richer, more content lives. His workshops provide personal development tools that empower attendees to strike to their internal anchors, and to advance your spiritual path. He’s also an independent celebrant for weddings, burials and other events. And I want to introduce him by reading this short little clip here says can you imagine what it feels like to never feel any resentment for any wrongs done to you to respond with full awareness of all situations, rather than react from your gut. With freedom that would entail Well, this is just one of the gifts of the practice of blessing from the heart, sending out focus, love energy, for what will what it will do for you. This book that we’re going to talk about today, 365 blessings to heal myself in the world will help you go for from it’s from bestselling author of the gentle art of blessing. We help you learn to bless all situations and people as you go through the day and had overwhelming joy and presence to your existence. So that sounds like a great subject to talk about today, Peter, and I want to welcome you to grief to growth.
Thank you so so much, Brian. It’s such a treat for me. Really, I mean it from the heart. Could be shit speaking on in depth issues with people who are really listening. Yeah, well, I
Brian Smith 2:55
really appreciate you being here. And I read the book. And it’s it’s fantastic. And I want to talk about that. First one to give the audience a sense of who you are. I know you’ve lived you said in 40 countries in every continent. How did that come about?
Well, I let’s say I’ve lived and traveled in 40 countries. I haven’t lived in all of them.
Brian Smith 3:13
Right? Right. Right.
I was. My father was minister of the Swiss church during the war in London. And I was a few weeks old when they returned to London, and spent my whole the whole war in London, we were bombed out twice. And I’m always eternally grateful to my parents because they gave me the bait. The most precious gift in my life. Perfect bilingualism English French. I always spoke English with my mother, French with my dad. And, and that was that’s been so precious in my life. Then we came back to Switzerland in 1948. And when I was when I finished my high school, that that’s around 1920 in Switzerland, I did a year of social work in the slums of the port city MRC in southern France. And there were many African immigrants in that city. And that suddenly opened my eyes and my heart to Africa. And I returned home, did my studies, first the two years in theology that we really wasn’t my cup of tea. And I moved over to Sociology, which I really enjoyed very much studying. And then I I did one year of work in the United Nations, and they offered me Ryan, a life contract that was done in the 1960s a life on track with a salary at least 330 times. The average Geneva salary at least two months vacation instead of two weeks, a year. Special shops and no taxes, international civil servants in Geneva, don’t pay taxes. Wow. And it was extremely rare, extremely rare that Swiss citizens because we were not yet a member of the United Nations were hired by the UN, but they offered me two un organizations have had me a job. And I thought pair are you born to be comfortable little bourgeois with a nice little car, a nice little job, a nice little family. And I don’t think I’ve come on earth for that. And a one off to Algeria, without even a letter of introduction, or hiring me. My own one I’ve met the Minister of labor at the at the United Nations. He said, Oh, come come, we need people like you because independence, the Nigerians, that 1 million French people who are running the country, left the country in a few months. And they were desperate for people with, you know, university level training. And so I arrived at the Ministry of Labor in the morning, and they hired me on the spot. And I had three and a half difficult, but very exciting years in Algeria. And then I went to prepare my doctorate, University of Michigan, which was very I was among two of the best years in my whole life. And, and then I went back to Africa, French speaking, tropical Africa with the American friends Service Committee. This is a wonderful Quaker organization. And then I worked. Later, I started the first grassroots Family Education magazine as a whole of French speaking Africa. And I had no experience of brutalism whatsoever. And I took as editor of the magazine, one of the first Senegalese feminists who had no experience of journalism, my people would have said that this is completely crazy.
In three years, it was the best selling international magazine infringed speaking of infringed speaking Africa. Wow, we were the first magazine in the whole of Africa, whole of Africa, to speak of female circumcision. That was 19 7075. So I had very exciting diamond. And I came back in the 80s, to Europe and work for NGOs, and started my own workshops, in 92. And since 92, I’ve been running my own workshops, doing a lot of volunteering, and especially one of the very important experiences in my life has been corresponding with an afro American death row inmate in Texas, who you been 35 years in prison, in jail for crime we know he never committed, he was on death row. And we started corresponding, and his letters was so amazing. I published devices, I thought, you know, PA, you called keep these letters, yourself. They belong to the Cultural Heritage of Humanity. And I have an extraordinary publisher, who accepted to publish a book that was totally different from everything they ever published, published. And book was great success. And we put a bank address at the end, people started sending money, we were able to hire a good lawyer and get him out of the throat because as you know, if you’re poor and black in Texas, your chances of having any kind of justice are really a minute, is first lawyer pointed by that state was a drunkard who never visited him before the trial. We used to fall asleep in the courtroom, and nobody even woke up and, and was constantly drunk. Yeah. And so we got a good lawyer, rebuffed death row, but he’s still in prison. But he’s doing extraordinary work is transformed. Prison of 2200 inmates is completely transforming the culture. That prison while in my publishers just does me dry. The third book on Rajma Gauss, there is a website. May I give the website? absolutely sure. www dot Roger McCown mc gwen.org. Okay, www. Roger. Gun falling.org. Great. Well, this book is transforming lives in the whole world. I just received a letter from Thailand, from one of the worst prisons in the world, the bank when Central Prison in Thailand, which is a list you can see on on YouTube, there’s a BBC film, one hour film on bank, Wang Central Prison. And this place is absolute horror. And this guy’s telling me that he found this book. I don’t know how it got there in the prison, and this book transformed his life now. So Roger is a soul brother for me.
Brian Smith 11:13
Yeah. Well, you’ve clearly lived a life of service and Franklin self sacrifice. Where do you think that came from this this desire to serve?
Well, it’s a good question. I guess somehow, somewhere. My, my family upbringing was an important element my my parents live to serve. And unconsciously I must have absorbed something that from from then from them, and just my, my vision of life, I’m, you know, I studied theology. And then I was for many years a member of a religious movement, and I left all of that. And now I, I even called in a book on spirituality, a representative of lay spirituality. But I’ve always felt very, very close to the Quakers. I feel they are extraordinary people. And as you know, in the history of the United States, we’ve always had Quakers right in the forefront of all movements of social improvement. They are just wonderful, wonderful people. So I’ve been very inspired also by George Fox and the example of the Quakers.
Brian Smith 12:37
So one of the things that I got from your publicist said, you know, to talk with you about, what’s this, this, this idea of imagining what it’s like to never feel any resentment for any wrongs done to you. So what is what is the key to that? What’s the key to being able to get to that point?
Well, it’s evidently not happens, something happens from one day to another. Maybe I can explain to you, Brian, how I discovered this practice of blessing. Yes, please. This is the key. I was working for a group of nongovernmental organizations in Switzerland when I came back from Africa. And I’d been asked to start a new program on education on third world issues for school. There was nothing like this similar in the schools in the 80s in Switzerland, and I threw myself with great gusto. In this work, I even had to count bed in my office when I missed the last train, and I wanted to do a roving exhibit for schools on world hunger. And, and these organizations said, Well, sorry, we don’t have we don’t have the money in our budget, you have to do without it. And Brian, I put out of my own savings, the equivalent today of at least $25,000. Ladies roving exhibit schools, which worked very, very well. It was applauded by my even my sponsors. And but there was one guy in these organizations who was an atheist, a militant atheist. He did my guts, and he decided he wanted to get rid of me. And I was a member at the same time of an American campaign called The Hunger Project, the aim of which was to end hunger in the world. And I would believe that organizations fighting hunger in Africa would be in alignment with this is a well, I think they were a bit leftist than as this campaign came from the States. they forbid me to speak about Did in schools, which I found crazy, but they were my bosses. So I made but I, I continued using the slogan of the campaign, the end of hunger by the year 2000. Because while I was in Africa, I was one of the founding members of what became the largest grass roots, peasant organization of the whole continent, Eastern style. And one of the organization’s one of the member organizations in Africa, had as its slogan, the end of hunger by the year 2000, which was a slogan of this American campaign. And one day this, this, this guy who hated my guts, convened a meeting of the four organizations. And they said, We forbid you to say that we can end hunger by the year 2000. Because this American hunger organization Say yes, say that. These are, these are organizations fighting hunger, right? They’re bidding me out do I don’t know cheap anti Americanism, or I don’t know what I think that was an excuse to get me out of. So they, they told me either you stop saying this slogan, or you quit your word. And they skin between themselves saying knowing Pierre’s integrity, he will quit his job and trample on his personal conviction while I did. But I so I quit my job immediately. But I developed such resentment against these people, especially this guy who organized this whole scheme to get rid of me, right. And Brian, it was Ed me up, literally eating my guts. You know, resentment is horrible. It’s like a rat, eating your entrails. It’s awful. And I used to wake up in the morning, I was thinking of this, going to the supermarket, doing the housework, whatever traveling, this was, became an obsession. And there is this resentment. And I knew I was harming myself. And I was praying, meditating, doing all the right things. Nothing happened. And it was awful. It lasted week after week, month after month. One morning reading the Sermon on the Mount. The statement, bless those who curse you.
But of course, it’s so simple. You just have to bless them. And I started there. And then I started blessing these people, in their health in their family life in their joy in their abundance in every conceivable manner. Firstly, it was in the head to obey what I believe the revealed commandment. But it soon moved down to the heart because blessing is 100% heart energy. Then a few weeks later, suddenly, while walking in street, I started pressing people in the street. And it became so joyful. I bless people at the supermarket. Walking around the city. When I used to take trains, I took trains a lot. I used to travel a whole crane in both ways, one tip to the other, to be sure not to miss every any person. Every single. And I asked studied having amazing experiences with this practice of blessing. And one day I was preparing a talk I’d been asked to give a conference at an International Youth meeting in Zurich. And the theme of my talk was to be healing the word. And I was writing my talk and suddenly I received a gust of inspiration as never before or since in my life. I was literally like someone under dictation. I received under dictation a one page text on the gentle outer blessing which is the beginning of my book. And the foundation of my foundation is practice. And I started sharing it with people in my letters. People saying it heals, it heals, it heals. And it started receiving lessons from all around the world. And people who were you know, applying this, this exercise.
Brian Smith 19:55
That’s probably the most wonderful thing. 10 years later, I met at a meeting in Luzon, this gentleman who caused me to quit my job, okay, this guy who hated my guts, you know. And I met him at that meeting. And Brian, I felt like giving him a huge hug and embracing it, we had dinner together. And it was so joyful. And for days, my heart was singing. While it took me years to understand what has happened. I believe that it’s his personal belief that before coming on Earth, he and I made what one calls a soul contract. That is, we each fixed out the roles we would play in our relationship, so as to bless the world. Ultimately, this terrible trial was transformed into a blessing, which became the book, which has been translated now in quite a few languages. And including Arabic and Russian, and others, and has blessed the world. Wow. Wow. That was, yeah, what
Brian Smith 21:28
a What a beautiful story. I really appreciate you sharing that. So for people that aren’t familiar, what does it mean to bless someone? What is that? What
does that even mean? So to me, it means sending heart based love energy to them. just sending focused energy. So I bless people in their health in the joy. He’s in the family relations, in anything that I think can help when I don’t have a car. So I travel a lot by public transport. When I see someone who’s depressed, I bless them in their peace, their joy, etc. Always the reverse of the material. Image, if I see a guy who’s drunkard and knows, wobbling around on the street, are blessed him is upright, this is self control, is maturity. God is like that. If I see a beggar in the street as a blessing in his abundance, always the opposite of the material image facing you. Well, of course, if I see a young couple, just getting married, I bless them in their happiness. There’s nothing, nothing to reverse there are just less than happiness and joy in life together.
Brian Smith 22:59
So some people are going to say, How am I supposed to bless someone who’s done something wrong to me? You know, I have this human thing, I feel resentment that I want to hold on to. So what’s How do I how do I get over that?
Unknown Speaker 23:13
one thing is to realize that any negative feeling you feel is harming you before it’s harming anybody. Any negative feeling harms our immune system. And I’ve got to understand this. So clearly, Ryan, that I can really say that i i can see so clearly that every human being with Mr. Trump, when he was in white house or murder was being judged. is at his highest level of consciousness? Or was at the time he did his Is this the misdemeanor? And in this way, Brian, I, I do not judge anyone at all. My life is totally free of judging others. Because I feel so deeply that everyone is at their highest level of consciousness. And it is so free. So free to understand. Yeah, I think I don’t feel judged by others, if I don’t judge others. Well, the judgments of others don’t touch me.
Brian Smith 24:45
Yeah, and I think that’s a very important point that I want to reiterate because I have I’ve come to that belief as well. And I know that’s hard for some people to understand. When we look at another person’s actions, to say they’re doing the best that they They can do. And that’s what it means to not judge that person is to say that they’re but we looked at them and said, well, they can’t be doing the best they can do because clearly what they’re doing is wrong. So that’s, that’s the the temptation A lot of people have. And that’s, that’s I think that’s the hurdle to get over. But this non judgment thing, and I know, especially as you mentioned you to kind of briefly touch on our charge political environment, you know, especially here in the US, where everything is controversial here. Everything is political. And when we look at each other, and we think they’re trying to destroy our country, that’s what that’s what both sides think about each other.
Yes, absolutely. Well, we must be agents of a higher level of consciousness, wherever we go.
Brian Smith 25:53
Now, the thing is, and so you mentioned something earlier, when you were speaking, and you mentioned the word practice, which I think is very important. It’s word that I use all the time. But the clients that I work with, I think things need to be a practice. And the thing I love about your book, 365 blessings, tell myself in the world, there just happened to be 365 days in the year. And we could go through this. And it’s a great way to start this practice. But sometimes people are like, they don’t how do I get started with this? And so you’ve kind of given us a framework. Exactly,
Brian Smith 26:26
So and I said, Look through the book, and I love this, because it’s easy. And I know there’s a Buddhist practice, a blessing people unconditionally will certainly meditate and bless first, you know, people that are that we like, and then people that were kind of neutral bat, and then eventually out the people that we don’t like. And that can be a hard thing to do. But again, what I like about your book is you’ve got it all in there. You’ve got like, we’re gonna bless political leaders. We’re gonna bless terrorists, we’re gonna bless and their victory and you tell us how to bless them, right? Not just have good feelings for terrorists. But how do I do that?
Yes, exactly. Yes, people need to know how you see. You can’t just tell people, oh, bless, you must show them how to bless.
Brian Smith 27:16
Can you give us some examples of how we do that? So how, for example, like how would I bless a terrorist? Well,
I would first bless him in, I believe that every single person on earth as a divine spark, in that, that even that terrorist has a divine spark. So I would bless him in his hidden divinity. I was blessing bless him in his his thirst for justice. He has a vision of justice, which might maybe very distorted, but it is as vision. And I, you know, I don’t have a fixed guideline. I follow my inspiration. But I first try and develop a feeling of love and compassion. The person or the situation. I am. blessing, that’s the most important, right, is the feeling. Yeah.
Brian Smith 28:28
Yeah. And I like what you said, seeing that divine spark in each person and trying to take their perspective. Okay, so the terrorist, we think, oh, they’re terrorists, they’re murderers. But as you said, they’re seeking justice. It’s it doesn’t align with our sense of seeking justice. But just trying to understand that allows us to be able to let go of that judgment, at least a little bit.
Exactly. 11 years in Muslim countries. And I’ve seen since situations that, especially in relation to women, that revolted me completely. But I had to go beyond that. Because that still judging you know, yeah. I must know that. That’s their vision today. Of what is right. I hope they are move forward. One day, but today, that is the vision must not condemn them, or judge them. I must embrace them.
Brian Smith 29:30
Yeah. Now, would you say this idea of blessing people you mentioned that came to you because of Jesus words in the Sermon on the Mount. And some people say, Well, I’m not a Christian, so I don’t have to follow that. So is this is this a religious thing? Or is this a spiritual thing, this idea of blessing,
this idea, but I think it’s great, you can find it, the whole world over. Some of you you noticed in my book, there are many Native American blessings. These were high profoundly spiritual people without being religious in the modern sense of the word. But there’s there’s a Native American spirituality which is very profound, very profound.
Brian Smith 30:16
Yeah, yeah, I agree. And I think we can sometimes get caught up in religion so what’s your opinion about religion? So what’s gonna happen the religions you think as mankind develops
back to grief to growth in just a few seconds? Did you know that Brian is an author and a life coach, if you’re grieving or know someone who is grieving his book, grief to growth is a best selling easy to read book that might help you or someone you know, people work with Brian as a life coach to break through barriers and live their best lives. You can find out more about Brian and what he offers at WWW dot grief to growth.com www dot g ri e f, the number two, gr o w th comm or text growth gr o w t h 231996. If you’d like to support this podcast, visit www.patreon.com slash grief to growth www.patreon.com slash g ri e f the number two gr o w th to make a financial contribution. And now back to grief to growth.
You know, Brian, this is so interesting. I just the minute before I switched on to talk to you, I finished my monthly newsletter, which goes out to a bit more than 3000 people on theme is this the end of religion just admitted before Wow. Well, I believe that religions in their structured, organized form will probably disappear. The one exception could be Judaism, because Judaism is attached to a nation to ethnic practices. It’s totally different from any other religion in the world. Now, but apart from today’s I think it is my belief that other religions in their traditional form, specially Christianity will disappear. And that new forms of spirituality will appear. I think that today I’m much more spiritual than I was when I was quotes, very religious. And when I belong to a church, I couldn’t dream of going into church today. But I do believe in you. For instance, I created a group in Geneva, which is totally non denominational non religious called its we call it a blessing and gratitude group where we just bless people and situations. We meet every two weeks. Now we are doing through internet, of course, because of this COVID thing. Normally we gather together physically. And that’s one of the new forms of spirituality that is popping up all around the world. People are inventing what speaks to them? Now? You know what the church is died 1000 years ago should be done? What speaks to them today?
Brian Smith 33:44
Yeah, I think we are seeing a lot more of that. And you know, in the past, we would lead in kind of religious silos, you know, I think about you, if you were a Christian, you might never meet a Muslim. If you lived in nine states, you might never meet a Hindu. But when we get familiar with other people, and we learn their practices and realize they’re all basically the same, they’re all saying the same things. Then I look at religion, myself as kind of training wheels. It’s something that we we kind of need to bring us you know, to a certain level, but then we’ll get to the point we can take the training wheels off and then we can put to practice spirituality.
Exactly. Totally agree.
Brian Smith 34:25
So, um, I was gonna ask you about your view of the universe. How is the universe run? Is it is it chance? Is there are there laws?
That question? I love that question, because it enables me to share the most powerful, important experience in my whole life. Awesome. Einstein asked the question, is the universe friendly? And my experience for me, is my reply. To Einstein’s question I was, you know, for many years I practiced performance spiritual to a spiritual healing was very important central to the practice. And so I didn’t run off to doctors when I had a problem, but he was working it out spiritually, and it worked well, for many years. I no longer do that now, but it worked well, for many years. And I was in Africa. At a meeting of this large peasant organization in the early 90s, this was, and the last day I called isn’t very well known the last two, three days of meetings. At the beginning, it’s not serious. If it’s not treated, if it’s not healed, it can become serious, but it’s just a nuisance, we have to run the hole down to the toilet. And we finished our meeting real early, and we had the last afternoon free. So I spent my whole afternoon with my books and mantras and affirmations, working on this problem, and I believe that it disappeared. But then I went out for dinner with an African friend and an African restaurant. And the next morning going to the airport, it started all over again. And on the plane, I was in my with my books with my mantras, my affirmations and repeating statements. And I was sitting next to a young unaccompanied boy about 10 years old. With his little you know, little label on his chest with his parents phone address, know that. And the stewardess taking care of him, was so loving, so sweet. You would have thought she was his mother. She constantly game the T, check that he was okay if he needed something. And one moment you can talk to him, as she spoke in such a kind manner. Suddenly, I felt for this woman, a cosmic gratitude. I can’t say otherwise. My whole life, my own mind was just totally filled with gratitude. And suddenly, I had an out of body experience. I was no longer in the plane, I was no longer in time. I was in this space. With as though there was only the most incredible, unbelievable sense of love. And it was entirely on the level of feeling bright. On the hop was not in some moments, purebred when the discipline wasn’t there, the ego wasn’t there, I had no sense of existing, as a personal as a person as a male Swiss. All I was conscious, with this infinite love. And as an American spiritual right of last century said, Mary, big ready, the divine understanding reigns is all. And there was there is no other consciousness. But there was no other conscious consciousness of love. I don’t know how long this lasted maybe two, three minutes or 30 minutes. Because I was out of town. Suddenly, I came back to my seat. I was sitting next to the little boy, I felt something moving mind trails isn’t disappeared in a few seconds. But above all, I’d had the most important vision in my life. And, Brian, this vision is today, the heart of my spirituality, the totality of my spiritual belief. My spirituality has become so simple. I don’t have to read books learn to auras or laws or bad drizzle, Bible statements. I just have to
feel his love and sharing. Loving more has become the only thing important for me. And it is all my spirituality.
Brian Smith 39:43
Wow. Wow. Well, you know, the people in the ears tell us that everything is love. It’s all it’s all one for all one consciousness people that have gotten to the other side people who, quote died and they tell us that and then you know physicists are starting to tell us now there’s just everything is one, everything is connected. And the consciousness is actually fundamental. And so and then we then we hear that God’s another word for love. So you put all that together. And really what it comes down to is everything’s about love. And it but it sounds too simple to people.
Well, maybe just do simple to them. I don’t mind. I can only experience speak from my deep experience. I know that for me, this is the path I wish to track. Other. Yeah.
Brian Smith 40:41
Another thing you touched upon there, I think that was really important. You know, you talked, we were talking about blessing, right? We’re talking, we’re talking about blessing ourselves. Because the other thing I failed to mention in the book, there’s blessings for everybody else. But there are also a lot of blessings for ourselves. Because we have to love ourselves as well. And, you know, one of the things I found is a key is to have gratitude. And sometimes people struggle with how do I have gratitude? I was telling you, before we started the show, most of my listeners are in grief. We’ve we’ve lost a child or a spouse or a brother or sister or whatever. So sometimes people have trouble saying how can I have gratitude in my life is so terrible. So the thing about your your book and your in your practice is is a way of bringing us out of that?
Yes. Bye, bye. sending love to others. You pull yourself out of your own grief. You stop saying staying centered on your pain. And you send love and good wishes, good feelings to others, that helps you get over your own pain.
Brian Smith 41:56
Yeah, I think that’s I think that’s really, really key really important. And I can see as you were talking, as you’ve developed this practice of blessing others how it’s helped, you know, with your with your gratitude, just you seem so you’re so full of joy and gratitude about life. Because you’re seeing is always connected. Yes, yes.
I mean, I just you know, I, I live in a nice little house, three rooms, and a little garden. And we’re having a very nice weather now not lunch, I just lunch, my lunch every day is just raw vegetables. And I’m sitting in my chair, and just feeling such incredible gratitude. But also, you see, because I know what misery is. Five years in that car, I lived literally, between two shanty towns, not a mile away, maybe 200 yards away, on both sides, no develop, close contact some of the narratives. And I’ve traveled, as you said, you know, to over 40 countries around the world. And I have also seen such profound misery. And so I know how incredibly blessed I am. And I’m aware of it night. Give thanks every day.
Brian Smith 43:26
Yeah, he talks about something early. We were talking about blessing if you don’t focus so much on the material. And I hear people talk about abundance. You know, we we want to live in abundance. And I heard something just a few days ago that really resonated with me. status. The idea of abundance is the ability to do what you want to do when you want to do it.
Everyone has his definition of abundance. abundance is an inner state of deep contentment. I had a large fortune ride. I’ve given away absolutely everything I’ve checked kept just a little minimum extra. I mean, I mean a little just in case of a real emergency. I have enough to live decently but I have you know I don’t take long trips around the world I don’t have a car. I don’t even have TV. I live extremely in say frugally. But I’m happy. Yeah. No, I when I see people who have these mentions and three cars and go and spend their vacation on Bali, polluting the world environment and all that they’re not any happier, maybe much less because they’re afraid of losing their fortune. don’t have anything to lose. So no no life can be. Life is what we make right? It’s not a question of shows. Life is what we choose to make.
Brian Smith 45:08
So we say life is what we make it, you mean choosing our perspective on what happens to us? Or do you mean something even beyond
our perspective? On what happens to us, we may not choose at all what happens to us. But we can choose our perspective. Right? I think I mentioned the beginning of the talk, I do remember that this letter I received from Thailand, from Bank, one Central Prison. This is the one of the most or rendus prisons in the world, right. And this young prisoner, who says he’s in there for crime he never committed, which I’m ready to believe him. They have no lawyers, or whatever, you know, and, and he read this book by my friend, Roger magallon, completely changed his perspective on life. He thought, Well, if Roger can find deep happiness on death row, well, I can change my attitude towards this imprisonment.
Brian Smith 46:19
Yeah, and I think that’s really important. You know, we’ve read books like Victor Frankel’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning. And we’ll say, if he could be happy, then you know that maybe I can be happy in my circumstance. I have a friend I interviewed for the program. Her name is Terry Dillion young woman, who in her mid 30s, was struck by Lou Gehrig’s disease. And so she’s she’s paralyzed. Now she can’t even speak, she communicates with her eyes through a computer. But you read, you know, somebody like that, that can find peace and joy in their circumstance. And so we can we can choose, you know, I, I tell people, you know, it’s an old analogy, but it works to glass half full or glass half empty, which are we going to focus on? Or we’re going to focus what we don’t have? Or are we going to focus on what we do have?
Right? And this is such a simple metaphor, the glass half full or half empty? And yet, it’s so fundamental to all of life. Every second, Brian, we are choosing which half of the glass we want to see every second, right? If some people manage to see half a glass half full, when they’re in the extremes of hell, and I mean, the extremes of hell. Or maybe we can see that in circumstances, which for most of the people listening to this program, a little less dire.
Brian Smith 47:51
Yeah, yeah, exactly. And that’s, and I said, that’s when I, when I was when I read your book, when I looked through the book, I was like, I love the fact because you give us a practical way of doing this for people that are because we as human beings, it’s his natural thing to focus on what’s wrong. It’s part of our evolutionary process, right? We, we focus on the problem so we can fix the problem so we can solve the problem. That’s, that’s, that’s, that’s part of our nature. So we should not feel guilty or feel bad about that. But it doesn’t mean we have to stay in it. We can we can learn to to rise above that to raise our perspective.
Yeah. Exactly. By the way, I want to tell you, I’m so enjoying our exchange, Brian.
Brian Smith 48:34
I am I am also, I like I said, for me, I’m an engineer by background, and and i bike I coach people. So my thing is, don’t just tell someone, you have to do this thing, right? Again, someone, especially someone that’s grieving, or someone’s going through a hard circumstance, and we’re all going through hard circumstances, we all have things we can look at and say I wish this was different. But what again, a practical approach is like, how do I do this? So, you know, to tell someone here, here’s do these things for 365 days, actually, if you do it for 30 days, I believe it’ll change your life. I think if you got up and did a short blessing, because people are intimidated by meditations, you know, I don’t know how to pray, you know, stuff like that. Just do a short thing for 30 days in a row.
And they don’t have to compose the blessing. They just have to read it. Right. 100
Brian Smith 49:27
pound, right. Yeah, read it and feel it, read it and take it to heart and, and try to understand that person’s perspective. And I was reading the one about placing the terrorist earlier before we get on the interview. And I think that’s so profound, because we tend to see things from our own point of view. Of course, that’s all we got, right? So when I see you doing something that I wouldn’t do, I said, well, you must have bad motives, you know, whether it’s whether you’re my political enemy or whether you’re physically trying to hurt me or a terrorist, and just to make that shift for a little While and to say what if I were in that person’s shoes? And And what if they truly are divine? And what if they are doing the best that they can do? Because we give ourselves the benefit of the doubt we can justify anything that we do. I did this because now I was justified in it.
Unknown Speaker 50:19
Brian Smith 50:20
Yeah. So I, I think the the book and your and your practice and your your life is something I’m really I’m I think I’m really glad to share this with my with my listeners, because I think it’s so simple yet it’s so profound. And it’s a shift that I think a lot of us struggle with. And I love I love the fact that you’ve given us an example, by the way you’ve lived your life. I mean, you’re This is not just words, this is what you do. And then you’ve given us practical tips. How do we do it?
Brian Smith 50:56
So how can people find out more about you more about your work and what you do? Well, they
just go on internet. There’s such a lot of stuff on internet on videos on YouTube and things like that. So I guess that’s it. But the best thing is the website on blessing because my professional website is in French. Very helpful.
Brian Smith 51:21
Not to my hat is there
but then there’s also the website on Roger McCown the day I gave the address of Milan.
Brian Smith 51:29
Yeah, and I’ll put that in the show notes. But I know your your your damage professional website, you talk about general heart a blessing, right. Yeah. General heart gentle hearted blessing that org
Brian Smith 51:41
I’ll just I’m sorry, I wrote it down rock gentle art of blessing. Yeah, I apologize. Thanks for correcting me. so gentle art of blessing.org. That’s what we can find about about your your practice. Exactly. And the book is 365 blessings to heal myself and the world. It’s a, I highly recommend it to people. If you really want to get into this practice and you need a framework. You know, you need something and just try it for 30 days now. And then I think you’ll keep going.
I would suggest the people first go to my website on blitzing. And on the homepage, there’s an extraordinary, a fabulous video by our webmaster Jane young. Hmm. called the gentle art of blessing. And that video has been seen by hundreds of 1000s of people on YouTube, all around the world. Wow. Thank you, we’re really, really speak to people, please. The video itself is so beautifully made. Combination of pictures of music and text is just very special.
Brian Smith 52:48
Yeah, I know, again, a lot of people that are that are in, in grief, we sometimes harbor resentment for whoever caused our grief. We feel like you know, my life is never going to get any better. My life is so so bad. And we need like a ladder, we need a ladder with rungs to kind of dig out of that or to climb out of this the state that we’re in. And I think that’s what your work offers to people.
I think my in French, my best selling book is on no longer a victim. And as backfat is one of the best selling books in my publishes, it sold 10s and 10s of 1000s of copies. And I think this is one of the three main challenges of life. So many people feel victim. As long as they feel victim, they will stay stuck in what I call victim itis. And only they can get themselves out of that.
Brian Smith 53:54
Well, you know that and that brings us back to another point I want to make because when you were telling your story about how you discovered this site, this this art of blessing, you know, the guy that situation that caused it that could be viewed as a terrible thing that happened to you, you know, you were forced out of a job that you loved. And so we find though, as we’ve get some agent ourselves and as we as we get some distance from these bad things that happen, this is something good comes out of pretty much everything that happens to us. There’s always there’s always some blessing that we can find. And if we look for it, and that’s what you did you found, I guess maybe the biggest blessing of your life.
Exactly. And you know, I really believe that I repeat every day to myself sometimes, three, four times a day that all things work to good. All things work together, to the good of them that love life. All things work towards output if we love life. Everything, they cannot be an absolutely negative situation in our life. If we decide we’re not going to accept it is absolutely negative. We are the ones who decide. Always.
Brian Smith 55:18
Yes, yes. I think that that is an excellent, excellent point, that it’s something that again, it’s not necessarily human nature, but we have to keep reinforcing that in ourselves and keep looking for those blessings. Exactly. Yeah. appear I want to thank you very much for your time today. It’s been a real pleasure to meet you. And to talk about your your life and your book and your work. It’s it’s all fascinating and such a blessing to the world.
Right, it was my blessing. And I thank you for inviting me to this program, which I know is helping many people in deeply.
Brian Smith 56:01
Thanks, have a great rest of your day.
great blessing on your program, and all the listeners by the heart. Lighten up. Goodbye, Brian.
Brian Smith 56:13
Thank you. That’s it for another episode of grief to growth. I sure hope you got something out of it. Please stay in contact with me by reaching out at www dot grief to growth calm. That’s grief the number two growth.com or you can text the word growth 231996 that’s simply text growth gr o wt h 231996. So if you’re watching this on YouTube, please make sure you subscribe. So hit the subscribe button and then hit the little bell here. And it’ll notify you when I have new content. Always please share the information if you enjoy it. That helps me to get more views and to get the message out to more people. Thanks a lot and have a wonderful day.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai