Blog: Here's what Tom says about that!

Collateral Beauty

Posted April 13th, 2017 by Tom

This film took my breath away. Literally. I found myself short of breath toward the end. I highly recommend Collateral Beauty.

Yep, it got a score of 12% on Rotten Tomatoes. It was savaged by critics. It died at the box office. I don’t watch movies that receive such a horrible, cumulative score on Rotten Tomatoes. I made an exception this time because of the recommendation of a good friend whose judgment I trust when it comes to matters of the heart and spirit. Gretchen and I are both certified trainers for Infinite Possibilities, a network of people who share a program on living life deliberately; about life’s beauty and our power.

So what is it about Collateral Beauty – a film about a dad caught up in the depths of despair over the death of his 6-year old daughter – that inspired me to write such glowing praise; in contrast to pretty much every film critic on earth? Howard, the character played by Will Smith, pulled me in right from the start when he said…

We’re here to connect. Love, time, death. These three things connect every single human being on earth. We long for love, we wish we had more time, and we fear death.

This is an “Infinite Possibilities” film, if ever there was one. It illustrates that we each have the ability to shape our lives and live our dreams through understanding, and working with, our thoughts, words, attitudes, beliefs, and actions.

Just be sure to notice the collateral beauty. It’s the profound connection to everything.

Yes. That.

And this: I wrote this post because there is someone who needs to read these words. I don’t know who you are, but you do. Pay attention.

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Edgar Mitchell returns to the stars

Posted February 6th, 2016 by Tom

“Houston, we have a problem.”

Edgar MitchellFamous words from the Apollo 13 capsule.

Imagine being launched into space aboard Apollo 14. Seriously, can you imagine that level of bravery? That’s Edgar Mitchell, who passed away Thursday, February 4, 2016 at age 85, the day before the 45th anniversary of his walk on Earth’s moon; one of 12 men to have done so. Having Belviepresented at a few Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) conferences with my friend and mentor Belvie Rooks, I was blessed to meet and speak with Edgar Mitchell. He founded IONS in 1973 after returning to earth.

I’ve heard that traveling in space changes you… astronauts may become self-abusive alcoholics… or deeply spiritual… or lord know what else… but seeing our tiny planet from outer space has an impact few of us edgar_mitchell_portraitearthbound humans will ever know. Edgar Mitchell recognized the deep and obvious connection between spirituality and science and founded IONS. He’s definitely onto something true and deep…

I’m grateful for having crossed paths with this deeply spiritual and thoughtful man, as well as with so many people who are part of IONS, and to Belvie, my friend who always reaches for the stars. We’re onto something, my sister.

Inside Out

Posted June 23rd, 2015 by Tom

My oldest granddaughter (age 8) and I went to see Inside Out, the new Disney/Pixar flick, during its opening weekend. In connection with my writing, my study of Trauma Healing and Infinite Possibilities, and my work with Coming to the Table, this is one powerful movie. I will absolutely be utilizing clips from Inside Out in future workshops and presentations I offer.Pixar Post - Inside Out characters closeup

Riley is uprooted from her home in Minnesota (Note: I originally called it the Midwest in this post, but when my granddaughter read the draft, she said, “that makes no sense, Papa, she was from Minnesota” so Minnesota it is) when her father starts a new job in California. The transition at home and at school does not go well. We get to watch that transition from inside Riley’s mind… and those of her mother and father… as we watch the key emotions inside their brains advise and direct their choices in life. Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear jockey for position in response to the events in Riley’s and her parents’ lives.

Understanding the impact that trauma has on us physically, spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally, and knowing how deeply rooted responses to trauma are in our bodies and brains, in our instincts and emotions; watching a IMG_7703fun, engaging, animated film explore issues of memory, emotions, and trauma in thoughtful and thought-provoking ways is refreshing and useful. I’ve been talking ever since with my granddaughter when she laughs or scowls — about who is at the control panel in her brain at the moment… joy or anger; disgust, or…

An interesting and critical aspect of the film for me is the moment I realized I had been rooting for Joy to be in control all the time and eventually understanding the important roles Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear play in the richness of our full lives.

The more I study trauma, how our brains work, racism, and Infinite Possibilities, I realize how clearly our thoughts become the things and events of our lives. How we direct our thoughts, particularly in reaction to what happens to us and others, goes a long way in determining who we become and how we create the rest of our lives.

You gotta see this movie (and respond in your own life accordingly).

Infinite Possibilities

Posted January 20th, 2015 by Tom

13My father died last Tuesday.

I flew to Orlando, Florida on Wednesday, and flew back home Sunday. I’m speaking across the state tomorrow and in Indiana next Wednesday.

Then I’ll fly to Southern California to join Mom, my sister, our family, and friends to celebrate Dad’s life on the 31st.

It feels a little like a pinball machine is going full tilt in my head with all the silver balls bouncing around at once and the bells and whistles and lights celebrating the highest score ever on “Vampire Stimuli Juggling.” WoooHOOO!

I spent much of yesterday quietly thinking.

I thought about all I experienced over the weekend at the conference; the people I met, the ideas that were shared, my daily telephone conversations with my mom, the eyes of the 10-month old baby whose eyes locked into my 60-year old eyes in the lobby of the hotel just before I caught the shuttle back to the airport to fly home.

Lindi and I watched Boyhood last night. As Mason’s life and the lives of his family unfolded before us I was filled with sadness and hope and I thought what a perfect film to watch at a perfect time.

I thought about Dad being diagnosed with cancer more than three years ago, shortly before he and Mom celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary; about the precious blessing of having him with us these past three years, which offered many opportunities to be together, to talk, to hug, to share “I love you” over and over.

I thought about how my second book, Gather at the Table, was published more than two years ago, offering my co-author, Sharon Morgan, and me the opportunity to crisscross the country since, speaking with people at universities, corporations, conferences, book fairs, churches and other gatherings about healing the wounds inflicted through racism and the legacy of slavery. Even more, our journey offered us the opportunity to build our solid friendship.

I thought about the past few months; how in July I became certified as a STAR Practitioner, authorized to integrate Strategies for Trauma Awareness & Resilience into my work. How in November I read the top ten things dead people want to tell you (ah, the timing), by Mike Dooley, the man from whom I’ve been receiving daily Notes from the Universe for the past dozen years.

I thought about driving to Southern California in December to spend four days with my parents, talking about life and death, Boy Scouts and baseball, laughing through reruns of Family Feud on the Game Show channel, setting up a new laptop to replace their ten-year old desktop that was on its last legs, going to church together the Sunday before Christmas; the church they were married in, that I attended almost every Sunday of my childhood, where we will remember Dad together at a service to celebrate his life, across the street from the hospital where I was born and where he died.

I thought about talking with Mom when we knew Dad wasn’t coming back this time, about changing my plans to immediately fly to Southern California, about her encouraging me to go ahead and attend the conference in Orlando, about my gratitude for my sister for staying with Mom throughout Dad’s passing and for several days after.

I thought about life and death and the intimate and infinite relationship between the two, about feeling as close to my father now as I ever have. About talking with my 6- and 7-year old granddaughters about what happens to Pampa after he died; about cremation and how our bodies and our spirits are both connected and separate.

IMG_3547bI thought about all I experienced during the conference, where I became certified as an Infinite Possibilities Trainer. Where I met, spoke deeply with, and held in my arms, Mike Dooley, who’s Notes from the Universe have greeted me each morning for so many years with a reminder of my power, of life’s magic, and how much I am loved. Where I learned more about our innate ability to shape our lives and live our dreams through understanding and working with our thoughts, words, attitudes, beliefs, and actions.

I thought of the intimate and infinite connections between this conference and my work with Coming to the Table, my writing, STAR, Gather at the Table, speaking appearances, and Mike Dooley’s 10-month old daughter, my children and grandchildren, my father, my mother, and how each moment offers the opportunity for me, and for you, to direct our future.

I thought about Deborah, Jeoffrey, Gretchen, Regena, Tracy, Craig, Roberto, Susan, Rebecca, Andy, Mike, and so many others I encountered this weekend; the words “I told you I would find you again” being whispered in my ear in the midst of a powerful embrace, and knowing they were true.

It’s a lot. Believe me, I know. And I’m paying attention; enjoying the game. I look forward to celebrating my father and continuing to create my future. How about you?

The Possibilities are Infinite.

Copyright 2012 by Thomas Norman DeWolf | Website: James DeW. Perry