The young woman awakened early, stirred by the flutter of a bird.
She went to her window and saw a bluejay sitting there.
“Good morning,” she said.
The bluejay seemed to wink.
She went to her mirror.
To her confusion, she saw nothing there.
“Why-Why…” she stammered, not sure what to say at her empty mirror.
“Have no fear,” a voice said from outside the window.
She spun around and looked at the window.
The bird was still there.
“Have no fear,” the bird repeated.
This was almost too much for the young woman.
No reflection in her mirror?
A bird that talks?
“Have no fear,” again said the bluejay.
“But I-I don’t understand!”
“Have no fear.”
“But I can’t see myself!” she exclaimed, getting panicky. “And you’re TALKING!”
“The nothingness you see in the mirror is the mirror of the real you,” said the bird.
“I am nothing?!”
“You are everything.”
“But I see nothing in the mirror!”
“Look again,” suggested the bird.
The young woman took a breath, calmed down a bit, and looked into her mirror.
Suddenly she realized all she saw in it was all she felt in her.
The mirror was her.
The mirror reflected all within and appeared without.
She slowly smiled.
“I think I understand,” she said, half to herself.
The bird smiled.
“But what about this business of a bluejay speaking?” she asked.
“Ah, but within the dream, all is possible.”
“Whatever you can imagine, and can believe, can be achieved.”
“You sound like Napoleon Hill,” the woman said, smiling.
“I can read, too,” said the bird.
“All things really are possible,” mused the woman.
“And now you may awaken,” said the bird.
Thus the bluejay ended the lesson for the day.
PS – You know what this means.
“Ay lat wrds?” asked the frog of the flea on his tongue.
“Let me go!”
“I canot,” slurred the frog, his tongue still out.
“I can’t say last words when I can’t believe this is really my last moment alive!”
“Then my last words are you are a fiend to eat me when you are talking to me or at least trying to!”
“Bt I m a frog n mst do wt a frog ds.”
“Then I will be a flea and hop away!”
And the flea did muster all his strength, and courage, and will, and 0– behold!– sprung off the frog’s tongue, went high into the air, laughing a tiny little flea laugh as he did so, surprising even himself.
“Well, I’ll be,” said the frog, able to speak clearly with his tongue back in his mouth. “I didn’t know that was possible.”
“Anything is possible when your life’s on the line!” explained the flea, more to himself than to the frog, exited to still be alive, as he disappeared into the weeds, exhilarated by his newly awakened powers.
The frog was left to wonder what else is possible.
The flea knew anything is possible.
PS – You know what this means.
“How many grains of salt are there in a mustard seed?” the bird asked.
It was strange enough that a bird was talking. The question was also halting.
“I don’t know.”
“Take a guess,” urged the bird.
“I’d say none.”
“Ah, but you would be wrong,” sang the bird.
“Within the mustard seed are universes of possibility,” explained the bird. “They each await your water and sunshine, which you deliver as attention.”
“I don’t understand.”
“One day you will or won’t,” fluttered the bird.
“But what are you trying to tell me?”
“If you have faith…”
“Like a mustard seed?”
“…then you can move mountains with your word and deed.”
“And one day see birds that talk?”
“Now you’re getting it.”
PS – You know what this means.
One night I was watching my favorite television show, Modern Family, when I heard a line so funny that I’m still laughing.
The daughter, attending a hi-tech college, said some genius students in a lab taught a monkey to play the saxophone.
She added, “We don’t know if the monkey is any good because all he plays is jazz.”
The joke reminded me of one of the principles in life I live by.
In short, beware of invisible monkeys.
I don’t mean monkeys in the world or in the zoo.
I don’t mean monkeys in science fiction or on television shows.
I mean monkeys in terms of what people try to pass to you when you aren’t alert or looking.
While the phrase “monkey on my back” refers to drug addiction, it’s also relevant in another way.
Let me explain:
Years ago I was reading the book Tell to Win by Peter Guber when he told a story I never forgot.
Guber was working with and for Jack Warner, the legendary founder of Warner Brothers, and complaining to the giant that all people did was bring him problems.
Warner gave him advice neither he or I have ever forgotten:
“You’re the zookeeper, and every single person that comes in the office comes with a monkey. That monkey is their problem. They’re trying to leave it with you. Your job is to discover where the monkey is. They’ll hide it, or dress it up, but remember you’re the zookeeper…Think of that visually. Make them all take their monkey problems away and come back with a solution.”
I love that.
I became more aware of all the people who write, call, email, visit or want to see me – and the invisible “monkeys” they try to leave with me.
They want me to solve their problem, finish their business, handle their challenges, or in some other way do something for them that they themselves can’t or won’t do.
In short, they are trying to pass off a monkey.
It’s the same for you.
People often call you, visit you, ask to meet with you, to do one thing: give their monkey to you.
If it’s your job to accept monkeys, so be it.
But most of the time the “monkeys” we get offered are simply other people’s problems. They are trying to get us to fix them. So they come to us to “drop off” their monkey.
I don’t argue that sometimes people need help. Lord knows I’ve been there.
But way too often people are shirking their own duties and responsibilities and passing their invisible monkey to you, hoping you will deal with it.
You then have the proverbial “monkey on your back.”
The way around this is to be alert.
Watch for the invisible monkey.
It may be disguised as a compliment, or a gift.
It may be called a domesticated monkey who won’t be a real problem and they are asking you to care for it.
It may be presented as something good or good for you.
As long as you can see the monkey, and know it is being offered to you and you don’t have to accept it, then you are at choice.
You are free to accept the monkey or return it to its current owner for them to deal with.
You are then monkey proof.
I wrote a song on my last singer-songwriter album that conveys this message.
“The Hook” is a reminder to not take the “monkey/hook” that is offered to you throughout the day.
Someone says something mean and your tendency will be to “take the hook” and get mad.
Someone pulls out in front of you in traffic and you’ll be tempted to react to “the hook” and do or say something nasty.
But you don’t have to take the hook or the monkey.
As long as you are aware, you can stay neutral.
You can remain at peace.
I love monkeys, I just don’t want one on my back – even if he can play the saxophone.
Back in 2006 I held the world’s first Canine Concert.
It was a publicity event to promote my 1998 book on P.T. Barnum, There’s A Customer Born Every Minute, which was revised, expanded, and reissued in 2006.
Many people donated their time and talents on a mind melting hot and humid Texas day to help me.
Little did any of them know — including me — the karma we triggered.
Let me explain…
The Canine Concert was a playful hoax, a publicity stunt, an idea given to me by the legendary prankster Alan Abel.
Alan is a genius.
He is a “professional media prankster.”
Before and beyond Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, Alan, as one newspaper called him, was “The Rembrandt of the ridiculous.”
Alan started his career in the 1950s with a fake organization called S.I.N.A.: the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals.
The crusade wanted to clothe critters.
Alan made national news, ignited a craze, and became infamous.
Alan helped me get media attention for my book The Attractor Factor with a fake lotto win in 2006, which was turned into the short documentary Humbug!
He also wanted me to run for U.S. President later, on the “Common Sense” platform.
But I went to Alan for ideas on promoting my Barnum book.
He offered the Canine Concert.
The idea behind it was to put on a show “for dogs only.”
I thought it was wild, didn’t know if it would work, but was willing to try it.
I sent out a survey to my list to find out what kind of music their dogs liked. The majority vote was for rock and roll.
So I went looking for a local rock and roll band that would be willing to play at a sound level only dogs could hear (like using a dog whistle), and who would play for the fun of it.
I’m a lifetime member of the Society of American Magicians, and knew many entertainers through the local magic club. Many of them donated their time to help me. And one (hypnotist C.J. Johnson) introduced me to the band, Porterdavis. The group agreed to play at my wild stunt.
There were more volunteers, of course.
I had a beautiful live mermaid (Lisa Nicks), a performing magician (John Maverick), an MC (Kent Cummins), P.T. Barnum (played by Kevin Coyne) and even a protesting cat.
Three news crews came to film the people, the dogs, and me.
We all had a good time and we parted after the event.
And here’s where the story gets juicy…
Years went by and one day I received an email from Daniel Barrett, the lead singer for Porterdavis.
He wanted to have lunch and ask for some advice about a career change.
I remembered him, of course, and agreed.
Over lunch, Daniel told me he was planning to start a program to help first time musicians write, perform and record their own music.
What Daniel didn’t know is that my secret dream was to write, record and perform my own music.
Think about this.
Daniel had no idea I wanted to become a musician.
I had no idea he wanted to help people become musicians.
Yet we met — years after he did the good deed of helping me at the event — and our karma balanced out.
Daniel has so far produced five of my 15 albums, including an album with me, Daniel, and Grammy nominated singer Ruthie Foster.
Is this all amazing or what?
But the story doesn’t stop there…
We’ve been having problems with our wireless Internet for a long time.
I finally jumped online and searched for someone nearby to come to the rescue.
I called a listing and left a message.
I didn’t think much more about it.
Later the same day, a fellow named Randy called me back.
“Are you the Joe Vitale that’s the self-help guy?” he asked.
“Some say I am.”
“Then we met years ago,” he explained.
“Yes. You gave me my first job when I moved to Texas.”
“Yes. I was the protesting cat at your canine concert.”
I was surprised, delighted, and impressed.
Again, a good deed from years ago returned.
Karma had balanced the tables again.
Neither Randy or Daniel (or me) had any idea that their giving in 2006 would lead to new business and new friendships almost a decade later.
And Alan Abel, the man who offered the Canine Concert idea to me, is still (at age 90) writing and hoaxing. I’ll be publishing his autobiography soon, so he won out in this karmic play, too.
There are probably lots of lessons in this story, but here’s a big one:
Give joyfully and without concern for return and the good karma you trigger will come back to you multiplied and spilling over.
You don’t need to do everything with money in mind.
Sometimes helping a good cause, or helping a friend, without concern for pay or pay back, can lead to spectacular unexpected miracles later.
Call it good karma or canine karma.
Either way, it’s pretty cool.
Do it and Expect Miracles.
Note: There is a DVD of the event, created by Nerissa Oden, for sale at Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Worlds-First-Canine-Concert/dp/B000V246RK/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1452085530&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=canince+concert.