Sunday, December 26, 2010

Following Ganesh

Thanks to my mom, I just met cultural anthropologist and photographer Stephen Huyler at a recent screening of his film Sonabai (see film excerpt here) during my Christmas vacation in Maine. 

It's perfect how it happened, and it's another synchronistic story of how life works for me.

Several years back, my mom heard Huyler speak about his work with women artists in India and thought that I should meet him because of my experience living in Nepal's Hindu culture. She lives in Maine, and I'm based in the West Coast, so it didn't seem possible at the time.

Earlier this year, Mom saw an exotic looking Toyota Prius in a beach parking lot on the Maine coast. It had a unique paint job with a reddish paisley design--the kind you'd see on a Kashmir shawl--with a dancing Ganesh on one of the passenger doors and a small Ganesh statue mounted on the hood. 

Ganesh Hood Ornament. Brilliant!!!!

She gazed to the shoreline where she thought she saw Stephen Huyler relaxing with what looked like family members. She asked a woman near the car if Stephen was really on the beach. The woman said yes and that it was ok to say hello.  Mom didn't want to bother him, so she returned to her car and drove away.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Finding Peace In India

I am a world traveler and seeker of holy and soul stirring moments. I have been overpowered by unexplainable feelings of ecstasy and peace in the presence of spiritual masters many times during the course of my global jaunts, from Oregon to Nepal with many stops in between.

In January of 2009, I deepened my exploration for inner peace when I attended the teachings of the Karmapa, the supreme leader of one of the major lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. The teachings were at the ancient Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, India where the Buddha found enlightenment. King Ashoka commissioned the towering stone temple in the 3rd century B.C. in honor of this most auspicious event.

It was a unique and authentic experience with few western tourists about. I spent five days sitting as an observer in wafting clouds of incense while watching thousands of Buddhist monks and nuns from 5 to 80 years old, dressed in fiery orange and saffron robes. They meditated and chanted in Sanskrit all hours of the day.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Auspicious Butterfly

November 18th was one of the most dazzling and rapturous days of my life, and it's a good example of how I function.

It started out in a usual way. I was editing a film with my work partner, checking emails, drinking more coffee than I should. Then this email popped up in my box. The header said, "blurb" and it was from an entrancing storyteller and visionary activist named James O'Dea who I just met at a leadership conference in Long Beach California.

I gasped and my pulse quickened because I knew what I was about to see would probably make me squeak like a schoolgirl. I clicked, and the following appeared on my screen:

Butterfly on the Road gives us an authentic taste of what it is like to step into your power, and live the great adventure of spirituality and service." (James O'Dea, visionary activist, author and former president of IONS and Director of the Washington Office of Amnesty International

I hate to admit it, but yes, I squeaked like I thought I would. It's a little embarrassing, but I get so excited sometimes. My heart and being exploded with gratitude because James endorsed my book, Butterfly On The Road. Some of you may know about it. If not, you can learn about it here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Podcast Update: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

I just met a Cambodian who survived the genocide of the Khmer Rouge. He told me how he knows he still has trauma. He said that, "War is never good. Never any winners..." He still has issues with trust and feeling so alone after all these years, and he knows it's because of the stress he experienced during the war. I gave him a recommendation because of my own experience with PTSD. Have a listen to the full podcast here. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An Update

I saw this hippo at Disney's Animal Kingdom back in September. I'm now inspired to reincarnate as a hippo. :-)

This year, my ruptured appendix (thankfully) forced me to have a quiet and relaxing summer. Recovery took several months, and I'm told that one typically takes a year to fully recover from surgery. Every now and then, I understand that when I feel a weird pain in the area of my scar, or if I feel unusually tired. Most of the time, I'm feeling pretty happy and well. I've been going to the gym a lot, and taking better care of myself, more then ever before.  This is the year that I really got how invincible I'm not. That's ok, and I think it's a blessed reminder.  I needed that kick to really get a little more serious about my health.

I had a good 6 weeks of family time from August to September. My in-laws visited from India, and then we all (husband included) went to Disney World to meet up with my parents. It was a trip to visit Disney World as an adult. I now think of it as a PG 13 Burning Man, because it's all about many worlds that you can easily move between, and there's an overall theme of magic.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Leaders Causing Leaders. See You There?

Leaders Causing Leaders will happen on November 6th & 7th in Long Beach, California. I am grateful to be a speaker at this inspirational gathering. I have the honor of sharing my voice along with many amazing inspirational leaders such as Byron Katie, Niurka, NY Times Bestseller Ishmael Beah and so many more amazing beings who cover topics from business, technology, to spirituality. Award winning musician and billboard topper Jason Mraz will also be there!

Here's the Leaders Causing Leaders Mission Statement: 

Leadership is a defining characteristic of any generation. Where it is created, innovation and change become real possibilities – and this November 6th & 7th at the Long Beach Convention Center we intend a groundbreaking experience which awakens the leader within.

We’re assembling leaders and visionaries, creating exhilarating panels from technology to social entrepreneurship to spirituality, arranging and hosting seminars and workshops with some of the great teachers of our time and celebrating this experience together with a  Saturday evening conscious music festival.

Join us for this bold new step into the future of leadership.
Learn more at

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Guest Post On Girls Trek Too!

I recently had the pleasure of sharing the story of how I found my guru Kali Baba on Girls Trek Too!, the blog of author Cara Lopez Lee. She was kind enough to host me, and I do hope that she will share something from her adventures here at Galactic Stillness. Be on the lookout for her upcoming book, They Only Eat Their Husbands: A Memoir of Alaskan Love, World Travel, and the Power of Running Away

Here's what I wrote:

I was meandering atop a mountain ridge outside of Kathmandu, when I came upon a barren hilltop where one ancient twisting tree stood with a small mud hut beneath it. White sandalwood smoke rolled out from the hut’s shabby door, and I heard nothing but the sharp crackling of a fire speaking in its own language.

I approached the doorway, feeling nervous and confused. I couldn’t see inside, because of the smoke now floating around my head. “Come in! Come in!” a voice said. In proper Asian style, I removed my shoes and walked into the most profound chapter of my life so far.

Upon entering the hut, I could see the face of my host shining through the smoke. His sparkling eyes lit his coffee colored cheeks and nose. He said, “Namaste. Me Kali Baba. You welcome. You sitting. You tea drinking? You name?” Kali Baba held a smoking pipe in his hand, and his mystical air made me feel Alice in Wonderland in the den of the caterpillar... Read the full post at Girl's Trek Too

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Survival Recipe

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I went to Cambodia. I only knew that it was going to be difficult. My goal was to document what local activists were doing to protect street children from child sex tourists, indigenous tribes that were fighting to protect their dwindling rainforests, and women landmine survivors who were learning how to make a proud living through weaving, a tradition that was nearly erased during the dark days of the genocidal Khmer Rouge, the name of Cambodia’s totalitarian ruling Communist Party of Kampuchia. Oh, and by the way, it was my first time visiting a country where massive genocide took place. I wasn’t sure how I could deal with this emotionally and I felt uneasy.

My Thoughts On The Burqa

Photo by Peter Bussian

I'm tired of people and their judgements of the burqa. Let women wear what they want. Yes, it's true that some women do choose to wear the burqa. There are some who wear it by force, and I think that's a shame. I just want to show this ridiculous fashion debate in another light. The world is not so black and white. Listen to my latest podcast episode to hear more.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


I wish this would happen to me when standing at a bus stop. That's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Empathic Civilisation

My blogging has slowed down. I just had an amazing two month adventure in Los Angeles, and I came to my season finale with a bad case of appendicitis that resulted in my first surgery. So, I don't have much to say right now. I'm a little tired and doing my best to move slow.

I will leave you with this. A friend just sent me this talk from Jeremy Rifkin: "Bestselling author, political adviser and social and ethical prophet Jeremy Rifkin investigates the evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our development and our society"

This is one of the most true, all-encompassing and inspiring talks about the state of humankind. Please watch. It's brilliant, and it eloquently sums up everything (and more) I've noticed about the world during my travels and adult life.

Here's the short 10 minute version, if you don't have time for the whole thing:

This is the long version, highly recommended.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Produced By Conference, 2010

Last month I was sitting in a cafe in Hollywood with a copy of Variety, a Hollywood newspaper that's good to read if you want to keep up with the film & TV industry news. I got the paper because my director friend said it can sometimes be a good place to find production jobs.

When I skimmed through the paper, other than Mel Brooks finally getting a star on the Walk Of Fame (long overdue if you ask me), the only thing that really jumped off the page was the Produced By Conference. The ad was well designed, and it was obviously the perfect place for me to go since I want to professionally direct and produce films one day.

This conference would no doubt cost a sizable chunk of change, but even though my bank account was skimpy, I decided to further investigate by visiting the Produced By Conference website. I gathered from the amazing line-up of speakers, mostly Hollywood producers, that this would be my networking heaven. With a general admission fee of $995, I didn't cringe. I just thought to myself, wouldn't it be cool if I could volunteer at this event! Never say never. I let that thought go, and went about my business. Drinking coffee and watching all the screenwriters tap tap tap away on their keyboards, and all the Final Cut editors bathe in the luminescence of their laptops in the crisp air conditioned cafe.

Two Weeks Later...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Meet Tommy Welch

Last week I spent some time interviewing people who have faced homelessness on Skid Row. This is one of the resulting stories that I wrote.

As he holds his head high, Tommy Welch displays a pleasant smile that exudes confidence. He is a productive man. Along with operating a shoe shining business, Mr. Welch works diligently on gang intervention, coordinating community events, and helping people find the resources they need. He has always looked to serve the people around him, even while he was homeless.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Just What I Was Thinking

I was wondering what to blog about this week. My husband just sent me this video of John Cleese, so now I don't have to write anything. I've always been impressed by Cleese, but now I have even more reasons to give him praise. This is deep, real deep in a Buddhist kind of way. Ok, no more writing! I must get back to preparations and meditations for my first keynote talk ever! More to come soon.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cambodian Women Organize To Protect Ancestral Rainforest

This is one from the vault. It's about an experience that I had in Cambodia, back in 2006. Enjoy.

During my two-hour motorbike trip to Blor Borcam of Cambodia's Rattanakiri province, I saw rolling lush rain forest, farmers planting rice, and stilted grass hut villages scattered about. The beauty was striking, but the forest was broken up like green islands, surrounded by an ocean of hacked and naked landscape. It was the most extreme deforestation that I have ever seen. How could this happen?

My long and bumpy journey ended, and my first inclination was to wipe the caked red dirt from my face so the real color of my skin could be seen. After washing in a stream, I was greeted by a trainer named Kol Propey who guided me to a group of indigenous village women who were in the midst of a community meeting. They were organizing themselves to stand up to greedy savages who have been illegally harvesting their forests all in the name of quick profit. We exchanged greetings, and the women began to share their stories.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Podcast Update: Don't Get Your Teeth Pulled in Kabul, Whatever You Do!

What is just as frightening as encounters with the Taliban? For me, it was getting my wisdom teeth pulled with a donkey staring me down from the door to the dentist's office in Kabul, Afghanistan. Listen if you dare. In honor of Obama's healthcare bill that passed in Congress yesterday, I use this episode to share my harrowing dental tale. Listen to my encounter at my Galactic Stillness podcast.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Book Review: In The Belly Of The Fail Whale

Pictured Left: Author, Composer & Twitter Citizen
Rob Gokee

High speed boat chases. Explosions. Espionage. New and exotic women every night. Clowns... This is a window into the intriguing life of Rob Gokee, international man of mystery and professional spy as portrayed in his book In The Belly Of The Fail Whale. The question that left me hanging by a string throughout this breathtaking, high pulse autobiography was "who is he a spy for? Is it Russia, USA, or the 62 square mile principality of Liechtenstein?" You just might find out. I can't share all of his secrets, so you will have to read this book... Oh, wait. This is the wrong story. Rob didn't want me to share this. It's not what he wrote about. (Rob, will you have to kill me now? Have I said too much?)

What Rob Gokee (known as @robgokeemusic on Twitter) did write about is how Twitter changed his life over the course of a year. This is a fantastic read if you want to understand how to use Twitter in a communal and life changing kind of way. Rob gets it with Twitter, and if you read this, you will get it too.

If you already understand how to make Twitter work for you and why it's different from other social networks like Facebook or My Space, that's OK. You'll love his book for the reasons I did:

1. Rob is damn funny. Hands down. His biting sarcasm and off the wall humor makes it worth the ride.

2. Rob shares in detail how Twitter helped his personal life and his business.

3. This absolutely speaks to my generation of Twitter punks and enthusiasts. We're an odd bunch, and it's awesome to see that he has captured what it's like to be a part of this global cyber community.

4. This is not just a how-to book, it's a very personal and raw spilling of guts and emotion. I applaud Rob for being so personal. Not everyone can share their private life--the ups and downs--in a book or on Twitter like he has. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll probably want to give Rob a hug for what he went through (and buy him some pants) if you ever meet him in person.

The most touching part for me was his interaction with @alliecine. I can't say more because I don't want to ruin it. You'll just have to buy the book if you want to know why I found it to be so heartwarming.

Final thoughts...

Buy In The Belly Of The Fail Whale, read it and tweet it to spread the word! I'm excited to find out what Rob does next with this book and beyond. If you want to know, follow him on Twitter at @robgokeemusic or follow his book updates on Twitter at @failwhalebook

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Butterfly On The Road-The Trailer

Please watch the video below if you want to know about my upcoming book Butterfly On The Road. If you want to read it, please sign up here to receive an email notification to know when it's released.

Butterfly Love,
Erin Grover

My infinite thanks goes out to Elizabeth Weissenborn of Deinos Productions for making this video happen.

Butterfly on the road from Elizabeth Weissenborn on Vimeo.

If you would like to know more about how I got to Afghanistan with only $100 in my pocket, you can watch this:

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I'm in LA. I don't have much time to chat right now, but I will say that I miss my bed. I miss staying in one bed for more than one week. Actually, I miss any bed for that matter. Lots of floors and couches. Ugh. It's ok. I can manage. The overall picture of my life is quite beautiful and sprinkled with perfected chaos. Love it. I'm meeting many divine characters on this journey and every turn is full of miracles and joy. This is why I travel. This is why couch surfing is digestible. That's all for now. Over and out.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mystic Donut

This is another one of my late night inspirational writing sprees, the kind that doesn't let me sleep until I've typed it out. I don't have much to say, but I have to share the story of my manifested donut.

Two nights ago I was watching the Simpsons, which, by the way is now 20 years old! And I've been watching it ever since it came on air! Anyway, I saw a donut on this particular episode and, even though it was just a cartoon donut, I really, really wanted it. I admit I even drooled, and my heart began to pine for a bavarian cream-filled donut with a sweet melty chocolate glaze.

That was it. I finished watching the episode without pondering more on my donut passion and then I went to sleep.

The next morning I embarked on my journey to find a coffee. After I purchased the only substance that I'm really addicted to, I went back to my car. I was just about to shut the door and I heard, "You, hey you! You heard me..." I peeked my head out the door, and low and behold, a man was standing there with a large bucket FULL OF DONUTS!!! He said, "Would you like some donuts to help you enjoy your ride?" I almost heard the angelic choirs sing, but then my logical mind--the one that didn't manifest the donut--came in and said, "You can not eat that donut! It has too many calories!" And that was it. I gave into my mind. I passed on the donut, but it was so cool that the universe brought me to a bucket of donuts the morning after craving just one!

It's fabulous. I wanted a donut with all my heart, and I wasn't even consciously manifesting it. It's almost scary how easy it was. It was one of those, "be careful what you wish for" kind of moments. It's a great reminder for us all. You want it? You can have it, especially when the passion and emotion is there. It can be a donut, a puppy, a career change or peace. You just have to put the love into it. On the flip-side, if I vehemently said, "I hate donuts. I hate 'em! I hate 'em", I could have just as easily manifested that bucket. It's all how you want to play the game. The emotion will attract the details of your life either way.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Interview On Radio Station WERU of Bluehill, Maine 1/12/10

Here's another radio interview where I share more experiences from my time in Afghanistan. This is my first east coast interview and I feel so incredibly blessed that I keep getting more and more media. It's amazing to have the chance to be heard, especially with a story that is not necessarily mainstream. My next known radio interview is on KPFK on February 1st. Of course, I'll post it here. Listen to the full interview here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Welcome To My Podcast

Left: I have already listed my podcast on iTunes with this logo.

I think this is almost overdue, but I've done it. I started a podcast with the same name of Galactic Stillness. It's an extension of my blog. It will include stories of world travel and synchronicity. I want to keep my entries short, unless they're interviews with fascinating people who deserve more than five minutes. I'm not sure what I'm doing, but I'm just excited that I have a new creative outlet to play around with. Listen to my first podcast episode called "Little Buddha Packing Heat".

Monday, January 11, 2010

Year Of The Roar! Here I Go!

Yes, the year of the tiger is coming soon, but I feel like it has already started. It's a time to be bold and to step into our power with bravery and grounded footsteps. For the more playful of minds, it's time to bounce, pounce and seize the day! I believe it's time for all of us to shine with what we do best. Everyone I talk to seems to feel the same. There's collective excitement in the air, and I can barely contain myself. Why do you think I'm writing this blog entry at midnight :-)

I have an amazing astrological chart for this year, but I don't need the planets to tell me that things are already off to a spectacular start. So much happened last week. So much has happened today and it's only Monday. Out of respect for others involved, I can't publicly share everything that I'm cooking up right now. Just trust that I'm working on amazing creative projects and I will be able to reveal more as the year goes on. Most of them are film related. I will throw you one bone; I'm currently working on a documentary short for the fine folks at 30 Hour Day who produced the first-ever live streamed telethon for the inter-tubes back in December. They raised about $7,000 for charity, and I'm so proud of their amazing contribution to the world. Learn more about it here and be on the lookout for the next 30 Hour Day in July.

I can say that I'm going to new levels with sharing my positive experiences of the Afghan people, from when I lived there back in 2004 and 2005. Last Saturday was my first east coast interview (on WERU in Maine) and it was my first step towards going bicoastal with my story. It will air on Tuesday and I'll post it here when I get a link. My parents said that they will blast it out their car windows when it airs. :-) I love them and appreciate their enthusiasm and support so much.

My book Butterfly On The Road is manifesting, slowly but surely. I really believed that it would be out by now. What can I say? I could get upset, but I won't because I believe in divine timing. I trust that everything in my life unfolds beautifully, even if I can't see the big picture.

In February, I will take a magical mystery tour down the west coast, from Portland to LA with synchronistic stops along the way. I know I'll stop in San Francisco, and I'm open to other stops if the universe happens to pull me in an obvious direction. As with all my travels, I'm going for some known reasons. For one, I will be making different stops to speak about Afghanistan. If you want me to speak at your school, organization, company or radio station etc., please let me know. I'm also going for reasons unknown, so stay tuned to see how it magically unfolds.

Other than that, I'm starting a podcast soon. It would have been live by now, but my scratchy throat has forced me to wait. I'm doing it because I want to share my stories of spirit and adventure in another format. I'll share my own stories and interview other galactic travelers too. That's all. I just like to be creative in as many ways as possible.

So, my cat Yoshi is pawing at me. He knows it's past my bedtime and he is persistently giving me all the signs that it's time to sleep. Thanks for reading. I wish you the best this year. And away we go!

Big Love,