Interview with Paschal Baute

Why did you write this book?
I am a disabled veteran. I found my disabled veteran brothers and sisters were hurting in ways that might be remedied. I found many not coping well with loss and their handicaps., because of attitude. Although the VA has many helpful programs, I did not find training to help the veteran’s attitude toward their coping with loss. Yet, the active military, all branches, now provides resilience training to all personnel. Yet the VA doesn’t. I wrote this book to add to the healing arts for caregivers in the VA;, but also for any veteran and for others coping with adversity.
Is there another story in your writing?
Yes, I have been teaching (and living) body/mind/spirit wellness for many years, incorporating insights from both science and the wisdom traditions. Namely, I have something to offer. Plus I have faced many setbacks and adversity in my life, learning resilience inch by inch. Now in my 80s I am also a storyteller and want to leave something for others who are hurting, not coping well.
Is there spiritual component to your writing?
Yes, I have a poem “If I were God” which explains that I would dive into all the hurting darkness of being human and gather into my arms all the brokenness of the world into and swim toward light. Spirituality is finding God everywhere in “thin places,” not necessarily in dogma, creed, code and worship. I find myself inside the mystery of my life, with grace around every corner.
Is there anything unique to your book?
This book may be the first to fully embrace, in a personal journey, the two great cultures converging today, science and the wisdom traditions. Scientists are recognizing the presence of mystery and people of faith are accepting evolutionary science. Here, in this memoir, we see how the rivers of spirituality, positive psychology, wellness, neuroscience, personal storytelling, grace and mystery can not only engage one another, but meet and be welcomed. There is possibly no other book that has this timely inclusion but offers itself as a teaching aid for both personal study and group discussion, to promote coping well, no matter what. It’s integration recognizes and records these influences not only for the veteran but for anyone managing change.
How do you expect your book to be used?
I write about my life with brutal honesty in order that others may find their story in mine, or at least pieces of it. I write with three voices: first of innocent experience, secondly, with my “take” on what happened at the time, and thirdly, in a comment, “Resilience in Action” following each chapter , a reflection from a Higher Power, of many sources. This third voice offers perspective, hope, change and transformation. Hopefully demonstrating how we humans survive and thrive, no matter what. The book is designed for both personal study and group discussion.
What are you working on next?
First, completing a half-finished book:, Storytelling is in our DNA, written to be a sourcebook for the new college courses on storytelling now emerging. Second, getting two of my books in print into Ebook publishing via Smashwords,, namely, Win-Win Finesse: The Art of Dealing Positively with Negative Feelings, and Hidden Lions: Learning Leadership through Story.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Love. Grace. The desire to make a difference, to leave some heritage from my incredible life, to push myself to share more, and because I love carrying my heart to new challenges. My VA diagnosis is "Catastrophically Disabled," but they got the second word wrong. It should be "challenged." I live with a grateful heart, blessed with children, grandchildren and now a great grandchild.
Can I learn to manage stress, change, loss or hardship through your book?
Yes. Each chapter of my own story in facing setbacks and hardships becomes a new lesson for learning resilience inch by inch. My memoir is designed to be used as a program for self-study or to share in a group discussion.
Where can I find other articles by you?
Just put "Paschal Baute" in your browser and Google my name. I have many writings posted on the internet..
Will some of your published books soon be available as eBooks?
I plan to publish two per year on Smashwords for the next three years, "God willing and the crick don't rise." The Next is Win-Win Finesse: How to Deal Positively with Negative Feelings.(2003)
Can veterans, active military and discussion groups receive a discount for this book?
Yes. Email me at paschalthestoryteller@gmail.com for a discount coupon.
What is your dream about this book?
That anyone who is hurting, facing hardship of loss, or simply tough challenges in managing stress, may find help in my story and the reflections following each chapter. By being brutally honest, I have tried to give everyone something in my life to identify with. Although written primarily for my veteran brothers and sisters, early readers claim my story is also for the general public. One psychologist wants this memoir to be added to required reading for graduate school in psychology. My own dream is that my story might help my veteran friends find hope and healing, new courage for their journeys. It has been a labor of love for them.
When did you first start writing?
I won my high school short story writing contest many years ago. It was about a typical teenage heartbreak: a boy swearing off girls until he met the Next One. I have been writing for journals and popular magazines for many years, total of several hundred. This is my first book since 2002.
You have written a brutally honest memoir. Does it concern or worry you about what people will think?
Yes. It is a little scary, but so was the writing, and often. I really have told a very intimate story of my life, but I have risked it for the sake of my brothers and sisters, in particular my disabled Veteran brothers and sisters. My aim is to help them find hope and courage for their own unique journeys.
Is your story written for ordinary folks?
Everyone faces change. Each of us has some challenge in managing the stress of our lives. There is no one who does not face some difficulty in coping well. Our world is changing faster today than we can imagine. Both we as individuals and as a species face enormous challenges to our future well-being. I have spent a lifetime of listening, well over 45.000 hours to every imaginable situation. Here are 28 chapters of stories and 12 appendices, a total of 40 perspectives on coping with setbacks, loss, hardship and adversity. Each reader is invited into the reflective practice of awareness, a deepening sense of the mystery of who we are and our diverse choices. Come jump in the car with us and enjoy the ride as I cope with and untangle the jungle of many unexpected twists and turns of my life.
Where do you find joy?
In stretching my limits, in pushing myself in every realm my talents admit: physically, socially, emotionally, spiritually, in wonder and amazement, and in "hanging out" with my wife and family, in particular, my grandkids, Quinn and Chloe..
What's it like to have a VA diagnosis of "Catastrophically Disabled"?
Verification that I am, in a number of ways, beyond blind, a wreck. Hah! Okay, I am being treated for some ten conditions, but they got the second word wrong: it should be "challenged," instead of "disabled." So I am limited in a lot of ways which cause discomfort and limit me. Well, I AM 84 this year, and I can still cope, still make a difference in my world. And with the help of my wife, now my driver, remain somewhat active, at least by swimming three times per week and in a few other involvements. I am blessed beyond recognizing, beyond deserving, and I can never give enough back. My heart still needs to stretch itself, because I am still being amazed, (smile) a child at heart, still discovering "the rope is not tied to me," (see Chapter One).
"Attitude determines altitude" is one of your sayings. Why?
Because attitude determines everything--whether you see life as pouring yourself into some hole, or a journey to discover your own mysterious Mount Everest. We know now that a positive attitude affects everything , even one's immune system. We are programmed by our DNA not only to survive but to thrive. Nothing in the world is "fair" except a county carnival. We are each dealt a particular hand of cards to play. How we play our hand of cards is up to us. Complaining about a stacked deck is not only useless but sabotages our views and our choices. Read my book to discover many examples of my learning this the hard way.
Are you speaking publically outside Kentucky anytime soon?
Yes, as a matter of fact. I am co-leading several Continuing Education workshops at the annual Retreat on the Union of Psychology and Spirituality, sponsored by the Ohio Psychology Association., scheduled February 28-March 1, , at Mohican State Park Lodge. These are 1) Understanding & Managing Emotions to Facilitate Personal and Spiritual Growth, co-leading with Scott Stubenrauch, Psy. D., HSP (Saturday a.m.); 2) From Trauma to Dream Catching: Dancing Mindfully into Resilience with Jamie Marich, Ph. D., (Saturday p.m. ) Also, I have been asked by Rick Reckman, Ph. D., to help co-lead the Fireside Chat discussion on "Therapeutic Use of Spiritual Resources." (Friday p.m.)”. This Retreat and workshops are also open to other caregivers, social workers, ministers, etc. The entire program can be found at the OPA website http://www.ohpsych.org/mce/files/2012/10/Spirituality-Retreat-2014-Brochure.pdf/
You talk a lot about mystery and grace. Can you be upfront about your view of "God," or as you prefer to say "This mystery we call God?"
Yes. My view is best expressed in a poem I wrote some 25 years ago, titled: "If I were God." It is now on the internet at the World Prayer Project, link: http://www.worldprayers.org/archive/prayers/celebrations/were_i_god.html/. See site of World Prayers Project at: http://www.worldprayers.org/. I cannot improve on what my heart has proposed then. I use this poem in Chapter Nine of my memoir and quote it completely in an appendix.
Are you featuring your book on your own website, and can we learn more about you there?
Yes, the boo is featured at k: http://www.paschalbaute.com/resilience/
for my website: http://www.paschalbaute.com. There we also list endorsements from Veterans and others.
Can you give us a short easy to remember definition of "Resilience?"
Here are several, take your choice. "Coping well, no matter what." "Being ready for anything." "Managing your life situation." In my memoir, 28 life lessons illustrate some 28+ facets of resilience in action. These are summarized in the themes listed for each chapter in Appendix Twelve, and discussed at the end of each chapter.
For the shortest definition, I like "Coping moxie," moxie being a Yiddish word, defined in the Urban dictionary as "Having enough cleverness, skill, creativity, fortitude and cajones to solve (or, at least, to get out of) a difficult and personally threatening situation." So, "coping moxie" just about says it all. This is what my memoir describes, learned, inch by inch, the hard way.
So, Paschal the Rascal, Spellbinder storyteller, do you have “moxie?”
Hah! I learned moxie. I had to learn it--the hard way, by experience. The way we all have to learn it. I learned moxie slipping the shoulder strap of my sun-suit to escape, au naturale, for my first adventure. I learned moxie by not succumbing to the shame based identity dumped on us by a sin –obsessed Church. I learned moxie by running away on a freight train. I learned moxie by standing up to the K.M.I. Commandant. l learned moxie by telling my First Sergeant in Basic Training that I could cream the competition for best drilled soldier and then doing it. I learned moxie when I dug a hole for myself on Guam and climbed out by winning the Welterweight boxing Championship of the Far Eastern Command.
But the biggest challenge to my “moxie came from the least expected source, a devastating blow from the person I had trusted with my heart. It was my first midlife crisis at age 31. I almost did not find the coping moxie to escape a compulsive punitive religiosity. How long? Eight years? Only then with a lot of luck and much grace, but that is the “rest of the story.”
What do you think of Smashwords?
The genius and timeliness of the Smashwords vision is more than remarkable. Mark Coker and associates are re-inventing publishing. The vision is brilliant. Smashwords is one of my best discoveries of 2013. I plan to publish about two of my previous print publications per year here. I am an enthusiastic fan, promoting Smashwords among my author friends. I love Smashwords. Thank you, Smashwords team! --Paschal the Rascal, Spellbinder storyteller, now also proud to be a Smashwords author.
How does it feel to know you have revealed your soul to the world, to know you have told of the unspoken brokenness of your own family, now for anyone to discover?
It feels strange, uncomfortable, extremely vulnerable, in limbo, suspended between hell and heaven, not knowing where the shoe or the axe will fall. The story of me, in my wounded, flawed, imperfect self is out there for the world to judge. I have arrived at the finish line of the race, breathless, stumbling, afraid to look around to see how or even whether I finished the race. I am naked before the world. It is not a comfortable feeling.
I am "24601" in Les Miserables, in the chapel, hovering between life and death, at the end of my earthly life, still full of dreams.
Except I know in my heart that I did it for the love of my Veteran brothers, hoping they might find some identity in the labyrinthine twist and turns of this one life. I carry the of the loneliness of their own journeys. This story is for them, that they might find some hope, solace or grace in their own stories, not to feel so alone, so singular in their pain and sense of loss, their own brokenness. Brothers and sisters, we are all broken. Let’s stop hiding it or pretending. We can still sing, dance and laugh. We are stronger than old memories. (see the wonderful song of Jamie Marich, quoted in chapter 4 )
What is it like to be blind and write a book?
Do you have an hour? An incredible journey in the patience and persistence needed, yet also in the surprising graciousness of the experience. The Hines VA Blind Rehab Center, with their computer training, Zoom Text software and unflagging encouragement was the necessary beginning. Discovering that my disabled brothers were not being offered the “attitude training” which offered hope and healing--this pushed me hard since I knew I had something to offer. Exploring the situation, ,I soon learned all active military were getting “Resilience Training”. Why not us? Why not the 26 million disable Veterans, the 900,000 blind veterans? Surely now I had my incentive. Rising at 4 a.m. every day soon became the necessary habit. Next, some generous, thoughtful people, like Scott Stubenrauch, came out of the woodwork. The first draft was complete July 1. But we found so much editing and formatting for ebook publishing was required that we needed another six months and far more work than imagined. It was a marathon. I am glad I ran distances for twenty years.
Maybe the worst part is my wife still expects me to see like a sighted person. She will hand me something or ask me to do something without remembering that my central vision is gone. Fortunately we find a lot of humor in our forgetfulness and “challenges.” She was my first reader and primary encourager. We have an “inner Camelot” which is part of the story and how it got done.
What does the word “spiritual” in your “spiritual memoir” mean?
My memoir is the journey of a soul—of my heart, out of darkens into light, through a labyrinth of punitive religiosity, suspended between mystery and grace, discovering “thin places “and epiphanies. For the sake of my reader, primarily my intended Veteran family I strive to be brutally honest with the brokenness experienced. I find the abuse of religious authority in many places, but I also discover meaning,, humor, love, delight and gratitude. I write for all those facing loss, hardship and adversity that each, in their own story, may find new hope and inspiration for their own unique journeys. I am pleased that early readers insist this is a “read “for everyone. One said, “I feel normal for the first time.” Thank you, A.T. That is quite a compliment.
You have spent your life listening, counseling, teaching, consulting, , training and coaching people. With change happening at warp speed today, what, in your opinion, is the critical ability or skill humans need to both survive and thrive?
Resilience, Resilience. Resilience. Or, if you prefer—a –a term I just this week coined—“coping moxie,”--Readiness for anything,, mastering one’s life situation, or coping well, no matter the challenges.
I use my life--every page of my memoir to illustrate Resilience in Action, with 28 chapters and an additional 12 appendices. if I can be allowed to say so, this is my gift to my family of brothers and sisters at large, in the world
It is likely that the human resource management core issue for stress management, team building and leadership development for the future will be training in resilience. Every branch of the U. S. Active Military now has a program in resilience training. (see summary overview in Appendix 10. See a table of contents of resilience themes found in the 28 chapters in Appendix 12.
You have assessed almost a thousand candidates for first responder positions as firefighter and police, and well over one thousand candidates for public school bus driver positions. In this work, is there a fundamental human quality you look for?
Yes, it is resilience, the ability to cope with distraction, pressure, threat, challenge and even danger. It is the ability to keep one’s cool under pressure, to perform the job regardless of circumstances, a calm and focused energy.
Some progressive test company will soon, if not already be figuring how to measure resilience, and will be ahead of the curve in the field of personality and ability assessment as well as the field of organizational psychology, in providing tools for the future.
Since 30% of our lives today is lived beyond the age of 65, does your memoir at age 84 have a message for us?
The challenge to ourselves and to our times is to live the “gift of years” (Joan Chittester) with liveliness, reflection, creativity, passion, learned resilience and some wisdom. It is our job to show the world that this time of life can be productive, meaningful an rewarding. I offer my memoir as one example of a life committed to making a difference-- no matter what. I embrace my VA diagnosis of “Catastrophically disabled’ not as a conclusion but a challenge. What was it "they" say about me? Let me show you that this one life is not yet finished. See my Epilogue: “There’s More.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The story behind this memoir is threefold: 1) How I was spurred to begin the project of using my personal story to help my Veteran brothers; 2) What enabled me to undertake such an intimidating and painful project; and 3) Where do I go from here?
This story is posted in a drop down window at my website: www.paschalbaute.com/resilience. Please visit.
Do you have other writing on the internet?
Yes. Since 2004, I have written on several blogs on matters of healthy, spirituality, and faith perspectives. You can find these blogs by putting <blogger.com paschal baute> in your browser. I have written also about the abuses of religious power and the mis-perceptions of Jesus by organized religion.
Also, I am continuing to write about Resilience.
See my new blog at http://resilienceofadreamcatcher.blogspot.com/
Are you still catching DREAMS?
Yes. My latest project building bridges with people possibilities is creating an annual Storytelling Festival in Central Kentucky for challenged (handicapped) children of every sort, started March 6. I am also catching new stories and parables to help empower people.
See my blog at http://dreamcatchersforchildren.blogspot.com/
Is there a hidden spirituality in youe latest book, God Overheard?
Yes. God Overheard is a hidden spirituality coaching believers to get beyond concepts , typical assumptions and beliefs in order to embrace mystery, grace, love, light. and especially wonder. Reflections are inclusive, "catholic" in the broadest or universal sense.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
"Heaven" is risking sharing memory to help others connect, with their roots, their challenges and their resilience, discovering a more authentic self.
How do you use the story of your life to do this?
See this new podcast on Kentucky Voices and Views, at http://www.kentuckyvoicesandviews.com. I tell my story here.
Published 2014-07-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

God Overheard: Take Five!
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 3,670. Language: English. Published: May 10, 2014. Categories: Essay » Literature
Brief reflections on the meaning of faith, love, life and coping with whatever--arrangeed for a five minute daily medittation,, one day each month, first in a series.
Resilience of a Dream Catcher: A Spiritual Memoir
Price: $9.80 USD. Words: 110,360. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Healthcare issues, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Healthcare issues
This memoir by a disabled veteran spans these careers: athlete, Army private, boxing champion, Benedictine monk, sports coach, Catholic priest, Navy Chaplain, pastoral psychologist, family therapist, human resource consultant, community activist, and Spellbinder storyteller,. The author uses his life of facing much adversity to teach many lessons of resilience, coping well, no matter what..