Local authors write ‘Dance with the Elephant’ book

by Cori Hilsgen


With a title like “Dance with the Elephant: Life’s Cosmic Equation,” readers might wonder what they are going to be reading when they pick up this book, but they will soon find their interest piqued.

Written by Duane Kuss and Don Calhoun, the book is a self-help, self-discovery workshop in a book. It’s designed to connect the reader with the universal principles and natural forces in the world that shape their ideas of reality and who they think they are.

The elephant in life is the emotional secret everyone knows about but nobody wants to discuss. Things such as traumatic events, illness, death and other things. Often, these secrets which are never discussed cause irritation and bitterness in the unconscious mind. Eventually, they become roadblocks in people’s lives and limit options and choices they make. The secrets prevent people from reaching for and achieving their cosmic destiny.

A reader’s journey through the book guides them to ways of spirited dance with life events. Readers will begin to understand in order to dance with the elephant they must dig deeper to find the “me” of life, and then they can dance in harmony with the “we” of life. The book helps readers understand who they are, their purpose in life and the difference their lives will make.

Readers will get out of the book what they put into it. To connect with readers, Kuss and Calhoun share some of their own personal stories which are woven into a simple equation for living a better life called “Life’s Cosmic Equation.”

Life’s Cosmic Equation: Creative Power plus Reflective Choice plus Faith multiplied by Time equals Life’s Cosmic Legacy.

The book includes inspirational photos and quotes from world philosophers. The questions asked in the book and the reader’s answers will provide a map to their futures. It encourages readers to make a choice to be true to themselves and to connect with those they love and cherish. Joy can be discovered in the reader’s journey to grow and connect with others.

Kuss grew up in northeast Minneapolis. His father was an auto mechanic and his mother was a bookkeeper. In order to pay for his college education, he pumped gas, hauled sheetrock, played in a weekend rock band and other things. He has experienced 16 different professions in the past five decades. He and his wife, Bette, are the owners of WOW Training and Media Co. in Cold Spring.

According to Kuss, many people jump on the treadmill of life just out of high school and never stop along the way to ask what life is really about.

“I teach people to recognize their connection to everything around them even when society is headed the opposite direction,” Kuss said.

Calhoun is a memorial counselor who deals with the emotions and anxieties people experience after the loss of a loved one. He is the president of Murphy Granite Carving Inc. in Richmond, which produces cemetery memorials throughout the upper Midwestern United States. Because of his career and having grown up with a legally blind mother who battled brain cancer, he has many stories to share.

Calhoun said life sometimes just simply “sucks” and the sooner people can learn from those moments, the closer they can get to understanding their destinies and legacies.

“I help people understand they control the steering wheel of their life even when everyone else is trying to drive the car,” Calhoun said.

The two met in 2006 as members of a local civic group. Calhoun became Kuss’s client and they developed a friendship.

In 2008, Calhoun heard about a new support group idea called “Circle of Trust.” The two men formed a COT group with two other members. They met monthly to talk about their personal dreams, challenges, accomplishments and struggles.

The topic of writing a book kept resurfacing at their COT meetings. Calhoun thought his stories based on working with grieving people would be an interesting topic. People often have a difficult time expressing their grief and supporting each other after a death.

Calhoun has a talent for creating warm connections with clients in minutes. They often share their life stories with him and he is able to put that story on a monument.

Kuss is a technology and internet guru who provides video and online marketing solutions to clients. Through his online research, he discovered an innovative approach to writing a book that could be done in 30 days.

In the fall of 2011, during a COT meeting, Kuss approached Calhoun about actually writing the book. They agreed to meet every Thursday morning at 5 a.m.  If they weren’t happy after four weeks, they would stop meeting. Kuss and Calhoun wrote the book in two years and plan to write several more.

“Dance with the Elephant: Life’s Cosmic Equation” is available at Amazon.com. Kuss and Calhoun will hold a book-signing event from 3-7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Grande Depot on Highway 23.

contributed photo
Duane Kuss and Don Calhoun have written a self-discovery book called “Dance with the Elephant: Life’s Cosmic Equation.” They will hold a book-signing event from 3-7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Grande Depot on Highway 23.

Cori Hilsgen

Cori Hilsgen


Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people's stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.
Cori Hilsgen
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