Breitenbush is still ON (in case you didn’t hear the news–they have been considering canceling workshops that aren’t full–we have a handful of spots). A lovely group is attending and we’d be so thrilled to have you join us Dec 7-10. Breitenbush will wait until Friday for your registration now because we do have a solid group already coming, but you must decide and register as soon as possible (by 11/24).
Nothing like this lush, cozy get-a-way in the deep woods between US Thanksgiving and before New Years to question your thoughts.
What an incredible time to do it, in fact. With gatherings, holidays, family…what a brilliant opportunity to understand your own mind and be at peace with what those other people are doing.
You can’t change them, right? But you can look at what aggravates you most about being around them.
And question it.
I love what tends to happen when you do The Work: awareness, surprise, relaxation, peace, clarity, joy, laughter.
Those other people and circumstances, amazingly, don’t have to change. I can work with the world the way it is–even family.
The other day, in fact, I worked with a client who new he’d be seeing his family very soon for the feast holiday in the USA this coming Thursday.
“One of my brothers will be there,” he said with a sad tone. “I’m not supposed to show I’m afraid, or give any advice, or act upset when I’m around him.”
Have you ever thought you need to be on your best spiritual behavior around someone?
Don’t freak out or make a scrunchy face–they might think you’re being “negative”. Don’t react! Don’t say that thing you always say.
Don’t upset them! Watch out!!!
I love beginning to inquire before ever, ever making contact with that person I feel upset about. The shift within can seem small, but perhaps make all the difference in the world. No expectations. Just looking at what I believe.
Here’s a great place to begin the inquiry: Ask yourself, what’s the worst that could happen? Why is it so important for you to be on your best behavior in the upcoming gathering? Why should you make sure not to upset that person?
So many reasons!
They’ll cry. They yell. They’ll leave. They’ll exit and never come back. I’ll lose them forever. They’ll snap at me and rake me through the coals. They’ll be mean, unkind. I’ll feel hurt, lost, very unhappy. They’ll think I caused harm. I’ll feel guilty. They’ll freak out, and freak everyone else out.
Ooh. Dang. No wonder I need to be on my best spiritual behavior with that person.
Long ago, I had a family member cut off everyone in the family because she got too much advice, too many alarmed responses to her situation. She thought everyone was judging her, and they shouldn’t be.
Now, I may be tempted to analyze what SHE should have done The Work on….but just like my sweet client who thought he shouldn’t do it wrong around his brother…
…this work is always about ourselves.
The questions are here for our own inner peace, not anyone else’s.
So let’s go.
Is it true, you should be very careful not to disturb that other person (and follow their directions and requests to be calm, cordial and nice around them during the holiday)?
I want them in my life. I love that person. They’re family. I’m concerned we’ll no longer be connected.
Yes, I’ll do anything. I don’t want to be abandoned by them. This needs to go well.
How do you react when you believe you should be careful how you act around them?
I’m well-intentioned. I want to make them comfortable. I don’t want to feel guilty. I’m anxious they’ll run away with one false move (if I say something off or wrong). I feel very worried, tense, tight.
Inside, I fume about how rigid they are…how skittish and controlling and fearful. I have a lot of advice about how she should calm down and stop judging me.
Who would you be without this very stressful story of needing to be careful around that person, lest they ditch you forever?
Without the belief I need to be spiritual around them?
I’d be more real. I’d be honest. I’d be noticing how much I love that person, with all my heart, and how I’m simply afraid…But maybe not really. I love them, whether they’re in front of me or not.
Without the belief I should act carefully, so they don’t freak out…
…I’d be real. I’d be playful. I’d remember my humor. I’d feel excited to see them.
Turning the thought around: I do NOT need to be on any kind of best spiritual behavior around my family member. How could this be true?
I most enjoy telling the truth, being honest, sharing from my deepest heart. I want to cry, hug, be normal, laugh. I want to have the full range of human experience in the presence of that person. I want to be a human being, which is what I am…not an angel, or someone fake.
They don’t want me to be spiritual or act nice around them–especially when I don’t feel spiritual or good or nice.
Wow, could this really be just as true?
Yes. That person likes direct honesty. They like lazer-sharp reality. They respond well to the total truth. They don’t like sugar-coated false connection. They want me to be real and honest. It’s the greatest care I could give. They might not like it right off the bat, but me being me…they love.
Turning it around again: I want me to be on my best spiritual behavior, around myself. I also want me to be on my best spiritual behavior, around THEM.
Oh man, it’s true.
I’ve often had these extreme expectations of myself around others: to be wise, honest, loving, kind, likable, non-threatening. To be thought of as an easy person, powerful person, or desirable person to be with.
I used to think I should be like Maria in the Sound of Music, in fact. Powerful, sincere, loving, creative, passionate, rebellious, gentle. And oh, a very good singing voice.
Plus the star of the show. Just saying.
Maybe the expectations are a little high? Or simply not me? Or not based in reality?
Perhaps I could be myself, and still live a happy human life. You think?
What is “spiritual behavior” anyway? Could it include getting sad, scared, mad or worried, perplexed sometimes? The full range of the human experience?
What if being real and honest means saying “I don’t want to walk on eggshells around you, and, I love you so much. What can I do to be supportive? Will you hear what I think? Can I be honest with you?”
“I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality. We can know that reality is good just as it is, because when we argue with it, we experience tension and frustration. We don’t feel natural or balanced. When we stop opposing reality, action becomes simple, fluid, kind, and fearless.” ~ Byron Katie
P.S. To read more about Breitenbush in December or come join us in this nourishing and mentally cleansing adventure, please visit HERE. Please call them by Friday November 24.