I need to be on my best spiritual behavior….or else

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.”

Yikes.

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)?

Yes.

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?

Oh. Huh.

Without the belief I need to be spiritual around them?

Woah.

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.

Oh dear.

Ugh.

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

Much love,

Grace

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.

He should have paid me….and the excitement he didn’t

Money.

The very word can bring up stress, thoughts, panic, dread, anger.

When it seems like money isn’t with us in abundance, or we have to work very hard for it, it definitely brings on fear for many people.

But what about when we’ve got enough, but it’s not about that. It’s about someone not paying us back, or paying their bill, or giving us what we believe we’re owed.

The other day, I caught myself having a thought about someone I perceived as having a good job (he told me he works full time, although he didn’t sound thrilled about his position). He had asked for a discount on our session. I had said “yes”.

We did a whole mini-retreat which is three hours to go through an entire worksheet (I do these at a discounted fee of only $75 per hour and his fee was lower). His preference was to work on the phone, not skype, which is totally fine. He wasn’t super familiar with The Work and he felt upset about his junk-food eating. Which is one of my favorite topics as you know….eating battles and compulsions.

The work was interesting. Although I had the feeling he wasn’t too impacted by it.

And afterwards, he didn’t pay his bill. To me.

Rats.

Maybe he thinks the work we do together isn’t worth it. Maybe he thinks I shouldn’t charge so much. Maybe he doesn’t care about bills and money and paying them on time. Maybe what I charge is so low by comparison he thinks of it as nothing much and forgets about it.

Guessing, guessing, guessing.

And a deep inward stressful thought: he doesn’t care about me.

I’ve had this thought when a friend who borrowed money didn’t pay me back. I’ve had this thought when I find out someone makes a huge salary, but still asked me for a scholarship discount. I’ve had this thought when my grandma sent $10 and she could have sent $100. I’ve had this thought when a date wanted me to always pay half of the dinner and theater tickets. I’ve had this thought when my husband doesn’t offer to pay any of the bills for the back-yard building/remodel project we’re considering.

That person doesn’t care about me.

They think I’m OK whether I get paid, or not paid, or make the payment, or don’t. They think I have no concern about money. They assume I don’t mind. They think I’m ignore-able. They want to keep their money to themselves.

Such a fascinating stream of thoughts, once I sat down and began to inquire.

I think I know what they’re thinking about me. Holy smokes, talk about making assumptions.

I knew I needed to inquire. Because that’s what would bring the most awareness, one step and one thought at a time.

He doesn’t care about me.

Is it true, in this situation?

Yes.

He even texts that he’ll get to it right away. And I see nothing. And never saw anything again. He vanished. With an unpaid already-discounted bill.

Sigh.

How do you react when you believe the thought “he doesn’t care about me” and it has to do with money–either they aren’t paying, they aren’t generous, they’re demanding more, they’re refusing to give, they don’t want to share.

A old friend of mine had this thought about her husband during the divorcing process. It was a screaming stressful thought “he doesn’t care about me!” If he did, she felt, he wouldn’t withhold money. He’d divide things up equally.

The sense of being jilted or dismissed, or having no power whatsoever over what’s happening with money can be infuriating. Terrifying.

How do you treat money when you believe the person holding it in their hand doesn’t care about you?

I hate it. I hate that I need it. I want to eliminate it from this relationship. I think I should work with people without expecting payment for anything. I should ask for donations, not set amounts or fees. Then this client could pay me nothing, and that’d fit into the program. I wouldn’t feel so angry.

Sigh again.

Who would you be without the belief he doesn’t care about you?

Oh. Huh.

It’s weird. I see a bill. I communicate. I do the best I can. I realize I know nothing about what happened, or what is happening in his mind. I notice I appreciate silence–which is what he’s given me. I’m aware I don’t need his particular bill paid in order to survive, or be happy.

Almost all people I’ve ever worked with bring their payments with them to the sessions, or pay beforehand. Overall, people are attentive, caring, generous, and clear about their fees and paying them. It’s remarkable.

We apparently use money for a clear exchange of needs, services, trades, support–and it mostly works brilliantly well. People handle their money beautifully, and send it to me with apparent ease. They write and ask the fee for things, they get their questions answered, they send the number I mention, they ask for the link to pay. I am able to live without doing other labor….for the past 4 years.

Turning the thought around every way: 1) I don’t care about him. 2) I don’t care about myself, especially when it comes to him and his bill and this situation. 3) He DOES care about me.

How could these be true?

I consider them, one at a time.

I don’t care about him? True. The lack of the payment becomes the entire focus. I consider his work on junk-food eating but don’t know what he got from it. I didn’t ask. I think of him as an uncaring user. I picture an unhappy loser in my mind, even though I’ve never seen him before. I don’t care about why he isn’t paying. I just want the fee, then I’d forget about him.

I don’t care about myself. Wow, very true. I accepted an extremely low fee for a 3 hour session. I’m not valuing my time. I don’t do these kinds of almost-free sessions anymore. I couldn’t afford to do The Work with people if I accepted such low fees, I’d have to work another job. I didn’t respect my own boundary from the very beginning when I said “yes” to a huge discount.

I also didn’t care about myself because I kept thinking he must think the session was worthless, and that’s why he isn’t paying–even though I don’t know that is his thought. I’m assuming no payment means no worth, and feeling sad about that.

He does care about me. How could this turnaround be true?

He reached out in the first place and asked for a session. He stayed with me on the phone for 3 hours. He answered the questions, and asked a few as well. He explored, and then left.

People come and go. It doesn’t mean they don’t care. How would I know? He has his own life to live, which is far away and doesn’t intersect with mine except for those 3 hours….out of however many thousands of hours in my lifetime (and his) this isn’t much crossover.

Maybe I’ve been spared? Maybe so has he?

Who would I be without my story of caring, and money, and bills and payments?

Communicating clearly, and then being done with it. Saying “no” in the future if there’s another request. Not being wishy-washy with boundaries. Asking for what I want. Not having an internal fit if I don’t get it (questioning that it’s necessary).

Allowing the universe and reality to show me what to do next time. Everything very simple.

Questioning my beliefs about money, bills, invoices, payments, receiving, scholarships, gifts, service, needs, support, and caring…I become free. And very, very clear. It’s OK to not work for free. It’s OK to be direct and at east with exchanges of money.

It’s OK if someone over there isn’t reliable (in my opinion). It shows me how to do business cleanly, with integrity…not with magical hope-thinking that they’ll supply payment.

How could it be FANTASTIC someone doesn’t make a payment they apparently agreed to make? It shows me how to be so beautifully crystal clear, and to serve, and how my joy with this work is not diminished by payment or lack of payment. I get just as much thrill from the Help Line where I volunteer as with those who are making payments for sessions.

“This is very exciting. And if your mind isn’t in his business, you would be amazed at the space that opens up for you, the power that opens up to solve your own problems…It’s the truth that sets us free to act clearly and lovingly, and there’s such excitement in it.” ~ Byron Katie in Loving What Is

Who am I without my story?

Woman enjoying questioning thoughts about money. Seeing the perfection in exactly the way it is. Reality rules.

Much love,

Grace

What complainers taught me about complaining

In Year of Inquiry we’re in Month 3 and guess what the topic is?

COMPLAINTS.

In some ways, this is really all The Work is ever about….you know what I mean? What I complain about, what I’m at odds with, what I dislike, what I find stressful.

Complaining is perhaps a lighter, more common way of saying “I am arguing with reality on this one! I object!”

It’s a bit hard to look at complaints honestly sometimes. We’re told we’re not supposed to complain, we’re not supposed to be negative or drone on about something we don’t like, we’re not supposed to bring other people down, we should be positive.

But, I’ve noticed…even if it’s in my own mind…complaining appears to happen. And what a relief, and even rather fascinating, to listen to these complaints and hear them, for once, instead of trying to get away from them or rejecting them in a flash.

The other day with the YOI group, as I was considering any voices I heard within that appeared to worry, object, complain….I remembered a place I’ve experienced a MAJOR COMPLAINT:

Those other people shouldn’t complain! He shouldn’t complain about traffic. She shouldn’t complain about the weather. They shouldn’t complain about the leadership. 

I discovered, when it came to my own complaints, I always had the same repetitive thought about some people in the world: They complain. They should stop!!

A great exercise to find your own objections to and complaints about the world, to life, to any situations you don’t find pleasant….is to take fifteen minutes, get a pen and paper or your writing device, and make a list of things you find complaint-worthy.

You don’t have to call them “complaints” if you don’t like that word, or it’s been drilled into you to never complain. You can call this a list of things that scare you, bother you, trouble you. Things you wish would change fairly frequently.

Then, once you have this list in front of you, you can ask another question (we all did this in Year of Inquiry): What if this behavior, style, manner, words, condition, situation, person….never, ever, ever stopped? What’s the worst that could happen? What would you hate about that?

So, for my complaint about other people who complain….I ask myself “what if they never stop complaining, ever?”

What would be bad about that?

  • I’d be stuck listening to them forever
  • I’d never ever want to be around them
  • I’d always have this one “problem” at work
  • I’d never relax when in their presence
  • I’d be angry every time that person came near me
  • there’d be nothing fun or good, ever, about hanging out with that person
You have your own list.

 

And how wonderful to have a list like this…because then you can begin to take your concepts through the self-inquiry process called The Work. You can make your concept what you’d say about the present moment, since you can’t really know what will happen in the future.

 

So for the person I thought of who complained constantly (in my opinion) I would see her in my mind’s eye, talking and talking about all the terrible things she’s encountered, and consider my thought:

 

I’m stuck listening to her forever.

Is this true?

Yes. I’ve been at this job 4 years and she’s never stopped complaining.

Can I absolutely know it’s true?

No. I’m not actually “stuck” listening to her. I can excuse myself and walk away. I’m treating myself like I’m a victim here, trapped. It’s a little weird. And not true.

How do I react when I believe I’m stuck listening to her?

I stay and nod politely. I smile. I think about when I can get out of here and go to my own cubicle to start working. I look at her and pretend I’m listening. I wish she’d be quiet. I’m not honest. I don’t know what to do. I recognize I have thoughts about what people are supposed to do to remain polite. I feel irritation towards this person.

Who would I be without this thought that I’m stuck listening to her?

Pause.

How interesting this word “stuck”….like I’m actually unable to depart, move, make a suggestion, connect. Everything with the thought is about escaping. But without the thought?

Hmmm. I’d see someone over there who really wants to connect. She’s singing a song, and it has a minor tune. She’s worried, lonely, anxious. She doesn’t seem very happy. Without my thought that I’m stuck listening, I notice I’m free to come and go as feels right. I care about her. I feel compassion for her. I actually even like her. She has a very sweet face, and absolutely beautiful eyes.

Without my belief, I feel a deep breath. I feel a gentle touch, reaching out to put my hand on her arm. I don’t have to wait for her to take a breath between sentences, I just move away. I feel kind, and open, and silent.

Without the thought, when I arrive at work, I simply begin my tasks and allow the quiet of the office to settle around us all. I don’t feel the weird push-pull angst about stuck-ness, or the worry about being polite, or the concern about making sure she feels heard. I’m back in my own business, doing my own work, listening, or speaking up and saying “I’m going to work now”. I feel a deep sense of joy within.

Where did that idea come from about being “stuck” listening?

From me. Not her.

I have options to move in the direction that feels right, without my belief that I’m stuck listening, if she’s complaining or voicing concerns. I notice this isn’t a repeat of my childhood with my grandma (which I could also question THAT situation).

This is a different human being, with her own life and experience, and I am free. We both are.

Turning the thought around: I am NOT stuck listening to her forever.

Ha ha. Not by any stretch of the imagination. This was a job I held for five years, and I saw her Monday through Friday, and only for short chunks of time on those days. She was right next to me in a cubicle, but there were many minutes and hours when her chair was unoccupied, and so was mine, or when we were both working and not speaking. Far more minutes of quiet than of talking, honestly.

I was never, ever stuck.

My thinking was stuck. That’s another key turnaround. My thinking was like a broken record, repeating itself every time she approached “oh no here comes the complainer”. My thinking was constantly and forever complaining about HER.

The last turnaround: She is stuck speaking to me forever. 

Could she have been stuck NEVER getting a satisfying response, or an honest reaction, from me?

Um, yes. I didn’t connect with her truly. I didn’t speak up and ask her more questions, or say what didn’t sit well for me, or wonder about her opinions, or treat her like a whole, viable, important human being in my life who obviously had an important message for me personally. I didn’t say what didn’t work. I play acted. She was stuck speaking to the non-me forever.

I love that complaining person was in my life. She showed me how to share, connect, listen and speak up….as well as how to stop listening when it was time and move to the tasks I was supposed to be doing. I appreciate her immensely.

(This is really, really true).

“The basic realization that other people can’t possibly be your problem, that it’s your thoughts about them that are the problem–this realization is huge. This one insight will shake your whole world, from top to bottom. And then, when you question your specific thoughts about mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, boss, colleague, child, you watch your identity unravel. Losing the ‘you’ that you thought you were isn’t a scary thing. It’s thrilling. It’s fascinating. Who are you really, behind all the facades?” ~ Byron Katie in 1000 Names For Joy

If you want to look at an important relationship, like a co-worker who just can’t stop complaining….or mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, boss, colleague, child….we’ll be doing it at Breitenbush Hotsprings Conference Center in Oregon Dec. 7-10. Fabulous people are flying in to Portland. Come join us for this winter mental cleanse. Read more about it HERE.

Much love,

Grace

P.S. If you find yourself complaining about food, eating, your weight, your body shape or size, compulsive behavior….then Eating Peace Process is beginning on Tuesday and it will close for participation this year at noon on Nov. 14th. We go for five months and it’s a wonderful time to spend in The Work with a small group of people wanting to explore eating at the root level, and find clarity about ourselves and our behaviors with eating. To read more visit HERE.

Soak in inquiry in winter….and dissolve your wintery thinking

I just heard of another person getting tickets (cheap this time of year) to fly to Portland, Oregon in December for the 3 day Breitenbush retreat in The Work of Byron Katie on relationships.

We’re forming carpools for those of you landing on December 7th in Portland who want to share the trek to the incredible, unique, deep woods resort and conference center called Breitenbush.

Ready to question your thoughts on relationships? Of any kind? Those humans who have bugged you?

This is your retreat. It doesn’t matter WHO the relationship is: spouse, father, mother, sister, brother, co-worker, boss, friend, step-son.

It’s time to get the job done. Question your thinking, change your world when it comes to relating. All in a beautiful, safe, supportive container called Breitenbush.

Last year, I had a chuckle with one of the participants who traveled from Nevada to join our retreat.

She said “Breitenbush is nothing like I thought it was going to be–it’s so far beyond my expectations!”

“What did you think it was going to be like?” I asked.

“Two hot tubs in the dusty woods down a dirt road, with hippies wandering around.”

LOL.

Breitenbush is nothing like that, although there is a clothing-optional status only at the mineral springs pools where people can hang their bathrobes on hooks and slip into the hot tubs with four varying temperatures to soak. (And no, there is no nudity anywhere else on the conference center grounds).

I once had a woman write to me about this particular retreat: “We’re not tree-huggers, is this going to work?”

The thing is, we gather in this 3-day workshop to look at our stressful thinking. That’s what this workshop is about. Questioning what disturbs you, and YOU finding your own answers.

The Work works for anyone who is ready, willing and eager to question their stressful thoughts about other people they’ve encountered in their lives who left them feeling some pain (or a lot of pain). It’s for people who are tired of the agony of repetitive thinking about relationships with others, or conditions they dislike in their lives.

Breitenbush HotSprings Conference Center is a place to relax, feel the experience of deep old growth forest, sleep in profound silence of no city or freeway noise, notice the darkness of nights without tons of lights, electrical chatter, cell phones, internet, and take time to identify the thoughts that disturb your peace in your life….and question them.

You don’t have to go into the mineral pools naked to question your stressful thoughts.

In fact, secret confession….I never do.

Seriously. I never go in the pools in between our sessions together. I’m there to support inquiry. That’s my job.

Our group meets in a beautiful space called the River Yurt. Oh my, doesn’t that sound woodsy?

To be honest, the only place I’ve ever heard the word “yurt” is in Oregon. Like when I was 15 and my family went camping in Oregon. They had “yurts” you could rent.

What’s a YURT??

As far as I can tell, they are always round. As in, no square or straight walls. A structure built in a circle.

The River Yurt at Breitenbush is a large beautiful round building, with chairs, cushions, pillows, a lovely soft carpet, windows, heat, a big screen for our movie night, and it’s own bathroom. The River Yurt at Breitenbush is built down a wide path to an open flat area near the beautiful Breitenbush River. It’s gorgeous, and you’ll love it.

We’re warm, dry and cozy on retreat while we identify our thoughts, and question them using The Work.

The thing I love about Breitenbush is the quiet, the pristine pure air, the ancient forest of trees, the beautiful little Laura Ingalls Wilder cabins totally and completely warmed by the natural springs to piping hot. If you’re flying, you’ll ask for bedding to be put in your cabin (I always get this option) and you’ll have delivered before you even arrive a large bag with blankets, beautiful clean sheets, and soft towels.

The body is well-tended at Breitenbush. I haven’t even shared anything about the incredible meals.

All the food is home-cooked right there in the big kitchen. It’s simple, with several choices: vegetarian, organic, gluten and dairy free options, yummy hot breakfasts, incredibly delicious cooked lunches, and wholesome dinners with gorgeous recipes and ample food for all.

At Breitenbush they have no caffeine offered (but people often bring their coffee, cream and french presses) and no alcohol, smoking or drug use. A great variety of teas, healthy tonic drinks, hot dishes, soups, salads and cleansing foods are offered for all three meals a day. All included in your stay.

I am not a vegetarian, but I love the food. What an incredible time of year to be away from daily trays of cookies at work, stress eating, cooking large family holiday meals, and having everything taken care of for you. Wow.

Everything supports lightness, ease, simplicity and not being drawn to the usual ways of distraction.

It’s an amazing place for self-inquiry….to study the story of YOU and your own mind, your own answers, your own troubling situations, your own prescription for happiness through doing this process called The Work.

I’ve never had anything offer such freedom as doing The Work.

Many other modalities I have done, experienced, attended and listened to. Many of them brilliant.

But there’s nothing like The Work because it doesn’t require a “teacher”. All that’s required is you answering the questions for your own insights and clarity. You discover what you need by studying the situations you find most disturbing.

Strange, but your discomfort actually winds up providing the answers you were looking for.

How amazing is that?

Because this is not the usual summer June at Breitenbush when things tend to sell out because of the stunning northwest summers, we’ve still got space.

But oh my.

Everything’s less expensive in the physical world. Plane fare, lodging, meals. All of it offered at the reduced weather-affected wintry price where we’ll be close to the darkest day of the year in far northwestern United States. A winter retreat.

What a time to go “inside” and do The Work.

What an incredible time to address your painful thinking, before holidays and “together” time ramps up to a peak for the new year.

Maybe, after Thanksgiving (if you’re from the USA) there’ll be nothing better than attending retreat where you get the chance to do your work.

I often get a LOT of calls for The Work the day after Thanksgiving.

Expectations get challenged, people haven’t changed, emotions flare.

With The Work, we get to see what causes those upsets in the first place–the unquestioned resentments we can’t seem to get rid of from the past. Or the imagined fears about the future. When we investigate and give these relationships and situations time and attention, they have the chance to finally dissolve and resolve.

One fabulous bonus at Breitenbush? My own partner, friend and husband who is brilliant at doing The Work (a natural). He’ll be joining us to share in the support and thrill of self-inquiry, and finding freedom from suffering.

We’ll share with everyone present some of our own process of doing The Work together, on each other, and the outcomes and insights we’ve had.

You don’t need a partner to come to do 3 days of The Work at Breitenbush. All you need is awareness of some stressful thinking about other people (partner or not) and feeling disgruntled about what to do about it.

You might feel like you’ve had 60 years of sad thinking with your mother or father, you may hold hurt about your sibling who cut you off 15 years ago, you may feel angry at your former partner who left you for someone else, you may feel furious at the boss who fired you, you may feel disappointed at relationship not working out the way you hoped.

Our suggestion about what to do about your problems with other people?

The Work.

“I saw that for the belief ‘My family should love and understand me’ the turnaround is ‘I should love and understand myself.’ Why had I ever thought that it was their job? That was crazy! Let it begin with me. Until I can do it, let me give the world a break.” ~ Byron Katie

All I know is, The Work is life-changing.

With every thought I question, with every relationship I investigate, I find freedom. Everyone a teacher. Every relationship I’ve encountered a drop (or a tsunami) of freedom.

Dark outside, bright inside.

Much love,

Grace

Enlightened by taxes and complaints about who should finish them

“He should have finished it by now.”

Have you ever had this thought, that someone else should have completed something….but they haven’t?

ARRRGGGGHHH!!

When I was at the School for The Work recently, I did many of the exercises even though I wasn’t always in the room with all the participants, and had duties behind the scenes.

It was wonderful to sit down and fill out a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet on a situation with someone close where I felt troubled by their action, words, appearance, behavior, communication.

Maybe I reacted with a harsh comment, or surprise, or disappointment.

Anything at all….if it bugged me, it was worth looking at.

Hmmm, what to investigate? I suddenly had the awareness of the thought that someone I know should have finished a certain project by now.

OK fine….it was my husband and it was about our taxes for 2016.

He should have finished them! Six months ago!

You might find anyone in your life where you think they should have finished something by now: children finishing homework or chores by now, friends should have called you back by now, family members should have arrived by now, neighbors should have finished using your lawnmower by now.

And it’s stressful.

I had the incredible opportunity to take a very close look at this particular thought and worksheet with someone facilitating me right there at the school. Nothing better for deeper inquiry than having someone sit with you and ask the four questions–especially if they listen, don’t offer any advice, and avoid lots of discussion.

I loved being able to close my eyes, and answer the questions, in the quiet of someone listening closely without speaking: Is it true he should have finished the taxes by now?

Yes! I’ve never asked for an extension in my life. This is nuts. I’ve never paid a late penalty. So true.

But can I absolutely know it’s true HE should have finished the taxes?

Um. Gulp. No.

Because he hasn’t. And it’s not like he was assigned to them by the master of the universe and he’s the only one who could do the job. In fact, I’ve done my own taxes every year of my life since I started working. I did the taxes through my first marriage, then when I was single for five years, and for the first several years of my newer second marriage.

Who hasn’t finished the 2016 taxes?

Heh heh.

I can’t absolutely know it’s true HE should have finished them.

How do I react when I believe he should have?

Pissy. Complaining. Waaah. I wanted him to take it over. Tantrum. I don’t want to do it anymore. I hate taxes!

I suddenly realize I have still have an unfinished unquestioned oppositional attitude toward taxes. I believe they aren’t fair. The government is taking my money. They don’t support the small business owner! Fist in the air!

I liked taxes better when I was an employee and the taxes just seemed to secretly get whisked off in little payments through paycheck withdrawal, and voila it was done at the end of the year–I never had to write the government a check.

I realize there’s something about that method of not noticing tax payments I really liked and miss. It felt like the money was never mine in the first place, so it was fine to have it subtracted from my paycheck. I was very used to only the take-home pay portion of my salary, as they say.

So here I am arguing with numbers. I’m arguing with how I have to be my own employer and have an attitude of helping me take of bite-sized pieces of dollars, and send these to the government every month.

Gosh, never thought of that.

I was asking my husband to finish taxes and be the one completing them and paying them, but what I really wanted him to do he could never do: make it so I don’t see the taxes due at all. Make it so I don’t get all upset about writing checks to the government.

Sigh.

Who would I be without this very stressful story that he should finish those taxes NOW!?

I’d go home and finish them myself.

I’d write a worksheet on taxes and get my head straightened out about them, because I want them to be smooth, simple, and I want to be an on-time citizen and stay within the law.

I don’t want to demand someone else do what they aren’t doing.

That’s insane, and very aggravating.

Turning the thought around: he should NOT have finished the taxes by now.

How could this be just as true, or truer?

Well, first of all, he hasn’t. He couldn’t have without my input either–I have records, receipts, invoices, expenses–all kinds of things to double-check. He also shouldn’t have finished because it shows me I’m having a hissy fit internally about taxes, and being grabby about keeping “my” money. I think it’s too much to pay. I’m anxious about not having enough. I seem to dislike the thought of writing checks to the government.

A bit of internal work to do in the finance department in my mind.

Another turnaround: I should have finished the taxes by now.

Well here’s the crazy realization: Almost seven months has passed since the official due-date of taxes in the USA. I have been sitting here slightly fuming, worrying, then completely ignoring them almost the whole time.

What a nut case. I could have easily seen they weren’t going to get done by April 15th by my very busy husband who kindly said he’d do them because he wanted to be supportive. I saw it wasn’t happening, and could have organized my daily work so I could get them done. Instead, I blamed my husband.

At the end of this inquiry, my lovely facilitator said “Isn’t it funny you’ve let all these months go by without ever doing The Work on this–and I see from your badge that you’re on staff!”

Oh.

Exposed.

My facilitator and I had a good laugh.

I love how “staff” is the same as everyone. One mind, questioning the thinking that hurts.

Sometimes, apparently, the urge to ignore something overrides the clarity of inquiry. It appears I have been more interested in complaining about the taxes and arguing with reality than questioning my thoughts about them.

Must be the perfect time, though.

Any sooner would have been too soon.

Because if it should have been sooner that I realized I’m resisting taxes, that too would be an argument with reality. I had to argue with them as long as I did.

“The job of the Buddha is simply to pick up the garbage, to do the dishes, to sweep the floor. In this, he changes the world a little bit for the better…..The world penetrates you, and seeing the garbage becomes a moment of grace. There’s nothing that can’t enlighten you, because everything is perception.” ~ Byron Katie in a Mind At Home With Itself

My job is simply to do the taxes. Seeing the taxes as they are is a moment of grace.

Enlightened by taxes….who would have thought?

Much love,

Grace

The best recipe when you hate your job

The other day someone wrote to me and asked: I’ve got multiple pages of writing on one very important and stressful topic.

Now what?

Great question.

Time to narrow things down a little. Time to really consider the beliefs rising within that feel so painful.

If you’re not sure, here’s what I like to do to get started:

First, I’ll make a list of interactions or moments with other people, incidents that happened, memories I have in my mind, that are all related to this topic of concern.

For example. Let’s say I’m worried I’m not doing a great job. (I had this thought the second day on staff at the School for The Work because I forgot to do something in my job description).

But let’s say it’s an overall stressful topic for you, when you think about work, employment, job, boss, your career. You’ve journaled on it. You’ve written about what you’d rather be doing. You’ve made a plan for yourself about how to change. You’re definitely troubled about the whole thing.

Now, make a list, as you look over your own journaling, of moments in time that were stressful when it comes to this topic. If you had a camera on these moments, and filmed the whole thing and saved them in your internal mental files, what memories would you say “prove” that this topic (in this case work) is stressful?

  • the moment at a staff meeting when my boss asked for a report and I didn’t have it, and she looked very disapproving
  • the moment one of my co-workers huffed with anger and said she had to do two jobs–hers, and mine!
  • the moment I received the assignment to create a database for new patients and update it weekly
  • the moment I’m in rush hour traffic taking 80 minutes to drive home, when it could take only 20 when not rush hour
  • the moment I had so little money left because of unemployment (before I got my job), I almost lost my house–I was sitting on my couch looking at my bank statement
Now I have some snapshots of moments I really dislike about working, and not working. My collection of what bothers me about the whole thing.

 

I start with one. There’s my scene from the troubling movie of my life. I see it vividly.

 

I then write a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet on that moment in time. Only that one. I start there. It narrows things down, puts it into a container the mind can handle.

 

Write all your troubles on the JYN. And then, of course (narrowing it down further to a small simple thought) we question what we’ve written on the JYN.

 

“She’s disappointed in me”. 
 
This thought is so different from “I hate my job”.

 

It drills into our overall blanket concepts and digs into why, how, where, studying the details of this experience of life we think of as “bad” or “wrong” or something we’d prefer not to encounter.

 

And wow.

 

When these specific concepts are taken to inquiry….

 

….how fascinating to discover they may not be as bad as we think.

 

Or just maybe, they may have had something to offer of deep importance.

 

Who would I be without my story of difficulty with working, employment, money-earning, bosses?

 

When I did this work in the past, I noticed I was freer, just one little bit at a time. I was more relaxed, I opened up to my boss, I had a difficult discussion with the co-worker I thought was always watching me like a hawk, I started enjoying the commute with my CDs to listen to on the way home, I noticed the gorgeous fountain in front of one of the buildings of the organization I worked for.

 

So much that was good about that job.

 

And more important, my attitude adjusted automatically, without me having to try, without me having to plan on how I would be quitting and what I could do to solve the problem.

 

Just a wee bit at a time–one thought at a time–taken to inquiry.

 

“What you’re thinking about them [or it] is the recipe for what you want.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love,

Grace

Do you have a haunted house? You can be your own exorcist with The Work!

It’s funny how we have thoughts, and instantly believe them without question–at least that’s how my mind has worked.

You can spook yourself instantly, by believing.

Have you noticed?

It doesn’t take Halloween ghosties and goblins to scare you. Your own inner Haunted House, the one that holds your painful thoughts, can do the job on any day or night.

But if you don’t really want to haunt yourself with your thinking anymore, you can study anything you fear more closely.

One of my favorite things to study, hands down, is a stressful thought. By sitting with it for awhile, you can explore why, how, where you might have learned it or “bought” it or started carrying it around with you…..where you began to believe it to be true.

The best question for exploring a fearful thought in depth is to ask the following: What do I think this belief means? What does it mean about me? About the world? About someone else or a group of people? What does it mean about my future? Or my past?

In other words, what meaning am I placing on that thought.

The other day, I heard Byron Katie refer to the “meaning” we put on a thought, or a concept, or a story as being like a post-it note.

You grasp the story title, or the meaning, or the whole general feeling of that situation you dislike, and it’s as if you wrote it on a bright green post-it note, or a bright neon yellow post-it note, or maybe a pink one….

….and that’s your label of that situation.

No questioning it. Just assuming it to be true!

For example, you may have had the thought about a partner, just like I have: “he’s boring”. 

There he is watching TV in the den. (Or you can pick your moment that proves that person IS boring).

You’ve got a blue post-it note that has written on it “BORING PARTNER”. Your heart sinks. You wish there was someone around to have a stimulating intellectual conversation with. You want more entertainment in this moment here, right now. Maybe you even feel sorry for yourself because this is yet another boring partner in a string of them. Or you criticize yourself for always being critical.

The whole story is a bit sad, and blue (hence the blue post-it note).

Self-inquiry to the rescue! And let’s use these exploratory questions to dig a little deeper.

What do you think it means, your partner is over there being boring, watching TV? What does it mean about him, about you, about life?

If my partner is boringly watching TV, it means:

  • I must seek excitement elsewhere
  • I am not close to my partner
  • our interests should be the same, but they aren’t
  • he loves something I dislike (TV) so we are incompatible
  • he doesn’t care about using his time well
  • he doesn’t care about being creative
  • he’s addicted to the screen
You may have other different thoughts that come to mind. But the fun thing is, no matter what they are….you can question every one of them, one at a time.

 

Is this story true?

 

You can also ask what you think each one of these new additional concepts means and keep adding to your list of stressful or fearful beliefs.

 

What does it mean that we’re incompatible, for example? Oh no! It means we should break up! Which means we’re getting divorced! Which means I’ll be alone! Which means I need to work harder than I’m already working so I have enough money! Which means I need to find a new partner!

 

(Talk about Haunted Houses….jeez)!

 

See how the mind strings together an image of seeing someone I love watching TV, and it turns into needing to find a new partner?

 

That mind. Silly Rabbit.

 

Always running around in wild directions so speedy quick, dashing into the future or the past chaotically.

 

Who would I be without my story “Boring Partner” and everything I think it means?

 

I’d be laughing.

 

I’d be carrying on with my activity. I’d be noticing Man Enjoying Himself. I’d be free to be with myself and notice the splendor of the moment. Me moving with the flow, dancing with the world which in only a flash of a moment had a man-watching-TV in it.

 

Noticing I move back out of the room with TV, drawn to another place joyfully. Noticing a relaxed body, a part of the mind totally open to whatever happens next with wherever this is going.

 

What a ride! And a stress-free one!

 

I don’t know about you, but when I have a haunted thought….I’d rather question it than scream.

 

Or OK, you can go ahead and scream for the fun of it first, but then….take your belief through inquiry.

 

Best way to exorcise your fearful thoughts ever.

Much love,

Grace

How relaxed can you get? Let’s question the HURRY story.

You know that panicked voice in the head screaming GO! GO! MOVE! NOW!

Especially when it’s not really a true emergency?

I appears there’s a frantic underlying belief when it comes to compulsive behavior, or addictive behavior, of any kind.

Eating and food were my focus of urgency when I had the thought.

I must eat something sweet immediately! I have to get some food NOW!

The compulsion feels like an emergency.

But really, you don’t have to have ever had a single compulsive bite of food.

Most people have experienced a compulsive bite of thought, however.

What do I mean by compulsive thought?

The dictionary defines compulsion as riveting, fascinating, compelling, gripping, engrossing, enthralling, captivating, irresistible, uncontrollable, overwhelming, urgent, obsessive.

Have you noticed your thoughts have to have this kind of energy before you actually DO something compulsive?

It’s like this: I have a thought that frightens me, and I believe it’s real and true.

It happens in two milliseconds flat.

I’m a believer!

It doesn’t cross my mind to question whether or not the idea was true, or to question my conclusions, or the stressful things I’m imagining.

Nope, I simply decided without question what that person said about me, or what happened, or what will happen, and what I’m feeling….are threatening.

What’s happening isn’t good.

Help! Help! Help!

(Cut to chicken running around with head cut off).

Most people when they get scared begin to do everything possible to CALM DOWN.

Compulsion, addiction, temporary insanity, craving, urges, driven, wild, frenzied, wanting, needy, desperate, grabbing, crying, wailing, screaming, self-pity….

….oh boy.

The drama! The excitement!

And….the extreme suffering.

We can joke around about the experience of compulsive behavior, but it’s not really that funny if you’re in the middle of it.

I can even look back at my past life 30 years ago and feel sad that it was so hard.

(But I did question once “I ruined and lost my twenties” and found it was not true).

So who would you be without believing your mind is telling the truth about reality?

I know this is an enormously huge question, and might make some a bit skittish.

(How will I know what’s true if I don’t believe my mind? How will I protect myself if I don’t believe what I’m thinking? How will I be sane, or safe, if I don’t believe my stories?)

But it’s sooooo interesting and wonderful and exciting to imagine the freedom.

To notice you ARE the freedom.

But if you’re not so sure yet how inquiry works when it comes to this thought that something has to happen NOW…..let’s inquire:

Is it true you need to move faster than a speeding bullet to either get food, get to solid ground, stop feeling nervous, run away right NOW?

No.

Cravings might be intense. You may want to indulge in your usual distraction activity, or comfort process. I notice, however, it doesn’t HAVE to happen NOW.

How do you react when you believe it’s urgent?

You’re eating before you know it. You’re yelling. You’re breaking up with your lover. You’re calling the divorce attorney. You’re sending emails you may regret later. You’re driving to buy drugs, or wine.

Who would you be without the belief you have to do it NOW?

What if you feel all fired up, but you didn’t believe you had to respond as if it was imperative, critical, required right now?

It’s a strange and interesting and wild feeling, to sit with turmoil in the mind, and even the body and heart….but not respond as if it’s absolutely true.

Without the thought you have to eat? Or scream? Or end your relationship? Or send that email? Or use drugs or alcohol?

Such a relief, really, that it’s not required.

It doesn’t mean you’ll do nothing. But to relax, inquire, and move from there instead of the wild compulsive feeling is so much clearer and feels so much more centered.

It’s not destructive either. To you, or to those you love.

Turning the thought around: I do NOT have to eat something sweet immediately! I don’t have to eat anything right now. I do not have to escape. It’s not urgent. 

Could this be just as true, or truer?

I notice it’s far more true than the original statement.

Turning the thought around again: My thinking has to sweeten immediately! My thoughts are compulsive right now. I have to escape my thinking. My thoughts are imagining urgency, chaos, threats.

What I notice, is this was entirely true every single time I ever had the compulsion to overeat urgently, or to binge eat: I needed to question my thinking, to make friends with my feelings, to relax.

“‘But Katie, someone might say, ‘isn’t fear biological? Isn’t it necessary for the fight-or-flight response? I can see not being afraid of a growling dog, but what if you were in an airplane that was going down–wouldn’t you be very scared?’ Here’s my answer: ‘Does your body have a fight-or-flight response when you see a rope lying on the path ahead of you? Absolutely not–that would be crazy. Only if you imagine that the rope is a snake does your heart start pounding. It’s your thoughts that scare you into fight-or-flight, not reality.”~ Byron Katie in 1000 Names For Joy

Amazing to realize it’s possible to question your fearful, urgent thinking, and change your fearful, urgent behaviors. The best news of all is they just naturally change, without you really trying or managing or getting more willpower or control.

Questioning your thoughts is soooo worth it. It really does mean freedom.

If you’d like to join my November Eating Peace webinar, I’ll talk all about beliefs that frequently cause eating battles, starting with this “urgent” belief….and how to dissolve it.

If this topic interests you, then reserve your seat for the live webinar immersion class HERE (there will be a recording made for replay). You’ll receive an email immediately with three options for attending: November 4th 7:30 am, November 7th 4:00 pm and November 9th 8:00 am. At the very end of the webinar, I’ll share about the upcoming Eating Peace Process beginning November 14th.

Eating Peace Process webinar

Speaking of relationships: Have you ever had a thought NOT about you?

The other day someone wrote to me she’s very interested in the Breitenbush retreat, except for one problem: She’s been happily married for over 30 years.

The thing is, Breitenbush retreat is not for looking at trouble in only primary committed relationships.

It’s for ALL or ANY relationships you feel upset about:

Mom, dad, sister, brother, uncle, boss, co-worker, aunt, son, daughter, friend, fellow student, driver, clerk, tech support helper, teacher, employee, co-worker, stranger, neighbor-down-the-street.

These people may have caused some trouble, right?

You can leave the ones alone who are amicable, easy and solid.

No need to question those relationships at all. I like how Byron Katie says about the good, favorable, fun thoughts “Keep those stories! They’re working for us!”

But any time you’ve felt resentful, disappointed, worried or confused by someone….and I mean anyone….then it’s worthy of inquiry.

Last night I had the privilege of sitting in the first introductory opening night of the School for The Work. What a beautiful crowd of folks showed up to dive into their School of Themselves.

Because that’s what we’re really drilling down into with this self-inquiry process called The Work. We’re taking what WE have noticed bothers us–and it can be anything–and investigating it.

This isn’t about what anyone else has noticed. It’s about YOUR life, what you’ve observed, what you’ve experienced. No one else has gone through what you have. It’s unique, powerful, and pretty amazing.

The other day, someone said he’s got no problems with other people. Relationships? Not an issue.

He said his primary concern is always himself.

Now, this is super common, and you can still do The Work. (YOU are your most important relationship, after all).

But it’s great to contemplate….are you really sure not one single other person has ever disturbed you in your entire life? Can you find small details of others in your world where you’ve thought there must be some mistake, they surprised you, criticized you, worried you, angered you?

These will be YOUR thoughts anyway, even if they are about another person! Your thoughts are the ones you’ll be identifying, then questioning.

It helps paint a clearer picture when you can identify something you dislike or feel nervous about, or feel sad about, when it comes to someone else.

I also like realizing that the only time I’ve ever had a problem with  myself was in some kind of relating….relationship as a verb.

The definition of relate is to make or show a connection between. So in relationships, I am exchanging communication of some kind with another person, or a thing.

I can ask myself if I comfortable with the relating, with the way I feel, as I talk, sit, touch, share time with another being?

Because if I am not comfortable….that’s a place for The Work. That’s what it’s about. Questioning these stressful stories of not feeling comfortable making or showing a connection to someone in life. It doesn’t matter if they long since passed away either. You still have an internal relationship with that person, on the inside.

(It’s really all about what’s inside the mind).

I’ve laughed and thought some relationships or ways of being in the world with humans felt like hell in the past. Literally I was terrified, angry, furious, abandoned.

But with The Work, you get to question what happened. I find out almost every time, I didn’t have the whole picture, I’m not the one in charge of the other person (or the universe), or I played a key part in the whole difficult way of relating that unfolded.

Relating happened. If it wasn’t fun….time to do The Work.

When I do The Work on any relationship in the world that’s ever bothered me, I find curiosity, laughter. I even find appreciation and gratitude.

Who would I be without my story about that person who bugged me? In heaven, not in hell.

Early-bird fee for the winter Breitenbush retreat is only $295 for 3 days (a very low fee to entice people to the gorgeous woods in the cold of winter). Early bird fee ends on October 31st. We begin Thursday evening December 7 and end Sunday Dec 10th at lunch. November 1st, the fee jumps to $395. Call Breitenbush at 503-854-3320 if you want more information about lodging, travel or meals, and to sign up. They handle everything.

“You are a universe to discover. You’re soooo interested in YOU. Have you ever had a thought NOT about you? ” ~ Byron Katie

What an exciting gift to write down your stressful thoughts, no matter who or what they are about, no matter what kind of relationship you’ve had….

….and question them.

Ahhhhhh.

Much love,

Grace

Questioning every thought, step by step, brings freedom faster than a short-cut

The beauty of sitting with others connecting in inquiry for 4 days is remarkable. I love hearing each and every person’s story, and how magnificent each person is in unraveling it, so it’s not running their lives anymore.

Everyone got to open the retreat on our first evening together by filling out a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet, slowly, carefully, thoughtfully–like a meditation. Writing their unhappiness on paper, so it’s frozen there in ink and can’t sneak away or be temporarily forgotten.

We get to write: This is what hurts. These are my thoughts. This is my story.

I must confess.

When I first started doing The Work, it felt so great just to write out an angry, disappointed or frightened JYN, it was like a genuine honest cathartic experience. I could rage, scream, call the person names on paper. I remember once writing with such vengeance, the paper tore under the pen point as I made my list of what I believed that person was like in the situation I was remembering.

Then….I’d take one or two thoughts through inquiry using the four questions, and wind up leaving the paper somewhere in a notebook, or throwing it in the trash if I didn’t want someone to find it in the household.

I had many piles of worksheets that went unfinished. I never worked through all the concepts on the worksheet.

And guess what happened?

That person bugged me again, either in my own thoughts OR they actually said something new that I found disturbing all over.

In other words, it came back. It repeated itself. It wasn’t over.

So in our recent retreat, we had the luxury of working through that entire first worksheet everyone wrote for themselves on the first night–the situation we most wanted to question right then.

For the first few concepts on the worksheet, people had the looks people often begin to have when doing The Work: a lightbulb is going off. Some weight is lifted from the situation.

Then, as we worked our way through the “I wants” and “she or he should” and “I need” and “they are”, it was hilarious how participants said “ugh, groan, not this same situation!”

Can’t I move on to a new JYN??!

LOL. I’ve had the exact same experience.

I felt so good after questioning only one thought from a worksheet, why keep going?! Do we have to beat a dead horse?

(In fact there were some dead-horse-beating jokes murmuring through the lovely group of inquirers on retreat together, and laughter).

But then, moving all the way through a worksheet, taking breaks, plugging away, working with different facilitators….

….what a treat.

That’s when true, deeper transformation can happen.

I could hear it.

‘Wow thank you for keeping us on track with investigating one situation so deeply.”

“Amazing, I had called the divorce lawyer, and now after this worksheet….I’m calling off the entire plan for separation.”

“Wow, I realize this situation I’m so afraid of is just my mind imagining the worst…..but the way I’m envisioning a frightening moment is only in my mind, and it’s not true!”

“My entire worksheet is almost funny now. It IS funny! I’m laughing!”

“I came to this retreat to resolve in my primary relationship and I’ve found it honestly–it’s not the way I wanted it to go, but I understand now what I’m unable to do.”

I was filled with gratitude at what I heard and witnessed with everyone’s beautiful work.

Which was really MY beautiful work.

I’ve had the same thoughts, and I got to hear them run through me like a river. “Is it true?” I’d see a picture of something in my own life. I’d see a picture of what I imagined THEIR situation to look like.

So today, I continue feeling grateful for all the people who came to help me in my own work for four days of misty wet autumn, so that I can experience the peace of freedom from believing the mind that says “life is hard, life is painful, things can go wrong” and turn all this around to “life is easy, life is gentle, things can go right”.

Only in my thinking do things go wrong.

If you’d like to come do this brilliant freedom work–where you find your own answers, always–and question your suffering especially about anyone in your life you’ve found difficult to deal with….

….then consider coming to Breitenbush in early December.

We’ll be cozy in the magnificent old-growth woods, you’ll have quiet warm cabins to stay in, all meals will be served (organic, vegetarian, delicious) and there will be hot springs to soak in on your breaks in the crisp forest air all around.

We’ve got plenty of space still, and the early-bird fee for the winter Breitenbush retreat is only $295 for 3 days. Early bird fee ends on October 31st. We begin Thursday evening December 7 and end Sunday Dec 10th at lunch. November 1st, the fee jumps to $395. Call Breitenbush at 503-854-3320 if you want more information about lodging, travel or meals, and to sign up. They handle everything for this one.

And here’s one of my favorite things about this upcoming December retreat: my life partner Jon will be joining us, and he and I will be sharing some of the fun, hilarity, fear, and joy about inquiring on someone very close–like a husband or wife.

We can’t wait to be with everyone who shows up to do The Work with us.

Come have a quiet winter rejuvenating retreat, just in time before the holidays (which have been known to contain a stressful thought about loved ones…or two….or three).

“Judge your neighbor, write it down, ask four questions, turn it around. Who says that freedom has to be complicated?” ~ Byron Katie

What an exciting gift!

Much love,

Grace

P.S. Tonight, I’ll be serving on staff at the School for The Work in Ojai, California with Byron Katie. Can’t wait to share with you what I learn along the way. xo