One beautifully striking notion from Byron Katie that I’ve so loved and learned from, has been the idea that what’s happening, the words you hear or read, your encounters, the sounds, sights, voices, behaviors, events and places you find yourself in….
….are all for you.
For your awareness, reflection, learning, challenge, enlightenment.
How do you know it’s supposed to happen?
This takes us to sometimes very intense places and memories. Questions arise. But that hurt! I didn’t like it! I’m not OK now!
The Work usually begins by voyaging into these churning waters, maybe even going into a big storm that’s been very frightening to navigate for most of your life. We start by visiting what we do NOT like in the world, most of the time. Perhaps it’s even a trip to hell.
Yikes! It takes courage to begin The Work. It really does.
But one time, in the midst of a big audience with Byron Katie on the stage, I heard Katie speak to this idea of loving what is another way.
The flip side.
A woman standing with the microphone was frightened. Her voice was shivering, her hair gray, her eyes bright with many years of experience behind them. She was well along in years, her adult daughter sitting next to her, as well as other members of her extended family.
She was talking with Katie about her suspicion that people didn’t really love her, even if they said so. That she had a hard time taking in attention, care, or kindness. She brushed it off. Something about it was sort of….embarrassing, or worrisome.
What if, when you encounter something wonderful, when you hear beautiful words you love, when someone expresses appreciation, when you witness love in action, when something happens you enjoy….
….isn’t this also happening because it’s supposed to happen?
How do you know you’re supposed to hear it, read it, see it, feel it?
Could there be underlying thoughts buried within that prevent goodness, gentleness, or kindness from being noticed, or trusted, even when it looks favorable?
The elderly woman seemed to understand, more and more, that she may have been mistaken, as she and Katie spoke about love and receiving and trusting reality in every situation.
She realized if she had trouble with compliments and taking it all in, that this was not really personal, and she could question what she was believing about it, just the way difficult things happening in the world were also not personal.
And she could trust, if she questioned her thinking, that she was hearing what she needed to hear in that moment. Including “I love you” and “thank you so much” and “I’m very grateful to you” and “I’m glad you’re around.”
Some good questions to ask yourself, if you find you have some discomfort with attention, or gratitude, is to wonder….what do I think it means, that I’m hearing this? Do I believe I’m supposed to do something, or owe something? What’s uncomfortable about celebrating and receiving the love someone’s expressing? Or sharing how much I love someone or something?
Can you simply be with this joy?
When someone first sent me a donation about eight years ago, I received it in an envelope in the mail. $10. I checked my calendar. Did I miss something? This must be a mistake. I don’t think this was an outstanding bill. Then I saw an email sent separately, and it said simply “thank you for the work you do.”
A few months went by, and I received a paypal donation. $300. What is this? I looked around in my calendar again and wondered if I forgot about an invoice or something. The donor added a note “I love your writing, it makes such a difference to me.”
What I wrote wasn’t even called Grace Notes yet. Although someone shortly after that who was in one of my teleclasses said “send these examples of The Work that you write about out to the world and call them Grace Notes!”
OK. They were named. I didn’t name them myself.
Then a little time went by, and someone sent $20, a few more weeks or months, another person sent $10, then someone sent $100. Then someone sent $600! People I never met before in my life, sending little notes of appreciation and sums of money from time to time. Sometimes a long while in between, then here comes something again.
Last week I received two donations in one week, both in the old-fashioned regular mail.
One was from a woman who took the money teleclass this past year. She sent me a map of her hike with the trail highlighted in sparkly orange and fine purple pens, and a fabulous note written all around the edges and two crisp $20 bills.
“The world in front of me is only ever kind….I am enjoying your Grace Notes while on the trail.”
The other was an absolutely beautiful card with a check for $50 and such kind, thoughtful words.
You have no idea how much it means to me to receive these personal notes, this expression of appreciation (and I love how that word appreciation is used in financial terms, too). Sometimes, people have sent gorgeous sharing of their stories and appreciation without money and this is also brilliantly beautiful.
Somehow, it continues to show me where to move and how to move. Without readers, there would be nothing here, and I suppose that would be OK too.
Yet I see we share in all this together, and I am so deeply moved by your generosity, so thank you for being here. In whatever form you’re doing it. Seriously.
You are awesome.
I give you a deep bow, to your precious unique life, and the One Mind life we all seem to have that loves getting on board the peace train, together.
P.S. Although it does cost money and involve time and energy and “work”, Year of Inquiry is a deep investment in freedom for your mind and questioning stressful thoughts of so many kinds. Last year, several people in YOI suggested they’d like to create a scholarship fund to help current YOI members travel who had only signed up for the teleclasses but couldn’t get all the way to Seattle for the fall and spring retreats because of the expense. It was so generous. It is indeed an opportunity to receive, share, get connected, and watch the world as it supports you. I love the people who join. And by the way, two men are already signed up (these programs tend to be well attended by women). Join us! (Deadline to sign up is August 31st). Read about it here.