Why is Year of Inquiry (YOI) so expensive?
Someone wrote and asked me this a few days ago.
Or, well, actually her friendasked this question when they were on a walk.
A month ago, someone wrote “that’s the cheapest one-year group program I’ve ever heard of, do you have money issues?”
Well….I notice a few thoughts appearing on the horizon, ready for inquiry.
After both of these emails within one month, I thought….
….maybe I better talk about money.
Do I have to? (No, no money issues here, nope. No-siree).
I loved getting these two questions, though, because….
a) I’ve had so many stressful beliefs about money and things being expensive in this world, or too much for me….
….and I’ve had so many equally stressful thoughts about how I shouldn’t be charging, or this weird guilt for requesting compensation for a service or expertise throughout my life in both jobs and business….
b) I realize, some of you might appreciate knowing the thought and research that’s gone into the fee so it supports the program running and isn’t so low you hardly care about participating if you join and I have to go get another job on the side.
I’m starting with (b) first.
You might think because it’s easier…..but it’s because it’s harder.
I’d prefer to skip this part.
Share my research?
I confess, I often squirm when talking about money. It took me about three years just to feel comfortable charging $50 for one hour-long session. When the going rate for counseling and coaching was at least double that. Or triple.
Seriously. Even though I’ve paid close to $50,000 for my own training and graduate education. Gulp.
So, here’s what I’m aware of when it comes to (b) and why the fee is the way it is, or how the decision got made.
Looking at costs of programs in personal awareness, stress reduction, inner freedom, meditation or mindfulness (the topics of Year of Inquiry)….
When I was in therapy I went to see my therapist once a week. I had parents who took a loan to help me pay for it. I might have died without their help.
The same therapist’s fee is $125 per session today (I’d tell you what my parents paid but I actually can’t remember, it was 20+ years ago). That’s a middle-range fee for a therapist where I live. Lots of them charge more.
After a time of individual sessions, I entered the same therapist’s group therapy program, $370 per month 20+ years ago. Health insurance paid for part of it. I had a job and paid for the rest.
It was as much as my monthly apartment rent.
When I was in a coach training program, I had a personal coach.
The normal fee for a coach–having conversations about life, goals, meaning, focus and success–was $700 per month, for 4 one hour sessions. No insurance paid for it.
In the 1980s I attended the “est” program. I don’t remember the fee.
But I signed up to repeat the program last year, just to see what had changed and because I love deeper inquiry. The program was $575 for 3 days for newcomers (even though it had been almost 30 years, I got it a half price). The Advanced program was $875 for 3 days plus optional follow up meetings for 10 weeks.
Transformational programs that I’ve taken, including Byron Katie’s 9 day school, are over $5000. For nine days.
Many spiritual retreats with teachers I find full of integrity, care, and love are $1000 for five days at the very least. I know some of that goes to accommodations and food, but that’s the price to go on the retreat. You need to pay it all, you can’t sleep in your tent.
A fabulous sounding leadership program I was reading all about only a few weeks ago has three 3-day retreats, that’s it. No telephone sessions in between, no private sessions one-on-one. The fee is $7900 for the year.
An online mindfulness program lasting 10 weeks, with 10 weekly telecalls, and one 6 hour online retreat for all the participants I looked at six months ago was $1600.
Business support related work, which is about money and marketing and services, is in a whole different ball park. One year programs often cost $25K. Online video courses cost $1997.
For Year Of Inquiry, anyone who signs up for the telecalls only (no retreats) for the entire year pays $1697.
As a part of YOI, you get invited to a lot of additional programs (most of my 8 week classes, as a bonus) for no extra fee.
The Year of Inquiry with retreats costs $2497 for the entire year, and this includes two full 3 day retreats, plus the 3 group telecalls every single week for 3 weeks out of every month.
The fee for both full YOI, or telecall-only YOI, also includes up to four solo sessions with me.
I call them “9-1-1” sessions, meaning, when you’re stuck, or you feel confused, or you have a big thing you’re going through and you need individual attention and time, you’ve got it from me if you want it.
YOI also has a forum where everyone is a member, a google group so it’s super private (not facebook) and when people share, they can receive messages via email.
YOI members get to ask questions of the whole group, reach out for support or find extra partners when they want one-on-one help, and offer their experiences when they find something great (like an awesome insight or a link to a Byron Katie interview).
When I researched many programs, and thought long and hard about monthly support and what I would pay if I were enrolling (and what I have actually paid for others’ advice and support) I came in lower on purpose, so I could really feel comfortable about the worth of the program, the energy of it, how much someone might have to “work” at a job in order to pay the fee each month.
I did this because of my own stressful beliefs about charging for things that don’t have “results” or guaranteed outcomes but are on someone’s own time and own evolving process.
I also thought about my own “work” and attention and care, and what kind of time I spend planning, updating, responding to, being with all the fabulous people who join YOI.
On practical notes about life costs, I thought about regular services many of us have for day-to-day living, and what you feel like you “get” for these services.
Where I live, my internet bill is $154 a month, my garbage pick-up is $75, if I go see a doctor for 20 minutes it’s $150, my self-employed health insurance is $560 per month (I have a few stressful thoughts about this one, we’ll talk about that later).
When I’ve gotten medical body work for injuries I had two years ago, the fee is $160 for one hour (he always went overtime a little). It was really important, my leg and back were hurting so much.
And what have I received from supported inquiry, from doing The Work?
It may be up there, for me personally, in the highest value of anything I’ve ever done.
It’s actually priceless, I almost can’t even come up with any number.
It’s infinitely worth it.
But you’ve got to set an actual earth-world price, a fee that’s manageable for me, for people enrolled, for the costs of the program to be covered.
What it feels like with this fee is quite honestly, the most fair, simple amount I could possibly imagine for both myself and for everyone who joins.
Even though it’s basically all made up.
The fee isn’t for the love, or the joy, or the learning, or the care, and not even for the time all added up in hours.
These things just don’t have a price tag.
I’ve gotten more from inquiry practice than from my master’s degree program that cost about $25,000 in the 1990s. That program was fantastic and I recommend it to people still today. Somewhere along the way, the story of “college degrees” brought degrees to cost more.
What else to consider when it comes to researching?
How about costs to run a program?
Having my business involves paying for teleconference services, paying for tons of technology programs and services, rentals, materials, and of course hundreds of hours of time spent with experts, practice groups, feedback, education, inquiry, meditation, group work, research, courses, and training.
All I know is….
I keep following the silence within….
….and it continues pulsing and flowing and offering whatever comes next….
….whether its a new person to hold in inquiry and love, or a new situation to feel what freedom means for me as a human being, or a new way to be a part of the Peace Movement and to help dissolve suffering for myself and for others.
Which is genuinely happening.
Evolution, awakening, joy and mystery is here, at our fingertips.
If you feel it’s beyond your reach, I remember this feeling so I can guide (maybe).
I love being a regular, normal, mediocre 54 year old woman who suffered deeply and once felt like death-warmed-over, and now feels astonished every day by the beauty of everything I see, and every step I take.
This is available to everyone.
Which brings me after all this explanation and consideration, which I may never do again by the way, to talking about (a) above…..
…..My own stressful thoughts about money, charging, receiving, not having enough, being selfish, worrying about expenses for other people or for myself.
These are the most important questions and concerns, really.
And fortunately, I know what to do with them.
Being free turns out to mean questioning every story about money I’ve ever told and ever believed down to my bones.
I’ve gotten to question what does “expensive” mean?
I’ve questioned what does cheap mean, poor mean, rich mean?
I got to sit in the chair with Katie facilitating me on money.
What does “money” mean? Why does it hurt to part with it, or ask for it, or receive it, or wish for it when it’s not here?
What does survival, and needing, and craving, and longing, and contributing or giving money really mean for me?
What does receiving, and storing, charging and transferring, asking and accepting money mean?
What if money was just a symbol changing hands, moving?
What if I wasn’t against money?
What if I wasn’t for money?
What if it was perfectly OK for someone to talk with me about not having enough money for YOI (it is) and what they can spend?
OK to say yes, say no, every situation unique and worthy of consideration.
Am I sure I have to be careful?
Byron Katie has a little saying she offers with laughter when talking about LOVE for someone else.
“I do, I don’t, I do, I do, I don’t.”
It’s the same with money.
I love it, I don’t love it, I hate it, I could care less about it, I forget about it, I love it, I don’t.
Ideas about it move and range all over the place.
I notice, I’m still here, I am safe no matter what money is doing or not doing, and money is safe with me, and we’re way more friendly with each other than we used to be.
It’s a beautiful relationship. With no guarantees.
Kind of like Reality.
But who changed…..me? Or money?
That would be…..me.
I’m pretty sure money is still doing exactly what it was created to do from the beginning.
I say yes to giving the world my time, my attention, my participation, my contact. I say yes to receiving enough, to being with myself (which is also you) and accepting, forgiving, resting with all of us (which includes me).
You are guided by the same brilliant force as I am.
You have to find your own answers.
And nothing is ever required. You can do inquiry all by yourself, with no money and no programs. I’m sure of it.
Who would we be without our stories?
“After I found The Work inside myself–after it found me–I began to notice that I always had the perfect amount of money for me right now, even when I had little or none. Happiness is a clear mind. A clear and sane mind knows how to live, how to work, what emails to send, what phone calls to make, and what to do to create what it wants without fear….You might even begin to notice the laws of generosity, the laws of letting money go out fearlessly and come back fearlessly. You don’t ever need more money than you have.”~ Byron Katie
What do you do when you think something’s too expensive?
1) Research, sort, contemplate, add, subtract, easy-does-it.
2) Question your thinking.
P.S. That was a longer Grace Note than usual. If you’re new, they’ll be smaller again soon, thankfully.
P.P.S. Year of Inquiry has a deadline of August 15th for early-bird registration, and the first retreat is Sept 25-27 in Seattle in a beautiful private home. The retreat is open to anyone (not just people in YOI). Click HERE if you’re interested in the fall retreat.