Year of Inquiry

Year-Of-Inquiry-Transparent

Touch a hot stove. Ouch. You immediately pull your hand away.

Then later, the mind begins to think about that terrible moment. Will I touch a stove again? Will there be a stove in the next house I enter? How can I protect myself against getting burned? I need to know about the location of all stoves in my vicinity. What if a stove shows up where I work? Life is hard. I'm not safe. I must be careful.

The Mind creates images, worry, anxiety, fretting, sadness, desperation.

Thought comes in. That troubling situation hurt, maybe so much.

Pretty soon, I'm awake at night wondering how I can prevent getting burned in the future. I feel so uncomfortable because my life hasn't been burn-free. I need to overcome what's happened.

Maybe your burn is losing your job unexpectedly, your spouse getting upset with you, divorce, a sickness you never imagined entering your life, the death of a loved one, someone rejecting you, a friend disappearing, losing all your money, a mean word from a sibling, your mother driving you crazy, your sister not speaking to you, aging, your child ailing, your parents treating you poorly, addiction, confusion, violence, discouragement....

You're filled with grief or irritation or terror about that circumstance...and then....

Why can't I stop thinking about that terrible burning moment? There must be something wrong with ME!

Sound familiar?

This repetitive thought process is unquestioned thought, run wild.

When we believe our stressful thoughts, it seems we begin, naturally, to try to solve the problem and fix it, or fix ourselves.

But it's a difficult project.

How can we step out of this troubling cycle?

There are three gaps, often gaps we're unaware of, that seem to impede our ability to find peace around the situation where we felt burned emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually.

Three big gaps that keep us from our own sense of peace and freedom, that keep us from questioning our stressful thinking.

The First Gap

The first gap or barrier to a transformational shift is the very intense, perpetual and bottomless urge in the mind to get more information.

More training • More research • More seeking

Like an ever-present attitude of hope that soon, you’ll get it or get there.

It’s not here yet, but I’ll hunt it down and get it. I’m getting closer!

A new retreat, a new teacher, a new guru, a new class, a new method, a graduate degree, a new book.

The mind LOVES that!

Then you discard the new once it’s become old, or you never really deeply access the power in it (for example doing The Work) and move on before you’ve digested what it has to offer as a practice.

This urge for MORE has a way of affecting The Work by putting it on the shelf with everything else, and not deeply drilling down with it in a way that becomes meaningful (or any of the other tools and solutions, for that matter).

The Second Gap

The second gap that keeps us immersed in stressful thinking (and feeling) is the tendency for most of us to want to do it alone.

No Thanks! • I’ve studied enough! • I’ve read all about that!

I’ve done a mega-million retreats! I got it!

We don’t want anyone to push us (very understandably) or boss us around, or scare us, or brainwash us, or bore us. Nor do we want to try something that winds up failing again.

So we just continue by ourselves, trying to do The Work, doing it in the car in our head, writing a worksheet every so often when we’re pretty upset, maybe gossiping or talking with others we're close to (not doing The Work), finding relief, but again never really reaching deeper understanding.

I notice as I’ve looked back on my life that every time I had a huge internal opening, a major shift…other people were involved. I was connected, real, intimate, and exposed. Whether one-on-one or in a group….and the power of others gathered together was immense.

The Third Gap

The third missing link or gap is the uncanny ability for us to go unconsciousness. Not really our fault, simply the amazing power of the mind to bury feelings • avoid pain • whistle in the dark

Or try to be “positive” without really accepting the “negative.”

We hate feeling bad so much, we’re willing to suppress, escape from, or try to get rid of all upsetting feelings without looking at them directly.

Trouble is, it doesn’t work in the long run.

I used to over-eat as my primary way to change channels and avoid feeling what I was feeling about reality. I’ve dabbled in many other addictive behaviors as well including smoking, drinking, lusting, analyzing and working.

These are the biggest “barriers” (there aren’t really any mistakes of course) people tend to practice that make them fizzle out or stay stuck in their uncomfortable beliefs about life and reality.

I’ve been an expert in keeping all three gaps wide and practically impossible to close.

And there are many ways these gaps tend to show up when it comes to doing The Work, that draw us away from answering the four questions.

But since 2003, I’ve grown to use the process of The Work as a deep practice, like meditation, that has profoundly changed my entire life, and what I think and believe about almost everything. My world is so much more fresh, sweet, peaceful and slowed-down in comparison to my previous perceptions of the world as dangerous, dark and unpredictable.

With these three gaps in the nature of mind and what we’re all dealing with here…I knew what could be awesome for the people I worked with is joining together with guidance for an entire year to learn, study, practice and DO The Work.

That’s what Year of Inquiry is created for.

It closes these gaps of incessant seeking for more information, doing it all alone, and staying blind (unconscious) of your own patterns of thinking.

The most important benefits include:

  • Relax the urge to constantly seek something different, gather more data or knowledge, and believe something is missing
  • Put yourself in a group of wonderful people who support your journey and can share this road into peace with you, and who you can learn from over time
  • STAY…even if you feel uncomfortable, even as you remember a troubling situation. Turn and look directly at what you’re thinking when you feel bad, with the help of others and with the support of a group to hold you
  • Commit to this work as a practice, whether you “like” it everyday or not
  • Slow the process down, as we’re invited over and over again to do by Byron Katie, so we become intimate with every tiny step of the practice–refining and thoroughly deepening the most stressful moments of our lives so our fears diminish
  • Begin to notice, through self-observation over time, our urges to escape, avoid, dismiss or disassociate from our “problems” or difficult situations (sometimes through behaviors like eating, smoking, drinking, internetting, cleaning, spending)
  • A special topic is offered every month for your focus of The Work, but you don't have to even find what to work on--it will come to you
  • Become deeply familiar with the best practices of The Work, partnering, sharing and facilitating both yourself and other people
  • Have a concrete, clear way to work with negativity, worry, depression, despair, conflict and lack
  • Engage in a new way to rest, be patient, and find compassion for yourself and other people….experience a way to open to love

Like any athlete going to the Olympics, you practice.

Get support. Receive facilitation. Stay present. Love the journey.

We begin in September for a Year of Inquiry.

Not a year of chaotic, repetitive or ineffective thinking as usual. 

Many ‘thought teachers’ speak about permanent change coming from the inside out rather than the outside in.

But HOW do we do it?

Most programs for improvement or “change” require setting goals, commitments, making plans and sticking to those plans.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But your relationship to everything in your world, in your life, in your reality all begins with the way you are perceiving your world right now, in the present moment. If your thoughts could relax, not carry such importance, and stop battling with each other….you may find yourself more peaceful, free, efficient, loving and kind.

Welcome to a Year of Inquiry

Oddly, we have no goals, other than peace and awakening, or the Truth. We have no plans other than connection, honesty and finding out what’s true.

We investigate stories. We’re going to unravel and disassemble them. We’re going to unhinge, dismantle, knock down, and dissolve stressful beliefs about the world. The Great Undoing, as it’s been termed by many, including Byron Katie, famous inquirer and founder of The Work.

And what’s left when we question our most aggravating, uncomfortable, painful stories?

Peace. Joy. Ecstasy. Silence. Alive Possibility. Acceptance. Gratitude. Empty Space. Your version.

“There are two distinct aspects of your inner being. The first is you, the awareness, the witness, the center of your willful intentions; and the other is that which you watch. The problem is, the part that you watch never shuts up. If you could get rid of that part even for a moment, the peace and serenity would be the nicest vacation you’ve ever had….Real spiritual growth is about getting out of this predicament.”

~ Michael Singer

GRACE BELL, Facilitator of Year of Inquiry

My name is Grace Bell, and I’m a regular everyday person, who sometimes has painful, discouraging stories about life (good ones too, but I wanted to keep those). I found The Work of Byron Katie around 2003 when I read Loving What Is. It was a complete and total relief to find such a simple tool for questioning mind, thinking, and stress. 

But even though I learned The Work and found it so powerful, AND my life began to change (quite dramatically) I still did not always sit down, take out my pen, and start writing as life progressed onward and upward.

Even when I knew this was my only truly sane option for dealing with difficult situations.

GraceBellLaughingFacilitator1

“I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always.”

~ Byron Katie

Just because you have a tool doesn’t mean you use it, or develop it over time, or remember that you have access to it at any time you want or need it day or night…..

…..or take it as far as it can go for you.

Something else seems more compelling than self-inquiry when left to your own devices.

The thing is, there’s no magic bullet, no pill, no one-time solution, no “answer”. You know this already, you realized it long ago.

But there is a very efficient path of discovery.

Taking time for practice of personal self-inquiry, the four questions known as The Work of Byron Katie, contemplation of the mind, and knowing what is really true for you.

You do this by steadily returning to The Work, giving your beautiful self the time to contemplate, be with others, gather with other like-minded powerful friends, and create a circle of remembering and sincere commitment to your enlightenment. Creating this in your life as an expected practice can take you leap-years beyond your normal trajectory of personal awareness.

At least that’s what has happened for me, and many people I’ve been privileged to work with over time. When you create your life with time for inquiry, you can change your world.

When NOW changes, future changes.

You can completely change your troubled story. And watch your life unfold before your eyes in a new, sparkling way.

YOI gave him emotional sobriety

“I signed up for YOI wanting several things. A) more information on the work B) freedom from drug addiction C) companions on the path of inquiry D) help dealing with health and healing issues. I liked doing the various exercises. I think exercises are a great way to learn The Work. They expand understanding of the work itself. I feel so much more emotionally sober. Still dealing with the fallout from deep detox. The process continues. YOI is a highly effective way to deepen one’s understanding of the work. It is a in-depth how-to format that expands understanding and application of the work. It demonstrates how the work can go anywhere and address any emotional challenge.”

~ Year Of Inquiry Participant 2013-2014

Since we’re talking about stressful thinking….let’s talk a little about one of my favorite subjects (but NOT my favorite experiences)….. COMPULSIVE behavior

Why am I mentioning compulsion right now?

Because, to put it most simply, looking consciously at oneself and the mind dissolves compulsive or addictive behavior of any kind, including thought addiction. Our compulsive believing of our stories.

An “addict” is defined in the dictionary as someone who occupies oneself or involves oneself in something habitually, or compulsively.

Addiction comes in many shapes and sizes in the human condition, in many creative and varied formats.

Humans can be addicted to: drinking alcohol, taking drugs, smoking cigarettes, drinking caffeine, shopping, gambling, watching TV, cleaning, exercising, eating, bingeing and purging, going from relationship to relationship, watching porn, being angry, being depressed, playing video games, checking their cell phone, gambling, seeking the perfect spiritual guru, making a plan, winning, obsessing about their children, worrying, jealousy, analyzing…the behaviors are many.

But many of the great spiritual and human behavior teachers often say that ‘THINKING’ itself is the ultimate addiction when it's fearful, narrow, or closed. Illusory thinking is the primary reason for all suffering!

Many people report being totally attached to their mental activity or stories. They repeat them over and over, with the same results: temporary relief, and then MORE stress.

“People sometimes drink to get rid of, for a little while, the torture of their mind telling them what their problems are. So they drink, and for a moment they don’t remember their problems.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

The most important thing to notice here, for me, is that perceiving “problems” in our lives leads to suffering. We may want to STOP THINKING the way we do but we can’t! This is the broadest definition of compulsion: believing our stressful thoughts.

Often, people also feel entirely alone in their experience of living

I sure did.

I had an inner voice that was mean, violent, vicious and unforgiving. I'd believe things were my fault, and if I just fixed myself, life would go a LOT better.

I would start to think “I don’t care what it is, I just need some relief from this incessant busy mind and these uncomfortable feelings!”

I would get sad or irritated, nervous. Then I might eat, drink, smoke, obsess, plan, ruminate and be totally miserable. Sometimes I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I would see an image over and over again, feeling haunted by it.

Sometimes I would grab onto a perceived problem and consider it from every angle humanly possible, taking time, energy and happiness away from my daily activity just to think.

The attempt to resolve problems, or human dilemmas, was so compulsive that even when I didn’t want to consider or think about troubling situations, I couldn’t stop. I went on hunts for enlightenment, peace, resolve.

I did not feel joyful, creative, or thrilled about life very often. I did not know how to feel joy every day, that’s for sure.

Even when I felt good and calm, I wanted to KEEP that feeling of balance. I hoped nothing bad would happen the next day.

In this kind of state, the stress is troubling, whether its mild and manageable, or enormous and life-threatening…and the urge to get away, or stay away, from the stress and pain creeps in. Often, to get away from my thinking and feeling, my compulsive behavior would come on like a tidal wave (that’s what my binge-eating episodes used to feel like). Not everyone enters an actual process or substance addiction, but the pain of believing your stories and problems are true is dreadful.

“Addictions are always the effect of an unquestioned mind. The only true addiction to work with is the addiction to your thoughts. As you question those thoughts, that addiction ceases because you no longer believe those thoughts. And as those thoughts cease, as you cease to believe them, then the addictions in your life cease to be. It is a process. And there’s no choice; you believe what you think, or you question it.”

~ Byron Katie

There Is A Solution

The biggest way out of compulsive thinking and behavior is to slow down and move into self-inquiry. There are many ways to do this.

Byron Katie says “if you’re in a hurry, do The Work”. 

Through questioning stressful thinking, the witness part of ourselves becomes stronger. You watch and observe, become silent and open. You find yourself back in the seat of the calm, peaceful aware part of you that doesn’t believe everything it thinks and isn’t interested in riding roller coasters of drama.

You may have tried doing The Work on your own, or inside a retreat program (many graduates of The School for The Work participate in this Year of Inquiry program)…but you notice that you still take off into stressful stories or feel disappointed about an important facet of your life.

Doing The Work with a supportive group of witnesses, is an incredible way to counteract the speedy, busy, compulsive thinking that the mind generates constantly. A way to live with this mind, as it is, and know that you and everyone around you is OK. No need to go out seeking anymore. WOW!

I created this program with Best Practices of The Work in mind, to help us all keep closing the gaps we tend to step into.

You will have me to guide, facilitate and bring my own experience to the process. You will have the others in this group to get to know deeply and well over the period of one entire year. You will get to deeply practice inquiry in all the major stressful areas of life. If you choose to, you will learn to facilitate others in this process and take that back into your own work, daily life, and families.

You will fall in love with the most important person in your life: YOU, and therefore, everyone around you.

You – Others – Guidance – Inquiry – Staying
Breaking the cycle of stressful thinking that generates needless suffering. Let’s do The Work!

Come join this group for a beautiful journey to peace, beyond all “beliefs”.

The power of everyone working together every month for an entire year offers a gathering of intimacy, love and connectedness that gives us assistance beyond what feels possible when we are alone.

Ultimately, each of us comes to know that we ourselves are the one we’ve always been waiting for. Connecting with others in community assists this. To grow into this awareness can take a lifetime, or an instant, and having support and company along the way makes the journey rich, varied, educational, and honest.

When I tried to do The Work on my own, it was fairly torture-filled at the beginning. I STILL have a hard time tracking my own work, my own mind, my own threads of worried thinking when I am BY MYSELF if something feels particularly threatening.

This program brings in not only personal guidance and combined valuable experience doing The Work, but the other amazing people who join you in your journey.

Like the Journey of The Lord of The Rings….we gather and show up together. It may seem  scary, but it’s a sacred journey that must be made.

For the duration of the program, we will watch our compulsive thoughts, track them in loving ways (often with journaling) and see how they change and shift while we do The Work.

“Simple rest without thought, feeling into the spacious relaxation of no mind, is perhaps the best antidote to addiction.  Trying to think oneself out of addiction is, in and of itself, just another addiction, an addiction to thought. If we are going to speak of recovery from addiction, we have to first speak to this addiction to thought itself.  When addiction to thought is released, thoughts still happen, but with no sense of self in them and no sense that they carry a command to engage in some addictive substance or behavior.”

~ Scott Kiloby

This program is about penetrating the darkest, most desperate BELIEFS AND CONCEPTS about your life so that you can question them authentically.

This program is for people who are actively THINKING in limited ways (the origin of their suffering) who want to understand their thought process and share it in a safe, authentic, loving container and turn it around.

Many people find, including me, that when we question what causes us pain……the urge, compulsion, and stressful thinking process is lifted naturally. When addictions are no longer needed to bring comfort or distraction to ancient memories or stressful beliefs,  the addiction falls away.

"For the average person, he or she holds together the very fiber of life through a complex of addictive patterns. Let me define it this way: it is a behavior that either consciously or unconsciously controls the flow of creative life-force through your system. An addiction allows you to be irresponsible for a percentage of the energy that runs through you....It’s just a matter of time before you find out what you’re addicted to. You can be addicted to a person, an attitude, self-criticism, judging others."

~ Carolyn Myss

Doing The Work With a Wonderful Group for A Year

The LIVE FULL Year of Inquiry Program includes two in-person retreats in addition to the virtual telesessions.

The Virtual Year of Inquiry Program includes all phone calls plus a solo session with Grace

(For those seeking credit in the Institute for The Work you'll join the FULL program, with two additional requirements to meet: 8 sessions with another Certified Facilitator plus a special 2nd Friday one-hour telegroup once a month). The Friday group will be included in your program. The solo sessions with another facilitator you will arrange individually between you and a CF for a fee that works for you both. 

Autumn Retreat October 18-22, 2017

Everyone has access to 3 Telegroups per week every month for one year with a morning, afternoon and evening (Pacific Times) option to accommodate your time zone and changing schedules. You can join any group, any time. Many participants like to pick the day/hour that works best for their schedule as a home base commitment, and attend others as often as they like.

Spring Retreat May 16-20, 2018

Solo session(s) during the year with Grace Bell, a neutral, experienced and compassionate facilitator. Two for FULL YOI, one for Telesessions-Only YOI.

An amazing group of truth-tellers who will get to know YOU and support you

  • A year to walk through the fire of that busy, busy, anxious, stressed mind and find out what’s on the other side
  • A year for a profound, meaningful, and enlightening adventure–let’s go together!
  • A year of walking through your life with inquiry in your pocket, and a small group to keep you company and travel with you on this journey when you get side-tracked
  • A year to make incredible, powerful, deep friendships and connect with others in such an authentic way you really know true intimacy–in person and on the phone
  • A year of allowing every stressful thought on the most powerful topics to rise to the surface, with guided assistance, so you can take a look, with fellow companions
  • A year to study your compulsive processes and fears, stare at them in the face, and watch them shift
  • A year to love yourself unconditionally, simply by investigating YOU
  • A YEAR to explore going BEYOND relief and survival into peace

Here's what we'll be doing together for the year!

Introduction to The Work and To Eachother….The Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet

We start with the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet. Even if you are super experienced in The Work, we will slow down and spend time with our stressful thinking, weeding out the deepest roots of our thoughts so we land on underlying beliefs. Together, we will spend time identifying concepts we tend to repeat and believe. Then, we’ll move into inquiry.

We start our early work together with simply noticing who we are bothered by. You’ll know where to begin. You’ll be guided through the worksheet to find your stressful beliefs. We’ll do The Work.

Our Family of Origin and Facilitation 101: Learning to Facilitate and Receive Facilitation

People who have influenced us greatly are often very important for The Work. We’ll move into the Closest People We Encountered in Our Lives – Mother, Father, Aunt, Uncle, Grandpa, Grandma, Siblings, Others. These are perhaps our oldest memories, from childhood. The people who we were presented with in our life journey at the very beginning passed along many beliefs and ideas. We were immersed in the culture, the words, the pictures, the sounds of our environment and these important people, or their absence.

We will include what we learned, saw, took in and “bought” with these people. We will consider how we felt and include all our ideas and judgments on our worksheets.

What do I Complain About?

In our present day-to-day lives, we might notice very repetitive thoughts of complaining about not enough time, energy, or happiness with the pace of our experience here on the planet.

These thoughts about what we’re doing or how we’re living can whittle away at our psyche or our happiness, internally causing stressful reactions and frustration or sadness.

Simple looking at them head-on, all the moments we wish would be slightly different (better, simpler, more, less, etc). We get to find out who we would be without the thought that something needs to change in order for me to be happy, who we would be if we did not need any more of something, or any less.

Our complaints are hard to live with. But there’s a way to work with them….turn towards them, and see them directly.

Hurt, Anger, Fear

What has scared me in my life? Whether long ago, or more recently, we get to look through memories where fear or anger was present, and look closely. The way we find out what we believe about the universe, or reality, or our lives….is to see the middle of the moments of resentment, anger or fear. These are the compass feelings that tell us where and how to look.

Money – Rich People, Poor People, Career, Not Having Enough, Needing More, Borrowers, Lenders

The moment many of us need more money, whether its now or in the past, or in the imagined future….we feel stress. Our minds may think with panic about how to get it, keep it and hold on to it.

If we have enough money, or more than enough, the moment we think we should be doing something “good” for our community when we are not, we feel a twinge of guilt or great discontent. We might feel like people only like us because we have money, or maybe we feel sad because they are jealous.

Many of us have visions of those ultra-wealthy people, or poverty-stricken people, and feel anxious with the pictures in our minds of people in these conditions. We might think “I’ll never get there” or “I hope I never get there”.

Money is so closely tied in with our work and livelihood, what we do in the world, that often we feel that we “have to” work or that we’re trapped by the system of using money.

From this point of needing or wanting to offer service, earn money, or experience happiness in our work…studying our internal thinking with open-heartedness can offer great peace in this process of work, money, earning, and whatever we think is a problem.

Relationships – Family Relationships, Partners, Dating, Being Single, Romance, Sexual Relationships

Byron Katie wrote an entire book devoted to the urge to “get” love from someone else in the world, other than ourselves; I Need Your Love, Is It True?” 

This month we return to this book for a re-read if you already have it, and if this is your first time, you’re in for a treat.

We focus on the situations we find most stressful and painful when it comes to relationships, and especially primary love relationships (but you may choose your focus). Whether you are in a long-term relationship, in the middle of divorce, or single and dating, it will not matter. This is a time when you can really look at what you believe is true about how relationships should go, what you want, and what you expect. You will have the opportunity to look at whatever has brought out the most disappointment, sadness, anger, fear or unhappiness in your life when it comes to love. If an important family member is the focus of your stress...this is the time to dive deeply into whatever relationship appears to ail you.

My Body – Flaws, Disease, Sickness, Accidents, Trauma, Pain

Bodies are the focus of such immediate, quick, very agonizing stress that it’s almost hard to catch all the thoughts about bodies and their difficulties on paper. But as we take the time, we will find out what we’re thinking and believing that is most fearful.

What disease, injury, chronic pain, accident or trauma have you suffered from, even after it was over?

This will be an amazing time to return to your fears, frustrations and unhappiness when it comes to having a body. We will have the chance to identify even those beliefs we feel critical of believing, like “my thighs are too fat” or “my face is too wrinkled”. The freedom in questioning these types of thoughts, and taking them seriously instead of brushing them away or criticizing ourselves for having them, can be incredible.

Living Our Turnarounds

Many of us take programs to develop our lives, focusing on what we’d like to “have” like success in business, success in relationships, success in so many areas of life. There is a way to explore desire, wanting, seeking and needing, and inquire into the deepest beliefs present.

To "live" your turnarounds is one of the most profoundly transformative practices of The Work itself, bringing this deep awareness into the body rather than holding it only in the head or in thought.

We'll explore some beautiful ways to live The Work based on your own discoveries, and how to practice and make change in your world through action. Action actually becomes easy, quick, clear and productive when we've questioned the blocks in our thinking that keep us afraid, uncertain, or indecisive.

The Worst That Could Happen

As we begin to review our work this year, we can also take the time to look at what we fear in the future. Our anticipated worries lead us to hesitate, withdraw, and not meet life fully.

We spend time looking this month at the profound question "what's the worst that could happen?" in a way that brings us to seeing our nightmares clearly, so that we can enter inquiry at such a deep level, our nightmares do indeed dissolve.

With this amazing question, we can actually begin to laugh at our greatest fears, and lighten the load of our imagination in ways we never thought possible. People in Year of Inquiry have said about this month's topic that they had no idea they held such depth of worry within...and no idea they could delete their suffering with four simple questions and turnarounds.

Shame, Guilt, Investigating our Worst Fears, and The Turnarounds to #6…I am Willing, I Look Forward to Whatever Happens

In a safe, open setting we've become aware through our practice of The Work that we can feel freedom by questioning the thoughts that form a foundation of many of our stressful situations.

We look at the subjects and topics of our work this year, and take a slower and more in-depth look at what we've identified that we never, ever want to experience in our lives again.

Some of these most fearsome thoughts are beliefs about ourselves and what we've done wrong. Some of these fearsome thoughts are about loss, and what we believe we can't handle.

In this work, it may seem odd to actually turn the spotlight on what we would prefer to brace ourselves against, what we hope NEVER happens, what we wish would remain hidden.

But the love we build together this year…in great intimacy and trust…can offer a safe, clear, committed place of awareness. We find this as we sink into understanding that what we've imagined we never, ever want to occur...could be tolerable, or even acceptable, even something we look forward to. Laughter may unfold, or surprise.

This topic comes at the very last month for important reasons. We're now very experienced in The Work. We've pondered the four questions on issues we care about personally, that matter to our unique lives.

Now....we fly.

““We change the world not by what we say or do, but as a consequence of what we have become.”

~ Dr. David R. Hawkins

2017-2018 is now open for registration!

Join me in this incredible year of questioning your stories. We’ll all be explorers together in understanding. Let's Be the change.

You can experience LIVE Level by including our two retreats in Seattle or you can participate in the Telesessions Level from anywhere in the world! 

Institute for The Work candidates will add solo sessions with a Certified Facilitator of their choice, plus a special monthly telegroup. Credits received are 80 hours of one-on-one partnering credit PLUS the equivalent of one School for The Work, for all those who complete this Year of Inquiry course. Upon successful completion and evaluation, you'll be invited into the Institute for The Work.

Live + Telesessions Level

Attend LIVE in Seattle and get access to the online telesummits too!

$3200 or 12 monthly payments of $285.

If you've participated in the LIVE Level in the past and you'd like to repeat again this year CLICK HERE for your special repeat rate!

Telesessions Level

Attend online from anywhere in the world! Does not include LIVE retreat access.

$2175 or 12 monthly payments of $197.

If you've participated in the Telesessions Level in the past and you'd like to repeat again this year CLICK HERE for your special repeat rate!

 How do the retreats work?

We meet Wednesday night through Sunday morning – Autumn and Spring

Our location is northeast Seattle: You may choose to stay wherever you like, and if you’d like to make arrangements to share with someone else from the group, we will see what invitations are possible for everyone attending.

For 2017-2018 we have an absolutely gorgeous retreat chateau very close to Grace's cottage (walking distance away). There are two king master bedrooms, two queen bedrooms, one full-sized bedroom, a shared pull-out couch and trundle bed, and ample space for a mattress-on-floor overnight downstairs. Please book your room lodgings separately with Grace. You may also reserve your own AirBnB or VRBO lodging nearby, or stay with other members of YOI.

Beautiful quiet setting with all amenities including wi-fi, gorgeous kitchen, Lake Forest Park restaurants and grocery nearby.

During our retreat, we do The Work together. Some exploratory writing exercises to offer insight into stressful beliefs, and walking meditation. A pure experience of questioning our beliefs for the entire time. Our focus is you investigating your mind with inquiry. Movie night (Turn It Around) and potluck on Saturday night.

Sunday we will end at 11:00 am so travel is possible Sunday afternoon/evening. Please book your flights after 2:30 pm if at all possible, so you can close with the group.

How do the telegroup sessions work?

We meet for 90 minutes three times per week (you can come to one call a week, or two, or three–your choice). We begin each month with a special 90 minute webinar Introduction to the topic we're studying. At the end of every introduction presentation, we fill out a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet. This worksheet will become your prescription for happiness.

Then, you're welcome to attend any of the 9 telesession slots we have dedicated each month to doing The Work!

One person will begin in the hot seat every telesession, after check-ins and questions. We usually have time for 2-3 people to do The Work every telesession.

You only need a telephone to call in to the group sessions. You may use skype for free. The company I subscribe to is Instant Teleseminar and is the best teleconference company I’ve used.

All telegroups are recorded so if you miss a group, you can catch up by listening to the call.

Year of Inquiry members share a special private forum online for sharing, recordings, asking questions, posting your work. Training is provided (it's very easy).

Full scope of what's included in Year of Inquiry:

  • 9 telesessions every month (first 3 weeks of the month) all year
  • formal video presentations/webinars introducing best practices and an important topic in the work each month
  • Autumn Retreat and Spring Retreat (required for Institute for The Work candidates in The Work who want to receive in-person credits)
  • for local YOI members, optional in-person monthly Sunday deep divers group (please apply with Grace to attend–no fee for LIVE YOI participants who choose to attend)
  • individual sessions with Grace (two for FULL Live YOI participation, one for ONLINE YOI participation)
  • partnered work with other participants, switching once every 2 months (optional, but encouraged) – casual or immersion partnering
  • private membership forum board online
  • Summer Camp for The Mind daily inquiry sessions July – August 2018
  • the amazing power of intimacy, getting to know others, forming a cohesive group, learning from our fellow-humans
  • a collected group of incredible people to call on for your help in inquiry, personal growth and awareness, honest friends, and places to stay all over the world.

This program can be done in conjunction with your personal counseling or therapy treatment.

When you change your thinking, you change your life, and the world becomes a beautiful place to live.

That is my greatest wish for anyone. I am here to serve in the most genuine way possible and to offer light to anyone through the darkness of stressful, heavy, painful thinking that produces addiction and/or despair.  I am honored to help you along the way, if its right for you.

Join me for this wonderful year. I can’t wait to get started and to get to know you!

Now open for registration!

Question your thinking, change your world. You will become the change you wish to see in the world.

You can experience LIVE Level in Seattle or you can participate in the Telesessions Level from anywhere in the world!

Institute for The Work candidates will add solo sessions with a Certified Facilitator of their choice (the fee will be between you and the CF you hire), plus a special monthly telegroup on the second Friday of the month 8:30 am PT. Credits received are 80 hours of one-on-one partnering credit PLUS the equivalent of one School for The Work, for all those who complete this Year of Inquiry course. Upon successful completion and evaluation, you'll be invited into the Institute for The Work.

Live + Telesessions Level

Attend LIVE in Seattle and get access to the online telesummits too!

$3200 or 12 monthly payments of $285.

If you've participated in the LIVE Level in the past and you'd like to repeat again this year CLICK HERE for your special repeat rate!

Telesessions Level

Attend online from anywhere in the world! Does not include LIVE retreat access.

$2175 or 12 monthly payments of $197.

If you've participated in the Telesessions Level in the past and you'd like to repeat again this year CLICK HERE for your special repeat rate!

Who this program is NOT for:

  • If you experience behavior that affects your well-being, or others around you critically—you may need to receive counseling or in-patient treatment first to stabilize your daily life.
  • If you are unwilling or unable to pause, stop, and study yourself, your obsessions and compulsions, discuss them honestly and get yourself support
  • If you’re looking for a quick fix or guaranteed instant cure
  • If you find yourself so intolerant of other people that you can’t connect with the people in the group or do partner work with others (individual work may be better for you)
  • If you are not able to commit to participating in the program for the entire year
  • If you don’t like doing The Work or are trying to find a shortcut way to do The Work
  • if you find yourself impatient with audio or online contact, or you don’t have good access to a phone or computer to dial-in and do audio-only shared group work via phone or computer

Requirements for participation:

  • Read Loving What Is and I Need Your Love–Is It True, both by Byron Katie
  • Start the program with one of your individual sessions with Grace (you will receive two during the program if you are in the full package program, and one if you are in the teleconference only group).
  • Have access to a computer for emails and viewing video or listening to audio

Praise for Year of Inquiry!

Massive Growth in Un-Stucking

“For me, commitment produces results. I love that YOI is a whole year. I got massive personal growth out of one year. When I stop growing generally, I leave. This didn’t happen in YOI. What I loved about a year of this, is that it is all about getting unstuck, not talking about being unstuck, but actually UN-STUCKING!  I am going to continue practicing and learning. This Small Group format is the best modality I could think of to practice the work. I was able to learn really fast. This was perfect access for me, not being able to go to the school for the work.”

~ SM Live Year of Inquiry Participant

Hearing From Others So Valuable

“I joined YOI because it is so scary for me to be honest in a group, and so exhilarating in a group. I love to hear the universal mind, I love hearing other peoples’ thoughts.  I’ve gotten braver through this group. When we just started, I was afraid of everyone. There was huge fear, and that went away. Sometimes I hear what someone else says and I think it doesn’t apply to me. But then I hear exactly what I’ve thought before come from someone else’s mouth, and I love this!”

~ Live Year Of Inquiry Participant

Creating A Circle Is So Powerful

Thanks, Grace, for creating the structure and support for this powerful inquiry. I so appreciate your facilitation, dedication, humility, and humor, and I’m nourished by your desire to be of service in any way you can. I was also really impressed by how much richness there was in the group inquiry process. And enjoyed the companionship, vulnerability, and humor that was generated in our circle.”

~ YOI Teleclass participant 

Now open for registration!

Join me for a year of inner transformation.

You can experience Year of Inquiry LIVE in Seattle or you can participate in the Telesummits from anywhere in the world!

Institute for The Work candidates will add solo sessions with a Certified Facilitator of their choice, plus a special monthly telegroup on the second Friday of the month at 8:30 am PT. Credits received are 80 hours of one-on-one partnering credit PLUS the equivalent of one School for The Work, for all those who complete this Year of Inquiry course. Upon successful completion and evaluation, you'll be invited into the Institute for The Work.

Live + Telesessions Level

Attend LIVE in Seattle and get access to the online telesummits too!

$3200 or 12 monthly payments of $285.

If you've participated in the LIVE Level in the past and you'd like to repeat again this year CLICK HERE for your special repeat rate!

Telesessions Level

Attend online from anywhere in the world! Does not include LIVE retreat access.

$2175 or 12 monthly payments of $197.

If you've participated in the Telesessions Level in the past and you'd like to repeat again this year CLICK HERE for your special repeat rate!

The 2017-2018 Schedule

Please click here and check your time zone carefully!

Tuesdays 8:30-10:00 am Pacific Time/11:30-1:00 pm Eastern/4:30-6:00 pm London

Wednesdays 2:00 – 3:30 pm Pacific Time/5:00-7:30 pm Eastern/10:00-11:30 pm London/8:00 am Australian Central

Thursdays 5:30-7:00 pm Pacific Time/8:30-10:00 pm Eastern/11:30 am Australian Central time

Retreats: October 19-22, 2017 and May 17-20, 2018. Lodging may be available with other Year of Inquiry members or you may reserve a room in the lodge.

Generally we meet the first, second and third weeks of every month with a few exceptions.

Participants in Year of Inquiry are often invited to attend multiple other programs for no extra charge that are run by Grace (this does not include Eating Peace Immersion Retreat in-person, which is very in-depth work on inquiry and compulsive eating. Many YOI members have also taken the Eating Peace Process and/or Eating Peace Retreat and found them incredibly complimentary).

Payment Info

Payment: Credit cards accepted through Paypal (you do not need a Paypal account).

LIVE Program

Includes access to all Telesessions, monthly webinars, Summer Camp for The Mind 2018, two retreats, 9 month Seattle group for those who are local, two solo sessions.

(Anyone who enrolled in these programs separately would pay over $4000. Being a part of YOI brings you a huge discount for ongoing, connected inquiry with a lovely community of people for a whole year).

Telesessions Level

EVERYTHING EXCEPT RETREATS (no in-person events and primary connection is via TeleSessions and Webinars, one 9-1-1 solo session with Grace if you need it) $2175 or $197 per month starting September 2017.

Retreats individually = $485 per retreat tuition. Anyone who has opted out of retreats can change their mind and attend if there is room and they register to hold a spot.

In-Person Monthly Deep Divers Group = $65 per session half day retreats, current FULL YOI members who want to attend apply for a spot and can attend at no extra cost. YOI members enrolled in telesessions-only pay $45.

YOI ALUMNI always attend any retreat, if you are not enrolled in current program, for $100 off the full fee.

YOI members are invited to attend 8 week telecourses or other offerings with Grace during the year on special topics that are open to the public for no extra fee.

Refund Policy

Anyone can change their mind, and opt out of this program, but you MUST DO IT before November 1, 2017. It is very difficult to fill you space after that time, and care and attention is given to everyone in the program at a personal level. You have 60 days to withdraw if you realize it isn’t right for you. You will be refunded all your fee, MINUS $200 if you stay through October 31st, 2017 OR $100 if you stay through September 30, 2017. If you attend the fall retreat, and still choose to withdraw (this has never happened before, but just in case something happens and you need to withdraw)…then you will owe $450 for the retreat (the normal public fee) and $100 for YOI for the month of September, if you withdraw by September 30th, or $200 if you withdraw by October 31st.

This means that if you withdraw at any time in the month of September (even the second day of YOI) then you will receive a full refund less $100 cancellation fee (because of this you might consider staying for all of September if you feel uncertain–you’ll still have the same cancellation freedom). If you withdraw any time in the month of October, you’ll receive a full refund minus $200 trial period for the cancellation fee. We want to make sure this is the right program for you and that it’s all around a good match for everyone!

If you choose to stay in the program after November 1st, 2017, there are no refunds. It’s very difficult to fill your space. 

WE SINCERELY HOPE THIS HELPS you feel comfortable in enrolling in YOI and giving it a try for 2 months.

For more information write to grace@workwithgrace.com.

Thank you ever so much for your joining with me, and with yourself most of all, in questioning your amazing mind.

Join 2017-2018 Year of Inquiry.

Be The Change.

You can experience Year of Inquiry LIVE in Seattle or you can participate in the Telesummits from anywhere in the world!

Institute for The Work candidates will add solo sessions with a Certified Facilitator of their choice, plus a special monthly telegroup. Credits received are 80 hours of one-on-one partnering credit PLUS the equivalent of one School for The Work, for all those who complete this Year of Inquiry course. Upon successful completion and evaluation, you'll be invited into the Institute for The Work.

Live + Telesessions Level

Attend LIVE in Seattle and get access to the online telesummits too!

$3200 or 12 monthly payments of $285.

If you've participated in the LIVE Level in the past and you'd like to repeat again this year CLICK HERE for your special repeat rate!

Telesessions Level

Attend online from anywhere in the world! Does not include LIVE retreat access.

$2175 or 12 monthly payments of $197.

If you've participated in the Telesessions Level in the past and you'd like to repeat again this year CLICK HERE for your special repeat rate!

8 Replies to “Year of Inquiry”

  1. Hi Lynn,
    Thanks for writing and we’d love to have you in YOI. Yes, I set up monthly automatic payments within my paypal. I’ve just learned how to do that actually and will have my bookkeeper help for anyone wanting that (which is quite a few people). You can let us know what you need exactly to be on your monthly invoice/statements to help with your itemizing, what needs to be included to be helpful.

    I don’t think I have a list of signs for food/body obsession but you can scroll down on the right hand side bar and find the Search box and put in any word and it will search all the posts and give them to you in a list. Put in “exercise” or other words.

  2. Yes Linda! Thanks so much for asking–I forget that this is a fairly new idea for many.
    For the teleconference calls that I run, all you need is a phone if you can call a phone number with a 206 area code.
    It’s a USA phone number. So it tends to be quite easy if people simply want to call and they are in the US, especially since there are many options for unlimited minutes (often people already have unlimited minutes these days).
    Since it’s 90 minutes, it’s nice to have a head set for your phone so you don’t have to hold the phone the entire time.

    If you are outside the USA or would prefer to use a computer anyway, there is a program called skype that people use from all over the world. There is also a connection, for free, called WebCall. You will click the link for the event, and you’re in.
    Skype is a free software (skype.com) and you download it onto your computer. Then, you are able to make free calls to all other skype users, including the teleconference call service that I use. You “send” a call by entering the person’s address into the call area. Let me know if you’re interested in this way of calling, which many people do choose, and I can help get you started in setting it up. I think the directions from Skype on their website are quite good, too.

    More questions? Just let me know! :)

  3. Dear Grace,
    One of my character defects is that I am tech phobic.
    Could you kindly explain exactly how a telecasts works?
    Many thanks,
    Linda

  4. Does this class offer certification credits toward The Work Facilitation Certification?
    Thanks…. Thanks for all you are being.
    Nancy Jewelee Allsgood

  5. I am touched that just reading it is moving for you, Celia, as that is the most important thing. If it’s right for you to participate, then wonderful and if not, that’s OK too, of course. :) Much love–Grace

  6. Grace,

    I am grateful that you have done such a thorough outline of the year. I may or may not sign up, but just reading it brings tears to my eyes. The line that did it is, ” The invitation will be to study your urges and cravings and approach them with compassion. They are teachers.” In other words, they aren’t to be dismissed, gotten rid of, swept under the rug.

    I also liked the quote about life being made up of a web of interconnecting addictions.

    Thanks, Celia

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