If I say “no”, they’ll be furious

  • This coming Friday, Dec. 14th Let’s Do The Work: It’s free. 7:45-9:15 am PT. Bring a pen, paper and open mind. All levels of experience are welcome. Click here to join.
  • January 9-14, 2019 Eating Peace RetreatSign up here. If you’re flying into Seatac airport, land late afternoon Weds (4:30 pm), leave after 1 pm Monday. 4 spots left, and 3 rooms in the retreat house.
  • March 22-24, 2019 Sit In The Fire, a 3-day weekend of emotional release/trauma work in combination with self-inquiry, facilitated by Roxann (Byron Katie’s daughter). Watch Grace Notes for the minute we take reservations. Email me now to get on the waitlist (hit reply).
  • Spring Retreat May 15-19, 2019. Lake Forest Park, WA (Grace’s hometown in northeast Seattle). Best spring cleaning you can do for yourself. The mental kind!

A man sat with me on skype, far away in another time zone by distance, but fully present that moment to a deeply painful belief: if he said “no” to his father, his father would go ballistic with rage. 

He had proof. From his childhood. 

He was so upset with himself for feeling the same way for over forty years. 

“I’ve been such a people-pleaser. I’ve kissed ass, I’ve bent over backwards for my bosses. There’s no way out of this, I never change. I’m just too scared.”

He spoke the words of someone who feels hopeless. 

I could relate.

While I didn’t have a father who went ballistic with rage, and fortunately came from a household growing up where physical violence was rare, I had that same automatic reflex of wanting to be pleasing to others and not make them mad. 

Especially parents, people I believe I needed. 

If I said “no” they’d get really angry and stop talking to me, or punish me by withdrawing attention or support. They’d make it clear I was “bad” or “wrong” with my no, and maybe even tell other people who would also reject me.

Byron Katie talks about three things we humans tend to become crazed for: love, approval, appreciation.She calls it LAA for short.

It doesn’t feel so la-la when you’re desperate for it, right? 

Your thought is that person doesn’t love you, and you neeeeeeeed their love, approval or appreciation. The mind thinks “I can’t stand someone out there NOT LIKING ME!”

I thought this about siblings, romantic partners, parents, friends, co-workers, bosses. 

If I received a disgusted look, a critical remark, a dismissal, a sarcastic comment….oh no, here it comes: I can’t say “no”, I can’t express my own opinion, I need to be pleasing, I need their appreciation, I need to repair this, I need to get them to like me again.

Just like the dear inquirer who sat with me, let’s do this.

Is it true you need their approval, love, appreciation, acceptance?

Yes. I hate not having it. Except…..no. I will not die without their acceptance. 

Even in the case of this inquirer doing The Work where he thought because he said “no” in the past, his father would hurt him, he realized he survived. He was OK. He even ran out the front door. 

He then moved away and grew up. Reality was actually kinder than his expectations about it.

How do you react when you believe you need them to like you? You need them to approve, accept, appreciate you?

Ugh. 

It’s a horrible, endless effort to get what I think I want and need from them: Their smile, them saying “we’re so alike and you’re so brilliant” (or whatever I think I enjoy hearing), their hand reaching out to me, their praise. 

When I believe I want it, and I’m not getting it, I definitely don’t say anything I think they won’t like. 

Like, “no”. 

I don’t want to disappoint them.

I feel sick.

Maybe, I eat, smoke, drink, spend, watch TV, go to the internet, try to grab some kind of pleasure or avoidance somewhere else.

So who would you be without the belief “if I say ‘no’ they’ll be angry” or even more importantly “I need their love” (and disagreement means I don’t have it)?

It doesn’t mean you’d be a cold, heartless beo*%ch. 

At least that’s what I’ve noticed. Because I still see a human being who wanted time with me, who wanted me to say “yes”, who wanted it the way they wanted it. 

Just like me.

Without the belief I need anyone’s love, approval or appreciation….I simply tell the truth. 

I don’t feel afraid of people’s questions or requests or suggestions. I respond with interest, curiosity, and my own questions if I have them. I feel like there’s solution possible, even if we don’t know it yet. I don’t feel despair or like giving up. 

Turning the story around: 

  • If I say “no” they will love me. I don’t need their love. Could be just as true. Can you find examples? For me, I’m aware the person I say “no” to still accepts or appreciates me. Perhaps they’re disappointed, but it’s because they love me, not because they don’t. 
  • If I say “no” I won’t love myself. I need my own love. True. I see the other person’s upset, and I quickly decide it means something about me. I forget to love myself, and feel my open heart towards them even as they have a tantrum (LOL). 
  • If they say “no” I won’t love them. They need MY love. Also could be true! I’ve been angry that person didn’t give me exactly what I wanted, er, I mean demanded. Yikes! Perhaps they only wanted something, and I refused to give it, and just like me they perceived this meant I didn’t care, love, appreciate or approve of them.

“Suppose your hand moved for no reason, and he found that unacceptable–wouldn’t it be obvious that it was all his show? If he criticizes you, and you take that personally, you’re the one who hurt you. The story you impose onto his criticism is where the pain begins. You’re arguing with reality, and you lose.” ~ Byron Katie in A Mind At Home With Itself 

Woah. So, if I see that person upset when I’ve said “no” (or anything else for that matter) then I upset myself when I take it personally.
Who would I be without that story?

Free to say “yes”, to say “no”, to be honest and kind in the presence of anyone, and everyone.

Much love,Grace

P.S. If you’ve felt like you’re bracing yourself against the one who was once connected, and now is NOT (separation, break-up, divorce) and all the associated stressful beliefs that rise up around this person….you may love the upcoming class “Divorce is Hell: Is It True?” starting Sundays in January. Sign up here.

When I believe reality hurt me, am I arguing against it, and missing something immovable?

  • First Friday is Second Friday in December 2018: It’s free. December 14th at 7:45-9:15 am PT. Bring a pen, paper and open mind. All levels of experience are welcome. Click
    here to join (WebCall or phone if you want to speak and be heard, Broadcast if you want to listen-only and write in the chat-box).
  • January 9-14, 2019 is the annual Eating Peace RetreatSign up here. If you’re flying into Seatac airport, land late afternoon Weds (4:30 pm), leave after 1 pm Monday.
  • Online course: Divorce/Break-up/Separation IS HELL–Is It True? Sundays 11 am PT January 6-February 17, 2019 (no class 1/13) with me and Nadine Ferris France, two facilitators who have experienced divorce and now think of it as amazing. Really. $250.
  • March 22-24, 2019 Sit In The Fire, a weekend of emotional release/trauma work in combination with self-inquiry, facilitated by Roxann (Byron Katie’s daughter). Watch Grace Notes for the minute we take reservations.

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Last Monday, I offered my weekly facebook live at 2 pm PT on PAIN.

Physical pain.

Although emotional pain can be right up there in the very same inquiry.

It burns and aches and hurts and stabs. We have physical symptoms. Our stomachs ache, we can’t sleep.

Even if we’re not physically suffering or injured, when we feel hurt, it seems like we are.

Five years ago, in the middle of a dance on a Saturday morning, bursting with energy and joy and so happy with the music….

….I ran across the whole dance hall wooden floor, almost leaping. I felt so excited!

I found myself suddenly, spontaneously, doing a handspring roundoff.

Now, you may think at age 52 which I was at the time, that this was pretty wild and ridiculous. But for me, cartwheels and handstands were a regular thing, probably since age 11 when I became obsessed with them.

I still seemed to fall into a cartwheel on beaches, on grass lawns, in big living rooms, and in dance halls where I knew I wouldn’t kick anyone (we hope) in the face. That is, if I wasn’t wearing a dress. Although sometimes, I still did it depending on the dress.

So there I was joyfully bounding across the dance hall floor when I went into a roundoff handspring, my old regular I performed over and over and over again at age 15.

Except.

When I landed and flung both arms in the air with the Olympic Landing gesture, I was up-side-down then right-side-up and both legs were perfectly straight….

…but something ripped or pulled in my right leg and hurt like nothing I had ever felt before–not even my broken ankle (also from gymnastics vaulting, but at age 15).

Now, if you haven’t done The Work on physical pain before, you might enjoy me doing it on the facebook live show I did earlier this week (scroll down for the video). That same injury was all flared up and really burning, for ten days straight.

I had not done The Work on it once. I was bearing it, suffering through it, and deciding “against my will” (LOL) to go to the doctor. They ordered an MRI. I felt like the pain was excruciating and nothing was comfortable: not lying down, not sitting, not standing.

And that’s not entirely what I wanted to talk about today.

What I wanted to talk about today was the way emotional pain of a relationship changing format can feel the same on a psychic level.

Tortured. Feeling angry, or sorry for ourselves. Shaking a fist at God. Or that mean, evil, nasty, thoughtless, sick person who hurt you.

Stop Hurting! Now! I am the one being hurt by YOU (picture person or pain or entity that’s causing pain)! Arrrgggghhhh! Cry!

There was actually a mix-up with the doctor’s handwriting that made the MRI order take six extra days, during which my right torn hamstring/sits bone kept burning, aching, hurting so it felt like a nail was hammered half way into the bone in my leg.

I called one of the office worker people once and felt a little choking cry in the back of my throat….”I’m in so much pain” I said. Waaaah.

That was all before I did The Work.

Oh. Right.

What struck me was the very same thing happened to me when my husband said “I don’t want to be married anymore.”

It was like I was stabbed with a knife.

Images of a devastated future. Images of being lost, lonely, single forever, the abandoned and hurt one. Images of having no money, and being a poor little piteous person. Images of never being the same again, in a bad way.

I was hurt.

Is it true?

Now. Some people will think if you ask if it’s true, it means you’re cold and heartless and you have no compassion.

Of course it’s true! I was hurt! What are you nuts? If you could feel my hamstring, you’d know what I mean!

This is where people sometimes exit The Work, or criticize the method for blaming the victim, or condoning violence or abuse or whatever causes hurt, or suggesting we’re questioning the person’s troubled condition.

But that’s not what I’ve experienced as I’ve answered this question deeply, honestly, compassionately: is it absolutely true that I am hurt?

Maybe I was hurt for a moment. Maybe I went through something that is NOT fun, and scared the s*%t out of me. Maybe I felt shocked.

But am I absolutely-for-all-time hurt in a way that makes my life impossible, or forever unhappy, or ruined? Am I sure I was “hurt” by someone else intentionally (or even accidentally)? Am I sure things should go differently than reality?

No.

Same with my leg being injured and in pain. I noticed there were many things I could do, even though I was in pain (I thought).

You also might answer the question about whether it’s true that you’re in pain with a simple “yes”. No wrong answer.

Yes, it hurts. Absolutely.

Keep going.

How do you react when you believe you were hurt? You ARE hurt?

Wailing. Angry. Desperate. Depressed.

So who would you be without this thought that you are hurt?

Holy smokes. WHAT??!

I feel that injured area. I feel that broken heart. I feel the awareness I look around the room I’m in. I notice a very quiet space. Quiet sofa, quiet table, quiet wall calendar. Very peaceful.

I notice this moment without the images of what I’m anticipating will happen in the future, without imagining what it means to have this sensation I’m calling “hurt”.

I notice this moment has no hurt in it, except for a thought.

Oh. Wow.

Turning the thought around: I am not hurt. In my thoughts, I am hurt. I hurt myself with my own thinking of being hurt. That other person is hurt (could be just as true–and usually is, if they’ve been hurtful). I am healed, mended, stronger, toughened, softened.

Could this be just as true or truer, that instead of being hurt I am actually OK, even if my leg may never be the same? Even if that relationship may never be the same again?

Is there something powerful, supportive, even incredible that’s come out of that relationship that caused “hurt” that’s contributed to my life?

Maybe I could spend time noticing this, instead of only noticing what’s been lost.

What could be good about pain?

It tells us to lie down, to visit the doctor, to rest, to question our thinking.

I have no idea if The Work shifted my leg pain, but the next morning after I questioned my pain, I noticed it was significantly diminished. If I wasn’t against it, or trying to ignore it, but allowing it to be as it is, I asked what it needed me to do….and I rested and lay on my stomach while running telecalls all day.

In my divorce, when I believe I was severely hurt, as I did The Work, I asked what it was the hurt needed. I rested within, instead of being so freaked out.

I gathered with girlfriends who had also been divorced (or were going through it right at the same time). I had a beautiful divorce ceremony with my mother leading where some of the most moving words were spoken, and prayers, poetry and holy gifts were given to me. When I moved, people donated furniture, dishes, napkins.

I discovered a career since I became obsessed with wanting to know the truth and was constantly doing The Work. I had time to read, meditate, and watch videos by people interested in peace and freeing themselves from being victims of reality (when my kids were with their dad).

I took classes like qigong, and did art projects, and started playing music again. I bought different kinds of clothing at Goodwill.

With my hamstring injury, I found yoga, stretching, stillness.

Who am I without my story of being hurt?

Well it seems like I’m so much more than I once was. How strange and mysterious, and weird.

I thought I was less.

It isn’t true.

“You can get clear, so others don’t have to suffer….This is a practice….Wisdom is running the show. Effortless. If I’m walking to the gas chamber, what an amazing day. Other than what I’m thinking and believing, it’s amazing. That doesn’t make it right. But am I awake to what is ultimately right. There’s something immovable–and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s always there. It’s yours. It’s perfect. It’s divine. It’s immovable. It hurts when you argue against it.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love,
Grace
P.S. When you receive this Grace Note, I’ll be deep in the woods of Breitenbush facilitating the winter retreat. If you write to me or leave a comment, I can’t wait to read it on Monday! xo

When I believe they’ve hurt or threatened “me”….suffering in reality

First…a few upcoming events:
  • Thrilled that Breitenbush Retreat starts this Thursday night, and we have such a wonderful group coming together! The good people at Breitenbush may be able to squeeze you in if you want to attend. Call 503-854-3320.
  • First Friday is Second Friday in December 2018: Because I’m out of phone and internet service at Breitenbush, please join me for the monthly Friday open call on December 14th at 7:45-9:15 am PT. Everyone can walk through The Work on an important stressful relationship of your choice, from start to finish. Click here to join us (save this link). It’s free and donations accepted.
  • January 9-14, 2019 is the annual Eating Peace RetreatA most profound immersion into inquiry and mindful eating, where you’ll experience peaceful eating with food of your choosing. It is possible for anyone to end their war with eating, food and the body, and enjoy life with all three. Read about it and sign up here. Lodging available for those wanting to stay onsite (3 rooms left).
  • Online Video/Telecourse (we’re using zoom): Divorce, Break-up, or Separation is Hell–Is It True? January 6-February 17, 2019 (no class 1/13) co-facilitated with Nadine Ferris France, certified facilitator of The Work. Can’t wait to teach this course again! This work made all the difference in the world to me 13 years ago.
  • March 22-24, 2019 I’m hosting with Tamami Fujiwara, (certified facilitator) Roxann Burroughs for Sit In The Fire, a weekend of emotional release work in combination with The Work. Mark your calendar (not taking reservations yet). It will be in a cool venue somewhere near-ish Seattle (all day Friday, Saturday, ending Sunday afternoon).

Speaking of relationships.

Some of the most confusing or painful, I’ve noticed, have been between me and those I’ve been romantically involved with or attracted to.

The other day….sigh, alas, deep breath….I received a card from an old flame.

My mind started chattering as I opened the envelope, a little adrenaline flurry moving through the chest. 

He’ll never stop popping up every few years. What is his problem? This is so old and over with, why does he make any effort? Hasn’t he moved on, for cryin’ out loud? REALLY?!

I had just been noticing a few hours before fetching the mail, that when we do The Work, we’re always relating.

I was noticing when I identify stressful thought, I see a relationship with me and another human being, a relationship between me and a substance like food or drink or tobacco, a relationship between me and money, a relationship between me and the place I work, a relationship between me and a body or ailment, a relationship between me and a member of the family, a relationship between me….and whatever reality presents itself in the moment.

I love how the mind sees in duality or multiples. There’s a me here, and another and another, and then multiple gazillions of infinite others: fence, car, road, cement, wind chime, dog, leg, mug, laptop, glasses, earring, man, letter.

And the surprising fun of it all is the very same mind that sees all this gorgeous variety and “other” and “me” can also answer questions about any of it, instead of simply assuming what it sees is the Truth.

So back to romantic relationships. They sometimes bring pain, it seems.

He abandoned me. She hurt me. He insulted me. She confused me. He betrayed me.

Is that true, what happened in that romantic interlude (whether 1 month, or 30 years)? Is it true that person’s behavior or actions aren’t supportive?

Is it true he’s clinging, or obsessive, or trying to get on my good side again, or can’t let go (as I read the card)?

Can you absolutely know it’s true he hurt you? She hurt you?

This is a good question to sit still with for a long time.

Can you know it’s the Truth for All Time, if you had to answer to the Great Universe, that the person you have in mind….hurt you? Or shouldn’t be sending you a letter in the mail?

You might say “yes”. It’s OK. There is no wrong way to answer this question.

How do you react when you believe what’s happening, including a letter arriving in the mail box, shouldn’t be?

I react by calling up the whole story from the past in literally 2 seconds, remembering snippets of what happened, telling myself a story again of what was–and how it wasn’t good.

Unfinished business. Believed story.

I react with thinking something’s unsafe here, as I open the envelope. Curiosity, worry, memories.

So who would I be without my story? Who would I be without remembering the story of tragedy, abandonment, sadness, grief, confusion, drama?

Who would I be if I wasn’t so sure there was a “me” back then who got dogged, or disappointed?

It doesn’t mean I go into denial in this moment here now, fake pretending everything’s fine, when it isn’t.

I get to notice how quiet it is, and how cozy in my little cottage as I open a letter–which is requesting a get-together. I get to notice what’s unfinished from the past that still feels painful, and feel compassion for myself and for this Other person reaching out.

Without my story, I also notice I have no idea what the other person is thinking.

Turning the thought around: My thinking is dangerous here. My thinking and stories are popping up all over again. My thinking is old, done with. My thinking is confused. My thinking hasn’t moved on. I’m hurting myself, with my thinking. 

Could this be just as true, or truer?

Yes.

In reality, nothing much happening. Simple card received in the mail.

How could it be a good thing, that relationship went the way it did?

Suddenly, feeling appreciation for the old stories, the images from the past. A sense of acceptance…without having to know why or why not, without needing it to have gone any other way than it did.

Noticing in the moment the beauty of the room I’m in, hands that open an envelope, pictures of a man’s face in my mind (from the past). Noticing feeling laughter around the story of that romance, and to myself most of all.

Noticing reality right now is very quiet, and I’m here with this, with myself.

Can I find good reasons that relationship did the dance it did?

Oh yes. It was a most marvelous teacher, the best I could have ever imagined for learning about true, honest unconditional love and mystery. It showed me how stories rise up and fall away, and reappear and fade once again, like waves.

In this moment, the stories of that relationship feel mysterious and without answers, and like the couch I’m sitting on is my closest companion, and except for in my thinking, I’m never alone.

“If someone says ‘I’m leaving you’, she feels the excitement rising inside her, since she can see only the advantages that come from that. What could be a more fulfilling experience than to witness the gift of reality? If someone says, ‘I’m joining you’, she can see only the advantages in that. What could be a dearer experience than having you join me?…..The greatest gift you can give others is your realization that there is no self and no other.” ~ Byron Katie in A Mind At Home With Itself

Here I am noticing today, so much connection and joy with all the love I’ve had the privilege to experience with various humans, and how it’s always been kinder and more exciting than my thoughts about it.

If you want to join in the teleclass about relationship divorce, separation or break-up (no matter when it happened for you) then come discover the peace and excitement. Enroll here.

Much love,

Grace

I am NOT this body, I AM this body–the dance of inquiry here, now!

Lately, I’ve been doing The Work with many people on this body.

It seems like it’s our personal vehicle, it takes us everywhere, it is a living contained organism that’s only ours, no one else’s, this body.

This body.

We’ll move out of it one day, appearing to leave the world (who knows for sure), perhaps having the chance to say goodbye (maybe or maybe not).

And yet, even with all this individuality and independence and solo journeying through life (and some of us enjoy it that way)….

….there’s nothing like gathering with others and sharing the process, the mystery, the stories, the tick-tock of time passing.

Something so very precious about noticing how very Not Alone we are.

There’s a chair, a wall, a rug on the floor. There’s a tiny spider lowering itself from the ceiling.

In my particular environment at the moment of writing these words, there are two other human beings sleeping behind closed doors in bedrooms, on this early morning.

Last night I gathered with eleven other people for a Full Moon circle. A medicine circle.

An important component or structure of this particular circle (as for many circles), every single time, is each person speaking with a talking stick. There may or may not be a topic. You can speak, or not speak. The one holding the stick has the floor, with no interruptions.

Just like on retreats in gatherings to inquire into our thoughts with others, sharing happens out loud. We come together and listen.

What struck me last night, as it has before, is how we don’t know what others will say…and we don’t even know what WE will say.

There can be planning, organizing thoughts, changing our minds, “deciding” on a topic, or no planning at all.

I believe I am the one sharing. This person I am, this voice, this mouth, this “me” with this body.

But I get surprised every time.

During this time of year, we’re moving into winter where I live. The season is growing dark and colder, all the leaves falling from the trees, the heater in the house whirring, a sweater coming on over the head upon rising out of bed.

At this time, I feel the deep contentment of sharing with others in these inquiry circles that appear to have come together with Year of Inquiry and Eating Peace Process, where we are simply, deeply, regularly moving into exploring What Is over and over again with the four questions.

We’re watching this magnificent mind (or, OK, this torturous mind), and sharing it in writing or out loud. We’re listening.

I notice the mind LOVES asking and answering questions. It likes searching for answers, it likes investigating and learning so much, and making natural shifts or adjustments out of asking whether or not something is really true.

I also notice the mind loves doing this with other people. Otherwise, it can go down worm holes and wild goose chases and side bars and mazes and perhaps get lost there for weeks (years) without a flashlight.

So back to the body inquiries I’ve been privileged to be a part of lately.

We all see how we’re assigned to this particular body, and then at least if you’re like me, I wind up believing “it’s mine” and then….I’m all alone, really.

It can sometimes be quite stressful.

How do I react when I believe I’m all on my own? Self-contained? Unique? Independent? By Myself? Special? The One with This Problem (physically, emotionally, relationally)?

I see myself as vulnerable and isolated. I feel nervous that “my” body is a unique organism or vehicle, especially if it has illness, or pain or something damaged, or by comparison it’s not as good as it once was in history, or not as good as other bodies I see.

I FEEL alone when I believe the thought I’m on my own.

So who would I be without this thought that I’m all on my own, self-contained, unique, independent, by myself, special, the One with this problem?

Relieved. Sharing. Connected to other humans. Putting myself in the company of others on purpose for sharing circles (even if my mind criticizes other people or things that happen there sometimes).

Without this story, I notice the cushions in the rooms so soft and available for support, and the four walls of the room standing strong for apparently many years, long before the body I seem to live in even existed.

Without this story I notice how this mind can open up to so much more than this body–it sees other visions, places, items in the environment. It gives attention to other people. It joins with things.

Turning the thought around: I am NOT all alone. I am surrounded, merged, connected. I get in a vehicle (which puts me in the company of a machine called a car) and drive to a gathering of people with a bright moon overhead in the night sky.

I am not all alone.

On telecalls almost every day, doing The Work, I share with people wondering about their behavior with food and eating, or with their thoughts, or with the people in their lives.

I read peoples’ words as they consider their minds, from their writing online, our questions, our puzzlement. I read their answers to the four questions….so dear. I hear the voices of a whole group on the phone gathered to study this human experience, together. I read other peoples’ comments in the Eating Peace group or the Year of Inquiry group and we’re together.

Turning around the thought again: My thinking is all alone.

Sure. The mind is running, just like my heart is beating. It’s doing its thing.

And the minute I connect with other beings to ponder an idea or a concept, this isn’t even true anymore.

What I notice is how often I have had the thought I’m all alone when the world seems threatening and I’m scared.

I never have been. Only the mind says so.

Otherwise, there’s stuff, mugs, tea, furniture, grass, trees, sky, activity, animals, sounds, humans, leg, arm, computer.

I notice the surprise of what comes out of the mouth when I’m in a sharing circle. So, even the words or this writing is not “mine”!

I have this body, it is “mine”—is it true?

Can I hold this contemplation with the deepest joy of mystery?

What if it’s a good thing that nothing belongs to me….not even this body, not even this mind?

I notice, there’s something very exciting about not being able to identify For Sure that this body, this thought, these words are “mine”….and yet still be here, noticing.

What a thrilling mystery.

“A man who knows that he is neither body
nor mind cannot be selfish, for he has nothing to be selfish for. Or, you may say, he is equally ‘selfish’ on behalf of everybody he meets; everybody’s welfare is his own. The feeling ‘I am the world, the world is myself’ becomes quite natural….

“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ~ Nisargadatta in I Am That

Today, I thank you for being here and reading these words.

I love you, being here in whatever way you are.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your presence matters. How do I know? Because you’re here.

Much love,
Grace
P.S. In two weeks I’ll be at Breitenbush and my husband Jon will be in the retreat group with us all (he loves The Work). The forecast calls for very cold rain. Dark, cold, fresh, exquisite woods with cozy warm cabins, and optional hot springs soaking if you like, and a circle of wonderful investigating human beings all interested in looking at their stressful thinking. Dec. 6-9 (Thurs evening through Sunday lunch). Call to make your reservations 503-854-3320. Only a few spots left.

P.P.S. If you deeply desire to join one of the groups underway, there’s always room for those who want to share with others in inquiry. You could jump on the inquiry train. We’ll welcome you with open arms (in either eating peace or year of inquiry, if you have some experience in The Work). Hit reply to ask.

from a place of peace, we can more easily take the next step

Remember when I used to write a Grace Note every single day? It didn’t matter if I was traveling, in a different time zone, even teaching a retreat.

I always sat down and did The Work in writing often completing it before I went to sleep, and scheduled it to send a few hours later.

Then my thumbs started getting carpel tunnel, I’d miss or leave things to go write, I’d not get relaxing time with family.

So, the way of peace was to rest more, without so much activity.

We often think we have to do, do, do! Go, go, go! Push on! Keep up the good work! Don’t stop! Never stop working towards the goal! ACTION IS ALWAYS GOOD!

We all know what the usual ideas about “taking action” sound like.

Mind says: You need to get to that other place. The successful place. The place where you’ve achieved what you want to achieve.

That would be so great, right?

I’ll be happy when I get there.

I’ll have enough money. I’ll be the right size body. I’ll have a great relationship. I won’t have compulsions. I will have made it. I’ll be safe. I’ll be enlightened.

Until then….I can’t rest. And I can’t get no satisfaction.

I need to keep moving. Get that last thing “done” before I shut down for the night, so I’m ready to keep it going as soon as I wake up next morning.

Time for inquiry.

Think of just one “goal” you’d love to achieve. The project you want done. The success you’d love to call yours.

You need to get there in order to be happy—is that true?

I’m thinking of having money set aside for retirement and to pay medical bills or get support in old age.

Enough. There. Done.

I’d be happy. Can I absolutely know that it’s true?

Many people right now in the Eating Peace program have had this thought about being the “right” weight. Being thin.

It seems true.

If I was the right size (the scale read the right numbers) or if I had whatever x amount of dollars or if my garage was cleaned out or if my health was perfect, or if I had a fabulous loving relationship, if my spouse changed, if my book was published, or if I found the spiritual answer I’ve been seeking….

….I’d be happy.

Is it 100% guaranteed for-all-time true?

Woah. Um.

Heh heh. I’m not sure.

I do notice this mind seems to find fault very quickly with What Is. It begins to wonder if there isn’t something more interesting over the next horizon?

In my particular situation considering the belief I’ll be happy if I have some money for retirement, I’ve worked with so many people–even those in the money course I offer in the new year annually–who have ample money for years worth of retirement.

And they still aren’t “happy”.

I can’t absolutely know that if I got what I think I want, I’d be happy or enjoying life without fear.

It doesn’t mean I won’t still get the thing. It doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea.

It’s just that putting all that happiness onto the achievement of this future hope, this future gain, this future ideal isn’t necessarily going to bring some state of happiness, or absence of fear, or complete peace.

So what happens when you believe the achievement of some goal means you’ll be happy?

Well, I work towards that goal like a worker bee without stopping. I don’t see the forest for the trees, only the one tree in front of me.

I hurt my own thumbs even though they’re getting stiff by writing too often.

I read piles of books about the topics I’m interested in. I hunt.

So who would you be without your belief that you must get “there” in order to be truly, fully happy?

Pause.

What if this was your last week on earth (in a good way–I’m not trying to scare you)?

My dear friend Carl died last year, just over a year ago. A year before he died, he felt he hadn’t achieved all the creative artist output he wanted to. He hadn’t put up a website he loved, and only had two successful gallery shows with his art. No agent signings with his music.

But as he moved towards death by cancer, he continued joyfully with his creative work with nothing holding him back. I never heard him say “I didn’t make it” even though some things did not happen for him. He was picking out his favorite website photos and the artwork in his last month of life.

I had the thought…..that could be me even if I’m 92 years old and an entire life lived….there would still be something I didn’t complete or finish.

And there would also be a ton I did.

Experiences, sharing, wondering, looking, being, doing, resting and taking action.

Who I’d be without the thought there’s some different alternative better way, that isn’t here yet, is peaceful.

I’d even be laughing.

Turning the story around:

You do NOT need to get to that other place in the imagination. This place here is a successful place. This place here is neither a successful nor failing place. There is no achievement by “me” in isolation.

Life is happening, and I’m a violin being played. I don’t seem to be a saxophone. Even if I Iike the sound of the saxophone, it’s not required to notice beauty, joy, grief, fullness of heart, noise, silence.

This place here, this moment, is a fine moment without my beliefs about it, or my beliefs about myself and what’s required for safety, security, love.

This place now, this moment now, has come to be….and it’s astonishing.

Now which place do you think is more likely to produce some kind of interesting activity, movement, or change:

The first orientation, where What Is, is not good enough? Or the place I see when I inquire…where What Is, is rather exciting, quiet, wondrous?

“From a place of peace, we can more easily take the next step. And sometimes the next step means taking no step at all, but falling deeply in love with where we are. This is NOT the same as giving up. This is not passivity or toleration of the ‘negative’. This is not the same as abandoning all hope of a better future. There is no abandonment here. This is not stagnation. This is not weakness. This is true courage. The willingness to slow down, be present, drink in all the richness – the joy and the sorrow, the doubt and the creativity – of the present scene.” ~ Jeff Foster

The more true turnaround is that my thinking isn’t “there” or “good enough” or “successful”.

It’s in the future, or the past, unsatisfied, worried, anxious.

But it’s just a thought.

Other than that, everything’s perfect.

Much love,
Grace
P.S. If you’re drawn to answering the four questions and finding turnarounds, and feeling the potential surprise at the other side of inquiry…there’s still space at Breitenbush Dec. 6-9 (Thurs evening through Sunday lunch). Call to make your reservations 503-854-3320.

Is there any joy possible in this complaint-worthy moment? (+ Breitenbush in a month!)

I am sooooo excited today to learn that the Breitenbush Winter Retreat in The Work of Byron Katie is filling up beautifully. We have plenty of folks registered.

That’s not always the case. Last year the winter retreat got switched from Breitenbush to my house in Seattle with seven people attending.

What?!

But it’s not always an easy time of year to travel, and the resort is deep in the woods of the Oregon Cascades. One has to fly to Portland, then rent a car. It will take us six hours to drive there from Seattle. There’s no cell phone service, nor internet.

Perfect.

My husband Jon will be accompanying me. We made a little introductory video we shared on facebook. Sending it to you now with our joyful invitation to you to join us in this somewhat odd time (is it true?) for retreat, December 6-9.

And, there will be dancing on Saturday night.

See our video share here.

Sometimes, I’m so happy an event with The Work is on the horizon, my hands are clapping.

I forget, there’s also a part of the mind that’s so full of moaning and groaning, wailing and lamenting that says “Do I have to? I don’t wanna! Waaaaaah!”

That voice or resistant part of mind will complain about anything, even doing The Work. Even having such an amazing job as doing The Work.

It loves to complain.

Which happens to be our third month topic in Year of Inquiry: complaining.

I love looking up words, and their etymology.

Com is Latin for bringing together, merging, intensifying, pressing together. It shows up in the beginning of so many words, to emphasize the intensity of whatever follows.

And then “plaint” meant to beat one’s chest. Grieve, moan, bewail.

It’s quite dramatic, and yet we refer to complaints often as things we shouldn’t bother bringing up. Irritants. Unimportant. Unaccepting.

“Stop complaining about the weather!” we might say. As if there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it, so stop. Pull it together and try to enjoy yourself for a change!

At least, this is what I discovered when I realized my complaints were most of all about……complainers.

Yup.

They’re so negative. Why don’t they stop?

I couldn’t see the plank (or is that “plaint”) in my own eye.

So here’s an exercise we all did in Year of Inquiry that you might find very helpful if you find yourself complaining, whether inside your own head or verbally speaking it to others:

What’s wrong with this thing you’re complaining about, for real? What don’t you like about it? What bothers you? What’s the very absolute worst that could happen if it never stops?

Traffic, lateness, time, work, money, weather, procrastination, mess, family, dirty dishes, tone of voice, inefficiency, taxes.

What’s one of your most common, persistent complaints?

The thing I love about The Work, and looking directly at this “problem” we perceive in reality, is instead of brushing it aside and trying to ignore it, we’re treating this complaint with some respect.

We’re turning towards it, to understand this predicament better.

As I looked at my old co-worker (the one I thought was the star complainer) I could see that as she spoke I became worried too. Her complaining was so discouraging.

I was upset about all the things she mentioned: her neighbor, her car, her health, the environment, her upbringing, poverty, this organization we worked for, mean people, liars, eating troubles.

It was like a big balloon within me let all the air out and I felt defeated, and unable to solve any of the terrible problems she shared. Sad, sad, sad. Bringing me down.

Bewailing! Groaning!

Underneath my belief she shouldn’t keep complaining all the time, was another more serious story to question: Reality is tough, life is hard, bad things happen, the world is harsh, people suffer terribly, you have to watch out.

Ah, but can I absolutely know that it’s true?

If I think these fearful thoughts, if I notice I keep saying the same upsetting comment to myself, if I keep feeling bothered by some life activity or a person I encounter….

….then the moment is worthy of inquiry. I want to investigate.

Is it really as bad as I think?

“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

That joy is in everyone, always?

Really? Hmmm.

But let’s see: the moment you’ve been complaining about, you know, that one?

There is no joy anywhere to be found in that moment, anywhere. It doesn’t exist. It’s not possible. No Joy. Ever.

Can you absolutely know that’s true?

Are you sure your perspective is the ONLY perspective in this complaint-worthy moment?

Are there other things in the environment, like a relaxed rug, a comfy chair, a quiet soft sofa? Is there oxygen dancing everywhere? Is there a pillow, a book, a happy mug of hot tea? Is there a desk ready to serve 24/7, a bright computer, a smooth cool notebook?

Are you sure every story is sad in this moment? Or is it just a thought?

Much love,
Grace

The good news about the rain and watching “nothing” happen and all plans blown away

Yesterday and the day before, it rained so hard the drops looked like streaks of light, with a flurry of churning foam swirling where it hit hard pavement.

A puddle formed so huge next to my car, I had to climb into the driver’s seat from the passenger side. At night, the inch of open window letting in fresh air to the bedroom was blasting a cool breeze the room like a fan.

Then in the morning, when everything seemed calm, dark and quiet, with what appeared to be a soft steady rain….

….moments before First Friday call was cued, ready to press “go” for all the inquirers coming to do The Work for 90 minutes together on our open online inquiry session….

….thunk.

You could literally hear a thunk coming from somewhere in the atmosphere, and all the lights went out.

Power outage.

It was dawn-ish dark. An autumn morning, the day before the time change in the US, with light barely in the sky at 7:30 am.

I lit candles and pondered what to do, knowing people were dialing in to do The Work in moments.

I could quick put on clothes, take my lap top, and try to find public internet as close by as possible? I’ve done this before. I’ve held teleclasses in hotel parking lots, hospital lobbies, my car, or outside the Starbucks. The trouble with my options was that it was raining, and rush hour. So I’d need to bundle up and find someplace covered, and reasonably quiet.

I still would likely be late to my own call, and everyone would have hung up by the time I connected. IF I even got connected.

So if it was a national emergency, believe me….I would have been driving somewhere in my slippers trying to find a connection so we could all do The Work together.

But it was not an emergency.

What a funny day, of unexpected plans and changes.

After awhile, I packed up my gym bag with a change of clothes and towel so I could go shower there, and I stopped at the Starbucks for a coffee which was full of happy people talking, waiting, standing in line (and bright lights)! At the gym they had lights, but no working internet there, either.

I answered a few emails using my phone, especially all the emails where someone wrote “am I doing something wrong?” about the call!

Then, reading at the library that the electricity probably wouldn’t be restored in my area for at least a few hours, I began to drive north to meet my son who had texted me the night before, in the middle of the stormiest part of the evening when the wind had been churned up.

He had said he was coming for a meeting to the city north of me called Everett. “I’ll let you know tomorrow where we can meet for lunch, mom!”

I hadn’t heard from him yet on this strangely quiet morning, which was now almost afternoon. I sent out a text letting him know we had no power, so I’m going ahead and hitting the road to the north and moseying up towards the city he was in.

No response.

I remembered as I drove, this was an area where a specialty dance store lives. I used to drive all the way out here to buy my daughter special tap shoes or leotards. Why not stop and see if they have some comfy dance pants or sweats I’ve been needing for awhile?

Success.

But still no text from my son.

I wound up driving to the bus station where my daughter would be arriving in another 90 minutes, to wait. I got myself a cup of tea and sat in my car, staring out the window. And thinking about what an odd day it was of non-doing or random floaty-type doing because I’m waiting and I have the time. Which is rare.

My son’s phone, it turned out, had died….(there seems to be a theme). He had no charger so he had driven all the way to our house only to find a dark cottage without electricity, so he went to the same Starbucks I had been to earlier, borrowing my charger–at which point he was able to text me.

My daughter arrived on the bus, jumped in my car, and we drove home. Still no electrical power. No hot water. No heat. No lights. No battery charging.

We all went to a movie together for the 4 o’clock matinee. That never happens.

I joked a few times that I would need to do The Work on disappointing the First Friday participants and being a flake, or not getting much done for a Friday when I always work on my business.

But it does seem like things just moved as they did and I followed along. There were moments of thinking, and noticing the idea it was “sad” to not accomplish anything today.

I also noticed “anxiousness” when remembering Sunday (that’s tomorrow!) I’m starting a free, open facebook live 7 day course on eating peace and believing I should be preparing more for it. By the way, no opt-in required, all you need to do is request membership in the private eating peace facebook group and all the daily live videos will happen there.

Also in my wanderings and waitings of the day away from home, “grief” came through from the beautiful and very bittersweet visit I was still digesting after visiting my dear friend Carl’s gravesite. I was there just 2 days ago on Dia De Los Muertos, November 1st.

And then, surprisingly at the end of that day, I watched the computer open, the lights on, and tap tapping of fingers sharing with you my day, in all its unexpected and fascinating strangeness.

So, we’ll have a new inquiry jam session: First Monday, November 5th 5:30-7:00 pm Pacific Time. A day and time that’s completely different, I know. Next month in December it will be First Friday again at 7:45 am PT.

This is a time to dial in for open inquiry doing The Work from start to finish. Simply connect here a few minutes before we start. No experience or prep necessary, just come and question a stressful thought or two, listen, share if you want. A time for undoing thinking, and being.

Who would I be without my thoughts about how a day is supposed to go? Or what should not happen? Or what should?

Wow. Jeez. I might notice I’ve been wanting to go even slower. I’ve been meditating just a bit longer when I do meditate. I’ve been interested in turning to quiet, simple, non-working space. Even fewer plans than ever.

Noticing the friendliness of this past day, reality, and how very supportive it is. Even without lights.

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. ~ Langston Hughes

What’s raining in your life? Maybe it can beat upon your head with silver drops, or a kiss.
It doesn’t mean you have to like it, but is there anything interesting about it? Anything remotely good? Anything helpful?
Find your turnarounds. They could be a soothing lullaby. You never know.

Much love,
Grace
P.S. I received quite a few requests for the recording of the eating peace webinar I recently offered for the first time. If you want to address any compulsion, not just eating, maybe it will help (I’d love your feedback). I was so plagued by compulsion, in many ways more than eating, it means so much to share in community the healing around compulsive behavior of any kind. You can watch it here.

I don’t want to. I quit. I won’t like it. Can I absolutely know that’s true?

The other day, I had the thought “I don’t want to do anything anymore. I quit.”

Kind of funny.

I was sharing on the eating peace webinar how the mind, even when we do The Work regularly, runs and has commentary, and sometimes grand blanket-statement commentary.

It’ll come up with the goofiest things.

As if we have an insane aunt or uncle hanging out in the corner saying things just out of the blue.

I was doing The Work recently with the dearest inquirer.

She said in the middle of her work; “life is just a series of distractions made until we reach the end and can finally die.”

It was the very same kind of thought as the one I told you about a second ago, the one that said “just quit everything” with bravado, like it’s a real idea, or even one that’s possible to follow. (Whatever “everything” is, I’m not even sure).

This kind of grand statement about all of life can show up in more subtle ways, too, about one topic, or an experience.

For example, speaking of holidays….

In my family, there are already texts running around suggesting the location, time, menu and expectations for Thanksgiving. I may have even been the one who started it with a question about who was doing what to someone in the family.

Today in the USA it’s Halloween. If we’re “fun” people, we’ll wear costumes, right? (Another thought I’ve had in the past).

Perhaps we’re even attending a party, or trick-or-treating with kids or grandkids.

The mind is so creative, it immediately can see visions of past tables of food, people having discussions, living rooms, traditions, lights, decorations, meals, activities.

It says “oh no! It’s going to be hard!” or “I won’t like it!”

The mind supplies these past experiences to imagine what’s to come in the near future.

Even as I write this, I just imagined kids coming to the door at 6 pm when it’s beginning to get dark, and I just had the thought “Oh no, I didn’t buy any treats!” Followed by the thought to turn off the porch lights and hide, as my husband and I joked last night. Or go out to a movie.

Is it true the best option is quitting?

Is it true that not going is easier than going?

Is it true you won’t have fun once you get there? Or have a great time even? Or be entertained by life, family, people, atmosphere, no expectations?

No.

I once learned from a wise therapist I saw for quite awhile that if I wanted to go to a large gathering like a party, but felt afraid, I could enter and say to the first person I saw “I don’t really feel comfortable coming to parties….I’m kind of shy.”

It would be so honest, she advised, that I wouldn’t feel like I have to pretend anything.

I tried it at the next gathering I was invited to.

She was right. I had the best conversation.

I started telling the truth at parties or larger gatherings or groups, including my own family-of-origin gatherings. Adding The Work to the process seemed to really help.

Who would I be without the belief that what I’m invited to is going to be dangerous, anxiety-provoking, boring, dumb, a waste of time, hard work, or Not Fun?

Who would I be without the belief that I need to “quit” something, especially something that hasn’t even happened yet?

Ahhhhhh.

I’d feel relaxed.

I’d notice this quiet moment. I’d notice how much fun I have both in silence, and with other people.

Turning the thought around: I don’t have to quit. I can’t actually “quit” everything. And wouldn’t want to.

Quitting will happen eventually, for everything I do now (in the form of death). Reality will take care of the quitting, starting, stopping, going, moving, thinking, ending, being.

Still turning it around: my thinking should quit. Yes, it could quit ruminating on the future. I could quit believing the thoughts about quitting are even true (I notice they aren’t).

My thinking can run, the voices in my mind can speak, and it doesn’t mean I’ll stay home. Maybe I will….and maybe I won’t! I might have a whole heck of a lot of fun if I go.

And that idea feels more fun, right in this moment. And easy, since nothing is required right now. I don’t have to “know” exactly what will happen, what to decide, or what to do.

That which comes and goes, rises and sets, is born and dies is the ego. That which always abides, never changes, and is devoid of qualities is the Self. ~ Ramana Maharshi

Much love,
Grace
P.S. At Breitenbush, we’ll be dancing on Saturday night in the great lodge–open to everyone staying at Breitenbush (not just our group). A wonderful option for movement without speaking, being as you are.

Do the same thoughts appear and re-appear for inquiry in your life? The good news about that.

  • Breitenbush is filling and it’s only $245 tuition until 10/31 (it goes up to $295 on 11/1). Thurs eve to Sunday lunch (+lodging and meals at low-season rate). 16 CEUs for mental health professionals or 12 for ITW candidates.
  • Seattle East West Books November 3rd 2-5pm $40 The simple Work of Byron Katie
  • Eating Peace Retreat Jan 9-14, 2019 Seattle. Deep immersion in The Work and eating, dependency, compulsions and body image issues.

I had the best time talking about The Work with my friend Todd Smith who is also a certified facilitator of The Work.Our conversation is the revival of the itunes Peace Talk podcast! You can also download it here.

One thing that struck me about talking with Todd was something he said that I’ve also experienced: The Work just never gets boring.

Which is somewhat SHOCKING, given some part of me that’s ALWAYS wanting to be entertained.

But what if you’ve thought The Work HAS gotten boring?

What if you’ve had the thought “this isn’t working for me!!”

Well, surprise….I’ve had those thoughts too.

Not that long ago, I shared a Grace Note about money woes and worries, and someone wrote back to me that she’s noticed I’ve written about the same thing before.

In other words, she was wondering about the experience of change or absence of it. Because here I was again looping back to the same old thoughts about money like “I need more” and “there won’t be enough” and “I have to work hard to get it” and “I’ll lose it.” Blah blah blah, right?

I loved this reflection and question from the reader.

Because it reminded me how change has occurred in my life, sometimes rather suddenly, but way, way, way more often slowly, incrementally, step-by-step, one day at a time. Todd and I were noticing this orientation to practicing The Work during our podcast conversation, as we shared our experiences doing inquiry.

The mild, tiny adjustments that have occurred in the process of self-inquiry are the ones that for me, seem to stick.

There is a term I learned from a friend once who received her master’s degree in food science. She told me about the word “titrate”.

When someone is titrating one thing into another, what this means is they’re adding one substance or chemical to another larger substance one tiny drop at a time so that it mixes in and is imperceptible, until a certain point when it one more drop tips to “perceptible” and measurable and the whole thing mixed together is neutralized.

When The Work “works” for me, it feels like the great issues of the human condition appear and reappear in my daily life over and over, and they are questioned one moment at a time, one drop at a time.

And as I look back at the road taken, I chuckle at the adventure and the stories I traveled through. They no longer appear to be horror stories, or traumatic stories, or dangerous stories. (And if they do appear frightening or disappointing, I can question them, of course).

What are the great issues and stories I’ve become most aware of over time, that seem to have repeated themselves in different formats and themes?

Here they are:

1) Thinking “my” survival and security are threatened. Physical pain or danger or injury, sickness, death, money.

2) Thinking my needs are not being met in relationship to others. I don’t have enough love, kindness, sharing, or there’s loss of attention, being cut off or dismissed, someone’s angry. (See #1).

3) Thinking other peoples’ needs aren’t being met. Worry about their pain, money, sickness, injury, lack of safety, death. Which reminds me of my own and of course I notice I’d be happier if they were happier. (Uh, See #1 again).

4) Thinking pleasure or joy or love or rest isn’t possible in certain situations. Noise, rage, natural “disasters”, violence, surprise. I’m here temporarily and there are no guarantees about survival. (Hmmm, See #1).

5) Thinking there’s something wrong with me and if I fix it I’ll feel better. Shame, guilt, self-criticism, fear, addiction. (Come to think of it, my own mind is an enemy: See #1).

It seems like as I look at everything I object to….

….it’s about “my” survival and “my” happiness and “my” security.

Not that there’s anything wrong with this “my” thing going on. LOL.

It’s quite natural after all, for me to be taking care of me and watching out for me and learning about me and navigating a course for me and being with me.

But who would we be without the beliefs that all point to something-is-threatening……me?

What is this “me” that is so threatened anyway?

Woah.

Maybe if we got there all at once with our stories of stress and suffering, the beautiful slow process of gentle titration wouldn’t happen the way it does, and we’d have a cracked open mind or go completely bonkers (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Consider the outliers who have sudden “awakenings” like Byron Katie or Eckhart Tolle. They didn’t have a very good time to the point leading up to their breakdowns. It was so severe, they almost committed suicide. And maybe not so easy after they cracked open, either.

Who would we be without the belief “it needs to change faster” in my mind or “my approach to inquiry needs to be more dramatic” or “The Work needs to produce a clear, obvious upgrade” or “I shouldn’t need to repeatedly question the very same story”?

Are you sure it’s the exact same story? Are you sure you’re not progressing? Are you sure something’s not working, or needs to go faster?

What I notice is something happening that’s like a slow, slow dawning. Not too fast. Not too slow. Just right for this one.

Repeating itself. Sun rising, once again. Sun setting, once again. Coming and going.

Noticing how much is repeated, reborn, dying again.

The Way of It.

“How do I know when it’s time to do The Work? I don’t even have to know what to do The Work on–it appears. The story comes, and if it’s not totally comfortable, undo it–or not.” ~ Byron Katie

If you do The Work on the very same thing every single day, can you absolutely know it’s true that nothing is changing?

No.

Are you sure something needs to change?

No.

Isn’t that exciting!?

“In the pursuit of knowledge, every day something is added. In the practice of the Tao, every day something is dropped. Less and less do you need to force things, until finally you arrive at non-action. When nothing is done, nothing is left undone. True mastery can be gained by letting things go their own way. It can’t be gained by interfering.” ~ Tao Te Ching #48

Much love,
Grace
P.S. Join me live on facebook on Mondays at 2 pm Pacific Time.

Head to Work With Grace facebook page and “like” it to be alerted to the live show.

Even in that horrible situation, it was kinder than my own thoughts about it.

I’m resting flat on my bed while I write in this moment.

I’ve been getting ready for 2 days for the autumn retreat. Remembering what to put in the box, hauling things over to the beautiful property. Everything is prepared at the retreat house, the sun is shining brilliantly with a deep blue sky, and the forecast calls for more golden fall sun for several days.

We’ll be having some amazing silent walks in the Seattle area neighborhood, that’s for sure. I’ve done them in the drizzle, in the heavy rain, in crisp gray cold winter weather, and this time in the bright sun. Can’t wait.

I most can’t wait for retreat to begin because it’s for me. I’m ready for retreat just as much as those attending.

I have a few thoughts to question, and I know they’ll start unraveling themselves in the presence of other sincere inquirers.

It happened today earlier during the Year of Inquiry group call. Two incredible thoughts brought to me like thoughts handed on a platter built for awakening.

Here you go….question this, Grace.

One of the thoughts a courageous inquirer took to The Work?

I’m all on my own.

What a frightening, discouraging, painful thought. But mostly it’s so painful when you think it means no one is there for you, no one is helping you, no kindness is offered, no relief.

It’s the feeling of having to contend with reality, in whatever form.

How many times have I had this belief running in my mind?

He left me, she left me. She won’t talk to me. I don’t have enough. It hurts. I can’t handle it. No one is here. I’m the only one who cares, or tries. I ‘have to’.

From working at jobs where the boss felt difficult, to being physically injured, to cancer coming to visit, to all the money gone.

I’m on my own.

How do you react when you believe this thought?

Discouraged. Resigned.

Giving up.

Full of imagined future terrors. Picturing the next abusive moment that could potentially happen. Worry. Feeling so vulnerable. Full of self-criticism and self-attack.

So….who would you be without this thought you are on your own?

I see the moments I’ve had this thought when I think something unacceptable and horrifying happened, or something mean and violent happened, or something shocking and frightening happened.

Who am I in these moments, without the belief I am on my own, I was on my own, with no help, nothing else, no support?

Today, I was filled with the beauty of The Work and the power of love, as I listened. The inquirer questioning this thought in our group became still and felt the memory of a moment she was sure was so difficult.

Then she noticed reality: she’s in a bathtub as a child. The water is so nice, warm. It is surrounded by a bath that holds the water. Blood is being washed away. Her mother is there, having put her in the bath. There’s a room, a floor, a house with walls, a ceiling.

Can I stay with the moments I’ve been so sure were dreadful, when I thought I was all on my own, and notice?

In my cottage 12 years ago. No one else home. Children gone. Former husband gone. Family gone. Money gone. Cancer diagnosis.

Who would I be without the belief I am on my own?

Looking around the room. Noticing the couch holding me, the floor under the couch, the foundation hooked by gravity to the earth. Noticing a bookshelf, a rug, running water, a cupboard with crackers, a wall heater.

Things everywhere. Sure, perhaps no humans, but something better than other humans: a place to sit, in silence, without interruption.

And then the most marvelous sound.

The inquirer who is doing The Work today of this very thought begins to laugh.

“My thoughts are all alone. I am not alone.”

Laughter, and more laughter, and more. Rising like a bubbling burst of joy. I was laughing too.

All I know is, in this work today, and in this work about to happen for 4 days, and in The Work I’ve ever been a part of in the past….this kind of discovery is the most wonderful feeling in the entire world.

To see that life, and all its experiences, has been more kind, supportive, caring, quiet, gentle and filled with love than I ever, ever have imagined when I’ve believed my stressful thoughts.

I feel so very lucky, so full of appreciation to notice what’s actually true. Astonishing.

I thank every inquirer who does The Work with me, as I get to see the most remarkable clarity arise out of their own inquiry. Stunning.

“Reality is always kinder than the story we tell about it.” ~ Byron Katie

Yes, even that story. Even that one.

Especially that one.

Much love,
Grace
P.S. This may seem a little crazy, but I have more room than I’ve had in awhile at this retreat. If you want to come, email me or text me 206-650-1230. You can join us. Several of the participants who were going to be here are signing up for the Breitenbush retreat instead. If you want to be there, it’s only $245 before 11/1 for 3 whole days.