The Year of Inquiry (YOI) circle begins next week in earnest with live telecalls. No one has to commit completely until November 1st.
This week, everyone’s going through Orientation, scheduling their first solo session with me, and joining our private forum watching the tech intro video. We’re writing our first Judge Your Neighbor worksheet.
We’re gathering. We don’t know each other yet. We’re about to begin our journey.
We’re taking the plunge into sharing inquiry in a committed way with other people. Scheduling it.
Not just doing it in the car in our heads.
Plus, our in-person live group (optional) retreat in Seattle is only six weeks away (Oct 17-21…it will be amazing, the highlight of my fall).
If you are seriously considering joining this fabulous one-year small group of inquirers, email me soon for a conversation: firstname.lastname@example.org or read about it here. Only a few spots left.
A participant in a past year shared this with the YOI group as we got underway, and I feel the same: “I’d like to say how much I’m enjoying being a part of this group. I thank you all very much for coming together and making it possible. I thank me, too, for this gift to myself.” ~ YOI Participant
Being connected to others in groups and at a deeply intimate level has offered me shifts in my life that have changed…..everything.
But being in a group can be uncomfortable! It can be really freaky scary!
It might be boring, stupid, full of annoying people, or depressing!
The first time I went to a twelve step meeting, over thirty years ago, I was so shocked that people spoke the way they were. I was quite literally stunned.
I had no idea you could say out loud what was going on inside your mind and heart.
I had no idea you could actually tell the truth.
But I caught the bug of awareness about my own mind by hearing others talk about theirs.
A few years later, I joined a therapy group.
That scared me half to death. I was silent for six months before the therapist actually said “your silence is actually very controlling”.
OMG! Really? But I don’t want anyone, ever, to see anything wrong with ME!
Oh. Right. I’m controlling the potential opinions of others.
This very resistance to people seeing what’s wrong with me, and the story I have about it, may be a terrible misunderstanding. And also, the primary way the story remains intact.
When I first encountered The Work of Byron Katie, I felt a memory stir of how I felt when I started that group therapy in my twenties.
I wanted to clam up.
Thanks! Got it! I’ll just go away and handle this BY MYSELF! See ya! I’m good! Yep, yessirree I’ve done a LOT of personal work so I’ll take it from here!
I wanted to burn my Judge Your Neighbor worksheets. I might even look over my shoulder while I wrote them just to make sure no one was coming.
Once, I was reading a worksheet out loud to a facilitator (who I could hardly believe I had hired), and I watched myself skip right over one of my sentences, one of my stressful concepts.
I couldn’t read that one. Then the facilitator would really hate me. Maybe some judgments are acceptable, but not that one.
I’ll just work on that one later, by myself in my closet with a flashlight.
The truth is, when you work with a group of people, and get to know them and show up regularly, you have no way to manipulate, direct, appease, lighten, or control what anyone does, says, thinks or feels when you tell the absolute truth.
We may see parts of you that you normally keep hidden.
You may not be able to keep that ugly stuff to yourself anymore.
“The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes.” ~ Pema Chodron
The thing is, you can only maneuver your life into being closed and careful for so long.
At some point, for everyone, their interest in the truth and revealing themselves becomes more important than holding things together.
I find every time I join a collection of people with the intention to learn, grow, incorporate and understand….it’s thrilling.
Our joining makes something wonderful happen.
But I’ve got a lot of practice now at self-disclosure. I know from experience that it works WAY better than puttin’ a lid on it.
I speak from careful testing.
I would have LOVED to maintain a perfect image and never have to say the yucky stuff, the fears, the anger, the sadness.
But it was killing me not to.
Even if you’re super crazy shy, you know how great it feels to have one of those wonderful, close, connected, honest conversations.
Being with others in a deeply honest way may not only be good, it may change your entire life.
Twelve step groups, support groups, one-on-one counseling, group therapy, retreats, prayer circles, study groups, people who do The Work of Byron Katie together.
We the people are somewhere you can reach us…whether on the phone, in your neighborhood, in your city.
You mean….I am going to reveal my stressful, weird, unpleasant, nasty, immature beliefs?
You mean I’m going to tell about my inadequacies, fears, and anger?
You mean I’m going to write what is inside my head? On paper (not in invisible ink)? And read what I write OUT LOUD?
Yes. You are. (You know you want to)!
You may feel sick for a little bit, but it’s awesome.
The more I’ve done The Work….the easier its gotten to reveal my innermost crushing thoughts to other humans.
In fact, the cave is no longer dark and musty and smelly–the one filled with all those resistant beliefs.
It’s rather light and treasure-filled now.
I see now that this comes from being totally and completely honest, noticing exactly where and what I wanted to hide, and uncovering it…all the way.
“Most people don’t get out of childhood, or adolescence, without being wounded for telling the truth. Someone says ‘you can’t say that’ or ‘you shouldn’t say that’ or ‘that wasn’t appropriate’ so most of us human beings have a very deep underlying conditioning that says that just to be who we are is not OK….Most human beings have an imprinting that if they’re real, if they’re honest, somebody’s not gonna like it. And they won’t be able to control their environment if they tell the truth.” ~ Adyashanti
Letting go of control, you become very honest.
That moment of speaking the truth without trying to get anything or expect anything or look a particular way–that moment of just being you–what an amazing shift.
You may notice a freedom beyond belief.
“If you aren’t afraid of dying, there is nothing you can’t achieve.” ~ Tao Te Ching #74
If you’re ready to be with a group, supporting you through inquiry with honesty and integrity, then come on down to the One Year Program and join our telesessions, starting next week.
We meet Tuesdays OR Wednesdays OR Thursdays. Come to one a week, or come to all three. You’ll be partnering with others privately, sharing on our private slack forum, learning about and diving into a different topic every month.
You will be welcome here…the real you.
If you head to this page, there will be a recorded presentation at the top about every detail of the program you can watch (60 minutes) and fast forward through any piece of it. There are slides to make it easy (it’s a webinar). If you’re ready to join, scroll down until you see the registration links.
When you sign up, I’ll get a personal email and write you back within 24 hours to welcome you and get our first solo session scheduled.
And even if you never join Year of Inquiry, find others to connect with. Have them facilitate you. You facilitate them.
Begin. Then, you’ll truly be the change you wish to see in the world.
You’ll be your own Gandhi.
P.S. If you want to come to ONLY the retreat October 17-21, you can sign up here.