Last call for money

Last call for all the inquirers interested in doing ten weeks of The Work on money…or we should probably say we’re really doing The Work on our thinking about security, safety, comfort, adventure, fun, pleasure, ease, play, special-ness.

Because these are the qualities we generally think money can buy.

To sign up visit HERE.
Even if you never, ever do The Work on money, you may recognize the things it appears to be able to buy, and investigate these if it seems stressful.
Not long ago, I was talking to a distant family member who said he loved money for the safety it supplied, and would be supplying in the future.
Safe future, safe from physical pain, safe from suffering when he’s aging, safe from loneliness. The money will pay for people who are younger to do chores and tasks and who can handle his physical needs, errands, medical attention, companionship.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with getting set up for any of these options. Why not?
But I heard also the sound of someone who was terrified of Not Having Money. Intolerable to think of going without it, or not having enough eventually.
Money would be buying safety.
For a second, I felt different. “I’m not concerned with accumulating and saving like that”, I said to myself. “I’m so over it. I’d hate to have those kinds of fears and anxieties and the need to hold on to an amount that seemed to be ‘enough’ for sometime later in the future.”
“Thank goodness I’m so easy-going in this department. Heck, I’m even offering an inquiry course on money! No problemo! Let money do what it does, I’m alive and well and…..”
Wait a minute.
Sigh.
I almost thought I was better than the one who was worrying about money, or believing money provided safety. That tricky rabbit (mind).
So let’s inquire today.
The belief: Having money means you are granted a certain level of safety in advanced age: you receive care, attention, what you need, comfort, treatment.
Is that true?
YES. Let’s be honest here. Jeez, have you been in the various kinds and levels of nursing homes or facilities? There’s a difference.
But can you absolutely know it’s true that having money grants you safety?
No.
I really can’t know this at all. I’ve been without money, and been perfectly safe. I’ve had money, and felt terrified.
I sat many hours for days with a dear friend who was in a fancy place for hospice care, and I’m honestly not sure it was better than all the many places I’ve spent time in with other people in the past who had nothing. The fancier place smelled a little better and had a nicer looking lobby.
I’ve had no money, and asked perfect strangers for help and they were incredibly generous and accommodating. I’ve had money and still gotten the flu, hurt my leg, sprained my ankle, been criticized.
What is safety? Is it a sense of comfort? Don’t surprises happen whether you have money, or don’t? Do I really need to have money to have connection with other humans, or receive support?
With the thought that more money makes things safer, or better…I miss what’s happening now. I lose my sense of humor. I fail to notice the incredible comfort I’m experiencing in the present moment as I think of the future.
With the thought that money grants safety, I notice it’s all about the physical body and it’s support. Is that really what and who I think I am? A body?
“Success is a concept, an illusion. Do you want the $3900 chair instead of the $39 one? Well, sitting is sitting. Without a story, we’re successful wherever we are.” ~ Byron Katie in Loving What Is
Who would I be without my story of the future and safety, and money making it better?
Huh.
Rather funny.
Hilarious even.
It all seems to be a big story, created in an instant, then the mind moves on to the next piece of entertainment. I notice without the story of money meaning safety, it comes and goes, I get motivated or not, I rest, I work, I sleep, I wonder.
Not having the thought that money = safety, it doesn’t mean I don’t have it in my life, enjoy it, use it, give it away, keep some, or work hard for it at times.
I notice an ongoing relationship with it.
Turning the thought around in all the ways I can find:
  • Having money does NOT mean you are granted any safety in the future.
  • Having inquiry–the capacity to question your mind–means safety in the future.
  • Safety in the future is not even possible here in this moment…it’s only an idea.
  • Safety now means having money in the future
  • Having money means lack-of-safety in the future.
  • Nothing is guaranteed, including safety (safety from what?) or money or a future.
Good lord.
It’s all true and none of it is true.
But isn’t that a relief in a way?
No control, no set story. Follow the simple directions.
If you need some money, there are ways to acquire it in integrity. If you want to save, there are ways to do this, with love.
All I can find is that fear is not required…and I can feel immense compassion for those and for myself when I’ve felt fear about money.
What can we do?
The Work.
“Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench. Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner. Do your work then step back, the only path to serenity.” ~ Tao Te Ching #9
 
If you want to come on the journey of identifying the stories you’re scaring yourself with, and exploring and dissolving them with the four questions….it’ll be a wonderful money adventure. Join me here.
Much love,

Grace

Does money feel like God? Maybe you’re right (money inquiry telecourse starts 1/22)

Let’s face it. Money is mysterious, ancient, and wild and strikes either excitement, fear, anger, terror or over-the-top thrill in many humans.

We lose money, and we think we’re dying.

At least I sure did. A decade ago I thought my life was over and I saw myself living in my mother’s basement and my quality of life tanking to nearly zero.

We gain money, and we think all our cares and worries are over, and the blue bird of happiness has come to stay….maybe to stay (uh oh, I hope I don’t lose it).

Money moves from here to there without judgment.

People want it, worship it, honor it, need it, hope for it, hate other people who have it or don’t have it. It brings out a ton of stressful thoughts related to it’s movement from there to here to there.

Have you ever noticed the way we feel about money is often the exact same way we feel about the Greater Universe, God, the Way of It, Reality, Life?

As the good and brilliant author Stephen Jenkinson wrote in his book Money And The Soul’s Desires….there are many words that are used in the precisely the same way when referring to money as when we’re referring to spirit, religion, mystery or God:

  • redeem a coupon
  • reconcile the books
  • purchase a bond
  • enter a convenant
  • forgive a debt
  • grace period
We tend to believe if we get money, we’ve worked hard for it, earned it, had a good attitude, or done something “right” that brought good karma.
If money departs, we’ve done something wrong or stupid, lazy or ugly. We’ve been bad or thought the wrong thoughts.
It often hints of having something to do with our character, our deserving, our worthiness.
It’s almost the same as the way love comes and goes for some people. If an important relationship begins or ignites, we feel worthy and happy. If a relationship ends, it must mean I was leave-able or worth leaving.
Our thoughts turn towards ourselves: I did something wrong. Something’s wrong with me. This proves I’m unworthy.
In the money course coming up next week, I knew I wanted to spend more time than in previous years for this powerful meditation on money. Not four weeks, not eight…but ten.
In the past, I noticed people with money angst were just digging below the surface when we ended after only a month of inquiry on money. People taking an eight week course on their relationship with money were underway and exploring underground, but not necessarily to the core roots of their stressful stories about money.
The truth is, we could inquire into money for a lifetime. I notice I can, so far. I still don’t entirely get it. It’s mysteriously uncontrollable overall. People do with it what they do with it. But we can become much friendlier, less suspicious, and live a full and open-hearted life with money in it.
Money seems to have to do with the Unknown, a willingness to open to the vast future with no guarantees. Our thoughts may be that we’ll handle this unknown better with money, or without money.
Money stands for safety, security, comfort, pleasure, rest, relaxation, adventure, fun, freedom, creativity.
Money also stands for war, fighting, conflict, greed, grabbing, taking, stealing, killing, wanting and pain.
Or so it seems.
If you’d love exploring your money stories, your money beliefs…no matter how much or how little you have at the moment…let’s do it together.
We’ll meet Mondays Noon-1:30 pm Pacific Time. Joining is by donation (there is a suggested range). Money appears to be involved even in sharing this course together. It supports the technology used, the time involved in creating and organizing, some of the back-end care and attention to put it together.
Kind of funny we’ll share a journey and adventure on money that involves money, and so it should be. It appears to be the way of it. Money is traded as a symbol of value for other things we need, that support us, that we want.
Money or the lack of money appears to touch everyone’s lives.
It’s just whether you like this, or don’t like it, when it becomes a problem.
Even if taking a telecourse on money isn’t for you at the moment, you can still question your beliefs about money, or the unknown future, or what you fear today.
Who would you be without your stressful story, right here in this moment?
Ahhhhhhh.
If you’re curious and eager to explore money and all the ways we feel and think about it, together with a group (always such interesting people who show up to do The Work) then join soon.
First class is Monday January 22. All sessions recorded. Yes, you can sign up to listen-only if you’re not available at that time. You’ll still partner with someone (optional) and receive all the assignments to help you identify and question your money thoughts.
For more information and to read more about the curriculum or sign up, visit this link HERE.
Much love,

Grace

MONEY: More wondrous than imagination could dictate (+ facebook live today 10 am PT)

Facebook Live Inquiry: Let’s Do The Work on Money TODAY 10 am Pacific Time. Send me your stressful thoughts about money (hit reply). Join me right here.

Sometimes, the thoughts about money are simple.

  • I need more.
  • I need my own.
  • This isn’t working.
  • This is terrible.

What’s profound is seeing the dread, sorrow, panic, agony, lack.

Here they come.

Some of us decide to do away with money altogether, if possible:

Screw money! It creates war, arguing, forcing people to work at doing things they don’t even want to do. What’s the point of life with money, if that’s what it looks like?

Or we might do the complete opposite of avoiding money, and grab it with all our might. Work, work, work, deal, negotiate, fight for it, deposit it, grab.

It reminds me of dieting and starvation and living on the edge of death, or stuffing and gorging in panic.

Both sides for me have been the flip of the very same coin. The coin of WANTING/NOT WANTING.

I hate money, I love money, I hate people with money, I hate people without money, I hate doing things connected to money, I hate doing things not connected to money.

Oy veys. The drama.

The best way I know to deal with money?

Question my beliefs about it.

Are they true? Can I absolutely know I need more money, or I need my own money? Can I be sure that the way I earn or receive money isn’t working? Can I be sure that a situation is really terrible, where money is involved?

How do you react when you believe money is a problem?

I get angry, jealous, or fed up with it. I pretend it doesn’t exist. I act like it doesn’t matter. I give some away. I hoard it. I count it. I stash it someplace. I resent it. I secret spend it. I feel guilty when I want something money can buy.

I go without it. I work some deals to get it. I compare myself to others who have more, and think I deserve it, don’t I? I tolerate situations involving money that are stressful, because it’s all lose-lose. If I quit, I’m happy I’m not at that job anymore. If I quit, I’ll be hungry and cold.

When I believe money is a problem, I certainly don’t talk about it.

Nothing’s just….easy. No alternative possibilities. I’m not able to calm down and relax, and feel like money is a friend instead of an enemy.

Who would I be without my belief that I need more money, I need my own money, “this” (whatever it is where money is coming and going) isn’t working, “this” (any way money is involved) is terrible.

Say what?

Money not a problem? Really?

Yes. Even if you have 1,000,000 examples of evidence on how problematic money is….who would you be without the thought money is the culprit?

Woah.

Deep breath.

I notice in this moment, there is a whirring heater, a dark sky outside, a bright cottage inside, three beautiful sunflowers on my table nearby given to me at the retreat that ended 2 days ago on eating peace. I am comfortable in my body.

Except for any thought that would float in and get trapped by belief, all is extremely well. This moment is so beautiful, it’s almost shocking. So simple, I almost cry. I don’t see any money anywhere in sight, but I know it’s flowed in and out today in perfect numbers.

In and out. In and out.

Like the breath.

“We can never have a problem with possessions; the only problem is our thoughts about what we do or don’t possess. What other suffering is possible?…What is adversity? It’s simply when your story doesn’t match reality.” ~ Byron Katie

Turning the thoughts around about money: it is not my enemy. It is supporting me. It is my friend.

  • I do NOT need more money. Money needs more of me.
  • I do NOT need “my own” money. It is never “my own” money. I need my own thinking–certainly to “own” my thinking.
  • This IS working. 
  • This is wonderful.
How could these opposites be true?

 

Well why the heck not? They are much more fun sounding, and aren’t they just as true, and possible, and valid as all the aggravation?

 

YES!

 

I am breathing. Let’s start there. I’m OK. I’m alive.

 

A desire for money arises so I can learn, give, support, play, celebrate, create…and this brings out more of “me”. The me without holding back, the me that’s ready to dive in, the me that will try anything and feels willing to take action including looking foolish.

 

Life is working. Money is flowing hither and thither and back and forth, in and out of peoples’ pockets and purses and bank accounts.

 

How is this experience of money wonderful, the one I thought was so terrible?

 

Seriously. You can find some examples.

 

1) My cute tiny place where I live is so perfectly small and adorable, there is little maintenance, it’s welcoming and makes clients and me and my family feel at ease, I’ve thought I’d never move even if I won a billion dollars.

 

2) I go to yoga, I got a massage after retreat was over, I’ve been on airplanes twice this year, I own a car, I’m sitting on a leather cushion, I have a laptop computer. All of this seems like extra. What else could possibly be required?

 

3) I have cash in my wallet and two credit cards. I have been able to pay my mortgage every single month since February 2009. That’s 108 times. I haven’t had one single credit card go unpaid since the same month, always paid to zero. I have lots of yummy food in my fridge.

Nothing more is required. And I mean nothing.

I don’t need to go anywhere. I don’t need to do anything. I can think of 800 things I might enjoy doing, all of which would cost money, and I don’t even need to do them in order to be happy.

“Without your money story, aren’t you fine? Isn’t life’s own destination more wondrous than imagination could dictate?” ~ Byron Katie 

It doesn’t mean to ignore all stressful thoughts. It means to question the ones that come up.

We can do this.

If you’d like to do it together, and really dive into this grief or worry about money (no matter how much you actually have) then come join the upcoming ten week telecourse. You’ll have a homework assignment every week, an option to partner, and a live telesession for Q & A and The Work. All by donation. Sign up here.

We start January 22 and go ten weeks until March 26. Noon-1:30 pm PT on Mondays. All telesessions will be recorded, and we’ll all use slack for our private secret forum.

We’ll also give weight to our Living Turnarounds. How do we put our insights and awareness into action?

It’ll be fun. A whole new paradigm for money.

Much love,

Grace

Question money, step back: the path to serenity

An Abstract of One Hundred Dollar Bills with Narrow Depth of Field.

The next inquiry adventure is a ten week telecourse to do The Work on money January 22-March 26. This is a new and longer ten week course on money, with a different prompt every week for discovering beliefs that cause us to suffer. We’ll be looking at all we’ve learned that appears to be stressful; secrecy, worry, irritation, wishing, regretting.

We’ll be going back to family of origin and remembering the concepts we learned about money back then through what people said and did with money. Read more about the weekly curriculum topics and the course here. If you have questions, please hit reply and ask. This class is offered by sliding scale.

And oh boy, money money.

So interesting and useful, and yet so fraught with uncomfortable ideas.

The other day, I was looking at a bill that cost three times the amount I had expected, and so much happened in one review of a bill with numbers on it.

  • This is simply too expensive
  • I should have never started this project
  • No one is helping me
  • I’ll be working for money until I drop dead
  • There’s not enough
  • I need $100,000 and THEN I’d be calm about this
  • If only…..(and then it begins to go into what I should have done thirty years ago to get a better career)
The thing I love about The Work is even when your mind does a huge barrage of thoughts from zero to sixty in half a second or less….
….you only need to look at one.
This one thought, questioned, could cause the entire situation, moment and experience of money to collapse.
Which is what happened when I heard a voice saying “is it true?” as I stared at the bill.
I sat with the very first thought: “this is too expensive.”
Is it true?
Yes.
Who has this kind of money? Not me. (Urge to explain why, I notice–just answer the question).
Can you absolutely know it’s true this is too expensive?
No. I can pay this bill.
How do you react when you believe the thought that something you desire or need is too expensive?
Frustrated, angry, despairing. Victimy. Self-pity-full. Other people get to do this but not me. Other people have enough. Other people are lucky.
Yes, it’s that full of comparison. Kind of embarrassing.
I remember a friend saying once that her mother would comment when anyone drove by in a fancy car, or they were walking in a neighborhood with gorgeous homes, or somebody had high end jewelry. Her mom would say in a wry, sarcastic kind of tone; “must be nice”.

Sigh.

How do you treat money when you believe something requires a lot of it, and it’s too much?

Like money doesn’t like me. Like I’m doing something wrong. Like it’s punishing me for being a putz. Like it’s abandoning me.

So who would you be without this very stressful story that something is too expensive that you really would love to acquire, or need to have?

I’d just pay the bill.

My mind wouldn’t jump into the past thirty years of my story-with-money or the next imagined thirty years of my story-with-money, both of which are figments.

“Figment” means to contrive, to make up, to form, invent.

Without the thought something is too expensive, I weigh out what I have, what will work, I notice if I have it or I don’t. I’m OK with this moment the way it is.

It’s actually a beautiful moment, here. It’s quiet, I’m looking at numbers, and all is incredibly well indeed. I even feel appreciation for the layout of the bill I see, the logo, the font, the clarity. I’m in my little cottage which I adore, my home is toasty and cozy. With a few clicks of a button the money will be transferred from one place to another and other than that, nothing has happened.

Only button clicking.

Turning the thought around: It is NOT too expensive. This is truer.

It is a trade of money for something that’s basically necessary in the long run (I could question that of course). It’s what money is for, though. Housing, warmth, shelter, comfort. generosity, needs, sharing.

What are your examples of something that seems high NOT actually being “too” expensive?

You’re not in denial, you’re just noticing what’s true and not true, what’s stressful and not stressful, what’s believing and what’s questioning, when it comes to reality.

Turning the thought around again: My thinking is too expensive, in this situation.

Wow. True. It’s costing me my peace at this moment. It’s costing me the fun delight and excitement of what will potentially be created in the future with this service.

My thinking has been exceptionally expensive….maybe the most expensive thing I’ve ever paid for in my life.

Who would I be without my thinking about money, expenses, expensiveness?

Peaceful. Joyful. Eager.

“Fill your bowl to the brim, and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench. Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner. Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” ~ Tao Te Ching #9

If you want to join me for money inquiry for ten whole weeks, come aboard the peace train. Join here.

Much love,

Grace

Let’s question our fears, hopes, disappointments, all our lies about MONEY…and have a love affair instead

I know many have wanted details about the upcoming telecourse on money and The Work: Money–Loving The Story. Get all the details at the end of this Grace Note. We start Jan 22nd at noon.

The other day, I was reading Grace Notes on money (I know, it’s a little weird since I wrote them apparently, but walking through the inquiries actually work for myself). The following one popped up on money….

As I walk through life (and sometimes run, I admit) in the past couple of years, one thing has been very, very, very transformative and awe-inspiring for me.

The way I relate to money.

The way money appears to relate to me.

As in, we’re having more fun together than we used to. Almost a love affair….but let’s not get carried away.

Now many people might think….

…..oh. What? She’s making money now? That’s what’s happening?

That MUST be what she means by having a love affair with money, if that’s what’s going on!

But check your assumptions about what a “love affair” actually is.

Is it all I-get-what-I-want-and-I-am-comfortable-at-all-times easy-peasy non-confrontational never-asking-you-to-grow kinda deal?

If that’s what you want with a love affair, there’s nothing wrong with that.

And, that’s not what I’m talking about. At all.

Somewhere along the way in my life, I discovered through extreme fear and suffering (it took some yelling to wake me up) that what a truly deep, wild, fantastical, growth-inspiring love affair looked like with money….

….was to lose my need for it to go MY way.

(Secret hint: this is true about romantic love, other people, your family, and everything else in your entire life).

My way involved money always directing its attention towards ME.

Staying with me, giving to me, calling on me at all the right moments, showering me with appreciation, bringing me gifts, making it fun-fun-fun pleasure ALL the time, growing before my eyes, asking nothing or very little of me, contributing at all times, never being a burden, not scaring me.

I believed the thoughts that money doesn’t care about me personally when it was not acting the way I wanted.

How did I react when I believed this thought?

Twisted up in knots.

Terrified.

Angry.

With those thoughts that money needs to be all that for me and it wasn’t following my preferences, I felt small, tiny, and inconsequential. Unloved. Left behind. Less than others who had more money than me.

But who would I be without the belief that when money moves away….

….it means I’m abandoned, or unloved by money, or incompatible, or undeserving, or bad?

Without the belief that money is acting unacceptable, frightening?

That money is not doing as I wish, that it’s leaving me unhappy and all alone?

Who would I really be without these beliefs?

Holy smokes.

That’s an amazing feeling.

The lightness of allowing money to be as it is, moving the way it does!

To not “need” anyone, including money, to do it the way I want in order to be happy…..laughter-inducing.

The freedom to not have to depend on money to come to me in times of trouble…..incredible.

Turning the belief system around about money:

I do not need it to survive. Never have.

Money needs more of me, pouring myself into the world and meeting the world with joy, instead of the other way around.

Turning thoughts about needing more money around to the opposite (I don’t need more of it than I ever have) I notice I have abundance all around me, and its free for the noticing.

Grass, trees, sidewalks, parking places, bicycles at the gym, daylight hours, conversations, videos, furniture, long slabs of wood creating a floor, pieces of furniture, art, air to breathe, water out of the tap, warm sweaters, pens.

Abundance everywhere I look.

Including the direction “in”.

“The Tao never does anything, yet through it all things are done. If powerful men and women could center themselves in it, the whole world would be transformed by itself, in its natural rhythms. People would be content with their simple, everyday lives, in harmony, and free of desire. When there is no desire, all things are at peace.” ~ Tao Te Ching

Now don’t go off thinking this means you’re supposed to not have any desire for money, if you do.

That’d be pretending stuff that isn’t really true.

Just investigate the stress.

I keep seeing there’s nothing to fear, and money keeps asking me to grow. It invites me to create, to bring service and have a ball doing it.

And this is what I always so deeply wanted anyway.

So thank you, money, for being soooo challenging, and such an exciting, brilliant, wise, ingenious energy.

You’ve loved me so much that you want me to come out of my cave of introversion, shame and being small and insignificant….

….and turn up the volume on being here, on being myself, and connecting very honestly and intimately with the world.

“This is the beautiful thing about the truth: ever-present, always here, totally free, given freely.” ~ Adyashanti

Truth is free.

Truth about money is free.

All you need to do is inquire within.

Money Love Story Ten week telecourse Mondays Noon-1:30 Pacific Time January 22nd to March 26th.
This course is intentionally offered on a wide open donation so you choose what to contribute. The recommendation is $250-$495 for ten weeks (each one is 90 minutes). Everything will be recorded and you’ll receive exercises through email and via slack (our private secret forum for sharing online). Everyone will partner with others who want to (optional but highly recommended).

We need enough contributions to run the course in the first place, so please really sit with your ideas about what to pay to register and perhaps you might question a few thoughts if they feel stressful–you’ll be starting the course already. Seriously.

Can’t wait to work with the inquirers who are serious about identifying, exploring, and deeply investigating their fears, disappointments and concerns about money. Sign up here. If you have questions, please hit reply and ask.

“Hope means I don’t have it, and someday I hope I get it. Hope isn’t spiritual. Hope says ‘some day I’ll get what I want’….You’re still trying to get a problem you see on the outside to solve to solve a problem on the inside. Your mind has decided ‘I’m not OK’ and you go out there to try to get what you want. There is no solution outside to an inner problem.” ~ Michael Singer

Let’s look at what we think money needs to be, in order to be OK.

I have found every single time, it’s a lie.

It’s worth questioning.

It’s worth finding out what we’d be like without our thoughts about money, and what it should be doing or not doing.

All I know is, what I’ve wanted is to experience joy, freedom, well-being, relaxation no matter what is going on: having money, or not having money.

(Same with anything).

Join me here for ten weeks studying and questioning our painful thoughts about money. We’ll look at family of origin, our thoughts about the wealthy and the poor, borrowing money, owing money, spending money, saving money, money flowing in and out and anything disturbing about it. Register here.

Much love,

Grace

I thought I should quit doing The Work, until I questioned loving what is

Have you ever had the thought it’d be better to just quit and walk away?

Of course you have.

It’s a common human thought. People have this about friendships, family, primary love relationships, and their jobs, career, money, ideas, travel plans, business, classes, activities we’re involved in.

Something appears to not be working, you try different approaches, but the way of it simply doesn’t appear to change for the better (certainly not on the timing you want).

It should be different! 

Or, perhaps you learn something brand new and completely unexpected and this information becomes a deal-breaker, as they say.

It should be different!

Or, what if you begin to question something you thought was helpful, but now you’re not so sure….like the treatment plan for your physical injury, or the vitamins you’ve been taking, or the cell phone service you’re signed up for.

It should be different!

What if….it’s The Work itself you begin to question?

You might start to think you’re not so clear where it’s going if you keep questioning everything (and this is alarming), you’re not sure you agree with “loving what is” all the time, or you hear about someone else using The Work who’s acting delusional, or passive, or confusing.

It should be different!

The thing is, there’s no problem at all with deciding to take a different path, turn left, or turn right, or stop and camp out in one place for awhile, or take an airplane to another continent altogether. Ever.

How could that be a problem? Change appears to be the way of life.

But we can question that something should be different, and discover many fascinating things about this idea, and even find how it should be just as it is (and it never means we should accept something we don’t accept).

The most interesting thing for me, hearing all these ideas lately of how things, situations, relationships, places, weather or money should be different….was when I heard The Work itself should be different.

From time to time, people bump up against The Work in this way: it’s fostering passivity.

The Work is saying I should “love” all the terrible things in the world, like war, cancer, death, disease, climate change, politicians, law suits, violence, childhood abuse.

Right?

But that’s B.S! I don’t, I won’t, I can’t love those things!

Some time ago, someone wrote on facebook a statement with this sentiment (I am only remembering, not quoting): ‘You mean you’re going to tell a child they should love what is when they are trafficked for sexual favors? Or abused? Really?’

Uh oh.

The assumption is that The Work is telling us what to do. That it’s telling us we *should* do something called LOVE.

We think we know what love looks like.

Here’s what I used to think LOVE looks like:

It looks like staying quiet, saying something’s OK, feeling light, saying whatever’s been said is no problem for us, agreeing with someone, listening closely, sharing, saying “yes”, having everyone be happy (or close), saying I am fine with what they did, connecting, reaching out, hugging, praising, voting for, touching, adopting the same approach, complying, changing my mind, inviting someone in, spending more time with someone, getting together, being sexual, getting closer through more communication, not opposing, not disagreeing, condoning behavior or words or actions, being funny, smiling.

But is that really what love is?

Are you sure?

I thought I knew what *love* looked like when I came to The Work (or it came to me).

I thought it looked like ease, support, safety, and joy.

Well, it does.

But I thought so very much that it shouldn’t look like the opposite: hardship, abandonment, danger, cancer, violence.

Those things and experiences were definitely NOT love.

Love couldn’t possibly feel frightening.

Somehow, I kept doing The Work even when I was totally confused. I kept finding nuggets of gold when I questioned my thoughts. I kept realizing over and over, I might not have the whole story here–in my personal stories of pain and suffering.

One day about two years into doing The Work I was at an event with Byron Katie, and I wrote a worksheet on the same man in my life that I had written probably 20 times or more.

He’s a horrible person. I want him to change. He should be different. He shouldn’t be a sex addict. He shouldn’t abuse his employees. I need his support. I need his love. He is an ass, a jerk, and mentally ill. I hate him. I don’t ever want to be treated with such verbal violence again. I don’t ever want to take someone to the mental emergency room again.

I felt so much pain writing the very same worksheet practically over and over again. I would get new evidence. I’d see once again how twisted he was. He would frighten me. I’d feel so disappointed.

I raised my hand to talk with Katie about this repetitive dilemma, feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere with The Work, like it was asking me to accept my experiences with this man.

After some discussion, Katie asked me; “How do you know you’re supposed to be angry? YOU ARE!!!”

Huh?

But.

I thought The Work had a goal. To feel happy and free. To NOT be angry or afraid. To question a thought and arrive at lightness and sunny days.  To LOVE what is.

I was wrong.

My definition of loving what is was to pound myself with ideas about changing my thinking about this man (and about life) so completely, that I would want to marry the guy. I’d want to merge forever, and have zero problems for the rest of my life (and probably beyond). To be totally happy with whatever he said, did, felt, acted like in every moment.

I had the very same ideas about LIFE. That’s what love would look like. Me being totally compliant with what happened at all times, in all ways, for all times forever and ever.

Wow, what a crazed idea I had for myself about what love looked like. It had looked like NOT listening to what was true for me. It looked like forcing myself to do The Work endlessly on this relationship and wishing it would change. It looked like being constantly disappointed and trying to make it, or me, change. It looked like not giving myself any other options than what I secretly wanted love to look like.

What love really looked like was breaking up with that man and never talking with him again, as it’s turned out.

I didn’t plan it.

It just went that way.

I didn’t really want to live with him, or spend more time with the actual man–I was only dreaming of a pretend different man I preferred, but who didn’t even exist.

It caused all of us to suffer immensely.

I am so grateful for that man. I think of him and I really do smile. I chuckle. He was brilliantly smart, funny as heck, and so much fun to talk with. I had a ball doing things with him.

What I learned from the experience of doing The Work on that incredibly life-changing relationship (that I’m honestly so grateful for) was it showed me what loving what is really looks like in that situation: quitting and walking away.

I know now what saying “no” looks like without resentment, hatred, suffering or severe disappointment.

Saying “no” looked like crystal clear clarity. It involved no more words, and no more being in each others’ company.

Loving, it appears, includes death and endings and events being over. 

My experience of The Work is all it is, is four questions.

It’s not really The Work if you’re trying to get somewhere peaceful if you aren’t peaceful, or you think “love” is saying “yes” or being nice, or wanting to spend time together, or if you’re chiding or berating yourself for being wrong or stupid, or if you’d rather be dead than experience what you’ve experienced, or if you think you’re supposed to feel happiness with what happened to you.

Love, it seems, is sometimes very, very hard.

Byron Katie says “let love kill you”.

Kill you?

It’s not exactly a friendly word in our regular fairy tale world of sweetness and light and incredibly happy endings (or the dream of them).

Love can be the death of your dreams. Love can be the alternative you never wanted to happen. Love can be the closed door, where you have to stop trying to get inside, and you go a different, unexpected way. Love can feel like your future is over, and your heart is broken, and the way is dark and uncomfortable.

Love is noticing, it never is over. You’re alive. You made it. You survived. You’re here.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ~ Tao Te Ching

Mostly, what I see when I do The Work, even in the midst of the terrible things that happen in the world….is that love is slowing down and noticing what I do NOT know is true.

It’s a big giant question mark.

It’s noticing everyone, even the abusers, have been doing the best they can, and I have no idea what incredible things are possible from here on out.

“The best thing about the past? It’s over.” ~ Byron Katie

I am breathing quietly, here, now.

I am alive. I can believe that’s a bad thing, or a good thing.

Love is having that choice.

Much love,

Grace

Happy New Moment (live unedited video)!

I’ve started the morning of the first day of January off with a video.

I didn’t plan it.

I saw the beautiful sun pouring through the window slats, and frost sparkling on the picnic table outside, the heater whirring to warm up the room, and felt the aliveness of the moment with great joy….and a moment of peace without believing some stressful thought.

Oh gratitude.

And then the laptop was being set on the chair with the kitchen doors behind, and a raw unfiltered, unedited whatever happening that apparently involves film and some person called Grace, just like all the moments really, unprepared, unknown until they actually happen.

Who would I be without my stressful thought?

Thanks for being with me here on this most fascinating, thrilling, frustrating, rewarding journey of war and peace. Sometimes heart-breaking, sometimes so liberating, sometimes toiling, sometimes aggravating.

The peace seems to pass and expand beyond all understanding, doesn’t it?

Only peace holding it all. The stories all inside a foundation of peace beyond belief.

Thanks for sharing this life with me. You are awesome.

Click to listen and watch my humble reflection here.

With much love and a deep bow,

Grace

P.S. Money Money: Is it true? This teleclass, by donation, will begin on Mondays, January 22nd. We look at our stressful money stories and question them. Stay tuned for details coming soon.

Celebrating Janus with The Work of Byron Katie

I know 800,000 people and their uncle (as my grandma used to say) are reflecting at this End-of-the-Year on the Gregorian calendar.

Here in the inner world of The Work and self-inquiry it may not appear to matter so much what the calendar reads, in the big scheme of things. In some parts of the world, this is not even the fullest “new” year by tradition.

But ahhh the Romans. So much influence on our language, history, calendar….and beliefs.

Now is the time of year to celebrate Janus, the God of Gateways and Beginnings.

I love calendars and have since I was a little girl. I used to make them for gifts. I loved lining up the squares, drawing the numbers, labeling the months and holidays and significant birthdays.

Here it is about to become the year 2018 according to humans, who love recording and storing data, and who have brilliant, intelligent minds. Even the non-linear human brains hold memories and unforgettable images.

So amazing!!

And each new year, each new day, each new situation….an opportunity to inquire and question what’s so, question what we’re afraid of, question the meaning we’ve placed on an incident or experience.

We may be questioning a belief or a thought that many of our forebears held, and passed forward innocently. We might be questioning a thought that’s not really “ours”. In fact, how could it be? Did you invent your thought?

We may be the gatekeeper, through our inquiry, for ending a long line of suffering and trauma and fear.

You never know what sitting down with a painful moment, with the intention to understand it and question it, will do.

It’s no small thing to question stressful thinking.

So today, I thank you for being on this stunning journey with me.

Which has changed in the past several months, at least in this format known as Grace Notes so dearly named by an early client who came to do The Work on money.

“I love reading your inquiry, it helps me so. You should call them Grace Notes. Keep ’em coming.”

Well, they’re still coming, but you may have noticed–not daily.

(Some of you are thinking ‘Thank GOD! Slow down already!’ and if you’re one of these people, you are a gem to still be here).

So what happened with fewer Grace Notes dropping into Inboxes each week?

Two primary things:

1) My thumb joints on both hands got carpel tunnel. Seriously. You might be whispering; “I’m not surprised”.

2) My schedule got surprisingly full to the max and has continued to stay that way. That only took….years. (I’ve worked full time as a Certified Facilitator since December 2013, welcoming in 2014 as my first entirely independent self-employed year by quitting my part-time job, but I began with clients here and there in 2007).

Things continue to shift.

It’s the way of it, isn’t it?

Now, I’m imagining cooking up fun things starting soon in 2018 like a facebook live show, and thinking about reviving the podcast (we’ll see). The Eating Peace Process filled up with so many intriguing, smart, wonderful people and for the first time we’re working for five months not 12 weeks, and the Year of Inquiry continues to be absolutely fabulous with all the folks sharing a new topic every month and partnering and practicing The Work with each other.

What a brilliant community.

So here’s something I’d like to ask you, it’s been so much fun and so fascinating to ask in previous new years and gather your responses:

What are your top three thoughts you’d love to forget, never think again, eliminate, stop re-igniting, wipe clean from the slate of your memory banks….if you could? What thoughts do you find annoyingly recycling in your life?

They might be simple underlying repetitive beliefs like this:

  • there’s never enough time to finish….
  • I can’t succeed at…..
  • I need more…..

Or more specific beliefs about tough situations like:

  • she betrayed me
  • he should stop talking
  • cancer’s destroying my life
I’ll write about the thoughts you share, so worth examining and investigating.

 

And for today, for this moment you’re reading this, what do you notice is wrong with “now” (if anything)?

 

What’s missing? What is there too much of? What is there not enough of? Who should be here, who isn’t? Who shouldn’t be here, who is? Who shouldn’t be the way they are? What’s wrong with you?

 

Isn’t it funny how easily we can argue with what is, and find fault with something?

 

Who would I be without my story that there’s something wrong, even just a wee tiny bit, with this moment, right now?

 

As I pause and ponder this question, my fingers tap. I write. And then, I feel a flicker of laughter.

 

Something is kind of astonishing about that question…do you feel it?

 

Who would you be without the thought there’s something wrong, or off, with this moment?

 

All those images of what’s wrong–who would you be without the belief they’re true?
Wowser. Almost exciting.

 

Turning this thought around:

 

There’s nothing wrong with this moment.
There’s nothing missing.
There isn’t more than you can handle.
There’s not too much.

 

Shhhhhh.

 

What does it feel like to give a little bow to all those images and thank them for coming–but not take them seriously, or believe they’re real, present, or True?

 

Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there.’~ Eckhart Tolle

Turn the thought around again: My thinking is opposed to this moment. I am at war with my thinking about this moment, not the actual moment.

So if this “I” stops fighting my thoughts, or caring about them in such a big way….

….I may notice how extremely well and beautiful and supportive this moment is, right here. The floor is supporting my feet, the table, this chair I sit in. The air is flowing in and through the entire atmosphere everywhere. The silence is incredible. The wind chimes are sweet on the front porch in the distance through a closed door to keep out the cold weather. Everything can relax. Nothing is required.

So quiet. So very quiet.

“Sometimes I ask people, What survives your not thinking about it? Just be as quiet as you can and notice silence for five seconds. What survives? All the thoughts, ideas, opinions, judgments, the past, even defining yourself as a man or a woman or a son or a daughter–all that may have a relative reality to it. But you see that it doesn’t exist when you’re just being quiet. How real can it all be?” ~ Adyashanti

Loving you in this moment.

With much love and deep gratitude,

Grace

P.S. Hit reply and let me know your top three most undesirable thoughts or situations. Also let me know YES/NO on reviving the Peace Talk podcast.

Seeing into darkness is clarity. Use your light.

This morning early, when no one else is yet awake in my little cottage, I look out on a dark pre-dawn of a white blanket of snow everywhere.

I don’t remember ever in this Pacific Northwestern rainy region of the world when it snowed on Christmas Eve.

Stockings are stuffed, presents are wrapped, a live tree in a pot is decorated with colored lights, the living room is very quiet and soft.

The father of my children and his partner, and her daughter, will soon come over for breakfast and sharing gift-giving together with me, my husband, and the young adult son and daughter both sound asleep in this stillness.

The dark morning beckons for a quiet walk in the snow.

As the light turns up this morning in the part of the world I live in, I remember today to practice relaxation, and rest, and place a question mark on any internal statement appearing to rise in the moment that would argue with what is.

It’s not always easy to not believe everything you think.

But maybe it’s not as hard as we think either.

In the beginning was the Tao.
All things issue from it;
all things return to it.
To find the origin,
trace back the manifestations.
When you recognize the children
and find the mother,
you will be free of sorrow.
If you close your mind in judgements
and traffic with desires,
your heart will be troubled.
If you keep your mind from judging
and aren’t led by the senses,
your heart will find peace.
Seeing into darkness is clarity.
Knowing how to yield is strength.
Use your own light
and return to the source of light.
This is called practicing eternity.
 
~ Tao Te Ching #52
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

Much love, Grace

They shouldn’t think what they’re thinking….about ME! It’s BAD!

Have you ever had someone think poorly of you, and you find it soooo stressful?

Many of us find it uncomfortable to have other people find us unacceptable, wrong, difficult, unappealing, ugly, weird.

Maybe it’s your boss, or a co-worker, your sibling, dad, grandmother, friend, or your child.

What about someone who’s practically a stranger? The clerk at the store, and IT person on the Support Chat online, the developer building a house two doors down from you?

Yikes.

What if we start to take it really personally, whatever they’re thinking about us?

Even if we know they’re a bit off, or don’t have the whole picture, or maybe they’re actually a crazy person, or an addict, or some nut case dealing with a lot of their own past stuff.

Still…they don’t think better of us. And they should.

They should think I’m a good person! Upstanding citizen. Clear-headed. Cool. Wise. Learned. Not someone they can push around or challenge or dismiss or rip to shreds. They should respect me!

And then, the thought that I should come across better. I can’t believe they think of me so poorly.

What’d I do?

Ahhhhhh.

Such a good time for inquiry.

I noticed the other day, the person who wants to cut the tree down in front of my house (but on my neighbor’s property inches from my own fence) thinks I’m a tree-hugging idiot.

I don’t want the tree to come down. It’s 70 years old. A big beautiful Cyprus pine tree. It shades my house, hides the telephone pole planted in my front yard, and brings gorgeous shade over my little cottage during summer months. It’s the last big old tree on my street.

The developer insisting the tree get chopped down is a mean, conniving, nasty, unfeeling, self-centered person. And she thinks I am a ridiculous Julia-Butterfly liberal without any sense.

The other day, a sincere inquirer in Year of Inquiry was sharing the same kind of thought about her child: My son should think I’m awesome, support me, respect me, want the best for me….not make up lies about me.

This is such a stressful thought, so let’s question it.

They should think I’m a good, respect-worthy person.

Is it true?

YES! I am! This is wrong! They shouldn’t think otherwise!

Can you absolutely know it’s true they should think you are great, wonderful, kind, good, responsible….whatever description you’d prefer to be?

No.

They see it the way they do. They are having their own life, their own story, their own experience. I don’t know the full story, or why they see me the way they see me.

Honestly, I don’t even know for sure if they actually see me the same way I’m thinking they see me.

How do you react when you believe they should think I’m a good, respectful, worthy person….and they don’t?

Oh man.

Bitter.

Frightened.

Angry. Defensive.

It’s not pretty. It bounces between attacking them for being so ignorant, or attacking myself for being such a loser to be the person someone else thinks of as wrong.

I react by being in that other person’s business. Making huge effort to be a genius in their eyes. It’s a lot of work.

So who would you be without this thought?

Without the belief they should think well of me?

Huh.

You mean, if I didn’t care what they think? If I didn’t care they thought I was awesome, kind, honest, strong….whatever?

Wow. It’s almost strange to imagine not believing someone should think I’m a good person, if they don’t. There they are, thinking I’m rude, nasty, ugly, selfish….and I’m not concerned.

It does have a nice ring to it. It does have an appeal, a sweetness…even something freeing. They can think the way they think. It’s not my business. Once again, I’m not in charge. Certainly not of other peoples’ assessments of me.

Hooray.

Who I’d be, is back over here in my own business. Noticing how fascinating it is that there are moments where people have exchanges, and assumptions are made, and it’s not the end-all-be-all. It’s not final, or fixed, what they’re thinking. And if it is, it doesn’t really matter if I’m not concerned with it.

Which I wouldn’t be, without the thought.

Turning the thought around:

They should NOT think I’m a good, respect-worthy person. I should think I’m a good respect-worthy person. I should think THEY are a good, respect-worthy person.

OK then.

How could these turnarounds be true, or truer (if they are)?

They shouldn’t think I’m good. True. Because I’m not. (And, of course, I am). I’m a normal, regular, mediocre, unexciting human being who simply wants a tree to NOT be cut down because I find it rather old and stunning, so it has to do with appearance, and age, not “safety”.

They shouldn’t think I’m good, because I bad-mouthed them in my head. I perceived them as rich, selfish, anti-earth, ego-centered….and I don’t really know them.

I should think of myself as a good, respect-worthy person. In this situation, I should do that. I should write my letter of concern, knock on neighbors’ doors, call lawyers, visit city hall, take care of my own desires here as best I can, with clear action. If it doesn’t happen, I should still think of myself as awesome.

I should think THEY are good. Well, yes. They are trying to build houses in the neighborhood, and what they’re building is way better than the disheveled lot of mess that was there before. They’re making improvements, in a city scene. For all I know, they really ARE saving the tree from falling on me in a wind storm next year (although I can’t say I would have minded dying that way).

And I certainly shouldn’t treat them like they’re the devil developers. They are real people, who came up with a creative idea and are trying to make money.

Without my beliefs, noticing my turnarounds, the earth and reality and life is unfolding as it does.

“If you find internal work exciting, you’ll look forward to the worst that can happen, because you won’t find a problem that can’t be solved from the inside. It’s the perfect setup for the end of suffering.”  ~ Byron Katie

Without my stressful thinking, I’m lighter, softer, peaceful, empty. I’m aware this is only one moment in time, without a future, without a past.

All is well, however it’s going.

“There is a seat in your being that does not change.” ~ Michael Singer

I notice they think what they think, and it matters, and then it doesn’t.

Such a short interval, really, in the Big Picture–one human lifetime only–that Anyone thought Anything about Me. LOL.

Ahhhhhhh.

Much love,

Grace