I don’t have time to do The Work (+ info sessions about Year of Inquiry)

Let’s do The Work! Year of Inquiry starts Sept.

Yesterday, as I have many times before in my life, I had a moment of Whelm.

The word whelm comes from middle English and means to submerge completely.

It’s a wonderfully watery oceanic word, certainly from people who lived on and near the sea.

I was washed with a wave of overwhelm for a moment, when someone who is already registered wrote to ask about lodging for the fall retreat. I suddenly realized it’s only two months away. October 17-21.

Gulp.

I should stop doing what I’m doing today, and focus on details for the retreat. Right?

I’ve shared often on having many things to do. Getting things done. Happiness being sure to happen when x happens or y is complete.

I really should cancel everything I’ve got going today and focus on a, b, c. No vacations. No rest. No free-time.

Stay on track. 

And by the way….no time for The Work itself.

I had two hours scheduled with a good friend who’s a facilitator. There’s no time for The Work, just sitting and mulling over thoughts and seeing if they’re true or not!?!

Who has the time?

What was I thinking??!

Not only is there fall retreat, but there’s Year of Inquiry which starts in (yikes) a month! Orientation Sessions are Sept 4 and Sept 6th.

I really, really, really can’t do The Work right now!

“BOIINNNGGGG!”

(Did you hear the coiled boing spring noise go off? Kinda like Homer Simpson’s “DOH!” or The Gong Show “GONNNNGGG!”)

Because. Is it true The Work is a luxurious exercise? Is it really more important to “work” on my business or putting together schedules and announcements and web page updates?

Am I sure I don’t have the time to pause today, now, and question my thinking about what’s required for a happy day?

Like sleep, I have found quiet contemplation to be necessary for inner peace.

Isn’t this exactly why I created Year of Inquiry in the first place—for people gather together to question their thinking and reflect upon life and inquiry, including me? For doing The Work, and being with others telling the truth, no matter what my objections?

Isn’t the resistance, the thought that there isn’t enough time, one of the concepts I talk about in the Ten Barriers To Deepening The Work webinar (which is next week)?

So yesterday, in the middle of what I could call a huge list of Things To Do….I stopped for two hours and did The Work with another human being. I meditated. 

As I was in that inquiry session, I suddenly remembered a wonderful old priest at the church I grew up in, when I met with him one-to-one as a very young adult filled with questions and some agony about God, religion, spirituality, love, life.

He said he himself always remembered something a kind priest had told him: When you have very little time, pray longer.

In other words, if you pray or meditate five or thirty minutes every morning, and it’s extra special busy this day and you feel stressed….double it. Meditate for an ten minutes, or an hour, instead.

Right in the middle of having a bazillion things to do, I went to my garage and sat quietly, talking to a companion in The Work, questioning just one thought each and sharing in the journey.

Now, I’m so much less concerned after questioning my beliefs about time, accomplishment, quitting, finishing everything, doing “stuff”.

I’m above water.

I’m still noticing the list, and yet trust that what gets finished will, and what doesn’t won’t.

What I see is when I’m believing thoughts about what needs to be accomplished, finished, or ready….when it is not “ready” yet….then I suffer.

When I don’t believe these thoughts, it’s way more fun.

Who would you be without the belief that anything NEEDS to get done today? Who would you be without the belief you’ll be better off if it’s marked “done”? Who would you be without the thought that resting is not an option, or relaxing, in whatever you’re doing today?

Who would I be without the thought I need to offer, format, create, plan anything at all, if it’s not a joy?

Wow.

Turning the thought around: I DO have time for The Work. I have time for contemplation of my own life and my mind, and connecting with others. I have time for realization.

I don’t have time for my thinking a bazillion things “need” to get done. I don’t have time to argue with unfinished plans, or to argue with having a temporary or limited amount of time in a day, or a life.

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

As a way of considering our barriers to doing The Work, like “I don’t have enough time” and deepening our practice, which is really what Year of Inquiry is all about, I’m offering my online retreat for free: Ten Barriers to The Work and How To Dissolve Them. It’s two whole hours. At the end, I answer questions about Year of Inquiry. To save your seat, sign up HERE.

And as far as I’m concerned…no one needs to do anything. Not even one single one of these programs or offerings. It’s only if you’re drawn, and you love the idea of making and sharing time together to sit quietly and reflect on peace.

All I know is, if today was my last day on planet earth, I’d want most of to be peaceful within, not anxious and racing around worried about the things that aren’t done.

If I had a stressful thought, I’d want to pause and ask “is it really true?”

Much love,

Grace

P.S. All About Year of Inquiry, a short info webinar, will be offered three times. Save this email and click on the date to be taken directly to the session at the time it begins. I’ll give a quick overview of YOI for those interested in signing up, and anyone can ask anything!

This isn’t it. The Work of Byron Katie challenges a very stressful thought.

  • First Friday 8/3 was quite profound. Both the sweetness of the newcomers and people’s questions about doing The Work, plus the inquiry that followed. We’ll return to regular 7:45 am PT next month (and be sticking with that time for awhile). Join First Friday call.
  • Live webinar! Ten Barriers to The Work and How to Dissolve Them. This in-depth online workshop is open to anyone feeling stuck or curious or interested in common bumps in the inquiry road I’ve seen rise up in myself and others that can be questioned. I’ll be offering it twice: Tues, August 21 8:00 am PT and Thurs, August 23 4:00 pm PT. To save your seat, sign up HERE. It’s completely free and I’ll share about Year of Inquiry at the end.

There’s a lot going on this time of year in the Work With Grace cottage.

The days are long and bright, there’s an excitement and energy about gatherings both for The Work, and for connection and celebration in general.

Last night, I had a conversation with someone I met at a big dinner party full of friends and family.

This man had years and years (he told me he was eighty years old with a fabulous chuckle) of experience working with people as a therapist.

We were sharing our joy of understanding the human condition, and what healing feels like or looks like, and he made an interesting comment: Even the most brilliant, genuis thinkers just want connection.

He was commenting about really, really smart people, after he had shared with me some of his experiences with professors and scientists and researchers he had worked with as a therapist.

The thing is, this yearning for connection might come from any one of us (even those of us who are just average in the smart department). People often want to feel like they belong somewhere and are somehow related or connected to their surroundings and others.

Like the feeling of “this is home”.

It feels elusive sometimes. At least is has for me.

The mind is just so good at saying the following kinds of phrases about our condition or place in the world, or wherever we happen to be in the prevailing moment:

  • This is not it
  • I don’t fit in
  • I can’t be comfortable here
  • Love, success, contact, connection is somewhere else, not here
  • I’m not happy in this situation, location, building, life
  • It must be more exciting somewhere else
  • It must be more successful somewhere else
  • It must be more accepting or loving somewhere else
  • This is close, but not hitting the mark
  • Maybe the feeling of “home” for me is in (insert name of town, country, province, region, planet)

Oh my.

How many times did I start thinking; I know. I’ll move. If I just changed up my environment, I’d calm down, feel safe, be OK, have more fun, be successful, be entertained. 

In the Twelve Step programs they sometimes refer to the concept “Geographical Cure”.

I moved something like 28 times before I was 30, and then even after I purchased a home (so privileged to be able to) with my first husband, I couldn’t stop imagining Other Places to move to.

Which we did. After 8 years, we moved. Then after 5, we moved. Then 3, we moved.

Now, I’ve lived in one cute little cottage for 12 years. This is a world record in my life.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with moving, striving to find “home”, trying on different places, hunting, looking, searching and re-searching.

I still sometimes imagine creating an adventure, taking trips, getting into motion, ‘going on an explore’ as Winnie The Pooh says.

But. The low-level sense of being restlessly on the move and hunting for home (not here), however, seems to have fallen away. What a relief.

It’s because of questioning my thinking. Seriously.

So let’s do The Work. Because the other day, I had the thought “this place is too small and crowded”. Followed by laughter, then me filling two bags with clothing and other stuff and taking it all to Goodwill donation center.

Someplace else is home. This isn’t “it”.

Is that true?

Yes. Will you look at this place? When anyone comes over, we’re squeezed. It’s not right because of (fill in the blanks, you can make your list).

Can you absolutely know it’s true that where you are is not home? That it’s not possible to settle in, and rest in this moment?

No.

How do you react when you believe “this isn’t it”?

OMG.

I am engrossed in gathering information about Other Places like a crazy person. If only I had x passport, if only my husband had different work, if only I had x money, if only I was younger/older, if only my kids were x, if only the neighbors were y, if only my roommates were z, if only I could go live in the monastery….

In the past, I’d set to work on Project Go.

So who would you be without the thought “this isn’t it?”

“Enjoy the changing scenery around you. Reality improves when you’re rooted in the timeless within. It improves because you no longer place demands on it that it cannot meet, the demand being ‘you should satisfy me. Things should be the way I want them to be.’ When you don’t place demands anymore on what a place or person or circumstance should give you, you can enjoy them much more. The little birds chirping outside don’t have a problem.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Without the thought “this isn’t it” I pause, I wait. I wonder. I move more slowly. I don’t have the feeling “RUNNNNNN!!!!” (LOL).

I don’t feel compulsively like an addict imagining the future constantly, with pictures of how it will be. Later.

I look around more closely, with curiosity, at what’s presenting itself in this environment I seem to be surrounded by. These people. These circumstances. This place.

Turning the thought around: This IS it. 

How could that be just as true, or truer?

Look around. Can you find what you appreciate about your situation–whether it’s the environment, the people, the place?

Being here in this moment now, I always notice is rather exciting. There’s no future. There’s no past. Or if there is, they are both flashes of memory or images in the mind, and here is vibrant and alive.

It’s safer, kinder, more colorful than I expected.

I notice what I thought was crowded and small (and loud) is now entirely silent except for the tap tap of my fingers on a keyboard. No one is here, but me. There’s all kinds of space in this living room. All the stuff that was piled here before is gone.

It’s just so fun to notice what’s actually true. And that at one moment, my judgment of a situation passing through changes completely.

How is this situation wonderful for you? How are you supported? What’s working for you, in this situation you thought wasn’t “it”?

Turning it around again: My thinking isn’t it. 

Haha. Enough said.

“The Work wakes us up to reality. When we take it on as a practice, it leaves us as flawless, innocent, a figment of pure imagination. Practicing inquiry takes a Buddha-mind, where everything, without exception, is realized as good. It leads to total freedom.” ~ Byron Katie in A Mind At Home With Itself

Much love,

Grace

P.S. If you’d like regular practice with like-minded friends all interested in questioning our thinking as a way of life, you might love enrolling in Year of Inquiry. Join one of the upcoming webinars (see above) or visit the page here to learn more. People have already started signing up. I can already tell, it will be a very good year.

Behold your world. The judgments you believe just created it.

Before inquiry today, four upcoming events (the first one completely free):

1) First Friday! Open Inquiry Jam. This month of August we meet Friday, August 3rd at 4:30 pm Pacific Time  Here’s the link: Join First Friday call.

2) Yesterday, I opened up a letter from Breitenbush Hotsprings. It was hard to imagine all the information it contained about winter, as I sat in 90 degree weather in Seattle.

Winter Retreat is December 6-9, 2018 at Breitenbush Hotsprings! (Woot!) I’ll be accompanied again by my skilled husband and partner in offering The Work. We’ll be in the cozy, magical atmosphere in deep Oregon cascades and hot mineral springs of Breitenbush doing The Work right in the middle of holiday season. A gift indeed (and helpful for visits with Family of Origin–FOO). For more information and to get a running start on planning, visit this link here.

3) Year of Inquiry. So exciting to start again in September. A monthly topic, inquiry live on Tuesday AM and Thursday PM every week (except the last week of the month), a private active forum for sharing online, a powerful way way to stay connected and engaged with supportive peers, and your own brilliant self, in The Work.

This year in YOI, we’ll have a group focusing on facilitating The Work, a track for those wanting to refine their facilitation and partnering skills. (No extra fee for anyone in YOI who wants training in facilitation). Those wanting to do this will facilitate in some of our group live inquiry sessions.

Year of Inquiry is almost half the price of The 9 Day School for The Work and YES, we meet for the entire year,including two months of Summer Camp in July and August 2019. YOI begins in September.

4) Fall Retreat. I’m surprised to say people are already enrolled in October 17-21, 2018 Seattle retreat. Anyone in the FULL YOI program automatically has a spot in this retreat (as well as spring 2019). But there’s room set aside for those to attend who are not in YOI. CEUs for mental health practitioners.

**********************

The daily inquiry in Summer Camp has been profound.

Truly. I was honestly kinda thinking before we began, shouldn’t I give myself a break in the summer from The Work and do this whole summer camp thing another time?

I wouldn’t miss this for the world.

It’s the most exciting summer vacation I could ever imagine: the thrill and peace of questioning beliefs that feel bad and aren’t really true.

For example.

Have you ever had dread about an upcoming conversation, event, presentation, meeting…where you’re sharing or doing or leading something and Other People  have eyes and/or ears on you?

You’re in the spotlight! You’re on! (Heart begins to pound).

The other day, an inquirer in Summer Camp brought up a common stressful situation, and something about it was so beautifully and honestly offered…everyone enjoyed listening and doing their own work on this thought.

“My imperfections will be judged by others”. 

What was the situation where this thought appeared in the inquirer’s mind?

Why, right there in Summer Camp on the group calls!

They’ll hear my crazy thoughts, my judgments, my quirks, my childishness, my nervousness (etc, etc). They’ll “see” me and my faults. My imperfections will be blatantly obvious! 

Then, someone else the following day did The Work on dreading a conversation with a manager at work. “He’ll correct me”.

It was a similar anticipation. In that situation, I’ll be analyzed, evaluated, graded. That person will judge me. It won’t be good! 

Oys.

I’ve had this thought so many times in my life. In school, in front of my parents or siblings, at work, on stage, in friendships, in relationships, at parties, in discussions, in social scenes, leading retreats.

Is it true they’ll judge me?

Well….er….yes.

Isn’t that what we all do? It seems, we judge.

But what meaning are we placing on this judgment that appears to be happening? What’s going on?

Because it feels really bad. It feels frightening.

Can I absolutely know my story about judgment is true?

Can I know it will be bad, or already was bad in the past?

Can I know those times when I was judged were horrible times never to be visited again?

Is it really true that I need their approval, or thumbs-up, or high grade, or to be seen as brilliant or perfect or adequate or favorable?

Wow. No.

How do you react when you believe they’ll judge you because of your imperfections, and it’s Not Good?

Scared. Pictures of the past, all the way back to grade school, or scenes from family moments when dad or mom disapproved. Pictures of the future, being alone, alone, alone.

I’m reminded of how afraid I’ve been sometimes of being alone, and how other people have shared with me that they have this same fear.

How do I react?

I’m super quiet. I never raise my hand. I don’t speak up when someone says something I don’t agree with, OR, I speak up with defense. I start feeling the separation between me and them. I’m not connected.

So who would you be without this thought that they’ll judge me….for anything? Without the thought that their judgments would be terrible, if they DO judge me? Without the belief I need anything from them at all?

Holy Moly.

I’d feel all the dread run down the drain and out of my body. I’d remember that nothing is required for happiness MORE than what’s happening right now, in this moment.

I’d know happiness is not based on what people say, think, do, behave like, or feel. About me.

The beautiful inquirer who did this work in Summer Camp with everyone found her heart-beat was normal, her nervousness dissolved, and the whole kit-and-kaboodle of this thought “they’ll judge me for my imperfections” was gone.

We all spent time finding turnarounds.

TurnAround: They will NOT judge me for my imperfections, I’ll judge myself for my imperfections, I’ll judge THEM for their imperfections, (and sometimes I’ll judge them for MY imperfections–LOL).

The story will not be true…about imperfections and judgment. The story has NOT been true so far.

I have survived, I have felt joy, love, connection despite judgment running in minds (my own, others). I’ve felt the full range of being human, and others having judgments, and lived.

I might even actually be able to find the turnaround (I can) that YAHOOOOOOO! My imperfections have been, are right now, and will be judged by others!! 

Because I’m a regular normal mediocre human who’s part of the pack, here at this time temporarily on planet earth, and I’ve been moved this way then that way because of the music of judgment. Including discovering The Work.

Who would I be without my story that judging is bad, or results in permanent separation, or death, or whatever else we’re most terrified of?

“Behold your world! The judgments you believe just created it……No one outside me can hurt me. That’s not a possibility. It’s only when I believe a stressful thought that I get hurt. I’m the one who’s hurting me by believing what I think.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love,

Grace

Who would we be without our thoughts about death?

It’s been the most days in between Grace Notes writing I’ve had since I began them five years ago.

I was working on what felt like one of the most important speeches of my life–so all writing focused on that, every day.

I spoke this past weekend at the memorial services for my first husband and father of my children.

I’m so glad I spent the contemplative time coming back to what I wanted to say at his service, almost daily, for over a week.

It came out good.

It really was the best speech (not that I’ve given a whole lot of them) I’ve ever done in my entire life.

And now, today, it’s been a month since this man died.

Death is an amazing contemplation and inquiry. We don’t know really what happens to consciousness or awareness of a person when they move through death. Often, we’ve been curious our entire lives about it.

We’ve known other people who move into this thing called death, but we’ll only experience it once ourselves, fully, in this lifetime. (And yes, there are a gazillion little deaths along the way in the form of change).

One of the first more profound self-inquiries I ever did using The Work was on my father’s death from cancer, which happened many years earlier in my life.

To sit and write down the concepts about his passing brought up all kinds of emotions and feelings, heartbreaking images, longing, wondering “what if” all over again.

Sometimes just writing the first step, our agonizing thoughts about this very painful situation involving death, feels too much to bear.

It’s worth it. 

Death is the ultimate separation, it seems. Something in my mind defined it as permanent, loss, cut off, absence of love and connection, forever, dread, empty silence, gone-ness.

But can I absolutely know that’s true?

Am I sure about what death is?

No.

Who would I be without my story, my thoughts, my ideas, my fears, my worries, my definitions of death?

If you’ve suffered from the death or loss of someone in your life, doing The Work never means you don’t cry or feel the most massive heart breaking open, or forget about them, or stop missing them….

….but it can mean you stop feeling like a victim of this process called death.

It can mean, like it has unexpectedly for me, that you’re OK with not knowing what death really is, and that you notice all is well and this person who has died has brought you a most immense gift in both their living and their dying.

It can mean the feeling of true, deep love. Even joy.

Who would we be without the thought “they died”?

Full of the most beautiful appreciation for them imaginable, for their image in my mind, for the peace of this moment.

Much love,

Grace

P.S. I’m preparing behind the scenes for a wonderful new Year of Inquiry starting in September. An entire year of practicing The Work in a small group. This year, for those who are interested, there will be even more in-depth practice, sharing and training in facilitation for all those wanting to coach others in The Work. Enrollment begins August 21st: Learn more here.

Divorce or breaking up goes from sad, bad, sad….to grateful yahoo

It’s been 3 weeks now since I witnessed the final decline and death of my beloved first husband and father to my children.

I’ve seen many images course through my mind. It’s been like a slide show. They are never in linear or time-bound order.

Something is shown to me and remembered from our first meeting. A Labor Day September golden afternoon barbecue party….then our bright unexpectedly sunny wedding day 11/11….or then it will skip to a few years ago when I picked him up from his first PET scan, right before his cancer diagnosis.

I see his peaceful face after he died, the strangeness as his eyes never fluttered open.

Tears well up, mixed churning feelings, sadness, laughter, wondering.

One surprise of this movement in grief has been memories of the divorce process. In the past, it exploded a huge amount of separation, confusion, feeling abandoned.

All my former worksheets were on how he shouldn’t have left me, I was abandoned, I missed out, he was wrong, this shouldn’t be happening, it’s very sad.
I found all these concepts to be false.
And suddenly, I noticed something interesting as I watched the slide show of the completion of our marriage:
I never did The Work on the simple belief “we got divorced”.

We got divorced.

Is that true?

Woah. Yes. Right?

But where’s my proof?

Only in my memory. Only in the mind. Only in my stories of what “divorced” means.

Can I absolutely know it’s true we got divorced?

No. (And you might answer yes, if you have the very same thought–it’s OK). I realize my heart feels love and appreciation for that man that’s never stopped.

What is divorce, anyway?

Yes the relationship changed. Yes we moved into our own houses. Yes I saw less of him. But I have always been connected, even when I didn’t want to be.

How do you react when you believe you got divorced?

Sad, failed, hurt, upset, pining.

Who would you be without the thought “we got divorced”?

I’d feel like all the tons of minutes, hours, days when I have NOT had that thought….and I’ve been living my life with the person or people right in front of me, busy with other things.

I wouldn’t feel like I failed. I wouldn’t feel disappointed or full of “what-if” ideas. I would trust what’s happened and what is.

I would notice all the incredible good that’s come out of the Great Zen Stick, called “divorce” for me, that changed my entire life and woke me up when it comes to relationship.

Turning the thought around: We did not get divorced. I divorced myself. I divorced him. (He didn’t divorce me).

I can find examples of every single one. We remained friends, and always shared holidays and the same neighborhood. In the past, I took the whole thing very personally, even though it wasn’t. And how many times did I criticize and separate from him in my mind during our lives together before he ever even spoke of divorce?

Most important of all is that right in the moment I myself am thinking “we got divorced! (sob)” is the moment it’s happening–and only in my mind. Otherwise, what’s around me is connection; to the floor, the room, the air, the people in my presence.

The divorce happened 11 years ago. I dredged it up as I re-membered my default position from the past–which is that it was all very sad.

Can I turn it around with joy, instead of disappointment? YAHOO! We got divorced! Hooray! Congratulations! Amazing! Wonderful! Success!

Wow.

I can find it.

Because of that thing called “divorce”, I did my own inquiry work in great earnestness, I discovered a career, I became far less dependent, I grew up when it came to relationships–not taking everything so dang personally.

I didn’t just have a husband die of cancer on me.

I notice the joy my children are still able to tap into, even if other moments they are so sad about their dad. I’ve been reminded of the temporariness of my own life and to continue to drop what’s not so important.

Especially my stressful thinking about relationships from the past or into the future, including divorce.

“Inquiry ends suffering by cutting it off at the root. No stressful thought can withstand sincere questioning.” ~ Byron Katie

Are you sad or troubled by a divorce experience? It could be about a relationship, a job, a place….anywhere you believe a division or diversion occurred, where something ended and you didn’t plan or expect  it.

That happened and it’s all sad and terrible.

Is it true?

Who would you be without your story right now?

Much love,

Grace

P.S. Eating Peace 101 begins this upcoming Thursday, July 26th 8-9:30 am PT. In this telecourse, we’ll use The Work of Byron Katie to explore our reasons for eating, and investigate these reasons. For more information about the class, please visit here. We meet every OTHER week until October 4th.

P.P.S. If you had any tech glitches in the new intro course The Work for Dingalings (seven days, one lesson per day) I thank all those who emailed to let me know so I could fix them. Sign up for the course here.

Can this be love? (+ summer camp opening day recording link for you)

Summer Camp for The Mind starts on Monday, July 9th. Anyone who joins and decides at the end of the summer to continue on into Year of Inquiry will receive a credit of their Summer Camp contribution towards YOI. Pay what you can for Summer Camp. Nothing is required. CLICK the image to join us.

I’m so touched by the online mini-retreat just shared by many this morning. It was magical and heart-breaking.

To get the link of the recording and listen-in, visit this Summer Camp information page HERE. Scroll down to the Opening Day recording link.

I was so moved by the beautiful, genuine inquiry and sharing people brought–from the people who spoke, but also from those who commented in the chat and shared their thoughts and questions.

Those who listen are also a significant part of this inquiry. The energy is alive and somehow palpable, like when a whole hall of people sit in meditative silence together.

Words are not required.

The inquiries brought to the call today were such beautiful examples of human awareness of change, loss, agony, feeling left or criticized….and working with these hurt feelings, opening up to understanding our pain and suffering.

Oddly, we’re not trying to get to any special place, or find that one missing answer, or figure out exactly what to do about this predicament….we’re bringing clear awareness to the story we’re telling ourselves. We’re not looking for advice.

We’re looking at the pain through the mind, the one that “thinks”, that sees pictures and images of loss or fear or anger or disappointment and never-ending unhappiness.

Strange, but it’s as if the inquiries brought to the Opening Day First Friday mini-retreat were perfectly placed, in just the right order, for opening up the story of separation.

I could relate to each and every story. I’ve done The Work on all three. All so painful. All incredibly powerful moments to question.

First, someone shared about a moment with someone close where the relationship was uncertainly defined. Are we friends or more than friends? Where is this going? I wanted something more. This is disappointing. I feel so hurt.

Next, a longer-term partnership (marriage) potentially moving into divorce. One person is moving out into another place to live. We feel crushed. He’s constantly criticizing me. He focuses on my flaws. I need him to say loving, kind things to me and notice what’s wonderful about me.

Finally, a family member has died tragically from cancer. So many people suffering, missing him. I want him to live. He shouldn’t die.

What is this suffering we’re experiencing in these situations? Does it mean, if I don’t suffer, that I won’t care about this person, or recall them? I won’t be close, or love? I won’t cry?

For me, this never turned out to be true.

In fact, as I’ve done The Work and even do The Work today with all these beautiful inquirers on the call, I find that without my thought that I should be with this person, or they should be alive….

….I stop resisting my thoughts of them. I talk to them, even out loud.

I might even listen to them when I ask “Why are you leaving? Why did you go? Do you know how much I love you?” 

I hear their answers, with inquiry, even in my own head. I feel it all. I’m not holding back anymore.

NOT suffering does not mean my heart isn’t breaking and swelling into a million pieces. NOT suffering doesn’t mean being numb, or disconnected, or never thinking of them. NOT suffering doesn’t mean pretending things are OK when they actually aren’t, or trying to be a different person with a different reaction.

For me, what I find NOT Suffering actually looks like is being more connected with these people I adore than ever. At least that’s what I keep finding with The Work.

Instead of repeating the exact same painful thoughts about what’s happening with that person over and over again, I’m sitting with the difficult thought and looking at it from every possible angle.

I’m realizing, by doing this Q and A with my story, that I actually can’t confirm or deny that love is not present in this relationship, in this situation.

Most recently, in fact, when my former husband died, I felt the most strong, big, wide love for him I’ve felt in a long time.

I’ve reflected (and still am reflecting) on some of the unfinished wonderings not taken to the deepest inquiry yet about our parting, and separation, and divorce, and continued connection and friendship and co-parenting and deep support for one another through all these 31 years since we met.

These moments of having the heart pierced with grief and love (they are both there) can only happen with people who are significant and important to us.

“Your story is your identity, and you’d do almost anything to prove that it’s true. Inquiry into self is the only thing that has the power to penetrate such ancient concepts….When I learned to meet my thinking as a friend, I noticed that I could meet every human as a friend. The end of the war with myself and my thinking is the end of the war with you.” ~ Byron Katie in Loving What Is pg. 294

Someone asked today on the call how long registration is open for Summer Camp and I responded…Oh wow, I don’t know. LOL.

You can really join any time, and my thought is, you’ll probably enjoy more time, attention, practice and care for yourself and your thinking if you come on board sooner than later. Plus you’ll get to participate in our Pop-Up private summer camp forum for a greater amount of time. I’d suggest joining this weekend sometime.

But does longer mean better? Do you really have to attend all seven weeks to get the best results? Does more minutes in inquiry add up to more clarity in the mind? Is it better to spend more time in a marriage? Is it better to be partnered than not? Is more life better than less life? Is it better to live until age 95 than 35?

I can’t absolutely know that it’s true.

Maybe one profoundly powerful inquiry can open us to unknown worlds we never thought possible. Maybe asking ourselves “is that really true?” just once about a thought that something shouldn’t happen….can end our suffering and angst about life.

What I notice is that life is passionately, profoundly on the move in the form of people coming, and then going. When there is this experience called loss, or disappointment, or sadness, or rage about people coming or going, perhaps it is not as terrible as I am thinking and believing is it.

I notice I am filled with a startling sense of feeling when these incidents happen. I’m brought to my knees in the present moment. Tears flow. Heart breaks open. Is it not the ordinary. It brings me to The Work.

Could this be true love?

Much love,

Grace

Opening Day Free First Friday July 6th 7:45-9:45 am PT….and Unexpected Death

Summer Camp for The Mind starts in a week.

But actually, there’s Opening Day this coming Friday July 6th for everyone and anyone. You don’t have to sign up for Summer Camp until the weekend, if you like.

By attending only on Opening Day, you can get a taste of an online inquiry group, or use it as a stand-alone experience of The Work.

In other words, you can attend Friday’s Opening Day from 7:45-9:45 am Pacific Time, and then decide over the weekend if you want to jump on board for all summer through August 17th.

For Opening Day of Summer Camp, head to the Summer Camp webpage and find the direct link right there. Opening Day will be recorded. You can listen later if that works better for you.

Read more details about Summer Camp, or go ahead and sign up, right HERE.

ITW folks: If you’re getting credits in Institute for The Work of Byron Katie, you’ll need to commit to attending 7 sessions live during the summer to make sure you get 10 hours credit. I’ll take attendance.

Speaking of Summer Camp, it’s actually kind of odd and supportive and wonderful and strange for me to get ready for this Summer Camp program.

Because a huge and major transition has just occurred in my life and the lives of my children and extended family: the passing of my first husband, loving father of our two young-adults children (ages 21 and 24). He died early Saturday morning, June 30th.

He had not been considered well for 8 years, tackling cancer, treatments, stem cell transplant, chemo rounds and finally….death.

Sitting with someone I love and know for so long as they navigate through illness and dying, gazing at a familiar face in permanent sleep, feeling the body grow cold, is not new for me.

But this time there was a deep melancholy within and heart-breaking tears, watching the children we had together sob their eyes out. My father also died at the very same age, almost exactly to the day.

My former husband’s sweet and supportive companion of five years, (and they just got married in the hospital), was incredible through the last several years of his journey with cancer. She’s been there for him in a most remarkable way.

Not long ago, when my current husband and I visited her and my former husband bringing pizza, she shook her head “no” when Tom suggested the hardship she’s been through in taking care of him.

“It’s a privilege” she said.

I’m so grateful for being so included in any part of this journey of relating to the man who just died, and all the chapters of being in relationship with him. Any and every heart-breaking part.

If I had been able to see 15 years ago, before divorce, a picture of June 30, 2018….I would have been shocked beyond belief. Stunned.

How do you react when you believe a story of the way it should be….and it doesn’t turn out the way you hoped or planned or expected?

I agonize. I feel sad. I have images of regret, missed conversations, confusion. I have anxiety within. I can’t sleep. I feel ungrounded, shaky. I might feel like I don’t belong. Discouraged.

Who would you be without this very stressful thought that the way it’s gone is horrible, worse than expected? Without the thought that it should be different than it is?

Without the belief, I notice I’m lying here on my soft bed, typing, and I’ve done this 1000 times without worrying about the way the future should go, will go, must go.

Without the thought it should have gone differently….

….I’m able to notice the precious space of this moment here, and that I have no idea of the entire picture or story.

I notice how well I’m doing here now, and how well I’ve done so, so, so often in life without someone being around or without something going as I expected or dreamed.

Without the thought “it shouldn’t be like this” there is no regret. There are tears flowing, and they feel like immense love and gratitude.

Turning the thought around: It should have gone this way. 

As Byron Katie asks: How is it good for you that it went the way it did? How is it good for the other person, or the community? How is it good for the world?

Wow. I know this doesn’t mean I have to love it, or wish for it, or say thumbs-up to it, or vote for it.

I notice, I didn’t get a vote.

Reality went the way it did. Can I find something supportive about that? Can I find the love, the care? Can I be willing to see with more expansive eyes and heart?

It’s not to make something fake sweet and easy, that isn’t.

It’s an invitation to give weight to this other side of duality, the one I often miss when I’m upset or troubled. The side that says “maybe you’ve missed something” rather than assuming what’s happened absolutely shouldn’t have.

I begin to find turnaround examples for it being OK, interesting, beautiful or supportive that it went way it did:

  • I found an internal power of willing-to-do-what-it-takes, after the divorce from this man who has now died, that I never thought was possible when it comes to career, earning, ability to pay my monthly mortgage and not foreclose on my house
  • I learned I can love, even if I rarely see someone, and appreciate sharing their life with me
  • my children and I were laughing and joking as we took a little road trip together yesterday, the day after their dad died. I was amazed and touched by seeing what life looks like when it’s not filled with constant desperate suffering. It looks like people playing the road-trip games we’ve always played. “Those are my cows!”
  • we’ve spent the last three winter holiday seasons doing blended family things which were super fun, loving, joyful and abundant
  • I’m getting to spend many hours with my kids, hear from friends I haven’t heard from in many years, share deep conversations with others who loved my former husband, replay amazing memories
  • A sense of openness to Reality comes alive in this work on death. Isn’t that what I always dreamed of? Feeling friendly about the world, life, reality?
The list goes on. And will keep going on.
Who would I be without my story of endings?

Someone able to write this Grace Note today, and feel very excited about sharing inquiry with other people in the world as we dial in together Friday, and into Summer Camp next week.

Someone who can still imagine summer within, even through tears and a swelling heart.

“Until we know that death is as good as life, and that it always comes at just the right time, we’re going to take on the role of God without the awareness of it, and it’s always going to hurt. Whenever you mentally oppose what is, when you think that you know what should and shouldn’t happen, you’re going to experience sadness and apparent separation. There’s no sadness without an unquestioned story. What is is, because it is. You are it.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love,

Grace

P.S. To find out more about Summer Camp, click the photo here.

Join Summer Camp for The Mind

Feel summer on the inside, with inquiry (+ Summer Camp for The Mind starts July 6th)

It’s that time of year where I live where the days are long, there’s a looseness in some daily activities, the schedule is changed, some travel takes place, we’re outside.

During this season where I live, and all the time I grew up, kids went to Summer Camp. No regular school.

Summer holidays are often a time of travel, rest, cleaning-out, home projects, classes, art, learning fun things, lazy days swimming in the lake, gardening, a change-of-pace, a summer job.

Right now when I write, I’m sitting by an open window smelling fresh air after a morning summer rain, and the sun has been up for hours already.

My favorite thing of all about summer is feeling the sweetness of summer on the inside: rest, relaxation, calm, enough time, growth, quiet, an inner change-of-pace.

This inner quiet couldn’t happen without self-inquiry as a practice.

How so, you might ask?

Well for me, to question a troubling worry, or an angry or frightened thought about life, has to come before I open up to peace, in general. Inquiry offers insight in the most soft, sweet, kind way I’ve ever experienced.

When I was filled with anxiety, or anger (even rage) or sharp opinions I knew were RIGHT, I sought peace and had a lot of advice given to me over the years. I read tons of books (many of which were brilliant and helpful). I took classes and programs. I went on retreats and had loads of psychotherapy.

I tried to think “positive”.

I set up my daily life schedule to be productive and NOT upset and I focused on the advice and support I heard.

(Not that there’s anything wrong with that–people have some amazing and good ideas about how to live, right?)

But when I used my own mind to inquire, wonder, consider, contemplate and meditate….hunting for no one’s answers but my own….that’s when my inner world started to truly shift.

To be honest, I didn’t like finding my own answers that much at first.

Can’t someone just tell me how to live well, what works and what doesn’t, how to be successful, how I should think….

….so that I have some peace for crying out loud?

I know. I’ll just copy someone. Like Byron Katie. Or Jesus. Or the Buddha. Or Gandhi. Or Adya. (And many, many more people who I encountered).

But.

It just never worked at a deeper, permanent level. Not ever.

Yes, I love the wisdom I gather from sacred texts, silence and the wise words of others. But the powerful, juicy, vital and deepest insights come from this mind actually identifying and questioning beliefs when it becomes confused or upset, and then continuing to connect, watch and be open to the world and reality.

Which is how summer got paired with The Work to form this fun program called Summer Camp for The Mind.

You stay where you are physically (your body doesn’t need to go anywhere) and you dial-in to share with others in The Work.

There’s no homework, no lessons or classes or requirements….which is like camp, right?

Summer Camp is simply people gathered together to bring some dilemma or problem to inquiry. Live. There’s a meeting every day, from Monday through Friday. And every single meeting is optional. Every day has it’s own special meeting time.

If you’ve been trying to keep a daily practice of The Work, or do it just a little more often since it can bring such interesting personal insights….then this may be a perfect way to try inquiry more regularly.

Here’s how Summer Camp for The Mind works:

  • Everyone joins live or watches the replay of Opening Day (July 6th).
  • Everyone gets the same dial-in number for all calls for the summer.
  • Everyone marks their calendar for the daily time-slots when we meet on the days you can attend.
  • You bring your one-liner (a stressful concept) or your Judge Your Neighbor worksheet on anything that’s bothered you if you want. 
  • You can listen-only and simply be there with us all in inquiry, if you want.
  • No one has to speak out loud, but there’s time for feedback, questions and sharing after every single inquiry
And guess what?

It’s sliding scale pay-what-you-can to join (recommended $150 – $500 for the program). You could calculate about $30 per session you’ll plan to attend if you wanted to cover all costs for the program.

There are many costs to run summer camp, and time and study put into it….and having said that, this is summer camp. It’s loose. Time for me to give, personally, and do my own work, honestly.

It’s also a time for people who have been curious but unable or too shy to come to any other more substantive program during the year to hop in and see if it works for you.

You can decide what works in your schedule and budget and what doesn’t. It’s a time when people can join who need the financial support of pay-what-you-can if you’ve been reading Grace Notes and want to go deeper.

You don’t have to be smart, or know The Work, or “get” the full process of inquiry, or know what you’re doing.

You can be a complete beginner.

We always have so much fun. A great group gathers. People from all over the world connect, and we just “go” and see where the inquiry takes us. Sometimes people find facilitation partners they adore and continue with in inquiry beyond Summer Camp.

Everyone joining Summer Camp can bring whatever ails them. People have so many kinds of problems and concerns that can be addressed with this powerful inquiry work: relationships, money, career, friendships, family of origin (FOO), love, decision-making, parenting, addictive patterns, worries, betrayals, fear, job changes, divorce, marriage, dating, moving homes, physical pain, sickness, loss.

Everything is welcome at Summer Camp. 

Wondering what the actual schedule is? All calls are 90 minutes and listed here in Pacific Time first.

Summer Camp runs July 6th – August 17th, 2018. The very first day, Friday July 6th, will be 2 hours long and open to absolutely anyone for free. 

 

For Opening Day of Summer Camp, click HERE to join on July 6th.

Then, for the rest of the Summer Camp, we’ll meet like this:

  • Mondays Noon-1:30 pm PT/ 3-4:30 ET/ 9:00-10:30 pm Europe
  • Tuesdays 8-9:30 am PT/ 11-12:30 ET/ 5-6:30 pm Europe
  • Wednesdays 2-3:30 pm PT/ 5-6:30 pm ET/ 10-11:30 pm London
  • Thursdays 4-5:30 pm PT/ 7-8:30 pm ET/ 7-8:30 am Australia on Fridays
  • Fridays 7:45-9:15 am PT/ 10:45-12:15 ET/ 4:45-6:15 Europe

You pick the days that work best for your time zone. You might come to Summer Camp once a week, or every single day. You get to choose! There are no requirements.

I can’t wait to begin and see where the summer takes us.

Read more details about Summer Camp, or go ahead and sign up, right HERE.

“It was the best thing I’ve done for many a summer, or maybe any summer for the past several decades. All I can say is….it started to change everything for me. Every relationship in my immediate family. All the people I thought were a disaster (and I include myself). Summer Camp I thought was going to be a way to try The Work, and it turned out to show me a way to living with The Work as a practice (as you know I joined Year of Inquiry). I just wanted to tell you, it all started with Summer Camp for The Mind”. ~ Participant Summer 2017

Much love,

Grace

P.S. Summer Camp for The Mind has always been seven weeks of jamming with inquiry without recording one single session. That’s changing this year. We record unless you request it NOT to be recorded (which is A-OK). This way, people can listen and listen, even if they can’t attend live.

P.P.S. For those seeking ITW credit (Institute for The Work) for Summer Camp you need to attend at least 10 classes to receive ten credits (attendance will be taken for you).

When you get nervous on your way to an event with (gasp) people

I met this friend yesterday on my adventure in Yosemite. I didn’t have the thought this tree could judge me. I love imagining having the very same thought about all people.

Have you ever felt nervous when you’re going to a social gathering because you don’t know many of the people who will be there?

A dinner, a big party, a birthday, a memorial service, a shared meal of any kind, a book club discussion, a dance, a workshop or retreat, a training program.

Fluttery nerves descend just thinking about it. What if you don’t enjoy yourself? What if HE is there? What if SHE is there? You could make a fool of yourself possibly. They might not be your people. Maybe you shouldn’t go after all?

Several days ago I boarded a plane to fly to Yosemite to attend the memorial service of my cousin’s husband. While I’m a Bell and part of the family, I knew there would be many people I’d never met. Extended family of the beautiful man who passed away, and many friends of the couple.

I was excited and always had an immediate “yes” within from the moment I heard about what was planned. I wanted to honor these kind, generous people and my cousin.

If you’ve ever had anticipatory nervousness about an event though, it can be sweet to sit down and look more closely at the thoughts and beliefs running in the background, and inquire.

What are you really nervous about? What images do you see that would lead you to believe you won’t enjoy it?

  • They’re looking at me and judging me
  • I’ll get stuck talking to someone annoying or scary
  • They won’t like me
  • The conversation or activity will be something I don’t understand
  • I’ll do or say something that will cause them to dislike me; say no, leave, talk too much, talk too little, stay too long, ask stupid questions, ask nothing at all

I notice most of these thoughts have to do with feeling separate from others and most importantly, not being OK with that.

In other words, it’s natural to feel separate from others from time to time–a group wants to stay up late talking, but we’re tired so we go to bed. Without a thought about this being a problem….there isn’t one.

Let’s do The Work.

Is it true that people could judge you, or talk “too much”, or not like you, or do things you don’t really get, or even things that freak you out?

Yes.

Can you absolutely know it’s true?

Well…er…yes. People judge. That’s what we do.

But is it true that it’s stressful and would cause separation?

Oh. Wow. No.

How do you react when you believe your contact with other human beings could result in unpleasant feelings, or separation (at any upcoming event)?

I don’t go! Or I get nervous beforehand. Or if one little thing seems “off” when I arrive, I might say “I knew I shouldn’t have come!”

I don’t have an open mind. I don’t approach the event like it’s a new adventure, with joyful excitement. I’m not so curious. Perhaps I feel protective. My guard is up.

But who would you be without the thought that something unpleasant might happen, or other people could cause you upset, or you might get “stuck” in a conversation, or that people won’t like you and you won’t like people?

I’d have so much fun coming and going, into and out of, the company of others.

I’d feel curious about the adventure of connecting with people, or equally curious about connecting with myself. I’d enjoy crowds, or special occasions, or total silence with only me. It wouldn’t really matter if I was with bunches of people, or alone.

I’d be loving my thoughts, wherever I was–with anyone.

When I need to leave, I do. When I love to stay, I do. When I’m all alone, it’s good. When I’m with others, it’s equally as good.

This is a never-ending development, and thrilling process.

I once was so introverted, my preference was to be entirely alone. Except not really–because I didn’t even like my own company a lot of the time. I suppose my preference was to not be wherever I was. LOL. It was misery.

Then, as I grew more comfortable with others, I grew more comfortable with myself. As I learned to take care of my own needs completely (I’m not saying I’m perfect at this) then my sense of trust for myself grew and I knew I couldn’t get “stuck” talking to anyone. I could come and go as truly needed, without fear of others’ opinions.

The strange thing is, when I feel really free to come and go without caring what anyone thinks or does or says or feels….I love going to gatherings with other people more and more. (And also, now that I think about it, loving silence more).

What do I really love more?

Wow. What I love more are my thoughts about what’s happening in my environment, with or without other people.

I see it could be just as true or truer that:

  • They’re looking at me and loving me
  • I’ll get free talking to someone annoying or scary
  • They will like me
  • The conversation or activity will be something I don’t understand! Yippee! Learning!
  • I won’t do or say anything that could cause them to dislike me

“Who would you be in people’s presence without, for example, the story that anyone should care about you, ever? You would be love itself. When you believe the myth that people should care, you’re too needy to care about people or about yourself. The experience of love can’t come from anyone else: it can come only from inside you.” ~ Byron Katie in 1000 Names For Joy pg. 71

If you’d like to question your thoughts about other people of any kind (or ANY stressful thinking at all), join me in Summer Camp for The Mind. Summer Camp is a program of daily inquiry sessions, live, from July 6th – August 17th. We come together online to do this work by identifying and then questioning what’s true.

I used to want to do The Work alone only, or with just one partner….but to gather with others has been one of the greatest gifts.

And even if you don’t do anything formal with others, you could find one partner to facilitate you, or trade with, in looking closely at beliefs about people, about life, about reality.

Read more about Summer Camp right HERE.

Much love,

Grace

My body should be different!

I’ve just returned from five blissful days of The Work of Byron Katie with participants, and the lovely certified facilitator Todd Smith, all gathered to learn and practice questioning our stressful thoughts.

Breitenbush Hotspring Resort was our venue. We were surrounded by forest, the most glorious fresh air smelling of northwest pine and moss, three lovely vegetarian meals per day made from scratch….

….and separate mineral water pools with clothing-optional use.

Dit-dit-dit-dom. Did you say clothing-optional?(Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony opening line just played in the background).

The mineral pools are there for those who wish to soak on their own time during our program.

Some people have frightening thoughts about seeing naked bodies (which happens only right at the soaking pools–nowhere else). Some choose never to go near the pools or natural sauna for this very reason. Some happily wear bathing suits on their own bodies, but may be sitting in a pool with someone else who’s nude.

Not soaking in the waters is a perfectly fabulous way to be at Breitenbush. (I’m usually one of those people who doesn’t, as I spend my down-time writing, meditating, hiking and reading).

In our workshop sessions, we’re gathered in a special building called the River Yurt where we have three sessions per day, so in some ways, there’s a lot going on besides free time for soaking in between our workshop sessions.

But because of this lush, beautiful location that happens to also include hot springs with some people doing it in the buff….we invited people to do The Work on our bodies at this retreat, if so moved.

No one ever has to go in the pools, or go naked, or soak in the waters while spending time at Breitenbush, but the very fact that nudity is allowed on the land somewhere can make people nervous.

So yeah. We did The Work on the body.

Participants in the retreat brought up their concerns about how they looked in the world, or how they felt: too many scars, hips too big, weight too heavy, belly too large, skin too sagging or old, too out of shape, pain in the knee, too awkward in movement, skin tone wrong, cellulite too disgusting, burned skin too ugly.

People noticed how these thoughts can rule our lives when we assume them to be true, rather than inquiring.

What do you imagine people would think, if they saw your body, or body part, or shape or size or anything at all about that body you live in?

What do you think you’re unable to accomplish or enjoy or do or be, unless this body function or body part changes (like an injured leg)?

What would you have, if you had a body appearing or being that OTHER way–the better way?

I remember thinking my body was horrible when I was only 14. It’s too thick. I should be light as a feather, I should reduce my eating, I should be skinny. Skinny is better. Skinny is powerful, attractive, right, sexy, and shows I’m someone who has it together, accomplished, desirable, winning, a force of nature, strong.

Right?

Um, no.

Believing those thoughts was very stressful. I didn’t even realize where it would go at the time when I was so young. I didn’t realize my quest for a perfect and thin body would drive me literally crazy. Crazed with thinking only about this goal, and concentrating on the effort to Not Eat nearly all the time.

Let’s just say, it backfired.

My life was miserable.

I felt the need to control myself constantly. The desire to eat grew bigger, not smaller. I wanted to consume everything in sight sometimes. I felt desperately hungry….for more than just food, it seemed.

I was fighting, punching, hitting, kicking and At War with reality one hundred percent of the time when it came to the need for thinness, eating, food, perfect health and dangers looming just around the corner (like a piece of cake, or a trip to the beach).

What a nightmare.

Who would we be without our thoughts that this body, or body part, or body condition should be different than it is? Or that it needs to be maintained as it is at all costs?

(Wow. You’re allowed to question that thought? Aren’t we all supposed to be trying everything we can to be healthy, perfect, balanced, thin, pain-free, anti-aging, etc, etc?)

If I question the thought I should be thin and perfect, won’t that mean I’ll stop being motivated to be thin, and eat from one end of the country to the other without restraint?

My answer was “no”.

I never found this to be true. When I was “motivated” to be thin, I wound up eating in a frenzy at times. It was not peaceful at all. It was chaotic and painful. I got excessively full, then tried to starve myself. I felt angry and rebellious and then even more frightened. I felt completely out of control. Then swung to IN control (or trying to be).

The command to get thin and remain in control caused an equal and opposite desire to break out of prison and eat whatever the hell I wanted (which I didn’t actually want).

So who would you be without the story of your body needing to be different in order to be happy? Who would you be without the story of other people’s opinions mattering for you, when it comes to this body you live in?

What if you could relax and be still on the inside, focusing only on the inside to discover what is truly, truly wanted and needed in this very moment when it comes to nourishment, rest, movement, activity, sensations, and being in this body exactly the way it is?

I have found, as I question my thinking about body image, body pain, body function, body health….I am free to make changes without fear, or learn about new ways to be with the body, or to not eat too much or too little. I’m relaxed.

Without the nightmare story of “this body MUST be different in order for me to be happy” I’m so much lighter within.

Turning the thoughts around: I do not need this body to be different. Could this be just as true, or truer?

  • My thinking is shallow about these scars
  • These hips are supportive, my thinking is too wide (about these hips especially)
  • My weight just right, my thinking is too heavy
  • This belly is beautiful, my thinking is ugly
  • My thinking is too sagging or old, out of shape, awkward, wrong, disgusting

This body, I notice, is doing what it does.

Can I support the one I have, without attacking judgment?

I notice with my old hamstring injury when I don’t fight against the belief “it hurts”, then I take it to the body worker, I take it to yoga, I study this thing called “pain” without going to war with it. I take time to stretch and attend to this organism called a body, a hamstring, with loving care and attention.

I notice there’s a mind watching it all, conscious of this body, being with the body but not actually the body itself.

Something is here looking, observing, aware of it all.

Most important of all, I feel kind and soft and loving towards whatever’s happening in the body–relaxed and free from agonizing about it mentally, even if it “hurts” or doesn’t look right, in my opinion.

“Every story is about body-identification. Without a story, there’s no body.” ~ Byron Katie

Wheeeeeeeeee!

Much love,

Grace

P.S. Summer Camp for The Mind is coming. A blitz of live inquiry sessions for 7 weeks. Read about it here.