Be your own Gandhi–the change you wish to see–by doing The Work!

Gandhi said “be the change you wish to see in the world”. The best way I know how? Self-inquiry, followed by living our turnarounds and taking action. Join YOI to receive the support to do this.

The Year of Inquiry (YOI) circle begins next week in earnest with live telecalls. No one has to commit completely until November 1st.

This week, everyone’s going through Orientation, scheduling their first solo session with me, and joining our private forum watching the tech intro video. We’re writing our first Judge Your Neighbor worksheet.

We’re gathering. We don’t know each other yet. We’re about to begin our journey.

We’re taking the plunge into sharing inquiry in a committed way with other people. Scheduling it.

Not just doing it in the car in our heads.

Plus, our in-person live group (optional) retreat in Seattle is only six weeks away (Oct 17-21…it will be amazing, the highlight of my fall).

If you are seriously considering joining this fabulous one-year small group of inquirers, email me soon for a conversation: grace@workwithgrace.com or read about it here. Only a few spots left.

A participant in a past year shared this with the YOI group as we got underway, and I feel the same: “I’d like to say how much I’m enjoying being a part of this group. I thank you all very much for coming together and making it possible. I thank me, too, for this gift to myself.” ~ YOI Participant

Being connected to others in groups and at a deeply intimate level has offered me shifts in my life that have changed…..everything.

But being in a group can be uncomfortable! It can be really freaky scary!

It might be boring, stupid, full of annoying people, or depressing!

The first time I went to a twelve step meeting, over thirty years ago, I was so shocked that people spoke the way they were. I was quite literally stunned.

I had no idea you could say out loud what was going on inside your mind and heart.

I had no idea you could actually tell the truth.

But I caught the bug of awareness about my own mind by hearing others talk about theirs.

A few years later, I joined a therapy group.

That scared me half to death. I was silent for six months before the therapist actually said “your silence is actually very controlling”.

OMG! Really? But I don’t want anyone, ever, to see anything wrong with ME!

Oh. Right. I’m controlling the potential opinions of others.

This very resistance to people seeing what’s wrong with me, and the story I have about it, may be a terrible misunderstanding. And also, the primary way the story remains intact.

When I first encountered The Work of Byron Katie, I felt a memory stir of how I felt when I started that group therapy in my twenties.

I wanted to clam up.

Thanks! Got it! I’ll just go away and handle this BY MYSELF! See ya! I’m good! Yep, yessirree I’ve done a LOT of personal work so I’ll take it from here!

I wanted to burn my Judge Your Neighbor worksheets. I might even look over my shoulder while I wrote them just to make sure no one was coming.

Once, I was reading a worksheet out loud to a facilitator (who I could hardly believe I had hired), and I watched myself skip right over one of my sentences, one of my stressful concepts.

I couldn’t read that one. Then the facilitator would really hate me. Maybe some judgments are acceptable, but not that one.

I’ll just work on that one later, by myself in my closet with a flashlight.

The truth is, when you work with a group of people, and get to know them and show up regularly, you have no way to manipulate, direct, appease, lighten, or control what anyone does, says, thinks or feels when you tell the absolute truth.

We may see parts of you that you normally keep hidden.

You may not be able to keep that ugly stuff to yourself anymore.

“The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes.” ~ Pema Chodron

The thing is, you can only maneuver your life into being closed and careful for so long.

At some point, for everyone, their interest in the truth and revealing themselves becomes more important than holding things together.

I find every time I join a collection of people with the intention to learn, grow, incorporate and understand….it’s thrilling.

Our joining makes something wonderful happen.

But I’ve got a lot of practice now at self-disclosure. I know from experience that it works WAY better than puttin’ a lid on it.

I speak from careful testing.

I would have LOVED to maintain a perfect image and never have to say the yucky stuff, the fears, the anger, the sadness.

But it was killing me not to.

Even if you’re super crazy shy, you know how great it feels to have one of those wonderful, close, connected, honest conversations.

Being with others in a deeply honest way may not only be good, it may change your entire life.

Twelve step groups, support groups, one-on-one counseling, group therapy, retreats, prayer circles, study groups, people who do The Work of Byron Katie together.

We the people are somewhere you can reach us…whether on the phone, in your neighborhood, in your city.

You mean….I am going to reveal my stressful, weird, unpleasant, nasty, immature beliefs?

You mean I’m going to tell about my inadequacies, fears, and anger?

You mean I’m going to write what is inside my head? On paper (not in invisible ink)? And read what I write OUT LOUD?

Yes. You are. (You know you want to)!

You may feel sick for a little bit, but it’s awesome.

The more I’ve done The Work….the easier its gotten to reveal my innermost crushing thoughts to other humans.

In fact, the cave is no longer dark and musty and smelly–the one filled with all those resistant beliefs.

It’s rather light and treasure-filled now.

I see now that this comes from being totally and completely honest, noticing exactly where and what I wanted to hide, and uncovering it…all the way.

“Most people don’t get out of childhood, or adolescence, without being wounded for telling the truth. Someone says ‘you can’t say that’ or ‘you shouldn’t say that’ or ‘that wasn’t appropriate’ so most of us human beings have a very deep underlying conditioning that says that just to be who we are is not OK….Most human beings have an imprinting that if they’re real, if they’re honest, somebody’s not gonna like it. And they won’t be able to control their environment if they tell the truth.” ~ Adyashanti

Letting go of control, you become very honest.

That moment of speaking the truth without trying to get anything or expect anything or look a particular way–that moment of just being you–what an amazing shift.

You may notice a freedom beyond belief.

“If you aren’t afraid of dying, there is nothing you can’t achieve.” ~ Tao Te Ching #74

If you’re ready to be with a group, supporting you through inquiry with honesty and integrity, then come on down to the One Year Program and join our telesessions, starting next week.

We meet Tuesdays OR Wednesdays OR Thursdays. Come to one a week, or come to all three. You’ll be partnering with others privately, sharing on our private slack forum, learning about and diving into a different topic every month.

You will be welcome here…the real you.

If you head to this page, there will be a recorded presentation at the top about every detail of the program you can watch (60 minutes) and fast forward through any piece of it. There are slides to make it easy (it’s a webinar). If you’re ready to join, scroll down until you see the registration links.

When you sign up, I’ll get a personal email and write you back within 24 hours to welcome you and get our first solo session scheduled.

And even if you never join Year of Inquiry, find others to connect with. Have them facilitate you. You facilitate them.

Begin. Then, you’ll truly be the change you wish to see in the world.

You’ll be your own Gandhi.

Much love,
Grace
P.S. If you want to come to ONLY the retreat October 17-21, you can sign up here.

Changing the way we sit in a room with marshmallows–WOW

The Work of Byron Katie cleans the window–your interpretation of everything. Learn about doing The Work together for a year and making clean screens a part of your life, by clicking the photo.

Have you ever heard of the Marshmallow Experiment?

I’ve heard it referred to it so many times, but just in case you haven’t, it’s the one where researchers interested in human behavior and personality worked with children to study self-control and how we’re interpreting situations as humans.

An adult (the researcher) would give a child a marshmallow or cookie on a plate, and tell the child they could eat it now, or, if they waited a little while, they’d get two. Then the adult would leave the room and the cameras would role.

Most kids would try to distract themselves, look away, stare at the door, appear anxious or worked up about the treat on the plate…then gobble up the marshmallow. The research would measure how long kids waited, and analyze the internal struggle that appeared to be happening.

The primary scientist so interested in this work was Walter Mischel. He first conducted the Marshmallow Experiment in 1960.

I always thought the outcome showed that humans from the very early years have clear personalities or tendencies to consider before they act….or not so much. They follow their impulses, or do what the one in authority says and resist.

But the other day, I found out it was NOT that simple. In fact, the conclusion suggesting we have clear personality traits is totally FALSE.

We’ve all heard of the terms “nature vs nurture”. They describe the two biggest influences on human life very simplified:

Nature is how we’re hooked up from birth, our DNA, the influences genetically from the people who lived before us, biochemistry, brain chemistry, our inherent personality.

If there’s such a thing as personality. More on that in a second.

Nurture is how we’re cared for, attended to, loved, neglected, seen, encouraged, supported (or not) but probably far more than all these, what we observe and experience as we grow and live.

I suppose we could have the most easy-going open and humorous “personality” in the world, but if huge traumatic events occurred in our lives….we’d be affected big time.

We might start closing down and be less inclined to be excited or happy about life.

Or, we could have a quiet, shy, even anxious personality from the start, and experience a huge challenge of some kind that we wind up surviving….

….and somehow this might bring us awareness of adversity, hardship, death and destruction in a way that makes us fearless, and very strong.

There are a lot of really amazing stories about people living life one way, then making dramatic changes and coming out different than anyone ever expected.

So back to this Marshmallow Experiment and the thing I found out that made it completely different than what I had thought for all these years since I first learned about it in grad school over 20 years ago.

During the experiment, with some kids, Mischel would speak differently about the marshmallow. He’d give them a tiny tip, a small idea or suggestion, or some little encouragement about waiting instead of struggling or immediately eating the marshmallow.

“Just pretend the marshmallow is a picture, and it’s not a REAL marshmallow. It’s not really there!”

The child would then wait far, far longer before eating it.

In fact, the vast majority of children in Mischel’s studies delayed gratification when they had this little suggestion offering of using their imagination given to them. They had a totally different approach and interpretation.

Holy Moly.

I always thought that experiment was about showing how much self-control and/or fear a child had, how willing or able they were to follow orders and overcome their cravings.

But it was really about how a small reframe of a situation could have dramatic results.

The research by Mischel kept proving over time, apparently, that people are very, very flexible and highly influenced by their environment and interactions.

In fact, they might not even have this thing called a “personality” always intact. In some situations, people are honest, kind and generous or have self-control, and in others they aren’t.

The slightest comment, look, interruption or suggestion can make a huge difference on the way we see a situation, and the way we behave.

Our interpretation of what’s happening creates our response to it.

This might seem like an obvious “well, duh!”

But I was sooooo very intrigued.

Because this may point to how and why The Work works so well when we sit with our answers to the four questions, when it comes to reviewing situations we’ve experienced.

Something happens.

We’re immediately thinking “Hmmm, I don’t like that” or “I need to worry about this” or “I love this” or “I don’t ever want this to happen again” or “I need to make this happen again because without it happening life is worse, or not as good”.

I’ve felt it a gazillion times: I like that. I don’t like this.

The mind is assessing and logging what it likes or doesn’t like all day long, it seems.

So with The Work, we turn to the situations on our lists from any time we felt threatened, disturbed, irritated, sad, or any time we were hurt or tricked or betrayed. Any time we lost something….we’ve made a note of it internally.

With The Work, we get to revisit these scenes as they occur to us, or as things happen where we have reactions, and we question our interpretations.

It’s like with our inquiry and our situations and memories, we’re the adult researcher saying to our little internal child “what if it isn’t real?”

Because here’s the thing: Right now in this moment, it isn’t.

It doesn’t mean you’re crazy or wrong, it only means our interpretation may not be complete, or healthy, or loving. It doesn’t necessarily serve us.

The past happened, and now it’s over….but even more importantly, we’ve got a limited interpretation of the situation. We aren’t ever able to see the whole entire picture, only our quick snapshot of that experience in time. We tend to feel like victims of that experience.

With The Work, one concept at a time, we get to contemplate other possibilities. Did we miss something?

Now that we’re all grown up, we get to hold that inner child and offer it some understanding, humor, awareness.

I get to ask “Are you sure that situation was totally intolerable? Are you safe now? Are you sure you lost what you think you lost?” or “Do you really need that marshmallow in order to be happy? Are you positive it’s real?”

LOL.

And when something like this is seen and grasped, then without any instructions or even trying to be positive or to NOT let something bother you….things begin to change in the way we react and respond in our daily lives.

Change just happens. All on its own. We wait much longer before immediately reacting. We feel kinder, less triggered.

Mischel wrote extensively about human behavior. He said that based on his lifetime of research about personality and how we experience life, the beliefs, expectations, and assumptions we’ve taken in from our culture, family, and friends is gigantic.

These become our filters for how we see reality.

This mind, making its interpretations so speedy quick, actually becomes a filter for everything we encounter. This mind tells us how we feel about everything.

Which really does mean, our minds are the screening device for how we see the world, how we encounter life….

….so naturally this also means when our minds or interpretations change, then how we feel changes, and how we act changes.

Our personality changes. We become different people than who we’ve been before.

Our paths unfold in new, different ways.

I see this all the time when I work with people in regular practice in The Work. They used to be tortured by the past, and now, they’re grateful.

It’s astonishing and inspiring.

Mostly, I’ve seen this kind of change long-term in myself as I’ve watched the years go by, especially once I became so interested in self-inquiry and opening up to new interpretations, ideas or thoughts about life.

I used to have tendencies to react with suspicion, nervousness, overly-nice, cautious, uncomfortable with strong emotion, forgetting to care for myself in the presence of other people (even my own children who I adored), indecision, seeing dramatic and scary futures, remembering difficulties in the past.

Now, it seems the tendencies have deeply and dramatically changed, and I’m still working on what’s left and still learning so much.

But I am a completely different person.

That woman (with The Work you can even question the interpretation of being a “woman” if you want) who was anxious, addicted, and trying to act like a good person all the time….is mostly gone. Or what was once deep dark red is now pale pink.

I’m not trying to get rid of her or make sure she doesn’t come back. She’s just not here anymore.

Sure, I have some of the same coloring or “personality” of that one who lived before. I tend to be overly-flexible sometimes or like I’m going to miss something if I say “no” or when I hear a very difficult traumatic story, my heart opens with the suffering and I might cry.

I also see both the worst and the best that could happen, and crack myself up at the drama of how quick the mind goes to the “worst”.

But the question arises almost immediately “is it true?”

I see that I simply don’t have the full and complete answer and probably never will, and that life is lighter without set and solid answers.

The most wonderful thing about doing The Work, or this deep form of self-inquiry, is that I’m not hunting for someone else’s answers, I’m finding my own flexible ones.

When I do The Work, new options naturally enter my world in the form of experts, practitioners, influencers, connections, advice and fun.

I’m not doing this all alone in a bubble based on old influences from the past….but opening up to new possibilities today, in the present moment.

Who knows what amazing change can happen, starting NOW, by questioning the stressful idea that might be present for me?

Who would I be without my story, my interpretation, my mental filter?

On a wide open road in a brilliant spacious moment.

Testing new ideas, living some of my turnarounds, changing my behaviors, trying new things.

The way movement and change has occurred for me clearly in my life is to challenge my interpretations. This doesn’t appear to come easily.

I had to get help from others, my thinking was so murky and unclear. Like a fogged up mirror in the bathroom–I couldn’t even see myself at all!

Questioning my thoughts with other people has made all the difference. I can sit down and do The Work, but there’s nothing like sharing it and connecting with other humans to see if I’ve missed something.

The result has been one of small, tiny, sometimes bigger, significant, steady change.

The other day I heard Byron Katie speak on a recording that “we can shoot for the moon” when we have inquiry as a companion. We’re not frightened of accomplishment, we’re not scared of facing something new, or telling the truth.

A lovely group is forming to share self-inquiry as a practice this upcoming year, in steady continued investigation of our stories, together.

It’s called Year of Inquiry.

A time to stick with this process of dissolving the filters and stories, instead of trying to find a different shiny new way somewhere else.

We do The Work, and un-do our previously built stories or interpretations and change the filter. Or, the filter naturally winds up changing.

Who knows what happens when we have a kind adult voice saying “Are you sure that’s real? Are you sure you’re looking at it in a way that serves you? Could you see it differently?”

This upcoming week is Orientation Week and we’ll begin our inquiry calls the following week.

People have been writing with a ton of questions about how the program calls are set up, the schedule, the expectations.

You can read about it here, but what I’ll say in a nutshell is we gather almost-weekly all year for 90 minute inquiry calls together as a group, you’ll have partners all year twice a week to connect with other human beings, we’ll look closely at a different topic every single month that typically produces lots of stress for people, and we’ll grow.

We change.

We don’t have to argue with What Is anymore. We know when something is stressful for us, we suffer. We move away from, or naturally expand, our interpretation of events to something bigger, wider, and usually more joyful.

“There has been so much happen this year that I wouldn’t had dealt with anywhere near as well. I am amazed at the peace that abides with me. Oh Grace, I am so grateful for your work in this world. Had you not been so clear, peaceful, real, and provided the safe space you did, I could not have dared do all this work. It is now part of my life.” ~ YOI participant 2017-2018

The first two months, you can test it out after you join, so you don’t have to fully commit until November 1st.

I couldn’t do this work alone–some can and that’s absolutely awesome.

But if you need the structure and guidance, I’d love to have you be in the tribe of us who’ll be living with this inquiry and watching our filters get cleaner and brighter over time.

Enroll here. If you head to this page, there will be a recorded presentation at the top about every detail of the program you can watch (60 minutes) and fast forward through any piece of it. There are slides to make it easy (it’s a webinar). If you’re ready to join, scroll down until you see the registration links.

When you sign up, I’ll get a personal email and write you back within 24 hours to welcome you and get our first solo session scheduled.

Can’t wait to begin.

Much love,
Grace

Do The Work, wake up to reality, amaze yourself (Year of Inquiry starts Orientation next week)

The worker-bees are buzzing and working behind the scenes to get Year of Inquiry participants on board. (And, those buzzing bees would all be me–haha)!

It’s quite the undertaking to join a whole year program primarily online. Holy smokes, what a commitment.

Fortunately, the effort it takes mostly is marking your calendar and dialing a phone or clicking a link to join live calls, and also connect with partners in The Work.

But the other day, when an acquaintance learned I’m about to start another Year of Inquiry again, he asked me why on earth I’ve done The Work for so many years, week in and week out, and with a whole group of people?

He said it sounded a bit boring (he actually made the ‘yawn’ motion with his hand over his mouth).

Hmmm. I might have to do The Work on him.

But meanwhile, I also thought about what a good question he asked me:

Why ask, and then answer, the very same four questions over and over, and find our turnarounds….about events, people, situations that have disturbed us?

What I’ve noticed as someone who has returned over and over to The Work as a regular practice, is how interesting my answers are. How educational.

How enlightening.

And how sometimes, doing The Work is really the only thing that ever helped calm me down.

Byron Katie calls the inner life we experience “The School of You”.

But it’s not ever about only ourselves–it’s about our relationship to reality, to life, to the world, to how we see and feel this astonishing experience of being alive.

There’s so much I’ve called “boring” in my life (as if I need all those boring things to be entertaining or large), but The Work is certainly not one of them.

Every time I sit with someone else or the four questions, a contemplation and inquiry moves in a liberating way.

This work is about working with feelings, and the thoughts that tend to produce them.

One of my favorite things about The Work is that instead of my old go-to of attacking my feelings and myself for being the one who feels upset or troubled, I look at what I’m thinking and believing, and question it. I used to berate myself horribly for feeling (and acting) angry or afraid, or even depressed.

When we do The Work, there’s no judgment or attack in it….or even if there is, we pause and simply answer the questions.

We get to use our imagination wondering what it would be like without our current perspective (often a viewpoint that was set in place long ago).

When I used to feel anxious or upset or furious, I’d eat, smoke, screen time, plan, obsess, daydream, and try to think about how to fix myself or the situation ASAP.

Now, it seems I more often get to look at myself with great compassion, ask for help, share with others, connect and inquire. Usually inquiring needs to happen first.

The, transformation happens all on it’s own, gently unfolding naturally. Hooray for The Work.

Hooray for the simplicity of coming back to four questions.

What a relief.

If you’d like to read more about Year of Inquiry, and even watch an information session about what’s specifically included for the entire year, please visit this link : HERE.

We start with Orientation next week (!). We’ll get to know one another, and step into a life of self-inquiry, wondering who we’d be without our thoughts, using our own brilliance for insight, not condemnation and criticism.

Would you like to join us?

Head here to read more. Write me if you need to talk first, or you have questions.

Much love,
Grace

P.S. check out my little video I made with this same post on facebook right HERE. (Scroll down a wee bit and you’ll see the post that reads “Why do The Work?”)

Life is hard. Is it true? Let’s do The Work on this together, for a year.

Life can be hard. Tough things happen, to all of us.

Surprises, confusion, shock, upset, pain, loss. Sometimes we can see how the difficulties we’ve gone through have created greater strength and awareness and lots of learning….and sometimes….

….not so much.

Yikes!

When we feel confused or troubled about how things are, we often wind up suffering after something’s happened, maybe for years, every time we recall it. We don’t know how to deal with our thoughts and feelings about it, or find resolve.

Maybe we get a defensive posture towards life, or certain people, or we feel nervous or anxious about the future. Maybe we’re dreadfully unhappy about some relationships, and carry an inner sense of resentment or loneliness. Maybe we feel deep disappointment about the way things have gone so we lose our enthusiasm for trying something different, or making a change.

When I felt upset about various experiences or relationships in my life, I often found others would try to pick me up and suggest I have a more positive attitude. Or be encouraging, or be good cheerleaders for me.

Positive thinking! Change your mindset! Focus on happiness!

It didn’t really work, despite good intentions.

Then, after many years of doing various therapies, self-help, trainings, retreats (all useful) I learned The Work of Byron Katie or Inquiry Based Stress Reduction (IBSR).

If you’ve tried The Work you probably already know it’s a powerful way to address a troubling mindset, and find clarity about anything that’s ever happened that hurt or disturbed you.

We all know what it’s like to have an Ah-Ha moment where a lightbulb goes on, and you see something new about a stressful experience or perspective you thought you’d ALWAYS find troubling.

Wow! I didn’t see that before! Holy Smokes!

The Work, which is four questions and finding turnarounds, is one of the greatest ways to achieve this kind of insight…and the fastest.

But you do have to DO it (LOL) and practice it regularly, like meditation.

Which is where Year of Inquiry comes in: it was first and foremost invented for people like me. People who knew it was good, like vitamins, but forgot to take them.

I found insights every time I sat down and actually completed the process from start to finish. But I got busy, put the Work second to chores and tasks, and let things build up without turning to my inner life to give it peaceful attention.

Year of Inquiry was created to have a regular group who would journey together for an entire year, looking at new shared topics every single month (including: money, relationships, family, body, turnarounds, shame, hurt, anger, career).

We laugh, we cry, we answer the questions, we watch our worlds begin to shift and change because we’re responding differently, making small changes without even planning them. We feel happier. We feel lighter.

Things that used to bother us, no longer do.

We begin to catch ourselves and watch our minds as it shouts “Something’s going wrong!” or “I shouldn’t have to experience this!” or “I’m not good enough!”

Practicing The Work unravels stressful thinking. It unravels suffering. It ends addiction, neediness, scarcity, resentment.

Who would we be without our stories? About others, and most importantly about ourselves?

What I have found, is we would be loving, peaceful, and free. We’d be the best version of ourselves possible (and that’s always true, and we’d know it).

If you want to do The Work in a dedicated, committed group of inquirers for an entire year, then join me in this gift of inquiry.

This week there are 3 information sessions (they’ll be recorded) to answer your questions about the format, expectations, curriculum and fees. Please see the facebook events on this page to connect to the correct webinar here.

All About Year of Inquiry:
*Tuesday, Aug 28 8:00 am PT
*Weds, Aug 29 Noon PT
*Thurs, Aug 30 4:00 pm PT

The first week of September is Orientation Week where you’ll watch training presentations to get on board our private secret forum in slack, and get set up for a successful year.

There are two full months to decide if Year Of Inquiry is right for you–no questions asked.

What I know is, YOI is a very inexpensive way to get and stay connected to dedicated time for self-inquiry through every season of an entire year.

Everyone in Year of Inquiry has sixty days to fully participate in the experience before making a final decision. You’ll pay in full, or choose the 12 month payment plan—but if you withdraw there’s only a fee of $100 for the first month, or another $100 for the second month of the program (everything else will be refunded) if you choose to withdraw….even if you didn’t decide to withdraw until Halloween you’d only pay $200. The first two months will also be included a solo session with Grace so we get to know each other right from the start (normal fee $125).

I have this refund policy on purpose because I want only people to continue through the year who deeply know they like the process of inquiry, not just the idea of inquiry.
After two months of seeing what it’s like, most people get the sense of what doing The Work regularly, every week, may do for their inner world and their lives. If it’s not for you now, it’s OK.

What I know is….when I came into The Work all I wanted to do was question thoughts about myself and what I had done wrong (not what I had encountered in life that bothered me).

Then I followed the simple invitation from Byron Katie and the steps of The Work to identify judgments I had about other people, the world, money, bodies, being alive, love, and what I thought of as reality.

Looking at all of these, I myself began to change. And amazingly, so did everything else in my life. Circumstances became more peaceful, less dramatic, less intense, and more vibrant and exciting.

Freedom didn’t happen in an instant. It unfolds daily, with every time I ask “is it true?”

This Work gives the mind something it loves to do: rest.

To not rely so heavily on “figuring” everything out. But instead, to wonder what it’s like without thinking.

How fun is that?

“To have a way to see beyond illusion is the greatest gift.” ~ Byron Katie

To read about Year of Inquiry, which begins in September, head over to here: https://workwithgrace.com/year-of-inquiry/

Without a future, it’s a YES or NO right now, not a MAYBE.

This week:
  • Facebook Live 4 pm Tuesday–it’s a regular thing! Write me by replying to this email if you have a concept you’d really love me to take through inquiry on the show
  • Year of Inquiry Information Sessions. We have THREE this week (all Pacific Time). You’ll need a device where you can view slides for these webinars.
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Year of Inquiry brings you to The Work for an entire year with a small group. Let’s question our thinking, and change our world.

Well, it happened.

The thing I prefer not to ever happen. Someone got very upset with me.

I said “no” to a friend (also an old flame) about getting together. I said I just couldn’t go through with it, something felt off about connecting live and in person.

He got very upset and sent me a note.

“You’re a flake, you play games, I liked you long ago and you’re punishing me for it–you can’t let go of the past. You’re completely unreliable. I have no interest in this anymore. Self-inquiry is so boring. You’re absurd.”

Everything in the note, I noticed, had truth in it.

The sadness and recognition of shame, along with sorrow, along with humiliation and seeing how I had hurt someone came crashing in like Niagara Falls.

Plus here’s the kicker: I’m the one who had said “yes” about getting together for a meal in the first place, then I cancelled and offered a new date for a reschedule (several times).

This whole maybe-get-together thing’s been going on for a few years. Yes, that long.

I kept noticing I’d imagine a meeting, think it would be fun and pleasant and perhaps a way to renew or start the friendship over (there are quite a few things I liked about this guy)….

….I’d feel ambiguous, or hesitant, then override the hesitancy, then override the hesitancy to override….

….then when the time would come to make more of a clear meeting date and time, I’d feel very anxious and make excuses that now wasn’t good, but maybe later.

I’d hear a huge “no” inside and say things to myself like “you shouldn’t be afraid, it’s OK” or “what’s the problem, is there something wrong with you?” or “This is only lunch! It might be interesting!”

So I’m sooooooo not surprised with this waffling and mixed messages and ambiguity and fake yeses and dragging on….

….that this man was as confused as I was.

I realize now how much not saying “no” in the present moment when we mean it can hurt others.

Or really, can hurt ourselves.

What was I so afraid of, when it came to saying No?

The reaction I just got.

It was probably worse, however, because I didn’t say it several years ago.

So in this inquiry today, I wanted to find out more about why I’ve refused to be clear about this relationship, and look more closely when I’ve thought “he’s so needy” or “he’ll be hurt if I say no” or “I’ll lose something if I say no”.

I’ve inquired in the past and found clarity around his neediness. My neediness. My judgment of neediness. I’ve inquired about his being hurt. My being hurt. A beautiful connection we genuinely share.

But I had not inquired fully about my own inner ambiguous feeling of sadness when I thought about saying no, saying goodbye, and what I’d lose. 

This can be a very helpful exercise when you feel frightened about saying goodbye to someone, even as you see their beauty, the qualities you love, the happy times you’ve experience with that person that you refuse to admit have ended.

We believe ‘to part ways is terrible’. Friends, lovers, family.

What will you lose, if you part, say no, change it up, when it comes to a relationship?

I’ll lose: humor, laughter, wit, someone sharing creativity and spiritual contemplation, the fun banter and conversation, love. I’ll lose the respect of my current partner. I’ll lose security. I’ll lose a fantasy, a dream. I’ll lose someone who takes care of me either financially or emotionally. I’ll lose attention, kindness, generosity, adventure.

See what it is you believe you’ll have to go without, if you say “no”.

You’ll have to go without it…..is that true?

In my situation, I choose to take a look at the shared laughter and wit. I’ll lose that. I’ll lose his appreciation.

Let’s do The Work.

Is that true that I’ll lose that quality of entertaining and funny dialogue in my life?

No. I have one other close friend who has the same mega-appreciation for laughter-in-all-things and the beauty of entertainment and theater. She’s amazing. We don’t see each other often, but when we do, it’s fabulous. I laugh and laugh, and can talk about anything.

I could bring this more into my life, come to think of it–whether in the company of this lovely friend, or with other people I know.

If you’re following along with this inquiry, and you’ve identified something else you think you’d lose–like security–can you absolutely know it’s true you need it the way it is? Can you absolutely know you’d miss it, if this one person was no longer in your life as much, or they were upset with you for saying “no”?

No.

How do you react when you think by saying “no” you’ll lose something very valuable?

I don’t say it. I’m afraid.

I grab. I hold on tight. I have pictures of what it would look like to lose this quality, this person. I don’t look for it elsewhere. I see my own company as inadequate–not as good alone as I am in the company of the other.

Who would you be without the belief you’ll lose something when you leave, say no, part ways?

Ahhhhhhh.

I’d sigh with the deep, deep relief of being without the thought of imagining loss.

I’d notice people coming and going, doing what they need to do–including me.

Turning the thought around: I will NOT lose anything if this person is less in my life, or I say “no” to them, or I don’t meet them for lunch. I will GAIN something if I say no. Or, I will neither lose, nor gain, anything I don’t already have.

I will lose my own humor, attention, security, joy, laughter when I say “no”. Isn’t this how I’ve been acting? Like all that fun is over there, in that individual, rather than right here with me?

I suddenly remember I’ve had this belief that I’ll lose out if I say no….about money, work, my kids, my husband(s), my family members.

There’s no freedom in worrying about how someone will respond, or dragging on the “yes, maybe” when the answer at the moment is “no”.

There’s no freedom in worrying about how I myself will respond, if I follow the honest “no”.

It’s sweet in this moment to notice that I’m the one who has been anxious about my own “no”. So I haven’t said it. I’ve also been anxious about my own “yes”. So I haven’t said that, either.

What if yes or no are all OK and there’s no possible way to know what will happen next?

“You are the beloved, you’re the closest one to you. You’re the one you want, the one you need, always there for you. Someone comes into your life, or they don’t.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love,

Grace

The end of the war with what happened begins, and ends, with the mind.

So, it happened again.

OK, not the worst thing. Fine. Little exaggeration on the disappointment.

But not fun, not favorable, not what was initially wanted (if it went perfectly).

At least, that’s the way the mind’s commentary went.

It may be kind of dumb, when you hear it. It’s so small, in a way.

When I was first doing my webinar online retreat last Tuesday, the whole beginning 3 minutes was bizarre sound, tech failure, robot voice, nothing I was communicating was heard.

People were writing saying “I can’t hear anything” and “you sound like you’re from outer-space” and “I don’t understand anything”.

I’m sure some people turned off their computers immediately.

Funny, but on the internal level of feeling, I was honestly barely bothered. It was like “oh”. I stopped the recording, refreshed my internet connection, and voila, all was “normal”. I’m not even sure what went “wrong”.

And it so happened I remembered to start the recording again, even though we were about five slides into the beginning, so as a complete course recording there’s no intro or welcome.

The most important thing about this story, is simply that it’s a moment of stress. The mind says “this sucks”. (And it also says “again” like this same thing has happened a zillion times, even though that’s not true).

Things like this happen every day.

I want it to go like x, but it goes like y.

The volume on the stress gets turned up, the more and more you believe what you’re thinking is true, and it goes from technology whackiness, to something a little more threatening.

Like perhaps the way my mind might have gone (which it’s done before)….turning it into “I can’t do tech. This never works out. I shouldn’t even try. Who am I to think I can run a business?”

A little seed grows into a gigantic mushroom in 5 seconds, internally. We see images of it getting worse.

Examples:

We think someone said something really bitter or mean or critical to us. We feel cut off, or separated. Life is hard.

We fall down the stairs. Or someone we love does. The world is a dangerous place.

The air and sky is filled with forest fire smoke, and we start thinking about global warming and the end of the world. We are doomed.

The line is too long, the lobby is crowded, the freeway is filled with traffic, the clerk didn’t give us the correct change, we left our bag at school, our water bottle seems to have disappeared, we bang into the edge of the table, the keys are not where they should be.

Huff. Sad. Deflate. Rage.

It’s like there’s a small collapse on the inside (or a big one).

Something that says “NOOOOOOO!”

“This shouldn’t be happening”.

Is it true?

Yes, you can do this work with anything.

You really can ask if it’s absolutely true that what is happening, shouldn’t be. Are you sure?

One of the barriers to self-inquiry I talk about in the online retreat that apparently did mostly happen on Tuesday (and will happen for the final time today at 4 pm PT) is believing about a situation of concern: THIS IS REAL.

In other words, no inquiry or wondering or open-mindedness can occur in THIS situation. It’s REAL. It’s a THREAT. It’s BAD NEWS. It’s SERIOUS.

We’ll think if we even question this thought, then we’ll be passive and fake-ish and pollyanna. How could you not think that having a tech failure where no one can even hear you during an online course is NOT a bad thing?

How can you think getting sick is NOT a bad thing? How can you think forest fires are NOT a bad thing?

Of course they are! Jeez!

With these extremely serious experiences we humans have…how could we not be upset?

For me, inquiry is not about suppressing being upset, or being fake. It is never about flipping into some kind of weird positive or false thinking about things not being bad that really do seem bad.

Self-inquiry is actually the complete opposite.

It’s turning and facing reality as it is with a head-on look. It’s responding, responsive, responsible. I am able to respond, without freaking out and making it bigger than it is. I am able to work with reality as an equal and not thinking it shouldn’t exist the way it’s existing.

I might decide to do something pretty big, pretty bold, pretty loving because I’ve questioned “this shouldn’t be happening”.

Maybe the thing should be happening because I’m being called to wake up, pay attention, take action in a new and different way. Or let go, stop paying so much attention, and stop taking action.

I’ll know where the movement goes, with loving kindness, as I question my thinking.

But I have to actually follow the simple directions, and answer the four questions, and wonder about my answers.

Who would I be without my story that x shouldn’t be happening, whether a weird tech glitch in my online webinar retreat, or the death of someone really close (which I’ve experienced twice this year)?

Turning the thought around: it should be happening.

Could this be just as true? Are there any reasons it should happen that actually work for me? Even if they are tiny?

*I saw how many people so kindly shared with me they couldn’t hear–they truly cared

*I got to remember how I used to freak out on the inside, and noticed how something was completely untriggered, in a good way–progress in reaction

*I didn’t feel bad after the whole thing was over, I felt happy about all the volume of information gathered for the program

*A bunch of people have still signed up for Year of Inquiry anyway, where we continue the adventure pretty soon starting in September

And I can continue the list for other things that have happened, that I initially thought shouldn’t have happened.

Even aging, sickness, separation and death–the big ones.

Turning it around again: my thinking shouldn’t have happened in that situation. It got a riled up, over something unimportant, or something I have zero control over. Life went on.

My thinking about the horrors is what shouldn’t have happened. Even the death of people I love and adore, and miss today, brought many other humans together and made my heart fill with connection and breaking with the love and learning involved.

Who would we be without the belief it shouldn’t have happened?

Alive, connected, sharing, carrying on, rising up, grateful, heart-broken, OK, peaceful.

“The end of war with the mind, is the end of war.”

“Everything that you saw as a handicap, turns out to be the extreme opposite.”

~ Byron Katie

Much love,

Grace

Register for Ten Barriers Retreat today right here.

Giving Up, Giving In: Questioning Depressive Surrender (Barrier Seven)

This week is the one time per year I offer a thorough, very content-rich, two-hour online retreat called Ten Barriers to Deepening The Work of Byron Katie. There is no fee to join.

If you’re a part of the investigation of Eating Peace at any level, you’ll already know this work is a fundamental base for dissolving our compulsive thinking. This is for you, too.

If you’d love to refine, consider, or perhaps discover why The Work isn’t “working” for you, this is an annual immersion to take a deep look. At the very end I talk about the upcoming new Year of Inquiry program–an entire year of gathering and sharing The Work together. No one needs to be interested in YOI to take the webinar.

This online retreat will really help you if you’re stuck when it comes to The Work.

We’ll meet live tomorrow, Tuesday August 21 at 8:00 am PT or on Thursday August 23 at 4:00 pm PT. Sign up HERE so you get last-minute notified and the link to join automatically in your Inbox. (I won’t announce either event here again).

Today I want to talk about one of the barriers.

Barrier Seven, to be specific.

I call it “GIVING IN, GIVING UP”.

Failure.

Yikes. It’s unfortunately one of my mind’s favorite Go-To barriers to inquiry. I actually got a whiff of it this past weekend.

But first, what does this even really mean….”barrier” to inquiry?

For me, it means all the ways the genius brilliant mind can get tricky, get side-tracked, get serious, get certain that the way it is seeing and perceiving reality….is true.

There is no inquiry present. There is no beginner’s mind when a barrier is alive and running. There is no wonder.

Inquiry, for me, means having an open, flexible mind.

There’s a part of us that wonders, or is curious, or interested in contemplating, debating, looking, examining, investigating, feeling or sensing something new, something added, something different around What Is or anything we perceive.

We all recognize that we don’t know everything. We all basically know we have a limited perspective, and a unique one that comes only from what we’ve individually experienced during our lives.

Which leaves us also knowing we’ve got more to learn, and our minds are ready to take it all in like a sponge.

So in a barrier to inquiry, we feel like the innocence of wonderment and curiosity and humor have vanished into the background….almost as if this way of opening to the world in some stressful moment is not possible.

We’re closed, worried, angry, terrified, or suppressed.

If you’re like me, when inquiry fades into the distance, I’m either hyper-analytic and everything in the mind gets blown out of proportion into the Most Important Thing (Thinking) OR everything in mind gets whacked aside and there’s NO thinking and I’m All Feelings.

Which is where Barrier Seven comes in.

Barrier Seven: Giving Up, Giving In.

In short….Quitting. (Or, threatening to quit, because I notice, I can’t actually completely QUIT–more on that in a minute).

So this past weekend, I had this rebellious, pissy feeling after 3 days of errands, surprise schedule changes, medical concerns of family members, and a growing list of to-do tasks that weren’t getting done.

I felt like Doing Nothing.

In what felt like a “bad” way, not a fun, open-minded light way.

What does the voice within say when I begin to feel this stubborn sense of doing NADA, zilch, nothing?

Let’s quit.

Let’s give up. You win (whomever “you” is–the greater reality, life, the moment). I lost. I give in. Fine.

But it’s not that surrendered, on-my-knees sense of heart-breaking openness that comes from truly and completely being knocked down into a different reality….

….it’s more like a waiting in-between zone. Digging my heals in, like the donkey refusing to get up and walk.

So I knew I was in this barrier when my mind actually said “I’m not doing Year of Inquiry after all” and “this is my last year” and “I’m too old for this” and “I can’t even keep my own calendar straight”.

Yep.

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror in the bathroom that added to my proof that this thing is going down. The hair is rapidly turning grey with all hair coloring having been ditched 3 months ago.

Like a balloon being deflated.

It’s funny that this belief “GIVING UP, GIVING IN” is sad, discouraging, even depressing. But at least you don’t have to work anymore, or “try”.

This is when people with compulsion issues might pause awhile, then say “let’s eat!” or “let’s drink!” or “let’s smoke!” or “let’s buy something!” (As you probably know, my favorite was always eating).

Instead, I lay silently flat on my bed in my quiet, empty house (all activity and people and family miraculously gone).

After awhile I felt the joy of silence.

And deep self-compassion.

Who would you be if you honored the Giving Up Giving In feeling, but didn’t believe it was entirely True?

A very dear friend texted me “it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, check in with how you feel.”

LOL.

Who would you be without the GIVE UP GIVE IN strategy for managing life, in whatever situation you notice you enlist this barrier?

Who would you be without that story?

I’d rest, and wait. I’d remember I feel tired and discouraged only for now, and only because I’m thinking it’s unbearable or impossible or too hard, at the moment.

I’d notice all is well.

Turning the thought around: There is no Giving Up, Giving In. “I” does not quit. I quit my thinking. My thinking quits.

Heart beating, lungs breathing, bed holding me, mind running, earth spinning, deep inhale, quietly nothing required. Life going on. Something continuing, persisting. Nothing required.

“Own all the beautiful parts of you. So many of us we just deny it. Reality is; ‘you’re good, and there’s nothing you can do about it’. And every thought opposing that feels like stress….Those of you who like to get high? Try this.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love,

Grace

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.

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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