Leaving everything you know behind, one thought at a time

There’s nothing like the gathering of people who come together to learn and do The Work.

Yesterday was Day #1 of the four day spring cleaning retreat. The rain drizzled, then pattered on the roof, with bright round pink, white, magenta rhododendrons drinking up the rain outside.

I could feel the excitement beforehand of meeting people I’ve never met before, seeing old friends come again to do The Work.

And so, we began at the beginning. Finding a moment we felt disturbed by. A time of trouble that when we think about it now, we’re still sad, sore, angry, confused.

Everyone had a situation. Everyone could find what they thought about it, answering the questions on the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet that help us catch all the stressful, nasty, negative, terrifying, critical, frustrating, sad thoughts about just one situation.

We didn’t have to consider all of life, or everything we’ve ever been troubled by.

Only one situation.

You get to start with the one on top.

It doesn’t have to go fast. It doesn’t have to be too big a mouthful. It doesn’t have to be more than we can handle.

It can start where it starts. Just one moment in time you remember where that other person, thing, or place did something you didn’t like. It hurt.

It’s a wonderful way to not get overwhelmed, overstimulated, wildly full of expectation to change your entire world (or that whole relationship) and everything you’ve ever opposed (although you could be surprised by what happens, when you question just one situation).

The beauty I see and feel in the room, in everyone’s faces, when they begin this work together is so gorgeous. It reminded me once again of this profound poetry of David Whyte, read by him. The mystery of awakening.

Take a few minutes and listen today. Close your eyes.

Then, if something’s been bothering you, again….write it down. Ask four questions, turn it around.

Much love,


P.S. Come do The Work at Breitenbush! I love this retreat. It’s amazing to settle into the summer Pacific Northwest forest. It’s an emerald green fairy land. The cabins are so toasty warm, heated by the natural springs (the entire place is run on heat and electricity generated by the water). The beds are cozy. It’s pitch dark at night. The food is amazing. And there are none of the usual distractions like TV or internet or noise to distract you. A deep sinking-in place to soak in The Work. And soak your body in the mineral waters in between sessions. Join me. Call soon to get lodging before it fills.

2 Replies to “Leaving everything you know behind, one thought at a time”

  1. Thank you so much for your beautiful comment. Love what you share about noticing the habit of suffering, like an addiction to the usual way of thinking and being. In a way, your sharing here is a sweet little awareness of the benefits of being lazy, going unconscious, and not working. Ultimately, there’s this funny middle way or balance of walking in the middle perhaps–but don’t we all want to rest, to experience simple relaxation, not think of life as needing to “work” or grind at it, including spiritual practices. Maybe there’s something to this lazy thing that’s fulfilling something valuable. I love how Byron Katie says “Don’t let go of your thoughts…just question, and they’ll let go of you.” Blessings to you and thanks for simply being here. Much love, Grace

  2. Hi Grace I love your writing, the way you express yourself, apart from the insights you share.. I recognize myself so often in your writings. which mean a lot to me. I know I don’t have the necessary impetus to let go of my suffering. Its a habit to which I am addicted. When I practice my spiritual teachings, I see things in perspective but then I go into unconscious mode, which is easier for me as it requires less work. I know that that would change, if I persisted and created a new groove. I am too lazy. I do appreciate your teachings and just wanted to say that. It is what it is. Lots of love Lesley

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