Soak in inquiry in winter….and dissolve your wintery thinking

I just heard of another person getting tickets (cheap this time of year) to fly to Portland, Oregon in December for the 3 day Breitenbush retreat in The Work of Byron Katie on relationships.

We’re forming carpools for those of you landing on December 7th in Portland who want to share the trek to the incredible, unique, deep woods resort and conference center called Breitenbush.

Ready to question your thoughts on relationships? Of any kind? Those humans who have bugged you?

This is your retreat. It doesn’t matter WHO the relationship is: spouse, father, mother, sister, brother, co-worker, boss, friend, step-son.

It’s time to get the job done. Question your thinking, change your world when it comes to relating. All in a beautiful, safe, supportive container called Breitenbush.

Last year, I had a chuckle with one of the participants who traveled from Nevada to join our retreat.

She said “Breitenbush is nothing like I thought it was going to be–it’s so far beyond my expectations!”

“What did you think it was going to be like?” I asked.

“Two hot tubs in the dusty woods down a dirt road, with hippies wandering around.”


Breitenbush is nothing like that, although there is a clothing-optional status only at the mineral springs pools where people can hang their bathrobes on hooks and slip into the hot tubs with four varying temperatures to soak. (And no, there is no nudity anywhere else on the conference center grounds).

I once had a woman write to me about this particular retreat: “We’re not tree-huggers, is this going to work?”

The thing is, we gather in this 3-day workshop to look at our stressful thinking. That’s what this workshop is about. Questioning what disturbs you, and YOU finding your own answers.

The Work works for anyone who is ready, willing and eager to question their stressful thoughts about other people they’ve encountered in their lives who left them feeling some pain (or a lot of pain). It’s for people who are tired of the agony of repetitive thinking about relationships with others, or conditions they dislike in their lives.

Breitenbush HotSprings Conference Center is a place to relax, feel the experience of deep old growth forest, sleep in profound silence of no city or freeway noise, notice the darkness of nights without tons of lights, electrical chatter, cell phones, internet, and take time to identify the thoughts that disturb your peace in your life….and question them.

You don’t have to go into the mineral pools naked to question your stressful thoughts.

In fact, secret confession….I never do.

Seriously. I never go in the pools in between our sessions together. I’m there to support inquiry. That’s my job.

Our group meets in a beautiful space called the River Yurt. Oh my, doesn’t that sound woodsy?

To be honest, the only place I’ve ever heard the word “yurt” is in Oregon. Like when I was 15 and my family went camping in Oregon. They had “yurts” you could rent.

What’s a YURT??

As far as I can tell, they are always round. As in, no square or straight walls. A structure built in a circle.

The River Yurt at Breitenbush is a large beautiful round building, with chairs, cushions, pillows, a lovely soft carpet, windows, heat, a big screen for our movie night, and it’s own bathroom. The River Yurt at Breitenbush is built down a wide path to an open flat area near the beautiful Breitenbush River. It’s gorgeous, and you’ll love it.

We’re warm, dry and cozy on retreat while we identify our thoughts, and question them using The Work.

The thing I love about Breitenbush is the quiet, the pristine pure air, the ancient forest of trees, the beautiful little Laura Ingalls Wilder cabins totally and completely warmed by the natural springs to piping hot. If you’re flying, you’ll ask for bedding to be put in your cabin (I always get this option) and you’ll have delivered before you even arrive a large bag with blankets, beautiful clean sheets, and soft towels.

The body is well-tended at Breitenbush. I haven’t even shared anything about the incredible meals.

All the food is home-cooked right there in the big kitchen. It’s simple, with several choices: vegetarian, organic, gluten and dairy free options, yummy hot breakfasts, incredibly delicious cooked lunches, and wholesome dinners with gorgeous recipes and ample food for all.

At Breitenbush they have no caffeine offered (but people often bring their coffee, cream and french presses) and no alcohol, smoking or drug use. A great variety of teas, healthy tonic drinks, hot dishes, soups, salads and cleansing foods are offered for all three meals a day. All included in your stay.

I am not a vegetarian, but I love the food. What an incredible time of year to be away from daily trays of cookies at work, stress eating, cooking large family holiday meals, and having everything taken care of for you. Wow.

Everything supports lightness, ease, simplicity and not being drawn to the usual ways of distraction.

It’s an amazing place for self-inquiry….to study the story of YOU and your own mind, your own answers, your own troubling situations, your own prescription for happiness through doing this process called The Work.

I’ve never had anything offer such freedom as doing The Work.

Many other modalities I have done, experienced, attended and listened to. Many of them brilliant.

But there’s nothing like The Work because it doesn’t require a “teacher”. All that’s required is you answering the questions for your own insights and clarity. You discover what you need by studying the situations you find most disturbing.

Strange, but your discomfort actually winds up providing the answers you were looking for.

How amazing is that?

Because this is not the usual summer June at Breitenbush when things tend to sell out because of the stunning northwest summers, we’ve still got space.

But oh my.

Everything’s less expensive in the physical world. Plane fare, lodging, meals. All of it offered at the reduced weather-affected wintry price where we’ll be close to the darkest day of the year in far northwestern United States. A winter retreat.

What a time to go “inside” and do The Work.

What an incredible time to address your painful thinking, before holidays and “together” time ramps up to a peak for the new year.

Maybe, after Thanksgiving (if you’re from the USA) there’ll be nothing better than attending retreat where you get the chance to do your work.

I often get a LOT of calls for The Work the day after Thanksgiving.

Expectations get challenged, people haven’t changed, emotions flare.

With The Work, we get to see what causes those upsets in the first place–the unquestioned resentments we can’t seem to get rid of from the past. Or the imagined fears about the future. When we investigate and give these relationships and situations time and attention, they have the chance to finally dissolve and resolve.

One fabulous bonus at Breitenbush? My own partner, friend and husband who is brilliant at doing The Work (a natural). He’ll be joining us to share in the support and thrill of self-inquiry, and finding freedom from suffering.

We’ll share with everyone present some of our own process of doing The Work together, on each other, and the outcomes and insights we’ve had.

You don’t need a partner to come to do 3 days of The Work at Breitenbush. All you need is awareness of some stressful thinking about other people (partner or not) and feeling disgruntled about what to do about it.

You might feel like you’ve had 60 years of sad thinking with your mother or father, you may hold hurt about your sibling who cut you off 15 years ago, you may feel angry at your former partner who left you for someone else, you may feel furious at the boss who fired you, you may feel disappointed at relationship not working out the way you hoped.

Our suggestion about what to do about your problems with other people?

The Work.

“I saw that for the belief ‘My family should love and understand me’ the turnaround is ‘I should love and understand myself.’ Why had I ever thought that it was their job? That was crazy! Let it begin with me. Until I can do it, let me give the world a break.” ~ Byron Katie

All I know is, The Work is life-changing.

With every thought I question, with every relationship I investigate, I find freedom. Everyone a teacher. Every relationship I’ve encountered a drop (or a tsunami) of freedom.

Dark outside, bright inside.

Much love,


2 Replies to “Soak in inquiry in winter….and dissolve your wintery thinking”

  1. In the end all these thoughts about other people are actually our own thoughts–so they are all about ourselves. It helps to focus on the “other” so we have a clearer picture of the controversy. It tends to be a bit lopsided if you think you are the only cause of problems in the world (even though it is my thinking that hurts). I’ve heard it said that it’s like looking into the sun to do The Work from the start on oneself…you get a little blinded by your investment in changing yourself, or criticizing yourself. So it becomes helpful to watch what you object to that doesn’t seem like “you” (even though it will indeed be your mind doing the thinking in the first place). The best results for me were once I began to notice where I had a complaint or objection to something I observed in the world–it was less selfish in fact, and therefore helped so powerfully for me to question my stressful beliefs. Do what works for you, however–that is the most important thing. This work is personal–you finding your own truth. Much love, Grace


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