The other day someone wrote to me she’s very interested in the Breitenbush retreat, except for one problem: She’s been happily married for over 30 years.
The thing is, Breitenbush retreat is not for looking at trouble in only primary committed relationships.
It’s for ALL or ANY relationships you feel upset about:
Mom, dad, sister, brother, uncle, boss, co-worker, aunt, son, daughter, friend, fellow student, driver, clerk, tech support helper, teacher, employee, co-worker, stranger, neighbor-down-the-street.
These people may have caused some trouble, right?
You can leave the ones alone who are amicable, easy and solid.
No need to question those relationships at all. I like how Byron Katie says about the good, favorable, fun thoughts “Keep those stories! They’re working for us!”
But any time you’ve felt resentful, disappointed, worried or confused by someone….and I mean anyone….then it’s worthy of inquiry.
Last night I had the privilege of sitting in the first introductory opening night of the School for The Work. What a beautiful crowd of folks showed up to dive into their School of Themselves.
Because that’s what we’re really drilling down into with this self-inquiry process called The Work. We’re taking what WE have noticed bothers us–and it can be anything–and investigating it.
This isn’t about what anyone else has noticed. It’s about YOUR life, what you’ve observed, what you’ve experienced. No one else has gone through what you have. It’s unique, powerful, and pretty amazing.
The other day, someone said he’s got no problems with other people. Relationships? Not an issue.
He said his primary concern is always himself.
Now, this is super common, and you can still do The Work. (YOU are your most important relationship, after all).
But it’s great to contemplate….are you really sure not one single other person has ever disturbed you in your entire life? Can you find small details of others in your world where you’ve thought there must be some mistake, they surprised you, criticized you, worried you, angered you?
These will be YOUR thoughts anyway, even if they are about another person! Your thoughts are the ones you’ll be identifying, then questioning.
It helps paint a clearer picture when you can identify something you dislike or feel nervous about, or feel sad about, when it comes to someone else.
I also like realizing that the only time I’ve ever had a problem with myself was in some kind of relating….relationship as a verb.
The definition of relate is to make or show a connection between. So in relationships, I am exchanging communication of some kind with another person, or a thing.
I can ask myself if I comfortable with the relating, with the way I feel, as I talk, sit, touch, share time with another being?
Because if I am not comfortable….that’s a place for The Work. That’s what it’s about. Questioning these stressful stories of not feeling comfortable making or showing a connection to someone in life. It doesn’t matter if they long since passed away either. You still have an internal relationship with that person, on the inside.
(It’s really all about what’s inside the mind).
I’ve laughed and thought some relationships or ways of being in the world with humans felt like hell in the past. Literally I was terrified, angry, furious, abandoned.
But with The Work, you get to question what happened. I find out almost every time, I didn’t have the whole picture, I’m not the one in charge of the other person (or the universe), or I played a key part in the whole difficult way of relating that unfolded.
Relating happened. If it wasn’t fun….time to do The Work.
When I do The Work on any relationship in the world that’s ever bothered me, I find curiosity, laughter. I even find appreciation and gratitude.
Who would I be without my story about that person who bugged me? In heaven, not in hell.
Early-bird fee for the winter Breitenbush retreat is only $295 for 3 days (a very low fee to entice people to the gorgeous woods in the cold of winter). Early bird fee ends on October 31st. We begin Thursday evening December 7 and end Sunday Dec 10th at lunch. November 1st, the fee jumps to $395. Call Breitenbush at 503-854-3320 if you want more information about lodging, travel or meals, and to sign up. They handle everything.
“You are a universe to discover. You’re soooo interested in YOU. Have you ever had a thought NOT about you? ” ~ Byron Katie
What an exciting gift to write down your stressful thoughts, no matter who or what they are about, no matter what kind of relationship you’ve had….
….and question them.