First (before today’s inquiry) an accidental merging of my mailing lists (in case you haven’t read the news): I pressed a button and all Eating Peace subscribers were combined with regular Grace Note subscribers.
But I figure this has lead to something perfect: you updating your subscription with what you want to receive from Work With Grace, and what you don’t.
Grace Notes (like the email you’re reading) come out 1-3 times a week with the The Work on some stressful thought (plus all upcoming events are announced, the Peace Talk podcast updates, and First Friday monthly free sessions).
Eating Peace Notes are all about eating, self-inquiry, and ending troubled relationships with food and our bodies (and especially our minds) and comes out once every 7-10 days with a youtube video.
How to update: scroll down to the link at the very bottom of this email (or any email you ever receive from me) and click the Update Profile link. It’s in tiny pale letters.
The whole list debacle makes me think of fessing of up to mistakes made, and how this goes in the world whether between two people, or huge groups, or whole countries.
It can be incredibly powerful to admit your part in an interaction gone “wrong”. Or to tell the honest truth when you’re asked a question directly.
“The answer is…..”
“I have something to tell you….”,
“I must admit that….”
“I’m worried about saying this, but the truth is….”
“I’d like to have a heart-to-heart conversation about….”
The other day, my husband, who is a school teacher, stood in the kitchen looking into a bag of fabric someone donated to him for his classroom.
“Oh look!” he said with delight, “this design is so beautiful! And this one looks like a picnic table!”
He continued to scrounge through the huge bag of large and small fabric pieces.
Then he pulled out some kind of white mesh thing with sticky sides and held it up and looked towards me, sitting over in the living room.
“Do you know what this is?”
I stood up and came over to look.
I had no idea. Some kind of backing perhaps, something used in sewing.
My husband left it on the counter.
Several hours later I was back in the kitchen making a cup of tea, cleaning everything up the way I do while the water boiled, emptying the dishwasher, wiping counters, putting things away where they belong.
I held up the folded white mesh thing-we-didn’t-know-what-it-was, paused, hesitated, and then threw it in the garbage.
Um. Heh. Yah, I did that. (It’s not the first time).
That evening, my husband poked his head into where I was reading. “Do you know where that white meshing stuff is from the donation bag?”
“I’ll get it!”
I noticed myself jump up, go into the kitchen and fish the stuff out of the garbage, with him following me and seeing me do it. I kinda wish he wasn’t following me, if you know what I mean.
What did I think, earlier? That he’d never notice? (Yes, and I remember hesitating with the gut feeling to ask him first).
“You threw it out?!”
Fortunately for me, I have the dearest most patient husband in the world. The stuff was slightly moist in one area from a tea bag, but intact.
While in this situation part of me knew to take the time to ask first….I’ve been in situations before where I deleted documents, broke something, lost my wallet or keys, forgot an appointment….and I didn’t “mean” to do it. This one I actually basically knew not to, and did it anyway.
One underlying thing was happening in all of them: wanting to go fast. Wanting it to be easy, and done. Finished. Over. Task Complete. Problem Solved. Kaput.
Being someone who was once bulimic, literally, with a raging eating disorder, I watch the underlying belief in axing things, or purging, still arise.
It happens so quickly, because speed is involved.
Get this out of here, cut this off, remove it from my sight, off with his head!!
Have you ever handled relationships with others like this?
Jobs. Romances gone sideways. First husband when he said he wanted to end the marriage.
People sometimes cut off their family members using this “delete” strategy rather than tell the full and honest truth, and listen to the other tell theirs. Which takes time, patience, slowing down, willingness to share together and speak and discover what it’s like for the other.
But here’s the thing: For me, it’s always good to do The Work first, before such an intimate conversation.
It’s worth it.
It’s literally one million times easier to share honestly with someone you love than to hold it in, pretend things are OK, repress, be super careful. Even better if you discover your own fears, motive or agenda beforehand, by doing The Work.
I know, I know….that other person may not want to speak with you even if you get to the place where you do. That’s OK. The best feeling is being open and willing. You can let them know you are (if you are) so they know you’ll be ready when they are.
Meanwhile, I love the four questions.
I can just throw this away, and the counter will be clean. (I can just shut down, isolate, withhold the truth, and go on about my life leaving the past entirely behind…)
Is it true?
Um. Rats. There may be a few steps in between. These steps might look like feeling our full feelings, willingness, inquiry, learning, honesty, clarity, awareness, love, surrender, peace.
So, no. It’s not true that throwing it away will clean it up, forever…or with no consequence.
How do I react when I believe safety lies in cutting something off? Or my goal will be realized if I throw something out (even if it’s not mine)?
I move fast. I toss it away.
Long ago, when I was trying to follow spiritual principles I was gathering from anything I could possibly read, I decided giving all my possessions away would put me into a state of wonder and lack of burden.
I literally took everything, including photo albums with all my own baby and childhood photos, to the dump. I watched everything I owned practically go over the edge by my own hands into the pit.
I still think about that purging. The desire to purge my mind of myself. The desire to be something that was Not Me. Really believing it would bring me to freedom, or peace.
Who would you be without the belief that throwing something, someone, that issue….into the garbage or out of your sight, will make things easier? Quicker? Handled? Safer?
I’d ask my husband if he wanted the thing, or not. If he said “no” I might even put it in the Goodwill box and treat it as something of value. (I still do love giving away things I don’t use very often, and prefer the more minimalist life of a little house, fewer clothes, just-right amount of pots and pans, one bookshelf of books).
Who would I be without the belief that tossing it away would clean it up? Including a relationship?
I’d be doing The Work. Checking my inner clenching. Watching “my” resistance. Noticing the fear at the human level and the absence of fear at a place beyond.
I’d make contact with an open mind, with the other person. I’d share my inner life, and connect with them, without expectation.
Turning the thought around: I can’t throw this away and expect the counter will be clean. I can’t just shut down, isolate, withhold the truth, and go on about my life leaving the past entirely behind…
Could this be just as true or truer? What’s the reality?
I notice the mind, and the heart, want to catch up with each other and understand together what’s going on. I notice I want to connect with others in a really honest, open-hearted way and this takes time. Willing to listen, speaking the truth in response, sharing until it feels empty.
I notice I can’t throw my thinking away about something that happened that I found disturbing. I can’t just shut it down, isolate it and go on about my life without inquiry and understanding.
It takes as long as it takes. It takes reflection, having an honest conversation with myself. Willing to be wrong or misunderstood. Willing to Not Be The Victim.
And here’s the good news: you don’t have to have the other person say “yes” to a conversation, you don’t have to keep a job that’s really not right for you, you don’t have to keep the white mesh thingie on the counter when you want the counter cleaned off.
It’s a clarity dance.
I love slowing down, with the help of The Work. I love noticing the way the mind believes Fast or Over is better, instead of Slow and Steady.
Best of all, it’s a work in progress, this dawning of awareness. It’s underway. Happening. Doing what it needs to do.
“I see people and things, and when it comes to me to move toward them or away from them, I move without argument, because I have no believable story about why I shouldn’t. It’s always perfect. A decision would give me less, always less. So ‘it’ makes its own decision, and I follow. And what I love is that it’s always kind.” ~ Byron Katie
If you’d like to question your thoughts about a relationship that ended (divorce, break-up, separation) then join me January 6th on Sundays at 11:00 am Pacific Time for 6 sessions (no class January 13th). Sign up here.
Eating Peace Retreat is also coming soon. Three spots left. This is a deep and powerful immersion in questioning thought, behaviors, relationship with food, reactions, compulsion, betrayal, disappointment. We start Weds night Jan 9th and end Monday morning January 14th. Life changing.
Question your thinking, change your world.