One of the most powerful experiences of transformation I’ve ever encountered is to truly, honestly, openly and without shame (or, even if I do have shame) express my feelings, and be witnessed by others.
Thirty years ago, I was in a powerful weekly group process for 3 years where we looked closely and deeply at our troubled feelings, and shared them.
We showed them to others.
Instead of talking about fear, or sadness or hurt….we cried, screamed or spoke the story we were believing with an honest heart. Self-consciousness dissolved. The energy changed.
Something’s been happening within me for the past several years where I’m connecting this honest expression of feeling with self-inquiry and The Work, which seems to require thinking.
It’s been underway as a weaving together for a very long time. In this autumn retreat coming up, we’ll gently and kindly spend more time allowing the feelings that appear. We’ll notice them, encourage them, be with them.
I love these feelings, our inner world–the temple bell that says “time to inquire”. If you’d like to join me in the honoring of your inner life, and self-inquiry, then consider coming to northeast Seattle in three weeks to be in the adventure of loving kindness with who you are, even when you believe un-believable and very troubling thoughts.
Especially when you believe unbelievable and troubling thoughts. Join me in the retreat by signing up here.
Speaking of unbelievable thoughts. I’ve had kind of an embarrassing thought that’s reared it’s head lately again–but also many times in the past.
I shared about it on facebook today. I keep forgetting to tell you all I’m doing a facebook live every single Tuesday at 4 pm Pacific Time. The video gets recorded and posted immediately on my facebook page here.
The stressful and slightly embarrassing thought I’m bringing to The Work today?
“I don’t have enough money. I want more.”
In my facebook video, the story I told from ten years ago felt like a threat to my very survival.
When I had the thought recently it was different. But both times, I definitely felt ashamed.
This more recent kind of not having enough is like a sorrowful, complaining, piteous kind of Not Enoughness.
I just want more.
I already know I don’t neeeeeeeed more. It’s not urgent, it’s not an emergency.
But by comparison those other people have so much more than me. And I hate it. They can do whatever they want, buy whatever they want, decorate however they want, have whatever they want, spend their time however they want, go wherever they want.
And what makes it worse is, I shouldn’t be complaining about this. There are starving people in Africa. I’m such a greedy American. It’s ridiculous. Poor baby can’t have her electric car or gym trainer or yoga retreat.
That sounds so harsh, right?
I work with so many people who have stressful thoughts, and then think they’re being horrible people for having them.
I can relate. But even if embarrassing, I still have the belief “I don’t have enough money”.
I don’t have enough money for doing lavish things I’ve seen in the movies or heard about from time to time like hiring a plane to take me to an island. I don’t have enough money to go on another retreat. I don’t have enough money to do nothing all day.
Instead of hitting yourself with harsh-ness for having a thought, let’s actually do The Work instead. Because it’s sweet and loving and very kind to give yourself the care and attention of looking at a thought that feels true.
Here are my favorite questions to ask first, when it comes to thoughts about not having enough money:
1) What would you have, if you had all that money you dream of and could acquire the things you want? Success? Rest? Ease? Freedom? Security? Look at those other people you’re comparing yourself to….what do they have that you don’t have?
2) What’s the worst that could happen if you never, ever get that amount of money? Lack of fun? Failure? Lack of comfort, or care? Will you suffer?
Is it true I don’t have enough money to have freedom, fun, joy, comfort, security right now?
Can any amount of money guarantee any of these things?
Do you really need more money to gain time, happiness, safety, or freedom?
You might genuinely be able to attain a little more comfort. You might get to sit in a chair that cost $3800 instead of $38 and notice it feels a bit softer or looks more elegant.
But as Byron Katie says so beautifully….sitting is sitting.
Is more money really seriously required for you to be happy right now, in this moment?
Are you sure you need as much as those Other People, who have millions? Are you sure you aren’t equally capable of obtaining as much as them, whether it’s money or other interesting adventures in life?
Who would we be without our beliefs about wanting or needing MORE?
I’d feel very connected to those others. I’d trust they need what they have, and I need what I have. I’d be aware that money comes and goes and moves about and stays or doesn’t, like the weather.
I’d notice I love receiving money and trading it for other things I need like food, or heat, or clothing.
I’d notice how much fun this is, like a game instead of a serious dilemma. Just as much fun to be connected and play and delight in money as in lack of money.
Turning the thought around: I do have enough money. I don’t have enough supportive/clear thinking (about money). Money doesn’t have enough of me.
Those qualities or conditions I want from money? Perhaps it’s time for me to give these to the world, to others, to money itself: support, service, respect, comfort, ease, freedom, love. I could give these qualities to others, to the world, instead of grabbing for them in this situation.
Today I received two registrations for fall retreat within an hour, and suddenly my thought about not having enough people signed up went away.
I thought about the two empty rooms with king sized beds still available for participants to stay onsite that are not yet filled. I’ve already paid for them. I won’t get reimbursed if no one stays there. I’ll lose money. It will be bad. I need more money for those rooms.
Who would I be without this thought?
Noticing I watch, wait, write, act and it’s a big wonderful magnificent dance. I have no idea how many people will be sleeping onsite until October 17th.
I don’t know how many people will attend retreat until it’s over.
Recently, as you probably know if you read Grace Notes, I got to attend and witness so many beautiful people doing The Work during a 3 day retreat I was not leading. One person left after the first day. Slipped away without saying goodbye.
Reality shows us who is supposed to be there and who is not.
How very, very exciting. What a wonderful sense of trust, joy, and action. I notice I still speak or share about the upcoming retreat, but no one has to come.
If no one showed up at all (which appears to be untrue based on the list of committed folks I have…but you get the idea)….
….if no one shows up, then I notice I get 4.5 days of silent, peaceful, quiet retreat time to do The Work on my own and really be my own facilitator in a way I could never imagine in my past life. Isn’t that truly what I always wanted, to be friends with silence, and my inner emotional world, and my thinking?
What a spectacular fun turnaround scene to notice in the mind in my imagination: that if no one came, or no money showed up when I think I want or need more, no vacation or skin treatment or new bicycle was ever possible in my entire life (or anything I think would be nice)….
….that I’d know I did my best, I stepped forward with courage and willingness, I’m not wrong or some kind of greedy weirdo, I treated money as a loving friend not an enemy who’s teasing me or leaving me out, that I questioned my stressful opinions and found humor and joy.
Who would you be without your story of Not Enough?
P.S. As I mentioned, when I was in my late 20s, I was in a drama therapy and primal/gestalt corrective parenting group for three years. Fifteen years later I found The Work.
In autumn retreat we’ll listen to our emotional experience and listen to our bodies as we do The Work. There’s no shame in our feelings. They point us to our stories. They tell us and show us what we’re believing. Come join me in this transformational Work of Byron Katie. Questions? Hit reply here or call me 206-650-1230.