They’re ignoring me…and I’m ignoring her.

Are they ignoring me? Or is it just my imagination?

One of my favorite things about The Work is the way it encourages us to use our imagination!

We’re already using it, before The Work, to scare ourselves, get worried, get angry, feel powerless, feel sad, be unhappy.

So let’s expand that imagination to a broader, more inclusive, more trusting, more good-feeling perspective. The other side of duality, in this dual world of opposites.

But this doesn’t mean “try” to be positive, and to go straight from “I hate this situation” to “I love this situation” without inquiry.

That’s super hard, and not very respectful to yourself.

Someone asked me recently, what kind of positive affirmations or sentences do I tell myself, when I feel distressed and I want to ground myself in feeling better?

I had to chuckle inside. Because I wouldn’t tell myself one single thing that was a positive affirmation, or a pep talk, that I didn’t believe or hadn’t inquired into first.

I’m not sure I ever even think of telling myself positive things on purpose.

The person who asked me this then went on to say that she was on a long vacation with her extended family, and from the very first day she began to feel uncomfortable with quite a few things she was observing in all these family members.

Grandchildren were running across the street without their parents restraining them. Her adult children were gazing at their cell phones, and the teens were constantly snap-chatting with friends back home in the US. Older folks were holding up the group, or getting ditched by the younger set–resulting in people losing each other in crowded European piazzas. Siblings were acting rude during meals, and ignoring her.

What she then told me was that she decided on about the second day to Say Nothing.

“There was no point. It’s just the way it is.”


The opposite of Arguing With Reality is not Being Resigned To Reality with a chip on your shoulder.

I asked her if she wanted to try The Work, since she was asking me about it and wondering if I used positive affirmations. She agreed.

One of the most pressing, repetitive thoughts she had about several of the people in her family was….”they are ignoring me”.

They care more about “x” (cell phones, emails, themselves, their friends) than about this vacation. They don’t care about me. The last trip was much better. I may as well have stayed home.


This really hurts, when you believe it.

I asked her, is it true they ignored you?

YES. YES. YES. (She explained more about what they were doing, the way of the world these days, the neglect, the spiritual void of lacking an ability to be present, the rudeness she witnessed).

Inside a part of me had a little edge of a feeling….“She should slow down. She should relax and answer the questions. She shouldn’t explain and find additional proof for her stressful belief.”

“How do you react when you believe the thought”, I asked her, “that they’re ignoring you?”

She explained how she reacted by saying nothing, never one word, never asking for what she wanted. She didn’t bring up her complaints. She didn’t speak her regrets. She didn’t make her requests.

Too furious to speak. Too unhappy. Too upset.

I get it. I’ve been there.

It’s painful to believe I can’t speak up about how I’m feeling, because if I do a fountain of unhappiness will burst out of me. I’ll disappoint them. I’ll make it worse.

Wow, it’s rough to be so caught between a rock and a hard place–I can’t talk, I can’t Not Talk, and be happy.

I asked her who she would be without this belief that they were ignoring her?

She answered immediately: “it’s impossible not to have this belief. The world is like this now. People don’t care about each other. Everyone wants to look at their phones. It’s never going back.”

As she spoke, I could feel the pain of having zero hope, and no ability to really find one drop of what it would be like to not have the thought, in the presence of people ignoring you. To really not have the thought “they are ignoring me” (even if they are).

But then she said something swiftly, and lightly, even if just for a second “I’d notice the amazing place I’m sitting. I’d look around.”

I realized as I did this work right alongside her, that it is very possible someone is ignoring her, whatever that means exactly (not paying attention, not caring, not connecting, not loving, being dismissive, being interested in something else besides her).

But it doesn’t mean she has to think and believe the thought herself.

She could barely stay in the question “who would you be without this thought?” She was out of there in literally 2 seconds. She was back into how awful to be ignored, how sad, how ruined the vacation.

So we kept moving….into the turnarounds.

“I am ignoring myself” in that situation. Could this be as true, or truer?

“Oh YES!” she replied after considering this turnaround. She saw how in that situation she buttoned her lip and said nothing and got really small over in a corner, and quiet, feeling left out and distant. She ignored her own desire to connect more closely, and to ask others to walk next to her, or put away their phones for awhile. She might have thought of all kinds of solutions that would offer a sense of closeness, rather than distance and resignation in her situation.


It reminded me of believing there’s nothing I can do, in some situations, except withdraw, back away, separate myself.

It’s like the way I used to believe in dieting. Just go without. Starve. Avoid pleasure. Go hungry.

The only cure for this body problem, was to suffer silently. I never questioned “there is a problem”—is that true?


We looked at the turnarounds “I am ignoring THEM” and “they are NOT ignoring me”.

This inquirer’s answers were No, I can’t find any examples. They WERE ignoring me. And I was NOT ignoring them.

Right in the middle of that situation, me facilitating her, facilitating myself, facilitating inquiry on the thought “they are ignoring me” I felt the impact of “ignoring” or thinking of something as wrong (like someone not being able to find any turnaround examples).

What if what is happening, including these questions and these answers right here in the middle of The Work, are exactly what is supposed to be happening?

What if for this woman, the only turnaround that’s valid and helpful in that moment was the one “I am ignoring myself”?

What if I kindly and openly did not ignore her, as I facilitated, or ignored myself either?

What if what she was aware of, and clear about, and learning as she answered four strange questions she had never answered before….

….was just the right amount of ignoring, and awareness.

All I know is, it’s easy to love what’s happening than it is to hate it.

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” ~ Albert Einstein

“Prejudice of any kind implies that you are identified with the thinking mind. It means you don’t see the other human being anymore, but only your own concept of that human being. To reduce the aliveness of another human being to a concept is already a form of violence.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Much love,


I am bad

What are you without the belief you’ve made a mistake, done it wrong, or that you’re bad?

“If I had derived my identity from what the world was telling me, or what my mind used to tell me, I would have been a total failure. Then…a total success.” 

I had to chuckle while listening to the brilliant Eckhart Tolle as he said these words, describing himself first at age 50 and then a few years later, after his book the Power of Now had swept the world and become a best seller.

He was talking about this Self, whatever he apparently was (which he no longer believed anyway).

For most of us, we have moments of feeling like failures, or successes, and everything in between.

Have you ever felt like you failed with a partner? Failed with your kid? Failed in “x” area?

(I often hear about failure from people who have struggled with addictions–someone just wrote to me this morning, for example, pleading for help with her eating disorder).

My heart goes out to people when they feel this self-criticism and negativity, this torture about being who they are.

I am bad.

I know it’s hard to do The Work on ourselves, but let’s look today….it’s what appears today for inquiry!

If I really ask myself about this idea of being bad, whether I am bad or someone else is bad, I notice I have this equal and opposite urge to move into the idea “no you aren’t, stop thinking that, you’re good, it’s OK” and wanting to soothe.

Both sides of that BAD coin don’t really feel that great, though. Not thinking you’re bad, not thinking you need soothing and fixing.

Not if YOU are the bad one/failing one….or if someone ELSE is the bad one/failing one.

So let’s take a look.

I am bad, a failure.…(here’s my proof: I’m acting too negative, I’m co-dependent, thinking about “x” too much, Not Present, not being the perfect spiritual person, too critical, a procrastinator, not organized enough, not living up to my fullest potential, didn’t make enough money, didn’t plan well, not succeeding, mediocre, eating ice cream, drinking coffee, watching netflix, etc, etc, etc).

You’ve got your thing you’re failing at, right?

Bad Job.

Is it true?


I mean, look at her, him, them. Do you see those people? Those are SUCCESSFUL people.

Now look at me. See what I mean? I’ve had a whole lifetime and my sisters are doing “x” and I have a midget-sized house and I never get my book done and there are all these incredible people making a million dollars (not me) and I never learned a second language and I haven’t done a Ted Talk and…..

You get the idea.

You may notice you have moments in time where the way you spoke with someone, you considered “bad” or “failure”.

But are you sure it’s absolutely true that YOU are bad, wrong, a failure in that situation?

Who is the You who is answering this question?

Who is the You who you’re looking at, the bad one? Where is this person? Where is this person right NOW?

How do you react when you believe the thought you’re bad, wrong, you failed?

I don’t know about you…..but it’s a dark, cold, sinking, thick feeling.

I can hear it when I’m facilitating people who have this thought. They report that they feel sick when they believe this thought, or depressed. Or, like the person who wrote to me today….they’re frantic, desperate, suicidal.

Now, pause.

Who would you be without your thought that you are bad, you did it wrong, you failed?

Yes….as you watch yourself and your mind fill with images of the past and the mistakes, and images of the future you’re worried will happen….

….who would you be, even if you’ve got pictures running through your head, or voices chattering on the inside….

….who would you be WITHOUT believing this thought?

Just hold still for a minute.

What is happening right now, without any idea that you’ve done something wrong, or anything bad, or bad-ness is part of you or what you are in some situation?

You might still feel some feelings, like sadness, or very afraid, or nervous, or dull, jumpy, thick.

You feel how the energy is moving and where it floats and what happens to it, without the thoughts you’re bad. Close your eyes and feel it, feel everything here now.

Do you feel it? Just the sense of pulsing, and being alive, and what it’s like to not be so sure of your mental evaluations of yourself?

What if you just did not know what was true about “you”?

Kinda funny. Makes me smile, actually.

Can you turn this belief around to the opposite?

I am not bad. I am good. I am ____. I am.


“The body reacts to your mind. The body believes your thoughts to be real. Mind patterns often create fear. The thought creates the emotion because you’re totally identified with the thought. The body responds as if the thought is reality. The body can’t tell the difference, what you think affects the body. By seeing thought as untrue is the only way to become free. You can only see it as untrue with awareness. Without awareness, the thought swallows up your entire consciousness. Simply allow everything to be here. Allow the feeling to be here. Without feeling you shouldn’t feel it either. Allowing it….brings awareness.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

I notice the sense of “bad” or “good” is ever-changing, coming and going, here then not here.

Letting it all be here, just the way it is.

No mistakes.

Much love, Grace

Do You Need To Speak Up?

speak_upA friend tells me about another friend we both know.

“Did you see how she dominated the conversation at dinner? It was so irritating!”

Yes, I did notice that other friend tells pretty long stories, describes scenes with detail, took the floor quite a bit during the dinner in question.

But I hadn’t ever thought for one second “she is dominating the conversation”.

So while I noticed certain behaviors, sounds, a way this talkative friend was being….

….I didn’t have the thought it needed to be different.

It never occurred to me.

It wasn’t because I was trying to not be bothered. I really didn’t notice.


I did have a thought about this friend who was telling me about the other friend.

Uh oh.

This one talking and telling me about the other one should calm down, be more accepting, stop finding fault with our other friend. She should stop trying to make outcomes turn out a certain way (like all-conversations-with-no-person-dominating).

She shouldn’t be so dominating.

I just joined the party. In an instant.


Who would I be without the belief that my friend’s opinion is uncomfortable, troubling, or dominating for me? Without the belief she should stop being concerned with what she’s concerned with?

I’d hear her. I’d feel like a relaxed listener.

The turnarounds are the most important for me:

I shouldn’t be so dominating of myself, in this situation.

So true. Holy cow.

In that moment when my friend is expressing herself and talking about our other “dominating” friend, I could gently respond.

I could say how, truth be told, I have no idea how to handle someone who is talking a whole lot and that I’ve always just ignored this type of behavior.

I could notice, even say out loud, that I have no solution for this type of intercourse happening in life. I could share that when someone is “dominating” my usual course of action has been to back out of the room slowly, or simply depart.

I don’t want to argue, I’m a bit afraid of the unknown, I’m sad about people not getting along, I don’t know what to say or do.

I notice I’ve “dominated” myself by putting up with numerous incidents in my life, not feeling comfortable about conflict.

I’ve refrained from saying “no” when I felt a clear “no” within. And there I was not saying anything in that moment, in that situation.

I could so lovingly say to my complaining friend “I didn’t notice what you noticed. You could just let it go?” and open up to a conversation with her about it….

….rather than wanting her to be quiet.

In my mind, the other turnaround is also true: “I am dominating her”.

I’m thinking she’s a complainer and trying too hard to control everything about her other friends who talk. I’m moving away from her internally, feeling less connected, less bonded. I don’t like her so much anymore.

Then I feel, I remember, I make contact with the part of me that’s full of compassion, love and honesty, and never in the end afraid to tell the truth out loud.

I’ve always loved this about being me.

And I know a conversation needs to happen.

“To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.” ~ Eckhart Tolle 

And who’s the one who needs to speak up?

That would be me.

Much love,

Could You Be On Retreat, No Matter What You’re Doing?


When you leave retreat, are you still on retreat? The light's blown out, but you are still home.
When you leave retreat, are you still on retreat? The light’s blown out, but you are still home.

Words can hardly express how ecstatically joyful I feel after being with an amazing retreat full of people this past weekend….

….all gathered together in Eating Peace, the in-person version of my new program rebuilt and expanded hugely this past year.

I finally sat down and wrote everything I ever learned that was absolutely key in dissolving emotional eating in my life.

Then I condensed the absolute most important points into 3 days.

I spent every hour with the group from 9 am until after dinner and our evening session.

Including meals.

We practiced mindful eating. Slowly taking each bite together, feeling the textures, the sensation of swallowing, the explosion of tastes, the smell of our food.

We did The Work of Byron Katie. We questioned our stressful beliefs.

I feel slow right now…..relaxed, kicking back, satisfied, accomplished.

And a funny thought came to mind as I returned home, noticed I felt hungry already upon arrival, and joined my teenage daughter chewing on roasted chicken right from the container.

We laughed and talked….and in the back of my mind I thought “what if all the participants in Eating Peace saw me eating now like this, standing in my kitchen, joking with my daughter, eating with my fingers?

OMG, they would see I’m different than the way I was on retreat!!”

Fortunately, I could notice that thought and not believe it, even chuckle, because I know this way of eating is just as wonderful for me as the other very slow, very mindful way of eating.

Really, both are sacred.

I do not forget that this thing called food, something apparently from outside of myself is entering and joining with me in a beautiful act of unification.

Two are becoming one, in the act of eating.

Even standing in the kitchen.

But it wasn’t always this way. In the past, when my eating was waaaayyyy disordered and horribly uncomfortable (even violent) I felt like I was TRYING to become one with something….

….desperately grabbing….

….but I just couldn’t feel it.

What it came down to was this one very painful thought about life, my inner world, and my relationship with the universe.

Something is scary here. Something is missing. Something is wrong with me. Quick! Run!

Other people have this same thought, I realized later.

They might not turn into eating weirdos with this alarming view of the universe….

….instead, they might drink, smoke, analyze, watch TV, shop, clean, exercise, THINK.

There are so many escapist activities to choose from, to take the edge off and hide for awhile, not feel so vulnerable, not be so daunted by the largeness of life.

But who would you be without the belief that you have to hide something? That there’s something wrong with you? Or that there is something frightening happening by being here on planet earth?

This is a huge idea….not easy perhaps to imagine.

And yet, you can.

You’ve imagined the opposite already, right?

You’ve imagined that the world is frightening, life is difficult, the universe is sometimes out to get you, or it’s chaotic. Bad things happen you’ve imagined. You’ve definitely thought there might be something missing, or wrong with you.

Why not see what it would be like, with that incredible imagination, without these dreadful, fearful thoughts?

What do you notice is happening right now, for example?

Are you OK?

Is anything truly dangerous occurring?

“To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment….What liberation to realize the voice in your head is not who you are.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Now, the retreat is over, but in truth, watching, clarity, love and gratitude continues to live….even if its in the kitchen, standing, laughing while holding a greasy chicken bone.
The retreat continues.

Love, Grace

What If You Had Nothing To Complain About?

The definition of a complaint in the dictionary is an ailment, disease, affliction, protest, objection, grievance, grouse, sickness.

It comes from the word lament. Grief. Sorrow.

We’re told we should never complain and that people who complain are irritating.

It seems true.

And yet…I noticed once that I was complaining about complainers. I had objections to these folks. But I was doing the same thing as them….

….wishing they would stop so I could be happy.

One fantastic way to dive deeper into understanding the whole process of complaining, whether you do it internally or say it out loud, is to write down every complaint you can think of in five minutes.

You might be surprised at how many you can think up.

I wish it wasn’t so late, I wish I had more time, there’s a pen mark on the couch, someone should have emptied the dishwasher, I wish the chicken was hot, I don’t want to go buy bananas, I thought there was gas in my car already, I don’t have time to book my tickets to the retreat, I didn’t write that other email very clearly…

I mean, it can go on and on and on.

What I’ve observed over time is that I have some of the very same complaints over and over. They’re like a broken record, playing repetitively.

Those are juicy ones for inquiry.

But after you look at these in more detail…you might have fun taking a look at the overall big picture…and seeing what happens if you inquire.

Let’s do it!

There are things that are wrong, and I object to them! They’re irritating, annoying, frightening, infuriating! 

Is that true?

Yes. There are things everywhere that are upsetting, imperfect, unfortunate and worthy of complaint!


Can you absolutely know this is true? Are you sure?

I almost don’t know how to answer that question. It seems true. Even considering it not to be true is sort of….unusual. I’ve never heard of such a thing.

Nothing to complain about? Impossible!!!

How do you react when you believe there are so many things worthy of complaint? When you really believe its true that things are imperfect and wrong around here?

I spout off complaints. I try to find solutions. I “work” on solving problems. I try to fix the complaints and get them handled.

It’s a big project. It’s never-ending.

Well…who would you be without the thought that there’s something to complain about?


I’m almost silenced. Without the belief that there’s a lot to be upset about here on planet earth, in my life, I’d be….I’d be….

….wow. I’m not even sure who or what I’d be.

“To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

I wouldn’t be a victim. I’d be here. Now.

I’d be looking around the space I’m in, noticing the air, the feeling of this place. I’d have eyes taking in the scenery, I’d have a body doing what it does, I’d hear a dog bark and a car motor somewhere nearby, I’d smell the lotion on my hands, I’d have a mind drinking everything in.

Turning the thought around….

….there is nothing to complain about. Nothing.

“Not even knowing what’s true–just knowing what’s not true is enough, because what that leaves is the great surprise. And all you can know about it is its nature. And so you begin to live a fearless existence.” ~ Byron Katie

Just to see what its like to not believe you have something to complain about….woah.

Empty. Quiet.

“Often, the pursuit of happiness leads to sorrow…Really happy people aren’t pursuing happiness, have you noticed? But you think they got it because they pursued it! What’s not told to you is that the pursuit of happiness leads to sorrow. Even if we attain something that gives us some happiness, we know that whatever we’ve grasped won’t last forever. Even a great spiritual experience!….In the midst of all this is the sacred. Causeless happiness.” ~ Adyashanti

What if your complaints are innocent, but also…unnecessary?

What if you could decide to simply relax, rest, and not take your complaining seriously?

Now that’s exciting!

Much love, Grace

De-fense! De-fense! Are You Hurting You?

If you’re wanting to take the last spot for the teleclass Turning Relationship Hell To Heaven, which runs for 8 sessions, we start today at 9 am Pacific Time! Reply to this email if this is for you. We meet 9/22 – 11/17 (no class 10/20).

And speaking of relationships from hell.

Have you ever said “no” to someone, or not met their expectations in some way….maybe you disappointed them, or didn’t return their call soon enough, or you weren’t as excited about something as they were.

They sent you a cold email, or a short text, or a brief note that’s not like their usual friendly self.

They are not pleased. You did it wrong.

During this past weekend I got to sit with a wonderful group of inquirers all investigating their thinking about important close relationships, their imperfect bodies, their spiritual practice.

What a spectacular way to spend the weekend, exploring ancient thoughts that hurt.

As another inquirer investigated her thought about feeling a divide between her and one of her best friends, I remembered my good friend Carrie from a really long time ago.

And how it went bad.

Carrie was about six years younger than me, and the difference between age 18 and 24 seemed huge. I felt like her way bigger sister. I worked in the music department of a university where she was a music major.

She started coming in more and more often to the main office. My desk was one of the first ones anybody saw when they walked through the door.

We had fantastic conversations about parents, college, jobs, what happened to her when she was little, her survival of her childhood. It was sweet and intimate, and she could trust me to keep her stories private, and to honor them.

I could.

She graduated and went off to play her saxophone in gigs around town and work as a nanny.

She wrote me a letter. I smiled a big wide smile, very pleased to hear from her.

She sent me a card. I was touched and placed it on my desk.

Then she sent me cute silver carved turtle earrings (I still have them and wear them occasionally).

Wow, what a sweetheart! I called her and left her a message saying Thank You. This was before cell phones. We had answering machines.

In my own personal life, I was pretty miserable. I was frightened. In the middle of receiving Carrie’s communications, I went into inpatient eating disorders treatment. I was there for four weeks. When I came out, I quit my job, and moved back to the city where I grew up.

Then….after quite a few weeks….a not-so-friendly letter arrives at my parent’s house.

You never write back, you never try to contact me, you’ve always got better things to do. You’re not the caring person I thought.  

Carrie felt pissed. Dismissed. Not cared for. Unimportant. Small. Not special.

I felt sad reading that letter.

Too bad I didn’t have the work at the time…it would be many years before I found it.

Because I could have questioned my troubled thinking, and gotten free.

She shouldn’t have impossible expectations. She shouldn’t believe I’m a dismissive person. She shouldn’t be hurt and disappointed. She pressured me. If this is how needy she is, then good riddance. 

De-fense! De-fense! Clap-clap-clap-clap-clap-clap! (Like the cheers at football games, right?)

Is it true she shouldn’t have written that to me?

Is it true she shouldn’t feel pain, be hurt, be upset, see me as a horrible friend and a rotten person?

Yes! She’s expecting too much!

Are you sure?

Who would you be without that belief?


You mean without the thought that I was neglectful? Without the belief that she’s wrong about me? Without the belief that she’s too needy? Without the thought I shouldn’t ever disappoint anyone?

Without any of those thoughts, I notice a huge empty space, and relaxation.

I notice a simple inner appreciation for her. I notice sending her love, and then I notice my surroundings. I notice my freedom.

No need to stop everything and rush to anxiously apologize. No need to believe I did it wrong or it went badly. No fear of her anger, her dislike, her disgust or disappointment, her view of me.

“It’s not what people say that upsets us, it’s what we hear that upsets us….The tone of their voice, right? If you really want to know the truth, step in front of a screamer. When someone does that thing with their voice, what’s going in your head about that is the pain you’re feeling, the suffering you’re feeling. An open mind is someone who is hearing, rather than imagining what you’re hearing.” ~ Byron Katie

I turn my thoughts around: shouldn’t have impossible expectations of her, or of myself. I shouldn’t believe she’s a dismissive person. I shouldn’t be hurt and disappointed. I pressured me. If this is how needy I am, then she’s better off without me. 


I realize how much Carrie loved me, how caring and giving she was, how interested she was in me, how much she wanted to be in my life, how close she wanted to be, how honest, strong, passionate she was.

She was more present and proactive towards me, more loving and attentive, than I was about myself!

“Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

If you feel unresolved, upset, confused, sad, irritated, stressed, in pain about any relationship….begin to question your beliefs about that person.

You may be surprised at how that person you are upset with is a person in your imagination, not the one you think they are.

If you need support in this….join us tomorrow in the relationship hell to heaven class.

“When you judge another person unkindly, you hurt you.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love, Grace

When Future Plans Shift, Dance The Shuffle

My hands are clapping because last night was the first evening of retreat with the Year of Inquiry group. We just started our year together this month. I love everyone in the group so much!

Even the people who can’t travel to Seattle for a weekend because they live far away or had other plans.

Just yesterday, last minute shuffles started happening.

Someone emailed with the news “my mother is not feeling good, and her job was taking care of my kids this weekend…I can’t make it.”

A few hours later, another inquirer sent me her email “My ride fell through”. Another inquirer said “can I come last minute?” even though she’s flying from Nevada.

Yes to everything. Yes.

(By the way, there will be an opening starting next month for one person in Year of Inquiry. We mostly meet on the phone, and there is one optional retreat next spring for everyone who’s ever been in YOI–current participants and alumni–May 15-17, 2015. Write me by hitting reply to this email if you’re interested).

Have you ever had a party, planned a vacation, led a retreat, given a talk, performed on stage, organized a family event….

….and noticed your thoughts along the way are sometimes….

….a little like getting a piece of dust in your eye?

Kind of hurts, but if you just blink enough, it will go away? Sort of irritating and concerning but you just keep going? A little anxiety arising? Perhaps a wave of anxiety grows bigger as the date approaches?

You might know its going the way its going, and its all OK….but if you inquire, you may not even experience that little piece of dust, or any stress whatsoever.

Let’s look at the kinds of thoughts that can be agonizing sometimes about plans to gather people together for anything:

  • not enough people can make it
  • there should be more people
  • there should be fewer people
  • I need to know who is coming
  • if someone cancels, it means it’s not important enough
  • if someone comes last minute, it means they don’t have anything better to do
  • I need everyone to have a fabulous time
  • everything needs to go as I planned…perfectly
I’ve facilitated inquirers through wedding plans, friends frequently canceling for dates, people not showing up, worries about workshops not filling or going wrong.

How do you react when you believe you need to know what will happen? When you believe it needs to look like “x” in order to be really good?

When you think everyone needs to have a perfect, amazing, fantabulous time? When you think people should do everything they can to attend barring natural disasters?

I get up thinking about what I’ll do in the morning. I make lists. I picture what it will look like. I think, with some anxiety, about what I could be missing or what I haven’t included or if I’ve remembered everything, bought everything, printed out everything…THOUGHT of EVERYTHING?

Worry, worry, worry.

Who would you be without the belief that you have to know anything about what your upcoming plans will really look like? Without that thought that you have to do anything MORE than you want to do? Without the belief that you could miss something, or that everyone has to have an amazing time?
Oooooh it’s so much fun!!
Absolutely thrilling really!
No idea what it will look like, but very open, ready, happy, anticipating with joy.
I get on the airplane with my suitcase (and maybe not even that!), I park my car and gather my things and walk into the hall, I prepare food in my kitchen and put out chairs and set out name tags and tea, I send emails to relatives across the country, I click “buy” on the retreat page.
When even one knock comes at the door, I know something wonderful is about to happen.
  • the perfect number of people can make it
  • there should be the exact number of people present
  • I do not need to know who is coming
  • if someone cancels, it means they are supposed to cancel
  • if someone comes last minute, it means they are supposed to come last minute
  • I need only me to have a fabulous time
  • everything needs to go as it goes, and whatever I think or anything thinks, it is just right for this moment, even this moment right now

“The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.” ~ Eckhart Tolle 

In this moment now…I notice there is a most beautiful space in the air around me.
There are voices and smiling people everywhere, people reading, relaxing, looking at their phones. I am sitting in a Starbucks. I just counted 24 people in this room here with me, and I didn’t invite anyone or expect to see any of these people this morning.
A gorgeous song is playing with a guitar through the speakers overhead. The room is bursting with light from floor-to-ceiling windows. The trees outside wave happily in the overcast breeze.
What a spectacular world. I am almost moved to tears with the beauty of it all.
Can you see it?
There is really nothing else to do now, except dance my favorite last-minute shuffle dance.  With people coming and going, people moving in and out and to the left and to the right.
A shuffle to the grocery store and a shuffle to the office depot and a shuffle to make copies and a shuffle to the gym and a shuffle to my kitchen and a shuffle to all the people who show up tonight to do The Work together all weekend.
Click this link now and get up and dance, in your living room, wherever you are. Dance right now.

Much love,


P.S. For another Grace Note on planning events, click here to read.

Doing The Work Shows Me How To Celebrate Change

Change-Your-LifeLast night the Thursday Year Of Inquiry group spent time investigating our topic this month. We’re in our last month of being together for an entire year, doing The Work.

Our topic?

Well, appropriately….the topic is endings, when something is lost, when it appears to be gone forever.

When they change, when it’s over, done, finished, kaput, altered, not going as expected or planned in any way.

Complete. Dead. Permanently deleted.

People in our group had all different situations, as usual, to examine.

A son who was growing up who spends less time with his parents, a beloved grandpa who had died long ago. Someone admirable who left, moved away. A lifestyle that ended. A real estate deal not unfolding as planned.

How many times in my life have I thought, with sadness, that it was unfortunate that something or someone was no longer with me, or that something was going differently than I wanted it to go?

Wow. What a big lens to look through at life where the lens is sour, victim-ish, disappointed, bleak, doomed.

It went wrong. It could have gone better. That person is lost and gone forever. 

Is it true?

Are you completely positive it’s true that it went wrong, or could have gone better, or they’re totally lost?

Well….yeah! On the really scary dreadful stuff, of course it could have gone better, are you nuts?!

Can you absolutely know it’s true?

Um…..Yes? Pretty dang sure.

How do you react when you think it went wrong, it could have gone better, or it’s gone?

I have an image of that moment, when I was doing something I felt *horrible* about…making out for several hours with a boy when I was in sixth grade, hating every moment and waiting until it was over, but NOT SAYING ANYTHING.

Rats, that was a bummer. I called myself a wimp for about twenty years.

Or what about when I’ve injured myself and it appeared this body would never be the same again.

It could have gone SO much better! I was terrified and trying to fit in and didn’t want my really good friend who I loved to find me irritating and a bummer to the party.

I’ll never recover, I wish it was like the old way, I want it to be like it was before.


How do I react when I believe it?

RRRRUUUUNNNNN for your life!

Push it down, don’t think about it, ignore it, be on alert to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

It’s very tense.

“I don’t have any rules. I don’t need them. There’s a sense of order that goes on all the time as things move and change, and I am that harmony, and so are you. Not knowing is the only way to understand… Meanings, rules, the whole world of right and wrong, are secondary at best. I understand how some people think they need to live by rules…It’s very frightening for them to watch the world unfolding in apparent chaos and not realize that the chaos itself is God in his infinite intelligence.” ~ Byron Katie

Who would you be without the belief that it went wrong, or was lost and gone forever?

Wait for it.

Without any belief at all that it should have gone different than it did?

Peaceful. Right Here.

Looking around this room as I write. Pottery red wall, spider dropping from the ceiling, beautiful red and white rug, wooden floor, fingers tapping on computer, eagles chirping outside, quiet.

Turning it around: it went just as necessary, it went chaotically and wildly as it needed to go, everything fades away, returns, vanishes, appears, nothing remains the same, that was then, this is now, it was needed for just that long, then no longer needed in that form.

As the inquirers found in Year of Inquiry….YAHOO! It changed!

(Do you hear Celebration by Kool and The Gang playing in background?…OK that may be a bit far for your situation).

But could there be benefits for why it went the way it did? Could it be the universe is kinder than you thought? Are there advantages, or perhaps even simply noticing all is well?

“To give up the egoic will, all you have to do is not complain about what is.  Be aligned with the isness – people, situations, whatever – this is already as it is.  It’s the inevitability of is.  Become friendly with what is, and you become intelligent for the first time. With the simple act of surrender to the inevitability of the present moment, another energy comes. You could call that universal will, you could call that intelligence, you could call that the creative solution to whatever the so-called “problem” is….You and the Universe become one, and as such it creates through you as this form.” ~ Eckhart Tolle 

If you’re longing to end your struggles and relax your thinking, by questioning it, and you’ve wanted to join with other like-minded people in support of this Great Inquiry….Year of Inquiry starts next month.

Early Bird registration still open for another day until August 16th! I would be honored to have you. Click HERE for all the information. Write to if you have any questions.

Year-Long doing The Work Shows Me How

“I’ve so appreciated the Year-Long experience and intend to continue because of the opportunity to do the Work coming at me 3 times/month without me having to initiate. Doing the Work in that regular, consistent way has brought me to some deeply-held beliefs I was unaware of and was able to Work at unravelling. The Year-Long provides me with the long-term on-going class that allows me some breathing room between sessions, but always the next class to look forward to. After 5+ years of doing The Work, I continue to ask the questions and do the turnarounds because I get peace of mind each time. The stressful thought/experience unravels, I am gifted with awareness…I never knew what my business was before The Work.  And I did not know HOW to take responsibility for my life and actions. I did not know HOW to forgive others or myself. I did not know HOW to let go. Doing The Work shows me how.” ~ J, 2013-2014 YOI Participant

Much love, Grace

He or She Should Talk

Just finished the third teleclass Our Wonderful Sexuality this morning. I love what people discover and see as possible in those uncomfortable moments around sexuality of any kind.

Today, we were looking at a couple of concepts….but I could really relate to one of them.

He should talk about sex, or having sex, or his thoughts, his feelings, what’s going on with him over there.

This thought happens in tons of situations between people, not just love and sex.

Someone will be doing something, sitting there like a lump NOT doing something, not speaking.

And we think with frustration “they should speak!”

Without that belief, however….what spectacular freedom. You notice silence, the empty space in the room, the look on the person’s face, the feelings in your own body and your own heart.

You may notice you feel like moving toward or away from that person, or you have a very important question to ask them.

You may also see, without that belief, how the turnaround is as true or truer….“I should speak!”

Oh maaaannnn.

I love looking at why I didn’t speak, when I had something to say, in my life.

I was afraid I would be rejected, afraid of being alone, afraid of admitting this wasn’t for me and I needed something different, afraid of leaving the situation, afraid of hurting someone, afraid of losing the feeling of thrill, curiosity, mystery, illusion.

It’s like I was always trying to prevent a future from happening that was unbearable. Being trapped, being rejected, feeling pain.

But who would you be without THAT thought….that whatever happens next could be threatening?

Without the belief that speaking, asking, saying what you need to say will result in something terrible?

You’d take a deep breath, and speak what is true for you, without attack or complaining or resignation or bitterness.

“To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Do you have anything to speak out about today, that you may have been keeping pushed inside for fear of the outcome?

Maybe it’s the day to say it. Only you really know.

“Spare yourself from seeking love, approval or appreciation–from anyone. And watch what happens in reality, for fun.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love,



Are You Sure There’s No Light, It’s Too Much?

sunrise_1024Sometimes several “incidents” happen around the same time, and by themselves perhaps each one would be manageable, but all together the anxiety provoked creates….well….

….Mass Anxiety.

My kid is in Geometry tutoring. For the first time in her life, I hear her say things like this:

“OMG, I get what Mr. Teacher was saying in Algebra last year….WOW, I’m going to know Geometry better than most of my friends….Mom, my junior year is going to be awesome.”

We add up the tutoring bill and discover funding for it is not possible the way we planned. We’re switching summer education plans as of today. She’s very upset.

Then….my hamstring injury starts hurting again for what seems like no apparent reason. I didn’t even push it too hard, I’ve been taking it easy. I finally take pain relievers, and nothing happens. I take two more. Barely touches it. Back hurts, neck hurts, achilles hurts, foot hurts. All on the right side. That right side is seriously a *$*%@ problem.

Three clients all report that even though they’ve been in The Work for awhile, catching their thoughts and questioning them, they felt like sh*t this weekend.

A few more inquirers who read Grace Notes write to me and say the same thing.

“My life is too overwhelming, my thoughts are too overwhelming, I can’t find solid ground…..maybe inquiry doesn’t work.”

Two really, really good close friends of mine get surprise shocking news about someone they love and they feel slammed to the ground, crushed by the universe, and very, very sad.

My communications with others, even brand new friends, seem like there’s not enough time, or something was off or confusing. She thought I was free all morning (but I was only free an hour). He thought I was calling him before the end of the day and I thought he was calling me. I blanked out completely on my Sunday morning session with a client.

Shut down everything! I QUIT! I GIVE UP! FORGET IT!

These events all float through the mind and feelings close in like walls coming closer and closer, squeezing and suffocating you practically to death.

Well….that may be a little dramatic, but sometimes not really.

Yesterday a group got together on the phone, a follow up call for everyone who attended the Breitenbush retreat last month.

We found an underlying thought to question: it is too much.

Whether it’s mind, my thinking, my negativity, that person, my loss, this challenge, her personality, my job, this problem….it’s simply too much.

Let’s take a look.

Hold all those bubbles of people, issues, scenes, situations, dilemmas, concerns in your mind. It doesn’t matter which ones. It may look like a fog bank, the weight of the world, blackness.

How do you react when you believe it’s too much?

Hopeless, shut down, screaming inside, full of rage, like crying and crying. Can’t take it anymore.

One big NO.

Sleepless hours, perseverating, analyzing….doomed feelings.

Pause. Deep breath.

Who would you be without the belief that it’s too much? Look around your environment. Start where you are right now.

Alive and breathing–check.

Heart beating–check.

Ground beneath my feet–check.

Bed to lie in, chair to sit on–check.

Something different here, besides all the thoughts and emotions colliding together in chaos.

A stillness. Can you feel it? Can you slow down enough to give yourself this peace, just for a second?

Can you notice how life is pulsing here, no matter how terrible your mind thinks it is?

“Instead of going through your life reacting to the content of your life…become aware of the now, beyond the phenomena that arises in it. What does that mean, to become aware of the now itself? You become aware of an undercurrent of stillness in which everything happens. You sense it. Even that’s not quite correct…. You realize that you ARE it. And then it’s so easy once you realize you are that deep undercurrent of stillness. The world is no longer problematic. That moment you know yourself to be that, whatever content is here, including the story of “me”, is no longer problematic.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Turn the thought around: I am too much, not “it” and all the situations, people, conversations, mistakes, things that were off, problems, events.

My thinking is taking it very seriously. My thoughts are overwhelming.

And I am more than all my thinking combined… thousand billion trillion times more…I am far too much for this minute problem, I am beyond mental noise and fears, I am quiet, I am love.

Could that be just as true, or truer?

“Let your self be one with something beyond it….I could see peace instead of this….there is nothing to fear.” ~ A Course In Miracles

Much love, Grace