Who started the war?

The link to my Women For One article (would love love if you feel moved to scroll to the bottom and comment) right HERE.


What are you defending against? Study the situation closely to find out.


I had a hissy fit with my teenage daughter.

She might be my Number One Replay Guru.

What I mean by “Replay” Guru is someone who didn’t just bug me one time, or a troubling relationship from the past, or a relationship that involved an “incident” so to speak, or with a friend or partner or family member there was a “thing”.

No….a Replay Guru is a person who when you regularly interact with them, it’s basically a Replay of the same exact dynamic replayed in a slightly different setting or on a different day. But almost the same conversation.

Over and Over. And Over.

Rewind….Click the “Play” button on the remote….watch the way she said THAT, then I said THIS, then she tensely said THAT, then I tensely said THIS, then she said what I said–only it was WRONG, then I said don’t put words in my mouth, then she said THAT, then I huffed and left the room.


OK, it’s funny NOW to me. Sort of.

A day later and after I texted her at school “I know I wasn’t listening to you, and I’m sorry and I love you, always” and she texted back “K”.

I’m amazed by how my sense of self (small “s” intentional), my ego, my demand for personal respect and/or agreement rises up like a creature from the Black Lagoon.

But it isn’t really a solid thing, the “ego”. It’s more like an energy, a defended little ball of energy that wants to curl up and never get hurt again by harsh words. It sends out defensive fire, as they say in war talk.

How did the little conversation begin, you ask?

Oh, we were arguing over a TELEVISION SHOW and how one of the characters SHOULD have acted, if they were a nice agreeable sort of person.


(No, you can’t see the replay, there will be 17 minutes of silence in that particular section of my life video).

Often when we have these fiery quick repeating replay conversations with people close to us in our lives (I actually did this for a few minutes) we’ll be very upset with ourselves, and the other person, and bounce back and forth between the two trying to figure out who is at fault.

The mind loves knowing who is to blame, in a threatening situation.

The far more interesting, and sometimes far more difficult, activity is to wonder what was frightening, just in the split second before the need to defend arose. You can’t have defense without feeling threatened, after all.

So I take a look.

I review the situation which is recorded in my own mind, from my perspective.

I find the moment where the most troubling feelings appeared inside me.

It was when I spoke out loud, after the final scene in this TV show where the main character heroine (who happens to be the age of my daughter) looked sad and dejected after asking a young man if he wanted to get a cup of coffee sometime, because she’s trying to “date” in her new freshman year at college.

The young man said to her “no, not really” and walked out of the room.

“He could have been nicer about it” I said, and explained how people can say “no” but do it super cool and smooth and kindly so that the other person hearing the “no” isn’t hurt.

My daughter said she much prefers direct, blunt, without explanation. “Who cares about saying it nice?!”


No! People should be polite, kind, gentle, and good listeners! They shouldn’t be rude, they should say no clearly with love, they shouldn’t leave someone disappointed.

This wasn’t necessary going through my mind consciously, but as I look closely now at this touchy moment, this is what I have to say if I give that intense voice some words.

That’s what finding the situation is all about, and staying very close to it so you can slow it way down and see what troubled you.

And it’s the first and most important step in going deep in The Work.

As I reflect upon the situation, I see if I were in the shoes of this TV character (the young woman) I’d feel horrible for a second, and then try to get over it, and probably avoid that guy if I ever saw him around campus.

How did my daughter get so confident?

Why do I get so disturbed by rejection….whether I am the one saying “no” or the other person?

Ack…..is this the Abandonment-Is-Terrible thing again? That ever-endless Top Hits Parade “I am abandoned” or “I could be abandoned” or “Do anything not to be abandoned” or “Abandoning Ship is the only way out of a difficult relationship”.



I realize as I sit with this situation that I was sure our main character in the TV show would be hurt, feel rejected, feel rejectable, feel unworthy, and contract into herself.

My daughter did not see it the same way.


And in fact, my daughter doesn’t treat me with kid gloves, doesn’t hold back, expresses herself quite simply and clearly, and assumes I can handle what she has to say.

By looking at this situation very closely, and not fast-forwarding into the future…..I can feel an old wound in my side, in my heart.

A belief that says “people can hurt me” or “Rejection can happen any moment, and it’s bad” or “hearing or saying ‘No’ means someone did something wrong”…..

…..all of which boil down to “I need to be liked, she needs to be liked, they need to be liked, he needs to be liked, everyone needs to be liked.”


I’ve got my underlying belief laid out in front of me, ready for inquiry.

I wanted my daughter to agree with me, and like me, and share the belief I’ve had since I was a little kid…..that being liked is fundamental for survival, and abandonment must be avoided, that NOT being liked is actually happening in that moment, and it’s dangerous.

Is it true?

“Who started the war? I did. She just told the truth. And I start to punish her for being more enlightened than I am. If there is a war in my life, I started it. There’s no exception. If the war ends in my life, I end it. I end it, or it doesn’t end. No exception.” ~ Byron Katie in Who Would You Be Without Your Story

Much love, Grace

P.S. Eating Peace Webinar on Control: The Harder Way Is Easier (no cost) Monday 5-6:30 pm Pacific Time. Click HERE to get all the information in your Inbox with the link to join on Monday.


A Mother And Daughter Conversation

an uninvestigated story argues with reality

Yesterday I had a sort of embarrassing conversation.

If it was recorded, it would be really, really bad.

7:16 am.

Daughter: I’m sooooo tired.

Stays seated on couch.

Me: (typing on computer).

Daughter: I should make my lunch.

Stays seated on couch.

Me: You need to get there right at 7:30 to talk with your teacher about the missing assignment.

Daughter: I don’t really need to get there THAT early.

Me: But since I’m driving you we have to get going. I need to get back to work with a client at 8:30. If you’re not leaving early, you may as well go ahead and take the bus.

Major tone change in voice.

Daughter: You’ll have plenty of time, jeez, what’s the problem!! We’re going to get there on time, it only takes, like, 7 minutes to get to school!!

Also major tone in voice. As in louder.

Me: I don’t see you getting up to make your lunch, though, and we should leave in 2 minutes!!

Daughter: But what about Starbucks!?

Me: Seriously?

Daughter: YOU SAID you would TAKE me to STARBUCKS!!!!!

Me (on the inside): (You little demanding entitled butt head, there is no way we are going to Starbucks).

I drive past Starbucks.

There was a 7 minute discussion about how long Starbucks takes from order to waiting to receiving the food and drink, and me giving a speech on how ridiculous to go to Starbucks when you can make tea or coffee at home and put it in a to-do washable cup.

Which would have taken 4 minutes, according to daughter, which would be waaaaay too long. (Longer than Starbucks).

So I’m fuming at the ludicrous conversation and actually IN IT at the same time. And trying to prove that making breakfast at home is faster than going to Starbucks.

I say in a huff, “You know what? You’re right.”


Yep. That mature.

I think very quietly all the way home, in the silent car, after daughter gets out and slams car door.

The discussion of minutes, Starbucks, breakfast, lunch, tiredness, assignments, any of that did not really matter.

There was something inside that just wanted to be RIGHT.

It’s like a hot fire ready to scream “You are defying me? The Great and Powerful Oz???!!”

But what’s underneath that urge to defend, fight, and go to war?

Ahhh…..there it is again.

I really want my daughter to be happy.

I want her to feel confident, joyful, energetic, excited.

THIS is not happy.

There’s an extra twist when it’s my child, because I think it means extra extra that if she’s unhappy, I’m a bad mother.

A reflection of MOI.

And actually, I want everyone to be happy. My parents, siblings, colleagues, neighbors, spouse, friends, clients.

The more happy people the better I feel. Right?

Everyone else get happy, now! (Little joke).

However, how incredible to question this deep-held belief that it’s better for me if other people are happy and content.

Especially when reality (the level of happiness) does NOT match what I think I want.

Who would I be without this belief that my daughter really should be in any other mood or attitude or feeling state or experience than she’s actually in?



You mean, no one should feel happier than they do?


I know it’s weird.

Just consider what it would be like to NOT believe that person you love so much should feel happy, when they don’t feel happy. Or that they should act nice, when they don’t.

Yes, imagine not insisting that one single person on this planet be happier than they are.

It sure frees up a lot of pushing.

In fact, it feels like the end of war.

Hmmm, feels a little funnier, happier, goofier, upside-down-ish.

“Both pleasure and pain are projections, and it takes a clear mind to understand that. After inquiry, the experience of pain changes. The joy that was always beneath the surface of pain is primary now, and the pain is underneath it. People who do The Work stop fearing pain. They relax into it. They watch it come and go, and they see that it always comes and goes at the perfect moment.” ~ Byron Katie

My daughter right now, as I type here 24 hours later on the next morning, is reading out loud to me about SAT tests.
Today, she’s not exactly thrilled to be taking a college test exam at 7:45 on a Saturday morning. (She’s got a slight reading disability and does quite badly on tests, but what do I know…..and I don’t care, to be honest, in a really good. light way.)
And she’s the sweetest person, ever.
So beautiful, so stunning. So brilliant.
What I notice is I adore her.
And she adores me.
We get some good sparky fire going between us. The way of it.

Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.” ~ Mark Twain

Much Love,


P.S. Eating Peace 3Day Retreat. October 9-11, 2015. For more information, click here.

She Shouldn’t Say That To Me!

Peace Talk Podcast this week is on ANXIETY. I’d love your comments or to read your reviews on itunes.

Haven’t listened yet? Google Grace Bell Podcast.

Peace Talk Podcast Made New and Noteworthy on Itunes!
Peace Talk Podcast Made New and Noteworthy on Itunes! 


So now that I’m done with the recent in-person retreat Eating Peace and getting registrations for the upcoming 3 month online program with the same title….

….I’m aware that next Monday, only five days away….

….a teleclass begins on PARENTING.

Did you hear the shark-lurking-in-the-water sound?


Oh man.

Beliefs about parenting, other people’s parenting, caring for young humans, caring about actually grown up kids, judging how our parents parented….

….is intense, to put it mildly.

I would say hands down, my kids provided the most worksheets on situations where I “lost” my temper than any other situations in my life for the past ten years.

Especially my amazing daughter.

The first time I wrote a worksheet on her, I was ashamed to read it to the person facilitating me.

How could a mother be so mean, babyish, angry, and vengeful?!

My rage was intense.

And this kid was only 8 years old at the time.

She shouldn’t talk back, she shouldn’t boss me, I need her to listen (code word for listen is do-what-I-say I later realized), I want her to respect me, she is rude, ungrateful, loud, irritating, ridiculous, outrageous.

It was weird how mad I could get.

She should clean up her room, wash her dishes.

Even now I will scan the room when I enter the house, see her boots and backpack lying on the chair, and immediately think….

….”WHAT?! She should put those away in her room!”

Like it’s such a shock.

Over and over again it seemed, I questioned and entered the incredible open world of who I would be without my thoughts about my children….

….so stressful, so ingrained, so deep.

So the other day, I told my daughter “you should listen to my new podcast—that’s your DAD doing the intro and outro you know—and it’s only five minutes kinda like your you-tuber friends….I’d like to know what you think!”

She took one look at the cover art, two babies (thank you to the photographer’s son, the laughing baby on the left, who gave the thumbs-up for using the photo).

She said “I hate babies” and marched out of the room.

Who would I be without the belief she should be more respectful, or listen to my genius work (ha) or even care?


I’d actually be laughing.

She’s funny! And spicy!

“How can you have rules and still stay out of your children’s business? Drop the rules and find out! You’ll find that your children, on their own, will live every rule you’ve ever taught them, and some of them you may not like. They are a perfect reflection of you. They turned out to be you…..Ultimately you don’t have any control over your children. You don’t have any control over anything. When you think you do, and you see that you don’t, the effect is depression.” ~ Byron Katie

I turn the thoughts around that I have about my kids, even today: she should NOT want to listen to me talk, she shouldn’t like babies, she shouldn’t clean up, I should clean up (especially my thoughts), he should lose things all the time, he should be late, she should love what she loves, I should quit being noisy in my head about their noise.

I am actually really glad she doesn’t like babies right now….she’s seventeen.

There are benefits.

I love she’s outspoken and strong. She refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance in school, because she doesn’t agree with it.

She’s finding her way.

When I was her age, I was smiling all the time, trying to be nice, rebellious but never TOO angry or upset, and full of very conflicted feelings.

And developing a raging eating disorder.

My daughter is really quite happy with food.

That same night after the “I hate babies” comment, she came into my room before going to bed….

…..and gave me a big hug and kiss goodnight, and said “I love you, mom”.

What a cutie.

To join the 8 week teleclass where we’ll identify our most painful thoughts about our kid(s) and do The Work on them, starting on Monday at 10 am Pacific Time….click HERE.

You do The Work, and watch your kid change (or not). Give yourself some peace.

I’d love to have you with us!

Love, Grace

Do You Think You’re Supposed To Be Loving & Patient ALL The Time?

Eating Peace Online starts on February 22nd. This is my baby, born after years of study, healing, and training. I am now in service as a light worker to others who need help changing their relationship with eating, forever.

How to Be a Happy Parent starts Monday, February 23rd. Head over to my website to learn more or hit reply if you have questions. A cool bunch of moms are signing up–dads are welcome too!


Speaking of kids.

Last week my new podcast Peace Talk turned out to be about kids, or really, taking care of people…

…and what a hassle that can be! Jeez!

Are your kids driving you bonkers?
Are your kids driving you bonkers?

When I first began doing The Work, I investigated my thoughts on just about everybody else before my kids.

They were quite young when I found The Work.

I was so in love with them! I almost had a weird reaction to being a mom I hadn’t anticipated, which was “why didn’t someone tell me this would be so fantastic, ecstatic, and wondrous!?”

Of all the choices I had for careers, work, or creative projects….

….this was the BEST EVER.

I gave birth at home, it was pretty easy, I had super relaxed pregnancies. For once, something appeared to come very naturally to me. Being a mom.

And then.

One day we’re driving to the store, my two kids in car seats in the back seat.

Suddenly, a piercing scream and the youngest is grabbing her brother’s shirt and pulling, and he’s shouting at her to stop.

Something is thrown and it jets past my ear and I hear it hit the front windshield.

Nothing breaks, it was just a plastic apple from the doll house kitchen.


I screamed at the top of MY lungs shouting “STOP! NOW!” and it felt like my head would explode and fire was coming out of my ears.

My throat actually hurt afterwards.

What the ?

I couldn’t believe how big that scream was.

What was wrong with me? Was my patience faltering? Was I worse than I ever imagined when it comes to maturity and kindness when parenting? Was I a complete whack-job? Would I turn out to be Mommie-Dearest and screw up my kids?

Self-hate, self-hate, self-hate.

I would try hard never to have these kinds of “losing it” moments.


Well….in case you haven’t noticed…

…”trying hard” doesn’t exactly work as a solution to a difficult situation or a big feeling.

I needed to explore that moment very, very, very slowly….and do The Work.

It begins with writing a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet of course, getting all the thoughts, beliefs and concerns on paper, so you can see what it is you were feeling and thinking.

What I love about The Work is that you can let out all the ridiculous, completely babyish judgments and just let ’em rip on paper.

Even about your kids.

The ones who don’t deserve your criticism, because they aren’t conditioned yet, they aren’t evil bad people, they’re being little humans.

Yes, even those innocent children you get to judge, and take your judgments to inquiry.

What a relief!

You can start with kids, or if you don’t have any children who are driving you nuts, focus on someone else who makes you cray-cray.

They should quit bickering, she shouldn’t grab, he shouldn’t bite, they should go to bed, I need them to be quiet.

And don’t go flipping your concepts into turnarounds on yourself and aim it back at you, like you’re shooting a criticism gun at your own head—no—instead, notice what is revealed to you, watch what’s disturbing you really, see what your feelings are about, and relax.

When you get to the turnarounds, you might discover new ideas about how to be with your kids (or those other annoying people) in ways that make you laugh out loud, instead of screaming.

Your love for them may pour through, without you even trying.

“Who would you be without the belief that you’re supposed to love your children right now? You’d be free to love them or not, and to be a very good parent, whatever you’re feeling right now….Inquiry sets us free of trying to be anything we’re not.” ~ Byron Katie



P.S. everyone who signs up for the parenting class will receive a little book as a gift called “Byron Katie on Parents and Children”. I’ll mail it to you myself.

The Truth About Parenting: You’re Outta Control

If you couldn’t successfully click the other day on the link for all the scoop about the Money class that starts tomorrow, that was me the techno-dork.

Click Here to learn more and to register, or reply back to this email to write. If you’re already signed up, you’ll get all the information in your Inbox this evening.


I’ve heard from several people, and clients, in the past month working on their stressful experiences while parenting.

One of my favorite subjects, because it brings up so very much about care-taking other humans, and care-taking yourself all at the same time.

Mission Impossible?

Recently a wonderful inquirer wrote to me asking me some fantastic questions about being with his kids, staying in your own business (as Byron Katie suggests) and handling regular everyday “situations”. 

The clock says 7:55 am. You need to leave the house at 8:00 am. The kids are not getting ready, they aren’t getting their shoes on. 

Sound familiar?

Or, they are not going to bed. Bed time is 9:00 pm. It is 9:15 pm. (For some reason, this is hilarious to me in this moment….and not exactly hilarious in the past).

What about the mess…the piles of stuff on the couch, when you would prefer it were in a drawer in their bedroom?

Byron Katie speaks about there being three kinds of business: God’s business (all that you clearly cannot control, or is run without your understanding or consent), Other Peoples’ business (their life path, their choices, their personal experiences) and Your business (your own actions, your words, what you do, think, or say). 

It works best if you stay in your business. 

Trying to be in Other Peoples’ business or God’s business will make you cray-cray. Including with your kids.

So what are your thoughts in that moment, when in five minutes, you plan on departing for the bus, but shoes are not on feet?

  • they should be getting ready
  • they are ignoring me
  • we can’t be late
  • they don’t go fast enough
  • my kids are an imposition, impossible, loud, too boisterous
  • they don’t listen to me (which means, they don’t do what I say)

Usually there are ideas about what should or should not happen living inside the parent’s mind. It doesn’t look good. It should go that other way, not this way.


If you hold that situation right in your mind and answer all the questions on the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet, you might find more than what I’ve listed here. But let’s look at these.  

Is it true that they should be “x” (getting ready, getting up, moving faster, helping)? Should they be doing what I say? Does this scene MEAN that they don’t respect or listen to me?

Argggh! Yes!!!!!

Are you sure?


How do you react when you believe this situation is troubling? That these kids are impossible, difficult, hard to raise, or they don’t listen?

If you could see a short one-minute film of my life fifteen years ago, you would see how I reacted. Raised voice. Slammed door. Boiling blood, from the inside. Torn up about lateness, “losing” it. Yelling.

I was definitely in my kids’ business. THEY should be doing what I dictate. 

I love The Work, though…because its a way of seeing what you actually believe in those heightened energy moments, slowing everything down into very slow motion, and examining it.

Who would you be without those thoughts? If you just arrived from another planet, and you are the parent, it turns out. And you must leave the house in five minutes. Shoes would be nice. 

Without the thought that lateness is the worst that could happen, or that sock feet are a disaster, or that you are being disrespected or ignored?

“The truth is that parents are not really interested in justice. They just want quiet.” ~ Bill Cosby

I have found such freedom as I returned again, and again, to this exciting view of who I would be without these thoughts.

Without thinking that I KNOW what should be happening. Without understanding what is going on, or being afraid that something terrible will happen (no shoes, lateness, cut fingers, judgments from teachers, or other parents, or your boss).

Without these thoughts about parenting, and staying in my business, which means taking care of myself and saying “yes” or saying “no” when it is the truth for me, I relax. 

No expectations. Open hands. Surrender. 

I remember my sense of humor, which is really big and brings up the laughter. Not so serious at all. Not bracing against the noise, or the commotion, or the lack of action. I feel rooted, and I repeat my requests and hear what is said back and feel very alive and connected. 

“I lost my children. They died to me. I don’t share my life with them. I invite them, they say “yes” or “no”. They invite me and I say “yes” or “no”. All their lives, I separated them and said Don’t Fight, and I noticed they did it anyway….The more you try to change their path, the more depressed you’ll become. Manipulation and control is not love….’I don’t have any control’ is much more real than ‘I have control’.” ~ Byron Katie

I turn the thoughts all around: those kids should be doing what they’re doing, being how they are in that situation. Without shoes.

How could that be as true, or truer? 

Much love, Grace