Eating Peace: If violence worked….wouldn’t you have changed by now?

Most humans at some point encounter the idea, often from a very young age, that violence–including verbal violence–will enforce change.

Do it! Now! Go! Scream! Or else!

We know we want change, because we’re suffering. We get impatient, lost, frustrated. Being loving and kind doesn’t seem like it will bring change.

But have you ever tried it? Especially when it comes to meeting your feelings (especially fears and other uncomfortable emotions) with compassion?

Byron Katie says in her book “I Need Your Love–Is That True?” the following quote about the moment when you think Oh Sh*t! I screwed up! This isn’t going well!

A mistake has happened. You ate the wrong thing. You overate. You judged your weight.

It’s a moment of Rejection of What Is (not loving what is):

“What are the thoughts that come at these moments? Many of these thoughts are about what you would have done if you had known better, or seen it coming, or remembered. You think that if you had done something other than what you did, you could have stayed in control of events.” ~ Byron Katie

But who would you be without the thought that what’s happened in the past, whether an hour ago, or last week, or 3 months ago, or 10 years ago…..was a mistake?

What if I could hold those binge-eating moments, or the weight gained, or eating some unacceptable food, with compassion and gentleness?

Are you sure you did something wrong, back then? Who would you be without this stressful story?

You can use your imagination to wonder the answer to this question. What if you didn’t need violent thought to bring about permanent change?

I notice that anything that’s truly become a long-term change has come out of awareness, not violence. Doing The Work and questioning my thoughts has offered slowing down, and absence of thinking I know what’s true.

What a relief.

What if you turned around the belief in violent thinking towards yourself, to make change?

Turned around: loving thinking towards myself will make change.

I find this to be very true. Much truer. Force or violence might bring about temporary change, but not permanent change, and certainly not peace.

I love with food and eating, you might let peace be your intention, above all.

See what happens.

Much love,


Eating Peace: which comes first…hating yourself, or eating?

Many years ago, my eating wars grew so heavy and awful, I dropped out of college.

I actually shifted gears entirely, and began to do what was critical for my own well-being. Researching, attempting to understand, learning how to be honest and intimate with other people and with myself (it took awhile of practice), and questioning my beliefs

One of the most powerful beliefs I had?

I’m a terrible person, worthy of hatred.

I know that sounds strong, but it was that intense. I was horribly self-critical. I could do nothing right, especially when it came to food, eating, exercising and having a worthy body.

Later, I realized, the whole cycle of self-hatred and eating were intimately woven together.

I ate, so I would hate myself, so I would eat to soothe or have a small crumb of relief or pleasure, which would turn into more and more, so I would hate myself and starve and punish myself for the binge.

Nothing ever seemed peaceful or balanced when it came to eating.

Being in a hotel room reminded me of a night with myself long ago, in a hotel room, the night I dropped out of college.

Here’s what it was like for me, along with my biggest suggestion (stop hating yourself and start wondering what’s going on in a more kind, loving way):


I should be different… that true, given the story I’m believing?

I should be different when it comes to “x”. What if this isn’t true, for some important reason?

It’s weird how agonizing thoughts that conflict with one another can be sometimes.

On the one hand, I know it would be great to lift weights again. It’s been a few years. You’re supposed to lift weights when you get older, right? Build calcium or something?

On the other hand, how boring can you get…..lifting weights, ugh.

I remember being in a decision dilemma about my old job.

On the one hand, I’ve got great health care benefits, awesome co-workers and boss, nice environment (there’s a fountain named Grace on the campus, how sweet is that?) and a solid paycheck every two weeks.

On the other hand, I commute every day sometimes for an hour, I don’t have enough time for my other pursuits including my business, the actual work is kind of boring.

You could go this way.

Or you could go that way.

You’re free to make the decision. You’re completely and utterly free to do as you wish.

Or…..are you?

What if you feel uncomfortable or stuck, but for some weird reason, you do NOT make a move, or make a change?

What if you’re believing an underlying stressful story, and you’re not even brightly aware of the story?

(What if all you do is attack yourself viciously….why can’t you fix this, or move on, or stop thinking about it, wake up, get a grip, CHANGE?! Jeez! Fume, fume, fume.)

But what if there are a few things to explore and dig into under the surface, things you may find a little uncomfortable to address or even “see” in the first place, that all contribute to this stuck-ness you’re experiencing?

What if there was something that yelling at yourself was hiding?

For example….eating too much.

(I know, my favorite topic, what can I say….I was a nut case for years with eating).

You know you should lose weight, you know it doesn’t serve you to binge-eat, you know you need to stop starving yourself to death and then overeating, you know you need to quit the junk food at night….

….and you might even do The Work on some of the thoughts that appear, such as “I should lose weight” or “I need to eat that food” or “I should go outside and exercise” or “I’m a loser” and find the turnarounds and notice, nothing changes.

Not that there’s anything wrong with doing The Work on those powerful and stressful beliefs.

However….your mind may be brilliantly distracting you with these first thoughts that appear. The ways to FIX this situation. It’s off the to races on what you need to do, say, think, feel in order to change this (especially the “do” part), without really looking deeply at what’s actually going on for you.

So of course, when you fall into this “FIX IT NOW” way of viewing your problem, when you have urgency and fear about your situation or condition, the weird thing is often when there are underlying beliefs that oppose the surface beliefs…..not much may change.

Fear kind of has a way of blocking things from sight. Clever energy, fear.

I speak for myself.

Some time ago, as I’ve mentioned before, I had a raging eating disorder.

Can you imagine how many times I said “I am going to stop this” (starving, overeating, binge-eating)? Yes. about a million.

It was not until someone very wise got to know me, and cared about me, and suggested I might be adapting to something completely different that had nothing to do with food and eating….that I began to consider what it was like to be close with people.

What was I afraid of, that overrode the desire to stop the insane cycle of eating the way I did?

What was the worst that could happen, if I DID stop binge-eating?

You might ask yourself a similar question, even if you don’t have an eating issue: What’s the WORST that could happen if I quit my job, do what I want to do, leave home, start a business, go to the gym, write every day, lose weight, quit drinking coffee?

But those things are all soooooo wonderful. I should do them, it will be good for me, I’ll succeed.

Are you absolutely sure?

Long ago, I discovered that I was actually nauseated to confront someone in my group therapy and tell the truth and speak directly to them about what I wasn’t comfortable with. If someone confronts me, I still feel anxious initially, even now.

If someone says what they don’t like, and I’ve done it, I feel terrified of disappointing them. I feel frightened they’ll attack me, or slink away and never talk with me again.

I was so very committed to NOT BEING A DISRUPTIVE or MEAN or UNLIKABLE or REJECTABLE person, I would do anything, including not actually have friends and eat in secret instead.

Anything to avoid being dismissed or disliked. Anything to get rid of anger and rage (overeating really helped, and vomiting too). Anything to slip under the radar of the judgments of others (namely, mom, dad, grandparents). Anything to stay as safe as possible, in an unsafe, judging world.

Including risk my life by stuffing myself with food and forcing myself to vomit or exercise like a maniac.

You might not have such an extreme case of avoidant beliefs, but if you have something you keep repeating, or don’t act upon, or don’t do even though you know you’d feel happier (you think) or some way you procrastinate, hurt yourself, avoid action….

….there may be a very important frightening story you’d kinda sorta rather not look at, if you please.

But looking will make all the difference.

Not long ago, I realized I have been carrying the thought around “if I stop and slow down, it could be dangerous (money loss, failure, boredom, lack of creativity, fading into oblivion). So I really need to keep up this pace and work all the time. No extra meditations. No reading for pleasure. No netflix. No movies. Morning coffee required.

Who would I be without that story?

“Your suffering may be caused by a thought that interprets what happened, rather than the thought you wrote down….When your statement is about something you think you don’t want, read it and imagine the worst outcome that reality could hand you. Imagine your worst fears lived out on paper. Be thorough. Take it to the limit.” ~ Byron Katie in Loving What Is 

This work is not always easy. I notice, there’s sometimes initial resistance and refusal inside me to want to look.

It’s like…..NOOOOOOOOO.

And then, when there’s no other alternative (there isn’t, unless I prefer to suffer)…..The Work.

Much love,


P.S. One spot just opened up in the Eating Peace Retreat–a cancellation. If eating, food or your body image is one of your dilemmas, we’re going in to find out what we’re believing, and what’s really true. Join me January 19-22 in Seattle. To find out more, visit here.


P.P.S. If money is a problem, I’m doing a 4 week money class by donation. To read about it and to sign up, visit here.

Eating Peace: A powerful antidote to eating compulsively

People who experience addictive behavior, eating of course, but also all the other ways we humans get caught in a cycle of anxious movement….

….are all very familiar with the internal voice of self-criticism and blame.

You did it again? What’s wrong with you? This is never going to stop, can’t you figure it out?

You will pay!

It’s mean, vicious, nasty and you wouldn’t wish that voice on your worst enemy. Or, maybe ONLY your worst enemy, but certainly no one else.

What if that tendency to attack yourself for your urges, cravings or behavior is actually a ploy to keep you endlessly unconscious? Or still at war, and still trapped in the cycle of trying to “pay” for your behavior and find even ground?

Maybe there’s another way (there is).

Maybe pushing the pause button on figuring yourself out or fixing yourself or hating yourself….and being one big self-improvement project….is the easiest way.

I strong suggest finding new responses to your compulsions.

Maybe some compassion, softness and love.

What’s one of the best ways to do this? Connect with others, share your experience and your thoughts.

Tell other people the truth.

Much love,


An alternative to fight, flight or freeze….infinite unknown possibilities

There’s nothing like truly connecting with others in an extremely honest way.

Telling the truth. Saying what’s in your heart out loud. Speaking the “worst” words you think, or the awkward ones, the ones you’re worried about hurting others, the ones you’re always trying to delete.

It’s quite radical.

An hour ago as I write this, everyone left my little cottage who was here spending time and moving through the experience of clearly identifying, questioning, and opening up to how we relate to “thought” in a new way.

We become interested in this through noticing (OK, being tortured by) stressful thoughts.

What an amazing thing to even consider there’s another way. An alternative to believing frightening things, uncomfortable things, dreadful things.

One of the most profound places of suffering (hint: it happens almost every time you hate, criticize or judge someone else) is noticing how when you feel anxious and threatened, even from an old memory, it often goes a bit sideways with three options, and that’s it.

Here’s what I’ve experienced:

You see that person doing that thing, saying those words. It’s scary.

You’re threatened.

You decide you need to escape, fight or freeze in the presence of the threatening thing or person.

Just get back to homeostasis, says the whole organism. Get away from the scary thing!

And then the pain enters as the mind chatters with how upset it is you had to go through that terrifying situation, and you never want it to happen again, you never want to think about it, you’ve got to get away, or destroy it, and you have to feel better ASAP.

Then, here’s where it starts getting more difficult, I notice.

You start in on threatening yourself.

How you could have avoided it, like retroactively making it so it didn’t happen.

You should have done it differently. You dunce! What’s wrong with you? Just give up. Run away. What a coward. How embarrassing. You’ll never learn!

It really hurts, this vicious, violent self-talk.

But who would you be without your story that you’re doing it wrong?

Who would you be without your perception of the world as a threat (in the form of that mean person)?

Who or what would you be if you remembered, and felt the impact, and the heart-break, and you didn’t run, freeze or implode or attack yourself, or anyone or anything else?

Not denying it didn’t happen.

Not pretending it’s different than it is, not faking you feel happy when you don’t.

Not believing it all, as Truth.

Not making it MORE than it is, LESS than it is. Not formatting into something to make it easier to digest or impossible to digest.

Just not thinking it with such passion and voracity and intensity.

Without thinking YOU made a mistake or did it wrong or it needs to be changed….

….what would this be like?

I notice whenever I have a thought about me doing it wrong, I’m scared of someone else also, that THEY think I did it wrong. Maybe the person who thought I did it wrong came from the distant past, or the more recent past, but these thoughts about me and how I wasn’t enough or did it poorly only appear when I think someone else thought it first, or might.

Who would I be without the belief I wasn’t enough, or wrong?


Free to cry, sob, ask for help, say I’m sorry, hug, love, move, live, show up, go on, be a regular human, with all kinds of human emotions.

I might even, without being stuck in thoughts against myself or others, begin to live another kinder way (most likely).

I turn the thoughts around: I did the best I could. So did they. There is nothing threatening me….now. I do NOT have only three choices: freeze, run away, or go to war. I have an unknown, unseen movement of life bursting up through me, expressing as this person, and it’s all temporary, and I’m here. Ready. Alive.

I have other options, like standing in the middle of a cacophony of sounds, thoughts, words, calls for help….

….and opening my arms to this next moment, and the next, with integrity, with action, with joy, with gratitude, with tears.

What an amazing question, to wonder who we would be without our stories of self-hatred or no-way-out.

Here’s my friend Jeff Foster (I don’t know him personally, but I love calling him my friend because it feels like he is). He’s a great example of a living turnaround of what it’s like without believing your thoughts, about yourself, others, life, death, the past, the future. Plus he’s hilarious.

Much love,


My latest Peace Talk: the first time I did The Work (it made me sick)

Listen to Peace Talk to hear my first time doing The Work, and feeling sick as a dog

Two people wrote to me yesterday and asked if they could get the masterclass replay Ten Barriers to The Work and How To Dissolve Them. Since I got asked twice, out it goes. Replay is now enabled.

To watch and listen to the MasterClass replay, click here. No opting-in. It’s yours, in service. This link will work until September 5th. This is the day before we start Year of Inquiry which I mention at the end of the masterclass–so it will be outdated after YOI begins.
So, if you want to look at it this weekend, or next long weekend in the United States, feel free.
Then it will go into review, revamp, update mode, or potentially be built into a longer series since there was just so much material to cover in two hours (yes, I know–two hours is a long time….so maybe listening to a part, then coming back later is the perfect way for you).

So speaking of those barriers (will she ever stop?) I was thinking about the Big Kahuna Number One Barrier again yesterday.

Which is doing The Work of Byron Katie on yourself. Not other people or things outside of you in your life. Just wanting to do it on YOU.
Now….here’s the funny thing.
I suddenly remembered that the very first time I did The Work ever in public was when Byron Katie came to my city and offered a weekend-long workshop. There were hundreds of people there.
And guess what I did The Work on?

Um. Yes. (After all this talk of not doing The Work on yourself).


That’s exactly who I filled out my Judge Your Neighbor worksheet on, even though we were invited to NOT fill it out on ourselves and instead consider someone else we might not have forgiven yet.


But here’s what I remember happened that amazing and horribly difficult weekend. I realized something profoundly important, even though I was “working” on myself.

That I might not be the awful monster I thought I was.

It was a huge beginning to an incredible journey of waking up out of a zombie trance of self-criticism.

So, can I really know it’s difficult or wrong, or even a barrier, to do The Work on oneself?


If you’re one of the people who feels deeply compelled to question thoughts that bring you suffering about yourself, you might enjoy this latest Peace Talk Episode 120.

Even though I spoke on Peace Talk last time about doing The Work on yourself and what to do instead, or how to take it a bit deeper, in this episode I share what happened when I did The Work on myself, anyway.

During that first dreadful weekend workshop, I hardly spoke, I gave no one any eye contact, I never raised my hand (wouldn’t have dreamt of it), felt physically like death warmed over, hated what I wrote on that worksheet…..

…..but something shifted inside of me that was the beginning of the end of the pain…..

…..even though my worksheet appeared to be all about me. 

So even though I’ve gone on and on about Barrier #1 to deepening The Work being the way we want to do it on ourselves at first…..

…..there’s nowhere you can’t go with The Work and nothing that will prevent you from freedom, if you answer the questions.

(Peace Talk is also on IHeart Radio and Stitcher by the way, and it helps spread the word so much when you leave a review or subscribe).

“Thinking that people are supposed to do or be anything other than what they are is like saying that the tree over there should be the sky. I investigated that and found freedom.” ~ Byron Katie in I Need Your Love–Is That True?

This goes for ourselves, too. Thinking WE are supposed to do or be anything other than what we are is like saying something cray cray.

Investigate it.

Much love,


When it burns….

When your heart breaks….cry. When words return, The Work.

Yesterday, I did not hear the news until late evening that a terrible massacre had occurred.

I stood at my kitchen counter for a moment, watching a very short news brief on my laptop to understand what my daughter just told me. My heart swelled and broke and tears came.

Our in-person monthly deep dive group had already met for three hours in the afternoon for our final meeting before summer break (we begin again Oct. 23rd in Seattle for 9 months).

I had been moved and touched by peoples’ work during our group. Many of them had written on their bodies. They were feeling ugly, angry with their appearance, disgusted, frightened, aging, incapable of change.

And then, later, this terrible news.

I let it sink into me, and throughout the evening, let The Work do itself within before I began to write.

This tragedy is horrifying, disgusting, violent, wrong, confusing, frightening. Some of the very same words I wrote about it were the very same words I had heard earlier about the body.

Question Four of The Work is: Who would you be without your thought? Who would you be without the thought that what you see is incapable of change, or permanently disgusting, or love is not possible in the presence of it? Who would you be without thinking your body is horrible looking, ugly, something to look away from?

What about other ugly things? Like human violence?

People in the group yesterday noticed how difficult it was to feel, or imagine in any way whatsoever who they’d be….

….without the belief their body was imperfect, wrong, preventing them from getting something they wanted, a barrier to happiness, fat, or ugly.

Sometimes….it is not easy to find who we would be without the feeling of hatred, rage, misery, disgust, or fear about something we see in reality.

It feels like denial.

As someone in the group yesterday said, with deep grief and pain (about her body)….

….”But. This problem is REAL.”

No one has to drop any thoughts. No one has to make themselves NOT think something they ARE actually thinking is absolutely true.

But here’s what I notice about reality.

It is unconditional. As in….there are no conditions. It is what it is.

It does not really care what we think. Reality moves as it moves, it unfolds the way it unfolds. It doesn’t really wait to see if we’re OK with it or not.

I notice Reality doesn’t ask me for my vote.

I can feel enraged, bitter, despairing and hateful about what goes on in Reality, in my life, in this body, with my appearance….

….or I can question my thoughts about it compassionately.

I can fight what is, or the other choice I’ve often made (thinking it gave me some power) is I can refuse to respond, in stubborn defiance.

I can use what I see as proof that Planet Earth is screwed up, or this body is screwed up, or that my mind is screwed up….

….but whatever I’m looking at, when I see there’s something at fault, it feels like…


Who would I be, or WHAT would I be, without the fearful, war-like thinking? What would it FEEL like, without believing everything I think?

Can I look at the thing I supposedly always hate, through the eyes of the Beloved? Can I look through Reality’s eyes that are unconditional, mysterious, and pulsing with life?

Turning the thought around: What I see is not pure ugliness, hopeless, gross, to-be-avoided, unworthy, disgusting, wrong, a mistake, incapable of changing, hideous, impossible.

This is not ever saying anything I see I must accept without question, or think of as good, or think of as friendly, or feel joyful towards it, if I don’t.

“The world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.” ~ Helen Keller

With my body, if I don’t like living in it, I can move closer to it, become very intimate with it, taste, smell, be with how it moves, what it feels like to eat, notice it, care for it, get to know it instead of ignoring it. I can imagine dropping all my rules and hatred about it and start over, with fresh eyes, from scratch.

I can do this with death, too. I can do this with tragedy, and fear, depression and suffering. I can become intimate with Reality instead of trying to defy it or fight it, hate it or ignore it.

Starting here. With this body. With other people. With events I encounter. With death.

I can question the story of what I think is impossible, even as it hurts.

“What is to give light must endure burning.” ~ Viktor Frankl

Much love, Grace

P.S. there may be room to squeeze you in at Breitenbush in Oregon. Call 503-854-3320 to ask to attend the June 22-26 Retreat: Declare Peace, The Work of Byron Katie.

That Mean Thing You’re Thinking Is Not True

Lately I’ve been communicating with quite a few people about urges, cravings, judgments and the experience of overeating, worrying about eating, drinking alcohol, spending too much money, over-indulging….

….feeling out of balance.

When you do something that actually hurts either you or someone else, most of us think about it afterwards. It doesn’t feel right. We mull it over, wonder what went on, analyze, consider.

This type of thinking sometimes ALSO doesn’t feel that good.

How did that happen? What’s WRONG with me?

I can’t believe I said that! I can’t believe I ate the whole thing! I can’t believe I smoked a cigarette, after all those months of quitting!

The problem with going over an incident again in your mind, afterwards, is it’s very tempting to take out a knife and stab yourself with it.

Here’s what I mean.

The other day, I was invited to a dinner with several people who are all peeps in this conference I’ve been attending in Arizona.

(I wrote all about it to the people interested in eating issues who are signed up to receive my Eating Peace notes, so I won’t tell the whole story again here).

It was a lively, jam-packed, upscale restaurant, full of voices, clinking glasses, twinkling candle lights. We sat at a big round table for six.

The kind and generous man who invited these friends was treating us all. He ordered all the food. Waiters were attentively moving around the table, bringing hors d’oeuvres, bread, special sauces, then filet mignon, pastas, greens, pork, then a huge table filled with carrot cake, puddings, delectable sweet delicacies. We had huge goblet wine glasses and everyone’s glass was filled constantly.

Strange, strange….for the first time in many years, I think, my stomach hurt badly afterwards. At first I thought it was fullness, but later in the night realized it was digestion trouble, as my stomach hurt even worse. I had also pushed my wine glass away, it suddenly felt like poison.

And then the harsh thoughts in the night….oh boy!

I shouldn’t have eaten that, I lost my presence, something went wrong, I’m stupid.

This is the normal douse of self-criticism most people give themselves after a difficult experience that feels confusing. It doesn’t even have to be about food, or drink, or smoking, or spending….

….you made a mistake. You screwed up. You broke a promise. You lashed out unkindly at someone and said a mean thing.

Killer Mean Voice enters on cue, ripping you to shreds.

Maybe an incident involved others, and you rip them to shreds in your mind as well.

But I knew, with the deeply discouraged feeling I had inside by the time morning came along, some powerful self-inquiry was in order.

The gentle, open-minded kind.

Not the kind that starts berating you, cutting you down, calling you names and screaming at you to fix your behavior NOW, or else.

As I got up after a very bad night’s sleep, I suddenly thought….

….how could it be useful and helpful that I had that experience with the dinner, that my stomach hurt so much? How can I be genuinely curious about that experience, rather than closed and upset?

Immediately, my body relaxed.

I knew what to do.

I asked myself “what do you need, right now in this moment, if you could have just exactly what you most wanted?”



The feeling of cradling myself in my own arms, and rocking myself like a sweet little baby.

I jumped on my bike that I had rented the afternoon before, and rode off for a long ride. I happened to take a route (the whole area was unknown to me) that led me to a canyon with magnificent red rocks, shadows and light, cool dark places and a trail that climbed steeply to the top of a great vista.

Even though I had been riding quite awhile, I followed all the Saturday morning people parking cars and gearing up with backpacks, locked up my bike, drank lots of delicious water from the water fountain, and headed up the trail.

All the while, inside, I allowed my mind to scan for what distracted me, what might have bothered me, what underlying thought or feeling deep inside was going on, that would create a moment where I would actually be uncomfortable physically from the food I ate and wine I sipped?

I had the thought…this is perfect that this happened.


Well, one thing was it reminded me how I used to feel like this regularly. In my twenties my social drinking was always a whole night of staying up talking, and I had terrible binge-episodes (those were always alone).

I felt *HORRIBLE* and yet continued.

(Notice, the mean harsh voice didn’t actually change anything).

But, these experiences set me on a path to understand….to find peace.

As I hiked up the trail, watching the other people all about, surrounded by the beauty, I felt completely present.

I remembered, the inner self in this center has no judgment. It is not afraid, it is not critical, or hateful. It does not care what other people are thinking, it doesn’t care what other people are doing, or saying.

I had been in conference rooms, speaking with strain over very loud music, feeling separated, feeling uncertain about my own life, my thoughts, my direction. Not sure I fit in here.

That’s what had been happening, building. Many “you should do this” and “you shouldn’t do that” were entering my mind. I was believing them.

Who would I be without any of those thoughts?

Who would I be without demands, needing to make the conference I was attending successful (whatever that meant), who would I be without needing to change anything about myself?

I would be being. I would be here. Just here. Nothing more.

Nothing necessary, nothing to add, nothing to subtract.

Who would you be without the thought that you’ve done something wrong, when you’ve done something “off” like eat food that doesn’t feel good?

See if you can find that thought right now….you with no mistakes.

You may be surprised at this one tiny change this can make in your inner world….and then how that changes your outer life as well.

“It is Love that leads us beyond all fear and into the solitude of our being.” ~ Adyashanti 

If you have done something uncomfortable for you, simply pause today and notice what you’re thinking that hurts.

It’s not true.

Have you noticed yet?

Much love,