Taking the plunge into Step One: Dear Reality, Here’s What I Don’t Like About You

Have you ever believed someone could do or say something that would make you happy, or repair a difficult situation for you?

He should calm down. She should come back. He should be kind. She should stop criticizing. They should be healthier.

And what about what happens next, after you have that wishful thought? 

You may notice that part of your reaction to this thought about someone else, as it comes wildly careening through your mind, with accompanying images and wishes…..the next common thought: 

Sheit. It’s me. 

(That’s ‘shit’ for some of us, but as a British citizen, although raised mostly in the US, I love the expression of “sheit”. Something about it is perfectly artistic and sharp, right? “Sheit. It’s me.” Not long ago in Year of Inquiry our group was laughing hysterically at our new phrase “embrace the sheit” and we imagined getting t-shirts).

After we have the glimpse of how that other person could change so I might experience a little happiness, I may do a u-turn on my demands, and think the thought….wait a minute….

….I shouldn’t want that person to change! Jeez!

If only I was more x (mature, calm, detached). If only I could stop caring. If only I were different.

There must be something wrong with ME…..

I should do The Work on myself! I’m the problem! I need to fix my thinking! That’s right!

But we’re invited over and over NOT to do The Work on ourselves, or the way our minds are working. 

What we’re invited to look at is the actual incident that caused the riot. The moment we objected to. The thing that happened we didn’t like, first. 

This can be the way someone behaves, or what they say. It can be the way things unfolded in a relationship. It can be a big unexpected change. Something involving money. Something involving food or my body.

So what to do, instead of doing The Work on myself?

Write the worksheet on the situation that prompted all this suffering. The Other Person. That thing that happened. 


There is something quite remarkable that can happen, and details that can go differently, if you let your mind download all the pain you feel about whatever is Out There, and not “you”. 

It’s all you anyway. You probably already know this. You are a smart one. You’re very aware. It’s why we quickly think “it’s me” after having a stressful thought about something or someone else.

But letting the mind express it’s fears about whatever happened Out There is so genius for identifying the places we get stuck. 

It’s raw, immature, small, original, petty, small, me-vs-universe….it’s got a basic kind of fear or anxiety or sadness or disappointment to it. 

And here’s the thing. 

When I let my mind express it’s objection to what’s Out There (separation), I’ve got some very simple core ideas about Reality right in front of me–and it becomes a conversation with the Great Mystery, or God (whatever God means to you). 

My mind thinks. It has objections. 

This mind fills a difficult moment with imagination about what was in the past, and what’s going to happen in the future. It loves to think it’s in control, or has some semblance of control. 

Can’t I direct….something? 

Please? (LOL).

Well, the way we can give the mind a little rope, is to let it express it’s desire to control and direct on a worksheet! So amazing! So cathartic! My tantrum with reality, written down. A hissy fit, in all it’s glory. 

Dear Reality, Here’s What I Don’t Like About You.

It’s specific, on a thing you don’t like. A moment in time. Not too much, just enough. 

So Step One: The Judge Your Neighbor worksheet. 

Follow the simple directions. Write your childish, ridiculous, babyish, stupid, silly, boring, awful thoughts. Write them all down. Judge the heck outta those other weirdos in the world. 

Be with the reality you want to fight. Notice it, and write. 

You can’t get away from this objection, so write it down!(Well, you can avoid it temporarily through all kinds of activities including eating, drinking, smoking, spending, obsessing–I’m an expert–and you can run, but you can’t hide). 

I find when I allow the unedited voice to write, I’ve got GOLD for mental activity to question. I’m not on the self-improvement plan or ANY improvement plan. 

I’m interested in the truth. The Truth. The place that’s possible to visit with an open, unsure, unknowing, unidentified mind. 

“Arguing feels unkind inside me. Just to notice what is, is love….It hurts to fight what is. And doesn’t it feel more honest to open your arms to it? This is the end of war.” ~ Byron Katie in Loving What Is

As I do The Work, it always feels kinder to open my arms to myself as well as anyone else, to open my arms to how I’ve behaved. I love noticing that what I am, is love. I love noticing that when I do The Work, it moves to the end of war. 

Including me objecting to me (the “it’s all me” foghorn).

I am questioning what I think. I am questioning “my” reality. 

A few years ago in Year of Inquiry, someone said in one of our fabulous group calls where we all feel like one mind doing The Work together: ‘I’ve given up doing The Work on myself. It’s too shallow and gets me nowhere. I find now, there’s so much insight in doing The Work on what’s outside me, and it’s all inside me anyway.’ 

What I know is, when I constantly tried to improve myself so I’d have a great life, it failed. 

So let’s do The Work on what we oppose about What Is. I love this inner exploration, with you. 

Bring your Judge Your Neighbor worksheet to the next First Friday Open Inquiry call on January 4th. Come to retreat and study your compulsion to eat (to believe your thoughts) January 9-14. Call the Help Line. Sign up for a solo session. Get a friend to hear your JYN and facilitate you. 

Questioning your suffering thoughts can change your entire world. It has changed mine deeply for what appears to be better–but maybe it’s just my mind that’s changed and my life was always very good indeed. 

Dear Reality, Here’s What I Love About You: Everything.

Could be just as true.

Much love,

5 Replies to “Taking the plunge into Step One: Dear Reality, Here’s What I Don’t Like About You”

  1. Grace, I do read each and every one of these, but this one line of yours really opened my eyes “ when i constantly tried to improve myself…it failed…do the work on what we oppose about what is” aha!! I will. Thank you

  2. Let me know how it goes to do The Work on the other–and relationships that are suffering can be the most profound, so you’re in a brilliant place to test it out. It would be wonderful to have you in the class. The Work saved my sanity in navigating my relationship! You can find it’s possible to save the most important relationship of all–the one with yourself. :) Much love and thanks for your comment. –Grace

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