Long ago, I was given a book called “What You Think of Me Is None of My Business”.
What an cool title.
And what a difficult thing to actually experience.
You mean….even if you knew me and you didn’t like what you saw, or felt, or knew about my thoughts, it’s none of my business? You mean, you can go on doing whatever you’re doing over there, and I don’t need to respond or pay attention to every nuance or tone of your voice? You mean, I don’t have to be hyper-alert to everything you do?
But! I’m worried about hurting your feelings, or you being mean to me, or you abandoning me! I’m worried about doing it wrong, or screwing up, or making a mistake.
In fact, I think it WILL be a mistake if you’re disturbed by something I say, do, feel, show, think.
So I better keep it on the low down! I better be very quiet, hide it, act like I’m nice even if I don’t feel nice.
Yeah, that’s the ticket. I’ll ACT like I’m fine, comfortable, non-judgmental….even if I am NOT fine, uncomfortable and very judgmental.
The thing is, when you try to hide the truth of what you’re honestly feeling and thinking, you will likely begin to feel like over-eating, or eating for comfort or distraction, rather than eating for fuel.
Which isn’t fun.
There may be a bump in the road to learn, and it’s called Being Honest.
Who would you be without the belief that you actually need to hide your true thoughts in order to be safe, secure, comfortable, or happy?
It’s not easy, but you may find, it’s worth it. Because when you tell the truth, without shame, and with the desire for connection and honesty with another….
….you’ll likely find you don’t want to eat for emotional reasons anymore.
THAT makes it worth it.
Watch here for insight on being yourself, in the presence of other people:
It can feel like such a relief to know what to expect.
Perhaps you’re about to visit a new country, and you’ve read tons of books and talked to many people about how to navigate and have the best time when you’re there.
Planning can be fun.
But are you planning, organizing, analyzing, gathering data, or mapping things out so you can Not Be Scared?
I used to notice that going on a diet (the plan to do it, at least) would provide some relief for sure. I’ll get this thing under control. I’ll handle, or manage, this situation and no longer be whacko when it comes to food.
This can happen with far more than only food and eating issues.
I’ll get this particular thing together and squared away, and I’ll be OK. I don’t care if I suffer, or if it hurts. I’ll start x and stop y.
But what if you could relax with not knowing what’s next, or what will happen tomorrow, or how this whole thing unfolds? What if you could come back to right now, today, and see if what you’re looking for….or even relief, peace, quiet, gentleness, and love are all here in this moment.
Without having to know anything about what’s going on tomorrow.
Here I share what it’s like to inquire into the stressful thought “I need to know….”
Two quick announcements for this wonderful welcoming spring weekend:
1) East West Bookstore The Work with Grace on Body, Eating, Compulsion 6407 – 12th Avenue NE in Seattle, Washington on Saturday 3-6 pm March 18 (that’s tomorrow) for only $25! Come learn the three biggest underlying beliefs people have that keep them battling with food, eating or their body image and weight….and how to address these very deep beliefs with The Work of Byron Katie.
Anyone is welcome who is interested in addressing mindset, thought, awareness and the psychology of eating or compulsion. This work will actually apply to anyone battling an addictive process, including other substances or behaviors. We’ll be going into the root of the compulsive experience, so please join if you’re curious about freedom from obsessive thinking that leads to compulsion of any kind.
What we will NOT be covering is diet, fitness, nutrition or exercise. This is working from the inside out.
Everyone will get to identify where they sabotage their own desires, efforts and “goals” for eating peacefully, and see what’s really happening in those moments that prevent eating peace.
You’ll then get to do The Work, questioning your negative or stressful beliefs, that lead you to move with confusion or frustration around eating or weight. Everyone will leave with the next steps, so you’ll know how to keep questioning and relaxing your thoughts in your daily life.
Beginners are welcome, but it’s great if you know what The Work of Byron Katie is, so look it up on youtube or at www.thework.com and it really helps to read the Little Book (condensed version of Loving What Is, the manual for doing The Work) by Byron Katie.
2) Living Turnarounds Private Group. Sunday, March 19th we’ll be meeting again from 3-6 pm. This group is limited to 8 participants and everyone should be familiar with The Work to at least an Advanced Beginner level. We get to deep dive into one powerful worksheet on a situation in our lives we want to learn from, take it to inquiry, and share in insights with others.
Always a profound opportunity to share, connect, hear from others, and collaborate in understanding how to take our personal work to out into our lives. We spend some beautiful time considering how we’ll live our turnarounds, if we need to make amends (including to ourselves) and understanding how we want to really feel in our bodies, in our lives, in our relationship in the one area we “work” for this mini-retreat.
Living Turnarounds Group meets at Goldilocks Cottage (Grace’s home) in northeast Seattle ($65). Please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’ve never attended before and would like to join us. Room for 3 more people this month.
Seattle workshop: Eating Peace rare 3 hour mini-retreat on how to question your thinking, to change the way you eat (and think) at East West Books in Seattle, March 18th 3-6 pm only $25. Please pre-register here.
Speaking of the way we think….most people with compulsions and addictive behavior, or self-defeating mannerisms of any kind like overeating, binge-eating, body image criticism, or emotional eating…experience mean thinking towards themselves.
We’ve all got judgmental and harsh voices that comment about what we’re doing.
But when this voice gets really intense, like a dictator ordering you around in a concentration camp, then you’re at war.
It’s understandable. We often believe in violence. It even works a little bit. Violent behavior leads to something happening which forces change. But it’s not permanent, and there’s a ton of loss when there’s war.
The thing is, you don’t have to attack and hate yourself in order to elicit or bring change to your ways with food, eating and your body.
In fact, what I always found, is that it increased my binge-eating or weight gain, it fueled sadness and despair and a feeling of failure, and it made things worse in the long run.
People who stop believing in their violent thinking towards themselves no longer eat violently, or diet violently with deprivation and intense control.
Try letting go of this mean voice instead, by questioning if it’s really true, and turning it around!
The first Friday inquiry jam, where people can connect via phone or internet from anywhere in the world, was so powerful just a few days ago (mark your calendar for First Friday of April 7:45 am PT, we’ll do it again).
We began as always with everyone filling out their own Judge Your Neighbor worksheet on a stressful situation, some exchange or moment in time where something happened unpleasant. Something disturbed us. Something felt off, or scary, or sad.
Someone raised their hand (you get to push *2 and I see the alert on my computer). This lovely inquirer said she has so many moments where she felt anxious or upset….where should she begin?
I’ve had a few of those people or moments in my life (OK, more than a few) where it felt like the same “problem” was reoccurring over and over. Or the same dilemma, or same uncomfortable conversation.
The best thing I know to do is to really freeze frame only one of those moments in time, and hold very still with it as you write down your judgments about that situation, without one single ounce of editing yourself. Be childish, critical, petty, ridiculous.
What moment should you choose, you ask?
Why, the one where you felt the most fear, intensity, sadness, rage, fury, irritation, or hurt. That one. Where the scene of the crime was The Worst.
I found, if I go back to that one, and write everything I believe that’s stressful down, about that one moment….
….then the following or other moments that “weren’t so bad by comparison” will also fall into place. (And if they don’t, you can still do The Work on them).
This movement into The Worst moment takes some courage sometimes. Because you might remember a moment that’s really, really painful. It can stir you up.
So take a very deep breath, and remember first that you’re past that moment, now. You’re safe in your chair, as you write down the thoughts. Even if the event happened yesterday, you’ve got a little break. You can give yourself this quiet space for a moment.
Not long ago I had an old flame who reappeared in my life after many years away. The relationship had spanned maybe four months grand total when it happened in real life, but I actually thought of that relationship while watching the movie LaLa Land.
Oh no, not him again. Really?
So much work on that person, a long time ago. I thought it was all squared away. But just running into him at a coffee shop made me feel sort of nauseated, and nervous. I felt jumpy, like I needed to get out of there and like I also wanted to connect and find out all about his life.
Intrigue. Mystery. Drama.
Danger Danger! (Did you hear the back-up sound of loud beeping and the red lights flashing? That’s a huge truck. Heading backwards. Meaning, the driver probably doesn’t know you’re standing right there in the middle of the alley. MOVE!!!!!)
I went home feeling kind of shaken and sad, remembering the feeling of almost being run over. Seeing pictures of being very frightened many times in that relationship, feeling nervous and pushed and chaotically excited (like when you’re on a roller coaster) and confused and never relaxed.
And then annoyed. Because I received an email from him asking to get together like it would be the easiest and most normal thing to do in the world. Not a hey, would you want to get together to have a truly honest talk about your perspective of what happened in that very tumultuous, difficult, awful time back then….but an invitation to go to a show and hang out.
Somehow, I’m thinking we weren’t in the same relationship. He had his idea of what it was like. I had mine.
And here came the stressful thoughts: He should see how crazy-time the interactions were between us in the long-distant past. He should wake up. He should quit acting like an addict….someone who blacks-out the bad times and screams it-was-the-best-thing-ever about the good times. He should stop being so grabby. Desperate. He should stop thinking that relationship was fun. Or desirable. It wasn’t.
I have to do The Work on this? Again? After all these years? Seriously?
But I knew not to start in with the criticism of myself about it all.
Because self-criticism, guilt, or shame is a cover-up and a dark alley you can easily get stuck in (if you’re like me) and fogs out deeper understanding of the actual situation. It’s like a distraction to a different shiny object, a very painful shiny object. But a distraction nevertheless.
“Until you can see the enemy as a friend, your Work is not done. This doesn’t mean that you have to invite your enemy to dinner. Friendship is an internal experience. You may never see the person again, you may even divorce him or her, but as you think about the person, are you feeling stress or peace?” ~ Byron Katie
So here’s where the invitation comes in to go back to a very troubling moment, The Worst troubling moment, rather than this recent coincidental meeting which stirred things up.
I sat down, closed my eyes, and opened up to revisiting the difficult details, and seeing what still lived within my mind about it.
I was shocked.
Judge Your Neighbor worksheet:
I am enraged with him because he sucked me into his life, and lied about the dark truth, mental illness, alcoholism and neediness behind his fake captivating personality.
I want him to apologize, instead of saying he did nothing wrong.
He should grow up, get professional help, do The Work, understand how much he terrified me.
In order to be happy, I need him to confess he almost ruined my life because of his selfish and false desires, because of his desperation for attention and love.
He is an addict, a liar, sick, dangerous, stalker, angry, disgusting.
I don’t ever want to fall prey to a love con game again. I don’t ever want to be involved with someone who attempts suicide and is mentally ill.
Just your run-of-the-mill everyday worksheet on a light chance encounter at a coffee shop. (Not).
The wonderful thing is now, I can take every single one of these concepts through the four questions and turnarounds. It doesn’t matter if it takes several months, or if I really go for it and do one a day. (I’m not the all-in-one-sitting type. Too much effort, too much to digest all at once. But nothing wrong with it if you DO like doing a whole worksheet in one sitting. Go for it!)
If you have a person you’ve thought of as needing to be rescued from themselves or their own thinking, or someone who manipulated or overwhelmed you….then join me now.
Let’s do The Work!
Starting from the top. Picture that person who drew you in, demanded a response, forced you to react, made you feel “x”. You’re a victim of their behavior. They neeeeeeeeeed you. They don’t let up. They’re high maintenance.
I’ve had sales pitches that felt this way. Organizations. Groups. Programs. Religions.
He sucked me into his life.
Is it true?
Yes. I was just innocently being me, standing there, and….
Answer the question.
He sucked you in, can you ABSOLUTELY KNOW this is true?
I saw no vacuum cleaner. No one had a knife. All that happened is conversations, time spent together, then time ending together, honestly.
No one forced me to do it.
How do you react when you believe you were sucked in, to anything?
Angry! Furious! Fist shaking! They did it to me! I was an innocent bystander! Mad at myself for not saying “no” 1000 times sooner!
So who would you be without this very painful story that you got sucked in?
You could apply the very same thought to a compulsive addictive behavior. The food compulsion sucked you in. The drugs, the alcohol, those people. You didn’t know what hit you.
Who would I be without the belief this guy sucked me in to his agony, mental illness, his need for rescuing, his sick world?
I’d notice I’m separate from him. Very. I have a world that doesn’t intersect much with this other person’s world. This is one small encounter, out of my whole life. I am not “sucked” into anything terrible.
Without the thought, I feel safer, calmer, relaxed. I’m back in my own business, feet solidly on the ground, feeling the earth and noticing how in that situation, I knew when to no longer engage.
There was no emergency.
Without the thought, I’m noticing how nothing truly terrible happened. No one died. I even went to work, went about my own life. The worst that happened, honestly, were my thoughts. No gigantic octopi descended upon me, I definitely wasn’t “sucked”.
Turning the thought around: he didn’t suck me in. I sucked him in. I sucked myself in.
Oh. Wow. Yikes.
How could these turnarounds be just as true, or truer?
I sucked him in, by telling him of my worries about life (which weren’t really true) and my love dreams (which were unrealistic) and by answering every question he asked, and by writing long involved emails to him early on. I sucked him in by asking him tons of questions about his childhood.
I sucked myself in by believing I could help, even when things began to get revealed and the true (not fake) stories started getting uncovered. I sucked myself in with worry, anxiety and feeling torn. I sucked myself in by closing my eyes to some weird behavior and pretending it was OK with me. I sucked myself in by not speaking up, or telling my own inner truth.
I even sucked myself in by swinging from bubbly attraction, to disgust, rather than feeling the solid awareness of a centered, sane, kind approach to seeing the truth. I sucked myself in to my own story of what I hoped would happen….and then sucked myself in to extreme and deep disappointment that it didn’t. I forgot my own clarity, and strength.
I sucked myself in to his agony, mental illness, his need for rescuing, his sick world…I sucked myself into my own agony, my own mental illness, my need to rescue, my sick world of believing in sick worlds.
“You are alive only in your own imagination as the thing you think you are. The story we have of ourselves is so seductive….Don’t be waiting for “next”. There is no “next”. It is enough that you are here. The more you are able to bring your attention to that which is, you will find your silence, your peace. You will discover your inherent harmony, your natural joy.” ~ Mooji
I sucked myself into a dramatic vortex of believing there was a hook. A dangerous hook, in this world. Called another human with a “big” needy personality. Who was a fish that bit the hook? That would be me.
Only, that’s not what really happened.
He did not suck me in to anything. He delivered me. He set me free from believing in emergencies, from thinking it would be awful to say “no”. From tantalizing, enmeshed relationship where I believe I’m far more important than necessary. He showed me that even when someone attempts suicide, they can live, and so can I. He showed me how wonderful my own company is, how peaceful and quiet, all by myself. How glorious.
I told a story.
And it’s completely over right now.
I see what is. Thank you.
“The thing about the past? It’s over.” ~ Byron Katie
OMG that person is soooooo gushing, over-the-top full of praise, way too complimentary, ingratiating, very needy. They must want something.
Have you ever had that inner feeling about someone, like they’re Pepe Le Pew?
I have. Then I did The Work on them.
And guess what?
Perhaps even worse….have you ever had the feeling YOU were being too clingy, needy, desperate, grabby about someone, or about a relationship you were attracted to?
The thing is, compensating for your own needy feelings, your own wants and desires, or trying to suppress them….
….doesn’t really work.
This is what it’s like.
OMG I really want to hang out with that person. He’s awesome. Uh oh. I better not ever be needy. Being needy is gross. He said he doesn’t like dependency in others. I did The Work on that other guys neediness, which was gross. I’ll act nonchalant. I’ll be easy-going.
They want to cancel last-minute plans? No problem. They want to go to that restaurant, even though I don’t like the big screen TVs inside? No problem. They chose that movie with lots of scenes of blowing things to smithereens? OK with me. They want to see the play with the crying, sad ending? Sure thing.
I just won’t appear to need their love.
I’ve read the book.
Cool as a cucumber over here.
This is called skipping over the next step in The Work and avoiding the feelings of grief, sadness, dread, loss, or heart-wrenching disappointment.
I understand it. I’ve done it.
In one love interest, I already had The Work in my life, but I would “do” The Work over and over again on the man being totally uninterested in me (who I felt interested in) so I could be MORE detached, laissez-faire, and relaxed in his presence….
….all with the secret inside hope that therefor he’d propose, be more attracted, or want to betogetherforeverfortherestofourlives.
(No spaces between the words on purpose).
So if you notice yourself doing ANYTHING to try to be NOT what you are, or what you feel….
….good little hiding place for self-inquiry.
Come out, come out, wherever you are!
In this case: NEEDINESS!
Here’s how it unfolded for me.
First, with a quality (like “neediness”) you’ll probably already have noticed how someone else has it, and you found it repulsive.
The next thing that happened is you maybe did The Work, and discovered YOU had this quality, and found it repulsive (ahem, like my example, “neediness”, just saying).
You vowed without even knowing it that you would start working immediately (or continue “working” on yourself) on this quality. I will never, ever, ever be needy.
I realize something.
I am still totally 100% against neediness. I did The Work on that other person being needy, it pointed back to me, and now I’m determined not to be needy myself.
Important bulletin: I’m still against neediness.
This work is about the Truth. Noticing reality. Noticing what I’m at war with. Noticing my own pain, stress, suffering.
I myself shouldn’t ever be needy, make requests, ask for help, for food, for attention, for love.
Is that true?
Sigh. Yes! Aren’t enlightened people Non-Needy?
But can you absolutely know it’s true you shouldn’t ever be needy?
No. Because sometimes, I have been.
How do you react when you believe you shouldn’t act needy, detached, clingy or have any agenda whatsoever?
See above. I do things I don’t even like to do. I don’t hang up the phone.
Who would you be without the belief you shouldn’t be needy?
I’d just be here, with myself, noticing the desire for attention or support or security, and relax a little.
I’d maybe even….giggle.
I’d observe how brilliantly everything goes, even relationships, without my knowing a thing. I’d be so very aware of the part of me, as a beautiful inquirer said yesterday in the Eating Peace Process group, that’s very grounded.
Like a tree the way it blows wildly about, maybe loses a branch or two, but is rooted in the ground no matter what it’s winding up thinking or believing.
“You’re working at a deeper level. You’re not working with your psychology, to suppress, hold together, do affirmations, get the energy nicer. You’re going deep. You’re working with the blockages themselves, rather than the result of the blockages. Deep is the only place a solution exists. All the energy, attention, consciousness can now go to seeing the rock, on seeing, seeing, seeing…..If you center the energy back in the witness, in yourself, all these things will fall off like a snake, they will shed. You’ll start feeling peace where you felt disturbance. You are an extremely beautiful being, who needs nothing from anyone. The flower when it blossoms and opens in the morning naturally opens. It doesn’t need to receive, or to give. You are like this.” ~ Michael Singer
The feeling of needing to hurry, ASAP, is very stressful if you aren’t a rock band singing about it.
Running, pushing, moving fast.
The other day a lovely inquirer said she felt like it was an emergency to find peace. All caps I WANT TO DO THE WORK AND FIND PEACE NOW!
Everyone feels urgency sometimes. Quick, I gotta call that person. Quick, I gotta apologize. Quick, I gotta say the right thing. Quick, I gotta leave this place. Quick, I gotta get enlightenment. Quick, I gotta calm down. Quick, I gotta figure this out. Quick, I gotta get a job. Quick, I gotta get some money. Quick, I gotta get over there!
There’s a deep feeling when I’ve had this thought that I won’t survive! CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT!
It has to happen YESTERDAY. Or else.
Or else what? What is it that will die? What’s the worst that could happen?
I once had a man I was dating who I didn’t know extremely well, who I was pretty sure wasn’t a good match. He could feel the distance through our phone conversations. I was anxious about his neediness.
The next day, he showed up in my city after taking an emergency-type last-minute flight. I couldn’t see him. One of my kids was sick at home and I felt like distancing from what felt….frantic.
I felt scared of the intensity of it all. And sorry for him and for myself. Yikes.
The thing you see that needs to happen…..it HAS TO. NOW!!!
I remember this feeling when my house might have foreclosed if I didn’t come up with a payment within a few days.
Must. Happen. Immediately.
Are you sure?
Oh. Wow. Um. It seemed like an emergency. But right at this exact moment in time I’m aware I’m breathing, there’s a ceiling and a floor, and warmth, and I’m actually OK.
So no, it’s not true.
But I’m sure it WILL be true! Soon! (Now, now, keep going).
How do you react when you believe something has to happen immediately, including finding peace or enlightenment?
I notice an intense feeling of crunching down within, a tightness, lots of adrenaline and speed rushing through the body. A shrieking voice inside that’s terrified.
I can’t sleep, I feel like I can’t think straight (it’s true, I’m thinking crookedly all bent up around fear).
I treat anyone else who’s frantic like they need to be avoided.
So who or what would I be without this stressful lie that the thing Must Happen Now?
Sometimes, I’ve had the thought if I let go of this belief, I’ll lie down on the floor in a puddle and no longer try. I’ll give up in despair. Even if the thought is extremely frightening that the thing I want to happen must happen right now….I can’t give it up! Otherwise it will never, ever happen ever.
Ahhh, that tricky mind encouraging you to stay in the thought and not wonder about what really, really would happen if you weren’t thinking something ELSE must happen ASAP than what IS happening.
Who would you be, for example, without the thought you must stop feeling anxious RIGHT NOW (hear finger snapping)!?!
For me, I’d notice the sensations called “anxiety”. I’d allow them to be in the room with me, in my body here. I’d let things be as they are, like watching a rain storm or thunder and lightening. The wind is blowing….let it blow (I notice I have no control over it anyway).
Without the belief something must happen, or stop, or change instantly….I notice something here relaxes.
And then relaxes a little more.
There’s a bit of space around the edges. The thing I’m nervous about isn’t as awful and big as before.
I definitely don’t feel like escaping, either. There’s no thought about eating, drinking, smoking, doing, internetting, TV watching, planning my escape, spending, making arrangements stressfully. I’m just here.
Turning the thought around: Nothing needs to happen differently, or immediately, or on my preferred timing. What’s happening is just right.
You mean I don’t need peace right now in this instance?!
What are the examples that I don’t?
Breathing. Typing. Going to the store. Lying still. Meditating. Picking up the phone. Sending an email. Going to the gym. Talking to my mom. Getting dressed. Everything happening, unfolding, nothing “dangerous” occurring. Even with nervous energy or uncomfortable feelings, all is well.
I hear rain pouring outside right now, and I’m not “against” it. I’m inside in a brightly lit cozy winter cottage. The sound is actually beautiful of the rain on the roof. Perhaps I could see this feeling of anxiety coursing through me like rain on the roof. Something natural, exciting, pattering. Something that comes bearing a gift.
Turning it around again: My thoughts are urgent. My thinking needs “x” right now (like peace). And only my thoughts. Nothing else is really an emergency at all. My THOUGHTS must happen immediately.
I like how Byron Katie says, if you looked in a basket of thoughts, you’d see air. Nothing. Thoughts are only…..thoughts. You don’t have to believe them.
How could it be a good thing this is unfolding in its own timing (not mine) and I am not the one in charge? How could it be a wonderful gift to not demand that anything be different than it is, in this moment?
Jeez. You’re getting carried away with this whole thing….now this is pretty extreme. A GOOD thing that it’s not happening, there are no guarantees, and life doesn’t appear to be concerned with urgency about this topic?
I notice the lightness of not being the one who has to worry, force, push, control, make-happen, charge ahead.
In fact….what a surprise.
The inner anxiety appears to have passed on by now. Feelings did not require action, apparently.
Just like a wound healing, or the sun coming up on Reality’s timing, can I trust what’s going on here, without trying to control the outcome?
Ha ha! Yes.
“Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it….it’s just easier if you do.” ~ Byron Katie
In fact, it feels so sickening sometimes, we’d rather die, or dissolve into the floor, or go live on another planet.
The thing is, when you focus on your shameful self, your dreadful act, the horrible way you eat….
….you miss some exceptionally important information about why, and how, this strange way you ate came to happen.
What was going on before you had the thought “I know, I think I’ll go eat something, that’s it!”
How did that process occur? Why do you think it occurred? (And no, the answer is not “because I’m an idiot” or “because I can’t do it right”).
Condemning yourself and beating yourself to a pulp is what leads people often to a violent approach to solving their eating problems. Training regiment, torturous exercise, alarm at 6 am to hit the gym, eating exact amounts of food, weighed and measured and documented and counted with many foods left off the menu, weighing yourself with a scale, measuring body parts with measuring tape.
I repeat often there’s nothing wrong with a food and diet and exercise plan. But they rarely work long-term. They rarely offer permanent peace and satisfaction. They fix the symptom without addressing the underlying cravings and hungers that have nothing to do with food.
At least that’s what happened for me. Thank goodness I couldn’t ever stay on a food plan or diet for longer than a few hours. Something inside of me was determined to get to the bottom of the issue, to see myself and know myself from the inside out, and to end the struggle.
Anyone, including you, can do this.
You don’t need to take vows and oaths and make promises never to eat that way again (or do any other troubling activity you get pulled towards to cope with your thoughts and feelings).
When you identify what you’re thinking and feeling, without shame and self-hatred, and inquire with kindness and self-compassion….
….eating off-balance is no longer necessary.
If you notice shame and meanness arise towards yourself because of the way you’ve eaten….stop. Ask what else is going on, besides failure to eat peacefully?
Get to know the wonder of YOU. It’s not as bad as you think!
For the many people who have emailed asking for the replay link for the Eating Peace Masterclass, here it is: Watch here.
(Yes, you submit your email and you’ll get all the information in your Inbox. You can unsubscribe to any future emails from me immediately by unsubscribing, or updating your preferences, at the bottom of any email you get).
Someone had a wonderful and fascinating question: Can I take the Eating Peace Process and apply it to my break-up in a love relationship?
How fascinating, because what this person can tell by knowing about self-inquiry, is that the feeling of addiction, craving, reaching, and agony around your target of choice….can vary widely.
Her “target” (the thing desired) was LOVE. Keeping it. Getting it. Upset about love gone wrong.
Somehow, a deep inner target or desire we have, no matter what the things, seems to reach for attention, appreciation, approval, acceptance, pleasure.
Now, I’m not sure the Eating Peace program specifically would work for the sense of being addicted to stressful stories about love relationships and worry about loss in that department….
….but this inquirer was onto something as she noticed that wanting a relationship to be a certain way felt like an addiction or compulsion.
Most of us have probably noticed from time to time (or a whole lot) that you’re THINKING about something AGAIN, and you wish you weren’t.
It feels like you can’t stop thinking about it.
(When can I get some cookies, how can I get him/her, I need to keep consuming this, I need to keep texting him/her, I need to get rid of what I ate, I need to get him/her out of my life, I need to fix myself so I stop craving, I need to fix myself so I stop liking him/her).
Here’s something you can do as you notice your thoughts arise.
It’s kind of simple: Write Them Down.
Allow your thoughts to be petty, ridiculous, desperate, needy. Write down what you want that person or the food to do, be like, offer, give you.
What would it feel like, if you got what you wanted? What would you have, if you had it?
If you NEVER got it, what would be terrible about it? If you never received, acquired, consumed this thing you want, how painful would it be? Would you go mad with frustration?
What else would come to the surface, if you did NOT get what you believe you want to relieve the craving? (Don’t just jump to thinking “That would be GREAT!”)
Study yourself and your compulsive moments. You are the One you’ve been waiting for. You’re the one with the best answers for yourself.
You question your own thoughts, the ones YOU notice in your mind….you answer the questions with YOUR answers, which also appear in your brilliant willing mind.
Welcome to The Work.
P.S. Wonderful small group starting tomorrow in the Eating Peace Process. You start with your own work in writing on the weekend. We meet for the first week live on Tuesday evenings and/or Thursday mornings. Compulsive thoughts about food can be so painful. If you’re ready to go in and explore the root of the addictive process, join us here.
One of my favorite Byron Katie prompts or questions to help dig down into The Work is:
WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS?
The “it” of course, is your stressful belief.
What does it mean, if it’s true? What do you think it means about you, or about other people (or that one other person you’re concerned about)?
What are all the meanings you give this thought?
This question comes in especially handy if you think something stressful is a solid fact, not open to interpretation.
I am going to die. My car tire went flat. I tore my hamstring. The carpet needs vacuuming. I weigh 500 pounds. It’s raining. I have $10.19. I got married. I moved to a cottage. My husband went to live in Timbuktu. She has cancer.
If you notice something seems like an irrefutable fact, a simple fact, a thought you can’t argue with….
….and yet you notice you feel stress or pain when you think it or write it….
….it may be time to answer that question about what you think it means, if this is 100% true?
Last night I got to spend a beautiful evening at a local bookstore where I live called East West Books.
Inquirers both familiar and brand new to me came to gather and do their work about food, eating and body image.
Several of them shared their brilliantly honest worksheets about their weight, the food they feel pulled to eat, a body part they hate seeing in the mirror.
The work on the thoughts brought forward was quite incredible.
But I especially loved one woman’s thoughts about having too much weight on her body.
“I am too fat”.
And what do you think it means about you, about other people, about your life?
Ouch. Because here’s what she said, and it reminded me of my own mind attacking itself for what it thought was true.
It means I am guilty, I am wrong, my life isn’t good, I’m not happy, I can’t wear fun clothes, I can’t be seen on the beach (another inquirer quietly uttered the word “whale” about his own appearance in a bathing suit), I can’t stop worrying and thinking about food.
For some others, being heavy or assuming you’re fat means….
….no one will love you. People will criticize you. No one will be attracted to you or date you. People will think you’re lazy, or greedy.
One thing I suggest is finding a moment in time where you first learned this thought that you are indeed too heavy.
Who did you hear it from?
Because you didn’t have the belief when you were born, that’s for sure.
Where’s your proof that fatness or heaviness or something-wrong-with-this-body is actually the case here?
(If you have a vivid image, like someone else in the group last night did, of mom saying “you are too big to have stripes that circle your body, you need vertical stripes only!” at age 7, then you might have a perfectly clear moment for a situation to investigate with The Work).
When you write down what you’re thinking, the thoughts are caught on paper, not zipping out of the air around the corner.
You’re too ____. (In this case, fat).
Is it true?
How do you react when you believe this thought?
Horrible. Heavy. Despairing. So I go eat to get some sweetness and feel better.
Who would you be without this story of “I am _____” (fat, thin, tall, short, old, young, smart, dumb, sick, stupid…..and on an on, you pick your most frequent flyer).
Who would you be without the story of “I am too fat”?
Going about my business. Playing more. Doing art. Spending time with friends. The woman voicing The Work for everyone present last night said “I’d probably know a lot more people”.
Turning the thought around: I am NOT too fat. My THINKING is too fat.
Yes. My thoughts are heavy, dense, thick like flies surrounding the body, buzzing and yelling at it all the time. My thoughts are big, extra, overloaded, especially when it comes to the body. They’re focused on the body, not life, not expanding in other areas besides the body!
With the thought? Pain and suffering.
Without the thought? Light, free, living life.
“You’re either believing your thoughts, or questioning them….no other choice.” ~ Byron Katie
It may be quite disturbing at first to write down such a thought as “I am too fat”. It can be frustrating to even think about it all over again, and realize, as you write, how much you HATE this problem that’s been here since childhood.
But would you rather write down your thoughts and then take them one by one through the inquiry process known as The Work (it is work, after all) or keep on believing them?
If you’re twisted up about this topic in any way, if you’ve found yourself eating from one end of the refrigerator to the other, if you’re wondering more deeply about the connection between your weight or your eating and your thoughts….
….and accessing peace with eating, your body, food….
….the Eating Peace Process Online begins on Saturday.
Everyone enrolled receives their first writing exercise on Saturday and the first “lesson” for looking at the food, eating, body, mind. Our first calls are Tuesday 1/17 at 5:30 pm, and Thursday 1/19 8:30 am. If you’re in the program, you can come to one or both (everything’s recorded).
I can’t wait to share the practices and exercises that worked best for me in my own healing journey, so you can choose what to take into yours.
And the most important practice of all, the cornerstone of the Eating Peace Program…..The Work of Byron Katie.
Read in detail about it here. Join me if it’s time.