This week, I’ve taken time off to be with family and to go hiking in the dark misty rainy deep forests of the Pacific Northwest.
My computer stopped working one day. Giving me more time to be in silence, and to look at my thoughts about “working” and how important I think it is.
It coincidentally happens to be the time in Year of Inquiry where we look at money, during Month Five.
Money. What a topic of ups and downs, highs and lows, success and failure, fear and joy.
But that one deep belief, so simple really: I need more money….oh so tricky and persistent.
At least for me.
I’ve shared about the depths of my crash in the past. (Several Grace Notes include this powerful time that apparently happened and one of the pieces is right here).
As I put together my webinar about doing The Work on money for the Year of Inquiry peeps, I was reminded again of how powerful my thoughts have been about money….
….and needing it.
And again, one of my favorite questions about this money investigation: What would I have, if I had it?
What do I really believe money gives me? What is dangerous about Not Having it?
How fascinating, the mind comes up with answers almost instantly, without question (even though I’ve “done” the work on this before).
If you have money, here’s what you get:
ability to be generous
What this means, if you don’t have money (or not enough money, in your opinion) is that you do NOT have these things, or they are threatened.
How great to have this out in the open. Because then, you can question all these concepts to see if they are in fact true!
Are you absolutely sure that if money is not present, not “yours” that you don’t have enough security, protection, health care, comfort, fun, entertainment, admiration, belonging, ability to be generous, creativity, etc, etc?
You need more of those things, or to guarantee them later on, in the future.
Is that true?
It seems like to have a happy life, I might need that list.
Although, as I answer the question (is it true?) I can’t be sure. I’m not even sure money brings you those things. (LOL, it doesn’t guarantee any of them).
I was thinking the other day I need more money (to buy a better car, to get better health care, to travel).
You need a better car, better health care, and to travel…..why is that, Grace?
Um. Because. It would be more fun, secure and easy?
Right now I am sitting in a chair feeling fine health-wise. I’m in tip top shape and don’t need to see a doctor, as far as I know. I have no reason to go. I notice also, in this moment, my car works beautifully even though to some it might be called “old” (the year 2000). It is not broken, and it’s warm, light, clean and comfortable and drives me everywhere. Today I went hiking in the woods and was reminded of the Lord of The Rings adventures. It’s like that 45 minutes from my house, in the misty land of the elves.
It’s not TRUE that I “need” more money, or to do any of the things I think more money would bring, in order to be happy at this moment.
How do I react when I believe I need more money?
I get stressed out! I think about working harder, longer hours, doing it better. I start to think what I’ve done already to earn money isn’t good enough (obviously, otherwise I’d be done thinking I need more)! I see pictures of the future of me working when I’m very old and wrinkled and almost 100 years old. No rest, ever!
So who would I be without this thought I need more money? Or without the thought I need any of the things money buys? Or that these things would bring me happiness?
I would notice how happy I am right now at this moment. How cozy and warm, how I’m sitting at a laptop computer which I bought myself.
“Has there ever been a time in your entire life when you have not had enough money, when you have not had all of your needs met?” ~ Byron Katie asking the audience
I can’t remember a time when the way it turned out, I needed more money. At least not to be safe, secure, loved, healthy, cared for, or to have fun. I had all those things, with the exact amount of money I had.
There was a time when I needed more money (I thought), and it came to me what to do that day, and the next, and I kept going. It would have been OK if I had no idea what to do, and I wound up living in my mother’s basement. Then I would have been warm, fed, and content THERE.
My suffering was in my thoughts…..not in reality, my body, my heart, other people near me, my spirit.
Without my thoughts about needing more money, I notice this present moment, and there is absolutely no problem.
Maybe you have a piece of paper with numbers on it, and writing says BILL PAST DUE.
Is it the end of the world that you can’t pay? Is it a tragedy that you’re moving out of your house? Are you lying down and starving to death because you lost your job? Does no one care about you because you don’t have x, y or z?
Are you completely safe and secure at all times because you do have a, b, and c?
Turning the thoughts around about needing more money: I need more of ME. I need more of my own sane thinking. I need LESS money.
Let’s look at these turnarounds: I need more of myself, of my own sane thinking.
Yes, right in any given moment I’m thinking I need more money, I can remember it is not required for happiness, safety, enlightenment or love. “Skip the middleman” says Katie. I can almost feel giddy by looking at whatever this thing is called “me”. This attention to “I”. The inner, mysterious feeling of being alive, being only this. Of giving attention to the thing that will last forever, beyond this body.
I need more of my own thinking. Sure….especially the depths of inquiry which appears to require a type of wonderful open-minded thinking.
Rather than needing more money, I might need more kindness, trust, acceptance, sharing and joy in this moment. I can relax. I can be. I am being, already. How astonishing to notice I do not need anything more right here and now. Love, kindness, acceptance, sharing and joy appear, if I look at how the carpet warms the room, the bookshelf shines joyfully, the empty water glass waits in service.
How exquisite to not even feel interested in more money, now that I’m in deeper contact with this moment.
How incredible to wonder, if the universe is friendly, could it be supporting me to feel truth and love in this moment here, now….without needing any more money than I actually have?
I need this amount of money. This is just right, for me. To learn to feel joy, outside of the story of “More Money”….what a powerful gift.
What an incredible, different, new, wonderful story….and maybe not so new. Maybe inspired in me by others who also questioned this story of money before me, and found a new exciting path of letting go.
Letting go into a infinite source of support.
What if what you truly want more of is already here in infinite supply? Not wishful thinking, not hopeful thinking, not religious thinking, not “right” thinking, not positive thinking.
Only infinite mysterious wild brightness.
Strange, I know. I notice this mind seems to *think* it loves answers and simple ideas, like “I need more money” to be true, so it knows what to do next and what to avoid and what might happen.
But it really has no idea.
(It’s OK that it has no idea, everything’s gonna be fine, don’t worry).
“If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never truly be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~ Tao Te Ching #44
The annual money class will begin again in early 2017. Stay tuned for the announcement of when it will run. If you’ve been waiting excitedly for this like me (it will be an 8 week class I teach annually, by donation) then hit reply and give me your favorite time of day and I’ll consider it, if it works with my schedule.
I would also love it if you shared Grace Notes with others and let them know they can sign up for free at www.workwithgrace.com.
Have you ever had the thought, while looking at your bank account statement….
….this isn’t enough?
Almost laughable to ask the question. Because it seems like everyone’s had this thought!
But when you really think about it….
….it’s a weird thought.
It’s all murky and foggy and has a never-ending feel to it and it can’t be proven true. A big blanket abstract thought. A generalized, common, broad thought. A very stressful thought that brings a lot of suffering
And a completely acceptable thought.
As in….of COURSE you should have the thought this isn’t enough.
Now, we’re talking about money, but pick your thing there isn’t enough of and follow along with this inquiry.
Love, enlightenment, wisdom, health, pleasure
Because it’s unusual to question it. We often just assume it’s true.
In the past, when I had this thought from time to time about money, I honestly had no full regard for why I had the thought, how I arrived at this thought, when I started believing this thought.
It was just a reactive experience I picked up:
I need more. Duh.
Danger Zone. More is better. Danger Zone. I’ll have to pay. Danger Zone. I’ll lose what I have. Danger Zone. The future is NOT bright.
So let’s explore. You’ll love this investigation about money, no matter how much you have, if you’ve ever wished for more and felt a little nervous…..or scared out of your mind.
First of all, when you look at that number, that pile, that quantity of money, you immediately go into what it is supposed to support and cover and get spent on, right.
You may have a general sense of the flow of money going in, going out, what the mortgage or rent bill is, what the utilities are every month, what you generally spend on groceries for your household, gas, transportation, clothing, bus fare, your annual meditation retreat, one plane ticket, a local art class, gifts, toothpaste.
But what if something terrible happens?
What if I lose my health care benefits? What if I can’t work anymore? What if someone sues me? What if someone steals it? What if I make a poor investment?
I gotta keep this, in a bucket, in a safe, under the mattress, in a special safe-deposit box with a key and about eight password codes and security guards.
What I noticed was….I did not find it very peaceful to worry about money. I did not find it peaceful to wish the quantity was bigger than it was, or that it remained at a certain number, or never got lower than “x”.
I wanted freedom.
I noticed I was not free, in that moment of thinking “this isn’t enough”, even with some money in my savings.
Well….for me, I had to lose it all first (almost all) before being willing to find freedom. You might want to inquire a little earlier. Just a suggestion.
So. You don’t have enough.
Is that true?
Yes. Oh yes. I would be so much happier with 10 times more than the amount I have, I’m sure this is true.
Wait, make that 100.
I would feel safe with more money. This isn’t quite enough. If anything happened…..
Is that really, absolutely true?
Is it absolutely true I’d be better off keeping my ginormous-mortgage house? Is it absolutely true I need to use money to go to retreats? Is it absolutely true I need money to pay for broken things, lawyers, or accidents in the future? Is it absolutely true I need extra money right now, in this moment?
A car could crash through my front living room picture window. I saw it in the movies.
Ten years ago when I sat on my worn-to-a-pulp brown faux leather 1960s couch believing I needed more money in that moment, I thought….
…..well maybe not right now, since I’m breathing and fed and comfortable….
….but it could happen. I need to be prepared.
(Don’t even THINK about buying a new couch. Remember the money!!)
Who would you be without this belief, though? Without believing in needing more, in being prepared, in working and saving up and hoarding, er, I mean storing, money, so you can relax….later?
Hold still a moment.
What if you didn’t believe there isn’t enough, or won’t be?
Oh. I’d feel….curious. Relaxed.
I’d feel joy.
I wouldn’t count the money I have, over and over.
I’d feel so grateful for the amount I have, it’s just the right amount. It prevents too much retreat-going or self-help shopping. It allows me to say “no” clearly to my kids or others.
“Yes” and “No” are both free to be spoken. It’s efficient. I love paying for what I need, and if there’s leftovers, having fun with it or saving it for fun, too. I love supporting myself in what makes life precious, and exciting, like my meditation retreat.
Turning the thought around to the opposite: this is enough.
Obviously. I’m not dead.
I’m quite able to relax. I have enough to survive, and always have.
My thinking isn’t enough, that’s what isn’t enough. I don’t have enough of “me”. I don’t have enough friendliness, love and affection for myself. I don’t have enough gentleness and trust towards the universe. I don’t have enough humor, zest, pizazz and lightness for myself, me, this, my thoughts, my future, my precious life.
Especially when it comes to money.
What if right in this very moment, it was enough? Nothing missing?
“I have learned that to be with those I like is enough”. ~ Walt Whitman
Can I like myself, and this moment?
And if I don’t…..The Work.
If you need to get by with a little help from some friends (including your own thoughts), join the October retreat in Seattle. Four days of inquiry. It’s awesome.
Last night I went to test out the gorgeous big-screen at the lodge where we’ll be watching Being With Byron Katie and moving into silence in between all sessions starting on Saturday.
The internet connection worked beautifully, and I felt thrilled to be one of the people about to enter listening-only-mode with Byron Katie as she teaches from Switzerland.
I feel so lucky.
This retreat has space for 2 more people. I operate this one at a non-profit level, which sometimes brings up a few thoughts about MONEY.
ARRGGG, will it never end?!
(You’ll see in a sec what I’m talking about, when it comes to the “arrggg” part around money).
What the non-profit deal means, is everyone attending pays the small rate of $165 for attending one, two, three or all four days with Katie. If you have to leave, or miss any days, then included in your registration is free access to the recordings through August 31st.
Everyone who attends gets to sign up for viewing time, on their own, from their own home, using my log-in. It takes some scheduling prowess because we can only have one person logged in at a time, but we have full permission and an awesome scheduler. It worked fabulously last year.
So back to the money part I mentioned.
As in non-profit.
Now, as of today, I am sooooooo OK with this retreat with the money part.
Because I am not losing money, so reality is going my way (ha ha).
All my expenses have now been reimbursed. I’ve put many hours into arranging it, planning it, organizing people, answering questions….and not put any financial expectation on the working hours required to pull the event together. As in, no money expected for the organizing of this retreat.
However, when I put the payment down on the lodge I rent for retreats here in Seattle, for 5 nights, it felt like a pretty major kaplunk of moolah. Almost $2000 for the lodge rental alone.
There’s a streaming fee of course ($250). Then there are Judge Your Neighbor worksheet copies, a white board and pens, post-it notes, and other small expenses. A few internet fees. Some posting fees for the event announcements.
Even though I know by now, events happen, people show up, it always works out (especially when I have The Work)….
….it’s still scary for that part of me that cares so much about money and prefers more coming in than going out.
Ugh. So much thinking, worrying, wondering about money.
These thoughts move like a stuck tape loop. Needing more money, losing money, not having enough money.
(Will these kinds of thoughts never end during my lifetime?)
How they show up this time, in this situation around this event, are like an old set of flies buzzing around, softening sometimes, rising up again.
They sound like this:
If I charged more, I’d at least pay myself back for all the work. This isn’t fruitful to offer this as a volunteer project. Just because I’m not teaching, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t make money for my time involved. Oh no….if this keeps up, I’ll lose money on this retreat! I am NOT doing this next year. No one understands how awesome this is. People shouldn’t write me to ask for scholarships. I should have more confidence about this retreat. People don’t understand how cool this event is or how insanely cheap compared to live events with Byron Katie. Maybe its so cheap it reduces the awareness of the value. No one realizes they can watch what they miss after the event, without extra cost. I’ve done all this work for nothing. It’s too much work. See #1, loop back. Repeat.
Over and over again, the same kinds of thoughts.
Why not take a look, see what’s left of these annoying beliefs?
More money should come in. I should be paid for effort (I’m somehow NOT being paid).
Is this true?
Yes. Yes. It really would be better to feel compensated for everything. It would be better to earn something, have money coming in. Not breaking even. Breaking even is not good enough!
Are you absolutely sure?
No. No idea. Ha ha.
I look around and notice, I’m absolutely fine. Thriving, enjoying myself, enough to eat, place to live, good business, people coming and excited for this amazing retreat.
How do I react when I think I should have some kind of pay back? That the money isn’t “worth” it, not enough, too low?
Bad attitude. Treating money like I know better, bossing it around.
Nervous. Thinking about NEXT YEAR of all things, when this soon-to-be event hasn’t even happened yet THIS year.
Wildly flailing in the future. Thinking about my bank account. So concerned with enough-ness and deciding this isn’t it.
So who would I be without this belief, though? What if I had no idea, no argument with what is, when it comes to money?
You mean….money can do whatever it does, and I don’t mind? Like, I don’t even KNOW it’s doing something uncomfortable, or not good enough?
I guess I would be noticing how excited I am for this retreat, to spend 4 days listening, instead of talking or teaching or facilitating or expected to lead one single session.
Noticing how relaxed I am right now, in the beautiful summer weather. Breathing deeply. Feeling the amount of money I have and thinking “enough”. Stopping the comparison, pushing, wondering, wishing, wanting….altogether.
No wanting something different.
An amazing relaxed, curious, sweet feeling of being with this present moment. Noticing how fun money is, and it’s enough the way it is. Like this moment.
Turning the thoughts around….
No charging more is required. I am already paid back for my work with joy, connection with others. Plus all the money I’ve spent is reimbursed. This IS fruitful as a volunteer project. Because I’m not teaching, it’s OK to not make money. Oh no….if this keeps up, I’ll gain sanity on this retreat! I have no idea about next year, I’m open to it. All the right and perfect people understand how awesome this is. Maybe I’m the one who doesn’t. People should write me to ask for scholarships, it’s wonderful and gives me ideas for doing this in the future. I already have great confidence about this retreat, and I’m feeling more. I could make a scholarship fund for this event. People totally understand how cool this event is and how cheap compared to live events with Byron Katie. I have reduced my own awareness of the value here by being concerned with money. People realize just what they need to realize, and so do I. I’ve done all this work for so much. I am rewarded with love, insights from Katie. I’ll get to enjoy the retreat. It is NOT too much work. For all I know, I’ll become aware of an incredible realization in these four days ahead.
How could the money be doing exactly the right thing, in the right amount, for me….for others….for Seattle….for the world?
This could be the most perfect, brilliant, lovely four days for me, and I don’t have to buy any plane tickets or spend anything more than I have, or go to Europe to see Byron Katie in person. I get to be with all these amazing people coming to attend to their minds….with a passionate interest in freedom.
I get to hear one of the world’s gifted teachers of peace, and hardly have to leave my own home.
Wow. Such a deal.
“I’ve never seen a work or money problem that didn’t turn out to be a thinking problem. I used to believe that I needed money to be happy. Even when I had a lot, I was often sick with the fear that something terrible would happen and I would lose it. I realize now that no amount of money is worth that kind of stress.” ~ Byron Katie
No LACK of money is worth that kind of stress either.
I notice right now, in this moment, I’d rather be free than right about money, profit, income, being paid, being compensated.
How do I know I shouldn’t be making MORE in this event?
P.S. It’s been a few years, but I created a full webinar on money, and questioning what I call a “Belief Cluster” of thoughts about money we commonly believe, all of which bring terrible stress. If you’d like to watch it, click here.
I got the amazing privilege of volunteering for the Help Line for The Work this past month for about five hours. (I know my schedule has been erratic with the Help Line, I’ll be back though).
Guess what the most common stressful belief centered around, from all the amazing people I got to sit with in self-inquiry?
Here were some of the situations and very stressful beliefs I heard:
my renter shouldn’t be late with the rent
the person sub-letting for the summer just cancelled last minute
he didn’t repay the loan fast enough
I can’t afford to do the program I want to do
my parents just said they can’t support me anymore
I can’t pay my bills
I’ve had each and every one of these thoughts.
Something’s happening with money, and it means….
My survival is threatened. My security is at risk. Change might be coming along, and it isn’t safe.
Let’s look, though. It’s so powerful to pause and see what’s really true.
Are you absolutely sure this money situation is a threat? Are you going to die? Are you positive you might not be safe….or you already aren’t safe?
Do you really need more money?
Are you sure you’d be happy if you suddenly won the lottery, or had a “windfall” on a project you’re working on?
(The word “windfall” refers to trees blowing down in the wind making the fruit available, or the wood available, to anyone walking by. Literally, it’s unexpectedly acquired resources, or money, blown in by nature.)
Do you need more money?
In my mind, I still can answer “yes”.
It seems like it would be super crazy fun to have more money. I could get started on fixing my house, I could pay off my mortgage, I could buy my daughter new clothes for college, I could support my husband who’s about to lose his current job in 2 weeks, I could save some money for my retirement.
There’s so much more. I could do ALL those things! I would be happier if I could do ALL those things!
Oh. Well, I’m not sure. Maybe not.
I have no idea if I’d actually be truly happy just because I could DO things, or accomplish things, or create physical things, or acquire things.
In fact, I’m pretty sure they are NOT tied together….doing these things, getting these things….and happiness.
How do you react when you think you need more money, or tons of money would make you happy?
I focus on it all the time and have no fun.
Relationships are the same way sometimes. If you have no partner, and you believe having one would make you happy….you focus on finding the “right soul mate person” all the time, and find single-ness no fun.
Or what about spiritual enlightenment and seeking the “Truth”? I grab and listen and read and consume spiritual teachings and retreats and workshops and knowledge….focusing on finding “it”, and finding my present state of mind not all that fun.
But who would you be without this story that having that thing (money, person, success, enlightenment, windfall, etc) would bring you happiness?
It makes me laugh out loud suddenly.
Without the thought, I’d be noticing the room I’m in, the environment surrounding me. I’d sense the present moment more, feeling whatever’s here, and noticing….this is important….noticing I’m quite alright. I’m not starving, I’m not dying, I’m not cold, I have a place to sleep.
Turning it around: Nothing is threatening me. What if there are great things about losing it all, not having possessions, not striving to “get” stuff or “understand” stuff or “acquire” a partner or dollars or enlightenment?
Could it be my thinking is threatening me? I need more of me (not money). I need more peace, love, resting, enjoying my own company, enjoying this adventure.
Money needs more of me. Could this also be true? It’s waiting for me to come forward, to be intimate with it, to share myself and appreciate it and me, equally.
What I notice about Money is, it’s not attached to where it goes. It travels here, there, parting, uniting, leaving, staying, going, coming back. Nice to know my worth does not depend on its whereabouts.
That would be crazy.
“When you’re empty, there’s space for revelation, for spontaneity, for intuitiveness. Everything’s fresh. Get ready for that.” ~ Mooji
As I’ve heard Byron Katie ask others doing The Work with her….
….Your highest spiritual path, your greatest freedom, would be if you got what YOU think you want and need. Your greatest freedom would be if you got more money, or that person did it the way you want, or you achieved that status….
Because so many people have seen me in my coach Selena’s films as a successful student, I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from many awesome people (including my mom) about how inspiring my story is.
Night before last, I went to my good friend Mary’s dance in Seattle.
When I entered the dark beautiful dance space always lit with twinkly lights, she pulled me aside and whispered “OMG! I watched your video of your interview with Selena Soo. Wow. You’ve come so far, it’s just amazing. I remember when you almost lost your house….and by the way, you should write a Grace Note blog on that. I want to read it.”
When someone tells me to write about something, I do it.
So, although I’ve mentioned bits and pieces of the time I almost lost my home and most of what I owned….I remembered it vividly last night.
I was failing terribly. When it comes to money.
As in….back then I was so broke I couldn’t jump over a nickel to save a dime (as my Texas grandma might say).
My financial failure was one of the worst experiences of my life.
And yet, as I say this, I know the brilliant and simple question….is that true?
Oh. Right. Not really.
The story felt awful, kept me up at night, filled me with fretting. I tried to plan and count money, watched my bank account diminish day by day. It seemed like the worst that could happen.
It went something like this:
Divorce, need to get a job, economy crash, twenty job interviews, sweating bullets, picking up a Starbucks application, awake every night at 3:30 am, borrow several thousand from a very kind family member (ashamed to ask for it, desperate), still no job, better sell house (sob), wringing hands during open houses, getting offers so low they wouldn’t pay off my mortgage anyway, sell most of what I have of value (furniture, dishes, jewelry, clothes), my kids go on reduced lunch at school, I’m eligible for food stamps but I refuse to apply, crying at night looking around my little cottage knowing the mortgage was due–again–and not having the funds.
Constant nervous energy. I learn about a dance in Seattle called Ecstatic Dance. You don’t have to talk to anyone. Good. Dance. Keep moving. I can’t afford to pay the $10, but I can trade cleaning for attending the dance.
I meet a lovely man at dance. I begin to make some new friends. No one knows how broke I am. I’m doing The Work at home on money. I’m realizing that moving into my mom’s basement might not be as bad as I think. More job interviews. One interview I get a call-back. I get interviewed a third time. Maybe I have this job….
….heart sinks a thousand miles into the earth when I learn “nope, we picked the other candidate.”
I have $10.16 left in my bank account, I am in deep debt having paid for groceries with my credit card, no one bought my house, my mortgage is due in a week. It’s my birthday in two.
The lovely man I met who I am seeing often now, the only person who knows my true situation besides my family, writes a letter to everyone in my email address book (I think it’s for my birthday when he asks).
I’m questioning my thoughts and finding maybe, just maybe, I can walk away from this home and foreclose on it, and survive the blow–although it might be hard, and a long climb out. I feel the support of the couch I still own underneath me. I feel the unknowingness of the future, the strangeness of loss, the deep sadness of having no place of my own to live.
I feel the turnaround “I have enough” even if I lose everything. Not having money does not equal death. I think of the house I grew up in, no longer in the family. I think of the house I owned with my former husband at Greenlake. I think of our big Lake Forest Park home we also used to have.
Gone, gone, and gone. I can lose this one too, and survive.
I go to dance, barely enough gas in my car to get there. The due date of my mortgage just passed. I’m a day late for the first time. Foreclosure will begin after 3 late payments.
I dance with huge energy, with abandon, nothing left to lose. I dance the turnarounds to my beliefs “I need more money” and “I am a failure” and “I am not capable of working or earning a living” and “it will be shameful to live with my mother in my forties with my two kids” and “no one wants to hire me”.
I dance my turnarounds: I do NOT need more money, I am a success, I am capable of working and earning a living, it will be wonderful to live with my mother and my kids, everyone wants to hire me.
I dance nothing being true. I dance not knowing anything.
At the end of the dance, my friend Mary says…”as usual, we’re honoring birthdays tonight….and we have a special one. Grace, could you come to the center of the circle?”
I shyly walk into the center of the huge circle of dancers all holding hands. My new boyfriend steps forward, with my friend Mary, and they hand me an envelope. It’s thick, and open at the top because it can’t be closed, too puffed full.
I look inside, the room dark, aware of all eyes on me.
My eyes tear up and I hold back a choked up sob, and look up, feeling stunned, barely able to say “thank you, thank you.”
Later undoing the envelope, there are checks and bills of all amounts, and my sweetheart shows me paypal donations from friends and family I haven’t seen in years, who have all donated to a birthday bucket. For me.
I have enough to call the mortgage company the next day and say I am sending the mortgage payment, can you please withdraw the late fee? They say yes.
The day after that, I get a call from the company where I had three interviews and they tell me they’ve created a part time job and I’ve got the position, if I want it.
A few days after that, someone calls me to ask if she could hire me to facilitate her in The Work of Byron Katie–my first ever client.
What did I do for any of this?
As I look back now….all I can see is….nothing.
Nothing but question my thoughts. And tell the truth. And share with others. And not be so dreadfully serious, about money.
Later on, as I got excited about business, and needing a website, and creating curriculum, and learning technology, and working with more people, and sharing and earning and being of service, I started taking classes in things I wanted to learn about. I had the money to pay for them, so I signed up. As I learned more, I kept doing The Work.
Last year, I joined a coaching group with Selena. I was such a serious student, doing everything she mentioned without hesitation (OK, there was hesitation, and I did The Work). I loved her course because it was built for shy people, like me….and for those who wanted to grow but not be weird or gross about it.
And because of what happened, Selena interviewed me, so now I’m on the internet as one of her student examples of “success”.
I’ve repaid every last penny of debt, except for my mortgage–which has never, ever been late (just between us, we know that’s not actually true, but the late fee was removed and no record of that fateful day in January 2009 was kept, as far as I know).
I guess losing my house entirely was not required, because that’s not what happened (my adorable cottage where many retreats have been held). I guess I’ve always needed exactly the amount of money I’ve had, not any more, or any less. I guess I didn’t need to move into my mother’s basement (we have a very loving, kind relationship now). I guess I didn’t need to even work hard or earn every penny. I guess I really don’t know much about anything and what it’s happening for.
And you know what?
My financial failure was one of the best experiences of my entire life.
The turnaround is TRUER.
I would have never, ever seen the magnificent generosity of humans when asked to help out. I would have never learned of the kindness of my own mother, my sisters, my extended family. I would have never learned of the unconditional acceptance of my boyfriend who became my husband. I would have never learned to love learning and growing so much, and to love the wild nature of having a business. I would have never learned to hold still and notice if money was really required for happiness. I would have never become so clear.
I would have never done so much that terrified me….and have it turn out fabulous.
“The Master view the parts with compassion, because he understands the whole. His constant practice is humility. He doesn’t glitter like a jewel but lets himself be shaped by the Tao, as rugged and common as a stone. ” ~ Tao Te Ching #40
Much love, Grace
P.S. Selena offered a teaching webinar earlier this week for self-employed folks. It is available for replay today only. In it are some great ideas, you might love it to assist your work if you’re an artist, coach, counselor, holistic sort. Literally, Selena will be taking her webinar down and starting her next group of Get Known Get Clients very soon (which I do recommend also).
A woman I greatly admire is the late Debbie Ford, author of many books, and so passionate about opening herself up to an expanding life. The first book I read by her was Spiritual Divorce.
I read it because I was going through one.
Reading that book, and doing The Work, changed everything for me about what I was experiencing.
I could see myself in her.
She had gone through divorce. She had come out even better. She had not only made it through, but transformed into a new person.
Two big reasons why Spiritual Divorce saved my sanity stood out.
First, to call divorce “spiritual” was a fantastic turnaround. I was only a baby in The Work and had experienced so much inner suffering around loss, fear, and transitions like divorce….it was inspiring to read of someone else putting on a new pair of glasses about something I thought of as terrible, like divorce.
Second, Debbie suggested when I judge someone, or even have a quick immediate response that feels uncomfortable, I’m probably seeing something inside of me I’d rather not see.
In other words….I’m projecting.
When I meet or think of someone and I think “ewwww, gross” or “that’s disgusting” or “he is awful, selfish, uncaring” or “she is rude, passive, needy”….
….I could be rejecting something Debbie called the “shadow side” of myself. I’m looking at that other person and seeing with judgment and rejection and alarm.
My mind is saying “Never Be Like That!” as I look at this other troubling person.
Byron Katie would call your awareness of this projection aturnaround. What I dislike in you, I dislike in me.
Well….I have another area of life where in the past I felt lost, depressed, inadequate and like a failure.
Making a living.
Why didn’t I go to medical school? Why did I have to be such a nervous wreck once I hit my twenties and young adult-hood? Why couldn’t I work at a good company and stay there? And what about me running my own business now….can I even make it on my own?
One thing that’s been incredible, is to notice who I think of as successful, who I feel has made it, who is earning a good living, who has a respectful career, who’s doing “well”….
….and inquire into what’s really true.
What do I think they have, that I don’t?
Believe me. This was several (cough…tons) of worksheets.
Thoughts constantly surfaced as I offered my services whenever I was not directly working with people (working with people I felt good, clear and like I was following my calling). Doing all the promotional stuff, sharing my wares, spreading the word, doing speaking engagements. Yuck!
Thoughts like “I can’t talk to those people”, “I don’t have what it takes”, “they’re better than me”, “they know more”, “I’m a dork when it comes to business”, “people won’t like me”.
And if someone suggested to me I do something like share yourself honestly or talk about money openly, I thought “I can’t, I won’t, that’s embarrassing!”
Well….I’m still not entirely comfortable with the whole business, earning, money, work ethic, success story, to be honest, but I just had to share with you today that I have another mentor/coach who I’ve also learned some valuable things from, just like Debbie.
I mentioned her last weekend….Selena Soo. But here’s why I’m speaking of her again. She interviewed me after I worked with her for a year, and I just got the link.
(You can watch by clicking HERE even though the shy introverted part of me can hardly believe I’m sharing this publicly. My first professional on-camera interview, I was very honored).
This is really, truly a miraculous thing. That I would be interviewed because of my business success. Woah.
A couple of years ago, when I connected and started working with Selena, I actually began to become one of those people I always admired when it came to this definition of “success”. One of the reasons why was because Selena said she was introverted, too, and I could see it was true AND see that she was succeeding and helping people. The gap wasn’t so wide between me and her.
I could see myself in her.
Money was important and valuable, but Serving Others was what was most important about having a business or doing work in the world.
As you know, when we do The Work and question our thoughts, the place we immediately go is to our stressful beliefs. The ones we’re thinking when we feel unhappy, when we feel dread, sadness, anger or suffering.
But what I discovered along the way, especially in the business world, was that when I admired and saw someone successful and rockin’ it, it was almost always just as difficult as seeing someone as bad, wrong or unacceptable.
I know this sounds weird, but my view of myself was sometimes diminished when I saw someone as brilliant, fantastic, genius, “arrived”. They are. I’m not.
Whooo Boy. It was such a weird awakening to realize thatcomparison, even to someone I admire, was stressful.
I’ll never forget going to a huge conference for business owners, before I worked with Selena (I met her there), and being surrounded by some people who said they made $1,000,000 per month in their businesses.
There were huge fancy dinners and super loud music and people hootin’ and hollerin’ and clapping, people drinking and giving high-fives and laughing and spending. And I was staying “secretly” down the road at a Motel 6.
I was NOT COMFORTABLE.
Classes and programs, coaching and groups are certainly not for everyone, and no one has to sign up for anything. I say this when people are disappointed they can’t go to The School for The Work.
But one way I’ve loved living my turnarounds is to joyfully learn from whoever I can about anything I love and just be the one who is a total beginner, with an open mind, capable of getting something new and different. I’ve loved being in so many amazing programs of education, including ones about business and money, sharing, giving, receiving, paying, charging, marketing, writing, speaking.
Today I’m passing along the encouragement, if this business is something you’d like training in, to sign up for Selena’s webinar this next week or watch my video interview above. The reason I’m sending it now is because she’s getting ready to run her group program again, the same one I took, called Get Known Get Clients. If you’re interested, you can register for her webinar (completely free) here.
And when I did The Work on that big fancy high-flying-numbers business conference I had a profound insight.
It was a very difficult experience, very intense emotionally…..
…..but I found within myself a best friend (moi) and a friendliness to the wealthy, creative, innovative, successful people of the business world who I had always judged so harshly.
I discovered I was keeping my awesomeness from THEM. I was being selfish and greedy, and creating separation with my very thinking.
Most of all, I was disconnecting from myself, being so sure I didn’t belong in their club.
“I know now when I walk in a room that everyone loves me. They just don’t realize it yet.” ~ Byron Katie
Can you imagine feeling this way 24/7? That you’re the cutest thing ever, and you’ll never leave your side, and you adore being you?
What I know to do is when I don’t…..The Work.
Much love, Grace
P.S. Breitenbush has 7 spots before we’re full and it is such a fabulous time in a gorgeous pristine forest with a tradition of hosting brilliant and wonderful people like Ram Dass. I’d adore you joining me, whether you’re wanting to work on money, success, career, neighbor, mom, dad, sibling, child, body, addiction. We dig down into our stories, the ones that when we believe them, we suffer. Doing The Work together is, quite honestly (for me and for many), nothing like doing The Work on your own. Hit reply if you have questions, about anything Breitenbush. June 22 evening through Sunday June 26 lunch.
I almost never talk about business-y things. As in, the help I’ve gotten to grow my own private practice.
I knew absolutely nothing about growing a business, getting clients, sharing my message, marketing. I really hated the concept of “selling” and had to find another more natural way, even after doing The Work and questioning my very stressful beliefs many times on money, income, marketing, business tech, posting, offering programs, teaching retreats, having enough clients.
I soooo wanted, with the deepest integrity, to be someone who offered services based on attraction rather than promotion (just like the approach of 12 Step programs). But even if you operate this way, with attraction as your stand, you must share with other people!
For an introverted person like me, who is content to be quiet all day long, I had a little inner work to do.
So for this weekend Grace Note….I wanted to share something I usually don’t, in case you’re interested in learning and growing in the area of business.
One of my mentors. Introducing….Selena Soo.
I’ve been working with Selena behind the scenes and she’s helped me to grow my business in a big beautiful way. And I believe she’s one of the best at what she does.
Selena’s giving away some really good material that shares the strategies, and steps she’s been teaching me.
I know I don’t normally talk about business resources, but if this is something you’re interested in learning about, here’s a link to a free report about how Selena went from $0 to $157,000 in her first year as a coach. This was definitely NOT my experience when I first opened my business and began working with people. I think I made about $1000 my first year (fortunately, I had a regular job at the same time, so I wouldn’t starve to death).
Like I said, I had a lot to learn.
Not only does Selena have the report she’s offering, she also has a video training on how she became friends with influential people, VIPs, and big deal entrepreneurs. One of the things I love the most about her style is that she describes herself as quite introverted….which is certainly me, too.
But if you’re running a business or growing a private practice, by it’s very nature you must share with others openly, connect with people, speak of your work and enjoy it when others also share your work with people they know.
I’ve learned to do this through Selena’s encouragement, and to find my own way with sharing, extroversion, and what this world calls marketing and promoting and quite simply, expanding your reach and your message and service in the world.
If you want to sign up for either Selena’s free report, or her video training, then click here and enjoy. These are offered for no fee.
“You are forgiven for your happiness and your successes only if you generously consent to share them.” ~ Albert Camus
“Ubuntu is very difficult to render into a Western language. It speaks of the very essence of being human. When we want to give high praise to someone we say, “Yu, u nobuntu” or “Hey, so-and-so has ubuntu.” Then you are generous, you are hospitable, you are friendly and caring and compassionate. You share what you have. It is to say, “My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours.” We belong in a bundle of life. We say, “A person is a person through other persons.” It is not, “I think therefore I am.” It says rather: “I am human because I belong. I participate, I share.” ~ Desmond Tutu
P.S. TODAY in Seattle 2-4 pm: MEETUP in person at Goldilocks Cottage. Bring your thoughts about money, work, eating, people in your life who disturb you, your stresses about life. Beginners to experienced in The Work of Byron Katie all welcome.
Meetups are drop-in groups I offer monthly to share The Work. I just began offering an ONLINE meetup on the first Tuesday of the month at 7:45 AM Pacific Time, too. To get notices about all meetups, including the online monthly meetup, click HERE. Let’s do The Work!
As someone who has a private practice, it’s weird how often I notice thoughts about Employment vs My Own Business.
The other day, one of my clients who has been working with me for a very long time, wanted to dig deeper into her thoughts about work and jobs and career.
She was at a crossroads, had been sitting there for awhile, and through the work we had done together she was wondering if she should go left, or right.
She needed to take action.
(She needed some money–although we had done quite a bit of work on that over time and she was fairly relaxed about money overall, and had a good chunk of it in the bank).
But “doing” something was calling to her.
I had her make a list about her beliefs about getting a new job, or starting her own business (she saw the choice between the two as a key dilemma, or decision).
I’ve done this work myself.
I decided to do it again, after my day was over and this client kept popping in my head.
Here are the stressful concepts I myself found when it comes to the two ways to make a living and earn money, which have been my primary options in life (so far):
Being Employed (Job):
Having Your Own Business:
Hustling to fill retreats
Doing tedious or pointless tasks
Difficult (or irritating) clients
Must be onsite/at work
DIY (Do It Yourself or Hire It)
Five days a week
Working all hours, any time
People wanting it for free
As I sat down to make comparisons, I could see how fast the mind would like to see what’s good about that other position over there, and bad about this one.
Or….what’s good about this position here, and bad about that one over there. (I love how this comparison drops in quickly when hearing about another person’s difficult plight, or remember BAD scenarios from the past).
Every single item on each list is worthy of questioning and clearing the mind, with The Work.
But the other day, when I wrote out this list, I had an almost-aggressive feeling about the pointless, tedious tasks I used to have to perform at my previous job, as I remembered it.
Data collecting, and putting the data into an excel spreadsheet.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I loved having the data–it was quite fascinating, and I loved making the charts and looking at comparisons and sort of the big picture, and sharing them with the leaders involved who cared about these results….
….but I HATED that I had to do the data entry.
SUCH A DRAG! NEVER AGAIN! (Grrrr, RESIST).
Can’t someone else do this? It’s so stupid. And boring. A waste of my time.
I hate when you have a job, you’re an employee, and you have to do stuff you hate!
This is so close to the work my client did….let’s question it!
You may have had the same thought as well, about anything in life you dreaded doing, thought it was boring, thought it was repetitive, dull, annoying, even overwhelming…..
….but you HAD TO DO IT.
Is that true?
Yes. It’s in the job description. I could get fired if I don’t…..
Are you sure?
No. I’ve never told anyone how much I hate doing it. Not one single person at this company. Including my boss.
How do you react when you think “I HAVE to do this task!”
I put it off. I wait until the last minute possible. I try to think of rewards, or motivation, or what I’ll do when I’m done. I do it, and bear it rather than enjoy one ounce of it. I feel tense, and tired. I look at my co-workers and see what they’re doing, and notice it’s better (or worse).
I think about quitting. Inside my head, I actually say “when I quit, I will feel sooooooo good….” and dream of the day, in the future.
But who would I be right now, without the belief “I HAVE to do this task”?
What if you couldn’t think about how you’re forced to do it, or it’s required, or it’s necessary, or fundamental to success, or that you better do it, or else (big disastrous picture)?
Without this thought of being so against this task, what my client noticed was she might ask for help, ask others if they’d be willing to do it, work with a partner, find support, or even ask other people what they suggest about how to do this task stress-free!
As my client did The Work, I realized *ping* how I never, ever asked my boss if there were any alternatives to me doing the data entry.
I always went to all our meetings, especially our annual review meetings (the ones all about me and my performance) with anxiety, with a sense of wanting to be extremely pleasing, dreading any criticism.
I was so on the defense from receiving criticism and trying to be perfect, that I didn’t ask for support or talk about what I didn’t like, or even consider what I’d like to do more.
Turning the thought around:
You do not HAVE to do that task.
Could that be just as true, or truer?
Yes, for me in my situation, I didn’t “have” to do it. No one was holding a gun to my head. I wanted to keep my job. I wanted to get praised. I wanted to be thought of as the one who did it right, and did it well, and didn’t make requests.
I kept doing it! This job was many years ago, and it only occurred to me during this client’s recent inquiry that I never explored one other option, not once, than Doing It.
Who believed they HAD to do it?
That was me.
Kind of coo-coo bird, how much I blamed the job. But I didn’t know, until now, to question that thought and stop being such a victim. Must be perfect timing…now.
“An unquestioned mind is the world of suffering.” ~ Byron Katie
The other day I got a quick chat message on skype….
….”Hey, you got time to do The Work for a sec?”
It was from someone I didn’t know or recognize.
Just like when I first started out in my business, I paused a moment to double-check if I missed anything in the short communication.
Pretty short and sweet.
My thoughts start wondering, though.
Do they know what doing The Work is?
(It seems like not).
Do they know what “for a sec” means, or looks like?
It sounds super casual and friendly, like something someone might say who wants immediate attention, and probably is not looking to set up a session for hire, which is what I do for a living.
It’s a funny business I’m in, I sometimes muse.
That question for me would be the very same as asking a therapist….
….Hey, have you got a sec for me to run a few psychological issues by you and I can get your opinion….real quick? And I don’t want an actual therapy session or anything.
As always, so I don’t assume, I wrote back and asked….did you want to make an appointment? I gave my normal fee amount ($125), and just between you and me, I am an incredibly flexible person when it comes to payment if you truly need my time and energy and attention and you are honoring and respecting this, but you genuinely don’t have the normal fee.
(I’ve been told, too flexible–lesson learned).
Sure enough, this person wrote back: Oh wow! I didn’t know you charged for facilitating! Nevermind.
This is hilarious!
But the part I love about it is, it wasn’t the first person to ever do this.
Some people appear to think I’m simply open for calls, volunteering my time (which I do on the Helpline for The Work, two hours a month) or that I can call them back to have long conversations about how to do The Work.
This is a truly brilliant situation for me for finding small, slightly stressful or irritable thoughts about money and business and making a living and charging or asking for fees.
It will bring out all your true thoughts about money, and your possible love-hate relationship with it.
Uh, that would be MY love-hate relationship with it.
And this is perfect, right now, because I’m in the middle of running the eight week money course I love to teach (I love to learn)!
He shouldn’t assume I work for free or that I’m here only for volunteer service
She shouldn’t always show up late and go over time in our sessions and pay her bill late
Does he think I have no appointment calendar?
What does she think I do all day?
They don’t think my time is precious!
They don’t respect the huge investment made in training in The Work and human behavior (my master’s degree)
Ha ha, I’m laughing already, but let’s take a look.
You might be able to find this, even if you don’t charge money for anything. Maybe you feel this way about what you’re paid at your job and the raise you didn’t get, or what someone offered you once when you sold your car.
I’m not respected! Or there is something seriously OFF about them!
Is this story true?
I mean….what are they thinking? How could they assume this?
But can you absolutely know this is true?
No. I really can’t know.
How do you react when you believe they are either insulting you, or they are missing a card in the deck if you know what I mean?
Wow….I start wondering if there’s some kind of vibe I put off that says “will work for anything” like I’m holding a piece of cardboard next to the freeway.
I start thinking I’m too nice….like my 8th grade teacher said. I don’t stick up for myself. I give off “kick me” or “I don’t matter” energy. I’m not good at boundaries. I don’t say “no” well.
I’m a loser. I’m bad with money. This proves it.
I treat that other person like they must be also a loser with money.
They don’t respect an independent professional, or someone running a small business, or the time and commitment of other people (OK, of me).
It’s very stressful. It’s embarrassing. I feel childish, on top of it all.
So who would I be without this story of being used, or disrespected, or that someone’s asking too much for too little in exchange?
Who would I be without my story as I read the incoming simple question?
How would I feel? What would I say? What would I do?
I’d do exactly the same thing I already did….
….write a simple email back….
….without all the horrible dark thoughts of angst, self-criticism, attack, upset, disappointment, discouragement, or heavy meaning.
The moment would be soooo efficient, it would be mind-blowingly simple.
Did you want to set up a session? No.
My niceness, kindness, care, attention doesn’t have to have anything to do with the money exchanging hands.
What’s true is, I charge for my time. I have a business. Apparently, I need to earn money in order to be able to buy food and pay for my house, clothing, transportation.
Seriously, I don’t have other money available for my basic expenses.
In the world of infinite possibilities of what we can do, this is the one I finally have done more than any other profession or job….and I’m not sure “I” went with it, by the way….but it’s the thing I do and I trade this beautiful experience for money.
And yes, I do it for free sometimes, but this would be impossible without careful consideration and blocking aside my volunteer time in a truly caring and respectful way for my own schedule.
I turn the thoughts around….and while I’ve done this work before, I’m realizing something in this moment as I turn them all around to myself. Again.
I shouldn’t assume I work for free or that I’m here only for volunteer service (ouch, yes).
I shouldn’t always speak up late (about showing up late) and go over time in our sessions (without being clear) and NOT ask why the bill isn’t paid?
Do I think I have no appointment calendar?
What do I think I do all day?
I don’t think my time is precious!
I don’t respect the huge investment I’ve made in training in The Work and human behavior (my master’s degree)
These are all true.
I act passively, and don’t speak up for what I want and need, and then call myself a loser for caring about money, or not asking for money, or being unclear about money.
I think I’m supposed to be Mother Teresa and never keep a penny for myself, and yet, I’m a human with needs that cost money.
I notice….these people who ask if I’ll help them, for free, are an echo of my past beliefs coming forward to be seen again, and faced.
Yes, I am still clearly uncomfortable talking about money, asking for money, charging money, running a business, hiring an employee, paying taxes, paying bills, sending bills, caring about money.
I do care about money.
I want to care about money, not ignore it and treat it like it’s nothing and of no use, or something dirty that I still happen to need, like a toilet.
But who would I be without the thought I have to get this all perfectly cleared up, squared away, that I have to be awesome and happy and charitable at all times, that I have to avoid looking selfish and greedy, that I have to be carefree, content, giving, saintly, generous and say “yes” to anyone who asks and never ask about money?
I’d be respecting money itself….which I haven’t. Not in my own mind. Not in my actions.
I turn the thoughts around again, but this time….to money.
I shouldn’t assume money works for free or that it’s here only for service (for me)
I shouldn’t always show up late for money (yep, started earning it in my forties) and give it away in our sessions (by going over time) and being so uncaring about it coming late
Do I think money has no appointment calendar? It’s just supposed to show up when I ask?
What do I think money does all day? Nothing?
I don’t think money is precious
I don’t respect the money investment I made (especially when I don’t charge reasonable fees, or ask for payment, or respect my accounting)
REALLY? (says money to me, do you care at all about me?)
“Why is money trouble? A better question to ask is: What happens to us when we are in its presence?…Money itself provides the occasion for finding this kind of deep ambivalence in the self, and money is one place where the soul’s work must be done.” ~ Stephen Jenkinson in Money and The Soul’s Desires, A Meditation
As I inquire today, I whisper thank you to money today. I bow to it’s power to bring out my own ambivalence about myself, about life, about love, service, right, wrong, reality.
I am here for soul’s work.
Turns out….money is involved.
It has a place in All This.
Just like inquiring about people I feel uncomfortable with….let’s make friends with money, too.
Much love, Grace
Abundance, Desire and The Work Weekend Retreat: If you have trouble with money, a relationship, a dream you’ve never achieved….this is the place to allow the disappointment to surface, to be felt, to see your stressful thoughts, to inquire, to find out what’s really true for you. Let’s find freedom. Question your thinking, change….your whole world.
I notice is everyone signed up so far has already done a retreat with me in the past.
Which is awesome of course….I love each and every person I get to spend time with and when they return to dive into more of their own work, it’s such an honor to witness.
But if you don’t know me particularly, or even if you DO….
….you might be wondering….
….what is Grace talking about with this Abundance and Desire topic?
The sub-title of the retreat is: Doing The Work on What Keeps Us From What We Really Want–Reality, Now!
But aren’t abundance and desire fun?
Of course they are!
I saw within myself such disappointment, discouragement, unworthiness, sadness and suffering when I didn’t get what I secretly wanted.
I wanted to understand the feeling of being, acting, moving, living and seeing what would happen if I wasn’t motivated by the future, but instead by the present.
We all have visions of what we desire.
Our dreams, goals, wishes, longings.
If only it were like THAT….I would be happy.
OK, maybe I can’t realistically know I’d be happy. But I’m absolutely positive I’d be happier.
How could I not be just a little bit happier if I got that thing I’m dreaming of?
I mean, this is a no-brainer, right?
I dream of more money, I dream of the beautiful soul mate, I dream of being in relationship with “x”, I dream of being addiction-free, I dream of being enlightened, I dream of adventure, joy, bliss, peace, self-realization, adventure, seeing the world, health, happiness.
Maybe I don’t know what it’s really like until I get there, but heck I really, really, really am positive it’s going to be good.
It’s got to be better than this.
Right now I happen to be in the middle of the Money telecourse I teach once or twice a year. The participants are truly amazing at seeing clearly how much they want more money, how sure that money represents safety, ease, independence, power or freedom.
I get it.
I feel like if I won the lottery this afternoon, I’d jump up and down and feel so excited and start planning my trip to Turkey immediately. And buy my new Prius. And update the scratched up floors in my house and fix up the garage.
I have all these personal all-about-me kinds of fun ideas and visions come into my mind.
It gets extended beyond only me, too. I feel altruistic. I’d open a hospice center, I’d open an inpatient treatment center using The Work to address emotional eating, I’d plant trees in my neighborhood where they chopped the diseased ones down.
A man I know longs for a committed partner and everyone thinks he’s a catch. He’d love a companion on this life adventure.
He wants what so many people want….tender conversations, inside jokes, intimate touch, support in hard times.
Another student of mine wants youth and health. She’s on a mission to find healing from her disease and spending all her life savings to rock bottom to live longer than anticipated.
So understandable, and so honestly human.
Nothing wrong with any of these desires and wants.
Have you noticed how you treat this present moment, when you want something different than what’s happening?
Brushing through this and flipping through to the turnaround really speedy and lightly isn’t going to generally feel very clear, easy and peaceful.
For some reason, quickly doing a more positive thinking process goes like this: “Oh yeah, I forgot….I’m gonna concentrate only on loving what is. Doing it! Rock on!!”
Maybe sometimes this actually “works” to move our minds into a different way of perceiving by jumping to the opposite. But usually, my mind then once again returns to the wishing, slowly but surely….
….unless I do The Work.
Unless I really, really take a look at what is Now and what is Desired and investigate closely to see what’s true, for me, genuinely and honestly.
So let’s say you want ______.
You know what it is.
Admit it. You don’t have to tell anyone.
It’s OK if it’s money. Again.
But maybe it’s something else.
The most important thing I’ve found to understand what happens in this process is to hold still and focus on that one dream you have, that thing you wish for, without jumping to something else.
Get that picture as clearly as possible in your head of that life you so desire.
Compare it to right now.
Yep. It’s better over there.
Is it true?
Are you sure if you take a bite of that yummy delicious thing, you’ll feel better?
Yes, yes, yes.
I am positive that if I just had one bite of food in this terribly hungry moment, I will feel better.
I’ve proven it 1000 times.
It feels good to eat when starving and ahhhh, I get so relieved.
I am positive if I had one word of praise from that awesome, sexy hunk of a man I would feel thrilled….and better than this boring moment here.
I am positive if I had a million dollars descend on me through the lottery channels or some special winning that I would feel ecstatic….and have more options and a changed life from this limited scarce reality.
Notice how there are two visions.
This One Here Now.
That One There Then.
And we get so sure the other one is better, right?
I know how I act when I believe my life would be better, enhanced, joyful, thrilling, adventurous, calmer, blissful, free….IF I only had that thingie come true.
I’m in pursuit.
I’m reaching for that delicious carrot and it keeps moving just a wee teensy bit out of reach so I’m almost falling over trying to get it, and never succeeding.
Can you feel it in your body, when you’re reaching?
Can you hear the deafening Silence? Can you feel how OK you are no matter what you’ve ever been through in your entire life that’s hard? Can you feel how OK you are if you never achieve that future vision you’ve been hoping for?
Turning the thought around: There is no “better”, in the future. Even five minutes from now. There is no “worse” that once happened before. It’s all a figment. It’s all images and movies playing in various and completely different genres (horror, winner, tragedy, comedy).
All that goin’ on?
It’s all just the mind, doing it’s THANG.
Sing to it now….
You are more than your mind working it out.
Sit still with that part of you that immediately follows the mind. Let it not race behind the pictures your mind shows you so quickly. Let it walk more slowly.
Widen the gap between thinking about your dreams and sorrows….
If I can attempt this, if I can stop just a minute….
….so can you.
“The things you think you love–you have no idea–you don’t…You can’t get away with it [being against what is] because your true nature is kind. Everyone’s trying with all their might to believe what they don’t believe. We believe our thoughts, and Hell is created.” ~ Byron Katie in Seattle 1/2016
If you need a little help, with the support of others to stay focused on inquiry and set yourself free from the difficulty of wanting what you don’t have….
….come to the Abundance and Desire Retreat.
Here’s what I am finding out over time, through the powerful support of inquiry. (You may be surprised).
Everything is here right now for my happiness. It’s amazing.
As you realize this, right here in this moment….
….as you notice that everything you need is here now, you are inspired, astonished, relaxing, laughing, calming down, finding peace, hearing, feeling.
All those things, conditions, experiences, people or items you wanted before, so that you’d feel happy?
Happiness is present.
And THEN….they begin to happen after all. Now.
“Serenity is within, do not seek it without.” ~ the Buddha
Join the Abundance and Desire Retreat. Doing The Work on what keeps us from what we really want: Reality Now! March 25-27. Friday night through Sunday afternoon. $295. Three private rooms plus a couple of very comfy air mattresses available if you need to stay overnight (just ask).