Danger, danger…but are you sure your thoughts are true?

eyescloseddeepseriousthought
Who would you be, in that serious situation, without the belief you’re in danger? Could you be supported?

Today is the anniversary of my father’s death.

It was a very long time ago, and I’m so used to living without him being physically present in my life, there is no dreadful pain about his absence.

But it wasn’t always this way.

When he first got diagnosed with incurable, terminal cancer, a wave went driving through me of deep fear, anguish, and grief.

It was terrible, horrible news.

I was filled with dread.

In Year of Inquiry we’re really diving deep in our third month together into some great and profound questions, related to fear.

I remembered vividly, when I heard someone else’s work on the fear they had for their own child’s safety….

….the fear I felt when I learned my father was going to die.

Worrying about someone else is so stressful.

But here’s what I absolutely love about inquiry. It can open up your mind to seeing clearly, and seeing beyond the fear.

What is safety? Why do I feel so unsafe, in this situation? What am I expecting of myself, or of others, or of life….when I think it’s threatening? 

And hey, wait a minute!

Where did I get this idea anyway, that something’s OFF and unsafe or dangerous?

Is it this situation, or Reality, that is off? Or my thinking?

We know intellectually that Byron Katie and other thought leaders and spiritual teachers are offering perspective on this whole “mind” and “thinking” thing, right?

Katie suggests our thinking is the cause of suffering, not the actual conditions of reality. She invites us to look, over and over, as a practice.

“Nothing terrible has ever happened, except in our thinking. Reality is always good, even in situations that seem like nightmares. The story we tell is the only nightmare that we have lived.” ~ Byron Katie

Holy Smokes….let’s test it out.

Let’s look at this very common and VERY troubling belief: I am not safe.

Notice you can only think you should be experiencing something different, this “safe” thing, if you believe you aren’t and it’s bad, bad, bad.

I am not safe (TERRIBLE)!

Is it true?

To really dig into this inquiry as you read, find a situation in which you felt unsafe. Emotionally, physically, spiritually–whatever your circumstance.

Is it true, you’re in danger?

Yes!

I remember the circumstances, many of them, when I felt unsafe.

The doctor is telling me the tumor on my leg is cancer. I’m in full-stop traffic miles away, with my 5 year old standing in the rain in the dark by himself, waiting. I’m reading an alarming text. I’m reading an email that says someone’s coming over NOW and they are desperate. I’m hearing a phone message where someone implies I’m a liar, and another phone message where someone says I’m not being a good friend.

I learn someone very close to me (like my dad) are very sick or going to die. I’m suddenly at the scene of a car accident right after it happened. I can’t reach the man I have a crush on, he’s not ever calling me back. I open the trunk of my car and see it’s empty–all my luggage has been stolen.

Not safe! Surely!

You are not safe.

Is it absolutely true for all time, beyond all doubt?

I pause, wondering about this moment, holding still.

Astonishingly, I notice I can’t know it’s absolutely true I am not safe. Even though I just injured myself, even though someone I love just received a diagnosis, even though my stuff is apparently gone (stolen) and I feel energy coursing through me. I can’t absolutely know I am not safe.

Wow.

How do you react when you believe “this is a threat, I am not safe, this is dangerous”?

I clench up tight. I stop breathing deeply. I want to quit everything, why bother trying in this dangerous world? I see pictures of how things will go (badly) and terrible scenes I imagine for the future, and sad memories from the past. I attack myself, or I attack the attackers in my mind.

I condemn nervousness or anxiety as bad and wrong, and I act tough. I avoid any place or any person who threatens me. THEY are the one making me feel this terrible feeling of danger, after all.

I treat myself like I’m meek and tiny, and unable to handle these feelings or this threat. I run.

So who would you be without this thought, this story of the lack of safety? What if you didn’t know this person, this situation, was dangerous?

Some people think, with this question….my God, I’d be crazy! I’d be walking right into something without fear, and not even know it.

Bingo.

And this isn’t about being passive, or being stupid and defying gravity or something.

You can still follow traffic rules, make lists of pros and cons for spending money, notice you drop everything and leave your house when you learn your kid has a broken wrist at school.

But you’re taking action without terror. You’ve moved, without personally believing it MUST go a certain way, or else.

You do the most efficient, kind, loving thing. That’s who you are, without panic. Someone who cares. Someone who moves to help, if you’re able.

I once remember Katie facilitating someone through their thought “I’m afraid of the cancer in my body!”

She asked the person; “Do you think the cancer is more likely to go away…if you hate it and fear it, or you don’t mind it’s there?”

Hmmm.

Without the belief that I’m threatened…..WOW. I’m wondering where this is going? I’m open. I’m stepping forward, even if it’s in the dark. I’m feeling about, I’m curious, even excited.

Even about the Big Fears, like death and loss and change.

Turning the thought around: I am not threatened in this situation, I am not in danger, I am safe.

Could this be just as true, or truer?

What part of you is OK?

I notice, I’m alive, I’m unhurt physically, I thought I was threatened but actually I only read words, or heard words. Bodies are temporary, and some last longer than others. Things are temporary, too.

Without the belief that I’m unsafe, as I hear troubling news from someone else, I might just sit, stay connected to the person, notice I have only kindness to offer and speaking isn’t necessary.

Turning it around even further: I am supported, all is well, everything is not only OK but brilliant, loving, wonderful.

I know that sounds a bit over the top, considering some of the human situations we find ourselves in. I’m not saying I’d be happy in some very grave, shocking news.

And yet….who knows what is possible?

I notice I would live, even if my child died. I notice I lived, even though my father did die. I notice I’m sitting in a very quiet room, with a heater humming hot air into the space, and a beautiful orange lamp shining, with a cup of peppermint tea and some apple slices sitting within reach. It is extremely safe.

It is as if, right now in this very moment, nothing terrible HAS ever happened, unless I remember or think about it.

It is true that I am only threatened if I THINK.

What I notice, too, is when I was in very apparently dangerous situations, I did not actually “think”.

Thinking happened afterwards. I took in what was happening, I moved, I ducked, I ran, I waited, I showed up, I left.

Who was I without my story?

Life in action. Human, being itself.

Human learning something different. Human discovering what it’s like to not believe it’s thoughts.

Human living with no requirements, conditions, demands (except in thought)….or true lack of safety, ever.

Human spinning through space on a small planet called earth, here for a few seconds by comparison to Reality.

Here, noticing what is sweet and lovely, and bitter and difficult, and noticing I’m not running this joint.

Thank God.

“The Master acts without doing anything and reaches without saying anything. Things arise and she lets them come; things disappear and she lets them go. She has but doesn’t possess, acts but doesn’t expect. When her work is done, she forgets it. That is why it lasts forever.” ~ Tao Te Ching #2 (Translated by Stephen Mitchell)

Much love,

Grace

P.S. If you notice anxiety, fear, nerves, emptiness, boredom, anger when it comes to eating, food and body….I’m offering a MasterClass on Wednesday, November 23rd 1:00-2:30 pm. Eating Peace: How To Question Your Thoughts That Drive Off-Balance Eating. Register here.

Back to basics: the first step leading to freedom….do it well

hc-cozywinternotebookjynbigsizephotoIf you’re a member of the Institute for The Work (for people who have attended The School for The Work who go on to regular practice and training) I’m teaching a fabulous five week course called “Basics” starting Monday, Nov. 14th at 4:00 pm. (Two spots left by the way….come join us if you’re in ITW!)

Now, the reason I’m mentioning this here in Grace Notes is because ANYONE can create this “BASIC” approach to doing your own self-inquiry work.

And you WANT to give attention to the simple, basic details of this work….because this is your freedom we’re talking about. Your thoughts and your answers. Your transformation.

This can be especially helpful if you notice you’ve done The Work on the same person about 100 times.

(Not that I’d know anything about this).

So, how do you get back to basics?

The key is slowing waaaaay down when you feel the explosion or sudden hit of emotional stress….and taking out that pen and paper so you can identify what you’re believing and thinking in writing.

The key is to spend deliberately quiet thoughtful time answering the questions on the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet.

Try it right now if you like.

First of all, here’s a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet. Open it up, so you can see the questions clearly if you don’t have them memorized.

Now, think of an uncomfortable situation. Something that happened with another person where you felt unappreciated, hurt, attacked, misunderstood.

Again, this is the first and deeply important step in doing The Work is what we’re calling the basics: IDENTIFYING what you’re thinking that hurts in the first place.

If you have a situation where you’ve gotten bugged, you’re going to pause and answer these questions, maybe more slowly than you ever have before….rather than full speed ahead in REACTING mode like we always did before we heard of The Work.

I notice reaction all the time, by the way. Something happens or something is said or a tiny transgression appears in my day, a little disappointment….and I feel scared, or sad, or nervous, or worried.

Most of us have this going on….we receive or encounter something, we have contact with another person, and if it’s scary or sad or upsetting, we’ll have feelings buzzing or crashing around inside.

I know sometimes these feelings are like a tornado, sometimes thunder and lightening, sometimes an irritating mosquito. It doesn’t matter the level, though, or the height of the emotion….

….the thing is noticing it, and then thinking “Ah ha! I will write down what I’m thinking right now! This could be interesting!”

(Or, this could save my life).

Doing this first step in The Work is an incredible practice, a habit to get into when encountering something uncomfortable, or devastating. You have something, besides being dragged around by your feelings, to explore with your mind.

Sometimes, what I notice about big strong feelings is, there’s a panic to “do” something, to take action, as soon as possible. Fix it, resolve it, get to safety, figure this problem out.

DO something about the feeling itself.

All that can go on, and the actual behavior you notice yourself doing when you practice The Work is….walking over to the place where you keep paper, or opening up your phone app if you like doing The Work on your device, and holding still a moment so you can “catch” your speeding thoughts on paper.

In this Basics course, I love that we spend primary time on getting the stressful thoughts down….not so much on actually “doing” The Work although we do that too (which is answering the four questions) but concentrating on giving ourselves the freedom and clarity of writing down what the heck we’re thinking that brings on so much stress inside.

So if you’re up for this today, follow along:

The first question is “Who angers, confuses or disappoints you, and why?”

Sometimes, you may be tempted to go off a little on “why” this person angered, confused or disappointed you. Proving what a jerk they were. So go ahead and write a little if you’re moved. But then, bring yourself back to answering the question. You simply want to write, not so you start analyzing yourself or the other person. Not so you can find the “right” answer in your mind. Not so you justify your feelings.

No, if you do that, you could go down a rabbit hole for awhile.

Instead, sit with this question about why you’re so disturbed in this situation: right in that very moment you learned “x” or the person said “y” what were you feeling? Why did you feel it? Because that person ______.

Keep it simple.

What I like to do is write it down and then ask myself….does that really capture it? Is that why I’m upset? Or is there a clearer more striking reason? What’s going on here?

I don’t try to NOT be upset. (I notice it’s too late). I’m not trying to be anything.

I’m simply taking dictation from my thinking, without editing, without judging myself as a bad person, just letting things rip if they are, allowing it all to come alive on paper.

Then, you get to answer the other questions on the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet.

How do you want that person to change? You can have a hissy fit, a tantrum, and feel like you’re 4 years old screaming your head off.

And let me tell you, it’s way better to do this on paper than directly to the person, which doesn’t always turn out well for anyone, right?

You don’t wind up feeling ashamed, saying things that aren’t really true in the end. You don’t attack and speak violently. You love and support yourself more….and the other person usually, too, by taking this space and time to write down what you’re thinking when you feel emotional pain.

Question three: What advice do you give this other human being, so they improve, or become easier to deal with, or care about you or themselves more….or so the situation becomes fun, relaxed, good (in your opinion)? The answer to this question always starts with “they should/he should/she should” or “they shouldn’t/she shouldn’t/he shouldn’t”.

Yes, we’ve all heard that “shoulding” on people is a drag (or on yourself) but let’s get it out, on the piece of paper, anyway.

This work is about writing down what comes to the stressed out, nervous, upset part of your mind and acknowledging it by writing it down. NOT by quickly trying to push these thoughts away, or to be non-judgmental, or to make yourself be gracious or kind or magnanimous.

No sirree, you get to catch these dark thoughts, the ones full of malice and hurt and pain, right here on the paper. We don’t even care about bringing in philosophies of how you “should” think or act in this type of situation. Instead, you’re writing down what you actually DO think that’s so stressful.

The fourth question on the JYN is “What do you need for this other person to do in order to be happy in this situation?”

It’s one of the best questions for sitting and answering much more slowly than we usually allow ourselves. What do you really, truly, honestly need this other person to do, say, think, feel, act like…..that would change your response to “happy” from “enraged” or “devastated”?

That’s a major question. Sometimes people say to me….what I need them to do is virtually impossible. It could never, ever happen and they will never, ever act that other “better” way.

I say, write it down anyway.

These are YOUR thoughts you’re living with and dealing with. To inquire into them will bring YOU peace of mind, no matter what that other person does in the end.

On the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet, you get to then write down two more items: first, call that person every name and quality you see in them. Cuss if you feel like it. She is_____. He is _____. Include all the ways you would describe them, all the words you use. This is your statement of what you see in this other, through your eyes.

It doesn’t mean you’re an awful person, if you write down terrible, mean, ugly, vicious things. This is only a part of the mind at work. It’s the scared, pessimistic, desperate part of your mind, the one that’s interested in YOU and self-preservation. The one that doubts you are supported.

That’s the part we’re working with, in all this inquiry work.

You can keep the trusting, joyful, easy-going parts of yourself. You can keep the faithful parts, your expansive mind, your loving impulses for connection and sharing.

Finally, on the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet the very last question six is one I love pondering: “What is it you never, ever want to experience again?”

Don’t you love how the mind will say this big grand statements like whatever answer you come up with to this last question? I don’t EVER, EVER want this to EVER happen again! NEVER!

Like you’re shaking your fist at the universe!

It’s so good to know what some fearful part of you decided in that situation. Because then….you can un-ravel it! You can inquire!

If you don’t question this, that fretting and suspicious part of the mind will focus very intently on avoiding anything that looks like that dreaded situation. You’ll be using tons of energy (at least I sure did) trying to get away from this sort of situation in the future.

Getting these answers very clear, spending time on your own precious thoughts, and the details, the exact way you personally answer the questions….

….is like finding a handful of gold nuggets in a river bed.

Or perhaps even a handful of diamonds. In a cave. Two miles underground.

Each crazy, stressful, ridiculous, immature thought can be taken all on its own through the four questions.

It’s simpler when you do this on paper, one at a time.

I know, I know….everyone wants to do The Work while driving. Me too. Can’t we just do this in our heads while going out to buy milk at the store?

When I do that, I miss significantly important pieces of this work, every single time. (You think?)

If you have a deep, painful issue….Step One is fill out the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet very slowly, thoroughly, with simple sentences and DO NOT JUDGE your own thoughts. You don’t have to show them to anyone.

But these thoughts are your ticket to freedom. At least, they have been for me.

From thework.com website: “The Work is a simple yet powerful process of inquiry that teaches you to identify and questionthe thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world. It’s a way to understand what’s hurting you, and to address the cause of your problems with clarity.”

If you’ve had trouble resolving a situation, bring it back to the basics.

Answer the questions, get your pain on paper.

Now, you can do something truly transformational with it: The Work.

Much love,

Grace

Do endings, loss and death mean…..it’s true?

Work With Grace
Who would you be without this sad, scary story?

Have you ever known someone close to you to become ill, get injured, or find out something devastating?

Yes, everyone’s had this kind of moment in life.

“Dad’s got cancer.”

I remember hearing these words from my mom.

A panic began to rise inside, instantly.

What does this mean? Wait…what? What kind? What happened? Why? What’s going to happen?

The mind is filled with pictures, imagination, possibilities, trying to grab information desperately.

A huge NO fills the body. No, I can’t take this. No, this can’t be happening. No.

When the “worst” thing happens, it’s shocking.

When my dad was receiving treatment for leukemia, which lasted about two years, he was sometimes very sick, sometimes better. He lived just about exactly the length of time they anticipated. The doctors knew so much about the disease, and trying all kinds of ways to make it go away. To fight it.

That was a long, long time ago in my life experience. I was in my twenties, living pretty close by to the big house I grew up in.

I didn’t have inquiry, but my mind had so many questions. Constant questions. Disturbed questions. Questions I had no answer for, couldn’t answer.

Many years later, when I discovered self-inquiry and The Work by reading Loving What Is, I thought….

….well, it’s good for feeling angry and upset with your neighbor (judge your neighbor, right?)….

….but I didn’t even imagine using The Work for situations of life and death.

But then, I was in a weekend workshop with Byron Katie, never having successfully “done” The Work after reading her book, and I recognized one of my greatest, deepest, terrifying, sad, frustrations in life was…..death.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I had a very weird and troubled relationship with loss, change, things being temporary, endings.

The biggest ending of all being “death”. The biggest “neighbor” I wanted to judge was loss, death.

I had something, and now it’s gone. I have something, and I will lose it.

My health, my boyfriend, my wife, my kid, love, my life, my daughter, my house, my necklace, my guitar, my friend, my dad.

It was mine. I had it.

Now it’s lost. It’s gone. Or will be.

Forever.

This is hard for some people to think about. Well, I speak for myself.

It’s hard to look at these places that have been so painful. But oh so powerful for The Work.

Stay with me here, and let’s do it today.

As you see those things, places, times or people you lost….

Is it true you lost them?

Yes. All gone.

Are you absolutely sure? Do you know this in the most deep, absolute way?

Are you positive the energy, love, kindness is lost? Are you sure it’s gone, just because you can’t see it or touch it? Are you sure everything about it is completely 100% gone?

Do you need it to be present physically, in order to be happy?

Wow. No. Not really.

I should still have that person, that thing, that other situation.

Is this true?

Who would I be without these thoughts?

Who would I be without BELIEVING these thoughts?

I notice no thoughts hang around 24/7 without one single other thought coming in for a visit. There are seconds, moments, of other thoughts.

The day my father died, I am quite sure I drank water. I went to the bathroom.

Probably several times. I was capable of having that thought to get up and go. It appeared. I went. People brought food. I ate a little. I breathed. I spoke to my sisters and my mom. I stayed. I was there, holding my dad’s hand as he died.

Who would you be without the belief you lost her? You lost him? You lost it?

I’m not saying something profound didn’t happen. But I love how I like to write about my dad’s death, as I feel the tears sometimes still arise, “it was unbelievable.”

That’s what we say about profound moments, eyes-wide-open moments, present moments, astonishing moments.

Unbelievable.

Turning the thought around: I did not lose my father. I will never lose him.

I lost myself. I lost awareness.

I believed I couldn’t survive loss. I believed there was nothing here, remaining, with myself. I believed I had something, it was mine, and now it’s gone.

Who would you be without your story of losing?

“It’s your body–can you absolutely know that that’s true? That’s a very old concept. ‘This is mine. I say so’….It’s not yours. Just because you believe it doesn’t make it true. When you know that you’re not that, you can sit back and watch.” ~ Byron Katie in Who Would You Be Without Your Story 

Could this be also the case for my father? My house? My childhood? My earrings?

Not mine in the first place.

And not required for living, or loving, or happiness, I notice.

Today, can I find evidence for how I gained, how I received, how I lived….instead of the opposite customary sadness?

It doesn’t mean “trying” to be positive and fakey or plastic or thrilled about death or loss.

But I have discovered, with The Work, it’s miraculous to wonder who I would be without my stories of death and loss, and to find examples of joy, acceptance, receiving, kindness, even benefits for what has happened….

….and maybe even though I apparently lost….I also found.

Maybe all my thoughts about death and loss are….

….unbelievable.

Much love,

Grace

When it burns….

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

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

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

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

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

And then, later, this terrible news.

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

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

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

What about other ugly things? Like human violence?

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

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

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

It feels like denial.

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

….”But. This problem is REAL.”

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

But here’s what I notice about reality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…War.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love, Grace

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

without your stressful story of death…

The profound, sometimes shocking experience of someone else’s death or dying can be life-changing, and feel absolutely devastating.

Notice, however, that these profound experiences are someone else’s death. Always.

Our own….we don’t know so much about. And we won’t. Not until we’re going through it. Then we’ll know.

In my most recent Peace Talk podcast Episode 112, I share a poem by the late Seamus Healey.

Poetry about death may seem odd, and difficult, and uninviting….

….or like something we’d never want to be poetic about.

And yet, giving an artistic brilliance to our deepest loss of people we care about—death—brings a blaze of light to it.

Who would I be without the story of death?

Hard to fathom almost. Hard for the mind to “get” this one. And yet, possible to imagine and wonder about.

One thing I’ve noticed, as I wonder about death and who I am without my stressful stories about it, is I would realize death happens, and so far I’ve lived on, even when others I love so much have died.

And I might cry true, deep, life-changing tears instead of holding my grief and fear in. I might live more fully, more intensely, more with the awareness this life is very temporary, this time here on planet earth in this body, very short. It’s just the way of it. It somehow must be OK, because it’s reality.

Without my stressful story about death, I might feel grateful I’m alive today, so very grateful, and prepare for the future moment, called death, with more clarity, less fear, more acceptance, less anger, more joy, less resistance.

I might even get to work and roll up my sleeves since I’ve got today, just today, to inquire and to act, to share, to feel whatever “here” feels like.

Because I am here. For now.

They were here, and for awhile our lives intersected (thank you dad, grandparents, great grandparents, friends, neighbors). I am connected to all my past relations, for generations back. I am connected the minute I’m thinking of them, and honoring them.

Without my stressful stories about death, I stop avoiding the memory of these others I once lived with.

I notice they are still alive in my heart, in the DNA, in spirit.

Enjoy Peace Talk Episode 112, then the next one will be an interview. It’ll be a surprise!

Much love,

Grace

P.S. If you’re in Seattle area (or can get yourself here)….I am offering a special three hour workshop at East West Books “Loving What Is: Ending Suffering Over Body, Eating, Pain, Sickness, Death”. Everyone will get to do The Work of Byron Katie from start to finish, focusing on this often very stressful area of how the body is affected physically….including weight, shape, pain, or even aging and death. You’ll get to pick what’s stressful for you, personally, and inquire thoroughly to see what’s really true. An amazing 3 hour opportunity for only $25. Register HERE soon, this is limited to 15 people. Saturday, June 11th.

No mistake….even with physical pain?

Could pain not be a mistake in Reality?
Could pain not be a mistake in Reality?

Sometimes, the Year of Inquiry group is just what I myself need.

Last night, we looked again at the worksheets we wrote on this bodily condition we don’t like (even hate).

Belly too big, fatigue to intense, energy too low, body too skinny, hearing too poor, face too wrinkled, age too old.

I’ve had a thought for days, because of great pain in my hamstring (no idea why it has returned) that there’s something wrong with my body because of the physical pain.

Guess what happens when I believe this thought?

This may sound a bit melodramatic, but it’s what happens.

I picture my own death.

“You only have about 15-25 years left anyway. Maybe now is a good time to say sayonara. Why not….it’s all down hill from here. I’m probably going to have the same back trouble as my mom. Things are not working. This is horrible. I can’t stand it. My body sucks. I will never achieve, succeed, create [fill in the blank] because of the state of this body.”

How amazing to have The Work, and a beautiful group of people who all call in together at the same time to look at these kinds of thoughts.

Is it true, this condition is so awful, and it prevents me from living my life “normally” or from going to the spa and being there naked?

No.

Who would I be without the belief that my body should be different than it is?

Yes, even THAT condition.

I remember having cancer….but yesterday I looked at that damaged hamstring I tore up 3 years ago surely never-to-be-the-same again.

Who would we be without the beliefs in our bodies being “wrong” or “ugly” or unacceptable?

Holy Moly.

Pretty mind-blowing.

Able to find the humor in this, and notice there are no perfect bodies, anywhere….certainly none that remain perfect.

The way of it appears to be decline, damage, decay, a return to silence somehow.

The turnarounds I heard last night almost brought tears to my eyes, they were so moving, so powerful.

Here’s what people in Year of Inquiry found:

  • My thinking is too bloated about all this.
  • My body is beautiful.
  • My energy level is perfect, and allows me to meditate (nothing else is possible)–isn’t meditating what I love?
  • I don’t have to save the world.
  • I AM saving the world, by questioning this very thought about my body.
  • If I can be OK with this imperfection, I might find freedom.
  • This condition is my friend.
  • This condition gives me the opportunity to get out of the business of my body, and hand it over back to God.

To be able to find benefits, and even be willing to be in this body, just this one I have, is not insignificant.

This body I have treated like shit, dismissively, with hatred, with anger, with disgust, with fear.

What if all that’s necessary for absolute freedom is to love this body, now, it whatever condition it is in….unconditionally?

Who knows what kind of power this could bring to the world.

Through this inquiry, I am enlightened to another way to be, to another possibility, another option.

Without “my” thinking my thoughts about what’s wrong with being physical….all is very well indeed. I’ll get to move on eventually, and I’m not in charge. Halleluia.

“Who would you be without the thought that would argue with reality, that would argue with what is? Watch you life, drop your story…look at the difference in your life without that belief. Same life, no tricks, just you not believing that thought. With the thought, stress, busy mind, lost mind, confused mind, suffering. Welcome to reality, the way of it. There is no mistake in the universe. The universe is brilliant. Everything is born on time, and dies on time. When we argue with it, we’re blind to it. Why is it better off that the way it is, is the way of it? What are the advantages? If God is good, why would this happen?” ~ Byron Katie

Hmm. Why should my hamstring hurt so badly today?

It’s giving me a signal to go back to that great body-worker I found. It’s helping me remember I want quiet, relaxation, gentleness and less doing in my life. I’m learning to appreciate aging, and rest. It’s reminding me I could have only this day, and to let go of everything and all plans. I love the state of no “have to” and Doing Nothing. It’s calling me to peace, right here.

Thank you, body. Thank you for your temporary and incredibleness. Thank you for lasting as long as you have so far. Thank you for one more day, and knowing there will be a last day for me at some point, and it will be brilliant.

Much love, Grace

I hate thinking about this

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peace is possible in every situation, even the one you hate thinking about

What do you do if you’re anxious, concerned, or troubled about what MIGHT happen in the future?

If the FUTURE is the thing stressing you out, how do you do The Work, or inquire, on that imaginary circumstance?

Someone asked me to write about this the other day.

Great question.

My first response is to chuckle a little….

….because that imaginary future scene we’re so afraid of feels like TOTAL imagination and making up a worrisome story, right?

Except, these memories or situations from the past….they’re also filled with imagination.

You might think….no.

That can’t be true.

In the past, this terrible horrible thing really did happen. I know it. I was there!

Doing The Work isn’t about denial, or saying something actually did not occur, because that would be weird or a bit crazy.

But this work is about investigating what we decided about that thing that occurred in the past. Our conclusions, the idea that we never, ever want to go through that again because we’re certain it wasn’t safe, it shouldn’t have happened, and it was unsurvivable.

Throughout life, to make matters worse, we learn about tough things happening to other people….and it’s natural to conclude that if bad things happen to people in this world, THEY’LL HAPPEN AGAIN!

And maybe to ME!

HHHEEELLLLPPPPP!!!!!

With the logical mind, you’d almost be bonkers NOT to conclude this.

But what I love about The Work is, we’re entering the mind, thoughts, imagination, thinking, visualizing and wondering what’s really true….

….and feeling what it would be like without believing our thoughts.

So let’s do a little exploration of Future Worries today and inquire.

Picture one of those upsetting things happening to you in the future.

If you really want to go for it, you can picture The Worst That Could Ever Happen.

I know this idea is intense.

You might want to do it in a group, or with a facilitator, and make sure you have support–you do anyway, no matter what, but having people with you can help.

(Just remember, it’s all in the mind, you are actually safe even if you think of horrible things).

I did this work myself.

The worst thing I could ever imagine happening was my kids dying suddenly.

It made me feel nauseated and I’d shout “DON’T THINK ABOUT THAT!” at myself.

I remember how vividly I considered this loss right after my first child was born.

My son, lying in his tiny car seat, seemed too delicate to even place in a car. I suddenly felt like I should never ever leave the house. Ever.

I was stunned with what I had just done. I had given birth and created such an intense tie with this human life, it dawned on me I could lose it.

I WOULD lose it, one day.

We were in separate bodies now (unlike pregnancy), and one of us would move on out of a body, who knew when, into this thing called “death” and the other “left behind” for awhile longer. That’s the only thing that could be known. No timing of it, no order of it, nothing else could ever be known about this process of traveling through this temporary life. My child might die before me, or me before child.

Only one thing was for certain. We both would eventually die.

So I sat with this imaginary horror show experience. Both my children dying.

Let’s do The Work.

Is your terrible vision something you are sure you couldn’t handle?

Are you positive it would be impossible to go on clearly, if it did?

Can you find, even a teensy eensy speck, of acceptance that these things do happen in reality, and life does indeed go on, and people not only survive but thrive sometimes?

Are you sure it’s true what you think about such difficulties isactually true?

Are you certain it’s as horrible as you think in this moment right now?

Byron Katie used to have a question she’d ask from time to time. It’s pretty blunt, and might sound kind of harsh.

And yet, I find very worthy of deep consideration.

“Who needs God, when we have your opinion?” 

Gulp.

Even if you don’t like the word “God” you can substitute “Reality” or “Life” or “What Is”.

You mean….I might be….wrong? Or have one tiny perspective here that’s not the whole entire picture?

Oh. Right.

I notice, even if I don’t like something, or am terrified of death, hardship, separation, whatever….these events exist.

Could I look at them differently?

Who would you be without the belief that this vision you have, that’s pretty worrisome or devastating to think about….is bad, terrible, not handle-able, total destruction, evil or wrong?

Again, you aren’t denying the heart-breaking experience of loss, and change, and the feelings that pour out of it.

In fact, I learned of someone today, who I don’t know personally, whose son and 11 month old grandson were killed by a drunk driver one week ago.

I burst into tears.

But without the thought that this should never happen, or that nothing ever good comes out of it…..

…..without feeling terror of it, or against it, what might this be like?

You know when you go to the movies, and you see a very sad event occur, and you’re filled with sadness or fear? You might even cry in the movie theater.

Then the movie ends, and you wipe your eyes and ponder. Maybe you even sit quietly for awhile, in silence.

You’re aware that something deep has moved in you, and it’s moved through you because you felt.

You also know, it’s not real.

It was just a story.

Stories seem to happen in the human condition. Every kind of story you ever dreamed of (or had a nightmare about) happens in the human condition.

Everything.

But who are you, right now, without knowing exactly WHY anything happens or even needing to know?

Who would you be if you could relax in the presence of suffering, and hard stories, and the mind imagining all kinds of troubling things whether past or future?

What do you notice is here, besides “thinking”?

Even if you have visions of the apocalypse….what do you notice is here, now, holding all these stories and surrounding these difficult visions?

“Love can take everything into itself and remain complete – it can take in heartbreak, pain, fear, anger, sadness, total devastation. It can be crucified over and over again, and still remain whole. It knows no opposite, no enemy, no other. Only itself. Eternally, timelessly, Now.” ~ Jeff Foster in The Deepest Acceptance

Now….here’s the interesting part.

Turn your thoughts around about that possible scene making you anxious about the future.

Could anything interesting, or good, or beneficial, or helpful come out of that vision that scares or repulses you?

Has anything OK come out of that kind of thing ever before in the history of humanity?

As I do this work again today, I’m brought back to my nightmare vision of my kids dying.

What would be OK about it, or what might happen after that happens, or is there anything at all I can think of that would be acceptable about my nightmare?

What I thought about at the time was hard, but miraculous that I could find even one thing. I found three.

  1. I wouldn’t have to worry about making enough money to support them, feed them, pay for college–I was financially in ruins later on in life and horrified I couldn’t buy them clothes, school supplies, or music lessons.
  2. I could move anywhere I wanted in the entire world.
  3. They would never have to suffer through losing me, or their dad, or just about anyone in their lives.

If you can’t find any examples, let it sit there.

Notice in the world what has happened when the thing you’re afraid of has occurred in someone else’s life.

“I just met my thinking with a little understanding. I no longer saw it as an enemy that needed to die, go away, be–what was the term we used?–let go of it. Why would I let go of one of my children? Does that make sense? Our thoughts are our children. Why would we want to banish them? Why can’t we just join with them? And that’s what this Work does: it meets every concept with understanding.” ~ Byron Katie in Who Would You Be Without Your Story

Much love, Grace

P.S. If you want to question your wants about the future that appear favorable….the ones you cross your fingers for, pray for, hope for, come inquire and open to peace, now. Abundance, Desire and The Work Weekend. March 18-20. Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. $295.

Peace Talk with Debra Ruh…..How do I live a turnaround?

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you are greater than your suffering

One of the most interesting exercises and invitations to us all as we do The Work and self-inquiry….

….is to wonder what it would be like to “live” a potent turnaround.

As you probably know….

….the turnarounds are all the opposite angles, perspectives and views to our stressful beliefs.

“He should give me flowers” becomes “he should not give me flowers” and “I should give him flowers” and “I should give myself flowers.”

We sit with these crazy opposites and find examples of how they are also true.

It doesn’t mean any of them are the “right” answer.

They’re like trying on completely different coats, or wearing a different pair of shoes (or moccasins, as the ancient wisdom native saying goes).

Sometimes, we’re hit with the implications of a turnaround, and we might feel great excitement in turning our life situation inside out into something new and different.

The situation that seems so very threatening and awful….

….with a turnaround seems challenging, but possible.

Or, super thrilling!

Or, hilarious!

We get to ask this awesome question: What If I Lived This Turnaround?

What if I actually went into the flower shop, and bought myself the most gorgeous bunch of flowers in the whole place?

Instead of holding onto my thought that HE should be the one doing the flower-buying.

If it can start with something simple, like buying myself just the thing I always wanted someone else to buy….

….what else might be possible to turnaround?

What if I really could bring something different to life, even out of the tragic thing I experienced?

Yesterday I got two sweet and brilliant examples of living turnarounds right before my eyes.

The first was….

….getting to talk with an amazing woman who has clearly lived an astonishing turnaround in her life after giving birth to a baby with down syndrome 28 years ago (Debra Ruh).

I was so moved by her lifetime example of turning her difficult experience into something beautiful, I interviewed her to share it with Peace Talk listeners.

(You can download this Episode 106 of Peace Talk on itunes right here).

The other example of a living turnaround yesterday was…..me.

I led a retreat online, with people dialing in using their phones or computers, for three hours about questioning love stories that hurt.

I shared my biggest painful love story of divorce (that has turned into a blessing).

You know what the living turnaround is?

That I was leading a Valentine’s Prep Day retreat online, where people came from all across the United States, Europe, Australia….

….and this is what I do for a living now.

I join with others to question stressful thoughts.

I get messages like these….both of which I also received in emails yesterday:

Thanks Grace. Really enjoyed this retreat. What a beautiful way to start the Valentine’s Weekend (or any weekend…..it’s only my stories telling me that there is something different /special about Valentine’s weekend). Will be a much more relaxed and pleasant weekend after doing The Work today. So I guess it *IS* a special weekend afterall! I so love YOU and doing The Work with you….THANKS!!! ~ Florida
 

Thank you Grace, 

You are a true teacher, the real deal. 
I love having found you! ~ Italy

I had the thought….wow….

….it’s bragging to share these beautiful comments.

But my life is full of these kinds of expressions of love now. Full of thoughtful, incredible people so sincere about questioning their suffering.

Who would you be if you lived one of your turnarounds?

If you opened up to the thing that happened, that incident, that relationship….

….could now morph into something spectacular, or new?

I was once on staff at a School for The Work and was partnered with a woman who was very distraught about a horrible tragedy in her life.

She had been the driver of a car, on a family vacation, and the tires had suddenly blown out (they were later recalled for all these types of vehicles) causing the SUV to flip wildly off the road.

The accident killed her husband, one of her daughters, and the best friend of her other daughter.

In her path of healing, at a future point in her life, she founded an organization to help people handle the shock of sudden death, including helping firefighters and police officers deliver shocking news to families after accidents.

I cried with her, as we did The Work together, as she undid the terrible pain one level further.

We could both already see, in that inquiry, how stunning it was to see what came out of what seemed awful. It was something helpful to humanity, to her community.

Love prevailed.

She’s an inspiration to people of overcoming accidental death and living an incredible life beyond beliefs about how reality should be.

Just like Debra Ruh, the woman I spoke with on Peace Talk.

Now….my own experiences have never been so dramatic.

But I certainly never could have dreamed I’d get to question my thinking, talk with other truly powerful people on a daily basis, or have three hours fly by while asking and answering questions, and turning suffering around into blessings.

What turnaround are you living right now?

Meditate on what it might look like, if you did turn what you’re imagining around.

Let it come in as an idea, an inspirational thought.

You don’t have to know right now….let it come to you.

Let it take as long as it takes.

“To exclude anything that appears in your universe is not love. Love joins with everything. It doesn’t exclude the monster. It doesn’t avoid the nightmare–it looks forward to it.” ~ Byron Katie

“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.” ~ Ben Okri

Much love, Grace

Who is truly hurt here?

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Join me for an online date Friday February 12th…questioning love stories

I get a lot of emails these days.

(Don’t we all).

And I’ve received many lately from people with powerful concerns about the implications of Loving What Is.

Especially when we hear about terrible suffering.

What if “what is”…..

…..is absolutely horribly devastating?

Maybe it’s in the past and not happening now, but you clearly have the memories. They still haunt you.

When you see the visions of what occurred, you want to run for your life! You want to stop thinking about them. You feel nauseated.

As I began to do The Work after I first read Byron Katie’s book Loving What Is, I really sensed the power of self-inquiry. I knew I was perceiving many situations as stressful, to say the least.

I got that this work is about the relief I could experience by realizing I don’t always know what’s 100% true. Hardly ever.

But I saw some circumstances in the world as so brutal and awful it was hard to even think about them at all. No one could ever “love what is” in those situations….ever, ever.

Right?

Even to think someone could, I had the thought that person was nuts. In denial. Wrong. Lacking compassion.

But as I practiced The Work over time, I grew aware that I put some events and situations in a special category.

The category of SICK, BAD, FOREVER WRONG.

Those things we won’t touch.

Sometimes, it’s not possible to love what is. Not for those terrible things, it just isn’t.

But one day, for some strange reason, after doing The Work for awhile on people who I found annoying, and situations I found personally difficult…..

…..I wanted to investigate on a grander scale.

Something inside me knew that if I refused to ever look at these destructive situations, these frightening events, the things I heard about happening to other people that made me feel horror…..

…..I would never truly “get” entirely “loving what is”.

Last weekend Byron Katie was in Seattle, as many of you know, and she spent the day with 750 people, including me.

An incredibly brave woman went up to the stage and sat with Katie in front of all the people in the room and read her worksheet, and then did her work, on surviving sexual violence and abuse during childhood.

After her session with Katie was over, someone stood up in the balcony and shouted, “I can’t take this! It is so wrong! There are some things that are simply unforgivable!”

This equally courageous woman in the balcony had a microphone handed to her, and she shared with us all how she was shaking and feeling horrified.

How it could ever be OK for someone to go through the abusive experience the woman on stage had just described? She was almost in tears.

I think she spoke for many people right there in the room.

She spoke for many people in the world.

She spoke for me, exactly as I had seen it ten years ago while I contemplated all the terrible things humans do to one another. The violence, war, hatred, prejudice, abuse, condemnation, bombs, beatings, rape.

It’s happening right now in the world, in many places.

How could this be acceptable, this story we just heard of dark, dreadful abuse perpetrated by an adult against a child?

How could we be open to loving what is, are you f&%ing kidding me??!

But watch what the mind is doing.

It’s screaming No, No, No, No, No!

It is so terrified, it curls up in a little ball and wants to disappear. It rages against what is.

We think “loving what is” means we are totally OK with what happened.

But that’s not what Byron Katie or The Work is suggesting.

Ever.

What I’ve found by questioning my thinking and my troubling stories to be, is a doorway into Peace Beyond Beliefs.

I don’t have to defend, I don’t have to “know” what’s right or wrong.

I already know what feels right or wrong, it’s in my very being at the core. I feel the love that is holy, untouched, beautiful and available to everyone. I feel the hatred and tightness and terror the mind can conjure up, the desperation and emptiness.

As I looked in my own life at these difficult situations experienced by humanity, I’ve seen that the perpetrators are also suffering every single time there is abuse and violence.

The haters are not having a good time. The haters are not excited and happy about life. They do not feel a trust of the world and reality.

They also feel small, unimportant, powerless, left behind, hurt, forgotten, damaged, desperate.

Byron Katie famously suggests “defense is the first act of war.”

I looked.

What I see is when I hate someone, or I hate a situation….I hate God, I hate Reality, I hate my circumstances, I hate Those People, I hate All This.

Is this hatred…..all that is, in these horrible situations?

Is it the Truth?

I’m not saying the terrible thing didn’t happen.

I’m just saying I noticed in this mental world of duality, the mind put those experiences and situations and people in the category of WRONG. They were in the category of un-save-able. They were in the category of evil and hell.

How do you react when there’s a dark place in the universe you need to stay away from? That place you KNOW is bad, wrong, sick, evil and terrible?

I spend time making sure I’m defended against “it”.

I’m relying on my own personal thinking to warn me. I’m trusting a small little corner of thought, not the big grand picture. I’m forgetting about love. I’m unaware of the power of forgiveness, compassion, acceptance and rebirth to be possible IN ALL THINGS.

How do you react when you think love can’t help THAT situation (the evil one)?

Horrified. Terrified. Acquiring weapons and arms and building up a fortress of defense. Protecting myself.

Acting like I know better than God.

I know what’s wrong….and God made a mistake by “allowing” this terrible thing to happen.

Who would you be without the belief that you know best? Better than Reality or God or Life?

All I know is, I find a sense of bizarre rest within, where I don’t know why or wherefore or what or how these events and circumstances exist in the human condition…..

…..and I see the suffering very acutely…..

…..but I feel how I am safe right now, I am surrendered to What Is in this moment, I am already accepting what is.

I don’t want to put anyone to death or force anyone into hell.

That’s not my job.

Even if my mind has taken that on, as if it IS my job.

Without the belief that I can’t overcome what appears awful, I actually turn and face the perpetrator. I stay in the room. I become fearless. I wait.

I surrender.

I let Life (God) handle the overwhelming situation.

Meanwhile, I begin to find actual rebirth that comes out of the ashes of violence.

I learn about all the awesome things that come out of terrible things…..

…..and what people discover when they question their need to dictate what is evil and what is not.

“A teacher of fear can’t bring peace on Earth. We have been trying to do it that way for thousands of years. The person who turns inner violence around, the person who finds peace inside and lives it, is the one who teaches what true peace is.” ~ Byron Katie

Let peace begin with me.

That way, I know it will happen.

I don’t have to wait anymore.

You can love what is.

Look around you.

Even though terrible things happened….are they happening right now?

Except for your thinking, it’s over.

Stop being the perpetrator of your own suffering.

Question it.

“Who would you rather be–Jesus, who knew who he really was and recognized deep acceptance in his own experience, or his torturers, ignorant of their true nature, totally identified as false images, and deeply at war with themselves? Who would you rather be, the perpetrator or the victim? And who is the real victim–the one who hurts others because of deeply unaccepted pain or the one who experiences pain but knows who he really is within that experience? Who is truly hurt here?” ~ Jeff Foster in The Deepest Acceptance

Much love,

Grace

P.S. Do you feel hurt, or at odds, with Couple-Ness? Whether you’re single or partnered or alternating between both….come question your stressful thoughts about romantic love. Online Love Marathon in preparation for VALENTINE’S Day! Friday February 12th. Join for a 3 hour Live Inquiry Session on LOVE Relationships. Question your thinking, enjoy Valentine’s Day. Click HERE to register and join.

Peace can be here now….even after this

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Do The Work….what was distorted will become beautiful

If you like to question your stressful thinking….

….then of course, when you get to spend all day with Byron Katie you’re gonna have an awesome day.

Here in Seattle last Saturday we got to have the incredible privilege of Katie and 750 people together, investigating the profound undertaking of human suffering.

It wasn’t exactly what you’d call a “light” day of inquiry.

Although….the opening volunteer who rose to sit on the stage with Katie started us off so beautifully….

….it was like the warm glow of a campfire in the night.

With tears in his eyes, because he was so touched by questioning his criticism of his partner, a man examined closely his thoughts about a dirty kitchen and why his partner never cleaned it.

We’ve all been there with that issue, right?

It’s an irritant, like a persistent mosquito, to hold the belief endlessly that someone else should clean up.

At one point, this man turned into the audience and looked up into the balcony.

He called “I’m sorry, honey!”

Turns out, his partner was right there, and Katie said…”Oh! Your partner is here? Come to the stage!”

Everyone was so touched by the love glowing bright between these two people who had been married for many years.

And then….

….the second person who came up on stage was a amazingly courageous woman who had suffered what sounded like horrible sexual abuse from her father for many years.

Abuse of the innocent seems like some of the sickest, most frightening and dreadful experiences that exists in humanity.

It goes in the category of The Worst That Could Ever Happen.

Murder, war, violence, rage, hatred, rape, earthquakes, prejudice.

The stories that make you want to not be a part of the human race.

The stories that feel too hard to face sometimes.

But that’s what people are doing with The Work.

And this woman did her work, with so many peoples’ support, right there on stage with Katie, helping us all to heal rather than suffer anymore.

Knowing that even the perpetrators are suffering….or they would not do what they do.

The next man who went up on stage to do The Work with Katie had just lost his son to suicide.

Tears welled up in my eyes for so much pain felt by a father, and his three surviving daughters.

I sometimes think….how can people live through all this?

It is so painful.

Such hard things happen….what is wrong with the world??!!??

*Ping*

That’s the deepest source of suffering of all.

Believing there is something dreadfully wrong with the world.

We can see the “proof” in our minds, as we think of all these terrible things that occur to people, everywhere.

We’re so sure it’s true.

See here, and there, and here? Look at all these people. So many tears. So much agony. So many people going crazy. So much unspeakable darkness.

But who would you be without the belief that these difficult experiences are Un-Handle-able?

Who would you be without the belief that it’s not possible to heal?

Who would you be without the belief it’s a hard, dark, difficult world and life is hard, dark and difficult?

What if you couldn’t believe that thought in this moment?

Look around.

Touch the chair you’re sitting in.

Feel the air on your face. Look at the room you’re in. Hear the sounds in your environment. Notice what is still, and quiet, and safe right now in this moment….

….even if you’ve been through rough times in the past.

Who would you be without putting your conditions for happiness on the world?

Seriously, like what if you didn’t know as much as you think you know about suffering?

What if you’re wrong about The Worst?

What if it is possible to be happy again, no matter you’ve experienced, no matter how horrendous?

“Do The Work, and everything that was distorted will become beautiful.” ~ Byron Katie in Seattle Jan 2016

“I try to move from what is to what is not, from what is to my image of what should be–and that is my suffering, that is my frustration, that is my despair….The healing you really long for is the deepest acceptance of pain….the healing you really long for is the healing from your identity as the victim of pain.” ~ Jeff Foster in the Deepest Acceptance

Once again, as I did my own work while listening to others break their hearts open, mine broke open wider, too.

I realized, for another time….

….this work is not about accepting all the terrible things, or condoning any of them, or wishing ill upon anyone, or punishing anyone, or damning others or myself for all time and staying stuck in hatred or fear.

This work is about surrendering to what is and discovering….

….it is never all darkness, it is never all lost forever.

Creativity and new life and love come out of the ashes.

Happiness and peace are here again for you.

Right now.

Except for your thoughts, are you OK?

Much love, Grace

NEW: March weekend retreat on Abundance, Desire, and Wanting. Doing The Work on what keeps us from what we really want: Reality Now! March 25-27. Friday night through Sunday afternoon. $295.