A Mother And Daughter Conversation

an uninvestigated story argues with reality

Yesterday I had a sort of embarrassing conversation.

If it was recorded, it would be really, really bad.

7:16 am.

Daughter: I’m sooooo tired.

Stays seated on couch.

Me: (typing on computer).

Daughter: I should make my lunch.

Stays seated on couch.

Me: You need to get there right at 7:30 to talk with your teacher about the missing assignment.

Daughter: I don’t really need to get there THAT early.

Me: But since I’m driving you we have to get going. I need to get back to work with a client at 8:30. If you’re not leaving early, you may as well go ahead and take the bus.

Major tone change in voice.

Daughter: You’ll have plenty of time, jeez, what’s the problem!! We’re going to get there on time, it only takes, like, 7 minutes to get to school!!

Also major tone in voice. As in louder.

Me: I don’t see you getting up to make your lunch, though, and we should leave in 2 minutes!!

Daughter: But what about Starbucks!?

Me: Seriously?

Daughter: YOU SAID you would TAKE me to STARBUCKS!!!!!

Me (on the inside): (You little demanding entitled butt head, there is no way we are going to Starbucks).

I drive past Starbucks.

There was a 7 minute discussion about how long Starbucks takes from order to waiting to receiving the food and drink, and me giving a speech on how ridiculous to go to Starbucks when you can make tea or coffee at home and put it in a to-do washable cup.

Which would have taken 4 minutes, according to daughter, which would be waaaaay too long. (Longer than Starbucks).

So I’m fuming at the ludicrous conversation and actually IN IT at the same time. And trying to prove that making breakfast at home is faster than going to Starbucks.

I say in a huff, “You know what? You’re right.”


Yep. That mature.

I think very quietly all the way home, in the silent car, after daughter gets out and slams car door.

The discussion of minutes, Starbucks, breakfast, lunch, tiredness, assignments, any of that did not really matter.

There was something inside that just wanted to be RIGHT.

It’s like a hot fire ready to scream “You are defying me? The Great and Powerful Oz???!!”

But what’s underneath that urge to defend, fight, and go to war?

Ahhh…..there it is again.

I really want my daughter to be happy.

I want her to feel confident, joyful, energetic, excited.

THIS is not happy.

There’s an extra twist when it’s my child, because I think it means extra extra that if she’s unhappy, I’m a bad mother.

A reflection of MOI.

And actually, I want everyone to be happy. My parents, siblings, colleagues, neighbors, spouse, friends, clients.

The more happy people the better I feel. Right?

Everyone else get happy, now! (Little joke).

However, how incredible to question this deep-held belief that it’s better for me if other people are happy and content.

Especially when reality (the level of happiness) does NOT match what I think I want.

Who would I be without this belief that my daughter really should be in any other mood or attitude or feeling state or experience than she’s actually in?



You mean, no one should feel happier than they do?


I know it’s weird.

Just consider what it would be like to NOT believe that person you love so much should feel happy, when they don’t feel happy. Or that they should act nice, when they don’t.

Yes, imagine not insisting that one single person on this planet be happier than they are.

It sure frees up a lot of pushing.

In fact, it feels like the end of war.

Hmmm, feels a little funnier, happier, goofier, upside-down-ish.

“Both pleasure and pain are projections, and it takes a clear mind to understand that. After inquiry, the experience of pain changes. The joy that was always beneath the surface of pain is primary now, and the pain is underneath it. People who do The Work stop fearing pain. They relax into it. They watch it come and go, and they see that it always comes and goes at the perfect moment.” ~ Byron Katie

My daughter right now, as I type here 24 hours later on the next morning, is reading out loud to me about SAT tests.
Today, she’s not exactly thrilled to be taking a college test exam at 7:45 on a Saturday morning. (She’s got a slight reading disability and does quite badly on tests, but what do I know…..and I don’t care, to be honest, in a really good. light way.)
And she’s the sweetest person, ever.
So beautiful, so stunning. So brilliant.
What I notice is I adore her.
And she adores me.
We get some good sparky fire going between us. The way of it.

Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.” ~ Mark Twain

Much Love,


P.S. Eating Peace 3Day Retreat. October 9-11, 2015. For more information, click here.

Would You Rather Worry or Be Free?

Would you rather worry or be free?
Would you rather worry or be free?

Yesterday was prep day for leaving on a very long journey. I’ll be traveling with my two young adult children ages 21 and 18 and my husband.

It will take many hours to reach our destination. We’ll be a long way from home.

I decided to start some of the heavy preparation two days ahead of time.

I made sure my schedule remained clear starting three weeks ago. No clients, no meetings, no classes.

A Monday of cleaning, moving clothes out of my drawers so the people staying here can make themselves comfortable, tidying up.

I ask my kids to work with me on household preparations from noon until 6 pm when their dad will pick them up for an evening out, before they leave town for almost three weeks of not seeing him at all.

Everyone’s doing their thing.

Husband is out making copies of the house key for our visitors. I’m at Rite Aid buying melatonin, dishwashing soap for the cupboard at home, travel shampoo.

My daughter is totally inspired and cleaning all the food cupboards in the kitchen, throwing away old items, washing the surfaces, organizing the canned goods (it was kind of stunning….this kind of thing has been happening for awhile from her).

I’m running a load of dishes, and vacuuming out my car.

Then I decide to locate the passports and put them on my dresser.

My son’s isn’t in the usual place, with mine and my daughters.

“Hey Benj?! You got your passport handy?”

He calls from his bedroom.

“What, mom?”




“Oh. It’s in my safe. Up at school. In my new apartment.”

Aw jeez.

It’s not a huge emergency or anything. It takes about an hour and a half to drive there. But it’s critical, you know? He can’t leave the country without his passport.

In the old days, before The Work, I might have snapped at him. “Why didn’t you think of this before?! Huh?!”

Instead, I notice the flare of realizing, and then the wave calms down.

But I say “You need to drive up there today. Not tomorrow. It’s too important.”

I send his dad a text.

The way it all comes together is my son, his dad, and my daughter are all driving north to where my son will be attending his senior year in college starting next month. This is their new plan for the evening.

My plans aren’t different at all.

House is empty, I’m writing, I’m eating leftovers out of the fridge, I’m sitting on the front porch couch enjoying the gorgeous summer evening.

But I have a thought…..my son is going to space out of everything, he’d lose his own head if it wasn’t connected to his body, he’s soooo chill he’s going to fall asleep while standing, I need to talk with him about how often he smokes pot (doesn’t that make people slow?) and how funny he’s the one I have to worry about rather than my daughter.


That thought.

“He’s the one I have to worry about.”

It’s stressful!

I have to worry about him, is that true?


Last night, the whole change of plans just fell into place without any uproar. My son, my daughter, their dad…all hopped in a car and ventured off to their evening project: get the passport and eat rare road-trip food along the way.

Who would I be without the belief I have to worry about my son?

Noticing I don’t.

He’s having his own life, and there are minutes, hours, days, and weeks where he handles it. Beautifully.

He’s the most kind, genuine person. He’s loving, easy-going, articulate, and authentically gentle and very smart.

But what if this was not his experience, and he was hurting. Or on the street. Or disappeared like someone’s son I did The Work with (presumably using meth).

Who would you be without the belief you have to worry about someone you love?

Look around.


This doesn’t mean don’t speak with that person you care about so much.

Tell the truth, be honest.

“Tell me what it’s like for you when it comes to thinking about getting a job, or finishing school this next year, or what you like about smoking pot.”

It’s not about fading into the background or staying quiet about what you really care about.

Which is my kid.

I turn the thought around: I’m the one I have to worry about, especially when it comes to my son.


You know what the origin of the word “worry” is, or where it comes from?

It is from “wyrgan” which means strangle.

Which so reminds me of Not Speaking.

If you have a son or daughter or person in your life who you are strangling yourself from speaking to, or speaking about, or you’re feeling mute, and strangled from saying what you really need and want to say…..

…..then speak.

I’ll let you know how it goes when I do.

I’m spending 3 weeks with him, every day, and we are talking.

No doubt about it.

“Would you rather be right, or free?” ~ Byron Katie

Much love,



Stop Yelling! Start Working! When Stress Hits The Fan

If you want to jump into inquiry on Parenting for 8 weeks, or even Eating Peace Online before tomorrow….there are just a few spots available.

Hit reply and write if you’re interested.


Yesterday, I was looking forward to a lovely interview in the morning with a fabulous facilitator of The Work, Ralf Giesen, to be recorded to share with you all and the world for anyone interested in how inquiry has affected his life.

I’ve done a couple of these interviews easily, and LOVED them.

(They’re on my youtube channel by the way).

We were both on our computers, with cameras, at the appointed time.

Looking at nothing.

Both had the google+ open, I was ready, he was ready….

….nothing firing up.


I was quickly checking all settings, sending another invite, googling youtube on how to start a google hangout so I could discover what the heck wasn’t working.

No answers. No Ralf.


I have better things to do than fuss with technology! Kill the google hangout instructions! I hate this!

Fortunately, the next thing in my day of course was doing The Work, as usual.

It was a perfect segue.

The first teleclass on parenting for 8 weeks.

And there were some great situations shared by participants on moments with disruptive, yelling, rude children.

Which was the same way I felt about that google hangout situation.

They shouldn’t be like that!

It is true!

But who would you be if you couldn’t have that thought…even as things are going haywire, a child is yelling and upset, a computer doesn’t work, something doesn’t go as planned?

It’s like the most calm feeling in the world.

Even though something’s happening, moving, storming, making noise, and not going the way you’d like….

….what if you could ride the wave?

You’re sticking with it, staying connected, but not getting all worked up yourself.

Seems difficult, especially if a person (your kid) is upset and yelling, and it appears disrespectful.

But you wouldn’t rage back AND you wouldn’t withdraw and avoid.

Without the belief, I study hangouts and try to figure out how to do it differently next time, and I’m still not sure.

Participants in our teleclass felt the same.

They’re not sure how to be different yet, or how it will go next time, but it’s actually OK.

Turning the thoughts around: it should be like that.

That does feel lighter, and much less upsetting.

How could it be true, when it comes to kids, or to the technology breaking down?

Any benefits or advantages to it going the way it went, rather than your ideal or alternate version?

I don’t quite know yet.

But I do know I love connecting, whether with a colleague, or my kids.

True intimacy is courageous and loving.

And as easy as doing nothing, moving forward, asking questions, setting things up for the next time, talking….

….trying again.

“When you stay present with your children, that’s where abundance is. And when you stay out of their business, that is where everything you deserve in life is, it’s right there. When you are in presence, there’s no story there, and you are abundance, everything you ever wanted is there in that moment, and you come to trust it. And you come to trust the space so often that you just eventually hang out as that, because there is nothing that can move you out of it, not even a perceived child or a perceived anything.” ~ Byron Katie 

Love, Grace

She Shouldn’t Say That To Me!

Peace Talk Podcast this week is on ANXIETY. I’d love your comments or to read your reviews on itunes.

Haven’t listened yet? Google Grace Bell Podcast.

Peace Talk Podcast Made New and Noteworthy on Itunes!
Peace Talk Podcast Made New and Noteworthy on Itunes! 


So now that I’m done with the recent in-person retreat Eating Peace and getting registrations for the upcoming 3 month online program with the same title….

….I’m aware that next Monday, only five days away….

….a teleclass begins on PARENTING.

Did you hear the shark-lurking-in-the-water sound?


Oh man.

Beliefs about parenting, other people’s parenting, caring for young humans, caring about actually grown up kids, judging how our parents parented….

….is intense, to put it mildly.

I would say hands down, my kids provided the most worksheets on situations where I “lost” my temper than any other situations in my life for the past ten years.

Especially my amazing daughter.

The first time I wrote a worksheet on her, I was ashamed to read it to the person facilitating me.

How could a mother be so mean, babyish, angry, and vengeful?!

My rage was intense.

And this kid was only 8 years old at the time.

She shouldn’t talk back, she shouldn’t boss me, I need her to listen (code word for listen is do-what-I-say I later realized), I want her to respect me, she is rude, ungrateful, loud, irritating, ridiculous, outrageous.

It was weird how mad I could get.

She should clean up her room, wash her dishes.

Even now I will scan the room when I enter the house, see her boots and backpack lying on the chair, and immediately think….

….”WHAT?! She should put those away in her room!”

Like it’s such a shock.

Over and over again it seemed, I questioned and entered the incredible open world of who I would be without my thoughts about my children….

….so stressful, so ingrained, so deep.

So the other day, I told my daughter “you should listen to my new podcast—that’s your DAD doing the intro and outro you know—and it’s only five minutes kinda like your you-tuber friends….I’d like to know what you think!”

She took one look at the cover art, two babies (thank you to the photographer’s son, the laughing baby on the left, who gave the thumbs-up for using the photo).

She said “I hate babies” and marched out of the room.

Who would I be without the belief she should be more respectful, or listen to my genius work (ha) or even care?


I’d actually be laughing.

She’s funny! And spicy!

“How can you have rules and still stay out of your children’s business? Drop the rules and find out! You’ll find that your children, on their own, will live every rule you’ve ever taught them, and some of them you may not like. They are a perfect reflection of you. They turned out to be you…..Ultimately you don’t have any control over your children. You don’t have any control over anything. When you think you do, and you see that you don’t, the effect is depression.” ~ Byron Katie

I turn the thoughts around that I have about my kids, even today: she should NOT want to listen to me talk, she shouldn’t like babies, she shouldn’t clean up, I should clean up (especially my thoughts), he should lose things all the time, he should be late, she should love what she loves, I should quit being noisy in my head about their noise.

I am actually really glad she doesn’t like babies right now….she’s seventeen.

There are benefits.

I love she’s outspoken and strong. She refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance in school, because she doesn’t agree with it.

She’s finding her way.

When I was her age, I was smiling all the time, trying to be nice, rebellious but never TOO angry or upset, and full of very conflicted feelings.

And developing a raging eating disorder.

My daughter is really quite happy with food.

That same night after the “I hate babies” comment, she came into my room before going to bed….

…..and gave me a big hug and kiss goodnight, and said “I love you, mom”.

What a cutie.

To join the 8 week teleclass where we’ll identify our most painful thoughts about our kid(s) and do The Work on them, starting on Monday at 10 am Pacific Time….click HERE.

You do The Work, and watch your kid change (or not). Give yourself some peace.

I’d love to have you with us!

Love, Grace

Do You Think You’re Supposed To Be Loving & Patient ALL The Time?

Eating Peace Online starts on February 22nd. This is my baby, born after years of study, healing, and training. I am now in service as a light worker to others who need help changing their relationship with eating, forever.

How to Be a Happy Parent starts Monday, February 23rd. Head over to my website to learn more or hit reply if you have questions. A cool bunch of moms are signing up–dads are welcome too!


Speaking of kids.

Last week my new podcast Peace Talk turned out to be about kids, or really, taking care of people…

…and what a hassle that can be! Jeez!

Are your kids driving you bonkers?
Are your kids driving you bonkers?

When I first began doing The Work, I investigated my thoughts on just about everybody else before my kids.

They were quite young when I found The Work.

I was so in love with them! I almost had a weird reaction to being a mom I hadn’t anticipated, which was “why didn’t someone tell me this would be so fantastic, ecstatic, and wondrous!?”

Of all the choices I had for careers, work, or creative projects….

….this was the BEST EVER.

I gave birth at home, it was pretty easy, I had super relaxed pregnancies. For once, something appeared to come very naturally to me. Being a mom.

And then.

One day we’re driving to the store, my two kids in car seats in the back seat.

Suddenly, a piercing scream and the youngest is grabbing her brother’s shirt and pulling, and he’s shouting at her to stop.

Something is thrown and it jets past my ear and I hear it hit the front windshield.

Nothing breaks, it was just a plastic apple from the doll house kitchen.


I screamed at the top of MY lungs shouting “STOP! NOW!” and it felt like my head would explode and fire was coming out of my ears.

My throat actually hurt afterwards.

What the ?

I couldn’t believe how big that scream was.

What was wrong with me? Was my patience faltering? Was I worse than I ever imagined when it comes to maturity and kindness when parenting? Was I a complete whack-job? Would I turn out to be Mommie-Dearest and screw up my kids?

Self-hate, self-hate, self-hate.

I would try hard never to have these kinds of “losing it” moments.


Well….in case you haven’t noticed…

…”trying hard” doesn’t exactly work as a solution to a difficult situation or a big feeling.

I needed to explore that moment very, very, very slowly….and do The Work.

It begins with writing a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet of course, getting all the thoughts, beliefs and concerns on paper, so you can see what it is you were feeling and thinking.

What I love about The Work is that you can let out all the ridiculous, completely babyish judgments and just let ’em rip on paper.

Even about your kids.

The ones who don’t deserve your criticism, because they aren’t conditioned yet, they aren’t evil bad people, they’re being little humans.

Yes, even those innocent children you get to judge, and take your judgments to inquiry.

What a relief!

You can start with kids, or if you don’t have any children who are driving you nuts, focus on someone else who makes you cray-cray.

They should quit bickering, she shouldn’t grab, he shouldn’t bite, they should go to bed, I need them to be quiet.

And don’t go flipping your concepts into turnarounds on yourself and aim it back at you, like you’re shooting a criticism gun at your own head—no—instead, notice what is revealed to you, watch what’s disturbing you really, see what your feelings are about, and relax.

When you get to the turnarounds, you might discover new ideas about how to be with your kids (or those other annoying people) in ways that make you laugh out loud, instead of screaming.

Your love for them may pour through, without you even trying.

“Who would you be without the belief that you’re supposed to love your children right now? You’d be free to love them or not, and to be a very good parent, whatever you’re feeling right now….Inquiry sets us free of trying to be anything we’re not.” ~ Byron Katie



P.S. everyone who signs up for the parenting class will receive a little book as a gift called “Byron Katie on Parents and Children”. I’ll mail it to you myself.

The Clean Room Fights

Just the other day in Summer Camp, a mom read a worksheet on her screaming, upset six year old.

Some of my favorite worksheets for myself have been the ones I wrote on my kids, especially my daughter.

Sometimes, it would feel like this incredible child was my guru of all gurus, the teacher who was knocking to my knees.

Kids are so great that way.

They stick around, they live with you or are there a whole lot of the time on a regular basis. No getting away from it.

And you don’t want to, not at all.

Recently my 17 year old daughter was away on a trip with her dad and brother. I went into her room to find something….

….and saw the clothes all over the floor, the clothes on the bed from when she had been packing her suitcase, the piles of things on her desk, her wardrobe doors opened with stuff spilling out.

I spontaneously started cleaning it up. I had seen it before, it had been like this for months, my mind had some chatter stirred up about lack of cleaning and messiness and blah-blah-blah but I felt energy, action.

I love turning dirty-ness to clean-ness.

It was fun.

Now, that’s not the “difficult” part of the story.

Fast forward to her arrival back home, just the other day.

She marches in to my bedroom where I’ve been working. She is furious.

“Where is my wallet?!!! It was on the floor in the exact place I always put it–you moved it!!” Frustrated eyes looking at me.

Pause, breathe, hold it…no wait…no, don’t go there. Wait…oh no!

Yep. I did it.

Me: “Well, if you had cleaned up your room beFORE then I wouldn’t have HAD to do it and then YOU would know where your wallet was!”

Her: “You move things around every time and I HATE it!”

Me: “You are so disrespectful!! I cleaned your room up and you should appreciate it!!”

I said it pretty loud.

OK, it’s called yelling.

She started crying.

Instant softening of my body, a sort of collapse down, awareness that I have hurt my kid, that I snapped, was impatient, felt furious.

I quick sat up, opened my arms up to her, and said “I am so sorry I just got so mad at you. I was so happy doing that job, and I love the way it looks now, and I thought you would like it too instead of getting upset you can’t find something.”

Now a key underlying belief in this kind of exchange, once you do The Work on “she should appreciate what I’ve done for her” (not) is to look at this one, which can be very insidious and very painful:

I shouldn’t get angry.

Seems true, right?

I should be tolerant, patient, confident, loving, kind, powerful, clear and direct at all times with my kids. I should never be triggered and turn into a brat myself. I should be mature.

Is that true?

Well, yeah. Duh!

Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

No. There are, apparently, thousands and millions of parents who are not tolerant, patient, confident or grown up with their kids. Apparently on planet earth, mothers, including me, get angry and fed up sometimes.

How do you react when you believe you shouldn’t snap, throw your hands in the air, feel pushed to the limit, or get angry?

I feel very bad. Depressed. Quiet.

I see images of how my dad used to feel so upset with himself when he got angry and raised his voice, which was only about once a year, maybe. He would leave the house for hours. It was like he committed a major crime.

I feel frightened of how my kid sees me, how others might see me, I feel ashamed.

But who would you be without the belief that you shouldn’t get angry, and you feel bloody angry?!

Now that’s different. Without shame about actually feeling anger, or rage, I allow it to run through my body. I notice how much I care about this situation, about myself, about my daughter.

I actually feel excited.

This anger is alive, powerful, like a burning flame. It crashes through me and I notice how I’m absolutely madly in love with my daughter even when angry with her. I see how I don’t want to hurt her at all, and she doesn’t want to hurt me either.

I relax completely around her needing to like a clean room. I notice that I love clean rooms, but its not a requirement that anyone else, or that she, loves them.

I should get angry.

There’s a message in this passionate surge of feeling. It’s beautiful, striking, wild, big. I seem to care about this. A lot.

I should notice how much I love clean rooms, I can respect myself in this conversation, I can have great compassion for a moment when a wallet seems lost, I can ask what it’s like for her, we can brainstorm from here where the wallet might be, I do not need her appreciation, I need to appreciate myself, and appreciate her.

All in a burst it’s over. She suddenly remembers where her wallet is (not in her room) and goes to find it.

Even if I don’t like that I felt so at war, hostile, defensive or upset in that flash of a moment…I appreciate the presence of the swift, powerful energy of anger.

I’m still learning today, because it was present.

I notice I love the story of passion, energy, change, revolution.

“What is this inner revolution? To begin with, revolution is not static; it is alive, ongoing, and continuous. It cannot be grasped or made to fit into any conceptual model. Nor is there any path to this inner revolution, for it is neither predictable nor controllable and has a life all its own.” ~ Adyashanti

Feeling angry doesn’t mean you have to hurt, break, punch or harm anyone. It’s just a feeling.

You’re not wrong to have it.

And then from this point, you can see what else is true, and take the most balanced, jedi, powerful path with your passion. Maybe anger is love in disguise.

And we’re taking off the costume here, and seeing what’s real and what’s left.

Wow do I ever love that kid.

Much love, Grace


A Mother’s Grip On Reality

My kids are driving me bonkers!  

A mom in Summer Camp Telecalls recently reminded me of my own early mom days. She wanted them to quiet down, so she could do The Work.

Kind of hilarious, the energy that wells up….“Be Quiet! I’m trying to question my thinking over here! JEEZ!”

When I had two very young ones, I was beyond thrilled to have these two amazing kids in my life. In fact, I was pretty blown away by the miraculous and bizarre way we all arrive here on planet earth.

But their presence in my world was also like a match that lit up whole entire inner buildings full of belief-systems about parenting, what “good” moms do, what “good” kids do, what “good” dads do, how kids should turn out.

I need to make sure these two kids feel safe, secure, happy, heard, important and valuable.


That means I should never be driven bonkers by them. I should be patient, kind, gentle and wise at all times.


In case you haven’t noticed…..it’s impossible.

But if you do The Work and question your thinking, you may be way more “sane” than you could ever dream of when it comes to your kids.

So let’s go.

Is it true that you should be a perfect mom, that it’s your job to support their confidence, success, and happiness in life?

If they aren’t happy….or if they bug you….do you really think it means that there’s something wrong with your parenting?

Well, no. I know there aren’t any perfect moms.

How do you react when you think you need to be the one who inspires and creates success and happiness in your kids’ lives….and they sometimes look pretty upset?

I feel anxious, sad, worried. Wondering how their future will turn out. Playing out future possibilities.

Not staying right here in the present.

But who would you be without the thought? Without the belief that you need to help them, support them, make sure they know they are valuable, happy, safe, comfortable?

Whew. Now that is a relief.

Lots of moms and dads will think that if they let go of the belief that they are responsible for their kids, they won’t even care.

They’ll be neglectful, and wrong.

But can you know that this is even true?

“How do you react when you believe the thought that you need to protect your children, and in reality they’re perfectly fine without your protection?….You got through your difficulties, so what leads you to believe that they aren’t at least as capable and courageous as you are? What leads you to believe that they have fewer survival skills than you do?” ~ Byron Katie

Turning the thoughts around: I’m driving myself bonkers! I need to make sure I myself feel safe, secure, happy, heard, important and valuable.

Because I am, and so are you.

Every human is worthy, safe, secure, happy, heard, important and valuable.

We can feel this for ourselves. We don’t need a mother or father to tell us…..not really.

“A mother’s grip on reality is a wonderful thing.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love, Grace

Not For Everyone, But Maybe For You: A Private, Special Retreat

I am thrilled and jumping up and down (on the inside)!

Because a dream I’ve had that others have suggested to me before, something I couldn’t imagine only a few years ago, is now coming into reality this fall.

For five+ years now, I’ve been working with people who hate their bodies, people who struggle with eating, people upset by aging, their flaws, their appearance, a difficult spouse, trying times with kids, and those frightened about money and lack of support.

As one of my favorite authors and teachers, Geneen Roth, summarizes it….

….it’s the suffering of Not Enough.

Every single workshop or class offering inquiry to those struggling with food and eating, pain or illness has offered profound teaching for me personally.

I’ve been learning how I can transmit the information I have of freedom from the prison of worrying about food, trusting my appetites, accepting this body and its flaws, allowing money to come and go freely, letting go of anxiety, feeling grateful and feeling deeply beautiful….

….to you.

I’ve loved my own journey every step of the way (well, ok, I didn’t exactly LOVE it every step of the way) and living this ever-expanding life with you means the world to me.

You may know where I came from, but if you don’t, it’s kind of embarrassing and ugly.

At least that’s how I used to feel.

I was anxious about overeating, upset when too hungry, and never, ever satisfied with the way my body looked. I went on huge binges, stuffing my face with everything in sight. I pushed myself hard with exercise.

I lost almost all my assets and money, and never had a satisfying career. My relationships were somewhat rocky, I got divorced. I yelled at my kids.

I felt flawed.

The stressful beliefs began when I was a kid, and surfaced more deeply when I was in high school. Then they got more sophisticated and I became a nutrition expert (without a degree), and bulimic, and life felt frighteningly unpredictable.


What I really, really wanted was total freedom from thinking about my life in such a painful way.

It’s agonizing to imagine that something is wrong with you, with your body, your mind, your feelings, and that you’re a failure when it comes to being here on planet earth.

Then, on top of feeling unacceptable, I would criticize myself for being self-critical.

I should know better! I should be nicer to myself! I’m acting like a teenager! I need to get a grip!

You can’t win, with this kind of loop-dee-loop thinking. It’s like bouncing back and forth between a rock and a hard place, like a ping pong ball on steroids, never getting any relief.

I sought many modalities of healing and all of them were excellent.

Individual therapy, group therapy, The Course in Miracles, meditation, The Work of Byron Katie, retreats, counseling, training, spiritual teachings, twelve steps.

And now I’m ready to combine them into core teachings for healing the mind’s attack on the body, on other people, on food, on money, on life, and end that war.

I find there are six areas of stressful beliefs, some that begin when you’re only a child, that contribute deeply to Not Enough-ness.

You can question them all, and shift.

They are responsible for immense suffering.

These areas are:

  • If I don’t look acceptable, people won’t like me. If people don’t like me, I’ll suffer. Therefore, find out what acceptable is, and look like that.
  • My feelings are not to be trusted, or shown to others. They upset people.
  • I am not safe in many situations. The world (full of people) is a chaotic, disturbing or terrifying place.
  • My thinking is not my friend.
  • There are many activities that can change my feelings about situations that are troubling…like eating, smoking, drinking wine, cleaning, getting a crush on someone. But they all hurt in the end.
  • I am my body, my body defines who I am.
Boy howdy, when your feelings are not trustworthy, and your thinking is not trustworthy, and the world is not trustworthy….then you are up sh*t creek, philosophically speaking.
But there is a way out, entirely, from that madness.
You can question what you learned was true, from your earliest memories all the way to now.

You can alter your beliefs, your mind, your feelings….by changing what creates discomfort for you in your own belief system.

In other words, if you don’t like the way a thought makes you feel, you can question it and find out if it’s really, really true.

When I was in my twenties, I felt desperate to find answers. I had some fantastic guidance, but I wish I had found a clear resource to look at my inner thoughts and what I was making things mean in my life.

Now, I don’t even have to “work” at it.

Don’t get me wrong, my mind still has troubling thoughts. Just the other day I saw my 53 year old wrinkles around my eyes and let out a sigh.

But then I chuckled.

And if I don’t, I’ve got The Work.

Who would you be without the belief that you are Not Enough, that people won’t like you, that you need to be liked, that there is Not Enough money, Not Enough attention, that you must protect yourself from a hard world?

Kind of amazing to consider, right?

Which brings me to why I’m so excited….

I’m offering a very deep focused immersion into self-inquiry, spiritual inquiry, The Work and experiential exercises I’ve found to be amazing to address the sense of feeling lack, disappointment, anger, fear, discouragement…..

…..to a very small group of eight people.

The Serene, Powerful, Loved, Ecstatic, Enough Retreat.

If you enroll in this unique once-in-a-lifetime retreat, offered November 10-13, 2014, you will look at the nooks and crannies where you have believed in Not Enoughness.

You will look at who you really are, what is genuinely true, and what’s gotten in the way of your freedom.

You will have access to the nurturing, care, enough-ness, beauty and wisdom that lives inside of you, that’s been here all along even through your self-defeating behaviors.

You can put down trying to solve the problem of life, money, kids, spouses, food and weight, and build your contact with unconditional love.

We’ll question painful messages of fear and hurt, of thinking there is something wrong with you.

You’ll open to truly imagining there isn’t.

I would love to support you to put down the battle, the project of self-improvement forever….and I know you can’t stop your thoughts, and you can’t control them.

(Control never works in the end).

But you can turn your attention to other truths, you can stop proving that your stressful thoughts are true, and prove the peaceful ones instead.

This is not your average, in-house retreat where I have people come to my cottage for a day or two. This particular format will appeal and be possible for only a very few.

We will be in luxuriously cared for, with special guest appearances via skype or in-person by teachers who are experts in spiritual inquiry (and maybe you’ve heard of them).

I’ve asked several important guides, and it is yet unknown who will be able to connect with us for sure. It will be a surprise!

You will be able to ask personal questions and have direct contact with them.

This experience will be different than large meditation and educational retreats attended by hundreds. You will not contend with crowds.

And I’ll offer you my own experience and strength, and my compassionate facilitation.

“The Way of Liberation is a call to action; it is something you do. It is a doing that will undo you absolutely. If you do not do the teaching, if you do not study and apply it fearlessly, it cannot effect any transformation. The Way of Liberation is not a belief system; it is something to be put into practice.” ~ Adyashanti

You can turn all of your beliefs around, and live a life of completely, utterly, unconditionally enough at every turn, around every corner, deep inside of you.

You can start practicing it now, by turning the troubling beliefs to the opposite:

  • I can look the way I look, people love me. If people don’t like me, I’ll won’t suffer. Being myself is acceptable.
  • My feelings are to be acknowledged, honored, and shown to others. They don’t upset people. Or me.
  • I am safe in every situation. The world (full of people) is a mysterious, magical, curious and loving place.
  • Thinking is my friend.
  • There are no activities that can change my feelings about situations that are troubling…except self-inquiry, self-love, allowing everything and everyone to be as they are.
  • I am not my body, my body cannot define who I am. My body is inside of me, as is everything else.
At the Serene, Powerful, Loved, Ecstatic, Enough Retreat

you will stay in five-star award-winning accommodation Willows Lodge in Woodinville, Washington. Our group will be fully catered for every meal. We will work with the abundance of beauty and food as part of our inquiry practice, and what is enough.

For many others who will not be able to do this due to cost…. ….have no fear, I’ll be presenting my teleclasses this summer starting soon in July, and YOI (Year of Inquiry) in September…and I am working on pre-recorded classes you can take on your own.

(Eating Peace will be the first class people can take online on their own, stay tuned).

“We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.” ~ Marianne Williamson

Letting yourself experience this four-day retreat of deep self-inquiry, The Work, presence, now….you may discover a new light within that is both serene and ecstatic, when you know how loved you are that no situation, person, place or thing can change this.

And who knows what can happen from there.

The Serene, Powerful, Loved, Ecstatic, Enough Retreat is by application only.

If you are interested, please click this link. I will respond to all applications on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please apply by July 4th, independence day in the US. Your payment will be due upon your acceptance into the program and confirms your participation.

Thank you universe for this incredible opportunity to be a guide along your journey.

Wherever you are, and whoever you are, you are love.

“Love is action.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love, Grace

What To Do About Annoying Interruptions

May 3rd: mini retreat in Seattle, 1:30-5:30 pm at Goldilocks Cottage. Mini retreats offer a power-packed in-depth investigation of a situation you find faulty in your life. You’ll look at what you are against and take it through the four questions. Everyone welcome. You can earn 4 CEUs if you’re a mental health professional. 

Speaking of power-packed in-depth investigations…

The three Year of Inquiry (YOI) groups have been coming up with such juicy, brilliant concepts for questioning. Very universal (they all are, really).

But yesterday morning, we looked at a moment everyone in this world has probably experienced, with varying degrees of disturbance.

Your Peace. Interrupted.

By that other person entering the building, coming home early, yelling loudly, shouting in the crowd, calling you when you’re busy, stopping by unexpectedly, turning on the TV, asking you for something.

Kids, spouses, partners, friends, strangers.

Humans can interrupt you at any time, any moment!! It’s a mine field out there!! Escape for the hills!

The type of interruption we observed was the kind where someone is friendly, exuberant even (one YOI member was investigating her thoughts about a puppy), cute, interested in you, innocent….

…someone you love, who you care about and often spend time with.

Except not right now.


Can’t you see I’m trying to “fill-in-the-blank”? (Write, read, meditate, answer emails, talk to someone else).

That little split second of a moment when you want to shut them down, annoyed, angry, wanting to un-do this disturbing moment.

But who would you be without the thought that you are truly disturbed?

Without the thought that having no choice in that moment is a bad thing?

“In most cases, you have no right to demand that this person live up to your expectations; someone else in your place would be exposed to this behavior and would experience no annoyance at all. Just contemplate this truth….How foolish of  you to demand that someone else live up to standards and norms programmed into you.” ~ Anthony de Mello

This does not mean that you never speak up, never make requests. You may move yourself into more pleasant surroundings. There will be a most loving approach, all the way around.

Turning the thought around: My peace is not interrupted.

My peace is never interrupted.

Can you find where this could be truer?

“The Master’s power is like this. He lets all things come and go effortlessly, without desire. He never expects results; thus he is never disappointed. He is never disappointed; thus his spirit never grows old.” ~ Tao Te Ching #55

Don’t read this as a way you are not measuring up….simply notice, contemplate.

Can you let one tiny part of your resistance go? Even just a little teensy eensy bit may make a huge difference next time.

You never know.

Much love, Grace

Parent Driving Panic

Many years ago, on a quiet weekday afternoon, I was exhausted with sleep-deprivation, having a two year old toddler girl and a five year old son who had just started kindergarten.

My daughter went down for a nap. I rushed around picking up things off the floor then making my way to my bedroom to lie down, for just a little while.

This unusual day…I fell asleep in the silent house. The phone never rang, I didn’t get involved in some project, I didn’t start paying bills.

I woke with a start and sat up. The afternoon light didn’t look right.

Because normally, I have to get my daughter in the car and go fetch my son at school when the light is still bright, mid-afternoon light. My son comes out at a set time every day. There’s a spot for parents in cars. Some days, I carpool or other parents drive.

But Thursdays, I always go get my son.

In the very still, dense, quiet afternoon…I grasp that I had fallen asleep.

OMG! What time is it??!!

I was supposed to be there NOW. It would take me 30 minutes to drive there.

Have you ever driven from here to there filled with anxiety because you absolutely have to be there already?

I wish I had The Work or a way to have investigated what was true and what was not true at that time, with my small children.

Back then, I thought it was an EMERGENCY that I was so late.

My son Ben was only 5, he didn’t have a cell phone, I had no way to contact the teacher, I didn’t even know how to contact the school when the bell had already rung.

I put myself in my son’s little shoes and knew he would probably go to the pick up place and stand there.

My hand gripped the wheel and images reeled through my head of him being led away by an unsavory adult…of him crying as all the kids and buses and teachers left him standing alone….of him being abandoned.

I was sick to my stomach, in heavy thick traffic. Every driver went at the pace of a turtle. My heart was popping out of my throat.

Turning the corner into the sight of the pick up area, I saw his little purple coat, and him standing with his hood up, very still, both hands to his sides with his yellow lunch sack in one hand and his back pack that looked enormous on his small back.

I jumped out of the drivers seat of my car and I’m sure my face looked wild with apology.

Ahhh yes, if only I had The Work.

Because when I look back, my son Ben was actually PERFECTLY FINE.

He wasn’t maimed, injured, desperate, frightened.

I asked him “Were you worried? I am so, so, sorry. Mommy is so, so sorry.”

A little worried mommy. 

I look back and see the teaching and the learning, passed along so innocently. 

Now is the moment to think you were abandoned, that mom was unreliable, that you were let down….that mom is very sorry…and now that I’ave arrived you discover all is well, and you are relieved.  

Who would I be without the thought that falling asleep, not waking up, being late, that Ben standing alone for 25 minutes without me picking him up….was terrible, was all my fault….and was all something I should have avoided and that he hated?

Now it’s 15 years later. I still think about that moment with sorrow. Except NOW, today, as the image flashes through my mind….I pause.

I say “Is that all true?” 

No. No idea.

Was that a dangerous situation? Not really. Was it outrageous that I was so unreliable? No.

Who would you be without the thought that you need to GET THERE NOW, and it appears….you can’t.

Even if the situation is much more serious or critical than mine.

You might actually be present during the drive, instead of so freaked out that all you remember is the gripped steering wheel.

Who would you be without the thought that there was a mistake, in the past?

Especially with your young child, who may be much older now (or not)?

“Pain is the signal that you’re confused, that you’re in a lie….You are the solution to the problem–your apparent problem. No mother or son has ever done harm. We’re dealing with confusion here, that’s all. Through this work, we come to realize that.” ~ Byron Katie

Love, Grace