I’d love to get to know you better by reading your honest responses (anonymous) to a few powerful survey questions about your fears and dreams. Please share with me here so I may of the highest service and understanding. In deep gratitude: Answer Questions Here.
Let’s do The Work again on Facebook Live today Friday 3/16 at NOON Pacific Time. I love those who send me a question beforehand, and today, our topic and stressful belief will be one that feel basic, harsh, but very persistent within the human experience:
Have you ever had this thought?
Oh so painful.
And on top of having the thought itself hurt, we also think “I shouldn’t be so hard on myself” or “I shouldn’t care about what I look like” or “I shouldn’t even have this thought in the first place!”
(What’s wrong with me!?)
How you get to a facebook live video, in case you don’t know, is you simply go to the usual Facebook page, and scroll down inside the posts section. I’ll be there on video at NOON Pacific time/3 pm Eastern time/9 pm Europe.
If you miss the live moment, you’ll see the recorded video later right there on the same Work With Grace facebook page.
Mistakes, goof-ups (inevitable) and surprises all etched in time on recording. That’s the fun (or horror) of facebook LIVE: it’s LIVE. No script, no edits, no cuts.
Who would we be without our stories of ugliness, needing to fix ourselves, or even fix our thinking (or change the video–LOL)?
Who would we be without the story of comparison, and measuring ourselves up against the other people we encounter in the world?
And as a special bow to Ireland and the Celtic traditions (part of my ancestry) I recently was touched by the beautiful way I heard John O’Donohue and Thomas Merton, two Christian mystics, offer their wisdom to this process of comparing ourselves and coming up short (or better than)….
First of all, the latest Peace Talk Podcast 138: When the doctor said it’s cancer! (Yikes!)
People are pretty incredible at pretending they feel things they don’t really feel.
Remember the famous movie scene in When Harry Met Sally with Meg Ryan’s in Katz’ restaurant with Billy Crystal? (I’ll have what she’s having!)
And then I heard recently in the movie I, Tonya about a tragic moment when Tonya Harding skates out on the ice with a huge big fake smile, despite having terrible bruises under her make-up and emotional heart-break only moments before.
It’s astonishing how we can look like something on the outside that’s not matching at all on the inside.
And oh my, I used to act a lot.
When I was a child, I covered up feeling betrayed or hurt with a smile. I’d hold in tears by holding my breath. I smiled when I was actually terrified or upset. I was shy and avoided people I really liked a lot and admired.
The thing I found amazing about The Work, and also a bit awkward (OK very very awkward at first) was the first step: tell the truth about how you really feel.
The whole truth.
No matter how petty, childish, ridiculous, mean, vicious or nasty you sound. And no matter if part of you thinks it is NOT true.
Tell it on paper, so it doesn’t sneak away and get reworded or hidden or subverted all over again.
Now, this is an incredible step, to admit and be willing to write down all your aggressive, judgmental, suspicious, frightened, childish thoughts about other people, situations, or things that bother you.
I’ve had people tell me to keep their worksheets in a brown file folder at my house, or if they’re long distance that they’re shredding their worksheet the minute they’re done with it.
But what about in a group?
Where other people are listening, hearing, contemplating YOUR mean awful desperate thoughts?
Why would I want other people, and maybe even strangers, to hear my most ugly thoughts? That’s taking it too far. I just can’t.
Long ago on my first adventures into healing my extremely anxious mind, I was led to a therapist who believed in group therapy. She believed it was so valuable, she encouraged every single person who came to work with her to eventually move into one of her groups.
In fact, if you wanted to keep to individual sessions only, she’d kick you out–er, I mean refer you on to some other therapist–who was willing to listen to you repeat yourself, possibly for years.
Even though I trusted her, I was pretty nervous about the group therapy.
I thought “I’ll never do that.”
But after six months of solo work, she said it was time.
I sat in near total silence from Day One of entering that group. I could barely whisper my name to the other members (there were 9). I looked down at the rug, or stared at whoever was talking politely.
I was deeply curious about what was going on, but absolutely shaking in my bones to reveal the true me. It felt paralyzing.
One day, about six months into me being in the group, the lead therapist (the one I had seen independently for awhile first) said she had something important to say before we began.
She turned to me.
“Grace, you have been completely silent for six months here. Do you realize, you are remaining in complete control by doing this? We want to get to know you, to feel you as a part of this group family.”
I began to cry. (Although not too hard, mind you).
I’m not sure if it was out of fear, or relief.
I knew that although I was terrified to share, I also knew I wanted to desperately, and to feel the freedom of being all of myself, the childish and the wise.
I started talking from that day forward, and participating honestly. Slowly, this became easier and easier over time. It was one of the most life-changing and important things I ever did for my own freedom.
While I was in that group, I had my last eating binge, I became close to my boyfriend in a more genuine way (and married him), I began writing short stories for other people to read–not just me, and I held a normal full time job I actually kind of liked.
I began to feel…..normal. Like a regular human being instead of a severely anxious, depressed, addicted wreck.
Sharing in a group with true honesty has remained powerful for me to this day.
I love the dynamics of a group and I have a deep, abiding compassion for those who wish to keep things to themselves.
I know they do it for good reasons.
I also know the power of self-inquiry that can help us begin to speak when we’re stuck in silence.
What I find every time in a group environment with other people, is we’re all quite unique, but we’re also incredibly alike.
We’re all thinking, believing, feeling humans. We all have childish aspects and very wise adult aspects and everything in between. We’re all doing it our own way, on our own path….and yet somehow, together.
“There are no new thoughts.” ~ Byron Katie
If I had not shown up at that group so long ago, and been poked to be honest, I might be living a life of simple survival, getting through each day, feeling somewhat alone and never really excited or passionate. Maybe I wouldn’t be binge-eating or freaking out anxiously anymore, but I might be resigned, or numb. Who knows.
I am forever grateful I myself responded to something within that said “call that therapist” and that I stuck with it despite having extremely frightened judgments about people getting together and being emotional (ew).
I am forever grateful the universe was friendly, and I got pushed along by the current of truth-telling, and willingness to be authentic and real.
Honesty and revealing the suffering allows the light to shine in.
If you’ve been considering sitting with others to sink into your own work, in a very safe non-invasive, nothing-is-truly-required container….then come gather with me and other inquirers to look at this goofy and difficult and sad and humorous mind that views the world the way it does.
You may discover an acceptance, through the eyes of others, you never found possible for yourself.
Because that’s what happened for me so long ago in that little group.
I shared with them out loud that I sometimes felt suicidal, that I isolated, that I ate the equivalent of five meals instead of one.
I looked up at them, thinking I’d see disgust on their faces.
I saw only acceptance. Compassion. Tenderness. Maybe some confusion. I was not banished or rejected.
No one kicked me out of the group for being too much of a mess.
It changed my life.
It showed me what I could do for myself: accept my thoughts, like little children, waiting for someone to listen….and that someone was me.
“I had such a hunger to burn up whatever thoughts arose in my mind that whenever a physical reaction came through me, I let it come….I would just stand or drop onto the sidewalk and let the emotion have its way. People were always kind. They would stop and say things like ‘Do you need help?’ ‘Would you like a tissue?’ ‘Is there someone I can call?’ ‘Can I take you somewhere?’ That’s how I met the world. It was tender. It was sensitive. These people were all pieces of me.” ~ Byron Katie in A Mind At Home With Itself.
If you’re like me and you notice you could use a little help in coming out of your shell or cave, or you’re not sure where your “yes” voice is that knows we’re in a great big co-creation experiment (oh joy)….
….then you may be ready for retreat.
Find one in your neighborhood or city, even a few hours drive away will work to gather and connect with others. Maybe there’s a meetup in The Work in your area, or someone who facilitates retreats.
If you’re in the northwest or want to head in this direction, I’d welcome you with open arms.
Three options I have coming soon:
a) Half-day retreat in Seattle March 18th (3 more spots). Only 4 hours 2-6 pm. You’ll walk through this powerful inquiry process with one important issue or troubling situation. You don’t have to share out loud–although you may find joy if you do. Ten people maximum in my Goldilocks Cottage living room.
b) Spring retreat is in Seattle May 16-20 and has room for 4 more. You can commute, and there’s a cute AirBnb or two nearby I can point you to. We have a grand, gorgeous retreat house with the most luscious grounds with little meditation huts, a hot tub, and green views everywhere. Movement, poetry, inspiring stories of inquiry, silent walk, silent movement field trip, a movie night can all result in inner awareness and you finding your own solutions to stuck-ness.
c) And then there’s Breitenbush Hotsprings in Oregon June 13-17 with the lovely Todd Smith. Although 3 months away, the early bird fee is NOW and it’s strongly encouraged to reserve your lodging soon, as cabins, dorms, rooms in the lodge, and even campsite spaces all get taken up so quickly in this gorgeous season where the sun is out so long in the northwest and people from all over the world come to Breitenbush. People got turned away last year beginning in May–it was a little surprising. If you’re serious about coming to Breitenbush, it’s better to reserve now (only a deposit is due upon registration)–call Breitenbush 503-854-3320.
P.S. If you’ve emailed me about any of these events, and I haven’t gotten back to you–it may be email tech problems. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org my alternate email.
P.P.S. Much love to you on your journey home to yourself.
You know how the other day, I shared inquiry on the belief about wanting things to go a certain way in the future?
Funny how thoughts shift, and sometimes so quickly through asking these four questions.
Today, I noticed feeling so happy and excited for upcoming retreats. Such incredible people attending spring retreat here in Seattle it makes me clap my hands (yes, you can commute daily).
AND Todd Smith, a long-time experienced Facilitator of The Work will be joining me for the Breitenbush Retreatt his year.
But mostly, I feel so joyful today with all the sweet inquiry I’ve had the privilege to witness in telegroups and individual sessions with such courageous inquirers.
It takes courage and willingness to question your thoughts.
Or, OK. It takes courage and willingness to even ADMIT your thoughts, which is the very first step.
The other day, for example, I worked with an amazing person who really touched me.
She was so unhappy because a love relationship had gone south quite dramatically, and ended.
She was so sad, she could hardly contain her grief and rage all mixed together. Her thoughts kept turning to herself, and how she was the one who screwed up and if she hadn’t said x, y, z or threatened to break up with him three months ago, this terrible ending wouldn’t have occurred.
I’ve known that voice that condemns the self. It’s dreadful.
But what if you paused before the beliefs come in about how rotten, stupid, and ugly you are?
Those thoughts only exist when you believe this situation shouldn’t have happened. It’s like we take out the whip and start beating ourselves with it mentally, for punishment of this crime of causing something to go wrong.
Are you sure a break-up or change or ending or move in another direction….IS wrong for you? For the other person? For the greater good?
Can you absolutely be sure it’s terrible?
Even if you say “yes” it’s a horrible thing….keep going with inquiry anyway.
How do you react when you believe the break-up, divorce, or getting fired is BAD BAD BAD?
Isn’t that when you begin to hate yourself, or think of yourself as unworthy?
Who would you be without this painful story?
I’m not saying a break-up isn’t shocking. It is sometimes. It’s unexpected, a surprise, and you may not have seen it coming. (And we could question that we should have).
“If we’re even one breath more or one breath less than anyone else, we’re not at home.” ~ Byron Katie
But what if the turnaround is just as true, or truer….that this ending, break-up, divorce, cut-off is good? Or interesting, fitting. Perhaps it has an important invitation.
When I was getting divorced, I sat with this turnaround for a very long time….many times, honestly. And I found examples of why it was good this had happened.
It brought me to know myself in a way previously impossible to reach. It gave the the beauty of becoming comfortable, and then ecstatic, with silence. It gave me so much time to meditate and read.
It gave me the power to question my thoughts like wildfire.
My thinking was the only thing that was painful. I got it.
“We do not need to go out and find love; rather, we need to be still and let love discover us.” ~ John O’Donohue
P.S. a few more spots open for the next afternoon mini-retreat Sunday 3/18 from 2-6 pm. Register here.
Next in-person event: spring retreat May 16-20 in northeast Seattle at a lovely ornate old house with a hot tub and lush, gorgeous grounds. We walk, we meditate, we hear wisdom poetry, we do a whole lot of The Work and the time together is life-changingly precious.
For information please visit here. Room for a few folks to stay at the retreat house, please email and ask email@example.com.
ALSO facebook live on LOVE for Valentine’s Day. 8:00 am Pacific Time February 14th. What are your stressful love thoughts? Reply back to this email to let me know. We’ll do The Work on Wednesday right here.
The other day, I heard myself talking with a dear friend who also does The Work a lot and has attended the School for The Work.
She had heard I was teaching a money course right now, after a month on money in Year of Inquiry that came first, so practically 3 months altogether of facilitating, noticing, walking with our groups through inquiry on money.
It means I’m doing The Work on money myself. I’m remembering, catching different thoughts, sharing different memories and situations. I adore hearing everyone’s stories, or sticking points, or questions, or confusion.
When the inquirers share out loud, whether in the money course or in Year of Inquiry….
….they’re communication naturally inspires others. People don’t feel so alone.
And we sure can feel alone when it comes to money.
Remember the friend I just mentioned I was speaking with? I heard myself say to her “I’ll never retire, I’ll be working until the end of my days trying to pay off my mortgage and make sure I leave something to my children, after screwing around not earning for most of my life until ten years ago.”
It was like all of the sudden my words and tone were full of self-pity and victimish sinking down into the floor.
It went there so fast. Ba-Bam. Hear a story, pick it up and apply it to me immediately. Feel defeated.
It was from the power of comparison. ALL OF IT.
I heard she got a huge raise, she was about to make her final mortgage payment so her house loan was all 100% paid back, and SHE was retiring in two years.
She’s so lucky. I’ll never do that. I should have started earlier and cared about money more. I’m a loser. She’s a winner. Plus, her house is triple the size of mine.
Is it true?
Yes. Did you hear what she said? Only 3 more mortgage payments and she’s DONE WITH HER LOAN FOREVER.
Can you absolutely know it’s true she’s lucky, and this good fortune is because her house will be paid off soon?
It’s kind of embarrassing.
I suddenly see my luck to even have a loan and a house and an amazing life working from home doing The Work and sharing with people in the first place. Money flows here and there and everywhere without judgment.
The mind thinks, the mind compares…and I can never know it’s true, honestly. Before this friend told me her details, I was happy. So some words and images entering my head brought the future into my imagination, and my heart sank.
What a wild, magnificent, chaotic, strange thing…believing a thought is.
And it’s not even true.
How do I react when I believe she’s got it made, she’s good with money, I am not?
Scared. Depressed. Lots of pictures of being old and unable to work. Angry at other people who didn’t show me a better way (those parents, partners, meanie friends).
How do I treat money when I believe it’s piling up somewhere else in greater amounts than over here with me?
I’m jilted by it. It doesn’t like me. I’m angry, resentful. Money, you mean nasty conniving friend! You two-faced volatile one! You’re not even nice to me! Stupid money!
(I think I’m about six years old in how I react–or maybe like a jealous pre-teen who wants to date the guy SHE is dating, and is MAD about him not choosing ME).
But who would I be without this heavy, stressful, agonizing story? Without the belief she is lucky with money, she is better off, I’m not liked as much by money, I must have done something wrong?
Who would I be without the belief that money likes her better, like I’m not as likable, not as loved, not claimed, not so wanted?
Ooooh, this is exciting to wonder about!
Without the belief that more money means I’m better off, or safer, or claimed, or honored or favored or loved?
Who would I be without that belief?
Noticing the amazing, astonishing abundance around me.
Kitchen lights, colors, red carpet with gold flowers, brown leather purse, laptop, wall calendar, bookshelf, silver ring with sea blue stone, fridge, lamp, silence, wallet with cash inside, four coats in my closet and one draped over the couch, beautiful sound of friend’s voice telling of her joy and hand-clapping, noticing the celebration of life whether money is around or not around, cowboy boot string lights through the living room window.
Without my story, I’m so open to my friend’s phone conversation. I’m excited with her. I hear a person who feels loved and relieved and happy. She’s showing me what it’s like to feel this wonderful way. I’m in the presence of joy.
Turning the thought around:
“I’ll always retire, I’ll be playing until the end of my days paying off my mortgage and adore giving so much to my children. I played just the perfect amount and DID earn most of my life before ten years ago (jeez, that’s true).”
How could the story I have lived with money support me with perfection…no other alternate way possible?
First of all, the reality of it is the way it has been. And in this moment, right now with inquiry, the reality becomes different than my complaint about it.
It’s been perfect with work and money, because I get to meet all these incredible people and have the most intimate and beautiful, holy, sacred, honest, touching conversations with them. We share the most powerful communication in life–the things that bring us to our knees.
It’s perfect with money because I can see nothing more is required in this moment, except inquiry. I get to discover the brilliance that money, or someone else giving it to me, or something being zero-ed out (like a loan for a house) is not required for my own deepest happiness.
Wouldn’t I want to find out that peace is possible without money, or any person, or anything needing to change…including myself?
It’s unconditional love. Truly un-conditional. No requests. No demands. No adjustments. No hopes. No wishes. No thinking to money, or to any relationship or to any part of life or reality “if you change, then I will be happy”.
Such freedom, such freedom.
“It takes only one person to have a happy marriage, and that one is you.” ~ Byron Katie
In this moment, married to the silence, married to the news from my friend about her coming retirement (whatever that is), married to listening, married to money.
For the month of February inside Year of Inquiry our topic is Relationships.
Relationships of any kind.
Now, I’m aware that this is a huge wide range of choices for relationship when they are any kind. But inside, you usually know which ones to investigate.
Anyone who’s disturbed you. Anyone who’s bothered you. Anyone who you feel less than peaceful when you think of them.
You might be thinking “Where do I even begin? There are so many people who’ve bugged me!”
You might also be thinking, like so many people do, that you already know it’s all about you and not the other people, so you just want to focus on YOUR inadequacies and imperfections.
The thing is, focusing on you is still joining in on the belief that there’s a problem. You’re assuming there’s a problem in the first place, right?
Someone’s doing it wrong…let’s fix it!
The other day as we began the Year of Inquiry presentation we always start with every month, like a little mini workshop on the topic, I drew a lot of information from Byron Katie’s book “I Need Your Love–Is That True?”
Especially about the concept of “needing”, having needs, receiving what you need, or getting your needs met, as we say these days.
That’s a simple place to start. You might ask yourself the question “in what situation, with whom, did I not get my needs met?”
Images float through the mind of moments. Moments where I believed I didn’t have love, support, care, attention, safety.
Yeah. Remember that time one of your supposed best friends stabbed you in the back and reported you to the authorities for entirely false reasons? Remember that love interest who acted like a stalker and freaked out? Remember that relative who quit communicating? Remember when that stranger stole your luggage? Remember when your dad died? Remember when you were abandoned?
Stories flash through. Sometimes we find proof that we didn’t have what we needed waaaaay back. It started young.
But can you absolutely know it’s true?
Rats. No. I’m here now, breathing, alive, having a pretty spectacular life honestly.
It can’t be absolute that I didn’t get what I needed.
Otherwise, I wouldn’t even be here. (And that’s not even true that if I wasn’t here, it means I didn’t get my needs met–we all seem to perish or transform into whatever’s next. It’s called dying. Everyone gets to do it.)
How do you react when you believe you weren’t supported, loved, honored…that you didn’t get what you needed?
I shake my fist at the sky! I shout “Bloody Hell!” with a gruff look at an imaginary God who is supposedly looking down. Resentful. Tense.
Who would you be without your belief that you didn’t get what you needed?
Really wondering who I’d be without believing this story of having needed something and missed it….
….a softness is here. A recognition that who I am without my desperate, sure, anxious, victim-minded thinking, is relaxation. Being. Just here.
No need for it to feel ecstatic, loving, thrilling or “good” or pleasurable.
Here. Just here. Natural.
Noticing all is very, very well and I’m temporarily in this life showing up as this right now, and all the things I’ve ever thought that happened that were BAD about relationships are over.
Noticing I have no idea what is needed and what isn’t…and when I DO think I know, I’m often wrong.
Noticing how liberating it is to Not Know what’s best for anyone or for me.
“The alternative is to expect reality NOT to follow your plan. You realize that you have no idea what’s going to happen next. That way, you’re pleasantly surprised when things seem to be going your way, and you’re pleasantly surprised when they don’t. In the second case, you may not have seen what the new possibilities are yet, but life quickly reveals them….a life beyond your schemes and expectations.” ~ Byron Katie
Turning my thoughts around: I’ve always had just what I needed. Every one of those people has supported me in getting exactly what I needed. My thinking didn’t give me what I needed.
How could these be just as true, or truer?
When I didn’t get what I hoped for or expected, I had to reset, to regroup, to learn, to ask for help, to give up. My sense of “me” and my grabbiness was crushed. I woke up (sometimes it felt like a slap in the face awakening–but apparently that was required).
I found my self-sufficiency that had nothing to do with having a mind or having a thought. Magic happened. Loss turned into transformation. I became aware of what I truly value–and it wasn’t other people providing my needs.
In every situation where someone was less or different than what I expected, I can ponder what was supportive about that experience.
You can too.
Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear. What does it mean that success is a dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
you position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance.
What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don’t see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?
See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things.
~ Tao Te Ching #13 Translated by Stephen Mitchell
Those relationship moments that hurt?
I can practice having faith in how they went. I can find examples of how they helped me grow, what they revealed.
I’m not sure what the ultimate outcome will be, but it sure is more fun than thinking I didn’t get what I needed.
What could be more exciting, heart-breaking and joyful than thinking I got just what I needed in every moment for my entire life….and everything’s OK, even when it isn’t (according to my plans)?
We’re calling this upcoming weekend the SURPRISE RETREAT weekend. It’s a fairly last-minute location and venue change from Oregon to Seattle. It’s December. It’s in 3 days. It’s so close to Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
As someone just said to me “it’s dirt cheap”. I had to hesitate a moment to wonder if that was a compliment or not. It’s true a two hour session with me is $175, and this is about twenty hours.
With a maximum of ten people, everyone will have time to do their own work on a relationship or issue they’ve been wanting to resolve and change (or two, or three). You’ll have training, attention, and the continuous care of being held in this supportive environment where you can share your most distressing thoughts without shame or fear. I’m with you every step of the way.
The thinking behind the low fee was because the location changed last minute from a deep winter woods resort with hot springs, massages and all meals provided….
….to you getting yourself to northeast Seattle, finding your own place to stay, and acquiring your own meals (there are many beautiful airbnb’s in the neighborhood, and restaurants a block away, by the way).
Plus. Let’s be honest.
People don’t exactly flock to the Pacific Northwest at this darkest and wettest time of the year. Even the airplane tickets are super cheap. (Check with Alaska, by the way, or your favorite airline–you might be surprised–keeping the theme of surprise).
The coffee houses are full of steaming gortex jackets, the time between dawn and dusk is very short, and it appears to be either misting, pattering or downpouring from morning until evening, and often all night as well.
All these reasons actually create a brilliant atmosphere for a SURPRISE retreat.
Because outside it may be rainy and dark, but what are the surprises we get most concerned about?
Surprises that don’t bring us such good news (we think).
Some people don’t even like positive surprises. (Remind me to tell you about two different surprise parties given for me that were a little, shall we say, too surprising).
When my parents said “we’re moving”
When my mom switched off Cinderella the first time I ever got to watch TV when I was seven
When my high school boyfriend said he preferred to date someone else and take HER to the prom instead
When my mom told me my dad had leukemia
When my sister said I was a bi&%h!
When my boss said “I need to speak with you about your timesheet”
When my former husband said he didn’t want to be married anymore
When my daughter said she wanted to change schools
When my other sister never replied to any of my messages, cards or emails
When one of my oldest close friends died
When one of my best friends betrayed me
These situations were so scary. Some of them were life-changing and terrifying.
I didn’t like these surprises. To put it mildly.
And yet, now that I have The Work I have a remarkable tool to really examine each and every disturbing moment.
I know how to handle or work with these kinds of alarming thoughts that scream when I hear surprising news that appears to be not so good.
Which is exactly what we’ll be doing at our retreat. We’ll be inside with mugs of hot tea, pen and paper, sharing in the cozy atmosphere of freedom available to anyone willing to question the thoughts that produce suffering.
Sometimes, people who attend retreat get to write their first full worksheet on a stressful situation in their lives. They’ve been doing The Work perhaps for a long time, but it’s all been in their cars while driving, or on little pieces of paper, or while in conversation with a trusted friend.
They haven’t written out a full worksheet, mindfully–really getting every single thought out about that relationship or situation on paper.
You get to really go for it on retreat, when you give yourself the time.
You get to dump, unedited, unabashedly, without shame or guilt (even if you DO feel guilty, you get to write what you think). You get to be childish, petty, freaked out, furious. You don’t have to do it well. You get to be imperfect and against the grain. You get to really express your pain, on paper.
This first step of writing down your thinking can be the most exquisite relief. No fixing, no hiding, no softening, no re-wording it to sound better, no adjusting the language to be better heard. No worrying about if anyone will be surprised.
No….you get to completely go wild on paper.
Which is not as easy as it sounds.
When I first started doing The Work, I wanted to burn my worksheets, hide them, shred them and I would say to my facilitator “I’m sorry this is so horribly judgmental” or something like that. I was worried what the person asking me the questions would think of such a loser.
I went for it anyway.
You can too.
All it takes is the willingness to answer four questions, with an open mind.
My favorite part of all?
The surprise that continues through questioning each thought with The Work, wondering about the story we’re telling, imagining what it would be like without believing in something hurtful, turning the thoughts around. You find your own clarity, without being told what to think, do, say, feel. No suggestions or advice, no right way to do it or wrong way to do it.
All you need to do is answer the questions. And yes, it is incredibly powerful to get support in how, to listen to other peoples’ answers, to ponder your stressful thought longer than you normally do–all benefits of attending a retreat and giving yourself this meditation.
What do we find out, 100% of the time?
A sense of peace, neutrality, lightness, curiosity, space, breathing room. An interest in continuing the exploration no matter how long it takes. An awareness we might have been missing, often for years.
You had the answers all along.
“Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy.” ~ Henri Nouwen
P.S. My husband Jon will be joining us for Saturday and Sunday. He and I have done The Work together and with and ON each other for 8 years. We made this facebook video on doing The Work on whose movie pick is better for a night out–his or mine. LOL!
These upcoming 3 days our focus will be on relationships.
Oh my, there are a few stressful thoughts about relationships with others, are there not?
she doesn’t care about me (sister)
he doesn’t like me (neighbor)
she refuses to talk to me (mother)
they hate me (people of another culture or political party or football team)
he never gives me any credit (boss)
she doesn’t promote me (manager)
he’s too sensitive (former boyfriend)
she’s a liar (former friend)
he talks too much (co-worker)
she never does anything around the house (child)
And this is barely a scratch on the surface of the thoughts we have about difficult, disappointing or infuriating relationships.
The other day, an inquirer worked with me during a skype session on his fear of speaking up to his cousin during a recent family gathering.
The cousin in question had started talking about who he voted for, with gusto. He made some wise cracks at the feast table about those “other people” who voted NOT his way.
The guy inquiring had said nothing.
“What were your thoughts that prevented you from speaking up in a thoughtful way?” I asked.
He replied that he didn’t think he would be ABLE to speak up in a thoughtful way. It was either going to be anger, or fume to himself in silence.
Because the cousin speaking would have been super hurt and upset, if this inquirer had said anything.
Concept: that person will be hurt if I tell the truth.
I love this inquiry. It’s shown up…oh…about fifteen thousand times in my life.
I can’t say anything, because that other person will be crushed! They’ll run out of the room! They’ll never speak to me again! They’ll cry! They’ll turn red! It will be my fault! They’ll break up with me!
Under these conditions in the mind, believing what we’re thinking….who wouldn’t be silent, rather than speak up?
Unless…you have The Work.
Let’s question this very stressful circumstance and belief.
Can you find a situation where someone is telling, saying, doing, gesturing, being a certain way…and you’d like to make a request, even a kind request, that they stop, or say you don’t like it, or tell them you disagree, or say no?
Picture that situation.
What’s the worst that could happen, if you speak up?
I did a piece of work on this once, where I genuinely had the vision that if the other person really knew what I thought and I shared it….they’d start drinking again (or kill themselves).
Yikes. I had such a strong sense of them feeling horrible about themselves already. I needed to walk on eggshells lest they do away with themselves for good and lose all their sobriety, because they made some kind of mistake. I needed to help boost their spirits. I needed to keep them positive. Or I needed to get away so I didn’t disturb them.
Oh such stressful and hard work being in someone else’s business like that.
So let’s do The Work.
Is it true that person will be hurt if you tell the truth?
Yes! They already have a heart attack if anyone looks at them funny.
Are you absolutely sure? Can you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is true if you tell the truth, they’ll be terribly hurt?
If you said “yes” you could imagine the worst case scenario, like them committing suicide (my vision of an old boyfriend long ago). They would do it because you spoke the truth….are you sure that’s true?
No. I really can’t know it’s because I spoke up that they freaked out.
There were many factors involved. There was a ton of history. There were parts of his life I had nothing to do with–he had his own path. I was not the end-all be-all for that boyfriend. It would have been weird if I was.
How do you react when you believe that if you tell the truth, they’ll be hurt?
I imagine them screeching away in their car in anger, or fear. I say “good riddance!” and then feel terrified with “Oh No!” I want to race after them. I want to run in the opposite direction. Everything conflicted.
I want them to show me they’re OK, or they like me, to smile at me, to give me assurance. If I say a little bit of the thing I’m upset about, I want them to look like they’re open to hearing more, and not disturbed and yet taking it seriously. It’s all so tense, with so much at stake. It’s as if we’re in a peak negotiation moment with some kind of crazed dictator who could blow up the world any moment.
It’s really a bit much.
A ginormous amount of energy focused on one human being as if they have the power to ruin my life by how they react. I’m ruining my own already by how I do.
So who would you be without this very stressful story “they’ll get hurt if I speak the truth”?
I’d share openly, without fear. I’d feel connected and aware that this person is indeed very sensitive–so it’s not like I’m in denial–and I love them and want all the best for them. Which doesn’t mean tip-toeing around them like they’re made out of gossamer web.
Without my story, I don’t have to have them be happy in order for me to be happy. They can be very, very unhappy and even furious, and I notice I feel compassion and understanding.
I might notice I’m shivering a little with nervousness as I say what I think. It’s not like all of the sudden this is the easiest thing in the world….
….but I try it out. I stumble imperfectly and say “no, I don’t want to get together” after we broke up. I notice I don’t have a fantasy anymore about what it could be like, or might be like, or wish it was like.
He had his personal path, and I learned so much from being on it with him for awhile. Then it became unnecessary to share the road. Even required.
Without the belief that speaking up means hurt will happen, I stop thinking I know how they will respond. I’m willing to not anticipate, or defend, or brace myself. I feel rooted, entering the unknown. Not running away or fighting something or wringing my hands.
“I turned out to be those people in the world that I didn’t want to be. I was the last to know. It cannot be another human being who hurts you. It HAS to be you who hurts you. There’s no exception to that. If I think I’m hurt because of someone else, I’m insane.” ~ Byron Katie
Turning it around: I will be hurt if THEY tell the truth. I will be hurt if I tell the truth. They won’t be hurt if I tell the truth.
Could these be true, or truer?
I WILL be hurt if they tell the truth. Or at least, that’s what I’ve thought so far. I’m not sure if it’s really true, now. I’ve had many moments where someone’s said or written something, and they’ve been upset, but it’s been totally and completely fine with me. I know it isn’t personal.
I’ve been hurt because I’ve told the truth. I’ve said to myself I’m a mean, nasty, judgmental person just for thinking I didn’t agree with them. I’ve condemned myself for not being “nice”. I’ve silenced myself by imagining I can’t handle it if they have a big reaction to my queries or my sharing my own thoughts that aren’t the same as theirs.
I’ve also been amazed at how kind and accepting people are when I’ve spoken up. They stick it out rather than resent me forever, or cut me off. The people who need to, stay present. I don’t need everyone in the world to think I’m great when I say “no” to them or respond in a way that makes them upset…that would be…weird.
People need to come and go as they wish. Life shows me who is supposed to be present in my life, and who isn’t. I’m not in charge.
What a relief.
If you’re not so sure about some relationship in your life, or if you think that person should do it different, or if you feel disappointment, or worry….
….that’s what the upcoming inquiry starting this Friday is all about.
What a delicious thing inquiry is. Can you imagine discovering the freedom that no one can really hurt you? No matter how they behave, what they say, what they do, how they think?
Breitenbush is still ON (in case you didn’t hear the news–they have been considering canceling workshops that aren’t full–we have a handful of spots). A lovely group is attending and we’d be so thrilled to have you join us Dec 7-10. Breitenbush will wait until Friday for your registration now because we do have a solid group already coming, but you must decide and register as soon as possible (by 11/24).
Nothing like this lush, cozy get-a-way in the deep woods between US Thanksgiving and before New Years to question your thoughts.
What an incredible time to do it, in fact. With gatherings, holidays, family…what a brilliant opportunity to understand your own mind and be at peace with what those other people are doing.
You can’t change them, right? But you can look at what aggravates you most about being around them.
And question it.
I love what tends to happen when you do The Work: awareness, surprise, relaxation, peace, clarity, joy, laughter.
Those other people and circumstances, amazingly, don’t have to change. I can work with the world the way it is–even family.
The other day, in fact, I worked with a client who new he’d be seeing his family very soon for the feast holiday in the USA this coming Thursday.
“One of my brothers will be there,” he said with a sad tone. “I’m not supposed to show I’m afraid, or give any advice, or act upset when I’m around him.”
Have you ever thought you need to be on your best spiritual behavior around someone?
Don’t freak out or make a scrunchy face–they might think you’re being “negative”. Don’t react! Don’t say that thing you always say.
Don’t upset them! Watch out!!!
I love beginning to inquire before ever, ever making contact with that person I feel upset about. The shift within can seem small, but perhaps make all the difference in the world. No expectations. Just looking at what I believe.
Here’s a great place to begin the inquiry: Ask yourself, what’s the worst that could happen? Why is it so important for you to be on your best behavior in the upcoming gathering? Why should you make sure not to upset that person?
So many reasons!
They’ll cry. They yell. They’ll leave. They’ll exit and never come back. I’ll lose them forever. They’ll snap at me and rake me through the coals. They’ll be mean, unkind. I’ll feel hurt, lost, very unhappy. They’ll think I caused harm. I’ll feel guilty. They’ll freak out, and freak everyone else out.
Ooh. Dang. No wonder I need to be on my best spiritual behavior with that person.
Long ago, I had a family member cut off everyone in the family because she got too much advice, too many alarmed responses to her situation. She thought everyone was judging her, and they shouldn’t be.
Now, I may be tempted to analyze what SHE should have done The Work on….but just like my sweet client who thought he shouldn’t do it wrong around his brother…
…this work is always about ourselves.
The questions are here for our own inner peace, not anyone else’s.
So let’s go.
Is it true, you should be very careful not to disturb that other person (and follow their directions and requests to be calm, cordial and nice around them during the holiday)?
I want them in my life. I love that person. They’re family. I’m concerned we’ll no longer be connected.
Yes, I’ll do anything. I don’t want to be abandoned by them. This needs to go well.
How do you react when you believe you should be careful how you act around them?
I’m well-intentioned. I want to make them comfortable. I don’t want to feel guilty. I’m anxious they’ll run away with one false move (if I say something off or wrong). I feel very worried, tense, tight.
Inside, I fume about how rigid they are…how skittish and controlling and fearful. I have a lot of advice about how she should calm down and stop judging me.
Who would you be without this very stressful story of needing to be careful around that person, lest they ditch you forever?
Without the belief I need to be spiritual around them?
I’d be more real. I’d be honest. I’d be noticing how much I love that person, with all my heart, and how I’m simply afraid…But maybe not really. I love them, whether they’re in front of me or not.
Without the belief I should act carefully, so they don’t freak out…
…I’d be real. I’d be playful. I’d remember my humor. I’d feel excited to see them.
Turning the thought around: I do NOT need to be on any kind of best spiritual behavior around my family member. How could this be true?
I most enjoy telling the truth, being honest, sharing from my deepest heart. I want to cry, hug, be normal, laugh. I want to have the full range of human experience in the presence of that person. I want to be a human being, which is what I am…not an angel, or someone fake.
They don’t want me to be spiritual or act nice around them–especially when I don’t feel spiritual or good or nice.
Wow, could this really be just as true?
Yes. That person likes direct honesty. They like lazer-sharp reality. They respond well to the total truth. They don’t like sugar-coated false connection. They want me to be real and honest. It’s the greatest care I could give. They might not like it right off the bat, but me being me…they love.
Turning it around again: I want me to be on my best spiritual behavior, around myself. I also want me to be on my best spiritual behavior, around THEM.
Oh man, it’s true.
I’ve often had these extreme expectations of myself around others: to be wise, honest, loving, kind, likable, non-threatening. To be thought of as an easy person, powerful person, or desirable person to be with.
I used to think I should be like Maria in the Sound of Music, in fact. Powerful, sincere, loving, creative, passionate, rebellious, gentle. And oh, a very good singing voice.
Plus the star of the show. Just saying.
Maybe the expectations are a little high? Or simply not me? Or not based in reality?
Perhaps I could be myself, and still live a happy human life. You think?
What is “spiritual behavior” anyway? Could it include getting sad, scared, mad or worried, perplexed sometimes? The full range of the human experience?
What if being real and honest means saying “I don’t want to walk on eggshells around you, and, I love you so much. What can I do to be supportive? Will you hear what I think? Can I be honest with you?”
“I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality. We can know that reality is good just as it is, because when we argue with it, we experience tension and frustration. We don’t feel natural or balanced. When we stop opposing reality, action becomes simple, fluid, kind, and fearless.” ~ Byron Katie
P.S. To read more about Breitenbush in December or come join us in this nourishing and mentally cleansing adventure, please visit HERE. Please call them by Friday November 24.
In Year of Inquiry we’re in Month 3 and guess what the topic is?
In some ways, this is really all The Work is ever about….you know what I mean? What I complain about, what I’m at odds with, what I dislike, what I find stressful.
Complaining is perhaps a lighter, more common way of saying “I am arguing with reality on this one! I object!”
It’s a bit hard to look at complaints honestly sometimes. We’re told we’re not supposed to complain, we’re not supposed to be negative or drone on about something we don’t like, we’re not supposed to bring other people down, we should be positive.
But, I’ve noticed…even if it’s in my own mind…complaining appears to happen. And what a relief, and even rather fascinating, to listen to these complaints and hear them, for once, instead of trying to get away from them or rejecting them in a flash.
The other day with the YOI group, as I was considering any voices I heard within that appeared to worry, object, complain….I remembered a place I’ve experienced a MAJOR COMPLAINT:
Those other people shouldn’t complain! He shouldn’t complain about traffic. She shouldn’t complain about the weather. They shouldn’t complain about the leadership.
I discovered, when it came to my own complaints, I always had the same repetitive thought about some people in the world: They complain. They should stop!!
A great exercise to find your own objections to and complaints about the world, to life, to any situations you don’t find pleasant….is to take fifteen minutes, get a pen and paper or your writing device, and make a list of things you find complaint-worthy.
You don’t have to call them “complaints” if you don’t like that word, or it’s been drilled into you to never complain. You can call this a list of things that scare you, bother you, trouble you. Things you wish would change fairly frequently.
Then, once you have this list in front of you, you can ask another question (we all did this in Year of Inquiry): What if this behavior, style, manner, words, condition, situation, person….never, ever, ever stopped? What’s the worst that could happen? What would you hate about that?
So, for my complaint about other people who complain….I ask myself “what if they never stop complaining, ever?”
What would be bad about that?
I’d be stuck listening to them forever
I’d never ever want to be around them
I’d always have this one “problem” at work
I’d never relax when in their presence
I’d be angry every time that person came near me
there’d be nothing fun or good, ever, about hanging out with that person
You have your own list.
And how wonderful to have a list like this…because then you can begin to take your concepts through the self-inquiry process called The Work. You can make your concept what you’d say about the present moment, since you can’t really know what will happen in the future.
So for the person I thought of who complained constantly (in my opinion) I would see her in my mind’s eye, talking and talking about all the terrible things she’s encountered, and consider my thought:
I’m stuck listening to her forever.
Is this true?
Yes. I’ve been at this job 4 years and she’s never stopped complaining.
Can I absolutely know it’s true?
No. I’m not actually “stuck” listening to her. I can excuse myself and walk away. I’m treating myself like I’m a victim here, trapped. It’s a little weird. And not true.
How do I react when I believe I’m stuck listening to her?
I stay and nod politely. I smile. I think about when I can get out of here and go to my own cubicle to start working. I look at her and pretend I’m listening. I wish she’d be quiet. I’m not honest. I don’t know what to do. I recognize I have thoughts about what people are supposed to do to remain polite. I feel irritation towards this person.
Who would I be without this thought that I’m stuck listening to her?
How interesting this word “stuck”….like I’m actually unable to depart, move, make a suggestion, connect. Everything with the thought is about escaping. But without the thought?
Hmmm. I’d see someone over there who really wants to connect. She’s singing a song, and it has a minor tune. She’s worried, lonely, anxious. She doesn’t seem very happy. Without my thought that I’m stuck listening, I notice I’m free to come and go as feels right. I care about her. I feel compassion for her. I actually even like her. She has a very sweet face, and absolutely beautiful eyes.
Without my belief, I feel a deep breath. I feel a gentle touch, reaching out to put my hand on her arm. I don’t have to wait for her to take a breath between sentences, I just move away. I feel kind, and open, and silent.
Without the thought, when I arrive at work, I simply begin my tasks and allow the quiet of the office to settle around us all. I don’t feel the weird push-pull angst about stuck-ness, or the worry about being polite, or the concern about making sure she feels heard. I’m back in my own business, doing my own work, listening, or speaking up and saying “I’m going to work now”. I feel a deep sense of joy within.
Where did that idea come from about being “stuck” listening?
From me. Not her.
I have options to move in the direction that feels right, without my belief that I’m stuck listening, if she’s complaining or voicing concerns. I notice this isn’t a repeat of my childhood with my grandma (which I could also question THAT situation).
This is a different human being, with her own life and experience, and I am free. We both are.
Turning the thought around: I am NOT stuck listening to her forever.
Ha ha. Not by any stretch of the imagination. This was a job I held for five years, and I saw her Monday through Friday, and only for short chunks of time on those days. She was right next to me in a cubicle, but there were many minutes and hours when her chair was unoccupied, and so was mine, or when we were both working and not speaking. Far more minutes of quiet than of talking, honestly.
I was never, ever stuck.
My thinking was stuck. That’s another key turnaround. My thinking was like a broken record, repeating itself every time she approached “oh no here comes the complainer”. My thinking was constantly and forever complaining about HER.
The last turnaround: She is stuck speaking to me forever.
Could she have been stuck NEVER getting a satisfying response, or an honest reaction, from me?
Um, yes. I didn’t connect with her truly. I didn’t speak up and ask her more questions, or say what didn’t sit well for me, or wonder about her opinions, or treat her like a whole, viable, important human being in my life who obviously had an important message for me personally. I didn’t say what didn’t work. I play acted. She was stuck speaking to the non-me forever.
I love that complaining person was in my life. She showed me how to share, connect, listen and speak up….as well as how to stop listening when it was time and move to the tasks I was supposed to be doing. I appreciate her immensely.
(This is really, really true).
“The basic realization that other people can’t possibly be your problem, that it’s your thoughts about them that are the problem–this realization is huge. This one insight will shake your whole world, from top to bottom. And then, when you question your specific thoughts about mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, boss, colleague, child, you watch your identity unravel. Losing the ‘you’ that you thought you were isn’t a scary thing. It’s thrilling. It’s fascinating. Who are you really, behind all the facades?” ~ Byron Katie in 1000 Names For Joy
If you want to look at an important relationship, like a co-worker who just can’t stop complaining….or mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, boss, colleague, child….we’ll be doing it at Breitenbush Hotsprings Conference Center in Oregon Dec. 7-10. Fabulous people are flying in to Portland. Come join us for this winter mental cleanse. Read more about it HERE.
P.S. If you find yourself complaining about food, eating, your weight, your body shape or size, compulsive behavior….then Eating Peace Process is beginning on Tuesday and it will close for participation this year at noon on Nov. 14th. We go for five months and it’s a wonderful time to spend in The Work with a small group of people wanting to explore eating at the root level, and find clarity about ourselves and our behaviors with eating. To read more visit HERE.
I just heard of another person getting tickets (cheap this time of year) to fly to Portland, Oregon in December for the 3 day Breitenbush retreat in The Work of Byron Katie on relationships.
We’re forming carpools for those of you landing on December 7th in Portland who want to share the trek to the incredible, unique, deep woods resort and conference center called Breitenbush.
Ready to question your thoughts on relationships? Of any kind? Those humans who have bugged you?
This is your retreat. It doesn’t matter WHO the relationship is: spouse, father, mother, sister, brother, co-worker, boss, friend, step-son.
It’s time to get the job done. Question your thinking, change your world when it comes to relating. All in a beautiful, safe, supportive container called Breitenbush.
Last year, I had a chuckle with one of the participants who traveled from Nevada to join our retreat.
She said “Breitenbush is nothing like I thought it was going to be–it’s so far beyond my expectations!”
“What did you think it was going to be like?” I asked.
“Two hot tubs in the dusty woods down a dirt road, with hippies wandering around.”
Breitenbush is nothing like that, although there is a clothing-optional status only at the mineral springs pools where people can hang their bathrobes on hooks and slip into the hot tubs with four varying temperatures to soak. (And no, there is no nudity anywhere else on the conference center grounds).
I once had a woman write to me about this particular retreat: “We’re not tree-huggers, is this going to work?”
The thing is, we gather in this 3-day workshop to look at our stressful thinking. That’s what this workshop is about. Questioning what disturbs you, and YOU finding your own answers.
The Work works for anyone who is ready, willing and eager to question their stressful thoughts about other people they’ve encountered in their lives who left them feeling some pain (or a lot of pain). It’s for people who are tired of the agony of repetitive thinking about relationships with others, or conditions they dislike in their lives.
Breitenbush HotSprings Conference Center is a place to relax, feel the experience of deep old growth forest, sleep in profound silence of no city or freeway noise, notice the darkness of nights without tons of lights, electrical chatter, cell phones, internet, and take time to identify the thoughts that disturb your peace in your life….and question them.
You don’t have to go into the mineral pools naked to question your stressful thoughts.
In fact, secret confession….I never do.
Seriously. I never go in the pools in between our sessions together. I’m there to support inquiry. That’s my job.
Our group meets in a beautiful space called the River Yurt. Oh my, doesn’t that sound woodsy?
To be honest, the only place I’ve ever heard the word “yurt” is in Oregon. Like when I was 15 and my family went camping in Oregon. They had “yurts” you could rent.
What’s a YURT??
As far as I can tell, they are always round. As in, no square or straight walls. A structure built in a circle.
The River Yurt at Breitenbush is a large beautiful round building, with chairs, cushions, pillows, a lovely soft carpet, windows, heat, a big screen for our movie night, and it’s own bathroom. The River Yurt at Breitenbush is built down a wide path to an open flat area near the beautiful Breitenbush River. It’s gorgeous, and you’ll love it.
We’re warm, dry and cozy on retreat while we identify our thoughts, and question them using The Work.
The thing I love about Breitenbush is the quiet, the pristine pure air, the ancient forest of trees, the beautiful little Laura Ingalls Wilder cabins totally and completely warmed by the natural springs to piping hot. If you’re flying, you’ll ask for bedding to be put in your cabin (I always get this option) and you’ll have delivered before you even arrive a large bag with blankets, beautiful clean sheets, and soft towels.
The body is well-tended at Breitenbush. I haven’t even shared anything about the incredible meals.
All the food is home-cooked right there in the big kitchen. It’s simple, with several choices: vegetarian, organic, gluten and dairy free options, yummy hot breakfasts, incredibly delicious cooked lunches, and wholesome dinners with gorgeous recipes and ample food for all.
At Breitenbush they have no caffeine offered (but people often bring their coffee, cream and french presses) and no alcohol, smoking or drug use. A great variety of teas, healthy tonic drinks, hot dishes, soups, salads and cleansing foods are offered for all three meals a day. All included in your stay.
I am not a vegetarian, but I love the food. What an incredible time of year to be away from daily trays of cookies at work, stress eating, cooking large family holiday meals, and having everything taken care of for you. Wow.
Everything supports lightness, ease, simplicity and not being drawn to the usual ways of distraction.
It’s an amazing place for self-inquiry….to study the story of YOU and your own mind, your own answers, your own troubling situations, your own prescription for happiness through doing this process called The Work.
I’ve never had anything offer such freedom as doing The Work.
Many other modalities I have done, experienced, attended and listened to. Many of them brilliant.
But there’s nothing like The Work because it doesn’t require a “teacher”. All that’s required is you answering the questions for your own insights and clarity. You discover what you need by studying the situations you find most disturbing.
Strange, but your discomfort actually winds up providing the answers you were looking for.
How amazing is that?
Because this is not the usual summer June at Breitenbush when things tend to sell out because of the stunning northwest summers, we’ve still got space.
But oh my.
Everything’s less expensive in the physical world. Plane fare, lodging, meals. All of it offered at the reduced weather-affected wintry price where we’ll be close to the darkest day of the year in far northwestern United States. A winter retreat.
What a time to go “inside” and do The Work.
What an incredible time to address your painful thinking, before holidays and “together” time ramps up to a peak for the new year.
Maybe, after Thanksgiving (if you’re from the USA) there’ll be nothing better than attending retreat where you get the chance to do your work.
I often get a LOT of calls for The Work the day after Thanksgiving.
Expectations get challenged, people haven’t changed, emotions flare.
With The Work, we get to see what causes those upsets in the first place–the unquestioned resentments we can’t seem to get rid of from the past. Or the imagined fears about the future. When we investigate and give these relationships and situations time and attention, they have the chance to finally dissolve and resolve.
One fabulous bonus at Breitenbush? My own partner, friend and husband who is brilliant at doing The Work (a natural). He’ll be joining us to share in the support and thrill of self-inquiry, and finding freedom from suffering.
We’ll share with everyone present some of our own process of doing The Work together, on each other, and the outcomes and insights we’ve had.
You don’t need a partner to come to do 3 days of The Work at Breitenbush. All you need is awareness of some stressful thinking about other people (partner or not) and feeling disgruntled about what to do about it.
You might feel like you’ve had 60 years of sad thinking with your mother or father, you may hold hurt about your sibling who cut you off 15 years ago, you may feel angry at your former partner who left you for someone else, you may feel furious at the boss who fired you, you may feel disappointed at relationship not working out the way you hoped.
Our suggestion about what to do about your problems with other people?
“I saw that for the belief ‘My family should love and understand me’ the turnaround is ‘I should love and understand myself.’ Why had I ever thought that it was their job? That was crazy! Let it begin with me. Until I can do it, let me give the world a break.” ~ Byron Katie
All I know is, The Work is life-changing.
With every thought I question, with every relationship I investigate, I find freedom. Everyone a teacher. Every relationship I’ve encountered a drop (or a tsunami) of freedom.