Watching TV, taking out the garbage, & that annoyingly egotistical person

Could that other person be so upsetting…because a part of you is just like them? Are you sure they aren’t spiritual?

The other day, while driving along in silence, I suddenly remembered an old conversation with an acquaintance.

Funny how that happens sometimes in your car, or perhaps when you’re somehow required to wait or on the road traveling and getting the body from Point A to Point B. Your mind gets to wander and travel a little, too. You have free-floating memories and images ticker-tape by.

This old friend had said, in response to a conversation about being on a journey of awakening “I’ve been at this a long time.” He implied he knows a LOT. He sounded like he thought of himself as further along than other folks asking questions in satsang (group gatherings in meditation practice with a teacher). He didn’t really need to be there, he said, it was just amusing to him to get new material from the words the teacher used.

As I recalled the conversation, the thought went through my head “what a big ego that guy had!”

Have you ever thought someone had a big fat ego?

Let’s do The Work today on someone you’ve known, ever in your life (yes, THAT person) who was so full of themselves, thought they were such a genius at some topic.

Maybe a boss, or a leader you encountered. Perhaps a family member. I remember students sharing this thought about certain professors. I’ve heard this quite a bit from people in the political scene lately. Ahem.

In my case of remembering, how funny that I could find someone was an egotistical know-it-all on Spiritual Enlightenment.

Hmmm, now that I think about it, I’ve had this exact same thought on more than one person.

Interesting. Because when I discover I’ve judged more than one person for the same type of displeasing quality (according to me) then I know I definitely need to do The Work.

And ONE person with a disturbing quality is enough.

So let’s go.

He is such an egomaniac. He thinks he’s so ultra-spiritual. He should have some humility, instead of thinking he’s better than others. Jeez! He should quit advising people on spiritual or mental-health related topics. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. What a loser. 

Yes, my thoughts running through were that mean.

And no, don’t start turning it around immediately to yourself and thinking you know where this is going. That’s such a good ploy for the mind to use to get you off track. It’s not The Work.

We need to break it down, slowly.

(Even slower than this Grace Note. To really dig into this thought that someone else is too full of themselves, you’d do The Work thoroughly one thought at a time!)

So, is it true they’re over-the-top big ego, when it comes to this topic (in my case, spiritual awareness)?


I mean, look at him. He used to be a drug addict. Now, he’s all Mr. Peaceful trying to start a business as a spiritual advisor. Seriously?? He doesn’t listen to anyone (including me)….He’s way too needy. He acts like a jerk, he….

Um, just a sec. When you start justifying, explaining, pointing things out, telling stories about this person, you aren’t actually answering the question. The question is: “Is it true, what you believe about this person and their ego?”



I don’t even know him very well.

Even if you say “yes” to this question, notice, and keep going.

Next question: How do you react when you think this is true about this person, that they’re an egomaniac?

Terrified! Angry! Enraged! Planning how to avoid them, or hoping something happens to them to take them down a notch. Yikes. it’s mean, vengeful, victim-y. I’m definitely disgusted, and At War with this person and their apparent “ego” and their words and mannerisms. I complain about them in my head, or talk about them to other people.

So who would you be without this very stressful story? Seriously, what if you couldn’t even have the thought that this person is a jerkish loser who has worthless advice for everyone and isn’t as smart or right as he says he is?


Hold still and think about it for a minute.

This person, who you’ve raved about because they’ve got such a gigantic ego….what if you couldn’t have such thoughts about them? How would it feel?

More relaxed, for sure.

Suddenly, I’m aware at all the intense raging energy I put on that person. Like he’s soooo bad, it ruined my day. And how, without that energy and that feeling, my experience of him would be much kinder, less serious, more can-do, to be honest.

I see he’s just talking. He’s participating. He’s having a conversation. He’s saying what feels right to him in the moment. He’s very, very interested in this topic. He’s done a lot to get to the place he’s gotten.

Have I?

I don’t have to agree with him, but I can regard him without my thoughts of vicious judgment towards him. I can notice that here in my car, all is quiet, and quite spacious, and my life is not very impacted by this other guy’s commentary or activities.

But even if your life IS impacted by someone you think of as having a massively huge ego the size of Montana….what would it be like to be in their presence without thinking you’re in a war against them? Without the belief they’re SO WRONG you’re ready to have a fit like a Tazmanian Devil?

Wow, I’d be lighter. I’d feel more excited about taking true action. I might make a few phone calls.

Turning the thoughts around: He is NOT an egomaniac, he’s humble, maybe even insecure. He does NOT think he’s ultra-spiritual. He never said anything about being better than others. He should advise people on spiritual or mental-health related topics. He knows what he’s talking about. What a winner. 

Hmmm. How could this be just as true, or truer?

Well, all he really said in that conversation long ago was that he couldn’t relate to most of the other people attending the retreat we were on. He actually said he’d like to go to another retreat, so he didn’t say he was no longer interested in this topic and had no need for outside information. He didn’t say he knew everything, or MORE than others. He never used those words.

He got completely clean from drugs (winner). He helped out his family when his mom got sick. He gave free labor to the mother of his kid when he couldn’t give her money. He’s slowly pulled himself back on his feet. He probably SHOULD advise people on mental health issues, especially those about addiction recovery.

Can you find evidence for this turnaround for the person you’re thinking of? This is a powerful exercise. Because….how would you really know all the details to be able to make a perfect, full, complete assessment of this person’s behavior? I sure didn’t at the time.

“Argue with reality, and you lose. But only 100% of the time.” ~ Byron Katie

Turning the thought around again, all to myself (instead of this person I’m projecting all over): I am an egomaniac. I think I am ultra-spiritual. I should have some humility, instead of thinking I’m better than this guy, or better than myself. Jeez! I should quit advising people (including him) on spiritual or mental-health related topics. I don’t know what I’m talking about. What a loser. 

Now, I know you’re aware these turnarounds to the self should be a kiss, not a slap. This is important! Otherwise, you start getting into a sort of negative egomania, which is just as troubling (maybe worse) than the positive egomania.

So what are some examples? How could this turnaround be true?

For one thing, in the moment I’m flashing about this man and his inadequacy, I’m getting worked up into a frenzy that’s neither necessary, or helpful. I’m in favor of non-violence. Including in my mind. And yet, seem to be thinking violently.

I could adopt a little humility. Here I am trying to be ultra-spiritual and all-accepting, acting nicey-nice when actually at the time, I might have had a more honest real conversation with the man, asking him questions, finding out about what makes him tick, being curious about what he meant when he said certain things.

And it’s completely true that I shouldn’t advise anyone on matters of spirituality or mental health. They can find their own answers. I especially shouldn’t advise this guy–why can I tell him to stop giving advice when it’s OK for me to give it to him?

I should stop advising myself, too, while I’m at it. I’ve always got ideas like “meditate for an extra hour!” or “go to India!” and thinking God is going to be louder or more present if I do MORE or go somewhere or add something, later. Not here, now.

Why not try a little openness, and acceptance, about this person in the world? What if I tried a little openness, acceptance and humility about myself?

Doesn’t that feel a little sweeter than gripping the steering wheel with fury as I drive and think “JERK!” about someone?


“Some people think that silence is more spiritual than speech, that meditation or prayer brings you closer to God than watching television or taking out the garbage. That’s the story of separation. Silence is a beautiful thing, but it’s no more beautiful than the sound of people talking. I love it when thoughts pass through my mind, and I love it when there are no thoughts. Thoughts can’t be a problem for me, because I have questioned them and seen that no thought is true.” ~ Byron Katie in 1000 Names For Joy pg. 180

That guy with the Big Mondo Ego? How is it just as beautiful as the next thing, like television, or taking out the garbage, or meditating or learning to love what is? What if I’m not really the authority–for myself most of all–on spirituality around here, and what people should or should not be doing, thinking, believing or saying around me?

They should be saying what they say.

And it’s sooooo good they said it, because I’m invited then to jump into the pool of love, all-of-life and spirituality in everything, and swim, too….rather than staring down from the high dive, full of anger and fear with arms folded across my chest.

Welcome to the end of separation.

Much love,


P.S. If you have agonizing thoughts about anyone else in this world, (alive or dead) then your experience is perfect for The Work. You can do this during retreat for great benefit. Questioning your thoughts doesn’t mean you’ll become a tiny passive potato. You’ll probably be more clear, and more alive, whatever this may look like for you. Connected.

We’re not changing, until YOU do.

Time to bask in the warming sun of self-inquiry? Tis the season of spring mental cleaning and summer change….with several in-person opportunities for reflection, unraveling stressful thinking in a clear step-by-step way (The Work of course) and living your turnarounds. Question your thinking, change your world.

  • Breitenbush Hotsprings Oregon (26 CEUs) An entirely off-line immersion (no cell phone, no internet) in pristine old-growth forest, fabulous organic vegetarian food, optional soaks in natural springs outside of retreat sessions. June 21-25
  • Being With Byron Katie Pacific Northwest heart of Seattle retreat house (Portage Bay) 4 days with Katie and Silence via streaming from Switzerland. A profound experience, commuters welcome, four private bedrooms at reduced fees for travelers who choose to add lodging. July 8-12
Putting on the boxing gloves, when it comes to that person’s behavior? Who would you be without your belief they should stop?

I’m so excited just thinking about all these in-person retreats, all quite different.

Almost jumping up and down actually.

There is simply nothing like catching that stressful, repetitive, honking thought, like a noise that won’t stop beeping, and looking at it with very open eyes. And listen to others doing the same, getting the support of the wisdom of the group.

One thought at a time.

The Work allows this to happen so beautifully. Rather than feel bad and start thinking and “brain-storming” (perfect word) about how to solve the problem in our lives, we get to actually wonder how we got the idea we have a genuine, or serious, problem?

The first step is identifying the problem.

It’s not so hard.

What are you thinking about the future, or the past, that’s troubling?

Oh My! But there are SO MANY PROBLEMS!

Where could I even begin? I mean….there’s my friend who betrayed me, my fierce boss, my boring job, my poor career choice, money being less than perfect, my relationship not going smoothly, my health, global warming, too much traffic, my parents’ personalities, my grandparents unhappiness, aging, kids, what’s in the news, the broken fridge, and by the way I haven’t become enlightened yet.

And this is just the beginning. I could go on. (LOL).
But entering only one situation, and sitting with it slowly, one thought at a time, is so magnificent. Can it really be that simple and easy? And narrowed down to only one?


A few months ago I wrote a worksheet on an old relationship that when I thought about it, still felt sour and unfinished. It was sparked by running into the person serendipitously at a coffee shop.

(Brilliant universe, thanks for the awareness reminder)!

I’ve been looking at the thoughts, one thought at a time, and allowing them to percolate and dance and sink in very slowly. One thought for an entire week sometimes, noticing the belief trying to find a foothold.

I love going very slowly. Not letting a concept slip through the cracks unquestioned (unless it does, and then, knowing it will reappear when necessary).

The next thought on my worksheet: he should stop wanting more from me.

This doesn’t have to be in a romance or any kind of dating relationship, this could be a boss, a parent, anyone who asks more of you….ever. And you felt oppositional to the request or the feel of it.

WAIT! You might shout. If I don’t think this thought, I’ll HAVE TO put up with MORE from that person, right? I’ll have to say yes, do the job, accept the task.

But no, you can’t fast-forward to where this might be going, later. You have no idea, even with only 4 questions and finding turnarounds. This never means you will have to put up with anything, or do something you don’t like, or compromise, or escape, or Not Be Yourself in a natural way.

In fact, you’ll be more naturally you, after inquiry.

So let’s look together at this one I mentioned today. Find a moment in your life where someone, anyone, anything (it could even be a pet) asked more from you, and you had the thought they shouldn’t.

Picture the situation.

For me, I’m reading an email.

Is it true, they shouldn’t want more from you?

Yes! This is never-ending. What I give NEVER seems to be enough. They take, and they take, and they take and never give up and it’s always grab, grab, grab, ask, ask, ask for more. Arrrgh.

(Little dramatization for you).

The question is, however, can you be sure this thought is true that someone, anyone, anything, shouldn’t ask for so much?

Can you absolutely know what that person should or shouldn’t want? Are you in charge of their level of wanting over there? Who’s running the show here? YOU?


Um, yeah. I can’t even for the tiniest bit that someone else, or something else, or anyone in this world should stop wanting more from me.

How do you react when you think he shouldn’t want more from you? She shouldn’t want more from you?

Angry! Quit being such a pest! Stop begging! Stop pushing me! I act like a dictator in my own mind about what needs to happen here! I attack that person in my mind, I give them advice without even saying it out loud. I say “this is one needy soul” and I cut them off. I look for a new job. I don’t answer their emails. I un-friend them.

I call them an addict. I’m disgusted. I feel very separate. And I sort of secretly feel guilty and unhappy within.

So who would you be without the belief they should stop wanting what they want?

There they are, being themselves, being honest. Without me thinking they should be in any way different. Without me running for the hills to hide in a cave out of sight.

What’s that like? How does it feel?

This is something to contemplate. I like wondering what it’s like to be without my stressful thoughts all day long, for several days in a row.

What would it be like without the thought that x person (or all those people) shouldn’t want what they want, as I drive my car, as I write, as I go to the gym, as I do yoga, as I take a walk, as I shop for food, as I put my clothes in the washing machine?

And how about now? Or how about in that situation where they’re asking you for something big, or attention, or love, or to get a job done, or for your time, or your answer? What if they persist and you really felt what it’s like without being opposed to their wants and desires?

I once spoke with a mom whose kid was 40 and wouldn’t move out.

She discovered that it would be really nice and easy (she thought) if he had a revelation and suddenly wanted to move into his own place and get a good job….

….but without her beliefs about what he should want, she noticed what SHE wanted.

Him. Out.

Who would you be without your beliefs about others?

I might notice I also love time with myself, so I understand them…AND, I like making arrangements to get alone time!

Turning the thought around: he should want more from me. I shouldn’t want more from him. I shouldn’t want more from myself.

Wow, these are all just as true or truer.

He SHOULD want more from me because: a) I’m awesome, b) he’s very talkative and adores connecting with people and sharing with others and, c) he’s not expecting me to be a passive, quiet, dishonest person who’s not be straight up with him. He wants more, which is honesty (i.e. “I don’t want to hang out”).

I shouldn’t want more from him. Yes, I’ve expected him to get a grip and realize without me saying anything that he should stop being so grabby. He should read my mind. I’m expecting a lot. And I shouldn’t.

I shouldn’t want more from myself. Well, I’ve really expected myself to be the nicest person in the world and say yes, yes, yes constantly so I don’t disappoint people….so who’s the one with high and false expectations of me? I am!

Maybe that person who’s asking a lot of you in your life is there for a very good reason. So you’ll say “no”. Or so you’ll show up even bigger and more powerful than you already do. Or so you’ll learn to be exceptionally and squeaky clean clear.

I don’t know why they’re there for you, but one thing I do know, there’s some kind of benefit.

How could it be otherwise?

“You are your only hope, because we’re not changing until you do. Our job is to keep coming at you, as hard as we can, with everything that angers, upsets, or repulses you, until you understand. We love you that much, whether we’re aware of it or not. The whole world is about you.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love,


Big decisions? You don’t have to figure it out.

Trouble deciding? What are you afraid of?

Decisions, Decisions.

Have you ever been plagued by a dilemma of choosing between two things?

You could go with this, or you could go with that, or you could go with this, or you could go with that. (That’s by Black Sheep in case you aren’t a 90s hip-hop fan).

But I can’t decide!!

If I say YES, I feel nervous about the hard work (for a new job for example) or I’m very anxious I’ll be trapped (like in a committed relationship) or I’m terrified I won’t survive financially (leaving a long-term marriage) or I’m worried I can’t learn the new language and I’ll be homesick (moving to another country).

Whatever happens, it COULD BE BAD!

That’s the fear, right?

I’ll have a moment where I’m uncomfortable, disappointed, angry, irritated, furious, frightened, sad, regretful.

A couple of years ago, I applied with my new husband to refinance our home, and take my former husband’s name off the loan (even though former husband and I were divorced for almost a decade, he was forever listed on the loan).

My current husband and I were turned down. Not enough income. Not enough equity.

Secretly, I thought….”good”. Don’t tell anyone.

Because isn’t it dangerous to own property with some other human? I mean, they aren’t reliable. Did you see what happened last time? Even the most steadfast, kind, loving people go ape-sh*% sometimes, do they not? One has to be careful. I’ve been directly burned, after all.

Then time went by, and the housing prices started to rise, even for this tiny cottage I live in with my husband. It seemed like the right thing to do to try to refinance again and take care of that loan–update it, get the right people responsible for it who actually live here, get the former husband off the note (he really wanted that done), make plans for my mom to move here in her aging years.

This time, the loan refinance went through. After many months of waiting and me having thoughts like “Well, if it never refinances, who cares? Not me! I’ll eventually pay it off, if possible, and it will be mine, all mine!” (Horror movie laugh of glee).

Worry, fret, anxiety.

Have you noticed, whether you’re afraid your new roommate at college will be weird, or you’re nervous your new boss will do something difficult…..there’s really only two possibilities going on here with the fretting.

  1. the thing you’re afraid of happening in the future is actually already happening (or did)
  2. the thing you’re afraid of happening in the future has not yet happened

The first thing to do in a dilemma around choosing, is to notice if it’s #1 or #2 above.

If it’s #1, then you’ve got a current worksheet to look at deeply and maybe some beautiful clear action to take, once you’ve identified and inquired into what happened, or is currently underway.

For example, let’s say you’re worried about this new project at your job and that you’ll get all the dirty grunt work assigned to you and your boss won’t respect your time limits and you’re trying to figure out if you should say something or refuse the project or what.

If you believe this will happen….how on earth did you ever come to that conclusion? Oh. Did something ALREADY occur, or maybe a whole series of things, where you’ve felt your boundaries were disrespected, and you were the one who had to do the worst part of the project?


Questioning your story about what already happened will probably bring you immense clarity, and your medicine for how to relax, and move forward (or even make amends to yourself, or to others) and act in a way that holds deep integrity for you and for everyone involved.

Now, as for #2 above.

You’re faced with a decision or a choice or you’re fretting about something occurring that’s never happened. Like, this new project at work will go horribly and you’ll be worked to the bone with no breaks, without recognition. And you’ve never done a project like this in your life.

Where DID you get this idea, my little grasshopper?

Someone else’s story? Hearsay? Pictures in your head of what it will look like because you read a book, or saw a movie? A friend or family member telling you their own terrible tale?

You HAD to get it from somewhere, even if you put together composites of many other stories and cut and pasted them into a brilliant future terror scene. Right?

But the most important thing to notice with #2 is….


The future has Not Yet Occurred.

So in the most basic way, we can start this kind of agonizing choice-making with this simple inquiry:

Something terrible will happen.

(And I strongly suggest finding out what you think is terrible, and identifying it clearly).

But is this true?

Are you completely sure something terrible will happen?

How about something terrible MIGHT happen?

Are you absolutely and completely sure, without a doubt, that something terrible might happen?

No. I could never absolutely “know” this. I can know nothing about the future, and what’s more is….I notice the past is not only over, it’s never precisely repeatable.

How do I react when I believe something terrible could happen?

Doubled over in anxiety, not sleeping, worried, frantic. I see pictures of other already-happened images, or pictures of scenes I invented in my head through imagination, and other peoples’ stories.

So who would you be without this thought that something terrible could happen, in the future….whether in the dilemma you’re contemplating, or anywhere at all?

What if you just could not conceive of that thought? What if you could not believe this thought was the truth? What if you forgot about this thought, for a minute?

Who would you actually be? WHAT would you be?


What would I be. Hmmm.

I’d be sitting here. I’d be….I have no idea. I’d be a person, looking around, flashing images in my head without believing a single one. I’d be noticing this Big Decision is maybe not all that important, to be honest.

I’d be feeling sweet, right now, right here. Quiet fan blowing heat into the room. Darkness outside the window. Wind chimes tinkling on the porch.

No urgency. No emergency. No freaking out, or depression. Just contentedly here. No serious worry about loss, or gain.

Nothing required.

Turning the thought around to the opposite: something wonderful will happen.

Could this be just as true, or truer?


“Just notice when things are out of balance. You don’t have to figure it out. There’s a built-in signal that will always let you know: it’s called stress. Your unquestioned thoughts about life lead you to believe that there’s something out of order, and that can never be true.” ~ Byron Katie in 1000 Names For Joy

Much love,


What if the Worst Thing…Is the Best Thing that could have happened?

You were lured, manipulated, hooked, seduced…..What happens when you believe this is possible? A scary story. But remember, it’s a story.

The first Friday inquiry jam, where people can connect via phone or internet from anywhere in the world, was so powerful just a few days ago (mark your calendar for First Friday of April 7:45 am PT, we’ll do it again).

We began as always with everyone filling out their own Judge Your Neighbor worksheet on a stressful situation, some exchange or moment in time where something happened unpleasant. Something disturbed us. Something felt off, or scary, or sad.

Someone raised their hand (you get to push *2 and I see the alert on my computer). This lovely inquirer said she has so many moments where she felt anxious or upset….where should she begin?

Great question.

I’ve had a few of those people or moments in my life (OK, more than a few) where it felt like the same “problem” was reoccurring over and over. Or the same dilemma, or same uncomfortable conversation.

The best thing I know to do is to really freeze frame only one of those moments in time, and hold very still with it as you write down your judgments about that situation, without one single ounce of editing yourself. Be childish, critical, petty, ridiculous.

What moment should you choose, you ask?

Why, the one where you felt the most fear, intensity, sadness, rage, fury, irritation, or hurt. That one. Where the scene of the crime was The Worst.

I found, if I go back to that one, and write everything I believe that’s stressful down, about that one moment….

….then the following or other moments that “weren’t so bad by comparison” will also fall into place. (And if they don’t, you can still do The Work on them).

This movement into The Worst moment takes some courage sometimes. Because you might remember a moment that’s really, really painful. It can stir you up.

So take a very deep breath, and remember first that you’re past that moment, now. You’re safe in your chair, as you write down the thoughts. Even if the event happened yesterday, you’ve got a little break. You can give yourself this quiet space for a moment.

Not long ago I had an old flame who reappeared in my life after many years away. The relationship had spanned maybe four months grand total when it happened in real life, but I actually thought of that relationship while watching the movie LaLa Land.

Oh no, not him again. Really?

So much work on that person, a long time ago. I thought it was all squared away. But just running into him at a coffee shop made me feel sort of nauseated, and nervous. I felt jumpy, like I needed to get out of there and like I also wanted to connect and find out all about his life.

Intrigue. Mystery. Drama.

Danger Danger! (Did you hear the back-up sound of loud beeping and the red lights flashing? That’s a huge truck. Heading backwards. Meaning, the driver probably doesn’t know you’re standing right there in the middle of the alley. MOVE!!!!!)

I went home feeling kind of shaken and sad, remembering the feeling of almost being run over. Seeing pictures of being very frightened many times in that relationship, feeling nervous and pushed and chaotically excited (like when you’re on a roller coaster) and confused and never relaxed.

And then annoyed. Because I received an email from him asking to get together like it would be the easiest and most normal thing to do in the world. Not a hey, would you want to get together to have a truly honest talk about your perspective of what happened in that very tumultuous, difficult, awful time back then….but an invitation to go to a show and hang out.


Somehow, I’m thinking we weren’t in the same relationship. He had his idea of what it was like. I had mine.

And here came the stressful thoughts: He should see how crazy-time the interactions were between us in the long-distant past. He should wake up. He should quit acting like an addict….someone who blacks-out the bad times and screams it-was-the-best-thing-ever about the good times. He should stop being so grabby. Desperate. He should stop thinking that relationship was fun. Or desirable. It wasn’t.

Oh man.

Dang it.

I have to do The Work on this? Again? After all these years? Seriously?

But I knew not to start in with the criticism of myself about it all.

Because self-criticism, guilt, or shame is a cover-up and a dark alley you can easily get stuck in (if you’re like me) and fogs out deeper understanding of the actual situation. It’s like a distraction to a different shiny object, a very painful shiny object. But a distraction nevertheless.

“Until you can see the enemy as a friend, your Work is not done. This doesn’t mean that you have to invite your enemy to dinner. Friendship is an internal experience. You may never see the person again, you may even divorce him or her, but as you think about the person, are you feeling stress or peace?” ~ Byron Katie

OK. Fine.

So here’s where the invitation comes in to go back to a very troubling moment, The Worst troubling moment, rather than this recent coincidental meeting which stirred things up.

I sat down, closed my eyes, and opened up to revisiting the difficult details, and seeing what still lived within my mind about it.

I was shocked.

Judge Your Neighbor worksheet:

  • I am enraged with him because he sucked me into his life, and lied about the dark truth, mental illness, alcoholism and neediness behind his fake captivating personality.
  • I want him to apologize, instead of saying he did nothing wrong.
  • He should grow up, get professional help, do The Work, understand how much he terrified me.
  • In order to be happy, I need him to confess he almost ruined my life because of his selfish and false desires, because of his desperation for attention and love.
  • He is an addict, a liar, sick, dangerous, stalker, angry, disgusting.
  • I don’t ever want to fall prey to a love con game again. I don’t ever want to be involved with someone who attempts suicide and is mentally ill.

OK then.


Just your run-of-the-mill everyday worksheet on a light chance encounter at a coffee shop. (Not).

The wonderful thing is now, I can take every single one of these concepts through the four questions and turnarounds. It doesn’t matter if it takes several months, or if I really go for it and do one a day. (I’m not the all-in-one-sitting type. Too much effort, too much to digest all at once. But nothing wrong with it if you DO like doing a whole worksheet in one sitting. Go for it!)

If you have a person you’ve thought of as needing to be rescued from themselves or their own thinking, or someone who manipulated or overwhelmed you….then join me now.

Let’s do The Work!

Starting from the top. Picture that person who drew you in, demanded a response, forced you to react, made you feel “x”. You’re a victim of their behavior. They neeeeeeeeeed you. They don’t let up. They’re high maintenance.

I’ve had sales pitches that felt this way. Organizations. Groups. Programs. Religions.

He sucked me into his life.

Is it true?

Yes. I was just innocently being me, standing there, and….

Answer the question.

He sucked you in, can you ABSOLUTELY KNOW this is true?


I saw no vacuum cleaner. No one had a knife. All that happened is conversations, time spent together, then time ending together, honestly.

No one forced me to do it.

How do you react when you believe you were sucked in, to anything?

Angry! Furious! Fist shaking! They did it to me! I was an innocent bystander! Mad at myself for not saying “no” 1000 times sooner!

So who would you be without this very painful story that you got sucked in?

You could apply the very same thought to a compulsive addictive behavior. The food compulsion sucked you in. The drugs, the alcohol, those people. You didn’t know what hit you.

Who would I be without the belief this guy sucked me in to his agony, mental illness, his need for rescuing, his sick world?

Oh. Hmmm.

I’d notice I’m separate from him. Very. I have a world that doesn’t intersect much with this other person’s world. This is one small encounter, out of my whole life. I am not “sucked” into anything terrible.

Without the thought, I feel safer, calmer, relaxed. I’m back in my own business, feet solidly on the ground, feeling the earth and noticing how in that situation, I knew when to no longer engage.

There was no emergency.

Without the thought, I’m noticing how nothing truly terrible happened. No one died. I even went to work, went about my own life. The worst that happened, honestly, were my thoughts. No gigantic octopi descended upon me, I definitely wasn’t “sucked”.

Turning the thought around: he didn’t suck me in. I sucked him in. I sucked myself in.

Oh. Wow. Yikes.

How could these turnarounds be just as true, or truer?

I sucked him in, by telling him of my worries about life (which weren’t really true) and my love dreams (which were unrealistic) and by answering every question he asked, and by writing long involved emails to him early on. I sucked him in by asking him tons of questions about his childhood.

I sucked myself in by believing I could help, even when things began to get revealed and the true (not fake) stories started getting uncovered. I sucked myself in with worry, anxiety and feeling torn. I sucked myself in by closing my eyes to some weird behavior and pretending it was OK with me. I sucked myself in by not speaking up, or telling my own inner truth.

I even sucked myself in by swinging from bubbly attraction, to disgust, rather than feeling the solid awareness of a centered, sane, kind approach to seeing the truth. I sucked myself in to my own story of what I hoped would happen….and then sucked myself in to extreme and deep disappointment that it didn’t. I forgot my own clarity, and strength.

I sucked myself in to his agony, mental illness, his need for rescuing, his sick world…I sucked myself into my own agony, my own mental illness, my need to rescue, my sick world of believing in sick worlds.

“You are alive only in your own imagination as the thing you think you are. The story we have of ourselves is so seductive….Don’t be waiting for “next”. There is no “next”. It is enough that you are here. The more you are able to bring your attention to that which is, you will find your silence, your peace. You will discover your inherent harmony, your natural joy.” ~ Mooji

I sucked myself into a dramatic vortex of believing there was a hook. A dangerous hook, in this world. Called another human with a “big” needy personality. Who was a fish that bit the hook? That would be me.

Only, that’s not what really happened.

He did not suck me in to anything. He delivered me. He set me free from believing in emergencies, from thinking it would be awful to say “no”. From tantalizing, enmeshed relationship where I believe I’m far more important than necessary. He showed me that even when someone attempts suicide, they can live, and so can I. He showed me how wonderful my own company is, how peaceful and quiet, all by myself. How glorious.

I told a story.

And it’s completely over right now.

I see what is. Thank you.

“The thing about the past? It’s over.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love,


Trying not to be what you are?

If you notice you also are needy… need to pretend it isn’t true. Pause, see, notice….The Work.

OMG that person is soooooo gushing, over-the-top full of praise, way too complimentary, ingratiating, very needy. They must want something.

Have you ever had that inner feeling about someone, like they’re Pepe Le Pew?

I have. Then I did The Work on them.

And guess what?

Perhaps even worse….have you ever had the feeling YOU were being too clingy, needy, desperate, grabby about someone, or about a relationship you were attracted to?

The thing is, compensating for your own needy feelings, your own wants and desires, or trying to suppress them….

….doesn’t really work.

This is what it’s like.

OMG I really want to hang out with that person. He’s awesome. Uh oh. I better not ever be needy. Being needy is gross. He said he doesn’t like dependency in others. I did The Work on that other guys neediness, which was gross. I’ll act nonchalant. I’ll be easy-going.

They want to cancel last-minute plans? No problem. They want to go to that restaurant, even though I don’t like the big screen TVs inside? No problem. They chose that movie with lots of scenes of blowing things to smithereens? OK with me. They want to see the play with the crying, sad ending? Sure thing.

I just won’t appear to need their love.

I’ve read the book.

Cool as a cucumber over here.

This is called skipping over the next step in The Work and avoiding the feelings of grief, sadness, dread, loss, or heart-wrenching disappointment.

I understand it. I’ve done it.

In one love interest, I already had The Work in my life, but I would “do” The Work over and over again on the man being totally uninterested in me (who I felt interested in) so I could be MORE detached, laissez-faire, and relaxed in his presence….

….all with the secret inside hope that therefor he’d propose, be more attracted, or want to betogetherforeverfortherestofourlives.

(No spaces between the words on purpose).

So if you notice yourself doing ANYTHING to try to be NOT what you are, or what you feel….

….good little hiding place for self-inquiry.

Come out, come out, wherever you are!

In this case: NEEDINESS!

Here’s how it unfolded for me.

First, with a quality (like “neediness”) you’ll probably already have noticed how someone else has it, and you found it repulsive.

The next thing that happened is you maybe did The Work, and discovered YOU had this quality, and found it repulsive (ahem, like my example, “neediness”, just saying).

You vowed without even knowing it that you would start working immediately (or continue “working” on yourself) on this quality. I will never, ever, ever be needy.

Oh, rats.

I realize something.

I am still totally 100% against neediness. I did The Work on that other person being needy, it pointed back to me, and now I’m determined not to be needy myself.

Important bulletin: I’m still against neediness.

This work is about the Truth. Noticing reality. Noticing what I’m at war with. Noticing my own pain, stress, suffering.

I myself shouldn’t ever be needy, make requests, ask for help, for food, for attention, for love.

Is that true?

Sigh. Yes! Aren’t enlightened people Non-Needy?

But can you absolutely know it’s true you shouldn’t ever be needy?

No. Because sometimes, I have been.

How do you react when you believe you shouldn’t act needy, detached, clingy or have any agenda whatsoever?

See above. I do things I don’t even like to do. I don’t hang up the phone.

Who would you be without the belief you shouldn’t be needy?

I’d just be here, with myself, noticing the desire for attention or support or security, and relax a little.

I’d maybe even….giggle.

I’d observe how brilliantly everything goes, even relationships, without my knowing a thing. I’d be so very aware of the part of me, as a beautiful inquirer said yesterday in the Eating Peace Process group, that’s very grounded.

Like a tree the way it blows wildly about, maybe loses a branch or two, but is rooted in the ground no matter what it’s winding up thinking or believing.

“You’re working at a deeper level. You’re not working with your psychology, to suppress, hold together, do affirmations, get the energy nicer. You’re going deep. You’re working with the blockages themselves, rather than the result of the blockages. Deep is the only place a solution exists. All the energy, attention, consciousness can now go to seeing the rock, on seeing, seeing, seeing…..If you center the energy back in the witness, in yourself, all these things will fall off like a snake, they will shed. You’ll start feeling peace where you felt disturbance. You are an extremely beautiful being, who needs nothing from anyone. The flower when it blossoms and opens in the morning naturally opens. It doesn’t need to receive, or to give. You are like this.” ~ Michael Singer

Much love,


There’s a right way to do The Work

Doing The Work together with friends….can bring closeness, clarity, support. If you don’t do it on your own, try it with others!

Yesterday I gathered up my black briefcase, with five clipboards, pens and a stack of Judge Your Neighbor worksheets, turned on my Waze map app, and ventured off to a beautiful house overlooking the water and the Seattle sky line.

Usually when someone hires me to come work with a small group, it’s their employees, their non-profit organization, their work team.

It’s about leadership and growth, numbers, success, and communication improvement (so they think…although it is indeed all these things, but oh so much more).

But this group was simply a friend, inviting 3 other friends over, to be introduced and to “do” The Work in a little mini retreat of 3 hours. We were all offered cinnamon tea and roasted cashews.

We sat around a sweet dining table with Judge Your Neighbor worksheets, and each woman got to read her worksheet and work a concept from the sheet.

There was such a kind, supportive, loving sense of sharing in the group.

Normally, when doing The Work, it’s important not to share a long story, explain or justify, offer suggestions to someone else’s work or problem, brainstorm someone else’s dilemma. We even have training in The Work to listen to yourself facilitate on recording, listen to your own “hmmmm” sounds, or laughter, or unimportant words.

General overall feel: allow the one investigating to go deep, to follow their own process. There is no agenda.

I started off the little gathering speaking to this, and also mentioning the urge sometimes to tell your story with great detail. I usually say something about how to hold this work–with a lot of silence, consideration, not rushing in to sort out the identified problem.

But these women knew one another very well, and they were such a beautiful delight.

They wanted to help each other out.

Something in me knew to relax around their joy of giving feedback, reflection, asking questions, and watching creative ideas flow as these brave individuals did their work and wondered about their turnaround examples.

Someone shared the wisdom of her long-gone mother-in-law as an example of a person who lives the turnaround “there is nothing wrong with you”. Everyone benefitted by hearing about this unnamed elder who was so accepting of her children, and grandchildren, during her life.

Interesting to sit with this thing, called The Work, and watch the mind have it’s commentary: No one should tell their story, explain in too much detail their situation, give advice, suggest turnarounds, share their opinion.

An inquirer who is planning her own mini retreat in fact wrote to me recently requesting I don’t bring any agenda to her animal rights work. She wanted no convincing, and for me not to have an alternate opinion.

This is profoundly important with The Work. To understand there is no “right” way or “wrong” way….but nevertheless to have a very open mind, whether facilitator or the one inquiring (and the facilitator is actually also an inquirer, honestly).

So I noticed in this little lovely mini retreat with friends who knew one another well, the experience was just right. Not too hot, not too cold.

Is it true there should never be conversation, suggestions, help offered, new ideas, or someone telling quite a few details of their situation?


Who would I be without this story of The Way To Do The Work?

Delighted with time spent with people who are my teachers, these newcomers to The Work.

Humble. Noticing I interrupted and brought people back into the process, and everyone got a turn, and joyful ah-ha’s were expressed, and now….

….The Work continues inside of me.

Trusting that the Universe and Reality have got this, and if I’m a part of the help, hooray, and how could I or anyone not be?

“I can’t find anything outside the brilliance. It’s everywhere, and it’s always gone, even before it happens. It’s how form appears to take place….You see that all stressful thoughts are already gone, you realize that there’s no substance to them, and you feel intense delight.” ~ Byron Katie in 1000 Names For Joy page 131

Much love,


Inquiry: letting your grown up out

Slow down. Let your feelings show you your stressful thoughts. Do The Work….Ahhhhh.

From time to time, someone I do The Work with says something like this:

“I don’t know what I’m thinking. I just feel awful. I wake up anxious. I overeat. I drink. I smoke. I have a dull job. I’m not sure what I’m doing in my life….How do I do The Work on all this?”

LOL. (Kind of. I know it’s not that funny when you’re in it).

I love how the mind looks at “all this” (your entire life) and keeps things foggy, uncertain, unclear.  Awareness is in a holding pattern of…..“I have no idea what’s going on, I just feel bad. Gosh.”

One thing that can help if you’ve had this overwhelmed uncomfortable feeling, is to first, focus on one troubled feeling at a time.

For example, if someone says they feel anxious (I can relate as a former anxiety junkie) I might ask “What does that feeling look like? What color is it? Where does it land in the body? What’s the temperature? What’s the texture?”

As the person focuses on the feeling, they’re turning towards it, not away.

If they feel MORE anxious for a moment, and they start to feel pretty nervous, I might do The Work with them first on the belief “I am not safe.” Or “Feeling this isn’t safe.”

Is it true?


Who would you be without this story you aren’t safe right now, feeling this feeling?

What’s the turnaround?


I am safe. Feeling this is safe.

And now….noticing you’re safe, if your feeling could speak, if you let it bring you the message it wants you to know, if you considered this feeling a gift rather than an enemy you need to get rid of….

….what does it have to say?

Sometimes, the awareness is instantly far more lazer sharp.

The other day, I watched my own mind follow this very inquiry, landing on the stressful belief.

My teenager daughter, off at college, is far less communicative than I anticipated. She rarely calls, she hardly ever texts, and I’m so curious about her daily life, her classes, her friends, who she’s meeting, what she’s learning, what she’s thinking about.

I have to wait, though.

Until a weekend break, or whenever she returns home.

I love her so much, and miss talking with her. I’m also awed by her independence and feisty strength. She’s not clingy, not needy, and has no desire for my opinion or consult. For now, this seems incredibly healthy and beautiful.

So the other night, I look at my phone before going to bed and realize this daughter, such a wonderful curiosity, called 45 minutes earlier.


Even though it’s late and I was about to turn out the lights, I immediately return the call. (She naturally didn’t leave any message).

“Oh hi mom! I’m five minutes from home, just about to get off the bus!”


She walks into the cottage moments later and I am so, so happy to see her. Big embrace. She’s doing a homework project, and since it’s a long weekend (Monday is a holiday) she’s home for 2 nights

Then, I say I don’t get why she didn’t let us know she was coming?

Her: I did let you know, jeez, I told you about this weeks ago!

Me: But I never knew you had actually decided to come, I had no idea. Plus I thought you said you were sick?

Her: Being sick has nothing to do with Not Coming, I only have a cold. I can’t believe you didn’t realize this, I told you I was coming, like, ten times.

Me:  I didn’t know! You should communicate more clearly!

Her: I did!

Me: You didn’t!

(Variations on the theme You Did and You Didn’t ensue).

My daughter and I eventually go through texts on both our phones, and discover she never received a few important texts from me, and I thought her replies back were matching other completely different questions, and the whole misunderstanding and confusion was based on text and cell phone tech failure.

It’s like the Who’s On First Routine.

So we laugh, and embrace again and agree it’s late and time for sleep.

Especially because her step-dad and I are leaving in the morning at 6:30 am for an overnight in Canada, just over the border.

As we load our little carry-on bags into our car in the beautiful early morning, I’m aware my daughter is sleeping soundly in her bed.

She’s home.

And we are leaving.

How did this happen? If I had known, I would have stayed in town. Rats.

Anxious flutter. Images of her being alone all weekend in the house going here and there and me not getting to cross paths with her, see her, listen to her. I think about how beautiful she looked, coming into the house with her gorgeous dark brown hair and grey blue eyes, grey tights, cute polka dot skirt and black jacket.

On the car ride to the pier where we’re catching an early boat, I feel jumpy. We shouldn’t be going. I don’t care about this trip. I get seasick. This won’t be fun. I need a massage, not a holiday. There are too many people in this line (the boat is sold out). I can’t meditate. Complaining.

But then rather than skipping around to generalized complaint mode, finding something wrong with the moment and my feelings in addition to whatever else is in the environment, I stay with the feeling that’s anxious.

And then….the true stressful belief appears….*ping*:

I need more time with my daughter.

People think this all the time in a very deep and troubling way with someone who is dying, or a break-up, or when saying goodbye for a long period of time.

I need more time with them than I’m getting.

So let’s do The Work!

I need more time with her, Is that true?

Yes! So true! I can’t BELIEVE I’m traveling AWAY from her when I want to get to know her more and….

Stop. It’s a simple question. Can you KNOW this is absolutely true that you need more time with anyone?


How do you react when you believe you need more time with her?

Choked up. Sad. Longing. Images of the future. Images of the past. Melancholy. I feel like turning around and to hell with the money my sweet husband spent to surprise me with two days away.

As I’m seeing the present moment, the gorgeous high cliffs of islands, the Puget Sound, the misty rain, the white choppy waves, the magnificence of where I am located….I dismiss it. I think Somewhere Else is better (at home with daughter).

So who would I be without this very stressful thought that being somewhere else is better than where I am, and I need more time over there?

Who would I be without the belief someone else’s company, another location, a different experience, more time with a person who is not here physically….is required for my happiness?


Laughing. Laughing at the absurdity of it all. As if my thoughts had control of the universe. Noticing that with the thought, I’m missing the beauty of this location (except fortunately, not really).

Without the belief I need more time with someone else, I feel the glory of being alive and having eyes, ears, fingers, breath. I remember my father, who died quite young it seemed, and how doing The Work on his absence gave me the incredible gift of having him here in my heart at all times, and no dad to miss.

Without the thought that I need more time with my daughter, I simply sit here, noticing I adore her.

Turning the thought around:

  • I do not need more time with her.
  • She needs to spend more time with me.
  • I need more time with myself.
  • I need more time with what I’m spending time with (look around).

I don’t need more time with her, because I’m aware that even if she’s home, she has mega plans with other people. Not me.

She needs more time with me? Yes, as the kind, listening, adoring mother I am. I could go visit her soon, instead of waiting for her to come home.

I need more time with myself, with reality.

There is no requirement for time, I notice, in the universe. Time is limited in this physical body. Sometimes, humans are here for a very short time. Only months, or a few years. Sometimes, 19. Like my daughter.

I need more time with my own thoughts, with my feelings, with myself, with my environment.

Yes. I get to notice the splashing drops on the window, the great vast salt water sea, the low hum of this clipper ship motor, the snow capped mountains sharply rising off one side of the boat, my appreciation for remembering to take Dramamine (motion sickness medicine) which my husband kindly asked for.

I get to notice how very much I love this apparent daughter, and how it is right that we are independent beings. She should be able to easily live without me, and I without her. It doesn’t mean love between us isn’t just as vast as this ocean I’m sailing on.

“That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and impermanent, is the first mark of existence. It is the ordinary state of affairs. Everything is in process. Everything—every tree, every blade of grass, all the animals, insects, human beings, buildings, the animate and the inanimate—is always changing, moment to moment. We don’t have to be mystics or physicists to know this. Yet at the level of personal experience, we resist this basic fact. It means that life isn’t always going to go our way. It means there’s loss as well as gain…

If you’re going to be a grown-up—which I would define as being completely at home in your world no matter how difficult the situation—it’s because you will allow something that’s already in you to be nurtured.” ~ Pema Chodron

Your answers, already inside you.

Let the uncomfortable feeling lead the way to the thought lead the way to growing up lead the way back home.

Much love,


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Fire and Purification, Love and Inquiry

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It doesn’t exactly feel beautiful when someone breaks up with you, when divorce proceedings are underway, when you have a fight with your beloved, when you find yourself complaining about the same thing endlessly in a relationship.

But what I love noticing, and so grateful for, is that if it ISN’T feeling so beautiful….

….The Work is beckoning.

Today, you can join me for an online mini-retreat in doing The Work on anywhere you notice in your life you feel not-so-beautiful, especially around relationships with others.

Don’t feel you must come do The Work on couples, romance, break-ups or love-gone-wrong (although those are all really amazing things to question). Come do The Work if you notice resentment, irritation, fear, loss, or worry about anyone in your life.

Concerns about love show up in many ways.

To join me click here. Come and go as you wish, no requirement to be there 2.5 hours.

Awhile ago, I had the privilege of doing The Work with a young woman who was upset about a man who didn’t love her as much as she loved him.

They had an off-again, on-again relationship.

He would return to town (he didn’t live in the same city), they’d spend 24 hours together making love, eating, sleeping, talking….

….then he’d leave for who knows how long and she’d try to act nonchalant and regroup.

But underneath, she felt abandoned and triggered by his going, and his absences, every time.

Why doesn’t he love me that way? Why doesn’t he want me to be his girlfriend all the time? What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I have a relationship like my friend? Why doesn’t anyone, including this guy, want to marry me?

And then on top of all those kinds of thoughts, she’d also think “There’s something wrong with me, I am sooo clingy, I shouldn’t be needy, I’m ridiculous, relationships trap you anyway, I prefer independence, what am I doing here?”

It’s like she’d get stuck in a side-eddy of the river swirling around between “I suck” and “he sucks”.

Deep breath.

This is a good one for inquiry.

This relationship should be different than it is.

Find that one thing you notice you believe should be different. Whether in a long-term relationship and you’re so annoyed because he doesn’t do the dishes, or you’re going through a divorce and you believe you should be together, or you’re wanting more than you get from her in a relationship, or less.

Let’s do The Work.

In this situation, the relationship should be different. It should be that other, better way. Not THIS way.

Is that true?

Yes! This way is painful, boring, irritating, not serving me! It’s TRUE!

Can you absolutely know it’s true?

The woman I was working with said “yes” she could absolutely know it was true she wanted more time, more commitment, more steadiness.

How do you react when you believe the relationship should be different than it is?

Angry. Depressed. Thinking I made a mistake. Yelling at myself that I should get over it. Furious with me. Furious with him. Sad. Begging. Trying everything to get it the way I want it.

So who would you be without your belief that this relationship should be different, that it should change in that situation for you to be happy?

Woah. But.

I can’t be happy with the relationship the way it is! I’d be ignoring my complaints! I couldn’t! I wouldn’t!

Slow down, though.

To not have this thought doesn’t mean you will never have the love you want, or the peace you crave. But in that situation, right when he doesn’t call back, or she forgot to meet you, or he left town again, or she was critical….

….Who would you be if you couldn’t have the belief it should be different, better, another way?

Wow. It drops a whole massive weighted layer of expectation and frees up other possibilities, at least for me. No one person needing to be any different, or do more than they do. No pushing, pulling, arguing with what is.

When I did this work with the young woman suffering from her un-committed relationship, she felt more of an unknown in that moment, without the thought.

She wasn’t very excited about other possibilities, especially other relationships, but she didn’t need to be. She simply noticed her own pretty apartment, her passion for her career, the way she sometimes would completely forget all people and get drawn into a project, the way her friends would come and go and she didn’t have the same feelings when THEY left (good to notice).

For me, I notice when I don’t think someone should be different, here I am taking a walk, doing The Work with people, buying groceries, going to yoga, vacuuming, teaching a class, writing….

….without any thought that something’s missing.

Even clients I work with should be exactly as they are, right in that moment in time.

Turning the thought around: this relationship should NOT be different than it is. It should be exactly like this. How could this be just as true, or truer?

Well, first of all, it’s teaching me about deep attachment, expectations, demands I have inside that someone else should change so that I feel more happy, or comfortable.

I want to be the one to notice, and accept, and change, and move where I’m drawn….without enormous suffering or dreadful sorrow.

Another turnaround: My relationship with myself (in that situation with that other person) should be different. I should be more committed to myself, I should connect with me, I should express my preferences, I should do the things I like to do.

I could do all this by myself, or with this other person! I can ask for what I want, and hear without resentment if the answer is no from the other.

And finally, I should be different with this other person. If I want them to be more committed, could I be more committed, connected and clear with them? If I want them to be less clingy, could I be less clingy, demanding or needy with them? If I want them to quit “x” can I quit doing “x” with my thoughts about them?

This never means you should put up with something, or that you should twist yourself into a pretzel, or withhold information or the truth, or work even harder.

I love that it simply brings freedom if you are not arguing with reality, and wishing for something Other Than What Is.

As I look around the room in that situation I was questioning where that other person was doing it differently than I thought I wanted….

….I notice how much I love that room, the air, the lights, the distant sounds, the colors, the feelings, the quiet stillness, my heart beating.

I know the universe and reality has it handled far better than I could ever handle it. I can trust what’s going on, instead of fight it.

And if there’s a fight….The Work.

“Humility is our natural response to seeing what’s true about ourselves. When we judge others and question that judgment, then turn it around to ourselves, that is the fire and the purification. Our knees buckle, and we learn how sweet it is to lose–how that is the winning. That’s what The Work is about. Some people call it forgiveness. I call it sanity.” ~ Byron Katie in 1000 Names For Joy pg. 221.

Much love,


Think this, and you’re forever in the role of victim

You should be sorry. (Are you absolutely sure?)

Has anyone ever given you the creeps?

Of course they have, everyone’s gotten that feeling, even if you had it when you were a kid and you thought the old man at the end of the street was scary.

Nothing wrong with it, really. A feeling comes up, maybe you’re reminded of something fearful, or disappointing. Maybe there’s a gut intuition with no “reason” behind it. You know to cross the street, and move to the other side. Something is on alert.

But I found myself then wanting that person who creeped me out in the past, and also frightened a few others (added proof) to GET that they’re disturbing others, and why.

I heard him say “I didn’t do anything wrong!” about a sleazy overture to a woman.

Everyone would agree he should get a clue, right?

He’s a sleaze-ball. Ew. Creep, creep. Get away from us you creeper!

I noticed, however, even though that kind of teenage reaction was occurring in my thoughts, something felt off. Like I wanted him to suffer, to really understand he did the WRONG THING. You were totally out of line and inappropriate, dude!

(Not that I would ever say anything. Because. People like that aren’t rational and you can’t talk with them anyway. It’s no use. Oh yeah, I could question that.)

Oooooh. That’s some serious stressful argument going on. Wow.

Time for The Work.

He should understand he did the wrong thing.

Is it true?

Yes! Of course! How could he even think what he did was OK, or acceptable, or ? I mean, he should be ashamed of himself.

Is it absolutely true that he should understand he did the wrong thing. Are you SURE??!!

Well, no. If he knew it would create such a response, if he was a completely different person, if he knew better, if he had a alternate perspective…..he might never have done that.

And I have no idea what created his action, what he expected, what he was thinking, what he hoped for.

I just really can’t know his business, his background, his life.

Even if I’m thinking only of myself, and my own safety and comfort, I can’t know that HE should understand HE DID IT WRONG.

I notice that even though he did it wrong, I’m breathing. I haven’t seen him in a year. I haven’t heard of him making overtures to anyone else I know.

Life went on.

I also know the suffering when someone believes deeply they did indeed do something horribly wrong. They sometimes want to kill themselves. They are filled with suffering. They can’t function.

Do I want him to feel….that?

Well, I guess No.

How do I react when I think the thought “he should understand he did the wrong thing?”

Absolutely furious. I treat him like an outcast. I stay far away from him and think about what a creeper he is, and maybe talk about him to friends. Did you see him over there? Snort, laugh, make gag face.

I’m actually frightened, when I believe that thought. I’m seeing pictures of him believing he did nothing, and therefore repeating it over and over again. Like a serial killer or something.

Whew. It’s an horrendously stressful thought!

So who would I be without it? Without the thought he should understand how wrong he was, feel bad, apologize, suffer, change….all that entire story?

Who would you be without this very stressful tale?

Oh. Interesting.

This is one of those wonderings where at first, even though it’s so anxiety-riddled, I’m not sure I want to give up the thought. Because, if I give up this thought, he might be out there repeating his crime. Capable of creepy stuff AGAIN.

I must think about him and how he should be sorry and wanting to change his ways and aware he did the wrong thing.

But. What if it was safe not to have the thought? What if it didn’t mean denial, or pretending it didn’t happen. What if this question is only about noticing what it’s like when I’m not aware of the thought, when I start fresh, from the present, open to anything, clear? When I’m not freaking myself out with the terrible possibilities of what will happen next, unless he understands what he did was wrong?

What I notice is, nothing terrible has ever happened that I personally know of, with this person, ever again. Everything has been shared, and logged, by the people involved. People have the support they need.

Without the thought, I’d notice how most of the time, except when reminded the other day of this person, I don’t think about it. Ever. Without the thought is the way I usually am. It’s friendly. I’m care-free. I’m not frightened of this person.

Turning the thought around: He should NOT understand he did the wrong thing. 

How could this be just as true?

Well….when someone feels awful about something they did, as I mentioned, they might lose it, they might feel suicidal, they might be deeply depressed. I’d hate to hear about him killing himself. That’d be awful.

He also shouldn’t understand he did the wrong thing, because he’s not oriented that way. He’s got the ideas he’s got. Maybe you could call them sexist, or weird, or aggressive, or good-old-boy but that’s what he learned. He’s doing as he was taught. He’s living his way, not my way.

Turning it around again: I should understand I did the wrong thing, especially when it came to HIM.

OK. I didn’t speak up, I didn’t go to him directly, I smiled when in his presence and play-acted like everything was fine. I didn’t share my fears. I didn’t get support for myself. I stuffed things down. I gave the wrong impression. I didn’t look to myself with care, love and attention.

Which is really the best turnaround, for me, in this situation….or the most meaningful: I should understand I did the wrong thing with myself. I ignored my intuition, I laughed when afraid, I pushed the small timid part of myself away and acted strong, and unruffled. I didn’t ask…”what did you mean by that remark?” or “could you stop doing that?” or “I’m feeling very uncomfortable.”

I was so frozen with the thought that he should stop doing that, and then later that he should KNOW he did the wrong thing….

….that I never simply saw: If I’m the one seeing the dirty socks, it’s my job to pick them up. And notice I love myself when I do that, rather than resenting everyone else for being so creepy.

He doesn’t need to understand any wrong-ness about what occurred at all. Not if he doesn’t ever see it as wrong.

I’m the one who needs to see what I did, without malice or criticism to myself, or guilt or shame. This is not about piling a bunch of judgment on me.

I love how Byron Katie says “A turnaround should be a kiss, not a slap!”

I should see, with great compassion, how the whole thing went down. No one person’s fault.

“As long as you think that the cause of your problem is ‘out there’-as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering–the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise.” ~ Byron Katie

Amazing to think, the only problem is here, in my own thinking about this situation.

Who would I be without fighting against reality, wishing he KNEW he did something wrong…….thinking he hurt me?

Peaceful. Free.

Now that’s worth letting go of a thought. And good news. It’s my thought, so I can do it.

Much love,


Not trying so hard to be nice…can you just tell the truth?

Do you loooooove getting everyone’s approval? It may be more stressful than you think. Are you sure you need to be “nice”?

We’ve all heard about the concept of making amends. That it’s very beneficial, for both the person making it, and the one receiving it.

An amends is perhaps an apology, but by definition it means to make up or repair a harm done. The word literally comes from the latin “to correct” a “blemish”. To make something right.

I once took the process of making amends overboard, though.

It wasn’t truly amend-making.

There I was, very young and going to 12 Step meetings, getting a sponsor, serving as a secretary, following the program.

There was something very cathartic about writing out all the wrongs I had done to people (the fourth step process). Incidents and relationships I felt uncomfortable about.

After some contemplation, the invitation is to make amends where you recognize you need to.

The thing is, at the time I was lousy at slowing down and seeing who I really, really needed to make amends to.

(It was myself most of all).

I wrote several letters to people I’m not sure I really harmed all that much.

It’s almost like I was excited about the possibility of being forgiven, and the more people who said “you are OK, I don’t hate you, and you’re forgiven” the more I’d feel good about myself.

Which really isn’t a true amends. Begging, hoping, wishing, longing, needing someone’s approval or blessing or acceptance is definitely NOT amends.

It has to be done with zero strings attached, without expectation.

So if you have someone in your life who’s been upset, angry, or hurt by you….

…..the first step is to do The Work.

I noticed in those “amends” I made with others so long ago, these letters went off to men I had dated. I can’t even remember the details. I broke up with them, or told them I wasn’t interested, or moved away. And here I was apologizing for doing that.

My assumption was they had been hurt, and I actually didn’t even know this for sure.

Kind of embarrassing, now that I think about it again.

Even if you have someone you’re sure you broke their heart, or hurt them….check to make sure if you were doing what was right for you. Because THAT is also extremely important to remember and notice.

Now, another brilliant teaching in the middle of all this amend-making, inside The Work, is the suggestion that when a turnaround hurts…..when it feels bad….you might want to take a look with inquiry at the turnaround.

As Katie suggests….a Turnaround should feel like a “kiss” and not a “slap”. In other words, if you start punching yourself (in your mind) when you find a turnaround towards yourself, there’s a little more work to do as you notice the violent thoughts towards yourself.

So this inquiry today comes out of a thought about me, that could be a turnaround found in inquiry, but a concept I used to believe was true with a vengeance.

I hurt him (when I said no).

This doesn’t have to be with a love or romance. It can be in friendship, as a parent, with co-workers.

Maybe you were awkward and bumbled your way through it, but you said no. You really didn’t want to work for them, go out with them, hang out with them, give them the shiny toy at the check-out stand. And they appeared upset.

You hurt them….is it true?

Yes. It seems like it. They acted frustrated. They tried to get my attention again. I avoided them.

But can you absolutely know it’s true that saying “no” hurt that person?


How do you react when you think that thought?

Too nice. Talking longer than I’d like to someone. Not hanging up the phone. Feeling apologetic. Nervous about hurting them.

I treat them with kid gloves. I make things light, when I’m kind of nervous about their grabbiness. I call them “needy” in my mind.

In my past, how I reacted in my youthful efforts to be sane and compulsion-free were, I started apologizing right and left and feeling ashamed of myself.

So who would you be without that story?

I’d just say no. I wouldn’t withdraw and start to feel like hiding, or worried about their continued reaction. I wouldn’t start to feel insecure about what they’re REALLY thinking. I’d go on with my day, with my life. I’d know everyone will be OK, including me. I wouldn’t obsess about whether they still liked me or not. Ugh.

Turning the thought around:

I didn’t hurt them.

How could this be just as true?

They’re breathing. They get out of bed. They go to work. They have a whole life without crossing paths with mine. They are capable humans, on their own path. If they look wounded, I can even talk with them about it, and connect and listen, without rescuing.

It was an honest “no” so ultimately how could this hurt? Even if they acted like they wanted a dishonest “yes” I’m not sure they really would. Would you?

Turning the thought around again:

I hurt myself.

Yes, I dragged the “no” on forever without speaking it. I felt so incredibly nervous about “hurting” them I twisted myself into a pretzel trying to make sure to let them down easy. It was like I agreed with them. They ARE fragile. So I MUST sacrifice.


Turning it around again:

They hurt me.

I don’t have to find examples, if it feels right not to….I could even question the thought (maybe I already questioned this thought). But I can also notice if I think they did hurt me, and when, and simply respond with compassion and understanding, and saying “no” if I mean it.

They’re treating me the way I treat me. I was showing them I am someone who will rescue, sacrifice, worry, assist, and believe them to be people who can’t find balance or happiness without me.

Today, my living turnaround is actually not to be apologetic, in this kind of dynamic. It doesn’t mean I’m not full of love and care for that person. I am. But I see them as strong. Able. Someone being supported by the universe, just like me. It’s not my job to make them happy and un-hurt.

Instead, my living turnaround, a way of offering amends to those people and to myself, is to see us all as powerful, creative, clear people following the paths we must follow. And saying “no” when I mean it.

“If this was their only path to God, would you take it away?” asks Byron Katie sometimes, when people are desperately concerned with someone else’s happiness.

They always answer…..”no”.

And even though it’s in someone else’s business, and I can’t really know what’s true about that person over there, and their pain and suffering….another turnaround pops in that makes sense in this case, for me at least.

They hurt themselves.

This is not said with any fault or blame whatsoever. Only noticing their angst, their fear. There that person is, believing their thoughts (if they are). Like the child at the check-out stand screaming because mom says “no” to buying the shiny thing.

They’ll get over it.

And this is very important. It’s not said with malice, wishing they would, even the slightest criticism. You can love them with a big huge heart, be with them, listen with them, adore them, care about them….and still be completely honest with what’s true for you.

“Politeness and tact are supposed to be about consideration for others. But notice how often they are really about trying to control the impression you make….Why bother with all of this complicated pretending? There is no reason. You do it because neither of you has questioned the belief that your relationship depends on playacting and couldn’t stand up to honesty….What would happen if you moved and responded with less concern about what others will think? What would it be like to live your truth without excusing, defending, explaining, or justifying your thoughts or actions to others?” ~ Byron Katie in I Need Your Love Is It True pg. 44

If you notice this as an issue, and you want to find freedom from the trap of trying to please….one way is to come do The Work. Spring Retreat is filling very fast (May 11-14) in north Seattle. Or come to Breitenbush in Oregon June 21-25.

Much love,