SURPRISE!! From Oh No to Oh Yes–with The Work!

Lake Washington only one block away from Goldilocks Cottage. For retreats, we’ll stop by for our Morning Walk in The Work.

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).

Uncomfortable relationship surprises. Worrisome health surprises. Devastating money surprises. Anxiety-filled surprises.

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

Much love,
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!

Was I teaching peace? Or fear?

First Friday open call for everyone is this Friday December 1st at 7:45 – 9:15 am Pacific time. Join HERE.

Wow, people are flying in and making AirBnB reservations nearby, or staying with friends, or commuting to Seattle December 8-10. Because of time of year, last-minute prep and the lower expense of having it right in my own cottage, the fee is only $195 for Friday 9:30 am through Sunday noon.

If you’d really like to come Friday all-day only, you’re welcome for $95. If you’re experienced in The Work and want to come Saturday afternoon only 12/9 from 2:00-6:00 let me know, there may be room to make this work. To join us in what will surely be an inner adventure, sign up HERE for all 3 days. Hit reply if you have any question or see a different arrangement working for you.

I can’t wait. I love what’s possible when you allow new ideas to pop in and unfold–which is this retreat itself. I love someone’s coming from California, and another from the east coast. What a time to do The Work, in this wet, dark, rainy atmosphere when sometimes Other People and The World can be daunting.

For example.

I saw an old familiar sort of post the other day on facebook, with a deeply troubled objection to The Work. Or perhaps the objection was to the world, to life, to what is seen by the mind.

I totally get what Byron Katie is telling us … “it hurts when I argue with reality” … but sometimes it is so hard to even imagine not arguing with the horrors that are happening all around us and the immeasurable suffering involved. Much of the time it feels so cynical. (FACEBOOK post)

Someone else then chimed in that she thinks of sex trafficking, abduction, drug use, slavery…and how could anyone ever say to victimized children that they should love what is?

My heart sunk in the sadness of the approach, and the misunderstanding. I hope no one ever says to someone suffering deeply “you should love what is”.

Actually, someone doing their own inquiry work, I can’t imagine being able to say it. It would be so opposite of compassion, unconditional care, or doing The Work–which is an Inside Job.

And ONLY an inside job.

But I could feel the despair in what these people wrote.

It’s a profound wondering to look out into the world, that appears to be filled with destruction, environmental change (I just learned since 1970 the world’s wild animal population has been cut in half), mass shootings, war, violence, starvation, pollution, poverty, anger, suffering, unkindness….

….and hold what we see up against the powerful phrase “loving what is.”

Are you telling me to love THAT?!

Fortunately, what I’ve found is no one is ever telling me anything.

All The Work is….is four questions.

I have to be the one doing the actual work of inquiry. I get to find out if I love what is, or don’t love it, and the true deepest meaning of “love” and how to sit with reality even when it breaks my heart.

I get to see that there is no division of the world cut into evil and good, love and hate, life and death, terrible and wonderful.

Everything is all mixed up together….all the time.

When I do The Work one thought at a time, slowed down, considering and contemplating each individual situation I’ve noticed I’m arguing with, is the outcome isn’t my old definition of “love”.


I’m opened, in a new way, to what is. My heart is broken open sometimes. It’s not exactly soft, friendly.


Once I thought I heard Byron Katie say “I’m asking you to go into hell. This is not easy.” Although I’m not sure of the quote.


And yet it’s my experience. The Work isn’t for sissies. We’re going to hell. On purpose. (Or because if you’re like me, you’ve tried absolutely everything else and you have no other choice really).


Questioning the destruction or brutal nature of incidents, of things that frighten me like disease and death, fighting and violence….


….this process called The Work does not lead to passivity.


It doesn’t lead to me knowing what anyone else should do or not do. It does not lead to me needing something from other people in order to be happy, or living alone in a bubble.


It doesn’t lead me to pure detachment, or thinking no one or nothing else matters in an apathetic kind of way, or a resigned way. I find apathy and resignation to feel stressful, and therefore worthy of inquiry of course.


But let’s see. Hmmm.


The only way I know to work with a stressful thought?


The Work.


The people on facebook and all those who think doing The Work means standing and looking at other peoples’ suffering without action, without caring or attention….


….they should understand they’re mistaken.


They shouldn’t think The Work is spiritual self-centeredness. They should see it brings out greater action, passion, fearless movement, transformation. They should understand.


Is it true?


No. What’s the reality?


They see lots of pain in the world, and they don’t see how looking at the pain differently would change it. They want to see empowered action, movement, healing, kindness. I do too.


How do I react when I believe those people shouldn’t judge The Work as condoning violence, or abuse of children, or that it preaches to people to love what is?


Frustrated. Irritated. Sad. Wanting to set them straight and explain to them what’s really true.


Who would I be without the thought?


Starting to compose a rare facebook post to try to explain or respond….and deleting it. Understanding their suffering and pain.


Doing my own work, instead. Signing up to attend a meeting to get involved in climate change work, this very week. Just did it.


Working with myself and others on their experiences of abuse, rape, cancer, illness, death, suicide, addiction, fear and terror.


Being profoundly moved by sitting in this work and then being called to live my turnarounds as best I can. Getting involved with a compassionate heart, not an angry one.


Not fighting or thinking anyone’s wrong to have their opinion.


Turning the thought around: They should say and think and feel exactly what they do.
They’re right.


There are horrors, immeasurable suffering, and arguments with it all.


Turning it around again: I myself who thinks doing The Work means standing and looking at my own (or others’) suffering without action, without caring or attention…. 

….I should understand I am mistaken.
I shouldn’t think The Work is spiritual anything. I should see it brings out greater action, passion, fearless movement, transformation. I should understand others, and myself. 

Have I ever treated doing The Work as something that allows me to stand and look at suffering without action, or care?

Wow. Yes. I once kept doing The Work over and over again on the same person because I felt so angry. He was a person full of suffering–he said so himself. He told me to leave him alone, and I didn’t.

I wasn’t caring for my own suffering. I wasn’t caring for his requests. I did The Work with a motive not to be angry, so I could keep pestering him and avoid looking at my own life.

I also forget that my path is no better than anyone else’s path, that I have nothing they don’t also have. I think I know more or better than someone who wrote something on facebook, who I’ve never met before. I forget I’m not in charge.

“Just as we use stress and fear to motivate ourselves to make money, we often rely on anger and frustration to move us to social activism. If I want to act sanely and effectively while I clean up the earth’s environment, let me begin by cleaning up my own environment. All the trash and pollution in my thinking–let me clean up that by meeting it with love and understanding. Then my action can become truly effective. It takes just one person to help the planet. That one is you.” ~ Byron Katie in Loving What Is

Thank you people who posted on facebook, and thank you news, and reports, and speeches and rallies and images, movies, pictures, radio information, and very troubling happenings of any kind (that mostly seem to occur on my computer I notice)….you show me my invitation to help the planet.

To see the planet as helping me.

To bring out the best, most truly effective action possible, without expectation or demand of any kind.

“You learn to resolve problems peacefully within yourself, and now we have a teacher. Fear teaches fear. Only peace can teach peace.” ~ Byron Katie 

Much love,


What complainers taught me about complaining

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.

Much love,


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.

Soak in inquiry in winter….and dissolve your wintery thinking

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?

The Work.

“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.

Dark outside, bright inside.

Much love,


Enlightened by taxes and complaints about who should finish them

“He should have finished it by now.”

Have you ever had this thought, that someone else should have completed something….but they haven’t?


When I was at the School for The Work recently, I did many of the exercises even though I wasn’t always in the room with all the participants, and had duties behind the scenes.

It was wonderful to sit down and fill out a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet on a situation with someone close where I felt troubled by their action, words, appearance, behavior, communication.

Maybe I reacted with a harsh comment, or surprise, or disappointment.

Anything at all….if it bugged me, it was worth looking at.

Hmmm, what to investigate? I suddenly had the awareness of the thought that someone I know should have finished a certain project by now.

OK fine….it was my husband and it was about our taxes for 2016.

He should have finished them! Six months ago!

You might find anyone in your life where you think they should have finished something by now: children finishing homework or chores by now, friends should have called you back by now, family members should have arrived by now, neighbors should have finished using your lawnmower by now.

And it’s stressful.

I had the incredible opportunity to take a very close look at this particular thought and worksheet with someone facilitating me right there at the school. Nothing better for deeper inquiry than having someone sit with you and ask the four questions–especially if they listen, don’t offer any advice, and avoid lots of discussion.

I loved being able to close my eyes, and answer the questions, in the quiet of someone listening closely without speaking: Is it true he should have finished the taxes by now?

Yes! I’ve never asked for an extension in my life. This is nuts. I’ve never paid a late penalty. So true.

But can I absolutely know it’s true HE should have finished the taxes?

Um. Gulp. No.

Because he hasn’t. And it’s not like he was assigned to them by the master of the universe and he’s the only one who could do the job. In fact, I’ve done my own taxes every year of my life since I started working. I did the taxes through my first marriage, then when I was single for five years, and for the first several years of my newer second marriage.

Who hasn’t finished the 2016 taxes?

Heh heh.

I can’t absolutely know it’s true HE should have finished them.

How do I react when I believe he should have?

Pissy. Complaining. Waaah. I wanted him to take it over. Tantrum. I don’t want to do it anymore. I hate taxes!

I suddenly realize I have still have an unfinished unquestioned oppositional attitude toward taxes. I believe they aren’t fair. The government is taking my money. They don’t support the small business owner! Fist in the air!

I liked taxes better when I was an employee and the taxes just seemed to secretly get whisked off in little payments through paycheck withdrawal, and voila it was done at the end of the year–I never had to write the government a check.

I realize there’s something about that method of not noticing tax payments I really liked and miss. It felt like the money was never mine in the first place, so it was fine to have it subtracted from my paycheck. I was very used to only the take-home pay portion of my salary, as they say.

So here I am arguing with numbers. I’m arguing with how I have to be my own employer and have an attitude of helping me take of bite-sized pieces of dollars, and send these to the government every month.

Gosh, never thought of that.

I was asking my husband to finish taxes and be the one completing them and paying them, but what I really wanted him to do he could never do: make it so I don’t see the taxes due at all. Make it so I don’t get all upset about writing checks to the government.


Who would I be without this very stressful story that he should finish those taxes NOW!?

I’d go home and finish them myself.

I’d write a worksheet on taxes and get my head straightened out about them, because I want them to be smooth, simple, and I want to be an on-time citizen and stay within the law.

I don’t want to demand someone else do what they aren’t doing.

That’s insane, and very aggravating.

Turning the thought around: he should NOT have finished the taxes by now.

How could this be just as true, or truer?

Well, first of all, he hasn’t. He couldn’t have without my input either–I have records, receipts, invoices, expenses–all kinds of things to double-check. He also shouldn’t have finished because it shows me I’m having a hissy fit internally about taxes, and being grabby about keeping “my” money. I think it’s too much to pay. I’m anxious about not having enough. I seem to dislike the thought of writing checks to the government.

A bit of internal work to do in the finance department in my mind.

Another turnaround: I should have finished the taxes by now.

Well here’s the crazy realization: Almost seven months has passed since the official due-date of taxes in the USA. I have been sitting here slightly fuming, worrying, then completely ignoring them almost the whole time.

What a nut case. I could have easily seen they weren’t going to get done by April 15th by my very busy husband who kindly said he’d do them because he wanted to be supportive. I saw it wasn’t happening, and could have organized my daily work so I could get them done. Instead, I blamed my husband.

At the end of this inquiry, my lovely facilitator said “Isn’t it funny you’ve let all these months go by without ever doing The Work on this–and I see from your badge that you’re on staff!”



My facilitator and I had a good laugh.

I love how “staff” is the same as everyone. One mind, questioning the thinking that hurts.

Sometimes, apparently, the urge to ignore something overrides the clarity of inquiry. It appears I have been more interested in complaining about the taxes and arguing with reality than questioning my thoughts about them.

Must be the perfect time, though.

Any sooner would have been too soon.

Because if it should have been sooner that I realized I’m resisting taxes, that too would be an argument with reality. I had to argue with them as long as I did.

“The job of the Buddha is simply to pick up the garbage, to do the dishes, to sweep the floor. In this, he changes the world a little bit for the better…..The world penetrates you, and seeing the garbage becomes a moment of grace. There’s nothing that can’t enlighten you, because everything is perception.” ~ Byron Katie in a Mind At Home With Itself

My job is simply to do the taxes. Seeing the taxes as they are is a moment of grace.

Enlightened by taxes….who would have thought?

Much love,


The best recipe when you hate your job

The other day someone wrote to me and asked: I’ve got multiple pages of writing on one very important and stressful topic.

Now what?

Great question.

Time to narrow things down a little. Time to really consider the beliefs rising within that feel so painful.

If you’re not sure, here’s what I like to do to get started:

First, I’ll make a list of interactions or moments with other people, incidents that happened, memories I have in my mind, that are all related to this topic of concern.

For example. Let’s say I’m worried I’m not doing a great job. (I had this thought the second day on staff at the School for The Work because I forgot to do something in my job description).

But let’s say it’s an overall stressful topic for you, when you think about work, employment, job, boss, your career. You’ve journaled on it. You’ve written about what you’d rather be doing. You’ve made a plan for yourself about how to change. You’re definitely troubled about the whole thing.

Now, make a list, as you look over your own journaling, of moments in time that were stressful when it comes to this topic. If you had a camera on these moments, and filmed the whole thing and saved them in your internal mental files, what memories would you say “prove” that this topic (in this case work) is stressful?

  • the moment at a staff meeting when my boss asked for a report and I didn’t have it, and she looked very disapproving
  • the moment one of my co-workers huffed with anger and said she had to do two jobs–hers, and mine!
  • the moment I received the assignment to create a database for new patients and update it weekly
  • the moment I’m in rush hour traffic taking 80 minutes to drive home, when it could take only 20 when not rush hour
  • the moment I had so little money left because of unemployment (before I got my job), I almost lost my house–I was sitting on my couch looking at my bank statement
Now I have some snapshots of moments I really dislike about working, and not working. My collection of what bothers me about the whole thing.


I start with one. There’s my scene from the troubling movie of my life. I see it vividly.


I then write a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet on that moment in time. Only that one. I start there. It narrows things down, puts it into a container the mind can handle.


Write all your troubles on the JYN. And then, of course (narrowing it down further to a small simple thought) we question what we’ve written on the JYN.


“She’s disappointed in me”. 
This thought is so different from “I hate my job”.


It drills into our overall blanket concepts and digs into why, how, where, studying the details of this experience of life we think of as “bad” or “wrong” or something we’d prefer not to encounter.


And wow.


When these specific concepts are taken to inquiry….


….how fascinating to discover they may not be as bad as we think.


Or just maybe, they may have had something to offer of deep importance.


Who would I be without my story of difficulty with working, employment, money-earning, bosses?


When I did this work in the past, I noticed I was freer, just one little bit at a time. I was more relaxed, I opened up to my boss, I had a difficult discussion with the co-worker I thought was always watching me like a hawk, I started enjoying the commute with my CDs to listen to on the way home, I noticed the gorgeous fountain in front of one of the buildings of the organization I worked for.


So much that was good about that job.


And more important, my attitude adjusted automatically, without me having to try, without me having to plan on how I would be quitting and what I could do to solve the problem.


Just a wee bit at a time–one thought at a time–taken to inquiry.


“What you’re thinking about them [or it] is the recipe for what you want.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love,


Questioning every thought, step by step, brings freedom faster than a short-cut

The beauty of sitting with others connecting in inquiry for 4 days is remarkable. I love hearing each and every person’s story, and how magnificent each person is in unraveling it, so it’s not running their lives anymore.

Everyone got to open the retreat on our first evening together by filling out a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet, slowly, carefully, thoughtfully–like a meditation. Writing their unhappiness on paper, so it’s frozen there in ink and can’t sneak away or be temporarily forgotten.

We get to write: This is what hurts. These are my thoughts. This is my story.

I must confess.

When I first started doing The Work, it felt so great just to write out an angry, disappointed or frightened JYN, it was like a genuine honest cathartic experience. I could rage, scream, call the person names on paper. I remember once writing with such vengeance, the paper tore under the pen point as I made my list of what I believed that person was like in the situation I was remembering.

Then….I’d take one or two thoughts through inquiry using the four questions, and wind up leaving the paper somewhere in a notebook, or throwing it in the trash if I didn’t want someone to find it in the household.

I had many piles of worksheets that went unfinished. I never worked through all the concepts on the worksheet.

And guess what happened?

That person bugged me again, either in my own thoughts OR they actually said something new that I found disturbing all over.

In other words, it came back. It repeated itself. It wasn’t over.

So in our recent retreat, we had the luxury of working through that entire first worksheet everyone wrote for themselves on the first night–the situation we most wanted to question right then.

For the first few concepts on the worksheet, people had the looks people often begin to have when doing The Work: a lightbulb is going off. Some weight is lifted from the situation.

Then, as we worked our way through the “I wants” and “she or he should” and “I need” and “they are”, it was hilarious how participants said “ugh, groan, not this same situation!”

Can’t I move on to a new JYN??!

LOL. I’ve had the exact same experience.

I felt so good after questioning only one thought from a worksheet, why keep going?! Do we have to beat a dead horse?

(In fact there were some dead-horse-beating jokes murmuring through the lovely group of inquirers on retreat together, and laughter).

But then, moving all the way through a worksheet, taking breaks, plugging away, working with different facilitators….

….what a treat.

That’s when true, deeper transformation can happen.

I could hear it.

‘Wow thank you for keeping us on track with investigating one situation so deeply.”

“Amazing, I had called the divorce lawyer, and now after this worksheet….I’m calling off the entire plan for separation.”

“Wow, I realize this situation I’m so afraid of is just my mind imagining the worst…..but the way I’m envisioning a frightening moment is only in my mind, and it’s not true!”

“My entire worksheet is almost funny now. It IS funny! I’m laughing!”

“I came to this retreat to resolve in my primary relationship and I’ve found it honestly–it’s not the way I wanted it to go, but I understand now what I’m unable to do.”

I was filled with gratitude at what I heard and witnessed with everyone’s beautiful work.

Which was really MY beautiful work.

I’ve had the same thoughts, and I got to hear them run through me like a river. “Is it true?” I’d see a picture of something in my own life. I’d see a picture of what I imagined THEIR situation to look like.

So today, I continue feeling grateful for all the people who came to help me in my own work for four days of misty wet autumn, so that I can experience the peace of freedom from believing the mind that says “life is hard, life is painful, things can go wrong” and turn all this around to “life is easy, life is gentle, things can go right”.

Only in my thinking do things go wrong.

If you’d like to come do this brilliant freedom work–where you find your own answers, always–and question your suffering especially about anyone in your life you’ve found difficult to deal with….

….then consider coming to Breitenbush in early December.

We’ll be cozy in the magnificent old-growth woods, you’ll have quiet warm cabins to stay in, all meals will be served (organic, vegetarian, delicious) and there will be hot springs to soak in on your breaks in the crisp forest air all around.

We’ve got plenty of space still, and the early-bird fee for the winter Breitenbush retreat is only $295 for 3 days. Early bird fee ends on October 31st. We begin Thursday evening December 7 and end Sunday Dec 10th at lunch. November 1st, the fee jumps to $395. Call Breitenbush at 503-854-3320 if you want more information about lodging, travel or meals, and to sign up. They handle everything for this one.

And here’s one of my favorite things about this upcoming December retreat: my life partner Jon will be joining us, and he and I will be sharing some of the fun, hilarity, fear, and joy about inquiring on someone very close–like a husband or wife.

We can’t wait to be with everyone who shows up to do The Work with us.

Come have a quiet winter rejuvenating retreat, just in time before the holidays (which have been known to contain a stressful thought about loved ones…or two….or three).

“Judge your neighbor, write it down, ask four questions, turn it around. Who says that freedom has to be complicated?” ~ Byron Katie

What an exciting gift!

Much love,


P.S. Tonight, I’ll be serving on staff at the School for The Work in Ojai, California with Byron Katie. Can’t wait to share with you what I learn along the way. xo

Boldly go where no mind has ever been before….or at least yours

There’s nothing like gathering with a group of people for the sole purpose of questioning our stressful thinking.

Our autumn retreat collected last night in a cozy, gorgeous living room with soft light, a fire place, big comfy chairs, and a piano in the corner.

The rain had drummed down all day long, and still it hadn’t stopped. People arrived in dripping coats from Florida, California, Arizona, Whidbey Island, Oregon, Olympia, Idaho, Seattle. Cups of tea, introductions, and then….the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet.

Spending time with the very first step, the one where we identify the thoughts that bring us pain, is soooooo powerful to do slowly….and difficult, too.

We’re visiting a scene we don’t like. Perhaps a scene we wish had never, ever happened. Sometimes, the memory is so painful, we feel disturbed right here in this moment now, the one where we’re writing these thoughts down.

Last night I shared something I recalled Byron Katie saying once, although I don’t remember the exact quote: I’m asking you to go to hell. It’s not easy.

I also know, from experience, that it’s not easy NOT to go there.

If you try to plug a hose, it’s going to eventually burst the faucet, and before it gets to the bursting point, the pressure will be enormous, right? To suppress, repress, hold down, or hold back the emotions that want to be expressed from that troubling situation is really hard. It takes work, energy, and “keeping it together”, as they say.

It’s very stressful. Full of Stress.

The way I see it now, after doing The Work so often in my life, is how much better it is, every time, when I take the lid off and write honestly on a situation that hurt.

For a long time, I didn’t know what Katie was talking about when she said she began to get excited if she had a “thought” that was in any way stressful, even just a little.

I did The Work, but I never thought it was exciting that I was having a stressful experience I could now investigate.

I mean, really?

This sad memory is NOT exciting. Nor is this one where I felt betrayed. Or that one where I felt terrified.

Yet something in me knew I had no choice but to do The Work. It was either that or become an addict of some kind to keep the memories and emotions at bay.

But somewhere along the way, miracle of miracles, I had the thought one day when I had a difficult exchange with someone I loved….”Hmmm, this is exciting. Let’s take a look.”

And then “wow, did I just say that”?

I felt that last night when everyone was sharing their first Judge Your Neighbor worksheet….the depth, the heartbreak, the courage to sit with a painful moment in their lives, and write about it.

So profound, such a privilege, so very moved by these human conditions and situations, and knowing what can become of exploring them with The Work.

It is exciting. I want to know about every single person’s situation and what they share. It’s like I feel a surge of thinking “oh my, yes, we have to look at that moment, that is an amazing human moment and it sounds so tough….let’s find out what’s true and see what happens.”

I don’t even know where it will go. None of us do. You have to “do” The Work to see.

But it’s always fascinating, interesting, and very often inspiring, and life-changing.

“It takes an open mind to question your certainties. It takes a mind that is fearless in its journey inward, a mind willing to go to places it has never been before.” ~ Byron Katie

I love when people appear in my world, ready to show me such fearlessness to take a journey inward. Where they are willing to go where their mind has ever been before. So grateful.

Much love,


I can’t do The Work on this

Freedom concept. Escaping from the cage

OK, I’m gonna do this. Where’s a pen and paper?

I sat on my couch in the dark month of November 2003, the huge cedar tree just outside the picture window of my old living room, leafing through the book I had just finished; Loving What Is by Byron Katie.

I was looking for the page that said how to actually DO this transformative work, and how four questions could change my life.

I found the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet template.

Now what.

Answer the six questions on this sheet, thinking of a situation with a person where you feel stress, anger, disappointment.

Um. My mind went blank. There were so many stressful thoughts, how could I even begin?

Plus, what was it going to offer to write all those judgments down? It felt terrible. Ugly.

I’ve done enough therapy to last a lifetime. I’m not bugged by people anymore. I’ve raged, talked about, resolved, and discovered how to handle all my old troubling stories. Let’s let sleeping dogs lie! I know it’s all about me, anyway, handling myself from this point forward! I’ve been handling myself for a long while! I’m a grown woman, with two young kids (at the time my children were 9 and 6).

But I kept thinking about the book, and I wanted to try this exercise and actually DO The Work.

I stared at the page referring to starting The Work. Judge Your Neighbor.

OH! Light Bulb! My neighbor! She IS pretty annoying! OK then!

“I’m upset with my neighbor because she comes knocking on the door too often or calls me too much. I want her to stay away and leave me alone. She shouldn’t come over. I need her to stay away and not come over. She is imposing, rude, a pest. I don’t ever want my neighbor to come over again.”

Yes. It was a little repetitive, and not very contemplative. I had no idea how to ask myself what I really wanted, or what my advice to her would truly be so she could change, or what I needed for happiness in this situation.

It was basically crude in the form of one belief. Never come over.

I didn’t take myself very seriously, or think of this as a moment worthy of deep consideration, and certainly not transformation.

I leafed through the pages again of Loving What Is. What do I do next?

Oh, the four questions, right.

Question One: Is it true?

Is what true? The neighbor? Her coming over? Me being bugged? me not wanting her to ever come over again? Grrrrrr.

I read in the book again.

Pick ONE stressful concept I wrote from the worksheet.

How do I pick one? They’re all kind of stressful, aren’t they? But maybe they aren’t, come to think of it. This is not that big of a deal. This situation isn’t a matter of life or death, that’s for sure. I don’t think of my neighbor very much, honestly.


Actually, I need to get the laundry going before the kids get home from school. 

And then, gone like the wind, my attempt at doing The Work was over. All I left was a few repetitive sentences about my neighbor who I didn’t know very well, or care about much, and who certainly didn’t concern me deeply…..who really shouldn’t ever come over.

But there was something about that book.

I really was so moved at the words I read. I was incredibly curious about the idea of questioning beliefs about a situation. Even horrible, violent, awful situations.

How did I know what was true?

I wasn’t sure.

I had enough “personal growth” workshops to realize that what I thought was true in my past, turned out to be survivable, and something I might stop thinking or worrying about so often. I had learned I could change extreme behaviors; I no longer binge-ate food, or smoked cigarettes. I knew change and maturity was possible because I had experienced it.

In a very tiny amount and unsatisfying, mind you, but change was clearly possible.

And it appeared Byron Katie was saying our perceptions, beliefs, assessments of every worrisome incident or situation in life, and becoming very aware of these conclusions, could offer a liberation and definition of “change” I never imagined possible.

I thought you just survived and got over your rough times or terrible situations by talking about them and noticing they were in the past.

I thought you survived by forgetting, or telling one sympathetic person about it, or by getting group support, or by learning new skills and techniques for managing difficult emotions.

This was different. I wanted to understand more.

It wasn’t until I gathered for a weekend in a group, and wrote a new Judge Your Neighbor worksheet, that I understood what The Work could offer.

The fourth question in The Work is “who would you be without your thought?”

I didn’t know. I wasn’t sure who “I” was, or who I would be, or what I’d act like. I couldn’t imagine not having the thought.

What am I supposed to do with this question??! It almost frustrated me.

Until I sat in that big group, listening to others do The Work, so I didn’t have to.

People used their brilliant imaginations to wonder what it might be like to NOT THINK their terrible conclusions. Just one thought at a time.

It takes holding still for a moment. You have to get quiet. You have to be WILLING to wait a second and not decide you’re bored, or annoyed, or scared (which was me almost all the time).

With question four we get to wonder what it might be like without a belief? You don’t have to get rid of the belief, or drop the belief, or erase it from your mind, or chant opposite affirmations to oppose the belief.
No fighting energy is required, just a willingness really to sit with the thought and listen to what it could be like without it.


Or in my case, listen to other people doing THEIR work so I could begin to get the hang of it.


Which is what we’ll be doing in a few weeks in Seattle, Washington for four days.


A small group will be gathering in a beautiful private home specifically run for personal, inner work.


Everyone will be guided to walk through the work, one step at a time, so you don’t have to sit on the couch by yourself the way I did feeling like there was a chasm the size of the Grand Canyon between me and understanding my own mind or what this process even is.


It felt almost impossible for me, the way my mind was so frightened, or anxious, or closed, or opinionated, or nervous, or critical.


But that wasn’t true. It was possible.


It was just like learning to walk….learning to inquire.


One step, then I would fall down; laundry more important than inquiry. Another step, then falling down again; trying to get comfortable from feeling sick and feverish was more important than inquiry. Another step, then falling down again; not leaving my family and traveling far away was more important than inquiry.


Little did I know, every step was closer, in a circling kind of wonderful, unplanned way….to ending the drudgery and pain of believing what I thought was true, that wasn’t.


Doing The Work has become a practice of wondering in a way I never imagined would bring such happiness, sorrow, heart-break, wisdom, joy, clarity and humanness to my life. The full range of human. Not a numb human or a hurt human, but a human with so much more available. And still in process, always.


Which brings me to my invitation. To come join me for The Work. A dedicated time to meditate, follow the steps, and deeply imagine who we’d be without our suffering.


If you need some friendly, supportive hand-holding in this powerful form of inquiry, we meet Wednesday evening October 18th right here near my cottage in northeast Seattle (Lake Forest Park neighborhood) and end Sunday October 22 at 11:00 am.


Four days together in The Work. We’ll walk, sit, write, identify our beliefs, dance (yes, one movement session is planned for any ability), and share inquiry together.


“When I first discovered The Work, I wanted to get as close as I possibly could to understanding the thoughts that the mind was ceaselessly producing. This is the only way to control the uncontrollable mind. I got very still with these thoughts. I met them as a mother would meet her confused child….I wrote down everything the child said about the nightmare, and then I questioned it.” ~ Byron Katie in A Mind At Home With Itself


To read more about the autumn retreat in The Work or to sign up, visit HERE. Commuters OK. One bed still available at the retreat house as of this moment.

Much love,


They should stop fighting

Yikes. Those two are fighting again!?!

Have you ever witnessed two people arguing with each other, and you wind up feeling super uncomfortable, sad, disappointed, frustrated, furious, or even scared?

Two siblings are fighting over a toy. A couple you know is arguing again over which music to play during the party. Your mom and dad are yelling at each other about who’s responsible for the broken dish. Your grandpa and your dad (hmm, sounds familiar somehow) are furious with each other about where the money went. The two political candidates are interrupting each other constantly.

They shouldn’t be fighting. Hands over ears. It’s driving me nuts. (I remember having this thought once when my kids were little).

Someone I was working with recently knows a guy and his mother-in-law who constantly bicker. At a family reunion, they yelled in the kitchen. One threatened to leave the event. For good.

They really shouldn’t be fighting!

Is it true?

Yes. Come on people. Let’s be civil! You don’t have to fight! Jeez!

Can you absolutely know it’s true, though, that they shouldn’t be at each other like that?

Hmmm. It feels true. It was very alarming for the entire group, for the other people in the room, for the kids, for the neighbors.

It seems absolutely true. This is a deep one. People really shouldn’t fight. Wars happen….people get killed.

How do you react when you believe they shouldn’t fight, when….they’re fighting?

Oh man.

I start to get furious myself. When my kids were little, they were in the back seat of the car, and I screamed so loud all of the sudden they gulped and went silent.

I feel frightened.

I think “those people are wrong! They should Grow Up!” I get very judgey. I might take sides. One of them is a problem. The other should never react. I discuss strategies for helping everyone with the outcome called Project Stop Fighting. I’m on a mission.

But who would you be without this story?

Oh. Wait. You mean, it’s OK that they’re fighting? Because people are getting hurt and….

Just pause. It doesn’t mean, without the thought, that you love war and you’re letting it happen, or that it will never end unless you believe this thought. You aren’t condoning the fight.

It’s just wondering what it’s like without the belief they shouldn’t be when they are.

Deep breath.

People fight sometimes. Humans get hot-headed. We tend to feel passionate about our position, or what’s right and what’s wrong. It does seem to be the way of it. And there are many ways to address that fighting feeling. Communicating with some openness, and willingness. Sharing honestly. Expressing our needs and wants. Saying what we fear. Doing The Work.

Who would we be without the belief those other people shouldn’t fight?

Noticing they are, and not fighting myself.

Turning the thought around: They should be fighting, I shouldn’t be fighting THEIR fighting. 

They are feeling threatened, and some kind of opposition. They don’t know another way to protect, defend, find resolve, be OK with what is. They’re raising their voice in order to be heard, to say what they need to say. Animals do it, too. Why would I argue with reality, with nature?

Fighting also helps people draw lines, create boundaries when they feel frightened. It may not be the easiest way, or kindest way, but it’s what they know best.

And oh man oh man, I definitely shouldn’t be fighting. I get all riled up, tense, angry, and join in the energy to blow the whole fight up. Violently. It doesn’t feel so good.

I should be peaceful, and when I’m not, I can question my thoughts about fighting.

“I saw that the world is what it is in this moment and that in this moment people couldn’t possibly be more loving than they are. Where reality is concerned, there is no ‘what should be.’ There is only what is, just the way it is, right now. The truth is prior to every story. And every story, prior to investigation, prevents us from seeing what’s true.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love,