If I answer that question honestly, they’ll hate me–and I hate them for asking!

Has anyone ever asked you something or made a request, and you feel so uncomfortable about answering….

….you freeze like a statue?

Gulp. Did that person just ask me that? Shocking!

The other day, a very dear friend was telling me about a small inheritance she received from an aunt who died. “I was so surprised!” she exclaimed “I mean, it’s not that much, but I can do a few things now.”

Then she shared that she’s remodeling her entire kitchen and landscaping her back yard.

wanted to ask…”how much was it, anyway?” because in my mind, remodeling your kitchen and landscaping your back yard is big bucks, the way she described it. But I didn’t.

Because. It’s none of my business. That would be nosey. That’s private. It’s rude to ask a specific question like that about money–kind of like asking “how old are you?” or “how much is your salary?” We don’t talk about such details.

The annual group of money inquirers right now are looking at what we think and believe about asking for money in any kind of context, whether someone else is doing it, or we ourselves are (or we’re even just thinking about asking).

I wasn’t thinking of asking FOR money, but the unwritten rules about asking ABOUT money were firmly in place, despite my curiosity.

Asking questions about their money is rude.

But let’s dig into a little deeper to find out why it’s rude? What’s the fear? Why would it be so rude to ask about money, or for money?

I imagined someone asking me how much money I have in my bank account, or if I’ve ever been given money, or how much I made last year, or how much I spend every month, or even how much I paid for my coat.

As I sat with it, I realized the answer to the question is the scary part. It’s personal because the answer could result in so many things….but especially separation, criticism, judgment.

  • They’ll think I’m lucky (and be jealous)
  • They’ll think I’m unlucky (and avoid me)
  • They’ll think I’ve been squandering what I had
  • They’ll think I’ve been a chicken sh*t
  • They’ll think I should never ever complain about money and I’m a whiner
  • They’ll think I should be more scared about money and I’m a pollyanna everything’s-going-to-be-fine faker
  • They’ll think I’m self-centered and greedy
  • They’ll think I’m dishonest and sneaky
  • They’ll think I’m disorganized, stupid and uncaring

All of it is about the judgement of character, personality and activities with money.

Gosh. No wonder we have this unwritten rule about money questions. Sometimes, people don’t even want to go to get their taxes done by someone else, or visit financial planners, because they’ll have to share ALL their personal information about money….and surely be criticized. (Um. Not that this would be me. Clearing throat).

So while asking may be considered rude, let’s look today at the answer to any money question, and why it’s frightening (and therefore, no one should ask).

The biggest fear? Someone will get criticized, when it comes to money and asking for it. I’ll be thought of in a bad way. 

Let’s do The Work!

Is it true, that if the answer to the money question is revealed, someone’s going to get criticized?


I was already judging my friend as “lucky” and thinking her brief words “it’s not that much” were falsely downplaying the amount. I mean, how could you completely remodel a kitchen and build a deck plus all that landscaping on “not that much”? My mind was whirring. I wish I could inherit something, which has never happened and is unlikely to ever happen. Waah.

But can I absolutely know it’s true someone gets criticized when money amounts are revealed?


Can I know it’s true that stressful or separating thoughts come alive, when an answer is revealed about money from one human to another?

No. I really can’t.

So what happens when you DO think dangerous things happen when money is talked about openly, and people ask things about it, or for it?


I make absolutely sure to quit talking about it, or never mention it. If someone starts to speak about it, I turn the conversation in a different direction or go mute or freeze up. I don’t reveal the whole answer.

Yes, I have even done this with my partner to whom I am legally married, and we submit taxes now together. I had a reaction of fear a couple of weeks ago when he asked me if I owned stock in volatile tech companies (I do), and was totally afraid he’s going to criticize me. Which hasn’t happened, ever.

So who would you be without the belief that it’s dangerous to reveal information about money? Whether it’s you or them doing the revealing?

At first, you might feel worried about who you’ll be without the thought. Like maybe you’ll ask 1000 questions without being considerate. Or you’ll tell someone everything about your spending, saving and giving without hesitation.

Are you sure this is even true?

What if it was totally OK to ask questions?

It doesn’t mean anyone should answer. There’s a balance here. Information coming in, going out. Gentle timing.

I notice amounts come and go, change and morph and go up and go down. So do questions about amounts of money.

I notice I can question any assumptions I make about money.

My friend is lucky (and I am not)…is that even true? I know how much kitchen and landscaping costs, is that true? (No).

Turning the thought around: If money is revealed, they’ll think well of me (or vice versa). We’ll be connected. We’ll be sharing something, closer, and more alike.

Could this be just as true?

Wow. Yes.

Everyone I know has had money coming and going always. Never the exact amounts of money forever the same. Money is like air, or water, or the tides. Money is moving. Money is like the weather. I don’t have to freak out because it’s cold and barren at the moment. There’s beauty in the way it is.

The amount of money doesn’t mean you (or someone else) is “bad” or “good” or “right” or “wrong”.

The answer to a question about or for money, in any moment, is fascinating.

Sometimes it’s “yes” and sometimes it’s “no”. Sometimes you might answer, sometimes you might say “why do you ask?”

In whatever appears with curiosity, pondering, and wondering about money….

….it’s a brilliant catalyst for awareness of our own fearful thoughts and beliefs, that’s for sure.

In the end, I see that “reveals” about money and what I fear turn all around to my own thinking, my own perceptions:

  • in this situation with money, my thinking is unlucky (or lucky) and they’ll connect with me and be close with me
  • I think I’ve been squandering, they haven’t been squandering
  • I’ve been a chicken sh*t with my thoughts, with my sharing and love and honesty, with my answers or questions
  • I should never ever complain about their money, they should complain if they do, and I AM a whiner! Woohoo! (It teaches me a lot about my thinking)
  • I should be more scared about money and yes, I can find where I’ve been a pollyanna faker
  • I think I’m self-centered and greedy, dishonest and sneaky, disorganized, stupid and uncaring–I’ve had all these thoughts about myself, and about other people, too. Maybe I think these things about money, too. Which I could question.

I see whatever I’m worried about other people thinking, every time, I’m actually worried is true about myself.

I could question it.

“These people that we’re close to will give us everything we need, so that we can realize ourselves and be free of the lie….But you say “Go away, I don’t want to hear it.” And you say it mostly in your mind….What I say is, find an enemy. They won’t give you that sympathy. You go to your friends for refuge, because you can count on them to agree with your stories. But when you go to your enemies, they’ll tell you, straight up, anything you want to know, even though you may think you don’t want to know it.” ~ Byron Katie in Loving What Is pg. 134

If you’ve felt uncomfortable about what people have implied, or said, or asked, or done around you or to you….no matter WHAT the topic (and I mean ANY topic, not just money)….

….The Work.

If you feel curious about digging into this work, come to 4 day immersion retreat in May. Or come to half-day retreat (offered once a month in Seattle for only $50 and I’ll do it online this spring for those of you too far away). Sign up for March Seattle half day right here (3/18 Sunday 2-6 pm).

Much love,


P.S. If they ask a question, it never means you have to answer. Just saying.

You have no need for the belief “I have to” to get something done (+ this weekend mini-retreat)!

Oh my gosh gosh, it happened. Another Peace Talk Podcast Episode 136 on the pesky and horrible thought (when you believe it) “I Have To…” Find it on itunes here.

This Sunday, February 25 in-person Living Turnarounds mini retreat! Welcome one and all. It doesn’t matter what kind of experience you have in The Work, all you need is an interest in questioning your stressful thinking.

We have a cozy cottage, comfy chairs, tea, and worksheets. We meet 2:00-6:00 pm in northeast Seattle. Please pre-register and find out more right here.

The dates for the rest of this year have been updated. Come to one, come to all, your choice. I tend to forget to announce these half day retreats until right before they happen. Ahem.

  • February 25, 2018
  • March 18, 2018
  • April 22, 2018
  • May 13, 2018
  • June 10, 2018

For me, there’s been nothing like sharing time in The Work with caring like-minded folks who also want to question their stressful beliefs together. I get so inspired.

What is it about gathering together that offers something different to our inquiry?

I’m not talking about only a half-day group like this one. But all the other pairings and support, too. Like having an ongoing facilitation buddy, attending a meet-up, going to an intro night on The Work, participating in a retreat or course, going to the 9 Day School with Byron Katie, joining the Institute for The Work.

I find, just like meditation, we ultimately do it on our own, yet if we’re together there’s a structure, a shared energy. I’ve never had the experience of silent sitting at home that I do while on meditation retreat when hours are dedicated to sitting in silence and contemplating the experience without needing to do the usual tasks involved in life.

Isn’t that strange, in a way, that it can be so different being with others do something you really do all by yourself?

Because everyone else is agreeing to do this together, I do it too. I stay. I’m in the chair. No question about getting up and leaving and doing something else to avoid what is, or argue with what is, or complain about what is. I’m staying until I’m truly open to what is.

There’s an interested paradox here, however.

The deepest and most desired transformation, it seems, is when we are on our own–no one else in sight–and we remain seated, stay present, question our thinking, discover awareness is possible without any input or outside guidance required.

Isn’t this what we all truly want? To be our own personal wise advisor? To not have to go anywhere to find peace?

To find out that the most interesting, exciting, loving, supportive, clear person I could ever be with….is me?

Then, whatever we do and wherever we are, whether in a strange unrecognizable place, or our own living room, or in a noisy crowded street, or with a group of friends….

….no matter where we are, we’re with the most beloved and beautiful friend.

One of the things I most love about The Work, is that my stressful, uncomfortable, troubling, nasty, mean, vicious or violent thoughts are the ones that help me hear my inner compassionate advisor.

They are the loud voices that lead me to the still small voice.

Who would have thought the stories and yelling and panic that caused my suffering are the ones that bring the deepest awareness and awakening?

Strange. But true.

And so much help along the way by gathering with other people (still true) and sharing this inquiry. Exploring together is such a gift. It says “you are not alone”. It inspires connection and insight. It’s a practice arena that shows if I can do it with others holding my hand, or accepting me, I can do it.

If I can do it with others, I can do it with myself.

So if you find yourself willing, interested and drawn to connecting to your most inner wise compassionate advisor and awakened one within (yes, that one is there, always) then join me for a half day retreat, or the longer spring retreat coming in May (four days of The Work heaven)!

I’d love to spend time with you sharing the inner world we usually don’t think of as share-worthy (LOL). What freedom to find we’re all on the same journey, discovering peace.

“If you don’t know that who you authentically are does not suffer and has no need for beliefs, you are practicing believing that the separate self is real and that suffering is inevitable.” ~ Cheri Huber

Spend some time with others practicing un-believing how separate you are.

I love how Byron Katie says you have only two choices: believe your thoughts, or question them. There’s no other option.

I’d rather question them.

Even if you live on the other side of the world from where I do–find a partner, connect with people, call the Help Line (it’s free), come to retreat somewhere, anywhere.

Practice questioning. It’s more fun than believing. At least it sure has been for me. (Understatement of the century).

Sign up for this month’s Living Turnarounds Half-Day Sunday 2/25 right HERE.

Much love,


The most powerful two words anyone said to me when I was suicidal

Many years ago as a very young woman, I sat in a 12 step meeting crying.

I was speaking about how horrible I was, how disgusting I felt, how I didn’t think I could go on, how it was all me and my rotten-to-the-core attitude. My eating was out of control. I smoked in between eating.


I had been depressed for what felt like a very long time (several years) and full of anxiety.

Then someone passed me a note.

Inside there were two words, and they were kind of intense….

….but shockingly true.

“Negative Grandiosity”.

It was a little bit of hard tough love, but one of the most wonderful, profound and helpful notes I ever received in my life, and it was from a complete stranger.

Join me on my facebook live where I share a short unedited video about the stressful belief “I’m the worst person in the world” or the equally painful “this is all my fault”….

….and I mention this powerful story from my past that helped me stop the track I was following.

If it’s stressful, it’s worth questioning.

Click HERE to follow along with this inquiry on yourself, and how harsh the thought can be. (Scroll down until you see the video with me in my kitchen).

Much love,


Is it going well? Or going badly? Whatever you think….can you absolutely know it’s true?

The empty Goldilocks Cottage after all the beautiful people have gone to their next chapter, their next adventure after retreat. The circle is here, still full of the love, kindness, intimacy. Beautiful voices, and now equally beautifully silence. Thank you world.

What a remarkable time in retreat for the past 3 days. A beautiful group of inquirers, coming from far and wide, several of whom joined literally the night before.

Funny how things work out. We wound up being full….Or, we could have added one more, but close enough.

Five days before the retreat, I thought we needed to double the number, and one person canceled. The attendance was going in the WRONG direction.

Oh no! This is bad!

It’s fascinating the way things unfold. We’ll think we want it to go like X, but it goes like Y. We want that person to say A but they say B. We despair because we received Q and we thought we needed R. We wait for C but only D appears.

And this is only when it comes to uncomfortable outcomes.

We can also have preconceived ideas, plans, or expectations and get pleasantly surprised. We then feel excited, or good, or delighted, or thrilled.

I thought it would be E but it was F. WOW!! Good news! I am so lucky! Fantastic!

The thing is, with either one of these perspectives and how it happens to unfold (“good” or “bad”)….

….I use a certain outcome to make me happy, or make me sad.

In both situations, I’m hanging on the Way It’s Gone to mean I feel good, or I feel bad.

Holy Smokes.

That’s putting myself in a pretty dependent place. It matters very deeply the way it goes. I’m a victim to the way Reality moves. Good or Bad.

No wonder I’ve gotten so nervous, worried, hand-wringing anxious, upset, troubled or less-than-relaxed in the past when it comes to something like a retreat happening.

I’ll be happy if it’s full (or almost full). I’ll be disappointed if it isn’t.

We can do The Work on this very powerful awareness, that the outcome can be “good” or “bad” to any situation, anywhere, ever.

Find one you can relate to. You’ll be really happy if it goes like Y. You’ll be unhappy if it goes like X.

Job interviews, relationship commitments, divorce, marriage, illness, a diagnosis, moving to a new place, making money, traveling somewhere, a court sentence, a major decision, buying something, trading for something, a law passing, a voting outcome, selling something, enrolling in something, hosting an event.

There’s an outcome that’s good. There’s another outcome that’s bad.

Let’s do The Work.

Whatever happens, there’s a good way for this to go, and a bad way. In my case, the retreat should be full. It shouldn’t be sparsely attended.

Ten days before this retreat, I had the image of working with only two people for the entire 2.5 days. It wouldn’t be worth it. I’d lose money. It wouldn’t be fun. It wouldn’t be rewarding like so many retreats are. I should have…..Breitenbush should have….This is too hard and impossible.

Images of all this in my head.

Disappointment. Frustration.

Is it true it will go that disappointing way?

Am I sure it would be “bad” if there were only two people and the images came true?

Am I sure it’s terrible if I hear a difficult diagnosis, learn about a change of plans, receive surprising information, all those things on my “bad” list….can I be absolutely sure they would be bad, if they happened?

Woah. NO.

Many tough things have happened, and with self inquiry–even prior to knowing The Work–those events shaped me in some deeply powerful ways. They were useful. For all I know, they were required.

I really can’t know if it’s bad when something happens, even when I’m believing it is.

I can’t know at all if working with two people would be wrong, awkward, difficult, a loss. And beyond that, I don’t even know if I will in fact only have two people.

Turns out I didn’t.

How do you react when you believe it needs to go like X in order for you to be happy?


If the stakes are high, the anxiety is through the roof. I’m doing everything I can to push, force, cajole, make the thing go the way I want.

I pray, I wish, I hope. I want “Reality” to go MY WAY. If it does, it means I’m favored. If it doesn’t, it means I’m unlucky or did something wrong, or thought something wrong.

I see images of all the bad ways it could go. I see images of all the good ways it could go. I vote for the good ways, only. 

Maybe I feel desperate.

But who would you be without this dreadful story that something must go the way you see it needs to go in order to be happy?


It’s almost like a cartoon frying pan hitting the mind. Something stops. Like….what??!

You mean….? if I didn’t think Y was better than X or B was better than A?

Who would I be without the belief I should have a certain number of people in this upcoming retreat weekend? Who would I be without the belief it will be bad if there’s only two?

What if I just really didn’t know what was best for myself, for the world, for the other people, for reality, for the universe?

(I notice, I couldn’t possibly know).

Without the thought there’s a good way for this to go….I find my sense of humor. I am filled with wonder and what this will be like. I’m excited to see what happens. I’m aware I’m not in charge of reality (LOL). I do what excites me in the moment, with a feeling of joy.

Without the belief, I write about the upcoming weekend. I share my thrill of The Work. I write to a few people I know who might be interested, or know others who are. I feel like this is a fabulous game, a fun challenge, an adventurous wager. And I rest and attend to other things as well. I relax.

The feeling in the body, without knowing how anything will unfold and yet trusting I’ll roll with it, however it goes, is sooooo brilliant and restful, awake and buzzingly alive all at once. Oooh, hands clapping. The future is a discovery.

Turning the thought around: If it goes that “bad” way…it will be fantastic! (In my case, two people for 2.5 days).

AMAZING. This could be so true! I’d get close, intimate, deep connection with two very sincere inquirers. What a gift. We’d go far, wide, and thorough. I’d have fewer supplies and papers and notebooks to organize, and snacks, and tea. We’d get to do things impossible for a larger group.

I see examples of life going “badly” and how each one of these events or experiences has brought such awe-inspiring insights to my life: cancer, divorce, losing all my money, losing my house, getting betrayed or cut off. All of it. From ALL OF IT I received gifts.

Turning the thought around again: Only in my thinking does it mean something “bad”. Only in my mind is there bad and good.

“Whatever it takes for you to find your freedom, that’s what you’ve lived. Not one ingredient more or less….You go with inquiry into darkness, and find only light. And now you can see, even when you’ve been to the depths of hell, that’s all that was ever there, ever.” ~ Byron Katie in Loving What Is

Turns out, in this situation, what was necessary for me, for others, for this past weekend in the little Goldilocks cottage in Lake Forest Park, Washington was a full last-minute group of incredible people coming from remarkably long distances to sit together, dance together, inquire together, laugh together, cry together, listen to poetry together and discover abundance and love together while questioning our thinking.

At least, this is my story.

But I know, it isn’t really True.

And it’s Absolutely True.

The greatest gift is loving the way it goes.

(Which doesn’t mean I have to like it).

Except for my mental pictures, my thoughts, my imaginings, my anticipations, my regrets, my ideas about right and wrong, the way I say “my” here for this list….

….I love exactly what happened.

I care for the way it went, and for every person, the furniture in the room, the weather (which was pure sunshine, strangely enough, for the past three days), the questions I received, the thoughts I experienced, the gorgeous eyes, smiles, the curiosity I saw, the feelings appearing and fading away, the intensity, the fear, the joy I witnessed, the dear faces of every single person I encountered in the past three days (and EVER).

Every person showing up for me. They are me. I can relate to everything they shared. And a deep profound care for them, and all things.

A little glimpse into truly “loving what is”.

Much love,


don’t be careful, you could hurt yourself

These upcoming 3 days our focus will be on relationships.
Oh my, there are a few stressful thoughts about relationships with others, are there not?
  • she doesn’t care about me (sister)
  • he doesn’t like me (neighbor)
  • she refuses to talk to me (mother)
  • they hate me (people of another culture or political party or football team)
  • he never gives me any credit (boss)
  • she doesn’t promote me (manager)
  • he’s too sensitive (former boyfriend)
  • she’s a liar (former friend)
  • he talks too much (co-worker)
  • she never does anything around the house (child)

And this is barely a scratch on the surface of the thoughts we have about difficult, disappointing or infuriating relationships.

The other day, an inquirer worked with me during a skype session on his fear of speaking up to his cousin during a recent family gathering.

The cousin in question had started talking about who he voted for, with gusto. He made some wise cracks at the feast table about those “other people” who voted NOT his way.

The guy inquiring had said nothing.

“What were your thoughts that prevented you from speaking up in a thoughtful way?” I asked.

He replied that he didn’t think he would be ABLE to speak up in a thoughtful way. It was either going to be anger, or fume to himself in silence.


Because the cousin speaking would have been super hurt and upset, if this inquirer had said anything.

Concept: that person will be hurt if I tell the truth.

I love this inquiry. It’s shown up…oh…about fifteen thousand times in my life.

I can’t say anything, because that other person will be crushed! They’ll run out of the room! They’ll never speak to me again! They’ll cry! They’ll turn red! It will be my fault! They’ll break up with me!

Under these conditions in the mind, believing what we’re thinking….who wouldn’t be silent, rather than speak up?

Smart choice.

Unless…you have The Work.

Let’s question this very stressful circumstance and belief.

Can you find a situation where someone is telling, saying, doing, gesturing, being a certain way…and you’d like to make a request, even a kind request, that they stop, or say you don’t like it, or tell them you disagree, or say no?

Picture that situation.

What’s the worst that could happen, if you speak up?

I did a piece of work on this once, where I genuinely had the vision that if the other person really knew what I thought and I shared it….they’d start drinking again (or kill themselves). 

Yikes. I had such a strong sense of them feeling horrible about themselves already. I needed to walk on eggshells lest they do away with themselves for good and lose all their sobriety, because they made some kind of mistake. I needed to help boost their spirits. I needed to keep them positive. Or I needed to get away so I didn’t disturb them.

Oh such stressful and hard work being in someone else’s business like that.

So let’s do The Work.

Is it true that person will be hurt if you tell the truth?

Yes! They already have a heart attack if anyone looks at them funny.

Are you absolutely sure? Can you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is true if you tell the truth, they’ll be terribly hurt?


If you said “yes” you could imagine the worst case scenario, like them committing suicide (my vision of an old boyfriend long ago). They would do it because you spoke the truth….are you sure that’s true?

No. I really can’t know it’s because I spoke up that they freaked out.

There were many factors involved. There was a ton of history. There were parts of his life I had nothing to do with–he had his own path. I was not the end-all be-all for that boyfriend. It would have been weird if I was.

How do you react when you believe that if you tell the truth, they’ll be hurt?

I imagine them screeching away in their car in anger, or fear. I say “good riddance!” and then feel terrified with “Oh No!” I want to race after them. I want to run in the opposite direction. Everything conflicted.

I want them to show me they’re OK, or they like me, to smile at me, to give me assurance. If I say a little bit of the thing I’m upset about, I want them to look like they’re open to hearing more, and not disturbed and yet taking it seriously. It’s all so tense, with so much at stake. It’s as if we’re in a peak negotiation moment with some kind of crazed dictator who could blow up the world any moment.

It’s really a bit much.

A ginormous amount of energy focused on one human being as if they have the power to ruin my life by how they react. I’m ruining my own already by how I do.

So who would you be without this very stressful story “they’ll get hurt if I speak the truth”?

I’d share openly, without fear. I’d feel connected and aware that this person is indeed very sensitive–so it’s not like I’m in denial–and I love them and want all the best for them. Which doesn’t mean tip-toeing around them like they’re made out of gossamer web.

Without my story, I don’t have to have them be happy in order for me to be happy. They can be very, very unhappy and even furious, and I notice I feel compassion and understanding.

I might notice I’m shivering a little with nervousness as I say what I think. It’s not like all of the sudden this is the easiest thing in the world….

….but I try it out. I stumble imperfectly and say “no, I don’t want to get together” after we broke up. I notice I don’t have a fantasy anymore about what it could be like, or might be like, or wish it was like.

He had his personal path, and I learned so much from being on it with him for awhile. Then it became unnecessary to share the road. Even required.

Without the belief that speaking up means hurt will happen, I stop thinking I know how they will respond. I’m willing to not anticipate, or defend, or brace myself. I feel rooted, entering the unknown. Not running away or fighting something or wringing my hands.

“I turned out to be those people in the world that I didn’t want to be. I was the last to know. It cannot be another human being who hurts you. It HAS to be you who hurts you. There’s no exception to that. If I think I’m hurt because of someone else, I’m insane.” ~ Byron Katie

Turning it around: I will be hurt if THEY tell the truth. I will be hurt if I tell the truth. They won’t be hurt if I tell the truth.

Could these be true, or truer?


I WILL be hurt if they tell the truth. Or at least, that’s what I’ve thought so far. I’m not sure if it’s really true, now. I’ve had many moments where someone’s said or written something, and they’ve been upset, but it’s been totally and completely fine with me. I know it isn’t personal.

I’ve been hurt because I’ve told the truth. I’ve said to myself I’m a mean, nasty, judgmental person just for thinking I didn’t agree with them. I’ve condemned myself for not being “nice”. I’ve silenced myself by imagining I can’t handle it if they have a big reaction to my queries or my sharing my own thoughts that aren’t the same as theirs.

I’ve also been amazed at how kind and accepting people are when I’ve spoken up. They stick it out rather than resent me forever, or cut me off. The people who need to, stay present. I don’t need everyone in the world to think I’m great when I say “no” to them or respond in a way that makes them upset…that would be…weird.

People need to come and go as they wish. Life shows me who is supposed to be present in my life, and who isn’t. I’m not in charge.

What a relief.

If you’re not so sure about some relationship in your life, or if you think that person should do it different, or if you feel disappointment, or worry….

….that’s what the upcoming inquiry starting this Friday is all about.

What a delicious thing inquiry is. Can you imagine discovering the freedom that no one can really hurt you? No matter how they behave, what they say, what they do, how they think?


Much love,


Winter Retreat change + new website. Can change be…..easy?


Isn’t this the most fun and interesting thing ever!?

I just learned that something I previously thought was a done deal and definitely happening….isn’t. 

There have been a few other things in my life which have gone that way, some of them that triggered me wildly.

I practically had a heart attack and thought my life was over when I experienced the following: death of my father, divorce, job loss, money gone, moving from this location to another one (against my will!), best friend cutting me off.

This current situation is perhaps not so dramatic, and yet….what an exciting awareness for what is possible when you don’t think the way it’s going is a disaster. 

The Breitenbush Retreat in Oregon has been changed.

The good people of Breitenbush needed to cancel due to low enrollment and feeling the sting of financial loss because of forest fires last summer (causing evacuation of their entire property). Unless things looked really full, they didn’t want to move forward.

I got crazy surprised!

I know how people decide last-minute to come to a powerful retreat to question their thinking. People worried about driving through the snow to the woods. They didn’t like it.

But here’s the deal: We’re still sitting in inquiry for 3 days, and bringing this experience to life: re-group, re-wire, re-set.

Because that’s what can happen December 8-10, 2017. A complete Control-Alt-Delete. A Reset.

A way to look at what you’re thinking…and start over.

The retreat is now in Seattle, at half the original fee. $195 for 3 days, and you can commute, find your own lodging, stay with a friend, share with others who are also already coming.

If you live in Seattle, it’s a pretty unusual occasion.

Have you wanted inquiry? In a focused, concentrated environment?

That’s what you’ll get with this retreat.

In fact, I’m amazed at what I can open up to, when I question my thoughts and don’t have a closed mind. It’s revealed itself in this retreat-changing process.

At first I thought: “Oh, sad day. This is terrible. OK then, I have three days unexpectedly free, so I’ll revert to my usual solo sessions with clients.”

(And not need to leave home, by the way, or pack…I could see advantages for the news).

The mind flashes images of what it thinks will happen, now that the plans are changing.

You might have noticed this kind of alternative image-flashing with what you think will happen when it comes to a relationship change, a family change, a job change, a home change, a climate change.

Oh yah, I will be better off, finally .

Oh shi*t, I will be worse off, oh dread. 

Do you see the images you anticipate, because of what you think will happen in the future?

I thought my life would be Un-Supported because my dad died. I thought my life would be Un-Loved because my marriage ended. I thought my life would be Un-Known because of the relationship weekend retreat change.

People with major life changes think often of frightening, even horrifying, terrible, dark, difficult, awful alternatives about the future.

It’s going to be BAD.

Is it true?

Can you absolutely know, without any question of a doubt, of the terrible-ness of this situation you’re imagining?


In my case…Breitenbush cancels, and someone has actually made plane reservations. They are coming from very, very far away to this particular location.

How do you react when you believe “this change is horrible.”


I worry about what THEY feel. I’m anxious because I took 3 days out of my life and schedule to be with a group of inquirers.

I’m at a loss for creativity, or other alternatives, or different ways of looking at the situation. I feel aggravated with the people who “caused” this.

But who would I be without this story?

If I couldn’t have this story at all, this thought, AT ALL?


What would that be like?

Use your imagination, in your situation. Who would you be without your thought that what has changed….shouldn’t have changed?


I’d be excited, open, not alarmed, wondering what will occur next.

I’d be putting together a new possibility of what December 8-10 will look like for me, and for some others who join me.


Everyone’s invited to our home. We have a cozy living room, we’re near a beautiful walking/biking trail, we live VERY near Lake Washington (we’ll go there for a meditation walk–it’s a block away) and our cabin is warm, welcoming, and most importantly we’re deep in self-inquiry and love exploring our thoughts, and what can happen when we do).

We’ll begin Friday morning 9:30 am on December 8th and end on Sunday at noon on December 10th.

Commuters are entirely welcome. In fact, there’s no place to sleep here at the cottage, but come and go every day and you’re welcome. It’s adorable. This Goldilocks Cottage has held many a retreat, and it’s shockingly only 710 square feet. But oh what a lovely little space.

We’ll have the kettle on the boil, snacks, clipboards, comfy chairs…and most importantly we’ll have the power of self-inquiry using The Work of Byron Katie.

I can’t imagine, honestly, a better time of year for this work.

About to visit relatives? About to connect with friends you haven’t seen in years? Reuniting with a family you thought was “broken”? Thinking some stressful thoughts?

This work is how to deal with these considerations.

Who would we be without our painful or limiting stories?

“As you begin to question your mind, mind loses the ability to believe that it’s a this or a that. It ceases to identify itself. It becomes free.” ~ Byron Katie in A Mind At Home With Itself

If you’re drawn to joining me in my living room in December, with a cup of hot tea and these powerful questions known as The Work….then come, come. You’ll have personal attention. YOU will be the one to answer the questions.

Oh, and by the way….speaking of change. My website has a completely new look. Total makeover. Check it out HERE.

And when it comes to beliefs, and how-it-is, it’s amazing what you can find without anyone else telling you what to find. You know it’s the only true way. No guru, no teacher, no set answer. Seeing for yourself.

Join me for inquiry in the least expensive retreat of the year (there seems to be a “sale” orientation in the atmosphere at least in the US). Perhaps this is the black Friday option that was not ever intended to be. Ha ha.

To sign up for the newest revised edition of the retreat, please click HERE. You’ll also see the new version of Work With Grace’s website.

Much love,


Friday the 13th…bad luck? Or?

Something made me chuckle about “Friday the 13th”.

Movies, old lore, tales of witches, dark nights, bad luck, hatchets. In Italy they are afraid of Tuesday the 13th. And the tales of war, loss, and battles extend back to both Greek and Roman lore.

Someone, or a horror movie, told me that bad luck was MORE possible on this day….and I believed it, or worried it might be true.

So here we are on Friday the 13th. Any bad luck happening for you? Is it because of the date today? LOL!

Who would we be without our stories?

This is a genuine, sweet question. This date, another date, who would I be without my story about it? What if this was a brand new day, today, right now, the first time I ever saw a day?

Turning it around: Today is lovely, golden, and good luck. My thinking is bad luck.

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

(Or not even true, at all).


My thinking has always preceded, or followed, my thoughts about What Is. I’ve decided something is good news, or bad news, based on hearsay, or the Romans passing it along for centuries. Some ancestor said it to their offspring because a big battle didn’t go in their favor, and they said it to their children, who said it to theirs.

“Thirteen”. A sweet, quiet, soft fall day where I live.

Teleclass, client, meeting with a friend for coffee, gym, dishes, writing, client, writing again, music selection creating a set list for a dance tomorrow. Reflecting on seeing Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell last night across the street, literally, from my house and how sweet they were right in my neighborhood.

Who would I be without my story?

“You project meaning onto nothing, and you react to the meaning you yourself have projected.” ~ Byron Katie

If you have some bad luck stories to question, a wonderful time to do it is in the company of other inquirers, doing the same.

We have a beautiful gathering about to begin starting Wednesday evening here in northeast Seattle, Weds evening through Sunday late morning. There’s room for more. In fact, someone wrote yesterday saying she’s driving from near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She’s got space in her car. If you’re anywhere between her area, and Seattle….she’ll pick you up on your way! (Hit reply and I’ll connect you).

If you have always wanted to sit in The Work for several days with others (what a gift of support) then come, come. If you really can’t afford it, ask me about partial scholarship. Read about it here.

Who knows what kind of luck can be changed, by doing The Work together. Just saying.

Much love,



Be on the watch, the gods will offer you chances (questioning doom).

Holy Smokes. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve worked with lately who feel life is not worth living, or going on, or this planet is doomed.

I am not minimizing these thoughts by saying quite a few people have thought them.

Maybe the opposite.

People have reported feeling this way, and if I ask about a specific situation, like one thing that’s really disturbing, they say there isn’t just one. There really isn’t.

Unemployment, rejection, illness, hurricane, confusion, killing, unloved, sleeplessness.

All at once.

Life sucks.

And me? I have no idea where to start when there’s so much for someone else in their life….except….

….”what if you started right where you are?”

As in….it’s not worth living. It sucks. Nothing is working. I’m doomed.

Is it true?

Well, duh. That’s what I’m saying! Jeez!

Can you absolutely know it’s true that it can’t go on, it sucks, it’s not worth living, you’re doomed?


No. Fine.

Sometimes, when people are in this place (as I have been, by the way) then you might want to say YES. It’s absolutely true. It is awful. It’s horrible. It sucks. And this is not “worth” living.

It’s not wrong to have that answer.

I notice, so far, I’ve remained alive. So I guess there’s been a shadow of doubt about the value of being alive. I’ve continued. Or something else has, despite my depressing thoughts in the past.

How do I react when I believe I’m doomed?

Worried. Fretful. Not sleeping well. Lashing out at the people I love. Watching Netflix for escape. Holding steady and waiting for the next shoe to drop and wondering, how many shoes are there, anyway?

Are we working with some kind of octopus? Or milli-peed?

Who would you be without the thought that you’re doomed? Without the belief you need to escape, this is intolerable, nothing is working, you’re stuck in a pattern that doesn’t shift?



This is only for a few minutes, to wonder what it would be like without the thought? Without the thoughts about this life not being worth living, and everything in it offering trouble. All those details that aren’t working? Who would you be without them? What do you see, in this moment right now?

Who would you be without the story you’re doomed?


I’d notice this aliveness right now, even though I’m sure one day this won’t be so anymore. But I’d notice this place, here, now. Table, soft glowing light without sun, white blinds on window. Dusk. Flower bouquet from gathering last night where hostess was sending people home with extra flowers. Rain pattering. Grey pillow tipped over on couch. Quiet room. Heart pumping. Words from friend in inquiry saying how sad she is.

All without the story, we’re doomed….what is this all like?

Noticing how it’s not blackness and darkness and nothingness and death. Not at all. This room is full of stuff. People are writing and calling. There are humans, genuinely saying what’s so for them. Honesty is rising in the air. Truth is being shared.

Without the belief in doomsday, I am here. I lie here. I feel.

Turning the thought around: I am not doomed. Life is worth living. I can go on. We are going on.

How could this be just as true, or truer?

I’m still here. And without a thought about it, I’m looking around, noticing. Nothing is required. Nothing is expected. NOTHING.

I can lie down on the floor all day, and I won’t die most likely. Isn’t that fascinating in itself? Could it be that would be worth it? Why not? What’s “worth it” mean anyway? How would I know?

I see pictures of giving birth to my kids, sharing brilliant conversations with friends, reading incredible books, sobbing at the bedside of my father, feeling the sadness of conflict, running races (literally), pushing to accomplish, seeing a foreign land….all amazing experiences, all drifting into life and then back again into nothingness.

I notice going on is happening, without me having anything to do with it. I notice being doomed is not occurring NOW, in this moment. I notice I find many things in life worthy.

Turning the thought around again: My thinking is doomed. My thinking is not worth living. My thinking can’t go on. My thinking is NOT going on.

I see my thinking stops sometimes. I can see this. I go to sleep for awhile. I forget about my problems for a moment. I notice my thinking can’t be sustained, even the desperate or upset thinking.

Kind of absurd to think about….but what if I was forced to think about how doomed I am, and if I dropped the thought for even a second I’d be eliminated from planet earth (or some other terrible threat)? I still couldn’t do it. I might forget after awhile, by accident.

What if this “thinking” that I’m believing is true is not all there is? And what if it IS doomed? Always coming to an end. Always surrounded by silence.

Another turnaround: Nothing is doomed, including me. What’s important continues, without end. Life goes on.

And, everything is doomed. It all comes to an end. Everything is constantly changing and on the move. All appearing, then returning from whence it came.
Could it be just as true, or truer, that this is OK? Even better than OK?
The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski
your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.
What if I am not alone here?

Who would I be without the thought that I am?

Much love,


I Need More People (true)? +Living Turnarounds Group

With a bit of shuffling around recently, there are 4 spots open in the upcoming autumn retreat October 18-22. While this isn’t entirely abnormal or unusual, a thought appeared that is so common, it would almost be weird if it didn’t run through my mind:

More people should be signed up by now.

You can do this work on anything you think isn’t meeting the “best” conditions, or the highest expectations, or the greatest achievement. Something where you need more people.

Perhaps you’re putting on an event to celebrate. My 50th birthday party fell on a late weekend in January and I swear half my friends literally had pneumonia that year. I had the thought “more people should be coming”.

Weddings, memorials, marches, work-parties, moving help. We want all those we want to come, to come.

People in business of course have this thought with respect to people showing up at their restaurant, or store, or fair, or event, or class. Sometimes we need more applicants, more advisors, more employees.

It’s so great to consider why, without simply assuming you know.

What do I hope will happen, if more people attend, or if more people are present, or more people are drawn to whatever it is you’re doing or offering?

Energy, buzz, financial income, giving and/or receiving emotional support, connection, success, appreciation.

So great to ask and wonder….do I really need that (energy, appreciation, etc)? Would I be fine without it?

You need more people to come, or different people….or heck, maybe you need fewer people depending on your situation.

Notice the thought looming or crossing into your mind.

Is it true?

Are you sure you need people to do something different than what they’re doing?

Oh. Hmmm. No.

It seems like it would be more fun, more fulfilling, more filled with laughter and excitement and insight…but I’m not sure that’s true.

Even if you say “yes” I need more people to show up….are you absolutely fundamentally sure this is true, without a shadow of a doubt?

How do you react when you believe you need more or less people than are actually there?

I believe there’s a problem. I wonder if I’m doing everything I can. I get snappy. I don’t take time to relax. I feel a little anxious. I worry. I hear the news someone else is out with pneumonia and I feel sad and disappointed, like I wish I wasn’t having a party in the first place.

Who would you be without your thought “I need more people” or “I need fewer people”?

Oh! Well then!

That’s sure different.

I’d feel soft within. I’d think about how fun it’s going to be and have an excited sense of what’s to come, no matter what. Maybe something would come to mind that’s active, and if not, that’s OK too.

Last weekend at the East West bookshop small event, the man who is always there at the cash register said “I noticed there was not as big a turnout as you normally have. Did you go deep?” I answered yes. He responded with a twinkle in his eye “I thought so. Sometimes a smaller group appears when people need to go deep.”

Without the thought that I want more people to be signed up for the retreat by now, I’d hear the gorgeous rain pouring outside the open window nearby. I’d notice how much I adored an epsom salt soaking bath just now, and how grateful to have the bathtub. I’d notice how I never thought one single time during the lovely dance I did this morning with so many beautiful dancers of the upcoming retreat and who was coming. LOL.

“When you believe a thought that argues with reality, you’re confused. When you question the thought and see that it’s not true, you’re enlightened to it, you’re liberated from it….And then the next stressful thought comes along, and you either believe it or you question it. It’s your next opportunity to get enlightened. Life is as simple as that.” ~ Byron Katie

Turning the thought around: I should be signed up by now. YES! I should be fully engaged, working on the flow of the retreat, noticing the joy of imagining 4 days in The Work.

Turning it around again: No one else should be signed up by now. It’s brilliant the way it is. All things are unfolding in just the right timing, and the right way, and already a fabulous group is assembling and I can’t wait to see everyone.

How is it a good thing that no one else is signed up? Well, I don’t have to explain the details or send directions to anyone. I don’t have to help anyone else find a place to stay. I can stop, and enjoy the peace of the rain this afternoon, and my questioned thinking.

“The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.” ~ Thich Nhat Hahn

Much love,