Eating Peace: “I need to eat more food” — is it true?

Eating Peace Evening: The Work of Byron Katie and Emotional Eating. East West Bookstore. $15 you must pre-register. January 11th 7:00-8:30 pm. Sign up here.


The agony of not getting eating, diet or the body quite right is a huge struggle.

Doing lots of things in a compulsive way is a struggle. Spending, working, wanting a relationship, sex, the drive for perfect health, more, more, more, craving for something different, thinking.

The eat-guilt-punishment cycle is very compelling, and very, very painful.

I’ll never forget the way it was for me, even though its been years since I binge ate or forced myself to throw up, or fasted or dieted severely.

All those times I drove through city streets in the dark, entering drive-through fast-food places and ordering. Eating with one hand, driving with the other, moving on to the next place, trying to think of where I could go and what I could eat next. Desperate. Having piles of wrapper and garbage on the passenger seat of the car.

Those strange eating times are long over, but I still remember how much I suffered.

So much is happening in compulsive activity: mind, body, feelings, spirit.

I had no idea how to be conscious or wake up out of that terrible trance. Fortunately, I asked for help.

And fortunately, several of the key people I consulted knew to help me question and change my mind, make peace with my true feelings, and learn how to love instead of freak out.

I learned, that without inquiring into what I’m thinking and believing about food, eating and really everything I’m interacting with….

….I will not see why I’m moved to eat (or any less-than-helpful compulsive activity). I’ll remain blind.

If I ignore what I’m thinking and believing, and NEVER question if it’s true, I’ll feel aggressive, angry even, and like moving fast.

Speed makes it so I don’t have to stop….and feel the grief or angst. Speed makes things run together, or theoretically get dropped and left behind.

I used to eat so fast, it was as if it was the last food on earth and I was starving to death.

The thing is, whatever emotion or fear I ran away from and rushed ahead of never left me alone.

Whatever’s unfinished or unresolved will chase after you, until you hear it, look at it, be with it, see it, feel it, explore it, accept it. You won’t quit eating until you can relax, and inquire, about what is really true.

Without inquiry, or slowing down, here’s what the usual foggy, weird, confusing addition/craving cycle looks like:

  1. I feel uncomfortable with being here, in reality
  2. something isn’t safe, something is disappointing, something hurts, something’s boring
  3. I want to get away from this disturbing moment
  4. I’m against the thing that hurt me, I’m against reality for including something disturbing
  5. my mind says “I know. You enjoy eating, remember?” (Your mind might suggest a sexual encounter, a drink of alcohol, a cigarette, drugs, talking to someone you know, quitting your job, moving, buying something)
  6. pictures arise of food, various kinds of foods and where they might be found
  7. mind says “yes, that’s it….go find it, get it, experience it”
  8. body takes action, you move towards the perceived pleasure
  9. you no longer think about the disturbance
  10. maybe a thought enters “you shouldn’t eat, though…remember?!”
  11. a battle begins
  12. the energy grows even bigger, fighting to get to pleasure, to relief, to relaxation, to escape
  13. the craving wins….too big, too desirable, I want this battle over
  14. you acquire the thing (in this case, food) and you eat
  15. you feel bad
  16. you feel guilty, weak, unable to use your will to prevent eating compulsively
  17. your mind turns its attention to you and what a s*&# person you are and attacks you for doing the very thing it suggested awhile ago
  18. you need to be punished in order to come back to solid or neutral ground (you think), to pay
  19. you over-exercise, criticize yourself, clean, stress, push, renew your vow to stay away, resist, create a new “plan of attack”
  20. you hold it together, perhaps very disciplined for awhile
  21. something disturbs you in reality
  22. see #1

How do we actually interrupt this cycle?

It feels almost impossible, but it’s not.

The powerful way to interrupt this difficult cycle is to actually question what you oppose about reality when it’s threatening, hurting or boring you.

The person who rubbed you the wrong way. Your work life. Your boss. Your house. Your family of origin. Your thoughts about food itself. Your body and weight. All the events and situations you’ve ever experienced that have hurt, disturbed or annoyed you about reality, about life.

Now, if this sounds like a lot of work….is that actually true? (The first powerful question to ask using inquiry).

Isn’t overeating or being rigid about food a lot of work? All the energy, money, time and self-hatred it fills your life with….isn’t that overwhelming?

So may as well try this other approach, right?

1) Question your stressful thoughts

2) Notice love, feel pleasure, enjoy yourself more

How do you actually DO this inquiry thing?

The Work requires writing down your stressful beliefs, first. You need to see what you’re thinking, no matter how dumb, shameful or immature the thoughts are.

When it comes to food and eating, I encourage people to keep a notebook and write down their stressful stories. What frightened you, right before you thought about eating something? What bored you, right before you thought about eating something? What angered you, what troubled you, what were you thinking?

If you’ve had enough food to eat, but find yourself craving more….you can start with this simple thought:

“I need to eat more food in order to be happy.”

Now, let’s question it. These questions become a part of your life, bringing you relaxation and laughter instead of being ruled by a stressful belief. It’s so much easier to question thoughts, rather than act like they’re 100% true all day long!

First question: Is it true? Is it true you need to eat more food in order to be happy? Or to eat THAT special food, the one that causes problems when you eat it physically?

Can you absolutely know this is true you’ll be happy if you taste it and eat it?


How do you react when you think the thought “I need to eat more food”?

How I used to react? I ate. I thought I couldn’t stand what was happening in my mind, in my present moment. I wanted to shift Uncomfortable Reality through eating sweet things, buttery things, things that weren’t “allowed”.

So who would you be without this thought that you need to eat more in order to be happy? Who would you be if you couldn’t have that thought enter your mind?

You might notice what you’re troubled by that isn’t food.

Maybe without the belief you need to eat more, you’re thrown back into the present moment and noticing how you’re not very fond of it, how you feel it could use some improvement, or how it feels frightening or uncomfortable.

But without the belief I need to eat in order to improve things or feel happier….

….I rest here. I might have strong feelings, but I don’t have the belief I need to eat more food to fix them.

I notice the food I’ve already eaten. I’m more aware of what my stomach and my body need, instead of “thinking” about what’s right or wrong in my head.

Without the belief I need food (or whatever else you move towards) in order to produce happiness….

….I’m free to Stop Eating.

I’m free to wait, to hold still, to enjoy this moment, to notice the disturbance I was afraid of before has actually passed, without me even trying to get rid of it.

Turning the thought around: I do not need to eat more food in order to be happy. I need to eat less food to be happy. I need to do The Work more in order to be happy. I need to take in and consume and really see my thinking in order to be happy, not eat more. I need to take in more of reality and life, instead of rejecting it, in order to be happy. I need more happiness to be happy (not more food).

I need to take in more of myself, all of myself, in order to be happy….rather than resisting what is, where I am, who I am.

This work is not easy. As Byron Katie says….that’s why it’s called “The Work”.

If you long for this freedom in your life, come to retreat to get the feel for what it’s like to live 3.5 days focusing on seeing more of who you really are. The Eating Peace Retreat in Seattle is a powerful time to sink into this work, be peaceful with food and eating, and learn what’s going on inside of you that creates eating battles, with the support of my guidance 12 hours a day (yes, even during meals).

To join the Eating Peace Retreat Jan 19-22. sign up here. Two spots left. You will leave knowing and remembering what to do with compulsive moments, and how to relate to food and eating and your own body in a peaceful way.

Much love and peace,


P.S. If you want an introduction, come to the Eating Peace eveningat East West Books on Weds Jan. 11th.

Gaming is bad, bad, bad. Especially when other people are doing it.

Thoughts about gaming? The Work!

Oh dear.

I got on a roll of planning and creative juices flowing and organizing for two upcoming biggies: Eating Peace Retreat (Jan 19-22) and Eating Peace Process (online immersion for 3 months–everyone who has already done the 3 month course, you’ll be included again as you have lifetime access, if you want to join).

I was feeling full of joy and energy, on how good this will be.

I spent some time taking notes, updating some details. I’m actually in an overview phase of my entire business and actually setting some “goals” (LOL, always a great unknown really).

Then, I emerged from my room into the kitchen-living room and saw it.

That. That. Dreadful Activity.

A computer game underway.


What is up with that?

Such a waste of time! So boring! And he’s on his phone playing it! Why would he DO that? No wonder he gets nothing accomplished. Not a take-action person. Never going to achieve much of anything really exciting. Not a role model. Can’t amount to much. Won’t go down in history. No dreams ever getting realized.

Oh! Gosh!

I almost didn’t see you there! What was that you just said? Question my judgments about what I’m seeing, believing, and thinking? You want me to what? The Work of….what?

OH. The Work of Byron Katie!

That’s right.


But that’s how fast and tricky the mind runs. At least my own, and I’ve heard others mention the same kind of thing.

Thoughts appear. Believing appears. Feelings appear. Unpleasant ones.

The thoughts and beliefs are sort of irritated. Not peaceful. Not gentle.

What would someone else’s electronic computer game have to do with me?

It seems my mind grabbed it for a moment, and decided it DID have something to do with me.

Is it true, though, that something about what I’m looking at (computer game being played by human I love) means something hard, wrong, difficult, off, troubling?

Am I sure it’s threatening, or depressing?

Haha. No.

Who would I be without the story he shouldn’t play that thing, or it’s better to be someone who is NOT interested in THAT?

I’d be laughing at the goofiness of the mind seeing a future of getting nothing done because of this moment. I’d be stunned by the incredible speed of the mind creating warning signs about life and the dangers of “wasting time” which I’m not even sure is possible.

It’s better not to play games. Achievement = x, y, z. Success means you spend all your time building A, working towards B, creating C.

Who or what would I be without this story? (And I notice this story is just about as repetitive, boring, dull and as wasteful as I think the game is).

I’d really look, without the thought.

I’d see the interesting colors and movements on a screen, and notice I’m only a little interested, and move past it into the kitchen to get water and make dinner.

Life living itself.

I’m not in charge. I’m not the boss.

What a crazed mind, that comes in and wants to take control in less than a flash of a vision using eyes, seeing a phone computer game cross it’s path.

Turning the flash thought around:

Such a fun use of time! So exciting for him! And he’s on his phone playing it! How incredible to be able to DO that! He gets fun, relaxation, joy and delight accomplished. Not a take-action person (what a relief, how restful). Never going to achieve much of anything really exciting (but will achieve so much that’s peaceful, quiet, simple, kind). He’s a role model showing that play is achievable. Play is available. Lovely to amount to less ego, less heaviness, less push, less drive. Won’t go down in history (thank goodness, we like a quiet life).

Dreams getting realized, right there in a chair with only a phone….unlike my mind, which seems to have needed him to be doing some other “approved” activity and being something other than he was.

Turning it around to myself:

Believing my thought in this flash of a vision–what a waste of time! So boring! Why would I DO that? No wonder I get lack-of-peace accomplished. I am not a take-action person, especially when it comes to Not Doing The Work as I walked by, until an hour later.

Never going to achieve much of anything really exciting, called joy, called deep peace, called freedom….unless I question my thoughts. I am not a role model, I’m walking by filled with judgment and criticism. This old story can’t amount to much, doesn’t help me or support me. This won’t go down in history as a new, fresh moment, a new way to see something rather than the same old-same old. My dreams never getting realized.


All that in one split second of major judgment, never even spoken aloud.

How could it be brilliant genius that this person I love is showing me this fascinating activity he’s doing, called playing a game on his phone? (And it doesn’t mean I have to play one myself, or LOVE games from now on forever and ever).

In some ways, I don’t know. But it sure is super fun, and makes me laugh out loud, to see it can’t possibly mean anything terrible. It’s not an irritating thing I’m seeing and walking past, on my way from bedroom to kitchen.

It’s a strange, fascinating thing. I’m just here, watching the magic of reality.

I notice, without my stressful story….I ask him about what inspires him about playing, if he enjoys it, if it’s what he truly wants to be doing?

An important conversation is born. A loving, caring one.

“The pain you’re experiencing now is either remembered or anticipated, by the mind. So without remembering or anticipating, how can the pain exist? It’s a memory or a projection….and doing the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet allows you to be so in touch with the moment. As you continue to understand the beautiful mind, the creator of it all, you begin to understand the world that the mind projects….Eventually you can’t name it ‘pain’. It ceases to be true for you. You don’t know if it’s pain or pleasure.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love,


P.S. Sending details about Eating Peace programs to the Eating Peace mailing list soon. Make sure you’re on that list if you want information about it. Two spots left now for the retreat. Everyone attending receives a follow-up individual session with me for no extra cost. Read more about it here.

I don’t have it, and I need it (attention, security, praise, love, money, enlightenment)! Is this true?

Who or What would it be like to not think your story of missing something was real?

Lately, I’ve noticed a recent trend of inquiry around comparison, jealousy, envy, worry about not achieving or losing out or missing the boat.

Individual clients, small groups I run, Year of Inquiry members.

Last First Friday Inquiry Jam (open to anyone and everyone–if it works for your time zone, we love having you)….

….we had two interesting and very stressful thoughts inquirers shared that were also close to this same kind of comparison suffering. They both had to do with situations with primary love partners where more attention was desired from the Significant Other.

Without the attention or love you prefer, what happens?

Disappointment, even fear.

I really want the love. I want the attention. I want the romance, curiosity, pleasure directed towards me.

The mind starts wondering WHY the person doesn’t appear interested. Maybe he doesn’t want to come be with me, or do this activity with me, because he prefer being with someone else?Maybe he doesn’t like me? Maybe he’s not interested, or bored, or finds me tiresome? Maybe he’s discovered I’m not who he thought I was?

The very same thoughts appear within, the same kinds of feelings, as in the Comparison Thinking I’ve described before.

If only I was better, more fun, more lively, a beacon of attraction. If only I was more confident, sexy, funny, intelligent, charismatic. If only I was a success.

There’s a great question to ask, to dig into discovery of where this track of thinking is born. Because really, when you’re full of self-criticism or self-defeating thoughts about yourself….this is only a reaction to another, more fundamental stressful belief.

The question to ask is this: What would I have, if I got the attention I’m seeking?

Another way to put it is….What would it give me? What would I know or think was true, if I got this attention, this connection, this sharing time, this love, this approval? What would it prevent or avoid or keep away, if I received it?

If I got the love (you know what it would look like if you got it) you’d feel…..what?

This exercise can be done with money, or attention of any kind, or support, or recognition.

When I get it, I’ll be happy (safe, secure, proud, rewarded, admired…you pick your equivalent of “happy”).

But is this true?

If my boss didn’t promote her, instead of me. If my mate looked at me with appreciation. If the publisher said we’re moving forward immediately with your book. If my body were thin, pure muscle or youthful. If I suddenly reached nirvana.

I’d be happy.

Are you sure?

Jeez. What a strange question. It seems like I’ve been seeing these stepping stones to happiness all my life.

But can I know it’s true if I had THAT….I’d be happy? Relaxed? Content? Secure?

I have no idea.

It’s very odd to realize, I don’t know if I had that, or got it, I’d no longer experience dread, or emptiness, or worry, or fear. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’d encounter hardship and difficult times and experience all these feelings, just being alive, throughout my existence.

I notice WITH the thought/belief that something will bring me happiness (partner, money, recognition, fame, awakening) I’m hunting it down. I’m working on strategies to get there. I’m constantly seeking. I’m swinging between despair and hope.


Who would I be without this story that having “x” would bring happiness?

Now, this is a remarkable idea. A truly amazing meditation.

You mean, what if I didn’t actually need my partner to be like I want, or money to do what I prefer, or to earn some special reward or status, or to achieve a state of mind….

….to be happy right now, in this moment?

Turning it around: I do NOT need this imagined scene, or experience, or condition in order to be peaceful, relaxed, accepting, loving, safe….happy.

How could this be just as true, or truer?

Any examples, no matter how small, can work here.

Following the lovely inquirer’s from the First Free Friday call, let’s look at this turnaround with respect to wanting someone’s attention, love, or connection.

So, I do NOT need this person to say “yes” or act more attracted or be any different than they are.

Can you find examples?

“What would you be without this sad, sad story? He could never know who you really are anyway; it’s not possible. I say, skip the middleman, and be happy and free from where you are right now. Once we start doing that, we become so lovable that our children [our partners] are attracted to us. They have to be. The storyteller’s mind, the projector of the story, has changed, so what you project as a world has to change. When I am clear, my children [my partner] has to love me; they have no choice. Love is all that I’m able to project, or see.” ~ Byron Katie in Loving What Is pg. 44

Yes, I can find examples. I’m sitting in the present moment, noticing air and breathing in, I feel the ground beneath my feet as I stand, looking at the one who is apparently my partner. I feel the joy of being alive. I’m not physically suffering in any way.

You can keep going, finding examples of what is true in your situation. How is it you are happy, except for your thinking (in spite of your thinking)?

Turn the thought around again: I need my own attention, love, respect, security….for myself, for being me. My thinking needs these things from an outside source, called a mate or partner. But only my thinking (and it’s not the Great Authority, I notice).

Yes. I see the freedom, and even laughter and joy, if I don’t believe I need love from someone else in this world. If I don’t believe I need money in order to feel secure. If I don’t believe I need a thin, or healthy or perfect body in order to feel proud. If I don’t believe I need something outside of me in order to be happy (even enlightenment).

What if I were absolutely OK the way I am right now, right now, now, now. What if there was nothing I could do

“How can your husband be the problem? You’re trying to alter reality. This is confusion. I’m a lover of reality. I can always count on it.” ~ Byron Katie in Loving What Is pg. 50

Much love,


P.S. Two 2017 retreats coming up in Seattle:


1) January 19-22 is the Eating Peace Retreat, a profound inquiry experience into our bodies, what’s happening when we feel like eating for something other than physical hunger, and what the true core beliefs are around our eating (that often have nothing to do with food)….and how to change them. Everyone gets to eat in a profoundly peaceful way through guided peaceful eating. We will do art, movement and inquiry, and interrupt the patterns of compulsion, habit or fear. Repeaters and Year of Inquiry members have a special rate.


2) May 11-14, 2017. This four full-day retreat (starts 9:30 am May 11) is already filling–the earliest it’s ever filled. We will meet for four days of inquiry for people at the Advanced Beginner level or more (email me for a conversation if you’re not sure or have questions). Year of Inquiry people attend this retreat (full YOI for no extra fee). We’ll be focusing on Living Turnarounds so you leave with your own new practice of joy and transformation.


Both these retreats meet in the special Kenmore lodge in the far northeast Seattle private location. Some rooms available for overnight stay, please write to ask. First come, first served.

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Stressful Stories….

Give The Work your thoughts, one stressful belief at a time.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

If these words sound familiar, they are the poetry of Emma Lazarus whose family immigrated to the US from Germany. She studied her Jewish ancestors’ difficult history, women’s rights and their absence, the struggle of immigration. Many of us have heard this part of the poem because they’re inscribed on the Statue of Liberty in NYC.

The honest stories of what the day of thanksgiving represents are a combination, truthfully, of gratitude and deep desperate grief. Violence and rest. Conquering and surrendering. War and peace. Beginnings and endings. Duality.

The way of it.

What I notice about the experience of reality is it changes, and appears to include all things: very difficult, very beautiful.

And suffering, that is repeating what is difficult, appears to come out of believing painful thoughts.

Get away from THOSE people, be like THIS, don’t to THAT, don’t listen to your heart, DEFEND, use force to find safety, demand, be right, MAKE yourself be grateful.


Did I just say that?

Did I just imply you can be violent on yourself and your own mind by telling yourself you SHOULD be grateful, especially on Thanksgiving?

Yes, because before I did The Work, I had many beliefs about how people were supposed to act and “think” that look very good from the outside, but are not necessarily kind.

You should be grateful, giving, you should make donations, you should be thoughtful, you should be nice to your relatives, you should get along with everyone. You should eat turkey. (LOL).

What I noticed is, if I really wanted to question my suffering, then EVERYTHING was up for inquiry. Including the TO-DO commandments and any beliefs I had about how people (including me) should act, think, feel, or be.

I was interested in The Work because not only were other people, places, things and events not measuring up to perfection, but most importantly, neither was I.

I’m not too sure the experience of people traveling, leaving home, immigrating, journeying or being invaded has been all that sweet.

I’m pretty sure it’s been exceptionally sour at times, even bitter, and devastating.

But what if we could find peace, anyway? Even in the midst of chaos, war, emotional wounds, worry, fear.

Give me your tired, your poor repetitive stressful thoughts….

….all those stories and beliefs huddled together yearning to breathe free, the wretched discarded waste of believing….all piled up cluttering the senses and teeming over your consciousness. All those pictures, images, experiences in the past, being remembered over and over again.

Send all those stories and ingrained beliefs and unquestioned tales of suffering with no place to ever call home, all tossed around wildly through memories, gossip, fear, getting triggered….

….send all those beliefs to Inquiry! A lamp that can take anyone through a golden door!

I know, I know, it sounds very dramatic and flowery, but I’ve seen people (including yours truly) find deeply unexpected peace by questioning thoughts, rather than trying to get themselves, other people, places, or events to change.

What a relief. What a powerful experience of energizing, creating, inventing something new, or returning to something very ancient and familiar and loving.

So I’m excited that tomorrow on USA Thanksgiving morning I’ll get on the phone with lovely inquirers from 8-9:30 am to dive into The Work. Jump on any time. Bring your thoughts on election results, those other people who are upset about the election results, family disturbances, concerns for the holidays, fears, sadness, what you’re against.

This is for the places we don’t exactly feel thankful.

Which is one of the first things I love about The Work: you get to be babyish, immature, ridiculous, nasty, resentful, rude….all on paper.

Let it out! Don’t hold back!

Simply being honest, writing it down.

You don’t have to speak, share or even say one thing out loud on our call–you can use the time to listen and meditate on your own inquiry experience.

Another thing I love about The Work so much is that you get to answer the questions….YOUR answers. Not one single other person’s answers, not answers you SHOULD answer if you were polite and kind.

You really get to sit and contemplate the truth, for yourself, and wonder what it’s like if you didn’t believe everything you think.

I’ve found it to be exceptionally liberating and life-changing.

To not believe I must fight, assert, push against, clench my fists, or argue in order to be safe, loving, or free….

….this is amazing.

Join me Thursday if you can, I’d love to have you there, no matter what kind of thoughts you’ve ever had. You are welcome. So are your thoughts.

Come early to save your spot: Thanksgiving Thursday Online Inquiry.

“Thoughts ….those are my children ….and I’m a good mother.  Mother your thoughts.  Mother them like they are the most adorable children you have ever seen. Speak to them in the sweetest, softest voice that you have ever used to calm that adorable child.  Mother the children in your head. That’s the power.” ~ Byron Katie

“If you believe that anyone’s action is bad, how can you see the good in it? How can you see the good that comes out of it, maybe years later? If you see anyone as bad, how can you understand that we are all created equal? We’re all teachers by the way we live. A blind drunk can teach more about why not to drink than an abstinent man in all his piety. No one has more or less goodness. No one who ever lived is a better or a worse human being than you.” ~ Byron Katie


Who would we be today, without believing our stressful stories?

How would you be, act, feel, live….just for today?

Much love,


The Most Dreadful Parenting Stress

It’s my fault my kid is like this… that true?

Somehow lately I’ve had not only individual clients, but a whole group of people in their own parent coaching program, doing The Work with me on parenting issues (thank you Jacqueline Green for inviting me to work with your group).

Taking care of another person who is less capable or able or adept than you are.

Sometimes, a very distressing area of concern.

So many troubling thoughts about the magnitude of responsibility we feel for our kids (or those others we’re caring for).

It’s been awhile since I’ve thought as much as I once did about trouble with kids. But I did spend a whole lot of time in the past on them, and on criticizing myself as a mom.

Lately not just one, but three parents expressed their greatest fury was with themselves more than their kids. I was reminded of the power of thoughts on our experience of parenting….

….and the huge relief of questioning them.

(If you’re interested in reading the ebook Top Most Stressful Thoughts Parents have that keep them struggling with their kids, you can download it here).

But here are a few of the Biggies right now:

I could ruin their lives, I’m The One guiding them. They should be like “x”, or “y”. I need them to act like good, polite, productive citizens. To share, to stop hitting, to say they’re sorry, to be admirable.

And oh, the worst most stressful thought: If they have a hard time, in any way whatsoever….it’s my fault.

So picture a moment where your kid is doing what they’re doing, and you are so troubled by it.

A wonderful long-term inquirer who’s been in Year of Inquiry several times recently said she felt anxious as her son was dropping out of college.

A dad worked with me recently on his ten year old who was being critical and mean.

Another mom worked with me on feeling upset when her kids started yelling at each other, and the older one smacked the younger one. She went ballistic herself

Maybe your kid is refusing to clean up their art project, or move out, or get a job, or turn out the light at bedtime.

It’s the fault of the parent if a kid is doing something disturbing or impolite or unexpected.

Is it true?

Yes. If only I had been more clear, earlier in life. If only I had been more stable emotionally. If only I had communicated more maturely. If only…..

My fault.

People feel this way all the time when their kids get into drugs, or have eating disorders, or feel suicidal. I contributed. I didn’t help. I’m inadequate. I was a terrible role model.

Is that really true, though? Are you sure you’re in charge? Are you sure you’re the central “cause” of their suffering or trouble? Are you positive, with no doubt whatsoever, that YOU have such a big role in this child’s problem?


I’m there, I’m a part of it, sure—but the creator of it? The one who made it happen?

I notice, I’m not that powerful.

Just like I discovered about my own parents from doing The Work on them.

How do you react when you believe it’s your fault?

It’s agonizing.

I’m in that kid’s business every single day, trying to brainstorm ways he can succeed, having ideas that might “help” him. I send him emails with to-do steps. I work harder. I work on myself with a vengeance.

Some parents report feeling really, really, really awful about themselves, and practically like they’d be better off dead.

But who would you be without this story?

When I first did this work, I had a sudden AH-HA about this belief that’s very stressful in our culture: parents are the cause of their children’s agony.

It’s in many theories of psychology, and we’ve all analyzed the personalities of our parents.

Nothing wrong with looking at what we experienced (not at all) but are you sure this collective belief is useful to believe that the fault lies with the parents when their kids suffer?

Are you sure YOUR parents caused your trouble?

Who would you be without this really pervasive, stressful story?

Without that thought, I realized, wow….I’m responsible, not my mom, not my dad.

So are my kids.

Now, this is not an excuse to pile on the guilt even higher. Instead, just feel into who or what you would be, without the story of it being anyone’s fault at all.

No more need to sort out this parent-child relationship thing endlessly.

Doing The Work on our parents is fantastic (and deeply valuable), very freeing and full of insights, but then let’s step back into the present moment, and see our lives freshly with new eyes.

How would I feel and behave, without my story that it’s my fault what happens with my kids? How would I think, feel, act without the story it’s my parents’ fault what happened with me


Turning the thought around: it’s NOT my fault. It’s no one’s fault. It’s their fault. There is no “fault”.

Could that be just as true, or truer?

“If you want to be a lover, you gotta be a lover of what is. Period. End of story. And if there’s contraction, you’ve got to be intimate with that….There’s a scream saying “no” but love says “yes”. Unconditional love is not trying to change anything!” ~ Adyashanti

Unconditional love is not trying to get you fixed as a parent. It doesn’t think you’re a mistake. Or you did it incorrectly, or wrong.

Here we are, all imperfect and trying and caring deeply about this dynamic between child and parent.

(Or between ourselves and ANYONE right now, who might need help)…

Could you be enough, for your kid, since you’re the one apparently the parent, in this lifetime? Could you be enough, for you?

Could you be enough, if you’re taking care of someone who’s incapacitated in some way?

I remember recognizing the difference between relaxing, surrendering, trusting the way life was unfolding for my kids without lecturing them or getting upset or making suggestions….

….and instead, listening.

I noticed, they responded more openly and shared a lot more when I wasn’t hitting myself (mentally) with a stick.

Together, we wondered about how things might work out. Together, there was talking happening, and ideas, and me fascinated with what was occurring, and love. Lots of love.  With an unknown future.

And if I was nervous or stressed….I knew what to do. Take it to inquiry, on paper.

This brings me to unconditional love, every time.

It brings me to being someone without a stressful story–about me, or my kids. One thought at a time.

Speaking of family. If you’d like to join inquirers together on the phone, writing down your thoughts, moving through The Work of Byron Katie, questioning stress….come to my free gathering for USA Thanksgiving from 8:00-9:30 am Pacific Time.

Open to everyone, just bring a pen and paper or your writing device, the spirit of meditation and contemplation, and your willingness to question your thinking.

Save this email so you can connect with us all on Thursday morning this week and choose to dial-in using your phone or your computer. If you want to listen-only, select WebCast. If you’d like to be able to share out loud or ask questions, select Web-Call.

Join here: Thanksgiving Inquiry

Who would you be without the story it’s your fault?

Much love,


What if someone likes you more than you like them?


There are many common themes amongst humans that seem to cause great suffering.

But “love” is a doozy.

Romantic love, or family love.

This is the “love” experienced between people who share space and time together, maybe for many years, or who are born right into it, who share assets and plans.

One of the most disturbing arenas of love is when it’s unrequited.

As in, one person’s really All In, but the other is basically All Out.

Or Mostly Out.

Many love songs are written about this experience, but it does happen in families, too.

A dad wants to see his kid after years of neglect, but the son refuses to forgive and refuses to let bygones be bygones.

One person reaches for the other. One person wants to run for their life.

I like to call it “chasing”.

It’s really not that great for either party, you know? Maybe in a game of tag it’s super fun, but just about any other place between two people relating to one another, it’s disappointing, desperate, or dramatic.

At best not quite what you hope. At worst, devastating.

Awhile ago, I did The Work with a woman who had lived with a man for several years in a big bustling urban city apartment. They had known each other since age ten. At some point in their twenties, they split up and lived separately and went off on adventures, but now they were spending time together again in their forties. They had never lost touch.

The guy was over the moon with the woman.

Like, “she’s my whole world, she’s the only one I’ve ever really loved. Everyone else has paled in comparison. I love her so, so much. My life is nothing without her.”

As the woman shared these words with me, I kind of flinched.


I joined her for a moment as she read her worksheet to me about the thoughts she had identified about him.

My thoughts were following along with her, saying to myself “Yeah, that IS too needy, he IS wanting her too much, he IS acting too clingy. Gross. What’s she doing with a guy who acts like that?”

Then I caught my own mind agreeing with her, and I remembered right away, I have no idea what’s going on here. What I’m here to do is facilitate this woman through her upset thoughts about this moon-eyed over-the-top man in her life who has supposedly loved her his entire life.

The woman doing The Work wanted to inquire. She wanted to know the truth, and so did I.

“He’s too enamored.”

Is it true?

She said yes. I was thinking “yes”, too, based on the story I heard. Can’t he give it a rest and get on with his life?

Can you absolutely know it’s true, though, that he’s too enamored?

No. Not at all.

In fact, what’s the trouble with someone being enamored? What’s the problem? (I didn’t ask the woman this question out loud. I wondered about it within).

I remembered someone from my own past. Someone I had the very same kinds of thoughts about.

Wow, it sure seemed true. It seemed like it was too much. I called him obsessive, delusional.

How do you react when you believe he’s too enamored? Too in love? Too dreamy-eyed? Too…too?

The woman replied “I want to get in my car and drive across country, just to put as much space between us as possible.”

Run for your life! Suffocation! Get me outta here!

It’s really powerful to consider why, though, instead of so quickly bolting for the door. What’s the threat? What’s so scary about someone worshiping the ground you walk on, if they do?


Well, it feels like they don’t enjoy their own company enough. Something’s off. They aren’t easy-going and relaxed. Something inside is demanding, and a little freaky. They’re expecting something in return. They want….what? Security, pleasure, to feel loved. It seems like they can’t get it for themselves, so they’re fixated on someone else. It’s obsessive. Weird. The worst case scenario would be stalking.

In the fall retreat last month, I had everyone think of three people, public figures who really bugged them or frightened them, or people in their person lives they had found extremely difficult to be around.

Long ago when I did this same exercise, one of the people on my list was the guy who assassinated the president for Jodie Foster. I couldn’t even remember his full name, but he totally grossed me out. This is the extreme version of the very same energy of neediness, of a demand for attention or love.

So who would you be without this story, that he is TOO enamored, in love, full of craving, demanding, needy, available?

What….you mean John Hinckley Junior isn’t “too”?

Well, this isn’t about denying the man is acting or saying something different than he is. It’s not pretending you don’t see some kind of desperate energy happening.

It’s feeling who YOU are, without the thought running through your mind every minute.

What I notice is….I still move away from that person.

I also see he’s scared, likely doing the best he can, unaware, unable to sit with himself silently for some reason. He’s willing to care about someone in his imagination, not the “real” person, who he has little genuine contact with.

I remember having crushes, and also feeling the addictive pull of food and eating, so long ago.

I know how horrible it feels to “love” (reach) so hard, to believe being you is not enough or boring or unfinished or incomplete.

Oh man. Here comes the Turnaround. I myself have been too enamored, reaching, clingy, desperate.

When I was young (OK, later in life as well) I treated my concept of “God” this same CHASING way. Why aren’t you paying attention to me, God? Stay with me! Don’t leave! Pleeeeeeeasssse! I want you! I love you soooooo much! Why don’t you love me as much as I love you, or with the same specialness? Where are you? You should help me, why aren’t you present?

I know, it’s kind of embarrassing.

But there really was a part of me completely attached to my thoughts like this, and they REALLY hurt because it means my view of myself is Not Good Enough and God/Spirit/Source was out there being perfect somewhere without me. Ow.

Turning the thought around again: That person is NOT too enamored. I am too detached and being too much of a runner….I am too enamored with my own objects of desire. Or too enamored with detachment. Too enamored with Not being myself.

I notice I’m OK, even if that person wishes I would give them more attention.

The woman I was working with noticed she had her own completely free independent life, no matter what her man friend was thinking.

She saw how she could be in her own business, and not concerned with his, not dictating how he should feel and act.

What a relief to remain in your own business, and not in someone else’s.

If you think someone else is infatuated….where have you been infatuated, and how can YOU be healthy, breath deep, enjoy yourself, and be completely clear and honest with both yourself and that other person?

Who knows.

As soon as you’re really clear, living your turnaround of loving your own ways and not judging someone else’s desires as “wrong”….

….they might become uninterested in you.


As I did many years ago, when I realized this same type of situation of someone chasing after me and realizing how painful it was for everyone involved, I asked for no contact and space and silence. It felt like the most loving thing to do, even though my mind was screaming that it’s rude to cut people off or say goodbye.

But how amazing to inquire. What if you don’t know what you’re supposed to do?

Be honest. That’s it.

“I care about you too much to buy into your projections, to fuel your flight from yourself, to fan the flames of unrequited love….I love you too much to pretend. Make me into a god, and I will only disappoint you. The most loving thing anyone could ever hear.” ~ Jeff Foster
If you have past relationships that didn’t end well, or feel terrible, come to Breitenbush retreat if you want to “work” on it. December 8-11.


Freedom is possible, when it comes to love.

Much love,


It shouldn’t have happened

An umbrella in the storm of suffering thoughts: The Work

The rain’s been pattering down all day long, fresh and alive. Not too harsh, not cold, not driving. But very steady.

Kind of like the sharing and entry into The Work for Day #1 of retreat, right here at Goldilocks Cottage in the northwest.

Now, in the evening, I sit quietly in my empty living room, only myself apparently here, listening to the sound of drops coming down on the roof.

Today….the lovely group of participants sharing this time together looked at the thought “this shouldn’t have happened, shouldn’t be happening”.

Somehow, this excruciatingly stressful thought appeared for questioning, and we did it together, in circle, popcorn style.

If you’ve never done inquiry “popcorn” style it can be a wonderful way to share and weave together a group from the start. Because everyone does it together, listening, speaking, contemplating.

How it works is the stressful belief is dropped into the room.

It hangs in the air, and everyone thinks of a moment when they really thought it was true.

Yes, that moment there. I really thought “this shouldn’t be happening”. It thought it so big and wide, it was so awful that something was happening, it was a terrible situation.

As everyone found their internal image, and pictured a memory, a moment, a future fear….

…I asked the four questions.

Popcorn style means, people simply speak out loud when they have their answers appear. Maybe two people speak at once, and one naturally waits for the other. The pace is usually slow enough where one speaks, there’s a pause, another speaks.

We all get to hear what it’s like to feel and think this stressful thought, and what it’s like without it….the Great Exploration.

I thought of my own moment, when a good friend flipped out and said I wasn’t being a good friend, I wasn’t coming to the rescue, and that he was coming over RIGHT NOW. (I remember reading the email and having a massive jolt of adrenaline run through me, and the urge to jump in my car and drive away, just in case he meant it).

What about other words people are saying that hurt, deeply? What about silence from someone you love and miss, who’s cut you off?

What about sickness? What about painful childhood memories?

It shouldn’t have happened. I shouldn’t have had to experience that. I shouldn’t be experiencing it now.

Is it true?



I really don’t want to go through that again. It was so frightening. I don’t like it when people go crazy. I want calm in my life. I want peace.

Can you absolutely know that it’s true, it shouldn’t go that way? It shouldn’t be like that? He shouldn’t have done that, said that? She shouldn’t have acted that way, called you that name?

Can you know it’s true he shouldn’t have gotten cancer and died?

Yikes. This is serious questioning. It seems so true.

Yet….I personally have no idea. I look out into the world and see people getting sick, yelling, saying things, doing nutso things, committing violence. I look out into the world and see hurricanes and storms, tsunamis and destruction. They say a stormy wind is coming upon the area I live in two days, the biggest in 50 years.

I don’t LIKE these things, but I really can’t know they shouldn’t ever happen.

I notice when I think they shouldn’t and I get really wound up about it, it’s very painful. I suffer. Deeply. Extremely.

Who would I be without the belief it shouldn’t have happened or gone that way?

This fourth question can be difficult to even begin to find an answer, when something quite horrible has occurred.

All you need to notice at first, perhaps, is that you are not thinking it shouldn’t have happened every waking moment of your life.


So you DON’T have the thought all the time, already.

Even if you feel quite traumatized and upset, and worried and you’ve seen the thing reoccur in your mind’s eye over and then over again….

….you can wonder what it’s like, and explore it as a possibility, without the belief it shouldn’t have happened. Just a little bit.

I notice, without my belief that difficult day when my friend was going “crazy” with a mental breakdown (I’m the only one calling it that) all that ever happened was me reading an email.

I never saw the friend, physically, in my presence.

I didn’t know how to respond, so I waited, and waited, and waited to reply….and I didn’t reply until the following day, and life went on. I realized I had no idea what was actually happening, and I didn’t need to be involved, and I sat in the unknown, and I noticed I had no idea what was true or untrue, and my fear died away, and all was entirely well.

In reality, that very day of reading the scary email, I worked joyfully with two clients, I greeted my kid when she came home from school, I went to the gym, I bought groceries.

The friend never appeared hammering on my door desperately, like I saw in my mind (like he said he might do).

I notice reality was very kind, and very quiet.

In your situation you might be seeing something loud, and terrifying, and physically painful….

….so from this moment, now, can you find how it’s over? It ended, even as you believed it should never have happened?

There is some point when it stopped happening. Your wish was granted.

I find this helpful to notice.

This is not about denying and pretending something very hard didn’t exist, but only to find a sense of balance and peace, and clarity in the middle of this reality.

If you can find how many minutes you’ve lived, without the thing happening, this is great to realize. Many more minutes have been lived without the event, without that incident, without that person saying those words….than WITH it happening. It came to an end.

Turning the thought around: It should have happened. 

And yikes, don’t take this the hard or wrong way. It’s not said with blame, rage, like you deserved that difficult and terrible situation.

This is only to see if you can find anything that came from it that works for you, anything it offered, anything it invited you to learn, any way it brought expansion, presence, awareness, strength, love, kindness, acceptance, surrender into your life?

For my situation, the friend going mad and writing to me he’s coming over, desperate, demanding, frightened….

….it should have happened.

What are my examples?

He found another, quicker, better way to peace. I did The Work on the thought he needed my help (only mine). I became much more sharply clear about how extreme that person felt about his life, and about my potential role in it.

It showed me something unexpected, something I needed to see.

Other things I’ve believed shouldn’t have happened, I notice have had interesting, heart-breaking, but amazing and new and loving things come from them.

If you can’t find turnarounds yet, that is….examples of why it should have happened, I recommend putting the idea on hold….

….but being open to see if something occurs to you, in the future.

If it was a friendly universe, why would this have happened?

The death of my father, for example, was one of my very first inquiries.

I could see, as I investigated that powerful experience I will never forget from so long ago (he died of leukemia) that he got to be freed out of a body, I learned to stand on my own two feet (slowly, but surely), I became skilled at giving myself my own good advice, and that he didn’t die entirely–only in his physical body–so I talk to him often.

He also showed me how to let go of something that felt unsupportive and filled with suffering, and trust death as well as life.

Getting there, still.

“When a belief hit me, I would sit and write it down and put it up against the four questions and then turn it around. That first year, I was writing all the time, crying all the time. But I never felt upset. I loved this woman who was dying through inquiry, this woman who had been so very confused. I kept falling in love with her….You can’t stop mental chaos, however motivated you are. But if you identify one piece of chaos and stabilize it, then the whole world begins to make sense.” ~ Byron Katie in 1000 Names for Joy

Thank you to all the people coming to retreat with me. I get to fall in love with you, quite literally, and the whole world begins to make sense….

….even the painful thought “that experience shouldn’t have happened.”

Much love,


They’re ignoring me…and I’m ignoring her.

Are they ignoring me? Or is it just my imagination?

One of my favorite things about The Work is the way it encourages us to use our imagination!

We’re already using it, before The Work, to scare ourselves, get worried, get angry, feel powerless, feel sad, be unhappy.

So let’s expand that imagination to a broader, more inclusive, more trusting, more good-feeling perspective. The other side of duality, in this dual world of opposites.

But this doesn’t mean “try” to be positive, and to go straight from “I hate this situation” to “I love this situation” without inquiry.

That’s super hard, and not very respectful to yourself.

Someone asked me recently, what kind of positive affirmations or sentences do I tell myself, when I feel distressed and I want to ground myself in feeling better?

I had to chuckle inside. Because I wouldn’t tell myself one single thing that was a positive affirmation, or a pep talk, that I didn’t believe or hadn’t inquired into first.

I’m not sure I ever even think of telling myself positive things on purpose.

The person who asked me this then went on to say that she was on a long vacation with her extended family, and from the very first day she began to feel uncomfortable with quite a few things she was observing in all these family members.

Grandchildren were running across the street without their parents restraining them. Her adult children were gazing at their cell phones, and the teens were constantly snap-chatting with friends back home in the US. Older folks were holding up the group, or getting ditched by the younger set–resulting in people losing each other in crowded European piazzas. Siblings were acting rude during meals, and ignoring her.

What she then told me was that she decided on about the second day to Say Nothing.

“There was no point. It’s just the way it is.”


The opposite of Arguing With Reality is not Being Resigned To Reality with a chip on your shoulder.

I asked her if she wanted to try The Work, since she was asking me about it and wondering if I used positive affirmations. She agreed.

One of the most pressing, repetitive thoughts she had about several of the people in her family was….”they are ignoring me”.

They care more about “x” (cell phones, emails, themselves, their friends) than about this vacation. They don’t care about me. The last trip was much better. I may as well have stayed home.


This really hurts, when you believe it.

I asked her, is it true they ignored you?

YES. YES. YES. (She explained more about what they were doing, the way of the world these days, the neglect, the spiritual void of lacking an ability to be present, the rudeness she witnessed).

Inside a part of me had a little edge of a feeling….“She should slow down. She should relax and answer the questions. She shouldn’t explain and find additional proof for her stressful belief.”

“How do you react when you believe the thought”, I asked her, “that they’re ignoring you?”

She explained how she reacted by saying nothing, never one word, never asking for what she wanted. She didn’t bring up her complaints. She didn’t speak her regrets. She didn’t make her requests.

Too furious to speak. Too unhappy. Too upset.

I get it. I’ve been there.

It’s painful to believe I can’t speak up about how I’m feeling, because if I do a fountain of unhappiness will burst out of me. I’ll disappoint them. I’ll make it worse.

Wow, it’s rough to be so caught between a rock and a hard place–I can’t talk, I can’t Not Talk, and be happy.

I asked her who she would be without this belief that they were ignoring her?

She answered immediately: “it’s impossible not to have this belief. The world is like this now. People don’t care about each other. Everyone wants to look at their phones. It’s never going back.”

As she spoke, I could feel the pain of having zero hope, and no ability to really find one drop of what it would be like to not have the thought, in the presence of people ignoring you. To really not have the thought “they are ignoring me” (even if they are).

But then she said something swiftly, and lightly, even if just for a second “I’d notice the amazing place I’m sitting. I’d look around.”

I realized as I did this work right alongside her, that it is very possible someone is ignoring her, whatever that means exactly (not paying attention, not caring, not connecting, not loving, being dismissive, being interested in something else besides her).

But it doesn’t mean she has to think and believe the thought herself.

She could barely stay in the question “who would you be without this thought?” She was out of there in literally 2 seconds. She was back into how awful to be ignored, how sad, how ruined the vacation.

So we kept moving….into the turnarounds.

“I am ignoring myself” in that situation. Could this be as true, or truer?

“Oh YES!” she replied after considering this turnaround. She saw how in that situation she buttoned her lip and said nothing and got really small over in a corner, and quiet, feeling left out and distant. She ignored her own desire to connect more closely, and to ask others to walk next to her, or put away their phones for awhile. She might have thought of all kinds of solutions that would offer a sense of closeness, rather than distance and resignation in her situation.


It reminded me of believing there’s nothing I can do, in some situations, except withdraw, back away, separate myself.

It’s like the way I used to believe in dieting. Just go without. Starve. Avoid pleasure. Go hungry.

The only cure for this body problem, was to suffer silently. I never questioned “there is a problem”—is that true?


We looked at the turnarounds “I am ignoring THEM” and “they are NOT ignoring me”.

This inquirer’s answers were No, I can’t find any examples. They WERE ignoring me. And I was NOT ignoring them.

Right in the middle of that situation, me facilitating her, facilitating myself, facilitating inquiry on the thought “they are ignoring me” I felt the impact of “ignoring” or thinking of something as wrong (like someone not being able to find any turnaround examples).

What if what is happening, including these questions and these answers right here in the middle of The Work, are exactly what is supposed to be happening?

What if for this woman, the only turnaround that’s valid and helpful in that moment was the one “I am ignoring myself”?

What if I kindly and openly did not ignore her, as I facilitated, or ignored myself either?

What if what she was aware of, and clear about, and learning as she answered four strange questions she had never answered before….

….was just the right amount of ignoring, and awareness.

All I know is, it’s easy to love what’s happening than it is to hate it.

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” ~ Albert Einstein

“Prejudice of any kind implies that you are identified with the thinking mind. It means you don’t see the other human being anymore, but only your own concept of that human being. To reduce the aliveness of another human being to a concept is already a form of violence.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Much love,


The light at the end of the tunnel could be….in your past.

Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is exploring your past, seeing where the stories were born.

The third question in the four primary questions of The Work of Byron Katie is….

…”How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?”

Wow, what an interesting question, you know?

How do I react? What happens? When I’m thinking ______ (fill in the troubling thought) what is it like? What goes on inside me? How do I actually behave on the outside? What’s it like being in the world, when I’m thinking this thought, and feeling it to be true?

Good lord.

It’s a big huge question, even if you only ask it about ONE single stressful thought.

This past week, the new Year of Inquiry inquirers gathered to listen to whomever was speaking, and to contemplate their own answers, even if they didn’t talk out loud.

Who are you, without your stressful belief?

Often, sitting with this question, we consider what images appear, what we remember, what this reminds of us.

One inquirer had a really stressful thought.

I should go to work. 

(Even though I’m in physical pain and basically can’t).

Wow. I remembered having this thought about so many jobs. Extreme guilt. Feeling like I should go. Not wanting to. Am I sick enough to stay home? I should buck up and go. People will be disappointed. What if I feel better in two hours? Then I’ll really be guilty.

Agonizing debate on the inside.

During question three (how do you react, what happens when you think this stressful thought?) the inquirer remembered, just like it happens so often, a moment in childhood.

Mom wants me to do something, wants to force me to do something, is verbally sharp and abrasive and abusive. I have the very same feeling, standing in the presence of mother as I do with employer. I should do it, even though I don’t want to. I’m being forced. I can’t really discover what I want, or what’s right for me, I have to do the “right” thing. For them. There’s no good outcome or solution that works for everyone. I feel small and powerless.


An incredibly powerful exercise, when these flash images come in, sometimes traumatic, sometimes long forgotten, sometimes very painful:

Become willing to sit with that memory, that situation, that feeling, and write a worksheet on it.

Go back.

I like to call it FOO.

If you say it, it lightens things a little. FOO. Family of Origin.

I know these memories are sometimes very foggy, dark, uncertain.

You’re happy it’s been so long since they happened.

But these origin stories are very powerful for inquiry, if they set you off into patterns or imprints where you suffered with the same flavor of story over and over again.

Just remember, it’s safe to look at them now. It may even be safer to look than to not look.

As Byron Katie invites, so many times I’ve heard her say this: Mother, Father, Sister, Brother.

Watch your personal history movie.

Do The Work on those people who influenced you early. See what happens.

It will be good.

“Babies are not born into this world of illusion until they attach. When you’re clear, it’s wonderful fun to observe it. I love being with my grandbabies. I love hearing all my lies! ‘That’s a tree.’ ‘That’s a sky.’ ‘I love you.’ ‘You’re Grandma’s precious.’ ‘You’re the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.’ All these lies, and I’m having a wonderful time. If it doesn’t work for them, they can question their stressful thoughts. I am joy. I’m not going to censor any of it.” ~ Byron Katie on Parents and Children

I love finding out what I started believing, that wasn’t true. And of course, the great thing about The Work is….you only have to question the stressful thoughts.

Keep the fun ones, just like Katie.

If you’re interested in entering four days of The Work in north Seattle at my Goldilocks Cottage, we’ll be questioning thoughts from start to finish, and throwing in exercises to help us all go back, back, back, back.

(Can you hear the cheerleaders shouting? Back! Back! Back! Back!)

October 13-16, 2016.

This one is non-residential, but if you’ve coming from afar, we’ll help you find a close by hotel or place to stay with others. Seattle is a special, sweet place in mid-October. The weather is mild, the summer crowds are thinning. Everything smells like rich earth and dew. When the sun comes out, it’s brilliant orange.

When we go in together, gathered in a circle, we share the most amazing insights as we do The Work. Everyone is welcome, beginners to experienced. You get to start from exactly where you are, with whatever disturbs you in your life. You’ll get to go back, in your mind, to previous history or memories to take a look, but only if you want to.

Present issues, past issues….all are welcome. We’ll have some special invitations to take a look at the old ones, if you’re ready.

Read all about it here.

Much love,


Stab yourself with a knife, or question your thinking….which one’s better?

The story of love….a tragedy…. ….or, you could always question your beliefs

Love Relationships. It’s complicated.

Or so it seems.

So many people come to work with me on relationships. And I’ve done The Work myself on so many people.

Love relationships are one type of connection or story we have huge ideas about….

….and many of them are deeply stressful.

Have you ever thought to question some of those big, horrible, frightening thoughts that are so old, they go back quite a few generations?

Things like in my household growing up.

Thou shalt not sleep all night together, or go to sleeping actuallyplanning on sleeping all night, until married.

Thou shalt not say anything sexual in front of your elders, or refer to sex, or act like you’ve ever been interested in sex, or, lets be honest, make elders aware that you’ve actually heard of sex.

Thou shalt not be attracted to more than one person at a time.

Thou shalt make a vow and never break it.

The funny thing is, all joking around aside, you suddenly realize what beliefs you’ve adopted about primary love relationships, the ones that include sexual expression or attraction, when the “law” is broken that you assumed was in place.

It’s upsetting to have a “thou shalt not” broken by someone else you’re apparently connected to, and it’s also upsetting if you yourself have broken the law.


With the work, you can question the law, and find out truly what is right for you.

Beyond laws.

Because one thing I discovered fairly early in my life of dating, hearing about commitment, learning about marriage or pairing off, considering living together, spending time alone, spending time together….

….I really didn’t want to be in prison, or for a partner to feel that way either.

Or have it feel like there was a list of what was legal and what wasn’t.

I wanted to feel free. And loving.

And, I wanted to find out what really worked for me in the most deeply honest and authentic way possible. Attraction, not promotion (as the wonderful 12 Step Program says about itself and it’s organizational structure).

I’ll never forget the several times in my life–I can think of four almost immediately–where someone I really liked and assumed I was connecting with said they were leaving, changing, updating the relationship in a way I didn’t like and didn’t expect.

I was devastated.

You shouldn’t change your mind. You shouldn’t do that. You shouldn’t leave. You shouldn’t ever hurt me, reject me, criticize me, need space, get interested in someone else.

I know. Kind of embarrassing. Not such a free bird after all. Not so easy-going and all-accepting. Not so pure and un-commanding.


In fact, I was livid.

A memory.

I’m dating this new man after getting a divorce that took several years to work through and come out of, with inquiry, a more interesting, powerful, clear person than I ever once was when it came to love and romance.

I still have a few kinks to work out when it came to love, let’s put it that way.

This guy I’m dating has shares with me on one of our three-hour long phone calls, like I’m his best friend, that he had a fabulous weekend and unexpectedly met someone and slept with her.

He’s not even sure of her real name, everyone had wild weekend workshop names. It was fun, but not great. He’s pretty sure he never cares about seeing her again. He feels a little weird and numb. He’s done this kind of thing before, but it never feels that great afterwards.


I practically gasp on the other end of the line. I try to hide the sound.

My stomach feels like I’m going to throw up.

I listen kind of numbly to his experience.

He’s going on about how he felt so weird afterwards and didn’t want to sleep in the same bed all night with her. He was definitely troubled.

Part of me, the one with the Thou Shalt Not Sleep blah blah if we’re dating blah blah it’s very serious blah blah this relationship isn’t what I thought blah blah is having a HEART ATTACK.

I’m practically hyperventilating later, after getting off the phone.

But something inside also is watching and seeing this charade of story go by.

This is not in the Relationship PlayBook of Rules. He is not supposed to be doing this, says a very convinced voice.

Another voice is almost chuckling, saying this is not so bad.

Now, I’m not saying it was fabulous, or that I think the whole thing unfolded in the highest integrity for everyone involved.

However, I saw thoughts screaming to be questioned in that moment, about relationships.

I was saying “Please, God, not MORE about relationship, can’t you give me a little break? Time out? REALLY?”

I was also seeing right in that very moment, there were a few thoughts between me, and peace. Some very old, thick, dusty, sad thoughts.

Worthy of questioning without any motive at all. A part of me that wanted to know the truth. No rules.

He should not have moved to someone else. He should have stayed with me.

Is that true?


But can you absolutely know it’s true?

Well, first of all, we’ve only been on 2 dates ever. He lives in another state. Are we even dating? We’ve made no claim or signed any contracts (not that it would make a difference, really). I’m very clear I don’t want him to meet my kids or come visit me in my city.

Um. Right.


Is it absolutely true he shouldn’t have done this?

Not at all.

How do you react when you think the thought?

Like the floor is dropping out from under me and I have zero support and I’m being abandoned and I’m a victim of a terrible, terrible, terrible situation. I’m a tiny potato. Unworthy. Unloved.



I played Juliet in the Shakespeare play in college. I actually cried, a tear flowing down one cheek, in one of the productions. That was a PLAY. I was the lead character. I killed myself. This feels like a play, too, somehow.

So who would I be without this belief, that he shouldn’t have done it?

Wait. Seriously?


What about The Relationship Play Book Rules.

You mean.

What if there were no relationship rules about people not doing things like this, and all it means?

How will we survive!?! Won’t we all run around hurting each other constantly, failing, killing ourselves, throwing up, feeling rejected, having hearts broken?

Well, I notice WITH the belief, these things happen, and I feel this way.

So why not try on how it feels WITHOUT this thought?

Without the belief it should not have gone that way. Without the belief it was all bad, all terrible, all hell, all trouble. Without the belief in this being so devastating, drastic, unloving, disgusting.

Who or what would I be without the thought he shouldn’t have done it?


I notice this spark of light cracking through a very, very old mountain of thick cloud cover called Relationship Rules.

A light coming in.

He should have done it?

Woah. That’s the first turnaround.

How could that be just as true, or truer?

He should have, because first of all, he did. It happened. I didn’t even know about it until later.

But I can take it much further. He should have done it because that’s his mindset. Something about it felt like his only choice. He should have done it because he doesn’t like committed relationships, he’s said so. He should have done it because he’s exploring and expanding. He’s seeking contact. He wants sex desperately. He doesn’t like rules, and isn’t really a happy person either. He’s also showing me what works for him, what doesn’t, and it’s easy for me to see then what works for me!

I turn it around to myself: I shouldn’t have moved away from myself, and gone towards another person.

Very true. I left myself. I felt super dependent on him and the fantasy I had about us getting closer and becoming a couple (after 2 dates, I know).

I shouldn’t have thrown myself after him, feeling needy, grabby, hungry, alone, hopeful. Way too much reaching towards someone else, and not me.

Turning it around again: I shouldn’t have moved away from him.

Well. I suddenly wanted to get as far away from him as possible and I called him a sick mentally ill pervert in my mind.

Yup. I had imagined he should be different, like some kind of Prince Charming (who followed all the Relationship Play Book Rules of course, taught to me by my parents and culture).

I shouldn’t have been blindly seeing someone I wished for, rather than the real person I was talking to.

The fantastic thing about that whole experience is it didn’t end the usual Relationship Play Book Rules way.

There was no phone slamming down, or screaming and gnashing of teeth (well, OK, for a few hours I was all alone doing that). There was no reality TV show with chairs being thrown and all my friends agreeing how I’d been done wrong. There was no grief period of suffering and being tormented. Deciding never to date again.

Instead, I called friends in The Work all day long, took a “sick” day off work, and literally questioned my thoughts for six hours.

I came out of that a free woman.

Not someone who had to send mental bombs to his area of the world to blow up, or someone who wished terrible things on him, cursing his name.

But completely free. Free to come and go as I pleased. Free to discover what love is, what support is, what loyalty is, what joy is, what openness is, what acceptance is, what forgiveness is, what clarity is. For myself.

I discovered I really love sharing one committed partnership, but not because anyone thinks it’s the “right” thing to do. I’m open if my mind and heart change tomorrow. I loved exploring and learning what worked for me, without old conditioning and outdated playbook rules.

I interviewed and studied other people’s choices, facilitated people with The Work, learned about what makes people happy and unhappy.

(Hint: when they’re unhappy, it’s because they’re believing thoughts they don’t really, really think are true).

A day after doing The Work all day long for many hours on that incident, that situation, I could genuinely say (with only a small whisper of worry)….

….”I am willing to have that happen again. I look forward to that happening again.”


Because it shows me who not to date. It shows me very cleanly and clearly which direction to move. It shows me the joy other people get in experimenting or testing or making changes.

Every time someone I thought I was committed to (he is mine) has not done as I expected, it’s ultimately opened my heart and soul up to a far vaster and greater source of support and love than I ever imagined.

The Work brought this awareness on in a day. Not a decade.

If you’re suffering from relationship change, loss, abandonment, fear….

….do The Work.

You could be amazed. You might see that Relationship PlayBook go up in flames.

Or, you might realize you love some of those rules, but not because they’re rules….

….but because you love.

 “The ego has no options. It can protest all it wants, but if God moves, it moves….As I noticed the falling-away of the self and saw that its construct was absolutely invalid, what remained was humbled through the recognition. Everything dissolved–all that I had imagined myself to be. I realized that I was none of it, that everything I’d stood for was insubstantial and ridiculous. And what remained from that fell away, too, until finally there was nothing left to be humble about, no one left to be humble. If I was anything, I was gratitude.” ~ Byron Katie in 1000 Names For Joy

My current husband and I will be offering a 3 day retreat at Breitenbush Hotsprings in doing The Work, on relationships. We’ll be demonstrating The Work on each other, in front of each other and the power of inquiry between two.

The relationship you bring to this work doesn’t need to be a love, spouse, mate, partner, someone you’re dating, romance.

This powerful work can be done on assumptions, expectations, questioning the Relationship Rule PlayBook for children, parents, co-workers, neighbors, siblings, employers.

This retreat? Winter. December 8-11. We begin Thursday evening at 7:00 pm. Deep woods. Possible snow. Bubbling hotsprings (optional for soaking during workshop breaks). Delicious vegetarian meals. Rejuvenation. Pristine old growth forest. Showers and cabins heated naturally (and incredibly cozy and warm). Silence. Inner work. Sharing.

Two people registering together are $350 each. Normal early bird fee per person is $395 until November 1st. It’s only 3 months away.

Join us.

Much love,