When goodbye hurts

when goodbye brings a little zing of disappointment (or a massive one)….The Work

If you’ve been considering Year of Inquiry, today’s the best day to join.

Because then, you’ll be a part of Orientation tomorrow, and the first calls next week (we start Tuesday morning, Sept 6th).

An amazing group of 22 people from all over the place–Canada, Norway, Lebanon, England, Florida and every time zone of the US.

Now, I’m not trying to be Doreen Downer….

….but some of these people may have sudden urges to quit, and they might do it.

Which is why I give people two months to be a part of it, and withdraw by November 1st if they choose.

This is the fifth time I’m offering this program, and here’s the funny thing about my own mind, when it comes to the shuffling that happens at the beginning of gathering together a group.

I finally am aware that I know nothing about who will stick around, who will plunge in and participate whole-heartedly for the entire year, who will get scared about something they’re looking at and decide….”maybe not right now, after all.”

Some people may even be ghosts for awhile, then return with renewed energy.

Some may think “that’s enough of answering questions and looking at my thinking!!!” and then come back to looking only a week later.

Everyone has their own pace, their own process, their own journey and I know and trust, it’s just right for them.

I wasn’t like this the first year initially.

OK, fine, or the second.

If someone signed up, participated for the first week or first month, then disappeared or wrote and said “I won’t be doing the program” I would have this disappointed feeling in my gut.

It was the same if I asked my daughter “Hey…do you want to go to this movie with me?” and she said “I would never want to see that movie, are you kidding?!” (She was excellent for not just a simple “no” but a really blunt you-shouldn’t-have-even-asked-me-that “no”).



I would respect their decision of course, and I’d always write “what made you decide not to continue?”

I’d cross my fingers that I’d get a really good, long answer so I could work on improving or changing or learning something about what did not work.

Which is great to get honest feedback of course (awesome, in fact)….

….but that underlying gut disappointment was not exactly thrillingly pleasant.

I knew to do The Work.

I was reminded of all this the other day when six people joined, but two withdrew before we’re even beginning the year. My focus went to the withdrawals.

One had more explanation than the other, and it made so much sense around scheduling conflicts. The other, almost no explanation.

(And there never needs to be any explanation, by the way).

But people come to me all the time to do The Work with huge anxiety and grief around someone breaking up with them, someone expressing the need for change in a relationship, and making the change.

Huge stress follows the words “I’m out” or “I’m leaving” or “it’s over”.

This person should not withdraw. They shouldn’t leave. They shouldn’t break up with me. They should stay. 

Is it true?

Wow. What a question. It seems like it’s true. All the love songs are about the disappointment of people parting ways, or not living up to what is desired. Sadness. Anger. Rage. You done me wrong! This is not good!

But is this absolutely true, that no one should ever break up with me, or say “no” to spending time with me, or “no” to a social event I’ve invited them to, or “no” to a program I’m offering?

Is it absolutely true that it’s sad, if someone does?


That would, in fact, be weird if it was absolutely true. I’d be tied like a ball and chain or some strange “rule” to others, and they to me. What I notice about reality is life morphs and changes, interests move, curiosity opens doors, the future is unknown, the past is full of learning.

How could it ever be true for me that someone should “stay”? Whatever “staying” is.

How do you react when you believe someone should stick around, or not say “no”?

Upset. Worried. Anxious.

Seeing visions of EVERYONE doing it. If it starts with this one person, it will increase explonentially.

(I love how the mind does that multiplication thing about the future….let’s 10x the future vision! It’ll be MUCH WORSE!)

But who would you be without this story? What if you couldn’t even have the thought enter your mind and heart that someone shouldn’t say “no” or that people should stay put, or that no changes should ever ensue in relationships?

Amazing idea, right?

And so very exciting.

What if it was The Way of It that people come and go. Reality.

I notice we all get born, and we all die. We’re only here temporarily. Why do we wish, sometimes, for permanence? Guarantees? Certainty? It doesn’t exist.

Without the belief that it should….wow the freedom.

I trust. I let go. I notice I never leave myself, which is very exciting to notice. Something is always here.

Without the belief other people should stick around, I get to notice the thing that DOES stick around….no matter how mysterious. The thing that notices All This. Presence. Nowness. The air in the room, the chair underneath, the fingers moving to make words and express.

The wonder of “here”. This isn’t “nothingness”.

Turning the thoughts around: They should go, when they do. They should withdraw, they should leave. They should break up with me. They shouldn’t stay.

I can’t even begin to list the advantages I’ve discovered when people have left. Even if it’s that I get to do whatever I want on a Friday night with zero consultation. No more dealing with what the other person wants. No more trying to help someone else.

Nothing left to focus my attention on, outside of myself. Left with the fire of neediness or disappointment, I could do The Work.

I shouldn’t go away from myself. I shouldn’t withdraw from me. I shouldn’t leave THEM, or myself. I shouldn’t break up with them, with myself. I should stay with them (no matter where their body is). I should stay with myself.

I’ve noticed, when someone withdrew, or abandoned, or left….whatever I want to call them being gone….I would forget myself. I would not be enjoying my own company.

I should stop doing that!

I could notice what was magnificent about having this moment all to myself, to enjoy the world around me, whatever was there. Long ago when I was in the midst of divorce, I did this work and found how incredible it was to play the piano again, all by myself, and read….all weekend long. My favorite!

And I should trust and enjoy the movement of that person’s life over there. That’s how I can not leave them. I can support them doing what they need to do, with respect. I can trust the greater universe, this reality, and the friendliness of it all, and that I have NO IDEA what the future will bring.

It’s never been 10x of the worst moment ever, and everyone ditching me.

It’s been the opposite. New people come along. I am cared for and loved.

Every time.

Much love,


P.S. Thanks dad, for going when you did, so many years ago. Your departure helped me stand on my own two feet, and find out I could not only survive, but thrive. And thanks for Not Leaving in my mind and heart. I talk to you almost every day. You might not be here in form, but you’re here.


P.P.S. Learn about these last few hours of joining Year of Inquiry before our Orientation tomorrow by visiting here.

When you un-do your need to know….an Overwhelming YES to life

When you have no idea where this is going….notice the YES of this present moment.

I’m going to be on Facebook Live today at 1:00 pm Pacific Time. Let’s try out the new technology! If you’re free, head to my facebook page and let’s see how it works. The link is here. I know, this is in only 45 mins, but it’s an experiment.

I’ll talk about self-inquiry and barriers to it (which seems to be my specialty, I speak from personal experience, LOL). Since this is my first venture into Facebook Live, I’m not sure how long, or IF, it will work smoothly, so let’s test it.

It’s actually amazing how much we humans live our lives trying an “experiment”.

We move from one place to a new place, we have kids, we get new jobs, we develop new friendships, we have conversations, we get together with people, we part ways.

In some ways, everything is a great and grand experiment, totally unknown how this will turn out.

So here’s the funny thing about the mind, and mental “thinking” that we’re all so aware of.

It moves into considering the past…..and then the future….


When I deeply consider the energy of “thought” it appears to involve pictures, images, imagination, creativity, ideas, review of the past, contemplation, wondering, stories, remembering.

Without any actual clear, straightforward conclusion.

Who would we be without our thoughts?

This is Question #4 in The Work of Byron Katie, and also a question raised in many spiritual and contemplative traditions. An awareness and a wondering of what we are, who we are, without our ideas about right/wrong, good/bad, terrible/wonderful.

I love how with The Work, you get to ask this question on only one simple situation at a time. A bite-sized chunk.

Who would you be without your stressful belief or image or conclusion in that ONE situation you feel scared, angry, nervous or sad about?

Who would you be without the belief you’d prefer to KNOW what’s going to happen rather than engage in an experiment?

Do you really want to know exactly what’s going to happen later today, or tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or two years from now, or in twenty years, or in seventy years when you’re likely no longer here anymore in a body?

“I need to know what will happen.”

(You can find a specific subject or situation to ask this question about, no matter how big or small, in your own life.)

Is it true?


I really have no idea, and I can see how knowing might be weird, and too much, and not for me.

How do I react when I believe I need to know what’s going to happen, or that something will have a good outcome?

Anxious, seeing pictures of the Opposite of good outcome. I see terrible results, bad outcomes, big disasters, fearful scenes. My story is a worried one.

Who would you be without the thought you need to know how this is going to turn out, you need to know what will happen?


Right here, very present.

Excited to see how this unfolds.

Willing to allow it to be as it is, not crunch down tightly against it and get all freaked out.

Feeling the lightness of “I Don’t Know”.

Turning this thought around: I do NOT need to know what will happen.


There are so many things better left unknown. Then I get to do only what appears to be required in the moment. Maybe it’s nothing. I move as I do. This is not me running the show. I am just here. I am not waiting.

Turning it around another way, ever so slightly different: I need to NOT know what will happen. It’s actually better that I don’t know. That leaves things to occur at a pace that’s impersonal, not all about me. It gives me the gift of coming back to this moment. Very open.

Less is required than I ever imagined (when using my mind). Instead of knowing, I need to NOT know. That’s hilarious. But has a huge sense of ease and sweetness.

Another turnaround: What will happen needs to know me.

Now, isn’t that just the most cosmic, fun, loving thing you ever heard?

The universe….what will happen….life, love, the world, everything….is so excited to know me.

It’s waiting for me, in every brilliant moment. It needs to know me, to understand, to be with, to connect with, to love me.

The ultimate “nothing is required” story. The universe and reality are here to know me. I don’t have to work hard at it, I don’t have to go out and find it in the bushes somewhere, like it’s lost in a mysterious field.

It’s coming to me.

In every moment.

Can you feel it?

“To face the totality of life we must face the reality of death, sorrow, and loss as well. We must face them as unavoidable aspects of life. The question is, can we face them directly without getting lost in the stories that our mind weaves about them? That is, can we directly encounter this tragic quality of life on its own terms? Because if we can, we will find a tremendous affirmation of life, an affirmation that is forged in the fierce embrace of tragedy. At the very heart and core of our being, there exists an overwhelming yes to existence. ” ~ Adyashanti

Can you find the “yes” in this moment of existence right now? Who would you be without your story of needing to know anything?

Much love,


Slow Down Caterpillar

slowing down is good

If anyone wants to jump on board for First Friday inquiry 75 minutes–we’re doing The Work at 7:45 am Pacific Time. Open to anyone, and you can share, be in the hot seat, or just listen.

If you want to listen-only, click WebCast (with WebCall we can hear you). Or, you’ll see how to dial in simply using your phone.

  Let’s Do The Work (Meetup)

I had an interesting learning experience yesterday.

I was offering the masterclass I’ve been talking about, right?

Lots of time spent collecting feedback, pouring over where people bump up into thoughts about not “getting” self-inquiry, creating the presentation with slides, figuring out what to include.

Well, basically, there was enough material to cover a weekend, not a 2 hour online masterclass.

Next Tuesday will be different. I’m cutting out some, and giving more of the most important message of all.

Slow Down.

In all these objections to understanding and awareness, whether it’s doing The Work or feeling confused about life, or being self-critical, angry, frightened or lost….

….the common denominator to peace is slowing down.


Imagining a way to be that doesn’t require you to achieve or accomplish anything.

Nothing to fight with. No “issues” to fix or figure out. No relationships to resolve.

Slowing down, for me, means to slow down the things that are over-exerted, or running on over-drive, like the mind, or actions I take because I think “OMG! I have to do that or else catastrophe!”

Slowing down is wondering what it’s like to be without that thought?

Who would you be, without your thinking?

Today, I woke up and moments later was already having ideas about how to change up the next masterclass so it’s better, and people leave with a sense of peace rather than a mind full of information and noise.

But instead of diving in to work on it immediately, I took a moment to meditate in silence. And now writing this, and then I’ll be in a few minutes simply doing The Work with folks who show up for First Friday meetup.

Just doing The Work and slowing down.

Who would we be without our stressful story of anything being required for peace that isn’t already here?

“It’s only when caterpillarness is done that one becomes a butterfly. That again is part of this paradox. You cannot rip away caterpillarness. The whole trip occurs in an unfolding process of which we have no control.” ~ Ram Dass

Much love,


You Are Invited to my MasterClass Training: Ten Barriers to The Work….And How To Dissolve Them

I’m offering a live free masterclass: Ten Barriers to Doing The Work as a Transformational Practice….And How To Dissolve Them.

I’ve thought about sharing this with others for a very long time.

Ever since I noticed the fascinating way the mind shows up looking at life with a trickster attitude either hell-bent on keeping you in the dark, or very quietly-and-subtly bent on making things not-quite-clear.

Well, I speak for myself. And I’ve heard so many people wonder about why they aren’t seeing clearly, or making the changes they want.

I’ve heard people ask Byron Katie questions about The Work and express their frustrations and worries, and their deep desire to end their mental suffering about relationships, events, feelings, the past, the future…..LIFE!

So I began to make note of where objections appeared, and where people felt lost.

I watched my own process of slowly going deeper, and sometimes experiencing big huge lightbulb moments of expansion in my perspectives.

I’ve asked you where you’ve wondered about why The Work is confusing, troubling, or “not working” for you.

I have LOVED receiving your answers (thank you).

So now…..I’m super excited to gather with you on this profound topic of deepening self-inquiry using The Work of Byron Katie, sharing insights from the journey of others, understanding your own common foggy-patterns (more on this in a minute), and maybe most importantly…..sharing with you some powerful and reliable ways to dissolve barriers to The Work.

While we are all ultimately very much alike (there are no new thoughts, as Katie says)….

….you might find yourself stuck and in need of a dose of understanding about the way your mind seems to be handling your journey in awareness and awakening.

If you’d like to explore this process….then I would be honored to have you attend this first-time ever Masterclass for Bringing The Work Home: Ten Common Barriers To Self-Inquiry, and How To Dissolve Them.

It is my greatest intention, pleasure and commitment to be in service to freedom from believing stressful thought, which I know is possible for everyone (it’s my sincere commitment within myself, which is everything).

I hope you’ll join me if you’re inspired to living a free, open-handed, joyful life of accepting, being, and loving what is.

You can save your seat here.

Much love,


What she said really, really hurt

When someone called you a name, did you believe them?

I receive a lot of emails but one of my favorites came in yesterday.

Subject line: the work works

“I sat down and wrote a Trash Your Neighbor. By the time I had written, fumed, and done The Work, the whole dynamic shifted. The part that surprised me was the change in [other person]. We had a lovely evening. With love and gratitude to you, Mom.”

First of all, my heart bursts with how cute my own mom is and the way she does The Work. She even took one of my classes on doing The Work When You Work For Yourself (back before it became the class on Money). She’s had her own business for 25 years.

But my favorite part was the way Judge Your Neighbor has become Trash Your Neighbor.

Isn’t that hilarious?

And it really is the spirit of the thing.

Childlike, adolescent, mean, nasty, feisty, unedited, judgey, critical, rude, name-calling.

Many people can hardly write this way at the beginning. They feel so bad about their thoughts. So embarrassed!

When people DO go ahead and write their worksheet, they think, “If this person ever read these words I’ve written about them, or found this Judge Your Neighbor (er, or is that Trash Your Neighbor) Worksheet, or heard me say this…..they would be mortified. I would be mortified. They would be wounded to the core.

People have asked me to shred their worksheet when we’re done with a mini retreat, or a session. I even have a dark brown unmarked envelope where I keep JYNs for people in storage, in between the times they visit to do The Work.

A memory.

I’m hiding under one of my sister’s beds, the one I’m closest to in age. I dove there when we heard footsteps coming up from the ground floor, most likely one of our other sisters (there are four of us girls altogether).

I whisper “if it’s E, ask her what she thinks about me and DON’T SAY I’M HERE!”

E enters the room. I can feel it, from under the bed. I can see her shoes moving towards the middle of the floor, closer to my other sister.

My other sister, the one I feel closer to, says a little awkwardly….”so, hey, um, I have a question for you, um, so what do you think of Grace?”

Pause. Silence hangs in the air.

“I think she’s a bitch.”

A huge sweep of shame rises from my gut through my chest into my face and while E says….

….”Wait, is she in here?”….

….I fly like lightening from under the bed and race out of the room in less than one second, skipping stairs two or three at a time down, through the kitchen, out the door, running through the alley and in the street. Just, running. Tears coming out of my eyes.

After awhile, I slow down, pause, I turn around, and I start to walk slowly back home.

It’s almost dinner time when I return.

My mom rings the cow bell and everyone is supposed to come right away who hasn’t been assigned table-setting duty.

I go to the table, and fake like nothing happened. Conversation, eating, passing the salt, quiet. E and I never look at each other. She’s across the table and one seat over. I pretend she doesn’t exist. My cheeks are hot.

Now, I’m doing my work on that moment, so aware it felt like a horror show, the feelings were so immense of hurt. And guilt.

She trashed me! And I heard it!

I do this work from my 11 year old self, right in that vivid moment.

She shouldn’t think I’m a bitch. I need her to love me.

Is it true?

Yes. This is horrible. I can’t take the crushing criticism. I should have known. She hates me.

Are you absolutely sure she shouldn’t think you’re a bitch? Are you sure you need her to love you?

Are you sure they’re saying that MEANS it’s TRUE? Is it really something to be ashamed of?


How do I react when one of my sisters says about me that I’m a bitch?

Devastated. Shocked. Wall goes up between me and this person, like a 4 foot cement barrier, never to come down.

She even used a swear word.

So who would I be without this thought that she shouldn’t have thought what she thought, said what she said, and shouldn’t have called me a bitch?

Well. My first thought, from my 11 year old self, is “it’s a free country”!

In other words, people can think what they think, feel what they feel. I mean, jeez.

Without the thought that I’m destroyed by it, or should be ashamed, or that I need her to not have ever said, or thought, I’m a bitch….

….I might wake up to how angry she is with me.

Gosh, I wonder why.

Maybe it’s because I ignore, manipulate, hide under beds and play tricks on her. Maybe it’s because I never ask her a single question about herself or her life.

Maybe she’s right! Gasp!

I turn the thought around: she should think I’m a bitch, and she definitely shouldn’t love me….Now that I’ve seen how I treat her, I might think the same thing.

I shouldn’t think she’s a bitch. I shouldn’t think she’s someone awful, or boring, or worthy of ignoring or mocking (I’ve done it) or teasing or tricking.

And finally, I shouldn’t think I am a bitch. The minute she said it, my whole body froze and went into panic mode with shame and fear.

Truth be told, I needed that ice cold bucket of water over my oldest-sister oldest-daughter boss-of-everyone attitude. It was probably about time.

I didn’t have The Work back then.

But I did have connection, and the ability to have a broken heart. Like other humans, I had feelings. So did my sisters. It was a wake-up call to respecting them, and to not taking everything so incredibly personally.

A growing up moment. A moment I can revisit, over 40 years later, and notice how the universe supported me by hearing those words.

I see now, in moments like this, what Byron Katie means when she says “love kills”.

I knew there was something cracked open there, in that moment age eleven…..and it came from lack of love.

“Love is the power, and it won’t be distracted.” ~ Byron Katie

Thank you to everyone who called me names. Those brave souls breathed some significant life into my inner growth, acceptance, kindness, gentleness and capacity to love. It raised the fire up, I felt the passion of the “cut” and knew who to move towards and connect with.

Me. Them. Us.

That same sister, ten years later, I adored and respected…..and still do.

She really, really hurt me? More like, she really, really helped me.

Maybe even healed me by slowing down a huge 11 year old ego-fire, or a huge 11 year old ultra-sensitive scaredy cat.

Actually, she’s the one who suggested the School for The Work.

Need I say more?

Much love,


When the ego wants to be right….even about very negative things (including you)

When something is frightening, ask ‘is it true?’ in the silence, and wait

A young woman in the audience of Byron Katie raised her hand because she didn’t know how to write her worksheet.

Her thoughts were about herself.

She was worried about what other people were telling her she was like: prone to self-destruction. A suicide risk perhaps.

As I’ve heard Katie do so many times with others, Katie guided this beautiful young student to find a situation where she was most worried about suicide, or self-destructive behavior.

Katie asked available staff to help this girl write a clear worksheet about someone else, or other people, related to these feelings. And not make it all about her.

Because this first step….writing a worksheet….is so deeply, profoundly helpful for sitting with a stressful situation and allowing yourself to see what you really believed in the middle of it.

Especially when it’s not all about you.

The part of you hell bent on proving you can change (or can NOT change), or fixing yourself, or getting out of a difficult situation….

….has to step aside for awhile, and you get to be unedited about the world, about reality (those people). Your childish thoughts come out.

This is good. No more hiding.

To my surprise, later when the girl returned and sat on stage with Katie to do The Work, her worksheet was on a good friend of hers texting to say he was going to kill himself.

I was surprised, because I thought she was going to find a situation where her parents, or a teacher, or a psychiatrist was telling her she’d have to be careful or worry about her introverted, depressive nature or something.

My mind had already raced off, wondering about what interesting situation she might find in her life that would be great “proof” of her need to worry about suicidal feelings.

What? You mean what my mind pictured wasn’t even close to what she shared?

Ha ha.

I loved her simple worksheet, and the brand new picture that sprang into my mind as she read her stressful thoughts out loud.

He shouldn’t put his problems on me. He is needy. He shouldn’t burden me with this. He should get professional help. 

Have you ever thought this about someone?

It doesn’t even matter if they’re suicidal or not. I’ve had these kinds of thoughts with friends or family or strangers on the train.

Is it true, they shouldn’t be telling you their problems? Is it true they’re burdening you? Are you sure they need professional help (whatever that is)?

Hmmm. No.

Something feels uncomfortable about it, though.

I love Katie’s question she asks sometimes to allow what really scares you to come into focus….”what’s the worst that could happen? What are you afraid of?”

Of course, the thing I was most afraid of when someone was seriously distressed, freaking out, suicidal and/or drinking? (OK, I admit it now, I’ve had a few boyfriends with these dark-cloud angst-ridden personalities….in the past).

They kill themselves. They succeed!

This is what the girl on stage feared, too.

I noticed the vision would come to mind of them being found, or me learning they succeeded this time. I’d feel my heart jump, and not want to picture such a terrible thing.

That’s how I reacted with the belief they could kill themselves.

Seeing it. Frightened. Thinking I should do something, like go find them and make sure they’re OK, be a “good friend”.

I had to do something! Right?

Suddenly I have a vivid image come to mind. I’m in a 12 Step Meeting about 30 years ago now, miserable, sick, hopeless.

I actually speak, which is a shocker to me now considering how awful I felt and full of despair. I cried and said into the still, listening air of the room, that I couldn’t “do” this (referring to life). I couldn’t seem to stop binge-eating, I couldn’t quit, I was a total failure and I wished I were dead.

There was a silent pause in the room.

Then after a few moments, someone else went next, and my turn was over. No rescuing, no response. The way it always is in a 12 step meeting. It works well this way. No cross talk.

But near the end of the meeting, a note was pressed into my hand that came down the line of people sitting in the chairs in the row I was in.

I never knew who this note was from.

In a delicate sort of old, ball-point pen elegant, and slightly wobbly, cursive writing, someone wrote….”there is a quality of negative grandiosity in suicidal despair.”

I don’t remember all the words after those. The mysterious person went on to write that my life was important, and worthy of living. I saved that note for years and years in my wallet.

What I always remember, though, is the phrase “negative grandiosity”. 

It hit a home run. It clunked in as true.

My ego gigantic. Grandiose with negativity and depression. With challenging the universe and shaking my fist at God or Reality or whatever you want to call it. I was one big grandiose walking egomaniac, only it was the opposite flavor of what I had been taught someone with a big ego looked like–that was someone with personal authority, bossy-ness, prestige, force, power, drive, who wanted to rule other peoples’ lives.

Me? I just wanted to rule my own, it appeared (although, not really, I had plenty of judgments about others and they all became brilliantly useful when I let them come out more clearly).

But who would I be without this whole story of terror that someone else I care about might commit suicide, and that something needs to be done to prevent it?

Wow. So much freer.

Noticing what’s true is….no one who I ever personally feared would do it, actually did it. Other people I knew, who DID do it, I hadn’t realize wanted to. I really had no idea what was going on when it came to suicide. I notice even though I felt like doing it, and thought about ways to do it (long ago) I never even took one step towards making it happen. Not one. I escaped with addiction instead.

Turning the thoughts around about that person you worry about, who seems suicidal:

I shouldn’t put my problems on myself, or him. I am needy, he’s not needy at all. I shouldn’t burden myself with this. He shouldn’t get professional help, I should. 
Each turnaround of course, is a meditation all by itself. This is not the get-work-done-in-a-packaged-lump plan.
To really look, you would take one thought at a time, and turn it around all the ways you can, so you see every angle of looking rather than seeing from only your personal point of view.
But as this girl did her work with Byron Katie, I loved allowing the turnarounds to flow like a river of water over me, through my mind, discovering some of the following examples very clearly, for these turnarounds.
Yes, I shouldn’t believe this is all up to me and I’m the one who must “do” something. I notice the people I’ve worried about feeling suicidal are not here in this room. I have no idea what they’re doing or will do. The images in my head are not real. They’re images.
This is even true for the one friend I’ve known who did commit suicide. I wasn’t there. I heard the story. I have no idea what it actually looked like.
Yes, I appear needy. I am needy for these other people to live. Please live the rest of your life, happy. Like I would somehow generate some kind of guilt if they died….unless I….what? (I consider the idea again that “I” have something to do with their life, that some fault could be committed by me).

Yes, I shouldn’t burden myself with all this thinking, feeling panic, despair, urgency. I notice people in this world die, sometimes at their own hand. We have a word for it (suicide). They’re taking the best route they can see at the time. How would I know it’s wrong for them?

Yes, I can consult “professional help”, or not (thank goodness it was available when I felt suicidal so long ago. It was so lovingly helpful and life-changing).

Doing The Work itself is the ultimate professional help. It requires no other person, only me, answering questions.

“We’re not ever really dealing with people, we’re dealing with concepts. Take care of what you’re thinking and believing….Pain is produced by ego. The ego wants to be right. The ego has you want to do The Work on yourself. The ego compares. And every time–you lose….There’s nothing more fun than stillness. It’s where all the action is. I love the guidance of inquiry. The ego is powerful but it’s never more powerful than the truth.” ~ Byron Katie during Being With Byron Katie 2016

Much love,


thank you people who bug me

thank you to every person who ever bugged me….with self-inquiry they show me the way to freedom

Mind Officially Blown.

Listening to Byron Katie answer questions about life, suffering, and what it means when anyone says they are “doing” The Work….

….is nothing short of the stressed-out busy mind getting blown into tiny bits and scattered about like seeds in the wind.

In a really good way.

What I mean by this is, I feel the joy of recognizing once again how I’ve been chattering away with some scary stories, and not cleaning them up, not getting around to listening to them to see what’s really frightening me.

Not really thinking these stories of other people, or fearful events, are very important to question.

Why sit down for this meditation, this in-depth contemplation of my mental noise, when it really hasn’t been very noisy, especially compared to how loud it used to be!?!?

Isn’t this good enough?

It’s sooooo much work. Jeeeeeeeeez.

And then there are the thoughts, too, that people have sometimes (not me, to be honest) like “maybe The Work doesn’t work for me.”

But who knows.

The more important thing, is what has worked so far, for me.

What has worked, has been answering the four questions as I look steadily at a situation full of pain, fear or sadness. What I’ve found in all my love for reading, writing, wondering and exploring, is that The Work makes realization wildly simple.

You write down your thoughts.

You question them.

So during this past weekend, while in the middle of watching the Being With Byron Katie retreat, I wrote.

There’s an old friend who’s been bugging me.

So much so, I said I needed a break from communication. I made excuses and said I and used these reasons to ask for less messaging, less interaction.

The real truth was I was sick of his advice-giving and pissed off at him still for how he acted five years ago.


Kind of embarrassing.

But sitting in the presence of Byron Katie, who invited us to carefully and deeply contemplate an uncomfortable moment with another person, I had to admit I felt sudden fury at my friend.

I’ve written worksheets on him before.

You know what, though?

I have not gone through all the thoughts I’ve written down, one by one, and taken them through the inquiry process, finding my true answers, without expectation of anything except wanting to understand my mind and my heart, and open them.

I. Have. Not. Done. Thorough. Work.

Instead, apparently I have preferred to do a little work, call it good, and move on.


So as others did their work, and people asked questions of Katie, and I remembered my great intention, and joy, in questioning stressful beliefs instead of holding on to them for weeks, months, years, decades….

….I brought my real thoughts about this friend to inquiry.

The starting point is, of course, actually seeing what you think in the first place.

I might have been skirting these true, deeper, frightened thoughts.

Well, OK, I definitely was.

As I wrote down what I really thought of this guy, I had an image of us both flailing around in the deep ocean. He is drowning and can’t swim at all. I can swim, I’m a good swimmer in fact, but he’s bigger and heavier, and he’s putting me down underwater in his own panic.

Wow, I thought.

My thoughts about this friend are that he’ll kill me with his fear or intensity or wild creativity. He’ll pull me under with him. He’s completely screwed up, depressive, has been suicidal, an addict, incredibly passionate, and if I keep in touch with him….

…..WE are goin’ down. Drowning!!!

Yowser. I haven’t wanted to look at how dramatic my mind has been about this friendship. It’s loserville. It’s a mess. It’s sick. He’s a wreck. He’s a threat. I better watch out. He’s volatile, homeless, obsessive, mentally ill, needy, overpowering, desperate.

As I wrote my true un-edited thoughts down on paper, they felt so intense and ridiculous. Childish. I would never, ever want him to see these thoughts (OMG).

But I really want to know what’s going on here, instead of have it come back for little visits as a pattern of thought all over again. And again.

This is step #1.

Writing down these horrible thoughts. The scariest ones.

And then, during breaks in between listening to other peoples’ work, and listening to Katie, I began to inquire.

If I’m his friend, I’ll be drowned. He’ll pull me down with him.

Is this true?

I’ve never been near any water with this man. I’ve never been pulled down, in any water, by anyone. I’ve had nightmares of drowning, and done The Work on drowning, but I have never even begun to drown in this physical life.

Except emotionally, in my own stressful thinking, in my own chaotic feelings.

The closest I ever came to a real drowning incident was watching my grandpa wade into 3 feet of water with his work suit on to grab my little sister who apparently had just gone into the deeper segment of the pool by accident, whose head was underwater without coming up. I didn’t actually even see her. I saw him racing through water in his doctor’s office clothes.

Is it true my friend would pull me down with him, with his addiction and sadness and longing and neediness (judge, judge, judge)?

No. Total fantasy. Me making up a story. A scary one.

How do I react?

I cut off contact. My heart races. I feel confused after some communication. I don’t know what to do. I conclude I’m unable to help. I say goodbye. I’m sad. I’m angry. I’m annoyed.

So who would I be without this whole entire story that he’ll drown me?

Communicating. Listening. Saying “no” easily, without panic or caution under the surface. Asking him clarifying questions when he’s said wild things. Noticing how dear he is, how hard he tries, how creative and persistent.

Turning this first thought around (and I have more thoughts to question, after this one from the start):

If I’m his friend, I will not be drowned. He will not pull me down with him. If I’m my own friend, I will not be drowned (ever). Good awareness. Be your own friend, Grace! I’ll pull myself down with my stories of how terrible it could be (physically drowning, for God’s sake).

If he’s my friend, I’ll drown him! I’ll pull him down underwater. Yikes.

Who’s the one pulling people under water, drowning them in crazy overwhelming emotions, playing games with stories in my head?

That would be me.

I sat with this awareness a long while today, silently.

I realize, I have no idea truly who my friend is. I’ve judged him with all those descriptive words: intense, addictive, needy.

I am the one who has been very intense, especially when it comes to this friend. I have been addictive in my thinking very obsessively about his health and his ability to thrive. I have been needy for knowledge that he’s OK.

I have been almost demanding he act a certain way, so I can be happy.




Who would you be without the belief that someone has to do, act, be, say, feel, think a certain way so that YOU can be happy?


Back here, letting reality be as it is. Hands open.

On my knees.


Much love, Grace

Annoying technology gets questioned

ComputerCrashSo my email program appeared AGAIN to be Not Working.

As in, it looked like I communicated with someone, I sent them a response or reply, even got back to them quickly….

….and record of my sending in the SENT files of my email program.

But people were writing back.

Did you get my email? Do you have an answer? Are you able to tell me? Did you send me your link to make payments because I didn’t receive it? Are we on for that date or not? Can I get credit for Year of Inquiry? And finally ‘MOM…did you sign me up for that dance class yet?!’

Working speedy quick….it doesn’t exactly feel smooth to think “no one has received any of my emails for the past ten days”.

Rats. This sucks.

I don’t know who did, who didn’t. Something’s gone wrong. Or will, very soon, because someone else who hasn’t even written yet is waiting for my reply, and I think I’ve already sent one.


Computer tech difficulty! Customer service lines where I can’t hear the person due to static or heavy accent! This is terrible! A hassle! On the phone for 2 hours with three different people at Apple and at Hostgator!

I don’t have time for this!

People get this kind of annoyed with traffic, doors squeaking in need of WD40, crane flies brushing their cheek waking them up unexpectedly on a summer night, the baby crying too much, a typo, a spilled cup of coffee, a fly buzzing over and over in the room.

Not matters of life and death. You KNOW it.

And yet, you lose your inner calm because it’s happening.

My perfect version of the world doesn’t look like this! What gives?

(Shake fist at sky. Snap at the dog. Slam the door just a wee bit hard).

I love looking at these quick drive-by moments of stress with The Work. Slow it down. Open to discover something new.

I start with the question: why do I need my emails to get to everyone, anyway? What’s the big deal if they don’t?

This is not an exercise in brushing off what bugs you. This is blowing it up under a microscope so you can see better what the threat actually is for you. And question it.

Why would I want my emails to be received?

Easy. It means people are waiting for me out there. People aren’t signing up for programs or sessions they’re considering. If they don’t get their questions answered, they drop it. If they drop it, I have no clients or participants. If I have no clients or participants, I have no income. If I have no income, I lose my house, my stability, I can’t take care of my kids. If I can’t do any of that….I’m a loser.

Oh, and I’ve disappointed people, so they think so too.


How do I react when I think TIME is precious, people shouldn’t be disappointed, and my communication is crucial for getting paid?

Yikes. Pretty upset when communication gets threatened.

So who would I be without this story that the email thingie has to work, in order for me to be happy, supported, stable financially, and stress-free?


Noticing how funny the mind is, taking stuff so dang seriously. Laughing with delight about being a silly human.

Turning the thoughts around:

Losing customers is of benefit, it’s good, it’s interesting. Losing money has advantages. It shows me what’s here, without money being required. I’m safe, I’m supported. 

Time is not so precious as I dream up. The present moment, and peace no matter what’s happening, is the most fun precious thing of all. People can be as disappointed and losing interest as they want–I get more time to myself, and less busy-ness. It is not required to have any money. More money is not better. Less money is not worse. Computers working do not dictate my success, or failure. They do not mean the end of my business, I notice. 

Losing my inner core sense of ‘here’ is dangerous. Losing my plans for the day, for the timing of things, is lovely. Noticing how I am never ‘right’ when I think something’s a disaster, or a hassle. 

So many examples of All Is Well.

How do I know I was supposed to have some kind of computer gremlin weird email sending problem?

I did.

And how do I know it’s supposed to be over?

It is.

“Outside, the freezing desert night.

This other night inside grows warm, kindling.

Let the landscape be covered with thorny crust.

We have a soft garden in here.

The continents blasted, cities and little towns, everything become a scorched, blackened ball.


The news we hear is full of grief for that future, 

but the real news inside here 

is there’s no news at all.”

~ Rumi

Much love,


I thought there was a problem….but I was insane

Are they leaving you out? Or are you leaving yourself out?

Have you ever felt abandoned? Left out? Sure those other people are judging you, or couldn’t care less about you? Suspicious they dislike you, disrespect you, find you entirely unimportant?

The other day as I listened as a beautiful client talked about a whole group of people leaving her out. She had loads of excellent proof.

Certain Men.

They don’t care, they disrespect, they’re unkind, they’re rude, they’re entitled.

I remembered a moment I felt the very same thing.

My situation?

I’m in someone’s massive living room (a man’s). A huge wall has been slid open on one side of the house, to an electric blue swimming pool and gorgeous night patio. People all around me, socializing together at this big dinner. I’m aware many of them earn gazillions of dollars a year in their businesses….including our host. While it’s a mix of men and women, my thought is the majority are men. Everyone is friendly, funny, young to old.

I’m sitting near a woman, who I feel closer to. She says “I feel like a peon in this group, with my business only earning a million a year”.



I don’t even earn 100K a year. And SHE feels like she’s a peon? She earns a million dollars? Seriously?

What am I then?

I don’t belong here. Panic. What if they all knew? I’m such a dunce to have asked to come. I thought I might fit in. I don’t. Where’s the exit? How embarrassing. Look at this ugly grey sweater I’m wearing. What if they knew I got it at Goodwill? I need to stay calm.

In zero to sixty seconds, I also decided all the supremely successful people were men. They could care less if I was there, or not. A woman who never thought about money, earning or business until the past couple of years (at least, I never thought about it as my department, or something I might get involved with).

They don’t value me. I have nothing to give them that they would value.

Wow. Such a stressful thought, in that situation.

Where have you had this kind of thought, about not fitting in, and feeling concern about it? It doesn’t have to be about salaries and money, it could be something completely different. And yet, the very same stressful belief.

What’s the worst that could happen, if you don’t fit in, or you have nothing of value?

Banishment. Ridicule. Loneliness. Failure. Abandonment. Maybe even death. Or a low quality of life. Or an empty Saturday night.

I decided to do The Work, right along with the client (I usually do) as she looked into her situation, with all her past proof of slights from this entire group of people. Those People. (In my case, very wealthy men).

Is it true they don’t value me, in that situation?


No one is sitting near me. No one is talking to me. The only man who DID talk with me for awhile told me I would need an attitude adjustment about money and wealth.

How could he tell this, when he doesn’t know me very well? I must dress or present myself in a way that says “She’s got a lower income.” It must be me.

Seriously? Is this absolutely true? Are you 100% sure? Do you know beyond doubt they don’t value you?

No. I have no idea what’s going on, honestly. Besides a lot of images and assumptions in my own mind.

How do you react when you believe they don’t value you?

Oh wow. I feel ashamed. I’m positive I don’t belong. I almost feel….apologetic! Like I should have known I don’t belong and it’s my fault I’m on this couch, in this house. Something weird happened and I wound up here, by accident.

How do I treat money, and men who look like they have it?

A big barrier descends between me, and them. Those guys know about x, y and z (the things money can buy) and those guys dress like a, b, and c and those guys are in the club and most other people aren’t (I’m not). I make big grand generalizations about these men and I treat them like strange animals. Or even enemies.

Who would you be without your thoughts that they don’t see your worth, your value, your importance?

I’d see people all milling about being….humans. I’d suddenly be back inside this body, apparently inhabited by “me” (whatever that is, which is quite mysterious) looking out at the world rather in awe, curious, wondering about it. I’d be connected to them, not putting them in an inhuman category, all lumped together into Those Guys.

How would I treat money, and myself, and that moment in time….without the belief I have no value there for other people in the room?

Watching how I joined the bandwagon and de-valued myself, and de-valued them, and grew uncomfortable and separated in an instant, with only a thought between me and happiness.

I might speak to the very kind man who shared with me his observations that I could have some trouble with money and wealth….

….and notice he was absolutely 1000% percent right. I did.

Turning the thought around: They DO value me. I have something they highly value.

Could this be just as true, or truer?

Of course. They said “yes” to my asking if I could join them. They smile. They respond if I speak to them. They look like strong, passionate, happy people. They’re showing up and participating here, joining in. Sharing the air. They aren’t kicking anyone out, including me.

Turning it around again: I don’t value them. I don’t value myself.

Wow. Harsh.

Both are true. I don’t value the way I love going to Goodwill to find clothing. I don’t value myself when I have zero money, or when I almost foreclosed on my house, or how incredibly passionate I am about learning now about money. I don’t value how much I love trading money for services and experiences and learning. I don’t value having NO money–also very exciting and meaningful. In fact, having no money was one of the greatest teachers of all time for me.

I didn’t remember the turnaround, right in the moment I heard “a million dollars” that my worth and value is unconditional, and so is everyone else’s. Money and things come and go constantly. The body comes and goes, too. But this pulsing life force is right here, present, humming.

Ecstatic. Alive, Here.

I don’t value them for who they are on the inside, I judge them based on their appearance, their behavior with me, how they move, how their faces look, what they talk about, and how much money I believe they have.


I think I owe Those Ultra Wealthy Men a big apology, inside my mind, for considering them to have no value, for judging them, for assuming who they are.

Of course, the images in my mind don’t even exist. They were figments of my imagination. Flashes of experience I used to “prove” I was a victim of someone else who thought I didn’t have value, when I was the one lowering my own value.

Crazy how the mind can do that.

“If I think you are my problem, I am insane.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love, Grace

If you think there’s a problem….question it (unless you want to suffer)

When I have that, or experience that, I’ll be happy….But what if all weather is beautiful. Even the rain. Or the dry desert.

I love when people write and ask me to comment or do The Work on a topic.

Recently, a woman shared about her desire to have kids….

….and how she’s felt disappointed about not being pregnant (yet).

The life of trying and waiting and dreaming of pregnancy and kids, but not having your dream come true, at least not now.

She asked a great question: how do I do The Work on “I am not pregnant”?

I love questioning the basic facts and seeing what happens. Often, these fact type concepts or sentences come out right when we’re answering the Question #1 on the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet, the place where we find out what we’re thinking first–before we even apply The Work of Byron Katie.

Question #1 in a nutshell is “WHY are you upset?!”

You get to write down, filling in the prompts, “I am (name the troubling feeling) with (name the person, or the thing, or the condition) because (say why).

So if you were someone trying to achieve something, or get to a goal, or have something….and you don’t have it, you would write just like the inquirer did so simply and beautifully: I am upset because I am not pregnant.

You may have something you’re upset, or disappointed, or sad about that you want, you’re pretty sure you can get there, but it’s not happening yet.

  • I am disappointed I don’t have a nice place to live
  • I am angry I didn’t get that job
  • I am sad because I haven’t been published
  • I am scared because I’m not married, or in a relationship
  • I am not healthy, or beautiful, or rich
  • I am upset because I’m not spiritually enlightened
I want it to be this other way, and I have a very vivid picture of what it will look like and how possible it is, and I’m not experiencing it right now.


Aaargh. Boo. Ugh.


Let’s take a look!


I’m not pregnant. (You can fill in your own condition. I’m not rich. I’m not employed. I’m not living in a house. I’m not married. I’m not enlightened. I’m not thin.)


Is it true?


You might have an obvious immediate “yes”.




It’s interesting then to wonder if it’s absolutely true? You may still have a “YES THIS IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE!” In this moment, in this situation, it is true. I am without that other condition at the moment.


How do you react when you believe this thought?


Here’s where it gets juicy.


If something feels really threatening about Not Having That Other Thing, then with this belief, you may feel terrible.


I’ve thought this about money before.


I don’t have it, I need it (desperately perhaps). I’ve worked so hard, I’m doing everything I know how to do. Why won’t the universe reward my efforts?


I notice, with the belief, I feel demanding, or worthless, or like I’m doing something wrong. I work HARDER. I’m exhausted. I’ve felt this with the struggle and search for awakening. I’m not even sure what awakening is, I’ve read volumes of books about it. I’m not even sure now why I wanted it, or if it’s true something isn’t awakened here. In fact, it seems there is.


With the thought “I’m not pregnant” I can imagine the very same kind of reaction. I’ll be a failure if this doesn’t happen. Not being THAT (pregnant) will mean my life isn’t good. I’ll be missing out. I’ll be left out. It’s not fair. I did it wrong. I’m doing something wrong right now. I’m frustrated.


The way it is right now isn’t good enough. That other way is the best way (with pregnancy, with a baby, in a future life with offspring).


But who would you be without this thought?


Are you sure what you’re imagining is better than what’s happening right now?


I notice when I think a condition I’m dreaming of hasn’t happened yet, and I feel the stress of the belief running through me that it should, then this present moment isn’t that fun.


So who would you really be without this thought entering your mind about The Thing?


You mean? Wait a sec.


No thought that I am not wealthy? Or not healthy? (Wow, like what if I think I’m sick…and then notice what it’s like without THAT thought)? No thought that I’m NOT there yet? No thought that I’m minus something in this moment, even though my mind can imagine the other condition?


Yes, who would you be right here, right now, without the belief you are not “x”?


It feels sort of spacious, actually. Entering the unknown. More fascinated with what’s going on here, in my life now. Noticing how very well things are, even as they change and move and morph to the next thing.


Without the thought, comparison dissolves away. I don’t see other pregnant people (or wealthy, thin, successful, whatever it is) and feel jealous. I feel excited, here. I’m in my own life, now.


Can you feel in your whole body what it’s like without the belief you aren’t something (that you wish you were)?


It doesn’t mean you have to give up all your dreams.


But it occurs to me, it might be a lot more fun heading towards the dream with this fun, unknown, lets-see-what-happens feeling, open to many possibilities, than it would be to head towards a dream full of anger, frustration, disappointment or sadness.


What if you turned the thought around?


I AM pregnant, I am healthy, I am famous, I am employed, I am thin, I am living in a home, I am wealthy, I am published, I am enlightened, I am successful, I am in love.


This turnaround is not in any way about denial, or going bonkers.


It’s simply noticing the qualities of this condition you believe you want, and finding examples of it being here in the present, if you can.


How could it be that I am pregnant?


(And, I know I’m not in the physical human way–I’m 55 and won’t ever be pregnant again in this lifetime, actually, at least I’m pretty sure that’s true, but I’m open).


I can, however, find examples of how I do feel pregnant.


Pregnant means, in the dictionary “expectant, charged with, abounding in, meaningful, significant, suggestive, carrying, heavy, full”.


Where are these qualities present, right now, in my life?


In my life, I am writing a book. I have been growing, and holding, and carrying with joy and fullness and sometimes–heaviness–a beautiful business working with people, in service. Things are ever being born–new groups, new classes, new articles, new interviews.


I turn it around again this way: YAY! I’m not pregnant!


It’s called the YAYHOO turnaround (that’s what I call it). Kinda goofy, but instead of saying….oh terrible I am not this thing….instead say oh fabulous I am not this thing!


And just see what might be nice about not being that. The other day, for example, in Year of Inquiry someone realized in a very similar turnaround to this one that it was fantastic she wasn’t famous. She didn’t want people to bother her everywhere she went. There were advantages, such great advantages, to having a wonderful, simple life.


I can find advantages to not being pregnant with a baby. No sleepless nights. No changing diapers. No swollen body. No doctor visits. No anticipation of the birth. No nausea. No need to buy a car seat.


I can love the future vision, and be thrilled with the sweetness of what I imagine about pregnancy, birth, having kids….but I can also see how right now, in this moment, nothing more is required. Being here on planet earth is pretty fine. Now.


If I am open to the universe being fully supportive of me, and see the world and life as giving, giving, giving to me everything I need in order to wake up….


….then I trust reality. I’m open to what’s going on. I even accept that something greater than me (or my mind) might know what’s best.


(It doesn’t mean I have to drop the dream).

“You don’t have one of those bumper stickers that says I’d Rather Be Sailing, I’d Rather Be Mountain Climbing. No!! I’d rather…Not Be Rathering! I’d rather be here doing what I’m doing. I’d rather be here experiencing the moment in its entirety so I can be enjoying my life…..The joy you feel in getting what you want, is the joy available all the time, when the mind shuts up.” ~ Michael Singer in a talk on Desire

Woah. You mean, I could have the joy I think I would have, if I had that Other Condition, or Thing, or Person…..right now, with what is?


Much love,