What Is A Belief?

What is a belief?

It’s a simple question, but not such a simple answer unless you’ve thought about it a lot.

All this talk about “beliefs” and how great it is to question them….but let’s start from the beginning today. (Enter soundtrack “Let’s Start At The Very Beginning” from A Sound of Music).

In Websters: An acceptance that something is true or that something exists. Something that one accepts as true or real; a firmly held conviction or opinion.

Nowhere does it actually say that it IS true or real. Just accepted as true or real.

Bruce Di Marsico who developed and taught the Option Method of inquiry before he died defined a belief as an assumption that something is true, an assumption that it is fact. He said that a belief is not the proof of truth. A belief about a thing’s existence is not the same as its existence.

I once heard a belief described in an academic lecture as something that is repeatedly thought over and over again.

How interesting! It is just something THOUGHT, over and over and over. It’s like the mind’s eye is scanning the world, the environment, our experience, and it is saying “Is it true now? Yes! Because look at this situation!” And then a year later “And how about now? Yes! This proves it to be true!”

The mind keeps finding evidence and support for what it has assumed, perhaps from a very very young age.

I am a loser. See! I must be–my wife just left me, my bank account just got emptied, I just lost my house, my son hates me, that person doesn’t want me, I can’t make any money, I’m a drunk, I have cancer, I broke my wrist, I am not happy.

Byron Katie offers this question to help us dive into greater awareness of our convictions, opinions and belief systems: WHERE’S YOUR PROOF?

A beginning starting place is to find out why you believe what you believe. Don’t dismiss it, even if it seems childish. See what your proof is….and notice if you don’t have any. That’s OK too. It doesn’t mean you have to change your mind.

You have to see what you believe in order to see other possibilities. You have to see what you believe in order to find out what is hurting you, what is bringing about your unhappiness.

“The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal Name. The unnamable is the eternally real. Naming is the origin of all particular things. Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations. Yet mystery and manifestations arise from the same source. This source is darkness. Darkness within darkness. The gateway to all understanding.”~Tao Te Ching #1

Naming your beliefs is the doorway to freedom. Start there…

Love, Grace

Turning Relationship Hell To Heaven In-Person Intensive Seattle 12/1 Noon – 6 pm.
Horrible Food Wonderful Food Weekend In-Person Intensive Seattle January 12-13, 2013 Saturday 10 – 5:30, Sunday 1:30-5:30. To register for either weekend workshop, click here!Fill in the workshop fee after you click the Buy button at the bottom of the page. You can use paypal or any credit card (you don’t need a paypal account).

Mark your calendar for Breitenbush, the end of June! We will be looking at all aspects of what we consider to be flaws in the body, and Un-doing our beliefs about them. Stay tuned if you’d like to join me and Susan Grace Beekman from June 26-30, 2013. You can change your internal beliefs about what you think bodies should be like….and change your entire experience of being in yours.

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Being Simple Is Enough

It can be an immense relief to hear that keeping things simple is enough. And worrisome.

Really? I mean, I have to THINK and FEEL about all this….life, relationships, my history, my plans. Tons of things happen every day. This is a complicated world!

But today….you can take a moment to stop. Right now while you read, even, or right afterwards. Noticing what is around, without the mind working at it.

Like those times when you let go and stop analyzing, trying to understand, seeking, grabbing….maybe when you give up and walk away. Quitting the battle. Gently.

Many great teachers of wisdom suggest relaxing, just leaving everything the way it is.

“When we dare to doubt what we are told and take a fresh look at what’s going on, we are in for lots of pleasant and fascinating and useful surprises. A new and more satisfying way of life begins to open up, just by noticing what we see.”~ Douglas Harding

All that is necessary is to notice what you see, what you feel, right here in this present moment.

Sometimes having someone with you to ask questions, or be with you in the silence, to have a conversation allows you to keep noticing.

What might you do today, if all you needed to do was to notice what is happening in the present? This may include your noticing that you are thinking, in the present, about the future or about the past.

It doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong, to think….or to think A LOT about the past or present.

How wonderful, though, to not need to find any answers. The project is only noticing. Like Pema Chodron says about herself, when she discovers she is thinking again…”thinking!”

Nothing more. Simply noticing is enough. See for yourself.

Love, Grace

Addicted To Your Thinking

The process of addiction is something humans have experienced for centuries. We all immediately have a picture in our minds of what addiction looks like…a person doing some wild activity or ingesting something that causes a change in their experience.

We usually have visions of drug addicts or alcoholics lying in the street or sleeping all day. People in bad shape physically.

But addiction can be subtle. VERY subtle. As subtle as a thought.

The mind is busy. It’s running from the moment you open your eyes after sleeping. There is unconsciousness, then consciousness, repeating itself over and over.

The mind loves to think about success, solving problems, keeping safe, and staying comfortable. If there is a perceived threat…it will often kick into high gear, if we haven’t learned that “high gear” mode doesn’t always work that well.

People in a cycle of some addictive process where they use a strong substance like alcohol, or engage in some intense behavior (like crazy spending and shopping) tend to hate feeling strong, uncomfortable or painful emotions.

The thing is, most of us don’t like feeling uncomfortable emotions. But it’s trickier to identify if our attempt to get away from them becomes quiet, more subtle, softer.

Adyashanti, a wonderful spiritual teacher who I mention fairly often, talks about all of us being addicts. Addicted to thinking about ourselves. To moving AWAY from what is happening inside us, away from discomfort.

Excitement is a strong, powerful surge inside humans that usually is thought of as good. It definitely can take you away from other, more unpleasant feelings. When someone is trapped in the addiction cycle, there is sadness or pain, then the thought of the THING that might help you feel better…..oh goody!

The thing that might help you feel better could be planning obsessively for the future, dreaming of your big trip or your new house. The thing that might help you feel better is exercising, maybe even for 2 – 3 hours. The thing that might help you feel better is talking with the person you have a crush on, watching pornography, surprising someone with a gift, donating to a worthy cause (Dr. Frederick Wolverton, a wonderful addiction specialist and therapist, calls this the Oprah Syndrome).

These subtle forms of reaching towards feeling better and moving away from what is present DO have fewer consequences than blatant escapist addiction activities. Thank goodness we don’t wake up in a strange hotel room wondering how we got there.

But the mind in all those situations is committed to NOT staying with what is true. It likes to escape from it. Until you let it have its voice.

Right in that experience when we feel “bad” if we can identify what we are believing and thinking, then we will not have to work to get back to happiness or balance. We take a deep breath and stay, right here. We do not frantically, or even softly, jump into the urge to get away from this troubling place that is HERE and NOW.

This, right here, is not good enough. I am not good enough. Here and Now is not happy, not peaceful. This needs to change!

“Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction, but we don’t realize this because almost everybody is suffering from it, so it is considered normal. This incessant mental noise prevents you from finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being……All cravings are the mind seeking salvation or fulfillment in external things and in the future as a substitute for the joy of Being.”~Eckhart Tolle

Addicted to the noise of thinking. Addicted to seeking salvation from this present moment, in the next thing we do (in the future).

Good news. It’s possible to stop. In fact, there is a part of us all that is silent. Not noisy at all.

You can investigate this moment and what your mind is thinking. There is something beyond the busy mind that observes, that is calm and sane.

“Now is not quite good enough”—is it true? Absolutely for all time, 100% true without a doubt?

Who would you be without this thought? If you waited for a second, just to make sure this moment doesn’t have some kind of joy present within it?

What would it be like to experience the opposite of that uncomfortable thought?

NOW IS COMPLETELY AND ENTIRELY GOOD ENOUGH. AND SO AM I.

Love, Grace

 

Falling Off A Cliff Is Exciting

Sometime last year, I was startled at the sight of the cover of National Geographic.

It was a photo of a young man standing on a very thin ledge at Yosemite National Park in the US. This ledge rested in the middle of a massive face of rock called Half Dome, hundreds of feet from the ground, hundreds of feet from the top.

The young man had no ropes, no equipment of any kind.

I guess in the world of rock climbers, at some point someone had the thought “Gosh, I’d be able to climb Half Dome FASTER without all these annoying ropes and safety devices”. It’s called Free Climbing.

Now, many people would consider this a huge risk, even crazy.

I kept thinking about the photo. I was inside that body on the cliff, looking down at my shoes barely fitting on the ledge, looking out at pure space and air. It would only take one small movement, grabbing at an edge that broke or moved, the foot moving 3 centimeters off good support, and the body could fall to the death.

The nervous part of me was alarmed. I didn’t mind that the climbers were achieving these feats, but something got stirred up when standing right in the shoes of that man on the cliff.

Where would the body land if it fell–would other friends and fellow-climbers be standing right there at the bottom? What would they see? What would the fall be like on the way down?

For some the images can be so frightening just to imagine death, accidents, terror….we only have to see a photo. The reaction isn’t as far as we think from being in the middle of the actual event.

But, it’s only truly terrifying when we start believing that this image is TERRIBLE. The worst that could happen: Death is horrifying. I need to preserve my life. I need to be careful. Everyone should be careful, especially children. I need to live. That guy on the cliff shouldn’t die until he’s older.

The thing is, being afraid of what COULD happen is really only a story about what has already happened in the past and deciding that the story is BAD.

No one really knows exactly and precisely what happens the second we’re falling, dying, the moments after, everything beyond that moment. There may be people who return from that experience of “dying” to live and who have stories to tell, but even that is THEIR experience, not ours from this body’s perspective. It’s a great Mystery, absolutely unknown.

“What I love most about reality is that it’s always the story of a past. And what I love most about the past is that it’s over. And because I’m no longer insane, I don’t argue with it. Arguing with it feels unkind inside me. Just to notice what is, is love.” ~Byron Katie

So what IS reality? Some people love to move their bodies up a cliff and feel the joy, power, expression, the urge to GO, to focus, to stay in the perfect flow, to play, to win, to try. Some of these people “fall” off the cliff and their bodies die.

I see that people die at every age, in every circumstance you could ever dream of. Young, old, taking risks, taking no risk at all.

Without the terror of death or accidents, I notice that today I feel excited, adventurous, peaceful, happy, in the flow. I notice it’s fun to take risks, ones just right for me. I notice I’m having so much fun in so many areas, I have no interest in climbing cliffs, and yet today could be my last in this body, it’s totally possible.

I notice what a Playground this place is, people running all over the place taking all kinds of rides. When I feel uncertainty, anxiety, worry when thinking about the young man on the cliff, I write my concepts down and investigate them. I have to stop and slow down to do this. Are they really absolutely true?

Death comes along. We’ll all get to participate in the adventure. That’s Reality. “It doesn’t wait for our vote, our permission, or our opinion—-have you noticed? ~BK

If I were to fall off a cliff today, it seems most wonderful if I felt joy doing whatever I was doing in the moment before falling, even during the actual fall. Relaxed, thrilled, entering the Mystery. Knowing nothing about what will happen next. Because I actually don’t.

Love, Grace

P.S. If you register today, July 23rd at 9:00 pm Pacific time, you can still join Our Wonderful Sexuality even though we’ve met once (but that’s the deadline). Horrible Food Wonderful Food has room for one if you register by Thursday, July 26 at 9:00 pm Pacific, and on July 26th at 10:00 am the fabulous Turning Relationship Hell To Heaven will begin, to look at an important relationship in your life and where it was, or currently is, troubling.

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Egos Wanted For Hazardous Journey

While reading recently, I came across a wonderful reprint of a 1913 Help Wanted Ad written by the famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton:

MEN WANTED for Hazardous Journey, Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.

I laughed as I thought of what a Help Wanted ad would look like for the spiritual journey surrendering to What Is:

EGOS WANTED for Hazardous Journey, zero wages, bitter emptiness, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, confusion and discomfort, safe return impossible. Honor and recognition will mean nothing after success. 

Jed McKenna, author of Spiritual Enlightenment The Damndest Thing(and two other great books) says, if we only knew beforehand what it would be like to wake up to reality, we would run the other direction without looking back.

This is from the perspective of the ME, though. The one that wants what it wants when it wants it. The one afraid of death, physical ailments, mean people, earthquakes, starvation, losing.

If I had gotten My Own Way then I would have the powers offered in most fairy tales since the first stories were told: I could snap my fingers and have material objects appear, I could wiggle my nose and put spells on people, I would be able to fly like Wonder Woman.

Most of all, if I ruled the world, there would be no suffering. I have my list of what involves suffering and what causes it, and I would eliminate those things.

However, as Byron Katie says, I don’t get a vote. God did not actually ask for MY opinion on how to run the Universe.

“The ego’s plan for salvation centers around holding grievances. It maintains that, if someone else spoke or acted differently, if some external circumstance or event were changed, you would be saved….The change of mind necessary for salvation is thus demanded of everyone and everything except yourself.”~A Course In Miracles

It is actually, ironically (for the me-centered little self) a great relief, a peace beyond anything I ever imagined, to let go of anything being anyone else’s fault. Inside the center of us all there is an empty beauty, a mysterious, joyful excitement. Happiness.

“The Tao doesn’t take sides; it gives birth to both good and evil. The Master doesn’t take sides; she welcomes both saints and sinners. The Tao is like a bellows: it is empty yet infinitely capable. The more you use it, the more it produces; the more you talk of it, the less you understand. HOLD ON TO THE CENTER”. ~ Tao Te Ching #5

Come join the Hazardous Journey. Let’s face it, you already have. Might as well accept it….it’s more fun that way.

Love, Grace

 

Do Something! Now!

A lovely man reminded me recently of the wonderful quote by Byron Katie, who said “I invite you to do nothing for the rest of your life”.

But!? How could this be possible? What does it mean?

For me, it is a reminder of the quiet, yet profound idea that I do not need to “do” anything in order to be happy in this moment.

Adyashanti, one of my favorite teachers who I mention often here, once spoke at a retreat I attended about this topic of Doing Nothing. He suggested seeing if we could not do anything because we thought we should, needed to, or would be better off if we did it or worse off if we don’t. He asked “can you just sit on the couch and not get up without a thought about getting up?”

The mind loves to chatter away with suggestions about Doing. It has quite an edge, have you noticed? It’s not exactly friendly. (Picture a wild cowboy screaming with guns firing in the air and spurs jamming into the horse, galloping at top speed)!

  • Get moving now! Go Go Go!
  • Stop procrastinating!
  • You think you’re going to get somewhere by napping? Do you think life is a spa?
  • You need to meditate more, control your impulses, be more disciplined!
  • If you aren’t happy…then DO SOMETHING! NOW!

So what if we really stopped doing anything? How strange. What if all the drive and busy-ness is unnecessary?

Sometimes a reverse strategy that the mind will offer does indeed go something like this: “Fine. If this is going to be too much for you, then give up. You’re not really up to this anyway. All your goals are unrealistic dreams, why bother….”

I am not talking about THAT kind of Not Doing; deflated, sad, falling short, heavy, paralyzed. This is just too much, I’m not enough.

The kind of Not Doing I mean is simply stopping the auto-responder in your mind, the one that believes everything you think. Here comes the thought “This place is a mess, I should tidy up the house” or “I really need to do my taxes” or “I should make those phone calls” and right on the heels of the thought about Doing is a bad feeling.

There’s a picture or thought of how you want it to be….clean and tidy house….money in your bank account….lots of conversations….but then another thought or two or 97 that stream forward in reaction to your thought about Doing Something: “I hate cleaning, it’s too much work, it’s always ME that does it, I have no help, I hate taxes, it’s too complicated, I don’t understand the instructions, I don’t want to pay them, I am lonely, I have to be polite when talking to people, I have to put on a good attitude, I’ll be on the phone too long….”

The kind of stopping I am talking about is different from this kind of non-doing. It is like I am hitting the Pause button. No emergencies. A feeling of assessing the situation with a deep breath. This kind of not-doing is the kind that feels open, mysterious, waiting, expectant, and kind.

Gangaji, a spiritual teacher in California, likes to say “Just Stop“.

I love questioning the thoughts that cram themselves in for attention, trying to get me to MOVE IT. That is a most wonderful way to stop.

I notice I have a resistance to what I see, a messy house. I ask myself, can I really know it’s true that it should be tidy NOW? Can I know that it won’t be fun to start cleaning?

When I find that the answer is No, there is no needing to push myself to do it. I know what my job is, and I do it. I naturally start putting things away, washing the dishes, noticing how fun it is. What a cute house I have, what an amazing little cottage, how incredible that these hands can put things inside cupboards and wipe counters off.

What pleasure I find in this present moment, where an idea has entered that I need to Do Something. So many ideas, not possible to do them all. What will I choose, from amongst all this fun stuff?

I keep everything slow and steady, soft, no pushing. My relationship with my thinking is gentle. Something inside of me is much bigger than my thoughts. There is an empty wide vast space that is me that can hold all this thinking, all these instructions directed toward me Doing Something.

Everyone has this mystery! Breathe deeply and wait. Nothing terrible will happen if you wait a moment, if you wait to see if it’s really true that you HAVE to do something to prevent unhappiness.

“He who stands on tiptoe doesn’t stand firm. He who rushes ahead doesn’t go far. He who tries to shine dims his own light. He who defines himself can’t know who he really is. He who has power over others can’t empower himself. He who clings to his work will create nothing that endures. If you want to accord with the Tao, just do your job, then let go.”~ Tao Te Ching #2

Love, Grace

Relentlessly Thinking I Should Be Different

A thoughtful reader and inquirer wrote to ask me about the stress she experiences when she believes she needs to relax, lighten up, or stop working so much in order to be happy. You may the post from last week I Need To Relax To Be Successful.

This is such a great discovery, to realize that even with gentle-sounding thoughts and concepts that seem like good ideas, we can start a thread of thinking about how we could improve.

The thoughts go something like this (spoken from one who knows):

  • I should relax more
  • I should be kinder to myself and others
  • If I only knew how to calm down, my life would be more pleasant
  • I shouldn’t let that person bug me
  • If I meditated more, practiced my spiritual path more, then I would be a better person, more loving, and happier
  • I want to spread peace and not war
  • I allowed people in my life to hurt me, it’s my fault
  • If only I had a thicker skin, jeez!
  • If I could just remember to count to ten or have more patience, my kids would be happier
  • I should love myself

What I found is that when I start to get into these kinds of thoughts about how I don’t measure up to the best I could be….frustration, tiredness, low-energy, sadness, disappointment.

One of my favorite exercises in Katie’s book I Need Your Love, Is It True? is to consider the worst you have ever done. Almost everyone on the planet, upon thinking about the WORST they have ever done, feels terrible. We are sure we could have done it differently. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.

Katie suggests that we couldn’t have done it any better. No better, no different. It went exactly the way it needed to go based on who we were, who they were, what we were all believing at the moment.

We were innocently believing our thoughts. That was the way of it, that is the way of it. We were doing the best we could have done.

Notice how the mind will say “OK, I did the best I could in that moment…and IT WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH!”

You don’t really have to know consciously what you are actually believing, with perfect wording. You can question simply that you are not doing it well, that you could be doing better.

Who would you be without the thought that you are not good enough at relaxing? What if you didn’t evaluate yourself as needing to improve in any way at all, right in this moment?

What if you shouldn’t even love yourself right now? What if it is not possible to be a better parent? What if you are not awakened because you are not supposed to be? What if you are not successfully raking in money or working at a good job because your current status is just right?

“All that’s required of me is that I be good enough just to sit in this chair now. It doesn’t matter what my mind says…..Only a huge ego could say that you’re supposed to be doing something that you’re not doing. If it’s required, just start moving toward it–get the job done. And if you can’t get the job done, it’s because it’s not required.” ~ Byron Katie 

It is so strange for the mind to not have an improvement plan. But how amazing to find out what happens without one.

I was always so sure NOTHING would happen, or BAD things would happen without an improvement plan. Just try for a few minutes, a few hours, seeing what happens if you have no plan, if you don’t know what is supposed to happen now.

See what happens if all that is required is being you, no “making” yourself do, think, say, or be anything. You may find that life begins to live itself, without all the stressful thinking.

Empty your mind of all thoughts. Let your heart be at peace. Watch the turmoil of beings, but contemplate their return. Each separate being in the universe returns to the common source. Returning to the source is serenity. If you don’t realize the source, you stumble in confusion and sorrow.  When you realize where you come from, you naturally become tolerant, disinterested, amused, kindhearted as a grandmother, dignified as a king. Immersed in the wonder of the Tao, you can deal with whatever life brings you, and when death come, you are ready. Tao Te Ching #16

Don’t worry about not being where you’d like to be, yet. You are a part of all that moves in turmoil and then returns to balance, to the common source of serenity. You are on your way. You are supported.

Love, Grace

Wonderful Teleclass!

“Being anchored in doing The Work with something regular, and hearing other people’s thinking helped me see/feel/hear my own…wonderful!”~ JCN, Australia 

Accepting Where You Are:

“I loved Grace’s sweet facilitations and exercises to find blocks, her accepting presence and how she affirms everyone’s process…” ~ Money, Work and Business teleclass participant

I Am A Thief!

Yesterday I received a call from the company who rented a lodge to me last weekend asking if I had seen a couple of items that belonged in the kitchen.

I recognized them immediately. They were in my home, instead of where they should be back in the kitchen lodge. I thought they were left at the lodge by friends and family.

An innocent mistake, and easy to return the items….

And yet, here came that little idea in the mind “she thought I was stealing, I should have been more careful, now we have to drive 2 hours to return them, we’ve left a bad impression…”

The urge to impress others enters our consciousness in such subtle little moments. There is a fear that those people out there won’t approve of us, don’t like us, aren’t agreeing with us. We become afraid that we’ll be rejected, even by a look, a comment, a thought.

In her book I Need Your Love, Is It True? Byron Katie talks about the quick automatic response that many of us have to say “Excuse Me!” or “Sorry!” to strangers, to apologize, to make sure they are thinking well of us.

What would be the worst that could happen if we didn’t have good manners? If we didn’t explain ourselves? If we didn’t defend ourselves or try to make a good impression?

What if you weren’t concerned with what others think and you simply responded to a situation truthfully and authentically?

In my imagination I have believed that if someone thought I was rude, immature, immoral, mean, selfish or that I don’t care about them…then they might hurt me.

They would leave me or attack me. They would punish me. They would tell other people how awful I am and those people would also separate from me. They would never rent the lodge to me again!!

If someone thought I behaved terribly, then I should feel guilt, shame, embarrassment and sadness. If someone didn’t like me or thought I did something wrong (like steal a bowl from the kitchen) then I deserved their suspicion or wrath. My fault.

Ultimately, I would be alone burning in a fiery pit. Hell. If they thought I was a bad person, then I was.

I remember when my former husband told me he was moving out. I was overwhelmed with the thought that I was worthy of being left. I was terrified, then furious, but crushed because I instantly believed it must be true.

Who was the one who believed that thought that I was unworthy? Me.

A simple question is asked. Someone says “Did you take my thing?” and FEAR is the response. Someone says “When were you going to clean up this mess?” or “I thought you were spending the evening with me” or “We need to talk” and we’re on alert.

The solution? Sit down and question the belief “I want them to like me, I want them to approve of me”….”I did something wrong”.

When you turn these concepts around, you do not have to fear that you will be a cold, disinterested, rude or uncaring person. You will find that what is true is that you want to approve of THEM and to like THEM, even when they are apparently confronting you or expressing criticism.

I want to accept every word, situation, action as reality and bring love to it. I want to love, not hate.

Most of all, I want to approve of myself and like myself. I am my most important relationship, after all.

Here’s the wonderful thing: your most deeply truthful and automatic response to others asking you questions, or communicating with you about something worrisome, or confronting you when they are upset…is love.

“Who would you be without the thought that you need to seek approval? You might be someone who just lives your life and lets people form whatever impressions they want to form—of you and of everyone else. That’s what they’re all doing anyway.”~ Byron Katie

The only thing that is stressful in any situation with another person is my thinking. Without believing the thoughts that I need them to have a good impression of me, I am free.

I find advantages in how other people are. I love them being who they are, I love myself. I am ready for the next step, it’s a big adventure.

Here I am, not believing my stressful thoughts. Happy. Planning a fun drive back to the lodge to return the missing stuff.

Love,  Grace

P.S. These kinds of exchanges are CORE to our beliefs about communicating in relationships. All the teleclasses dive into these kinds of moments with others, with food, with money. To spend some time with this in inquiry, join one of the classes starting next week.

To join fellow travelers on this fascinating journey of inquiry in any of the four teleclass groups:  Click Here

Horrible Food Wonderful Food – Fridays July 20 – Sept 7, Noon – 1:30 Pacific 

Turning Relationship Hell To Heaven – Thursdays July 26 – Sept 13, 10 – 11:30 am PT 

Our Wonderful Sexuality – Tuesdays July 17 – Sept 4, 8:00-9:30 am PT

Money, Work and Business – Weds July 18 – Sept 5, 5:00 – 6:30 pm PT

Icky Ego Must Get Rid Of It!

Many of us have spent our lives studying other humans. Why did that person do that? What did she mean when she said that? What is happening when one person hates, or loves, another person? How did that war get started? What made that person do that wonderful, amazing thing?

We also study ourselves…we find ourselves quite fascinating! What do I want? How do I know I want it? What do I want to express? How do I want to interact with that person, or this person?

Many great writers and teachers talk about a little me, an egoic me, a self-centered me that has a limited point of view.

It’s like the word “ego” is icky. If my ego is in full force then it means that I am not spiritual. It means things are going WRONG.

If I am operating from an egotistical point of view, I am selfish, fearful, angry, disappointed, interested in power, attached and trying to figure out who is to blame, whether it’s me or someone else. But it is definitely someone’s FAULT. I have an enemy.

One of the most amazing things to discover, by questioning and examining painful thinking, is that there is no one to blame. By looking very carefully at my mind and my thinking process, I find there is no enemy.

This includes ME.

Some clients I work with are really hooked up to see themselves as the one to attack, the enemy, the one who needs correction or adjustment. Something happens, a tough situation occurs, and the mind goes straight to “it’s my fault”.

FIGHT IT! FIX IT! YOU DID IT WRONG!

I remember having these kinds of thoughts all the time about food and eating starting when I was a teenager. I was so sure something must be wrong with me!

I find over and over again that this little harsh place that ruminates and considers and analyzes and can’t stop thinking in a nervous or angry way about something uncomfortable….the thing we’re probably referring to as the “ego”…. is more a verb than a noun.

It just means I’m scared. I’m forgetting that I am a mysterious spirit and I have no real idea of the outcome of anything, or the deep meaning of what has occurred. I’m forgetting that all is well.

It just means I am trying to find happiness, peace, fulfillment or security and because of that troubling situation, I’m really worried and believing that there isn’t happiness, peace, fulfillment or security in this situation.

I have found that the more narrow the view we have of ourselves, thinking of ourselves as full of fault, or powerless, or hurt, the more we will experience other people or the world in a narrow way too, where we have to be very careful or really to defend ourselves.

The more we react to someone else’s “ego-centered” behavior or actions, the better the clue that we’re thinking of ourselves as victims, that it’s possible to be hurt or threatened.

I love simply questioning these thoughts, and you can do it today as well: I need to fix it, I need to change, this is bad, I lack something.

What if it isn’t true?

Because let’s face it, you know it isn’t true already. There is a viewpoint inside of you that knows all is well, all is mysterious, you already have what you need inside, you don’t have to go find it, you don’t have to fix anything really, it will work itself out, Good is still present even when things appear Bad….you are capable of such beauty and love it is beyond words.

“The fullness of life is there at every step” ~Eckhart Tolle

Taking Out The Garbage Continues The Celebration

One very interesting moment in life are the days after a huge celebration (like a wedding!) or big event that marks some occasion in a human life. Graduations, birthday parties, funerals, retirement celebrations, house warmings, promotions, births….

Human beings love to connect, gather and create time together to announce or claim a change, to see each other in-person, to express appreciation. We have done this for thousands of years in thousands of traditions.

So what’s the big deal? What is so important about agreeing to get together at the same time and do this thing called celebrate?

It seems we love to express ourselves and be witnessed. There is something beautiful about gathering. It is FUN.

All that really happens is words, music, sound, body language, colors, movement, communication. The sound goes out into the air, and disappears.

People show up and address the entire group, or only to their neighbor, or they are silent but physically present. People gather at the appointed hour. Then they disappear, too.

This moment is full of people and sound and laughter, or crying, and talking….this other moment is full of only a quiet living room with sun breaking through a window and furniture all about, and a computer screen.

Everything that happens changes and shifts into Something Else.

There are plans, and dates, and ideas creating visions, and then the date comes and the vision is realized in form, and then there is more.

Yesterday I walked from room to room in a big empty lodge that used to be full of people, with a huge black plastic garbage bag over my shoulder, and collected things that apparently belonged in the bag, according to me.

Taking out the garbage, I thought, this is also celebration. I fill the bag, I walk to the dumpster, I see trees and gravel. I see a little frog hopping, then pausing. I watch the frog for awhile, and my daughter comes and then gets her camera to take a picture. Just like pictures taken at an event.

Everything fills then empties, like the tides. Sometimes very full, sometimes very empty.

There I was in a celebration that for decades has been called a wedding and it was very “full” if seeing it from the perspective of people, food, colors, art, love, hugs, kisses, smiles, voices, music.

In the show called “wedding” two people are present, and although there isn’t always a bride, in this one there was, and I apparently played that role.

We LOVE theater! Stories! Feeling! Seeing! Thinking! Talking! Singing! Watching!

How fun! The gathering of all the movement and people and all that was present, including sun, eagles, breeze, sky….all of this was a dance! No purpose but to express!

How incredible that ultimately there is no purpose for a gathering of people together to mark an occasion except to express it.

We all witness together, whether in any gathering there is one person or two or a handful or a crowd, and yet everyone sees something a little different, everyone takes something unique, everyone offers something just by being themselves.

Nothing more.

And now, alone with the bag of garbage, this is also part of the dance…how could it not be? The dance continues.

Taking out the garbage is just as fascinating in so many ways as the actual wedding. Very different, but fascinating all the same.

“…there is only one rule on the Wild Playground….’have fun, my dear; my dear have fun, in the beloved’s divine game, O in the Beloved’s Wonderful Game.”~ Hafiz

I have watch and notice, taking out the garbage, what do I think is not fun about that…when I think it’s not fun? That is the place for inquiry, for looking at what I’m believing that isn’t true.

Today, taking out the garbage is quieter somehow…but yes, actually fun.

Love, Grace