An interesting turn of events appears to have slowly been budding in the past six to twelve months here in my little business world.
Like a very slow motion flower blossoming.
Time to prune the offerings and focus even more deeply on a few: eating peace process, divorce/break up, the upcoming tenth group of Year of Inquiry.
(Not the tenth actual year of Year of Inquiry, to be clear–the very first year, I had 4 groups start–one every quarter. It was super fun. And way more work than I ever anticipated. LOL.)
I mention all this because the upcoming May retreat will likely be the last 4 day retreat for awhile (with the exception of Breitenbush summer retreats and the annual Eating Peace Retreat in January–which is a luxurious 6 whole days).
When I began offering 4 day retreats, it was because so many people gave feedback that living in the process of self-inquiry for more than two days on a weekend was profoundly helpful.
I could feel it myself. The group grew ever more deeply as we investigated, shared, and walked the trail of wondering who we’d be without our stories.
I’m always so moved by what I witness at retreat.
And, it takes some courage and time to thaw out those hard, solid stories about hard times we’ve encountered. The betrayals, the disappointments, the experiences that felt traumatic and then affected our lives from that point forward.
If I sit and consider the hard times….I can still make an instant list.
My father dying of leukemia, an abortion, my first husband leaving the marriage, fear and anxiety overwhelming me in my 20s, abandonment, a good friend’s shocking betrayal, a sister cutting me off, having no money and almost losing my home, getting a cancerous tumor on my leg.
All of us can make a list.
The things that hurt. The events that continue to echo within our nervous system or our hearts, leaving us a little (or a lot) unhappy with life, leaving us not feeling well or not feeling ourselves. These situations seem to bring difficulties, compulsive behavior (like addictions), nervous tics, sadness, worry, upset.
The way I know out of the mental chatter, fear, or shattered disappointment, is to question my perspective and find my answers.
That thing that happened….you know the event….it changed your life for the worse….
Is it true?
Are you absolutely sure it’s true that it changed your life for the worse?
Right now in this early morning writing, I think about my divorce 12 years ago and the road to having the private practice and business I’ve been dancing in over the past decade.
I thought so many times my life was over, it was a disaster, I couldn’t do it. I thought so many times I needed help, and needed to get somewhere else (not where I was). I needed confidence, employment, support, money, skill development, learning.
When I believe the thought that my divorce was shattering in a permanent way, and that it’s taken me a decade to get up and running….I can still feel sad.
And, I had The Work in my pocket the whole time.
I wrote worksheets on the doom I was facing, the hurt, the sense of abandonment, the deflation.
The feeling was “I’m in danger” or “I can’t make it” or “there’s something wrong with me” or “life is hard”.
But who was I without my story??
Who am I right now without my story that the thing that happened (in this case, divorce) made my financial life worse?
Because what I notice about money-earning and giving service and trading my time and efforts for dollars, is that a completely new world was born for me out of that divorce process.
When it came to business, I started signing up for everything.
Without my story that I’ve been abandoned, my attitude became: Just Do It.
I had an idea, an invitation, a suggestion, and I’d be off. I’d go there. I’ve taken tons of courses: how to build a website, putting a podcast together, course curriculum development, marketing, business and money, organizing your social media, how to give a presentation, creating your signature talk, writing copy, how to write a blog (Grace Notes!), more marketing.
I’ve been in masterminds for small businesses, networking groups, and gone to NYC for media and PR training and how to communicate more directly (I know, that one may be a surprise, LOL).
What I notice now today, is a sense of less rather than more, when it comes to new information and business growth.
Once again I get to look as I write this Grace Note and reflect on my future in business and prepare to pay taxes this year (I’m still shocked that I owe taxes): Who would I be, right now, without the belief that divorce and losing almost everything financially was horrible?
Because I notice right now, each day has brought an opportunity to sit still, to share with others, to dialogue with people about the mind and stories and questioning anything that feels painful or frightening.
Turning it around: it was the best thing that could have happened. What?!
It opened up a profoundly new world. Learning, learning, learning.
And now today, questioning the thought “I need to learn more, grow more, add more” without saying “no” ever.
Who would I be without the story I need to grow, add, expand, gain, build?
Something is narrowing in and allowing other things to fall away, slowing down and becoming more still.
Without the belief that divorce process was “bad” and doing “more” business is required for survival and money and support and freedom….
….I’m just here.
Woman writing in a comfortable chair noticing the sun rise, noticing a willingness, even a need, to relax the drive for More and to do nothing. Feeling the pace slow down around this business.
Sharing with you how joyful I am that we’ll be gathering for inquiry in May for 4 whole days and knowing there may be a break after that from what’s become the normal schedule (although, what’s a “normal” schedule).
Who would I be without the belief I have to work hard, make anything happen, complete the list, implement, take action, etc, etc?
I’d be remembering I can sit still right now and feel the truth that who I believe myself to be, and the events I believe happened that were “hard” and made life “worse” shaped the direction I took in profoundly beautiful ways.
I wouldn’t be here without the divorce, the money panic, the School for The Work, the ones who listened when they asked four questions, the betrayals, the fear, the anger, the despair, the laughter.
“Trust your wound to a teacher’s surgery.
Flies collect on a wound.
They cover it, those flies of your self-protecting feelings,
your love for what you think is yours.
Let a Teacher wave away the flies and put a plaster on the wound.
Don’t turn your head.
Keep looking at the bandaged place.
the Light enters you.
And don’t believe for a moment that you’re healing yourself.” ~ Rumi
Trusting my wounds to a teacher’s surgery means for me that I sit in silence and with others and I do The Work. The teacher is inquiry. I question my anxious beliefs, the beliefs that those things that happened were terrible. I question that “I have to” (keep the same schedule, do it the same way, do more, learn more, work more).
If you’re drawn to join me in May, I’d love to have you so we can look at our disturbances together.
And you know one wonderful thing I know already? The people who come and the group that’s formed and the inquiry that happens will all be brilliant–the best that could happen.
Much love, Grace