Two Things To Do When Something Is Too Expensive

moneyquestionWhy is Year of Inquiry (YOI) so expensive?

Someone wrote and asked me this a few days ago.

Or, well, actually her friendasked this question when they were on a walk.

A month ago, someone wrote “that’s the cheapest one-year group program I’ve ever heard of, do you have money issues?”

Hilarious, right?

Well….I notice a few thoughts appearing on the horizon, ready for inquiry.

After both of these emails within one month, I thought….

….maybe I better talk about money.


Do I have to? (No, no money issues here, nope. No-siree).

I loved getting these two questions, though, because….

a) I’ve had so many stressful beliefs about money and things being expensive in this world, or too much for me….

….and I’ve had so many equally stressful thoughts about how I shouldn’t be charging, or this weird guilt for requesting compensation for a service or expertise throughout my life in both jobs and business….

….and also….

b) I realize, some of you might appreciate knowing the thought and research that’s gone into the fee so it supports the program running and isn’t so low you hardly care about participating if you join and I have to go get another job on the side.

I’m starting with (b) first.

You might think because it’s easier…..but it’s because it’s harder.

I’d prefer to skip this part.

Share my research?

I confess, I often squirm when talking about money. It took me about three years just to feel comfortable charging $50 for one hour-long session. When the going rate for counseling and coaching was at least double that. Or triple.

Seriously. Even though I’ve paid close to $50,000 for my own training and graduate education. Gulp.

So, here’s what I’m aware of when it comes to (b) and why the fee is the way it is, or how the decision got made.

Looking at costs of programs in personal awareness, stress reduction, inner freedom, meditation or mindfulness (the topics of Year of Inquiry)….

When I was in therapy I went to see my therapist once a week. I had parents who took a loan to help me pay for it. I might have died without their help.

The same therapist’s fee is $125 per session today (I’d tell you what my parents paid but I actually can’t remember, it was 20+ years ago). That’s a middle-range fee for a therapist where I live. Lots of them charge more.

After a time of individual sessions, I entered the same therapist’s group therapy program, $370 per month 20+ years ago. Health insurance paid for part of it. I had a job and paid for the rest.

It was as much as my monthly apartment rent.

When I was in a coach training program, I had a personal coach.

The normal fee for a coach–having conversations about life, goals, meaning, focus and success–was $700 per month, for 4 one hour sessions. No insurance paid for it.

In the 1980s I attended the “est” program. I don’t remember the fee.

But I signed up to repeat the program last year, just to see what had changed and because I love deeper inquiry. The program was $575 for 3 days for newcomers (even though it had been almost 30 years, I got it a half price). The Advanced program was $875 for 3 days plus optional follow up meetings for 10 weeks.

Transformational programs that I’ve taken, including Byron Katie’s 9 day school, are over $5000. For nine days.

Many spiritual retreats with teachers I find full of integrity, care, and love are $1000 for five days at the very least. I know some of that goes to accommodations and food, but that’s the price to go on the retreat. You need to pay it all, you can’t sleep in your tent.

A fabulous sounding leadership program I was reading all about only a few weeks ago has three 3-day retreats, that’s it. No telephone sessions in between, no private sessions one-on-one. The fee is $7900 for the year.

An online mindfulness program lasting 10 weeks, with 10 weekly telecalls, and one 6 hour online retreat for all the participants I looked at six months ago was $1600.

Business support related work, which is about money and marketing and services, is in a whole different ball park. One year programs often cost $25K. Online video courses cost $1997.

Woah, right?

For Year Of Inquiry, anyone who signs up for the telecalls only (no retreats) for the entire year pays $1697.

As a part of YOI, you get invited to a lot of additional programs (most of my 8 week classes, as a bonus) for no extra fee.

The Year of Inquiry with retreats costs $2497 for the entire year, and this includes two full 3 day retreats, plus the 3 group telecalls every single week for 3 weeks out of every month.

The fee for both full YOI, or telecall-only YOI, also includes up to four solo sessions with me.

I call them “9-1-1” sessions, meaning, when you’re stuck, or you feel confused, or you have a big thing you’re going through and you need individual attention and time, you’ve got it from me if you want it.

YOI also has a forum where everyone is a member, a google group so it’s super private (not facebook) and when people share, they can receive messages via email.

YOI members get to ask questions of the whole group, reach out for support or find extra partners when they want one-on-one help, and offer their experiences when they find something great (like an awesome insight or a link to a Byron Katie interview).

When I researched many programs, and thought long and hard about monthly support and what I would pay if I were enrolling (and what I have actually paid for others’ advice and support) I came in lower on purpose, so I could really feel comfortable about the worth of the program, the energy of it, how much someone might have to “work” at a job in order to pay the fee each month.

I did this because of my own stressful beliefs about charging for things that don’t have “results” or guaranteed outcomes but are on someone’s own time and own evolving process.

I also thought about my own “work” and attention and care, and what kind of time I spend planning, updating, responding to, being with all the fabulous people who join YOI.

On practical notes about life costs, I thought about regular services many of us have for day-to-day living, and what you feel like you “get” for these services.

Where I live, my internet bill is $154 a month, my garbage pick-up is $75, if I go see a doctor for 20 minutes it’s $150, my self-employed health insurance is $560 per month (I have a few stressful thoughts about this one, we’ll talk about that later).

When I’ve gotten medical body work for injuries I had two years ago, the fee is $160 for one hour (he always went overtime a little). It was really important, my leg and back were hurting so much.

And what have I received from supported inquiry, from doing The Work?

It may be up there, for me personally, in the highest value of anything I’ve ever done.

It’s actually priceless, I almost can’t even come up with any number.

It’s infinitely worth it.

But you’ve got to set an actual earth-world price, a fee that’s manageable for me, for people enrolled, for the costs of the program to be covered.

What it feels like with this fee is quite honestly, the most fair, simple amount I could possibly imagine for both myself and for everyone who joins.

Even though it’s basically all made up.

The fee isn’t for the love, or the joy, or the learning, or the care, and not even for the time all added up in hours.

These things just don’t have a price tag.

I’ve gotten more from inquiry practice than from my master’s degree program that cost about $25,000 in the 1990s. That program was fantastic and I recommend it to people still today. Somewhere along the way, the story of “college degrees” brought degrees to cost more.

What else to consider when it comes to researching?

How about costs to run a program?

Having my business involves paying for teleconference services, paying for tons of technology programs and services, rentals, materials, and of course hundreds of hours of time spent with experts, practice groups, feedback, education, inquiry, meditation, group work, research, courses, and training.

All I know is….

I keep following the silence within….

….and it continues pulsing and flowing and offering whatever comes next….

….whether its a new person to hold in inquiry and love, or a new situation to feel what freedom means for me as a human being, or a new way to be a part of the Peace Movement and to help dissolve suffering for myself and for others.

Which is genuinely happening.

It’s incredible.

Evolution, awakening, joy and mystery is here, at our fingertips.

If you feel it’s beyond your reach, I remember this feeling so I can guide (maybe).

I love being a regular, normal, mediocre 54 year old woman who suffered deeply and once felt like death-warmed-over, and now feels astonished every day by the beauty of everything I see, and every step I take.

This is available to everyone.

Which brings me after all this explanation and consideration, which I may never do again by the way, to talking about (a) above…..

…..My own stressful thoughts about money, charging, receiving, not having enough, being selfish, worrying about expenses for other people or for myself.

These are the most important questions and concerns, really.

And fortunately, I know what to do with them.

The Work.

Being free turns out to mean questioning every story about money I’ve ever told and ever believed down to my bones.

I’ve gotten to question what does “expensive” mean?

I’ve questioned what does cheap mean, poor mean, rich mean?

I got to sit in the chair with Katie facilitating me on money.

What does “money” mean? Why does it hurt to part with it, or ask for it, or receive it, or wish for it when it’s not here?

What does survival, and needing, and craving, and longing, and contributing or giving money really mean for me?

What does receiving, and storing, charging and transferring, asking and accepting money mean?

What if money was just a symbol changing hands, moving?

What if I wasn’t against money?

What if I wasn’t for money?

What if it was perfectly OK for someone to talk with me about not having enough money for YOI (it is) and what they can spend?

OK to say yes, say no, every situation unique and worthy of consideration.

Am I sure I have to be careful?


Byron Katie has a little saying she offers with laughter when talking about LOVE for someone else.

“I do, I don’t, I do, I do, I don’t.”

It’s the same with money.

I love it, I don’t love it, I hate it, I could care less about it, I forget about it, I love it, I don’t.

Ideas about it move and range all over the place.

I notice, I’m still here, I am safe no matter what money is doing or not doing, and money is safe with me, and we’re way more friendly with each other than we used to be.

It’s a beautiful relationship. With no guarantees.

Kind of like Reality.

But who changed… Or money?

That would be…

I’m pretty sure money is still doing exactly what it was created to do from the beginning.

I say yes to giving the world my time, my attention, my participation, my contact. I say yes to receiving enough, to being with myself (which is also you) and accepting, forgiving, resting with all of us (which includes me).

You are guided by the same brilliant force as I am.

You have to find your own answers.

And nothing is ever required. You can do inquiry all by yourself, with no money and no programs. I’m sure of it.

Who would we be without our stories?

“After I found The Work inside myself–after it found me–I began to notice that I always had the perfect amount of money for me right now, even when I had little or none. Happiness is a clear mind. A clear and sane mind knows how to live, how to work, what emails to send, what phone calls to make, and what to do to create what it wants without fear….You might even begin to notice the laws of generosity, the laws of letting money go out fearlessly and come back fearlessly. You don’t ever need more money than you have.”~ Byron Katie

What do you do when you think something’s too expensive?

1) Research, sort, contemplate, add, subtract, easy-does-it.

2) Question your thinking.

Free yourself.

Much love,


P.S. That was a longer Grace Note than usual. If you’re new, they’ll be smaller again soon, thankfully.

P.P.S. Year of Inquiry has a deadline of August 15th for early-bird registration, and the first retreat is Sept 25-27 in Seattle in a beautiful private home. The retreat is open to anyone (not just people in YOI). Click HERE if you’re interested in the fall retreat.



8 Replies to “Two Things To Do When Something Is Too Expensive”

  1. No rush at all, Dru–and make it right for you. I totally get there are the practicalities, and the sense of the “worth” is different–and I love your work and your participation. I’m sure it will work out beautifully. All you have to do is let me know how it’s going, no pressure to have everything in order on Saturday (the deadline day)! Much love, Grace

  2. Grace,
    Your Grace Note about money was beautifully written. All the background information you provided, and the logic that helped you come to your decision about YOI, flow along in a way that had me right with you. And just then, typing the word “flow” took me to Bob Dylan’s lyrics “The money comes and goes, and rolls and flows through the holes in the pockets of my clothes”!
    If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would happily pay you ten times the amount you’re asking for what you’re offering! You’re right; it’s priceless. That’s not likely, and I’ve been unable to work and am spending down my savings, so I am still believing the story about not enough.
    But after Summer Camp, I also have a story about not enough Work with Grace. So we’ll see – I’m mindful of the August 15 deadline right around the corner.
    I’m Working on it!
    Thank you Grace.
    Love, Dru

  3. Oh so fascinating! Thank YOU for sharing this, I find it very interesting. Isn’t it amazing–every combination and way exists. Probably every way a human could think of connecting for discovery, and the payments that flow from one to another (if its even necessary) exists somewhere in the world! Thank you so much for your note here–so appreciating it. Love, Grace

  4. And the 7 day retreat at the monastery with the Japanese Roshi and his translator who fly from Japan to do the retreat, all food, simple sleeping arrangements, costs $350. DRIVES ME CRAZY! Why haven’t they raised the rate?! Surely people can pay more than that! (I’m told some can’t.) Maybe it’s just this Japanese Zen thing that keeps them from asking for more. And the monastery is not even self-sufficient. It’s supported by a bunch of Japanese folks I’ve never met and who have never been here. I don’t get it. “They must not understand the American economy. They’re crazy. They’re stupid.” Really? They all seem perfectly happy, except for the American woman who is in charge of buying the food. She crabs.

    Believing they are crazy and stupid for not asking for more, I tense. I worry. I feel responsible to donate more than the fee. I’m not focussed on the retreat experience.

    Without the thought, I focus on my own work, my own experience, what I am going to the retreat for. I don’t use money as the measuring stick for my life in other areas.

    They are not crazy and stupid for asking what they ask. It’s the Roshi’s business. He’s part of a huge organization that has been operating for generations. I’ve been in it for 10 years. They fly all over the world and have hundreds of students. I don’t do that. Maybe I don’t have a clue how they decide what to charge.

    I love your open discussion that gives actual sums of money! Thank you, Grace!!!!! Celia

  5. How very beautifully said, Leaf. Thank you so much. Deep appreciation for your comments. (don’t you love that word, the way it is a money word and an expression of being very touched and thankful). Much love, Grace

  6. So powerful, Stacy. I love that you facilitate people, too, and give yourself the gift of receiving for your time and attention this way. What I see with degrees is that they are quite incredible–all these people, and experts and professors, all coming together to understand a topic. I understand the fees entirely. I am also glad I got my master’s degree, it was “worth” it. I remember being in the place you are with owing so much for them, but you will watch that figure diminish. Thanks for your great notes today and for being you. Much love, Grace

  7. Thank you, Grace, for the diligence and thoroughness of this Grace Note and fee explanation. Yes, money is SO arbitrary in some ways, and yet we all need to pay our bills or find a way of living that doesn’t have any (not out of the question).

    I have to agree that The Work is worth far more than my Master’s in Psychology, my coursework in a Doctorate in Education for which I still owe over $100,000, and nearly every other training I’ve ever taken – and like you, I love these things!

    If I was told I could take only one training like this, it would definitely be training in The Work of Byron Katie. I heartily recommend The Work to anyone and everyone who feels drawn to it!


  8. Dear Grace, very much hope thanks and ‘thank-you’s are a currency that never seems worn out, because here is another set of thanks.

    Thank you so much for your honesty and for taking time and trouble to share your research.

    Many similar thoughts about money dropping by or coming to visit. Much comparing of experiential value in free and paid-for services in terms of various currencies of value (time, training credits, insurance-plans [that played their part in how Katie got started]) as your research did.

    Hoping to achieve some unchanging transcendent value and valuation.

    At the end of reading your research, see and feel that paying money for valued services is simply, wonderfully, beautifully, an element of ecological coexistence, entirely valuable in itself, despite or maybe due to changing currents and currencies in values.

    At every moment all are supported by earth and air and water and edible and other entities that emerge from constantly continuing combination and recombination in the flow of various currents.

    All of us are constantly contributing to cycles of mutual support in all sorts of ways that together form and flow in the currents.

    Thank you s

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