When I believe they’ve hurt or threatened “me”….suffering in reality

First…a few upcoming events:
  • Thrilled that Breitenbush Retreat starts this Thursday night, and we have such a wonderful group coming together! The good people at Breitenbush may be able to squeeze you in if you want to attend. Call 503-854-3320.
  • First Friday is Second Friday in December 2018: Because I’m out of phone and internet service at Breitenbush, please join me for the monthly Friday open call on December 14th at 7:45-9:15 am PT. Everyone can walk through The Work on an important stressful relationship of your choice, from start to finish. Click here to join us (save this link). It’s free and donations accepted.
  • January 9-14, 2019 is the annual Eating Peace RetreatA most profound immersion into inquiry and mindful eating, where you’ll experience peaceful eating with food of your choosing. It is possible for anyone to end their war with eating, food and the body, and enjoy life with all three. Read about it and sign up here. Lodging available for those wanting to stay onsite (3 rooms left).
  • Online Video/Telecourse (we’re using zoom): Divorce, Break-up, or Separation is Hell–Is It True? January 6-February 17, 2019 (no class 1/13) co-facilitated with Nadine Ferris France, certified facilitator of The Work. Can’t wait to teach this course again! This work made all the difference in the world to me 13 years ago.
  • March 22-24, 2019 I’m hosting with Tamami Fujiwara, (certified facilitator) Roxann Burroughs for Sit In The Fire, a weekend of emotional release work in combination with The Work. Mark your calendar (not taking reservations yet). It will be in a cool venue somewhere near-ish Seattle (all day Friday, Saturday, ending Sunday afternoon).

Speaking of relationships.

Some of the most confusing or painful, I’ve noticed, have been between me and those I’ve been romantically involved with or attracted to.

The other day….sigh, alas, deep breath….I received a card from an old flame.

My mind started chattering as I opened the envelope, a little adrenaline flurry moving through the chest. 

He’ll never stop popping up every few years. What is his problem? This is so old and over with, why does he make any effort? Hasn’t he moved on, for cryin’ out loud? REALLY?!

I had just been noticing a few hours before fetching the mail, that when we do The Work, we’re always relating.

I was noticing when I identify stressful thought, I see a relationship with me and another human being, a relationship between me and a substance like food or drink or tobacco, a relationship between me and money, a relationship between me and the place I work, a relationship between me and a body or ailment, a relationship between me and a member of the family, a relationship between me….and whatever reality presents itself in the moment.

I love how the mind sees in duality or multiples. There’s a me here, and another and another, and then multiple gazillions of infinite others: fence, car, road, cement, wind chime, dog, leg, mug, laptop, glasses, earring, man, letter.

And the surprising fun of it all is the very same mind that sees all this gorgeous variety and “other” and “me” can also answer questions about any of it, instead of simply assuming what it sees is the Truth.

So back to romantic relationships. They sometimes bring pain, it seems.

He abandoned me. She hurt me. He insulted me. She confused me. He betrayed me.

Is that true, what happened in that romantic interlude (whether 1 month, or 30 years)? Is it true that person’s behavior or actions aren’t supportive?

Is it true he’s clinging, or obsessive, or trying to get on my good side again, or can’t let go (as I read the card)?

Can you absolutely know it’s true he hurt you? She hurt you?

This is a good question to sit still with for a long time.

Can you know it’s the Truth for All Time, if you had to answer to the Great Universe, that the person you have in mind….hurt you? Or shouldn’t be sending you a letter in the mail?

You might say “yes”. It’s OK. There is no wrong way to answer this question.

How do you react when you believe what’s happening, including a letter arriving in the mail box, shouldn’t be?

I react by calling up the whole story from the past in literally 2 seconds, remembering snippets of what happened, telling myself a story again of what was–and how it wasn’t good.

Unfinished business. Believed story.

I react with thinking something’s unsafe here, as I open the envelope. Curiosity, worry, memories.

So who would I be without my story? Who would I be without remembering the story of tragedy, abandonment, sadness, grief, confusion, drama?

Who would I be if I wasn’t so sure there was a “me” back then who got dogged, or disappointed?

It doesn’t mean I go into denial in this moment here now, fake pretending everything’s fine, when it isn’t.

I get to notice how quiet it is, and how cozy in my little cottage as I open a letter–which is requesting a get-together. I get to notice what’s unfinished from the past that still feels painful, and feel compassion for myself and for this Other person reaching out.

Without my story, I also notice I have no idea what the other person is thinking.

Turning the thought around: My thinking is dangerous here. My thinking and stories are popping up all over again. My thinking is old, done with. My thinking is confused. My thinking hasn’t moved on. I’m hurting myself, with my thinking. 

Could this be just as true, or truer?


In reality, nothing much happening. Simple card received in the mail.

How could it be a good thing, that relationship went the way it did?

Suddenly, feeling appreciation for the old stories, the images from the past. A sense of acceptance…without having to know why or why not, without needing it to have gone any other way than it did.

Noticing in the moment the beauty of the room I’m in, hands that open an envelope, pictures of a man’s face in my mind (from the past). Noticing feeling laughter around the story of that romance, and to myself most of all.

Noticing reality right now is very quiet, and I’m here with this, with myself.

Can I find good reasons that relationship did the dance it did?

Oh yes. It was a most marvelous teacher, the best I could have ever imagined for learning about true, honest unconditional love and mystery. It showed me how stories rise up and fall away, and reappear and fade once again, like waves.

In this moment, the stories of that relationship feel mysterious and without answers, and like the couch I’m sitting on is my closest companion, and except for in my thinking, I’m never alone.

“If someone says ‘I’m leaving you’, she feels the excitement rising inside her, since she can see only the advantages that come from that. What could be a more fulfilling experience than to witness the gift of reality? If someone says, ‘I’m joining you’, she can see only the advantages in that. What could be a dearer experience than having you join me?…..The greatest gift you can give others is your realization that there is no self and no other.” ~ Byron Katie in A Mind At Home With Itself

Here I am noticing today, so much connection and joy with all the love I’ve had the privilege to experience with various humans, and how it’s always been kinder and more exciting than my thoughts about it.

If you want to join in the teleclass about relationship divorce, separation or break-up (no matter when it happened for you) then come discover the peace and excitement. Enroll here.

Much love,


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