As the beginning of April arrives….my thoughts turn to spring.
We kick off inquiry each month, always, with a First Friday 90 minute telesession for anyone and everyone to do The Work. It’s completely free: Friday, April 5th 7:45-9:15 am Pacific Time. To join, click on this link here. About 15 mins before the time we begin, you’ll see 3 options for joining: phone, webcall (with your computer) or Broadcast (listen-only). If you want to speak by doing The Work OR giving feedback/asking a question, use phone or webcall.
If you’re drawn to a deeper mental “spring cleaning”, by taking a close look at the thoughts that bring us stress, angst, anger, worry or discouragement….then you may love coming to an in-person retreat if you’re anywhere near driving distance to the Pacific Northwest.
*Last one this year at Goldilocks Cottage: 4-hour afternoon mini retreat April 14th (up to 10 people only) at my home 2-6 pm $50. (June 27th is next one at East West Books 7-9 pm).
*Spring retreat May 15-19, 2019 (commuting OK). Self-inquiry, connection, sharing and most important of all–you getting to question your thoughts with The Work step by step.
*Breitenbush Retreat with my guest facilitator this year Tom Compton June 12-16 Weds eve through Sunday lunch. Read more here and to register CALL Breitenbush 503-854-3320.
There’s nothing like being in the presence of other people who are also committed to exposing their inner thinking, sharing it, being witnessed, and questioning it. Life. Changing.
But it’s really scary sometimes to do this kind of work in a group setting. Especially if it’s not the norm for you.
And sometimes, even if it is.
I speak for myself.
The last Grace Note was about a 3-day retreat in self-inquiry, only with a powerful dimension of attending to the emotional world and expressing feelings honestly without shame, with the thought, without the thought.
I used to do this all the time in my first therapeutic group. I was in that group for three years, every single week. We did not have “The Work of Byron Katie” as a methodology (it didn’t exist yet in the Katie format).
But in our therapy group we did have a history of psychologists, philosophers and change-agents who had studied and worked with the same unnecessary suffering we’re wanting relief from: the memories, stuckness and grief we hold in our bodies and in our mental files, the things we carry forward within.
Just like in The Work, in our life-changing group we were working with the after-effects, the anxiety, the unresolved trauma, the irritation and anger, the never-ending sadness, the lack of good communication skills with other humans.
Yes, suffering seems to happen. There’s life and death, illness, aging, loss. The way it gets endlessly triggered, or the way it affects our whole view of life….that’s what we’re dissolving.
We can’t change the past, but we can learn to live with our memories and experiences with gratitude.
(Did I just say gratitude? Seriously? But yah.)
I’m considering deeply the topic of shame lately. It appears to be showing up everywhere: with clients I work with, with some of my own memories that have come along, with people working on eating peace and other compulsions and addictions they want to quit, with people close to me.
Shame is sneaky because it will keep a cycle going of hiding, self-hatred, guilt and non-resolution.
Because we’re believing thoughts like “I don’t deserve to live” or “I’m a stupid person” or “I am bad” or “I’m disgusting” or “I don’t deserve love”.
So let’s do The Work today on this very powerful belief, that is also a lie. How do you know? You feel horrible when you believe it.
Think about the reason you’re unlovable. You might have a list. Sometimes people have very long lists. Your proof that you don’t deserve love and there’s no hope for you.
Is it true, you’re unlovable?
According to yourself (which isn’t the most objective judge, right?) you might say “yes”.
Your anger, frustration and sadness might be speaking.
Can you absolutely know that it’s true, though?
How do you react when you believe you’re unlovable?
It can be a terrible feeling. You want to stay inside, withdraw, not get together with anyone you know, move away, or of course, do something escapist and addictive.
Often, we want to hide. We feel sorry for ourselves but also resigned.
So who would you be without your thought that you’re unlovable?
Yes, even in that situation, with that person, or doing that activity (like for example your favorite addictive or compulsive activity)?
Who would you really be, if you couldn’t believe your thought–even in THAT situation?
A powerful question for anyone willing to imagine an answer.
I’d see a person who is confused, suffering, deeply troubled. Maybe even frightened. Someone feeling unsupported and tormented.
Someone believing a lie.
Let’s turn this thought around: I am lovable, to myself. I am lovable to the world. I am lovable to reality/God/Universe. I am lovable to other people. I am lovable as I overeat, or get angry, or react emotionally. I am a wave of energy, in motion, doing “human”. I’m someone feeling, sensing, being, alive.
What is love, anyway? A feeling? An energy?
I discover as I test and try on this turnaround that I am lovable, and sense a feeling of love within, that it’s a movement, an acceptance. There’s a sense of love surrounding any emotion, including self-criticism, apathy, or discouragement.
I’m sitting here, alive. The next minute is unknown. I’m not “going somewhere” and I don’t need to get somewhere else. I have everything supplied, apparently, as here I sit–awake and conscious.
Nothing more required.
Why wouldn’t the belief “I am lovable” with nothing to be ashamed of be just as true, or truer, than any other thought passing along this mind? And I notice, this belief is relaxing, spacious, kind. There’s curiosity, if I’ve done something upsetting to myself or anyone else. Not condemnation.
“Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror.” ~ Byron Katie
If you find a stuck point inside you that automatically moves to “I did it wrong” and “I am wrong” and therefor “I am unlovable” then you might want to question it.
Your stress is how you know it’s a lie.