Month One starts with orientation so you understand the process, the technology, all the ways we get connected, and what to expect.
We then begin with the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet. Even if you are super experienced in The Work, we will slow down and spend time with our stressful thinking, weeding out the deepest roots of our thoughts so we land on underlying beliefs.
Together, we will spend time identifying concepts we tend to repeat and believe. Then, we’ll move into inquiry. We're questioning the belief "my judgments are terrible" in this step. We get to see how what is believed is not true for us.
We start our early work together with simply noticing who, what, when we are bothered. You’ll know where to begin. You’ll be guided through the worksheet to find your stressful beliefs. We’ll do The Work.
People who have influenced us greatly are often very important for The Work. We’ll move into the Closest People We Encountered in Our Lives – Mother, Father, Aunt, Uncle, Grandpa, Grandma, Siblings, Others. These are perhaps our oldest memories, from childhood. The people who we were presented with in our life journey at the very beginning passed along many beliefs and ideas. We were immersed in the culture, the words, the pictures, the sounds of our environment and these important people, or their absence.
We will include what we learned, saw, took in and “bought” with these people. We will consider how we felt and include all our ideas and judgments on our worksheets.
Is your belief "they hurt me"? Do you think one or all of these people should have been different, or should be now? Would life be better if they had been better?
Special attention will be given to facilitating, and questions about partnering in The Work. This will continue all year.
In our present day-to-day lives, we might notice very repetitive thoughts of complaining about not enough time, energy, or happiness with ourselves.
These thoughts about what we’re doing or how we’re living can whittle away at our psyche or our happiness, internally causing stressful reactions and frustration or sadness.
Simple looking at them head-on, all the moments we wish would be slightly different (better, simpler, more, less, etc). We get to find out who we would be without the thought that something ABOUT ME needs to change in order for me to be happy, who we would be if we did not need any more of something, or any less.
Our self-judgments and complaints are hard to live with. But there’s a way to work with them….turn towards them, and see them directly.
What has scared me in my life? Whether long ago, or more recently, we get to look through memories where fear or anger was present, and look closely. The way we find out what we believe about the universe, or reality, or our lives….is to see the middle of the moments of resentment, anger or fear. These are the compass feelings that tell us where and how to look.
The moment many of us need more money, whether it's now or in the past, or in the imagined future….we feel stress. Our minds may think with panic about how to get it, keep it and hold on to it.
What's under the money story? Do we believe we need outside support? Is money outside of us? Who are we without or stress about survival, being supported, needing?
If we have enough money, or more than enough, the moment we think we should be doing something “good” for our community when we are not, we feel a twinge of guilt or great discontent. We might feel like people only like us because we have money, or maybe we feel sad because they are jealous.
Many of us have visions of those ultra-wealthy people, or poverty-stricken people, and feel anxious with the pictures in our minds of people in these conditions. We might think “I’ll never get there” or “I hope I never get there”.
Money is so closely tied in with our work and livelihood, what we do in the world, that often we feel that we “have to” work or that we’re trapped by the system of using money.
From this point of needing or wanting to offer service, earn money, or experience happiness in our work…studying our internal thinking with open-heartedness can offer great peace in this process of work, money, earning, and whatever we think is a problem.
Byron Katie wrote an entire book devoted to the urge to “get” love from someone else in the world, other than ourselves; “I Need Your Love, Is It True?”
This month we return to this book for a re-read if you already have it, and if this is your first time, you’re in for a treat.
We focus on the situations we find most stressful and painful when it comes to relationships, and especially primary love relationships (but you may choose your focus). This month is about ANY relationships we've found troubling.
This is a time when you can really look at what you believe is true about how relationships should go, what you want, and what you expect. You will have the opportunity to look at whatever has brought out the most disappointment, sadness, anger, fear or unhappiness in your life when it comes to love. If an important family member is the focus of your stress...this is the time to dive deeply into whatever relationship appears to ail you.
Bodies are the focus of such immediate, quick, very agonizing stress that it’s almost hard to catch all the thoughts about bodies and their difficulties on paper. But as we take the time, we will find out what we’re thinking and believing that is most fearful.
What disease, injury, chronic pain, accident or trauma have you suffered from, even after it was over?
This will be an amazing time to return to your fears, frustrations and unhappiness when it comes to having a body. We will have the chance to identify even those beliefs we feel critical of believing, like “my thighs are too fat” or “my face is too wrinkled”. The freedom in questioning these types of thoughts, and taking them seriously instead of brushing them away or criticizing ourselves for having them, can be incredible.
Many of us take programs to develop our lives, focusing on what we’d like to “have” like success in business, success in relationships, success in so many areas of life. There is a way to explore desire, wanting, seeking and needing, and inquire into the deepest beliefs present.
To "live" your turnarounds is one of the most profoundly transformative practices of The Work itself, bringing this deep awareness into the body rather than holding it only in the head or in thought.
We'll explore some beautiful ways to live The Work based on your own discoveries, and how to practice and make change in your world through action. Action actually becomes easy, quick, clear and productive when we've questioned the blocks in our thinking that keep us afraid, uncertain, or indecisive.
As we begin to review our work this year, we can also take the time to look at what we fear in the future. Our anticipated worries lead us to hesitate, withdraw, and not meet life fully.
We spend time looking this month at the profound question "what's the worst that could happen?" in a way that brings us to seeing our nightmares clearly, so that we can enter inquiry at such a deep level, our nightmares do indeed dissolve.
With this amazing question, we can actually begin to laugh at our greatest fears, and lighten the load of our imagination in ways we never thought possible. People in Year of Inquiry have said about this month's topic that they had no idea they held such depth of worry within...and no idea they could delete their suffering with four simple questions and turnarounds.
In a safe, open setting we've become aware through our practice of The Work that we can feel freedom by questioning the thoughts that form a foundation of many of our stressful situations.
We look at the subjects and topics of our work this year, and take a slower and more in-depth look at what we've identified that we never, ever want to experience in our lives again.
Some of these most fearsome thoughts are beliefs about ourselves and what we've done wrong. Some of these fearsome thoughts are about loss, and what we believe we can't handle.
In this work, it may seem odd to actually turn the spotlight on what we would prefer to brace ourselves against, what we hope NEVER happens, what we wish would remain hidden.
But the love we build together this year…in great intimacy and trust…can offer a safe, clear, committed place of awareness. We find this as we sink into understanding that what we've imagined we never, ever want to occur...could be tolerable, or even acceptable, even something we look forward to. Laughter may unfold, or surprise.
“We change the world not by what we say or do, but as a consequence of what we have become.” ~ Dr. David R. Hawkins
Join me in this incredible year of questioning your stories. We’ll all be explorers together. Let's Be the Change.
THREE WEEKS OF THE MONTH WE MEET, ONE WEEK OFF EACH MONTH for partner work, silence and rest and digesting.
Attend one or all live, or watch the recordings
Slack (our private forum) is always our online meeting spot for schedule, recordings and written sharing.
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