Thursday, September 21, 2017

Heartache to Love and Freedom, using the work of Byron Katie and the "turn around"

Heartbreak / Turnaround/ Freedom
We were supposedly in love, and the main thing we did was argue and fight.
We’ll call her Sally Ann, and I’d met her seven years earlier, when I was building a fence in her landlord’s backyard. She was younger than me and in grad school at Berkeley and we both loved design and gardens, and in short time, each other.
We had a blast and lived together in two places in Berkeley until she finished her master’s degree. About the same time my son had finished high school and his “gap year” of traveling, and was off to college.
Time to leave the city. Time to frolic and grow miraculous food and gardens in the country.
Sally Ann and I visualized a paradise cottage in the country, creek to one side, forests at another edge, open fields nearby. We found one on the outskirts of Sonoma the town, in Sonoma the country, in California the state.
Heaven for awhile.
We made our own paradise garden. We ate outside almost every meal we were together. 
We raised tomatoes and herbs to sell at the farmer’s market.

We fought.
And we fought.
And we fought.

Trouble in paradise.

There is a fun and annoyingly accurate assessment for relationships : if F, standing for fighting, is greater than F, standing for sex, you are in trouble.
We got more and more in trouble.

Have you ever been there? F greater than F.
We were fighting a couple of times a day. We were F…ing a couple of times a week.
We supposedly loved each other and fight fight fight. It got to that ridiculous stage were we were arguing about who had started yesterday’s argument and so on and so on, until we can’t even remember what the original disagreement was all about.

Have you ever been there? Argue, argue. Are you there now, sometimes. It’s hell, right?
Love gone wrong can be one of the greatest hells on earth. Love, seen through to its depths, can be the most immediate and concrete path to real spiritual growth.
That’s one of the main reasons I’m writing this book, and giving this speech: love’s pains can be the worst of all, and if I can spare some of you from some of the mistakes and suffering and learning of my past, I’ll be so happy.

And back to Sally Ann and Chris in hell. F way more than F, in the paradise country town of Sonoma in the glorious county of Sonoma.

And then she solved the problem.
Ended the fighting.
No more F and no more F.

She ran off with Joe.

She ran off with Joe, charming Joe, Joe who was a lot like me, except that he could act out his adoration for Sally Ann instead of fight with her. Joe who was a lot like me except he could be in love with her instead of in conflict. 
They had a wonderful F to F ratio, thank you.

And how did I respond? Did I find refuge in the present?
Did I soar on the wings of liberation and non-attachment?

I did the usual.
Feeling the victim, betrayed, sad, depressed, worried, angry at Joe and Sally Ann.
And angry at myself.
The obvious evidence: my side of the arguing had been not so wonderful.
And so….

Poor me.
Hating the “bad” other person.
Hating the “bad/ failure” me.
Hating life.
All that.

You’ve felt it, sometime?
You are feeling it still now? If so, I’m sorry. 
Suffering sucks.
And a lot of divorces and breakups are swamped in these shitty feelings, and a lot of people still carry them around.
Not pretty.
Not happy.

Which sucks. If a relationship done right can be one of the most wonderful, blissful and quickest paths toward spiritual advancement, the opposite is something most of us have suffered: a relationship gone wrong can be the depths of hell on Earth.

And there are ways out of it. I’ll offer one way, starting right now, with the breakthrough I discovered way back in 1999.
The discovery was to do the “turn around.”

The Turn Around, the turn around, the turn around.

This “turn around” is a subset of something called “the work of Byron Katie.” 
Who is Byron Katie? Very short version: She’s a woman who came to enlightenment via the path of alcoholism, obesity, chain smoking, yelling at her family and deep depression. She wasn’t trying for enlightenment. She was hating her life and hating her suffering and wanted it to end.
And it did. Her suffering ended. Not her life, A brand new amazingly real and useful life began.
She “woke up” one day, in 1986, in a halfway house in the dusty backwater desert town of Barstow, California. She was laying on the floor because she felt unworthy of a bed. A cockroach walked across her leg. All her suffering vanished when she “woke up” to the world just as it was, the world without ANY of her judgments about the world. No judgments meant no suffering.

She was free.
Life was mainly laughter and delight.
Occasionally an old thought would cause her delight to tumble, which hurt. And, when she looked out at normal humanity, she saw everyone outside of her continuing to suffering from their own thoughts beliefs and judgments.
So, she invented a method to “undo” the thoughts / beliefs/ judgments that are at the root of almost all suffering.
Which is to say, Byron Katie discovered a path out of all emotional suffering. Big claim. It is. One of my offerings beyond this talk is a three hour intensive to release all the resentments and unforgiven places in your life.
It’s expensive.
It’s a money back guarantee.
It’s entirely of the “work” of Byron Katie, which is work, but the kind of “work” where three hours can equal a couple of years of therapy. And you can do it for free, on your own at
And right now, you don’t need the website or any intensive because I’m going to show you how I got out of the hell of heartbreak and blame and victimhood and Sally Ann hatred and myself hatred.

So, there I was, with Sally Ann off having a great F to F ratio with Joe, and poor bitter me all alone.
Time to do the work. The work of Byron Katie.
I’d met Byron Katie a number of times in Marin, an easy drive from Sonoma, and had been suffering so deeply, I was all in to try her method. You know those periods: you are finally so fed up with suffering that you are actually ready to do something besides the same old stuff that hasn’t worked before.
So… I dove into the work of Byron Katie. Every day. More than one time a day.
One part of her method, her “work,” had a spectacular liberation for me in the suffering I was creating inside myself and blaming on Sally Ann and her running off with Joe.

This is the “turn around” part of the Byron Katie work.

It’s bizarrely simple:
You take your judgment, and you write it down:

“You are mean.”
And you reverse it. “I am mean.”
“You are inconsiderate.”
Turn around… “I am inconsiderate.”
Maybe not full time, but the one we feel is the enemy isn’t full time bad either.

The other way the turn around works is in “should” judgments we love to hound the world with.
Like this…
“So and so should listen to be more.”
And you reverse the sentence: “I should listen to so and so more.”

“So and so should appreciate me more.”
Turns around…. “I should appreciate so and so more.”

Beliefs that we have been torturing ourselves with for years are highly fertile fields for the turn around:
“My father shouldn’t have criticized me so much.”
And even if he started it, even if he was “worse,” the turn around has tons of wisdom, “I shouldn’t have criticized my father so much for criticizing me.” More on this later, as a way out of years and years of feeling bad about my wonderful and imperfect dad.

Now, though, I’m going to show you how I rescued myself from my suffering with Sally Ann, and then show you how you can begin to transform your own life with this “turn around.”

With Sally Ann, I had one of the great breakthroughs of my life.
And this breakthrough came by turning around this belief, that when I believed it was wracking my heart and soul apart. The belief was one of those should ones:
 “Sally Ann should love me more.”
The turn around seemed true enough at an intellectual level:  “I should love Sally Ann more.”

I kind of nodded my head, yes, yes,
And then, for some reason I let this sink down, and a heart-rooted lightening bolt went off.

I had loved Sally Ann. A lot.
Part of me still did.
And when I went to that part, the whole world opened.

Loving her meant being happy she was with Joe.
She wanted to be with Joe.
Joe made her happy.
Loving her more meant waking up to this reality: I loved that she was happy.

Loving her meant being happy that she was living the life she wanted to live.
Loving her meant being honestly and heart fully happy for her that she was free of our fighting.
Loving her meant: loving her.

This set me free.
This opened my heart.
This allowed me to beam with happiness when I thought about her and Joe. I could be happy for her even when I saw her and Joe happily wandering the small town together.

This was freedom.
This was love.
This was, in a strange way, enlightenment.

And….. could you sweet audience, use something like this to transform your life?
And will I show you a way to do this?

Life on Earth can be at its most painful when love goes awry.
Life on Earth can be at its most heavenly when love returns to being real love. This I want for you: More heaven. Less hell. 

What else do I want for you?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sex every day + spirituality + mindfulness + connection = heaven

Sex every day is good.

Except, I was assuming that everyone who had sex every day, like Carol and I do, would have the delicious spiritual and friendship connection that Carol and I have.

And, duh, I've realized that this is not true.

Deeply hot sex, good in the short run to really jazz up your life, if not combined with a commitment to being present and a delight in nourishing the other.

And a patience for letting the other have their delight.

And a thrill with NOT going to climax.

Life is thrilling and sex is part of that thrill.

But, without mindfulness, life is wasted.


In work, if you aren't mindful, you may get things done, even done well, but there is no YOU there.

In play, if you aren't mindful, you may have deep satisfaction and enjoyment, and if things don't "go your way," you will have a meltdown.

Play with mindfulness, means that you feel at the middle of your actions the MOST IMPORTANT THING: which is?

You are alive.

Right now.

That's what play does: help you realize that you, right now, are alive, and that right now, LIFE is flooding through you, and this is good.

And sex, if awake, if present, then this is another play that helps not only nourish the excitement of being alive.


And the thrill of being present to this very moment, its pleasure, its taste of love, its giving, its receiving.

It's a lot of everything.

And it's now.

And to be aware of the now as you are in the now: this is the way life is lived when you are AWAKE and aware and in the moment.

So: what's the deal.

Slow down in sex.

Don't go for the climax.

Spend time in non-repicrocal sex, where you are giving and present and the thrill of being present and giving is your delight.


Slow down.


No hurry.

Lots of love.

This is a chance, daily, nightly to become closer to being the real you.

And what is the real you?

Keep asking this: this is one of life's great questions: who are you, really?