Grace Bell, Certified Facilitator for The Work, does The Work on “He cut me off”, and shares common misconceptions and mistakes on The Work

Grace Bell ( is Certified Facilitator for The Work. 

    1. How would you describe The Work to someone who has never heard of it before? 
      1. A way of looking at your own mind and pausing, slowing down, to see if what your thinking is really true, and even before that to see what it is your thinking to see why you are reacting the way you are. 
      2. Have a graduate degree in psychology, went through so many of the latest books and loved The Work. 
  • The Work versus Positive Thinking
    1. Positive Thinking: an effort to push your mind in a certain direction without really looking at what is bothering you. You may know what is bothering you, but the solution is trying to avoid it and move away from it. Now you have a battle inside if you say you’re a ‘happy, peaceful person’, but if you don’t believe it, it can make you feel slightly nutty. People having this underlying anxiety because they are scared of their stressful thoughts so try to cover up with Positive Thinking. Trying to add to a feeling of being deficient, like your missing something. 
    2. The Work: Give the stressful thoughts a voice. You are subtracting by really looking at the negative thought, undoing negative thoughts and looking underneath and allowing it to be there and study it, why it’s having a problem with reality. 
  • “He shouldn’t have cut me off” – a review of the 4 questions
    1. Identify the specific situation (getting ‘cut off’)
    2. “Is it true?”
      1. First question made me realise that I just was assuming everything I was thinking was true. 
    3. “Can you absolutely know that it’s true?”
    4. “How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?”
      1. scared, frightened, like they are a total enemy on the road. 
      2. I see me as someone who is vulnerable, not to be threatened while in my car.
    5. “Who would you be without the thought?”
      1. Invites the imagination, who would you be? You don’t have to instantly be, but who would you be? Imagine what it would be like without the thought. 
    6. Turnarounds (the thing Grace says she gets the most questions about). 
      1. It’s just looking, an invitation to sit and explore with that turnaround. 
      2. Straight opposite: “He should have cut me off”…how can that be true?
        1. all sorts of possibilities, like maybe he was getting away from someone else, or all was actually very well like looking at what ‘cutting off’ really is, like too close. Maybe I was going to fast.
        2. It already happened, to despair over how it shouldn’t have happened hurts.
        3. Sometimes the reaction to the turnaround is really strong ’no, nobody should ever cut anyone off’, just check in an see. 
      3. Flipping places: “I shouldn’t have cut him off”. 
        1. How do you apply a turnaround to something that never physically happened, like you didn’t cut him off physically, so how can you do this turnaround?
        2. I’m cutting them off in my mind as a fellow human being. 
        3. cutting them off with you consciousness, not with your car. 
      4. Take the other person of out of it and put me there: “I shouldn’t have cut myself off”.
        1. I cut off my connection, my humour, noticing I’m perfectly fine, my car wasn’t touched. I’m cutting off all these options. I’m cutting myself off from my true nature…to be connected. 
  • The difference between The Work and Psychology, specifically CBT
    1. The Work is very simple. Same 4 questions over and over again and then sitting and contemplating them. The Work goes beyond behavioural science, like the daily ‘how I am’. I can go back to spots in my past or fears in the future and question them. 
    2. Some psychology practices come from the premise that ‘something is wrong with me’ and ‘my behaviour is wrong and must be changed’. 
      1. The Work is not trying to fix something. 
    3. Therapeutic (psychological) modalities are goal-oriented. 
      1. The Work is going back and studying what actually thinking. Less of a goal in mind, more of observing.
    4. CBT: The Work seems to be the closest to CBT.
      1. CBT has a way, the ‘right’ way to behave, that I have to ‘fix myself’. 
      2. However, The Work is exploring with questions in an open-minded way. 
  • Most common mistakes people new to The Work
    2. People wanting to do The Work on themselves, not on others. 
      1. Grace: the problem is you have a strong motivation to change. Tendency is to do The Work for a specific outcome, that you are a different person. 
        1. Don’t be on the warpath to make sure that you become different. 
        2. Side effect of doing The Work on other people is that you do become different. 
      2. Doing The Work on yourself can tend to lead to very broad conclusions, and people tend to not drill down into specifics. 
        1. Try to find someone to judge, even if it’s just you’re a little irritated. 
      3. Sam: People can remind me of Unikitty from the Lego Movie. 
          1. 0:00-0:49: Pushing unhappy thoughts deep inside
          2. 0:49+: what happens when you ‘try to stay positive’ and believe the thought “you need to be more friendly”. 
  • Most common misconceptions about The Work
    1. Misconception: That it’s all about just thinking. People have read the book and just say, ‘oh it’s just about your brain and how your mind functions and flipping thoughts around, but I prefer body-based’. 
      1. Grace: that is a misperception. The 4 questions are simple, but profound, you get to use your imagination and feel your whole body. There are subquestions on where you feel it in your body. 
        1. It’s not about being stuck in your head.
    2. Misconception: By doing The Work, you’re condoning violent behaviour and the worst of humanity.
      1. Grace: There is no condoning, it’s simply being with that dark experience and seeing if there is more there. That situation is over now, even understanding that is quite profound. It’s looking at those things we think are horrible. If you’ve had a terribly violent past, and do The Work, you might become an agent of change to solve that problem, yet in an underlying joyful way, not condoning it.
        1.  Being so anti-anger, that I am angry about anger. Even if I don’t know why things happen, like war, I can make myself not in a war over war. But I’m not condoning war. 
    1. “Eating Peace”: Was an anorexic and bulimic for a decade. The Work was the final piece of understanding and being completely free. 
      1. Includes weekly sessions and a weekend retreat, usually in Seattle. 
      2. Eating is a reaction to other beliefs.
    2. Teleclasses- limited to 12 people, go for 8 weeks together. 
      1. parenting
      2. relationships
      3. sexuality
      4. eating peace
      5. Pain, sickness, and death
      6. Money

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