For the last year or so, I have thrown myself head first into investigating my thoughts using a simple tool called “The Work of Byron Katie”.
It started when I attended her March, 2015 School for The Work. After that I began certification to become a facilitator, but most significantly, been doing The Work almost every day since August, 2015. The Work is four questions and turnarounds. I won’t go into the specifics here. You can learn about the basics in another post.
Over Skype, on a daily basis, Karen Munro has taken an hour out of her life to ask me questions. During our sessions she’s been fully-there, non-judgmental, and most importantly to me, has laughed in all the right places. She totally gets me. Lots of “Yes! Exactly!” flying between us. Yet always, at the end, offered questions that put into doubt what I thought was so blatantly obvious. Her patience is legendary. There were times it took me forever to answer her simplest question. If I had been her, I would have assumed Skype crashed. She waited silently for my answer and it made all the difference.
As a result, I’ve experienced what it’s like to live with hardly any problems. It’s my almost constant state of my peace that has me a little freaked. Where’d the high-strung, always-worried-about-something girl go? It’s so different than my first 55 years, that I’m dubious. Will it last? It’s too new to tell.
After all these sessions, I also realized I have nothing to teach. I have no idea what anyone should do. I don’t have any advice. Okay, well, maybe “do the work”, but other than that, the only answers that will make a real difference in your life, have to come from you. You’re the only one you’ll believe.
This left me with a dilemma. I wanted to write, but what do I write about if I have nothing to teach? I have no sage words. The only thing I really know about, is me. So I decided I’m going to write about myself. Maybe you’ll find it entertaining or at least amusing. Maybe you’ll feel good realizing you’re not as screwed up as me. Or perhaps you’ll identify with some of my stressful thoughts. I have always found it deeply reassuring to know I’m not alone.
At a gathering with my girlfriends, after a couple glasses of wine, one of them took a risk and admitted that she had thought her situation would be easier if her spouse just up and died. It wasn’t but a second later that another confessed she had had that thought before too, and then another jumped on board. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. These were good, decent, grounded women.
I wasn’t disgusted. I was enormously, over-the-moon, deliriously RELIEVED! I too have had that thought. Before my divorce, I thought if he died, I’d be better off financially, and I would receive sympathy instead of criticism for a failed marriage. I never told anyone because it seemed too horrendous, too evil, and too depraved a thought. It didn’t matter that I had no intention of making my wish come true, the fact that I simply had the thought demonstrated how bad a person I was, or so I thought.
The girls sharing with me let me know I wasn’t alone. I was okay. I’m not a monster. So maybe if I share with you some of my very worst thoughts, you’ll get to have the same experience. Who doesn’t love that “me too!” feeling?
Taking A Risk
Of course this comes with risk. Most of my sessions are about the significant players in my life; my mother, father, brother, spouse and friends. I’m hoping, praying, fingers crossed they never read my posts. And if they do read them, I’m hoping, praying, fingers crossed that they don’t take it personally. Because really, honestly, and truly, even though they are center stage during my sessions, it has nothing to do with them. It’s me looking at all the beliefs rolling around in my head that have never been vetted, verified or substantiated. Yet, they rule my life determining how I feel and what I do.
And, if one of them reads my post and is upset, AND I am upset that they’re upset, I’ll have a great opportunity to do The Work on that and find resolution.
Here’s The Current Plan
As you can imagine, after so many months, there are a lot of sessions. Most of them lasted over 45 minutes so the transcriptions are extremely long. Some will enjoy getting into the weeds like me and read the whole thing. Others may prefer highlights. So for those of you short on time, attention or interest, I’ve put my realizations at the bottom of each session. They’ll be a link up top to access.
I’m also planning on writing about The Work in general – my perspectives on why it’s so powerful, the most important concepts that have changed my life, and observations I’ve had along the way.
Come with me on this journey, or don’t. Laugh with me at my arrogance, selfishness and blindness, or not. Either way, I think it will get me closer to being free of wanting anyone’s acceptance, approval or appreciation. Mmmmmm. Sounds like sweet freedom to me.