Letter: A Mother does The Work with her incarcerated Daughter

Dearest Katie,

My 25 year old daughter is in prison in California at CIW-California Institution for Women – just south of Ontario. This is my story and my request.

I am so grateful for The Work. The Work came to me in April of 2007. I came to The School that June in Trumbull and then again that October 07 in LA. I flew back to the Bay Area (I have moved to Nevada) to see my daughter in September 2007. She has been involved in meth addiction for the past 10 years and doesn’t make contact very often. I was able to get in touch with her and we had the most amazing time. She wanted to know what I was doing because I was so different and she wanted to spend more time with me. She loved what I told her about you and The Work. I shared this with you that first night at the school in LA. You said she sounded like someone who really wanted to know the truth. She does!!

So then she went off on her way and got in more trouble and was arrested Feb 08. When she wrote to me she asked if I would help her understand why she kept living this destructive lifestyle, so I sent her your books- Loving What Is and I Need Your Love. Her response was pure amazement and joy.

I will share a few things with you here that she wrote to me while reading the books:

“Mom, this is so awesome-without all the f-ed up thoughts I can be without anxiety.”

“Since reading Katie she’s taught me not to let it mess up my train of thought
or f- me up in the head & get me angry.”

“Mom, I’ve had to do a lot of The Work from Katie’s book on our last phone call but it worked. I feel so much more connected to you and to myself. The miracle of Katie I found is my thinking pattern changes even before a bunch of The Work is done on paper. I finished Loving What Is and started I Need Your Love yesterday. In Loving What Is on page 203 I did the 6 page exercise and oh my goodness was it intense. I still have The Work to reflect on. ‘Doing time’ is a whole different experience than the first time. The other women in here are miserable and I choose to feel my feelings and rid myself of nasty thoughts. The first book really showed me how you can overcome anything bad that’s happened to you. The pages toward the end were super deep with 9/11, Mom didn’t stop the incest, and the one on the daughter’s addiction. Mom, I love my mind, body and spirit. I must learn to forgive myself.”

“So it’s like this-I’m really loving the Katie books. This is so amazing–so worries aren’t real they are like leaves in the wind and like raindrops. ‘Why argue with a raindrop?’ What has me in shock is that I can live in complete happiness and be okay just as I am. Mom, the past two days of reading I already feel like a weight lifted, the stress lifted. So I am really understanding the not being attached to our thoughts. It’s cool Mom. I love it.”

Then she related another story and said: “What I did was without even noticing at first, I felt the thought and then I turned it around and laughed realizing that I don’t have to feel that thought and how happy I could be without it. Mom, this Rocks!”

I love that she is loving The Work!!

My daughter was incarcerated Feb 11 in San Mateo County Jail and remained there several weeks. She was then sent to Valley State in Chowchilla- where everyone goes and most stay. It’s a maximum security prison and none of women’s prisons are segregated by crime level or race or gangs like the men’s are. A got to experience several things here for 10 weeks. Then she was transferred to CIW women’s prison and has just entered the SAP drug treatment program there this week.

I got to visit her for the first time in prison at CIW at the end of August. We had a glorious visit-Fri-Sat-Sun for several hours each day in a crowed noisy room. We were so connected. We did The Work together. It was wonderful. I will get to visit her again Oct 31-Nov 3 only this time we get to stay together 24/7 in the family housing unit-a prison slumber party!! We have a 2 bedroom apartment for the weekend and they have a CD player. She wants me to bring all of your CDs and lots of blank worksheets!!

She is also loving Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and A New Earth. She has done all the workbook assignments and sent them to me. She is just so ready and eager to begin again. She choose to go into the drug program as opposed to Fire Camp, where she was also accepted, because she realized even though it was a really “cool” thing to do and she got out of prison to train, be at camp, and then would be released 4 months early from her sentence–that after all of that it would have left her in the same space-dealing with her addiction and being out again-without having addressed her issues. So she opted for drug treatment, full sentence, and requested an additional 5 month residential treatment program after her release date of July 2 09, -so she will be complete Dec 2, 09. She stays at CIW until March 09 and then goes to one of the Drug Treatment Facilities until July 2. Then to another location for the residential program. She wants to come to your School and the Turnaround House, too!

My daughter just keeps teaching me. She is my greatest teacher. I really feel moved to enter your Facilitator Training program. I am completing an intensive horticulture training right now, ending in November, I am hoping to work with other Master Gardeners here in Nevada with the prison landscape training programs and establish gardens for the inmates. Then, hopefully after being accepted and completing my Facilitator Training with BKI, I would love to be able to take The Work to the jails and prisons here as well.

I am doing The Work and doing my best to look at all my stuff around this whole situation. I feel I am pretty clear that whatever she does when she gets out is her business. (0K—-I do have a wish list!! I want her to come home and have another chance at the life she says she wants). I am just so grateful to have my daughter back for whatever period of time that may be. Since she asked for my help and support and since she is so loving The Work, I of course want her to have all the support possible in understanding how to do The Work and discovering what she was believing that kept her going back to the meth use and this lifestyle. She has told me that she wants to start a new beautiful life free of this addiction.

Much Love and Gratitude,

P.S. My daughter is now reading A 1000 Names for Joy and I am sending her Stephen’s Tao Te Ching and the book A Million Little Pieces.

Letter: Candidates Telling Lies

Dear Katie,

I have been watching the two candidates telling the American people about how they are more qualified than the other. I know they are both telling lies. And that makes me angry.

What happened to the truth?

How do you decide? How can you tell if what they’re saying is true? The media isn’t much help either. They seem biased.

I’m so sick of this charade, I’m thinking about not voting at all. What can I do to clear my mind? How can I use The Work to help me decide?

I don’t want to make a wrong decision.


Dearest Robert,

Politicians say many things to get elected. I would ask you to question their statements. One way to find out is to visit a site like factcheck.org. Both campaigns have referenced the site at various times, and it is interesting to learn what the truth is, according to factcheck. I have been told that the site is nonpartisan. If it feels right, take a look. And have you noticed the negative McCain and Obama within you?

And if you think that one of the candidates is causing you stress, I invite you to do a Worksheet on him or her. In reality no politician—no one outside you—can cause your stress. The only thing that can do that is an unquestioned thought. So write all those thoughts on paper and don’t hold back. “I don’t trust Obama because he’s too young.” “I don’t trust McCain because he’s too old.” Question them, see how you react when you believe them, see who you are without them, turn them around, find examples, and notice, are you more informed about what really matters? That is the way to a clear, peaceful mind that can make sensible choices that affect us all.

Love always,

Letter from a scholarship applicant for The School

I’m currently a facilitator for a Coping Skills program for the Segregation inmates here at WCI a maximum-security prison. We currently do an 8-week group of 5 Segregation inmates. At WCI we focus on education and treatment to try and help inmates succeed in CP and stay out of Seg. I was introduced to a tape of The Work and thought it would greatly enhance the current training we offer. Once we viewed the video and tried it out in our current group we were hooked. The inmates were very excited about the group discussion brought about by The Work video and work sheet homework assignment.

I believe that getting properly trained in The Work will enable me to better serve the people I work with. I think that with all of the background knowledge and training that I’d be better able to present this material to the people that need it most. I was so excited once I saw the video I went directly to my supervisor and told him of all the potential I saw in this program.

– KB
A scholarship applicant for the 9-day School for The Work

Update: The Work in Mexico


Dear Katie,

I’ve been in Mexico for the past 13 days and we’ve given 3 workshops of The Work ever since. One in the city of Puebla and two in the city of Cuernavaca. This weekend we are giving another two day workshop here in Puebla.

It has been beautiful!

One story in particular I wanted to tell you about is the story of M, a psychologist who was very interested in The Work. She came to our first workshop because she had been suffering from pain in her face and head for 16 years. She was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and much later was told it was the wrong diagnosis. She took anti-depressants for 15 years, and came to the workshop “desperate.”

In the first day of the workshop, participants went home with a homework of doing a ‘self facilitation worksheet’ on a thought. On the second day they return to talk about their experience of doing The Work by themselves. M shared that the night before as she did her Work on herself, she found that she has been frustrated for 20 years because she didn’t marry the man she loved and married another man instead. Amazed at what she discovered, she told us that, for the first time in 16 years, she didn’t wake up with pain and was filled with joy. Even her face was completely transformed. She never thought she could find a tool that could free her from her pain and she was relieved to learn that didn’t need a specialist to “fix” her.

I talked with M today and her pain has been gone ever since.

Big hug to you,

Mariana den Hollander is a certified facilitator of The Work

VOTE: The Work at the Polls

Dear Katie,
Do you participate in the political elections? Do you vote? I don’t want to know who you vote for, or what party you might be affiliated with, I’m just wondering if you vote.

Dearest Jane,
Absolutely. I love to vote! I take in as much television, radio, and magazine, newspapers as I possibly can, and all that information goes into me, synthesizes, and I vote with what comes out of all of that. I read and listen with this wonderful, open, don’t-know mind and then notice the choice. What could be more exciting than watching that choice, on time, in the voting booth!

Update: The Work in Puerto Rico


Despite heavy rain, a lovely group got to Cerro Punta, the highest peak in Puerto Rico, for The Work of Byron Katie’s workshop in August 2008. It was offered by certified facilitator Laura Saavedra and three participants of the recent School in Miami – Daiana Serralles and Leslie and Jose Flores.

Learn more about The Work in Spanish>>