On Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

Question:
Katie, Every year I make New Years Resolutions only to break them a month later and feel bad. How can the Work help me when I break my resolutions? Is there any point to making them in the first place?

Katie:
Let’s say I wanted to be a kinder human being toward my children and I find myself frustrated, losing my temper, and giving them “the look.”

I would identify what I was believing during that behavior. And after identifying my thoughts I would write them down on paper. I would do The Work on those thoughts and I would also do The Work on “I raised my voice to my children.”

Then I would make a list, from the prompt “I raised my voice to my children and that means that…”

…that means that I’m a terrible person.
…that means that I’m a loser.
…that means that I will never get it right.
…that means that they will never forgive me.
…that means that I hurt them.

Then I would ask the four questions and do the turnarounds on each thought.

And that is what I did do for a few years after 1986. I became a kinder human being with no necessity to make New Year’s resolutions.

What am I resolved to do? Just answer the questions that you’re asking and enjoy this conversation with you right now and love that it would serve others the way that this process has served me.

What are some of the underlying beliefs in your experience that cause you to break your resolutions?

Below are responses from candidates in the Institute for The Work, who have been answering this question this month, and then doing The Work on the underlying beliefs they’ve uncovered:

There’s something wrong with me.
Things need to happen for me this year.
I need to get my life back together this year.
I am incapable of real love.
I am overwhelmed.
I can’t make the right decision.
I have no control.
I should know better and done better.

Haiti: Why Send Money?

Dear Katie,

You say that you are contributing money to help the earthquake victims in Haiti. But aren’t you supposed to love what is? Don’t you love earthquakes? Why send money? I wouldn’t. That would be saying you don’t agree with what is.

B

Dearest B,

My goodness! The simple answer is, “I like them and wish to support them and I like me when I do that.” And no one is “supposed” to love what is, nor can they, until they are no longer fooled by their minds. I simply do love what is, because I have questioned my stressful thoughts thoroughly enough to know how the mind creates all the suffering in the world. For example, if I were to believe that the earthquake shouldn’t have happened, or if I were to imagine their pain and project it onto myself as though it were mine, it would be borrowing pain that isn’t mine, as well as costing me this amazing state of grace to be one who is freed up and in a position to help. I don’t want to add my false suffering as an aftershock to the Haitians. How would that help anyone? It certainly wouldn’t help them, and it wouldn’t help me be as someone compassionately available and aware enough to see myself and them clearly enough to send support. To send support when I know to do it allows me to join where I want to, and the affect is a guiltless state of mind, one that joins without fear. I realize that the earthquake should have happened, because it did happen (in this dream I call reality). What happened happened, and in my kindest world, what is the best-intentioned wanting? It is “How can I help you, add to you in your time of need when I have no need myself?” That’s it, and nothing in the world can change that truest reality of our most authentic and pure kind nature.

I don’t want earthquakes to happen before the fact; but once they happen, that’s what I want. I am a lover of reality. As I often say, when you argue with God, you lose—but only 100% of the time.

Stephen gashed his finger the other day and came in and asked me to drive him to the emergency room for stitches. The blood was really gushing out quite strongly. I didn’t say, “Oh, it’s good that it happened, now you can bleed all over your clothes and the rug.” Rather, we hopped into the car, I drove to the hospital, and he got five stitches in his left hand. Actually it was fun, really fun for both of us. The doctor turned out to be a neighbor whom we hadn’t met yet, and Stephen said that he learned something about blood that will be useful when he writes about the Iliad, which is quite bloody. (He is translating the Iliad from ancient Greek. He finds that great fun—which I find hilarious, and very dear.)

“Loving what is” doesn’t mean that you are passive. Love is action. It lives from the inside out. It is source. People who are suffering are me, they are my own old self being witnessed—that part of my old mind that hasn’t caught up yet, my mind being witnessed, or, in other words, my mind coming back at me to see what is love and what isn’t yet. My mind, your mind, all mind: the same.. I respond to them (people, mind) with the same kindness as I practice toward myself, when I get up and brush my teeth and feed and water this body of the woman people call Katie. Some believe it and some don’t.

When someone comes to me who is suffering, my internal mind’s response and experience is “How can I help?” I don’t think that they shouldn’t be suffering. They are suffering (in their experience, and that makes it real for them as it used to be for “me”). That’s their truth, for the moment and I have mine and theirs is the cause of their suffering until it isn’t. If they are angry or depressed or sad or resentful, I never think that they shouldn’t be feeling what they’re feeling, or that whatever happened to them (as they see it) shouldn’t have happened. I listen. I am available as a “humane” being and friend. I am there to help them question the mind that is creating their suffering. I love that they come to me with an open mind, if they do; and if their mind is not so open, I love that too. Everything is welcome here.

I sent money to Haiti because that seemed to me the kind, right-minded thing to do. I just knew to do it. It was a wholehearted response to an invitation to help. That asking is what is, just as the earthquake is what is. Now that the earthquake happened, I love that people asked me for help, and I love love in action and sending money is just one way. Are you metaphorically experiencing an earthquake within you? If so, let’s do The Work.

Love,
kt

PS – see Dr. Paul Farmer’s Op-Ed >>