The Work in Russia

Dearest Katie,

What a joy and privilege to be in the room with you and all the beautiful people here at Omega Institute. I want to give you the love and gratitude of many many Russian-speaking people doing The Work daily.

I’m so thrilled to tell you more about the Russian-speaking School of Consultants of The Work that has been going on now for two and a half years:

  • There are twenty-eight participants.
  • The program has provided more than a hundred hours of free volunteer sessions to anyone who wants to know more about The Work.
  • It now includes 350 hours of teleclasses, one-on-one sessions, and in-person workshops.
  • Four graduates now are offering teleclasses and workshops in The Work.

Below is a letter from one of the Russian participants:

Dear Katie,

My name is Konstantin. I am forty-one years old and a Russian Orthodox monk. I originally came to the monastery because of depression and alcoholism. Recently I started to use The Work as a practice.

Asking the four questions and the turnarounds, I was able to experience clarity, happiness, and peace. Pen and paper became my close friends; I wrote down situations I found stressful, my mother’s phone calls, conversations with friends, and so on, and I worked on everything I could. I soon realized that I could not go as far along as I wanted to with this practice, so I joined the school of consultants led by Olga, and I received the support that I needed.

I also started using the Work with the parishioners. When I listen to people’s confessions, I sometimes notice, with sadness, that after they confess they leave with the same despair. When I notice that someone might be open to it, I offer them The Work. In the Russian Orthodox Church, the sacredness of the confession allows a person to relieve themselves and tell their stories to their confessor. The Work complements religion in this way, providing the other oar to the boat.

For a long time I have been looking for a tool that will support me spiritually, any time and any place, and The Work of Byron Katie has become that for me. The goal of religion is to join with God, and The Work allows the opportunity to be with him. In the Gospel it says “…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself,” and just like that The Work of Byron Katie brings us to the here and now. I have used it—four questions and turnarounds—with several people, and they were quite stunned.

Right now I regularly attend classes at the school of consultants, and I live in a much more peaceful state of mind. Sometimes I spend the whole day sitting by the window, just looking out. I need nothing in those moments, because I have everything I need inside me. And when I feel bad, I know that I haven’t been using my pen and paper for a long time. The deep contemplation with the Worksheet allows me to enter the most exciting adventure within myself. I am so happy to have an opportunity to be in the program, and I will continue sharing The Work with others.

Dear Katie, from the depth of my heart I would to thank you for The Work.
Konstantin

Olga B.

Photos from The Thinking Project

Photo’s from The thinking Project:

A note from Rachel Pickett:

These photos were taken during a teacher training workshop in October, 2015. The Thinking Project has been partnering with STEM Launch K-8, an urban public school in Thornton, Colorado, with the goals of helping kids to identify and question thoughts that cause stress, think and see from multiple perspectives, build self-confidence and empathy with others, and create a kinder classroom setting rooted in the study of thinking. In October we trained the sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade teachers at STEM Launch both in The Work and in ways to integrate The Work into classroom management and curricular content.

We often use metaphors when we design curriculum. One metaphor we use in camps and classrooms is the Brick Wall of Stress → Tree of Questioned Thoughts → Sky of Possibilities. During the teacher training, we learned this metaphor/process by experiencing it. Teachers first wrote down a situation that stressed them out on a “brick” (a red sticky note), and then shared their “brick” with the group and placed it on the Wall of Stress. After we did The Work on a stressful thought, we wrote the thought we questioned on a leaf sticky note, shared it aloud, and then placed it on the Tree of Questioned Thoughts. The leaves on the tree represent new growth. As we question our stressful thoughts, it allows new growth in our minds, in our ways of thinking. Finally, on a sticky-note star, we wrote a new perspective or possibility we discovered from doing The Work. We shared these out and then placed them on the Sky of Possibilities, to symbolize the infinite possibilities and perspectives we begin discovering as we question our stressful thinking and see our turnarounds.

We also explored ways The Thinking Project can test out the integration of The Work and the study of thought into content curriculum. We brainstormed ideas for making The Work accessible to sixth graders (example: “start with ‘what are you feeling?,’ use emojis”), how to make copies of Common Stressful Thoughts About School and teen One-Belief-at-a-Time Worksheets available digitally, ways The Work connects to learner traits STEM Launch is already using (example: without a stressful thought we often experience ourselves as compassionate, collaborative, courageous… These are also Habits of a Learner characteristics that STEM utilizes), and ways The Work can integrate with upcoming Problem-Based-Learning units.

South Carolina Grief Project

Do The Work
Helpline
South Carolina Grief Project

After receiving the following letter from Justin, I immediately invited all Certified Facilitators to specifically be available for all the people whom Justin and many of us care about so deeply. Certified Facilitators, please go to the Helpline and volunteer your time to those people wanting help through their recent tragedy. For those of you wanting help, please go here. Our facilitators are here to support you on the Helpline, free of charge.

Thank you, Justin, on behalf of everyone who understands the suffering that grief and fear can bring, and on behalf of all of us at the Institute for The Work, our gratitude for the invitation to serve peace.

In the interest of peace and the end of suffering,
Byron Katie and the Certified Facilitators at the Institute for The Work

P.S. The Helpline is a volunteer-based service offered around the clock, seven days a week, as volunteers are available. This helpline is for people new to The Work and for those needing occasional help or support in doing The Work.

* * * * * * *
Justin’s letter:

Dearest lovely Byron Katie,

My name is Justin H. and I am a 26 year old, South Carolinian living abroad currently in Mallorca, Spain, teaching English. I am writing to you now in what I would call a “completely out of character” way, but after reading this morning´s news about the truly heart-breaking gun attack in the place where I grew up, I haven’t been able to focus on anything else but writing you this email.

As Mallorca is an island in the Mediterranean, normally I would be enjoying this paradise on earth, and reveling in the wonderful fact that I have distanced myself from SC, which I once believed to be such a backward, suffocating, and unloving place to live, but I have recently come to truly SEE, by doing The Work, that this idea was simply the filter that I chose to see it through. I CANNOT thank you enough for bringing such clarity into my life and in such a short amount of time (I discovered you and your fabulous body of accessible ideas in another book only 2 weeks ago), and I think ALL of South Carolina deserves this same blessing. It´s our birthright, as I’ve heard you put it.

In the news today I have simply been witnessing the storm of panic…people fighting political wars in message threads…de facto discussions about the history of racism in the United States…gun-control debate renewed…intrigue into profiling this young shooter…is capital punishment appropriate for him or not…is the United States a fundamentally bad place…which news sources have right on their side and which are racist…is the Governor´s response to the shooting heartfelt enough…should the Confederate flag be removed…and all I can think is THIS:

THEY ARE MISSING THE POINT TO BRING ABOUT TRUE CHANGE… (Well, not all of them are missing the point…)

Chris Singleton, the son of victim Sharonda Singleton said, “So if we just love the way my mom would, then the hate won’t be anywhere close to where the love is.”

(To me, these beautiful lives are the point.)

What I´m asking, Katie, as a man with limited resources and connections, and literally thousands of miles from my home (at least physically) is this: Can you help open a dialogue among the people of South Carolina and show them your wonderful way, as you have shown me, that transcends racism, politics, violence, and FEAR. If I can catch a whiff of freedom in two weeks, thanks to YOUR Work (OUR Work, as you might say), then I can only imagine what it can do for all the people of South Carolina and the nation in such a time of true need for its universal message. Can you help us to make the way our people think, as beautiful as the land the live in???

A very big request from an eternally grateful fan.

Thanks for your consideration,
Justin

Video: Identity Theft and Kindness

Identity Theft and Kindness

A woman distraught that her identity has been stolen questions the thought “The thief is unkind to me.” Byron Katie guides her through inquiry to see how this thought affects many aspects of her well-being. When considering a turnaround to her original thought, the woman notices how unraveled she becomes when there is any stress in her life. “No,” she exclaims, “I was not panicked by the thief—I was panicked by my thinking.”

“When we really contemplate the judgments we make, we can see how they cost us our wisdom and our peace.”

Excerpt from a benefit event at Spirit Rock Meditation Center.

The Work in Zimbabwe

For those of you who aren’t yet aware of Nadine Ferris France and her team, read her latest email (below). Thanks to you and your School enrollments and tuition’s, the Work Foundation is able to make allow community leaders in Zimbabwe to attend this year’s School for The Work in Bad Neuenahr, Germany. We are able to pay for round-trip airfare, onsite hotel expenses, etc. and make it possible for these leaders to go back home and, with the help of Nadine and her team, continue their training to become Certified Facilitators of The Work. So enjoy one woman’s marvelous work for the end of suffering.

Dearest Katie,

At the airport on my way home from two days in Belarus. I was invited to speak on self-stigma and HIV to a regional conference of 90 HIV positive women from Ukraine, Russian Federation and Belarus (over 10 countries were represented). Yesterday, I had a 3 hour session with the group, where I presented on self-stigma and HIV based on the Irish research on beliefs, then presented the Zimbabwe Self-stigma and The Work programme and then did The Work with the group. It was all in Russian – with an interpreter – as the majority of people only speak Russian and little to no English.

Each person filled out a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet (in Russian!) and I worked the first statement on the Worksheet with one beautiful woman while the group followed in their own work internally – “I am angry at Olga because she judged me (because of my HIV status)”.

Katie, it was mind-blowing – there are just no other words for this experience. I found the women so incredibly open to themselves and to The Work, and willing to answer the questions so fluidly – most of the women in this region have contracted HIV through drug use – so have battled drug addiction and HIV, using methods such as the 12-step programme. This region has the highest-growing HIV epidemic in the world at the moment and remains very poor – so it’s the tip of the iceberg in terms of amount of people already infected – in the next five years we will see a huge increase.

After the session I was flooded with people asking for The Work for themselves and for their own national programmes. Then in a meeting with the group of advocates that brought me to Belarus, they want their own programme on self-stigma and The Work and they want their own trained facilitators. It seems we might go the same road as we did in Zimbabwe: a 12 week self-stigma and HIV course, the School for The Work, and then the Training for Trainers so they have their own facilitators who can then give courses on self-stigma and HIV all around the region. These women are absolutely incredible, and I have no doubt will make it happen with a little support from us. They are strong, open, skilled, and highly tenacious! We will need to get one or two to the School quickly, so watch for even more scholarship applications coming soon.

Katie, this continues to explode around us in terms of demand, and I just want to keep you with us so you are aware when things are coming left and right and where they are coming from.

I am looking forward to seeing you in London, and I look forward to our time together after your book signing for me to share some of the incredible Work happening in Zimbabwe and now the Russian region it seems!

Here is one of the women I met yesterday! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbucYGCIHDI

With so much love and gratitude.
Nadine xxxxx

PS – the materials on thework.com in Russian were SOOO USEFUL

Dearest Nadine,

Thank you for the update. You are tireless, and I am ready and willing to keep up with you as long as I am financially able, of course! No holding back, dearest, and it’s not easy to keep up with you as you continue to move The Work for the end of suffering in our world. What a privilege to support this path and to know you!

Always your partner in your lifelong journey to end suffering,
kt

Local Zimbabwe facilitators with Certified Facilitators for The Work of Byron Katie: (left to right) Susan V, Nysha T*, Nadine F, Sylvia V**, and Margot D.

 

Letter: “You are your own suffering”

Byron Katie’s words suddenly make perfect sense! What a gift to be able to actually ‘feel’ this ‘simple’ sentence!

I’ve recently been shown just how true this statement is! I just wanted to share what came up for me around this. It’s been an amazing realization for me—not just shown to me once, but over and over, until the lesson was learned and the message heard! Yep! got it! loud and clear!

I was recently rushed into hospital following a major surgical procedure. I’d contacted septicaemia and pneumonia quite severely afterwards and was very ill. I had to have two further surgeries to ‘save my life.’ I was admitted to Critical Care, where I was in a small coma for just under five days—‘being breathed’ and such like by machines.

The thing that has hit me with a huge impact since, is that whilst I was ‘unconscious’, I had no pain, no thoughts, no images, no past, present, or future, no stories, no attachments, no judgments, no love, no hate, no business, no logical awareness of what was going on around me, happening to me, how it was affecting my loved ones, no fear, and so on, therefore, no suffering! Just pure peace! Bliss! Rest! Calmness! Just being! Not one stressful thought that I can remember in any way shape or form.

It was only as I started to come round back to the ‘land of living’ that my suffering started!

My mind kicked in the second I opened my eyes (or so it seemed) and the thoughts, images, stories and fears started to take over.

It was at this point that my peace went out of the window and my suffering started. I began forming all kinds of stories once I saw the machines I was attached to, the drips, the needles, the blood, dressings, etc. Pure panic kicked in and my mind went into overdrive. I had no idea where I was, or why, and yet, I’d developed a whole story in my mind. K Magnified several times over. Shock. Confusion. Disbelief. Denial. Insanity!

It was painful to let it all out and it was painful to keep it all in!

Then, I saw the blood I was having via a transfusion! That was it! Fear kicked in and the mind stated all over again, like a broken record. I started trying to make sense of things, piece things together, and understand what was happening. My head was like a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions, and yet, I still didn’t know what had happened. I had nothing to base any of my thoughts, presumptions, or theories on. No proof. No memory. No evidence. No knowledge. Just my own stories keeping me in my own prison.

What was this constant need all of a sudden to understand everything? I’d never really paid much attention to my body before, and yet now, it’s all I could think about! It’s almost like I HAD to focus on something—there HAD to be a reason for it to be ok! Who was causing my suffering? ME!!! Who was trying to fight reality? ME!!! Who was getting nowhere, but causing pain and torment? ME!!!!

What was even more remarkable, is that I hadn’t had any physical pain, until the doctor explained to me what had happened. It was then that I suddenly started ‘feeling pain’ in the effected area and was plagued by it. It became hard not to focus on it, and yet, it had been that way for days. Nothing had changed: just my thoughts and attachments!

It’s since made me stop and think—was it that I could feel the actual physical pain in my body? Or, was it that I was attaching to the story of what had happened to me that made me aware of the pain? Nothing had changed (physically) from the time I was in a coma to the time I had opened my eyes, and yet, mentally, all hell had broke loose. The wound was in the same state. The dressings were the same, etc. Nothing new… just that I was now awake and ‘processing’ all around me.

I’d gone from being comfortable and rested, totally oblivious, to all of this, with the opening of my eyes, and the instant attachment to my thoughts in those surroundings. Would the outcome be the same if I’d woken up on a tropical island somewhere? I cannot know that, and it’s doubtful. Fascinating!

Who was causing my suffering? ME!!! Who was trying to fight reality? ME!!! Who was getting nowhere, but causing pain & torment? ME!!!!

Again it happened when the time came to change my dressing. I’d only heard about my surgery, what was done, how it looked, and what to expect. It would seem that I’d chosen to ‘ignore’ all of this information and detail, on the basis that: a) It didn’t suit me at the time; b) I was too wrapped up in my own images and stories; c) I’d had no visual stimuli / trigger and d) I was so out of my business (amongst other things!).

Then, when it was uncovered and I actually saw it for myself I was beyond shocked. I couldn’t speak. It was ‘worse’ than what my mind had allowed me to visualise. Or, at least, that was my story!

Again, the stories came flooding in—supported now by images. I was in the past, in the future—trying to fight reality once again. I made instant judgments. I focused on my body and how ‘ugly’ and ‘disfigured’ it was. How ‘damaged’ it was. How I’d never be the same. How it had ruined my life. Endless thoughts of suffering—which, I’d not had when the wound was hidden!

Who was causing my suffering? ME! Everything else was just doing its own thing blissfully as it should, minding its own business, and yet, I couldn’t seem to do the same. While I was ‘out of it’, ‘unaware’, I was silently fighting some how without even knowing—with no stories, no pressure, no expectations, no motives. Once I became ‘aware’, I’d started to do the opposite, putting my body through even more turmoil, thinking I had some kind of control some how. Remarkable!

Several days later, I learned that my nan had been told to ‘prepare for the worst’ and that the medics ‘didn’t hold out much hope with my chances of survival.’

Again, it was only when I heard this story that my suffering started. My mind bypassed the information I had just heard and I went straight into feeling guilty. I blamed myself for putting her through all of that (like I had a choice!). I pictured her being ill from the stress of it all and so on. Mind overload! It became unbearable once again!

Previous to knowing this piece of information, I was oblivious. I didn’t have any of those thoughts. I wasn’t even headed in that direction. It wasn’t an option. It’s amazing.

Who was causing my suffering? ME!!! Who was trying to fight reality? ME!!! Who was getting nowhere, but causing pain & torment? ME!!!!

There was much more too. But, all in all, my main point throughout is based on Katie’s sentence:

‘You are your own suffering.’

The words keep ringing through my mind. I’ve heard this many times since doing The Work, and never really fully paid much attention to it. I was convinced that it couldn’t be true. That it was others who almost certainly caused my suffering. I was in true victim mode. How could I possibly cause my own suffering? It was other people’s actions / words that hurt me. How could I possibly be my own suffering, when all I was doing was trying to find peace, a ‘solution,’ a ‘way out’? And so on.

Now, this sentence alone holds a whole new meaning for me, and I FEEL it.

‘You are your own suffering!’

This has certainly been true in my experience and, it is only now, after my recent journey, that I can digest those words and really embrace them. I love the peace that I’ve found around this and that I can share it with others.

Thank you for taking the time to read this long realization & be a part of my journey.

Jai Jai xoxoxoxo

* * * * *

Dearest Jai Jai,

I am grateful that you shared your experience with us and so very grateful for your journey to love in this world. Your peace is my/our teacher.

Always, always,
bk

Letter: “The Work Changed My Life”

Dear Katie,

I do not know if you will get this, but I must thank you for your book Loving What Is. I was left by my girlfriend and baby and alone in Mexico with only hate mail and lawyer papers emailed to me, and no clue as to where my now past family was. As I travelled back to Canada I was terribly sad and could hardly hold back the desperation and sadness as I flew from Cancun to Minneapolis. I knew instinctively at the time that I had to be okay with them being gone, and me being alone and not able to see my child as a restraining order had been placed on me and there were so many unknowns. I went to a book store and picked up a few books and then I saw the title of yours Loving What Is; this caught my attention immediately, so I purchased the book. When I was sitting in the airport in the same eating area near a pizza place that my girlfriend and baby had eaten at not 9 months earlier, I was overwhelmed with remorse. So I left the area and found a chair and opened your book and started reading. It wasn’t 30 minutes and I was suddenly sitting taller and feeling free from the pain. I continued to read and even as my hunger grew I went back to the pizza place and ordered the same mini pizza I had eaten when with my family. I sat there reading and eating that amazing pizza, which it turns out was “humble pie” pizza which I thought fitting later on as I found the receipt in my wallet and had a good laugh.

As I was reading, I started posing the 4 questions to my thoughts “she should not have left me”, “I should be able to see my baby”, “she should not be able to take my baby”, “she should be more understanding and forgiving”, the answers came quickly and so did the turnarounds. It was like seeing for the first time, I had absolutely thought myself into depression, suicide, abuse and bankruptcy and then being left alone. I do not know how to describe the feelings that welled up inside me, but it was an awakening or epiphany, or whatever other way one could describe it. As I sat there I started to smile and enjoy my pizza, and it tasted so good, I was talking to the person next to me an simply felt good in that moment.

By the time I was flying to Winnipeg, I was so happy in the moment, for I realized everything I believed true about my life had been a lie and a deception from stories I had created for myself without knowing it. I realized so quickly that I was simply a kind, loving man sitting on a plane flying to Winnipeg, and as I reminisced with a fellow passenger, I knew from that moment on in my life I had finally come to understand what it was that was crushing me into oblivion. When I got to Winnipeg my sister was there waiting for me at the airport, and as I approached they were uncertain to as my state of depression or sadness and were unsure of how to act, I was smiling like the day my baby girl was born and I gave my sister a big hug and was laughing and joking and having a great time all the way home. They were none the less surprised, when asked why I was this way, I had said I had found this book, not sure what the title is though. For a few days my sister continued to ask me if the book was by Byron Katie, and I was like, I don’t have a clue. As I am more about substance than the title or author, sort of like the way I am with a good movie, no idea what it’s called, but it was good. She asked me if there was a blond lady on the front of the book, and I still had no idea, and as I talked about it she went and found the book in my carry on bag and showed me the book. And there it was, Byron Katie and a beautiful blond on the cover! We had a good laugh, and she started to tell me how she had been reading your stuff for a couple of years.

I thank you for your strategies in understanding our thoughts, it has changed my life. I have not seen my daughter or girlfriend in 3 months, and I am happy every day now, this would not have been possible 3 months ago. I would have cratered and fallen deeper into sadness and depression. Now I feel so free, my thoughts no longer lead the way, I lead them and decide on what to believe and how. It takes work, but I am so thankful I met your amazing Work through your book. I hope to come to a workshop someday when I have the money and I am on my feet, and look forward to meeting the woman who forever changed my life.

God bless you!

Sincerely,
David

Letter: “When you get it”

Dearest Katie,

About two years ago I read Loving What Is and began my Work journey, this never ending internal life. After listening to the audio of the book, and subsequent audios, I sent you a letter, which ended up on the Parlor. I had quoted a section of the book, which I just could not at all understand at the time. That part about “When you get it, they’ll get it. That’s the law! It must be so” “They will follow.” (paraphrasing). I wrote you asking for clarification, as I just couldn’t get it. I am starting to now. I have lived this question on and off since your response back then in the Parlor. I am seeing more and more, what starts to shift around me when I do my part, my Work. And I see it’s nothing personal. I see when my own mind begins to clear, it clears everywhere, and in some cases it just blows my mind. My whole world shifts. One of my sisters who had been very angry at me for a year and a half, approached me recently and said, “I just want you to know that I am ending being mad at you. I can’t stand it anymore. I see it is not hurting you and it is killing me. I love you. I always have. And spending more time around you these last three weeks has shown me this so clearly. And besides that I don’t just love you, I like you! So I am ending all this silly business with you. I am back on with you. I miss you so much.” This blew my mind. And I understood.

My son K, who is twenty-three years old, affectionately sometimes calls me Guddha – a cross between Grant and Buddha. And I know it cuts both ways. He does think I am wise sometimes, as he rubs my head affectionately. And I am sure sometimes he says it when he thinks that I think I am wise. Guddha sounds different in my head at those times! Like “Oh Mr. Know-it-All”. Thank you K. Now maybe I will call him Kuddha! He decided a few months ago to do The School. He is doing the March School. Now how wise is that? Finding his way to his own freedom. I’m loving it. So, please study up on the curriculum a little extra, as I am wanting the universe for him, which I really know he already has! “When you get it, they’ll follow!” Thank you for your doing and undoing, dearest Katie. Hugs and gushy kisses as always.

Love, Grant

P.S. Thank you for sharing the Rwanda letter on the community site. A real blow away.

Dearest Grant,

Thank you for your letter. One of my grandsons says that he is attending the School for The Work this summer in Los Angeles. I would love that he gets what your son received at the School, and that is his own truest mind back, awake and responsible for his own life and best interest. We all adore your son! Let him know that he is cleared to staff a School if he wants to. I love watching even six- and seven-year-olds work with people who are sixty, seventy, twenty and every age in between at the events I get to facilitate as well.

For those of you asking about your children coming to the School during the upcoming summer break, the answer is, of course, “yes.” Both my grandsons are fourteen, and I think of the fourteen-year-old daughter of one of the women at the last School (just a few days ago). This young lady wouldn’t let anyone—not even her mother—get away, skate away, shift away, shrink away from the authentic self she could see in us. This darling and ruthless fourteen-year-old facilitator used her skills (the most ruthless skills always are our kindness, gentleness, caring, and the most unmoving integrity in the face of the one in denial, the facilitated) to tear open a lot of stuck minds and lives. As I am not traveling out of the country this summer (thank you all for supporting my visit to London and Copenhagen in January) and many of you are wanting your children to come to the School during summer break, and of course I am very happy about that, I will be there as usual, from early morning to late at night, all day, every day, watching awareness shift from the fear-based self into another paradigm, the new one, the kinder one, yours. I hope to see not only my grandson but who knows?—maybe both my grandsons as well as your children and grandchildren at the summer School for The Work in Los Angeles.

loving you,
BK

A Letter from Texas

changeobamaHere’s a letter from someone in Texas:

Dear Katie,

Now that Obama has won, I’m noticing friends of mine are going to the gun store and buying more guns and ammunition. This seems ridiculous to me, but when I ask them why, they reply, “because Obama will take away our guns.”

What is wrong with these people? I don’t know how to wake them up, Katie. I tried to talk to them about racism and their feelings before the elections, but nothing would change their minds. I’m sad and upset that these “friends” of mine are so narrow-minded and racist.

What can I do to change them? They are normal, decent people in most ways, except when it comes to politics.

love, J

Dear J,

Let’s start with you offering your friends the one-liner “Obama is going to take away our guns—is that true? Can you absolutely know that it’s true?” Etc. But only if they are open to it.

And for your sake, I invite you to personally work with “Obama is going to take away our guns” and see what it might be like to walk in your friends’ minds, world, and internal life and fears. I invite you to look at taking away the gun that you are aiming at your friends, the judgments that you are shooting at them inside you. Also, try working with “There is something wrong with these people,” “They need to wake up,” “I need to do something to change them,” and “They are not decent people when it comes to politics.” For now, let’s look at “These friends of mine are narrow-minded and racist.”

Is this true? Can you absolutely know that it’s true? Can you absolutely know that it’s true that your friends are narrow-minded and racist? Notice that your mind wants to defend your position, to justify, to show proof of why it is true. Notice this and return to a simple yes or a no. Commit to one answer or the other. The Work stops working the moment your mind moves away from the questions and into its old pattern of justification and defense, winning and losing. Just notice these tendencies and continue to answer the questions. Give them a respectful amount of time; you are worth it. There is wisdom beneath the surface answers, there are answers that are pure gold to you, and they offer freedom that you cannot imagine. When you have given the first two questions plenty of time and answered them, please gently move to the third question.

How do you react when you believe the thought “My friends are narrow-minded and racist”? Do you feel sick to your stomach, disgusted, sad, even frightened for them? For you? Do you see images of them using the guns? Notice how you react when you believe that thought. Do you see yourself as superior to them? How do you treat yourself when you believe this thought, how do you treat them? Give this question some time, be still with it for a while.

Who would you be without the thought “My friends are narrow-minded and racist”? Would you be less frightened, less separated from them, lighter, easier of mind, less judgmental? Would you be happier thinking of and being with your friends, a closer listener, really hearing their minds, hearts, and fears without separating yourself from them?

Now turn it around. Are you being narrow-minded, sweetheart? Have you ever experienced yourself as racist, even a tiny bit? Have you been prejudiced against prejudiced people? Are you seeing these friends of yours as less enlightened than you, less rational, less wise, less open?

Another turnaround: My friends are open-minded and (what is the opposite of”racist”?) open-hearted. Let’s try that one. Where have these friends been more open to you than you were to them? To yourself? How narrow-minded are you when it comes to self-judgments? Where are these friends more open in other areas in life than you are? Find at least three examples of each turnaround, and continue with the next turnaround, and/or begin to work with another judgment that you are holding on to. Because until you do, you are the cause of the separation that is happening in the human race and that separation in the world is what you are putting out there, it is what you teach those in contact with you.

Help yourself. Understand your stressful thoughts. I cannot teach others until I have taken on my own narrow mind and my own racism. And if you need to make new friends, look to yourself. You may consider yourself a much better friend to wake up with after you have taken yourself where you really want to go. For me, I want to deal with anything within me that would separate me from anyone or anything. This is intimacy, oneness, love.

Loving what is, and that would be you,
kt

Why Can’t We Change?

We all know people, family members, or friends who find change difficult.

We know people who always seem to drift into painful relationships. As soon as they get out of one painful relationship, they begin another. Why can’t they change?

We know people who are afraid of life. They stay at home, wrapped in their shroud of loneliness, wondering why they are so depressed. We know beautiful people who insist on dwelling on a minor blemish to feel ugly. We also know people who are angry because things aren’t the way they should be. Maybe they have a job they don’t like. Maybe their child or spouse is sick. Maybe they can’t stand their neighbors. Maybe they’re angry at God. Why can’t they change?

Some of us are stressed about our finances, work, our jobs, our mortgages. We can’t sleep at night. We are quick to anger. We lose our tempers with our loved ones, our friends, our co-workers. Some of us are addicted to food, drugs, alcohol, sex, money, ideas, you name it. We make resolutions only to break them. We think we disappoint everyone around us. Why can’t we change?

The one thing all of us have in common is our excuses. Every vice has an excuse ready:

– I don’t have the willpower.

– I don’t have the money.

– I’m too young/old.

– My kids/parents/spouse/friends won’t let me.

– I don’t know how.

– It’s not my fault, it’s ______________’s fault.

– It’s not ______________’s fault, it’s all my fault.

We cling to our stories and can’t let go. Just the thought of change is stressful. We can’t change when we don’t really want to.

A Letter from Holland

Dear Dear Katie,

How are you? I want to share some things with you:

In the last month there are so many challenges on my path: I “lost” a lot of money because of the credit crisis. It is about ¾ of the money I had, so there is almost no money left. When I replace the concept money with the concept love, and when I do the turnarounds on all the concepts I have about “loosing money,” I feel very creative, alive, strong and free.

Also with my health: Again the doctors probably found some cancer cells in my breast. And when I heard it first I started to cry, but then, that same evening, did The Work, and I experienced a complete other person: loving, strong, caring. Without the cancer story I feel so grateful. Life goes on. Also, at the hospital when they did an examination that same afternoon, I could bear it as I did The Work on “this is my body.” Turning that around I came to “this is not my body,” and wow is that true!? It is none of my business, certainly not when the doctor is doing the examination– I could concentrate and relax with no more stories about terrible treatments.

Thanks to this Work, I can deal with all of these challenges. I can trust that what I need now is what I have. This is what the credit crisis is teaching me and giving me.

Every evening I go to bed with the MP3 player with the Mental Cleanse on it (what a brilliant idea!). I listen to the clarity of The Work and of you, and I fall asleep in peace– peace is what I want in this lifetime, and there is a lot of work to do. I am very happy and starting to get balanced. I am so grateful that I could be a staff member this summer in Bad Neuenahr. I did not speak to you personally then, but I breathed in and out the wonderful, peaceful, clear atmosphere of the School. Everything so well organized, always someone to talk to and to ask a question, always availability. And from me, it just came out of me, without having to do so much. Just gratitude. Being able to experience it.

On my knees, thanking you and me for this gift of life.

Dear Katie, embracing you with love,

M