Turnaround House: A Letter of Gratitude

I ran away from a 29 year marriage with 2 suitcases and not much else. I was in such a state of fear/anxiety that I was shaking uncontrollably as I drove away from the house…fearing I might meet my husband on the road somewhere in the very rural small town setting where we lived.

I was forced to give up my medications for depression/anxiety because he chose not to work and to use all of our savings until we had none left and he applied for welfare. My attempt at suicide to escape the darkness, loneliness and utter fear/desperation failed–he left me lie unconscious for 3 days in our bed without ever calling 911. Somehow, when I awoke, he just yelled as usual that I “should go live in a f–in hole somewhere and not be so selfish to do something like that again!” This from a man who was a former CEO of a company and now due to his life choices, our family was on welfare and without any insurance or income.

My thoughts were in such a state of confusion, I couldn’t think. I was just in survival mode there for months now. I left the state and ran to family for safety and relief. I spent the better part of the next year sobbing, unable to eat/sleep and barely functioning day-to-day. During the year, I tried talking to him, he was unwilling. I finally filed for divorce and after having to go back to the state again and see him (and him yelling abusively at me as though I had never left a year before, and this time in front of one of our children), I knew it was the only thing I could have done. After the divorce hearing and seeing him again was so devastating, returning back to my family again, I was inconsolable. I felt complete devastation and was consumed by suicidal thoughts. Unable again to eat/sleep/think I spent one night hugging the toilet bowl on the bathroom floor for 10 hours dry-heaving and sobbing. I didn’t know what to do. I saw Byron Katie on YouTube and had had two of her books. It looked like relief. I picked up her book and couldn’t even process the sentences in my head I was in such an awful place. I just continued to watch videos. Then, I found her website and wrote a letter about myself and my situation. I received a response almost immediately which helped me hang on. Katie invited me to Turnaround House and I gratefully accepted that invitation.

It was difficult for me to imagine attending the program, but I felt it was my only hope for a way out. On the way to California on the plane I finally read Katie’s book Loving What Is and I felt so much better afterwards seeing how much her program had helped people who were confused and in fear to become at peace with themselves. I felt Katie could resonate with me personally as I was coming from a very similarly dark place that she had lived in herself before finding her way out through The Work. Although I had never met her, I trusted her completely.

I attended the Turnaround House program and am now home. To say this was life-changing is a serious understatement. Words cannot begin to describe that I am not the same person coming out that went into it. I am happy and have a peacefulness within my life which I have never known before. I know I will never need depression/anxiety medications again. I know now that LOVE heals. This program is LOVE. Katie and her staff were completely committed to loving me and helping me heal myself. Its all about self-realization and self-empowerment. I have the confidence to face whatever comes in life now.

I am so grateful to Katie for taking me into her heart and program and giving me the tools to have the life I now know I deserve and love. I love them all and I love me now too.


Letter: “I’m worried because our country has lost its way”

Dear Katie,

I’m worried because I feel our country has lost its way.

Here’s how I did the four questions:

1) Is it true? Yes, yes, yes!

2) Can you absolutely know that its true? Yes.

3) How do you react when you believe that thought? I get very anxious and depressed. I worry about my future, the future of my children, and the future of our country. I get very upset. Sometimes I feel nauseous.

4) Who would you be without the thought? I’d be more relaxed. Happy. Lighter. I would look forward to the future, not dread it. I would have more energy to participate in it, to help change things and do my part.

Then I turned it around:

My country has not lost its way. Yes sometimes. Not everyone has. There are many people who are still doing the right thing – working for the environment, education, and justice for the poor.

I have lost my way. Yes that’s true. I’m not as optimistic as I was. I find fault with the government. I get in their business, not mine. Come to think of it, I sometimes do the same thing with my wife and children. Hmm. I often do the same thing with them.

I have lost my country’s way. That seems true, but I don’t really understand it. I have not been at all involved with political action, or with writing my elected representatives to push for the measures I support. So I guess that I’m the one who has lost our way not only for me but for us.

Thanks for everything,


Dear Jeremy,

Keep questioning your mind, sweetheart. Know the difference between your business and our business, and stay in your business. And who knows? You may end up on November 4th in the voting booth, happy and free, knowing that you are doing what you can do.

Loving you,


Money Worries: Stop Stressing, Start Living

(an excerpt from Loving What Is)

I’ve never seen a work or money problem that didn’t turn out to be a thinking problem. I used to believe that I needed money to be happy. Even when I had a lot, I was often sick with the fear that something terrible would happen and I would lose it. I realize now that no amount of money is worth that kind of stress.

If you live with the uninvestigated thought “I need my money to be safe and secure,” you’re living in a hopeless state of mind. Banks fail. Stock markets crash. Currencies deflate. People lie, bend contracts, and break their promises. In this confused state of mind, you can make millions of dollars and still be insecure and unhappy.

Some people believe that fear and stress are what motivate them to make money.
But can you really know that that’s true? Can you be absolutely certain that without fear or stress as a motivator, you wouldn’t have made the same money, or even more? “I need fear and stress to motivate me” — who would you be if you never believed that story again?

After I found The Work inside myself — after it found me — I began to notice that I always had the perfect amount of money for me right now, even when I had little or none. Happiness is a clear mind. A clear and sane mind knows how to live, how to work, what e-mails to send, what phone calls to make, and what to do to create what it wants without fear.

Who would you be without the thought “I need my money to be safe”?

You might be a lot easier to be with. You might even begin to notice the laws of generosity, the laws of letting money go out fearlessly and come back fearlessly. You don’t ever need more money than you have. When you understand this, you begin to realize that you already have all the security you wanted money to give you in the first place. It’s a lot easier to make money from this position.

More resources:

– Video: Inquiry – “You Need More Money—Is that True?”
– Video: “I need to give my son money” [Israel 2007]

Is it True? Our Mind Creates Our Reality

A while back a friend sent me the following quote, from the Indian Buddhist teacher Aryadeva. He wrote this almost 1900 years ago:

To question that things might not be as they seem can shake the very foundation of habitual clinging. This questioning spirit is the starting point for self-reflection. Could it be that this tightly-knit sense of self is not what it seems? Do we really need to hold everything together, and can we? Is there life beyond self-importance? These kinds of questions open the door to investigating the cause of our suffering.

“The actual practice of self-reflection requires us to step back, examine our experience, and not succumb to the momentum of habitual mind. This allows us to look without judgment at whatever arises, and this goes directly against the grain of our self-importance.

“Self-reflection is the common thread that runs through all traditions and lineages of Buddhist practice. It also takes us beyond the boundaries of formal practice. We can bring the questioning spirit of self-reflection to any situation, at any time. Self-reflection is an attitude, an approach, and a practice. In nutshell, it is a way to make practice come alive for us personally.”

Interesting. The old is new, and the new old.

Back to the present. The phone rings.

I say yes or no.

There are not many ways to directly answer people’s questions.

And as these answers flow out of what’s true for me in this moment, out of this pure power within me, the world is shaped on the other side of the phone, mind is influenced, interpretations form, life moves this way or that as effect, it seems. How else could the world be created?

They say, “It’s your fault,” and I think, “Isn’t it odd that after the fact they would hear a yes or a no in such a way?”

Or they say, “Thank you, thank you thank you,” and I think, “Isn’t it odd that such power is given to such simple answers, yes or no?”

The world is created as I sit here, it springs into being and is mirrored back to me as life. It’s wonderful not to be the doer.

Everything is a story. The mind spins stories out and you believe what the mind tells you. Every time you are stressed out or fearful, you are believing what the mind is telling you. The Work is about discovering what is true and what is not true for you, the difference between reality and imagination.

Email: Another Basal Cell Carcinoma Story

I visited my dermatologist last Friday for a skin check-up. After checking my back he noticed a little blue lump on my chest. It has been there for quite some time but it had never bothered me so I’ve never had it checked out. He suggested it might be a basal cell carcinoma, which I know are not dangerous and do not metastasize but he suggested we biopsy it. I agreed. He told me not to worry. This meant- “don’t worry.” Nevertheless, I went home feeling a very slight anxiety which continued into Sunday when it blossomed into a really uncomfortable feeling of depression.

I began three separate “One belief at a time” worksheets with different titles. One that I was particularly fond of I titled- I am not a lover of what is. In each one I included a pretty fulsome of what I everything I was experiencing. It was all embarrassingly like all the things I’d previously written about others when I judge my neighbors. Curiously, when I got to the turnaround portion, I didn’t couldn’t come up with anything I believed.

My daughter was becoming annoyed with me and my wife was becoming slightly alarmed. I rather dramatically informed her that I thought something was amiss with my brain chemistry and perhaps I needed medication. She wisely rejected this suggestion as well, idiotic. She asked me if this had anything to do with my doctor’s appointment and I denied that it did.

Full of unnamed dread, I called for my biopsy results but, luckily, they weren’t ready. After a couple of anxious hours the unexamined and unacknowledged belief popped into my head- “a biopsy means something really bad is going on.” Then, the turnaround was obvious. I was imagining a carefree life pre-cancerous diagnosis as opposed to the dread filled after my diagnosis. I had been play acting a little pre-dread dread. It was actually pretty dreadful. Nonetheless, I look forward to another experience of fearing for my health. It was instructive.


A Letter from the Internet

My name is Jennifer, and I found The Work while online searching for a way to “unstick” my life. I didn’t quite understand at first, but then I read the book Loving What Is, and followed the counsel, I found a new person inside me. I have begun applying The Work to many areas of my life, but tonight I hit a most poignant false story that I wanted to share.

As I did The Work tonight, on underlying beliefs that were triggered by frustrations at my sister, I unearthed a powerful story inside me. I had been telling myself that I should not commit sins, when in fact I have and I do. I have been plagued in my life with anxiety and being overly careful about everything, censoring every area of my life. All of my thoughts went to picking over what I’d done and what I could do in the future that was wrong.

When I realized that it’s not true that I shouldn’t commit sins, my eyes were opened and I can now see. I can see that I keep God’s commandments because I love him, and that fear is not necessary for me to be obedient. When I discovered this, I put down my pen and just cried, because I could feel the love that God has for me, and I could feel the love I have for him, free of fear.

I was afraid that the fear in my former story was what was saving me. But when I considered for a brief moment that it wasn’t true, I realized that my love for the Savior and his love for me are what really save me each and every moment of every day, and it brought me to tears.

And it’s funny because in the moment that I knew that I should commit sins, the very things that have always tempted me seemed to disappear, forever.

God bless you, and thank you,

Audio: My Enemy is My Friend

If I see an enemy, I need to take another look, because that is my friend, not my enemy. Enemies enlighten me to myself. That makes them friends. In the world of the personality, friends are people who agree with you… Download the audio file here >>

A Letter: “Fear of Flying”

Dear Katie:

I used to be terrified of flying and I would do a really weird thing with my mind. I would practice being prepared for the plane to fall, trying to exercise bravery as I imagined how it would feel. As you may imagine, I spent the whole flight in terrified misery. Before I went to the School and met Katie, I switched my thinking: the plane is NOT going to fall, and I decided to believe this as much as the other. This helped as long as the plane did not begin to do the jig in the air.

Then, I was flying home from my second School in Bad Neuenahr, Germany, and the pilot announced very rough weather approaching Madrid. My body tensed. The first jolt hit about 20 minutes out and I could feel the fear pour into my stomach. Then, suddenly, I remembered something Katie had said and I asked myself: Is anything happening to me right now? I went to my body, felt it sitting tightly in the seat, and the answer from my body was immediately NO. I questioned: “The plane is going to fall”— IS THAT TRUE? CAN I ABSOLUTELY KNOW THAT IT IS TRUE? Again the answer was NO. I felt my body relax. I opened the window blind (it was night time), and the cosmos was there in all its splendor, the stars, flashes of lightning on the horizon, infinite sky black… it was so beautiful, so breathtaking, that all I could feel was love and gratitude. The plane continued shaking like a Waring blender, but suddenly to me it felt like a rocking cradle, I was filled with joy and so relaxed that I actually nodded off for a few minutes while the craft joggled me softly to sleep. We arrived safely in Madrid and I did NOT suffer 20 minutes of panic. It was wonderful. Thank you so much for The Work.

Love, Brianda

P.S. I have never shared with you the actual moment of my transformation, and as I read the Parlor letters, I suddenly thought that I would like to do that. I had been through so many years of psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, alternative therapies, and what have you and still I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t satisfied, still I thought that I was missing something in life. Still searching. I found The Work, thanks to a friend; I did the School and immediately began using The Work with myself and with others that asked me for it. I realized it was working for me, I felt better, I lived better, I was softer, kinder to myself. Then one day, I can’t remember why, I decided to work on one of my core beliefs about my childhood. MY PARENTS PUSHED ME ASIDE was more or less how it went (I did my work in Spanish and it is MARGINARON or marginalized me). Is that true? I closed my eyes and suddenly the following scene appeared in front of me: My parents getting up in the morning, looking at each other from either side of the bed and saying: “Today let’s push Brianda aside so she suffers”. I burst out laughing, it was delightful. What a comedy scene!!!! I continued to do The Work and when I got to the turnarounds, I found the pain: I PUSHED MYSELF ASIDE, oh yes, I certainly could find that when I locked myself in my room and refused to join my parents, and I PUSHED THEM ASIDE, even truer when I decided that I wouldn’t share my life with them or tell them anything about me. Tears of loss welled up at all the missed opportunities to share with my parents my growing up, and love, love for them and all they had given me. And then the miracle happened. The STORY disappeared, my past vanished. There was no longer anything to be reclaimed, anything to be repaired, anything to be regretted. It was gone. I began living in the present, grateful for everything I have and have had always. Since then it has been a beautiful life, and I love sharing it with you and with others as they ask for it or come into my life.

Thank you Katie. And when people ask, I say that in my experience psychotherapy brings you to ACCEPT your story, and THE WORK makes it disappear!!! KABOOM!!!

Much love and gratitude, Brianda

Facing Breast Cancer

Dear Katie,
I am so scared and confused, because I have breast cancer. I got the diagnosis in September, and started medical treatment, I didn’t want surgery, to take the whole right breast off. I also found an independent doctor who supported me in doing this. A few days ago I did an ultrasound scan and they said the tumor has grown and I should have surgery. My other independent doctor says it has not grown, but become smaller, that my body can well keep it in balance. This is very hard for me now, to know what is true, to know what to do. I really don’t want to take the breast off, but if it really should be the only way to survive, of course I’d do it. I have managed very well feeling good about everything, and have used The Work a lot with all these questions and fears coming up. I felt really strong and healthy and happy until this ultrasound scan. Now it is as if I failed, and can’t trust my own feelings. It is too much for me right now. I would be so happy and grateful for some message from you. I feel so much love and trust for you, Katie, and The Work has helped me immensely all these years. I need to find peace and clarity in this situation. I need to be able to go on and make a decision. I have a family with three kids and a wonderful husband, and they are worried too. It is not easy to get out of the fear. (I have your video “Cancer Meets Inquiry,” but it has to be transformed to European video system, so I haven’t seen it yet.)
Very much love to you from ****

Dearest ****,
I am so happy that you reached out to ask, and in my own experience, if I have been using my body, my breasts, my physical appearance as any kind of collateral or bargaining power in my life, then of course I am frightened to lose an arm, a leg, a breast, because I am equating my body as value for trade. Self-love is all that is needed to be clear, with or without body parts. I don’t need body parts to be loved or to love. I love you, dearest, with or without, and how would you hear that differently with a breast or without it? Which is easier for you to believe? That is the test. Get a round-robin partner, and call the hotline, and heal your fear. I look forward to our time together in Europe this summer.
Loving you always,

Dearest Katie,
Thank you so much for your answer! Self-love is all that is needed to be clear – YES, I see that. I will carry it with me. And I will work with the question you wrote, well, perhaps I would even hear you more clearly without a breast, who knows?
Lots of love from ****