A Letter from Katie

Hello, dears,

Thank you again for your generous welcome and volunteer work that made the Zurich, Bern, Geneva, London, Paris, Vienna, Cologne, and Amsterdam events possible. Also, I was so excited to have the new French translation of Loving What Is, published in time for the tour; thank you, Benoît and Margot. I loved this tour, family, and am happy to say that thanks to you, I experience The Work as alive and well in the world, because of those of you who have taken inquiry into your life and have passed it on as you continue your daily meditation practice in The Work. I look forward to seeing how many cities I can take on next year; I already love responding to some of your invitations. Love is the power that moves me, and that is all that I met on the tour this summer. I met it in the eyes and hearts of each one of you, dears. You move me in the world through your love and care, and I am so very grateful for the peace that, all together, we bring into our world.

So, back to Ojai, and this past weekend at Spirit Rock, and on to the No-Body Intensive in Atlanta, and on and on. Stephen and I are also taking a final pass through the new book. It’s called A Mind at Home with Itself, and HarperOne will publish it in September 2017. I am so moved by Stephen’s version of the Diamond Sutra, included as the basic text that I comment on, and I love that those of you who have wanted this book to come about will have the good fortune to experience it yourself. If you have a better title for the book, please pass it on to us—you can email it to stephen@thework.com. We really are open to all input from you for another title, though I love A Mind at Home with Itself, as that is this given grace of consciousness. I don’t know why or how this awareness and grace came to be, but it is easy for me to recognize that its only value lives through you. You are my love, my life, and my reason.

So thank you for The Work happening in you and for the peace awakened through you, and how you allow it to take itself from one to the other in the world. Thank you for supporting this silly body through its travels to meet you again in Europe, and I appreciate imagining that you are aware of this moment now and that all there is for you is here in it and how this understanding gives you everything in you so visibly and without effort.

I invite all of you who are available to turn your life around at Turnaround House, beginning this Sunday, September 4. Take this opportunity to turn your life right-side up! For those of you who can afford the money and time away from your present lives, I invite you to this one-of-a-kind opportunity.

Thank you for waking up to the life that is already yours. And for those of you meditating on a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet today, I invite you to keep in mind that you need only ask, wait, listen, and notice, being realized through our Work.

All ways loving what is,

Byron Katie and My daughter’s socks

Socks, shoes, shirts, clothes, earrings, you name it, my 14 year-old daughter leaves it lying around. It used to drive me crazy (or crazier, as we like to say). Every Monday, which is cleaning day at our house, I would spend an extra hour or two picking up her crap before I could even see her floor to vacuum it (never mind actually cleaning it). My husband and I had tried almost everything: chore chart, rewards, punishments, allowances, and three times I took everything she had lying around her bedroom, put it in a trash bag and donated it to Goodwill. I would curse my way through this task every week wondering why she couldn’t just pick up her stuff. Didn’t she care about how I felt? Wasn’t she embarrassed about how her room looked? Didn’t she know that I was embarrassed about how her room looked? Wasn’t she tired of getting yelled at week after week? Maybe she was just an ungrateful horrible kid who appreciated nothing and we had failed horribly as parents?

We had been yelling at her about her room for more than five years when I read this passage from Loving What Is:

The reality was that day after day, they left their socks on the floor, after all my years of preaching and nagging and punishing them. I saw that I was the one who should pick up the socks if I wanted them picked up. My children were perfectly happy with their socks on the floor. Who had the problem? It was me. It was my thoughts about the socks on the floor that had made my life difficult, not the socks themselves. And who had the solution? Again, me. I realized that I could be right, or I could be free.

Holy crap, it was me, I was making myself crazy! There was nothing “wrong” with my daughter there was something wrong with me and I needed to make a change. So I did. The very next Monday it took me 5 hours to put away her stuff and clean her bedroom and bathroom. I didn’t complain about it, I didn’t tell her how much work it was when she got home from school, I just cleaned it and moved on. The next week it took me an hour to clean up after her, the week after that 30 minutes and now it takes 10. Every Monday when my daughter gets home from school she exclaims, “Thank you Mom!” from her clean room. I feel good, she feels good, it is all good. As a matter of fact, she keeps her bedroom and bathroom much neater now without me saying a word.

So, Byron Katie changed and improved my life and the life of my daughter. Her book delivered what it promised. I have always believed that we are what we think and The Work can help change perspective and thoughts.

If you are interested in reading more about Byron Katie’s “The Work” and her four questions, you can find her books at Amazon or visit her website. I highly recommend it.

All my best,

Katie Koans

Stephen has been collecting a few dialogues between us, which he calls “Katie koans.” I don’t know anything about the Zen tradition—or about any other spiritual tradition, for that matter—but he says that these delight him like the dialogues of the ancient Chinese Zen masters. He loves being the “straight man.”

Once, shortly after he met me, Stephen was returning to our restaurant table from the men’s room.
Katie: Did you have a wonderful time?
Stephen: (Silence, dumbfounded, dazzled.)

Out walking on a spring day in Aspen, Colorado.
Katie: Don’t you love what the wind says as it moves among the branches?
Stephen: What does it say?
Katie: Nothing. That’s what I love about it.

Introducing him to a friend:
Katie: This is my husband, Stephen. He still thinks he’s Jewish.
(Stephen breaks into a smile.)

After we both got pneumonia vaccine shots, I read to Stephen a flyer that warned, “As with any medicine, there is a very small risk that serious problems, even death, could occur after getting a vaccine.”
Stephen (smiling): I hope you don’t die.
Katie: You don’t ever wish me well, do you?
Stephen: I’m so selfish.

Katieism: An uncomfortable feeling is not an enemy…

An uncomfortable feeling is not an enemy. It’s a gift that says, “Get honest; inquire.” We reach out for alcohol, or television, or credit cards, so we can focus out there and not have to look at the feeling. And that’s as it should be, because in our innocence we haven’t known how. So now what we can do is reach out for a paper and a pencil, write thought down, and investigate.