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The Byron Katie Newsletter
May 24 - 29, 2009
Guess what? The Five-Day No-Body Intensive is
about to happen in Ojai, California, Stephen's
home town ("I" live with Stephen).
If you are interested in the end of suffering, if you are interested in discovering just how and why your physical body is the way that it is, and how you continue to age it and to create every physical flaw and illness that you see, come learn once and for all how to change once and for all. If you have the courage to change and the willingness to drop into the unknown, you have the ability to live beyond life.
I invite you to register for this one-time (as far as I know) No-Body Intensive. It will only hold about 100 participants, as it is being held at the Center for The Work in Ojai. Those of you wanting to attend, please register early to get the discount rate and when the hundred tickets are sold, it's done.
Participants are responsible for their own accommodations and food during the five days.
Location: The Center for The Work
213 N. Montgomery Street Ojai, CA
Almost every day I receive emails related to the state of the economy, to stress about income, jobs, and work.
For many people these are stressful times. Things seem to them more uncertain than ever, and they are often consumed by fear: fear of losing their jobs, fear of the conditions in the market, and most of all, fear about their co-workers' and their own families' welfare.
I invite you all to use The Work at Work in the same way as you use it in your day-to-day lives: to question your stressful thoughts, whatever they are in the moment. We can't let go of our thoughts, but when we question them, they let go of us. And I don't call it The Work for nothing! It is a lot of work in the beginning, and if it is freedom from fear that you are seeking, this economy is an opportunity for many of you to free yourselves in time from what seems like some very stuck areas.
For example, at work, or out of work, or maybe watching as your business shrinks in front of your very eyes, what are the stressful thoughts that take your mind over, replacing your confidence with fear?
What do you imagine that you need to do to boost your business or income?
Now what are you doing that you don't need to do when it is at the expense of other people's welfare and your own bankrupted spirit? Are you living mean-mindedly, unconsciously, as you sell yourself out by stepping on others competitively?
Make your list of amends, then make the amends, right out of your heart, asking yourself and others, if need be, how you can make it right, and then make it right.
Question any fearful thoughts that would stop you from making these amends or stop you from doing your real Work, and in the name of love, begin again.
A fearful life is what you can live well without. A fearless life is what you deserve, and enlightenment lived is security lived with or without the income that you think is worth selling your soul (your peace of mind) for. When you have The Work—your own truth surfaced—you have the way, because The Work works out of the answers inside you, the ones more important to you than anything else, the ones beyond physical welfare, that always bring physical welfare with them.
What thoughts are actually keeping you awake at night? What addictions take you over in the midst of your prior and present thinking? Transfer that thinking onto a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet and do The Work on them or they will continue to work you. What thoughts keep you from giving your best at work, as well as out of work?
Let's do The Work at Work where ever we are, in the name of the truth that sets us free: yours!
I love you, family, in every way, rich or poor, as my mind cannot believe any sane reason not to.
P.S. - Stephen says "thank you" to everyone who came out to see him on his book tour. If you missed him, there's a video here >>
"I Lost My Job"
I'm a sixty-two year old computer consultant, and I just lost my job two months ago. The stress is unbearable. I keep looking for something to do, but the positions out there are just not for me. They're not ready to hire someone my age. I have tried everything, from going to job fairs, to sending out my resume to all the businesses around town. I go to networking events and use the Internet. Nothing. Portland is a beautiful city, but it has a very high unemployment rate. I'm one of the statistics, as they say.
My wife is worried out about me. She's barely holding on to her job and together we are scraping by. Every day I try to think of what I could do to make things better, but I can't seem to find my way out of this sick feeling. I have difficulty sleeping. And I have lost my sense of humor.
A friend of ours gave me a copy of Loving What Is, and I'm trying to find my way through it. I don't love this. I don't love what is happening to my life. I would much rather have a job.
Desperate in Portland,
Let's start with "the stress is unbearable." Is that true? Can you absolutely know that it's true?
How do you react, what happens, when you believe the thought "the stress is unbearable'? What are the images that flood your mind? Do you see yourself as never working again, as destitute, as a homeless person pushing a shopping cart on the street? How do you treat your wife when you believe this thought? How do you treat yourself? Does this thought bring peace or stress into your life? Anything else? Be still. Watch, notice, what else do you see. Notice and identify the emotions that are the response to the images that you experience as though they were real. What else do you see in the silence and stillness of observation?
Now ask yourself: Who would you be without the thought "the stress is unbearable"? Who would you be if you were incapable of thinking that thought in the midst of your emotions as they were happening? Just notice, go back into that space and look again. What did you miss?
Now turn the thought around. "The stress is not unbearable." Can you find three examples when the stress, at its worst, was not unbearable, and it felt to you like it was? Can you get out of bed? Is the stress too heavy for you to brush your teeth in the morning? Perhaps you went to the park for a walk with your wife. Maybe you were watching your favorite TV show, or simply sharing a joke. Find at least three specific, genuine examples. Who knows?—you may find dozens of them that are true for you every day. I have noticed that in the face of what we are believing, reality waits to be noticed; eventually we wake up to it or not. (Some choose not to and some can't yet, and it is until it's not.) The Work is about collapsing that time, that dream, that trance. The unquestioned I-know mind will lead you to believe that your stressful thought in the moment is not only true but it is true forever. A belief in the moment is more powerful than any "thing." It is powerful enough to create the entire world as you understand it to be.
The original thought, "the stress is unbearable," is itself the cause of stress. When you realize this, you may also realize that every untrue thought that you're believing creates not only life but a life with stress. And then you may realize that stress can only come from believing your thoughts about the world. It does not, it cannot, come from the world. Realizing this is a very major road to inner peace.
I invite you to write down your stressful thoughts as they occur, and investigate them. Use the four questions and the turnarounds, with examples of each turnaround. "We're going to lose our home." "I'll never get a job." "I'm a failure." "I'll be out on the streets." "My family will fall into ruin." "I can't survive on the streets." "I can't survive." "My family will leave me." " They will lose respect for me." And on and on.
What is is, but only because it is. Until you wake up to reality in the moment, it is very difficult, even impossible, to love what is. Have you noticed? The only thing that can cause you stress is the story of a past or a future. What I love about the past is that it's over! What I love about the future is that it doesn't exist. What I love about this moment now is that I can "be" this that I am awake to. No problem! I already am.
In this moment now, all the pain that was ever suffered in the world is past, and that is the grace that we cannot appreciate when we are believing our past/future stories. Because the mind is believing its thoughts, often we feel tortured now as we live in reality, a true state of grace in the moment. It's not right or wrong, it's just that reality is always kind. But the story we superimpose onto reality can be hell. So I invite all people directly to the wisdom inside them, and The Work can take you there anytime you are open to your own self, your own true wisdom. Find the way out of the nightmares that you experience by going in.
And if there's something to fear, wait until it happens and be fearful then. Why be frightened about a thought of a possible future when it is only a thought that is producing the movie?
Once you can think clearly, without the stress of your painful thoughts, the whole world, in all of its unlimited abundance and glory, will open up for you. A fearful mind is limited; it can see only a very few options. A clear mind can see many more options—unlimited options. It can act efficiently, effortlessly, intelligently, in the present moment, and not be stuck in its deadly stories of past and future.
My job is to extend the invitation to do The Work and to let you know that The Work works for everyone whose mind is open to it, and that the only thing that stands between you and a peaceful life is your unquestioned thinking. That's all. I invite you to question "We are barely scraping by." And to move to other turnarounds on the above concept, "the stress is unbearable." What is the opposite of "unbearable"? Have fun with that. Or what is the opposite of stress? "Joy"? The joy is unbearable?
I am loving what is in this moment now, "it" works,
Business Inquiry: The Work at Work
What are the beliefs that are getting in the way of your job or your business?
In the same way as we do inquiry on our stressful thoughts about people in our lives, we can do business inquiry, questioning the assumptions we take to work and about our work or not having work. These assumptions may seem neutral to some of you, but they may in fact be causing a lot of stress in your life.
Why do we do things the same way over and over again and expect different results? Because we are believing our unquestioned thoughts over and over again in the same way, that's why. Simple.
What if we were to challenge our underlying beliefs, the beliefs about our work, the markets, our products and services, our customers, our partners, suppliers, our financial thinking, in fact everything we believe to be true about our jobs, the people we work with, our businesses?
Here's how. (Notice how familiar this process is.)
I asked one of my friends to do the following exercise. I invite you to do the same. His results show up as you continue to read.
Write down a business assumption or belief on the line below and then question it in writing (use additional blank paper as needed), using the following questions and turnarounds.
(If you prefer, use the One-Belief-at-a-Time Worksheet. You are welcome to download it here now.) While answering the questions, be still, and go deeply as you contemplate. The Work stops working the moment you stop answering the questions.
(Fill in the blanks)................................................................
1. Is it true?
- The answer is a "yes" or a "no" only.
- If your answer is "no," continue to question #3. 2. Can you absolutely know that it's true? 3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? What actions, thoughts, images, happen as an employee, a business owner, or a consumer, when you believe that thought? (The following sub-questions are meant to assist you in contemplation of the third question above. I include them only so that those of you who wish can be as thorough as possible. Some of them won't be appropriate, and some will work for you. Use the sub-questions as a possible menu that catches what you may have missed as you look at "How you react when you think that thought?".) Each of you deserves to be free from denial and delusional thinking, and it is always your choice. Those of you who are ready, take a deep breath; and now let's continue with the sub-questions to question #3.)
- What images do you see (past and/or future) when you believe that thought? Close your eyes, relax, contemplate, witness what you see.
- Describe your feelings; notice what happens in your emotional body when you believe that thought or assumption. Notice what addictions come to mind when you believe that thought. Notice the ones that you act on and any guilt that may follow. Describe in detail how you react.
- How do you treat your employees, customers, suppliers, partners, competitors when you believe that thought?
- How do you treat yourself when you believe that thought?
- What negative business behaviors happen when you believe that thought? (For example, defensiveness, secrecy, lies, exaggerations, justifications, theft, breach of laws (legal and moral), false accusations, anger, punitive behavior.)
- Where and when did that belief/assumption first occur to you (at what stage or part of the business)? After you define that, close your eyes and find its origin. Were you three years old when you recall its origin in your life? Six, seven years old? Notice: is it still causing fear and failures in your business and life as a consumer today?
- What negative results do you get for holding on to that belief or assumption? What are your business expectations, and what is the cost to you in losses, financial and personal?
- What do you fear would happen to your business and your financial life if you didn't believe that thought? (These, as well as the others, can be added to your list for inquiry later.)
- Does that thought bring peace or stress into your business life?
4. Who would you be without the thought?
Close your eyes; drop your belief just for a moment and look back; notice what your business would look like without that assumption.
What could your business be doing if you weren't holding on to this belief? What do you see? Find three examples of what you could easily do differently if you didn't believe that thought.
Find turnarounds. Are any of them as true as or truer than your original belief?
This is Jerry's Business Inquiry example: "Having more customers mean having more profits"
Jerry: "I am a business development manager for a mid-size consumer goods company, and my team has a real hard time with this. We believe that 'having more customers means having more profit.' "
Next, Jerry questions the common business assumption held by his team. As you follow his inquiry, I invite you to notice your own experience in life when you believe this thought. (Maybe yours is, "Having more money means having a happier life." Or "having more friends means having more income." Or, "…….?")
Ask yourself: is it true? Is it true that "having more customers means having more profits"? "Yes." Can you absolutely know that it's true? "No, we can't be 100% sure." So how do you react when you believe the assumption that more customers equals more profit? "Well, we go crazy trying to win new customers. We lower our prices, we go out of our way to sell. Sometimes our sales people push too hard. Sometimes they over-promise. Sometimes we fight with marketing or the product development team. . We stop trusting them, we begin to see it as "us," the good guys, versus "them," the bad guys, the ones not doing their jobs. We try to meet our quotas at all costs. Discounts, financing games.These hurt our business and our reputation."
Who would you be without that thought? "We might have more time and energy to focus on the customers we do have, or on improving our product. We could work on getting closer to our best customers, helping them thrive. We could become more valuable to them. We could tailor some of our products for their customers, helping them stand out from their competitors. And if they're successful, we share in that success. They'll buy more, we'll sell more. We know their demographic quite well, and we could work together on making something of value for their customers. There's a side benefit there. We'll reduce our marketing costs if we can make the same revenue with fewer customers."
Turn the belief around.
"Having fewer customers means having more profit.'
Might that be as true as or truer than the original belief?
"I can see that it might be at least as true. It depends on what we are doing to get more customers, and on what we could do without trying so hard to get more. We could focus on our most profitable customers. We could get closer to our most valuable customers. We could definitely be integrated more tightly. We could focus on helping our customers' businesses do better."
Can you find three examples to make that a true statement?
"One, we could focus on the customers that have the strongest cash positions, the ones who are most likely to weather the recession.
"Two, we could stop wasting time on difficult customers, the ones that keep changing their orders. They're very high maintenance, but we keep them because we think we need them to meet our numbers.
"And three, we could stop serving customers that don't pay in a timely manner, the ones with poor payment history."
In this example, we see how challenging a simple but powerful belief in the sales team– that "having more customers mean having more profit" leads us to a new strategy to survive and profit in a recessionary economy. What's more, the customers we get closer too during these trying times are the ones who will appreciate and trust us when times get better. So by shrinking our customer base, we actually improve our long-term profitability.
AN INVITATION: We are writing a book on the subject of The Work at Work. If you have a story to contribute about how you have used The Work in your business or to help alleviate stress in the workplace, send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org. If we use your example in the book, we will include your name and website both in the book and online. Thank you for passing on The Work to overcome fear in the world's marketplace, the planet Earth. Thank you for passing on The Work and your business solutions to all of us. Together as one, always paying it forward,
Video: You Need More Money
Making money is not my business, truth is my business. It is the truth that sets us all free to be a more generous human race, kinder and freer from fear. Isn't this the reason that you want more money in the first place? That is the power of what lives inside you waiting to be released: your pure wisdom revealed to you.
A story like, "I need more money" is what keeps you from realizing your wealth and the abundance that is always present in every moment without exception. Notice that you always have more "stuff" than you need, but only when your mind is open enough to realize it; that is when you "get" it, and you are able to receive what is already given.
Whenever you think that your needs are not being met, you're experiencing an internal story of a future and are witnessing the images of an apparent past that is seen now. You're supposed to have exactly as much money as you have right now. This is not a theory: this is reality. How do I know that this is true? No one can have more money than they do. You have what you have in this moment right now. You don't have to like it, and if you don't, I invite you to your self, to The Work, and to the awareness of all that is given to you right here, right now.
How much money do you have? That's it; you're supposed to have exactly that amount. If you don't believe it, look at your checkbook.
How do you know when you're supposed to have more? When you do.
How do you know when you're supposed to have less? When you do.
True abundance is to be left without a care in the world and find yourself freed up to be the care for those who aren't caring yet.
Letter: "When you get it"
About two years ago I readLoving What Isand 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.
P.S. Thank you for sharing the Rwanda letter on the community site. A real blow away.
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. Those of you not living in the States, air fares are less expensive now, and I love that this would work for you as well.
A Letter from Israel
W o w, w o w, w o w !
Never before was the psychology of others and especially myself so clear to me as it was this last week since I started watching Katie's conversations and reading her book Loving What Is. No teacher before, including the greatest of spiritual teachers, has introduced to the world such a simple and effective way to go from hell to heaven. Any innocent heart in the whole world can take the unbelievably simple tools and work his or her way to freedom. Free at last, free at last, free at last!
War & Peace: More Letters from Israel
Note: I have deleted the names of the certified facilitators in the following letter from Israel as it is the kindest way that I know to not unfairly market through this newsletter or give advantage to one certified facilitator of The Work over another (see the profiles on thework.com).
13-02-2009 Dear Byron Katie and people wanting to know about The Work in Israel,
It is my pleasure to introduce myself to you. My name is L. and I am 38 years old. I am originally French, and am now living in Israel. I am married and a mother of four boys. I have studied psychology and specialized in Adlerian studies: all this as an endeavor to find happiness (without great success….).
A year and a half ago, my therapist told me, "Read this book, it might help you a lot." This was my first encounter with The Work. I then attended a seminar given by [a certified facilitator] and decided to enroll in his program in Tel-Aviv.
The purpose of this letter is first to share with you the strong and meaningful impact his course has had on my life:
Doing The Work through his course is giving me a framework which motivates me to do The Work. I find it disturbing to face my own fears or problems and as it is part of the course's requirements, I just do it and I do it as well as I can. And now that I have been doing it on a regular and intense basis, I feel different: calmer, more realistic, safer to do the Work by myself.
Sometimes, I cannot recognize myself: I used to be an unhappy people-pleaser. I now am able to do things and to say what I believe in even when it is not popular. I feel more alive, as if I had just been released from prison.
My relationship with myself is improving: I used to always feel inadequate, not good enough for the tasks I had to do. I had dreams, but was afraid to try anything new because of possible failures. I am now able to forgive myself and I am learning to accept and love myself as I am.
The relationships with my husband and children are also evolving: I now understand, through The Work, my share of responsibility, I am forgiving them. I feel that I love them more and that only now have I started to understand what is meant by "unconditional love."
I would also like to share with you all a moving and memorable experience. During the war, [my facilitators] proposed to conduct the lecture in a Community Center in Herzliya called Beit Foster which was hosting teenagers aged between fifteen and sixteen years old. These children had been deported from a settlement called Gush Katif and transferred to Nitsan – suffering at that time from the alarms announcing the missile attacks. Some of them had family members fighting as soldiers.
I was amazed to see how these teenagers felt safe with us and agreed to share their fears and problems. They co-operated with us, understanding the questions and the turnarounds. It was an inspiring experience for all of us!!! Our conclusion after a discussion was that Israeli and Palestinian politicians need us as facilitators to work with them so that they can free themselves from their own fear and work towards peace.
Looking forward to meeting you at the School, L
Thank you for your letter. Give my love to The Work family in Israel, and thank you for passing on freedom to the family of the world and its sometimes frightened teenagers during crises and for any other reason that would end their fear as well as your own. I love that you continue to pass on what you live so well: freedom! See you at the School and always, and gratitude to those who make The Work available to you through their life-changing events and availability.
I was asked by [my facilitator] to write you about our interaction with kids from Nitzan (an area that has been under missile attack by the Hammas), who were hosted for a day by the Foster Community Center in Herzliya (center of Israel). As interns of THE WORK facilitators, we took part in that day's program.
First, I would like to acknowledge [my facilitator] for initiating this opportunity both for the kids as well as for us to facilitate them. He easily created an immediate rapport with them, using their missile experience as a metaphor for disturbing thoughts.
They have been a group of 30 kids, aged 14-17. After a short introduction and a demonstration with a volunteer, we split them into groups of 8-10. Each two facilitators worked with a group. We presented them with a challenge ' which group would come up with the higher number of stressful thoughts? They responded well to the challenge and were motivated. Within each group, we asked for a volunteer to demonstrate, while the rest of the group members were encouraged to present the questions (one at a time). That proved to be a good idea, as it kept them involved, interested, active and part of the process.
My own experience, as a facilitator was rewarding as well:
The girls in my group were very shy and hardly talked, which led me at the beginning to conclude: "They will not get much out of this experience…" Yet, as the demonstrated inquiry continued, I noticed toward the end that the girl who was the most silent of them all kept writing notes enthusiastically and intensively.
She continued to write even when the demo was over, and thanked us from the bottom of her heart.
In the presence of her gratitude I realized how significantly this experience has been for her, and how wrong I was to quickly conclude: "They will not get much out of this experience…" This experience helped me internalize:
When I facilitate – I come with no expectations!
It is not about me! It is not about "my success." It is totally their business – if they get something out of it.
Moreover, it is God's business if they get something out of it, i.e., I TRUST the process! The Work keeps working! I trust the mystery, in which I am just a tool.
Ever since that experience my approach to facilitating has changed: It is much more free, fun and no expectations, no stressing over results. I truly internalized the wisdom that whatever happens- is not in my control. I am grateful to be part of the mystery.
M M.Ac., Lic.Ac.
"My mother knowingly allowed me to be physically abused."
A beautiful woman, with a successful career, a wonderful partner, and a second child on the way, has lived with memories of fear and violence since early childhood.
How does a person live with that kind of history? How can she let it go?
Listen to Katie facilitate this woman as she inquires into her thoughts and sees that there is a way to approach pain in a healing spirit instead of a hardening one. Learn from her that you can know your own capacity to love rather than retreat into a defensive shell. When we investigate the stressful thoughts that cause suffering, our minds open, and then our hearts. When we don't shut down, we find that life is love.
Without forgetting or denying the reality of what happened, an abuse victim can recover her integrity as a person who can bring joy to herself and others.
Thank you, family, for love in the world. Simple acts of kindness, giving what you can to those who can't yet, and loving what is, gives you a life to love as you live it.
Depression is nothing more than a mind full of unquestioned unkind thoughts and concepts. I invite you to begin to do The Work on your negative thoughts today. Everything you need to do this is free on our website. There are thousands of people in the world today willing and able to facilitate you and to help you turn your darkness into an asset. If you want to experience The Work, please go to our free hotline. Our facilitators are there for you. It isn't necessary to give them your name, your country, or your email address, or to sign up for a newsletter, or to offer an identity of any kind other than the one you bring into the session. We are here to serve you and in this we serve our world, its beauty, and its freedom. In the name of love, blessings all around you and more,
The Work's ongoing 28-day program exists for the sole purpose of turning your life around. The stories of transformation at Turnaround House are spectacular, and miracles are commonplace and daily. You are invited to bring your body and your open mind to your Turnaround House experience. Your program will begin the moment that you arrive. We are here to receive you today, our arms and our hearts wide open and we are ready to say to you with all our heart, "Welcome home."