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The Byron Katie Newsletter
I just returned from a short tour of the Northeast, with events in Lenox, Mass., Toronto, and Boston. Here are a few special moments from Kripalu:
And from the event at the Newton-Wellesley Hospital:
Thank you for passing on peace by being who you are without your old unquestioned beliefs. I love to pass on to you the invitation to do The Work with any and all unkind thoughts that arise within your mind and to continue, for the love of peace, to undream your unkind world, by questioning what you are believing. The Work leaves your world always kinder, kinder, kinder as the world arises in your experience. Do you gossip? Do you criticize others before you test it within yourself and take care of your own chaos? You can finally change us by changing yourself, and the Work is the key to the changes for us that you have always wanted.
Thank you for “saving” us through your Work. I am sincerely grateful for your kinder world as it meets mine, the world that is always kind, a world where no one has the power to override what is dear and beautiful and perfect, just as it is. If you don't understand our true nature, you can never understand your own at the level that you deserve, at the level of truth that is yours deep within your awareness. I invite you to invite your true nature to surface each time you do The Work, and for those of you who have not experienced The Work, I invite you to go to “How to do The Work” at thework.com and to follow the directions. There is no charge or fee, everything of value that I have is written in those instructions. I have no need to wish you well, since I understand that when you really wish yourself well, your answers to the four questions and the turnarounds will take you to your dearest happiness and “dreamed” self, encompassed with the natural ability to live them in this life that is so beautifully your own, waiting to be lived.
I love you, family of the world. We are guilty of one thing and that is living our lives hopelessly out of whatever we are believing in the moment. It is my dream that you understand that the spell of the nightmare can be broken, leaving only the happiest dream possible. Enjoy this month’s newsletter (or not), and know that it is what it is until it’s not. Happy dreaming.
Loving what is the dream, all ways,
P.S. The next School of You is coming up in just a few days. Click here to register, or call 1-888-98-KATIE (52843). There are several payment options available for this October School—just ask.
Our friend Patrick McDonnell, the creator of the comic strip Mutts, is at it again. This came out on October 1, 2009:
"I love Esalen"—kt
I'm very sorry that Gordon and I were away when you were last at Esalen. It
would have been wonderful to see you. I'm writing to thank you so much for
the gift of your teaching, for your generosity and willingness to keep
supporting Esalen year after year as you have been doing by teaching your
program here. It's not just that you can be relied on to completely fill
the property for us, for which of course we are grateful. But even more so,
it is the fact that it is you, and the quality of your extraordinary work
that is attracting so many people, work we are so very proud to be
presenting, that makes your being here even more special and important to
us. In addition, the wonderful people that you attract to Esalen, many for
the first time, who end up having a remarkable experience of you and of this
very special place, is an additional, vitally important gift to us. Thank
you for all of this, and for your continued understanding and willingness to
accept the fees that we pay all who teach here, and for being an exemplar of
With warmest regards,
Executive Director of Programming
55000 Hwy 1
Big Sur, CA 93920
My 8 year old son Tom just said to me, "I am grateful for The Work. Everytime you read Byron Katie books or do The Work you are not angry anymore. That is good."
A Letter from Soledad Prison
On 09-10-09, I attended Byron Katie’s workshop. The participants were asked, “What is the thing you are most ashamed of in your life?”
Like many of my incarcerated peers, I found myself answering Ms. Katie’s question by stating my crime, enduring the labels associated with my crime (i.e. murderer), and the domino effects that my crime has had on so many other people. This would include my victim, my victim’s family, my community, my own family members, and my own unmet potentials in life.
A week later I read A Thousand Names for Joy. Through Ms. Katie’s work with my incarcerated peers, many of whom are lifers like me, and after reading this book, I am better able to “turn it around.” I rewrote my initial statement, as if it was written about me by someone else. I redescribed my problem of believing outdated labels (i.e. prisoner, lifer, murderer, etc.). This all resulted in my embracing myself in a more positive manner. I even looked at myself in the mirror, inside my prison cell, and for the first time in my 31 years of incarceration, I came to a more meaningful sense of serenity (peace of mind) and self-realization of who I am as a man. I no longer fear tomorrow, nor carry the weight of yesterday. Instead, I swim in the pool of today’s reality, swimming with the current of today, and even wearing a smile throughout my worthwhile day.
Thank you, Ms. Katie for the workshop. Please come back soon and help us help ourselves.
Byron Katie does The Work with Sauron, the Dark Lord
by Tim Ray
Tim is my Danish translator. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
Dear Katie, I’m glad you like the spoof. Here’s how it came about. I’m a great Lord of the Rings fan and one night a few weeks ago I had this amazing dream. I dreamt that you were standing before one of the Black Riders (the Nazgul), who was looming ominously before you. Your response: ”Oh sweetheart, what a beautiful black dress! I love it!” The Black Rider then drew his big silver sword and advanced menacingly towards you. Your response: ”Oh wow, what a beautiful silver sword! And look at those beautiful symbols!” The Black Rider then pierced your heart with the sword, the blood came gushing out. Your response was: ”Oh wow, how wonderful, you’re killing me. So beautiful and all the blood… Oh sweeetheart…” And then I woke up and wrote the spoof.
I guess the The Work is really penetrating into the deepest reaches of my subconscious now. That’s what you get for translating A Thousand Names for Joy!
BK: So, sweetheart, read what you wrote on your Worksheet.
Sauron: This is really hard for me.
BK: I know, honey, and I admire your courage. So let’s hear it.
Sauron: I am frustrated and angry at all the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth - the elves, the dwarves, the men, and those annoying little hobbits, not to mention Gandalf the White and his fellowship - for consistently opposing my plans to become Lord of Middle-Earth. They should realize that I am the Master of the World and bow down to me. They should be my slaves. They should worship me and give me love, approval and appreciation. I want them to see that I am the greatest. They are weak, stupid, annoying, irritating. I never ever want to experience them rebelling against my plans again.
BK: So basically, that’s about it.
Sauron: [Laughing] I’m sure there’s more. But I ran out of space. This thing with the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth has been bugging me for thousands of years. In fact, ever since those blasted Numenoreans landed on the shores of Middle-Earth…
BK: I hear you. Okay, so let’s do the Work. Let’s look at what you’ve written, sweetheart. I heard you say that “they should realize that you are the Master of the World”.
BK: So “They should realize that you are the Master of the World” – is that true? [To the audience] See if you can find the place in yourself where you believe that someone in your life should realize that you are the Master of the World and bow down to you and worship you and do exactly what you want them to do. It could be someone you knew a long time ago or someone you know today. So, sweetheart, “They should realize that you are the Master of the World” – is that true?
Sauron: [Fuming] Yes!
BK: You answered so quickly.
Sauron: Yes, they should all bow down to me and realize that I am the Master of Middle-Earth!
BK: I hear you. And can you absolutely know that it’s true?
Sauron: [After a pause] Well…
BK: Well? What’s the reality of it, sweetheart? Do the elves bow down to you and say that you are the Master of the World?
BK: The hobbits? The dwarves? The Dunedain? And what about Gandalf the Wizard? Does he bow down to you and realize that you are the Master of the World?
Sauron: [sighs] No.
BK: So “They should realize that you are the Master of the World” – how do you react when you believe that thought?
Sauron: I get furious, angry, frustrated. I release my armies of darkness – the Black Riders, the orcs, the trolls, the werewolves and the bats on all the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth. I start a war and burn, hack, destroy, annihilate. It’s like my whole being is consumed by darkness. I get very focused and lose sight of everything else. It’s like I have only One Eye of malice, bent on destroying anything and everything that doesn’t do my will.
BK: Yes, sweetheart. The mind has a job. And that’s to give us all the stories that prove that what it thinks is true.
Sauron: It’s really quite horrible. I build all these defenses around myself, impenetrable walls of steel and mountains of horror. No one can get in or out. And yet all the time doubt keeps gnawing at my heart. What if someone really great and powerful, like Gandalf or Saruman or Aragorn or Galadriel gets a hold of the One Ring? That really worries me.
BK: Yes, I hear you sweetheart. So, whose business are you in when you believe the thought “They should realize that I am the Master of the World”?
Sauron: I can see that I’m mentally in their business.
BK: And how has that worked for you so far?
Sauron: It’s really quite hopeless. I’ve been trying for hundreds and thousands of years to bend them to my will. But they just won’t do it. I devised the One Ring to rule them all, but then they formed that blasted Last Allegiance of Elves and Men. And Isildur cut the Ring off my finger and I had to go into hiding for thousands of years. It was really depressing. And now the same thing is happening all over again. The One Ring has been found and I can’t seem to get a hold of it. The Riders of Rohan are proving more and more tenacious than I thought. Minas Tirith is still going strong. And the other day I realized that an heir of Isildur is still alive with the sword of Elendil reforged. That really worries me. I have trouble sleeping at night. I’ve started taking Valium. But none of it really works. It’s like a living nightmare.
BK: Yes. So can you find one stress-free reason to keep the thought?
BK: So, who would you be without the thought “They should realize that I am the Master of the World”?
Sauron: [After a pause] Hm. It’s… like a blank. I mean, I’ve been so used to that thought that it’s, you know, I really don’t know.
BK: So close your eyes for a moment. See Gandalf, Aragorn, the elves, the hobbits, the dwarves, the riders of Rohan, all the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth, just as they are. And you cannot believe the thought “They should realize that I am the Master of the World”. What do you see?
Sauron: [Taking a deep breath] Well, first of all I would realize that they don’t realize that I am the Master of the World. They just don’t. Never have and probably never will.
BK: I would drop the “probably”!
Sauron: Yes. And I would see that trying to get them to realize that I am the Master of the World is hopeless. So that would be a huge load off my back. Just seeing reality. And then I would be more realistic. I wouldn’t stress myself so hard all the time, constantly doing battle with reality. It feels more peaceful.
BK: So “They should realize that I am the Master of the World” – turn it around.
Sauron: They should not realize that I am the Master of the World.
BK: Okay, so give me three examples of where they should not realize that you are the Master of the World. Three genuine examples, and make them as specific as you can. [To the audience] I invite all of you to do this as well. [To Sauron] So, give me three specific, genuine examples.
Sauron: Well, at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields they sure as hell didn’t realize that I was the Master of the World! I mean none of them – the Dunedain of Gondor, the Rangers of the North, the Riders of Rohan, the sons of Elrond, I mean the list goes on and on.
BK: My goodness!
Sauron: And way back when the Valar, you know the Lords of the West, sent the Five Wizards – Gandalf, Saruman, Radagast and so on to help the Free Peoples in their struggle against me. The Valar sure didn’t think I was the Master of the World back then either.
BK: My goodness!
Sauron: And Saruman, that spineless worm, trying to get a hold of the One Ring himself and proclaim himself Master of Middle-Earth…
BK: That’s amazing.
Sauron: [Laughs] It’s amazing that I didn’t see something so obvious before!
BK: That’s what the mind does. It believes its story and then it finds all the proof. And in the end it can only see what it believes to be true, even though it isn’t. Okay, sweetheart, can you find another turnaround?
Sauron: I should realize that I am the Master of the World.
BK: Yes. And how are you doing in that department?
Sauron: [After a long pause] Well, I can see that actually I myself have some serious doubts in that department. Because, I mean hey, if I am really the Master of the World why can’t I get Gandalf and his lot to bow down to me and do what I want!
BK: Ah, you are good, sweetheart! So “You are the Master of the World” – is that true?
Sauron: [Starts to cry] No.
BK: And consider how you react when you believe that thought.
Sauron: It’s hopeless, hopeless. I mean I am totally in everybody else’s business, constantly trying to get them to do what I want. And it’s wearing me out. I don’t even have a physical body anymore. I’m just this one horrible lidless eye. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat. Mordor is a total mess – it’s no wonder they call it The Land of Shadow. All my employees have this total love-hate relationship with me. The orcs both worship and loathe me. Not to mention the elves and the dwarves. It’s pure hell.
BK: Who would you be without the thought “I am the Master of the World”?
Sauron: I would just give up. Give up the hopeless struggle to try to control other people. End the war. Close down the Dark Land of Mordor and Mount Doom. Let all the orcs and Black Riders and trolls go their own way. And then I think I would just go into retirement for a while. Walk in the fair woods of Lothlorien and smell the leaves and the wind, maybe go to the sea. Just watch and notice how I am not the Master of anything. How everything is doing just fine without me. But I have to admit I am little worried that after all the insanity, murder and destruction I’ve committed over the last thousands of years, it won’t be easy just to take a stroll in the wood or by the sea.
BK: Well, sweetheart, if you’re really serious about your freedom and peace of mind, there’s a quick route called “making amends”. Making amends means to right your wrongs. So turn the thought around.
Sauron: I am not the Master of the World.
BK: Could that be as true or truer?
Sauron: It seems much truer now.
BK: So, give me three genuine examples of how the turnaround is as true as or truer than your original statement.
Sauron: Well, I’ve tried for thousands of years now and I still can’t control the wind, the ocean, the sun and the moon. They just do what they do with or without my interference.
BK: Good, that’s one.
Sauron: Heck, I can’t even control my own slaves! You have no idea what a logistics nightmare it is to command tens of thousands of brain-dead orcs!
BK: Good that you’re noticing!
Sauron: And then there’s that slimy little creature Gollum. You have no idea how much I tortured him to get him to tell me the location of the One Ring, but he still wouldn’t budge. Talk about frustrating!
BK: Excellent, sweetheart. Make amends, make it right. And I see another turnaround.
Sauron: I am… the servant of the world?
BK: Yes. How are you the servant of the world?
Sauron: Well, what comes to mind is that without the thought “I am the Master of the World” I could actually be of service to the world. I mean, I am after all one of the Maia, at least as powerful or more powerful than Gandalf or Saruman or the Balrog or even Tom Bombadil. I can actually do pretty neat things when my mind is not hell-bent on destruction. You know, build things and make magic rings and stuff. I guess I could use those talents and skills for some more constructive purpose.
BK: It’s good that you’re noticing. So how can you use your specific talents and skills to serve the world – to serve the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth?
Sauron: Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that I have quite a bit of clean-up to do! You know, repairing the great gate and walls of Minas Tirith, cleaning up Osgiliath and Minas Morgul – or Minas Anor. There’s a lot of work to be done in Rohan as well and up north by the Lonely Mountain.
BK: Seems like you could be busy for quite a while making amends!
Sauron: Yes, And I could let Gandalf and the White Council destroy the One Ring, so that the other rings would no longer be enslaved to it and could do some more good in the world. Although that would probably mean the end of a lot of my negative power, since I put so much of that power into the One Ring.
BK: Well, what do you need all that negative power for if everything is going on quite fine without you?
Sauron: [Laughs] You have a point there. And it would be such a load off my shoulders.
BK: Yes. And isn’t that what you wanted to be Lord of the World for anyway? So you could sit down one day and take a deep breath and enjoy life?
Sauron: [Sighs deeply] Yes. You know I’ve never told anyone about this, but secretly I’ve thought a lot about joining D-Anon lately.
Sauron: Dictators Anonymous. I heard about it from Darth Vader. He’s been doing The Work and going to their meetings for quite a while. He says it’s really worked wonders for him. His breathing is a lot better now.
BK: Dictators Anonymous – I love it! Okay, sweetheart, let’s move on. Read the next statement on your Worksheet.
Sauron: The Free Peoples of Middle-Earth should worship me – and give me love, approval and appreciation. Man, that statement just seems totally absurd now! I mean, first I kill, murder, destroy and annihilate their people and their country – and then I expect them to give me love, approval and appreciation! Talk about insane!
BK: It’s good that you’re noticing. Turn the thought around.
Sauron: I should worship me and give me love, approval and appreciation.
BK: Yes, honey. That’s your job.
Sauron: It doesn’t feel like I’m doing a very good job.
BK: How can you? How can you give yourself love, approval and appreciation if you’re so busy minding every elf, dwarf and hobbit in Middle-Earth’s business?
Sauron: Phew. That one is a stinger. But so true. In a way I think that’s the reason why I tried to control them all along. Because I wanted their love, approval and appreciation.
BK: I often say that if I had one prayer it would be this: “God spare me from the desire for love, approval and appreciation”. Because this belief is the direct route to the hell of a false identity.
Sauron: It sure was for me.
BK: Let’s look at the next statement.
Sauron: The Free Peoples of Middle-Earth are weak, stupid, annoying, irritating.
BK: Turn it around.
Sauron: I am weak, stupid, annoying, irritating. That’s so true! I mean they’re all just doing fine minding their own business in Hobbiton and Minas Tirith and Rivendell and then I come raising hell. Saying that I am stupid, annoying and irritating is the understatement of the century!
BK: Yes, I can see that.
Sauron: And being such a control freak has definitely made me weak. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I don’t even have a body, I’m constantly worried, and I obsess.
BK: Yes. Okay, honey, the next statement?
Sauron: I never ever want to experience the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth rebelling against my plans again.
BK: So now, “I’m willing to…”
Sauron: I’m willing to…
BK: “… experience…”
Sauron: … the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth rebelling against my plans again.
BK: “I look forward to…”
Sauron: I look forward to the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth rebelling against my plans again. Whoa! That’s radical!
BK: Yes. Because when you believe and feel that – and feeling will let you know what you’re believing – then you can put your thoughts on paper and begin again to question your negative beliefs.
BK: Thank you, sweetheart, it’s been a privilege to sit with you. Nice Work.
Sauron: Thank you so much, Katie.
BK: For my part, you’re welcome. For your part, thank you.
I would like to share an experience that happened last week: I am in charge of Human Resources in a food production company with 150 employees. I received a phone call from a man working in the mixing department. He complained that a woman colleague had called him “bloody Yugoslav” and “asshole” and so on and that he can not accept this any more. It was not the first time it happened. I suggested sitting together with this woman – a strong woman, a former butcher – and their teamleader. We did so and I facilitated them. It was quite chaotic and loud. And I was just there, using elements of the work. At a certain point I asked the woman to repeat exactly what she had told him the other day. She did and when I asked her if she could imagine how this man feels about it, she answered that all this are only words without a meaning. I asked her to look at this man of whom we all do not know why he had to leave his country and has no roots any more, no family here etc. and that he is giving his best in our company every day as she does too. This very handsome, tall man started crying. And then something happened in her and her heart opened. She jumped up, crying too and she went to him and she hugged him and apologized for what she had done to him. What an amazing reconciliation between Swiss and Balkan people!
The image came to my mind when we were standing in the ballroom that Sunday morning in August at the School in L.A. when you thanked us for peace just before you left the room and we broke for lunch. That was a very deep moment for me. And I realized how wonderful it is that I may do this Work in the company. My boss, the CEO, was interested in the School and I told him what The Work is about. I also told him that I apply it as an important tool. And he asked me to go on with this. This is really great. This week I drove to a meeting, and a team leader of a production department accompanied me. He talked about a stressful situation and I offered him to Work this with him. I was driving and facilitating, he was doing The Work, and at the moment we arrived, it was done. It is really wonderful. Thank you so much for all this, Katie.
By the way: my boss agreed to contribute 50% to the cost of the coaching seminar I did with Colette Grünbaum this year. I guess this is quite unique in this kind of business in Switzerland.
Inquiry: "I Need Charlie to be Monogamous"
Katie: Okay, sweetheart, read your Worksheet.
Ellen: I am frustrated with Charlie because he’s in love with another woman. He’s been having affairs for fifteen years. I can only be with him if I accept that he has an affair running. I want Charlie to realize what he’s doing and stop thinking that it’s normal to be in a very close relationship and still have an affair.
Katie: So sweetheart, “You need him to be monogamous”—is that true? Or “You want him to be monogamous”—is that true?
Ellen: No. I think I will get bored.
Katie: So he has the perfect partner, and you have the perfect partner. How do you react when you believe this thought “I want him to be monogamous,” and he hasn’t been—for fifteen years?
Ellen: I get really frustrated. I try all kinds of things. I try to be open and nice and say okay, do it, and then I hide my jealousy. Or I have tantrums and scream and try different ways to manipulate him.
Katie: So does that thought bring peace or stress into your life—”I want him to be monogamous”?
Katie: Give me a peaceful reason to believe this. If it’s peace you seek, give me a peaceful reason to believe this.
Ellen: There is none.
Katie: None? So close your eyes, and picture yourself living with him the last fifteen years, picture life together: he’s coming, he’s going. Now watch your life with him without the thought “I want him to be monogamous.” Who would you be without that thought?
Ellen: Enjoying when he comes, loving, to me.
Katie: Continue to watch. What else do you see without the thought “I want him to be monogamous”? Look at your life, look at his life.
Ellen: We have a great life. I guess I am afraid that the next time he has an affair, he will just go and not come back.
Katie: I would write that thought down and do The Work on it later. “He is not coming back.” I would really question it. So “I want him to be monogamous”—turn it around.
Ellen: I don’t want him to be monogamous.
Katie: Now give me an example of why your life is better because he’s not monogamous.
Ellen: I have many! Okay, it keeps me on the track of watching myself and my thoughts. I don’t get bored. He comes back much more loving.
Katie: Now why is his life better because he’s not monogamous? Reasons that you’re thankful for. The things that you like about it in his life.
Ellen: I don’t know. That’s his business. I can’t go into his head. Reasons that I think that?
Katie: Advantages to him that really are advantages to you.
Ellen: Oh. He doesn’t get bored with me.
Katie: Yes, when he’s gone, you’re not arguing.
Ellen: Hmm. That is better for him.
Katie: Because his life is not monogamous, and that’s how he’s living it. He does what he has been doing for fifteen years, and you have continued to accept him back into your life and that tells me that it is okay with you that he isn’t monogamous and you’re fooling yourself, lying to both of you, when you say that it isn’t okay, and that is the pain that you both feel. Okay, now read the next thing you wrote.
Ellen: I want him to find out why he needs more than one woman as an emotional and sexual partner.
Katie: So turn it around.
Ellen: I want to find out why I need more than one…
Katie: “I want me to find out why he needs…”
Ellen: Oh. I want me to find out why he needs more than one woman.
Katie: So ask him, find out. [Pause—looks at Charlie, who is in the audience] He’s checking it out. [To Charlie] Why do you need more than one woman, in your relationship with her for fifteen years? Why do you prefer non-monogamy? [To Ellen] Are those the questions you want the answers to? Okay.
Charlie: It’s more fun.
Katie [to Ellen]: So look into his eyes, honey. You wanted to know. So there is his answer.
Charlie: And there’s more. I find that there’s something… I feel like when I limit myself to one woman, I feel like I’m in a box… It’s almost like it doesn’t feel like love to say that I’m just with one woman. I feel that if I deny myself being open with other people, and that includes sexually…, I’m denying something that’s quite natural in me. And I tried monogamy, and it didn’t work for me. I noticed that I punished the woman that I was with, for me not being able to live the life that I wanted to live, I blamed her for the decisions I was making. And I also suspect there’s some identities in there that I need to look at.
Katie [to Ellen]: So sweetheart, that’s why. And you could say, “Thank you.” And also, he has nothing to lose! His having affairs is okay with you. You’re always there for him. So you’re the perfect partner. It’s not right or wrong; it’s just working, for fifteen years.
Ellen: Yes, and a couple of months ago, something changed.
Katie: So stop for a moment, please. Lets go a little further with The Work.
Katie: “I want him to be monogamous”—turn it around.
Ellen: Well, I said already, I don’t want him to be monogamous.
Katie: Okay, put “you” on it.
Ellen: I want me to be monogamous.
Katie: Just feel that turnaround.
Katie: Continue to read.
Ellen: I want him to stop chasing other women.
Katie: Turn it around.
Ellen: I want me to stop chasing Charlie?
Katie: He chases them, you chase him. You’re doing what he does. And I haven’t heard that he chases women. It’s a belief. So you might ask him later, is it true that you chase women? For all you know, he doesn’t chase them. They’re not running away from him. The next one?
Ellen: I need Charlie to be clear and stop giving me confused messages.
Katie: Turn it around.
Ellen: I need me to be clear and stop giving him confused messages.
Katie: And to stop giving confused messages to yourself, sweetheart. You say his non-monogamy is not okay with you, but in reality it is.
Ellen: I wrote the whole thing because I have one confusion, and I didn’t know how to write it. Two months ago something changed, and I said, no, you can do whatever you like, but I’m never going to be here for you. And then he stopped having sex with the woman he is in love with and… But he keeps saying, I love you, I love her, I love you, and I love her. He keeps saying that. And I’m a little confused.
Katie: Okay, so what can he do about that? He loves her, he loves you. You know, honey, the one that seems to bother you is the thought that he’s not coming back. So let’s say he keeps having sex with this woman. “He’s not coming back”—can you absolutely know that that’s true?
Katie: And what happens when you believe that thought? How do you react?
Ellen: I feel very jealous, I feel very angry.
Katie: I want you to locate how that feels. You think it, and the image that supports that thought brings on the emotions that you feel. What happens to your body when you believe the thought “He’s not coming back”? Where do the feelings happen? What happens emotionally? How intense are the feelings?
Ellen: A pain in my throat—sometimes all here, in the front.
Katie: Close your eyes and continue to describe it.
Ellen: Hmm… I feel helpless, I can’t do anything about it: this image of my father preferring my sister, not me.
Katie (to audience): Someone write down that one-liner and give it to her later to take to inquiry. “My father preferred my sister, not me.” (To Ellen:) So now, sweetheart, keep your eyes closed. Imagine your life when he’s gone, without the thought “He’s not coming back.”
Ellen: I would be relaxed. If I knew that he’s always forever going to come back…
Katie: But knowing nothing one way or the other, who would you be living your life without the thought “He’s not coming back?” Look at your life the way you live it, without that thought.
Ellen: Hmm. It’s difficult to imagine.
Katie: Yes. So I invite you to sit with that, and watch. I’m doing my Work. I ask you, so I imagine me, with Stephen gone. Who would I be without the thought “He’s not coming back”? I see me going to the market, doing the dishes, living my life…
Ellen: Yes, I see it now.
Katie: You’ve got a life, with or without the thought. And when he’s gone, whether you know he’s coming back or not, you are living your life. You’re still doing the dishes, you’re still going to the market, only without the thought, where is the problem? There are two ways to do the dishes or go to the market.
Ellen: Thank you.
Katie: You’re welcome. And turn that one around. “He’s not coming back.”
Ellen: He is coming back? Maybe…
Katie: Only for fifteen years. [The audience laughs.] “He’s not coming back”—can you find another turnaround?
Ellen: Yes, I’m not coming back to myself when he goes.
Katie: Yes, you’re mentally living out his affair with him, and there’s no one living your life here for you! Mentally, there are three of you over there having the affair, and there is no one here for you as you are going to the market. Instead of two apples, you buy one.
Ellen [laughing]: He comes home very hungry.
Katie: Thank you, honey.
Ellen: Thank you, Katie.