Mollie Shea: A Trip Inside

Dear All,

I’m sitting in front of my computer, listening for words that could give adequate voice to the life changing experience of visiting San Quentin. It’s been over half a year since I walked through the prison’s five security gates to enter the world “inside”, a world that unexpectedly opened my mind to understanding true freedom, a reality that took me inside my most prejudiced thoughts to meet the depths of my heart.

It was really my heart that called me to go to San Quentin in the first place. I was listening to Katie describe the Prison Project to a group of people and suddenly, something in my heart just moved me to volunteer if help was needed.

Love takes me to the most amazing places, and I’m learning to trust its lead completely.

What can I possibly say that would accurately describe the insights that continue to surface, the changes that take place still after sharing The Work with men in maximum security, on The Hill, and those living in the H block? I can tell you that their searching eyes and earnest, inquiring minds stay with me, inspiring me every day. Their dedication to seeing the truth and willingness to share honestly give me courage to do the same, no matter what the circumstances.

After a morning session in which Katie did The Work with incarcerated veterans living in maximum security, we all sat with one another for about twenty minutes.

The man next to me had lived on The Hill for sixteen years. I experienced him as a shy man, seemingly a dedicated worker by day at his job in prison, and artist by night while locked in his cell.

He looked deeply into my eyes as he quietly told me he had killed his brother in law, all those many years ago, and why. He told me how he could begin to see, for the first time, that the actions he had taken, though drastic, were directly caused by believing the thought that he was doing the right thing to protect his sister. He told me of how, for the first five years in jail, he felt as though he was in a nightmare, and couldn’t wake up; he couldn’t believe how everything had changed so radically and that he had actually killed someone.

Over many more years, he lived remorsefully with the realization that the action he thought was going to bring more peace to his family actually brought loss and generated even more confusion. Retrospectively, he saw that there were many other ways he might have been of help to his sister that didn’t require violence. After practicing just one morning of The Work, this man said that he couldn’t claim to know what was right for anyone else, ever again.

He spoke of how, whenever a possibility of parole came up, his nephew would angrily argue against it, saying that his uncle was a murderer and should pay the price, should stay safely locked up in jail. This insightful man told me that he could understand his nephew. He said, “He’s just doing what I used to do. He’s just like I used to be.”

We sat then for a while in silence, just taking each other in. In those moments, something opened beyond my knowing to fully embrace our equality; it was subtle yet profound. It was as if I’d been humbled by his plain honesty and was left with only a sense of empty humility as a greater understanding of my own ignorance and innocence dawned. How often had unquestioned beliefs led me to reflexively take action based on fear? How many times had this confused mind justified drastic reactions in its search for security and happiness?

Suddenly, aversion toward people I had judged as scary or harmful melted away as I received a clearer understanding of projection and saw the futility of protection:

Any projection = reflection = possible “self” observation = an opening for introspection = connection = unification = love.

Protection = separation = defense against fear of imagined loss or harm = action to secure against loss or harm = conflict and opposition = suffering.
It was as if some tense and hidden little place within my mind took a deep breath and made space for a new world; instead of self protection and other projection, sitting face to face there, I felt only quiet love.

Then I shared how for many years, after having had four abortions, I carried the heavy burden of believing I was a murderer. In my mind, I had myself made out to be some kind of serial killer, even though doctors had told me the babies might be deformed or that I could lose my own life if I carried those pregnancies to term. I admitted how I had incarcerated myself with guilt and shame, how I hid my painful secret from the world and lived as though I deserved to be locked up and punished for the rest of my life. I was living a nightmare where life became more and more frightening as each new horrible thing that happened was proof of guilt in my mind. I was a fugitive on the run believing I was doomed to suffer and pay the price for the rest of my days.

There was more silence and an unfathomable sense of connection as we sat there, unmasked, our painful mistrust of life nakedly exposed between us. We shared a tender smile. Inside, it felt like such a relief to recognize and release the ancient illusion of control, to surrender the story of a past and plans for a better future, to love.

How can life know? How does love create the perfect circumstances and opportunities that allow me to see reality ever more clearly? How can the universe be so unfailingly kind? I needed to visit maximum security to find the one who could help me see beyond security, to maximum freedom.

What I really want to say is thank you. Some mornings, these days, tears just flow out of the gratitude that fills this heart. Thank you, Katie, and thank you to all kind souls who are, even at this moment, graciously, lovingly holding the space open for us to see through answering four questions, and turning our lives around.

I bow down…

In Love,
Mollie Shea

A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which he has obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

Today’s Teleconference: Kathleen Sepeda

UPDATE: the archived teleconference is here >>

June 5, 2007 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (Pacific Time)
Phone No. 646-519-5860 (PIN 6741#)
Guest Facilitator – Kathleen Sepeda

Join us as Kathleen shares how she moves The Work. She will answer questions and facilitate a volunteer from the caller audience.

Kathleen Sepeda is a Deputy Probation Officer at The Justice Center in Boulder, Colorado and a student of New Ventures West Personal Coaching Program. She has been a student of The Work since March of 2004. She has been in the process of self-observation since 1997. She facilitates The Work Group in the Jury Assembly Room at The Boulder JC every Monday afternoon. The participants are teenage girls who are on probation.

Participant Answers: Teleconference on School Aftercare

The following is a compilation of April 2007 School participants’ answers regarding “Aftercare.” The questions they were asked were:

1. Have you kept The Work alive since leaving The School through the partnering exercise? If yes, what was your experience?

2. Do you have any specific questions for Katie about integrating The Work into your daily life? (As Katie did not have enough time to answer the conference call questions below, she has invited all of you to jump in with your own answers and to serve others with your own experience.)

3. Any general comments?

Dear Family, I would love that your responses go up on the blog, and that you answer through your own experience, enlightenment, and generosity, to share with anyone who may want to learn from you what you have come to see for yourself.


1. Have you kept The Work alive since leaving The School through the partnering exercise? If yes, what was your experience?

I have been doing The Work every day since leaving the School, both with partners and on my own. It has brought me many huge insights and I have had many stressful thought let go of me during this time. It is the first thing that I turn to when any stressful thoughts arise. I think the idea of the partners was brilliant because it gave me someone else to commit to, which prevented me from making excuses for not doing The Work myself.


Yes, I have continued with The Work. Wonderful breakthroughs. I have partners until our conference call on June 2nd.


Yes, I love it, I kept my round-robin partner plus the school partner and I am amazed at how happy I am. What I see is that by “having The Work for breakfast & lunch” my mind questions all the time, it doesn’t accept anything at face value, and I am so happy as a result. I look forward to facilitation every day.


Yes. I have been able to do The Work every day with my partners from the School. This has been a very positive experience. The daily connection with someone who is as interested and committed to doing The Work as I am feels wonderful. It’s keeping me on track and doing The Work at least once a day and often more than once when I self-facilitate an underlying belief that came up from The Work with my partner. Also, this experience has helped me to see how to let my partners’ Work be my work too, silently answering in my head the questions and doing the turnarounds. I have also gotten some much needed help in seeing different turnarounds and finding underlying beliefs.


I’ve actually grown attached to doing The Work with my “partner for the day.” It allows The Work to work me, quietly, steadily. I cannot imagine not having these calls and am look forward to doing the round robin.


Yes, I have kept up each day. THANK YOU FOR SETTING UP THE PARTNERING ACTIVITY on the last day of School. It has worked great!

I have developed a habit now, so that I think I will want to do The Work each day. I have already signed up for round robin for June so I don’t miss any day.


I have kept The Work very alive in me since leaving the School. The round robin exercise has been so valuable—from having the time committed (I like doing it for breakfast) to taking me out of the illusion of separation by showing me there IS someone who wants to hear this stuff and work with me. I reach out for help every day, connect with another and let someone guide me. Lastly, I always realize so much about myself when I am facilitating. A new thought for me to question that the other person happened to mention or simply working through a similar thought simultaneously has taken facilitation from the place of “just serving the other” to being about relationship and going deeper within myself at the same time. I love that you led us to discover how much we need each other and exactly how to make that connection happen.


Yes, very much so. I’ve done many of the days so far, except when someone had an unusual event, such as moving. The partnering is an incredible experience that has helped me to get into a serious daily practice of doing The Work, studying about The Work by reading, watching videos, online groups, etc., and connecting with others who are interested in The Work. I also feel that my practice of The Work is helping to transform most of my relationships, no matter how casual, and the tools of The Work are transferable to daily interactions at work, with family, in public, etc. It is a truly remarkable technique and I am feeling now that I will never be the same because I am choosing to be part of something so much greater.


Yes. With some people it’s been easy and fun, even on mornings where I thought I was too lazy to do it. But more surprising: with those people I’ve found it harder to do The Work, it’s been especially enriching, because I see that my doing The Work always wins. As long as I come from an open mind, it always does.


I have kept up The Work, and can feel it living in me. The phone call schedule has been good, overall. I have been sick, had schedule changes etc.—so not 100% coverage, but it has been beneficial each time. Every partner has followed through. Some days I get lazy and don’t want to take the time, but each time I do, I feel the energy and the loosening of the belief. Good idea to have the phone call system. I look forward to the phone call June 2.


So far, I’m on the fourth partner and everyone has been available and reliable without fail; I am happily surprised. It’s a pleasure and somehow helpful to me to hear about the wonderful successes of other people and how The Work is working in their lives. I love to hear these stories, and I solicit them from my partners. I ask them to call me or write me and tell me how it’s working for them, and it fills me with gladness when they do. I offer to help or support them in any way, because I really want this for them when they want it. I think this also encourages me to rely on my own work and not be tempted to find solutions in story life, but to trust, to have faith and welcome the stillness that is the resolution of all my imagined problems.


Yes! I have loved, loved, loved the partnering exercise. It is brilliant and a very good way to make sure The Work becomes a daily part of life. It has also helped me to develop relationships with friends from The School that are not “site specific,” meaning that the relationships are continuing to grow and didn’t end when The School did. I am also doing Worksheets aside from talking with partners because it is becoming a natural response. Thank you for this exercise!


The power of The Work really came through for both my mom and me last night when my mom’s mare went into labor. To put a “cap” on the story, all started out looking really great and on course until there was a major complication in the delivery process. Right away I heard Katie’s voice “there is no such thing as bad news.” My usual panic in emergency situations turned into absolute calm, peace, and presence. From this state I was 100% able to do what needed to be done. As beliefs came up in the process, The Work “did” me in the background so that I could stay present to my tasks. I felt no fear and rather only that the “universe is friendly.” It was amazing how clearly I heard Katie’s voice.

After a huge and gallant attempt, the foal died. Being there with my mom, who has invested an immense amount of time and money into this foal, and who also actively does The Work, was incredible. The two other women were quite concerned about my mother’s state of mind and when she wasn’t there, would ask me, “Is she going to be okay?” I knew with 100% certainty that she would not only be okay, but would find all the places in which there is gratitude.

I had a huge release of energy a couple of hours later in which my body began to shake and my teeth chatter. Without a story, I allowed it to move through me like a big wave and that was it, the stress was gone. I discovered that my core belief was “I can control death.” What a load I have carried when I’ve believed that!!! The experience was absolutely beautiful and peaceful. Even today I don’t have any residual stress around the situation. I really feel like the process moved me with absolute grace and guidance. All I had to do was answer questions once in a while.

Other than that, yes, I have been doing The Work every day. I have been in contact with my list of people. I have called the hotline a couple of times and have LOVED the people I have spoken with. That is an amazing service!!!

Please keep that going. I do Worksheets everyday, and there were a dozen a day when I first immersed, and now less and less. The Work seems to be naturally transitioning into my mind.


I have kept The Work alive since leaving the School. The telephone partners have both helped me to be more present. I have had great realizations with the phone partners. Yet spending time with someone else that went to the School is even better.

Everything is helping me to keep The Work alive. Sometimes just giving things first-generation names brings me right back to the present moment. Reading Katie’s last book right now also helps reinforce the insights. The Work has changed my life. It is so amazing. I am so grateful. Thank you.


It’s been quite helpful to have the commitment to support a fellow participant, which has “forced” me to incorporate The Work into my daily life. I’ve been a corporate trainer and consultant for over 15 years and this is the best follow-up program I’ve ever experienced.


Yes! It has been fantastic to do The Work with so many different people. I have learned so much about how to listen more deeply, so that I am facilitating The Work the way each person enjoys and not according to a formula. My biggest learning was with a partner I labeled as “blowing me off.” I had to do The Work on that, and it was fantastic to see how much I follow the rules outside me and how judgmental I become about those rules when it serves me to be judgmental, and how superior I feel when I am “doing it right” I have a lot of statements to explore as a result of seeing those stressful judgments.

I am already doing The Work two or three times a week with others, but I find that having a partner each morning, first thing, has made my day a lot more enjoyable (and less stressful). I now see why Katie says to have The Work for breakfast. I enjoy doing The Work with other people because I learn so much from what they say when they do their own work. It all seems to be merging into one me… the universe supporting me with opportunities to see myself face a belief from another vantage point…


My partnering experience has been great. I have connected with 3 of my 4 partners and found the four days without a partner to be difficult. My current partner has been life-changing.


Have “I” kept The Work alive? No, the turnaround is so much more true. The Work has kept me alive and keeps on doing so in a rapturous way.


Yes! This follow-up system is fantastic. It helps very very much in keeping The Work alive and happening. It is very interesting and rewarding to facilitate and be facilitated by different people, rotating every few days, and to be supported in the amends. Really keeps the School alive and progressing. Absolutely inspired idea.


My experience in doing The Work with other classmates has been very worth while. I have had a facilitator who was, quote, “living above the fear level” and had nothing to process. I enjoyed being the recipient… and I learned from story …. I have had facilitators who liked to share story… after the process… and others who were simply following directions… fitting The Work into their busy lives whenever they could just like I did. It always left me with a sense of being more at peace. I am thankful for this Work, Katie, for your dedication and for the opportunity to be in your presence once more… I am looking forward to the next assignment after this 28 day assignment.


Yes, I have talked with a partner daily each day. This process is very helpful and is a wonderful way to keep doing The Work. I plan to keep doing it—probably through the round robin and/or hotline, as well as with a local friend who also attended the School.


Yes, I have. It’s been excellent. I want to carry this daily process on and am approaching my past partners to ask if they want to do it. I have explored so many things. “I need to stay alive” was wonderfully freeing. I find I don’t NEED to stay alive and suddenly I feel a sense of spacious freedom. Nothing needs to happen. I become free of worry about the future there is only this beautiful grace filled moment. What I call “my worries” dissolve. I don’t need to carry them.


Yes, I did! My experience was that these planned “appointments” with others helped me to continue the “appointment” with myself, now that I am back home, and that old routine quickly tries to install back!


I’ve done The Work every day since leaving the School – I’ve either worked with a partner or I’ve called the hotline when they’re not available and once did The Work with my boyfriend when not possible to do with someone from the School. It’s been really good to have the exercise of doing it, and having it as a formal task. I’m really pleased it was there and I’ve felt that it has carried me through the hard times since leaving. In the first week or so, I had real doubts – why did I go to the school? What a lot of money, and I got nothing out of it …. and just to make myself keep going, questioning, being with it all as it integrated was fantastic. And realising that a LOT has changed and is continuing to do so in small and large ways. Having the daily practice helps me grow my relationship with The Work. A couple of times I’ve had big emotions and feeling awful—in both of those times it was HARD to make myself do The Work—I wanted to be in my story somehow and didn’t believe anything would change. And I questioned and questioned and the feeling fell away. Growing my connection with The Work day by day. I’d never done it before going to the School, so this has been really important. Wonderful changes.


I have been doing The Work everyday with the partners that we set up at the school. What a BRILLIANT idea that was and a truly wonderful experience. I LOVED IT! (and still do!) It was a delight to speak with different friends and further learn and understand how to be on both sides of inquiry. As well as using the hotline when needed, such INCREDIBLE support all around to really help this Work live and grow in me. I am totally in love with these 4 questions, Katie, the staff, everyone that is asking, answering, listening and becoming clearer and becoming a friend…. and I continue to be amazed and in gratitude for the shifts and openings. Sometimes I really truly just can’t believe it, like it’s too good to be true(?), I feel like The Work is THE BEST THING EVER, and I just cry… I notice that the contrast is so much clearer, as soon as I am believing something that is stressful and untrue I feel it… I see my world shrink and my heart close, and sometimes I do inquiry right away, and sometimes I seem to just sit with it and let it torture me for a little while longer! But I am learning, every day, following the simple instructions and putting one foot in front of the other, and hearing “They don’t call it The Work for nothing”… Ah yes, I can see that…


I have kept The Work alive since leaving the School. It has been a wonderful experience!!!!!! I notice we keep going deeper as we gain more experience.


I’ve been doing The Work and sharing The Work daily since the School. It’s been a very profound experience. I feel more grounded in The Work, more connected to the consistency of the internal questioning.


2. Do you have any specific questions for Katie about integrating The Work into your daily life?

I am wondering how I can make my facilitation more fluid and heart-felt instead of being a recitation of the Blue Sheet— my concern is this: I have a great respect for not straying from the guidelines, because I have seen how this blocks my own inquiry when my facilitators have done this. I hear Katie’s very natural facilitation with people, but I also believe that she operates out of a teaching mode, necessarily, rather than simply facilitator, and I am not about to do that during facilitation. Anything you might have to say about this would be appreciated.


I have a question about turnarounds and giving examples: Should they be concrete examples from our lives giving proof of that turnaround, or should they be different examples of how that turnaround could be true, whether it relates directly to our life or not ?


For me it is still difficult to catch & find a thought to work on… Resistance?

I see and understand the beauty and deep level of transformation of this Work, often I don’t know how to start it myself with “a case” to work on…


Am having trouble with the notion that one cannot feel another’s pain. I understand where Katie is coming from because after her cosmic experience she knows there is no Katie and no “you” and all is a projection. But for us earthlings that still experience ourselves as real, our awareness of compassion and our motivation to end suffering comes from the experience of thinking that I can feel another’s pain. Whether it’s my belief that I’m in pain or my belief that you are in pain, what’s the difference? Do not both situations lead us to inquire? Am I not you? When I’m in your business, could that in fact BE my business because you are my projection?

The danger I think is to use The Work to prematurely deny my pain or your pain. When Katie does The Work I feel the Love as my thinking is receiving the death blow. When I do The Work with others, sometimes I feel judged , or not understood, or coldly taken through the process and I don’t feel loved. What is the difference? Is it really what I’m projecting? Why is Katie so flawless? Why do we all feel such Love and know to the deepest core of our being that this is the REAL DEAL, yet with others asking the same questions so perfectly it feels like a cold intellectual process. I want to be able to facilitate and communicate that sort of unconditional Love. Will I get there through the process of layer by layer questioning my thoughts? Katie had the disintegration of ego though this depersonalized (some would call it psychotic) experience. I have not had that experience so my reference point is my pain and the experience of pain that another reports to me and I resonate with that. As I resonate I am motivated to end both of our suffering. I’m motivated to do the “Work” because I see it lessons my pain but ALSO I see it resolving pain in others. Is this bad when I’m happy that others have relief and freedom and appear happy? Some enlightened masters say I must rid myself of attachment to the “Good” (as defined by me) as well as releasing the pain and stress, the “Bad.” Is The Work just a stage in dealing with the ”Bad”? Can I look at my pain or your pain just as a signal that we are both off?


I don’t know if I’m making sense, but this is what’s running around in my mind.

My question has to do with spinning. Several partners have asked “is it true” once we are already into question 3, they say it isn’t spinning, my question is if it isn’t spinning what is the difference? Or am I misunderstanding what spinning is?


On following simple instructions; I usually get many instructions and while doing one task, I get others and if I don’t follow them right away I forget them so I end up jumping around and since there are usually many instructions, most of the tasks are left undone or I get overwhelmed. My question is how to know which instruction is coming from the place of being (heart) and which one from the place of doing (believed thoughts)?

I have heard that while we are facilitating, we also should be doing our own Work (I assume this means: go in and answer the questions for ourselves). First, have I heard this correctly? And second, if yes, how do we do this and hold the space for the client? When I have tried to do this, I have missed what the client said.


I would like to hear Katie address the difference between doing The Work “for breakfast“ and overdoing it. She often talks about being gentle with ourselves. I tend to be overly responsible, and according to friends and family, I work too hard, try too hard, and am too hard on myself. For me and others who tend to over achieve and over do, I’d like to hear Katie talk about what being gentle with ourselves looks like and how to not “overdo” The Work.

Also, since I’ve gotten home from L.A., I seem to be more emotionally honest than I was before I went to L.A. I find myself feeling happier when I’m happy. I am also quicker to anger and to admit my anger. I used to deny it and repress it and could keep a tighter lid on it before I went to the School. Is this what Katie was referring to when she said we would become like the princess and the pea? I am wondering if Katie has any thoughts on what changes we might expect to see in our selves as we continue to do The Work on a daily basis.


Whose business are you in when you say that you hate your job? Is my job my business, others’ business or God’s business? Isn’t everything God’s business, my business and others’ business? How am “I” different from “my thinking”?

On the DVD “Loving the One You’re With,” there was the statement that “Frank is always upset with my behavior.” The turnaround of “I am always upset with my behavior” works; however, the turnaround of “Frank is never upset with my behavior” did not work because it didn’t feel right. How do I know the difference between (1) turnarounds that don’t work and (2) turnarounds that do work but I instinctively dislike? At what age does your business separate from your child’s? In the “one belief at a time” Worksheet, what does the question of “How do I treat myself?” mean beside addiction? Sometimes I am so anxious, I get relief from knowing, but I hear that the not knowing mind is better.


My question for Katie is; how do you do The Work with family members if they are not asking you to help them (particularly children) but they say things to you that you know could be looked at differently from the view of The Work?


No. But I do have a question about doing an inquiry into “My daughter should not financially support her partner.” Are turnarounds permissible such as: “I should not financially support her partner.” “I should financially support her partner.” Does “My thinking…” work in a turnaround?


Katie, I am a psychotherapist and I would love to hear your ideas (or others’!) about doing The Work with children in a therapeutic setting. Is there anything that is done differently with children? If there are no tools yet for applying The Work specifically with children, I would love to help create some. Or be connected with others already doing this work. I feel so passionate about taking this work to children, who are still so flexible and open, and whom I feel could live immeasurably richer lives–as well as transform planetary culture–with The Work. Thank you all so much, I cannot express in words what is happening, but I like to call it LOVE.


I am concerned about going forward without a partner. This has been blissful, but can it remain real?


I have had an eating disorder for most of my life and am doing a lot of worksheets on it. I don’t seem to be finding much peace about it on my own. Particularly since the School, my eating has been really excessive. I am re-visiting Overeaters Anonymous and so far am not finding much peace there either. Is there any possibility of a group/community of people doing The Work around eating disorders in particular or addictions in general? It sure seemed that there were many people who had food/addiction issues at the School and I’m this school was not unique in that.


Yes, could you talk about the fading effect after the School that I and so many folks both feared and talked about. For the first several days I wept for joy and gratitude at almost anything. Maybe it’s just as well that that has passed, as I fly an airliner for a living, and we do have this cockpit protocol, so to speak. Of course we do have tissues, too.

But things are a bit different, and though I am free in a bright, strange new way, I sometimes miss the bliss that permeated everything right after School.


I have been thinking about going to another one so that I can go more deeply into it. What kind of feedback do you get from people that have attended it twice or more? I look forward to seeing you all again.



I have a question around facilitating: I know there are no ‘rules’ but when is it ‘okay’ to move to ‘I’ statements? You reminded us of this half way through the April School, and I got a bit confused about this at that point.

I see where questioning a judgement about another person works the best to get one started… and how the curriculum is geared to that process. It allows me to deal with the thoughts one by one, in bite-sized pieces. When I am looking at a big judgement, this process allows the fear of facing my truth and the walls I experience around the ego defenses to come down in a manageable way And once I start to turn it around I feel a lot more kindness and courage toward myself than I may have initially if I started with ‘I’ statements.

I suspect the answer is that it is an organic process to naturally move to ‘I’s’ from Judging a Neighbor. Maybe when the agendas start dropping away? After questioning a judgement, I inevitably end up with a list of ‘I’ statements. This list is exploding exponentially with every judgement I question … after all, it is all about me. So then I question those thoughts. And it does work for me. For example I noticed a lot of the thoughts on the Universal Belief sheet are ‘I’ statements.

If I am facilitating someone newer to The Work, do you have any guidance as to when it is ‘okay’ to start questioning the ‘I’ statements? I referred a friend to the hotline a while back, and the facilitator refused to do ‘I have issues with getting a job’ with her for this reason. Sometimes a thought is hard to phrase as a judgement about another when your client is an aware person.


3. Any general comments?

No questions. The more I do The Work, the more I learn and the happier I become. I am slowly learning to see my motives in doing The Work. They are tricky because the “I know mind” wants to know. Sometimes when I believe I am doing The Work for peace, I find an underlying motive. The biggest one for me has been belief-busting. My “I know mind” would say, “I want to eliminate that belief” and I would do The Work with a huge agenda. In order to counteract that I consciously say to myself, “I’ll do The Work on this belief and it just might be true”. That helps me to be less opinionated.

Thanks so much! My life has changed in immeasurable ways since I have returned from my second School. Everyone is telling me I am so much more loving and compassionate and relaxed. People are calling out of the blue to have me facilitate The Work with them. It is so interesting. The most important thing that I feel is an inner sense of comfort and safety with the Me inside. I am less dependent on the outside world, and I am learning to follow the simple directions from my own heart. When I live that way everything is magical. It is paradoxical and antithetical to my story about what society teaches, but as I care less about what others think, I become free and others give me exactly what I wanted before and don’t really care about now.

Loving The Work for allowing me to appreciate what is,


Monthly conference calls with Katie would be great—though the time commitment is likely too great for her to do it this often. I believe that having monthly conference calls with other skilled facilitators, with Katie doing them occasionally, when her schedule allows, would be very beneficial.

I would like to work with a friend to eventually bring The Work to Colorado Springs, but need some guidance as to how to go about doing so. After attending the one-day event in Salt Lake (Oct 2006) that was sooo successful, we would love to replicate that success in Colorado Springs. It would be wonderful to facilitate the growth of a a community of practitioners of The Work locally, to live among, and to support each other through The Work.


Also on the sheet you said to keep the call to 20-30 minutes, which we found very difficult to do. The farther the weeks progressed the longer it took. Sometimes it took 30 minutes for 1 person. I am unsure of how to simplify The Work to make that 15 minute request.


I had the great fortune of being at the School last April. Now I have the internal life I’ve been searching for. Even fifteen years of meditation practice could not deliver what your four questions have. My gratitude expands in all directions. The Work has radically changed my life.

A present lack of phone and Internet access has precluded me from participating in the School’s follow-up exercise. Hopefully a line hook-up will come to my home soon. In the meantime, The Work has saturated my days, filling many journals. It’s even unwinding me in my dreams. As soon as I get phone access I would like to start exchanging The Work with others. On that note, there are a couple things I’ve found helpful, that I would like to offer others. I’m wondering if there is any reason I shouldn’t. I noticed other people do variations of these things as well.

1. After question #3 and its sub-questions, I like to ask “What do I get from hanging onto this thought? What is the pay-off?” I might follow this with sub-questions. “Is it working? Am I getting what I want from this thought?” If so, “Is the thought mandatory for me to meet these desires or is it possible there is another way?”

An example of one of my pay-offs on a stressful thought is “I hang onto thinking that ’My writing is stupid’ because criticizing it makes me feel less vulnerable and smart.” Ridiculous, I know, however, if I get to question #4 without noticing the pay-off I have a harder time.

2. Along with the turnarounds that we’ve already learned (which are most important), I’m finding other helpful turnarounds by flipping words around in the original sentence.

If for example the original statement is ”I want to keep an empty mind,” possible word-flip turnarounds would be: “I want to empty a mind kept. I want to mind an empty keeping. I empty to keep a wanting mind. I empty to want a mind kept. I empty to mind a want kept. I mind to want an empty wanting. I mind to want an empty keeping. I mind to empty a want kept.”

This was one of my statements, and all these turnarounds had significance for me. Also, I find in general that when I use up every possible word combination that works for me, and define each one, the words themselves take on different meanings, helping my mind to cut loose from the original statement, and expand. In this instance I found that emptiness doesn’t lose itself by being full of thought. So now, I mind an empty keeping!

Katie, I love you. I love your books, your videos, your web site. I love how you talk, how you look, what you say. I love your gestures and glances, how you give yourself.

My love for you is infinite. And my gratitude is as big as the sky.


Hmm. I don’t have any specific questions. Well, maybe I do, it’s more a question to myself. I think “The Work” is more important than my work, and it is not as of now reflected in the amount of time I spend on it, and how I talk to “strangers” and patients of mine (I am a chiropractor). How to do that right now, this instance (spend time accordingly)? Without losing money (…..), since I don’t own my house completely yet. So I do The Work and I do my work, and I wait for the answer from inside, and respect me for choosing money/ responsibility/ house…… sometimes. My can of worms opens and I look at statements such as “I have to have a house to do what I want,” “I don’t do what I want,” “No one will take care of me if I do what I want even more,” “I have to have money,” “I am not being straight.” And there’s a one-liner about time in there as well, can’t get it clear right now. Time matters? Funny thing is, The Work is part of my work, just in the way I am present and communicate. No small feat. If the whole world stopped now, I would have gotten everything I wanted from The Work, and I still want to help make it more accessible, alive, wherever I am (or will be) beyond me.


Sometimes I wake up with this sense of something wrong and it is happening prior to my being able to have awareness of the preceding thought. I have begun to work with some of the statements from the Universal Beliefs list when that is happening. That is helpful but I’m curious if there is a way to determine what specifically triggers that anxiety for me. I am looking forward to the next assignment.


How about a form on that allows people to fill in the blanks onscreen (on a Judge-Your-Neighbor or One-Belief Worksheet) and then print out your filled sheet and save it to your computer? You can clear the form when you’re done, then it automatically clears when you quit your browser. Basically these are online questionnaires for the user that BKI would provide without saving the responses.


(Note from Maggie: We have these ready to go when our webmaster has time to put them up.)

I’m finding that in doing The Work every day I’m almost searching for stressful thoughts. My greatest fear in doing The Work is that I would lose my peaceful moments and my joy, and I’m afraid at some level that seems to be happening. I have moments of total peace right after doing The Work and then I’m off to look for another stressful thought. I’m finding that my mind is chattering more than ever and I can’t seem to quiet it. (that is something I really need to do The Work on: “I can’t quiet my mind.”)


Remember to add your answers in the comment section below>>

Treating Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome: Veterans & The Work

I’m back from West Virginia, where I was at the veterans’ hospital to work with clinicians who want to know the what and how of The Work—to train them, answer questions about The Work as applied to Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, addiction treatment, rehabilitation, and more. What a privilege to represent all of us and to speak about what is, for so many of us, the miracle of The Work and how it works. It is a war-torn veteran’s dream! It works quickly, and they love it.

I visited Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. with Patricia Parrott and her daughter Becky, as well as our own Tina from BKI, and introduced The Work to veterans, clinicians, nurses, etc. They were amazing! I hope to see some of them at the East Coast School in a couple of weeks. Also, some of you came to the two-day intensive in D. C. to work with more than a hundred veterans and clinicians from surrounding V. A. hospitals in three states. There is an amazing team of doctors in this area who are into what is cutting edge, and The Work is the one method that works well and fast, that holds, and that is simple to process patients with.

Thank you, family, for being there.


Also, thanks for traveling with me also to West Virginia to continue to process these amazing men and women who have returned from Iraq as well as those in the hospital. One veteran, William, told me that he had been living on the streets just to be sure that he could be at all three days of the event. The hospital could only bus people in on Saturday, and he had read Loving What Is and had to experience The Work with us.

“I Can Do It” Update: A Note from Maren Springsteen

Dear Katie,

I met you at your workshop in Las Vegas’ “I Can Do It” conference last week and loved every second and decided to do a feature about it in my book column.

I write reviews every month for, an international women’s magazine, and asked you after the workshop, when taking pictures, if I may publish my picture as well as write about the workshop and you graciously gave me permission to do so.

We just hit the front page today and I sincerely hope you like my review and wanted to let you know that it was a huge joy and honor to meet you!

You mentioned that you are going to my native Berlin soon and I wish you a very good trip and thanks for bringing your light to my city!

With very warm regards and Love from your
Maren Springsteen

The War Within

This came in via the Parlor >>

I’d like to share how the work has been helping me lately. Often a picture will come into my mind and tempt me. Something like a Braum’s burger, fries, and an ice cream cone sundae. This may sound silly, but I am often a slave to such thoughts. So what I’ve been doing lately is to focus on that tempting image- what it is I believe I want. Then I pose the question that this picture implies to myself. This items promises that if I engage it,it will give me pleasure, it will be a good experience. It also demands that I satisfy it immediately, because I can not survive with out it. I’m am hopelessly incomplete without it. I take that false promise to inquiry.

When I believe that thought, I leave my perfect universe and battle this temptation. Believing the thought, and struggling against it is the war BK speaks of. Far better to doubt the thought & never struggle! Also I’ve been testing it- for instance, I disobeyed the thought and found that I was still breathing and in fact was very happy! Wow, without Braums too! 🙂

I find that I have a same pattern to my aversions that I have with my desires. For me a project that I’m behind on starts to represent something bad, to be avoided. Why? B/C when I look at it, what I actually perceive is a promise that if I tackle it, I will be frustrated, overwhelmed and
incapable. Yet when do I actually tackle such projects, I experience the opposite in reality.

I realized that I created a whole universe in my head this way. I create a personal relationship with everything in my mind- I call this thing a “goodie” and this other thing something terrible- aweful. In this way, I am driven, emprisoned by my desires and aversions.

The crazy part is that I’m almost always wrong in my attributions. Things I dread turn out to be great, and things I desire aren’t that great. I always hate it when someone tells me how great a movie is before I watch it. If they build it up too much, I leave disappointed- at a great movie too!

Interview with Eight-and-a-Half-Year-Old Emma

Q: Have you ever been to a Katie event?

A: No, but I have listened to the Loving What Is tapes. I listen to them when I go to sleep.

Q: Is it ever hard for you to hear people’s stories?

A: Sometimes, a little bit. I like the endings when sometimes they laugh a lot and they realize it’s really not true what they were thinking.

Q: Do you experience that when you do The Work?

A: Yeah, I do.

Q: Can you tell me about a specific dialogue that helped you?

A: Yeah, I can remember one. This is from couple of years ago. I was watching TV. There was this really scary preview—it was of a horror movie—and I didn’t have enough time to change the channels, so I saw it. That really freaked me out.

So my mom helped me with that. I did The Work on it and after that I realized it was not actually something that could hurt me. It was an image that was made up and was not real. That was helpful.

[Emma’s mom described how the turnaround “I’m going to hurt the monster” was a fun one for them. Emma saw that she could destroy the monster by questioning her thoughts about it. She also saw how she hurt herself (“I’m going to hurt me”) by bringing back in her mind an image of something unreal—that wasn’t in her room in reality—and believing it could actually harm her. It hurts to make up and imagine what the monster will do to me.]

Q: Did you feel peaceful after that? Were you able to sleep in your room?

A: That night I slept in my mom’s room just in case. After that I felt a lot better and just comfortable with going to sleep. I was clear-minded. Even if I pictured the image, it didn’t actually scare me anymore.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to tell me about The Work in your life?

A: Something happened that was kind of big and it sort of caused me and my mom to separate a bit. I was really angry at her. And I was worried that it would cause our relationship to be permanently wounded. She did The Work with me on that and it helped a lot. So it’s more peaceful now.

Q: After The Work, were you done with that belief? Did you find the relationship wasn’t permanently wounded?

A: Yeah, I did.

Q: Emma, why do you think The Work works? What do you think it is about The Work that helps people totally change their mind?

A: Oh, wow. When you do The Work, especially with “Is it true?”—if you think for a couple of minutes you realize this thought can’t be true. Like, “I need oranges.” You realize if you needed them, you’d be unhealthy. If you’re perfectly healthy, you wouldn’t need anything else. You’re only unhealthy emotionally if you think that thought.

And then “How do you react when you think the thought?” You realize there’s a really big chain of suffering you go through if you just think this one simple thought.

The turnarounds are the most important—especially the part where you have to give a reason why it’s true. It might not even be part of The Work you’re doing. “My friend doesn’t care about me anymore.” If you do the turnaround “I don’t care about myself,” you find a moment where you didn’t care about yourself. That points the flashlight at you, not your friend. Sometimes when I’m angry I pinch myself or hit myself to numb the emotional pain and focus on physical pain.

Q: Do you ever find the turnarounds surprising?

A: Yeah, it just comes at you kind of suddenly.

Q: What do you like about hearing Katie do The Work with people?

A: Well, Katie’s funny. She has some funny quotes that are fun to laugh to. It’s also interesting and can give you a better idea of how The Work works—because you can think it’s a weird process and probably doesn’t work. When you hear someone do it and hear how they’re happy when they get to the end of the process, you get how you can use it to make your life happier and not suffer.

Q: Do you imagine you’re going to keep using The Work?

A: Yeah, I do. If you get introduced to it and it works on one of your problems, you really can’t stay away.

Chicago: Relationship Workshop



I attended your three day intensive in Chicago this past weekend. I came wanting to learn more about relationships and how I can be a better partner to my partner. I left being in the most loving relationship with myself. The weekend was incredible! Thank you.



I felt transformed. I was transformed. It was a miracle. I know there is more work to do–every day of my life. But it doesn’t feel like work to me. I feel like a different person, except that I simply found the person that was already there.

Could you please somehow get the message to Katie what a difference she has made in our life. The universe is a wonderful place.



The Difference Between The Work and The Secret

Dear Katie,
I’ve been hoping “The Secret” craze would pass as quickly as the Hula-Hoop, then this afternoon I saw it featured on Oprah.

It seems to me that this so-called “secret” is just another way of tricking the mind into thinking it is in control, a message that is diametrically opposed to your invitation to make friends with reality, love what is, just notice, etc.

I don’t understand how someone who has The Work can take this movie seriously; yet, I’m hearing from people I usually consider sensible that they [the moviemakers] are “saying the same thing Katie says.” Lots of people.

Please consider commenting on this movie/book in the Parlor.
Much love,

Dearest Susan,

Here are Stephen’s thoughts:

The Secret: “You can have whatever you want.”
The Work: “You can want whatever you have.”

The Secret: “My will be done. I know what’s best for me.”
The Work: “Thy will be done (=Thy will is done). What’s best for me is what actually happens.” (In A Thousand Names for Joy, Katie says, “God’s will and your will are the same, whether you notice it or not.”)

The Secret: “You can control your thoughts.”
The Work: “You are not the thinker. It’s not possible to suppress your stressful thoughts. But when you question them, they let go of you.”

The Secret: “You can manifest your positive thoughts as reality.” The Work: “Reality already is the best thing that could be manifested. When you realize this, you’re home free.”

Thank you, Susan, for your work during the Los Angeles relationships weekend, and thank Gayle also for being so amazingly generous and present as she gives the Work to people in this world through her excellent recordings. I and thousands of others are so very grateful.

The Secret? So, let’s discover for ourselves if there really is a secret, if in fact one exists. “There is a secret”—is it true? I don’t know, I just don’t know, could be, and how would I know when I have found it? Wouldn’t it mean (if it were really powerful) that when I truly found it, my life and the lives of everyone I love, which is everyone on the planet without exception, would be perfect? That I and all of us would no longer have to suffer from needing, wanting, and shoulding, and would be excited and grateful for what we have as we watch more and more flow in as we need it and always on time, just loving what is here for us right now in this moment? Hmmm. Okay, let’s keep moving.

“There is a secret”—can I absolutely know that it’s true that there is a secret which, if known, would give me the key to having everything that I want and need that I don’t have now in life? One that will give me later what I don’t have now (examples: a BMW, the necklace that I really want, weight loss, a bike)? No, I can’t know. How do I react when I think the thought that there is a secret and others know it and I don’t? I must live in a past and future that don’t exist as anything other than unfulfilled imagination, yearning for what I don’t have and believing that material wealth and better health are the key to my happiness, left out, isolated, unhappy, trying my best to get the things that I want and often failing and feeling like a failure. I begin to believe that I cannot harness this “secret” and end up with the same life that I started with in the first place, with or without material success. Who would I be without believing that there is “the secret?” Loving life, being “the obvious,” rather than being the secretive.

There is a secret? Now it’s time to look for the turnarounds that are as true or truer for you, dear Parlor family. The one-liner is “There is a secret.” What turnarounds do you see and are willing to share with us? Post your comments below, at the end of this post.

If I believe it and cannot find it, see it, bring it in as fact, then I cannot prove it to “myself” in this world. There is nothing that isn’t manifested by mind, everything is as we see it, and that isn’t much of a secret. It is only when time and ownership of “things” (and body is also a thing) are misunderstood that you attempt to dictate and manipulate these two factors (time and ownership).

The secret is that wanting what I don’t have leaves me wanting what I don’t have again when I have what I thought I wanted then. I don’t need to map out a plan for the future, and I would if it made sense to me or if I needed to, but I would have to distrust the nature of the universe and myself first, and I trust “myself” totally without question to love all of life. There is never a limit as to what to do now, as what “I do” is what we all get, and it accumulates because I don’t argue, I follow the simple directions that are always kind. I don’t do later what I am to do now, and no one does. Later is now.

The secret is to love what is. I love what is because this “what is” right now is all that is and all that ever will be! Right now, not later, all my needs are met, all my desires, my wants are visibly in plain sight and my eyes are open to it, and the feeling is love and gratitude for all that is right now at my beck and call without beckoning or calling or having even asked for it, prayed for it, planned for it.

I didn’t see Oprah’s show hosting the Secret guests, I was traveling, but I have heard from others that they more or less ended the show with two, maybe three, of the Secret guests showing their prior plans and desires, wishes, wants, imagining, imaging, making real in their minds whatever it took to “manifest” themselves as guests on the Oprah show and that is why it worked. There may be millions of people doing the same thing, just wanting to meet Oprah in person. They may really want to meet her with all their heart, and it isn’t enough. This could easily move into despairing thoughts such as “It doesn’t work for me, I’m doing it wrong,” and for some of you that I have met on the book tour, this opens the door to “I created my own cancer,” “What did I do to create this cancer?” “If I knew what I did to create my cancer I could uncreate it, and if I can do that it means that I never have to suffer again. I must know the secret or suffer and die unnecessarily,” “I am going to die if I don’t know the Secret; after all, the doctors say they can’t save me. What did I do to create this in me?”

True creation is like this: There is no cancer until the doctor tells someone that they have cancer and then until they believe it they can’t have it. If they have never heard of cancer before, they must first be taught that it exists, and then they can believe that they have it, and that must be taught too. If they don’t believe it from the doctor, then the family has to teach them. We teach them to have it and then we teach them to try and get rid of it, and if they can’t, then they die. We have to teach them that they live first, though. If we haven’t been taught, how can we believe? And we ourselves create “it” (cancer, everything) the moment we believe. All the evidence shows that it’s true, and that is how the belief is held in place. The mind goes from nothing to crazy with fear (really crazy, sometimes). This is the way people create, reinforce, and maintain their beliefs: “I am going to die, they can’t save me, my children can’t make it without me, God is punishing me, I don’t know how to unmanifest my cancer,” on and on. When the phone rings and it is someone you love talking to, you are laughing, talking, enjoying life in that moment: where is the cancer in that moment? Do you have cancer or are you absolutely cancer-free in that moment? Of course, we are absolutely cancer-free until the mind brings back the unquestioned cancer story into reality. I use the term “absolutely” on purpose. The mind creates who and what we are when we believe our thoughts and experience the concepts, feelings, and images in our heads in the moment. This isn’t right or wrong, it is just so in the moment we believe what we seem to be experiencing as our identity.

In my world, cancer has a right to live or die. Everything has a right to life and death, because I know what everything is, and its true nature. If “I” have cancer, that is my identity (that is who mind identifies me as) and as that identity, I may choose to have chemotherapy, do alternative medical practices, medical practices, change my diet, think positively, even though we continue to believe the “negative” unquestioned thoughts, the opposites of what we want to believe, even though we don’t want to believe them. We believe them until we don’t, and inquiry breaks the spell of “negative” thoughts and therefore what we negatively feel and believe. The negative thoughts, unless we question them, override the positive thoughts that we want to believe, and negative thoughts win out, and the positive thoughts are just powerful and ring true enough to make us feel better occasionally. They don’t work when we really are believing the stressful ones, the one that we don’t want to believe: “I have cancer, I’m going to die, they can’t heal me, my condition is hopeless, it’s not fair, I have created this,” etc. With or without cancer, my life is what it is, and I am grateful for that. With or without cancer, I am still sitting in this chair writing to you, and there are two ways to sit here. One is happy, and the other is stressed out.

I look forward to the turnarounds and examples from you, dear family. I want everyone to come to understand what so many of you are coming to understand about the ease of internal life. Please share your secret thoughts with all of us.

Loving you all,