If this describes you during the holidays, it may help to know that you can call the HELPLINE service, offered at no charge by skilled facilitators who have completed the nine-day School for The Work. These facilitators are available 24 hours a day to assist you with their love, dedication, and clarity.
Participant: I’m mad at me because these days I don’t succeed in earning my living on my own.
Katie: Is that true? “You don’t earn a living on your own”—is that true?
Participant: I’m supported by my husband, and there’s scarcely anyone in my practice these days.
Katie: So sweetheart, do you make your husband support you?
Katie: So he does not have a choice?
Participant: Yes, he has a choice.
Katie: Yes. He doesn’t have to support you. So “You are not making a living on your own”—is that true? Few people come to your practice, your husband never has to support you, and you’re supported—on your own!
Participant: Right now, I’m so much in my mind.
Katie: And are you supported?
Participant: I am supported, yes.
Katie: So “You’re not supported on your own”—is that true?
Participant: I can’t understand right now.
Katie: Okay . . . so, thank you. Who would like to do The Work? And I hope everyone in this audience just did “I am not supported on my own.” Is there anyone in this room that has never been supported? Including you, sweetheart? I invite everyone in this room to find one time when you were not supported. It’s not possible. There’s no time in your life when you have not been supported. I’ve never met any human being that can find one moment that they were not supported. On your own! With or without a job. Can anyone find one moment when they were not supported? [Pause] I can’t either. So sweetheart, sit with it for a little while and we can come back to you. Because I hear from you that you’re having trouble putting it together.
Participant: I’m afraid of not being able to financially keep up my existence. I’m mad at me because I don’t succeed at standing on my own feet financially. I reproach myself for not having sought a job during the year of separation that would provide a living for me. And I don’t forgive myself for having spent the money I got from my husband—the biggest part of it.
Katie: So sweetheart, “You need more money”—is that true?
Participant: No, it’s not true.
Katie: That’s very good to know. Part of that money is gone, you only have this much, and “You need more”—is that true?
Participant: So the money is completely gone, and now it’s about the money I have these days, and it’s not a lot.
Katie: And “You need more”—is that true?
Katie: That’s so good to know. How do you react when you believe the thought “I need more money”? What happens to your beautiful life and your beautiful body when you believe the thought “I need more money” and you don’t have more money?
Participant: I panic. I lose my joy, which is enormous, my playfulness, my pleasure, and my peace with myself and with existence. I get pissed off at the school that sacked me.
Katie: That’s a lot. That’s a lot.
Participant: I get narrow.
Katie: So “I need more money”—give me a peaceful reason to believe that.
Participant: There is no peace in that.
Katie: No peace in that. So close your eyes, precious. Now watch you living your life exactly the way you live it, without the thought “I need more money.” Look at your life without that thought.
Participant: Then I have a lot of time to spend with myself and I feel perfectly well in that. And I always have things to do, and I’ve got nice contacts. Basically, more work—I don’t like more work. It’s exclusively the thought to work more for money. I’ve got a real full life, full of experiences with birds, with people, with trees, with grasshoppers.
[The audience applauds.]
Katie: And a home.
Participant: Yes, I’ve got a nice apartment.
Katie: “I need more money”—turn it around?
Participant: I don’t need more money.
Katie: No. Not right here, not right now. Not in this moment. And I’ve never known one human being that needed more money than they have. And I’ve tested it. And I invite you to test it. And every moment, notice how you have enough money. Let’s look at the next one. Continue to read.
Participant: I’m still very excited.
Katie: It is exciting, isn’t it? Life without money worries?
Katie: Oh, you’re still very nervous.
Participant: Mm-hmm. I’m mad at me because I don’t succeed at standing on my own feet financially without the support of my husband.
Katie: “You don’t succeed”—is that true? “You don’t succeed at standing on your own”—is that true?
Participant: I succeed at standing on my own, but I’m of the opinion that I don’t succeed at making it financially.
Katie: So “If your husband’s money was all gone, you would not succeed”—can you absolutely know that that’s true?
Participant: I don’t know. No, I can’t know. I don’t know now.
Katie: And what happens when you believe that thought, “Without my husband’s money, I wouldn’t succeed.
Participant: I make myself small, meek, narrow. I see myself as not capable of living. I see myself as dependent, as not worth living.
Katie: And what happens physically when you experience those thoughts?
Participant: I collapse. I can’t breathe freely, I can’t think clearly. I’m not able to be aware of my real wishes and dreams.
Katie: So give me a peaceful reason to believe the thought “I cannot succeed without my husband’s money.”
Participant: There is no peace—there is no good reason to think that.
Katie: So who would you be, living your life—the same life you have right now—without the thought “I cannot succeed without my husband’s money”?
Participant: I have to get myself into that, first. I feel good. I feel rich, alive, strong, and completely survivable.
Katie: Do you see how you’re succeeding?
Participant: Right! Yes.
Katie: You’re succeeding.
Participant: I will make it.
Katie: Without the thought, look at your life. Full of energy and ideas.
Participant: And creativity. I can bring so much to other people, too—endlessly much.
Katie: And they don’t have to pay you for it.
Katie: They pay you or they don’t—you’re a success. You’re helping people. That’s a success.
Participant [crying]: I feel bad when I have the thought that I have to get money from everyone I help.
Katie: You don’t have to. You don’t have to. “You have to get money from everyone you help”—is that true?
Participant: It’s a thought. I love to give, to give a lot, and to give generously.
Katie: When you think of it, you break into tears. That shows you the way. You don’t have to let money stop you from giving. They’ll give you eggs for breakfast —or not. “Without my husband’s money, I cannot succeed”—turn it around?
Participant: I’m a success without my husband’s money.
Katie: Yes. And hopefully you’ll run out of it, and you can test it.
[The audience laughs and applauds.]
Katie: But until then, you can afford to help people without money. Or for money—but that idea doesn’t have to stop you.
Participant: Yes, my heart gets narrow when I think I should only do it for money.
Katie: You just have to give it away, that’s how you are. That’s who you are.
Participant: I also wanted to tell you that I was afraid of coming here, because I can’t pay a lot—or scarcely anything.
Katie: I love that you didn’t let that stop you.
Participant: No, there was nothing that could have stopped me.
Katie: You’re a success!
Participant: I would like to Work on that sentence that I reproach myself for spending the money I got from my husband on trainings in healing and healing work.
Katie: “You should not have done that”—is it true?
Participant: I can only tell you that I did it.
Katie: How do you react when you believe the thought—“I should not have done it; it was a mistake”?
Participant: I feel very guilty, and I have a bad conscience, because my husband had to pay. I feel that I abused my family. I feel simply bad.
Katie: So “It was a mistake; you shouldn’t have done it”—turn it around?
Participant: It was no mistake? I did it because this was the thing to do.
Katie: So sweetheart, give me an example of why it was the best thing to do. How will it help your life?
Participant: It was a lot of money, and it was good to use it in a way that made sense. I didn’t feel well, and I needed healing.
Katie: Why is it a good thing today? Why is it true today that it was not a mistake? An example of why it was a good thing?
Participant: Because money wants to be spent.
[The audience laughs.]
Katie: Yes, it just kind of passes on. So, “I made a mistake”—turn it around?
Participant: I didn’t make a mistake.
Katie: Yes, it sounds like you’ve really learned a lot that can really help you.
Participant: Yes, a whole lot.
Katie: So if you had to choose, would you choose helping people or the money?
Participant: To help people.
Katie: Yes, you just have to. Thank you, honey.
Participant: And I do great works, too.
Katie: Yes. Thank you.
Participant: Thank you.
Here’s a letter from a friend about her children doing The Work. If any of you have stories about your children doing The Work, I invite you to post them.
I wanted to tell you about how we used the conflict resolution method of doing The Work with our children this Thanksgiving.
Claire, 15, and Zeffi, almost 9, were arguing, and the words and tones I heard from them felt tediously familiar. I started talking and my husband entered the room with his decisive, take-action energy and told me I had missed an entire episode of Claire-Zeffi dynamics the previous day. He asked them both what they planned to do about this, because an old pattern that we’d certainly looked at and talked about plenty just wasn’t budging. Everyone looked at him. Something they planned to do?
There was a confused moment when both girls started telling their story at once and Ravi stopped them and declared that we were absolutely not going to let this go on and we were going to do something about it right now. Both girls looked miserable. We had talked to them, pointed out patterns, pointed out alternatives to their habitual behaviors, asked how they would feel if . . ., and even done The Work with them separately on thoughts they had about each other.
I don’t know why I’d never thought of this before, probably because it seemed such a formal approach, but in that moment the conflict resolution approach to The Work rose to the surface of my awareness. So I said at once that all I could see for them to do was to fill out a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet about each other then do The Work together, with the parents facilitating. Ravi’s immediate reaction was “Let’s do it.” Zeffi agreed. Claire took a breath and said, “Ooooh-kay.”
She filled out her sheet where I was working toward our feast in the kitchen, and Zeffi went to the living room with Papa so that he could be her scribe. She cheerfully dictated all her judgments about Claire for him to write down.
Children are so good at filling out JYN sheets, and you don’t have to instruct them not to be spiritual or mature or nudge them toward pettiness. They’re just so happy to be completely honest. After Claire filled out hers, she did find herself a bit thrown off by the level of honesty she was reading back on her sheet. “This is mean,” she said. “I’m supposed to read this to her? I know I’m mean to Zeffi, but this is really mean to just sit here and read all this out loud to her.”
I told her that mean, just as she’d said, was the way she treated Z when she was living out of those thoughts she just wrote down. Everything on that sheet represented her thinking about Zeffi; the way she treated Zeffi didn’t come out of nowhere, it came out of those thoughts. The JYN sheet isn’t mean; it’s the place where we take the story in our mind and pin it down on paper. There, we can see it very clearly. Then when we do The Work on those thoughts, we’re on the road to seeing things differently. Behaving differently follows naturally.
So on Thanksgiving, as I chopped and sliced and mixed and spiced, my daughters sat with me and did The Work on each other. Ravi took the not-unpleasant job of playing with Gaelen in the living room to give us the space we needed.
Zeffi read her sheet first and Claire said thank-you for each item. I asked her to take each piece in and try to find it, and assured her she didn’t have to find it. She could just look and see what she saw. And whether she found it or not, she was to say thank-you. She did this. Sometimes she laughed at something Zeffi had written. I had to interpret Papa’s handwriting a couple of times. Claire was very patient with this.
Then Claire read hers to Zeffi. I saw what she meant about being mean and did have a few flashes of concern over how Zeffi would manage receiving harsh thoughts about herself. I found that what I had told Claire earlier held true: Zeffi had already received all of this in what she and Claire lived together. She was fine sitting there hearing “Zeffi is an annoying brat” and saying thank-you. None of the ways I’ve seen her melt into distress or fly into rage in response to Claire even began to show up here. Her face was open, her eyes were serious, she was fully present. And, as had happened with Claire, laughter just burst out of her a couple times: For her sister’s perception? Or the way it was phrased? I can’t say. I did have a strong sense of both girls being alive and alert.
Zeffi volunteered to be facilitated first. This was perfect. It addressed at the onset Claire’s frustration about having to work harder than Zeffi. In this story, Claire feels we, her parents, blame her more and expect her to take more responsibility. And in part, this is true. With The Work, both girls took turns looking at their thoughts and taking responsibility for them with the turnarounds. Both girls heard each other explore her own thinking and the effects of that thinking. They saw how the unhappy thoughts didn’t merely cause fighting between them but caused each girl to be unhappy in herself and usually to feel bad about herself and dislike her own behaviors. With The Work, both girls worked on themselves and their own thinking equally.
Claire explored her responsibility deeply, even before the turnarounds. She found that Zeffi couldn’t possibly tell on her but could only tell her story. When Claire ran after her to defend herself and tell her version, that was the moment it became “Zeffi telling on Claire.” Amazing clarity. She also looked deeply at the turnaround to herself—how she told on herself. Here and throughout The Work we did that morning, she was surprised to find that most of the statements she was exploring held something for her about her entire life, not just life with Zeffi. She found ways she told on herself with her friends, exposing or shaming herself by telling things about herself she would better keep to herself. She found ways that she told on herself to her parents, about things unrelated to Zeffi. At fifteen, Claire is fully capable of understanding the mirror principle, that Zeffi shows up only as her mirror so she can look at something in herself and see how it operates in every aspect of her life.
Zeffi’s Work was more directly about Claire. For her, the magic happens with finding very concrete answers to number 3 and very concrete examples of the turnarounds. One thing I love about doing The Work with Z at her age now is that it shows me the process at its simplest. We’re just asking and answering questions. The answers are simple and pure and honest: when I believe this thought, I get mad and I want to hit her and sometimes I do hit her. I try to make her mad. I ignore her when she says stop. I hate her. I feel bad. I don’t like myself.
I also love the purity of the answers to 4 in Work with a 9-year-old. Who would you be if you couldn’t believe that Claire excludes you with Gaelen? Zeffi shrugs. I’d be fine. I’d just go do something I want to do. It reminds me of how easy it all is, really.
I took Zeffi and Claire through one long exploration each. We did the first statement on Zeffi’s list, and Claire chose one that seemed the most potent to her. From there, we went through the sheets doing turnarounds, though I think I did a couple of quickies—when a statement seemed especially rich, or in a different vein from the others, I asked the four questions briefly and moved into the turnarounds from there.
Zeffi and Claire did not fall weeping into each other’s arms at the end of the process and swear to be sweet to each other for the rest of all time. What did happen was that they both left feeling very solid, present, and calm. They both had a lot to be with after the process, and it was fascinating how it was no longer about Claire and Zeffi. It was about Claire for Claire and it was about Zeffi for Zeffi. For me, it was about falling more in love with The Work and with my amazing daughters.
Zeffi had trouble staying put at some point in our process and actually wandered into the other room to see what Papa and Gaelen were doing. Claire and I were so focused on what we were then looking at that neither of us responded to this initially, then Claire said, “Uh, is Zeffi coming back?” I asked Z to bring in her drawing pad and pencils and told her to stay here with us during the process and to feel free to draw the whole time. Z is capable of drawing for at least two hours straight. This worked perfectly. The drawing gave her a focus and a structure that held her while she gave her mind to the inquiry process. I didn’t learn until days later that what she chose to draw was a picture of Claire going off with Gaelen and the dog, above which she wrote, “No you can’t play Zeffi Go that way.”
If we had done this four years ago I would have given Zeffi a catalog and a pair of scissors. She used to sit still for nothing except cutting. She could go-go-go and move and talk all day, but with a pair of scissors in hand she would drop into perfect stillness except for her little hands intently following the shapes as she extracted them from a page. I would now recommend to any parent sitting down with a serious inquiry project to find whatever works best for the particular child and use this tactic of keeping hands busy and eyes focused so that the mind and body can be still for The Work.
The one thing I noticed about doing The Work with Claire and Zeffi in this situation as compared to Working with two adults was that I gave them a lot of praise. I told them often they were doing great Work. I told them when I thought something they’d located was a great find, and then stayed quiet a moment for them to take that in. All of this was completely genuine.
I don’t know how long we hung in there exactly, but my husband and I both estimate two hours. This may sound like an insanely long time to do this with children, but they were fine with it. They were completely immersed in the process. Truly, they were just as tired of the issue as we were. And finally, they would rather do The Work for two hours than be on the receiving end of five minutes of tense and angry lecturing or fifteen minutes of restrained and reasonable lecturing from their parents. The children can see just as we can that The Work takes them through a process to know themselves that is actually interesting to them, leads them to new insights, and leaves them feeling better. Lecturing can sometimes lead to new insights, usually later when some bit of wisdom breaks off from the rest and sinks in, but they hate it. They feel attacked or at the very least overwhelmed and dictated to. In no way do they find it interesting and they do not feel better—sometimes feel worse—when it’s over.
That’s my report.
Those of us who chase after money to find happiness never have enough. And in the process we create stress for ourselves and for others around us. Sometimes we worry ourselves sick.
Those of us who see money as unspiritual have trouble charging for our services or feel guilty when we do make money. This is the flip side of greed, and it is just as painful. What stories we assign to pieces of paper!
Rich or poor, we believe the same stories over and over again. Isn’t it time for you to end that suffering?
Financial freedom is not about manifesting new cars or high-paying jobs. It is about being absolutely secure and loving whatever reality brings you.
The truth is that you’re supposed to have exactly as much money as you have right now. No more, no less.
How do you know when you’re supposed to have more? When you do.
How do you know when you’re supposed to have less? When you do.
Realizing this is true abundance. It leaves you without a care in the world.
However much money you have, do you love it yet? If not, I look forward to seeing you in Los Angeles in January…
Just mention the holidays and it’s enough to send some people’s stress levels off the charts.
If this describes you during the holidays, it may help to know that you can call the HELPLINE service any time.
The helpline is for people who want to have a one-on-one experience with The Work now, and is offered at no charge by skilled and extraordinarily generous facilitators who have completed the nine-day School for The Work. These facilitators are available 24 hours a day to assist you with their love, dedication, and clarity.
One time I came back from a trip and everything was stolen.
I loved it.
I couldn’t find one true thought about needing anything.
As I stood there, Paul, my husband at the time, was very upset. He still believed these things were his, although they already belonged to someone else. He suffered and suffered.
Do three kind and giving things every day.
Don’t let anyone find out it is you. If they find out, start again!
Dying is just like living. It has its own way, and you can’t control it. People think, “I want to be conscious when I die.” That’s hopeless. Even wanting to be conscious ten minutes from now is hopeless. You can only be conscious now. Everything you want is here in this moment.
I like to tell a story about a friend of mine who was waiting for a revelation just before he died, saving his energy, trying to be completely conscious. Finally his eyes widened, he gasped, and he said, “Katie, we are larvae.” Profound awareness on his deathbed. I said, “Sweetheart, is that true?” And the laughter simply poured out of him. The revelation was that there was no revelation. Things are fine just as they are; only a concept can take that away from us. A few days later he died, with a smile on his face.
Practice listening to others in the most literal sense, believing exactly what they say without attaching a future to it, and do your best to resist falling into your own interpretations about the information they share with you.
For example, someone might give you a compliment, and you interpret that to mean that the person has ulterior motives. Our interpretations of what we hear people say to us are often far more painful or frightening than what people actually say. We can hurt ourselves with our misconceptions and our thinking for others.
Try trusting that what they say is exactly what they mean: not more, not less. Hear people out.
Catch yourself when you want to finish a sentence for someone, either aloud or in your mind.
Listen. It can be amazing to hear what comes out when we allow others to complete their thoughts without interruption. And when we are busy thinking we know what they are about to say, we often miss what they are actually saying.
You might want to consider these questions:
– What can be threatened if I listen and hear literally?
– Do I interrupt because I don’t want to really know what people have to say?
– Do I interrupt to convince them that I know more than they do?
– Am I attempting to convey an image of self-confidence and control?
– Who would I be without the need to possess those qualities?
– Do I fear appearing unintelligent?
– Would people leave me if I heard them literally and no longer engaged in manipulative games?
If you want to see who you are not, look in the mirror.
Use the mirror once a day only. Who would you be without your mirror?
Practice reporting events to yourself as if a circumstance you find yourself in were actually a news story and you were the roving reporter.
Announce exactly what your surroundings are and what’s happening “on the scene” at that very moment.
Fear is always the result of an unquestioned past imagined as a future.
If you’re afraid, find the core belief and ask yourself, “Is it true that I need to be fearful in this situation? What is actually happening right now, physically? Where is my body (hands, arms, feet, legs, head)? What do I see (trees, walls, windows, sky)?”
Impersonalizing our stories gives us an opportunity to look at circumstances more objectively and determine our responses to what life brings. Believing our untrue thoughts is a good way to scare ourselves to death.
The world is perfect. As you question your mind, this becomes more and more obvious. Mind changes, and as a result, the world changes. A clear mind heals everything that needs to be healed. It can never be fooled into believing that there is one speck out of order.
But some people take the insight that the world is perfect and make it into a concept, and then they conclude that there’s no need to get involved in politics or social action. That’s separation. If someone came to you and said, “I’m suffering. Please help me,” would you answer, “You’re perfect just the way you are,” and turn away? Our heart naturally responds to people and animals in need.
Realization has no value until it’s lived. I would travel to the ends of the earth for the sake of one person who is suffering. The desperate, the hopeless, are unenlightened cells of my own body. It’s my own body I’m talking about—the body of the world is my body. Would I let myself drown in water that doesn’t exist? Would I let myself die in an imagined torture chamber? My God, I think, there’s someone out there who really believes there’s a problem. I remember when I used to think there was a problem. How can I say no when that person asks for help? That would be saying no to myself. So I say yes and I go, if I can. It’s a privilege. It’s more than that: it’s self-love.
People are perfect just the way they are, however deeply they’re suffering, but they don’t realize that yet. So when I meet someone who’s suffering, I don’t say, “Oh, there’s no problem, everything is perfect.” Though I can see that there’s never a problem, and I’m available to help him see that, telling him what I see would be unkind. That part of my body is suffering, everything is not perfect for him, because he believes it’s not. I, too, have been trapped in the torture chamber of the mind. I hear what he thinks he needs, I hear his sadness or despair, and I’m available. That’s full-blown activism. In the presence of someone who doesn’t see a problem, the problem falls away—which shows you that there isn’t a problem.
People ask me, “How can you listen to all these problems, day after day, year after year? Doesn’t it drain your energy?” Well, it doesn’t. I’ve questioned my stressful thoughts, and I’ve seen that every single one of them is untrue. Every thought that used to look like a poisonous snake is actually a rope. I could stand over that rope for a thousand years, and never be frightened of it again. I see clearly what some people don’t yet see for themselves. Everyone in the world might come upon that rope and run screaming the other way, and I wouldn’t be afraid for them, feel sorry for them, or worry about them at all, because I realize that they’re not in danger, they’re absolutely not in harm’s way. As they cry snake, I see only rope.
If you have a problem with people or with the state of the world, I invite you to put your stressful thoughts on paper and question them, and to do it for the love of truth, not in order to save the world. Turn it around: save your own world. Isn’t that why you want to save the world in the first place? So that you can be happy? Well, skip the middleman, and be happy from here! You’re it. You’re the one. In this turnaround you remain active, but there’s no fear in it, no internal war. So it ceases to be war trying to teach peace. War can’t teach peace. Only peace can.