The Work

Have you ever had a thought that isn’t about you? – Byron Katie

There are times when all I can do is laugh at the perfection of life.

Thursday morning an innocently sent text had me reeling backward through a lifetime of anger and hurt. Nothing happened and yet my body was shaking, the tears welled in my eyes, the anger threatened to engulf me. That text grabbed hold of a fish hook and pulled as hard as it could and the pain…oh the pain. As my mind whirled, frantically hanging on to old, worn out justifications of right and wrong, I knew that I was being offered an opportunity to shift, but I couldn’t see past the moment to figure out how.

I happened to have an appointment with the magician and I knew he would offer at least partial relief. I left his office feeling calmer. The spinning thoughts hadn’t stopped but they were causing less pain. I spent the next day and a half feeling grief, wondering what to do, what to say, how to break the pattern I set myself up in many years ago.

Saturday morning I walked into a one day workshop with Byron Katie, creator of The Work, and I understood.

I like or don’t like what I believe about you, but you have nothing to do with it.

- Byron Katie

If you haven’t heard of her – and I hadn’t until recently – Byron Katie has been helping people drop their stories for over 20 years with her four questions and “turnarounds”. Like Eckhart Tolle, (the two of them have recently published a book together), she was in unbearable mental and emotional pain when she woke up one day filled with joy, awakened, transformed. She is headquartered in Ojai, a 20 minute drive away, and every time I’ve passed by, I’ve wondered. I am a believer and a skeptic. Anytime someone claims to be an expert, or an awakened being, or to have the answers to some of life’s big questions, my heart wants to believe and my head says, Uh hunh, really? Prove it.

Katie is the real deal. At least as far as I could tell from the back row of the Ventura Center for Spiritual Living. Throughout the day as she answered questions, she would smile at the person who had spoken and tears would well in my eyes. The unconditional love and acceptance beaming from her touched the darkest recesses of my heart. We laughed – a lot. As she coached three individuals through the process, we witnessed the power of what she has to offer. I loved watching her work with sidestepping and denial, showmanship and softening, tears of love and pain. Oh the stories we tell ourselves.

You can pay between $10 and $30 for her books, CD’s and DVD’s. You can spend $90 on a day, like I did. You can pull $4500 out of your bank account to attend her 9 day School for the Work or you can get everything you need to do The Work on her website and by calling her 1-800 number, at no cost. If it didn’t mean leaving my daughter for over a week, I would be in LA this March, dropping my story faster than South Dakota shelved that “justifiable homicide” bill. But Katie said, You don’t need it. Everything you need to do The Work is available to you for free.

Yes it is. And I know the power of working in relationship, in community. It’s why coaches and therapists and support groups and 12 step programs are valuable. It’s why we get married and go to church and risk having our hearts ripped from our chests by having children. It’s harder to slog through the shit alone.

The conversation I will have with the above-mentioned texter, who I love dearly, will be completely different than the one I would have had. My life will be different, if I choose to do The Work on a regular basis.  It’s a welcomed addition to my growing toolbox.

That’s why anger comes. It shows you what to work with. – Byron Katie

I believe there are many paths to peace in this world. I believe we can use all the help we can get. I invite you to take a look at The Work and see if it resonates. Take your time with it. Don’t rush through the questions. Drop into yourself and let the answers come. If you need help, ask for it. Risk letting go of your story. Risk peace. Risk love.

You are about to meet the love of your life. And that’s you. – Byron Katie

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8 Responses to The Work

  1. Christa says:

    Thais, Alana. I looked into Byron Katie and The Work – in book form- some time ago and it just didn’t do it for me. Then. Timing is, indeed, everything, and her name keeps coming up, so I’ll revisit the whole thing now. Thanks for the push, and for sharing your own journey so beautifully…

    • Alana says:

      Christa – something about being in the room with her made a huge difference for me. When I looked at it online a couple of months ago, it didn’t do much for me either. Let me know what you think…

  2. Sugar, as surprises neither of us by now, this dropped in at just The Right Time. I love The Work – have for years – then kinda’ got away from it, fell back into old familiar patterns of beings. Especially now when I’m being tugged in so many different directions, huge projects with ultra short time frames, feeling absolutely and horribly used up by people. Yes, this gentle reminder is precisely what I need now. Thank you.

    Interesting that you write about the value of learning in community. That’s twice this week community has cropped up in a positive way – writing in community and now this. I’ve been living in draining communities too much of late. Must change that and my thinking/being patterns.

    Much love to you.

  3. Mynde says:

    So glad you went and experienced her & her work in person. I discovered her a couple of years before the Fearless Living stuff and sat for two days in Malibu with 100′s of other people all discovering the tyranny and freedom we can experience from our minds. Everything comes at the perfect time. It really does. The most powerful question I still use with myself and clients… “Who would I be without that thought?”

    Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s a wonderful reminder.

    • Alana says:

      Mynde – It’s very likely that you asked me that. :) I think I must have checked her out on your recommendation but the online presence didn’t pull me in. Now I get it. Thank you. For so much.

  4. Roos says:

    You met her? The real Katie? Pff… the benefits of living in the USA ;-)
    I’ve read her books years ago and put them away. Either to confronting or to easy. I haven’t figured that out yet.
    How wonderful that you could get – an soo affordable – chance to work with her!

  5. Alana says:

    Roos – She’ll be in Amsterdam in July! And there are trained facilitators who live in the Netherlands. Maybe one day the timing will be right.

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