They Are Not Doing The Work, Is It True?

sailing with no wind

Just because there’s no wind, does it mean they’re not sailing?

Have you Ever Felt Stressed Doing The Work with Someone?

For me, it happens sometimes. Especially when I think, “They’re not really doing The Work.”

This judgment pops in when I’m facilitating, and I immediately feel annoyed, powerless, wanting it to be over, or I start taking over and trying to do their work for them.

And I sometimes feel quite justified in thinking, “They are not doing The Work.” After all, they are going into defense, justification, avoidance, etc. In fact, Byron Katie even instructs us to invite people back to The Work when they stop answering the questions. That’s part of the role of a facilitator.

But My Ego Doesn’t Like Bringing People Back to The Work

My ego likes to be the good guy. The one who people like. The nice guy. I don’t want to be the policeman. The bad guy.

So guess what? Instead of inviting someone back to the questions when they go into defense, I sometimes let them wander, while I silently feel frustrated inside.

That’s when the thought, “They’re not really doing The Work,” comes in. But I don’t see it as a useful observation, an indication to invite them back. I experience it as stress.

My ego sees it as a threat, “They are putting me in a difficult situation where I have to bring them back, and they’re not going to like me.” So, like a bad parent, I let them do whatever they want. Instead of bringing them back, I “comfort” myself by thinking, “They’re not doing The Work.” What an experience of powerlessness!

So I Did The Work on it Recently

I literally questioned, “She is not doing The Work, is it true?” And the turnaround, “She is doing The Work” made me stop and reconsider everything.

I’ve been defining “doing The Work” as finding deep insights, being super vulnerable, open, and humble, and not wandering into story.

But as I considered the turnaround, “She is doing The Work,” I saw that my definition of “doing The Work” was not so open minded. When I thought about it, the most basic definition of “doing The Work” for me is “answering the four questions and looking for turnarounds and genuine examples of how the turnarounds could be true.”

This Is a Very Different Definition

My first definition was results oriented: getting insights was important. And it was also process oriented: got follow the guidelines perfectly. And it was also state of mind dependent: if you happen to be open, then you’re doing The Work. If you happen to be closed or defensive, then you’re not.

That’s not a very fair way to judge.

My new definition feels much fairer. If my client is doing her best to answer the four questions, she is doing The Work. If she is looking for turnarounds and looking for examples, she is doing The Work

It Doesn’t Matter If She Doesn’t Find Anything!

It’s still The Work if you’re looking.

And if she goes into defense, or story, when trying to answer the four questions, or if she resists the turnarounds, that is her best first attempt to answer to the questions. She is doing The Work. The Work just threw her for a loop. That’s all.

Of course, these questions would throw her for a loop! They are hard questions! From this point of view, I see nothing but honesty in her attempt to avoid those questions, or to reject a turnaround. She is still doing The Work as best she can in that moment.

The Purpose of me Seeing This Is Simple

It frees me from judging her. When I see her as “doing The Work” even when she is rebelling against the process, I no longer feel powerless. I no longer am trying to change her. I no longer am trying to push her to have insights. I no longer need anything from her.

I simply witness her going through her process. I watch with fascination as the questions drop into her mind and heart. The very fact that they make her uncomfortable and defensive is proof that the questions are stirring something inside of her. The Work is working.

All I need to do is allow that stirring to take place. And invite her back to do it again and again as we go through each question and turnaround. Maybe I’ll ask a question two or three times if she keeps running away from it. Or maybe I’ll just keep moving to the next question or turnaround, or to the next statement to work.

My job is not to make sure she has insights. My job is to keep bringing her in contact with these questions. That way she is still sailing even if we just sit in the boat and “go nowhere.” Is it even possible to go nowhere?

I find this very freeing and relieving.

Have a great weekend,
Todd

“If your answers are shallow and limited, that’s all right with me, because I see that it’s all the depth that’s required in your world right now. If you seem to make no headway whatsoever, I understand that the illusion you’re holding on to is precious for you, and if you want to keep it, that’s what I want. Or if, on the contrary, the bottom falls out as you’re answering the questions, and everything you thought you knew drops away, and you fall into the abyss of reality, I love that you’ve given that to yourself…” Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy

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Are You Being too Thorough in Your Work?

pebbles

I don’t need to pick up every stone to have a full experience of them.

Here’s a Trap I’ve Been Caught In

I tend to be a very thorough person. I usually think of it as a good thing. But sometimes my thoroughness is a hindrance, not a help.

Here’s what it looks like when doing The Work.

Being too Thorough in Identifying Stressful Thoughts to Work

This happens when I spend too much time trying to find “the one” stressful thought underpinning them all. I can end up excavating forever, because there’s always another one just out of reach.

The balance in this case is for me to remember that any stressful thought can be a window into myself. There is no need to find the perfect thought to work. It’s much more valuable to pick any one in the vicinity and start going through the questions of The Work.

The Same Thing Can Happen Writing a Worksheet

Sometimes, I become so thorough in writing a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet that I have a mile of stressful thoughts lined up to work, and end up losing heart before I even begin to work them.

The solution to this for me is either to be satisfied with writing a little less on my worksheets, or to be satisfied with not working all of the statements that I write on my worksheet. Either way, I end up less intimidated by my “Work load,” and am more likely to complete my work.

Thoroughness Can even Show up when Doing The Work

I can get lost in any of the four questions to the extent that I never reach the turnarounds. This tends to happen most often in question 3 because there are several sub-questions there.

The temptation is to answer all of the sub-questions every time. Or to go into an overly analytic description of how I react in every detail. When I do this, I often lose the clear comparison of my answers in question 3 with my answers in question 4. And I can run out of time for the turnarounds.

This Is Fine as Long as I Pick up where I Left off Next Time

But if my work consists of mainly answering question 3, then it’s not the full balance of doing The Work.

The Work is identifying stressful thoughts, questioning them with all four questions, and then applying the turnarounds and finding examples for the turnarounds.

I Can Even Be too Thorough in the Turnarounds

This can look like straining to try to find three examples, instead giving it some time, looking for what I can find, and moving on if I don’t find more examples.

It’s all a balance. Too little thoroughness and I miss The Work. But too much thoroughness and I can also miss The Work.

Have a great week,
Todd

“Just notice when things are out of balance. You don’t have to figure it out. There’s a built-in signal that will always let you know: it’s called stress.” Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy

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How Do You Do The Work on Shame?

dark cloud

A cloud of shame can darken any beautiful scene.

What Causes Shame?

For me, shame happens when I believe that something about me, or something I’ve done, is not accepted by others. The possible, or actual, rejection of a whole group of people is usually what makes me feel shame the most. But even potential rejection by one person can bring it on.

This experience leads me to hide, to lack confidence, to lie, to be a perfectionist, to avoid even positive exposure, and to self-attack.

Shame is one of the most debilitating experiences I know.

So How Can I Do The Work on Shame?

I do The Work on shame by noticing my stressful thoughts, writing them down, and questioning them. There are two main areas of stressful thoughts in my experience of shame.

1. My thoughts about myself: what a terrible thing I did, or how I’m a loser/bad person

2. My desire for approval from the people who will, or have, disapproved of me

The First Category Is a List of Self-Judgments

This list can include what I actually did, why it’s a terrible thing, and what it means about me.

For example, I recently learned that in a past life I was a “money minded” teacher, making a business of teaching others. This was taboo in that society. And when I got negative feedback in that lifetime, I quit my business and shunned making money completely.

Whether this story is true or not, just hearing the possibility of it made me feel shame today. And it certainly explained my aversion to money from a young age in this life, and some of my lack of confidence.

So how could I work this? It’s a funny situation working something “from a past life” but I treat it just like working a situation from a dream. I hold the situation as I imagined it to be. That is enough to gather my stressful thoughts.

Here are some of my shameful thoughts, my self-judgments:

What I did:

I made a terrible mistake.
I was “money minded.”
I was materialistic.

And that means that:

I am not fit for spiritual life.
I should never pursue money again.
I am a bad person.

I can now take each one of these stressful thoughts to inquiry using the four questions and turnarounds of The Work.

The Second Category Gets to the Core of It For Me

The second category of stressful thoughts around shame is my desire to avoid disapproval. For me, this is what drives my self-judgments above.

In fact, I attack myself often as a way of preventing disapproval from others. Working my stressful thoughts about others disapproving of me can help free me from this self-attack.

Here’s where a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet can serve. I use it to capture my stressful thoughts about the people who saw me as “money minded.”

1. I am ashamed because they disapprove of me.

2. I want them to be gentle with me. I want them to continue including me. I want them to be understanding. I want them to approve of me.

3. They should ask themselves if what I did was really wrong. They should frame it in terms of what doesn’t work for them. They shouldn’t reject me as a whole. They shouldn’t be so black and white.

4. I need them to accept me. I need them to be on my side. I need them to love me unconditionally.

5. They are judgmental, harsh, extreme, hypocrites, powerful.

6. I don’t ever want to be rejected by them again.

Now that I’ve got my thoughts about them down, I can work through them one by one using the four questions and turnarounds of The Work.

I’m Looking for Both My Innocence and My Part

Doing The Work often reveals how innocent I am. I was just doing what human beings do. When I own it without beating myself up, I’m free again.

For me, shame is a poor substitute for humility. When I shame myself, I beat myself up instead of actually owning my part. When I truly own my part, there is no need to beat myself up at all. I just am what I am, and I’m not pretending to be anything else. That’s true humility. And there’s freedom in that, not shame.

I invite you to question your stressful thoughts around a situation where you felt shame. Be gentle. But, if you can find the balance between seeing your innocence and owning your part, there may be no more need for shame.

Have a great weekend,
Todd

“We’re so secretive about what makes us feel ashamed that we even try to keep it from ourselves, clinging to our pretense of self-respect while our thoughts run on about how terrible we are and how unforgivable the things we’ve done. Secrets cry out for inquiry. You can’t be free if you’re hiding. And in the end, the things we’re ashamed of turn out to be the greatest gifts we have to give.” Byron Katie, I Need Your Love, Is That True?

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aspen trees

So you got everything lined up perfectly? Now what?

What’s the Most Stable Practice Routine?

Whether you’re practicing a sport, learning a language, building a business, refining an art, or doing The Work, routine can be a wonderful friend.

What all these things have in common is that they are long-term processes. And when dealing with long-term processes, a steady approach is helpful.

With any of these processes, if you go too slow, momentum never gets gained. And if you go too fast, you can end up burning out, or quitting early.

Somewhere in the Middle Is a Sweet Spot

Most people who start doing The Work are on the “too slow” side. They are still just figuring out how to do The Work, they may have doubts about it, and they usually don’t have a routine established.

So for most people, they hear a little about The Work, maybe read one of Katie’s books, maybe watch a few videos, or read this newsletter, but no habit of The Work gets built. And soon their interest peters out, or they put it on a shelf for later.

But the other extreme is people who go all out, hitting sprint speed with The Work, but can’t maintain the pace long term. The funny thing is they end up in the same place as those who never get started.

So What Is a Balanced Approach?

It is different for each person. Because the balance is a balance between internal interest and external situations. And that’s different for everyone.

If you have a great internal interest, you can naturally maintain more practice of The Work. But even if you have great interest, if you don’t structure some routine for doing The Work, it can easily fall by the wayside.

So the first part of finding that balance is to gauge your interest. This includes educating yourself on how to do The Work, how to find turnarounds, how to answer the questions as meditation. And it includes getting honest about what your priorities really are.

Once you’re clear on that, it’s a matter of finding what’s practical in your life. Can you find a time on a regular basis to do The Work? Maybe it’s 15-30 minutes in writing every morning before work. Or maybe it’s a phone session once a week. It’s up to you to find a routine that matches your interest level.

But Even if You Find a Good Routine, The Balancing Act is Not Over

In Inquiry Circle, we do The Work every day, five days a week. It’s a routine that works for most of us. And I recently had a good idea for supporting us all to show up every day. I proposed creating a “day streak” report for each person every day.

You see this kind of thing in foreign language apps: it tells you how many days in a row you’ve shown up. The basic idea is that the feedback will give you motivation to show up more regularly.

But as we discussed the idea in the forum, I saw some drawbacks. It became clear to me that this was outside motivation, not genuine internal motivation. In fact, it could cause extra stress for each of us as we try to do it perfectly.

This Made Me Think

Showing up perfectly, every day without fail, is not necessarily the best practice. If I’m attached to doing it perfectly and some day I can’t make it, then I may never start again. Imagine I do two months without missing a day, and then I miss one! That could make me give up. Why put all that pressure on myself?

But if I am doing my work from a genuine internal motivation, I’m not paying attention to “doing it perfectly.” So when I miss a day here and there, it’s no big deal. My day streak was not ruined, because I’m not paying attention to that at all.

What I am paying attention to is my internal experience of doing The Work, which is its own motivation. When I discover through my work that what I thought was a stressful situation is not stressful for me, I feel freedom. And it’s that feeling of freedom that brings me back to do more of The Work.

It so nice to forget about perfection, and just follow my heart into inquiry.

If you want to start building a practice of The Work, or just want to experience it more deeply, join us for The Work 101 online course starting July 10. Registration closes this Friday, July 7.

Have a great week,
Todd

“There is a perfection beyond what the unquestioned mind can know. You can count on it to take you wherever you need to be, whenever you need to be there, and always exactly on time.” Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy

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What Is Spinning When Doing The Work?

carnival ride

Finding a turnaround is one thing. Getting lost in a spin is another.

The Work Is a Specific Protocol

1. You identify a stressful thought.
2. You apply the four questions of The Work to that thought.
3. You find turnarounds (opposites) for the thought.
4. You look for examples of how the turnarounds could be true.

Following this simple protocol has worked time and time again for me. It takes my stressful thought, helps me to loosen my attachment to it, and then points me in the opposite direction, towards freedom and peace.

But What Happens If You Don’t Follow These Directions?

Sometimes, due to inexperience, attachment to being right, or confusion, the mind does not follow these simple steps. And the result is that the mind digs deeper into its own story.

It’s like you’re walking through a maze and you come to a dead end. But you’re sure the exit is just ahead so you keep walking into the wall at the dead end.

The Work says, “Are you sure this is the right way?” And you say, “Yes, 100% sure.” And you keep banging into the wall. The Work doesn’t work if you’re not open to reconsidering.

And It Also Doesn’t Work When You Spin

Here’s what spinning looks like. You’re in the dead end of the maze and maybe by answering the four questions of The Work, you start to be open to the idea that maybe walking into the wall is not the best option.

If you’re questioning the thought, “The shortest way out of the maze is straight ahead,” a turnaround would be, “The shortest way out of the maze is behind.” And if I explore this turnaround, I’ll probably stop banging into the wall in front of me and walk out of the dead end in the opposite direction.

But a spin is something different. A spin looks like a turnaround, but it doesn’t get me anywhere. It’s a kind of fake turnaround. Often it is a double turnaround.

For example, a spin would be “The shortest way out of the maze is not behind.” Or, “The longest way out of the maze is behind.” It looks like a turnaround, but it’s really just saying the same thing as the original statement, “The shortest way out of the maze is straight ahead.”

A Spin Is Often a Turnaround of a Turnaround

It’s easy to do the math. If a turnaround moves me 180 degrees in the opposite direction, then a turnaround of a turnaround will moves me 180 + 180 degrees which spins me right back to where I started: banging into the wall again.

The danger of this confusion is that I actually think that I turned it around. So I start to feel even more justified for banging into the wall. Now I know I’m right!

But in reality, I’m not doing The Work here. I found a spin instead of a turnaround. And it’s leading me right back into my old belief system.

You’ll Feel This Because The Stress Increases

Stress is the indication that I’m going in the wrong direction. Peace is the indication that I’m moving in the right direction. That’s why I pay attention to my stress levels when I’m doing my work.

Any time I find myself increasing my stress when doing The Work, I know I’m headed off in a direction that is not bringing me back home, and is not actually The Work. I trust my stress meter. It doesn’t lie.

So that’s how I catch spins. I pay attention to my stress. And I avoid turning around a turnaround. When I follow these principles, I find genuine turnarounds that allow me to get out of any dead end.

If you want more practice catching spins, and improving your ability to find turnarounds, join us for The Work 101 online course starting July 10. Registration closes this Friday, July 7.

Have a great week,
Todd

“The mind is so stuck in its patterns of proving that it’s right that it spins you away from the questions. Just notice that, and gently return to inquiry.” Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy

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Why Do We Feel Guilt?

house on the hill

I stayed in this house one night, and promised the owners some photos that I never delivered.

Do You Ever Feel Guilty?

It comes up from time to time for me, and it often brings me back to doing The Work.

But how do you do The Work with guilt? It’s kind of a strange emotion. It’s not like anger, where it’s usually easy to find the stressful thoughts to question. Guilt is a bit more covert.

Here’s What I Notice About Guilt

Underlying my feeling of guilt is often the belief that I need or want someone’s approval.

Not getting their approval can lead to guilt or anger. I feel anger if I’m not getting their approval because of something they are doing. For example, if they are not being fair, or they are being “impossible” to please.

But I feel guilty when I think it’s something I’m doing that is preventing me from getting their approval. For example, if I’m not doing something that they want me to do.

Instead of owning, “I don’t really want to do it,” I opt for guilt. Feeling guilty is a way of holding onto both of my conflicting desires: the desire for their approval, and the desire to stay in my integrity.

By feeling guilty, I don’t have to choose.

Guilt Shows Me My Desire for Approval

And not just my desire for approval, but often a desire for approval that goes against my integrity.

For example, I took the photo above of the little house on the hill covered with flowers back in 2009. I was photographing the balsamroot flowers that spring in Washington State. While wandering the hills, I came across this house and asked for permission to park there and to photograph on their property.

They were very generous and allowed me. And they invited me to stay overnight so that I could get up early the next morning when the light was good. I was grateful, and accepted, and got some great photos the next day. On leaving, I promised them a photo.

But the Problem Was That I Offered Because I Thought I Should

My offer was not 100% sincere. Yes, I was sincerely grateful to them, but I was also in the middle of moving, starting a new job, and dealing with a lot of competition for my time. I was promising them something that I wasn’t in a position to deliver easily.

But instead of not offering it, I acted out of guilt. I did what I thought I should do. And I felt guilty. Guilty, first of all, for leaving my integrity in the first place, and then guilty for not delivering what I said I would.

Over the months and years after that—despite my guilt, or maybe because of it—I could never could bring myself to make good on my promise. To this day, I’ve never sent them a photo. Of course, I conveniently lost their name and address after some time, making it even harder.

So Here Comes The Work

Here are some thoughts I can question:

I want them to think I’m very grateful.
I want them to like my photography.
I want them to remember me glowingly.

Without these thoughts, all of which have to do with getting their approval, I could have stayed in my integrity and not offered any more than I could at the time.

But It’s Never Too Late

I plan to question those thoughts. I may also write a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on them in the moment when I was promising these things.

And I may also question some other guilty beliefs that have come up since then:

I have to make good on my promise.
If I don’t deliver the photos, they will be disappointed in me.

It’s Funny, I Haven’t Even Done The Work on It Yet

But I’m already feeling lighter.

If I question some of these thoughts related to the guilt, who knows what I may do! I might even drive out to their place and deliver them a CD with all my photos from that shoot.

Not because I want their approval, but only if it feels like my integrity to do so. My work will help me find my truth and open the options for me to take.

Have a great weekend,
Todd

“The irony is that the struggle to win love and approval makes it very difficult to experience them. Chronic approval seekers don’t realize that they are loved and supported not because of but despite their efforts. And the more strenuously they seek, the less likely they are to notice.” Byron Katie, I Need Your Love, Is That True?

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Playing with the Order of Turnarounds

stone inlay floor

When you play with the arrangement of shapes, new shapes come into being.

For Me, There’s No Right Order to the Turnarounds

The Work is only about exploration.

I sometimes compare the turnarounds to the idea of looking under every rock. You never know which rock is hiding something cool… maybe a millipede, maybe a worm, maybe an ant, or maybe a shiny piece of gold.

That’s the Way I Explore the Turnarounds

I look under one rock. And then under another. Then under another. I look under all the rocks I can find in my process of exploration of the turnarounds.

And I am consistently surprised by the cool things I find… unexpected insights, pieces of information that I was ignoring, new perspectives, and freeing points of view.

They Were Always There

But I didn’t see them until I looked for them—until I turned over every rock and found them.

That’s why I love The Work. It allows me to find for myself the missing pieces. What I find may seem obvious to others, but it wasn’t obvious to me until I looked. The Work is the process I like to use for looking.

And The Work invites me to look in the least obvious places.

It Invites Me to Look at the Very Opposite of What I Believe

I would rarely, if ever, look there.

And even if I do so naturally, without The Work, I have never looked so thoroughly and so systematically at the opposite of what I think as when I do The Work. The Work literally invites me to leave no stone unturned.

And, of course, even though I explore the turnarounds so thoroughly, it doesn’t mean that each one is insightful, or even true. That’s for me to decide as I explore. I’m just grateful that, with the turnarounds, I have so many avenues to explore.

Does It Matter Which Order I Use When Finding Turnarounds?

There are advantages to using a set order. And there are advantages to changing that order.

The most common order for finding turnarounds is to first find the turnaround to the self, then the turnaround to the other, and then the turnaround to the opposite. Here’s what it looks like:

Original statement: He took advantage of me.

Turnaround to the self: I took advantage of me.
Turnaround to the other: I took advantage of him.
Turnaround to the opposite: He didn’t take advantage of me.

I usually do the turnarounds in this order because finding examples for the turnaround to the self is often easier for me than finding examples for the turnaround to the opposite. I move from easier to more challenging.

But Sometimes I Practice Changing the Order

Last week I deliberately changed the order just to experiment. I think I ended up doing the turnaround to the other first, then to the opposite, and then to the self.

The effect was interesting. I was a little disoriented, because I tend to do my turnarounds in the same order every time. But this caused me to be more alert. The whole thing seemed fresher, like I was doing The Work for the first time.

And most interesting of all, when I got to the turnaround to the self, which I usually consider to be the easiest turnaround (the one I usually do first), I went much deeper when finding my examples.

I had already done the heavy lifting by finding examples to the other turnarounds, and I was feeling strong. So when I did the turnaround to the self, there was nothing left to do but open up my heart.

I Encourage You to Play with It

Maybe a fixed order works for you. I’ll probably keep my regular order most of the time. But maybe a random order has some value too. Why not experiment?

And if you do, please share your experience with me.

Have a great weekend,
Todd

“You’ll notice that I don’t always ask the four questions in the order you’ve learned. I sometimes vary the usual order, I leave out questions, zeroing in on just one or two, and sometimes I skip the questions entirely and go directly to the turnaround. Even though the usual order of the questions works well, after a while it may not be necessary to ask them in order. You don’t have to begin with “Is it true?” You can start with any question; “Who would you be without that thought?” might be the first one, if that feels right. Just one of these questions can set you free if you inquire deeply from within. And the questions become internalized as inquiry lives its life in you. But until this happens, the deepest shifts happen when you ask all four questions and the turnaround in the suggested order. That’s why I strongly recommend that those new to The Work stay with this form.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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Is There Any Shame in Losing Money?

grape leaves blowing in the wind

Sometimes money is simply gone with the wind.

I Lost a Lot of Money Last Week

Well actually, it took me about seven years to lose all that money, but I got confirmation last week.

After my mom died in 2010, I received a life insurance payment. It was the last gift my mom gave me. But I didn’t know what to do with it. I was like a child being given a car with no clue how to drive. My feet couldn’t even reach the pedals.

But like any child, I tried to drive it anyway. I put it in the stock market for a few months and watched it double and then go back down. I sold when it was the same amount as what I put in. And I thought, “I don’t like the stock market. I can’t predict it.”

I Was Looking for Something More Stable

I wanted something with a small steady growth. And lo and behold someone called me offering just that. Ten or fifteen percent growth per year sounded good to me. I believed it. And in this case, I literally bought it. Funny how “believe” and “buy” are the same!

I “invested” in a bunch of rare stamps. But what I found out slowly over time, and got confirmed last week, is that I was dealing with telemarketers, not actual stamp dealers. They basically sold me a “bill of goods”—stamps that were priced way above market value. So the bottom line for me is probably going to be less than 10% of what I started with.

The First Thought Is “I Was a Fool”

Granted, the money has been gone for years now, and I’ve had my suspicions for a long time too. So it wasn’t a big shock for me last week when I got the confirmation. It almost wasn’t stressful.

But nonetheless the stressful thoughts did start to surface:

I was a fool (or more directly, “I am a fool”).
I am naïve.
My mom would be disappointed in me.
I lost her money.
She worked hard for that money.
I don’t belong in the real world.
I made a big mistake.

The Thoughts Came Up Quietly at First

But I believed them enough to make my body tense, and to make my mood a bit more solemn. It felt like an undercurrent of shame.

I’m just starting to work these thoughts now in Inquiry Circle. I’m taking the time to hold each one, and let it be fully heard, and felt, and questioned. And as I do, the undercurrent of tension and shame is lifting.

In addition to questioning the list of stressful thoughts above, I will probably write some Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheets on those whom I think would be disappointed in me if they knew.

So, Is It Shameful to Lose Money?

What I’m seeing is that it’s only shameful when I believe it is. The world may think it’s shameful, terrible, pitiable. But it’s up to me whether I believe it or not. It’s up to me whether I drag myself down with it or not.

What I’m finding is I just took a very expensive training program in how not to invest money. I have experience now that may serve me again someday when I have money to invest.

I was like a child, trusting a telemarketer. You might say I was a fool. And I’d agree with you. But I don’t mind being what I am. It was simply my path this time. I didn’t have enough awareness to do it another way.

This also gives me a lot more understanding for my grandmother who lost money in a scam at the end of her life.

It Is a Part of Growing Up for Me

Now I see the part of me that, like my grandmother, wanted someone else to invest my money for me. I see how easily I shirked responsibility.

That is a precious lesson for me. I gave my money to the sharks and the sharks did what sharks always do. I just never looked closely enough to see their dorsal fins.

Now, I understand the importance of due diligence. The importance of getting three quotes. The importance of diversification. The importance of educating myself about how to invest. If this loss is what it took for me to see that, it’s not a bad thing at all.

That Was The First Stage of My Education

I had to see the value of scrutiny and research in this area of life. The area of finances is an area I’ve pushed away and wanted not to look at for most of my life. This was a wake up call for me to step more fully into adulthood in the world of money.

I’m open to learning more now. I’m open to reading books, and educating myself on how to invest. Why not learn now how to tell the difference between a genuine investment a scam? Why not study the various ways to invest?

I was so focused on not being attached to money that I forgot the counterbalance, which is learning the skills of dealing with money. Both sides are important. Like any turnaround, one side without the other is not balance.

I was asleep, and now I’m waking up.

I Leave You With One Last Turnaround for Balance

I didn’t throw all of my money away. I used part of the money my mom gave me to get my training as a certified facilitator of The Work. That turned out to be the best investment I ever made.

Without that money, I would not be where I am today. Thank you, Mom.

Have a great week,
Todd

“How do I know I don’t need the money? It’s gone! I’ve been spared: what I would have done with that money would obviously have been much less useful for me than losing it.” Byron Katie, Question Your Thinking, Change The World

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trillium

Trillium flowers have three petals. But roses have five.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Stressful thoughts come in all shapes and sizes. Some are complex. Some are simple. Some involve other people. Some do not.

As a result of all these variations, turnarounds are not always the same.

The Three Standard Turnarounds

Most of the time, the three standard turnarounds work. These are the most common turnarounds that work with the vast majority of stressful thoughts.

The standard three turnarounds are the turnaround the self, to the other, and to the opposite. These turnarounds show up naturally when there is another person involved in the stressful thought—which is very common.

In fact, when you are questioning stressful thoughts from a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet, you will almost always find that all three turnarounds works just fine.

For Example, Here’s a Statement from a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet

This is a typical statement from Line 2 of the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet:

“I want him to listen to me.”

And here are the standard three turnarounds:

To the self: “I want me to listen to me.”
To the other: “I want me to listen to him.”
To the opposite: “I don’t want him to listen to me.”

And your job, if you are working this statement, is to look for three examples of how each turnaround could be as true, or truer, than the original stressful thought.

These three standard turnarounds are, by far, the most common turnarounds.

But They Don’t Always Show up

Sometimes you may not be working a stressful thought from a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. Maybe you’re questioning a motive like, “I want to look good.” Or maybe you’re questioning a fear like, “I’m afraid to fly.” Or maybe it’s a self-judgment like, “I am depressed.”

In statements like these, there is no other person included. It’s not like the statement, “I want him to listen to me,” which involves both a “him” as well as a “me.”

When There’s Only One Person Involved, There Is Often Just One Turnaround

Let’s look at the statement, “I want to look good.”

Is there a turnaround to the self? Not an obvious one.

Is there a turnaround to the other? Not an obvious one.

Is there a turnaround to the opposite? Yes, “I don’t want to look good.”

There’s really just one of the standard turnarounds that is obvious. However, if you sit with it, you may find a possible turnaround to the self, “I want to look like myself.” And you may find an unusual turnaround to the other, “Others want to look good.” But these are not so obvious or standard. The main turnaround for this statement is the turnaround to the opposite.

Here’s Another Statement With Only One Person in It

“I’m afraid to fly.”

Turnaround to the self: “I’m afraid of myself.”

Turnaround to the other: N/A

Turnaround to the opposite: “I’m not afraid to fly.”

You might also want to play with the unusual turnaround, “I’m afraid of my thinking about flying.”

The work lies in finding examples for these turnarounds.

And Here’s One Final Statement to Turn Around

“I am depressed.”

Is there a turnaround to the self? No.

Is there a turnaround to the other? No.

Is there a turnaround to the opposite? Yes, “I am not depressed.”

And as you sit in meditation, you may find examples of how this one turnaround is as true.

It Doesn’t Matter How Many or How Few Turnarounds There Are

If there is just one turnaround, find examples for that one turnaround. If there are three turnarounds, find examples for each of them. If there are five or six turnarounds, find examples for them.

There’s no need to make your statement “conform” to the standard three turnarounds. I use the standard three turnarounds as a kind of checklist. I look for each one. But I’m not surprised when one or two of them are missing. And yet it’s amazing how often all three, and more, can be found.

Have a great weekend,
Todd

“The point is not to find the most turnarounds, but to find the ones that bring you the shift to self-realization, the enlightenment that sets you free from the nightmare you’re innocently attached to. Turn the original statement around any way you want to until you find the turnarounds that penetrate the most.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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When Do I Get to Shine?

reflection

I am not the sun. I hold the space for the sun to shine.

The Ego Is Interested in Shining

And it will try to do so in any field of life.

But the funny thing is when it tries to shine, it usually just interferes.

This Can Easily Be Seen When Facilitating The Work

The role of a facilitator is to hold the space for someone to do their work. It’s a very simple job.

But I’ve watched my ego try every conceivable trick to make it about me. To make me look good as a facilitator instead of doing my simple job.

Here are a few examples.

Asking Lots of Sub-questions to Question 3

This is a place where the ego loves to try and shine. The way the ego sees it, the more sub-questions I ask, the more I can say, “I was really helpful to my client. I brought out all kinds of interesting things in inquiry.”

Sub-questions are great when they are needed, especially when a client is new to The Work. But my ego loves being “important” by asking “great” sub-questions even when someone doesn’t need any prompting.

And the ego isn’t satisfied with just the standard sub-questions. It’s got to spruce it up—it has to come up with new twists and clever renditions of the sub-questions. After all, that’s my chance to shine!

But shining like this is nothing but distraction.

Here’s Another Place the Ego Likes to Try and Shine

Finding turnarounds.

The ego loves unusual turnarounds. So when the ego is in charge, it skims over the standard three turnarounds (which it deems boring) and focuses on “special” turnarounds that show off how clever I am, and how much I know.

And it doesn’t stop with finding turnarounds. The ego LOVES to help the client find examples for the turnarounds. “No, you just wait. I’ll find your turnaround examples for you. I’m much more experienced at this than you are. You’re going to love what I find for you. You’re going to love me.”

But guess what? The client doesn’t love what I find for them. And they don’t love me either.

The Reason People Love The Work Is Because They Do It Themselves

I’ve watched over and over the difference between when I find an cool insight vs. when my client finds a cool insight. It’s like reading something in a book, vs. finding it on your own.

When I find it for them, it falls kind of flat. When I stand by and allow them time to find it themselves, it’s transformational. I watch them melt and soar. And it is a joy to behold.

And I had nothing to do with it.

Yet My Heart Melts Too

Because I love to see stress fall away. It’s why I do what I do. I love The Work.

When I’m clear, it’s not even a little bit about me. I am simply holding the space for my client to shine. They get to shine. But I get to be.

There is no ego in being. I get to be freedom, love, compassion, happiness, awareness. And I’d trade that for shining any day.

Have a great week,
Todd

“When someone is facilitating The Work, giving the four questions, he’s receiving at another level what I originally received inside me. If he’s really facilitating from a neutral position, without any motive, then he’s in the place where I am on the other side. It just gains in its freedom. It’s in or out: unlimited.” Byron Katie, Question Your Thinking, Change The World

If you like this article, feel free to forward the link to friends, family or colleagues. Or share the link on Facebook or other social media. If you have thoughts you’d like to share about it, please leave your comments below.

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