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,
“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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