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

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Happiness Is Not the Goal of The Work

rainbow

Do you need rainbows in order to be happy?

This May Sound Sacrilegious

But for me The Work is not about happiness.

Believe me, I am a happiness junkie. Happiness is my number one addiction. I’m always looking for ways to be more happy.

What Am I Addicted To?

I’m addicted to a feeling.

A feeling that I get in my heart and stomach and all over my body that feels like a high. I love it when I’m in that zone, and a part of me is always searching for how to have that high all the time.

I take care of my health for that reason. I meditate for that reason. I seek success in many fields for that reason. And sometimes I do The Work for that reason.

But The Work Cuts Through My Addiction

Because The Work invites me to question everything I want, including happiness.

What I find as a result of doing The Work is that I’m fine without my high. I’m fine when my health is not perfect. I’m fine when I’m tired or heavy. I’m fine when I’m not successful. I’m fine when I don’t meditate. I’m fine when I’m not enlightened.

I can’t bring any situation to The Work without it turning out to be fine.

This Recalibrates Me

This makes me smile when I look at my idea of a permanent high, of a permanent state of happiness. Why would I need that high feeling in my body when not being high is just as fine?

In other words, The Work delivers an experience of freedom for me—not happiness. If happiness could be compared to golden light, then freedom, for me, would be pure transparency.

And what I love about transparency is that it can coexist with any color. It can coexist with golden light or with pure darkness. It doesn’t matter what color is there.

There Is a Freedom in Not Needing Even Happiness

And that’s what The Work keeps pointing me towards. Happiness is wonderful. Health is wonderful. Success is wonderful. But needing any of these is not.

And being fine with or without them is peace.

That’s what The Work is all about for me. It’s not about getting to a state of happiness. But rather, it’s about getting out of a state of craving happiness—which is actually the opposite of happiness.

Then Life Is Simple

It just is. And with all of life’s ups and downs, I’m still totally fine.

Have a great weekend,
Todd

“I have an Israeli friend who is paralyzed from his neck to his toes. He used to see himself as a victim, and he had all the proof—the mind is good at that. He was certain that life was unfair. But after doing The Work for a while, he came to realize that reality is just the way it should be. He doesn’t have a problem now. He’s a happy man in a paralyzed body. And he didn’t do anything to change his mind. He simply questioned his thinking, and mind changed.” Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy

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forest

Trees grow taller in a forest. And learning accelerates in a group.

I Created The Work 101 for Anyone Who Is New to The Work

But many experienced people have taken the course—even certified facilitators. What is the value of a course like this for them?

Review is always helpful. But I think what really makes the course valuable for all experience levels is the fact that there is a structure to the course, a structure that holds everyone to do The Work.

The result is that a habit of doing The Work starts to naturally develop. It happens automatically just by participating.

This Is How I See my Job as a Facilitator

“Facilitate” literally means “to make easier.” So my job is to make it easier for people to do The Work.

You may think of facilitating as just one-on-one work with clients. But another powerful way to “make it easier” to do The Work can be found in group structures like The Work 101.

It’s like joining a sports team. On a sports team, you get specialized training to help you learn the sport better. And you also get the camaraderie and encouragement of working with others. A team is a great way to make exercise more enjoyable and to help ensure that it actually gets done.

The Work 101 Is Training

Training on two levels: learning skills and establishing a practice. And it does both of these simultaneously.

It’s a structured support system to get you started until your momentum is gained.

I also take attendance in The Work 101—sometimes, just knowing that you’re expected to keep showing up can be very helpful in overcoming inertia. And I read everyone’s work every day and leave comments. There’s quite a lot of support.

It Is Effective

About 2/3 of participants in The Work 101 continue on in Inquiry Circle, my ongoing practice group for The Work—whether they were new to The Work when the started, or whether they were experienced.

And the people who join Inquiry Circle directly from taking The Work 101 tend to be the most consistent in their practice. I think this is because such a momentum of practice was started in The Work 101 that it carries them.

For this reason, I’m now making The Work 101 a prerequisite for joining Inquiry Circle. Even if you are very experienced in The Work, I believe that going through The Work 101 before starting Inquiry Circle will help you go further with it.

The Next Course Starts July 10

Join us for six weeks of doing The Work in a structured and supportive learning environment. It all takes place online so you can do it from anywhere. It includes short videos, documents, and exercises for you to do every day, four days per week.

I invite you to bring your real life to the course. Many participants have seen significant changes in their life as a result of the work they have done in the course. It is a supportive, safe environment for sharing, and you can go as deep as you want while you learn.

This Will Be the Last Course Until January

If your summer schedule allows it, I’d love to have you join us. Registration closes July 7. Learn more and sign up here.

Have a great week,
Todd

“It’s generous to bring this practice into everyday life. The results are nothing short of miraculous, realized ever more deeply through further inquiry.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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fading tulip

It’s easy to see good in a perfect blossom, but can you still see good when the petals are falling? Can you see good when only the stem remains? Or even when the whole plant turns brown and dies?

There Is a Lovely Quote About This

It’s from the Upanishads and it goes like this:

“All good I should hear through the ears.
All good I should see through the eyes…”

Or sometimes it is translated:

“May we hear through the ears what is auspicious.
May we see through the eyes what is auspicious…”

I See Two Ways of Understanding This

One way to take it is to “focus on the positive.” This is a basic, optimistic approach. “Focus on the positive, and it will become stronger in your life.”

And it’s true. I’ve experienced this many times. When I have a choice between focusing on the positive or the negative, if I choose the positive, it uplifts me.

But This Approach Implies That There Is a Positive and a Negative

It still has an element of avoiding the negative and holding onto the positive. And I notice stress in this.

Peace comes when I am neither avoiding nor holding on.

Real freedom for me comes when I can see the negative AS positive. Everything is then good from this perspective. And “negative” and “positive” lose their meaning.

I Use Both Approaches When I Do The Work

When I’m looking for examples for turnarounds, I sometimes look for the “silver lining.” This is how I “focus on the positive.” Even if something bad happened, I focus on all the other good that is happening too. And I experience a kind of balance between good and bad. It feels peaceful.

But my most powerful examples when doing The Work come from looking directly at the stressful situation, finding exactly what I think is bad about it, and seeing if I can find examples of how that “badness” may actually be good.

If I can find examples of that, then my peace is not just coming from a place of balancing good and bad. It is coming from a place of “there is nothing bad here at all.” And that is the most solid kind of turnaround example I can find.

That’s When Snakes Turn Out to Be Ropes

Once I see that the snake that was scaring me is really just a rope, I can’t go back to being scared of it anymore, no matter how hard I try.

This is more powerful than just focusing on the positive, and finding things like, “Well at least the snake is not moving,” and “Luckily, I didn’t step on it.”

How to Do This When Doing The Work

The way I do this when finding examples for turnarounds is to look primarily for examples within the situation that I am working.

If someone hurt me, and my turnaround is “They didn’t hurt me,” I look for examples of how they were not hurting me in the very moment when I thought they were hurting me. If I can find that, my perspective changes dramatically.

And if I can’t find any examples of how “They didn’t hurt me” in that moment, then I look for examples from outside that situation. Maybe their hurting me this time was just one of a very few times that they have ever hurt me. That perspective helps too. It softens it.

But the place where I find it most powerful to see “all good through the eyes” and hear “all good through the ears” is in the very spot where I think there is no good at all. If I can find good there, I experience it as a very freeing feeling.

Have a great weekend,
Todd

“When people see some things as good, other things become bad. When they believe their thoughts, people divide reality into opposites. They think that only certain things are beautiful. But to a clear mind, everything in the world is beautiful in its own way.” Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy

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poison ivy

No matter how enlightened I am, poison ivy will still cause a rash on my skin.

Openness vs. Common Sense

A friend of mine called me recently with a question. She had worked with some rough, disrespectful clients last year. She had kept her sanity by writing a lot of Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheets on them and questioning all the judgments she wrote.

Through her inquiry, she found the ways that she was causing her own suffering. And she found ways of staying peaceful while dealing with those difficult clients.

But This Year It Came Up Again

She was invited to work with the same clients again (they seemed to have liked her). And the stress began again for her just thinking about that invitation. She could see months of dealing with their same, disrespectful ways.

She called me because she was confused because she finds that, when she does The Work, she can get along with anyone. She can find ways to make anything work. So she was afraid of doing The Work on these clients because she thought she might have to work with them.

But The Work Doesn’t Work That Way

The Work is a way to make peace with any difficulty that life gives me. But it does not mean that I must go seeking out difficulty. No.

Common sense says, if I have a choice to do something that I prefer, why would I not do it? Why choose that which I don’t prefer? Unless of course challenging myself in that way is my preference. Then that’s perfectly valid too!

In other words, I am completely free. Doing The Work simply frees up even more options for me. After doing The Work, taking a job with a difficult client is equal to not taking the job. Both are doable. It means that there is nowhere that I can’t go, and that is freedom.

But It Doesn’t Mean I Should Disregard My Preferences

Just because my friend could find how to get along with her difficult clients, doesn’t mean she has to work with them again. In fact, she already proved that she doesn’t have to. She worked through it beautifully last year.

Now, if she wants to go in for version 2.0 and use these clients as an opportunity to do even more work, that’s her choice. But if version 1.0 is good enough for her, there is no rule saying she has to become super-pro at dealing with this kind of client.

Maybe she doesn’t care that much about that. Maybe she’d rather focus on other areas. That’s her choice.

The Work Just Makes It Possible to Handle Anything

And sometimes a simple no is how to handle a situation. That may be all the mastery I need in that department.

The Work is prevention. It helps me become extremely flexible and open in my mind. That’s when fear evaporates. There is nothing I need to run away from because I know I can handle anything.

But I still choose what I prefer. In fact, I choose what I like to do more often when I do The Work. Because, when I’m not running away from anything, it’s easy to simply follow my heart.

Have a great week,
Todd

“When we stop opposing reality, action becomes simple, fluid, kind, and fearless.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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saxophone

For you, this might look like a close up of a saxophone but, for me, it’s a mirror. I see my fingers holding my camera there.

What Stops People From Doing The Work?

If there is one thing that seems to stop people from doing The Work more anything else, it is this: trying to solve big problems.

Because big problems are big! And important. And daunting.

Big problems make me think, “My whole life is at stake.” This kind of thought adds pressure when I want to do The Work. And it makes me put it off.

Fortunately, The Work Is Much Simpler Than That

The Work is not about figuring things out. It’s not about “getting to the bottom of things.” The Work is not about learning more about myself so that I can control myself. It is not about fixing my life.

It is not even about dealing with issues.

The Work is just a way of exploring. Exploring the possibility that there are no issues, even when I think there are.

The Problem with Trying to Solve Big Issues

If you’re trying to solve big issues by doing The Work, you’ll probably feel the need to look for big situations to bring to The Work. And you set the stage for intimidation and disappointment. You’ll be looking to go deep, to find the mother of all situations. And you’ll be easily dissatisfied. Or you may not even start The Work because of this.

It’s like trying to find a mirror big enough, perfect enough, to reflect your whole life in it! Very difficult indeed. That’s the problem with problem solving.

But When I Just Do The Work on What Came Up Today, It’s Easy

That’s how I like to do The Work. I let life show me what to work on next. I don’t have a plan. I don’t have a strategy. I just wait for the next tripwire that I happen to stumble over. And I do my work on that.

It’s that easy.

I don’t need a mirror the size of a city to see my life. I can see it perfectly well reflected in the tiny, and big, events of daily living.

My Partner and I Laughed About It Last Night

There was a mosquito in the house that was zooming around. My partner said that the mosquito was not sure what it wanted to do.

We both laughed because my partner was feeling exactly that way in that moment. He had been trying to read a book that he didn’t like. And he was getting up and down trying to decide whether to keep reading or find something else to do.

The mosquito was literally his mirror in that moment! His off the cuff judgment about the mosquito described his own mind perfectly in that particular situation.

That’s How The Work Works

The Work takes any situation, invites me to write my thoughts about it, and unfailingly shows me who I am in that moment. That’s why I trust it.

No need to unearth the past. Yet, if some big past situation comes up for me, great; I’m open to work it when it comes up of its own accord. But there’s no need to find the perfect thought to question. There’s no pressure.

I know that I can see myself just as well in a tiny mirror as I can in a big mirror. And small mirrors have the distinct advantages of being both easier to hold and easier to find.

Have a great weekend,
Todd

“If you don’t know what to write about, wait. Life will give you a topic. Maybe a friend didn’t call you back when she said she would, and you’re disappointed. Maybe when you were five years old, your mother punished you for something you didn’t do. Maybe you’re upset or frightened when you read the newspaper or think about the suffering in the world.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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Real Estate Is Stressful, Is That True?

house

I’ve always tried to avoid real estate because something about it stressed me.

To Me Real Estate Is Scary

And most of my life I have been able to avoid dealing directly with real estate until a couple of years ago when my partner and I bought a house. (No, that’s not our house in the picture above.)

I remember being stressed by the purchase of our house at the time, but I didn’t do The Work on it. So, no surprise, my stress showed up again this month as we are now considering selling our house.

This time my partner facilitated me. We were driving in the car last weekend and I was talking about how real estate is stressful for me. He stopped me by asking, “Is it true?”

I Hesitated Before Diving Into Inquiry

But I couldn’t resist the invitation. I wasn’t even sure that this was the “right” stressful thought to question. But I went ahead anyway. Yes, it was true. Yes, it was absolutely true that real estate was stressful for me.

How do I react? I feel tension in my stomach and chest. I avoid it. I show no enthusiasm when my partner shows me real estate listings. I see an image of BIG money. I see loss—big loss. I compare the amount of money involved in real estate with the amount of money I make each month. I think, “I have to be VERY careful.” I get tense. I see images of foreclosures. I see myself humiliated. I want to pare down to a shack if necessary to avoid any risk.

My partner asked, “When did you first have the thought that real estate is scary?” I thought about it, and found that it was when my parents divorced and it took a year to sell the house.

Then I Realized Something Interesting

I’m actually not just scared of real estate, I’m scared of having a home. I felt like my home was destroyed when I was 16 when my parents divorced. Not just the physical house, but the sense of home. And since that time I’ve chosen over and over again not to have any kind of real home.

My mom used to ask me, “Why do you live like an orphan?” It’s as if I wanted to avoid a home so that I could avoid having it taken away again.

But Without the Thought that Real Estate Is Scary…

I would be exploring real estate options with my partner in a very non-stressed way. It would not be a big deal. I would simply be problem solving with him, like I do in any other area of life. But without the charge. In fact, it would be enjoyable.

It Turns Out Real Estate Is Not Really Scary

What was scary was my thinking about it. My fear of loss. And my emotional connection of it with divorce.

But when I looked at real estate directly, I saw that even in the worst case scenario, if we lost money on the house, it would not be the end of the world. How many times did we “lose” money by paying rent all those years? What’s the difference?

And even if we lost everything, does that take away our ability to earn more money? No, of course not. Both my partner and I have lost money in the past, and have earned more money again.

That’s just how money works: it comes, it goes, it comes again, it goes again. What is there to fear in that?

This Eased My Mind

Now, I’m less concerned about making a profit. I’m less concerned about doing it perfectly. And I’m relaxed in a way about real estate that I never was before. I thought real estate was bigger than me. But now I see that I’m bigger than it.

The cool thing is my partner loves real estate, so now I’m more open to join him in his enthusiasm.

And I look forward to doing more work on that divorce stuff too.

Have a great week,
Todd

“People who live through it will tell you that their experience of loss was kinder than their beliefs about how it would be. Inquiry allows you to take the fear out of loss before anything happens…” Byron Katie, I Need Your Love, Is That True?

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