The sound of clinking silverware in the kitchen wakes me. I know it’s six AM because Blaine is always up on time. But I don’t even want to look at my watch.
Next comes the "whoompf" of the gas stove starting up. And the sound of water running in the bathroom. But I keep dozing like a lazy toad.
When I finally do pull myself out of bed a half hour later, I feel like crap. Life seems dim. And I don’t want to have much to do with it. Through no fault of mine, I got up on the wrong side of bed.
Sometimes It Happens – What Can I Do?
I don’t want to feel miserable. But I can’t help it. I do. And the funny thing is it gets worse as my morning goes along, not better. The more I think about it, the worse I feel.
Stress: for me, that’s an alarm clock to do The Work. Certainly I feel stressful. But I’ve got another problem.
I Don’t Have A Single Stressful Thought
To do The Work of Byron Katie, you need a stressful thought to write down. And I don’t have one. I just don’t feel well in general. There’s nothing specifically I can nail down. I just don’t feel like doing anything.
I’ve had enough experience in The Work to feel a little excitement though. I know when I feel crappy, I tend to get very honest and petty. And this is a great way to start The Work.
So how do I proceed?
The First Thing I Do Is To Start Writing
I’m not ready for a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet at this point. I have a journal on my computer, and I just start complaining on "paper." I have no idea what will come out. But it seems that everything I look at is crappy, so there should be a few stressful thoughts to write down.
I Simply Take Dictation Of My Thoughts
I ask myself, "What’s bothering you?" and I start looking for the problems. I complain on paper about having to get up early, about missing my exercise this morning, and about not feeling like a million bucks when I wake up. I complain about my body, and how it didn’t cooperate with the mild detox my doctor gave me last weekend.
I write about how Blaine woke me up just after I fell asleep last night, and how he inadvertently did that several other times recently. I recall what a full day I had at work yesterday, and how I wanted to relax in the evening. And I write about Blaine asking me to book our airline tickets instead of letting me relax.
I write about my lack of time to do all the projects on my plate this week. I write and write, until I’ve got no more stressful stories left to tell.
And When I’m Done Writing, I Read Through What I’ve Written
It’s amazing how many different stressful thoughts come out when I sit to write. Even if I don’t do The Work on them, I feel better after this catharsis. But this is not just venting. What’s different about this venting session is that I have written all my venting down.
I’ve got a snapshot of my mind on paper. And this is how I can start to do The Work.
I can now look through everything that I’ve written down. And as I scan, I look for potential Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheets hiding in what I’ve written. Who or what could become the subject of my next worksheet?
There Are Lots Of Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheets Hiding Here
I could write a worksheet on my body, my doctor, Blaine for waking me up last night, Blaine for getting me to book airline tickets when I wanted to relax last night, my overcrowded schedule this month, my friends for not making any plans for Thanksgiving, my stamp collecting company for being so slow to ship my stamps, etc., etc.
I’ve got a decent list, but the job’s not done with that.
Now It’s Time To Flesh Out These Concepts On Real Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheets
I like to write my Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheets while they’re still hot. I may not be able to work them all right away. It might take me a month or more to work them. But I start filling out the worksheets right away while I’m still feeling the stress of them. And I add them to my ongoing list of worksheets that I want to work.
For Example, Here’s One I Wrote On Blaine Today
1. I’m angry at Blaine because he made me book our airline tickets last night.
2. I wanted to relax and read a magazine.
3. Blaine should notice how tired I am. He shouldn’t be so demanding. He should have let me book the tickets two weeks ago.
4. I need Blaine to not ask me to do stuff when I’m relaxing. I need him to respect me.
5. Blaine is demanding, insensitive, uncaring.
6. I don’t ever want Blaine to prevent me from relaxing again.
I noticed, as I was writing it, that this Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet has more charge on it than all the other worksheets.
So I Picked This One First
Suddenly, I’ve got a focus. And I want to do The Work. But I’ve only got a short amount of time in my busy day today. So I pick just one concept from this worksheet to work on now.
I pick, "I need Blaine to not ask me to do stuff when I’m relaxing." I use the Yellow Card to keep it simple and quick. In ten minutes, I work through the four questions, and find three examples for each turnaround.
Already, I can see how good it is that Blaine gives me a chance to practice standing up for myself. I see how him asking me to book the tickets now probably saved us some money.
And I see how I commanded myself to book those tickets last night when I was relaxing. I took Blaine’s suggestion as a command. And I didn’t respect my own desire to relax. I pushed myself around. And that’s what made my sour mood last night and this morning too.
By Working Just One Concept I Already Gained Some Clarity
And that’s all I had time for today. But this was enough to get me back on my feet again.
I look forward to spending an hour on this worksheet at a later time. I look forward to working the other worksheets that I generated today as well.
It Turned Out To Be A Productive Morning After All
There is nothing like a getting out of bed on the wrong side to generate a ton of concepts for The Work. And when I put them all on paper, and work through them one by one, I get a real education about myself. An education that I would probably not be open to, if it came from anyone but me.
So next time I hear the "whoompf" of the gas stove starting up, and I don’t feel like getting up, I’ll smile to myself. Because I know I’m going to learn a lot that day.
What is The Work?
Relationship and Family Issues
Money and Job Issues
My Process Exposed