Did you ever feel like an outsider growing up? I did, and the childish desire to be included morphed into a kind of obsession for me. I grew up constantly evaluating myself against others, wondering what I was missing out on, and turning minor disappointments into major rejections that haunted me for days. After I got engaged, I turned into a classic bridezilla, my obsessions over who was coming or not sometimes sucking the joy out of the preparations. A few weeks before the wedding my mom pulled me aside and introduced me to Byron Katie’s book “Loving What Is”, and the revolutionary idea that perhaps it was my unconscious thoughts and assumptions that were causing me so much distress. Reading through Katie’s book I felt an amazing sense of relief, and the more I practiced it, the more easily I could turn what would have been a knee jerk response into a thoughtful consideration. Instead of feeling upset for days, my turmoil would last hours or even less. And best of all, instead of lashing out at others, or harboring not so hidden resentments, I became more patient, felt more loving towards those in my life, and started to feel immense gratitude for the amazing people in my life. Don’t get me wrong – I’m no angel of serenity (just ask my kids), and I still have painful reactions to life situations, but they don’t last, and when I’m in the middle of an emotional tornado, I have the immense comfort of knowing exactly where to turn when I’m ready to get out of it.
A Planet in Crisis, or a Mind?
Besides my relationship stresses, I also felt frequent anxiety, anger and despair over the state of the planet. As an environmental activist, advocate, and eventually political candidate, I felt like Sisyphus, always trying to push up an enormous boulder that would roll down as soon as I saw garbage on the street or read an alarming headline. As a mother it felt hard to hide my worries from my children and at times I would rail against the many injustices in the world in ways that were both unkind and stressful for my children. Rather than celebrating the joy and beauty of this amazing world I focussed only on what was wrong, yet when my efforts to fight came from rage or grief they never succeeded.
Using the techniques of The Work enabled me to embrace life on this planet. It helped me to see that there are miracles of nature all around us, and endless opportunities for change. It helped me to find where I have a role to play, and where I do not. Doing The Work on thoughts of poverty, the environment or war doesn’t create passivity, instead it allows a beautiful transformation of negativity opposing what is into positive action for what can be.
I first discovered The Work in 2000, and for ten years I practiced it alone: just me, my journal, and the books of Byron Katie. In 2010 I began to work with a Certified Facilitator of The Work, and the power of that experience led me to commit myself to a disciplined approach directly involving the wisdom of facilitators. In 2021 I participated in my first intensive workshop and have done several others since then to immerse myself more deeply in The Work. After seeing how much damaging stress people were experiencing during the massive changes of 2020, I decided to launch my own practice so I could share The Work with others, and I’ve been seeing clients ever since.
I’ve led workshops and worked on an individual basis with clients on everything from family relationships to environmental stresses to issues with co-workers. No matter how big or how small your concern, no matter how stuck you may feel, The Work always offers a way out. Read past issues of my newsletter to see how I use The Work, or subscribe here to get stress-relieving insights and notices of future events.
I look forward to working with you when you’re ready.