Thursday, March 2, 2017

Byron Katie's Loving What Is, and finishing what I start

Do you know that feeling of beginning something in one room, thinking of another task, leaving off the first, going to the other room to begin another, and then...what was I doing again? Of course you do.

That's how it has been for me with, among other things, books. These last two years in the Pacific Northwest I have been living in a kind of book paradise. I have well-stocked libraries nearby that, aside from lending out wonderful literature, also have the occasional sale and even free book racks. Not to mention the plethora of used bookstores. I love it, really, and I also allow myelf to indulge in multiple tomes without finishing a single one. This feeling of starting and not finishing leaves me a bit scattered, and the pile of unread pages grows on my desk and nightstand.

Now comes the season when some consider what they might sacrifice until Easter. This year, I am inspired to do something rather than give something up - and that is to finish what I have started. Yesterday was Day One, and I finished reading Byron Katie's Loving What Is, in which she describes the process of using "The Work" to break down the stories we tell ourselves that cause us pain and suffering.

First exposed to Katie's The Work during my coaching certification program, I was intrigued to read her process in her own words and "get to know her" in a way. You see, I had learned about her in German, translated from English. Thanks to my local used bookstore, I stumbled across this book in the original English, and I found her voice to be loving, kind, and full of truth. She asks such simple questions and thus assists others in uprooting the stressful beliefs they have held for many years, sometimes even since early childhood (I was the least favorite child/My husband {or children or coworkers} should respect me more/This place would fall apart if I weren't here to keep everything in order). They often leave a session of The Work having gained humility by looking reality in the face rather than creating stories to explain it, stories that make reality more painful than it actually is.

Having used The Work myself in 2014, I know that it tends to crop up again and again for me, helping me to reevaluate situations and gain understanding of them, and my part in them. I think that it can play a remarkably helpful role in enhancing self-reflection and ultimately in improving our relationships with others. Katie often points out that when there is peace within us, there is peace outside of us.

What's next on the reading list? Everyday Blessings by Myla and Jon Kabbat-Zinn.

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