Keeping It Real vs. Doing It Right

peach trees

You can grow things in neat, tidy rows, but it’s not always the best practice.

Is There a Right Way to Write Your Thoughts?

One of the most valuable tools in doing The Work of Byron Katie is the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. This six-line worksheet is used to help identify the stressful thoughts that come up in a stressful situation.

I love the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet because it allows me to go deeply into one situation and identify many different stressful thoughts from that moment. Then I can take several days or weeks to question the stressful thoughts that I wrote on the worksheet.

I Like to Go Deep in Writing a Worksheet

I like to focus in on one stressful moment, and pick just one offense that occurred in that moment. I use this as the focal point of my worksheet. It’s like using a laser to zero in on what’s really bothering me.

I love going one inch wide and one mile deep with my worksheets.

But Sometimes My Mind Has Other Plans

Sometimes, writing a very focused worksheet is not what my mind wants to do. Because sometimes my mind just wants to rant without restriction.

Sometimes I can’t write clear advice in Line 3 of the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. Sometimes, all I can do is yell.

That’s when I throw all guidelines for writing a worksheet out the window.

That’s When I Stop Trying to Hold the Format

And that’s when I just let what is in me surface, no matter how loud, unfocused, or childish it may be.

I often say, “Raw mind trumps all.” And this is what I mean.

Following all the guidelines for writing a “perfect,” “focused,” “deep” Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet is pointless when my mind just wants to rant. So I let it rant.

This IS the Purpose of Writing a Worksheet

The purpose of writing a worksheet is not to produce a publishable piece of music or prose. The purpose of a worksheet is to get those stressful thoughts on paper so that they can be worked.

Who cares what format they come out in? Who cares whether they fit neatly in Line 3, or Line 4 of my Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet? Who cares if I’m in the moment or out of the moment? Who cares if I’m doing it right?

Getting my stressful thoughts out in whatever form they come out IS doing it right. And any attempt to fit my thoughts into a format that does not suit them does not feel right at all to me.

Raw Mind Trumps All

Uncensored. Raw. Those are the thoughts I want to get on paper. Those are the thoughts I want to work.

And it doesn’t mean that I don’t follow the guidelines for writing a focused Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. Most of the time I do. I love those guidelines.

But I always hold the trump card: all rules for writing a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet can be disposed of at any moment if my real mind shows up and doesn’t fit the format.

This is self-inquiry. And that means that my “self” is the one I’m following here when I do my work.

Have a great weekend,

“Write down your thoughts without trying to censor them. Sit with your pen and paper and just wait. The words will come. The story will come. And if you really want to know the truth, if you’re not afraid to see your story on paper, the ego will write like a maniac. It doesn’t care; it’s totally uninhibited. This is the day the ego has been waiting for. Give it its life on paper. It has been waiting for you to stop, just once, and really listen to it. It will tell you everything, like a child. Then, when the mind is expressed on paper, you can inquire. I invite you to be judgmental, harsh, childish, and petty. Write with the spontaneity of a child who is sad, angry, confused, or frightened. Don’t try to be wise, spiritual, or kind. This is the time to be totally honest and uncensored about how you feel. Allow your feelings to express themselves, without any fear of consequences or any threat of punishment.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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  • Clara says:

    Thank you Todd, this is so helpful.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

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