Are You a “Work” Handicapped Person?

Are you “outta here” when it comes to doing The Work?

I Think We All Are “Out of Here” Sometimes

And usually I find that it’s due to three main reasons.

1. I don’t really want to question my beliefs.
2. I take the turnarounds too far (to the other extreme).
3. I bite off more than I can chew.

Let’s look at all of these.

1. I Don’t Really Want to Question My Beliefs

For anyone, I believe, this is the biggest stumbling block to doing The Work. We want out of the pain, but we are not willing to challenge our beliefs that cause the pain.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing The Work, you’re probably going to run up against this resistance. First of all, it takes work to pull old beliefs up and question them. And secondly, there are lots of hidden reasons why we’re attached to our beliefs.

The way I overcome this resistance is simply to consider The Work an exploration. “Let’s look at possibilities,” I think. Not, “Let’s solve this pain once and for all.” This, for me, is a non-threatening attitude towards my long-held beliefs that allows me to approach inquiry with a sense of curiosity.

2. I Take the Turnarounds Too Far

The other area that makes me think that I’m “Work” handicapped is when I start abusing myself with my turnarounds.

Turnarounds have only one purpose: to bring me back to balance.

If I think “He hurt me,” then finding where “I hurt me” brings balance, I see how have some control here. But if I take it too far, I start attacking myself with the turnarounds, thinking “I’m a terrible person for hurting myself.” This does not feel like peace and makes me jump away from The Work.

But if consider each turnaround as simply the mate for my original stressful thought, then I land in a place of balance, and experience peace through The Work. “He hurt me” and “I hurt me,” both are true. This levels the playing field and I start to take more responsibility for my inner experience.

If I go too far with a turnaround I can end up hurting myself, or going into denial, or making generalizations. Turnarounds are only valid in the specific context of the original stressful thought. Don’t make the turnaround your new religion. That’s not balance either.

3. I Bite off More than I Can Chew

Probably the best way for me to feel handicapped when doing The Work is to try to tackle my biggest problem in life and try to solve it. Basically, this doesn’t work for me because I’m closed on that issue. My denial system is firmly established there, and it’s not budging.

Instead, I find that picking small stressful situations in life often leads me to the best discoveries, because I don’t have a big motive to fix myself there. I just innocently learn how to find balance in a trivial situation. And I’m always amazed how much it unravels my big issues too.

I call it the side door approach. Instead of taking on my core beliefs, I take on smaller ones in specific situations. It’s much easier to explore this way for me.

Who Would You Be Without the Thought that You Are “Work” Handicapped?

I invite you to try some of these suggestions. For example, just do a trivial Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on some small incident in your life. You may be surprised to see that you’re not so handicapped at this Work as you may think.

Have a great week,
Todd

“I know that if even one small honest answer or turnaround is allowed to surface from inside you, you will enter a world that you don’t even know exists. But if your intention is to be right, rather than to know the truth, why bother continuing? Just realize that the story you’re sticking to is more valuable to you now than your freedom, and that’s okay. Come back to inquiry later. You may not be suffering enough, or you may not really care, even though you think you do. Be gentle with yourself. Life will bring you everything you need” — Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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