Only Your Truth Can Set You Free

dead leaves

If someone tells me they think dead leaves are beautiful, I say, “That’s nice.” If I find beauty in them myself it’s transformational.

I Got an Email from Someone Recently

She writes, “I was wondering if you could touch on this topic in one of your newsletters. It has to do with something Katie regularly talks about in terms of grieving the loss of a loved one.

“What jumps out in my head is her saying ‘They’re just in the other room’. I don’t get this and I’ve wrapped my head around the concept but that’s as far as it goes. Then I feel angry and stuck. They aren’t just in the next room, if they were I’d go in there and give them a hug.

“Then my mind makes this whole story about Katie’s work being very ‘est’ like, the denial of feelings etc.

“I know you understand about loss because you lost your mother. My best friend died xmas 2013. He isn’t in the next room ya know and I cant talk to him and hear him respond or hug him, walk along the boardwalk with him, lay with him and talk, enjoy coffee with him. I’m not going to pretend that he’s alive just because I can imagine him….I can imagine rainbow coloured unicorns but they aren’t standing beside me.

“So is this something you could do a newsletter on? I hope so, it’s been a real block for me supporting and utilizing Katie’s work.”

This Is a Really Important Thing to Understand

When Katie shares her examples for the turnaround, “He is not dead,” those examples are coming from her experience. She found something that really worked for her. Something that shifted her perspective about the death of a loved one.

But just because her example works for her, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. I’ve thought about this example too, of comparing someone being dead to the same person being away, or in the next room.

When I’m really present, I can get a flavor of what she means. I can feel a little bit of peace in that. It brings me back to myself, noticing how even when they were alive, they weren’t around all the time.

But It’s Just a Flavor for Me

That example still feels mainly like Byron Katie’s example, not my own.

Where I found peace with my mother’s death was in finding examples of how natural it is to die, even in an accident. I found examples from nature of how some trees live to be very old. While others get broken in storms at a young age.

For me, this shifted my perspective from “this wasn’t supposed to happen,” to “this is a very natural thing to happen.”

Also, What Shifted Me from Grief to Peace Was Noticing My Part

When I was grieving my mom’s death, some of my turnarounds pointed out that I was the one causing myself to suffer. I noticed that every time I went into nostalgia about my mom, I cried, or was sad.

I became aware of cause and effect. I saw how I was causing my own sadness. Just that awareness popped me out of my grief. Suddenly I had a choice. Go into nostalgia and suffer, or don’t go into nostalgia and be fine. That really worked for me.

So I Didn’t Use the “She’s Just In The Other Room” Idea

I could see how it could be a good example for Katie. But honestly, it wasn’t that good of an example for me. I had to find my own way.

And that’s precisely what I like about The Work. It is all about finding your own way. Katie can share her experience, but it is no substitute for you finding your own truth. Only your own truth can set you free.

The Work is not about pretending, or plugging the “right answer” into a formula to get the “right result.” No. The Work is about asking the questions and finding your own answers.

Anything else is denial.

Have a great weekend,

โ€œThere are no right or wrong answers to these questions. You are listening for your answers now, not other peopleโ€™s, and not anything you have been taught.โ€ Byron Katie, Loving What Is.

If you like this article, feel free to forward the link to friends, family or colleagues. Or share the link on Facebook or other social media. If you have thoughts you’d like to share about it, please leave your comments below.

Get two new articles about The Work of Byron Katie every week. Subscribe to the newsletter here.

Get Articles like this in your Inbox every week

  • Get weekly tips on how to do The Work of Byron Katie.

  • Read my insights as I do The Work.

  • Be the first to know about new courses and other (cool) stuff.

  • Get my free checklist for filling in the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet.

I will not send spam, and I will not sell or give away your e-mail address to anyone.

  • Martina says:

    This is really really useful. I struggle with similar things, sometimes. I hear what BK says and then I wonder if in order to be free I have to believe what she believes. So your personal examples are really helpful. I struggle with the one “he died, is it true?” I don’t understand if BK is simply saying that we can’t know if someone died or not, or if she actually sees that they didn’t die.

    • todd says:

      Yes, that is such a good underlying belief to question, “In order to be free, I have to believe what she believes.” I invite you to use the four questions and turnarounds on this on and see what you find. I also love hearing Katie’s experience because it expands my mind to try it on. But ultimately, it either works for me or not. Otherwise, I’m just trying to be ahead of my own evolution.

      “He died, is that true?” is such a good one. It is an example of questioning a hard, cold fact. And what I love about The Work is that it invites me to look at the same situation from very different points of view. For example, how do I define “him”? How do I define “alive” or “dead”? These make a big difference in this inquiry.

      And ultimately, I often find that opposite things are both true through The Work. “He died” and “he didn’t die” are both true in their own ways. I love finding the balance between the two. For me, that’s all a turnaround is about. It is not necessary to eradicate the original stressful thought. It’s enough to balance it with the opposite point of view. That for me is expansion of mind. And that is where I find my peace.

  • Kathleen madigan says:

    That is a brilliant response… Clear and honest
    X k

  • Tara says:

    Thank you for this Todd. That makes sense, using the concept of the work but not trying to make another story from it. Allowing our experience to expand with compassion and truth. You’re wonderful Todd. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • >