My Account

Vulnerability Is One of the Keys in Doing The Work

River Rocks
If you dip your toe in the water or go completely under water, you will get wet either way.

How Far Are you Willing to Venture In?

The Work of Byron Katie (4 Questions and Turnarounds) will meet you wherever you are. You don’t have to go deep. Just a dipping a toe into The Work will take you a step closer to yourself. It is a perfectly self-regulating process.

Pushing yourself faster than you are willing to go is not helpful, just as trying to swim in the deep end too quickly can be dangerous. But continuing to venture deeper as confidence and skills increase is also wonderful.

How else can you see the beautiful coral reefs and fish? One toe in the water is great, but when you’re ready, a deep dive is too.

My Suggestion Is to Keep Inching Deeper

For me this means bringing the stuff that’s really bothering you to The Work. There are small issues which are great to work, and there are big issues that are also great to work. I tend to alternate between small and big depending on how I’m feeling. (Of course, there is no such thing as small or big—every issue is small and every issue is big!)

But I do notice that there are certain subjects that I consistently avoid doing The Work on. These are the areas where I’m not so sure I’ll be able to do a neat, clean piece of inquiry wrapped up with a bow.

These are the areas where I’m totally confused, embarrassed, and ashamed.

I Have to Gauge my Readiness to Expose This Stuff

If I’m just not ready, that’s okay. It will wait patiently, though probably it will eventually explode again and again until I decide to work it. But those explosive moments are also perfect starting points for doing The Work.

In any case, if I decide to work these scary, uncontrollable areas that I try to keep sealed up in Pandora’s box, I have to understand that all hell may actually break loose. I have to be willing for it to happen. Otherwise, I’m just being mean to myself to push myself there.

Confidence in The Work comes when I start with my small issues and find some peace with them. As I trust the process more and more, and as my ability to not beat myself up or go into defense while doing The Work improves, I can take on my deepest fears, my biggest angers, my saddest stories.

And When I Do, I Step Out of the World of Control

I am in pure darkness, feeling my way along using the four questions and turnarounds as my guide out of darkness and pain. Each step of The Work allows me to choose between more pain and less pain like a game of warmer/colder allowing me to feel my way home.

As your experience in doing The Work increases, I encourage you to go there. The more you bring to The Work, the more you get out of it. So bring your worst side when you’re ready. That’s the side that needs the most loving attention. And that’s the side that will be most grateful when it’s done.

It takes courage to show up as you really are. But it’s the only way I know to transform the shame into clarity.

If you want support being held as you do this work, that’s what private sessions are for.

Have a great week,

“We’re so secretive about what makes us feel ashamed that we even try to keep it from ourselves, clinging to our pretense of self-respect while our thoughts run on about how terrible we are and how unforgivable the things we’ve done. Secrets cry out for inquiry. You can’t be free if you’re hiding. And in the end, the things we’re ashamed of turn out to be the greatest gifts we have to give.” Byron Katie, I Need Your Love, Is It True?

Todd Smith has been doing The Work of Byron Katie on an almost daily basis since 2007. He is just as excited about this simple process of self-inquiry today as he was when he first came across it. He also enjoys writing about The Work, and training others in the subtleties of this meditative process. Join Todd for The Work 101 online course, private sessions, virtual retreats, and his ongoing Inquiry Circle group.