My Account

Tiny Reflections of Myself

reflections of cars and pedestrians in reflective building
Sometimes, the more unusual the reflection, the easier it is to understand myself.

Here’s One of My Favorite Little Mirrors

I like to do The Work on nuanced stressful situations while doing The Work in spoken form. Sometimes I do The Work on situations that come up when I am facilitating someone. And sometimes I do The Work on situations that come up when someone is facilitating me. 

These kinds of “stressful situations” can hardly be called stressful. They are very minor most of the time. I could easily never work them. But I find that these tiny little mirrors reveal a lot about me, not just as a facilitator or as a client, but about my life outside of doing The Work.

In fact, I think it is because these stressful thoughts are so minor that they allow me to look so objectively at myself. 

Here’s a Recent One

I was doing The Work with someone, and I was the client. I do a lot of written work, so I’m used to leading myself through the questions. I hardly need a facilitator when I’m doing spoken work, and my facilitator saw this and was giving me a lot of space to work.

Towards the end, though, she said that she saw an example for one of my turnarounds and asked if I would like to hear it. I said yes, but I wasn’t really that open to hearing it, and I ended up not listening very closely to it and not taking it in. I was discrediting it without fully listening to it.

This was a minor thing, no big deal. But because I like to do The Work on little situations that come up in facilitation sessions, I wrote a worksheet:

1. I am slightly annoyed with her because she is inserting herself into my work.

2. I want her to keep the focus on me.
I want her to trust me to do my work.
I don’t want her to help me.
I don’t want her to play a role.

3. She should think twice if the example she offers is really groundbreaking.
She should remember that her examples are for her.
She should only offer an example if it is amazing.
She should build on the examples I find.
She should let me be in the lead.

4. I need her to see that her examples were not so amazing.
I need her to think, “He’s doing fine on his own.”
I need her to offer fewer examples in the future.
I need her to only offer amazing examples.

5. She is feeling a little left out, a little needy, distracting.

6. I don’t ever want her to interrupt my flow unless her examples are amazing again.

I Was Trying to Be Very Honest Here ​

But when I read what I wrote, I can see how self-centered and controlling I was being. I wanted to be in full control of the session. I wanted to be both the facilitator and the client. I basically didn’t want her to say a thing. 

And my mind justifies this very much. I think about everything I’ve learned about facilitation over the years and how it’s important to let the client find their own truth from inside themselves instead of helping them in any way.

I see this as an important guideline of facilitation, but I now use that guideline to control my facilitator, instead of just holding the guideline for myself when I’m facilitating, 

I See My Own Crazy

In a tiny little situation, I can see how I want to do it all myself. And how I don’t want the other person to play a role at all. I want to do it my way. And I want her to only help me out if she has something amazing to share. 

It is the picture of a very controlling person. 

Now, this doesn’t mean that I need to beat myself up for this. Probably many of us are as controlling. It’s not a bad thing, and I’m not a bad person for thinking this way. It’s just really good to see it so clearly now. Now that I’m aware of it, I can see that I don’t really want to be that way, and I’m open to exploring other approaches.

This awareness is the beginning of a new way of living.

It Doesn’t Just Happen in Facilitation

Being in control, doing it my way, is deeply ingrained in how I live my life. Just ask my partner. He’ll probably be able to elaborate this quite fully for you! 

I see my whole life has been touched by this approach. Since I was a child, I spent most of my time upstairs in my room doing my homework and trying to figure it all out on my own. I rarely ever asked for help. In some ways, this is a very good quality that I appreciate about myself. But I can also see that it holds me back.

A New Way to Live

This little worksheet, that I might have skipped over, is showing me how to live. For me, I see now that it’s a turnaround to ask for help from others. And it’s a turnaround to accept help from others when it comes unasked. 

In facilitation, this means that when I’m the client, I can experiment with leaving some space, taking some pauses, allowing the facilitator to play more of a role. And it means listening with interest to any examples they share. 

And in life, it means asking for advice sometimes, instead of always trying to figure everything out myself. And it means collaborating, showing up with unfinished work, or asking for help, instead of waiting until I’ve got everything worked out myself and presenting only a finish product, thereby maintaining my position of control. 

This little worksheet shakes my whole way of living. And I find that very exciting.

How About You?

Can you find a tiny incident, maybe from a work session itself, or from any little “non-stressful” conversation with a friend, to do The Work on? It seems like an unlikely place to find anything interesting, but you may be surprised.

When I work “tiny” situations, my guard is down. And that’s where I tend to be most surprised by what I find.

Join us for The Work 101.

Have a great week,

“Wherever you stand, you’re in the center of the universe. There’s neither big nor small. Galaxies and electrons exist only in your own perception. Everything revolves around you. Everything goes out from you and returns to you.” Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy

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.