Category Archives for Balance

How To Do The Work of Byron Katie More Quickly

How Fast Should You Work Through A JYNW?

muscle car

When you’ve got a fast car, how fast do you drive it?

Are You Boring Yourself By Doing The Work Too Slowly?

There’s a fine line between boredom and thoroughness.

For me, doing The Work thoroughly means questioning every thought I put on my worksheet. There might be 10 or 20 thoughts on my worksheet. I’ve taken as many as twelve hours to thoroughly work through a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet (JYNW) from top to bottom.

But last spring I noticed that I was sometimes impatient and bored by going so slowly. So I questioned my beliefs about “slower is better,” and found a balance side to the story.

Sometimes Slow Is Just Repetitive

You may notice, as you look at what you wrote on your worksheet, that you chose serveral different ways to say the same thing. When this happens, working one version of what you wrote may be sufficient. Overdoing it and questioning every variation may lead to some frustration because the same answers keep coming up.

Here Are A Few Ways I’ve Sped Up My Work

  • I don’t ask many subquestions to question #3 (How do you react?). I’ve noticed over the years, that exploring every aspect of how I react is not necessary, and gets tedious. All I really need to experience from this question is how stressful it is to believe it. If I’m working in fast mode, this is one place I save a lot of time.
  • When statements appear to be repetitive, I choose to work just one version of the repetitive thought, not every single one. In other words, I skip some concepts on my worksheet.
  • I tend to work one or two concepts thoroughly, and then start turning around the others once the main concepts have been unraveled. This really helps me to pick up the pace towards the end of a worksheet. If I’m doing a worksheet in an hour, the last 20 minutes are typically spent turning around different statements, and just finding an example or two of each.

I Often Find That Faster Is More Light and Playful

When you’re in the trenches going slow, The Work can take on a more tedious, work-like quality. The Work is like driving a car. It’s somehow always more fun when you’re flying along with the wind in your hair.

I find that my heart really opens when I’m breaking the speed limit, especially towards the end of a worksheet. It’s definitely worth tasting this experience if you never have.

So Which Is Better? Slow or Fast?

There is no general answer of right or wrong when doing The Work. This is your work to explore, and to find out for yourself.

For me, faster is a turnaround from being overly thorough and slow. For you, slower might be a turnaround from being overly hasty. But only you can know.

The only way to know for sure is to test it out. Do it fast. Do it slow. And change it up. Maybe one worksheet is wonderful for fast-paced inquiry. And another worksheet may merit a more slow approach. I invite you to experiment.

And to make it easy for you to experiment, I’m experimenting with this on the forum too.

Starting September 3rd, There Will Be Three Variations of Inquiry on the Forum

Many of you are familiar with Slow-Cook Inquiry, where we work through one worksheet over a 12 week period. This has the advantage of only taking 5-10 minutes a day. And it allows you to really steep in your answers all day. Since you’re just answering one question per day, you can really experience The Work as meditation.

Now, in addition to Slow-Cook Inquiry, there are two faster versions as well.

Introducing “Steady Pace Inquiry” and “The Daily Worksheet”

Both options are just like Slow-Cook Inquiry, only faster.

1. Steady Pace Inquiry

In Steady Pace Inquiry, you will work thoroughly through a worksheet every two weeks (instead of every 12 weeks with Slow-Cook Inquiry). The time commitment will probably be around 20-30 minutes a day. This is a great option for steady, medium-paced inquiry, working through one complete concept per day.

2. The Daily Worksheet

The Daily Worksheet is the fastest option. Here you will be writing a new worksheet every day, and working through it the same day. The idea here is to deal with situations as they come up every day.

It will also give you a chance to cover a wide variety of subjects in your life. This will be the perfectionist’s nightmare. So come prepared to work less thoroughly. You may not get to work every concept on your worksheet. Suggested time commitment is 30-60 minutes per day.

Hopefully You’ll Find a Pace that Works for You

Whether you like it slow, medium, or fast, I hope you’ll find an option for doing The Work that works for you. Read more details about these new options below.

Have a great week,

Subscribe to the newsletter here.

How To Stop Beating Yourself Up With The Turnarounds

apples on the tree

Turnarounds Are A Prescription For Happiness

But, like any medicine, they can be administered improperly.

For example, you may have written on a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet, “He is mean, condescending, abusive, cruel, unfair, and controlling.”

When you turn this around to yourself, it can sound harsh, “I am mean, condescending, abusive, cruel, unfair, and controlling,” especially if you’re already in the habit of beating yourself up mentally.

But This Is Not The Purpose Of The Work

It’s not the purpose of The Work to beat yourself up. Yes, The Work is a way to become aware of what you’re doing to yourself and others. And coming out of denial is not always pretty. But the only point is to simply notice what we’re doing, so we can stop. You can’t change something if you’re unaware you’re doing it.

The purpose of the turnaround to the self is to notice how I am just like the person I am judging. I am mean, just like him. I am also unfair, like him. There is a joining here, when done gently. And it sets the two of us on equal par–both human.

Here Are A Few Tips To Avoid Being Harsh On You

  1. Don’t skip the four questions before turning a statement around. The four questions tend to soften us, and make us more open to seeing our part in things. If necessary, do all four questions for each item listed (even in line 5 of the JYNW).
  2. Keep it in perspective. It’s not that I am an unkind person in general. The turnaround just applies in that situation. In the moment I see you as unkind, I am unkind (to see you that way). Not unkind before or after–just in that very moment.
  3. Be gentle with yourself. Hold the turnaround, “I am unkind” together with the original concept, “He is unkind.” These two statements balance each other. If you take it out of context, it can result in stress.
  4. Find your innocence. Even if you do find you’re mean, notice how you had no choice believing what you were believing at the time. Be gentle with yourself, and cut yourself some slack.

The Happiness Of Turnarounds Comes From Humility

Turnarounds can lead to humility. And humility is delicious. It is freedom.

But don’t confuse humility with humiliation!

Humility is letting go of being right. It is letting go of attack. It is generosity. But humiliation is turning the attack back towards yourself. It is not generous. And it is not The Work. It is simply the old way of attack, and more attack.

Next time you notice a harshness when turning a thought around to yourself, try some of these tips. When you administer your prescription for happiness properly, you may find that the result is quite pleasant.

Have a great week,

Subscribe to the newsletter here.

I Have Too Much To Do

Tomorrow at 9:00 AM Pacific Time will be a new Blog Popcorn session.

Can you find a time when you had the thought, “I have too much to do”? Let’s work this concept all together in the comments below. It will take 30 minutes from 9 to 9:30 AM tomorrow, June 15, 2012.

Instructions For Blog Popcorn

1. Registration is required.
2. Use the comment section below.
3. Constantly refresh your browser to see new comments as they appear. Some people forgot to do this, and waited in vain for comments to appear. On my browser, Command-R refreshes the page. And I hit it every few seconds whenever I’m not typing throughout the session.
4. I will use red color when I’m in the role of facilitator, and plain text when I’m in the role of participant.
5. When you answer a question, use the “REPLY” link just under that question. This keeps the comments organized. If you don’t do this, and use the regular comment box at the bottom of the page, it will not keep the comments sorted.
6. Feel free to borrow from what others write. They will give you an idea for your own work. We’re all doing this together, and can learn a lot from each other.
7. You may use an initial, or a pseudonym, if you want to preserve your anonymity in the comments below.

Start by registering here.

How Bias Influences The Work (My Prejudice Against Divorce)

The highway is busy but traffic is moving at a steady pace. It’s a beautiful afternoon. The sun is shining, and you keep catching glimpses of the ocean as you drive along.

Suddenly, your steering wheel starts pulling towards the left. It starts out as a small tug, but the pull keeps getting stronger. Slowing the car, you do your best to direct it to the shoulder of the road. With a bit of effort you manage to stop the car completely before it causes an accident.

It Is Almost Impossible To Drive If Your Steering Wheel Pulls Left Or Right

And it’s almost impossible to do The Work if your mind is pulling left or right while holding onto a particular bias. Take, for example, what happened to me a few weeks ago.

A client had been dealing with marriage issues.

She was experiencing stress. And she wanted to use The Work to identify the stressful thoughts around this topic and question them. Her interest was peace of mind. A perfect way to approach The Work.

But As A Facilitator I Came To The Table With A Bias

My steering wheel was pulling to the left. Deep down I believed that divorce was bad–to be avoided at all costs.

I remembered my parents divorce when I was 15, and how it affected my life. I have blamed that divorce for so many of my miseries in life.

And This Influenced My Ability To Facilitate

My hidden motive was to keep my client together with her husband. I wanted to use The Work to heal their relationship, instead of allowing my client to simply explore her own truth. In other words, I was not very open to the possibility of divorce.

This influenced what I encouraged her to work on. I encouraged her to write Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheets on her husband to the exclusion of doing The Work on her fears of divorce.

In reality, both things were issues for her, and she was willing to do The Work on both. But I kept her work restricted because of my own issues.

That Is, Until I Realized What Was Going On

When I saw it, I realized that my beliefs were holding her back. I was not allowing her to step fearlessly into any corner that held stress for her. I was not allowing her to question all of her fearful beliefs.

For her, the repercussions of divorce were scary. And these scary thoughts would have been perfect candidates for The Work. But I discouraged her from questioning her fears about divorce. I was probably more scared of divorce than she was. Instead, I kept her work focused on other stressful thoughts about her husband.

When I saw this, I turned the tables and invited her to facilitate me on my parent’s divorce. This was powerful for me. And it has started an ongoing investigation on my parent’s divorce, and divorce in general, using The Work.

Gradually, I Am Finding How My Parent’s Divorce Was Good For Me

For example, I had a very happy last two years of high school after my parent’s divorce. I’ve always overlooked that. Also, the divorce was very helpful for me to keep searching and growing spiritually.

These are just a couple examples of how the divorce was actually good for me. And I want to take it further. I want to look at how divorce is not necessarily a bad thing in general.

One Of My Living Turnarounds Is To Find Examples Of How Divorce Has Actually Helped Different Families

So I’m asking you to send your examples. Do you know a family that was helped by divorce? Do you have examples of real benefits that came out of a divorce? I want to hear them. Please reply to this email, or post your comments on the blog.

For Me This Is Like Adjusting My Steering Wheel

When my mind pulls away from divorce, I cannot drive straight down the road. The examples of how divorce can be a good thing provide counterbalance to my biased steering wheel.

They help me get back on the road again.
This not only helps me, but helps my clients to trust their own process. It helps them to trust their own stressful thoughts to lead them to exactly what they need to work, without my interference.


Todd Smith is a facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie. If you work with him you will find that he loves discovering his own truths along with you as you are discovering yours. Book an Advice-Free Facilitation session with Todd today.

Upcoming Newsletters

Feb 23, 2012: The Trip-Wire Method Of Identifying Stressful Thoughts
March 1, 2012: Why Are Questions 1 and 2 a “Yes” or “No” Only?
March 8, 2012: Why It’s Dangerous To Take Another Person’s Medicine
March 15, 2012: Why Not Love Your Busy Mind?
March 22, 2012: The Ego Is Bad. Is That True?
March 29, 2012: Are You Taking The Easy Way Out Of Question 3?
April 5, 2012: Does The Heart Have A Place In The Work?

To get “The Work As Meditation Newsletter” every week visit

If you want to receive these blog posts by email, instead of by RSS, please subscribe to the weekly version of the newsletter here.

About This Article

If you like this article, feel free to share it with your own list, post it on your site, on your blog, or add it to your auto-responder. Twitter it, Facebook it, translate it.

As long as you leave it intact and do not alter it in anyway. All links must remain in the article. No textual amendments permitted. Only exception is Twitter.

©2010-2011 Todd Smith, LLC. All rights reserved.

Subscribe by RSS | Subscribe by Email

What Exactly Is Balance?

"Left! Right! Right again, HARD! Left!"

The guide for your whitewater rafting trip calls out for you to paddle. He is practically screaming over the sound of the raging river. The water is splashing on your faces as you navigate through the turbulence.

Suddenly, there’s a big drop, and for a moment it seems that all will be lost. The bow of the little raft shoots up, and feet go in the air. Then, with a thud, the raft comes back down. Luckily, it lands right-side-up. You regain balance, reposition yourselves in the raft, and continue your adventuresome ride.

In Whitewater Rafting Balance Is Everything, And So It Is In Life

Nothing feels more scary than losing your balance in a fast moving river. The consequences can be dire. Head injuries, broken bones, or even death. When you’re in the river your life depends on your ability to maintain balance.

And the same holds true for life. When the river of life hits turbulent times, we’ve got to maintain balance somehow. Our sanity depends on it.

What Is Balance?

We know balance by the way we feel inside. There is a recognizable steadiness when we’re in balance. There is a genuine sense of safety. A sense of easiness, knowing that we’re OK. It’s the opposite of imbalance, which feels like stress and fear.

So What Causes Balance And Imbalance?

Fighting with reality causes imbalance. And adjusting to reality causes balance. Balance is always in relation to reality. If you fight the river, you capsize. It’s as simple as that.

This is because reality is bigger than us. So when you fight you start to lose your balance. And to make matters worse, there’s an additional problem.

Reality Is Always Changing

Just like a raging river, life is always changing from moment to moment. Paddling to the left one moment creates balance. And the next moment continuing to paddle left could kill you. It is constantly changing.

In other words, balance is not a static thing. It’s not a one time deal. It’s not like, "Oh, I think I’ll get balanced, and then my life will be great." You can guarantee that as soon as you get your life balanced, reality will have shifted again and you’ll need to change your direction once again to create balance.

Sounds Hopeless, Right?

Maintaining balance in a fast changing river might sound difficult. But only if you are unwilling to keep changing with reality. If not, it’s just a matter of following the simple directions that life gives you.

What makes us unwilling to adjust to this ever-changing reality sometimes? Sometimes it’s just laziness. And sometimes it is because we believe that we are right and reality is wrong. We think that life should be different than it is.

And so we fight with reality. And we lose.

So How Do We Maintain Balance In This Ever Changing Reality?

There are many strategies for gaining balance. This is not the only way. But I find it to be a very effective means.

First of all we have to notice when we’re out of balance. We have to pay attention to our stress. And then notice the thoughts that are holding up that feeling of stress. And finally, question those thoughts.

This Is Called The Work Of Byron Katie

It’s a simple process. But why does it work?

It works because it gets you to give a very honest assessment of the state of your imbalance. Only you can assess this. Writing a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet for example is an amazing way to get the details of the painful state of your imbalance on paper.

And it works because it takes that honest assessment of imbalance and very gently brings you to a place where you can consider the opposite of what you believe.

Maybe You Believe You Should Turn Right

And the river of life says, "Turn left."

You fight it by thinking, "I want to go right." Your life starts to go out of balance because of your unwillingness to adjust to the ever-changing course of life. You feel the stress.

The Work gently gets you to look at your thinking, "I want to go right." And to notice how much imbalance it brings when you believe it. How much it makes you fight against life. And how much more balanced you would be without that thought.

The Work invites you to consider the opposite of what you believe.  Could the opposite be as true or truer?  It expands your mind to consider the possibility that maybe going along with reality, instead of fighting it, might actually work better for you.

In This Way The Work Gently Brings You Back To Balance

It frees you up to paddle right again when you see that continuing to paddle left would only make things worse. It helps you pay attention.
And when you’ve gone too far right, you’ll feel it again. Then, if you’re stubbornly attached to paddling right, The Work can open your mind to consider going back to the left again, just for the sake of balance.

You start to paddle left, right, left in an appropriate manner. You become alert to the ever-changing flow of the river.

As You Culture This Alertness, You Start To Catch The Imbalance Earlier And Earlier

So there’s no need to go careening out of control. That’s when rafting starts to be fun. When you know how to maintain balance through the roughest waters.

In fact, when you get good at it, you start searching out rougher and rougher water to test and refine your skills. When you’ve been doing The Work for a while, you get excited by turbulent times. You love the adventure of those class V rapids. Because you know how to come back to balance even if you completely flip out of your raft.

To learn more about The Work read, “What Exactly Is The Work?

Todd Smith is a facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie. He helps people discover their own sense of balance. Learn about Todd’s Advice-Free Facilitation here.

Upcoming Newsletters

Feb 9, 2012: Are You Tired Of Pretending Everything Is Ok?
Feb 16, 2012: How Bias Influences The Work (My Prejudice Against Divorce)
Feb 23, 2012: The Trip-Wire Method Of Identifying Stressful Thoughts
March 1, 2012: Why Deifying Anything Is A Source Of Pain
March 8, 2012: Why It’s Dangerous To Take Another Person’s Medicine
March 15, 2012: Why Not Love Your Busy Mind?
March 22, 2012: The Ego Is Bad. Is That True?

About This Article

If you like this article, feel free to share it with your own list, post it on your site, on your blog, or add it to your auto-responder. Twitter it, Facebook it, translate it.

As long as you leave it intact and do not alter it in anyway. All links must remain in the article. No textual amendments permitted. Only exception is Twitter.

©2010-2011 Todd Smith, LLC. All rights reserved.

Subscribe by RSS | Subscribe by Email

1 3 4 5