Category Archives for Money

How to Deal with Different Ways of Spending Money

waterfall

Money is a flow. How you direct the flow and how someone else directs it may be quite different.

Many Relationships Break up Over Money

But is money really the issue?

Money is just another mirror. How I handle money shows me how I’m thinking. And how others handle money shows me how they think.

Questioning my thinking around money can bring a lot of clarity.

A Client Recently Did Just That

The stressful thought about her husband was, “He doesn’t appreciate how I spend money.” Her way of spending is very relaxed. She is able to respond to changes very well and doesn’t worry about budgeting.

Her husband on the other hand is a planner. He likes to manage money with a budget, looking ahead to retirement, and not spending impulsively.

They have two very different styles of spending, and thinking. That’s fine.

But What Do you Do when You’re Married?

Money is all about priorities. And if my priorities are different than my partner’s priorities, there can be conflict.

But is conflict necessary?

It all depends on what I’m believing. If I believe that his way is less wise than my way, then my judgment and lack of respect for him is what leads to conflict.

When I think I’m right, and his way will destroy my way, I don’t give an inch. I fight.

My Client Cut Through this Quickly with her Work

As she questioned, “He doesn’t appreciate how I spend money,” going through the four questions meditatively, her mind and heart began to open. She turned it around to, “I don’t appreciate how he spends money.” This gave rise to a practical living turnaround to sit down and ask her husband about how he likes to spend money. It felt like generosity and openness. It felt like love.

A funny thing happens when someone asks me about my thinking. I stop trying to defend. I feel respected.

And if I’m the one asking, something warms inside of me. I am excited to meet the real person on the other side. It feels like intimacy. I learn about them, I may even adopt some things from them. And I’m much more willing to compromise.

The more I find respect for their way of thinking, the more I also find room for mine. I don’t have to become a doormat to be peaceful. I just have to be open enough to consider everything with an equal eye.

That’s when working together starts to happen.

Have a great week,
Todd

“For some of us, life is controlled by our thoughts about work and money. But if our thinking is clear, how could work or money be the problem? Our thinking is all we need to change. It’s all we can change. This is very good news.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

How Do You Do The Work on Shame?

dark cloud

A cloud of shame can darken any beautiful scene.

What Causes Shame?

For me, shame happens when I believe that something about me, or something I’ve done, is not accepted by others. The possible, or actual, rejection of a whole group of people is usually what makes me feel shame the most. But even potential rejection by one person can bring it on.

This experience leads me to hide, to lack confidence, to lie, to be a perfectionist, to avoid even positive exposure, and to self-attack.

Shame is one of the most debilitating experiences I know.

So How Can I Do The Work on Shame?

I do The Work on shame by noticing my stressful thoughts, writing them down, and questioning them. There are two main areas of stressful thoughts in my experience of shame.

1. My thoughts about myself: what a terrible thing I did, or how I’m a loser/bad person

2. My desire for approval from the people who will, or have, disapproved of me

The First Category Is a List of Self-Judgments

This list can include what I actually did, why it’s a terrible thing, and what it means about me.

For example, I recently learned that in a past life I was a “money minded” teacher, making a business of teaching others. This was taboo in that society. And when I got negative feedback in that lifetime, I quit my business and shunned making money completely.

Whether this story is true or not, just hearing the possibility of it made me feel shame today. And it certainly explained my aversion to money from a young age in this life, and some of my lack of confidence.

So how could I work this? It’s a funny situation working something “from a past life” but I treat it just like working a situation from a dream. I hold the situation as I imagined it to be. That is enough to gather my stressful thoughts.

Here are some of my shameful thoughts, my self-judgments:

What I did:

I made a terrible mistake.
I was “money minded.”
I was materialistic.

And that means that:

I am not fit for spiritual life.
I should never pursue money again.
I am a bad person.

I can now take each one of these stressful thoughts to inquiry using the four questions and turnarounds of The Work.

The Second Category Gets to the Core of It For Me

The second category of stressful thoughts around shame is my desire to avoid disapproval. For me, this is what drives my self-judgments above.

In fact, I attack myself often as a way of preventing disapproval from others. Working my stressful thoughts about others disapproving of me can help free me from this self-attack.

Here’s where a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet can serve. I use it to capture my stressful thoughts about the people who saw me as “money minded.”

1. I am ashamed because they disapprove of me.

2. I want them to be gentle with me. I want them to continue including me. I want them to be understanding. I want them to approve of me.

3. They should ask themselves if what I did was really wrong. They should frame it in terms of what doesn’t work for them. They shouldn’t reject me as a whole. They shouldn’t be so black and white.

4. I need them to accept me. I need them to be on my side. I need them to love me unconditionally.

5. They are judgmental, harsh, extreme, hypocrites, powerful.

6. I don’t ever want to be rejected by them again.

Now that I’ve got my thoughts about them down, I can work through them one by one using the four questions and turnarounds of The Work.

I’m Looking for Both My Innocence and My Part

Doing The Work often reveals how innocent I am. I was just doing what human beings do. When I own it without beating myself up, I’m free again.

For me, shame is a poor substitute for humility. When I shame myself, I beat myself up instead of actually owning my part. When I truly own my part, there is no need to beat myself up at all. I just am what I am, and I’m not pretending to be anything else. That’s true humility. And there’s freedom in that, not shame.

I invite you to question your stressful thoughts around a situation where you felt shame. Be gentle. But, if you can find the balance between seeing your innocence and owning your part, there may be no more need for shame.

Have a great weekend,
Todd

“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 That True?

Is There Any Shame in Losing Money?

grape leaves blowing in the wind

Sometimes money is simply gone with the wind.

I Lost a Lot of Money Last Week

Well actually, it took me about seven years to lose all that money, but I got confirmation last week.

After my mom died in 2010, I received a life insurance payment. It was the last gift my mom gave me. But I didn’t know what to do with it. I was like a child being given a car with no clue how to drive. My feet couldn’t even reach the pedals.

But like any child, I tried to drive it anyway. I put it in the stock market for a few months and watched it double and then go back down. I sold when it was the same amount as what I put in. And I thought, “I don’t like the stock market. I can’t predict it.”

I Was Looking for Something More Stable

I wanted something with a small steady growth. And lo and behold someone called me offering just that. Ten or fifteen percent growth per year sounded good to me. I believed it. And in this case, I literally bought it. Funny how “believe” and “buy” are the same!

I “invested” in a bunch of rare stamps. But what I found out slowly over time, and got confirmed last week, is that I was dealing with telemarketers, not actual stamp dealers. They basically sold me a “bill of goods”—stamps that were priced way above market value. So the bottom line for me is probably going to be less than 10% of what I started with.

The First Thought Is “I Was a Fool”

Granted, the money has been gone for years now, and I’ve had my suspicions for a long time too. So it wasn’t a big shock for me last week when I got the confirmation. It almost wasn’t stressful.

But nonetheless the stressful thoughts did start to surface:

I was a fool (or more directly, “I am a fool”).
I am naïve.
My mom would be disappointed in me.
I lost her money.
She worked hard for that money.
I don’t belong in the real world.
I made a big mistake.

The Thoughts Came Up Quietly at First

But I believed them enough to make my body tense, and to make my mood a bit more solemn. It felt like an undercurrent of shame.

I’m just starting to work these thoughts now in Inquiry Circle. I’m taking the time to hold each one, and let it be fully heard, and felt, and questioned. And as I do, the undercurrent of tension and shame is lifting.

In addition to questioning the list of stressful thoughts above, I will probably write some Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheets on those whom I think would be disappointed in me if they knew.

So, Is It Shameful to Lose Money?

What I’m seeing is that it’s only shameful when I believe it is. The world may think it’s shameful, terrible, pitiable. But it’s up to me whether I believe it or not. It’s up to me whether I drag myself down with it or not.

What I’m finding is I just took a very expensive training program in how not to invest money. I have experience now that may serve me again someday when I have money to invest.

I was like a child, trusting a telemarketer. You might say I was a fool. And I’d agree with you. But I don’t mind being what I am. It was simply my path this time. I didn’t have enough awareness to do it another way.

This also gives me a lot more understanding for my grandmother who lost money in a scam at the end of her life.

It Is a Part of Growing Up for Me

Now I see the part of me that, like my grandmother, wanted someone else to invest my money for me. I see how easily I shirked responsibility.

That is a precious lesson for me. I gave my money to the sharks and the sharks did what sharks always do. I just never looked closely enough to see their dorsal fins.

Now, I understand the importance of due diligence. The importance of getting three quotes. The importance of diversification. The importance of educating myself about how to invest. If this loss is what it took for me to see that, it’s not a bad thing at all.

That Was The First Stage of My Education

I had to see the value of scrutiny and research in this area of life. The area of finances is an area I’ve pushed away and wanted not to look at for most of my life. This was a wake up call for me to step more fully into adulthood in the world of money.

I’m open to learning more now. I’m open to reading books, and educating myself on how to invest. Why not learn now how to tell the difference between a genuine investment a scam? Why not study the various ways to invest?

I was so focused on not being attached to money that I forgot the counterbalance, which is learning the skills of dealing with money. Both sides are important. Like any turnaround, one side without the other is not balance.

I was asleep, and now I’m waking up.

I Leave You With One Last Turnaround for Balance

I didn’t throw all of my money away. I used part of the money my mom gave me to get my training as a certified facilitator of The Work. That turned out to be the best investment I ever made.

Without that money, I would not be where I am today. Thank you, Mom.

Have a great week,
Todd

“How do I know I don’t need the money? It’s gone! I’ve been spared: what I would have done with that money would obviously have been much less useful for me than losing it.” Byron Katie, Question Your Thinking, Change The World

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Real Estate Is Stressful, Is That True?

house

I’ve always tried to avoid real estate because something about it stressed me.

To Me Real Estate Is Scary

And most of my life I have been able to avoid dealing directly with real estate until a couple of years ago when my partner and I bought a house. (No, that’s not our house in the picture above.)

I remember being stressed by the purchase of our house at the time, but I didn’t do The Work on it. So, no surprise, my stress showed up again this month as we are now considering selling our house.

This time my partner facilitated me. We were driving in the car last weekend and I was talking about how real estate is stressful for me. He stopped me by asking, “Is it true?”

I Hesitated Before Diving Into Inquiry

But I couldn’t resist the invitation. I wasn’t even sure that this was the “right” stressful thought to question. But I went ahead anyway. Yes, it was true. Yes, it was absolutely true that real estate was stressful for me.

How do I react? I feel tension in my stomach and chest. I avoid it. I show no enthusiasm when my partner shows me real estate listings. I see an image of BIG money. I see loss—big loss. I compare the amount of money involved in real estate with the amount of money I make each month. I think, “I have to be VERY careful.” I get tense. I see images of foreclosures. I see myself humiliated. I want to pare down to a shack if necessary to avoid any risk.

My partner asked, “When did you first have the thought that real estate is scary?” I thought about it, and found that it was when my parents divorced and it took a year to sell the house.

Then I Realized Something Interesting

I’m actually not just scared of real estate, I’m scared of having a home. I felt like my home was destroyed when I was 16 when my parents divorced. Not just the physical house, but the sense of home. And since that time I’ve chosen over and over again not to have any kind of real home.

My mom used to ask me, “Why do you live like an orphan?” It’s as if I wanted to avoid a home so that I could avoid having it taken away again.

But Without the Thought that Real Estate Is Scary…

I would be exploring real estate options with my partner in a very non-stressed way. It would not be a big deal. I would simply be problem solving with him, like I do in any other area of life. But without the charge. In fact, it would be enjoyable.

It Turns Out Real Estate Is Not Really Scary

What was scary was my thinking about it. My fear of loss. And my emotional connection of it with divorce.

But when I looked at real estate directly, I saw that even in the worst case scenario, if we lost money on the house, it would not be the end of the world. How many times did we “lose” money by paying rent all those years? What’s the difference?

And even if we lost everything, does that take away our ability to earn more money? No, of course not. Both my partner and I have lost money in the past, and have earned more money again.

That’s just how money works: it comes, it goes, it comes again, it goes again. What is there to fear in that?

This Eased My Mind

Now, I’m less concerned about making a profit. I’m less concerned about doing it perfectly. And I’m relaxed in a way about real estate that I never was before. I thought real estate was bigger than me. But now I see that I’m bigger than it.

The cool thing is my partner loves real estate, so now I’m more open to join him in his enthusiasm.

And I look forward to doing more work on that divorce stuff too.

Have a great week,
Todd

“People who live through it will tell you that their experience of loss was kinder than their beliefs about how it would be. Inquiry allows you to take the fear out of loss before anything happens…” Byron Katie, I Need Your Love, Is That True?

There’s a Want Behind Every Fear

apple

Which want are you attached to getting?

Life Will Show you your Attachments

The way life does this is by occasionally threatening the very thing you want. When it does, you’ll feel fear—fear of losing what you want.

This just shows you what you’re attached to.

This Came up Recently in a Private Session

My client was feeling fear around Trump. He was trying to avoid the news in order to not hear about the changes that are coming. But the news found him anyway.

For him, it was all negative—his worst fears coming to pass. It was as bad, or worse, than what he thought on election day.

And the decisions Trump is making could very negatively affect his business.

So How Do you Do The Work on This?

You could do The Work on Trump and what he’s doing. Any worksheet on him would probably get you there.

But I suggested that you can’t have fear without a want.

When my client considered it, he found that the want behind the fear for him was to be successful in his new business.
Trump’s Threat to his New Business Is what Made it Personal

That’s why he was so bothered by the news. Trump’s policies may affect his whole sector of business. And my client could easily imagine his start-up business failing as a result.

So we Questioned, “I Want to Be Successful in the New Business”

Question 3: “How do you react, what happens, when you believe that you want to be successful in the new business?” Scared of Trump. Afraid, it will never have a chance. Frustrated that starting a new business is hard enough, let alone when challenged in this way.

Question 4: “Who would you be without the thought, ‘I want to be successful in the new business?'” It took some time for my client to open up enough to even consider the question but when he did he reported that he’d be totally free.

That’s the Power of a Want

When I want something, then anything that threatens what I want becomes the enemy, the one to fear. And when I’m not so attached, even genuine threats don’t scare me. That is true freedom.

My client turned it around to, “I want to play at being successful in the new business.” This lightened everything. It gave perspective. The new business venture became more of a game than an identity.

And then Trump’s threat became a challenge only. And, in the worst case, if it really did destroy his business, it need not destroy him too.

It all comes down to how attached I am to what I want.

Have a great week,
Todd

“It’s good that you think you’re going to lose your job. This is exciting. Do The Work, live The Work, notice, and know that if you lose your job, there is something better waiting for you. But when you’re stuck in a belief, you’re blind. There has to be something better, because there is only goodness in the universe. “My life would be much better if I don’t lose my job”—can you absolutely know that that’s true? There’s nothing more exciting than living on the edge and being aware of it.” Byron Katie, Question Your Thinking, Change the World

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All or Nothing Thinking

clouds

Feet on the ground, or head in the clouds?

I Spent the First Part of my Life with my Head in the Clouds

I put my highest priorities first. And that was not a bad thing at all. My life was all about meditation, yoga, enlightenment. And nothing about money, career, friends, family.

What I liked about my life back then was that it was very authentic. I made no compromise on my values. What didn’t work for me was that I remained dependent on others to take care of me. My head was too much in the clouds for me. And eventually I fell hard to earth.

Over the last 14 years, I’ve turned my thinking around and now my feet are very solidly on the ground. I’m responsible with clients, money, family. I’m almost hyper-responsible about everything.

If something needs to be done, I do it even at the cost of my meditation or yoga. And my ship sails smoothly in the world. But what doesn’t work for me is that it also doesn’t feel like balance. Too much doing, not enough being.

My Break Last Month Reminded Me of my Youthful Idealism

While I was traveling, I wasn’t hyper-responsible. I let day-to-day management of my business slide. I didn’t keep up with correspondence. It was like a vacation.

And coming home, I wanted to keep that balance of life. I made meditation and yoga a priority again. I made not-working in the evening a priority again.

And I felt great. I thought, “Finally, I can get back to my younger, more inward life even while running my business.”

I Thought I Had Found Balance

I thought I had managed the elusive “feet on the ground, but head in the clouds” ideal.

But alas, it was not my time.

I was premature. I was, once again, ahead of my own evolution. As I was enjoying my balanced daily routine, I noticed a growing feeling of anxiety because I was getting up to a week behind in my emails. And behind in my Inquiry Circle practice. And in my duties with The Work 101. And in my bookkeeping. It was all accumulating. And finally I realized that it was out of control.

It Turns Out that my Head Was Back in the Clouds

And my feet had left earth again. So I’ve got more work to do. I’m still looking for a way to find a balance. I’m looking for that middle ground which is neither all in nor all out.

My next worksheet is on my business being out of control. I already get glimpses of where my inquiry is heading. It’s probably going to mean cutting some programs that I offer, or finding some assistance. And I have resistance thoughts to both of these ideas.

But reality is hard and unyielding. There are only 24 hours in a day. I simply have to make some priority choices. And that will require questioning my attachments.

Have a great week,
Todd

“You’re the one calling the shots on what is a mistake in your business and what isn’t.” Byron Katie, Question Your Thinking, Change the World

Get two new articles about The Work of Byron Katie every week, plus my checklist for the Judge-Your-Neighbor-Worksheet. Subscribe to the newsletter here.

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How To Do The Work on Self-Sabotage

seagull

Do you pull yourself down as soon as you start to fly?

I Don’t Know About You, But I Tend to Self-Sabotage

The more successful my business gets, the more I find my mind looking for a way out. What is that? It doesn’t make sense. And it feels stressful. So there must be some beliefs I can question.

The first step is to identify the thoughts associated with this stress.

Here Are Some of Those Thoughts for Me

I like to use the prompt, “I’m afraid of being successful because…”

1. It will be too much work.
2. I will lose my freedom.
3. It will be too much responsibility.
4. Success is materialistic.
5. I won’t be a spiritual person.
6. I won’t have time for spiritual development.
7. My mistakes will be public.
8. I don’t have all my stuff together yet.

Your List May Be Different

I encourage you to make your own list of why you’re afraid of being successful (if that’s an issue for you).

And then use the four question and turnarounds of The Work to explore these fears, and to see if they are really true for you.

Do The Work to find out what the reality is. The truth is always what sets me free.

If You Do This Work, Let Me Know What You Find

I’ll be working my list. And I’d love to learn what you discover as you work yours.

By the way, here’s another valuable thought to question: “I want to be successful.” That could be at the very core of it. I look forward to questioning that one first.

Have a great week,
Todd

“I invite everyone to put these fearful thoughts on paper, question them, and set themselves free. When mind is not at war with itself, there’s no separation in it.” Byron Katie, A Thousand Names For Joy

Get two new articles about The Work of Byron Katie every week, plus my checklist for the Judge-Your-Neighbor-Worksheet. Subscribe to the newsletter here.

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.

Who Would You Be Without The Motive To Feel Good?

grapes

I’m attracted to grapes because they taste good, i.e., they make me feel good.

Feeling Good Is My #1 Motive In Life

But I’ve been considering what my life would be like without that motive. And I invite you to do the same.

I’m noticing these days that I don’t care so much if I’m experiencing a good feeling or a bad feeling. It’s becoming less important to me.

One hour I’m feeling good about a nice session with a client. The next hour I’m feeling a headache. And I’m not seeing so much of a difference between these two experiences.

What Would My Life Be Like If I Didn’t Care About Feeling Good?

For one thing, there would be a lot less complaining.

Also, I would not be driven to make a living. I’d just make a living. It feels more generous that way too, when feeling good (safe, successful, affluent) is not my motive. The word selfless comes to mind.

Also, I wouldn’t be obsessed with my health. Sure, I’d take care of myself, but I wouldn’t mind when the signs of aging continue to show up. I would be patient with my health. No need to change it, just changing what I had time to change. I’d be freed up to use my life in the best ways I can find, instead of trying to preserve it for “someday.”

Similarly, I wouldn’t be obsessed about fixing my emotions. Even doing The Work would be a luxury to me, not a necessity. I’d feel no pressure to get any insights. It would just be open.

And I wouldn’t care about ego boosts when people approve of me. Just as I wouldn’t care if they degrade me. It’s just my attachment to feeling good that makes me attracted and repulsed by these.

Even meditation would be just a quiet time, with no goal of nirvana-like bliss, or attachment to it when it comes.

The Funny Thing Is I’d Be Feeling Better All Around

It would be a more neutral place to live. After all, what makes me feel bad? Not getting what I want is what makes me feel bad.

No wonder my life is black or white: I either get what I want (feel good) or I’m miserable for not getting what I want (feel like a failure). There’s no middle ground.

This feels so artificial. What if I could just enjoy my life as it is served up for me? And participate in it without the motive to feel good, or to improve my lot. The experience I’m having as I think of it now is contentment, balance, tolerance, freedom, peace.

Have a great weekend,
Todd

“The Work allows you to go inside and experience the peace that already exists within you.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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Worrying About Fairness Is A Sign Of Competition

sailing

“You’ve spent too much time at the helm! We need to divide the time fairly.”

Fairness Is A Big Concept For Me

I notice I want everything to be fair. And I spend a fair amount of energy thinking about how to keep things fair.

Fairness is not a bad thing. But I’m starting to see fairness as more of a consolation prize than as a true ideal.

Fairness is a consolation prize in that it is the next best thing after teamwork. Teamwork means unity. We’re on the same team and it doesn’t matter who has the helm more. This is about us, not you and me.

Fairness Comes Into Play When We Are Separate

As long as I think I’m separate from you I want things to be fair. Fairness is basically appealing to a higher court to get what I want.

Fairness is very manual. It requires a lot of accounting and measuring and it requires enforcement. Fairness is a kind of forcing of civility on top of my otherwise selfish motives.

Even when things are fair, my motive to be in control still lurks, waiting for an opportunity to win even within the confines of these fair rules.

Fairness Would Not Be An Issue Without Competition

I can think of two example of this recently for me.

One has been over the past six months since my partner and I combined our finances. When our finances were separate, I felt inferior because I earned less. And I constantly strove to contribute my “fair share.” It was stressful.

Also, I kept detailed accounting of expenses to make sure that I was paying exactly half of everything. That was a lot of work. And the underlying feeling was one of separateness and competition, with a veneer of fairness making it all appear good.

But when we combined our finances, there was no more competition. We’re now on the same team. We both contribute to our money, and we decide together how to spend it. There’s no separation. And there’s no more need for fairness. Fairness is mute when there is unity.

Another Example Was Working With A Co-Trainer in ITW

We were training an eCourse in the Institute for The Work (ITW), and I thought it was unfair once when she got more time facilitating than I did.

I wrote a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet and discovered that, once again, I was competing. That’s why fairness was so important to me in that situation. I wanted to appeal to fairness in order to regain my “deficit.”

But when I worked through my worksheet, my turnarounds pointed me to something higher, to being a team with her. As co-trainers, we could be two hands of the same body. Who cares if the right hand gets more action than the left. We both win when we are working together. For example if she is facilitating, I get to rest and enjoy the show, and learn from her. Life is good that way.

This Is Expansion of The Ego

You might call it death of the ego. But I prefer to see it as expansion of the ego. The ego expands from being identified as just me to being identified as us, which is something bigger.

And the difference for me is an expansion of the heart. There’s no more concern about petty fairness when I identify as us. It’s very freeing. Suddenly, their assets and my assets pooled together become mine because now I am “us.”

Have a great weekend,
Todd

“Every story is a variation on a single theme: This shouldn’t be happening. I shouldn’t have to experience this. God is unjust. Life isn’t fair.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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I Want To Get To The Bottom of Things But I Can’t

foggy lane

Sometimes it’s just too foggy to drive.

The Joy of Discovery Is Compelling

Once you gain some insights through The Work (questioning what you believe), it’s natural to want more. I’ve found myself often wanting to dig deep into one area using the four questions and turnarounds of The Work.

But sometimes I reach a place where I can see no further.

This can be frustrating if you’re trying to stay in control of your progress (good luck with that). But it’s not necessarily the end of the road for your inquiry.

The Work Needs Specifics To Question

And when it’s just foggy, there are no forms to be seen. Everything is hidden.

This is what it’s like to be asleep in a particular area of your life. You can’t see. You have no idea what is up and what is down. You can’t see anything. How the heck can you do The Work with this?

The Answer Is You Can’t

But is that true?

Just because you can’t see anything, doesn’t mean you won’t bump into things in the fog. This is the main way I find my Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet situations. I walk blindly into the fog (actually, that just means living my life as I already do, half asleep).

And when I bump into something, I get excited. Now I’ve found something concrete to work with. It’s still fog on all sides, but I can touch the object perfectly well in all that fog. And so I can do a worksheet, and start to gain some clarity.

This is how I make inroads into murky areas in my life. I don’t seek out the next area of my exploration with The Work. Instead, I let the next worksheet find me. This keeps it very real for me. And it allows me to stumble into unexpected places.

For Example, I Thought I Was Pretty Clear About Marketing

I used to have a lot of beliefs about marketing being bad. I questioned them and started being more fearless in sharing what I do. I even questioned my long-seated prejudice that making money is bad. And I found freedom in allowing myself to be honest about my desire to make a living. (I always chose spiritual practice over money to such an extreme that I was poor most of my adult life.)

But recently I bumped into something unexpected. At the convention for the Institute for The Work in Los Angeles last month, I started a community collaboration project with the topic, “Making a Living as a Facilitator.” I thought it was a good idea, but Byron Katie invited us to turn it around and “not make a living as a facilitator.”

And a part of me got defensive.

That’s when I knew I had bumped into something inside myself that I had not yet worked. A form emerged from the fog.

This Has Been The Start Of A Whole New Inquiry For Me

It humbled me to see my defensiveness. And so I used that moment when I heard Katie’s words to write a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on her. When I looked at my thinking in that moment about her, it contained a host of big concepts laid out perfectly for me to question.

I noticed how my attachment to making a living was the dominant force behind my sharing The Work. I discovered that even more dominant than my money motive was a motive for recognition and approval – dare I say the ugly word, fame. It makes my stomach turn just to admit it.

I noticed these selfish motives even when doing genuine service to others. They have been sitting in the background poisoning my experience of service. And discovering this has started a cascade of questioning which will lead me who knows where.

But For Me This Is Exciting

Freedom is my biggest interest. So the moment I discover something holding me back, I start questioning it.

I can guarantee that if I have even the slightest stressful reaction, then whatever little situation I fall into will contain a big piece of what holds me back from freedom in my life.

This makes it easy for me. I don’t have to strategize my work. I just have to pay attention and jump in with a worksheet whenever I get triggered. That’s how life continues to show me what’s left.

Have a great weekend,
Todd

“People new to The Work sometimes think, “I don’t know what to write. Why should I do The Work anyway? I’m not angry at anyone. Nothing’s really bothering me.” If you don’t know what to write about, wait. Life will give you a topic.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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