Category Archives for Turnarounds

Turnaround Examples that Reinforce the Original Belief

fake turnaround example for a filthy sink

If I’m questioning the thought, “This sink is disgusting,” a turnaround would be “This sink is beautiful.” But I miss the heart of this turnaround if my example is, “Yeah, it’s beautiful for someone with no standards.”

Moving from Negative to Positive

Turnarounds are about moving away from negativity, closed-mindedness, blame, and suffering, and moving towards positivity, open mindedness, self-responsibility and peace.

The principle of The Work of Byron Katie is simple: if it hurts in this direction, try moving in the opposite direction.

But the Mind Is Attached

It doesn’t always want to look in the opposite direction. It’s afraid it will lose control, be wrong, be humiliated, etc. Until the mind gets first-hand experience of how much peace can be experienced from looking at the turnarounds, it may resist—by either saying no to The Work completely, or by doing The Work in a tricky way.

One trick of the mind is to find examples for the turnaround that reinforce the original belief. These “examples” are not really examples of how the turnaround could be true, but are examples of how the original statement is true.

This is how the mind goes through the motions of doing The Work, but is not really doing The Work.

Here’s an Example

Original statement: he insulted me.
Turnaround: I insulted him.
Fake turnaround example: Because he deserved it.

This example reinforces the original belief that he insulted me. I’m not giving up anything here. I still hold fast to the belief that he insulted me and I’m using the turnaround to justify why it’s okay for me to insult him (because he insulted me first).

This is still 100% war. No peace comes from this example because I’m not really putting my weapons down. Peace only comes when I find my part and surrender. When I see that I also insulted him, I naturally start to drop my attack and start to see us more as equal human beings. That’s when my heart relaxes.

Here’s another Example

Original statement: I want him to shut up.
Turnaround: I don’t want him to shut up.
Fake turnaround example: I don’t want him to shut up because I want everyone to see what a jerk he is.

Again, I’m not giving up anything here. I’m right and he’s wrong. I still want him to shut up, but now I’m trying to shame him into it. My heart is still closed.

To find examples that open my heart, I have to look for how it really is okay that he doesn’t shut up, how it’s good for me, or for him, or how it’s not the end of the world if he doesn’t shut up. As I start finding the good of it, my heart naturally softens.

You Can Always Tell if You’re Getting Closer

If your turnaround examples touch your heart or bring sweet humility and acceptance, then they are moving you out of suffering. If they bring more stress, arrogance, and anger, then they are not really taking you out of suffering but are reinforcing the same belief system.

All I have to do is pay attention to the emotions inside as I find my turnaround examples. Are they bringing me peace or reinforcing my experience of stress? If I pay attention to this, I can navigate from darkness towards light in any situation.

Join us for The Work 101, my eight-week online course in The Work of Byron Katie.

Have a great week,

“Humility is what happens when you’re caught and exposed to yourself, and you realize that you’re no one and you’ve been trying to be someone. You just die and die into the truth of that. You die into what you have done and who you have been, and it’s a very sweet thing; there’s no guilt or shame in it. You become totally vulnerable, like a little child. Defense and justification keep falling away, and you die into the brilliance of what is real.” Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy

Are you Following your Turnarounds Blindly?


A lighthouse beacon is just a pointer. It is no substitute for navigation skills.

The Work Is Self-Inquiry

That means that nothing outside of me is directing me as I look for my truth.

Even the four questions and turnarounds are just pointers, pointing me back to myself, pointing me to look where I hadn’t thought of looking. The four questions and turnarounds are a huge help in self-inquiry.

But the moment I rely on them without thinking—without checking in with myself at each step—that is the moment when I am no longer doing self-inquiry.

Instead of seeing the turnaround as assistance in the process of self-inquiry, I am elevating the turnaround to the status of “teacher” or even “dictator.” Instead of checking with myself to see if what I’m finding is true for me, I’m back to the old way of “trying to do it right” and following “others” blindly, which is a million miles away from true self-inquiry.

We All Have a Built-in Self-Correction Mechanism

If a turnaround points me towards something that seems off to me, or that makes me feel more stressed, my self-correction mechanism kicks in and I notice that it doesn’t feel right. This is when I stop and look more closely.

This feeling could be due to three different reasons:

1) The turnaround is off – sometimes they just are. In this case, my self-correction mechanism caught it. Hooray!

2) My understanding of the turnaround is off – I may just be interpreting the turnaround in a way that doesn’t feel right. Is there a different interpretation that fits both the turnaround and my experience?

3) I’m up against an entrenched belief I have about life – I will feel resistance if a turnaround stretches me out of my comfort zone. I usually have to sit with turnarounds before I can stretch enough to meet them completely. It is a process.

The Bottom Line Is Honesty

Do I honestly see the turnaround? Or am I faking it? Or am I rejecting the turnaround out of hand? All of these are possibilities. But the only way forward in self-inquiry is to keep landing on my honest experience.

If a turnaround stretches me and I honestly can find something bigger than what I had originally seen, then wonderful. But if my honest truth is that I don’t resonate with a turnaround, that’s fine too. I’d rather be honest about it, and maybe spend some more time considering it from different angles.

My only job is to stay true to myself as I do my work. When I do that, I can navigate anywhere, using turnarounds as clues while I find my own way.

For me, self-inquiry means there is a little question mark after everything—even after every turnaround. The question, “Is it true?” is sitting there after everything, inviting me to get in touch with my experience.

In self-inquiry, everything is up to me.

Have a great week,

“But when you allow each thought to be met with “Is it true?” life will show itself to you. Eventually, you find yourself ending every thought with a question mark, not with a period. You’re able to rest in the never-ending enlightenment of the don’t-know mind.” Byron Katie, A Mind at Home with Itself

When Doing The Work, Does it Matter Whose Business You’re In?

fence in a snowy woods

“Good fences make good neighbors,” says the famous poem by Robert Frost.

Staying on my Side of the Fence is Good

Byron Katie often invites us to ask ourselves, “Whose business are you in?” Just noticing that I’m in someone else’s business can be very helpful in bringing me back to my own business.

But it’s easy to take this principle of not being in the other person’s business too far. Especially when doing The Work.

The Work Is a Way to Come Back Home

By definition, when I’m doing The Work, I’m moving from being in someone else’s business, which is stressful, to being in my own business, which is peaceful. That’s what the whole process of doing The Work is about.

But sometimes, you have to go back into the person’s business while doing The Work in order to get out of their business and into your own.

Here’s an analogy.

Let’s Say I Hopped the Fence in the Photo Above

And let’s say that not only did I trespass but while I was there I actually built a little fort on the other person’s land.

In order to come fully back to my business, it’s not enough for me to just come back to my side of the fence. To really be free, I need to go back across the fence to his side and take down my fort.

I literally have to trespass again in order to completely remove the effect of my previous trespassing.

The Same Is True When Doing The Work

Let’s say I am judging someone for judging me.

The stressful thought that I’m working is, “He thinks that I’m a failure.” When I think that thought, I am literally trespassing over into his business. By doing The Work on this thought, my intention is to come back to my own business.

The turnarounds point me back:

Turnaround to the self: I think that I’m a failure.
Turnaround to the other: I think that he’s a failure.
Turnaround to the opposite: He doesn’t think that I’m a failure.

All of these turnarounds are an invitation for me to come back to my business. But I might end up resisting the turnaround, “He doesn’t think that I’m a failure.” I might say, “I can’t know that—that’s his business!” I discredit the turnaround before even considering it.

In Doing So, I Would Miss a Piece of Freedom

The problem is that I left my “fort” still intact on the other side of the fence. What was the “fort” that I left on his side? The “fort” is my belief that he thinks I’m a failure. I constructed that “fort” when I was over in his business in the first place, before I ever did The Work.

If I don’t cross back over into his business to dismantle that “fort,” it will keep on standing for a very long time. And a piece of me will always remain in the trespassing position.

Dismantling the “fort” means going back into his business and coming up with alternative ideas of how he may actually have not been thinking that I was a failure. I may not have any concrete evidence of this, but even circumstantial evidence—even just possibilities—are enough to help me start dismantling my idea that “he thinks that I am a failure.”

I may be simply left with “I don’t know.” But that is enough. The fort has been dismantled.

My Turnaround Examples Neutralize my Original Stressful Belief

I was in his business when I originally thought, “He thinks that I am a failure.” And I am in his business when I find examples for the turnaround, “He doesn’t think that I am a failure.” In both cases, I’ve crossed the fence.

But now the two equally possible ideas neutralize each other, and I’m free to return with an open heart to my side of the fence.

The second crossing was necessary in order for me to dismantle what I had previously constructed. Sometimes it literally takes a thorn to remove a thorn.

Have a great week,

“My love is my business; your love is yours. You tell the story that I’m this, or I’m that, and you fall in love with your story. What do I have to do with it? I’m here for your projection. I don’t have a choice in that. I am your story, no more and no less. You’ve never met me. No one has ever met anyone.” Byron Katie, A Mind at Home with Itself

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Another Ancient Text Describes The Work

temple tree

The mind hasn’t changed much over the millennia.

I Love Reading Ancient Spiritual Texts

Just like I love reading modern spiritual texts. Because the message is pretty much always the same: come back to yourself.

I just love hearing all the thousands of ways it can be said. And all the thousands of ways it can be done.

The Other Night I Read This One

It’s from Vasishtha’s Yoga, an ancient Indian treatise on enlightenment. There are many times when I’m reading a book like this that I’m reminded of The Work of Byron Katie, but this quote was a particularly clear description of The Work for me:

“When the thought, ‘This is pleasure’ is confronted by the thought ‘This is not’, they both perish. I remain in that peace that survives this.”

This Is the Balance that Turnarounds Bring

If I was doing The Work on the thought, “This is pleasure,” the turnaround to the opposite would be, “This is not pleasure.” Neither one is completely true. But each describes one side of it.

If I was believing only one side, the turnaround gives me a chance to find truth in the other side.

Together they balance each other so completely as to cancel each other out. And what remains is peace.

This Is What I Do Every Day When I Do The Work

I start with one thought. And I question it and find turnarounds and examples.

And each time I do, I get another taste of this balance. The idea that I was taking for granted becomes mute. And it ceases to have power over me.

I love the way turnarounds balance out my beliefs, and open up my heart.

Have a great weekend,

“Inquiry is more than a technique: It brings to life, from deep within us, an innate aspect of our being. When practiced for a while, inquiry takes on its own life within you. It appears whenever thoughts appear, as their balance and mate. This internal partnership leaves you clear and free to live as a kind, fluid, fearless, amused listener, a student of yourself, and a friend who can be trusted not to resent, criticize, or hold a grudge. Eventually, realization is experienced automatically, as a way of life. Peace and joy naturally, inevitably, and irreversibly make their way into every corner of your mind, into every relationship and experience. The process is so subtle that you may not even have any conscious awareness of it. You may only know that you used to hurt and now you don’t.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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The Power of Finding Turnaround Examples within the Situation

snow scene

If I’m turning around “It is cold” to “It is not cold,” I can find examples outside of the situation (it’s not cold in the tropics right now), or I can find examples within the situation (it’s not cold inside my jacket). Examples from within the situation tend to be more powerful for me.

Finding Turnaround Examples Is an Art

When you look for turnaround examples, you’re looking for evidence to support the turnaround. Without evidence, the turnaround is just words. It has no weight. Examples are what ground a turnaround to earth.

But Not All Turnaround Examples Are Created Equal

First of all, a turnaround example has to be genuine for the person doing The Work (me). I can’t fake turnaround examples because I can never fully buy my own fake. This includes using spiritual ideas, or even Byron Katie’s examples, if they are not fully rooted in my own experience.

Secondly, turnaround examples have to be on point. If the turnaround examples wander into a completely different topic, they may not have much power as examples for this turnaround.

Finally, turnaround examples tend to be most powerful for me when they are found within the original stressful situation.

Here’s An Example

This is from a participant in The Work 101. With his permission, I share it with you. It is a really clear example of the difference between looking for examples outside of the situation and looking for examples within the situation.

His situation: his son texted saying that he had lost the family’s PS4 (PlayStation 4) in a “deal.” He wanted him to call the other person’s father to get it back.

He wrote a whole worksheet on this situation. Here, we just zoom in on one statement from Line 5: “He is self-centered.”

Here Is the Turnaround to the Opposite

“He is self-centered” becomes “He is not self-centered.” And here are the examples he found for this turnaround:

  1. He is very sensitive to what is going on around him and to any sense of conflict between others or himself and others.
  2. He tries to be fair.
  3. He likes to help other people out.

These are all genuine examples of the turnaround, “He is not self-centered,” and they help provide some balance. But all of these examples are from outside of the situation, and are somewhat general.

Here’s what he came up with when he looked for examples within the situation:

  1. He was and is very concerned about getting the PS4 back and the negative impact not having it has on us (actually more concerned than we are about this).
  2. He appears to have tried hard to get it returned.
  3. He was and is sorry about the impact on us.

These examples are much more specific and are more connected to this particular situation. Notice how these examples really paint a clear picture of how he is not self-centered even in that situation.

In fact, you could even get closer to the situation. For example, how is he not self-centered in the moment when he sent the text? (He was selflessly exposing his mistake.) Or how was he not self-centered in the moment when he took the PS4? (Maybe he thought he wouldn’t lose it.)

Just looking looking for examples within the situation can be a powerful exercise.

Here’s the Turnaround to the Self

The original statement, “He is self-centered” becomes “I am self-centered” when turned around to the self. Here are the examples he found:

  1. I often “cannot see the forest for the trees” as I am caught up in my story (perceptions, feelings, problems, etc.).
  2. When stressed or being criticized I often feel like everyone is against me.
  3. I am often very preoccupied and missing out on what is going on with other people.

These are all genuine examples of the turnaround, “I am self-centered,” and they provide balance too. But again, all of these examples are from outside of the situation, and are somewhat general.

Here’s what he came up with when he looked for examples within the situation:

  1. I was very concerned about having to deal with this issue and quite put off by having to do so.
  2. I was not sensitive to his distress.
  3. I tried to ignore and not deal with the situation any more than I had to.

These examples are much more specific and are grounded in the original situation. Because of this, they tend to balance the perspective even more powerfully than the first three examples.

Try It Out Yourself

Try looking for examples outside of the situation and within the situation as you do your work. Which ones land most powerfully for you?

I usually start by looking for examples within the situation. If I can’t find any examples within the situation, I move out from the situation and look there. Sometimes, I find some very powerful examples outside of the situation. So it can be worth exploring both.

Have a great weekend,

“Be willing to go inside with each turnaround you discover, and experience where or how it’s as true as or truer than the original statement. How does it apply to you in your life? Own it. If that seems difficult for you, add the word “sometimes” to the turnaround. Can you own that it’s true sometimes, even if only in the moment that you are thinking that it’s true about the other?” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

The Work and Decision-Making Are Two Different Things


Do you keep a tenant that is not paying rent? It depends on you.

The Work Helps Me Find My Truth

It doesn’t tell me what to do.

Sometimes, the stressful situations that I bring to The Work involve making some kind of decision. I’m confused and don’t know what to do. And I feel stressed, so I bring it to The Work.

Doing The Work helps me take responsibility for my own happiness no matter what situation I find myself in. It helps me question my beliefs and misunderstandings, and often find new options in situations that seem impossible.

But just because I find a turnaround while doing The Work, doesn’t mean that I am obligated to “follow” it. All I’m looking for in doing The Work is my truth. And I can recognize my deepest truth by the way it makes my internal conflict go away.

Here’s An Example

Someone was recently doing The Work on her adult daughter who was living at home with an agreement to pay rent. But she wasn’t paying it. The statement from her Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet was: “She should pay me rent.”

When she got to the turnaround to the opposite, “She should not pay me rent,” she found some examples. But she did not feel peaceful about the turnaround because she still felt strongly that her daughter should pay the rent.

It could be that there were more examples for the turnaround waiting to be found. Or it could be that both the turnaround and the original statement are true.

The Turnaround Is Just One Side of It

The original statement that “she should pay rent” can still make sense—even if there is truth in the turnaround that “she should not pay rent.” In this case, there may be a balance of opposites.

If I hold a turnaround this way, I can often find a deeper truth that encompasses both sides.

For example, the turnaround, “She should not pay me rent,” could be about why it’s understandable that she doesn’t pay rent. It’s a chance to put myself in her shoes. Maybe she’s not making enough money, maybe she doesn’t know how to budget, maybe the agreement was never clear to her, maybe she has resistance to paying something she never had to pay before. All this can give more understanding and compassion for her.

But it doesn’t mean I have to be a doormat because of this newfound compassion. I may still find truth in the idea that she should pay rent. It’s an invitation to expand my mind to see if I can hold both sides.

I Might Agree with the Turnaround

I might see that it is completely her business what she does, and that I can’t control her. But I can also be clear that it’s completely my business what I do.

If I don’t want her living here rent-free then, then it’s a simple conversation about how rent-free doesn’t work for me (it’s not about her at all).

I stay in my business. And she is free to move somewhere else, or to pay rent. It’s her choice. I’m no longer wanting to control her. I’m just honoring my truth, and respecting whatever she does with it.

It’s Only About my Truth

If, on the other hand, my truth is that having her stay is more important to me than having her pay rent, or that I prefer not to charge rent to family members, then I can go the other way with my actions by honoring that truth. It’s completely up to me.

Once I understand the turnaround, “She should not pay me rent,” I am no longer fighting with reality. I get it. I may be easy, or firm, or I may work out some kind of compromise. But in that space, even an eviction can come from a place of love and understanding.

All The Work does is help me step back into my business, and take responsibility for my part, instead of feeling victimized by how the other person should be different than they are. Once I do that, I’m often freer to act according to what feels best to me.

Have a great week,

P.S. I have decided not to go to the Sahara this October. If you are interested in going, please contact Margot Diskin who will be conducting the course in French in October. Instead, I will be offering The Work 101 online starting Sep 5.

“I’m the only one responsible for my life, my health, my feelings, and my happiness. When my neediness died away, what was left was love.” Byron Katie. I Need Your Love, Is That True?

Internal Living Turnarounds

hood of an old Plymouth car

What’s under the hood is as important as what’s outside.

Living Turnarounds Are Turnarounds That You Live

There are two ways to find examples for turnarounds. With regular turnaround examples I’m looking for why the turnaround is a as true, or truer, than the original statement. With living turnaround examples, I’m looking for how I can live the turnaround.

Both kinds of examples provide balance. Finding why the turnaround is true gives a balance of understanding. Finding an example that you can practically live gives balance through action.

Here’s an Example of a Turnaround

Say you’re working the statement, “I want my dad to be kind and loving to me.” The situation is a phone conversation where your dad is yelling at you.

The turnaround to the other is, “I want me to be kind and loving to him.”

There Are Two Kinds of Examples for this Turnaround

1. Regular Turnaround Examples

I find regular turnaround examples by asking, “How could it be as true, or truer, that I want me to be kind and loving to him?” When I consider this, I find these examples:

  • I feel better when I’m kind to him, even if he’s not being kind to me.
  • Being genuinely kind to him could deescalate the situation.
  • I want to be kind and loving to him because I don’t want to be in an argument with him.
  • And because overall I do love him.

2. Living Turnaround Examples

I find living turnaround examples by asking, “How could I live the turnaround of being kind and loving to him in that moment?” When I consider this, I find these examples:

  • By giving him space to rant.
  • By not countering with defense.
  • By asking him to say more.

These are all ways I could be kind and loving to him through my behavior. This is what we mean by finding living turnarounds: what can I do in that situation to put the turnaround into action?

But There’s Also a Another Way to Find Living Turnarounds

Living a turnaround doesn’t always mean external action. Sometimes the action is completely internal.

I find internal living turnaround examples the same way, by asking, “How could I live the turnaround of being kind and loving to him in that moment?” When I consider how to do this on the internal level, I find these examples:

  • By remembering that he is a human being (subject to anger).
  • By holding him in my heart with love.
  • By considering if there is any truth in what he’s saying.
  • By remembering that I do the same thing sometimes.

All of these actions are internal. I’m not doing anything on the outside that is different. But these internal living turnarounds open my heart and allow me to be more peaceful in the same situation.

And, interestingly, as I hold myself differently inside, quite naturally I tend to do things differently on the outside too. The difference of attitude is often very apparent to the other person.

This is one of my favorite ways to live a turnaround. Spontaneously, my behavior shifts as I see him with more love and kindness. And even if he doesn’t see it, I feel it. And that’s what opens up my heart.

It’s like giving a gift without the other person knowing it.

Have a great week,

“Ross also likes to play with an exercise that I recommend, which is to do a kind act and not get found out; if you’re found out, the act doesn’t count, and you start over. I have seen him at amusement parks watch children who don’t seem to have enough money. He’ll pull out a bill from his wallet, stoop down in front of the child, pretend to pick it up from the ground, and hand it to him, saying, “You dropped this, dude,” then quickly walk away without ever looking back. He is a fine teacher of how to practice the turnaround through living amends. It’s generous to bring this practice into everyday life. The results are nothing short of miraculous, realized ever more deeply through further inquiry.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

What Is Spinning When Doing The Work?

carnival ride

Finding a turnaround is one thing. Getting lost in a spin is another.

The Work Is a Specific Protocol

1. You identify a stressful thought.
2. You apply the four questions of The Work to that thought.
3. You find turnarounds (opposites) for the thought.
4. You look for examples of how the turnarounds could be true.

Following this simple protocol has worked time and time again for me. It takes my stressful thought, helps me to loosen my attachment to it, and then points me in the opposite direction, towards freedom and peace.

But What Happens If You Don’t Follow These Directions?

Sometimes, due to inexperience, attachment to being right, or confusion, the mind does not follow these simple steps. And the result is that the mind digs deeper into its own story.

It’s like you’re walking through a maze and you come to a dead end. But you’re sure the exit is just ahead so you keep walking into the wall at the dead end.

The Work says, “Are you sure this is the right way?” And you say, “Yes, 100% sure.” And you keep banging into the wall. The Work doesn’t work if you’re not open to reconsidering.

And It Also Doesn’t Work When You Spin

Here’s what spinning looks like. You’re in the dead end of the maze and maybe by answering the four questions of The Work, you start to be open to the idea that maybe walking into the wall is not the best option.

If you’re questioning the thought, “The shortest way out of the maze is straight ahead,” a turnaround would be, “The shortest way out of the maze is behind.” And if I explore this turnaround, I’ll probably stop banging into the wall in front of me and walk out of the dead end in the opposite direction.

But a spin is something different. A spin looks like a turnaround, but it doesn’t get me anywhere. It’s a kind of fake turnaround. Often it is a double turnaround.

For example, a spin would be “The shortest way out of the maze is not behind.” Or, “The longest way out of the maze is behind.” It looks like a turnaround, but it’s really just saying the same thing as the original statement, “The shortest way out of the maze is straight ahead.”

A Spin Is Often a Turnaround of a Turnaround

It’s easy to do the math. If a turnaround moves me 180 degrees in the opposite direction, then a turnaround of a turnaround will moves me 180 + 180 degrees which spins me right back to where I started: banging into the wall again.

The danger of this confusion is that I actually think that I turned it around. So I start to feel even more justified for banging into the wall. Now I know I’m right!

But in reality, I’m not doing The Work here. I found a spin instead of a turnaround. And it’s leading me right back into my old belief system.

You’ll Feel This Because The Stress Increases

Stress is the indication that I’m going in the wrong direction. Peace is the indication that I’m moving in the right direction. That’s why I pay attention to my stress levels when I’m doing my work.

Any time I find myself increasing my stress when doing The Work, I know I’m headed off in a direction that is not bringing me back home, and is not actually The Work. I trust my stress meter. It doesn’t lie.

So that’s how I catch spins. I pay attention to my stress. And I avoid turning around a turnaround. When I follow these principles, I find genuine turnarounds that allow me to get out of any dead end.

If you want more practice catching spins, and improving your ability to find turnarounds, join us for The Work 101 online course starting July 10. Registration closes this Friday, July 7.

Have a great week,

“The mind is so stuck in its patterns of proving that it’s right that it spins you away from the questions. Just notice that, and gently return to inquiry.” Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy

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.

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Playing with the Order of Turnarounds

stone inlay floor

When you play with the arrangement of shapes, new shapes come into being.

For Me, There’s No Right Order to the Turnarounds

The Work is only about exploration.

I sometimes compare the turnarounds to the idea of looking under every rock. You never know which rock is hiding something cool… maybe a millipede, maybe a worm, maybe an ant, or maybe a shiny piece of gold.

That’s the Way I Explore the Turnarounds

I look under one rock. And then under another. Then under another. I look under all the rocks I can find in my process of exploration of the turnarounds.

And I am consistently surprised by the cool things I find… unexpected insights, pieces of information that I was ignoring, new perspectives, and freeing points of view.

They Were Always There

But I didn’t see them until I looked for them—until I turned over every rock and found them.

That’s why I love The Work. It allows me to find for myself the missing pieces. What I find may seem obvious to others, but it wasn’t obvious to me until I looked. The Work is the process I like to use for looking.

And The Work invites me to look in the least obvious places.

It Invites Me to Look at the Very Opposite of What I Believe

I would rarely, if ever, look there.

And even if I do so naturally, without The Work, I have never looked so thoroughly and so systematically at the opposite of what I think as when I do The Work. The Work literally invites me to leave no stone unturned.

And, of course, even though I explore the turnarounds so thoroughly, it doesn’t mean that each one is insightful, or even true. That’s for me to decide as I explore. I’m just grateful that, with the turnarounds, I have so many avenues to explore.

Does It Matter Which Order I Use When Finding Turnarounds?

There are advantages to using a set order. And there are advantages to changing that order.

The most common order for finding turnarounds is to first find the turnaround to the self, then the turnaround to the other, and then the turnaround to the opposite. Here’s what it looks like:

Original statement: He took advantage of me.

Turnaround to the self: I took advantage of me.
Turnaround to the other: I took advantage of him.
Turnaround to the opposite: He didn’t take advantage of me.

I usually do the turnarounds in this order because finding examples for the turnaround to the self is often easier for me than finding examples for the turnaround to the opposite. I move from easier to more challenging.

But Sometimes I Practice Changing the Order

Last week I deliberately changed the order just to experiment. I think I ended up doing the turnaround to the other first, then to the opposite, and then to the self.

The effect was interesting. I was a little disoriented, because I tend to do my turnarounds in the same order every time. But this caused me to be more alert. The whole thing seemed fresher, like I was doing The Work for the first time.

And most interesting of all, when I got to the turnaround to the self, which I usually consider to be the easiest turnaround (the one I usually do first), I went much deeper when finding my examples.

I had already done the heavy lifting by finding examples to the other turnarounds, and I was feeling strong. So when I did the turnaround to the self, there was nothing left to do but open up my heart.

I Encourage You to Play with It

Maybe a fixed order works for you. I’ll probably keep my regular order most of the time. But maybe a random order has some value too. Why not experiment?

And if you do, please share your experience with me.

Have a great weekend,

“You’ll notice that I don’t always ask the four questions in the order you’ve learned. I sometimes vary the usual order, I leave out questions, zeroing in on just one or two, and sometimes I skip the questions entirely and go directly to the turnaround. Even though the usual order of the questions works well, after a while it may not be necessary to ask them in order. You don’t have to begin with “Is it true?” You can start with any question; “Who would you be without that thought?” might be the first one, if that feels right. Just one of these questions can set you free if you inquire deeply from within. And the questions become internalized as inquiry lives its life in you. But until this happens, the deepest shifts happen when you ask all four questions and the turnaround in the suggested order. That’s why I strongly recommend that those new to The Work stay with this form.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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“I” statements Often Don’t Have Three Turnarounds


Trillium flowers have three petals. But roses have five.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Stressful thoughts come in all shapes and sizes. Some are complex. Some are simple. Some involve other people. Some do not.

As a result of all these variations, turnarounds are not always the same.

The Three Standard Turnarounds

Most of the time, the three standard turnarounds work. These are the most common turnarounds that work with the vast majority of stressful thoughts.

The standard three turnarounds are the turnaround the self, to the other, and to the opposite. These turnarounds show up naturally when there is another person involved in the stressful thought—which is very common.

In fact, when you are questioning stressful thoughts from a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet, you will almost always find that all three turnarounds works just fine.

For Example, Here’s a Statement from a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet

This is a typical statement from Line 2 of the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet:

“I want him to listen to me.”

And here are the standard three turnarounds:

To the self: “I want me to listen to me.”
To the other: “I want me to listen to him.”
To the opposite: “I don’t want him to listen to me.”

And your job, if you are working this statement, is to look for three examples of how each turnaround could be as true, or truer, than the original stressful thought.

These three standard turnarounds are, by far, the most common turnarounds.

But They Don’t Always Show up

Sometimes you may not be working a stressful thought from a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. Maybe you’re questioning a motive like, “I want to look good.” Or maybe you’re questioning a fear like, “I’m afraid to fly.” Or maybe it’s a self-judgment like, “I am depressed.”

In statements like these, there is no other person included. It’s not like the statement, “I want him to listen to me,” which involves both a “him” as well as a “me.”

When There’s Only One Person Involved, There Is Often Just One Turnaround

Let’s look at the statement, “I want to look good.”

Is there a turnaround to the self? Not an obvious one.

Is there a turnaround to the other? Not an obvious one.

Is there a turnaround to the opposite? Yes, “I don’t want to look good.”

There’s really just one of the standard turnarounds that is obvious. However, if you sit with it, you may find a possible turnaround to the self, “I want to look like myself.” And you may find an unusual turnaround to the other, “Others want to look good.” But these are not so obvious or standard. The main turnaround for this statement is the turnaround to the opposite.

Here’s Another Statement With Only One Person in It

“I’m afraid to fly.”

Turnaround to the self: “I’m afraid of myself.”

Turnaround to the other: N/A

Turnaround to the opposite: “I’m not afraid to fly.”

You might also want to play with the unusual turnaround, “I’m afraid of my thinking about flying.”

The work lies in finding examples for these turnarounds.

And Here’s One Final Statement to Turn Around

“I am depressed.”

Is there a turnaround to the self? No.

Is there a turnaround to the other? No.

Is there a turnaround to the opposite? Yes, “I am not depressed.”

And as you sit in meditation, you may find examples of how this one turnaround is as true.

It Doesn’t Matter How Many or How Few Turnarounds There Are

If there is just one turnaround, find examples for that one turnaround. If there are three turnarounds, find examples for each of them. If there are five or six turnarounds, find examples for them.

There’s no need to make your statement “conform” to the standard three turnarounds. I use the standard three turnarounds as a kind of checklist. I look for each one. But I’m not surprised when one or two of them are missing. And yet it’s amazing how often all three, and more, can be found.

Have a great weekend,

“The point is not to find the most turnarounds, but to find the ones that bring you the shift to self-realization, the enlightenment that sets you free from the nightmare you’re innocently attached to. Turn the original statement around any way you want to until you find the turnarounds that penetrate the most.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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