I have mentioned in passing within a few of my posts my Mum introduced me to “The Work” of Byron Katie back at the start of March and this has become quite powerful on my current journey and recovery with Depression, Anxiety and moderate PTSD.
I think the best way for you to get a feel for The Work is to watch some of the videos from her channel. Here are my 4 favourites, I think these will really give you a good look at it in action. Video 1 / Video 2 / Video 3 / Video 4 Either go ahead and watch now or read on and come back to these links if you feel like could work for you.
What’s ‘The Work’?
Well basically it’s a form of meditation and self inquiry. It is a way of identifying situations that make you upset or uncomfortable or negative in anyway, sit with the feeling and gently question what it true in the situation that is causing you negative emotions.
My mum found The Work back in December but I dismissed it when she spoke about it, I’m not usually into the kinds of motivational speakers my mum is. March was my sister’s 10th Birthday and on the drive home from my sister’s birthday dinner I felt there had been a shift in my mum’s energy since I’d seen her last. Our relationship always seemed to be tarnished with an constant undertone of strain and tension before but I felt inexplicably drawn to her now. I mentioned something about this and she said it was The Work. I allowed her to tell me about it this time and realised it wasn’t motivational speaking it was more about taking control in your own life and feeling more connected to people and the world in general. This is what I had been looking for, I still didn’t know it while talking to her though, I didn’t realise for another couple of weeks.
Judge Your Neighbour.
Judging your neighbour is the primary way of practising The Work from my experience it takes time and this puts some people off but the pay off at the end is so worth it. You can find the judge your neighbour worksheet free here in most languages.
To practice you basically pick a moment you have felt negatively about someone, you “meditate” on that moment till you feel all the emotions you felt then well up again, then you fill out the 5 sections of the worksheet as honestly, passionately, childishly and pettily as you feel – don’t hold anything back. While staying in that moment you ask the four questions and do the turnarounds (explained fully on the worksheet) and from this you can really see things from so many different angles and come to feel so much more connected.
The first time I did it I picked a pretty big situation that has continuously popped up in my life and I was so emotional while answering the four questions and doing the turn arounds because it was about my Nana who passed away last year and I just thought if I’d had this earlier perhaps we could’ve patched certain areas of our relationship up instead of me and her feeling tense/awkward/resentment toward each other.
Why I think it works for me:
- I didn’t want to be a victim of my past anymore – Now no-one else’s opinion of me matters except my own since that’s the person I have to live with 100% of the time.
- It makes sense to me – most self help processes out there seem too flowery, too easy or too hard to follow. This is 4 simple questions and the open mindedness to see things from every angle.
- I’m in control and feel empowered – I’d been feeling so helpless and powerless that I’d started to think I wanted a quick fix anything that would make me feel okay even if it was just for 5 minutes. This is not a quick fix – just filling out one Judge Your Neighbour worksheet can take between 30minutes and a few hours – but it’s something you can put into practice at any time.
- Refreshers are quick and accessible – when I’m feeling myself slip back I go to her youtube channel and re-watch clips that are relevant to my frame of mind and listen to help guide my own thoughts back to clarity. The videos are fairly short and since it’s all on youtube it’s free and accessible to all.
- It’s constant work – this may put some people off and a few months ago the thought of constantly having to work towards calm and clarity would put me off too but after hitting rock bottom I’m now ready and willing to work every minute of every day if it meant I never had to go back to that place
- I was/am ready for it – I didn’t push myself into wanting this to work, in fact I was almost certain it wouldn’t. I gave it a try because it had clearly helped my mum so much. When I started listening something in my mind clicked into place. I was ready
I’d love it if some of you checked this out and it helped you but I also understand it’s not for everyone and not everyone will be in a place to be open to it at the moment. I just wanted to briefly share my experiences with it so far, it’s been two months and I can already feel so many benefits from loving and accepting “what is”. The website says The work can benefit in the ways quoted below and I can speak from my experience with it that it has helped me in all these aspects at least a little.
“People who do The Work as an ongoing practice commonly report:
- Alleviation of depression: Find resolution, even happiness, in situations that were once debilitating.
- Decreased stress: Live with less anxiety or fear.
- Improved relationships: Experience deeper connection and intimacy with your partner, your parents, your children, your friends, and yourself.
- Reduced anger: Understand what makes you angry and resentful and become reactive less often, with less intensity.
- Increased mental clarity: Live and work more intelligently and effectively, with integrity.
- More energy: Experience a new sense of ongoing vigor and well-being.
- More peace: Discover how to become “a lover of what is.” “
Will you be looking into this?
What helps you find calm and clarity
Come chat in the comments or over on twitter (@KissedDaisy)