Applying The Work of Byron Katie to the COVID-19 Contagion

As a peaceful warrior, I feel it is empowering to embrace my feelings of vulnerability and resistance – to ask the hard questions – and work through them – to find the gem of truth in the lump of coal.

Why?  Because there isn’t a moment to waste!  I wish to learn from every experience.  For me, examining my thoughts allows me to consider reality, in this case, the reality of our global situation instead of resisting the thought that it shouldn’t be happening.

Why is the thought, COVID-19 shouldn’t be happening, untrue?  Because it is happening.  That is reality.

Master teacher Byron Katie has been showing us how to challenge our beliefs for decades.  I found her work a couple of years ago and was amazed at the correlations between her process and the one I had devised to heal myself.  As a result, I advocate that we Question Everything, and use a meditative process that I call contemplative writing.  It has led me to a thoughtful consideration of what I believe to be true.

It’s true, all war belongs on paper…

The answers I receive are the result of Inspiration.  They come from the most honorable, compassionate part of me that I can access at this point in time.  I call this part, my Constant Traveler.

I believe we all have a Constant Traveler within.

Katie’s four questions blend perfectly with my own work.  They have opened up another level of inquiry for me.  I highly recommend them!  They are elegant, simple, and effective.  They spell Freedom.

Let’s begin with a common thought regarding this current pandemic:

What is the thought?  COVID-19 will make me sick.

      1. Is it true?  It has the potential to make me sick, most certainly, but I can’t know for sure that it will.
      2. Is it absolutely true?  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I cannot know that it will make me sick.
      3. Who am I when I believe that thought, COVID-19 will make me sick? I am deeply afraid:  I feel an adrenaline rush.  It feels like the alarm bells ringing all over my body.  I feel restless…I cannot settle down – I feel I must search for reassurance or confirmation that my feelings are right.  I feel the urge to reach out…to keep talking about my fear.
      4. Who would I be without the thought, COVID-19 will make me sick?
        I would be okay.
        I would be content.
        I would sleep better – with more rest I could survey the situation with clear eyes and act with intention.
        I would be happy at home.
        I would be grateful for my blessings.
        I would be free to be helpful in whatever way I can imagine.
        I would be able to take clear, appropriate instructions and safeguard myself, my family, and my community.
        I would be able to create an oasis of peace, a peaceful retreat at home.

Let’s consider this TURN AROUND for the thought – COVID-19 will make me sick.  A turn around allows us to observe the issue from another perspective, in this case, its opposite:

COVID-19 won’t make me sickThis is also a possibility. It is always possible that I won’t be sick. However, it is always my responsibility to act in the service of others and keep my distance so I don’t make them sick.

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Can I think of any reason to let this thought (COVID-19 will make me sick) go? Yes. It is making me suffer and ruining my precious day.

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In order for me to be happy in this situation, what do I need to happen?

COVID-19 should go away.

As Katie says, thoughts are always of the past or the future. 

Let’s question this idea – one thought at a time. Do our conclusions come from our reality? What we are experiencing now? Look around you. Feel your environment. The floor is supporting you. The walls are sheltering you. Feel your sit bones making contact with your sofa or chair…feel your feet making solid contact with the floor. You are warm. You are fed. Breathe…be here now.  See your door. Remember it swings both ways. You can believe that it opens onto a world that is in chaos, or you can imagine your door as a portal that allows you access to safety and Sanctuary.

You can close the door. This is reality. Most of us are performing a vital service by staying home. If you have been designated as essential, or have to go out to get groceries, medication, or to take a walk, create a Sanctuary in your mind so that when you come home and close the door you are closing the door to crisis – crisis thoughts, words, and actions. Take that with you when you go.

ANOTHER TURN AROUND:

Disclaimer:  Turning this thought around is simply an exercise in speculation.  Remember that Katie teaches not all turnarounds work – just try them on for size and if they don’t fit, that’s fine.

COVID-19 shouldn’t go away.

This idea sucks.  However, in this exercise, we may discover our power as a global community.  What are some beneficial possibilities that can emerge from this chaos? What can we discover about ourselves?  Our community?  Our nation?  Our world?

How can we survive and thrive?  How can we become better on the other side of this – after we kick its ass? 

We can examine and develop:

Our personal resiliencewhen the going gets tough, the tough get going; we can use this time to reinforce our ability to survive and thrive.

Our resourcefulness – find ways to connect, to network, to work from home, to pay our bills.

Our values – to discover what truly is valuable to you – Family, lifestyle, health, creativity, service, friendship, etc.

Our gratitude – express our appreciation for the workers who are on the front lines (medical and emergency staff, retail clerks, truckers, strong leaders); health & and wellbeing, family support, financial resources.

Our ability to be of service – how can we do it? Volunteer in some manner? Spread the love on the internet? Remember staying home is a vital act of community service.

More effective communication – person to person as well as nation to nation. We can learn to listen more, and really hear what the other person is saying. Hold the thought that the world will come together and overcome ideological divisions as we care and share and create a global protocol that will benefit humanity from this moment on.

Our power to embrace change – life is change. It could mean a new world. It could mean a new job. We have no way of knowing what is in store so why not focus on the beneficial changes? Go with the flow…

Feed the “net” our positive vibes – there is so much misery floating around on social media – we can change what our newsfeed shares right now.  Your loving presence is needed more than ever!

Our understanding of human nature – realize that, as Katie teaches, if we believed that thought, we would act in that way too…everyone has a reason for believing what they believe. It is wise to question those thoughts by doing The Work on them.A deep understanding of human nature will reveal that the only person we have the power to change is ourselves.

The necessity of creating a personal Contingency Plan – an emergency fund – asap – financial advisors have recommended that we have enough money set aside to be able to weather a three month period of transition. Even if we cannot put that much aside, always pay yourself first. If we cannot create an emergency fund, research the government and community resources that will be available to you in the event of an emergency so you can weather the storm.

Begin, revitalize, or work directly with your creativityCreativity is our birthright as human beings. We are worthy of this wonder simply by being born. It has the ability to help us weather the storms of life. Write, draw, sing, paint, cook, dance, garden, carve…create something colored beautiful to decorate your world. Keep in mind that Katie teaches that, all war belongs on paper. Writing is the most cathartic and revealing exercise you can do.

Protect your health – it is a vital resource.  Boost your immunity by eating well, drinking water, exercising (Qigong, yoga, walking, cycling, and playing with your dog are wonderful ideas – check with your local health authority to ensure you are okay to leave your home during this time). Use this time to sharpen your focus on health and wellbeing.

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Physical distancing is easy to say but difficult to do.  Many people are feeling acute stress as this wears on.  Our medical and emergency personnel, our retail and restaurant staff and truckers are getting tired…

Please join me in sending them our love…

I invite your thoughts on this subject.

Take care, my friends.

 

Point of Impact

What is the point of it all?

Everyone must find the answer to this question for themselves. The only way to answer it is through living and exploring your precious life.

Approach it with the mindset of a contributor. Consider your potential…what you give may be the catalyst for something wonderful happening in someone’s life. You never know what this means to you until you act.

A perspective that you share may open someone’s eyes, a smile may brighten their day, a kind word may cause them to step back from the brink of oblivion.

You may be the reason that another person learns to be kind because you allow them to be kind to you…

Everyone says, Think big! What impact can I make on a global scale? I want to change the world!

The choice to walk creates the path ahead…

I believe it is important to focus on the point of engagement that is right in front of me…and find the Something Colored Beautiful moments in my ordinary day, those mundane points of impact that I have come to understand as blessings in disguise.

Until we are willing to do that, to be quiet and listen and observe and serve, our ego runs the show. It is our ego that screams, Be important or die!

In this way, it is speaking its truth, because everything is a deathmatch to the ego. Problem is, in its world, everyone dies.

This is what I have found to be true in my life – If I release my need to be important to everyone, I can focus on being important to someone.

I believe it is important to not spread yourself too thin…build your impact one by one person at a time…the people you see before you are your point of impact.

The ego hates to hear that. It hates to be last, or even second best. It must win. If you let it win, this drive will cost you your life, because for our ego even first is never enough.

Engage each person from your power-point, your point of impact. Make every interaction a quality engagement. Whatever flows from that point…if you influence one or grow your impact to reach thousands or millions, you will have built it on a truly solid foundation.

Then, friend, you will have the satisfaction of answering your own question.

Designed to THRIVE!

 

What could be better than self-accomplishment?

Accomplishment is a super energizing and confidence-building practice in an elegant life designed to thrive. However, when a person uses their personal accomplishments to demonstrate, encourage, and support others in creating their life design, it takes on a much deeper dimension.

 

 

Service to others is a vital component in a life designed to thrive.

A fresh, new year awaits us.  A new decade awaits us!!

What better gift can we give to ourselves?

What better gift can we offer to others…than the gift of a life designed to thrive?

What’s The Point?

Becoming a better version of myself than I was yesterday is a daily practice for me.

That doesn’t mean I’m not worthy now, but the more I know the more I realize there is to know.

It is like I am viewing a picture in a frame, in which I am viewing myself in a picture in a frame, in which I am viewing myself a picture in a frame…and so on…going deeper and deeper into the meaning of self until, at some point, it dissolves into nothing and becomes everything.

Simply, it means is there is always more to discover about yourself if you are willing to look. We can learn something that makes us more compassionate, more honorable, more open to others…a better version of ourselves…every day.

For me, that is the point of the journey as well as its destination.

An elegant mind is grateful that it knows more than it did yesterday and joyful because it knows less than it will tomorrow…

What does your elegant self look like?

Finding The Lost One: Questing With Byron Katie, Dr. Edie, and Your Constant Traveler

It’s interesting – the one constant in life is change.

What you see before you is only one possibility for your life. There are as many as you can imagine…the key that opens the door to new possibilities is curiosity.

Understand that you don’t know what you don’t know and when you do…everything will change. Why? Because you are working with change, the nature of the Universe.

Back in the 19th century, Thoreau wrote that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

Interesting how the more things change the more they stay the same. I think that many people are living a life in crisis now, suffering in silence. You are not alone, there are many folks who have become lost on their Quest for something meaningful in life.

In fact, you are part of a growing tribe, many who have taken a different path than their ancestors, and now find themselves adrift in unknown waters without an anchor.

It may be difficult to overcome your feelings of lethargy, but you may benefit, in ways you cannot imagine at this time, from a true reboot of mind, body, and refreshment of spirit.

I know what it feels like to scramble to find your footing. I also know what it feels like to try to live a life defined by what I have rejected.

It can be done, but not with any measure of happiness and contentment.

So what works? Here are some things that worked very well for me:

Begin a dialogue and get to know your Constant Traveler (the most honorable and compassionate version of you that you can imagine at this time).

This is achieved in two steps:

Clear the confusion:

Author Byron Katie teaches that all war belongs on paper. I agree wholeheartedly. When you find yourself confused, conflicted and lost write about it. I highly recommend The Work by Byron Katie. It is offered for free on her website.

Home

Explore possibilities:

I developed a practice I call contemplative writing. I use a notebook to explore thoughts I find not only challenging but also intriguing and inspirational. In a space of sanctuary and compassion for myself and my journey, I open my mind and let my thoughts flow. I found my Constant Traveler there. She is much wiser than me.

Your Constant Traveler waits for you there as well.

Begin a group mindfulness practice – something that puts you in touch with your breath and physical body. This could be meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, or any other grounding, stress-relieving practice. The reason I suggest a group practice is because, many times, lost equals isolated.

Begin establishing your anchor – fill your mind with inspiring, uplifting books that cause you to stretch and grow. Read books on subjects you normally wouldn’t, dive into philosophy or autobiographies, or a spiritual practice other than what is familiar to you. Life is relationship. Allow the lives and works of others to inspire you to action.

I highly recommend The Choice: Embrace The Possible, by Auschwitz survivor and triumphant thriver, psychologist Dr. Edith Eva Eger.

Home

Move your butt – set a goal and begin a fitness practice. This may be as simple as walking in nature. Much of our mental fog and internal angst is the direct result of our resistance to moving. We are energetic beings…no matter what our age, we need to discharge pent up energy.

There are many more ways to find yourself when you feel lost, but try these on for size.

You may find you like them. 🙂

Hope in The Realm of The Possible

HOPE.  It is a powerful word.  What does it mean to you?

Is it the belief in something not of your own making?  Something that is beyond human comprehension?

Does someone or something have to bestow hope upon you?  Or can you find it within yourself?

Can you save your own life?

Hope is the acceptance of everyday miracles.  It is the anticipation of the Something Colored Beautiful moments in life.  These are the moments wrapped miracles that are always present in life, the warp and weft that make life engaging and inspiring and awe-filled.

These are the moments that fire artistry.

Without the energy of anticipation and acceptance, h-o-p-e is just four letters strung together.  Like everything else in life, hope takes on the meaning we give it.

The letters strung together exercise

This is an exercise I created in order to explore my inner sanctum and discover things about myself.  I use it with any word I wish to explore on a deeper level.  HOPE works if we are willing to engage this energy, because it engages Possibility.

What is required of us?

Help

Ordinary

People

Excel

Where is it required?

Here

On

Planet

Earth

How do we prepare?

Have

Our

Plan

Engaged

How is our plan engaged?

Heal

Offering

Positive

Energies

What can we expect from this activity?

Have

Ordinary

Peak

Experiences

What must I do to truly offer HOPE to others?

Hand

Over

Power

Every day

This is power as you understand it.  I call it Inspiration. 

Keep in mind that the greatest gifts to humanity have arrived on this planet as a result of inspired action.  We cannot be inspired if we are all that is.

Think of it as a matter of belief.  As an artist, you offer the world your obsession…you Crazy Believe…only then will you begin to know…

To know it is to live it.

I believe that Creativity and Inspiration are our birthrights as human beings.  We are worthy of this wonder simply by being born.

It is way more than enough because we are way more than enough.

When the world takes what it will…when nothing else remains, there is always HOPE.

It is the role of the artist to bring these offerings to life.

 

Precipice Dancing

Some smooth leather badass…
A feral little angel.
Never ever black or white.
She’s an old school rebel.

A touch of class, a taste of trash…
always walkin’ that line.
An old school rebel
pushes it every time.

Givin’ it what she’s got, livin’ for the fantasy
When you livin’ large it’s always now or never…

Bring the Badass to life…

What does being badass mean to you?

Are you willing to embrace that side of yourself?  Are you afraid to even acknowledge that side of yourself?

Bringing the old school rebellious badass part of us to life is what I call Precipice Dancing.  It is dancing as close to the edge as humanly possible without succumbing to gravity.  We are fearless – working at getting closer and closer to the edge…fearing it less and less…to the point that if we do succumb, we will have given it all we’ve got in the process…

In his book, Relentless, Tim S. Grover writes about embracing your dark side.  Like Carl Jung taught, and so many philosophical schools teach, we have a dark side as well as a light side to our personality.

Play nice.  Be a good boy.  Nice girls don’t do that.  Wait your turn.  You’re so dramatic.  Don’t be so foolish…

Does it ever seem to you that we praise and appreciate the loser who quietly backs down more than we do the winner who celebrates his or her victory?  I believe this is where quiet pride and fierce celebration gets confused with the humble brag and in-your-face-sucker triumph.  Many times, it is we who cannot parse the data – we look at a winner and envy them with our contempt.  We look at a loser and commiserate with our contempt.  What is the common element?

Competition is a natural part of our personal development, otherwise, we will never grow into our potential.  Those dedicated to continuous improvement and personal growth know this.  There are two ways to learn anything – through wisdom or through pain.  Sometimes we have an obvious choice.   Sometimes we don’t see the choice.

We make the choice to step into the ring.  However, in life, the wise ones compete only with themselves.  I understand that it is not a competition with him or her or them…or with you.  It is with me.  How much do I want the end result?

Elegance in victory, as well as in defeat, is commendable.  However, when growth is the ultimate result of competition, there are no losers.  When you are determined to find the gem inside the lump of coal, you win.  Every time.

Everything is sacred ground or nothing is sacred ground.  You decide.

Precipice Dancing is badass.  Self-coaching is badass.  Success is badass.

Competition is badass.  In this competition, I choose what it means.

Rock Your Wise.  Make choosing badass.

How close to the edge can you dance?

The tender side of anarchy,
she’s never gonna settle.
Turn the tides of history,
just like an old school rebel.

Givin’ it what she’s got, livin’ for the fantasy
When you livin’ large it’s always now or never…

Not the queen of someone’s dreams.
No instrument of pleasure.
She’s a woman born to terrorize,
she’s an old school rebel.

Givin’ it what she’s got, livin’ for the fantasy
When you livin’ large it’s always now or never…