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Posts Tagged ‘The Work’

Moving From Piece of Mind to Peace of Mind

Monday, April 4th, 2011

If you have ever read my blogs or know me personally, then you have heard me quote Byron Katie many times. I first heard of Katie back in 2002 when I bought the book, Loving What Is. After reading about 50 pages, I put it on my bookshelf and forgot about it. Then in 2004, I went and picked it up again. As I read through her process called, The Work, I realized how often I was addicted to many stressful thoughts. The Work is about questioning thoughts that cause us stress. As Katie says, “It’s not the problem that causes our suffering; it’s our thinking about the problem.”

As much as I meditate and write, I also have my fair share of stressful thoughts. I worry a lot about everything and everyone – only to realize afterwards that the worry was for nothing. I have had many moments of feeling disappointed and depressed and The Work has helped me question my beliefs and thoughts.

So when the opportunity to sit with Byron Katie in New York City and practice The Work came along, I took advantage. I sat and listened to my stressful thoughts: No one wants me to go to Egypt. I am crazy to go to Egypt. What if I get really sick? I should be working more. My shoulder is never going to feel healed etc…

Katie invited us to breathe and just listen to our stressful thoughts. She asked us to write our stressful thoughts on paper and question each thought. As she says, “We don’t let go of our thoughts. They let go of us.”

As I sat there moving through each stressful thought, I realized I wasn’t looking for “piece” of mind; instead, I was experiencing “peace” of mind.

What thoughts are causing you suffering? Question your thoughts – if for nothing else, but peace of mind.

Mary Anne

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Questioning Thoughts That Hold You Captive

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

‘When you question the mind, the only truth left is love.’  
Enlightened One

Barbed_Wire_2191 (4_3)How much does inquiry play a part in your life? At times of struggle, doubt, worry, anxiety, and even catastrophe, can you pause and question the thoughts that are holding you captive?

In a recent interview with Clayton Gibson (founder of MyOutSpirit.com), Byron Katie speaks about a powerful process of inquiry, called The Work. Katie shares how inquiry can be used to question stressful or painful thoughts. Gibson asked, “How can we release thoughts of shame, feeling less-than, and unworthiness?”

Katie responded:
“We can’t. People have been trying to let go of their thoughts for centuries, for millennia, through meditation, breathing practices, mind-control of all kinds, and it simply doesn’t work, though it may appear to work for a while. You can’t let go of a stressful thought, because you didn’t create it in the first place. A thought just appears. You’re not doing it. You can’t let go of what you have no control over. Once you’ve questioned the thought, you don’t let go of it, it lets go of you. It no longer means what you thought it meant. The world changes, because the mind that projected it has changed. Your whole life changes, and you don’t even care, because you realize that you already have everything you need.”

(For the full interview click the link: Byron Katie: The Work of Gay Liberation)

Is there a thought that you are willing to release the reins from long enough to question it? Inquiry is questioning your thoughts that keep you from peace. When you question your stressful thoughts, you give yourself the experience of bringing yourself to your growing edge and then welcoming yourself home. Inquiry brings us back to who we really are­­—love.

You are invited to question any thoughts that hold you captive.

Welcome home,
Mary Anne

I am so grateful to Clayton Gibson for the opportunity to provide support and assistance with the Byron Katie interview.

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Change the Scenery – Change My Thoughts

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

changethesceneryAs I listen to many themes of change – changing seasons, the changing colors of leaves, the changing light, the changes in the Fall TV line-up, I think about areas of my life that I want to change. After a very hectic schedule, I decided to attend a Byron Katie workshop at Kripalu – Center for Yoga & Health. I knew that Kripalu was in the Berkshires and would be a nice way to begin this new season of change. I booked the last weekend in September for this getaway out of the city. I was excited that there was a bus that drops participants right at the front door. This meant having time to sit and read, listen to my iPod and even take a nap. I made my way to 32nd Street and 7th Avenue to take the commuter bus and waited, and waited, and waited. After calling to find out where the bus was, I was told the bus had left without me (and two other participants). The staff was going to make arrangements for us to get there in time for the evening workshop and it meant taking a cab to the East Side and getting on a train. After standing outside for over an hour and half, the questions began to surface: Should I just go home? Is this meant to be? Do I feel like spending more time trying to get to the Berkshires?

I let the questions float around for a few moments. I then looked at the two other folks with me and said, “Are you ready to take the train?” Somewhere deep inside, I knew I needed a change of scenery. I wanted a new perspective on some of the thoughts that had been holding me back. After a two hour train ride, we were picked up by Kripalu staff, given goody bags full of delicious snacks, and then dropped off at the front door where we were given an upgraded room and treated with a lot of kindness and generosity.

I had a choice of believing the thought that this would be a miserable experience after missing the bus, or living through the experience and receiving some gifts. As I listened to Byron Katie (whose mission is to show people how to question their thoughts – known as Inquiry), I just sat and listened to the stories of others, knowing I too was holding on strongly to beliefs for dear life. I have been able to use the following Byron Katie quotes as a form of meditation and wanted to share them:

“I see thoughts as children – as the beloved.”

“What are the thoughts that wake you up to yourself?”

“You are the greatest teacher you will ever run into.”

“Ego’s don’t love, they want something.”

“We make our own decisions, but only ALL of them.”

“What story are you entertaining that is denying you from love?”

“We are only as limited as what we believe in the moment.”

After listening to Byron Katie walk people through questioning their thoughts, I began to question my own thoughts about the bus leaving without me. The bus left. I learned another way of commuting to Kripalu. The bus left. I was able to spend more time with two other amazing people. The bus left and I am still here. I realized it was more than changing my physical scenery to make changes. I needed to change my thoughts. By changing the scenery in my mind, I was able to change my thoughts and give myself an incredible weekend experience.


Mary Anne

This is dedicated to Byron Katie for waking me up to ‘myself’. Special thanks to all the staff at Kriplau for their generosity and extraordinary customer service.

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“Just Listen. Nothing Else to Do…”

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

I had the incredible opportunity to attend a weekend workshop with Byron Katie in New York City. Katie facilitates The Work, which allows you to question the thoughts that cause suffering. It was quite the experience (see my last blog). I often found myself holding my breath as people shared their life stories – the ones that caused them the most suffering. I was in awe and overwhelmed at the same time.

Sitting in a packed room, I was trying to figure out how to process what I was hearing. I decided to text a friend a mine a few lines Katie had said that really touched me. I thought this would allow me to open up more to the experience and feel less alone in the crowded space. About a half hour after sending the text, I received her reply, “Just Listen. Nothing else to do…”


I smiled down at my cell phone and exhaled. My body began to relax and my mind quieted. The text became my new mantra: Just listen – nothing else to do. My whole experience of the workshop shifted as I became more present in the room. Suddenly, I noticed how this huge ballroom with over 300 people became more intimate.

In this new space, I could really listen to Katie’s powerful words and noticed how they just floated in the room. With each breath, I inhaled the words that created an opening in my mind and heart. Here are just a few examples:


“Change the thought and it shifts. There is no other way.”

“It hurts until it doesn’t.”

“When you believe the thoughts about the world, you miss it.”

“My job is to love because it hurts when I don’t.”

“Nothing is ahead of its time.”

“People change when you question what you believe about them.”

“It’s what we believe that hurts.”

“If I see something unacceptable in another person, I have to look at me.”

“The past is over. Look at it without experiencing it.”

“It falls away – a little bit at a time.”

“We are who you believe us to be.”

“Love the one you are with. Sit. Rest. Meditate.”


I am so grateful to my friend for reminding me how to be open with such simplicity.


Just Listen – Nothing Else to Do…

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Doing Our Work – One Thought at a Time

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

Recently, I read that we have as many as 65, 000 thoughts a day. Imagine if you caught just one thought and held on to it for a moment. What would the thought say? Whatever it is, it is just a thought. No more and no less – until we give it meaning.

I realized how neutral thoughts are after spending a weekend doing The Work with Byron Katie in New York City with over 3oo hundred people. We had the opportunity to inquire deeper about our thoughts after asking four simple and profound questions.

“Is it True?” (Answer with a yes or no only)

“Can you absolutely know that it is true?” (Answer yes or no only)

“How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?”

“Who would you be without the thought?”

Following the four questions is the Turn Around Statement. “Each turnaround is an opportunity to experience the opposite of your original statement and see what you and the person you’ve judged have in common.” (http://www.thework.com)

Throughout the weekend with Katie, I often sat at the edge of my seat, smiling, laughing, crying, sighing, and at moments holding my breath as people told their personal story. Everyone’s story became my story because there was a lesson about a thought I believed about myself that holds me back. As Katie says, “Listen for what we believe along the way that prevents us from living now.” Katie walked participants through The Work – one thought at a time.

We talked about what happens when we react to our thoughts about infidelity, lies, guilt, and even global torture. Katie challenged us to go beyond what others do to us and ask what we do to ourselves with our thoughts. When are we unfaithful to ourselves? What lies have we told ourselves? Where do we wrong others and torture others in our life? Once I believe something terrible about somebody else and it hurts me, and the hurt makes it true – that is my work. As Katie says, “Once I believe the thought, I become responsible.”

During lunch, Katie sat at a table to sign her books. (I love book signings!) As I stood on line waiting, I wondered what I could possibly say to this amazing teacher. When it was my turn, I opened up her book on the table, and in a soft whisper said, “Thank you.” In Katie style, she looked up, held my hand, and said, “Oh, honey, thank you.” Her beautiful crystal blue eyes stared into mine. I leaned in and said, “I am free.” Her eyes and mine both filled with tears as we stood for a moment in silence. Katie, holding my hand tighter, said, “I love you. I love that you are free.” A soft still moment followed by a big deep breath.

Exhale. I am free – one thought at a time.

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