I’ve got it guys. One of my keys to life.
It’s all about making things easy.
It hasn’t been a cakewalk of a year, but I’m learning that there is one way to deal with it all in a sane way — trying to come up with the easiest way through. Not out, through.
I don’t know how it landed on my book list, but I recently finished reading Byron Katie’s Loving What Is. The title didn’t ring a bell, but the “Four Questions” concept did. And oh my god, those questions make it easy.
Out of all the self-help books and concepts I’ve learned, this one is the easiest – and most effective.
I’m the last person to say you can change your life with a book, because it wasn’t until I actually took a self-development program when my thinking really did.
But Katie’s book and its four questions cover so many concepts and material that I found it really amazing that I was able to look at my thinking in that way. And that’s the worst part, in my opinion: we don’t often see the folly in our thinking, or how to get out of it.
There are a lot more steps than four, and it’s not easy to change your thinking, but Katie says the easy way is the way, because you can’t ever fight with the reality you (and your thinking) want to fight against. The book is called “Loving What Is”, because the only way out is to love what is. Even if it’s a shit sandwich.
The four questions
The book asks you to write a “judge your neighbour” statement. It can be one sentence, or an entire paragraph or page. And the neighbour doesn’t have to be a person, either. It could be a situation, an addiction, someone who’s dead, or the world itself. Then you apply the four questions to each sentence. What I love about this exercise is that you can get angry. And angry was never easy for me, but writing is.
- Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
- Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
- How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
Then there’s the turnaround… it’s so good, I’m not going to spoil it. But you can read the book or visit thework.com to see what comes next.
And what I love about Katie – who developed this after snapping herself out of depression in her 40’s by the way – is that she shares it for free. The only thing you have to pay for, if you want to go beyond the book, is the book itself, or the program (I borrowed the e-book from the library).
Even as I was doing The Work (as she calls it), I was thinking to myself, “I could do this with others!” and there is an actual program to become a teacher. The school involves people facilitating each other, so it’s the type of concept that – if you know it good enough – you could do with friends or your children. And something you can share with others to help them is always a good thing.
A couple of months ago, I started thinking – and feeling – differently.
Maybe it was the vibes of summer, or the really impactful Advisory call I had in February with my good friend and Mastermind colleague, Kaare Long, who said, “trust yourself.” For some reason, it just really stuck with me.
I started caring about the wrong stuff and worrying less.
It’s been a very long time since I didn’t have to worry about much. 2014 was actually a great year, but at the time, I thought it wasn’t so. And the same thing with 2015 – didn’t think that one was great, even though that was the year I got engaged. 2016? I got married. That was amazing. But guess what? I had to plan a wedding and with that came some debt to welcome me into 2017. I’ve found it hard to find my happy place, even though big picture-wise, my life has been pretty damn good.
The beginning of this year wasn’t a cakewalk, as I said. I learned so much about myself when my dad’s health started declining, I picked up part-time work, and I saw different sides of myself I haven’t experienced. And I really felt like I was losing control.
So it wasn’t until I actually felt the loss of the control that I realized I wasn’t in control in the first place.
I did something different at the beginning of this year that I don’t usually, and that was writing my desired feelings down and taping it to my desk (thank you, The Fire Starter Sessions!). Almost every morning I look at it and I try and feel before I meditate. Day by day I’ve been practicing feeling, even as things around me seem super shitty. Because we can’t control most shit around us. Hell, it’s even hard to control our own thoughts and feelings. But we can.
Undoing all the hard shit I created for myself
I’m telling you, humans make everything harder than we need it to be. One of the first things I learned (and remember so vividly) at four years old was the importance of having a good job. So I made it my life’s mission to work toward having a good job.
Funny thing is, I don’t even know if I have a “good job”! Who determines this? Only I can, I guess. Because I determine what’s good and bad for myself.
Just like all of you I can probably trace all the times I chose a “harder” path to try and attain the best life (and if you haven’t lived like this, good for you!). Katie’s book is all about undoing all that hard shit we thought life was all about.
I’m just learning now that it’s not about the struggle. It’s about the feeling despite the struggle. The Law of Attraction isn’t all bullshit – it IS all about thinking positively, but you also have to acknowledge the darkness that lives inside you, and figure out how to shine the light on it.
If you can control your thinking, that helps you get a grasp on your feelings too. That’s what the self-development program taught me, and that’s what Katie teaches.
I’d love to jam more on this, but I’ll sign off here. ‘Cause I feel like this is the easy way to end. No stress, no fancy speech. Just how I feel.
Wishing you the easiest way through.
To learn more about Byron Katie’s work, visit TheWork.com.
Update May 2023: While I believe the works of these authors can be helpful for your well-being, please seek the help of a professional therapist or counsellor for serious mental or emotional treatment.