Helena from Germany recalls how overwhelmed she feels while sitting with her students on the first day of class and feeling unprepared for the semester. Byron Katie helps her to meditate on the situation, question her stressful thoughts, and find examples for the turnaround. Through this questioning, she comes to see that she is always prepared for anything to happen.
Byron Katie: Elena. Hi. Hi, sweetheart. From Germany! Oh, I had the most wonderful visit with the German-Speaking Association of Munich yesterday. It was; I loved it. So, here I am in Germany again. Here we all are. So, Elena, read what you've written. Elena: OK. Dear Katie, I've been doing The Work for a few months now and have noticed a big change in my personal and work relationships. One of the things I see as a problem is that I have a lot of passionate but very different pursuits, and I find it difficult to focus on each one without neglecting the others. When I'm really present in what I'm doing, I tend to forget all about the other projects in my life which are equally important to me, and then I leave a lot of things unfinished. Do you have a suggestion for me? You know, I do. It's like, always, a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. You know, on a situation where you're believing that and you find a stationery moment when you were believing that. But for me, what comes to me, to share my experience with you, is just love what you are passionately doing in the moment. Let's say you have five things you passionately love and care about. And you're focused on just one and the others are kind of falling apart from lack of attention. So, you're focused on this one. So, just love being focused on this project that means so much to you. And then if it's one of these later on, just notice how much you love that project. And when you're focused like that, the others don't exist anyway. No. So, we're really; I'm really inviting you just to be aware that that focus is; that is the joy in your life. Until you think: Oh, those others. They're not getting done. They're being neglected. Well, just notice that, smile, come back to what you're focused on. I mean, if you had them all done, all equal time, you're still only gonna focus on one at a time. Yeah. OK? Same. So, you're gonna love it or you're gonna love it. OK, so the problem is really just when I start thinking when I'm doing one thing that. . . You go into the past and future. And it costs you this quality time you're giving to this project and how you love it. So, thinking of those is not right or wrong. Just notice that you're here now. Just love what it, now. Now, that would be a Worksheet for me. I would be working on one project and I would see all these other projects and I would go into that moment in time when I just felt burdened. Yeah. And I would collect what I'm thinking and believing out of that moment in time when I felt that way as I was working on one project. OK. And that would be a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. So, you just hold the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet and your pen and paper. You know, just put it beside you on your lap. And just close your eyes. You know: "I'm frustrated because. . ." And how do I do that if it's all about myself? That's the tricky thing for me in this situation, because it's about my own concentration. It is. And if you fill in the Worksheet I suggested, whose thoughts are those you're writing down on paper? Well, I guess they're mine. Well, they're yours. They're coming out of your head as you collect them from that moment in time that you're being neglectful of the other projects. Those are your thoughts. Those thoughts, when you're believing them, frustrate you. So, you are writing about yourself. Those are your thoughts. So, you don't even have a self if you don't believe in a you. But in terms of doing the Worksheet, if I write it about myself, it becomes more difficult for me to separate from it. Yes. It's just so close; the ego's so close it really is difficult if you're new to The Work to get that still. But it's OK. You can do it. It's just very close to you. What would you write? "I am…" What? Have you ever filled in a Worksheet before? Yeah. Yeah. I've done several. OK. So, what is the situation? "I'm frustrated at myself because. . ." OK. If I take today, I was sitting with students and (I teach) and feeling that "I'm unprepared for this semester because I spent all my time in the break doing other things and not preparing for. . ." Excellent. So, "you spent all your time on breaks doing other things." Meaning other than your projects. Other than preparing for the university. Yes. So, "I'm frustrated at myself because I'm unprepared for the semester." OK. That would be statement number 1. So, what do you want? "I want to feel confident and knowledgeable." OK. So, you would put that down. And then you would continue from that time and place where you were thinking and believing that. In that situation. You'd stay anchored there. And continue to fill in your Worksheet. So, "you're unprepared for the semester." Is it true? Yes. "You're unprepared for the semester." Can you absolutely know that it's true? That "you're unprepared for the semester"? And all of you listening to this who are new to The Work, the answer is not supposed to be yes or no. It's supposed to be the truth. So, you meditate on that question until you're shown the answer and, actually, it will show you, through images and words. So, actually, no. I can't know. And notice, in that moment, how you react when you believe the thought: "I'm unprepared for the semester." So, where are you sitting when you have the thought? In the foyer of the university. Of the? The school. The university. OK. So, you're in the foyer of the university. You're sitting there. OK. And you have the thought: "I'm unprepared for the semester." Notice, emotionally, how it feels when you think that thought. Just feel into that. "I'm unprepared for the semester." See what happens? Now, notice the images you see as you're feeling into that. You see images of past and future. And what do you see? I see myself getting tense and flustered and not knowing what to do. So, when you believe that thought, you become confused. You don't know what to do. And the emotions you experience? Stress? Tension. Tension. Yeah. And some of us: depression. We want to quit. It seems so overwhelming. Yeah. When we believe our thoughts, it's paralyzing. Also, we burn out. A lot of my colleagues do. Yeah. I love with The Work in your life, it's just unnecessary to burn out. Free is free. So, that 4th question. You're sitting there in the foyer at school. Who would you be, sitting there, without the thought: "I'm unprepared for the semester"? Look around. Just: What are you without the thought? Look at you. Experience you without the thought. Who would you be without your story? In that moment? I would see this bunch of excited students. Ah. That's what I saw, too. Yeah. And an excited you. Yeah. Connected. Yeah. "I'm unprepared. . ." See, those are the kind of teachers we want, whether they're prepared or not. Because it all works itself out. Freedom is that way. And in that kind of freedom, we're not so exhausted with our emotions. These things become simple. Or less difficult, for sure. Until eventually they are just simple. "I'm unprepared for the semester." Turn it around. I'm prepared for the semester. Yes. Now, examples? I mean, why is that true? And for some of you out there, it's very difficult to own what's true. Because we're so hooked on: "I'm unprepared." We believe that that fear drives us to get things done. So, this, when we turn it around: I'm prepared for the semester. The ego can really have a rough time here. But where is it you're prepared? Just notice and continue to notice where is it that you are prepared for this semester. Well, if I think about it, all the other things I do, do contribute to my teaching, so, I spent the last few weeks performing (I'm a musician), so performing and recording, and those are useful experiences that I can pass on to the students. Yes. Another example: I am prepared for the semester. I've done it before. Well, there's one. I've survived. You've survived. You've done it before. What came into my mind when you asked me, can I really know that it's true, "I'm not prepared," was that I have no idea what will happen this semester. Do you know that every teacher on campus can say that same thing? And I interrupted you. What were you saying? So, I have no idea what will happen and so I can't know that "I'm not prepared." I can only know; I guess I am prepared because I can be prepared for anything to happen. Exactly so. You know that about you. I mean, if you sit in this Work, you begin to learn a lot of things about you. And I invite you not to stop with just one concept. Just start at the top the way we did. After your entire Worksheet's filled in, just short, simple sentences that you're meditating on the situation, collect what you're thinking and believing in that situation, and set yourself free. Thank you. Thank you so much, Katie. It's so exciting. And be prepared with a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. And all of you are. . . Or not. If we don't think of it, how can we? But this is a practice I invite everyone to just maybe take it on as a daily practice, just like you would sit in meditation. This is meditation. So, again, thank you. Thank you so much.