Can you really "Love What Is?"
When I did “The Work”
By: Gina Murdock
The first time I met Byron Katie it was awkward. She was fine, as a matter of fact, more than fine. She was one of the most pleasant people on earth. So loving, so kind… so free. The freedom that she exuded was so alluring to me. It’s always been my most fervent desire to feel free.
When I met her, I wasn’t free. I was trapped in a vicious cycle of victimization. I really felt trapped by it (as any good victim would.) I could not get out of it even though I knew better. I knew this wasn’t how I wanted to live, how I wanted to feel, and yet I couldn’t keep myself from blaming. At that time, I was so deeply heartbroken that I needed to point the blame somewhere to try to get the sadness out of me. The closest person happened to be my husband Jerry. It’s not that he didn’t deserve it, he did (I jest!).
Jerry and I were in Katie’s living room (Byron Katie is called Katie by pretty much everyone) and sharing some pleasantries. This didn’t last long, the moment Katie saw/heard/felt my pattern of victimization (which, of course, I was unaware of at the time) she asked, “Would you like to do The Work?”
“Yes!” I thought, this lady is some sort of good witch and she will validate all of my feelings and show Jerry how wrong he is!
We pranced off into her office, kind of nervous, but excited.
First things first, you have to fill out a worksheet. These are available for free on her website because even without proper training, like going to The School for The Work, you can use these worksheets to help solve problems and get free. Or, in my case, get “woke.”
Yeah, so I basically I filled out the “Judge-Your-Neighbor” worksheet where Katie instructs you to be as petty and judgmental as you can, to really let it loose. I did and man oh man that came back to haunt me when we did this thing called “The Turnaround”.
Long story short, one of my basic complaints what that Jerry wouldn’t wallow in sadness and pity with me and that I felt alone. I wrote “I want him to suffer like I am suffering!” I cannot believe I wrote that now, a couple years later and a whole bunch of “work” later, but I did, and I meant it, until she asked me, “Sweetheart, is that true?”
Ahhhhh, the agony of it! I turned to Jerry who was looking so innocent in that moment with wide, pleading eyes that said to me, “Can you just love me for who I am?” I felt trapped again. I stubbornly wanted to say, “Yes, it’s true Byron Katie! He doesn’t know what I am going through! He doesn’t care! He has no emotional IQ!” But, what was true, when I looked into his eyes was what I said to her, “No, I did not want him to suffer.”
Jerry looked relieved and annoyingly a little triumphant. I felt humiliated, but only because my ego was so invested in my story. I did not want to suffer any more either and I could see, in that moment, that I alone had the power to change my story, to change my life, to change the way I looked at things. What you perceive you believe and I perceived myself to be a victim of circumstance, of my husband, of the world around me. I compared myself to others and because I wasn’t getting what I wanted I created a story that life isn’t fair and I lived in that story for far too long, but even thats a story because what is is that I lived in it until I no longer needed that story and then I got a new story where I wasn’t a victim and where life is what I make of it and I am enjoying this story much better, thank you.
Katie always says, “Who would you be without your story?” And what I found out that day, which was one day out of many that I worked on this pattern of victimization in my life, is that I could be happy if I started to “Love What Is” instead of fight with reality every day and feel sorry for myself. It doesn’t seem like you have a choice at first, but in my experience you do. I am so grateful for enlightened teachers like Byron Katie who help lovingly guide the way out of the prisons we create for ourselves into the field Rumi talks about; “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
Come meet us in Rumi’s field Sept 14th as we host a one-day workshop with Byron Katie at The Aspen Institute Paepcke Auditorium. Tickets are available on The Aspen Chapel website . If you feel called to join us for a four-day deep dive into “Loving What Is” and Choosing Love, we have our signature Lead with Love “Aspen Retreat” Sept 12-15 featuring Byron Katie, Rod Stryker, myself, Nicole Lindstrom, Abby Stern, Trishka Lemos, Jayne Gottlieb and Evan Soroka.
Please read the book “Loving What Is” by Byron Katie before attending if you can and join our yoga class and book club Aug 29 at Aspen Chapel.
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