Archive for Byron Katie
I have about 8 weeks before I return to Phoenix for the wrap up of Steve Chandler’s Coaching School and, finally, I have found a project that excites me, to engage in between now and then. Here’s the story of the lead up to the project with more specific details to come later.
I went to Phoenix, back in June, and joined Steve Chandler’s Coaching School. I didn’t really know why I was going other than I was desperate to make some changes in my life, I thought I might want to go back to coaching and I’d been really inspired by the people I’d come across who’d previously attended Steve’s school.
My return was full of the usual euphoria that follows any great seminar, as I started to apply what I was learning to creating a coaching practice. Then the stuff that was underneath that was going on in my life started to surface. I tried to use my new learning to deal with it and gained a load of useful insights but I didn’t seem to be creating anything external, let alone a coaching practice, and my mood began to drop.
If you read my earlier posts you can follow this journey (it begins with What shall I do next?) and you will notice that there is a pronounced gap throughout September. This was the beginning of my descent into a mini depression during which time I felt there was nothing worth writing about and life generally sucked.
I was also dealing with a chest infection and my coach was suggesting I take a break from trying to make things happen, which I didn’t want to hear. My experience, to this point, had been that if I didn’t make things happen then nothing of worth, would happen. (See To Thine Own Self Be True and Will The Real Gillian Please Stand Up? for more on this). This culminated, on October 6th, in my low point of The Coaching School. I found myself considering cancelling my flights to Phoenix for the end of the programme, in December. I couldn’t see any point in carrying on with it. I was thinking “The School wasn’t working, Steve obviously wasn’t a good enough coach to sort me out (grin) and I was never going to change so why waste my money returning to Phoenix just to tell everyone I’d failed and achieved nothing”.
I didn’t cancel the flights, however, and through a series of conversations and doing The Work, I came to a deeper understanding of my need for achievement and with that I was now on the ascendant again. Whoopie!
Over the months as I have struggled with purpose and passion and goal setting and action and not knowing what I want, Steve has coached me to:
“CHOOSE something anyway. Choose projects and complete them and be proud of your work. Then continue choosing new things after that, always rising up to action and service so that the end of the day always feels good”.
I tried that, I chose various projects which I thought I had made a commitment to, only to find I’d lost interest after a couple of days. Then I had the breakthrough about my need for achievement, identity and depression. See (Will The Real Gillian Please Stand Up?).
The second struggle was to do with creating my life and did I really have the power to do that? Steve says “yes”. Byron Katie seems to say “yes” one minute and then “no” another. My confusion over this greatly added to my low mood.
I was trying to understand it all/work it out in my head. Some would say I was trying to understand that which cannot be understood. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter what anyone else says because, unless I experience it for myself I won’t truly know one way or the other.
So this is my project for the next 8 weeks – to investigate whether or not I can create something concrete in my external world by setting an intention/making a commitment and then taking action as opportunities present themselves.
More specifics on this in my next post . . .
It’s been a month since I wrote a blog post and it feels even longer. It’s been a challenge and a struggle and the last couple of weeks have seen my mood spiral down but now I have come to rest. I feel like I am gathering my strength before I leap off again. All is well.
I’ve been reading a lot of Byron Katie’s stuff and doing The Work, with mixed results. The Work itself mostly brings me relief, whereas the more theoretical descriptions in books such as ‘1000 Names For Joy‘ leave me confused. There appears, to me, to be a contradiction between the spiritual approach and the idea that we create our own lives. It has caused me much angst over the last few weeks and I have struggled with it. However, I have learnt that nothing productive ever comes from struggle and I am happy to report that, today, I can put this seeming contradiction aside and just let it be, for now.
Another shift today, relates to the title of this blog post – “To Thine Own Self Be True”.
Since I joined the Coaching School in June I have felt a lot of stress around certain things. An example is that 4 or 5 different people, on separate occasions, have told me that they thought I was hard on myself, that I should try and treat myself the way I treat my clients, that I bullied myself etc. This feedback caused stress. But instead of questioning the truth of it I beat myself up even more for beating myself up in the first place. I never stopped to ask myself whether or not my being unkind to myself was true for me and, if it was, whether or not it was important to me.
Yesterday, when I finally got around to asking myself those questions I realised that I’m not really bothered about whether I beat myself up or not. Right now, I don’t experience my thoughts as hurtful or counter productive. What was really creating the stress was the thoughts I had about what other people thought about me. My interpretation of what they were saying was that it was wrong and it was the fact that I was doing something “wrong” that was causing me stress. So actually, the thing for me to look at was not whether or not I was beating myself up, because that wasn’t really important to me, but whether or not I wanted to be influenced by what other people thought was “wrong” for me. I simply hadn’t stopped to find out what was true for me but had instead reacted in a knee jerk way to perceived criticism.
As I journalled I found more and more examples of where I’ve not stopped to ask what is true for me.
Part of my coaching recently has been to find my relaxed place and stop trying to make things happen. I was feeling stress around this but didn’t stop to question whether or not this coaching was or wasn’t right for me. When I asked myself what the truth was I found that I was feeling impatient to enrol a new client and I had been resisting that impatience because I’d made the assumption that I couldn’t be in a relaxed place where I wasn’t trying to make things happen, and be impatient at the same time. However, the truth is – I am feeling impatient to enrol a new client. So, now, instead of trying to ignore that feeling I have acknowledged it and I’m exploring if and how I can use it to help move me forward. By acknowledging the feeling, without judging it, it loses it’s power.
It seems to me that my mini depression of the last couple of weeks was brought on by my loosing touch with my inner truth. The coaching I was receiving, the books I was reading and the audios I was listening to were all things I wanted to hear and ideas I found appealing but in those moments when I tried to apply them they weren’t necessarily true for me. But I didn’t notice, such was my desire to have them be true.
Today’s another opportunity to create my life anew. To pay attention to what is true for me right now, to experiment with things that may, or may not be true and to question the truth of the thoughts that bring me stress. And I am grateful for it.