February 28, 2007

A Thousand Dreams of Joy

Katie's new book A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are seems to be clarifying the mind, alongside The Work, at a rapid pace. I've made a practice of re-reading a chapter or two alongside Stephen Mitchell's Tao Te Ching before going to sleep and whatever I think I don't yet understand appears and unravels itself in my dreams, often with Katie right there as the icon of clarity, explaining what is happening and why. (I like the school of thought that says everyone and everything in your dream represents you. Maybe it is true in the "waking dream" as well.)

After one such night dream—in which I saw the futility of and increased inability to hold onto "things" (beliefs?)—I awoke at 5 am in tears, initially unable to move and wanting to meditate on it all day...and normally I'm no meditator, but each chapter of A Thousand Names for Joy is, for me, a meditation, as is The Work. Deeper stillness has resulted from reading this amazing book and sharing favorite chapters with friends. The still center pervades daily life. It is there behind the chatter of "I should do my taxes already" and the hilarity of my improv class; it is present as I prepare my class notes, fix dinner, walk around Santa Cruz, deal with a medical condition and write curmudgeonly articles about "The Secret." :-)

These effects seem to have spread to my work with clients and, most magically, to a teleclass I held last month. Only two of us in the class had read the book but everyone responded to The Work in ways I have rarely seen in these groups. This was to be a class in the basics of inquiry, but the sheer absurdity of our thoughts came to the fore so quickly and easily that I felt like I was sitting with a group of Buddhas; each one's realizations seemed to free us all. Together we became unable to believe our stories of "harmful," for example, or of "winning" versus "losing"...and the notion of "should" has become completely nonsensical!

I believe that with A Thousand Names for Joy, Katie and Stephen have released a virus...and it's deadly to stressful beliefs. I hesitate to say that publicly because it could set up unrealistic expectations. I realize I have done a poor job of telling you what's really going on for me, so I invite you to experience it for yourself. Read this book and sit with each nugget of an open mind and heart as you would linger in the Beloved's kiss or savor the most delicious morsel of chocolate imaginable...and let me know what happens.

P.S. The audiobook is nice to have, too. I've substituted listening to it (and to another one I like a lot, Your Inner Awakening) instead of checking email when I have insomnia at 3:00 a.m. Katie is not at all soporific, quite the opposite, but listening to her is incredibly restful. (Anyhow, we need to sleep, is that true?)

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick; all rights reserved.

February 21, 2007

"Control Isn't Real"—Guest Poet Rev. Phil Bratcher

I met Rev. Phil Bratcher—a retired minister and therapist from South Carolina and an unapologetic bon vivant—at Byron Katie's School for The Work, where we became fast friends and partners in crime. He's also a great facilitator and for a couple of years we'd have these late-night inquiry marathons where we'd spend an hour or more delving into just one question. I'm always teasing Phil for being "so southern," not only because of his cute accent and preference for things like sweet tea and chicken biscuits, but due to his lovely laconic way of expressing himself both in conversation and in his poetry. Someday he'll publish a book of these poems, he keeps promising. Write to him at the email address below to nag him about it if you want, or to get on his mailing list if you are another Type A Noo Yawkuh who believes, as I do, that you might not live to see the day.

If there were a guru on a Blue Ridge mountaintop, I imagine he'd look and sound a lot like Phil, holding a book of Hafiz's poems in one hand and a Dirty Dusty Martini in the other.

Here's one of my favorite Phil-osophies.

Control Isn't Real
by Reverend Phil Bratcher

There is that sparkle,
If you slap yourself into waking,
Which makes living rich with newer things,
If you can shake your fear of the unknown
Uncomplication is sexy,
So have eggs for dinner and a better conversation
That's very French, by the way, and again quite sexy
Simplicity is more erudite, making room for new experience,
That is if you are secure in your person enough
To lapse into an all night conversation with no goal in mind
Which means letting go
And you know what letting go means--
Ending the illusion you're in control

©2007 by Reverend Phil Bratcher; all rights reserved.

Contact: PeacefulStar@msn.com

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick; all rights reserved.

February 17, 2007

What Helen Keller Saw and Heard

"Before my teacher came to me, I did not know that I am."
—Helen Keller

Blind and deaf since toddlerhood, the prolific author Helen Keller was often accused in her lifetime of describing things—sights, sounds, colors, music—about which she had no direct knowledge. When Keller's autobiography The Story of My Life was published in 1903, a critic in The Nation magazine famously complained, "All her knowledge is hearsay knowledge. Her very sensations are for the most part vicarious, and yet she writes of things beyond her powers of perception with the assurance of one who has verified every word."

Keller herself admitted more than once to having "derived knowledge," picked up from the observations and experience of others. In attempting to tell us what it was like for her—one who lived in a world that in many ways she could only imagine—if she did not speak our language, how else could we who rely on visual and aural impressions begin to understand her? (To her credit, Keller did call her book The Story of My Life, not The Truth of My Life!)

As one who has written often about "spiritual" matters, I, too, tell stories through the filter of my own particular blindness and deafness. (As indeed who does not? As Byron Katie asks, did you know it was a sky, or even that it was blue, before you asked and someone told you about skies and blueness?) When I have awareness that seem close to the truth (I don't profess to know "the truth"), since I live in a world with apparent names and forms, where people use imagery-laden words and concepts to interact, I must use a common tongue to communicate my "relative reality" to myself as well as to others.

In her book, The World I Live In, Keller wrote, "Before my teacher came to me, I did not know that I am." It would appear that before others imposed their concepts on little Helen about how she should be, she lived in the state that spiritual seekers strive for, that which is prior to "I." Maybe, as infants, we all live there, until we are instructed to say Ma-ma, Da-da and doggie, until we are taught we were little boys or girls, that there is a God and that this God is something apart from what we are.

So, despite our best efforts, language adds layers to the illusion of separation from "what is." At the same time, it's a wonderful gift. Though Byron Katie says the truth cannot be told and that her "moment of clarity" happened in a wordless space, she too uses words to help us move beyond the stressful thoughts that appear to us in the form of language. Her self-inquiry process, The Work, is nothing but simple and direct arrangements of words like "Is it true?" that point to a way of finding what she found.

Having lost her sight at 19 months, Helen Keller might never have seen her infant self in a mirror. What I've come to realize is that I am not so different from her, though I have eyes that function. None of us sees our own face, only a reflection that is always distorted. When we do see what the poet David Whyte calls "the true shape of your own face," the "I" prior to "I," it is the result of an inward gaze.

Though my words appear to serve—at least my "fan mail" tells me so—I feel the need to say that any "knowledge" I pretend to impart here through my writing is not simply my opinion, it's "hearsay knowledge," borrowed interest. It's a beginning, it is clearly a help for some...and it's not "it." For this reason I use The Work, the most efficient fact-checker I've ever encountered, to continually verify for myself the words I say, the thoughts I think I believe, to polish the inner mirror, to learn how to speak more fluently the language of the heart.

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick; all rights reserved.

February 15, 2007

Need a Facilitator Right Now?

If you've visited The Work.com recently, you know about the Do The Work NetWork Hotline, where trained facilitators like myself from around the world volunteer our time over the telephone. We cover a lot of hours but just in case there's no one available to do inquiry with you at any given time...try this:

Oddcast Character Driven Communications

Just type in "Sweetheart, is it true that your mother doesn't love you?" or "How do you react when you believe the thought, There shouldn't be war in the world?" and press the "Say It!" button. The animated woman will ask you the question, looking deeply into your eyes. There's even a voice character named "Kate."

Bonus: there's no cross-talk unless you type it in.

Hmm. I may soon be out of a job.... :-)

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick; all rights reserved.

The Real Secret Is Out

The Secret is....there's nothing to manifest. You ARE it.

"Everything revolves around you. Everything goes out from you and returns to you....'You mean there's nothing to do? That if I'm okay, everything is okay?' Yes, that's exactly it. It's self-realization. Everything falls sweetly, effortlessly into your lap."

—Byron Katie, from A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are

Listen to an audio sample of this amazing book here.

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick; all rights reserved.

February 14, 2007

Happy Gratitude Day: My Work on Valentines

Report on this afternoon's gratitude lapse after a five-day stretch of swimming in an ocean of grace: (You'd think I'd never read I Need Your Love—Is That True?)

I don't especially "do" Valentine's Day; not that I am against it, but I don't normally send or receive cards. I see it as a couples' holiday. Since I haven't been coupled in years, V-Day is a non-issue. Or so I thought.

This year I received an astonishing number of Valentines in the email and the snail mail, including a lovingly home-made pair of dangly red heart earrings. You would think I'd have tearfully reflected on how kind my friends are and how blessed I am. Instead I focused on the gender of the Valentine-senders...all women. Largely straight women at that.

I wrote to one of them, thanked her and told her what I was experiencing. I asked Wendy, "What the heck do you think that's about?!!" She wisely replied, "It means your female friends love and appreciate you."

I got an email earlier today from my current crush object. There was no mention of V-Day, only that he's excited about our upcoming concert tickets to Taj Mahal and Los Lobos. Which, I believe, has absolutely nothing to do with attending the concert with me. I think.

Men should send me Valentines.

Is it true?
Uh-huh. Especially that man!

Can I absolutely know that it's true? What's the reality of it?

No Valentines from men this year. In fact, none in many years.

How do I react when I believe this thought? What happens?
I do not appreciate the abundance of love in my life; it needs to come from the places it's not coming from and in a different form (the way I used to be about "mother's love;" I believed I didn't have her love and no other kind of love counted). I put qualifiers on love, which cannot be qualified. It is a hopeless struggle.

As a child, I was especially hard on my father on Valentine's Day. By the time I was eight or nine years old I had him trained to bring me a heart-shaped box of chocolates as large as the one he got my mother. This was the proof of love I demanded of him. (Never mind that he ate most of the contents of both boxes...and that I was not convinced anyhow.)

When I believe this thought I reinforce an old idea that men aren't attracted to me. I don't feel beautiful or sexy in those moments. I don't know how loved I am. I deflect all efforts at outreach that aren't romantic overtures. (Let's not talk about any romantic overtures I've recently deflected from the "wrong" men. They don't count. The ones I want should want me!)

When I believe men should send me Valentines and they don't, I "lonely" myself. I am in men's business.

Why do I hold such a stressful belief? It's that Carol persona trying to stay alive...the woman whose life very closely parallels the Cathy comic strip, at least in the years before she married Irving. If I believe men aren't interested in me I get an "I," an identity, the woman without a love life, a story of the past that was never true then and certainly isn't now.

Who would I be without this thought?
Loving my dear dangly heart earrings. Loving my incredible female friends. Loving that an undemonstrative guy is my good friend, my activity buddy and not my life partner now. Buying myself flowers and chocolate if I want it (and I notice I don't!).

Turn it around:

Men should not send me Valentines. Absolutely they shouldn't if they don't. I can't know I'd be happier, feel more loved, that it would be for my highest good. I don't need another precious tree sacrificed to make cards for me, or for a bouquet of lovely live flowers to die for my sake ("Love kills." —Byron Katie). I don't need flowers in order to be happy. I don't need chocolate, either. (Not even Green & Black organic dark chocolate, although I wouldn't refuse it!) I don't need a man; I am so good alone and I can have men in my life too. (I do, actually, lots of them, really great ones; they just don't send me Valentines.)

I should send men Valentines (if I think it's so important). And...um, I don't, she says sheepishly.

I should send me Valentines. I should remind myself every day that I am loved, lovable, worthy and good...I should be ever so kind to myself, take great care of me, celebrate "me" in the world. I should keep company with me, hold me, promise to love me forever...because I am SO in love with myself when I do that!

Men do send me Valentines. My Daddy did. The male friends in my life express love to me in so many ways I can't even count them. One, who is ailing, wrote today to say he needs his "Carol vitamin" and asked that we have a phone call soon. So much love...and it even arrived on Valentine's Day.

Women should send me Valentines. And so, they do. Thank you, sweet friends. Your gifts are (at last) so gratefully received, as are you, in my heart...and not just on February 14.

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick. All rights reserved.

The Artifice Formally Known as Her

I was berating myself the other day after having been reactive in a social situation. It was a small thing and quickly resolved, but the belief stayed with me that "I could have handled it with more maturity." That was an "I should," and my mind was filled with shame, remorse and self-loathing as I replayed the little movie of my maturity lapse over and again.

Inquiring into this belief revealed that I was upset because I believed I had "done" something...not simply done something wrong, but done something at all. I discovered that any belief in "doership" trips me up every time; it is the ultimate in being in God's business mentally, the epitome of loneliness.

I remember one time Byron Katie asked someone who was embarassed about passing gas in public, "Do you take credit for everything?" Well, I do...and I just did it again when I said "I do." And again just now. What is that tenacious "I" that I think I am? Why do I so fearfully cling to that story of a past (seeing now how "I" is exactly that)? How does it serve me? Only to ground me in an identity that is not even mine.

As I replay the same mental movie after doing The Work, it becomes a romantic comedy, a darling little one-act play. She—the me of my movie—doesn't feel heard; with some irritation, she berates the sweet friend for not hearing her. The friend now hears and responds with kindness and acknowledgment. Still, she doesn't take the kindness graciously, doesn't let it in. She is RIGHT! Then in hindsight she believes she messed up, that she was unkind and unevolved and all in the name of love! She—the movie star—is, to my eyes now, an endearingly funny Valentine stumbling towards love, a little baby soul who has not yet learned there is no such thing as not-love. And I love her as I would love a toddler taking wobbly steps. There is no imperfection here in this perfect child apparently walking in this perfect world. I would not alter this movie; it is dear.

"I did it" creates discord even when it's a "good" thing I believe I have done because then there is pressure to continue to do good; there is the discomfort of credit-taking for that which was not my doing to begin with; and there is the fear of discovery of being a fraud.

So tonight I sit with all these "I-did-its." I just typed that; can I absolutely know that it's true? Did "I" get into every finger and make it move on the keyboard? Did I formulate the thought that produced the words? I cannot find a shred of evidence for any of this. As the words are re-read before she hits "send," the computer screen scrolls up and down, apparently moved by a hand. There is no micromanagement of that hand from over here; how does it all move? Who did it? Not me.

Yesterday she thought she was to teach a class and wondered how that would turn out when she was under the weather, sleep-deprived and felt unprepared. She realized that a "yes" was all she had to offer; yes to the class happening and it was not even remotely "her" class. A class happened and she and the participants were conduits. Words came; realizations realized themselves. The last of the words flowed in the last scheduled moments, right on time; perfect closure. It taught itself as a unit; no teachers, no students...and all of us both. Everything was provided.

The freedom that comes of this experience shows me that "I," "She," "It" cannot do it wrong; leaves me as the obedient and grateful servant of what is...leaves me as Love pretending to be woman sitting at computer, writing.

Katie says,"My job is to delete myself." I have wondered how it was possible. Here's how it happens: I ask four questions, then turn them around, the mind beholds the mystery of its own creation of itself, that which is called a me, called "Carol." And in the seeing of that artifice, it is undone. I cannot, as the saying goes, make that rope into a snake again. I cannot breathe life into a statue however beautiful, or believe a cartoon Carol is real, no matter how artfully animated she appears. She is so much more than that...and so much less.

In this moment of humble seeing, joy—often an elusive concept—is here, in me, as me, as not-me...and even that is not true. And her name is Love.

I am willing and I look forward to losing this sweet awareness. How joyous will be the reunion when it comes time, once more, for suffering to cease.

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick. All rights reserved.

February 9, 2007

More about The Secret, Post-Oprah...and The Work of Byron Katie

Yesterday's Oprah show, "Discovering The Secret," featured Rhonda Byrne, creator of The Secret DVD, with a panel of personalities from the film. If you've been reading this blog you know I'm no fan of The Secret. However, I respect Oprah and with so many people excited about this film, I wanted to see how she would position it on her show.

Oprah's producers are brilliant; they know that, after all these years of offering good, solid information, their audience won't buy half-baked spiritual junk. So I wasn't that surprised to see how beautifully The Secret was presented on the February 8th show. In fact, this Oprah segment was a lot more substantial than The Secret film itself. With the exception of Byrne and Jack "Chicken Soup for the Soul" Canfield, who both spouted the usual Law of Attraction platitudes, the panelists came off as deeply aware and grounded. They filled in some of the blanks I felt were missing in The Secret DVD around gratitude, opening the mind and present-moment awareness.

Still, "Workie" that I am, I can't help but compare Byron Katie's approach to abundance and happiness to that of The Secret.

From the Oprah website: "Gratitude is one example of the magnetic force of the universe. 'Basically, nothing new can come into your life unless you open yourself up to being grateful [for what you already have],' Michael [Beckwith] says."

Beautifully put...and we already know this. Won't someone please tell us how to tap into gratitude?

Byron Katie says that as a result of inquiry, what you are left with is gratitude. She doesn't say "Be grateful or you won't get what you want." Being gratitude is not an automatic function of the opinionated, unexamined mind. If we are told, "Be grateful" and we find we are not, why aren't we? It's because we have not questioned the stressful beliefs that keep us from recognizing the bounty which is already and always freely given.

From the Oprah website: "Lisa [Nichols] says...too many people who want to make things better focus on what's wrong with the present. 'Instead of wanting to change it, appreciate what's there,' Lisa says. 'Find the things about it that work...and by doing that, you create a space for it to get better.'"

So how do we find out what there is to love about what's there? Again, if it were automatically obvious, wouldn't we just do it?

"For example, Lisa says she would like to lose some weight. But instead of focusing on the negative—that she hasn't dropped the pounds yet—she loves and appreciates the present moment. "I accept it. I love it. I embrace every inch, every pound," she says. In this way, Lisa is creating the space to 'celebrate the now' and then invite better things into her life."

Again, we are not told how to "celebrate the now," only that it's a "positive" experience when we do. Duh. This is why I say of Katie's Work, it's "The Tao. The Now. And finally, the How."

Byron Katie says of "loving what is": "Just when you think it can't possibly get better, it does. It's a law." And she doesn't leave us hanging with that. The way to love what is, is to first realize what is not. As long as we think "I haven't dropped the pounds" is a "negative," we are not truly celebrating the pounds...or the $100 as opposed to $1,000,000...or the spouse we have (or lack thereof) versus the spouse we think we should have.

From the Oprah website: "True forgiveness, James [Ray] says, is when you can say the following to the person who hurt you: 'Thank you for giving me that experience.'"

Byron Katie says, "Forgiveness is when you realize that what you thought happened, didn't." How can we know it did not happen? Through questioning thoughts like, "She hurt me." Is it true? Are we wounded, damaged, destroyed, the worse for wear? "Nobody can hurt me," Katie is famous for saying, "That's my job. I do that."

From the Oprah site: "But how can you forgive when something truly tragic or terrible happens? James [Ray] says you should grieve, but eventually you need to look for a hidden gift. 'Here's what I encourage people to ask themselves: How does this serve me?...If you're really willing to dig, there's a lesson in there,' James says. "And secondly, what can I learn from this situation?'"

Katie says, "Nothing terrible has ever happened," and "The worst that could happen is the best that could happen, but only always." Very reassuring; however, she doesn't expect us to believe this simply because she says so. That is how The Work's four questions and turnaround were born, to give people a way to replicate the "enlightenment" experience for ourselves. And even then, we don't stop with questioning our beliefs and turning them around; we delve deeply: how. specifically, is the worst that could happen actually for our highest good? Without the education of self-inquiry that The Work's four questions provide, we are merely jumping to the turnarounds, which can leave us feeling disconnected. If enlightenment could be experienced through a New Age version of Pollyanna's "glad game," we'd all be self-realized by now.

From Oprah: "In chronic situations with no end in sight, Michael says you should ask yourself another important question: 'If this were to last forever, what quality would I have to grow to have peace of mind? Now, as my attention goes to the quality I have to grow, that quality starts to emerge,' Michael says. 'The issue that I'm resisting and fighting against becomes less and less intense...it begins to dissolve because it doesn't have your attention any longer.'"

Sounds awfully complicated to me.

From Katie: "Who would you be without this thought?" That is a way into what Michael Beckwith hints at. Here's another hint: you don't have to "grow" any qualities. If you can answer Question Four of The Work, those qualities are already yours. The issue may continue to have your attention but you no longer give it any credence. That's when the issue dissolves. Resistance is born of (stressful) belief.

From the Oprah website:"'I'm the first example of how the world is supposed to love me and I have to give them the best example ever,' [Lisa Nichols] says. 'We expect someone to show us our greatness when [instead] I'm supposed to show up understanding my greatness and allowing you to celebrate it with me.'"

Katie says, "Your turnarounds are your prescription for happiness." How will you show up knowing who you are? By questioning what you are not. That leaves the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Willing ourselves to have great self-esteem has never worked.

From the Oprah site: "You can start living the The Secret today by following three simple steps: Ask. Believe. Receive."

Katie asks: "Do you believe everything you think?" If you do, then you believe you are a manifester, more powerful than God. Then if you get what you want, you say "I did it." If you don't get what you want, then "I" did it wrong.

From James Ray on the Oprah site: "'It's not, 'If you build it, they will come,' necessarily. It's, 'If you build it and it provides value, they will come,'...'It's that heart space. Not 'What can I get?' but 'What can I give and how can I serve?' And when you're in that moment, the universe lines up behind you and it's at your command.'"

Katie: "On my knees is my favorite position." Maybe that's the same thing in essence...without the marketing-tinged angle of "adding value." For me it feels more natural and true when I'm the grateful servant rather than to arrogantly dictate to reality that I'm the one in charge. A sense of entitlement implies there is a lack; is that true? Service with motive to gain is not service at all. Serving others as the service to oneself contains everything. I don't expect the universe to line up behind me. Can I line up behind the universe, God, what is? Can I do what I am asking the universe to do? Alignment is not a getting or a doing, it's a being. It is grace. Can I stop wanting, wanting, wanting for a moment and just notice that alignment is here?

So from where I sit, The Secret has not been revealed through this movie, or through the Oprah segment on it...yet. It can be revealed when we ask ourselves to clue us in to what we truly want. I know of only one way to do that which works for me and, thanks to Byron Katie, it is no secret at all. That's my story until it isn't; and I'm open to being proven wrong.

(Read the comments to see some work I did on this at the behest of a reader named Patty. Thanks, Patty!)

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick. All rights reserved.

"Why Don't I Feel Better? Mastering the Basics of The Work of Byron Katie" is a three-week teleclass beginning on February 13 and facilitated by yours truly. For more information and to register, visit the Events pages at ClearLifeSolutions.com

February 7, 2007

Can We Love Toxic Waste?

If you have ever asked yourself, "Why would a good and benevolent universe allow terrible things to happen?" you may want to visit the website of Mellen-Thomas Benedict. I was just made aware of this man's extraordinary "near death experience" and wanted to share a portion of it with you here. He and Byron Katie are essentially reading from the same script, even though his "awakening" was experienced as a NDE and hers was experienced as an ego death.

It's helpful to read his words without getting caught up in the spiritual jargon he sometimes uses. Behind it you'll find the same universal truths as taught by the Bhagavad Gita, the Buddha, Advaita Vedanta...and also those which we teach ourselves through inquiry.

Here's the part of Benedict's experience that resonated most deeply within me. What better reason to be an activist than to come together in love? How else can the planet be saved?

"I went over to the other side during my near death experience with a lot of fears about toxic waste, nuclear missiles, the population explosion, the rainforest. I came back loving every single problem. I love nuclear waste. I love the mushroom cloud; this is the holiest mandala that we have manifested to date, as an archetype. It, more than any religion or philosophy on earth, brought us together all of a sudden, to a new level of consciousness. Knowing that maybe we can blow up the planet fifty times, or 500 times, we finally realize that maybe we are all here together now. For a period they had to keep setting off more bombs to get it in to us. Then we started saying, “we do not need this any more.” Now we are actually in a safer world than we have ever been in, and it is going to get safer. So I came back from my near death experience loving toxic waste, because it brought us together."

Something terrible is going to happen...is it true?

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick. All rights reserved.

February 4, 2007

Byron Katie's Book Reviewed by Carol Skolnick in Noumenon Journal

The Summer 2006 issue of The Noumenon Journal, an annual published in South Africa by Dr. Kriben Pillay about nondual perspectives, is available now for purchase at the Lulu.com website.

My book review of Byron Katie's I Need Your Love—Is That True? is included, as as well as "Far reaching explorations of our transformative potential… Touching the Universe with Steven Harrison and Patrick McCarty; Corporate Trainings and the Cult of ‘Me’; Krishnamurti and Dramatherapy; Joan Tollifson on Death and What Is; Leadership perspectives by Robert Rabbin and Jim Dreaver; Peter Francis Dziuban on Consciousness" and more.

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick. All rights reserved.

February 2, 2007

Byron Katie and Carol Skolnick Tuesday, Feb. 6 on KUSP Radio Show "Talk of the Bay"

Nearly a year ago to this day, my home in New York City was practically empty and it was just a few days from the closing...I had just incurred a hip injury and could barely walk...everything I owned, minus two suitcases, was on a van heading across the country...the apartment I had lined up in California had just fallen through and I had not yet found another one. I told Byron Katie I was feeling a mite scared of what lay ahead of me. She asked, "What if it's not fear? What if it's excitement?"

In an instant my mind aligned with reality and the present moment and I understood I was not frightened. I had simply labelled a sensation and attached, not to the reality of the situation, but to a word, responding according to the story the word "scared" tells. In fact, I was excited. I was embarking on a new life, an adventure. I had no idea where I was going to live or what it was all going to look like...and this produced butterflies in my stomach, sleepless nights, questions. Fear does this. Excitement does too. However, fear terrorizes, while excitement is fun. Fear is resistant, excitement is open and willing. Answering Katie's simple question (it was, in essence, question four of The Work: "Who would you be without this thought?") rapidly moved me from insanity to happiness. The truth is like that.

So I could tell you that I am nervous about my upcoming appearance on Tuesday, February 6th with Byron Katie on the KUSP FM 88.9 radio show, "Talk of the Bay." (!0-11 am PST; you can listen live at KUSP.org.) After all, I have never been interviewed on the radio before, I stammer sometimes, I could make a total fool of myself in my mentor's presence (it wouldn't be the first time, either). Or I could tell you I'm excited, honored and happy to be sharing this experience with Katie and for the opportunity to let our audience know how The Work changed and continues to inform this formerly abjectly miserable woman's life.

Both stories, nervous and excited, seem true simultaneously right now; I still have a little work to do on this, obviously. ("I'll screw it up," is it true?) And I wanted to let you all know about the show, because it's a wonderful thing. Katie will be talking about The Work, facilitating callers and introducing her new book, A Thousand Names for Joy. I'm there to add local color because I give Work workshops here in Santa Cruz and I'll speak about...whatever they ask me to! (I don't need to know what to do, thank goodness!)

Postscript: The show went really well! Listen to the recording of the program now:

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick. All rights reserved.