Byron Katie is an amazing teacher who has given us so much wisdom in her decades sharing The Work. On this episode we explore some of her ideas and show you how they can apply to anything that is causing you to suffer now. Katie is truly an example of what’s possible when we learn how to manage our minds. You will definitely come away with a new perspective after this episode.
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Hello and welcome to episode four. We just passed October 15th and pregnancy and infant loss and remembrance today, and I hope it was gentle for you. I really loved seeing everyone sharing about their babies, and I especially love the wave of light. It’s one of my favorite things, just seeing social media light up with all the candles and all the people remembering the babies and just that image of.
The little flames flickering all over the world. It’s really a beautiful thing. And if you’ve never participated, it’s something we do on October 15th at 7:00 PM no matter where you are, and the wave goes all around the world, and I think it’s a really great way to just connect us all and help us know that we’re not alone today.
Our story about a baby comes from Eliza, she says. I got pregnant less than a year after I got married. We were in our thirties and so we didn’t wanna waste time starting a family. I got pregnant the second month of trying. I was pretty sick from about six weeks on, but it got progressively worse when I hit about 12 weeks.
I was extremely sick and by 14 weeks I was surviving on a feeding tube and I was in and out of the hospital. Throughout this time, my pregnancy was being monitored and my daughter was doing fine and growing as she was supposed to. Because of that, I was completely blindsided. When at 19 weeks they told me that she had passed away.
That was a Tuesday. On Thursday morning, I delivered Harper, Emerson. She weighed less than a pound and was so perfect. I had never felt such a pure love for anyone before. Every day since that day, five years ago, I have strived to live in a way that she would be proud of. I want to be worthy of being the mom of someone who was so perfect that they had no lessons to learn Here.
Losing Harper has helped me develop more empathy for people living with grief. It has put me in the path of other lost moms and has given me the opportunity to help them as I was helped by people who had experienced it before me. My sisters and I started a charity that turns wedding dresses into burial gowns for babies, and that has blessed my life.
I now have two more daughters, and even though they’re too young to understand, I have already started telling them about their older sister Harper, and they will grow up doing Axo service in her name alongside me and their dad and our families. Thank you so much for sending that in Eliza, and I know.
Eliza is an amazing person with a huge heart, and she does so much good for so many things, and yeah, she just has a love that is amazing to watch what she does with that heart when something is important to her or something affects someone she loves. Okay. Let’s jump right into our topic for today. Who loves a good movie?
What are some of your favorites? I was recently at an event where we were asking, getting to know you type questions, and one of them was, what is your favorite movie? And I had to think quite a while and I couldn’t actually come up with one because there’s too many good ones. And most of us have favorites for different reasons, right?
We have ones make us laugh once it make us cry. Ones that thrill us, ones that remind us of special times in our lives, like our favorite Christmas movie or the one we watched like a hundred times one summer with our friends. What makes a great movie? It’s the ability to draw us in and connect us to our emotions, right?
A great storyline has ups and downs and twists and turns and tragedy and triumph. When we watch a movie, we actually want to feel all our emotions on purpose, and we know that it is what is happening on the screen that creates those emotions. The best movies really know how to do this, so why in our real lives do we resist these emotions in the ups and downs of life?
Why do we think our life should be easy and happy all the time? Today I’m gonna share wisdom from a wonderful teacher called Byron Katie. She has been doing what she calls the work that’s a capital T, capital W, the work for decades. But I have picked out some ideas that I thought would be really useful to us as lost moms.
She’s the first one to say that there are many ways to relieve suffering, and hers is a way that is always available. So I encourage you to open up your mind as you listen and just see what you come away with. That’s what I really love about self-help or self-development. There are so many amazing teachers out there and we really can pick and choose what resonates with us and what works for us.
So, uh, this is just I one teacher who has really influenced my mentor, Brooke. And so I’m gonna teach you about Byron Katie. Our lives are actually a movie we are creating with our minds. Because everything we experience goes through this filter. We are making up a story as we go. We add meaning and fill in holes with our own perception.
Yet we think that we are just a character in the story and that life is happening to us, but we need to wake up and realize that we are responsible for our own world. What are the pain points in your life? Where do you find the most suffering? Suffering is a natural alarm. Warning us that we are attaching to a thought.
These feelings that come up point us to what we are thinking. Often we are not aware of the thoughts, so it takes work to pay attention and do work on them. Suffering is always optional. We do not have any control of what happens in our lives. Life on earth comes with all kinds of experiences. We do have a hundred percent control of how we think about it.
This is actually the best news ever. What we usually want is to change our circumstances, to have everything go our way so we can feel what we wanna feel. But that isn’t reality. Katie says, when you argue with reality, you lose, but only a hundred percent of the time I’ve chosen. A pretty bold statement to check through her methods today, and I want you all to know that I understand this might take some pondering.
That’s okay. I’m just here to offer you options on ways you can think about your life and just be willing to try it on. Inquiry is a practice, and if you keep working on it, the more primitive ego part of the brain will fall away. So this is like a meditation and there’s no right or wrong answer. It can be uncomfortable at first, and that’s okay.
Listen for your own answers, not anyone else’s or anything you have been taught. Katie has some worksheets you can work through. It’s called a judge your Neighbor Worksheet, and it will bring up a lot of thoughts, but then you can pick one of those situations in your life and run it through some questions.
So this works for anything you have going on, but I’m gonna start with the idea that babies shouldn’t die. For so many of us. This idea seems very true. Parents shouldn’t bury their children. These babies are gone too soon. They didn’t get to live the life they were supposed to. We’ve been robbed somehow.
And so have they first ask, is it true? Babies shouldn’t die. We may want to immediately say yes, but I invite you to be still really think about it. Let your mind bring an answer that is yes or no. Notice if you become defensive or at a but or because that shows that you’re outside of doing the work. So just think about that for a second.
Next ask, can we know for certain if it is true? This is where you really go deep and question everything. Perhaps think about your own child. Can you really know that they should not have died? Is death even real? What children do you know who should have died? Perhaps one that was suffering with a disease or a body that was not functioning properly?
Can a life ever be too short? Can anyone die at the wrong time? How long does a life need to be to be long enough? So again, answer. Can we know for certain if it is true that babies shouldn’t die? Just yes or no. There’s no right answer, just inquiry. So the third. Question is how do you react and what happens when you believe the thought babies shouldn’t die?
For many of us who believe this thought, it causes a lot of pain. We fight against what has happened to us. How does this show up in your life? Do you eat things you know you shouldn’t to dull the pain? Do you drink more? Do you distract yourself with social media? What emotions come up for you? There could be a lot of ’em, maybe anger.
I know with my second loss, I was very angry. I could accept Lauren’s stillbirth pretty well, but I didn’t think that I should lose a second baby, right? Like that wasn’t fair. Really go into your body and feel how it reacts physically. When you believe the thought. What do you say to yourself and others?
Especially yourself lost. Moms are really good at blaming themselves and their bodies for what happened. How do you treat the people around you? Imagine yourself when you’re believing this thought. What do you do? What do you avoid doing? Now that you have that picture in your mind? Move to the last question.
Who would you be without the thought? This is such a powerful thing to ask. Sometimes it helps to imagine someone you know who does not have the same thought as you. I really want you to think about this. Close your eyes and wait. Imagine yourself in your life without the thought, babies shouldn’t die.
Imagine it isn’t even possible for you to think it. How does it feel? How is it different from when you did believe the thought? How do you act now? What do you do or say? I was reminded of something James VanDerBeek shared on Instagram after the birth of his sixth child. I think it’s an example of someone who has processed through a lot and still is, but he doesn’t seem to have the thought that we are inquiring about.
This is what he wrote. I wanted to say a thing or two about miscarriages of which we’ve had three over the years, including right before this little beauty, the actor wrote alongside a photo of him and his wife, cuddled close with their recent arrival. First off, we need a new word for it. Miscarriage in an insidious way.
Such suggest fault for the mother as if she dropped something or failed to carry. From what I’ve learned in all but the most obvious extreme cases, it has nothing to do with anything the mother did or didn’t do. So let’s wipe all blame off the table before we even start. Second, it will tear you open like nothing else.
It’s painful and it’s heartbreaking on levels, deeper than you may have ever experienced. So don’t judge your grief or try to rationalize your way around it. Let it flow in the waves in which it comes and allow it, its rightful space. And then once you’re able try to recognize the beauty in how you put yourself back together differently than you were before.
Some changes we make proactively, some we make because the universe has smashed us. But either way, those changes can be gifts. Many couples become closer than ever before. Many parents realize a deeper desire for a child than ever before, and many, many, many couples go on to have a happy, healthy, beautiful babies afterwards and often, very quickly afterwards.
You’ve been warned. I’ve heard some amazing metaphysical explanations for them, mostly centering around the idea that these little souls volunteer for this short journey for the benefit of the parents. And he goes on to say, please share whatever may have given you peace or hope along the way, along with a new word for this experience.
Agreed. I don’t love a lot of the terms that we use for loss, but I would also add to what he said, that in many religions there is a belief that the spirit lives on forever, and that one day the spirit and the body will be reunited in the resurrection. We also believe that we do not currently have all the answers as to why these things happen, except that we live in a mortal world.
With all that entails struggle, sickness and death are part of life here. Katie teaches us to take our statements and turn them around. She does this so masterfully. You need to check out her work to fully understand. I’m just gonna touch on it a little bit. But one simple turnaround is just to take the statement and make it into its opposite.
So in this case, babies should die. How can we know that is true? Well, because they do. This is reality in all of nature. The young or most vulnerable, and in humans, miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death has happened throughout all of history. If you believe in God, you believe that he counts each hair of your head and each sparrow that falls and he is mindful of us and our babies, he knows exactly how long they will live.
You can continue using these turnarounds in many different ways, but that’s just one. You make the statement the opposite of what you initially thought, and then you explore it. This is acceptance of reality and the exercise of inquiry and asking yourself questions will. Really help you in your life. I’m going to read a little bit from Katie’s book where she talks about loss.
In this section, she’s talking about death and someone who is afraid of dying, and then she goes on to talk about loss, and she says, loss is another concept. And what she means by that is it’s something that we’ve made up. I was in the delivery room when my grandson race was born. I loved him at first sight.
Then I realized that he wasn’t breathing. The doctor had a trouble look on his face and immediately started to do something with the baby. The nurses realized that the procedures weren’t working, and you could see the panic begin to take over the room. Nothing they did was working. The baby wouldn’t breathe.
At a certain moment, Roxanne looked into my eyes and I smiled. She later told me, you know that smile you often have on your face, mom, when I saw you look at me like that, a wave of peace came over me and even though the baby wasn’t breathing, it was okay with me. Soon afterward, breath entered my grandson and I heard him cry.
I love that my grandson didn’t have to breathe for me to love him. Whose business was his breathing? Not mine. I wasn’t going to miss one moment of him, whether he was breathing or not. I knew that even without a single breath, he had lived a full life. I love reality, not the way a fantasy would dictate, but just the way it is right now.
She’s amazing, right? And if you’ve ever seen her, she’s this beautiful lady with these piercing blue eyes and beautiful white hair, and she just stares right into your soul or whoever she’s talking to, and I just love that story. So one of the things she mentioned is that there are three kinds of business, my business.
Your business and God’s business. Most of our stress comes from mentally living outside our own business. What other people do is not in our control, and we suffer when we think they should be different than they are. Allowing all the humans to just be human is so freeing and to recognize that our perception and judgment of them is completely coming from this movie that we are writing in our mind.
What happens in our lives is also not in our control. We can give it over to God or the universe and stop fighting against it. This is what she meant when she talked about whether or not her grandson would breathe that it wasn’t her business and that would fall under God’s business. Okay? And this doesn’t mean we have to like what happens or be happy about it.
It just means that we accept it. For example, if someone loses a leg, They will go through the stages of grief. In this case, those often quoted stages of grief are actually applicable. The longer the person fights against the reality of not having a leg, the more they may suffer. But usually at some point they will accept what has happened and decide where to go moving forward, they will still have the physical challenge there.
But the emotional and mental suffering will ease as they choose not to believe that they should have two legs. I was listening to an interview Louis House did with Byron Katie as I prepared for this episode, and he asked her at the end if she died and had to take all her work and wisdom with her, what three things would she want people to know?
She answered. All problems are imagined. Or as I say it, all problems are thought problems. Second, the universe is friendly. And third, it’s obvious to anyone with an open mind. Let’s talk about number two. For many of us who have been through challenges, we might have a tough time with this. We may have been angry with God or the universe, or whatever we believe in.
We may think that we have the worst luck and that life isn’t fair. That we have endured more than anyone should. How do those thoughts feel to you? How do you show up when you believe them? How would things be different if you believed that the universe was friendly? One of my favorite versions of this thought is it the universe is always conspiring in your favor.
Or the universe has my back, something that I think I need on a post-it on my mirror to see every day. Is this one, everything happens for me, not to me. Think about that for a minute. Everything happens for me, not to me. If the universe is friendly and we are all just here to learn and have experiences, then how does your perspective on the death of your baby or any other challenge change?
What can you learn when you stop resisting the circumstances of your life? The brain is going to continually offer us thoughts, especially thoughts We have practiced for a long time, but what I am offering to you today is a new way to look at things and a new way to think about your life. These teachings have relieved a lot of suffering in my life, and as I continue to practice loving what is, I know I will get even better at it.
If you are interested in more of Byron Katie’s work, she has a website and many videos online as well as her worksheets. She also have a, has a lot of books. I recommend starting with the one I read from, which is called Loving What Is It Will Change How You See the World, your Relationships, and Yourself.
You’ll learn to be more in the present moment. It may be slightly woo woo. But we like woowoo around here. If you have any questions about what we talked about or want help letting go of some of the things that are causing you to suffer, please sign up for a free 30 minute session. It’s a totally safe space, and there’s no judgment.
We’re just gonna explore what’s going on with you, and you’re gonna come away with some answers, and I wanna challenge you to try this thought on for the week. The universe is friendly. The universe has my back. Let me know what changes for you.
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