The Early Years
I grew up in a Catholic family with loving parents, and three brothers. As a child, there was always a questioning alive in me. I was curious to make sense of things that I couldn’t understand. During college, I came to love outdoor adventure and rock climbing. The passion and focus I had for climbing brought me to a deeper self awareness and presence of mind that has followed me. I was an instructor for Outward Bound in the Sierra Nevada mountains straight out of college. My time working in the outdoors and in experiential education was formative in many ways, and the Sierras were the backdrop for meeting my husband Keith. We fell in love in the mountains and were married and teaching in Key Largo within a year. After three years in Florida, in 2000, we relocated back out west to Portland. By 2003, we had two little boys and a busy life.
When the kids were young, my father died suddenly. I was completely undone, and the spiritual foundation I’d had up to that point was not enough/sorely lacking. I began to read and search for deeper understanding. I participated in bereavement groups, practiced meditation, volunteered for Hospice, and took several classes. The primary and lasting piece was my discovery of Byron Katie and The Work in 2005. It turns out my father leaving the scene left me to take center stage of my life.
Enter The Work
In 2007, I went to my first 9 Day School for The Work; it was pivotal. Up to this point, I looked outward to explain the things that bothered me: my critical husband; a controlling boss; fussy toddlers; a thoughtless friend. Through the Work, I came to see that it was not my husband or anyone else, but my thinking patterns that created stress and cost me my love for life. I enrolled in The Institute for The Work to deepen my practice which still brings me back to mindfulness that grounds me in healthy relationships and sharpens my sense of direction. The Work has helped me to face what comes, with trust that everything is truly OK. It has me living in the reality of my life rather than in the struggle to make it different. This is most clear in my marriage which now evolves and comes clean as we question our stories about each other.
I have served on the Board of Directors for Adoption Mosaic, an organization unique in its support for all members of the adoption constellation—adult and children adoptees, and adoptive and birth families. After working for Outward Bound and teaching middle school English, I was a chef and guide in a Montessori middle school lunch program, supporting students to prepare lunches from the garden for the school. I have passion for design, hiking, camping, gardening, cooking, reading and hanging out with family and dogs.
Some of the areas I have personally worked through include marriage, parenting, children, family dynamics, dandelions, adoption, religion, teenagers, neighbors, separation, loss, grief, abortion, friendship, intimidation, fear, rules, employers, money, work, politics, suffering, regret, guilt, shame, and despair.
I notice what happens in my thinking as I live my life, and I work with what comes up that feels off base. I am humbled and reminded of how amazing reality is as I uncover limiting beliefs. I explore what remains of my story with an inquiring mind. Gratitude comes wave after wave. From here, possibilities seem endless and welcoming, and life feels more like a game to play than a burden to endure.
The founder of The Work, Byron Katie, woke up one morning after years of depression to see that it had all been a misunderstanding. In her words:
“I discovered that when I believed my thoughts I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional.” ~Byron Katie
Out of Katie’s discovery, came this inquiry process. She lives in service to those who want to find the clarity she found inside her own experience. She travels all over the world offering workshops and inviting people to question their stories of suffering.
The Work is a way to identify and question the thoughts that cause everything from simple dissatisfaction to frustration, fear, violence, and depression. When we question these beliefs, the suffering leaves and we are left with a happier life. The Work is for anyone who is open to answer the simple questions and is willing to stretch beyond the same old patterns and stories.
Step one is to identify a stressful concept. The next step is to answer the 4 questions:
- Is it true?
- Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
- How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
The final step of The Work is to explore the turnarounds, or “opposites”, of the original stressful statement and stretch the mind from its narrow view.
Key Point~ It’s your answers that arise within you, as you take in the questions, that bring clarity and peace of mind and your own prescription for happiness.
For resources see TheWork.com
Finally, The Work is NOT therapy. It does not aim to fix and does not offer advice.