One of my favorite Byron Katie prompts or questions to help dig down into The Work is:
WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS?
The “it” of course, is your stressful belief.
What does it mean, if it’s true? What do you think it means about you, or about other people (or that one other person you’re concerned about)?
What are all the meanings you give this thought?
This question comes in especially handy if you think something stressful is a solid fact, not open to interpretation.
I am going to die. My car tire went flat. I tore my hamstring. The carpet needs vacuuming. I weigh 500 pounds. It’s raining. I have $10.19. I got married. I moved to a cottage. My husband went to live in Timbuktu. She has cancer.
If you notice something seems like an irrefutable fact, a simple fact, a thought you can’t argue with….
….and yet you notice you feel stress or pain when you think it or write it….
….it may be time to answer that question about what you think it means, if this is 100% true?
Last night I got to spend a beautiful evening at a local bookstore where I live called East West Books.
Inquirers both familiar and brand new to me came to gather and do their work about food, eating and body image.
Several of them shared their brilliantly honest worksheets about their weight, the food they feel pulled to eat, a body part they hate seeing in the mirror.
The work on the thoughts brought forward was quite incredible.
But I especially loved one woman’s thoughts about having too much weight on her body.
“I am too fat”.
And what do you think it means about you, about other people, about your life?
Ouch. Because here’s what she said, and it reminded me of my own mind attacking itself for what it thought was true.
It means I am guilty, I am wrong, my life isn’t good, I’m not happy, I can’t wear fun clothes, I can’t be seen on the beach (another inquirer quietly uttered the word “whale” about his own appearance in a bathing suit), I can’t stop worrying and thinking about food.
For some others, being heavy or assuming you’re fat means….
….no one will love you. People will criticize you. No one will be attracted to you or date you. People will think you’re lazy, or greedy.
One thing I suggest is finding a moment in time where you first learned this thought that you are indeed too heavy.
Who did you hear it from?
Because you didn’t have the belief when you were born, that’s for sure.
Where’s your proof that fatness or heaviness or something-wrong-with-this-body is actually the case here?
(If you have a vivid image, like someone else in the group last night did, of mom saying “you are too big to have stripes that circle your body, you need vertical stripes only!” at age 7, then you might have a perfectly clear moment for a situation to investigate with The Work).
When you write down what you’re thinking, the thoughts are caught on paper, not zipping out of the air around the corner.
You’re too ____. (In this case, fat).
Is it true?
How do you react when you believe this thought?
Horrible. Heavy. Despairing. So I go eat to get some sweetness and feel better.
Who would you be without this story of “I am _____” (fat, thin, tall, short, old, young, smart, dumb, sick, stupid…..and on an on, you pick your most frequent flyer).
Who would you be without the story of “I am too fat”?
Going about my business. Playing more. Doing art. Spending time with friends. The woman voicing The Work for everyone present last night said “I’d probably know a lot more people”.
Turning the thought around: I am NOT too fat. My THINKING is too fat.
Yes. My thoughts are heavy, dense, thick like flies surrounding the body, buzzing and yelling at it all the time. My thoughts are big, extra, overloaded, especially when it comes to the body. They’re focused on the body, not life, not expanding in other areas besides the body!
With the thought? Pain and suffering.
Without the thought? Light, free, living life.
“You’re either believing your thoughts, or questioning them….no other choice.” ~ Byron Katie
It may be quite disturbing at first to write down such a thought as “I am too fat”. It can be frustrating to even think about it all over again, and realize, as you write, how much you HATE this problem that’s been here since childhood.
But would you rather write down your thoughts and then take them one by one through the inquiry process known as The Work (it is work, after all) or keep on believing them?
If you’re twisted up about this topic in any way, if you’ve found yourself eating from one end of the refrigerator to the other, if you’re wondering more deeply about the connection between your weight or your eating and your thoughts….
….and accessing peace with eating, your body, food….
….the Eating Peace Process Online begins on Saturday.
Everyone enrolled receives their first writing exercise on Saturday and the first “lesson” for looking at the food, eating, body, mind. Our first calls are Tuesday 1/17 at 5:30 pm, and Thursday 1/19 8:30 am. If you’re in the program, you can come to one or both (everything’s recorded).
I can’t wait to share the practices and exercises that worked best for me in my own healing journey, so you can choose what to take into yours.
And the most important practice of all, the cornerstone of the Eating Peace Program…..The Work of Byron Katie.
Read in detail about it here. Join me if it’s time.