I don’t know if you have heard of Byron Katie;
perhaps you've read one of her books, such as Loving What Is,
or engaged with of her work. The Work, as she calls it.
I agree – it is THE work.
Releasing judgment, loving what is right here, right now.
And yet – getting to a place where you can truly allow that in can be,
for some of us, a project of epic proportions.
For me, ten years ago, it was absolutely beyond my comprehension.
Ten years ago, I had the chance to stand face to face with Byron Katie,
and ask her a question.
My question was simple, and as heartfelt as it could be.
If I let everything be OK, if I love everything,
if I let go of judgment in the way you teach,
what is left to motivate me? What would make me want to change, improve, grow?
I will never forget the moment that ensued.
Her reply was simple.
You motivation is love. You do things because you love them.
And then we stood and looked at each other.
I will never forget that moment, that stillness and that look.
We were about 6 feet apart, but it felt, to me,
like the gulf between a huge ocean liner and the dock it is leaving.
I was standing on the ship that was sailing away,
she was on solid ground
and between us there were no words to bridge the difference in our experience.
It was a look of knowing, knowing there was a connection but neither of us able to span the gulf.
She wanted to reach me, I knew that, I felt that.
She no longer knew how to get to the place I was standing.
I wanted to reach her, but had no idea how to even imagine beginning.
What was true at that time in my life was that
I was so consumed by unconscious judgments about who I was supposed to be,
and an unending attempt to get things right somehow,
that her words did not compute.
Could not compute.
Acceptance, let alone love, was not a language I understood.
Everything in my world had been consumed by judgment and I had no idea that was the problem.
That is the nature of the unconscious.
I had no idea that was true inside me. I had no idea of my level of self-judgment.
What I was actually carrying was so much more than self-judgment,
it was actually self-contempt. Which is the tool a person uses to activate shame.
The whole time, I thought I was the one who was fine,
the one who had it figured out, the one who could keep things organized
and lined up in a way that they made sense and worked.
What was actually true is that I was ashamed to be me.
It turns out that I was the one who was the most wound up of all.
I could talk to other people about how to accept things – I could help other people…
but for myself, there was no allowance for anything less than
ALWAYS holding things together, being the competent one,
being the one who never slipped up, never faltered, never showed up unprepared…
I had no way to hold these messages about letting things be OK, “Loving What Is.”
I had no where to put them.
No ground on which to even begin to consider what it would be like, to come from love for myself.
I thought I did love myself. And – deep down, I did. At a soul level, I did.
But on a human level I had love all tangled up with judgment. Tough love.
This is the conversation of tough love:
It is because I believe in you that I am telling you all these harsh things about yourself.
It is because I know how much potential you have that I am being cruel.
It is because I want you to grow to your full capacity that I am withholding approval until you get it right.
Well, I am here to tell you – that kind of tough love will not get you where you want to go.
It will not build the relationships you want,
and it will not move us into a world where we are able to
support ourselves and each other to expand into who we truly are.
That kind of tough love is a lie told by judgment,
and is an imposter which keeps us from connecting,
sharing, opening up and being beautifully human together.
It will not get you to the other side of that gulf,
the gulf that existed between Byron Katie and I ten years ago.
Since that day, I have devoted my life to bridging that gulf.
What does that mean?
In the most simple terms possible, it means one thing. And one thing only:
It means I have been devoted to learning how to forgive myself,
even when I had no idea that was what I was trying to do.
To forgive myself, I have had to forgive everything and everyone around me.
I have had to let it all go.
Let go of all the stories I was telling myself about what I needed to do,
who I needed to be,
and who everyone else around me needed to be,
in order for things to be OK.
Here’s what I have realized, and finally become able to hold as truth, at a cellular level:
Things are OK. Right now.
I am OK. As I am.
From that place, I can get on with living.
Peacefully, powerfully, congruently and lovingly.
Halle flipping ueiah.
In this process, I have come to hold an image
which has helped me bridge that gulf for myself,
and when I share it with others, it helps them as well.
This image is now the basis for all my offerings, explorations and coaching.
This image makes it possible to imagine bridging the gulf.
It gives us language and metaphor to use in sharing
what it means and what becomes possible as you love yourself completely…
what it actually means and what becomes possible
when you forgive yourself and everyone around you.
In September, I'll be using this image as a teaching and coaching platform
in a program called
Boundaries that Honor Wholeness.
The boundary we will be exploring, developing and cultivating
is the clear boundary around the virus of self-judgment.
I hope you will join me. You can read about it and sign up here: