'I am never upset for the reason I think' - A Course in Miracles
I want to share a really helpful resource in today’s blog: this very simple question, which is at the heart of Byron Katie’s ‘The Work’.
Here is how I used it this week:
Bo came out of kindergarten, with a pile of drawings in one hand and a handbag in the other (seriously, you should see the contents of her handbags – it is quite astounding). She chatted away in the car with me about what she had made and who had said what at the snack table. Then she went quiet for a while and said ‘And you know what, Tom told me I was stupid again.’
I smiled, knowing that she knew exactly what I would say. My response to these reports is always the same. I simply asked her if it was true.
She smiled too – a really full-on beam. ‘No,’ she said. ‘I know I’m not stupid. I guess Tom must have been having a bad day or maybe someone said that to him and he was trying it out on me.’
‘Exactly,’ I said. And we said a prayer together to Tom’s angels to help him feel better and happier so that he didn’t have to say unkind things to his friends. And that really was that – she was done. When you ask the questions more fully, the final one is 'who would you be without this negative thought? (that you are stupid etc) and it's hard not to do a huge smile at this point as you realise it is the thought and not the incident that is causing you pain - and that you can let it go.
Sometimes, we also talk about how it feels to be called stupid, and we acknowledge that it is hard sometimes to hear unkind words at first. But the more I respond gently with this question, the more it sinks in and the more she is able to let things go over her head even as they are happening. And I know we are laying healthy tracks in her thinking as she grows up too.
It has been a big journey for both of us in this area. When she first started at kindergarten, I found it as hard as she did to deal with the things children inevitably say to each other throughout the day. Once I realized that my reaction of feeling protective and upset on her behalf was actually cementing in the unkind words, I made a shift and had some coaching on how to help her feel empowered and safe with other people by letting go of my own old hurts from my school days.
I share this story and the resource of The Work here because of the power it has to keep us – and those around us - aligned with Love and our true self. It is a very simple question but its roots are very deep!
If you want to find out more about The Work, you can visit Byron Katie’s website (and you can download a free question sheet to start unpicking your thoughts): http://www.thework.com/index.php
And there is also a brilliant parenting coach called Kathy White, too, who uses The Work to help free up parents and children to really enjoy each other. I would really recommend you check out her website (I believe she holds free monthly teleseminars) and, if you are in or near London, Kathy is holding a free talk and then an afternoon workshop in Chiswick, West London this coming Saturday 16th February if you want to find out more. Follow this link for more information: http://www.joyfulparents.co.uk/events/london/. I will be there as I am hoping to let people know about her work – it would be great to meet any new parents who are interested in coming along.
I hope this is helpful – I so love spreading the word about the brilliant people I find along the way and who help me so much on my path.
Love from Hollie