Monthly Archives: May 2009

Thought Catching

Many years ago I made Dream Catchers with my students. Borrowed from the Native American tradition, they were a beautiful way to remind ourselves to dream, that dreams matter. As we made them together, we talked about our dreams. Then we hung them near out beds, jotted down our dreams upon awaking, and made them into poems or art.

The other day, as I was coaching a client by listening for a painful thought to question, the words “thought catching” came to mind. Since then I’ve been turning over those words.  Thought Catching is a lot of what I do with clients.  I listen for thoughts that they can’t hear, thoughts that keep them in locked in a story that hurts them. Once I hear a belief , we can usually get traction and find something truer and kinder.  The result is nothing short of freedom.

I’ve been wondering, what would a Thought Catcher look like? It would have to be selective, since neurosciences have estimated that we think 60,000 of them a day.  They come and they go, like dreams.  Some stick with us and cause us pain. Those are the ones I’d like to catch, before they do any more damage than they’ve already done.

I haven’t yet come up with a new invention, but I already know of one that works incredibly well for the purpose.  It’s a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet, a foundation of The Work of Byron Katie. Katie refers to it as “flypaper for the ego.”  When we judge someone else (or something else), we catch our own thoughts.  It’s a thought catcher. Try it out.  You can find it at Click on Resources.  Then look on the left-hand side under “Downloads.”  Once you get the thoughts, use the One Belief at a Time Worksheet to question each one.  Or call me and we’ll see what thoughts we can catch together.  One at a time.

The Power of Us in the Light of Inquiry

This past month I’ve been leading classes in Inquiry, and I’ve been moved by how universal the beliefs are that hold us hostage.  Because I usually work with people individually, I have plenty of experience of the power of one-on-one seeking.  Not that this process is without surprises. Just when I think I know where freedom will arrive in each client’s mind, some new way of thinking shows up from the periphery that has the power to completely shift their world.

But in a group, this power is primed.  And it is deeply powerful for all of us.  As each person finds a belief that they may not have even been aware of holding, we all notice we’ve held that same belief about our lives.  And as we observe the questions and answers that bring freedom to one, we all find relief.  One by one we question thoughts like, “It shouldn’t have happened,”  “My body is too fat,” “I can’t get it right.”  And one by one we find the kindness of truth.

Spring Inquiry group events here at Oasis are over, and now my mind travels to summer.  In my mind, summer solstice seems like the perfect time to hold thoughts up to the bright light of inquiry.  Best of all, my friend Maggie Carter, director of the Institute of the Work for Byron Katie, will be coming to Oregon to join me at a couple of events.  We’re both looking forward to joining people who are beginners as well as seasoned facilitators.  We’ll be spending a day in Portland (June 20th)  and then three whole days soaking in inquiry and the peace of the Oregon Cascades at Breitenbush Hot Springs (June 21st through 24th).  All are welcomed.  Liberate yourself of some excessive winter beliefs and make peace with reality. With all of us.

A Listening Life

Yesterday I had the honor and privilege to be coached by Terry, very talented coaching friend with whom I trade coaching sessions.  It was such an amazing experience to switch roles and find out first-hand what it’s like to be held in listening (and questioning, of course).  My intention in calling her was to make some business decisions, so I thought of the call as a straightforward problem-solving session.  At least that’s what my ego (aka social self) had in mind.

That’s how much my “I know” mind knows.   I knew what my problem was, and all I needed was a little information.  I knew what I wanted and all I needed to find out was how to get there. I thought I knew.  As we talked (or rather I talked and she listened and asked questions), I gradually saw how little I had been listening to myself, my essential self. It’s humbling to admit this publicly, since I teach other people how to do this and listen to their lives all day long, asking questions and offering suggestions.  But I simply hadn’t been listening to my life.

In less than an hour, my world shifted radically.  I not only heard what my deepest Self longs for, which never changes, really. But I experienced the magic and power of coaching, first hand.  I now know inside-out what my clients tell me when they make a shift after a session.  My inner world was whispering, then talking louder.  And I hadn’t been listening.   Starting now  I’m re-committing to a Listening Life.

Where do you listen to your life and when do you fight what you hear?  What beliefs keep you from listening?  I noticed my belief had to do with taking care of others’ needs first. My essential self wouldn’t let Notice what your inner life whispers.  If you miss it, it will talk louder.  That’s how we develop a Listening Life. I’ve noticed my own life is far kinder when i do listen.  See what you notice.