Home » Blogs » Mentoring and Recovery » Loving What Is, Take 2

Loving What Is, Take 2

A few posts ago, a reader named Karl asked a most excellent question about an experience I shared from my attendance last month at Byron Katie’s School for the Work.

Here it is, for those of you who may have missed it:

Hi Shannon, one observation about the above post: it seems to me that to say that what is “should be” is an interpretation that is added to reality. For instance, if an earthquake happens and people die, do you just rejoice in it and go, “Great! People are dying!!” Is that loving what is?? It seems to me that loving what is means taking appropriate action when life demands it. Some of BK’s [Byron Katie’s] concepts just occur as very confusing for me and I’m trying to understand.

We also had several caring readers post wonderful responses, so just take this for what it may or may not be worth – my 2 cents as a School for the Work rank beginner, and coming simply from remembering Katie’s own words on this very subject.

When I arrived at the School, I had no idea what to expect. I had seen Katie speak all of once, for a good solid hour, and was flying in on fumes of fear and hope. I had arrived bearing a particular struggle in tow (as had many of the attendees, I later learned), and was there because – quite frankly – nothing else I had tried to fix it had worked.

I couldn’t meditate it away. Chant it away. Volunteer it away.

I couldn’t distract it with a new toy. A glass of wine. Or a new friend.

It simply preferred my company over all else, and would. not. leave. me. be.

I was hoping maybe Katie could help.

Over the 9 day span, as we spent nearly 10 hours a day sitting in each other’s company, Katie continually responded to queries about the validity of her Work with this simple phrase:

“Don’t believe my words. Test it for yourself.”

So I did.

Are there times you feel like you are still trying to convince your head and your heart to agree to a meeting?

I tested it. I threw myself into not thinking about the work, analyzing or rationalizing or in any other way holding my head and my heart far apart, but actually DOING the work (there was another great response to Karl’s question referring to a similar experience the reader had).

Doing the work and understanding it, I discovered, were not one and the same.

The other thing I particularly love – well, two things actually, since we have time here – about Katie and her Work is that a) there is no layer of religion or spirituality to pass through to get to it, and b) she has no formal training or degree to pass it along.

She sits there as a woman who once spent ten paralyzing years holed up in her house, depressed beyond reason, angry beyond measure, hopeless beyond repair.

She shares what worked for HER, and only in direct response to requests for her to do so.

And as she shares, she also expresses a sincerely humbling hope that even a smidgen, just a dab, of what has worked so well for her might in some small way prove useful for us as well.

In her presence, I became open to not confronting, but inviting my fears that this, too, would prove to be a dead end search for comfort and resolution, and having a dialogue with them about it.

I discovered as I did this that my fears were just as frightened that this might turn out to be the case as I was.

Together, we decided to actually try out the four questions and three turnarounds together.

Pooling our courage together, we discovered that…..(drumroll)….the Work actually WORKS.

Today’s TakeawayWhere in your life do you find yourself struggling to introduce your head to your heart, and vice versa? Where are you afraid – in advance of the need to be – that something you try may not prove helpful? How do you shut yourself down and hold yourself away from digging into your own life for fear of what you might find? And where are you afraid to admit freely that while a certain approach may have been helpful for others, it just isn’t your path?

Loving What Is, Take 2

Shannon Cutts

Parrot, tortoise & box turtle mama. Writer. Author. Songwriter. Champion of all people (and things) recovered and recovering.

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2013). Loving What Is, Take 2. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 Oct 2013
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.