Reflections on a weekend in the Work of Byron Katie at Windhorse Farm, Nova Scotia
May 2-4, 2012
(reprinted from Windhorse Farm blog)
A month now passed since our beautiful and powerful weekend at Windhorse learning, exploring and travelling with the powerful questions of the Work of Byron Katie.
In some ways the questions of the Work are so simple, beginning with “Is it true?” And we found over and over again through the weekend how the kind and clear structure of these questions, and the deep space we held together, invited each of us into a journey with ourselves that brought us to some surprising places, and to more of our own wisdom and compassion.
This is powerful work when you really get still and find your own answers. It is a meditation. Sometimes it blows our mind what we find is possible when we are able to see beyond the stories and beliefs that can blind us, limit us, keep us stuck in confused or painful patterns. And sometimes makes us smile at ourselves or at life when more of the clarity and kindness of it all becomes apparent – even in the depths of fear or pain.
“Reality is always kinder than the story we tell about it” Byron Katie.
I love this quote – and witnessed the truth of it all weekend, even in places it is hard to believe it could be true. Space opens and light fills it.
I offer retreats across North America in this Work, and it is always a privilege to share this Work, and sit with people in the beauty of what shifts and opens in a full weekend retreat. And I was particularly moved in this weekend at Windhorse Farm at how quickly and deeply we could dive in together, held in such a place of beauty and intention.
People were able to do the work they came to do, and then sit or walk in the forest to let it settle in. Or sit outside with their face in the sun (it was there a good part of this spring weekend) and contemplate their own learning. We also had the great gift of a night walk led by Steve – under the fullest of moons that lit our silent walk through the forest.
What an amazingly warm and courageous group of people, wanting to know the truth for themselves, wanting their own freedom and taking the time to open to it. I still smile thinking about it. After doing this work for almost 12 years I have really come to trust these questions will lead people to just the right part of themselves – and yet it is also a welcome surprise to me every time it happens that someone sees something new in a place that seems so stuck and a pattern shifts, some stress or suffering softens, or a new pathway forward suddenly comes into awareness.
Our circle of 18 lovely folks from around the Maritimes learned the basics of the Work and had the chance to move through some powerful inquiry together and individually. On our follow up call this week, many shared that they are using the process to continue to work with places they are stuck now that they are home and back in the flow of work and life.
One of the things I most love about this Work is that you can learn to do it yourself and as one of the participants commented “I don’t feel like I am at the mercy of the happenings of life anymore.” It was sweet to hear that, as it is one of the gifts of this Work in my own personal and professional life. It doesn’t mean we can ‘control’ what happens – what it does mean is that whatever happens we have a way to really engage with it honestly and peacefully, and learn and grow forward from whatever possibility it has to offer rather than being a victim of it, or staying stuck or suffering. This Work helps me evolve.
One of our catch phrases of the weekend was “compassionate curiosity” and I find that this work gives me a very skillful way to directly invite and apply a deep and effective curiosity that opens space in a profound way in both my personal and professional life.
I am very grateful to have had this weekend in the Work at Windhorse Farm – for the inspiring and healing space held by the stewards of Windhorse, by the land itself, and by the group of amazing people that arrived for the weekend in The Work.
I am looking forward to returning next May to offer this retreat at Windhorse again, with an extra day to allow space for more retreat on the land, and some additional exercises in the Work.