Like every year around my birthday, I recently visited my dear friend and astrologer Christiane so she could do my yearly astrological theme as well as draw cards from the Aztec tarot.
She asked about me as she poured me a cup of rooibos tea, and I began enumerating my issues hoping she would explain all of my problems by Venus’s conjunction to my 5th house (or something of the sort) and promise me that the next 29 years of my life were going to be incredibly splendid and happy. Instead she told me to go to Katie Byron’s The Work website and take the questionnaire. As I often do when Christiane mentions articles, books, websites I need to check out, I scribbled the name on a corner of my journal… and forgot about it.
A few weeks later, I’m living in Bombay and feeling quite happy to be here, yet still bothered by something that’s made my stomach feel utterly empty for the last few days. Struggling to find the inspiration to write, I stumbled upon my old journal and turned a few pages, unsure what I was looking for. My eyes stopped on two words that I could barely make out because of my hasty handwriting: « The Work ». I figured I had nothing much to lose by checking it out, as I remembered that 99% of the things Christiane had suggested over the years had turned out to be incredible sources of insight.
I ended up spending 4 hours on the website, reading, watching videos, and scribbling down notes. At first, my stomach was clenched and painful, but eventually I began to laugh, and slowly, it relaxed.
« A mind that doesn’t question its judgments makes the world very small and dangerous. It must continue to fill the world with bad things and bad people, and in doing so it creates its own suffering. »
The process of The Work is very easy. According to the website, it’s about « identifying and questioning the thoughts that cause all the anger, fear, depression, addiction, and violence in the world » and in ourselves. It sounds too easy, I know. But it really is and that’s what makes it so great. Katie Byron even gives out all the tools needed for free and in several different languages on her website.
What started as a painful stomach and ended up making me laugh is that I realized I’d known the answer all along. I’d spent most of my energy denying what I knew was true, hurting myself and others in the process. Of course a simple questionnaire won’t change your life overnight, it’s all part of a difficult and time consuming struggle. But I can assure you something clicks, space is created, and a sense of relief sets it. The Work isn’t a miracle cure by any means; it’s just a good tool to have when facing difficult and stressful situations.
You have to want to face difficulties of course. At times we just feel comfortable accepting things as they are without digging too deep. Other times, as was the case for me today, we can’t function properly unless the issues are brought out, examined and understood.
Also, sometimes we’re just not in the right mind space to go exploring. So my suggestion is, it can’t hurt to scribble these two words down somewhere. Chances are you’ll stumble upon them when the time is right.