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Intentional Living
Brady Mikusko, Life Coach 
 Do I Need a Life Coach?
Issue: #14
May 2015

Question Your Thinking! 


One of the best parts of my job is that I get to explore different ideas and modalities to help my clients (and myself) grow and change. Ten years ago, as I was beginning my life coach training, I discovered an incredible teacher, Byron Katie. I recently revisted her books and her website and felt newly inspired by the power and yet simplicity of what she teaches. Her process is called "The Work" and this newsletter is a very brief introduction to her. If you are looking for greater presence and awareness, this work may be what will get you there.

A few important concepts ....

A thought is harmless unless we believe it.

It is not our thoughts that cause suffering and stress, but our attachment to our thoughts.

Most of us have thoughts throughout our day, each and every day, that we have not examined.

Most of us have stories about life, people, and ourselves, that are a sequence of many, many thoughts that we have not examined.

Why do people live life with unexamined thoughts? I believe it is because people think their thoughts are who they are. They think that life is what they are thinking. Not true.

Life is actually too big and grand and mysterious to be confined by a person's thinking.

Thoughts come and go. Who we are is the person listening to the thoughts.

Many of our thoughts are fighting what is, fighting reality, which is a very stressful activity!

Take the time to question your thinking and you WILL experience greater freedom.

First Step in doing "The Work"


Put your Mind on Paper

The first step is to grab a sheet of paper and write down your judgements about any stressful situation or person in your life: past, present or future.  Don't try to censor yourself.  Be as judgmental, harsh, childish and petty as you wish/feel. I mean, go for it!!!  Why? So that you can examine all of these thoughts, one-by-one. If this is hard for you to do on a piece of blank paper,  you can download a Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet,  from Byron Katie's website:

The questions on the Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet are:

1. Who angers, disappoints or confuses me and why? What is it about them that I don't like?
2. How do I want them to change? What do I want them to do?
3. What advice would I offer to them?
4. In order for me to be happy in this situation, what do I need them to think, say, feel or do?
5. What do I think of them? Make a list.
6. What is is that I don't ever want to experience again?


The     Powerful Questions


Once you finish judging, venting, expressing your thoughts, choose one of these thoughts, and ask yourself the four questions below. The point of this self-inquiry is not to change your mind. It is to increase your awareness.


Ask the questions. Go inside. Wait for information to surface.  


1. Is it true? (If no, go to question #3) 

2. Can I absolutely know that it is true?

3. How do I react, what happens to me and in me,  when I  believe that thought?

4. Who would I be, how would I be, what would my life look like, without that thought?     


 An example of this process might look something like this.   


"I don't like Amelia because she doesn't listen to me"  


Apply the Four questions.


Is it true? Yes. It is true. She doesn't listen to me. 


Can I absolutely know that it is true? Well, no. Maybe she is listening more than I give her credit for. I mean, sometimes I appear to be listening to people even when I am not.... So, maybe she is listening or at least half-listening.


How do I react, what happens to me, when I believe this thought? And, another follow up question: How do I treat her when I believe this thought? I feel slighted. Sometimes I talk louder or become more insistent, trying to get her to hear me. Other times, I shut down, and feel alienated from her and angry. And I often feel superior. My body feels contracted and I am uptight.  


Who would I be, how would I be, without thinking that thought?

I would be okay. I would feel grounded and calm. 



Don't Stop Now!!  Do The Turnaround

Take your original statement and turn it around in 2-3 different ways. 


1. Write it as if it were written about you.  


  Original thought: I don't like Amelia because she doesn't listen to me.


   Turnaround: I don't like myself because I don't listen to Amelia. I mean, after all, when Amelia is talking I am thinking (and judging) more about her not listening to me than actually listening to fact, I often don't listen so carefully to others.

  Another turnaround: I dislike myself when I  don't listen to myself. I get myself in trouble when I bypass myself and listen to others and their opinions and thoughts versus mine. 


2. Rewrite it in a way that it is about the other.    


   Turnaround:  Amelia may not like me when I don't listen carefully to her. There are times when she is driving me crazy talking about the same old issues.  


3. A third turnaround might be an opposite.   


   Turnaround: Amelia listens to me when it is important. I won't ever forget that time when I was so upset with my partner when he criticized me in front on his entire family and she was there every step of the way.   



Note: With each attempt at a turnaround, check in to see which one, if any, seems as true or truer than the original statement. Look for examples with each turnaround.  Look for thoughts that bring you peace or resonate with you in a deeper way.  For those of you who  try this process, you may find the turnaround difficult. I do.  If you go to Katie's website, you will be able to view her helping people with the turnaround, which is helpful and fascinating.   





A Few Quotations from Byron Katie

I didn't let go of my stressful thoughts. I questioned them, and then they let go of me.

When we start to get honest the space between our thoughts gets wider and wider.

Stress is the alarm clock that lets you know you've attached to something not true for you.

When you argue with reality, you lose. But only 100% of the time.

We either believe what we think or we question it: there's no other choice. Questioning our thoughts is the kinder way. Inquiry always leaves us as more loving human beings."

Reality is always kinder than your thinking.

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If you found this email useful, let me know know! And please let others know about the newsletter and my work.


Brady Mikusko, MA, MSW, NCC,  Personal Life and Wellness Coach

Interested in learning EFT, a powerful stress-reduction technique? Click here 


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