Today I led a workshop on how to make having difficult conversations easier and one of the pieces of wisdom I drew on was Byron Katie's concept of 'doing the work'. When Katie talks about 'doing the work' she invites us to take a belief that is making us unhappy and to examine it to see how true the belief is and if there is another way of thinking about things.
Then when I got home from work I was browsing through Facebook today, as you do when you get home from work tired and you just need a bit of fluffy time, and I saw a post about 'getting work done'. It was talking about a new kind of face lift which was less invasive.
Doing the work.
Getting work done.
The first is active, the second passive therefore the first requires us to invest energy and commitment whilst the other requires that we submit to someone else's efforts.
Curious how similar the phrases are and yet how different in energy and focus.
Then I got to thinking some of the radiant women (and some men) I have in my life. They are people who have done, and are doing the work. They eat healthily, move and live active lifestyles. They invest time in looking after their flexibility, strength and balance and they listen to what they body needs: resting when they need to, moving when they need to.
These are women and men who have done their inner work. They have spent time releasing unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving. They have pruned their relationships, leaving only the healthiest and nurturing to grow.
They are men and women who are comfortable in their own skins, who know their own faults and weaknesses and own up to them. They are people who have time to be with those who they love and are happy to take time to be alone. They have done the inner work of learning to love themselves no matter what.
Doing this work requires dedication. It takes time, sometimes money, and always commitment to do the inner work, to take responsibility for what we put into our bodies, minds and lives.
Letting go of relationships which no longer serve use takes courage and is sad. Forgoing that extra glass of wine takes self-discipline. Having a regular yoga or meditation practice means setting your alarm for a time when the rest of the world is sleeping. Turning off the TV when it shows images and ideas which you don't want to ingest means you have to find new things to do with your time. Learning to say 'No', learning to ask yourself 'What do I want', none of this is easy and much of it goes against our cultural and gender conditioning.
And yet, what I see when I look at these women and these men who have done the work is a radiance which glows from within. I see roots deeply connecting them with the earth and their life. I see a freedom which comes from knowing oneself and not apologizing or it. I see the courage of people who have trodden their own path, danced to their own drum and listened to the calling of their own hearts rather than society's pressure.
'Having work done' is the short cut which only changes the outside; 'doing the work' from the inside out changes us and has the potential to change our relationships, and therefore others, and therefore, bit by bit..the world.
I know which path I am on xx