By Linda Scholten
Re-new-al. The word itself implies that it is referring, not to something that is new-new, but to something that is re-new. I would like to play with the thought that in order for something to be re-newed, something has to die. I see beautiful evidence of this all around me at this time of year. From the dead or dormant phase of plants or trees in winter, come beautiful flowers, leaves, buds in the Spring.
For me to be renewed, what has to die, or at least fall away? Thoughts and beliefs that are harmful, judgmental, or simply no longer serve me. For new thoughts, beliefs or simply an open, expansive, not knowing mind to exist, these old thoughts need to loosen their grip.
Think about this for a moment. What thought or belief do you have that holds you back? Notice I didn’t say do you have a thought or belief that holds you back, because we all have them. Think about one thought or belief. Here’s a few of mine: I’m too fat, I’m not good enough. Or the thought could be about another: He doesn’t love me, or she doesn’t respect me, or he drinks too much.
How can you stop thinking that thought? This is a good news, bad news situation. The bad news is you can’t stop thinking that thought (i.e don’t think about a pink elephant). The good news is, that by questioning the thought, you can loosen its grip on you. So how do you question a thought? For this, I will refer to “The Work” by Byron Katie, which in its simplest form, consists of 4 questions and turning the thought around.
I’ll work through an example for you. The belief I’ll use is “I’m not good enough’.
- Q: Is it true? A: Yes
- Q: Can you absolutely know that it’s true? A: Well no, I’m good enough for some things.
- Q: How do you react, what happens when you believe that thought? A: I feel depressed, like a victim, less than, I feel defeated, hunched over, sad.
- Q: Who would you be without the thought? A: I feel lighter, more confident, able, my chest opens up and I am holding my head higher, I can think more clearly.
Now turn the original thought around: ‘I’m not good enough’ can get turned around to ‘I am good enough’, and give 3 genuine examples of how this is true.
- I have been married for 25 years – I’m good enough to be a wife!
- I have been the director of an agency for 16 years – I’m good enough to do that!
- I have good friends – I am good enough to be a great friend!
This is ‘The Work’ at its simplest. So many of the thoughts and beliefs we stubbornly hold on to that limit our selves, or our lives, or our relationships, when looked at, simply aren’t true. By questioning them, the old thoughts begin to lose their grip, leaving room for thoughts that are as true or truer than the original thought.
This is renewal, a dying off of the old, so we can be re-newed. I love how this is so beautifully and simply expressed in this line from ‘The Rose’, by Bette Midler:
“…Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snow, Lies the seed that with the sun's love, in the spring becomes the rose.”
For support in facilitating ‘The Work’ for you, please contact me, Linda Scholten, at firstname.lastname@example.org