When lockdown started, I was in the middle of a partial pivot with this blog. I was looking for a way to Write content consistently that people wanted to read and that I enjoyed writing.
Since I enjoyed eating out and there are plenty of great plant-based food options in Orlando, I thought I would do that. And then everything closed.
I could return to what I started the blog to do and write about topics around caregiving and grief and birth order.
But I was no longer a caregiver, my status as oldest daughter had changed quite a lot, I had worked somewhat through grief, and there’s only so much out there about birth order. And I’m not qualified through education to analyze birth order, so I was a at a bit of a loss.
I did write a few things at the beginning of lockdown about staying hopeful and finding things to be thankful for and small things that helped me get through the day. And those were nice, but after a while it was the same few things that I kept gravitating to.
I wasn’t really looking for new things to get me through my day because I’m not that kind of person. I’m not constantly looking for the next new thing when I know what generally cheers me up, which YouTubers lift my spirits, and what general life hacks I find helpful.
The primary things that gave me comfort and helped me face challenges were still, as always, writing and reading.
So, as we all stayed indoors, I nestled in with what I always know I can count on to cheer me up, to give me strength, that I’m always grateful for, that is consistently sustaining for me. Reading books.
And while I like writing book reviews, having to write them was also making the reading of those books a chore. Actually, reading the books is never a chore. But I was placing an obligation and burden on myself to have to review them.
My journal writing was not something I wanted to share in a blog, especially when I was mostly feeling tons of uncertainty.
And I didn’t have “here’s how I faced this challenge successfully” answers to share.
I struggled with my “why” for the blog. It originated as a creative project, but I wasn’t feeling very creative with it. I was bullying myself about writing on it and for it and then I would bully myself when I didn’t write. And that’s not really helpful in a time where things are crazy. I don’t want to make myself feel worse right now, I want to feel stronger and better.
So, I set the blog aside.
And kept reading books. Because that’s what I do. Find books and read them, and feel better. That’s always been a formula that has worked for me.
And then I found a book that has been mind-blowing.
I found Byron Katie’s Loving What Is. At my library (LOVE the library!). Which I might post a review of (says new not-bullying-herself Caryn.)
My initial reactions about her book and her work, The Work, left me speechless. The simplicity of her questions and turnarounds, which is the complete basis of The Work, astounded me.
I don’t tell a lot of people this, but I struggled with depression for a lot of my life. There were times when I was on anti-depressants. I’ve gone to psychologists and counselors for depression.
In recent years I also began having anxiety attacks. And I’ve read quite a lot on managing depression and therapies that work with depression and managing anxiety. And I’ve learned many tools that work, and I’ve “grown out” of my depression a little bit, which I know does happen.
But as anyone who has faced depression or anxiety knows, way down deep there’s a tiny little worry that it will return. And you will again be afraid to get out of bed. Or unable to get out of bed.
(Side note – this is one reason why having a dog is an excellent antidepressant. You have to get up and feed the dog. Dogs are wonderful.)
In all the coping skills I’ve learned and the reading I’ve done and the therapy sessions I’ve been in, I never saw a tool as effective, as basic, as simple, as The Work. I grew up around people who were zealous about their beliefs and felt not only compelled to share about them but morally obligated to do so. I never felt the same zealousness or obligation about beliefs. Nor did I understand those who did.
But when it comes to The Work, I feel impassioned about it. It is something I wish everyone knew about. It is something I think can change anyone’s life. The change isn’t overnight, it takes work, that’s why it’s called The Work. It requires practice.
But it does work to help you question your thoughts and relieve your suffering. Our suffering comes from believing thoughts that are untrue and that deny reality. The first and most basic question The Work asks is, “Is it true?”
Once I came across The Work, I started watching videos and listening to podcasts and finding more books by Byron Katie. I completely geeked out over it all.
I’ll write more about The Work in coming posts but for now if you want to find out what it is for yourself go to thework.com. Everything on The Work is free, and there are videos everywhere online to watch Byron Katie go through the questions with people. I highly, strongly, fervently recommend you check them out. They’re fascinating and helpful.
I’ll be taking the blog in a new direction and will be posting about what that direction is in the next week.
Please follow me on Instagram @carynwonders for poetry, found poetry, and art journal pages.