Finding Peace

by Stacey on December 21, 2009

Finding Peace PhotoPeace doesn’t require two people; it requires only one. It has to be you. The problem begins and ends there. – Byron Katie

I love Byron Katie. I really do. I had read a ton of literature on happiness – from academic studies to the Dalai Lama – and nothing helped me let go of my stressful thoughts like her simple process called “the Work.“

Earlier this year I had a pretty challenging phone conversation with my father. He wants his grandson vaccinated, but my husband and I have decided not to vaccinate our son.

We made this choice after a lot of thought, and for some pretty compelling reasons, but after sharing with my father the evidence behind our decision, he held to his belief that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks.

So my father—seemingly out of the blue—called and insisted that we vaccinate our son. As we talked, it quickly became obvious that I was not going to convince him that I was “right”, nor was he going to convince me that I was “wrong”.

He was frustrated and angry. I was upset, too. I got off the phone and wondered how we were going to feel better if we were not going to be able to agree.

Then I remembered Byron Katie. And I decide to apply the Work to my stressful thought, “My dad should accept my views about vaccinating my son.”

To do the Work you ask yourself four questions. I list them now, along with the answers I gave to them at the time of my story.

Is it true?

Yes. I am an adult and the mother of my son and my father should accept my views about vaccinating. He doesn’t have to agree with me on the issue, but he shouldn’t argue with me about it.

Can I absolutely know that it’s true?

Um, no.

How do I react when I think that thought?

I am sad and angry and resentful that my dad is imposing his views on my parenting. I am fearful that he will withhold love or respect if I don’t do what he thinks is best.

Who would I be without that thought?

I would love my dad. He is an amazing father and grandfather. There are so many things that I love and appreciate about him!

After going through these questions, you do what Katie calls “the turnaround.” You try to imagine yourself in the position of the person you have judged, or whose situation causes you distress.

It is sometimes challenging to do this, but you will have huge awakenings when you can. In fact, you will often find that you have also transgressed—or are also suffering—in some manner similar to people or situations you have judged.

I realized that I was being as obstinate as I judged my father to be. I wanted my dad to accept my views, but I was not able to accept his. Immediately I felt a shift in my perspective and I could see how my dad was expressing concern for my son’s well being.

And I saw that I didn’t have to agree with him on the vaccination issue to appreciate his concern.

Shortly after I realized this, I e-mailed my dad, explaining how grateful I was that he shared my desire that my son be healthy. It took another few hours, but soon he wrote back saying he respected my position and appreciated the respect I had shown for his motives.

And by doing the Work and sharing my appreciation we were all able to find peace.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

RuthieNo Gravatar December 21, 2009 at 12:10 pm

This is such a great example of the Work, Stacey. I remember hearing the story the first time and just smiling. Such a wonderful testament to your love for your Griffin, your dad, yourself and your desire to find peace in this world. We were talking yesterday about the word, “forgive” and what it means. Everyone had a good answer. Andre said, “It means to forgive”. Isabella said, “It means when someone apologizes, you accept their apology”. I thought about it for a while and realized that for me, it means letting go of the feeling that was causing me stress (anger, sadness, disappointment). Once that feeling is gone….there is nothing to forgive!

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StaceyNo Gravatar December 21, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Yes, Ruthie, exactly! I’ve benefited so much from the Work teaching me that I feel stress any time I believe a thought that isn’t true. And I just learned another spin on that same concept courtesy of Marianne Williamson, “Every loving thought is true. Everything else is an appeal for healing and help.” I love that – no negative judgment about the fact that I’m struggling…it’s simply an appeal for healing and help. (And I love this concept so much I write more about it in tomorrow’s eZine!)

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RuthieNo Gravatar December 22, 2009 at 3:11 am

What a great one. “Every loving thought is true. Everything else is an appeal for healing and help’. I love it.

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Beth PilzNo Gravatar December 22, 2009 at 11:01 am

Thanks for the discussion comments. Forgiveness is quite a challenge for me. I try to see the other person’s point of view, but letting go of the emotion is hard, especially when their behavior seems unfair to me. I want to accept, let go, and move on with my life. Some situations are far tougher than others….

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RuthieNo Gravatar December 22, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Beth-
I really agree. Forgiveness is a huge challenge for us all. I often think that my life’s work is figuring out how to let go of big, hard feelings. The funny thing for me is that once I allow myself to let go of those emotions and am so feeling so darned good, I think, “Why the heck was I using so much energy holding onto that for?”

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PatiNo Gravatar December 22, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Hi Stacey,

All I can say is . . . you are good. Thank you. Pati

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Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A LightworkerNo Gravatar June 14, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Thanks for sharing this post with me. I have read the two of Byron Katie’s books. I learned a lot from them.

I don’t know how old your dad is but if he is my age near 60 (not there yet but in another year), we grew up in the generation that got the first vaccinations for Small pox, polio, whooping cough, diptheria, and a couple of others that were all life threatening and at the time had been killing a lot of kids. I know of the dangers of today’s vaccinations and I agree with you. I suggested that my daughter at least wait until my grandchildren were older than just babies before doing the vaccinations if she chose to do them at all. She felt pressured by the doctors and finally gave in and my oldest grandson may have some learning disabilities because of it.

Your dad was probably of the generation like I was that saw lots of children actually dying or being crippled by diseases such as polio. As a child, I got 3 shots (they weren’t shots, they were the pin pricks that they used for small pox) for small pox before one actually took. Looking back, I would say that my natural immunity much have already been pretty high. Your generation doesn’t see the childhood illnesses or deaths from those illnesses that mine and those generations before mine did. As always there are pluses and minuses to both sides of the argument. I am glad you and your dad were able to make up.

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StaceyNo Gravatar June 14, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Hi Patricia!

Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful comment. Yes, my dad is 60+ *and* a physician so his concern is certainly well-founded.

I’m sorry to hear that your grandson may have been negatively affected by vaccination. I’m heartened by the thought that *you* are helping to support him with his learning disabilities.

Thanks again for your comment and take wonderful care, s

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Betsy VingleNo Gravatar July 23, 2013 at 8:52 pm

I knew of Katies work but the tues email prompted me to really look at The Work again…and really helped me with an issue I am working on today! So perfect and timely! Thanks….and good for you for standing up to the vaccination pressure as well. There was something in the news today about Jenny McCarthy being against shots (the view) and all the backlash her comments recieved. The important thing ….is it true? …..hearing one another and being authentic without making up a story about it…making others wrong. Thanks for posting this stuff today!

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StaceyNo Gravatar July 24, 2013 at 8:28 am

Hi Betsy!

Thanks so much for your kind comment! The “Is it true?” question gets my attention every time.

It has the effect, almost of pulling a veil from my eyes, and I can suddenly see how it’s my *thought* that’s creating the distress, not the situation.

Big hugs to you!

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