Two days ago I spoke on the phone with a good friend and colleague, Caitlin Frost. Caitlin is among many things, a deep practitioner of “The Work,” as described in Byron Katie‘s books. I have learned that when I talk with Caitlin I want to have a pen and paper close by. Insights pour through. Some from what she shares of her journey. Some from what becomes open and clear in my journey in this space of friendship.
Our conversation two days ago had a heading for me of “Consciousness.” I invited the conversation. I wanted to share some of what I was noticing through my process of journaling of the past week, in which I was focused on letting go of stories. Life stories. Ones long lived, but not with enough of my consciousness. Some surprising ones that were actually quite harmful. I needed to give attention to this, with a question:
“What are you/we/I learning about becoming more conscious and awake? In particular, about clearing stories?”
At the center of this learning was clarity, for me, that consciousness is such a journey. It often feels that doors open to reveal many, many, many more doors. And some of those doors aren’t new. They are the ones we missed a while back and have showed up anew. Funny. I laugh in the rooms behind some of those doors. I cry in some of them too.
A couple of gems among many, that help me in this part of the journey.
Notice the Fish — If not doors, perhaps fish. Swimming in the water. Sometimes difficult to see, but then with a turn in the light become fully present. We all carry stories with us. Some we are aware of and have chosen to keep. Some we are simply blind too. The choosing, and the blindness, influence who we are, what we see, what we feel, what we do. I love how Caitlin described the fish. “Sometimes you run into a shark.” Seemingly small things can actually create access to very important and far-reaching stories. A variation of this – I know I’m mixing metaphors but they all seem to help — is to shine the flashlight within ourselves. It’s not that what we see wasn’t there before. We are just shinging a bit of light on it.
Put It On Paper — To put it on paper is to welcome a different relationship with it. In Byron Katie’s work, writing is an important part of the process of becoming more awake, clear, and conscious. This rings very true for me. To write it is to come to know it in a different way. And to know it is to invite more choice in how to be in relation with it. There was an important addition that Caitlin offered. “If I believe it for five minutes, it can link to a whole life.” Funny. And powerful in many directions here. For example, to believe an “incompetent” story for five minutes can energetically infuse so many unrelated contexts with incompetence. Fun to think of the flip side of this too. To believe a competence story and have it infuse other contexts.
The point for me is not a manipulation of self. Not a shallow motivational approach. It is to notice the complex beings that we all are. Self. Other. Community. And to come to know more of the simple steps and practices that help clear us — self, other, community — to be in the journey that most needs us now, and the work that is so perfectly advanced because of our journeys in consciousness.