These are brief notes from a three+ hour juicy, rich, and powerful inquiry session.
The situation was Monday when I “crashed” (due to CFS) after shoveling snow in the morning, and also was disappointed because a humidifier I had bought didn’t work. As I did the work, I noticed the original situation was from when I was a baby so I included that as a second situation.
I realize these notes will mostly make sense for those who are familiar with The Work of Byron Katie. And inquiry is only juicy and rich if you do it yourself, ideally with an experienced and skilled facilitator. You can do it for free on
Summary of Main Insights / Living Turnarounds
There are a lot of notes here so I’ll summarize some of the main insights and guidelines I am bringing into daily life. These are turnarounds to the initial stressful thoughts that especially hit home and felt juicy to me, and that I am bringing into daily life as reminders and guidelines.
- If the universe is neutral, I am the one who has to give me what I want – safety, love, support.
- I am cruel and unloving. Any time I believe stressful thoughts, I am cruel and unloving to myself. I can stop the reactivity and the pain.
- I need me to allow things to fall into place for me. To not hinder it, as I have done many times in life, because of my own scary thoughts about it.
- The universe gives me what I want. I notice that often, it does eventually. And it gives me what I want deeper down, which is to be shown reality so I can align with it more consciously.
- The universe shouldn’t love me – more than it already does. It’s already giving me a lot. Family, friends, partners, shelter, food, travels, the opportunity to explore
myselfand life, living in a wealthy country, delicious food, nourishing cups of herbal and spice teas, and much more.
- The Universe shouldn’t give me what I feel I need. Because I don’t need it. It shows me I don’t need it. And it invites me to explore my beliefs about needing it, and – if it still seems like something I would like – any beliefs that may stop me from having it in my life.
Judge Your Neighbor worksheet
Situation: CFS crash after shoveling snow, disappointed because humidifier doesn’t work (Monday)
- I am scared of the universe bc it doesn’t love me
- I want the universe to be safe
- The universe should care for me, support me, love me, give me what I feel I need
- I need the universe to be kind to me, nourishing, gentle, allow things to fall into place for me, give me flow, give me what I feel I need
- The universe is cruel, hard, harsh, cold, makes things fall apart for me, doesn’t give me what I want
- I don’t ever want to experience the universe being cruel and unloving towards me again
This is how I see the universe when I get disappointed, exhausted, scared, have scary thoughts about past and future.
This Judge Your Neighbor worksheet is what we fill out first in The Work, and it generates statements and beliefs we then take to inquiry, to the four questions and the turnarounds.
Situations to use in I
Situation 1: In bed, after CFS crash from shoveling snow, disappointed and deflated because the humidifier is not working, unable to get up and do things.
Situation 2: Me as a baby, in the crib, alone, crying, nobody comes, unable to get up and do things.
These are the situations I’ll imagine myself back in while answering the questions.
I started with situation 1 since it was more immediate and fresh in mind, and discovered situation 2 very quickly when I inquired into the first statement. The two are very similar, and what comes up in question three is very much as a baby would experience it.
I also see that since it happened when I was a baby, the stressful thoughts took the form of global thoughts about the universe and eternity. It felt like the distress was the fault of the whole universe and would last forever.
The Inquiry Questions
- Is it true?
- Do you know for certain it’s true?
- What happens, how do you react, when you believe that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought? Without this whole set of stressful thoughts?
- Turn the sentence around (to self, opposite, other, same) and find genuine examples of how it may be as or more true than the initial statement.
These are the standard four questions in The Work. I worked with a very good facilitator when I did these inquiries which
None of the written notes or insights that came from this inquiry are new to me, but because I was ready, receptive, and willing to experience deep shifts, and I worked with a facilitator who is a good fit for me, it went deep.
The universe doesn’t love me.
- Exhausted, don’t have energy to do anything, hopeless, feel like I am 3 years old, feels familiar and safe, image of a long series of disappointments in the past (me looking disappointed), see future as dark, nothing, protects me from: it protects me from trying and failing, unable to be excited about anything, I see pictures of ice cream, pizza, cheese sandwich (addictions), feel the need for those foods in sensations in the face, cost: the thought makes me not want to do anything, feels pointless, payoff: get to be a victim, people can feel sorry for me, if people feel sorry for me I’ll get help, help to get out of this belief, fear would happen if didn’t believe: I would go ahead in life and be happy and care free and be knocked down, the worst that can happen if carefree and knocked down: that I would be cynical, that I would be exactly like this, worst that would happen if it’s true the universe doesn’t love you: I am doomed, forever doomed, suffering for all time, knocked down again and again for all time, right before the stressful thougth: excited about the humidifier
earliest memory of having that thought: me alone in the crib, alone, in the dark, crying, nobody coming, hearing my parents outside the door, the door slightly open, seeing them looking through the door, not coming in, leaving me there alone and crying (I made myself a victim, decided to suffer from that moment on)
- rest, content, more carefree, think that we’ll either fix the humidifier or get another one, no big deal, more excited about different things in the future, body relaxed, breathing more deeply, know it’s just a crash, I’ll be OK again
TA: I don’t love me. Yes, I that situation I scare myself with all sorts of scary thoughts. I take them as true. I elaborate on them, making it worse for myself. I make myself into a victim, doomed forever until end of time, I make it grand and melodramatic, / as a baby – I could have enjoyed myself instead, played, explored, I turned my anger towards myself, made myself a victim of the universe, I wanted to be out roaming around, anger towards parents when heard and saw them, treated them as aliens, foreign, somebody I can’t trust, when they are no longer there I turn the anger towards myself, make me into a victim, the crib is a prison, prevents me from getting out and with my family, / how is that prison recreated in your life: fatigue and brain fog, acts like a prison,
TA: The universe loves me. Yes, bc I have a family that loves me, I have shelter, warmth, food, clothes, friends that love me, / how loves you when you crash and the humidifier stops working: it shows me I need rest, it helps me see this belief and investigate it, helps me be more human, see myself more like anybody else, universally human, shows me how to bring balance to my perspective (know beforehand that this can happen), the universe lets me know if I am too airy fairy or cynical, it brings balance back /
TA: I don’t love the universe. Yes, I complained a lot to myself about the universe, life, my situation. I complain about my health, that things go wrong for me, feeling like a victim, not being able to get out of this pattern of health, things falling apart, complaining / I don’t love myself which = don’t love the universe /
TA: The universe doesn’t love me! It requires me to love me, and the universe. I can’t rely on the universe to do it for me. / The universe doesn’t love me bc it’s not capable of loving, it’s neutral. It’s just the way it is, the unfolding. It’s not personal. It puts me on equal footing with everyone else. If it’s not personal, it means I am completely free – from needing to worry about it loving me or not, there is no punishment or reward, it’s just totally open. “The universe loves me” feels closed, /
I want the universe to be safe
- Yes (bc I feel very vulnerable in that situation)
- I feel like a baby pleading, I make myself like a victim and vulnerable, image, feel like a gladiator on the ground with someone with a spear over me and I am begging for my life, afraid of losing: I am thinking the universe will listen to me so I am afraid of losing that, feel like a three year old, vulnerable, begging the universe to be safe for me, unable to do: I am not able to get up and do things, for the baby what’s the payoff: gives me a nice dream, hope / fear would happen if didn’t believe that thought: that I would have to accept that the universe isn’t safe, feels scary / fail to notice when believe you want it to be safe: that I am safe, in both of those situations (1 and 2), the humidifier works some of the time, as a baby I didn’t notice the reason they came to the door was that they cared for me, / how did you treat your parents (as a baby): as incapable of making me feel safe,
- I am with myself, noticing sensations and thoughts, seeing that this is life, it’s universal (w health challenges, things not working),
TA: I want me to be safe. Not scare myself / Humidifier: Be sensible when I buy something so I am not taken off guard, not derailed when something happens. So I am more practical / crash: know it’s temporary, will feel better again. Also, be practical and not overdo snow shoveling. Take it slow, in several portions, be kind to myself. / I exaggerate the importance of the crash and the humidifier not working. I want me to be safe to myself and not exaggerate.
TA: I don’t want the universe to be safe. General: It means there isn’t a lot of space for adventure. It’s more unpredictable and surprising / The crash shows me to be more sensible in the future / Bc if I don’t want it, it means I don’t need it / I am living life as I do, not overly careful, with some danger /
TA: The universe wants me to be safe. It wants me to survive, provides oxygen, gravity, the universe is my body telling me to rest, the universe is this situation showing me that a failed humidifier is not the end of the world,
The universe makes things fall apart for me
TA: I make things fall apart for me. By buying a used humidifier. By not reminding myself it may not work. By overdoing the shoveling (too much, too fast). Crib: Bc I made it into something universal and eternal for me. / I left the psychology program and didn’t return soon enough. My father threw out my things bc I didn’t instruct him, I didn’t take care of it. I didn’t take care of my own interests in the divorce, I didn’t ask someone to help me. I went to and stayed in Wisconsin even if it went against my clear inner guidance and my own best interest.
TA: The universe makes things fall into place for me. It made it possible for me to rest. It showed me that I had unrealistic expectations of the humidifier (inexpensive, bought from a private person). Outside of the situation: I found a way to make it work, and then it worked even without that. Crib: I have a nice, warm, safe space to be. I hear that my parents are there, close. My parents came to the door. They did come in eventually. Divorce: I met H, and still had everything I needed, and I’ll inherit some money. Health: I keep finding things that help. I learn from it. I have what I need. Psychology program: It gave me time and space to find my own path, my own approach. I became more free to explore and incorporate anything. Marriage / Wisconsin: I found Sustain Dane and am amazing job and community.
TA: I need me to allow things to fall into place for me. Bc I know what I am doing when I allow things to fall apart. I can see it as I am doing it.
Quickie Turnarounds (TAs without the four first questions)
TA: I am willing to experience the universe being cruel and unloving towards me again. Bc I am doing it. I can stop it.
TA: The universe is kind, soft, pleasant, warm – yes, right now sitting here it is
TA: The universe makes things fall into place for me – yes, right now as I do this inquiry
TA: The universe gives me what I want – I notice that eventually it does, nearly everything I have wanted has been given to me at different times
TA: I want the universe to be scary. Bc it keeps me on my toes. It makes me think twice about overdoing it with the shovel. It makes me more careful buying things from private persons. It brings practicality into my romantic spirit.
TA: The universe shouldn’t care for me. Bc then I have to do it for myself.
TA: The universe shouldn’t support me. More than it already does. It’s already supporting me a lot.
TA: The universe shouldn’t love me – more than it already does. With family, girlfriends, friends, food, cabin, Norwegian oil, YouTube clips, books, comic books, music, amazing nature, travels, (The universe really loves you.) Facilitator: Super parents, tall, beautiful, amazing parents, living in a wealthy world,
TA: The universe shouldn’t give me what I feel I need. Bc I don’t need it. It shows me I don’t need it.
TA: I need the universe to be mean to me.
- When I am not kind to myself, it’s mean and I go to bed.
- When I overdo the shoveling, it makes me crash so I know I overdid it
- When I buy a humidifier with too much optimism, it makes it not work so I can get more realistic and pragmatic
- When I am not following my inner guidance, it makes things fall apart
- When I am in the crib and my parents don’t come all the way into the room to me, and I make the whole universe mean and scary, the universe creates discomfort in me so I get to see what happened
- When I don’t take care of my own needs, the universe makes me not get what I think I need so I get to see that I don’t take care of my own needs (and that I don’t really need what I thought I needed)
- When I am not a good steward of my own life, the universe makes things fall apart for me so I get to see I am not a good steward of my own life
- When I am not following my own guidance, it takes me out of the flow so I get to know I am out of the flow
Living Turnarounds (to use as guides in daily life)
- If the universe is neutral, I am the one who has to give me safety, love, support **
- I need me to be kind to me, nourishing, gentle, allow things to fall into place for me, give me flow, give me what I feel I need
- TA: I am cruel and unloving **
- any time I experience the universe being cruel and unloving towards me, bc I am creating that experience through the thoughts I believe about it
- I can stop the reactivity, I can stop the pain of it
- [in a conventional view, it’s a terrible statement, in a TW view, it’s an amazing and liberating statement]
- TA: I need me to allow things to fall into place for me **
- TA: The universe gives me what I want
- I notice that eventually, it does, nearly everything I have wanted has been given to me at different times **
- TA: The universe shouldn’t love me – more than it already does.
- With family, girlfriends, friends, food, cabin, Norwegian oil, YouTube clips, books, comic books, music, amazing nature, travels,
- Facilitator: The universe really loves you.
- Facilitator: Super parents, tall, beautiful, living in a wealthy part of the world,
- TA: The universe shouldn’t give me what I feel I need.
- Bc I don’t need it. It shows me I don’t need it.
Additional Reflections / Insights
Situation 1: in bed, after crash from shoveling snow, disappointed and deflated bc of the humidifier not working, unable to get up and do things
Situation 2: me, in crib, alone, crying, nobody comes , unable to get up and do things
Both: in bed/crib, unable to get up **** (different prisons)
Also: My marriage, became a prison, unable to get up and out
(My marriage was just like the crib, and ended up with CFS which was another prison)
Forever doomed, suffering for all time, alone, nobody comes,
Also, when I am here in bed, nobody comes, just like the crib, and in my marriage nobody came to help
crib – felt helpless, becomes epic, cosmic, was instantaneous and complete / father telling me to not speak up – helpless, hopeless,
Crib: First scared, then heard and saw them and they didn’t come in to me, and I got angry at them.
Crib: They did come, they just came to the door. (Before, I told myself my parents didn’t come, but now I see that they did come. They came to the door and looked in to make sure I was OK.)