All posts by Kate

don’t believe these words.

This is a shorter version of what will become a longer work.

Don’t believe these words, because words are not accurate.  Instead, transcend language.

How does one transcend language?  By simply noticing that none of the words we use are accurate.   The word tree is not a tree.  The name Kate is not me.  It’s just what I happen to call myself.  The word is a shortcut, so people don’t have to tap me on the shoulder whenever they want my attention.  Or, they use it when I’m not around so they can tell people which person they’re referring to.

So we are not our labels.  If you’ll notice, things are not their labels.

So much of my joy is in the wordless noticing of the world.  Reality is wordless, and words superimpose it.  I’d describe reality as beautiful, but even that is inaccurate.  Because the words are inherently not accurate.  The feeling of it can’t be described in words.

Words, when taken seriously, can box in our understanding of reality.  Are you a sinner, or a saint?  Why does that dichotomy exist?  Is it a good person or a bad person?   The very premise of these opposites is false.

I used to think it ironic that I’m a writer who transcends language.   And even that is a strange thought – “transcending” language?  But I don’t know how else to put it.  But I suppose it’s not that ironic.  It’s just language noticing itself, and undoing itself.

It never feels like I’m the one typing, either.  It’s not like I’m taking credit for anything “I” have written.  It’s more like the body sits down, the hands type, and this comes out, and there is nothing blocking this from happening.

To people who are trapped, through no fault of their own, in a state of non-flow right now, these words will make absolutely no sense.  The state of flow is difficult to explain in words.  It feels like total ease, total truth, total love, no resistance, and not caring about what the other minds are thinking.  Not trapped in fear.

But back to the words.  They’re not accurate.  And even that is not an accurate way to say it.  I can never state something accurately, at least not when it comes to explaining reality.

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on bigotry, blame and discomfort

          If discomfort were a choice, no one in their right mind would choose it.  Everyone wants their own body to feel good and to avoid pain.  That is the underlying motivation of our actions – to feel okay in our bodies.
          Take, for example, a bigot.  This is someone who is uncomfortable with what is.  Did they choose to feel discomfort?  No.  
          If you blame bigots for being the way they are, did you choose to feel that bodily discomfort?  To blame is to feel uncomfortable and tense.  If it were a choice, you wouldn’t choose it.  
          They didn’t choose the discomfort of bigotry.   You didn’t choose the discomfort of blame.
          When we come to understand that no one chooses discomfort, we see that everyone’s discomfort is due to unfortunate circumstances.  
          As a society, we can change those circumstances and decrease the likelihood of discomfort.  It will be easier when we stop blaming each other.  Once the blame ends, the changes will skyrocket.  Compassion for all people will be the norm.  Hate and anger will plummet, and we’ll talk people out of their unfortunate beliefs instead of blaming them for their beliefs, because we’ll know better than to blame.  And the world of blame in which we currently reside will be a thing of the past.  
          It starts with us, the ones who realize that the world’s discomfort is no one’s fault.  
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the emotional benefits of not believing what you read

The written word is not necessarily any truer than the spoken word, and the act of writing something down doesn’t make a thought true.

The reason I mention this is because I see that a lot of people have -for lack of a better word – gullibility when it comes to written words.  They’re more likely to believe the words if they’re written down as opposed to spoken.  I have theories as to why this is the case… because a lot of books are filled with facts, it’s easy to believe that all books are filled with facts unless the words are obviously false or made-up or labeled as fiction.  It’s also easier to believe opinion words when they are mixed in with words that are true.  Which means a random opinion could be thrown in among a bunch of facts, and people are more likely to believe it because it is surrounded by facts, and their brains aren’t switching gears to notice the presence of an opinion.

I was very gullible about written words until two years ago at the age of 29, so definitely don’t feel bad if you are in this camp.  I’ll explain further – it’s kind of a funny story.

I uncovered that I was more gullible with written than spoken words while taking the Lefkoe Freedom Course.  In the course, I was to write down the thoughts I had that were causing my emotional upsets, and the conclusions I was jumping to.

I remember I had a moment when I was writing down my beliefs – the false beliefs I didn’t want, and panicking because I was writing them down.  I realized the reason for my panic.  It was because I was subconsciously thinking If I write these horrible beliefs down, that means they will become true.   This subconscious thought had been causing me anxiety throughout the course, because I was supposed to write down my beliefs frequently.

And that’s how I had a breakthrough.  I believed that written words – unless very obviously false – were the truth – and that writing down a subjective thought would make it come true!  I started laughing when I realized that this was my belief.  It was such a huge breakthrough for me, and a tremendous relief.

I knew that if I wrote down the words “The moon is made of cheese,” that it wouldn’t come true.  It was only the case when I was dealing with more subjective thoughts that couldn’t easily be disproven.  So if I were to write down the words (or read someone else’s words) that said an opinion – I was very likely to begin agreeing with that opinion and find evidence for why the opinion was valid.

I realized, in retrospect, how much this particular nuance of thinking had affected my mind and my ability to think freely, and therefore damaged my emotional state.  I also realized that if I had this nuance, there are probably a bunch of other people that still have it too.

Gullibility in the written word explains a lot of things.  It certainly explains fundamentalism based on written texts.

How is my life different now that I’m way less gullible with written words?   I feel more at peace.  I notice opinions now – whereas before I would accept them as truth.  My mind is much freer.  Opinions tend to stick out like a sore thumb to me.  I’ll be reading something and be thinking… truth… truth… truth… opinion… truth… truth… false… truth… I can tell the writer is upset emotionally here, and therefore believing something untrue…. truth… truth…

Remember: just because it’s written down, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true.  And just because it’s spoken, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true either.  Check your sources.

love,
Kate

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in remembrance of Morty Lefkoe

Morty Lefkoe, the creator of the Lefkoe Method of eliminating beliefs, passed away today.  He is survived by his widow, Shelly Lefkoe, an equally amazing person who also helped me eliminate some beliefs.

These two people have made such a huge impact on my life.  I have spoken previously in the blog about how powerful the Lefkoe Freedom Course was.  That course, which I took two years ago, was instrumental in helping me understand my emotions and the emotions of others.  Because of how hardcore it was (I called it a mental bootcamp because it involved doing the mental work 14 times a day), I experienced rapid changes in mindset and emotional well-being.  Two weeks into the course, I had a day where I did nothing of real significance, but it was the best-feeling day of my entire life up to that point.  That’s how brilliant his methodology was.

Everyone knew how loving a person Morty was.  He would sign off each class with an “I love you” to his students.

He will be greatly missed by many people, I’m sure.  Morty, it was an honor to be your student and thank you for touching the lives of so many people.

love,
Kate

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why I write

To showcase the non-crazy, non-garbage part of my mind.

To leave a legacy, so that my words have the chance to comfort and heal people even after I’m dead, hopefully.

To get the words out of my system, because there are so many that it’s overwhelming at times.  They’ve got to go somewhere.

To give inspiration access to me.

In an effort to help others and myself.

To be part of the solution.

Because there’s always the chance that I’ll die today (hope not), and I don’t want to die with the words still in me and not out there.  What a waste that would be.  If the words have the potential to be helpful, why not share them?

Because life is precious and not to be wasted.

Because my writing hand is wiser than I am.  It thinks of things I could never think of.  The act of writing brings the most truth out of me.  If I write down a false thought it immediately looks false to me, whereas if I kept it in my head, it’s much easier for it to lead me into the previously mentioned garbage-mind.

As an intellectual and emotional release.

Because I can and must.

Which brings me to a bigger point… the reason anyone has ever done anything is because they had to.  As Byron Katie puts it, “It’s their job.”  That is the truth that has given me the most freedom of all.

Writing out of necessity,
Kate

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use these six simple words to instill confidence.

The latest fridge note I wrote to myself is simple, yet effective.

It says this:

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My only concern in life is the very next step I will take.  It doesn’t say “You know what to do tomorrow,” or even “You know what to do ten minutes from now.”  That’s for future me to know, and it’s not my concern.

I’ve had this note up for just a few days, and I’m already noticing a big difference in how I go through the day.  Less indecisiveness, more overall confidence.  More trust in myself.

Try it!  Display these words somewhere you’ll see them often.  See what happens.

love,
Kate

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book announcement!

Friends,

There’s been something gnawing away at me.  I feel the itch to write, write, write – and not just in blog form, though blogging has been amazing.  I think it will turn into several books, actually.  I’ve already begun writing the first one, and I can already see that there’s so much material that it won’t all be able to fit into one book.

I’d like to get the first book written and published (at least as an eBook) by next year.  We’ll see if it happens in that timeframe, but that is my intention.

In the meantime, I might update Questioned Mind sporadically.  I’m glad that I forced myself to update the blog once a week for a while, and the accountability is now ending as the book takes priority.  I realized that I was starting to dread coming up with a new idea and essay each week, while simultaneously writing a book, launching a life coaching business. and working two other part-time jobs.  (There’s a lesson here: when dread starts to arise, it might be time to either let the activity go or do it less often.)

Please feel free to take a look at some of the previous entries that you may have missed the first time around.  My first book will be about similar topics.

Thanks for following the blog, and I’ll write here again.  Assuming I’m still alive.

love,
Kate

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calm down by making your story mind-numbingly boring

One of the reasons our traumas feel so bad is that we use emotionally heightened language when we talk about them.  Certain words trigger emotions more than other words.

If you find yourself freaking out about something that happened, here’s a technique you can use to calm down:  Write down your story.  Pretend you are the most boring person in the universe, and you’re writing the story of what happened.  The rules are to avoid proper names, possessives, and words that are emotionally charged.

Here’s an example:

“There was a person whom I had seen in person and talked to.  We also touched.  Then we lived under the same roof.  Then we started talking less.  Then we didn’t talk anymore and I live in a different place than I did.  The end.”

That’s the story of a breakup.  Isn’t it fascinating how boring it sounds when we take out all of the emotional language, sense of ownership, and proper names?

Here’s another:

“There was a place that I would go five times a week to make a trade.  I was there for a while.  In exchange for what I did, a person would give me a currency which I could then trade for other things that I wanted.  Then, that opportunity to trade was no longer available.  The end.”

That’s the boring version of someone losing their job, and I could barely stay awake reading it.

The use of possessives can cause extra suffering (as in “MY wife left me”).  Possessives make us feel possessive and attached.  There’s a time to use them, and a time to not use them.  Use them when explaining your situation to other people, for the sake of brevity.  Don’t use them in your self-talk if it’s hurting you.  It could be “a person I was living with.”  “A person whose womb I emerged from, many years ago.”  Some of them might sound comical, but they’re true (side note: laughter helps with this stuff too).  When you make those relationships non-possessive, you can see the story with more objectivity, and more as a witness.

Your story only feels as sensationalized as you describe it to be.  The point of this exercise is not to deny feelings or reality, or to act like what happened didn’t affect your life.  It’s to reframe it so that you suffer less.  It’s an especially good technique when dealing with loss.  Loss only occupies your mind when it’s interesting.  When loss is boring, you’ll lose interest in thinking about it as much.  You’ll find yourself getting excited about other things that are more interesting than the fact that something ended – such as how your new reality is interesting and different.

Try this writing exercise.  First, write down your upsetting story in your own words.  Let it all out and hold nothing back.  Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions you feel, because that’s healthy.  Then take a deep breath, and review what you’ve written.  Take notice of the possessives (my, our), proper names, and emotionally-charged words that were used.  Then rewrite the story using the most boring, dry, matter-of-fact, depersonalized language possible.   Avoid using names, possessives, and vague concepts.  Write what literally, scientifically happened.  Read the story back slowly, aloud if that helps.  Do you feel calmer about it?  Can you even stay awake during it?

love,
Kate

p.s. To take it one step further, remove “I” from the story and use the third person.

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there’s no such thing as being too sensitive

If anyone has ever told you that you are too sensitive, they were mistaken.  Sensitivity is an often-misunderstood condition.

I’m a highly sensitive person.  The acronym is HSP.  This week I went to two meetups for people who are HSP, and both were empowering and gave me a better understanding.

Highly sensitive people experience life more intensely than other people, and are more affected by other people’s energy and the environments they are surrounded by.  It’s a bodily condition, not just a mental or emotional one (hint: think about the body holistically, noting that mind/emotion/body are all linked and affect each other).

Another term you might look into is HSS.  It stands for high sensation seeking.  If you find yourself bored fairly easily, or if you were ever diagnosed with ADHD, it might help to read up more on it.  I identify as HSS, too.  Many people identify as one or the other, or both.

There’s nothing wrong with me, or people like me – we just need the proper resources and techniques in order to live a satisfying life.  We’re all built uniquely and we all have different requirements, so be gentle with yourself.  Give yourself a break, and limit time spent with people who can’t or won’t be comfortable with the way you naturally are.  Educate the people who are willing to listen.

Being sensitive is not inherently good or bad.  It just is.  There are definitely certain advantages to it.  I like that it’s easy for me to empathize with others and feel compassion.  The crying is kind of neutral for me.  I just accept it when it comes, and don’t judge myself for it.  I used to be super embarrassed about it.  Now I just view it as my body’s natural reaction to certain stimuli.  I sometimes leave the room if I’m around other people when it happens – depends on the day and the circumstance.

Brad Yates, who is my EFT go-to guru, did a wonderful tapping round on the topic of sensitivity, which can be found here.  Another good resource for HSP can be found at www.thehappysensitive.com

love,
Kate

 

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saying goodbye to Pa-Pa

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To follow up on last week’s post, Pa-Pa passed away on Tuesday the 4th.  A couple of days later I was on a plane to Paducah, KY.  Pa-Pa had a large family of 10 children.  The above photo, of all but one of his grandchildren, was taken after his funeral mass.   (I’m 8th from the left of the standing people, between my sister and brother.)

It was a sad and surreal experience, but also an uplifting one.  At the funeral home several family members told their favorite stories about Pa-Pa.  There was a common theme about how loving, accepting, funny, calm, and down-to-earth he was.  It was clear that there was much admiration for him as a person.  I felt that way, too.  Lately I’ve been thinking about ways that I could be more like him.

Deaths can be difficult to deal with, but they also have a way of bringing people together.  Really it was a celebration of his life, and of life in general.  I’m very happy that I was able to attend, and that I had the privilege of knowing and loving him.

love,
Kate

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