8-13-10 "The Byron Katie Interview"

In case you missed it...

Rosie began today's show singing You Are The Only Exception by Paramore.  Rosie sings this song to her kids in the car and said how she sang the Rosie Radio theme song today is similar to how she sings this song with her kids.  Rosie sang the chorus of the song "You ARE the only exception.  You ARE! the only exception.  You ARE!!!! the only exception, etc."  Rosie said the chorus in this song is just repeated over and over and is  totally annoying to her. 

Rosie said that Byron Katie would be at the studio today to talk with her personally.  She drove up to Nyack for the interview.  At 43 years old, Byron was extremely depressed.  She was suicidal, couldn't get out of bed and wasn't attending to her children.  Then she had an epiphany.  She realized you are not your thoughts and that victims are violent people because they are violent against themselves.  She came up with a 4 question "work" that allows people to not be controlled by their own thoughts.  She has even worked with Oprah.  Rosie said that Byron is a a self-help therapist that has really effected her.  Byron Katie maintains that the suffering from the world comes from inaccurate thoughts.  Rosie has also learned that our thoughts about past negative experiences re-traumatize us.  Janette said that she has often found that the most profound thoughts are simplistic.  Rosie is going to interview Byron Katie with everyone out of the room.  Byron's work is meant to be done in a public forum so we can learn from each other but the other members of the staff are going to be listening from the control room.

Byron asks 4 questions regarding our thoughts:
1. Is it true?
2. Are you absolutely certain it is true?
3. How does it make you feel when you believe it?
4. Who would you be without that thought?

Rosie recommended listeners go on her website and watch Byron's "interviews" with people.  When Rosie first started reading about "the work" she compared it to her own recurring thought that she was "too fat."  Rosie found Byron Katie because she was wondering to herself why she picks her face so harshly that she hurts herself and makes herself bleed.  Rosie learned through Byron's "work" that she's violent to herself.  Then, Rosie started over-eating when she stopped picking.  Rosie thinks you need a program to fully break yourself from a negative get out of a behavior.  How you think about where you are in your life determines your state of being.  She asks us WHO would we be without suffering?  Janette has been violent to herself physically.  Rosie too.  Rosie used to break her own bones as a child with a wooden hanger.  Rosie said it  sounds crazy when you say it aloud but suffering is something that everyone can relate to whether that be an eating disorder, alcoholism, over-eating, etc. 

Rosie talked about how she walked off The View without even defending herself.  She said there are moments when she can let that moment go.  But the initial impetus of her leaving was that she didn't want to make war with a young pregnant woman on National television for money.  Janette participated in a positive thinking program called E.S.T and in the end she learned that we are responsible.  And we can even take responsibility for things we didn't do.  Rosie said that Byron Katie says that there are 3 types of business.  Your business, someone else's business and God's business.  It doesn't mean you can't care and that you don't have compassion for something if you don't completely consume yourself with it but to consume your brain with the thought of something does nothing but make you suffer. 

Before the interview Rosie even wondered why Byron was willing to come up to Nyack just for her, just to talk to her. Rosie is overwhelmingly moved and touched that she's come to Nyack to talk with her. 

Rosie introduced Byron Katie who was in the studio to talk to Rosie personally.  Rosie said weeks ago she was talking to some people at the Oprah Network about her and now here she is in her life and on her show!  Rosie said that Byron's story fascinates her in a way that she is unable to articulate.  She simply feels drawn towards her.  Rosie complimented Byron on her sparkling eyes and Byron said that before "the work" her eyes were dead and now her eyes are alive.  Rosie said she almost felt a force coming from her.  Byron said she gets that a lot. 

Rosie appreciated the fact that Byron actually lived what she discusses.  She doesn't just talk the talk.  Byron said all this started when she was suicidal and she needed help.  She doesn't ever remember feeling totally whole with herself.  She said she was pretty miserable as a child and there was no reason for it.  She said she was full of confusion and self-hatred.  She said that confusion is the only suffering in the world.  She tried alcohol, drugs and food to treat her confusion but of course, none of those helped.  She had also tried to lose weight many times. 
Byron was married and had three kids.  She was extremely paranoid and very depressed.  She even used to sleep with a gun under her bed.  She also thought the pain she was feeling was physical pain and it was really emotional pain.  She went to an obesity clinic thinking that losing weight would solve all her problems.   

Rosie said that she feels like she has known Byron her whole life and said that if she could come live with her she would!  Byron feels that way about her too. 
Byron said that all of the peace she feels is available to everyone if they want to do "the work."  Rosie asked her how her mind became open to it?  Byron described it as a "mind hit" or a "mind slam."  Byron said that a cockroach crawled across her foot and she had a "mind slam" and at that moment she had a major shift of mind.  Before her epiphany she thought that death was the solution and only then would she be free.  She said you don't have to die of the body to be free.  In heaven we believe there is no pain, no suffering, no disease, there's more than you would ever need, and that everyone is caring.  She found a way to believe these things on Earth and not wait until death to feel them.  She was gifted (given) a way out. 

Byron described her new awareness as being like a motor with no sound.  She said it was like looking out two holes (which were her eyes) and her mind came in from nowhere and it hit and everything had a name.  And she saw that "it" was the thought that created the world and she relearned the words for the world.  Rosie said her awareness was almost like the computer of her was rebooted.  She had to totally re-identify herself because she had re-identified with her true nature.  She said it was like being born again out of respect for the essence of what it is and what we are all sharing our participation in - love, God, authenticity, etc.   

Byron would try to speak to people about her new awareness and said that she would frighten people.  She said that if she's frightening people then there's something off with her communication.  The first three years for her it was all about communication and not frightening people. 
When Rosie left her TV show in 2002 she changed all her passcodes to "be still" because she needed to get back to the truth of who she was.  However "be still" is also "best ill."  Rosie said she was so used to being ill.  She's about to go back to television and she finds herself asking her the 4 questions this time over the things she worries about.   

Rosie thinks Byron's work is important and essential human knowledge.  They discussed filling out the worksheets on Byron's website and Byron advised people to just "report the mind."  She advised people to just be still and let it come to you.  She said through images and pictures you will see the answers and they will come to you.  

Rosie said that she has struggled with Tracy's son Archie who has Autism.  Archie has sensory issues and Rosie feels she is incapable of dealing with his screaming.  People often tell Rosie that they're afraid of her and she can't believe it when people say that to her.  Tracy tells Rosie that her son is afraid of her and that causes Rosie so much shame.  Byron said maybe that is true but maybe it's not.  She asked Rosie if she can know that it's actually true, that Archie is indeed afraid of her.  Rosie said No, that she can't actually know it's true but she fears it and she worries about it.  But after wrestling with her answer she said that yes, Archie is afraid of her.  Byron told her that her "yes" is okay.  Rosie said that she then feels a tremendous amount of self-loathing and a deep shame.  Byron asked Rosie what images she sees when she has that thought.  Rosie said she then sees images of them not being able to be a family, she sees his mother (Tracy)  hating her because of it and she hates herself because of it.  Then the emotions happen.  Byron talked her through it and said that those images don't even look like her and aren't true.  She talked Rosie through it and they discovered that the images are her imagination and are not true.  Rosie said the fear however is big- that it's real.  Byron said if you need some excitement in your life, get a story of the future. 

Byron then asked Rosie who she would be without that thought and imagine herself with Archie and he's screaming.  She asked her to see him in her mind without the thought "he's afraid of me."  Imagine she was  someone able to comfort him.  Rosie said she always thought she was so able to connect with children.  She always would think she would be so good with children with challenges and now here she is faced with it and she's not able to conquer it.  Byron said that she's there with a child with challenges and that's how she knows she's supposed to be dealing with it. 

Then it was time to turn the thought around and think the opposite of "he's afraid of me." Which is Rosie is afraid of him.  Byron talked with Rosie about what she's afraid is going to happen if she doesn't comfort and doesn't scream at him.  Rosie said she is afraid she can't make him stop, she's going to scare him, and she won't be able to help him.  She's also afraid that the chaos and the noise will unsettle the other children.  Rosie admitted she has wanted to try to "fix" Archie which she admitted is just her ego.  And Rosie said that Archie's screaming does upset everyone in the house.  Byron asked Rosie who is the teacher of the household.  Rosie answered back that she is teaching that the screaming is upsetting and that screaming at someone in pain is okay.  To Rosie, it looks like he's in tremendous pain.  Byron said there's no way for Rosie to know that he's in pain, it could just be her own thoughts.

Byron said the opposite of fear is trust.  She asked Rosie how Archie trusts Rosie.  Rosie said he trusts her to take him on the boat.  And sometimes he hugs Rosie.  Byron asked her to allow her to feel that feeling and to not allow it would be disrespectful.

Rosie said she questions so many self-help people and their intent when they charge for their services.  She appreciates that Byron Katie's work is free.  Byron said she doesn't claim ownership of it.  Rosie said it's as if she's cleaned the window so the light can come through her so that others can clean their own windows. 

Rosie said the first crack in her adult life was Columbine, then 9/11, then Katrina, and then the oil spill.  Rosie thought she couldn't survive it when the oil spill happened.  She realizes it is not happening to her and the concept that it is God's business has given her solace.  For Rosie, global issues have been crippling and she would end up throwing money at world catastrophes trying to help.  Only that doesn't make her feel better and then she would get angry that others aren't helping more.  Byron said when motives are running "the work" doesn't work.

Rosie asked Byron if she ever asks why this happened to her.  Byron simply stated, "Because I'm the one that can be trusted with it."  Regarding Archie, Byron asked Rosie to be present with him.  Rosie said that that is how her girlfriend Tracy is with him and it's very humbling for Rosie. Byron said that Tracy does "the work" without even knowing it.  Byron said all we have is to learn or suffer and that suffering is worse. 

One of the first things Rosie's girlfriend Tracy ever asked Rosie was "Why do you always tell the story of your mother's death?"  She said that Rosie had so many stories of her life but that is the one she always tells.  So, Byron went through her 4 questions with Rosie about her mother's death.  She asked Rosie if it is true that her mother died.  Rosie said Yes.  Byron asked Rosie to look at her life from that moment until now.  She asked her what that felt like when she found out her mother died.  Rosie said she felt abandoned, unlovable and not worth staying for.  She asked Rosie, for a moment, to imagine who she would be without the thought "my mother died."  Rosie said she would have had much less suffering.  She asked Rosie who she would be without that story of her mother's death and the story of being sent home from Jackie's house and all the grown ups crying and screaming.  Other than what her thoughts at that moment, she was okay.  What she was thinking and believing caused the suffering, it wasn't her mother's death.

Byron asked her to turn it around.  Her mother didn't die. Her mother lives in her, in who she is as a person, in her love of theater, in the resemblance of her face, her charisma, the way she parents, and her genetics, etc.  Byron asked Rosie to imagine her mother alive.  She asked Rosie to imagine her cleaning in the other room.  She said an image of her mother is a visit.  She is there in her mind.  She said if you're in the kitchen and your mom's in the bedroom she only exists in your mind anyway.  Byron said another way to turn the thought around would be that Rosie died at 10 years old.   

Byron said that all life has a right to die.  And when she hurts you don't and she loves that.  And when you hurt she doesn't.  But we project our feelings onto each other.  When Archie screamed, Rosie projected that as pain.  She said that all suffering is self-inflicted.  To not suffer doesn't mean that you don't care.  We project our feelings or how we think we feel based on the past.   We're the projector of all and the creator of all our suffering.  Byron said that once we question it, you're awake to it. 

Rosie asked Byron if she imagines if this is what she'll be doing for the rest of her life.  If this is her calling?  Byron said that this is how she sees now.  She said there's  not chance of her not seeing what she sees as long as this apparent existence is going on.  She said it is worth living just to witness one human being waking up to their true selves.  She can only exist as another's projection and without that, there's no life.

Rosie and Byron talked about how when someone says "I love you" it's a great thing because they love themselves.  And if someone tells her she's a piece of crap, she feels bad for them because that's how they feel about themselves.

Rosie ended the interview telling Byron that the peace that she exits in is intoxicating and something to strive for.  Byron said that it's possible for everyone that all it takes is stillness and an open mind.  She said that she is the reality that it's possible.  Rosie told Byron she is doing a program for OWN and that she would like her to come visit the show. 

Rosie closed the show.

and that's what you missed -kw


  1. Kelly,

    Thanks for the incredible job you do. Reading this blog is on my "must do" list everyday!

  2. woah! this must have taken you forever!!!!! thanks so much...

    what an interesting interview- i'm sorry i missed it.

  3. omg...this was not the show to miss...when is it going to repeat. thanks for the recap.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. i missed the show today
    sounds like it was really interesting
    thanks for the great recap.....i can always count on you to find out what I missed

  6. i.am.sobbing.

    thank you so much, kelly

  7. i tried to listen to byron katy but it was like nails on a chalkboard i literally couldn't listen to her voice sorry

  8. I struggle the same way with Byron Katie...her voice distracts me somewhat and I don't get some of the things that she says...even tho I really want to. I did not feel that she explained it all that well but I am glad that Rosie liked her and got alot out of it...I can't wait to hear her talk about it on Monday! Thanks for the post!

  9. I really wanted to be in to Byron Katie but I found she was too difficult to follow. And like Louise Hay, blaming the person for all your own ills. If you read about her on Wikipedia, one detractor notes her sense of empathy. I think it is a good thing that when one of my kids are ill, I can feel it too. Earaches, etc. But like Janette said there are many paths.

  10. Byron Katie is hit and miss for me. I wrote a comment to Rosie but she didn't post it. I think that all of us have stories--and some of us are too caught up in them, like business executives stressed out all the time, but some of us need to be built up with more--we already are sort of empty and dissociated. And when I am in that state, work like the work does not work for me. I feel like a lot of the new age material is similar in that it draws you away from the mind and to a new place where you observe the mind and everything. But I tend to already be very dissociated so I don't find it helpful. If anything I need more narrative in my life.

    I also find it interesting that each of these self help gurus has a sort of supernatural moment of when they "changed" just like Eckhart Tolle did--but those changes never seem related to the actual philosophies they teach. Like what is the connection between the cockroach and the work?

    Finally, I will not say that I know anything for sure about her classes and retreats since I have never been, but when I googled her, I found a lot of information about people complaining about the cult-like nature of those.

    I think when you force people to answer yes or no . . . I don't know . . . it makes me perk up because I used to belong to a really bad group led by a psychiatrist which was really actually a cult and he would go around asking if we trusted him and we were only allowed to answer yes or no.

    I can see how her questions can help, but I also see how you could end up mindless and that could give someone control over you you might not want to give away.

    I am not being entirely negative or trying to slam her--I even own one of her books, and like I said, I have mixed feelings about it. I have done the work a bit, and found it helpful at times, but not life changingly different from introspection I do on my own.

    This is my first time posting, but I read this blog every day as I don't have Sirius--thanks for the hard work, Kelly.

  11. Re-framing your thoughts and beliefs is used a lot in cognitive therapy, so I'm not sure how different this is to a cognitive therapist. If you look up Byron Katie on Google, you'll see too that a lot of people believe it's kind of a cult, though most see her as very sincere.
    But I think taking time to examine your unconscious beliefs and self-talk is very helpful.

  12. First time posting. You do a wonderful job on this blog, Katie. I look forward to it as much as I do listening to Rosie's radio show.

    Sorry, but I just don't get this Byron Kelly.
    I heard a couple of minutes of the interview and had to stop. Checked her out online previously and something didn't resonate for me. Can't pinpoint it...but I respect Rosie and if it helps, that is good. The voice and dragging out her answers were annoying to me.

    I read and study similar self help teaching, but this was not for me.
    To each his own.

  13. Kelly- Did I mis-type your name on my previous comment?

    If so, please correct it before approval.


  14. Kelly,
    It is cydni from baton rouge,La. I cried for 2 days after listening to this with Byron Katie. I have the same exact issues as Rosie does. I only wish that I could get Byron to come see me but I guess that is what fame does for you. The average person does not have that luxury.
    I was abandoned at 8 years old on Chritmas eve 1969 by my mother. She left me and my sister and brother alone on the porch for our father to pick up. It was sad and it haunts me today.I keep wanting to make things right. It consumes me daily. I can't function anymore. If someone here can get a hold of ms. Byron Katie I really need help to understand the things I do.
    I think you are doing one awesome job kelly.

  15. I have a chid with autism and I share the same struggles with the screaming. Thank you Rosie for being so honest about the challenges and for striving for a different way. I love Byron Katie's work and it has brought me great peace, moment by moment when I remember to do it.

    I loved this interview. Thank you Kelly for the recap.