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Living in the Flow of Wakefulness
For a long time, Katherine has been passionate for embodied wakefulness; wakefulness as a lived experience rather than simply a conceptual one. It was not always this way.
In her own personal journey, at the young age of 16, she was almost 200 lbs and suicidal. Katherine was far from feeling or living life expansively. Her journey of waking up began with a suicide attempt and the long, hard passage between despair and hope. After healing from the inside out, she shares her powerful message. Moving from the world within to the outer world.
Now, Katherine is thrilled to bring her work forward in her first book, River to Ocean: Living in the Flow of Wakefulness. She presents 9 aspects of wakefulness within a framework of the inner and outer world. She not only offers powerful ideas, but ways to integrate each with an inspiring “Story from the Field”.
Using a holistic approach, Katherine takes her audiences on a spiritual life journey, one that transforms despair into hope - and confusion into clarity - towards the ultimate discovery of an awakened self.
Welcome to the Heart Soul Wisdom Podcast, a journey of self discovery and transformation. Moira Sutton and her amazing guests share real life stories, tools and strategies to inspire and empower you have to create and live your best life. Come along on the journey and finally, blast through any fears, obstacles and challenges that have held you back in the past so you can live your life with the joy, passion and happiness that you desire. Now, here's your host Create the Life you Love, Empowerment Life Coach Moira Sutton
Welcome to season two, Episode 25. Living in the Flow of Wakefulness with our special guest author and psychotherapist Katherine Jansen-Byrkit. For a long time, Katherine has been passionate for embodied wakefulness, wakefulness as I lived experience, rather than simply a conceptual one. It was not always like this for her though. In her own personal journey at the young age of 16, she was almost 200 pounds and suicidal. Katherine was far from feeling or living life expansively. Her journey of waking up began with a suicide attempt, and then the long hard passage between despair and hope. After healing from the inside out, she shares her powerful message moving from the world within to the outer world. Now Katherine is thrilled to bring her amazing work forward in her book, River to Ocean: Living in the Flow of Wakefulness. She presents nine aspects of wakefulness within a framework of the inner and outer world. She not only offers powerful ideas, but ways to integrate each with an inspiring story from the field. Using a holistic approach, Katherine takes her audiences on a spiritual life journey, one that transforms despair into hope, and confusion into clarity towards the ultimate discovery of an awakened self. So without further adieu, it is so much my pleasure to introduce you to Katherine. Welcome Katherine.
Thank you so much. And thank you for having me.
This is going to be cool, and thank you for your book. I enjoyed your book immensely and it was written beautifully. It's something it's almost like I don't want Well, I'm gonna say like a Bible, like having something that's just so powerful. And I just, I have to share something on this. And that just happened on my window. My office overlooks a beautiful willow tree, which I interact with nature and that - and this is going to be very powerful because my totems are the Red Tail Hawk and the Long Eared Owl. Those are my totems in shamanism. And a Hawk just flew by my window twice, just as we're starting this. So that's expansiveness right there. So I think everyone should have your book. I think it's like a Bible for life. It's just such a resource. And that That, to me, speaks to me when a hawk was my twice with a beautiful expansiveness that there, you know, his or her wings. So there we go,
There we go. Let's fly.
So let's start at this, you know, this is a powerful story, you were only 16 you were almost 200 pounds, and you attempted suicide. Please share that story. And then your thoughts on depression and suicide.
Well, thank you for starting there. In the it was really a response to trauma, what was happening food addiction, the darkness of the depression I was contending with, that ultimately was also about a deep fracture to my sense of self. My beloved father, who now has passed, basically left, my sister and I, the remaining children in the family and my mom, actually framing it as I can't kind of do this with I can't do family life. So that was that was kind of a personal thing, not just this marriage is difficult. And so I didn't know that at the time. But it began to really live inside of me, as again, such a trauma to my sense of self. And being enough I wasn't enough to keep my father at home that within a couple of years that had just really taken hold. So what was an eating disorder became eating addiction. What was sadness just took me into very dark place. And in the suicide attempt, obviously, it didn't work which I thank the universe and the divine for I literally in a hospital room kind of had a chat with God. And in my young self, if I can't even do this, right, I have to figure something different out. So that really began the journey. That is what I offer in the book, which is the step by step healing, and working with all of those things to rediscover who I really was not only to heal, and then to really live that transformed life.
Now, did you come from a family that was spiritual or religious? Or did you just you started on your own path, learning this and doing this?
You know, my mother was highly spiritual. She was quite eclectic. So she would dabble in Judaism, we were members of the Presbyterian Church, I went to a psychic at 14 years old, she often talked about the past lives that we have had. And, and so you know, I am so in appreciation of that. Now, and because I just got it just was an exposure to so many different paths to God, and, and consciousness. And so I just kind of picked off up where she left off in a way, on my own journey.
That's wonderful. I know, when I grew up, I was also brought up in the Presbyterian Church. And I questioned things there, because we were taught in school, don't question your, you know, elders, your teacher - the person at the church that you went to when you went to, you know, out when people had the church thing, but I had asked, you know, I didn't have an idea in my head, where God, where did that start? I keep going back kind of in my mind, did he pop into the university? You know, who was? And she couldn't answer it. She kind of ignored it couldn't answer it. And then that's when I questioned her. I thought, well give me that outside anymore. I'm going to discover myself and went down, you know, my own spiritual path?
Yes. Tell me, what is your definition of an awakened self mean to you? And how could you share that with our listeners?
Well, I guess when I have had both the most intense moment, which was a moment where I attempted suicide, and one of my most transformed moment, in those two In contrast, I, I take on just kind of to build on your last question, the idea that God is not out there somewhere. It is within and we are that and that was very, very different than even though Presbyterian experience was not traumatic. For me, it was it was a completely different paradigm. I think that's what I'm hearing you say. And so when I think about our true self, that I am that self, I tried in my book to define it in ways that people would concretely understand having maybe not had either of those experiences that I had had either tremendous and deep despair and pain, or a kind of moment of awakening and an altered kind of like something happening in a in a, in a moment of time, I guess I would say. So being fully present, which would, you know, imply being fully present in the moment. But I would add to that being fully present, to what is not just like, Oh, I'm noticing I'm talking to Moira right now, but fully taking in all this happening both internally and externally, being relaxed. And so for some of us that we didn't even know how anxious we are, if we are in a state of anxiety, there is a way we are not as present. And then I would lastly offer interconnected to everything around us in ways that again, in a kind of Western culture, we don't always experience so relaxed, fully present, to the moment and to all that is here, not in distraction, and interconnected to to life and others and other beings. Does that make sense?
Definitely. Definitely. I was just thinking very deeply as you're speaking there. Because right now you know, with the COVID, and the pandemic, you know, and then the things around politics, racism, all that kind of gucky stuff coming up, or if we do feel anxious or depressed, or we don't know why it's even there. Is that those things you just said? Is that what you would say to somebody to, like, just sit down with it? Maybe observe this.
Exactly, you know, the being with rather than fixing is, again, kind of a different paradigm for others to work with. But you know, I'm a psychotherapist. So sometimes being with some of the really hard stuff. That's, that's overwhelming to do alone. So a key part of my work and I think just what we're understanding, just even With the impact of COVID is, how powerful loneliness can be and undoing aloneness is huge. So it's either. So being with what is, and that's a deeper practice of mindfulness than some people think some people think mindfulness is just a blissful experience. And you may have read this in my book, it is if blissful things are happening, but if I've been ignoring what's been going on in my life, or inside of me, or both, I'm actually some stuff is going to roll off the shelf, and it's going to be uncomfortable, it might be even painful. So it's a willingness to be with what is in that fully present state. And as I worked with people, and now we're coming up on a year, for sure, and just working with uncertainty, and using this as an opportunity to remember that actually, we we guess about the future, but and we have a mind as human species that can predict, but we always are in a level of uncertainty. And so kind of helping people work with that, because we didn't know when COVID would end, and we didn't know if we might get it, it was just a scary thing. And then depression, just the effect of isolation, lots of research around that. And so it's pretty hard to escape that effect at a human level. But we can use this then as an opportunity to prevent or work with depressive states that might come from extended lockdown, for example, or not being able to see our friends. Yeah, so I guess I take in this was my book, the idea of wakefulness through our lives, not despite our circumstances. So always being opportunistic, for how can this moment difficult or not, or this relationship - serve my wakeful self? And and what does that actually look like?
Again, if somebody's sitting there, and they can't deal with their anxiety, and they're trying to escape for whatever reason, watching TV, you know, before maybe it was people going out shopping, or eating or whatever. How do you teach people to do that, to really sit with that? And just, you know, how can I, you know, learn from this and in a wakeful state? Is it a long process to do that with someone because I know people who are very anxious right now, and I've worked with people who have gone through deep depression and abuse in all those areas. But I'd love to hear how you do it. Because you have a way even the way you speak I like very trusting and loving and you, you can feel where you're coming from.
Thank you so much. Well, yes, those states and almost I would say within I've been in the second career now almost 20 years. So it's been quite a time normalizing those things. So just a piece of that that's beautiful, of course, because then it doesn't feel shameful if I'm anxious or depressed, or both. But it's also a kind of normalization that is a little bit concerning and frightening to me. And that this is kind of accepted as kind of comes with the territory of being a human being, or being on the planet at this time. And so I'm a person that always goes to source. So when we think of anxiety is actually more of a body and a mind piece, like caught in an eddy if you want to use the metaphor, the river, versus actually feeling fear. And all emotions in their core state come in waves. And they don't actually last very long. where something like anxiety, which people think of is fear, it's actually more of a steady state. And it's a lot of mental activity. So I guide people into a place which is the second aspect I talked about in the book, to really getting some emancipation from the mind, really also then working with body practice. So if I'm feeling anxious, there's much I could do in the moment. And deep breaths are just the beginning point, to begin to really quell what is the physiological state of nervous system state. And then just segue into depression. Often people think of that as sadness. Depression is actually not sadness. Sadness, is a beautiful and important emotion as as anger as joy. But again, they move as transient states. And so if I'm depressed, actually, probably some of my emotions are shut down. So I'm thoughtful about people that are deeply depressed because it's very scary to introduce the idea of like, we're gonna move towards the pain not away from it, but I'm with you to do that. And actually, if we turn toward that grief or turn toward even some of that anger, it may not be as scary as it feels like to feel those feelings and then as that starts to move off, and depression will start to lift. Now sometimes there's hormonal pieces, and there can be situational depression COVID, just kind of a piece like that we're just other things are happening. And it isn't just about feeling the feelings along the way. But that's kind of how I would dive into those two pieces and and start the process with folks.
So that is your aspect to freedom from the mind to really face your fears.
Well the fear that's generated by the mind, absolutely, yes, I realized that, you know, it's, you know, so much my first aspect is just befriending you. And then it's this idea of self that's much beyond the human idea of the ego self. But pretty quickly, we're contending with a mind just because our thinking and so dominates our existence. And if, if I identified with my thoughts, or if I believe beliefs that are untrue, like I am unlovable, or I'm not good enough, that is going to generate so much depression and anxiety, that yeah, it's it's really, you can't stop thinking, but you can understand that your mind is often, if not more than often correct, is incorrect. It's inaccurate. And so just helping people just have that awakened, wake wake up call to that, like, I don't have to believe every thought, or story like what does that look like? So that's a huge way to then again, be present in the moment as I'm not lost, and kind of the trends of the mind or the future.
So you talk about befriending yourself. Let's, let's talk about that a little bit more. And you also talk about intrinsic worth, how does somebody develop that? How do you develop that muscle? You know, the whole thing?
Well, yeah, it's such a good question, because I believe it is. It's either an aid or it's not. So it's actually a reclaiming kind of thing. But and so often, in my practice, Moira, people do not come in with a with a counseling goal of I want to, I want to, you know, I want to claim that intrinsic worth, or I want to strengthen as you say, that muscle, they'll come in with the consequence of not having worth and they won't know that that's the driver, they won't know that that's the driver of their shame, they won't know that that's why they can't apologize. Or they're practicing perfectionism. And so again, as in terms of befriending You, me, that is the reclaiming of what is intrinsic and innate, meaning I have nothing to prove. It doesn't matter that I was suicidal, it doesn't matter if I've injured someone as we all have. The innate does not move, the worth does not move. As I say to my clients, it's never on the table. So that just felt really important to put in the first aspect. So how I work with people that are like, I want that that sounds really good, but I'm not there. If their appearance, I might say to them, well, are your children worthy or do they have to kick a soccer ball perfectly? Do they have to go to college? Do they have to have a certain IQ? And immediately it's like, absolutely not. It's like, well, if you can know that in your body, right now, just feel how you know that, then if it's true for them it's true for you. And so we just got to get back there. So when you were an infant, you didn't think Am I good enough to cry? Or should I not cry? Because I'm not as I'm not as good as my brother or sister or right, we just so somewhere along the way, worse, got fractured or there was confusion. Like for me at 14, my father left is like, Oh, I'm not good enough. I knew exactly where it happened. A lot of people don't know exactly where it happens. But usually we can unpack it and get some good ideas.
When you think about things like I have a memory that I used to share with people when I did conscious core transformation, and that's working with belief work. And it was in grade two, again, I was told not to question my teachers. But they took they took 10 kids to the side of the room at the front of the room. And the teacher said to the rest of the room, these 10 children will excel in life and you are average. That's what she said to us. And, and I was one of the ones sitting down and I didn't tell my mom it came to my own awareness.
Oh my goodness.
It came to me, my work in psychology and everything. And then I use that to share with people that that stuck with me a long time because when I went to college and university and I was the first one in the family to go. It was not easy for me, I had to work really hard. Because I had that belief there still that no it wasn't stupid, but but it was sort of like I'm not going to excel you'll struggle all your life. And so it's interesting what we we hold and we don't even know like that came up later.
Exactly. And I might add a piece that I speak to, and I think we all can relate to it, which is confirmation bias. So when I have a belief, the wild way the mind works is, though that belief gives me great suffering, it is actually looking to reinforce itself. unbeknownst to me some of the time or a lot of the time, and even if a bridge further is I will create evidence. So that kind of in our mind will screen out evidence to the contrary of a belief, oh, so if it's a belief, I'm unlovable, it will not track where I experienced love, and could understand myself to be lovable. It is looking for confirmation of the belief that exists. And so it's going so then I have this idea of like, but I can prove I like I, I see, this is how I know this belief, even I hate it, I'm miserable is true. And so I introduced that in the book, just this idea of confirmation bias. And it's like, what we have to do it sounds like you're doing this to us, if we can change that inner belief system at the psychological level, then that same process will begin to happen in a very different lovely spiral upward, which is the goodness in me my worth my love ability, then I see evidence of that and then that's reinforced.
Yes, because a lot of times we we give our power away to other people, it could be even your children, your mate, your partner, your mom, your dad, your uncle, you know, friends, versus like you said even at the beginning, you know about creating, and you know, this moving from your message from from the World Within to the world without working on that deep inner work and knowing you're the one you're the one that has to do the work you can't have, you know, Suzanne over there going to the gym and you want to lose some weight. You have to do the work.
Yeah, that's right. Well, and I think that inner environment for some of us that come from trauma, and our world tends to have us pretty outward facing to be to go inside is is really an act of bravery for a while because I am dealing with things I've not dealt with I have to face feelings of unworthiness or my fallibility. places I haven't forgiven myself. feelings I have not fully experienced I've disassociated from. And so that inner work, which is really how we get to outer manifestation is key. But I think that's why I love being a psychotherapist. And not just traveling in spiritual waters is because sometimes that's that's too much to ask without actually some trauma work, and clinical support to do that. And so yeah, the inner that moves to the outer is absolutely. How I frame it all.
Mm hmm. How would you help somebody - I don't know if they come to you for this, but discover their life purpose. A lot of people are like, I don't know what my purpose is. I don't know where to start. I don't you know, I don't even know if I have one. But for them to have that life purpose. So they can have more meaning and fulfillment in their life. And it's bigger than the I, the me, it's something - the bigger vision, I call it.
A bigger vision. Yeah, well, a couple of ideas on that. And this might sound a little conflicted. But I would offer this as kind of an idea of duality, sometimes two opposite things sit together. I don't know if you have grandchildren now. So I recently watched this movie that's up for grabs for some of the awards called Soul. And it's the the main theme that related to our conversation is basically what is purpose. And think of it is like I'll write a book someday or all I got to change the world or like this big ticket item and and don't want to don't want to be a spoiler alert. But you know, the movie spoke to something different, which is ultimately, the extraordinary is in the ordinary it is here right now. And we need to be cautious about being so future oriented, and goal oriented, that we miss some of the deepest experience in life, which for some of us then becomes part of purpose to be an instrument of love, for example, to be fully present to our life, to feel the feelings such that we can then empathize with other suffering and that might kind of inspire us to do something at whatever level. So there's that and I work with people from like all walks of life and all times in their life. And there is a way that if if we do not have directionality if we do not have something that feels like you know, literally what am I getting out for every day That that has a place and we can call that purpose a critical place. There's - in graduate school, this little experiment that always stayed with me that I learned about, where they took a experimental group in a nursing home, elderly folks, and they got a plant, it cost $1 49. And then their control group, they just were tracking that control group for 30 days. And they were tracking depression, they were tracking also health status stuff, I believe blood pressure, just some different things. Guess what the people that had $1 49 plant to take care of their their health status, and their mood and their well being improved. So every day, they had to keep that plan to life. And so, because it just spoke to me as how critically important, but how small that purpose could be, to make such a phenomenal difference.
I love that we have a plant here that's been with us for I would say about 20 years now it's in our meditation room. And I talk to my plants and I talk to my Willow Tree. So I, you know, I've always done that all that shamanism and the fairy realm and all that stuff, Katherine, but this plant in the front room that I love every day, and that's how I start my day I go give it water, and there's little babies coming off of that thing over and over and over again, as I said to Cliff, my soulmate and husband, like that is just a miracle that that plant is a miracle life and the day we move, we're going to be very careful moving that.
That's right, that's right, I would offer and I do have one of my aspects because I'm so deeply, not just like an environmentalist in the ways that we might understand and I am those things and lean in that direction politically. But the connection to nature again, I am that then I am not just a human species or a human body. And so my hope was like I'm hearing in your tone and your words, that you feel that aliveness in that plant that is you that is what you are resonating with, rather than just Oh, that's a beautiful plant, oh, I'm observing it. It brings me joy even to have purpose around it. It is form it is just a different form of source. So I love talking nature stuff. And that's why a lot of my book, I do nature metaphor. I didn't know how that was going to go as an author, but it just I'm so visual, and that felt like a way to differently explain ideas that have been around for eons. So nature is huge. In my world.
Yes, that was one of my questions. That's your aspect of nature as you is that correct? Mm hmm. Yeah, no, nature's huge. I love how you say that again, you know, I am that again, I am and just source takes different form. I don't know if you know Lynne McTaggart. She did a book, different studies around healing. And one of her books, though, that I used to present when I talked to audiences was Living in the Field. I think it's called and it's about intention "The Intention Experiment". We're going to touch on that in a minute. And how they did a study where these plants were another building, like, I don't know, four blocks away or something. And they held an intention that they were going to hurt this plant, like burn it or put a match stick or something. And then the other ones, they sent love to them. So you know what happened, the ones that literally thought they were going to be destroyed or burned. They started shaking, like the leaves started shaking and over here the loved ones flourished. So it was connection, again, between the two of them and it's pretty, pretty powerful.
Yes it is so powerful. And have you -do you know, the Japanese scientists, I believe he wrote a book called The Shape of Love. And it was the same thing. The water crystals changed when they put words like hatred, and violence and other words, versus you know, literally words in a glass. And they and then they put them under a microscope and the shape of love. And those crystals would be asymmetrical, or organized symmetrically based on on the energy of the word.
Yes. That is - Dr. Masuro Emoto.
Yes. I have his cards. I have his books. Again. I love my talks with this information. So we're both on the same page with that.
There we go. And you know, of course, how much water are we and then what are we saying to ourselves in our talk, and this is where we get right back into that human experience that can compromise experiencing ourselves has that beautiful symmetrical, you know, crystals of water.
Yes, perfect - and his message was also, if we're, you know, as an adult 80% or something or 85, whatever that percentage is, if that's who we are. I just think with words, how powerful we are that we can create a world of love and peace and empathy and compassion, like, we are the ones that can do this. And yes, they'll always be the people that aren't doing that, just as I feel, you know, coming out of the pandemic, there. You know, there's people who have really grown through this and taking the time to really, you know, spend time with their family, get uncomfortable, get comfortable, I think we're all itching to get out and do something different. But yeah, that that idea that we, we can heal the world.
Yeah, and the the impact we have on not just humans, and that's just we probably scratched the surface, think about neurons. mirror neurons that we have, we are so wired to be have a system that's responsive to others and environment. But if we take that to animals and plants, and what we bring energetically that now is science, this is not woo woo stuff, which is so exciting, that this is can actually be studied and known and trusted, I guess I would say in a different way. And, you know, not that this is a podcast, necessarily our conversation about racism. But that is one of the things also, that has been such an important part of this last year. And part of when we understand ourselves as part of a greater whole, and this idea of awakened self as interconnected to others, it undoes the toxicity of individualism. And I'm all about people having that sense of self that is befriending you and having a life that is a manifestation of our own kind of personal journey. But that there needs to be that has a limit, and actually a consequence if that's the end game, if that's where the line in the sand is. So I love this conversation, because I believe ultimately it is part of undoing racism is we have to be understanding that we are the collective, and we are affecting the collective. Whether we understand that or not. So to have deep intentionality around that, is anti racism work, I believe.
That's exactly what I was gonna segue into about intention and people trusting their intuition. So that trust, intuition, intention, tie that together for me.
Well, they both start with I. They have three syllables. Well, I frame them a little bit differently. But let me see if I can bridge it or maybe together we can bridge it what what is so exciting just kind of bouncing off where we just were this, the when I started this career, they had not done the neurological research that is now securely in place. So we really thought like therapy, talk therapy was - it might feel good in the moment. But the brain was not a part of the human organism that would change Well, now we understand that very, very differently with neuroplasticity. So the idea of setting intention, just like if I think a awful thought tomorrow is going to be terrible, I'm not sleeping tonight, I'm sure it's going to be awful. We now know, which is super frightening, that we are laying neural pathways. And once we lay neural pathways experience follows, so we are truly setting ourselves up. So then to me, the reverse of that would be intention. If I intend and sit with and kind of focus in on what that would be, my brain is organizing around that reality. It is not just a cognitive process, like a thinking like I hope it happens or like a New Year's Eve resolution. It has more power than that. And again, I think that's great. I will say Moira, that I work with people I had a session last night literally a woman talking to me about my intentions, but then I'm not actually manifesting some of those intentions. So then we have to slow down and drop in and get curious. Something's going on there. So sometimes people set intentions, they don't follow through on them. And they experience actually a lot of shame with that. So it's a complicated but a really important piece of this conversation. And then for me, intuition is literally the voice that is beyond maybe the more known voice in my head and if we can learn to trust that that inner Guide, which is I believe a function of source and delineate that from just my my self talk. And in - know that even in my body what how that feels different. I think that's also a part of for me my spirituality and for some and in one of my chapters, but incredibly helpful. Not always convenient. Not always fun. Not always logical. One of the stories of my book was when I followed my intuition and basically didn't get into the ocean where my husband was. We there did not look to be sneaker waves. We watched the water for probably 10 or 15 minutes. And my grandchildren, I want to be that grandma that was like, you know, snorkeling and because I'm pretty active, and they were too young to get in. And it's just I heard it loud and clear. And I probably I saved at least injury, if not our lives he was thrown in. He was in bumping up against a cavern of lava. If I had been in there tumbling around what I just don't know what would have happened. So it's it's kind of life and death. Sometimes I think with intuition.
That's interesting. I was just you were just so on the same page for Katherine, I was just going to mention that in your book, because I read your whole book. And, you know, and that was at the end there. And, yes, that you paid attention you did not go in. And I think you said that you're very strong swimmer, too. So. And I love the part, you talked about curiosity, I think curiosity opens up possibilities for us, instead of shutting us down. And, you know, you said that in your book also about, you know, how we are limitlessness, right. It's, that whole part lives within us. and if we come from this place of being curious and open - it literally I can feel it my body when you know, you're open, and then you allow, you know, the How to show up. We don't get in the way of that. Because the universe you know orchestrates everything, once we get clear on our intentions and what we want so beautiful. - I want to dive into specific elements to having healthy relationships. And if you can share some important, you know, practices during this time for people to have healthy relationships, not just with their partner, but with the children with the grandparents, with the people they interact with.
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, well, um, that was some of the both kind of not damage control, but some of coming out of the dark night of the soul of my life. And it took years to understand some of the pieces. And I keep, it is such an important part of the book that you probably read, it's not a third of the book, but somebody said, maybe this just needs to be its own book. So I have an aspect of wakefulness conscious relationship. And I do a lot of couples work, but I do a lot of dyad work. So to your point, two or three people, whatever the nature of their relationship. We, you know, we come from families of origin, that's sometimes it's always our starting place in a way but it's sometimes it's sadly, the ending place, we don't know that it can be different. So if we have a healthy relationships in those families, then we probably bring a lot to the table. But some of us didn't. You know, some of us were raised with unregulated anger. Some of us were, did not see parents taking care of their relationship. Some did not understand the importance of transparency. And there were always secrets in the family. And so I really tried in this aspect to break down each component part in its own way, what it contributes to a conscious relationship. But I started with an important one, and especially part of a gift I'm offering to your listeners, which is what I called in the session, the path of peace. One of the aspects of having unworthiness for me was it would drive rage, I didn't understand that I just thought I was expressing my feelings. But what was really happening was there was very deep anger of what had happened with my father. And then my shame and defensive anger around ever feeling criticized or so there was an anger in a fire that lived in me and my demeanor now is experienced is very different than even how I have known myself, for a lot of my life is pretty fiery, and pretty reactive. And so to me, if we go back to our early description of an awakened self, if I'm relaxed, if I'm open, like you say, if I'm curious if I'm interconnected, my temper is going to compromise that. So I, I really get into the very concrete process with many of my clients and had to produce this work myself and I have to live it, of regulating anger that's not repressing anger, but it is regulating it. And that is like a what, like us a paradigm that's a life changing kind of proposition for someone. I'll tell you a quick story. It's a celebration of how powerful this work can be. Before you and I got onto the recorded part of today. I this week learned that I thought I lost my website, my URL that I have had for 20 years and in the day without doing this work, I would have raged at my website person I would have, or even if I wouldn't have raged, I would have white knuckled it very, very tense conversation. The really powerful thing about doing deep anger work for those of us that need to do it, and that's some of the trauma work is, I was kind of scared. I was not happy, I felt somewhat frustrated with him. But when I got on the phone with him yesterday, the day before, I didn't even have anger too regularly. And if you would have asked me 20 years ago, if this was possible, I truly would have thought it would be a miracle. Like the best I'm ever going to do is not harm someone with my anger. There, I didn't know there could be a day where it did not exist, not because I was repressing it, because it literally it just did not show up in my body. And so that's the beginning part. But again, I go through transparency, I have communication tool, I have a collaboration tool. I think repair in relationship is critical. Otherwise, we build defenses. You know, we don't trust over time, if it's more just like Oh, wait, they'll try not to do it again, versus a repair process, for example, where someone does amends. And they also do atonement work, which is different than just saying I'm sorry, this is more like, Okay, how do we make this right? So that's what you can hear why that aspect of that chapter is fairly long, because there's a lot of components to conscious relationship.
Mm hmm. And then you have all these at the end of each chapter, you have these stories from the field? What was one of your favorite stories? I know you're gonna have many, many. It's very hard to choose one.
Oh, Yeah. What are some of my beloved Oh, two, if I could quickly share two Yes, on on worth that I think I was just so. So when you, you know, author a book, you have readers, and I chose some of my children, I have a lot of children, but some friends, a few colleagues. And when I got to that worth section, a client of mine who had given permission for me to tell his story, he had a classic case of why like me, he wouldn't feel worthy. He had a really absent father. And my daughter, Elizabeth, read that part. And she said, Mom, remember when I was 25? And I struggled with feeling good enough. And you don't have me in your book? I did. I didn't have parents that got a divorce. I was always told I was loved. You were always and dad was always present. So that would be really confusing to me as a reader, because it's like, well, then why don't what's so she as being a reader. And then if you remember, there's a second story about what is her story. It's about even if you get all the right messages, you never have a big trauma, you can understand, this still might be a struggle and something to resolve within yourself. So there's the worth one. And then there's my really brave client that in the aspect of embracing death and dying, and he is still alive. And when I published the book, we didn't think he would see that as published state. He was willing to write his story. He has terminal cancer, and he any still doesn't probably have much longer. But he wrote in his words, what it was to embrace death and dying, because some people read that chapter. It's like, yeah, that sounds really great. But what about if it's actually happening? And I won't say his name, because I'm protecting confidentiality, but he is facing that. And he is experiencing what those words say. So that is like a testament to this isn't just great sounding stuff. But when the you know what, hits the fan like, Oh, is this stuff really work is it real? He's a testament to that. So those are the two that are popping in right now.
Nice. Now, there again, I was going to go there - you are there before me - really embracing death and dying. So he that's one of the aspects of wakefulness. How does somebody really do that though, like, I know his story, you know, it's, he's having his own experience. How does somebody really do that, though, they know that they're dying, or they've been told they have cancer, they don't have long to live or whatever that is, how do they embrace that? Because that's, like you said, very scary. Like my husband was diagnosed last year, with, you know, stage four, prostate cancer. And when we came home from the hospital, we were like, I just cried, I couldn't imagine my life without him. He is my soulmate and, you know, and they just sort of say, Sorry, and you go home and you you know, you don't imagine that you'll ever experienced that you think maybe somebody Yeah, you know, and you feel and and yeah, But when you hear that, and, you know, luckily, where we live, I think we're living here for that reason he got into a study and he's a year. On the other side now, he is cancer free, metasasis free and, you know, we get to live this lovely life together. But that really wakes, that's a wake up call.
Oh my gosh, well, and I, so So a couple of things. Even in clinical training program, which was introduced to me, there's a whole approach that believes that our fear of death drives so much dysfunction, you could actually be a therapist just specializing in that not grief, not a traditional way of thinking about this, but just helping people face their mortality, and you will liberate them to live an awakened life, which is so the spirit of that chapter is that it is also like Steven Levine, he wrote a book, one one year to live. And it wasn't because at that point, he had one year to live, but he had clients and patients that when they were terminal, because it woke them up. They had one of the most phenomenal years of his life. So for if you read that book, you would pick something like today, February 26 2021. And I would say Katherine Jansen-Byrkit is going to die February 26 2022, what would I do? What would change in my life now the hope would be that's the test, that I would change nothing, that I am living exactly my intended life. So my hope is in embracing we are not only not afraid of this thing, that is a part of life, that our culture does not do a good job in helping us understand, we will die, those we love will die, there will there will be a goodbye. Not that it will be a closure of the love. That's a myth around closure. But there is an impermanence. And so to really be with that, when I say embracing, it's not like if I got that terminal diagnosis, I wouldn't be sad. But it is more about I wouldn't be afraid, I wouldn't be deeply sad, because I love my life, and I love my people so much. So there would there would be an experience of loss. So I would embrace that. Lastly, I would say a teacher helped me separate these two things, which is death and dying has two separate kind of pieces. So is it death you're afraid of? Or is it dying or afraid of and I have tended to be highly sensitive to pain, physical pain, so when I broke it down, I'm actually I was more afraid of dying, death itself, because I understand myself to be part of a larger whole that doesn't die. That and and even if past lives don't exist, that I'll come back someday, as I was introduced by my mom, that wasn't where I was afraid the body will die, I don't die. But the dying part was where at a human level, I was kind of at ease, so I tried to break that down in a book to help people also kind of connect, but ultimately, if we are not identified at the human level, it changes the whole question, do we die? who dies? What dies?
Yes. And Wayne Dyer talks about that, too. You know, just accept it, you're going to die. Your physical body is going to die. But yeah, you go back to where you originated, and you take your focus off your body and leave and I work with the other side, spiritual beings and I see them and hear them and it's been part of my life since I was about five years old. That's a nice way to put it because it not everyone believes that you continue your life you don't really die. That's scary if you don't have that belief.
I would like to invite you to read out of your beautiful book, River to Ocean: Living in the Flow of Wakefulness. I love the type the titles gorgeous and I'm all about Soul Awakening Academy. That's my that's my company. So the "wakefulness" and I was drawn to meet you. If you could read the part about your proposal around possibility I would love it's a powerful message. I think it'd be very nice to come to the closure of our heartfelt conversation with this quote. So if you can share that that would be wonderful.
I will do that. Thank you.
So, I propose to you a possibility. One that is life changing in its potential. You are much more than your human self. You are not just alive. You are aliveness. You are not only present, you are presence. You are not merely aware. You are awareness asking The question Who am I takes you to where it all starts. We will imagine traveling upstream to the wellspring of your existence, arriving at the headwaters of the stream at the source of your being there a truth awaits that whatever sourced you, is you, it lives and breathes, as you?
I just shut my eyes when I was listening to you, again, your voice. But that's at the beginning of the book. And that's just so so beautiful. What a way to start your day reading that every day and use it as a mantra, that would be me, I think I'm gonna start doing that. Katherine, can you share the gift, because there's several gifts here, you want to share with our audience, and I appreciate it because my audience and my listeners, they're important to me, in my community, and if you can share what that is, and please know everyone listening, the links to your gift that Katherine is giving you, which is very lovely and also how you can find Katherine will be below in the show notes.
Absolutely, so we referenced a few things. And so I just to give a kind of package of some kind of next steps. So there's a piece on working with anger, we spoke of anger, I have developed three tools for conscious relationship. those tools are gifted to your listeners, I offer a piece around just body image because that's how some are kind of as I did, working with kind of not being in a loving place with our body and kind of exploring this. So some questions, reflective questions to answer. And then just sharing my resources, I have been so gifted by people who have come before me not just who have passed, which is teachers and therapists. And I just, I just think we are so that using those resources and letting them live inside of us is hugely important. So to kind of pay it forward to those that have helped me along my journey. So I want to share those with your listeners as well.
And that's wonderful, that's going to help a lot of people in the different areas you're talking about. And just to start, do the work that gets it gives them a place to start and it's very laid out clearly. So that's wonderful with their, you know, for them to start stepping into their wakefulness. Katherine, thank you so much. This has been so much fun for me for you sharing from your heart and soul, your wisdom, which is the show on Living in the Flow of Wakefulness. Namaste.
Thank you for listening to the Heart Soul Wisdom Podcast with Moira Sutton. I hope you enjoyed today's episode. Please join our community at moirasutton.com and continue the discussion on our Facebook page "Create the Life you Love. You will be part of a global movement connecting with other heart centered people who are consciously creating the life they love on their own terms. Together we can raise our consciousness for the greater good of humanity and for our planet.