Hi, I'm Kathryn. It would be my privilege to support you to learn how to let your struggles transform you rather than consume you.
My intention is
TO HELP YOU CONNECT TO YOUR INNER WISDOM
This wisdom can meet anything you're struggling with in your life, transform your experience into peace, and leave you with profound awareness and a more expansive self with which to meet life.
Your inner wisdom takes you from confusion to clarity, including to a deep, unshakeable self-trust.
Anyone can do this work, it just takes an open mind. And when we've suffered enough, we are naturally open. That, as it turns out, is the purpose of suffering. It's there to wake us up to what's true. And what's true is always, always kind. What a relief. But as Katie says, "Don't take my word for it: test it instead."
My soul purpose is to support you to connect to your own answers so you can move away from self-doubt and from looking to others for answers to self-trust and seeing the abundant kindness of the way of things.
A journey of unlearning
I grew up as an overachiever. It was so natural to me to always try to be the best at everything (especially academics & sports) that I didn't even consider not striving in these ways. I also didn't know that the reason I was striving like this was in order to feel worthy.
I grew up with parents who never hugged me or said, "I love you" -- like all of us, our childhood experiences are just normal to us, so I didn't know any differently. I really thought that the way it worked was that I had to earn their love through my achievements. The only thing was, it never seemed to be enough, no matter how many accolades I brought home.
When I got to my 2nd year of university, that's when all this striving finally got old and disillusionment set in. I had reached the top, gotten all the awards, and yet I felt the same. These achievements didn't give me that sense of worthiness and love that I (unknowingly) thought they would.
I was at a new university after having left my 1st-year one where I had been so happy, to pursue a prestigious program at a prestigious university. I came to see years later through The Work that I changed schools as much so that I wouldn't have to live with my friends and expose my shortcomings. This is how extreme my self-doubt was.
I didn't know I struggled with self-trust & self-love at the time because I was always doing fun things like initiating night-time mud football matches on the varsity field or playing concerts (I sang and played guitar) or throwing thrift-vintage dress-up parties .. and having a ball doing it.
And I was doing really challenging things like flying over the Rocky Mountains in helicopters to tree-plant in the remote wilderness of British Columbia, leading youth in 4-6 week canoe trips in the Ontario/Quebec wilderness, or rowing on the varsity team.
In other words, I often went for what I wanted and I didn't really think there was something I couldn't do. I also had really close, treasured, meaningful friendships. So, I'm sure it looked to others that I had a ton of self-confidence. It even fooled me for a long time.
But I started to realise that I was so unsure about myself and about life -- I noticed that I had played by and excelled at all the rules the adults had set out for me while I was growing up, but I didn't know how to be happy or at home in myself. I didn't really know who I was. That's what I began to notice at 20 years old.
So I began searching for answers ... in literature and academics initially and I found some beautiful, helpful novels and poems that reached through time to connect me to the common human experience. Upon graduation, I found the work of Jidda Krishnamurti and I had a profound initial awakening to my own inner experience. I set out to travel and live in Central and South America by way of expanding my world and its possibilities for me to see if I could discover myself more.
Then when I was 29 years old I had a baby daughter who came into this world with significant health challenges that have landed her in the hospital several times in her life. I found myself in a constant state of fright or flight as I monitored her to see if she was struggling to breathe and if I had to rush her to the hospital (I did, several times). Through this I learned the meaning of terror.
I remember not sleeping much at all for the first two and a half years of her life and life felt so hard I remember thinking that death was probably the only salvation, the only way out. I was living in a state of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). What a very painful way to live.
I was also a full-time single mother dealing with this on my own and any contact with her father usually left me internally in even greater fear. I had chosen a narcissist as a partner, which matched my internal sense of (lack of) worth. Also, I seemed to fit the descriptions of HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), Empath, and Introvert which is a challenging way to be in the world. (Note: I've come to see the beautiful gifts here.)
On top of this were stresses about making money and my ability to support myself and my daughter. Given my over-achiever status where things had come so easily to me through my childhood and teens, that things seemed to not be working out -- to in fact be imploding -- was confusing, frustrating, and frankly devastating.
I spent 10 years - often once a week - in psychotherapy, read every self-help book I could get my hands on, and felt completely dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of life with more urgency than ever. I went to grad school seeking them out. I was leaving no stone unturned.
But ultimately, none of this gave me the answers I was looking for and I was brought to my knees with my suffering, my fear and confusion were so great. And with that my mind finally cracked open: I was willing to consider that there was something - something crucial - I did not know about life, that I did not see or understand.
This is when I found The Work of Byron Katie. I always think of the saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." When I think of it now, I see the profound grace that allowed that to happen and I am eternally grateful. I saw Katie in Toronto at a weekend workshop in 2009 and went to my first School for the Work in 2013. I've since been to several of her events.
The Work let me get unstuck where I had been so stuck in repeating thought loops. It quickly and easily let me see what I wasn't seeing. Regarding my struggle with confidence, I saw that there was a beauty to this orientation to life: it came from an open mind -- a mind that was in touch with the truth of the statement "I don't know." It was just that I looked to others who seemed to know so definitively that I assumed they must know something I didn't and that was where I lost my confidence.
Through The Work, I had a difference experience: it was such a relief to let myself experience the not-knowing of the open mind. And in this, I got to see it all, everything I had wanted to know & understand through my intellect which, as it turns out, isn't capable of seeing the big picture. For example, I got to see that, in truth, we don't know ... we only decide things and become knowers out of a panicked desire to feel safe. But that our sense of safety does not lie here.
My daughter, Bella, was six years old when I found The Work and I was so grateful to have it as a tool to manage my thinking around parenting and also to have it to offer to her (Katie has a young kid's book that we started with). One thing was clear to me as soon as I became a parent: I wanted to give Bella the message that she could trust herself always. I didn't want her to go through what I went through, to abandon her inner knowing and defer to others' perspectives on life.
I let her come to self-inquiry in her own way, and as it turns out, she embraced The Work as a practice to get her through her teen/high school years and had a particularly transformative experience at Katie's No Body event in 2018 at the age of 15. I am so grateful as a parent that she has The Work at 19 now to support her as she works through her relationship with her father and through her health challenges.
We facilitate each other sometimes and even write worksheets on each other when conflict arises. We find so much richness there, seeing the lineage of our beliefs and how they get passed down from generation to generation.
These days, I'm letting life and The Work take me deeper still. Life continues to bring me difficult things to contend with which trigger stressful thoughts and difficult emotions. I can even still resist them until they get so painful ... and then I remember, Ah, it's time to do The Work. And these painful emotions and beliefs become the doorway to greater awareness and self-love. It feels like a deeper anchoring into something immoveable.
My heart-felt dedication is to be with you as you work through your own pain and confusion until you find your own peace with what is, no matter what that looks like or how great your fear.
with love, Kathryn
A Bit More About Me
I became a certified facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie in 2015 through Katie's Institute for The Work in Ojai, California. She sat in during my facilitation & presentation and stopped me afterwords to tell me personally what a good job I had done. It was a beautiful, meaningful moment for me, as being able to connect with Katie in person one-on-one is rare, and, because this Work has come to mean everything to me.
I completed my PhD in 2013 with my dissertation entitled Ontological Intelligence: Consciousness, Mind, and Inquiry in Education -- what I think of as 'being' intelligence -- now a book called Awake: Education for Enlightenment.
In the mid-2000s I had my first "enlightenment experiences" through the Enlightenment Intensives hosted by the wonderful Russell Scott (author of Awaken the Guru in You). These were utterly profound & informative experiences where I really got in touch with who I am beyond the limits of this bodymind.
I taught university students in the Bachelor of Education (Bed) program for 8 years, including on Krishnamurti and The Work, culminating in establishing courses in emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) and social-emotional learning (SEL) to support student mental health.
In addition to Katie, my treasured teachers for whom I am so grateful include Krishnamurti, Eckhart Tolle and Adyashanti. However, it must be said, that my greatest teacher has been life itself.
I've had the amazing good fortune of living & teaching students in South & Central America (I love kids -- they're the best). I was fascinated with the ancient Mayan culture where I lived in Copan Ruinas, Honduras and am kind of obsessed with all ancient, sacred sites of the world, feeling deeply resonant with them.