(Byron Kathleen Mitchell, Byron Kathleen Reid)
PERSONAL: Married Stephen Mitchell (third husband; a writer); children: three.
ADDRESSES: Office—Byron Katie International, 578 Washington Blvd. Box #821, Marina del Rey, CA 90292.
CAREER: Businessperson and writer. Byron Katie International, Marina del Rey, CA, founder; host of Loving What Is: The Byron Katie Hour, VoiceAmerica Channel, 2005–.
(With Stephen Mitchell) Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, Harmony Books (New York, NY), 2002.
(With Michael Katz) I Need Your Love—Is That True?: How to Stop Seeking Love, Approval, and Appreciation and Start Finding Them Instead, Harmony Books (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Byron Katie began to suffer from serious depression when she reached her thirties, sometimes spending days in bed and contemplating suicide. Eventually Katie had a realization that changed her life. As she noted on her home page, "when she believed that something should be different than it is ('My husband should love me more,' 'My children should appreciate me') she suffered, and that when she didn't believe these thoughts, she felt peace. She realized that what had been causing her depression was not the world around her, but the beliefs she had about the world around her." The result was that Katie established a philosophy that true happiness could be found by examining our thoughts about forcing the world to meet our expectations. According to Katie, a person should focus on dealing with reality as it exists "instead of hopelessly trying to change the world to match our thoughts." She went on to establish what she calls "The Work," a self-help program that aims to guide people to a mindset that will enable them to better cope with the reality of their lives.
Katie's first book Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, which she wrote with her husband, writer and translator Stephen Mitchell, presents her program, which is based on four questions each person should ask themselves: Is your allegation about the person true? Can you absolutely know that it's true? How do you react when you believe that thought? Who would you be without that thought? Part of the process Katie outlines is for readers to list the people in their lives that are causing them mental anguish and then ask themselves the four questions about each individual. To help explain how the process works to change thinking patterns, Katie and Mitchell in dialogues Katie has had with people seeking her help. "Direct and easy to follow, her book could indeed produce results for readers battling run-of-the-mill work and relationship problems," wrote Susan Burdick in the Library Journal. A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that "many will find these tools helpful for making peace with their reality."
In I Need Your Love—Is that True?: How to Stop Seeking Love, Approval, and Appreciation and Start Finding Them Instead, which Katie wrote with Michael Katz, the author focuses primarily on the difficulties in relationships that cause them to end. In addition to applying the four questions from the author's self-help program, Katie discusses specific damaging thoughts people may have about their spouse or significant other, such as the idea that one's partner should make a person happy. Katie and Katz also discuss the need for each individual to take responsibility for their own happiness. "Katie's chatty style and her use of detailed dialogues and simple exercises will make many readers feel transformation is inevitable," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. Wendy Lee, writing in the Library Journal, called the book a "well-written guide."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2002, Michelle Kaske, review of Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, p. 973; February 1, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of I Need Your Love—Is That True?: How to Stop Seeking Love, Approval, and Appreciation and Start Finding Them Instead, p. 919.
Library Journal, February 15, 2002, Susan Burdick, review of Loving What Is, p. 166; March 1, 2005, Wendy Lee, review of I Need Your Love—Is That True?, p. 100.
Publishers Weekly, February 4, 2002, review of Loving What Is, p. 67; February 14, 2005, review of I Need Your Love—Is That True?, p. 68.
Byron Katie Home Page, http://www.thework.com (September 17, 2005).
Realization, http://www.realization.org/ (September 17, 2005), Sunny Massad, "An Interview with Byron Katie."
Time Online, http://www.time.com/ (September 17, 2005), Jeffrey Ressner, "Four Questions to Inner Peace."
PR Newswire, June 6, 2005, "Bestselling Author Byron Katie to Host Radio Show on the VoiceAmerica(TM) Channel."