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Sylivia’s Story - Finding peace with acceptance!

Sylivia working as a primary school teacher shares her journey of being a Coach of The Work by Byron Katie started with her nine day journey to Germany for her training. When she was working with the Zimbabwe National Network of people living with HIV, an opportunity to attend a 9-day school in Germany to become a coach of The Work arose which was facilitated and supported by few international facilitators. She was quite confused, felt challenged and also took the training very seriously with the intention of coaching about The Work in Zimbabwe, post adaptation to the local context.

Sylvia explained how The Work has impacted her for better adherence to the treatment and to love positively. While she was feeling unequal to her colleagues at work, personal journey made her realize that she is as important as any other person at work as they all share the common aspect of ‘wisdom’ and it has nothing to do with HIV status. Sylvia thought and saw herself as unfit - believing that is what others think about her, but now she continues to do The Work and learnt not to argue with reality. She sees herself as a much kinder mother and didn't let her negative thoughts impact her relationship with her son.

During the training Sylivia was asked to write a letter of amend to any one of their choice and she shares her life changing experience - “My peace started when I wrote a letter of amend to my husband - who infected me with HIV when I was going through The Work by Byron Katie training in Germany which helped me let go of my anger which I was holding for more than 10 years by then”. Post the training in Germany, she wanted to introduce The Work in Zimbabwe despite the challenges usually faced in the country- “We have challenges with electricity and internet which makes it difficult to facilitate a session (online), Beyond Stigma provided expenses for data/wifi with which we were able to connect with young people”

Sylvia explained that the good part of being a coach is that “When you are facilitating somebody with The Work, you are also facilitating yourself!”. She further stated that she is passionate about this process of questioning thoughts and it has changed the way she lives and thinks. As a coach, she envisions the possibility of cascading The Work through the youth to other parts of Zimbabwe, or even in other countries in Southern Africa. Working with different age groups, especially youth who had lost hope because of HIV status is empowering according to Sylvia. Sylvia has worked with young people and it made her feel empowered.

Author: Tejaswy Swathi Kovuri, Professional Intern

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