February 20th, 2011 by gary.vollbracht
These past ten days have been powerful for me, including helper/counselor sessions, a journal-writing mini-workshop, working with Pathwork lectures, and deep conversations with Pat and others. Some of this was captured in a writing I did for a writing group that met yesterday, a group now of seven that I have been in for over ten years. I titled the piece I shared Awakening To Love, a title suggested by Pat. I attach the piece here.
The piece was hard to write and hard to read. In a way it felt like I was reporting on the weather, consciously holding back and numbing out some of the deep feelings involved in the experiences of these days. But at times there were tears in the sharing. Welcomed tears.
There is vulnerability in writing such material and sharing it. Some friends, people who love me dearly, offer “advice” it seems to me, though usually not directly. Yet through my filters I hear, “use such-and-such technique to get into and through your feelings, see this counselor who specializes in your difficulties using amazing methods,” etc. — techniques and methods with which I am usually familiar, even use myself in Pathwork settings working with students.
I accept the input graciously, but sometimes it hurts. Sometimes I just need to be heard without being fixed. And sometimes in the face of such advice I ask myself, “Have my ten plus years in Pathwork and many other modalities of spiritual and psychological support really helped me live?” But of course I would not be even here without my commitment to these years of personal work. The doubting of this is just another ego-trick one might say.
As an example of love in my life, I shared verbally with my writing group a particularly meaningful email from my son John. He and I meet every few weeks and have intense, deep, and very satisfying conversations. In response to one of these engagements earlier this month he emailed me, “I also enjoyed our time together and I value your perspective and the loving way you share it.” What more could I want from my son!? And I feel this with my daughters Sherri and Nancy as well. It’s a big deal to me. They are a big deal to me!
After I shared this phrase from John, one of my writing-group friends asked, “Could you take John’s beautiful words in?” I responded that I know getting this email from John means a lot to me. “But could you take it in on a felt level?” she pressed. Feeling a bit pressured, I responded, “Well, probably not.” And that is likely true. The feelings of love in me are emerging only slowly. Yet at just the right rate for me, for my unique unfolding!
After I read my piece in our group, our conversation shifted to the word “love.” It seemed to be a mysterious, vague word for all of us, even threatening to some of us. Pat and I use the word “love” sparingly in our relationship, and more likely will steer away from it in favor of something like, “I really enjoy being with you.” For whatever reason, that “enjoying to be with each other” seems to hold more power, more truth. I’m sure there is love here too, but we are not sure what that means.
All with whom I have shared these recent experiences have assured me of their love, even accepting that I am not yet taking in all of their love. But I can feel my urge to dip my toe into the lake of love that surrounds me and maybe, at some point, I’ll dare to dive in.