A Third Lesson In Joy Along the Path

Helper Session with Moira Shaw – July 11, 2013 (Excerpt)

In my blog entries earlier in July I have had two musings about Joy. The first was my entry on July 13 titled Learning from Facilitating a Pathwork Lecture Exploration that was based upon Pat’s and my facilitating a “2nd Friday Pathwork Group for Patty Mahaffey on Friday, July 12. In this I reflected on the class and included a revised version of the lesson plan based upon what I experienced in the class. The second was my entry on July 22 titled Happiness and the Spiritual Path – A Conversation over Lunch that included my experience of talking about joy with a newcomer to Pathwork at our Members Weekend at Sevenoaks on July 20th.  Now this third entry below actually occurred before these above two experiences. It was part of my helper session with Moira Shaw on July 11th, before the Pathwork group on the 12th or the Members Weekend on the 20th. I share it for the guidance it provided regarding Joy.

Teaching a Pathwork Group about Joy

Gary: Moira, how can I deal better with my fear in manifesting what I feel Called to do? For example, Pat and I have an opportunity that just landed in our lap to lead a local Pathwork group on Friday evening (tomorrow). It seemed like a low risk thing to do. The subject is to be on Joy, and a few days ago I got this “download” from Spirit regarding how this could play out: “How do you find Joy in your being merely and utterly human in this world?” In the “download” certain pieces of Pathwork Lecture 17 The Call – Daily Review seemed to fit beautifully for this group. I was filled with joy, inspired even, at the “download,” however within hours I had fears and doubts arise about Pat’s and my leading the group.

Moira: (jumping right into the topic of joy) What is the opposite of Joy? Gary: The opposite of Joy is pain. When I get in trouble is when I resist the pain and long for the joy rather than accepting the joy and the pain, and let things be what they are in the moment. Moira: So the subject for your Pathwork Group tomorrow night is Joy, but the subject is also pain – the other end of the Joy/Pain continuum. Now how to get to the joy is to go through the pain. Since joy and pain are part of the same continuum you have to take both. So what we really have to look for here is the pain. Gary: And when you find it, don’t run away from it.

Moira: So look at where you said you were here. You said you have fear going in to lead this Pathwork class, and so if there is fear you really have pain and don’t have any joy; joy cannot come into a contracted space of fear. Gary: The fluctuation is what I experience. When I am sitting here and getting a download, seeing how the pieces of the lecture fit together into a lesson plan, I really have a lot of energy, an experience of expansion. I have this experience of feeling very full and inspired. Then three or so hours later I’ll feel contraction away from that expanded state of joy.

Moira: OK, so then after the joy you are in pain. What is the pain, the pain of leading the group? Gary: Before the pain there is an underlying laziness. “I don’t want to do this!” Moira:  You are saying I don’t want to teach this class because it is going to bring up pain. Laziness is a cover over or a defense against feeling the pain – laziness is your energy to avoid entering the pain. Gary: The pain is being naked in this group. Moira: Why is that a pain? Gary: It’s a pain because I’m not leading it right, or … Moira: So the pain of what? Gary: The pain of shame around not doing a good job.

Moira: OK, OK. The shame of your humanness, that you don’t have it all together, that you’re not the “big CEO,” or the one who knows everything. Gary: Yes, the shame of my ignorance, that I don’t know everything, … Moira: The shame of your limitations. … Just feel the pain right now, the pain of your limitations on this earth plane.Gary: Not knowing how it will come out. Moira: And maybe not knowing what to do in the middle of it either. Gary: I might get lostMoira: You might get lost, yes, the pain of limitations, of not knowing what to do if you get lost, … Gary: I might get ungrounded, someone might challenge me, …

Moira: The shame of not knowing what to do, of being limited in your response, … Gary: Not having all the answers immediately, not being as loving as I should be, not being caring or sensitive enough, … Moira: So the shame of all of these limitations in your being merely and utterly human. Gary: The shame of not being a perfect teacher, with great compassion and love for the students. Moira: And of course you’re not a perfect teacher with great compassion and love for the students, because the rules of the earth plane say that we have to accept our limitations.

Moira: We know that you have a shame of the limitations, so it makes traversing the earth plane pretty difficult here, because there is a great shame of your limitations.  And the name of the game here on the earth plane IS limitations. We are not free perfect beings. As the Guide says in Pathwork Lecture 37 Acceptance Right and Wrong Way – Dignity in Humility, if we were perfect then you could demand that you always be happy. But we are not perfect. We are limited, and you will always be limited. What you can imagine yourself to be, which is wonderful to imagine, you’ll always fall short of what you can actually manifest.

Moira: So imagine the humility to feel your limitations, to let go of the shame of them and rather to embrace your limitations.  Say, “I’m an earthling. I’m human.” With that the joy will never leave you, because then there is joy in the imperfections. You are feeling the joy of being imperfect (Pathwork Lecture 97 Perfectionism Obstructs happiness – Manipulation of Emotions). There is actual joy in accepting your imperfections, so you never have to not be in joy!  Like feeling joy and then three hours later you feel contracted. No! You won’t, because you are totally in reality. You ride the waves of life as they rise and fall. You are limited, and are experiencing the joy of your limitations, of riding the waves of life. Yea! You will then ask, “What can I learn from this!”

Gary: Joy in my humanity.  In my humanity I am limited, and I want to enjoy being a human on this earth plane. Moira: Right. So how to get to joy is to be limited, to experience your limitations, to embrace that you are limited. That is what you are going to tell your group tomorrow night. “You want joy, folks? Then accept your limitations.” Give up your shame of your limitations. Stop trying to be your idealized self. Take off your masks. Show your shit. Show your weaknesses. Go around the group, ask, “Where are you weak? You are going to leave here tonight with joy! The Joy of being perfectly imperfect.”

Gary: In Pathwork Lecture 17 The Call – Daily Review the Guide talks about the gift of love being the gift of humility (open quote). In my humility, taking off my mask and being real I am giving a precious gift to another, allowing him or her take off his or her mask and be real rather than allowing them to maintain the illusion of my being “perfect” or even “good” and thereby placing myself on a pedestal. I, as teacher, can just be one with the crowd in my merely and utterly humanness.

Moira: Yes. You are one with the crowd. AND there are times when you stand out from the crowd. You are not afraid of being one with the crowd when you are not standing out, AND in this stance of not having to stand out at other times you can be a stand out, because that is also life.

Like you in your incredible way of evaluating the finances – you stand out in the crowd. That is really truly how you are. And also consider how you can engage people in conversation and really hear them. You stand out in a crowd in that way too, Gary. It’s why you are such a wonderful coach because you allow the others to express themselves. Not everyone has that talent. It’s really a talent. Gary: And let it be there when it’s there and know when it isn’t and let that go. Moira: Yes, and allow the limitationsdon’t contract against the limitations, rather just be humble. When you don’t have to have pride, then you can have pride of your gifts – which is important to do, they are after all God’s gifts, they are Gary’s gifts.

It is so interesting to me from another angle. You say you are ashamed of your limitations yet there is also another piece in you – it’s such an interesting paradox – namely, that you are also so available to share your process and your struggle and your battles and all of that both in personal conversations and in your blog. That’s also a gift that you have. And I’m sure people have remarked about this gift. It is very charming, it’s very lovely, it’s very heartening, and it helps people to not reject themselves because you are so forthcoming in sharing your areas of weakness. And so you have that, and you also have the other side where you contract about leading the group because you’re ashamed of your limitations. (Gary – laughter!) So “Hello!” You know what I mean, right? Gary: Oh yes.

Shared in love, Gary