Avoiding What I Long For
In my early fifties, after a satisfying career, family life, church life, and adequate status in my stable social structure, I was arrested by a feeling of emptiness. Call it midlife crisis, but it felt deeper than that and would not let up. As a result I began searching in earnest, though often unconsciously, for the evasive quality I longed for, that which would fill my life with meaning and vibrancy.
I did not know it at first, but what I was looking for was love. Later I would expand this to say I was longing for a holistic relationship with a woman, a relationship balanced with integrated aspects and experiences of intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual Union. Little did I know that, while I could say these eloquent words, I had no idea what they meant experientially. Yet I was committed.
In the beginning of this new venture, my search tore up my life. But the search was unstoppable. It led me through several relationships, many spiritual practices, massage school, coach training programs, and ultimately, nine years ago, brought me to Pathwork, a spiritual path that has guided my search and widened my life experiences and consciousness.
First things first. Interestingly, even before Pathwork I had explored my life with a counselor, and he said something I would never forget. “Gary, you say you are looking for a woman with whom you can have a full relationship. Notice by your own admission your palette of feeling experiences is quite sparse. Until you add many more colors to your feeling palette you will not know what you are even looking for in a relationship with a woman.” So true! There were many areas of growth before me before I would be ready for this relationship for which I so longed.
Of course Pathwork has helped me deal with embracing my feeling world, but once again old patterns have crept in. I started to identify with Pathwork per se rather than with my own growth this it was guiding. I got caught in the ideas and form of Pathwork rather than in its result and aim: love. I decided to become a Pathwork Helper and went through all the training for same. I got involved in the organizational aspects of Pathwork. All familiar patterns of my life of doing and performing and internally competing and playing roles so my ego could feel its identity… and stay separate from and superior to others in some way.
But as I drop these needs for having a role or performing well in some capacity, even within the context of Pathwork, I come up against my fear and resistance. I have liked and been relying on my ego identity so long that to give it up feels frightening. Yet all this activity in all these roles keeps me far from my feeling palette. In getting more committed to Pathwork I became more distant from the path Pathwork was offering! To return to my path, to fill up my feeling palette, and to release the love energy bound up in my heart I must surrender these ego needs. This surrender of my comfortable ego identity is the price I need to pay to realize the love I so long to experience in my life.
Having some clarity about all this is helpful. Now I pray for the courage and strength to, as the Pathwork lectures remind me, let go of these external ego needs, their resulting identity to which I cling, and their directives in my life and let God, that Divine Source within me that is ALL LOVE and ALL TRUTH, manifest through me, freely, spontaneously, joyfully. This is the choice my ego needs to make over and over again, while at the same time accepting all the consequences (pain, suffering, anxiety) of its past, and, because I am human, its ongoing decisions to choose role, performance and success over others rather than the one thing I long for, LOVE. May it be so.