Back to Pathwork 101

My mood was melancholy as I sat down with Pat for our coffee time this past Thursday morning. I could identify things going well in my life – having led a fulfilling management consulting session the day before, preceded by an insightful and helpful Hakomi session with Ed, fixing up some mechanics problems on my website, a feeling of growth in my relationship with Pat and others, and so on.

Yet something was gnawing at me. I could feel a weariness concerning activities at Sevenoaks and my role with this Pathwork organization in which I have been involved for over a decade. I sense a lack of vision in our bedraggled organization as we look ahead at our organizational, financial, and resourcing challenges. I am not looking forward to the Pathwork Council meeting we would be having later that morning. I experience some overwhelm in actually doing my Pathwork with my Pathwork buddy Jenny as we commit to a deeper dive with Pathwork in our respective lives. I sense some confusion in me regarding other groups I am in – are they right for me? Then I am aware for the first time in years of some of my personal financial concerns. And finally I am feeling physically off due to crazy eating over the holidays, and I am not looking forward to a major diet program Pat and have committed to this month – this inner pressure that says I have to lose 20 pounds.  I described these concerns and negative conditions to Pat as dark clouds coming in during these early days of 2012.

Pat heard me out and noted that I was seeing these clouds as “out there” and looming – apart from myself and looking to some future happenings. She invited me to be present to what is right now, with her on the couch sipping coffee with each other. She further noted I was being dualistic – assessing some situations “bad” and some “good.” Her observations were helpful things for me to look at and ponder. I long for more happiness in my life, and yet my “good” is not giving me sustaining happiness and my “bad” seems to cloud over whatever good might be there. Back to Pathwork 101!

Pat left for her job, and I remained on the couch, picking up my notebook of Pathwork Lectures to be recorded. I was shocked that the very first paragraph I read led into several paragraphs that directly addressed my Pathwork 101 issues. (Click here to read these paragraphs).

The Lecture’s words expanded on Pat’s comments and pointed out two important ideas. First, it is in my “bad” or “unhappy” times that I have such an opportunity to do my self-search – exploring the causes within that have given rise to these “unhappy” times, my “blues.”  But secondly the Lecture invites me to look at what I considered my “good” times and see if they were coming from causes deep in my divine nature – manifesting Light in the world – or, rather, if these “good” feelings were coming from my ego’s attempts to cover over my pain and thus blinding me to causes beneath these pains that need to be explored and healed. These escape-oriented good feelings, a trick of my immature ego, cannot sustain me and, more importantly, blind me to the growth work for which I am here on planet Earth!

I began looking at what I had termed “good” – my very satisfying management consulting meeting, my Hakomi session that led to some beautiful self-understanding, fixing up my website so I could add some Pathwork quotes (including the one referred to above), and my sense of growth in my relational life (slow, challenging, but so much of what my growth is about in my life here on planet Earth). With some honesty, these felt rich and coming from my Essence. They certainly enlivened me. The management consulting, for example, involved rich exchanges of ideas that felt enriching to us both. It was not my ego trying to establish how “smart” I am. It was good to be aware of these aspects of my life that enliven me.

So I turned to the cloud areas. First, what is my angst about with the Sevenoaks Pathwork organization? Cannot I be encouraged by the fact that our school enrollment is up by 64% this year over last year? Cannot I be encouraged that our faculty and students are beautifully engaged in the work of the transformation program? Cannot I be inspired by our vision to have a rich post-transformation program with 24 students beginning next November? What is it that drags me down in my work with the Sevenoaks organization?

In part it feels to me that overall we are fragmented and understaffed – from both a paid staff and volunteer staff perspective. We are wearing ourselves out. The fragmentation comes from lack of a cohesive unifying vision and strategy for the total organization (including the school, workshops, rentals, outreach, etc.) that results in our overworked resources going off in various directions without things being tied together in a cohesive and effective organization. This leads to much waste and  further frustration.

OK, so this Sevenoaks situation frustrates me. But what makes it such a negative and debilitating cloud for me? Why can’t this just be the way it is – each of us doing our best and letting the chips fall where they will? Well first of all this leads to conflict in the organization – and conflict further frustrates all of us working so hard to make things work. Well is this not OK, accepting what is?  Why is this all such a cloud on my horizon? What in me makes it a cloud?

This self-inquiry is a good question to sit with and ponder in meditation and discussion. Do I not want to risk taking a stronger strategic leadership role? Am I actually lazy, but covering up my sense of laziness by workaholicism? Am I being called to more leadership here, but not willing to answer said call? Am I being called to enter the conflict rather than simply back away? Or is this not my call, and should I simply back away from the organizational side of Pathwork all together? What is the Truth?

And the other clouds can be explored in the same way.  This honest self-inquiry is, in fact, doing Pathwork. It is what Pathwork is all about. How nice to arrive at seeing this. Again.

I have to smile. In all my angst and melancholy that began my morning, here now I sense that I am being supported by Spirit. How is it that “coincidentally” the section of Pathwork Lecture 61 that I was to read next hit this issue head on in such a helpful way at exactly the right moment, building on Pat’s helpful reflections during coffee time? Is this not Grace? And wouldn’t you know it, that topic, Grace, concluded Pathwork Lecture 61, which I just finished last night (click here). Yes, I am being held! Can I but take this in and feel the happiness, peace, and security that comes with it? More work, but I am hopeful.

Feeling loved and love, Gary

PS. On Fire! This morning I went on to record Pathwork Lecture 61 with its innocuous title of Questions and Answers. Upon completion I was on fire with energy, as if I had been flooded with Life and Light. Even this flooding experience while working with the Pathwork Lectures is captured in a lecture I recorded recently — 156 Questions and Answers (Click here).

This led me to add two more quotes from Lecture 61 that I find so powerful — I invite you to consider them:

1) Personal and Spiritual Growth in a World of False Teachings

2) Cause and Effect, Always?