Bonded by Friendship, Not Role

Though only 7 of 28 participated, our monthly Sevenaks Helper Community conference call last night was a lesson in friendship, no, more than that, an experience of friendship.

But it did not start out that way for me.  During the week and days leading up to this regular monthly call of Helpers I was not at all looking forward to this call, even though I, as a member of our “sponsor team,” was one of the organizers of the call.  It had been a long Pathwork week.  Sunday night I wanted some time with Pat, not to be on still another Pathwork call.  I was asking myself why I was even doing these calls.

Then mid day yesterday I asked myself what would allow the call to fit MY needs. What would I like out of the call of Helpers?  What arose was that what I wanted was a simple feeling of connection, to hear and take in how the other helpers in our community are doing and what they are experiencing in their Pathwork.  Nothing more, nothing less.

With this spirit, two of us sponsors led the call.  One of the first people to check in has been in leadership with us for some time and has carried a lot of responsibility for our community. For me he broke the ice in our  group sharing by saying what he was feeling in our community was more and more friendship and bonding. I had not heard this said much in our community of late, or at least I had not taken it in.  But tonight his words struck me deeply. Friendship and bonding.

Why were these words foreign to me earlier?  I realized that in my mind I had made friendship and bonding conditional.  I had the belief that I could experience friendship, belonging if you please, only by being competent in whatever role I was playing in our community. “Find my place at the table and be competent,” that was my motto for friendship and a happy life.

So I had given a very high priority to competence.  Now, tonight, I was seeing more of an unconditional friendship.  Yes, we each want to do our best at some level, but we could enjoy our connection, our friendship, without meeting some high inner standard of performance to make ourselves worthy of another’s friendship.

In fact I could see that my own beliefs about needing to be competent to truly belong could easily make others uncomfortable.  In a way, I was saying that I could experience friendship only by being exceptionally competent, and this attitude would be off-putting to someone not so oriented to performance.  And I would wonder, with all the competence I had demonstrated, why was I not finding the feeling of friendship I unconsciously longed for.  I would ask myself, “What else do I have to do to experience friendship, to belong?!” And all the time, with this attitude, I was going in the wrong direction for finding friendship.

All of us seemed to experience this friendship and bonding in our call. The gratitude was high for each other person who had given his or her hour to be a part of this experience and contribute to it.  I need to sit with this for some time.  It could change my approach to life, especially friendship, in a significant way.