Brief Visit Back to 9th Grade
My role a couple of weeks ago was one of being a teaching assistant in a year-4 Pathwork Transformation class. The class meets for four days and the work goes deep, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. On day three at one of the break times we put some music on and began dancing. An oh-so-familiar experience for me. Let me teach. Let me lead a work scene. Let me prepare homework. But please, please don’t ask me to freely dance with the students and the teacher in the class!
I smiled at myself, nearly laughed out loud. But the smile and inner laughter covered lots of pain. The experience took me back to one of my socialization experiences in ninth grade. I played tuba in the sports band. We played at all the home games on Friday night. I showed up in uniform, played my part, but afterwards, when most of the other kids would go out and party, I would walk home alone, a short journey of less than a mile. On the way home I would stop at Deters’ Dairy and get a large coke and chocolate milkshake. Though significantly obese, I so looked forward to these times of soothing the pain I felt in socializing with others.
Over time I “solved” this problem by defining myself in relation to others by the roles I played. I could be the worker or the manager, the chairman of this or that committee or group, be a leader in the company for which I worked, whatever. Just don’t ask me to go drinking after work or take in golf with the guys on Saturday morning.
So here with this class of Pathworkers. Let me make my presentations and what have you, but please don’t make me relate without being in a defined role. During the aforementioned break one of the students started showing us his skills in dancing the Salsa. So eloquent, so smooth. I could have watched him all night. The lead teacher got involved, as well as the other students, while I watched sheepishly and uncomfortably from the sidelines. And all of this residual pain still inside of me even though I’ve done over ten years of personal work to get at the blocks and images, the patterned behavior that leads to my pain. At least I was simply feeling the pain and not running away or grabbing a piece of chocolate to soothe myself.
Later I discussed this matter with the teacher, Kathryn. Her observations were helpful. My underlying beliefs included the belief that I simply did not fit in. And on some level I did not, at least not being able to dance smoothly and eloquently. And further my conclusion was that I would be laughed at or mocked for my clumsiness in dancing and that such mockery would be an unendurable pain for me. I could see the fear of my inner child. He was feeling alone, excluded, inept and deficient.
Kathryn went on to say that whether I know it or not I have a connection with each person in the class and with her. It is by way of my big heart that shows up in many ways. “When you teach a Pathwork lecture the content is usually clear, but it is your passion for the material and the ideas, your passion about the students’ getting it, the way it lands in you and enlivens you, all of this enlivens the classes you teach. If people looked at the content without experiencing your passion about the material, your teaching would be flat.”
She went on to point out that I care about each student in the class. OK, dare I say I love each person in the class. All this shows through. And with this love in the air, no one cares whether or not I can dance. Love is all that matters. “The class members would love to teach you to dance,” Kathryn pointed out. She concluded with, “The class responds to your big heart. You give so much from your heart. This is what connects you to each person in the class.” A lot to take in. Humbling. And I realize this is not my ego’s pretending to love to look good but the authentic loving that flows through me, in me, and out of me. Just let me be with this a bit. I feel such gratitude in this moment. And such love. Blessings on your day.