Dropping into the Journey of Life

For some reason I am more aware of the pain around me.  Pain in my children’s lives, dear friends battling cancer, and tensions galore in the Pathwork community I serve.  It is as if I am slipping uncontrollably into the water of real living, a place I apparently have avoided my entire life.  This experience brings me face to face with my schizoid tendency to withdraw from the realities of life. Of course this tendency to withdraw keeps me from pain and joy, not just pain.  In other words it keeps me from fully incarnating into this human plane.

On a community level I am increasingly aware of all the tension fields in my precious Pathwork community, or non-community. People not agreeing.  People feeling disenfranchised.  Others feeling abandoned while doing all the work.  Differences in values, and sense of purpose.  Differences in personalities and emotional makeup.

I now am beginning to get that my job in this Pathwork community is PRESENCE, not steering or fixing. Can I simply hold the tension of “what is” without making “what is” a problem.  So person A can’t get along with person B. And maybe never will.  Can that be OK?  Can I just let that be without making it a problem to solve?  Can I create a sense of spaciousness within myself that allows “what is” just to be?   Sure it is not the idealized picture I would like, but it is what is.

Somehow this feels like a breakthrough for me! I can let tensions be.  This doesn’t mean that there are not consequences of all this unresolved tension, but rather that just holding the tension leads to resolution.   Or not. And if not, then things may fall apart, but also new things will emerge. On this higher level of falling apart and creating, all is indeed well. No forcing function.  Just riding the wave of what is.  I feel such relief in this letting go! I really feel this, as if a lifting of a heavy cloud.

My personal issues deal mostly with relationships.  I can see that from childhood relationships have been problematic.  I recall that at recess I enjoyed playing in the sandbox by myself.  And this is just fine.  But I now sense that this isolation is missing out on a whole lot of life.

To begin with, it challenges my relationship with Pat.  And with my three kids and eight grandkids.  I have a strong one-to-one relationship with Pat and my kids, we engage deeply in the matters of life.  But really feeling my emotional connection with them has just not been part of my life experience. I see that even as a child my relationship with Mom and Dad was mostly about function, performing, and doing. Unconsciously I longed for much more.  I wanted emotional engagement.  But it was not to be had.  Nor did they have it with their folks.  And so neither did my wife and kids have it with me.

This feels like a powerful insight, that I have been challenged to really feel emotional connections with those closest to me.  It is one of my edges.  Along with my edge of not relating well to my body and its function in sports, dance and movement.

But there are other aspects of me that seem to function well. I have great passion for the Pathwork Lectures, more than for any other writing of which I am aware.  I am passionate with Big Ideas. For example I am eager to launch into a new DVD series I got from the Teaching Company titled, Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity taught by Professor David Christian.  I also thoroughly enjoy one-to-one deep conversations about deep matters of life, psychology, philosophy, and spirituality.  I enjoy teaching Pathwork.  I enjoy Mahler and Beethoven.  And I can celebrate these passions in my life.  BUT I am missing out on so much in my relational living.

As I drop into this reality of life, this reality of deep pain, frustration, tension and conflict in the lives of others and in my own life, along with the passions and joy in juxtaposition to the negativity, I realize I am exhilarated.  I seem to be exhilarated in the both/and nature of my human life.  This surprises me.  At first I think I should be depressed with my newfound negativity, but somehow I am not, at least not in this moment.  Just realizing that the tension fields and pains are part of the human experience and are part of humankind’s development, maturation, and growth, somehow makes it all OK.  More than OK.  It is LIVING.

I had lunch with my son yesterday.  Lots of really challenging things going on in his life.  As we were leaving I asked how he was doing in all of this.  He smiled back at me and announced the familiar phrase, “Dad, it’s all about the journey, not the destination.”  I smiled at his response and wondered if he was really able to live this way.  Somehow I think he may.