For the Good of the Whole — Surprised by Joy
Meditation – Tuesday
Pause and Consider: For the Good of the Whole
So much has been going on within me this past week, complete with very rich meditations, drawing much from Pathwork Lecture 131, and Coffee Times with Pat – even extending our coffee time Sunday morning to include a friend, confirming the richness of such a small-group configuration for sense of spiritual community. So much to share, but did not succeed in prioritizing my blog entries. So be it – I skip over the week to this morning’s meditation.
What has been arising in me these past two days builds on my helper session with Moira this past Thursday. In my session I had expressed some of my frustrations over situations in my Sevenoaks Pathwork community. Moira pointed out that my frustrations needed to be faced and held but need not stop me in my work with the various committees in which I am involved. She pointed out that my work – on various committees and in various projects – was not for my own sake but was serving a higher cause that was alive within me. My efforts were for the good of the whole, not for my own self-aggrandizement.
She helped me see my work with committees and on various projects as being in service to the Mid-Atlantic Pathwork, to Pathworkers around the world, and to my workers, friends, and colleagues. She reminded me that I held a certain Vision for MAP and for Pathwork, and my work and efforts were in service to this Vision. She pointed to my role in leadership – my role in holding the vision and allowing inspiration to come up and through me. And from this place I would be able to hold frustration and not take my frustration personally. She pointed out that I am frustrated on behalf of the organization, on behalf of the MAP Vision, and on behalf of the overall Pathwork Vision – not on behalf of my ego.
It was helpful to take an inventory of my projects and priorities these recent years. These have included: 1) recording the Pathwork Lectures, 2) tending to my website – with its 240 blog entries over four years, 120 Pathwork quotes organized by topic, other quotes, many Pathwork Lecture presentations, and instructions on how to access my audio recordings of the Pathwork lectures, 3) many conversations – including countless hours of coffee time with Pat and other times with other friends, including Pathwork workers, 4) preparing budgets that organize the financials of MAP by lines of business and types of expenses so that our financials can be understood as we plan our year, 5) Energy behind serving in an administrative capacity on the Pathwork Council, Board, and Finance and Executive committees, 6) Energy for enriching the Pathwork Transformation Program and helping to launch Erena’s new graduate program, and 7) financial support, mostly for the Friends of the Pathwork fund that enables more folks to participate in the workshops and the various Pathwork school programs, including the Pathwork Transformation Program.
As I look at this if feels like a Phoenix Rising experience. I have not had consciousness about all of these efforts of mine serving the whole – the whole of Pathwork, the whole of the planet. This awareness helps me deal with any frustration I have in these various roles and relationships. These frustrations still become issues to work, but are not so emotionally charged for me – dealing with them maturely is part of leadership for the benefit of the whole.
And what are some of my frustrations from the perspective of the whole?
1) I sense — rightly or wrongly — a lack of traction in building up a strong Pathwork workshop program. Instead of having 3 and 4-day workshops with 30-40 participants 3 or 4 times a year, as we did when I first was involved with Pathwork in the early 2000s, we have 5 – 10 attendees at 1½ -day workshops. And as often as not, the workshops get cancelled for lack of attendance. We seem to think it is a marketing problem, and perhaps it is. My sense is that it is deeper than that.
2) Rightly or wrongly, I sense a challenge of attracting people to our Pathwork Transformation Program – and keeping them. Of course this ties to item 1), and here, too, it seems the roots are deeper than better packaging and marketing. It feels like an overhaul might be necessary with a true focus on our Pathwork and spiritual foundation. How do we look at this? How do we make changes?
3) I feel a challenge of building up a graduate program. I have lots of energy for building up participation in this new 4-session Journey Home To God program under Erena, our Director of Training, that begins in November – but it has been so challenging to get the program organized, structured, and communicated. My energy remains strong. I envision 25 participants. But, alas, unless something changes I dare not forecast more than 12 participants. And what is that “something” that needs to change?
4) From where I am, again rightly or wrongly, I sense a loss of community energy. We end up with fewer and fewer folks doing more and more. Whatever we are doing as community leaders it does not seem to be inspiring our community into enthusiastic support. The community seems tired in some ways, in need of new blood and new injections of energy and sense of Vision.
5) To me — again rightly or wrongly — it seems there is a lack of a compelling cohesive Spiritual Vision that unites and inspires us as a community, and we do not seem cohesive as a leadership team around such a Spiritual Vision. I want to be clear here — this is just my sense of things. In the absence of such a uniting vision each of us in leadership gets involved in our own “doing” projects that are more of an operational and short-term nature but which may not obviously fit into the whole big picture of who we are and why we exist.
6) We have had a substantial loss of our founder-level leadership and this, it seems to me, has impacted our ability to build.
7) Seems to me that we are financially challenged and not able to aright things if they cost money unless we somehow find the required additional funding. These recent years we have relied heavily on the generosity of a handful of faithful donors, and it seems this base has to be expanded if we are going to have to continue significant financial donations to be sustainable.
What I am aware of is that these are organizational and Pathwork-level disappointments and frustrations. They are not part of a rant against others or blaming others or even myself. These frustrations are just part of what is, each of us being human and as such bringing our own foibles, all part of what has to be looked at as we go forward. I sense a freedom in this observer view of our situation.
I am also aware that I am not attached to outcomes – that in three years “it” needs to look any particular way to be “successful.” This attitude frees me up as well.
Focusing Statement: Pathwork Lecture 131 Interaction Between Expression and Impression; ¶31-39.
These paragraphs from Lecture 131 combine my focusing statements from yesterday and today. I include them in my “Pathwork Quote” section of my website and title the piece Considering the Possibility of the Positive (click here to open). This feels so appropriate for where I am and where I sense we are as a community with all of our needless “disappointments” and “frustrations.” Let me take this in. Again, this devotional-type reading of the lecture material is so meaningful for me.
Pat: Are you as an organization becoming clearer about what your Spiritual Vision is? Is everyone focused on the Guide’s Vision for MAP and for Pathwork in general? From our conversations it seems there are so many distractions for you all to work with – many of them operational details that do not seem related to the main purpose of the organization. Even the Retreat Center seems like a huge distraction for the Board – so much energy going into making that work financially. Gary: Yes, it feels this way to me at times. Even the way we communicate with our community can overemphasize the physical and financial and not bring folks back to our overarching purpose of making the Wisdom of Pathwork available and accessible to as many as possible. It’s like the “Where’s the Beef?” commercial. Pat: And where is the beef? Gary: The wisdom of the Pathwork teachings.
Pat: So you are all planting the seeds of wisdom that the Pathwork is. I note that our institutions have gotten so rigid and out of whack – not at all spontaneous in response to the times and needs of the planet. The old must be cleaned out – just like Pathwork Lecture 131 suggests about clearing out the untruths. You do not know how the new will configure – but if you are not holding the possibility of reconfiguration, are not acknowledging that you do not know, and, finally, are not talking to the “other side” – the Guide, Eva – then watch out! You could be the Titanic heading for the iceberg. Gary: Yes, know that we don’t know and then ask for help.
Shared in love, Gary
With the above list of challenges that I sensed, I was not looking forward to the MAP Board of Trustees meeting this morning. But, having identified and faced what I saw as our challenges, perhaps I could let them go and not let them stir around my unconscious coming out in negativity — although this “letting go” was not entirely conscious on my part! But perhaps unconsciously I entered the meeting more from this perspective – letting go of frustration and helping to keep my eyes on the Light, treating the frustrations as simply something to observe and be curious about – being aware that frustrations were not personal to me but perhaps were my inner knowing of what is keeping the whole of MAP from moving forward toward its Vision. This attitude seemed to make me more committed to express my sense of frustration — so we could look at it and see if it was warranted or not, not for me and my needs, but rather for the good of the whole. It seemed I could also admit my own cause of being a frustration to others, and yet to do so from a calm place rather than from a place of personal emotional reaction.
The meeting, quite to my surprise, ended on a very positive note. I was caught unawares by this uptick in positive energy. Here we were at the end of the meeting, frustrations and all, celebrating all that has come into place as we have worked together these recent years. For some reason I could take this positivity in, as if a veil had been lifted. To borrow the title of a C.S. Lewis book, I was “Surprised by Joy.”
Perhaps my morning meditation, including taking in words from Pathwork Lecture 131 and time with Pat, had had this effect on me – opening me up to considering the possibility of the positive! The positive arrived! I glimpsed the sun. Feeling gratitude – and hopefulness! Perhaps the greatest revelation was the uselessness of my subconsciously being caught up in frustration going into the meeting. Truly an application of Pathwork Lecture 131 — the non-problem problems in life! Yes, the value of emptying out the untruth before experiencing the filling of truth!