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A Shared Life of Wrestling, Growth, and Discovery

Identifying and Dancing with My Character Defects

It is a sunny Sunday. I am sitting on the deck and choosing to spend time reflecting and expanding upon my most recent Helper Session with Moira Shaw. This is a delight for me. I notice that it was Session #76 – the seventy-sixth hour of Moira helping me over a period of three years come January. I am grateful for her companionship during these critical years of my continued unfoldment. While this blog entry was begun on Sunday, September 9, it was not completed until Friday September 14. Many things to ponder were covered.

In the previous session Moira recommended Pathwork Lecture #145: Responding to the Call of Life. I am just now, after nearly three weeks, barely scratching the surface of the inspiration contained in this lecture. I have listened to it now a couple of times – while at the gym, driving, and walking around the neighborhood. It is so powerful, imparting wisdom and inspiration phrase by precious phrase. In Reading this lecture I was struck by two early paragraphs – paragraphs 7 and 8:

Life issues a call; it makes a demand on every living individual.  Most people do not sense this call.  Only as you become aware of your own illusions can you simultaneously become more aware of the truth within yourself, and therefore in life.  Consequently, you will understand in each moment what the call of life wants to convey to you.  How do you respond to it?  Do you respond with your total being?  Or do you respond half-heartedly?  Or do you resist responding at all and make yourself deaf to it?  That is the big question, my friends.

What I say here, simple as it sounds, can become very important in helping you honestly question yourself:  Do you truly wish to understand the call of life?  What does it require of you?  And are you wholeheartedly responsive?

These questions have inspired me and have led me to look at myself. And I have shared them with several. On this past Thursday morning, before my afternoon session with Moira, for example, I included them as an attunement at the beginning of the Pathwork Council meeting, and most recently in an email to a dear Pathwork friend. The entire lecture builds on this question: Am I wholeheartedly responsiveness to my Call?

During the week I developed a short PowerPoint depiction of what seem to me to be some of the central ideas in this lecture (Click to Open). Toward the end of the lecture, the lecture speaks of Character Defects as part of a Wall that stands in the way of manifesting Divine Rays from my Essence, my Higher Self. This led to the core question I wanted to discuss in my session with Moira: What are my Character Defects that so limit my Love Capacity?

By now I realize that my heart is full of Love, my Divine Ray of Love, but I refuse to acknowledge or trust it. Lecture 145 speaks of the wall blocking the manifestation of my Divine Essence, and states that somehow my Character Defects are a part of this Wall. But my ego “knows” that loving is a “good” thing, that I “should” love, that people want me to love, and so my tiny ego takes on the giant task of performing “acts” of love, all the time refusing to see that Divine Rays of BIG LOVE are so wanting to emanate from me if I would but take down my wall blocking them. Rather than dismantle the Wall, my ego pretends to love, thereby creating my Love Mask and “faking” acts of love, but all the time terrified because my ego “knows” that from its separate identity it really is not capable of true Love – giving or receiving love.  I likely should not paint this so black and white because in truth it is gray. Yes I feel some love, of course. But the idea of my Character Defects as a Wall around my Heart is an important one to work with at this point in my journey.

But why is the Wall in me at all? What are my Character Defects related to this Wall? What is even meant by the term “Character Defects”?  These were some of the questions I brought to my session with Moira on Thursday afternoon, September 6.

I announced my focus at the beginning of our session. Then Moira began in our attunement by noting that there were many angels around us, angels assigned to “my case,” and they were clapping their hands in the Spirit World, excited that I was tackling such a core issue in my life. Moira was also bringing her support, encouragement, and love for me into this session – to what end? For me to have the willpower to experience love.

And while I intellectually appreciate this support, even from the Spirit World no less, my Wall blocked even taking in that there could be these Angels and Moira’s love surrounding me. And I know not why the resisting of such powerful truths. My wall blocking the flow of love seems so impenetrable! Oh how I want to tear down the Wall, if only I knew where to begin.  Why am I so committed to staying separate from everything around me – not taking in all the love, angel’s hand clapping, and support coming at me from all sides, even from the world of Spirit?  If my Character Defects are a part of this cause, then I want to deal with them, find them and dismantle them! Rarely have I been this clear on what a core issue is in my life – this refusal to feel love welling up from within or pouring over me from without, all as a result of my stubbornness and resistance, my Wall. And as a result, the Wall that I have constructed and defend is keeping me in a profound state of self-inflicted loneliness.  This is loneliness is the prison I have created for myself.

Oh my love sneaks out from time to time, but my awareness of it, my enjoyment of and nurturing from these feelings of this love swelling up in me from within and pouring over me from without are somehow blocked. So many issues in me are keeping my experience of love at bay. So here we begin the session.

Moira: When you say “love” what is it that you think this really means? Gary, smiling, You would have to start with such a basic question!  What is love to me?  Love is really caring for another person. Moira: And what does caring for another person mean to you? Wanting the best for them? Accepting them where they are? Gary (after a long pause) Excitement for their potential. Moira: So in your perceived lack of caring in yourself, does that mean you wish them ill? Gary: Oh no, not at all. I feel a need to help them in some way.  If I am not helping them I am not loving them! In some way I want to help them.

And I feel helpless to really help them. And beyond this inability to help, while I intend to help, I am not willing to give my all in helping them. In not being willing to give my all, I declare myself to be selfish. Moira: So if you were a caring person you would know how to help and would gladly give your all in every instance no matter what is needed – physically, emotionally, or intellectually – and no matter the cost to you. Gary: Yes, some part of me believes that if I were a loving and caring person, I would give my all no matter the price.

Moira: So when you do not know what to do or are not willing to give your all, you consider yourself unloving and selfish, even hateful? Do you see this situation as 100/100 – 100% good or 100% bad? Do you believe that “If I give my all in every circumstance to everyone then I am a loving person (“good”), and if I hold back even 2% from anyone in need I am 100% unloving, hateful even, and uncaring (“evil”)?”

Gary: You got it! That’s what I believe. And because I am not perfect and not 100% loving, I consider myself 100% evil. Pretty binary, pretty dualistic. Moira: Even if it was something the other person did not want, if you were loving you would want to give it to them anyway? Gary: Well I did not think of what was really wanted by the other. I just constantly feel unloving because I am not giving 100% everywhere I could.

Moira: Let’s consider another option. Perhaps when you see a need you can pause and think about it before giving or not giving. Perhaps you could look at a need and see how helping another person would affect your own life and the lives of others around you. Just slowing down would seem to be helpful. How would going-all-out to help another affect your relationship with Pat, for example? So perhaps you could consider the need that is set before you and make a rational choice – looking at the advantages and disadvantages both of meeting the need in some ways and of not meeting the need in other ways. By pausing and looking at the situation from several vantage points things start moving. You would look at situations far more flexibly rather than with either/or rigidity.

It is not that you do not love or care, but you are not really exploring what some of the possibilities might be in loving another and helping to meet the need. What is the truth here in regards to helping another? Some in the caring profession ask three questions in such a case. 1) May I (Am I invited to help by the other)? 2) Should I (Is it right for me? Is it right for the other? and 3) Can I (Am I in a place where I can help?). It’s like there is a fear of Life in you that keeps you from slowing down and really exploring what is set before you. You freeze, it seems, when confronted by a need from another for your help. The love is there in your heart. If it were not, this “not loving” would not be such a big issue for you. So perhaps you could slow down and explore the truth in these situations.

What it seems is that as soon as you get an inspiration to help (or to do anything for that matter, perhaps), it immediately gets attached to your will, and you either act (or decide not to act) immediately, but you do not explore what “right action” from all sides might be. You seem frightened to really look at the situation. You act on your inspiration in a full-out way without exploring it, without inquiry.

And here you are as someone who loves inquiry – look at your business card: “A shared life of curiosity, wrestling and exploration…”  And you love to do this with others, calling up their higher selves and exploring with them what their interests are, their blocks, etc. But you are not doing inquiry for yourself concerning some of these things that arise in you.

Why can’t you slow down and bring that same wisdom and flexibility to yourself? We are not at this point sure why not, but when faced with these choices to help or not help you suddenly become very rigid when, in fact, the invitation is simply to consider various possibilities and to be flexible in assessing the situation. Your “will” here needs to be engaged with your feelings and reason, not attached to by the need for help coming at you.  You need to exercise not the will to act immediately, but rather the will to love, the will to care, the will to explore, the will to be patient, and the will to have faith that whatever is required in a situation will be satisfied. And yes, the will to inquire from all aspects from your reason and from your feelings.

You say you want to feel, you sense that you do not feel. Consider the possibility that this may not be true. What may be weak is your will to act consciously, not in an immediate response, but rather your will to slow down so your reason and feelings can engage, so that you can act on the basis of your feelings and reason.

Maybe your feeling capacity is just fine, and we know your thinking capacity is just fine. But perhaps your will is too weak to act in response to your feelings and reason. Too weak to discriminate, to explore, to question your feelings – to ask, “Why do I feel thus and so?, etc. Perhaps part of your Call is to develop your will power and place it in its proper role – in service to your feelings and reason.

As I write this I recall Pathwork Lecture 43 Three Basic Personality Types: Reason, Will, Emotion. This Lecture points to the fact that Will-Types – of which I am – too often act spontaneously from their will rather than harnessing their will and placing it in service to their feelings and reason. A “shoot from the hip” kind of behavior. So while I am a Will type, my will is weak when it comes to acting in support of my reason and true feelings.

Moira: Follow your Call, your Call to Love, to care, to be discriminating, and to accept what is. This is what you are struggling with. And let’s ask, “What is the Character Defect in you that keeps you from using your will to Love, and from directing your Loving nature with a positive will?” You are so passionate and loving around the Pathwork lectures – in other words you are capable of this passion, love, and caring. But for some reason your will is not engaged in bringing your love out in a positive and fruitful way in some key areas of your life.

Gary: So what is a Character Defect? Is it the same as a Fault? Moira: No, a Fault would come from a Character Defect. You came into this lifetime with some issue that all the problems and conflicts and faults emanate from. Like a fault with a capital “F” – a Fault. So what could your Character Defect or Fault be? Gary: A fear to be me, no matter the price. I’m not sure where this comes from, but it’s one of the things that hold me back. The familiar phrase shouted at me in several work scenes: “Gary, show up!” My Character Defect is my unwillingness to Show Up!

For example, my beautiful experience with Karen Millnick on June 23rd, 8 weeks before she died. On the occasion of this private 2-hour meeting with her in her office she entrusted me with what I now call the “Pathwork Leadership Crystal. She also spoke of her vision for us as a group of helpers working together as a “cluster” of crystals, all grounded, I interjected in Karen’s and my conversation, in the wisdom of the Pathwork Guide. Karen and I were beautifully engaged in this conversation and inspiring one another. Her Yes, Yes, Yes, Gary, matching my Yes, Yes, Yes, Karen.

And after this beautiful meeting with Karen it would have been so easy for me to go nowhere with this beautiful experience, an experience which was truly Karen and me relating and connecting from a deep place. But this time I did not walk away!  Rather, this sacred experience did take root in me, and though I had to push myself forward in the beginning to share this experience with others in our helper community, once I initiated the process a lot fell into place. Yet  even now, today, I am full of fear around this. Not trusting the Cosmos to do its part!

Moira: I am sensing here that the issue is that you are not committed – that although you were filled with inspiration to take this community in a certain direction that was so clear and alive in both Karen and you on June 23rd, you are not committed to your Call to leadership that is required to lead the community of helpers forward.

You are not anxious about taking the organization forward and all that would mean for you in the way of sacrifice and effort.  Rather, you are anxious because you are not committed to taking the Helper Community forward. The Character Defect here is your Lack of Commitment to your Call. You have not made your Commitment to this Life. Gary: (Pause) Wow! You mean that I have not said YES with a capital “Y.” Moira: Right. You are afraid it will mean sacrifice, or pain – and it very well might! But this would be encountering temporary pain. Ultimately your full Commitment to your Call is going to be your greatest Joy. And it’s where you are going to feel safe and secure rather than anxious and frightened.  But you haven’t made the Commitment to your Call as yet, your wholehearted Commitment!

And you may not know what your Call is. Yes, you may have gotten a taste of it with Karen – I certainly could feel the depth of what you were sharing earlier. You were full of juice and energy as you spoke about your June 23rd experience with Karen. But you do not Know for sure what your ultimate Call is in all of this.

AND you do not have to Know what your Call is to say YES! to it. Say only, “I am going to be committed to what my Life Task is here on this earth at this time. And I ask my Spirit Guides, my Higher Self, whoever is available, for their help: ‘Help me to Know what my Call is.’ BUT irrespective of what my Call is, I Commit myself to submit to it without knowing what it is.”  First you commit without knowing, then you ask for Knowing it, and then you ask for help to follow it once you Know it. And this first step is where you fall short.  Not taking this first step, that is, not making your Commitment to your Call, is your Character Defect.

Even in relationship with Pat, I sense that you are not really Committed. It could be that Pat is in fact your double in this lifetime and that even if this is so you are just not willing to Commit to your relationship with her. Or with your first wife, you were not Committed. And you chose a wife that you did not feel that close to. Gary: One that would make Committing most challenging for me.  Moira: Exactly. A plan from your Lower Self. And you could find all kinds of reasons why you were not Committing. And the same in other relationships. You seem to always find a reason not to Commit. Commitment is the issue here. It seems that your lack of commitment is the Character Defect for you to work with in this lifetime.

And the faults that come from this Character Defect are, perhaps, withholding, not giving of your true self, rather, donning your love mask. You are cheating Life – wanting to get more from a relationship than you are willing to give to a relationship. You want a big slice of Life and yet do not want to give Life but a crumb. When you give but a crumb, what is missing is Commitment. Gary: Committing without knowing is huge for me. Moira: Yes, what is asked is that you Commit without knowing. And that’s what it should be. It’s not, “Oh, when I know enough, then I shall commit and follow my Call, then I shall enter the stream of Life, and then I shall ride the Wave of Life.”

Rather say: “I am going to Commit. I’m not sure to what, but I’m giving every ounce of my lifeblood here. And no matter where it takes me – the momentary trials and sacrifices, the pain – bring it on. I am committed.”

Gary: I get tastes, but I do not say YES!! to these tastes, so I get drawn into all these other activities simply because I have not said YES! to what is most alive in me. Moira: And what needs to be really clear is that you need to be Committed to Life itself, moment by moment. Gary: I don’t know how this commitment shows up in various situations in my life. Moira: You can’t know because you are not Committed. This is not an abstract concept here. You have to feel it, “I am in Life for the long haul! And I do not even know what that will mean.” But when you make the Commitment, then you will be inspired, and Life will support you in how to face any situation, be it your relationship with Pat, your relationship with your family, your leadership, or the vision you and Karen connected to on June 23rd.

And once you Commit, you will get the support. You do not have to do it all alone. Life is wanting to support you, Life loves you, and is working overtime to help manifest whatever it is you need to do. How to love. How to care. How to follow through. How to help. Once you Commit to doing it, then Life will guide you. Then you will know that you are not in life alone.

But right now you are in life alone, because you are not Committed to Life. You try to “figure out” with your separated ego how to love or how to care, how to lead, etc. You are trying to “figure it out” on your own. Gary: Going back to my diagrams for Lecture 145 referenced at the beginning of this blog (click to open again), without the Commitment I am in my egoic Self-Will on the wrong side of the Wall. And egoic life on the wrong side of the Wall is full of dualistic problems. Moira: And you want the truth. You are doing your best, but you are doing it alone, on the wrong side of the Wall. You do all these things – with Pat, with Pathwork, with family. And it becomes very overwhelming.  You are working double-time, because you are insisting on doing it alone. You have not surrendered to Life, to God, to your Divine Essence.

As soon as you surrender to Life, you will find that Life has been waiting. And Life will step up and say, “Gary, the effort you made to commit is almost enough. That Commitment is your part. Now the Universe takes over and does its part, breathes with you, and Life becomes easy.” But you do not know that yet!  You think Committing to Life is going to make your really overwhelmed, beyond the overwhelm you are in already because you are all alone on the wrong side of the Wall. And so you back off in fear from really Committing. You fear committing more would just do you in.

And it’s NOT TRUE that Committing will overwhelm your already busy life. As soon as you Commit, Life takes over. “Finally.” Gary: Yes, finally the Wall comes down and from that other side of the Wall, from my Divine Essence, which is connected to the ALL, I get the help I need to relax into doing this task. Moira: You’ll probably be doing the same work with the same diligence, because you are basically a hardworking, conscientious, visionary – but it is not going to feel overwhelming. Gary: Yes, it will be the Effortless Effort! Moira: Yes. Exactly. Because you are going to have someone on your side: namely, Life! You are not going to be a different person, but rather you will add something from that which is Divine, and that Divine Essence will enrich your life. Gary: More relaxation! Moira: Yes, because you are not going to be carrying the work alone. You are going to be carried sometimes, and at other times you will carry. You will be engaged with Life. You’ll know when to step back and be carried and when to step up and carry. You won’t be making things happen all by yourself.

Gary: Let me offer an example. We of the Pathwork Council said this morning in our meeting (Thursday, September 6) that we should be a part of the Memorial Service for Karen that takes place in ten days on September 16. The other Pathwork Council Members said I should contact Susan, which I did. And now we are going to play a role. Life is meeting us to make this happen.  Moira: Yes, Gary, that is great. That is your commitment to Karen. And it is a commitment both to you and to your relationship with Karen. That is really “stepping up.” And you may have to fight for it. It is “right action.” Especially right action for you to whom Karen entrusted the crystal that she had brought to every helper meeting for twenty years!

Let’s slow down.  Gary, you have to take this seriously. You need to really show up. It will be hard, because you have not made the Commitment yet, but after this, if you come to truly make the Commitment to Life, you need to stand up for this relationship with Karen, especially after that beautiful electrifying meeting you had with her on June 23rd. Gary: I can hear that more easily – standing up for my relationship with Karen, rather than standing up for me. At the end of the interview Karen said, “Take care, Buddy.” And I said, “You too, Buddy!” This was very meaningful to me. Moira: So beautiful. Karen is still helping you here. She is helping you to Commit. Gary: It brings tears to my eyes just to reflect on this last scene with her.

Gary: And I can feel my commitment to the Erena’s Graduate Program. Following up with emails, reaching out far and wide to those who are eligible. We already have seven people signed up and it’s two months off yet. And I hold energy for our faculty of Helpers to participate in this. I don’t feel like giving up on this. Moira: This “not giving up” is your Commitment coming through! Now follow through. And if you are Committed you will say, “You need to come to this!”  You can say anything you want to these prospects because it comes with the spirit of Love, because it comes from your Commitment and you genuinely want everyone to benefit from what you know is possible with this program!  Don’t miss the Call to Commit your life to Life! Ride that wave.

Gary: And with the Pathwork Council Meeting this morning, leading off with the quote from Pathwork Lecture 145, closing with the words, “… And are you wholeheartedly responsiveJust reading this closing phrase brings tears to my eyes just now. In my using this quote from Lecture 145 this morning I can see the Universe cooperating – just leading me first to use these words from Lecture 145 and then to inspire our meeting this morning. Yes, our Pathwork Council conference call this morning built on these words used at the beginning of the meeting.

Moira: You have a job to do. You need the Universe on your side. And that is going to come through as you follow the Call of the Life Stream. Just as you’re doing – contacting Susan about participating in the Memorial Service, beginning your Council meeting with these words from a Pathwork Lecture this morning. Gary: Elsewhere in this lecture it talks about the temptation to do all this for approval.  No! I am doing it because it is flowing out of me. I really cannot help it. If people do not care for what I am doing, it is really not my problem.  Moira: This is your commitment with a little “c;” now your Big Commitment that you have not made yet must be made – this Commitment is 100%; it is not 50/50.

But you are not there yet. So just admit, “I have not yet made this Commitment.” AND go on to say, “That is OK.  It is where I am. And as a result of not making this Commitment I acknowledge that I shall be anxious, I shall be overwhelmed and think things are too much, and I am going to be confused about certain things, etc. In these problems I shall I know that they are ‘happy problems,’ that they are Effects Caused by my deciding to ‘Not Commit.’ But I want to accept my decision not to Commit. And though my decision gives rise to many painful issues in my life, still I am stubbornly choosing not to Commit.”

And in this confession you will know that in your pain and suffering you are not a victim of life.  Your anxiety, your confusion, your fear, and your overwork are not caused by anything outside of you. And you are certainly allowed not to Commit. It is fine with the Universe and with God. Free Will will not be violated. Just be with your non-Commitment and accept the consequences, the effects of non-Commitment. Gary: Admitting I am “merely and utterly human.” Moira: Yes, in your not Committing to Life you are being “merely and utterly human.”

But of course then you are no longer a victim. You will not say,“Oh my, I have too many meetings,” etc. These too-many-meetings are the effects of not making your Commitment to Life. When you Commit these effects will drop away because you will be in the Stream of Life! And the Universe is going to support you, and you are going to be free! You’re going to be riding a wave!  Right now you’re not free, you are struggling and thinking you are a victim.

Gary: So the Effect of my not Committing is the existential anxiety that I feel all the time. Moira: That’s right. That’s right. Gary: Admitting this will lessen the anxiety. Moira: Exactly. Exactly. Anxiety is undifferentiated feelings. There are a lot of feelings in you, but they are as yet undifferentiated, unidentified. As soon as you say, “I have a fear of Committing, I have guilt for not Committing, I am angry about having to Commit, etc.” then you have identified a specific feelings and it is no longer undifferentiated. With this, the anxiety will go away. Just say, “I don’t want to Commit right now.  I am not Committed, and I want to accept it.” And then you are FREE. Then when you do Commit, all the conflicting feelings also go away.

Love means you first have to Commit to Life, to go all the way, to love Life, and to love yourself enough that you are willing to Commit to it. Why will your Commit of your own free will? The reason you will commit of your own free will is that you will know that the payoff is worth it. The payoff to Committing to Life is the Kingdom! You have to love yourself enough to want to Commit and thereby to receive the Kingdom. Use your will here. Say, “Lord I want help to Commit, because I really want to love myself enough to do so and thereby have the Kingdom.” Gary: “Lord I believe, Help Thou mine unbelief.” Moira: Yes.

Here are some Pathwork Lectures to support you in this: Pathwork Lecture 17: The Call; Daily Review;  18: Free Will; and 20: God; The Creation. These will support you in your will to make your Commitment to Life. These will be supporting Lecture 145: Responding to the Call of Life.

So now you know with your Character Defect is, your choosing Not to Commit, and you’re going to be able to work with that and carry it through. Gary: So now I at least have a road map for the next leg of the journey!

Shared with Love, Gary

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Gary Vollbracht