Leadership or Followership?
Saturday morning, August 3, 2013. I am at Sevenoaks for a weekend Pathwork Helper Retreat. Julia is our facilitator, and she began the evening with a reflection question, “Where are you in your leadership in Mid-Atlantic Pathwork (MAP).” Seemed like an innocuous question but the question took me immediately to a place where I recognized that I did not see myself as a leader in MAP! My realization startled me. Yes, I am now withdrawing from leadership in MAP, but in these recent years I have been the Chair of the Pathwork Council, on the Board of Trustees, and Treasurer – spending hours and hours with budgets and organizational matters and hundreds of hours each year on the phone either one-to-one with others in leadership or in the many conference calls of the various Board and Committee meetings. With all of this organizational involvement, why was I not feeling myself in leadership in MAP?
Much came up in the short meditation time. I saw that while not feeling my leadership I am quite active in serving in a capacity of organizer, administrator, and coordinator of many MAP activities. In these organizational activities my role is one of listening, framing, organizing, and communicating – but it is always in service to a vision coming from others or seemingly from the organizations themselves, but not from within me.
Rightly or wrongly, I associate leadership with leading others, or even leading myself, in the direction of my own vision. In a way I am a grand follower, and I’m probably great to have around in service to those with more vision concerning what they see as either their Call or their view of the Call of MAP. But these calls are not my Call, not my Soul’s Call. In many ways my service comes from my old German Lutheran patterning – following and committing myself to service for external structures and causes that are not truly coming out of my deepest Divinity, my Higher Self, my God-Self.
I think my backing away from leadership in MAP comes from my recognizing (once again, since this backing away has been something I have done several times in my life) this disconnect of the many organizational activities I am in from my own inner compass, my own inner vision, my Essence. I recognize that I do not even lead myself but rather my Ego steers my Life’s Boat in accord with external structures – today MAP, before that the Lutheran Church, my business world, and my service to several other organizations. These external structures gave my life its sense of purpose and meaning – but these external structures are not truly, or rather, may not be truly my Soul’s deepest Vision for my life. I realize that I am not actually in touch with my Soul’s deepest Vision or Calling beyond doing my spiritual and personal development work and feeling called to share my growth process with others, either in person in conversations we have about life, where we can exchange real life experiences, or more impersonally, sharing my growth process in these many blog entries.
It feels rich to know this about myself – to know that I organize, administer, and coordinate things that may be outside my Soul’s Vision, and that by focusing on external causes I may have abandoned Visions and Callings that are most alive in my own Soul’s Essence. I associate following my Soul with leadership, following external structures and people, on the other hand, with committed followership rather than leadership.
This condition of followership vs. leadership may relate to why I do not feel comfortable teaching. In a way I do not know what to teach! If I teach anything I want to do so from my Essence, not from something I’ve learned from the outside. I think this applies even to Pathwork! I am uncomfortable telling someone about a Pathwork concept, explaining it, as if I know something. I’d rather share my process as it relates to a Pathwork idea, and let the others engage the Pathwork Lecture material for themselves, in small digestible bites, and then together share how the material lands in their and my respective Soul. We would explore how the material resonates within us and inspires, or we would examine how and why it may leave us cold and confused. Are we open to the possibility that the concept is true, or closed to such a possibility?
In such one-to-one or small group conversations I can see myself “helping” others get in touch with their own inner compass, their own Divine Essence, as I do the same along side of them. Of course that is what a Pathwork Helper’s role is, but I do not seem comfortable with Pathwork Helper roles of formal teaching or doing formal one-way helper-to-worker sessions. It’s likely that I still have many images blocking clarity about any Call I might have to Pathwork Helpership.
Responsibility and obligation are other factors here. I seem to resist feeling responsibility – I don’t like being responsible. I am struck with Brian O’Donnell’s observation about me, noting that I have a puer side of me – I would say even a puer eternis (as noted in my previous blog entry) that wants to stay a boy, a student, an explorer but never taking on responsibility of leadership in the world. Moira would likely say it is fear that is behind this puer eternis “laziness.” Fear of what? Fear of nakedly following my Soul’s Vision for itself in its Divine potential.
There is a lot here already, and the Helper weekend is just beginning. It will be interesting how the weekend will unfold. However it is Saturday morning before breakfast, and I’ve already had an in-depth engagement with another Soul where I found mutual aliveness. This was followed by another exchange on what is alive in another person’s Soul. And then there is this time of musing, reflecting and integrating that comes from composing this blog entry. Yes, all of this conversation, sharing, and blogging is what my Soul loves. “Gary, just follow it, just follow the energy!”
Shared in love, Gary