Leading By Following What Wants to Happen
Pat is away this weekend (AIP weekend – her spiritual path), so my meditation and coffee time on the deck are practiced alone. But I feel alive. So alive!
Yesterday was phenomenal – an incredible Pathwork Council Meeting followed by my own Pathwork helper session with Moira, a session that was so rich in Pathwork wisdom and encouragement. The day concluded with an amazingly synchronistic encounter with a woman named Joan. Meeting in an apparently chance way at a birthday celebration of 50 people, few of whom either of us knew, Joan and I entered into such rich sharing – even to similarities of having the same local Jungian therapist (though my therapy was ten years ago before I entered Pathwork). This encounter was icing on the cake of the day (and sugar-free icing, so it would not upset my new non-sugar way of conscious eating). Joan and I talked intensely for probably two hours as the party celebration went on around us. We both felt the blessing in this “chance” engagement.
So how was the Pathwork Council Meeting so inspiring for me? As a Council, we are six in number, including Erena as Director of Training and Karen as School Administrator. Our challenges seem huge in developing, organizing, marketing, and administering Pathwork workshops and the Pathwork school at Sevenoaks and beyond. We have such rich opportunities with the students in the school, especially with the seven new helper training students who will, after 10 years of Pathwork growth and training, graduate in June. Their energy and love, as I witnessed once again at Erena’s GroupWorks! Workshop last weekend is quite a blessing for our community. Also, Erena’s leadership in bringing us to ever deeper levels of the Pathwork is emerging more strongly and seemingly naturally.
But there are challenges. The three people in charge of Pathwork and other workshops lamented that we have not unlocked the secret of reaching and attracting participants to attend these Pathwork programs. The decline in Pathwork workshop attendance has been precipitous. At our meeting we talked about the importance of emphasizing spiritual depth vs. popularizing the teachings by lightening their spiritual nature. After all, Pathwork is a spiritual path, like Tibetan Buddhism that Pat is following, or the teachings of Adyashanti, Eckhart Tolle, Tara Brach, and so many other emerging spiritual teachers whose workshops and offerings are maxed out while ours attract only a trickle of folks. How can we emerge from the structures and offerings of our 1970’s roots and offer the wisdom of the Pathwork path as the foundation of a truly rich and integrated spiritual and personal growth program so needed by the planet? No small challenge!
And how can we build a container for holding our new helper training graduates and also a container for continuing education for our Helpers and for community development? We long to be a strong spiritual community. All of this energy and wisdom seemed to flow out onto the table during our 90-minute Pathwork Council teleconference call.
Late in the meeting I shared that with all of this up on the table, would it not be appropriate for us to bring this to the already-scheduled Mid-Atlantic Pathwork Leaders Retreat May 4-6. Perhaps we, the Pathwork Council, could develop and lead this Leadership Retreat. And how timely, seeing that the International Pathwork Conference will be hosted at Sevenoaks August 7-12. Perhaps we could bring this visioning energy to this conference.
At that, a person who had been silent for much of the meeting called a “PAUSE.” Of course, since I was the last speaker before her pause, I went immediately into fear. Had I gotten us off track? Was all the positive energy I was feeling off somehow? I anticipated the worst, my patterned behavior coming up to put the worst construction on everything. So her words brought me great relief and then added to my sense of rightness about how the meeting was unfolding. Her PAUSE was called so that we might have a minute of silence in order to take in and appreciate that SPIRIT was flowing through and in us in this meeting. We were being led and blessed by GRACE. I could feel my deep surrender to what was happening.
But I also recognized after the meeting was over that I was uneasy, feeling that somehow my leadership as Chair had been off from time to time. And it had been. There were times when I had a forcing current during the meeting, wanting to rush things along that my little ego thought were less important. Yet all of these “unimportant” items had positioned us for what came through later. It all worked, and would have worked even better it seems had I been more conscious, patient, observant, and trusting during the meeting. Lesson learned! I was grateful for the lesson, though a bit embarrassed – wanting to be more developed and advanced than I am – the old “trick of the little ego” in its strategy of separation in Pride.
When the meeting concluded I noticed that everyone — all six of us – had participated in key ways. It seemed we had come together as a GROUP – as Erena had helped us define groups at our workshop over the preceding weekend. We were not just a collection of individual personalities working competitively and in roles on this committee called the Pathwork Council. To be a group was a good feeling.
But I had a task to carry out after the meeting. I took on the job of communicating what came through us during the Council meeting to Kent and Wendy, the other two members of the Executive Committee of the Board – after all, the three of us on the Executive Committee are actually responsible for organizing this retreat, although we have not yet really put energy into this organizing process. Somehow I thought my job now was to somehow “sell” Kent and Wendy on this download of SPIRIT through the Pathwork Council. How could I frame this such that they would be open to what had come through? I became nervous. My defenses were coming into play.
How timely then that I had my helper session with Moira. She began by helping me to celebrate the richness of my life these past several weeks – my having shared with her much of the material in recent blog entries. I could feel my enthusiasm and gratitude arise in me as we engaged in my session. Then I got to my fear in having to take these ideas from the Pathwork Council to Kent and Wendy. I could immediately see that my fear was due to my lack of trust in the Cosmos, in God, and in Spirit, my seeming unwillingness to trust that that which had flowed in and through our meeting so beautifully earlier that morning would be present as I approached Kent and Wendy. (Click here for the Pathwork quote from Lecture 203 that I use so often in such situations.)
Moira took me back to the statement she had shared in my session a month ago – referring to a quote allegedly by Einstein, “I think the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is this universe a friendly place?‘” (click here for complete Einstein quote) And of course the Pathwork postulate is a resounding YES to this question. So if I could claim this YES, not from my intellect as a “belief,” but from my gut as an intuitive existential Knowing and Truth, then why would I fear carrying forward to Kent and Wendy what had arisen so beautifully in the Council meeting? Could I simply trust that Kent and Wendy will respond appropriately? If so, there is no need for my ego to don a Forcing Current with them, to push logic, or try to manipulate them to get them to agree with me – thereby getting all tied up in my underwear. Rather, I could simply express the Truth of what occurred and what seems to be in play, and then Trust. Period.
Seeing my resistance to simply trust, Moira challenged me as to what my honest response was to the question about the friendliness of the universe. I had to smile, seeing that my honest answer, based upon my seemingly needing to manipulate Kent and Wendy rather than simply express my truth and trust, was outright disbelief that the universe was friendly and “on my side.”
And so Moira then asked, “So is it true that the universe is hostile toward you and hostile to what is arising through and in the Pathwork Council?” Well of course not was my immediate answer. “So when you see that the universe is not hostile but rather friendly toward you and this work, what would you now say is your position? Put it into words, for words are powerful.” Immediately the words came, “I have absolute confidence that what is emerging here will happen.” With this I felt the cloak of control and manipulation fall away from me and a peace come over me. I was not in this alone! I was a player in the Universe. A dancer dancing his role in the dance of the Universe unfolding. Does it get better than that?!
Moira continued. “When you see this, what comes up in you, what will this YES from the Universe require of you?” I responded, “Well it will require work, and lots of it on my part. I feel my overwhelm! How can I possibly take on still another job by participating in helping to orchestrate this Leaders Retreat?!” Moira: “So you feel your fear and overwhelm. It seems you need to know you can do this without overwhelm. How might that look?” And immediately once again I was taken to Moira’s earlier words about “leading” vs. “doing.” I could see that I did not have to take on all the doing here. My job, perhaps, was to organize resources and allow the program to arise through them. Then after organizing, my job would be to encourage this team, to hold the vision for them, to inspire them. In other words, to lead, not do. Besides, I recognize I am not all that good at “doing” and am better off leaving the doing up to those so gifted.
In all of this Moira referred me to Pathwork Lecture 208 The Innate Human Capacity to Create. So this will be the lecture I listen to now as I go off to the gym for my Friday workout.
I call a PAUSE. What a blessing life is! I am awed by Life, and I am full of gratitude!
Shared in love, Gary