Love in Leadership

I got myself somewhat worked up going into a meeting of Pathwork helpers and leaders I was to facilitate on Sunday evening.  It was billed as a Sevenoaks Town Hall meeting for the 26 members of the helper community sponsored by the Board and Pathwork Council with parts facilitated by me and parts led by Kent, Chairman of our Board of Trustees. It kept my entire Sunday on edge.

The meeting seemed to go well enough, though only nine of our twenty-six helpers participated. The “check in” where everyone shared where he or her was in Pathwork and in leadership turned out to be the longest part of the meeting, and was facilitated by me. Afterwards Kent gave an overview of the Board governance structure, priorities, and strategic framework. He followed this up in writing.

I thought what he wrote was beautifully done. I emailed him, “This seems very well done to me. Kent, thanks for your tireless and skillful leadership. Love, Gary”

He responded with, “I think you did a masterful job in facilitating tonight, drawing people out, acknowledging key points, and creating what turned out to be an astonishingly beautiful sharing by each person. We didn’t even need the last part, but I hope and pray that Helpers were open and receptive to my brief sharing at the end. Given that most of us are truly beloved colleagues who have spent time as fellow teachers in CB down preparing for and debriefing PTP weekends, and many of us have become beloved friends, this felt more like a reunion than a convention. But having the spark of connection and ongoing sharing is so vitally important. Your stewardship was magical tonight.”

Kent’s words gave me cause to pause. As I did I was warmed, not that he was talking favorably about my facilitation role but rather by his sharing what was important to him. I responded back with, “Thanks much, Kent. That you value what seemed to happen all by itself tonight means a lot to me, my friend. In what you say here in your email to me I can see in you one who truly longs for more intimate sharing, connection, friendship and love among us. I sometimes forget. And I sometimes forget these values myself. And in myself. In missing these values I miss the key aspect of why we do all of this — for the sake of Love, for the sake of God. Love, Gary”

I went on to add a PS:  “On a practical level, in the midst of conflict I frequently find myself using an excerpt from Pathwork Lecture 203. I also frame this in a teaching Moira Shaw, my helper, gave me during one of my sessions nearly two years ago.  I find I am trying to use these to frame some of our upcoming meetings this week.  Here they are if you are interested (I think you already use them in practice, but just in case you may be interested)”

Excerpt from L203

Notes from Helper session on L203

As I sit with all this I see a beautiful friendship unfolding between Kent and me. I can also smile. While his comments toward me are positive and fairly lengthy, I realize I could never get enough praise and positive comments. Here the child in me steps in with its insatiable appetite for praise, insatiable because it is still rooted in dualistic consciousness rather than non-dual consciousness. Seeing this, and letting it go, feels like growth.  As I’ve said before, Sevenoaks is my Teacher! And I am grateful, both for my teacher and for my friendship with Kent and others. It was a good evening!