On Being a "Johnny Appleseed" of Pathwork
My September 20, 2012, Helper Session with Moira
My presenting “beautiful problem” that I brought to my session: “How can I more solidly commit to my Call and my True Self?”
While I intend to fully commit to my Call and my True Self, I find often that I get wrapped up in and distracted by the morass of administrative complexity of Sevenoaks. Such distractions include following through on my audio and video recordings of Karen’s memorial service (I am just not that familiar with this technology but somehow say “yes” to handling this project because I and others value the result), the many aspects of finances, the school administrative issues, and the like. All of this seems to sap my energy and keep me from what I so enjoy.
And what do I most enjoy? Those who know me will know my many passions: Lecture recording (now into the Questions and Answers – likely a three year project), my blogging (approaching 300 entries over the past three years), my diagramming lectures in PowerPoint presentations for myself and for my website (and sometimes for classes I teach), promoting the graduate program, deep soul-searching conversations with Pat and the development of our relationship, conversations with fellow Pathworkers and friends about our respective paths, and last but far from least: my own personal development. Life is not boring! But I let much get in the way of what I most enjoy and from which I feel such fulfillment. So commitment to what is most alive in me while dropping that which is not continues to be my struggle.
Moira: Being caught in your quagmire of administrative complexity could be a clue that you are not connected to your Real Self and not committed to your True Calling. Rather it could be that you are living from your mask self and Idealized Self Image. From your mask self you are not aware of a solution to your plight – in fact there seems to be no way out. So we’ll explore your commitment to who you are in both your consciousness and your energy and most particularly that which keeps you from that and which, it seems, creates the quagmire you live in more often than you would want.
Gary: Let me begin with something that seemed to go right. I felt good about how my involvement in Karen’s Memorial Service evolved – in the end it turned out that I was the final formal speaker, and I concluded my brief talk by sharing that I had a sense that Karen was commissioning each of us in the Helper Community to manifest his or her uniqueness, ground that manifestation in the wisdom of the Pathowork Guide, and take his or her respective place of leadership in the “Pathwork Crystal of Leadership” that Karen entrusted to me back on June 23rd. My message came from my heart. It felt grounded. I could sense Karen smiling and saying, “Yes, oh Helper Community, carry forth!” As I gave the talk I felt connected to the audience. It was a good experience for me.
Moira: Beautiful. And since it came from your Heart, from your Essence, from your Love Center, did you contract after that and feel ashamed? Gary: (surprised that Moira was so perceptive here) Yes, as a matter of fact. Afterwards I felt my vulnerability. My “turtle” had stuck its head out and was quite frightened. Moira: Of course. Gary: Of course? I certainly did not expect it. But three things came up after my brief talk. First I realized that I really wanted some affirmation about my being OK with what I had said in my “commissioning” talk. Secondly, I was aware of not wanting to need that affirmation – wanting to be more spiritually mature than I am and far above any need for affirmation from the outside – that is, wanting to be sufficiently affirmed and confident from within my Center.
Thirdly, I noticed my behavior after my talk. All the others were leaving Lighthouse and going outside for the spreading of Karen’s ashes beneath one of the oaks. I did not join them but stayed behind. I stayed in Lighthouse and tended to my audio and video equipment – putting the camera and microphones away, and just becoming busy with the mechanics of what was going on. A kind of resentment came up in me too, seeing myself as “having to” tend to the mechanics of the equipment while the others went on with the service outside. Even when I showed up there I felt a need to be the videographer – that was now my job. I was no longer part of the service, no longer serving from a place of leadership or even a participant in the ceremony. My turtle’s head was fully back inside its shell as I videoed the conclusion of the service outside.
In retrospect what did I want and need after my talk? After the fact I realized that what I needed was a hug from Pat, communicating that she had seen me, my Essence, and that it was a pleasure for her to see me in my Essence – that I had done a good job in closing the service in Lighthouse with my talk. And of course, had I realized that this is what I needed, I am not sure I would have followed through and found her for a nice hug.
But the next morning Pat was able to share what her experience of me had been the afternoon before. “You just threw these seeds out. You do not know when or if they will sprout, but you did what you were meant to do.” I was quite surprised and deeply touched by her seeing and naming what I myself was not seeing. Yes indeed. At the Memorial Service I was spreading seeds! I really “got” what she saw in me. I was so grateful for her sharing what she had seen the day before, and told her so. Moira: What a beautiful partner! Pat saw and acknowledged your Real Self, and your Real Self is one who is giving from your heart and from the depths of your being. In this space there was a timelessness. Here there was a Love that came from a deep place in you. Gary, there is a special quality in you when, for example, you say you are working with the Lectures, or are working with someone in a session, or giving a talk like this. What is this this quality that shows up at such times? In such times you are going into a state of just Being, a state of Timelessness. It’s very deep, and it’s really Love. It’s almost that you transcend yourself in those moments. That, Gary, is your ideal state. That’s who you are.
But on this earth plane we can’t be in this ideal state 100% of the time. Rather, we go into the other side – not loving, not committing to that state, not being in that timelessness, but rather in inertia or rigidity – the opposite of timelessness. So you have to be able to hold these two states side by side: the Ideal alongside the distortion of that Ideal – a distortion which for you can be kind of stagnation, or inertia, not wanting to move. This is just a distortion of that previous state of “motionless motion” where everything is in another dimension. It is hard for you to reconcile both states in you – the Ideal and the distortion of the Ideal.
When confronted by these two states you go into a kind of mask. From this mask side you try to be the active person, forcing action and taking responsibility. And being active in this way is not who you are. Who you are is Love, and timelessness, and communicating the depths of Being. Instead of being who your are, you don a mask which says: “I should be out there, I should be leading the pack – doing and building and creating.” Your “building” is as the seed planter, not the plant grower. Gary: So I leave my visioning role that I held in my talk, and after the talk I drop into a doing role – making the video, being ultra-responsible, the masculine. Moira: Yes, and it is as if this is from the same energy as the seed planter, but it is not. And because this being the ultra-responsible builder is NOT the Real You, you always feel like your failing. You identify with this “failing one” and yet you continuously pour more and more energy into these areas that are not You. This becomes a vicious circle. These doing and building areas are a distortion of your Ideal Self. Your Distorted Self excludes you from your Real Self, the Timeless One who Loves.
And you then back off from the Ideal, the Real Self, because it brings with it the Distorted Self, which you resent because this distorted self – the Builder – takes so much energy. So in the end you give up the Ideal of Yourself, your Essence, and apply yourself to the Distorted Side – the side that in the end exhausts you because it is not your Real Self. The Real Self taps into the Life Stream where there is endless energy, making effortless effort possible. The Distorted Self stays separate from the Life Stream and easily exhausts its energy.
Consider your role at Sevenoaks. You have a vision. Karen always told you that you held the vision for Sevenoaks. You are the Visionary, NOT the Builder. You deny your role as the Visionary and try to take on the role of the Builder – getting very busy and active, the masculine side. And from here you always feel unfulfilled. And you always will be unfulfilled when you are doing what you are not called to do.
You really need to rest a lot. And you did that after your talk in a way. You retreated back into the video work. And that was fine. You needed that. Even taking a nap would have been good for you. To really Rest and really take in and honor and feel good about what you did is important. Resting in distortion, on the other hand, would be inertia or stagnation. I am not talking about that. Gary, in your role as visionary you need to rest a lot, you need time to connect to your Spirit, and then you can once again bring your Spirit out and share it, and then go back in – a healthy passivity, a benign circle.
Gary: Yes. I had this experience the morning of the Memorial. I awoke anxious and nervous about what I would say. Then in meditation a Peace and Equanimity came over me, and Ease. And out of that space the talk emerged. I wrote it out in a blog entry and at the service spoke it from my heart. And the next day I also so enjoyed reflecting on this entire experience, noticing where my defenses were, writing up another blog on the experience of the Day After. A beautiful space for me.
Yet I judge this beautiful experience as negative. A part of me comes in with, “Gary, you can’t just sit around and do blog entries all day long! There is work to be done. You have major responsibilities.” Moira: That’s the Mask Self. “I should be out there! I should be doing something!” You need to be some “idealized” Gary. I like what the Guide says on this: The Idealized Self is the self in you that thinks you ALWAYS have to be in this state of Love and Timelessness. But you are a “merely and utterly human being.” You have those utopian moments, yes, but you also have to recognize you have the distortion of that in you also that appears at other times. A kind of deadness or stagnation comes over you. If you could accept this distorted side of deadness and stagnation rather than moralize and judge it as somehow “bad,” you would not have to go into the Mask of busyness, the masculine, the do-do-do. This Mask of Busyness is not who you are. Gary: It’s like a mask of the pseudo-masculine that I take on. Moira: Yes. And because you are a Man, your job is to identify with Love, not the busyness of the masky pseudo-masculine. And because you are on the Earth plane you can’t do this always, but know that this Lover is who you truly are as a Man on the Earth plane – doing what you did in giving your talk from your Heart.
Gary: Yes, and with a few of the folks in attendance I felt that heart connection and we could hug. The hug said it all. Moira: Was that enough? Gary: I wanted it to be that way with everyone – but that was not being in reality. Like Lecture 60 The Abyss of Illusion – Freedom and Self-Responsibility – which says our psyche seeks utopia (here warm hugs) 100% of the time, and that is impossible. Not having utopia feels like jumping into the abyss. Moira: Right. So you have to die a little bit and go into the abyss.
Gary: I am really struck by what you said earlier: “You can be the visionary without being the builder.” I always valued the builder and judged the visionary as one who was getting off too easily, one who is lazy. I resent the visionary who comes up with a vision and then goes and takes a nap. NO – this other voice says, “Gary, the vision is only the beginning! Get your ass out there and get to work! You have to BUILD your vision, not just envision your vision!” Moira: And hear what Pat said, “You are the visionary – go plant seeds.” Gary, you have your vision, and then you throw your seeds out and let someone else do the building.
Envisioning is easy for you because that is who you are! Visioning is effortless effort for you. For you the building is effortful, because that is not who you are. Don’t meddle in the building side. Stick with the visioning side! For others the building is effortless and the visioning effortful. When you are doing what you are Called to do it is supposed to be easy. When it is easy you know you are on the right track! When it is hard, here, for example, when you are caught in the quagmire of administrative complexity, you know this is not your Call. If it is crazy-making then you know you are doing something that is not natural for you. And yet you, Gary, keep trying to do it – to manifest and implement your vision – and in this pushing-a-rock-up-a-hill experience you expect a different outcome! No. After the visioning, let go. Rest. If you refuse to see yourself as the visionary you are, you are always going to be in a quagmire of complexity and detail – and anxious, frustrated and unfulfilled as a result. Gary: Well visioning is what I most enjoy doing.
The other thing I enjoy doing is my work on myself. Moira: Yeah, yeah. Gary: And I enjoy using my blog to share my struggles and what I discover. Moira: Exactly. Throwing more seeds out. Letting people pick them up. Let the seeds germinate in them. Gary: I hadn’t thought of my blog that way, as throwing out more seeds. I guess I am a seed planter. Moira: Yes. And unless you keep on digging into yourself and coming up with deeper awarenesses you won’t have seeds to plant. So it’s a beautiful benign circle: you go into yourself; you understand life; you become aware; and then you share these awarenesses, these little seeds, with people. You imagine what it could be for them and in the world. That is a lot of work that you are doing with your personal development and in writing your blog.
Gary: And even my recording of the Pathwork Lectures is part of the seed planting process. Moira: Absolutely. And it’s all doing what you so love: working on yourself, reading the lectures, recording the lectures, giving a talk at Karen’s Memorial, which, by the way, you manifested by talking to Susan – you felt Called to plant those seeds at Karen’s Memorial. So in life you look for opportunities to plant more seeds. Gary: I did not know that “seed planting” was what I was doing at the Memorial Service, but I knew I just had to do it. Moira: Yes. You Knew. Something was pushing from within and you went with that impulse. Gary: The same way with Erena’s graduate program – something is pushing from within me to help manifest this – both selfishly for myself (the graduate program is what I want for myself) and for others – the more the merrier.
Moira: Now you are more aware. Now you can honor what you are doing: your morning meditation; your hour or two with Pat each day where you are sharing your deepest selves; your many Helper sessions; your couples intensive and follow-on sessions with Sage and Anthony, and on and on. No longer are you feeling somehow guilty, no longer accusing yourself with, “All this work on myself is too easy, too delicious, too self-absorbed.” No! You now can honor this person you truly are! He is a beautiful man.
This is WHY all these activities we’ve listed are delicious – they are YOU, it is answering your Call to be your Real Self! And you are doing this to the max! Gary: Wow! Simply Wow! Long pause to take this all in. This is so amazing. Moira: Yeah! Yeah! This is your commitment to yourself: to Know this is your Call, and to follow it, and to be inspired by and in it – how you are always looking for new seeds that you can then share. Let others plant them as well. This is your Calling!
Gary: And not be daunted by how the seeds are accepted by others, how others may reject my Pathwork seeds and pursue other seeds. Moira: Yes the electricity you felt with Karen – both of you wanting to take the Pathwork Lectures to the core and bring out whatever they hold. This is your commitment: Knowing that this is your task, and the task of the Mid-Atlantic Pathwork community. These are the seeds that you are planting. What others do with your seeds is not your issue. Bringing the seeds to fruition is not your job. You now can Let Go and Let God. But as for you, you hold to your vision. Hold to what you want to do. Then let it go. That’s accepting the earth plane consciousness. You can handle your disappointment when the seeds are not taken in.
Gary: The parable of the sower applies here –
Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the birds of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, some an hundred.
So I can handle however the seeds are received! Moira: Yes, your commitment is to being the seed planter. Then let go, let God. Gary: So I’m the Johnny Appleseed of Pathwork! Moira: Yes, so you are! You plant your seeds. You go with Jenny and Mary, if that’s where your work takes you. You write your blog. You work with the lectures. You work with Pat so intensely. That’s all so beautiful. Planting seeds is hard work – yes, effortless effort (because it is YOU) – but still effort. Yours is a beautiful task. So say, “Seed planting is what I commit to doing. I am not committing to building, but I am committing to planting!” Then providence moves. You’ll be given the opportunity for more and more seed planting. You’ll find new seeds, ancient seeds.
Gary: So take the Finance Committee meeting yesterday. Very challenging for me. Moira: What did you bring? Gary: A solid overview as to where we are, but it was not well received. Moira: And you got frustrated because they were not much open to what you offered. Gary: Right. It is helpful to see what my role is and is not on this committee. Moira: You did your job – pulling some order out of the confusion – visioning, seed planting., even if the clarity was in your mind only and not theirs. Not bringing your overview to the Finance Committee meeting is not doing your job. Bringing your vision to the meeting and forcing it on the others is also not your job. To do this latter would be meddling in their work. Gary: That’s helpful. Moira: And then you could leave the meeting feeling good. Gary: Same with the vision I am holding for the Pathwork School and the other various programs of the Pathwork Council. At the right time I can share that vision. It was premature back in August when I created it. But maybe over the next few months I can present it. Again there are two parts to the commitment to visioning: 1) don’t hold it back and 2) yet do not force it. Rather I can interact with folks about it. This is how I enjoy working anyway – iterating with folks involved and thereby evolving a plan that everyone has had a part in creating.
Moira: Yes, you need to rest more so that your intuition can recoup and continue to open. You need to rest, Gary, and it’s not being lazy! It’s actually being “lazy” if you try to implement what you envision. By building what you envisioned you would be “lazy” to your task – your task is to rest, to envision, to put out your vision in a way that it can be most easily understood, that is benign, and then to have faith – to Let Go and Let God.
And if your visions are repeatedly not picked up on, then you need to ask, “Is it time to move on?” Then, in fact, you might need to move on and find a place where there is fertile ground in which your seeds will grow. But first know who you are, commit to your tasks, and get out of tasks not your own. You will be informed about your next steps once your commitment is fully present here. Gary: I am reminded of a sentence from Pathwork Lecture 145: Responding to the Call of Life: “… you will understand in each moment what the call of life wants to convey to you.” So you do not need some grand vision. Rather if I am committed to my Call I shall know moment by moment what is being asked of me.
Gary: And I see Pat’s and my engagement with Sage and Anthony as a commitment to US and our growth as a couple and as individuals. And what we are getting into in our early sessions with Sage and Anthony is that neither Pat nor I were affirmed in who we were by our parents. Moira: And you both came in with this predisposition not to be who you are – a predisposition that you would conform to the culture, to your parents, to the church, etc. Your parents, the church, school, and your environment merely reinforced this in you and brought it out in you. Gary: So now I have to affirm who I am and not get seduced and trapped in being affirmed by people from the outside want me to be what they want me to be. Moira: So now you also have to find within you that person who does not want you to be the visionary but rather wants you to be the builder and manifester, that is, that part of you that wants you to be someone other than who you are.
Read Pathwork Lecture 83: The Idealized Self Image. What is said is that you will see the following logic: “Since I can’t be who I really am – the Visionary – 100% of the time, I’ll try to be a false version of myself – the doer, builder and manifester – 100% of the time. I will not be able to be this false person 100% of the time either, but it won’t be as painful failing on the “manifester” front since being the manifester is not really the true me who I am not being 100% of the time anyway.” So the growth is to say, “I want to be who I really am, my Real Self. AND I accept that in this Earth plane consciousness I can’t be who I really am 100% of the time.” This realization is coming home to the Real Self. Coming home is not about BEING the Real Self 100% of the time, but rather accepting that sometimes you are and sometimes you are not your Real Self. Coming home to the Real Self is the capacity to sit with both the Ideal and the Distortion of the Ideal.
Even with Pat you are the Johnny Appleseed planting seeds: “This is the way our relationship could be.” The builder/manifester, demanding, “I have to have it NOW exactly the way I want it” won’t work. Plant the seed, hold and feel into the vision (as explained in Lecture 194 Meditation: Its Laws and Various Approaches — A Summary (Meditation as Positive Life Creation)), and then have faith: Let Go, Let God. You do not know how all these visions you have had for the relationship will manifest. Just be the Seed Planter. That’s a lot.
So keep planting seeds. Gary: And respond to people who want my seeds. Moira: Of course! If you keep planting seeds on rocky soil you will just get frustrated. So seek out fertile soil. Do everything the seed planter can do: fertilize, water, etc. But if the soil never responds, then you have to move on. Gary: Yes. For example, I do management consulting. Some clients really respond to the seeds I have, others not as much. Actually only a few do respond. But those who do seem to really respond and make comments like, “When I leave our meetings I feel so inspired.” That is very satisfying to me – and my consulting is really working for such a client. And for me it is truly effortless effort. Moira: For those who so resonate with you, you do not offer advice to follow but rather offer inspiration – you plant seeds, and these clients who relate to who you are take them into themselves and run with them. Actually you are awakening their seeds, inspiring them to awaken unto themselves, you are not really giving them your seeds. Those who resonate with you represent the good ground of the parable and produce “thirty, sixty or a hundredfold.” You are the seed planter, so don’t look at the crop, you simply offer the seed. The client determines what he or she does with the seed and hence determines the resulting size of the harvest!
Gary: I’m reminded of my fascination with wildflowers – the excitement, or example, of showing the unfolding of a dandelion – from a single floret, to an entire head, to the fluff-ball stage. Moira: What a perfect metaphor for your life as Johnny Appleseed! Gary: I’ll just have to keep unloading jobs that are so much busywork for me. Moira: If you just keep planting seeds then opportunities for planting seeds will just keep expanding and you simply won’t have time for other jobs. They will just fall away.
What a session! I am filled with gratitude.
Shared with love, Gary