Overflowing with Life
My blog entries have been sparse of late, but perhaps only because my life has been so full. Not full with stuff, but full of Life! And on all fronts — my inner life, my relational life with Pat, and most other fronts. Let me take a breath.
In October I was gone 22 days, beginning with a beautiful 5-day EmbodyBeing workshop in Asheville, NC, the final workshop of a 10-month program of learning various Presence practices. A beautiful group of 7 with our leader Mary Stokes. Next was a swing through Sevenoaks Pathwork Center and a number of days of business-type meetings, though always including bonding and engaging with fellow Pathworkers as we sort out our direction and needed activities.
Then a five-day Ira-Progoff-derived Journaling experience led by Faye Schwelitz. She calls the program Journey to Inner Freedom: Writing from the Quiet Center, and that says it all. Beautiful inner work blended with deep connecting with the 9 participants and Faye. Next was a 2-day event featuring Ambassador Akbar Ahmed engaging us in the subject of Muslim-Jewish-Christian interfaith dialog. This was followed the next weekend with a Pathwork workshop led by Erena Bramos and Patty Mahaffey right here in Cincinnati.
In October I also updated the DVD I make available that has my readings of the Pathwork Lectures. In this release I now have over 90% of the body of 258 lectures recorded — 184 hours of material recorded over the past 5 years. Very satisfying. Especially finding out that over 5,000 copies of the recorded lectures have been downloaded from the International Pathwork website over the past 3 years. Very humbling.
Add to these events and projects some intense sessions with my Pathwork helper Moira Shaw and Hakomi Counselor Ed Gutfreund plus many intense coffee-time hours with Pat (4 or 5 of them well over two hours long), and then an intense experiential weekend with our Grof Holotropic Breathwork leaders Andreas and Regina last weekend, and you get the picture. Very full. Very Rich.
Many blog entries could have been made over this period, and I missed not sharing what was going on in me through all of this. But let me catch up on just one aspect that touched me. I am part of a spiritual writing group, a group that has met roughly monthly for about 12 years now. Each month we pick a topic to write on, and this month it was Dying.
What would I say about dying? What are my feelings about death and dying? I began writing about various experiences and various beliefs I have held through my life. It felt real enough, though maybe a bit long. But in the end I realized that what I have been experiencing about death is some kind of Trust with a capital T. A few days after the paper was written and edited a bit I titled it Tastes of Existential Trust.
I wasn’t sure why I chose that title and realized I didn’t even know what “existential” meant. But it fit perfectly when I looked it up: Existentialism: a philosophical attitude associated especially with Heidegger, Jaspers, Marcel, and Sartre, and opposed to rationalism and empiricism, that stresses the individual’s unique position as a self-determining agent responsible for the authenticity of his or her choices. I am not schooled in the philosophers mentioned, but the definition seems to fit. The Trust I was experiencing was neither rational nor empirical — it came from some place deep within my Knowing.
If you would like to read Tastes of Existential Trust, click here. It feels a bit vulnerable to put this raw self-revealing material out there, but on the other hand it invites dialog. This dialog has begun with my brother Paul. Paul is into many many fascinating things. One of them is Church Planting — work he is doing as part of a team of Lutherans from the Ohio District of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. Their goal, as Paul explained it, is to save the “Lost.” So in our weekly morning coffee this past Tuesday we discussed, “So who are the ‘lost,'”? Huge subject. What does “lost” mean? Another huge subject. I invited Paul to share my writing about Existential Trust — would people in his church circles say I am lost? I feel open to this dialog. Even eager for this dialog. We’ll see what happens.
But there is more. After my recent release of Pathwork recordings, I again dove into this project, hoping to complete all 258 lectures by April or so. Each lecture I recorded in these past 3 or 4 weeks has felt so rich — especially Lectures 136, 137, and 142. Lecture 142, with the lengthy title of The Longing for and the Fear of Happiness — Also, the Fear of Releasing the Little Ego seems to address my writing on dying, my Tastes of Existential Trust. I added two quotes to my Pathwork Quotes page of my website, and they can be opened here (the titles are my own): Inner Divine Self Engaging Fully in Spiritual Experiences, Sexual Ecstasy in Union and Death, and Trust, Living by Faith. In fact, this entire lecture felt relevant, and can be opened (click here). More food for dialog!
All of this felt so filling and inspiring to me this morning. My cup truly overflows as I sit here on the couch typing away. Just had to take time to share.
Feeling love for you, my friends. Gary
PS “Extra Credit” — As the Universe cooperates with my engagement with life, Pat and I received the December issue of The Sun magazine. I was drawn immediately to an interview with Jacob Needleman entitled, Beyond Belief — Jacob Needleman On God Without Religion. A quote from this article that stuck out for me was: “To do spiritual work, you must invite into yourself a higher force or identity: God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, Higher Self, Brahma, Atman, Buddha-nature, whatever you want to call it. It’s a force that redefines the ‘you’ who works on yourself.” Now this article could also be added to the list of what we could dialog about!