Passionate About My Hobby: Doing My Pathwork

Coffee Time – Easter Sunday

Pause and Consider: Passionate About My Hobby: Doing my Pathwork

Gary: What does Easter mean to me, to us? I’m not sure. Pat: What comes up for me is that Easter means being born anew. Gary: I remember, with some nostalgia, Easter at St. Paul Lutheran. About now, 6:15 AM, a few faithful would have gathered for an outside sunrise service. We’d have had set up chairs for about 30, and would have had taken a lectern out for pastor to preach from. During this 6:00 AM service we’d sing a few hymns. Often, especially with daylight savings time, it would still be dark, but during the service the sun would come up. Often I would go alone, or take one or two of our kids who seemed to be interested. A few times I’m sure all five of us would be there.

After the sunrise service a few of us men would adjourn to the Lutheran Village hall next door where we would cook up pancakes and sausage for the annual Easter pancake breakfast that would be served throughout the morning for folks coming for both the 8:00 AM Easter service and then the 10:15 Easter service. We would skip having Sunday school or bible classes on Easter. That’s what I remember, with some fondness. But what did it all mean in the real scheme of Life? Pat: It was such a different world then!

We then shifted gears. Saturday evening we had had two friends over for dinner. A lively and enjoyable time. Pat and I were both struck by how diverse and different their lives were from ours. They seemed to be fully into life in so many interesting ways – ranging from prison ministry, to extensive gardening, to being a clown, to their recent 100-mile 3-week hike across England. The latter was an intense experience, one that Pat and I would not see ourselves ever being up to. So as we sat in our coffee time this Easter morning we began to question the comparatively bland life that we seem to lead.

Pat: So how does one develop interest in things? Dad was an avid gardener his entire life. Then we got a boat, and our summer life centered around time on the water. During the winter he would take correspondence courses – he was so interested in learning. Gary: What are our interests? – this is such a good topic. I notice that I have had great interest in listening to the audio version of Bill Shirer’s Berlin Diary – just hearing about how life was during the onslaught of World War 2 in mainland Europe. Pat: You have interest in people’s lives – look how you have gotten into Bernstein, Oppenheimer, and Einstein. Gary: Yes, I love learning about the lives of folks – for example, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed our watching the video on the life of Harry Truman last week. I was very engaged.

Gary: I am interested in my morning meditation now that I’ve started a more systematic process of daily review, reflection/application of a Pathwork piece, and then our coffee time together. And afterwards I so enjoy writing my blog entries – really helps me crystallize and integrate what arises in our morning time.

Pat: And, we are certainly interested in our relationship, curious about it, and open to using our relationship as a tool for our spiritual and personal growth. Gary: Yes. My First Friday Journal Writing two days ago was all about our relationship. And it was a freeing experience for me. I found myself liberated from being fixated on how our relationship ought to be if it is to be for both of us the primary relationship in our respective lives.

Rather I could be open to how our relationship actually is, right now. Very freeing. And this freed me from the “worry” of our relationship for me not being my idealized image of what it should be and my “worry” of how you would feel if I did assess that our relationship for me was not, in fact, my idealized version of same. How would you handle that? I would not want to hurt or scare you. And I was free to feel the worry in me over this.  And at the same time, I could feel free of this worry (realizing that this worry was not me, but something floating around in me), and from this observer place I was able to be curious about what the worry was all about. I can feel my energy and enthusiasm build right now even in sharing this with you! This experience of self-recognition and sharing brings me great Joy – the Joy that overfloweth my cup.

Pat: As for me, I’m interested in the spiritual, in what it means to be fully human, and in compassion. Gary: I’m interested in personal growth – self-facing, self-knowing, being curious about all of this. This “doing my Pathwork” is very enlivening for me. I would say the energy of this is the same as that of a hobby. Pat: An avocation, rather – sounds like beyond “hobby,” it is a real motivator in your life! For me, I’m interested in waking up. In looking at how I am in finding the will to wake up.

Gary: My energy around spirituality and personal growth is like the energy I had in my thirties about wildflower photography. Photographing wildflowers was all-consuming back then, so enlivening for me. More so than work, church, and even family. Pat: You are very interested in self-expression in your blog. Gary: So true, writing this all out helps me organize and integrate these experiences – and that process of systematic organizing is so invigorating for me. Yesterday I probably spent four hours writing my two blog entries – so fulfilling, effortless effort, whether or not anybody else ever reads these musings.

Gary: Let me pause a minute here. I am feeling my high energy in these realizations about what my spiritual path means to me. In short, my spiritual path is everything. And yet it is an avocation, not my career or profession. I see that this distinction is important. I am not in a role or job as pastor in a Lutheran church, say. Or even in a role as helper or teacher or leader in Pathwork. These titles point to a “profession” rather than “avocation.” And for me profession implies adherence to a certain belief structure or frame of reference – all of which feels confining. Perhaps it is like the difference between being a research person in a field – free to push the edges wherever they go – in contrast to being a teaching professor in a particular field – having to teach what is fairly well known and accepted in that field, teaching familiar or known material to new or advanced initiates. The latter restriction to conventionality feels so confining.

Gary: Perhaps my attraction to Einstein was his commitment to freedom from what is known and accepted. He was, above all, a free and independent thinker, not worried about being “right” or “wrong” or “accepted” or “unaccepted.” He was, above all else, true to himself. This is the ultimate in academic freedom.  And certainly leading spiritual teachers – Jesus, Buddha, Rumi, Meister Eckhart, et al – made their mark by breaking away from their tribe and being utterly faithful to themselves.

Perhaps that spirit of independence is the Spirit that lives in me. To think that I almost became a Lutheran pastor – that would have been disastrous. I would have been bound to a framework that ultimately would not have worked for my own growth. I would have been stuck in a straightjacket, having to teach and adhere to familiar dogma that I would have outgrown.

And even in Pathwork I need that freedom to explore where I am led. That may or may not make me suited to being a Pathwork Transformation Program teacher or Pathwork Helper. My lack of conventionality may mean my role, if any, would be that of a researcher, a presser of boundaries, a frontiers person. Even that freedom sounds scary however – this not-relying-on-a-particular-structure for my sense of security – yes very scary for me, I see, this hacking my own way through the forest of my life. But, scary or not, it is what I love. It is what excites me. It seems that this is why I am here on the planet. It is so good to know this about myself – both my passion and my terror in pursuing my passion, apart from any convention or structure. But in this NOW of this moment as I write this I can feel my passion within this freedom!

Pat: Yesterday I was looking for things to do in Toronto after we complete our couples intensive with Sage and Anthony. I was looking on the Internet – topics like, “shopping in Toronto,” or “museums in Toronto.” Now I question all of this. What do we want to do in Toronto?  None of this conventional stuff interests me or us at all, but I can so easily be caught in the commercial web that would lead us into things for which we have no real interest. Really good to see this. So what do we want to do after our intensive? To be determined, but I doubt that it will be conventional.

Shared with love, Gary