Riding the Waves of My Inner Climate

I notice my moods ride up and down with various people and various situations. Sometimes my interaction is smooth and effortless, joyful even. At other times my interactions are choppy, guarded, and defended. Each moment is different, depending upon the various situations at hand and people in my life. It is like riding the sea of life.

Thus began coffee time with Pat. I went on…

In recording (and taking in) Pathwork Lecture 93  – The Link Between the Main Image, Repressed Needs, and Desires and Pathwork Lecture 94 – Sin and Neurosis – Unifying the Inner Split I was struck by the term “Inner Climate” as a description for my predisposition to defend myself against pain and hurt, be that with a person, group, or situation.

I read these short Pathwork quotes to Pat and later copied them into my Pathwork Quotes section (link here). I was excited as I could see clearly how they applied to my life.  The feeling term that Lecture 94 uses that intrigued me was a feeling of inner stiffening. And I could name a few people in my life where a feeling of inner stiffening comes up in their presence. The lecture goes on, “You will detect a hardening, a fearfulness, an apprehension, a desire to reject whatever it is that comes to you.”

I had an example to share with Pat. After coffee time I was scheduled to have a phone conference with one of our senior Pathwork leaders. The topics included compensation for our faculty, and I felt a need to get his approval for what I had worked out, approval since he is my boss in this area. In contemplating this conversation I could feel my fear — a fear of being challenged in my recommendation and proven wrong — needing to go back to my team and start over. I could also feel a hardening — a defense against any objections he might raise. And finally a desire to reject whatever he might say that would oppose my proposition. Bingo. My defensive climate was up and present! Clearly I was experiencing an inner stiffening as my inner climate approaching this call!

Pathwork Lecture 93 added to the mix for inner climate, the defensive strategies (attitudes) of submissiveness (love mask), aggression (power mask) and withdrawal (serenity mask). How would these play out in the phone call?  Would I collapse and submit in fear if opposed? Not likely.  If opposed would I take him on aggressively?  Also not likely. If he opposed would I withdraw and regroup — most likely.  It was good to know my patterns here.

I could also see that my stiffening was pushing him away, not connecting.  This was Pat’s observation and it was key. So what to do.  It was good to discuss this through with Pat, who knows me well, so I could be more conscious going into the call.

So now it is afternoon, the call — 90 minutes and covering many great topics — is over. What happened in the conversation? We are both Pathworkers, so this helped. Up front I shared my sense of my inner climate — how I could feel my stiffening in defense even before he said a word. I shared more of my conversation with Pat and my observations from Pathwork Lecture 94. This sharing of feelings was well received. We could stay connected and have an honest conversation. I was free to hear him and enjoy the conversation!

I was surprised that there was little discussion of my compensation proposal. My approach to how I had come to my recommendations and my main points seemed well thought out to him and received — read “approved,” if you will. So there was no basis for my fear, but my character defects would not allow me to come to such a conversation without fear. And had I been unconscious about all this I could have easily had a very different conversation as my defenses got tangled up with his. But as it turned out, it was a beautiful engaging exchange.  Another life lesson.

During coffee I had shared with Pat that I had other relationships like this and that of late they were more harmonious as well, perhaps due to this awareness of inner climate.  I noted that in such situations I was more able to be my real self and even have my ideas received and could receive the other.

Pat reminded me that there is fluidity in all of this — one can listen carefully, move, and watch things change by themselves. And in retrospect I can see that if I had started in a rigid place in my compensation discussion I would have been defended against any change. I could see my need to loosen up, to be fluid, in search of the truth.

Last week I went to a SoulCollage® training — that will have to be described later, but suffice it to say that it involves making collage cards for various aspects of one’s life. Toward the end of our coffee time Pat asked, “Did you make your truth-seeker card yet?”  Truth Seeker is the virtue of the Enneagram THREE (my type), and seems to be a big deal for me. “No, I have not.” Pat could see this Truth Seeker symbolized as a warrior with a sharp fiery sword pointed up. But for me the truth is softer and more fluid. I shared Pathwork Lecture 94 ¶ 4-6 regarding the fluidity of perfection and truth (link here).

Hearing comments about the fluidity of truth, Pat responded with her respect for Ed Gutfreund as a model for openness to a Fluid Truth, sighting an experience we had had with him in Massage class many years ago.  He was truly flexible and could adjust to whatever the situation called for. Pat also was touched by other words in this selection from Pathwork Lecture 94 about our purpose in life being to find our real selves.

Our coffee time ended. We agreed as to the richness of this time for us as we share how life is for us in each moment. A beautiful time to be alive with each other, to dance this dance of the Mystery of Life!

Feeling love, Gary