Tears (and Fears) of a Shy Heart

Coffee Time – Friday

Pat began our time together sharing her deep sense of foreboding.  Lot’s going on in her (and me and us!) giving rise to this, but she just needed to share her feelings this morning. I supported her, and then, too soon, began exploring some of the possible sources of the foreboding. Pat: Not yet, let me just be with my feelings. Gary: Certainly. I know better than to take you away from your feelings. I apologize.  With that we sat in silence for some time.

Earlier in the morning I had read feedback to my most recent blog post. The feedback touched me. It came from Gustavo, a man I have not yet met, a Pathworker about my age who lives in Toronto (where Sage and Anthony live and where Pat and I shall have our couple’s intensive in about four weeks). I shall meet Gustavo at the International Pathwork Conference being held in August at Sevenoaks.

I chose to read out loud to Pat the feedback Gustavo had sent me. When I got to the end my eyes became moist with tears.  His closing words were, “Perhaps we are both learning to overcome this heart shyness. I am a rational, reason oriented man, trying to learn how to soften and open my heart. I look forward to meeting you in-person when you come to Toronto for your intensive Pathwork workshop …” It seems that Gustavo is fellow Pathwork traveler who, so much like me, is trying to migrate from Reason/Will to Feelings and heart-opening. I loved his term, “Heart Shyness.” The tears came totally unexpectedly when I came to his mentioning Pat and me meeting him and his wife in Toronto when we come in July. Something struck deeply into my heart exactly at that moment. Pat reached over and touched my hand. She then shared, “Perhaps this shy heart in you recognized and was drawn to the shy heart in Gustavo.”  Gary: Perhaps so.

After pausing in silence to take this in for some time, I then reviewed with Pat the latter slides of a presentation I am making on Pathwork Lecture 165 Evolutionary Phases in the Relationship Between the Realms of Feelings, Reason, and Will — Paragraphs 13-27. I titled it: Feeling All Feelings – the Doorway to Spiritual Aliveness.  I spent much of yesterday being with this lecture and capturing its ideas in this PowerPoint presentation. Why am I making this presentation? Just for me – no class to teach, etc. And I post it on my website with my other presentations just in case others could be helped from these insights from the Pathwork Lectures.

The Lecture emphasizes the importance of moving from a Reason/Will stage of consciousness to a stage of consciousness that integrates our deepest Feelings. Integrating our deepest feelings into our consciousness is a prerequisite to true spiritual experience, an integral part of self-realization.  This “Feeling all my Feelings” certainly is MY LIFE ISSUE! Having such a sparse palette of felt feelings was pointed out to me as my life issue a decade ago by a counselor, and I certainly continue working this issue.  It is one of the reasons I am so drawn to Pathwork – perhaps a key to opening this door to my heart.

I was amazed that this was exactly what Gustavo shared as one of his life issues. Heart Shyness! Yes indeed. Well said. And the timing of this exchange between Gustavo and me was perfect, coming to me just as I’m working on this matter via Pathwork Lecture 165. Oh the work of Spirit!

While my PowerPoint presentation is, of course, conceptual in nature, making these presentations, even if just for myself, as I was doing yesterday, seems to provide a key to open the self-made prison door of Reason and Will that stands guard to my heart.  Yet this “Reason and Will” aspect in me seems to “Know” that there are deep feelings inside of me somewhere, if only I would dare to allow myself to feel them, to express them, and to thereby connect deeply with others.

We paused for a while.  Then Pat asked, “When do you feel closest to me?” I could feel my own fear come up when faced with her direct question. Then I settled in and let the truth arise. Gary: I feel closest to you, Pat, when you are vulnerable and not invincible. For example, I felt close to you earlier this morning when you shared your feelings of foreboding. In this you dropped your stance of invincibility and became vulnerable. My heart seemed to open to take you in. Pat: And I felt close to you when you dared to let the tears come while reading the words of Gustavo’s feedback to your web post. Your tears were real. For a moment I saw you, the real YOU.

Gary: But I was also aware how hard it was for me to experience my tears. I recalled that in my reading Gustavo’s words that brought tears I, at the same time, was “bucking up” and holding back the tears, forcing myself to just get the words out of my mouth. The pattern in me was, “Me succumb to tears? Never!” So right alongside whatever feeling was expressing itself in tears I had another feeling, one of fear of staying with the original feeling, really daring to feel that tear-producing feeling more deeply, and then expressing it, even to myself. Holding back my tears is part of the shyness of my heart.

Pat: My counselor once said of me, “Pat, you have an armored heart.” I suspect your mom also had an armored heart. That is probably why we are together: to work our respective life issues of the heart, yours the shy heart, mine the armored heart.

I was so struck by Pat’s forthright, direct, and honest confession. This forthrightness helps us move forward so often in our Coffee Time discussions. This meeting of the armored heart with the shy heart, perhaps, is our life-work as a couple, work that will help each of us open our respective hearts. This “heart opening,” perhaps, is what we shall begin working through with Sage and Anthony. And in saying this I can feel my fear, the same fear that shut down my tears earlier with Gustavo’s email.  Yes, I shall have to face and move through many a fear to get at the deeper feelings underneath.

Gary: I suspect that Reason and Will can Know that there is something beyond Reason and Will, but Reason and Will alone cannot EXPERIENCE this something. To experience this something beyond Reason and Will requires Reason and Will (i.e. Ego) to surrender to the experience of feeling our feelings on a deep level.  Pat: Yes, the spiral nature of the spiritual journey (referring to my PowerPoint presentation on Pathwork Lecture 131: Expressing and Impressing on Stage 1 and Stage 2 Pathwork) Gary: Yes, the spiral of the spiritual journey! Amen.

Shared in love, Gary


Presentation on Pathwork Lecture 165: 165 Evolutionary Phases in the Relationship Between the Realms of Feelings, Reason, and Will — Paragraphs 13-27: Feeling All Feelings – the Doorway to Spiritual Aliveness  (Click to open Part 1)  (Click to open Part 2)