The Cost of Not Showing Up

Meditation – Tuesday: Cost of Not Showing Up

Last night after an engaging and inspiring conversation with Steve, our Sevenoaks intern, I felt sadness, pain, shame and guilt for my not having shown up more over these past few years in the leadership roles I have been in at Sevenoaks. Yes, I have held positions of leadership, but I have served more as administrator than as leader. As I contemplate this realization I surmise that I am too frightened, too lazy, too uncertain of myself and uncertain of HOW to lead. With these obstacles, I back away rather than step forward, rather than fill the shoes of leadership I am being offered, rather than really stepping forward and leading from that place within that knows what we need to do. I seek harmony, and in the process of realizing harmony I compromise my truth. While I do not want to be a bull in the china shop, I do need the courage to stand up and lead when leadership is needed.

Steve’s and my conversation covered many topics, but a key one was on marketing Pathwork. And by marketing we meant 1) Identifying those categories of folks who could most benefit from Pathwork, 2) Understanding specifically how they would benefit from Pathwork, 3) Understanding which aspects of Pathwork were and are the greatest program features for students realizing these benefit (the lectures, helper sessions, specific Pathwork helpers and teachers, the peer groups, the Pathwork community, the type of programs we offer, all of these factors taken together, etc.), and 4) With this understanding, having a systematic way of igniting potential students’ passion for entering and staying with the Pathwork we offer.

There is nothing new here! I know intuitively that these marketing tasks are absolutely critical to our answering our Call as Mid-Atlantic Pathwork. But, for whatever reason, I do not lead us into these spaces where, as a community, we can engage with each other around these critical marketing issues. I shirk this responsibility and go along with the crowd – excusing myself on the basis that I believe in participative management and that there is no room for authority or individual leadership in such a model, or I succumb to letting others whose personalities are stronger than mine lead as they see fit, even when it seems to me we have lost our vision, mission, and identity.

And quite frankly I do not know how to enter a role of leadership in a way that is helpful, constructive, and inspirational. I feel intimidated by other of our leaders, and I back away rather than staying to engage with them. And when I do engage it comes across as the Quaker Oats “Shot from Cannons” approach to communications, which of course is resisted and dismissed by other leaders as “Gary’s ranting.”

Well perhaps I could start today. I have a conversation scheduled to talk with Erena about the graduate program she is beginning in the fall. I have a lot of passion for participating in this graduate program, to be in the presence of Erena’s energy and wisdom. Today she and I have to resolve the mechanics of this program, but more importantly I need to engage Erena on the above marketing factors. 1) Who would benefit most from participating in this graduate program? 2) Specifically, how would they benefit? 3) What features of the graduate program would be most essential for students realizing said benefits, and 4) In what way could we ignite potential students’ passion for entering this program in the fall? It is far more important that I engage Erena in these marketing questions than in the administrative aspects of the program.

And I need to establish a similar process for the Pathwork workshops and the Pathwork Transformation Program. This could be done by interviewing current students and Helpers as to those factors that most attracted them to Pathwork and those factors most responsible for keeping them in Pathwork. Where is their inspired passion for Pathwork most evident within them? We cannot build workshops or the Pathwork Transformation Program without understanding these four marketing questions.

Last night Steve also encouraged us to look outside ourselves to see what is going on in the world of spirituality and to see where we as Pathwork sit at the table of spiritual and personal development. He reminded me that Pathwork is not the only avenue available, and we need to understand in what ways Pathwork is similar to and different from these other ways. Taking the four marketing questions, how would they apply to other spiritual paths? How would a Buddhist sangha answer these four questions in a way that would be different from or similar to Pathwork answers? Steve noted that he himself teaches about dealing with feelings and emotions in his spiritual community – so how is Steve’s teaching similar to or different from Pathwork? It is important to have such an exterior context in which to understand Pathwork.

And I have a sense that if I do not come to grips with how I can show up to lead us through this process of a deeper understanding of who we are, Sevenoaks and Pathwork at Sevenoaks will die. This is not my prideful ego speaking, but something much deeper Calling me forth to SHOW UP. How to do this effectively and without pride, self-will, and fear to block my effectiveness are the two issues I need to work on with Moira, Ed, and others in my community.  I need support. I need prayer. I need to surrender. I need to die to having to know.

As Steve and I talked I was again seeing clearly how important his role and his particular unique gifts are to the success of Sevenoaks. And by “success” I mean to the faithful answering of our Call in our role in the Plan of Salvation. From a financial perspective it feels like a stretch to take him on in a way that is at all fair to his nominal financial needs. Yet not to do this just feels wrong. So I would say our first Critical Success Factor for this next fiscal year is to assure we bring Steve on in some leadership capacity on staff.

A second Critical Success Factor is to build a successful graduate program under Erena. I have 12 students in our budget. My vision is for 25 students. I see this opportunity as critical, not only financially but energetically, enlivening Pathwork in our midst.

A third Critical Success Factor for next year is to understand our Pathwork served market – understanding a segmentation that would capture our key audiences and then answering the four marketing questions posed above for each market segment.

In this, I do not know how to show up, but showing up seems critical to me. I feel my confusion, but I also sense my openness to help, and I pray for wisdom and courage to see and answer my Call in all of this.

Focusing Statement: Pathwork Lecture 80 Cooperation, Communication, and Union, ¶7

There is in the human soul a center out of which the soul-forces flow, or to which another person responds.  This center governs the laws of communication, and, on a lower level, of cooperation.  However, we shall not discuss cooperation now, since its nature will become evident when you have understood communication.  Cooperation is simply a more superficial form of communication.

I am inspired by this paragraph to ask, “So, Gary, from your center what soul-forces are flowing? How do people respond to your soul-forces? How could your soul-forces be more pure, less contaminated by distortions of pride, self-will, and fear? How could your soul-forces be most easily received by others, inspiring them and their soul-forces in a way that, cooperatively, plays into the Plan of Salvation for the benefit of all beings?”  I ask for your prayers.

Shared in love, Gary