Why Won't I Trust Love?

I’m home after an intense five-day engagement at Sevenoaks.  I’m involved as an assistant in teaching one of the classes of the Pathwork Transformation Program, a one-year series of four four-full-day events of intense emotional engagement and processing, this time followed by my participation in a critical finance committee meeting on day five.  Drove home after the finance meeting, an eight-hour drive back to Cincinnati. Arrived home at 11:00PM last night.  I caught a cold on day three, and when I arrived home I felt fully spent — physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.

I had prepared intensely for the Pathwork Transformation Program four-day event — including creating Power-Point presentations for four lectures — a non-stop process for the days leading up to the four-day event.  Emotionally I am always thrown off by “not knowing,” and the core of these long Pathwork weekends is the not-knowing what is going to happen next, detailed plans and PowerPoint presentations notwithstanding.  The task?  Just be present.

On the last day of the Transformation event, as we were walking to the closing ceremony, one of the students said, “Thank you, Gary” … pause … “Thank you for your heart.”  Not “Thank you for your Power Point Presentations,” or “Thank you for your help in processing, or in some great helpful insight.”  No, “Thank you for your heart.”  I was taken aback.   I did not even know what was meant by the phrase, but I know I valued the comment.

In reflection, this experience has had a deep impact on me.  Yes, I enjoy all the preparation, the working on the PowerPoint presentations, and the like.  But as an Enneagram THREE I get consumed in productivity in these preparations, and then overwork, sometimes by a lot, in order to never appear incompetent.  My competence shell gets built up to protect my soul from the pain of the shame of being incompetent.  The shame of incompetence is unbearable, so I work three times as hard just to appear competent.

A take-away lesson for me from the weekend was the Pathwork principle that by accepting my incompetence, I experience my competence.  And I had lots of opportunity to do just that.  The lesson being that competence is not the most important thing, though my idealized self said otherwise.

A couple of other lessons.  First, next time I am going to risk less preparation so that my preparation does not become my agenda.  Second, I am going to drop even more into the OK-ness of being somewhat incompetent.  Risk being totally wrong. Trusting that whatever happens I shall be a “good-enough” teacher.

On a deeper level I realize that I block seeing myself as a loving person and block receiving love coming toward me.  Some of my friends say I have a big heart.  Truly, I do not see this, or even know what that means or how exactly it manifests.  And on some level I choose not to value my big heart, or love, mine or others. I seem unwilling to see love I give or love I receive. Yet when I ask myself, “Would I rather be valued as a great thinker or a great lover?” I immediately and without a doubt Know that I would prefer being a great lover.  But at the same time I do not know what that means, nor do I trust it. Rather than risk love, I resort to substitutes for the love I long for, seeking, say, admiration for great PowerPoint presentations.  It frustrates me that some others see and value my “Big Heart,”  but I seem to refuse to either see it or value it or trust it — in myself or in others.

Why won’t I trust love?  Lots of good personal development work opportunities here.  And as I sit here exhausted, with my cold and coffee, I see things shifting in me.  We’ll see what happens next, but in any case I am so thankful for the experience and for the lessons life is teaching me about love, about giving love and receiving love, and about our Essence as lovers.