You are Welcome Here…
And What Was I thinking when I chose this life?
I’ve been thinking lately about how important family is to me while a recurring theme in my life is feeling abandoned and alone, without a caring supportive family. Now I’m wondering what kind of lesson my soul needs to learn that is being brought to my attention. Here’s how I believe it works—the soul decides what lessons are needed and then finds a way for us to learn that lesson. We can look at those issues that seem to continue to come up in life, the ones that we find so difficult to change, the ones that we are sure are never going to come up again. Then once again we find ourselves experiencing the same theme.
Are we right back to square one? Did we do something wrong to have this same issue show up over and over? I think it’s much more complicated than judging of ourselves. I believe that if we could fix it easily, we would have done it already. We would not have had to dedicate a lifetime to fixing this issue. The question then becomes, “What is the lesson that I need to learn?”
I’ve been in reaction to the issue as I judged myself harshly for not having solved it. For me, it seems to be the theme of no one there. Now I’m looking at it with different eyes. What if that is not the question I should be asking myself? What if the question is more along the lines of putting myself out to all of you, or me giving a part of me from the heart. Would you even want my heart energy coming in? Would that action on my part send me into a “family?”
My reaction, over the years, to feeling alone has even gone into despair as family seems to be busy living their lives. I felt abandoned. It happened with the immediate family I was born into—an only child with older parents who did not take care of themselves and passed away when I was in my twenties. It happened when my first marriage ended and ultimately led me into a new way of being that meant finding my adult “sea legs” and my positive attributes but at the time it felt like I was abandoned.
I’m wondering now about the spiritual significance of this issue of feeling alone. The Pathwork teachings are clear that we come into life with a mission that needs to be resolved. Is this mine? How do I resolve it? I immediately know the answer is to feel it. I wonder if I could be the one doing the abandoning. Could I have reached out more? Was it me?
I think it’s a real possibility. I’m going to have to spend some time with this. The Pathwork teachings let us know that whatever issue we are bothered by in others is probably in us.
I’d love to know what issue you see as recurring. Or am I the only one?
Send me your comments…
Deep inside I have beliefs that rule my life circumstances
This year I’ve been teaching in the Pathwork Transformation Program Year 4 which focuses on taking steps to heal the shadow side. In supporting this class, I have been getting more and more clear about what and when the shadow side of us is created and how it affects our lives. We each are born into a imperfect life. Perhaps we experienced trauma, the busyness of our primary caretakers, neglect, abuse, or even what appears to have been perfectly pleasant but without connection to love.
To be fair, the generation before ours worked extremely hard to “bring home the bacon,” or “make ends meet.” That generation wanted to be a success, to rise above what their parents had experienced. I know my dad grew up on a farm…he could make anything grow. It was amazing. And he hated it, didn’t want to live that way. He was one of those depression era people who left home to make his own way. His emotional maturity, as with many of that generation, was less than available to him and, therefore, to me. And then there was THE WAR. That took my dad to the South Pacific, away from family, away from what he knew.
In any event, I grew up in an emotionally unstable environment. Emotions were less than maturely dealt with which greatly impacted me. As I look back on my prePathwork life, I see how much I was impacted by looking at the choices I made in my life—important choices like what career I chose, what kind of mate I attracted.
What I’m learning anew this year, as I witness my class grappling with these topics, is that we all develop that shadow side early in life. You’ve probably heard the saying, “I learned everything I needed by the time I was 5.” At the age of 5 we haven’t developed the capacity to reason things out or see the other person’s point of view, or not take what others do personally. Instead we are just trying to learn how to navigate through the world, to figure out how the world works. Most often we get it wrong about how the world works, but since we are so young, we don’t have words to express and maybe no one to hear what we want to say who can explain it to us.
The Pathwork gives this process a name. It’s called an image. In coming up with an image, a belief about how the world works, we find a measure of order that allows us to survive. That image goes into the unconscious and fuels the fires of our shadow side. We are determined, in living with this belief, that the belief is real and true. We can give examples about how it is true; we can dispute with anyone who wants to argue the point.
Then we come up with a way of behaving that is based on this belief. Usually that behavior isn’t helpful to us in attracting the people and life circumstances that we want, but it doesn’t matter to us. Unconsciously, we intend to continue that behavior because we know that it means our survival.
I remember teaching in the high school and having a student who had not understood how to divide fractions. He argued so hard that the process that he had made up was correct. But it wasn’t. Images are like that…We are convinced they are true. Take a moment to tune in. What are your beliefs? Here are some I have heard often in various forms: the world isn’t safe, you can’t trust men/women/people. No one will do it so I have to, it’s best to force your way to where you want to go, if I just think about it long enough, then I’ll be safe…and many, many more.
And these beliefs set up a way of being in the world that isn’t helpful. My biggest image came from being 2 years old, standing beside the couch where my mother lay passed out. There was no one else in the house. I decided that this was happening because I was unlovable. My adult mind knows that the affects of alcohol had nothing to do with my being lovable or not. But the child inside me was convinced that the belief was true.
I’m all grown up (at least physically) and wanting friendships and a mate. What kind of person do you think I attracted to me with this belief that I’m unlovable stored deep inside? People who didn’t know how to love…it took so much work for me to let go of that belief. I found a place inside where I liked the negativity I got from not feeling lovable. I could complain, accuse, say whatever I wanted, blame, withdraw, even ridicule or abandon. It didn’t matter because I wasn’t lovable anyway!!
Previously, I wasn’t aware I had the belief much less know how to work on it. It took a Pathwork Helper to gently lead me to a new life. I worked on it for a long time before I could see how much I was hurting myself and became willing to change and then to actually give up the belief all the way down to the child level. The change in my life happened quickly after that. I walked into a new life where my worthiness wasn’t in question, where making a mistake no longer meant I was a mistake. That is what the Pathwork can do for you. Are you ready to make this leap?
What is the leap like? It’s very scary. It has a component of connecting with the Spirit Realm in a way uniquely suited to me. I’ve opened up to so much that I wasn’t even aware of before. That’s for another time, but I want you to know that joy and happiness are nearby and possible for you.
Cruelty to Others is Cruelty to Me
The Pathwork teachings have been such an inspiration, a guide, and a new way of viewing the events of the world. The Mid-Atlantic Pathwork Helpers had a retreat last week that brought some of those teachings into the forefront of my conscious awareness. As I go into the season of gratitude, I’m so grateful that I found the Pathwork. It has changed my life for the better.
Since there is always more to learn about what lives within the depths of the being, the Pathwork guide instructs us with the knowledge and wisdom that we are never finished diving deeply inside. As I continue into spiritual realm, I settle into a profound sense of trust that all is well, that all is perfectly aligned with my/our development as individuals, as a country, as the human race, and even as a planet.
How will we interact with others from this deeper dimension? Can we stay connected to Spirit and interact with others? I say yes. We will not ever be perfect but staying conscious will make more meaningful relationships available to us. That’s one of the goals I have in life.
And now it’s time for me to take a deeper dive where I step back even more into spirit to feel how we are all One. The plants and animals are One with us. We must stop abusing other beings. I can hardly bear to feel the pain that is alive in our world…
*the violence that is around us constantly,
*the danger to our children,
*the slaughter of animals in the most cruel ways just for pleasure,
*the way we raise animals inhumanely for food,
*the way we are unconscious about the plants that we grow, about the trees that give us shade, shelter, wood
Perhaps we could take this time of thanksgiving to pray that we give up our need for cruelty.
If we are all One, then the cruelty we allow to be in this world is also cruelty to us. What if every act reverberates back to us? What if the cruelty that exists on the other side of the planet will find its way to us?
I want to hold all with love and compassion. That is my positive intention.
Is judging a necessity in life? Is there a difference between judging and discerning?
When we drive a vehicle, is ok to judge all the other drivers?
Is it ok to decide whether another person is doing the right thing or wearing the right clothes or living the right life?
Who makes us the ones who get to decide?
Do we believe that we should sit beside God, listen to his messages, then let the rest of the world know what he has said?
After once again watching the movie, “The Shack”, I was astounded by the section where the main character visits the Judge. There are so many times in life when we decide who’s to blame, who’s at fault, who’s the “bad guy”.
We do so without being able to see what is going on below the surface of the person we are judging, without knowing the background of the other person, without having our hearts open in compassion. I wonder what our judging is designed to do for us. Do we believe that we must prove the other wrong so that we don’t get blamed, or so that we can stay safe from rejection, abandonment, ridicule, etc?
It’s important to look below the surface to find the part of us that wants to do that judging.
What does that part believe about judging? I imagine it has its origin in fear, fear that, if we don’t take action, we will be punished, ridiculed, denied love, abandoned. Or perhaps we believe we are so far above the other person, so much better than, so superior to the other and, if we can just share what we know, then we can keep away hurt. Where does this belief originate?
I believe we are born with the belief and that, as the Pathwork teachings suggest, we are here to work on that place in us.
That same place decided to avoid the hurt in any way we could.
To avoid, we must make sure that we are never judged again.
Feel familiar? We want to avoid being hurt again, thinking that judging others is the avenue towards that safety.
How does it work? What if we are a judge of others, as this part of the movie suggests?
Does that really keep us safe from hurt?
Or does it set us up for more hurt?
It seems like we must consider the possibility that judging will create more hurting for us. Why? Do others want to surround themselves with people who judge? Or do they disengage because it seems that the judge will be hurtfully judging? In addition to the hurt we bring ourselves by judging, we are not feeling compassionate or loving which further adds to our own hurt.
This awareness is important to take in, not only from the place of understanding, but feeling what we are doing to others, how our protective action is actually hurtful to both us and the other person.
I find myself feeling sad about this fact. I must look within to find compassion for others even though it feels risky to open myself and, yes, even though I might be hurt. On the other hand, I might not be hurt. I might be able to connect with them.
Connection is what I want–connection to myself, connection with others, and connection to God.
I’m going to practice noticing my judging and then risking opening even though it will probably be imperfect.
Have you ever gotten the feeling that you were just supposed to do something even though it seemed like a lot of effort and you would rather stay at home?
What choice do you make?
We recently drove to the coast of South Carolina to listen to one of those sales pitches when we knew we were not going to buy anything, weren’t interested at all. We even practiced saying NO on the way there.
We were even clearer after we arrived at the sales pitch. But, we still went because we knew we needed to be there. It was one of those moments of surrender to the higher good. We had no idea what that higher good was.
As it turned out, we were able to help another person who was in need—right there in that room full of other salesmen trying to make a sales pitch. Right there in a room full of people. We knew that we needed to make a connection to the man trying to do the selling. We knew he needed the Pathwork, that we had something to offer him.
We knew he needed to find a recovery program that would assist him in dealing with some relatives that were in the depth of the disease of addiction. We had the tools to offer and could freely give them.
It felt so wonderful to know that God had sent us there, to not know before we arrived why we were really there. And did I mention that Hurricane Irma was coming up the coast of Florida? We had to cut our stay short, turn around, and drive all the way back to Virginia because of being evacuated.
Wow, we were still in amazement about it, we still are clear about wanting to do work for the higher good. It seems to be about surrender. Can I tune into guidance and go with it? Can you? Can I take that risk to become vulnerable and open to another person? Will I? Will you?
It was a bit of a shock in the moment when we realized why we were there in that meeting. It was a moment of being in awe to know in humility that we were being used in this way. It was a moment of risk to let someone we didn’t know into ours hearts.
I want to be used in this way more. How about you?
How do you deal with the stress of these insane days?
Stress can be wicked in the way it affects the body, in the way we use to cope with it, and in the way it takes over our relationships. It seems like most of our days are consumed with dealing with one stressor right after another with no end in sight.
What stressors do you have?
Job security? Intimacies? Family dynamics? Illness?
And probably many more like some new uncertainty or how to stretch a dollar a little more.
We can shove our feelings of fear about the unknown or we can let it consume us; each choice not a good one.
How do we deal with it without using some defense system that we have developed over the years?
Unlike the way I learned—push my feelings down out of sight–the Pathwork way is to look at the part of us that wants to continue in the same old defense.
Right now my two cats are at a stalemate—one little older female hissing and screaming at the other larger male. My first instinct is to jump up and break up the potential fight. But what if I don’t; what if I let them work it out?
Is it possible that my interference is contributing to the issues between the two? (The reality is that the fight is about food…little female wants large male’s food. He doesn’t really care but wants to have a companion. She wants no part of that!)
What other defense systems are in operation when stress hits?
We might use a substance—alcohol, drugs, food, sex, shopping, gambling, playing video games, reading a book, learning a new skill, reasoning out why (and asking why doesn’t get us anywhere—if we knew why it still wouldn’t help us)…and hundreds of others. Or we might withdraw into something that we can tell ourselves is good for us. We can use anything to do this and need to check inside for our motives. What can be something good for us (like meditation), can also be defense when we use it to not feel the stress.
I’m calling all of you to investigate this yourself! What’s your preference? How do you use it to cope?
Then there’s the question of how that defense lands with others. If we are being honest deep inside, we would see how the defense system that we have developed hurts us. It drives others away or makes them attack. Others may give up on us. They may develop their own ways of coping with our defense—the old “can’t beat them so I’ll join them”. This may last a while but finally makes them leave.
I doubt we want to be abandoned or rejected or criticized, but unfortunately the very thing we use to cope with stress is probably partly responsible for creating the very thing we want to avoid.
I don’t know about you, but I’m just trying to make it through the next stressful situation…it seems so shocking to look at it as my part of driving others away. Feeling the sadness right this moment…
How do you feel when you realize it?
You probably are asking (I know I am) what is the world is the alternative????
It’s so simple (not easy), just open my heart and feel what I’m feeling…that’s the secret…
And when we do that, we let in spirit. Spirit can show us what needs to happen next and we can trust that what we receive is real and true.
I’ve never known it to be wrong…every time I truly tune in, feel my feelings, and go with guidance, it’s the right thing. It brings me peace. Notice the order here…first feel what I’m feeling. Otherwise, the guidance that comes in may not be real or from a positive spiritual basis.
Eventually…not in my time necessarily, but it does happen.
I hope I can remember this one key for the next stressing situation that comes my way. And I pray that you can, too.
When is it REAL??
I’ve heard so much about this topic that I wonder when the work is real.
I seem to be coming up with more questions than answers…
I’ve recently been diving into working with Shamanism. To me it means diving deeply into the spiritual dimension of healing while being guided to examine my issues, one at a time. As I continue to make contact, I find myself trusting my spirit guides, allowing them to decide the next steps on my spiritual journey.
It is when I am using that spiritual journey to prevent or avoid looking at the flaws in my character, in looking at where I am imperfect.
As long as I am here on Earth in a human body, I will continue to have flaws.
However, I AM NOT MY FLAWS!!
I am sure that we all are pure energy, divine light that has come to this plane of existence to heal some part of us that has gotten smudged along the way. We have journeyed here into this life to bring out that smudge so that we can clear it up, shine up that area of our being that prevents letting the light in us shine as brightly as it could.
One way to access the “smudge” is to work in the arena of shamanism along with Pathwork as a spiritual path toward a more enlightened living. In this area we can go on a spiritual journey into the depths and heights of the being we are on the inside.
Are you ready?
Can you feel the beat of the drums?
Close your eyes and start on a journey into the depths of your being. Feel yourself being drawn to a spiritual helper, a guide who can assist you along the way.
Who could it be?
Perhaps you connect with an animal or a bird; perhaps you are drawn to a majestic mountain top or to a blade of grass; or the guide awaiting you could be an element like water to carry you to the destination for this learning. Let yourself be carried along…
Notice everything you can along the way. Are there boulders or obstacles? Do meet anyone as you continue on this journey?
Write down what your experience was like, paying particular attention to the feeling, the energy that is present as you progress.
Let me know about your journey.
How Does It Rule Our Lives?
I’ve been observing how much fear is in this world we live in. It can consume us; it can remove all pleasure. What is this powerful force about? How do we cope in the face of fear?
The Pathwork works with this negative energy current that runs through so many of us and teaches us how to overcome, how to function in the face of fear.
Facing the fear is one step…we need to step into the fear with the divine current of courage. Perhaps we need another person to hold our hand as we step through fear into the other side.
Have you ever faced something with hands shaking and knees quaking (did I just make a rhyme?)? Did you keep on going even though you were afraid? What gave you the courage? I remember how many times I changed schools in my past. We moved and moved and moved—sometimes to another state, sometimes just across town, but the norm was to move to a different location. You may have heard about taking the geographic cure? It never worked for my family because we always took us along with us! So the root of the problems were still there.
I see long time relationships that my kids have now, as adults, that have lasted since they were very young. I’m so happy that they have that and wish I could have had it, too. I learned some deep lessons, though. How to find my way around in a new place, how to be self-sufficient, how to get along on my own. Yet, I remember the self-consciousness, and the loneliness; the uncertainty and the lack of history between me and others. I learned to let go of relationships quickly and to wall myself off from being very close, from leaning on others. I assumed that we’d be leaving soon and we always did…
Now I have to remember that I am part of a community where there is actually support for each other, where we deeply care what happens to each other. The Pathwork community here is alive and strong. I still remember the evening when I returned home after my husband had his surgery a few years ago. There were extreme complications; we didn’t know if he would survive or if his brain would be intact. I sat down at my computer and sent out an email to my Pathwork group saying only that I was in trouble and would they pray for me.
Some must have been at their computers right then because I quickly could feel people’s prayers coming to me; I could feel them scooping me up and holding me. It was a momentous moment for me. As the days passed and my husband returned to us, I would get a gentle message via phone or email that they were still there and still holding us both.
This is such a gift—to be a part of a whole, to be a part of a community that is global. It’s almost more than I can comprehend.
We are such a diverse group. We each have different ways to approach our work. Some work through the consciousness, some work through the body, some work with nature, some work with spirit. But the Pathwork is the glue that binds us all. We have this body of work that is amazing still. It was given to us ending in the late 1970’s but is still giving us a way of life. I’m so grateful.
And one of the particular ways of being that we humans hold is a way to walk through fear. Fear is described to us as a defense that we learned as young children (or we were born with it) as a way to explain the unexplainable world around us. We try to cover up the fear in numerous ways but it stays with us. And the Pathwork gives us a map to make our way out of fear and into a world that is safe.
How does fear affect your life?
My sharing right now feels raw…
We, in my family, have just experienced another loss. Besides my own grief, I’ve noticed how many different ways people deal with grief. What does it look like to you? Do you feel sad? Do you attack? Do you find someone else who is also vulnerable in their grief and misunderstand and blame? Do you withdraw? Do you build a case?
So many ways to defend against feeling a broken heart…
As I sit here, I’m feeling sadness. With death, there is no second chance to reconnect, at least not in this lifetime. There is a finality to it. And I have to deal with the empty hole that is in my heart.
And, I’m absolutely sure that there is a spirit world out there where we can reconnect and heal.
The teachings of the Pathwork seem to indicate that the soul needs a time for healing after death. I wonder what that looks like? I wonder if there is a spiritual hospital that one enters upon leaving this life. And who are those who tend to the incoming souls? Are there spiritual doctors?
And, once again, I see the ravages that addiction cause on a person’s body here on this earthly plane. That makes it doubly sad because there is another way…in Pathwork we learn to feel the past feelings to heal that sore place inside. It’s not an easy way, but once again, I see how I can heal from the past. You can, too. The way is clear.
I’m reminded about what’s behind addiction (from my experience of working with addiction). There are experiences that we have had that we were too young to know how to heal (or even stand it). We looked for something to make our experience bearable. Using something made us feel better. It made the pain of what happened to us less excruciating. Then we grew up.
We continue to use that thing that helped us. It became our “drug of choice.” That drug could be anything—food, excitement, silence and withdrawal, rebellion, blaming, an actual substance…anything that distracts us from the pain. This strategy goes on below the surface; we’re not even aware of it. And yet, it rules our lives. How? We send out energy into the universe that attracts to us the very person(s) who will activate the issue.
For example, I believed (unconsciously) that I was unlovable. That is why my mother would get drunk and pass out. To my adult that seems silly, but it was what I believed. I sent that energy out into the universe and attracted to me people who did not know how to love. See how it works? When we are very young, we make something up to explain why we are experiencing what is happening in our lives.
What to do about it…it’s a two-part fix…at one level we must recognize what is happening—see when the belief is at work and NOT BELIEVE IT. At a deeper level, we must go to those deep dark places that we experienced as a child and feel all the feelings that we couldn’t feel when we very young. When we have done that level of the work (and it takes a while to dig it all out), we can let go of the belief. And the addiction lessens. And we don’t have to die a painful unnecessary death…
What is the Universe Thinking to bring us so many crises so fast together—one right after another until we are on our knees in surrender?
Have you been experiencing this in your life like I have?
We have had a death,
followed by a birth (Mom was in trouble so new baby born a month early),
followed by a stroke victim in the family.
And it just keeps on happening!! I need to take a breath here and give myself time to feel what I feel.
I’ve been on the outside edges of it all in a supportive role and yet even that has been so much to hold. It’s only been in the past few days that I have had a chance to step back and see the bigger perspective. And then while I’m trying to do that yet another person has passed away!
OK universe, I need a break!
When I can step back even a little I can take in that each crisis has been a blessing. Perhaps that is the message from the universe. There is a bigger picture and I’m not going to see it while I am in the midst of it.
What is the bigger picture in your life?
Can you step back and see how so many of the events of your life are fitting together to bring you to a particular learning?
As I sat with the new baby and dad while mom was taking a shower, I was able to see how that babe could relax and feel safe in his dad’s arms. I was able to share with dad that he was giving his new son such a wonderful gift, the gift of knowing that he is safe on this earth.
I wonder—did I ever have that feeling?
I’m so grateful to be here to see how this new generation of parents is creating a next generation of children (who will grow up to be adults, of course) who believe they have a place on earth, that the earth supports them and holds them. Now I doubt that this dad who hadn’t slept in about three days could focus on much more than simply holding his son, but I had a different perspective and could see the glow surrounding them
It brings up the question about what kind of generation I’m from…certainly my parents were not very aware of the broader scope of their actions. They were post war parents trying to eke out a living, trying to survive. A friend recently told me about how her daughter really feels loved. I don’t know what that is like growing up. And it’s sad… this child will grow up with another way of being, a way to live at peace.
In the political strife that is so rampant these days, it seems to me that others forget about my generation and what they accomplished. In the 1960s we fought to end our participation in Vietnam; we fought to bring out the rights of woman; we fought to end integration.
We are fighters! We continue to want to right the wrongs in our society and in the world.
We have fought for the rights and freedoms of others no matter what choices they have made in their lifestyles, in their beliefs, and in their mates. I don’t think it matters to me very much who another chooses to be with as long as it is right for them. I’m in acceptance now… You have the right to be who you are!! Whew! How strongly I believe that…
The new generation can grow up with those changes that are still in the process of being made but are certainly moving in the right direction (that’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it, as my step mom used to say). We are bringing them into a world with a different set of problems than the ones we had to cope with, and we can celebrate how much has been done so far. At least they can feel loved and safe for a little while (a few days?) after birth.
Then what about the deaths that seem to be occurring right now?
What is the bigger picture about death?
Why must suffering be a part of the dying process?
I can’t see the bigger picture about that yet. Perhaps it’s not for me to even know. I can only believe that a person who is suffering and who has no hope of getting better is ready to pass to the other side.
What about this other side anyway?
I wonder what it will be like when I get there. I’m certainly not done yet here on this earth plane and yet I wonder. The Pathwork teaches us so much about being in the spirit.
Have you checked it out?
We learn that we are living in a world of duality.
There’s me and not me as one basic way of viewing it. And life versus death is another.
What if these basic premises are incorrect? What if there is no not me? What if there is no life versus death? Could it be that we just are?
Yesterday, I spent some time with other leaders in the Mid-Atlantic Pathwork. During that time, I realized that I am not alone, that I really am a part of a community that cares deeply about me as I care about them. I wish all of you could feel into that part of our community, could feel into what it means to be truly supported even while I’m in this supportive role for others. We humans do need each other. We need to know that we are cared about, that we matter to another.
I want you to know that you matter to me, that I want to be there to support you, that you can be a part of our community. I would love to hear back from you about how you are being affected by events happening personally and globally.