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.