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My Spiritual Journey
Lately, I’ve been thinking and questioning myself about
my spiritual journey.
Am I so caught up in the day to day of life that I “forget” that I’m a
spiritual being here in a physical body?
Am I tempted to “give up” the journey?
Do I feel all alone on the planet?
Yes, to all these questions sometimes. Yet, deep inside I have a place of knowing, a place where I can connect to a deeper part of myself and to my spiritual essence.
That seems like such a lofty phrase—“spiritual essence”.
And what does it mean, anyway?
It’s the part of myself where I know that I am more than just a human being here on earth, a place that knows what I need to do even when the ego part of me disagrees.
I’ve been taking the last few months to reconnect within and to recommit myself to my spiritual journey, to healing what needs healing in me, and to opening more to love.
My need is to give love, to be willing to walk beside another person as they walk down their spiritual path. I’ve come to know my spiritual name as She Who Walks Beside.
That walking beside gives me pleasure—especially when the other being is dedicated to opening their spirituality.
I see so much pain and suffering in this world we live in, so much heartache…even in the traditions of our families, in our inheritance.
A part of me cries out why!!
Why must there be so much hurting of one another? It happens between different parts of the planet; it happens between different factions within one area and another; it happens within families; and it happens within each of us. We are at war to try to stop the pain.
Yet it doesn’t help—I mean even a little bit!!
Is there something else? Something that will help?
I believe that a spiritual journey will assist in healing these deep, deep wounds. It is my spiritual task to spread hope.
There is a way out! Our deep wounding must be addressed in a healthy way.
Join me in stepping out of the ego level, out of the reasoning and thinking, and into this quest to heal.
What is resistance doing in my life?
I’ve noticed over the last 20 years that we humans resist the very things that are good for us and head right back where we started. I found out last night that a dear friend had slipped back into her addiction to alcohol and drugs after almost a year of being free from the obsession. I’ve been thinking about what that is about.
Naturally, I can’t know what is going on inside someone else, what demons that person is battling, but it makes me do some deep thinking about all the addiction we have in our today world. I have some opinions and beliefs about it that I’d like to share with you.
Somewhere in our past—early childhood, another life?—we encountered trauma. We did the very best we could to cope with what happened to us with a child’s immature brain. It seemed like life or death to us and may actually have been that serious depending on the circumstances. The problem is that we came up with strategies that we still are using to fight off what we believe is more of the same kind of treatment that we received.
There’s an instantaneous trigger response that happens to us like the fight, flight, freeze response. Perhaps we developed a coping strategy that worked but more often than not we were kidding us into believing that we would be safe if we did this strategy. Like using drugs, alcohol, food, sex, shopping… to make us safe.
It just doesn’t work. In fact, we become more vulnerable, attract more trauma to us with this strategy.
What do you do? What is the strategy that you developed early on that you hardly even notice that you are using as a defense? And once you see what you are doing, what is the real affect on others. Do they draw closer and become more supportive? Probably no.
And we do this over and over again while not understanding that we are bringing to us the very negative situations that we are trying to avoid.
For example, consider being a boss to someone who is constantly late for work and shows us under the influence or hung over. Consider being a friend to someone who is drunk instead of showing up for an outing or shows up under the influence and becomes belligerent/morose/seductive…
Why do we continue to do it? My opinion is that we have long ago forgotten what we were actually using the substance about—it’s not because of these surface events but because of that past trauma.
Then to enable us to tolerate what was happening to us, we began to like the negative feeling. We secretly liked the drama, the feeling of aliveness when we were victimized, the revved up feeling when we were beaten down or beating someone else down (better know as enduring or inflicting pain).
If we can really face what we are doing, that place that is below our conscious awareness, we can become more willing to consider that we could replace that negative feeling with something positive.
Here I’m reminded of that Aesop fable about the sun and the wind arguing about who was stronger. The had a contest-who could make the man take off his coat would be the winner. The wind blew and blew and the man wrapped his coat tighter around himself. The sun shone and warmed the man who soon took off his coat.
The moral that I’m thinking about is that we are asking that we give up the blustery pleasure of the negative for the gentle power of the positive. They don’t feel the same but are equally powerful.
Let me hear from you about your thoughts on this subject.
PEACE IS POSSIBLE
Peace is a possibility right now!!
After having our holiday gathering in December rescheduled because of snow, we turned it into a Valentine’s event. We gathered here to work with connecting our hearts to each other by risking uncovering the spiritual part of us and showing it to others. Here we are before the fire as we shared our hearts…
I’m also passionate about watching the Olympics. It stirs a place in me that loves my country even as I disagree with many ideas that are present now. When I see that podium with a USA person on top and the National Anthem is played, my heart swells.
It all is coming together as a wondering about this Pathwork and why we feel so strongly about it as an avenue to heal our hearts, why we are so passionate about the work we do. I see how much violence and discord exists in our world—the horrible oppression of women, the shootings in schools, the hunger and inability to provide basic needs for the children, the addiction that abounds, the sexual abuse and much more. What can I do? How can I help?
The answer that comes to me is to hold this belief that Peace Is Possible!!! It is possible for us to heal and live together in our dissimilar ways without resorting to violence and oppression, to hurting another to make us feel better, to putting someone else under our control to feel safe. I feel stirred as I write this to hear about yet another shooting, about yet another example of animal abuse. How can we be a God-fearing country and still participate in such terrible things?
I guess the first step for me is to stop passing on by, ignoring another’s pain. It is a way for me to not cover my light, a way for me to send out love into the world. Would you join me?
What’s My Soul Purpose?
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…
What do you unconsciously believe?
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.
We Are One
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.
To Judge or Not To Judge, Is That The Question?
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.
God’s Plan, Not My Plan
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?
Stress!! Oh no! Not one more thing!!
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.
Spiritual Transformation or Spiritual Bypass?
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?