(804) 928-3189 BethHedquist@gmail.com
Befriending Your Inner Terrorist

Befriending Your Inner Terrorist

The domestic terrorist attack that recently occurred in Charlottesville, Va. by persons motivated by hate, fear, and intolerance has offered me an opportunity to reflect on the teaching Jesus called us to live – The call to love your enemy.   I’ll be honest. Loving those folks has been very difficult for me.   While I know it to be a worthwhile teaching, when it comes to implementing it in my life and in my heart I can feel the place that rails against love and acceptance. It feels too much like spiritual bypass. And while I don’t want to bypass anything, I do want to arrive at authentic compassion.   In Pathwork Lecture 133, The Guide says: “All religions, philosophies, and psychologies agree that love is the key to fulfillment, to security, to creative growth. And yet love cannot be commanded, nor can it be a commandment. It is a free, spontaneous soul movement. The more people try to love as if it were a duty demanded by conscience and obedience, the less does it truly manifest.”     We cant will ourselves to love our enemy. We can’t put a pretty mask on top of a volcano of emotion and expect it to remain dormant. So how do we move from the destructive place of hate to a genuine place of love and compassion?     No matter how many times I spin around in circles trying to wrap my brain around the presence of evil and how to respond to these monsters and the horrible acts they commit, it always comes back to a simple statement....
Are you Looking for Safety, or Adventure?

Are you Looking for Safety, or Adventure?

Yes, that is me on a wild whitewater rafting trip on the Snake River in Wyoming!   I absolutely love travel. It’s a deep dive into adventure, discovery, wonder… and sometimes, discomfort, disappointment, frustration, and fear. In spite of occasional uncomfortable experiences, it is the call to adventure and discovery that ignites my passion time and again.   As I reflect on my spiritual journey, I realize it’s much the same. While more of an internal rather than external journey, it is still an experience of stepping into the unknown with the intent to grow from each new experience, especially the ones I can’t anticipate.   So I have been thinking lately about safety. We talk a lot about safety in personal and spiritual growth circles. Creating a safe space, hanging out with safe people, and engaging in safe practices.   All that is true and necessary in creating a solid foundation from which to explore areas of the psyche that can feel vulnerable and frightening.   But safety isn’t the whole story, and if we are not careful, it can be a trap.   If we become overly focused on maintaining our safety, we lose sight of the fact that our safety does not lie somewhere outside ourselves, but inside. When we know ourselves intimately we can trust ourselves to handle whatever and whoever comes our way, and so we feel safe from within. We will set appropriate boundaries, pace ourselves appropriately, and not give our power away to someone else who is telling us what we should think/do/feel.   We can’t control every outcome, but we can...
Help Me Know What I Know

Help Me Know What I Know

These past few months have been difficult for me. I feel like Spirit has directed me down a path that I hadn’t counted on, and I have no other choice but to follow.   I can’t see clearly where I am going, how long it’s going to take to get there, or what the next step will look like. So far it has involved a lot of fear, sadness, grief, anger, and shame. Not exactly a walk in the park!   I have enough previous experience with this sort of thing to know I can trust the uncomfortable and the unknown, that whatever lies on the other side will be more magnificent than anything I can conjure up — but in the meantime I have been feeling lonely, full of doubt, and not completely up to the task.   I don’t need some new teaching, some shiny new technique, or some incredibly wise guru to gift me with something I’ve been lacking.   I need Community. I need others to help me know what I know.   I need support to dive deeper into the profound wisdom of the Pathwork, letting go of everything I think I have learned so that I can discover it again on a deeper level.   Fortunately, the feeling that I am alone is an illusion. If I am telling the truth, I find community in many ways.   I find it with my Pathwork Helper, who beautifully witnesses and receives me right where I am. I find community with my students and workers, who courageously and faithfully take each step on their spiritual...
Navigating the Collective Dark Night of the Soul

Navigating the Collective Dark Night of the Soul

Our world is experiencing a collective dark night of the soul.   I feel angry. I feel afraid. I feel hurt. Not just for myself, but for all those who are being marginalized, oppressed, discarded, discriminated. For all those who will do without so others can have more than they need. For all those who are blind to the truth that we are not separate, and that the harm we do to others we do to ourselves.   I feel deeply called to action these days.    I also feel the urge to hate, judge, condemn, retaliate. I feel it so strongly sometimes that I act on that impulse, and I revel in the negative pleasure and power and temporary pride I feel as a result. For a moment, I have escaped feeling the pain of what is happening in the world. But my response has added to it.   Then comes the guilt, the shame, the frustration and the self-criticism of not being an effective change agent. What kind of Pathwork Helper am I that I am so reactive? And a voice whispers that I should not answer that call to action, that I should keep quiet unless and until I can only speak from a pure heart. Only when I am perfect should I speak out. Instead, I should retreat and hide so no one will see there still resides a well of negativity in me.   The Pathwork, however, reminds us that it is not our lower self that is the major problem, but our denial of our lower self. When we justify our attempts to defend...
To Run Where The Brave Dare Not Go….

To Run Where The Brave Dare Not Go….

Deep personal and spiritual growth work requires that we be willing to venture beyond our comfort zone.   When we wallow in our anger, fear, pride, denial or self-pity, it can be familiar and even oddly comforting. We may think we are safer this way, deeply defended in our mighty castle, fortified by walls that keep everyone at a distance. But this separation and isolation doesn’t acknowledge our hidden pain that waits to be healed, our underlying need that longs to be fulfilled, and the call of our soul that is beckoning us to follow.    We may reject our negativity, our fragility, our imperfection, but when we do so we reject our humanity. If we spend all of our time grasping for perfection or for bliss while avoiding the acknowledgment of our pain and negativity, Spirit will remain the ever elusive “other” that we can occasionally grasp but never quite hold on to. Life will remain that utopian ideal we can never fully reach.   We may try harder to keep that pain and negativity at bay, but it will inevitably creep in, affecting our relationships and our sense of peace and integrity. If we reject part of ourselves in our quest for wholeness and unity, we become caught in the vicious circle of the duality we are trying to free ourselves from. In other words, it doesn’t work.   Seriously. Take that in. It doesn’t work.   Fortunately, every so often in any lifetime we come to a crossroads, and we are presented with a choice. We can stay with what we know, stay in the comfortable,...
What Does Your Bridge Look Like?

What Does Your Bridge Look Like?

While I believe the longing for connection to something greater than our limited selves is universal, and has always existed throughout the ages and across cultures, it appears we are at a time when we are collectively suffering from the walls we have built inside ourselves, walls that separate us from our deepest nature, from our brothers and sisters, from the natural world, and from God.   As we increasingly experience the pain and frustration of these walls, it is easy to feel hopeless.   Overwhelmed with despair, it is easy to turn our backs on God, certain that religion and spirituality have lost their relevance. Or maybe we turn our backs on politics, certain that we cannot possibly make a difference in such a corrupt system. We may turn our backs on our ourselves and our own responsibility to examine how the pain we may have experienced in our childhood is affecting the life we are creating today. We may also turn our backs on each other, certain that we are facing an enemy intent on destroying us.   These voices of hopelessness and despair are not telling the truth.   They are the voices of our Lower Selves seducing us into submission and enticing us to collude with evil. They are encouraging us to betray the best in ourselves and build our walls taller and stronger. They are trying to manipulate us into justifying our defenses and our pseudo-solutions.    We don’t have to listen to these voices. They are not commands we have to follow like lemmings careening over a cliff.   There may be great...