(804) 928-3189 BethHedquist@gmail.com
Standing at the Crossroads of Spirituality and Politics

Standing at the Crossroads of Spirituality and Politics

If you follow me on Facebook or have spoken with me lately, you might have noticed I’ve become somewhat outspoken politically. And yet I have struggled with how and whether to express my views –or not– here on this blog.   Will I alienate or offend someone? Is there a place for politics on a spiritual blog? Am I overreacting to the emotional climate of the current political landscape? How can I offer something inspirational and hopeful when much of the time I feel frightened and hopeless?   Ultimately, when I started this blog I made a commitment to write about the ways the Pathwork teachings are showing up in my life. Because while Pathwork is profound and deep and mystical, it is also incredibly practical and relevant to everyday life. Every situation, every relationship, every interaction can be an opportunity to apply the Pathwork teachings. So why would it be any different with politics?   The truth is, much of my life is caught up in politics these days, in ways I never anticipated nor previously experienced, and the Pathwork is informing me every step of the way. Which is not to say that you have to agree with me to be “doing Pathwork” right, but that wherever life takes you, there are spiritual lessons to be discovered along the way. Even in the political arena. Your experiences may be different from mine, but they are just as valuable.   This much I know: I want to use the experience of this new administration to speak my truth in love and non-violence.  I want to contribute to the...
I’m Traveling to Standing Rock. Won’t You Stand With Me?

I’m Traveling to Standing Rock. Won’t You Stand With Me?

The past couple of weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions.   As I shared in my last blog, I began by fully feeling my grief…. grief for all those in fear and pain over the election results, for those who would potentially be hurt through new laws that discriminate and reject. And for those who are currently being hurt by human rights violations.   I could feel that part of me that identifies with the victim. The one who has been subject to the cruelty and indifference of others, and hurts for those experiencing that today. The Pathwork teaches me that although I have access to the part of me that identifies with victimization, there is also another part of me that identifies with the perpetrator.   This is the part of me that defends by inflicting pain and cruelty on myself and others. So after feeling a good deal of grief, I tapped into my rage, my judgment, and my desire to attack those who are inflicting cruelty on others, and for those who hold different political views than I do.   Being honest that this lives in me is a challenging stance to take, as I have to face how I hurt others in the same way I have been hurt, and the remorse I feel for that. I know both the victim and the perpetrator in response to this political election and in my life in general.   While this kind of self-responsibility is challenging, it is also freeing. When I am willing to own both these parts in myself, I find my connection...
Returning to the Peace That Underlies All Fear

Returning to the Peace That Underlies All Fear

  “When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” Wendell Berry   Fear. Anxiety. Despair. Have you been feeling any of these recently? I’ve seen and heard enough in everyday life and in the news encouraging and exacerbating these emotions lately. And it’s all too easy for me to numb these feelings out by getting busy and staying busy.   So I went on a much anticipated two week vacation to California, where I could slow down and immerse myself in nature and spend time with loved ones. A time to get away from doing and enjoy being.   And it was amazing how I could exchange busy-at-work with busy-at-vacationing.   Driving from one place to another, hiking this trail and that, photographing this fantastic scene and then the next, and then the next. Loving every minute of it, and exhausted at the end of every day.   Still, in the background it was there. Fear. Anxiety. Despair. Would I make my plane? Would my daughter get lost on her way to meet us?...
An Intensive Encounter with the Naked Beauty of Life

An Intensive Encounter with the Naked Beauty of Life

Life recently threw me a surprise party. Yup, it intentionally set things up so that I would experience a somewhat sustained period of circumstances that left me feeling overwhelmed, anxious, helpless and perplexed. It talked me in to traveling to Vermont for a week long personal Pathwork Intensive Retreat at just the right time, just as I was up to my eyeballs in difficult feelings. And then, once I gave myself fully to the silence and seclusion alternated by individual  sessions with my Pathwork Helper, Life surprised me beyond my wildest dreams.   Why would anyone choose to carve out a week to immerse themselves in seclusion and silence, alternated by intensive sessions that are challenging and exhausting?   A Pathwork Intensive Retreat is a hero’s journey of sorts, an inner pilgrimage to the center of your being. When you consciously leave your usual life for a period of time for the purpose of personal and spiritual growth, you are met with unexpected gifts as well as challenges.   So after arriving at the apartment that would be the chrysalis for my journey from caterpillar to butterfly, I spent a day and a half unplugging, unwinding, reading, reflecting and journaling. All alone and away from phone calls, television, Facebook, emails, text, and daily news reports, I was able to drop into a deeply contemplative space that is not easily accessed in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.     Little things became larger than life. The taste of delicious, farm to table Vermont food. The beautiful little hummingbird joyfully perched on the bush outside my balcony. The soothing...
Has “Not Good Enough” Consumed You?

Has “Not Good Enough” Consumed You?

I heard it first as a voice, and a knock at my door. It kept saying, “Let me in! You know you’re not good enough. You’ll never be good enough! You might as well just quit trying to pretend that you can do more, be more, give more, and you’ll finally be enough. It won’t ever happen.”   I didn’t really believe that voice at first, even though it was pretty loud. I ignored it for awhile, but it didn’t go away. It kept knocking at my door, screaming cruel words of inferiority and inadequacy. I will admit though, it did shake me up a little. What if the voice was right? And what if everyone else found out it was true? Those simple moments of fear and doubt were just the opening that was needed. Peeking out through the crack in the door, I saw a horrible monster yelling at me, and it quickly pushed its way inside and devoured me. In one bite. I was consumed by a monster. There I was, sitting down in the depths of his belly, curled in a ball with my head in my hands, devastated. Heartbroken. Hopeless. Despairing. I was completely identified with that voice that said I was no good, and never would be.   And then I heard another voice. It said, “Quit. Just quit. You know you want to quit.” I assumed this was more negativity coming from the monster, encouraging me to give up everything my heart held dear. Because, after all, I was not good enough to have any of it. But somewhere deep within, I...
Are We Addicted to Unfulfillment?

Are We Addicted to Unfulfillment?

Amidst the ups and downs of the apparent story of our life, I believe we each have a deeper purpose, a greater story waiting to be discovered and told.   We are here to claim, embody, and bring forth the unique divine spark that resides in each one of us. And we can spend our entire lives searching for that divine spark, searching for our gifts, searching for our purpose, and get so addicted to the searching that we never make the transition to the finding, and the fulfillment that results from giving that to others. I call it the “addiction to unfulfillment.” Often we first recognize it in our attempt to find something outside ourselves that will finally make us complete.   Have you ever experienced an “addiction to unfulfillment” in your life? That feeling that you get from reaching for something you can just never quite grasp?   Maybe it manifests as that story book relationship that will one day make you whole. Or the job that will finally fulfill your creative and financial longings. Possibly you are seeking that final spiritual awakening, the one that will bring eternal bliss. Or maybe you ache to find your true purpose in life.   What keeps you from claiming the truth of who you are right now, and giving that to the world? What is it that keeps you seeking, longing, reaching for something that will finally render you good enough, so that you never claim the greatness that you already are?   I periodically come face to face with my “NO” to God, to others, and to life. I...