(804) 928-3189 BethHedquist@gmail.com
Are You Lost in the World of Duality?

Are You Lost in the World of Duality?

Recently I assisted Senior Pathwork Helper Jac Conaway in the Sacred Dimensions weekend at Sevenoaks Retreat Center. We examined our beliefs about reality, and how we take for granted what we think we know is true. A simple exercise of putting a plastic bag over our heads demonstrated how we see everything through a certain lens, and assume what we are seeing is what everyone else is seeing, and that it is the final reality and truth of the matter.   Back home, I had a conversation with a friend over an opposing view of life….each of us held a different perspective that was near and dear to our hearts. Each of us deeply believed in the certainty and goodness and rightness of our perspective. Each of us felt the other was somehow well-intentioned but misguided.   Who is right? Who is wrong? Who is good? Who is bad? It was like both of us were talking to each other with bags over our heads, full of pain and hurt and anger and shock at the perceived reality of the other. I left saddened at the apparent impasse.   Both of us had been in emotional reaction. Both of us had moments where we spoke from judgment, anger, and assumption. Of course, I say this from my own limited perspective, and she may have had a different take on our interaction, but I think it would be safe to say we both had bags over our heads. And yet I still believe both of us were doing our best to see the other. We were both trying to listen...
Can Safe and Secure Include Love and Serenity?

Can Safe and Secure Include Love and Serenity?

With the recent violence in our country and elsewhere in the world, the conversation on what our response should be is very controversial. Should we respond with love? Should we respond with aggression? Should we close our borders? Should we enact stricter gun control laws? We seem to be polarized on the issues, with strong opinions on both sides. Who is right and who is wrong?   When we feel threatened, we can tend to choose one of three pseudo-solutions: aggression, submission, or withdrawal. While we may justify our attitudes and behavior as essential to our safety, these defenses are actually distorted versions of three valid, healthy responses: courage, love, and serenity.   The Courage to set a boundary and respond with appropriate action. The strength of Love to feel compassion and concern for the situation of the other. The Serenity to keep a cool head and draw on wisdom to negotiate a solution that supports all parties.   When we are defended, we are in distortion, and we see these three qualities as mutually exclusive. If our personality type favors the aggression defense, we often perceive an act of real love as weak submission. If we tend to choose the submission defense, we are likely to view those who would set healthy boundaries as cold-hearted aggressors. If we prefer the withdrawl approach, we are likely to be in judgment of both of these responses, and detach from the whole situation. We can spend endless hours arguing which defense is the RIGHT course of action, when they are all just different flavors of the same ice cream. All pseudo-solutions...
Tasting the Sweetness of Community

Tasting the Sweetness of Community

“There is almost a sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendship between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality impossible to describe.” ~ Teilhard de Chardin   The spiritual journey, if sincerely followed, is a path of self-discovery leading us home to our Real Self, and the paradoxical realization that we never really left home to begin with. To once again align with and anchor in the deepest truth of who we are is a precious gift of grace, and while it requires a certain amount of solitude, prayer and inner reflection, most of us were never meant to spend our lives secluded in a monastery or as reclusive hermits in a cave high on a mountain top.   We all need Connection. Communion. Community. We need one another!   If we could have made this journey alone, we would have reached our destination long ago. But just as there are insights that can only be revealed in solitude and silence, there is wisdom that can only be gained when kindred spirits engage in authentic relationship, walking the path together in service of supporting one another’s personal and spiritual growth. Both are essential to the spiritual journey.   Here are some of the invaluable gifts I have received in community:   To know I am not alone. When others share their hopes, fears, sorrows, and disappointments, it gives me the courage and humility to come out of my isolation and share the same. I realize we are really more alike than different. To be supported....
The Sacred Gift of Conflict

The Sacred Gift of Conflict

At the end of the day, the most accurate yardstick that measures our personal and spiritual development is the degree to which we are willing to engage in relationship with others.   To love another with all their strengths and weaknesses is to find our connectedness to all human beings, which brings us closer to the unitive state.   Of course, since we are imperfect human beings, we will do this imperfectly. And, so will the person we are in relationship with! When we show up imperfectly, conflict is inevitably going to arise, and the question becomes… How do we engage in constructive conflict that supports our growth and deepens our relationships?   The answer to that question is complex, nuanced, and can not be answered by a set of steps or a learned set of communication tools. Those are important, and they certainly compliment our efforts to navigate conflict in relationship, but genuine relating is based on self responsibility, positive intention, self-forgiveness when you fail to live up to your intention, a commitment to self-awareness, and lots and lots of practice. That being said, I offer here a series of questions that I have found very helpful in aligning myself in truth and love when approaching a conflict:   ♦ Get very clear specifically what this person did that you are not comfortable with, as well as how you feel as a result. Try writing it down in this manner….“when …………….. did/said ………………., I felt …………………..” Name an emotion, not a thought or story line. For instance, “I feel hurt,” as opposed to “I feel like he/she was...