Over the years I have marveled at how Pathwork attracts seekers from a diverse group of cultures, spiritual backgrounds, experiences, and worldviews.
As an international community we are truly a melting pot that expresses both our individuality and our common humanity. Our stories weave us together like threads in a magnificent tapestry, and speak to the core longing we all share as we navigate our unique path on the journey back to union with all of Life. In times of such deep division, I find the International Pathwork Community an oasis of inclusion, tolerance, and rich celebration of differences.
I have decided to feature the stories of various Pathworkers so that we might come together as a community to enrich each other through our shared experience. I hope you enjoy getting to know others in the International Pathwork Community through this online sharing!
Pathwork Helper in Miami, Florida
Creating Sustainability From Within
I started Pathwork exactly 20 years ago when I was 29. It would be much more accurate to say that Pathwork found me, indeed. And it found me as a career driven person, successfully working for a large corporation as a strategic planning manager, married with no kids and sensing that life should be more than making money and being perceived as successful.
I needed to give back the gifts I had received from life, to contribute to something larger.
I was first triggered by a colleague with whom I was able to have profound conversations. He never mentioned the word Pathwork, but I noticed that some times when we were outside São Paulo, Brazil working on projects together, he would drive for 5 hours back and forth (10 hours total) just to be part of this interesting group.
I thought to myself, “it might be something fascinating for this guy to make this kind of sacrifice…” So, once he handed me a card from his “Helper” that looked like a therapist to me.
I danced with that card for three months before having the courage to call. At the age of 29, I would arrogantly say that any “therapy” was for crazy people, and I was not a crazy person, so why would I care about that? It was necessary that I was feeling miserable and lost for me to call her.
I remember my first session very clearly: Graciela guided me to understand that I was not who I thought I was. I cried for almost two hours asking myself, “who the hell am I then?”
Graciela also suggested a book, “The Pathwork of Self Transformation,” by Eva Pierrakos, and that’s when I was hooked. I drank the words as a thirsty person lost in the desert. It made so much sense, it was so profound, and it has touched me forever. I joined Graciela’s group and have never stopped studying the Pathwork since then.
Guided by Pathwork, I journeyed to the innermost part of my being. I became more grounded and secure, being able to make moves outwardly that were more aligned with the calling of my heart and soul.
Nearly two years after I started Pathwork, I was able to quit my job as a director in a prominent Venture Capital company and begin a new journey as a sustainability consultant. In 2001, “Atitude” (as it is written in Portuguese), a consulting company in corporate sustainability, was born.
Along the way, while expanding my awareness, I came to realize in the deeper levels of my consciousness that the way we were doing consultancy was impaired.
There is no “saving the planet, or helping nature” as if planet or nature were something else apart from myself.
I comprehended that the notion of a subject separated from an object is a big illusion. I learned that to be more effective in my objectives I would need to integrate the same principles I was living in my personal development journey into my working practices.
Working with sustainability was a way of following the deepest calling of my heart. Pathwork – or in other words, the deep understanding of my own emotional, mental, and spiritual being – has made it possible. Both together are helping me realize that our fundamental task is to challenge our dualistic perspective of the world and seek unitive consciousness. More and more I have come to understand that reality is systemic, integrated, interconnected and interwoven.
In 2009, I left Brazil and moved to the US. I intuitively knew it would be difficult to maintain my activities as a sustainability consultant here, but it was the perfect situation for me to develop a path that would drive us to more sustainable results, a path of challenging mindsets. Synchronistically, a new Helpership Training was starting at Sevenoaks Retreat Center, so I jumped in, and three years later I became a Helper. I now hold groups and see people individually, following the steps of Graciela and other beautiful teachers I found along the way.
For my mission in the corporate and conventional world, I still needed a better suited structure and a language to reach those who do not identify with a spiritual path. I found that in Integral Coaching Canada (ICC). As a coaching method inspired by and focused on Ken Wilbur’s Integral Vision, ICC brought me the framework I needed to create Sustainability from Within®.
Pathwork is Sustainability from Within® heart and soul. It is my well – the place I go whenever I need more understanding, more acceptance, more compassion, more love. It is my path, and it is the base of the service I want to provide the world in gratitude for all Life has given me.
Learn more about Cibele and Sustainability from Within® here.
A “Journey of the Heart” serving migrants and refugees in El Paso, Texas
Pauline (second from the left) with a few volunteers at the Nazareth hospitality center in El Paso, Texas.
From the beginning, my Pathwork journey has been about learning to trust. Trusting myself, trusting my inner authority, trusting God. It’s an ongoing process.
I started the Pathwork Transformation Program (PTP) in the fall of 2008 at Sevenoaks Retreat Center. Truthfully, Pathwork had spoken to me long before that, but I hesitated to commit to PTP because, after all, I hadn’t yet learned to fully trust my inner guidance and the clear messages I was receiving. But, in reality, I came to PTP exactly when I needed to.
Only five months into Year 1, my husband died unexpectedly and I was catapulted into this surreal journey of shock, pain, and grief. The work I did through Pathwork and with my helper was invaluable as I learned to feel my feelings and understand my fears and anxiety, much of which had been with me since childhood but surfaced more fully after David died. I began to open to limitless possibilities by saying yes to what was in front of me, even when my inclination was to reject it.
PTP taught me the beauty of letting myself be vulnerable, helped me understand the pride and shame I carried, including the shame of the Higher Self, and it reinforced the validity of my spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ.
I learned to honor my Higher Self while at the same time, not be afraid to own and reveal my lower self in the safety of my Pathwork container. Being able to get down in the muck and be seen for who I was in all my messiness and still be accepted by my Pathwork “family” and my helper Kathryn meant so much to someone like me who was afraid of being seen as not enough. My heart kept opening more and more, and this was huge for my healing.
In Year 5, under the guidance of our teachers Julia and Darlene, we participated in a special ceremony in which we reaffirmed our commitment to Pathwork, to our personal spiritual journey and to one another, and then committed to the larger community as a whole. I took that commitment seriously. I already knew my life was about something more than myself. Ever since David had died I’d been asking the tough questions about my life’s purpose. I knew it was about serving Love; I just didn’t know in what capacity.
It didn’t take long for the answer to reveal itself.
In 2013 I went on a one-week “border immersion” trip to El Paso, Texas. What I experienced about the people who migrate to this country, and those who work with them at the U.S.-Mexico border, cracked my heart open.
After I came home to Virginia, I kept feeling a pull on my heart to return. In the past, I might have thought this was silly, and certainly unreasonable, given that I had responsibilities at home. But having learned to trust more, I gave all my concerns to the Universe and, in 2014, I returned to the border to volunteer for two months. That experience literally changed my life.
There were a few more jumping off steps as I listened and followed my heart, taking one risk after another, eventually leading me to the “knowing” that I was being called to accompany migrants and refugees and write about the experience.
It seemed crazy. I had never intended to permanently leave my home in Virginia. But in El Paso, I experienced the abundance of the Universe that we often hear mentioned in Pathwork. As the community gave, and continues to give, so generously to the migrants/refugees who have experienced tremendously challenging and often traumatic and violent lives, their generosity and compassion multiplied. At the hospitality center where I volunteer, we always receive what we need. And so much more. It’s funny how people with desperate lives who seemingly own nothing have so much to give.
Now that I care for others, it’s more important than ever that I heed the lessons of Pathwork. Self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-compassion are essential as I go forward. Keeping my heart open for myself as well as for the “other” is key. I’m much more aware of when my negative voices/beliefs and resistance show up and when I need to take time to be with myself, thanks to my PTP years. I’m much more willing to look within myself for what I don’t like in another person.
Of course, there are many challenges, but my commitment to my daily spiritual practice and my desire to use my gifts in the service of love continue to guide me. And I trust in this Love more and more, as I open my heart to the life that’s right in front of me.
Pauline is a writer and editor by profession, and a volunteer for migrants and refugees by heart. Follow her journey through her blog here.
Sucheta Jain, Helper Trainee
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Sucheta’s Advanced Pathwork Studies graduating class at Sevenoaks Retreat Center. She is in the center of the first row.
I have always been very curious about various spiritual paths. Growing up in India spirituality and religion was everywhere.
I learned to be connected to a God or higher power at an early age. That way of connecting was through rituals and reading religious scriptures. I was too young to understand but I was very curious. There was an aspect of devotion to my reading these books at that young age. I felt really good when I spent time with the ritualistic reading and chanting on a daily basis.
As I grew older and got busy with my education and life in general this was not a constant in my life as it had been when I lived at home. But there was always a need and a desire for something to hold on to, or a solid ground to stand on. I kind of knew that I needed to surrender to the flow of life but could not because my ego had become very strong and I did not know how to surrender. It seemed too scary.
What if whoever I surrender to does not know what I want, or does not do for me what I want?
In 2007 or 2008 I came upon a Pathwork lecture. As I read the lecture I just knew I had to explore this path. I read everything I could find on the internet about Eva and how she channeled this material. I had found what I was looking for, and I joined the Pathwork Transformation Program (PTP) at Sevenoaks in 2009.
When I started I knew I was going all the way. I completed PTP in 2013, continued onto Advanced Pathwork Studies and now I am in second year of Helper Training.
I feel Pathwork has given me an anchor. The teachings help me with a kind of deep, logical guidance that helps me live my life in a trusting, surrendered way. I am not fully there yet but I know I am on the right path.
The thought of reincarnation gives me a very long term perspective of living my day to day life. The idea of self-responsibility and self-awareness is very grounding. It is a slow process because it asks us to do really deep work within ourselves. It is so logical and thoroughly explained by the Pathwork Guide that it appeals to a scientifically trained mind.
The Guide explains how our life is Cause and Effect and when we like or don’t like our life situation, we can look for a cause that we are responsible for. It is so reassuring and helps me know that I can create my life. It has not been an easy path but well worth every minute I have spent.
I cannot imagine living my life any other way.
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