I want to tell you a story. It’s absolutely true, but its also just a story.
A year and a half ago, I went on an Intensive Retreat in Vermont with my Pathwork Helper, and my intention was:
“to surrender to that which I wasn’t sure I believed in.”
During a week of silence interspersed with Helper Sessions, I was graced with an experience of Oneness that changed my life. If you are interested, you can read the blog post I wrote about my experience here.
Upon entering the airport to board my plane home, I had the strange feeling that I was leaving home, not returning to my home, and that my life would forever be different, because I was not returning the same person that had left. I had no idea what that meant, or what it would look like, and it felt a bit scary as I crossed the threshold from the chrysalis that had held me during my Intensive to the world of everyday reality.
As I returned home and began to integrate my amazing and blissful experience, I entered a period that was disorienting and full of conflicting emotions. I found myself without the usual defenses of my Idealized Self Image to navigate life. I realized that much of what I knew to be true were just beliefs I had held about myself and the world, stories I had made up, and now that they were disintegrating it felt like there was no ground underneath my feet.
I had the faith that I was being led, that this was a spiritual process that was entirely trustworthy, but it still felt unsettling. My intention to surrender to what I wasn’t sure I believed in was being tested.
- Did I really mean it?
- Could I really let go into the not knowing?
- Was I willing to say “yes” to this crucifixion that might lead to a resurrection?
- Or would the discomfort seduce me into returning to the pseudo-safety of illusions that had been so invisible I had not really even realized they were operating my worldview?
It was a challenging year and a half. No one ever said spiritual growth is a bed of roses.
This past September I returned for another Intensive. I was excited, but in many respects I was afraid and somewhat dreading the experience. So much of my life had changed, so much of who I thought I was had been lost, and I wasn’t sure I could survive losing even more, even though life events were presenting that possibility.
Fortunately, I have come to trust that feeling that I am being led, that something larger than me is driving the bus, and while there may be a lot of hair-raising twists and turns, I am on this journey for the long haul and there is no exit ramp.
What I experienced this time in Vermont wasn’t some amazing opening into a world of Oneness. And in another way, it was. It was a process of finding the ground underneath my feet again, of coming home to myself and finding belonging, safety, and peace within. It was a simple and yet deeply profound experience of living the Pathwork teachings of radical self-responsibility, of connecting with my negative intention on a visceral level, and feeling the pain that I cause myself and others as a result.
To take full responsibility for my life’s creations gave me the ground underneath my feet again, and gave me a way to be in the world that didn’t require false pretense and projection. It brought me back home to the one true connection in this life that means anything, that of my connection with my Real Self.
Of course, the temptation to return to illusion remains. I imagine it will always be there. In fact, I find myself catching those illusory thoughts on a daily basis, but I don’t believe them as much anymore. And when I feel shaky, I can reconnect with my Inner Reality, allow my ego to merge with it in a way that includes and unites all aspects of myself as sacred and whole.
Today I know that the experience of Oneness is not something out there, something separate from the everyday world of reality, and my task is to bring my inner knowing of truth into the outer world of experience. To be in this world but not of it.
I had to leave what I thought was a home that needed some redecorating, and fall into homelessness — uncertainty, unknowing, and undefended nakedness — to discover and ground in my true home which has always been here, never needing anything.
And while I’d like to think that I’ve finally “arrived”, what I know is that I will be called to do that again, and again, and again.
I have said it many times, but it bears repeating: I am eternally grateful for the Pathwork teachings that guide me deeper and deeper on an inward spiral to realities I could not previously have been able to imagine. And I love knowing that you are sharing this journey with me!
Have you been feeling that call to return home? Do you enjoy stories that inform this universal pilgrimage that we are all traveling?
If so, I’m excited to announce that I’ve repackaged an online course I offered previously entitled, “Follow the Yellow Brick Road: Your Journey Home to the Real Self.” It’s now a self study course that you can work with on your own time.
Uncover the mystical messages in the beloved story of the Wizard of Oz and how they dovetail with the Pathwork teachings! Read more here.
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