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 sound of the babbling brook in the backyard, not to mention the stunning view it afforded. And the tulips….oh, the tulips!
Radiant red blossoms generously offering their love to the world. Their vibrant beauty spoke deeply to me in the silence. And just to add icing to the cake, there was the frosting of snow that fell, enveloping me in a blanket of stillness. In May!
I love nature and solitude. But after a nourishing dose of both, it was time to begin the sessions.
When I was asked what my intention for the week was, the words came out of my mouth before I even knew I had spoken them.
“I want to surrender to that which i don’t really believe in.”
Have you ever felt like that? Like you are being called by something so mysterious that your logical mind can’t understand it, much less embrace it as truth and surrender to it?
And with the power of claiming a conscious, if paradoxical intention, we dove into the work that the silence had prepared me for.
I am constantly amazed at the depth the Pathwork wisdom offers. No matter how many years I’ve been studying these teachings, they continue to open new worlds, reveal powerful insights, guide and teach and draw me closer to that intimate experience of the Greater Reality, of God, of Oneness, of Love and Truth. Its not candy handed out for the asking, however; it requires the willingness to meet all of yourself with courage, honesty and humility.
I found my greatest challenge was to show up and stay present to my feelings. To everything that was moving through me. To follow my intuitions and experiences that seemed like made up stories, fabricated drama, silly woo-woo stuff. To give myself to them anyway, just to see where they would take me. And take me they did.
By the end of four days of sessions, questions I had asked all my life had answers, the accountability for my life’s creations became crystal clear, and I was overcome with knowing that I live in a universe where I have always been guided, held, loved, and carried. Always.
And while the sessions were profound, much of what was revealed appeared in the space between the sessions, in the silence. The work we did in the sessions loosened the ground for the treasure to burst forth like those brilliant tulips. They complimented one another in a way that was remarkable. One would never have offered so much without the other.
I am sure I will be integrating the gifts Life surprised me with in Vermont for months. I am deeply grateful for the love and support and nourishment I received. Somewhere in the dance between silence and deep presence to myself in the presence of another, I was able to meet Life in its naked beauty, before all concepts, defenses, and strategies could cloud the vision.
If you have found yourself at a crossroads in your life, or you feel ready to take that next step on your spiritual journey, you may benefit from a time of deep reflection, solitude, and silence. If you compliment that with an intensive immersion into exploring how the profound wisdom of the Pathwork Lectures are revealing themselves in your life, you have the opportunity to discover what Life has been whispering to you since you were born.
Surrender. Just see where it takes you. Become a believer.
Learn more about Pathwork Intensive Retreats here.
“This is a time for you to simply be. It is a time to be with yourself – to explore yourself, discover yourself, know yourself. It is a time to be with yourself with full and total awareness of who you are, what you feel, and how you run your life. It is hoped that when this time is over, you will bring back to the life you have temporarily left behind, some of the new habits, sensitivity and awareness that you will discover and nurture here. Know that this is a very special and very meaningful time in your life. It is a great gift that you give to yourself. ”
—From the Pathwork® Guide’s Words for Intensive Orientation