Food for Thought:
Monday, March 6, 2000
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NHNE: Food for Thought: "The Call"
Monday, March 6, 2000
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Most of us have been born with hopes, dreams, and various kinds of
life callings hard-wired into our makeup. Sometimes the callings are
clear, and other times there is just a vague knowing that eats at us.
But how many of us act on these deep inner impulses? And if more of
us did, what would our world look like? Could the potential to heal
all the problems that afflict our world be locked away in the janitor,
the secretary, the house mother or father who were consumed so much
with the day-to-day struggle to survive that they failed to answer the
deeper callings of their heart and soul?
I think so -- and I wish more of us had the ability to give our deepest,
most wondrous gifts to one another, and the world.
In February of 1995, we published a special report on the Pathwork
Guide Lectures of Eva Pierrakos. In that report I wrote that the Pathwork
material was "the most clearly presented, most strikingly practical,
most deeply empowering material I have ever seen." Five years later,
after many more spiritual paths, teachers, and philosophies have passed
through my life, I still feel the same way.
While researching the Pathwork report, I contacted a few folks who
were involved in the Pathwork organization and, eventually, helped one
of those people, Dottie Titus, set up a Pathwork discussion group online.
Serving as the facilitator of this list, Dottie, who is the Director
of the Sevenoaks Pathwork Center, often uses her life to illustrate
how the Pathwork material can be applied to our day-to-day experiences.
In December, she posted a message to the list that described her ongoing
efforts to respond to what she felt was her life calling. A month later,
in January, she posted a follow up.
In the hopes that Dottie's efforts to respond to her life calling might
help more of us to do the same, I am including Dottie's letters below.
I am also including a story from Richard Bach's book, "Illusions",
that has often helped me leap into the wild blue when the call has come
to do so...
With Love & Best Wishes,
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PATHWORK GUIDE LECTURES:
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[The best material I have ever seen on love, sex, and relationships
comes from the Pathwork material. The lecture linked above is to my
all-time favorite lecture on this topic.]
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[The following posts are reprinted with Dottie's permission. They grew
out of Dottie's efforts to discuss Pathwork Lecture #44, "The Call".
To contact Dottie and/or find out more about the Pathwork group she
facilitates online, write <DottieT@aol.com>.]
By Dottie Titus
Monday, December 6, 1999
I think I can begin once more to delve into this lecture more fully.
I have surrendered to my "call" (finally!). So I will be weaving
some of my own story through this discussion. I invite any of you to
explore your own inner call and share your stories here.
When I began exploring this lecture with you some time ago, we only
covered a little of the lecture. The Guide tells us that many people
are called ("God is calling them!") but the call comes only
when people have reached the necessary maturity, have enough experience
and wisdom and "step-by-step spiritual development." At the
time the lecture was given, the Guide said, "I venture to say that
everyone of you, my friends, sitting in this room, has been called."
And I suspect that most of us that feel drawn to the Pathwork are similarly
experiencing a call.
In explaining how one feels the call, the Guide talks about the higher
self and lower self, which are fighting with each other:
"The Higher Self registers this Call and pushes the person in
a certain direction which the conscious Self cannot immediately interpret.
The conscious Self just feels a certain longing, a certain dissatisfaction
with the present life, even if you fulfill all your earthly duties to
the best of your ability.
"Nonetheless, there is a certain voice within you, a certain pressure
which seems as though you are being pushed in some direction and you
do not know quite where as yet. But you will find out, provided you
do not fight against it and do not give in to your Lower Self. In the
first place, you do not know where, why, or what it all means. If your
Lower Self were not also alive within you, it would be comparatively
easy to follow that Call.
"But your Lower Self does not want any effort; it does not want
any change; and it holds you back and furnishes you with many excuses
in order for you not to follow your Higher Self. ...And you, who are
inexperienced in differentiating and pulling off your masks, pretexts,
and self-illusions, believe the voice of your Lower Self because you
WANT to believe these rationalizations. It is so much easier, but until
this fight is successfully over with, once and for all, you will not
have peace -- never, my friends! This Call will become stronger and
stronger, as you go on, and the more you resist it, the more dissatisfied
you must become with your life. The more God can expect from you, due
to your basic spiritual development, the more dissatisfied you must
be if you do not follow this Call."
That paragraph from the lecture sums up much of my struggle for the
past few years! I had a strong sense that I was to begin moving more
fully into my Pathwork helpership. At first, I just prayed for more
Pathwork workers (those we counsel in individual Pathwork sessions)
while clinging tightly to my full-time job to make sure my income was
sufficient. Nothing happened.
It finally dawned on me to apply the same principles I'd used in my
work around abundance: If you want something, you first have to make
space for it. So I decreased my work hours, and two workers arrived.
The next year, I decreased my work hours again, and two more arrived.
So far so good.
Then my ego got overactive. While my heart loves working with people,
my ego loves being in charge. And so my administrative work got a lot
of focus. And for the past few years, there has been a constant battle.
My heart yearns for a slower pace, with room to connect more deeply
with God and with my workers. My ego looks for more ways for me to "succeed"
and be visible to all and sundry in my "successes." The past
year has been a personal hell for me. My ego has been frantically screaming,
"I can do it all!" as I increased my work hours (although
this SEEMED to be caused by someone suddenly quitting at the worst possible
time), took on my practicum in graduate school and continued to teach
in the Pathwork Transformation Program and have six workers. When the
ego takes over at the expense of everything else, there is a price to
pay. The highlight of that time was my practicum experience (I learned
a lot and loved the program) but I didn't really get to enjoy it because
I was spread so thin. At work, everyone was angry with me for being
less available and not handling things well. My teaching in the TP program
didn't feel like I was giving my best. And I began to lose workers,
all for "good" reasons apparently unrelated to any of this,
but at a deeper level, most certainly related.
Things have begun to settle down in the last two months. But it is
clear that I am not who I have always thought I was -- not any more.
This past week has been particularly fascinating because my inner call
became very clear and specific and I was able to observe how desperately
my ego wants to ignore it. My ego wants to believe that I am still a
good administrator, very logical and organized. But my mind just doesn't
seem able to function administratively any more. I tried to sort a huge
stack of papers (about 1 foot or more) by year (1997 thru 1999). By
the time I finished, I had six stacks of paper, some of which were in
the wrong stack, and I felt more confused than before I started. The
more I try to do administrative things, the more I seem to bump into
difficulties with people and the bigger mess things become. Maybe early
Contrasted with that has been the incredible ease with which I can
move deeper into teaching and Pathwork helpership. I was down to three
workers, all of them just part-time. I sat down for five minutes one
afternoon and prayed, asking God for more workers so I could do this
work that I love. Within a week, I had three contacts.
Get the picture? Hours of work to demonstrate my "skills"
in administration aren't working. But five minutes of prayer, when applied
in the direction of my "call" produce almost immediate results
(in fact, one of the phone calls came within 24 hours).
So when we are following our call, there is a way in which it feels
effortless, easy, in the "flow." We are literally carried
in the arms of God.
And I discovered this week that this is precisely what my ego is afraid
of. For when I do administrative work, I can have the illusion that
I am in control. As the boss, I'm "in charge." To follow my
heart and truly live as a Pathwork helper, I am no longer in charge;
God is. My ego (what the Guide calls my "little ego") is terrified!
The lecture speaks to some of this next. It asks, "Now what does
God want from you when He calls you? He does not expect you to be a
martyr or to fulfill tremendous tasks, though of some of you he may
expect the latter; he does not expect it from most of you." As
I've watched my struggle this week, I've seen that this is exactly what
it boils down to. Why is my ego so afraid of giving up control to God?
Because it fears that God will ask too much of me, that I will have
to make too big a sacrifice, give up any chance of happiness. But it
is the pain of ignoring my inner call that make happiness impossible!
The pain of forcing myself to continue to function in modes that are
no longer who I am, the pain of trying to twist myself to be something
I am not. So what have I to lose by listening to God's call?
The lecture says that what God wants of every one of us as a necessary
first step is self-development, self-purification and self-knowledge.
We must tear off our masks and all our self-delusions about who we are
and our inner and outer motives. The Guide says, "Whoever is not
quite happy and harmonious can answer himself this way: I have not quite
followed God's Call. "
And there are questions we can ask to help us determine this:
"How happy are you? How well-balanced are you? How harmonious
are you 'inside'?
"It does not necessarily mean outside, for outside you may have
troubles, but if you are truly on the right path and fulfill all things
that God wants you to fulfill, no matter what your outer difficulties
may or may not be, you must be happy. And that should be your yardstick
and confirmation of where you stand and how much you are fulfilling,
my friends. I want each one of you, when you go home tonight, to think
about the following: 'How happy am I? How satisfied am I with my life
and with myself?'"
Back to my story.
I finally began looking at how unhappy I was. People I have always
been able to work with were being "difficult." The harder
I tried to do a good job, the more I felt I got "jabbed" with
judgements. I felt so frustrated. I was blamed for things I didn't have
control over. Things just didn't make sense. This is not how this organization
is! Then a friend took me aside last week and we talked about the inner
call I'd been feeling. She pointed out what a blessing it was that all
these circumstances were coming to me to show me that administration
is not where I am supposed to be. It reminded me of the Guide's words
about how, if we don't get the point, the lessons get harder. The tighter
I was clinging to my administrative job, the more painful it was becoming.
So, at last, I got it! I gave in to my inner knowing that I was supposed
to leave administrative work. Now what?
First, a strong sense of relief! That came as a surprise. I began to
breathe again. Then I opened to hearing more fully just what was to
be asked of me. My prayer over the past week has been for God to give
me the courage to do whatever he asks. And my mantra has been, "I
surrender to the will of God." Was my task simply to leave administrative
work and remain a Pathwork teacher and counselor in the Mid-Atlantic
Pathwork? Slowly, the answer began to emerge. No. I was to leave the
region. Again, that sense of relief, mingled with fear. Leave the region?
Go out on my own? Yes.
Lots more breathing and recommitting to surrendering. Leaving administrative
work was one thing, but leaving the family? That was a lot more scary.
So I sat with the fear. I spent most of Saturday in what I can only
call an altered state. I was conscious of my surroundings, and I did
"normal" things, but everything seemed to be moving slowly
and there seemed to be a lot of "stuff" happening inside me
at both the emotional and cellular level. There was a growing calmness.
I began to accept that a major change is coming. And I began to ask,
"Where?" Two choices immediately came: Alaska or my beloved
Minnesota. Distrusting my bias toward Minnesota, I tried to focus more
on Alaska (again, perhaps, suspecting that God was going to ask for
the biggest sacrifice possible).
Sunday morning, I was in a state of openness, still not quite ordinary
consciousness. I went through my tasks while my mind kept reciting my
two options, "I'm going to Alaska. I'm going to Minnesota. I'm
going to Alaska. I'm going to Minnesota." Then suddenly, after
my umpteenth "I'm going to Minnesota," there was a tremendous
sense of something very solid just settling down in me with a "whoosh"
or "whump." And I knew that this was it. I'm to go to Minnesota
and take the Pathwork more fully there. Since then, there have been
images in my head of pine trees, birch forests and wolves moving like
shadows among the forest of my consciousness.
And, of course, all the ego screams and tantrums. How the hell do I
even begin? I don't know anyone back there any more (I left Minnesota
34 years ago). I can't do this!
Back to the lecture once again. The Guide's words fit so well here:
"If you really want to follow the Call, you can! Do not say, 'I
do not know how or where to turn; I cannot do it alone.' Of course,
you cannot do it alone. However, first you must really want to do it;
first you must decide clearly and unconditionally, then God will guide
you wherever it may be and through whatever means may be best for you
in order that you will receive the necessary help from outside, so that
you can develop yourself within to the best degree that can be expected
of you." My challenge now is to strengthen the part that believes
this and to face the fears that want to make me turn tail and run!
I will pick up the rest of lecture #17, "The Call", in the
next few days. In the meantime, I ask for prayers to help me continue
to surrender and to have courage to follow my call.
May you all be blessed,
January 18, 2000
This post is very personal for me. My struggle goes on about my call
to go to Minnesota. I am dealing with a lot of fear of leaving the familiar
and risking a deeper surrender to God. Several of you have said this
topic is current in your life, so I want to risk sharing my latest experiences.
I think I mentioned that at the New Year's Eve ceremony at Sevenoaks
Pathwork Center, I was brought back to the awareness of my call (and
my having ignored it for a while) when I was paired with someone who
was struggling with letting go of friends and family and leaving the
area -- and it turned out that this person was going to Minnesota. Not
too many people I've met in Virginia are from Minnesota, and I've never
met anyone going back there before, so this felt like a big reminder
from God/my higher self to pay attention to the call.
The past few weeks, I've been engaged with a struggle around my job.
It is being redefined somewhat (which is okay!) but I'm being tasked
to go back and correct many errors and bad situations that I did not
create. This has been challenging in many respects: I've felt angry,
challenged, sometimes at peace because it means I can work at home more,
sometimes enjoyable as I get some pieces straightened out. But it hasn't
felt satisfying at all.
Nonetheless, in the past few weeks, I've been sliding back into my
"comfort" zone. Yesterday, when I was asked at a Board meeting
what my plans were, I found myself first reacting to being asked for
a decision now when I feel stressed and overworked (I want to make this
decision from a clear head -- as if there is a "decision"
to be made!). Then I slid back into the "comfort" zone, saying
that I didn't feel in any hurry to move on, that I could probably stay
for another 16 months and do the last steps of my degree here. It would
be easier, I said.
I don't remember dreams very often, but last night's dream felt very
big and important in this whole issue. As is often the case, the details
are a big fuzzy, but some are crystal clear: I was on a bus. It was,
in the beginning of the dream, a long distance bus, like a Greyhound.
The driver was an attractive blond, blue-eyed man who seemed very happy.
The bus was very full with lots of happy travelers. I felt attracted
to the bus driver.
He radiated a love and caring that were profound. I found myself sitting
across a cafe table from him. As we gazed into each other's eyes, I
felt myself more in union with this person than with anyone I've ever
met. And I wanted so much more of that union. He asked me to tell him
where I would be in Minnesota (because that was where he lived), and
I didn't tell him. I got off the bus (which now seemed mostly empty)
on the corner of a street.
The driver looked so sad. The bus went up to a school-like building
(the bus had changed at this point to something more like a city bus).
As I stood on the corner watching, I felt incredibly sad myself, and
I knew that I was denying something very important. Suddenly, I reached
into my pocket and found a bunch of little green stickers and gift tags
that he had somehow given me earlier in the dream. I madly scribbled
my mother's name, address and phone number on the tag. When the bus
came back down to the street from the building, I just had to stop it.
I stood firmly in the middle of the street and waved him down. I got
into the bus, which was now full again. I pulled out all the stickers
and gift tags and handed them to him. He looked puzzled. Then I couldn't
find the tag I'd written on. I looked around and found it had fallen
outside the bus. I ran down the steps of the bus to pick it up and then
handed it to him. I looked deeply into his eyes and said, "This
is my mother. She'll know where to reach me." People on the bus
smiled and cheered. The bus driver looked happy again. I stepped off
the bus and woke up.
I believe that every time I start to waiver on going to Minnesota,
God and/or my Higher Self are stepping right back in and telling me
this is important, to stop fooling around with it. And so I am moved
one step closer...
THE RIVER CREATURE
From the book, "lIlusions", by Richard Bach
Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great
crystal river. The current of the river swept silently over them all:
young and old, rich and poor, good and evil; the current going its own
way, knowing only its own crystal self.
Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks
of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting
the current what each had learned from birth.
But one creature said at last, "I am tired of clinging. Though
I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust the current knows where it is
going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I
shall die of boredom."
The other creatures laughed and said, "Fool! Let go, and that
current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks,
and you will die quicker than boredom!"
But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at
once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.
Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted
him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.
And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, "See
a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah,
come to save us all!"
And the one carried in the current said, "I am no more Messiah
than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go.
Our true work is this voyage, this adventure."
David Sunfellow, Founder & Publisher
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