Posted by: dottiejt | March 7, 2009

The Pathwork® Trampoline Effect

I was speaking with another Pathworker today, and we touched on the topic of the Pathwork’s history of attracting people, swelling in numbers, creating a strong sense of community for a while, and then shrinking in size.  This is a pattern that has repeated more than once.  My friend suggested that it may occur because the Pathwork encourages independence, that people come into the Pathwork dependent on others, on their beliefs, on their childhood wounds and the re-creation of those wounds; and as they heal themselves, they become independent and move away and begin their lives anew, often starting their own organization or company.

This has always been an area that, for some reason, frustrated me.  It felt as though the people who did this gained a lot from the Pathwork but did not stick around afterward.  Instead, it seemed (to me), they went out and became known for their own endeavors and in some cases didn’t even credit the Pathwork for helping them get there.

As I discussed this with my friend, I suddenly got a visual image of a trampoline.  The trampoline is the Pathwork.  People climb on board and begin bouncing, letting themselves go higher as they get more comfortable with themselves and knowing they can handle whatever forces are at work on them and within them.  Eventually, they can fly and leave the trampoline.

Around the trampoline are the spotters, those of us who remain to teach the Pathwork and guide the people who come to us.  Our job is to make sure people stay safe on the trampoline, sometimes encouraging, sometimes asking them to slow down a bit and concentrate on a new skill they are learning.  And then our job is to celebrate the victory of seeing them take flight.

Perhaps I have paid too much attention to those who leave, who fly into their own endeavors.  Perhaps I have missed them and felt lonely.  Perhaps I need to focus more on who is coming onto the trampoline next.

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Posted by: dottiejt | February 28, 2009

Still Repeating the Pattern

Sixteen months later, I have repeated the pattern yet again, albeit with a slightly different flavor.  After two years of fighting against the injustice, the members of the organization succeeded in electing some new board members, enough to change the majority stance.  There is chaos and upheaval, and I have thrown myself into a supporting role, again overworking, trying to be valuable and see myself as “special.”

There is a wonderful quote from Pathwork® Guide Lecture #250, The Birthing Process – Cosmic Pulse, that fits here:

The deeper level brings new material to the fore that could not have been handled before, and it may also bring a feeling of hopelessness about self-purification. ‘Will it never end?’ I want to warn you about this feeling and tell you that it is a good sign of deep progress.

For this time through the pattern has brought new awareness of deeper attachments to the pattern.  There is a pleasure that keeps me in the pattern.  In supporting the organization, I had to learn new things in order to give that support. There is intense pleasure for me as I master a new skill, although being “self-taught” can be frustrating at first. As I learned how to read and program in HTML (my latest challenge), I could feel my self-confidence growing as well as feel the sheer pleasure of learning.  For those who know about the Myers-Briggs Types, I am an INTJ–and we are people who live for the pleasure of learning new skills. We don’t care if we ever use them again because the pleasure is in the mastering of the skills.

How does that connect to the childhood situation?  I remember that my greatest frustration in trying to stop my father’s actions was in not being able to refute his “logic.”  It was beyond the capabilities of a 7-year-old.  And learning and thinking became terribly important to me after that.  I wanted to be able to “outsmart” the perpetrator.

There is a very real thirst for more knowledge, more skill, and a deep, abiding satisfaction in learning more. That is my higher self:  The divine quality of my Pathwork personality type (reason) is wisdom, so that makes sense. The distortions come from the mask, which wants to be sure people see and appreciate the new skills, which gives a distorted kind of ego pleasure.  The lower self wants to use my unique set of skills to manipulate people to give me what I want.

And so the pattern is still around, and I have repeated it yet again.  But, as the Guide says, “it is a good sign of deep progress.” I have discovered the re-creation sooner and am stepping back from it more quickly and with less emotional reaction.  Progress indeed!

Posted by: dottiejt | September 16, 2007

Patterns

One of the beauties of the Pathwork is that it helps you notice the patterns that occur in your life. When a negative pattern repeats over and over, it means that there is something you need to change in your life.

We attract negative patterns to us because a part of us that is/was wounded cannot tolerate the thought of experiencing the old pain again. When we were young, that pain was intolerable, so we buried it deep in our body and deep in our psyche. But it is still there. It lives in us because we haven’t fully felt it yet. It is a prisoner of our fear of the past repeating itself.

Strange as it may seem, what we do is re-create the painful situation with others over and over again. That is the negative pattern. Why? Because that part of us that was wounded believes that if it can just go through that experience again and win this time, it will never have to fear those feelings again because it will have the solution. So this part attracts people who will help us recreate the situation. We especially do this with our significant others and people in positions of authority over us (bosses, in-laws, etc.).

You have witnessed this and probably experienced it yourself in one way or another: The woman whose father abandoned the family and who always seems to pick men who leave her. The child of an alcoholic who marries an alcoholic. The child of an abusive parent who marries an abuser. The list goes on and on.

In each of these cases, there is a frantic child inside who is trying to find a way to come out on top, to win in this painful situation. The sad part is that we can never win because the pain was not caused by the person we are interacting with now. And the pain we think is caused by this person now has nothing to do with him or her. It is the old pain that has been awakened by our re-creation.

In my own life in the past few years, I got involved with our local neighborhood group. While I didn’t see it at first, I can now look back and see that I made my boss into my father, and I tried very hard to please him, seeking an approval and praise that my father would not give. I worked 55 hours a week, accomplished many good things…and our relationship deteriorated further with every achievement. Finally, my health demanded that I give up the job. I had created a situation that was untenable for me. I couldn’t continue to work those kinds of hours, and my relationship with my boss was a mess. I felt unappreciated and betrayed. The same way I felt with my father.

I was a four-year survivor from Stage IIIc cancer, and cancer was coming back. During the next year, I stayed on the fringes of the neighborhood activities, attending meetings but not getting “involved.” Then, when chemotherapy was nearly done, I re-engaged, attending meetings more and looking seriously at the organization.

A number of residents were concerned about activities the neighborhood organization undertook. Some were merely unethical. Others violated IRS rules. Still others violated contract agreements the organization had signed. The residents asked for an accounting and were denied. Outside help was sought, and this is where the pattern began to emerge for me. A grievance was filed by another resident and sent to the city government, which responded that the organization’s actions were not what they should be but the specific action the grievance addressed was over and done with and it was a “moot point” and not worthy of dealing with. The IRS was asked about the legality of the organization’s practices vis-a-vis their status as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The IRS agreed that the actions were not legal under 501(c)(3) rules but that the organization was so small that it wasn’t worth IRS time and effort to deal with it. Finally, the organization filed a grievance against the city for withholding its funding because of these wrongful activities. A grievance committee was established and ultimately decided to provide the organization with its funding despite the unethical and illegal behavior of the organization leadership.

I felt so much rage over all of this! A true emotional reaction, which is the hallmark of a re-created situation. What was the re-creation? When I was a child, I was badly abused by my father. My mother didn’t know (or didn’t want to know), and my father used to threaten me if I should tell her. As a child, I lived for years in the midst of intense injustice and no one would stand up and confront the one who was acting unjustly. And here was the exact same situation: a neighborhood organization breaking the rules and treating others unjustly … and no one would stand up and hold them accountable.

During all of this, my cancer numbers began going up yet again, just a few months after chemotherapy. This time, I got the message. This negative pattern will kill me if I keep re-engaging with it. Even as I write about it here, I can feel the tension of that part of me that hates injustice, that believes with all her heart that people are supposed to act with integrity and follow the rules. But this is the real world, and sometimes people don’t do that. It is a challenging process to let it go, but that is what I am working on now: No more meetings, no more thinking about what has happened. And, to some extent, no more caring so much about the outcomes. Every time I engage with this organization, cancer comes back.  There is a very strong message here.  This is no longer my fight.  I see and understand more fully the pain that I experienced as a child.  I accept this pain as the result of my father’s actions.  Those actions hurt me badly, but it is a pain that I can bear and survive.  I do not need to re-create the situation to find a defense any more.

And the other side of this is that the people I have been railing against are also re-creating their own painful situations with me and the others who object to their behavior. They must carry beliefs that they are not allowed to succeed because of their race or their economic background. And so they act in ways that will bring censure to them…and then they have strong emotional reactions against those who would hold them accountable, threatening them in some cases.

And this is where the Pathwork is so helpful. See the negative pattern. Find where it is recalling something from your history. Acknowledge the painful feelings (they are the feelings you couldn’t stand to feel back then). Know they are from the past and not from the present situation, even though it seems like they are. And then do whatever you have to to let it go. Stop engaging with the group. Stop seeing them as the perpetrators. Stop seeing yourself as the victim. You have been participating in a consensual dance with them. Your soul invited them to dance, and their souls accepted. It has been a mutual co-creation so each of you can learn and grow a little more. Be grateful for the learning. And let go.

Posted by: dottiejt | August 24, 2007

Living the Pathwork in Minnesota

Welcome to The Pathwork® in Minnesota. My name is Dottie Titus, and I am a Pathwork Helper. This is my personal blog, a place where I share my thoughts about the Pathwork and how it works in my life and in the lives of those around me.

The picture at the top of my blog is one I took at a lake in central Minnesota. Minnesota has 11,842 lakes greater than 10 acres in size. 8.75% of the state’s surface is covered by water (and a little bit more than that with the floods in southeast Minnesota this week). There are 69,200 miles of streams and rivers, and 26% of the Mississippi River’s total length flows through Minnesota. Here’s Lake Itasca, the birthplace of the Mississippi River in central Minnesota. The river begins as it flow out of the lake where the rocks are, flowing to the right. So it is a tiny stream just a few inches deep. But it quickly grows. The second picture is the Mississippi in downtown Minneapolis.

Birth of the Mississippi The Mississippi in Minneapolis

Waters here flow in three directions: North to Hudson Bay in Canada, East to the Atlantic Ocean, and South to the Gulf of Mexico. It is a state where the weather is a major topic of conversation. You will hear things like, “Cold enough for you?” in the winter. And the TV weather person will tell you that it’s very humid when the humidity gets to 60-65%.

Fall Colors in Luck, WI

So here I am in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I love the snow. I love the fall colors (above). It is a land of intense beauty and intense challenges. The perfect place for the Pathwork.

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