The Power of Thanksgiving

 

Surveying world events – economic, political, environmental – can become depressing. It is easy to overlook the good things happening and the countless reasons for being grateful.

At this time of year, many cultures and spiritual traditions remind us of the importance of appreciating life’s blessings. Research has shown that feeling gratitude lowers stress, enhances physical and emotional well-being and leads to greater life satisfaction. Positive thoughts are uplifting and lead us to recognize the abundance and benevolence around us. The natural inclination, for many, is to focus on problems and take good things for granted.

Yet even our problems can be viewed in a different light if we take a different view. People who annoy us, for example, are often a true gift. They teach us things we might otherwise disregard by mirroring back unflattering traits we need to see in our selves. We attract people who vibrate at the same frequency and who often have similar traits we might prefer to ignore. Someone who irritates us may simply be highlighting where our real work lies. In Carlos Castaneda’s books “petty tyrants” are considered to be our greatest teachers. It behooves us to see every encounter and experience as a gift.

To change negative thoughts to life affirming ones, try the following:

Maintain a gratitude journal; what are you grateful for today

Appreciate what you have rather than focusing on what is lacking

Be generous with your praise and affection for others; what goes around comes around

Go easy on yourself; no one is perfect

View all circumstances and events as learning experiences

Think of all the things you are grateful for before you go to bed and upon arising in the morning.

Give thanks for your family and friends and acquaintances; you are connected for a reason

Give thanks for the abundance in your life – both mundane and sacred

Give thanks for the natural beauty that surrounds us

Give thanks for those who mentor us and serve as role models

Give thanks to those who forgive our mistakes

Give thanks for the opportunity to contribute to life

Give thanks for the chance to learn, grow and evolve

Give thanks for the opportunity to make mistakes so learning is accelerated

Give thanks for those who watch over and guide us

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice." – Meister Eckhart

David Schwerin

David Schwerin holds an MBA in finance and a Ph.D. in religious studies and ran his own investment company for many years before becoming an international author and speaker (Conscious Capitalism: Principles for Prosperity, 1998 and Conscious Globalism: What’s wrong with the world and how to fix it, 2005).  

 

 

 

 

This changes everything

When faced with a choice, we usually opt for the status quo. The problem is that there really isn’t a status quo; everything in the universe is vibrating and, therefore, in a constant state of flux. 

Movement is the very essence of life. Nature is perpetually changing: blossoming, growing, withering and regenerating. 

As an integral part of nature, human beings follow the same pattern. So why do we strenuously avoid new ways of thinking and acting?  

The ego makes the status quo appear desirable while making flexible movement appear threatening or humiliating. (Pathwork lecture #199) 

More specifically, change is resisted because:

New territory is unfamiliar and unpredictable; why take the risk?

We may have to admit we were wrong; we’re not as perfect as we like to think.

We may be forced to forgo victimhood; responsibility feels burdensome.

We may have to relinquish control; surrendering to what is requires courage.

We may have to forgive ourselves or others; self-loathing and revenge are satisfying.

We may have to face our negativities; faults evoke shame.

We may have to request help; pride is restricting.

Yet for all its challenges, the ability to change is a wonderful gift. It means that we can overcome and transform our negative traits. We are not forever stuck in our lower nature and the unworthy, inferior feelings it engenders. 

By confronting our undesirable qualities and setting an intention to transform distorted beliefs and harmful habits, a great weight is lifted and wonderful possibilities are unleashed.

First your thinking and your attitudes change; then your feelings follow suit; then your actions and reactions begin to respond to new spontaneous impulses. And these in turn, bring forth new life experiences. (Pathwork lecture #174)

The ability to adopt life affirming qualities – generosity, compassion, integrity – is truly liberating. This realization changes everything - life becomes the exhilarating adventure it was meant to be.

To read the lectures, go to www.pathwork.org

To view David's other writings, visit www.consciousthinking.com

David Schwerin

David Schwerin

David Schwerin holds an MBA in finance and a Ph.D. in religious studies and ran his own investment company for many years before becoming an international author and speaker (Conscious Capitalism: Principles for Prosperity, 1998 and Conscious Globalism: What’s wrong with the world and how to fix it, 2005).  

 

CCC Day 2015

Celebrating a new leader and new graduates!

We gathered on the first Saturday in June as we do each spring to celebrate the year and our community.  This year marked a special occasion, as Pnina Polishook, who has served as our Spiritual Leader and Regional Director for the last two years, passed the mantel of leadership to Rich Carlson.

The process of transitioning to a new Spiritual Leader is one the Helpers in the Philadelphia Pathwork region devote a great deal of time and care to, meeting over a period of months to prepare both individually and as a group.  This process allows for a leader to emerge who has felt and answered an inner call to this role, and who the Helpers also feel has been called and fully support.  Sharon Balsama, who served as Spiritual Leader before Pnina, spoke to this process and led the ceremony to usher in Rich, who studied and trained with Sharon for many years. 

During the ceremony, Pnina spoke about her experience and many expressed their appreciation for all she has done as our leader, as a colleague, Helper and friend.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                         Pnina Polishook

                                                                                                                                 

                                                                       Pnina Polishook

Rich then spoke about the guidance he had received and preparation he had gone through, on his journey over the past few months -- and from his first learning about Pathwork in Iowa City, 14 years ago.  In sharing his vision, Rich chose the word love for the basis of his leadership.  "When I think about this Region, love is what comes to mind.  The love we have for the lecture material and for this work.  The love I have for all of you and that I feel from this community.  The love we have for each other.  That love is what will guide me as I move into this new role and follow in the footsteps of Pnina and those who have come before me." 

                                                                                                                                        Pnina Polishook and Rich Carlson

                                                                                       

                                                Pnina Polishook and Rich Carlson

To symbolize the sacred responsibility and spiritual support the Spiritual Leader carries, we have a cloth mantel that we started using when leadership first transitioned from founder Carolyn Tilove to Renee Whatley.   To honor Renee, who is African American, we had a mantel made from Kente cloth, a special hand-woven cloth that is sacred to certain tribes in Africa.  It has now been handed down from Renee to Sharon to Pnina and now to Rich.  To close the ceremony, the community shared in sending Rich a blessing, following the teaching of the Pathwork Guide.

TP 5 Graduates!

The Transformation Program is a five-year program the Region offers for those who seek to transform their lives on a deep and lasting level.  It is not for the feint of heart, and we celebrated 8 graduates who have journeyed together, first for three years with Carolyn Tilove and Amy Rhett and for the last two with Amy and Gayle Lacks:

       deb caputo - the freedom of new boundaries

 

     deb caputo - the freedom of new boundaries

  norm danis - on the way to the pathwork hall of fame

 

norm danis - on the way to the pathwork hall of fame

       kathy gable - this just in - there's more

 

     kathy gable - this just in - there's more

  sam griffin - she's come unstuck

 

sam griffin - she's come unstuck

               

       bets kurtz - coming back to herself in the issness of each moment

 

     bets kurtz - coming back to herself in the issness of each moment

  maryann marian - finding her true heart of healing

 

maryann marian - finding her true heart of healing

       mark matteson - From superman to his real self

 

     mark matteson - From superman to his real self

  maureen vogel - caught the god spark and it ignited

 

maureen vogel - caught the god spark and it ignited

Mark reading

As part of TP5's graduation ceremony, Mark Matteson read the following poem that he wrote while hiking in Colorado.  Following the graduation, everyone celebrated with dancing to Pharrell Williams' Happy! and a fabulous potluck lunch organized by Susan Walker and other members of the CCC Day committee!

Mark's poem

Grief and the Holidays

Grief and the Holidays

While outwardly people are going about their business during the holidays, many quietly grieve and feel alone in this unpredictable experience. You sail through a difficult anniversary date or holiday which you thought would leave you flattened, only to fall apart a couple of days later.

Because we rarely speak of it, grief can be a lonely experience. Some friends and family won’t understand, think you should be “over it,” that you are not grieving enough, or are not grieving at all. But there is no “normal” about grief, no right way or wrong way.

I have experienced both sides of that coin, having had a difficult time with the grieving process of someone nearest and dearest to me, feeling alternately threatened and impatient. I have also had the experience of being similarly misunderstood by a well-meaning person who suggested I was sabotaging myself by way of my delayed grief.

In my experience, there is no such thing as delayed grief, while I realize that this concept may be true for someone else. The death of a loved one, even an expected, prayed-for death, to release the loved one from suffering, is a shock. Many experience post-traumatic stress after a loved one passes – feeling frozen, numb, fractured. It is my experience that in such a state, the nervous system is not strong enough to withstand the real feelings of grief – the anger, denial, sadness, confusion.

TIME TO RECOVER

For ten months after my mother passed, — following a long, hard dying process, which was right on the heels of my father’s death — I was numb and going through the motions of life, but I really didn’t know it. That’s what numbness does. On my mother’s passing, I lost my last relative. It was as if a giant wave crashed on the shore and as it receded, no more waves came. I was holding my breath, waiting for that next wave that didn’t come for longer than I realized. Over time, as I began to blink and look around, I understood that the frozen state served to give me time for my exhausted nervous system to recover.

With the thaw, I stopped remembering the bad things and started remembering the good things – and with that, the feelings started to flow – the sadness, the missing of these parents, the gratitude over all the good years and experiences. Although I was experiencing difficult emotions, I began to feel alive again – with energy returning and a renewed interest in the life to come after the loss of several loved ones.

WINDS OF GRACE

The spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle speaks eloquently of great loss, and I’ll paraphrase from one of his recordings: Where there is great loss, it is as if a hole had been torn in the fabric of your existence. If you can be with the hole, not fight the hole, allow the hole and feel the feelings that arise from the hole, without creating a big unhappy story about the hole OR the feelings – simply being with the feelings, allowing them – then in time the winds of grace blow through the hole. Where there was the pain of great loss and an empty hole, eventually a peace arises.

Many people are afraid that if they allow their feelings to come up, it will be too much, or the feelings will never stop, or they will be stuck forever in sadness and anger. Nothing could be further from the truth. An unresisted feeling is like a wave with a beginning, middle and end. When it is over, there is a relief and relaxation in the body and the mind. With each fully felt feeling restoration takes place.

The loss of holiday traditions which vanish with the loss of your loved one can be another hole torn in the fabric of your existence. In time, something new and beautiful can flow through that hole. In the meantime, be gentle with yourself and ask for help when you need it. If you are struggling alone in grief and would like support, I am here to provide that support when you are ready, so that the winds of grace begin to blow for you. 

Mary Elliott is a Pathwork Helper and licensed massage therapist in New Jersey. She and Carol Day will be leading a new teleclass on the Art of Journaling this January.  You can reach Mary at 908-625-2238 or melliott125@yahoo.com.

The post Grief and the Holidays appeared first on Radiant Growth.

Mary elliott

Mary elliott

Forgive Every Body

Living in a body is like being in an air bubble; it appears as if we are all separate. This illusion of autonomy causes us to forget the laws of life. The fear of being separated from our source provokes defensive attitudes and negative responses to life’s challenges. We make poor choices that negatively impact our personal lives and relationships. How do we find the courage, wisdom and humility to forgive ourselves and others?

We need to understand the motivation for the inappropriate choices we have made before our compassion and self-love can grow. We need to see that we did the best we could given our experiences, education and conditioning. Our past behavior seemed safe and appropriate at the time. It takes practice to learn how we don’t want to be. Mistakes, painful as they are, are great at increasing awareness, revealing imperfections and speeding our development. We are much more than a physical body housing an evolving consciousness. Even when we behave inappropriately, our true essence is guiltless and lovable. Realizing this enables us to be gentle with ourselves and others.

Forgiveness is a choice

We must make a conscious decision to relinquish resentments and let go of the desire for revenge. Forgiveness releases the forgiven from any debt but it does not condone unacceptable behavior. As we realize how similar we are to those who hurt us, forgiving becomes easier.  A person’s fear, blame and ignorance is a result of their struggle to get acknowledgement and love. This realization opens our heart and increases our understanding. We can choose to hold on to the wounds of our past or we can release them and live in the present. Resentment and anger are debilitating; forgiveness is a gift we choose to give ourselves.

Forgiveness is a process

We must continually be conscious of our conditioned reactions and commit to learn from our errors. Like any new skill, forgiving someone is awkward. Someone may have hurt us badly; whether we stay hurt is up to us. Old hurts come to the surface to be seen, felt and released. When asked if he could ever forgive the Chinese for their occupation of Tibet, the Dalai Lama is reported to have said, “They’ve already taken my country. Why should I let them have my mind, too?”

Forgiveness is living in truth

Judgment and blame must be relinquished so that we can take personal responsibility for our behavior. Telling someone how their behavior hurt us and respectfully listening to their response can create a climate for fruitful dialogue.  It takes courage to risk having our feelings known and possibly rejected. The payoff is that hearts can be opened, attitudes changed and relationships enriched. By remembering that all bodies are part of one body, forgiveness becomes the natural response to life's dramas.

As the Pathwork Guide says in PGL #9: “Understand that not forgiving burdens you, makes you unhappy, blocks the light and freedom that you desire. Not forgiving harms you much more than it harms those whom you cannot forgive.”

Download the flyer for the fundraising workshop on forgiveness in August

To read PGL #9 and other lectures, go to www.pathwork.org

To learn more about David and view his other writings, visit www.consciousthinking.com


David Schwerin

David Schwerin

David Schwerin holds an MBA in finance and a Ph.D. in religious studies and ran his own investment company for many years before becoming an international author and speaker (Conscious Capitalism: Principles for Prosperity, 1998 and Conscious Globalism: What’s wrong with the world and how to fix it, 2005).  The following article on forgiveness by David was first published in the Times of India, August 11, 2013 as “Air Bubbles.”