Perhaps I'm a bit of a personal development workshop fiend. Over the past several years, I've felt the desire to engage in experiential group work. My most recent experience was with the Osho inspired community, Path of Love.
Going into various workshops, I set an intention or have a clarity around what I'm looking to address. For this 7+ day workshop (October 2016 Path of Love workshop in Loveland, CO) I wanted to address this alter-ego part of myself I've come to refer to as Spike.
Prior to this time in Loveland I experienced a year of incredible transition. In brief summary, I attended a week-long shadow work training, where I intentionally worked on further releasing the child sex trauma which I believe is directly connected to my sometimes lack of safety around men. Soon after my grandma, who was like a second parent, passed with me closely by her side. Attended a deeply rich grief ritual experience lead by Sobonfu Some. At my grandmother's memorial gathering, my mother entered the hospital and almost died. Put my 14 year old kitten down, ended a loving 12 year relationship and decided to move my life to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
This version of myself, Spike, shows up when I'm not addressing (or feeling I can tend to) my needs. Spike can have a growling, stern, stubborn, harsh, feisty, sometimes aggressive, inflexible, punchie, defiant, perhaps a strong masculine feel. I have been aware of how Spike hurts people, is hard to be around, in short person folks don't want to be near this version of me. Scowls often fill Spike's face as if to say, don't FUCK with me. And, in truth ALL Spike wants is to be deeply loved and heard.
Along with wanting to work with Spike, I had a strong awareness of an energetic block that was getting in the way of me living a full or big life. Meaning, I've known and felt that I want to be seen and lovingly share myself with the world perhaps in a public way. As I thought about this life direction, I could feel how there were things standing in my way. Within this Path of Love workshop, I opened and releasingly shed some pains I thought I had already dealt with. I heard how many more areas continue to want to be heard and felt.
In previous inward looking workshops, I connected to my little self. In coming to know about this emotional, vulnerable, innocent self I could hear so much more of my inner world. And along the way I came to believe that this little self, or my little girl, was a place to visit only in extreme circumstances. Almost like when alarms go off that's when to address or spend time with this part of me. I also attached to a belief that I wasn't my strongest self if I lingered with this part of me. Being with this part was similar to when I live in a victim-mentality.
Thankfully, within the Path of Love (POL) workshop this part of me was eagerly and lovingly encouraged to be seen and felt. There were spaces for her to be heard and loved. In ways it felt like this part of me has been sitting on a lonely playground desperately looking to be sat with, safely and lovingly held. During my time at POL, she had her time to be nurtured and further set free.
I honor the intentional work I've done prior to POL. Getting to this point has been in the works for some time.
So what exactly happens during the Path of Love week? If it feels like I'm being vague, that's on purpose. I'm intentionally not defining all of the experiences so that anyone reading this can have their own first-timer experience. To summarize, I came to know myself through love filled spaces where I was invited to feel all that's in me. There were times of quiet, meditative spaces, as well as explorative talking times in groups and one-on-one. Another big element I'm so grateful to have experienced is connecting to my physical body; engaging my body so helped me connect to myself. Finally, the largest gift was the return to my relationship with the Divine.
I now know that so many of my sadness stemmed from a false belief that the Divine was unavailable. Within the POL experience I heard and felt the essence of the "I will find you" scene from the movie Last of the Mohicans. In feeling back to this movie, I heard the Divine speaking to me reminding me that no matter what happens I will find you, I am with you.