Pathwork Steps
March 2015 

View this email in your browser

In this issue:

The First Step

Perfectionism PRS9 & PL97

Film Suggestions
What is a Photocopier?

Finding Your Joy PRS 9

Tool of the Month:

Sharing with Others PL 26

Daily Review

Listen to the Lectures
A free service from Gary Vohlbracht on iTunes

To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This!
36 questions, to share or just ponder
New group meeting series begins in April

 Free Weekly Teleconferences
Sundays 7pm US EST

Quick Online Lecture Word Search!

Study Guide for Online Meetings on PRS 9 & PL 97

        “I do not trust people who don’t love themselves and yet tell me, ‘I love you.’ There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”  â€•Maya Angelou
Week 1: How Perfectionism originates
     Perfectionism is a rigid, static, unrealistic picture of life, of others, of self.  The stronger perfectionism, the harder the brunt of self‑condemnation. PRS 9
Week 2: Manipulation of feelings -> Pseudosolutions
    Moralizing. Disproportionate Reactions.  – Needs; Worksheet by Susan Thesenga
Week 3: No Current -> Yes Current = JOY
 The more you accept imperfection, the more joy you will give and receive. PRS 9
Week 4:  Finding a dynamic balance 
“Uh-huh” + “Oh-wow” + “Uh-oh” + “Oh, God” = “Ah-hah!”  by Robert Fulgrum   

You may download the full month's study guide from (2015 teleconference page) or from


The First Step
Activating our Higher Self


When working with clients or groups, I was taught to always start by calling on my HIgher Self and encouraging others to call upon theirs.

In 'real life', most of us have no inner protocols for such a 'first step', at least in the areas of our lives where we experience disharmony or resistance. Instead of honestly exploring an issue, we often fall into building our 'case' by repeating the narrative that supports the outcome we desire ('and THEN he...'). Rather than addressing the real causes of our unhappiness, we try to erase the effects by problem-solving. Perfectionism has a hard edge, a sense that being absolutely right is the only acceptable option. 'Kind of right' becomes wrong, instead being a snapshot taken during an ongoing process. 

We may not be able to detect such negative, ego-centric, or critical inner voices until they have already manifested as judgements or emotional reactions. Sometimes, we have already vocalized them -- or have hit 'send'. 

Yet it's never too late to activate your positive intention.

One of the most important skills I have learned is apologizing for my own negativity. Apologies are most effective when honest, thorough and delivered fresh (that is, as soon as possible after the need to apologize is realized). Accepting who I was in the moment of error (past) and admitting that today I have a different  awareness (present) lessens the fear of learning more about myself (future). From this perspective, I see my imperfections as messengers, showing me where the work of self-transformation is needed. They are perfect for this task.

Warm regards, Jan



Excerpts from the Study Guide for Online Meetings

     Perfectionism denies the temporary reality of imperfection and limitation in a most unhealthy way.  It wants the pleasant results of perfection without paying the price for achieving it.  The price is: facing the unpleasant, often unflattering, fact of imperfection and slowly working at the elimination of it. 

     Perfectionism does not want development, it demands the magic of eliminating the necessary steps to attain the goal.  When this proves impossible, it becomes impatient, angry, destructively guilt ridden, it punishes the self and completely rejects it, seeing no redeeming features.  It completely misunderstands the nature of imperfection, its specific origins, and thus ignores the way out of it.  It flatly judges, without vision or wisdom.     PRS 9

Origins of Perfectionism
     Perfectionism is a residue of childhood impressions the soul received and retained, not having assimilated certain influences and impressions  according to reality values.  Many children grow up in an atmosphere in which the expectation of perfection is implicit.  Some children are not even rewarded for being good ‑‑ it is taken as a matter of course, while being punished, or at least made to feel inadequate, when being naughty, imperfect.  Their imperfection threatens to cost them the much needed parental love and security.  

     An individual may feel deep shame about the slightest weakness, fault, limitation, failure ‑‑ in short, about any kind of human imperfection.  This can lead to unjustified guilt, to pretense, to inferiority feelings, to intolerance with and hostility for others (projection), and any number of other destructive emotions.
    Thus, he erects a rigid structure of rules against which he measures and evaluates human behavior.  Such evaluation, based on fear, cannot lead to real standards.  It must cause distress and a feeling of inadequacy.
     When about to discover a deep‑rooted problem, perfectionism is a real obstruction.  The moment a "forbidden" feeling rises to the surface, the person may feel "I should  not feel that way, I must feel so and so," and the matter is pushed out of awareness, never being properly examined.  It is important to note and remember that, so as to discover this tendency.  It exists in everyone. PRS 9

Perfectionism and the Idealized Self Image

     The perfectionism that is so deeply ingrained in you and in your idealized self‑image makes it impossible for you to accept yourself and others, to accept life in its reality; and you are therefore incapable of coping with it and resolving its problems and your own problems as well.  It causes you to forego the experience of living in the true sense.   PL 100

Transition from the No Current to the Yes Current  PL125:

     The yes‑current is the expression of the supreme intelligence and creative universal force.  It is the life force, whose aspects were also discussed in a separate lecture in the past.  It is all that strives toward union, wholeness, harmony, fulfillment, fruition.  It is truth and love in its substance and manifestation.  

     The no‑current works and affects in the opposite manner, but not in the sense that, in itself as an equal factor, it is evil, manifest in the scheme of creation.  It consists rather of ignorance, blindness, distortion, lack of awareness of relevant factors ‑‑ relevant to the no‑current in whatever way manifested.  Ignoring truth, it must be in fear and spread fear.  Hence, it is the opposite of love, of everything that leads toward union, fulfillment, fruition.  PL 125

How the No Current Manifests  PRS 9
     Perfectionism may manifest as rigid  moralizing , prejudice, dogmatic rules, cover the secret knowledge that the individual is not what he "ought" to be.  

      Self‑justification  and  self‑indulgence  are both manifestations of perfectionism.  The fear of imperfection often induces man to minimize his faults, to deny them, to push the burden onto others.   Rationalization is part of this, it belongs in the same category and is a derivative of self‑justification.  In both instances, pretexts and false reasons are used in order not to face and admit the real issue.

     A further facet of perfectionism is exaggeration  and  over‑dramatization.  .  In order to avoid the truth, emotions are squeezed, bent, molded, disciplined, forced, pushed, pulled, repressed, denied, shifted onto other people or onto other issues or aspects within the self , until the natural, organic flow of feelings can no longer express and respond spontaneously and freely.  Feelings are constantly being put in a straight jacket, which cripples and kills them.  This alienates man from his real self, which can function only if all aspects of the human personality flow and grow freely.

     To the degree that emotions are manipulated, intuition cannot function. PRS 9


Film Suggestions

What is a photocopier?
A 7-minute dramatization of a court transcript
and an example of going too far to get things 'just right':


Finding your joy:

     If you attempt growth rather than perfection, you will live in the now.
  PL 97

     You will feel great relief upon discovering such artificial feelings.  It will be as though a burden has fallen off your shoulders, your entire inner system will settle back into the comfort of being natural.  This affords an occasional glimpse of the real self, long before all inner problems have been resolved.  To make this possible, you have to dare to feel what you really feel , rather than trying to feel what you believe you should feel. Sometimes what you actually feel may be less perfect than the ideal you have pretended and forced yourself into.  But there will also be times when you discover what you actually feel is much healthier and better than what you think you ought to feel.

      The more you accept imperfection, the more joy you will give and receive. 

      These prison walls were built of your fear of inadequacy not to measure up to yours, and others', expectations ‑‑ or what you  thought  was expected of you.  You believed that trying to live up to, and pretending to fulfill these impossible and unrealizable expectations would make you into a more lovable and acceptable person.  You can see now that the very opposite is true.  The relief when you will know that you can afford to be your imperfect self will create an entirely new inner climate of well being and, eventually, new outer circumstances.      PRS 9


"There is an old Chinese tale about a woman whose only son died. She went to the holy man in her village and said, "What prayers, what magical incantations do you have to bring my son back to life?" Instead of sending her away or reasoning with her, he said to her, "Fetch me a mustard seed from a home that has never known sorrow. We will use it to drive the sorrow out of your life." Of course there is no such magic mustard seed. Every home has known sorrow, in every land and every age, throughout history and in our own day. There is some comfort in knowing that we are not alone in our sorrow."      Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus


Tool of the Month:  Sharing With Others from PL 26

     Yes, yes... the actual title of this lecture is 'Finding Your Faults'. Yet the basic idea is still powerful, regardless of what it is used for. As Daniel Jones wrote (in the article below), "The idea is that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness.".  The difference between such exercises and 'party games'  is a commitment to self-development and assuring a safe container that is sensitive to any form of ridicule or shaming.

     Here is the original exercise.:

     Step 1: Think as objectively as possible about your own person - all your good qualities, and all your faults. Write these down, make a list. 

     Step 2: Ask someone who knows you very well to tell you what he or she really and honestly thinks about you. This takes some courage, and overcoming a bit of pride. Yet by remaining all alone, you violate the law of brotherhood in some subtle way. (PL 171)
     (Step 1 is a form of Daily Review, and Step 2 could be seen as the part where you meditate on your notes a week or so later. Yet even the thought of sharing such vulnerable information with others takes this to a whole new plane!)

     Step 3: Get together once a week and tell each other what you have accomplished so far, where you still have difficulties, what your inner reactions are.
     This can be a pact between friends or sharing in a self study group.  This also the premise of the free weekly online meetings (below).

     "And I may tell you it may often be the case that someone says something to you that at the first moment seems entirely unjust -- and you may be hurt.  You may also, for that matter, be even more hurt if a truth is told to you.  But even if you have the sincere conviction that something told to you is an injustice, try to think about it nevertheless.  There may be only one per cent of truth in it.  But the one per cent of truth in what is said to you may open a new door of understanding for you.  It may not even be something entirely new for you, but it is often necessary to consider one and the same fault or trait in different lights." PL 26   

     Try this variation:
     Step 1: Answer some of the questions in 'To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This"
     Step 2: Imagine sharing your answers with someone, and hearing theirs.


Daily Review

     "By observing emotional exaggeration versus repression, you will finally see how the real self reacts, often in between these two high or low points. Also, how your real feelings, when they are not manipulated by needs of which you are unaware, will create a very different inner situation -- and therefore eventually a different outer situation.
      This is not exactly the kind of work you can do in your personal work sessions.  The awareness of this can be reached only by quiet observation when you are alone."  PL 97

Exercise: Keep a daily review (PL28) for one week focusing upon moments when you exaggerate or dramatize a situation. All you need is a ½ page of lined paper per day.  Create 4 columns. At some point, jot down each day these brief notes about each incident (limit:10 per day).

1. Two to three words to identify each incident (no details
2. What feelings or emotional reactions came up
3The judgments or conclusions you came to at the time

At the end of the week, read through your entries and complete the last column:

4. What do I notice today about these moments?  Why did I feel the need to dramatize or exaggerate? Notice any patterns.

5. Spend some time in meditation about how you feel about just letting things be 'as they are'. 


Listen to the Lectures

Gary Volbracht created audio versions of all 258 Pathwork Lectures.  They are available on iTumes at no charge. You just have to download them one at a time!

The following articles on falling in love are suggested as an exercise to introduce yourself to you. Notice any judgements, fears, or feelings of shame that come up in considering being honest about who you are.

Can you love yourself? If not, what changes could you make today that would more closely align you with your own values and beliefs?

For a demonstration of what is possible with friends, watch the most recent episode (Season 6 Episode 16) of The Big Bang Theory TV series!

To Fall in Love WIth Anyone, Do This!

By Mandy Len Catron for the NY Times Jan 9, 2015 

More than 20 years ago, the psychologist Arthur Aron succeeded in making two strangers fall in love in his laboratory. Last summer, I applied his technique in my own life, which is how I found myself standing on a bridge at midnight, staring into a man’s eyes for exactly four minutes.
Let me explain. Earlier in the evening, that man had said: “I suspect, given a few commonalities, you could fall in love with anyone. If so, how do you choose someone?”
He was a university acquaintance I occasionally ran into at the climbing gym and had thought, “What if?” I had gotten a glimpse into his days on Instagram. But this was the first time we had hung out one-on-one.
“Actually, psychologists have tried making people fall in love,” I said, remembering Dr. Aron’s study. “It’s fascinating. I’ve always wanted to try it.”
Full article here:  or see article below 


And Question 37 Became: Big Wedding or Small?

By Daniel Jones for the NY Times  Jan. 9, 2015

In Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, ““To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” she refers to a study by the psychologist Arthur Aron (and others) that explores whether intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions. The 36 questions in the study are broken up into three sets, with each set intended to be more probing than the previous one.

          The idea is that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness. To quote the study’s authors, “One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure.” Allowing oneself to be vulnerable with another person can be exceedingly difficult, so this exercise forces the issue.

          The final task Ms. Catron and her friend try — staring into each other’s eyes for four minutes — is less well documented, with the suggested duration ranging from two minutes to four. But Ms. Catron was unequivocal in her recommendation. “Two minutes is just enough to be terrified,” she told me. “Four really goes somewhere.”

First 12 questions:

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

 Click on this link for the entire list of 36 questions:

This monthly newsletter includes highlights from the monthly study guide, plus a number of 'secular' examples to illustrate the concepts.

If you would like to have the full study guide sent to you, in weekly portions, click on the link at the bottom of this newsletter and tick 'Weekly notices' in your preferences.  Unsubscribing is just as easy if you change your mind.

New group meeting series begins in April

     Dates: Fridays at 4pm ot 7pm US EST: April 10 & 24, May 8 & 22, June 5 & 19. Additional dates and times may become available. Minimum of 4 participants.  
     Fee: US$180 includes 6 meetings. Payable in full via Paypal to, or email Jan to arrange payment options.


Free Online Meetings 2015

Sundays 7pm US ET

Converts to Mondays 11am AU EST March 1
Then 10am March 8th after the US 'springs forward' 
(AU and Europe change April 5th)
Verify your time zone at
Sign up to receive a study guide section each week (click on preference link below). Or download full monthly study guides at any time from
Meet online! We use free teleconferencing software. Simply click on the access link sent in the weekly self-study guide. You may also call in via landline, mobile, or VOIP line. 

If you wish to participate in the weekly meeting, the only requirement is to read the weekly study guide segment before the meeting. You may pass (skip your turn) at any time for any reason. 

Audit a meeting! Feel free to listen in. There is no charge or obligation. 
Unable to attend? Use the study guide on your own!  Allow the weekly reminders to encourage you to read a few pages a week. Use the worksheets, watch the films, download additional lectures from
To receive weekly meeting access links and study guide sections, click on the link at the bottom of this email and tick the ''Pathwork Steps Weekly Meeting Notices' in your MailChimp group preferences.You may unsubscribe from the weekly notices at any time.


Quick Online Lecture Word Search!

In Google search: copy and paste the following sentence into the search box:

    "your phrase"    

Replace the words -- your phrase -- with the word or phrase you are searching for; remember to include the quotes!

Pathwork®  is a registered trademark and is used with permission. This newsletter is not created by, affiliated with, or endorsed by the Pathwork Foundation. Jan Rigsby is solely responsible for her websites and their contents. Pathwork ® is a registered service mark of the International Pathwork Foundation.
Clicking on the link below to unsubscribe.  
If you would like to receive weekly emails containing portions of the main study guide
(plus codes for the online meetings), select 'weekly notices'.