Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Personal experience with transformational family constellations work

I've had the opportunity to be a witness to a most remarkable healing, transformational tool and was so moved this past weekend that I am feeling a strong urge to share the experience here, with others who may also be yearning for ways to connect more deeply with their true nature and heal those hard-to-access inner blocks.

This past weekend I attended a Family Constellations (experiential) workshop and witnessed remarkable synchronicity and opportunity for transformation that can only be accessed through the invisible world. I have received permission to share this story from my close friend, I'll call her Dorie for this purpose, whose constellation work I had the honor of experiencing. I think I'll start by sharing the experience that I witnessed (and her subsequent explanation) and will follow up with an explanation of family constellation work.

We are all sitting in a large circle of maybe twenty or so participants. An 'empty' chair is intentionally kept open next to the facilitator of the workshop. My friend Dorie bravely leaves her seat and sits in the empty chair which signals that she is 'ready to work'. She and the facilitator smile softly to each other. Dorie takes a visible deep breath. Dorie briefly describes the issue she wants to work on: "I've been out of relationship--male/female--for some time; I'm not sure whether I want to actively pursue seeking a relationship with a man or if I simply want to focus on cultivating friendships with women."

    Please Hear that although the experience written about here is oriented toward 'heterosexual' - this is NOT the compelling point in sharing this woman's experience - while it may be relevant to her own personal development - be Clear that NO judgment is intended or prescribed for others who travel another way....
   The facilitator asks Dorie a few more questions and once she is satisfied that she has Dorie's intention fully clarified in her heart and mind she proceeds to request that Dorie set up a constellation -- by selecting among the participants a Representative for Herself--who also stands for Dorie's best interest; a Representative for the Feminine; a Representative for the Potential Man; and a Representative for the Unknown.

Arising from her chair Dorie then scans the participants who sit in the chairs around the circle - she is searching for those individuals whose energy would best match the image of those people in question (herself, the feminine, the potential man and the unknown). Individuals are selected, brought inside the circle and positioned intuitively where Dorie feels they best belong. She then returns to her seat by the facilitator to observe the movement that will take place among the representatives she has just positioned.

The facilitator then instructs the Representatives who are now standing inside the circle to notice the urges in their bodies--which way are they feeling drawn to move, where are they drawn to look, how are they feeling in their bodies, heaviness ? restriction?  And, the Representatives slowly respond to this cue; they are moving toward or away from other Representatives. This is what happens next:

Keep in mind these representatives are spontaneously moving & speaking - they know not What or Why Not - they have no knowledge of Dorie's personal circumstances; they are expressing what they 'sense' from within their bodies - informed by the Energy Field also understood as the Knowing Field. Left-brain intellect is Not part of this process! Nor are they 'play-acting' any preconceived scenes.

The Representative chosen for Dorie is spontaneously drawn to and is moving toward the Representative for the feminine. At the same time, the Representative for the Man is spontaneously circling around trying to get the attention of Dorie's Representative, playfully waving and looking at her. Then, the Representative for The Unknown is seen gradually gravitating toward the Man. Spontaneously, the Man and the Unknown seem to link up and together, they attempt to playfully beckon Dorie's Rep.  Dorie's Rep., however, still captivated by the Feminine, responds by putting her hand up to send a message to the Man to 'hold off'  - as Dorie's rep. is still drawn to the Rep. for the feminine; she says how comfortable she feels here as the two are gazing at each other.

The Rep. for the Feminine makes a remarkable statement; she says that 'although this feels comfortable and familiar for Dorie's representative... it is an 'old pattern'. This feminine Rep then spontaneously turns and stands behind the Rep. for Dorie as if in a position of support. With this support behind her, Dorie's Rep. is then able to turn her attention to the Man and the Unknown, who are now linked together. The energy of attraction is palpable in the circle. The Rep. for the Unknown states: "'this masculine connection is new and unfamiliar territory. This masculine energy is a 'bridge to the unknown.'"

The Rep. for the Unknown describes itself as fluid, joyful, expansive, boundless, playful.

The Rep. for the Feminine speaks about the importance of Dorie's having the support of other women friends behind her--just as she is standing in support of Dorie's Rep.

The Rep. for the Man addresses Dorie's Rep: "This makes you more attractive to me--not needing me to be the center of your world, takes the pressure off - then, we can come together sharing our individual lives and interests with each other."

This statement spoken by the Rep. for the Man offers Dorie reassurance - as the pressures of expectations in relationship has been unappealing to her and caused doubt about pursuing relationship with a man.

The words spoken by each of the Representatives comes from the wisdom of the Field - not from the personality of the individual speaking the words. It's as though the words are coming through the body of that particular Representative.

Now, for the context of Dorie's "story" - Dorie has very strawberry blond hair which is quite curly--ringlets, and quite milky-white skin. She has felt invisible to men for a very long time. This leads her to doubt her attractiveness. Unknowingly, we "project" such a feeling of ourselves and others unconsciously respond in kind to our unconscious feelings. Her previous relationships with men had been limited to a more superficial level - a deeper, more intimate experience had eluded her. Conversely, she has felt quite comfortable in the presence of other women and more often sought out their companionship as it felt 'easier' and offered the depth she enjoyed. That the Representative for the Feminine picked up on this fact and spoke this truth to Dorie's Rep. was uncanny.

That the 'Unknown' had spontaneously gravitated toward and then linked up with the 'Man' was stunning - this outcome couldn't have been more true for Dorie if she designed the script, herself - experiencing a significant relationship at this time in her life would absolutely be a dance with the Unknown! The man would be the bridge to the unknown within herself. The unknown is out of our comfort zone - we don't know what to expect -we don't feel 'in control' - the experience is New and challenges us to dig deeper within.

It is also true that Dorie is much more comfortable in the presence of women friends--as the Rep. of the Feminine had stated, it is comfortable, familiar, an old pattern. We can be drawn to repeat old patterns of comfort over and over - as they are safe but don't necessarily promote growth. Exploring the Unknown takes us out of our comfort zone yet offering possibilities for growth.

How did these Representatives Know Dorie's Truths!? This is the magic of family constellations work. The Energy of the Knowing Field connects us with the level of the soul. There is Nothing intellectual about this process! This process is NOT psycho-drama! There is no play-acting, it is not role-playing. The Representatives are experiencing their direction from the Knowing Field of energy. Be prepared to be surprised And amazed.

In conclusion, all involved in the constellation--Dorie, the Representatives as well as the observing participants around the circle--gain something intangible from the experience, in different ways. Dorie expressed that by witnessing the representatives in her constellation, hearing the truths spoken--her own inner truths--she felt something beginning to reorganize within her. She described it as pieces of a puzzle beginning to find their place and fit together. Also remarkable, a Representative who is chosen for a particular 'part' often resonates personally with the issue they are representing; it's as though they are simultaneously working on their own constellation pattern. And, the participants witnessing the process of the constellation are also bathed within the palpable energy of the Knowing Field and often feel their own connection with the issue being worked on.

After Dorie experienced her Constellation, two other uncanny experiences followed on the heels.
A woman at the workshop offered to take some photos of her. Dorie was reluctant because she photographs poorly. With the facilitator standing behind her holding up a lovely colored shawl as a backdrop, the woman with the digital camera took six photos - all of which amazed Dorie - one was better than the next! (earlier in the year, a friend had shot close to 200 images - Dorie was able to chose only five that represented her well--this speaks more to the Energy that occurred during the constellation as much as skill). I pointed out to Dorie, later, the fact that the facilitator standing behind Dorie holding the shawl seemed reminiscent of the Representative of the Feminine standing behind Dorie's Rep in support of the feminine energy - I found that synchronicity to be uncanny.

When Dorie was leaving the hotel of the seminar, a young man in the lobby spontaneously, and out of the blue offered up a comment to her on her 'amazing curls' ! Dorie had no previous recollection of any man's positive comments on her curly hair.

I have also had numerous, amazing experiences witnessing constellation work of other individuals - most pronounced in my mind were constellations involving persons struggling with life-threatening illness; persons struggling with significant health-compromising excessive weight and persons who experienced childhood sexual abuse trauma.

What is Family Constellation?

Many of us unconsciously "take on" destructive familial patterns of anxiety, depression, anger, guilt, aloneness, unsuccessful relationships, lack of fulfillment in life direction, alcoholism and, most strikingly, illness as a way of "belonging" in our families. Bonded by a deep love, a child will often sacrifice, totally unconsciously, her or his own best interests in a vain attempt to ease the suffering of a parent or other family member.

Constellation Work is a process of exploring challenging issues in life in a deeper soul context than is available with the current psycho-therapeutic approaches. Constellation work brings to light unresolved patterns in family relationships with our children, parents, siblings, work-related conflicts, as well as illness or addictions through the lens of the family and our ancestry. Constellation work offers an immense opportunity to find lasting solutions and alleviate our deepest suffering by remembering our families, our ancestors, our countries, and reconnecting with their souls.
Family Constellations allow us to break unconscious patterns so that we can live healthier, happier, more fulfilled lives. In a moment of insight, as a result of being offered a visual map of familial dynamics, a new life course can be set in motion. The results are often immediate and life-changing.

A final caveat:  Having had the valuable experience of witnessing the work of many family constellations facilitators over the past five years, I will warn that, like anything else, training - trained by whom - length of training and of practicing prior to taking on role of facilitator - may make all the difference between an immensely valuable experience, or not so much. Furthermore, facilitators may either follow the Energy Field or force the Field to follow the facilitator - which creates two very different experiences. The guidance of facilitators who understand the necessity of respecting the ancestors and all this means, who have the skill and capacity to hold a safe and respectful container have provided deepest experiences. You are invited to contact me if you are interested learning more about this dynamic approach in healing and of my recommendations and contact information for facilitators whose work I have experienced as insightful, respectful and clear.


  1. What a remarkable experience! I've never heard of this practice before. Thank you for sharing with us.

  2. i appreciate your note, ava - yes, we have arrived in an age where deeper & increasingly 'in tuned' methods of healing are essential for individuals, family & organizational groups as well as nations.

  3. I loved reading this – wow, what an experience. I got the metaphor of almost a “living tarot” where people intuitively embody the cards and the person “reads” them and takes meaning.

    Well you expressed it much more clearly, but that image came to me so I wanted to share.

  4. What a Remarkable Metaphor !:) ... a 'living tarot' ... i can really see this image... where the Representatives intuitively embody the tarot cards - and move in the circle as the cards would be laid out in a deck... and, quite right, the Individual 'reads' them - takes meaning from their positions...how beautiful... thanks for taking the time to share this insightful vision :)

  5. I'm in the state of mind lately that we humans spend way too much money and time
    continually trying to "fix" ourselves. Maybe down the road I'll consider one of these workshops.
    In the meantime I'll acknowledge and rewrite any
    self-defeating stories; and, for now I just want to "be" who I am with all my
    idiosyncrasies. Today is "what it is" and I can work with that. And, I'm just speaking for myself :)

  6. i appreciate your taking the time to share your perspective - no doubt there are others who may share this sentiment... which provides me an opportunity to clarify for others that Family Constellations work is Not about "fixing" anything.

    The short version is that, unwittingly, family members take on particular roles in their families, even in relation to earlier ancestors we haven't met. We have an opportunity through this particular work to RESTORE the Right Order of relationship... among all our relations, living or passed on.
    Thank you for offering me an opportunity to share this bit.