Friday, November 23, 2012

Systemic Constellation work - what is it? how might it help?

Family constellation work has been the most transformative modality I have yet to witness and to experience the healing aspects, personally, in my own life. I have been involved in systemic constellation workshops and subsequently, training programs since 2005, experiencing well over half-dozen different facilitators. I would like to provide a brief and concise explanation of how constellations works--what happens, and who might benefit.

Problems affecting families have been passed down, unknowingly, through generations - often due to displaced Love.
Knowing Love has a healing and gratifying effect on us and on those around us. However, unknowing, Blind Love hands down through the generations grief and problems that we live out unconsciously due to unconscious  family loyalties--unknowing, blind love..

 HOW does this happen?
One example: when family members, through the generations, are in any way 'excluded' or lose their place in the family
    --due to wars, early death, miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, murders, tragic and accidental death, adoption,
   --broken engagement, divorce, victim/perpetrators of injustice, family secrets, disowned family member
this excluded family member's fate is unknowingly taken over and continued by a later member of the family - even a generation or more down the line. The member who takes over the fate of the earlier member has no conscious awareness of this. This is done through Blind love.

This experience of taking over the fate of an earlier member is called an "entanglement". We can also live out unconscious loyalties for our parents or grandparents without realizing this.

What are the possible indicators?
Entanglements show up in our lives as:
 --chronic health or energy issues, relationship issues that repeat,
 ---lack of sense of belonging, sense of isolation, feelings of failure or dissatisfaction with one's life,  --difficulty maintaining relationship, weight issues, eating disorder,issues with money, chronic pain, --psychiatric problems, anxiety, depression, chronic irritability, substance abuse,alcoholism, --schizophrenia....   are all experiences that  may suggest 'entanglements' with ancestors...

How the Family Constellation works:
A group of participants are seated in a circle. A person wanting to do a piece of work sits in the empty seat next to the facilitator.
A piece of constellation work starts by this person selecting an issue to be worked on and briefly identifying it with facilitator.
When the issue has been identified - the facilitator asks the person to select, from among the participants, representatives for - for example, the person's own self, mother, father...
In this way, Constellation work sets up a visual method for these entanglements to be witnessed, experienced and starting a healing process. The person selects and places these representatives according to her inner vision of her family members' relationships - on the workshop floor.

 The facilitator encourages the chosen representatives to tune into the wisdom in their bodies and to feel where they are drawn to move, to look... and to notice how they feel. These selected  representatives are  accessing the 'Knowing
Field' --accessing this 'Knowing' through their bodies not their minds.

The facilitator observes the process unfolding, gaining information, inquiring into the representatives to speak their inner experiences--accessing awareness of bodily sensations and emotions-- in representing this unknown family member of the other person. Truths are made visible that had previously been unseen. Entanglements made visible can begin a healing process.

Resolution of entanglements is possible when the Love through the generations
becomes "knowing" rather than "blind" or entangled... this resolution creates a new image in the client's mind's-eye and a process of healing and fulfillment for the client and the ancestors within that family system begins to percolate within the family soul.

A lovely introduction to constellation work might be setting up a Nature Constellation or a Mind, Body, Spirit constellation. These two constellations beautifully illustrate the workings of the 'knowing field' in a simple way. I will provide an example of a Mind, Body, Spirit constellation - permission was granted to share this:
     The individual (we will refer to as X) selected three representatives from the circle of participants. As this would be a 'blind' constellation - meaning that the representatives, in this case, were not informed as to who or what they would be representing - the mind could be of no help! Instead, X had three pieces of paper, folded up, each one indicated either mind, body, spirit written on the paper - X handed one of the folded papers to each representative who simply held it, remaining folded, in their hand.

 In X's constellation, the representative for Mind (remember - no one knew who was representing which) moved away from where X originally placed this representative and stood apart from the other two representatives.  Mind said, "I feel like I'm in my own little world; I like it here on my own."
Body and Spirit were nearer to each other and each stated their wish that the lone representative would be closer. However, that lone representative appeared to be gazing off into space barely recognizing the other two. The representative that we later learned stood for Body had said that it felt 'cut off' and felt 'out-of-touch'.  The representative for Spirit stated it felt available yet also feeling disconnected.

When each representative unfolded their papers and read their representation, the meaning became more clear to X.  X had a tendency to live in the head - living from the neck up, a safer place to occupy and, therefore, experiencing a sense of being cut off from the body. 

What was remarkable here is that the representatives were able to access wisdom from their own bodies in the 'knowing field' even though lacking, mentally, the concrete information of who they were representing. Constellation work brings visibility to what is true - and we can allow (or not) this wisdom to percolate in our soul.

You are invited to share your own experiences of or questions about systemic constellation work. We find ourselves at a juncture in our history whereby the human family would appear to benefit from healing. Facilitators of systemic constellation work are offering workshops all across the country.