Sunday, April 20, 2014

Are You A Victim?

Turn Rain Into Sun

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”
                                                                                                -Dolly Parton


Happy Spring! Isn't it amazing how quickly we can forget our sunny days when we are in the depth of our rainy ones. I love watching the tulips and jonquils bloom this time of year. Their birth seems to bring a sense of life and anticipation of what is to come.

It is the same in life. After we have gotten past the early years of our lives, the rest is really about us. We have to remember we are the ones who need to step up and out. There is no one else who can do that for us, it is our responsibility. I love the word responsibility. It is the ability to respond. We do get caught in an inability to respond. Especially when there has been a very hard life, a difficult fate, as in a parent dying very young, a stillborn or someone leaving us. When those types of things happen in life, we often get stuck in an inability to respond in a way, which helps us move on and grow. We become overwhelmed and wounded in a very grave way. The question becomes how do we become unstuck out of our feelings of shame, blame, loss, anger, fear, feeling a victim, and move on? We certainly don’t want to be in those difficult places and feelings, and we know we need to do the work, but how?

One of the things that the Family Constellation work can do for us is be an impetus towards moving forward. This changes the patterns and compulsions we get into that keep us from responding towards growth. I frequently work with people who are mired with difficult things to accept, being and/or feeling victimized, depression, anxiety and anger. The fact is that we all have aspects of victimhood in us, and we all go through the many emotions. It becomes a problem when we are unable to move through them, and we act upon them in our lives.

What happens when we have difficult life experiences? In one woman’s life her mother left the family when she was very young, leaving her, her young brother and her father. Dad, who had a demanding job, then brings in a woman to help with the children and the household chores. This young girl then bonds with the woman who came in to take care of her. After a few years, this woman is just gone, and with no explanation. The loss is unbearable. A few years later, when she is now around eight years old, her mother wants to be back in the children’s lives, and asks if they can move back with her; she lives in a different city. Dad asks the children what they would like to do, and then poof, they go and live with their mother. At the ripe old age of 8, this little girl now, in effect, loses her father, and moves in with a stranger and her new husband. She is desolate and desperate. She asks to speak with her dad, and isn't able to contact him. This is how this woman’s life began. The losses are too great for her, and she breaks down. Yet somehow she survives, and grows up to womanhood. She got married, has two children of her own and then divorces her husband leaving her to raise the children alone. As a single mother working in the helping field she is open to be able to love again until she breaks down, once again. She is actively involved in putting the pieces of herself and her life together to bring wholeness to herself, her life, and to her children. This is both difficult and rewarding.

During her case we had to deal with very young feelings. In fact, our Constellations revolved around different aspects of herself and helping her to listen to them. I taught her how to bring them all in and embrace them. She was able to have conversations with her father, mother, brother, boyfriend, and caretaker in a new way than before. These conversations occur in the metaphysical sense, not the physical sense. Language is expressed through actions, reactions, body feelings, and understanding differently. Understanding her young language through tears, is very important, with someone to witness and not abandoning her. This is very powerful. In a way, it helps to rewrite history, but in a meta sense. The language and conversations do not and can not change what actually occurred. Going back in time, allowing her to re-live, re-feel, and re-write what happened is very integral in helping her to find a way to move forward from those very young traumas.

We all have shadow sides and light sides. Going into the shadow, with help and direction not only to see repetitive patterns, but also to find a way to move through them, is important to have a bridge from the shadow to the light. When trauma happens to us when we are so young, finding and understanding language, giving it an opportunity to express itself, and bringing in all the players internally as well as externally, helps us to embrace a different present and a new future.


Shift Your Story: Guided Visualization/Meditation
  
When very young things happen to us, we often don’t have the skills as well as breadcrumbs to find our way out and through the forest.

Take a comfortable seat. Have your feet planted securely on the ground in front of you, and begin to breathe deeply. Imagine you are walking in a forest. You become very lost and can’t find your way out. You lose perspective and don’t know directions and begin to panic. You stop and try to locate where you are without success. You begin to cry and yell and scream. You try to go another direction and find you just made a circle and are back in the same place. You try again, and again, you come back to the same place. You are going around in circles with no hope of finding your way out. Suddenly you stop and just breathe. You hear a voice inside of you telling you to slow down and just breathe, and you will find your way out. You listen to the voice and begin to breathe deeply. Take a moment and think about what your forest is and where you feel lost and alone in your forest. Breathe. See it as clearly as you can. This might be in an unhappy marriage, a difficult relationship, a feeling of depression or anxiety you can’t seem to shake, etc. Ask for help in finding your way out and through this issue or dilemma. Imagine someone lifts you up and up past the tree line where you have a much greater perspective on where you are and can see for miles. You begin to see where you are, where you came from, and a direction on how to find your way out of the forest to your home. You then take a moment with your own issue and place or places where you feel lost and gain as much distance and perspective as possible. You begin to see your own internal breadcrumbs to show you a way out. Ideas begin to come to you which are new to you. You decide to follow these breadcrumbs out of the forest and you see and watch the path you take out of the forest towards your home until you do arrive home.

Once home, take a few deep breaths and open your eyes. Before you leave your space, write down, or record your thoughts during this meditation.

Feel free to do this meditation more than once and see what comes to you.







Sunday, April 13, 2014

Finding Joy From Pain

April Showers Bring May Flowers
                                 

“A rose must remain with the sun and the rain or its lovely promise won’t come true.”
                                                                                         -Ray Evans


In true Spring form it has been both rainy and cool. The beautiful flowers shooting out of the Earth, for us to see, are the product of the many April showers. I often forget what I have planted the year before and am always pleasantly surprised by what comes up or rather what the weather has allowed.

This is also true in life; we often don’t know what our tears are going to bring up. We can get stuck in our past traumas and live as if the traumatic events are still happening to us. By seeing what and where our triggers stem from, we can allow new flowers to bloom in us. During the months of April through June, I am going to take us through different cases. On all of these cases I have worked through by using Family Constellation principles as a vehicle to help my clients grow non reactive and live in the present. The Family Constellation principles are valuable tools I use in my Body Presencing work. They truly help us to move fluidly through growing pains to live in our soul’s present allowing us to move toward the future.

The other day, I worked with someone who was stuck in the past and unaware of how to break through her ceiling of pain. She confessed she was both broke and constantly felt broke making her unable to handle life. In the beginning of a session, I will ask questions to help direct the movement most beneficial to the client. I first asked her who in her family was or felt broke or broken. She told me both her father and mother’s side had aspects that led in that direction. On further questioning, she told me that her grandmother’s mother died during child birth. That is a huge trauma for everyone in the family. Her grandfather felt lost and responsible, and so did the new baby girl. An aunt raised the baby until her own father could take her back. I have learned that when a baby loses her mother and father, in a way, he/she feels unconsciously responsible and also feels lost. As that child grows up, he/she does not truly know how to mother or father; not having that experience in their life.

I told my client this and shared with her what a difficult traumatic event that was for everyone. I had her step into imaginary footsteps of her grandmother to feel, in a sense, what that was like for her; how broken she must had felt and unable to handle life. I like to give clients the experience of the footsteps as well as an image, so I also used little figurines of people showing her how that was for her family members, graphically. I put a female figure lying down, as a male figure and child figure stood by helpless. That was a very powerful image for her to take in.

Then I asked her for adjectives to describe her mother and what, if anything, she blamed her mother for. She blamed her mother for being cold, unavailable, and distant. She told me that her grandmother smothered her mother growing up and her mother couldn’t wait to get away. In response, I said that it sounded like her mother unconsciously created space between those she loved as not to be smothered. I told her this was likely a result reaction to the initial trauma of her grandmother not knowing how to mother, and being unconsciously afraid she could lose her child too. Again, I showed an image of the lines of mothers beginning with the great grandmother, grandmother, mother and lastly my client. I had her say to her grandmother, that like her, she too feels broken and unable to handle life. I also spoke with her about the power of generations on us and our sense or belonging. What my client holds in her feelings and body do not belong to her, they belong to her grandmother.

The big piece for my client was when I had her imagine her ancestors telling her that ‘this’ belongs to them, not to her, and to please leave this with them. It was hard enough for them. I then had her imagine her doing exactly that, and looking forward into her future where she can succeed and handle life.

As we change our beliefs, we can change our life. This is also true for unconscious beliefs. All we have to do is to become conscious of them, and the clues are in our statements, beliefs and body. From our tears and our pain come great possibilities.


Recommended Resources:


A great book to read, which also supports these ideas, is The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton. Sometimes a whole new world awaits through an insight of clarity and the willingness to give up old ideas that are no longer working.


The ability to shift and let go old painful beliefs to live in the present is available to all of us. What I have shared with you today is both one way and example of many. Next week I will share another truly inspiring case, which shows us how to move forward from the past and into a world of joy, wholeness and vitality!


Sunday, April 6, 2014

What Brings Joy?

"Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.”
                                                                                           -Langston Hughes


Spring is often known as a happy time. We can our winter clothes as the weather warms, feel the sun’s warmth on our faces and witness the birth and regeneration of nature. The month of April, in particular, gives us a hope for rebirth.

While we were in the seemingly never ending throws of winter, we get stuck wondering when this ever present cold will going away. Instinctively we are aware that the seasons will change bringing April and its beauty and warmth of the spring season.

Life is often like the transition from winter to spring. Traumatic events happen in our lives capturing parts of us and keeping it stuck in the past. So we must ask ourselves about joy. What is joy? As sad as it is, we forget about joy or worse we either haven’t experienced joy much or even at all. This begs the question, what brings joy to us?

Part of my BodyPresencing work that I do is to help people recognize joy and find it for themselves again. A good example of this occurred during my Family Constellation work with one woman. Family Constellations helps each of us to know our purpose in life un-entwined with our family over generations. It awakens us to the conscious of forces, we have been blind to, that often live within us.

On the surface, this woman appeared happy and joyful. Although she was putting on a good façade, in many ways she was happy. Underneath the surface, she was carrying a lot of pressure and responsibility. She is a hard worker that feels personally responsible for both everything at work and at home. Since her husband lost his job, due to company downsizing, she alone began to carry the weight of their finances. After listening, I asked her what she would really like help with. The words she chose in her response showed she felt like a victim with great anger at life. This internal anger was robbing her of her joy.

After work we transitioned into the relationship she had with her parents. Although nothing in particular happened, she felt distant from her mother and was much closer to her father. She remembered, as a child, her mother was not really available to her because she worked a lot even though her father worked too, she felt she wans’t seen by her mother. Because of this dynamic she had unconsciously rejected her mother creating a much closer relationship with her father. We call that being a father’s girl. As the session developed she mentioned her father had been in World War 2 and hadn’t married her mother until after the war. She went on to remember that during the war her father had a relationship with a woman and they had a child together. This child, her half brother, was not recognized until much later in life after her father had died. In fact, it wasn’t until a few years ago that her brother had contacted her looking for his ‘other family’. She met him for the first time in Europe soon after that. Yet, she doesn’t consciously remember him enough to even speak of him. She unconsciously was still keeping her father’s secret. The energy revealed, during the Constellation, that her mother was deeply affected by her father’s other relationship and child. By the mother feeling not good enough for her husband she was unable to see her daughter clearly. Once this other woman and child were acknowledged, she became more confident, closer to her husband, and available for her daughter.

Through Family Constellation work, I have found that when anyone in the family is not remembered or acknowledged, it affects everyone in his or her future. This woman’s mother was not happy or joyful, and so in turn neither was her daughter. For those of you who haven’t experienced Family Constellation work individuals, in a group setting, stand up to represent a family member. Even though they don’t know the person they are representing, their bodies seem to somehow know something or some dynamic about this person.

One important thing I had this client do during our session was tell the other woman, of her father’s earlier relationship, ‘thank you for leaving’ or ‘thank you for allowing my father to leave so that I could live’. She wouldn’t even be here unless her father had left the first woman and married her mother. Her mother unconsciously felt the first woman and child’s existence without consciously knowing it.

As all her family members were remembered, my client felt better with less anger and great relief. It is also possible that the anger of having to carry the financial weight of her family really belonged to the unexpressed anger the first woman and her son might have felt at not being acknowledged. What we do know is that after the session my client’s façade faded and she actually felt joy that she had previously pretended to feel.


Recommended Resources:

Family Constellation work can be a great tool and resource for understanding dynamics in the family, for seeing belief systems held in the family, and for gaining a greater perspective on family members which helps to separate us from other’s feelings and traumas. As we work on ourselves to gain greater consciousness, understanding, and compassion towards us we can then extend the same consciousness towards our families and the greater community and world.

I will also offer another Afternoon of Constellations on Sunday, June 23rd. This is a great opportunity to be introduced to this powerful body of work. To learn more about this work, check out Family Constellations on my website, www.bodypresencing.com.


There are other websites which describe this work with beautiful depth and beauty. One of them is, www.suzitucker.com.


Friday, March 28, 2014

How Much Rain Is Too Much?


"And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.”
                                                                           - Gilbert K. Chesterton              

April is upon us bringing both gentle spring rains and thunderstorms. If asked, a farmer will tell you the ground can only absorb so much. Using this as a metaphor ask yourself, ‘how much rain is too much’ in your life?

For the month of April, I am focusing on how our past influences both our present and our future. Through Body Presencing we can gracefully move from being stuck in our past and shift into living in the present. The best modality I offer, in helping one move through difficulties, is my Family Constellation work infused with my Chiropractic skills of “listening to the body”. As our bodies and minds are really the same, sometimes clients come to me with physical symptoms manifesting directly from deeper issues.

These physical symptoms can range from stomach pains and skin break outs, to heart attack symptoms. I had a young woman come to me complaining from stomach problems, skin break outs and severe panic attack anxiety. She had sought professional help who had prescribed medications for her anxiety but nothing seemed to be helping her. As I listened to her, it became clear to me that her physical symptoms were directly related to something deeper.

As I used different Chiropractic techniques on her, it became apparent that her symptoms were a voice she didn’t know how to listen to. She was very open to my questions and welcomed my linking her physical symptoms to what was going on in her life presently. As I listened to her, I heard she had a very difficult childhood as many of us do. Her mother was mentally ill and often couldn’t even be there for her physically as well as mentally and she lived with her grandmother, who was also in difficulty. Her father would come and go in her life with work and the trouble in his marriage. She had just started a new job, which was very demanding for her. It took more of her than she anticipated making her feel overwhelmed and unequipped for the demands. Her underlying fear is that if she doesn’t please others, they would not be there and she wouldn’t survive. As she spoke to me about this, she would even stop breathing.

I helped her to see that her present emotions were related to early trauma and that her overwhelming feelings from work stem from having to grow up too soon and take care of her own mother. As I told her this, she was able to breathe more slowly and deeply and I could feel her body settle down. By helping her put together her present with her past she was able to connect and her physical anxiety symptoms lessened.

The trauma of past was overtaking her present life. She was right in describing herself as having PTSD. With old unresolved traumas, when we are triggered, we live as if we are right back in that traumatic situation. I used visuals with footsteps and figurines with her to go back in time and help her to nurture herself through these traumas. She were able to separate herself from her mother.

'How much rain is too much?' How much can we take before we break down; and how do we transform those old traumas to become our very strengths? Those are the very questions we will be working with as we continue to work together.

Shift Your Story: Guided Visualization/Meditation

We often live in the past without realizing it. I invite you to take a moment and think of a situation or a person or a symptom where you were triggered in some way and that feeling stayed with you for awhile. You could be angry with someone or what they said, you might be anxious and not sure why, you might be afraid and it is affecting you by keeping you from doing things, you might feel unable to be with someone, you might have a reaction to a new job or move, etc.

When you have the situation, person, or symptom in mind, take a few conscious breaths before you begin this meditation.

Sit comfortably with both feet on the ground. You many have your eyes open or closed. Breathe deeply and begin by being with yourself. Invite in the person, symptom, or situation you have previously identified. Breathe together with the trigger. Just be there with no agenda. Tune into how you feel with it next to you, and where you feel it. Just notice without doing anything. If it is too intense, ask it to please move a little further away until it feels the right distance where you can be near it. Ask it what it is there to teach you, or to tell you. Don’t force an answer, and if an answer isn’t forthcoming, just let it be.  What or who does that symptom, person or situation remind you of? Again, just breathe next to it. If there is an age in which you find yourself, ask yourself how old you are in reaction to this trigger. When did this happen originally; this trigger in your life? Take a couple of minutes to just listen to you and to the trigger. You are here to learn. When it feels right, ask it to please go back to where and when it belongs. It was then, and you are here now. Again, while with yourself, take a few conscious breaths, and open your eyes.

Take a couple minutes to write down what you learned or felt and your reactions to this meditation; what came up for you, if anything. Read it back to yourself as often as helpful.

If it is helpful to you, I would love to hear what this mediation did for you, and what came up for you.

We are here now, but often affected by what has happened in the past as if it is in fact occurring in the present. This meditation helps us to separate us from the early trauma.