There is a Simon and Garfunkel song which speaks of this time of year. One of the stanzas goes like this: “I am alone, gazing from my window to the streets below on a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. I am a rock, I am an island.”
We are deep into a Midwest winter and the world is cold and dark. And yet with the lyrics of that song going through my head I ask myself, “Is it just another cloudy and rainy day in January? Or could it be the first day of the rest of my life?” As I look out into the grey horizon, I could choose to see the world as dark and dreary and let that affect my entire day. Or I could choose to see the weather as a blessing of rain for the Earth, the trees, and all living beings and be grateful. I could also choose to view it as the ideal time to do some important indoor projects I might not have done if it were a sunny day and I was tempted to be outside.
January’s Body Presencing Key is The Power of Choice. Harnessing the power of choice is core to vitality, healthy and wellbeing because it applies in the big and little things as well as in the things we can and cannot control. And yet we are not always conscious of why we make the choices we do or why we choose to perceive things the way we do.
Often it is our blind loyalty to our family (across the generations) that affects the choices we make as well as how we see the world. If they saw the world as a scary place, then we might also see the world in the same light. If they believed life was hard we might always find ourselves struggling even when things are good. If we are being subconsciously affected by blind family loyalties our first reaction to the world and what is happening around us may not always be ours.
The good news is that when we become aware of our unconscious connection to the world that stems from our family of origins and our blind loyalties, we begin to have a conscious choice as to how we relate to the world and to people and situations.
I once had a client who did very well in life. He worked hard, played hard, flew planes, and was intent to get all the fun and happiness he could from life. About five years ago he was let go from his job, but he wasn’t ready to retire. Suddenly but not surprisingly he became sad and depressed. He had little motivation to do anything that once filled his life with such joy. He couldn’t even bring himself to go out and look for another job.
He came to see me and brought his wife along because she was concerned. I began by asking him a few questions about his life. What I wanted to know was how other family members had reacted when they got older and what happened to his parents when they were around his age. We often repeat patterns without realizing it. We first looked at his father. When his father was a similar age he lost his job and soon after had a heart attack and died. We discovered the loss of his father affected him profoundly at the time and was still affecting, but in different not so obvious ways.
On a deep level beyond his conscious understanding, he wasn’t able to overcome this obstacle because his psyche only knew that to lose a job is bad and could even be deadly. As a result of blind loyalties, he didn’t have a conscious choice when he lost his job; other than to lose his vitality and life force. Yet, when he became aware of this unconscious connection, he began to come out of his depression. Now he is actively engaged in learning a new profession at a time when his father thought he was too old and it was the end of life as he knew it.
It is never too late to learn new things. It is never too late to choose vitality over depression and to prune back or cut out what doesn’t work so there is room for what does work to grow in our lives. It all comes down to choice. We can choose to live where others in our family chose death.
Small Lifestyle Changes that Produce Big Results: This article and case study are an example of how small shifts of perception in our “family constellations” can create some big changes in our lives. Recognizing the blind loyalties we carry on behalf of other family members has the potential to transform our lives. To learn more about Family Constellations and Body Presencing and how you can heal the root of the matter, go to my website, www.bodypresencing.com. Click on Services and scroll down to Family Constellations.
I recommend seeing the play and movie Les Miserables. It is a great story of human suffering and also redemption. There is a saying in that story that sticks with me: “Love is looking into the face of God.” When we look into the face of love, loving yourself and your family in a way that serves you, you are also serving the greater community.
You can choose to love yourself by seeing the glass half full instead of half empty. You can choose how you view the world by interpreting a grey winter day - not as dreary – but as full of winter possibility. These small choices enable you to begin changing the connections to your family. You can sever the ones you don’t want anymore and you can make new loving connections that help heal the past, enliven the present, and infuse your future with health, well-being and vitality.