Saturday, April 26, 2014

I'm So Happy; Or Am I?

How Do I Get There?

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”
                                                                                  -Aristotle

It is May. The sun is out more consistently, it is warming up, and the flowers are blooming. Are you excited to get outside and experience the beautiful Spring? I am!

This is what happens to us inside as well. We can get so excited and can’t wait to spring out of our cocoons. What does spring out can be very surprising. As I have said, April, May, and June are months where I am combing out how we are stuck in our past. Through these months I will give you tools to help you move forward. During the month of May I will be talking about pathways to happiness.

Just the other day I was working with a woman who both looked and acted like she felt well and happy. As I was sitting with her and asking her what she would like to work on, she mentioned she wanted to work on not passing her stuff on to her children and their children. She had a great response but it did not include what she does not want to pass on. As I asked her, she began to look a bit sad and talked about her relationship with her mother. Suddenly something popped out of her mouth, which stuck with me. In reference to her mother, she said “She wasn’t a happy camper.” I asked her if she was a happy camper. She said she guesses not.

Sometimes when we grow up we either don't feel special at all and unseen or we feel too special as a way of overcoming a deficit we feel inside. In this woman’s life, she felt unseen. Her father was not in her life after the age of 1 so she was raised by her mother and her stepfather, who later adopted her. She then saw her father again when she was around 25 years old and had her first child. She had three years with him before he passed. When I asked her about her mother, it was clear she didn’t feel close to her, and in fact blamed her for, in her words, “everything”.

In the Constellation, I had her choose an individual to represent her mother and her. She couldn't even look at her mother, so I placed her out the door and in the hall. I asked her what happened to her birth father that she didn't see him for so long? She then said that her father went to jail for embezzlement and her mother wouldn't let her see him. She found out about this much later in life. I asked her about her father’s mother, her grandmother, and she was very surprised. She had never before thought about her father’s mother as her grandmother. Her grandmother had been excluded by the family; even by her, without her realizing it. Her father was an illegitimate child, and the rumor was that it was in fact her great grandfather who had fathered her father. Her grandmother, father's mom, had been helping at the house, and her father’s grandfather had seduced or forced himself on her. As she was explaining this aspect of her family’s history, her mother’s representative came in and tried to protect and shelter her from her grandmother and father. She was a revelation to my client. She suddenly saw her mother through new eyes. She saw that her mother did in fact love her and was trying, in her way, to protect her child from the sadness and mess of her father’s life.  She also saw that her grandmother felt like an unhappy camper, and so did her father. The key here was seeing a truth, and inviting in all that came before; great grandfather who was also her grandfather, grandmother, father, and all!

It was funny when she told us that she had to go from this constellation experience to a birthday party for her mother. She said this was going to be a very different experience than she had previously anticipated. I asked her what she was going to say to her mother, and she said, “Mom, I love you.”

The surprise was that not only did she feel on some level that she wasn't a happy camper, but that she hadn't recognized or acknowledged her grandmother at all, and that she really did love her mother! Happiness really is in the eye of the beholder. This powerful experience shifted her almost immediately, and is a key for her to continue to work with in her life for herself, and for her future generations. These realizations that sprung out of her history were a great surprise and a great beginning for her to help her become unstuck and move more towards being present in her life.

Recommended Resources:

This month I will be writing about more cases from the Family Constellation work. Feel free to read more about this from my web site. Go to www.bodypresencing.com, and click on Family Constellations to learn more about it and to see how I work and how you can schedule your own experience. As you can see, I work in groups as above, and also individually. For the images in individual work I use tools like felt footsteps as little playschool figures.

Happiness is a good state of mind, and we all deserve it in our lives.