Sunday, May 18, 2014

Who Are We, After All?

“We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same."
-Anne Frank

Many of us spend much of our lives trying to figure out who we are. Does this sound familiar? It seems that every few years we figure out another piece, when we are ready to see. The truth is that who we are is usually very simple. And, it is the simple that often is the most illusive.

I think of May as a month of coming out. It is coming out of the cold climate, into the outdoors and the sunlight. It is also the coming out of what has been incubating within us through the winter months. 

So here we are with the age-old question, ‘who are we anyway’? I remember when my son asked me that question; who am I? I began by answering a mom, a doctor, a person who loves the outdoors and the sun, and so on. I remember in his young wisdom, telling me that is not who I am. At that time I didn’t fully understand his question, nor did I really know the answer. Now, as I really look at the question I realize that many of us struggle with the same one. Yes, we are all pieces of one soul, but who or what else makes up our own uniqueness?

The answer to that question often involves first figuring out who we are not. Through the Family Constellation work, as a tool, we can begin to unwrap the layers of beliefs, which cloak our essence. We often live as if we are depressed; maybe as many of our female or male ancestors were. We feel depressed, we don’t know how to change that, and often are not able to separate us from our families. We often live as sad people unable to feel happy even though when we look at our lives, so many things are good. We just aren’t able to take it in. Often, we are busy looking to uncover deep dark secrets, we end up missing the simple fact that we are loyal to the many women and men in our families who were sad and who couldn’t be happy in their marriage. 

I worked with a woman who has a wonderful life. She has a husband she is in love with, a good career, she uses lots of creativity, her finances are solid, and so on. Yet, she doesn’t feel she can take it in.  In the constellation work, we use people as representatives for the client’s family members. I had someone stand in to represent both her father and her mother while we sat back and watched what transpired. The people who stood in for her parents showed a sad mother and a father away and unavailable. I asked my client if this felt true to her. She said no, it didn’t. She saw her mother as being frantic and in constant motion, while this representative showed a sad, non-moving woman. I asked the representatives to sit down for a moment. What seemed truer to me was that the woman who stood in for her mother showed the under belly of her mother’s franticness. And she showed it beautifully, but the client, right then, could not take that in. As we continued to work the client began to see that yes, her mother was sad, and her father was sad also. I spoke a few words as if her parents were saying them to her. I said that she, their daughter, couldn’t know what it was like for them. Even though her mother told her daughter many things that were and should have been private, there were also many things she didn’t and couldn’t know. Her parent’s history as a couple was and is theirs alone. Their precious daughter is only their daughter, and not their friend or colleague. And even though much happened between them, it only happened to them. It was between them, and hopefully not a concern for her; their daughter. I had them say to please leave all that with them. They wish for her a happy, successful, full life and a very happy marriage. The representatives stood behind their daughter and had her lean into them for a minute to give her strength and to feel their support and blessing. I then had someone stand in for her husband right in front of her leaving no one between them. She walked into his arms.

Often the power of this work is in the combination of image, words and feeling. To think of too much at one time can take away from the full gestalt of the moment. What happened here goes way beyond words and the rational mind trying to make sense of what happened. And yet, it can change everything. 

Who is this woman? She is not a sad woman who has difficulty letting in her magnificent life. She now has her path ahead of her as she steps out of the past and into the present.


Recommended Resources:

I love giving people the opportunity to experience this work themselves. I often work with folks on a one to one basis either in person, by phone, and/or even through Skype. In these cases I use little play school figurines or footsteps to represent or stand in for important characters in their lives. To read more about this, please go to my website, www.bodypresencing.com and click on Family Constellations.

In addition, I am offering another Afternoon of Constellations on Sunday afternoon, June 22nd. Click on Events, and scroll down to Afternoon of Constellations to read all about it!