Family Constellations and the Great Untangling

Winter constellations

Winter constellations

The darkest day of the year for *we in the temperate world* nears… December 21st, Sunday will be the day. We’ve reached the depths of Winter and the days will *ever so slowly* begin to lengthen as the tired arms of coldness reach for spring sun-rays.

And so, I’ve been reaching for warming herbs, lately. Red cedar warms me up as I soak in the bathtub. It increases peripheral circulation, clears my energy body of any accumulated junk, and refreshes my cells. Red cedar tells us that there is *some* part of us that stays green, fragrant, and lively ALL year round.

Internally, I’ve been enjoying spices such as black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. I’ve been cooking my food longer, sipping on bone broths, and drinking herbal brews. Like a tree, our blood pulls inward in the winter months to protect our organs and to conserve energy. Tapping into warming herbs can help lessen blood stagnation and support digestive function when everything just feels brrrrr.

Aside from keeping my toes warm, I’ve been doing a lot contemplation around trauma and suffering. I suppose this goes with the terrain of voluntarily slowing down in the Winter when the rest of the US seems like it is only speeding up. There is probably a reason for this manic behavior. Could it be that there is much that is unresolved?

When are we going to settle down and actually do the dirty work? It’s as if we had a choice. Well, we don’t…

I have been navigating trauma both personally and professionally for years now. My health crisis back in 2001 was just the beginning of my healing journey and reclamation of my body-mind-heart-soul. In fact, I was unknowingly catapulted into reclaiming not only myself, but where I came from and my ancestry. Eventually, I discovered that I was not healing myself, but rather my place in my family constellation or family lineage.

With the myriad articles coming out on epigenetics and trans-generational trauma, I felt that it would be timely for me to share some insights I have had along the way that science is now affirming. I sense that we all may have a little more down-time this Winter; so why not contemplate the very thing that could potentially open our lives up to more freedom and love and inner peace?

In August 2009, I wrote one of my first blog posts called “Visualization on Family Lineage.” I had done this visualization myself a few times and felt it was very powerful. Basically, without guidance from anyone else, I began to intuitively tap into the life-flow of my own lineage. I realized it was broken and that there was healing that needed to happen in me for life to flow. This was my first attempt at understanding the nature of the flow of life through family lineages.

“By far the most remarkable recent finding about this transmogrification of the body is that some proportion of it can be reproduced in the next generation. The children of (trauma) survivors—a surprising number of them, anyway—may be born less able to metabolize stress. They may be born more susceptible to PTSD, a vulnerability expressed in their molecules, neurons, cells, and genes.”

(excerpt from this article)

Over the years, I have worked with various populations that have been impacted by war. I have seen the visible and invisible wounds and scars. I can sense and feel the ones left on my own family lineage. The need for healing is palpable. As well, the impact of colonization on the US has left some deep wounds.

First of all, I have to consider the wounds the Europeans had which colonized America. Europe was notoriously at war for many centuries. I have to consider the brutal loss of life and devastation of the Native American tribes in the US. Then, I have to consider the deep wounds of chattel slavery of Africans in the US. From its foundation, there is much to heal and come to terms with on this American soil.

The most promising work that I am just learning about is Family Constellation work. The interesting thing is that before I knew of this method, I was already using the term “family constellation” to define lineage and ancestral work. So, of course, my curiosity piqued when I learned of this work.

Basically, Family Constellation work is a method of working in groups to begin healing blocks in one’s family lineage and ancestry. As I understand, wherever someone was not accepted or silenced in a family’s lineage, life energy is stuck there. This “stuckness” can affect future generations in various ways.

Here is a simple interview with someone in the UK about Family Constellation work.

And, here is another short interview with someone in the US discussing how he views ancestors in his Family Constellation Work.

These two short interviews should give you an idea of how Family Constellation Work operates. I have heard from a few friends who have gone through a circle process with a Family Constellation Work therapist and they all used the word “powerful.” I can only imagine what this kind of work could do for true healing and democracy in the US.

Finally, when you have time, here is a link to an interview on Sounds True with Mario Martinez (who wrote the Mind-Body Code). Here is a link to Part 1 of 2 on Youtube. Both parts are about 2 hours long total.  You might want to download the podcast on Sounds True (Insights at the Edge) and listen to it when you are able.

Similar to Family Constellations Work, The Mind-Body Code looks to the cultural influence on one’s life and even immune system. Mario focuses on where blocks are in one’s life due to subconscious beliefs held by a cultural or family system. He also focuses on honor, commitment, and faith as the three antidotes to the three archetypal wounds of abandonment, betrayal, and shame.

To me, The Mind-Body Code dove-tails what I have been learning through my research on Family Constellation Work. While ultimately, our own intuition and insights are our deepest sources of medicine and personal healing, I feel that techniques like these can only bolster and affirm our intuitions on our personal-familial-cultural healing.

It seems quite profound and natural that our deepest healing lies in the family constellation that our own life energy is rooted in.  The personal, familial, ancestral, environmental, and cultural all apply layers to our understanding of wholeness and healing.  In a time where we are just beginning to understand the interconnectedness of addiction, trauma, and mental health, it would benefit us to pay attention, make these links, and sharpen our tools.

The Lord’s Prayer
Translated from Aramaic by linguist scholar Neil Douglas-Klotz

Oh cosmic birther of all radiance and vibration, soften the ground of our
being and carve out a place within us where your presence can abide.

Fill us with your creativity so that we may be empowered to bear the fruit
of your mission.

Let each of our actions bear fruit in accordance with our desire.

Endow us with the wisdom to produce what each being needs to share and
grow and flourish.

Unite the tangled threads of destiny that bind us, as we release others
from the entanglement of their past mistakes.

Do not let us be seduced by that which will divert us from our true
purpose, but illuminate the opportunities of the present moment.

For you are the ground and the fruitful vision, the birth, power and
animator as all is gathered and made whole once again.

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