Relationships - honouring their place
My prayer for 2014 is to grow with more peace and love in my heart. What’s yours?
Sometimes when a prayer like that is put out, we get all that is blocking us from love and peace – have you ever noticed that? I have to remind myself to not get discouraged by that – that it is something in the soul unraveling itself and bringing me to more freedom, more truth, more compassion and love. It’s like an emotional purification.
Personally, 2013 was a great year in an extreme kind of way.
As many of you know, there was the Tedx talk in April, more and more couples enjoying our retreats and women and men opening more and more to the idea of lovemaking through sensitivity and awareness…. so beautiful.
In the other extreme, in keeping with the extremes of weather on our planet, where nothing is in our control except how we respond, I too have been tested deeply by a long-standing family issue relating to my son that intensified to almost unbearable proportions.
I am taking the risk to share very personally here because I see family patterns as having a major impact on love relationships and having a healthy sexual relationship can not exclude a healthy emotional relationship with oneself or one's partner.
So to support me last year, I decided to do Family Constellations Training with Margarete Koenning specifically to work on my family patterns to heal whatever my part was in this situation. I did this without expectations of an outcome, just to come to peace inside myself.
During a very intense time, I wrote…
“I’ve been putting out fires. Seeing that some things are completely out of my control... again and again.
That another's destiny is not my business, that perhaps it was always meant to be this way. All I can do is show up the best way a woman can, with love in her heart and acceptance of what is. The spiritual journey is more than love and light and happy pictures. It is entering the dark alley ways, the treacherous terrain and being with, being in and being for what shows up in life and sometimes that brings you to your knees and in this position all I can do is surrender, finally let go and be in prayer to simply accept and be grateful for what is. There is a soul shaping in the process... Think I can feel it.”
In this final surrender and the Constellation work, something deep happened in the soul psyche of the family and there has been a huge turn around.
The year ended with the answer to a long-held prayer, something I have yearned for a very long time…. For the first time in ten years, my two children were home together for more than an hour at a time, for days in fact. It was like a homecoming for me bringing great joy.
Family Constellations is a modality that is commonly practiced in a group, but can be used in one-on-one therapy that came out of Germany after the war, by Bert Hellinger. It beautifully demonstrates in a non-confrontational way where there have been disruptions in a family and how that can affect generations to come. In the group setting, commonly you choose others to stand in place of yourself and your family members. You place them in relation to each other in the space. As each person stands there, amazingly, they begin to access the true feelings of this person, even when they don’t know the story. They are accessing something from the ‘field’, that space where there are no words, but you can feel.
This is where I discovered a real key in my part. As much as I have had a reasonably good relationship with my son’s father for many years since our separation, I realized that at the time of our separation and my parenting of my son, in my heart, in all honesty, I didn’t really include his dad.
And in family constellations, if there is anyone excluded in the family (through separation, death, rejection), then that will have an effect on the ‘order’ of the family – meaning in this case, that if a first born son’s parents separate and the father is excluded in any way, even energetically, that child will step forth in his place to stand by his mother. Subsequently, a child may step in the way of any future love relationships between the mother and a new partner. It is not a conscious thing – it is simply that the child innocently tries to create the order, which often can manifest in a dysfunctional way. So when his father steps out of the family, the son, if the father has been excluded, steps in place of his father. Of course, this applies to both sexes.
I found this fascinating and humbling.
The healing comes when the parent can include the previous partner in the constellation, acknowledge to the son, that his father has a place in the family, and also let the child know that he is the child and the parent is the parent, so he has his rightful place. He no longer needs to take that role. He is free to be himself and live his own life.
I speak about this, because it has a tremendous impact on relationships and future marriages, where a particular child may appear to keep intruding into the relationship and take up a parent’s emotional space. That emotional space means less time for the new relationship.
So the key is, even if you choose to not have a previous partner physically in your life, it’s a good thing to not exclude them, to give them their rightful place in the family and in the life of your children, to acknowledge their existence, because if you don’t it may affect your family and your intimate relationships well into the future, perhaps for generations to come. This can be hard in the case of abuse. It doesn't mean making any injustices right, or condoning another parents' behaviour, it's more like the soul of that person is included. It makes a big difference.
I wish to express my deep gratitude and appreciation to my partner, Gene, who has been by my side all along. It's been challenging for him at times, but his presence and support has been tremendous. To include another man's son into your heart is a beautiful thing and it's had a profound impact on my son which brings me enormous joy.
Wishing you love and peace in your heart in 2014 and the grace and humility to accept, meet and transform anything that may stand in the way of that!
I want to especially honour and thank Margarete Koenning, Tina Bloemer and the group for holding me in this journey. For further information about the Family Constellations training I did with Margarete, go to http://www.margarete-koenning-counselling.com.au/workshops.html