Saturday, December 13, 2008

Honoring the Ones Who Come Before Us - As We Go Our Own Way

Lately I've been thinking about Systemic Constellation Work. My good friend Lisa, who introduced us to the work in Cornwall back in 2001, is visiting from Germany. This has brought to mind all the things I owe to this work. Perhaps most obviously, Patricia and I would not be expecting a child in late May, if not for the years of good healing work done with Heinz Stark during the two year training program and beyond. I have been able to see and accept my mother - certainly for the first time as an adult. This seems to have changed . . . everything!

However, while I have found the work to be of immense help in my own growth and healing, it is difficult to express this in a way that most people find meaningful, and so we find ourselves unable to fill even a single day workshop this last year. We have theories as to why this is: Poor economy; not so much appreciation of family in the USA; or, simply the fact that no one knows what we are talking about. 

In the process of re-evaluating how to go forward with our Soul Solutions practice, in the face of low turn-out, I find myself coming to some other belated realizations. This has been coming for awhile now. The keynote speaker at the last North American Systemic Constellation conference over a year ago was a very nice man whose son had been killed as part of a gang initiation. His response was to forgive the boy who killed his son. Ultimately the boy wound up coming around and helping build a foundation to support non-violence. This was all well and good, but it felt "wrong" for a constellation conference. For one thing, constellations show us that offering forgiveness attempts to place us in a higher moral ground - to make us bigger than those we forgive. We observe that it is not up to us to forgive those who harm our families. And so I was confused by how avidly people responded to the speaker and his perspective. Other than Patricia and Heinz, everyone seemed to be okay with that. Then there was the movement to use constellation work in order to decide where to hold the next conference. This felt "wrong" as well. It seemed inappropriate and disrespectful to use such a powerful and connected tool to avoid responsibility for making a choice. 

On top of these experiences of the last conference I have the attempt to bring Heinz Stark back to Ohio to offer his comprehensive professional training in Systemic Constellation Work. First I ran into a wall trying to get CEUs for the program, in spite of the fact that the very same training had been accredited by this same board only a few years before. Perhaps partially because of that, we were not able to find enough people to fill the training and had to cancel it. So not only did we miss out on having more of this quality of training offered here in the states, but on having more well trained facilitators of the work available to this marketplace. 

So - I'm not sure how to proceed. I know that this country NEEDS what Constellation Work has to offer. I know that there are few people who are well trained in the work and can offer it in an effective and meaningful way to meet these needs. But I don't feel that I am a part of the "community" of constellators in the USA. Perhaps I exclude myself, but I feel that the work is too important and too powerful to approach with less training than most people get before receiving their first driving license. On the other hand, I too rebel against the idea of putting Constellation Work under the oversight of yet another professional bureaucracy. As far as I can see, there IS no clear answer - and we will need to come up with a new approach if it is to be both effective and fair to all involved. 

All I have to offer at this point are these thoughts. 

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