Updated: Nov 25
"Do you like yourself?" Sarah Peyton, a family constellation trainer, asked me this question at her workshop a couple of years ago. I looked at the woman in the room 'representing' me and gauged my feelings. "I don't... not like her," I answered. I was relieved that I didn't hate myself, but a bit surprised that I didn't have warmer feelings other than detached observation. Sarah inquired further, "Do you mean it's neutral?" I felt into this for a few moments and thoughtfully replied, "I respect her." As I said this, my curiosity slightly grew towards the "me" standing in front of me.
Fast forward to the past five months where, during my personal TRE® (tension-trauma release) and meditation practice, I'd be engaged in spontaneous movements where I'd throw my arms around myself in a hug. I was startled by this gesture, and received it with a mix of awkwardness and sweetness.
Last week, I participated in an ancestral medicine ceremony in Mexico. The Huichol shaman shared his teachings on self-respect, self-love, and connecting to our inner light. As he spoke, my arms automatically flung around my shoulders, holding myself in a tight embrace. The many parts of me: my inner child, soul, and present self were in a simultaneous group hug, squeezing each other in pure delight.
It was a profound moment to give and receive love for myself. Being with the feeling of joy, care, acceptance, and acknowledgment. In that moment, I knew that I truly did love myself.
Looking back over the years, I don't know if I could identify what steps I took to feel love for myself. It was certainly not linear, nor a single all-inclusive, fix-it-all modality. With most things, it's practice and commitment. I do know that it has nothing to do with our physical appearance, wealth, job status, achievements, or external validation. These are false senses of self-worth based on ego. It bypasses the work involved in building and maintaining a caring relationship with our self. For me, it's about making small and not-so-small choices that strengthen me, offer balance, find interconnectedness, and practice equanimity. In addition to what I cultivate, it also means placing boundaries, letting go of what drains me, and speaking my truth. It's essentially the practice of yoga ... for the heart.
Through countless opportunities being a representative in family constellation sessions, I've received incredible understandings about love. The fierce love between two brothers. Infinite love from an angel to a human. Devoted love from a daughter to her mother. Joyful love from a pet dog towards its owner. A grandpa's love for his grandson. In these cases, the love was immediate and effortless. In other cases, the heart could not receive or give love.
Staying at one point in life and resisting the next step keeps us stuck, blocked, or frozen-- unable to shift forward. When this happens, constellation facilitators look for the root of the block. We then sense when and where movement can happen. Sometimes the movement is small— two representatives finding the courage to look at each other instead of away. Other times the movement is when a representative states a truth. Just like when a glass full of water gets knocked over and spills out, a movement in the 'energy field" (knowing field) vibrates out at the molecular level. This then impacts whatever it lands on, and change occurs. This is the natural process of transformation on the micro and macro level.
What changes do you want in your life and humanity for 2021? Find the courage to create it and commit to it.