When that happens, it's good to enlist the aid of someone who can see and hear you from a perspective that lends itself to wider possibilities. Much of your intelligence is out of reach of your logical, cognitive brain, so it can be difficult to find the wisdom that resides in your "automatic and emotional" brain, wisdom that has been deepening with every life experience. I use Equus Coaching, Family and Systemic Constellation, and visualization and other methods to help you connect and integrate the emotional and cognitive brains so that you can access and apply all of the knowledge you have gathered over time.
Once you've discovered what has been holding you back, I will support you in creating new habits and routines that will move you toward your goal using methods tailored to your life experience and learning style. Much like working with a trainer at the gym, you will create your new "muscles" and skills much more efficiently and effectively by working with me.
Explore my website to learn more about the methods I use and contact me to set up a free consultation.
I was sitting beside a friend the other day during the lunch break at a course we were attending. In the past, I’ve had a somewhat uneasy relationship with this friend because I viewed her as an authority figure. After we finished discussing something that came up in the training, the conversation drifted into other areas. We ended up having a wonderful time just talking about mutual friends, telling stories, laughing at the funny ones, and commiserating over the sad ones. When I think back to this experience, the picture that comes to mind is of two young, school-age children sitting side-by-side on a playground bench, swinging their legs and kicking the dirt. They are laughing, telling stories, watching the other kids play, and watching the clouds go by. They are taking delight in the moment. They are also of an age where friendship doesn’t pay gender much notice: they could be two boys, two girls, or a boy and a girl.
A good friend of mine tells this story about her childhood: “Remember,” her mother would say, “to have a friend, you must be a friend.” Simple and sage advice but advice I wouldn’t follow. I grew up in a home where the most important relationships were not safe and, to cope, I learned not to risk being a friend first, instead choosing the safer and lonelier path of waiting for people to befriend me.
I’ve been thinking about friendship lately. I have a friend who, during an earlier phase of our friendship, would close their emails with “Your tenuous friend.” This simultaneously amused, reassured, and unsettled me.
That I was amused by their closing has to do with similarities in our sense of humor: we both love irony, paradox, and can even see humor in the tenuousness of life itself.
That they signed as “friend” was reassuring because I have harbored doubts about my worthiness as a friend since childhood. As children, we all have doubts about friendship because in that stage of life friendship is naturally tenuous—your friend today may ignore you tomorrow or even become your enemy. In that stage, we are just beginners but as we grow older most of us learn that we deserve to have good friends upon whom we can rely. This understanding is a natural by-product of healthy self-esteem: I am worthy of good friends, and I am a good friend. That they signed as friend told me that I am moving into a more adult sphere where I am willing to trust my friends and to be trustworthy to them.
That I was unsettled by having a “tenuous” friend also had to do with my feelings of unworthiness from childhood. Why can’t they just sign “Your friend,” instead of reminding me of my insecurities? Well, let me tell you something: if they had signed it “Your friend,” that would have unsettled me, too.
Pickpocketed from Wikipedia: “A constellation is a group of stars that forms an imaginary outline or pattern on the celestial sphere…”
A systemic constellation refers to a group of relationships that forms an imaginary pattern or outline on the internal and external landscape of a human system. Rather than an animal, the pattern we see tends to be in the shape of despair or disappointment or anger, loneliness, illness, poverty, grief, longing, lack of thriving …
This pattern appears imprinted on the family or organizational system as a whole or on the heart of an individual.
Systemic constellations are both surgical and encompassing; they invite change quickly and unfold over a long time. Bert Hellinger, the provocative founder of the work, has assembled thinking from the realms of philosophy, psychology, sociology, and art to try to understand where things fall apart — and how they can come back together no matter the amount of damage that has been done.
The tent is huge—the largest I’ve ever seen. It’s been set up in a grassy field next to the small Sears store. The Sears catalog is where, when I still believed in Santa, I got my ideas for what I wanted for Christmas or, when I was older, for what to tell my parents I wanted and, when even older, I got a thrill from the models in underwear. But this Sears is just for mowers, refrigerators, washing machines, and other boring stuff. Nothing a kid would want, except maybe a riding lawn mower.
But tonight, the Sears store is not on my mind. The Tent Revival is. It’s the biggest show in our small town. And I am a little kid with big, frightened eyes.
I have a friend who thanks me from time to time for something I’ve done for her. Her thank-yous seem sincere and heartfelt, maybe even earnest. I find it challenging to take them in, to really believe them. This is undoubtedly a vestige of learning as a child that I was worthless and always would be. This shaming was at the heart of my mother’s parenting approach. I imagine she learned it from her mother.
The phrase Family Constellation refers to both a philosophical lens and a process. The premise is that the family system and the individual’s internal system are reflections of each other.
The word Constellation is meant to denote a sense of how people inside a system — and the system inside the person — cluster in response to precipitating events. Who runs? Who hides? Who denies? Who shuts down? Who strikes out?
One way for a couple to think about their relationship is for each partner to say of it, "There is me, there is you, and there is us." It’s in the us where the couple gets to create the relationship, including what role sex will play.
In almost any couple’s sexual relationship, one partner has more desire than the other. If this partner’s desire isn't reciprocated by the other, it puts the partner in a weakened position, facing the possibility of rejection anytime he or she makes an overture for sex. Bert Hellinger, the founder of Family System Constellations, sees the balance of give and take as one of the fundamental needs of any relationship, and it is especially important in the sexual realm.
This morning in Men’s Yoga, I found myself resisting the teacher’s suggestions to quiet the mind by becoming more aware of the sensations in my body. The part of the brain responsible for these sensations is called the sensorimotor brain, and it is evolutionarily much older than our cognitive, “talking brain.” My sensorimotor brain keeps me breathing, enables me to walk without falling, lets me know when something is hot or cold, causes pain when some part of my body is broken or ailing, and tells me the beautiful woman next to me might just be interested in a little bit of romancing.
My friend Frank (not his real name) answers his phone. He has this notoriously unreliable Bluetooth earpiece that he loves to use. Today it’s having a bad day. He sounds like a Martian. I tell him I’ll call back. When he answers the second time he’s no longer a Martian. I say, “Ah! It’s my old friend Frank – the one I know and love!” This joke brings him to tears because he’s not my old friend Frank, he’s the new Frank. The one who is fighting a disease that will shorten his life dramatically.