Bert Hellinger, the father of this work: "The individual is only himself when a place has been found within him for those who belong to him."
The Body and Belonging
I cater to the body’s wisdom. Sensations and physical structure offer important information about how we learned to belong.
Perhaps we make our own fate, and perhaps we unknowingly follow a script from the the past. The context that our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents survived lives in us, in modern times, and we tend to let it lead us by default. Their life, whether they simplysurvived or theythrived, was built for their time on Earth before the thought of us even existed. We carry their legacy in our body and mind. We carry the many ways of belonging embedded into how a family works as a system. We carry their tendencies, now our tendencies, into adulthood and relationships.
The bodymind remembers the old score from our ancestors, and tends to recite it amidst different scenes and players in the current time. Family members may have similar fates that stretch beyond the scope of genetics. People marry a spouse whohas similar tendencies as a parent. Children take on a role in the family, and carry that role into their professions whether it's appropriate for the job or not. The phrase, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree," describes how priorities, values, and behaviors transcend through generations, as if the way a person lives their life is predetermined by those that lived previously in the family. The cycle of repeating patterns in families continues until something or someone changes the trajectory, until someone flips the script. As we grow in our own creativity, we often renegotiate how we belong to our family of origin. We make incremental shifts, learn new things, and take calculated risks that all together can lead toward positive change.
To put the script aside that we inherently belong to, and towrite new chapters for ourself, is a courageous practice. Through the philosophy of Family Constellations, and many other systemic approaches, the bodymind has the opportunity to lean into the emergent future, creatively finding solutions for the toughest of problems.
Awareness of our patterns can bring about relief. I take the time and care to create opportunities for deeper awareness to unfold. Clicking into Place: When we are born into our family, we're like a timestamp of our lineage. Our mother's line and our father's line come together to form us, and we carry all that they offer. Some of our current struggles start way back in this place in time, before we had boundaries to protect, and before we had awareness of ourselves as separate. As we learn to walk, we understand ourselves in context with our tribe at a specific moment in time. As we learn to talk, we vocalize from this place of understanding. We inevitably buckle ourselves into safety through the roles that we learn before we are old enough to write. Clicking into place describes how we might explore what concessions we made before words could crystallize into meaning. With this awareness, we can decide where these agreements can remain in place, and where we can leave them in the past.
Constellations looks at how the context that we're born into affects our patterns and behaviors today. Something can feel "so right," only to find out later it was mostly a terrible decision. A habit might be toxic, yet we struggle to find a way to stop. We may know what we need, and simultaneously distract ourselves from it. Where we are irrational, confused, and self-sabotaging in our life pairs with where we are logical, clear, and oriented towards expansion. What if these parts fit together like puzzle pieces, and when "clicked into place," we could see the full picture? From this wider vantage point, we can find a new energy to move forward successfully. The Constellation viewpoint looks at how the position and time in which we are born relates to our life in the current moment. How does this position serve our creativity? How does it hinder growth? The Constellation philosophy widens the frame of reference so that the many parts of us can find their rightful place. Implicit agreements made long ago can be set aside, and new ways of belonging forged.
My experience as a Bodyworker has given me insight as to how to help people find their midline, or the vertical axis that our mind maps as part of our neurological development in early childhood. When organized around the midline, people report feeling at ease and grounded.
Belonging in Verticality: We belong to our families in how our minds work, and we certainly belong to our family in how our bodies function. Faces among family members over many generations look alike. Siblings sound the same. Kids walk like their parents. Structures show distinct patterns unique to a particular family. Cousins have feet that look eerily similar. Each new step as tots becomes a victory towards a greater sense of belonging with older tribe members. The people around us at this impressionable age entrain our breathing habits into theirs. Our body's natural way of belonging in space coincides with the natural bond that forms the relationship with our parents or caretakers. We learn to move and talk like those around us, deepening the bond. The themes of this early belonging live in our tissues, in our nervous systems, and these themes inhabit the space we move through. As we learn to walk, our tissue formulates into our structure's natural alignment that we carry for the rest of our life.
The natural alignment that forms when we learn to be in verticality creates the blueprint in which the nervous system is most at ease. We form up our bone structure and the dense edges of our musculature as we move from crawling to walking. All the organs find their original arrangement as we stand and support ourselves through our legs. As we grow up into adulthood, tissue layers take on patterns to adapt to what goes on in life. We move through injuries, accidents, illness, surgeries, overworking, emotional stress, etc., that divert our physical structure from the blueprint of natural alignment.
When the nervous system finds ease, by happenstance or through whatever means a person chooses, the tissues of the body adapt to reflect the shift. Breathing deepens. Heart rate normalizes. Global tension melts. Organs rearrange. Weight falls through the feet in a fanlike fashion to provide grounding. The head floats so breath can flow without obstruction. The body begins to reestablish a relaxed yet alert pattern closer to the blueprint. Our natural alignment, formed in early childhood, remembers this way of belonging in space. We can access this place through restoring peace and calm by acknowledging what unsaid characteristics interweave our way of belonging. Our way of belonging started way back when we learned to walk, when we became upstanding members of our tribe. Moving forward, physically, mentally, and emotionally can feel like an arduous task. When felt senses are given the space to be experienced, the backlog of energy moves through, and in present time, the body can become congruent with heart and mind. I help people move through the unfelt and unheard experiences so that they feel the momentum in themselves to move towards more.
Movement Towards: The themes that emerge from the patterns of our life can lead us towards healing. What we seek, consciously or unconsciously, moves us towards connecting with parts of ourselves that want to be acknowledged and integrated into our larger self. Belonging, often more important than physical health or emotional wellbeing, serves as a navigational device that moves us towards what we seek. Belonging soothes our nervous system and gives us energy to creatively express what stirs within us. Belonging brings about a comfort more profound than the words we use to describe it. It clicked into place before we used words to communicate what we needed or how we felt.
Traveling deeper than what we assumed was the bedrock of our belonging can provide a feeling of wholeness, okay-ness, when we feel alone. This alone-ness inevitably grows in our awareness as we choose to belong to the world differently than those before us. The body's habitual patterns abide by the original way of belonging, and renegotiating a new belonging requires inquisitive self-awareness, radical self-compassion, and overwhelming self-care. When these pieces click into place, they integrate, and lead to symbiotic relationships with those around us, and perhaps one-day fills the void of alone-ness.
The struggle to remain in a state of belonging we agreed to as toddlers while at the same time, create change for ourselves means that we confront the agreements that we made in childhood. In confronting our childhood contracts, we gain a deeper sense of belonging to creatively express ourselves, giving rise to an alluring quality just beyond reach that also breeds a free belonging for others. Sensing into the older foundation of our family's origins can connect us to this integral sense of self that we can trust. Trust, or innate self-propulsion, produces omni-directional and beneficial movement. Traveling deeper inwards, and simultaneously deeper into the family system, can free us from repeating harmful and stubborn generational patterns. Our physical structure holds this information in our blueprint of natural alignment. Tapping into this wisdom that we already hold can bring about relief, and distance, from the troubles we face in the now. Moving towards a new belonging generously offers re-inclusion to lost members of the tribe and creates compassion in once-forbidden places. The script of our parents, and their parents, and their parents lies deep within our bodymind.
The entanglements from our past tend to tie us into an old strategy of belonging that isn't so helpful in the current time. Improvising a new script for ourselves instead of using the one we agreed to as children empowers us to move towards what we want. Courageously and with enough surrounding support, we can untether ourselves from the old script to claim the felt sense of belonging to those we love, and simultaneously free ourselves to discover greater ease in the midst of uncharted territory, the free and open future.