Empowerment Through Self Awareness
Did you ever feel stuck between two emotions, or two options with no idea of how to move forward? If so, you are not alone. It happens to most of us at one time or another. So what can be done to get “unstuck”? Last time I explained the “two chair” model that helps get in touch with the reasons and feelings related to each choice.
Hellinger style resolution between two choices looks a lot like the “two chair” method. The difference is in the field. Hellinger’s work relies on people who or objects that represent each option. I prefer people for issues related to choice, so I’ll explain it from that perspective. Feel free to ask questions if you’d like to know more about working with objects.
One client worked in the family business – three generations of business law. Her hobby was dancing. When her dance teacher asked her to turn professional and go on the road, she found the idea captivating. Stuck between loyalty to the family business, and the enticement of professional dancing, I asked her to choose a representative for law and a representative for dance. They stood in front of us at first, and then moved to where they felt comfortable in relation to each other and the client. The representative for law was resolute, turned away from “dance”, and partially away from the client. The representative for dance was exuberant, moving boldly, bumping into “law” and the client at times.
I asked the client to stand in front of “law” and look him in the eye. It was clear from her stance and facial expressions that she was deeply connected to “law”. No words were spoken, though they could have been. Five minutes or more passed before a peace came over the two of them, their faces calm, their shoulders relaxed, their faces neutral or smiling.
I then asked her to look “professional dance” in the eye. “Dance” was beaming, always moving some part of her body. The client stood for a long time, six or seven minutes, looking at “dance”. Twice she looked over at “law” who turned to watch from about three feet away. I noted the client’s posture and her facial expressions, but said nothing aloud so she could focus on her own feelings. Eventually she turned to me and stated, “I got what I needed. Thank you.”
Why does this method work? The client is literally faced with two choices. Somehow, presumably via Sheldrake’s morphic field or Jung’s collective unconscious, the representatives know something about the choice they represent. “Dance” was exuberant, and “law” was resolute. Through these representations, the client was reminded of why she chose law in the first place, and could see why becoming a professional dancer was attractive. The silent dialogue between the representatives and the client allowed her to safely connect with all of her thoughts, feelings and motivations in the face of both choices. As a facilitator, I could bring awareness to her body posture, sensations and breathing if necessary. I could also bring awareness to the repeating pattern of dichotomy (exuberant/resolute) by including representatives for family members had it seemed appropriate.
In the “two chair” method, the participant does the talking, the noticing. A facilitator may or may not be present to observe and report. The Hellinger method requires more people, and space to set up the field, but the feedback of the representatives is constant and the facilitator is available to bring awareness to things that might otherwise be missed. In both methods, awareness and respect of each option brings the client to resolution.
Next time you feel conflicted by a choice or emotions, give one of these methods a try. Your feedback is always welcome.
Did you ever feel stuck between two emotions, or two options with no idea of how to move forward? If so, you are not alone. It happens to most of us at one time or another. So what can be done to get “unstuck”?
A colleague of mine uses the “two chair” approach. Whichever emotion or option has more depth or conviction gets chair one. The second approach gets chair two. Sitting in chair one, make all the statements that support the stronger emotion or option. Then switch to chair two and show you heard what was said in chair one, followed by any reaction you have to what was said. What fears come up? What wasn’t taken into account? Finally, state the case for the second emotion or option. If you feel overpowered by the first option, state that, but make sure option two gets an equal chance to be completely explored. Maybe rebuttal is appropriate. If so, back to chair one, to show you heard chair two’s position, and to state the rebuttal. Keep switching chairs until everything relevant has been spoken. Yes…you are doing this out loud, so notice if you are wimpy, whiny or bullying, and when. This may give you a clue as to why you are feeling stuck.
Why does this work? Hopes and fears lie behind emotions, and emotions drive our choice of options. Getting in touch with the strong fears and the secret hopes allows us to see the whole picture. We can give fear it’s proper place, and give hope a chance. Doing the exercise by yourself gives you the freedom to say everything you need to without fear of judgment. No one is listening but you.
This is the second key…you must listen. By listening to yourself advocate for each option or emotion, you’ll get a sense of what the stronger position is, what’s driven by fear, and where compromise is possible or necessary.
Noticing is key as well. You are watching two sides of your “self”. One is more comfortable to you. One is congruent with how you see yourself, and how you’d like others to see you. One is less so. Since you are exploring the two, not committing to either option, you are free to catch a glimpse of who else you are. Greater self acceptance is right around the corner. Try it, and let me know how it works for you and what you discovered.
If you are looking for a non-verbal approach, stay tuned. Three-dimensional mapping involves more people in the process of looking at emotions or options, but less talk. It is a great way to get a peek at why you’ve been chronically stuck. Resolution, Hellinger style, is the topic of the next blog.
For anyone interested in looking at the journey of Autism in a completely different way, check out The Horse Boy by Rupert Isaacson. When their son is first diagnosed Karen and Rupert make dietary and nutritive changes, they try behavioral modification and touch to make contact with the child who is lost more and more to tantrums and daydreams. Things seem more hopeful when Roan is around animals, especially horses, and so begins a scheme to visit Mongolian shamen via horseback. It is not the route that most of us would take, but it is a fascinating journey with many heartwarming moments. I won’t tell you how it ends, but I will tell you it is worth watching on DVD (93 minutes) or reading. The film touched me in many ways.
As a Brain Integration Specialist I was fascinated to see Roan interact with the items of his intense focus – live animals or plastic replicas. In the DVD version succinct interviews from autism experts made the point that we know so little about the minds of those who live among the autism spectrum, and that our way of judging them may do us all a disservice. As an educator I was relieved to hear Roan’s parents share their fears, expectations, reservations, and their unorthodox journey. They speak the language of those whose children are not what society deems “normal” and they respond to daily challenges with grace, humor and boundless love. If you have ever felt ashamed of the DNA that passed to your child, you have a kindred spirit in Rupert Isaacson.
Constellation Facilitators will recognize the “knowing field” in the shaman’s attention to a family member whose symptoms appear to be relevant. Shamanic ceremonies are performed while the camera is rolling, so we get a glimpse of how change is affected in other cultures. Everyone from the guide and cameramen to the parents and shamen seems to be touched by the experience of working for the good of this young boy.
Following the passions of our children may not be the prescribed way of moving through the journey of autism, but here is a look at what might happen if it were!