Track Your Family Constellation Process With SoulCollage®


Did you ever have a revelation that changed everything you’d always believed? That happened to me recently when I did a piece of work around my family of origin at a Family Constellation Intensive in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Family of origin – you know: mother, father, sisters, brothers  . . .  but it’s often a bit more complicated than that.

Inner Critic Attends Conference

I noticed myself feeling very self-critical the third day of the conference: “not good enough,” plus the whole catastrophe of things one says to oneself when flushing oneself down the drain. I’d been feeling so good and stimulated, learning a lot all week. And now this crap again?

Instead, I decided to try saying: “Oh, goodie! Something new to learn about the mystery of ME!“

The Mystery of ME

When I looked, I could see the trigger was around disappointment that I hadn’t done better in an exercise in which I participated. Oh!

Then, I could almost hear someone whispering in my ear, “This happens to you a lot. Why don’t you do a Family Constellation about this pattern?”

I was at a conference with some of the best facilitators in the country, and we still had one more open session coming up. Why not? So, I asked our facilitator if she would work with me next, and she agreed. All I had to do was show up.

“All” I Had To Do Was Show Up

We do this work sitting in a circle. The person who’s “working” sits by the facilitator, and they set up people to represent family members (and yourself) in the center of the circle. The circle’s center becomes a “Knowing Field,” much like the space in which we all collage. As you all know, there’s something present when you collage that’s bigger than our egos. It “knows,” and, if we let go and listen, we discover something much bigger and truer than the babble of our everyday minds.

SoulCollage® Card Name: "My Perfect Family" by Ann H. Hughes

My Perfect Family

I Am One Who acknowledges and is grateful for my Perfect Family – my mother, who was determined to live up to the expectations of others – my father, who was burdened with his work – my two dead sisters, me, and my two younger brothers: This is my Perfect Family.

The Knowing Field

In Family Constellation work, that circle center, the Knowing Field, tells the people we choose as representatives how to feel and how to act. Even though they don’t know us, don’t know our families, and don’t know our stories, there is information in the Field, and their job is to be true to what they find there.

My facilitator asked me to choose a representative for “my mother” and one for “me.” I placed “my mother” near the edge of the circle, looking directly at “me.” I placed “me” a little to the side – a bit in front of and looking away from “mother.” The representative for “me” reported feeling uneasy and queasy. “Mother” reported feeling frustrated and focused on me.

Then the facilitator asked me: “Are you the oldest?” (Yes.) “Did your mother have any miscarriages or abortions before you were born?” (Yes – two miscarriages.)

She moved “me” to face “mother” and chose two representatives for my two never born sisters, placing them to my left.

Grief and Understanding

Suddenly, I felt a strong grief for these two big sisters I would never have the opportunity to know. Who would they have been to me? How would my life have been different? How would they have changed everything for my mother, for our family?

“Mother” focused solely on them and I could see her great longing. Then, my world shifted.

I now realized that this was the reason my own mother was so over protective and focused on what I was doing all the time: determined that I would turn out perfect (whatever that was).

SoulCollage® Card Name: "Honoring My Dead Sisters" by Ann H. Hughes

Honoring My Dead Sisters

I Am One Who grieves, blesses and acknowledges the two babies my mother miscarried, who were lost to me as sisters. I Am One Who now feels the truth of my loss and places my sisters in my family line, giving each of them, and myself, our rightful places.

Ask Your Question, Discover Your Wisdom

The Silence of Miscarriage

My mom got married in the mid-1940’s when there was a lot of pressure on middle-class women to get married and produce babies. My mother desperately wanted to be “a good girl … a good wife … a good mother.” She needed to have a baby to fulfill those goals and considered herself a failure without one. How she must have blamed herself for those two miscarriages. My father had done his part, but she had failed! There was no grief counseling, of course, in those days. Mom was on her own. Miscarriage was one of those things you didn’t talk about. I imagine mom might have felt deep shame and blame when those two deep disappointments happened.

Disappointment, Shame and Blame

A common reaction to self-disappointment are feelings of shame and self-condemnation. The source of my family constellation pattern had been revealed. My homework at that point was to release the pattern, and continue to release it some more. Creating these two SoulCollage® cards sped along my inner work.

Ann H. Hughes has been a SoulCollage® Facilitator since 2007. She presented a popular workshop at the 2013 International SoulCollage® Conference in Skamania, Washington, and is a member of the American Art Therapy Association. She is also the author of Craft Your Wholeness: How to Make & Use Intentional SoulCollage® Cards for Healing & Living (available from Hanford Mead and Amazon). Read Ann's articles at the SoulCollage® Blog and Craft Your Wholeness.

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