Throughout my years of personal transformational work and trainings, the approach of family constellations has uncovered many amazing insights and created profound change. A recent experience highlighted for me, not only the importance of this work but how the system of connections we create can generate ripple effects far beyond what we plan.
I was introduced to family constellations after an off-hand comment by a bodyworker led me to a workshop in Boston, which then led to many more. Over time, I started to hear about the same approach being used in organizations, and I spent several years searching out a trainer who specialized in systemic work in companies. I finally found one in Houston (Judy Wilkins-Smith) and signed up for her workshops. After completing the certification in Systemic Phenomenological Approach of Bert Hellinger, I continued attending her family constellation trainings; partly because of the content but also based on the connection I felt with other workshop participants.
The person who helped bring Judy to Houston was Cecilia Rose. While small in stature, Cecilia’s presence and personality was big and warm. She greeted everyone with a hug, shared profound insights, and was fully engaged in virtually every workshop. While I didn’t know her much beyond the constellation events and a transition workshop she led, she influenced my perspective. Her insights led to several of my blogs, her transition workshop resulted in some long-lasting connections, and her participation in peoples’ constellations was memorable.
I fully stepped into my love of systemic work through the Houston workshops Cecilia helped launch. After many years of those trainings, I was ready to create a small group family constellation workshop series locally – then COVID hit.
I researched options for online groups, attending several to see how it worked and attending a multi-week training led by a woman in Brussels. During the last weekend of that training, I had the opportunity to do a constellation around my father’s lineage. I had also signed up to attend a different facilitator’s two-hour online workshop the following weekend.
The day before that two-hour workshop, Cecilia Rose sadly passed away after a short but valiant battle with cancer.
With the workaround my father’s lineage still processing, I started questioning whether I wanted to attend another workshop but didn’t want to drop out at the last minute. A friend I referred to constellation work had told me she was attending, so that was an incentive to participate.
Then one thing led to another, highlighting for me how cause and effect can work in mysterious ways.
Fifteen minutes before the workshop, my friend texted me to say she had missed the registration deadline. I thought for a minute and asked if she wanted to use my ticket. She agreed and then asked how she could pay. After forwarding her the registration email, I remembered a sign I had received that morning and spontaneously told her I wanted to “gift” her the attendance fee in honor of Cecilia.
This facilitator running the workshop chooses the person to do a constellation by pulling the names of attendees out of a basket. On this day, he chose my name. Since I wasn’t there my friend took it as a sign and decided to take advantage of the opportunity presented. The experience was powerful for her. My friend and I chatted briefly after (in constellation work we ask that people not share their experience for several days – “don’t think, let it sink”) when she called me to say thank you.
During that conversation, I saw an image of Cecilia in my mind’s eye from a workshop the previous year. I had chosen her to represent my paternal great grandfather in a constellation about the impact of immigration on my family lineage. At the end of the constellation, she lifted her hand in what appeared to me to be a toast; a toast to life. I was deeply moved as I was reminded again how all of my great grandparents made decisions to choose life for the lineage.
The gift that I gave to my friend on the spur of the moment reverberated back to me, reminding me of a special person, the power of transformation, and the importance of honoring my ancestors’ choices.
I raise a glass in memory of Cecilia Rose and as a reminder of the impact of our choices.
If you are interested in learning more about the powerful work of family constellations or are curious about what it means to be a representative, please contact me.
August 2020 © Systems of Change, LLC