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Generational Healing: What I’ve learned from Family Constellations

Why honor our parents?

When I was in Primal Therapy in the 1970s, when using padded bats to bash pillows to express our anger or crying out our pain at our parents was the thing to do, I would never have suspected that I would write this article. I had no idea then that the healing of parent-child relationship becomes accessible, not just when we express our anger or pain or grief, but when we can reach the point where no matter what our experience growing up, we fulfill an innate and powerful need to be connected to our genetic-ancestral lines through time, past to future. Now having facilitated many family constellations, I have witnessed the freedom that ensues when we move beyond the personal story of our circumstances to answer the overarching flow of of a genetic imperative we rarely acknowledge.

We honor our parents for there is no greater giving than the bringing forth of life, that parents advent a soul into this world and nurture and teach this being. They may be good at it or they may not be good at it. The lessons they teach may be excellent or poor. In the end it matters only that life continued. There is no greater blessing than the moment when the parents pass on the badge of adulthood to their children. If it is not willingly bestowed, then it will be wrested from them, but the grace of the willing bestowal brings strength and vigor unsurpassed. There can be grief in that moment, for the movement from one stage of life to the next entails grief, but there is also the great joy of seeing the fruits of our endeavor, the awe of life proceeding. As a result of or despite all of the challenges we have come through, there emerges the awareness that indeed, it was worth all we did, and all that our parents and grandparents and great grandparents endured. And so, we may weep in gratitude, we release our bitterness, our misunderstandings, our apparent failures, and stand in for God as we proudly and endlessly offer life to our progeny.

There is no greater work than that of the healing and progression of the family from the past into the future, the passing on and receiving of the gifts of the genetic lines that come together in a child, the acknowledgment and reconciliation of the past distortions and corruptions of those gifts, bringing peace to the ancestral lines and the calling forth of the blessing of these ancestors upon those who gratefully receive their gifts.

In this manner of acknowledging our commonality, allowing others their own consequences without judgment, accepting our selves and the consequences of our actions, taking responsibility for conducting our lives to the best of our abilities without comment or regret, we handle and transform the terrible inheritance of the past and move into our future unfettered. Let us free ourselves of our pain and the pain of others, of our unnecessary sacrifices and our wishes for revenge and death. Let us be a new promise of life, forgiveness, tender touch, thriving, and joy.   

And what of those of us who do not bring forth or raise children, who are the seeming end of the line for those who brought us in the world? For us, there is the the opportunity and challenge to bring healing and closure to the pain of the past, and that we fully receive and embrace and utilize the gifts of the genetic lines that came together to give us life, the genetic imperatives that drove our ancestors to procreate despite hardship, war, or suffering. We cannot rely on our children to try yet again to attempt reconciliation and balance of the many forces playing through them. We ourselves can either bring the gifts to fulfillment, or spend our lives feeling vaguely guilty or that we have in some way failed, though we know not at what we fail. For the imperative of the life force demands movement, when it backs up upon us we have pain and disease and dissatisfaction. We can open ourselves to allowing the movement, to pass on these gifts to the future, participating in the endless flow of life, through our loving, through our teaching, through our creativity, through the expression of the beauty within us to the world, and thereby widen the circle of the family to include all of humanity. We are healers, teachers, artists, servers, and the inheritance we pass to future generations takes a larger pathway.