With his grandmother, 9 Year old Jimmy came for a session to my office. I was the last therapist to try before they would put Jimmy on medication for ADHD and hyperactivity. Grandma was the caretaker for Jimmy and his sister because their parents were divorced and unable to take care of their children. Grandma spoke very negatively about her ex-daughter in law. “She‘s a horrible mother, a drug addict. She’s not even paying child-support.” Jimmy looked away while she spoke. For me the task was to elicit some empathy from grandmother for Jimmy’s mother, who was seemingly immersed in her own problems. Being addicted to drugs never occurs because of happy reasons. Grandma was not open to hear any other vision than her own.
I asked Jimmy to “map his family” with colored footprints he would choose from, and to put them in the open space on the floor that we call “the field”. Spontaneously he put the footprints wherever he felt like. He chose a pair of footprints for himself, his mother, father, sister and grand- parents. We added the dog too. I asked Jimmy to put shapes that are representing feelings next to the footprints , where ever he would feel comfortable . Those feelings would then be seen as belonging to the footprints of that person. Jimmy put next to everyone “love” but not for himself. He put “sadness” to his mother’s footprints and also to his own. He put “anger” next to his father’s prints.
The mapping shows the inner picture of how Jimmy perceives his family and ultimately his world. He was obviously feeling lonely, disconnected from his parents, but supported by grandparents, and had no love for himself (!).
The way he positioned his own feet showed a deep longing for his mother. It became clear how he was connected to his mother, which was with sadness and pain. He peeked from the corners of his eyes to his grandmother, almost afraid of what she would think from all this and he saw that she was tearing up. This picture made her realize that it is detrimental for the boy when she speaks negatively about his mother. His feelings need to be respected. Even a troubled mother wants to be loved by the child, and deserves respect for wherever and whatever she is going through. Most importantly, regardless of the situation, the child will love his mother. The child needs to have positive feelings about his parents., which can be very difficult and conflicting. Tearing natural family ties apart can cause restlessness and depression. It is our judging that can hurt others so much. One session seemed to be enough to have Jimmy‘s behavior change. The need for medication was gone.
The green footprints are from Jimmy, yellow and blue the grandparents, dark pink the dad (left corner beneath), yellow in the upper left corner; the mom. The pink circles symbolize “love”, the purple circles “sadness”. Red square: anger
“Appreciation of our diversity”, I wish that would be a class in school. It would prepare us at least partially for our future relationships with ourselves and with others. Competition divides us and is a killer for friendships and relationships. The trend to look at “winners and losers” by validating the “winner” much more than the “loser” doesn’t teach our children compassion or respect. That is quite contradicting to the call or request for respect which is so often expressed. In intimate relationships and with parenting styles criticism, comparison and judgment of behavior – especially when our needs aren’t met- is rather rule then exception. One key for happy relationships is feeling totally accepted for who you are. When people are in love, they tend to see only the good in the other. That’s not only because they don’t see “reality” (whose reality is it anyway), they just focus on the beauty of the other. If the critical mind awakes, usually the energy shifts..sadly enough. Why not to stay for ever in that state of bliss?
Interpretation and perception are great misleads and problem causes in all relationships. There is not ONE reality, but we all perceive the same ONE reality differently. That’s because we bring into our scopes our past and our beliefs. We also have intuition and we sense vibrations from others. So, how do we interpret these? Well, without connecting to criticism, some people you just might stay away from. You can still respect and validate them, but protect yourself from vibes you don’t align or feel good with… In respecting the other person as he/she is, that makes us feel much more pleasant than when we are in the “I’m right you’re wrong” discussions… Your opinion isn’t better, its only different. For example the “You are lazy” accusation tells more about the needs of the speaker than the true intentions of the one that is most likely relaxing. Yes,this is pure interpretation. Clear observation is the best guidance for true understanding and eventually can lead to acceptance. That doesn’t include that violence is permitted. It never is.
From a closed heart to an open heart As traumatic hurtful experiences can play a destructive part in the rest of our life if we don’t take steps to heal and release, so can multi-generational misery or Epigenetics conduct our life as well. It’s not only learned behavior that makes us act towards our partner like how our parents treated each other. How free are our choices for behavior really? Trauma keeps its power until healed and released, like negativity is surpassed by positivity. Little wounds leave little scars, while big wounds leave big scars. When the pain is large, we can decide to close our heart for love to protect ourselves from being hurt again or the bitterness takes over and causes us to close ourselves off. All of us know people who are perceived as “cold”. Did you know that violence, rape and arranged marriages without love could stop the flow of love through the future generations? The systemic work I do traces the path back to that cause. This work offers a new perspective and understanding of the bigger picture. It simultaneously offers forgiveness and honors what needs to be brought to light and opened up for love again. If your life unfolds in ways you don’t understand, whether its about lack of success in work, divorce issues with you or your children, adoption, depression or anxiety, try this workshop: “Discover the Hidden Information in Your Energy”
Last night I learned about the sound of compassion. How does compassion sound? Before you start to laugh or think critically you might consider doing what Einstein did. He declared that everything is energy. Having said that, we squeeze our minds to try to imagine what that really means. It’s very abstract, right? Not easy to do in a society where validation primarily is given to the perceivable world. Anyway, very old wisdom written down in one of the books of the Zohar (Kabbalah) teaches us that the “Aaaaahhhh” sound, felt in the chest by focusing on the heart and chest, has a level of vibration that creates compassion. You just put your hand on your heart and feel it.
From Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer I learned that Shaaaaahhh… is the sound of creation. So that indicates that Ahhh: “compassion” is an integral part of Shaaaahhh. To chant that sound is a great start of the day. Ending the day with Ommmmmm which means gratitude is really lifting up your energy.
Practicing gratitude is a habit that clears negativity and opens up to the state of manifesting our wishes and dreams. Together it hears as: Shaaa-l-ooom which means peace. So this word shalom encompasses the concepts: Creation, Compassion, Gratitude and Peace.
Compassion practiced intentionally is a very powerful tool. Compassion can be learned. Really. People who do not have compassion usually have a mindset that is filled with inhibiting, negative beliefs, have been raised among detrimental circumstances or have certain mental disorders.
Compassion is a combination of Observation (clean judgment, not criticism) and Unconditional Love.
The power of intention is sufficient to make it work. Focus your mindset, your energy, and voila, it’s felt by the other. We are used to say: “I send you my love, regards, best wishes.” That saying probably stems from a time there was more consciousness about energy in our lives and language. When you feel wronged, hurt or experience other negative feelings, so characteristic in relationships; be compassionate with yourself. Self-compassion is one of the emotional healing tools that is really effective.
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