How has escalating gun violence become imbedded in the social fabric of our US society? Where might
Harvest for Collective/Social Healing Constellation Evening – Boulder – June 16, 2017 YWCA
the USA, struggling to find its identity in the midst of continual turmoil in our country and across the world.
Judy – as constellator, facilitator – here are some of my thoughts and observations as we entered into this experiential evening.
Often for me the constellation becomes an exploration of the dynamics at play in recent unexpected tumultuous events arising in the larger context of US history and current events – continually evolving and intensifying disturbing patterns. A couple of days before the 16th, a man unexpectedly began shooting at GOP Congressmen at an early morning baseball practice where they were preparing for the game against the Democrats, a charity raising event. (already the energy of polarization trying to harmonize in collegiality and a good cause) The 3rd in charge in the House of Representatives was critically wounded and several others as well. The repeating pattern of a lone shooter, who for reasons not totally understood - suddenly showing up and wounding or killing innocent people, even children - is increasingly common and disturbing. The motives have seemed to be buried in the intersections of racial, political, or religious divides - or even hatred against the rising equal rights for various groups like LGBTQ, Muslims, and Blacks to name some. We often don’t look beneath the shock and grief to see what historical patterns might really be at work. How might we understand more about what is trying to be seen and healed - as unexpected mass shootings of gun violence are escalating? What is more deeply imbedded in this violent pattern? Where is the light wanting to shine – how might we cast light on these shadows?
Resourcing as part of our check in Circle – making Sacred Space
To set a sacred space/container for our time, we entered into silence, and then checked in - naming and honoring the resources there for each of us and present in the space this evening – be they ancestors, friends, archetypes, inspirational people, teachers – trusting what is showing up. Here is what emerged.
A Native American Woman – She just came to me. I may have been a Native American woman and lived here in the past. Also, my mother and grandmother are present. They would be curious about this.
Early 1600’s ancestors who were in Connecticut and Massachusetts. I am curious about their experience. I don’t know what their motivations were to come to the New World. I also feel the Native Wisdom of a great-great Native American Grandmother is with me.
An Extraterrestrial (ET) Experiencer named Suzy Hansen, who was here and I was present for 3 of her talks. I felt a powerful connection with her, maybe a previous life. It gives what we do a galactic implication. And a long-time teacher who lives in Taos, New Mexico. She disliked Suzy Hansen’s book and so didn’t finish it. She has reservations about people who claim ET experiences. It is powerful for me to hold both of their energies that are so different. I am grappling with different voices right now. (comment – this grappling with polarities/different voices seems so much a part of what is happening on many systemic levels – in each of us, our country, and the world and so it shows up here.)
Mother Mary – I felt her presence during the night earlier this week. I welcome her. And my father who served in World War II. I read Donald Trump’s comments at his daughter’s wedding and I know the soldiers who risked their lives (like my dad) would find him appalling.
My mother – today, June 16 would have been her birthday. She would be 99. I have developed a lot more understanding and love for her, a lot since she passed in 94. I wish I could have done some of that healing while she was still here. I have learned that she hoped I would be a boy, since life is harder for women/girls. She must have experienced that. I feel her loving presence now.
2nd Circle – A little deeper check in (some moments of silence)
How are we (each of us) experiencing the often traumatic happenings in our country? We learned this week about Republican Congressmen and their supporting staff being injured by a gunman at their baseball practice.
There seems to be a repeating pattern of gun violence in our country. And is it more than that? If we take a larger perspective where is the light trying to shine in this picture? How might there be a larger pattern at work? Where are you sensing some hope?
What brings me hope is seeing where the institutions are still functioning and have a strong influence to move us in appropriate directions. So much is being tested. The response of the people and institutions is to bring us back to a balance of power.(comment - it would show up at the very end of this constellation that the power is in the people, even if hidden) Looking back at history, like the early 70’s, we have had many ups and downs and have managed to come through them. We need a give and take, and an ebb and flow to happen so that things move back to a better place.
I noticed that one police officer at the shooting was a partner in a same sex marriage. The Congressman who was shot wrote legislation against that. I see the goodness of ordinary people who don’t take vengeance. The President seems totally caught up in vengeance. I notice some of the country is not caught up in polarization and that there are hard-working people going about their work, like the many people working in the government. My intention is to have my meditations, continually connect with others and hope, to read the news but not to be caught up in the skirmishes. To find the points of light; not to be entranced by the story. And political parties – could we be beyond parities – a bi-modal choice?
I have hope seeing the steadfastness of the institutions and the people within. Thousands are going about their responsibilities like people working at the EPA and other agencies with reduced funding – not buying in and just being decent people. I learned there are thousands of people in place who have had the same training as Suzy (ET learning/coaching). We must learn to be patient, and to know when to take a stand. There is a creative force at work in our field. Patience and equanimity give me hope. It’s a collective thing. We must rise to the occasion and know when to hold fast. The younger generation coming along are amazing. They have sensitivity and are being raised in tough times. There are things they know that we don’t. And they are getting good parenting. They are resisting authoritarian things like what happens in schools and through religion. I also see the resilience and cycles of the land. This is ours to share. I intend to be closer to the land. I have lost that connection.
Hope – when the Paris Climate Accord was denied, many leaders in the country said they would continue to comply. The power is not really with the national leadership. It gives me hope to see people stepping up. There’s the light – maybe we needed this.
(comment – the last constellation in Ft. Collins, the US leadership/president were not the key and were disconnected from the Paris Accord; the children became central and are what’s needed; they are the hope. Future generations would make it happen.)
Patience. Many say peace and serenity. They are different. Peace can come and go and what is in your core does not come and go like peace and serenity do. Like with the stock market, if you jump every time it shifts, you don’t get anywhere. When a different party gets in power, they work to dismantle the work of the previous administration.
It feels positive that everyone sees some points of light, and of hope as our government/political system may need to break down to transform in some way going forward.
Our Group for this constellation - deep gratitude!!
Silence - Bell
feel all the help that is here for us
Why are we seeing repeating patterns of gun violence in our country? Where is the light trying to shine? What have we not seen? What could be key to a new future?
-More silence, then we began – Representatives would not know who or what they represented, at least for the first part. So, we began as a blind constellation process, to see what unfolded from this subtle intuitive embodied level. As the facilitator, I knew what was being represented. Part of my intention is to remove bias within the representatives, and even in me so what unfolds is beyond my imaginings; although I chose what would be represented.
t, Guns/Firearms, Money, Law Enforcement, Distrust, Media, the People (power became a hidden part of the latter).
Guns – I asked this volunteer to find her place. Then Law Enforcement(LF). She moved to find her place. She was a bit distant from Guns. Guns had an element of Joy being Guns but hadn’t absorbed LF yet. LF was not really feeling much toward Guns. Next came Money finding her place. Money moved more toward Guns and a bit behind. Guns liked it. Guns paid attention because she was wanting community.(Comment: could there be something lonely or a sense of not belonging in Guns) LF is sadder. Money not really aware of any of them. LF was feeling her shoulders curled in. Sad. Hunching over. Distrust then entered and not drawn to the others and directly to stand under a light coming down from a ceiling light. Distrust was very drawn there; She said, “that is the whole show, the light”. (Comment: later she would say if felt like Light was an element in the constellation – very astute and not totally recognized during the constellation)
A bit more showing up….
Guns said, “That (Distrust) feels brand new. Childlike or baby energy.” Money feels a little unsettled and not sure quite what to make of Distrust. LF, “I feel more of the same, curling into myself. Nervousness in my stomach” Guns was moving and said, “I am trying to absorb that (Distrust’s) energy. Guns said, “she(Distrust) feels like she is in a silo. I want to connect and understand without intruding.” Money is following Guns, but not sure if she wants to go over there to Distrust. LF – “I am feeling like peaking out a bit and looking around. What’s going on here?” “I didn’t say it before, but when I first came in, I had the image of someone screaming. When I stood here, it felt like a calming, and later it was the same screaming again.”(Comment: maybe indicative of the trauma in LF trying to protect so many from harm, and when there’s a shooting, lots of screaming and hysteria in people and maybe even silently in them). “Now it’s like peaking around a door.” She wanted to move. LF felt like something opened, but she was still hunched and small, but “I am moving out of where I was”. Distrust is still bathing in the light. Guns was restless, but liked where she was now (closer to Distrust), no need to move. “I don’t want to overdo it”.
As facilitator, I brought in a mat with the name under the mat (this was Media). It was pointing toward LF and into the center. Money felt like she wanted to sit down. Media was next to her. Money felt a dropping of heavy energy, still sitting next to Media.
LF felt more like she could stand up more. She was wondering if there could be support from Guns, but did not ask directly. Guns said, “I am trying to be in an energy I don’t know what it is.” Guns noticed LF focused on her. She noticed, “Strangely the mat (Media) feels more communal than the others still in their silos. Strange experience. It (Media) is pointed toward me. And I love that”. Distrust feels like moving and to be by the side of Media. She moves there and puts her hands out over the mat. “It feels fine to be here, it feels like an emotional response, and wanting to send healing energy to the mat (Media).” LF, “at first felt I could stand up, now back to where I was. (Comment: was there something about the possibility of the Media being Healed – later could be Truth as the healing agent - does the Truth scare LF?). Guns was moving, doesn’t want LF to be left out. Money felt calm and good when Distrust (a healing agent?) came closer. She felt some relief. “I didn’t realize I needed that relief until she came.” (I stepped on Media to see what was there). Media wanted to change direction.
I advised the group that a lot of dynamics were at work and the elements are rather abstract concepts. I asked them to step out of their roles to see what was at work. I had noticed the attraction between Guns and LF. And distrust came to have light shine on her and after the light then putting healing hands over the mat for Media. Another said the whole thing seemed like a dark place.
Time to reveal who they were.
Money was revealed first (could also be the economic system). Then I revealed Media. So we could see the close relationship between Media and Money ( right beside each other). When I stepped on Media, it wanted to look at everything but was really glad Money was next to it. Guns / firearms was revealed next. Early on there was attraction from Money to Guns. And Guns felt the relationship between Media, Money, and then Distrust who had gone to stand in the light. I said, “My sense is a lack of trust is permeating the whole system and an unwillingness to see the truth.” And Distrust “was attracted to Media in a healing kind of way – maybe truth.” (Comment: Where/what was the healing in Distrust. She may not have stayed as Distrust. Money felt relief when she came to Media next to her) Distrust felt Light might have transformed her. She spoke then of “how she felt more a force for Truth, and Compassion. Truth and compassion could be healing for the Media. Media has a hard job too.” Then Law Enforcement was revealed. She did feel a great weight and connection to Guns. She felt support from Guns. Guns said, “interestingly I associated you, LF, with suffering. LF “felt very alone. No connection. Only a policeman can understand another one, they are like a silo. Distrust is there a lot.” Money, “noticing that Guns went into the light when distrust came to the media.” Guns, “the restlessness felt right and the joy could be for the recreational use of guns; many people enjoy that. This configuration is making me personally look at that – seeing a positive side to guns.”
I, facilitator, commented, “a firearm has a purpose and not always one we like. LF is really the only ally, and Money. Guns are big business. Media thrive on all of this getting higher ratings and audience.” And more discussion from the group. Media had turned toward the guns; where the action is. One mentioned, The Megan Kelley would show a man with a conspiracy theory around Sandy Hook(children and teachers killed by a lone shooter). She was interviewing a guy who said Sandy Hook was a rouse to make people hate firearms. A Mother of a child who died there asked to be on the show and respond to this guy. Megan was unwilling. The mother felt the media was exploiting the whole thing and she felt the distrust, and lack of truth or distortion of truth. One mother was taking a stand. We are called upon at a certain point to stand for truth. And it was commented that the Megan Kelley show is competing with top rated 60 Minutes. Noticing Media competition for ratings which bring in money (comment: and competition for ratings to get money can be misused to distort truth and inject distrust of others.)
They went back into their roles to see how it was now. An experiment.
Distrust – recalled that when she was first in the light, religiosity came up. Producing a religiosity. (Comment: – some elements of religion, Christianity underlying these patterns of violence toward others going back centuries; it is often the religious right that want their guns and money – or so liberals think). I asked her if she was now distrust or Truth or other. She said it depends on who she is in relationship with.
LF – “I am getting a bending over, and pulled toward money. Maybe a need. I am not sure, leaning in there. But I am not pulled to be there.” Money still feels neutral. Money has nothing to say except she feels more connected. Not so interested in guns now. She feels like she belongs more now.
Distrust had moved away but wanted to go back to the light. “Get me out of here.” She went far away to a different light. Is there more beyond Distrust, I asked? Now she felt like Fear. And she noticed the difference for her knowing who or what is being represented. Strong felt Mistrust of Money. She notices changes depending on what she is in relationship with. (Comment: this could be how distrust/mistrust or fear work, depending on context and who is involved).
Guns wanted to ask Mistrust, who was transitioning earlier to something else when she came here (by Money and Media). Guns asked, “what was going on when you put your hands out like you were warming yourself on a campfire?” What came into my mind later was there is a step called curiosity that leads to Truth, if you ask enough questions and get enough answers to get the Truth. It looked like you were trying to get warm with the Media.”
Distrust said she really felt like she was sending warmth and was wanting to heal the one sitting on the floor (Media and maybe Money). When she was first under the light, she felt interest more than curiosity. Standing under the light felt transformative (maybe healing) and she was wanting to give healing. (Comment: I also wonder if she was transformed into Trust – certainly a kind of healing energy).
LF was moving. “I am feeling this great compaction, or a crippling, or a twisting. My body feels like it’s compressing and twisted. My head was leaning to the left, not how I hold myself when I am me. Hard to hold this position.” She was advised to be gentle with herself.
I was placing another mat. I had decided to put in the People, but to keep it blind. LF had interest. Guns was drawn toward it because it is new and maybe could help. Mistrust felt the mistrust again. LF, “part of me wants to go over there, but not sure. I envision sitting down and to the left of it.” She was asked to try it. She did. How is it to be there? I asked. “It’s like a belonging. Feels like I belong here. It’s not real strong, but better than being where I was. I am not totally hunched over, but still some.” (Comment: I wonder if there is something about being closer to her purpose as LF?)
Mistrust wanted to look at it and felt an impulse to control it (mat for the people).
Guns – “it’s pointed at me even though we are all in the sphere of the arrow. But it also could see everyone. She said that she doesn’t like not knowing what things are. (she was likely saying this from her own personal perspective, but then ?? do people sometimes shoot a gun at something not sure what it is?)
The Media was blocked. Money was in front of the media.
(Comment - I wonder if Media's need or obsession for money through ratings is what really keeps it from being trusted and truly connecting with the people?)
Media wanted to move. (I felt that as I stood on the mat, so I put Media closer to where everyone else was; then Money also moved to be in front of the Media; still blocking it; she would later say why.)
LF was lying down; she needed to do that. “I need to rest, and I feel comfortable here.” (She was lying down curled next to the mat for People.)
Money had moved – “I still need to not let these 2 see each other.” (She was in front of Media and seemed to be blocking Media from the People mat.)
I then asked the reps if they sensed something could be missing. Mistrust felt there needed to be something on the side looking in and a distance away. She placed a mat for something looking in. She didn’t name it, not sure what it was. (Comment: Here I could have had her stand on the mat to see what came through. An option. Now I wish I had.)
I asked if that mat being there changed anything for the others.
Guns felt polarity. And noticed representatives were all representing somewhat negative things. She felt what’s missing would need to be positive and needed. She was hoping it was under one of the unnamed mats. She said, “We are all stuck. And also gathered around.” (they were gathered around the mat with ‘people’ under it)
LF answered for what was missing, “We are missing ‘people’.” Guns said ‘activists’, “I think of activists as people.” Mistrust said the ‘victims’. (comment: so all are forms of people and I had thought of representing victims.) I revealed to them that the mat they were gathered around was People. (later when we were gathering the mats up to put away, one person noticed that on the piece of paper under the mat, the other side said Power. Seems like there was a hint there of something important we had not explored. Like hidden or unacknowledged power in the people.)
I asked if anyone had a sense of what the unnamed new mat represented. I went and stood on it to see if that changed anything for the others. One said God. Others felt something like it was a higher power, a life force, a co-creative power. Or laws or principles. Universal Laws. LF was feeling an interest in that. For me standing on the mat – “It feels like I could be looking in or looking away or out.” I turned toward the window to look out and was looking at a nice scene outside. “I care about what’s here inside (in the constellation) and I care about where we are going. I could be some kind of universal law or being. I feel more like I am the future, the potential.” As facilitator I said, “The system is kind of stuck, yet the focus is on the People. There’s some recognition they are important. I then stepped into the position of the People. “Oh my God, this feels heavy. It feels good to have LF next to me, like a resource. I don’t feel mistrust of them at this point. I know all of this here (money, guns, media) is part of my world. I am often drawn to them (the Media, I think ?) Everything is weighing me down. The Future potential or the higher being over there, I like, because it could guide us to a better future.”
What follows from others is really moving out of representing and simply wanting to explore the potential.
One said the mat over there on the side could be “transformed human beings”. Another said we are getting close to the points of light in the question - people and principles or divine inspiration.
I stepped out of People. I told them that one element I did not put in was Trust, because I felt there was so much dis/mistrust in the whole system. Trust is a huge missing element. (Comment: and distrust may have transformed while in the Light into Trust) They all agreed and saw that no one trusts anyone anymore. That’s why we need Guns/Firearms. And bullies. And we need money to buy guns or to do whatever we need to do.
I asked the one who represented LF – before we knew who the elements were there was some relationship for you to money. She said that she felt drawn to money, but wasn’t ready to go there. So I pointed out there is a dynamic of some kind there and we are not sure what’s at work in the LF system. (Comment: there could be the dynamic of LF not making much money in the rank and file, and/or money as corrupting the system and the Criminal Justice System as would be said in our closing circle). I continued, Law Enforcement is a huge system and is becoming bigger. LF, the rep, felt the crippling weight when representing. I recalled that as the people I needed to see hope somewhere. That’s why I was drawn to the mat of higher power, future potential and maybe Hope (truly missing)
I noted that in the check in circle, each brought in what they hoped for. Also, I wondered what is the larger pattern we can’t quite see yet, because it looks so dark now. One said she really appreciated and related to the question of where is the light trying to come in? Another mentioned a story of the mother who lost a son to gun violence and then in her process she befriends the killer. And forgives. A lot of stories about that. (Comment: In this constellation the light seemed to be needed everywhere. Distrust felt that need right from the beginning and stood under the light. I wonder now if Distrust could be transformed into trust, how the whole system might change?)
So we closed to de-role and sit in our closing circle.
De-Roling is a very important ritual practice and is important here when working in a field with troubled imbedded patterns and large historical energies at work.
Closing Circle – debrief - Circle sharing
What was your experience? What did you notice, or what surprised you? What are you learning about yourself in this process?
Law Enforcement – (speaking as who she is) I was always taught as a child to dislike guns and to respect Law Enforcement. Over the years it seems there is a lot of corruption. I have a philosophical understanding of the need for guns – a kind of protection in case of uprising. As the representative, I felt the pressure Law Enforcement is under. I respect their work. I would not want to do it. I am glad they are doing their work. I was attracted to the People, and eventually curled around them; I rested there on the floor, I felt comfortable there. (Comment: again maybe LF’s true purpose to protect the people – all the people)
Distrust/mistrust/fear/Truth – I just wanted the light (she had gone to stand under a light overhead), to be transformed. I changed when the Media came in. (Media was not yet revealed) It was a force for Truth. People – I need to keep my eye on them and the Future/Hope. I used to have an almost phobic response to guns. At one point I said I felt fear. I didn’t know yet it was People/or Power. Mistrust of power. The light was transforming. I needed the Light. Light felt like another element in the constellation.
Guns – I was shocked to find out I was guns. I have a phobia about guns. It is hard to think of the good. I also these days see gradations or exceptions for many things. It opens me up to see guns as more complicated. As a child, I shot my father’s gun and knocked tin cans off of stumps. Being a blind representative was hard. I don’t like not knowing. I like things to be definite. If I break it into subtleties, I can take a stand when the time is right. Light could bring forgiveness. And revenge, the victim often becomes the perpetrator to get revenge.
Money – I think of the Criminal Justice System and money’s role. Restorative Justice (how victim or the family forgive the perpetrator) – how to deal with criminal behaviors and change the pattern. And competing power roles – power players. I remember shooting tin cans, but guns were for hunting and bringing home the food. I felt neutral toward guns (in the constellation and when younger); guns had a job to do. I felt no emotions. Then when the people came in, I felt moved by the forces using me. (Money had been close to Media and guns were attracted to her) (Comment: Money is likely really neutral and finds its flow in how people use it for good or the not good – often for Power. In those who shoot others is there some kind of sense of powerlessness?)
Ending with silence to close our sacred space for this evening.
More to come on ripples of interpretation in the days following. I posted some further ripples in the blog for July 4, 2017 - it seemed the distrust and bashing of the Media was reaching new intensity and related to this constellation and others. And around July 4 the anniversary of the USA declaring independence - with the Freedom of the Press mentioned in the First Amendment. What is really at the root of distrust of the Media and each other?