It was fantastic to see so many of you at our event earlier this month and to share some really heart-felt moments and a stimulating discussion. Big thanks to Nicki Gillard for sharing her own insights and tools for overcoming insomnia and Liz Sleeper for enabling us to understand the importance of looking at the wider ‘system’ of which we are just a small part in order to understand and resolve the unconscious influences that drive our behaviour. There was a lot to take away from this event and it would be really interesting to know if anyone will experience any change (hopefully for the better!) in their wellbeing by applying some of the practical tools we were introduced to.
Also, thank you all so much for your generous contribution to our fund-raising raffle in aid of the Sussex Cancer Fund and congratulations to the two lucky prize winners!
Family Constellations Family Constellations is an experiential process derived from psychotherapeutic approaches such as psychodrama; however, it went beyond the mainstream psychotherapy, incorporating the concept of ‘systemic entanglement’, the idea that there is a relationship between past and present events which is not caused by direct personal experience.
Liz Sleeper, one of the most experienced constellations facilitators in the South-East, gave a very brief introduction, stating just the main premises of this approach: that all individuals have a place in the family and that our fate is inextricably linked to the fate of our ancestors. By using other people to stand in as ‘representatives’ to model the issue holder’s circumstances, the work enables hidden truths and loyalties to be recognised. Family Constellations thus help individuals to see relationships in a much wider context and bring sense to confusing or baffling behaviours – either their own or of other family members.
This approach both liberates the issue holder from feeling responsible for issues that are not theirs, and also enables them to take responsibility for issues that are theirs and theirs alone.
With the help of volunteers, Liz facilitated a brief constellation in a very sensitive, respectful and skillful way, bringing so much depth and warmth to the process. The resulting interaction between the participants in the constellation was very surprising and moving, not just for the participants themselves, but for the observers too. In fact, in workshops, representatives often get as much out of the process as the person whose family constellation they are modelling (the issue holder).
Participants and observers in Family Constellations workshops frequently find the work profoundly enlightening and healing, and some even compare its effectiveness to many years of psychotherapy. The workshops evoke a lot of emotions and can, at times, be quite stressful, but the long-term effect is that of centredness, inner peace and the resolution of stressful conflicts. Our brief demonstration opened more questions than it managed to answer – it was a real shame we didn’t have time to go into more depth.
Read more about Family Constellations
For those of you interested in giving this approach a go, our next evening Family Constellations workshop is coming up on Monday – more information and booking here.
No More Insomnia We were very pleased to welcome once again Nicki Gillard, the author of the honest, insightful and humorous memoir ‘Diary of an Ex-Insomniac: Introducing the Insomnia Ditch-and-Switch’. In the engaging and honest talk, Nicki shared with us her years of struggle with insomnia and the ex-insomniac mind-set she eventually developed (the ‘Ditch-and-Switch’ method).
Just like we don’t have to make ourselves breathe as it’s an automatic bodily function, we also don’t need to make ourselves sleep (or get to sleep, which is another linguistic trap that implies action on our part). Sleep is a natural bodily function and our body will do it when it’s ready. We can decide that we want to rest and that’s absolutely fine – whether or not this ends in sleep is beside the point…. we’ll sleep when we’re ready and stressing about it certainly won’t help!
The true problem lies in the fact that labeling our experience makes ‘insomnia’ part of our identity, and we end up trying hard to get to sleep instead of just letting the nature take its course. If we get into the insomniac mind-set, we perpetuate the vicious circle. This applies not just to sleep problems, but stress and life in general!
Following the publication of her book, Nicki is now dedicating her time to helping others find their way out of the insomniac mind-set. In this session she shared with us some really simple tools for promoting rest – what she calls ‘skillful resting’, including the wonderfully calming and creative Ditch & Switch Mantra Colouring.
During the talk we also touched on several myths about sleep, including whether or not it’s necessary to sleep for a certain number of hours or whether we need to have uninterrupted sleep at all, instead of sleeping in blocks. Whatever our natural sleep pattern is like, we need to accept it and go with the flow – instead of lying in the dark and stressing about not being able to sleep, we might as well do something we enjoy, whether it’s lying in the dark and simply resting, or switching the light on and reading our favourite book or listening to a podcast. Just stop trying to sleep – it simply won’t work!
Read more about Skillful Resting
We really look forward to seeing you at our next talk & demo evening on the 6th of March when we’ll be exploring Creative Constellations and discussing the effectiveness of Reiki healing!