With Seppo Verardi

Saturday, January 6th at 5p.m.

Cost: 80€ for personal constellation, 15€ participation in someone's constellation

Guest: Isabell Derigo - Performance

Introduction: The participants present themselves briefly (name, age, reason for participating etc.)

What is familiy constellation?

We want our existence validated.Every therapy starts with accepting the trauma; the narration starts with " They say", "maybe", "it seems as if". This is how legends work: through suspension of disbelief. Relationships are built as stories (Aischilos). Family therapy starts with the story of the family, the clan.The HUMANIST, SYSTEMiC philosophy, as professed by Virginia Satir (1916-88), Ivan Boszormeny-Nagy et al. uses the Family Reconstruction / Family Sculpture as a way of seeing. Oswald Spengler around 1920 professes spatial distance to be a - or maybe THE origin of every form of energy. So does Rupert Sheldrake with his 'morphogenetic fields'. John Berger says you should not read a radio play / weblog sitting at a table, but construct the energy fields in a room. And Anne-Joceline Schützenberger focussed on time-related incidents, incidents that occur the same day of the year.Family systemic constellation therapy is a form of existential alternative therapy, practiced with a group of people in a traditional setup that represents each others family's story by embodying members of those families and using somatic awareness to report on sensations that might arise as you step in the "field".The method developed by Bert Hellinger is used all over the world; many blockages have their origin in the family-system, in relations that go back generations. New forms of therapy have evolved from these findings.  Family constellations show these implications in a direct, un-mediated way.The involved persons are placed by the client/patient into the field in relationship to each other in order to constellate the issue. The therapist, also called facilitator, then feels who is missing or in a position that is harmful. The role of the facilitator is to prompt the dynamics between individuals as we arrive to a resolution, that is an understanding of the dynamics involved. Often it's about something passed down to a person that doesn't belong to this person in this generation. Family systemic therapy is looking at loyalties. The question is "by doing this in your life, who are you loyal to?"In systemic theory we all long to be part of a system. This system is the family. Family constellations show the unconscious relationship - or transgenerational entanglement (Verstrickungen)- between the members of a family: Sometimes the family-system asks a member to represent another one, dead or alive. Because we are all tied to our families.Acknowledging and accepting the trauma is the first step towards healing. Flight from the traumatic past permits survival, at the price of buried suffering that curses the future.The modern world we live in is one of constant distraction, where taking the time to connect to ourselves and having the patience to do so is becoming more and more difficult.Be aware that the solution, that happiness leads to solitude&isolation.

Mr Verardi: got my PhD from the University of Basel, the oldest in Switzerland, where Erasmus and Nietzsche taught. I also had the chance of taking part in seminars with Michael Harner, ethnologist and founder of neo- shamanism, Bert Hellinger, founder of the method known as Family Constellations, Daan van Kampenhout, who works with both methods, and many others.I have written a dictionary and a book still in print, taught for 24 years at a Swiss High School, worked as a fotojournalist, designer, illustrator, boxing instructor.I am an artist, a professional painter. During my academic studies I have been made aware that information can take place verbally and non-verbally. Our culture favours verbal mediums, but ancient cultures preferred other media. I pledge alliance to spiritual, shamanic counselling. I don't think it cheapens the depth of our experience, it adds meaning to it.Family constellations and shamanism share an idea of the human being as consisting of a body and a soul. The body has its own language that expresses what language cannot. Brain and body are linked. The brain is part of the body. Our digestive apparatus or "guts"is directly linked to the brain.There are helping spirits in every object we encounter, every plant, even stones, according to some shamanic traditions. The spirits are entities, they exist as themselves.Gertrude Stein in her essay 'What are masterpieces', said masterpieces are entities, "while identities are not".Hellinger confused my mind and reached my spirit. Hellinger is not afraid to say what he sees. And what he sees are facts. Someone is representing somebody, impersonating a member of someone's family. The client chooses somebody randomly and places him/her in relation to other members according to the way he sees him/her at that moment. The person is lead to his place by his shoulders and in silence. Once standing in that place, something unbelievable happens: this person also FEELS what the person he or she represents felt. They can even get the same symptoms! The aim is to show the client/patient this situation, to make him see the ways in which members are involved ('verstrickt') or represent somebody else.E.g. somebody has taken someone else's fate. It's as if the family, the group/clan is ruled by a conscience. This conscience has rules - we can call them The Structures or LOGICS of Love ('Ordnungen der Liebe'.

STRUCTURES OR LOGICS OF LOVE1 You are your parents - a refusal of parents leads to depression and more 2 parents give, kids receive and eventually give to their kids 3 1st born first, more important than 2nd etc. 4 take (not just accept) with gratitude & humility, both the good and bad (d.g. illness) 5 aborted kids go with parents, not siblings. Siblings share their love but also their problems. 6 parents' secret belongs only to them (Parents cannot be 'friends'. If they share something that belongs to them only, the child has to retreat on a inner level, looking with benevolence) 7 kids need strong parents, but they are allowed to trespassing rules and punishment 8 Say "I'm sorry" not "forgive me/I forgive you"; say "I leave your fault to you" 9 Love with passion & mindfulness, respect the order (new rel.ships respect the older ones) 10 Sex(pregnancy) is stronger than Love ('because it can lead to giving birth)!To accept life means that father and mother give their children all they have. The logic or order of love means that the children take all their parents give them. They cannot choose or refuse or add. The child IS its parents. In the order of love the child takes its parents as they are, without wishes or fears. It is a renouncement of demands. It is acconsenting to something bigger than the parents. You look behind them, where life starts, and you have to bow in front of its secret. You can check it by bowing before your parents saying "I take LIFE with everything that it has cost you and costs me." In doing so, your heart will get bigger.
Let me give you an example. If a child was given away (this could have happened before generations) somebody in a later generation will act as if he/she was given away. This person then cannot be free if she/he does not know that she/he is involved. The client changes the image of his family. He takes a deep breath, and slowly, with great respect and delicacy asks the involved member or the members of his family to free him, he asks for their blessing. Now this is sometimes difficult. Often we prefer to suffer,because the solution is more difficult to accept than the suffering. The solution is found phenomenologically, i.e. by checking the hypothesis, by looking at the patient's reaction in the constellation, if the persons are respected, if they are honoured, if the patient feels stronger.
Bert HelligerWas born in Germany, during the Nazi-regime he was treated as an enemy of the state. He was a priest. In South Africa he studied at a state's university, where he saw that religion was not necessary to be a good person. Human respect and recognition became the focus of his attention. Innocence and guilt from a psychological point of view, the question of belonging (AS you can see also in animals, think of dogs). He became the rector of a school.
Some people fear that they will get something bad from their parents. They will also leave the good, they will not take life as a whole. By saying yes to your parents you say yes to life.But there is also something mysterious in everyone. Everybody has something special which cannot be traced back to the parents. You have to accept it, too. It can mean something bad or good. We cannot judge. But if you look at it without prejudices, then it makes sense, it is in line (gefügt). Whatever you do or don't, it is your duty to do or to don't do it. It is a vocation.If the child says "what I got is good and enough, I'll take it with love and I will do the rest. I leave you now in peace", then both parents and the child are free to go on their way. A child that has claims and demands will not be free.The child also has no right to get things from its parents that belong to them. Some children prefer not to take anything from their parents, thinking that they will not owe anything. Such children feel empty, they should say "I take everything with love", irradiating their parents with love, and honouring them. The child looks forward, not backwards, like his parents did.Here's an extract from a book I'm reading, a dialogue between mother and daughter:sweetheart, love iS humiliating. it feels like earth. it grounds you. all this nonsense about love being a drug, making you feel high, that's not real. it should hold you like the earth." (C.Mellors, Cleopatra& Frankenstein)
 The clan and the ancestorsWe also belong to a clan, not only a family. Like a flock of birds or fish that suddenly changes direction. The rule is: everybody has the right to be part of it, no matter what his beliefs were. This is a rule with no exception. If the rule is broken, the outsider will be replaced unconsciously by a member of the family.Example: a man falls in love with another woman, rejecting his wife. A child will most probably take the place of the rejected person and hate her father. The solution would be the second wife telling the first "I got him at your cost. I acknowledge the pain you had. Please be kind to our daughter," and the daughter saying to the grown-ups "I belong to my mother and my father, what has happened to you is not of my concern. I am your daughter and you are my father. Please look at me with benevolence." The father then does not have to see the child as his former wife or lover. He sees her just as a child. He is the father and she is the child, not the rival of her mother. 
But there are worse examples of entanglements. If a family has lost a child, the living children, having a bad conscience for being alive, will get ill or lead a difficult life. Here the order would ask from them to say to their dead sibling "You are my brother/sister and you will always be in my heart. I bow to your fate and I accept mine."Sometimes a child takes upon himself the fate of one of his parents. "It is better if I get ill or die at your place."If the mother dies giving birth, the child should say something like "I will take it, and make something out of it. Your death will not be for nothing." This is love of a higher rank, it means being humble and leaving behind feelings of superiority.
Man and woman have to acknowledge that without the other something is missing. They are not complete, and both, if left alone or if they live alone, will develop the other's qualities. The bond between man and woman, once fulfilled, cannot be cut. If a past bond is not acknowledged, the next cannot be held.Only God /Nirvana is one. We are incomplete. Half. Even the Greek heroe is always guilty, it does not matter which road he takes. Hybris always leads to tragedy and catastrophy. Heraclitus says 'Panton patir polemos', but only love can solve the antagonism. If giving and receiving are not handled in balance, it jeopardizes the relationship.Man and woman make a family, they have the priority.Sometimes the children have priority and the parents are just parents, not lovers. The father/mother then says to the child "I love and respect in you your mother/father, too."When one of the parents brings the child into the second family, they are then the parents of their children first. Only then can they be lovers. Only then they are the parents of their new children.A child cannot stand the separation of their parents. It feels anger and sadness.The jealous child who wants one of the partners to leave, will therefore state its loyalty to her father/mother.You cannot force sb by 'blackmailing' (e.g. by asking God to do something) or forgiving. Ask for something instead of simply forgiving. This will level the relationship.(You can always give a bit more of something good or a bit less of sth bad).The coupleIs eternal love a utopia? Love is seen as a romantic, eternal force. It was not until the 19th century that couples, if rich enough (manufacturers, peasants, royals), could get married. Up to the then (romantic) love was seen as the destroyer of a relationship. Love is torn between stability and desire. We try not to solve or eliminate the problem, but we try to learn to live with it.Many relationships come to an end without somebody to blame. There is no 'culprit'. Two people part. No one's fault. Just a fact. Often the reason lies in the family of origin. One has to acknowledge the end of a relationship, otherwise the development of the partners is blocked. Family constellations is then a sort of Spiritual Aid - it helps to cure by finding inner peace, settlement, appeasemet, in Greek: endaimoneia ("in Ordnung kommen").But one can bring interrupted love-relations to an end, complete them, and make sure that all persons entangled are included.Suffering cannot lessen the couple's responsibility, although it helps to get the strength to leave after a certain time. Because only by acknowledging the failure you have the strength to part without reproach. You have given good and bad, and you have received good and bad.
RE-Uniting lost bonds (unterbrochene Hinbewegungen)An artist friend of mine from Zurich came to visit me recently in my studio in Ascona. She told me she was happily married and had a child. When I first met her she had a problem concerning her dead mother. She said: "I have no mother." That made me mad at first. But then I thought 'here is a fellow human being suffering'.Family constellations help to re-establish broken links of love, so that one can part in peace. Many more experiences have taught me phenomenologically, i.e. by looking at things as phenomenae, not through a marxist, religious, feminist or political agenda, the importance of our ancestors and the power of love.ARTArtistic expression i.e. aesthetic expression, seeks to share a significant experience.Art, especially the visual arts, seeks to seduce. It used to do this with beauty. Artists try to ambush beauty and fail ("This is great" - until the next morning). Beauty cannot be conceptualized, it can only be undergone like a benevolent seizure. It is called epiphany. So here are some ideas. You can try them on and see if they make you feel more slim and attractive. If you want to go deeper, I recommmend reading 3 philosophers who have written about 'philosophies of praxis or exercise': Socrates, Patanjali (author of the most famous treatise of Yoga) and Evagrius, a Christian monk. All lived over 1000 years ago. Their impact depends on the seriousness with which you read them. Ask yourselves: Is it a mere fashion that I am following or am really trying to transform my way of life by getting to know myself?As artists, we have probably run from our flocks on purpose. That does not mean that we can do without our families. A real artist gives up security and gets freedom. Nowadays an artist is forced to translate his work in words. It is called 'the artist's statement'. That is based on the prejudice that links intelligence with verbal expression.

********ASSIGNEMENTS:- go sing on a beach or a desert landscape.- 5 persons in a circle look at a 6th person with love and tenderness, waiting for a sentence to give her/him. They must not be too close to this person (you cannot speak the truth) nor too far away (you don't know what you're talking about, if you're too outside). If you look at trees, every one is o.k. the way it is. This is phenomenology, not dialectic thinking or philosophy. The antithesis makes me think that I can think whatever I want, it is leading to another level. I don't see what is in front of me.- The 'I' and the SelfThe I: stretch your arms, bring the hands together in a bow over your head (I). Do the opposite (the Self).- Form a group of women, giving and taking the female energy, passing it on your participating person by putting your hands on their shoulder.

Cost: 80€

January 6th, 5p.m. & Janyary 7th at 11a.m.
with Seppo Verardi

Seppo Verardi,Dr.phil.
Caraa dala Bice 96654 CaviglianoTel. 076 398 55 98
Atelier: Via Collegio 8,

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