A blog by Matt Shepheard.
“The grief and loss that we attribute to a failure in our personality is actually a feeling of emptiness where a beautiful and strange otherness should be found” Paul Shepherd
One of the things I love about Extinction Rebellion (who are taking actions this week) is that they encourage truth telling, helping people face the destruction of our eco-system and then experience the grief that arises from being with the reality of all that has been, and will be, lost.
This painful simple looking and grieving is an important part of freeing us to take action.
First we have to see things as they are, then maybe change is possible.
In part, we have engaged in the destruction of our ecosystem because we’ve lost touch with the “beautiful and strange otherness”. We’ve forgotten what our ancestors knew, we’ve decided that the world is a certain way and, in the process, rejected how it really is, which is magical, mysterious, wild and beautifully unfathomable.
Telling the truth and connecting with the mystery that is bigger than all of us are at the heart of systemic constellations work. The work supports people to see and be with truth, helping people face things as they are so as to release possibilities for change. Systemic constellations work helps us to stand in the mystery, seeing and feeling the interconnected web that informs, shapes and supports life.
If we can’t or won’t look because something is too complex and painful or because we feel too much shame and can’t bear the guilt, then we create an exclusion and pass on unattended grief and all its consequences to later generations.
A constellation finds out what was too much to face and what needs to be seen and grieved in order for life and love to flow.
Systemic constellations help us look at things as they are, revealing deep uncomfortable truths. Somehow when we face and integrate these truths we are strengthened rather than weakened, more potent rather than diminished.
Humans are good at turning away from things. Francis Weller says “the interweaving of personal and planetary losses has left many of us feeling uncertain, anxious and ultimately heartbroken”. The loss may be parts of ourselves that we’ve abandoned, events in our family story that were too painful to be integrated, members of our family that have been excluded or written out of history, or aspects of the world that we collectively cannot bear.
We’re wired to participate in the world and with each other, in ways more rooted, mystical, more splendid than the cognitive mind and rational world supports.
Psychosynthesis also helps us remember connection to this beautiful and strange otherness. The call of the Self draws us back to our inheritance of a deeper more magical participation in the world in all its mystery, awesome strangeness and beauty. This is the inheritance that our ancestors are yearning for us to accept amongst the boxed off, separated mess we have got ourselves into.
Gary Snyder writes “To remember our eternal bond with this beautiful and strange otherness, is to recall our deep-time heritage, our mythic inheritance which is embedded in bone and breath. We become a burrowing badger of belonging, nosing our way into the soil, nuzzling the ground with sharp claws and an instinctual knowing that is determined to claim what is ours."
This Gary Snyder quote brilliantly sums up the possibilities inherent in systemic constellations work and how the process can be experienced. People often leave a workshop with full hearts through directly experiencing interconnection, restoration and belonging to the human race.
Matt supports people in their personal and professional growth and development as a systemic coach and facilitator.
Matt’s work is based on a depth of understanding of the dynamics that shape human systems and relationships. He draws on the theory and practice of systemic constellations, psychosynthesis, transpersonal psychology, and his experience of working as a leader in organisations.
He has recently published a chapter in the 2nd edition of the Handbook of Coaching Psychology on the systemic constellations approach to coaching.