Issue 25, January 2015
Barbara Morgan: Editorial
Bert Hellinger: The Turning Point
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Susan Pogue: In conversation with Don Paglia
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
Sarah Peyton: Three Strands of Healing: The Interpersonal Neurobiology of Constellation Work
Ursula Gubler-Lanz: Art Therapy and Constellation Work
Charmaine Tener: Organisational Constellations in North America: Research Results on Facilitators’ Perspectives
Beth Hand: Working with US Business Leaders: What You Need to Know
NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Anngwyn St. Just: Black August
Max Dauskardt: International Systemic Constellations Association: End of an Era
BOOK & FILM REVIEWS
Claude-Helene Mayer: Returning to Membership in Earth Community: Systemic Constellation with Nature edited by Francesca Mason Boring & Ken Sloan
Jen Altman: Embodied Lives: Reflections on the Influence of Suprapto Suryodarmo and Amerta Movement
edited by Katya Bloom, Margit Galanter and Sandra Reeve
Susan Pogue: Film: The Railwaymen
Charlotte Palmgren: Under ytan: Berättelser ur verkliga livet utifrån ett familjesystemiskt perspektiv
(Under the Surface: Real Life Stories from a Family System Perspective)
Jan Crawford: Consenting Adult: The Other Instinct
Issue 25, January 2015
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Conversation between Susan Pogue and Don Paglia
Susan: Also, in terms of your background, you mentioned that you’re a Catholic. I know you worked for many years in a Church organisation and you said a little bit about how love is the core for you of this work and of your faith. How do you think your faith has influenced your work?
Don: Well, I can get pretty provoked when I think about the religious institution or any institution for that matter. I mean I can get annoyed by any of the man-made institutions and how we probably create God in our own image rather than the other way around. But for me, beyond all that, there are some truths that I think transcend it all and you see it consistently in lots of faiths and traditions, be it Buddhist, Christian, Jewish or Native American. I think these truths are there about how we are intimately connected to each other. For me, I have a Catholic vocabulary that serves me in that thinking and this links into constellations for me.
One simple way to say this is that I love people. I enjoy people and I enjoy when others are able to create a breakthrough or an insight. It’s fulfilling for me when this happens, be it an individual or a couple. A lot of my colleagues don’t want to work with couples, whereas I prefer to. It’s messier and more complicated. When something occurs that’s really helpful and useful for them, I delight in that. I find that very rewarding. A lot of it is helping people discover what’s already there. It’s not magic, but it’s helping people see what I would refer to as their own divinity.
Susan: Can you say more about how you define spirituality?
Don: Well, with Bert Hellinger’s idea that most of the time we think we have a soul and really the soul has us, since our mortal bodies are finite and our soul comes from the unknown into this known and then, when our body dies our soul goes back to the unknown. To me we are spiritual beings with a human body as opposed to human bodies with a spiritual being. I like Hellinger’s broader vision. We need to reflect more on that as people. Religion can serve people in that way, but it can also sell us short of really looking at the deeper part of that. Religion can be mere superstition or it can lead to opening to being able to become non-linear and the idea that it is not this versus that but both and.
Whatever our notion of God is, it’s always too small. Whether we see it as the ultimate source or consciousness, it is bigger than us and it connects us all and with everything. Constellations help us see this greater aspect and that expands our ability to love.
Working with US Business Leaders: What You Need to Know
US business leaders in major metropolitan areas have distinct characteristics that we need to be aware of to make it easy for them to say “Yes” to constellations and to effectively work with them. I have seen trusted advisors – constellation facilitators, consultants and coaches with much to offer – fail when they do not have an understanding of these leaders’ worlds. Let’s focus on three characteristics: speed, complexity and a driving commitment.
These leaders are moving fast! The CEO of a woman-owned 30 million Dollar business in the US said: “I barely get chance to go to the restroom.” Some of our conversations took place while she was waiting to go through airport security, in the few minutes she was home preparing for an award dinner, or just before hosting a meeting in another country. No matter what the roots or factors are which are contributing to this speed, the fact is many leaders’ lives are moving at a very fast pace.
Leaders are faced with complex issues that impact and are impacted by multiple stakeholders. A CEO of a major non-profit organisation that helps children in 190 countries and I were talking a few weeks ago. Her organisation was responding to four of the highest-level United Nations humanitarian crises occurring at the same time in different regions of the world.
A Driving Commitment
They have a driving commitment to important outcomes. That commitment makes them open to innovative approaches that help them make better strategic decisions. But beware! A phenomenological approach or the idea of a field of intelligence isn’t what they naturally turn to. Intellectual understanding and swift action is. They will also quickly reject the approach, and you in your role as trusted advisor, if you do not let them know you understand the world they live in – the pace, complexity and their commitment to important outcomes.
Anngwyn St. Just
The events in Ferguson, a small suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, may have finally shattered any remaining illusions of those two or three Americans that still believed that the election of our first black president would heal our deep-rooted racial divide and bring our nation together. A new fault line of dissent broke out on Saturday, August 9th after a white policeman gunned down an unarmed black teenager in broad daylight and left his sprawled and bleeding body face down, right there on the baking heat of the main street pavement. Michael Brown, who was to enter college a few days later, had been stopped for allegedly “jaywalking,” (walking down the middle of the street) also known as “walking while black.” Accounts differ about the struggle that ensued when the officer allegedly attempted to shove the young man into his patrol car. An autopsy report revealed that Brown had been shot at least six times, twice in the head, from a distance of 35 feet. Such fatal interactions between white police and black citizens, especially black men, are a depressingly familiar reminder of “plantation justice.” As Melissa Harris Perry revealed during her MSNBC programme, during the years 2006-2012, for example, a white police officer killed an unarmed black person at least twice a week and countless others were routinely beaten and otherwise harassed and intimidated.
Given the fact that this shooting death of Michael Brown, by yet another angry cop is not uncommon, journalist Michael Denzel Smith asks why this particular incident has provoked such a violent outpouring of community outrage, protests, and demonstrations against police. He theorises that a long simmering resentment caught fire when this teen’s dead and bleeding body was left out on the steaming pavement, behind police tape, for hours, for all to see, as a gesture of contempt, intimidation and warning to blacks as were those lifeless black bodies left hanging from lynching trees. Dictators leave bodies in the street. Small time local satraps leave bodies in the street. War lords leave bodies in the street….a universally understood, “object lesson.” (Charles Pierce Esq., “The Body in the Street,” readersupportednews.com).