International Constellation Congress: Oaxaca, Mexico 2003
Bert: When we have peace in our hearts, for ourselves and
our family, we can serve peace in other situations as well.
Now I will work on peace. (To female client): Where are you
Bert: What is the case?
Woman: I work with constellations. A woman said her husband
hung himself. Her brother had been executed by Columbia Guerilla
(?), an organization I was linked with. She didn't know I
was from Columbia. She insisted I work with her but with this
information I could do nothing. My sister left Columbia for
security reasons; she had been threatened by the Para-military.
She works now in Chiapas.
Bert (to the audience): With whom will I work? With her.
Bert stands up and stands the Woman up. The Woman looks down
and cries. Bert places 4 dead people on the floor in front
of her. The Woman looks at them. Bert places 4 male perpetrators
standing opposite her and the dead. One perpetrator (the first)
moves slowly towards the Woman. As he gets close, both cry.
The Woman holds him. He cries but does not hold her. He moves
past her, crying. One victim begins crying, after dragging
herself to another perpetrator (the second) and holding onto
his legs. The Woman moves towards a victim. The first perpetrator
moves his hands up and out to the sides. The crying victim
pulls on the second perpetrator's hands, trying to pull him
down to her or pull herself up perhaps. Bert places the 4
mothers of the 4 victims. Bert turns the Woman to look at
the mothers. One perpetrator (the third) goes to one of the
mothers. She turns away from him. Bert stands up a male for
Justice. One mother goes to the first perpetrator. Another
mother kneels to the Woman and victims and hugs the Woman.
Two of the mothers fall down with the first perpetrator. He
tries to crawl away from them, but one of the mothers is lying
on his leg. He crawls away, pulling her limp body along as
he does. The 2 perpetrators (the second and the fourth) still
standing are holding hands. The first perpetrator gets up
as the mother rolls off his leg. He goes to the mother who
turned away from the third perpetrator.
My Note: Throughout these movements,
observing from the audience, I had the sense that Bert would
be calling me up to participate in the constellation. I thought
perhaps I would be Love, or something that would bring all
of the parts together peacefully. At this point in the constellation,
Bert pointed to me. I went up on the stage and he said, You
are Columbia. For a split second, before something else took
over, I thought, "Can I possibly hold that??" My
breath began coming deep and quick. I had to breathe deeply
to take in the situation. I looked all around me, breathing
quickly. The fingers of my hands became active, spreading
wide and long and then closing into tight fists, opening,
closing, opening, closing, as if a brief warm up to needing
to use them for a specific difficult task. Then at last they
remained fists and they began shaking, shaking. I aimed them
here and there, not distinguishing victim from perpetrator,
till they came to be directed toward one perpetrator in particular.
I made a sound and Bert prompted me, saying, "Loud."
Again a sound. "Loud" he said, and a scream emerged,
several times, as I directed my now violently shaking fists
at a particular perpetrator. Although initially satisfying
a need to express deep outrage, I realized that he was not
the object of my rage. I realized I was deeply offended at
the disrespect paid to me, to my land, to my people, to all
involved with this brutal, blind carnage.
At that point, I
felt a deep wail rising from within me. Not just for what
lay before me, but for years of senseless murder, hatred and
destruction. And I wailed, each cry coming from both long
ago and from the immediate moment. Over and over I called
out a cry to reach the hearts of all who might hear - a cry
for all of the perpetrators and victims and those whom they
affect. After some time, my cries subsided. I looked around
anew, exhausted, drained and yet looking forward. I realized
there is a rhythm to these events and after mourning comes
the next phase. I thought, from where can I find what is needed
to move on? I began to move, to try and find where the resources
were for what was needed next. Each of them seemed to want
me to come to them, to comfort them, to give my approval,
but none of those summoning me could be helped so cheaply.
Even Justice wanted me by his side, wanted my strength, my
vision and my fullness to fortify him towards his smaller
ends. But the greater peace I was seeking a path to, needed
something smaller, yet more essential. I didn't know where
it was, but I kept moving among them until I found the source
of healing for this moment in time - the newest participant
in these events, the Woman. I moved to her and to the first
perpetrator who was standing with her. I knew they would both
accept me, that they both, in their hearts, loved me and trusted
me and wanted to be with me in a deeply heartfelt way. So
I stood between them, an arm around each, and gave my strength
to them, looking from one to the other and back again. After
a time, I knew I could leave them on their own with this task.
I backed out from between them and joined them to each other.
Then, I could return my attention to tending once more to
my injuries, mending the outright damage that had occurred
to me, so as to be prepared, fully ready, in my strength and
love, to endure the next certain chapter, as my people struggled
with the pain that deep love and commitment require. Ready
to act as a model of strength and love. It has always been
the same story, and I knew how to hold it, for each of them.
Bert ended the constellation here.
Bert: What we could see here is that those who pretend to
fight for justice become murderers. And where does peace between
groups begin? Among the dead. The dead victims and the dead
Bert did a meditation for the group here.
Bert resumes his thoughts: People who fight for peace, want
to change the others. They want the others to be like themselves,
and so are against all real peace. Peace is established if
you recognize the differences and if you love the differences
and if we are open to integrate into ourselves what others
have to offer - other families, other nations, other religions,
other cultures. If we acknowledge that both have equal rights
and are of equal value, then we can come to an agreement that
allows each to safeguard their special values and their territory
as well and then they can be in agreement.
What is the main
obstacle to peace? Remembering. Remembering what has happened
to our ancestors, and then taking it upon ourselves to do
justice for them although they are long dead and they certainly
don't want it. But the living brought justfication to what
has happened to their ancestors, to become murderers. By remembering,
they wage new wars and do new injustices and murders go on
and peace is far away. Another obstacle of peace is that one
group thinks that they are better than another. All groups
think that. All families think that. And why? Because they
are governed by their conscience and the main function of
conscience is that it binds us to our families and to the
values of our families. By means of our conscience we exclude
the others and think of them as less than us.
So peace is
only achieved if we go beyond boundaries or our own conscience,
and by doing this we leave behind differentiation between
the good people and the bad people. This distinction is the
basis of conflict. The soul behind the conscience, if we allow
the soul to move and to direct us, is a movement towards reconciliation.
This we could see in the last constellation, beautifully.
In everyday life, if people of opposing parties meet, both
having desire to establish peace among them, they must overcome
the differences and respect the others as equals. Also they
must look at the victims and perpetrators of their own group
and of the other group and by looking at them, mourn in common
for all the dead. This common grief enables them to leave
the past behind and then work together in common for a better
future in peace. A friend took me, and others to the Sea of
Galilea. And walking along the shore of the lake, we came
to a place where, according to tradition, Jesus appeared to
his disciples after the resurrection and there was a beautiful
conversation between Jesus and Peter. Jesus asked Peter, "Do
you love me?" Peter said, "Yes." Jesus asked
again, "Do you love me?" Peter said, "Yes".
And Jesus asked a third time, "Do you love me?"
Peter became very sad and said, "Lord, you know everything.
You also know that I love you." Our group felt a special
peace at that spot. It was a wonderful experience for us.
And close to that spot, there was the Mount of the Beatitudes
where Jesus had taught about peace- "Blessed are those
who bring peace." And then he explained what it means
to love in such a way that we reach peace, and he said, "My
heavenly father lets the sun shine on the good people and
the bad people - on both equally. And he lets his rain fall
on the just ones and on the unjust ones." And he also
said, "Love your enemies." When we were driving
back to --- , I exposed myself to these words to explore what
it actually means. When I hear "love your enemies"
I feel closed up - it's a command. If I listen to it like
a command, I get narrow in my soul. And I thought, what is
the movement of the soul if we allow these words to sink in?
What does love really mean? And I thought it means, I love
everybody in front of something greater, as an equal, and
I say in front of this ultimate force and mystery, "we
are one." This is love. And humility is the same. And
then, if we let that sink into our souls, we are in the service
Bert then moved to the next constellation.
My Note: On the way home, I cried on the plane as I thought
of that constellation. Crying not for a country with a heavy
heart, but because I recalled the depth of the feeling in
Columbia's being. So full of what life is. What life brings.
Gut wrenching grief and tremendous, deep, unending love for
all the people who inhabit the earth that she is. She endures,
regardless of that which takes place on her body. Ready to
grieve, ready to love, willing to hold it all because she
is and will be. Because she loves.