A workshop for settlers held October 28, 2017
Settlers are those who came from another land to make Canada their home.
Naming different kinds of settlers:
adventurers, explorers, refugees, financiers, resource extractors, priests + ministers. Crown administrators, farmers, mechanics, skilled labour, unskilled labour, slaves, “illegal immigrants,” colonizers, climate change migrants
Adventure, better life, education, profit, resources, family, escape, Canadian advertising
On Oct 28, 2017 Rosalba Stocco and Diana Claire Douglas co-facilitated a one-day workshopon “The Soul of Canada” in Guelph, Ontario. The ten participants were familiar with Systemic Constellation process as it relates to family and organizations. This was their first experience exploring the Canadian Collective.
Purpose of the Soul of Canada Workshop
To develop a better understanding of how the settlers’ arrivalto Canada affects us today as well as how it is experienced by the Soul of Canada and Indigenous People. For the purpose of this workshop, “settlers” are those who have chosen to make Canada their homeland whether they immigrated to Canada recently or have been here for generations.
The Constellation methodology/approach as taught by Bert Hellinger was used to tap into the consciousness of the various systems impacting Canada. This involves naming the various possible elements and then choosing from this list the elements the group thinks would be most essential for exploration. Participants become representatives for the chosen elements, and tap into the consciousness of what they are representing to sense where and how they interact and impact the larger field of Canada.
Systemic Constellation Work offers a glimpse of how this process raises awareness of a pressing social justice issue. It opens participants the opportunity to:
- see and acknowledge what is,
- experience healing movements,
- to find their (individual and systemic) places in the flow of Life.
The morning was dedicated to personal work and the afternoon to collective work using the constellation process.
Personal Exercise # 1: Personal and Ancestral Journeythey were invited to explore
As all the participants were “settlers” (defined as those who have come from afar) their own heritage and their own journey to Canada regardless of where or when they or their ancestors began thejourney.
- To give each participant information about their relationship to the countries of their immediate ancestors or that they travelled through that determined how they entered Canada. To become aware of any unfinished business that may be affecting the participants present day life
They were invited to notice whether they felt strong/weak, any info from the country? If they felt as if they left each country in good way or pulled back?
They were then invited to experience their entry into Canada with markers to represent the many indigenous nations and bands in Canada. Participants noted that when entering Canadafilledwith Indigenous as when the original settlers arrived they sensed:
- “I felt carried, walking with a cloud.”
- “Tough to enter Canada”
- “Called by land and irritated by people.”
When entering Canada when Indigenous were on reserves:
- “Indifferent. Numb. No feeling.”
- “Memory of past lives, maybe we have all been indigenous and colonizers.”
- ” More ordered so less scary”
- “Someone paid a huge price for me to have what I have.”
Another exercise explored sensations based on living in Canada while “land was ceded unfairly”or negotiated with a “nation-to-nation relationship.”
What was reported by those who stood on the markers:
Ceded land unfair:
- “Cold feeling”
- “anger and injustice”
- “rigid and tight”
- “jump out from flat” [not sure what this means]
- “We are not ready for this yet.”
Constellating for the Collective
There is a new branch of Systemic Constellation Work emerging—an evolution of Family Constellation Work and Organizational Constellation Work — applying this powerful process to explore collective issues. These are called collective constellations, societal-issue constellations, social-justice constellations, community constellations, nature constellations, city constellations and more! Diana calls her facilitation of this process constellating for the collective.
Purpose:For those of us who are settlers or from settler ancestry to explore our relationship with the Soul of Canada.Participants were advised that it is important as settlers that we are NOT doing this constellation on behalf of Indigenous people. We have not been invited to do so. Our responsibility is to do our own work as settlers.
Participants were asked to reconsider the original question about the Soul of Canada to ensure that it was the question they wanted to explore. After discussion and another exercise the group changed the focus t
“What does the Spirit of Canada want for and from Settlers Now?”
After the group chose “Spirit” over “Soul” or “Land”, they were invited to name what other elements needed to be represented in the field. These were:
- Passion of Canada
- Order (a way of being together)
- Wisdom of the Indigenous
Participants were invited to choose an element to represent. No one volunteered to represent Government, Emotions, Neutrality or Politeness.
A sheet was placed in the middle of the room to represent Canada.
The representatives were then invited to take their place and move as per their felt sense.
The Constellation continued through various movements and was brought to a close when the representatives had a sense of calm and yet some vibrancy.
Representatives shared these thoughts at the end of the constellation:
Water: his attention was with passion, spirit, land and Indigenous
Passion: felt strong
Wisdom of the Indigenous: noted the importance of sitting and waiting
Order: reported feeling happy to see what she sees
Protection: reported willingness to let one settler in
Settlers: reported working together with Protection, they are a work in progress, reported no guilt, “this’ needs to happen first before she can come in. Seeing the injustice of the Indigenous is too much for the settlers. She noted that the Indigenous are connected to land and water and not Spirit
Church: did not feel like it had a place
Indigenous: reported that after asking Wisdom to come in, it could look at Spirit, was glad that Spirit was at her level and not standing up, she could “respect this”.
Spirit: reported feeling happy “to have found each other again.” Told the Indigenous “I missed you I need you in connection again.” Spirit also noted “I like having my people talk for me.”
Order: nodded with the word respect
Land: reported only having eyes for the Indigenous and deep, deep gratitude to them.” She reported now feeling fine. She also noted she was able to look at Water and Spirit when the Indigenous did the same.
Indigenous:“We lived in harmony with the land and that is not happening right now. And that Hurts.”
The participants were asked what the message of this constellation was for us as settlers?
- How do I put the Land in Order?
- There is importance in waiting, having to wait to be asked, had to wait for the land.
- It is good to hold on to passion and watch the pieces come together. The importance of keeping passion even with uncertainty.
- Protection of the settlers needs to be more flexible.
- The importance of patience and riding it out, it will take time.
- The settlers are outside of this and instead of stepping on the Indigenous process, needs to respect it.
- Lots of questions raised as to how we can show more respect for the Land. There are so many energies involved.
- Water: reported feeling threatened by the Church
- Spirit: said she recapitulated her creating coming into form, felt the Great Lakes forming, the Global warming, when high it was too high, Spirit is not humbled and felt dread when the Church came in, overwhelmed by the Settlers, felt happy and at peace when the “people spoke for her”
- How do I protect the land and eat real food and consume less?
- We need to clean up our trauma.
A few days later Representatives were asked to share any further comments by email.
The following are some excerpts from what the participants reported.
I learned how much love that LAND has for the Indigenous People. …My sense was that I was to be of service to the Indigenous People.
The message I received was that it was most important for me to connect with my own Ancestral Land. With the support of that LAND, the sense of belonging and being loved is not in question.
I have been pondering all the different feelings that went through me as the representative of the Indigenous People, and I am slowly able to articulate them.
The message I take from this representation is that the Indigenous People need to be allowed to reconnect with the land on their own terms (this is very important!). …
All people need to Respect the Land and the Water (and the Air as well). Respect for how we use them, and to use them in Harmony with Nature, because we are a part of Nature and what we do to Nature we do to ourselves. …
What I personally take away from this constellation is a huge respect for the Indigenous People and what they have gone through, and are still going through. From now on, when I read or hear about them in the news, or other sources, I will try and remember to observe this with non-judgement, neutrality, and openness. ….
..as the Indigenous People I had a very low tolerance for people talking. I tuned most of the talking out, because I found it distracting and not important. …
It did feel strange to just be there standing still generating/fueling passion that wanted a place to go so that it could move, flow and be a part of it all.
I would say that we need to pay more attention to our water then we do because it started out strong and when we finished it wasn’t even half as strong as when the constellation started. The rate at which the energy was going away slowed down once I was on the floor but it was still there throughout the constellation.
We need as the entire human race to watch our water and preserve it. We rely on it and if we keep abusing it, whether it pays attention to us or not, we will die
I just needed to observe from a distance since I cared about the outcome.
My interpretation on this was as settlers we do not need to interfere with Indigenous People’s life. The word ‘respect” Monique said as representative resonated very well with me. That’s the key: mutual respect, give space to each other, and patiently waiting till both are ready to connect.
I represented “The Order of how to work/live together:
As Order (I call it Higher Order) I learned that there is time for everything, there is patience required just to observe, allowing to go through the variety of emotions/sensations, holding the vision, that sometimes might be not very clear at the beginning, it feels just like an essence of some sort. What I also took is the knowing that I do belong to the Primal Land, to the Mother Earth, I am her child. That is very loving and fulfilling feeling.
What I learned/take away from the constellation: knowledge and awareness cannot be forced on those who are not ready or able to be open to receive it. It is important to respect and honour the right timing without overwhelming and in communication with those who are ready/able to receive.
A powerful constellation full of much learning.
I felt a relief when I accepted that it was not time for the church to enter. I (the church) also realized that it was only the first moment on the path for reconciliation and a movement towards healing. The time of the church to enter is yet to come. When I got home in the end of the day, I was very tired, I slept well at night and in the morning, I felt peace, tranquility and as if I were in altered state of mind.
Spirit of Canada: “The experience that has stayed with me most from being the (Spirit of Canada holding) the Spirit of theLandis that when the Landseparated from Spirit, it became possible to treat it as a commodity. I let go, recognizing that this was inevitable, and healing came when the Indigenous Peoplewere ready to speak forme again.”
We needed to remind ourselves of the question that we wanted to explore often:
What does the Spirit of Canada want for and from Settlers Now?
In post-session discussions, it became clear that some participants were thinking “Spirit” rather than “Spirit of Canada.” Canada as a countrywas founded in 1867 on stealing, lying, cheating Indigenous Peoples in order to establish a colonial government. A number of the elements commented that the Spirit of Canada was too “haughty” or they were glad when Land separated from the Spirit of Canada.
“There is an intensity in the field when we are exploring Indigenous and Settlers. I found this same intensity in Calgary. There are many intense emotions, sometimes conscious and sometimes under the surface. It may be necessary to give time in a workshop for being with these emotions.
For me personally, standing with the settlers in a semi-circle at the close of the constellation, I can feel an expansion in my consciousness as a settler, and the need to hold, see, acknowledge all involved at multiple levels (spiritual and manifest). I notice there is sometimes a good/bad split in me and in the field (i.e. victim/tyrant consciousness) when perceiving this field. Like other representatives, I see how important it is for us settlers to not interfere, to give space and time for something to emerge.”
“It is easy to move out of our bodies and into our preconceived mental constructs. Yet even when that happens, the message that is shared is most relevant to what is happening in the constellation as the other representatives respond accordingly. As was the case when “Spirit” wanted to express more than what Land and the Indigenous could hold, as both Land and Indigenous did ask “Spirit of Canada” to speak less. And yet, when we look at what has happened to the Indigenous Peoples over the centuries are many promises and little follow through.
The full report is being submitted to the next issue of The Knowing Field International Journal, June 2018.
About Diana Claire Douglas: facilitator, coach and consultant. A certified facilitator, offering family, organizational and collective constellations. Diana is a leading guide in Canada for Constellating for the Collective. She lives in Ottawa.
About Rosalba Stocco, MSW, RSW, A social worker with a private psychotherapy practice and certified Systemic Constellations facilitator in Guelph. She incorporates her training in EMDR and Somatic Experiencing when needed whether she works with individuals or groups.