In our most recent Constellation event several poignant themes emerged around women and men and masculine and feminine dynamics. In a time when so much is being questioned around roles, gender, relationships between women and men and beyond, it is so rich to have Constellation Work and The Knowing Fields illuminate truths under what we can see in our day to day lives. Finding our way back to our shared humanness, not our differences, is the intention in exploring this subject matter.
One of the pieces that came forward – and please, translate this for yourself – if the generalization doesn’t fit, change it so it does, or let it slide on by…
Women need to learn to forget*.
Men need to learn to remember.
Because women carry life, we learn, know, and track through our bodies. Bodies hold babies, they also hold deep memories and epigenetic imprints. This is true of all humans so does not exclude men, and yet what I see as a common gender difference is that these imprints, often in the form of emotional-physical pain, is closer to the surface.
On the other hand, most men carry (I daresay I have not met a male human yet who does not), very deep and profoundly painful imprints of war and endemic fierce competition; of horror beyond what they can process, so it gets stored way down deep and can knock out a man’s ability to feel and attend to emotions. Again, this is a generalization that does not exclude women, but there simply are deep, old, and very recent historical differences between us that are useful to recognize and, where possible, to attend to.
Women hold deep imprints of horror, physical abuse, and oppression and men carry deep imprints of causing harm and forgetting their goodness. And regardless of your gender, if you recognize some or of all of this, this makes sense because in the end what we are is human.
All of this comes back to the thing that is at the core of our humanness: our need to belong. Men have raped and killed and committed atrocities to belong – that’s what makes war possible. Women have been silenced (and silenced themselves), victimized and been victimized, harmed and been harmed to belong. We are all in this together, the actions and the experiences are inseparable, and the imprints are different.
As I write I fear repercussions – why? Because I am a woman with a voice and surely carry the imprint of being silenced for speaking, for sharing wisdom. As I see it and teach it the worst has already happened, and using my voice and my body well here and now, well it’s an imperative.
So is forgetting – to speak up I must not just override the fear, I must let it out of my body, I must bow to the powers greater than me and own the vulnerabilities inherent to how I am built – with this comes balance as I also get to recognize the depth of strength and vulnerability that I carry via my form.
In his book, The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel van der Kolk, MD, a scholar and prominent trauma researcher, addresses that trauma is primarily held in our physical bodies. This is why body-based/somatic practices are on the healing forefront; to heal trauma we must dis-embed it from our bodies. Maybe you have heard me say: “If it isn’t somatic, it isn’t therapeutic.” I offer and promote body-centered/somatic work because this is what empowers true healing.
Speaking from “home” – my body and bones – I can be a clear voice for The Knowing Fields. From here I call upon myself and women to forget – not in a careless way, but in a freedom allowing way. I also call upon men – remember, please remember – what has happened in the past will continue to happen until we interrupt those patterns. We can unlock and release our habituated and inherited imprints with awareness and intention.
Remembering will create the freedom from shame and fear of our potential to harm.
Forgetting will allow the present moment, a new sense of safety, and a deeper receptivity to emerge. Some of this is more relevant to you, because of the body you inhabit and the imprints carried as a result of the cultural norms associated with it.
All humans long for the same thing: belonging, health, connection. All humans have work to do here and it is time. I am here in care and support and so is the amazing community that gathers each month to do Constellation Work. Join us!
* “It makes sense to say that forgetting is it to be regarded not as the enemy; but rather as the necessary polarity of remembering … It is important that once certain things are learned, they sink into unconsciousness. Through forgetting we build capacities … Forgetting also has meaning for the episodic-autobiographical memory: It creates space for experiences to be processed and woven together with other experiences and leads one to the essence of events …” –Albert Schemlzer
* “…forgetting is much less the disintegration and disappearance of information that has been received, and much more the adjustment, downgrading, and reshaping of what had been acquired earlier …” –Hans-Joachim Markowitsch