Planting Flowers for 2019

cartoon showing animals planting flowers hopefully for 2019.
Source unknown.

At the Inner Arts Institute,  we spent 2018 “planting flowers” like the character in this cartoon. Our work expanded with an intensity that felt dizzying at times. What a joy!

In this New Year, I am so grateful for the incredible clients and collaborators who helped us plant seeds of peace and healing in our communities. I want to take a moment to acknowledge those who co-created with us. We can hardly wait to see what blossoms in 2019!

Connecting Family Constellation Work to Cultural Trauma

One of the brightest “flowers” we have been cultivating is deep training in how to help people integrate cultural trauma. First, I completed Part II of Thomas Huebl’s training in Collective Trauma Integration last spring. This profound journey brought personal growth, new friendships, and new tools for Family Constellation work; namely, a greater ability to hold space for the shadows of large-scale traumas such as war, famine, slavery, terrorism, and natural disasters…. and explore how these shadows reside in our culture and in each one of us.

Secondly, Thomas Huebl was also the keynote speaker at the 2018 North American Systemic Constellation conference, where Collective Trauma Integration is starting to be recognized as a natural evolution of Systemic Constellation work.

I had the privilege to introduce him to fellow North American “constellators” there, and also to lead a Collective Trauma Constellation workshop. Other members of the Inner Arts Institute team stepped into leadership roles at the conference, too. Comma Williams and I co-facilitated a Medicine Wheel Constellation, drawing upon the shamanic training that has influenced both of us deeply as practitioners. And Kimberly Clementi-Eadon introduced her work on Constellations with Adolescents.

It was a great joy  to share our work in the North American Constellation Community which has provided so much inspiration over the years. We hope that we planted seeds that will flower in the work of Constellation practitioners far and wide!

Collective Trauma as a Source of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

3 people on stage in a panel discussion
Samvedam, Christiana, and another speaker in panel discussion at ACEs conference in Bermuda.

An unexpected highlight of 2018 came when I was invited to present a talk on Collective Trauma Integration at a large conference on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in Bermuda. Research has shown that ACEs play a huge role in physical and mental health struggles in adulthood. This understandings has inspired new efforts to recognize and address trauma occurring childhood.

In Bermuda, racial issues stemming from colonialism and slavery have brought tremendous pain that continues to impact new generations of Bermudians. My role was to share insight about how children can inherit Collective, or Cultural Traumas that impacted their families… and  to offer a model for healing such an enormous wound. The intensity between white and black people filled the space in our conversations. 

Hundreds of educators, mental health practitioners, and child/family advocates were present, and my approach of including both victims and perpetrators in the healing process seemed to offer a new perspective. If you’d like to view a snippet of my presentation, click below:

(For more clips from that conference, click here.)

My offering was well received, and I am thrilled that I have been invited to return and teach a class in 2019 along with Christiana Awosan, Ph.D.  We will be helping therapists explore blind spots that may stem from racial or collective trauma. 

Samvedam Randles, LMHP and Christiana Awosan, PhD.
Samvedam and Christiana Awosan, PhD.

A panel discussion after my presentation explored the question: If we succeed and heal Bermuda’s collective trauma—Colonialism—what story would we tell?

Christiana answered, “Racial trauma is real, and white supremacy is dead!”

Samvedam responded, “… and everybody is now included!”

A heated discussion took place when groups gathered around their tables after the panel discussion. May the dialogue open a new understanding of each other!

Healing the Global Immune System— Optimizing Lives and Workplaces

I returned from Bermuda buzzing with gratitude for the chance to apply Collective Trauma integration with the beautiful people of that culture. As if that wasn’t enough, two weeks later, the Inner Arts Institute hosted Thomas Huebl in Boston, along with many graduates of his Collective Trauma training and two world leaders in Organizational Constellation work, all in the same weekend!

Thomas teaching at Friends Meetinghouse in Cambridge.
Thomas teaching at Friends Meetinghouse in Cambridge.

Thomas started us out on Friday, and over 100 people came to listen and learn together. Here is our registration  team smiling at you:

Kimberly, Julie and Beth at the registration table.
Right to left: Kimberly, Julie and Beth.

The event synthesized Thomas’ teachings on integrating Collective Trauma with the kinesthetic intelligence we develop in Constellation work when we sense into the ‘morphic field.’ Our first Collective Trauma Constellation of the weekend focused on the collective impact of migration/immigration. We were quite amazed at what emerged in our day of personal and collective sensing into this theme.

We are creating new ways to open to ancient problems that can only be held in a large and safe container, where each participant can explore their part in the issue.

Our team took great care to set up enough layers of support for all present, while making space for the intensity that causes Collective Trauma residues to persist in our lives today. This is a work in progress, and we are grateful to all who came to join this exploration. We also appreciate Paul Zonnefeld and Mieke Jacobs for bringing their knowledge of organizational constellations to complete an incredibly informative and catalyzing weekend.

Growing a Constellation Community in Brattleboro, Vermont

Another delightful expansion of our work has been the visits to Julie Zobel’s Little Light Bodywork and Breathwork Studio in Brattleboro, Vermont. There, a small and dedicated group has formed around Systemic Constellation work. Intimate circles have explored astounding topics during our workshops. We leave enriched and nourished, each time we go there. Thank you to Michael Jaro, Julie, and Supriya, who have helped spread the word in Vermont!

This past year as always, I have been humbled by the people who show up to grow and heal. Our endeavors have already been so fruitful… and there is so much to look forward to in the coming year!

Register for 2019 Events!

Saturday, January 12, 2019: Introductory Constellation Workshop in Watertown, MA

You can still join our Introductory Systemic Constellations Workshop, which is open to the public. 9:30 am – 4:30 pm in Watertown, MA, $150 per person.  Register here.

Saturday, February 16, 2019: Introductory Constellation Workshop in Brattleboro, VT

All are welcome at this Introductory Systemic Constellations Workshop, 9:30 am – 5 pm at 128 Williams Street #1 in Brattleboro, VT, $125 per person.  Register here.

February 2324, 2019: 
A Trans-Generational Clearing Intensive

Join our special weekend intensive with special guest Susan Ulfelder, director of Hellinger Institute of Washington, D.C.  Susan is among the first generation of U.S.-trained Constellation facilitators and is a former teacher at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. She contributes an exciting and powerful shortcut to painful unravelling that we experience in Constellations  by using, of all things, essential oils.

I had the good fortune to be a representative in one of her constellations last spring at the North American Systemic Constellation Conference.

My representation took me deep into the experience of a soldier who had caused harm. I felt guarded and closed off.  Find out why I was so impressed with Susan’s approach that I invited her to share it with our Constellation community here.

April 5-7, 2019:
Council Time, a Spring retreat

We love holding seasonal retreats because they offer a unique space for settling into the work, into community with each other, and into the healing beauty of nature. This April, we’ll combine constellations, breathwork and ritual in beautiful natural surroundings, allowing for deep healing.

Our group has outgrown the Duxbury retreat center, so this year we will gather to welcome spring at the Sirius Community in Western Mass., the traditional site of our annual fall retreats. It’s one of our favorite spots on the planet! Housing is limited at the retreat center so please sign up soon if you want accommodations on campus. Register here.

Thank you for staying connected to our work and helping us to cultivate flowers in 2019! We hope to see you in one of our circles soon!

Happy New Year from
the Inner Arts Institute!

Samvedam planting flowers in a photo taken at age 23.
Samvedam planting flowers in a photo taken at age 23. And so it continues!