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The past has precedence, the future has priority.

This is a terse statement, a piece of wisdom if you want that was shared by my systemic coach. It was uttered to bring closure to a constellation of which I was the issue holder during a three day seminar on systemic coaching and constellations in London (John Whittington). It resonated with me then and it still does roughly a year and a half later.

The issue I had presented was on my internal driver to work hard and how that got in the way of organically growing my coaching business. My inner voice was  relentless. One needs to work. One needs to work. Period. My dad is an 84 year old farmer who still ploughs his fields. According to Whittington, our family of origin is the deepest pattern maker for the rest of our lives. Need I say more?

In order to move on and break a pattern, one needs to acknowledge what is, a person needs to stand in the current reality and sit with the difficulty without judgement. Only then is one free to move on. And this is what a constellation does. Like a constellation of stars, it physically shows how the people and issues/objects the client deems relevant interact with one another. The hidden dynamics come to the surface if you want. The representatives pick up the energy held by the client and they embody it.

As the issue holder I briefly explained why I was stuck and what would be a good outcome for me (to feel free from inner demands) and I chose people to represent my challenge. As a client you are supposed to keep the story short for constellations encourage participants to get out of their heads and get in touch with their felt sense. The issue holder doesn’t want them to get too attached to the story as such.

As I sat there as an observer, I was increasingly taken aback by where the constellation was taking me. It went from hard work to very different issues. I felt confused and admittedly anxious. I instantly felt, though, the discomfort was going to bring me something. Towards the end I was invited to join the constellation and feel the support of one of the representatives. The person who represented my future said ‘coaching will always be there for you’ and then the coach/trainer wound up the constellation with ‘The past has precedence, the future has priority’.

It sort of felt like an odd thing for him to say at the time but having pondered over it, I can say he did tap into my soul. As a consequence the constellation did start the healing process. Experiencing severe loss made it hard for me to let the past be the past and trust what comes next. At the time of the constellation, I could say all the right things about the future but it was never fully embodied. The future seemed off limits. The coach’s sentence above did set me free, but I took quite a while to ‘compost’ it.