Family Constellations in Dubai
April 8th, 2017

The modern nation of United Arab Emirates, in which the city of Dubai is located, is a federation of seven emirates formed in the 1950s on a roughly U-shaped stretch of land which has the Persian Gulf to the west, and the nation of Oman and the Gulf of Oman to the east.  Much of the country is desert, although there were very unusual heavy thunderstorms there for several days when I arrived.  The rains led to flooded roads as there are no stormwater runoff systems, and there were green shoots everywhere in the desert as rainfall is typically limited to brief episodes a few days each year.

UAE is a nation of great wealth due to the discovery of oil reserves in the middle of the 20th century.  Under agreements with British oil companies, exploratory drilling began in 1950 with the hopes of replacing national revenue lost when the pearl industry collapsed.  Exports of oil began in 1969, leading to increasing wealth and the eventual development of the modern global city of Dubai which now includes the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.  The shiny glass skyscrapers and dozens of shopping malls were not nearly as interesting to me as were the narrow stone passageways in the souk, or marketplace, where vendors aggressively promote their herbs, frankincense, fabrics and household goods.

Citizens of nations all over the world have come to Dubai for the economic opportunities, and most multinational companies have established offices there as well.  The vast diversity of people is offset by the separation between the Emirati, or native people, and the immigrants and expatriates who have moved to UAE, who number seven times the natives.  It was striking how peaceful I felt mixing with everyone on the streets, in the malls, on the beaches and everywhere I went, in contrast to the underlying sense of strain and division so strong currently in the US.  To be fair, there are aggressive ways the government maintains the nation’s positive image, including in reports that people have been deported for sharing disparaging thoughts about government policies on social media.

The workshops were promoted and organized by my friend Juliette Winser, a classmate from the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.  Juliette has lived in UAE for 27 years, having moved there from her native England.  She has a healing practice in Dubai.  The workshops were held at Just Be Holistic Center, a beautiful and very active space owned by an Algerian woman named Nabila Ouanes.  Participants in the workshops included people from India, Lebanon, Venezuela, England, Phillipines, and a number of Arabic countries; many of the participants had also lived for significant parts of their lives in other countries.  There were no native Emirati.  

Topics brought to the workshops by participants included struggles to feel a place where one belongs; challenges to come to peace with siblings; illnesses, especially those originating after a sudden life change; addictions in the family lineage; raising a child with a serious illness; an unresolved division in the ancestral home/inheritance; unresolved intergenerational grief; a family member who had been excluded due to mental illness; alienation from the family.  There was time for each participant to set up their own constellation, and for those who attended both days there was time to set up two constellations.  As is often the case, spirit guided who was chosen to represent each family member in such a way that often a person was touched so deeply by their representation that they were opened to their own issue, and were ready to work next.

There’s something powerful about multi-day ancestral work in a group that creates deep trust and intimacy, allowing for access to levels that are normally far below the mental and emotional realms.  Numerous people shared their amazement at how they were able to gain insight and liberation from issues on which they had been working for many years.  The holographic nature of a constellation kept us all mindful that however unique and painful the stuck place, we all share the essential experience in life of coming from a family.  The power of the Knowing Field arose each time, as each participant brought the inner image they carry of their family into the three-dimensional space in the center for exploration and deeper understanding.  For a diverse group from many faraway homelands to be able to access this universal soul field shows the eternal and necessary qualities of the ancestral dimension, and the power of the Family Constellations method to be effective for healing.  I’m grateful to my teachers, Peter and Jamy Faust, and to Bert Hellinger who brought forward this method, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to share this work with the world.

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