In the resonance repatterning versions of family constellation work (aka Bert Hellinger) there are a number of energy concepts to wrap your mind around in order to benefit from the profound shifts and healings possible with this work. One concept is called ‘taking our parents’ and while I can best understand it with the word ‘accepting’ or ‘adopting’ it is truly neither of these. Rather, as Carin Block author of the Healing the Family System repatternings explains, it is more like air – you breathe it and live or you don’t breathe and die. It doesn’t matter if the air is bad or polluted you still have to breathe it to live.
When we take our parents we access a cord of energy that flows from our ancestry and energizes us helping us to live happy, healthy and productive lives.
When we don’t ‘take’ our parents according to the theory, we create limitations and pain for ourselves but worse, the reasons or patterns underlying it get lost in our consciousness. We are totally unaware and now resolving our negative patterns becomes difficult. We then struggle to overcome our problems, experience short term relief but they tend to return again in another package or set of circumstances. We may often create the same problem over and over in ourselves that we tried to avoid taking from our parents in the first place.
You will see examples of ‘not taking the parents’ in your family when a member does not give respect to a parent, devalues their existence or some aspect of their lives, or tries to change them into someone else with different values and dispositions. I remember the 70’s Sitcom Family Ties as a perfect example of not ‘taking’ where the Michael J. Fox character playing the business tycoon son rejects the values of his hippie parents. In doing so he cuts himself off from or has great difficulty accessing the family wisdom, support, and love that is needed in times of challenge.
Don’t get this wrong, – taking does not mean condoning or saying bad behavior is okay. You are merely breathing your family air. This is akin to the spiritual concept of acceptance for what we have however little.
In the repatterning for “taking our parents’ there are some interesting ‘do’s’ and ‘don’t’s. One of these is that children must not ‘take’ their parent’s guilt or its consequences, illness, fate or an obligation that belongs to their parents. In doing so we would be reversing the ancestral flow of energy. The laws of constellation work maintain parents give energy and children take it. Parents have their peers or own parents (elders) to seek support. Letting parents work out their own problems keeps the flow of energy going in the right direction and restores their dignity. The energetic basis of many of our problems occurs when this basic life flow of energy is reversed.
If you have just experience a tidal wave of emotion and some internal chatter claiming ‘yes but…’ consider how your own energy is being diminished when you take your parents problems and obligations on as your own. What would be different for you and your life if you could reverse the flow?