The topic of war and peace has been a difficult one since the beginning of mankind.

We all want peace but if we think deeply – isn’t peace an illusion?

In Western Europe we thought that we lived in peace after WW2.

And yes, there were no wars in our countries, but in how many wars were our countries involved? Through soldiers, weapons or money?

If something is not happening at our front doors, it’s so easy to displace it. Sometimes we are not even aware of what’s really going on in this world because we are so busy with our own lives.

Actually, there hasn’t been a year without a war somewhere in the world in the last century. Some wars have a very loud echo, some are kept silent – depending on their political importance.

But in every war the dynamic is the same. There are perpetrators and there are victims. And the world is very quick with assigning these roles. There are the good ones and the bad ones. That’s enough for us to know. We judge the bad ones, and we pity the good ones.

I always felt, already at young age, that it isn’t that easy, that something is wrong with this perspective and that there is much more behind this dynamic.

Working with constellations and the “Orders of Love” opened up a bigger picture for me. And I would like to share it with you.




As soon as a war starts, we take sides. And taking sides is usually provoked by the information we get. And the information we get is never a neutral one – it is already shaped by a judgement. Most people just go with it, without questioning what is going on. Things seem to be so obvious. And as a consequence, the victim and perpetrator positions harden.

This is not very different from what happens in our daily lives on a personal basis, right?

We hear stories of people who did this and that, who suffered this and that, and immediately we decide who is the victim and who the perpetrator. We are not even slightly interested in any information that could make us doubt our first quick judgement.

When we dig deeper in our family systems, we understand and immediately see very clearly, that the victims often become perpetrators at a later stage. Sometimes we might even notice that the perpetrator one has been a victim and the one who seemed to be the victim, in reality is a perpetrator in disguise.

What happens then is that we become humble, realizing how quickly we judge and blame without really knowing.

We understand that nothing is as clear as it often seems. That every perpetrator can also be a victim and every victim can also be a perpetrator.

Now let’s look again at the big world stage. When we look at the “perpetrators” – aren’t they human beings too? Aren’t they also wounded, tortured, and killed? Aren’t they too losing their sons, fathers, husbands, and brothers? Do they have any chance to say “no” when the order comes?

And the “victims” – don’t they also wound, torture and kill – the sons, fathers, husbands and brothers of the “other” side?

When we look back in history, and I mean the real facts of history (which often are distorted, as history books are always written by the winners or the ones in power), we can find this dynamic of change in victim/perpetrator positions.

Without this wider picture we will always be far from understanding the truth. And only through understanding we can reach peace and end wars.

Sometimes wars are insane to the point that people who had been friends months before now have become enemies.

Humans kill each other because of fear or threat. But did you ever think who creates the fear? Who creates situations where human connection is exchanged with blind hatred? Who creates the energy of threat?

I leave this for your reflection.





In the constellation training we learn what Bert Hellinger said about the role of the “indignant”.

This is a third party, the one that is not directly involved in the conflict or war, but takes sides, for various reasons, and usually takes the side of the ones they consider victims.

They support the victims and their fight against whom they consider perpetrators. Often, they even start a fight that the victims themselves would never want.

On a personal level people often act without even being asked by the victims. Some lawyers are “indignants”, by fighting even if their client does not want it (often for their own material gain). Some therapists take sides and instigate the victims (often because of their own personal stories). And in our private life, how many people do we know who judge and instigate others against the perpetrators?

The sad thing is that the “indignants” always pretend to do what they do for the victims. But if we are honest, mostly they do it for their own feeling of importance, and often there is a lot of projection with own stories.

What consequences do these “indignants” have for the victims? Does their interference really help? Is their action really supporting the victims or does it often make the victim’s position harder and create a feeling of weakness?

Again, I leave it with you to answer these questions. From my experience real support and helping never has the energy of “indignation”.

On the wider political scale there are countless” indignants”. And I haven’t seen or

felt any of them acting out of honest humanitarian reasons. Mostly it is about power and money.

The “indignants” always perpetuate the war. They fuel the war through more weapons, more hatred, more judgement. They take sides and create an even bigger division. And often they are the reason for the actual break-out of a final war.

And we? Until we are not aware of this, until we don’t open our hearts, our eyes, our ears, we will follow the “indignants” – no matter on which side.




Lately the German chancellor Scholz laughed about people who believe that peace can be reached without war and weapons.

As a German, first I felt anger and sadness, but then I realized that he is just expressing what most of us believe. If we want our rights, we have to fight for them. And if someone attacks us, we have to fight back. And if we feel threatened, we have to prepare for a fight.

The truth is that all this may lead to a ceasefire, but it will never bring peace.

The imaginary peace that we encounter at the end of a war is nothing than a ceasefire. Underneath the surface, in the collective unconscious (or conscious) the war continues, and the victim perpetrator dynamic continues. Sooner or later, it will flare up again and cause new conflicts and eventually lead to war – sometimes decades or centuries later.

This is not a theory or a belief, this is a truth that everyone who is willing to open their eyes and their hearts can see very clearly.

Peace can only be found when the victims and the perpetrators come together and understand that they are not separate. They are both part of a bigger picture, connected through an invisible and insoluble bond between them.

And this starts within our own hearts – no matter what conflict, no matter which war. When we refuse to take the place of the “indignant”, a big step is done in the direction of peace.

Changing the world starts within our own hearts.

In the spirit of love and reconciliation

Ursula Bell (29.10.2023)




Growing up as growing out of the victim role


We all hear and read so much about spiritual laws, about the importance of letting go, of a non-judgemental attitude and of living peacefully with each other. And we try and succeed in many areas of our life.
But there is one area of life that seems to be the most difficult when it comes to letting go, peace and stop judging. And – strangely enough – it is an area that affects us most and that we can’t escape: our family.
Why is this so?  Could it be because we live closer to our family members than to other people? Well, if this was true, leaving our parents and starting a life on our own should have the effect of allowing our lives to be more peaceful and relaxed. Or moving to another place or country could help us in being able to easier let go of things.
In some cases this might be. However, I think that many of us made the experience (and I made this experience, too) that it is definitely not the case. If we do not tackle the roots of family issues, we carry them in our “life-backpacks” wherever we go.
What are these roots of our family issues? Why it is so difficult to speak out our truth, to stand up for ourselves, to reveal our strengths and weaknesses, to hand down to others our inner wealth instead of hiding ourselves, to find a peaceful and loving way to live with each other?
There might be many reasons, but today I want to focus on one which I consider most likely – and I am aware that it may at first sound provocative.
****We do not really grow up
because we unconsciously hang on to a victim role
to prove to a supposed “perpetrator” that he/she had acted badly****
This adherence keeps us caught in our negative area of life. Letting go, finding peace and positive development would give us a subconscious feeling of releasing the “perpetrator” from his/her guilt and responsibility.
Mostly these “perpetrators” are our parents (but of course this is also valid for others such as siblings, (ex-)partners, teachers, superiors, etc.). And most of our issues are indicators for the areas of our life in which we still have remained a child and somehow still feel and act likewise.
We prefer to be the living proof of someone’s “wickedness” and “incompetence” and unconsciously remain bound to them in a negative way. This attitude is like a stumbling block for our growth and thus also for healing processes.
As a consequence sometimes, despite of medical and psychotherapeutic support there are no real improvements in some people’s lives – because improvement would mean letting go and releasing the “perpetrator”.
This is the point where the Family Constellation work comes in.
During a constellation we work with the support of representatives, means we don’t participate with our conscious mind, our judgements, our blaming, our “buts” and “whys”. We simply watch what happens and perceive ourselves in a mirror that gently and lovingly shows us step by step a possible path to a healing solution.
And at some time during the constellation we step in ourselves and experience a new reality without victims and perpetrators.
This allows us to let go of the past and consciously take our life into our own hands accepting our own responsibilities and leaving the responsibilities of others with them.
And then finally we really start growing up.
Wishing you all a joyful growing up.
Kindest regards
(© Ursula Maria Bell – September 2016)


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What “being in peace with our parents” means for…

People come to my 1to1 sessions, constellations or workshops with issues that apparently are very different from each other. The interesting thing is that many of these issues are related to the relationship with parents.
No matter if the problem is in the field of work, friendship, relationship or health – in many cases we end up with finding out that these people got stuck somewhere in the position of the little child they once were still acting according to the “survival mode” they developed at that time to gain love, praise or acceptance from their parents.
The healing begins when we understand these entanglements, when we understand that we are still there reaching out for them and an unattainable love, or blaming them for what they did or didn’t, or trying to change them out of conviction that we know better what they need, or still trying to fulfill their dreams, or cutting all connections with them in the believe that we can cut off the past.
Well, the truth is – whatever happened with our parents – cutting off the past is a hopeless endeavour as well as trying to change them. So what to do?
When we go back to the moment of our conception, I think we all agree that what we are made of is 50% our mother and 50% our father. Without the 50% each of these unique people our 100% would not be here, we would not be here, or at least we would not be the same human being that we are. Agreed?
And it is exactly these 100% that you need to be/feel whole and to live a happy, healthy and fulfilled live. But – are these 100% available for you? Not really – unless you are in peace with your parents.
It is an easy calculation. Imagine that you don’t accept consciously 15% of your mother (for whatever reason) and 25% of your father (for whatever reason). And now consider that we live only roundabout 10% of all our relationships (parents included) on a conscious level – then imagine how many percent of non-acceptance you might add on a subconscious level. For our example let’s say another 20% with regard to your mother and 10% with regard to your father.
You might not be happy about reading this. But – whatever you don’t accept in your parents you don’t accept in yourself. So – how big is your percentage of non-acceptance towards yourself?
The flow of life goes from parents to children. Parents give and children take (and have to take) what parents give – no more and no less. By not accepting our parents as they are, by wanting them different and by blaming them for what they did not give us we harm and hurt ourselves blocking the flow of life.
I usually compare it to a cake with raisins. You can’t just pick out the raisins – or you take the whole cake or nothing.
And you might ask – what about children who were mistreated, abused and neglected by their parents? Don’t they have a right to blame or even hate their parents for this? And I say, well, sure, they can choose to do so. And of course, perpetrators have to be called to justice. But experience shows again and again that every child at least on a subconscious or unconscious level feels the need to be in peace with the parents.
Whatever happened – the moment we can honour our parents for having us given our life, the moment we agree to them being the right ones for us – this very moment we allow the flow of life to stream again.
And it is this moment when things start to move again in our lives – when depression heals, when relationships succeed and positive results can be experienced.
Allowing yourself to be in peace with your parents, means allowing yourself to take life wholeheartedly and live it in a conscious and self-determined way.
(© Ursula Maria Bell – April 2017)


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Who am I without my story?

Did you realize that most people you know identify themselves through stories? And did you realize that you might do that, too?
Most of us live in many stories we created ourselves.
There are stories related to others – like stories of our childhood and our unfulfilled needs, stories of relationships full of heartbreaks and cheating, stories of friendships and of being misunderstood, stories of jobs, colleagues and principals full of injustice, exploitation and discrimination.
And there are stories we tell about ourselves – like being too old, too young, too thick, too thin, too scared, too untalented, too sick, too whatever.
And by repeating these stories again and again we create patterns and habits and we lock ourselves into a cage without being aware of it.
We identify ourselves and others as heroes or victims, good ones or bad ones, we identify with our age, our generation, our ethnic heritage, our religion, our families, our peer group etc.
And strangely enough the vast majority of our stories seem to be somehow negative – full of resentments, fears, regrets, anxieties, old wounds and losses.
We tell ourselves stories about what happened in the past and what is happening at the moment. But we do not stop with this. We even tell ourselves stories about the future: that we will not have enough money for the journey of our dreams, that our children will not get a job if we don’t push them to be the best at school, that we will never find the right partner because we are not good enough, that we will never be able to earn a living with our creativity and so on and so on and so on…..
Many of us assume the worst without ever inquiring into the story behind it or spend endless time in their head solving problems that aren’t even there.
What would happen if we just paused for a moment to challenge our stories and to question their truth and irrefutability?
Wouldn’t we realise that there is a difference between the facts of what happened in a situation, and the meaning, interpretation, or story about those facts? That different people experiencing the same situation create different stories about it? That people frequently confuse mere facts with their own story about them, and, as a consequence, experience suffering in their lives?
Wouldn’t we realise that we repeat stories that are not ours, but our parents’, friends’, colleagues’, teachers’ or whoever’s? And that we honestly never questioned these stories? Never spared a thought if what we are telling to others or ourselves is what we actually believe?
We’ve been living in our stories for so long that we don’t know how to consider the possibility that they’re just that — stories. We have believed these stories for so many years that they have come to define who we are — or who we think we are. We cling to our stories as our identities.
And this is the reason why so many people that we hear talking about their problems (and Facebook is full of these stories and comments) in reality do not want an end to their issues. Their story is their identity and solving their story and ending their problem(s) would represent the danger of losing their identity.
Instead of freedom and discovering who we really are without all this old ballast we are dragging behind us, we rather persist in our cage of misery and complaint.
So the provoking question is: “Who are you or would you be without your story? Who would you be without your limited and ultimately fictitious sense of identity? Who would you see in the mirror?”
If you would like to explore it get in touch with me. I am happy to support you on the way to rewrite the story of your life.
Ursula Bell
(© Ursula Maria Bell – May 2017)


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The special role of a representative in a Family…


What makes it special to participate as a representative in a Family Constellation?
I chose three aspects that make it a special experience and I would like to introduce them sharing with you what people who acted as representatives wrote after their first Family Constellation experience:


“For me it was an interesting learning-and-working experience, and I got to know more about my own emotions, how it is possible to trust one’s gut feelings and also about the need to be vigilant so as not to let the mind interfere with my intuitive impulses.” (H.T.)
Being representative in a Family Constellation is a unique exercise to train your intuition and to learn to trust your gut feelings. It will immediately come to your attention when your mind starts interfering with your intuition. It is an exercise to let go and to surrender to something bigger than us.


“….. although I was a representative (it was not my constellation) even I felt more human afterwards, more myself after participating. I was very moved, personally, to see the real release of human feelings pent up over time, and to witness what seemed to me like a genuine beginning of true healing.” (B.G.)
Family Constellation representatives have a nearly peerless opportunity to witness the very start of a deep healing process that embraces not only a single person but can reach out through a whole family system.
Feeling more human and more ourselves is a natural consequence when we become aware of belonging to a Oneness where there is no judgment, no right or wrong, no good or bad. In a Family Constellation the participants meet on such a level of Oneness where all that counts is to face and acknowledge what is, to let go what is no longer required and to allow our souls to guide us to whatever is needed.


“The roles I was chosen for today were very significant to me … very much.” (J.S.)
Although as a representative you do not work on your own issue it is most likely that the person(s) or aspect(s) you are chosen to represent have a deeper significance for yourself. One single “role” can change old patterns of belief, opinions, ideas and convictions and most people start seeing life from a different angle after a Family Constellation.


I personally started years ago with my own constellation, but I joined many Family Constellations as a representative – even later on when I myself had become a Family Constellation facilitator.
Being a representative is a special chance to experience the balance of give and take in our lives.
We commit ourselves to spend a couple of hours in service of the “seekers” and in return we receive whatever we are open to receive without expectations: trust, awareness, ability of letting go, feeling more human or whole, answers to unexpressed questions, healing and whatever else we need at that very moment in our life.


(© Ursula Maria Bell – July 2017)


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The secret of healthy relationships


One of the things that most of us desire is a healthy and loving relationship. Nevertheless this seems to be one of the most difficult things to achieve.
Are you living a relationship that is absolutely making both of you happy? Congratulations!! Forget about this article and just keep on cherishing this gift of love.
Are you dealing with relationship issues or are you thinking about leaving your relationship? Then this article might be interesting for you and maybe a turning point as well as a chance to look at you and your partner from a new perspective.
After a first exciting period of falling in love with each other many relationships get stuck in a day-to-day routine. All of a sudden we start noticing as well as experiencing the less attractive things and our prince or princess will transform back into frogs or hags.
Have we been all so wrong? Does love really make us so blind to choose the wrong partners?
It may sound challenging and provocative – but I am convinced that we all choose the right partners at the right time. Many love stories could linger on, if we were able to see the bigger picture.
At my age of 56, and after many years of life and work experience, I can comfortably say that the most loving and effective way to understand this bigger picture is through Family Constellation work.
With this work, we can witness what is going on beyond our capacity of conscious thinking and experiencing. Family constellation work reveals to us that anger, rejection, betrayal, aggression, disappointment, and whatever may ruin a relationship can have a much deeper cause and source than we ever imagined.
From the experience of people working with family constellations, many couples have issues that can lead to separation especially when one or both of them is/are caught up by a systemic story of their family. This means that we often restage unsolved old stories as an unconscious reenactment of what other members of our family system went through and experienced.
Sometimes we can clearly see this repeating pattern, sometimes we have no idea of what happened, sometimes we try to desperately live a life different from our parents or grandparents and still experience old stories coming back to us in changed settings.
Sometimes we got stuck in our firm opinion that our parents should have given us more. We are not aware of the fact that now we are trying to get all this from our partners who will never be able to fulfill our needs, as hard as they may try.
Sometimes we just give all of ourselves and we call it love. When we go deeper we can see that we are acting out of a feeling of duty or fear or hidden self-rejection. At this point we might get an idea of why we do not get anything back in change – or worse – why we are being betrayed or abandoned.
But – how similar the stories of unhappy relationships may seem – the roots of their issues many times lead us back to all different kind of painful experiences within our family systems. And what we can do is to gently go back to heal these experiences and with that heal ourselves too.
However, the Family Constellation work is not for everyone. It is only for those who have the courage to face a truth that might be not so pleasant or easy to accept. Sometimes we are convinced that our partners do not see us or do not care about us, only to understand that we are the ones being caught in our family stories and we are not able to really see them.
The beautiful thing is that there is no good or bad, no judgement, no “should” or “should not” in this approach. We simply witness “what is” and by doing so we softly solve the nodes and entanglements that hinder us from understanding and seeing clear.
This understanding may prepare the path for the needed change in our relationship, so that we get a second chance to continue our life together on a new basis. It may also show that the relationship has come to an end, but still it will give us a key to handle a possible separation in a way that is more constructive especially if there are children involved.
Wishing all of you who read this article until the very end, a happy relationship that allows you to grow and to live your life to the fullest potential.


(© Ursula Maria Bell – October 2016)


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The challenging gift of romantic relationships

I think we all agree that most relationships begin with a kind of spell, their own magic. We are fascinated by the other person and we create a promising vision of a common future where our lifelong dreams will finally come true.
With time passing by the pink glasses turn grey and the flipsides of the initially so enchanting parts of the partner become visible. But we stick to our vision and intensify our efforts to reach our goal. And all too often this is the beginning of the end – the end of the spell, of the vision and finally of the relationship.
But why? Why can something be doomed to failure when we give our best and try so much?
The truth is that – whether we want to acknowledge it or not – romantic relationships activate in both partners unresolved things from the family of origin and painful childhood situations. And the more painful these situations were, the more we are in need of a loving and caring partner who does not disappoint us.
As crazy as it may seem, we virtually re-stage childhood experiences with the current partner out of an unconscious desire of making a better experience today and finally feeling loved and accepted. We ultimately create possibilities to heal old wounds and painful experiences. The drama is – we are not aware of it.
The major part of our relationships (and not only the romantic ones) we live on an unconscious level. As we repeat conflicting patterns from our relationship with our parents, so does our partner. And not being aware of this in a conflictual situation, we both might feel personally disappointed, not valued, hurt, offended and desperate – two helpless children facing each other without finding a way out. Behind our anger or our sadness about trivial things lies the anger of our inner child, who is not sufficiently noticed and seen.
The tricky thing is that, as being under a magic spell we take on the behaviour of our mothers or fathers that once hurt us (or still does) and treat our partner the same way and – if that wasn’t enough – we continue to follow the internalized messages ourselves.
We still try to accomplish our tasks as perfectly as possible in order to receive love and confirmation and this many times includes having a perfect relationship. As a consequence we try to change our partners until he/she is finally perfect.
Or we still try to be a good girl or a good boy to get the love we need. We reach out for harmony and are ready to sacrifice ourselves for it, means we don’t dare to honestly say what we want to say and to live our own dreams and wishes.
So ultimately in most romantic relationships we do not see our partner, but we see ourselves reliving all those frustrating and hurtful episodes of our childhood.
We believe that the partner finally will be the one to save us, to give us what we need, to complete what we are missing. And we forget that he or she is going through the same dilemma and longing for the same things to happen. I think we are all aware of the fact that this is practically impossible.
So where is the way out? Does this mean that a successful romantic relationship is out of reach for us human beings?
Well, this would really be sad, especially when we assume that for most people, one of the deepest experiences of a meaning in their life is to accomplish a successful romantic relationship.
The good news is that, as human beings we are 3-dimensional. We have a body, a soul and a spirit. And this spiritual dimension enables us to take a position and to make decisions – independently from the limitations of our body or the damages of our soul.
A romantic relationship is always about the two people involved. It is not about loving something about the person, what he or she does to make us feel unique. It is about the uniqueness of this very human being. Am I able to see his/her uniqueness or am I just looking for what makes me feel unique?
If we are still looking for something that makes us unique, we fall into a trap. Or we will be abusing the other person for our own necessities, our own longing of being needed, important, seen, etc. Or we will abuse/undermine ourselves in trying to fit in whatever gives us the impression of being loved.
Going back to the spiritual dimension of the human being and our ability to take a position and to make decisions, we can easily understand that children have no chance to unfold their potentials in this dimension. They would risk losing the attention, acceptance and maybe the love of their parents.
Since – as said before, in most relationship issues there are two helpless (grown-up) children facing each other, it is easily understood that we do not dare to take a position and make our own decisions. We are still convinced that if we did, we would lose the acceptance and the love of our loved one.
And you might say – but the issues arise because someone takes a position and makes own decisions. And I say – no! Though it might seem so, these “positions” or “decisions” are not real mature actions. They are reactions of helpless children trying to be seen, understood and loved.
It has been observed that 90% of the relational problems have to do with the biography of the partners, of what they have experienced as children, and all beliefs/unresolved issues inherited from their family system – only 10% with the actual relationship.
Imagine the relief when one realizes that the partner is not the problem, but the partner has a problem and I myself have a problem and it is no one’s fault.
This understanding opens up a space of compassion for ourselves, for the partner and for what we/he/she have gone through.
“The wound of the unloved is the oldest of all wounds, the wound of being human” says psychoanalyst Peter Schellenbaum. And when we are aware of this and at the same time aware of that we are not helpless children any more, but grown-ups who are no longer dependent on their parents but responsible for themselves then we are able to take a stand and to make our own decisions. This is when we can recognize possibilities of actions to heal our wound, when we can get in contact with our own abilities and resources, with our own values and goals.
So the solution to relationship issues is not trying “to fix” the relationship – which will never ever work. The solution lies in exploring ourselves, our own needs and dreams, our wounds and disappointments, parental messages and internalized beliefs.
The decision to encounter ourselves is not an easy one, because – at least for a short time – it can mean to face old stuff that we have blocked out or pushed to the back of our mind. And yes, it can be uncomfortable and hurt – but at least it is something we really can work on, independently from others, independently from our partner. We can take action, we can take responsibility and we can change our life to the better.
Not every relationship can heal and find a new start, but every relationship issue is a precious gift of life that invites us to grow and develop personally.
No matter what will happen – one way or the other – we will be more conscious of ourselves, stronger, more autonomous and be able to love and respect ourselves more.
If the relationship breaks still we would have changed in the process, which means that we will not live the same hurtful patterns over and over again, and would thus not fall into the same emotional traps in a new relationship that will certainly happen one day. Maybe it will require some time for us to realize the benefits of what we went through – but believe me, this time will come.
If the relationship bears the test it will surely change to the better because it will no longer be based on reciprocal needs or adaption but on reciprocal respect and freedom. Our partner will no longer be someone who has to be “fixed” to be the perfect one and we will no longer live with the urge to constantly adjust to what the other one might need or to fight against it.
When we are able to see our own singularity and uniqueness – we will be able to see our partner’s singularity and uniqueness, too. Then – and only then the encounter between two human beings will turn into a real love relationship – which might be totally different from what we expect or from what mainstream media put in our minds, i.e. from the Hollywood image of living happily ever after.
May you all discover your own and your partner’s uniqueness and live your own unique loving relationships.
(© Ursula Maria Bell – March 2018)


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Our children – a chance to find our way…


Children are very intelligent – especially when it comes to an intelligence which I love to call heart or soul intelligence. They sense everything that’s going on in the family, even if we do not talk about it or if we are trying to hide it from them and keep it secret. And children’s way of reacting to certain circumstances is often by showing any kind of issues – from getting sick to behavioural disorders, from learning difficulties to addictions and all other kind of issues.
But how does society react in this case? What are parents recommended to do? Well, the interventions range from punishment and pressure to medication or psychotherapy – naturally for the child. Simply because over decades we were taught to treat the symptoms rather than the origin of a problem.
But if our children’s behaviour and our children’s issues are only symptoms of something that goes much deeper and has its roots somewhere else – what hinders us from taking different approaches?
One reason might be that we trust our doctors, therapists, pharmacists, lobbyists and who else there might be more than our inner voice and feelings. Please don’t get me wrong, this is not a campaign against mainstream medicine and therapies. There are millions of doctors and therapists doing a great job. But on the other hand millions of medicine and drugs are prescribed to children that treat only the symptoms but don’t touch the real origin of what is going on.
Another reason might be that we see no alternative and we feel helpless and full of doubt.
What I can see from my work experience there is a third reason. And this happens on a level that we might call subconscious because most of the time we are not aware of it.
If children react to things that go on in our families, we could say that they can be mirrors of what is happening on a deeper level. And as looking in a mirror shows us the beauty of ourselves, it also shows us the dark sides and the shadows.
Seeing our own beauty in our children makes us happy and proud – so this is the part of the mirror we like.
But what about the other part? What do we feel when our children reflect something that we do not want to see in ourselves – and this might go from our own sadness or discontentment to the anger we feel towards our partners, siblings or parents?
My child has a behavioural problem because of my issues with my husband? My child has a learning problem because I push it too much wanting it to have better choices than I had? My child gets sick so often because it wants more attention and time from me?
When we realize what’s going on below the surface we might experience feelings of guilt, shame and inability. Although this is absolutely unreasonable, because we consciously never did something bad to our children. But guilt and shame are rooted so deeply in our own education and in memories from our own childhood, that we carry them along until today, no matter how old we are.
How can we overcome these old patterns? Well, by simply looking in the mirror. If we manage to look in the mirror and to meet our own shadow as a long lost friend we recognize that it is showing us our own deep wounds that are waiting to be healed.
You have issues with your husband or wife? Well, you are not alone with this. But you can decide how to handle it for the benefit of your children. And starting there and trying to find solutions that are best for everyone concerned you will be the first to benefit from it.
You push your child too much because you want it to have better choices that you had? Well, this might be an opportunity to look back at your own life and make peace with what has been. And with this you might see that your son or daughter have their own dreams, ideas and paths.
Your child wants more attention and time from you? Instead of seeing this as an additional burden you could discover the big chance and the joy of spending more time with your child and finally get in contact again with your own inner child.
If we have the courage to look in the mirror things change. Exactly as it is with fear. If we run away from it, it becomes bigger and bigger. If we have the courage to turn around and face it, we might recognize that it is much smaller than we expected and that we can handle it very well.
Our children are not burdens, there are not with us to remind us of our shortcomings.
Our children are gifts of life, merciful mirrors, family healers and a chance to find our way back to love ourselves.
(© Ursula Maria Bell – February 2017)


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Family constellations as a chance to understand our relationships


In the health sector we put more and more importance on prevention. I was asking myself – why don’t we consider this when it comes to emotional aspects? Couldn’t we also prevent relationships from experiencing hard times and from breaking down?
Let’s look closer at the following story:
Mark and Denise (names changed for privacy reasons) were two young people who had fallen in love. Before they met both of them had lived in unhappy relationships which they had left before getting to know each other. So nothing seemed to stand between them and they were heading towards a happy future together. Or at least they thought so.
The first year everything was fine but slowly the situation changed. Denise felt more and more unloved by Mark while he was emotionally withdrawing from her and frequent disputes were daily fare. They were close to breaking up their initially promising relationship when they heard about family constellations.
In the constellation it showed up that Mark was still somehow connected with his former partner without being aware of it. Though there was no more contact between them and she had never blamed him for leaving the relationship he still felt subconsciously guilty for having left her alone in a very difficult situation.
Resolving this issue in the constellation Mark could let go his feelings of guilt, acknowledging his former partnership and its importance and then turn again to Denise and now commit fully to his relationship with her.
This story – and there are thousands of the same kind showing up in Family Constellations all over the world – makes me think of how many tears and how much pain could be saved if people decided to have a look at their relationship from the very start or at least from the moment when they decide to share their lives.
This is not about trust or distrust and not about making our relationships 100% secure. This is about respect and acknowledgement of what has been – two bricks definitely needed to build a healthy relationship on. And it is about fairness and love towards our new partners when we have the courage to look back and find out if we are really free to start a new lasting relationship.
No matter if it is a former partner, an unresolved connection with our parents or some subconscious loyalty with another family member – when we reveal what is hidden we can acknowledge, accept and then let go.
I really wonder if we had still this high number of divorces and separations if couples (and only one partner would be enough) used the wonderful support of a Family Constellation as a preventive measure before the trouble starts.
(© Ursula Maria Bell – October 2017)


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Mental illness – a change in perspective

At the moment, there is a lot of discussion about the stigma of mental illness, and a lack of acknowledgement of people who suffer from these dis-eases.
During my time in Austria working with Caritas, many of my clients were diagnosed with depression. I would like to share with you my thoughts after this experience and start with an assertion:
‘As long as we call depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc. mental illness, it will be difficult to bring about a change.’
The term “mental illness” was coined at a time when psychology, psychiatry and psychotherapy began their scientific campaign. For a long time, it was put on the level of terms like “mad” and “insane”.
People who did not “function”, or whose behavior was not according to the rules that society, medicine and science “dictated”, were labeled as “mentally ill”. No one had the idea of speaking about the soul, for the soul would have been something that could not be scientifically proven, that maybe belonged to the church or other irrational teachings. Until today, nobody can say what the soul really is, so it is not surprising at all that we still talk about “mental illness”. But isn’t it our soul suffering and not our brain?
If we ignore all theories – if we look at people with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, etc., from a completely new perspective, without putting them in “boxes” according to their symptoms, then we will realize that the mind (or/and the body) expresses only what the soul is suffering from. As a consequence, when we treat the mind, or the brain, we treat the symptoms, but not the causes.
It is meanwhile common knowledge that depression and trauma in a family can have an effect on the future generations, and not only I believe that there is something like an emotional DNA.
I have been working with family constellations for only six years, but I can see in every constellation that the suffering of a soul very often has its origin in something that has nothing to do with the person suffering in the present, that it is something that has been taken over for someone else in the family. (1)
In the age where individuality is most important, we have forgotten that we are not alone. We are born into a family, and this family has a history – and we’re part of that history. We have to stop seeing a puzzle as only its individual parts. Only as a whole, it makes sense, and only within the big picture, can the way to healing be found; which is much more than just relieving or eliminating the symptoms.
People with “mental illness” are not second-class people. They are the “healers” of their families, those who have the opportunity to heal the old, uncover the dark and adjust old stories. They are people who deserve great respect, because their soul assumes the task of bringing to the surface and healing the hidden and traumatic aspects of the family history.
It does not surprise me that Viktor E. Frankl (2), who brought back to psychotherapy the dignity and self-determination of the human being with Logotherapy and Existential Analysis, receives so little attention. In Master’s and Bachelor Studies he is only marginally noted. Logotherapy should be taught as a compulsory subject in every study that deals with the human condition (regardless of whether from a psychological or medical point of view). Much would look different then, in the lives of many clients.
Frankl sees the healthy core, the potential, in the human being – no matter in which mental and spiritual condition they are. He has trust in the human being to even deal with the darkest moments.
You want “mental illness” to be treated in the same way as cancer, etc. – and I totally understand and respect this with regard to the great discrimination and disrespect that people with depression, etc., have to face.
Yet I ask you to pause for a moment. Consider for a moment also the consequences this might have. Couldn’t this also mean that you ultimately end up in something that weakens you instead of strengthening you? That you agree that your dis-ease will be “treated” like any other – with medication and conventional treatments? Please do not get me wrong – medication and conventional treatments are and can be of great support. But again – most of them treat symptoms.
The question is: Do you recognize the incredible healing potential that is within you? Are you ready to reconnect with your inner core and heal what wants to be healed? Are you ready to fight for your soul and yourself to be taken seriously as a human being?
Yes, you suffer from depression, anxiety etc. – but you are not your depression, anxiety etc. You are much more. You are amazing souls with an amazing potential. Change perspective – from seeing your dis-eases as problems to understanding their inherent potential.
I once had a client suffering from depression – her inner belief was “I am the problem”. I asked her to write down the words “I am the solution”. It took her 10 minutes to do this, she was trembling, tears in her eyes, and it was difficult to breathe – but she did it. This was the moment when change began. There was still a long way to go, but she always referred to the importance of this change in perspective.
So please go with Gandhi “If you want to change something, then be yourself the change you want to make!” Maybe start with seeking a new name for the suffering that you carry within you.
When others put a stigma on you, it’s up to you if you allow it or not. Write “Heros” instead of “Stigma” on your Facebook posts. Focus on what heals, what is good, rather than what is negative.
You may have a problem, but you are not the problem – you are the solution. All of you have a great potential inside of you. So start with discovering it. You are the heroes.
(1) Bert Hellinger (“Laws of Healing”) / Mark Wolynn (“It Didn’t Start With You.”)
(2) Viktor E. Frankl (“Man’s search for meaning” / “The unheard cry for meaning”)
(© Ursula Maria Bell – February 2018)


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