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Healing The Ancestors Part 1 - A Journey In To Family Constellations

This blog post is the first in a series of connected stories about my own personal odyssey and journey in to Family Constellations and becoming a Facilitator in this deep and powerful method. It is intended that through sharing my story there may be a mirror and a reflection of your own story, and an inspiration to explore your own family system, patterns, dynamics and trauma's.

Who am I? what am I? why am I the way that am, and why am I creating situations in life my that are causing issues, anxieties, dysfunction and basically consistently f*cking up my life. Ok, things weren't always that way however there were regular occurrences where this would be the case and was enough to make me question myself in an honest and deep way about my tendencies to self sabotage.

Rewind back to my 27th year, it was 2005 (work it out for yourself how old I currently am) and I had just come out of a 5 year relationship. It was serious enough that we both bought a house together however in many ways that was a decision that I would come to regret in one way, however in another it was something I was deeply grateful for. Deeply grateful in that it held up a mirror in a very clear way to who I was as a person.

Back then, it was a real challenge as I didn't have the awareness or the understanding to know what was happening. There was lots of arguing, anxiety, misunderstanding, confusion, and of other patterns, one of which was a story of 2 of shutting down my emotion and putting up a brick wall when things got a bit intense, through to not addressing issues as they came up, letting them fester and then eventually exploding like a volcano.

This whole experience at that time was the key catalyst for an 18 years odyssey in to who, what, why of Neil Meekin and has ultimately led me to my journey into Family Constellations and training to be a Facilitator, running 1:1's and workshops in the Liverpool City region as well as virtualy in Ireland, Europe and New Zealand.

The first phase of this process was an exploration in to a hunch. Through various intuitions and reading I was beginning to suspect that who and how I was, was a consequence not just of my own upbringing and environment, however also an echo of those that had come before, my ancestors what I now know as intergenerational trauma and ancestral patterns of behaviour.

These terms and concepts might seem quite obvious now to many people given the abundance of knowledge, insight, and experience that is in the mainstream, of which we have the internet to thank, however back then the internet was still in it's early stages and there was not one person I was connected to who validate what I was thinking and feeling in to. These concepts and ideas are also a fundamental part of more traditional and ancient cultures, cultures that can be argued in the west that we have become decoupled and disconnected from.

Where do I even start..that was the key question I had at the time!

First port of call was the most obvious, my Nan. She would often say "Son, you ask too many questions" however always was open and accommodating. I was living in my home City Liverpool at that particular time and so took every opportunity to visit her and I was blessed with lots of conversation, reflections of times gone by, happy times as well as sad times. There was stories of growing up in Bootle where she was born in 1937 and would have been 5 years old when Hitler dropped the bombs on a town that was one of, if not the most bombed area outside of London due to it being a key British port.

There were childhood themes of poverty, survival, hard times, big families cramped in to a small house, 3 or 4 to a bed, her Mother dying when my Nan was just entering her teenage years, an emotionally absent Father.

There were also stories of my Grandad, a story of illegitimacy, shame, mental health and physical health issues who died in 1983 when I was just 4 years old. He was a good man, an intelligent man, a keen gardener and stories of him growing and having the best Garlic around. I have memories of my Grandfather as I spent my first 4 years living under the roof of my Nan and Grandad. The pattern of illegitimacy continued with me and my own story and my Dad becoming absent before I was even born.

More information has subsequently emerged in that time of both Paternal and Maternal Ancestry on my Mums side having their origins in Ireland (1) . Subsequent more in depth research has unearthed more around Famine, Workhouses, poverty, survival, escape, emigration. These stories are not uncommon, especially in Liverpool where almost 1.3 million Irish settled or passed through Liverpool from the years 1845 - 52 during the Famine (2), and the impact it had on the many, which still reverberates today on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Over time, a picture was gradually building more clearly for me about what had come before, of which I would only ever get to truly scratch the surface. For one every thing that Nan told me though, i'm sure there were 10 things that were unsaid. Another person who i'm grateful for on my self odyssey is my Uncle, my Mums Brother, the 5th of 6th Children. For me he was the pioneer of the family and paved the way for me and other family members to understand the family tree and to get out there and see the world. In terms of breaking familial and generational patterns and expanding horizons this was significant for a working class family in the 80's.

During the 1980's and my formative years growing up in Liverpool, my home City was arguably at its lowest ebb in the modern era after decades of decline and depopulation. 80's Liverpool was characterised by TV drama's like Boys From The Blackstuff (3) and Bread (4) . Other interesting reads from this era includes There She Goes by Simon Hughes (5).

Reflective Question 1 - Is there, or was there anyone in your Family System who broke the mould and expanded what was possible?

Reflective Question 2 - What decade did you grow up and spend your formative years. What was happening culturally, politically, globally? Was it the 60's, 70's, 80's, or 90's? How might the events of the time contributed to and impacted your development as a Child, Teenager, or Adult? Did it create hindrances or opportunities? How did they shape you?

Reflective Question 3 - What do you know about your Ancestry and your wider family system? Who are/were they, where did they come from, what did they experience? Speak to members of your family and consider creating a Genogram (6) A Genogram is an effective way of mapping out your family system. It works like a family tree however also includes details such as divorce, illness, trauma.

Throughout the next 7 years from 27 - 33 the line of questioning continued however not as intensely as my late 20's. 33 was also a significant moment in time for me as it was at this point in which I decided to break free from business as usual and step in to my own horizon expanding activities, following in the footsteps of other family members before me.

My 33rd year involved a lot of change, a change of lifestyle, no work, lots of travel, moving being different countries, meeting new people. I was certainly living life and most of the time having amazing experiences, mostly. I have a distinct memory of being a long way from home, on a tiny island in Indonesia called Kepa Island. The place was paradise (see below) albeit the environment may have changed however those same patterns from when I was 27 remained. I remember being surrounded by beauty on the outside, however feeling lost, sad and depressed on the inside. More information for me that provided another piece of the jigsaw of who and what I was and how I was showing up in the world.

Why was I feeling this way? Has there been any situations similar in your own life where on the face of it, based on societies expectations you have it all, however feel numb, heavy, sad, like you feel out if kilter with what is happening around you. This is what happened to me and I was left confused.

I share the significance of this as it's situations like this which provides material to work on during a Family Constellations 1:1 or Workshop. Not just this material but the content from the 3 reflective questions above. How has significant events in your life contributed to who you are and where you are now. More importantly how have the experiences of your Ancestors been passed down like a ripple effect from generation to generation in to your own life?

If this resonates you and you would like to explore more then email me at and lets set up a Discovery call to see how I can support you.

In the next blog post I will move in to the next phase of my life which involved me returning back from being a nomad, a year in Liverpool and then then emigrating to New Zealand where I would spend the next 7 years from 35 - 42. This experience provided more food for thought, more patterns and a direct route to discovery Family Constellations via mysticism, a Maori spirituality & worldview, G I Gurdjieff alongside a colourful character called Alejandro Jodorowsky, Tarot and a chance conversation with an old friend.

Until next time....honour the Ancestors.

An island in Indonesia

7 - Mark Wolynn - It didn't start with you -

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