Family Constellations and Money

Family constellations? Huh? It sounded like some bizarre concept when one of my best friends, who I trust immensely and is a trained Psychotherapist requested that I accompany her to a family constellation day. I didn’t do much research, which is probably best as the most effective way to understand this for me was attending and experiencing this in action.

After the day ended with my friend, I didn’t think too much of it and noticed that my friend was glowing with a sense of optimism about decisions she was really worried about before; she even picked me to represent her mother on the day. This was after we agreed beforehand this wouldn’t happen as I knew too much of the ‘inside’ stuff; we laughed about this later. This experience was a few years ago.

As I take quite a keen interest in the relationship with money work, looking at different methodologies to explore money appeals to me and when I heard ‘money constellations’, it intuitively felt right to investigate further.

I attended my own first money constellation weekend in September 2018 with 2 amazing facilitators — Barbara Morgan and Ty Francis. They run an annual event in Cheshire, in the UK; they have impressive qualifications and experience and seemed to approach their work with a high degree of care, ethics and dedication. I won’t say much about my experience — it was very powerful and with some fairly deep changes in real life which perhaps are still unravelling; all I did was ask a question that first morning which got very emotional for me and lo and behold, I had initiated my very first family constellation.

After attending the constellation, in September, I read quite a few books on the topic. Here are some useful things I learned about family and money constellation work:

1. Success has the face of the mother.

2. Accepting your family, parents especially as they are is important. So is being grateful to them for life.

3. If you feel blocked about your life, money, work or business, there could be deeper work to be done within your family system.

4. It is possible also that you had a perfectly wonderful childhood and yet carry some unhealed aspects of the family system with you.

5. All work around money has deeper roots than we can imagine. Ty Francis said this.

6. As a client in a constellation, one can feel deeply loyal to the problem (poverty or not being financially secure) and may not be ready for ‘solutions’. The therapists never pushed or rescued in any way; it felt like a safe way to be facilitated in a workshop. The focus was on exploring what eased the flow of love in the family system.

7. If you stay in the position of ‘victim’, there is not much hope. It is best to contact our inner perpetrator in a situation. Example, at work where you end up complaining about a boss and not doing anything.

8. Money can carry energetic history For example, a grandparent who made money through slavery, colonialism, stealing or business that significantly harmed others… or a parent who suffered a lot of trauma in a war.

Having experienced this first hand and convinced it was unbelievably insightful and transformational, I was very keen to offer it to my Conscious Money (affectionately also called Como) Newsletter subscribers. When an opportunity to work with Sarah Peyton, a highly experienced family constellation facilitator arose, I grabbed it with both hands.

One beautiful and warm summer’s day in London, this June, at my home, we ran a private invite-only Money Constellation event; I didn’t advertise it and we had a room full of people — whoever was meant to be there was there, which is how most workshops tend to go.

Watching Sarah Peyton work is quite exquisite. We touched upon different themes with each constellation from revoking unconscious contracts about giving more than receiving and loyalties to poverty to dissolving old rage and hurts towards family members, leaving peaceful feelings and understanding in place.

We can make unconscious contracts with ourselves, to stay safe and out of a deep and blind love for our parents or caretakers. These can be helpful for survival at the time, when we are little…however are usually redundant, unhelpful and even destructive at adults. I was taken aback at how deep-rooted these contracts are; it makes sense to me why looking at our family systems and money is so powerful in resolving unconscious blocks to earning, spending, celebrating and enjoying life and our boundaries when it comes to giving and receiving.

Again, I had quite an emotional and powerful experience. So did the other participants; this was wonderful to witness. One part of my experience that I am happy to share is when we looked at my business, which I had requested we do at the start of my process, which Sarah had tracked. Great tracking skills help a group really trust the facilitator. Near what I thought was the end of my constellation, Sarah guided a representative to stand in as ‘the heart of my business’ while another representative took the place of ‘client’. As I was watching this, it felt like I was not being made eye contact with although they were both fairly close to me. Both representatives for client and business were gazing comfortably in each other’s eyes. The representative for my business said she felt very solid, centred, strong and clear as my business. The representative for my client said she only wanted to look at my business. Sarah said matter-of-factly that this was appropriate as the client relationship was with the business and after this, we closed the constellation. I was very happy with this final insight of course.

Sarah may be back next year and we may offer another day at my home in London. If you are interested, do email me briefly and I will ensure you are invited.

Here are some further resources that may be helpful if you are curious:

After the workshop -with Barbara Morgan and Ty Francis in the UK.

After the workshop -with Barbara Morgan and Ty Francis in the UK.

After the workshop - with Sarah Peyton (who travels everywhere, it seems).

After the workshop - with Sarah Peyton (who travels everywhere, it seems).

Quote I liked: from the workshop in Chester - September, 2018.

Quote I liked: from the workshop in Chester - September, 2018.

8 things I learned about Permaculture at the London Permaculture festival

Permaculture is a design system for sustainable living, in case you are wondering. Since I have an allotment garden, I have been more interested in how to care for my plants using permaculture principles, something I want to learn more about and find fascinating.

I bought a Teeshirt at the London Permaculture Festival that says “Earth Care. People Care. Future Care”. As the stall manager sold it to me, he said, the teeshirt could be returned for remanufacturing in the circular economy when worn out. I later googled the company and found Ranapui, they don’t just print cool sounding slogans; they are a sustainable fashion brand. If you want organic cotton clothes and are in the UK, look them up.

I also indulged my inner plantaholic at the ‘Edulis Plant Nursery’ stall and spent all the £20 cash I had. Know the feeling? If I had more, I would have spent more. It’s hard to resist edible perennial plants — especially Berber Moroccan mint which smells divine and takes me back to sweet memories in Morocco.

Thanking Mark Ridsill Smith of Vertical Veg for his excellent video on growing pea shoots was another highlight. He was so easy and lovely to talk to, generously answering more questions and engaging in conversation.

This was my first time attending this festival and I learnt many things listed below in no particular order:

1. A teaspoon of healthy soil has more creatures in it than there are humans on earth.

2. Humans have cultivated forest gardens for thousands of years. Kerala has 3.5 million ‘home gardens. One plot of 0.3 acres was found to be growing 23 young coconut palms, 23 cloves, 56 bananas, 49 pineapples with 30 pepper vines trained up to its trees and fodder for cows.

3. Plants with hairy leaves catch pollution like lavender and rosemary.

4. Buy grapes with seeds and eat the seeds too. Ask for grapes with seeds at your local greengrocer so they know you want it, if not available. Chewing seeds is not mentally pleasant however the little bit of bitterness in that seed gets our immune system fired up. Bitter helps our immune system, our body has receptors all over and not just in the mouth so even if you don’t cheat on chewing the bitter, the body benefits.

5. Vine leaves from grapes make an excellent pastry case with a lemony tang to it.

6. Herbs have concentrated phytonutrients (a substance found in certain plants which are believed to be beneficial to human health and help prevent various diseases.). Eat the stem of the coriander, not just the leaves (I knew this one but maybe its because I am a frugally minded Indian).

7. More on herbs: Nettle shot drink: Take 3 leaves of stinging nettles from the plant top in half a glass of water, blend in a Vita-mix or NutriBullet and drink. Also, a rosemary shot is great too.

8. Okra gel is soothing to teething babies. Give them okra to chew. Our gut microbes also love this gel so eat a little bit of raw okra occasionally too.

Points 1 and 2 were from another brilliant workshop by Susannah Hall, a permaculture and forest garden designer, who also helps organize Permablitz London. If you can get to go to her workshops, they are absolutely brilliant.

Points 3 to 8 were tips from Alex Laird, writer of a book called ‘Root to Stem’commissioned by Penguin Books, which I bought and can’t wait to read. Alex is a medicinal herbalist and works with the NHS and teaches people about healing foods, her talk was extremely interesting and interactive. She had a table full of herbs at her workshop; she also had us chewing thyme and discovering with our taste buds its antiseptic qualities.

I now have 4 varieties of mint and know how to take cuttings. If you are a Londoner and need a mint cutting or perennial plant cuttings, write to me:)

Perennial vegetables, permaculture and more...

If growing your own food is printing money, (said Ron Finley whose Ted talk is inspirational) planting perennials must be like owning a very fun and reliable printer.

Here are some of my collection of perennial plants, planted this year. They hopefully will keep growing back year after year with minimal fuss.

  • Jerusalem artichokes

  • Purple tree collards

  • Sea kale

  • Taunton Deane Perennial Kale

  • Dwarf apple tree (grown in a 50 litre bucket)

  • Earth chestnut

  • Babington's leek

  • Wild garlic

  • Sweet potato orca 

  • Nine-star perennial broccoli

  • Chinese artichokes

I used to grow plants on my little balcony in a London flat. Now I have more space, there are plants everywhere especially my home office and kitchen. Worm towers, composting, zero waste as much as possible and feeling so connected to nature. There are many invisible helpers in my garden to encourage too: Earthworms, a toad, insects, beetles and centipedes that eat slugs, butterflies, everyone enjoys the party and there’s enough to go around. 

I found the Backyard Larder’s blog very helpful and bought some plants from them. Backyard Larder sends their plants beautifully packaged in recycled shoe boxes which I so appreciated. I also bought some plants from Otter Farm and want to support the great work they do for the Earth.

A small celebration-my nectarine tree has fruit this summer, less than two years after planting it from a bare root plant in the winter. My neighbour said it would be impossible in our UK weather — which makes me worry about global warming. If you don’t have space, you can still sprout seeds, a great source of lovely nutritious goodness… My favourites are mung beans… Easy, peasy… Jar and water required… That is all. Pea shoots are also lovely and look great on a dinner plate; they taste like peas with all the fresh, green goodness. Pea shoots do need compost and a sunny windowsill, read a blog by Vertical Gardener, Mark Riddill Smith here.

My husband is protesting about eating so much Kale — which is the only downside (for him) of my having ‘green fingers’. I can live with that.

Coriander, the frugality of growing your own herbs.

Growing coriander is such fun. A beautiful herb in salads and to garnish that Indian curry I make often. A seed packet has 250 seeds, 2,500 in a bigger packet.. :) and costs so little in comparison to the end product.

Buying the herb in a market also takes time, the stuff travels... So it's not fresh and has some food miles.

For me though, it's a little kid excitement and exploding heart joy I feel when I see seedlings break through.

It's all mysterious. Like hair growth or breathing. How does it all happen? I do nothing other than combine dirt, seeds and water. And some genuine goodwill for the seeds to grow. The seeds know what to do... There is an intelligence in the universe beyond what our minds can comprehend.

Grow your own if you can. At least in the summer it's easy. And get good organic compost. Give those seeds a good start, they know what to do after.

It's not about saving money. It's the joy of observing nature's magnificent possibilities in your own kitchen. And play... Play, play, play.

What do you like growing? Or what gave you a heart full of exploding joy as a child? Worth connecting with that.