I apologize for missing last week’s blog. I was in Berlin for part of the training that I am doing with Daan van Kampenhout to become a Systemic Ritual® facilitator. We worked with some very important themes and one of those had to do with projections and illusions in important relationships. This was a very moving and insightful theme to work with and I would like to share some of these insights with you.

We often think we know our lovers, our parents or siblings, or our best friends very well. We think that we are truthful to ourselves about the nature of the relationship between us. In truth, a lot of what we see is our own projections, that which we wish to see. Only when we can accept this, will we be able to see the other as he really is.

The approach that I learned from Daan van Kampenhout uses the Wheel of the Four Directions (also known as the Wheel of Life or the Medicine Wheel). I will not be going into the general meaning of the four directions in depth. If you are unfamiliar with this shamanic approach and would like to learn more, I can recommend Daan’s book, The Four Directions. Each direction has its own specific meaning and message, based on the cycles of nature.

In the Wheel of Relationships, the West stands for every aspect of the other person that you reject and would like to change. The opposite side, the East, stands for all the positive things that you invest in the relationship. These, however, can also be motivated by the wish to change things about the other. For example: my partner hates to cook. I give him an easy to follow and inspiring cookbook!

The North is the place where we hold all our illusions about the relationship. Often these illusions are born out of old projections from our past. For instance, imagine that my parents always lied to me as a child. I will probably have a hard time believing that my lover is telling me the truth. Or maybe I carry a huge and old longing to be supported and cared for. It will be difficult for me to see that my best friend is not at all supportive, she is actually looking for my support!

The South is the place of the naked truth, the reality about the relationship and the other person. It is easier to hold on to our illusions about a relationship. In the South, we can see someone for who they really are. We can see the relationship with clarity. And, when you take off all the veils of illusion, that have been wrapped around the relationship, you might find that the relationship is not good for you and should be ended. But you might also find the truth of the love in the relationship and find a way to continue together.

‘Walking’ the four directions, focusing on the different aspects of the relationship, is a good way to look at, and sometimes renew, important relationships in your life. Place pieces of paper on the ground to represent the four directions. (If you have a Wheel of Life, you can use that.) Place a photograph or other representation of the person in the center. Stand in each direction, looking at the representation of the person. Feel your feet on the ground and focus on all bodily sensations and emotions that arise.

Ask yourself the question that belongs to that direction: What aspects of this person do I reject? How do I try to influence him? What am I projecting into the relationship that really belongs to me? What is the reality of our relationship? Let the answers arise spontaneously, don’t try to think them up. Accept the answers and move to the next direction. The order of walking isn’t important in this exercise, but I do recommend that you start with the direction that brings up the least resistance.

Are you able to see your important relationships with sufficient clarity?

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