My personal philosophy is that in order to truly perform our work at our best we’re required to be on a constant course of self-reflection and in a process of continual self-growth. Several years ago I embarked on a four-year study program of Integrated Kabbalistic Healing. At the time I wasn’t sure how that course of study would become integrated into the work I do in mediation and conflict resolution. As I’ve moved well beyond that particular training, I’ve found, somewhat to my surprise, that the teachings that began with my training frequently filter through my work deep ways …
At its core, Integrated Kabbalistic Healing focuses on the Tree of Life. While the Tree of Life is probably best known to have its roots in Judaism, many spiritual paths reference the Tree of Life and the fundamental qualities of humanness that are inherent to it. Helping my clients identify and understand the relational connections within the Tree of Life have become core to my thinking as I do my work.
While I may at some point write more extensively about the 32 paths within the Tree, my intent in this piece is to merely highlight, by example, the way in which something so esoteric provides meaning and insight within the day to day work many of us do with our clients. Here goes.
One of the connections I find in almost all of my professional work lies within two of the relational points contained in the Tree. One of these points symbolizes what we think of as Victory. It has a direct connection to another point sometimes referenced, among other things, as Place. I see this relational aspect as a core place of work for many of my clients, whether individuals or organizations.
Victory, in this context, is not intended to reference victory as in a victory over another person or over something. Rather, Victory in the context I’m using relates to a person’s sense of self-victory, one’s sense of mastery and one’s sense of accomplishment. Place, at the same time, does not refer to a spot outside one’s self.Place references a person’s internal experience of knowing where one belongs, having a clear sense of occupying a space where one is meant to stand (as being in or taking one’s rightful place). And, Place, as beauty or awesomeness, is a frame of mind where everything is visible, clear and whole.
I find when the ground between Victory and Place is shaky, when there is a broken relational connection between them, internal conflict is heightened and usually externalized. I find that in my work I’m often helping clients understand that without a place, it is difficult to find a sense of victory and, at times, the fortune of events that create a sense of victory, are what can help one find a rightful place.
For example, consider the third generation family member who initially steps into the role of President of the company. When that transition is accompanied with dissension about whether he’s the right person, the deserving person, then, albeit the title has been given, the transition requires significant time and intense work for this new President to truly stand in his place. When the foundational ground of place isn’t solid, it’s harder for that person to achieve a sense of self-victory. He is often second guessing himself, or he can’t make a decision. Yet, in time, if that new President can persevere and begin to take the organization in a positive direction, he or she begins to embody Victory and those victories have a way of solidifying his rightful place. Victory and Place go hand in hand.
Or think about the employee who suffers from inadequate supervision. Roles within the organization aren’t clear. The employee has only a limited understanding of timelines, of what is expected and is rarely, if ever, held accountable. Performance is questionable and before you know it that person is directed toward a Performance Improvement Plan. Then, through a series of facilitated interactions between this person and his supervisor, both achieve clarity about roles and expectations. Accountability becomes defined. This allegedly poor performer becomes clear about what her job is, where she stands in the organization and what is expected. Her performance ratings show marked improvement. Through clear definition and structure Place has become defined and clear, and leads to a true sense of victory.Place and Victory, in solid relationship with each other, support this employee to truly begin to show creativity and outstanding job performance.
This need to understand Place and Victory is often at issue in the field of divorce and custody mediation. We frequently see one or both parents uncertain and fearful as they move away from roles that have been clear during the marriage. That can lead to self-doubt and immobility. But when the parent who had been a stay-at-home parent goes into the workforce and does well, she has a sense of accomplishment and this leads to finding a new sense of place, leading to both a sense of victory at work as well as a sense of victory in a role of parent that is different, yet equally valued.
Over time I have seen my clients suffer through confusion and conflict that is driven by the lack of a rightful place and the inability to achieve a sense of self-victory. So, when I’m paying attention to what I see, and when I’m trying to get to the heart of what is happening, a place of reflection for me is to notice whether there appears to be an absence of Place or Victory within the client, or the client system. I find that in many instances having a conversation with my client about the interplay betweenVictory and Place shifts a client’s remorse and self-judgment into an awakening. That clarity for the client increases the likelihood of vision, and as the next step becomes visible, the courage to take it.
While my work in Integrated Kabbalistic Healing has not led me to open up shop as a healer, per se, I’ve come to understand that the work we do in helping our clients shift from self-limitation to expansion is, in fact, a process of healing.
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