Free From Bondage

Please visit our fantastic new website by clicking this link!

By Elisa Novick

In my first sessions with my clients, unless an immediate issue is pressing, I almost invariably work on generational karma, that which comes through the family. When I’ve asked my inner guidance, I’ve gotten that, for most people, at least 75% of our karma, the unresolved “stuff” we carry around, comes down to us from the family. Yes, we have past-life karma and we may have created karma in this life through our actions, but those will almost always be reflected or engendered by the families we’ve embodied into. Though the issues may seem to be about something current, they usually stem from the family.

Elisa Novick; photo by Eric.

Delving into the family system may not be as exotic or glamorous as past-life regression, vibrational remedies, or many popular quick-fix methods for healing your life and creating health, wealth, and happiness (all of which I’ve used and have value), but it is foundational and essential. Some will say, “But I already did that in therapy. This isn’t psychotherapy, is it? I thought you were a spiritual healer?”

While I do not disparage the understandings gained through the therapeutic model, if there is still more to handle, it is always worthwhile to explore what has not been addressed yet. Going in with spiritual guidance and attunement and the assistance of the Light often reveals new information and transmutes the root patterns at levels either previously unreachable or impervious to change.

Last night I had a dream, somewhat nightmarish, that gave me a deeper understanding of something I’ve worked with for years. There were three parts to this dream, and the identities and ethnicities of the people involved kept shifting, which I believe is significant.

First scene:
I am in my late teens, at a boardwalk park bench by the water with my younger sister, except this bench is facing away from the water toward the buildings. Our parents are nearby but not seen. I sit on the bench, wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt with the hood over my head (reverberations of Trayvon Martin’s “hoodie”). I explain to my sister that I used to get beaten by my parents for doing something like this. As I sit there, I am aware that I might be beaten even now for this, but I don’t move.

Second scene:
Two people I know are newly married, standing before the judge and his large family or group of cronies. The family is wearing outfits that show them to be of Middle Eastern origin and are sitting around close together on cushions. The couple is presented with an antique glass vessel of perfume with a large sprayer nozzle. The husband politely takes it, and then proceeds, to the shock of his wife, to spray and spray until the air is saturated with the nauseating perfume.

Third scene:
The previous scene morphs. This time the couple has just gotten married, but she has a young son already. The wife mentions, somewhat humorously, to her husband and the family they are marrying into (though the blood connection is unclear), that her young son wants to have sex with her, with the assumption that she would never allow that. The husband starts screaming at her, insisting that she must do it. They are fighting in front of the family. I, witnessing this, go back and slow the scene down and repeat it, not understanding how he, who seems to be the good guy, can do this. I hear him scream, “You don’t get it. These are Chinese people. You have to do this!”

In horror at the turn of events, I begin to wake up, but took a last look, and what I saw was a family now bonded to each other, holding a group frequency, albeit one of misery. Through the wife being forced to accept the rape of her son, they are all in a common vibration. The husband has said, in effect, “By doing this, by sacrificing yourself, you implicate us all in the crime, and therefore we are together, we are one.”

This multi-layered dream was demonstrating, at a deeper level, something I’ve known and worked with for years in sessions, that loyalty to the family is a driving force. It has nothing to do with morality or what we think of as a conscience. (Here is a transcript of part of a talk and workshop given by Bert Hellinger, Peace Begins in the Soul: Ethnic Conflict and Reconciliation, published by my friend and colleague Dan Booth Cohen that explains this beautifully.) It is a survival mechanism, reinforced by the primal fact that without parental/tribal acceptance we die, as well as that babies come in so loving that they accept whatever fate the family hands down to them.

This need to be a member of the group then extends out to friends, gangs, institutions, governments. In its more positive aspect, it forces families and other groups to take care of each other. It its extreme negative aspect it takes the form of Mafia-style family businesses, fraternity and secret society pledges and hazes, killings in the name of tribe or country, and suicide bombings. But for most of us, it takes the form of remaining in unhappy relationships and jobs, procrastination, limiting ourselves, emotional turbulence, addictive behaviors. We are compelled to “sin” over and over to maintain the bonds of the group. Shared guilt is a powerful bonding agent.

When I thought about this dream, I wondered whether the shared guilt of those who can exonerate the killer of a young unarmed boy, either in the recent case of the murder of Trayvon Martin (assuming the common understanding of what took place is accurate), or of the policeman who killed a boy hiding in a shed after being caught hitting a fellow student, as well as the shared outrage of those protesting the killings, are examples of this bonding that we all crave.

I’ve spoken before of negative thought-forms that blanket the planet, which you might say are the work of a fallen angel, a darkness that pervades our world. The ideal of self-sacrifice, purveyed and anchored by our earliest family experiences, is one of them. You can serve without sacrificing yourself, but in this thought-form they are identical. Loyalty is also a two-edged sword and the dark edge is what runs so much of our behavior.

People cry out to me that they want to let go of something that is sabotaging their lives, blocking them from fulfillment, and yet what I see in their bodies and hear in their voices is another story — one of willing, though unconscious, loyalty to the group, usually to a parent. It says, “I must sacrifice myself, let myself be whipped, raped, compromised, be a failure, to meet the expectations placed upon me, to fulfill the bad things they said about me, or to pay for others’ crimes.” In other words, we are “duty-bound” to continue or try to balance the family karma.

Assisting people (and of course in working on myself as well) to get free of this is not easy, but so worthwhile. It takes tremendous holding power and total presence on my part to catch even the most subtle evidence of the deeper levels in which we hold these patterns of loyalty to the family system. It takes tremendous love and the Light and angels working with each person, and a fair amount of persuasiveness — to convince the psyche that it truly is good for all concerned for us to get free. Nothing less will work — for ourselves, our families, and our planet — if we want to end this long-enacted woeful legacy and to thrive.

The rewards of releasing the bondage are magnificent. The “wow factor” alone is one that always delights me, when the one before me begins to emerge and begins to embody the true self. The insight, radiance and peace of someone who has stopped being the sacrificial lamb and stepped into their own power, able to love and have compassion without getting sucked back into the maelstrom, into the chains that bind, is so exciting. This is usually achieved by layers, as we uncover and recover from the atrocities on each side of the family, gross and subtle, and then extend that healing out to our current families, friends, groups. I envision the entire world awakening, throwing off the chains, the negative thought-forms, coming alive, singing a new song.

To listen to and read past conversations with Elisa Novick on Planet Waves, plus her articles, please use this link. You’re invited to visit her website and Facebook page.

Elisa Novick, MSS does profound work as a healer, teacher, counselor, coach, minister, and facilitator of workshops and trainings in personal, professional, and spiritual development. She can assist you to clear personal, karmic and genetic patterns that have limited you and teach you exquisite attunement skills so you can become the magnificent master of life and Light that all of us are destined to be. Elisa has been assisting people in their growth since 1982 through her counseling practice and in facilitating over 1,000 workshops in holistic health, human development, family constellation, systemic constellation, organizational dynamics, planetary healing and spiritual awareness. You may email her directly at elisanovick [at] thrivingplanet [dot] org.

This entry was posted in by Elisa Novick. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Free From Bondage

  1. Amanda Painter Amanda Painter says:

    firehorse (and anyone else interested) — elisa does *great* long-distance sessions by phone and skype. i’ve been working with her that way for about a year and a half.

  2. Firehorse Firehorse says:

    Thank You! I have also been working on freeing myself from the family constellation. It all really came to a head last summer at my father’s, the patriarch, funeral. My eldest sister attempted to strangle me and both elder brothers physically threatened me – as I refused to slip into the role they expected me to play. I made it through safe and sound and empowered. Have uncovered multiple past life scenarios, going back to ancient Egypt, the betrayal and back stabbing of a medieval court, etc. There is a sadness associated with stepping out of the family constellation, as in a “no going- back” scenario, and compassion for the pain and wounds that I can see them carrying so clearly, but the lightness of being and releasing all of the junk that I was carrying around and the realization that it wasn’t mine to carry anymore is so worth it. One of my first therapists told me,”you can always send love from afar”that alone has helped me immeasurably. Thank you again for the post. Do you do any long distance sessions? I want to be sure every little cobweb is cleared out, lol!

  3. wandering_yeti says:

    Elisa, thank you for sharing this. I’ve been digging into my deeper layers for a long (in human years anyway) time now and most of the time I find ancestral threads connecting to things I thought were my own choices. Our myth of individual responsibility is a blinder that prevents us from seeing the collective contribution to individual actions. Punish the individual while the society keeps creating the patterns that break people and turn them desperate. I still punish myself for leaving the belief system I grew up in, obeying the dictates of that system even as I think I’m freeing myself from it. I think there is the main reason so many people attempting to adopt some form of la vie boheme sink into horrible depths of torturous emotions and ill health with occasional spells of bliss; we’re punishing ourselves in addition to the punishments thrown at us for disobeying the restrictive and soul crushing dictates of the empires.

    I think you’re totally correct when you say that we have to deal with these interior connections to heal our world. The fires killing the biosphere are stoked and maintained by too much fire in human hearts. “If you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention”, bondage in outrage; more like a mob than a community. In my internal explorations and external history studies I feel like the empires have been abusing us for so very long. I love your vision of a collective throwing off of the chains. It’s high time we do so.

  4. Rob44 says:

    Deep truth in here. I’d participated in a workshop you led last year partially touching on these themes. For reasons I don’t understand, that encounter seemed for me more confusing than clarifying. I wouldn’t say I understood what you had to say to me in that space. But what you’ve said above does. And has prompted me to look more objectively at the baggage I’ve carried from both parental lineages–especially the parent I’ve historically thought of as the more benevolent one. Interesting…

  5. jinspace says:

    Wow. What you’ve written here resonates deeply with me, Elisa. I truly, TRULY do not understand how people can put a lifetime of effort into deliberate, destructive words and actions, see the incredible damage they do, and continue to see themselves as “loving.”

    I feel very bolstered by your message, which has arrived at a perfect moment. Thank you.

Leave a Reply