Listen to those Voices inside your head

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Are you the same person when you go the office as when you pick up your child from school? Or when you greet your spouse after you haven’t seen then for a while, as when you go clothes shopping, or meet up with a friend?

Are you really the same person?

I invite you to consider that actually your not! Instead, each of these situations bring forth a different part of you, each unique and with a personality all its own. This is the view taken by Hal and Sidra Stone who created the Voice Dialogues model of the psyche in the early 1970’s. This model has been used by coaches and therapists over the last 50 years to help people make better decisions, and to have better relationships both professional and personal . It can bring new insights into your your dreams as well as deepening self knowledge, and help to bring your life back on track if things have gone awry

I discovered this process about 6 months ago and I recently completed a Voice Dialogues Facilitator training with Tim Kelley .  Often when we start out the parts unfortunately don’t always get along or agree with each other. As you beginning to get acquainted with your parts, Voice Dialogues helps you bring your parts into better alignment. It puts you back in the driver’s seat of your own life, rather than being pulled this way and that by the needs and interests of all the parts that live inside you. Voice Dialogues is as structured process for talking with parts, in which you are facilitated by a Voice Dialogue Facilitator.

One of my clients has been using Voice Dialogues to understand why she has burned out.  She discovered that she has a high need please other people because of something that happened when she was 5 years old when she saw her mother crying with worry about her.  This part of her decided that she was going to be a good girl and please her mother.  Another  client has been using the process to understand  both  the attraction and  the difficulties she has with her partner.

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As part of the training which I have just completed, I have been diving deeply into the life and world of my own parts. Its been an interesting journey of self discovery, and now that I know my parts, we can talk to each other when ever we want. It is bringing me a lot.

I ‘d like to share a personal story in illustration, that happened the other day. I had promised myself a day at the sea side, (more precisely, a young part of me had told me she wanted to go the seaside). My responsible, manager like part had gotten me organised. I had booked a car from the community car program, as I don’t own my own car. The young part was thrilled, its still new for me to keep the promises I make to myself.

In the morning when I woke up there was a Voice inside my head, and I recognised this Voice, (my Voices can get very animated, they really get into the parts – but its not like that for everyone). This Voices calls itself the Wise one, I realised later that Worrier is probably more accurate, but I decided to listen to it. It was worried about my travelling there, that there would be danger on the road, and it was also worried that I would get back late and then spoil my next day, which was full of plans. In the past when I would become aware of such concerns I would either ignore them completely, and then not take proper care of myself, or I would do exactly what they said and cancel my plans to have fun.

This time I did something different. I listened to the Voice. Revolutionary! I decided that I would go ahead with my trip and take extra special care driving and I would make sure to not come home late. I would take careful note of any danger on the road and see how it compares with the concern that had been raised, for my future reference . I was taking the Voice seriously for once, and I wanted to check its reliability.

I got myself ready and went to pick up my Cambio car.  Cambio works pretty well most of the time, the car is there and off you go. Every once in while there’s some kind of hitch, there is some kind of problem that takes bit of sorting out. This time I got to the station and no car! It turned out that the car had been parked on another street about 5 minutes away, so no big hassle, but I had to go and get it.

Aha, is that what that Voice was trying to tell me this morning?! I did make sure to thank it for its concern , as it didn’t want me the inconvenience of having to get the car.

I was curious to see what else might happen on my trip. Nothing did. I had an easy straightforward drive to the coast, and a great day on the beach. The young part that had asked to go was thrilled that I had made it happen and that I had kept this promise to her.

Everything was fine and dandy, until it was time to coming home. I had eaten out at the restaurant where I had parked. The sun was beginning to set and I love sunsets….. My Young part wanted me to go and take one last look at the beach. So I started walking down there, but it was taking much longer than I remembered. Normally I would just keep going regardless, but this time I d id something different. I stopped, I turned around, and I got into the car and I drove home.

I had made a promise to that Worried part of me that I would not get home late, and I wanted to keep that promise too. Its true I possibly missed an amazing sunset, and I caught glimpses of it as I was driving home. It surely was a great sunset, but I was glad to be driving home. Typically I would choose to watch the sun go down to the last rays were gone and there is place for that – but not tonight. I was proud of myself that I got home about the time I wanted, and I had kept the promises I made to myself. This was new and wonderful. I felt calm, and grateful for my day and for the new sense of self.

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Do you make promises to yourself and then find it hard to keep them?

What strategies do you use?

Please share comments below.

 

Shaken but not stirred

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There I was at the end of my holiday in beautiful sunny Brittany,  perfect weather, sandy beaches, turquoise clear water just perfect for paddling, and amazingly beautiful scenery.  I had one hour left before catching my train home, and I was just contemplating how to spend this time. My head was buried in google maps, but I was still ambling towards the station, and I wasn’t looking where I was going. So it’s not really a surprise that I stumbled – could have happened to anyone.  I was a carrying  a not-so-heavy back-pack, but it was just heavy enough to topple me – and there I was on the ground – I heard my own cry ‘ Sh…t’  as if from a distance and I was hurting.

Next thing I knew some burly guy was trying to get me to stand up!  No, actually I want to get myself together first, and then stand up in my own  time, thanks.  Suddenly there were 3 of them trying to make me stand up…..  Non!  I said in my best French. I was not liking this so-called ‘help’!

A moment later there is another guy who showed up, he told us all that he was a fireman and those other guys disappeared as rapidly as they had arrived.  The fireman went on to ask me all those formlaic questions, to get me talking, to check I was Ok, that I knew my own name and where I was from, and to check I  was am not concussed. I participated in this exercise  willingly, understanding this process.  He did a great job, and kept telling me that we shoudl get the firemen to check me out.  He told me it’s not normal to fall over for no reason !  Well maybe it IS normal to trip up when you aren’t looking where you are going –  could have happened to anyone!  I asked him if there is a bench nearby that I can sit on, as I was still a bit wobbly at that point.  The nice friendly fireman helped me over to the bench that was conveniently placed over there, I felt shaken but not stirred.

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Sitting there on the bench, I check myself over,there was a scrape on my knee, and another on my hand, and yes probably a nice big bruise on my cheek bone.  I checked in with the whole of my body –I could still feel my toes and the whole of my  feet inside my boots, – it felt really  good.  I could  feel the metal  texture of the seat beneath my sit bones.  Ah, yes, there was something inside me screaming at me, in pain. I guess that must be normal too, given that I had just taken a fall.  I  became aware of the sunlight behind my closed eyes,  the sounds of traffic in teh distance, slow traffic parking nearby  and birds singing.  And I could  feel that ‘I am all here, and I am OK’!

Mostly, if I let myself know it, I felt grateful.  I heard this wise and caring voice inside me pointing out that if I did have to fall over, it was much better that it happened  here in town where there were people around.  Much better than on a remote cliff edge on Ouessant (a mostly unpopulated beautiful island of the coast of Brittany) where I had been few days before.  I did indeed have a few scratches, but this little mishap was much milder that other times I had fallen.  There were no broken bones, no blood, and people were  around – even though the first guy that came along  didn’t give me the support I needed right then, I am sure he was well-intentioned.

I sat there for a while, and made space for the shock to be there . What a relief to know there was no need to change anything, and that everything was OK, just exactly as it was.  Then I realised that I was hungry,  and treated myself to a really nice lunch.  Evidently today was not the day to explore this city….. It was time to catch the train and go home, and  uncharacteristically for me, I slept most of the way home –so may be falling over wasn’t so bad after all!

I definitely wasn’t hard on myself for this having happened, as I would have been in the past, and I found many small moments of kindness, and tenderness towards myself on the way home.  There is one inside me who can be hard on me sometimes – but on this little mishap I felt only self-acceptance and self-kindness. It could have happened to anyone and thank goodness it was so minor!

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Wiggle your toes

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This first blog post entry I share an experience of grounded presence, the foundation stone focusing, and how it is helping me in my life.

What does it mean to be really PRESENT – alive and awake and aware of the ground beneath my feet, the sky above me, aware of the sounds coming in from out side, aware of the thoughts that whizz thru’ my brain.

I am watching the tirade of thoughts spilling out of me now as a I write.  I notice them, not really caught in them, just acknowledging them, putting them gently aside – one by one as they come up.  Then I come back to my thought-process as I write – I notice the self-judgements that come in thick and fast.  In me, these voices, and similar ones, are cajoling around, too much of the time.

It was certainly  like that for the longest time. In the past little things would trigger huge reactions, that afterwords left me feeling embarrassed and a bit hopeless – how did that situation repeat – again?

One day, midway through yet another challenging situation,  something different happened. A new friend invited me quite simply just to feel my toes, and to feel the contact between my toes and the ground, and from there slowly to bring in to awareness all the parts of my body  one by one.  By the end of it I felt calmer, more present, more alive and simply aware of my energy and everything that had been triggered by this challenging situation

You can always wiggle your toes!   It might sound silly, but its remarkable what a huge difference this simple step can make.  Here am I, standing here, sitting here, and whatever else is going on. I can feel my toes, I am in contact with the earth through the soles of my feet. Gravity is acting downwards and, sure enough the gentle reaction from the floor pushing back.  I can feel my own presence more strongly, I am more alive and awake and it all starts with the simple step of wiggling my toes!

Check it out and experiment!