Friday, February 29, 2008

Inner Voices

A while back, when the Simpson movie first came out, my niece Cindy sent me a picture of herself "Simpsonized," Well, of course I had to go play too and I made the Simpsonized me that I'd like to think I am (sweet face, penguin shirt on the left) and the me that I fear and try to keep hidden ( I named her Griselda) who can be seen on the right. Griselda, I guess, is my "inner bitch." If you had ever heard (and you probably will at some point) the way my inner bitch talks to me, you'd know that this is a pretty flattering picture of her. She is one nasty, nasty, nasty creature, the Hitler of my inner landscape. Fortunately for the rest of the world, she is totally inner directed. Not so lucky for me.

Speaking of inner voices, about twenty years ago, I studied something called Voice Dialogue. Voice Dialogue was the invention of two psychologists named Hal and Sidra Stone. The basic concept (as I understand it) is that we are all, on some level, multiple personalities merged into one master ego, but that our lives are often run by inner personalities whose voices we don't even really hear speaking. The most powerful of those voices is often, as it was for me, The Inner Critic. The idea behind voice dialogue is that through the process of talking with those inner selves and becoming consciously aware of what they are telling us, we are able to take more control of our lives. The idea, by the way, isn't to change the voices - though by virtue of being heard, they usually change on their own - the idea is let them speak so that become aware of what's going on inside your own head without you even knowing about it.

The voice dialogue process was a revelation for me. My inner critic, aka The Dragon Lady, was quite something. While most inner critics operate from a desire to protect, the Dragon Lady actually hated me and wished me dead. The fact that she would die with me was irrelevant to her. It was worth it. She hated me that much. I also met a number of wounded children in this process, one of whom - she named herself Pisser for some reason - had been raped quite young. It was that aspect of me, I think, that the Dragon Lady hated the most. I did this course with a wonderful group of people over the course of 4 months. It was a profound experience. Devastating in many ways. Fodder for a lot of therapy, though it drove my therapist crazy for a while because I tended to regard/relate to Pisser and the Dragon Lady as though they were real and separate entities and not so much aspects of myself. (Ever heard of denial? I'm too nice to have a killer demon critic running around inside me... or a molested child.)

I think this is a brilliant techinque. The Stones have a number of excellent books out on the subject, including one for couples and parents that helps you become aware of those days when there are two or more inner children roaming the house all looking for a parent.

When I started writing my agoraphobia column, I coined a name for the not-so-little collective of brutal monsters that inhabit my inner mindscape. I call them the Demonalians. They are as wicked and sadistic a crowd of inner voices as ever cohabited inside one head. To kind of counter-act them, and because I just love playing with Paint Shop Pro even though I have no artistic talent, I made a bunch of inner goddesses. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to still the din of the Demonalians enough to hear the voices of these divine ones (in fact I quite forgot about them until this morning), but I think maybe that's a good project to work on over the next few weeks. Hmmm. Maybe I'll introduce them here today and see if I can get them to speak in future posts. Can't hurt to think about it. So, without further explanation, I intoduce my four inner goddesses:

Kwanatherine Yin, Inner Kwan Yin, Goddess of Compassion.
Green Katherine - drawn from the Green Tara who is a mix of benign and harsh as I recall, Gaia Katherine, and Kali. I made the Kali-me during the nine months it took me to find my house. She hung on the wall by my desk and I called on her when my drunken landlady felt particularly scary. I'm not sure where I'm going with all this. I have kind of scared myself by posting these goddesses and saying that I'll talk with them. But even though I've scared myself, I think it's probably (I hope) a good challenge.

Guess that's it for today. The Demonalians are all stirred up on a number of subjects, including how stupid this post is and how if people didn't think I was nuts before, surely the whole inner goddess nonsense will have proved it for good and all. Demonalia is a happy place this morning. Maybe I'll see if my inner Kali can keep them in line.
An afterthought that has nothing to do with anything. My other magnificent niece Diana, has posted a video thing on one of her blogs. If you watch it (or even just let it run without watching it), she gets money. On her Vegangirl blog she posted a brilliant lecture that doesn't earn her any money about the paradox of choice.

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