BREATH-WORK and VOICE DIALOGUE as wonderful healing companions
They are a great TEAM.
Both Ardhan and I trained in Voice Dialogue (also known as Transforming Dialogue) for many years on top of others trainings like psycho-synthesis for Ardhan and for me with addictions, grief, 12 step work and shamanic ritual family constellation. We work with them in combination together both individually and together as a couple. If you are interested in learning more, please write to us on the contact form.
“In what ways does Voice Dialogue enhance and deepen the Breath-work experience?”
Psychotherapists know and work with the habitual and default patterns and feelings we all carry, the inner dynamics we bring from childhood and the mechanics of traumatisation. All this is known in psychotherapy where practitioners need a high level of sensitivity and wisdom, particularly with the MAP of their psyche.
We are a collectively traumatised, disembodied and shame based society, this is more obvious than ever before. With trauma, the nervous system gets dis-regulated. We stop breathing when we are in shock and overwhelm and we don’t get to complete what needed to happen. In order to be in our bodies, we need safety and the breath is our anchor to come into more presence. We all need to stay connected with each breath because this is what was stopped as a short term strategy but it was never meant to be life long. Trauma has come out of the shadows with the current global situation in so many different ways and it’s clear also from the level of compliance and the lack of personal authority, that fear has the upper hand with most people where they defer to the mainstream news and government for what they should do, not even questioning if this is actually in their best interests .
Finally we know that trauma is not only relating to war veterans and rape victims but for so many others dealing with more invisible, hidden issues such as womb and birth trauma as well inter-generational, unresolved, ancestral trauma passed down epigenetically as well as medical doctor and dental procedures. My personal experience is that I am doing my inner work not just for my self but for my ancestors and in order to clean up and create a brighter future for my grand-children. It has not been easy work but it has brought me back into self honouring where I can finally bow down in gratitude and deep realisation of what happened before me instead of standing with ego entitlement and grandiosity.
The world is full of hatred and judgement. We have lost our way and if we want to create a heaven on earth, we all need to do our inner and shadow work, to ‘know thyself’, embracing both sides of our power and vulnerability, to come into more balance and divine sovereignty. The more presence we are aware of, the more of our baggage will come up and this means we have greater capacity because we are more regulated and more resilient with stronger resources in order to manage situations and stay in presence. With breathing, staying within our ‘window of tolerance’, we get to come into balance and alignment with ourselves, with our bodies and minds and inter-relationally with others, with life itself.
Ardhan and I are both passionate in believing it is our sacred duty to clear the shadows within ourselves, to see where we are all contributing to the dark agenda and part of the whole right now, rather than simply judging and pointing the finger outside. Equally this has to be done in a safe, titrated way where we direct people into their body to see where they have the resourcefulness, tapping into them as whole and complete.
There is no doubt that breathing will help bring us back into embodiment, presence and deep insight as we breathe into our bodies and re-inhabit them, since alchemic change and transformation are certainly possible without words. However, it is Ardhan’s and my view, that we also need to bring wisdom to the breath by being trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive, familiar how to work with inner and outer resources, as repressed material will surface through a more active and conscious breathing process . Spiritual emergency is all too familiar in our world and all healers need to understand how to create a safe container and work with energetic linkage and resonance, titrating what is happening, to avoid overwhelming and distressing reactions taking place.
Developed by Hal and Sidra Stone, Voice Dialogue (VD) is in our experience, an incredibly inclusive and powerful, psycho-spiritual approach to consciousness. It’s a journey home to oneself and a tool for conscious transformation. VD is best used for people who have developed and stabilised their primary self system and want to turn inward and reclaim their essential self. That’s why it’s so good to work with the breath and VD together, they are a great combo of awareness and experiencing. With embodiment and breathing you can find even deeper resonance and attunement.
Our personality is made up of many different selves or voices and VD is based on the psychology of Jung using the idea that our personality is made up of different parts known as selves or sub personalities. Voice Dialogue is a very accessible technique, a methodology to help us grow and awaken our conscious awareness, through the discovery and understanding of our inner selves, some parts we know about, others we don’t. In Voice Dialogue this is known as the ‘psychology of selves’ and the idea is to bring these inner voices of the psyche into harmony in order to unleash greater creativity, fulfilment and success for ourselves and our clients.
The challenge for all of us is that these inner voices or primaries as they are known with Voice Dialogue, that form the core of our personality, are often using outdated strategies to try to fulfil their purposes and they’ve never learned how to effectively achieve their highest goal, nor to work together in synergy so they can become allies. Sometimes these primary selves are so vigilant in hiding away our vulnerability that we can lose touch with it ourselves and with the way to connect with our soul.
It’s particularly important that we honour the guardians of the psyche in our clients (and in ourselves) as these effectively are the protector controllers – sometimes referred to as the risk management selves. We do not push past these primaries as they were set up to create safety and need to be FIRST honoured. We cannot throw out our selves and parts, the ones we judge and dislike, but we can transform them where for example, an inner critic can become a discerning judge or a scapegoat can become a whistleblower. Everything needs acceptance and all exiled, disowned and lost parts need to be brought back to the light of love, this is the way to come into wholeness.
In this respect, it needs to be said, that for each of the primary selves that is this strong and ‘running the show’, there has to be a complementary, disowned self that is equal and opposite in content and power. We know this with the bully for example. Another example of this might be the superwoman and wretch which can show itself in a kind of bi-polar manner. We end up blaming parts but they were set up to do a specific job and they’ve continue doing it without having their job description updated.
Whilst strong insight can and does happen in breath sessions, the physical integration does not happen overnight especially when one’s whole life might be turned upside down by a shocking memory or realisation to leave a marriage for example. It’s a step by step process to drop into wounded parts and see why a perfect superwoman character might have had to be created for safety and whilst there is huge wisdom in vulnerability, sadly it is not honoured in our shame based and toxic patriarchal culture.
We need to be fully resourced in order to make informed and healthy choices and this is a process and hence why working with VD can be very supportive in the breath process, the two definitely work really well together. Most of us know what it feels like to be caught between opposites, immobilised or town between polarised parts that have tension and whilst we might like to throw or berate one of these selves, the way the psyche works, you cannot just push a critic away and expect there not to be a backlash. Learning how to fully be with the body and breath is a way to stabilise and regulate the nervous system in particular which is essential when making big changes or decisions.
The process of Voice Dialogue together with breath-work helps people trust their inner resources, take personal responsibility and come back into divine sovereignty. To give an analogy, our community of selves is like an inner orchestra of soul and the VD process helps guide us to ensure we have a conductor (which the Stones refer to as an Aware Ego) in place, to create greater alignment because it brings these inner parts together as a coherent and empowering team. When you learn to live with the tension of opposites which in VD is known as developing this ‘Aware Ego’, this represents a central position where we can interact with the world, standing on both feet, in balance between the different selves and honouring them.
We need to ask this question of how in balance or how extreme are we with these polarities ie such that we might push and drive ourselves to an early grave without stopping and enjoying life for example? And something important to remember, is that the relationship you have with your inner voices (or you might know them as selves, parts, sub personalities), is always mirrored in the outer world as projections.
For example, if you judge part of yourself, you will judge, resist or fight that same quality in others. The same is true in your work with your clients just as you do with your partners. Until you come into harmonious relationship with your own inner voices, you will react to those same parts and voices in your clients or in your family and this undermines your efficacy as a transformational guide.
With Voice Dialogue, there is no hierarchy and every self is equal. There are no good or bad selves and the spiritual selves are not above any other selves. The facilitator is a guide, holding a lantern, being the bridge – working energetically through linkage and resonance. As healers, we have to know these voices in ourselves because as we learn to interact from this place in our own psyche’s, we will be more accepting of all the voices and parts we meet in others.
We talk about standing on TWO FEET and what we mean by this is that people think that they are their PRIMARY selves and have no awareness of their DISOWNED SELVES (or unconscious voices) and with this limited viewpoint, they JUDGE others and themselves as a result. If we have a strong perfectionist for example, do we know the opposite part that might be one that wants to be a slob, if we have a pusher, do we know how to play, rest and have fun?
We are all in a process because at some point in our lives, we gave up on our authenticity in order to be safe. We chose to be attached to our care-givers, for reasons of survival and we gave up being who we were in order to get love and connection. You might have a client who is relentless in their critique of their every move, you might have an inner child that is yearning for attention or a seemingly lazy or stuck resistant part that doesn’t want to move their big dreams forward. There are so many scenarios that you will come across, in yourself and then both at work if you are a healer/therapist or with family and friends and that you perhaps judge or are anxious about because you actually don’t know how to be with that part.
What you have repressed and lost sight of in yourself, you will find in other people and judge them, this is how you can know what your disowned selves are!
Most of us know about how our inner critic is often our worst enemy, many times crippling us with harsh and negative words about what we could or should have done. The key with Voice Dialogue and other similar modalities is how to DIS-IDENTIFY from selves like the victim, rationaliser, inner critic and inner patriarch or indeed ones like the pusher and perfectionist that so easily lead people to burn out and over extension.
When we give up resisting and blaming parts of ourselves and really bring acceptance and love to EVERY PART that serves us, in some way, this is the greatest medicine we can bring to ourselves, others and to the world. Suffering needs to be brought back from exile and this means all of our disowned and blind parts need to come back to connection and love which is what it means to reclaim wholeness. We carry our precious judgements for decades and as sensitive empaths, we do the worst damage on ourselves, so it is a heroic journey to stop judging our parts/selves and those of our clients or family/friends, so that instead we can make them allies.
Then we have the opportunity to become CHANGE AGENTS and help make the world a better place.
CONSCIOUS CONNECTED BREATH-WORK
“Breathing practices have the power to restore a healthy balance to the stress-response system, to unlock the grip of trauma on the mind and emotions, to create the conditions necessary for healing from the many effects of trauma. As this healing occurs, we rediscover our true selves and the capacity for love and bonding that are essential to our relationships”. Dr Richard Brown ‘The Healing Power of the Breath’
Breath-Work sessions are really a ritual offering in a ceremonial space with music, prayer, poetry, energetic resonance with us breath workers we acting as sacred portal holders. This is the potential of what can be transmitted. When you combine it with the psycho-spiritual wisdom of modalities like Voice Dialogue that honour both the spiritual and physical realities, then it becomes a safe, multi-dimensional medicine so needed in this traumatised world.
The breath is your boundary, it belongs to you.
Breath-work is an embodied process, we are here to stay associated with our bodies, to reconnect with ourselves in a deep way and to bring back fragmented parts from exile. We are the only species that interrupts and blocks tremoring and shaking as we need to release tension.
Breathwork is about regulation. Dr Joe Dispenza says that incoherence and a lowering of frequency is the reason for illness so self regulation is very important. Deep long out breaths for example will help with this process. With breath, we can up or down regulate our breathing and as we change our breath we can change our state which is an amazing possibility when we are conscious to it.
Breath-work is relational and the question we ask is ‘what is your relationship to your breath?’ If we are not present to ourselves, we cannot be present to others, it’s the same with loving ourselves and others. The more we bring coherence with our mind and hearts, the more we regulate our nervous system and change our neural pathways, the more we have capacity to life a fuller and more joyful life. So it’s about presence, coming back to here and now, each breath in and out.
Breath is a portal, a gateway to wherever you want to go, to activate new beginnings and possibilities and to relax and let go of anything that needs to be released. It holds the library of everything that has happened in your life, deep in your cells and as such, repressed material can come up as a result of conscious and more active breathing.
Your body is your resource, it isn’t your enemy, this is what happens with trauma because the experience was too overwhelming and we check out, disassociating as a survival mechanism. Breath and the body is a gateway to presence and embodiment and whilst with conscious connected breathing there is some activation, what we are seeking is not activation but integration. This is the key because we need to be IN our body in order to connect to that which is beyond our body. We can have cathartic experiences by strong breathing process but the work needs to be embodied, in order to integrate the wisdom, otherwise any supposed benefits are short lived and not effective in the long term.
Our safety lies in staying close to the breath, in noticing how we are breathing which says so much about our lives. Do you hold your breath, shallow breathe or do you push it intentionally? Other questions might be:
- Can you take a full in breath and say yes to life, expanding your rib cage and out to your back, opening to that spaciousness?
- Can you let go, surrender and release, trusting to the next breath in each moment?
- Can you trust to your inner healer and this higher wisdom you have, that knows what to do?
- Can you allow everything that arises, let go of those outdated cultural voices that say we are acting out when expressing our feelings?
- Can you let go of your own inner critic voices, the judgements, resistance and non acceptance, that blocks your life force and the flow of love?
- Can you trust that it is these feelings, that will let you become more of who you were meant to be, let you reconnect with your free, spontaneous inner child, to come back to your creative life force, intuition and divine true nature?