My Wise Council
Behind the Scenes
After the first conversation with the part of me I called my Procrastinator, I was hooked. It was both real and surreal at the same time. There I was typing away at my computer having a back and forth dialogue with someone that lived inside me… and it didn’t feel strange at all. I asked it questions and it answered, just like a friend sitting next to me at a café.
What the heck was going on?
I had heard about “Parts Work” from Jeffrey van Dyke and Tim Kelley of the True Purpose Institute. They suggested a list of questions to ask your various parts, or sub-personalities, with the idea of renegotiating their job descriptions.
Intrigued, I thought I’d see where it led me.
These aspects of our ego step in when we’re children mainly to protect us from getting hurt. But their single-minded focus over the years turn into what we call our inner critics, saboteurs or gremlins, along with more positive parts as well.
Looking back, I’m glad I let the process develop organically over several months. I’d get a feeling that a certain part wanted to come forward and have a talk. So I knew I was ready to hear what it had to say.
The one I was most afraid of was my Perfectionist. She’d ruled me from a young age and seemed bent on making my life miserable. Nothing I ever did was quite good enough to fully please her. I was shocked to feel her utter compassion and complete understanding of me. She was so ready to transform her job into being My Explorer named Beth. (Not that my perfectionist – or any of the parts – disappear altogether, but now I can communicate directly with them.)
The other surprise was with a part I called My Skeptic – actually someone else gave me the idea to talk to this part. I didn’t think I was very skeptical. Turns out we have parts that we disown. These are our shadow side … the places where we judge other people while denying it is part of us. Whew! My skeptic was really working hard to keep me in hiding, not stick my neck out, and stay invisible. We had to negotiate quite awhile before he was willing to allow Belinda, My Cheerleader to step forth.
When I had the dialogues with my parts, I didn’t know anything about other systems such as Voice Dialogue from Hal and Sidra Stone and had only a vague idea of Carl Jung’s work along this line.
Now I see that as a blessing. It meant there were no rules I was supposed to follow. I made it up as I went along. Way more empowering for a recovering perfectionist like me!
Early on in the process I got this idea to make dolls of the parts. I remembered a book on doll making I’d seen at a textile conference years before. Seemed like a cool thing to play around with. It was all totally new to me. In the end, I created more of a totem-like figure that could be knocked down to travel to other venues.
I stopped making my batik paintings in 2005, thinking I was taking maybe a year off. When I had my first dialogue more than six years later I hadn’t made any art during those years.
Getting pulled back into art via this avenue was exciting and a little unnerving, especially when I decided to make books of the dialogues to go with the dolls. I’d been a textile artist for 30 years – working with wax and dyes. Paper and paints were new territory for me.
I set up an exhibition with a deadline so the pressure was on.
I’d completely forgotten the exhilaration of artistic freedom … to explore, play, pose and solve problems, and create my vision into life.
Part of the exhibition was a public ritual where we explored what our gifts are and what is holding us back from expressing them.
I encourage you to see the full exhibition on my Tumblr page at The Power of You. There are close-ups of each doll, pages from the books, my original chakra artworks, and three 2.5 to 3 meter (yard) long batik panels called The Birdmen we used in the public ritual.
Several pages from the various books showing the dialogue process
These inner dialogue and art journal processes were so transformative and powerful for me. I am excited to show you how to have your own inner dialogues. See Stop or Go, the full book of my first dialogue with Bear.
Gift yourself an Allowing Clarity Session to see how you might use the tools to meet your Own True Self.