Energy Dancing with Voice Dialogue
by Miriam Dyak
Every culture, religion, and family teaches its members that some ways of being human are good and others are bad, some kinds of people are better than others; even some of our natural physical and emotional feelings are allowed and others are not. This struggle to cope with what may seem to be irreconcilable opposites is reflected everywhere in our society in racial divisions, "gender wars," the splits between our spirituality and sexuality and between the rational and intuitive, to mention only a few.
These divisions not only pull on us from the outside, but they are trained into us so that we feel them as an ongoing conflict and stress inside ourselves. As a result, we struggle to restrain and repress part of our humanness. Imagining that we can get rid of certain parts of ourselves, we unconsciously project them out onto the world, where they inevitably show up in relationships, dreams, enemies, or, even worse, we may try to stuff them inside our bodies, where they can cause us to be seriously ill.
The physical reality of living in one place at a time, doing one task at a time, only reinforces our sense of being torn between opposites. We learn that we "cant be in two places at once," "cant have our cake and eat it too." Parents teach us to make choices for security and prosperity, and the assumption is that the less productive, less rational, less accountable parts of our personalities should be left behind with childhood toys and dreams. When we rebel against these inevitabilities, were told, "Just wait until youre older and have more responsibility." And when we are older and have a mountain of responsibilities, we feel a river of sadness and loss running under the ground of our lives.
It doesnt have to be this way. Voice Dialogue is one method of working with consciousness that teaches people how to reclaim and express all of their humanness, regardless of their life circumstances. Of course, its true that some options for living (like being an Olympic snowboarder or a mother of five) require starting at a younger age and putting in a lot of time, but most human choices dont. Instead, what they do require is accessing different energy.
Energy may be invisible and hard to define, but it is at the heart of all communication and connection between people. It is also at the center of our internal changes from one part of our personality to another. Its possible to learn how to shift and balance energy so that you dont have to give up aliveness in order to be successful. For instance, you may not be able to dance a wild flamenco at your business office, but you can learn to bring just enough of that flamenco energy into your day to spice up a bland internal and external environment. Or, following a spiritual calling does not have to mean becoming ungrounded; you can be in touch with spirit and bring in some practical energy, too.
Think for a moment about where you feel the pull of opposites in your life. Did you decide that making certain life choices meant forfeiting the rest of your nature? If youre a parent, do you find yourself becoming more and more kid-focused and wondering what happened to your sexuality? Did that academic degree mean giving up the right to be imaginative? On the other end of the spectrum, are you an artist, a singer, an intuitive, who cant seem to make money or get organized?
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Being torn between outer opposites deludes us into thinking that we have to make the same inner choices as well, thinking that we can have only one part of ourselves at a time. Voice Dialogue work, developed by Drs. Hal and Sidra Stone, teaches us how to manage our energy and hold the energy of our opposites from a centered, "aware ego" place. The easiest way to understand this is by experiencing it; and while a session with a Voice Dialogue facilitator will take you deeply into this process, you can also begin to work with it on your own.
Heres an exercise you can do by yourself or with a partner, starting with a familiar pair of opposites: "doing" and "being." Start out "in neutral," sitting quietly, not trying to do or not do anything. (If you have a partner, she or he can read the exercise to you, observe, and tell you afterwards how your energetic changes felt; then you can switch and repeat the exercise.)
Now think of a time when you were revved up and ready to go, very focused on doing. Invite that feeling of activity into your body. Where do you feel it? Does your breathing change? Does your environment seem different? What kinds of things are you thinking about? Did you have an urge to look at your watch? Finally, imagine for a moment that you have a magic dial that increases or decreases the amount of this "doing" energy. "Turn up the volume" on doing and notice what happens. Now try turning it down; if youre a real doer, this may seem quite unusual. What happens when you turn it way down? Do you feel more relaxed, or does feeling less of that "doing" energy start to make you nervous? Experiment, and when youre ready, go back to neutral.
Now you can explore the opposite state of being. Recall a time when you were relaxed, not doing anything not even meditating. Maybe it was lying on the beach, or soaking in a tub, or half sleeping curled under the blankets. Invite this "being" energy into your body. What do you notice? How does your body change? Your thoughts? Your breath? What do you know here that you dont know in that other place of doing?
Use your dial again to expand and contract the energy. Is there a point where it goes beyond relaxation and you have no energy left for doing at all? Turn it down again. Is there a place where it simply feels mellow? Could you add just a little of this, like oil on water, to smooth out your energy during your busy day? Or have you always kept these energies totally separate inside you?
Practice alternating between these two energies, doing and being (or practice with other opposites). Call in one, then the other; turn them up, turn them down. Once you feel comfortable with this process, you can even try holding one energy (at a "low volume") and inviting a little of the other in with it. This will probably feel really different than the "tug of war" you may have felt in the past. Its true that in any given moment you either are or arent being active, but on an energy level you can carry both. You can carry a relaxed peacefulness in the middle of your working day. You can still hold a vibrant tone of aliveness when youre "not doing anything"; you can have your cake and eat it too! Enjoy!
Miriam Dyak has been a Voice Dialogue facilitator since 1983 and has a private practice in Seattle. She is the author of The Voice Dialogue Facilitators Handbook: A Step by Step Guide to Working with the Aware Ego. You can reach Miriam Dyak and order her book through her Web site at <http://www.life-energy.net> or by phone at (206) 932-1151.