Mark Twain said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
For me voice work is big work, not easy, the making sense, creating relationships, trying to listen and at the same time be in my own skin as an adult. I find that sometimes we are quite challenging with each other, stepping over one another, wanting to be heard first, getting mad when we aren’t.
My making sense started after attending a two day training by Ron Coleman early in 2012 where he shared his story and spoke of someone saying to him that his voices were real. He spoke of normalizing the experience, that it’s not about training but about learning, that we have two ears and one mouth and there’s a reason for that.
He also said “the great thing about being told they’re real is that by believing they are real we can do something about them”. For me it was a revelation as I had spent pretty much my entire life saying my voices and visions weren’t real.
I made the decision to place this new knowledge in a triple vault by not speaking of them to anyone. I was just out of the psychiatric system and off medications, back to work for the first time in over ten years and didn’t want to jeopardize anything.
During the next two years I met many people who held alternative beliefs, heard voices, had visions in my work and personal life and while I never spoke of mine, I was always open and curious about theirs and continued learning and searching.
This search led me to a book titled “Embracing Ourselves – The Voice Dialogue Manual”, written by Hal Stone & Sidra Winkelman. My voices and I call it “The Book” and it came while I was away at a training where I met a another voice hearer who was not afraid to speak of their experience of living with their voices.
By this point I was experiencing a lot of distress because of what I was hiding and looked at this person and said “I give up”. Of course, they had no idea what I was talking about yet it’s opened the door to a wonderful and supportive friendship. “The Book” started what has turned into almost two years of laughter, tears, angst, anger and many revelations and understandings.
I’ve learned about philosophers, archetypes, also how stubborn and curious I am. I created a visual on my wall using all sorts of post-its, naming the parts I recognized from “The Book” and have started scrap booking using collage for a couple of voices that I’ve been learning about.
I have been unable to find anyone in my area that I can work with so everything has been done by myself with support through email, visits, training, mostly listening and learning from those who’ve been able to step out and speak and tell their stories. Nietzsche says “One has to know the size of one’s stomach” and I find this work challenging so I step in and out when I’m feeling overwhelmed.
I’m thinking I wouldn’t be able to eat just frog legs, I need other sustenance so I try to enjoy my life, take lots of photos with my camera, explore woods, rivers, lakes, beaches, listen to all kinds of music, drink lots of tea and once in a while a Guinness.
(View an extensive collection of Diana’s photography here: https://dianasmeanderings.wordpress.com )