A student of mine who started a deep inner healing process through dialogues with a physical discomfort is Jill. As a child, Jill wanted to become an actress when she grew up. But emotionally she wasn't able to follow through with her childhood dream and take it into adulthood. Instead she did what was expected of her: got married and had children. As she puts it, she became "Mrs. Somebody" and "Somebody's Mother."
After years of taking care of everyone else while ignoring her dream, Jill took a stand. She started seeing a therapist and also took one of my weekend journal workshops, where she discovered the healing power of her Inner Child through a right/left-hand dialogue. "It was a major breakthrough in my life," she recounts. Her first dialogue was a conversation with her headache. As she wrote, she soon contacted the Little Girl within who had been silenced for so many years.
(italics: non-dominant hand)
Who are you?
How do you feel?
I feel pressure.
Why do you feel this—Are you saying pressure or pleasure?
Pleasure creates pressure.
Do you feel guilty when you are too happy?
I feel scared that something will happen so if I hurt it can't happen.
You hurt a little now. Would you like to tell me why?
Brain feels nice feeling nice is bad.
No, it is not nice to feel bad. It is not bad to feel nice. Who told you that?
Mommy said don't like your body it is naughty to love yourself.
Mommy was wrong about that. Anyhow she is not around anymore.
Yes she is in me I am her in your head.
Can I do something to help you so you won't hurt?
Yes you can tell me not to be afraid.
There is nothing to be afraid of. I will help you. I will take care of you. But I get angry sometimes.
If you are angry Mommy won't like you.
If Mommy doesn't like me because I get angry, then she doesn't understand. We can't control someone who doesn't understand.
It is OK to be angry but we need to find a way to express is that doesn't hurt you.
I am afraid.
What are you afraid of? Can I help you?
I want to be free.
What would you do if you were free?
I would hit and bite and scream.
Maybe we can go into a room by ourselves and do this. Would you like that?
Are there other ways you can express yourself without really hurting anyone else?
I want to dance.
Years ago we used to play music and dance when we were alone—would you like that?
Yes I don't care how I look. You care how I look. You make trouble for me. You tell me I am clumsy. I want to be graceful but I am scared and scarred.
You have scars from the freeway accident. Is that why? Does all this go that far back?
Everybody always said use your head. I scarred myself to get attention because I am special and I wanted you to know me.
Were the migraine headaches a way of getting attention, then, too?
You wouldn't use me so I had to remind you. I want to think and feel together. You are Libra the balance. I am unbalanced you have to balance me.
How can I do that?
You must love me and respect me. I feel and think too, not just thinking.
Are you saying that I didn't consider your feelings enough?
You want to be a thinking head only feel somewhere else. Not right. Head does think and feel both. You say feel is bad so I feel bad.
If you believe feeling is good, would you feel good?
That is not exactly right.
What would make you feel good? I notice you hurt now.
That's right I hurt. Let me cry. Daddy never let me cry. I know Daddy isn't here any more but you sometimes carry him around. I want to cry when I'm sad.
I will let you cry when you're sad. I will try not to worry what people think or say. I will love you even if you hurt.
That's right. I only hurt to get your attention. I love you and want to work for you but you need to listen to what I'm feeling. I will give you warning signs. Tune in. Listen.
I feel more relaxed now. I will try to work with you.
Don't try. We already have too much trying. Just be you and I'll be me and now what someone else wants. Just let me flow in to the stream that is the bloodstream and I will be in natural rhythm if you don't disturb it. You pick on me too much. Leave me be and let me flow the way I am supposed to. Goodbye.
In this dialogue, Jill (the adult) became a Wise Counselor and Nurturing Parent to her own Inner Child, who was "trapped" in her headache. She discovered that she had played victim all her life. Actually, her Inner Child was the victim and by repressing its existence she had unwittingly perpetuated her own limitations. She decided to stop being a victim, started paying attention to her own goals and following through with them. Jill studied acting, became a professional, and has appeared on television. It all started with a headache, but it led to making her dreams come true.
(Chapter 6, The Power of Your Other Hand)
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