Voices from Within
Jane had been waiting for this moment. Her boyfriend was proposing as he placed the engagement ring in her hand. Until that day, Jane knew that this is what she wanted. Her head was screaming “yes, yes, yes!”, but the words would not go past her lips. For some reason her familiar head voice was being muted by another voice she did not recognize.
We all possess many kinds of voices, each with its own particular needs and unique expression. George Kamana Hunter, Native Healer and Founder of the Bloodline Healing Project, identifies three key voice centers: head, heart, and gut. We process information from each of these voice centers, but we do not always recognize that they are all speaking. How can you hear and understand their message? One way to discover and listen to your body’s voice is through engaging in a healing modality called Body T’Shuva. One aspect of this healing includes an intensive process of Deep Body Listening and Body Dialogue. You are guided to connect with your body in a new way, and benefit from its wisdom.
Most often we are not attentive to our three voice centers simultaneously, and we inadvertently allow one voice to block out or override the others. This typically occurs when our head presents a persuasive argument to follow one direction. However, at the same time, we may experience a sensation, like a tugging feeling, that makes us question if what we are doing is not quite right.
The ‘head first’ person, when faced with some life decision, reviews all the considerations to make a sound choice. When sensing a confident feeling of, “Yes, this feels right.”, your doubting voice does not speak up. Other times, you may experience a queasy feeling, or a gnawing sensation, right in the pit of your stomach. What is this? Jane was taken by surprise. While her head was strongly saying yes, she felt her hesitation. We do not always pay attention when one of our other voices presents itself, because the recognition of the other voice creates a conflict. To eliminate the conflict, you restate to yourself all the rational points of your initial position. Then, nodding your head with conviction you say, “This makes sense, I am sticking to it.” The tugging sensation in your gut does not go away; it is just silenced by the voice in your head. This is called ‘head override.’ It is a common scenario for people who live mostly in their heads, and make decisions from this place. The head always has something to say about all the other voices, and it generally makes sure that its opinion is heard loud and clear. It is possible though, to acknowledge the loudest voice, while still paying attention and exploring the others. This is what Jane was called to do.
The heart, for some, is the point through which the world gets processed, like a brain center. These people check in with this area first and lead with their feelings. They trust this place over all others. They are also more apt to check how their gut feels, for corroboration, to see if it matches up. The head voice, for ‘heart first’ people, will of course be considered. If it does not align with their heart and gut, they will question it and regard that voice with some suspicion.
The gut is our most powerful voice. It is deep within us, not always initially understood, and it makes itself known most physically. It has to firmly stand its ground as it can be in competition with a strong head voice. Even in situations of head override, the gut does not give up. It will persist in delivering its message regardless of how much it may be ignored or out smarted. The gut is that voice that makes you stop for a moment. It gives you pause, even when your head clearly says yes, like with Jane. The gut wants you to explore it, and hear its voice, so its position can be considered and have some weight in deliberations.
Give your body a voice. Let it speak to you. Attain the clarity that you need to make the decisions in your life where your head, heart and gut, are aligned.
What happens afterwards, after you go through this discovery process, and hear your different voices? What is the reward for this penetrating work?
There are three types of rewards: mental, physical and spiritual. The first are the mental rewards. Listening to all your voices opens up the possibility to make clearer and cleaner decisions in your life. This kind of clarity brings peace of mind. The second are the physical rewards. When you do not hear and honor each voice, your body has to hold unacknowledged emotions. This can leave you feeling heavy and weighted down. The body may also feel sad, isolated, and alone, which can lead to physical symptoms and the development of other stress related problems later on. This kind of distress can be avoided with the proper attention. The third are the spiritual rewards. When heard, the arguing voices can find consensus, and experience a feeling of inner unity. Many times people enter into an altered state where there is a voiceless calm, where the voices rest and they feel a sense of peace. From this place you can find freedom of choice, clarity of decision, deeper and more lasting confidence in yourself, and a quietness of mind, body, and spirit.
Matt is another example illustrating how a person comes to recognize a different voice. Matt contacted me for treatment due to an intermittent aching feeling in his stomach. His doctor did not have any medical explanation for this sensation and after many tests, he was reassured that there was nothing medically wrong. Even though he thought about seeking psychological treatment, he delayed for many months because he kept reminding himself that all his tests were negative. Matt’s head voice, telling him that there was nothing wrong, made sense, particularly since he received a clean bill of health. Nevertheless, he kept coming back to this other lingering feeling, a feeling for which he could not find words.
After the initial consultation, where I conducted a traditional psychological history, I moved Matt to the massage table. This is where clients, fully clothed, engage in the Body T’Shuva work. Matt had a hard time connecting to his body. His mind would wonder and cleave to other random thoughts. A few weeks later, I was guiding Matt using a breathing technique focusing on his body where the aching sensation was located. He started to breathe really fast. Tears began to slowly form. He began to anxiously talk about feeling fear, “I feel so afraid I can’t breathe,” he stated. After reassuring him, I gently encouraged him to feel further into this area, to listen, and to let whatever words come out that needed to be said. He shakily told me about how his wife had been very sick and required immediate surgery. “There was an instant,” he remembered, “that I thought she was going to die.” He felt the intense feelings of that moment as he broke down weeping. “I thought I was never going to see her again,” he cried, “and that my life as I know it was now over.” To support this release, I placed my hands over his belly. I mended the torn area with healing, caring energy, and guided the release of the fear and panic that his body had absorbed. His body was finally clearing and now able to heal. The aching feeling in his belly was gone.
Both Matt, and Jane, after recognizing their body’s voice and hearing its deeper stories, found their voiceless calm. They listened carefully for the sounds of their voices within, and were attentive to the feelings, textures, and weight, of the messages being delivered. There is hope and there is help to hear our different voices, and heal our deepest wounds.