A New Way To Work With Inner Selves
An Interview with Tamar Stone
Miriam Dyak

J. Tamar Stone (formerly Judith) has created Voice Dialogue Connection
Tamar Stone Selves in a Box

Shortly after the publication of Selves In A Box, I asked Tamar Stone if I could interview her about the cards and how she envisions them being used. Tamar said that not only would she be happy to talk with me, but the best way to demonstrate how they work would be to guide me in a reading, drawing cards and working with them based on my own personal question. The following is my interview with Tamar about Selves in a Box. Click here for my personal reading with Tamar.

The Interview:

Miriam: Now that Selves In A Box is finally out in the world, are you happy with how it is being received?

Tamar: My two prayers in the creation of this card deck is that #1 the images would be evocative, would be inspiring and add another level of invitation. And the second prayer was that they would be connected to spirit, divinity, God, call it what you will, so that actually when people would use them that they would feel that this is being guided by something bigger than ourselves. And the feedback I’m getting – even from people who don’t know anything about Voice Dialogue – is that people are having these experiences. It’s really a dream come true.

Miriam: I know this has been a long process for you in terms of completing these cards and getting them published and getting them out there in the world, and so many people have been waiting with great expectation for these. So I’m wondering how your relationship changed with these cards over time? What did you learn in the process of not being able to get them out immediately? Did they become something different, or did they stay exactly the same for you over that time? I’m just curious how it evolved.

Tamar: Great question. You know, as much as I wanted them to come out sooner, the truth is they weren’t ready. And try as I might, I kept revisiting whether it was an image or a (written) portrait or the overall spreads and draws, and they just weren’t ready to be born until they were ready to be born. I kept moving around in all those domains, and what I would find that I was just so grateful that I hadn’t put them out yet because I would shift something or I would add something with fresh eyes or fresh heart.

And then at they point that they were ready, they were ready. I have not had one feeling of regret or that they came out too soon. They were just completely ready. I think what I wanted was for them to stand on their own feet. As much as I want people to study with me a little bit because I feel I can teach things about the deck since I’m so intimately connected to it, I also know that people can just open that guide book and run on their own and never have any connection to me. I really feel it will hold its own, and that was really important to. I so expected it to come out sooner, but it just truly wasn’t ready until it was ready. It sounds so perfectionistic, and it, [The Perfectionist] was a big player, but not the only player.

Miriam: What kinds of changes did you find yourself making – the ones you were grateful you had the opportunity to make?

Tamar: In the original first few iterations I didn’t have the “motivations,” so that was a big change. And it’s not like you can just go in like writing a paper and whip them out... I had to live with these [selves] so I could tell that “I’m missing something, I’m not quite capturing something, something doesn’t quite feel right.” It really had to run through my body too. I had to really physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually keep revisiting the portraits. Sometimes just a sentence would be off – it would miss the mark in terms of capturing the essence of the portrait. Or I had to bring in focus groups, people, and do the spreads and really make sure that they held their own or that someone could read it and it would make as much sense as when I would walk them through it. There was so much of that kind of revisiting and revisiting and testing. It was full out!

Miriam: It sounds as if more and more kept being revealed to you.

Tamar: Well said – it’s absolutely true. And not overpushing it. Allowing it to inform me, not just me informing it.

Miriam: Tell me a little bit about the possibility of people learning how to work with these with you. Are you offering classes?

Tamar: There are three levels that I’m offering. One level is for Voice Dialogue facilitators specifically. I have an advanced training for facilitators, and it really means people who have been in the work and who are facilitating. That training includes a facilitated draw that is not in the guidebook. It’s a full on facilitated draw that Voice Dialogue facilitators can use with clients, and it’s very extensive. So it would be like the hour and a half session – it would be a way of using the cards in a professional therapeutic way. In addition to that, when people do that advanced facilitator training, they’ll get four additional self cards called the “contemplation cards.” The contemplation cards make up the Aware Ego Process. You can add these contemplation cards in very creative ways to add dimension and depth in working with any draw or spread including working with the facilitator’s draw. That’s the most advanced training, and it’s very specific to our Voice Dialogue community.

So that’s one training. The next is for people who know Voice Dialogue and aren’t necessarily facilitators, but want to use it for themselves. They have some familiarity with the selves, so they’re a little bit more advanced than someone who doesn’t have any knowledge. And then also a basic training for people who don’t know anything about selves, so it would be teaching them about using the deck but also learning about selves as they go. So it would be a little crash course on the Psychology of Selves, familiarizing people with the selves and how they show up.

Miriam: Are all these trainings in person, in Boulder, or are you doing some of these as teleconferences?

Tamar: Great question. I’m going to be having them in person in Boulder, and I do recommend that if you can do an in-person training. And, for some people that’s just not possible. I’m working right now with one of my web people on getting a web presence where I can do draws online and we can do it in a group format so I could teach the same class I would teach in person, but I can do it online. So I am working on making that available, so people don’t have to come to Boulder. Travel is costly nowadays – I want all options.

Miriam: I’m glad to hear that. I’d be interested in the facilitator training if it didn’t involve travel. I have to say that just this experience right now where we’re on the phone and I’ve been looking at the same images you’re looking at – it doesn’t matter whether I see them up on screen or not – I feel that we’re together through the image.

Tamar: That’s true, and maybe I don’t have to wait until I have it all worked out online. I can do it this way. Everybody in the class would have their deck, and as we worked with images everyone in the class would put them out as I did with yours, so that we’re right there with each other.

Miriam: It would work great. I put my vote in for that one because it was really exciting. I also want to ask you what is most important to you for people to understand about Selves In A Box?

Tamar: My Pilates teacher bought a deck, and she knew nothing about Voice Dialogue. I’m going to be trading her a session for some work that she does, but I haven’t done it yet. Meanwhile she took her deck, even took it to a party and started doing it with people. And one of the things she said to me is, “the deck is so kind.” That was really meaningful to me because one of the things that took a lot of time is the portraits of the selves because it was really important to me that people got that these selves (like people) are all inherently good. The issue with a self is if we over-identify with it, or repress, or disown it. That’s where it becomes problematic, not the self itself.

If I did nothing else but be an advocate for selves consciousness and support people to get what a resource these selves are, I would feel I’ve done an important piece. I’ve been to lots of different spiritual things where they say, “Oh you know, we want to get rid of the selves, they’re false selves.” My response is, “No! I don’t believe that.” Not if we’re living on Planet Earth and having to negotiate life and finances and interpersonal relationships and politics. I’m sorry. I think these selves are essential. They’re part of our family and they’re our resources. That it’s actually possible to have a healthy relationship with our selves, with our inner family, is exciting to me! And I would be so honored to feel I’m contributing to people’s understanding and appreciation for the Psychology of Selves.

Miriam: How can people find Selves In A Box?

Tamar: It’s easy to order them on the website, www.selvesinabox.com and for trainings go to www.selvesinabox.com/workshops-teleseminars/index.html

Miriam: These images just grow on you! I know I’ve just begun to scratch the surface. Before we close, do you want to say anything about the eyes?

Tamar: Oh yes - In every card there is an embedded eye, which is really about our identity that includes the self – that is in it, but not of it. Sometimes we notice it and sometimes we don’t. It might be significant in a given draw – what you’re seeing or what’s seeing you.

Click here for my personal reading with Tamar.

Selves in a Box