This is Stardancer!  But you’d also love Dayo.  He’s a psycho German Shepherd that plays soccer for hours with himself with a big, yellow ball.  Stardancer is a very impressive and wise horse. When the childish behaviors of immature parents get in the way, a kid could do worse than have such friends.  That’s what twelve-year old Elizabeth discovered in the following interview!

What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?

1 Suffering from the fact that my parents are still quarreling, accusing each other of things, still treat each other without respect when they meet, still make remarks to each others that are meant to hurt.

2 Whether we can all get together enough money so that Rowdy (a horse) can stay on the farm with us in the stables.

3 How to not sit so long over my homework and have spare time.

Which issue brings up the strongest feelings for you?

The first.

What are those feelings?

Sadness. Because they once loved each other and now this.  Also anger, because I think they could pull themselves together and behave better.

If those feelings had a color (or colors), what would it be?

Green and red.

Imagine that color filling the space in front of you so that it has depth, height, width, and aliveness.

Now watch that color swirl, congeal, and condense into a shape. Don’t make it take a shape, just watch it and say the first thing that you see or that comes to your mind: An animal? Object? Plant? What?

I see Dayo!

Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor?  It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are the shape that took form from your color and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind.  If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering – that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!

Dayo, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?

I have a black mouth and black ears.  I’m a German Shepherd.  I am very sweet.  I have black on my back.  I am also a little beige and light brown on my paws.  I’m asleep!  I want to sleep.

What do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?

That I am enjoying my life and that I have a lot of endurance.  That whenever something upsets me I do not bite!

What do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses?  What are they?

No!  I think I’m perfect!

Dayo, you are in this person’s life experience, correct?  They created you, right?_____  (Character), what aspect of this person do you represent or most closely personify?

I represent the vulnerablity, the hurt, and the anger at people in Elizabeth.

How is that when you don’t have any weaknesses and don’t bite?

Because I stop these feelings.

Is it that you don’t have those feelings or that you repress or control them?

I can control them better.

Dayo, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change?  If so, how?

I want to be a horse!  Everything is so small all of a sudden!  I like grass!  But I want to eat meat but I can’t!  The meat doesn’t taste good!  I want to be smaller.  A little bigger than a dog.

Dayo had to control his feelings. Do you have to?

No.

How come?

I take care of myself.  I am not interested in other people.

Are you interested in other horses?

Sometimes!

But they don’t get on your nerves?

No! They are funny.

Do you have a name?

Stardancer!

(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)

Stardancer, how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities:  confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing?  Why?

Confidence:   7 I can defend myself.  If someone comes and abuses my confidence or my trust, I can defend myself.

Compassion:   5 I can’t help the pain of others. Sometimes I would like to.  Not always.

Wisdom: 10 I watch the others. That’s how I became so wise.  Whenever I found something unjust I supported them and that made me wise.

Acceptance:   8 I want other horses to play with me.

Inner Peace: 6 Because there are plenty of things that don’t make me upset at all and sometimes I have to think of those those things and can’t have inner peace.

Why do you have to think about them?

When others have problems.  Because I would love to help them but I can’t.  Instead of inner peace I feel like time is running out.

Stardancer, is that true, that time is running out?

Yes.  It’s the feeling that you don’t get done the things you need to do in the time you have.  I would concentrate on doing what is important during my time.

Witnessing: 3 Because I know they are sad and I cannot console them, which is not very nice of me, and that makes me sad.  I would like to help in a way so that Elizabethl could lean back and she doesn’t have to deal with the problems.

What does that have to do with witnessing?

Elizabeth isn’t very good at this quality.  I’m not either.  I’m trying to observe for Elizabethl so she doesn’t get entangled.

Stardancer, if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different?  If so, how?

I think I would have more inner peace.  I don’t think I can help the others when I lean back, when I let go and have a ten in witnessing.  If I had a ten in the other qualities I could trust more in others, believe more, have have more confidence.

Would they have to change for you to have a ten in all six of those qualities?

Sometimes it would mean that they would also trust me more and they could be more of my friend because I would I have confidence in myself.

How would Elizabeth’s life be different if she naturally scored high in all six of these qualities all the time?

She would have more friends and her best friends would be surprised at how different she’d be all of a sudden.  They would love her because of the way is.  She would have more confidence and less mistrusting of other people.  Because he would have a ten in confidence too.  When you have a ten in confidence it always helps the other five qualities.

If you could live Elizabeth’s life for her, how would you live it differently?

I would have more confidence in other people and I would try to help and support instead of accusing them of something all the time.  I don’t think I would get stuck with a problem so much.  I would have more peace.  Elizabeth would feel better.  I would also accept myself more so I would have more self0-confidence.

If you could live this person’s waking life for her today, would you handle her three life issues differently?  If so, how?

1. Parents fighting: I would try to tell them how childishly they behave.  When they don’t stop quarreling and fighting I would tell them how much I dislike that and I would leave.  It will only be me that gets hurt if I get in between.

2. I would ask Rowdy what he wants and then tell the people what he wants.  If they didn’t listen I would talk to the owner of Rowdy.

3. Quicker homework:  I would have a short break after lunch.  If I had to learn vocabulary I would learn one lesson every day.  I would have a five minute break after every half hour of learning and I wouldn’t waste any time being upset about how much homework I have because that’s a waste of time. I would just focus on getting it done.

What three life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of her life?

1. To look at the bright side of life.  To not get stuck in the problems and the negative stuff.

2. I would concentrate on not procrastinating, but do things right away.

I would let others enjoy their lives too.  If they want to be unhappy I would do Dream Yoga with them.

How come?

So they can learn to enjoy their lives like that.

In what life situations would it be most beneficial for Elizabeth to imagine that she is you and act as you would?

When she starts feeling angry.  Whenever she allows everything to get too close to her.

Let’s say Elizabeth’s parents are arguing and she starts to get angry.  What should she do then, Stardancer?

I will help her digest those feelings.  She has to learn to live without me.  I might want to go on holiday.  So that I learn things and help her even better when I come back!  Even imaginary horses that score all tens can still learn new things and grow!

Stardancer, do you do drama?  If not, why not?

No, but I support people who get stuck in those roles.

What is your secret for staying out of drama?

Why should I get entangled?  Just because others get stuck in it and start quarreling?  Would it make anything better if I got stuck in it too?

Why do you think that you are in this person’s life?

Because Dayo wanted to change!

How is this person most likely to ignore what you are saying to them?

She will start wondering how to put into practice what I’ve said.

What would you recommend that they do about that?

By avoiding problematic situations.  By breathing deeply and thinking before she opens her mouth and jumps into stuff.

I hope when you go on holiday you will take a handy so she can contact you.

She will learn all this before I will go on holiday!

Elizabeth, what have you heard yourself say?

To have more confidence myself and in others.  Not to always think of myself but of others.  Not to allow problems to invade my life so easily.  To accept yourself the way you are.  When others quarrel to go away.

If this experience were a wake-up call from your soul, what do you think it would be saying to you?

Remember the words I gave you!

Elizabeth’s interview revealed just how much wisdom, common sense, and love a child can have hiding behind their hurt, sadness, anger, and mistrust.  Integral Deep Listening is a way of helping children get in touch with the internal resources they need to sort through the mixed messages they get from parents and their peers.  It also helps them sort through the tumble of their own feelings and to see beneath them, to discover lasting values at their core, that can stand the test of time.