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For the Greater Good

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The concept of a nagging, demeaning, critical voice inside our head is one that for many of us, is all too familiar. In Dattner Group's Compass Course – rather than attempting to shut her out - we give this voice a name – our dear Morag. And more than a name, we give her a physical entity. This may seem a bit ‘out there’ to some, but the power of spatial anchors is well known, and, the simple act of expelling her from our mind into something we can see and touch can completely change the way we perceive her … shifting the power dynamic completely.

“What do you mean we’re going to carve our inner critic? How’s that going to help?” sniffed the little negative voice in my head, previously unnamed, about to be crowned “Morag”.

Armed with a particularly ugly sweet potato, knives, toothpicks, string, sticks and leaf litter, I and the rest of the Compass cohort, dutifully carved and decorated our own Morag. Fabian instructed us to position our Morags slightly behind our left foot in a low position where they remained for the remainder of the day. Upon leaving the program, we were encouraged to take our Morags home and position her somewhere on the floor where she could not wield any power. I chose the floor of our en-suite, next to the bin.

A few days later, my ten year old daughter sat on the floor of our en-suite with a blood nose. She asked, “Mummy, why is there a sweet potato with a face on the floor?” Ignoring my husband’s mumbled “don’t ask” I explained the concept of Morag, “You know the little voice inside your head? The one that’s not always kind and can be a bit negative?” I replied (sanitising it quite a bit). “Oh yes!” she replied. “The one that tells me I can’t do it.” I was unpleasantly surprised that she’d understood it so quickly, that I’d hardly explained it, yet she was all over the whole concept. However, at least we’d started an important conversation that I could revisit with her at some time soon.


The next morning, I thought I should check in with my fourteen year old son, and see what his “Morag” told him. I relayed the Morag story, how we’d carved sweet potatoes in the image of our inner voice and positioned them in a lowly place where they could have no power. He scrunched his nose slightly and asked me, “what do you mean, ‘little voice’?” My daughter sighed, rolled her eyes, (as only a tweenager can), and impatiently responded on my behalf, “the voice in your head that tells you that you can’t do it, that you’re not smart enough, not good enough…” She rattled off a string of negative responses that sadly reinforced to me that at age ten her Morag was in full flight. He still looked puzzled, so I asked him, “do you have that voice in your head?” He shrugged, “not really.” I was stunned at the different responses of my two children. Pleased that one had seemly escaped that nasty voice, but at the same time, at a loss to explain how my youngest was so attuned to the ‘Morag’ concept.

Later that morning in the car on the way to school I brought up the subject of Morag again with my daughter and we agreed that we could help each other to tackle that negative little voice in our head, leaving her powerless. And so, now I have this information, and I have the tools…. where to from here?


Claire Newman (Compass & Retreat participant)


At Compass we do a lot of work in tackling these questions; focusing on acknowledging the negative voice as it comes into your mind – not attaching to it automatically – but recognising it as Morag. It is a conscious and deliberate change that, if persisted with, can be life altering.

For more information on the Compass program, visit https://dattnergroup.com.au/compass-women/compass-women-overview/ or better yet, contact us directly via: compass@dattnergroup.com.au