Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hypnotizing Connections

My friend Bruce asked me last week if I would let him hypnotize me. He's currently studying hypnotherapy and is very easy on the eye (they make 'em handsome in Tulsa). I had the nanowrimo thing going on, but felt the magnetic pull when I thought, "Hmmm . . . someone helping me to relax, potentially opening up more creativity for my work and it costs me nothing." And I was off to west Omaha.

The class is held in the instructor's apartment since students practice hypnotherapy techniques on each other and a quiet, private venue is needed. When I got there I learned that there had been a misunderstanding about me coming to serve as guinea pig. Apparently Bruce had not received the e-mail message confirming my participation. When he arrived we attempted to sort it all out:

"Why didn't you think I was coming?"
"Because you never responded to my e-mail."
"Yes, I did."
"No, you didn't."
"You may not have received it, but I replied to your message and hit 'SEND.'"

Ahh. It took me back. For thirty seconds there, it was like being married again. My friend calmed down and I enjoyed meeting the instructor and two other students. The apartment had a calming ambiance to it. The lights were dim and a fire was burning in the fireplace. A small bright light of multiple colors swirled around on a table. Its purpose was to tire my eyes so I could relax and let myself get hypnotized. It gave me an instant headache, so the light was turned off and I stared at the fireplace.

I'm a fan of Southern accents, so when Bruce lowered his voice and attempted to get me into a relaxed state, and stressed the pronounciation of the second syllable of my name instead of the first, I was halfway to bliss. However, things are not always what they seem. I'm a fairly intuitive person and having this gift (or curse?) for sensing many of the nonphysical phenomena around me, it didn't take long to become distracted.

Although my eyes were closed and my body was becoming more relaxed as my friend guided me through some lovely imagery, I suddenly became aware of the other students on my side, studying my body movements and jotting down notes. I saw myself as an animal in a cage at the zoo. Not very relaxing.

Then Bruce had me step into a cosmic elevator, a beautiful, ornate brass elevator with a comfy chair and ottoman in it for my comfort. My mind was starting to get lost in his words and forget about the notetakers. Then I sensed the presence of my little Schipperke dog at my side. She was sleeping, as she was likely doing at home, so that was fine. However, then I sensed my 18-month old puppy Briscoe on the other side of me. Briscoe had been at my brother's farm last summer and disappeared, most likely killed in a car accident. If you're intuitive at all, you know that when spirits sense someone who is open to their presence, they come in droves to communicate with you. My big bubba Briscoe would not let his visit go unnoticed. In my mind's eye I could see this big dog (a Sharbador - half Shar-Pei, half Labrador Retriever) wagging his tail to the point where the entire bottom half of his body was shaking, then jumping up and down and licking my face.

I was determined to make the most of this hypnotherapy session for both Bruce and me. He needed to practice his new skills and I needed to chill out. I mentally sent Briscoe off to the side and came back to the melodic voice talking to me. Bruce told me he was going to touch my arm with his finger and when he did, it would feel as if he had given me a shot of something that would relax me. When I felt his finger touch my arm, it was as if codeine had been shot into me. My arm felt instantly numb and the relaxation quickly washed over the rest of my body. All would have been well had we continued to focus on the effects of this mind-made drug.

However, this was a class for practice, so Bruce tried another technique on me. This one involved imagining cement being injected into my arm. I can only speculate that I was given a pair of concrete overshoes in a past life and tossed into a river, because that visualization did not work for me at all. I could feel myself being stripped of the fictional codeine, my body becoming taut. The straw that broke the camel's back, though, was when Bruce tried to make me feel safe and said that I was "loved." He learned then that every client has unique perceptions and that words are powerful. While I was hearing a friend say, "loved," I saw my ex-husband and knew there was no correlation between the image and the word. I was quickly guided out of the meditation.

The other students practiced some techniques on me and Bruce gave it another go, too. By the end of the night I was in the zone, in my happy place. I learned that one of the other students does soul retrieval work (something I know little about, but have heard of and want to explore) and the other one works at the same bank where I work. Despite the dead dog distraction and the terrifying ex-husband flashback, I was still asked to come back for another session. It was fun not only participating in the hypnotherapy session, but also in listening to and participating in the critiques of each student. The perspectives revealed and ideas expressed were insightful into the character development process for my current story. I got more work done on my novel that night than I thought I would.


Blogger Elizabeth Parker said...

There's a hynopsis business here in Lincoln, owned by a man and woman who have their pics in the newspaper ad. It all sounds good, since they will hypnotize you for weight loss, quitting smoking, and practically anything you would ever want to do. There's only one problem -- the ad pic shows a very overweight woman. What's up with that?
Anyway, your experience sounded verrrrry interesting! I could almost feel that sense of relaxation before the fire.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Diana Celesky said...

You would think that hypnotist would have used the skills in hypnotherapy to lose the weight, but then again, maybe she's not as irritated by her excess baggage as I am about mine. Still, I don't think I'd feel comfortable going to see the folks in the ad just for that reason. Plus, I kind of liked being the guinea pig for a bunch of students. It definitely opened up my creativity.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Robin L. Rotham said...

I don't think I could ever relax enough to be hypnotized. I'm just not willing to give up any amount of control of myself to anyone else, with certain personal exceptions. But it's an intriguing idea. :D

7:22 PM  

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