Month: July 2007

Hypn07, Day 25: Doorways vs. driveways

parking tickets

This covers day 25 of 30 for the Hypnotherapy Project, which I’m collaborating on with Los Angeles-based hypnotherapist Greg Beckett. You can read more about this experiment, what motivated it and what we hope to accomplish here; you can read all of the entries in chronological order here.

There’s always an extra burst of joy on Mondays when I see Greg in person after a couple of days “off” (remember, “off” days I’m still doing hypno, just not in person).

In part, I just like the chatting. There are so many ideas and new things manifesting in my life since we stirred the pot with this project, it’s a relief to be able to share them with the person who’s actually collaborating on it with me.

But it’s also great to have the personal attention of a new CD or just a personalized “trip” after listening to the canned version for two days. On Monday, Greg created a new recording that’s all about helping to build up one of my weaker personalities, self-esteem.

I’m starting to see how a lot of hypnotherapy works through imagery. As in, imagine yourself…

  • on a beach
  • in a quiet, safe room
  • going down a tunnel
  • at the lectern/helm/steering wheel/etc.

…and then (amazing/wonderful/different thing here) happens.

It makes sense that people who already have pretty well-developed imaginations would do better with hypnotherapy than those who are extremely literal-minded. There’s a lot of visualizing and leaps of faith involved when you’re creating something from nothing.

This recording had a series of doors, each with labels like “today” and “tomorrow” and, because it’s a particularly gnarly day with lots of commitments for me (at least through the end of this calendar year) “Thursday.” Greg walked me through them and something or other happened there, I guess I’ll find out when I listen to the CD some more, since I went somewhere else during the recording.

And that somewhere else? The curb I was parked at on this, a street cleaning day. My inner clock was battling it out with my inner artist, and since my inner financier hates getting parking tickets, the scales were tipped on the side of let’s wrap this up.

For those of you who still think there’s some sort of woo-woo lala-land you float off to under hypnosis, that should serve as some reinforcement of this central fact: you can’t walk through the doorway when you’re worried about being parked in the driveway.

xxx
c

Image by rknickme via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Hypn07, Days 22 – 24: Talking and sleeping, sleeping and talking.

finish line

This covers days 22, 23 and 24 of 30 for the Hypnotherapy Project, which I’m collaborating on with Los Angeles-based hypnotherapist Greg Beckett. You can read more about this experiment, what motivated it and what we hope to accomplish here.

One of the things that Greg and I have learned from the Hypnotherapy Project is that you can cover a LOT of ground in 30 days.

One of the other things we’ve learned is that some of the ground covering happens in the days after, in the debriefing sessions (a.k.a., our nattering marathons) and in the rest.

Without rest, you could probably work yourself to death, yes. But also, without rest none of the learning can really take root. What we’re doing is a little like going to the gym and blasting away at your muscle groups for 30 days straight. And there’s only so much blasting you can take before your muscles say, “Give it a rest, sister, or we’ll do it for you.”

We did a lot of yakking on Friday, did Greg and I. We used our time to map out a plan for this last, yes, last, week of the project. Some things I want to do, some things he wants to do.

I will be glad to get some of this time back. I’m looking forward to using it, along with my newly restored vigor and enthusiasm, to do some serious creating.

I’m also looking forward to some rest. I feel like I’ve run a marathon, and it’s not even over yet.

But the rest and the free time come at a price: I will miss the discipline of coming to the hypnotherapy every day. I will miss the exploration of this one, particular thing.

And most of all, I will miss doing it with this excellent human being. Thank you, Greg…

xxx
c

Image by Seraphim C via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Hypn07, Day 21: Wherein our heroine becomes our hero

burmese monks

This covers day 21 of 30 for the Hypnotherapy Project, which I’m collaborating on with Los Angeles-based hypnotherapist Greg Beckett. You can read more about this experiment, what motivated it and what we hope to accomplish here.

I’ve never had a past-life regression before. And quite honestly, even though I saw myself as a 15-year-old boy with only one, much-beloved parent who died shortly thereafter, even though I saw my pretty face and ugly feet, my mother’s light eyes and our tiny house in some rolling green hills, I’m still not sure I had one on Thursday.

Whatever it was, I had an “experience”. Of being a boy named, improbably enough, Adam. In what looked like England at one point, and Burma at another. In 1653. I was 15 when we started the memory, and lived fairly unhappily to a ripe old age of 45, at which point I died, alone, still in service to some sort of royal family. (There was a coronation or wedding ceremony in the palace when I was 16 or 17 that looked suspiciously like a scene from The King and I.)

Uh-huh. I know, I pretty much feel the same way.

I’ve discussed before how I’m an eager and willing subject. I have a natural skepticism, but it mostly has to do with my ability to tap into any of this other-worldly, past-lifely type of stuff. I have no problem with the idea of other people being facile with it, or the idea of other dimensions and reincarnation; the chief feeling I had upon discovering that other people believed in this thing I’d never been able to put a name to was one of relief. Not-so-alone-ness.

But as with so much of this hypnotherapy project, whether a thing is absolute and verifiable is less important than my decision to conjure it up. Before I went under, Greg asked my subconscious to pick a life that would hold some sort of significance for me today, in this life, on this day, given what I was going through right now. The life I saw was significant for its insignificance: 45 years of no particular happiness, then nothing. Greg asked me to watch my own death in this life, and to note my last words or thoughts. Which were “That’s all?”

I was so very, very lonely in this lifetime I dreamed up. I had no friends, no family. I had a job I was good at but didn’t particularly like, and not much else, it seemed.

My life now is very rich, so full of love and great friends and meaningful work that I am often blown away at the thought of it. And yet, there is always a feeling of aloneness that creeps and creeps, and wondering if I am enough, if I am doing enough. If this is all.

The day raised more questions than answers. But then, that’s what I’m beginning to see as my life’s work: the asking of questions, and the exploration that follows.

There may never be answers. I’m starting to see that the answer most likely lies in the looking. And in appreciating the connections when they do happen.

We are all of us alone; we are all of us together.

We are all of us a 15-year-old Burmese-English boy who lost his mother too young, who spent his life trying to find his way back to the connection and happiness that was his birthright…

xxx
c

Image by FriscoDude via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Hypn07, Day 20: Yackity yak

girl talk

This covers day 20 of 30 for the Hypnotherapy Project, which I’m collaborating on with Los Angeles-based hypnotherapist Greg Beckett. You can read more about this experiment, what motivated it and what we hope to accomplish here.

Sometimes I come to Greg’s and talk.

And talk and talk and talk.

A lot of this “figuring things out as you go” stuff is debriefing. Or, as I like to call it, “talking.”

So on Wednesday, Greg and I talked for an hour and a half about the project, stuff we were learning, stuff that was happening in real life that might affect the direction for the project, which would (in turn) affect the learning.

And at some point, he’d had enough, which I grokked partly because he stood up, grabbed the headphones and said, “You’re going to listen to a tape today.”

And partly because I said, “If I’m going to listen to a tape, can’t I listen to it at home?”

Done and done.

Sometimes things work out and you get the talk you need and the time you want.

And an amazingly sound night’s sleep, to boot…

xxx
c

Image by late_blOOmer* via Flickr
, used under a Creative Commons license.

Hypn07, Day 19: Lord of the Dark Side

darth vader

This covers day 19 of 30 for the Hypnotherapy Project, which I’m collaborating on with Los Angeles-based hypnotherapist Greg Beckett. You can read more about this experiment, what motivated it and what we hope to accomplish here.

If you haven’t already, go immediately to your favorite book purveyor (library, local independent bookseller, anywhere but even @m@zon) and get yourself a copy of Steven Pressfield‘s delightfully sly, slim and incisive look at creativity, The War of Art. Ounce for ounce, the smartest treatise on what keeps us measuring our lives in coffee spoons and not achievements of magnificent fulfillment. I enjoyed Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way for its similar insights into the creative process (and its particular demons) but this is way less woo-woo and just as practical in many ways, more so, in that you can read it in about an hour standing on your feet.

Anyway.

The chief slayer of creative output, according to Pressfield, is Resistance. It takes many shapes (procrastination is a favorite) but moves inexorably towards its chief goal, keeping your ass parked in front of the TV, eating Doritos and/or shooting heroin, depending.

I burst into Greg’s bungalow office full of excitement over this great new guide and its mythic depiction of a wiggly idea. But Greg decided to do old Steven one better: he called Resistance “The Resistor”, and, after putting me under, got it to talk a bit. Here’s what we learned…

#1: The Resistor is, um, a little scary

Unlike the other inhabitants of Kingdom Communicatrix (and much to Monkey Brain‘s dismay), the Resistor is not eager to make friends.

The Resistor needs no one and nothing, except something to push against, and everyone else does a damned fine job of providing fodder. The Resistor is very well developed, very smart and very, very strong, in fact…

#2: The Resistor is closest in temperament to The Edge

The Edge gets things done. It doesn’t differentiate between good or bad, dark or light, right or wrong. It has a task and does it. You might remember that when we met The Edge, it was in charge of procrastination. And it took its job seriously, not personally.

The Resistor is very much the same way. It is indifferent to pain, although it seems to find it interesting or even amusing. But it doesn’t derive pleasure from causing pain. Far from it. It enjoys pushing back, period. Hence, the Resistor’s particular gift at shape-shifting (and, perhaps, a wee bit of pride in its highly refined abilities in this area.)

#3: The Resistor cannot use its powers in the employ of anything but resisting

The Edge? Happy to serve in any other way we’d like to suggest.

The Resistor? Would have none of it. Greg tried every way he knew of to bring the Resistor to the side of Light, much to the amusement of the Resistor, who patiently, if a little condescendingly, kept insisting that was not a possibility.

#4: I am a Star Wars geek after all

These ideas all come from somewhere. I wish I were diving into some Jungian pool of collective unconscious, but the truth is, I learned everything I need to know about yin and yang from George Lucas. Such is the price of coming of age in the late 70s.

#5: There’s a lot of skill residing in the Resistor

So far, we’ve come up with six other subpersonalities that make up the crazy interior world of me. That’s six slices on the side of Light, some of whom are pretty strong (Monkey Brain, The Edge), all of whom are very smart.

There is one, only one, part of me that does nothing but push back. Oh, sure, the other ones screw up (or are screwed up), but they’re interested in changing.

The Resistor, on the other hand, is what a former acting teacher of mine used to call a “fixed given”: like time or furniture or other unopposable force/immovable object, it is fundamentally unchanging. It does what it does what it does; the only change is that it learns to do it better and more efficiently. Which means…

#6: It is pointless to try changing the Resistor

The only way to beat the Resistor is to become as good at your task, as single-mindedly driven in your goal at hand, as it is. And it never, ever stops, because the Resistor will respond to strength and cleverness with equal or better strength and cleverness.

Vigilance and a fierce pursuit of the Truth are the only useful weapons in one’s ongoing battle with the Resistor. That and…

#7: To start working against the Resistor, you must accept that it exists

It’s a bitch, but there it is: you cannot beat it; it is an essential part of you.

So look at the Resistor as the part that keeps you honest and striving. The part that keeps you creating, really, and makes each act of creation more interesting, rich and powerful than the last.

The Resistor won’t care, of course. It will just smile and come back at you another way, another day.

Admire its strength, say a brief prayer of gratitude if you have it in you.

And then, dear Artist, get back to work…

xxx
c

Image © Erin Watson, via Flickr.

Hypn07, Day 18: Better living through script-ery

no no no no no

This covers day 18 of 30 for the Hypnotherapy Project, which I’m collaborating on with Los Angeles-based hypnotherapist Greg Beckett. You can read more about this experiment, what motivated it and what we hope to accomplish here.

Coming off of a weekend, two days of dealing with my own stuff much more intensely than during the week, I sometimes have a clearer picture of what I want or need to address in my work with Greg.

There are a whole slew of things that are converging right now; one I can discuss freely is my issue with taking things personally. Which I do. A lot.

Greg put me under on Monday and had a little confab with Monkey Brain, who always has great hacks for dealing with thorny issues. In this case, she came up with two terrific ass-savers; when confronted with a proposition that something has my name written all over it…

1. …if I am not, in fact, certain that it is mine to bear, I am to take my time by answering, “Hmmm…let me see…”

2. …if I am SURE right away that there is no need to take this thing personally, I am to say, “Noooo, nooo, that is NOT mine.”

And the beauty part is, all of this happens silently, in the space of time it would take to open one’s mouth to actually say something.

The unconscious mind, she is a genius…

xxx
c

Image by LishaFisha via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Hypn07, Days 16 & 17: To sleep, perchance to sleep some more

o sleepy

This covers days 16 & 17 of 30 for the Hypnotherapy Project, which I’m collaborating on with Los Angeles-based hypnotherapist Greg Beckett. You can read more about this experiment, what motivated it and what we hope to accomplish here.

For those of you keeping track, Days 16 & 17 fell on the weekend. And, like last weekend, we decided to give both of us a break by just having me listen to my recording.

Unlike last weeken, there was no last-minute drama. I just popped those headphones on, hit the “play” button on mr. nano, and nodded off almost immediately.

Who needs Ambienâ„¢ when you’ve got Greg Beckett?

xxx
c

Image by ombrastarr via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.