I'm Changing My Practice
Since January I have switched to seeing clients only via Skype and phone. I know some people would prefer to see me in person, but most people have been fine with it and it allows me to see clients all over the world. The change has also freed up a lot more time for me to focus on what is important and be a better healing facilitator. Participating in a healing session by phone or Skype is just as affective. I often see my hypnotherapist by phone (yes I have one. Every good hypnotherapist has one.) In some ways it is more effective because clients can be in the comfort of their own home and some feel more free to speak openly when they are on the phone.
In fact, studies have been conducted with tradition therapy via phone and the results showed that there was no difference between in person sessions and sessions by phone. The only difference was a lower number of no-shows. :)
A colleague named Eldon Taylor (who also happens to have the label of NY Times best selling author) has a new book out and I have been privileged to review it. First of all, this is not actually a book, but a workbook, or so he calls it, because there are points at which you will be best served by putting the book down and using the audio recordings that come with it. Since the book covers two topics, I will be reviewing each topic separately.
Over all, I liked the self-hypnosis part of the book because it encourages experiencing rather than just reading about what you learn. As self-hypnosis books, go, I have found them to be all be just okay, but Eldon takes it a step further and helps condition you to the self hypnosis process and build confidence in it with his CDs. The goal being that you do not need the CDs after a time or two of listening. There are also full scripts of the CDs provided in the book.
If you are not familiar at all with the mind, the book includes some interesting studies that should convince anyone of the power of their mind and get them excited about the prospect of self-improvement. For the already converted, these were not as necessary, but still fun to read. Here is an example from page 21:
"...does personality have anything to do with illness?.... Multiple personality patients routinely devastate mechanistic beliefs about the body. A patient may test totally normal in every physiological sense but with a shift of personality, some as quick as the snap of a finger, the individual may exhibit hypoglycemia or even diabetes. How does a personality shift alter body chemistry in seconds? Can a personal belief system, such as "who I am" alter cellular behavior instantly?"
He goes on to give examples of some even changing eye color and having one menstruation cycle per month for every personality housed within the patient. Wild, huh?
My only problem with the first part of this book was that I thought it was written at too high of a grade level. It made me wonder if it will be less accessible to a wide array readers. I know, that many readers, though they have the intelligence, won’t slog through so many 11 letter words. But let's hope they do.
Taylor’s second subject of his book is on subliminal communication and how to use it yourself as a self-improvement tool. This part of the book was fascinating to me. In the self- improvement world, I don’t know many people who are using this tool. But Taylor very convincingly proves its wide use everywhere else (advertising, sales, political campaigns, music, etc.) Certainly I had heard of subliminal messages, and know that the subconscious mind listens to everything, even things that are out of our conscious awareness (hence the success of some NLP techniques), but didn’t realize the pervasiveness of their use.
In the second half of the book, after outlining the many ways that subliminal messages are used, and his journey to becoming a kind of guru in this field, he gives an easy step by step process for how to create your own. So I decided to try it. I got my daughter to say some things into a voice recorder. Things like:
“I am smart. At bed time I fall asleep easily and effortlessly. I like reading books. I play nicely with my friends. I use my words when I feel sad or mad…..”
They were personalized for her and also included some of the same things that are on my Kids Affirmations MP3. Then I mixed them as he describes, with white noise and an audio track of nature sounds so I can play them in her room 24-7. Unfortunately, I have only done it for one day, so you’ll have to check back to read about the results.
If it works, which I assume it will, I may start making them for my clients--with their permission of course.
This brings me to my last thought, which is relevant to this book as a whole. I have said it before and I will say it again. If you are not working on the subconscious level, you don’t have free agency. The subconscious scripting that we all have (from years of being programmed by other people, our own negative thoughts, and subliminal messages we receive on a daily basis) creates so much condition-response behavior that "choice is an illusion." As Taylor says in his book on page 167, “Only limited choices exist, and those result from the patterns of our conditioning.”
To expand our consciousness so that we indeed have free choice, self-hypnosis is a wonderful tool. And I think using subliminal technology on yourself is a wonderful way not only for self-improvement, but to combat all the subliminal technology that you may be downloading unawares every day.
This book was a quick read, and I would recommend it to anyone who is serious about self-improvement. For my readers, you invited to visit Eldon Taylor's book launch page to enter to win all kinds of prizes. http://www.progressiveawarenesspromotions.com/it/12j/indexJ.html
How Suggestible Are You?
What does suggestibility mean anyway? Is it a good or bad thing? These are questions I sometimes get asked, so I thought I would write a blog series on it.
Suggestibility is an openness and receptivity to suggestions, from yourself or others.
Everyone is suggestible, but each person is unique in what and who they are suggestible to and to what degree. Quite simply, it comes down to how you receive information. Some people take in information literally and others take it in inferentially.
For example, when a literal person hears “I’m cold,” she will know the speaker is cold.
When an inferential learner hears “I’m cold,” she will wonder what the speaker means by that. Could they want me to close the window. Are they suggesting that this was not the best place to have the meeting. Etc.
Everyone falls on some spectrum of literal and inferential suggestibility. Meaning that most of us have some degree of ability to infer and also be literal, but tend to be predominately one or the other. A small percentage of people are right in the middle and process everything both literally and inferentially, which tends to overload and hyper-suggestibility, which I’ll talk about on my blog this week.)
In the old days of hypnotherapy, it was believed that only a certain percent of the population was suggestible and could be hypnotized. However, about 40 years ago, Dr. John Kappas, founder of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, realized that inferential people just need to be hypnotized with more inferential language. Seems so simple, but many hypnotherapists in the world still don’t understand this principle.
What this means for you?
Understanding suggestibility is critical for effective communication. If you can understand how others share and receive information, you can avoid miscommunications.
The effectiveness of communication is measured by whether it is getting the desired outcome. With a greater understanding of suggestibility, you can do simple language adjustments and as you do, you might be surprised to how your outcome differs.
If you are not achieve your outcome and want to know more about suggestibility and communication, check back here this week and next for a 4-part blog series about understanding suggestibility.
Poem of the Week. Bluebird
by Charles Bukowski
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pur whiskey on him and inhale
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
stay down, do you want to mess
you want to screw up the
you want to blow my book sales in
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody's asleep.
I say, I know that you're there,
so don't be
then I put him back,
but he's singing a little
in there, I haven't quite let him
and we sleep together like
and it's nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don't
Perhaps some of you have already set your New Year's intentions. Even if you haven't, that's okay. I know that you are often thinking of your hopes and dreams and desires for change or transformation. And even if you haven't spoken it out loud--it has already entered your heart.
What I am here to tell you today is that what you project onto the future, is actually here now. In this moment. The dream or change that you desire, has already filled in every room in your heart and is no longer even there any more. It’s now in your blood stream.
We've just come away from a wonderful holiday that is all about a birth story. No matter what your holiday persuasion, it think it is wonderful to celebrate a birth story. I love birth stories. Most people do, because they are triumph, an accomplishment. And there is also a new beginning, a freshness. They are exciting.
But I would invite you to remember that all births begin with a pregnancy. The poet Rilke is famous for saying “Everything is gestation and then birthing.” He’s not talking about human babies. We grow and birth other kinds of babies all the time--like, a beautiful art project, or a change in behavior. All these things grow in our hearts for a while before we may actually make the art piece or before the change becomes evident to those outside of us.
For example, I was a writer long before I ever published a book. I was a healer, long before I ever knew I would become one. I was a mother long before I ever had a child.
So whatever your intentions are for the new year. I’d love to invite you to embrace the idea of how you already are, or do, or have what you want and hope for.
Birth stories are magical and inspirational. But if I could have one wish for everyone this New Year it would be that we could all remember that everything is gestation and then birthing. And so whatever your goals, even if you can’t tell the birth story of that goal yet, remember that you already are what you are becoming, and that each step of the journey to becoming has value. And by appreciating each day and each step, you honor the pregnancy as well as the birth.
And if I could have a second wish this New Year, it would be that we can all recognize in each other, the good fruit we are each gestating. May we all have joy for each other and for what we are and what we are becoming.
Poem of the Week - Birdwings
Last weekend I spoke/presented at the American Hypnosis Association's monthly conference on "Poetry as Hypnosis." This was based on my article and some further research and information I have done since then. Basically I just put everyone into trance by reading a lot of poetry and talked about how to use similar poetic inductions and suggestions to help our clients. So I have decided to post a hypnotic poem each week for anyone interested. If it speaks to you or heals you, pass it on. Part of the magic of poetry, however, are the sounds and rhythms and pauses. So I encourage you to read them out loud to yourself. Or maybe if I get really fancy, I'll do a hypnotic poetry podcast. Oh the possibilities. Stay tuned. Today's poem is from Rumi:
Your grief for what you've lost lifts a mirror
up to where you're bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here's the joyful face you've been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
Hello World. This blog post is brazenly personal. Here is the story. I have this tool that I use on clients to help them like a certain foods less or more, depending on their preference. It's an NLP technique called a "sub-modality shift" but it feels more like a parlor game or trick. Everyone wonders what just happened and then forget about it. Till 2 months later they mention that they have had no cravings for cheese but have been eating a lot of oranges.
One day one of my writer's mind students asked me if I had ever done it on myself. I was surprised. I hadn't. I usually use all my tools on myself. But it is a tricky one to do on one's self, but I decided to give it a try. I couldn't think of anything I wanted to like less, because I fancy my tastes as pretty healthy. I thought of some things I don't like. The first thing that came to my mind was Kalamata Olives. I hate Kalamata olives. I realize hate is a strong word, but if there is one thing that can ruin the flavor of any entire salad or pizza it is these ugly purplish black deformed things. I thought, "why would I want to like that more?"
But to give it a good test, I decided to do a shift on Kalamata Olives. The technique is actually deceivingly simple. You just make a picture of the thing in your mind and then move the picture around to a place where something you like is.
Once I finished, I had no way of testing because make no mistake there were no purple olives found in my house. I forgot completely about it. So completely that a month later when cooking dinner with a friend at her house and the recipe called for them, I begged her not to include them. "Yuck. I won't eat it," I said.
Another month later, I found myself at a social gathering with an unidentified dip in front of me. It looked suspiciously like olive dip, and even as I scooped some onto my pita chip, something in my brain was saying "No! It could be gross. You might have to spit it out in front of everyone." But this other part of me was directing my hand and popping it into my mouth and chewing it.
What happened in my mouth is difficult to explain. I will try. It was like I was tasting a whole new food, but my taste buds hadn't yet formed an opinion. I walked around a bit and then the buds and the brain conferred. I suddenly felt an urgent need for more. I went back and had another bite. I could see the black dip getting bigger in my sight line as it came toward my mouth. A part of me was saying, "I don't think I like this..." but another part of me kept eating it.
I thought perhaps I was in some warped version of reality or dream until I remembered what I had done months before. Had I really done that? I couldn't believe it. They literally tasted different to me. They tasted good. I realized how much of my world suddenly opened up. I could order so much more food now. I could order Greek salads. I didn't have to firmly remind them to hold the olives every time I ordered the Tuna Niciose at Tender Greens. It didn't realize I had all these restrictions in my life. And now I had so much more flavor. It took part of me a while to catch up with this new change, but I finally allowed myself to buy them at the store and wholeheartedly accepted that I love Kalamata olives. I confess, I think about them as much as avocados. Even though I accept it and I do it every day with my clients, it still blows my mind.
And I can't help wondering about all things that we don't even realize we are missing because we think, "Why would I even want to do that?" It's the classic you don't know what you don't know. At least until someone challenges you. Which I am doing.
I was barely an adult when an older woman I knew said to me, “I’m such a neurotic worrier. I got it from my mother. It must be genetic.” Even at my young age, I couldn’t help but question, is that true? Some gut part of me knew that she may have gotten it from her mother, but it wasn’t genetic. It was a kind of imprinting during pregnancy. Years later, I found scientific research that confirmed that stress during the first two years of mothering, beginning in the womb, imprints on a girl’s nervous system through what is called epigenetic imprinting (“epi-“ meaning above the genes). It literally overlays the genes.
Another of the most fascinating experiments I have ever heard about used primitive worms called planaria. The worms were kept in a dark box, and flashed with a light and then delivered an electric shock. Soon, whenever the light flashed, the worms curled their bodies in preparation for the electric shock. Scientists then took these worms, ground them up, and fed them to another fresh group of worms. When they flashed a light at the new group, the worms curled into balls. Amazing!
The implications of this study--that there is a physical existence of memory in the body-- creates interesting possibilities. For one thing, our own experiences, and the consciousness of the food we put into our body may profoundly affect our offspring. The physical existence of memory also means that mental processes can alter the body, and physical processes can alter the mind. Most people know the power of the mind-body connection to some extent, but never have I seen it as dramatically as in childbirth.
Since the beginning matters so much, and because they are cute, I have spent much of the last 5 years working with babies and their moms. As a hypnotherapist and mediation instructor, I help women prepare their mind and body for comfortable birthing, free from fear and pain. Sound wonderful? It is. Not surprisingly, there is something different about a hypno-baby. Not only are they all natural (no drugs or anesthesia) but they have also been taught from the womb how to be calm and relaxed. Many parents who learn these tools during pregnancy go on to use them for the rest of their lives, which has impact for generations. So if you are concerned about the future, start with the babies and the baby makers. Feed them well, love them, and help them chill out.
Hypnobabies Classes Begin
My first hypnobabies class is scheduled be begin September 15 and will run for 6 Thursdays. 6:30-10 pm-ish. Please have anyone pregnant you know contact me. They will thank you!
Also, if Thursdays don't work for you, never fear. I have two other teachers in the area that I can refer you to who teach on other days.
I just got back from my Hypnobabies certification training. That means that I will be a certified Hypnobabies instructor in just a few days. Hypnobabies is a complete childbirth education course that includes medical hypnosis for comfortable labor and childbirth. Expect to be hearing more about this. It is the best childbirth hypnosis program out there or I wouldn't be affiliated with it. It works! I used hypnosis in my own birth, even though I didn't know much about it then. Now I know a lot. And this program gives moms and dads more tools than anything out there, as well as excellent and comprehensive childbirth education with out all the negativity. I'm so excited to start teaching this 6 week course and help couples have amazing positive and comfortable births.
I'm a hypnotherapist, Kundalini Yoga and Meditation teacher, spiritual childbirth educator, writer, and human American. I'm also a mom.