Last weekend, during the second module of my Hypnotherapy Diploma, I had a major wobble.
We were learning about Time Lines, where you regress someone back along a line that represents their life and reframe a negative event from their past.
I really struggle with this kind of thing. Seriously, it makes me cringe. It was then that the clouds parted and I knew with stunning clarity that I wasn’t cut out for this hypnotherapy malarkey. I had made A Terrible Mistake.
We were told to team up with a partner and practise on each other. I gritted my teeth.
Step 1: Decide which problem to work on. Hmmm…I have a few….fear of public speaking…perfectionism…fear of heights…in the end I plumped for something I thought wouldn’t be too deep and meaningful, namely, procrastinating writing my children’s books. (Ideas? No problem. I have them coming out of my ears. Getting them onto paper? Slight problem. Doesn’t happen very often. Finishing a manuscript? Impossible. Never done it. What planet do you live on?)
Nick, my exercise partner, took me through the time line exercise. This is a summary of what happened:
NICK: “Imagine you are standing on a line that represents your life, where your past goes off in one direction and your future in another. Where would you point for your past and where would you point for your future?”
ME: I point straight in front of me for my future and behind me for my past. (It seems I am disappointingly average when it comes to this as 40% of people represent their life this way. Other people have more imaginative time lines – my mum has one which twists and turns in front of her like a plate of spaghetti, which explains a lot).
NICK: Nick talks me through getting above my time line so I am looking down on it and asks; “If your unconscious mind were to know the first event connected to procrastinating writing your children’s books, such that by going back to it you could let it go completely and for good, would it be a time before you were 5, between 5 and 10, or after you were 10?”
ME: [Not liking the question and thinking this really is a load of bollocks and will patently never work] “Er…(sigh)…um…I don’t know, maybe between 5 and 10?”
Nick gets me to float back along my time line to this first event and asks me what I can see.
ME: [Oh God, I knew this would happen…I can’t see anything, there’s nothing there, what the heck am I supposed to be seeing? This is stupid…oooh, hold a sec, I can see something!]
“I can see a table. It’s very dark. It feels scary. I think I can see a child sitting at the table, covering something they have just written with their hand. There are two adults sitting next to them. They’re looking at what the child’s written.”
NICK: “As you look down at that event, if there was a connection between that event and the procrastination problem you have had up to now, what would the connection be?”
ME: “Hiding. Definitely hiding. I have to hide what I’ve written. It feels very claustrophobic and scary.”
NICK: “As you look down at that event, if there was something the you at that age could learn from now, which by learning it would allow her to let go of the procrastination, what would you have her learn?”
ME: [Deep breath, feeling slightly ridiculous] “Um…well, that it doesn’t matter what other people think…It’s OK to be me…I don’t have to hide anything and…[long pause]…and, well, she’s very cool just the way she is!” [laughing – it’s utterly preposterous that I have just said that].
Nick talks me through passing this learning to the child (I see magical glittering stars flying down to her bearing my message…did I mention I have an active imagination?).
We finish the exercise and I open my eyes. The world looks the same. Nothing earth-shattering has happened (I could do with a tad more earth-shattering in my life). But I do feel a little different inside. Just a little.
I get home on Sunday night and J asks me how it went. “It was quite good but I don’t think it’s going to have much of an effect” I said.
The next day I got up and started work. Strangely, I could hear my children’s book calling me from the shelf in the lounge where I had hidden it. I got up and looked at my manuscript. Just stared at it blankly for a few seconds then went back to my work. A little while later I got up and looked at it again. This time I had the urge to carry it to my desk and leave it there whilst I continued to tap away at the computer. I glanced at it from time to time. It was still there. Waiting. Hmmm…A little while later I decided it wouldn’t harm anyone if I re-read the manuscript. So I did. And then a bona fide miracle occurred – I sat down for an hour, played with the storyline (played!) and, for the first time ever, managed not to feel sick in the process.