Hypnotherapy and Boiling Frogs
I just got back from another four day experience at The Wellness Institute. I chose the word “experience”, but I could call it a four day training. Or I could call it a healing journey. Or I could call it utter Hell. Or I could call it pure love and enlightenment. Each of these statements would be quite accurate. “Experience” seems to somehow summarize in my mind all of those things. If I really had to choose just one metaphor to name this experience I would say it’s a roller coaster ride. And I don’t mean it’s some wimpy kid roller coaster ride either. It’s like the mack daddy of roller coasters.
If you’ve ever been through a Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy session you’ll have some idea of what I’m talking about. When a scheduled session day comes near, there are parts inside of you that know it’s coming; that healing is coming. And those parts start to fight. They start to have a war right inside your body and you begin to think of all of the reasons you can’t make it to your session. Sometimes you even subconsciously cause accidents to happen or create all kinds of situations that give you justification for skipping out and avoiding the session altogether. These are the broken parts of you. The dark parts. The shadow parts. These are the parts of you that have been hurt and damaged through life experiences and painful awareness of the injustice in our world. These are the child parts who are afraid and who have lost hope and faith that anyone will really be able and willing to help you. These are the negative attachments and entities that are comfy where they are and know they will have to pack their bags and leave if you decide to open your heart to the light which comes through healing. And these parts are really good at manipulating you into staying exactly where you are. You succumb to their suggestions and stay in the darkness, like the legend of the frog in a pot of slowly heated water. You begin to cook one turn of the knob at a time, the water getting hotter all around you. But somehow you think you belong there, slowly cooking to death while the joy and beauty of life begins fading into a memory of the past as your brains slowly boil.
So I know that’s a pretty horrific analogy. The poor little frog. I actually am feeling pretty sad just thinking about a little frog boiling alive in a pot of water. But what’s even more sad is knowing that many of us are truly doing exactly that. We are in that pot of water and one day, one week, one moment at a time our life is going dark. We may begin to see and sense the darkness weighing down upon us but somehow ignore it or rationalize it away. We are so completely blind to the desperate nature of our situation. And equally blind to the beautiful journey toward light and love that we could begin by jumping out of the water.
My decision to become a hypnotherapist was pretty random to tell you the truth. One day I started looking at training options and signed up for a class starting the next month. Some wise part of me knew it’s where I needed to be. But the other parts of me weren’t so wise, or aware. Everything we learn in classes, we also experience for ourselves. The first day that we did practice hypnotherapy sessions with one another we were instructed to contemplate what issues we might want to work through in the session. I thought for a while and then said to my teacher: “Michael, I feel like my life is pretty well put together and I’m here to learn how to help others with their issues. I’m not really sure if I have issues I need to work on right now.” His response totally offended me at the time but now I hold absolutely priceless: “OH HONEY, you have issues and we’re going to help you find them.”
And you know what? He was right. He was more than right actually. I have a whole host of issues that have been weighing me down and blocking my path toward the beauty and love this world really has to offer me. In my first session I was TOTALLY blown away by the intensity of emotion and sorrow I was holding within my body. I was that frog in a pot of boiling water, pretending to be comfortable and feeling fine while the heat was slowly causing emotional and spiritual death. After my second session it was like the blinders came off. I realized that if I want my clients to trust me to guide them toward healing, I had to be open to personal healing and growth as well. I knew it was time to jump out of the pot. I signed up for a two year program designed to not only teach me to become a better hypnotherapist, but also help me to heal along the way. The Wellness Institute has a beautiful intention in all they do and teach, “To Heal the Healers”. And so I continue returning to this place of utter insanity and amazing beauty all wrapped up into one; each time walking away not only a more skilled and experienced hypnotherapist, but also a happier, healthier, and more skilled human being.
Since taking the leap out of the water and onto the roller coaster ride of the healing process I have come to understand a few things. First, it’s really important to take that first leap! We have to choose to acknowledge that we as individuals are not where we really want to be emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Second, we have to decide we’re willing to do something about it. We have to seek help and healing. We have to say, “I’m ready for the ride, strap me in and let’s go.” And third, we need to realize that the ride takes a little time. Our wounds didn’t come all at once and they won’t heal all at once. But they will heal if we stay on the ride; each dip and turn and flip serves a purpose in our journey and as we willingly stay in the seat we are taken to heights and shown beauty we never would have before imagined.
Some moments I want to get off and run far far away. When the ride is flipping upside down and sideways I think about unstrapping the belt and taking my chances with the concrete down below. Occasionally I wish I had just stayed in the water to have my brains boiled. But then the ride offers a thrill of unimaginable awesomeness; a glimpse of beauty and excitement. And when it levels out for a moment or two it brings relief and understanding, hope and peace. The dips and turns are downright unpleasant sometimes, but they are part of my journey and the path that leads to healing and love.
It’s a ride of a lifetime. I am so blessed to be on my own roller coaster ride, my personal healing journey. And I am even more blessed to be able to participate in the journey of others who trust me as their guide.