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Showing posts from November, 2010

Into trance. . . or out of it

What if trance is so relaxing precisely because it is a state in which you have no concerns for anybody else? Then you could be in trance whenever you were completely self-absorbed.
It doesn't sound particularly nice. It doesn't sound particularly ecological. It doesn't sound like a mysterious gift from your unconscious mind. It sounds - self-absorbed.
I think about this paradox whenever we are running a hypnosis course. People love taking hypnosis - they float around with smiles on their faces, convinced that something wonderful is happening. Something wonderful is happening.
It's just that something wonderful - like many gifts - is not without an edge. While you are in trance, you are completely yourself and completely separate from your environment. No one goes into trance and worries about someone else's pain. There is no jealousy in trance, but there is no compassion there either.
This week, I am reading two books that speak to each other in interesting…

Finding your own frame

One of the dangers of spending a weekend working closely with the ways people perceive and influence is the need to be intentional about one's own framing. As we slide in and out of connections that interest us and warm us, we also slide into frames. If that term is new to you, think about a window frame and the way it draws your eye to certain parts of a landscape, moves other parts to the edges, and leaves some parts out of what you see. Where we look is, in part, determined by the size and shape of the opening through which we look. Changing the frame, changes what we see.
The same is true with metaphoric frames. When we answer a question or get caught up in someone else's passion or urgency, we look through the frame someone else has set. It's not necessarily a bad frame, and it may show us something we would otherwise miss. It's good to borrow different frames. It's good to remember that they are borrowed; we have frames of our own.
It can be hard to be s…

Begin with the simplest explanation

This morning, my legs were already tense when I woke up. I wondered: why am I so stressed? My mind obediently began to marshal evidence that I did, indeed, have lots to be stressed about (and over and in and around).
Then I moved. And remembered - the gym yesterday. Oh yeah. It's not emotional stress. I just need to visit my friend the elliptical more often.
How often do you reach for the complicated emotional explanation - the one that circles through your life like DNA? Is it working for you?
Often, we can begin by noticing and then move more lightly through time and space, noticing that proximate causes are often useful to notice and that deep-rooted complicated causes are underground for a reason.
And yes - for the record - I am still stiff and it is making me feel just a little stressed.

A day to remember

I wonder what comes to your mind when I ask you about the days that you remember best. Are they the big benchmark moments: births and deaths and weddings and graduations? Are they the days of personal achievement, the days when you completed the big project (or started it) or won a promotion or started your own company? Or are they the days of absolute engagement, days when you went to the beach with little kids or let yourself flow into team performance?
Maybe the days you remember are darker. Maybe you remember best the days of struggle or grief, the days when the line between health and death was very thin.
Memory is tricky. We remember what has been important to us or what we need for what is important to us now. We remember strong emotions and we remember what was drilled into us through repetition. Memories change as we remember them, and as we remember remembering them.
On this day, Remembrance Day, we remember something that most of us have not experienced. That is the poi…

(could I please) Shut up and Listen

Have you ever really wished you could shut up and listen to someone who was trying to open up a new possibility to you? When we think of that phrase "shut up and listen," we usually imagine it being said by a frustrated speaker struggling to hold someone's attention. But taken a different way, it might be a plea to ourselves.
How insistent is that critical voice in your head that finds problems before they exist and continually interrupts your efforts to listen to something outside yourself? Some people carry a whole committee of conscientious critics in their minds; other people hear just one voice worrying away at them. Almost everyone, almost always, has a voice in their head that is running at the same time they are attempting to listen to someone else speak.
Many of us who have experienced hypnosis experience it as a reprieve from the noise in our heads. The voice or voices that continually label and debate get softer. We are free to let our attention follow a v…