In May of 2007, my friend, L.A. hypnotherapist Greg Beckett expressed a desire to conduct an experiment: 30 consecutive days of hypnotherapy, just to see what happened.
Of course, I agreed immediately, although it took us a few months to get it together. (In Los Angeles, it takes a few months just to get it together to make dinner plans with a friend who lives more than two doors down.) But do it we did, starting on Friday, July 6th.
The only parameter was this: once per day, for 30 consecutive days, either Greg had to put me under in person or I had to listen to a recording he'd made for me. Everything else was negotiable. We had no idea when we started out what we'd end up working on, or whether it would "work" at all; it was an act of faith and commitment on both sides.
WHAT HAPPENED (AND A BIT ON WHY)
The results so far have been extraordinary. One commenter who's been following the the series likened it to doing a whole lot of therapy in a really short time; not far off, that. Of course, both Greg and I have done a lot of talk therapy over the years with our various therapists. We're also not only good friends but fellow actors, so we have a shorthand with each other and a high comfort level with creative exploration and the kooky stuff that can sometimes be the by-product of play.
HOW TO READ THE SERIES
Because it's kind of fun to read things in order, and because the blog entries themselves are posted in reverse chronological order, I thought it might be a nice, Virgo-esque thing to gather all of them here on one page. Read them in order, or jump around to the days that sound interesting.
If you want to meet the subpersonalities, go directly to:
- Day 1 (Monkey Brain)
- Day 2 (Miss Lax)
- Day 3 (The Ambassador)
- Day 4 (Self-Esteem)
- Day 11 (The Edge)
- Day 19 (The Resistor)
- Day 26 (The Teacher)
If you want to read about past-life regression, go to
- Day 21 (it's a doozy)
I hope something will resonate with you or inspire you or just get you fired up to do some sort of creative exploration of your own and share it with the world. This is how we learn, this is how we grow...
LINKS AND SUMMARIES
I'd worked with Greg a year before we started the Project, but had never met any of my subpersonalities. Monkey Brain (I have my own, private name for her, too) was the youngest, most vocal and, if it's a contest, the most fun of the bunch.
The One Who Keeps Order, this subpersonality developed around age 12 as a reaction to some difficult external changes in my life. I guess I should be happy I developed a fetish for making lists instead of food or cutting.
This introduces the part of me responsible for maintaining my public face. It also gets into more detail about the subpersonalities, how they manifested and what they "mean."
Meeting Self-Esteem was not one of the happiest days of my life. Of course, it also explained a lot.
Hypnosis is also great for, you know, just relaxing and stuff.
My inner skeptic asked to try an experiment for a couple of days where Greg made me forget what happened while I was under. Kind of fascinating, I have to say.
Dilbert creator Scott Adams is a Certified Hypnotist! A commenter pointed me to a great post Adams wrote about the mechanics of hypnosis; I use it as a jumping-off point for my own analysis.
Weekends quickly became "tape time", where Greg and I took a much needed breather from intense, daily work and I used the recordings he made me. An interesting glitch happened the first weekend that spoke to the importance of will in any endeavor.
This post introduces "The Edge", a very forceful, brusque, rather dim subpersonality whose job is to execute orders without question: okay as one of many, but if you've ever met someone who's mainly manifesting this...well, you wouldn't want to live in a world populated only by Edges.
Some thoughts about using hypnosis to assist you in achieving "big" goals. Of which I have a few.
This covers a particular issue I have with boundaries (i.e., not so good with them) and accepting praise (ditto). Also explores hypnotherapy as an extension of the other types of personal work I'm doing in my life, and how it augments it.
On the importance of certain "soft" skills when approaching any creative endeavor.
Just me, sleepin'.
Greg brought Monkey Brain in to give me a couple of short, post-hypnotic scripts for dealing with general bullshit.
After reading about resistance, the force, in Steven Pressfield's excellent The War of Art, Greg and I met my own version of the enemy of all things creative. Probably the most interesting subpersonality, because this one is a manifestation of the Jungian collective subconscious, not some manufacture of my own.
Another post on the importance of digestion...and the point that it, like anything else worthwhile, takes time.
We had to try it: our stab at past-life regression (along with some thoughts on the process, of course.)
A state-of-the-union as we come into the home stretch. (To mix a metaphor.)
On the value of the personalized "trip", the custom CDs Greg makes for me to listen to later.
We meet one more subpersonality, the Teacher, and, fittingly, learn a little something about acceptance. I also talk about the parallels between my illnesses, and how I came to really embrace them as teachers.
The impetus for me trying hypno over a year ago was to help me stay on the diet I use to control my Crohn's disease.
As the project winds down to its last days, a look back on the project, specifically, what it's meant to me having someone concentrate so fully on me and my needs.
What if all of your heroes showed up at once to affirm you were on the right path? Don't laugh, it could happen...
All good things must come to an end. How we choose to end it is up to us.
Photo of me by my friend, Joshua.