Friday, February 5, 2010

The Shiny Red Button

I’m baaaack!  So I had a flippn outrageous time in Quincy.  Quincy is a town of action.  Where sushi and brazilian and greek food meld around you like old scarves.  Where morninglight and nightsky are seen so infrequently (I was in a windowless operation for 3.5 days) that each night as I stepped out to grab dinner on our 1 hour break, I felt like a grizzly coming out of it’s alaskan cave moments after hibernation.  When I started writing this, I wanted it to be brief.  I’d written a journal entry after Day One of the seminar that mildly compared the feelings I was having that morning to a day in high school when we’d invited a hypnotist to our Senior Outing and he actually hypnotized my friend.       
Now, I want to stop right here for a hot minute and look at this:  You’re seventeen years old, you’ve spent the better part of three years wanting to be cool or at least avoiding being uncool, and here you are subjecting yourself to a little man thirty years older who could give a flying hoot what “group” you fit into or that you just finished a rigorous ritual of Clearasil-ing your face so that the blemish on your chin would reduce in size before you high-fived your friends on the SAD #35 bus or made eye-contact with the Jared Leto of your so-called-life.  All this Hypnotist wants is to use you for entertainment while you’re under his spell.  You are not in control.  What you are is 24 hours from graduation with a semi-decent reputation still intact.  WHY would anyone subject themselves to the Rewind button?
Now I do not believe I can be hypnotized.  The swirly wheel, the gold pocket watch, the counting backwards from 100-1 just seems like bait my brain wouldn’t take.  I would not raise my hand to that and I wasn’t entirely convinced my friends could be “put under” either.  It’s a scam held up by the social pressures of needing to conform.  At the very most, the kids would make pretend, hamming it up for the audience just to look cool (there IS no looking cool with hypnosis, in case you are wondering).  Very black and white for me.  But I was willing to consider that there might be a slim chance it would work.  As long as I saw it with my own eyes, preferably being done on someone I didn’t know or wouldn’t feel secondhand embarrassment towards.  
So when my friend, Andy, a hulking football player, went up and took a seat on stage I could feel the heat in my face.  Andy can’t act and I had a bad feeling this Hypno could work the pinwheel.  And work it he did.  In ten minutes Andy was pedaling on a “bike” with his finger hooked in the air as he convincingly stroked an invisible pet canary named “Princess” whilst singing a lullaby.   And that is my only lasting memory of Andy from high school.
*Twelve years later, I shook out the blanket of skepticism-slash-belief and wrapped it’s familiarity around me once again.   I walked into the seminar for the first of 42 hours with 200 perfect strangers, but instead of five eager beavers being called to the stage, it was all of us who would be called to make what is possible a reality in our own lives.  To understand the tools we’re given, I had to take my hand off of the “Control” button and allow myself to play in the sandbox of abstract possibility.  I assumed that somewhere in the next three days I’d be tricked; a thumb and forefinger snapping in front of me, calling me out of some ancient trance.  But that’s where the bad dream ends.  I learned a heckuva lot about myself and the context with which I operate.   I was open-minded, really open-minded (I tend to be open-minded until something is wrong because I say it’s wrong and then I stop listening), and discovered that I was learning what I thought I’ve always understood and rebuilding what I never considered broken.  It was and still is, a lot to take in.  And I’ll be honest in saying that there were a few areas I didn’t necessarily agree with, but on the whole, I found it to be a valuable approach to my life on a personal, professional and spiritual level.  
Taking my hand off the control button was scary and equally freeing, if only because it showed me that I am not in control.  Not really.  In fact, I actually built that control button bit-by-bit over time and ascribed its meaning.  It was a good-looking control button, too.  Bright, shiny, red and important.  Now that my hand isn’t hovering over it, I can make better use of my hand.  I can actually get up BE.  And being is what it’s all about.
*Please Note:  This was NOT a hypnosis seminar.  Not even close.  But because it was so clearly unknown to me what I was in for,  I likened it to that high school night when I refused to give up control.

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