“Pick a spot on the wall and focus your eyes on that. Now take a deep breath and hold it as long as you can. Let it out. Another deep breath . . . ” I’m staring at the corner where the white ceiling and tan walls come together. I’m wondering if I really can relax today. Last time, my eyes got heavy and closed within a few breaths, but today, my second time, it takes longer. I’m aware of a siren in the street, of the therapist’s dog scratching at the door. I’m not sure I’m ready when Reatha tells me to picture myself going down a stairway or a mountainside as she counts from 10 to 1. I choose a ladder because I’m always afraid of falling and so relieved when my feet touch the ground.

Reatha asks me to go someplace where I feel safe. “Where is that?” she asks. I tell her I’m on the lawn in my back yard. It is sunny. I smell grass and pine trees. I hear the ocean and a soft breeze tickling the wind chimes. She has me select my favorite fruit. Today I choose an apricot. “Can you taste it?” I can.

“Do you want to invite God to join you?” Last time, I began to cry at this point, but now I just say, “Yes.” She asks me to touch my thumb and forefinger together. Whenever I feel uncomfortable, I can repeat this gesture and go back to my safe place. I’m a little dubious, but I do it.

Now she introduces me to my “wise woman.” I met her before and was surprised to realize later that the woman I was picturing was Tess from “Touched by an Angel.” How crazy is that? The first time, my wise woman told me, “You don’t have to do everything” and it was so comforting. This time, she’s just there, wrapping me in a blue blanket.

Now, Reatha says, we are going to get to work. I’m not going to share much about that. It’s too personal, but it involves saying things to people that I cannot say in real life and telling things to myself that I have not admitted or realized. She introduces me to the little girl I was at age 4 or 5. Gosh, she was cute, and she’s still with me. She makes me smile. With my little girl, as well as my wise woman and God, how could I be lonely?

After many questions, answers and tears, Reatha counts me back into the room. With each number, I become more aware and she tells that at “1”, I will open my eyes and feel relaxed and refreshed. I do.

Unlike the old stage acts where hypnotists wave watches or pendants in front of people’s eyes and make them do ridiculous things that they don’t remember afterward, I am always aware of what’s going on and I remember it all later. I always know I can stop the session at any time. But I don’t because it’s helping. There are magic healing powers in our own subconscious minds.

And that’s the story of my hypnosis. Now if I could just hypnotize my dogs . . . “You will wake up and never jump the fence again . . . “

Author: Sue Fagalde Lick

writer/musician California native, Oregon resident Author of Freelancing for Newspapers, Shoes Full of Sand, Azorean Dreams, Stories Grandma Never Told, Childless by Marriage, and Up Beaver Creek. Most recently, I have published two poetry chapbooks, Gravel Road Ahead and The Widow at the Piano: Confessions of a Distracted Catholic. I have published hundreds of articles, plus essays, fiction and poetry. I'm also pretty good at singing and playing guitar and piano.

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