27 September 2017

Past Life Hypnosis pt. 1

I want so badly for hypnosis to be the thing that saves me.

It has been months and I have been putting in the work: I see a grief therapist. I do some yoga. I cry when I need to. I hold it in when it's not an appropriate place. I've only taken one sick day. I have other conversations about other things. It probably looks the same from the outside, but I guess I wouldn't know. I think my voice sounds the same. But I am stuck, my heart aches only downward. I can't remember anything that happened this summer. Every day was a blur into the day that followed, the day before. It never rains and I want it to so badly. I want the weather to keep me inside. I miss my train stops constantly.

I came to the whole idea of hypnosis a few weeks ago on the way to work. A writer I respected had done a past life regression session for an article and was able to recall a life in which she had died of Malaria. A life in which she had been an angry male British soldier who was colonizing Africa and she had felt the dread of death. She had to relinquish control of her unit and that was difficult for her. Something about the randomness of events called to me: maybe my darkness was rooted in another world. Maybe there was another version of me, maybe many. Maybe there was hope. Maybe I could skip to the end.

She had crawled from her tent so she could die while looking at the sky.

I found a hypnotist on yelp that day and called him later that night. His reviews rave that he cured directionless lives. I think that I am lost enough to need a cure. I need to do something because the pain is unbearable, inoperable.

"I just can't get over this feeling," I tell him over the phone and pacing my hallway. "This feeling that I knew he would die. I didn't know it until my mom told me, but it just... it just made sense. Like I couldn't see the whole picture until that moment, but I had always been looking at it."

There is silence and then he says, "I believe you." A roar of tears comes through me and the room tips up and down. "You have most likely been through this before. You and your dad are soul mates and you have likely lived many lives together." I make an appointment for the next week.

In the following days, I tell everyone I know what I am doing. I even tell people I know won't understand, but I can't help myself.
Ben comes with me and we sit in the office waiting room like two frightened children. Ben has been rereading my college copy of Hamlet and I want to hide it away from him. It's foolishly covered in notes obliviously explaining scenes, highlighting irrelevant passages. As we sit in the waiting room I think to myself that Hamlet was once the saddest story I knew. I had felt so trapped with him when I'd read it. It was the first Shakespeare play that I really figured out and that I understood and loved. I think that there was a time of my life where I analyzed the behavior of someone else's father's death. There was a life of my own before this moment. Hamlet used to just be a play I loved. Now it was a book that triggered me. I am someone who can be triggered.

The hypnotist takes me into a room and I turn around and lock the door behind me.

"No, no!" he shouts from his desk. "Don't do that." I shake my head, dazed and I unlock the door. I don't know why I did that. I genuinely do not know.

We sit down and he speaks to me like all the answers are obvious. Like, me being a Sagittarius and my father being a Cancer was all there was. He actually threw his hands up in an "ah-ha" moment when I revealed the dates of our birth. Of course, we didn't get along. He was water and I was fire. I squint and gaze off. I do not have time for birth signs and after some time we move on.

I lay down with my shoes off and go into a deep meditative state. A tape recorder is placed by my head and then I am weighted and relaxed all at the same time.

"Tell me what you see," he says gently, but truthfully I see nothing. I am terrified of the crash and fight my natural instinct to imagine it. I lay there for minutes upon minutes waiting in the darkness. Please put me somewhere I think to myself Please let there be something. I go backward and backward. I am sinking and floating all at the same time. Black, black, black. Dark, dark, dark.

"What do you see," I am asked every few minutes. The blackness of my closed eyes is consuming me. I worry I'll fall asleep.

"Nothing," I tell him. "I don't see anything."

"Try to remember."

"I can't remember anything."

"Look down."

And suddenly I do. There are boots in grass.

I have thought so many things would work. I have had so many innocent thoughts-- I didn't even know I had such innocence left.

I have spent so many years analyzing myself, aching over missed moments. Missed opportunities to be cool. To be smart. To be present enough to feel a moment into its completion. As we drove to my parent's home the night of I thought to myself that I had never felt more alive. I was finally turned on, high volume. I was pure emotion. I had nothing to give, nothing to hide.

My life after my dad's death is simpler. I don't look over my shoulder the way I used to. I am in the deep end and my feet don't reach the ground. The past had broken my heart, but it doesn't call to me the way it used to. The sirens are still on the shore, but I have wax in my ears now. I just sail by.


It takes hours. I am cold most of the time. I am rooted in the chair where I lay, but I am recalling things. I can't see much, just two specific moments in my life. A moment of fear and anxiety and the moment in which I die. I see my face and I feel my body. I worry for a friend. I think that I have chosen the wrong husband. I die young and painfully.

When I come back, my first thought is that I am God. It is the clearest takeaway. I don't think I'm the God, but I cosmo-shocked into a new world of what God means to me. It was nothing grand, rather obvious. As if it has been in front of me all this time: anything I want to believe is in me. I had reached into the void and nothing had reached back towards me. I climb out of the chair and walk out towards Ben in a daze. 


A few days later I am in my apartment and I need to re-pot a tree. I have been putting it off for a year because it is one of my most difficult plants. I have additionally been putting it off for months because I have worked myself into a headspace where I cannot ask others plant questions-- this really was the bond I had with my father and if I can't ask him then I will ask no one. But I won't let this mass cane die from my stubbornness and I know what needs to be done. I buy the kind of soil my dad always had me buy and some plastic pot off Amazon. They sit in my living room for weeks until one night I feel brave and impulsive and I tell Ben I need his help. I set the new pot up with a draining system and fill it with soil.

"I need you to hold the pot the tree is in," I tell him. "And I'll pull it out and put it in the new pot." I wrap my fingers around the trunks and bend down.

"Wait, Lisa!" Ben says letting go of the canister. "This was your first plant! I'm afraid we're going to hurt it and it will break your heart." I stop and take a step back to assess the tree.

I remember when I bought it, in the dead of winter while I was working in the suburbs. It was $65 which was a fortune for me then, but I drove it home in the front seat of my car. I have watched it weaken in winter and strengthen in summer. I have trimmed its leaves and washed the dust off its trunk. I have rejoiced new growth and bragged about it to friends. I have called my dad frantically asking why the leaves would curl, when do you fertilize, how do you actually keep something alive?

"You're either watering it too much or not enough," he told me.

"How can you tell which one it is?"

My dad just laughed. "It's just either!"

I look at Ben who is concerned. "What do I do then," I ask him, stepping even further back. There is dirt on the floor. I will need to vacuum later.

"I don't think you should do this," he tells me.

I stand with my hands on my hips for a minute and then I step forward and wrap my hands firmly around the trunk.

"Ben, just hold the pot," I say. "I know how to fucking uproot a tree because my dad taught me how."

And I pull it out perfectly.

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