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Making Peace with Pollen - Seasonal Allergies

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It's Springtime in Victoria, BC - the rain has tapered off, the sun is shining, the flowers and trees are blooming; and the air is full of pollen. Every morning when I go out to my car, it is covered in a fine yellow powder that I can draw my name in. Everywhere are puffy eyes, sniffing noses, and itchy throats; and everywhere I see words like "fighting allergies" and "battling your hay fever" - which from where I sit seems a bit of a strange thing to do.

Allergy symptoms are a physiological response to a perceived external threat. Your eyes and nose are flushing out the baddies when they water and run, and your air vessels are preventing you from inhaling poison by inflaming and closing off. Your whole body is reacting for your benefit, to protect you. So talking about "fighting allergies" seems to me like calling an army to your service, and then deciding to fight them yourself. Every year, millions of people raise the army, and then fight the army themselves. It's no wonder a secondary symptom is fatigue!

Allergies are essentially a subconscious over-generalization, and an overreaction. When you have an experience (real or perceived) in which a histamine (allergic) response was involved (or physical symptoms similar to allergies - running eyes and nose, breathing issues, sore throat), and that experience was survived, the subconscious mind may associate those symptoms (responses) with a successful outcome - regardless of whether or not the responses were involved in the outcome at all. The next time a similar situation (physical or emotional) arises, the body will respond in the same way. If the situation isn't resolved, the subconscious doesn't alter the strategy, it just dials it up.

Much like a person who has been attacked by a dog may develop a fear of all dogs, and may even panic in the presence of any dog; a body that has experienced an environmental toxic threat can overgeneralize and panic in the presence of any environmental variable - and create an allergic response or symptom - far more extreme than the threat posed by the environment.

"... but I've never experienced an environmental toxic threat", you say.

I wonder if you can imagine or remember any other situations that may cause your eyes to water, your nose to run, your breathing to shorten, and your throat to hurt?

Unresolved physical and/or emotional trauma is often at the root of allergic symptoms. It may be that the "environmental toxic threat" was not what you first think of as an allergen - but was actually a living situation, a relationship, or even a person.

In hypnosis, your subconscious mind will guide us through your symptoms to their emotional source, we will address the issue at that source and you will release it; retraining your body's responses, and relieving the emotional burden - and your allergy symptoms in a long term and lasting way. No more pills, no more dreading nature, no more sleepless nights - no more allergies.

When you are ready to enjoy the outdoors again, you can start by booking your consultation. 

I look forward to working with you.

 

Can Hypnotherapy Help?

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Hypnotherapy can help with any issue if there is a component of problematic belief, fear, or habit. Essentially any problem caused by, or rooted in an aspect of mind can be improved if not eliminated through the use of hypnotherapy. Many symptoms that we think of as physical are actually only physical manifestations of issues that are rooted in our deep subconscious mind. Some problems that can be addressed with hypnotherapy are:

  • Anxiety
  • Fears and phobias
  • Insomnia and sleep issues
  • Stress
  • Chronic health issues
  • Smoking cessation
  • Weight loss
  • Panic Attacks
  • Chronic pain
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Dental anxiety
  • OCD
  • Habit control 
  • Sexual problems
  • Grief and bereavement 

This list is nowhere near exhaustive. If you have an issue or problem that is not listed here and you wonder if hypnotherapy can help, please contact me at Monarch, and ask. I'd be happy to talk to you about it.

The First Thing - Reflections

I've just been reflecting on Ira Byock's book, "Four Things that Matter Most", which I often use when working with patients and families at Hospice. The first one he lists is kind of hedged/not totally honest. As listed they are:

  1. Please forgive me.
  2. I forgive you.
  3. Thank you.
  4. I love you.

My issue is that #1 is missing an implied first component; which is to say, "I'm sorry".

While the common understanding is that Canadians are very polite, the truth is that all of western culture really struggles with apology and reconciliation.

Many people have suffered at the hands of another and think, "I don't have anything to apologize for!" or , "Me? Apologize to him/her?" and just blow by the idea.

Your emotions, behaviour, and actions are yours. The emotions, behaviour, and actions of another are theirs. Their hurtful behaviour does not excuse or justify your hurtful behaviour - just as how they may have been treated by their parents, or what they have suffered does not excuse what they have passed on to you. It explains it... perhaps. It makes it understandable... maybe; but it doesn't excuse it, or make it okay.

In every relationship, good or bad, we all have done things that have been unkind, insensitive, and hurtful. There is always something that we can apologize for - and that is where the real juice is.

The other may accept the apology or not. They may offer forgiveness or not. You cannot extract forgiveness from another. For the most part though, that aspect matters less than you think.

A sincere and honest apology, well made, is most beneficial for the person making it, because it allows one to claim full responsibility for ones own life, emotions, and actions. It is to reclaim something that you may have given someone else to carry. An apology unburdens the other, and re-integrates oneself. It is a gift that you give to the other, and doubly so to yourself.

Please let me be clear, I love this book, and I will continue to recommend it, but after working with people in the field, the unvarnished, and direct path is:

  1. I am sorry...
  2. I forgive you...
  3. Thank you...
  4. I love you...

I feel it's important to say that each of these things as listed are just the germ - the seed - of conversations that will happen out of and around the seed. You can't just say these four bits and expect magic.

Each one needs reflection, contemplation, and deep and sincere expression. You can do this work even when the other is unresponsive. I've even learned that in hypnotherapy, you can do this work even after the other has already died to extremely powerful effect.

Internal Conflict - Making Peace With Yourself

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If you have ever found yourself saying "part of me wants to... or thinks (a), but part of me just wants to... or thinks (b)", then you may be experiencing an internal conflict. It's like there is a tug of war going on inside of you, and a part of you is pulling in each direction. Here's how it works:

Your subconscious mind is primarily concerned with the survival of the organism. It wants you to live, and continue living. Your subconscious is very creative, imaginative, and emotionally perceptive.

Perhaps it evolved as our first defense system so that we could avoid being eaten by sabre-tooth tigers, by being burned to death, crushed by falling objects, or falling from heights. The subconscious is always busy, and is always on the lookout for things that might cause us harm.

When we experience something threatening, the subconscious notices how we are feeling physically and emotionally, and then sets off to work using creativity, imagination, and past experience in a flash to come up with a solution - something we can do or say - to rapidly change the situation -  into something more acceptable and comfortable; something that feels more safe.

When the subconscious finds a solution that works - it gets the result of greater ease, comfort, and safety - it doesn't look for a newer or better solution. Going forward, when it feels that problem feeling, it has an answer, and runs with the solution it has - regardless of how appropriate it is.

The trouble is, as human beings, the complexity of threats to our safety have gone beyond sabre-tooth tigers, falling trees, and cliffs.

Complicated relationships, family dysfunction, and every manner of circumstance can arise and create physical and emotional stress/threat. For many of us, this begins at a very young age - less that 5 - or even from the very time of our birth. The experiences we've had at that young age are very limited, as are the options we have to respond. Even so, the subconscious is a powerful resource and does the best it can to help us survive - and usually succeeds; and as I mentioned - when the subconscious succeeds, it doesn't look for another - better - more appropriate - solution. The one that worked the first time is good enough!

For example, if, as a young child you become frightened, uncomfortable, or unhappy in a situation (ie. you feel a threat to your safety; physically or emotionally), the subconscious flies into action to change that situation. Being that you are a young child, your experiences and options are limited. Let's say you might a) flop on the ground and wail or, b) run away and hide from the situation. Let's say you go with choice b).

Having run out of the area of threat and hidden, the feeling shifts - and you feel more safe. Hooray! Your subconscious marks that as a win, and it now has a solution for the problem of that specific feeling! After a few more experiences of being scared and running away, that solution is locked in... it is THE solution to the issue. You are now 4 years old.

As you grow older, you begin to realize that physically running away from things that make you uncomfortable can create problems of another type. You begin to miss out on fun activities, relationships, and opportunities of all kinds - but you continue to run away when you feel that uncomfortable feeling.

Into your teenage years and young adulthood, perhaps you've read some books, or seen a therapist, or you learned to meditate. You've learned that when you get the urge to run away, you can plant your feet and stay put. That insight begins to make a difference as you learn to resist the impulse to run away; but that impulse hasn't gone away.

When you get into an uncomfortable situation, your subconscious recognizes the feeling and continues to say, "I have the solution! Run and hide!".

You consciously know that to do so would have consequences, so you say to yourself "No. I'll stay put."

The subconscious doesn't like this and says, "You've got to RUN and HIDE!"

"No! I'm staying!"

"RUN YOU IDIOT!!!"

In this way, the experience of anxiety is born, and this experience can lead to panic attacks, or even in extreme cases agoraphobia - because if one just stays hidden, one won't have to feel that feeling.

Your subconscious mind is always trying to protect you. The trouble is, sometimes the subconscious is trying to do this with solutions that are decades old, and inappropriate to the current situation. You may even consciously know this - but knowing won't stop it from happening. Your subconscious and conscious minds are on opposite sides of a tug of war, and the results are usually unpleasant.

Through hypnotherapy, I can help you to create a bridge between conscious and subconscious minds - a channel of communication between the worlds. It's like being able to update your internal software.

Imagine being able to share options, experience, and wisdom from your present with this old part of yourself. Your subconscious is totally committed to having you survive and thrive, and through hypnotherapy you have a way to offer options and strategies that are aligned with your present goals and aspirations.

By bringing the subconscious mind on-side with your conscious mind, the conflict is eliminated, and the energy that was being consumed in internal turmoil is freed up to be applied to achieving what you want in your life, rather than avoiding what you don't.

The tug-of-war is over, and it's time to move forward.

A Tale of Transformation

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The Monarch Butterfly has a special place in my heart. When I was a kid in Whitby, Ontario; after school I would often play in a small forest at the centre of a farmer's field. One year the field was fallow, growing among other things, Milkweed.

One day I noticed that the farmer was out in the tractor mowing, and the plants were covered with the iconic striped caterpillars. I got a box and plucked probably hundreds of the caterpillars off the plants. I took them home and put the box in my garage. Every day I would go and find milkweed to bring to the box of caterpillars. My sisters thought I was crazy.

The caterpillars didn't stay in the box either; oh no, they went all over the garage. By the time they became chrysalis, they were hanging everywhere - off of shelves, even off of the side mirrors of the old VW Beetle my dad was trying to restore.

Then, one day I came home from school... I opened the garage door and was greeted by the sensation of Butterflies fluttering past my face and hands.

Even to this day I don't know if I can express this experience adequately. Utter freedom. This happened for several days in succession, as they emerged from the chrysalis.

When someone asks me what my approach to hypnotherapy, and life is all about, for some reason, this is the story... and the feeling that I most want to share. It is the freedom that comes through transformation... and finding the open air.

Working with my clients in hypnotherapy feels powerfully similar. I provide a safe and protected environment, I offer techniques and tools that facilitate powerful transformation. The motivation, the underlying potential to change is already present in the clients that choose to work with me; we only need to let it happen.