In my office, I have a peach-colored recliner. It’s been there for many years and it never surprises me when a patient, old or new, sits down and immediately changes in some way. Patient’s have told me that for some reason, sitting in that chair makes it easy for them to go into a trance state and start their own work. I’d been thinking about the chair when I was home recovering from whatever that was, wondering what effect the chair would have on me. Would I also experience a different level of existence? Would the chair take me somewhere I’ve never been before? Is it possible that the chair actually stores hypnotic energy in the fibers of it’s being? Goodness…better stop these thoughts now and just wait to get back into the office.
I decided to go to work early. I had thought about staying later and experimenting at the end of the day, but then I thought that my mind would travel over areas that were visited by patients on that day, and I preferred to experiment with a cleaner slate. The office building was very quiet and that suited me perfectly. I love quiet and rarely have the opportunity to experience this during my work-day. Entering my office, I already felt somewhat different. In this moment I was not the therapist, but someone else. Locking the door, I set the stage with lighting, just as I would do for a patient, and then sat down in the peach-colored chair. Feet up…slight recline…arms resting comfortably on my lap, just as I’ve seen patients do for decades. Since nothing happened, I closed my eyes, taking a cleansing breath, as if I could hear mySelf telling mySelf to do just that. I peeked out at my therapist’s chair and saw some foggy image sitting there. Oh, I do have a great imagination!! Or do I?
I’m very eager for the experience and for answers. Most certainly, this is part of my compulsive personality. Of course, this goes along with being very impatient. As I wait, I’m very aware of this. Part of me wants to push the fog-filled therapist into some sort of action. Wondering if my patients feel this about me? Something or someone tells me to “cool it” and so I do. Why not have a good half hour of rest? What does it really matter if the experience isn’t any more than this?
Almost immediately, letting go of my expectations cleared the way.
The way down into trance was very swift, as if the peach-recliner was motorized in some way. It was somewhat like an elevator experience, going down, down, down and then we were there. The door opened and the path presented itself. I have been here before, but his time the colors were much more vivid, the workshop much clearer in definition. The door opened as if it expected me. This time my desk was clear. No list…nothing at all. Part of me wondered what I was expected to do, but nothing was expected. I don’t know how I knew that, but I did. It was such a lovely place, clean and organized, beautifully furnished, views from the windows welcoming to my eyes, my body responding in kind.
A table offered me field glasses, inviting me to look out at the wide expanse of my life. It was clear that this was mine and no one elses. I could see beyond my place, to the place of others who share my life experience, but their place was not my place, nor was mine their’s. This ownership of Self felt very good. I understand being self-responsible, but this clear imagery underlined this fact, as well as helping me understand the importance of others also being self-responsible. That includes my family, friends and patients. While the peach-recliner allows me to take them to their place, it is their place to care for. My responsibility as a therapist, is just the same as my responsibility to mySelf and my family. Self-ownership.
I’m asked to put the glasses down and go over to the closet. Oh no…I’m not fond of closets. Breathe says the Self. I have a multi-colored history with closets. I’ve hid in them, been locked in them, hoarded things in them. To me, they hold my secrets and I don’t want to open this closet, certainly not in this place. Oh, why did I come here? My body spelled out resistance, but the fog blew my way, covering me in a gentle hue of blue. I reached for the knob, turning it to the right and gently pulled the door open. A little broom appeared in my hand with an invitation to sweep. Clean and clear was the tune in my head. The fog helped by absorbing whatever was being swept and I found myself enjoying the process. I was now invited to enter the closet where I found another door asking to be opened. Having been reassured by the fog, I simply opened it and was shown a beautiful flower garden.
Gardening shoes, just my size, sat on the brick path. I slipped them on, finding myself skipping like a child again. Light and airy. So happy, peaceful and excited to explore the plants. Shhhh…not so fast. No need to hurry. A watch appeared on my wrist. It had a face, but no hands. “Time does not exist here.”
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” said the watch. “Take all the time you like for it makes no difference. The idea of time simply tightens it’s grip on the plants, making it difficult for them to grow. Loosen and lighten and they will grow.” As I began studying the plants, I realized that each represented something I had struggled with previously, with the belief that I would never complete these things. Of course, the struggle had tightened the growth. That was the message.
I heard some movement in the hallway of my office building. Could I have been here an hour already? I peeked at my watch, noticing the hands had appeared on the face. Oh darn…how I prefer the other watch. But, it was time to return to the day at hand. The peach chair asked me to return in a more dignified way…slow & gentle. No rushing. Promising that I would be returning again, in fact many times, for there was much to know here and this was my life, no one else’s.