I Was Hypnotised into Cuddling a Snake”¦
Is there something that you are truly afraid of? You know, that something that makes you want to run and hide”¦or pee your pants? Whether it be birds (like my mum), the dark or confined spaces, most of us have that one little thing that makes our hearts beat so fast that it feels like our chests could explode.
For me, it’s snakes. Slimy, slithery, hissing snakes. Throw me in a cage and surround me with sharks, no problem. You could even put me in a tank of cockroaches and it’d be a piece of cake. But snakes, no one seriously likes or tolerates snakes, unless you’re Harry Potter.
Facing my fear of snakes is not something I had ever considered as I really had no need to go near a snake and to be honest, I had no desire. But when I was given the opportunity to be part of an experiment for release of Angelina Jolie’s epic drama Unbroken involving hypnotherapy, that got me thinking.
I have always wanted to be hypnotised, primarily because it looks like fun and secondly because I wasn’t sure if I believed that it actually worked. I have however always believed that mind over matter plays a huge part in determining our strength, resilience and success so I was absolutely willing to give it a go”¦
On Being Hypnotised
Have you ever been so doped out on feel good fairy dust that you felt like you were flying? Me neither. But being hypnotised is exactly how I imagine that would feel. Julie’s voice is so beautiful that she had me comfortable lying back on this big comfy sofa lounge drifting off into a semi-conscious state. Well, the second time anyway. The first attempt saw me sit bolt upright to pull the big friggin’ hair band out of my pony and adjust my neck. Apparently Julie wasn’t surpised, she explained that I am highly alert and analytically aware of my surroundings and that can sometimes inhibit people from going under.
Second time and I was all ‘See ya later folks, this is marvellooouussss!’ It was so strange. I could hear everything Julie was saying but I was in this beautiful deep state of relaxation. So much so that when Julie asked me to lift my fore finger, I felt like I was lifting a tonne of concrete.
Julie mentally sent me into a cinema, a dark cinema, with a vision of a snake on the screen. Asking me to visualise something beautiful, I created a series of gorgeous colours dancing in front of my eyes. Slowly, the image of the snake tunneled away into nothingness. Julie’s voice spoke of strength, like the strength I had during labour, an that whenever I needed that strength, I would be reminded by pressing my thumb and forefinger together (now affectionately known my slab-a finger..get it? Slab-a-concrete…).
Upon being roused awake, I felt really relaxed and a bit sleepy, a feeling that would follow me home and disappear just in time for My Kitchen Rules to start. Walking down the stairs to go see Olivia again I felt wonderful, like nothing could ruin my day. And when she was brought back into the light, I put my arms out and had the handler rest her around my shoulders. My feeling toward Olivia had completely changed, I felt changed. I patted, stroked and cuddled her like she was a pet. #MajorTurnaround
On Facing my Fear of Snakes
I spoke to the snake handler Tony from Reptiles Rule prior to that first encounter where he gave me a little background on who I was meeting (Olivia) and what type of snake she was (an olive snake). Tony was great to chat to and I thought if I got a heap of educational stuff out of him, I may be able to approach it in a 60-minutes meets professional journalism kind of way. And I did feel good, until Tony told me he had been bitten 9 times”¦or probably more.
At first, I wasn’t in the slightest bit interested in doing more than just poking Olivia. And her sneaky little head, well, if I had a spade, I’m pretty sure I know where it may have ended up”¦ She felt gross, hissed at me like I was food and twisted and turned like she was going to attack at any moment.
After Julie put me under however, Olivia didn’t bother me in the slightest. I happily (and sleepily) presented my arms and neck where she proceeded to slither around as we all chatted about how she felt and why she was choking me. Olivia and I became, dare I say it, friends!
What Louis Zamperini experienced throughout his life is nothing compared to what I encountered. He survived a plane crash, 47 days at sea in a raft and the torture and brutality of being a prisoner of war. I handled a snake”¦ My point though, is that Louis’ strength and determination; his fight for life, got him through if you can take it, you can make it. Hypnotherapy gave me courage and strength to face a fear that I wasn’t sure I ever would. Just think, if we all faced our fears head on (with a little help or not) imagine what we could achieve.
What’s your biggest fear and could you ever face it?
Unbroken is available to own on DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital with Ultra-Violet this Thursday 14 May (my bird-hating mums birthday!) View the official trailer here