Finally, I am able to take a deep breath and think about everything that happened in Orlando, Florida this March.

Yes, I went to another seminar with the legendary Dr. Richard Bandler – a creative genius behind neurolinguistic programming or NLP.

I still remember how I asked my first NLP trainers, Connie and Michael Brannans, who themselves have been trained by Dr. Bandler, “What’s next? Where can I learn more?” And they said, “Well, if you want to be really good at it, you should study with Dr. Richard Bandler. ” And I exclaimed in surprise, “He is alive?!”

BandlerIt turned out that not only Dr. Bandler is alive and well, he is also extremely productive, creative and ever-evolving. I imagined him as one of those elderly science professors who drone on and on about their past discoveries. Yes, let’s face it, I imagined him a museum item. He turned out to be nothing like this.

Here is a picture with him from last summer.






Anna-Bandler-impersonator-sThis time I didn’t bring any new pictures with him, but I took a picture with a Young Richard Bandler impersonator – one of his trainers decided to dress up as a young Richard when we had a party (Hippy-nosis party as they called it).

This time a seminar was called Neuro-Hypnotic Repatterning and as the name suggests was all about hypnosis with some NLP thrown in the mix. In 6 days we experienced a wide variety of altered states including very deep trance. My favorite experiences was a full body catalepsy trance. Oh, and being selected as a demo volunteer by Dr. Bandler (something I secretly hoped for).

You may have seen a full body catalepsy trance performed on stage. A hypnotist whispers something to a volunteer’s ear and all of a sudden his or her body goes so stiff and rigid she (or he) can be placed between two chairs as a wooden board. I never thought I will see it up close even less experience it myself.

It was a very strange experience. Two of my fellow hypnotists started whispering into my ears guiding me into a vivid fantasy – I was in a forest. I noticed a tall, mighty oak. I stepped inside. And I became the oak, feeling my body becoming stiff and strong, my arms and my legs becoming stiff and strong… As I immersed myself into a fantasy deeper and deeper (and even deeper) I felt as my muscles started tightening up on their own accord. Next thing I knew – I was suspended between two chairs. My body felt light and stiff – I didn’t have to make any effort to hold my body – and I am not that young or athletic anymore.

I do not have my picture, but here is my wonderful friend Gaia joyfully suspended between two chairs.

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This experience gave me new insight into the nature of my old monster – stuttering. I’ve already discovered that removing old hurts with NLP and reframing old experiences often leads to almost miraculous reduction of stuttering severity. One day you struggle trying to say your name or make a phone call and the next day your speech starts flowing freely in most situations. It feels just as weird as being suspended between two chairs.

Now think about it like this. If something you merely imagine – such as being a mighty oak – can stiffen your muscles to such a degree that you can be suspended between two chairs, may be something else that we imagine (such as that there is something actually blocking our speech in some situations and we have to worry about pushing our words out) can make our articulatory muscles stiff and unyielding? And what if we can convince our unconscious mind to just let go of this belief? It is not a scientific hypothesis, but it is something worth thinking about.

And finally, I got to be on stage with Dr. Richard Bandler. He asked, “Raise a hand if you believe you are too nervous?” and my hand shot up. He looked at me and said, “Yes, I can see it. You are very nervous. So tell me when you usually feel nervous?” At this moment as everybody’s attention turned on me and I looked into Dr. Bandler’s inquiring eyes focusing on me with intense interest, my heart started to pound and my face immediately felt hot and red. “Right, now, when you are talking to me.” I squeaked in response. Apparently I was the perfect subject.

So imagine me on stage. Sitting on a high chair under many attentive stares. And Dr. Bandler puts me into a trance. Then he says, “Now, your left hand will start lifting slowly and unconsciously.” And inside my mind I panic, “What if it doesn’t! What if I will just sit there with my hand on my knee.” I have no idea why I thought it was important not to let Dr. Bandler down. And this moment I felt a slight twitch in my hand. “That’s right. A little bit more.” said Dr. Bandler’s voice. And with a feeling of deep relief I felt my hand slowly moving up. It was a bizarre and surreal feeling. When I stopped worrying whether or not my hand will go up it just floated up to my face easily and effortlessly. It was the same feeling of lightness as I experienced when I did full body catalepsy.

Another memory from this seminar – almost constant feeling of euphoria, plenty of laughter and a wonderful time with my friend Gaia and other great people who attended this seminar. It was a magical week.