“It must begin with the determination that you want to really know yourself completely and utterly, so that you don’t have any private rooms and nooks and crannies that you’re concealing.” –Pema Chodron
When I was pregnant with my third child, my husband and I hired a hypnobirthing coach: a lovely woman who came to our home and worked with me, him and our doula on self-hypnosis techniques that would somehow alter the plan that nature ultimately had already written. I had attempted to naturally birth our first two children, but, in the end, both were emergency c-sections. I was determined to break this cycle and we found a doctor who was willing to support me through this third pregnancy. I had never undergone hypnosis (unless you count my 4th grade teacher who kept making us stare at a triangle on the board to “calm our breaths” whenever we became agitated), but I was open to trying and I was intrigued by the notion that I could somehow will my body to do what doctors kept telling me was improbable.
In one of the foundational exercises, I listened intently as my coach took me into the rooms of my mind, going deeper and deeper through the winding hallways and stairwells until I came to what she referred to as the Control Room. It was in this room that I would, ultimately, be able to switch off pain and fear and other related reactions to the birth of my child. I loved this exercise. I loved wandering through the interior of my consciousness. I recall being in this semi-dreamlike state and wondering about the other rooms, the ones I passed each week on the way to the Control Room. What did they contain? Who was in there? Could I ever go back and explore? If I could find the controls to pain and fear, could I control other emotions?
My son came into this world via c-section, despite my best intentions, just over 8 years ago. I have never gone back to this hypnotic state, but I was instantly transported back there this morning when I read these words from Pema Chodron. That there are nooks, crannies and entire rooms hidden deep within me is something I have always known. So I guess the only question really is: do I invite others in to sit for a time on the worn couches and wobbly chairs?