These questions were graciously provided by my FaceBook friends.
What is your life story? What made you start hypnosis? Is hypnosis safe?
Will I do anything under hypnosis that is out of my control?
Can you tell us more about your journey from alcoholism to sobriety?
How is hypnosis helpful?
What is lucid dreaming? When can I expect results? When is the best time for hypnosis?
What kind of training have you had? Do you ever get tired while making your recordings?
What kind of interesting feedback (comments) do you get from your listeners?
What are the benefits of lucid dreaming? Can anyone have a lucid dream?
Can anyone be hypnotized?
I will now attempt to answer them.
Storytelling is my prefered method of communication so I'm going to tell you a little story and hope this answers some of these questions.
I was born in Alton, England in the year 1964. I came into the world as the daughter of Jim and Jenny Whiteley and I was the youngest of their five daughters. They were to have no sons.
When asked if I had good or bad parents, I just tell people I was raised by humans. This usually gets a laugh, as we all know how wonderful and awful humans can be. I think my parents were good people. I love and miss them both very much.
When I was three years old they moved us all to Canada where we settled in Mississauga Ontario.
I was a difficult child who did not fit in well at school or at home. I was a dismal student and my mother often had to go to the school at the end of the year to talk the teacher into letting me advance to the next grade. I was the type of kid who would have one or two close friends, but I certainly was not popular.
My greatest love and joy was anything to do with the arts. I started a school newspaper in public school and wrote, directed, and starred in many plays I put on for my fellow students. I recruited actors from a large pool of students who were happy to participate, if it meant staying inside for recess during the Canadian winter. I loved to paint, draw, do crafts, crochet, and my favorite toy was my tape recorder.
I think we all could have spared ourselves a great deal of pain and frustration if, back in the day, I could have been diagnosed as an artist.
When I was thirteen we moved to Sarnia Ontario.
I'm the one wearing the hat.
When I was a teenager, and even younger as a child, I enjoyed reading my father's books. I was a poor student, but intelligence was not a problem. I was able to read my father's college textbooks and discuss what was in them with him. He majored in psychology. He had been hired as a jail guard shortly after our arrival in Canada and he was an ambitious man who wanted to get ahead. As a teen I found a book on hypnosis in his library. I didn't tell him about reading this for fear of him disapproving of my plans to hypnotise my friends. I found this book fascinating and read it several times before practicing on my best friend Margaret, who was a willing participant and easy subject.
If there was one food product she detested more than any other, it was honey. I was amazed when I could get her to eat tablespoon after tablespoon of honey. She even smiled and said it was good! I practiced on some other friends too, with varying degrees of success, before finding a book on astral projection and moving on to the next fun with the mind thing.
Something I kept with me from this time was a little thing I would do sometimes when I couldn't sleep. I would use my tape recorder to record myself doing hypnosis so I could fall asleep feeling happy and relaxed, as opposed to laying awake half, or all, of the night feeling angry about things that happened to me.
In the picture above, I'm the one with my eyes closed. I was very camera shy at this time in my life. I was talked into being in this picture but really wanted to just crawl away. It was around this time I discovered, if I had a couple of beers, I could make that feeling go away.
When I was sixteen I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy called Jon and managed to keep him with me for two years till it all became too much for me and he went to live with his father's family. He was returned to me when he was seventeen.
During my twenties I had three experiences with hypnosis. I learned a lot about self hypnosis, hypnosis as a therapeutic tool, and stage hypnotism.
When I was in my early twenties I found myself living in my parent's basement and working at a job I hated. Looking through Dad's library I found a book called Psycho Cybernetics. It told me if I put myself into a deeply relaxed, hypnotic state, and clearly visualized something I was wishing for, the wish would come true. I followed the instructions in the book. I wished to own and manage my own bar, within a few months, I was given half ownership of a bar in Daytona Beach, and also returned to my position as daytime manager at a bar one block away. It didn't take too long for me to grow tired of working in bars, so I returned to Canada to get an education, get married, and have some more children.
As I turned twenty five I went into therapy for my depression and ended up reliving all manner of bizarre and horrible abuses under hypnosis. This went on for years causing me a great deal of distress. I'm so happy I realized, after my daughter Evan was born, most of this stuff didn't happen and this treatment wasn't making me any better.
When I was twenty six and in college studying social work, I was treated to a session with a stage hypnotist. I didn't jump around or cluck like a chicken. I just felt tired and uncomfortably warm. I spent the show dozing on the chairs at the back of the stage. At the end of the performance we were all to go back to our seats and the person beside us was to make a funny face. We were given the suggestion that this was the scariest thing we had ever seen. This sent me into a blind panic attack. I fled the building and hid in a corner outside. I had nightmares and panic attacks for a long time after that.
In my late thirties I noticed I might have a bit of a problem. I was in the habit of having a glass or two of wine, or a couple of beers, while cooking dinner and this was a nice way to relieve a little stress and be nicer to the kids. On the weekends my husband and I liked to go out and have a few drinks. Sometimes I would get tipsier than intended, but I didn't cause too much trouble, and I was a friendly drunk, so no one was very worried about my drinking.
As I aged I put on a few pounds and started calorie counting to help myself slim down. I noticed the alcohol was using up too much of my calorie allowance, so I decided to forgo most of these drinks, in favor of being able to eat more food.
I couldn't do it. Every afternoon around three o'clock I would get a craving and by four I was on auto pilot. I would have the drinks whether I liked that idea or not. I tried to quit but those around me thought I was more fun on a couple of drinks. I liked the drinks so I stopped worrying about it.
My husband and I separated. As a stay at home mom I found my financial situation difficult, if not impossible. I think I might have had a few extra drinks about that.
I had a bit of a breakdown and ended up in the hospital on some medications that were really messing me up. When I was released Children's Aid put a stipulation in our agreement that I continue to take the medications in order to keep my youngest daughter living with me. My eldest daughter was sent to live with her biological father, who had been absent since she was a year old. I wanted her home with me as soon as possible. I took the medications in smaller doses than prescribed, so something would show up on the monthly drug tests. These drug tests were also part of the agreement.
After a year I felt safe enough to wean myself off of the medications and was left with a bad case of fibromyalgia and essential tremor. I was also having problems with my balance, coordination, and spacial perception. I had already brought this to medical attention several times but the only answer given was to up the dosage of the medications I already could not tolerate.
When the house was sold I struck a deal with my ex husband that afforded me a small house on leased land at a nearby Indian reserve. This disqualified me from government assistance, but got Children's Aid off my back, because this place had a history of making government interference unwelcome.
I didn't drink much when I was on the medications. I was already stoned enough anyway, and if I did drink even a little bit, I would end up face first in the dirt. Once I was off of them, I noticed if I had a couple of beers, the tremors would stop, the pain would subside, and my coordination improved. I began having two beers for breakfast, two for lunch, two for dinner, and two before I went to bed.
This enabled me to get a job in housekeeping at a nearby campground, where I was quickly promoted to supervisor. My daughter Evan was allowed to come home. Over the next three years the amount of alcohol required to keep me okay and functional gradually increased until I was carrying around vodka in my water bottle.
I remember the moment very clearly when I was walking across the parking lot to the main building. I was exhausted and everything in my body burned. I wasn't going to be able to make it through the day. I was going to have to go home early. This was the first time I missed work In three years. I went home promising myself I would get sober and fix whatever it was that was wrong with me.
When I didn't get my alcohol I wouldn't just get a hangover, I would go into heavy withdrawal. I knew this wasn't safe, feared I would have a seizure and die, and I checked myself into detox for the first time.
I explained my situation to the staff there. They were understanding and kind. They kept me sober for six days, then sent me to the emergency room with a letter explaining I had not had a drink in six days, and my symptoms were not what could be considered normal for alcohol withdrawal.
After fourteen hours of waiting I saw a doctor who read the note. He told me I was to stay sober for another three weeks, then I could see a specialist. I was able to do this and three weeks later I arrived in the specialists office. I had a very long list of symptoms I would like an explanation for. He wasn't interested in my list but did address why my entire body was shaking so much. He diagnosed me with essential tremor and gave me some medication. It worked just fine for three weeks. After that I started having an uncontrollable urge to kill myself. I stopped taking the pills and this would go away, only to come back if I took them. I stopped taking the pills and started drinking again.
I quit my job, sold my house, and moved back to the city where I could get welfare. I also applied for a disability pension but this didn't seem likely to happen because my family doctor didn't think there was anything really wrong with me.
My drinking continued and I became more and more ill. I remember lying on the couch, watching the community clock, weather, and events channel for days at a time. I was in so much pain. Moving even a little muscle would shoot needle sharp shards of agony through my body. Everything burned. I felt like I had injected myself with bleach. I watched the clock, and if I slept for ten minutes, I considered myself truly blessed.
I learned to accept it. I figured I was going to die, alone and despised by all. Somehow I became peaceful and felt like, if that was what was going to happen, it was okay with me.
There were times I was up and about, little bits at a time. During these times I felt like a zombie, thinking I was already dead and didn't have the good sense to lie down and stop breathing. Through most of this time there was this feeling of a detached presence that was just watching.
I remember leaving a post on FaceBook that read "I'm running on God's strength now. I have none left of my own" I wasn't much of a God person at the time, and I'm not so sure I am now in the usual sense, but it just felt right to say that.
One day I was on the couch coming to the end of another of my agony bouts, when I got the idea to ask the computer for help. I managed to make it across the living room to the computer desk and I googled "help me". The Beatles song Help Me came up so I listened to that for a minute or two. This is when the strange idea to search Tony Robbins at YouTube came to me. I thought this was odd, because I had watched Shallow Hal and thought him to be a bit of a joke. I had nothing better to do so I played some Tony Robbins videos while lying on the couch, and found this more entertaining than watching the clock tick down the last minutes of my miserable life.
I began to make connections and remembered several times I had used visualization exercises, and ended up with what I wished for, or something quite like it. I began to entertain the notion that the entire mess that was my life situation was the result of bad programing in my brain. I researched self directed neuroplasticity and started making up little exercises for myself.
The first one was to teach myself to walk properly again. I had a noticeable weakness on my right side and dragged my right leg when I walked. I completely and totally lost the use of the right side of my body when I was in the hospital and this weakness remained. I found out I could not walk properly but I could still dance. I would dance/walk back and forth across my living room to music. It looked a little funky at first, but within a few days I had a nice, smooth, confident gait. This was very encouraging.
I decided to spend one year sorting out my grey matter. I would make this my primary focus and not worry about anything else for this time. I became happier and more optimistic. I very much enjoyed changing my negative beliefs into more positive ones. My first new belief was "the world is generous and kind". I set out to find evidence to support this belief and was not disappointed. I was still drinking but holding on to hope. Someday, somehow, I would figure out how to be a sober person.
About five months into this something unusual happened. My world was starting to go dark and I was tired, groggy, and sleeping most of the time. One day in my bedroom I had a very clear imagining. I didn't really see myself sitting in that chair, nor did I really hear my voice speaking to me. The best way to describe it was it came to me as a very vivid and clear imagining. As I was in my bed, I knew the person in the chair to be my future self.
She looked happy, relaxed, healthy, and self confident as she calmly told me "Jody, you are going to get out of this room. You will die here otherwise. Within the next day or so, your children are going to sneak in to this room to steal your sox (a common occurrence) and they are going to find your corps. It won't be pretty and they will be damaged for life. This will not happen because that is not how your story ends. You are going to get out of this room and become permanently sober.".
I told myself in the chair "I want to live. I don't care if I shake. I don't care how much pain I am in. I don't even care if every last human on this earth hates me. I just want to keep breathing and nothing else matters."
I checked myself into detox for the second, and last time. I took my Tony Robbins book with me. When I asked my daughter to pack it she scoffed and said "Oh yea, sure, this is really doing you a lot of good".
I was given a double long stay in detox because I was that much of a mess, and I made myself useful there. I also eagerly participated in their programs. When I got out I went to meetings and classes at the local addiction centre. I attended twelve step and recovery meetings to help me with my anxiety disorder. I went to rehab for three weeks. My commitment to change my brain kicked into overdrive. I allowed the obsession to take me. It felt good to be doing something that was working for me for a change.
In rehab, twice a day, we were guided into meditation and taught mindfulness techniques. I was hooked. I took to it like a fish to water. I felt like I had discovered real magic. The world began to sparkle and shine for me.
Meditation also helped me reprogram my brain. My tremors were making it difficult for me to feed myself, so one lunchtime I sat quietly, cleared my mind of all thought, became still, calm, and just felt love for myself and how I was. I was able to put soup on a spoon and bring that spoon to my mouth without spilling any. Getting better, instead of getting worse, is always very encouraging.
This is when I began experiencing synchronicity. After running several checks to make sure I was not psychotic, I embraced this as well, as an added bonus.
When the year of fixing myself was over, I began to let my groups go, gradually, one at a time. I finished all of the addiction center's programs. The other recovery groups, even the twelve step program, were sounding repetitive. I felt I had learned all they had to offer. It was time to move on and go it alone. Some told me I wouldn't be okay but I was, and still am, because I have learned to find my own okay inside myself. I found Tony Robbins a little loud after a time, so I moved on to listening to Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, and many others. I could fall asleep to them. I couldn't fall asleep to Tony Robbins.
I took a nap one day, listening to the Harvard Happiness lectures, because university lectures can make you nod off, and something strange happened. I could feel myself sleeping in my bed. Simultaneously I was sitting in my chair watching Tal Ben Sarhar do the lecture. This was a lot of fun. I started playing with my mind, sleep, and dreams, so I could have out of body experiences and lucid dreams. I used to dread going to bed. Now sleep was becoming quite an adventure.
To those who are new to lucid dreaming, lucid dreaming is when you are asleep and dreaming, but you know you are dreaming. If you are lucky or get good at it you can control the content of your dreams.
After I quit drinking I often had troubles with insomnia. It was nice to listen to someone so I could clear my mind and fall asleep, or at least be entertained in a way that would not keep me awake. From Wayne Dyer I heard about the Tao Te Ching. I was familiar with this book from when I was facilitating a support group in my thirties. I didn't understand it then, but now I suspected there might be magic in this book and tried to find a complete translation on YouTube. There wasn't one at the time, so I thought I would do one and upload it.
I spent many hours trying to capture the real meaning of this poem and uploaded my work little bits at a time. One night when I had trouble sleeping, I remembered my hypnosis recordings, and used YouTube's webcam feature to record a few minutes of me doing this. I pumped it full of love because I thought it would be nice to feel loved as I fell asleep. I left it as public, just in case there was anyone out there who might like to listen to it as well. My Tao recordings were getting two or three views per night and I thought it might be nice if there was someone else out there listening at the same time I was.
The next morning the recording "Sleep Hypnosis Help for Insomnia" had gotten over five hundred views and YouTube had sent me an email asking if I would like to get paid for making these kinds of recordings. I liked this idea so I signed myself up.
I made it my mission to create a YouTube channel that would help as many people as possible relax and feel good while they went to sleep. What I would need to learn over the next four years would fill a book, so lets just leave it to say I had an awful lot to learn.
I'm still learning. This site is my first attempt a website. I even learned a little code to do it. That's okay with me because in rehab I was told every time I learn something new, I get a shot of dopamine. Dopamine is a natural and healthy feel good brain chemical. I like natural and healthy feel good brain chemicals.
One of the things I needed to learn about was lucid dreaming. I was doing it, but I didn't know how to explain how I was able to lucid dream to another person. I mixed some hypnosis in with some techniques I found were commonplace to the lucid dreaming world, and then I went after the yogis, gurus, and swamis, because I heard they had been doing it for thousands of years.
I listened to these videos as well, and after some time, began dreaming somewhat lucidly all of the time. There is a part of our minds that is always conscious. Through lucid dreaming I've been able to get in touch with, and make friends with, this higher consciousness.
I've been able to control the content of my dreams and this is handy. If something is bothering me, it will manifest it's self as a scary monster and I will defeat this beast in my dreams, and later in real life, because I've had practice.
So how does this work for other people? The only reliable data I've been able to find so far is from viewer comments. I've had thousands of them, so can make some educated guesses. Some people have a lucid dream after listening to one of my recordings for the first time. There seems to be others who have tried everything and nothing seems to work. To those who would like to lucidly dream, I suggest playing around with location, time of day, or amount of sleep. I think meditation is always a good idea.
I'm not sure if everyone can be hypnotized. From viewer comments I've formed the opinion that I don't know. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. There are many who dislike me, hate my voice, don't cooperate, and didn't think it would work and are very surprised when it does. There also appears to be a few others who are very cooperative and are still struggling.Someday I may solve this riddle and be better help for doing so.
When I first started my YouTube channel I was often attacked by monster trolls who were sometimes vicious, cruel, and really got personal. Today the comments fall mainly into three categories. The most common are people thanking me, saying they liked the recording, or telling me how I helped change their lives for the better. These are my favorites. Then there are people who think my voice is creepy. That's okay, I don't have to be everybody's cup of tea. The smallest category are people who say I gave them nightmares.
I've found many of the people who have nightmares don't blame me for it, are sticking around, working their way through it, and then thanking me for helping them face their fears and become more self confident. There are a few who have an unpleasant experience and I never hear from them again.
The truth is, I don't know everything. I'm just the help.