At Doug O'Brien and Nick Kemp's recent workshop, Stories from the Outside In, I was able to reduce the prologue of my book to a two-minute story. I didn't know what to expect, really. Nick charmed me with his acerbic wit and love of Nick Cave. And Doug's openness and knowledge... The two are a marvelous teaching pair and can tear up a ukulele/keyboard jam like nobody's business too.
They weave hypnosis, linguistics, and storytelling 101 into a marvelous and inspiring training. One of the goals of the weekend is to create a "two-minute story." As mentioned, mine is basically the prologue of my book which will inevitably be longer when it's released. The title is "3 Deep Breaths: Stories of Meditation, Hypnosis, and Past Life Regression" and it begins with my father.
Jeffrey was a motherless bastard. He did not know where or to whom he belonged. He didn't have the modeling of good parents, proper etiquette, or the schoolyard resilience of other boys. He was branded as a nerd early on in a time and place where that was still an insult, and generally looked down upon. Jeffrey served as an altar boy attending to the priests and masses while remaining unchosen for years by the parents-to-be that were passing through. "I guess God wants you because no one else does." Said one of the nuns. He didn't hear cruelty though. Instead he heard a calling and felt this meant he was supposed to be a priest.
Jeffrey had witnessed God's authority and knew intimately the benevolence and the brutality, the compassion and the cruelty, the righteousness and the wrath. That was why in 1958 when he found himself at the age of 19, stationed in San Antonio, TX, being taught direct suggestion hypnosis by the US Military in their experiments with psychological warfare - he had an advantage. Years of watching congregations genuflect, worship, and seek redemption from the human surrogates for God that were the priests and nuns had taught him how to offer the security of the divine. The scientific experiments of the cold war allowed Jeffrey to channel these holy men and women he grew up with into a clinical process.
As an orphan and a bastard, he was ineligible for priesthood. Yet in the laboratories of the base he found use for his intelligence and more social acceptance than he'd ever known in his life. Everyone was from somewhere else. In Jeffrey's voice there was something special, something the others didn't have. He didn't know it yet, but he would learn. Language was the first form of magic, that's why we call it spelling. Through his invocations, incantations, and direct suggestions he was discovering himself as confident, perhaps even a leader. In the empty space where his family would have been, there was a path forming, but would this holy man find a church?