Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What I'm Reading Now-Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology: A How-to Guide for Personal-Empowerment Tools You Can Use Anywhere!

Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology: A How-to Guide for Personal-Empowerment Tools You Can Use Anywhere! by Eldon Taylor--When I was contacted about participating in this book launch, I wasn't quite sure if I was interested; it's not exactly the type of thing I normally read, but eventually my curiosity won out (plus, there are Grand Prizes!)*. How often do I get to review a book here at Subliminal Intervention with the word "subliminal" in the title? Well, let's see, so far? Never. So I kind of felt like I should get on that. Besides, I'm always interested in reading about the mind and how it works.  

The first part of the book grabbed my attention right away with examples of how powerful the mind can really be. There's a lot of talk about how much what we hear on a daily basis can affect what we think and how we can engage in damaging self-talk without even realizing it. A lot of this is stuff I've heard before, but Taylor put a new spin on some of the ideas that made me get them in a whole new way. Either way, how much of an effect can all that stuff really have? Well, I read this:
     Multiple-personality patients routinely devastate mechanistic beliefs about the body. A patient may test totally normal in every physiological sense, but with a shift of personality, some as quick as the snap of a finger, the individual may exhibit hypoglycemia or even diabetes. How does a personality shift alter body chemistry in seconds? Can a personal belief system, such as "who I am," alter cellular behavior instantly?
     Dr. Frank Putnam of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) studied how people with multiple personality disorder go from one personality to another. He found that their electroencephalograms (EEGs) "change as dramatically as though the electrodes have been taken off one person and placed on another." Other such patients have demonstrated everything from eye-color change to having one menstruation cycle per month for every personality housed within the patient.
and then my mind exploded a little. Whoa. If that's not a case of your inner dialogue affecting change, I don't know what is. OK, so, I'm not interested in becoming a whole new person with a completely different identity (not really a concern-Taylor covers this common fear in Chapter 4: Myths and Misconceptions), but maybe I could incorporate a little more confidence, creativity, or the ability to fall asleep in less than three hours into my "who I am."

The second part of the book is largely transcripts of the hypnosis sessions that are on the accompanying CD. Oh, did I mention the book comes with a CD (in a well-incorporated sleeve that makes both access and storage easy)? (I actually had trouble with my CD-it kept sticking on the first track, but I imported it into my iTunes library, and it plays fine from there.) Taylor suggests listening to each track, then reading the transcript and then offers suggestions for further use and integration into your own self-hypnosis sessions. This may sound time-consuming, and the first few times, it will be, but the idea is that the more you practice, the more quickly you can move into a state of relaxation. The whole CD runs about 53 minutes, but the longest track is only 13:38.

Before we go any farther, you might be wondering, Who is Eldon Taylor and why should I let him into my head? Fair enough. First of all, here's a picture of him-he looks like a nice guy.

Second of all, I can tell you that his voice is very soothing. Third of all, I can't tell you why you should let him into your head-that's a decision you'll have to make for yourself. If it helps, you could visit his web site, but here's a little information that was provided by Taylor in a Q&A session that might help you decide:

    I think I have always been interested in the power of the mind; early on I read a lot of books on the subject and attended numerous school specializing in hypnosis. However, my interest really took off in the 80s. I was a practicing criminalist at the time and I frequently ran lie-detection examinations. One of the problems in lie-detection tests is in eliminating the inconclusives—some people are so nervous about the procedure itself that, even though they are innocent, they can give readings that would indicate deception. On the other hand, some people are very experienced at taking lie-detection tests and they use counter-measures. I was looking for a way to make the innocent person more relaxed and the guilty person, more tense.
     I came across some research regarding law enforcement using subliminal audio programs in a hostage situation, and although I could never verify this, it did give me the incentive to explore this area a whole lot more. I contacted numerous companies who were producing subliminal self-help programs and I discovered that the whole field was rife with mis-information. Quite frankly, many of these companies simply did not understand the process themselves, and as a result they were producing products with no retrievable subliminal content, poorly designed affirmations, or affirmations presented in such a way that the subconscious mind could only perceive it as being gibberish.
     To cut a long story short, I did my own research and created my own subliminal program for use in my lie detection practice. The results were phenomenal! My inconclusives pretty much disappeared and I found myself launching a whole new career. If subliminal communication could be so effective in this scenario, what else could we achieve with it? I created more subliminal audio programs and allowed them to be tested by numerous independent institutions and researchers (such as scientists at Stanford University). The results were all positive.
     My fascination with hypnosis followed a very similar path. Initially I used hypnosis for forensic applications, but as I learned more and more about the power of the mind, I started using hypnosis as a tool for personal growth.
     As my reputation grew, I was called in as an expert court witness with regards to both hypnosis and subliminal communication.
I have to admit I had a hard time with the techniques. I did listen to all the tracks, but I never really felt like I was hypnotised. I always felt like I was trying really hard to be hypnotised. Part of the problem was that I was really focusing on all the words instead of just relaxing and letting them wash over me-I wanted to know what I was going to be blogging about later! I also had a lot of distractions, but Taylor also includes advice for how to incorporate distractions into your self-hypnosis sessions so that they are less...distracting, which I think would be supremely useful for people who don't have a deep, dark, sound-proof, family-proof chamber in which to lock themselves every time they want to practice self-hypnosis. I do like the format though-having the CD and the written scripts is a good idea; I think having someone talk you through the process is very helpful the first few times, and for me, having a transcript to follow along with helps cement the ideas. They also provide a good foundation for creating more personalized sessions.

The third part of the book is all about subliminal communication. While Taylor is clearly schilling for his own InnerTalk® programs, he also walks you through making your own subliminal soundtrack, which I think is pretty cool. Taylor gives a lot of examples of the efficacy of subliminal messaging, but it's largely anecdotal in the sense that he has footnotes for all of his examples, but it's up to you, the reader, to follow-up on the articles and see how sound the research was. In an example of the research done using Taylor's own InnerTalk programs, he cites the following example:
Under the direction of Maurice P. Shuman, Jr., general director for special programs of instruction, a pilot study was conducted by the Duval County Public School System at the pretrial detention center in Jacksonville, Florida. The study program included 22 incarcerated juveniles who used InnerTalk audio programs designed to assist in preparation for GED examination. The results showed that 18 of the 22 troubled students passed the full GED examination. 
I fully appreciate that in the interest of brevity Taylor chose to leave out a lot of mind-numbing details, but a little more information might have been useful here. What was the percentage of troubled students who passed the GED examination without using the InnerTalk program? How do these results compare  to non-incarcerated GED test takers? Had any of these folks previously taken the test?

Anyway, small quibbles aside, I thought this was an interesting book, and if you are looking to make some positive changes in your life, I think this is probably worth a try.

*Bonus! If you head over to the Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology book launch page and purchase the book you get free gifts! There are also Grand Prizes available (no purchase necessary-see Contest Rules for details). Current list of Grand Prizes is as follows:

Grand Prize 1: Airfare, hotel and event passes for two to a Hay House ICDI conference.
Grand Prize 2: A customized InnerTalk library.
Grand Prize 3: Autographed copy of Linda Evan's book, Recipes for Life.
Grand Prize 4: One Hour private healing session with Dee Wallace.
Grand Prize 5: A 12 week total transformation course with Crystal Andrus.
Grand Prize 6: Private telephone consultation with Dr. Norman Shealy.
Grand Prize 7: The complete "Healing Codes Streamline Package" from Alex Loyd.
Grand Prize 8: "Lifetime membership to Shazzie's VIP Room, Shazzie Speaks 2.0,
New 2 Raw and Divinity In A Box home study courses" by Shazzie.
Grand Prize 9: Autographed collection of the finest music by Steven Halpern.
Grand Prize 10: A private reading with medical intuitive, Caroline Sutherland.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day-October, 2012

Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, Everyone! Can you believe it's October already?? What's blooming in your garden? Jump over to May Dreams Gardens, say, "Hi!" to Carol, share what's in your garden and see what's blooming in everyone else's. Here's what's going on in my corner of the world: (Also, I'm going to be making a lot of references to last month's post, so in case nothing makes sense, I'm blaming it on that.)

Mystery orchid still hanging on from last month.

Golden shrimp plant, Pachystachys lutea, and all that jazz.

I told you there was a rose in all that alyssum! "Mardi Gras (Jacfrain)" 

Ice blue plumbago

One of these days, I swear I'm going to find out what's going on in there.

My lead reporter, Mocha, continues to be evasive and refused to answer any questions about this false heather.

This was a nice surprise. I don't think my crape myrtle ("Petite Orchid"?) has ever bloomed twice in one year. I had no idea it was blooming until I went out today for pictures.

This is currently the only bloom on my lavender, but I'll take it!

This volunteer passion flower was a nice surprise. I didn't know they came this tiny though-look at those cute little fruit that are already forming. This only started blooming...last week?

From a tiny surprise to a big surprise. For reference, here's a picture from about a week ago:

This is the flower from my Monstera diliciosa, or Swiss cheese plant. It's the first time I've seen it bloom since we planted it in 2008, and I would have never even seen the flowers if our neighbor hadn't stopped by to see if he could have some leaves to use for decoration for his grandson's first birthday. See? Sharing pays off! 

Here's what that bloom looks like now, a dried out shell surrounding a bunch of fuzzy little nubbins above some sticky blobs. And! I just found out that this will eventually turn into an edible fruit. Cool!

Also putting out a bunch of fuzzy little nubbins right now is my Areca palm, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens

Augh! These suckers are hard to photograph!

These Agapanthus were another nice surprise, hiding behind all the palm fronds. 

And, finally, blooming in my kitchen are some red ginger from my yard.

I hope you had a wonderful Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day! What's blooming in your yard?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

What I'm Reading Now-The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot-I don't know what I can say about this book that hasn't already been said. If you've been paying attention at all over the last couple of years, you've heard great thing after great thing, and they're all right. If you haven't been paying attention, Henrietta Lacks was a black woman who had cervical cancer in the 1950s. Her doctor took a sample of some of her cells and sent them off to a lab where they were kept alive and grown in solution, where they continued to reproduce. This was something scientists had been trying to do for years; something about Henrietta's cells were different, and today they are still used around the world for research. Her family had no idea that this was happening. It was by pure coincidence that they found out that part of Henrietta had been kept alive long after she passed away and that her cells had been used to help find the cure for polio, had been shot into space, are still being used for research around the world and are worth hundreds of dollars per vial. Meanwhile, many of the surviving members of her family could not afford the medical care they needed.

Although a few articles have been written about Henrietta in the past, this book finally provided her family with the long-awaited recognition of the woman who made so much scientific progress possible.  It also provides a shocking look at patients' medical rights, past and present. You think that just because something is inside your body it belongs to you? If your cells miraculously develop the cure for cancer on their own, you would be entitled to some kind of royalty from that, right? Heh. Think again. Then find somebody to hug. Because thinking too long about the realities of the world can turn you into a big cynical jerk. And there's no way your body's going to find the cure for cancer with that attitude.

I said at the beginning of this review that I didn't know what else I could say that hasn't already been said, but actually I think I might have something. There were two little things in this book that made me smile when I read them: Henrietta and her cousins saving up money to go see the latest Buck Jones cowboy movies and Dr. Carrel's "immortal chicken heart," a 1912 scientific experiment which inspired the 1937 Lights Out radio program's "Chicken Heart" episode which inspired Bill Cosby's 1966 bit, "Chicken Heart." I grew up listening to Bill Cosby records, and he's the only person I've ever heard mention Buck Jones or Chicken Heart. I had no idea that "Chicken Heart" had its basis in reality! To see Buck Jones and the chicken heart mentioned in this book was like a little wink to my child-hood, but also added another layer to Henrietta's life and times.

So, thank you, Henrietta, for all that you have contributed to science and for reminding me of this great gem:

And here's the original Lights Out episode that inspired it:

I couldn't find the Buck Jones routine, but if you're interested, it's part of the "When I Was a Kid" album.

Here's what some others thought:
Lori L. at she treads softly
Heather J. at Age 30+...A Lifetime of Books
Kailana at The Written World and Michael at Books on the Nightstand both listed it as one of their Best of 2010

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pedicure? I Don't Know...This Seems a Little Fishy

Back in June, we went over to the island of Lana'i for a little birthday/anniversary R&R. We stayed at The Lodge at Koele, which is beautiful; it's located upcountry, in the middle of the island, so it's a little bit cooler and rainier, there are lots of trees, and it feels very country. Its sister property Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay is the total opposite; it's still beautiful, but it's down on the beach--oceanfront, hot, sunny, and probably more along the lines of what people think about when they think about a resort in Hawai'i. On our last day, we took the shuttle from our hotel down to Manele and walked the length of the beach over to where there are some little tide pools. I sat down and stuck my feet in the water while Hubby went off in explorer mode. He always just wants to know what's over there. Me? I'm happy to find a nice spot and stay there. Like this:

There were all kinds of little fish in the tide pool, and I knew from previous experience that if I sat still long enough they might come over and start nibbling on me. And, hey, after all the money we'd just spent at the resort, if I could get some free exfoliation, I was going to take it! It took a while, but I finally found the exact right foot placement to entice my little gang of exfoliators. For some reason, completely submerged feet are not interesting, but if you keep the tops of your feet just barely under the surface of the water, that seems to do the trick. 

This probably seems a little weird, but I didn't have to tip anyone, and this was definitely the best view I've ever had during a pedicure!