A young girl came into my office for a session. She complained about having anxiety. During our initial session, she explained that she read an article about a man who was sleepwalking and killed someone. This ignited so much fear and anxiety in her that it affected her ability to function and disrupted her days.

From my years of experience working with people, I knew the story of the violent sleepwalker was a metaphor for something from her past she needed to work on.

This metaphor gave me a starting point from which I could explore her mental landscape. I sensed that she may have previously experienced a “death of self”, so to speak. Through our conversations, I gathered her history bit by bit and was able to identify moments in her life when she felt violated. A part of her “self” was hurt, lost, abandoned, taken away.

A hypnosis session uncovered several traumatic situations that she didn’t realize still affected her. In only a few sessions she was able to accept the cause of her discomfort. Once she gained an understanding of the reasons behind her anxiety, it naturally dissipated. If anxious feelings surface again, she now knows how to manage them.

Our mind is like a search engine. It provides information that has been uploaded throughout our lifetime. Sometimes this information shows up in the form of anxiety. Our current life can trigger fearful sensations from our past. If it becomes an ongoing discomfort, it is a sign to explore the past. Her fears frightened her and, fortunately, motivated her to seek help.

Our life is a journey toward discovering and maintaining our wholeness. Through investigating our internal triggers, we can acknowledge our fears and pain. This understanding allows us to bring about new insights and access the innate beauty, comfort and peace that lies within all of us.

Reflection

Open yourself to the guidance of your personal metaphors.

What metaphor(s) describe your life now?
Do they work for you or limit your choices?
Why do you hold this current image?
Does this metaphor reflect future outcomes?
Take a deep breath, and calm yourself.
Connect to your metaphor.
How would a peaceful mind get beyond the feeling your metaphor reflects?
How would you alter your metaphor to a more positive one?
Example of limiting metaphor: “I’m stuck or trapped”, “I can’t seem to get past the wall”, “Life is a roller coaster”, “I’ve reached a dead end”.

Example of a more positive metaphor: “I can slowly remove one brick at a time”, “It’s smooth sailing from here”, “Life is about the choices I make”, “I can change my direction”.