I wrote this article on my wedding anniversary and so was delighted to be writing about using self-hypnosis for enhancing relationships.
Last weekend, my wife and I were dogsitting for a family pet; Mick the dog; a very good looking, incredibly well-behaved 10 year old Border Collie.
We took him out for a couple of very long walks over to our local beach, we went through the wooded area, up to the top of the clifftop, back down the other side onto the pebble beach and all the way back along the beach.
It was at this beach, that Mick decided to initiate the stick throwing and fetching game. He found a stick, a piece of driftwood that he took to. He would trot in front of me, turn back, look at me and plop it on the floor. Then he'd take a couple of steps backwards whilst looking at me, crouching and ready. I would then pick up the soggy, chewed, dribble and sand covered stick and launch it as far as I could and he'd run off to fetch it, bring it back and we'd start all over again.
This went on seemingly tirelessly, though he slept incredibly well in the evenings, I must say. For his early morning and late evening ablution walks around the nearby woods, we'd do a similar game with his ball (which thankfully has a ball throwing gizmo meaning I do not have to pick up his ball with my hands, it is constantly wet and chewed and a worryingly brown colour) and it'd help wear him out some more.
I say all this, like it all went smoothly and simply.
However, all was not as plain as it seems from my initial write-up. Oh no.
Every now and then, Mick did not want to fetch what you'd thrown for him; one evening we got to our back gate and I thought I'd throw the ball for him one more time. In response, he sat by the gate and stared at me as if to say "I have had enough of the ball throwing game, I want to go in, you better go get the ball."
I had to go and get the ball, and I got plenty of exercise on that occasion.
Other times, I thrown the ball or the stick and he'd not go for it, but as soon as I got close to it, he'd dash in with speed and pace and grab it from under my nose and then want to play a sort of "dog-chase" game that usually involved him goading me into a tug-of-war with the ball or stick.
And on other occasions, he'd get the ball if we were going in particular direction, but not in another direction. It all took a lot of flexibility and learning about how best to do things in order to derive the best responses.
Ok, so this is all a little bit tongue-in-cheek and I am unlikely to be championed as Cesar Milan material just yet, but we had a wonderful time with Mick and my relationship with him is something I am using as a metaphor for enhancing relationships with this simple, short and sweet self-hypnosis technique.
Corydon Hammond himself uses a process of a Golden Retriever metaphor for helping people who constantly pursue uncommitted partners and almost begs them for love, so I thought I'd adapt such a process based upon my experiences this weekend and offer you a lovely process here today within our theme of relationship development.
Simply follow these Steps For Metaphorically Enhancing Your Relationship:
Step One: Induce hypnosis. Use whatever method you know. Alternatively, get deeply relaxed or mindful and develop a receptive mindset. Then move on to step two.
Step Two: Imagine yourself in a place in nature. Maybe a woodland area, a beach or a park of some kind. Become aware of the colours around you, the weather, the sounds of life. Breathe the clean fresh air and enjoy the temperature that is just right for you.
Walk through this area and tell yourself that each step you take takes you deeper inside your mind.
As you walk, imagine that you are walking a dog, notice how it walks, what breed it is, notice it stopping and sniffing and how you cannot always predict its movements. Watch the dog walking within a comfortable distance with you, let yourself drift deeper inside your mind and when you really have this and are tuned into the scene in your mind, move on to the next step.
Step Three: As you walk, start to reflect and think about your relationship in your life, take a few moments to think about it, assess it, think about the role you play within your relationship.
Once you have spent enough time to get a sense of your own relationship while you continue to walk in nature with the dog, then move on to the next step.
Step Four: Watch as you notice at your feet a stick. The stick looks perfect to throw for your dog and for you to both engage in some harmonious fun together.
Notice the colour of the stick, it's size and details.
As you bend down and pick the stick up, feel the weight of it, the texture of it and see that the dog's attention is caught and it starts to look at you with it's ears pricked up.
Have a really good think now - what do you say? What do you do? How do you encourage the dog and help it become interested in the stick? Right now, in your mind, do whatever you can, to get the dog involved, engaged and even excited about playing with the stick with you.
You may find that it requires a number of different approaches until the dog truly engages, reach deep inside yourself and use as many different ways as possible to engage the dog and really communicate your intentions well.
When you have done this, perhaps you have noticed that dogs tail is wagging and it is really ready, then move on to the next step.
Step Five: Now throw the stick. Become aware of how you thrown it, where you threw it.
Watch as the dog refuses to go and fetch it. The dog sits there.
Did you throw it far enough, or too far? Did you throw it in the right direction? How does the dog react?
Right now, work out what is the best way to throw the stick, perhaps you need to run after it to show your dog what to do, or perhaps the dog requires you to fetch it together for the first time.
Go and fetch the stick yourself and notice how the dog reacts, what it does in response. Get it engaged with you again using your strategy from the previous step and when you have engaged your dog again, throw the stick in a different way, having thought and considered it... And watch as your dog bounds happily away and after the stick, tail wagging, mouth open, eyes bright and alert.
Each step the dog takes as it picks up the stick and brings it back to you, takes you deeper inside your mind and you then move on to the next step.
Step Six: Watch as your dog brings the stick back. It holds it out to you and as you lean to get it, notice if it lets go easily, or if it wants to wrestle the stick, or if it is reluctant to let go.
Think about what you say to the dog to have it let go of the stick easily and smoothly, notice your tonality and what your intentions need to be in order for the dog to respond.
Adjust your communication accordingly and play with the dog while it comfortably lets go of the stick so that you can throw it again.
Continue to throw the stick as many times as is optimum for you both to connect, enjoy it together and bond. Notice what tells you that your dog wants to carry on playing and notice what tells you that your dog is nearing the stage where you can stop playing this game.
When you sense the time is right to stop throwing the stick for now, bring it to an agreeable end. Pet your dog, stroke it, embrace it, and give it some love that shows undeniably that you enjoyed this and that you feel closer to your dog as a result of this time that you shared.
Step Seven: As you carry on walking comfortably through this place in nature, start to think of your own relationship and ways you can enhance it, ways you can bring more harmony, fun and enjoyment to the relationship in a way that strengthens it.
Once you have spent enough time thinking about that, plan on taking some action that is going to truly aid your relationship and enhance it in some way and then move on to the final step.
Step Eight: Now take a couple of nice deep, energizing breaths, wiggle your fingers and toes and open your eyes.
Go and take that action and enhance your relationship.
Thank you for your inspiration Mick, and although this article is a little tongue-in-cheek in places, I think you'll love running this process and I wish you the best with it.