Author: Dave Norris, PhD
Some years ago, I was privileged to see the concerned parents of a 4-year-old child, Nate, who could not sleep at night. The preschool was concerned about his lethargy, and cat naps. He was disrupting things at home by staying up and interfering with his parents’ and his brother’s sleep as well. The family became concerned about his health. Their pediatrician referred him to us to see what was going on.
Nate and I hit it off pretty well. He was a good checkers man, and we had some good matches. He and his brother “knew” checkers rules that I did not know and the rules kept changing as we played. Lots of fun, but as hard as I tried, I just could not win at checkers with Nate.
Once we got to know each other a little, I asked Nate about his trouble going to sleep. He said he was scared because he might not remember to breath. I could see that. Never thought about it that way. Nate appeared to be a good breather, and he was happy to show me how he breathed, and how he made his heart beat. We made a deal that we could play some more checkers next time if he would practice breathing and heart beating while we played.
Turning on the Medulla
The next time we sat together we pulled out the checker board again. As we played, we counted as we breathed in, and breathed out. We also practiced making our heart beat faster and slower. This activity interfered with our checker game, but we kept at it, and Nate agreed to practice breathing and heart beating before he went to sleep at night and on weekends when he was doing his jobs at home. After a couple of visits, Nate and I agreed that breathing and heart beating was a drag. Besides, he wasn’t all that compliant with his practice at home. What were we going to do now? We had a bright idea that might work. Let’s turn on the autopilot.
We talked about how he and I and every other living creature have autopilots for lots of things we do. I showed him a picture of our breathing autopilot, the medulla and where it is located at the base of his head.
So how do we turn it on and off? We held our breath to see who could do it the longest, and then turned it back on before anyone blew up. The next week's assignment was to turn off the autopilot at bed time and hold your breath see how far you can count before you have to turn it back on. A good man can count to 30 any day. After breathing practice, you can just leave the autopilot on; it won’t hurt a thing.
When Dreams come True
Nate’s sleeping problem let up, so we could talk about another autopilot. This one helps you get what you want. It's like The Genie in the Bottle Story from Aladdin’s Tales. He did not know the story, so I filled him in. We began our scientific experiment with this new autopilot by enjoying some orange slices. We would take a slice of orange and look at it, smell it, and hold it in our mouths for a while. Then we would slowly bite down and taste the sweet orange juice explode in our mouths. Fun. Then he would tell me what the orange was like for him and I would tell him what I experienced. He agreed to practice eating orange slices in his head at night and I agreed to have Oreos for our next experiment.
Checkers and Oreos go well together. Nate followed the classic technique of pulling the chocolate cookies apart and licking off the filling before holding the chocolate wafers in his mouth while we counted to 20. Not easy to do, but this was for science, right? We had fun sharing notes on our sensual observations.
My homework for Nate this week was to enjoy tasting and smelling an Oreo cookie in his head every night to see if it would make his mouth water like the orange slice did. This is how we switch on our “Make-a- Wish” autopilot. We practiced tasting it in our heads, so our autopilot could make our wish come true. If we can taste it in our head, we can have it.
Nate and I enjoyed a few more sessions together and talked about the experiences we loved the most. He had passions for playing X Box with his brother, playing outside at preschool and sitting in his dad’s car with the radio on. We talked about how he could use his daydreams to feel and taste things, and use the autopilot in his mind to bring these experiences into real life; sort of like magic, like the Genie in the bottle story. He could pretend he was driving his dad’s car with the radio when he was snug in bed, and go as fast as he wanted. Just turn on the Make-a-Wish autopilot and listen to the beats.
Life passions that define who we are have a way of coming true when we turn on our autopilot through sensual visualizations. This works for four-year-old’s and seventy-year-olds as well. Spending time with a guy like Nate is one of my favorite passions. And see, it came to be. Oreos and checkers are hard to beat.
When you feel the urge to enjoy life more, and turn on your Make-A-Wish Autopilot, give us a call at Resonance. We can enjoy the experience together.