I'm standing in a dark, dense forest. I look around and realize I’m lost. Terrified and alone, I notice that a group of American Indians is approaching me. It’s 1865, and I’m 4 years old. This column has taken Ms. Adventure on some wild rides—I’ve barely recovered from the experience of being in a tiny airplane high above Southwest Florida, or being an arm’s length away from a huge alligator while on an airboat ride in the Everglades—but, past life regression through hypnosis was the most adventurous adventure to date.
Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist Carolyn Beauchamp’s offices are located at the Be Well Natural Health Clinic in Naples, and I have to admit, I was a little nervous as I made the drive there. The truth is, I’m not a big fan of driving (and I’m not just talking about the perils of U.S. 41 in snowbird season). Half the time, when I venture outside my neighborhood, I end up getting lost—even with Siri to help with navigation. Also, when there’s too much traffic, I get panicky, which tends to escalate my driving experience from uncomfortable to terrifying. But, alas, I am not Miss Daisy, Southwest Florida is pretty widely spread out, and, therefore, I must drive—like it or not.
I’ve had a few friends suggest hypnotherapy or counseling or both to conquer my vehophobia (fear of driving)—and some other friends, who are much more metaphysical than I am, have brought up past life regression. And while I’ve never tried hypnosis or really given much thought to reincarnation, I was up for giving it a whirl—especially after a friend recommended Carolyn, who has a wall full of framed certifications and diplomas and has been trained by the best. She’s even a member of the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association and the Hypnosis Education Association. Basically, Carolyn is a big deal.
But, you wouldn’t know that when you meet her—she’s down-to-earth and lovely, with kind eyes and a soothing voice. When I arrived at Be Well, she greeted me with a hug and immediately picked up on my anxiety from navigating treacherous Tamiami Trail.
The vibe in her office was soothing—think massage-type music and the faint scent of oil burning. She offered me a bottle of water and my nerves started to relax. First, we talked about PLR (past life regression) in a general sense. Carolyn said that some clients just want to go back to see who were they were in a past life—royalty? A pirate? Joan of Arc? While others see PLR as a tool to discover what fears or stumbling blocks we might be bringing from a past life into this life. In my case, fear of driving. Carolyn and I talked about what scares me about driving—the feeling of being trapped when in traffic, the worry of getting lost, even the anticipation of panic. She asked me if anything traumatic had ever happened in my childhood in relation to cars or road travel—and, honestly, I couldn’t come up with a thing. So, it was time to journey back to a past life that may hold some clues to current fears.
I got comfy in a soft leather recliner, as Carolyn’s soothing voice took me through induction—that’s when you’re guided into a state of altered consciousness—and while I was certainly open to being hypnotized, I was skeptical. So, while I listened to Carolyn’s voice, the thoughts in my head ran the gamut: “This probably won’t work,” “I don’t feel sleepy at all,” “I’m hungry,” “I hope I remembered to turn the coffee maker off,” “I should buy stop at the grocery on the way home.” Then suddenly, I was in a beautiful garden of flowers looking at a crystal elevator that I would step into as it took me down, down and even further down to a deep state of consciousness where my most inner self could effectively answer questions—and even remember the experience—but be sort of, dare I say it—out of my body.
And that’s how I ended up as a lost 4-year-old girl in a thick, dark forest when I was discovered by American Indians. Carolyn takes detailed notes the entire time, which she emailed me after the session, but I actually remember almost every single detail, which surprised me. I can tell you that the American Indians took me in and that we ate supper (meat off the bone) around a campfire, and that I slept in a tent made of animal skins. But, most importantly, there was a sense of being lost, of being trapped—I knew I didn’t belong there, but I didn’t know how to get away. If I tried, I’d become lost again. Eventually, in that life I grew up (by the way, I was tall, which was awesome because I’m only 5-foot-2, and being tall rocks). I married a man who took me away from the tribe; we settled in Nevada and had two sons. Later, as Carolyn guided me away from that life, she took me through several “screens,” and what fell away from that life was the lost, trapped little girl. The next thing I knew, I was headed for a bright light and a meeting with my spiritual advisers, my board of directors, my angels—whatever you choose to call them, they were wise, comforting and full of good advice. It was, in short, fascinating.
When Carolyn brought me out of hypnosis, I felt more relaxed than I had in forever—very much at peace, too. We then talked about my fear and anxiety and how it ties to that scared, lost kid in the forest.
When I left Carolyn and Be Well, it was getting late. Two hours had passed quickly and it was almost dark. Driving is one fear for me—but, driving in the dark is even worse. Still, I barely gave it a thought as I hopped in the car to call a good friend and tell her all about my PLR session while it was still fresh in my mind. As I went on and on about it, telling her all the details and discoveries, I suddenly realized that I had no idea where I was. It was just a long stretch of road, no signs, no businesses and a lot of cars going very fast. I stayed on the phone with my friend and calmly pulled the car over. I didn’t panic, I didn’t yell or freak out. I pinged my location on my iPhone navigation map and saw that I was on Airport-Pulling Road in Naples and that if I went another couple of miles, I’d get to Goodlette-Frank Road and that U.S. 41 wasn’t far off at all.
My friend, who knows how anxiety-ridden I get (she’s the one who held my hand when we went up in the tiny plane together), asked me, “Are you OK? Are you sure you’ve got this?”
And knowing that I had once survived in an untamed wilderness, I knew I could survive the roads of Naples at night.
“Yep,” I answered as I pulled my car back onto the road with renewed confidence. “I’ve definitely got this.”