Question: Self-hypnosis in deep states

#30

Postby moonlightress » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:27 pm

Not attacking your credentials, Richard, merely asking about your *experience* with hypnosis.

Deep breath, because I’m finding this conversation draining and have limited energy (and time) which I’d prefer to spend on discussing topics I’m interested in.

And you are quite right, we are talking past each other, repeating ourselves and not getting anywhere. Nothing constructive about it. So is there any point in continuing? I’m thinking ‘no’.
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#31

Postby jimmyh » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:53 pm

In this conversation, you went from replying without special effort to be kind and empathetic to someone who wasn't showing you the same courtesy, to realizing that you don't want to be that way even if he *is* being ignorant and arrogant, to finding it draining to continue to be kind and charitable when it doesn't seem to be paying off. As a general rule, I'd recommend just not participating in conversations so long as they're draining, because that works to condition you *against* the kind and empathetic kind of behavior you'd like to see more of in yourself.

I think the (often correct) anticipation that kindness and empathy will not be rewarded or returned in kind is what drives people to respond directly from their own frame ("Given that you do not know me, or how far I have come since I last posted, that is the most ignorant and arrogant reply I've read for a long time.") rather than putting in the *extra work* to try to see things from their perspective and make room for it ("Something I try to remember, which I failed to do here, is to "always be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting some sort of battle". That isn't a sideways swipe saying you have problems; I wouldn’t know. But I have fought many battles and met many people, who were kind to me."). Part of the reason I made sure to call it out is to highlight the other rewards of holding oneself to extra high standards, even if the person you're directly speaking to doesn't reward it.

It seems like you were hopeful that taking the high road would lead to good will in return and get things back to a happy and cooperative state of discussion. While it might not be clear and his response can still be read as a bit presumptuous, I think he *did* put in extra effort to be real with you. So far as I can tell, this really is how he sees things when he's not posturing or defending himself from cognitive dissonance.

It's not a matter of a single point disagreement though, and so even though you put in the extra effort once before relaxing back into your normal mode of operation, things were never going to continue to go as smoothly. I'll see if I can explain what I mean by this...

Say you and I are shopping at the same grocery store and I bump into you because I'm not looking. You might say "watch it bozo!" and I might say "screw you, turd", but if you come back and say "wow, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have acted that way it was probably just an accident", there's a really good chance that I'd say "shoot, I shouldn't have let your response get to me either. We all have momentary lapses of kindness" and then we could be back on track and converse like normal adults because the only thing getting in our way was a *single* point of escalation in a normally subcritical field, rather than the *whole field* being unstable and requiring extra effort to navigate without things spontaneously degrading.

If I were to say to *you* "Wow, Moonlightress, that was an extremely ignorant and arrogant thing for you to say!", you would probably think "Wait, WHAT!? I had no idea I did anything that could come off that way, and I should probably figure out what it is so I can fix it or clarify my intent!". The only reason you can do this is because you are able to hold the expectation (hey, hypnosis frameworks coming in handy :P) that you can actually reach the state where you and the other person agree that you're a worthwhile and non-ignorant/arrogant person, even if you may have slipped up in the past. If you have a long history of people calling you ignorant and arrogant without resolution, it starts to become hard to hold this expectation, and so you're going to be forced to choose between "accept that I'm ignorant, arrogant, and worthless as a person" or reject all data to the contrary and insist "No I'm not. I'm perfectly fine. The problem is all them. I'm happy". It's a balance between insecurity/low self esteem and arrogance/blindness to ones own faults. I'm not sure if you're aware, but Richard does have a history here of people responding to him in that way and failing to convince them of his value as a contributor. One particularly notable example is in the thread "Amnesia through hypnosis to erase painful memories" (and in particular, his response to this post), though the pattern predates this. He doesn't seem to know how to hold the expectation of people starting with the opinion that he's ignorant and arrogant and coming to agreement with him that he's a worthwhile contributor -- which means that the kinds of interventions that would work with *you* (and all people who can hold that expectation) aren't going to work at all here.

Put yourself in those shoes. Think of the experiences he's had on this board and how no one has ever changed their mind about him for the better. Think of what kinds of experiences probably predate his involvement on this board at all. If he had to believe of himself what you see in him, what would that be like? Can you empathize and stay in those shoes with him without flinching away yourself? Because that's what it takes to get people to see things the way you do, and security and empathy are often the limiting factor there. It's often really really hard to see how forgiving people can be before you admit to your faults, and probably my own biggest fault is being bad at making this clear. It really is okay, in my book, at least, to make arbitrarily big/stupid/whatever mistakes, so long as you own up to them and fix them to the best of your ability.

I found your initial response to Richard (where you came back and apologized) to be both inspiring and effective. If you want, I'm sure you have it in you to keep up that level of empathy and make progress. Maybe it won't be worth it on the object level, but maybe it'll be worth it as a demonstration to yourself and others of what is possible with sufficient empathy, and as an exercise in honing and making a habit of using those skills when you do choose to continue to converse with difficult people.

If it's not worth it it's not worth it, and that's certainly something I'd understand. I'm not trying to suggest that you should or shouldn't continue this conversation with Richard. I just don't want to see you unknowingly walking yourself into the position to where you feel like you should be kind to all people, yet find it sometimes draining and requiring of will power, and end up lost when your self hypnosis no longer works.
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#32

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:38 am

moonlightress wrote:And you are quite right, we are talking past each other, repeating ourselves and not getting anywhere. Nothing constructive about it. So is there any point in continuing? I’m thinking ‘no’.


The thread is constructive for me.

I see the thread as consisting of two paths:

-1- The path of discussing if a particular type of hypnosis works, specifically deep suggestion in the Sichort state. Yes or no. That is the knowledge you claim to seek.

-2- The path of you claiming my responses being ignorant and arrogant, then apologizing, then saying my intent is to crush hopes and dreams. Then there is jimmyh also making claims, offering his interpretation of my demeanor rather than of my opinion.

In regards to -1- I have voiced an opinion. I understand it is an opinion you don’t like. It doesn’t make that opinion ignorant or arrogant, just on the basis you don’t agree with it. It doesn’t make it crushing hopes and dreams, because you don’t like that using a particular method it demonstrates less than a 5% success rate with most applications of hypnosis, and any alternate method has no ability to replicate or validate, hence the *feel* measure.

In regards to -2- I don’t understand what I have said that has been so offensive. I read back over my posts and I didn’t call you ignorant, arrogant, stupid, or make any other ad hominem attack on you or jimmyh. I don’t understand what is so frustrating you need to take deep breaths. My only offense that I can tell is that we disagree in what constitutes the method for determining yes/no. You lean towards the jimmyh *feel* measure and I clearly don’t find that as qualifying for a “yes” when it comes to determining if direct suggestion will work in the Sichort state. Why is that so offensive?

It is unfortunate that you don’t find anything constructive in the conversation. I would think that being able to discover if direct suggestion in a Sichort state is one of the applications of hypnosis that has a 95%+ success rate would be an exciting concept. To me, that would answer your yes/no question. To me, that would be much more valuable than having the answer be it depends on how you feel.

Anyway, this is what is great about a public forum, we can all participate and have a voice, yet if you are offended or simply don’t like what someone else has to say, then there is no requirement to participate or engage with any particular member.
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#33

Postby jimmyh » Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:22 am

Ah, ok, I misunderstood. No, the session was back in June. You meant what specific bit changed between starting the topic and writing the response you're referring to? Dunno really, I just woke up that morning and it came to me.

But now that you've asked and I've thought more about it, I'm smiling, because it relates to the spirituality I mentioned, and most likely arose from self-hypnosis. I smile because it illustrates so well, how a direct suggestion is working, without me specifically thinking about it.

One of the audios I listen to is about spiritual growth. And here is the suggestion that probably was responsible, "Every day, in every way, my wisdom and spiritual intuition grows, and flows easily and naturally, through my every touch, every word and every interaction with anyone and everyone I meet." I virtually *drink* in that suggestion and some other beautiful ones in the same vein, every time I listen - I'm think I'm particularly receptive, because it's so much how I *long* to be.

How's that for amazing?! If you hadn't asked, I wouldn't have pieced that together... This is what I mean about all the synchronicities popping up.


Okay, so what changed is just that you had a moment to unconsciously reflect on things, and given the (still relatively new) emphasis on "my wisdom and intuition grows", that came up as a contradiction needing sorting out. Makes sense.

It's also interesting because it's not really the kind of thing I tend to focus on, so it's cool to have an example where it's so clearly called for.

I did watch one of Ines's demos, and I'll probably come back to comment on that later. I also may start playing with some deeper trance stuff myself for pain, since I just caught a tarantula hawk, which makes for a great source of intense nondamaging pain to test with :). So far, I don't feel like I can focus my attention sufficiently to properly anticipate the pain that a *full* sting would bring (it's stung me once so far, but barely), so I'll have to work on becoming a better subject myself :)

(Something interesting from the first (in-person) session, was my Superconscious bringing up an issue I had no conscious knowledge of. The only thing I remember of that, was her asking “do you want her conscious mind to know about this?” and the answer being No. So I still have no idea!).


This kind of thing is always interesting, and is one of the weirder things to try to do without explicit and formal hypnosis. It's doable though, if you do a good enough job giving them permission not to think about it if it's not going to help.

While there is certainly wisdom in not worrying yourself with things that you wouldn't respond constructively to, it's interesting to think about what kinds of things it could be, and what about it could make you not want to share with yourself. Don't bother engaging with this question if you don't you can think about it without following anxieties down to the object level, but what sort of thing do you think it might be? Would you have things to gain if you could trust yourself with these types of information and knew how to handle it?
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#34

Postby moonlightress » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:14 pm

Jimmy: Thanks for super-interesting, illuminating and helpful replies - and I'll be back soon to talk at more length. Exam-prep and -anxiety hell.

Richard: you had the last word. This is me, disengaging.
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#35

Postby jimmyh » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:55 pm

Remember, the point of anxiety is to get you to back to studying. You don't have to do *both*.
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#36

Postby moonlightress » Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:16 pm

.... but Richard, there is one thing I wish to point out, because I feel sad about having my words used to imply that I said something I didn’t.
Richard@DecisionSkills wrote: I read back over my posts and I didn’t call you ignorant, arrogant, stupid, or make any other ad hominem attack on you or jimmyh. I

Nor did I call you any of these things. I used the first two words to describe your first *reply* to me in this thread, only. Not “replies”, plural. Not to describe *you*. Not as an “ad hominem attack”.

I’m a flawed human being with many faults, but I don’t call *people* arrogant or ignorant.
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#37

Postby moonlightress » Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:05 pm

Thank you so much for your reflection on how I've acted here, jimmy; I value the feedback. When I read it, the following snippet of poetry sprang to mind:

"Oh would some power the gift give us,
To see ourselves as others see us.
It would from many a blunder free us."
- Robert Burns (”transcribed” from Scottish dialect)

jimmyh wrote: As a general rule, I'd recommend just not participating in conversations so long as they're draining, because that works to condition you *against* the kind and empathetic kind of behavior you'd like to see more of in yourself.

Thanks for reminding me to spend my time and energy wisely. I'll take it to heart. :) (Of course, I've never done this before, noooooo, never... :P)
I think the (often correct) anticipation that kindness and empathy will not be rewarded or returned in kind is what drives people to respond directly from their own frame ...
…. It's not a matter of a single point disagreement though, and so, things were never going to continue to go as smoothly.

Yes. I was primed already, from a previous encounter.
It seems like you were hopeful that taking the high road would lead to good will in return and get things back to a happy and cooperative state of discussion.

Yes, I was. I've participated in online discussion groups since 1993, back when the WWW was a baby and they were in the form of mailing lists and alt.rec.<insert interest here> groups. I was a moderator on 2 of them, which includes firefighting to douse flame wars, that can escalate quickly and get very ugly. So my getting into combat mode probably also triggered unconscious recognition of those – and then unconscious reflection.
While it might not be clear and his response can still be read as a bit presumptuous, I think he *did* put in extra effort to be real with you. So far as I can tell, this really is how he sees things when he's not posturing or defending himself from cognitive dissonance.

Since the first response had moved me into combat mode, I did not pick up on that. I was still irritated and defensive from the previous reply. :( Mea culpa.

I appreciate your observation and reflection on this as I’m really only concerned with my own actions here; they're all I can control. From my previous work (and future work, once I qualify) with patients, where you put in this extra work all day, I really should know this. But you come home, relax those efforts and because you’re tired, you snap easier… that isn’t an excuse, more an explanation for me to forgive myself.

The only reason you can do this is because you are able to hold the expectation (hey, hypnosis frameworks coming in handy :P) that you can actually reach the state where you and the other person agree that you're a worthwhile and non-ignorant/arrogant person, even if you may have slipped up in the past….
… If you have a long history of people calling you ignorant and arrogant without resolution….

(Please may I just reiterate that I didn’t call Richard ignorant or arrogant, only the words in his first reply… I’m sorry, but it’s a sore point. I should not have used those words at all, but I didn’t use them in that way...)
I'm not sure if you're aware, but Richard does have a history here of people responding to him in that way and failing to convince them of his value as a contributor. One particularly notable example is in the thread "Amnesia through hypnosis to erase painful memories" (and in particular, his response to this post), though the pattern predates this.

I like the post you wrote there. And great replies from Joe, too. Thank you for clueing me in on this; I wish I’d read it before. I would have skipped engaging entirely and just waited for other people to respond. I would have conserved my time and energy. (At least I hope I would’ve, see later.)
Can you empathize and stay in those shoes with him without flinching away yourself?

This question leapt out at me. Challenge! :D It’s hard, especially as I’m very shy of conflict (I know you wouldn’t think so, reading back, but I am, irl.) But it’s an essential skill to maintain, and when you can't, then STFU and withdraw! :lol:
I found your initial response to Richard (where you came back and apologized) to be both inspiring and effective. If you want, I'm sure you have it in you to keep up that level of empathy and make progress. Maybe it won't be worth it on the object level, but maybe it'll be worth it as a demonstration to yourself and others of what is possible with sufficient empathy, and as an exercise in honing and making a habit of using those skills when you do choose to continue to converse with difficult people.

Thank you, and I very much want it. The object level isn’t even the point – It’s about one’s own integrity. And since I’ve had self-esteem issues all my life, striving to maintain my integrity is an attempt to, one small way in which I can, see myself as a worthwhile person.
I just don't want to see you unknowingly walking yourself into the position to where you feel like you should be kind to all people, yet find it sometimes draining and requiring of will power, and end up lost when your self hypnosis no longer works.

Thank you. I’m touched by your concern. :)
I made the choice myself, to engage, and at a later point, to keep on engaging, even when it got difficult. I guess I saw it as a challenge, one I’ve taken up many times in the past, sometimes successfully (it's rewarding, when it is). But don’t worry, I know that when it fails, it isn’t my self hypnosis that didn’t work, it’s the fact that, once again, I misjudged my energy-to-remain-empathetic level and bit off more than I could chew.

Now there's another suggestion I can put in the ultra-personalised recording for self hypnosis, I plan to make for myself... :lol:
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#38

Postby moonlightress » Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:44 pm

It's also interesting because it's not really the kind of thing I tend to focus on, so it's cool to have an example where it's so clearly called for.

What kinds of things do you focus on, if I may ask?

I did watch one of Ines's demos, and I'll probably come back to comment on that later. I also may start playing with some deeper trance stuff myself for pain, since I just caught a tarantula hawk, which makes for a great source of intense nondamaging pain to test with :). So far, I don't feel like I can focus my attention sufficiently to properly anticipate the pain that a *full* sting would bring (it's stung me once so far, but barely), so I'll have to work on becoming a better subject myself :)

I looked up "tarantula hawk" as I didn't know what it was, and found the following description of the pain: "Stung by a tarantula hawk? The advice I give in speaking engagements is to lie down and scream. The pain is so debilitating and excruciating that the victim is at risk of further injury by tripping in a hole or over an object in the path and then falling onto a cactus or into a barbed-wire fence." (The bot won't let me post the link; it's from sciencefriday com.)

All I could think was, you're going to need Sichort, or an even deeper state if there is one, for that.... :lol:

(Something interesting from the first (in-person) session, was my Superconscious bringing up an issue I had no conscious knowledge of. The only thing I remember of that, was her asking “do you want her conscious mind to know about this?” and the answer being No. So I still have no idea!).

.... While there is certainly wisdom in not worrying yourself with things that you wouldn't respond constructively to, it's interesting to think about what kinds of things it could be, and what about it could make you not want to share with yourself. Don't bother engaging with this question if you don't you can think about it without following anxieties down to the object level, but what sort of thing do you think it might be? Would you have things to gain if you could trust yourself with these types of information and knew how to handle it?


It would be very interesting! I'm sure there'd be loads to gain. And it would be great if I could know how to handle it. I'd love that. *That* would be tremendously ego-strengthening. :D But I'll pass, thanks. :D I'm trusting in the wisdom that says it's better for me not to know. I have plenty on my plate right now. It could be any number of things, that would send me spiralling. There was other, similar, parts in the session, where she said, "usually I ask xxxx for the benefit of the conscious mind to know; is that important in this case? - Nope, it wasn't. "And do you want the conscious mind to know about the other experiences that caused this issue?" Nope, again. So I'll just be glad of the protection right now. :)
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#39

Postby jimmyh » Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:43 am

Thank you so much for your reflection on how I've acted here,[...] that isn’t an excuse, more an explanation for me to forgive myself.


Hmm. I guess my point didn’t come across right.

Nothing I said was intended as criticism, and in my mind you’ve done nothing requiring forgiveness in the first place. The reason I was impressed by your apology comment was precisely that you *didn’t* do anything that isn’t perfectly acceptable, and still came back intending to do better (and succeeding).

When I said “I think he *was* putting effort into being real with you”, I did not at all mean to imply that you should have caught that. I think it’s actually super easy to miss and that I probably would have missed it myself if not primed by your comment. Richards comments here very very often presuppose away disagreements and then use the false premise to argue that the other side’s perspective is invalid. Even his comment where I think he was trying is full of this, so it’s completely understandable to miss the differences.

The differences that I notice are that after blatantly presupposing things that you likely don’t agree with and saying things like “You want everyone to just tell you what you want to hear”, he follows up that statement with a question mark — a show of openness to being wrong one that wasn't there before. There are several other question marks throughout that comment, and at one point he even checks in for your agreement (“I think you will agree, that many people get scammed”) which is another thing that wasn’t present in his earlier responses to you. He also explicitly states his intent with “My response is not to crush hopes and dreams, but to provide an opinion for people to consider” which is actually an opening for feedback that wasn’t in his earlier responses and is notable.

It can be hard to notice that this is indeed an opening for feedback since his attention is still focused on definitively asserting that he’s not doing anything bad and is doing things that are good, and it’s still conspicuously *not* pointing towards learning anything about where he may be going wrong, and that can seem intentional. While I agree that it is most likely motivated, I do not actually think it is intentional, because I do not think he has awareness and ability to control these motivations (as evidenced by him being nicer after that thread I linked but not acknowledging any wrongdoing like you’d expect someone to do if they knew how).

It is an opening though, since you can say “Thank you for going out of your way to provide an opinion that I might find useful and might not have considered. I appreciate the effort. For what it’s worth, it was not of use to me and nothing there was something I hadn’t already thought of and taken into account, and I find it unlikely to be different next time”, and that’ll be something he can’t push away because it was invited when he told you his intent.

Again, this stuff isn’t obvious and I’m not saying you should have known. I’m just sharing because you seem interested in the challenge of doing better and I thought you might have missed the evidence that what you were doing was working and how to continue from there.

(Please may I just reiterate that I didn’t call Richard ignorant or arrogant, only the words in his first reply… I’m sorry, but it’s a sore point. I should not have used those words at all, but I didn’t use them in that way...)



Of course. Though I don’t think it affects the point here. You definitely didn’t lean hard on “this is *you*, not just your one-off behavior” and don’t deserve blame for such, but Richard definitely has a history of people at least implicitly seeing *him* as ignorant and arrogant (and probably not wanting to outright accuse him of *being* so, which makes it reasonable to read even non-accusations as likely to be people seeing you that way), so it’s still how he took it, and from his perspective (which is the relevant one here) it’s still “if you have a long history of people calling you ignorant and arrogant without resolution it’s hard to expect that you can actually reach the state where you and the other person agree that you're a worthwhile and non-ignorant/arrogant person”

I like the post you wrote there. And great replies from Joe, too. Thank you for clueing me in on this; I wish I’d read it before. I would have skipped engaging entirely and just waited for other people to respond. I would have conserved my time and energy. (At least I hope I would’ve, see later.)


Hm. Maybe I’ll be quicker to link to it next time. I had thought that between my “don’t worry about Richard, he gets that way” and Joe’s comment in aprilwould have been sufficient warning.

This question leapt out at me. Challenge! It’s hard, especially as I’m very shy of conflict (I know you wouldn’t think so, reading back, but I am, irl.) But it’s an essential skill to maintain, and when you can't, then STFU and withdraw!


Yes, it is meant as a challenge, and not an easy one. I do think “be able to empathize with them without flinching or STFU” is a bit too strict though.

In the thread I linked to, for example, I was explicit about the fact that I did *not* see any good intent, despite trying. I was going out of my way to look for it, to ask for it, and to keep clear that I was aware that it may exist. Still, I was left with no way to see Richard that was remotely flattering, and so I couldn’t do “hey, I see that you’re trying to do X, which is cool, so let me show you how to do it better” without having to address head on the problems with his behavior. I had to choose whether to hold Richard to explain himself or to let him continue to ignore the problems with his behavior and impose them on everyone else. The problem with the latter is that his behavior wouldn’t change, while the problem with the former is that he will feel bad about himself and his behavior might only change out of fear.

Actually finding the good intent and working with that is always ideal, and sometimes letting people behave less-than-perfectly is better than confronting them with things they don’t know how to handle productively, but that is a decision that needs to be made on a case by case basis. “I’m sorry, but we have to draw a line here, you can’t do that, that’s bad” is something that sometimes needs to be said, and we shouldn’t judge ourselves for needing to resort to it from time to time, so long as we’re mindful of the decision we’re making (hey, there’s one of those lines!)

Also, I don’t think you’re quick to be provoked or that being quick to be provoked even means that a person isn’t shy of conflict. Often it can be the result of feeling trapped and not wanting to face the conflict that is seeming to be required. Having more permission to engage in conflict when necessary can make it easier to disengage when it’s not.

Thank you, and I very much want it. The object level isn’t even the point – It’s about one’s own integrity. And since I’ve had self-esteem issues all my life, striving to maintain my integrity is an attempt to, one small way in which I can, see myself as a worthwhile person.


The thing is, “worthwhile” depends on whose while we’re talking about. You may or may not be worth any given person’s love and empathy, but you’re always worth your own. Integrity is a very worthy thing to strive for, but are you sure you want to hang your sense of self worth on it?

But don’t worry, I know that when it fails, it isn’t my self hypnosis that didn’t work, it’s the fact that, once again, I misjudged my energy-to-remain-empathetic level and bit off more than I could chew.


It’s not that I saw your self hypnosis as “not working”, it’s that I foresaw that *if* you tried to use it to force yourself to be kind even when difficult, that eventually it would stop working and you might not see why.

The point I was trying to make isn’t “drain your energy only as far as you have energy to drain, and then bail”, it was “don’t drain your energy at all”. The thing I’m concerned about isn’t “I ran out of energy and wasn’t quite as exceptionally nice as I’d like to be”. I consider that to be completely 100% acceptable and not a problem. The thing I’m concerned about it “I only give as much as I can, but over time I’m starting to feel under-rewarded for doing so” and “now it’s becoming harder to find the motivation to care”.

The purpose of me saying “It seems like you were hopeful [...]” was to point out the unfulfilled hope that I think was the source of the “draining” feeling. If you’re doing it “because when I put in effort to be nice and charitable, people will return it”, then when they don’t it’s a let down, and if you try to continue anyway, your brain starts to say “listen stupid, it isn’t working”. If, however, you’re going into it with the *expectation* that the other person will not return it and that it doesn’t matter because it’s not about them, then I expect that you will no longer find it to be draining at all. “I’m doing this because this the person I want to be, and I expect *other* people to reward it (on average, over time), so if you want to be nice, great. If you want to be a jerk, that’s cool too, because it’s not my problem”. That way it’s easy to keep up so long as other people reward it enough on average for it to be worthwhile, and I think that on average, they very much do.
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#40

Postby jimmyh » Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:48 am

What kinds of things do you focus on, if I may ask?


The actual structure of their cognitions, why they’re doing what they’re doing, and what they actually want/are open to. Why did they ask me that question? What is that anxiety behind their eyes about? Often taking people’s words at face value can be missing the point.

For example, a few months ago I had a client who wanted me to hypnotize him to forget something, in part because he couldn’t stop thinking about it yet thinking about it wasn’t helping. I could foresee that if I had just tried to run through a standard induction and give him suggestions for amnesia, it would not have gone well, and he would end up telling me “it didn’t work” sooner or later.

So I asked myself “Why doesn’t he just stop thinking about it? What’s stopping him?”, and the immediate answer was obviously “he wants an actual solution!”. Okay, but given that he’s not getting his solution, why does he keep thinking about it? Probably because he keeps hoping that it will give him a solution. Okay, but why? Because letting go of hope *hurts*, because it means giving up on something he wants. Okay, but is it worth holding onto just to avoid pain? Is there any chance that the hope will actually get fulfilled? These questions I didn’t think were decided yet, because I didn’t think he had ever looked at them in the first place.

So instead of “okay, let’s do an induction” I started with stuff like “so this thing happened and you don’t understand it so you think about it, but thinking isn’t helping and you’re just getting caught in this loop and you want me to hypnotize you to forget so that you can break the loop. But you also know that you’re a naturally curious person and that if we don’t have a solid alibi you’re just going to pry into it after the fact and undo the amnesia, so you want us to come up with a solid alibi first. Why not just suspend your natural curiosity so that you can believe what you want to believe? You already suspend your curiosity when you let yourself believe that continuing to think about it will bring you to a solution even though you know it won’t, and you haven’t been curious about *that*”.

When I said that, he *did* get curious, because he hadn’t realized that before. It was a four hour session so I’m necessarily going to be oversimplifying a bit here, but it essentially consisted of me noticing the inconsistencies and questions he hadn't answered for himself and pointing him at them so he could make decisions at each of these nodes. In the end, he decided that “no, the hope isn’t realistic” and “yes, I want to give it up”, and so he did — and after that, he no longer felt compelled to keep thinking about it because it just felt pointless, and the loop was broken. There’s far more to it than that, but I think that illustrates the general principle of how looking at the actual structure of things can preempt the need for hypnosis in the first place, and can do it in a way that is immune to “failure” — since it’s all just decisions on his part about how to resolve inconsistencies, not something I’m “trying” to do that may or may not “work”.


That’s not to say that things don’t end up quite hypnotic sometimes too. In another instance, I had met someone cool who was interested in building a close relationship with me, and was understandably a bit nervous going into it. There, I was focusing on the nervousness itself. I was showing her that I saw it, that I cared, and that it was okay and pretty reasonable all things considered. That conversation was a few hours too, so I’m simplifying a bit here as well, but it was basically a lot of taking implicit concerns and bringing them into explicit common knowledge that she could decide on at her own leisure, and giving her whatever information I could to help her decide. By the end of it, there were just no unaddressed concerns left, and that abnormally clean slate and security to focus her attention where I pointed it is basically what hypnosis *is*. If out of nowhere I would have just said “you can’t remember her name”, she would have been confused and unable to remember it for a few seconds (like is normal in hypnosis if you don’t include meta suggestions not to fight it or if you don’t keep refreshing and distracting) because she was not primed to disbelieve the way people normally are when talking to people.

It actually freaked me out when I realized it, since I absolutely did *not* intend to hypnotize her, and didn’t want her to think I was trying to think I was trying to do anything sneaky. Then I realized that she had responded that way *because* I had just been so open about everything and that was her saying “Okay, I trust you”.

Does that make sense of what I mean when I say that I don’t worry about getting “trance” itself and just let that part work itself out?

I looked up "tarantula hawk" as I didn't know what it was, and found the following description of the pain: "Stung by a tarantula hawk? The advice I give in speaking engagements is to lie down and scream. The pain is so debilitating and excruciating that the victim is at risk of further injury by tripping in a hole or over an object in the path and then falling onto a cactus or into a barbed-wire fence." (The bot won't let me post the link; it's from sciencefriday com.)

All I could think was, you're going to need Sichort, or an even deeper state if there is one, for that....


Heh, that’s the one. Though I gotta say, the first sting was entirely underwhelming. I felt an electric shock and then it was over the instant I pulled away. Methinks I didn’t get a full dose of venom…

I’m not convinced it’s going to take any particularly “deep” state though, since I don’t need to dissociate from it if I can change the meaning. I think association sounds better anyway. That much pain over something non-harmful is *interesting*, you know?

It would be very interesting! I'm sure there'd be loads to gain. And it would be great if I could know how to handle it. I'd love that. *That* would be tremendously ego-strengthening. But I'll pass, thanks. I'm trusting in the wisdom that says it's better for me not to know. I have plenty on my plate right now. It could be any number of things, that would send me spiralling. There was other, similar, parts in the session, where she said, "usually I ask xxxx for the benefit of the conscious mind to know; is that important in this case? - Nope, it wasn't. "And do you want the conscious mind to know about the other experiences that caused this issue?" Nope, again. So I'll just be glad of the protection right now.


Awesome, sounds like you get it.
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#41

Postby moonlightress » Sat Aug 25, 2018 7:39 pm

Really enjoying your perspicacious comments, thank you.

jimmyh wrote:… He also explicitly states his intent with “My response is not to crush hopes and dreams, but to provide an opinion for people to consider” which is actually an opening for feedback that wasn’t in his earlier responses and is notable…
… It is an opening though, since you can say “Thank you for going out of your way to provide an opinion that I might find useful and might not have considered. I appreciate the effort. For what it’s worth, it was not of use to me and nothing there was something I hadn’t already thought of and taken into account, and I find it unlikely to be different next time”, and that’ll be something he can’t push away because it was invited when he told you his intent.


How did you just manage to say that without any hint of sarcasm?? Not sure I could have done that. I suspect that when I apologized, I was also apologizing for what I had *planned* to write next (which was less than charitable… ) until the hypnotic suggestion kicked in. I will be in all sorts of trouble when the thought police come knocking one day.

Again, this stuff isn’t obvious and I’m not saying you should have known. I’m just sharing because you seem interested in the challenge of doing better and I thought you might have missed the evidence that what you were doing was working and how to continue from there.


Thank you, and I am - once said, things can’t be unsaid and sometimes apologies don’t cut it. My sleep would be better without the 3am voice going “let me recite to you, all the hurtful things you have ever uttered; hang tight, this will take a while….” And I *had* missed it, until you pointed it out. And would get discouraged. Did get discouraged.

Thank you for clueing me in on this; I wish I’d read it before. …

Hm. Maybe I’ll be quicker to link to it next time. I had thought that between my “don’t worry about Richard, he gets that way” and Joe’s comment in aprilwould have been sufficient warning.


I just went back and reread his comment, and I should have done so much earlier. That *was* sufficient warning, yes; I’d just skimmed very quickly over my old thread, and not remembered it.

… striving to maintain my integrity is an attempt to, one small way in which I can, see myself as a worthwhile person.

The thing is, “worthwhile” depends on whose while we’re talking about. You may or may not be worth any given person’s love and empathy, but you’re always worth your own. Integrity is a very worthy thing to strive for, but are you sure you want to hang your sense of self worth on it?

Food for thought, indeed. Thank you.

It’s not that I saw your self hypnosis as “not working”, it’s that I foresaw that *if* you tried to use it to force yourself to be kind even when difficult, that eventually it would stop working and you might not see why…..

True, I wouldn’t have seen why.

The thing I’m concerned about it “I only give as much as I can, but over time I’m starting to feel under-rewarded for doing so” and “now it’s becoming harder to find the motivation to care”.

And yup, that’s how it gets.

The purpose of me saying “It seems like you were hopeful [...]” was to point out the unfulfilled hope that I think was the source of the “draining” feeling. If you’re doing it “because when I put in effort to be nice and charitable, people will return it”, then when they don’t it’s a let down, and if you try to continue anyway, your brain starts to say “listen stupid, it isn’t working”. If, however, you’re going into it with the *expectation* that the other person will not return it and that it doesn’t matter because it’s not about them, then I expect that you will no longer find it to be draining at all. “I’m doing this because this the person I want to be, and I expect *other* people to reward it (on average, over time), so if you want to be nice, great. If you want to be a jerk, that’s cool too, because it’s not my problem”. That way it’s easy to keep up so long as other people reward it enough on average for it to be worthwhile, and I think that on average, they very much do.


Now *that* is where I would like to be. It’s great advice. I hang up on the result far too much. I really like the above. That would make it quite non-draining. I'll think of a way to formulate that into a succinct positive suggestion for myself...

And yes, I get excited about the challenge in this, because when it works, it really works. Before the hypnosis, there was a guy in my class who irritated me *immensely*. Seriously, badly, dreadfully; I’d have to take deep breaths whenever he piped up. When I came back to school after vac, I was determined to change this, if for nothing else, then for the sake of my own blood pressure! I began looking, just as you mention, at his *intent* - and then started to feel bad about my irritation. He’s just trying to make his way through life, doing his best, as we all are. He does not intend to be annoying. He’s actually a friendly and well-meaning person when you chat with and get to know him.

I accidentally sliced a knife quite deep into my finger a few days ago and had to go to A&E. I have no car – who was the one, I thought to ask, to drive me there? The same guy who annoyed the sh*t out of me, 2 months ago. Just out of sheer feeling comfortable with him and about asking him for help. That is how powerful the hypnosis has been, to enable me to change what I want to change about myself. To give me the tools to carry it out, and have it be successful.

Amazing how it works; you have to marvel - nothing (out there) has changed, but everything is different.
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#42

Postby moonlightress » Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:21 pm

jimmyh wrote:
What kinds of things do you focus on, if I may ask?

The actual structure of their cognitions, why they’re doing what they’re doing, and what they actually want/are open to. Why did they ask me that question? What is that anxiety behind their eyes about? Often taking people’s words at face value can be missing the point.
For example, a few months ago I had a client …. I’m necessarily going to be oversimplifying a bit here, but it essentially consisted of me noticing the inconsistencies and questions he hadn't answered for himself and pointing him at them so he could make decisions at each of these nodes.
…..
….. By the end of it, there were just no unaddressed concerns left, and that abnormally clean slate and security to focus her attention where I pointed it is basically what hypnosis *is*.

Now I can see how you were able to dissect Richard’s and my conversation and notice all these things. I feel fortunate you weighed in here, thanks for your useful insight. (I’m repeating myself, I know, but gratitude is a gratifying and useful thing.)

There’s far more to it than that, but I think that illustrates the general principle of how looking at the actual structure of things can preempt the need for hypnosis in the first place, and can do it in a way that is immune to “failure” — since it’s all just decisions on his part about how to resolve inconsistencies, not something I’m “trying” to do that may or may not “work”.
… Does that make sense of what I mean when I say that I don’t worry about getting “trance” itself and just let that part work itself out?

Yes. I can see how that would work. If it’s done in a very empathetic, and safe context and when the subject is open and brave enough. Speaking for myself, I’ve not had the courage to let go of unfulfilled hopes and many dysfunctional beliefs (better the Devil you know) with that kind of approach. I clung/cling very tightly to them and they die very hard. A too-large part of how I operate, is based on fear.

Enter hypnosis. I think I am taken with deeper states (apart from the fact I don’t know much else and they constitute the effective two thirds of my experience with in-person hypnosis) because they do such an excellent job of getting me out of my own way. I’m wide awake in a safe, tranquil, benignly black and empty space in my mind, my entire reality a single voice, the freedom to focus intently, and safely only on those words, not having to expend energy on multitasking. The black emptiness magnifies the words. I feel tangibly different, physically; I lose proprioception and sensation in my arms and legs, and feel like I’m floating. The deeper I’m able to get, the greater the level of disconnection from my conscious; the more I am able to let go and be receptive. And at that level, the fear evaporates.

(Then there’s the fact that it seems I’m an addict, of sorts. :roll: And it’s a euphoria-inducing substance, except it’s medicine, not a harmful drug. It’s also a euphoric thought that this way, my negatively-regarded, inveterate, life-long daydreaming/escapist habits can be harnessed to a greater cause, a higher benefit, even. What’s not to love…)

I’m not convinced it’s going to take any particularly “deep” state though, since I don’t need to dissociate from it if I can change the meaning. I think association sounds better anyway. That much pain over something non-harmful is *interesting*, you know?

OK. I was thinking in terms of needing the anaesthesia from the deep state.

You’re thinking of doing this deliberately…. You caught this wasp with that intention? Yes, it’s totally interesting, I agree. Fascinating even. (Actually doing it, however….?) I would love to know how the mind can reframe something, which from an instinctual, biological perspective is designed to make one mentally (and it seems even physically) flee for one’s life and learn to never, ever do that again.

But when you’ve done it, you must write and let this guy know! :D “…Few, if any, people would be stung willingly by a tarantula hawk. I know of no examples of such bravery in the name of knowledge…”
https://undark.org/article/tarantula-ha ... ting-pain/

As well as this guy: “… Mental discipline simply does not work in these situations.” :D –https://www.desertusa.com/insects/tarantula-hawks.html#ixzz5PGgKGes8
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#43

Postby jimmyh » Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:58 pm

How did you just manage to say that without any hint of sarcasm?? Not sure I could have done that.


Imagine someone comes up to you and says “Hey Karen! I have all this stuff for you that you’re going to love!”. You see that this person is genuinely excited to be useful to you and desperately wants your approval, but when you look at what they handed you, it’s utterly useless junk. Not a fun situation, huh? Because you know that if they could see how you saw their gift they’d be crushed, and you don’t like making people feel bad. You can’t tell them it’s useless because then they’ll feel bad, but you don’t want to be dishonest either because that’s not good either. They’ve put you in really difficult spot, huh? **** them! — wait, we’re not supposed to do that either, sh**.

The whole situation would be a *lot* easier if you could somehow justify that their feelings don’t count. Maybe they’re doing it on purpose? Maybe they’re *trying* to take advantage of your kindness and unwillingness to say the things that are hurtful, so that they get “credit” for bringing you garbage! Hey, that actually kinda fits! Let’s use that one! ;)

But you don’t have to do that either if you simply give yourself permission to hurt someone’s feelings, when it’s called for. Sure, you don’t want to do it willy nilly. If you found yourself hurting people’s feelings recklessly and avoidably, you’d feel bad because that’s not the person you want to be — which is *exactly* why you can trust yourself with permission to do it when you’re convinced that it *is* necessary.

So what happens if you give yourself that permission? To start with, there’s no more pressure to pay for junk, and therefore no source of bitterness against people for putting you in tough situations where you feel pressured to do things that aren’t good for you. Once that pressure is gone, there’s very little reason to even judge the value of their contribution in the first place, and so what you naturally focus on is their intent to please, and you can reward them with validation by thanking them for going out of their way to help you. The fact that it didn’t turn out to be helpful is incidental, and because your focus isn’t on the idea that it isn’t “good enough”, often theirs won’t be either. Of course, if they push it, the answer will have to be “No. This is of no use to me”, and that isn’t going to feel good. You can go out of your way to console them as much or as little as you please, but the answer has to be “No, I’m not going to pay for this”.

In short, it’s easier to empathize and be kind when you know you can be assertive when you need to be, and it’s easier to be assertive if you trust that it will be okay if people’s feelings get hurt in the process.

I should also add that there is a big difference between actually saying things sincerely and without sarcasm vs just putting words between quotation marks and saying “here’s what you *would* say”. I definitely don’t get credit for actually saying it.

Thank you, and I am - once said, things can’t be unsaid and sometimes apologies don’t cut it. My sleep would be better without the 3am voice going “let me recite to you, all the hurtful things you have ever uttered; hang tight, this will take a while….”


Meh, I don’t think the voice itself is a problem.

“Alright, we can go through them once. I know I’ve said and done a lot of hurtful things over the years and I know I haven’t been the person that I feel like I should have been. I’ve been trying to flinch away from looking at this, which has made your job a lot harder and held me back. I won’t flinch anymore. You can tell me what I’ve done wrong and how much anger you hold towards me and I’ll listen. What have I done wrong, and how can I how can I make things better?”

It’s amazingly hard to stay mad at people who listen to your feedback, and once you learn that you can defuse anger that easily it’s kinda like a cheat code :P

I just went back and reread his comment, and I should have done so much earlier. That *was* sufficient warning, yes; I’d just skimmed very quickly over my old thread, and not remembered it.


Ah, got it.

Now *that* is where I would like to be. It’s great advice. I hang up on the result far too much. I really like the above. That would make it quite non-draining. I'll think of a way to formulate that into a succinct positive suggestion for myself...


Let me know how it goes!

And yes, I get excited about the challenge in this, because when it works, it really works. Before the hypnosis, there was a guy in my class who irritated me *immensely*.[...]who was the one, I thought to ask, to drive me there? The same guy who annoyed the sh*t out of me, 2 months ago. Just out of sheer feeling comfortable with him and about asking him for help. That is how powerful the hypnosis has been, [...]


Hehe, I'm used to being on the other side of that one.
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#44

Postby jimmyh » Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:21 pm

I feel fortunate you weighed in here, thanks for your useful insight. (I’m repeating myself, I know, but gratitude is a gratifying and useful thing.)


Yeah yeah. You can keep repeating yourself if you want, but you can also consider it to go without saying if you want, because I do understand. I consider it to go without saying that I'm enjoying these conversations and finding them useful as well. Hopefully I was right that the latter goes without saying as well :)

Yes. I can see how that would work. If it’s done in a very empathetic, and safe context and when the subject is open and brave enough. Speaking for myself, I’ve not had the courage to let go of unfulfilled hopes and many dysfunctional beliefs (better the Devil you know) with that kind of approach. [...]

Enter hypnosis. I think I am taken with deeper states (apart from the fact I don’t know much else and they constitute the effective two thirds of my experience with in-person hypnosis) because they do such an excellent job of getting me out of my own way. [...]. And at that level, the fear evaporates.
[...]


Exactly.

So if I was working with you on something specific, we’d probably end up at this current node very quickly. Whether it’s because I noticed discomfort in you or you brought it up explicitly or it just came up before we even got started, one way or another we’d end up talking about this meta-issue that you don’t feel like you’ve had the courage to let go of unfulfilled hopes and known-dysfunctional beliefs.

The way I imagine it going is something like “So what would you need in order feel safe enough to let this stuff go?”, you say “Deep trance!” and I’d say “Go for it. Show me what you do” and take it from there. If you didn’t have this prior experience with hypnosis working so well for you, I’d expect that you’d respond (after some thought) something more like “the knowledge that everything will be okay if I do”, which is the question you had to implicitly answer before allowing yourself to go into hypnosis in the first place.

To me, the kind of “courage” we’re talking about here isn’t so much “the ability to withstand overwhelming fear and plow forward anyway”, but just “the ability to feel the fear, say ‘wow, that’s scary! Maybe even dangerous!’”, and then go on with your life non-overwhelmed because the fear isn’t the *only* thing, nor is it the most important thing in the moment. You clearly have plenty of that kind of courage, given that you can put it all aside and go into a deep trance where fear just isn’t an issue. Since you do so well when you allow yourself to turn down the “importance” of your fears until they just disappear, why not allow yourself do it outside the special context of “hypnosis” as well? Do you think you’d screw it up and not heed a valid fear that you knew about, simply because you could and are sick of being bossed around by fear?

OK. I was thinking in terms of needing the anaesthesia from the deep state.



Right. I almost think that’d be “cheating” though, since the point is to not flinch away from pain, and if the only way I’m “not flinching” from the sting is to dissociate from the pain it doesn’t count. Dissociation from pain is fine, and often the right strategy, but I think it should come from “the pain isn’t the most interesting or important thing in my experience right now”.

For the first real sting, I don’t think that holds true. That kind of pain based on zero damage is *fascinating*. How can it not be? To experience something *that intense* and have it just be nerves doing their thing without any real world meaning attached? Sounds cool to me, though we’ll see how much that changes once I have another gigantic wasp in my hand.

You’re thinking of doing this deliberately…. You caught this wasp with that intention?


Yep. Been keeping my eye for them for about a year now, as well as having friends keep an eye out too. I was really dreading the moment where one showed up though, heh.

Unfortunately, I had to leave town for a few days and between a miscommunication and misestimation, she ran out of water :(. I don’t want to wait another year, so I’m gonna go out with a friend next week and see if we can’t find one.

Yes, it’s totally interesting, I agree. Fascinating even. (Actually doing it, however….?) I would love to know how the mind can reframe something, which from an instinctual, biological perspective is designed to make one mentally (and it seems even physically) flee for one’s life and learn to never, ever do that again.


Start small. The first experience that stands out to me as a complete reframing of pain was when I sprained my foot pretty bad playing football. My wife (girlfriend at the time) noted “You look like you’re in pain. Shouldn’t you do something about that?”, and she had a point so I decided to try Joe’s acknowledgement routine and see how it’d work on something like “physical” pain, which didn’t seem like it should be so easily modifiable.

I went through the routine and at the end it just didn’t hurt *at all*. Zero out of ten. It was hard to understand, since just a minute beforehand I hadn’t been able to focus on what I was doing due to pain and now it’s just *nothing*. Only the sensation feels the same and is still there too, which is even weirder. It just became “not a bad thing”, and was about as salient as the feeling of one’s tongue on the roof of the mouth — that is, *just not there* unless you’re actively thinking about it, then “it’s always been there”. It was strange to think that I hadn’t even noticed the change, and it was interesting to figure out why :)

Joe wrote up his acknowledgement routine on his blog. Take a look, and try it out next time you stub your toe or something.

http://wikihyp.com/theory/acknowledgement-part-1-the-basic-conflict-and-the-formula/

(Also, I’m noticing that it was all the way back in 2014 when I was supposed to be working on writing those blog posts, and I still haven’t gotten it done. Jesus… I guess things have just been changing faster than I can get them to coherent words, but still…)

But when you’ve done it, you must write and let this guy know! :D [...]
As well as this guy:[...]


I couldn’t find a source for the second one, since everyone is just quoting it and saying “some researcher said:”, but my money is on it being the same guy. Here’s the full passage from one his papers on the topic. The last part sounds suspiciously similar to that second quote.


Few, if any, people would be stung willingly by a tarantula hawk. I know of no examples of such bravery in the name of knowledge, for the reputation of pompilid wasps?and tarantula hawks in specific?is well known among the biological community. All stings experienced occurred during a collector's enthusiasm in obtaining specimens and typically resulted in the stung person uttering an expletive, tossing the net into the air and screaming?such was the immediate pain. To the author the pain was instantaneous, electrifying, excruciating, and totally debilitating. As described by Lincecum (1867) in reference to the effect on the prey, "the effects of the introduction of its venoin is as| sudden as the snap of the electric spark". This description also applies to envenomed humans. Advice I have given in speaking engagements was to "lay down and scream". The reasoning being that the pain is so debilitating and excruciating that the victim is at risk of further injury by tripping in a hole or over an object in the path and falling onto a cactus or into a barbed wire fence. Such is the pain, that few, if any, can maintain normal coordination or cognitive control to prevent accidental injury. Screaming is a satisfying expression that helps reduce attention to the pain of the sting itself.


That guy is Justin Schmidt, a very notable exception to the “few people would willingly be stung by a tarantula hawk”. He’s the guy behind the Schmidt sting pain index, and he basically stung himself with everything out there in order to document and compare the sting pain levels. There’s a youtube video of him and “Coyote Peterson” talking about stings and stuff, and he seems like a cool dude that would get a kick out of it. If I manage to not just fall down screaming when I get a full sting, I’ll have to let him know. Thanks for the suggestion :)
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