Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Pack It Away

(This blog was originally posted on November 22, 2016)

Photo by Rick Hustead

In my blog titled The Red Box, I described how Great Britain’s Queen Victoria liked to place important documents in a red box on her desk. This box served as a “to-do” box/in-tray; anything that made it into this container was considered urgent and needed the monarch’s attention right away. Of course, at the beginning of her reign all sorts of papers and petitions found their way in, which overloaded and frustrated the queen and her husband, Prince Albert. It turned out that comparatively few of the items in the box were truly urgent or even deserved her attention, at all. However, until the documents were sorted and prioritized, she had to treat them as if they were.

A similar process happens to most of us at some time or another, when stray thoughts, memories, daydreams/fantasies or worries drift into the conscious mind when we are—or should be—busy handling something else. Suddenly, the mind is filled with these distracting ideas that prevent us from focusing on the task at hand. Of course, the more we tell ourselves to focus and ignore that pesky idea that is starting to blossom in our imagination, the more difficult it is to do just that: Did I buy enough cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving dinner? I need to rent more chairs from the party-supply store. Should there be a separate kids’ table, or do the children get to hang out with the grown-ups this year?

In cases like this, I like to suggest that the intrusive image or thought is being moved into a metaphoric version of Queen Victoria’s red box, in the subconscious mind. This suggestion will be literal and direct or metaphoric, depending on the person’s suggestibility. I remind the individual that this box is only for temporary storage to allow him or her to continue to work (or play) without interruption. The information can be easily accessed and retrieved whenever the time is right to address this issue. Meanwhile, it is being stored safely out of the way until the client can and wants to deal with it.

The great thing about this kind of imagery is that even the concept of a red box can easily be replaced with an object or even an element the person likes better. If you do a lot of work with computers and on the Internet, perhaps the idea of storing this information on a cloud or even invisible strands of energy around your head is more effective. If a memory of a previous family celebration or a fantasy about who you want to sit beside is particularly distracting, it may feel more comfortable and safer to metaphorically lock that thought in a metaphoric iron box. To strengthen this concept, you can even make a motion with your hand to turn a key in that lock to keep it out of your conscious mind until you want or are ready to address it.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit
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