Tag Archives: LeeAllure

NEEHU6 Blog and Trip Report: Part One: The Voyage Home

The Voyage Home

Or

Traces and Places of Home, Back in New York City

To begin with NEEHU, I have to backtrack to a few days before.

But before I do that, I need to fast-forward to today. As I begin this blog, I’m somewhere South of Cleveland, twenty-thousand feet in the air. I am exhausted, but exhilarated. My weekend this year was even better than the one last year. I wouldn’t say it was more life-changing, but then again, I didn’t know at the time that last year’s NEEHU would prove to change everything for me. I also just received a lovely email from someone saying that their experience this last weekend changed their life. In my somewhat fractionated, somewhat tired, somewhat open state, I freely admit that the email had me sobbing. Great, big, ugly sobs.

And so I get to begin writing, telling, as much as I can, about how I experienced this NEEHU.

But as I said, to begin that story, I have to go back a few days before the “Unconference” itself. When I decided to return to NEEHU (not that it was particularly a tough decision) my friend ZanyM suggested that I come out and teach a class in New York City a few days before. Now it just so happened that the day I would arrive to teach the class was also the day Lee was to return to the States from a month-long trip in Europe spreading the gospel of erotic hypnosis.

After some coordination, it was decided. I would teach the Subjects 102 class I had taught already at WEEHU and at a special class for the San Francisco hypno-group. Travel arrangements were made, tickets were purchased, and I prepped myself for the trek.

The class itself is really a basic class for subjects to offer tips on how to define and develop boundaries and limits, how to work towards asking for the trances and experiences they want, and how to behave ethically in the community.

Tangent- On Ethics in the Erotic Hypnosis Community.

This topic is one I imagine I’ll be returning to over and over again in this blog and in however long I stay in the community (hopefully a long, long time). And for some of you out there, particularly the more vanilla readers, you may very well wonder why there is any sort of issue with ethics in the Erotic Hypnosis (“EH”) world.

To talk about this I should (once again) take a step back and give some context. Having ethical standards isn’t just important in the related BDSM community; it’s essential. Consider that hitting someone hard (whether with your hand or an implement) is generally considered assault and battery. But what makes it all right in the BDSM community? Consent and assumption of risk. If I ask someone to slap me across the face, I have consented to the resulting slap. This is why, for example, boxers do not get arrested for their actions in the ring, or why you are unlikely to be able to sue someone if you get injured by a fair tackle in a pick-up tackle football or soccer game (or why you can’t accuse someone of assault if they foul you in a basketball game). By participating in your chosen sport you have implicitly consented to a degree of touching, hitting, jostling or what-have-you.

But with BDSM this can be problematic. For one thing, several states claim that you cannot consent to what I understand lawyers call an “intentional tort,” like punching. In other words, no matter how much someone says “punch me” out loud and with sober intent, you cannot, in fact, punch them in that State. In other states, consent is a defense. Great. But how do you establish consent? Well, it becomes imperative to negotiate that consent. But, as I’m sure you may be noticing, surely someone can take advantage of this state of affairs; it seems like it would be relatively easy to assault someone in a BDSM arena and claim “oh, I thought I had consent.” Almost certainly you then have a “he said/she said” (mix genders as appropriate) situation. And one need only Google “rape culture” to see how these sorts of conflicts play out in the world or in the justice system.

As one can imagine, it is rare for people who have experienced consent violations in the BDSM community to go to the local authorities. Given how many people are uncomfortable with the idea of kink, many people understand that to go to the authorities could result in the loss of their job or worse. (It should also be noted that, while a “consent violation” is a bad thing, not all consent violations are treated the same: accidentally having a slip of a tongue and calling someone something they didn’t say they’d appreciate is far different from leaning over and punching someone while they’re in the middle of a scene with someone else. Neither is a good thing, both are to be avoided, but each is a separate issue and should be handled differently.)

But DJ, I hear you asking, are there any special issues with regards to EH play involving these things? Why yes, gentle reader, yes there are. You see, much of the fantasies involving EH typically spiral around the idea of losing your control to another person. Many of us look for that person who will overcome our will power and “make us do these things we don’t [really] want to do.” In short, it’s practically a whole arena predicated on the fantasy of consent violations.

How the hell do you police that?

So my class was developed to try to get subjects to consciously (heh) think about their limits and boundaries ahead of time, so that they don’t (whether inadvertently or predatorily) get seduced into something they may not be comfortable with at that time. And what’s rather remarkable, is that in talking to recreational hypnotists, they’ve said, almost uniformly, that having a subject who can set boundaries and say no, even under trance, makes them more comfortable working with that subject. Think about that.

In any event, it’s a topic I’ll be returning to here and there throughout this blog, I imagine.

I arrived in NYC, met Lee (who had arrived about an hour earlier at the same airport) and headed for some martinis and some appetizers at a very good Thai place just around the corner from the class.

I confess I was nervous. It is one thing for me to teach a class in San Francisco, effectively my second hometown, and to do it at the request of people who had sat in on my class and could assess whether it was something worthwhile. It was quite another to have friends—who had never actually been in the class—essentially stick their necks out for me and vouch for my relative qualities as a teacher. I really did not want to let them down.

With all of that said, it really seemed to go over well. The Eulenspiegel Society, a fantastic organization, generously allowed me to teach at their TES Hypnokink and Novice SIG (“Special Interest Group”) for about 90 minutes. It was a nice crowd and there were some fantastic questions (except for the fellow who may have been confused as to the nature of the class being geared towards subjects as opposed to hypnotists. But that person did arrive late-or else, in my jet-lagged state, I misunderstood the question.).

The second half of the class was given over to open discussion, which I also found very gratifying and informative.

(I can’t tell you much of the details since such discussions are generally considered private so as to create a safe space for open discussion. Please imagine that I answered questions wonderfully and masterfully and that will be far enough from the truth to protect the integrity of the event.)

Also—technically speaking, I can now say I performed off-Broadway.

A group of us then went out for a quick bite and then Lee and I crashed at ZanyMo and DrDream’s place. Special thanks to both of them for being such fantastic hosts and friends. Somehow, despite me being on Pacific Time and Lee being on British Standard time, we all went to bed at around the same time.

The next morning, Lee and I went to Penn Station and then boarded the train for her place up in New Hampshire. Although NEEHU does more or less start on Thursday night with pre-parties and hot tubbing at the hotel, Lee wanted to go home for at least one night before the weekend, and I was happy to accompany her to prep for the classes we’d be co-presenting. Plus, riding on a train with “your own private hypnotist” for a few hours is pretty cool, and I’m not one to look gift-horses in mouths.

But even on top of that, there was the fact that there is a lovely symmetry in spending the day with Lee. Faithful readers may remember that when I arrived at NEEHU, at the pool, at the hotel, Lee trance tackled me and gave me my first ever live trance. It was the culmination of a day that changed my life (and it’s only gotten better from there). So spending the same Thursday-one year later- with Lee only made sense.

After the train we took a bus for the remainder of the trip, which is where I wrote the “Prologue” blog.

We spent the remainder of the day and night getting various items together and hatching plans, as well as meeting up with people who’d be traveling with us to the site.

As, perhaps you can tell, I was excited to return to NEEHU. I was also slightly nervous—would it be as fantastic the second time around?

I mean, can you ever really go home again?

NEXT TIME—Classes! More Classes! Three hours straight of classes! Why do I volunteer for these things? Subjects 102 contains a whole section on saying “no,” why can’t I do that, too? And, of course, catching up with “old” friends.

30) Fitful sleeps

31) My first munch..

NEEHU 6: Prologue: The Undiscovered Country

“Bring Him Home”

or

Six Unconferences and a Movie

Somewhere over Utah, it hit me.

I was going back to the start.

Was it only last year? It feels in so many ways like it was only yesterday that I was thrown from the saddle of my usual life. When I decided to take the plunge and check out the New England Erotic Hypnosis Unconference (“NEEHU”). When I decided to attend my first kink convention. When I decided to embrace a part of me that I had only fed in fits and starts. When my then-job helped by laying me off mere hours before I was to leave. When my wife straight up told me to go, despite the layoff, because the plane ticket and the NEEHU ticket were already paid for, and I’d otherwise just mope about the house all weekend. When, in so many ways, my life began.

In that time: I have traveled across the country (counts on hands) four times after decades where I couldn’t be near an airport without two stiff martinis and a Xanax; I have been composing (with Lee Allure) a book on Hypnosis (still working on it, thank you very much) and engaged in easily 50-plus hours of hypnosis by LeeAllure over the span of a month for it; have become friends with people whose blogs I used to read in fits of jealousy, and now I know them, have played with them and have blogged about it (wait a minute…. What are you feeling right now?); have been asked to teach at two events on either side of the country about different ways of being a better hypnotic subject; have had my first piece of erotic fiction published on the inestimable mcstories.com website, source, font, and catalyst of so many people’s fantasies and kinks; I have found friends-so many brilliant, wonderful, sexy, fun, intelligent people who have accepted me as one of their own, and if they’re not happy to have me come out to see them, they sure as hell fake their enthusiasm; and, as I write this, I am on my way to NEEHU6, one year later, and I can say that I have found a community that I can call home.

Is the community perfect? Dear lord, no. But is your family/sports team/religion full of perfect people? (I mean, answer that honestly.) Any individual community within a society will have some reflection of that society, even if it’s reaction or opposition to that society. And heaven knows, it’s not a perfect society.

But I can now write this sentence—and it’s a sentence I never thought I’d write—this is my community.

And I’m coming home.

 

*          *          *          *          *

 

So I’ll be blogging about my experiences this year. In part this is because I applied for and received a blogger’s scholarship from NEEHU (thanks, guys!) so I have pretty much committed to it. I have also volunteered to be on (counts on fingers again) seven panels, ranging from a hypno-blogger’s panel (hey guys! Come and say hi!) to a really erotic group trance session that Lee and I will be performing on several willing volunteers. In a separate room. With blindfolds (for the participants).

I’ll provide recaps of each of my classes, as well as, hopefully, providing an idea of what it’s like to be at NEEHU. Again. If you’re out there and on your way, please come and say hi. If you’re in the area and not joining us in Hartford, what’s your problem? And if you’d like to attend one day, make sure it’s soon.

And please, please, please, use my experience as encouragement to chase whatever dreams you have (whether or not they include an –ehu attendance) and try them.

You may just find a new home.

MEEHU, A Personal Blog, The Conclusion

Sunday in the Park With George

 

Or

 

May All Your Mondays Be Like This

            I was in a park by the Lake in Chicago. If I even knew the park’s name, I don’t think I would tell you. I was holding hands with two beautiful women (even if one was and is ridiculously tiny). A handsome man stood near us. A third woman, my friend and fellow instigator, walked around us, saying words over us and through us. It was a magical spell as sure as anything in this reality can be a magical spell:

The hot humid summer afternoon;

the words;

the fractionation of the previous four days;

the morning we had just spent, roaming around parts of Chicago;

the zoo;

the friendships;

the way the sun caught the gold, green and yellow flowers all around us;

the way we were finishing each others’ sentences;

the trance that Lee was sending us into, each hand holding on for dear life, each hand and each breath and each other hand sending us deeper and deeper into a trance;

the way the summer breeze caught our sighs, caught our minds, caught our senses;

the way I had mentioned to Lee that I had never really had a walking, waking trance;

the way Lee had said, “well, then,” and began my walking, waking trance;

the way Seb had chosen that moment to do the same with Fay and Emiliana;

the experience as I had said good-bye to cc and DaSade and Sleepingirl;

the moment I had shook hands with AmHypnotic;

spending time with Tesdenic;

remembering all the moments;

being the Doctor;

being another Doctor;

running from the Weeping Angels;

hashmarks on the arm;

the general camaraderie of the group as they had one last meal together in the hotel kitchenette, giving hugs and promises of seeing each other at the next one, whatever and whenever that next one would be;

driving through the Chicago traffic, always alert but somehow never feeling anxious or nervous;

Pynch-rage;

the snippets of words and conversations from the previous few days;

Lee playing the number slider game “2048,” sending me deeper and deeper as the numbers collided into each other and added up;

our minds in a trance in a park in a bustling city of millions, yet no sound in that park save the rustling of leaves and plants and Lee’s words and the trance that took us into itself and made us leave the waking world;

“your service is so pure”: words said to me that I was still, am still, will still (be) processing;

the three drink minimum fractionation moment;

“an orange juice sounds SO good right now,” “Why yes, yes it does”;

Em’s first trance;

Em trancing me;

Fay’s burning trance;

the hypno-egg;

The Empire of Light;

the flickering beat of memories behind my eyes, now vivid, now fading, now vivid, now fading…..

These are all just words struggling to convey the message to you, dear reader, that this was a perfect moment.

And if you’ve ever been in a perfect moment, you know that black words on a white page will not give such a moment form. There was once a monologist named, improbably, Spaulding Grey. He came to fame talking about his experiences with a bit part in the movie, “The Killing Fields” in a movie, directed by Jonathan Demme, called “Swimming to Cambodia.” He takes well over an hour building to a moment…. I will not spoil that moment here. But the point is that, having the attention of an audience and an unlimited capacity for words, it took him more than an hour to lay the groundwork for describing one perfect moment. Which was, after all, but a minute on a day on the other side of the world. How can I describe a weekend that was a string of perfect moments, like diamonds on a royal crown?

All I can say is that there are a few moments I’ve had in my life that I would describe as “perfect,” (and I will not share them with you) but this weekend had several. And they still take my breath away.

And then the trance ended, and we walked on.

We walked to a coffee house and chatted about nothing in particular for a while. Before long it was time to take everyone home, I dropped Lee off at the train, and drove Seb, Em, and Fay over to the airport.

Then I drove myself back to the hotel room; my plane didn’t leave until 5 am the next morning. I walked down the hall that had just recently been full of people and kink and trances and all manner of shenanigans. And the place was silent and quiet. Somehow, although I knew there were a few people still there from the weekend, I didn’t run into any of them.

I pieced myself together as best as I could. I drove to the airport, dropped off the hulk-mobile, and made my way home.

Once again, Mrs. Pynchon said that my energy was “so clean” when I saw her again. As if I had been cleansed. I always find that ironic, given how dirty some of our play is. Whatever the –ehus do with me, they sharpen me somehow.

*       *       *

Thanks, as always, to the volunteers, organizers and to everyone who attended MEEHU.

Thanks to Sleepingirl, for her inspiration (for starters) as a writer, subject, and friend. She is wise beyond her years. She is wise beyond my years, frankly. But also for being someone else who has a hard time taking a complement. At one point we had this wonderfully weird fight where we tried to make each other uncomfortable by relaying compliments to each other. Talk about perversion.

Thanks to Mephki, for starting the –ehus in the first place, and for her continued friendship.

Thanks to SweetGasp, for being a fellow Doctor.

Thanks to DannyK and Dancecode and others for being brilliant Weeping Angels.

Thanks to AmHypnotic for being such a fantastic example for the community.

Thanks to Daja and SpiralTurquoise, for whom, even though I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with them, I could always see they were spreading their own brand of cuteness and joy throughout the uncon.

Thanks to Seb, for his friendship, and for setting standards as a writer that I can only hope to attain. Also thanks for being brave and throwing yourself into the mix, even when the alternative must have seemed so enticing.

Thanks to Em, for being an unexpected diamond and fellow traveller. It is so gratifying to meet someone who shares the same energy.

Thanks to Fayvie, for being so brave and game as to come to a different country, and for meeting all of these crazy people, and for taking that leap. (I also guarantee that Mrs. Pynchon exists).

Thanks to LeeAllure. She has been a friend, hypnotist, mentor, co-writer, and… did I mention friend?

            And finally, to Mrs. Pynchon. She still doesn’t understand why the hell I’m doing it, but she is so happy I am, and supports me every step of the way. I am humbled by her love. Thanks for being part of my journey.

And, incidentally, thank you, gentle reader, for going on this journey with me. Hopefully you’ll continue on this path.

Next time:  Twenty-two Short Stories About “Deep Mind Dark Wood.”

MEEHU, A Personal Blog, Part 6, Sunday!

Sunday

or

Who am I, this Time?

In reviewing my blog for Saturday night, I realized I had totally forgotten to mention one funny moment.

After the second Hypno-egg battle, I asked Fay if it would be all right to take some pictures of her with the Hypno-egg. She agreed. The only problem was that we weren’t allowed to take pictures in the common areas.

So the two of us grabbed the egg and went into her room, closing the door behind us. I turned off the lights, and starting taking pictures. What followed were some of the best pictures I think I’ve ever taken. These Pictures. Though, to be fair, having such a gorgeous (and tiny) model really helps.

The problem was that we were both so keyed into the Hypno-egg, which was glowing all the colors in that otherwise pitch-black room, that we found ourselves about to drift away. We both had this panicked moment that we were going to be lost until someone came looking for us.

With what willpower I had left, I knocked the Hypno-egg out of Fay’s hands. That broke the spell long enough for us to turn on the lights and get someone to turn the darned Hypno-egg off.

The following morning, Lee and I put together a class based on the Hypnotic Amnesia book we’ve been working on. We took advantage of the “Unconference” aspects of the weekend and took over one of the convention suites. We were gratified to have a packed house, as we went over the basis of the book, how one could use hypnotic amnesia in a variety of play-scenarios, and did some demonstrations in front of the class. It was my first ever hypno-class that I co-taught, and I thought it went very well. I think I’m fortunate in that I’m bit of a ham, so “performing” in front of an audience comes pretty easily to me. We had very cool conversations and questions, and, overall, it made us both motivated to move forward with the project.

I sat in on the “switches” class briefly, where SweetGasp was leading a rollicking discussion on issues hypno-switches face. I also poked my head in to the NLP class. I have this thing, it seems, where people who are “practicing” NLP make me very tired. The instructor was very good, but there was something about the presentation (much as when I have watched videos by others on the subject) that threatens to put me to sleep.

I next found myself in the confusion induction class Wiseguy was teaching. It was very similar to the class he had taught in New Hampshire that I had also attended. Close by was Emiliana and Fay. A few minutes into the class Wiseguy read a script which was part induction and part short story. I had heard it before, but still let myself drift a little. As I drifted, I slowly turned to the left and saw Fay looking at me and smiling. She pointed over her shoulder, where Emiliana was drifting her own way into trance. Later she said she felt as if she had drifted off for only a couple of minutes. The script was at least 20 minutes long. She was more than a little surprised.

Later on Sunday, I had another first, in that I taught my very own class. I had told Mephki that it would be a good idea to have a class about how to avoid “Con-drop,” which is to say, the physical and emotional funk that people often find themselves in after they’ve attended a convention. She agreed that it was a good idea, and said, “Why don’t you teach it?” And since it turns out it’s really difficult for me to say “no” to a smart, awesome woman, I said “yes.”

It was a smaller affair than the hypnotic amnesia class, but I thought so many people brought things to the table in terms of taking care of themselves physically and emotionally, and I found it to be extremely productive. Special thanks to LeeAllure, Setsudo, and PhotoJoseph for their contributions to the class.

Afterwards, some of us went to the “Building Communities” class, where we discussed different issues common to the various Unconferences. HypnoMaestro was fantastic about taking in feedback about what needed work (a few things) and what was brilliant (almost everything) about the weekend.

By now it was late in the day on Sunday, and we helped everyone with the clean up of the common areas. We found ourselves ready for dinner 45 minutes before the scheduled time and Tesdenic, Fayvie, Emiliana, LeeAllure, Sebastian and I headed over ahead of the crowd. The restaurant was about a 10-minute walk from the venue, and by the time we got there, most of us were pretty hungry. So we decided to get a head-start on dinner. We were sat in the front part of the restaurant. Dinner was great, but as we were served, the crowd started coming in, which lead to the fairly awkward situation wherein we directed all of MEEHU to the back part of the restaurant, where MEEHU had reserved tables. We saw everyone pass us, and give us slightly puzzled looks. (It wasn’t anything personal, I swear. We were just hungry.) HypnoMaestro, Isis and Lady Inamorata gave brief speeches thanking everyone for attending, and it looked like everyone had a fantastic time.

We finished dinner and repaired to the hotel. Lee and I had an experiment to conduct on someone else. Ms. Mesmer (who some may remember from my NEEHU blog as my partner in crime for the Corsair Doctor Who scene) had volunteered to help us with one of our experiments: a dual induction. Lee and I went to the suite she was sharing.

After setting up, with her friend TigerLily watching, Lee and I sat on either side of her and recorded us putting her under a deep, deep trance. Well, I say we recorded it, but our first attempt didn’t record properly. So poor Ms. Mesmer had to put up with us hypnotizing her again. We had her forget a random group of numbers, and then had her forget that she had even been hypnotized the first time. She was a fantastic subject to work with.

Afterwards, we were talking about our Doctor Who scene at NEEHU, and we quickly agreed to a redux. In fact, TigerLily also wanted to participate. So Lee hypnotized me into “being” the Doctor, and I placed both of them into a trance with my trusty sonic screwdriver. TigerLily really liked pain, something Ms. Mesmer didn’t. So I had them hold hands, and set my sonic to “Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow” of their sensations so that whatever pleasure Ms. Mesmer would feel would be transformed into pain on TigerLily’s end, and vice versa.

I then ran through the various pain, pleasure, and tickle settings on the sonic with each of them. I also may have experimented with the orgasm settings as well (I’m only Time Lord.) I may have brought them as close to an orgasm as I could and then have them ask to be pushed over the edge. Did I say ask? Maybe beg. My memory is a little fuzzy on that point.

Later, Tigerlily said she was impressed with how I stayed in character throughout the scene. I can only say that: (1) Lee’s suggestions helped and; (2) when you have two extraordinarily sexy women writhing on the couch because they are having fun believing you’re the Doctor, you stay in character come what may. (Mrs. Pynchon: “Give, give, give, DJ.”)

Needless to say, it was a fantastically hot scene, and I felt rather elevated and in “top space” for most of the rest of the evening.

However, at some point, and I’m not sure exactly when it happened, Lee took a felt pen and drew hash marks on my arm. Now, for those of you Doctor Who fans out there, hashmarks are a reference to the Silence, an alien race that you only remember when you’re looking at them. The only evidence you would have for knowing that they were there (or behind you) would be the hashmark you’d make on your arm for each one you’ve seen. In this case, Lee hypnotized me into forgetting that she had made the 7 or so marks on my arm, and covered them up with my sleeve. Then she told me that for every hashmark on my arm I saw, I would have an orgasm. After enjoying the orgasm or orgasms (depending on how far up my arm she pulled my sleeve to reveal the hashmarks), and over about the following 30 seconds, I would forget everything about it: the hashmarks; having the orgasm(s); and even the fact that the hashmarks on my arm caused the orgasm. Every time I saw my arm the memories, and the orgasms, would flood back to me.

[Note: I believe I covered this earlier in my blog, and this may very well count as “Too Much Information,” but the hypnotic orgasms I experience aren’t “orgasms” in the classic sense. When I have them, they feel like my brain is dumping endorphins and serotonin into my system. It’s a pleasurable feeling, and certainly orgasmic. Over time, and with practice, the sensation has gotten more and more powerful.]

The only reason I remember any of this is that, to make it easier to “forget” the sensations, I was told that I would remember everything after the weekend was over. So some of what I’m recounting slowly emerged over the next few days.

We made our way down to the “rainbow” room, where we played a game of “Hypno Truth or Dare.” The game is played much like regular Truth or Dare, although, obviously, with more hypnosis. We had a lot fun playing it, and I recall Lee “daring” me to show my hashmarks to everyone else in the room. There were about 15 people in the room, so seven times fifteen equals… oh, never mind, you get the idea.

Emiliana was also there, and Fay, Lee, Seb and I marveled at how far she had come over the weekend, from a total neophyte to someone who had actually drifted into trance at Lee’s capable hands. We would have shared that with her, except that Emiliana had, in fact, drifted away from the room, and we could not find her. Normally, we would expect a grown adult to take care of herself, but (as my own experience with fractionation had shown) people shouldn’t “wander off” shortly after having spent the day in one form of trance or another. Sebastian, Fayvie and I all went looking for her throughout the hotel. We ultimately found her, on the same floor, having been pulled into a conversation about Captain America and fanfic. She was mortified that she had put us through any sort of worry, but we were merely relieved that nothing untoward had occurred.

At some point we (Lee, Emiliana, Fay, Seb and I) wound up in Fay and Emiliana’s room. Emiliana turned to me and said, “Pynch, can I hypnotize you?”

Who was I to say no?

(To be fair, I had earlier offered to be her guinea pig if she were interested in trying out the experience from the other side of the pocket watch, so to speak.)

I sat across from her and she had me look into her (very lovely) eyes. I wish I could remember the exact words she used. Regardless, it was very clear that she is a natural. I know she said something to the effect of, “as you listen to my words, they will feel like honey pouring through your mind.”

I believe my thoughts went something like: “Oh… that’s good. I know where she got that from. Very nice use of that…. Oh… yes, well put….. and…..”

I was out.

She brought me up a short time later. Yes. She is a natural.

Lee and I watched Seb set up a game of hypno-freeze tag between the girls, and Lee enjoyed periodically tormenting (cough) me by showing me the hashmarks.

We got to spend some time with Tes and AmHypnotic, the latter of whom was one of the first people I had met at NEEHU. AmHypnotic had also offered to hypnotize Emiliana earlier in the weekend, but when she declined, he made it very clear that he was going to respect that boundary, but that the offer was still open if she changed her mind. I mark this out because it underscored the extent to which issues of consent and respect for boundaries undergirded the entire weekend. Everyone was informed of the need for consent before doing anything. Moreover, my understanding is that there were very few, if any, incidents of even creepy behavior throughout the weekend. Emiliana mentioned AmHypnotic’s attitude specifically as contributing to her sense of feeling—and being—safe throughout the Unconference.

Towards the end of the evening, I had a chat with Sleepingirl. She enjoyed continually asking me about the hashmarks on my arm. I felt like a goldfish in a bowl. An alternately very happy and then very perplexed goldfish.

After some more partying and sober socializing, I wound my way into bed. As I drifted off to “actual” sleep, I thought that the best part of the weekend was behind me. I was very, very wrong.

NEXT TIME: Saying good-bye! More Pynch-rage! A Zoo! A Park! A perfect moment! Things I forgot to include earlier!

MEEHU, A Personal Blog, Part 5: Saturday!

Moments in the Woods

or

How Much Can you Do in One Day?

I woke up excited at the prospect of attending the first full day of MEEHU. For many people, going to conventions is solely about the socializing. While I adore the socializing, I loves me a good panel discussion and I was looking forward to a fair number of panels and classes.

Among the classes was Lee’s Rapport class, which I believe I am contractually obliged not to discuss about because it’s one of those classes with a twist. Suffice it to say that it’s an interesting class with a useful application beyond hypnosis.

I also sat in on SleepingGirl’s and Ms. Mesmer’s “Subjects 101” class. This was an outgrowth of conversations and a session she had had on Hypbook to focus on the needs of subjects. Apparently, in several previous unconferences, subject oriented classes were few and far between. Sleepingirl had taken the lead (somewhat ironically) for a discussion on the needs of subjects, especially with respect to focusing on empowering subjects to set boundaries and learning how and when to say no. This panel built on that, including what challenges are faced by people being introduced to the arena for the first time. There were various types of individuals there, from those who had been dreaming of coming to something like this for all their lives to people who were being introduced to the idea for the first time by their partners. One individual was so nervous he had had troubles leaving his room on Friday night, and attending this panel was the first time he had found the courage to actually participate in the fetish in “real life.”

My heart bled for him. (And more on him later.)

The panel was brilliant, and Mesmer and SG really kept it moving and informative.

I then attended the Dual Induction class, led by Wiseguy and LeeAllure. A dual induction is…. Well, just that. An induction performed by two people on a single person. They went through various methods of induction—one taking the lead and another following; one person speaking in the left ear speaking to the “Left side of the brain” and being more formal, while the other spoke in the “right ear” while being more artistic.

In order to bring forth volunteers, we sat in a circle and the Wiseguy and Lee placed an office chair in the middle. They spun it around and, wherever the chair stopped, that person would sit in the chair and receive an induction.

Whether it was karma or some other grand design, the first two people to be in the “mush pot” were perfect. First was MigMig, who had flown in last minute from Mexico City. Aside from a shared love for the beautiful game, Mig was a fantastic participant and a good conversationalist. He was a joy to have at the event.

The second person in the “mush pot” was that very same fellow who had felt stranded in his room the first night. I was so happy for him that he was able to enjoy a trance at the hands of such great teachers.

There were a few other trances and, amusingly enough, when they began discussing having multiple trancers with a single subject, AmHypnotic (who is a fantastic hypnotist in his own right) waltzed into the room. Timing. AmHypnotic then joined Lee and Wiseguy in “ganging up” on a “poor, unsuspecting” subject. It was awesome to watch.

There were other classes and discussions and it was just a delight to soak up all of the thoughts and the overall energy of the place.

One of the classes that Em, Seb, Fay and I attended was “your first trance” which was set up to have people try to experience their first trance as either a hypnotist or subject.

Fay very nicely asked if I was interested in being her first subject. I said I’d be honored.

She had me focus on the wall behind her, on which was a water sprinkler. She said the following:

“OK DJ. Please focus on the sprinkler behind me.”

I did.

“Look at how shiny the sprinkler is, and how it draws your eyes to it.”

It was very shiny. It was, all of a sudden, very fascinating.

“… think about it calming you down.”

I did think about it. How shiny it was. How the light reflecting off of it was holding my attention.

“Think about how it makes you feel….. “

What? How it makes me feel?

“Safe. How it’s used to make sure people are safe.”

Wait… what?

“Think about its uses.”

And I couldn’t resist: “Yes. Think about it’s a good thing it’s there, because looking at all these people in this room it’s kind of a firetrap. And thank goodness we’re not going be burned alive. Easily, anyway.”

And that kind of killed the mood for a minute.

So instead, she decided to try a simple hand-shake induction. Which involves, as you would expect, shaking hands and then, interrupting that process by pulling and saying, simply but firmly, “sleep.” It’s not one to try on beginners. But by this point, I wasn’t really a beginner.

So she did that and it worked. However, although I was obviously a willing participant, she hadn’t technically asked me permission to do that induction right then and there.

So I said, as I was shaking her hand, “here, this is how you should do it. ‘Fay, may I hypnotize you?’”

She said, “yes.”

And I said “thank you.”

And just as I breathed in to say “sleep” to her, she pulled on my hand and said “Sleep!”

And I was out.

She brought me up, and Seb and Em were still laughing.

“Hoisted on my own petard.” I said. Sigh.

After this, we started talking about “switch fights,” which raises an interesting question, “What is a Switch?”

Tangent- What is a Switch (Particularly in Hypnosis-speak)?

 

I think the usual way that people on the outside looking in tend to think of a scene in the BDSM world (when they think of it) is probably in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” sense of it. Which is to say, on the one hand you have someone holding the whip, and on the other you have someone getting whipped. In the BDSM general parlance, one person is the “top” and the other is the “bottom.” This is more or less generally accepted terminology, though you will find master/servant (or master/slave), Dominant (or Domme) and submissive, parent/little, or Sir or ma’am and “hey you,” depending on the needs of the people involved. However you slice it, when someone is performing a type of scene usually there is one taking the lead and the other who is following. Like in a dance.

Oftentimes, one person enjoys being in a space where they are only one or the other. However, some people are quite happy doing either. For example, in these journeys, I’ve seen people who have enjoyed being tied up with rope, and being bound helplessly in the air. The next day, I’ll see them tying someone else up.

With hypnosis, it seems, there is a greater fluidity in whether one serves as either hypnotist or subject, at least more than I’ve seen in my (Admittedly relatively limited) observances. Because hypnosis is premised on (generally) more vocal interaction, it’s easier to switch from one side to the other. In fact, several hypnotists will say that they go into trance themselves, while helping someone into a trance state. That’s not something that can really happen while whipping or tying someone up.

There is, in some corners of BDSM, what are called “switch fights,” which is where two people will actually “fight” for dominance over each other. Sometimes the “winner” is preset, but not always. This can be fairly tame, like a wrestling match or pillow fight, or it can be fairly brutal.

In hypnosis, however, you can have a switch fight between any two people who are interested in going into a trance. In a sense, you’re offsetting their desire to go into trance with their competitive nature(s). The winner(?) is whoever resists going into trance.

So Fay and I discussed having a hypno-switch fight between us and what form that would take. Initially we tried the handshake induction against each other. But literally every time we tried it, we both pulled and said “Sleep” at the exact same time. Which was funny from the outside, but not terribly effective; we were more likely to bang our heads against each other than send each other into trance.

Finally, as a group, we thought about the “hypno-egg.” (see the last blog for info about the Hypno-egg).

If I were entranced to think about the hypno egg the same way Fayvie was, then we could hand it back and forth, and whoever went into trance “last” would “win.”

It was a plan. But first, dinner, which was prepared by the fantastic staff and volunteers at MEEHU. Truly, the whole day was wonderfully run, and it was a joy to be with everyone.

Before the hypno-egg toss, however, I had one pre-planned scene to attend to. At NEEHU, the lovely and talented SweetGasp had put together a “Weeping Angel” Scene. In that scene, she had hypnotized several willing subjects to be the Angels. They were told that they would see a designated person as “the Doctor.” If the Doctor saw them they would stand perfectly still. But if they noticed the Doctor “blinking” or looking away, then they could move. Their goal? To touch the Doctor.

I was told it was a fantastic scene, but I was unavoidably detained at dinner and missed it at NEEHU, so I was determined to participate with her this time around.

I didn’t see much of her over the course of the weekend; her room was quite the social and sundry center. She had surrounded herself with a bevy of like-minded people, and occasionally I would pass by her room, hurrying to some other appointment, catching glimpses of some enticing play before having to scurry on.

SweetGasp and I had agreed on one thing, however: we were both to be the Doctor. I was to be number 13, and she was to be number 14. We had also dressed in our own versions of what we thought “our” Doctor would look like. I was in a blue plaid sports jacket, with a bluish V-neck over a white t-shirt. SweetGasp was also in a jacket over spangly baubles and a very fetching skirt. We started in one of the play rooms where she had entranced the five angel volunteers. We began:

Me (Facing away from the angels, back to back with her, who was facing them, as I held the sonic screwdriver out and activated it): Nope, no angels over here.

Her:     Uh…..

Me:      Do I know that voice?

Her:     I remember that voice.

Me:      Any angels in your area?

Her:     Oh, yes.

Me:      (turning around) Oh. (Glancing at her.) And you are?

Her:     (pulling out a sonic screwdriver) You.

Me:      Oh…. (looking her up and down) Still not ginger.

Her:     (Glancing at me) Plaid? I can’t believe I wore that. At least I have taste now.

Me:      (Turning to face her) Really??

Her:     (Facing me) Yes!

At which point the angels moved, and we turned back to face them.

Me:      On the plus side, you do give meaning to the phrase “wibbly-wobbly.”

And so forth. The banter was almost more fun than the scene itself. But the scene was brilliant in its own right. The “Angels” were consumed with us. Every time we looked away they would advance with serious intent on touching us. We worked our way down the hall as the angels advanced on us, through the con suite, until they cornered us and tagged us after about a half hour of running and banter.

It was fun, and I’m profoundly grateful to both SweetGasp and all the Angels. Though next time we need a rule that if our banter makes them break character, they lose and are no longer an angel. We might have won.

After that (and by now it was only about 8:30 pm) I found the delightfully tiny Fayvie, along with Seb and Emiliana, back in the rainbow room. We found someone to entrance me and give me the same command as Fay, namely, that the hypnoegg would entirely hypnotically consume me and that every change in color would send me deeper. (And thanks to Autumn for filling in on short notice!)

So Fay and I brought two chairs to face each other; we were maybe about one foot apart from each other, and began the competition. It was amazing how deeply consumed each of us quickly became in the Egg (and I capitalize that on purpose). The urge to give in to the trance was enormous; the Egg, which was maybe one foot in length, seemed to loom large in my vision. Each change in color made me want to go deeper and deeper. It became more and more difficult to hand the Egg back to Fayvie. And each time she had it, it was an internal struggle whether I wanted it back or not. Literally, it was an internal war over whether my eagerness to go into trance would win out over my own competitiveness. What made it extremely funny was that Fay was in the exact same boat.

After almost ten minutes of handing the Egg back and forth, each time taking longer and longer to hand it to the other person, the Egg finally settled on one person. Fay held onto it, and I “won,” even though I couldn’t take my eyes off of it either.

Once Seb leaned over and turned the Egg off (thus rescuing both of us) I looked around, and easily about 8 people had gathered around to watch.

Shortly thereafter, Lee returned from an evening she had spent out with some friends. I told her about the Egg fight, and, after a little while, Fay and I agreed to a rematch.

You’d have thought that after the first time, given how fractionated we both were, the second time would happen much more quickly. You’d be wrong.

In fact, this one went on about twice as long. Fay and I slowly handed the Egg back and forth between us. Every move became more and more of an effort, but each one of us was spurred on by our own competitive natures. What also contributed was that our respective hypnotists, Lee and Sebastian, began egging [sic] us on (you’re welcome). Pretty soon the crowd had doubled: we had no fewer than 20 people watching us hand this colored egg back and forth.

For some reason, we had decided that the color blue was the most enticing color. The Egg would shuffle through all the colors on about a 45-60 second timer. We would therefore try to time our hand off to right when the color was about to turn blue. This of course meant that we had to hold on to it, staring intently at the shifting colors, trying to remember to let go right before blue, as either (or both) Lee and Seb were telling us how fascinating the colors were, as the crowd stared at us intently slipping away and us the slipping the Egg from one hand to the other.

It was intense.

In the end, after a good 20-30 minutes, and crowd cheering, and each of us laughing (and enjoying being the center of so much attention, let’s be honest)…. Fay finally succumbed again. I’d say it was a good feeling to emerge victorious, but I was pretty much gone as well, as the last few times I had the Egg it felt ridiculously massive in my hands, and it took such concentrated efforts to push it over to Fay.

[As I read Mrs. Pynchon this, she laughed and said, “Erotic hypnosis?? It’s not like I’d poke my head in, see what you two were doing and say ‘Oh, the depravity!’”]

While I rested and recovered (and Seb shared some time with Fay) Emiliana approached Lee. She had decided to actually experience a trance, and asked Lee to put her under. I couldn’t help but sit nearby (in my already out of it space) and listen in. Lee incorporated Emiliana’s background and interests into the trance; it was amazing to listen to, and I, for once, I managed not to “trancejack” someone else’s trance. However, you’ll have to check out her blog for the details. (http://emilianadarling.wordpress.com).  And for Fay’s take on some of these events, check out: http://fayvie.tumblr.com.

At some point, we realized it was well past 2 in the morning. One by one we drifted off to bed. I was exhausted, but looking forward to more hijinks that were to come.

NEXT TIME: Hypnotic Amnesia class! Pynchon teaches a class! Who for the price of one! Hashmarks! Emiliana really becomes one of us! Strangest, switch-fight, ever!

MEEHU1, A Personal Trip Report, Part 3: Color and Light

Color and Light

Or

Being into Art

 

I woke up in time to make the last few minutes of the snazzy brunch the hotel had provided us. To be sure, the hotel was a perfectly nice hotel.  However, it was a trifle on the run-down end of things- yellow “Do Not Cross” signs hung ominously in front of the entrance to the pool, the only ice machine (on the first floor) made a foreboding racket, and the elevator was slow and ponderous. We had been told that the hotel was in the process of remodeling and transferring from one hotel chain to another. To give you an idea of just how “OK” the premises were, there was a level of surprise when, upon asking the question “When are the renovations going to take place?” the answer “They already have” was greeted with more bemusement than abject horror. Even so, the service by the people who worked there was second to none, and the fact that they were willing to cede us an entire floor of the hotel was rather wonderful.

Lee and I had made plans to visit the Art Institute of Chicago downtown. When we made the plans, I had two things in mind. First, there was (and is) a major Magritte exhibition at the Institute, with his paintings up through 1938 (including the classic “The Treachery of Images,” the painting of a pipe with the words, in French “This is Not a Pipe.”). I’m a huge Magritte fan, and remember seeing a different show at a major museum when I was about 14. I really wanted to see this one. The second thing I had in mind was this blog: http://deeperforme.blogspot.com/2014/05/hypnosis-at-museum-of-fine-arts.html

I was fascinated with the idea of spending some time hypnotically induced into a painting. I knew that the Institute had a fine collection of French Impressionists, including George Suerat’s “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte.” (Which is also the inspiration for “Sunday in the Park with George,” perhaps Sondheim’s finest musical.) I had mentioned this to LeeAllure as something I would be very interested in trying, and she agreed to come along with me and be my hypno-enabler for the day.

Lee was also extremely helpful to me in a personal matter that morning (which isn’t nefarious, just boring) which took longer than it needed to. But regardless, we were off to the Institute.

When we had parted company with Fay, Emiliana and Seb the previous night, we had made some vague plans about meeting up with them Downtown, since they were all staying there one more night before heading over to MEEHU (more on this later).

As for MEEHU itself, it had reserved the entire third floor of the hotel as of 3 pm on Friday. However, they were running some classes from 10 a.m. onwards. We missed some really good classes, but Friday was really the best day for checking out the exhibits–and downtown Chicago– so we left, intending to return by dinner time.

 

First, Magritte.

For me, if there is to be a patron artist of explorers of the unconscious, I will nominate Magritte, and then move to close the nominations. F*ck Salvador Dali.

I have a vivid recollection of seeing his paintings way back when. But seeing them now, after the work I had done with Lee and my own explorations, it was like every painting was a cluster bomb of feelings, thoughts, reflections, and notions, the scattered repercussions of which I am only now really sifting through.

 

Tangent: In Which Pynchon Goes off the Deep End Metaphorically

Consider, this, one of the paintings that was part of the Magritte exhibit: http://fifty2letters.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/coffee-dregs/magritte-rene-tentative-de-l-impossible/

Entitled “Attempting the Impossible,” the description in the museum called it “an example of a single recursion,” intimating that the painting was about the impossibility of painting reality. I laughed. Consider (and strap yourself in, we’re in for a bumpy ride): The painting depicts the artist painting his wife out of nothingness, in short fulfilling the actions of the title, inasmuch as one really shouldn’t be able to “paint” a human being into creation. And yet, we have irony number one: in the world of the painting, the artist is, in fact, creating the wife.

Note the artist is staring at his wife, in the act of “creating” her. If you wanted to get deep into the weeds in existential philosophy (and who doesn’t?) you can draw a parallel here between the Sartrean “Being-in-itself” and “Being-for-itself” (or Kierkegaardean “Subjectivity” and “Objectivity,” if you prefer) where the act of noticing existence is forever separated from the act of existence itself. One can argue that the gaze of the artist in the painting, while trying to paint the object of his attention– literally “drawing into being” the object—is attempting the impossible. One cannot both regard and exist at the same time.

Note also that we are observing the painting of the artist “creating” his wife. What are we doing as observers watching the painting? Isn’t it true that we are trying, in some way, to glean meaning from the painting? And here…. Here is where I started laughing at the meaning of the painting for me in that moment. Because the challenge of all of Magritte’s paintings is that there is no such thing as a passive observer. Because the painting is a challenge that invites you to participate in constructing, and then being part of, the meaning. The act of observing art, to grasp a meaning or a message, is itself “Attempting the Impossible.” And yet, to truly come to terms with art, especially Magritte’s art, is to do just that, because your thoughts and engagement is what make the piece in question come alive.

(End of tangent; here’s the tl;dnr moral.)

 

For too long, prior to me jumping head-first into my interest/fetish/kink/hobby of hypnosis, I was merely an observer. But hypnosis taught me that there is no such thing as an observer. Not any more. The only way to be alive is to engage. And once you engage, once you participate, you cannot go back.

And then I saw this: http://www.artnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/09_13_LK_004_400.jpg

And I lost it.

Well-played, Magritte, well-played.

Fortunately, Lee did not have me committed for all the giggling and running about I did. (I’d have pictures of the actual exhibition, but, unlike Mussorgsky, Magritte’s paintings are still under copyright and there were rules against photography. ) She seemed to enjoy the exhibition as well.

 

Second, Entering the Paintings.

After we went all the way through the exhibition Lee and I made our way to the Impressionists. Our goal was to do something with “Sunday Afternoon” but the way that particular hall was set up, there were no benches in front of the painting and precious little space to do a quiet trance. Instead, we sat on the benches to the side, across from some Monet paintings. Lee sat next to me and started whispering in my ear. She asked me to pick one of the paintings, the one that appealed to me. And as I did, she kept whispering to me to enter trance.

My eyes examined the different paintings and settled on this one: http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/81540?search_no=3&index=10

“The Departure of the Boats, Etretat” By Claude Monet.

Staring at the painting, and, in fact, staring into the painting, I started feeling amazing things. First, I started to feel a little bit of the sea air on my face. I could actually hear the people in the scene, and hear a little bit of the waves on the shore! It was an unreal, literally unreal, experience. I’m not sure how long it lasted. It had been hot and humid in Chicago, and throughout the museum, but sitting there, “on the beach,” it felt cool and calming.

After a while we got up and wandered through other galleries. We settled for a few minutes in front of this one: http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/14624?search_no=4&index=24

Lee whispered in my ear, saying that I was lying against the main haystack, on the other side, and in moments I felt the heat of a setting sun, heard the dog barking from just past the fence, and felt the hay underneath me. It was a magical experience.

Note:

Oftentimes people who have just been hypnotized are somewhat suggestible for a while afterwards. This will be important later.

 

How real did it feel to me? I never forgot that I was in a museum, or that I was “in reality” in Chicago. However, I felt those sensations, briefly but wholeheartedly.

I don’t know if I was as consumed as the lady in Divney’s scene was, but it felt otherworldly and wonderful.

We wondered peacefully through several other galleries on our way out of the museum. I felt very much in a daze. We spoke about how we should call Fay, Seb and Emiliana.

Once in the harsh sunlight, we looked around, caught our bearings…. And there they were. Fay, Seb and Em were all standing at the cross-walk right in front of us. Randomly, they had decided to get pictures taken on the steps of the museum and had finished right as we walked out.

We marveled together at the coincidence, for a few minutes. Seb then led us to lunch across the street, at a place called “Potbelly Sandwich Shop.” Fay, Emiliana and I went to get lunch while Seb and Lee held our table. I placed my order at the service line, and talked to the sandwich maker/cook. Just behind me in line, and standing next to the beverage refrigerator, was Emiliana. I had grabbed a root beer from the fridge, and was considering my order when the following conversations occurred:

“I’d like a tuna melt and some fries, please, I’m very hungry.”

“You’re hungry, huh?” said the cook, “then you should have one of our famous chocolate malts.” And he pointed up.

I looked up, and there was a chalkboard that said “Try our chocolate malts!” And I said, “Thanks! I’d like to try one of your ‘famous chocolate malts.’”

“Great!”

At which point, Emiliana, grabbing an orange juice from the fridge, looked at me and said “God, an orange juice sounds so good right now.”

And I blinked and said, “You’re right, an orange juice does sound really good right now.” And I went and grabbed one. I paid, and Emiliana, Fay, and I made our way to the table. First Lee then Seb commented on the fact that I must be very thirsty. I glanced over my tray.

And I wondered….. why did I have a chocolate malt, an orange juice and a bottle of root beer???

And then it hit me. Oh. Right. Suggestible me.

Emiliana said that the look of utter defeat on my face when I realized what had happened was astounding.

This became one of the running jokes for the weekend, with near strangers offering me a malt at one point.

The other running joke quickly coalesced on that first day: despite about a decade or so in age difference, a gender difference, and a nationality difference, Emiliana and I apparently share a brain. We were finishing each other’s sentences by the end of lunch. We were sharing looks at what our friends or passers-by were saying as if to say “we’re thinking the same thing, aren’t we?” The area where I was slightly ahead of her was in puns. Several times I’d throw some corny joke out and she’d groan and say “I was just about to say that.” It’s not that I’m funnier or faster, it’s just that experience and rote has made my punning fully autonomic (for the people).

After lunch we went to a two story make-up store for…. Reasons. Then we gathered Fay, Em and Seb’s bags from the hotel and sped our way towards MEEHU.

At this point, there’s one more incident I’d like to share, but for that I probably need to explain some background about me. I’m kind of known for being on the mellow side. In fact, few people have seen me lost my temper or get really upset. I am what you might call “even-keeled.” However, Chicago traffic tested my patience. As I was pulling out into traffic, a driver slanted into my lane without signaling. This was about the fifth time that had happened since I had started driving in Chicago the previous day. And so I….

I shudder even to say what I said. I said:

“Jeez. Really!? Come on.”

The conversation in the car stopped.

Finally, after a beat, Fay said, “Whoa! Pynch-rage! Take it easy!”

“I didn’t expect you to Hulk-out!” someone threw in.

And they were off to the races.

So, “Pynch-rage” became one of the other running gags for MEEHU. And beyond.

We made one detour so that I could fulfill one promise I had made to Fay months earlier. I had told her that if we met up at MEEHU I would buy her some chocolate ice cream. We went to an ice cream shop in West Chicago that had been there since the 50s, apparently.

After that, we made our leisurely way to the hotel, where we guided our vanilla friends to the strangeness that is MEEHU.

 

NEXT TIME! Part 2! Deep dish pizza! Dressing up! Slapping! Spies! Scenes! Service with a smile! Circular balls and eggs! Shenanigans!

MEEHU, A Personal Trip Report, Part Two: The Day Off (Before the Day On)

Checking Things Out and Checking In
Or
The Day Off

I flew to Chicago with a different mindset than when I flew to Hartford. I felt more confident and relaxed.

This was slightly unexpected, inasmuch as I’ve always been a very nervous flyer. LeeAllure was very generous in helping me through my fear with a little bit of hypnosis over the phone, as I sat in a mall parking lot miles and miles from home. My work had taken me away from home, and the trip to MEEHU was in the middle of a two week stretch where I had confronted work scenarios I hadn’t encountered in years and years.

Rather than have access to my own home office, I was sleeping on my boss’s couch, struggling to meet all manner of deadlines. Lee and I had talked about her helping me with my flying issues, but our schedules never seemed to allow for it. Finally, about the day before I left, Lee and I had a very quick session over the phone.

Because I had no actual privacy I spoke to Lee while in my car parked in a shopping mall parking lot. No doubt mall security was curious about the gentleman in a suit nodding seriously while listening intently on his phone with his eyes closed. The only tell-tale sign that something unusual was happening was the occasional grin as my subconscious helped Lee with her task.

My flight to Chicago was… uneventful, for the most part. Certainly it was less surreal than my trip to Hartford (which had an escaped cat and a bobbing woman). I was given a free flight voucher for moving to an earlier flight, which was nice, though I still had to wait the extra time at Midway for my bags to catch up to me. It also meant I had to rush to make the earlier flight, which meant I had no extra time to psych myself up into my nervous flier mode. All of which turned out to be very good.

I landed in Chicago and navigated the bête noir of all Southern Californians: public transportation. I found my way, somehow, and with no small help from some pleasant Chicagoans, to the Downtown car rental. It was there I met LeeAllure.

Lee had been in town for a few days, teaching a hypnosis class for the local BDSM club. It was good to see Lee in person. In working on our book, we had probably had over 30 sessions over the course of three months, all via Skype. So we had certainly “seen” a lot of each other.

Lee has said that she doesn’t like descriptions of her, but you can find videos on her YouTube channel and pictures on her twitter feed. I can confidently tell you she looks even better in person. Also, she has a calm presence with a dash of mirth (or is it menace?) lying just underneath. She had expressed some slight trepidation about meeting people so early in the weekend, hoping that they wouldn’t try her patience by the end of the event. I had tried to mollify her by saying that this group was really friendly, and that we’d be doing a good deed by being part of the welcome wagon.

When I had first met Lee at NEEHU she practically trance-pounced me, but here at the car rental place, such a trance pounce didn’t seem appropriate. After catching up and saying hi to each other, we were rewarded with our shiny new rental, a lime green Ford Fiesta which we later christened the “Hulk-mobile.” Shortly, we were off to the John Hancock Tower through Thursday rush hour traffic.

Chicago is a beautiful city, but its citizens could use lessons on the use of turn signals and giving proper space to other cars. We wound up at “Big John” with a minimum of fuss.

We were to meet Fay, Emiliana and Sebastian on the stairs in front of the building. We had timed everything to perfection (more on that later).

Fay is terribly, impossibly short. She is a wee ball of fire- all red hair, good looks and personality. We had struck up a friendship over the previous weeks, comparing notes on being subjects and discussing how much we were looking forward to MEEHU. I had also been trying to give her occasional pep talks on dealing with a previous relationship with someone who was-shall we say- less than supportive of her hypnotic interests. (This comparing of notes had led to her looking on my wife as her personal hero. I wasn’t going to argue with that.)

Fay had brought her friend Emiliana, who is, like Fay, impossibly gorgeous, and on first meeting I can only say that I noted that she had an open, but friendly and searching face and glasses that frame a fierce intellect.

Rounding out the group was Sebastian. He’s about my age, but he’s somehow in better shape, better looking, and better read than I am, all despite being from Iowa (these are the jokes, people). He’s a writer with a writer’s gift for observation and evaluation (and nooooo that’s not self-serving at all).I could kind of tell that he was slightly grinning and bearing being among these new people, but also seemed committed to making the most of it.

We greeted each other and made our way up to the 95th floor. The vistas overlooking Chicago were breathtaking. In one direction you could see the wide expanse of Lake Michigan. In the other, the buildings of downtown gave way to the suburbs and, on a clear day, you could make out the flatness of the horizon that typifies the Great Plains. This evening, on the 95th floor, it was a clear evening.

We ordered high-end drinks (I indulged in a rich, luxurious Chocolate Martini- I thought it important to have desert first.) We made small talk and discussed what we were each expecting from the coming weekend.

Shortly thereafter, Tesdenic and her friend Jennifer joined us. Tesdenic is another gorgeous, lovely and friendly woman (poor me, I thought); we’d been having fun in the chatroom together and share a professional vocation. This was her first live event of any sort, and she, like Fay, had brought a friend for support. Like Emiliana, Jennifer had no prior interest in hypnosis, and almost none in kink of any sort, and was there to support her friend.

We drank a bit at the bar, and then walked through downtown to a restaurant down the street for dinner. Somehow, Tes, Lee and I all ordered the same dinner (more on this later).

There is something magical that sometimes happens, and I hope that you can experience it, where a group of people who meet for the first time find a connection. Not everyone in this group of 7 was into hypnosis, and we were all over the kink-scale, from professional hypnotist to first time toe-dipper. Yet somehow we found something to bind us together in such a short time; really, by the end of dinner, I knew that this was a great group of people and, unless there was some unexpected drama, this weekend was going to be fantastic.

—————–

After dinner, Lee and I drove to our hotel and I checked in.

Well, by “Check in” I mean: My name wasn’t in the system. So I gave them my confirmation number, and they found me. Except that I was listed as a “turnback.” Why was I listed as a “turnback”? Because there was a second reservation listed, for me, checking in on Friday. Which meant that, even though I had reserved a ticket in April (April 10th to be precise) and they had misplaced my reservation (even though it was in the system), and had tried to re-reserve me, I was there at 1 am with no room. Fortunately, the woman behind the desk bent over backwards (figuratively, get your minds out of the gutter) to get me a room. In this case a room with a door that didn’t always close all the way and smelled like an unsuccessful attempt had been made to hide the fact that someone had been smoking cloves in it for about three weeks, but a room nonetheless. Fortunately the nice bendy lady at the front desk gave me a fan and some air freshener, which mitigated matters somewhat.

But all of this was made up for by one fact: I had been given the perfect hypnotic room. “What room is that?” I hear you ask?

3

2

1.

Yep. 321. I placed a post-it with “….sleep,” after the room number. Dancecode told me it put him into a trance at least three times during the course of the weekend. Within an hour after finally checking in, I had formalized plans with Lee for the next day, and turned in. I was beat, I was tired, but I was so very excited about the coming weekend.

And, 7 hours in, I still hadn’t been tranced. And that was ok.

 

Next time: Museum! Magritte! Seurat! Monet! Entering paintings! Perfect meetings! Pynchon singlehandedly keeps the Chicago beverage industry afloat! Shows! Sisterhood! Slapping! Hypno-interrogation! The first appearance of the Hypno-Hand-Egg! May be broken into two parts! Stay tuned!

NEEHU5, A Personal Recap, Part 4, Saturday day

WARNING- Headed into edgy territory with the next two blogs, so if consent issues, power exchange, and off the cuff hypno scenes aren’t your thing, skip to the Sunday blog. As always, if I’ve mentioned you in a post and: (1) you’d prefer I not; (2) you think I’ve gotten something wrong; or (3) you want to send me flowers, please let me know. 

 

NEEHU5, Part 4: Saturday, Part 1.

 

“Let’s Play Master and Servant”

 

            Saturday morning was another early morning for me. Those of us staying at the hotel had fallen into a kind of routine by this point. We would slowly stream in to the downstairs area, mixing slightly with the muggles who were there for other reasons. We would sheepishly share secret smiles, thinking of half-remembered adventures from the day before as we dug into the lovely free buffet.

            I don’t recall there being much in the way of breakfast shenanigans that morning, and I believe I took SweetGasp and OneEyedStranger to the Society with me.

            One of the parts of the set up at the Society which I had forgotten to mention is that Mephki (who was a whirlwind of energy and brightness wherever she went) set up a place over by the vending tables where people could place hypno-personal ads. They could write on 3×5 cards what they were searching for, and who they were or where to find them. Not many people took advantage of this, sadly. I think part of it was that people hadn’t thought about it well enough in advance and so didn’t really pick up on the idea until late in the weekend. (I think I saw 4 or 5 cards there by Sunday.) One person who had placed a card was LeeAllure, who said she was looking for a “Hypno-Slave” to be a step-and-fetch-it for her. I was intrigued. One of the things I was looking forward to over the weekend was experimenting with power exchange, and, in fact, had discussed that with Lee the day before. I had also mentioned in passing that I was hoping to experiment with more physical experiences, if possible (seeing as I was at a BDSM club and all and, presumably, among experts) including being on the giving and receiving end of paddling or spanking or some such.

            Shortly after arriving, I ran into Lee. She and I continued a different conversation we hadn’t quite finished the day before, and we repaired to the back room, where there were a few booths. We started off discussing different induction methods. One method, she said in a teasing voice, involves getting close to a person’s ear and whispering gently, while at the same time kissing and licking that ear.

            “It’s for this reason,” she said, “that you should always have Q-tips handy to have a clean and inviting ear.”

            “Well,” I replied, “that makes me want to buy a lot of Q-tips.”

            “Now, now,” she said, “you don’t use the whole thing; just the tip.”

            And, autonomically, I responded, “. . . that’s what she said.”

            Have you ever made a domme blush? It’s a strangely empowering moment. That moment made us laugh harder than we had any right to.

We decided to talk about the classes that were coming up. For some reason, this quickly transitioned into running through the classes in quick, 5-10 second improvisational bits.

Hypnosis and Yoga: We stretched while seated at the booth.

Your First Induction: “You did this yesterday with LeeAnn.” “Yep, check.”

Hypnosis and Humor: “That’s what she said.” “Shut up.”

Ethics Panel: “Please don’t make me squawk like a chicken, please don’t ask me to strip naked. Please don’t do anything that would embarrass me outside of this building.” “Ok.” “Done. Next.”

Rapport Workshop: We proceeded to try to imitate each other’s body language. “Right, done.”

Erotic hypnosis 101: “All hypnosis is self-hypnosis.” “So all sex is masturbation?” Awkward pause. “Yeah, good enough.”

You can be a better subject: “Pynchon, I believe that you are a good subject now, and as you fall under as I bring my finger from here to here, you will find that you are an even better subject. Now wake up on 1, 2, 3, wide awake! “…Yeah, that’ll work.”

Abreactions: “So, if something bad happens, wake up from trance and ask for help?” “Well, that’s way oversimplifying….” “Good enough for now, next.”

Kinesthetic Trance: She reached across the table and grabbed my hands, swaying them back and forth and then in a circle, and then she pulled them and… I was out. “And 1, 2, 3, wide awake.”

Your hypnotic voice: “It’s actually quite simple. Sometimes you can hypnotize someone by starting off in a higher register and then slowly lowering your register into a lower timbre. Just like this….. and 1, 2, 3, wide awake.”

Acquiring a hypnotist: “Hey Lee?” “Yes, Pynchon.” “Would you be my hypnotist?” “Sure.” “OK, done.”

Non-D/S play to D/s play in hypnosis. “Oh. I saw your ‘personal ad.’ Can I be your hypno-slave for the day? I mean, what does that entail?” “Well, just attending to me during the day, making sure I make it to things on time, keeping me hydrated. Are you sure you’re up to it?” “Yes. Yes, I am.” “Then ok. This’ll be fun.” “Thanks.”

Instant inductions: “Hey Pynch.” “Yes?” <snap>…. And 1, 2, 3, wide awake.”

Basic inductions: “Wait, I have this one. Um. Your feet are relaxed, then your ankles, calves, thighs, hips, back, shoulders, arms, hands, neck and finally head and you’re asleep…. Something like that, right.” “Yep.” “Great, next.”

Blow away limiting beliefs: “So you weren’t sure you’d be a good subject when you came here right? Why is that?” “Well I thought my critical faculties would get in the-“ “Sleep!…. and 1, 2, 3, wide awake.” “…That is so cool.”

Community building roundtable: “I think there should be EEHU’s everywhere.” “I agree.”

Memory Play: I…. actually forget what we did for this one.

How to Push: And here she reached across the table and slapped me. I went into a sort of shock for a second. And then she slapped the other side of my face. I kind of looked down, to avoid her seeing my reaction, which was somewhere between amazement and befuddlement (and possibly a little turned on). She said “look me in the eyes.” So I did. And she slapped me a few more times. After about 4 times across each side of my face, she stopped. And we moved on.

 

Tangent: My reaction to getting slapped across the face

Look, this was possibly the most impactful moment of the weekend, in many ways (and if you’ll pardon the pun). When it happened, there was a moment of shock, as if the world had held still. I had several reactions. First, the (for lack of a better word) submissive part of me was really turned on. (There, I said it.). Second, the more dominant part of me was outraged, and, frankly, wanted to slap her back. I didn’t. I later asked Lee (and we did discuss this at length later) what would have happened if I had slapped her back, and she said she wasn’t sure. Probably, she said, she would have criticized the slap back and then slapped me again to show me how to do it properly. Third, the strict legalistic part of me knew that we hadn’t actually established explicit consent for her to slap me, though we had established that I was interested in pushing the envelope physically. The fourth part of me, the part that understands comedy, thought this was the funniest thing ever. In improvisational comedy, the first rule you learn is to say “yes” to things. We were in the middle of a seat-of-our-pants improv scene and she reached out to “push” me beyond my comfort zone; she said “yes” to an impulse that was edgy, and awesome. Frankly, in my opinion, that’s just brilliant. And funny. Do I think she would have done that with anyone who wasn’t in the same frame of mind as I was, who hadn’t discussed how they had wanted to stretch themselves? Oh dear god, no. But I am glad I got to do that. My only regret? Not slapping back. Because having us trade slaps for a while would have been really, really funny.

 

Hypno-scene negotiation: “So, um, you didn’t technically ask permission to slap me right there…” “Oh, right. Is that ok? Are you ok?” “Yes. And I think I want to do it again.” “Really? ‘Cause I can do that as part of an induction.” “…..I’m in.”

And this is where I realized that we had been sitting there for most of an hour and I needed to get her to the “rapport class,” since, as it turned out, she was teaching it.

I don’t want to give away the secrets of the rapport class, but it wasn’t a typical “hypnosis” class, per se. Rather, the point of the class was to demonstrate how people can establish a level of rapport with someone—and break that rapport—through simple techniques mostly having to do with body language and the like.

I stuck around for the next class, “Kinesthetic trance” taught by the lovely and talented ZanyMo. This class was fun inasmuch as it taught people how to go into trance using mostly physical movements. Once again, I served as Lee’s guinea pig, and was sent down into trance several times in a short period of time. I tried the same thing on Lee, and, although I did not send her into a trance (that I know of) she gave me some good pointers. At one point we had a brief hypno duel where we were both attempting to send each other into trance. To be fair, I had been really fractionated for most of the day, so I probably didn’t stand much of a chance, but I thought for a moment I had her going under. And then she snapped her fingers and said “sleep” and I was out. It’s not fair I tell you.

I got lunch for Lee as part of the “hypno-slave” portion of the proceedings, and then meandered around chatting with people for a while, enjoying the feeling of being around like-minded people in a safe and supportive environment.

I have to take a minute and underline again how awesome a job Mephki did in terms of organizing the event; everything was on time and there was a really broad variety of classes. Furthermore, in terms of general coordination, the selection of food was ideal; there were vegan, vegetarian, and carnivorous options (I think there were even kosher options, but I’m not entirely sure). I’ll thank her again when I finally get to my closing thoughts, but her touch was felt throughout the day. In addition to thanking her profusely, I was delegated “give the coordinator occasional massages throughout the weekend” duty. Mephki told me she enjoys massages that are actually on the painful side, which is a little like telling Usain Bolt to turn it up a notch, thank you very much.

The next class, “How to Push” was taught, not by a hypnotist, but by a fellow named “Max” who had flown in from Seattle and, I understand, conducts many classes in various BDSM concepts. This class was concerned with the question of when it is healthy (or not healthy) to push people to their limits. It was also about setting boundaries, and how to discuss those boundaries in an open and honest way. Max did several demonstrations with volunteers from the audience. In each case, Max went right up to the edge of consent. In essence, he made it clear what he was intending on doing, and gave the person a chance to raise an objection, but never actually asked for explicit consent before engaging (or in one dramatic moment, not engaging) in the activity. He included handouts which were very educational and helpful in terms of setting out the parameters for negotiation, consent, safe words, and aftercare. Even more interesting was watching Lee during this class; she was positively bouncing with glee. This was the kind of thing she likes (obviously). For my part, the legalistic part of me was very concerned; his methodology was not something I would normally subscribe to. I would have liked at least the explicit consent in the following regard: “You understand that I will be pushing your limits and it’s up to you to say when, right?” However, I suppose that by attending a class on “How to Push,” and then by volunteering, you do know that you are going to be pushed to your limits, whatever that is for you. In any event, regardless of my personal qualms, I think it was an extremely valuable, if advanced, class, and I’m glad I attended.

The following class was Wiseguy’s “Kinky Human Tricks.” For this class Lee sat just behind me. I understand that the point of the class was to have Wiseguy perform some basic hypnosis tricks on various people (doing a quiz show in which the subject couldn’t say the answer until after the time had expired, freezing someone, then moving them so they think they’ve been teleported from place to place throughout the room, etc.) I’m pretty sure that’s what went on, but Lee kept putting me under and then bringing me up throughout the class. By now I was so far gone that just by running her finger down my arm she put me to sleep. Run it up the same arm? I was awake again. I must give “good face” while under—at some point Lee brought me up and Wiseguy broke off in mid-sentence to say “Oh, what a great expression.” At least, I assume it was me; it may not have been, I was kind of out of it.

Tangent- On Being Topped by LeeAllure for the Day

LeadPrism and I had hung out for a good part of the weekend, and, at some point on Sunday he asked me what it was like to be “topped” by Lee for the day on Saturday. Somehow, we kept on being interrupted before I was able to give him my answer, so this is it.

It was really fun, to tell the truth. It’s not something I had ever experimented with in my life. The best way I can describe the experience is this: my fetlife profile name is “Herderofcats.” The reason I chose that name is because my usual experience in any group situation is to be constantly scanning the group to see what needs attending to. Is there someplace we all need to be by a certain time? Is someone not having a good time? Is there something I can be doing to get anyone anything? And that’s if I’m not even hosting the event. For the day on Saturday it’s as if all that energy was focused on one person and making sure that that one person’s needs were met. In a way, the focus was a relief; it meant that there was a lot less, paradoxically, for me to worry about. That also may have been because my tasks were relatively simple: keep cup filled with water, keep track of the schedule, and be available for trances. It was an interesting experiment to try for the weekend, and I was glad I did it, and grateful to Lee for the chance.

As for what did Lee get out of it? I’d have to leave that for her to answer, but you know how when cats play with balls of yarn? You don’t ask what the cat gets out of it.

 

[I’m leaving out some fun conversations I had during the day on Saturday with LeadPrism, SweetGasp, DrDream, ZanyMo, GleefulAbandon and Marc Cabot. I also teased Ms. Mesmer incessantly about what Marc and I had planned for her that evening. I also recall that Marc also used the “that’s not funny” trigger a couple of times on both of us. Also, apparently, my skills as a masseuse had not gone unnoticed, and the lovely LuckyAlbatross requested my services at some point to work on a few knots after her long trip. I’d go into further detail on all of these, but then this weekend would turn into rather a Proustian memoir. And no one wants that.]

After all the classes, with all the trancey ups and downs, I, somewhat ironically, needed a nap. I decided to bail on the volunteer dinner and head straight to my hotel room. I called my wife, and filled her in on my day. She said something that she’s repeated to today: I sounded happier and more “me” than I had in years. I had gone to the circus, and found at least one place I belonged. My mind… my life was opening up. And I was so happy.

 

Next time: Dinner! Bisque! Costume! Screwdriver! Scenes! More scenes! Settings! Tune in, won’t you?