A few years ago I needed an MRI—I no longer remember why. I’d had open MRIs but this one had to be a closed MRI and my psychologist and I weren’t entirely sure if I could handle it. He—Dr. Paul M. Cohen—was a certified practitioner of hypnotherapy, so we decided to do a little hypnosis to prepare me.
Paul is a bright guy and a good learner and one of the things he’d learned was that instead of describing a scene for me to use under hypnosis, he should just give me a couple general suggestions and let my creativity design the scene. I don’t know what he said that day but it was probably something about finding a safe, happy place, and what I came up with was the Hope Family Reunion.
The Hope family numbered about a hundred people and reunited on the Sunday nearest the Fourth of July at the Lower Farm, which is the one deeded into the family by William Penn. Big whitewashed farmhouse, long green lawn, big trees, a rope swing, all set way back from the “highway,” which was a two-lane country road that got paved about a hundred years ago, best as the family remembers. Anyway, there would be family all over the place, lots of homemade food, green places to play, and so forth. It was a safe and happy place, so I went there when Paul and I were making the bridge from consciousness to unconsciousness to plant the message that I was safe in the MRI.
So I get to the medical building and am inserted in the MRI and my body is laying there but my mind is at the Hope Family Reunion and I see Great Aunt Mildred coming at me. Aunt Mildred is married to Uncle Roy, who is my grandmother’s something-or-other relative. One of the Hope men had three wives, two of them predeceasing him and each of them bearing him two children. My grandmother, Mary Hope, was descended from one of the wives and Uncle Roy Hope was descended from another of the wives, so they had the same grandfather but different grandmothers. Those are the facts; the feelings are that Grandma and Uncle Roy were as close as brother and sister for all their eighty or ninety years.
Uncle Roy was a tall, white-haired gentleman who worked for Bell Telephone in their lab for designing equipment for people who were hard of hearing, which he either was or became. His wife, Aunt Mildred, was almost as tall as he was but she also was hefty, being broad of shoulder with big boobs and a tightly corseted torso. Aunt Mildred’s head was unusually round and her white hair was crimped in the manner of women young in the early 1900’s. And, from my child’s-eye view, each breast was approximately the size of her head: b-i-g breasts. My only recollection of Aunt Mildred is of her wearing a navy blue dress with a deep, square-cut neck, and a string of pearls.
The problem was that Aunt Mildred liked little kids, and she loved to hug them. So I’m lying there in the MRI, but I’m also an under-sized five-year-old at the reunion and Aunt Mildred is coming at me in her navy blue dress. She’s bending down! She’s going to hug me to her breasts! A little kid could suffocate in there!
I became fully present-time conscious with the horrific realization that I was about to start shaking with laughter and I was pretty sure the technicians wouldn’t understand that I was laughing, or what I was laughing about. Great Aunt Mildred blew the MRI, not me.