People are often paralyzed by different things – it could be fear of flying, fear of heights, fear of the water, guilt, hurt or self esteem issues, or even something like fear of success.

When you know you have a fear, do you live with it or is there a way to fix it?

Since being hit head on in a car accident at the end of 2013 with snow and ice on the road, I discovered that since then, every time there is a forecast of snow, I find myself looking for reasons NOT to get in the car. Knowing I had to drive past mile marker 350.2, where the accident occurred, paralyzed me. Even though the driver who hit me was at fault, I now have a fear of getting into my car and driving in inclement weather, especially snow. It doesn’t have to just be going by that mile marker, it is anywhere there might be snow.

I had two appointments in Flagstaff recently and when they reported snow, I canceled.

Can I, or do I want to live like this? No.

I can stay home when it snows, or I can “unchain” myself from fear by taking positive action.

Would the fear go away in time on its own? Maybe, but I do not like something holding me back.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.”

In January I did have an appointment in Springerville around 11 a.m. The weather was just fine when I left Taylor. Mid-way to Vernon snow started falling – coming down in “ropes,” making it hard to see ahead. I thought strongly about turning around and going back, but I was on deadline and when I looked in my rear view mirror and saw all the cars behind me, I didn’t see any way that I could stop and turn around. I didn’t want to be the leader with all those cars behind me, especially with all the curves and hills in front of me all the way to Springerville. But, I “sucked up” my fear and began aggressive self-talk: “I can do it! I can do it! I can do it!” I felt like the little train that could.

I persevered and made it without incident. I told myself if the weather persisted I could spend the night in Springerville. The good news, the snow stopped by the time I had finished my interview, and I had a more relaxed drive home.

Back to the quote, “Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.” It did not work. I was proud of myself for exhibiting “true grit” by moving forward, but the fear was still there – tested when the next bout of inclement weather appeared.

It is now April and most everyone believes that winter is behind us, after all, we have passed the Spring Equinox. I have lived on the Mountain since 1994 and I do remember when it actually snowed on Memorial Day one year. That said, I do believe it is still possible to have snow and for me to have to drive in it.

I went to Joan Courtney and her Transformational Hypnotherapy years ago. She has morphed her business into a new concept called, “Unstuck Living.” I knew I was “stuck” in a place of fear, so I decided to make an appointment to get “unstuck.”

Many people do not believe in hypnosis or do not trust it because of television and La Vegas type shows. Many find it intriguing but either do not believe it is real, or they fear they may be left with some instruction to cluck like a chicken or quack like a duck.

When I did the stop smoking program years ago for Navajo County, I brought in a hypnotist from time to time to allow people to try it. It worked on some people and did not work on others. Why? I learned from the hypnotist we are all different. Some people are susceptible to suggestion and some are not. The gentleman I brought in did a brief tutorial for the attendees explaining how the brain works and then did a brief exercise with people to determine who was a good candidate and who was not. More people were not than were, but those that were “quit smoking” via hypnosis. The same is true of those who have gone to those group hypnosis sessions for weight loss or quitting smoking. Not everyone is a good candidate which is why you hear so many say it did not work for them.

I know I am a good candidate having experienced hypnosis before. I made the appointment with “Unstuck Living,” and mustered up the courage to get “unstuck” on the snow issue and a couple of other things.

When you arrive, much like in a doctor or psychologist’s office, you talk about what is going on and why you are there. Once your issues are identified, it is time to sit back in a big, comfortable recliner and take a visual journey. You are very aware of what is going on. When questions are asked, you answer. Your eyes are closed and there is soft music and Joan Courtney’s very calming, monotone voice lulls you into total relaxation.

I have had two sessions for my issues and am scheduled for one more. I must admit that at some point in the last session, I do not remember anything. If she asked me something, I do not know if I answered or not. I do remember her telling me that I would come back to the room wide awake and feeling great or wonderful.

After the session, you do feel wonderful. She makes a CD for you to take home and play each night to reinforce whatever you are working on.

The day after the session, she usually calls you to see how you are doing. I laugh at this because, though I appreciate her follow up, I have yet to recall getting to the end of the CD before I drift off to sleep. I keep doing it though, believing it is the way through my fears.

I still have one session to go, but I feel a shift. It is one of those things you cannot really explain but you just know that something has changed in your psyche.

I also have a friend who went to Courtney for fear of flying and she now flys abroad without issues. I have other friends who have attended her group sessions and vow their lives have changed and been enriched by the experience.

Trust is one of the greatest components necessary for this to work. I have read a lot about this and since I have been to Courtney before, I felt comfortable to reach out to her for help. I trust her like you have to trust your doctor or your auto mechanic or your dentist to do the job you need them to do.

Courtney is a certified clinical hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner. NLP is neurolinguistic programming.

Many of the baby boomers are familiar with NLP. In the 70s and 80s it received great attention as people were seeking to understand how the brain actually works. Broken down simply, neuro refers to the brain and its network. Nerve cells are the working units used by the nervous system to send, store and receive signals that add up to information. Linguistics refers to both verbal and non-verbal content that moves across and through these pathways. Programming is the way the signal is manipulated to convert it into useful information for us. The brain may convert our experiences in life into thinking patterns and behaviors that are our experiences. Tony Robbins and his methods of helping people are a great example of what NLP can do to help one move forward and get “unstuck.”

Coupled with hypnosis, NLP gives a person an ever better chance of success in dealing with whatever it is they would like to change.

It is my brain and I only want to entrust it to someone I believe is reputable.

Could I get over this on my own? Maybe.

I once had an elk come through my windshield in Star Valley and there was no one back then I knew of who offered this service. I could have gone to a psychologist or psychiatrist, but it didn’t occur to me at the time. Daily I got into my vehicle with great fear and trepidation, recalling the elk incident again and again. I bought the elk noise makes to put on your vehicle, and definitely drove more slowly than the speed limit called for, just in case.

I just kept keeping on until one day the fear was not as strong. I knew no one was going to drive my car for me and I knew I could not get off the Mountain without driving a route that included the possibility of encountering an elk.

I have one more session to go for the snow and my other issues – it usually takes about three sessions, and I am looking forward to the end result – no fear.

To quote Veronica Roth, author of the Divergent trilogy, “I have to face the fear. I have to take control of the situation and find a way to make it less frightening.”

What I BELIEVE…is I have found a way to get “unstuck.”

More info at www.unstuck-living.com