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    Got High Anxiety?

    Calm Down With Hypnosis

    Mind Games continued...

    In the basement, the doors opened and I stepped out. "You may see a path," Karen's voice murmured. There it was, winding through a meadow that looked as if someone had dipped small brushes in pots of bright paint and flicked them, splashing wildflower sprays. When I came to a lake, the voice told me to imagine singing the song exactly the way I wanted it to go.

    I saw myself in the glass-domed room we had chosen for our celebration. I could hear the rustling waves through the open windows behind me, could feel the breeze caressing my bare shoulders. I was wearing the black vintage dress in which I would dance later. My hair crowned my head like Audrey Hepburn's, and a rhinestone choker encircled my neck. My dress, my neck, my earrings sparkled. My eyes did, too, as I began to sing in my mind.

    "In every fairy tale I was told as a kid, no matter what the pro- or antagonist did, once the happy couple was united, the bliss they shared together" -- I gazed upward, fluttering my eyelashes, and let a smile drift onto my face -- "went unblighted." I heard my voice: solid, smooth, a little vibrato at the end to make it float.

    I performed the whole piece like this, in slow motion, enjoying every instant -- the sounds that emerged from my mouth, the gestures, and thoughts. I ambled through even the longest phrases. My voice wafted effortlessly out of my body and rang in all the right places.

    Practice Makes Perfect

    Every day I repeated the imaginary performance, practicing the entire song before returning from the lake in my mind. I enjoyed these forays into fantasy but wondered whether the bliss from these trips would spill over into reality. Would the directed daydreams make a difference when it counted -- when I stood in front of a hundred guests at my wedding?

    The evening arrived. After we cut the cake, I took my place in front of the microphone. "We gather at this beautiful place by the sea," I sang, noticing that my right arm had lifted and motioned toward the ocean outside. It was steady; there was no tremor. As the waltz section began, Karen swayed back and forth, and I realized she was mirroring me. Resonant tones rose from my mouth. The pitch climbed, but I wasn't doing any work.

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