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Mind over Substance: Dare to be You
by Linda Lee

 One evening last spring, as I cleared away the dinner dishes, my 13-year-old son approached me for help with schoolwork assigned to him in D.A.R.E. class. He’d been instructed to ask his parents what we considered to be the worst thing about the drug addiction. I replied that the worst thing about drug addiction is that it separates the addict from God by mucking up the channel by which Divine communication occurs. My son, being the amazing diplomat that he is, chose his next words carefully.

  He said, “You know, Mom, I actually believe that what you’re saying is true, and I don’t want to offend you, but I really don’t want to say that in D.A.R.E. class. Can I just say that drugs kill?”

  My dictionary states that to drug is to “lull or stupefy.” Many substances and/or processes can be used for this purpose including, but not limited to, drugs, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, food, sex, relationships, work, poverty, gambling, the Internet, TV, God, and even religion. The “drug” of choice becomes somewhat irrelevant, because all addictions really boil down to an addiction to powerlessness and non-living.

  I have personally struggled with many addictions. My kingpin of addictions was nicotine. I started quitting smoking in 1980. I finished quitting smoking in 1999. This bona fide miracle was finally realized with the help of a hypnotist and spiritual counselor, Madonna Kettler.

  Before meeting Madonna, I had many misconceptions concerning hypnosis. I’d heard of people being hypnotized to feel nauseous when they smoked or to think that cigarettes tasted like liver sausage. I’d seen stage acts where people were made to bark like dogs and do other outrageous things. I didn’t know what to expect but, after almost 20 years of trying to kick the habit, I was desperate.

  What Madonna did was to help me relax into a hypnotic state that is similar to becoming completely absorbed in a movie or a book. In other words, it represents a concentration of attention. She began making strong, positive, life-affirming statements. It’s interesting to note that most of these suggestions did not specifically refer to smoking.
She said, “…Your mind knows the exact remedies you need for a totally healthful way of life. Your subconscious mind possesses an inner, self-correcting system that is activating right now to realign past patterns and reshape your future. By choosing and developing healthful goals, and through clear thinking, you begin a new life, setting new objectives and with amazing momentum move in these directions…”

  The entire session lasted a little about an hour and was recorded on audiocassette from beginning to end. Afterward, Madonna gave me the tape and instructed me to listen to it twice a day. I was to keep smoking until I “knew” it was time to put the cigarettes down permanently with out stress. I wondered if this was for real. I didn’t feel any different.
For the next four months, I listened to my tape religiously. I continued to smoke my usual two packs a day. I became the butt of many jokes among friends and acquaintances who kept asking, “Say, Linda, how’s that quitting smoking coming along? Is it late to get your money back? I think you‘ve become addicted to that tape…”
Then it happened. I quit cigarettes. Then, I quit caffeine. Then, I quit fashion magazines. Then, I quit believing I had to be poor to be pure.

  Then, I quit one thing after another that stood between me and the life I longed to live. I quit addictions I didn’t even know I had. I quit associating with people who made me feel bad about myself. I quit being afraid.

  Maybe you’re one of those people who doesn’t believe in hypnosis, or creative visualization, or affirmations. Well, guess what? Whether we believe in it or not, we’re all being hypnotized virtually every moment of every day of our lives. We, often unconsciously, recall the voices of our parents, our teachers, our peers, etc. and play those tapes over and over again in our brains. What are they saying? Is it positive or negative? Numbing out those voices only buries them deeper. Furthermore, we’re bombarded constantly by audio and visual media messages designed to make us feel bad about ourselves so that we can then be convinced into buying whatever they’re selling (i.e., alcohol, cigarettes, sexual aids, etc.) to “fix” what’s wrong with us. Popular songs, which provide much of the background music for our lives, almost invariably describe relationships that are addictive, touting instant love (or intimacy) and suffering.

  These forms of mind control definitely work on us but, clearly, they do not work for us. The worse we feel, the more we want to numb out. The more we numb out, the farther we distance ourselves from our true selves and God. That makes us feel worse and leaves us even more vulnerable to the effects of negative brainwashing and craving an escape.

  My life has changed dramatically as a result of reprogramming my subconscious mind. I continue to experiment enthusiastically with incorporating various techniques into every aspect of my existence. Even my work as a professional photographer has evolved into a healing art as a result. I don’t just take great pictures. My goal is to capture images that provide a concrete form of creative visualization to help my clients and my audience begin to see themselves and the world in a “whole” new way.
  Paul wrote, “Be ye transformed by the renewal of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)
  Sister Hazel wrote, “If you want to be somebody else, change your mind.”

  All addictions will eventually kill you. Even in an addictive relationship, the stress will kill you. In the meantime, living a powerless non-life disconnected from God is a tragedy I its own right. What are you addicted to? Change your mind. I dare you!

  Linda Lee is an award-winning photographer who specializes in unique portraiture and the photo-journaling of weddings and events. Many of her images are available as fine are through her studio in Woodbury and other local galleries. She is the owner of Real Life Photography and may be reached at (651) 578-9774.
Copyright 2001 Linda Lee - Reprinted from the October 2001 issue of the Edge with permission.

Contact Madonna Kettler

(575) 534-1291 (NM)
(612) 709-5578 (Cell)

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