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Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Putting mind over matter

Many years ago, I met a woman in a service club who was a hypnotherapist. She always had a smile on her face and was warm and welcoming. She made a living helping people harness the power of their thoughts to make real change in their lives, be it losing weight, overcoming fears, or quitting smoking. Her slogan was “use your mind for a change.” She helped people do just that, repeatedly. I never doubted her. I had learned early on how powerful our minds can be.

When I was nine years old, I was cast as Nancy in my fourth grade class production of Oliver Twist. Early in the rehearsal process, my teacher let us know we were failing terribly, saying only one person in the room seemed to really care about the play. In that moment, I took those words to heart and decided I was the person she meant. I spent the next several weeks learning every part and worried myself sick over the success of the performance. I stopped sleeping, became irritable, and increasingly nauseous, ultimately collapsing during dress rehearsal. I barely managed to convince my parents to let me go to school the next day for the actual performance. What I learned from that experience (besides the need to stay still after being “killed”- seems Nancy wiggled a bit after her death scene) was how the head affects the body.

About 10 years ago, my daughter began experiencing what can best be described as seizures. We became regulars at the emergency room as she would convulse and lose consciousness, writhing in pain. Initial tests suggested a bad gallbladder, which doctors removed, but she did not get better. She spent a couple of weeks at a regional children’s hospital undergoing a battery of tests. While the actual cause was never diagnosed, their conclusion was that she suffered from non- neurological seizures. She had been struggling through high school both socially and academically and she simply shut down. Her brain was coping with stress by physically taking her out of the game.



Another example of the power of the mind.

My husband loves to tell the story of the first man to run a mile in under four minutes. People simply did not believe it could be done until 1954, after nearly six decades of Olympic competition, when a man named Richard Bannister did just that. Interestingly, in the years following, some 1,400 male athletes have followed suit. What was once considered impossible is no longer even uncommon for the elite runner.



Last summer my daughter decided she was willing to put herself through the stress of academia once again. She harnessed a belief in herself as she enrolled in school to become a certified massage therapist while working nights and weekends to live on her own. She worked hard to overcome what was best described as the trauma associated with learning and pushed her way to success. She believed she could do it and she did. She graduated last week. She made up her mind and made a change.

A year ago, my first born shared a plan to tour the United States doing stand- up comedy. The “U.S. They” tour kicks off in a few days. There was never any sense of it being impossible. A plan was put together and set in motion. Adventure awaits.

I look at my children and find myself inspired to resurrect a dream or two of my own. So much in life comes down to believing or not believing in the possibility.

My older brother recently sent some pictures he found of me while looking through family albums. I had seen most of them before, but one caught me by surprise. The girl in this photo was about 20 years old, tan and poised. She had her entire life ahead of her. When I looked at that picture, I saw a girl who was fearless. That girl was bullet-proof. I am interested in reconnecting with the part of me that got lost somewhere along the way. I think it may be time to dust of the list of “I’m gonnas” that have been shelved far too long.

As we age, I think we let things like fear, practicality, or obligation get in the way. We put our bucket lists to the side and wait for some day. Our minds are not quite as sharp as they once were and are full of all the realities of what taking a chance can mean.

But I think I am (finally) ready to use mine, for a change.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com.


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