I don't know if it's because I'm in my fifties and I realize that life is winding down a bit, or if it's because I'm trying to overcome an uncontrollable urge to beat people to restaurant doors, but I decided to try hypnotherapy.
I met a fascinating hypnotherapist in my new office building, and a casual conversation about lunch turned into a moment of stress as I visualized all of the people entering Panera Bread ahead of me. When she asked why I was suddenly sweating, I explained my phobia and she offered a session of hypnotherapy.
She shared that we could work on my "every restaurant is a race" phobia or do a past life regression, where you visit yourself in a previous life.
So, I scheduled an appointment and uttered these inexplicable words -- "I want to try a past life regression."
Inexplicable because I was raised Southern Baptist, and we are a group that just recently accepted dancing as something that won't send you straight to hell. You can imagine that we're not particularly footloose about reincarnation.
Baptists have been promised heaven with golden streets and pearly gates, which makes the thought of karma and having to fix mistakes in another lifetime a little exhausting. We get to pray for forgiveness and move on up. We're not trading in heaven for another life of pain.
The day of my past life regression started with a basketball hoop falling on top of my new car. This reminded me of the time I skipped school to drink a six-pack of Grape Malt Duck. While others lounged on the beach, I lingered in the parking lot spreading my mistake all over the pavement. I was pretty sure God was already punishing me.
But as I entered the warm office of my colleague, leaned back in a recliner and accepted a blanket to cover me, I felt good in a terrified way.
It's true. My heart was pounding so loudly I kept thinking someone was knocking at the door.
I calmed down once my hypnotherapist promised that when this was over I wouldn't break into a chicken dance every time someone clapped their hands. As my breathing grew steady, my guide took me back to my early childhood.
I remembered being in my backyard in Southern California, wearing my gold and white striped Hang Ten shirt and brown cords. I told her that I was playing with my pet tumbleweed named Samantha and talking to the crows sitting on our telephone wires.
You can imagine why delving into this psyche caused my heart to start bumpin'.
She then said the magic words -- "Now let's move way back in time, before this life." Would I be Pocahontas? Or Xena the Warrior Princess? I don't care that she is fictional, I wanted to be her.
As I answered questions I was coherent as promised, though my responses sounded a lot like Lucy after too much Vitametavegamin.
My guide asked me to describe my surroundings. I visualized a wooden floor with the year 1831 on a board at the base of the wall. I saw a boot with a spur come into the room, attached to a very strong leg.
I hoped that boot belonged to me. But, no, it belonged to a man entering the classroom where I was the merely the school marm. I was speaking to a woman about her annoying child.
As I talked to the woman, the man with the big black boot shot her, which I found rather alarming and disappointing. My story climaxed early.
My dedicated guide sensed the violent direction, and gently carried me forward a few years. "What's going on now?" she asked. It was then that I discovered the man who did the shooting was the town Sheriff, and I had married him.
I guess it doesn't matter what century; we seem to always go for the bad boy.
I could see myself standing on the porch of a small shack, my calico dress blowing in the wind. I was pregnant, but all alone. Eventually, I realized the jerk had taken our only horse and left me on the plains.
I was Sara Plain and Pregnant.
Since I was all alone, I did the only logical thing. I ran into the vast desert. Yes, I ran until I could run no more.
Then I collapsed, and as I slowly died from thirst, my last vision was the sight of a crow standing behind a tumbleweed.
There you go. My past life was far more boring than my present life. I could have been anybody. I might have been Annie Oakley or an Amazon warrior.
But, alas, I was a knocked-up school teacher.
A friend of mine said that when she talked to her husband about doing a past life regression, he said, "Why is that every past life regression results in a person having been a King or Joan of Arc? Why isn't anybody that old farmer who fell into his pig pen and was eaten by his own hogs?"
Well, I was that normal person. I fell into a hog pen of my own making. My past life was a bad Lifetime movie.
What did my past life teach me?
I would choose this life all over again, minus menopause and Grape Malt Duck.
There's nothing more important than living in the present and creating something that is worth coming back to (just in case).
And, finally, there could be a reason why I had a pet tumbleweed, talked to crows, and have an inexplicable desire to buy a calico dress.