Saturday, 21 August 2021

Practicing Freedom in Prison (Guest Post by Bryan Noonan)

Throughout my life, I've tried to control a lot of things. I suspect that this incessant need to control things comes from being raised in a home that often felt out of control. We never seemed to have enough money, my parent's relationship was always highly contentious, and nothing I did was ever good enough. I took the anxiety I felt as a child because of these situations into my adulthood. I tried to control relationships (to avoid abandonment), my work and finances (to avoid being poor), and my wife and children's behavior (to avoid looking bad to others).

All this effort to control things left me deeply unhappy, always anxious, and desperate to hold onto the fragile sense of control I had over life. My attempts to have power over my own life led me to abuse my power over others' lives. Eventually, this need to control my life and others' contributed to some very destructive decisions that earned me a 17-year prison sentence. It is while serving this sentence that I have learned to take an honest look at myself, to love myself, and to cultivate peace and freedom in my life.

In his book "The Untethered Soul," Michael Singer claims that the only way to find peace and contentment in life is to stop thinking about yourself. Prior to prison I was clearly unhappy and completely lacking peace. I was also consumed with myself. I had to be lord of my life. That meant I spent an inordinate amount of energy trying to change things over which I had no control.

As Singer explains, much of my thoughts and behaviors were shaped by energy patterns I had developed in my childhood. I had spent so much energy in the past resisting difficult situations and emotions that those points of resistance defined how I processed life. Every time something unpleasant came up in my life, my old resistance patterns caused me to revert to, "I must try to control this." Of course, so much about life is outside of our control, so my patterns of resistance simply grew stronger.

I don't condemn myself for these patterns because I know they were meant to protect and defend me, even while they really caused me harm. Rather than experience the emotional vulnerability of loss, of conflict, of lack, I walled myself off with an (un)healthy dose of physical and emotional control. I resisted every obstacle to what I thought would give me happiness. The problem is that after every battle of resistance, there is always more to resist. It was an incessant war against everything that sought to disturb my understanding of what would bring me peace.

I thought financial success would bring peace, but it simply brings a different set of stresses. I thought if people behaved how I wanted them to, I'd be happy. But there is little joy in inauthentic relationships. Success might have earned the praise of others, but it didn't make me like myself any more. I still doubted myself and felt like I was never good enough. And there's nothing like a prison sentence to confirm that notion.

Prison itself tends to feed a fantasy world of "what-ifs" and "some days." Daily life in prison leaves little joy in its wake. But it is in prison where I learned how important perspective is to happiness. When I lost control of so much in my life and learned to stop resisting things I could no longer control, I discovered that when I accept what I can't control I am free to find joy in what's left. And when I have trouble accepting something, I am learning to simply not resist it. For me, there's a distinction.

Refusing to resist things I can't control is not always easy, but as Singer points out, maintaining an open heart and mind makes nonresistance easier. It also leads to greatly reduced anxiety, and greater energy, peace, and contentment. Rather than complaining about (resisting) what I don't like in life, I'm free to feel and express gratefulness for even the little things. Sunrises and sunsets, blooming flowers, a gentle breeze on a hot day, an unexpected smile or kind word, the gift of friendship, books like Singer's that help me learn to move beyond myself, and so many other simple things now fill my heart with gratefulness.

Learning to live a life of non-resistance has also freed me to live out my faith more authentically, which means being others-centered rather than self-centered. It frees me to love difficult people, to see and take opportunities to be kind to others, and to simply surrender to the work of the Spirit through me.

Today, I'm still a work in progress, but I also feel a much greater sense of peace in my life, even in prison. My future after prison is uncertain, but I feel much greater confidence in facing life, with its uncertainties, with acceptance. Before I even exit prison, I'm already practicing what it means to live free.


Bryan Noonan is co-author of "Insider's Guide to Prison Life" and author of the blog,

Monday, 23 March 2020

We are all in this together

Life will never be the same again. It came out of nowhere. Priorities have changed, things that used to be important are just not anymore. Maslow's hierarchy of needs comes into play here because we all have been forced to go back to the bottom of the pyramid where we need food and water and safety/predictability. It doesn't seem that important any more if I feel belonging or feel successful.

As a Therapist, it feels a bit as through the rug was pulled out from under me, because a world event like this brings us all to our knees, nobody is immune to the health risks or the anxiety. I'm being forced to look at life from a new angle and to be more vulnerable, not only with my clients, but with my children. 

I used to be able to say that everything is going to be okay and believe it myself, I did try to shelter my kids as much as I could from the harsh realities of life, but I can't do that any longer. My goal for as long as I can remember is to feel better and to help others feel better too. That turned into healing from trauma. Now we must find a way to thrive during trauma. 

We are looking at months at home. That doesn't scare me, I'm blessed to live with my kids. What scares me most is the possibility of running out of food/water and having the clinic/hospital be quite different than what we are used to depending on. Knowing that people in my circle may die is very sad. I am not afraid of death when it comes to me, but I know how much it hurts to lose someone you love. 

How does one process something of this magnitude? I keep going through the stages of grief. Shock/denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. I see my kids going through them too, and everyone really. We've been thrown into a new way of life. 

I feel gratitude and my heart goes out to the health care workers and their families. There are so many other people too, who find themselves stuck somewhere with people who are expressing toxic and dangerous behavior. People who are not with those they love and don't have access to communicate with them. I wish I could help them all. 

It is a helpless feeling. How can I go from victim mode into survivor, or thriving? What does it mean to thrive? It means something different than it used to. We are all being forced to go inside literally and figuratively. How to be aware of our thoughts and redirect them, to appreciate the good we do have, to accept our new reality while doing what we can do to take care of us and those we love. 

We are all in this together. What a journey. 
For a free 1 hour Guided Meditation that I created last week to help ease the anxiety we are all facing, click here:

Chantelle Neufeld
Online Hypnotherapist

Monday, 13 January 2020

What are the Benefits to Guided Meditation?

I used to wonder why I could be completely miserable when I went to bed, and then wake up the next morning feeling fine. What I didn't know is that while we're sleeping, the memories of the day are being processed and transferred from the conscious mind to the subconscious mind, and that while we dream we are able to actually process and release negative emotion.

In the guided meditation classes that I've been leading, some people get so relaxed that they have fallen asleep and have felt like they missed something, but in fact, the subconscious mind is always listening and I know that those who drift in and out of sleep during the class are getting the greater benefit of the guided meditation. Guided meditation feels like a Spa for the Mind.

There are different types of brainwaves that we move in and out of every day. Beta is our alert state where we use our conscious mind the most. Alpha is when we're relaxed enough to meditate but are still awake. Theta is the state people access when they choose to follow the directions of a guided meditation or when they dream during the night, and Delta is experienced in a deep, dreamless sleep.

During a guided meditation, theta brain waves allow us to access our intuition, emotional connection, creativity, and deep mental and physical relaxation which reduce stress and anxiety levels. Meditation balances your left and right brain hemispheres resulting in better mental health.

Thomas Edison once said: "Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious." If you set an intention before a guided meditation or before you go to bed, something that's bothering you, a problem to work through, or something to let go of, you'll wake up with answers, feeling rested and feeling really good because meditation naturally boosts endorphins and serotonin, and lowers the stress hormone cortisol.

A guided meditation is like telling your mind what to dream. If you rate your problem before meditation from 1-10 of how much it bothers you, and then rate it after, the number will go down. If you feel like you have a never ending list of things to do before meditation, after it feels like there is really not that much to do, or that only a few things are important to focus on. There is a feeling of lightness emotionally, mentally and physically.

For the best guided meditation, go to a Hypnotherapist because they are trained in language patterns on how to talk to the brain. There are certain words and phrases that the subconscious mind listens to. Your subconscious mind is working non-stop to protect you and won't let you accept anything that goes against your beliefs.

For deep emotional healing, I've experienced lasting results with a 1:1 session with a Hypnotherapist who is trained in how to access the subconscious mind. Hypnotherapy has the ability to neutralize emotion from a traumatic memory, forming new pathways in the mind, using a comfortable, dissociative process.

I've helped hundreds of people using Hypnotherapy during an online video call and I'd love to talk with you about how to feel peace of mind after trauma and take away the hurts from the past. Free consultation is available. My website is

Friday, 6 December 2019

Morning Meditation Musings

This morning in my meditation, I visited a forest that I went to as a child on a homeschool field trip.

Walking along the path I came to a log that I turned over and it uncovered a bunch of little bugs. To me this symbolized that there is a lot going on under the surface, things we can’t see, all working together in nature.

I walked a bit further down the path and came to an indoor place where someone made this big box with several hand-sized holes, it was a guessing game, to put your hand in and feel something and guess what it was.

I reached in and touched what seemed to be a fuzzy bear. I was afraid. But it was an illusion. There was no bear in there. How often are our fears just an illusion?

Yesterday I learned that our Attention needs to match our Intention. We have the power to direct our attention, not only to see life from various perspectives but to focus on our Intention for the day and create with a childlike attitude of play.

The expectations I had of my parents were heavy, for both me and them. I started having compassion on myself when I knew what I wanted to do but didn’t do it. I realized that my subconscious mind was not aligned with it yet. I saw my parents as being the same way, human. They were and are doing the best they can.

Obligation is heavy. I find that the more I release my parents from my expectations of them, the more I release myself from feeling that I must be everything to my kids. It’s new to me, to reframe that responsibility. That my happiness is my responsibility and other’s happiness is their responsibility.

We can only pay attention to about 7 things at a time, and if coping strategies based on trauma from the past is taking up a lot of that space, then there isn’t room for the ideal things of life.

When I was a kid, I would have nightmares. One night I figured out that when I realized it was a dream, all I had to do was blink really hard, and I would wake up.

Now that I’m an adult, and my life starts to feel overwhelming, I know that meditation (1 conscious breath or more) will provide relief from that overwhelm. That I can go from drowning and struggling, to relaxing and floating.

The feeling like I should be somewhere else, doing something else has been with me most of my life. I know I’m not alone in this. It’s childhood programming.

What’s been helping me lately is the advice from Frozen 2: Just do the next right thing. There are a million things we could do and of course that’s overwhelming. How can we be present if we feel like we should be doing something else?

Mindfulness is focusing on one thing at a time. We can’t do much more than that anyway. I still like to feel like I’m multitasking though. It does make me feel good to know that when I’m doing housework, it’s actually self-care.

How is housework self-care? I’m getting exercise and practicing mindfulness by focusing on the task. It’s also clearing my mind when I do housework and providing better energy for my environment.

Things I used to complain about (like housework) I’m realizing that it is in my power to shift my perspective and see the lesson in it.

Even when I’m feeling depressed, that used to make me feel like everything was hopeless, but now I see it as the confusion before clarity, that there is a huge life lesson right around the corner. Life is just like that, the storm and then the rainbow and sunshine.

Seeing life as the duality between good and bad has been so helpful to me. That acceptance, not only of life, but of myself. For so long I had disowned the parts of myself that I was taught were bad. For example, anger. Anger is to protect our boundaries, it’s a very needed thing, within reason.

I used to think there were some people who had life all figured out and that all their experiences were positive, but that’s ridiculous. We are all human and we all experience the full range of emotions and circumstances.

We are not really in control of anything except our attitude/perspective, to observe our thoughts and focus our attention on what we choose.

There is always a way to take the next step. If we look for the reasons why we can’t do something, of course that’s all we’ll see. But if we look for what we can do, what resources are already available to us, we will see new possibilities that we were blinded to previously.

Abundance is more than money, look at all the things that money can’t buy, and we have more abundance than most millionaires. What we ask for shows up in ways we can’t imagine.

When we appreciate what we have, it’s like installing an app in our brain that is running in the background all day, making us aware of new possibilities and opportunities.

What did you used to imagine or draw as a child? Take a few minutes to do that today. Remember what it was like to lose yourself in creating for fun. Write or draw the way you want to feel, as if you’ve already experienced it.

Until next time, Keep following your heart-song.

Friday, 1 November 2019

The GPS of your Mind

I like to think of the mind as an Iceberg. 5% is the Conscious Mind, above sea level (or "see" level) the part that we can see or are aware of. 95% is the Subconscious Mind, which is under the water and we are not aware of it.

I remember my oldest 2 daughters learning how to drive. When they first got behind the steering wheel, they drove very much with their conscious mind. They were very aware of every little detail, what pedal to push, what gear to shift to, if there were pedestrians around, if they had the right of way, what color the light was, if they were driving in the right lane, etc.

After they had been driving for a while, they started driving with their subconscious mind. They had memorized what to do in certain situations, they could carry on a conversation about something else and automatically choose the right option in the moment, without having to think it through. It was like they had programmed their autopilot.

Have you ever started seeing a certain color of car all of a sudden after shopping for or buying a car of that color? That's because you've brought it to the attention of your Reticular Activating System, telling it that the information is more important than other information coming in.

We have millions of bits of information coming into our minds from all of our senses every moment, but we can only keep about 7 (plus or minus 2) in our mind at one time, any more than that and it will cause overload, and the conscious mind shifts to the subconscious mind, causing us to eat something unhealthy or watch Netflix when we had planned to be more productive.

Your internal GPS in your brain is called The Reticular Activating System. I like to call it "The RAS" (pronounced Raz) The RAS is a bundle of nerves going into your brain that filters out the million bits of information that are constantly coming into our mind through our 5 senses.

It only shows us what is important, such as if someone says your name, you're more likely to pay attention, than if someone else's name was mentioned. Irrelevant information goes to the Subconscious Mind.

The RAS gives you more of what you pay attention to (what you feel and believe) and it can't tell the difference if you want it or not, it just gives you more of what you've paid attention to.

Do you want your Self-driving car to take you wherever the wind blows, or wherever others want you to go? Or do you want to program your GPS to take you where you want to go in life?

All you have to do is decide where you want to go, or what you want and then don't worry about the how, that will all be brought to your awareness now that you've told your RAS what to pay attention to, what is important to you.

For example: I wanted to be a public speaker. I focused on that and opportunities came my way that I said yes to. I was scared to do things for the first time, but I did it anyway.

What you resist, persists. It's better to focus on what you want, than on what you don't want.

If I told you "Don't think about the Elephant" your Subconscious Mind hears "Elephant" and will think about it anyway. So consider shift your thinking and focus on what you DO want.

Many of us spend more time complaining about what we don't want, and then wonder why more of what we don't want, keeps on showing up! That is why people who have figured out the secret of being grateful for what they have, keep having more miracles show up for them.

Think of your Conscious Mind as a gardener, planting seeds. Your subconscious Mind is the soil, it just gives you more of whatever you plant. So if you plant "I don't want to be fat" it'll just give you more fat LOL If you plant "I want to be healthy" then it will give you more opportunities to choose healthy options.

"Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, you can grow flowers or you can grow weeds" ~ Osho

Thursday, 12 September 2019

The Intention of Nourishment in Your Morning Routine

I know I'm not alone in this.

Wanting to feel good emotionally, wanting to use my time wisely, savoring the silence when the rest of the family is sleeping or the kids are at school.

Everyone has to find what works for them, trial and error, as our journey continues, our routines tend to change with the season we find ourselves in.

About a year ago when I was at a John Maxwell event, a speaker named Dan Pink really caught my attention with his idea.

Dan Pink has written a number of amazing books, but the topic he was speaking on was "The Science of Perfect Timing." He did a lot of research in all sorts of groups of people and found similar results in when they were most productive. It was in the morning.

From now on I will refer to my morning as my Creative Time. Even in schools, the studies showed that kids did better on tests in the morning. I've implemented this idea over the past year, combined with other ideas like blocks of time to focus on certain things.

Us mothers wear so many hats throughout our day. It creates overwhelm. I know that sometimes we need to wear several hats at once but my intention is to wear 1 hat at a time.

I decided to divide my day into 3 hour blocks of time and then put 6 things I'd like to do in those blocks of time (half hour for each.) I have never followed this perfectly, but since setting the intention, every day my life is getting more and more the way I want my life to look!

I took a few minutes to draw my weekday, work from home schedule, so you can see what it looks like if you'd like ideas. My weekend is more about friends and family, either relaxing or doing the miscellaneous things that come up.

It's very exciting to create the life I want! I have taken this a step further with visualization. All the successful people agree that imagining the way you want things to be or how you want to feel actually creates our reality.

Being a Hypnotherapist, I decided to record my goals and listen to them as I go to sleep at night, to keep my mind from wandering or slipping into anxiety.
(I don't want to create that stuff - yikes!)

It is really fun to imagine my fantasy life, I used to do this as a kid actually. I'd build and design houses in my mind, the next day I would sketch it. It made me very happy.

I'm currently living in a house very similar to the houses I designed in my mind way back then. A long house with a garage at the end. A developed basement, upstairs an open plan with the kitchen living room in the front, and a hallway with bedrooms in the back of the house.

One thing I believe in the most is that we are to follow what excites our spirit, and I was thinking one day, what if I could share this life hack with others? Not only share the blocks of time with the different hats, but also the bedtime recording.

I decided to offer my new product "Hypnogoalz!" I'm not sure if this will be for a limited time, but for now let's see how this goes.

Here's the deal: You book an appointment. We talk on the phone or video call (your choice) and determine what your values and goals are. Don't worry if you haven't figured it out yet, I can help with this. Then I make a recording and send it to you!

I've found that Intention is the magic that combines flow and structure. This gives you flexibility but also direction.

The last few months I've had an accountability partner that I text every evening with my intentions for the next day and how many of my intentions I completed that day. It's been a lot of fun!

You can use it to focus on the small things that don't take much time and keep getting put off, you can use it to make sure you include fun in your life, or you can use it for prioritizing your big projects, or something else completely.

It's time for me to go to the next item on my list. If you enjoyed these life hacks, please drop me a note somewhere, here or my website or look me up on social media. I look forward to connecting with you!

Until next time, keep following your heart-song.

~ Chantelle

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

How to Understand Yourself and Others Better


Long story short: People's behavior is based on their past experience, personality and beliefs.

Let me explain how this works...

In the shower this morning I had a realization about curiosity and how it has played a part in me experiencing life in a much more positive way than I used to.

I was thinking about when I've had a productive and happy day, and I'm super grateful for a good day because it seemed like a random thing that I had no control over. But did I?

Were there specific things I did that made me have more energy and creativity than usual?

Keeping track or looking back to consider if there were any common ingredients of a happy day lead me to see that the food I ate and how active I was during the day had a direct effect on my mood and productivity.

(Journaling for the win!)

I got to thinking about how else curiosity served me. Well, it made me less judgemental about myself and others.

In the past, when something "bad" was said or done, my immediate response was no longer "this must mean I am a bad person, or they are a bad person" with the belief that it was a deliberate choice to do or say the bad thing.

Now my first thought is: Why did I respond that way, or why did they respond that way?

What happened in the past that made it seem like the reasonable thing to do in that situation?

Was I just doing what had been modeled to me by my parents? Was I triggered by a traumatic event in the past and subconsciously I reacted without thinking it through?

Most people, (including myself for most of my life) don't realize that they only use their conscious mind about 5% of the time, making rational, well thought out decisions.

Almost all of our behavior is based on our subconscious autopilot. I learned this from the NLP Model of Communication, which I refer to as "THE FILTERS OF OUR MIND" I now refer to filters in this way every single day.

Here's how it works:

Our Subconscious Mind is taking in 40 million bits of information every second, it needs a filter to let our conscious mind take in only what is important.

This filter's big name is called The Reticular Activating System, also known as "The RAS."

We can only handle about 7 things on our mind at one time, any more than that and we're overwhelmed and start to shut down, so it's a good thing we have this filter and in future blog posts I'll elaborate as to how you can program your mind to see what you want it to see.

You have control of what the RAS thinks is important to make you consciously aware of. Have you ever bought a red car and then all of a sudden you see red cars everywhere that you didn't notice before? That is The RAS in action.

We take in all this information through our senses, the info then passes through the filters of our mind. The filters are:

  • Past Experience
  • Beliefs
  • Values
  • Personality

After the information passes through our filters,
The filters then delete, distort, and generalize the information,
then it turns into a thought, (about the "important" information the RAS let through)
which produces an emotion,
which also has a physiological response (the body reacts too)
and results in behavior (both words and actions.)

This all happens almost instantly.

Knowing this information has helped me understand myself and others so much better.

People with trauma in their past (which means all of us at some point) get triggered by some information coming in though their senses (that happened at the same time as their trauma) and so their knee-jerk reaction is sometimes drastic and misunderstood by others.

It often confuses the person it happens to, because they don't consciously remember their trauma or know what their triggers are, all they know is that all of a sudden they feel out of control of how they feel and respond.

The reason why this is, is because the body (which is our subconscious mind) always remembers.

The electrical charge of the trauma is stuck in the bubble of emotion that gets trapped in the body when its not allowed to be felt or processed at the time, or if it wasn't safe as a child to express feelings.

All of this stuck emotion in the body can lead to mental health issues and unexplained physical health issues.

The good news is that Hypnotherapy is a way to guide a client to access their Subconscious Mind and without re-living the trauma.

Hypnotherapy can comfortably pop those bubbles of emotion, releasing the electrical charge and leaving the mind and body feeling lighter and happier. That is why I can guarantee you'll feel better after a session with me, if you follow the directions I give.

You'll be in complete control the whole time, will be having a conversation with me in a relaxed state of mind and body and be able to remember everything when you wake up.

All changes made in your mindset will be done by you, I am only like a tour guide showing you where to look and how to feel relaxed. You can't be hypnotized unless you choose to be (or choose to sit under preaching lol, but that's a discussion for another day)

A lot of the time my clients do not consciously remember their trauma, which is causing the behavior or physical reaction like phobias, panic attacks, angry outbursts, uncontrollable crying from sadness or the heaviness of guilt, causing them to find distraction and addiction.

You'd be surprised how many people have blocked out their childhood from their memory, that is the Subconscious Mind's way of keeping them safe.

The primary purpose of it is to keep you safe, which is why our coping mechanisms we needed in childhood, may still be on autopilot as adults, not serving you anymore, and it's a quick and comfortable fix with Hypnotherapy.

Accessing your Subconscious Mind, through an online Hypnotherapy session with me, you will be able to neutralize the electrical charge that was trapped, causing the emotions that are weighing you down to be released, and therefore your physical response (like a panic attack) would no longer happen.

Back to the topic of Curiosity. The most life-changing thing for me is to be curious about my own thoughts instead of judging or resisting them.

I used to think my thoughts were me. I'd attach to them and feel guilty for even having them.

Once I was introduced to the concept that thoughts and emotions were not me (through meditation, watching my thoughts go by and returning to focusing on my breathing) it was a complete transformation in how I viewed the world.

Did you know that thoughts and emotions only have a very short life span (around 90 seconds) if we do not attach to them and believe them?

If we either don't pay it any attention or give it any energy, if we just notice that there is a passing thought there and return to focusing on our breathing in the moment, it just doesn't bother you for long.

Once I learned that, I knew that I had the power to choose a new thought or belief that I wanted to replace the old one. I just said CANCEL. And then said the new belief that I wanted. I spoke my truth instead of the one I was programmed with.

The guilt was gone because I then knew that the thought was not me, it was just passing through from a past experience, a belief I had formed after trauma, that was most likely not true.

Resisting a thought makes it grow stronger, so the practice of returning to the breath and allowing the thought to pass through, to feel it without attaching to it, made life way easier.

No wonder successful people attribute meditation as being an essential part of their life!

I am a sensitive person and I used to take everything personally that others said about me, but now I've realized that other people's opinions have zero to do with me and everything to do with their filters.

Letting others be the way they are, without feeling the need to correct them if my filters happen to be different - THAT is freeing. There's no way to change someone else's filters anyway, so why waste energy on it? Even as a Hypnotherapist, I do not have the ability to change someone else's mind.

All changes can only be made by you. I am only the guide. I've helped a lot of people feel better emotionally and shift a limiting belief to a more beneficial belief that the client would rather have.

Lets get you feeling better today, I look forward to connecting with you.

~ Chantelle