I first met Jane over 15 years ago when I was a fashion designer and she was my life model. It’s amazing but never surprising to see how people develop and change and through that time, love and friendship can endure. Here we are now, sitting opposite each other with so much of the journey travelled across the world and in living many lives. She always did have deep blue eyes that draw you in as she looks at you and today it’s no different. Perhaps I should be nervous at the fact she’s an expert in hypnosis and neuro linguistics. It’s no wonder she found her way there, the combination of her intensity and her linguistic ability. No wonder I fell in love with her all those years ago. That’s why she’s back here today: to share a glimpse of those enigmatic blue-pool eyes, what makes her tick, (if that’s at all possible) and to put the finishing touches on our up-coming book. A long awaited joint venture. She is a regular contributor of short stories and poetry exclusive to The Pandorian and I’m lucky to catch her in London, in between international training and international clients.
PP. Is Jane your real name?
JLN. Yes, but I have been known by many others in the past, Nellie, Nadia, Little Yeti to name a few.
PP. You are a lady of many talents, where do we start?
JLN. At the beginning is usual so why not start at the end? Right now, my qualifications and passions lie in Neuro Linguistic Programming (I am one of the few trainers in UK that can offer NVQ accreditation), Clinical Hypnotherapy – I’ve got an international practice – and Forensic Investigative Hypnosis all of which give me a different way of looking at the world which I guess must come out in my writing and now the beginning bit: I’ve always wanted to write. I’ve written for as long as I remember being able to read.
PP. Where does your love for words and language, written and spoken come from?
JLN. If I say it’s born inside me, I run the risk of sounding less than genuine but there are two memories that sit firmly on my shoulders. The first when I was seven years old and I picked up Tolkein’s Two Towers and began to create the images internally and then again about eighteen months later when I learned to read Chaucer with my mother, The Nun’s Priest’s Tale. The rhythm of the language and the pronunciation of the words captured me and from then on, nothing was out of bounds in a literary sense and all of it, every word and image became currency for expression or non-expression.
PP. Some of your poetry and short stories are autobiographical – does inspiration come from specific incidences or is it something else that inspires and how then do you process it for the page?
JLN. It’s true that I am often inspired by the variety of sights and sounds surrounding me but it’s rarely about me. I feel as if the autobiographical detail is more of a stepping stone to the message I’m giving, the story I might be telling or the image I want to paint internally. I have worked on developing my sensory acuity and due to that –I am much more aware of the smell or texture or sound that enters. This has facilitated a vocabulary I enjoy and can use reasonably effectively. Some of my favourite pieces of work however are completely based on others – for example ‘How Many Hats’ was inspired by Yusef Islam (Cat Stevens) and his work in the Baltic States. As for process, when I was 15, I had to write in black bound non-ruled notebooks, in my 30’s I used to insist on a manual typewriter as I lived in the Marshall Islands, not always with electricity, coconut tree overhead, sashimi in the ice-box and lots of damp sheets of A4 running through the Olivetti. Around that time, the American poet P.K. Harmon taught me a lot about discipline and being unafraid to edit and change and without him I doubt I’d have been as successful. However, today, it’s as and when I have time. There is no process per say, just the urge to record an overwhelming monologue as I hear the words in my head, ready for the page. I have sometimes dreamt whole poems and pages and woken up to write them down. I love those moments. I do fall in love though, each time I’m writing – even if it’s painful – it’s like the pain of love.
PP. Is love painful?
JLN. Every minute, even in its beauty and simplicity, because there is no today without a tomorrow and there is no life without death. Being in love is forever double checking that I do not destroy that which I love… Now, I’m thinking about it, I like the pain of it. I like the constant reminder of it. I’m lucky to feel it.
PP. What is your definition of home?
JLN. This is a very difficult question to answer. After being raised in England, Zambia and South Africa and then as an adult – living in England and the Pacific Islands, working in Africa, Europe and now living in the Outback in Queensland, Australia, I am confused as to how to answer this honestly. Part of me thinks I should say Australia because that’s where my husband and I officially live at the moment. I used to say home is where the books are and in the sound of ukuleles, but now I’ve said that out loud, it isn’t any of those things any more. Home for me is transient. When I’m in London, I feel at home sitting in Old Compton Street, glass of rosé in hand viewing the world with a dear friend; when I’m in Scotland, home is my brother’s smile. When I’m in Australia,feeling like an immigrant is home.
But if home is where the heart is, where the soul feels safe, every day then, the only constant home is the sound of my husband’s voice, the knowledge of his body around mine and my laptop, storing my words and keeping me connected to those I love.
PP. Should I be scared looking in your eyes?
JLN. Scared? No, but as you sit here with me now, feeling just a little more comfortable, you may begin to wonder why it is that you can feel so relaxed with me… I guess you’re wondering… if I have hypnotised you or whether I could hypnotise you… but in truth… it’s you that does the hypnotising. I’m just a facilitator to a gentle, safe, relaxing, comfortable space… how does that make you feel? If you’re considering hypnosis, let me just tell you that in Forensic hypnosis… we sometimes use non-verbal inductions… am I cobra dancing in front of you? No…I don’t need to be… but as you feel the need to drop your shoulders… keep on writing… because if you… like me… enjoy relaxing… it’s easy to do…
PP. How did you get involved in hypnosis and now that you are professional practitioner and trainer, what kind of people come to you and for what kind of help?
JLN. Like many practitioners I stumbled across hypnosis in my own therapy. Through Neuro Linguistic Programming and Hypnosis I overcame many problems and traumatic memories very quickly and was able to find the better version of myself inside. Most importantly, a version of myself that could be productive, happy and continue to be creative. I was always worried that my creativity was connected with the darkness inside me but Hypnosis and NLP actually helped me to source my creativity more easily, without wine and smokes and the anguish of depressive states. Once I knew myself better, and bearing in mind that I was disillusioned with teaching (even though I had taught successfully at Primary, Secondary and Tertiary levels) this seemed like a calling, a vocation, a way to work with stories and metaphor for healing and a way to utilise language with all its nuances and power as the energy behind decisions and choices. I think it’s incredibly important to understand that we all have choices. Hypnosis and NLP has allowed me the vocabulary to effect the choice of change in others.
The Forensic Investigative Hypnosis is a specific skill and is used in conjunction with Law enforcement agencies for ‘memory retrieval’ but I’m bound by law not to discuss the details of cases I have been involved with. As for those who come to see me, obviously there’s what you might call the ‘bread and butter’ of any hypnotherapist/nlp practitioner’s work at a Master level- weight loss, smoking cessation, fears and phobias, motivation issues but I also deal with Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as the family members so that strategies can be put into place and people can remove the negative emotional attachments to pain. I enjoy the training aspect too and it’s interesting that most of my ‘students’ come from a business background, learning to manipulate language to effect change both in themselves and their own client base.
What I do is largely content free so those who come to me know they don’t have to reveal what’s going on inside in order to change their responses. How could I possibly know what it’s like to be a divorced father, missing his children and disenfranchised through the legal system? How can I possibly know what it feels like to be ostracised due to my sexual preferences? I don’t, but I do know how to re-pattern reactions and that’s what I do best. I help others re-pattern their reactions, memories, behaviour and ultimately, their ability to choose and make decisions which are productive for themselves, whether it is getting a hole in one on the 18th green or coming to terms with years of trauma. The language, its syntax and the power within magical linguistic structures, together offer the key to helping all sorts of people (face to face and over the internet) find a sense of inner freedom.
PP. So can you help me to get rid of these extra kilos and get myself back into shape?
JLN. Of course! It’s really easy… when shall we start?
PP. How do people find out about you?
JLN. Through the usual advertising, I have a website and referrals – I’m happy to say that the majority of my business these days is through referrals.
PP. What is your favourite book?
JLN. Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne – I never tire of it and have an old battered copy in the shelf; well thumbed pages.
PP. Now what about your favourite food?
JLN. Fresh pasta or sashimi – it’s hard to choose between them.
PP. …and favourite Sex position?
JLN. I’m not telling you but there’s more than one.
PP. Have you got any advice?
JLN. It’s all about choice – so why not choose to be happy?
Sapphires dropped from our lips when we kissed.
Red Fire opals backlit our dreams of
Every beginning, every ending,
Every walk in darkened moonlight.
I am calling out in dreams, through sweat, on paper to have him hear…