Is it really possible? Can it be so easy?
– Of course, I won’t stay long, just want to check out what is around this place. I’ve been here for a few hours and still don’t know what’s outside the cabin. By the way, I left the tea kettle to boil on the stove.
I give her a smile and open the wooden door, creaking softly on my way out. The wind blowing in that late autumn afternoon seemed to welcome my exit. The sun still had some power to shine, and the last hours of the day were supposed to be as pleasant as the whole day. I grabbed a black vest over my white t-shirt and headed out.
Six hours we had to drive to reach the cabin. From the moment we left the main road, the forest road snaked through the tall trees, and for several hours, only wild nature kept us company, waving discreetly through the car windows.
The cabin had been unvisited for more than four years, and from Alex’s descriptions, it was just what we needed for a peaceful weekend. Disconnected from civilization, no internet, no power, no phone signal. Luckily, with this 4WD car, we managed to get there. It’s a good thing we took his advice and rented it. I wouldn’t have been able to drive not even 20 meters on the forest road if I’d started with my car.
One step. One more. And another one. Since the beginning of the summer, I have wanted to return to the woods. Now it’s October, but I’m so happy that I still made it this year. The rustle of the alder leaves and dry branches seemed to form a symphony under thick mountain boots. One minute, two. Ten. And five more. For such a long time, I craved to smell the dry leaves. This scent brings back so many memories. I should get out of the city more often and make one trip at least once a month. Too much time at work, projects, and clients every day.
Ten more meters. And five more. I looked back, and the cabin was still there. It must have been about 100 meters. I could still see it. The smoke coming out of the chimney, billowing like a dance, the roof full of leaves, and the light from the burning candles almost turned everything into a fairytale. She doesn’t know yet, but a huge surprise will wait for her in the evening. Such a perfect day!
Another ten meters. And five more. Below, some brown and violet mushrooms were showing their colors, seemingly defying the weight of the rug of leaves. How many are there? I know these from my holidays when I used to go with Grandpa through the woods. I’ll just take two to show Elena. They are so pretty!
What did you say? Didn’t you tell me you wanted to stay in the cabin?
What? I can’t hear you.
Feel like playing? Ha, ha, the leaves betrayed you. You’ll see what I’ll do after I catch you.
A second. That’s all it took. One second.
It took me only one second to understand how it feels when time stops. In one second, everything froze and melted back again. My heart and breath stopped, and my whole body froze. Adrenaline rushed in, and the galloping heart sent it to every living cell.
Oh, my God. My breathing was getting louder and louder. The rustle was getting closer, and the wolf wearing its fur like a cold, metal armor was only a few steps away. How was it possible for me not to hear it? And I am so far away… He came closer and closer, and his growl made me understand that it was there for one purpose only. To kill.
My God, are there more of them?
Another two? And two more?It’s full of them.
In a bit of a second, I climbed into the tree next to me, feeling that a hand lifted me from the drooling snout of the beast.
I was in the tree, and from the safeness of the branches, I saw the army of wolves beneath me. There were at least at least ten of them. How come I didn’t hear them? Have they reached our hut?
My God, yes… they’re also there. So many of them.
Where did they come from? How come I didn’t hear this army of starving creatures?
As the beasts clawed at me under the lifesaving tree, suddenly, it hit my head so hard I could barely hold myself on to the dry autumn branches.
What have I done? What have I done? Oh, my God! What have I done?
I’m screaming with rage, and when the pain takes over me, making everything feel as if there are -20 degrees, a dark question hits.
What will happen when Elena notices I’m not coming back?
She’ll go out and look for me around the cabin. Oh, my God. The beasts will attack her. Oh, My God, she doesn’t even suspect it.
I’m trapped in a tree, captured by my own fear, with no phone, not even a chance to send a message.
Can I go back? Can I save myself? What will I do tonight? Will the wolves still be here?
My God! Will I make it through the night?
The storm of dark thoughts began, leaving no place even for a tiny ray or a glimmer of hope.
Will we live? What will happen?
If I run to the hut, can I escape the hungry beasts? Is there any chance?
If only Elena wouldn’t get out of the cabin first.
The sun played its final part, and the last rays of sunshine seemed to predict the dark, stone-cold night. The shadows appeared one by one, as even they didn’t want to be part of what was to come.
Heartbroken, sad, and devastated.
This is what I felt in the tree when it came. A small hope arose in my mind, slowly whispering to me. Could I break a massive branch and use it as a weapon? Would it help me face the hungry creatures?
I don’t know, but I have to try. I must try to get to the cabin before Elena comes out and starts looking for me.
Slowly, slowly, climbing through the branches, I chose the piece of wood that would be my weapon, my companion in battle against the starving creatures.
Knock! I broke it! It’s big, and now it’s mine!
It’s two meters long, thick as a man’s hand. It’s my only chance.
If only Elena didn’t get out of the cabin.
I look around and see them. The beasts. More than ten wolves are circling the tree, and many more are near the cabin.
Does it really matter?
I breathe the cold air into my chest as if I don’t even want to feel what I’m about to do and notice that the temperature of the autumn evening doesn’t even affect me anymore. It doesn’t matter that I’m in a T-shirt I just close my eyes and start to breathe slowly.
I break another branch, which I will throw away: maybe I’ll create a diversion.
A long, deep breath from the cold air, and go. The little branch makes a sharp whistle, and all hell breaks loose at the touch of dry leaves.
A few wolves start in that direction, and I know it’s time. In one leap, I’m down from the tree, and as I land, I hit a wolf with the bat. The beast falls, and I know there’s still a chance.
I start running back to the cabin, knowing I have nothing to lose. At least Elena gets away. I jump over a stump, make two steps, and when another wolf appears, I let him know the other end of the branch.
Two down. There are… more. Many, many more.
I run over branches, over tree trunks, and I see her. The hut is close. 50 meters, and I’m there. I scream like a madman at the hungry beasts to let me go, but it seems more like I’m rousing them.
With my eyes fixed on the hut, a tear starts to run down my cheek. The handle of the wooden door begins to move.
If only you’d stay. Not long. Just ten more seconds.
Stay inside! I start to shout!
Staaayyy! I start to scream louder, but the door is still opening.
Why didn’t you stay there? Why did you stay there?
A cold claw grabs me from behind like a pliers, and a smell of filthy fur fills my lungs. What’s that? My legs stop obeying me, and I slip on something. It’s getting extremely hot, and everything gets so red all over me.
Everywhere! It’s over.
Lying on the ground, I look with a last strength towards the cabin. I can’t move anymore. They really got me. I feel my leg clamped in the beast’s claws, my blood dripping in spurts, and I see the clarity in my killer’s eyes. Millions of years of evolution have perfected this ferocious beast, and now, they’ve turned it into a fierce hunter. It’s over. All over.
If only they didn’t get Elena.
With one last glimpse, I look towards the cabin and notice how her denim jacket is torn on the floor.
The blood pours so fast, and I see how my body is being broken between pack members.
Elena… why didn’t you stay in the cabin… If only you would have escaped…
I look at her one more time and see how her warm smile leaves her smooth face, remaining only in my memory. Elena… why didn’t you stay in the cabin…
If you’ve read this far, get up, take a few steps around the room, and drink a glass of water. When you come back, read further, because… it’s never what it seems.
I hope you took my advice and drank the water.
Besides, even if it seems strange, I will ask you to think about five green vegetables. Now, please put them in alphabetical order. Or, why not arrange them according to their weight.
If you’ve done the exercise, you should know that this is meant to interrupt intense emotional patterns. In NLP we call it separator or braking state. We use it to switch from an emotionally intense state to a neutral state.
What you read before is a nightmare. Yes, it was a nightmare I had a few nights ago. I woke up cold in the middle of the night with a massive pain in my heart and indescribable sadness.
Because I understand how the mind works, I was able to break the negative emotional state.
It doesn’t matter what is real, it only matters what is in your mind.
Was the story real?
Yes, it was. Very real.
Did it really happen?
No. It happened only in my mind.
To get back from this nightmare, I used a technique that put me back in control because I decide how I feel.
The method in NLP is called working with submodalities and is designed to lower the emotion intensity. For such a thing to happen, you must modify how you perceive the experience. First, you no longer participate through your eyes but imagine yourself participating in the story as an observer.
In one way, we perceive the whole experience when we live it ourselves; in another, we perceive it when we are observers.
Let me give you an example: when are you most afraid? When you see a scary dog next to you, or when you see it 100 meters away?
It’s becoming more and more obvious.
If we additionally turn the images from color to black and white and make the film run slower and the sound silent, then the emotion diminishes even more.
If we also blur the whole image, the emotion diminishes even more.
That’s precisely what I used when I woke up from my nightmare in the middle of the night. I recalled the whole experience but from the observer’s point of view. I modified a few characteristics(color, sound, speed) and managed to change my emotions of fear, helplessness, and sadness in a very short time.
The method is simple and works almost every time. It’s an effective neuro-linguistic programming technique I use in one-on-one coaching sessions or teach in my NLP courses. Its purpose is to reduce the uncomfortable emotions associated with certain traumatic past experiences and break the negative pattern when we think about those events.
If you’re interested in how the mind works, neuro-linguistic programming, or personal development, drop me a line, and I’ll tell you more.
Do the exercise yourself with a negative past experience where you feel fear or sadness, and leave me a message with your experience.
Please don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself.