Off the Hook

Also printed in Hudson Valley’s Chronogram Magazine

Although you may work in a very respectable profession, it is also likely that at some point (and especially around the holidays), you have been a hooker. No, no, not in the street-walking sense, but on the energetic and emotional plane.

“Hooking” is a phenomenon in which a line of energy is cast from one person into another’s space where, like a fish hook, it attaches firmly into the solar plexus and/or other energy centers of the body. When someone hooks you, it feels like a tug in your center or on your entire being. It is often done unconsciously and is not necessarily bad. Sometimes being hooked feels nice, such as when someone is charming the pants off of you. Other times it feels awful, such as when someone lays a guilt-trip on you. When you are seduced, guilt-tripped or manipulated you have been hooked, and when you behave in these ways to others without conscious thought, you are the hooker.

Why is it important to be aware of hooking if we all do it anyway? Because being hooked knocks us off center, leaving us feeling either obsessed, cloudy or drained, and essentially powerless. When we feel powerless we act out of alignment with our truest selves. Hooking is generally initiated from insecurity or need and plugs right into those same aspects of ourselves. Very insecure people who are skilled at hooking will feel out for “holes” in another’s presence and attempt to “latch on” in order to boost their self-esteem. Competitive people, women especially (we have all seen this phenomenon enacted dramatically on soap operas), can hook with a piercing glance or remark that deflates the “hookee,” leaving them in a state of deep insecurity and self-doubt. Beauty magazines and advertisements can hook us by tapping into our need and sense of lack, and the holiday season, with its obligations and expectations, can leave us wide open to being hooked.

Other times we’re hooked through enchantment. A friend returned from a shamanic retreat to report that all the women in the group, many distinguished and married, transformed into panting puppies around the powerful leader. He observed the shaman energetically hook the women by seeing into them and giving them attention laced with sexual energy.

Sexual hooking is a very popular way to attract the opposite sex. When someone hooks you sexually, it feels like they have sent an electric charge running through your body. I love the energetic accuracy of the term “hooking up,” which describes the sexual relations of people who are not yet in a relationship. Although there are “hookless” ways to establish closeness and intimacy, hooking can eventually lead to meaningful relationships. But there is a difference between being “hooked on” someone and forming a healthy attachment to them. Attachment to another is a natural result of bonding with them, and develops over time with trust and sincere care.

The good news is, no one can hook you unless there is a space in you available for it. If you practice raising your awareness about where people hook you and how you let them, in time you can create a strength inside that leaves no place for the hooks to stick. If by the end of the holiday season you feel drained, and your energy field looks like a Christmas tree with everyone’s ornamental hooks hanging off your branches, it may be time to get serious about toughing up.

How to let yourself off the hook? Below are some things to keep in mind as you move through the holidays season.

By hook or by cook

This season if you are with people who like to hook you into feeling their negative energy, spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking. This way you can be social while being creatively engaged. Creativity requires focus and inspiration, two forces that can aid in the defense against hooks. If the situation in your household is especially challenging, read the book or watch the film “Like Water for Chocolate” for magical inspiration on how to manage dynamics through food preparation.

Hooked on fun

It is nearly impossible to hook someone when they are fully engaged in having fun, so have as much of it as you can.

Right hook

Feeling punched in the stomach by the hostile hook of a supposed loved one? Punch them back with your humor, directness and honesty. When I am aware of being painfully hooked, I like to pull out an imaginary dart from the place in my body where I feel the hook has entered, face the “hooker” and say with a penetrating smile, “I think this belongs to you.” In whatever way you can manage, let the impact of the hooker be known to them. Expressing directly how you feel without blame or expectation of changing the other is clean. Asking someone directly for what you want is clean. Both are great hook-less ways of communicating and strategies for getting the hook out.

Auric caulking

Sit quietly and use your meditative imagination to assess where the lapses or “holes” in your presence or energy field are and what they might look like. Then, again using your imagination and the materials and tools of your choice, seal them. Practice this on a regular basis until they stay sealed.

Holiday Hook-off

Observe how you try to hook people and vice versa as you move through the season. Be sure to let yourself off the hook for getting hooked by something or catching yourself hook another.

Happy, happy Holidays . . . And remember, Love Yourself no matter what.


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