Hypnotism requires an observant mind and a careful touch. One local hypnotist is demonstrating that unfortunate circumstances don’t define the craft.
Nearly four years ago, hypnotist, author and Clinton resident Shawn Paulsen was unofficially diagnosed with a rare medical condition known as mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis and stroke-like episodes, or MELAS, causing him to lose 90 percent of his vision.
“My life was turned upside down,” Paulsen said. “Instead of starting a new chapter of my life, it was like starting a new book entirely. Everything is different now, but this experience has taught me a lot.”
Paulsen has been practicing the art of hypnosis for more than 15 years. He has performed in clubs and venues across the country. Although legally blind, Paulsen continues his hypnosis work with the assistance of his wife, Cindy Paulsen.
“It’s so much fun watching Shawn perform,” Cindy said. “I try to support him in every way and just feel blessed to watch him inspire others.”
Paulsen performs once a month at Wiseguys Comedy Club in Ogden. Additionally, he performs for county fairs and high school graduation parties.
According to Paulsen, without being able to see his audience or participants, hypnosis is a complicated process. He takes precautions that allow him to locate his participants on stage, such as marking them with fluorescent-colored wrist bands.
Paulsen uses three to four assistants who help him locate participants on stage, handle props, control music and sound and inform him of any unusual circumstances.
“His shows are hilarious,” Cameron Perkins, an attendee at a recent show, said. “He was so confident, I didn’t even know he was blind. I seriously have to tip my hat to someone who can pull that off. Very impressive.”
According to Paulsen, losing his sight motivated him. His performances now come with his vision loss as a surprise. He refers to himself as an inspirational hypnotist.
“I continue to do shows, but when each performance is over, I give the audience a speech,” Paulsen said. “Something inspirational to let others know that tomorrow is a new day.”
Paulsen describes trials and adversities as obstacles that impact individuals on a daily basis, but maintains that responding to those challenges with a positive attitude can change one’s outlook on life.
Shortly after losing his sight, Paulsen wrote a book called “Why Not Me?” The book discusses fear, trust and illness. Additionally, it shares Paulsen’s view on choosing to be positive in the face of adversity. He has been nominated for an author award from Author Academy Awards.
“I guess if I could have someone take just one lesson from my book, it would be to live for the moment,” Paulsen said. “Every single moment. When life doesn’t go according to plan, make new plans. It’s as simple as that.”
To learn more about Paulsen and his inspirational hypnosis, visit www.Insightfully-Unsighted.blogspot.com.