Over the years I’ve been asked about the Sliding Doors movie and whether we can travel into parallel lives – you can, as your brain has quantum processing functions and can simulate all choices for you. I often use this technique when a client has a big decision to make, or when there is regret, doubt or anguish about a past decision. Below is a story I wrote on this theme.

Once upon a time there was a master magician who decided to create the most comprehensive training ground for his children to learn magic in.

You see, when you do magic, you are changing “What Is” to the way you want it to be. And then everyone has to live with “What it has become” unless they can find a way to change it back to “How it was”. As you can imagine not everyone can agree on “How it should be” or whether “How it is now” is better or worse than “How it was before”.

The magicians kids were still young and delighted in being able to magic the concepts of their imagination straight into reality. Before you knew it, the horse that was happily munching grass one minute was transformed into a bewildered moose. The rooster woke up one morning, stepped proudly on his perch to cock-a-doodle-doo and found that he could do naught but bark – creating mayhem among the hens. The dog’s ears were magicked into rabbit ears, while the poor donkey and goat were turned into rainbow coloured unicorns.

The poor animals were thoroughly confused and the magician’s home was overflowing with all sorts of contraptions. As he tripped over a powderpuff turned into toadstool, the magician decided enough was enough. He decided to create a separate realm for the children where they were free to magic whatever they liked, however they were not to leave the realm until they had fully experienced and understood the consequences.

So the master magician travelled into nearby grey space zones armed with simulation gear and forget-everything-that-was before potions along with his trusty wand and speaking-to-the-forces-of-creation gear. He was gone for a whole seven days……

Balancing a hessian sack packed to the seams with onions, the naval supplies officer made his way down the ladder into the hold below. His foot groped for the rungs and his arm strained to secure the heavy load on his back. It was hot and airless below. One step at a time, one sack at a time. 2 months of supplies for a crew of fifty. Indochina the destination. Joe sighed. Away from the missus and his beloved children again. … However duty calls and a man must do what a man must do. Serve

The crew on this trip included 2 of his best mates, so it would not be half as bad as the last trip. They had served together on the coastal patrols and were from the same village.

On the other hand though, the commander on this boat had a shocking reputation among the men for being arbitrary and a nasty bully. However Joe figured his duties taking care of supplies would keep him well away from the commander.

Three weeks later their paths crossed. Joe had emerged from the hold for a rest break when his ears picked up the sounds of discord. His ears strained to identify the voice of the men and what was going on. Emerging on the deck Joe found the commander berating his mate Mat. Mat was biting his tongue, and looked sullen. The commander was not just reprimanding Mat, but also being abusive. Joe’s skin flushed and his temperature flared as the vile words continued hailing on his mate. He looked at the other crew members, frozen in their tracks. “Never cross the commanding officer.” they had been taught. Poor Mat was almost cowering. The rabid abuse continued. Paul decided enough is enough. Before he knew it he’d squared his shoulders stepped out beside Mat, looking the commander square in the eyes, he said – to his own shock and horror “Mate – your outa line. You’ve said your piece, given him hell, now its time for everyone to get back to work”.

In an office in Shanghai a woman in her 30s looked out of the window. She was trying to process a phone call from the head office in London. “We are cost cutting” they said, “and we want you to identify a USD 40,000 cost reduction in the team you are running. We suggest you terminate one of the senior staff.”

5 months pregnant, it had been a rollercoaster year, relocating from Singapore to China to manage a new subsidiary that had been brought into the company by a merger with a London metals trading company, whose main claim to influence seemed to be that the founders, a bunch of East London traders had helped circumvent the trade embargo that had been imposed on China in the 1960s when everyone lived in fear of the Communists. Fast forward 30 years and the Brits and the rest of the multinationals were rushing to establish manufacturing facilities in China.

The team under the woman’s management had a good track record in forging ties between British industrial titans and Chinese state owned companies. There were two senior Chinese managers in her team, one whose entire family depended on her salary to support them, and another who had been in the diplomatic service, very serious and well connected, and invaluable to training the bright young research graduates.

The woman called up the budget on the screen. Was her team doing that badly? She looked through the numbers. They were in fact on track and her teams in Beijing and Shanghai were generating enough revenue to cover operating costs that financial year. So where was the cost cutting pressure coming from? She estimated the costs of the team in London, 2 seniors and three middle staff. The work was all being done in China she deduced, but the overhead costs in London were blowing the budget.

“I’ve had enough. I could come up with a plan, but if I resign they have their savings. It will cost me my maternity leave if I resign. But at least the China managers gets to keep their jobs.” Decision made, decision implemented. She’d had enough of the management in London, who operated on a different set of ethics compared to her former colleagues prior to the merger. It would be sad to leave the team, but it was the only solution she could think of.

Charlene, the 11 year old magicians daughter, was the first to trial the new simulation world. One night she went to bed as usual, tucked into her favourite pajamas, and clutching her perfect teddy-friend. The next morning she woke up, and did what kids normally do, but somehow, something was different. She couldn’t figure it out initially.

At first she thought her own magic was off, because when she tried to magic her favourite breakfast, it simply failed to appear. Charlene had to make it instead. Nor would it clear itself away, Charlene had to physically get up, and clear the dishes herself. Her parents went about as it if was the most normal thing to do. At school, the friendly whale spirits, dolphins, pegasi unicorns, playful fawns and fairies that normally accompanied her, were missing. She could still see them and communicate with them in her mind, but they were no longer tangible as before.

The only thing that was still with her was her granny in spirit and the invisible friend that was always invisible because that was how he preferred it. Charlene sighed. “What was going on? Perhaps, nobody loves me anymore” she thought. Life was going to be quite dull from now on. And duller is what it became. And every time she thought about it, her energy field became even more grey and dull. As did everything around her. At least that was unchanged, she was still able to affect the colours of the world, but she did not know it.

15 years later with a back wrecked from years of carrying army supplies up and down the ladders. Suffering insomnia. Ever since that day where he spoke up to defend his mate, everything has gone wrong. The navy did not like insubordination. No glory. Defeated. Angry, resentful. “Do the right thing and this is how they treat you. Sleepless nights tossing turning trying to get to sleep. If only I hadn’t spoken up.”

A friend hands him the number of a hypnotherapist. Maybe this will help. “Worth a try.” He calls her, sees her. “If only I hadn’t spoken up” he tells her “it wasn’t worth it.” “Wasn’t it?” she replies. “Lets check it out… Walk through this sliding door into a parallel life. Rewind to 5 minutes before you confronted the commander… This time however, you will not speak out. ..Experience now what happens instead…. Hear what happens. Feel what happens. …Now fast forward a month from that point, 3 months, 6 months. What is different now?”

The woman landed in Brisbane in winter 2002. Two kindy aged children and a husband in tow. Brisbane is a friendly town, there are women her age with pre-schoolers at the university playgroup, and the woman settles happily into an entirely delightful routine of simply being a mother first with work squeezed in on the side through online research contracts. The woman finally has time to enjoy her kids and family the fresh air the park the sea. She discovers the library what a joy – space there for kids and books for adults arranged on shelves. Books by Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, become her inspiration. After 20 years of dealing just with finance and corporate crime, this is a welcome change for her soul. She picks up the holistic magazine at healthfood shops and is amazed at the range of workshops and courses available. Two years later once her children are ensconced in primary school, she enrolls for training to become a hypnotherapist.

The hypnotherapist sits back and studies her client’s face carefully. It is important not to lean in to clients or they might feel under pressure while journeying in what she calls the space beyond time. She has taken Joe into a parallel life, a process she first discovered when working in Southeast Asia with an American expat who was about to propose to his girlfriend. In love- but not convinced this was the one….Perhaps he should have stayed with his college sweetheart instead. Those sliding doors when you commit to one person for the rest of your life. Having loved, and been left too, she knows the anguish.

So she guides the expat back into the past and then into a parallel life – “Be on a basketball court at college. Look down at the ground. There are chalk lines on the ground, showing the path of your life. Different paths branching at different decision points in your life. Find the fork where you decided to leave her. Now, this time go down the other direction instead. Onto a timeline where you stayed with her. Experience the effects of that decision, what it felt like, and how it developed… Now move 3 months, 3 years, 6 years down the track… Now come back rejoin me in this point in time and brief me on what you experienced.”

The 40 year old sits up. Eyes bright, conscience clear. “I stayed with her, but I realized soon the attraction was all sex. We didn’t have much in common outside of that. There wasn’t enough to bind us together or to sustain a relationship.” Free of the burden of regret, he leaves the clinic. The hypnotherapist looks back to the ex naval officer, and at the clock. He has been in that parallel life for 7 minutes. Enough to gather the resulting experiences. “Joe, tell me, what happened, and how did it go?”

Joe sits up. “Och, I played it differently. But it didn’t make much of a difference in the end. We were all made redundant 6 months later… It was a toxic environment. Glad to be out of there. I stood up for myself and that’s what really counts.” Joe has laid that story to rest.

The hypnotherapist is meditating. As a child she read all of the King Arthur books and Merlin stories. Her daughter too, has read all Molly Moon books – ‘Molly Moon, an orphan with hypnotic powers who ate jelly sandwiches and had a pug dog and could stop time’. The book itself written by Charlene, based on what she could remember of the world before it turned dull.

Soon the hypnotherapist’s daughters will be reading Harry Potter books, as well as the Japanese anime about the ‘Girl who could Jump Time’. The power of imagination is what leads to creation. The collective mind knows this now.

Melchizedek, the master magician appears to her and gives her a dark blue coat with golden stars –she has found the back door to the simulator, and using that is able to cross over into the space beyond time.

All sliding doors lead into different scenarios – just as the hallways with doors do in the Matrix. But all the scenarios are simply stages on which we as actors, and scriptwriters, enact out our plays, or co-star in our friends and families plays. Just as the stories can be acted out on stage, so they can be re-written or tweaked off stage. The sliding doors are there to give you the choice, and the experience, leading to wisdom and compassion.