My own words in this issue will be limited by the fact that I am typing with one finger of my non-dominant hand. A few days ago I slipped on the ice here in the frozen north of Wisconsin, fell hard, and broke my wrist.
I began tapping within seconds of falling. I lay on the path in shock and pain under the falling snow in the deserted park, alone except for my two dogs that were milling helpfully around. Once I could tell that at least I hadn’t broken a leg or a hip, and that my arm that wasn’t holding the dog leash could move, I just tapped and tapped through the most basic points on my face and on top of my head. I was using the tip of the thumb of the glove on my only available hand, the hurt hand. (The other hand had to hold the dog leash, which fortunately is one leash with an attachment for each dog. It was new – I was so glad I had it!
http://www.extremeleash.com/ if you are interested)
I was in shock and not too coherent, so I didn’t bother with setup phrases. I just repeated whatever words came to me, mostly what I was feeling. Over and over as I tapped, I said, "this pain,"" I fell," "in shock," "hurt my hand," "don’t know if I can get up," "please help, (generic prayer)," "please help," this pain," "glad I didn’t hit my head," "everything hurts," body in shock," "please help…"
I tapped like this until I was ready to try sitting up, and tapped some more until I was ready to try standing, and tapped some more as I tried to take small shuffling steps. I wasn’t close to home, so I kept up this patter of saying the tapping phrases mentally, cradling my hurting free hand at my chest, shuffling along gingerly through the snow while restraining excited dogs.
Tapping became a kind of prayer
It was too much effort right then to tap on the actual points. I assumed my body knew my intention. The phrases became a kind of prayer mixed with praise and encouragement for my body: "easy body," let this be easy," "steady body," "you are doing a good job," hand hurts," "scary to walk through the snowy slippery street," "you can do this," "one step at a time," "easy dogs," "slow, dogs," "everything hurts," "easy body," almost there," "slow and easy…"
Even in my shock, I was conscious of how important it was to avoid blaming myself, calling myself stupid, being angry at myself for slipping, or even for venturing out in the snow at all. I knew that how I talked to myself about this event would have major effects on my experience and my healing.
Even so, it didn’t take long for my mind to go toward… "what a challenging year this has been for me personally… and now this…it’s not fair…so much has happened already…it was already too much, overwhelming, and now this…"
I began to incorporate those phrases and the tears that rose in me, first as I lay there after the fall, and then as I walked, and over the next days whenever I felt those feelings and thoughts come up. And they did.
Urgent Care tapping
I continued this tapping-praying-encouraging process on the way to Urgent Care. (Luckily—another thing to be grateful for—my husband was home and could drive me there.) I continued tapping-praying-encouraging as I was in the waiting room, and even internally as the doctor manipulated my wrist and the X-ray tech took pictures from all the angles.
Getting the cast was another tapping opportunity. I could feel my body recoiling from the cast, feeling trapped and claustrophobic. (Even though my body is feeling scared and claustrophobic and trapped by having a cast, I love and accept my body and I choose to allow this process to be easy and comfortable. I remember that this cast is to help me to heal and protect me from further hurt…)
I also made regular use of EFT in the first few days to manage the pain, along with taking the homeopathic remedy Arnica, and the Bach Flower Essence Rescue Remedy. I had no need for painkillers after the first two nights of taking Ibuprofen to make sure I could sleep.
I am describing this experience at some length in the hope that you will remember to use tapping in the same way if you find yourself in an emergency situation. It is helpful to know that you don’t always have to use the precise setup structure. When your mind, body and emotions are in the grip of a powerful experience, it is enough just to tap. Tapping continuously, while you talk to yourself about what is happening and how you feel about it, can be extremely effective in the moment. Don’t use this strategy only for emergencies! It works well in any situation where there is strong emotion.
I want to say a little bit more about the effect of suffering on pain. By suffering I mean the story of worry and woe-is-me that we tell ourselves when bad things happen.
As the Buddhists say: "Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional."
Actually, I will save my hand and let Dr. Nancy Selfridge talk. This bit is from the transcript of a presentation that she and I gave at the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology conference a few years ago:
The Difference Between Pain and Suffering
When we’re talking about a complex neurophysiologic process in the brain, we have to understand the difference between pain and suffering. Human beings across the board have a wide range of pain tolerance. You can shock one person, and they say, “Eh, little buzz.” And another person, “OW!” Right?
The shock is not the difference. The difference is the experience of the shock. Now we have functional MRI studies that show that people who report a lot of pain have a lot of overactivity in the right prefrontal cortex, cingulate gyrus and amygdala. I call these the areas of suffering in the brain.
People across the board with a painful stimulus will all have equal activity in the area of the brain that registers sensation and pain. That will look exactly alike on the MRI. But the people who report more pain, including your fibromyalgia and chronic pain patients, and those with a highly sensitive temperament, have hyperactivity in the suffering area of the brain. This is noteworthy.
Dietrich Klinghardt is a well-known orthopedist and neuroscientist. He has talked in his literature about people who have gone through frontal lobe injuries who can report how much pain they’re having and where it is, completely separate from a sense of suffering.
You have to have an intact neo-cortex in order to experience suffering. When I tell that to my patients in pain, they say “Can you just take away my neo-cortex?” I’ll say to them, “Oh, but we’d be taking a lot more brain function away than just the ability to think suffering thoughts!”
Using Energy Therapy
So how do the interventions work when they do if we use energy therapy? I believe when we change our thought patterns we‘re going to see change in electrochemical flow in our brain from the limbic system. We can use some cognitive approaches but we also can manipulate subtle energies. I think these help to uncouple old established neurological patterns that are translated into pain.
Patients ask me, how does this work? I tell them it is sort of like running the defrag program on your computer. Whatever happened to you that triggered this real problem in your brain and over activated the suffering area in your brain…this area is sort of chaotic and fragmented with the information in there. When we do EFT it is like running a good defrag. That seems to be a model that probably is not very accurate, but it works.
Pain management = life story management = pain management
In other words, we are telling ourselves a constant mental and emotional story about what happened and what it means to us and what it means about us. This story can have an effect on how much pain we experience, and for how long.
So, using EFT to change the story can be life-changing! Literally!
Celia used to have a negative frame around everything
Listen to the wise words of Celia, who has spent the last two years dramatically re-writing her body’s story about pain and suffering with EFT:
Regarding ‘REFRAMING’ – when I was ill, (fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and post traumatic stress disorder ) I found that my entire life’s experience had a huge negative frame around it – and everything I thought fell into that frame in some fashion – even my more ‘positive thoughts.’
It wasn’t until I started – very slowly at first – to learn how to put things into positive frames that I started to get better. So looking out the window – housebound – in so much pain – I used to think – "I’m SO sick – and I’m in SO much pain – and it’s no WONDER – after all I’ve BEEN through!! "
Then I started to learn how to look out the window – and see maybe a leaf or a cloud or even a twig!! And I would focus – really focus – on the beauty of what I was looking at, and I would think "Wow! I am SO lucky! and SO grateful for all I’ve been through!"
Focusing on the beauty instead of the pain
The ‘chemicals’ produced in my body when I would coax myself to focus on the beauty instead of the pain – gradually – sometimes only for minutes – SHIFTED – until slowly, ever so slowly, it became easier and more automatic to stay in the positive for longer and longer .
When I would slip – which was often at first – all I had to do was start tapping – (once I finally noticed that I was slipping !) 🙂 tap tap tap:
"Even though I’m doing it AGAIN! I’m STILL seeing things through muddy lenses! I DEEPLY and COMPLETELY love and accept myself anyway…," tapping around on negative thinking – (IF my resistance to the tapping would allow me to tap!) – which is a whole ‘nother topic !
Also, at one point I put my ‘addiction to negative thinking’ and my ‘addiction to fear’ into the 12 steps and was blessed with more miracles.
So now, these days, I have learned that if I allow myself to go back, to slip back into framing things negatively, the pain will start to come back.
I get instant feedback for thinking gloomy thoughts !
Talk about motivation !!
Thank you, Celia!
With my love and blessings all around in this holiday season,
Take good care of yourselves! Give yourselves permission to eliminate or change ANYTHING in your power to change, that might make this time go more smoothly and easily. Do your best to frame your days in beauty!