It often happens that I find a similar pattern recurring among several of the people I work with. This is a theme I hear frequently:

All my life I have been trying to be someone I am not: an extrovert trying to do things that don’t feel right but that apparently make money. I have fibromyalgia, so I have had to reduce my work hours. I really want to be an EFT practitioner—I am very good at it—but I don’t know how to present myself. I should do a website, but it scares me—I don’t know how to put myself out there. I think I should be on Twitter all the time, I should have a Facebook page. Why am I so scared? What is wrong with me? Sometimes I even feel that I would rather not be a physical being in this world. It is too hard. I am too sensitive, too different.

Nancy Selfridge, a physician who healed herself from fibromyalgia, has said, ”Doctors don’t know what to do with their fibro patients. Physicians hate to be unsuccessful, and they are almost always unsuccessful when they try to heal fibromyalgia with conventional medicine.”

If fibromyalgia is puzzling to medical science, it makes perfect energetic, vibrational and spiritual sense.

There is a quality of energy or presence that each of us carries with us throughout our day. That energy, as it expresses through us in ways unique to each of us, has the capacity to form empowering, nourishing, co-creative, and liberating connections.

As humans we are open flowing systems, capable of drawing in and transforming energy from the infinite into the particular, our actions and our choices forming our individual bodies and lives. However, the fact is that we often hold within ourselves smaller “systems” of energy that are more closed than open. This diminishes the natural expansive flow of our energy, and the over all effect is that we feel more isolated, separated, alienated from the world around us.

When we have a wound, a memory, a rigid habit, a restrictive belief, it is as if we constrict ourselves around it. Like the grain of sand in an oyster, these “particles” of ourselves are where we become less flowing, less open, more self-protective or even self-denying. In the very act of living each day we run into situations that can cause such constrictions.

But suppose we are constricted around ourselves?

Suppose the very idea of being a self, of being a unique person—of being a person at all—is seen as a condition of separation and constriction? Suppose I feel, for instance, shame at being a human being, or feel I don’t deserve to take up space in the world, or suppose that I struggle with having a physical body with its passions, appetites, instincts, fleshiness, etc. Then I cease to be as open a system as I might be. The flow of life energy, of light, of power within me is diminished. At that point, all the other ways I create constriction and obstructions in my life become that much more powerful, that much more difficult to work with.

A person with asthma is familiar with what happens when the chest muscles tighten and the lungs feel constricted. During an attack, they can feel that they will never breathe again. An asthma attack might make them feel like they are collapsing into a tight little gasping, wheezing ball.

In the same way, when we feel alienated for some reason from ourselves, or that our “self” is a condition of—or a reason for—constriction, it is like a metaphysical attack of asthma. If this feeling is denied or “stuffed” so you don’t have to feel it, it can show up in the body as pain and constriction.

Fibromyalgia is to the body like low self esteem is to the personality

Even though it is not scientifically possible to fully prove this yet, it seems likely that the symptoms of any disease in the body can be framed as a response to some kind of inner mental, emotional and spiritual constriction. Fibromyalgia is a perfect example of a “spiritual dis-ease” in the body-mind-spirit system. The symptoms of fibromyalgia are fatigue, sleep disruption, pain, depression. As Gary Craig, the developer of EFT, said to me once, “Fibromyalgia is to the body like low self esteem is to the personality.”

Much of our religious heritage implies that the soul is “somewhere else,” resident in another realm from the body. I believe that the body is the soul. That the body is “distilled soul,” as it were. Wouldn’t it make sense that the fatigue, pain and sadness of fibromyalgia could be a physical and emotional response to, or maybe a mirror of, the blocked joy, love, creative expression in us?

The original meaning of the word “spirit” is “breath.” Ideally this breath should move in us and through us freely. You could say that we are each a lung of the sacred, and we expand and contract so that spirit moves freely and empoweringly through us to all our world.

We can learn to experience ourselves in a way that expands us

We can learn to re-imagine ourselves, see ourselves as sacred, spiritual beings not in spite of but because of being here. We can learn to experience ourselves in a way that expands us, and restores us to a feeling of openness and flow. The more expansive we are the more we benefit the world.

It doesn’t mean we don’t still have wounds, challenges, problems, pains, doubts, and all the rest of those feelings and experiences that constrict us, but that these constrictions take place within a larger context of flow–and thus are capable of being healed, transformed, and restored to openness and flow themselves.

Then we can engage and co-create with others in ways that feel right to us. Our actions and choices can carry and assist the power of the flowing energy of the universe itself. This is true healing.

I believe that fibromyalgia (and any chronic physical or emotional condition) is a message to our humanity. It is a cry to the best in us, to say that we are selling ourselves short. People with chronic illness and depression are like the canary in the coal mine – remember the old time miners used to send a canary in a cage down into the mine to see if there was enough oxygen down there to support life. If the canary lived, the miners would be sent on down to work. If the canary died, well, I guess it was too bad for the canary…

Unlike the canaries, however, we have so many healing tools at our fingertips— literally! We can sense the toxic energy and avoid it. We can release the constriction and transfigure those toxic emotional and mental patterns into a source of nourishment and expansion.

Perhaps like all illness, fibromyalgia and other chronic illness in our times is a message that our bodies are sending to our conscious awareness:

“We are not getting enough spirit in here! Open up! Relax and enjoy yourself! Live your purpose.”

If you can relate to these thoughts, here is the foundation of a tapping routine that you might experiment with. Make it your own. Add your own words and experiences, feelings and ideas.

Pick one of the statements in the paragraph at the beginning of this piece that triggers some feelings in you. Or come up with your own statement that is similar.

Think of what really bothers you about this statement. Does it relate to a person? Or events? Was it the look on their face? The tone of their voice? What does it mean about you?


Put the phrase that upsets or stresses you most, and that you can feel in your body as constriction, into a set-up statement like this:

Even though I am so sensitive and hesitant about putting myself out there, and it makes me feel (use your words), I accept myself anyway.

Even though I have been trying to be someone I am not, and I feel like a loser, I accept myself anyway. I am doing the best I can.

Even though part of me thinks I am just making too big a deal of this, making it too difficult and complicated…everyone else seems to do it just fine…and I can’t seem to let go of all my feelings about this…. I love and accept myself anyway, and I am choosing to feel as good as I can right now.

I am just not doing my life right. Look at them!
I am so depressed.
Why am I so scared?
Everyone else seems to be doing ______!
I have to catch up!
They must know something I don’t know.
This is pathetic.
I feel like a fraud.
I am too sensitive. Everyone has always told me that!
Maybe part of me doesn’t want to let go of this issue.

Also tap through the points for how you feel in your body when you think of the “problem phrase”part of the set up (use the phrase that follows “Even though____”):

I feel this collapsing feeling in my heart.
My gut is all roiled up.
My head bows down with heaviness.
My shoulders are hunched and sagging.
I can’t get my breath.
My throat is tight and constricted.
I feel sad and angry.
These tears….
I am so scared.
I feel all alone.
I feel like the ground is shifting under me.
I get so nervous and anxious.

Another round might be something like this:

Even though part of me thinks I am “not good at doing life,” because I can’t/don’t want to do it their way, I honor myself for how hard this is, and I accept all the parts of me and all my feelings anyway.

Even though other people act as if “this is the gospel truth—you should do it this way,” and “if you don’t you are a failure,” I accept myself anyway, and I wonder if there is a deeper, more expansive way to think about this?

Even though part of me doesn’t even want to be here, or be physical in this world, and I have been trying so hard to fit myself into a pattern that is not me, I love and accept myself enough that I am willing to consider that maybe not being myself really is killing me. I want to bring healing to this.

Tap through the points, pausing to tap on a point to think about any phrase that captures your attention, and then resuming your tapping process:

I am so not good at doing life.
I don’t want to do it their way.
How could I think about this differently?
I thought I was depressed because I just couldn’t meet their expectations.
What if I have been depressed because I am not being me?
I have been trying to be someone I am not.
They won’t like it if I really express who I am.
That scares me. I need their approval.
But what about my own approval?
I really honor my need for connection.
How can I disconnect from them and connect to myself instead?
It is a revelation to realize that I was depressed for a good reason—
…I wasn’t being true to myself!

Point Yourself in a Healing Direction

Now do another round. As you tap, experiment with creative ways to reframe and transfigure the story you have been telling yourself about this old view of yourself.

Even though I couldn’t fit in to that model, I have decided to accept myself anyway. I wouldn’t give up my sensitivity—it gives my life richness and meaning.

Even though it is easier to feel resentful than it is to change, I accept who I am and how I feel.

Even though I am tired of fighting but I think I should tough it out, I choose to feel as good as I can right now.

Even though my true voice has been constricted—I couldn’t say what I wanted and needed to say, so I swallowed it, and maybe I even got sick so I could have an excuse to do what I wanted to do, I love and accept myself enough to choose to feel as good as I can right now, and I ask for heart-ful wisdom to bring healing to this….I wonder if there are better and more effective ways to feel present and effective in the world.

As you tap through the points, try some phrases and questions that gently and respectfully begin to shift your way of thinking about this old world view, what it meant to you, and how your sensitive temperament responded. Imagine that you are taking the perspective of a loving wise advisor. Then tap on the following phrases as you complete one more round:

I love knowing that it is OK to be me.
I choose to believe in myself and value my sensitive temperament.
I appreciate that harmony and connection are so important to me.
I love appreciating myself.
I’m grateful for this opportunity to re-think my beliefs about how I “should” be.
I appreciate exactly who I am…being so sensitive could be a gift.
I appreciate all I have learned.
I am so grateful for all the goodness in my life.
I am glad to have such a finely-tuned guidance system in my feelings.
I don’t have to be successful being them, I can be successful being me.
I don’t have to be ill to be all that I can be.
Maybe I could create a Facebook page in my own way, so it reflects ME!

I asked one person the following question, and I loved her response. Work phrases like these into your tapping, and add your own.

“What did the world call you here to contribute?”

I can gift people with their own beauty.
I can look at someone with my “spiritual eyes” and see their soul, beautiful and powerful.
I know now that I can find ways to present myself, even in a website, with a peaceful connectedness.
I feel myself standing with my head high, stillness all around me, and a sense that all is well.
I am called to expand all that I can be, always, all ways…
I am called here to learn how to fit myself into my Self!

The sensitivity that seemed like a burden and a flaw and a “wrongness” before will begin to appear for you as the gift it is—a very precise and finely tuned guidance system that lets you know right away when you are getting off the track of your deepest truth. Let your your sensitivity guide your tapping, and your life. Feel free to be YOU.

With my love and blessings all around,