I have a deep interest in how we hold the story of our personal and our ancestral past in our bodies and our lives.
Also, I have questions. What leads us to make the choices we do? And especially: as ancestors ourselves, how can we change the story of the future?
I watched the PBS documentary "African American Lives," initiated and hosted by Harvard professor Louis Gates. It is about "the poetry of history, the magic of science and the allure of the family trees" as one reviewer put it, of Morgan Freeman, Chris Rock, Tina Turner, Don Cheadle, Tom Joyner, Maya Angelou and several other well known African Americans. I was moved again and again as each person discovered their roots through genealogical and DNA research.
Comedian Chris Rock was teary eyed to learn that his great-great-grandfather fought in the Civil War, served in the South Carolina Legislature, and died owning dozens of acres of land. He had never known any of that history. He talked about growing up in a working-class Brooklyn neighborhood and being bussed to a white school, where he was bullied.
He said, “Until I lucked into a comedy club at, you know, age 20, just on a whim, I assumed I would pick up things for white people for the rest of my life. If I’d known this about my family’s history, it would have taken away the inevitability that I was going to be nothing.”
T.D. Jakes’ ancestry was traced back to pre-slavery Africa. "For the first time in my life," he said, when he went to Africa to connect with his roots, " I wondered what I would have been, had my ancestors not been enslaved.”
Oprah Winfrey tells of watching her grandmother boil clothes in a black pot:
" ‘One day you’re going to have to learn this for yourself,’ she said to me."
"I watched and looked like I was paying attention," Oprah says, "but I distinctly recall a feeling that ‘No, I’m not. No, I’m not. This will not be my life.’"
Where in ourselves do we know that? And how can we use the tools that we have, like EFT, to rewrite the history of our future?
When someone shows up with a chronic issue – pain, depression, anxiety, I know that they are bearing the sad, angry, fearful voices of many generations in their past.
"I have a constant low level of anxiety that doesn’t seem to be related to what is going on in my life, but it makes me always on the lookout for what might go wrong," one client said recently.
I have come to think of this anxiety as "were-y-ing." In our minds, consciously or unconsciously, we are going over and over a litany of worries about what happened in the past, what things were like. We are were-y-ing about what we decided those events and situations meant about us, about what is possible for us. We are projecting a shadow of the past onto the future, and imagining it dark. We are telling ourselves a sad story about our failures, and how likely it is that we will get up tomorrow and have more of the same.
Some researchers say that constant stress can create permanent damage to our brains. I don’t accept this view of who we are as humans. As the stories on "African American Lives" show, in spite of fierce and perpetual odds, as humans we are consistently forging something new that moves us all ahead.
We may forget to remember our valiant courage and persistence, and even the ability to tough it out. We may forget to remember that all the qualities that help us to survive right now and move forward, are also resources from our ancestors that we can draw upon. I always imagine that our forefathers and foremothers are gathered around us, holding us when we cry, cheering us on, validating and honoring each small victory, acknowledging the progress we are making.
Who knows what is possible? Maybe they even magically open the way for us sometimes, especially when we ask for help. They, better than anyone, know what we are going through. Where they are now, they can see and support our deepest good intentions.
We can change the meaning of "were-y-ing!"
I am always moved by people’s stories. I am perpetually reminded that there must be a deeper blueprint that we are responding to, a vision for ourselves and a vision for humanity. I bring these thoughts into my EFT work (and my own life).
The concept of tropism is a wonderful illustration of this invitation to turn towards the light that we find in all of life. In biological science there are many kinds of tropism – the natural involuntary movement toward something that represents a source for growth and emergence of something new.
There is a mesmerizing website called Plants in Motion that shows all kinds of tropism in action. I highly recommend that you noodle around in it!
Notice how the seedlings dance their response to the light! Watch what happens to the plants that are turned on their sides. How would you describe this in words that you could use while tapping?
And watch these plants looking for support, and twining themselves around the first support they find. What metaphors does this suggest in your mind when you consider how children grow up?
Use your imagination and intuition to consider how you might incorporate the words that arise from these images into your EFT set up statements and tapping routine. The imagery speaks to something deep in us, inviting us to respond and turn toward nourishment and growth instead of pain. We know how to do this automatically. We just need to do it intentionally, with choice.
Make sure you find and wind yourself around a grounding, supportive stake in your own future.
In our weekly EFT Circle gatherings we have been exploring this theme. Christine had actually written to me privately to say that the teleclass sessions were too painful to listen to, so she hadn’t been calling in on the bridge line. Even though she knew there were benefits to be borrowed, she was having a hard time hearing other people’s traumas and tragedies, because they triggered the pain of her own past. She was ready to cancel her membership in the Circle because of this.
But I suggested that she consider being a volunteer tapper instead. I thought her problem was likely shared by others in the class, and in any case, there is no limit to the painful situations that we all encounter on a daily basis, even if we are just watching the news on television. Bravely, she agreed to be the volunteer tapper in the next EFT Circle teleclass.
When the class met, Christine talked about feeling despair, anger at the world: "What is the point of living if there is so much pain?" she cried. She found herself not just avoiding the teleclass but avoiding life itself, not getting involved, surfing the internet, turning off the TV. "I move away and don’t speak up. I didn’t want to say anything about this to anyone, lest it create more conflict and pain in others," she said.
As we tapped for her pain and despair and anger, something interesting happened. As Christine acknowledged and honored herself for how hard it was to experience this deep pain, especially when she thought she had already worked through the origins of it in how she was treated by her stepmother, another part of her began to surface. This part was equally critical of her for being so fearful and worried.
Christine began to be aware that this new critical part wanted her to turn and face the fears instead of running away. She realized that when she could get this part of her to stop criticizing her, it had a great reserve of strength that came from deep inside her, beyond the fear generated in her by her childhood, and she could draw on this strength to heal her pain.
Into our tapping I wove images of seeds, and inner knowings, and growings, that you don’t even have to think about because they are part of you… I wove in images of deeper blueprints of our goodness, truth and strength, the inner sensing of our beings of how to move toward growth. All we have to do is to allow it. It may take some unlearning (EFT is really good for that) and some new learning, but it is that simple.
Healing seedlings have poked themselves outward
Christine responded later in an email:
I didn’t really know what to expect about our session on the topic of "avoiding the EFT Circle" (or "Avoiding Pain").
So, I am deeply grateful that by the time we concluded our session, healing seedlings have poked themselves outward, following and resonating with the light of the world. Knowing that new seeds had burst forth was profoundly liberating and refreshing for me. I am looking forward to what the new seeds would bring in my life!
I found hope at the end of our session, where I couldn’t see it before, due to the fog of old belief "I don’t have enough courage to heal this pain." I had no idea that I even had the belief.
And, how grateful I was to hear from you about my deeper blueprint. What a beautiful thought. That was how I knew what you said resonated deeply within me even if I didn’t know anything about deeper blueprints (now, I will be looking for them inside me and celebrate them when I find them!). There was such a feeling of relief within me. My guess is that the deeper part of me was feeling quite relieved that someone actually recognized me for who I am and who I can become more of.
What a beautiful thought you offered me about choosing a different resonance. I love how now I really know that when I notice the world’s pain, I don’t need to run away, I don’t need to fix it, I don’t need to feel guilty for not fixing it, and instead I can invite and allow myself to resonate with what brings me joy in the world, with the light of the world, even if I feel sad noticing the pain others have. I am still celebrating this freedom!
A part of me is caught very off-guard about this. Like suddenly winning a lottery, that sort of "huh??" feeling. Yet, another part of me is whooping with joy!
I love opening up to the idea that I am expansive enough to allow both parts of the conflict to exist. Another important learning point in the session. I knew this concept intellectually. But, to truly allow that and feel peaceful about it, is extremely liberating!
Oh, Rue, words do not adequately describe the joy, hope and delight I feel inside. I feel like I was out of jail, finally. A jail I have put myself in, and I didn’t even know it.
I have long valued the practice of focusing on life’s joy and beauty as part of my healing journey, and this time, I am saying an even louder "YES!" to life’s invitation to come out and play. There is no need to fear other’s pain (nor mine, for that matter) any more. I can see pain now as an invitation to shift my resonance to focus on Light, to look deeper and recognize my own blueprints, and to honor my own inner truths. Thank you for helping me honor my healing journey with such reverence and love.
With deep appreciation,
It is the nature of seeds to absorb nutrients from their environment
This session sparked off a number of follow-up comments from others in the class, like this one:
First, I just continue to appreciate and resonate with the way that you frame (and reframe) things, and am grateful to hear you give voice to a very un-pathological approach to the blessings and burdens of being human.
In terms of the seed analogy/metaphor, I am struck that seeds, in addition to turning/growing toward the light, also do something else that is so important to their blossoming: they absorb all available nutrients in their environment–simply because it is their nature to do so. It is probably our nature to do so, too, though in many cases we have to figure out how to reconnect with / allow it (or even re-learn it).
The teleclass is certainly one of the ways that I absorb "available nutrients" from the environment.
And this one:
Honor myself. I keep repeating that to myself.
Years ago I had a girlfriend who always told me to honor my struggle. I could never hear her. Whatever victories I did have, I would always diminish them. "Yes, but it’s not such-and-such." "It should have been x instead of y."
I am changing. I am growing.
So- if you are a "were-y-er," growing toward the past
…you might sit yourself down with some of these ideas, and tap into them. :^) Make sure to call upon the strength and courage and blessings of your ancestors. Call to them beyond the family story of pain and sadness and struggle that echoes in you as your anxiety. Connect with the deeper blueprint of "intending goodness" that lies within your family story. Call to ask their support so that together you can choose to resonate with your successes, instead of your failures.
Together you can create a powerful and radiantly improved ancestry for your own descendants.
Grow into the future… Some tapping to try
Add your own ideas, and change these to suit your situation..
Here are some set up phrases (thanks to another EFT Circle tapping volunteer):
Even though I worry constantly…
Even though I get scared and feel paralyzed…
Even though if something goes wrong I will have to handle it alone…
Even though I am afraid I will say and do the wrong thing…
Even though someone may not understand me…
Even though I procrastinate so much that things get worse…
Even though I have to worry and catastrophize or I won’t be safe when things don’t work out…
Even though I only notice my failures…
Even though I am blind to what is going well…
Even though I am afraid I have used up all my chances to have a good life – too much damage has been done…
Even though my father died when I was twelve, and I thought it was my fault – I was supposed to keep him alive (fit in your own situation here)…
Even though I feel all this in my (body)….
Even though this makes me feel so (feelings)…
Add some of these phrases, or make up your own:
I accept myself anyway, and I honor myself for how hard this has been for me.
I accept that a part of me has these thoughts, and….
…I am changing and growing.
…I want to live.
…I have had a lot of successes, and I choose to put my attention on them instead.
…I was only twelve, and that was a child’s way of thinking…I can choose a different vow to make now.
…I was doing the best I could.
…I intend to change one small thing at a time, in a healing direction.
…I am a survivor – look how long I have lasted already!
…I feel hopeful and I am looking forward to what the new seeds will bring in my life!
…I have a strong stake in my future, and I am winding myself around it! I deserve this.
…I am saying an even louder "YES!" to life’s invitation to come out and play.
… I honor my healing journey with such reverence and love.
…NOW I will be looking for the deeper blueprints inside me and I will celebrate them when I find them!
…and I call upon the strength and courage of my ancestors to help me. They understand and support my healing direction.
…now when I see the world’s pain, I can invite and allow myself to resonate with what brings me joy in the world, with the light of the world, even if I feel sad noticing the pain others have. I am still celebrating this freedom!
With my love and blessings –