Every January we so earnestly resolve to "be better." Lose weight. Stop smoking. Be a nicer person. We tell a well worn story about ourselves that is full of our flaws and failures, and we make New Year’s resolutions. Again.
The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that we always start with wanting to be different. By "different" we probably mean "less bad."
We may not stop to think about how it makes us feel to tell ourselves how bad we are. In fact, isn’t that negative self talk possibly what drove us to smoking or over-eating or workaholism in the first place? Trying to cover up and numb out those old painful feelings?
I want us to use EFT to help ourselves to be better at being more of who we already are – that is, more of the evolving goodness inside us, right here in each moment.
I loved how Liz Gilbert, in her recent book "Eat, Pray, Love," described finding help. She was lying on the bathroom floor in the middle of the night, yet again in the depths of despair about her failed life, asking for inner help, maybe for the first time.
Finally she heard an answer, a voice like and yet not exactly like her voice. ("This is what my voice would sound like if I’d only ever experienced love and certainty in my life," she says) This warm, loving voice said, "Go to bed, Liz."
Startled into stillness, Liz decided that it meant she only had to do the next—best—thing. She didn’t need to know the final answers. She didn’t need to know at that moment whether to divorce her husband or to stay married to him. She just needed to take care of herself, until she could feel the right answer growing inside. And then to just keep taking the next step in the direction of what felt right, in order to in order to open the way for what was evolving inside.
"True wisdom," she said, "gives the only possible answer at any given moment, and that night going back to bed was the only possible answer."
How is that for a New Year’s resolution?
Do the next thing that feels right, in service of yourself.
That would include:
Relax, release, rejoice!
Stop keeping track of your failures!
Do what lets you feel good about being you in the moment.
I woke up on New Year’s Eve morning from a dream
… that seemed to carry the message "I have to bury my mother." In real life my mother died several months ago, was cremated and buried. But in the dream, her body was in a casket and it was my responsibility to get her properly buried.
I took this as a metaphor: I need to bury (dissolve, release, let go of, transform) the family belief system that I inherited through growing up in this family, the beliefs and self talk that my mother embodied and that have been living in my own self talk, behavior, beliefs. I need to pull myself out of the places in that story that have created suffering for me. I need to emerge into a new story that I choose, a story that matches and expresses what is true inside me.
When I thought about transforming the themes of my family story, as represented by the way my mother lived her life, they came down to these three:
•My mother never felt she had a voice, and she was unconsciously enraged about that.
I can choose to speak up for myself (and speak up for my Self).
•She seldom said what she was really thinking and feeling.
She probably didn’t even know what she was thinking and feeling.
I can choose to know—and tell—my truth, especially to myself.
•She thought she was invisible.
She didn’t realize that most of all she was invisible to her self.
I can choose to allow myself (my Self) to be seen, especially by myself.
I spent a long time that day tapping with EFT. I used the above statements as set ups, and the statements in italics as choice affirmations.
While I tapped I talked to my mother…
I spoke conversationally and prayerfully, telling her that for the benefit of myself, her, and all of our ancestors, I was releasing old patterns of thought to make way for new growth to emerge in our family ancestral spirit. I honored her for her life. I acknowledged that she had been doing the best she could with what had been given to her as a child in her own family. I thanked her for creating the conditions, difficult though they were, that have pushed me to lead my life in a very different direction from hers as I struggled to find what was true for me.
Mother, even though you never felt you had a voice, and you felt like no one ever listened to you or let you finish speaking.…I love and accept myself and our shared past. I have learned to find my own voice and ways of using it well…. I choose to point myself in the direction of speaking up for my Self in each moment… when I can… as it feels appropriate… knowing that opportunities will continually present themselves… and I can always do this even better in the next moment. I am a perfectly emerging Me in every moment.
Mother, even though you never learned to say or even know what you were thinking and feeling, and you thought you and your feelings didn’t matter anyway…and even though your behavior reflected such the anger and helplessness… I can see the beauty and power in you, past your behaviors and emotional outbursts…I know the power of your emotion points to a deeper truth in you, a hidden strength….
Even though I learned from you how to worry that others might not approve… I have learned now to love and accept myself enough to use my own feelings as a guide to taking the next step… towards what feels good and natural and right for me… even if I worry that others won’t approve.
Mother, even though you felt invisible and always a victim, and you thought that you had no power or agency in the world to make a difference for yourself, so much that some part of you felt it had to develop dementia and that angry stubbornness...still I can see the goodness in you…and I have learned to love and accept myself enough to "put myself out there…." You weren’t able to learn this in your life time, but my experience with you gave me the awareness and the intention to point myself in a healing direction…. I continue to get better at being visible! In a way I have you to thank for this growth in me.
I like to use EFT very fluidly and creatively sometimes
… just tapping repeatedly through the points while I talk out loud to myself or to someone else in my imagination. So each time I said something like one of the above set-up statements, I kept tapping afterwards, talking to myself and talking to my mother as I tapped through the points, letting memories come to mind, verbalizing thoughts, images, feelings, imagining what it was like to be her.
I talked to my ancestors too, while I tapped, acknowledging that they too were both the victims and the perpetrators of the family story. I let them know that I was revising and transforming this story, to be about our essential goodness evolving and developing over the generations. I assured them that this story was in good hands. I promised to honor their spirits, and I promised to do my best to live moment by moment a story that would benefit our future generations too, those for whom I am an ancestor.
What is profound for me about having that dream right now, at this time of "new resolution," is that it invited me to take the next step on the path that my life is carving. I am doing my best to complete the process of stepping out from under the mantle of my family’s story into the light of my own consciousness, no longer held by my family’s conditions. This is what "I have to bury my mother" means to me.
Becoming more of my true self is my "New Year’s Resolution."
I have been so grateful for the tools of EFT and other Energy Psychology techniques in this process. They make this metamorphosis possible in our real daily lives!
Interestingly, the term "resolution" has an ancient history as a word, originally meaning dissolving, loosening, untying undoing and solving. That reminds me of one of my favorite scientific stories about how the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly is directed by an inner intelligence in the caterpillar, represented by cells called "imaginal disks." (Even the name is cool!)
Once the caterpillar has created the chrysalis, these cells of metamorphosis begin to appear in its body. Or maybe, more likely, the cells of metamorphosis have always been there, and now they become activated. Initially the immune system of the caterpillar attacks the new cells as alien, but they keep multiplying until the old identity, the old protective mechanisms, all begin to break down.
Next, somewhere deep inside the primordial soup of caterpillar, is triggered the knowledge of what this being is meant to become. The imaginal cells now begin the creation of the butterfly based on that inner blueprint.
I think it is interesting that neither the caterpillar nor the butterfly has to know what it is doing in the process of re-creation. It only needs to respond to the inner direction of the moment. Somewhere deep inside, the caterpillar hears the equivalent of "Go to bed, Liz," and it does, trusting that the next direction will come as it is needed. As each moment follows from the next, if the process is not interrupted, a butterfly is created from within itself.
Of course the metamorphosis doesn’t stop there. Life moves on. Endless caterpillar opportunities, endless metamorphoses into butterfly. As long as we maintain an ecology in which both caterpillars and butterflies can continue to emerge from each other, we’re good. We ARE asked to listen to those inner suggestions about allowing the next steps, however.
Can you remember a time when the world as you knew it fell apart, and you were transformed in the process? And have you noticed that no matter how hard you try, you can’t plan for and prepare for and protect yourself from or, god(dess) knows, stop the world falling apart?
But there is something profound and generative that you can do. And this will make all the difference.
You CAN stop tracking your failures. You CAN turn yourself in a healing direction. You CAN start paying attention to what you need in this very moment. The engine that runs all this is your intention. You CAN be directed by your positive intention.
Even though I am used to tracking my failures, and the people I learned how to do this from were really good at it...I love and accept myself anyway.
Even though my family story is all about trying to prevent failures...I accept myself, and I accept my family. We are all doing the best we can.
Even though I have to be perfect so that I don’t fail…I accept myself, and I forgive myself for putting all this pressure on myself. I just haven’t known any other way!
Even though failure is not allowed in my family…I accept myself and how I feel. I honor myself for how hard this has been for me.
Even though I can’t speak up for myself…
Even though I fear that if I am noticed I will be judged...
Even though I make mistakes so that I can’t be successful so that people won’t be able to judge me—I will judge myself first...
Even though every year I resolve to be better but I keep failing to keep these resolutions…what’s wrong with me?...
Especially because I deserve to, I am ready to DISSOLVE this old approach to New Year’s resolutions. I intend to do this, starting in this moment!
Especially because I know there is a blueprint for goodness deep inside me, I am choosing now to pay more attention to that inner wisdom about myself.
Especially because I know there is a butterfly coming to life in me, I am choosing now to open to this process and pay attention to what would feel good right in this moment. I want to set up the next moment with a good start.
Especially because I am deeply committed to the positive and the good …
I choose to honor that commitment to myself!
Especially because I have a mission to bring peace to the world...
I choose a mission of bringing peace into my own life
Especially because I have a strong beliefs about what is right...
I choose to stand even taller in my own strong life!
Especially because I often make extraordinary sacrifices for someone / something I believe in…
I choose MYSELF!!!!
Especially because I think I am unusual and unique…
I choose to stand up for myself and express who I am with love and a light heart. No
one can resist that…
Especially because I have a good imagination…
I choose to find amazing ways of bringing metamorphosis and magic into my life where there was only misery before! Evolution itself depends on how good I get at this!
Create a happy new year!
With my love and blessings,