In the EFT Circle teleclass we regularly experience remarkable deep work, as members of the group take on and transform deep seated beliefs which have caused ongoing physical and emotional pain. This was the case recently for Christine, a 40 year old woman of Chinese ancestry.
Christine worked gracefully with a constricting belief from her ancient cultural tradition about the role of women in maintaining family harmony and (therefore) national harmony. With EFT she found a way to step in a new healing direction as an individual woman, while maintaining honor and respect for her group heritage.
Tap along as you read, and borrow her benefits like the rest of us did during the class! This is almost the transcript of the whole session, so you can see how it evolved. It is long for a newsletter article, but full of useful ideas for the practitioner and for anyone who has a limiting belief. (Know anybody like that??)
In this session, we used the Take a Stand process. I have developed this powerful and innovative protocol for using EFT to help people to transform old, no longer useful beliefs that are in conflict with other, expanding parts of us.
We Embody What We Believe
I always start by asking the person how their body holds the belief they want to work with.
Christine began by saying: Every time I am grateful for my life, or feel particularly happy, or focused on something wondrous that I love (that is not related to work or family or anything that is considered acceptable to be focused on by my family), I sabotage myself. I am not able to stop this veil that just comes down and make everything feel flat, or I hear a voice say "You can’t be that happy!" or some part of me points out what was imperfect. I would be surprised and submit to this voice. I am stumped at this unhappiness. Sometimes it feels like self-hatred. I feel it as a tightness in my chest.
My attention was caught by her feeling that it wasn’t safe to feel happy, especially about anything her family didn’t consider acceptable.
We embody, in our physical bodies, what we believe. We can notice how we tighten and constrict around a belief that makes us sad or angry. When we open to a belief that feels freeing to us, our bodies feel light and buoyant. Our bodies and our feelings are our best guidance!
So we began with Christine standing up and feeling into how her body represented this belief. Her chest felt heavy and tight, her throat was clenched up, and she had a "crying with no tears" feeling. The emotions she felt were sad, and angry, and fear. Her head was down, shoulders were rounded, and her weight was back on her heels.
"I am afraid that if I change, I will leave everything I know behind."
As we began to tap for the belief and the feelings it evoked, I kept suggesting the phrases that came to me, always encouraging her to embroider, replace or elaborate on what I said with her own thoughts and feelings. Christine’s intensity, which had started high, was going even higher. We wove in and out of a kind of tapping conversation:
Even though I am afraid of my fear, afraid of my feelings — there are too many feelings involved here… I’m open to thinking differently about my feelings…
Even though I am afraid of my anger, I accept myself anyway… Even though I am afraid to change, I accept that I feel this way, there is a message for me here…
Tapping on the points:
Afraid of my anger…. afraid to heal this… I’m angry with myself for wanting to heal this… I don’t want to heal this… Yes I do… No I don’t, it’s too scary… It makes me angry that I want to heal this… I feel such conflict… I want to heal this thinking… But if I heal this thinking I’m afraid will lose a lot… Part of me is angry that I want to change… I’m afraid I’ll have to leave what I love behind… This feeling in my chest… clenching in my throat… part of me saying no, part of me saying yes… Maybe another part of me is spelling that a different way…
("What?" Christine said. "I am confused!")
…Part of me is saying yes, part of me is saying k-n-o-w…I wonder what the message is for me here? What does this conflict what me to know… All this fear… All this crying without tears, all this anger….Who taught me to feel this way? How did I learn to keep feeling that way, and prevent myself from changing? Who told me I couldn’t be happy?
I suggested that Christine tap on the side of her hand while she asked that question of herself, and to notice what came up. "What happened in childhood when you did something good? Who gave you that idea that ‘I shouldn’t be happy — it’s not OK for me to be happy?’"
"My stepmother," Christine said.
I responded: When you think about her message to you, how did you learn from that interaction? What is it that stands out as you think about it now? Was it her words? The tone of her voice? Her gestures? The look in her eye? What was it that gave you that message?
"I see her eyes," said Christine.
How would you describe the look?
"Full of hatred."
I See My Stepmother’s Eyes Full of Hatred
Even though I have this memory of "it’s not OK to be happy, not OK for ME to be happy," and that was the message in my stepmother’s eyes, and I believed her, and I have believed her ever since, I believed she could kill me….
Even though I believed that she could kill me with that look, I love and accept myself anyway.
Even though I was terrified of that look in her eye and I took on her belief that it’s not OK for me to be happy, that if I am happy something bad will happen, and I have held this belief since I was 18 and maybe longer, there is a part of me that knows that I deserve better…
We tapped for the look in her eyes, the message in her eyes, the feelings. The intensity was starting to go down now. At one point in the tapping flow I had said, "I had to take on her thinking in order to survive," and as we tapped with that phrase Christine caught herself in a verbal slip. She heard herself say instead "I hate to take on her thinking." We wove this in, working with the idea that she had to agree to her stepmother’s thinking in order to keep the harmony, but it wasn’t right for her. She hated feeling forced to keep a harmony that felt poisonous to her.
Her thinking is toxic…it’s poisonous to me, poisoning me…but I had to take on her thinking in order to survive… this terrible conflict… I have been living this conflict for much of my life… I wasn’t allowed to have my own thoughts because I had to keep the harmony… and that is important in my culture… I want to honor my culture, but I want to honor myself as well…. I deserve to honor myself… How can I honor myself and still have harmony?
I asked Christine to stop and breathe, and feel into what was happening inside.
She said: "Now I am feeling sad that this was my conflict, and that I couldn’t articulate it. Anger that I had to put up with this. Glad I can articulate it now. Hope, that we can go with this. I have been tapping a long time about this issue but hadn’t gotten to this level of clarity."
Doubting and Wondering…is that Really True?
Now I asked Christine to begin wonder and doubt about that old belief that it wasn’t OK for her to be happy. I was asking her to imagine that she could point herself towards a healing direction, without insisting that she choose some new belief just yet. I wanted her to give herself permission to feel her thinking becoming less constricted and more fluid.
Christine stood up again, and stepped from the old belief to a place of doubting and wondering. She let her body take on a "thinking about/wondering" position.
She had talked about feeling powerless, so I asked, "What is an area of your life that you have power in? Or, when did you do something well? How did you tune into your feeling of power at that time?
She described a situation, and then said about it: "To run away was my first strategy. Of course that didn’t work. I felt powerless, so I went inside and asked my soul what there was for me to learn in this. I got the answer, ‘Forgiveness.’ I asked my soul, what would it feel like to forgive? ‘A happy feeling,’ was the answer. I stayed with this feeling. I ended up appreciating this person. I had never experienced forgiveness this way. I just stayed with the feeling of happiness, not the words about forgiveness. I didn’t have to do anything, the bad situation just unraveled."
Even though I used to believe it’s not OK for me to be happy, and I have believed that for a long time, because my stepmother was a very powerful person… I am wondering now what what would it be like to ask my soul about my power.
Even though I have believed for many years that it is not OK for me to be happy, because of that message in my stepmother’s eyes, I am open to wondering if that is still true for me…
Even though part of me has believed all of my life that it’s not OK for me to be happy, I am open to wondering if there is any other truth here… what if I asked my soul, what it would feel like to change this belief?
Tapping the points:
I thought it was not OK for me to be happy… I have thought that my stepmother had power over me… my body is cowering… my body is afraid… my body is still connected to my stepmother’s eyes. I am wondering what it would be like to disconnect from my stepmother’s eyes… I wonder what it would feel like if I looked away… I wonder what it would feel like to look away from my stepmother.
We tapped for the all the feelings connected to looking away from her stepmother’s eyes, and for feeling like she was leaving people behind.
Honor Yourself for Having the Courage to Look Away
"I don’t know a lot about the Chinese culture," I said as we tapped, "but I know that these steps you are taking go against centuries of conditioning. Honor your self for having the courage it takes to look away."
As we tapped through the points, I just talked about what was coming to mind for me as I felt into Christine’s situation:
"As you think back into culture and tradition of the position of women and how it is maintained, give some thought to the cost to a woman’s own individual personality that was required of each woman. Note also what a good strategy it was for a nation of people to maintain harmony in inharmonious times. In some way that feels right to you, honor and acknowledge that those times that created this way of maintaining and creating harmony are over now. A new way of being is being asked for. The new way still contains the same honor and same integrity, offers the same harmony, but without that deep cost to individual women of giving up their individuality on behalf of the whole."
Side of hand —
"Think of yourself as a woman who is being called to find a new way of being that allows you to have a sense of inner integrity, inner harmony and power, in a way that women in your cultural past, for centuries, didn’t know. Take a moment to acknowledge that those times are over now. Women had to be like that. But those times are no longer happening. You are free now to choose a new way of being in yourself that is just as honorable and creates a new and different kind of harmony. Ask your soul what would it feel like to feel this way."
Christine said with delight in her voice, "My soul is showing me a picture of a dancing joyous feeling. Free. The word fairies comes to me. I am not worried. I feel this very small and deep inside my chest. Hmmm…It is covered with a lot of "but-but-but—-"
"Centuries of buts!" I put in. (I felt that this session was for planting the seeds of a new belief that could grow, and maybe even dispel the "but’s" in the process. In another session we could deal with any remaining "but’s" individually.)
"So Christine," I continued, "would you be willing to put that old belief — that ‘it is not OK for me to be happy’ — into your Museum of Old Beliefs? Would you be willing to make a little more space in your chest for something new? I am not asking you to change dramatically, but to take a step in a healing direction."
She took another step forward and laid that old belief reverently, with honor, into what she imagined her Museum of Old Beliefs would look like.
We tapped here too:
With honor and reverence, lay that old belief to rest. You are honoring and reverencing your culture, the deep and powerful and profound beliefs, saying to yourself, I want to bring with me the blessings of that culture, but leave behind what has been painful for me so that I can create something new that has even deeper and more profound honor that my soul will be proud to carry.
Step in a Healing Direction
Now I had Christine step to the top of the circle, and feel joyous free dancing fairies, even if surround by ‘buts.’ I asked her: "If you could put the ‘free dancing fairies’ feeling into words as a new belief about your happiness, what would you say?"
Christine: "I am at peace with my being happy. And I feel a hesitating inside. It’s a different language! Part of me is going, ‘huh?’ But yes, I can say it."
I wanted her to understand how deeply I sensed the effort and the effects of her taking this step. While my life obviously hasn’t been grounded in her culture, I have felt in myself what she was feeling.
What we do and feel and think changes the evolution of human consciousness (or perhaps it is the Consciousness of Evolution). When any of us frees a constricting belief, we are working on behalf of all of us. I believe that this is the spiritual purpose of our time — learning how to feel a part of a group and to stand fully in our presence as an individual at the same time.
Christine: "I am crying, so some part of me understands."
I went on: " So, stand now in this place of ‘being at peace with being happy.’"
Especially because I am standing in this new place, of being open to being at peace with being happy for myself, I honor the centuries of tradition that brought me here…
Especially because I am taking this step, that looked like it would be stepping away from all that I knew and loved, I acknowledge that I am stepping more deeply into a sense of reverence for harmony… and knowing my own unique power…
Especially because I am taking this step, on behalf of myself and all Chinese women, I am choosing to be open to believing that it is OK for me to be happy.
Next Christine stepped into the Open to Believing Place, and we tapped:
Especially because I honor my Chinese heritage, I am choosing to honor it in a different way, by being open to harmony within myself…
Especiallybecause I am acting on behalf of all Chinese women across space and time, and I am acting on behalf of myself as an individual, I am choosing to be open to believing that it really is OK for me to be happy… and I am feeling those dancing joyous free fairies in my heart!
We tapped for:
…dancing joyous free fairies in my heart…open to believing it is OK for me to be happy…I acknowledge all these buts… I acknowledge all the fears… I acknowledge all those different feelings, and still I am open to believing it’s OK for me to be happy… And in some way I am thanking my stepmother too, because she wasn’t able to experience this, and how she acted toward me made it possible for me to be thinking the way I am thinking today… I am open to dancing joyous free fairies deep inside my chest… I am opening to my own free spirit… I love this feeling… I deserve this.
I Can Feel Honored and Safe, and Still Bring Harmony
I asked Christine to close her eyes and breathe deeply and easily. While she tapped on the side of her hand, I spoke, bringing back all her thoughts and images and weaving in some of my own as the spirit of the moment began to move me:
…In your imagination look back around the circle from where you stand now. Remember the place you started: ‘It’s not OK for me to be happy. Whenever I start feeling happy the veil comes down. I see my stepmother’s eyes. I chose to look away, because looking into her eyes was toxic for me.’
You believed in and valued your own life strongly enough that you were willing to take some steps to save yourself, because you are worth saving. You looked away from your stepmother’s eyes, all the fear and sadness in all those women’s eyes, going back thousands of years, on behalf of what is right for you as an individual. On behalf of yourself and who you are and what is right for you, you put that old way of being and thinking into an old temple museum, full of old cultural beliefs that now longer serve you in the way they were meant to and would have hundreds of years ago.
You took the guidance of your own soul, the guidance of your inner self, the guidance of your own body, and you stepped into a place of new belief. It feels like dancing joyous free spirits deep inside your chest. You did this even though you know that this is an unfamiliar path, not only for you but for millions of women who share your thoughts and feelings, but who may not yet have travelled quite as far along the path of thinking that you have. You are willing to incorporate the best of what is in the past and leave behind only what has been toxic for you.
Now you are open to believing in the future of your own free spirit, and that it is OK for you to be happy. In fact it’s quite a good thing for you to be happy! You recognize that there is more inner work to do with all of this, more honoring and reverencing and integrating, and you can do this in a way that will make you happy.
I left a moment of silence for these word to integrate.
After a bit Christine shared these closing words:
"I am filled right now with so much gratitude for your clarity and help. I can feel honored and safe. It feels like things have moved. My body feels very peaceful — great knowing seems to come to me, not in a burst of light but from a place of strength of knowing that I can do a better job now of bringing harmony. I shall take your words as a reminder for when I do forget."
"It is from this place of abundance that you can truly give what you have."
Later she sent me this email:
After our session today, I just spent a quiet hour by myself, reflecting and reveling in the good feelings I held within me.
I went outside to sit in my garden. I closed my eyes for a moment, enjoying the sun and feeling the gentle wind on my face. I heard the hummingbird calls and the songs of robins. The air was perfumed with the late blooms of roses.
I decided to open my eyes, and invited my soul to see the world with me.
I noticed that sun feels warmer. There is joy reflected on the leaves as the sunrays bounced off it. The air smelled so sweet. I feel glad to be alive!
My heart was filled with joy and I love it! I feel like jumping up and down like a kid for the sheer joy of loving the moment in my life.
Then I heard “It is from this place of abundance that you can truly give what you have.”
Again, I understand the wisdom that one can give only what one has. So, being in a place of absolute joy is not a selfish endeavor but an important medicine in my life.
I truly am honored to have this opportunity to work with you today!
With love and appreciation,
And with my love and blessings to you all —