Walking the dogs along the creek path behind our house recently, we came upon a little girl, who was about five, and her mother. They were gathering moss, sticks, bits of bark and leaves into a basket that the child was carrying. When she saw us she looked up and said, “We’re looking for pretty things to build a fairy house with!”
Then she threw her arms open wide, her face alight and her whole being filled with the magic of nature and humanity, and she said, “SO THAT THE FAIRIES CAN LIVE IN OUR BACK YARD!!” (She didn’t shout, but feeling the radiant power in her makes me put that in caps!)
Bless her mother for standing smiling in the background, and not rolling her eyes or diminishing the importance of her daughter’s work. How many of us started life with this love of the earth, and our own capacity to invite and shape its magic, and the certainty that if we create a holding space for spirit it will flow in as surely as water flows downhill —only to have that spirit constricted in us by shaming or neglect?
This encounter with this little girl, a fairy herself, has been held suspended and twinkling in me ever since. I want my work in the world to restore, support and foster the creative confidence in all of us that I saw and felt in her.
We could call that work Spiritual Freedom Techniques. EFT is an ideal tool for opening us to Spiritual Freedom. I am not talking about religion here, as in churches and temples and mosques. Spiritual Freedom comes down to the second half of the EFT equation: I deeply and completely love and accept myself. Imagine the changes in the world that would emerge if this statement were the natural internal self talk of everyone everywhere! The most profound application of EFT helps us to re-shape ourselves at the deepest level of identity so that our true spiritual energy can flow free.
Thinking about Spiritual Freedom leads me to the kinds of questions I might ask someone that I am working with:
Do you feel constricted in your life?
Do you feel the weight of all the should’s on your shoulders?
Do you sometimes wish, “If only I could be who I really am…”
Do you ever get the sense that you are trying to pretend not to be who you really are?
And… don’t you wish you had access to your own guidance and wisdom, instead of seeking truth about yourself from other people or sources?
In my EFT sessions I am always open to walking a path in partnership with a client or a class, alert for opportunities to dive into and co-create answers to the questions above in the person’s own unique way. I am not trying to talk anyone into my or anyone’s belief system. Well, I do want them to be able to say, “I deeply and completely love and accept myself!” But not because I am talking them into it. I want that voice to begin to arise naturally, powerfully, from deep within their own heart, dissolving any obstacles or blockages that have been in the way.
This EFT work is for helping people to learn how to find their individual path toward deeply and completely loving and accepting themselves—really, not just as this phrase that we tend to say automatically in the EFT set-up. Just like I want to hear people sing “Happy Birthday” to themselves in the 9 Gamut process as a truly heartfelt welcoming of themselves to life.
Of course it is also important to work with specific painful incidents from the past to clear the negative vibration associated with those memories. But sometimes I think people can get addicted to healing the past as a way of avoiding being present to the true power and possibility within them.
It happens in EFT, and in any healing modality, all the time. The new therapy or the new practitioner can become the next bright spot on the horizon for the person with problems to move towards. The client may end up fixated on the modality or the practitioner, and the hope and the sense of purpose and connection that comes from their association. That takes their attention out of themselves. Then their life becomes about finding the next new healer or technique in order to keep that feeling of hope and purpose alive.
As a practitioner, I want to invite my partner in the work to honor the deeper intention in themselves that guides them to seek healing in the first place. I want this for myself too. We seek healing because a part of us inside knows that we deserve to feel whole. It is our birthright.
These thoughts are always in the back of my mind as I work with someone.
Ann said she was feeling down and full of self-pity. She had seen the movie “Mama Mia,” and instead of making her happy, its exuberance just served to remind her that “I don’t have the life I want and I don’t have the energy to go get it. Other people have things I want and don’t have.” As we explored this, Ann said “I’m just not good enough, I guess. I’m not worthy.”
We had worked on these beliefs before. I asked her what made her hold on to this way of thinking?
Once she begins a deeper discovery, Ann is pretty good at letting the insights flow. “Hmm…” she mused. “Well, it must be that I have a fear of being in the world. And that is probably about judgment—I worry about what people will think of me—and that I would probably agree with them.”
With a highly sensitive temperament, and a history of blocked emotions, Ann is has a lot of trouble with her digestive system. She gets reactions to lots of different foods, and gets sick easily from them. Of course she often finds herself, as she had the day before, at the checkout counter purchasing something she knew wasn’t good for her, that would lead to low energy, which would keep her from feeling like seeking out and developing what is important to her.
“So,” she said thoughtfully, “I wonder if making myself sick gets me to pay attention to my soul? It is a way to say no. If I were well, I would have to achieve, measure up. I’d have to go get a shitty, soul-killing job and meet the standard American life like my parents thought I should. I’d have to be like everyone else. Or I’d have to volunteer somewhere, to look good….
“…If I am sick, people will leave me alone. If I am sick, I can be who I am.”
She sent me some thoughts in an email that elaborated on this excellent insight:
The movie “Mama Mia!” triggered issues about having a voice and self expression. It reminded me of my father, the singer who “lost his voice”, and how his cruelty to me caused me to “lose my voice” and learn to hide my true self so I could get along and fit in.
So I tried to fit in to their ways and I got sick. I decided “If I’m sick, I can be who I am”. I can get out of having to please my parents, society, and others’ expectations of me.
The advantages to being ill: I don’t have to follow their rules any more! I get to take care of my soul and do inner exploration. When I’m well, I must try to “measure up” and fit in and achieve and have a soul-killing job. I often feel stuck between illness and being well and having to “measure up”. I’m stuck because I don’t like either option! No fun!
And my behavior reinforces the idea that I can’t be out in the world without getting sick. I don’t pack a snack when I go out to shop or errands, so I eat out, and get chemical reactions and feel ill for a week or so, thus I can’t be out in the world! I resist packing my snack; I don’t even like to care for myself in this way.
Because—when I feel ill, I have an excuse to not fit in, I can say “no” to a world I don’t want to be in.
What would an EFT session around Spiritual Freedom for Ann look like?
I want Ann to know that she can be herself without resorting to being sick. I want her to feel at home in her own body, accepting (deeply and completely accepting!) of her right to be herself. I want her to trust her own creative confidence. I want her to trust her own body’s guidance about what is actually right for her, and I want her to have the inner strength to follow her own wisdom.
It won’t work for me to just tell her this. The insights and realizations must be generated from deep within her, and she must feel them as her own truth. She had a lifetime of doing what others thought she should do. This is not a one session wonder—Ann is taking on profound changes. She must feel courageous and flexible enough to navigate herself into a new story about who she is, and what is possible for her.
Our tapping set-ups began with phrases like these:
Even though I watched “Mama Mia” and cried all night about how sad my life is…
Even though I don’t want to tap on this because I don’t want to feel those feelings again…
Even though I don’t have any models in my family for how to stand up for what I know is right for me…
Even though my father was the singer who “lost his voice”, and his cruelty to me caused me to “lose my voice” and learn to hide my true self so I could get along and fit in, and that has probably been a family pattern forever…
Even though I tried to fit in to their ways and it made me sick…
Even though some part of me decided “Hey, if I’m sick, I can be who I am”….
Even though I am afraid if I get well, I will have to “measure up” and fit in and achieve and have a soul-killing job…
Even though I often feel stuck between illness and being well and having to “measure up”…
Even though my behavior reinforces the idea that I can’t be out in the world without getting sick—I don’t pack a snack when I go out to shop or do errands, so I eat out, and get chemical reactions and feel ill for a week or so, thus I can’t be out in the world…
Even though when I feel ill, I have an excuse to not fit in, I can say “no” to a world I don’t want to be in…
Even though I want to say no to others’ expectations and create my own life in health… but the challenge is: I don’t trust myself! … self doubt is there a lot, especially when where’s a clash between what I want and what others want…
Even though others’ ideas seem stronger than my ideas…and I have the “what will people think” syndrome…
Even though I am scared to change this pattern, and I really don’t want to, and I’m not good enough to, and I might lose my family if I did, and then I wouldn’t have anyone…
Even though I feel all this fear and sadness in a downward pull in my belly…
The other half of the set-up equation included phrases like these, that can lead her to step in a direction of spiritual freedom:
…I accept my self enough that I want to learn to trust myself and my own values so they can be strong enough to replace mom and dad’s values and judgments on me.
…I accept my self and I want to learn to feel my spiritual guidance in my body, so my body can be a compass for me.
…I accept my self and I want to trust myself so I don’t fall into the expectations of others, so I have a strong place to go to inside of me.
…I accept my self enough that I am telling myself to remember that it is called an “inner locus of control” when you have strong values within….I call it my “inner lotus”, like the lotus flower that grows on top of water out of mud….I like to see that in my heart sometimes….I like the pink lotus flowers….Beauty out of water and mud.
…I deeply and completely love and accept my self, so much that I am filling myself with the strength of strong lotus flowers
…I accept my self enough that since I like to listen to talk radio and books on tape because the people are using their voice, have passion, and don’t care what others think of them….and it’s the direct opposite of being shy….I’m looking for role models on using my voice!
…I deeply and completely accept my self … and I can see that my old way of creating boundaries reinforces my old idea that being in the world makes me sick….I see now that I was doing that to prove that I can’t handle the world….but I was doing it for a good reason! I wanted to be me! And being me is OK!
…I love and accept myself enough that I am asking myself now: If I am sick, how can I be who I am? I can’t!
When we finished, Ann said, “I can see that this proves how powerful and creative I am! But I have put all my strength into that old constricted boundary strategy. Now I want to learn to use my power and creativity to be myself. I deserve that.” Ann knows that this is not a one minute wonder process. It is a life-long opportunity to learn how to consistently choose expansion in her life, instead of the old familiar constriction. She wondered, “How can I learn to trust myself not to just go back to how my parents thought?”
A profoundly good question. We will take that up next time, and probably the next, and the next, until this new way of thinking—her own way—is planted, rooted and flowering.
In the meantime, I suggested that she see “Mama Mia” again, and tap while she watched, so that she could further heal her old sad thoughts and be open to feeling its positive message.
As EFTers we are part of the movement in humanity that is devoted to discovering how to use our own inner guidance system that points the way towards answering our deepest questions….without having to read so many self-help books, or seek out yet more spiritual teachers, or get someone else to channel the answer for us from “spiritual entities.” I do believe that there are useful allies in the seen and the unseen world—but I believe that what they want most of all for us is that we stand fully in our own spiritual presence. The inner allies that are worth my attention don’t want me to become dependent upon them for wisdom. They want me to find it in myself.
Let’s use our skills and experience to help ourselves and our clients to explore the intimate and uniquely individual process of opening our intuition and learning to trust the guidance of our own body and of our life story.
Let’s use EFT not just to heal the past hurts, but as a powerful invitation to bloom from the center of the goodness that we already are. We can make everything we do a beautiful fairy house, so that the true faeries and angels and devas and nature spirits and Spirit itself will live in our back yard!
With my love and blessings all around –