I was thinking about the question “What does it mean to heal?” as my client “Petra” talked about the class she is taking to help her build her EFT practice.
Petra really loves EFT, and wants to give presentations. But she is afraid that she will stiffen up and sound like she is giving a history report or an explanation. “I am afraid that I will be too careful, too planned out, not spontaneous. I will just talk about ‘this is how EFT works,’ and I won’t be able to access my passion about this work, how important it is to me. I am afraid of being rejected. And then I will be BORING. ”
“As a child, my voice got lopped off at the bootstraps,” she said. “My voice was not ever accepted in my home. It was always judged. They would give me this look, rolling their eyes, saying ‘What planet did you come from?’ I could feel their energy recoiling physically, away from me. I would wonder, ‘What did I do?’
Every time I began to speak as a child my mother would make a karate chop motion in front of my mouth and say ‘Don’t talk!’ I felt beaten, hurt and confused, and I didn’t know why. So my true voice became an inner voice. I had all this emotion caught in my throat. My outward voice showed up as an angry voice.”
She went on: “Now, as I think about marketing my services, I want to talk in my own voice. But since I was always told I was too direct, too strong, too angry, now I am afraid of my true voice. I don’t know what to say. I feel my truth won’t make any sense to anyone else. So when someone shows the slightest hint of not understanding me, I feel so vulnerable, so exposed. And then I fall into tears and I can’t talk.”
What will it mean for Petra to heal? Does she need to go back into all the events in her life where her true voice was “lopped off at the bootstraps” and heal them? Would she have to have a full EFT practice and be a sought-after presenter? Would it be OK to just be doing EFT with friends and co-workers? Should she be charging for her work?
How will she know when she is speaking in her true voice?
While I think it is very useful to tap through all the painful incidents that represent the problem, sometimes I think we find something we don’t like about ourselves and then use EFT (or any other therapy) to beat it up. My preference is always to plant seeds of healing that will grow into gentle reminders over time to consistently turn us toward a healing direction.
Luckily our session was recorded, so I can give you a good chunk of the actual tapping Petra and I did toward that end. This is not the last session that we will have on freeing Petra’s true voice, but it is a good start. If you would like to open the way for your own true voice to be heard (especially by you), tap along:
Even though my voice was never accepted in my home….
Even though as a child, my voice got lopped off at the bootstraps….
Even though my voice was always judged….
Even though they would give me this look….
Even though they said, rolling their eyes, ‘What planet did you come from?’….
Even though I could feel their energy recoiling physically, away from me….
Even though I would wonder, ‘What did I do? What is wrong with me?’ ….
Even though every time I began to speak as a child my mother would make a karate chop motion in front of my mouth and say ‘Don’t talk!’….
Even though I felt beaten, hurt and confused, and I didn’t know why….
Even though my true voice became an inner voice….
Even though I had all this emotion caught in my throat….
Even though my outward voice showed up as an angry voice….
Even though now I am afraid of my voice…
Even though I am afraid of my voice will be rejected…
In the second half of these set up statements I added various phrases that she had said, and that I could tell came from a deep, heartful place in her:
…now I want find my own voice.
…I feel the part of me that wants to have a voice, and I am open to a deeper truth about this old story.
…anger has given me some powerful strong energy.
…I want to have meaningful work.
…I love the “a-ha” moments in EFT sessions—the insights are like miracles!
…I love what I have to offer.
…I love learning something I didn’t know, making connections, giving birth to a new idea.
As Petra began to acknowledge the importance to her of speaking in her own voice, “not influenced by parents or teachers,” she began to cry. “The thought of acknowledging that my own voice is beautiful is so powerful to me,” she said through her tears. “I am so terrified of having that squashed!”
So we tapped, “Even though I am so terrified of having that squashed, I accept myself anyway…”
More tears. She was having a hard time saying “I accept myself.” As she wept, we just tapped through the points continuously as I offered thoughts and statements. As she calmed and could speak through her tears again, Petra often inserted her own comments.
Even though they turned away, I accept that that happened, and now I want to learn to turn toward myself.
Even though they disconnected from me, and then I had to disconnect from myself to survive in my family, I want to learn to connect with myself.
Even though they judged and criticized me, I want to learn to accept myself.
My whole life now is about learning to accept and connect with myself
Whenever I make those connections or hear the tone of my real voice it makes me cry.
I am crying for the joy and delight of real connection inside.
I am crying for hope.
Especially because I felt emotionally beaten, hurt and confused, and I didn’t know why, I accept that that happened, I honor myself for how hard that was, and I want to learn to reconnect with myself…
I was just a little girl, a smart, sensitive aware little girl—they couldn’t see that.
Well, they could see that, and they didn’t like it—it scared and threatened them.
They had to shut me down to keep themselves protected from knowing how they were shut down in their own lives.
So I ended up feeling beaten, hurt, and confused, and I didn’t know why.
Now I asked Petra to tap on the back of her hand in the Nine Gamut spot. Tapping here helps to reshape a deep inner conflict. As we tap on the back of the hand, and do the Nine Gamut exercise, the brain/mind/spirit can begin to transform and re-prioritize the details of the story we have been telling ourselves. (If you are unfamiliar with this tapping routine, check out the free EFT tapping manual available at www.emofree.com)
While Petra was tapping on this point, I asked her to put her attention on the following thoughts:
Think about the conflict that your childhood put you in: coming into this life as you did, strong and smart and outspoken, full of energy. You were born into a family that had restrictions and limitations around self expression. Someone had taught your parents, and their parents before them, and their parents before them, to tamp down and swallow and stuff their own exuberance and their feelings. Your parents’ intention was to quiet you and disconnect from you because you reminded them in too painful a way of their own squashed true voice. Or maybe they were trying to protect you from the hardships they had faced by “toughening you up.” But you thought there must be something wrong with you.
Think of the conflict which that would have set up in you. A big, huge, identity shaping conflict…
Put your attention now on acknowledging that all of that did happen—and it is over now. It is no longer happening. You no longer need to resonate or identify with that recoiling look and that energy withdrawal, and feeling beaten and hurt and confused as an identity.
Petra tapped through the Nine Gamut routine. I suggested that she sing Happy Birthday, first as reverent “entrance music,” and then after the counting, as a celebration.
Then we tapped some more:
Even though I had that conflict, I accept that all this happened back then, and I am willing to be born again now in my true voice.
This old conflict, letting it go now…
I can’t let it go – it has shaped who I am!
It is all I know!
But that old identity is smothering me, squashing me, choking me.
It keeps lopping my true voice off at the bootstraps!
And—I am no longer powerless, I have choice now.
I can remember what it feels like to be the little girl full of life, energy, enthusiasm and excitement. That is who I really am!
It is OK to be me. It is really OK to be me!
It is not only OK, it is a miracle and a blessing to be me!
Petra took this in. Then she said sadly, “But I am afraid to put it out there. My truth doesn’t make any sense to anyone else.”
I responded as we both continued to tap conversationally through the points. (I often just tap through the points while sharing a conversation. I do it with myself, on my own issues, as well!)
“It’s true—in the past your truth has not made sense to some of the people that you shared it with.
But look who you were speaking to.
It was people who were so closed tight into themselves that they couldn’t hear your voice because they were so busy protecting their own voice.
So the people you want to talk to are the people that you intuitively know (and you do know this) are on the same page as you are.”
“I understand. But how do you build an EFT practice out of that?” Petra asked. “You already have, but—”
So I said, “I wasn’t born doing this! I was born into a family with its own dysfunctions. I too grew up thinking that I didn’t have a voice, and I thought that I was invisible. My life has been all about unlearning that. Now, I find that when I speak in my true voice people love to hear what I have to say about finding their truth. I also find that when I get nervous and start speaking in my ‘report voice,’ energetically I can feel everyone’s inner eyes closing, as if their interest was drifting off to sleep. So I do my best to always stay present and speak from my real experience.”
I tell Petra that I am going to say some things now as we tap, that I am making up, putting thoughts and words that she has said into a new shape, and I want her to change them, embroider them, delete them if they don’t feel right to her and replace them with what is coming up for her inside:
What if you could put yourself out there, not like your little girl self, but in an age appropriate way? You know you can talk to your husband about EFT in a passionate way…you can ramble, you don’t have to have your thoughts all together before they come out, you can be spontaneous, you can talk about what is exciting to you. So you know that you can speak your truth in your own voice. We were all trained to “give reports” rather than speak our truth. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all could know and speak our truth?
Even in the act of considering all this you are pioneering a new, truer way of being. It is already in there in you, it has always been there, alive and well in your life. It was there in you as a three year old, as a teenager—your truth voice.
Now you are putting a different frame on your story, taking off the old frame and replacing it with a new one. The old frame was: There is something wrong with me. I have to fix it. I have to get fixed by others. I have been broken. I have to heal. EFT is a great healing tool. I love the way it makes me feel.
So, Petra, what if you placed your tapping, in this wonderful exciting heartfelt way, into a different frame? What if your new story now goes something like this:
It is OK, it is even a wonderful blessing miracle to be the truth of who I am!
Talking with my husband, I have learned how to do that!
I know how to speak in my true voice—I have just been afraid to.
Because no one around me knew how to do this—there was no one to teach me.
I have been teaching myself!
I am still learning.
Maybe I will always be learning this.
I am changing from a story about “I am broken” to the story in my true voice:
“It is OK to be my truth, and I am learning! It is OK to be learning!”
I believe that continually pointing ourselves in the direction of our own truth is healing. I don’t know if we “get healed.” That phrase itself assumes that we are broken. I think of healing as a continual unfolding and emergence of the best in us—wholing. Reconnecting our bootstraps with our ability to stand up for ourselves. We deserve no less.
With my love and blessings all around –