To Heal And Be Healed For The Common Good

heal (verb) : Old English hælan “cure; save; make whole, sound and well,” from Proto-Germanic hailjan, literally “to make whole”

Healing

Image courtesy of BK

In 2005 I had an odd experience which crystallised my reasons for doing the work that I do.

It’s taken me several years to unpack that experience and I’m still figuring out the implications.

I attended a Spirituality and Therapy workshop with Bill O’Hanlon, three days’ exploration of how we might understand and use spirituality in therapeutic work.

On the last afternoon he invited members of the group to stand up and say a few words about what was important to us about what we had learned and what we would do with the understandings we’d gained.

One by one participants stood up and answered telling the rest of us what they had learned and what they wanted to do next.

In a brief pause between speakers and without any conscious thought, I found myself standing up (a large part of my mind was wondering why I was standing up and what I was going to say) and saying “I don’t really know what this means but I want to heal and be healed for the common good”. I had no idea where that thought came from and was as surprised as anyone else that I’d said it.

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Healing Self Blame Through Tapping

Image courtesy of iandesign

Image courtesy of iandesign

If you burnt the toast this morning as you were making breakfast you could say that you blamed yourself for the mistake.

It’s not such a bad mistake, you would probably get over it by lunch time.

But, what if you always blamed yourself for everything.

That would be a very different experience: you might give yourself a hard time about how stupid you are and how you mess everything up. You might find it quite difficult to be happy.

People who are being blamed for things don’t usually enjoy the experience.

It gets worse. At least if you are blamed for something by someone else you could get away from them for a bit of peace and quiet, but if you are blaming yourself then it’s difficult to escape from it.

A client of mine, let’s call him Chris, had a strong tendency to blame himself.

When I had him say out loud “I blame myself” it registered 9 out of 10 as a true statement.

If you wanted to take care of this issue using standard EFT you might start digging around in your client’s past to find the experiences that lead to the formation of this self-critical attitude. That might take a lot of digging and tapping, but there are other ways to work with these issues, one of them is what I call Identity Reconciliation which is a part of Identity Healing.

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Tapping Into Patience

Patience

Image courtesy of Brett Jordan

Life is like a vast landscape with both soft grass and sharp thorns; impatience rails against the thorns, patience puts on shoes

  • Rick Hanson, author of Buddha’s Brain

Life can be challenging.

We all have so many things to do, places to go, people to see and there is not a moment to lose … and then the world gets in the way.

Then we find ourselves in a long slow queue of traffic, or the person we have to talk to is taking an age to get to the point, or we need to finish a task and someone else is dragging their feet.

With so much to do and so many obstacles in our way it’s easy to get impatient; to seethe at the inefficiency of the world and the incompetence of the people around us. While delays are inevitable, seething can be optional.

Patience is the capacity to deal with difficulties, delays and discomforts without becoming aggravated. It acts as an internal shock absorber when things aren’t going according to our plan.

Impatience is a toxic brew of unpleasant feelings, a sense of pressure or urgency and a feeling of not being in control.

It spawns all sorts of unpleasant reactions in us and towards the circumstances, or people, we hold responsible for those situations.

Impatience:

  • can’t stand discomfort
  • is angry and resistant
  • wants relief or satisfaction, and wants it now!
  • focuses  its attention on what is wrong

Patience:

  • is tolerant of physical and emotional discomfort
  • is at ease with the situation
  • has its eye on the wider picture

One way of cultivating patience is to diminish the power of impatience.

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How To Make Progress By Being Intolerant

Sore feet

Image courtesy of Merlin

Imagine setting out for a long, delightful walk in the countryside.

After a few miles of happy wandering you notice that you have a stone in your shoe.

Would you:

A. Stop as soon as you could to take the stone out of your shoe?

B. Keep walking, ignoring or distracting yourself from the discomfort, eventually arriving at your destination with a shredded foot and a shoe full of blood?

I don’t know about you, but I’m voting for option A!

Imagine that you know EFT/tapping, or some other self-help process, that you have used successfully in the past. You set out into your daily life and during the day you notice you have a problem, perhaps:

  • Every time you think of your ex your blood boils.
  • When you get asked to speak in a meeting you feel much too anxious
  • You feel bad about about something you said all those years ago.
  • You can’t stop thinking about the argument you had with your teenager.
  • etc

Would you:

A. Set aside some time and work through the issue using tapping (or something else) until you were able to deal with the situation comfortably and resourcefully.

B. Tolerate the problem, getting used to it over time, until it seemed normal, allowing the stress to wreak subtle havoc on your system.

I’m voting for option A again. How about you?

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Tapping Into Self-Compassion

“Always remember that you are absolutely unique,
just like everyone else”
- Margaret Mead

Problems are a problem.

Life is full of difficulties; they come in all shapes and sizes from the trivial and mundane to the life changing and heart rending.

To make things worse we have a problem with ourselves having the problem we are experiencing.

Animals just have problems. They need to find food and shelter, stay out of danger and attract a mate.

That can be difficult and dangerous work, but animals don’t seem to be too worried about it, they don’t sit around complaining to one another or feeling bad about life’s injustices.

Humans have the advantages and disadvantages or being intelligent, social beings gifted with language and imagination.

Not satisfied with just having problems we can have problems about having the problems. We know how to feel bad about things and we can do it really well.

One way we like to make problems more difficult is by making them personal.

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How To Escape The Law Of Jante With EFT

Image courtesy of borborigmus

Image courtesy of borborigmus

There are lots of ways to be limited by our beliefs.

We don’t just have our own limiting beliefs, we are deeply influenced by the attitudes and beliefs of our culture.

Every society has rules and standards of behaviour intended to maintain a coherent and stable society.

Some of these rules may not be very helpful for our own personal development (or the development of the society we live in).

In 1933 Danish-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose wrote “A fugitive crosses his tracks”, a novel describing Jante, a small (fictional) Danish town.

In the novel he described the “Law of Jante”, ten rules that described the cultural attitude of the town towards individual success and achievement.

The ten rules of the Law of Jante:

  1. You’re not to think you are something special.
  2. You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
  3. You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
  4. You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
  5. You’re not to think you know more than we do.
  6. You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
  7. You’re not to think you are good at anything.
  8. You’re not to laugh at us.
  9. You’re not to think someone cares about you.
  10. You’re not to think you can teach us anything.

The “Law of Jante” is still used colloquially in the Scandinavian countries to describe negative attitudes towards individuality and success.

These are fine examples of what Gary Craig, the creator of EFT, would call the “writings on our walls”.

With a little bit of work that list of cultural commands can be turned into some tapping scripts to help soften the limitations they prescribe.

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Why am I making no progress?

Image courtesy of kylepost

Image courtesy of kylepost

Some people feel like they are making no progress in their therapy or self-development.

Whatever they do, things seem to stay just as bad as before. It can be both discouraging and frustrating, some people even give up trying.

To understand one of the reasons for making no progress (and some ideas to help get unstuck) we need to take an imaginary trip to the seaside in Victorian England.

In the late 19th century the north of England was strewn with large industrial towns with smoking chimneys, dank factories, stinking rivers, polluted air and blackened buildings.

During the factory holidays the workforce and their families would leave the factory towns and travel to the seaside towns of Blackpool or Scarborough to enjoy the novelty of sun, sea and fresh air.

Let’s imagine two such travellers leaving the grimy city for a well deserved visit to the seaside: Miss Change and Miss Same have known each other for years. They grew up in the city, although they are used to the stink and grime, they both want to get away from it, if only for a little while.

Miss Change and Miss Same although they have lots in common do have a difference in temperament that makes going on the same holiday a very different experience.

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