Many of us are caught in painful emotional patterns. As children, we learn to react with the same emotional dynamics each time specific patterns of events occur. Over time, emotional pain patterns become habituated. We don’t mean for this to happen; it just does.
EFT is Helpful to Create Healing Stories
EFT, also called Emotional Freedom Techniques or EFT Tapping, is a method that is often effective in freeing people from their emotional pain dynamics by dissolving automatic reactions and creating new ones. Using EFT Tapping, we focus on the specific emotions that arise when we remember events or patterns of events while simultaneously tapping on acupuncture meridians. Strange as it sounds, it frequently works to turn emotional pain when remembering into just a matter-of-fact thought—“yes, that happened, but it doesn’t have a charge to it anymore.”
Creative Uses of EFT : Healing Stories Emerge
Sometimes it creates less emotional pain to work with painful patterns if we use metaphor instead of literally going there. We can use EFT Tapping to create healing stories that transform these painful patterns in our lives. Here’s how it can be done—using a specific example: a person who had seen a lot of violence as a child and had also been physically abused. This person’s emotional pain was experienced as a whirling, spinning feeling—a feeling of chaos. Whenever something happened that had even the smallest similarity to what was experienced as a child, the reaction was to feel the whirling, spinning, chaos feeling. So that’s how to begin creating the story: to notice more about that feeling and to let a picture emerge.
The Healing Story Begins
Here’s the beginning:
“There is a powerful, murky swirling whirlpool in the middle of a deep river. It pulls in everything that comes near. Swirling and roiling in the whirlpool are jagged shards of broken glass; twisted pieces of metal sharp as knives; huge broken tree branches; poisons from a hundred factories and—a tiny baby, arms flailing, unbelievably keeping its head above water—just barely.”
After that, we use EFT Tapping to tap on each part of the image. Often it changes and more of the story emerges. For instance, we can tap to find out how the person in the story came to be where he/she is. This emerges as we tap on the question. For instance:
“Its mother, wanting to be rid of it and not knowing who it was, threw it into the whirlpool, thinking that would be the end of it. But the baby woke up suddenly, gasping, drowning, totally panicked. It had barely started life and, as happens with babies, it now seems that this IS its life: this gasping, drowning, whirling and swirling amid broken glass, knife-sharp twists of metal, huge logs of wood and murky brown poison sludge. And the noise! The roar of the water drowns it even more than the water itself.”
Healing Stories Intensify First
Now we continue EFT, tapping on each of the new parts of the story and even more emerges. At first, what tends to happen is that the problem emotion is intensified, and then the solution begins to arise:
“The baby swirls so quickly that soon it begins to whirl around its own axis, like a tiny flailing world inside the whirling of the water-galaxy. Soon even the contents of its head are whirling and swirling inside its skull. It realizes that its mother threw it into this whirlpool and that it is meant to be dead. But “HAH!” it thinks, “I’m not dead! I’m still here.”
With this thought, even though it’s still whirling in the roiling water along with everything else, the inside of the baby’s head is no longer spinning. Although its whole universe is still a giant roaring whirlpool, it’s no longer whirling around its own axis like a tiny world in a water-galaxy.”
With EFT, the Solution Arises
Again, we tap on the parts of the story that have emerged. We encourage the “dreamer” to look around and notice what he/she notices—and more and more of the solution appears:
“Suddenly, its glance is caught by something in the distance, something outside its universe: a huge, 200-foot tall tree, with many branches thick as giants’ legs and leaves luscious green, the tree solid and deeply rooted into the earth beside the river. The baby is riveted by the sight of something so solid, so REALLY THERE.
Healing Stories are Magical Transformers
The great thing about using EFT Tapping to allow stories to emerge is that we don’t have to stick with the literal. Magic starts to happen and the patterns of emotional pain transform to new, creative ways of interacting with the world—starting as metaphor. We weave the details of the emerging pattern:
“Oh, how I wish I could be there!” the baby thinks. And with the thought, the tree bends one of its long branches to the middle of the river, and, as the baby rushes by, it reaches out its arms and grabs hold of the branch. At the same time, the tree raises its branch and lifts the baby out of the whirlpool and sets it safely into the crook of a branch, and holds it in its tree-arms. No longer deafened by roaring water, the baby hears an amazing new sound. It’s coming from tiny birds sitting on the tree’s branches: warbling and tweeting and chirping.
“Wow!” thinks the baby. It’s totally charmed.
The birds check out the newcomer and, finding it harmless and rather cute, gather twigs as a community and build a nest around him. It takes a whole bird community because babies are way bigger than birds. It also hears a chittering and looks up. Squirrels are running up and down the trunk of the tree. They gather nuts and berries and fruits and lay them in the baby’s nest. The birds and squirrels can tell it’s pretty useless when it comes to feeding itself, so they do it for the baby, dropping things into its mouth. It laughs whenever they do that.
Eventually, the baby learns to crawl along the branches of the tree. Whenever it misses a handhold and starts to fall, the tree catches it with its branches and lifts it right back up to its nest. After a while, it’s a limb-crawling expert, and is peering through the leaves and branches way, way down at the bottom of the tree.
“I wonder what’s down there,” the small child asks no one in particular. It has noticed the squirrels seem to be able to make their way down to the ground. The child jumps carefully from branch to lower branch, spiraling all the way down and with a thump lands on its feet on the ground at the bottom of the tree. The ground feels really solid and HUGE. It seems to go on and on forever.
The squirrels and birds, knowing what was coming, have made the child a knapsack out of a huge leaf. It’s stuffed full of nuts and berries, and soon so are the child’s pockets.
The child throws its arms around the tree and gives it a giant hug. It pats the tiny heads of the squirrels and birds, gives them a big wave and strides off into the world. As the child fades off into the distance, suddenly, several boulders in the river shift their position, and the river runs swift and clean.”
The New Pattern is Complete
In the last paragraph, the child reacting differently actually changes the world. As we begin to react and act differently, often the reactions of those around us change in relation to us, too. This is an example of how EFT can transform us. From here it’s useful to feel into the details of the story and notice how the new pattern can concretely be brought into one’s life through action. For more information on using EFT Tapping to create transformative healing stories, see efttherapycolorado.com