I remember reading a suggestion about “asking” a troubled body part what it’s trying to tell you. What exactly does that mean? And how does the answer get conveyed? Would it be a thought or words popping into your head? If so, would it be immediately or would it require additional tapping?
photo by Justin Litton
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is most effective when we can be very specific about the issue that we are working on, but sometimes this is very difficult. There might be so many emotions going at once that we can’t break them into workable parts. Other times there is just a general feeling for which we can’t identify a source. When this happens I like to turn to my body.
One of the reasons I love the feedback that the body gives us is because it’s hard to deny physical sensations, whereas I can choose to deny my emotions. I am capable of convincing myself I’m not mad, angry, or sad. When I do this I am really just pushing an emotion down and choosing not to heal. I can’t explain away knots in my stomach in the same way I can explain away anger. This makes my body a gateway into healing that may be unavailable through other means.
To do this we are going to tune in to the information the body can give us. The following process can be used for both physical and emotional issues. I am going to explain the process in terms of an emotional issue, but it works the same way for a physical issue.
REMEMBER: It is very important to be easy about this. There is no right or wrong answer, and there is no right or wrong way to do this. Trust the process and trust yourself. The body wants to give us information to heal, but if we worry about getting “the right answer” we’ll be too worried to hear what the body is conveying. If you feel any anxiousness to doing this (or doing this well), just tap.
(I know my body has information for me…I’m worried I will do this wrong…I’m worried I will miss important information…I know there are no wrong answers…Even if I don’t make any progress by doing this it’s only taking a few minutes…The more I do this, the better I am going to get at it…Since I don’t know what I’m doing, I choose not to have specific expectations…I give myself permission to be easy about this.)
These are the steps I would recommend.
1) Take a deep breath.
Close your eyes and center yourself. It’s always easiest to understand what’s going on inside of you when you take a moment to relax and pull back from the outside world.
2) Tune into the part of the body you want to get information from.
If there is a very noticeable physical sensation when you think about the issue you’re working on, tune into this place. (For example, a tight chest, shortness of breath, knots in your stomach, tightness in your shoulders, or pain in your hip.)
You might not have a very strong physical sensation clearly associated with an issue. You might be uneasy about something that is about to happen, but you don’t know what that is or where in your body you feel it. The feeling of uneasiness in the body is as abstract as the uneasy feeling.
If you have no idea what part of the body is associated with the feeling simply ask your body where the feeling lives. This might sound a little odd, but it’s as easy as that. Think of the feeling you are working with and just ask your body, “Where does this feeling of uneasiness live?” Trust your body and trust the process. Something will come to mind. At this moment the information might make no sense. You might get the sense the uneasiness lives in your right ankle. Just go with that. Once you know which part of the body you’re working on, just notice this part of the body. Imagine what it looks like on the inside.
Again, be easy about this. There is no “right” answer. As you tune into this part of the body you might see the literal inside of the body, or you might see a metaphoric picture (such as a large stone heavy on your chest).
Also, remember not everyone “sees” things when they focus on something. So don’t be worried if you only see black, but feel that part of the body.
3) Just ask that part of the body what it wants to tell you.
Once you have tuned into the part of the body associated with the emotion ask that part what it needs. Again, this is as simple as paying attention to the image and area of the body and asking the question. In addition to asking what the body is trying to tell you, you can also ask what the body needs.
Pay attention to what pops into your head. It might be completely off the wall. When I ask clients for information and they start by saying, “I am sure this has nothing to do with this, but…” it is the best possible news. If something comes to mind that seems completely unrelated then we can be very certain that it has something to do with what is going on.
4) You might get a clear answer or you might not.
Again, be easy. The information can come in lots of forms. You might get a thought or phrase. You might see a picture. You remember something from your past. You might just get a metaphoric image (like a giant rock).
4a) If the information is usable, then do EFT.
Many times when you do this process you will get very specific information.
- A memory that can use EFT: As you tune into this body part a memory from your past might come to mind. If any negative emotions are associated with this memory (or memories), do EFT on them. Many times the memories that come up are unexpected and even parts of our past we have completely forgotten about.
- Information about the body part: I have done this process and have heard very clearly that a specific part of my body has a particular feeling. I’ve heard that body parts are tired, under appreciated, need healing energy, or need forgiveness. Do my various body parts have specific emotions? I don’t know, but I do know that my subconscious mind is giving me very specific information about the parts of my body that need to be healed. Can my knees feel tired? Don’t worry about it. Tuning into the feeling of tiredness associated with my knees and tapping has brought healing to me.
4b) If you get information you don’t understand, just tap.
Sometime when we do this process we get information that makes no sense at all. For example we could be working on the feeling of being uneasy — and we don’t know why we are uneasy. As we go through this process we get the sense this feeling is somehow associated with our lower back. When we tune into the lower back we see tight bands pulling tightly. This is a great image, but we have no idea what it’s related to.
When this happens we tap about not knowing what the body is telling us.
“My body is giving me information, but I don’t understand what it is…I know my body is trying to communicate with me, but I am missing it. …I thank my body for giving me this information, but I need some help…”
This will often bring up information. If it doesn’t bring up any information, ask for the information. Ask your body, “What are you trying to tell me? I need some help!”
Just like the instruction on shampoo (”wash, rinse, repeat”) it is best to “Tune in. Tap. Repeat.” Keep tuning in until you feel sure you’ve done enough cleaning. I know this process may seem very odd. It’s difficult to put into words what it feels like to ask a body part for information and get it. The best thing to do is just dive in and give it a try; it only costs you a few minutes. Doing this sort of tuning in takes practice. You will never get information the same way twice. Trust your instinct. The more you do this, the more you are going to trust yourself and the more/better information you are going to get.