So often we don’t begin our healing work because we think the work is too big, it feels too overwhelming, or it just feels impossible. In this podcast we talk about how important it is to just open the door a small crack to the healing process and how that can make all the difference in the world. Sometimes it just takes a small change to create radically different outcomes. We also spend time doing a little tapping for the feeling of overwhelm that comes with knowing we have lot of healing we want and need to do.
Archives for June 2011
photo by Bernardo Borghetti
For the last few months I have been blessed to be spending my Monday and Wednesday mornings in the local county jail helping out with the Advanced Anger Management class. It has been an amazing experience.
Recently I ran into my friend whose place I have taken as assistant teacher for the class. She asked, “Isn’t it addictive?” Addictive is the only way I can describe it. It is one of the coolest things I have going in my life right now.
I have learned so much from the class. These lessons are not limited to how best to use or teach tapping, but I have also learned lots of lessons about life. By first understanding these lessons it will make it easier for you to access the tools in this book.
Here are ten lessons that I learned from teaching tapping in jail:
One of my favorite things about the class is the fact that it has not been court-ordered. Everyone is in the class by choice. I will admit that a few of the guys show up because they receive a certificate of participation for their file upon completion, but even these guys fully participate.
There is no mystery about what is going on. These guys recognize that because of their anger they have made choices that have created negative outcomes and they want to change this. Sometimes they are trying to change just to avoid negative outcomes while other times they are trying to change in order to be better people overall.
Regardless of why they are in class, it is their choice. Because of this openness we are willing to push them and challenge them to look very honestly at their lives, their past choices, and their beliefs about themselves. Sometimes this is a little work, but we all need to be pushed a bit to be honest with ourselves.
Lesson 1: Healing and transformation will not take place unless it is a choice. We can’t force someone to change. We can encourage people to change and we can support people in their change work, but we cannot force someone else to change.
I am in awe of the woman who runs the class. She works for the county and is the one who is in charge of this class, as well as many others types of classes. She spends five days a week working inside an extremely restrictive environment trying to make the lives of a very marginalized population (both male and female) better. In her words and, more importantly, in her actions she shows how much she cares for the guys in class.
One of the main reasons the class works is because it feels like a safe space. The guys know they can talk about their issues and worries without fear of judgment or of negative repercussions. This safe and loving space exists because of the safe space that has been created with her heart.
One day the guys were asking if I am paid to teach the class. I told them I am a volunteer. When they asked the teacher the same questions she responded, “Yes, but they don’t pay me to care.” There are lots of people who the guys interact with in the facility who don’t care. She does, and it makes all the difference.
Lesson 2: It is important that the people we are working with understand that we care about them and that they are in a safe space when we work with them. Doing change work can be hard. Often we have to admit the things we don’t like about ourselves. Creating a loving and safe environment makes it easier for them to choose the steps to healing.
Other People’s Emotions
We spend a great deal of time in class working with the guys’ emotions about their relationships. These emotions fall into three basic categories. First there are the relationships that are contentious. These are normally relationships with the mothers of their children. Second, there are the relationships where they feel like they have let others down. The guys are seeing firsthand how their choices are affecting others like their parents, their partners, and their children. It is really hard to see how our choices negatively impact others. Finally, there are emotions about the relationships in which they feel helpless. Because they are incarcerated the guys can’t be helpful to their family members who are struggling with other personal problems.
As the guys have limited interaction with their loved ones (telephone, letters and occasional visits), it puts what they can and can’t control into stark relief. When we are around someone frequently, I think we misunderstand how much influence we have over someone else’s life. When we don’t have much contact with them, it becomes much more obvious just how little influence we really have.
Because of this, we help the guys to spend a great deal of time talking about and tapping for what they do have control over, which is their own emotions. (The tool we use the most is “About…To…As if…” which we will cover in Part 5 of this book.)
Lesson 3: In the end the only thing we control is our emotional response and our choices. We can’t control other people’s choices or their emotions nor are we responsible for other people’s choices or emotions. When we stop spending time and energy trying to change the emotions of others we can direct our energy to the place we have the most control: inside ourselves.
Twice A Week, Every Week
It is easy to pick out specific moments about the class to rave about. There are moments where there are amazing breakthroughs. There are great unplanned conversations about life where the guys wrestle with the really tough questions. As wonderful as these moments are they don’t happen all class long and they don’t even happen in every class. There are classes that feel long. There are times where the guys look at me bored, because I am sure they are bored with me.
Even though each class isn’t amazing they create a cumulative effect. By being there twice a week every week, it helps to build a relationship. The more we show up, the more the guys trust us and trust the tool set. Sometimes it takes weeks before one of the guys will open up in class, but it is because of the constant contact and relationship that the opening-up eventually happens.
Lesson 4: Not everyone will trust us and start tapping right away. Sometimes we have to prove ourselves and our commitment to them over time. This does not mean that we run people over with our care, but it is important that we demonstrate that we are there for the long haul.
What is that word?
Recently I brought to class a list of emotions that was created by The Center for Nonviolent Communication . The goal of the list is to help the guys develop a more specific vocabulary in describing how they feel. The more specifically we can describe how we feel, the easier it is to change how we feel.
When printed, the list is two pages long. After I handed out the list to the guys I started to explain why I had given them the list. As I was finishing “K” just blurted out, “What does this word mean?” He then asked about another and another and another. K is in his late thirties and is comfortable enough in his own skin that he wasn’t concerned what I (or his classmates) thought about the fact he didn’t understand something. His learning was more important than that.
I wish I could always approach learning in the same way.
Lesson 5: It is OK to admit that we don’t have all the answers and it is important to let others know that it is OK to ask for clarification when needed. If we remain in the dark we will not learn and we will often feel stupid because we don’t know, which in turn shuts down the learning and/or healing process.
Filling The Tool Box
There are lots of reasons why guys don’t make it to class. It could be the unit’s day to go to the library, they could be meeting with their lawyer, they could be in court, or something could have happened overnight and their unit is in lockdown so that no one can leave for any reason.
Because of this reality it is hard to teach concepts that build upon previous work because you never know who is going to be there and which classes they have already attended. To combat this I have broken down all the topics down into discrete parts. Each part contains two pieces: a tool that can be used right now and an explanation of how it fits into the big picture.
“Ten Steps To Tap For Any Emotion” is a perfect example of this approach that I created for class. If you know the tapping points and follow the steps you will find relief. When working with the guys I presented the steps one at a time and had them write out their answers for each step.
After they completed the whole process we spent some time talking about how and why the process worked. We talked about the importance of each step and how it impacted the overall results.
In the end it didn’t matter if they understood any of the big picture stuff. Of course understanding the big picture makes using and customizing the tools easier, but if the tools are understood and used regularly they will bring healing, and that is what is most important.
Lesson 6: Don’t give people concepts and theory. Give them tools they can use right now to improve their lives. If they are interested in theory they will ask about it. It is more important for someone to regain control of their life than it is for them to be able explain what is happening on an energetic level when someone is experiencing psychological reversal. This book is put together in such a way that you don’t have to understand any of the concepts to be successful. If you work the steps you will see change.
Because of the nature of the facility it is hard to get the guys to class. They come from as many as ten different units, many of the inmates are not allowed to move through the facility on their own, class lists need to be submitted ahead of time, keys need to be checked out by officers, and the classroom has to be unlocked. There are an amazing number of moving parts and because of this we have two hour classes twice a week. This is so we can get a maximum amount of time in class with the least amount of disruption to the facility.
To be honest, two hours is a really difficult length of time in which to teach. It is just a little too long to go straight through and it is too short to take a break. It can be hard to hold the guys’ attention and sometimes I find it hard to keep my energy up as a teacher for two straight hours. Also, the class is at 8:30 am so many of the guys have just rolled out of bed and aren’t yet fully awake.
Lesson 7: When you are doing this type of work it is important that you don’t try to do too much at once. It is best to set aside a time each day to do this work instead of trying to do everything in one go. If you teaching this type of class it is important that when planning your material you keep in mind how long people can stay focused, how long you can teach, and the energy level of the room based on what has come right before class. If you are going to be teaching for a large chunk of time, switch from direct teaching/lecturing to providing experiential/hands-on activities in order to keep everyone focused and energized.
Breathe In And Hold
Tapping in public can be a little bit embarrassing. Let’s be honest, it does look rather silly. You can only imagine how much harder it must be to tap in jail! There is no privacy, your reputation can be very important, and you definitely don’t want to look foolish.
At the beginning of one of the classes I asked the guys how it was going and if they were tapping back in the unit on their own. One of the guys said that he wasn’t tapping, but he tried one of the “breathing thingies.” (At the beginning or the end of most of the classes we do a guided imagery or breathing exercise. He was referring to one of these.)
He said that he was having a really hard time falling asleep because the jail is never quiet. There is always someone talking or something banging. Not being able to fall asleep really agitates him. He said that doing one of the breathing exercises calmed him enough to fall asleep. He then apologized for not tapping.
I told him that it didn’t matter if he tapped or not. What was most important is he recognized what was going on, reached for a tool that he thought might work for him, and then used it. That was all I could ever ask for.
Lesson 8: It is always about doing what makes sense and is useful. It is never about the toolset. I would love it if everyone in the world learned to tap, but I would love it even more if everyone were willing to take responsibility for their own healing and do something about it. It is easy for us to get wrapped up in getting people to tap because it has been so effective for us. We shouldn’t let our love of the tool get in the way of other people’s healing. When working through this book you will find things that work for you and things that don’t. Do the ones that work for you.
If You Have Time In Your Busy Schedule
One day in class I was introducing a tool that would take less than ten minutes to work through. I turned to the guys and said, “Sometime in the next 48 hours I would appreciate it if you could find some time in your busy schedule to carve out five or ten minutes to try this on your own.” They all looked at me stunned and then broke out laughing.
Lesson 9: It is good to be honest about where you are. It is not a mystery that the guys are in jail, that they have limited freedom, and are wearing colored jumpsuits for a reason. They know they are in jail. I know they are in jail. Being honest about where we are and what is going on gives us the greatest chance for healing. As you engage in the tools in this book remember you are not being graded and no one will see your answers. This is about you and your healing. The more honest you are about what is going on, the more likely it is that you will effect change and transformation.
Lesson 10: Just because something is grave doesn’t mean it has to be serious all the time. There are lots of things that are both serious and important, but I have found in my own life that if I lose my sense of humor in the serious moments I am more likely to feel overwhelmed. It is ok for us to laugh. Gallows humor can be very helpful and healing. Don’t be afraid to joke about what you are going through. There are times where joking about how far you need to go will help your healing process.
* * * *
I have learned so much by being stretched by these guys. It has forced me to rethink the way I teach and what I can learn from the classes I teach. I hope you are willing to stretch yourself a little and share tapping with someone outside your comfort zone.
If you do I would love to hear how it goes in the comments below.
In this podcast my friend Jondi Whitis discuss a bunch of topics around tapping and healing. In the conversation we cover:
- Being able to be honest about where we really are and why that is paramount to healing.
- Using where we are to build on knowing where would like to be.
- How to stay in the moment (which leads to healthier choices).
- Noticing what is happening emotionally.
- Is tapping similar to hypnotic induction?
- Why we resist healing and how can we deal with it.
- Why tapping doesn’t work when I tap on my own.
- How I can move forward and still feel like I am going backwards.
- What to do when I don’t know what I want.
- What to do when a client doesn’t know how to talk about their emotions.
How do I continue to grow my understanding that I am enough.
Conversation with: Jondi Whitis
Jondi’s Contact: web @ EFT4Results.com;
About Jondi: Jondi Whitis is a certified EFT Master Trainer, Practitioner, Mentor and Board Member for AAMET International, delighting in creating practitioners of excellence. She’s passionately interested in refining and up-levelling core EFT skillsets, cutting-edge techniques, and training for practitioners and trainers worldwide, upholding the most thorough and professional EFT standards. She offers deeply personal, hands-on training to anyone interested in heart-centered healing, from children to teachers, parents to professionals, and for diverse communities worldwide, including veterans, Native Americans, teachers, healthcare professionals, and those who work with kids.
An ‘integration specialist’, Jondi enthusiastically guides each person to find authentic ways to integrate EFT into their purpose, professional practice and life. Join her in person, at the annual gathering just north of NYC, Spring Energy Event
[Note: In this article I am going to be addressing the role of the critical voice. I am going to speak as if the critical voice has a personality and motives. I am not saying the critical voice is a distinct personality or that it is separate from us in any way. But by speaking of it as if it is distinct it will give us the ability to deal effectively with only one part of our personality, helping us to get some perspective on what is going on and enabling faster transformation.]
One of the reasons that I love EFT/tapping is because it is very effective in dealing with our critical voice. The critical voice is nothing more than that little nagging voice that is always pointing out everything we have done wrong, everything we are going to do wrong, and everything we are never going to be.
Sometimes this voice is nothing more than a simple annoyance, while at other times it can be so crippling that it prevents us from getting out of bed in the morning.
Because of this most of us don’t have a very good relationship with our critical voice. Many of us resent it and even hate it. One of the underlying themes of my work is to transform the relationship we have with ourselves and with parts of our personality in order to facilitate lasting change. Working with our critical voice is a perfect example of a place where we can apply this principle.
It is very difficult for us to transform our critical voice when we are angry at it. When we are angry at a part of our personality it will entrench itself and fight back. If we are willing to change our attitude toward this part of our personality then we can get it to work with us to create lasting and deep transformation.
Before we can begin the process we need to understand why the critical voice exists.
And the reason might surprise you.
The Critical Voice Exists To Make Our Life Better
I know that statement is very hard to believe. I would even be willing to bet that when you read that statement there was a strong emotional reaction against it, but it’s true.
All parts of our personality exist because they are trying to bring us to our higher good. Just because a part’s motivation is for higher good does NOT mean that it is leading us to our higher good. In this example the critical voice is not pointing things out to make us feel bad or to punish us, but instead is doing so to help us see the errors of our ways so that we will make better choices in the future.
And yes, I know, it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like it is just judging and criticizing.
But, when we are able to recognize that it is trying to help us, it will make it easier for us to transform it into something that is truly helpful. As you will see in this process we do not need to celebrate what the critical voice has done to us to recognize its motivation.
The Process For Transforming Your Critical Voice with Tapping and EFT
One of the nice things about the EFT/tapping protocols is that they are very short and give us the chance to try something out for a few minutes. If it doesn’t work then we can return to what we were doing before. This process is no different. You should be able to complete this process in under 10 minutes.
If you don’t buy my “The critical voice is here to help you, but is just doing it in the wrong way”, I would encourage you to give this process a try. If it doesn’t work out for you then go back to being mad at the critical voice. The only thing you will have lost is a few minutes tapping on something new.
1) Tune in and connect with the critical voice.
In this step all we need to do is connect with the critical voice. Just close your eyes, take a deep breath, and listen for the voice. It will not be hard to find. Pay attention to where the voice is coming from.
- Is it something that is internal or external?
- Is it the voice of someone you know, does it sound like your speaking voice, or is it some other voice?
- If you were to imagine that the voice belonged to a body, what would that body look like?
The specific answers to these questions aren’t important, but by asking them it will be easier for us to connect with the critical part of ourselves, allowing us to do healing work.
2) Affirm the critical voice.
This is going to be the most difficult step of the process because of the hurt and harm we associate with the critical voice. It is important to note that when doing this step we are NOT affirming the tactics of the critical voice and we are NOT affirming the way we feel after we encounter our critical voice. What we are affirming is that it is a part of us that is willing to work very hard to move us to a better life. To do this we would tap on something like:
I would like to give thanks for my critical voice…I am NOT thankful for the tactic that it is using…I am NOT thankful for the way I feel after I experience the critical voice…I am thankful for the fact that there is a part of me that is willing to work so hard…I know that even though it is not doing this…it is trying to make my life better…my critical voice thinks it is making my life better…it thinks that if it berates me…or if it points out everything that is going wrong…that it is going make me make better choices in the future…the critical voice is a very powerful part of me…even if it is not working in a productive way…I know it is working for my betterment…I am thankful that there is a part of me that is willing to work day and night…thinking it is doing what is best for me.
After doing a round of tapping like this we will take some of the edge off. We might not be super-happy with the critical voice, but there is less animosity towards it. At this point that is all we are trying to achieve. When we move from a state of animosity then we are no longer fighting a part of ourselves, and we can now start to work with it.
3) Explain to the critical voice what it is really doing.
As stated above the critical voice in most cases believes that if it is constantly pointing out every flaw and fault, it will motivate us to make better choices. Its motives are either “You don’t know you are doing something wrong?” and/or “You don’t realize the consequences of these choices?”
In almost every case we are fully aware of the information that the critical voice is providing. In many cases the critical voice is actually over-stating and/or over-reacting to the situation around us. Because we have taken the last step and created a bit of a truce with the critical voice, we can now speak to it with new information.
In this step we are simply going let the critical voice know the consequences of its actions. Try tapping like this:
I know the critical voice is trying to be helpful…but it isn’t…the critical voice is pointing out things I already know…and many times is it pointing out things in a way that is much worse that it really is…the critical voice thinks it is going to encourage me by pointing out my failings…instead I find having every flaw and failing being pointed out to be disheartening…debilitating…I find it very hurtful…I find that it makes it very difficult to believe in myself…it is not pushing me to be better…but instead it is sucking my ability to try right out of my system…I know the critical voice believes it is being helpful…it is not…it is not creating a feeling of encouragement for better…it is creating a feeling of shame…shame is not an emotion of achievement and growth…shame is a feeling of not wanting to try.
4) Show the critical voice proof of its past tactics.
At this point it is very helpful to show the critical voice the proof of what we have just been tapping on. Again, just tune into the critical voice, begin to tap from point to point, and show the critical voice proof of all the ways it has been hurtful and debilitating.
5) Transforming the critical voice into something helpful.
When doing the process with clients there is something very interesting that happens. Clients describe the fact that they can feel the critical voice feeling bad that it has not done its job. I have even had clients describe their critical voice as feeling bad because it feels it is about to be eliminated from the system.
Because we are not fighting with the critical voice (like we were in the beginning), but instead have a relationship with it, we can now guide it to a resource that his helpful. The tapping for this transformation might look like this:
I know the critical voice is very powerful…I have felt the force of its power…but instead of pointing out all of the things I have done wrong…there is a way this voice can be more helpful…I want to harness the power of the voice to be used for my higher good…because I know this voice wants my higher good…I want this voice to stop being a critical voice and become an encouraging voice…because I respond so much better to encouragement…I want this encouraging voice to pick me up when I am down …I want this encouraging voice to push me on to take those last few hard steps…I want the encouraging voice to help me to get started when I can’t quite focus on the task at hand…I want the encouraging voice to use the power it had to see my faults in the past to start to look forward to the opportunities in my future…I want this encouraging voice to move me forward…not keep me stuck in the past…when it does this I will move forward and heal.
This is a very empowering step.
6) Giving the encouraging voice the resources and tools to do its new job.
Just because we want the voice to change (and just because the critical voice wants to become the encouraging voice) doesn’t mean the change is going to happen. I have had many clients describe the feeling of having the critical voice being on board with the change but not know what to do next.
I have found the easiest way to complete the change is to ask the critical/encouraging voice what it needs for transformation. The process for this is simple. First, start tapping from point to point. Second, tune back into the critical/encouraging voice. Third, ask it one of the following questions. Fourth, if it states a need based on the questions simply imagine that need being fulfilled.
For example, if it needs permission to change, give it permission. If it needs to know how to encourage you, show it.
Here is a list of sample questions you can ask the voice to help it transform from critical to encouraging.
- Do you need permission to transform?
- Do you need training to transform? If so what type?
- Do you energy to transform? If so what type?
- Do you need to be connected to other parts of the system? What type of connections need to be made?
- What do you need from me to make the transformation?
7) Reassure the encouraging voice.
Even when we choose to make this type of transformation it doesn’t always take place all at once. And that is ok. The transformation process can take time. We want the healing to happen in a fashion that is long lasting. We are not looking for a short-term quick fix.
The last part of the process is to reassure the encouraging voice that this is going to take time and that we are willing to help it through the transformation.
Try tapping like this:
I am very happy that my internal voice is willing to become an encouraging voice…I know this process is going to take a little time…which is ok because I want lasting change…not a quick fix…I want my encouraging voice to know that I don’t expect it to be perfect right way…I know it is going to need to learn its way into this new role…I commit to check in regularly with the encouraging voice…making sure it has everything it needs to complete this transformation…I give the encouraging voice permission to ask for help from me…even when I am not checking in with it…this is a change that is good for me now…and for the future.
8) Check back regularly.
If this is a process that is helpful for you I would encourage you to do it two or three times a month for a few months to help this transformation process along. I think it is obvious how making the small change of changing one aspect of our personality will cascade into many radical changes in our lives.
We all know the EFT mantra, “Try it on everything!” Deborah Miller took this completely to heart. Today she visits a cancer ward five days a week where she has the opportunity to work with children, parents, and even the hospital staff. In this interview she talks about her experience, what she has learned, and her hopes for the future.
Even if you don’t know someone with cancer and you don’t think you will ever work in a hospital setting I encourage you to listen to this interview. There are many specific lessons you can apply to your own daily tapping practice and also in introducing tapping to others.
Guest: Deborah D. Miller PhD
Contact Deborah: website and Tapping Guides @ DeborahMiller.org
About Deborah: Deborah D. Miller, Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology is passionate about helping people feel empowered and capable of maintaining a healthy state of mind and body.
Deborah is an EFT Expert and Trainer, Deeksha Giver, Reiki Master, Nutritional Guide, Personal Motivation Guide and internationally recognized author. She understands the necessity of working with the emotional aspects underlying ‘dis-ease’ within the body and the need to cleanse and nourish the physical body. Her personal journey of improving her own immune system gives her hands-on experience of the requirements for improving one’s energy levels and health.
Deborah volunteers at a children’s cancer wing in Oaxaca, Mexico, applying EFT and energy techniques to the children, parents and nurses helping them reduce stress, fear and anxiety while improving their mental and emotional health in a way that is complementary to the treatments given at the hospital.
Helping these children has led Deborah to a heart-felt, passionate and inspired goal. She is dedicating herself to helping at least 1,000,000 men, women and children prevent future illness (mental, emotional or physical) using the simplest, easiest and most economical methods. Tap, eat & drink your way to health!
Deborah is the author of the beautifully illustrated book “The Dragon with Flames of Love”, (English: book | kindle; Español: libro | Kindle en Español; Français: livre
) which is dedicated to empowering parents and children facing the challenge of a serious illness in a way that provides relief and peace, and “Green Drink Red Drink”, which provides information and recipes on how to add healthy greens to your meals.
Deborah has been a guest on the Tapping Q&A Podcast a number of times. Make sure you check out her past appearances.
Links to Deborah’s work: