We turn ourselves into a living indictment to the people who hurt us, because often, when we release our pain, there is a subconscious wrestling with justice that the person who hurt us is being let off the hook.
Every once in a while someone will tell me that they really like keeping a journal. Many of these same people also tell me that they haven’t made a journal entry in a while. I suggested to one person recently that for now she might be building new experiences to write about later. Sometimes we can be so busy capturing the moment with camera or pen that we’re not fully living that present, meaningful experience. Maybe she just wants to flow in the moment.
Remember the great athlete and activist, Jackie Robinson? He offered a useful observation, “Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grand stand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you’re wasting your life.”
Now sometimes, flowing with camera or pen (or keyboard :”) is the experience of the moment. Reflection, private introspection and reaching out to the world to share are all full fledged experiences in their own right. Just remember that you can only be immersed in one experience at a time. If camera or pen is part of the experience – helping you be present, all to the good. If it’s splitting your attention – diluting the intensity of experience you’re having, then put your journal away. It will be there waiting for you, ready to hear all about your latest insight, pilgrimage or great adventure.
So often people come to me with global problems – I’m anxious. I don’t communicate well. I Just can’t get going, etc. Those are big problems, but they’re also not very specific. One of the many things I learned teaching Clinical Medicine at UCONN School of Medicine is the way medical students are taught to help patients get specific. You have headaches? Where exactly in your head? Behind your eyes? Is it the same in each eye? Do you have any warning signs that a headache might be coming on? Nausea? Blurred vision? Is there something you’re often doing before a headache comes on? Does anything make your headaches worse like rainy days or eating strawberries? Better?
I think you’re getting the idea.
What if you asked yourself the same kinds of questions regarding a fear, anxiety or resistance to something? It’s one thing to say, I never get around to making the phone calls I should for my business. It’s another thing to realize the first call is the hardest, and, after that, it gets easier. If I really just sit with myself for a minute and imagine making that first call in the morning, I can feel my stomach tighten. If I tap and breathe on that tightness in my stomach, I begin to have awareness that I’m not sure I’m ready to make contact with the outside world yet. Oh, wow, I’m worried I’ll get overwhelmed.
Now we’ve got a clearly defined target. Maybe it’s not as important to tap on “It’s hard to make phone calls” as “I’ve come to feel worried about connecting to the world” or “The world sometimes feels too big and I get overwhelmed.” I think there’s a very good chance you’ll get farther with something specific rather than global.
So . . . play doctor. Ask lots of questions, When? How? How much? How often? Imagine the situation actually happening and follow sensations in your body. Tap and breathe and see what you find out. What thoughts come effortlessly to mind? At what point in the imaging does something in your body get tight or numb or shaky? Just seeing how something works can be a relief. And, it gives you choices about where you go from there. If you decided to tap on the specific concern, go for it, focusing on just the right feeling at just the right moment.
Experience finding your “trail of breadcrumbs” October 8th – The Taproot of Truth – Workshop and Retreat
Knowing what we want seems like it should be the easiest thing in the world, right? Why, then, can it be SO hard? So often I ask people, “What do you really want?” I then see pain, confusion or frustration on his or her face when they say, “I don’t know.” That’s often followed up with, “I think there’s something wrong with me.” This is so sad. Confusion followed by self-condemnation. Not the kind of 2fer we hope for.
There are many reasons why we get confused and/or blocked around our wants. We may have had our wants met with criticism in the past. Possibly even being accused of being selfish. We may have expressed wants and had those desires ignored. One way or another, however, many of us have learned to keep our wants hidden. Some of us have gotten so good at it that we even hide our knowing from ourselves. Then we loose access to what we want and our confusion makes sense.
The good news is that we can rekindle knowledge of our wants. Ironically, a very helpful place to start can be listing what we don’t want. It’s so interesting that our dislikes are often easier to know than our likes. Whatever we do know is information. It’s the trail of bread crumbs to follow to find the deeper truth. It can be a gentle process of elimination. For example, if I’m clear I don’t like crowds and noise, than maybe I do like being with people one on one in a quiet setting. If I know I hate working from home and the quiet drives me crazy, than maybe I like the bustle of people around me.
If we can let go of the “What’s wrong with me?” and cultivate what we do know, even if it seems negative, we can go from there. Just as an experiment, make a list of things, activities, experiences you know you dislike. Pick one and consider tapping. “Even though I know I hate my job, I accept myself exactly where I am.” “Even though I hate spending half the day on the phone, I’m open to seeing this as information to help me.” “Even though my job really stresses me out, I’m open to new insight and compassion.” Then vent about the dislike. Don’t hold back. Give it all you’ve got! After a couple of rounds rest. See what new insight bubbles up to the surface. Observe, explore as you tap. See if a moment doesn’t arrive like, “You know, what I really want to be different is . . . ” “What I’d really like to spend my time doing is . . . ” You just reached your heart’s desire through the knowledge of a dislike.
Give it a try. Let me know how it goes – and, keep Tapping Prayerfully (that’s with trust that the truth is already inside you). Blessings, Jeanne