Where do you begin when you talk about yourself? I’m just going to share from the introduction to my book, Tapping Into Wellness: Use EFT to Clear Emotional and Physical Pain and Illness (Llewellyn 2015).
My Experience with EFT
The events that led me to EFT began in the early nineties, in the East Village, in New York, where I was living at the time. I had a career in the publishing world of New York, where I had authored several books and edited countless more, and had turned down at least three amazing career offers and opportunities—dream jobs; before eventually exiting publishing altogether. I didn’t believe I was good enough; I was too insecure and fearful of getting things wrong; I agonized over my work; and I thought people were making a mistake when they hired me.
So, after leaving publishing, I took on work as a writer at a medical school, with a serious avocation as an herbalist and holistic healer. I was also incredibly lonely and isolated and in big-time denial about my deeply unhappy marriage, going on 10 years. I was doing what my parents had done, and their parents before them. You get married. You stay married. No matter what. Divorce was not an option.
At around the time that my transformation picked up speed, I was heavily pregnant, it was April 1998, and I was expecting to go into labor any day and birth my baby at home. I was going to have a wonderful life with my little newborn. My seven-page birth plan— truly a work of art!—with its indications for lavender massage oil, hand-made tinctures, electrolyte water, Gyoto monk chanting at certain times for opening the birthway passage, anticipated everything—almost.
Near-death experience wasn’t part of the plan. But that’s what happened. Due to complications for both my son and myself, just after he was born, I hemorrhaged and he experienced some significant birth trauma.
The world I knew changed overnight. My health, marriage, financial stability, creative work-life, significant friendships, and emotional resiliency shattered. It was like a crystal bowl had smashed and no glue could ever put the pieces back together again. I could no longer get a handhold on my life. I had a newborn, no money, no husband, no support, and was literally yellow from the trauma to my liver, and in active trauma from the birth, whose story I kept repeating over and over again. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was experiencing post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).
For the first years of my son’s young life, the thoughts in my head galloped along paths like these : “I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I’m going to die. I am guilty for leaving my son’s dad. I am helpless. I am a burden. What a loser! They don’t like me. I don’t belong.”
Strangely, many of these beliefs echoed some that my mother had shared with me about what had happened after I, the fourth of four girls, was born—an unexpected surprise to the family.
My compulsive self talk begat more negative self talk. Can you see how my self-talk magnified my pain and situation?
Before my son was two years old, I had moved back to my hometown of Minneapolis, signed onto welfare, and sank deeper into shame, blame, guilt, and loneliness. No matter what I did, it wasn’t good enough.
In Minnesota, connecting with moms and toddlers at an Early Childhood class when you’re depressed is like trying to fly to the moon with a balloon.
After a few years with thoughts like these in my head and very little emotional support, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which in Western medicine has no cure. I thought I would never recover and had no belief in my ability to heal. But I did have a great capacity to worry and fear—all the time, and I had pain, debilitating pain. In my back. In my heart. In my neck. In my muscles. It was everywhere. It got worse at family gatherings, when I was stressed, when that little voice was going to town, when I felt sorry for myself, when I tried to present myself as someone who had it together. So, really, I hurt all the time.
Like other autoimmune illnesses, fibromyalgia is invisible. You can’t see it the way you can see a rash, or even thin hair because it’s fallen out from chemotherapy treatment. To many, people with auto-immune illnesses seem like slackers.
While I was careening downhill, many, many hands reached out to catch my fall. One of those hands that held firm to my wrist belonged to Renee Brown, an intuitive healer and teacher. Ever curious, Renee had recently come across a healing tool called EFT. Renee shared this technique with me and amazingly, when I tapped, I felt better!
All I had to do was think of a troubling issue—no problem there!—and come up with a number from 0 to 10 to measure how badly I was being affected by the problem right at that moment. Then I just had to focus on that problem while tapping on some stress-reducing points on my upper body and say aloud that I accepted myself. Really. It was that simple. And I didn’t even have to believe that I accepted myself, or that I loved myself, or that I forgave myself—which was a good thing, because I damn well wasn’t going to forgive myself for the mess I’d gotten myself into.
A friend gave me all the DVDs that EFT founder Gary Craig had made. During college I used to go to sleep with books under my pillow. Now I went to sleep listening to Gary’s DVDs; surely they’d be working while I was sleeping, I figured. Unbelievably, I stopped wanting to die. Nothing outward changed, believe me. I was still in a hole in the “outer” world. But my inner world began to change.
Many of the horrible voices started subsiding, as did the pain. I came to a crossroads shortly thereafter, as my father was dying. My father, may he rest in peace, was gasping in panic, seemingly terrified of dying. I wanted to help, to soothe him and help him find his footing, so to speak, as he made the next step.
After a hurried phone call seeking guidance from Renee, my mentor, I told my mother, “Please don’t ask questions; just follow what I do with my fingers.” I started tapping on the EFT points on myself as if I were my father, all the while embracing him, telling him how much I loved him and that I was here for him, that we were all okay, that it was safe for him to go, and more.
His breathing calmed, his demeanor changed, and he slept peacefully. When his body showed signs of panicking again later, I tapped again, also sharing how much we loved him, and that it was okay to go, and he calmed down again. That evening, I alternated between tapping on him and tapping on me as if I were him. And my mother tapped right along with me, without question. He made the crossing smoothly and easily, with full-bodied love in him and surrounding him. This profound experience felt like the sign I needed to start practicing professionally. I was no longer going to explain myself or be fearful of looking stupid with tapping. That was in 2004. Thank you, Dad, for the courage to move forward.
I attended my first EFT workshop, called EFT for Serious Diseases, in Chicago, with Gary Craig and Dr. Joseph Mercola as primary leaders. Watching Gary work, I witnessed miracles on stage. I began to understand that I, too, can experience miracles and had indeed experienced many in my life to date. They are part of my birthright as a human being. I saw people’s symptoms from serious traumatic illnesses and events resolve before my eyes. They were experiencing profound emotional breakthroughs and insights. And so was I, because sitting in my seat, I was tapping for all my life along with everyone else in the audience. All of us “borrowed benefits,” getting results on our own issues, because that’s how EFT works. Like Mother Nature, this tapping indiscriminately showers healing.
During breaks from the main lectures, uplifting music and dancing ensued. EFT experts did side workshops, such as Carol Look’s on clearing cravings. I personally witnessed miraculous transformations in men and women who’d been suffering from all types of harmful cravings and addictions. I watched the craving for the potato chip or chocolate bar that they couldn’t wait to get into their mouths dissolve, literally. It was never about the craving. It was always about some underlying unmet need, a forgotten bad memory, a crazy limiting belief, or a distorted perception or outgrown coping mechanism. The tapping and affirmations of EFT were touching the part of that person that had been harmed, allowing the emotion around the hurt to come up for air, so to speak, and be released, thus dissolving the craving. Yes, it is that simple.
As time went on, I began to understand that I had spent a lifetime avoiding feelings at all costs and now I chose to learn to relate to my feelings differently. I attended more workshops and got to know several EFT Masters personally, who coached me and encouraged me, and whose techniques I absorbed like a sponge. I grew stronger. The steep, slippery slope slowly smoothed out into a lovely wildflower-filled meadow, and the fibromyalgia resolved itself.
My recovery didn’t happen overnight, however. I had a lifetime of limiting beliefs, tons of doubts, and an absolute lack of faith and trust in myself and my ability (contrary to my extraordinary reality!).
Like many on the path to healing, I initially projected my own self-blame and self-hate onto others by blaming those close to me, including my mother, indeed, seemingly my entire family line dating back to the beginning of time!
It took several years to come to terms with the truth: that my life was my life and began to comprehend that blaming others (including blaming Mom, my ex, Minnesota, the neighbors, God, me, and so on) was creating self-harm.
Fortunately, EFT lifts blame to allow the space for loving-kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. From there we become clear about our purpose and goals. We experience life from a place of expansiveness, worthiness, wholesomeness, and we develop the capacities to live our lives accordingly.
I have learned that it’s not so much what happens to us. It’s what we do with what happens to us that matters. And really, life doesn’t actually happen to us. Life happens with us. And with the help of EFT, I have chosen to align with life and my purpose, body-mind-spirit.
In the past, I simply had not been willing to accept what is. And since I hadn’t been willing to accept the now, I could not possibly move on with my life! Acceptance, as you’ll see, is a key component of EFT. I now am a bit more open-hearted and realize that all of us are doing the best we can with what we have. I realize—I attract miracles! Tons of them. And so can you.
I went on to earn certification through Gary Craig’s rigorous testing process. I have also “grand-parented” or earned credentials with the other major certifying organizations, including advanced practitioner status. I continue studying, soaking up the best and brightest teachings as applicable to my own client load, including via online study of Andy Austin’s work with Phantom Limb Pain, Steve Wells and David Lake’s work with Provocative Energy Therapy, Robert Smith’s work with FasterEFT, and now, Optimal EFT with Gary Craig, and more. I’m blessed with having amazing clients who continue to show me how resilient and miraculous the human spirit is that it is possible to heal from even the darkest of places, and who also teach me what I need to know at just the right time; tapping buddies and colleagues from all over the world to work with and learn from as I move forward in my own professional EFT practice, including offering Borrowing Benefits groups and Tapping Training Workshops.
What EFT Can Do For You
Because EFT, in particular, has done so much for me, let me show you what EFT can do for you. This book is for you, perhaps you’ve seen or heard of EFT tapping but aren’t quite sure how to do it on your own—yet. Maybe you have watched or listened to a show on tapping, but can’t quite seem to make it work for you. Maybe you have got tapping down but just don’t know how to go deeper into some tough issues, to really have an impact. Maybe you have some stuck areas in your life that you know can change but just don’t quite know how yet. Maybe you are in the coaching or healing professions and need a deeper understanding of how to integrate EFT into your work. Or maybe this book just happened to fall off the shelf and tumble into your hands. Good choice!
EFT opens windows that have been painted shut for years. It helps you close doors that have been propped open, letting all kinds of riff-raff in and helps you clear out the nooks and crannies of your life.
Emotional Freedom Techniques is about changing your thinking so you can change your life. EFT also releases the negative emotions and beliefs that surround those thoughts, and it restores your energy system to balance, giving you a clean slate. It’s empowering. It’s free. Its applications are pretty much infinite. When you are done with this book, you will have the ability to tap on pretty much any challenge that comes along. You will know how to systematically neutralize the bad memories and fears from your life. You will have a clear understanding of the process, how it works, and the tools that you can access depending on what you’re tapping on. You will feel better. Promise.
I would definitely try EFT on everything—and nearly have!
EFT wasn’t the only thing I did to help myself recover from the mind-bending gift of sickness, but EFT was the one thing I could do for FREE! I could do it all the time, anywhere, for myself, consistently—in public, in private, in my imagination—and get results.
I’m a firm believer in complementary therapies, meaning do all you can for yourself, along with medical guidance and treatment your doctor recommends, and with which you agree. I’ve been a student of holistic and energy therapies all my adult life; a student of the plants, flowers, and trees all of my life; have studied extensively or hold certifications in Western herbal medicine, The Reconnection Therapy® by Dr. Eric Pearl, Level 1 Spring Forest Qi Gong with Master Chun Yi Lin, CranioSacral Therapy for Infants with Dr. Carol Phillips, Global Somatics with Suzanne River, Herbal mentorship with Pam Montgomery and Matthew Wood, Intuitive Healing Work with Renee Brown, and far, far more, in addition to my EFT certifications.
Contact me if you would like to try EFT for a no-cost 15 minute session or just to ask me questions about EFT and tapping. 612 250 1968 or you may contact me through the contact form or at email@example.com. My practice is Minnesota-based, with a local in-office clientele, as well as Skype and phone clients throughout the USA and the world. I also do extended retreat sessions, which are more intensive one on ones with clients, as well as workshops.