“I found that every single successful person I’ve ever spoken to had a turning point and the turning point was where they made a clear, specific, unequivocal decision that they were not going to live like this anymore. Some people make that decision at 15 and some people make it at 50 and most never make it at all.” ~ Brian Tracy
Although I didn’t know it at the time, I made the decision “not to live like this any more” in early 2005. At the time I thought I was making a decision to get some help to lose some weight (yet again), but what I was actually doing is changing and correcting the course of my life.
Unknowingly, I was opening my mind and heart to profound self-trust and acceptance via what seemed like a weird new woo-woo approach called Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT, also known as “tapping”).
And like most course corrections, I wasn’t turning on a dime. When I look back at that time, and at everything I’ve done since then, it’s nothing short of miraculous to me. And losing weight was the very least of it.
Although I have been practicing EFT since 2005, my formal training has come more recently, last year with Lynn Gaffin (the woman who introduced it to me), and in an EFT training specifically for trauma. This special training was developed by and in response to the shootings in Newtown, CT.
Obviously, that event was seriously significant in terms of trauma, but whether with a capital “T” or a small “t,” trauma plays out the same way.
Consider these scenarios:
Scenario: You’re in a minor car accident. No one is hurt and the damage is minimal, but you’re shaky nonetheless.
Scenario: A bird flies into a plate glass window and lies prone on the ground. You think it’s seriously injured, if not dead. It starts shaking and, after a while, it flies away.
Scenario: You’ve just taken a major step forward in realizing a dream when someone close to you says that they’re disappointed in you and that they think it’s a stupid idea. All at once you’re shocked, sad, maybe even a little angry…and you start shaking.
Scenario: An antelope is attacked in the wild by a cheetah. By chance it is not killed so it “plays dead” (not a conscious decision, but rather survival instinct). The cheetah loosens its grip (and there’s another survival instinct at play here…the cat doesn’t want to eat meat that may have “turned” because its prey is dead) and the antelope is able to make another attempt at saving itself. If and when it makes its escape, the herd opens up and provides a safe space for the injured antelope to “shake it off.”
Scenario: You’ve been on a diet for a few months and the scale has been creeping downward ever so slowly. You get on the scale one morning and see a five-pound gain. Instantly you start berating yourself and calling yourself nasty names. You’re so angry and upset at yourself that you start shaking.
What do these scenarios have in common? An instance of trauma (either physical or emotional) followed by the body’s instinctual effort to release the energy of the trauma. And when I say “energy” I mean the adrenaline that is dumped into the bloodstream by the sympathetic nervous system. Adrenaline powers the natural reaction to trauma: fight, flight or freeze.
When we experience trauma our bodies know, instinctually, that shaking will help release it. The big difference is that animals will tend to completely discharge and release the excess energy, but we humans allow the rational part of our brains to take over before we completely discharge the remaining adrenaline/energy.
“When the discharge of trauma energy is interrupted and incomplete, the excess adrenaline is still surging around the body trying to do what it is designed to do: provide energy for a fight, flight, or freeze response. When the frontal brain overrides the hindbrain and demands that the body stop trembling and shaking, the body has to do something to contain the adrenaline energy. So it ‘freezes’ it into body tissues with chemical bonds to hold it still. This frozen energy remains in the tissues and the nervous system until it can be discharged, sometimes for the rest of a person’s life. This held energy can create a multitude of symptoms and compensating behaviors.” ~
This is where EFT comes in. It is designed to help our bodies “shake it off” by releasing that stuck energy. According to Jondi and Jade, EFT is:
Like acupuncture without the needles
Like counseling that is brought into the body
Like hypnotherapy without being hypnotized
Like EMDR you can do for yourself
Like a bridge between talk therapy and touch therapy
Like Eastern practices of mindfulness
A way to transform our subjective experiences
This is why EFT is such an important component of the work I do with women around the issues of self-trust and self-acceptance. It’s one thing to uncover those faulty thoughts that are holding us back and create new ones that serve us, but sometimes it takes something more to move that stuck energy.
Special Offer! If you’re interested in trying EFT, I am offering 90-minute introductory sessions for $150 through the end of August. These intensive sessions will include an EFT “how-to,” as well as guided one-on-one tapping with me. It’s best to connect using or (both are free and easy to install), but we can also connect via phone. Click to make an , or, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.