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The courage to be present

age and a lovely sensation of warmth. I saw long black hair belonging to a young Native American woman, who was bringing this incredible feeling of warmth with her. So I began describ- ing this while continuing to tap, ‘She feels warm, she’s warming everything, there’s more light everywhere.’ And then there was a sensation of incred- ible pain in my back. It was so intense that I was doubled up in pain.

This was unsettling for both of us but my partner had the courage to stick to the simple instructions I had given her and continued asking gentle ques- tions about what was happening in the image. She asked, ‘What is happen- ing now? What else do you notice?’ I realized that the woman could help me and replied in delight, ‘She warms things; she’s warming my back and it’s healing the pain.’ Then the snow began to melt.

And then, the most extraordinary, won- derful thing happened. A tiny, shy girl, peeked around the woman to show herself to me, she was radiantly beau- tiful, almost too beautiful to look at, her arm was resting on a big cat, a lion or a tiger. The blue, frozen corpse had transformed into this golden child. The child still felt unreachable, at no point did it feel right to reach out for her let alone to tap on her, but somehow that felt ‘right’. By now the whole landscape had become dry and warm, I was aware of sandy ground and big rocks, there was a whole group of women now, standing to one side. The stark, dark grieving landscape had become a safe, healing nurturing place.

I moved out of mindfulness momen- tarily and started to worry about the ‘process’, shouldn’t I be thinking about integration or something right now? I needn’t have worried because I was continuing to tap, and just with that thought the tiny golden girl appeared to be moving towards me and as she walked I observed her growing older and older. As she moved closer I could feel the big ‘catness’, it was a lion, I could feel it’s fur, it’s warmth and it’s strength. And when it joined me I felt whole and knew that it’s energy had integrated with mine with no need for pressure or outward encourage- ment. I found myself looking into the future and saw myself there filled with

this great lion energy, warm, golden and bounding around. We ended the session here. After we were done I yawned like I have never yawned before and slept all the way through the night for the first time in 4 weeks. What we can take from this example is that working with the inner world and inner selves using EFT, imagery and metaphor is a gentle, yet powerfully transformative technique that can bring profound healing to all parts of our- selves. And all that is required to work in this way is the courage to be with ourselves, or our clients, to accept, acknowledge and allow their reality as they experience it, and to use pure and simple EFT to reflect and give back their exact words through the tap- ping. Just as we need to be cautious not to offer a re-frame too early on, we should time our suggestion to bring in resources carefully. In this example my partner didn’t know that she could suggest bringing in a resource but we just kept on tapping and the resource appeared. For people who have lived through dark experiences their session with us may be the first and only time they get to fully acknowledge the terror and hopelessness of their emotions. We need to allow them the space and time to do this safely, if we rush in to ‘fix things’ too soon, we will deny them this crucial healing experience and the opportunity for true emotional alchemy. We need to separate from our own beliefs and prejudices in order to work in this way and we need to be able to practice non-attachment to any one particular protocol, procedure or technique. When working with people who have suffered complex trauma we need to have an awareness and understanding of just how complicated, fragmented and disturbing their inner world and inner selves or voices might be. We need to be prepared to work at a snail’s pace, to keep putting the brakes on, to use protective distanc- ing, to chop and change technique, or to drop all technique. We need to work responsively and responsibly.

I have been so fortunate to find an EFT practitioner who is fearless in working with me through my issues and accompanying me through this challenging landscape. We still have some work to do but now that my internal system knows I am listen-

ing and knows that I have learnt how to help, it has quietened right down. I feel balanced and calm and present, I can experience joy and love and hope again. For me, as is the case for many others, my mental health challenges were a direct result of experiencing that which could not be digested by my self. My being was constantly seeking to digest and to make sense and mean- ing out of what had happened to me, at the same time as trying to protect me from ever knowing that anything bad had happened. The resulting chaos became my symptoms.

What I would like to leave you with is a renewed picture of the effectiveness of simply being mindfully present with yourself or another, listening deeply and without judgement, and tapping. We have been told never to go where we don’t belong but I would ask us to reconsider where we do belong. If mental health is a continuum and all experiences are human experiences, then surely we can find a relation and relationship to every sort of experi- ence that any human has, even if at first those experiences appear strange, alien or frightening. Soteria House was an experimental project led by Dr Loren Mosher in the US, which aimed to provide an alternative therapeu- tic environment for people who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. The people who helped in the house weren’t trained mental health profes- sionals but ordinary students who sim- ply sought to provide a normalizing and nurturing environment for the residents. Their priority was not to medicate or analyse but to build relationship. This project was extremely successful and its model has since been replicated in other countries. It provides an evidence base that neither experts nor medi- cation are needed to help someone through a psychotic crisis.

If simply having the courage to be present with someone who is in acute mental or emotional distress can pro- foundly help them, imagine what can be achieved if we had the courage to tap with them as well?

To listen to the talk, visit the site below. Jessica Mór


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