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Releasing Fear: EFT in the Bathtub

Feeling the feelings

I feel the disquiet in my being today. I’m unsettled and my mind is scattered and wandering. It’s harder to be present to the way the clouds are changing shape or the deep rich smell of the freesias every time I walk past them on the table. Even though my mind used to be 100 miles an hour, it’s quickly adjusted to the new norm of being quieter and more present. So I notice this disquiet more acutely.

In the bath

eft-bathtub-releasingI think it’s partially exhaustion. Deep exhaustion from a long and tiring health journey. The last two months of working out tummy issues. But as I step into the bath, one beeswax candle to flicker its gentle light on the water, I realise that there’s also fear. Fear and other un-namable uncomfortable feelings sitting in my solar plexus. It’s coming from the fact that I’m finding it hard right now to imagine a ‘me’ with my fistula healed. It’s been over 4 years, and I’m struggling to get the picture of what fully healed feels like. That scares me, and then the fear makes more sense.

I start tapping, letting the fears pour out and dissolve into the bath water. You see I’ve found a surgeon in Brisbane who performs the fairly successful VAAFT on fistulas. I also found a fistula research centre in Northern India where they perform a range of procedures. So I’m facing a decision between a 3 hour flight to Australia, or over 20 hours to a foreign country that people warn against ‘Delhi belly’! And right now, with my strength, energy and physical resilience sitting a little low, I choose Brisbane.

IMGs

releasing-the-fearThe problem is I hear my Inner Mean Girls (IMGs) telling me all the reasons it might not be a good idea. I hear their words streaming at me, so I give them a voice while I tap:

  • It might not work!
  • You might be the 20% who don’t have success.
  • What if you get disappointed?
  • Are you even strong enough right now?
  • At this rate you won’t be going anytime soon!
  • What if you’re making the wrong decision and India is the better option?…

I let my IMGs be heard. And I acknowledge their fears. I know why they’re there – they’re just trying to protect me from the painful feelings of disappointment. Really they have my best interests at heart, but now that I’m feeling more in tune with my Inner Wisdom I let them now they can tone their behaviour down.

Winnie

I call this one Warning Winnie. She started years ago when she didn’t want to see the disappointment that followed me getting my hopes really high, time and time again, on something that might ‘fix me’. So, to protect me from the violently emotional crashes that often followed, she starts her monologue whenever I am thinking of trying something new:

  • Oh you know the chances are slim of that working.
  • Try anyway, no harm I suppose, just keep your expectations low.
  • Remember, you’ve tried so many things, don’t let this one get your hopes up!…

Honestly, for a while, her words really served me. I needed that caution when I was throwing everything at anyone who might offer a ‘cure’. It wasn’t until I slowly figured out more of a balanced perspective, that I didn’t need her constant warnings anymore. Once I realised it was also an inside job, this whole healing journey, and that I didn’t have to keep handing over the power to others, I wasn’t desperately searching for the ‘next thing’.

I remind myself of this in the bath as I tap. That now I check in with my body when I’m faced with a decision and see how it sits before blindly pursuing it.

Finding more quiet

So yes, it is scary. Yes, there is a chance the VAAFT might not work. But in the bath I realise I’m not just going to rush into it because I’m tired of waiting. I would have done that a couple of years ago, but now I know to wait and let things unfold. I’m going to go with what my body is sharing with me. If she’s tired and needing time to go inwards, that’s what we’ll do. When she feels strong and ready to go overseas, when my tummy is back to normal, I’ll start the decision process there. I’ll follow my gut…literally. I can meet with the surgeon and decide then, no big deal I tell myself.

One. Step. At. A. Time. No need to rush (something I’ve always found hard ;)). Easier said than done! But one thing this journey has taught me is more patience.

I close my tapping round withbreathing-deeply-releasing-fear gentle reminders to myself that I will tread slowly and from a place of connection rather than fear:

  • Releasing fear at the deepest cellular level…
  • …all the way back through my past…
  • Releasing fear from my entire system
  • Knowing I can do this!
  • Peace

Then I take a deep breathe and in my mind go to my peaceful place: in the waves, diving under and over them and body surfing in the foam.

I’m ready to climb out the bath feeling lighter and calmer in my solar plexus. The gentle candle-light now catches and holds my attention and thoughts aren’t tripping over each other like they were. So I say: Here’s to following love and trust rather than fear!

 

The Desperation to be ‘Fixed’!

The fuel of desperation

Desperation was my driving force, my momentum for the first 2 ½ years on this journey with a fistula. Every possibility, every magic pill, potion and lotion I would dive at it, desperation fuelling my direction, my hope. I searched, tirelessly for natural cures, balms, miracle stories on the internet and the next wonder worker in New Zealand, heck in the world.

It was exhausting. Desperation is an exhausting place to be in. Gentleness and desperation don’t live together too well, and so life was full on in an excruciatingly slow kind of way.

desperation-shores-insanityLife as I knew it had been turned upside down. Ideas had been crushed. Insanity often crept into my peripheral vision, lurking there, waiting for me to let down my guard. Sometimes I couldn’t help myself and I dived head first into the murky mess of it, flailing, sobbing, wishing for another world. Luckily I am a good swimmer and I would eventually get myself out of those currents and beach myself on the shore, exhausted, with nothing left to give.

‘They’ said “Acceptance is the biggest healer. If you can accept your fistula, accept life as it is, life is going to be a hell of a lot easier.

God I knew they were right. I knew if I could just accept my lot that struggle would reduce and I might find some peace in my monkey mind. But it’s easier said than done I’m afraid. I tried. You can’t accuse me of not trying. I tapped on it for days, for weeks. I mean even the basic tenant of tapping is to ‘deeply and completely love and accept myself (just how I am)’.

I don’t know what came first. A lessening of pain and struggle or the work of wonderful healers, an accumulation of tools in my toolbox and the amazing journey I began with my counsellor in Canada. Or maybe it was the perfect synergy. Does it really matter? Either way, under a year ago desperation’s fuel light came on. I didn’t realise. You know how when you’re on a mission to get somewhere in the car and it takes you ages to actually realise there’s an orange fuel tank glaring at you? That’s what happened to me. On some level I sensed a change, but it was subtle and unexpected. Plus, don’t we get used to the status quo so quickly?

On empty!

Desperation began to stutter and choke. I wondered what all the fuss was about and then one day I suddenly realised I felt a gentleness in the periphery. I would read something about an amazing cream and not start pulling my credit card out, ready to have it sent on the next courier. People would tell me about healers or links or books and I wouldn’t pounce on them for more.

It was a novel change. Unexpectedly, instead of feeling this desperation to be fixed, I felt a hunger for change and growth. The soul searching I did with Debra made we want to find more of the inner peace that was beginning to take form.

change-directionsMy relationship with myself grew to a whole new level. Of course I still wanted a healed bum. Of course I didn’t want to have to spend the rest of my life sitting on my haunches hurting my very patient knees. I didn’t want to have to wear a panty-liner every. single. day. of. my. life. But the majority of the time I had changed direction on my journey. I was seeking peace, I was catching moments, right here and now.

There were still the bad days. Days where I would find myself on the carpet (because that doesn’t require pressure on your bottom) rocking myself from side to side begging. Begging the angels, begging the Universe, begging Mother Earth to just get this over and done with already. How f%@#ing long was it going to go on for?

A gentleness

The great thing is, these times passed quicker and also more gently than before. I didn’t wallow in the feeling, desperately trying to feel positive, desperately looking for solutions. Instead it was easier for me to just be with my emotions. Watch them like a wave and know that they too would pass.

The reason I write all of this, if you’re still with me, is that I have a semi ‘ultimatum’. The surgeon has proposed a draining seton on the 30th of June if I don’t feel a heck of a lot better. You see, just before I went to see him, with the idea of taking myself and this seton to explore kshar sutras in India or Austria, I decided to try my body with Ayurveda. finding-gentlenessNot out of desperation but curiosity. And it’s actually really loving it so far. I’m only three weeks in, but hey who knows where it may take me.

So, 95% of the time I feel really calm about it all, I trust that my body will do exactly as it has to, and I will be very clear of what direction to take closer to the time. My body and I are pretty in sync these days, so our communication is great.

A sip of fuel…

However, I think this ultimatum must have put a cup of fuel in desperation’s tank, because I feel the odd lurch and cough from it at the moment. “Oh my gosh, I’ve got to heal before the 30th of June.” “Oh my gosh, I don’t even know if I want to go the seton/kshara sutra route yet.” “What else can I do to speed my healing even more right now?” “Who can I call on? What can I take?

Thank goodness these are very fleeting and far apart. I have time. I have choices. And deep down inside my inner wise woman knows the answer. So instead of falling into a desperate flailing mess trying to find those answers, I relax back into that gentleness and remind myself that I don’t need fixing. That I don’t need answers now. That what my mind body and spirit need most right now is calm. Peacefulness, gentleness and that deep deep love that every human craves.

The Fear Surrounding a Surgeon Appointment

I was due for my surgeon appointment for the first time in 18 months this last week. I wanted to discuss some alternative options that I’ve been exploring for healing my fistula, and of course I was nervous. Surgeons like performing surgery, and so asking them about anything that a) isn’t orthodox and b) isn’t about surgery, makes me feel nervous.

The last time I saw Dr B I was in a weak place, both physically and emotionally. My appointment was not what I had hoped and I left feeling like I had not been heard. I was disappointed in myself for not speaking my truth and in him, for not magically saying what I needed him to say.

This time I wanted my experience to be different. So, I booked an extra appointment with Debra, my counsellor, and just under a week before I was scheduled to see him we had a session – particularly on this topic.

It was fantastic and the best thing I could have gifted myself.

Tapping – EFT

We tapped around my fears. We tapped around past disappointments. We tapped in the positive of what I wanted from the session. We also tapped around clarity and disappointment. And speaking my truth.

When I had first voiced my fears of the appointment to Harlan, he gave me a beautiful answer:

Dr B is an expert in his field, you are in expert in your body. So, just like you can’t tell him how to perform surgery, he can’t tell you how you feel and exactly what your body wants.

Hmmm. I liked it, so we tapped on this as well.  A lot of tapping 😉

I got clear, made some notes and decided I would tell him about the natural treatments I’ve been pursuing and not feel scared about sharing my research on the kshara sutra and Ayurveda with him. This is something new for me. I automatically tend to believe that Western specialists will poo-poo these things and don’t even give them the opportunity to prove me wrong.

My Surgeon Appointment

Wednesday morning rocked around, my bum was feeling better than it’s felt in a long time with taking my Ayurvedic herbs, and Harlan and I were off to the Greenlane Hostpital in Auckland. I thought I would feel nervous, but I didn’t really. There was a little niggle of jumpiness in my tum, and so…you guessed… I tapped some more 😉 We sat in the waiting room and I focused on the smiling people, the positive people, not all the sadness that you can often focus on in hospitals. When Dr B came out to get us, I didn’t feel scared.

We began the appointment with some light-hearted banter and then delved into the details. I didn’t feel like I was inferior to him. I didn’t feel like I needed to please him. I just discussed, openly, what I had been thinking. The appointment went well. He gave me his time, he called me an optimist and he laughed about compromising with me on dates because I wanted to give our final decision more time.

I left feeling proud of myself for my clarity and deeply grateful for all the amazing support I have around me while making these big decisions.

I also realised just how much changing our own attitude before these ‘scary’ appointments changes the attitudes we get in return.

When your buttons are pushed…

Remember, they’re your buttons!

Do you know someone who really pushes your buttons? Or something you’ve seen that’s really pushed a particular button?

I do, and when it happens it’s not usually comfortable. I may feel sad, hurt, upset, angry or really frustrated. What they’ve said, however, and how they’ve reacted is their stuff. It’s coming from a place with many stories and events – but their stories and events. What it pushes is our buttons. Our buttons. Our stories. Our events. This means, that even though we might be feeling really angry with what was said, it’s our buttons that are being pressed and coming from this state we react rather than respond. We may lash out, get furious, break down into tears or say things we regret all because a button was pushed.

disconnect-buttonsFortunately and unfortunately (when we feel like blaming someone) we are the only ones who have the power to cut the wires to each button. Once we’ve figured out how to do this, however, they hold no power over us anymore. We release the story, the event or the pain that was attached to that button. With this button disconnected, the same person may say the same thing, and instead of seeing red and reacting, we can respond instead.

By cutting off the wires to buttons doesn’t mean that suddenly people can say mean things to us, or do us injustices or bully us. Quite the opposite. It means that when people do just that, instead of feeling out of control because of this reactive button, we are able to respond from a place of calm power.

When we react from a space of a pushed button, usually we simply fuel an equally out of control reaction from the other person and so we both get caught up in a whirpool of emotions, stories and events that are running us both and powering our respective buttons. From the place of calm power, however, with buttons disconnected, our responses hold value and integrity and may even lead to positive change. We are less likely to say or do hurtful things that we may regret. In this way we open the space for the other person to reflect on their actions and possibly adjust their ways. And we open the space for ourselves to be really clear on what the next best step is.

pushing-my-buttons

What inspired this post was an interview with Brad Yates on the Tapping World Summit 2016 that I listened to yesterday where he talks about Releasing Work Stress. In it he mentions buttons that are often pushed in the workplace, and reminds the listener that they’re our buttons, and how tapping (EFT) is one of the tools we can use to disconnect them.