Evil in the World

In reality, I wrote this tapping exercise a long time ago and it is included in my upcoming book.  As I was working through some edits today I realized how relevant it is with the recent news and world situations so wanted to share it here with you.  As you will see, it was originally crafted to address one of the associations with snakes.

primal instincts of snakeSnakes are seldom portrayed as beacons of happiness and job.  Think about the snakes you have seen in movies or in the media.  The first movies that pop in my mind are Anaconda, Harry Potter, and Indiana Jones. In each of those movies the snakes are representations of evil, danger, or death.  It only takes  a few minutes of watching the news or looking at social media to know that there is evil in the world we live in and it can be very distressing. While tapping cannot eliminate evil, it can help us to deal with it better. The tapping exercise below is somewhat general, but you are free to substitute whatever current event is bothering you to make it more effective.

illustration for karate chop pointSetup (karate chop point): Even though I’m worried about this evil in the world, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.  Even though I’m worried about this evil in the world, I acknowledge that I cannot change it by worrying more or worrying longer, so I choose to breathe and relax and focus on love, peace, and light. Even though I’m very concerned about the apparent increase of bad things happening in the world, I choose to remain calm and centered.

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…All of the evil in the world

Side of Eye…The bad things that are happening

Under the Eye…So much chaos

Under the Nose…So much hatred

Chin…So many lies

Collarbone…So much disease

Under the Arm…So many people are hurting

Top of Head…And being hurt

Eyebrow…All of this evil in the world

Side of Eye…Upset

Under the Eye…Scared

Under the Nose…Angry

Chin…Worried

Collarbone…About all of the evil in the world

Under the Arm…I can’t hide from it

Top of Head…But I don’t have to let it harm me either

Eyebrow…I can do what I can

Side of Eye…To promote peace, justice, and love

Under the Eye…But I have no control over the other people

Under the Nose…And worrying will not help

Chin…It can only hurt me

Collarbone…I’m not pretending it doesn’t exist

Under the Arm…I’m just not wasting unproductive energy

Top of Head…All of this evil in the world

Eyebrow…But I choose to remain calm

Side of Eye…All of this evil in the world

Under the Eye…But I choose to remain centered

Under the Nose…ALl of this evil in the world

Chin…But I refuse to give it a place in my soul

Collarbone…All of this evil in the world

Under the Arm…But I choose not to give it my time

Top of Head…I choose to promote love, peace, and light.

Primal Instincts

primal instict of sharkPrimal Instincts – that is really the theme of my upcoming book Primal Power: Totem Tapping for Health and Happiness. We all have primal instincts.  What follows is a sneak peek at a tapping exercise included that considers what we can learn from the primal instincts of sharks.

I find it hard at times to rely on my instincts. For much of my life people in charge have made me question whether my instincts were valid and reliable.  It happened  in some subtle and not-so-subtle ways.  For example, were you ever so angry as a child that you told a grown up that you hated someone and they responded back by telling you that you didn’t really hate that person? Maybe you had an experience in which you felt frightened but you were told that what you were afraid of wasn’t really scary.  I’ve had both of these done to me and have done both to others. Being told that what I was feeling was wrong made me less in tune or able to trust my primal powers and instincts.  Although I’m doing better I still sometimes find it hard to rely on my gut, even though it is pretty accurate.

illustration for karate chop pointSetup (karate chop point): Even though I find it hard to listen to my gut, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.  Even though I often second guess myself when it comes to following my instincts, I am learning to love that part of me again.

 

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…Afraid to trust my gut

Side of Eye…Afraid to trust myself

Under the Eye…Afraid to trust my inner guidance

Under the Nose…Afraid to trust my primal nature

Chin…Afraid to follow my intuition

Collarbone…Trained to believe they are right and I am wrong

Under the Arm…Even about my own feelings

Top of Head…And my own experiences

Eyebrow…When I have trusted my gut

Side of Eye…It has been amazingly spot on

Under the Eye…But much of the time

Under the Nose…I don’t even listen for it anymore

Chin…Or worse, I hear it, but ignore it

Collarbone…Bad things usually follow

Under the Arm…When I ignore an instinct or a gut feeling

Top of Head…Learning to trust again

Eyebrow…Learning to trust ME again

Side of Eye…Not giving up on the facts

Under the Eye…But acknowledging a knowing that is sometimes beyond the facts

Under the Nose…Knowing what I feel

Chin…My feelings can’t be wrong

Collarbone…It doesn’t mean that I have to react to them

Under the Arm…All of the time

Top of Head….But I can learn to hear my inner voice again and reclaim my primal power.

 

Know It All…Or Know It Not

Have there been times when you believed that you knew something, but found out later that what you thought you knew was either completely wrong, or at best incomplete?  This was my situation last month in Alaska. I thought I was a know it all, or at least a know it a little bit, found out that I was a know it not.

After a magical helicopter ride I was standing on top of a glacier.  It didn’t look anything like what I thought a glacier looked like.  I had certainly seen pictures of glaciers calving on National Geographic.  As I stood there, I realized that I had a very “kindergarten” or one-dimensional view of a glacier.  In reality I knew nothing at all. This was quite sobering.  I found that I couldn’t really wrap my brain around it.

on top of a glacierI walked on the glacier, looked into the deep tunnels, drank from a glacial stream, and marveled at the beauty.  Soon after we boarded an air boat and viewed the glacier from that level.  I got to see another aspect of a glacier, and it looked a little bit more like what I had seen on TV.

The next day we entered Glacier Bay.  There I saw two distinctly different glaciers.  One wasn’t even white.  They were close enough together that I could view them by simply turning my head.  That totally blew my mind.

I continued to grapple with the question what is a glacier for the rest of the trip.  I looked it up on the internet and found “a slowing moving mass or river of ice formed by magnificent view of glacierthe accumulation and compaction of snow on mountains or near the poles.”  I also found “a glacier is a persistent body of dense ice that is constantly moving under its own weight; it forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries.”  Even by the time we left, I couldn’t tell a glacier from a mountain most of the time.

majestic glacierI was left wondering how often in my life I have been convinced that I understood something and been totally wrong because I had only viewed it from one vantage point.  I will need to be more careful in assuming what I do and do not know.

 

You Must Keep Your Cool

Animal parents keeping their coolDo you remember the commercial many years ago for deodorant?  The motto was “never let them see you sweat.”  Up until recently that was my advice to parents.  Even if you are ready to pull your hair out, don’t let your kids see it.  That’s not bad advice, but it is not great advice either.  The best advice is not to sweat it at all.  Keep your cool.

What I generally see and hear are stories of parents who “lose it” with their kids and justify it that their kids pushed them to the limit.  “He made me so mad” they wail.  Well if parents can be pushed to that point, doesn’t it make sense that kids are pushed to that point to?  Will we listen to their justifications that “Amy made me so mad that I had to hit her?”  That’s the way kids think.  If we want our kids to respond intellectually and emotionally in more socially acceptable or more effective ways, then we have to act that way to.

This is not easy to do in a society that reacts instantly to almost everything. Video games keep our reaction times well-honed.  So does the breakneck speed of living and instant access to almost anything.  Parenting is not an instant activity.  From conception, there needs to be a plan.  What are you going to teach?  How are you going to teach it? How are you going to handle it when your children misbehave?”  (Please don’t kid yourself that they won’t).

Most often parents lose their cool when they feel their authority is being challenged, when their own lives have them overwhelmed, or when their plans fell apart because it wasn’t based on realistic expectations.  Once again we are faced with the reality that parents have to take care of their own issues in order to be effective with their children.

If you can’t yet claim that you can easily ride the tides of parenting – at the very least – control your behavior.  Keep your cool!

Worry Proofing Young Teens

Why do we need to worry proof young teens? What do they really have to worry about anyway?  Has it really been so long ago that we have forgotten what it feels like to be in middle school?  I think it is much worse now than it was when I was growing up. The pressure to fit in has always been there, but there are so many other demands on these middle school children that it is a wonder to me that any make it through unscathed.  Common worries for young teens include:

  • a parent dying
  • divorce
  • grades
  • bodily injury
  • the future
  • gender issues
  • race issues
  • social issues

That’s a heavy load of worry.  The increase in worry during this developmental period coincides with an increased awareness of the world and a decrease in egocentrism. While these processes are generally positive, they are not without consequences.

As a parent or teacher there are several things you can do to help worry proof them.  It is important to nurture their positive self-determination. Teach them how to acquire control over their own lives.  Steer them to rewarding friendships.  Model optimism for them, even in the face of challenge and adversity.

teen girlsWe all know that friends become very important for most preteens.  Having friends can be a direct measure of popularity and can provide a sense of security.  Getting with the wrong crowd can have devastating effects.  Each of these peer groups also have their own code of conduct. Teaching them to maneuver the intricacies of social responsibility with the expression of their own thoughts and values is very important.

This is not the time when being different is embraced except by a very few individuals. If they are going to be trying to mimic the mannerisms, speech, dress, behavior, consumerism, music, and fads of their peer group we need to make sure that their peer group is one we can tolerate.

Although they may be critical of everything you do, remember that they are watching closely.  This is a time where they will become very aware of any discrepancy between your words and your behavior. If you want them to be optimistic, you must be optimistic.  If you want them to stand up for themselves, you must stand up for yourself. If you want them to be kind, you must be kind.  Perhaps even more difficult, if you want them to be honest, you need to be honest.

Unfortunately, we can’t really take away all of the things that these young people worry about. These issues are real.  As parents and mentors, we need to remain open to hearing what they have to say on these issues, even when we don’t agree. When they ask your opinion, answer honestly.  If they don’t ask your opinion — say very little.

Remember what it felt like to be that age.  How did the adults in your life handle your concerns?  Which responses helped you to relax and enjoy life and which responses only increased your anxiety and worry?  Tell them to “ignore it” when it really bothers them is the same thing as telling them that their feelings are wrong.  Do you think they will tell you when something is bothering them again?  Probably not.

It can be very easy to get caught up in their drama and trauma.  Try to avoid jumping in too soon unless safety is really an issue.  Give them the chance to handle things if they can or talk them through solutions if there is one.  Be ready and available to listen and empathize.  If the worry seems to be interfering with friendships, academics, or other activities consider professional intervention.

Do I Have To Be Right?

Verse 2: Tao Te Ching

Everyone recognizes beauty only because of ugliness

Everyone recognizes virtue only because of sin

Life and death are born together

Difficult and easy

Long and short

High and low — all these exist together and arrive together

Sound and silence blend together

Before and after

 

The Sage acts without action and teaches without talking

All things flourish around him and he does not refuse any one of them

He gives but not to receive

He works but not for reward

He completes but not for results

He does nothing for himself in this passing world so nothing he does ever passes

In this passage I was made to consider the duality of existence.  The dichotomy that sprang to mind for me was right vs wrong.

illustration for karate chop pointSetup (while tapping the karate chop point): I don’t always have to be right. I don’t really believe that.  Of course I always have to be right.  There may be more to this.  I am open to looking at how my need to always be right might be hurting myself in other ways.  There are two sides to everything.  I suspect this verse may be telling me that there are some things that may be more important than being right.  I choose to consider each situation independently and consider prayerfully how important being right is.  I deeply and completely accept myself, even in my stubborn need to always be right.

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…I always need to be right

Side of Eye…That has been a major force in my life

Under the Eye…Being right feels good

Under the Nose…I’m becoming aware that the cost may sometimes be too high

Chin…I choose to consider that I WANT to be right but I may not always NEED to be right

Collarbone…I am open to experiencing the difference

Under the Arm…Meditations on the Tao suggest that my need to be right drives my judgments that others are wrong

Top of Head…The Tao also suggests that accepting right and wrong as coexisting together rather than being separate is another option

Eyebrow…I sometimes get glimpses of that but certainly don’t live it

Side of Eye…I MUST be right all of the time

Under the Eye…No I don’t

Under the Nose…Sometimes relationships may be more important than proving I’m right

Chin…Taking action based on reasonable information may be preferable to researching to prove that I’m right before acting

Collarbone…I need to learn when enough is enough

Under the Arm…Being right can sometimes hurt other people

Top of Head…Obviously being right can sometimes hurt me too

Eyebrow…I choose to be open to learning a new way

Side of Eye…I choose to be open to practicing a new way

Under the Eye…I choose to be open to experiencing a new way

Under the Nose…Being right feels good

Chin…I hope to learn how to also accept not being right

Collarbone…It may not be as much tied to who I am as I previously thought

Under the Arm…Not proving that I’m right may not really be a life-ending disaster

Top of Head…I guess that is up to me

Eyebrow…I always have to be right

Side of Eye…That doesn’t feel as true for me as it did before

Under the Eye…One day at a time

Under the Nose…I am open to experiencing life as it comes

Chin…It is not about right or wrong

Collarbone…I think I’ll start by not needing to prove that others are wrong so that I can be right

Under the Arm…I choose to continue growing so that I don’t need others to be wrong

Top of Head…I choose to love and accept myself along this journey

My Cravings Always Win

cravings always win when faced with donutsAlthough this is not as true as it used to be, I do sometimes feel my cravings always win.  Some days are definitely worse than others.  What follows is a tapping exercise for those rough days.  One way to make this even more effective is to have the item you are craving right there where you can see it and smell it.  If you choose that option please be sure to rate the intensity of your craving on the 0-10 scale (10 is severe) before you get started.

illustration for karate chop pointSetup (while tapping the karate chop point):  Even thought it seems like my cravings always win, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway.  Even though it seems like my cravings always win, I choose to continue to try.  My cravings are part of me, and I accept myself.

 

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…My cravings always win

Side of Eye…So it doesn’t seem worth it to even try to resist

Under the Eye…I might as well just go ahead and eat it

Under the Nose…If I fight it and then lose, I just end up feeling worse

Chin…Even though it seems that my cravings always win

Collarbone…I know that it isn’t really true

Under the Arm…Sometimes I am able to resist

Top of Head…I am open to learning about what makes me more successful

Eyebrow…At one time and less successful at another

Side of Eye…My cravings don’t always win

Under the Eye…My cravings sometimes win

Under the Nose…In reality, my cravings aren’t against me

Chin…They are part of me

Collarbone…My cravings are a signal that something needs my attention

Under the Arm…I can choose to deal with it with or without food

Top of Head…I can choose to continue toward my goals

 

Take a deep breath and let it out.  Now say the statement aloud “My cravings always win” and re-rate the intensity.  What do you notice now?  Did anything shift?  Once the intensity is at or below a 3, consider tapping on what your cravings might be signaling for you.

My Brain is Lying To Me Right Now

woman sleepingDid you know that your brain can tell lies?  Perhaps it would be more kind to say that it misinterprets information.  The end result is the same. There have been multiple times when I have thought that I was hungry but my brain is lying.

 

illustration for karate chop pointSetup (while tapping your karate chop point): Even though my brain is lying to me right now and telling me I am hungry, I choose to remember that I ate a short while ago and this is just a misperception.  Even though my brain is lying to me right now and telling me that I should eat, I choose to remember my health goals. Even though my brain is telling me I am hungry, I know that this cannot be the truth and I choose not to eat based on a lie.

Eyebrow…I can’t sleep because I’m hungry

diagram of the tapping pointsSide of Eye…I want to get up out of bed and get a snack

Under the Eye…That will help me sleep

Under the Nose…No one can fall asleep when they are hungry

Chin…Certainly not me

Collarbone…But I know I’m not really hungry

Under the Arm…I ate a healthy meal just a few hours ago

Top of Head…My body got everything it needed

Eyebrow…What I’m feeling right now isn’t really hungry

Side of Eye…That is just what my brain is calling it

Under the Eye…I am probably tired, frustrated, angry, lonely, sad, or uncomfortable

Under the Nose…Food won’t fix any of those things

Chin…In fact, eating more food than my body needs will only make them worse

Collarbone…I choose to eat based on facts, not lies, misinterpretations, or misperceptions

Under the Arm…Even though I am convinced that I am hungry right now

Top of Head…I choose to love and accept myself just as I am.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder in WinterSimply put – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a reaction to the changing season that causes problems with mood and behavior.  These mood and behavior changes tend to start around September and may last until April.  According to S.A. Saeed in the March 1998 issue of American Family Physician, 4-6% of the general population experiences winter depression and an additional 10-20% have low-level features of the disorder. In the Journal for the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (February 1998) J. Giedd reported that 3-5% of students in the 4th through 6th grade meet the criteria for SAD.  Women are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with SAD and the average age of onset is 23.  Giedd reported that 9% of adults with SAD had an onset prior to 11 and 33% reported an onset prior to age 19.

The symptoms of SAD include sleep problems, overeating, depressed mood, family problems, lethargy, physical complaints, and behavioral problems.  Individuals experiencing sleep problems associated with SAD are most likely to report oversleeping, but not feeling refreshed when they awaken.  Then may report difficulty getting out of bed, or the need for frequent naps in the after.  (Think hibernation)

Overeating tends to be a problem in several ways.  First, people with SAD often crave and eat carbohydrates.  This generally leads to weight gain.  (Again, think hibernation).  Weight gain then contributes to depression.  In addition, ingestion of carbohydrates can cause rapid blood sugar fluctuations when also impact mood.

Persons with SAD typically aren’t much fun to be around.  They will often avoid company or when they are with other people they may be highly irritable.  Loss of sexual interest is also common.  In general, folks with SAD feel too tired to cope with daily living.  Everything feels like a tremendous effort.  Normal tasks become difficult.  Joint pain and stomach problems become more frequent and they may have lowered resistance to infection.  As if that isn’t enough, people with SAD are depressed.  They may use words like despair, misery, guilt, anxiety, or hopelessness to describe their mood.

By this time you may be wondering what causes this disorder.  My witty reply would be “living in Ohio.”  Actually, where you live can be part of the problem.  There is a structure in the brain called the pineal gland, and during night/darkness, this gland produces melatonin that makes us drowsy.  Bright light is the off switch for the melatonin production.  On dull winter days (there are a lot of those in Dayton) there is not enough light to trigger the pineal gland.  Bright light has also been associated with another brain chemical – serotonin.  You know about that one because it is associated with depression.

Using sunshine to treat seasonal affective disorderBoth the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association recommend light therapy as the primary treatment strategy for SAD.  This isn’t ordinary reading light.  For this type of treatment the light must be at least 2500 lux.  That’s five times brighter than the well-lit office.  Believe it or not, light therapy does have some side effects for a few people including a jittery feeling, excitability, mild nausea, or burning of the eyes.

What can you do if you are one of the mild, moderate, or severe sufferers of SAD?

  1. See your primary care physician.  The diagnosis deserves careful attention since the symptoms overlap with other disorders.
  2. Increase your exposure to natural sunlight, if not medically contraindicated.
  3. Decrease consumption of carbohydrates.  Again, check this out with your physician before making a big dietary change.
  4. Ask your physician about light therapy.

I’ve used it.   And it works!

Stress Headache

man with stress headacheHave you ever had a stress headache?  I don’t get headaches very often, but I’ve had quite a few of them recently.  News Flash: I don’t like them.  When stress is involved, I usually try to tap on the root issue – the stress itself.  Sometimes, particularly when you need some quick relief, it can be effective to tap on the physical symptom first.

In the video that follows you will see an example of symptom tapping.  First we will get a clearer picture of the symptom, then begin the tapping.  There is also an example of two-handed tapping.  Comments or questions?  Let me know.