Don’t Try – Do! Another Lesson from the Tao Te Ching

circles in waterWhile the message Don’t Try – Do! may be more recently associated with my little green guru Yoda, it is also a lesson from the Tao Te Ching.  It is also a lesson I have struggled with, although intellectually whole-heartedly support.

illustration for karate chop pointSetup (while tapping on the karate chop point): I have a tendency to say I’ll try things.  I was taught that I should always be open to trying.  That was supposed to help me find the courage to do things that I might think I could to.  Unfortunately, saying I’m going to try seems to also set me up for failure at times.  I am open to just doing things to whatever level or ability I can at that time and accepting the result – whatever it is.  Even though I tend to think in terms of success and failure, I am open to learning a new way of being.  Even though trying feels more comfortable to me than doing, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.  Even though I am aware that this is a lesson I haven’t quite mastered in the past, I love and accept myself fully.

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…The words I use may be holding me back

Side of Eye…It seems like saying that I’ll try something should be a good thing

Under the Eye…But that attitude may be limiting me in some ways

Under the Nose…When I say I’ll try, I instantly insert the possibility for failure in my life

Chin…I am open to learning a new way to choose the events of my life

Collarbone…I wonder how things could be different if I just do things instead of trying

Under the Arm…I choose to use words that open up possibilities

Top of Head…The attitude of trying can sometimes help me avoid commitment

Eyebrow…The attitude of trying can sometimes help me avoid responsibility

Side of  Eye…The attitude of trying can sometimes help me avoid the possibility of failure

Under the Eye…Well — not really

Under the Nose…I am open to redefining failure

Chin…I am open to redefining responsibility

Collarbone…I am open to redefining commitment

Under the Arm…These are all constructs that I have previously accepted as real

Top of Head…Perhaps there is another way to view the world

Eyebrow…I am open to clarity

Side of Eye…I am open to being less tentative about things I choose to do

Under the Eye…I am open to doing

Under the Nose…When I wake up in the morning – I am doing

Chin…When I eat – I am doing

Collarbone…When I go to bed — I am doing

Under the Arm…In all that I face today – I want to do

Top of Head…Trying is in the past.  Now I will do.

There May Not Be a Right or Wrong

questions answers signThere may not be a right or wrong. I’ve been exposed to this concept before and have certainly used it in psychotherapy more than once when encountering someone’s rigid beliefs.  Honestly, this is a concept that I often struggle with and I have a marked tendency to see things in terms of right and wrong.  It requires a conscious decision to see things any other way.

The second verse of the Tao Te Ching addresses the duality of the world.  I understand that I can see beauty because I see ugly and that there is no old without also knowing the existence of young.  I have trouble handling things when what seems  to be polar opposites exist side by side.  I have even more trouble handling it when directly pertains to me.  If I do something that I label as wrong, I’m all bad.  If I do something that I label as great, I lose sight of other parts of me that might not be as great.

I am trying to embrace the duality of life more often.  I’ve been wrestling with the inadequacy of the labels “right” and “wrong” for a long time now.  Below is a tapping exercise to help better understand my struggle.  I hope you tap along.

illustration for karate chop pointSetup (while tapping on the karate chop point): Even though I tend to think in terms of right and wrong, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.  Even though I struggle with dichotomous interpretations of the world, I am open to having an easier time with this.  Even though I have blocks to really accepting the new way of seeing the world in my life, I choose to embrace my willingness to change and accept all of me along the journey.

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…Life without sadness means life without joy

Side of Eye…Life without illness means life without health

Under the Eye…Life without tragedy means life without victory

Under the Nose…Life without frustration means life without satisfaction

Chin…I’m afraid to embrace the entire human experience

Collarbone…I really prefer only the thing that I label as good

Under the Arm…The rest really scares me

Top of Head…I can’t quite wrap my head around the whole thing

Eyebrow…A part of me wants to get it

Side of Eye…And another part of me doesn’t

Under the Eye…That is just another example of the duality of the world

Under the Nose…I guess I can’t fully understand the concept of approach

Chin…If I don’t also recognize my own feeling of avoid

Collarbone…I’m not sure how this really plays out in my daily life

Under the Arm…I look forward to those moments when I feel like I really get it

Top of Head…And I guess I need to look forward to the moments where I don’t too.  That is the duality of life.

I Am Uptight, Anxious, and Overwhelmed

girl on log relaxingThe words uptight, anxious, and overwhelmed describe me all too often.  Life can be going well most of the time, but when something happens that is unexpected (good or bad) it can throw me off my game.  Tapping helps me to recover.

Say that statement out loud, “I am uptight, anxious, and overwhelmed.”  Rate the intensity or truth of that statement on a 0-10 scale (10=very intense or very true). Write down your rating.

illustration for karate chop pointBegin tapping on the karate chop point.  Even though I am uptight, anxious, and overwhelmed, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. Even though I can do uptight, anxious, and overwhelmed better than almost anybody I know, I choose to substitute calm and confidence whenever possible.  Even though uptight, anxious, and overwhelmed come very easily to me, I choose to manifest other feelings that are more comfortable and will help me to reach my goals.

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…I am uptight

Side of Eye…And I choose to release it now

Under the Eye…Bit by bit

Under the Nose…Until I am no longer feeling uptight

Chin…I am anxious

Collarbone…And I choose to release it now

Under the Arm…Bit by bit

Top of Head…Until I am no longer feeling anxious

Eyebrow…I am overwhelmed

Side of Eye…And I choose to release it now

Under the Eye…Bit by bit

Under the Nose…Until I am no longer overwhelmed

Chin…Even though I was feeling uptight before

Collarbone…I released it

Under the Arm…Bit by bit

Top of Head…And I choose to feel calm instead

Eyebrow…Even though I was feeling anxious before

Side of Eye…I released it

Under the Eye…Bit by bit

Nose…And I choose to feel confident instead

Chin…Even though I was feeling overwhelmed before

Collarbone…I released it

Under the Arm…Bit by bit

Top of Head…And I choose to feel calm and confident instead

Eyebrow…I used to feel uptight, anxious, and overwhelmed

Side of Eye…I choose to feel calm and confident instead

Under the Eye…I relase the uptight, anxious, and overwhelmed feeling from every cell in my body

Under the Nose…I release the uptight, anxious, and overwhelmed feeling from every muscle in my body

Chin…I release the uptight, anxious, and overwhelmed feeling from every fluid in my body

Collarbone…I choose to accept calmness

Under the Arm…I choose to acknowledge confidence

Top of Head…I choose to accept health and wellness into my body

Take a deep breath and let it out slowly.  Say the original statement again,  “I am uptight, anxious, and overwhelmed.”  Rate the intensity or truth of that statement now on the 0-10 scale.  Continue tapping with these or other more personal statements until your rating is very low.  If other thoughts popped up, or specific circumstances came to mind, be sure to tap on those at some point to help you maintain the calm and confident feeling.

Exercise Avoidance

getting ready to exerciseHave you ever skipped a planned workout because you just didn’t want to go? Meridian tapping can help to keep you on track for your health and fitness goals. This is actually a pretty old video.  Much has changed since I filmed it.  I’ve moved twice, broken my arm, and changed jobs.  My commitment to exercise has not changed, but the way I go about it has.  I typically don’t go to the gym anymore and now do most of it at home.  I’m also thinking about increasing movement rather than increasing the number or repetitions.

Don’t get me wrong, I still set goals for time, speed, and incline when on the treadmill, monitor the number of steps per day on my smart phone, and get excited if I can add weight when lifting.   Setting and working toward goals is a part of my personality.  In terms of health though, frequent movement seems to be as important as intense movement.

Even though I remain committed, there are days when I just have trouble getting started.  That is when tapping really comes to my rescue.

 

Fear of Spiders

fear of spiders? spider in webMeridian tapping is an effective tool for alleviating the pain and suffering of specific fears. The video demonstrates tapping for fear of spiders but can be customized to address your own specific fears.  It’s a really simple technique.  To get the best result, either go look at what you are afraid of, or find a picture of it to look at before you begin the tapping.

 

Prior Programming

computer program codePrior programming is the collection of ideas, concepts, views, and beliefs that we use as our “operating system” in daily life. These programs come from our parents, religious institutions, schools, families, peer group, media, and society. Sometimes the programs are valid. Sometimes they are not. When the programs are not valid they definitely work against the positive changes we may be trying to make in our lives.

One aspect of prior programming may be the expectation that we should be content with what we have.  Do you remember an experience as a child when you wanted something but you were told it was wrong to want it? I do. I also remember being told to consider all of the poor unfortunate people who had even less than I had. There is a lot of programming that goes on to convince us to not want more or not want something different (except in TV commercials which do the opposite.)

Say this statement aloud, “I should be content with what I’ve got.”  Rate the truth of the statement on a 0-10 scale. Remember that 10 is very intense or very true for you.  Write down your rating.

illustration for karate chop pointRepeat the following statements while tapping on the karate chop point. “Even though I should be content with what I’ve got, I deeply and completely love and accept where I am right now.  Even though I’ve obviously been taught that I should just be content with what I’ve got, I deeply and completely accept myself and all of my feelings. Even though I know I should be content with what I’ve got, I deeply and completely love and accept myself and my desire for more.”

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Side of Eye…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Under the Eye…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Under the Nose…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Chin…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Collarbone…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Under the Arm…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Top of Head…I should be content with what I’ve got.

Take a deep breath and check the intensity of your original statement, “I should be content with what I’ve got.” Write down your new rating.  If the rating is above a 3, continue tapping with the previous statement.  Once your rating is quite low, move on to the positive tapping rounds below.

Eyebrow…I appreciate what I have now

Side of Eye…It is ok to want more

Under the Eye…Wanting more doesn’t mean I am unhappy

Under the Nose…It just means that I see possibilities to make things better for myself

Chin…I feel gratitude for what I have right now

Collarbone…I will feel gratitude if I get the things I want too

Under the Arm…I choose to feel calm and relaxed about wanting other things

Top of Head…I choose to love and accept myself and all of my feelings

Take a dep breath and let it out.  Check the intensity of your original statement, “I should be content with what I’ve got.” Record your new rating. If it has gone back up, consider starting back and the beginning and repeating the sequence.  Or, if you noticed some resistance to the positive tapping statements, it might be useful to just tap while repeating the ones that were most difficult for you.

This is only one example of how tapping can be used to address prior programming that keeps us from moving forward in meaningful ways. Try using it for all of your “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” and you will begin to experience true emotional freedom.

Keeping My Word

In general, keeping my word isn’t a terribly hard thing for me, at least not the way I have interpreted that before.  Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition by Jonathan Star verse 8 includes, When speaking, be truthful.  In that sense keeping my word is about telling the truth.  The context surrounding the statement seems to be pointing to more than avoiding lies. It seems to be about being in harmony with truth, not just following a rule.

Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life by Wayne DyerIn Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao, the translation is Stand by your word.  This seems to call for even more personal integrity and elicits many more questions and poses more pitfalls. It would even be easy to get bogged down in this (and I did) with questions like, “can’t I ever change my mind?” or “does that leave any room for spontaneity?”, or even “everybody lies sometimes.”

After tapping and meditating on this for a while I have come to believe that this statement, like much of the Tao, isn’t about behavior as much as it is about who we are at the core. It doesn’t mean that I can’t ever tell somebody I’m going to do something and then decide that I can’t or don’t want to do it. It means that if I have committed to doing something I then need to speak the truth to the person about why I am no longer going to do it. I’m not going to blame someone or something else, make an excuse, avoid, or simply not follow through.

Not only can tapping be useful for gaining a deeper understanding of a text like this one, it can also be quite valuable in changing the way you feel after having gained the insight. I was flooded with memories of all of the times that I have made excuses, heaped blame, and therefore devalued my own word.  The emotion resulting from all of those memories have been responding well to tapping. In addition, tapping has helped when I’m tempted to lie, distort the truth, or make excuses.

There are many reasons why we choose not to be truthful or not stand by our word.  Are you afraid that you won’t make the sale, get what you want/need, or win the approval of others?  TAP!

Don’t Diet: Reprogram Your Weight With Meridian Tapping

Diets don’t typically work. Anyone who has ever been on a diet knows that traditional dieting works for only a short time then — BOOM — the weight comes back on.  In order to achieve safe, effective, and lasting weight loss it is necessary to restore the body’s balance and to address the reasons why the weight is there in the first place.

Meridian tapping is the perfect technique for getting to the root cause of weight gain.  It is also an effective technique for decreasing resistance to exercise, eliminating cravings, and restoring rational thought related to food and nutrition.

My book, Don’t Diet: Reprogram Your Weight With Meridian Tapping gives you a complete program to address many common issues associated with overeating, poor eating, avoidance of exercise, and irrational beliefs about food.  In addition, by working through the exercises in the book you will develop the tapping skills to fine-tune and tailor the tapping to your individual concerns.

It Will Be Difficult

Excuses Be Gone by Wayne Dyer book coverIt will be difficult is one of the excuses identified in Excuses Be Gone, a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer and published by Hay House in 2009. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have personally used this one.  It has also been a favorite for many of my patients over the years.  People (myself included) very often can cite all of the reasons why they want to do a particular thing or why they should make a particular change. If I’m in a good mood, feeling full of energy, and feel that the person is highly motivated (again, including myself), my initial response to the excuse will be “so what?” Why does something being difficult mean that I shouldn’t or couldn’t do it? When I have actually asked that question people have looked at me like I’m crazy.

There seems to be an unspoken maxim that states that one should never try to do something if it will be difficult. Sometimes it is difficult to imagine, but the opposite might also be true OR, it could actually be easy.  Without a crystal ball it is pretty hard to tell. I might know that something was difficult for me last time or that it was difficult for someone else, but I can never know for sure that something will be difficult this time. It may not be very helpful to jump to that assumption.

If we apply Dr. Dyer’s paradigm for managing the excuse it might include asking

Q – Is it true? Will it be difficult?

A – Probably not.

Q – Where did the excuse come from?

A – I allowed it

Q – What is the payoff?  How does this excuse help me?

A – I( get to avoid risks and stay the same.

Q – What would my life look like if I couldn’t use this excuse?

A – I’d be able to really be myself

Q – Can I create a rational reason to change?

A – Yes

My paradigm for addressing the excuse is similar but also includes tapping (not a surprise I’m sure.)

Q – Where did this excuse come from?

A – Start tapping (tap through the points, changing to the next one whenever it diagram of the tapping pointsfeels right) and let your thoughts flow freely while you try to answer this question. This might include becoming aware of what you are feeling, when you have used this excuse before, and how it feels when you use it.  Get as specific as you can about the excuse, the purpose of the excuse, and the desired outcome of the excuse.

Q – Was there a time that this excuse helped or protected me?

A – The answer is probably yes. Now keep tapping and get specific, remembering the instances in which the excuse was somehow beneficial to you. Try not to get caught up in self-judgment or blame. View the events as if they were a movie or as if you are seeing it happening in the distance and keep tapping.

Q – What am I afraid would happen if I drop this excuse?

A – You will get better results if you can suspend self-judgment about having used this excuse before.  As you found out with the previous step, you developed this excuse for a reason.  Now continue tapping and take a look at the fear or anxiety that entices you to keep using the excuse and perhaps re-evaluate its usefulness to you.

Q – What would be the benefit of eliminating this excuse?

A – Start Tapping.  All things have pros and cons. Now is the time to look at the positive side of eliminating the excuse.  Your results will be best if you can get very specific and get a clear vision of what things might be like on the other side of the fence if you eliminate the excuse.  Remember, the grass is supposed to be woman jumping over the fencegreener on the other side so focus your energy on all of the good things awaiting you if you jump over the fence without the excuse.

If you decide to keep the excuse, please do so without self-blame or regret. You now understand your own motivations and decisions. If you decide to let go of the excuse, congratulations. Now you know that what you are contemplating may actually be easy.  You have also gained awareness of your own ability to do things that are difficult.

Avoid the Pedestal. It’s a Tough Fall.

multiple busts on pedestal in museumHave you ever put someone up on a pedestal?  Did you think they could do no wrong?  How did that work out for you?  Turn that around.  Do you want to be the one up on the pedestal?  If we are really honest, sometimes we do seek that type of relationship with other people.  The following tapping exercise gives you a starting point if this is an issue that resonates with you from either side of the pedestal.

 

illustration for karate chop pointSetup (while tapping the karate chop point): The Tao Te Ching tells me that I don’t want to be on a pedestal, but I seem to seek that position anyway. Even though I seem to want to be viewed as something special, or something “more”, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. Even though my mind acknowledges that danger of being put on a pedestal, my behavior suggests that I feel otherwise. In spite of this conflict, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway. Even though I don’t want the pain of falling off of the pedestal, I would like the love and respect that I believe comes with being put on a pedestal.  I choose to remain open to new ways of thinking about this.

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…My mind and emotions are not in agreement about this issue

Side of Eye…I choose to remain open to clarity

Under the Eye…I have a lot of emotional baggage that I don’t fully understand

Under the Nose…I have put others on a pedestal

Chin…And when they let me down and “fall” off of that high place

Collarbone…We generally both get hurt

Under the Arm…I don’t want to continue that pattern with other people

Top of Head…And I don’t want to experience that fall myself either

Eyebrow…I am open to learning new ways of getting my needs met

Side of Eye…Maybe I am confusing adoration with respect

Under the Eye…Maybe I am confusing respect with love

Under the Nose…Maybe I am just confused all the way around

Chin…Awareness is a good place to start with this issue

Collarbone…I choose to be gentle with myself as I learn a new way

Under the Arm…I am looking forward to changes in the way I relate to others

Top of Head…I am looking forward to changes in the way I view myself

As I said, this exercise is just a starting point.  I know I have more work to do on this issue.  Do you?