It Doesn’t Always Need a Label

Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life by Wayne DyerI have posted quite a few tapping examples lately that were based on my reading of the Tao Te Ching.  I was inspired to delve into the Tao Te Ching after reading Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book Change Your Thoughts-Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao.  His discussion of each of the verses has been very meaningful to me.  Considering the magnitude of change that embracing these lessons could bring caused me to start tapping while reading just to manage the anxiety.  Here is another tapping example.  I welcome your comments and questions and hope you will share your experiences.

illustration for karate chop pointSetup (while tapping the karate chop point): According to Wayne Dyer’s advice we should practice letting go of always naming and labeling. This advice makes me feel sick to my stomach.  I’m really good at naming and labeling.  Naming and labeling is the way that I manage my life and my world.  I cannot imagine what life would be like without the names and labels.  While on one level I know that the names and labels don’t really define the thing, and that those names and labels really only define me – they make me feel safe and secure. In spite of this very, very, very, very strong tendency to name and label, I want to be open to experiencing the world without those names and labels.

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…Names and labels

Side of Eye…I love them

Under the Eye…The idea that the names and labels may really limit my experience of the world isn’t new

Under the Nose..Even Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet makes reference to that fact when discussing the rose

Chin…I just can’t imaging what it would be like to experience something without a name or label

Collarbone…That’s probably not true

Under the Arm…I experience things all of the time without names and labels

Top of Head…I usually tend to call it anxiety

Eyebrow…I call that out of control

Side of Eye…Or I make the judgment in response that I must be stupid because I cannot name or label it

Under the Eye…The Tao suggests that names and labels aren’t really necessary in order to experience the world

Under the Nose…The Tao also suggests that my need to label and name may stem from my inability to accept the mystery

Chin…So true!

Collarbone…The word mystery is very much like the word surprise to me

Under the Arm…Very scary stuff

Top of Head…I want to be open to the possibility that I could do it differently

Eyebrow…Maybe I could use my senses to understand something before jumping to the name

Side of Eye…I could lose myself in the fragrance or color of a flower before giving it a name

butterfly on flowerUnder the Eye…I want to experience being in the presence of a butterfly without knowing what kind it is

Under the Nose…I suspect that once I name it I really stop experiencing it

Chin…It is exciting to think that my experiences could be more intense and more real than ever before

Collarbone…I commit myself to more experiencing

Under the Arm…I commit myself to letting go of my need for instant names and labels

Top of Head…I commit myself to considering the mystery

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.

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!

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?

Letting It Be Easy

links of chain making things difficultDo you make things harder than they have to be?  I know that I sometimes do.  There have been many occasions when I’ve struggled through a task, and on completion been amazed (and distressed) when I realize that it could have been much simpler or easier than I made it.  Perhaps it is prior programming that taught me that things worth having require work, or maybe it is the number of past experiences when change was truly difficult. I suspect that I have just been getting in my own way much of the time.  This tapping video is about letting things be easier whenever that is possible and at least not making them needlessly difficult.

Finding The Right Time

Book cover of Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition by Lao Tzu from amazon.com

I often find it hard to know when it is time to take action versus time to wait.  When exactly is the right time? This tapping video was inspired by portions of the Tao Te Ching, Verse 8.

When acting, remember – timing is everything

One who lives in accordance with nature

does not go against the way of things

He moves in harmony with the present moment

always knowing the truth of just what to do.

Just Be Me- Lessons from the Tao Te Ching

illustration for karate chop pointSetup: (tapping on the karate chop point) It is hard to just be me. We’re not human doings we are human beings.  I say that all the time to other people but I’m not sure how to apply it to myself.  I am very much a human doing.  Do. Do. Do. I know I need to spend time reflecting on who I am, rather than what I do. I seem to have lost the lesson that Katie (my daughter) taught me.  Being is enough. I choose to love and accept myself – my being.

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…Just be

Side of Eye…Just be here and fully present in this moment

Under the Eye…I don’t have to dwell in the past all of the time

Under the Nose…I don’t have to anticipate the future all of the time

Chin…I want to practice being in the now

Collarbone…I don’t want to fill my NOW with business and activity

Under the Arm…I know I get confused sometimes and think that my value is based on what I do, not who I am

Top of Head…I’m able to remember that more often when thinking about other people than I do when thinking about myself

Eyebrow…Honestly, there is room for improvement all the way around

Side of Eye…Just be

Under the Eye…It’s tempting to ask, “just be what?”

Under the Nose…But that is missing the whole point

Chin…Just be me

Collarbone…In every minute of every day – be me

Under the Arm…It seems a little scary.   No it seems a lot scary.

Top of Head…But that’s ok.  I can be scared if that’s the way I really feel.  I’ll just be me.

Hoarding or Stocking Up Leads to Scarcity, Not Abundance

What is your mindset?  Are you focused on scarcity or are you focused on abundance?

 

illustration for karate chop pointBegin by tapping on the karate chop point.  Setup: I have a tendency to hoard things. Not like hoarding you see on television, but I sure have trouble throwing things away.  Probably more important than that, I have the mindset that I need to save things in case things go wrong in the future. That mindset goes against what I know about the law of attraction. I know this must be a real issue for me because I don’t even want to look at it. I’ll take that as a sign that I have work to do on this.  I choose to at least begin looking at this issue. I accept myself. I accept my feelings. And I accept my reluctance too.

Eyebrow…I have issues with abundance and scarcity.

Side of Eye…These issues may really be holding me back.

Under the Eye…If I am really using energy anticipating bad things happening

Nose…I am creating those bad things to some extent

Chin…Worrying about worst case scenario is my primary mode

Collarbone…I’ve always thought that by being ready for the worst

Under the Arm…I could handle anything

Top of Head…It is overwhelming to think about how that may be impacting me in the long run

Eyebrow…It certainly has gotten in the way of me enjoying the moment as much as perhaps I could

Side of Eye…I want to embrace this concept more fully

Under the Eye…I suspect it is going to take quite a while for me to really make those changes in my way of interacting with life

Nose…But even small changes can have a big impact

Chin…I’m still feeling some resistance here

Collarbone…I choose to be patient with myself

Under the Arm…I can sit here and tap on this issue until I feel more calm

Top of Head…I can tap on this issue any time I need to

Take a deep breath and let it out.  What did you notice?  When I did this tapping originally a lot of interesting messages came up including things I heard and experienced in childhood, news stories, and information from classes I’ve taken that have led to my previous views on this topic.  If things came up for you, please write them down so you can continue tapping to release any negative beliefs that might be holding you back.

Tao Te Ching, Holy Bible, and Abraham Lincoln

Book cover of Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition by Lao Tzu from amazon.comI have been reading Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition by Lao Tzu, translated by Jonathan Star for quite a while now.  Sounds like light lunch time reading, doesn’t it?  In the introduction I was struck with the similarity between the Tao Te Ching and the Holy Bible.  Please hear me out.  The first similarity was the difficulty in preserving a knowledge base that was primarily oral.  Both the Tao Te Ching and the stories of the Holy Bible were oral traditions that were written down at a later time.  There are many similar challenges including the writer’s own biases when hearing and re-telling a story, the political and cultural influences of the time, language translation issues, and poor memory. Have you ever played telephone? By the time you get even 2-3 people deep into the retelling of a message it can often be significantly altered, not just in the details, but in the real message of the story.

The second similarity that struck me was the question of whether picture of open Biblethe story or phrase was intended to be literal or illustrative. This quandary is often evident in Bible stories and there is considerable discord between the factions that believe that everything is literal and those who believe it is a figurative lesson meant to inspire or teach.

A third similarity was that reading the verses of the Tao Te Ching elicits more questions that the answers provided. That has often been my experience when reading from the Bible. I can easily generate long lists of “but what about…?” from either book.

You may be wondering where Abraham Lincoln fits in all of this. Abraham Lincoln statueAs I was thinking about writing this post I recalled an event many years ago when my older son, then about 3 or 4, was almost inconsolable when he asked me about the man whose face was on the penny. I told him about Abraham Lincoln, and he asked me where he was. I explained that he had been killed many years ago.  My son began crying. When asked why he was crying he stated, “because I’ll never get to know him.” That is also the truth of the Tao Te Ching and the Holy Bible.  We will never really know.

As seekers of truth and wisdom we can make best guesses, sit in meditation, engage in prayer, and evaluate the cumulative knowledge of others, but we will never really know. For me it does feel sad.  So much has been lost.

Beyond the wisdom of the texts, what can I learn from this?

  • Don’t assume that others will remember my stories accurately
  • If it is important, I should write it down
  • It is my responsibility to share the stories of my “tribe”, culture, and my life. No one else can really do it.
  • If I want to know the stories and beliefs of my ancestors, I need to ask while they are still here and able to share them with me. I wait at my own peril.