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Last week I began to describe a fall and its aftermath. You can read the first part of Discovering Wisdom after a Fall at http://www.janebuchan.com/blog/posts/discovering-wisdom-after-a-fall/#more-1025.
Falling, it’s simply never on our agenda, and yet, like so many other surprising and unwanted events, it happens. In its aftermath, we inevitably discover the beliefs, conscious and unconscious, we hold about ourselves and others. What follows is an exploration of the beliefs that surfaced after a fall I experienced last August as well as a the tapping rounds that helped me to facilitate healing both my body and my spirit.
The First and Most Dangerous Belief to Surface
A fall is just a fall, until we make it into something else through our conscious and unconscious beliefs. As I lay on my sofa in the aftermath of falling, I asked for insight into any debilitating beliefs that might impede my healing. The first that surfaced surprised me: “You are way too happy. It’s disgusting to be as happy as you are. You need to be knocked down a peg or two.” I began to laugh. The last sentence, one I heard very frequently during my adolescence, came to me in my mother’s voice. I hadn’t heard it for a very long time.
My mother, like so many parents of those of us born into the Baby Boom generation, had lived through the Great Depression amid the telling of many cautionary tales. Her childhood, while splendid in terms of imaginative play and personal freedom, had over it the dark cultural shadow of imminent lack: “Money doesn’t grow on trees,” and “A penny saved is a penny earned,” and “A stitch in time saves nine,” sum up the frugality inspired first by the stock-market crash, then by the “Dirty Thirties” dust bowl food shortages, and finally by the rationing required by WWII. Like her contemporaries, being “too happy” was considered dangerous.
As did (and do) many born into those eventful decades, my mother had a voice in her head and her heart reminding her that things could get worse, not because she was pessimistic, but because she had lived through times when circumstances actually did become worse on many levels for many people. Being too happy was like living on an island without a lightning rod; you were just asking for trouble if you didn’t work hard, keep your head down, and hope the lightning struck elsewhere. I had been singing and skipping before my fall; I could hear her chastising me: I’d just been asking for trouble.
The First Tapping Session
The fall had left me deeply still physically, the perfect condition for tapping. My candle reminded me of the sacredness of healing, and my journal lay waiting for me to record my insights. As I began to tap on the sides of my fingers, the most gentle way I know to communicate with my energy system, my sense of well being increased.
I began with the obvious: “Wow. I wasn’t expecting to begin my day this way. That fall was such a shock. It really knocked the wind out of me. I’m so glad I’m okay. I’m so glad I didn’t break my wrist. I’m so glad I didn’t chip a tooth. I’m so glad for my shoulder and the way it protected me from more serious damage. I’m so grateful for my body’s resilience. I’m so grateful to feel so calm.”
In this way I eased into the territory of unconscious belief. After a few more rounds to acknowledge the shock I felt over the fall itself as well the gratitude I continued to feel for being okay, I knew it was time to address my mother’s reminders, alive and well in my belief system, of the dangers of being so happy. I knew this belief could well turn the fall into something it didn’t need to become and in the process curtail my future good spirits.
Cautiously, I began with, “I was feeling so happy. I was skipping and singing. I love my stretching program and was looking forward to learning something new during a new episode. I was feeling good about stacking wood. I love connecting with the wood that heats our home in winter. This is a task I so enjoy. And I can hear my mother’s voice reminding me of how she learned it isn’t good to be too happy. She always said, “You’re just asking for trouble when you’re too happy. Better to keep your head down, forget the skipping and singing, and get on with your work.”
Here it was, the dangerously seductive belief that it is better to run lukewarm rather than hot or cold. I’ve never been a lukewarm person, hence my mother’s constant lessons about my “dangerous happiness” during my adolescence. She wasn’t trying to rob me of joy or instill me with fear. She was trying to keep me safe, from disappointment, from tempting fate, and from my own high spirits.
I tapped, “Thanks for doing your best to keep me safe, Mom. I know all that grimness grew out of your personal fears because of your experiences. I also know you never meant to make me fearful of joy.”
I tapped on this for a while and then it hit me. This was just a fall, an accident, an unfortunate combination of heavy rain, irregular flagstones, and shifting earth. “Shifts happen,” I tapped. “My joy and happiness were not misplaced, only a flagstone was. The rain meant me no harm; the flagstone meant me no harm. For as long as I can remember I’ve felt loved by the natural world; Earth is my Great Mother, everyone’s Great Mother. I’ve always done my best to live my life lovingly and with gratitude. My relationship with the Earth remains loving and harmonious, and I will learn a lot about resilience from this experience. I’m so grateful. As a coach and as a teacher, I love to learn new ways to help others learn about their own powers of resilience.”
After I’d recorded my insights in my journal, I reflected on what I was coming into the house to do. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about my new exercise program, something I’d been using for no more than a few days, was that it was especially geared to recovering from injury and maintaining flexibility as we age. I quickly did another gratitude tapping round. “Even before I knew how useful it was going to be, I found the perfect program to help with my recovery from this fall. All Miranda Esmonde-White’s advice thus far has been to persevere in the face of injury, to do the exercises to the best of my ability, and to do the stretches regularly. I have everything I need to heal. I am so grateful. All is well.”
I can say in all honesty some eight weeks after this falling event that my left shoulder has returned to its usual flexibility, my right wrist is entirely pain free, and I continue to be as joyful as ever. I can also say with unshakable authority that even when we live in harmony with ourselves and our surroundings, accidents still happen. But these accidents do not have to incapacitate us for long. Even if the body is entirely broken, the spirit still may soar. I was fortunate. My body was only temporarily challenged by pain and restricted range of motion. That first day and in many of the days to follow, I tapped on gratitude for whatever gold was in this experience. And I tapped on the beauty of each day, on the human capacity to learn from every event, and on the loving atmosphere created by my personal work.
Reflections on Recovery
I rested and tapped and wrote on the first day of my fall, took it easy the second by mostly reading and sitting in the sun to tap, and was back to my new stretching routine on the third. We stacked our wood with little delay thanks to my daughter. Her visit from Toronto a couple of weeks after my fall brought the final wave of joy to a truly wonderful summer season.
Thanks to my falling experience, I have deeper trust in and respect for my own intuition, the force that led me to find the marvelous Esmonde-White Health and Wellness Series in the first place. I hope the story of my falling experience is helpful for you on your aging journey. I also urge you to check out http://www.essentrics.com/classicalstretch.html to see if it is a good fit for you as you age joyfully and purposefully.
As I continue to use the program I feel lighter, straighter, and more energized. Best of all, I have greater flexibility than I had before I got up close and personal with my flagstone path. Tapping on fear, especially fear instilled by well meaning loved ones, frees so much energy for inspirational living. May it be so for you.
Until next week
Jane Buchan, MA, AAMET Advanced Practitioner, firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-533-9277
Jane is a Learning Coach specializing in neutralizing cultural age, gender, and race constructs to support learners of every age. To engage her coaching services, please contact Jane by phone (802) 533-9277 or email, email@example.com. Be sure to put Coaching Query in the subject line.