New Year New Habits – Part One: Seedlings

One spring when I was digging in my garden, a wise Silver Maple Tree offered an eloquent and entirely visual response to my curiosity about growing through one stage of life into another.  Dripping with maple keys, this wise old Tree Being planted Herself over and over again in every corner of my garden.  As I removed last year’s dead-leaf mulch and gently turned the soil to transplant a  sprig of lily of the valley, I inadvertently dislodged one of these keys from its Earth home.  Swollen, purple, and marked by fissures in its outer skin, it told me everything I needed to know about growth.  Looking at that bursting seed I understood:  in its initial stages, growth requires a period of darkness and mystery.

Since receiving that maple-key wisdom, whenever I feel unsure that transformation is happening in my life, I conjure up the image of that swollen purple seed.  Ah, yes, I remind myself; this is the in-the-dark phase of my current evolution.  All kinds of things are shifting and changing, and while I may not be able to see them and name them consciously, I can trust this transformation process as surely as that seed trusted its Earth womb to work its magic to create a tree.

In the initial stages of habit change, we may feel like swollen, purple, bursting seeds labouring alone in the dark.  Tapping on these uncomfortable feelings as we get to know the true purpose of the habit we are in the process of transforming is very helpful in calming feelings of panic, fear, and rage.  As our fingers gently communicate with the end points of the meridians in the tapping sequence, the physical self, the home of what psychologists call our unconscious, receives their hopeful message.  For example tapping at the inner ends of the eyebrows soothes Bladder Meridian.  Since Bladder Meridian governs the entire nervous system, a fresh and spacious calm begins to bless our transformational processes, not necessarily instantly, but in good time.

Because our lives are full, we often take our bodies for granted or ignore them altogether as we race through our days.  During tapping sessions or any meditative act that interrupts this daily race, our bodies may feel the way a wild stallion feels when someone first tosses a rope over his head.  By becoming Body Whisperers in the way that Buck Brannaman, Monty Roberts, and John Solomon Rarey became Horse Whisperers, we are able to soothe the body’s vigilant protector, the Triple Warmer Meridian, initiator of our flight, fight, or freeze response.  By tapping gently on the side-of-eye points, we convey to this faithful guardian and to Gallbladder Meridian (which, when balanced neutralizes anger and frustration) as well as to the rest of the body that it is safe to relax into the process of change.

In Donna Eden’s lucid book, Energy Medicine, we learn that the Triple Warmer Meridian first developed in our earliest human expression – our cave man and woman selves – to protect us from wild beasts by giving us the instant energy we needed to run away or stand our ground and fight off whatever hungry creature preyed on us.  As we learned to harness the power of fire, community, and tools, we eventually outwitted the beasts (at least collectively) and developed skills that allowed us to evolve from nomadic hunter-gatherers into agrarian peoples who lived in one area, grew our food, created methods of protecting ourselves more effectively, and developed our visual, performing, and healing arts.

Although we created safer living conditions, Triple Warmer Meridian remained as vigilant as ever, reacting to any perceived threats as if these were about to kill us as effectively as any lion might.  To this day Triple Warmer stands on high alert as if we are living in a jungle of predators.  In a way, we are, but these predators now come in the form of poor life choices, natural catastrophes, and accidents, all playing out in a jungle called the stress of modern life, stress so profound that it creates human predators as well as countless auto-immune disorders.

Soothing Triple Warmer Meridian is one of energy psychology’s greatest contributions to human well being.  Telling ourselves the story of our distress as we tap gently on the side-of-eye point assures this ever-vigilant protector and its ally, Gallbladder, that we are sharing its burden by consciously protecting ourselves.  Whatever the habit we are ready to transform, Triple Warmer is its strongest defender.  By assuring Triple Warmer that it no longer needs to protect this habit because we are going to assume responsibility for whatever function the habit served helps to release the habit and bring this over-worked meridian into a state of balance.  We can also tap on the Gamut point on the back of the hand (between the baby and ring fingers) to further calm Triple Warmer.

There are other meridians involved in the EFT tapping sequence and we will talk about these as this conversation about habit-change develops over the remaining weeks of January.  For now, tapping on our seedling feelings in the earliest stages of habit transformation while conscious of both Bladder Meridian and Triple Warmer Meridian supports enriches our somatic experiences.  I emphasize consciousness and gentleness in the practice of energy psychology tools such as EFT because like all wonderful things in life, once we learn them, we can fall into the negative pattern of using them mechanically.

For example, once we learn the EFT sequence, in our eagerness to change we can find ourselves tapping on the face and body points harshly and without awareness.  A mechanistic approach is not an effective way to create change because true change requires us to be present to our needs and feelings.  In the practice of EFT we are called to be as artful as any singer, dancer, or story maker in the expression of her or his art.   When we enlist energy tools mindfully, we are treating ourselves and this process of transformation with respect and so cannot help but create positive change in our lives.

Imagining ourselves as artists as we tap supports EFT effectiveness.  Mozart didn’t sit at his harpsichord and smash the keys hoping something good would come of this activity; he sat within himself and felt his reality, or rather heard his reality, and learned to nurture the art of letting this reality flow through his fingers onto the black and white keys of the instrument before him.  We are able to cultivate this same attentive sensitivity toward the Self.

As unique compositions of physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual energies that can create all manner of beauty and usefulness, we are always developing our instruments.  As Body Whisperers tending our seedling desires for change we become the Mozart of our lives.  Listening, responding, feeling, translating, and integrating after such amazing processes will support our arrival at the next and the next and the next vital junction points on our life journeys.

As our bursting seedling energies establish themselves, the old-habit energies naturally atrophy and fall away,  Being as kind and gentle to ourselves as we are to those we love, especially as we embrace needed change, creates the sacred space that supports our desired transformation.  It is important to hold our seedling energies as tenderly as we hold any newborn.  After all, that is what they are.

Until next week