Tapping for someone else is called surrogate tapping. Many who use it, me included, feel it is a form of prayer. When I first heard about surrogate tapping, I was concerned that I might be intruding on someone who didn’t want my help. Gary Craig, EFT Founder and creator of Official EFT sheds a more benign light on surrogate tapping. When asked if he considered tapping for others intrusive, he compared it to prayer. Generally, we don’t ask if we can pray for those we are moved to shower with love, he offered. We do it whenever we are moved to send loving energy their way.
So many people in our culture live isolated lonely lives that when something happens to them like the death of a loved one, they feel alone in their grief and pain. This happened recently to distant relatives of ours. As soon as I heard the news of their bereavement, I began to wonder what I might do beyond calling to express my sadness, sending a card, and making a donation to a specified charity. It came to me almost immediately that I could tap for them.
I learned in my early EFT training that surrogate tapping can be done as though we are the person we are tapping for, in which case we use the pronoun “I” as we create our setup statements and reminder phrases; in this scenario, we see ourselves as the person we are tapping for. We can also use the third person while tapping for the person. In both cases, our intentions are to contribute loving comfort to the situation.
The first time I used surrogate tapping was for a beloved cat, Jimi, after he had been diagnosed with bone cancer. Our vet said that I would be in charge of monitoring Jimi’s quality of life and that when I felt suffering was taking over could request that the vet return to our home to euthanize him. For months after Jimi’s diagnosis, he continued to go out into the garden to sun himself, eat heartily, and even play with his much younger cat housemate. The only symptom of his cancer was a limp that began after he jumped from his favourite spot on the foot of my bed. It was this limp that prompted me to take him to the vet in the first place.
Because of his limp, I suspected Jimi was in pain and our first EFT session began spontaneously when he sat next to me on the sofa as I read. Jimi was a feisty cat and not given to ready purring or cuddling; before his move to Vermont with me, he had become famous in our Kitchener, Ontario, neighbourhood for chasing dogs who dared to walk on the sidewalk in front of our house. I took his decision to sit next to me as an invitation. As he settled down, I tapped on the side of my hand, saying:
“Even though I can’t be sure that tapping for Jimi will help him, I am open to trying it for him. Even though Jimi has been diagnosed with bone cancer and the vet says he only has a few months to live, I love him and want to make his final chapter of life as comfortable as possible. Even though I’ve never done anything like this before and I have no idea whether it will ease Jimi’s pain, I want to try to help him in whatever way I can and I trust that I will be guided to say and do all that will make him feel loved and comfortable.”
When I began tapping through the points on my face and body while pretending to be him, I said, “This pain in my hip,” several times. At some point, I realized that my emotions were also involved in this event and began to tap on my fears for him, again tapping as if I were Jimi. As I tapped through the points I said:
“Jane’s concerned for me. She doesn’t want me to suffer. She knows about this pain in my hip.” As I finished saying these reminder phrases a second time while tapping on my face and body, Jimi got up and sat on my lap. I took this as an undeniable sign that surrogate tapping for him was working.
When Jimi first came to live with us, he made sure we understood we were never to pick him up. We’d adopted him in the mid-nineties after we met during a series of vet’s appointment for our family dog, Mike. Each time I bent down to encourage Mike, the cat in the crate above would playfully reach out a paw to ruffle my hair and meow a friendly greeting. After several of these friendly exchanges with this young cat, I asked the vet to tell me his story.
She told us that he and his sister had been thrown out of a car and that both – she guessed they were about 8 months old by the condition of their teeth and bones – had been thoroughly traumatized by this event. She had adopted the sister and was looking for a home for the brother. Because the cat had quite literally reached out to me, I decided to take him home.
Despite his early trauma, Jimi was playful and gregarious in his own way. He and Mike became best friends and Jimi would often accompany us on walks around the neighbourhood; in fact, we often wondered if Mike had gotten ill to bring Jimi into our family because his illness, one that mystified our vet and was never diagnosed, miraculously disappeared as soon as we made the decision to adopt this unusual cat.
Pets communicate in obvious and subtle ways; Jimi’s style was of the obvious variety. He liked to be close to us, but not too close, so his sitting on my lap as I tapped for him let me know that something unusual was happening. At some point during our first tapping session, I wondered about tapping on him. I began to tap very gently on the top of his head as I said, “this pain in my hip.” His purring grew louder. We sat like this for fifteen minutes or so, and then he made it clear the session was over.
During the last months of his life, I tapped daily for and with Jimi. As well as giving him pleasure, it helped me to prepare for the day when I would call the vet for the last time. On the day of his passing, before the vet arrived, Jimi and I sat together. He’d come into my life on a sticky summer day in August of 1996, a little traumatized cat that turned out to be a beautiful and wise teacher about boundaries, and, latterly, about the power of surrogate tapping. He left me on a sunny February afternoon in 2012, peacefully, and with amazing trust.
Because of this personal experience with surrogate tapping, I know first hand the comfort and relief it can offer. Since Jimi’s death, when things happen in the world that touch my heart and soul, I tap for the people and the places involved. Sometimes I tap as though I am in the situation, and sometimes I tap as a loving and compassionate witness to the event. For our distant relatives, I will tap for them in the loving ways I learned from my dear Jimi, trusting that over the miles and years between us love and relief will manifest for them in the form they most desire.
Until next week