Because tapping is becoming well known as an effective remedy for in-the-moment stress and even trauma, I assume a working knowledge of the tapping process on this blog. If you are not yet familiar with the tapping process, many reliable website resources are available on the web including those maintained by AAMET, EFT Universe, and The Tapping Solution. These three education resources feature descriptions of the tapping process as well as illustrations of the meridian points most commonly used in Emotional Freedom Techniques or EFT, also known as tapping. Because of the sensitive content of this blog post, I recommend readers tap while reading it. Tapping while consciously giving our attention to potentially distressing information helps to create the space for understanding, love, and compassion for ourselves and for all participants in such events as the Isla Vista shooting of last weekend. In the aftermath of this and any traumatic event, calm and centred space within our hearts and minds is not an easy condition to cultivate. Tapping supports this goal.
Once again we are reeling from the aftershocks of premeditated violence, this time targeting young women in a sorority. In at least one account of the events, these students were the stand-ins for a young man’s revenge against all the women in his peer group who did not fulfill his fantasy of being “the best guy out there.” For every Canadian woman conscious and aware during the late eighties and early nineties, we are reminded of what has come to be called the Montreal Massacre, an act of mass violence by a young man similarly targeting women as the source of his unhappiness. In the 1989 murders, the young man’s distorted belief system compelled him to murder young women studying at the Ecole Polytechnique, women he believed prevented him from getting a place in the school.
Crimes committed specifically against women fly in the face of one of our cherished beliefs – that women in our culture are in charge of our own destinies, with opportunities and freedoms similar to those of men. The shootings at Isla Vista compel us to consider a horrifying alternative that strongly suggests we live in a culture where women and men are pitted against one another in a variety of ways. One of these ways involves the yearning for intimacy with a partner; in our dominant culture, that partner is always someone of the opposite sex. Sadly, for a young male here in the west, that potential partner is of the same gender as the scantily clad victims so many video games encourage players to brutalize and even murder. Desensitization to the feelings of such victims happens because violence against women has become standard fare in many films, music videos, and television dramas produced for young men between the ages of 12 and 30. It is a hate-based game, this us-against-them belief system, a game everyone loses.
Crimes against a specific sex or race are more challenging to accept and understand because they point to toxic imagery featuring men and women based on distortions aimed to grow profits rather than understanding, discernment, intelligent curiosity, and compassion. When hearing of the shootings at Isla Vista we must consider, yet again, this frightening truth. Aspects of our culture are damaging to our young people because they foster the objectification of boys and girls as well as women and men in violent and/or sexual situations against a backdrop of unsustainable material excess.
We cannot isolate our children or our young women and men from the violent and sexual imagery in our culture, but we can educate them to be conscious, discerning individuals who have the skills to question the assumptions and presumptions of violent games, music videos, films, and television dramas. Education at home, at school, at work, and in the marketplace is vital. With regular, honest dialogue, we can encourage our young people – whether gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered or heterosexual – to question our media story tellers’ overt and subliminal suggestions in three areas: the sexual objectification of women, men, and children; the need for newer and bigger “toys” in order to feel powerful and whole; and, the consumption of alcohol and violent images as the most desirable use of free time in the west.
Turning off our phones, our computers, our televisions, and our music devices to sit together in meaningful conversation is a first step toward liberation from distorted ideas about who we are and what we truly desire. Whether we join a library group, take a class, organize a neighbourhood pot luck, or form a gender-specific group to help to process the grief we feel about Isla Vista and all the other murders provoked by faulty beliefs, unhealed rage, loneliness, helplessness, and fear, connecting with others to open a dialogue is the place to begin. We need each other in order to understand and to shift our cultural biases. We need each other because we are so much more intelligent and caring together than we are in isolation.
Tapping through our grief together – speaking our fear, our rage, and, finally, our hope as we tap – helps us to ground in the possibility of compassion, love, and wisdom during the worst of situations. Tapping increases our humanity by opening our hearts. As we tap on the crushing weight of unexpressed fear, outrage, and grief, we create space for compassion, for ourselves and for others. It may take time for us to feel the full measure of compassion, but tapping on the horror we feel when we begin to comprehend the widespread violence in our culture ends the numbness that is often the first response to a horrifying event.
Tapping to acknowledge our feelings of vulnerability and helplessness in the face of such crimes opens us to the possibility of deeper understanding. Tapping also helps us to cultivate a sense of agency by empowering us to more fully participate in fostering a culture that respects all people, all species, and our Earth home. Tapping in the aftermath of . . . ; sadly, there are many events to choose from. The important act is to choose . . . and to tap. Feelings will flow, and after these, extraordinary ideas to weave us into the many changes we want to see in the world.
Until next week