Sometimes the reason why we don’t accomplish what we’d like to is because we don’t acknowledge or even recognize our own dreams and goals. Our days are filled with meeting our responsibilities to others – at home and at work. Meeting others’ needs is satisfying and rewarding. However, by focusing exclusively on being conscientious with others, we can misplace the precious, secret things we dream of accomplishing ourselves.
Because tapping helps us to be more mindful of ourselves as well as others, it is an invaluable tool to use when we’ve lost sight of what we want to accomplish personally. It may be a weight loss goal, a creative goal, or a relationship goal that we have let slide. Whatever category a dream or goal may fit in before we begin its manifestation process, it inevitably involves learning how to do something new. Happily, tapping is one of the most supportive learning tools we can develop.
Often the first stage in our learning process is spending time thinking about what we want to accomplish and feeling the excitement as well as the anxiety and even the dread this goal brings up for us. All the “Who do I think I am? How can someone like me accomplish this? I’ve never been very good at following through on plans,” inner questions and criticisms have very real teeth because no matter how wonderful our lives, most of us have learned to doubt our capabilities and even our right to feel our desires, let alone act on them. No one means to make us doubt ourselves when uttering, “You don’t want to do that,” often quite casually, when we mention a goal (as simple as climbing a tree or as complex as writing a book), and yet these messages are incredibly toxic when internalized. Sadly, most of us heard these words in countless situations when we were children.
One form of self abnegation is learned at the dinner table. “You don’t want dessert now. You haven’t even had lunch!” This comment stems from concern for our health, of course, and may be even be a wise caution given how the body’s chemistry functions, but this phrasing provides support for one of the most insidious and powerful edicts in our unconscious programming: “You have no idea who you are and what you desire.”
Hearing the myriad forms of this message at home, in the school room, and on the playground pretty much seals the deal. “Okay,” our unconscious says in response to these comments, “I guess I’ll have to wait for someone to tell me who I am and what I need and desire.” Whenever I catch myself sinking into this feedback loop, I weep. And when I weep, I tap.
One of my most familiar sessions begins on the karate chop point with these or similar set up phrases:
“Even though I’ve been taught to ignore my own feelings and desires, and ignoring my own feelings and wishes hurts and angers me so much, I am okay anyway, because I’m still in the process of becoming all that I can and want to be.”
“Even though well meaning people taught me to ignore what I want and need, and feeling the pain of personal denial hurts and even enrages me, I am okay anyway, because there is still time for me to change and I have the tools to do so.”
“Even though a beautiful, hopeful, creative part of me feels shut down, and has felt shut down for a long, long time, I’m okay because I know how to revive this precious part of me and am doing so today.”
Sometimes as I do this introduction a very specific incident comes to mind. One I vividly remember coming up for healing involved shopping with my mother when I was six or so. As we looked over the dresses for Easter Sunday, I discovered a beautiful midnight blue organza dress, complete with a satin sash long enough to form a beautiful bow. The filmy organza contrasted beautifully with the satin sash, and, best of all, the skirt was full and would spin out like a plate when I did pirouettes. My mother, a loving but practical woman who’d been pinched by the Great Depression and raised by a practical mother herself, said, “You don’t want that. You’ll itch like crazy and look as big as a house.”
Her comment was not meant to be hurtful and yet it was damaging to my forming self to hear that what I wanted, desired with all my heart, was bad for me. I trusted my mother and had been taught that she knew best regarding such decisions. Of course she did on one level. But on a level she wasn’t at all aware of because her own self awareness had been similarly shut down, she had no idea the joy and pleasure spinning in that midnight-blue dress would have given me on Easter Sunday and on all the days to follow.
Instead, she chose a practical lavender dress identical to the one she chose for my sister, four years my senior, and the three of us walked to church amid murmurs of, “Oh, how pretty,” my sister looking like one of the girls in the Breck advertisements and my mother as proud as any mother could be. I sat, apparently attentive, through the long, confusing service, and when I got home quickly traded the hated dress for play clothes. “You looked so nice today,” my mother said wanting to discourage what was called in those days my ‘Tom-boy’ tendencies. Hearing these words gave me no comfort.
Given what is going on in the world today, setting the intention to discover the personal and apparently trivial incidents in our past that shut down the creativity and joy necessary to manifest goals and dreams may seem like narcissism to some. However, it is the state of the world – its ecological threats, its media-driven fears, and its emphasis on money and appearance (at least here in the west) – that inspires us to dream big and set goals to address the rampant consumerism and corporate marauding governing our individual and collective lives.
We all need to be present to the world as it is, as hard as this may be at times, and tapping helps us to be aware, to process, and to neutralize our grief and fear in order to step up to be part of our communities in positive ways. Unresolved hurts lead us to develop self soothing strategies involving TV, food, alcohol, sex, and other addictive habits to obliterate painful feelings about personal and global situations. These habits work, of course, but only temporarily. The real solution is always to find ways to open to greater and greater consciousness. Because tapping to free ourselves from negative programming supports our personal, community, and global goals it is an essential tool in our “be-present locally and think/feel globally” toolkit.
In the end, no pain is trivial if it prevents us from understanding who we really are and what we want to offer the world that is uniquely ours. In blessing ourselves with loving, kind, forgiving attention, we bless the world; in blessing the world, our store of dreams increases and we discover more and more ways to participate in the healing of our beautiful planet.
Until next week.