Please Note: Winter Blooms is an educational website in no way meant to replace building a relationship with a trained EFT practitioner, counselor, or therapist. To find an EFT Practitioner, visit the AAMET website, the Gary Craig website, the EFT Universe website, the Tapping Solution website, or contact Jane at 802-533-9277 or firstname.lastname@example.org for EFT coaching support.
We hear a version of the following every day: “I’m too old to change . . . to begin something new . . . to pursue a treasured dream.” The words may be ours, but our beliefs about aging are very much rooted in family and cultural beliefs. The over-the-hill syndrome is as toxic as any sexist remark and the sooner we relieve ourselves of the burden of belief in an inevitably medicalized old age, the happier and more productive and satisfied we’ll be. How do we age joyfully, energetically, passionately, courageously? Daily tapping can revolutionize our attitudes to aging, and, with psychologist Mario Martinez’s supportive research, help us to see ourselves as potentially successful centenarians instead of customers for adult diapers at seventy or eighty.
Many of us have tuned into Jessica Ortner’s interview with Dr. Christiane Northrup and heard the outspoken doctor’s take on ageism in our culture. During that interview – one that ended with a spectacular Tango – Dr. Northrup referred to the work of Dr. Mario Martinez, a psychologist whose research into what he terms bio-cognition focuses on how our beliefs and thoughts either positively or negatively affect our physical reality. His audio course, The Mind-Body Code, is a primer in healthy thinking, mindfulness, and mind-body-spirit exercises that help us to witness where negative beliefs play out in the body and, with awareness, resolve them.
Attention to pain, witnessing its place in our body-mind, is radically different from masking pain. Our pharmaceutical corporations would have us escape our pain despite the fine print of their products warning of possible side effects that include producing conditions worse than the condition being treated. Tapping and Dr. Martinez’s Mind-Body Code advocate the opposite. Feel the pain and while feeling it, breathe into it, acknowledge its presence, and, using EFT, tap on the story being told in the moment.
For example, as we grow older, we often fear developing the pain of arthritis in our hands and joints. Should such pain or the fear of such pain manifest, instead of masking it, we can develop a conversation with the pain or fear and shift a negative experience into a positive one. Gently breathing into pain, something Dr. Martinez recommends, may be followed by a “Curiosity Conversation.” (For readers unfamiliar with tapping, please visit the EFT section on my Inspired Aging Website at www.winterblooms.net for a brief history of the EFT techniques, or discover a wealth of anecdotal and scientific information about tapping, including the location of the tapping points, at http://www.eftfree.net/discover-eft/.)
A Curiosity Conversation sounds something like this: As we tap on the Karate Chop point, “Even though I’m not sure what is going on with this pain, I trust its ability to communicate with me and my ability to understand. Even though I’m afraid of both the word arthritis and its symptoms because I believe so many negative things about it, I trust in the process of mindfulness to teach me how to change my beliefs. Even though I don’t want to develop arthritis, a part of me believes it is an inevitable consequence of aging, and I trust that I am able to replace this negative belief about growing older with more positive beliefs.”
Tapping through the points: “This fear of arthritis; this belief in its inevitability; I wonder where this belief comes from? Do I believe this because I think it runs in families and my mom had it? When did I first develop this belief in arthritis? A part of me believes arthritis is part of aging, but another part knows this isn’t true. If arthritis were a part of aging, wouldn’t everyone have it as they grow older? I wonder if I can talk to my hands; I wonder if I can ask my hands what they are trying to tell me when they begin to ache?”
After integrating the possibility of talking with one’s pain, a round of gratitude is very helpful in resolving pain. A gratitude round might sound something like this:
“I am so grateful for the intelligence in my hands; I am so glad to be able to understand my wonderful body; I love its sensitivity; I love its methods of communication – sometimes speaking pleasure, sometimes speaking pain; I’m not convinced arthritis is inevitable now; I know I love to make things and this feels like a nudge from my hands to begin a project; I am so grateful for this relationship with my wonderful hands; I am so grateful for my body’s ability to communicate.”
Curiosity Conversations and Gratitude Conclusions bring us into respectful relationship with the body. Curiosity and Gratitude, the latter an emotion Dr. Martinez calls exalted, support our efforts to dismantle ageist assumptions, freeing us to live the lives we want to live. Dr. Martinez talks about the habits of centenarians and, something I personally love, refers to scientific evidence supporting the possibility of a one-hundred-and-fifty year lifespan that makes ninety the onset of middle age.
Once we begin to think of ourselves as youngsters in our seventies, our habits change. We take courses to learn new language skills, we get involved in community movements for positive change, we mentor young people who want the benefit of our experience, and we sleep well at night because we experience the joy of purposeful activity. Believing we are young has physical age reversing effects documented by Ellen Langer and her team on the counterclockwise experiments (see September 5, 2013 blog post). Tapping on the feelings of exuberance and joy after Curiosity and Gratitude rounds lifts the spirit and makes us smile at the world. We all grow older chronologically, but we have control over how we see aging. Shifting our vision of aging is a profound tonic, one I recommend everyone take daily.
Until next week
Jane Buchan, MA, AAMET Advanced Practitioner, email@example.com, 802-533-9277.
Jane is a Life Coach specializing in neutralizing trauma and cultural constructs to support positive life choices and activism at every age.