In our highly monetized consumer culture, many have become accustomed to instant gratification. ‘Trusting the process,’ a highly valuable attitude when involved in creative projects and problem solving, has been lost when dealing with everyday frustrations. We’re encouraged to be the ‘right-now’ culture, whether we’re young, middle-aged or old. In this world of constant promotions and immediate-gratification demands, we have misplaced something essential to our humanness: our delight in free time.
Social and Earth Justice and Urgency
Because the world presents daily examples of injustice, and because the machinations of justice are very much about timing, critical mass, and the will to believe in and effect change, the “We want what we want and we want it now!” anthem of justice movements is invaluable. This chant changes the lives of protesters because it is part of the dance of actions that alternate with strategy sessions. When part of a much larger plan for change, these immediate action demands build community, rein in feelings of helplessness, and energize the demands for racial equality, LGBTQ rights, gender-pay equity, and food sovereignty rights, to name but a few of the urgent issues we are addressing today.
These demands for “NOW” changes inspire hopefulness about climate change actions, and hopefulness fuels the steps we can take to empower everyone involved in the urgent causes of peace and climate justice. These causes deserve immediate attention and action because the consequences of their neglect are horrific. This blog is not about the urgent causes we champion. What I am writing about here are those times when our impatience overshadows moments that might be spent in loving relationship to the world around us.
Our Daily Waiting Experiences
This waiting conversation is about our everyday experiences: waiting to be served in lines; waiting for traffic to clear; waiting for the machines we depend upon to function properly; waiting for . . . . You get the idea. These waiting periods often fall into the category of petty annoyances. Yet we tense, breathe shallowly, and react as if that ancestral saber-toothed tiger is inches from tearing us to shreds. When we hold our breath – whether in anger or fear – our sympathetic nervous system shifts into high alert. Calm responses are not an option; reactivity, often harsh and overblown, takes over. Think of Halle Berry’s mild librarian Patience Phillips instantly transforming into hissing Catwoman, and all over the wait for a latte.
What if we could reframe the inevitable waits of contemporary life, think of them instead as awareness opportunities? What if we could invite goodwill to fill the waiting space, goodwill for the circumstances we find ourselves in, goodwill towards ourselves instead of the blame we often assume when we find ourselves slowed down? What if we could spread this goodwill among others sharing our waiting experiences simply by being calm and centered?
EFT, Life, and the Waiting Game
Since discovering the efficacy of meridian energy tools, and specifically of EFT, to shift mood, intellectual fixity, and emotional meltdowns, my experience of waiting has transformed into something akin to an oasis in the desert. Wherever I am, an unexpected wait becomes an opportunity to remember that I am not being chased by that tiger, and so there is no need for the untamed reactivity of earlier days.
Life without these tools was very different. Crowds and the hurry-up-and-wait attitudes we generate when strangers’ conflicting needs converge, made ordinary, unexpected waiting an agony. Edginess was the rule and unconscious negativity was the whip that escalated it. With my nervous system shifting into high alert, waiting became intolerable and more times than I care to admit, I took my frustration out on others. Now, the waiting experience is very different for me.
Donna Eden’s Daily Routine to the Rescue
Since beginning my relationship with Donna Eden’s Daily Routine (visit her Youtube demo at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Di5Ua44iuXc to learn the routine from Donna, the creator of the Eden Method) I have found it much easier to wait in ordinary circumstances. Practicing this routine over time has supported my ability to self-regulate in the moment; this involves noticing my physical states, taking in a deep breath, and consciously releasing any negative story I’ve attached to the current waiting experience. An added bonus is this routine’s contribution to strengthening my resilience over time.
Sometimes, however, the tensions of the moment are more overwhelming than usual. When the conscious breath and thought checks prove insufficient, I turn to EFT and its ability to create space in the murkiest corners of my psyche. The best of EFT’s many gifts for me is its portability. Because it’s processes live in my body, I always have it with me.
Finger Point Tapping
Utilizing finger points in public spaces has been a boon to my ability to self-regulate in trying circumstances. You will find them on the outside of the thumb nail and the sides of the finger nails closest to the thumb (see the helpful photo at https://fromstressedtocalm.com/the-finger-points.) Because the process of tapping on these points can be as private as the user wants them to be, they support our best intentions in meetings, at the grocery store, and in all tense situations that require our calm participation.
Simply thinking the words that describe your feelings and sensations while subtly engaging these points, manually or imaginatively, can dispel fear and anger and invite fresh perspectives. A rush of compassion for ourselves and for others caught in the toils of relentless doing often accompanies the shifts in perspective EFT can bring. These tools transform our energies from ‘doing mode’ to ‘being mode,’ and for a few seconds or an hour, we are freed from the negative beliefs that suggest we do not deserve rest, peace, and joy. It is a shift that often spontaneously supports kindness energy, perhaps because a benign and fully present person replaces the frustrated one of seconds before.
Try EFT when you feel yourself slipping into anger or frustration while waiting through the challenges of everyday life. May it bring you peace, joy, and hope, during your next wait. And, if you use EFT frequently, may you find that you spread this peaceful energy to others simply by carrying it yourself.
Until next time,
Visit www.eftinternational.org to learn more about how the use of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) supports the resolution of inner and outer conflicts, informs more loving and respectful relationships, and empowers its users to contribute to the changes we want to see in the world.
Jane is an EFT International (formerly AAMET) Accredited Master Trainer, writer, coach, and educator specializing in neutralizing the effects of personal negative thinking as well as the cultural limitations that interfere with our ability to imagine, create, and live the lives we desire. To engage Jane for individual or group coaching services, EFT International Accredited, Certified Mentoring sessions, and EFT Level One and Two Training for your group, call her at (802) 533-9277 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit www.winterblooms.net to learn more about how Jane supports and inspires individuals, groups, and communities.
Please Note: This educational website cannot replace therapy with certified psychologists, family therapists, or psychiatrists. Before training with EFT International, Jane taught at the elementary, secondary, and college levels, in Ontario, and at the Community College of Vermont. She is an early trauma survivor who works exclusively as a learning coach using the best practices of EFT as taught by EFT International. She created this website to support the most effective use of EFT to reduce general and specific stresses and to increase the joy of daily living through self regulation and pro-social experiences.