Emotions, Responses and Steps Towards Healing
On Friday March 15th 2019 there was a terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. As one journalist put it, “it took just 21 minutes of mayhem to end 50 lives and changed hundreds of others forever”. But that wasn’t quite accurate. It changed far more than just ‘hundreds of people’. It changed us as people forever, not just in New Zealand but around the world, as others responded to our response.
It was the response that made this different from other similar events that have occurred in other countries. We refused to respond with indifference to the community of mostly immigrant or refugees this happened to. We refused to respond with hatred or revenge. Instead we responded with love. Great love.
One of the first things that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said was “You are us”. I feel close to tears just writing those three words – you are us. All of the great teachers in the world tell us that we are all connected. That we are all one. But how many of us actually live that truth? Since the event we New Zealanders have been living that truth.
We showed that what happened to them happened to us, because they are us. We grieved with them as if it was our families that had been affected. We bought flowers in huge numbers. We wrote messages on cards, cardboard, pavement, to tell them that we loved them, because they are us. We had vigils all over the country where tens of thousands attended so we could be together, be one, show our love and support. But we didn’t want to just say “you are us”, we wanted to live it. So we visited their mosques and prayed with them. We wore a hijab and went to work, to the supermarket, to school – to show we are the same.
The New Zealand EFT community were right there showing support for me and my colleagues in Christchurch. They showed their support for the victims and their families, with many offers to treat trauma victims free of charge. The “you are us” and we are family was strongly present and acted on within the EFT community. A colleague in Auckland organised online meetings to support the EFT practitioners who were struggling with their own emotions over the event, as well as helping them to help others more effectively. Those that were distanced by location showed love and support by doing surrogate tapping. If they couldn’t love in person, they did it energetically.
The day after the attack, Prime Minister Jacinda Adern received a phone call from President Donald Trump who asked what offer of support the United States could provide. Her answer was “sympathy and love for all Muslim communities.” Sometimes love is all you can give. Sometimes it is everything.
The talk on the news now is about how we can keep this feeling of oneness permanently and not let it drift away over the coming weeks or months. That is the real challenge.
We have felt this connection and oneness before – after the Christchurch earthquakes. Everyone became our friend, neighbour, family. There were no strangers, only “us” because we were all in it together. Maybe it was because of what we went through in the earthquakes (and there were many very destructive ones over a period of time), that our compassion, love and oneness was already quite well developed.
If the earthquakes primed us for a heightened sense of oneness, they also primed us for a heightened sense of fear. The fear from the terrorist event has bought to the surface any unresolved emotions from the earthquakes, which in turn bought to the surface any previous unresolved emotions. After the earthquakes I had many clients who presented with what seemed like earthquake trauma, but wasn’t. The earthquakes had triggered emotions from the past, particularly fear of loss (of loved ones). The terrorist attack has done the same. It’s not just the feeling of loss that has been triggered, but the feeling of being unsafe. The unsafe things came unexpectedly in both events. Emotionally that is hard to deal with because people feel they can’t protect themselves from the unexpected, so they are on heightened alert all of the time. This causes anxiety in those who don’t get emotional help, for many years to come, and is especially true for children.
A recent article, written eight years on from the Christchurch earthquake of February 22, 2011  said: Children who started school in the years following the February 2011 earthquake are “neurologically different”, according to a world-first research project by University of Canterbury associate professor Kathleen Liberty. Against all international evidence, Christchurch children did not bounce back: By the end of 2015, 52 per cent of 300 study children’s behaviour had worsened, and by 2017 four in five exhibited at least one symptom of PTSD.
I have treated children like that. Children who were too young to know anything or be affected at the time, but are showing serious anxiety now, many years later.
Our job is not done. The support we offer others cannot stop after a few weeks. The love we give or send cannot stop after a few weeks. The oneness we feel cannot stop after a few weeks. People don’t always bounce back and they don’t always realise that until years later. Time often doesn’t heal. But EFT does and love does. So, let’s keep doing both.
I recently heard about the Taoist principle of Wu Wei, which translates more or less as ‘action in non-action’. Or in other words, action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort. Wu Wei is the cultivation of a mental state in which our actions are quite effortlessly in alignment with the flow of life. This going with the flow, although it may be greatly productive, is characterized by great ease, where we do the right thing effortlessly without trying.
It seems to be exactly what Abraham (Esther Hicks and the Teaching of Abraham) has to say in his analogy about paddling upstream. His analogy describes why we don’t seem to be getting where we want to be in life and why it seems so hard. He says that most people don’t go with flow in life because it seems lazy to do that. We paddle upstream because that seems virtuous, and everyone in society measures themselves against others who are paddling upstream. ‘Upstream’ represents struggle for achievement. Not the achievement itself, but the struggle. We wear our struggle like a badge and always talk about how busy we are or how stressed we are. Abraham says “Why not turn and just go with the flow of the stream. He says “Nothing that you want is upstream. Everything you want is in the direction of the flow. There is only one stream and it is downstream. Just stop paddling upstream and the stream will turn you.”
Another thing that Abraham teaches is the difference between motivation and inspiration. “Inspiration comes forth from within. It’s what the light burning within you is about, as opposed to motivation, which is doing it because if you don’t do it, there will be negative repercussions. Motivation is making myself do something that I don’t really want to do. Inspiration is having the clear picture of what I am wanting — and letting Universal forces come into play to get the outcome.”
So if it seems like you are paddling upstream in life, or are doing the opposite to the principle of Wu Wei (i.e. it seems that your effort does involve struggle or excessive effort) then I can help. Knowing there is a different way and actually being able to take it are two completely different things. I help you to make the changes you can’t make on your own, whether in your happiness, health or success.
When your spouse died did you have anger mixed in with the grief? If so, that is very normal. One of my clients told me she loved her husband and after over 30 years of marriage they still sat on the couch holding hands. But when he died she felt overwhelming anger. Anger that he had ‘left her’. Anger that she had to do it on her own now. Anger at the life/retirement she had planned and could no longer have. Anger at everything that she now had to deal with on her own. There is no doubt that she loved him and felt great grief, but the anger was even stronger than the grief. As with any emotion, if we push it away (because it feels wrong to have/feel it) it doesn’t get resolved and it stays with us. I always advise people to feel what they feel. In her case, to get his ashes out (she’d hidden them away because of her feelings towards him) and tell him off. To express her feelings. And of course we did EFT on her feelings too. It is EFT that actually allows us to let go of the feelings permanently.
The anger is something we often only share with our therapist. Imagine telling your friends that you were angry at the person they knew you loved, who had passed away. They would not get it, unless they had been in that situation.
Another client was really angry when her husband had a heart attack, even though he survived. She was angry at the prospect of him leaving in the future (having another heart attack) and felt left in the lurch in many ways, including financial), even though he hadn’t actually ‘left’ yet. That seriously affected their relationship, until she got help and dealt with her feelings.
If you are in this situation then please seek help from a professional such as myself to bring you quickly back to peace and happiness. If you are supporting a friend or family member who is grieving, allow them to feel anger as well as grief. Don’t judge them for it. Support them by telling them that you understand how they might feel that way and its okay to be angry. This might be difficult as you may be grieving for the same person, someone you loved deeply. Their anger might seem unfair to you, but try to keep your judgement out of the way. Anger is an easier emotion to deal with than grief, we may unconsciously focus on that feeling as a way of coping. It is only when the anger is allowed, felt, processed and resolved that grief can be fully expressed.
Confession time. Don’t judge me too harshly, but I love those reality shows like The Batchelor or Married at First Sight. One reason is that I get to see how people cope with their emotions, and how they react with words, in very challenging and stressful situations. They don’t always show themselves in a good light and I watch, wondering whether I would be able to be the person I want to be in a similar situation. I hope I would. Today I came across something online that really summed up how we react during stress. I loved it and hope you do too:
You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.
Why did you spill the coffee?
“Well because someone bumped into me, of course!”
You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.
Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.
*Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out.*
Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.
*So we have to ask ourselves… “what’s in my cup?”
When life gets tough, what spills over?
Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?
Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?
Today let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for others.
P.S I help people to be who they want to be. To be full of good thoughts, beliefs and emotions, so that is what they ‘spill’ when times get rough.
On a recent trip to USA we were lying by the swimming pool of our hotel and I saw a couple of people who I initially thought might be special needs (intellectually disabled). The reason I thought that is, even though they were in the pool, they had a plastic-covered item around their neck. I thought this must be their name and contact details in case they got lost, something the intellectually disabled commonly wear. Then I saw something that made me realise I had got it completely wrong. They were in fact ordinary people, with their cellphones in a waterproof case around their necks. They were using their cellphones in the pool! I was shocked. It seems to me that using your cellphone in the pool indicates a very unhealthy connection to it. It also indicates that they can’t relax, or enjoy life without ‘doing’ something, whether with their hands or, more importantly, their mind. Constant use of a cellphone is a way of keeping our mind busy. When our mind is busy we aren’t giving ourselves time to think or feel. This is my definition of an addiction. Something that we use or do that distracts us from thoughts and feelings we don’t want to have. So many things block out those thoughts and feelings wonderfully well, such as alcohol, drugs, smoking and comfort eating. One activity people don’t often put in the addiction category is overworking or keeping busy. Constant use of a cellphone is definitely keeping busy. When we have feelings we don’t want to feel and thoughts we don’t want to think, the answer is not to distract ourselves from them or to block them out. This only pushes them down and they lie, unresolved, until something triggers their release at a later date. If you are someone who keeps busy (including mentally) I suggest giving yourself a few hours to do nothing. Nothing! Just sit, or take a gentle stroll, and allow yourself to think and feel. No reading, no talking, just ‘be’. If this thought scares you then it’s a sure sign that your emotional health could use a little work. If you need help with that contact me, it’s what I do.
“Why am I still single?” is a question I am often asked by clients seeking help to find the person of their dreams. Or, even more commonly, “why do I keep having (insert problem) in my relationship?”. For instance “Why do I keep getting rejected?”, or “why do I keep getting cheated on?”. When people come to me asking for help to find the person of their dreams I need to do two things. Firstly, find exactly what is blocking them and secondly, clear that block (with EFT). Before we look at what can be blocking us we need to briefly mention the Law of Attraction. No, I’m not talking about romantic attraction, but the attraction of energy to energy (quantum physics). Your emotions are energy and so are your thoughts. Your beliefs are energy and so are your expectations. The Law of Attraction, which is a universal law (like the law of gravity) shows that we attract to ourselves that which matches our energy, or vibration. Most people think that if they focus on what they want in a partner they will attract it, but here’s the problem. You are thinking about what you want with your conscious mind and at the same time your subconscious mind has beliefs, expectations or emotions that are preventing that from coming into your reality. We call these ‘blocks’ and here are the three most common (but my no means only) blocks.
You want to find a partner who loves you as you are, who thinks you are wonderful and who treats you wonderfully – right? If its not happening there’s a good chance that YOU aren’t loving yourself as you are. That you aren’t treating yourself wonderfully with your thoughts. You can’t attract that which isn’t a match to your own vibration. Or sometimes we can attract it briefly but we can’t keep it. To find someone to love us we have to love ourselves! Not “I will know I’m lovable when someone loves me”. NO. The loving of yourself has to come first, before the other person will arrive into your reality.
Beliefs that often come in partnership with not loving ourselves are those of not feeling worthy or deserving. Not just of love, but of happiness, or good things, or a great life. How can you attract a partner who will make you happy if you don’t deserve happiness? How can you attract someone who loves you if you aren’t deserving of love? They are two completely different vibrations. Remember you attract to you that which matches your vibration, so if you aren’t attracting what you (consciously) want you must be putting our something different subconsciously.
Have you ever found yourself saying “there are no good guys/girls left”? Or “All men/women cheat”? Or “I’m never lucky in love”? Or “I always seem to attract the bad ones”? What you think and what you say reflect subconscious beliefs. Remember that we attract to us that which matches our vibration, so how can you attract a great partner if you don’t believe you will?
Most of my clients have a lot of trouble with loving and accepting themselves. So I help them to do that. A lot of my clients don’t feel worthy or deserving, so I help them with that. Nearly everyone has limiting beliefs that they don’t even realise they have, because they are subconscious. I help them to identify and clear them. If you are seeking a fulfilling, satisfying and lasting relationship contact me for some help.
There are so many ways we can lose our way with love, especially when we are living with someone or married. One way is when we can get so caught up with the daily ‘stuff’ that needs to be done that we don’t actually spend any quality time with our partner. We are spending time for sure, but its not quality (talk about our thoughts and feelings) time. There’s a paragraph in the book I’m reading (The Dog by Joseph O’Neill) that I thought put this wonderfully into words:
Always we were in agreement that certain practical things needed to be done right away. Always it was first things first. Always we were in the hurry that postpones the second thing, the good stuff, whatever that was supposed to be. I now see that our idea of the good stuff wasn’t having a good time together, but having a good situation, i.e., the circumstance, rather than the substance, was the good, and vital to the good was the displacement of time and its replacement by activity. This was a category error, but what did we know? I was all new to us, every second if it.
So often I see clients who are not happy in their relationship because, without realising it, life has taken over and time with their partner has slipped way down near the bottom of the list of priorities. Without quality time a relationship will wilt and start to die, just like a plant not given enough water. When I’m helping clients with this I have a number of new routines I get them to instigate, so they are ‘watering’ their relationship regularly and often and it can grow stronger again and blossom. In your relationship are you putting ‘getting stuff done’ above quality time together? If so change your priorities now, before its too late.
This is what happened and what I learned from walking the Milford Track last week. To set the scene, it’s a four-day walk/tramp/hike (considered by many as one of the best walks in the world) in the depths of Fiordland, New Zealand. A wild and remote place that is boat access only at both ends. Accommodation is in huts that are just long bunkrooms with a covered mattress on a slat bunk. There are no showers, hot water, electricity, bedding or kitchen equipment. You carry everything with you on your back including food, clothes, sleeping bag, cooking pots, plates, utensils etc. The walk itself is around 6-7 hours per day, including one day that’s up a mountain and down the other side. Let’s just say that you need to be prepared and in a physically strong place. Here’s what happened to us and what I learned from it: A week before the tramp I broke my little toe. I was still in pain during the tramp. My husband Theo got a cold two or three days before the tramp and he had it for the whole time we were away. I caught it on the last day of the tramp. We both felt completely awful. Of the four days, two of them were heavy and torrential rain. That included the day we walked up and down the mountain. Our rain coats and pants (even though good quality) could not keep up with the huge amount of rain and we were wet with no ability to dry our clothes before the next day. The day we returned Theo took a turn for the worst, was very unwell and got a lung infection. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a great believer in the Law of Attraction. You get what you put out with your thoughts, beliefs, expectations and emotions. Others walk the Milford Track and have four days of beautiful weather and we seemed to have a multiplicity of issues. But I’m not asking “Why”, for two reasons.
Reason number one: Today I was reading a Facebook post about someone I know who has just had a premature baby that is in intensive care and a wife who is “not out of the woods yet”. How on earth can I feel sorry for myself when I read this. That post reminded me that all of my problems are small. They are all short-lived. This is an experience I will look back on and laugh about. Their experience probably won’t be. I am so grateful that my problems are small ones in the grand scheme of things. I have learned to be grateful for my very small problems and my small discomforts. It helps to have discomforts at times to remind us of how great things usually are. I can practice my gratitude even better now and be even more grateful of my usual good health, my usual dryness, cleanliness and warmth.
The other reason I’m not asking “why” is because of something Neale Donald Walsch (author of Conversations with God) says, which is: “Why is this happening?” is the most useless question in the Universe. The only really profitable question is, “What?” As in, “What do I choose now?” This question empowers. The “why” question simply perplexes, and rarely satisfies even when it gets a good answer.
So I’m not going to ask why or what did I do/not do to attract this. Things aren’t perfect all the time. I’m just so happy and grateful that my imperfect parts are insignificant. That they are few and far between. That when they are there they remind me about how great my life usually is and how much I have to be grateful for. Without the dark we don’t always recognize the light. I have a lot of light in my life.
Have you ever found yourself feeling resentful because you are doing something you don’t want to be doing? Or unhappy in a job you don’t want to be in? The way to fix that is to remind yourself that you are choosing to do it. That might sound simple but it really works. For instance a while back I was yet again taking the first steps to make up with someone I’d had a falling out with. I was feeling resentful and grumbling to myself “why do I have to be the bigger person?” Then I reminded myself “you don’t have to be. You are choosing to because that’s the sort of person you want to be”. That helped me immensely. Recently someone who was expecting a new grandchild told me she was worried she would end up doing too much for the baby and would start to resent it. She was a very giving person and I knew she would offer to babysit and do a lot for the family, sacrificing her own time, which was precious to her. She had a bad habit of offering to help others, then when that help was accepted she would start to resent it – yet she had put herself in that position. I told her she didn’t have to babysit or do anything she didn’t want to and she replied that she didn’t feel she had a choice. I advised her “think very carefully about what you are and aren’t prepared to do for this baby now, so you won’t offer anything you don’t really want to do”. I then told her my choosing rule: When you are feeling resentful or unhappy doing what you are doing remind yourself that you are choosing to do it. If you realise you don’t choose it any longer then stop doing it! There are only two options: (1) Don’t do it. (2) Do it willingly and happily. There is no option for doing it with resentment!
I’ve used this with a client recently who was unhappy in his work. If you go by the above ‘rule’ then his only two options were (1) leave his job or (2) remind himself that he was choosing it and do the job willingly and happily. If you are in the same position with your job you might think that you aren’t choosing it, that you have no choice because you need the money and you haven’t found another job yet. The fact is though that you do have other options. You could quit and live on the street. You are choosing to work rather than take that option. You could take a job that isn’t very nice and no-one wants (so they always have vacancies), but you are choosing to stay in your current job instead. You could choose to leave your job and lose your house or your relationship or your kids, but you are choosing to stay in your current job instead. See, you do have choices and you are choosing to stay in your job. Once you have reminded yourself of that, find the willingness and happiness to do the job. The other options are worse. Isn’t it great that you get to choose.
One client told me that on Christmas day her family would arrive and want to moan and complain and tell her all their problems. She said this always negatively affects her and drags her down for the day and asked me advice on how to handle it. The first thing to look at is your beliefs about your ‘role’ in this, i.e. do you feel pressure to help them, give advice or solve their problems? If you put this responsibility on yourself of course you will feel pulled down as that’s a lot of pressure that YOU are putting on yourself. They usually aren’t putting it on you, they are just telling you what is wrong for them and what they are feeling. Look at what you tell yourself you are supposed to do with this information. If you tell yourself that you have to solve their problems and you can’t, then you have just made yourself wrong. Depending on how good you are at making yourself wrong, you will then feel bad for anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
I suggest three things:
Remember, like chocolate, families can be better in small servings. May you enjoy your time with them these holidays.