We all have incidents from our past that haunt us with their memory. We find it difficult to move on from these incidents.
Sometimes a lot of tapping on these incidents leads us nowhere and we can still detect some leftover emotional charge.
I’ve been thinking about it for some days now, especially because a dear reader M wrote to me about her difficulty with fully clearing the emotional pain from a past incident.
Even though the nature of memories from painful incidents will be different for each of us, they all have one thing in common.
Our senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch help us to experience the world around us in all its varied glory. When we are experiencing a crisis, all our senses are taking it in. Our senses hold the key to how deeply we absorbed that incident. Sensory memory (SM) allows us to retain impressions of sensory information after the original stimulus has ceased.
What if we break up this sensory overload into manageable chunks and then tap away the undesirable sensation for each type of input?
We need to let go of the barrage of sensations that was absorbed through all our senses.
Start out with tapping on your feelings around that memory or incident. Bring to your mind your feelings during that time and tap along till you start to feel noticeably calm about the incident.
Here are some words to help you pin point the feelings you may be experiencing: felt abandoned, shocked, angry, betrayed, very sad, guilty, ashamed, disappointed, vulnerable, powerless, like a victim …
Here are some physical sensations that often accompany a stressful event: your stomach dropped because of the shock, your face fell, you went numb with shock, your were trembling because of anger, hot face because of anger…
Even if you can’t name a feeling, it is okay. Just focus on what “comes to mind” when you are reminded of that incident. That is the feeling you need to tap on. A negative emotion is invariably accompanied by a sensation of heaviness in the heart. We will tap on releasing the “heaviness” here.
Karate chop: Even though the memory of that incident still rakes up painful emotions in me, I am open to releasing all this uncomfortable feeling now.
Eyebrow This feeling.
Side of the eye This uncomfortable feeling.
Under the eye It still feels uncomfortable looking back.
Under the nose My heart feels heavy.
Chin It feels like a knot in there.
Collar bone I’m ready to release this heaviness.
Under the arm I’m breathing deeply into this knot,
Top of the head slowly dispersing it…
Eyebrow This remaining feeling.
Side of the eye It’s still there.
Under the eye I want to feel better.
Under the nose This heaviness.
Chin With every breath, I’m releasing it.
Collar bone With every breath, I’m feeling better.
Under the arm This remaining feeling.
Top of the head I’m feeling better.
You may need to tap through these 2 rounds a few times until you start to feel decidedly lighter. The idea is to gradually bring up and clear out he heaviness of the emotional charge around the matter.
Even after we’ve cleared the emotional charge around an issue, when we are placed in similar surroundings, the emotional charge can well up again. This makes it feel like the tapping didn’t help. Tapping did neutralize the feelings when you used it. But exposure to similar environment that existed when the incident took place can bring back emotional charge around it.
This is where neutralizing the sensory perceptions comes in. We have our sense of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. We need to wipe the slate clean from all our sensory windows.
First we take on the images that come to mind from that incident. Whenever we think of a painful incident, one or more more images that had the most impact on us stand out from the rest.
So these “pictures” or images are what we are going to desensitize ourselves from.
To pick images to clear out, you do not need to go frame by frame of that incident. Some images will stand out in your mind. Start with the strongest one. And then as you tap for that image using the below script, you may notice that other images also dull down.
Then you take up the next strongest image if any, from that incident and tap on that. It sounds time consuming, but it really isn’t. And think of the precious time of your life that you have already wasted trying to fight off these images from your mind. Considering that, these few rounds may save you years worth of ruminating and mental torture.
If you are not a visual person who thinks in terms of images, you may find these hints below to access the imagery from that incident useful.
What you may be seeing: someone’s angry face, sad face, a smirk on their face, shame on their face, no concern for you on their face, that expressionless face, their trying to make fun of me, their dismissive look, that scene of the accident, that living room, that hospital bed …
Karate chop: Even though I just can’t get these images out of my mind, I know that I no longer need to hold on to these images. I am open to learning how to release these images that serve me no purpose whatsoever.
Eyebrow I am not happy about what I was seeing that day.
Side of the eye I just want to erase that image.
Under the eye But I can’t.
Under the nose A part of me wants to keep them fresh in my mind.
Chin To keep reminding me of the misery I hold from that incident.
Collar bone That scene, I can see it now.
Under the arm That scene.
Top of the head That scene.
Eyebrow I can’t let it go. That scene.
Side of the eye But it is melting somehow before my eyes.
Under the eye It is becoming dimmer.
Under the nose I’m finding it hard to bring it back into focus.
Chin Just as well, since I don’t really need it any longer.
Collar bone That scene is shriveling before my eyes.
Under the arm That scene is so dim, I can’t bother focusing on it.
Top of the head Good riddance!
Now make a big clapping sound and say, “Good riddance!” with the intention that the image has indeed disappeared into thin air. This kind of a dramatic closure tells your mind that its business with the image is over and that is it free now.
You may still be able to recall that image at times but it won’t carry the emotional charge that was responsible for bringing it to your attention again and again.
Read the rest of the article in part 2 here.