Category: Articles

How to Use Tapping to Ease Stress, Pain, and Grief

guidedimagery

by Kathilyn Solomon

(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)

Jane couldn't control her cravings for sweets. A certain type of donut was her downfall, and she would often eat two or more at a time, though she wasn't hungry. Although she was beautiful, intelligent, successful, and had many friends, she believed she was fat, a fraud, and would always be alone.

Jane and I used EFT tapping on the feelings, sensations, details, bad memories, and negative thinking and beliefs that had Jane caught in this awful cycle. Within a short time, the cravings were gone. She realized that she was beautiful and lovable just as she was. She left her unhealthy relationship and shortly thereafter met the partner of her dreams.

Doug would feel the butterflies in his stomach, his throat tighten, and start to sweat just passing by his work's group conference room and when he even thought about attending a meeting at work. This top-level executive stuttered, and would go into panic mode when asked to speak in public. His brain turned to mush around strangers.

The tapping led us to clear the surprising root causes of his anxiety, which were about specific memories stemming from when he was a child. These days he runs a talk-show podcast and has definitely come out of his shell.

Many personal success stories are shared in Tapping Into Wellness: Using EFT to Clear Emotional and Physical Pain and Illness. This book is a comprehensive, easy entrée into the world of tapping that shows you how to tap for yourself, how to uncover what to tap on, and how to get results. It also contains more than thirty simple step-by-step tapping exercises that will give you the structure as well as specific tapping protocols and a game plan to reference. It is the only book available that details Gold Standard EFT™, the latest evolved form of tapping. It can be used as a reference guide to keep handy and return to time and again.

What Is EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)?
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), or tapping, is a simple technique to release your stress and overwhelm, emotional pain and bad memories, limiting beliefs and unhelpful ways of thinking, and challenging behaviors. It is also regularly used to address physical and emotional issues as well as performance challenges. It is energy psychology and not talk therapy. It encompasses the body and the mind, as well as the body's energy system. It's quick, it's easy, it's free, and anyone can use it, even toddlers.

People are often surprised at how quickly the process works, and how much lighter, more optimistic and energized they feel after tapping on just one minor target. One round of tapping takes about thirty to sixty seconds.

How Do You Do EFT?
To perform EFT, you tap on nine body-calming points on the hands, face, and upper torso while thinking about a specific problem (the tapping target). The tapping points are acupuncture points located along the energy pathways of the body. Tapping on these points activates the body's energy, allowing it to freely flow throughout the body-mind system. The body can then naturally heal from physical and emotional hurts.

The EFT process, consisting of thinking about a specific problem, expressing an affirmation, and tapping, helps a person, either consciously or subconsciously, to remember the moment when the upset initially occurred. The tapping allows the release of the upsetting emotions and then restores the energy system to balance.

Can Tapping Solve My Problems?
Tapping won't stop the divorce, suddenly fill the bank account, or bring a loved one back from the dead. However, tapping offers a way to safely feel what's going on inside without becoming overwhelmed. Performed correctly, it gives you a different perspective and helps you resolve the emotional upset that may be getting in the way of your ability to think clearly and come up with a better solution for your problem. The late Albert Einstein said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." Tapping offers a way to shift your thinking and way of experiencing an issue, and when that happens, the whole world changes–but really, it's only your perspective that has changed.

Perhaps most importantly, tapping can access the core events, the patterns of thinking and beliefs that often lay the groundwork for the issues that a person faces in his or her present-life. That is why EFT tapping is so effective with sabotage issues such as clutter, procrastination, and the like. You know, the kind of behaviors that a person keeps repeating despite repeated resolutions to change.

Often a problem you face in your present-day that seems like a "stand-alone" problem is actually resting on a foundation of similar types of challenges going all the way back to childhood. Tapping has a way of helping to unravel a problem at its roots.

Can Tapping Heal Illness?
While tapping makes no claims to heal illness, it is used to address and collapse the emotional components and layers that contribute to an illness and to the layers of stress relating to an illness, from the common cold to a serious auto-immune illness. In thousands of documented cases, tapping has shown complete resolution of physical symptoms. The process also works to resolve day-to-day pain and symptoms from typical bumps, bruises, and burns.

A simple example is a recent time when I used tapping as an acute first-aid responder after I dropped a pan of boiling water on my foot. Instead of the ER, I tapped and the pain and any scald marks disappeared within twenty minutes. A growing number of clinical studies have also indicated that tapping lowers the body's blood levels of cortisol, the hormone related to stress response. When the mind changes, the body follows.

Auto-Immune Illness and EFT Tapping
I learned EFT at a time when my life had fallen apart and I had no idea how to pick up the pieces: I had recently divorced, suffered with fibromyalgia and depression, was parenting a toddler, and had made a difficult move from New York City back to my hometown Minneapolis, where I couldn't find a place to live. I discovered EFT, and immediately started to feel much better. The tapping gave me extra coping skills, a different understanding of my situation, and much more than hope. I used EFT to clear my negative and repetitive thoughts, upsetting memories, and other issues "driving" my auto-immune illness, and the fibromyalgia healed. I like to call this the gift that I gave away because I no longer needed it. And that's how I became an EFT practitioner.

EFT Facilitates Breakthroughs in Key Life Areas
You don't have to be in dire straits to experience the benefits of EFT. It can be used as a positive force for change. People regularly tap on themselves or with a practitioner to create breakthroughs and achieve peak performance in any area of life, including money, key relationships, self esteem, health, sex, and athletics. Some people even tap on the tapping points while talking or thinking about the people and places and things in their life for which they are grateful.

Tap on Petty Upsets: Tapping on Creating a Great Day
Tapping Into Wellness shows you how to easily integrate tapping into the routine of your daily life. You will learn ways to tap for daily bumps and grinds, including petty annoyances. Imagine being able to stay calm when the barking dogs woke you up again, your husband left a mess on the table, your colleague won't stop talking, you can't find your keys, and the train door just closed in your face and you're going to be late.

For these mini-challenges, maybe one or a few rounds (about thirty seconds to a minute each) is enough to clear the thought clutter right out of your system. Yes, you really don't have to get so bent out of shape each time these things happen. Promise! Wouldn't that feel great?

Really, just because you get up on the wrong side of the bed, doesn't mean that you need to have a down day anymore. Tapping on the "wrong side of the bed feeling" regularly puts people in a position to embrace life and have a great day.

How Come We Need Tapping? Looking At Trauma
Research appears to indicate that trauma happens not because of what we actually experience, but rather, it's how we perceive the experience that determines whether we experience the event as a trauma. Trauma occurs when we experience or witness an event in which we feel helpless, powerless, and alone. We then experience an adrenalized, life-death or survival state, otherwise known as a fight-or-flight response. And it is here that the experience and the feelings relating to it get stuck. Dr. Robert Scaer, MD, (author of The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation, and Disease and Trauma Spectrum: Hidden Wounds and Human Healing) calls this a trauma capsule. Other medical professionals and researchers have concurred with the definition of trauma.

In EFT terminology, this moment can be likened to an "energy disruption." When the person perceives a threat to his or her existence, there is an energy disruption in the person's energy system, and this is what causes the negative emotions. The person is no longer in the rational, reasonable, expansive part of his or her brain, the neo-cortex, but rather is experiencing through the limbic reptilian (primitive) survival brain.

The problem could be as simple as a one-year-old baby left all alone and crying in the crib; a toddler watching his parents leave and not knowing whether they are ever coming back; or overhearing family members arguing. For the child who can't reason, it's a question of existential survival. Then there are the more obvious types of experiences that may lead to trauma at any age, such as a car crash, rape, war, the sudden loss of a loved one, or natural disaster.

We will create a pattern of avoiding experiences that remind of this time, until finally the issue spills over in a way that causes us trouble in our lives. EFT has a way of tracking back to the problem's source. That is the case until we integrate that particular isolated experience into the whole of our lives.

This idea reinforces the wisdom of the inventor of logotherapy, the late Dr. Viktor Frankl, neurologist and psychiatrist, whose pioneering work was in part shaped by his holocaust prisoner experience. He said that suffering without meaning equals despair. Experiencing understanding and forgiveness is inherent in the EFT process.

What If You Can't Identify the Source of Your Problem or Name the Feelings?
All you really need to know is that something is off or that there is something that you want to change right now. If you are suddenly compelled to act in a certain way that you cannot control, or if you are sabotaging yourself by procrastinating or making the same mistakes over and over again, EFT is a doorway into change. If there's a problem area in your life that you believe is just the way you are and will always be, but, sigh, wish it were different, these are all opportunities where you could explore tapping.

You can also use your body sensations as a rich resource with tapping, too. EFT does not necessarily differentiate between an emotional feeling and a physical sensation. Scientists have demonstrated that what we think we will correspondingly feel or experience in our bodies. Doctors say that mental stress is a major contributor in most serious illness. And in my clinical experience, I have seen that for most every feeling or thought, there is a corresponding body sensation. Thankfully, the body doesn't lie, and is eager and ready to reveal its secrets if we listen, which we do in EFT. And then a symptom becomes a breadcrumb on the road to acceptance of yourself just as you are, and ultimately to wholesome relief, forgiveness, compassion, joy, peace, and wellbeing.

Tapping on Training Wheels
An easy way to start tapping is a technique I developed called Tapping on Training Wheels. You simply start with one point, the collarbone point. You can find this point by putting your finger just at the bony U or V, where your left and right collarbones join together. Now, move your finger an inch to the right or left of this bony point, and an inch down on either side. This is the collarbone point. Tap with two fingers gently on this point about five to seven times, for practice.

  • Identify a Minor Upset or Physical Pain. Now, go ahead and think of a minor thought, feeling, upset, or physical ache that is bothering you.
  • Rate How Much You're Bothered. How much does the upset or pain bother you? Use the 0 to 10 EFT ratings scale, with 10 being, "It's absolutely unbearable," while 0 is, "I'm not bothered at all."
  • Focus Attention on the Problem and Tap. Focus attention on the upset or pain as you tap on the collarbone point for thirty seconds to a minute or more.
  • Stop and take several deep breaths.
  • Identify a Positive Memory when you felt loved, safe, supported, open-hearted, and happy. Examples might be the puppy you saw this morning, or the wonderful time you had dancing with your spouse, or that amazing experience in nature.
  • Tap the Collarbone Point for Thirty–Sixty seconds while re-experiencing that positive memory.
  • Re-Rate the Original Upset or Physical Pain. Re-rerate the initial tapping target. Notice if the intensity on the 0 to 10 scale has decreased. If it is 0, you are done.
  • Tap Collarbone Point for Thirty–Sixty Seconds. You can continue to perform this exercise until the upset or pain has decreased to 0. If it has stayed the same, repeat the exercise again, or obtain Tapping Into Wellness to learn how to tap Gold Standard EFT style.

Tapping Into Wellness shows readers how to employ the various EFT Gold Standard techniques, and it also addresses chapters that include:

  • How to get specific to get results
  • Looking at the origins of problems
  • Tapping to relieve stress and overwhelm
  • Overcoming Self Sabotage, including resistance to tapping
  • Using EFT to resolve cravings and experience body confidence
  • Clearing phobias with EFT
  • Tapping on the physical
  • Using EFT to address grief and loss

We are evolving as a human species, thankfully. The old models and structures for society have been crumbling for a good while, and their transformation will be the saving grace of people, planet, and all sentient beings upon this earth. The qualities of emotional connection, community, compassion, unity, respectful communication, loving-kindness, joy, and care are becoming increasingly important and valued over no-longer-working or viable paradigms, such as societal institutions and models that rely on authority, hierarchy, and a "power over" approach.

It is an exciting time within which to live and prosper, and tapping and other modalities that embrace and restore feelings to their rightful place will be playing a role in the coming years as we shift into a more sustainable, lighter, more peaceful, optimistic world culture.

Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2015. All rights reserved.

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An Introduction to Natural Skincare

9-insp-oct

by Hélène Berton

(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)

My first contact with natural cosmetics was during a course on essential oils, more than ten years ago. Though it was about the therapeutic uses of essential oils, some words were said about some of oils that are beneficial for the skin.

I made my first trial with a mix of vegetable and essential oils as skin care oil for my face. I liked it very much; the effect on my skin, the price (compared to a conventional cosmetic product), and the fact that it is not only totally natural but also very simple to prepare and to use.

Then, questions arose: Which vegetable oils and essential oils can be used on skin? Which ones are useful for skincare? What are the specific properties of the various oils? Which proportion of each of them is the best? And the vegetable butters? And the hydrosols? And what else, still keeping things simple, can be used?

That is how I decided to write my book, The Essential Guide to Natural Skin Care. I wanted to collect and reassemble answers to these questions and others that arose during my research.

After more than a decade of experimenting, training, researching, and teaching and writing on the subject, my motto remains: efficient, natural, and simple.

I stay faithful to skin care oils (versus creams or lotions) because they are easy to prepare, with very few manipulations and few ingredients, and they are easy to store and to use. For me, the less transformation, the better!

People often ask me which vegetable and essential oils they should choose. It is not necessarily an easy question, as it depends on the person's skin type, age, and the effect sought. For a good start, here are some tips that use affordable, easy to find ingredients:

    • For young, oily skin, jojoba vegetable oil and rosemary ct. verbenone essential oil can be a good choice, as they regulate the sebum production of the skin.

 

    • For acne, I would choose jojoba oil with palmarosa and ylang ylang essential oils. Those two last oils can also be used, pure, right on pimples and blemishes. The antibacterial properties of palmarosa and the anti-inflammatory properties of ylang ylang one are helpful to that condition.

 

    • For dry skin, avocado oil is very nourishing and well absorbed, and myrrh essential oil helps prevent dehydration of the skin.

 

    • For mature skin, rosehip vegetable oil has good regenerating properties, as does helichrysum essential oil.

 

  • For sensitive skin, macadamia vegetable oil is a good choice, as is with chamomile (German or Roman) essential oil (both have soothing properties).

Usually, a very small amount of essential oil is added to the vegetable oil (usually 0.5 % to 1%); that is about 5 to 10 drops of an essential oil for an ounce of vegetable oil.

Once you have chosen, prepared, and tried your first skin care oil, you can begin to experiment; you can choose a second vegetable or essential oil that you add to your preparation or use to replace another one you do not like that much. And so, small touch by small touch, you can customize the skin care oil that suits you the best. There is no need to have a preparation made of ten vegetable oils and the same number of essential oils; usually, up to four of each is more than enough, and fewer can be excellent as well.

In the same fashion, it is also possible to modulate the ingredients according to the season. For example, some more nourishing oils can be used during dry weather and lighter ones can be more suitable on hot or moist season.

You will likely buy the new ingredients you have not yet experimented with in small amounts; keep in mind that if you do not like them as skin care oils, you can still use them in other ways. For example, you can use the vegetable oils on your dry skin (legs, hands, etc.), as a makeup remover, or as hair treatment. For the essential oils, if you like the smell, they can perfume a room or a car. As they have therapeutic properties, you can also save them for that use, if needed.

As mentioned in The Essential Guide to Natural Skin Care, it is good to make you preparation in a small amount (for example, 1/3 or ½ fl. oz.). This way, it is easier to make adjustments if needed. Keep any unmixed vegetable and essential oils in the refrigerator; the cool, dark environment will help to preserve them longer.

These skin care oil mixtures are the simplest, natural way of taking care of your skin.

You can also experiment simple recipes made with hydrosols. Hydrosols come from the steam used to distillate plants; this steam condenses into water as it is cooled at the end of the distillation process. Hydrosols contain part of the aromatic molecules of the plants, and can have the aromatic composition of the essential oil extracted from the same plant, or they can have a more or less different one—it depends on the plant processed. They also contain some of the elements that are otherwise extracted by doing an infusion: minerals, oligo-elements, acids, etc. That explains why there are hydrosols, with cosmetics and therapeutic properties, produced from plants that are not aromatic.

For a long time, most hydrosols were seen as waste by-products of the production of essential oils and thrown away (with the exception of a few, like rose or orange blossom hydrosols). More and more, their therapeutic and cosmetic properties and values are being considered, and it is getting easier to find them.

Hydrosols are much cheaper, at equal volume, than essential oils. Unfortunately, being aqueous, they do not preserve as well and as long as essential oils (1 to 3 years), and need to be kept in the refrigerator. Their short shelf-life also makes them not as easy as to find as essential oils. They are usually used in bigger volumes and are sold as such, making the shipping weight and fees higher than for essential oils. All that also limits the affordability of hydrosols produced from plants only available in very far countries.

However, it is still possible to find true hydrosols, even if not as many as desired. They can be used as toner or hair rinse, or to make creams. They are also very good as mouthwash.

Below are some good hydrosols to be used if making mouthwash:

    • Helichrysum is regenerating for the gums, healing, and anti-inflammatory (note: do not use right after a mouth surgery, as it is an anticoagulant.)

 

    • Mountain savory, thyme (thymol type), cinnamon bark, oregano, or scarlet bee balm (also called Canadian bergamot—thymol type) all have anti-infectious properties Mountain savory, thyme (thymol type), cinnamon bark, oregano, or scarlet bee balm (also called Canadian bergamot—thymol type) all have anti-infectious properties (be careful, these hydrosols are irritating to the tissues when used pure. It is suggested to have a maximum of 30% of them if used in a mouthwash)

 

    • Common sage is an astringent, regenerating for the gums, and anti-infectious

 

    • Laurel is anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, and an analgesic (very good on gums that are sensitive and that hurt)

 

  • Peppermint is good to add for taste

You can use a single hydrosol (as long as it is not mountain savory, thyme, cinnamon, or Canadian bergamot), or you can mix more; two hydrosols are generally mixed fifty-fifty and three of them are usually mixed in thirds (or 40/40/20 if peppermint is your third choice), depending on the desired effect. (For example, gingivitis is the inflammation and degeneration of the gums caused by bacteria. Thyme plus common sage could be a good choice for that condition, and a little bit of peppermint would improve the taste.) Again, as with your other mixtures, experiment and adapt your recipe to your needs and taste. These mixtures provide a very efficient, alcohol-free mouthwash.

If you decide to prepare a mouthwash with several hydrosols, the best thing to do is to make a mix in a separate bottle that you leave on the bathroom counter for daily use. Keep the remaining unmixed hydrosols in their original containers in the refrigerator.

There are thousands of other uses for these wonderful ingredients, but a simple article could not begin to explain them all. While there are many other vegetable ingredients that can be used for cosmetic purposes, these are some that I know and love best. The above recipes and ingredients are intended to help you begin exploring natural ingredients and help you switch to simple, natural products for your daily cosmetic routine. Begin simply, one product at a time. Little by little, you will widen the range of products you can make and use.

Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Reading Tarot Cards: Divining Our Life Path

Empowering Your Tarot Readings

by Katalin Koda

(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)

From Where Do the Cards of the Tarot Originate?
Mystery shrouds the origin of Tarot cards, but ancient oracle decks have been found in a wide range of places, from Hungary to India to China. Some historical sources credit the traveling, wandering musicians and performers who roamed (originally) from India to Persia to Egypt for carrying cards and methods of divination with them.

Today's standard Tarot decks contain seventy-eight cards: twenty-two Major Arcana cards and fifty-six Minor Arcana cards. The twenty-two Major Arcana include the zero card, The Fool, and then progress through twenty-one archetypes such as the Empress, the Magician, Wheel of Fortune, Judgment, the Tower, the Sun, and the Moon. Each of these major cards indicate a powerful influence moving through one's life, something to which we should pay close attention.

For example, the Tower usually indicates a major life change or breakthrough caused by external circumstances (such as job loss, breakup or divorce, change of location, etc.). Not always negative, though, the Tower card often portrays an all-seeing eye, one that pierces through the changes and gives a glimpse into the long-term future. Knowing when these forces are on the horizon can help us to accept change and growth, and a Tarot reading shows a likely path that is unfolding for the reader.

The Empress is associated with the mother archetype and the Emperor with the father. When one or both of these cards appear in a reading, I ask my client to examine their roles as either mother/father, their relationship to their own parents, and to the deeper patterns in life where these archetypes express themselves.

The remaining fifty-six cards in the Tarot deck comprise the Minor Arcana, which represent more subtle influences that are occurring in our lives (and that are not as dramatic as those represented by the Major Arcana). These cards are divided into four suits, akin to the four suits of playing cards (which are thought to have derived from original Tarot decks). They are pentacles or disks (associated with money/wealth matters), cups (associated with emotions/love), swords (associated with the mind/thoughts), and wands (associated with spiritual matters).

Each of these Minor Arcana contains either a number, such as the Four of Cups or the Ten of Swords, or a Court Card. Court cards vary from deck to deck, but include some version of four people, two men and two women (such as Prince, Princess, Knight, and King). These cards represent people in our lives—such as friends, family, lovers, and colleagues—who influence us in a variety of ways. They may also indicate developmental aspects of ourselves, a personality trait or characteristic to which we should pay attention.

With all of these different elements moving through the deck, we find a rich array of symbolism, themes, archetypes, and numbers with which to work. Combining these images with the placement in a reading (such as the Issue at Hand, External Influences, Possible Outcome) provides us with the message the cards are trying to convey. Although it takes years to master the Tarot, we can begin working with a deck immediately, finding certain qualities to impart meaning. Over time, patterns emerge, showing us how the cards can help to guide us as we approach questions in life.

How Do People Work with the Tarot?
First, we must choose a deck style with which to work. I personally have been using the Aleister Crowley/Thoth deck for the last ten years, and although it took me a long time to learn the cards, it has paid off, as the answers I've received using this deck are very precise. Another popular deck style is the Rider-Waite, which is easy to read, with clear and obvious symbolism. Standard decks are based on one of these two deck styles, and there are hundreds—if not thousands—of other variety decks to choose from as well. Picking one that is based on one of the two standard deck styles will set a solid foundation for reading when you decide to move on to using other decks.

Most querents (the person asking a Tarot reader to interpret the cards) ask questions regarding love and relationships, career and money, and sometimes spirituality and destiny. These are all very useful themes, as the cards can be very specific.

When we want to use the cards, it is best to tune in to our overall focus, whether it is love or career or another topic entirely. As we feel into this, we then must devise a question for the cards. Questions for the Tarot should not be answerable with a "yes" or a "no," but rather should be process questions of "what" or "how." For example, "What do I need to know now about my career?" or "How can I best be available to meet a partner?" or "What should I do about a particular situation?"

Once we have our question, we then lay the cards out. While there are an infinite number of ways to lay out the cards, a six card layout is a simple and effective for answering our questions. The six card placement is as follows:

  1. Self: This card represents our self and where we are currently.
  2. Supporting the Issue: This card represents the seen or unseen forces at play that are assisting our situation.
  3. Issue at Hand: This card indicates the issue or situation we are facing.
  4. The Deeper Issue: This card represents what is underlying the issue, an even deeper issue that needs to resolved. This card is connected to our subconscious and shadow self.
  5. Action to Take: This card indicates some outward way to help ourselves work with the issue or situation.
  6. Possible Outcome: This card indicates where the situation is headed or going, the unfolding events or issues.

When you first begin reading, you may need to rely on an accompanying booklet or, even better, a more in-depth guide or book. However I also recommend looking carefully at each card, noting what jumps out at you, which symbols, colors, or images speak to you. The cards serve as a mirror for your own intuition. Take note of what speaks to you on paper as a reference for your reading.

One way to build your connection with the Tarot and deepen your understanding is to choose one card each day and see how it relates and connects to the unfolding events in your day. I recommend limiting the number of readings for a particular question to one a week (or less), so that you have time to let the answer sink in. Over reading and searching for answers is not helpful and giving yourself time to reflect on a reading may provide insights to rise to the surface. Also, practice reading for others, as that is often easier than reading for yourself (as you are less attached to the outcome).

Reading Tarot is an incredibly useful way to answer life's questions and find guidance. By practicing with a deck, you will open up a deeper connection to your own inner intuition and find a way to reflect on the various issues that arise in your life. From relationships to money questions, to the deeper wondering on life's purpose and destiny, Tarot cards are a wonderful tool.

Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2015. All rights reserved.

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