When a pain that has been a constant companion for many years… leaves… it gets your attention.
Every since my herniated disk back surgery 6 years ago (L5-S1 in the low back between lumbar and sacrum), I’ve noticed that my left sacroiliac (SI) joint has been “grinding.” It felt that way during stretches, and the joint would sometimes “stick” in a painful way. I’ve cared for my back with yoga and stretches. Yet, this particular area continued to be a problem, although not enough to keep me from any activities.
Yesterday, I was working with physical therapist Mike Voelkel. We were actually working on the tissue around my mid-back, the area of the heart. That was another area of long term pain for me. As he worked, it became clear to both of us, as I was lying on the table, that there was an emotional component to it. The pain wasn’t just physical. It wasn’t just emotional. It was physioemotional.
I knew this because I started seeing in my mind’s eye events from 30 years ago. All the EFT I had done on these events had left them without much in the way of emotional intensity. But I hadn’t, apparently, figured out all the places in my body these events were still hiding.
It surprised me, frankly. Might even call it shock. How could this be? I had already processed those memories. So I started tapping, first on the shock, and then just on whatever was coming to me. I tapped while Mike worked. I kept tapping, patting, and speaking whatever was coming to mind.
I admit, some of the words were unkind, unspiritual, and very specific character-based epithets. I knew from experience how the body stores experiences in cellular and energetic memory. And I knew that since the opportunity was arising, and I felt safe, it was time to address it. Mike kept working. I kept tapping, sometime with spoken words, sometimes the words were silent, sometimes there was just a feeling, or an image.
The pain in the rib released. And suddenly the pain in my sacroiliac joint (at the left side of the heart-shaped sacrum) was speaking up. Loudly.
It is very common with EFT as well as with bodywork for pain to move. You can even get a release in one place only to find a more intense pain someplace else! Chase the pain. You are on the right track! I believe that each time we honor the body by listening to its pain, we are definitely given an opening into a realm where deep healing can occur. And that is what happened.
Mike continued to work, stretch, apply pressure, unwind, and just hold as his intuition and skill directed. I moved and tapped as my intuition directed. I was blessed with several pictures of how these events so long ago had affected by energetic growth. I saw how another person can become an energy leech and use his relationship with us to take away our inner will. And I felt the power of recalling that energy and tapping for physical and emotional freedom.
At the end of our session, I knew my left side had shifted and become far more strong, solid, and balanced. I felt less “twisted,” and perhaps on a deep physioemotional level, I am less “twisted” by those long-past events now. It’s another step in a lifelong process, I feel, of paying attention to the pains, having a circle of support to assist physically and energetically, and letting go. I can tell you that EFT makes addressing these physioemotional disruptions dramatically easier. During the entire work, I don’t think my intensity level exceeded a 4-5. I attribute that both to Mike’s peaceful presence and to the tapping I was doing.
This morning, my back feels so different. There is some soreness that I am caring for. Yet, there is also greater stability. Greater strength. Less cracking and pressure.
If there is something I’d like you, my clients, to take from this, it is: listen to your body, and don’t make assumptions. I assumed that the back pain was physical… for six years! A bit of injury, mixed with misalignment, matched with too many hours in front of the computer. All true. Yet, I didn’t ask the question: “Is there something this pain is hiding? Is there an emotional component to this physical pain (other than general “fear”)?
Also, I’d like you to learn EFT for your own benefit, and that of your family and friends. I admit, EFT is (in the words of Dr. David Feinstein) an “intervention that looks patently absurd.” Even so, it works. It gives us a way to support ourselves at the points when our pain truly is transforming into optimal health. Call it a relaxation exercise. Call it a potent tool for personal growth. Call it “this goofy tapping thing I do to feel better.” Just do it.