The Second Arrow
Probably my most often quoted Buddhist concept is the one about the second arrow. The Buddha taught that when you are walking through the woods and get hit by an arrow from someone else’s bow, it is real and it hurts. But then we shoot our very own selves with a second arrow (and usually a 3rd, a 4th, ad nauseum, ad infinitum)! It goes like this: “Why was I walking through the forest? Why did I get hit? I have the worst luck! I’m the worst!!!!” These arrows are, excuse my french, bullshit. They aren’t real, and they seem to cause even more pain than the first.
EFT has helped me remove all of those self-inflicted arrows.
What is EFT?
The cycle of experience looks like this: Event –> Thought –> Emotion –> Behavior
Example: Loud noise –> “Oh no! it’s a burglar –> Fear –> Scream
While we can’t control the event (so frustrating, right?), there are infinite kinds of thoughts that can follow the event, infinite emotions that can follow the thoughts, and infinite behaviors that follow the emotions. Again, we can’t control the event, but we can work on the thoughts (beliefs) and emotions…and therefore, change our experience in life.
It is now well-known science that our brains are “neuroplastic” which means that they can grow, expand, change throughout our lives – not just as children. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) does just that.
First, EFT uses exposure therapy, which is a longstanding therapeutic technique in which you are exposed to the upsetting thing, inducing the actual experience and the feelings that went along with it – (hence, EFT is NOT positive psychology or spiritual bypassing). However, it has been discovered that in talk therapy, when you recount upsetting events, you simply retraumatize yourself. Makes sense, right? I’m sure you’ve retold an upsetting story to a friend and suddenly you were freaking out all over again. I know I have.
This is where EFT shines. Because in EFT, while you recount the events or feelings, you are tapping specific acupuncture points which sends a signal to your mind/body/nervous system that you are actually okay. When you tap the points (which has the same effect as needles in acupuncture), you are allowing the energy to flow – as opposed to getting stuck on that ptsd cycle that we’ve all experienced – where we can’t let it go and it just keeps cycling around and around in our heads and bodies. (even if this is a little ‘t’ trauma, it is still trauma).
Next, EFT has you actually tell yourself that even though something bad happened or you feel bad, you are okay – or you are open to being okay or you are hopeful you will be okay. The positive statement here is from Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) where you retrain your behavior. Again – a very well-known technique, but this time with tapping to seal the deal.
I have found the process to be nothing short of miraculous for myself. From ‘small’ things like I couldn’t stop eating a bag of popcorn, tapped about it (1 minute literally) and then easily put the bag away and went on with my day. To tapping when I have my menopausal, 3am, wake-up, mind racing, anxiety…and falling back to sleep. To tapping about some deep issues of grief when I lost my mom last spring. To toppling some lifelong limiting beliefs that I’ve been caring around for a loooooooong time, like: “my body is bad.”
Tapping doesn’t erase memories or experiences. EFT is Emotional Freedom Technique. And that’s what it is. It takes the emotions down, way down, so that I can be the loving, productive, joyful person that I want to be in this world. And not ruled by limiting beliefs and scary thinking. I feel free. And I’m 50 and I’ve never felt like this before.
I fell in love with tapping and it has made my life better. And now I’m offering it to my clients as I work through the certification. But you won’t need me for long. You will learn how to do it all on your own through our experiences together so that you, too, can tap in the moment to relieve life’s biggest stresses.
EFT is proven to help: Anxiety, Performance, Depression, Motivation/Productivity, Sleep, Pain/Physical Ailments, Phobias, PTSD, and Cravings/Addiction.
Want more? There are over 100 clinical studies proving EFT as an incredible therapeutic technique. You can find them here.