In a recent session with my EFT coach, we worked on my strong anxiety about an upcoming train trip from north of NYC down to Grand Central Station, then changing trains to go into Connecticut. I’m afraid I’ll get lost. I’m afraid I won’t be able to find the right train. I’m afraid I’ll get on a train going in the wrong direction. I’m afraid all those rushing city folks will be too busy to help me (and annoyed at me for bothering them) if I need directions.
As we started tapping, my coach leading and me repeating her words, she said “I choose to accept my fears”. Instead of echoing her, I said “My mother didn’t accept my fears!”, feeling yanked right back to childhood when that was how it was for me. Then I admitted I didn’t feel the statement was true — I don’t accept my fears! Fears mean I’m weak!
My coach changed the statement to “I want to accept my fears”, which I was willing to repeat without feeling like I was lying. As we continued I rapidly got more anxious, thinking of scenario after scenario from my childhood when I had too much responsibility on my little shoulders, and just had to do my best, usually without any help or guidance.
Since we’d identified the real issue, and this was clearly not about the train, we tapped on “I have too much to do and no help! I’m just a little kid!” and “I don’t know how to do this, but I have to keep trying!” (I could feel myself getting a straining headache at this). That final statement still makes me uncomfortable, feeling I have to push against an immovable brick wall, so I have more work to do here.
I see a direct correlation between this and my vision challenges. My fears are legitimate for a 3-year-old, who would be completely overwhelmed and in over her head taking a train trip alone. I need to remember I’m an adult with capabilties and skills I didn’t have back then. I need to stay in the present. That way I can make sensible decisions, and take the necessary steps, to make my experience as positive as possible.
With my vision, as a child I had a constant fear of not seeing clearly enough or fast enough to avoid punishment. I believe my visual system made my view comfortably blurry to keep me from being as overwhelmed as I was, with all that input coming at me. And the “solution” (not!) back then for blurry vision was strong glasses! So fears now like “If it gets dark earlier than I expect, I won’t be able to see to drive home!”, while not realistic, can still grab me.
My fears of not being able to see can actually keep me from seeing, since when I get anxious my energy and vision contract. I need to get in front of this fear before it starts feeding on itself and grows to an unmanageable size. An important part of doing this is proceeding more slowly. When I feel myself starting to speed up, it’s now a danger sign to me: I’m entering that fight-or-flight state, going faster to avoid the imagined predator! It’s essential that I stay present and if I’m fleeing and in panic, I’m not.
Everything that happens in my life is a chance to learn, and to grow, or to turn away from growth and keep my old habits. My energy medicine teacher Deborah King tells us to be grateful when we’re triggered. It means some old knot has presented itself to be untied (my metaphor, not hers). I’m not usually grateful yet when I’m triggered, though I do recognize it as a golden opportunity to learn more about myself.
So much of my learning has to do with staying in the present, not escaping to worry about the future or be stuck in fear about what happened in the past. I’m here now, and I want to be here — this is where Life is occuring! And if I stay in the present with my vision, easily letting in the images instead of resisting them or grabbing for them, I can see so much more clearly!