I've been partnering with Rebecca Bonneteau, a friend and a naturopath who is known as The Eczema Expert for almost a year now, helping Rebecca, her team members and her clients with EFT Tapping. Rebecca's clients are parents whose children struggle with eczema. This is a story written by one of her team members, Sarah Govind, after one of our tapping sessions with me.
Since becoming a member of Rebecca’s team, I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to tap with Gwen. I’m a big fan of EFT and how transformative it can be and I jumped at the chance to work through some issues that I’ve been having. I was pleased at how calm it made me feel about having a child with eczema. But what was most wonderful and surprising were the childhood memories that popped up almost from nowhere. Each tapping session played out like a short story from my life that needed to be retold and examined in a new light. I’d like to share one of these tapping stories with you today.
It was a Tuesday evening early in September and there was a feeling of change in the air. It was the end of the summer and school was about to start again for my five year old son Jay. I had various worries, some of them eczema related. I was wondering what his new teacher would be like and how she would handle his itchy moments. Would I be able to put my trust in her?
Underneath all these worries lurked an unpleasant memory from the previous school year.
Last November, after a difficult start to the school year, Jay’s skin was flaring. After a few itchy weeks, his teacher and another member of staff made a referral to the school nurse (a nurse at the local hospital who gives advice to parents and teachers). They hadn’t discussed this with me beforehand or asked my permission as would usually happen. To make matters worse, they had told me about the referral on the same day that I was taking Jay into hospital for his yearly allergy test, a situation that both he and I were bracing ourselves for. I was really really upset.
Before the session with Gwen, I hadn’t spent much time analysing my feelings on this, although I know they were there, underneath the surface. So it was not surprising that I went into this tapping session with a feeling of disquiet. Gwen picked up on my nerves and asked me to talk through how I felt about Jay going back to school. I explained a little about this experience.
When she asked me how it felt in my body, an image of Roman soldier style body armour popped into my mind. It was almost as if I was about to go into battle! We talked about where on my body that body armour was and I described it as being around my chest - exactly where you would expect it to be!
Gwen asked me to go back to a time in my life when I first felt like I needed to protect myself in this way. In my mind, I found myself being transported straight back to primary school. I was aged around six or seven and it was the start of term. I was worrying about what I should wear. Should it be the green and white checked summer dress or my winter uniform of grey skirt and white shirt? What would the other girls be wearing? If I wore the green dress, would I be the only one? I didn’t want to stick out!
From out of nowhere, an image of my Grandma popped into my head. She had died of cancer when I was only five. To my surprise, I felt a strong sense of grief for her, something I have never felt before. The tears were rolling down my cheeks! The feeling of actually being able to grieve was amazing. My Grandma could now really be a part of me after years of seeming like a cold distant memory. With Gwen, I worked through what had happened. We talked about how I was waiting in the window with my mum for the ambulance to arrive to take Grandma to hospital. How I was singing ‘Wish me Luck as You Wave me Goodbye’ as she left, a song that I learnt in school to say farewell to a teacher. How the next time I was at school, I was standing by the coat pegs telling my best friend that my Grandma had died. She did not know what to say to me. She had no concept of what I was trying to tell her. How on earth can you describe to a five year old what death means? How would you do it? It’s not an easy thing.
At this point Gwen reminded me that Jay is the same age now as I was then. Through him, I could imagine how I might have felt at the time. But I could also see the relevance of this issue coming up. Five year old Sarah going into school and not knowing what to expect. Five year old Sarah being scared and now still scared somewhere deep inside of me. None of this was what I thought it was about and it certainly wasn’t about Jay and his experiences at school.
We then went back to the issue of the referral to the school nurse and Gwen asked me to go into detail about what had happened (as we tapped). I described the moment of finding out about it. I was standing at the school gates, already wearing my body armour as I was preparing to face the doctor at the hospital for Jay’s allergy test. As I reimagined this, I felt as if I had been punched in the chest, right on the breastplate of the armour, almost as if it had penetrated right through to my skin.
Gwen wanted to know when I had last had this feeling of having to put armour on to fight Jay’s corner. Several examples came up that were related to his eczema. But as I thought about it more deeply, I realised that it was a defence mechanism that I had learnt during childhood. I definitely had that armour on when I was being bullied at school. It was definitely there on the first day of secondary school when I felt afraid of all those much older children. And it was there when I decided that I was going to stand up to my dad when things happened at home that I thought were unfair. I definitely had it on. I didn’t feel I had any other choice but to put it on.
It feels good to open up the armour when I’m tapping with Gwen. It gives me a glimpse of another world where I can really be free. Free to be me. Or as Gwen would put it, the ‘youiest you’. But it leaves me with a bit of a quandary.
Some of my recent life experiences have opened me up to being more vulnerable. And I believe that there is strength in that. But I often mix this up with the need to hide behind a protective shell. But now, after tapping, I have a choice. I can decide if I need to put that armour on or reveal my true self to the world with all those vulnerabilities.
Having this choice means that I could remain calm and centred during Jay’s first few weeks back at school. And even relax a little and allow myself to view the positives. Things have gone so much more smoothly than I ever thought they would!
Sometimes I feel tapping is like opening up a box of treasures. Behind the deeply buried layers of emotion that you are releasing are some gems of childhood memories waiting to be uncovered. I’m often blindsided by those deep feelings that emerge from years ago, wanting to be brought to light. They are so unexpected but yet so apt for the current situation. As we tap and calm my nervous system, I can look back without pain and the memories, as they emerge, have a kind of sparkle to them. And by not suppressing my feelings, I am opening myself up to healing.