I recently had a healing session with a friend at Quantum of Solace Healing. She is trained in several modalities, one of which is called Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT. In EFT, healer and client work to identify a key problem and rate the emotional intensity of it. Then, via several rounds of repeating phrases aloud while tapping on various parts of the body (the client can do this themselves with guidance and/or the practitioner will do it for them), the emotional intensity that the patient feels gradually decreases, so that they should feel lighter and calmer about the problem in the end.
As our session progressed, I struggled to pinpoint the real issue(s), the reasons why I was still anxious and sad about having broken up with my partner a few months before.
We tried one round of tapping, then went back to revise, refine and dig deeper.
As we progressed, a sense of discomfort arose in my heart, and I began to choke up. Like a massage therapist might work on a knotty muscle, we had found that emotional tender point, and she was – gently – loosening it.
As we went through the repetition and the tapping, she sensed the exact moment when something shifted for me. She actually noticed when when I welled up, even though I struggled like crazy to hide it.
In her ability to sense this place of fear, she was compassionately pressing me to acknowledge things that I didn’t want to admit about myself.
In these moments, I felt raw, vulnerable, exposed. I recognized just how much I was still grieving my last relationship, and it scared me. After all (I’d assumed), wasn’t I the strong, independent woman who was ‘moving on’ with her life? Especially after several months of being apart? Especially after a relationship that wasn’t truly serving either one of us that well?
How could I still be so scared about love, so lonely, still grieving this thing that was supposed to be long over, when I knew that splitting up was the best thing for me (us)?
That kind of shift can sometimes ease into a sense of peace fairly quickly. But, the stuff that the session brought to the surface sat with me for the next couple of weeks.
What I realized from this is that one healing session doesn’t necessarily lead to immediate lightness. The ‘feeling better’ part of the healing doesn’t always happen right away: sometimes you have to hang out with the discomfort for a while, get to know it a little, before your load is lightened.
In this case, I needed to acknowledge these things that I was feeling and process them so that I could really break free of that weight and move forward.
A good healer should be able to recognize this kind of a shift, to loosen the knot and understand that discomfort can be a part of the process. The shift might manifest as a lightening, or a breaking, an opening, or some sense of uneasiness, but it’s the practitioner’s job to acknowledge it.
It might not be that comfortable, but it (often) needs to happen.
You know the Leonard Cohen quote: “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
For me, this time, deep fears had been unearthed, and I had to stare them in the face. And this was a key lesson of the session: it didn’t fix me. It opened me up, it exposed me, it shook me, cracked me, but it didn’t fix me.
By offering a safe space to acknowledge some of this pain and help me be OK with it, my healer friend helped me understand how I could help myself.
When I told her later how I’d felt, my friend (bless her giant gentle heart) asked me if she had been being too pushy. I told her that if I had felt a little bit pushed, it meant that she was doing her job well.
In order to help another change, grow, heal, there has to (sometimes) be a compassionate nudge beyond their comfort zone.
An effective healer (or trainer, friend, partner) will be there to nudge you forward, will know when you are feeling uncomfortable in the right way. They will sense your pain, and will be there to help you through it – if and when you are ready.
It can be scary – really scary. But if you aren’t scared, you aren’t growing.
Sometimes in the EFT sessions my friend says something in a really cute way, and we giggle, or I giggle at myself out of nervousness. And there is something about that little moment that reminds me of Pema Chodron’s concept of smiling at the fear. So in that way, just being there with someone with the mutual intention of facing a fear can lighten the load.
The people in my life that I love the most are those that challenge me, stretch me, open me up. They are people that are willing to have radically honest dialogue, who are self-aware, compassionate, conscious. Something unspoken connects me with them, and them with me. And we each thrive on this to grow.
So, if, energetically speaking, this is the kind of relationship that can be healing, then why wouldn’t an energy healing mode like EFT be successful? Why do scientists sit around arguing the ‘validity’ of alternative healing modes, when maybe just this connection and mutual intention is exactly what makes it effective?
So, let us establish the kinds of connections where both parties are moved to examine and question themselves so that they may grow in whatever aspect is needed. Let us create safe spaces where we can practice radical honesty in facing our deepest dreams and fears.
The right person at the right time will sit with you through the pain of cracking open, guiding you into your own light, which will in turn help another.