“Suffering is inevitable, but misery is optional.” —Norman Cousins
Having any state of negative thinking creates self-doubt, procrastination, and resentment. Combine that with ensuing state energy of depression, despair, apathy, and “disappointment”.
The desire for a state of Grace often sets people up for situations that create a state of disgrace, i.e. drugs and alcohol. These substances provide a state of cheap grace, and then disgrace! Addiction has been referred to as an expression of despair – and so why continue to disappoint and disgust yourself? A decision can be made to embrace the good grace (the attitude of gratitude).
After all – sobriety is not a Greek tragedy!
The cycle of action, reaction, frustration, and resentment can be broken.
Dr. Rudolph Ballentine spoke of an example of how a form of tapas was helpful to his son who had come down with a severe case of chickenpox. I have used this story in a metaphorical form and it has been very helpful in assisting clients to understand the process, and why it is a healing move to acknowledge and work through something rather than to avoid, deny or stay in negative habitual limbo.
Knowing as we do that scratching the chickenpox pustules on the face will leave scarring, one is therefore faced with a choice. You can either scratch it and get some instant gratification for the itchiness, but with the guarantee of life-long scarring, or you could sit with it for 10-12 days without any scratching and have the delayed gratification of coming out the other end both healed and with no scarring.
This type of scenario is often played out in so many ways, both overtly and covertly – short term gains or benefits that eventually and inevitably create permanent and increasing pain versus intense temporary pain that can lead to eventual resolution and healing.
Doing the Jane Wakefield cupped-hand pose, as shown again above, allows for the sharing of present-day information between both hemispheres of the brain – whereas one part of a person’s memory may remain stuck in a specific trauma, belief, interpretation, or perception. The other part may be fully aware of how things are different today. The obvious idea is to have both hemispheres sharing the same updated knowledge, wisdom, and experience, and therefore we should use this pose and possibly the three-spot tapping, if necessary until we notice the lack of any conflict and are clearly “seeing through the eyes” of the present adult self’.
This would now put a person in a position of choice as to whether the change is acceptable, desirable, possible, wise, and/or welcome!
- One can also use the same method to look at any incident through the eyes/lenses of another person. It can turn a “confrontation” of the past into a “care-frontation” in the present!
Another example of when to use the cupped-hands around the ears pose is with regard to any unpleasant or undesirable feelings – emotional or physical.
Firstly one should identify the feeling – rate it on a scale of one to ten. One being barely anything and ten being overwhelming.
Notice where you feel it physically – in the head, neck, chest, stomach, etc. Once you’ve noticed that, then send your attention to the place where that feeling resides and “ask inside” for an image as to what it would look like if it were to look like something – even if it is just colors or lines.
Once an image is provided, cup your hands around the ears in the position shown in the photograph above.
Remember that you asked inside for an image that represents that feeling and therefore the image is peculiar to you – you own it and can therefore choose what you want to do with it.
You can make it bigger, smaller, change its color, texture, disintegrate it into millions of parts, send it off into the universal ether, possibly even hand it over to your God – anything you want. Once you have decided that – then just command inside that it happen and stay in the cupped-hand position until it has done exactly what you have commanded it to.
Another very helpful exercise for those who have acknowledged their alcohol or drug addiction and have identified “triggering” people, places or situations, is to have them make up “billboards” by having them draw, cut out images or just write certain words on paper that represent all of their triggers. Then paste the triggering-image or word billboards around the room so that the client can focus on them one at a time while using an AIP. This cupped-hand can be very effective in this exercise.
The benefit of these techniques, in all of the possible protocols and situations that they can be used for, is that all the wisdom that clients need to attain from any of the situations will be retained, without any of the previously self-damaging behaviors. This is because all “parts”, or aspects, of us, are then capable of viewing our world through the same filter.
The Storage Space
When I have spoken about the storage space inside where the feelings are held or the energy of unfinished business is located, many clients have stated their awareness of it and tell me what it “looks” like. I have found that it can be useful to work on the storage space as a separate exercise. Once some downward shift in a disturbance has occurred for a client using the cupped-hand pose on the storage space, I might ask the client what the storage space looks like and if they still need to keep it exactly as it is.
I am often told that, for instance, the storage space looks like a cupboard, a safe, a barrel, a fridge, etc. One client told me that the storage space was made of concrete and that it “kept her anchored”, but at the same time, she stated that she was stuck and could not move ahead in her life. It is important to go with whatever the client “sees”. I then inform the client that, if it is presently safe enough for them, they are in a position to now make an informed choice. That they could, if they choose to, open the storage space a little and allow a little of the energy inside to float out and disappear into the ether, if they so command. If they do so, I state that they’ll notice that the storage space feels a little lighter and even has some light coming through it and that they could open the space as much as they wish to. They could even totally empty it and notice how much “lighter” they feel and how good it feels to have light be able to flow in, around, and through space – to begin to “lighten up”. I suggest that they can if they choose to, even allow the storage space to disintegrate and float off into the ether, allowing them to breathe fully and deeply through the area, which was previously taken up by that storage space. I ask them to notice the lightness and freedom it allows.
If, when a client is doing the cupped-hand pose and you are not sensing any obvious shift, ask the client if the image is moving or frozen. If the client states that it is frozen, then ask them to take two fingers from both hands and start tapping either side of the bridge of the nose and beginning of the eyebrows, until the image begins to move, and then to resume the cupped-hand pose position and continue.
It is also a good idea to be aware of the client’s cognitive distortions, i.e. negative self-attributions. For an installation of a positive self-attribution (i.e. see the self as you would want to be in all respects) do this same pose on that image and then check on a scale of one to ten how “connected you feel” (Validity of Cognition) to that ideal image. If a client is not able to think of a positive self-attribute then asking the client to think about how they would view the person if it were their son or daughter – this re-framing can often help clients to view themselves in a healthier light.
Gamut Eye Roll for Relaxation
This is achieved while sitting still, with one hand resting on your lap, the head facing directly ahead – but with the eyes looking down at the floor. With the freehand tap the triple heater/triple warmer or gamut spot, i.e. on the back of the hand – between the little finger and the ring finger. Tap there for about thirty seconds or so, all the while continuing to tap the gamut spot and slowly raising the eyes until they have gone from the floor to the ceiling. This exercise is also sometimes used as a means to assist in bringing the 1-10 SUDS (Subjective Units of Disturbance Score) down for any particular issue, especially when the disturbance has gotten down to a 2 or 3 but doesn’t seem to go lower with any further AIP work.
The "Wet Noodle" Exercise
It has been said that you cannot have a strong emotion while you are physically relaxed. Therefore, if you find yourself having strong emotions that stiffen the body and stifle the possibilities you might need to consciously remind yourself of that and choose to do the simple “Wet Noodle” exercise. Just allow yourself to relax as much as is possible in a given situation and give an internal command for every part of you to relax, release, and totally flop – be an actor in the role of a wet noodle! The resultant progressive muscle relaxation combats any pressure or perturbation. Notice whether or not you have the ability to observe thoughts in your head without any reaction to them (sympathetic nervous system or otherwise). If you are able to then you are in a Tapas state, which allows for total psychological and physical relaxation.