Sarah came into my office nearly in tears. She said her whole life had many problems and she was ready for change. When asked what pivotal moment in her life was causing the greatest pain, she replied that it was when she had been pregnant and the fetus died at four and a half months. The doctor had to induce labor so she could deliver her dead child. Her grief was still at the surface, raw and heartbreaking – even though this had happened 22 years ago.
Grief is an emotion each one of us must face. Yet it is one of the least acknowledged emotions in our society. People fear death, so they also fear having to face a person who has just seen death. The griever in our culture often grieves alone. Many people pull away from friends and family because they need to internally process the feelings. Just as often people find that friends and family move away from them because they don’t know what type of support a griever needs.
Our culture thrives on an illusion of power and self-sufficiency, yet each one of us has low points in our lives where we need help on all levels: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Grief is complex, an emotional gumbo with ingredients of sadness, anger, denial, neediness, and the crashing of hopes and dreams. This mixture should be acknowledged, felt and then disassembled and addressed. Emotions of all types can be experienced, but then they must be let go.
It’s the letting go which stumps most people. How many times have you heard, “Just let it go! You hang onto things forever, get over it already!” But how exactly do you do that?
Let’s go back to Sarah. I worked with Sarah on three components of her grief: a) the sadness or sense of loss from not having the person present in her life; b) the loss of hopes and dreams surrounding that person; and c) her anger at God for taking that person away. Although there are multiple components to grief, these three are very common among most people.
We used EFT to tap through all three of these issues. EFT is a combination of tapping on specific acupuncture points while using positive and negative affirmations. It is part of alternative medicine. The energy which is constantly flowing through your body is greatly affected by your emotions. The use of EFT on a regular basis creates balance in your energy system. Your energy system is one component of your integrated body system: physical body, energy body and spiritual body. You cannot separate one from the other and still be “alive”. You operate best when all three systems are in balance.
Of the three issues I addressed with Sarah, the most complex was the loss of hopes and dreams. This issue is probably the most complex for all people. For each person in our lives, there is a level of expectation that they will continue to be around to share in our own experiences. If they are not present, then they no longer figure into our hopes and dreams. Our conscious mind knows the person is no longer there, but our subconscious mind must actively release that person from our hopes and dreams. After years of expecting the person to be present in your life, this release does not come easily.
For example: many children strive to please their parents. Even as adults, we want our parents to be proud of us. When one or both parents die, there is a loss of that possibility of pleasing our parents because they are no longer here. We consciously know this, but our subconscious minds don’t always agree. This creates conflict and continues the grieving process, often for long periods of time.
It is this aspect of grief, loss of hopes and dreams, which can arise many years after a person is gone. You see a TV show or hear a song and there is a word or action which reminds you of the person and it triggers more tears. When that happens know that you just triggered a hope or dream about that person which needs to be released.
For Sarah, the hopes and dreams for her child included sharing experiences like taking her to the first day of school, dressing up for Halloween, celebrating Christmas and seeing her child graduate from college. All of these events were triggers for her, reminders of what was not to be with that child. Each holiday season constantly created triggers for the hopes and dreams she had lost and continued her grieving process.
During our session, Sarah and I addressed a number of the lost hopes and dreams in addition to sadness and anger against God. We included wording that God has a plan for each person on Earth, affirming His love for each person. At the end of the session, Sarah’s physical presence changed from being downcast and crying to having a more confident, uplifted posture with a radiating smile. She stated that she felt like a huge boulder had been removed from her shoulders.
Grief is complex. It is not something you turn on and off. But it is a condition that you can work through. EFT is a technique which helps this process move much faster by addressing each specific emotion. When you are ready to move forward and release your grief, consider using the Emotional Freedom Technique.
The Delta Institute offers EFT in individual private sessions in person or through the phone or Skype. The Delta Institute is located in Mobile, Alabama.