I discovered EFT when I developed an ear infection that would not heal. Along with the ear infection came fluid in my ear and a roaring tinnitus that was so loud that sometimes I could not hear over it. When, after two doctor visits and three rounds of antibiotics, the infection and tinnitus were unchanged, I searched “chronic ear infection” on Google. My search acquainted me with the unpleasant possibilities I might be facing if the infection could not be brought under control – deafness, a bone infection in my skull, tinnitus for the rest of my life, and a few other things I did not want, such as an early death.
With my right ear roaring, I sat down and did another Google search, this time for anything that might cure a chronic ear infection. Somewhere in all of those search results, I found Gary Craig’s EFT website. I downloaded the EFT Manual and began tapping. It is hard to learn a new skill with the thunder of the Pacific Ocean in one’s ear, but I did my best to stay focused. With the EFT Manual propped on the kitchen table in front of me, I experimented with forming the affirmations and finding the tapping points. The tinnitus and the pain did not diminish the first night, but the tapping felt good so I kept on going.
The next morning, I got my daughter dressed and off to school, then I tapped some more. Within a day, the tinnitus became intermittant. It had also dropped in volume from a roar to a loud static. I was still afraid that I might lose my hearing and my sanity, however, so I tapped and tapped and tapped. In between the rounds of tapping, I contacted a couple of people I found online who specialized in tinnitus. They both told me that, unfortunately, I was probably stuck with tinnitus for life based on the way it had come about, the amount of time it had lasted, and the volume. I tapped on myself with one hand while I spoke to them on the phone, then hung up and pretended that those conversations had never happened.
After I had thoroughly exhausted the various aspects of my physical issues in my tapping, I noticed old childhood memories flitting through my mind. I shifted the focus of my tapping work from physical discomfort to these memories, which seemed neutral to me at first:
I am four years old, trying to memorize a Bible verse with a group of children my age while my parents are in adult church. The nice lady who is helping us is saying that we must know this verse by heart because someday the police will take us away from our parents and put us in jail. When the police ask us questions, we are to answer with this verse, which I still remember to this day: “The Lord encampeth round about those who fear him.” (The verse has been shortened for us since we are so young.)
I am six years old and sitting in church with my family. The man at the pulpit is reminding us that when the End Days come, we will be chased by the police and their dogs because we worship on the true Sabbath, Saturday. (Chased by dogs? I love dogs!) We will have to run for our lives to the hills. There will be no food or water; it might be snowing. Families will be separated, even parents and children. Only the evil will be spared this persecution. My heart is pounding and my mouth is dry. I am probably too evil to be saved, but I’ll still be separated from my family, since they seem all right and will therefore have to be persecuted. The man tells us that he has recently come from Washington, D.C. where he works as a lobbyist for the Seventh-Day Adventist church. “You wouldn’t believe the way religious freedom is being disregarded in the nation’s capital,” he says. “The end is right around the corner.” After church is over, we go home and do our regular Sabbath afternoon activities; the impending destruction of our family unit is never mentioned. My 12-year-old brother, however, starts a “playful” wrestling match with me that ends with my arm being twisted tightly behind my back, and the pain is excruciating.
I am 11 years old. A group of teenagers from a nearby Seventh-Day Adventist school has taken their show on the road. Their show enacts the “Time of Trouble,” or what the Adventist church supposes will happen right before the end of time. They stand on the stage, doing a dramatic interpretation of a Seventh-Day Adventist family discussing the new worldwide Sunday law. They are commenting that it is illegal to worship on Saturday everywhere in the world, but, of course, they must continue to worship on Saturday, even though they will probably be killed for it. My heart sinks – for a few years now my ace in the hole has been my plan to convince my parents that we should escape to Switzerland when the Time of Trouble begins. Up until this moment I had thought that everything is safe in Switzerland – savings accounts, chocolate, Seventh-Day Adventists. Now I realize that not even Switzerland will stay neutral in this final end-of-time assault. There will not be a single place of safety for me. Late that night, I lie in my bed, wakeful and terrified, hoping for just a few more weeks before it all hits the fan and I must give up my bedroom for that tiny jail cell with the naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling.
I am nine years old, reading a book I found on our coffee table, entitled, “Tortured for His Faith.” The book is about a Russian Seventh-Day Adventist man who got exactly what I know I have coming to me – a jail cell and truly horrible people interrogating him. What bothers me the most about this memory and takes the longest to tap down to zero isn’t the torture, which is dreadful. No, it is the day his jailers feed him a bowl of soup that is really just water and fish eyes. He is so hungry that he devours it. I just don’t know if I’m going to be able to do that. Although in our home everything we kids read is diligently censored (movies in theaters are completely out of the question) I am allowed to read this book because it is a true story published by the Seventh-Day Adventist church.
As I tap on these memories, I become aware for the first time of the complete insanity of the religious education I received as a child. The memories continue to pour into my mind, as if a Pandora’s Box in my head has been opened, and I tap on each one as it springs to the forefront. Sometimes I can’t keep up because the memories come so quickly. The EFT Manual recommends a methodical and orderly approach, taking one memory at a time and “tapping it down to zero” before moving on to the next. Even though that sounds like good advice to me, it is too much to ask, so I ignore it and just sit, tapping and crying, as shards of memory rear up like waves in the ocean during a storm. EFT is the life jacket that keeps me afloat.
Now that the floodgates are open, it seems that every unprocessed, disturbing memory I’ve ever carried bangs into my awareness, demanding attention. I tap during every spare moment in the daytime and in the evenings after my daughter is asleep. I tap on myself so much that I feel like a tree with a woodpecker in it. In the midst of it all, I have the “aha” moment of realizing that the ear infection flared into this mess when the mother of a student I was tutoring continually disregarded my boundaries around time, and would not listen to my pleas for her cooperation. From the new perspective I have gained from all of this tapping, I realize that the problem was me, not her, and that what I had thought were boundaries were really just tiny little picket fences around my ankles that no one noticed anyway. This run-over feeling is familiar in a tedious sort of way and leads to more tapping on the theme of not being heard as a child, as a teenager, as an adult. The pain in my ear is diminishing daily, and the tinnitus is now just a whisper.
Finally the flood of memories slows to a trickle, and then it is done. Within a few weeks from the day I first came upon EFT, the pain in my ear is gone completely, and so is the fluid build up. I do more research on tinnitus and make a few changes in my diet and supplements. Within two months, the tinnitus is completely gone, too. I am in a state of wonderment at the lightness I feel. I’ve wondered my whole life why people laugh at silly things, and now, here I am, laughing along with them! The world seems brighter and more hopeful than it ever has before. Being a mother now feels doable; my daughter becomes a delight to me. I am thrilled and I want to share what I have learned with the world; I become an EFT practitioner.