Loss and letting go

by Rachel Creager Ireland

A little over a year ago, I was introduced to a healing technique called Faster EFT, or Emotionally Focused Transformations. I went to a short workshop because a friend had been raving about this technique, also called tapping, and the workshop was free, so I figured I had nothing to lose. B. Grace Jones http://tinyurl.com/7xw6gay teaches that all disease and discomfort is ultimately rooted in fear and/or anger. The emotions are released by tapping five points on the body while talking one’s way from the unhappy state to releasing those emotions, then replacing the associated thoughts with something more desirable. The points fall on the meridians in Chinese medicine which correspond to the organs activated by the fight or flight response. Nothing radical there, to one who’s been hanging around the new age scene for fifteen years, though it was all put together nicely in one simple package.

So skip the details, I’ve been using this technique occasionally since then. This past week I decided to observe the turning over of the year by tapping every day. I was agitated because I’d been spent much of the day looking for a part to a toy that I was supposed to send to my sister. We had some kind of misunderstanding and she was waiting for me to send it to her daughter for years, and now wants it for her younger daughter. If you have a sister you can see here how this kind of thing triggers every sisterly anxiety in the book. She never approved of me, she thinks I’m a fuck-up, I was the spoiled youngest who never had to pull my weight, etc etc etc. I don’t actually know she thinks all these things, but, well, I’m sure she does, and lots more.

First I sat down and had a little talk with my inner child, whom I suspected of hiding this thing because she didn’t want to give it away. She reluctantly let go. Then I tried dowsing with a pendulum, which resolutely refused to move. I went looking for a different pendulum which might work better, but all I found was a wingnut on my dresser. It was after that that I decided to use the EFT.

But when I sat down to tap, those sisterly feelings weren’t the strongest. I felt drawn to look at a memory, one of my earliest, of which I had been reminded multiple times in the last couple days. In the memory, I guess we were eating lunch, my mom, brother, sister, and myself in a room of a house we moved out of when I was three. I thought of someone, two people, I think, whom I could see as silhouettes in a small patch of light in darkness, as if I were in a dark room, being watched over by these people who were standing in the doorway, light shining from behind them. I felt safe and loved. But on the day I remembered this moment, I realized that I would never see these people again. I began to cry, and my baffled mom offered me a slice of bread with butter, which she had just handed to my brother. I took it because it was easier than trying to explain what I was really crying about.

It wasn’t until about thirty years later that I recalled this memory, and after some thought I’ve concluded that those people looking in on me lovingly were the foster parents who cared for me between birth and adoption when I was six months old. I don’t know their names, or anything about them, but I think once my Dad told me that the man in particular had been so attached to me that it was difficult for him to turn me over to my new parents. At thirty-seven, I had my first child, and as I watched this little baby grow, I realized that there was not a single person in my life who had known me in those precious early months. I’m very grateful to have a relationship with my birthmom and her family, but who watched me turn over, smile, and crawl for the first time? Who smiled back?

I began to tap the grief of loss, the fear of letting go. I expressed it, I released it. But what to replace it with? I embraced change, I welcomed new experiences. And as I tapped, it occurred to me that if I have lived fully in the moment, I won’t feel a need to go back to it. If I suck every last bit of living out of every minute I get, when it’s done, I’ll be over it. The preventive against suffering loss of the past is to be, to be present, totally in the moment, to gulp it in like fresh air after a stale small room, as if I’ve never been alive and breathed before. It seems hard. Can I do it? What else is there? What choice do I have?

And now that I’ve found the answer, where is that thing I was looking for? I thought it would suddenly appear after all the clearing I’ve been doing, but it hasn’t. Yet.