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Can we be really compassionate without feeling the stress?

Sally and Jennifer have been close friends for many many years. They are now both in their forties, but Jennifer has breast cancer. Sally is doing her best to support Jennifer and her family (2 young children), and has kindly offered to help out with house chores from time to time. The last time Sally had seen Jennifer, she was OK, but when Sally came back from her holidays, she learned that Jennifer had got much worse in the last 2 weeks. She was due to go to her later in the day, and felt extremely anxious about it. She didn't know how Jennifer would be.

Sally is a very sceptical person, and she had heard about EFT, but had dismissed it. However, that day, the anxiety was so high she was ready to dial 999. Instead she dialed my number. I could fit her in, but it actually added to her stress because it was just before she was due to be at Jennifer's and our session might delay her.

I asked her to measure her anxiety right at this minute, while she was with me (0 : All is well, 10 : very high anxiety) : "Oh it's quite normal right now, maybe a little bit anxious, 6/10..."

I then asked her to imagine she was in Jennifer's House. I couldn't finish my sentence, before Sally reacted "Oh, now it's a 10!"

Before we start tapping, I always check if the standard "I love and accept myself" statement feels right. It didn't really work for Sally (5/10), so we agreed on something she truly believed about herself : "I am a good friend". And off we went for a first tapping round

Even though I've got this anxiety, I'm grateful I'm a good friend

Reminder phrases started to look at the anxiety with a slightly different angle :

I'm REALLY anxious... all this breathing is heavy... I'm going to start shaking any time... I think of her door... and the anxiety is going up... not sure I can cope with that... I'll be no good to her if I'm anxious... but I can't control it... how could taping on my face control my anxiety? (laughs).. I'm not sure I believe in this... but why not?.. I'd like to be open to the possibility that I could let go right now... whatever I can do to help Jennifer, it doesn't involve anxiety.... friends have plenty of love.. and love can cope with everything... at least I hope so... I will be no good to her if I feel anxious.... but my whole body is full of anxiety.. I'd like to clear it up? .. I 'd like to inform all my cells that I'm letting go of this anxiety...clean my cells from it... I choose to feel calm.. in my mind, body and spirit.

This was the first time Sally had used EFT. She looked at me, intrigued :"something's drained out of me. ". But her anxiety was still a 5 out of 10 when thinking of the door, "because of my brain, I know this is serious"!

Even though my brain KNOWS I'm anxious for SOMETHING, I'm anxious for Jennifer, and I can't do anything for her.. but I'm grateful that anxiety is going down, and I am a good friend.

... my brain is very clever... my brain knows that I'm anxious for something... my brain knows I"m anxious for Jennifer... I can't look at Jennifer and not feel anxious.. that wouldn't be fair... wouldn't be fair to Jennifer to look at her and not feel anxious...or would it? I wonder... Would my anxiety help Jennifer? Maybe my anxiety is not there for Jennifer? Maybe it's there for something else? Maybe it's been here for a long time... I can't feel bad enough to help Jennifer ... but if I feel really good right now, if I bring laughter and happiness to her home.. maybe it would be more help to her? She does need light, she does need love.. and I have plenty of this, and the anxiety is a barrier to my life, I choose to let go of it... I know what my brain is saying, but I choose for my heart to take over....

Sally now felt "much calmer". She was ready for a new test, so I asked her again to imagine going to Jennifer's and measure her anxiety. "I'm OK, my anxiety cannot help her. It's about 3". She said it could not be a 0, because she was an anxious person, and it was normal to get upset in such a situation.

Even though I've got this automatic upset, part of me knows I don't need that, like I've got a conflict in me, but I'm full of love, and there's no conflict in that.

The reminder phrases questioned this "automatic upset", including :

... I wonder if I felt anxious as a baby... what if I learned it?...

Sally had never looked at it that way, and I could see her brain going "mmm, how interesting....". But right in the middle of that round, her mobile phone rang. She jumped off her seat, put it to silence, and apologised before we started again, using this trigger and a little humor before we went to the core of the fear :

Even though I've learned this automatic upset, the phone rings and I get anxious, I see Jennifer and I get anxious, I see ANYTHING and I get anxious! (laughs)..I am a good friend!

... part of me knows I don't need that.. what if I let that part of me talk? ... I learned it... maybe I don't need it...I'm wondering (and she commented : "Yes, I AM wondering!").. could I let go?... do I need anxiety at all? .. I choose to put love instead of anxiety in every cell of my body... let go of the remaining anxiety... not everybody gets anxious when the phone rings.(more laughs).. everybody gets anxious about death... because we don't know... maybe it's not half as bad... death is a definite thing, and I'm not sure how I can cope with that, but I know anxiety is not helping... I choose to let go completely NOW.

I was about to ask her to find where the anxiety was in her body when the light bulb just switched on in her eyes. She looked at me in wonder : "it just flew out! Did you see it?"

Well, it would have been difficult to miss such a transformation. The expression on her face just lit up, her body got straighter. We finished the round tapping about gratitude for what had just happened.

I'm so grateful the remaining anxiety went away, this is so much fun! I'm going to share the fun with Jennifer!

Sally commented in the midst of a big burst of laughter: "and I'm the most sceptical person in the world!!! That was really bizarre!"

Before we tested again to check that the anxiety was really gone, I explained that it might come back with such a serious trigger, and how important it was that Sally would continue daily tapping on her own.

I then tested her, describing her arriving at Jennifer's, making the situation look the worst I could imagine , with Jennifer being really bad when Sally would come to her. This is how she felt : "Before, I would probably have broken down, now it's the love thing". I tried to get the picture even darker, and Sally was still OK, giving all sorts of good reasons for her to feel absolutely fine.

She went to Jennifer's after our session, where she enjoyed seeing her friend again. She commented in a later email : "Cannot thank you enough for your help. The visit to Jennifer was lovely actually.....Now I know why you always seem so at peace with yourself!"

Well, I'm a human being and I have my moments, but once again I'm so grateful for what EFT brought to Sally.


2 Months follow-up :

Jennifer's health is not great, with good and bad days. She knows about EFT, but is not willing to try it at this stage, and this is obviously her choice.

Sally has been using the tapping when required, including one time when she got a stomach ache which she knew was stress related. She tapped it away with immediate relief. She says knowing EFT is at her fingertips is very reassuring. She actually feels absolutely fine and doesn't need daily tapping. But when/if she needs it, she knows what to do.