Matrix Reimprinting

Matrix Reimprinting is an EFT based therapy that was created by EFT Master, Karl Dawson. It’s a tapping technique that combines tapping on acupoints (usually finger points instead of the standard EFT shortcut on face, head and upper body) with a creative remaking of the past. It’s based on recent neurological findings about memory and how it’s stored and used. Since, in the subconscious – everything is present tense – it’s possible to visit the past and “recreate’ it.

Some of you may be familiar with the term “inner child” – the notion that we have these undeveloped parts of ourselves that are still affecting us – how we feel, think and act. Our development is arrested in different times of our lives and we still have childish parts that are acting up or running the show. And no matter how our adult thinks and wants to act – the kid seems to have the power to sabotage our best efforts. Much as we revere our conscious brains, the subconscious rules!

Similarly, Matrix Reimprinting uses the term ECHO to stand for “energetic consciousness hologram” – to signify a past self that got frozen in the moment and is still there causing some distress. This past self could be from yesterday – it doesn’t have to be a child – but when you follow the chain, many echoes have their younger selves in childhood.

What distinguishes MR from regular EFT is that instead of feeling the feelings of your present upset self and all the younger memories that go with it – you distance (disassociate is another word for it) yourself from that old persona and visit as an empowered, caring adult. You have magical powers of course – beginning with the ability to freeze the scene and approach that younger you. You imagine greeting him or her and explaining that you come from the future and can help. You explain how tapping can calm them him or her down and ask if you can do it. If he/she agrees you do it and then ask what needs to be done next. And you listen! It’s very important not to write the script before you go in. There are many surprises when you do that. Those young echoes want things that grown-up you wouldn’t think of – the magic is in following what your subconscious brings up.

You stay in that scene with that echo until there is resolution and a happy ending. Often, the younger person wants to go off and play somewhere. Think of how a toddler can cry mightily, then sigh and wiggle out of your lap to pursue something fun and interesting. Problem gone! Sometimes, though, there are younger echoes that your present echo will want to lead you to. Your job is to follow and bring your healing resources with you. In every frozen, unresolved distress of our lives – one of the common aspects is being alone or without resources to handle it or get over it. And you, the client, are there with your MR coach to be those missing resources.

You know the saying “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood?” – Matrix Reimprinting would have to agree. Without going into all the details (there is a reimprinting process at the end),  you go back —
rewrite the scenes the way you want them and emerge a different person with a different past. Do you remember the actual truth of what happened? Of course. But you now have an emotional overlay that is quite different and feels wonderful. And it feels more true than the factual story that ’s been running and ruining your life.

EFT removes the distress from the story (from 10 to 0) , but MR uses another scale (SUE) that goes from minus 10 to positive 10 and the top number is happiness/zest/empowerment.

I’ll give you an example of how this works by telling you one of my own MR sessions. I’ve worked on this scene for years in various healing modalities, EFT included, but as much as I have felt and tapped on this old memory – it seemed to still pop up now and then with emotional resonance. My chronic pattern was a feeling of being without help and it didn’t matter how I asked or yelled – it just wasn’t there!

The scene is a children’s ward in the hospital and I am 5 years old, without my parents for the first time, recovering from a tonsillectomy. It’s the middle of the night and I have to go to the bathroom. I know I’m not allowed to get out of bed by myself – but when I call and call – no one comes. I wet my bed because it’s the lesser of the 2 “crimes” – but the lingering distress is of calling and calling and no one coming. That’s the memory that pops up in session after session.

So what does little Carol (echo Carol) want? She wants her Mommy! (She tolerates a little tapping first and then makes her demand). Then, of course, she wants Daddy! Her parents were not ones to challenge authority – so a little tapping on them was necessary to embolden them to sneak in after visiting hours. She wants them to climb in bed with her (somehow the bathroom need disappeared) and read story books. So they pull the curtains around the bed and shhhhhh and giggle about breaking the rules and have a wonderful time together. As I recall – there were some helium balloons tied to the bedrails. The whole scene makes me smile every time I recall it and as I said earlier – it seems like a colorful overlay to the black and white photo of what really happened. Since that time – the memory never surfaces and I don’t feel like I can’t have the help I want. Of course I can. Even if I have to break some silly rules.

Matrix works because memory is malleable. We know now that we can remember things that never happened. Experiments have proved that you can install false memories and that plain old memory is not retrieving accurate records of the past – it’s actually a process of recreating every time. So every time we remember something – new context and information is getting added. Since this is so – why not add what was missing? Why not create the life you want? Starting with the past.

Time to Clean the Oven

Some of you may remember Phyllis Diller -a comedian with wild hair, a raucous laugh and hilarious stories about Fang ( her husband ) and her stunning inadequacies as a housewife. One image that made a lasting impression on me was her description of her dirty oven. Apparently she had never cleaned it and now the layers of crud had built up over time so that the empty space in the middle was only big enough to bake one cupcake. Can you picture it?

For me — it’s the perfect visual representation of how accumulated emotional crud can limit our freedom, our capacity to be and do. Our lives are little cupcakes instead of delicious full meals.  I want a turkey in the oven and roasted root vegetables and baked rice pudding for dessert, thank you. How about you?

One of the common feelings people have when they release old stuff with EFT is a feeling of freedom and spaciousness – as though the world is now larger – there’s more room to move around in – they’re no longer constrained – new possibilities open up. And it’s not just a feeling.
It’s absolutely true.

But oven cleaning isn’t the only useful metaphor here. How about cleaning in general -and the dirt that gets swept under the rug? How about decluttering? Getting rid of all that STUFF that we’ve hidden away in drawers, closets, basements and attics?(Deep in the subconscious) How about that desk piled high with paperwork to do sometime? The “I’ll do it later” that turns into never?

So – how do you clean your emotional oven with its years of baked on grease and crud? One layer at a time. With what is accessible. It’s hard to get to the early layers sometimes until you address the top layer. Just so with emotional distress.

How do you clean that piled high desk? I’d suggest you start at the top.

How about Phylllis Diller’s oven? The inner layer. Enough to bake a pan of brownies.

How about that cluttered house? One drawer or closet at a time.

You start with what’s accessible (what’s up for you) and you purposefully limit the scope of the project. You take time to appreciate the small, but important, progress. You savor it and pat (or tap) yourself on the head. Then, feeling good, and when inspired you tackle the next layer or project – keeping it doable and enjoyable. Since we’re talking metaphorically here – I’d like to remind all of you tappers of the importance of being specific – taking events and sticking with them until you’ve reached a zero – cleaned them up entirely. There is more satisfaction in seeing one absolutely clean drawer or closet than making a small dent in a lot of them. You have proof positive that one space is now shiny clean and it may give you the oomph to start the next small project.

Since cleaning is still an issue for me – I trick myself by saying I only have to work for 20 minutes. Go! And – you probably know where this is heading – by the end of those 20 minutes I’m begging myself for 20 minutes more. “Oh, alright”, I say to myself as if I’m handing out royal dispensations – and then happily do a lot more than I originally intended. It’s called momentum. It’s called outwitting your procrastination. It’s called success! It’s also called “The Personal Peace Procedure” – as formulated by EFT founder, Gary Craig. To find out more, go to The EFT Personal Peace Procedure.

Magic 8 Ball

When I was a pre-teen—one of my favorite “toys” was a hard black ball with a clear plastic window on one side. It was called the Magic 8 Ball and like Ouija Boards (only faster) it would answer life’s most important questions — such as “Does Ronnie Mitnick like me?”. My friends and I would spend hours asking all kinds of questions, then tip (not shake) the ball over and watch the answer float to the surface of the window. There were 20 possible answers from “It is certain” to “Very doubtful”. Wikipedia informs me that 10 are positive, 5 negative and 5 neutral — which seems like a clever design by the toy company to inspire you to keep asking. All answers, of course, are universal variations of yes and no.

What does this have to do with tapping?

It’s a useful metaphor. Let me explain.

Whenever we are working on an issue — there are things that we are aware of — we can visualize them, feel them, give them names …. And there are also things that seem hidden from us — things that lurk below the surface. Another metaphor is that famous iceberg that shows only one-eighth of its gigantic mass above the water line. Most of it is submerged below.

So when we start to work on an issue — we just start where we can — with what’s available to our conscious minds. And as we tap and start to relax regarding whatever it is that’s troubling us — more and more thoughts, sensations, pictures, memories — just seem to appear in the window of our attention. Like the Magic 8 Ball answers — they “float” to the surface. This is the stream of consciousness that’s the foundation of Freudian analysis. This always happens. And I assume that the subconscious (that repository of all data) noting the relaxation around the issue — allows more and more information to be conscious.

We know that tapping moves the body out of the “fight or flight” mode and into “rest and digest” restoring blood flow to the frontal cortex — so the brain is more able to think and consider (digest) all information related to the presenting issue. Even memories we have conveniently forgotten or suppressed will emerge when we are ready to handle them. And not a moment sooner.

The moral of the story? Just relax if, at first, the starting point is “this panic in my chest and I don’t have the foggiest idea what it’s about”. You don’t need anything more than that to start tapping. Very soon — other thoughts will float to the surface. They always do. When you feel safe and ready to remember and process them. The digging that intellectuals prefer — “I want to know why!” gets done in the course of tapping but it is effortless. Instead of straining with a shovel — you just watch as the important information floats to the surface of your attention. You contain all the answers. It is certain.

(And if you’re wondering about Ronnie Mitnick and if he liked me — I’m sure he did.)

One Minute Miracles and the Airplane Story

I always tell “The Airplane Story” in my introductory EFT lectures. It’s a true story and illustrates the speed at which tapping can work. Gary Craig, the founder, called them “one minute miracles” and although most of them are actually 2-10 minute miracles, the rapidity of improvement is very impressive indeed. If you haven’t yet read that story — please do so now.

airplane_landing_199029
And now here’s my postscript and cautionary advice:

Although tapping works quickly — in general, much faster than most conventional therapies — it usually does not happen with the wave of a wand. Using the airplane story as an example – I can vouch for the immediate emotional relief of that surprised passenger. It calmed her down in the moment. We defused the “bomb” for that one time. A peaceful young woman greeted her boyfriend.

But certainly there were triggers that would need some more attention. She jumped to the conclusion that the attendant was discriminating against her because she was young. That idea didn’t come out of thin air. There must have been specific incidents in her life that led to that belief/conclusion. Will she react in the same way the next time she sniffs out what appears to be age discrimination? Probably. Maybe not so fast. Maybe tempered with the memory of that nice older woman who helped her that time on the airplane.

But until she cleans out the events of her life that have proved to her that if she doesn’t stand up for herself — older people will, unfairly, try to boss her around — until she does that — she hasn’t finished the job. That one minute miracle is miraculous indeed, but even more miraculous is the permanent change that can come when you eliminate all the emotional triggers. And, although amazingly fast (you’re not lying on a couch for years of analysis) — that does take more than a few minutes.

The moral of the story? When you get relief from an incident — take a big sigh of relief — enjoy and savor the calm feeling of well-being. But know that you have a choice. You might just want to wait for Life to put that unfinished piece of work on your desktop. It always does in the form of another event that feels like, looks like, smells like, sounds like (you get the picture) the one you just worked on! Maybe the volume is not so loud or the colors quite as bright — but you recognize it as something familiar. That’s one way to do it. And frankly, with a life full of stressors — it may be the right way to go. You might just have to slay the heads of the dragons as they appear fast and furious on your screen.

But when or if you have the time — it’s great to be proactive and thoroughly clean up a pattern. All you have to do is ask yourself if there any feelings or aspects attached to the memory that need attention. And wait for the answer. Or any other memories that remind you of the one you’re working on? In the case of that upset passenger — have there been other times in your life when adults oppressed you?

And get ready for the &%$((&#^&^@!!!!!

DIY or Help!!!!!

One of the most appealing features of EFT, besides the fact that it works so well and quickly, is that it is relatively inexpensive, if not free. For a lot of people — the do-it-yourself element is what brings them in the door. Therapy can be a luxury that many people can’t afford. So why pay a professional if it is so simple that anyone can do it?

Good question. And here’s my answer:

EFT is a wonderful self soothing tool and, used in the moment of upset, does calm the body down and give immediate relief. Think of it as fabulous first aid. But first aid is not where you want to stop. It doesn’t mean you don’t go to the doctor or hospital if needed. Scraped knees will heal very well, thank you, with a good cleansing and bandaid. And a kiss.

But most of the problems that bring people to professionals are chronic conditions. Unlike fresh wounds — they have been festering for a while. And (sticking with this metaphor ) many times the wounds are on your backside — where you can’t see or get to them.

The points I’m making are:

  1. The problem may be (unless you’re an infant) a little bigger/deeper than it’s latest appearance in your life. You want to treat the cause and not just the symptom.
  2. Many times the distress you’re experiencing is embedded with early inaccessible memories, defenses, denial, limiting beliefs, and years and years of re-enforcement that hold it in place. It’s very hard for the person who’s experiencing this to have the detachment and courage and hope that’s needed to persist.
  3. Most chronic patterns of distress include feeling helpless and alone. Many include self blame and other unhelpful attitudes towards oneself. Many include a deep down feeling of danger.

What we have learned about trauma is this:

  1. We are in some way unprepared for what happens — it shocks/surprises/overwhelms us
  2. We feel unsafe or in danger
  3. We don’t have the information/ skills/strength/resources to deal with it
  4. We feel alone or (if with others) unprotected.

This, of course, applies to situations like accidents, abuse, natural disaster, war trauma and other “biggies” that we would label trauma. But now a number of people are saying that there’s a spectrum — there are smaller things that happen to us and have all the elements of the usual things that people think of as traumatic. There’s TRAUMA and then there’s trauma. Some experts are saying (and I agree) that the younger you are — the more vulnerable you are to ordinary events that can indeed traumatize you even if someone older could and would slough that off as nothing to be upset about. Therapists that specialize in working with war veterans have noticed that most of the severely affected men and women are ones that had earlier trauma that predisposed them to the later events in war. It all adds up.

An experienced EFTer can provide the necessary safety to go revisit that trauma or TRAUMA. Having worked diligently on her own stuff for years, she’ll be on land throwing the life preserver, directing you to the nearest shore, showing you how to dog paddle, handing you the towel as you emerge — instead of jumping in the lake and drowning with you. (Forgive me, I do love metaphors.) When you are bogged down in your distress — you need someone to be calm and reassuring. You will get through this.

Specifically (what founder Gary Craig calls “the art of delivery”) — we do detective work — ask questions about earlier events — other feelings attached to the presenting problem. When stuck, we prod and encourage you to look under the hood. If overwhelmed — we bring you back to the safe present. It’s a balancing act of paying attention to the distress but not getting lost in it. And of course, we keep you tapping on whatever is coming up. We are the note-takers. You are free to feel and explore and we record where you’ve been so that at the end of the session you can see how far you’ve come.

And, perhaps most essential of all, we hold you in high regard as you dare to dip into all those bad feelings in (and about) yourself.

Having said all this — am I warning you away from trying out tapping by yourself? Absolutely not! I do it all the time and have ever since I learned it oh so many years ago. Most sessions with practitioners end with tapping homework to do on your own. What I am saying is — consider getting some expert help:

  • If you’ve tried tapping and it doesn’t seem to work
  • If it’s worked for other things but somehow it doesn’t work on this one particular problem
  • If it seems overwhelming and impossible and that’s just how you are  (or it is)
  • If it’s a relationship problem and #%$&! you’re right!
  • If it’s trauma based and it doesn’t feel safe to go it alone — it probably isn’t.
  • If you’re perfectly capable and always do it yourself, but, gosh, wouldn’t it be wonderful to get some help for a change.

 

What Words Do I Use????

The answer to that favorite question is —————— there are no right words! Or, better yet, whatever words you come up with are perfectly OK. People tend to get hung up on thinking there’s a right or correct way to do tapping – correct order of tapping points and perfect words. Wrong, wrong, wrong. EFT is a very forgiving method and you can’t get it wrong as long as you learn the basics and do it. Most failure is due to not tuning in to the feelings ( If you’ve spent a lifetime trying to ignore them – this can initially be a challenge),not being specific enough in focusing on events and their aspects, and then failure to persevere with the actual tapping.

The reason for tapping in a certain order is just to make it automatic so that you don’t have to think about it. It doesn’t matter which point you start with or end on – just learn a routine so you can do it without thinking about it.

What’s important is tuning into feelings, locating them in your body, if possible, and then using your own unique, true-to-you description. I remember reading about a person who was working on terror in the dentist’s chair and the sensation she felt was “that pink, gunky feeling”! Perfect. No one can say it better than you. What’s important is that you resonate with the words. If you do – then that’s what you say.

How about the set-up? The affirmation part? The default statement proposed by Gary Craig the founder of EFT, is “I deeply and completely accept myself”. This works fine if you have a basic acceptance of yourself and can honestly say “Yeh, I’m not perfect. But I’m doing the best I can right now. And I hope to do/feel even better”. If that feels true – then look no further – you have an affirmation that works.

If, however, a little voice deep inside is whispering “That’s not true. I can’t accept myself with this problem” and a lot of other negative thoughts on its coattails – then you need to find another statement. Gary calls these negatives “tail-enders” – the yes-buts to our attempts to say something nice about ourselves.

Since the purpose of saying anything at all is to keep your focus on the problematic feelings or pain and at the same time balance it with a feeling of well-being and acceptance – it obviously doesn’t work to state the negative and then on a feeling level remind yourself that you really don’t accept yourself. A double negative!

Here are some alternatives:

I’m OK (short and sweet)
I choose to accept myself, deeply and completely
I want to accept myself, deeply and completely
I choose/want to feel better
I choose to let it go
I choose to feel better
I forgive myself and anyone else who has contributed to this problem
That’s just how I feel right now and I’m open to feeling better.

Sometimes, I’ll throw in “No one’s perfect” or “I’m a work in progress” or “I’m doing the best I can and that’s good enough. For now.” Be creative. There are thousands of ways of reassuring yourself that you’re basically a good person (even if you’ve had help over the years in doubting that) and deserve to feel better. You are talking to yourself – your conscious and (most importantly) your subconscious self.

Picture a really messy house that hasn’t had a good cleaning in years (your life). You (conscious tapper) are the head of the cleaning crew knocking on the door and presenting your identification card stating your qualifications and good intentions. The person/s behind the door (your subconscious) are not going to open it if they don’t trust that you value and will take good care of the house. In other words, the set-up statement is the “Knock, knock – can I come in?”

I hope I’ve convinced you that if you just start tapping – it will work. In fact, Dr David Lake, a long-time EFT professional, encourages people to just start tapping while they talk – forgoing the set-up entirely. There are so many ways to do it and they all work.

Lastly – if all this reassurance doesn’t seem to work – it may be the problem under the problem. An example might be someone who was scolded/ridiculed for “not saying it correctly”. Maybe there’s an actual incident or incidents around that issue. Fantastic! You’ve discovered an issue to work on! ” Even though my older brother made fun of the way I talked, embarrassing me in front of my girlfriend in 7th grade —- I accept myself, wrong words and all!” And if you mispronounce the words – Yay! So much the better!

If the problem is total self hatred and you can’t say anything positive without feeling like a liar – you state that complete and total hatred and then balance it with some words like these:

  • No one is born hating themselves – I must have had a lot of help learning how to do it.
  • I’m not the worst person in the world. (Or am I?) 🙂
  • Even though I can’t love myself — I imagine God does. Who am I to second guess God?
  • Maybe once in my life I did did something good. 🙂

All of these serve to lighten the heaviness of negativity, to let some fresh perspective in. In fact one of the general benefits of regular tapping on any number of issues is that self esteem seems to rise. If every time you have a problem but you tell yourself you love and accept yourself anyway – the message gradually sinks in.

Are you reassured? If you are – good. If you aren’t – you will be eventually. Just start tapping.