I love the sentiments in the Lennon-Ono song “War is Over”:
A very merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year,
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
In fact, Christmas, and “the holidays” can be a time fraught with angst, stress, conflict and unmet expectations for many of us in cultures where this is celebrated.
If this applies to you, and you find this time of year stressful, I hope the information in this post can give you some relief.
I have known this stress personally when everyone’s hopes for a peaceful, joyful and loving Christmas lunch in my (family of origin) home were so often marred by upsetting arguments and conflict.
My wife, Louise, as the eldest daughter in her family, felt the weight of expectations (fuelled by guilt) over Christmas very acutely.
Louise has written previously about how tapping on her Christmas guilt gave her such relief that Christmas for us now actually IS a joyous time with a mere fraction of the stress of previous times.
If you have not seen those articles I really recommend them.
You will find them here
Now I am so pleased to have Intention Tapping to release any remaining stresses and emotional baggage related to Christmas, both for myself and others.
In her excellent article below, Sue Hughes, one of our Intention Tapping Practitioners, takes us through the steps of how she applied Intention Tapping to release the stress of some of her burdensome beliefs and expectations over Christmas.
You may find if you apply this same simple process that Sue outlines that it gives you a great deal of relief too.
IEP, Christmas and your wise unconscious mind…
By Sue Hughes
Intention-based Energy Process (IEP) or Intention Tapping has been a great help to me over the past few years. Combining tapping with simple, intention-based sentences has had the effect of clearing my mind and emotions from projections and attachments that would otherwise be sabotaging my attempts at living my best life.
As Steve often reminds us, by releasing emotional attachments to something, you don’t get rid of the good stuff. Instead, you gain more space to see and feel things more clearly and become more able to live your life less encumbered by beliefs and values that have outlived their usefulness. Perhaps a bit like defragging your computer.
You don’t necessarily need to know tapping to use IEP, though it certainly helps. Here is a link to follow, should you wish to learn more about tapping.
This year, I decided to apply IEP to my thoughts and feelings around Christmas. Everyone will have a different perception of Christmas. Different beliefs; different values; different expectations; different past experiences; and different projections and fantasies.
Some of these differences in expectations, beliefs, and values can result in conflict, upset, and mar our experience of what is “supposed” to be a happy time.
Here is how I went about addressing these issues with IEP and some of the results I achieved:
I began by tapping and using this broad Intention Statement:
“I release all my emotional attachments (IRAMEA) to Christmas”.
A series of images flashes up, mainly of Christmases past.
These are of my childhood, and I feel nostalgic.
I feel a sense of yearning in my chest and throat.
“I restore the right energy flow (IRREF) to my chest and throat”.
As I do this, I realise I’d been holding my breath, and am now able to breathe easier.
I am now aware that, in my child’s perception, these images of Christmas were golden images, set in my mind and heart. But these events happened in the past, and they probably weren’t so golden – certainly for the adults involved.
As things start to settle, I am left with a sense of calm warmth, but without the yearning.
As I continued my own tapping and releasing of emotional attachments, I found a few other things lurking that were useful to address. Maybe you could find them useful too?
“IRAMEA to all the Christmas food and drink”
This was a very interesting one, particularly for someone like me with a lifetime of issues around food. What this statement brought up was a series of images of highly coloured and calorific food.
I immediately used “IRAMEA to these images”.
I realise that most of my issues around food are created in my mind – with little or no reference to my body and its wisdom. I am grateful for further awareness and being further down the track of making my peace with food.
“IRAMEA to my projections about others’ expectations”
My immediate response here was threefold: Firstly, how do I really know what are others’ expectations? Secondly, how much does it matter to try and fit in with these projections? Thirdly (which made me laugh!), what’s wrong with the plans that I have myself? Do they not have a valid say?
At this point, I notice a disturbing feeling in my head.
“I restore the right energy flow to my poor confused head”
Relief in my head feeling, and a big release of my breath.
Note from Steve: The heavy weight of expectations is such a common issue at this time of year. Sue realises rightly that this is actually a projection. It’s lovely to see how releasing her emotional attachments to that projection opens the space for some consideration of her needs.
“IRAMEA to all my Christmas beliefs”
I thought this may bring up incidents where people had broken my “rules” about Christmas celebrations. Interestingly, it brought up instead my Christian beliefs and practices, which have waxed and waned over the years. As I travel deeper into the territory of what my brother-in-law calls The Back Nine of Life (golfing analogy relating to getting older!), this part of me gets deeper and more thoughtful. Where is right for me to go with my faith practices? A rhetorical question at this point.
I notice there is a disturbance in my heart.
“I restore the right energy flow to my heart”.
I became quite tearful at this point.
“I restore the right energy flow to my tears”.
Having permission to cry is very powerful for me.
“IRAMEA to not being allowed to cry”.
I feel anger.
“I restore the right energy flow to my anger”.
A great sense of calm is restored.
I flag this issue up for further tapping attention in the future.
“IRAMEA to other people’s Christmas beliefs”
I am surprised to find that I am still judging others if they are not holding the same beliefs and values as myself.! I really thought I was over all that…
I feel shame in my throat.
“I restore the right energy flow to my throat”.
I hear gentle laughter, reassuring me that I am loved despite my imperfections. I wonder whose laughter that is? I get the sense of my dad, but also of someone beyond. This is very interesting.
“IRAMEA to spending too much money”
I become aware that I am thoughtless as regards to money, and frankly lazy over planning and accounting. As regards Christmas, I have a realisation that my values have been clouded and I have been unhelpfully influenced by trends, the media and people whose own values I try to align myself with. My gut feels distinctly uncomfortable.
“I restore the right energy balance to my gut”.
I am aware again that I am a work in progress, and that these issues are so much more resolved than they used to be.
I make myself a challenge. What ONE thing can I change to progress all this? Drat. The answer immediately comes – be more organised and realistic with your budgeting, and don’t be such a lazy slug! Again, I hear that fond and gentle laughter letting me know that I am acceptable despite my limitations.
I allow myself to follow my thoughts and feelings to the next aspect that arises.
I realise that despite being far more realistic about my family, I still fantasise about the orderly dinner, the right presents for everyone, shared tasks and laughter, etc..
I form the intention:
“IRAMEA to the fantasy of the perfect family Christmas”
I am pleased to acknowledge that there is much more space in my mind and heart to be realistic and kind about others’ failings – and my own! I hear the laughter again…
I am now breathing and thinking clearly. I can plan and get ahead as much as I am able. I can listen to what is important to others and try to accommodate them where it’s possible; kindness goes a long way.
An image of one particular, troubled family member keeps arising:
“IRAMEA to all my projections about X”.
THE WISE UNCONSCIOUS MIND
Since using IEP to help me to “get real” about myriad aspects of my life, I have discovered that there is a right pace and a right time for me to address the more troublesome skeletons in my closet. I don’t need to try to force a thing (or go looking for skeletons), instead I just continue with the process.
This is a bit like following a good food plan: just eat the food that’s right for you, without any particular expectation, and in due course you look back and see what has changed.
Of course, nothing is quite so simple – or is it?
It has been such a relief for me to start learning to trust my inner wisdom, without false expectations of myself or of others. I had learned to make such gruelling demands upon myself that just didn’t sit comfortably with me.
I’m still a work in progress but am learning to love my life more and more as I get shot of unhelpful emotional attachments. Including over Christmas.
How can you apply this process to your own expectations and beliefs around Christmas?
You could start with the same initial statement I did:
“I release all my emotional attachments to Christmas.”
It helps to tap continually while you allow this to process, and remain open to seeing what aspects arise.
Give yourself some time and space just to observe if you become aware of any thoughts or feelings after you use any of these sentences. If you have a physical reaction of any kind, you could try the “restoring” statement I used above:
“I restore the right energy flow to (whichever part of your body has reacted to the statement).”
Here are a couple of variations on my first statement, which may resonate with you:
“I release all my emotional attachments to Christmas and everything it means to me”
“IRAMEA to what Christmas means to other people”
“IRAMEA to my Christmas projections and fantasies”
“I release all my resistances and aversions to Christmas”
Again, give yourself time and space just to notice what may (or may not!) be happening and apply further releasing statements to any related problems that arise, and apply the restoring statement to any disturbances in body energy you notice.
Continue for as long as you have, or until you reach a place of calm, clarity and inner peace.
Sue Hughes is a therapeutic coach based in the UK. Weight, generalised stress and anxiety, self-acceptance and performance issues are Sue’s forte. She works chiefly via Zoom. Email: [email protected]
Final note from Steve:
I realise some of you have even more profound emotional issues linked with Christmas due to loved ones that cannot be present, whether due to lockdown and travel restrictions, illness, or even death.
Many of you may know that my father passed away on Christmas Day in 2005. I was so fortunate to know tapping at that time and to be able to apply it to my profound sadness and grief. I wrote back then about how tapping on my grief brought me powerful insights and peace.
I hope that you find something here to help you with your own grief if you are dealing with these issues.
You will find the article here
I’ll be in touch again soon to let you know of our plans for Intention Tapping training and group programs for 2022. There’s a lot to look forward to.
Phone: +61 (0)8 9271 9271
Postal Address: PO Box 54, Inglewood, Western Australia, 6932