By Steve Wells
Often, we avoid taking action even on things that we know are important to us. There’s lots of reasons for that, some of which I explored in my course on Overcoming Procrastination with Intention Tapping (Get the recordings here).
Today I want to give you some tips for using Intention Tapping to help you overcome your avoidance. Stick with me because where we end up may be a surprise.
Think about an area of your life where you really want to make a change, especially an area where you are not happy with your results so far.
Now think about the change you want to make, and simply notice how you feel when you think about that. Is it a yes? Is it 100% YES!? Or is there some resistance?
Often just thinking about what we want triggers resistance, and if it does that’s the time to start tapping. Still, I want you to take another step before we do something with this.
Think about taking a step towards making that change happen. Perhaps it is writing that assignment. Studying for a test. Going to the gym. Making a call. Writing a blog post. Announcing your business offer. Whatever it is, I want you to see if you can not only think about it, but even go further and plan to take that next step, and if it is possible right now take that step.
Of course, if you have no resistance at all you can simply go for it! Most of us however will have some resistance.
The starting point when you find yourself resisting action on a valued project is to start tapping on that resistance, however you are aware of it.
Let’s say you think about doing this thing and the thought that comes to you is “Its all too hard!”, then you can use the following intention, while tapping, “I release all my emotional attachments to it’s all too hard.”
Then, keep tapping and follow where it leads, noticing what aspects arise and releasing your emotional attachments to them in similar fashion until you feel clear and ready to go.
What if all you get is an uncomfortable feeling when you think about doing your task?
You can simply notice that feeling, notice where you feel it in your body, start tapping, and use this intention statement: “I restore the right energy flow to Y”, where Y is the body feeling and/or the body location of the feeling.
So, if you have a tightness in your chest, you can say I restore the right energy flow to my chest. Or I restore the right energy flow to this tightness.
As before, just allow it to process however it does, and be open to notice and continue the process on whatever comes next.
Now in many cases we don’t really know what is causing our resistance. The problem with subconscious blocks is they are often hidden. Also, it might be a combination of things rather than just one thing.
This is when this intention which we use in IEP can be very helpful: I release all my resistances and aversions …
Let’s say you are resisting taking action on writing a blog post, you could use this intention, “I release all my resistances and aversions to writing this blog post”.
If you are resisting working out you could say, I release all my resistances and aversions to working out.
Next, continue to tap and wait patiently to see what emerges.
Occasionally you will feel instant relief and a surge of energy to get into your project. It does happen!
More often, it’s like this particular intention “opens up the program” of your resistance and starts to reveal to you what the hidden sources of your resistance actually are. It brings the hidden blocks and beliefs to the surface. And when that happens, notice them and capture them so you can start to release your emotional attachments to them, so they have less hold over you.
(By the way, resistances and aversions are just certain types of emotional attachments, and this statement is another way of releasing them. You could just as easily say I release all my emotional attachments to writing my blog post or I release all my emotional attachments to working out and see where that leads you).
Since you are not taking action, by definition you are avoiding something, right? It might be the actions of doing the task. Or it might be what the task might lead to. Or what you project that it will.
You don’t even have to know what that is.
Let’s say you start tapping on “I release all my resistances and aversions to writing my blog.” Now, you keep tapping and mindfully pay attention to what emerges. And let’s say what comes up is that you might get rejected.
Now you have a clear emotional target, and you can continue by using the IEP on that. So, you might say, I release all my emotional attachments to the projection that I will get rejected.
You can also continue to use the resistances and aversions statement on this new target, such as: I release all of my resistances and aversions to rejection.
Now you are on your way, and as you follow what emerges and work through the various aspects you stand to gain plenty of freedom from the real source(s) of your resistance.
Now as I mentioned at the start, this next thing might surprise you. You see, most people think that the solution is “sucking it up”, doing the difficult task and suffering through it, and using the tapping to help you to do that. It seems self-obvious that you want to avoid the negative feelings associated with doing it. However, it’s quite possible that you are also resisting GOOD feelings!
That’s right, it’s entirely possible that what you are resisting and avoiding is the enjoyment and success that you ultimately desire!
It seems ridiculous that we might resist enjoyment and resist success itself but hear me out here.
If it’s possible for you to enjoy the process of doing this task, along the way to achieving the success you want and enjoying that too, why don’t you? Why on earth would you resist that?
Maybe because you were brought up on a steady diet of the opposite.
Perhaps you learned that even when you give your all to be successful the rewards, affirmation, acceptance and love are NOT forthcoming (because they weren’t in the past).
Maybe you had a harsh teacher, or parent, or coach, and you got punished if you were ever found to be enjoying yourself or relaxing instead of working hard. Maybe you learned that if you were enjoying yourself or relaxing, it meant you were not working hard enough or taking the goal seriously … So, you learned to suppress your good feelings, grit your teeth, and bear it.
Now as an adult you find yourself resisting tasks as a way of being free from this old programming, however you now also do this on tasks you really want to get done! Yes, you are trying to avoid the negative feelings. But there’s something else. Because you learned to suppress the positive feelings in that past in order to survive, THEY are actually suppressed.
Let’s try something else other than forcing yourself to do it and dredging up all the negative feelings you don’t really want to feel.
Let’s instead identify what you might have learned you are NOT allowed to feel or experience associated with this task – in this case the positive feelings - and do some tapping and releasing on that.
What are the positive feelings you are (or were) not allowed to feel while doing your task?
Or, what are the positive feelings you feel you could not (or should not) possibly feel while doing this task?
Or, what are the positive feelings you associate to other tasks which are not allowed with this one?
For me it was fun. That should be no surprise to those who know me as I have written about this before. My continued tapping on this revealed a lot of times when I got in trouble for having fun when I was at school!
Kids simply being themselves and having fun were often seen as naughty by the teacher. “Keep quiet and get on with your work!” So fun and work became separated, and the rule was you can’t have one without the other. Fun was for recess, not the classroom, and definitely not something to be mixed with work.
Now, as I continue to release those emotional attachments, resistances and aversions, I have actually started to have much more fun doing my work! And I’m getting more done.
I shared this today with my wife Louise and she was able to immediately apply it to move forward on something she’d been resisting taking action on too.
I’ll let Louise continue here in her own words:
Our youngest son Callum has Down Syndrome. I am his main carer and therefore manage his support workers, daily activities, medical appointments, etc, along with all the admin associated with this.
Callum has a small job (a few hours a fortnight) collecting drink cans for cash. He loves this job, is super proud to have “work” like other people. Our plan is to try and expand the job to at least weekly, maybe even creating a micro business. I had been writing on my TO DO List for weeks “Callum’s Cans”, the only progress being that it would get re-written on the TO DO List the following week.
When Steve asked me to read through this article, I decided to try tapping on this issue as I read.
The first thing that came up was “I don’t know where to start” which of course took me back to all those times when I haven’t known what I was doing. School especially came up and also many of the things I need to sort out for Callum such as teaching him life skills like budgeting.
I wished for a Life Manual or even a Down Syndrome Manual, a step-by-step guide, rather than the exhausting unknown of making it up myself. It all seems too hard. It is a constant have to make things up, figure it out…there’s no guide to even push back against or reject. I know too if I don’t push this forward, nothing will happen. I want Callum to be happy and I know this is going to make him happy.
Louise came to me after having done some initial tapping on these issues, and shared what she’d come up with. The only problem was that she was still in tears! That meant there was more work to do! She told me about the emotional attachment to “I don’t know what to do” and its connections to school. She also told me she had stalled at the point where I’d talked about having fun doing my work, as this was NOT fun.
In the article Steve talks about having fun as he writes blog posts etc. I told him I couldn’t imagine having fun doing this. I did some tapping with him on my fear of not knowing what to do.
After a little releasing of these emotional attachments to not knowing what to do, I said that I wanted to see if there were any potentially positive feelings she was avoiding, just as fun was for me. I pointed out that the same issue of not knowing what to do came up all the time in her artwork, yet she was somehow able to move forward in that despite not knowing exactly what to do.
In her artwork she is able to get started despite not knowing exactly what to do at the beginning and also able to persist through impasses and blocks to a resolution. However, in this issue with Callum’s job there was a clear emotional attachment to needing to know the right answer and get it right, and fear of getting it wrong, or not finding the answer.
Ultimately it will be productive for Louise to do some more tapping on the school stuff, however there were feelings she had in her art which allow her to proceed in spite of not knowing what to do and those feelings were clearly NOT allowed in this context, therefore there must be some resistance to them.
In my art practice I don’t have a problem with the not knowing. I start a project with a great idea in my head and invariably it comes completely unstuck at some point, (often in the first step) but though years of experience I know it will resolve, I trust I will find a solution, sometimes via many wrong paths.
So what were those resisted feelings? After some tapping, she answered, “Faith that it will all work out.”
Here is the intention statement we used: “I release all my resistances and aversions to faith that it will all work out.”
After tapping with this statement Louise’s tears dried up, her face brightened, and she started nodding. I asked what she was noticing, and she said, “That’s it. You just have to take the first step and then you get information about what to do next.” She had started to access the resources of faith that were already inside her.
And what was the outcome?
We applied “Faith” to the not knowing and I don’t know where to start. I realised that I just need to dip my toe in and see what happens, that that first step will lead to ideas, paths.
In the couple of hours since, I have contacted a person who is running one of these micro businesses to have a coffee catch up. I have also managed to book my car in for a long overdue service. That had been on my TO DO List even longer!
We see this time and time again with IEP. There are resources inside you that, for whatever reason, you have become blocked off from being able to access, or lost awareness of. This is one way of rediscovering and re-accessing them, and restoring the energy connection and energy flow to areas where it’s been blocked.
Like Louise, like me, and like many of my clients you can use the same process to access joy, excitement, enthusiasm, boldness, serenity, peace, security, comfort, warmth, safety, reverence, delight, gratitude, or whatever it is that you have felt held back from experiencing in this context due to your emotionally attached resistances and aversions!
Life is kinder and so much easier on the other side of your emotional attachments. Why not start now and release your resistances and aversions to actually doing this?
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