In a deeply personal account, Shiela (not her real name) shares how a casual conversation with EFT and Psych-K expert practitioner, Eli Abela, led to the discovery of hidden fears and personas, and how to make peace with her trauma.
I like to think that I’ve handled my past as well as anyone else on this earth could. I tried going to therapy, take meds, and even write notebooks full of reflections and journal entries. All of these in the hopes of trying to heal my past and move on with the life I’m supposed to live. But I wonder why I always kept failing at my tasks toward self-love. I wonder why there’s still so much anger and hate inside my heart for those who hurt me in the past. I wonder why those wounds never healed.
The answer came to me when Eli and I sat down and talked one day. She invited me over to talk about articles and written pieces for her blog and as our conversation got deeper into the practice of EFT Tapping and Psych-K.
For those who aren’t aware of EFT and Psych-K, they’re healing modalities that “tap” into either feelings or memories. On one hand, EFT Tapping deals with the pain that manifests from often traumatic memories. This method uses energy points throughout the body to remove energy blockages that cause physical, mental, or even more emotional pain. Many people have described it as a form of acupressure, but it feels a lot more like when your mother pats you to sleep. Sorry, I’m feeling a bit sentimental today.
Psych- K, on the other hand, taps into certain memories and traumatic events in your deep past and transforms the limiting beliefs that have made it difficult to live your life the way you want, or the way you were meant to live it. Different traumatic experiences manifest in different ways, so what may seem like nothing to you may mean the world to your inner self.
So, Eli and I talked about these healing modalities and it unearthed some things deep within me. I’ve discussed some of these things with a therapist, sure, but I was never given a chance to think the whole therapy session over. When she noticed that I was starting to get agitated, Eli volunteered to guide me through the strong emotions that were welling up inside me.
Before anything else, she told me to calm down. It was difficult given my state. But I knew I had to try or else, I would have broken down inside her office at UNLTD. Then, she told me to close my eyes.
In that headspace, she told me to visualize an elevator. She told me to go inside and go up a few floors, so I did. The elevator went up and up, and it was an oddly familiar feeling in an oddly familiar space. As if I’ve gone to this headspace in a dream years ago.
The elevator door opened and I found myself inside a spacious, but empty white room. I looked around and nothing was there except for a white sofa toward the end of the hallway. There were no windows nor doors, just a spacious white room. When I told Eli that there was nothing or no one there, she told me to go back into the elevator.
As I was heading back to the elevator, I noticed that a room suddenly appeared in front of the white sofa toward the back of the space. I ignored her for a bit and decided to go into that room. It all looked and felt familiar as if I lived in this space before. I reached the end of the hallway, and I turned towards the door to the new room. I opened it and I found myself standing in a cold, dark room. It was familiar. It felt comfortable, despite the darkness.
And there she was, 8-year-old me, sleeping her favorite pajamas, with a goofy haircut, hugging her favorite pillow. I was taken aback. The image, or the vision, or whatever you want to call it, looked so real and felt so real that I felt the hair at the back of my neck stand up. A younger me was before me.
I think Eli sensed the change in the scenario, and she quickly adjusted to how things were going. She told me to interact with my younger self because after all, her appearance in this session was highly unexpected.
In that room inside my head, I tried to reach out inside the dark room to where I was sleeping. I was very scared at this point because frankly, it’s quite weird to touch your younger self. But I tried to reach out to her. And her first reaction startled and upset me.
See, when I was a little, I’d have a habit of sleeping off my anger and annoyance. It helped me cope with negative emotions and sleep definitely helped me process things more. If I had a fight with my mom, I’d go to my room and sleep. After some time, she’d try to reach out to me, but sometimes I’d shrug her off. In that act of defiance, I know I hurt her, but somehow, the better part of me wanted to just stop shrugging her off. I don’t know why I kept doing that, but it somehow stayed with me until now. And I wasn’t even aware that I did this until I was face to face with a younger version of me.
So when I reached out to her, she shrugged me off. But I guess we both can tell that she didn’t want to do that consciously, and that was her automatic response. I tried to touch her gently and patted her head. I did this until she felt warmer to my touch.
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Eli then told me to talk to her. My first response inside that space was “How?” I didn’t know what to say to my younger self. To be frank, I didn’t even know that she existed. I thought that our inner selves grow old with us but this experience definitely changed my perspective on that.
So I tried talking to her as gently as I could, while still being straightforward and direct with her.
“Why are you sleeping in this dark room,” I asked.
“Because I’m angry and scared,” she said.
“Why are you scared?”
“Because you might leave me again.”
I was taken aback. I didn’t know that a part of me harbored intense feelings of anger and fear towards myself. Or perhaps, I did know, but I just didn’t try to pay attention to her. Nevertheless, I was deeply saddened by this revelation of hers. I tried to hold her, but she was too cold.
Eli tried to stimulate a caring and life-saving response within me so I can reassure myself. I followed her voice and I told my younger self that I was willing to listen to her. And, just like I knew I would, she sat up and immediately trusted me. With every bad thing that went on in my life so far, I forgot what it means to trust someone fully again. But here I was, the younger me, willing and able to trust me again.
Eli seemed happy with the response and told her that I should give my younger self a gift or a toy. I thought that I’d give myself a doll or a pen or something. But I gave her clay. And somehow, that made sense to both me and my younger self. I think it was what she needed, that’s why it materialized in my hand. I gave it to her and I hugged her for a long time.
After that, I felt a hot, somewhat burning sensation within me. It started inside my stomach and rose outward into my limbs and further outward into the air around me. Eli told me to leave the space already through the elevator, so I did.
When I opened my eyes, I was sweating. Eli’s room was air-conditioned and I didn’t feel hot when I first came in. It was a cozy and cool room with lots of pillows and books. But when I woke up from that state, I was sweating bullets and I can feel a tangible heat that Eli was a witness too, as well.
I told Eli everything that I felt and experienced inside that space. It was surreal. I never thought I even had a younger self inside me but there she was and I held her. I felt her heat in my arms. Eli tried to help me process the event but ultimately said that what happens afterward will be up to me.
Months passed after that, and many more things happened to me. The bad moments were getting heavier and heavier and I was unsure about me getting through anything at all. But, the fact that I know that I have an inner, younger self within me helped me cope. I tried to understand myself a bit more, and so I tried to forgive myself more because those bad things happened at a time when I didn’t know better. I couldn’t have known what was right and what was wrong.
I was growing, and so was the child me that was inside me. Meeting myself at a younger age helped heal wounds from my past that I thought I’d already healed but instead were festering and making me ill.
Eli told me afterward that our session strayed from the usual Psych-K sessions that we did, but she told me she was very thankful for the experience of seeing just how powerful the mind is. She told me that the mind and our bodies are so powerful that we can literally heal ourselves with just a bit of nudging.
I’m so thankful for these wildly unpredictable but helpful afternoons with Eli. You never know what you’re going to discover about yourself and the world unless you walk into her doors at UNLTD.