How to Get Unstuck: Moving Your Emotions With A Set-Up Statement

Karate Chop PointHow many times have you felt something but didn’t want to feel that way?

Have you ever felt anger but then tried to rationalize your anger away? I’m sure she didn’t mean it that way. I’m overreacting again.

Have you ever felt ashamed but then swallowed that feeling, hoping it would never surface again, if only you could keep pretending it didn’t exist? What’s wrong with me? Nobody else seems to have this problem. Why can’t I get this right?

What about sadness? Have you ever felt tears prickling your eyes and a lump swelling in your throat, only to dismiss these emotions and to ‘not let them show’? He can never see me cry or know how much this is hurting me.

IMG_9837All of us have experienced emotions that we don’t want to feel at some point, and

Each of us has an assortment of ‘signature moves’ when it comes to dealing with these feelings.

Maybe you bury your feelings. Or deny them. Or ‘talk yourself out of them’. For some people, it’s all about projection: She’s so immature! I hate it when she does that! And for many people, the way ‘out’ of feelings (…but not really) is to judge and criticize yourself for feeling that way. Uh-huh.

For most of us, the idea that we can actually feel our emotions and then let them go seems too simple to really work or be effective. This idea is way too ‘out there’ and ‘woo-woo’, am I right? We have been trained our whole lives to work hard and to achieve more, so this notion that we can simply acknowledge our feelings in order to release them causes us to narrow our eyes in suspicion. (Yep, speaking from personal experience here.)

It’s true, though:

Sometimes the best way through our most difficult and uncomfortable feelings is to simply acknowledge them as they are.

Even if you feel like this.

Even when you feel like this.

How can we do that? I’m happy you asked. :) In today’s post, we’re going to learn ‘The Set-Up Statement’ from the EFT/Tapping sequence, which is a quick and easy way to name our feelings and to keep that energy moving healthily. The general ‘formula’ for a Set-Up Statement is as follows:

“Even though _____________, I love and accept myself.”

(Fill in the blank with what it is you want to address and also how you feel about that topic, e.g., “Even though I’m super angry with my son for never cleaning up after himself, even though he’s 16 and he totally knows better, I love and accept myself”. -OR- “Even though I have this killer pain in my lower back and I can barely move it hurts so much, I love and accept myself.”)


 

The Set-Up Statement is usually the first part of a Tapping sequence, and it is normally said three times while Tapping on the Karate Chop point. As you can see in the example above, the Set-Up Statement introduces the topic that you will be Tapping on, and it also acknowledges how you feel about that particular issue (or emotion, person, situation, etc.).

The Set-Up Statement combines the physical motion of Tapping with the totally transformative act of talking to yourself out loud. (I know this seems silly– if not a little horrifying– but trust me: it works.) Together, the electrical impulse of Tapping and your true acknowledgement of how you really feel work to calm your stress response down and to communicate to your nervous system that all is well. This helps to ‘un-stick’ your emotions and to help you feel lighter and brighter overall.

Yes, lighter and brighter like this!

Yes, lighter and brighter like this!

The Set-Up Statement is usually considered the ‘preamble’ to a full Tapping sequence, but I have often done just the Set-Up Statement for myself and left it at that, without proceeding to tap through an entire round afterward. Depending on your particular topic and feelings, it can be just as effective to do the Set-Up Statement by itself as it would be to work through a whole Tapping routine, and especially if you’re pressed for time, energy, or privacy, a small amount of Tapping is always better than no Tapping at all. Definitely don’t feel that you need to commit a whole hour to Tapping– 5 minutes works wonders as well!


 

In this video, I’m sharing an example of what it looks like to create and work through a Set-Up Statement. Each of my three Set-Up Statements in the video is different (partly because I was improvising and couldn’t remember what I had said earlier- ha!), but when you are making your own Set-Up Statements, it might help at first to just repeat the same statement three times while tapping on the Karate Chop point. It’s all good!

Here is what this video covers:

  • What a Set-Up Statement is
  • The “Even though _______________, I love and accept myself” format of the Set-Up Statement
  • Using the Set-Up Statement to tap on the issue of body weight: feeling uncomfortable with your weight and feeling critical of yourself for being uncomfortable with what you weigh (!)
  • Variations on the theme– you’ll be able to see me improvising and personalizing the basic Set-Up Statement formula on the spot, which demonstrates how flexible and customizable the ‘formula’ really is
  • The benefits of using a Set-Up Statement: keeping your energy flowing and your emotions ‘in motion’

Want to get the hang of creating Set-Up Statements for yourself? Try it out in the comments below! Use the formula: “Even though ________________, I love and accept myself”, and fill in the blanks with your chosen topic and how you feel about that topic. I’m happy to guide and steer you if you’re feeling stumped or if you’re not sure if you’re on the right track. And until next week, xo! –Dana


 

PS: Very important!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m in the process of creating my new website (and it’s nearly ready, which I’m sooooooooo excited about!) It will be live really soon, so if you want to stay in the loop and not miss out when I migrate over to my own domain, I’d totally encourage you to sign up for my newsletter here. (I will be sending out my post notifications via a third party service instead of directly through WP on the new site, so signing up is the best… and only… way to keep receiving posts from me. Thanks a bunch!)

 

Losing Weight is Hard

Hey there! I hope you found last week’s journal exercise illuminating and that you were able to dive deep into your own past experiences losing weight (or at least trying to lose weight). If you missed the last post, you can check it out here and enjoy some quality, free-flow writing time to yourself. It’s all good– I can wait. :)

IMG_0314In today’s post, we’re going to tease out some common themes and beliefs around dieting, losing weight, and being healthy in general. These themes popped up in my own example, for sure, but don’t be surprised to see them applying to your own situation as well. (That’s why they’re called “themes” as opposed to “strangely specific elements that apply only to Dana Machacek”. Heh.)

Here’s the deal: what we believe about dieting, weight loss, and health all have a huge impact on our actual experiences. If I believe to the core of my being that a certain food is “good” for me, guess what? My body will most likely process that food with relative ease when I consume it. Likewise, if you’re convinced that you must diet in order to lose weight, and that dieting inevitably means a life sentence of deprivation and sacrifice in the name of smaller pants, well… that’s probably what you’ll experience, too.

Anyway. The reason why it’s so useful to write out your story is because that written account uncovers many of the thoughts and beliefs you hold about food, diets, losing weight, your body, and being healthy in general.  (And those beliefs, in turn, significantly shape your real-life experiences.) It might take some practice and some figurative archaeology to get at the juicy bits of your core beliefs, but once you expose some of the big ideas that you simply take for granted as “truth” or “the way things are”, you’ll find yourself in extremely fertile, deliciously transformative ground.

Yes, even as delicious as this!

Yes, as delicious as this!

The first theme I’m going to highlight here applies to any and all answers regarding “the last time I lost weight”, so if you took the time to journal your personal experience, heads up: this core belief applies to you.

Belief #1: I’m not okay the way I am now.

It’s not necessarily an explicit or overt belief, meaning that you might not see those very words glaring out at you from the pages of your journal. However, the very act of going on a diet, trying to exercise more, deciding to count your calories, or vowing to cut out “bad” foods from your eating plan suggests that something needs to change in order for you to feel good about yourself. This also (obviously) implies a lack of self-acceptance or self-love for the way you are right now.

Deep breath. This feeling is natural. (Disheartening, yes, but totally natural.)

The theme of “I’m not okay” is an insidious one, because it’s often disguised under the glossy-haired, pearly white cloak of self-improvement, and what could possibly be wrong with wanting to be healthy or trying to manage diseases and health issues? Nothing! But if you withhold love, acceptance, and care from yourself until some indeterminate point in the future when you can finally prove to yourself that you’ve ‘earned it’– sweetheart, you’re setting yourself up for an ongoing war with yourself. And life is challenging enough without that cursed Self vs. Self battle.

Listen: it’s totally fine to want to make positive changes in your life, to learn, to grow, and to blossom into the most radiant, shimmering version of yourself. I want you to shine so brightly that you illuminate the entire galaxy with your glow! But it’s important to be kind and gentle with yourself from Step #1, too. Losing weight shouldn’t be punishment for your eternal shortcomings or a way to whip your pathetic ass into submission. (How well has that worked out so far?) Instead, think of yourself as a dazzling being already. You’re gorgeous, talented, warm, and magnetic right now, and you can only become more so with each loving step you take in the direction of health.

From now on, consider this your seat: XO, self. I love you already.

From now on, consider this your seat: XO, self. I love you already.

Belief #2: Losing weight is hard.

Chances are, your weight loss story featured some variation on the This is Hard! theme. Whether you’ve tried point systems, portion control, food combination rules, counting calories or grams, logging the number of steps you’ve taken, following lists of what’s allowed and what isn’t, skipping meals, breaking large meals into smaller and more frequent snacks, or eliminating entire food groups (carbohydrates, fats, fruits, etc.) from your diet before, you’ve likely bumped up against the belief that Being Healthy Ain’t Easy, Sister.

My personal experiences trying to lose weight definitely impressed upon me that an intricate, scientific, and exquisitely complicated system had to be followed in order to obtain my desired results. Significantly, this system was never something I invented on my own– it was always an external program that I selected and then applied to myself. Also, the idea that I could somehow deviate from the program was unheard of, unless I didn’t mind not losing any weight and therefore totally defeating the purpose of being on a diet in the first place. Ha.

Maybe your story highlighted one of these versions of the “Losing Weight is Hard” belief:

  • Dieting is complicated.
  • I need to do a whole lotta work in order to see even small changes in my weight.
  • There is no room for error when it comes to dieting.
  • I have to follow all the rules perfectly, all the time.
  • Losing weight is time consuming.
  • Dieting is expensive.
This basically sums up how hard it is-- dieting is like crawling your way out of your very own grave!

This basically sums up how hard it is– dieting is like crawling your way out of your very own grave!

Belief #3: My (in)ability to lose weight is directly tied to my value as a person.  

Here’s where it gets personal. This core belief is tied closely to the This is Hard! theme; however, rather than just dealing with the weight loss process itself, Belief #3 makes evaluations about ourselves based on how well we either adhere to a program or achieve results with that program… or both.

For example, we might feel frustrated with complicated and often contradictory lists of foods that are “good for us/allowed” and “bad for us/not allowed”. Belief #3 takes this a step further, judging us as good and worthy people when we eat the allowed foods but condemning us as bad and terrible people when we eat the foods that aren’t allowed.

Here are some other variations on Belief #3 that you might have noticed in your own answer:

  • There is a proven formula for losing weight, and if I can just try hard enough and follow that program correctly, I will see results.
  • If I’m not losing weight, I must be doing something wrong.
  • If I’m not losing weight, I must not be trying hard enough.
  • If I’m not losing weight, there must be something wrong with me.
  • I’m bad/stupid/lazy/wrong for eating ________________.
  • When the number on the scale goes down, I’m incredible and awesome!
  • When the number on the scale goes up, I’m a worthless, no-good, stupid-assed failure!

Keep ’em coming now.

Revisit your story about the last time you lost weight, and try to uncover as many personal beliefs as you can about “what it takes” to lose weight or “the way things are” when it comes to your body, dieting, or being healthy. List them all out as though they were absolute facts or simple song titles:

Dieting is soooooo lame and superficial.

Feminists shouldn’t care about their weight or how they look.

Being overweight runs in my family: it’s genetic.

Being thin attracts unwanted attention.

Restaurants are off-limits when I’m on a diet.

Dieting spells disaster for my social life.

My body will be judged no matter what.

In the next post, we’re going to tackle what you can do with these core beliefs to either lessen their charge or to change and eliminate them completely. It’s usually not enough to just affirm the opposite of these beliefs to yourself. After all, you’re smart and extremely perceptive, and if– after years of believing that weight loss is hard– you suddenly start telling yourself, Losing weight is easy and natural for me!, your subconscious is going to call bullshit immediately. That’s okay– there are ways to work around that, and we’ll discuss some of those methods next week.

PS: Would you like some help distilling your themes and beliefs out of your personal story? If so, I’m happy to book a confidential session with you at no charge. All you need to do is e-mail me and we can set something up together. I’m excited to be working with several women already, but there’s always room for more. Thank you! :)

The Call: Part 3

There are two things you should know about heeding The Call of Your Calling:

1. It’s extremely liberating.

You (or, in this case, ‘Me’) can go from trying to cram the entire ocean into a delicate teacup, and the amount of sheer energy and willpower this frees up on a daily basis is incredible. Seriously, before I spoke with Dr. Divi, I felt like the Mother Loving Hoover Dam– holding everything together, resisting, keeping everything in its place, figuring things out, and making things work in a real stoic, concrete sort of manner. When she told me not to restrict the flow and to make every interaction an opportunity for healing, aahhhhhhhhh, I burst open in the most glorious and epic of ways! WHOOSH!! Out poured love, and energy, and my signature animated (read: awkward!) style of relating to other people. I entertained others with my stories and interpretive dance moves at the harbour! HEALING. I started coaching women outside of the harbour! HEALING. I looked like a maniac on my bike to and from work, declaring emphatically and most definitely out loud that I WAS A HEALER! (And guess what? That was healing, too! Well… it was healing for me and probably hilarious for witnesses.) Anyway. I treated the whole summer as an experiment in healing, and I emerged from the harbour season more exhilarated than exhausted for once.

IMG_0531

Watch in wonder as I insert photos of local humpback whales randomly throughout this post! Exhilarating!

That said, here’s the other thing you should know about heeding The Call of Your Calling:

2. It’s absolutely terrifying.

More terrifying than a humpback whale waving hello to you.

More terrifying than a humpback whale waving hello to you.

The Over-Achiever, Type A part of me likes to plan everything down to the last detail. Preferably in advance. I’ll figure out exactly what it takes to excel in a given situation, and then I’ll do it. Easy, right? Do I need to earn 6 credits in the History of Who Really Cares in order to graduate from this academic program? Consider it done. Should I eat nothing but cardboard and cabbage for 6 months in order to lose weight? That doesn’t sound so bad! Is it time to go play Perfect Daughter In Law at Marty’s parents’ place in Calgary? No problem– I’ll just prepare forty allergy-friendly recipes in advance and haul them in my backpack for 800 miles on the effin’ Greyhound bus. Whatever it takes– just tell me what to do, and I’ll do it.

Tell me how to wave like a humpback whale, and I'll do it.

Tell me how to wave like a humpback whale, and I’ll do it.

It’s different when it’s Your Calling, though.

Nobody but YOU can step into Your Calling.

Nobody but YOU can gauge how easily you slip into that garment and how well it fits.

It’s not about “planning”; it’s about claiming.

It’s not about “controlling”; it’s about trusting.

The compass shifts inward. The metrics become intuitive. And in a way, this is really exciting! But in another way, perhaps for a woman who is used to somebody older and more authoritative telling her how to get an A and then being done with it all? Well. It can be downright petrifying.  

*   *   *   *

Just another day at the office...

Just another day at the office…

Ahem. I am being Called, dear readers. And– finally– I am bowing at the feet of this Call, accepting this sacred invitation. I say yes now.

I am opening myself to healing and being healed.

I am committing myself to honesty, vulnerability, unadulterated freedom, and unabashed joy!

Part of this Calling involves working one-on-one with women as a coach. (I have started to do this already and am pretty amazed at the feedback I’ve received so far.)

Another part involves exploring the self-imposed limitations I’ve placed on myself in real time– self-written rules for how much love, joy, abundance, and freedom are “allowed” in my life before it’s time to call in the authorities and to turn the volume down. This will take place… soon. And out in the ‘field’ of life, at that! All that’s left to do is:

– finish packing up everything we own– again

– move out of the place we just moved into– uh-huh (last day is October 31!)

– dive heart-first into the adventurous unknown

Yes. I have heard The Call, and I have answered. Hello, this is Dana speaking…

 

The Call: Part 2

If Over-Thinking Everything is anything like karate, I’m totally a black belt by now. I’ve literally spent years turning tentative answers into infinite questions, and every time I seem to settle on ‘a solution’ to the mystery of my life’s calling, hi-ya! I judo kick open the door to irksome follow-up questions, namely “How?”, “How?”, “How?”, and “How?”

If it isn't obvious, I'm approaching the camera with the stealth and cunning of a ninja, ready to side kick my intuition to the curb and be an Over-Thinking Wizard for eternity!

If it isn’t obvious from this photo, I’m approaching the camera with the stealth and cunning of a ninja, ready to side kick my intuition to the curb and be an Over-Thinking Wizard for eternity!

Occasionally, I surprise myself by declaring “I’ll do this with my life!”, jolting myself into the unfamiliar territory of quiet certainty. Seconds later, though: Hi-ya! With the deftness and skill of a martial arts sensei, I return to the realm of interrogation and blast the Left Brain Soundtrack again, “How?”, “How?”, “How?”, and “How?”

The mystery that has dogged me for years is this:

I believe I am meant to be in the healing and helping professions… but how? 

Please, seagull on the beach. Teach me the answers to the mysteries of life...

Please, seagull on the beach. Teach me the answers to the mysteries of life…

Sigh. I’ve tried calculating the number of hours I’ll need to invest in further training, the number of dollars I’ll need in my bank account to fund said further training, and the number of certificates I’ll need in frames on my wall before I feel confident enough to just… do something helpful and healing with my life. (I know– cool and classy, right?)

Thankfully, I only had to run in circles for 32.5 years of my life before the Universe finally took pity on my harried self. Stellar report cards aside, it probably mused to itself, This Dana girl sure is a Slow Learner. I suppose that instead of telling her the same “healing and helping professions” message– which she is clearly not getting– we’re going to have to make things a little more simple for her.

This is when I came across Juliet*, a supremely amazing woman in Australia who offers palm reading, astrological chart reading, tarot card spreads, and generous intuitive wisdom. I’ve never met her in person before, but I stumbled across a thread of hers in the world wide web, let her know my date and time of birth on a whim, sent her some photos of my palms and fingertips, and soon received a recording of her intuitive reading in my inbox.

My astrological chart! SO COOL!

Plus my own, honest-to-god astrological chart! SO COOL!

The recording itself was about an hour long (and it totally made me cry, just so you know. Tears of being ‘seen’ and understood by someone I had never met, who lives halfway across the globe from me.) Anyway, here’s what came up a whole lot in the session:

You are a healer.

Not, You belong in the healing and helping professions.

Not, You should train to become something healing and/or helping in the near or distant future.

Not, You should become a Psychologist.

Not, You should get a degree in Clinical Counseling.

Not, You need to earn another certificate to put on your wall.

No: You are a healer. Now! Today! Right at this very moment!

Yes, you near the church bulletin board dressed in all black: YOU ARE A HEALER!

Yes, you near the bulletin board dressed in all black: YOU ARE A HEALER! (Be angry about it if you must, but do not sin.)

Wowza. I’d like to say that I listened to Juliet’s recording, snapped to my senses immediately, and promptly hung a “Healer: Open For Business” shingle on my door. But… I obviously didn’t. Instead, my eyes widened in alarm at the sheer magnitude of that word: healer. It felt too big for me– and I felt too awkward and clumsy for it– like trying to clomp around in my mom’s high heels when I was five years old. A recipe for disaster and twisted ankles!

Nonetheless, something inside of me shifted.

I stopped thinking about becoming a Psychiatrist or getting a Ph.D. in Metaphysics. (Granted, I did start a loose apprenticeship under an incredible EFT Wizard and Energetic Magician– not his real title, obviously– and I did enroll in a beta coaching training program, but at least I was no longer waiting around for some higher-sanctioned being to mysteriously grant me a degree in Good Enough. Baby steps, right?)

Anyway. I teetered on the edge of getting my shit together and diving into the world of Being A Healer for several months. I contemplated. I hesitated. But… I still didn’t ‘get’ it. I didn’t understand what it meant to Be A Healer or– more importantly– how on god’s green earth could do that. On days when I was feeling particularly confused and fragile, my mean-spirited side would imagine printing up business cards– “Dana M., Healer” typed on the front in a matter-of-fact font– and then I’d dissolve into a puddle of shame and mortification. Who the hell am I to be a healer?, I’d ask myself. That’s too big and I’m too small.

(At this point, I’m sure the Universe was shaking its head in disbelief at me. Woman! Are you serious? Gah. We’ll try this one more time…)

One. More. Time.

Angel wing shells: One. More. Time.

So, in the spirit of lifelong learning, I was sent yet another amazing teacher and mentor– fingers crossed for actual understanding of the message this time! Ha. This time around, universal insights and nourishing droplets of soul nectar came to me in the form of Dr. Divi Chandna— my mom’s GP as well as a bonafide Medical Intuitive. We had a session over Skype, and here’s what she said to me (in bold-faced caps, of course):

You. Are. A. Healer.

And when I spluttered, Me?! But how?!, Dr. Divi reiterated:

Not ‘How’. Let me spell this out for you: You ARE! ALREADY!! A Healer!

[dramatic pause for insights to sink in… followed by yet another instance of me not understanding] But no, seriously– how?? What kind of healer? What does that even mean?

(At this point, I’m sure Dr. Divi was connecting psychically to The Universe in mild exasperation, saying, Still nothing! She’s not getting it! Um, how else can we put this?)

Then, finally, words that clicked:

Don’t restrict the form. Let everything you do or say be healing.

Oohhhhhh….

This is me opening up like a dahlia...

This is me opening up like a dahlia to healing…

To be continued once more…

 

*I so, totally wish that Juliet had a website set up, because I would send everyone I know to her in droves. Alas… this is not the case just yet.