Swan Mothers

Discovering Ourselves through Parenting

On Allowing 

Whether we allow it, or not
Life moves through us. 

Events happen. 

We are changed. 

When we cease resisting, we Allow,
and the flow of Life and Change THROUGH us,
is not impeded. 
It does not get stuck
in our muscles and bones. 
It moves. 

We shake and tremble. But we do not stop the flow, 
so it doesn’t stop us. 
This is why we cannot resist sleep.
Our KNOWINGNESS gets us out of the way for a while. 
And sleep is fine. 
So is conscious relaxation into life. 
So is conscious allowing. 
So is conscious accepting.
This is Loving What Is. 
This is Loving Our Selves. 
This is Love. 

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I Wish I Knew

What brings you such joy
that you gleefully giggle?
What brings you distress,
and sad, anxious sighs?
I gaze in green eyes.
I yearn to uncover
the mysteries in you
answers to whys.

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Making Your Own Lucky Day

Irish history is filled with difficult times that make the heart weep:  invasion, colonization, exploitation, starvation. Does this suggest that the Luck of Irish is bad luck?

Or, does the phrase “Luck of the Irish” have its origin in the days of the Wild West (in the United States) when many Irish people struck it rich during the Gold Rush or were prosperous in silver mining? Sadly, this metallically auspicious time has a shadow.  Many non-Irish Americans of those days didn’t think the Irish were capable of success through intelligence or hard work, so they attributed the accomplishments of the Irish to luck.

What do you think?  Are some people just lucky, while others are not?

Dictionary.com Says

luck [luhk]

noun

1.  the force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person’s life, as in shaping circumstances, events, or opportunities: With my luck I’ll probably get pneumonia.
 
2.  good fortune; advantage or success, considered as the result of chance: He had no luck finding work.
 

Creating Reality

Lucky me! I have children who are anything but normal. If they were normal, they would have been subject to living slightly improved replicas of my and my husband’s life.

Because my children are not mini-mes or mini-their-daddys, they get to live their own lives. And, their magnificent uniqueness has made me a better me.

Lucky Mothers of Unusual Kids

Rhonda K. Welling posted the following on my Facebook Page and gave me permission to share.  I read similar stories almost daily:  Mothers who, at first, feel unlucky because their children have autism, or ADHD, or a hearing disability, or extreme crankiness, become grateful for the children and lives they have.

Before my son, I lived a life I wasn’t proud of. I took a lot, and I mean a lot, of things for granted. When Anthony was diagnosed with autism, I honestly didn’t know anything about autism and was one of them people who thought I never had to worry about it cause I would never have to deal with it.

My son taught me to look at the world through the eyes of a child with autism. He taught me not to take the small things for granted, for example, rain, sand, grass, trees, clouds. Not to ever take for granted the words a child speaks to you. He actually stopped talking for 2 years. And 3 years after his diagnosis, he said “Anthony love mama this much” and he stretched out his little arms as far as they would go. Just them few words changed my life forever. I didn’t see autism at that point. I seen what a beautiful boy I was blessed with.

You have no idea how much it annoys me to hear someone tell their child to be quiet or even worse..shut up because what these people don’t think about is sometimes they do. I missed hearing his voice, hearing his laugh, seeing his smile.

He is 8 years old now and he has taught me to see beauty in the small things, including autism. It’s amazing to me that they say parents teach their kids, but I think in a true sense Anthony has taught me more then I could ever learn from some book. He has taught me unconditional love and acceptance of everyone and everything around me.

Becoming the Force

“You get what you get and you don’t get upset,” children learn to chant in kindergarten.

The truth is, we do get upset. We grieve. We rage. We yell at our children. We also heal, change, and evolve. We become the Force in our children’s lives, in our own lives, and in the world.

“The force is an energy field created by all living things, it surrounds us, it penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.” Obi-Wan to Luke

I became the Force in my life by learning about and using homeopathic remediestapping on my meridian points, and embracing ideas that, at one time, would have been unimaginable for me. I evinced my role as the Conscious Creator of my life.

How are you unleashing the Force in Your Life?

I’d love to know.  Leave a comment or send me a note. Or stop by the Swan Mothers’ Group and start a conversation.  You are not alone.

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Beyond Labels: Lessons from Autism and Parenting

When I started blogging, I thought my topic would be autistic and neurodivergent children and their mothers.  The more I wrote, the more challenging it became to work the words autism and autistic into the text. Writing “autistic child” felt forced.  Why? I wondered.

I realized that I don’t relate to the term “autism mother” and everything I write applies to all of my children – not just to my autistic son. It is not because he is not special, but because they all are. We all are.

I could write about IEPs and the gluten free diet and innovative therapies for autistic children.  But there are already many blogs, newsletters, books and magazines on these topics.  They are being done well by other people.

I find myself sharing wisdom imbued in me by my children.  I write about what I’ve learned along the way that has made our lives healthier, easier and happier in the hope that you will benefit.

The word autism turned my world upside down and inside out.  I would not be who I am without it. I am also ready to move beyond the label. What do you think?  I’d really love to hear your thoughts on labels in the comment boxes below.

Beyond the Label:  Lessons from Autism

Only one of my children is diagnosable and sports a recognizable label:  autism. When I think about him, I do not think, “My autistic child.”  I think of him as Daniel. I think of my quirky daughter as Ellana and my intensely principled son as Jonathon. I see each as a uniquely magnificent individual.  All three are beyond labeling or categorizing.  There is no normal in my house.

What is normal?

Synonyms for normal include:

·         typical

·         average

·         unsurprising

·         ordinary

·         common

Would you like to eat a common chocolate, drink an unremarkable wine, drive an average car, or take an ordinary vacation? Might you prefer chocolate that is uncommonly delicious, a wine that is remarkably silky, a car that offers a surprisingly refined ride, and an extraordinary vacation?

Why then are typical, ordinary, normal children seen as ideal? We don’t hunger for mediocrity in other aspects of life, yet we yearn for uneventful meals, ordinary nights and unremarkable parent-teacher conferences.

We are burdened by the notion that children should be a certain way.  That life should be a certain way.

How They Should Be, How They Are

Most people, either consciously or unconsciously, expect their children will be like them.  Fathers place tiny, spongy footballs in the cribs of their infant sons in loving anticipation of lives of athletic stardom.  Mothers play classical music for babies and take toddlers to Kindermusik to develop well-rounded, cultured children.  Grandmothers study little faces to see who the which family members the babies look like.

All of this usually comes from a place of love for the child and delight at the prospect of another chance at life.
But then something happens.  The future athlete can’t learn to ride a bike or pay attention to directions.  He certainly can’t throw or catch the ball.  The upcoming Miss Charming throws spectacular tantrums and refuses to listen to music.
Teachers and doctors and specialists say its autism or some other dis-order and the parents’ world turns upside down.

What’s in a name?

. . . language is entirely symbolic.  Words aren’t real.  They’re simply scribbles, doodles and sounds to which we assign meanings stored in the brain as images, feelings, and sounds:  mental constructs only vaguely approximating the objects they represent.   We use words to manipulate the mental representations, rarely scrutinizing our constructs under the light of physical reality.

–From Mark Rostenko’s article The Unnamed in Obscurious Moo
At first, the label is a lifeline.  It explains why our children are the way they are.  The words give us something to research:  autism, PDD-NOS, ADHD, sensory integration disorder, reactive detachment disorder.  The words connect us to others like us and are a way to find information.

Eventually though, we realize that our child’s -ism or disorder is not exactly like that of other children.  His or her most triggering behaviors and traits AND most endearing ones are quite unique.

Some suggestions about his or her condition are right on.  Others don’t work at all.

None of us fits neatly into a box.
We are all alike.  We are also all different.

Play a Game

When looking at your child’s differences or noticing people who seem entirely unlike you, play a game.  Say,“Just like me, this person….”

Notice the ways we are all connected. Notice  the ways we are uniquely magnificent.

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11/11 Gateway to Easier, Happier Mothering

11/11. The ones of today’s date seem to create gates.

  • Wouldn’t it be nice if we could step through a gateway to an easier, more joyful life with our children?
  • Wouldn’t it be nice if today were the day to take this step?
Whether your are reading this on November 11 or on a day with no elevens in the number at all, consider that today can be the day. Read on for some ideas for stepping into easier, happier living.

Reaching for “A Little Better”

Are you content with life? How do you see your children today? How do you feel?

Esther and Jerry Hicks created an Emotional Guidance Scale  that helps us move from feeling bad to feeling better about whatever we are experiencing.

In looking at the chart, most of us yearn to be at the top, in the purple zone. Even the blue and green areas look good. We want to feel hopeful and happy and to appreciate our children and our lives.  However, if we are currently in the gray or burgundy zones of guilt or grief or despair, the leap to joy seems inconceivable.

Instead of aiming for giant leaps, it is usually easiest and most productive to move through one gateway at a time. Sometimes, we simply step through. At other times, we must knock and a door will open. Once in a while, we need a battering ram.

Wouldn’t It Be Nice?

One way to move up a level its to find something — anything — that feels good about the current situation.
  • In the midst of a tantrum, consider finding something good. “My child is safe. I am staying calm and looking for a good way to handle this moment.”
  • When you child struggles to communicate, consider, “We have wonderful speech therapists. Look how she tries to show  me what she wants!”
  • As your child insists on the thousandth meal of the same food, think, “It is so easy to feed him. I know what he wants.”

Celebrate Success, Celebrate Yourself and Your Child

Every step is one that brings you closer to the Joy Zone. Anger and rage may not, by conventional standards, seem like a good thing. But anger and rage let you know that your do not feel powerless. You are moving closer to hopefulness and joy.

Tools for the Journey

Please browse the blog archives for tips for really easy ways to support you as you step through each level.
Consider exploring:

Next time you see 11:11 on the clock, take a deep breath and think of one thing that feels good about that moment. Every good feeling that you focus on will bring you closer to more experiences that feel good.

 

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The Story of Writing a Book

I had it in me all along.
Of course.
But I didn’t know.
Didn’t admit it.

Modesty,
sometimes very real,
sometimes really phony,
fell away.
Realization came in flash:
I would write a book.

IMG_6117

Imbued with insight
from an experienced author-coach,
Supported in camaraderie
by a circle of  writers,
I stripped bare
revealing, repeatedly, my Self.

Though I prefer the safety of caves and shadows,
silence deep in the forest,
stillness of night,
though exposure felt odd and new,
writing felt right.
I wrote.

IMG_2262

On October 22, 2012, the paperback edition of Swan Mothers was published.

On October 31, 2012, the Kindle edition was released into the world.

Scan

Publications was . . . anticlimactic. The road to holding the book in my hands had been long, winding, and interspersed with reroutings. And yet, there was a feeling of having arrived. I had accomplished something Big. I had written and published a (really awesome) book. I knew my book would heal mothers and improve the lives of children. I know it will transform the world.

The knowing is ephemeral, slippery.
One day, I know,
KNOW for sure.
The next,
I know nothing at all.

A reviewer writes:
someone has put into words and clarified for me what my soul knows to be true
and my soul sings.

No books sell for a month,
and I wonder why I wrote at all.
Why did You lead me to believe this work was Divinely inspired?
Why did You make me think taking myself and my family public was acceptable?
Why, oh, why, am I here?

One year later:
Exposed.
Stripped.
Exhibited.
Wondering
where to go, now that I’ve arrived,
what to do, now that this work is done.

P1010101

 

Editing to say, you can buy Swan Mothers from Amazon.com.

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The Amazingness of Atypicalness in the Age of Half-Bloods, Wizards and Magical Creatures

All around the world, influenced by brilliant stories from gifted authors, children who thought they were different in a bad way are discovering that they are, in fact, different in a magnificent way.

  • Harry Potter thinks there is something wrong with him because his family forces him to live in the cupboard under the stairs.  Plus, he “makes things happen” and can talk to snakes.
  • Percy Jackson has profound ADHD and dyslexia.  He’s so “bad” that he has never been able to attend the same school two years in a row.
  • Elissa is being raised by an old woman as a servant in a castle and knows only that her mother is dead.  Yet, she is the daughter of a king and deeply connected to the Earth by her magical powers.
  • Aang is the last of his kind.  He is the only person left on the planet with the ability to bend air.

At the heart of every myth and legend lies a grain of truth.

Grain:  The smallest possible amount of anything, a small, hard seed – the essence, crux, heart, significance, or soul of the matter.

How do the stories of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Elissa and Aang reflect what is going on with our real, uniquely magnificent children?

It is neither surprising nor coincidence that there so many hugely popular books and movies about magical children have been produced in the past two decades.  This is the same time span during which magical children began appearing on Earth in large numbers.

Many of today’s children are called indigo, crysal or rainbow, autistic, ADHD, atypical or neurodivergent. They probably arrived via quite-ordinary birth.  But those who are paying attention see clearly that there is something different about our children.  Some want to call the differentness disorder or disability. I call it magic.

Learning from the Magical Heroes

Each of the characters mentioned above must find his or her own way for the old ways no longer work.  The premises have changed.  Their perceptions of themselves have been turned upside down.

Harry must shift his perspective from the Muggle to the Magical World.  Percy has to embrace his god-nature.  Elissa, a humble girl who knew her own mind even if she did not always choose to speak it, embraces her mission and taps into powers she had not realized she possessed.  Aang, at only 11 years old, must restore balance in the world.

As our heroes become attuned to their powers, they realize that with great power comes great responsibility.  This can be a heavy burden for a child or teenager to carry.  Our heroes waver, err, and complain, but they stay true to their calling.

In each of the books of the Harry Potter series, the Percy Jackson Series, the Phoenix Rising Trilogy (Elissa’s story) and the Avatar:  The Last Airbender Saga (Aang’s story), it is not only the hero who is magical.  Friends and enemies have magical powers too.  Our heroes do not possess unique gifts.  They possess gifts that are available to many.

As we notice our children’s gifts and talents, it is useful to consider:

  • What are my gifts and talents?
  • What can I do differently than I have always done it until now?
  • Am I working from an obscured premise?

Parenting the Heroes

In many fictional accounts, the heroes’ parents are conveniently missing. Harry’s parents are dead.  Percy’s mother, fully human, is not allowed at Camp Halfblood and his father, a god, does not have time for his half-human children.  Elissa’s mother is dead and her father is missing.  Aang’s parents have been dead for almost a century.

For those of us parenting magical children, there is no hint in these books of what the children might need from us.  We are left with a bit of insight into the children, but with no new information on what is required of us.

You must get used to the fact that there are many things in magic which are not and never will be explained. God decided to do certain things in a certain way and why He did this is a secret known only to Him.”  (Paulo Coelho in Brida.)

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It

“May your path be one of peace in times of peace, and of combat in times of combat.  Never confuse one with the other.”  (Paulo Coelho in Brida.)

Again and again we are presented the lesson that there is nothing to do but carry on, taking one step and one second at a time, learning what we can when we can, being willing to walk in the dark.  Without a roadmap or a manual, we learn to listen and watch our children and our hearts.  We figure out a way to make it through each day.

I love listening to podcasts. Here’s a good one about being your true self.

 

In Autistic Hermione Thoughts, autistic blogger Alyssa of Yes, That Too, writes about reading Hermione as an autistic person.

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Magic for Muggles: Change the Way You See and Experience EVERYTHING

Sometimes, muggles get really lucky and stumble upon some magic.  Magic we can actually do.  Easily, consistently.

I had such an experience when I attended a Matrix Reimprinting seminar with Karl Dawson.  (The photo shows me, Karl and my friend Linda Friedman Jones at the seminar.)  Even though I have known about EFT for many years, even though I had finally figured out how to use if effectively, I had no idea about the amazingly transformative power of meridian  tapping.

What is Matrix Reimprinting?

Matrix Reimprinting is a new meridian tapping technique developed by EFT Master Karl Dawson.  Like EFT, Matrix Reimprinting often resolves long-standing emotional and physical issues.

By changing

  1. how you perceive old events

  2. how ingrained ideas shape your words and actions

Matrix Reimprinting can be used to create a life you love by creating better energy flow in your body

During a Matrix Reimprinting session, we tap on points that have been used in acupuncture for thousands of years.  Most of the points we use are at the ends of meridians.

Meridians are channels for energy flow just as blood vessels and arteries are channels for blood flow.  Emotional, chemical and physical trauma can disrupt the flow of energy in the meridians.  When the energy is obstructed, disease may result.

We can correct the flow of energy by stimulating the meridian points.  In EFT and Matrix Reimprinting, we do this by tapping on them.

How is Matrix Reimprinting different from EFT?

In conventional EFT, tapping on meridian end points is used to take the emotional intensity out of a past memory. When an issue is resolved with EFT, you are able to recall your most traumatic and stressful life memories without any emotional disruption or stress.  This is a useful healing strategy since most disease results from stress.

When an issue is resolved using Matrix Reimprinting, the memories associated with it are actually transformed.

During the Matrix session, the practitioner will guide you as you go into a past memory.

There, you may say and do what you wished you had said and done.  You will be shown how to bring in people or tools to support you in any way that you need.  You will recreate the recorded picture in your memory. This will transform your reflexive reactions in situations that were triggering an unwanted response.

But these things did happen!  No one can change that.

In Matrix work, we never deny that an event occurred.  We do not use distraction techniques. In fact, we recognize that the best way to transform a situation is to be fully present in it.  You will not relive the situation.  Matrix Reimprinting is a very gentle technique – easier to demonstrate than to explain.

Experience Matrix Magic

Matrix Reimprinting is an essential part of all of my group sessions.

Physically, mentally and emotionally healthy parents, family members and caregivers create a healthy life for autistic, ADHD, and other children with special needs.

Want to know much more about Matrix Reimprinting?  You can read all about it in Matrix Reimprinting Using EFT:  Rewrite Your Past, Transform Your Future by Karl Dawson and Sasha Allenby.

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Lazy Parenting: Doing Things for Our Children

Daniel was working on his homework on morning while I fried eggs for breakfast.  Not understanding a math problem, he became frustrated.  As he gritted his teeth and whined, I turned around and quickly solved the equation for him.  “There you go!” I said turning back to the stove.  Instead of politely thanking me, he cried,“No, no!  Don’t do it for me.  Teach me!”

Later that day, I saw this exchange on Facebook:

Talisman Camps and Programs When is it appropriate and helpful to be a “helicopter parent” for your special needs child? When does it become unhelpful?

Natalia When our children are in distress, it is time to step in and support them. We don’t need to facilitate every event and interaction because they are not doing it the way we think is best.

Talisman Camps and Programs Natalia, we like how you say “Support” but do not equate that with “do for”

Ouch!  There was my post from just a few days before along with a compliment on not “doing for” our children when that is exactly what I had done that very morning.

How humbling.

I completely and totally believe that, as parents, we should support and facilitate our children’s endeavors, be they social interactions or math problems.  Yet, in my haste, I had taken the lazy way out. I did the problem for him instead of making a suggestion that may have given him the information he needed to do the problem himself.

I could have facilitated a moment of learning and confidence.  Instead, my actions said, “You’re too slow.  Here.  I’ll do it for you.  You probably couldn’t do it anyway.”

Reading the Talisman posts that evening, I realized:

When I am lazy or hurried, I “do for” rather than support.

In general, I have no objection to laziness.  I am a big fan of down time, reading, lounging around, and just being.

In this situation though, my laziness and doing what was easiest in the moment, did not serve my child.  Ultimately, it will not serve me.

We want our children to slow down and pay attentionI am committing to slowing down and paying attention myself.  I will pay attention to my children and how I can best serve them.

When my children are struggling, I will take a deep breath and ask:  “How can I help?”  I will listen to what they say and provide the support they need.  Instead of parenting by reflex, I will pay attention to the habits that are driving my actions and change them when needed.

It is infinitely more important to me that my children become confident and self-sufficient – including asking for what they need – than that they get perfect grades on homework assignments or act “right” according to some unspoken rules.

Allowing Success, Building Confidence

When children do things on their own, they learn:

  • I can do hard things.

  • I’m good at figuring stuff out.

  • Mama trusts me.  She believes I can do it.

When parents constantly jump in and do things for them, they learn:

  • I can’t do anything right.

  • Mom and Dad do everything better for me.

  • Mom never let’s me do anything.  She must think I’m stupid.

What are you teaching your children?  Will you join me in slowing down and paying attention?

We can learn from what we say and write and think.  We have all the wisdom we need inside ourselves.

I will be taking my own advice.  When my children are deeply frustrated, I will support them.  I will encourage, give a hint, teach.  I will still do things for them of course.  It is one of the ways I show my love.  But when I do for them, it will be from a place of love – not because it is more convenient for me.

Next time they are tying their shoes or clearing the table too slowly, I will let them be. Except, when I slip and interfere and forget or neglect to be the mother I want to be. But I already wrote about that.

Getting to This Place

By gathering with other mothers and supporting them as they support us, we move along in our parenting journey.  Support groups for mothers starting soon.

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Tools and Words for Reducing Anxiety in Children (Part 1: Changing Old Stories)

Many mothers have noted that their children are anxious.  They eat too much or too little, have trouble falling asleep or wake during the night,  cry easily and melt-down.

As parents, we want to help our children to feel better. We can teach them how to get to a calmer, more relaxed place on their own.

If you have observed that your child is very anxious, consider these questions:

1.       When did this anxiety start?

2.       What makes it better or worse?

3.       What words does my child at these times?

4.       How does she act when stressed or anxious?

If the Anxiety has an Obvious Cause or Starting Point, Use Matrix Reimprinting

Matrix Reimprinting (MR) is a method that engages imagination and problem-solving abilities in a way that changes perception of old events.  Changing perception changes our experience of everything.

Was your child embarrassed by some incident at school?  Was he in an accident?  Did she see something that scared her?

All of us are shaped by our experiences.  Believe it or not, we can change events so that our children are left with a positive (or neutral) experience of them.

How to Facilitate a Matrix Reimprinting Session for Your Child

1.      Ensure that you are calm and centered.

Take a few deep breaths.  If you have strong feelings about the experience you wish to address with your child, do your own work before working with your child.

2.      Choose a peaceful, relaxed time to be with your child.

I like to tap with my children at bedtime.  Reading a book or a foot massage may facilitate a transition to quiet time.

3.      Introduce what you are doing in a way that is appropriate for your child.

“I have learned a magical way to make you feel better.  Would you like to try it?”

If your child says no, please respect his or her choice.  The goal is to empower our children – not to force them to do something against their wills.  We can always try again at a later time if our children seem receptive or interested.

Choose one of these methods for tapping or present your child with these choices:

  • Tap gently on your child while he tells the story of what happened.  (Click on the Super-Easy Tapping Guide to learn the tapping points.)
  • Instead of tapping, touch and hold the tapping points gently while he talks.
  • Model for your child by tapping on yourself.  Encourage her to tap on herself if she is receptive.
  • Use a doll or stuffed bear to demonstrate the tapping.  Encourage your child to tap on the bear while she tells her story.  You can ask, “How did bear feel when his friend pushed him?”  Let your child use her own words as she taps.

4.      Telling the Story

Begin tapping on your child and continue to tap throughout the process.

Encourage your child to close his eyes and see a picture of the incident that you suspect initiated his anxiety.  (There may be many contributing incidents.  Use whichever story the child chooses to tell.  You can work with other incidents at a later date.)

As he describes the scene, tell him to step into the picture and describe what he sees.  What is going on with his younger self that we all the ECHO?  Is the ECHO scared?  Angry?  Confused?

He can then approach his ECHO, introduce himself, and offer to help him by tapping on him.

Using his imagination, your child will tap on the ECHO using simple phrases (see earlier posts) that reflect what the ECHO is feeling.  For example:  Even though you’re very scared because you fell and are bleeding, you’re going to be o.k.  Even though it hurts, your body knows how to heal itself and you can call for help.

In the Matrix, your child has magical powers and can bring in any resource his ECHO needs to feel better.  His ECHO gets to choose.  Perhaps a trusted relative, a doctor, a teacher, or an angel will come to reassure the ECHO that all is well.  Sometimes, the ECHO wants an object to help him – a magic cape to protect him, a toy for comfort, a weapon to defend himself.

Encourage him to provide his ECHO with all he needs to feel better.  Continue to tap on your child as he taps on or talks to his ECHO.

When the ECHO has no further requests and is satisfied that all is well, the ECHO may choose to do anything he wishes.  Often, young ECHOs will want to go play.

At this point, ask your child to observe the new, happy scene.  Ask him to imagine this new picture coming in through the top of his head and filling up his body.  Let him send this new picture out into the Universe.

Then, have him open his eyes.  Stop tapping.

Encourage your child to notice if he  feels different.  Remind him that he can always tap on himself or his ECHOs to feel better.

If you would like to experience a guided EFT/meridian taping session, please contact me. Free tapping circles for mothers coming soon.

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Living an affirmative, creative life by Patricia Robin Woodruff