Tapping into the Present;
A Love Story
By Joanne Harvey MSW, Pro-EFT Master
As a Pro-EFT practitioner , I work with terminally ill patients and their families. I have clients that are not able to focus on the present and obsess on the what if’s, the anger of why
me, and the fear of what is going to happen in the future, and all the chores
that have to be done before the end. In short many are robbing themselves of
appreciating the present and all the abundant gifts that are available right
now. Meridian tapping techniques, as you will see from this story moved a brave
couple so fast into the present that it really doesn’t matter how long they have
together, the time they have will be full of quality and love.
Max and Sara are a fun-loving middle aged couple. Both newly retired with
exciting plans to travel the United States in their brand new RV. Sara is a
seven year breast cancer survivor. She was confident her cancer had been
eliminated. She took excellent care of her body, ate the right things and got
Sara was joyfully in charge of planning what they would pack in the RV. Max
helped, and with their arms full of food, linens and clothing, they eagerly
packed for their adventure. While climbing up and down the stairs, Sara noticed
that her back and ribs were aching. She realized she was getting tired to the
point of exhaustion after just a few hours preparing for their trip. She though
it must be arthritis but didn’t want any complications during the trip so she
made an appointment with her doctor.
Sara went alone, sure that her doctor would just write a new prescription and
she would be on her way. When the doctor probed deeper about her pain and
exhaustion she realized she might have misjudged her symptoms.
The doctor ordered tests. A week went by quickly, and the couple finished
their trip preparations. When the doctor’s office called they requested that
Sara and Max make an appointment to discuss the results. Sara really didn’t want
to know what the doctor had to say. By this time, in her heart, she already knew
the news was not good. But with Max at her side they heard the news together.
The tests were conclusive. Sara had a different type of breast cancer. This time she also had tumors on her ribs and spine. The doctor talked about many different treatments but none, he said, would really increase her life. The treatment could very well impact the quality of what life she had left.
To be sure she requested a second opinion and Sara went off to see the
oncologist she used for her first cancer, seven years ago. The oncologist didn’t
sugar coat it. Sara’s prognosis was poor. Sara faced a tough decision. Did she
want to receive chemotherapy? This treatment might increase the length of her
life but could possibly reduce her quality of life. The oncologist could not
guarantee a positive outcome even if she did complete all the treatments.
Max and Sara decided to wait to answer this question. The oncologist
encouraged Sara to make up her mind quickly. Sara had learned from her last bout
with cancer that what he was asking could very well impact the rest of her life.
Their future was riding on this decision. Sara and Max wanted to talk to the
family before giving the oncologist a decision.
Max and Sara called their four adult children to come to their home for a
family meeting. The kids and their spouses arrived and were told the news of
Sara’s cancer and its grim prognosis. The treatment was discussed, the side
effects, and the probable foreseeable conclusion, even with treatment.
All of them argued for their mother to be treated at all costs. They wanted
their mother to prove the doctor wrong. The kids saw no reason not to fight for
her life. They argued that she had many reasons to live and one was to see her
grandchildren grow up. Each family member was given an opportunity to be heard.
Then Sara got a chance to speak. Sara didn't want to die, she had a wonderful
family and a wonderful future planned, but the cancer had changed her life
focus. She wanted to live the rest of her life loving Max and the rest of her
family without being sick. She didn't want to give up the time she had left to
doctor’s appointments, treatments and side effects. Sara told the family she
would choose quality of life on her own terms, without intervention. She asked
each of her children to help honor her wishes.
Sara’s daughters understood immediately and agreed to do anything they could
to help. Her sons protested. They didn't understand how their mother could just
decide to let nature take its course. They knew her as a fighter; she always
expected the best from them. Now it was their turn to discuss what they believed
would be the best for her.
It was Max that stopped the dispute. He stood at the end of the dining room
table and with tears in his eyes said, "Your mother is doing the best she can.
She has always believed in living the best life and sharing that adventure with
each of you. Today and into the future your mom and I are asking that you
support us to continue to live with that passion and love." Max took a deep
breath, sat down and looked lovingly at Sara. The sons could see the decision
had already been made and with heart wrenching resolve, agreed and offered their
love and support.
For a while Max and Sara continued taking short trips away with friends and
enjoyed their time together. They watched old movies, took walks and generally
lived their life trying to capture every day together.
Eventually Sara’s pain became difficult to control. She didn't like to feel
drugged, so she resisted taking her pain medication. She realized that the
quality of life she so bravely talked to her children about was disappearing.
She turned to her family doctor asking for better drugs. At the appointment the
doctor said Sara had less than six months to live. He recommended hospice. He
said hospice could help her continue to live her life with better quality and
resolve some of her pain issues.
Sara and Max again called the family to come to the house. As a family they
met the hospice team and learned what was available to Sara and each one of
them. They were encouraged when they discovered that hospice patients usually
live with more quality and pain control than those who do not choose hospice.
The patient and family are supported by an inter-disciplinary team that
addresses the issues of a terminal illness. They learned that hospice is a
support team designed to enhance their life, not change it. There was no worry
that Sara would have to leave her lovely home. The team could provide the care
needed right there. With Max and the family helping out, caregivers would not be
As the hospice social worker I was impressed with the cohesiveness of this
family. They were supportive and each willing to do their part to help. It was a
wonderful testament to Sara and Max’s parenting. Only after a month of meeting
with Sara and Max did I discover they were a blended family. Their communication
was remarkable and the love apparent.
Sara met with me weekly. She was sweet and open. Sad about leaving Max and
her family, but determined to live whatever life she had left. I arrived for one
of our weekly meetings and she announced her obituary was finally finished. It
was the last chore on her list. She encouraged me to read it. It was a
beautifully simple rendition of her life, no frills, just a simple note about an
exceptional woman. I looked up from the paper and I saw relief and pride that
she had personally completed this last task. I also noticed pain showing through
her smile. Pain I had not noticed fifteen minutes before.
I remarked that she seemed uncomfortable. She tearfully told me that she was
experiencing pain often above a seven. At hospice we use a pain scale 1-10, one
means not an issue, ten means unbearable. She said medication controlled the
pain for a while but it returned with a vengeance in an hour or so. Usually pain
is addressed by the hospice medical staff, however since pain often has an
emotional dynamic, I asked Sara if I could try a technique I use to resolve many
emotional issues called Meridian Tapping. She said, "Well, I've got medication
if it doesn't work, but I’d like to give it a try." I asked her when this
extreme pain started and without hesitation she said, "Six days ago when Max and
I quarreled about something really silly." "Since then", she said, "he has been
distant and cranky." I asked her if Max would usually hold onto a
misunderstanding and she tearfully said, "No, never, he’s usually a sweet happy
guy. "I asked her where the pain was located and she said around her chest like
a tight steel band. I asked her if she could see any colors on it and she said,
"the band is blue and green with red angry swirls in it." I asked her to rate
the level of tightness from one to ten. She said it was an 8. We started talking
Sara was very willing and followed my lead. We started on the point on the
hand called the karate chop point and she repeated after me: "Even though Max is
distant and cranky and I’m not sure why, I do accept and love myself today. Even
though I have this tight, blue and green with red swirls feeling
like a steel band around my chest and the pain is an 8, I do honor and accept
myself. Even though for some reason Max is distant and cranky, and I have this
tight steel band around my chest, which is eight tightness, I do profoundly love
and accept myself today."
She followed the cadence and continued tapping on her meridian points, though
at the underarm point, I tapped on myself and she skipped that spot, because of
her pain sensitivity. We continued:
"This tight blue green with red swirls steel band that wraps around my chest,
I choose to let it go. This band that causes me pain around my chest, I choose
to release it. Max is distant and cranky, what’s up with that? The tight blue
green steel band around my chest, I choose to release it. Eight pain I choose to
let it go. This pain does not serve me; I choose to let it go. Max is cranky,
he’s never been cranky before, is he getting enough fiber in his diet?
(laughing) What if I chose to release this tight steel band that wraps around my
chest, would it be ok for me to do that, could I do that, just with this silly
tapping?" She was laughing again.
After one round over all her meridians I could see she was feeling better, so
we stopped. She took a deep breath and I asked her what her pain and tightness
level was. She said it had dropped down to a five. I asked why it was a five,
and she said she believes that since she has cancer she has to have some pain.
We started tapping again: "This five pain that wraps around my chest, tight
blue green with red swirls, feeling like a steel band. What if I let it go, this
five pain, could I let it go? Would it be OK to let it go? The cancer has
metastasized. Doesn’t that mean I have to have pain? What if I could loosen this
steel band? What if this steel band pain actually represents hurt feelings and
rejection? Could I let it go knowing that? Just by tapping and looking
ridiculous? (Laughter) I choose to let this 5 pain go. I choose to release this
pain and tightness into the universe to be used for good."
Now Sara was smiling. She reported that she really couldn't say she was in
pain at all and she didn't feel the steel band or see the colors any more. But
something still wasn't right. I asked Sara to tell me in a word or two that
described what wasn't right. She said "My connection with Max." So we started
tapping again, much more focused on her connection to Max.
"Even though I still feel like I have lost my connection with Max, I do honor
and accept myself. I can’t put my finger on exactly why I feel this way, it
could be I’m afraid of losing Max, or it could be that Max has been cranky and
distant which isn't normal for him. Even though for whatever reason I have a
shadow left of concern about Max and me, I choose to release whatever it is.
Today and every day I choose to focus on living the best life I possibly can in
the present tense, and I love that about myself."
We continued tapping through all the meridians, Sara following me. "I am
alive and in love with my best friend Max. I am happy that my life is so full of
abundance. My friends and family are loving and devoted. Today I have the gift
of the present. I honor and appreciate the health I do have. I ask my body to
send healing energy throughout my system. I choose to honor my life and make
every day the best day possible. Max loves me and I love him. What a great life
we have together. I forgive him for forgetting about the present and I forgive
myself for forgetting about the present. I choose to make every day count. I am
in charge of my focus and I choose to focus on the abundance I do have. I choose
to make every day count and I love that about myself."
Sara was truly beaming, she reported no pain and a feeling of overall
contentment that she had not had since her diagnosis. She asked if I would
consider tapping on Max.
I said "Of course I will, if Max agrees." Cancer is a family affair and Max
was obviously suffering too.
I found Max outside in the garden, obviously depressed. He was stooped over
watering some flowers. I asked him what was up. He said that for the last week
the realization that he was going to lose his wife "to the blasted cancer" was
just too terrible to bear. "I completed my list of things to do, now what do I
do?" he said with sadness in his voice. He and Sara, with the help of their
family, had every detail planned for her funeral. He had sold the RV and their
boat and completely cleaned out the garage. He felt like he didn’t have anything
else to do but sit and wait for the inevitable. He felt worthless to Sara
because he couldn’t fix her and he felt he didn’t have anything to offer her
He and I talked for a while more and I asked if he would consider allowing me
to teach him meridian tapping. He agreed, remarking he would do anything to make
this horrible worthless feeling go away. I asked him to rate how worthless he
felt, with the same scale I had used with Sara, he said his level was a ten.
We started to tap: "Even though I am completely worthless to Sara and I can’t
make her better I would like to honor myself today. What’s the point I am losing
her before my eyes, I am totally worthless. I feel like I am absolutely useless.
Even though there is nothing I can do to make her better, and I feel like an
idiot tapping on myself, I would like to profoundly love and accept myself
anyway. Even though I feel like I am completely worthless to Sara, I do love her
dearly and I love that about myself."
We continued tapping on other meridian points: "I’m completely worthless to
Sara. I can’t fix it and my "To Do" list is done. What’s the point? There is nothing I can do. I am worthless to Sara now. Well I’m not completely worthless; I can still mow the lawn. (laughter) And she does get lonely if I’m not around. But I can’t fix her cancer and it really
makes me mad! (tears) I’m the man! I’m supposed to protect my family and fix
things (more tears) and I can’t do either anymore! I’m not holding up my side of
the bargain, I’m supposed to protect her! (tears) I’m really angry; it’s not the
way it’s supposed to be. We already fought the cancer beast and I thought we
won! This is not my dream of retirement! I’m mad as hell and I don’t know who to
take it out on! I’m worthless, no, I’m not, I’m angry oh, so angry, and I’m
frustrated because my To Do list is completely done! But with all this anger and
frustration about what I can’t do, I’m missing the little things I can do."
I asked Max how his feelings of worthlessness were doing. He blinked his eyes
and said "Well I’ll be damned; I think it’s not so strong." We continued: "What
if I let the belief that I have to fix Sara go? What if I let this worthless
feeling go? What if I realized that I am wasting time worrying about what I
can’t change? What if I let this worthless feeling go? It’s not serving me and
it’s not serving Sara. What if I just let it go? Could I let it go? Would I
still be a good husband if I let it go? I am a good husband and I love my wife
dearly. I would change this situation in a minute if I could but I can’t, I am
doing the very best that I can under the circumstances.
We stopped, Max seemed a lot lighter. His level of feeling worthless had
dropped to a two. And he was smiling. I asked him why he still had a two level
left and he said he was a little guilty for wasting time avoiding Sara. We
talked more about how useless guilt is.
Guilt limits our potential and stops us from living in the present. We
started tapping again. All meridian points: "I choose to release any guilt about
what I have or have not done in the past. I can’t change it and it’s a big waste
of time. I choose to live my life in the present with love and abundance. I
choose to wake up every morning and ask myself how I will make this day
fabulous. I am grateful for my wife and honor what a wonderful loving woman she
is. I choose to be happy and light and deal with all my life challenges with
honor and integrity. I chose to give myself a break when I can’t fix it. I am a
loving, wonderful husband. My wife loves me, my kids love me, my dog loves me
and I love that about myself. I release any useless emotions that keep me from
experiencing the present as it should be; full of love and beauty. I choose to
see the beauty and abundance that is mine to appreciate every day. I choose to
live in the present and appreciate every moment I can with my wonderful wife
Max looked like he had grown six inches. His posture was straight and he was
so much brighter. He said he wanted to start with his present right now. He
walked into the house and gently hugged Sara and told her how much he loved her.
When I left they were both beaming.
After six weeks Sara’s tight steel band has not returned. Yes, she is still a
hospice patient, and continues to decline. She still needs pain medication for
the physical pain but she taps with me to reduce her emotional pain. She is
enjoying each day she has with her kids, grandkids and loving husband, Max. When
I visit the house now, it is full of music, fresh flowers, light and laughter.
Max takes Sara out often for picnics by the river, night drives just to look at
the stars or they watch old movies together, holding hands. They report their
relationship feels shiny and new.
Max gets up every morning and walks the dog. He tells me, "During the first
30 minutes of the walk I just breathe, then I focus on how I can make my day the
best it can possibly be. The last 10 minutes of the walk I think about how I can
make Sara’s day absolutely magnificent. And I have a very
important job. My job is to cherish the moments we have together. I have no
control of our future, I just do the best I can every day."
Using progressive emptional freedom tapping helped move Max and Sara into the present. It really doesn’t matter how long they have together. The time they have will be full of
quality and love.
None of us have a crystal ball; all any of us have is right now, this moment,
the present. Anyone living with a terminal illness knows there are lots of
challenges ahead, some very difficult. But even in the most trying of times,
beauty can be found. Living in the present is a lesson for us all. No one knows
when we or our loved ones will leave this world. Identify what is really
important in your life. Try to never sweat the small stuff and always, always,
tell family members and friends how much they are loved.
About the Author:
Joanne has been a natural healer all her life. Her passion is fueled not only by alleviating
emotional and physical pain and suffering but assisting clients to experience
challenges on their own terms. Joanne's clients are impressed with her uncanny
awareness, sensitivity and ability to get right to the point. For an EFT
session with Joanne please email email@example.com This story is
from a chapter in her new book called Dying to Live, Embracing the Journey. Available on This website You can call Joanne at (530) 459-5464