A couple of months ago, I was heading to my car for a day of errands when I noticed the washing out on the line. I knew it was dry but the sky looked ominous and I was sure it would be soaked by the day's expected rain unless I hauled it inside before leaving.
Hurrying, I darted over to where it was hanging and began ripping it off the line, tossing it into the nearby basket, clothes pegs flying as I fumbled to get it done. My mind was already on the road and my body was frantic to get this chore over with so I could catch up with it.
The basket full, I wheeled around and crunched back over the gravel pathway towards the terrace, taking a shortcut that meant a hop over a low wooden garden divider.
It was a dumb move. I was going too fast for the uneven ground, for my inability to see
where I was going because of the full basket of laundry and for the platform soles of my sandals. My right foot landed half on the wooden divider, my platform shoe tipped, my downward momentum was too great, my burden made evasive maneuvers impossible and my ankle went sideways - hard.
The neighbors would have been able to hear the CRUNCH.
It's been thirteen or fourteen years since I ended my lifelong streak of ankle-twisiting. My joints haven't gotten any less flexible. It's that, after suffering so excruciatingly over so many twisted and sprained ankles, I finally perfected the art of levitation. I'd feel my ankle bending sideways and at the point of no return, right before the snap, I'd somehow manage to leap sidways or, in extreme cases, perform a stunt roll and avoid the ultimate. I thought sprains like this were a thing of the past for me.
Until suddenly I was looking down at a traumatized right ankle which was fast becoming twice the size of the left one. Horrified, I left the laundy basket where I had dropped it and hopped inside to sit.
When I got to my dining room chair a minute later, the pain was increasing and starting to throb. "No, no, no, no, NO!" I begged it. I had too much to do! I lived alone in a rural area. I couldn't have a foot that wouldn't take any pressure for three days and be limping for six weeks afterwards. I just couldn't.
So, I did the only thing I could in that moment. I began to tap.
I tapped on:
- My memory of the feeling of impatience at having to detour to the clothes line when I wanted to get going on my errands
- My anger at myself for being so stupid!!
- My embarassment about hurrying over uneven ground in those stupid shoes
- My fear about how I would get through three days unable to walk
- My frustration at the thought of the inevitable six weeks of hobbling
- My dismay that I wouldn't be able to enjoy teaching the EFT workshops I had coming up.
- My self-pity that I didn't have anyone to look after me while disabled
- The shock of realizing I'd done it again
- Horror at the realization that a tender right ankle means no driving (I have a manual transmission) for six weeks.
- Fear of having to rely on the kindness of others for that long for everything from groceries to errands.
- The sharp, sickening pain of the moment my ankle snapped
- The sound of the crunch when it happened
- The throbbing I was now feeling
- The swelling of my ankle
- My absolute certainty that the sprain would logically follow the same 6-8 week healing trajectory it historically had.
- My certainty that this tapping wouldn't help a damn bit
- My expectation of the gross multicolored bruise that was going to start with pale yellow and then deepen into orange with splotches of greenish blue and red and cover my entire swollen mess of a useless ankle
- All the things I had coming up that I wouldn't be able to do - some because I simply wouldn't be able to drive myself to them
Then, suddenly, during the last round of tapping, when I was at the absolute end of what I could think of to tap on and all my SUDs were at 2 or less, I felt the throbbing pain reduce as though being controlled by a dial - all in the space of one round of Shortcut Basic Recipe (top of head, eyebrow, side of eye, under eye, under nose, under mouth, collarbone, under arm).
And then, nothing. No pain at all. I scanned my body from within, looking for more aspects. Couldn't find any. I scanned my emotions, looking for any remaining intensity. None. There was nothing else to do. I finally looked down at my ankle.
ALL the swelling had gone.
The skin was normal. No discoloration at all.
This can't be real. I slowly lifted myself up off the chair using my left foot for support, just in case. When I was fully standing on one leg, I gingerly lowered my right foot to the floor, bracing myself for a shot of pain. But there was none. I added pressure. Nothing. No pain at all. I took a step. Still no pain.
I have to admit, even after witnessing some amazing results with EFT, this was a new level of wow. I looked at the clock on the wall. Forty-five minutes had passed since I sat down to tap.
It was an odd feeling, not being sure I could believe what I was experiencing, yet having zero pain or swelling - to the point I even had the ultimate Apex Effect as the split second thought flashed: did I imagine I'd sprained my ankle?
Eventually, I felt kind of weird standing there next to my dining table waiting for the pain to rush back with an evil "just kidding!". There seeming to be no reason not to continue with plan A, I proceeded to my car. I fully expected there to be at least some pain or throbbing later on, after walking on it for the rest of the day.
But that was the end of it. There was not so much as a tinge of pain, a hint of a throb, a trace of swelling - then or since. Though I knew without a doubt that it had happened, it was as if my body had decided the whole thing was in the past and there was no need for any of those pesky symptoms.
I've told this story countless times in the intervening months - to trainees, to clients, to friends - heck, I think there's even been a complete stranger or two in the mix. Every time I tell it, I renew the awe I feel for this incredible technique that I've so wisely invested my life in learning and teaching. Just when I think I've seen the most amazing results...something happens to top it.
What was going on, physiologically speaking? Could it have been an extreme case of memory reconsolidation and extinction? Was it that I removed every single obstacle to healing so that the healing was instantaneous? Did I resolve the event before my body had a chance to get attached to the idea of a sprained ankle?
It could be one of these or all of them. What I do know is that there will never be an injury I don't start tapping thoroughly on within minutes. Not now that I know first hand how logic and even the seemingly inevitable - can be so completely defied by this technique.