“He’s into the towels again,” Melinda said. She looked over at her husband where he sat next to her in the living room, listening to the cat noises emanating from the kitchen with a bemused expression on his face. She envisioned the kitchen as she listened to her pet’s murmurings. The open cabinet door and the cat scrabbling through her neatly piled kitchen towels. She’d just have to refold them, yet again.
“Yup,” Mike answered with a sage nod.
The great sumo hunter gradually tripped his way into the living room, and over to where Melinda relaxed in her wing-back recliner. Dragging his prey, he carried himself and his trailing scrap of pink towel as proudly as if he were a lion, king of beasts on the plains of Africa. He came to a stop beside her chair and looked up at her entreatingly, pink towel hanging from either side of his mouth.
“Brrrrrroooowwwwww! Brrrr… brrerr….”
“He’s inviting us to share in his kill.” She said, and heard her husband chuckle.
“Big hunter,” she said affectionately, looking down at her cat, and reaching to stroke his orange-striped head. The tabby paused to enjoy the petting, raising his head to meet her hand and arching his back. As he did so he dropped the towel, and gave himself up to the delight of having his chin scratched. Then, evidently deciding that he had received his due, he turned away and trotted back into the kitchen. His round sides jiggling up and down somewhat detracting from the image of fierce hunter and provider.
“Brrrrroooowwwwww…. Brrrrooooowwwww…” came the muffled voice of the cat as he wrestled yet another towel from the deepest, darkest recesses of the kitchen cabinet.
Melinda just sighed, her lips twitching upward.
She did this because that was what she had always done, even though she never felt comfortable because her hard, old chair poked into her elbows, and her hard, old bed prodded at her back.
Harriet was hard of hearing, but one day, as she sat in her hard, old chair she heard three, loud knocks upon her door.
KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
Harriet leaned forward and pushed with her arms and legs to stand up. CREEEE-AK went her hard, old knees as she shuffled to the door. She opened the big, front door wide and leaned out.
“Who is banging on my door?” The old woman said in her hard, old voice.
Harriet looked outside, and saw no one, only the tall, green hedge dividing her house from her neighbors’ house.
Then she looked down. There, crouching on the crumbling, concrete steps in front of the door was a small, furry, white rabbit. It twitched it’s tiny, pink nose and wiggled it’s long, delicate ears. It looked up at her with gentle, bunny eyes.
“What are you doing here?” The old woman asked the rabbit, her voice not quite so hard. Harriet looked up at her neighbors’ house and said loudly, “Maybe someone thought I’d like you for a pet. Well, I don’t need a pet!” Still, she bent over and reached down with one old hand to stroke the beautiful, soft, white bunny fur on it’s back.
The little rabbit turned it’s head and sniffed at her fingers gently. Then it hopped around so it could lean it’s face and head into her hand. Harriet's wrinkled face melted into a smile.
“Aren’t you a friendly one! I guess you could come in for a visit, but just a short one. After all, I don’t need a pet.”
She gathered the bunny up into her arms. It snuggled in close, laying it’s long, velvety ears down flat as she stroked the smooth, snowy fur on it’s head. Holding it carefully with one arm, the old woman turned and closed the door gently so as not to scare the little fellow.
“I’ll bet you’re a hungry bunny,” Harriet said.
She carried the rabbit into the kitchen, patting it’s silky head and enjoying the soft, warm feel of it under her bony, old hand.
Holding it gently, she opened her refrigerator and found a bag of four, fresh, sweet carrots.
Harriet carried the bunny and the carrots back to the living room to sit in her hard, old chair. But she got right up again, saying, “I think we’d be more comfortable together in that big, upholstered chair over there.” The old woman shuffled to the soft, stuffed chair next to the window, and sat down carefully with the rabbit on her lap. The sun shone through the window, warming them both.
“This big chair fits the two of us just right doesn’t it?” Harriet said, looking down at the furry bundle on her lap, her wrinkled old eyes soft now.
The rabbit looked up at her and twitched it’s tiny, pink nose. It turned it’s head and sniffed at the carrots she was holding. Then it poked it’s rabbity nose into the bag of carrots to nibble at one.
“You are hungry!” Harriet said, pulling out the carrot for him. “These carrots look good enough to eat. I think I’ll have one too.” So, the old woman and the rabbit crunched and nibbled their sweet, orange carrots. Then they each had another one, until the carrots were all gone.
“That was delicious,” said Harriet, looking down at the bunny in her lap. It wiggled it’s ears at her as if in agreement. “Much better than those hard, old crackers, eh?” The tiny rabbit looked up at her with big, warm bunny eyes. “I really don’t need a pet,” she said softly, as she stroked it’s head, But she smiled at it and the bunny snuggled more deeply into her arms.
As they sat together in the big, soft chair, the sun moved across the window frame and dipped down behind the trees. The old woman leaned her head back and yawned a big yawn. The bunny opened it’s mouth and yawned a tiny, rabbit yawn. “Guess it’s time we went to sleep,” the old woman said to the bunny.
Harriet picked it up, cradling it in one arm as she pushed herself up out of the chair. Then she shuffled slowly into her bedroom. There were two beds, the hard, old bed she usually slept in and the soft, cozy bed beside it. She went straight to the soft bed, pulling back the billowy down comforter. “We’ll be comfortable here,” she said, as she settled the bunny onto the warm blanket. She changed into her comfy, flannel nightgown then crawled in beside the bunny, pulling the downy comforter over them both.
The bunny snuggled in next to her with just it’s head and ears poking out from under the blanket.
Harriet stroked it’s soft, white fur. The bunny closed it’s eyes. “I don’t need a pet; but I do need a friend like you,” the old woman said softly. Then she closed her eyes and went to sleep in her cozy, warm bed with her soft, new friend beside her.
This is a teaching story, an entertaining way to teach children a simple variant of Faster EFT. (For more information on Faster EFT-V click here.) I call this technique, Happy Tapping. Happy Tapping is tapping along with an easy to remember rhyme. Children can utilize this technique to give them a sense of control over uncomfortable emotions when they arise.
The rhyme can be changed to accommodate any number of differing uncomfortable emotions as they are expressed. The child can also use a non-verbal cue, like a growl or an exaggerated frown, instead of trying to name the feeling. The end of the rhyme may be changed to match the desired outcome feeling or action for the child.
Here's the story. I'll add a few more comments after you see what it's all about.
The Boy Who Couldn't Go To Sleep
Once there was a nine-year old child named Joe. Every morning he woke up and did all the things you do to get ready for the day. Then he played and learned and felt happy all day. Every night he did all the things you do to get ready for bed. Then he got into bed and tried to go to sleep. That’s when everything changed.
Suddenly, Joe felt scared and worried. Every night he worried about different things. Every night those things felt scarier and scarier and it was so hard for him to relax and go to sleep. So, he told his Mama. And his Mama said,
“Can you show me with your hands how big that scary feeling is?”
Joe showed his Mama how big it was by spreading his hands wide apart in front of him.
“This big!” He said.
Then his Mama said, “Tap, tap, tap, tap that scary away.”
“Tap?” Joe asked.
“Tap,” said his Mama.
Then his Mama showed him about tapping the happy points around his eyes, and on his chest, and around his wrist.
“Happy points? That’s silly,” Joe said, rolling his eyes.
“It sounds silly, doesn’t it?” said his Mama. “But silly feels better than scary, right?”
“Right,” said Joe.
Silly did feel better than scary. He didn’t want to feel scared and worried anymore. He wanted to be able to relax and go to sleep. So, he tried it. He even learned the silly rhyme that helped him remember how to do it every time.
“Tap, tap, tap, tap the scary away. I can feel safe and sleepy this way.”
He tried it once and took a deep breath, just like Mama had told him. He felt a little bit better.
“How big is that scary feeling now?” Asked his Mama.
Joe thought about it and held his hands out a little closer together. But he still felt a little scared. His Mama said that might happen and if it did, he needed to keep tapping. So, he tapped.
“Tap, tap, tap, tap the scary away. I can feel safe and sleepy this way.”
He took a deep breath and let it all out.
Joe felt calmer now and he was getting sleepy. But he tapped again, just to make sure.
“Tap, tap, tap, tap the scary away. I can feel safe and sleepy this way.”
Before he knew it, he was so relaxed that he fell fast asleep.
HAPPY TAPPING POINTS
Here's How To Do It
1. Ask the child to show you with their hands how big the uncomfortable feeling is.
2. While tapping five or more taps with two fingers on each Happy Point, say,
- Inner corner of eyebrow - "Tap"
- Outer edge of eye on orbital bone - "Tap"
- Under eye on orbital bone - "Tap"
- Chest, beneath indentation at base of throat and slightly to right or left - "Tap this feeling away."
- Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze with thumb and a finger around the wrist and say, "I can feel safe and better this way."
3. Now ask the child to take a big, deep breath and let it all out.
4. Ask the child to show you with their hands how much of the uncomfortable feeling is left. Encourage the child to be persistent and keep tapping until the uncomfortable feeling is gone.
The gender and name of the child may be changed depending on who you are teaching.
The rhyme may be changed to fit the feeling the child is experiencing. Remember that some children may not have a word for what they are feeling and may want to demonstrate with a sound or a facial or body movement. The end of the rhyme may be changed to match the desired outcome for the child.
"Tap, tap, tap, tap this anger/sadness/shame/worried (etc.) away. I can feel better and want to play."
Allow children to be creative with this. My nine-year-old grandaughter came up with her own version of a desired outcome that had nothing to do with rhyme, and everything to do with an imaginative activity that felt really fun to her. I think it had something to do with sky-diving and friendly giants. ;)
All 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 hungry cats leapt from the floor in the kitchen up onto the counter, then down onto the floor again, rubbing against the woman’s legs and tripping her as she tried to walk in to the pantry to get their breakfast. They yowled at her loudly about how very hungry they were, and how they must be fed, and they must be fed now! Meow! Now!
Daisy, much more polite than the cats, lay down quietly in the doorway to the kitchen and waited patiently for her breakfast.
The old woman lined five, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 kitty dishes on top of the old steam radiator in the kitchen because it was the only place that the cats wouldn’t jump up onto and knock everything over while she was trying to fill their dishes.
She opened the cabinet door in the pantry where the cat food was stored. One cat, a big, white, boy cat with black spots, named Tom, climbed right into the cabinet amongst the bags and boxes and cans, to try to get the food out for himself. The woman laughed and pulled him out, then reached for the big, blue bag of dry cat food.
The large bag, crinkled in her hand and all 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 cats meowed loudly that they should be eating that food right now! The woman walked carefully over to the radiator with the bag held high in her hand as all five cats wove in and out between her feet. She unrolled the top of the bag, making more wonderful crinkling noises and smiling as the cats meowed in response.
She put the right amount of food in each dish and quickly as she could, set all the dishes on the floor for the cats. The cats tumbled over each other to get to the dishes. Tom pushed the others out of the way and tried to eat out of their dishes. The old woman had to keep picking Tom up and setting him back at his own dish.
Finally, with the cats happily eating their breakfast, the old woman got out Daisy’s bowl and filled it with her favorite meal, Doggie Delight. Daisy stood up in anticipation and wagged her shaggy, brown tail, politely. “There you are, my patient girl,” the woman said, and placed the big, green bowl on the floor in front of the dog.
Then the woman sat down on the stool at the kitchen counter with her head resting in her hand. She started thinking about what she would like for her own breakfast, when she felt 1, 2, 3, 4 , 5 warm, furry cats rubbing against her leg, and heard 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 cat meows singing through the air asking, “!s it lunchtime yet?”
Once upon a time there was a baby dragon, only she didn’t know she was a dragon. She thought she was an ostrich.
She thought she was an ostrich because her egg was left in an ostrich nest and she hatched right alongside all her ostrich sisters and brothers.
She grew just as fast as the other nestlings only they grew tall and fluffy, and she grew wide and short. They developed beautiful feathers, and she grew ugly scales.
When they learned to run fast, she could only waddle.
Then she started to roar and they all hissed at her and told her to be quiet.
She was too loud, too fat, too short, too slow.
Worst of all she flapped her bluish, flappy wings and lifted off the ground. They tackled her and forced her back. How dare she try to fly! That’s not what her wings were for! She folded her wings and never tried again.
She grew bigger than all her family and friends. She felt huge and ugly and WRONG.
She tried picking up discarded feathers and wearing them stuck to her body with mud, hoping that it made her look more the way that she should look.
Her brothers and sisters only laughed at her.
Pretty soon, she was afraid to try anything knowing that she could never do it as well as her ostrich family.
When some of the neighbor kids, a zebra and a monkey, picked on her for being so big and scaly and waddle-y, she waddled away and cried big, dragon tears. It never occurred to her to defend herself with her big, dragon teeth. After all, they were right, she was big and scaly and waddle-y.
When they started to pick on her brother just because they were mean, and he was the smallest, she ran and hid, relieved that it wasn’t her. But she didn’t feel good about it.
She learned that she wasn’t brave, wasn’t strong, wasn’t fast, wasn’t beautiful. She wasn’t any of the things that she wanted to be.
Then the time came for them all to go to school.
She waddled as fast as she could trying to catch up with her brothers and sisters who raced across the plain on their beautiful, long legs to get there first.
She pounded her way along and waddled into the grove of trees where school would be. All the other young animals from the neighborhood where there. She stood at the back of the crowd not wanting to push her huge self in.
The young animals were honking and tittering, chatting and barking, they were all so excited to be there. It was really noisy. She didn’t dare say anything because she knew she would be too loud even in all this noise.
Then, there was a huge roar!
Her brothers and sisters turned to look at her accusingly. She just blinked her big dragon eyes back at them. She didn’t do it.
The roar sounded again! It came from the front of the group.
Most of the animals quieted, and lay down. Now she could see that in front of the group was their new teacher. Standing tall and beautiful, green scales glinting in the sun, long, graceful neck curving to an elegant head with large, golden, round pupiled eyes. Best of all, she had huge, blueish wings which she spread commandingly.
She looks like me, only she’s beautiful!
The teacher lifted into the air and roared once more. She had everyone’s full attention now, and school began.
At the end of the day, when it was time for everyone to go home, the teacher beckoned her to stay for just a minute.
Shyly, she waddled forward. The beautiful teacher waddled toward her too, wings folded upon her back.
“Now it’s time for you to learn how to be a dragon,” her teacher said.
And so she did.
Every so often a children's story comes knocking at the door of my heart and asks, like Pinocchio, to be made real, taking on form and life in our world.