Have you ever experienced a way of thinking, or being or living that is so normal to you, that when it is somehow brought to your attention that the rest of society doesn’t tend to see the world that way, it is a massive shock?
I have. I remember it clearly. It was December 24th 2010. Breakfast time. I was at a beautiful surf town, in the Philippines coming to the end of the 6 month backpacking trip I took with my baby daughter and her dad in eastern Asia.
I came down to breakfast to find people all sat at one end of terrace instead of spread out how we usually were. Except one family who were sat in the middle of the terrace at their usual table. I felt immediately the negative energy and awkward vibe. As my husband came back from placing our order he told me that the server had informed him that the father had died the previous day. He had drowned surfing.
They were a family with a beautiful spirit. The daughter and son in-law were about our age, late 20s, and my guess was babies would be arriving soon. The parents were on the cusp of retiring, and no doubt would relish that time together along with any grandbabies who might be arriving in the near future. I had felt myself envy that they were enjoying a holiday together, and Christmas together, even though their daughter was grown.
I immediately went over to them. I don’t remember what I said. It was very little. My intention wasn’t to speak as what words make a difference in such a situation, so much as to show them that I could see them, I could see their pain. I was with them in the now.
I ended up spending the whole morning with the mother and daughter, whilst my husband and the son-in-law helped make arrangements for them to leave and return home as soon as possible as the mother wished.
I held her hand and shed my own tears, as she told me what happened. The initial drowning. Watching her husband being dragged out the water lifeless. The lack of any First Aiders. The ambulance that didn’t have Paramedics rather just ambulance drivers to drive the body to the hospital rather than working on saving him. It was tragic.
But do you know what she was so upset about what morning? … what was compounding her trauma?
I wasn't that her husband had just died. It was that everyone at breakfast was avoiding her. That until I came over no one had spoken to her, acknowledged her or even looked at her. Indeed they all made efforts to actively avoid her by choosing to sit at the far end of the breakfast terrace. That is what her dismay was about right at that moment. That her pain and sadness, and thus her, were being ignored.
As she had wished they left the resort that afternoon to return home. She hugged me so tight as we said goodbye and thanked me for everything I had done for her that morning. In many ways I felt I had done very little. It was her son-in-law and my husband who had done all the tangible work of packing up their hotel room, and making the necessary last minute travel changes on Christmas Eve. But I guess in other ways I did something that words can’t really describe, and that no one else did. I saw her in the now. I was with her in the moment. And I didn’t try to hide from or ignore her pain.
During the rest of our stay I had so many of those guests who sat at the far end of the breakfast terrace, come up to me and ask me “how did you do what you did this morning?”. I honestly don’t know because to me it was so normal. It was what she needed. The sarcastic English woman in me wanted to reply with “How could you have done what you did this morning and just ignored her?” But I didn’t. They started to share their reasons for not doing so, which were what I had guessed: it was just too sad; they didn’t know what to say; there was nothing they could do to help.
My childrens' dad talks about that experience a lot. How what I did was so unusual and almost weird, yet was so helpful. But to me it was so normal, and gave me an insight to how I experience people and their emotions which I have found is unusual and yet so powerful especially as an EFT Practitioner.
A few years later, whilst I was training to be an EFT Practitioner, I remember casually looking at my horoscope on my birthday. It is said:
“You have a rare gift of being able to sit and be with people as they experience deep, dark and negative emotions”.
Reading that horoscope took my straight back to Christmas Eve in the Philippines. How I felt what I did was normal. Yet to everyone else it was so abnormal. I felt it was so normal that I had no idea it was a rare gift. With that realisation I swore to myself that I would hold my gift and my belief in seeing people and being present with them especially during deep emotions, at the forefront of my EFT Practice.
As well as being the mother to two spirited little children, Charlotte Watson is an Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) Practitioner who specializes in working with parents all over the world via Skype who struggle to feel good enough. She uses her empathetic, compassionate and validating approach to meet people where they are at with their feelings and experiences. Charlotte believes that our feelings and emotions can help guide us understanding our values but they shouldn’t overwhelm or control us. She holds these at the cornerstones of her EFT Practice where she specializes in supporting mums who are overwhelmed, struggling or triggered by past traumas, to be able to parent and make decisions with confidence and clarity, and just feel good enough.
Her friend would tell you that she is engaged without judgement, strong without agresesion, and truthful without inflicting pain. She is compassionate with accountability, empathetic with professionalism, and she is very effective at moving people through change to the best selves.
If you would like to know more about how Charlotte's EFT Practice can support you to parent with confidence and clarity, feeling good enough as yourself, please schedule a free 20 minute phone or Skype call www.charlotteeft20min.youcanbook.me