And the Cake of Coins

My friend Emma suggested that I read and review Tapping In: A Step-By-Step Guide to Activating Your Healing Resources Through Bilateral Stimulation by Laurel Parnell (Sounds True Books).

When Emma "suggests" it is more like an order. She doesn't wrench your arms or break your knee-caps or anything like that, but she keeps bringing it up. Finally you do it just to make her hush up.

Emma believes in Eastern religion, Native American ritual, and thanking everyone who does anything to or for you, good or bad. Someone coming out of a side-street pulls in front of your car, you jam on the brakes and say "I love you. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you." Someone insults your ancestry, ditto. Someone rips you off for a hundred or a thousand (or a million) dollars: "I love you. I am sorry," etc. etc.

Emma is also fond of some obscure Tao-like discipline out of Hawaii that I had never heard of before, known as Ho'oponopono. After she explained it, I told her it didn't make any sense to me, but she pointed out that we had already embodied its essence on RALPH, in a quote from Carl Jung's The Rainmaker. [See item #5].

Emma also firmly believes in reincarnation. She remembers her previous lives. I am interested in this because I can't remember anything from any previous life, much less what happened this morning before breakfast. I'm always suspicious of people who claim that they were Joan of Arc or that they knew Cuauhtémoc or were Catherine the Great's personal advisor or even served as a soldier in the Third Punic War. I'm sure that if I had been around before the 20th Century I would have been a funerary drayman in London during the plague years, or a granny in Chad in 1822 with sixteen naked, hungry children (and a drunken husband), or a slave with the Yaws in pre-revolutionary Haiti or a riverside washerwoman in the outer reaches of the Qing Dynasty.

The guy who wrote (or dictated) Seth Speaks claims he came back many centuries ago as an oak in a pasture. I could live with that. He said it was very restful. All he had to do was suck up water with his roots, exude oxygen from his canopy, drop leaves on the field, throw out a few acorns when he felt like having babies. He lived to a ripe old age of 800.

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Anyway, Emma wanted me to read Tapping In which I did with great reluctance. Not because of the subject, which is quite simple, or the writing, which is worse. The abiding rule of it is so simple that you don't even have to read the book, I'll tell you all about it.

The theory is this: That you can use a repetitive physical action at times of stress, trauma or melancholy to relieve that stress, trauma, or melancholy. All you have to do is slap yourself.

If you are sitting, hit yourself gently on the upper right leg with your right hand. Gently now. Then do the same on your left leg with your left hand. Do this alternatively, a dozen times, always starting on the right. While you do it, think up "Comfort Memories."

    They can be memories from childhood or adulthood, as long as they evoke completely positive feelings. Memories of cooking a delicious meal, being held by your grandmother as she rocked you in her large rocking chair, baking cookies with your children, holding your cat on your lap and gently stroking his fur as he purrs, snuggling in bed with your partner, having a heartfelt, connecting conversation with a close friend, and listening or playing a favorite piece of music can all be used as comfort resources.

Ms. Parnell says you can also cross your arms across your chest and tap your upper chest, first on the right side of your body with your left hand, then on the left side with your right hand, all the while recalling a happy thought. If you are lying down on a bed, you can tap the bed rhythmically, first on the right, then on the left, ten or twelve times, with a "comfort resource" in mind.

The book is a mere repetition of these instructions, reframed several dozen times. I cannot yet vouch for it working or not. I was getting into it, remembering, as Ms. Parnell suggested, when I baked a birthday cake with my grandmother. And there I got bogged down in the memory of it:

Deargrandmother was everything a grandmother should be. She drove a 1936 Dodge which had a silver grille just like a smile, just like her smile, as a matter of fact. She would come to town and stay for a week or two in the guest room, driving my mother nuts but always being a treasure for us kids. She was cheerful, even in the morning, sipping her favorite breakfast concoction (orange juice mixed with milk, ugh --- the milk always curdled). In the evening, she would show us 8mm movies that she had taken the last time she was to town, movies of us doing what kids always do, sticking out our tongues, jamming our thumbs in our ears and making faces, doing handstands, running around and slapping each other on the back, being goofy.

I am not sure why she drove my mother bats; maybe it was because she was so agreeable, always cheerful, never grumpy or fitful. Mum preferred cynics, like that wonderfully sarcastic Lorena Fretwell, who came to visit too, who once confided to me that her favorite sign in the world was the one that they had near our local grammar-school, the one with big black letters,

which meant that there was a cross-walk for children ahead but she had a vision of an army of angry frowning boys and girls stalking down the street in front of you.

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Deargrandmother baked birthday-cakes for us, too. She would beat the eggs and flour and baking powder and sugar and vanilla together, then she would sow about twenty or thirty coins --- nickels, dimes, quarters, and a few fifty-cent pieces --- into the batter.

It was the preparation that was the most fun. She and I would spend an hour beforehand, laughing and talking and scrubbing the coins with an old toothbrush, using baking soda. Then, with the coins well cleaned, we would beat them into the batter, which she would then pour into a cake-pan and stick it all in the oven.

You can bet that when it came time for the cake to be cut and handed out to my brothers and sisters and me we were eating like mad, but very very carefully. The more we ate, the richer we got. We chewed every bit carefully, spitting out the small change onto our plates, to be sure that nothing passed through.

--- L. W. Milam
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