In the client case history, it quickly came up that Matthew had recently been through a very stressful time in his private life: the business that he'd been successfully running for more than two decades had hit a very rough patch, and he'd been forced into bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy proceedings were still going on, and there was a strong possibility that Matthew would be forced to sell his family home, to cover his debts.
Stressful circumstances, by any means. Could it be connected to his abdominal pain? Matthew was a long-distance client, so the usual hands-on Energy Medicine techniques couldn't be used, so instead, we decided to work with Energy Psychology.
Energy Psychology taps various points on the body, corresponding to the ends of the 14 energy meridians, to help release trapped energy, emotions, and pain. It can be a very effective technique, and with G-d's help, can blast through some very deep-seated issues in just a session or two.
There are various ways of tapping, but Matthew was familiar with one of the most popular, called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). (You can learn the EFT routine for yourself at: www.emofree.com).
We started tapping on the abdominal discomfort, which Matthew rated initially at a 6 or 7. EFT usually moves pretty fast, but after a few rounds of tapping, the stomach ache was still at a 5, and didn't want to budge. This usually means one of two things: either, that there is a psychological reversal involved, ie, there's a subconscious reason why the client wants to hang on to the problem, OR, that there were other, deeper, aspects of the problem that hadn't yet surfaced.
I asked Matthew if he'd ever had this sort of stomach ache before. He thought for a moment, then in amazement, he told me that he'd had a very similar stomach ache some 30-something years' earlier, when he was 10.
I asked him what had been going on in his life at that point, and still amazed, Matthew told me that his father's business had gone bust around that time, and the family had been forced to sell their home, as a result.
"How did you feel about that, as a 10 year old?' I asked him.
"Terrible. My mother was depressed about it for years and my father just sort of collapsed in on himself after that. You couldn't talk to him. I felt like I lost everything I had in one shot: home, money, parents - everything."
I asked Matthew to rate his stomach ache: it had shot up to a 9. We started tapping on the stomach ache again, and again it came down a little, but then got stuck again. Something else was blocking our progress.
Tapping is half mechanical, and half complete siyatta dishemaya (Heavenly help). So many times, it's happened to me that I've got stuck up a dead end with a client, and then G-d sends me a crucial piece of the puzzle as a gift. That's what happened now.
I asked Matthew how he felt, now that he was in a very similar situation to his father.
His froze for a few seconds, and then he broke out into the most heart-rending sobs.
To cut a very long story short, Matthew had never forgiven his father for his failures, and had sworn to himself, as an 10 year old boy, that he was NEVER going to make the same mistakes with his life, and with his family.
That harsh 10 year old view of things had been governing Matthew, subconsciously, ever since. It had pushed him to be an over-achiever; it had made him a workaholic; and it had made him hate his father.
Now, G-d had put the adult Matthew in almost exactly the same situation, through no fault of his own, and his 10 year old self was furious at Matthew for 'turning into his father'. One of the main things we had to tap on a lot was the phrase:
"Even though I'm a failure, just like my father, I still love, accept and forgive myself unconditionally."
Matthew next realised that he also had to forgive his father, and let go of his 30 year old resentment and hurt. If he didn't, he could see he was going to continue secretly hating himself, with big repercussions for his health and his state of mind.
By the end of that very intense session, the stomach ache had gone, and Matthew was feeling calmer inside than he had done for years. But he also knew he had a lot of homework to do. First, he knew he had to make peace with his father, and to truly accept that his father had done the best he could, when his business failed.
Every time the thought that he, Matthew, was a failure 'just like his dad' popped into his head, he was to use EFT to forgive and accept himself, and his father.
The other thing Matthew had to work on was his emuna that G-d was running the world, and that everything that happened, both with his father's failed business and with his own, was truly for the best.
This can only really be done via hitbodedut, or personal prayer, so Matthew made a commitment to start talking to G-d for 10 minutes every day, and to take it up from there.
The stomach ache, painful and uncomfortable as it was, really was a present from G-d, to help Matthew to finally forgive his father, and to help him go easier on himself and let G-d more into his life.