Flower Essences

Fear

I always think that whatever season I am in, that is my favorite season. However, not only is it summer, but it’s also berry season! This has to my favorite. I love spending my mornings harvesting wild berries for my family’s breakfast. We get delicious berries and I learn a lot from the berry bushes. Regardless of what life is serving up for you, you can always return to Nature to be reminded of Beauty and the pleasures of life. I hope that you are able to find some berries (or other edibles) and taste the Wild. Remember eating wild food nourishes our bodies AND our souls. Wild foods remind us of our innate connection to Nature, which as a society we have cut or ignored, but that is only a facade, for we can never really sever this connection.________

I tend to think of events in my life as having themes. My most current theme is overcoming fear. I thought it was serendipitous that my family and I recently watched Defending Your Life (which I highly recommend). The basic plot is that after we die, our lives are reviewed. If we have overcome fear (the purpose of life according to the movie), then we are allowed to move on. If not, then we are sent back to Earth to try again.

When we allow fear to dictate our lives, we limit ourselves from truly experiencing life and from being our whole selves. Sure there are people who are so filled with fear that they can’t leave the house. It’s easy to see how their fears limit them. It’s not as easy to see it when we have a fear of heights or success or love or people who are different than us, etc. Well, maybe when you know someone else has these fears, you can see how their fear cripples them. Can we see how our own fears keep us from living our full lives?

Every time that I have faced one of my fears, I discovered that it was not actually true. It was just an illusion to keep me in some small box. When I released it, I was suddenly able to enjoy more of life and breathe freer. I wrote last month about facing my fear of heights and being rewarded by an amazing, breathtaking view. Facing our fears does not always have such immediate rewards. Sometimes, it can be really scary and difficult; but, (and this is a big BUT) anytime we face our demons, we automatically win. When we face our fears, we are standing up for ourselves, we are fighting for a richer and more fulfilling life.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think that fear has a place. For instance, if I’m in the woods, and the hair on the back of my neck stands up, I want to pay attention to this. But, most of us live our lives in fear and it is this fear that prevents us from living our true lives and being our whole selves. Besides limiting ourselves, our fears can make us sick. Plus, we unconsciously project these fears, so often we begin to attract that which we fear the most. What to change this?

With the amount of fear in our society (have you watched the evening news lately?), it is no wonder that there is a long list of Flower Essences to help with fear. Overcoming fear was a focus of Dr. Bach. Now, there are many, many essences that help to overcome specific fears, non-specific fears, and to strengthen and build confidence.

I find it interesting to note that the organ most associated with fear is the Liver. Anyone who pays attention to all the chemicals that we are inundated with can understand that our Livers our taxed and need much healing and support. So it really isn’t a surprise that there is such rampant fear in our society.

As we have just celebrated Summer Solstice, this is the time of year to absorb the Light and to release what no longer serves you. What do you fear? What are your fears keeping you from experiencing? Are you ready to release any fears? I hope so! Live life to your fullest potential!

Here is a small list of Flower Essences that help with fear: Bach’s Rescue Remedy- great for support during the moment of fear or anxiety Quaking Aspen- fearful and unsure why, courage Mimulus- known fears (ie spiders, dogs, losing job, etc.) Jewelweed- fear of intimacy, fear of being touched Rusty Sunflower- Fear of change Lobelia- Ability to speak truth without fear Borage- Courage Red Cedar- Courage, strength, wisdom, great support

Again, this is just a small sampling of the many different Flower Essences that can help with fear. Their description is a brief snippet, it does not even come close to describing their depth or the many ways in which each Essence works.

Of Dandelion and Fear

I went for a walk in the field one morning. I stopped and looked around me, the field was filled with Dandelions. As I admired their beauty, I was flooded with memories. Some were as a child and how my friends and I adored Dandelions. We would delight in them and play games with them. Yes, we would say, “Momma had a baby and her head popped off” and pop the heads off of the Dandelions. But, I really don’t think they cared. I think they were happy that we children loved them and played with them. We would make Dandelion crowns and rub our bodies with the blossoms to turn our skin yellow. Of course, our favorite was blowing the seed heads. Then, another memory came, this was as an adult. My sons and I were going on a walk with our neighbor and her son. Right away, she commented that my yard was full of Dandelions. My immediate reaction was to respond by saying, “I know, isn’t it beautiful?” Then I realized that this was not meant as a compliment, but a complaint. I was surprised because her garden beds and walkway were filled with “weeds” and her very large yard contained materials from the many unfinished projects that her husband started: piles of sand, bags of cement, wood scraps, slate tiles, etc. As I looked back on this day, I again was surprised and was curious why she had such a strong reaction to the Dandelions.

This then led to all the other conversations that I’ve had with people who wanted to spray their lawns with poisons to eradicate the Dandelion. I again got curious. I find it so interesting that this incredibly healing Plant brings so much fear and hatred out in people. Don’t get me wrong, I know that many people love Dandelion. That is why she grows in the US. The story that I have been told is that the Italians brought her here with them because they couldn’t imagine living without her. She has sustained many during the late winter/early spring starvation time before grocery stores.

So why, is our culture anti-Dandelion? Why is it that we need to eradicate something that brings beauty to the monotony of the green lawn? I realize that part of this is the fear that if you let one Dandelion, there will be many, for her seeds are prolific. This thought brings me to another question, when we have fear, why is our response to wipe out, eradicate, do harm, fight back? Why not simply step away from the fear and really look at the issue? Is the Dandelion truly something to be fearful about? What is the worst that will happen if Dandelion is allowed to grow in our yards? What can be gained or what gifts are there by allowing Dandelion to grow?

Of course, this extends beyond Dandelion. Maybe this is a personal issue. I have been overcoming many fears this spring. I realized that we put too much energy into fear and potential worst case scenarios. So now, I am trying to look at the heart of fear. I encourage you to do this too. What are you afraid of? What keeps you from living the life that you want? What is your gut reaction when faced with fear? Mine tends to be to hide. Though, culturally I believe we tend to eradicate, bring down the enemy. Just imagine what things could be like if we could react with the Heart and Love instead. Would we have so many lives lost and forever changed by war? Would we be poisoning ourselves and the earth because of those pesky Dandelions?

Here’s a bit of a carrot on a string. I developed an enormous, paralyzing fear of heights when my oldest was about a year old. I have allowed this fear to dictate a good portion of my life and avoided many situations where I would have to face it. This winter, while we were planning our trip to Switzerland, we discovered Mt. Titlis (I know, horrible name! I turn into a teenage boy every time.) The mountain is over 10,000 feet high and you can see the Alps and valleys from there. It seemed like an unbelievably gorgeous place. The catch? I would have to ride on 3 gondolas for a total of 40 minutes. I rode on my first ski lift just last year, which was not very high off the ground. Simply looking at the pictures of the gondolas was turning my stomach. However, I decided that I would do this. For months, I worked with Flower Essences and journeying to overcome this fear. Finally, in May, I did it! We went up with dear friends of ours. The first part was a little frightening because I was facing the valley that was quickly becoming farther away. Rescue Remedy was a huge help. After that, I was able to enjoy it. What was even better was the view that I was rewarded with at the top.

IMG_1111.jpeg

I encourage you to face your fears and let go of what is holding you back! If you get frightened, (first of all, know that there is always help) remember the gentle, brave Dandelion poking her head through the overwhelming void of the macadam to bring Beauty, Light, Love and healing to our world.

Flower Essences to Navigate Anxiety, Stress and the Changes Ahead

We are living during a great time of change. I can feel the frenetic energy, which seems to have been building for quite some time. While change is ultimately beneficial, it often is accompanied by anxiety and stress. We know that anxiety and stress cause many health crises. How many books are written to help us reduce our stress and worries? How many talk shows are there? Yet, we continue to lead our fast paced lives.

As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, we need to make lifestyle changes. Fortunately, Flower Essences can help us make these changes. There are many Essences that can help with anxiety and stress; however, I think Blue Vervain, Eastern Hemlock, and Motherwort are particularly important for our changes ahead.

One note, these Essences are great for getting to the root of the stress and bringing sustaining relief and support for change. In an acute situation: an anxiety attack, an accident, a major injury, a stressful meeting, etc, I would (and do) use Bach’s Rescue Remedy. I carry this on me wherever I go and have a bottle in the car. I have seen it prevent people from going into shock after major injuries. Rescue Remedy comes in different forms, my preference is the spray as it is quick and easy to use.

Blue Vervain

Blue Vervain is my number one choice for a person suffering from anxiety. This essence is great for people who are doing too much, always on the go, always doing for everyone else, or who can’t sit still. Blue Vervain helps people who are “wound too tight”, who look like they are about to spring or burst.

We believe that Blue Vervain activates our Blue Channel. Simply put, we have the 7 major chakras. These are connected by a red channel and a blue channel. The red channel is moving upwards and helps to fire all the chakras, to get them moving faster. The blue channel is moving downwards and helps to calm the chakras. As you can imagine in our society, many people have very active red channels. Blue Vervain helps to calm this and bring the chakras into balance.

What I notice is that Blue Vervain is like a breath of fresh air. It gives a person the ability to take a pause and relax. During this time, she realizes how much better and more peaceful she feels; which then encourages her to make the lifestyle changes necessary to remain in this calmer place.

In general, I give an Essence to a person for a 3-5 week cycle, normally I feel that is enough time. Sometimes, we may revisit an Essence down the road. However, I often use Blue Vervain for several cycles. Rarely do I give Blue Vervain to a person for 1 cycle and not revisit ki. People often have very strong reactions to Blue Vervain. In this instance, strong is positive. They return feeling like a new person, or more appropriately, like their true selves. They feel stronger, happier, and calmer.

Eastern Hemlock

Eastern Hemlock is the Flower Essence to help with transition and change. Hemlock is the state tree of Pennsylvania. I first got to know him, when we built our straw-bale house. We chose to use him to enclose our foundation and as the ceiling in our bedrooms. Now, I live in a house made out of hemlock posts and beams. I love to look at him. He is so beautiful and strong. I constantly see figures and faces in his beams. While I love his wood, the tree is even more beautiful. He is slow growing and lives for a long time, up to 800 years! Imagine the wisdom contained in the Hemlock.

All Tree Essences have an affinity for the root chakra. They give support, strength, and protection. The Eastern Hemlock adds his wisdom to help us move through all forms of change. It can be a concrete change like switching a job. Or more abstract such as the planetary changes we are experiencing. Whatever the change, Eastern Hemlock can offer support.

Motherwort

Motherwort is an incredible herb. She is one of the first herbs that I started working with when I seriously began my herbal path. Even though I have been working with her for many years, I am constantly learning more of her gifts. She is amazing.

Motherwort’s form greatly describes her use to help with stress. For the non-herbie, she is a fairly non-descript, green plant. Her flowers form on tall spires. The flowers are small and pinkish-purplish. On close inspection they are amazingly beautiful. Motherwort’s signature is that she is gentle and soft until her flowers and seeds appear, then her spires become very spiky. She becomes the mother protecting her babies.

It is this edginess, this fierceness that makes her Flower Essence so wonderful. Motherwort Flower Essence helps us with our boundaries. Often when we are stressed, we are doing more than we want or should be doing. We are saying yes, when we don’t want to. What Motherwort does is helps us to strengthen our boundaries and learn that it is okay to say no. She helps us to fight for ourselves.

When we suffer from anxiety, often we feel disconnected, like we are all over the place. Motherwort helps to bring ourselves back together and gives us that strong protective place around us. I believe she gives us the ability to know what OUR problems and OUR requirements really are. Which helps one to feel centered.

As I said, there are many Essences that can help with stress and anxiety. These are the Essences that I think are helpful for the anxiety surrounding our planetary changes. Of course, if you have anxiety or want support to make lifestyle changes, I recommend meeting with a Flower Essence Practitioner or other healer.

Thanksgiving, Gratitude, Abundance and Manifestation

Thanksgiving Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love gathering with my family, consuming large amounts of delicious food, and expressing my gratitude for the many gifts.  When I was young, we always celebrated at my grandmother’s (Mimi’s) house.  Our extended family would be there, generally with a few extras, whom Mimi was wrapping her wings around.  It was always amazing that our table could expand to fit everyone.  If you were on the far side and needed to get something, the only way was to crawl under the table.  The food was incredible.  I remember everyone sneaking into the kitchen trying to get a piece of turkey as my grandfather was carving it.  He was constantly squawking and smacking hands.

Our table has changed over the years.  We no longer need the large extenders as people have passed onto the other world or simply moved away.  This year, we will be celebrating at my house.  While we have changed (I am no longer the little girl acting out my part of the ballet recital!  This shows the incredible love and patience of my family to watch me stand and tap my foot for several minutes before I dance-ran across the floor and did a jump, completing my part of Tchaikovsky’s “The Waltz of the Flowers”), the focus has remained the same: Family, Food, and Gratitude.  Three of my favorite things!

Gratitude

This year I have really focused on gratitude.  I’ve discovered that the more grateful that I am for the many gifts, the more I have to be grateful (“great-full”) for.  It really has brought about so much change for me.

As I look around and go about my day, my eyes are constantly searching for gifts.  While I don’t do this in a way of expectation, I do this with reverence.  For instance, my son had an injury this spring.  I went to look for Plantain to help with the infection; however, the Plantain was very elusive.  I started seeing what I was walking through, it was a field of Red Clover.  As I greeted her, I realized that this was the medicine that Sy needed.  Red Clover is an excellent blood purifier.  While I harvested some, I was completely overwhelmed with gratitude for her.  This has happened to me many times (of course with other Plants).  Some may say that it is a matter of being more mindful.  I guess in a way it is.  However, Plants are very intelligent, when we recognize that they are gifts and receive them with respect and honor; they are more willing to help and be a bigger presence in our lives.

On a more personal note, shifting my focus onto gratitude helped me (well is continuing to help me) through my grief.  When my brother died, what hurt the most was that I would not see him or touch him again (not as I did when he was alive) and that he couldn’t physically be there for his son.  I was very angry at all the lost chances. Then, I started remembering the times that I did share with him and the abundance of gifts that he gave me.  I realized how lucky I am to have known him and shared my life with him.

Here are two techniques I feel help cultivate gratitude.  Of course, you can also simply look around you and give thanks for all the gifts that surround you.

Breath of Gratitude

Sit with a Plant.  If you like, you can imagine that you have roots that grow out of the bottom of your spine into the earth.  Imagine that your roots intertwine with the Plant’s roots.  When you breathe in, realize that your breath is a gift from the Plant.  Breathe in ki’s Love.  When you exhale, give your breath to the Plant.  Send it with Love.  Now breathe in again, this time breathe in the Love and gratitude from the Plant.  Breathe out Love and gratitude for the Plant.  Do this for as long as you like, preferably at least 5 minutes.

Remember we need Plants to survive.  We rely on their exhale, for our oxygen.  Recognize this as a gift of life.  The Plants can survive without us.  However, they do appreciate our exhale of carbon dioxide.  We are intimately connected through our breaths.

Heart Breathing

Take some time for yourself.  Sit in a quiet, peaceful place, outside is best.  Spend some time breathing in and out through your Heart.  You may find some resistance to this at first.  That’s okay, keep trying.  Our Heart is an amazing sensory organ, among other things.  When we learn to breathe through our Hearts, or really acknowledge our Heart in any way, we see connections that before were invisible to us.

While I find that it is easiest to start in a quiet, peaceful environment.  You can do this anywhere.  I think this is a great tool for when you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.  When done within a group, I believe it helps to foster group connection or resonance.

While Heart breathing is a simple activity, it has profound effects.  As I mentioned, it helps us to recognize our many connections.  It allows us to tap into our natural intuitive being.  It also helps us feel the world instead of think (or often ignore) the world.  This is an important and necessary shift for our changing world.  In The Secret Teachings of Plants, Stephen Harrod Buhner discusses what he calls “Heart-Brain Entrainment”.  In essence, when we feel with our Heart, we change our physiology in a very positive manner.

Abundance

To me, abundance is directly connected to gratitude.  Once you start recognizing the many gifts that surround you, you start noticing the abundance of this earth.  We are trained that there is a limited amount of wealth (and really almost everything), which tends to put us in competition with one another.  However, if we give ourselves the ability to step back and look around, we see how fortunate we are.  There may be a finite amount of money (I really don’t know); however, money is only one way of measuring wealth.  The Earth by her very nature is generous.  She does not like to see any bare spots.  Gardeners can verify this by the amount of voluntary Plants (often called weeds) that appear.  My favorite example is the Plant, often Dandelion or Plantain, who pushes through the pavement.

(Note: just because Nature is abundant, does not mean that we should be wasteful or disrespectful such as clear-cutting or harvesting to extinction.  I think this is the role of gratitude.  If we are great-full for Nature’s gifts, we do not want to take more than we need.)

Do you know anyone who can never seem to get ahead or to whom the sky is always falling?  I often think that what they need most is a change of attitude.  They tend to focus on what is wrong and what they don’t have and not on what they do.  I know someone like this.  She’s always struggling with money, complaining about how she’s been treated bad by the men in her life, always in some form of a crisis.  (In case any of you think I’m talking about you, I’m not.)  What she doesn’t notice is how fortunate she is to have beautiful children, a family who loves and supports her, that she has always had food to eat, and always had a place to live.  If she would take the time to go outside, she would notice the gorgeous, breathtaking, and bizarre flowers that bloom, the trees that give us breath, the ever abundant source of energy (the Sun), the Moon who guides our dreams, and many of the million other gifts.  Maybe that’s the secret, maybe being with Nature, in Nature helps us cultivate our gratitude and recognize the abundance.

There it is again, that message to spend time in Nature.  That seems to be the answer to so much of what ails us.

Manifestation

I have been working with a new set of Essences from Delta Gardens that I feel helps me appreciate abundance, overcome my fears associated with it, and strengthen my manifesting skills.  Through my training with this set, David Dalton (of Delta Gardens) reiterated that we are surrounded by abundance which each of us deserves to and can experience.  However, we often send out mixed signals about what we want.  Along with our requests we may send out our fears (“If I achieve this, my family will disown me”), negative beliefs (“I’m not worthy”), our past “programming” (“Money is the root of all evil.”), or other impediments.  It is hard to manifest what we want when we send out these mixed signals.  The good news is that when we work on these (primarily second and third chakra) issues, we not only make significant strides in our healing journey, we also are more easily able to manifest what we want.  (I feel we also learn what we truly want.)  So the question is how do we heal or do this work?  Well, we can use many different modalities, yes, Flower Essences is one of them.  What we want to focus on is ending toxic relationships; changing destructive habits (including negative self-thoughts); develop a worthiness program; and clear neglect, abuse, trauma.  One of my favorite things that David taught us during this class (I took the class twice!) is developing a worthiness program.  For this, you plan one pleasure per day for yourself, plan one special pleasure per week, plan one extra-special pleasure per month, and plan one extravagant pleasure per year.  Sounds like fun (and very healing)!  So if you feel guilty when you take time out for yourself or treat yourself to something enjoyable, remember that it is beneficial to your health and overall well-being.

Update on Nanny

I’ve heard from some of you concerning my grandmother, so I thought that I would include an update.  She has been moved from a hospital to a local nursing home.  She is passing therapy with flying colors.  Currently, the plan is to discharge her to her own home next week!  She is very happy.

After I sent out my last newsletter, I realized that I didn’t share something I thought was very important.  I believe that Nanny’s shingles are a physical reaction to her grief.  Nanny is a very strong woman, she never really allowed herself to dissolve in her grief.  She always wanted to stay strong for the other members of our family and to make my Pop-Pop “proud” (her word).  To me, her shingles were a reminder that when we do not express and heal our pain and emotions, they will fester and get louder and louder until we must take notice, often with a serious illness.

What I Love and appreciate so much about Flower Essences is that when we work with them, we are looking for the underlying pain (I’m using this as a general term, you can substitute guilt, anger, self-loathing, etc.) and its cause(s) so that we can heal and clear it from us.  We recognize that the illness is a symptom, a clue to what lies beneath.  If we only focus on the symptom (which is so often done in our culture), we miss the opportunity for true healing.

Please know I am thankful for you.  I hope that this finds you well and I wish you a wonder-full Thanksgiving.  Please remember to take some time for yourself and spend some awe-inspiring time in nature.

Lyme Personality

What I learned in my Flower Essence training that has had the most impact on my life is David Dalton’s theory on Lyme disease (as well as his treatment plan).  As you may know, when we are working with Flower Essences, we are looking at the personality and childhood trauma.  Certain traumas and personalities are prone to certain illnesses and diseases.  David discovered a Lyme personality profile.  A person with Lyme tends to be: Type A, Martyr/scapegoat, pleaser/peacemaker, oldest/only child, and/or perfectionist.  The overall energy pattern is too much energy going out, not enough coming in.  For instance: someone or something is always more important than oneself.  (Now, if you fit one of these categories, it does not mean that you have Lyme, but you may be prone to getting it.  Also, it is possible to have Lyme and not have these traits.)

I contracted Lyme years ago.  So, this profile was particularly interesting to me.  I am a pleaser/peacemaker, only child, and I can be a perfectionist.  I definitely put more energy out than I take in, after all I am a mother and a healer.  I will admit I was a Type A in High School and possibly in College, but have worked really hard at changing that and so I didn’t classify myself as one.

However, that changed when I had the flu in March.  Anyone who has studied Waldorf philosophy or Anthroposophical medicine will tell you that fevers are soul changing and growth inducing.  In my family, we try not to fight fevers because when you come out of one, you have a sense of clarity and see things in a new way.  (Often kids get a fever right before a big growth spurt.)  I awoke from my fever and looked around.  I had a stack of about 9 books next to me, which I was trying to read while I had a fever!  All of them were non-fiction.  Most of them were herb books, also had a parenting book (Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne, I highly recommend it), and a couple gardening books.  I figured that since I was stuck in bed, I should put my time to good use: learn more about herbs (they weren’t to help me with my illness) and plan a forest garden.  That was when I realized that I am a Type A!

Now that I know these things about myself and the connection to my Lyme disease, I understand how incredibly important it is that I take time for myself, relax, do something I enjoy, ask for help, etc.  Lyme is my teacher and will remind me when I continue to ignore my needs.  For anyone who matches the Lyme personality and has not developed Lyme disease, I recommend making changes for yourself now.  Lyme may be a great teacher, but there are much easier and more enjoyable ways of learning the lesson.