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Friday, October 14, 2011

Gloomy jewels and the Bach Flower Mustard

In my part of the world, today feels kind of quiet and perhaps a bit heavy. Fall can be  like that. The brilliance of the leaves seems muted by mist and fog.  From inside it looks like it is cold and dreary. It's not. It's actually quite warm, but you have to go outside to realize, or at least appreciate, that.

It occurs to me that we are often mirrors of our environment. If that's the case, in this type of weather pattern,  you might find yourself feeling kind of muted, a bit foggy, as though there is a heaviness clinging to you. You might feel kind of sleepy and slow if you are in tune with the weather.

That feeling can be a good one.  It's good day to read a book, bake something special, or work or a craft project. It might be a good day to knit! For me this kind of weather is good for writing, editing, and document creation. I can feel "settled in" to focus and concentrate for some reason.

But we don't often stay in tune with the weather. Sometimes we just can't adjust our activities according to what the weather pattern is. Often we eliminate the disconnect between the weather and our daily life by climate controlled offices and buildings, artificial lighting and the absence of windows or the time to look out! Perhaps that keeps people more productive and steady. Maybe it makes people more comfortable to focus on the task at hand . Hmm...

Maybe we don't quite leave that genetic intunement to the weather behind in our modern world. Perhaps that attachment to the weather or that disconnect between the weather pattern and our activities leaves us feeling a bit unsettled. Some people feel a sense of gloom, or heaviness and  this cloud begins to descend  as a foggy depression.

Humans think to much. When we feel emotions, we start thinking about it. We wonder why we feel gloomy and a bit depressed. We analyze our emotions. Once we focus on it, most of us can start to come up with all kinds of reasons why we might be feeling a bit sad.  We don't really believe that such feelings can just come "out of the blue" so we start attaching some thoughts, some comparisons, all kinds of reasons for why we feel sad. Some people have to dig deeper than others. For most, the reasons for being sad are pretty close to the surface. We can float that treasure chest up to the surface of our brains and open the chest pretty quickly. Once the box we call "sadness" in that corner of our thinking brain is opened up we have a treasure trove of "sad jewels". We can pick each one out and examine it. We feel sad that we have that jewel, or that the jewel isn't as shiny as we would like it to be, or that we don't have enough of a certain color jewel. We think about how full the box of jewels is and worry that the chest won't hold them all.  Or we think about how few jewels we have in there and worry that we aren't "normal".  Pretty soon our cycle of thinking has us in a pretty dark and depressed place.  Well, now we know why we feel this way. Better? I think not! Hmmm...

Dr. Bach recognized this emotion and called it "deep gloom with no origin".  He developed the Mustard essence to help balance this feeling. He compared the feelings that resonate with Mustard as being like the descent of a cold dark fog that covers everything like an overcast day.

In Bach Flower Remedies Form and Function, Julian Barnard writes that the Mustard plant can grow wild, appearing seemingly from no where. and take over a field. Before the days of pesticides, the mustard plant could completely take over a feed of corn or another such crop despite the farmer's best efforts. Crops could be reduced by 50% by the appearance of the Mustard plant. The next year they might be gone altogether.  Apparently the Mustard plant seeds tend to be buried very deep and if the plough blade dug too deep the seeds were brought to the surface, would multiply and take over everything.

Mustard plants only develop when a field is left empty- ploughed so that the soil is bare. Barnard explains that the Mustard depression comes on when old patterns of life or thoughts are opened up (ploughed) and the seeds take route in the mind. Mustard fits in the category of "Insufficient interest in Present Circumstances" because that describes the emptiness of the mind. When you aren't in tune with the present, and not entirely focused on what is actually going on in your life, you sometimes fill that void with seeds of Mustard- doom and gloom.  Once you fill your mind with sad thoughts, it becomes overwhelmed.

The Mustard flower is a vibrant, energetic yellow color.  It is full of life, and that is the positive aspect of the Bach Flower essence. Mustard essence helps restore a sense of joy ,where you can feel supported by an inner stability and a sense of peace, freed from the cloudy gloom of depression. Just as the gloom descends from "no where", it can be lifted just as suddenly.

I think the ultimate ability might be to stop trying to fill an empty mind with thoughts and reasons.  If we could just feel the weather, go outside and appreciate the sights and smells, the heaviness, allow our bodies to adjust to changing patterns and shifts without having to fill in all kinds of thoughts and reasons, we might be able to enjoy the fog and mist. But if you find yourself overcome with a sense of doom and gloom, a few drops of Mustard might help prevent you from "filling in the blanks" and creating a cycle of deep depression.

Maybe there is a good reason why pirates bury their treasures. Maybe those jewels, like the mustard seeds are better left right where they are!

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