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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Animal Signs: Seal

Do you ever get the feeling that you're just trying too hard?  If you've been following along and read yesterday's post, you might have decided, like I did, that your rational mind is just spinning a bit too fast and trying to encourage you to "keep doing "when the best choice of all might be to just "stop and go with the flow" for a bit.

According to Daniel Mapel in, Into The Heart of The Wild, this might be be a good time to consider the Seal animal essence. Mapel uses the vibrational energy of totem animals to create a line of essences that can be used to connect you with the healing energy of these animals.

In Celtic tradition, humans are closely linked to animals and the appearance of, or a certain connection with an animal reveals something about ourselves. So, if you're drawn to seals, or for some reason they have been appearing in your thoughts, dreams, or consciousness, the message may be for you to "lighten up a bit", stop trying so hard and allow things to unfold as they are meant to. Stop doing and thinking and try being and feeling. Hmm...

Seals are pretty playful, fluid creatures. They flow through the water with an ease and grace that suggests letting go and allowing.  Not much splashing or effort to their swimming.  They just glide through the path of least resistance and  follow the current without a lot of worry and stress it would seem.

Seals spend much of their time in the water but they are also comfortable on land and it's on land where they give birth. This dual nature is a symbol of the need to integrate our inner thoughts and feelings with the practical side of nature. There are two sides to the fulfillment of dreams and visions.  There is the idea and feeling part that is optimally conceived deep inside us, in the creative fluidity of our mind. Once we can really have that connection with our feelings, we can birth those ideas best if we choose some practical methods and allow our rational mind to help. Help, but not take over.  Unlike seals, human often tend to resist those deep inner rhythms and we try to create and do without paying attention to intuition. We ignore our inner mind and intuition in favor of our rational, practical mind.

Sometimes we involve our inner knowing in the initial creation but the gestation period  gives us some trouble. Having made that connection to our inner selves and feeling we have a notion of what we want to create, we swim against the current to try and get right to the land to give birth to that idea. We push others out of the way, we struggle against the tide, icebergs and debris. The harder it gets to reach land the harder we try. After all, our rational mind firmly believes in the "no pain, no gain" principle.  Deep down we might even start to feel pretty good about the struggle. It helps us think our idea was a good one if it doesn't come easily. We'll be able to tell our children how tough life was, how hard we worked to survive. We'll feel like strong, rugged survivors.

Seals spend a lot of time just swimming around with no particular destination in mind, playing, and having fun. Seals don't worry about being swept away and drowning in the current. They know they are good swimmers, even better floaters,  and they don't fight the deep rhythms. When we connect with seal energy we can release our worry, fear and anxiety. We can let go and let be. In that space of equal balance, where thoughts and emotions flow together, we'll find ourselves arriving at the right spot on land at the right time. We'll just float right on up to the perfect spot!

Sounds good.  Easier said than done. Rock Water as a Bach Flower might be helpful to encourage you to go with the flow of the current. Rock Water types often tend to overwork the current and find themselves drowning as a result. When in a Rock Water state you tend to stick to very rigid methods of "doing".  There is no room for "being" when you're in a Rock Water mind set. You try very hard to rule your mind. You are extremely disciplined and proud of it.  Rock Water can help you allow for some flexibility. A few drops of Rock Water may help you reconnect with your inner harmony, your intuition and the side of you that is happy to just float along without worrying that the wharf may not quite be within your line of sight just yet.

I don't know if it's the whole opposing thumbs thing, the invention of fire, or just our journey, but we humans seem to take ourselves pretty seriously. We even approach spiritual growth and enlightenment with this intense sense of doing. And I just don't think it works like that. Or maybe, I "feel" it doesn't work like that. Life is supposed to be fun. Maybe instead of reading about spiritual enlightenment, how to meditate, how to connect with ourselves, and how to improve our mind, our body and our soul, we should just "shape shift" away.  Maybe, just maybe, we could shape shift into a seal and enjoy a little afternoon dip in the ocean....

Monday, November 28, 2011

Intuition vs Rational Mind

Apparently if you made it through "Black Friday" and you are still wanting to shop, today is "Cyber Monday" at least according to a host of marketing emails I got this morning.  I'll admit, I was happy for the work diversion/distraction on a Monday morning, but really- cyber Monday? When did that happen? And why?

Albert Einstein lived from 1879 to 1955 so I'm pretty sure he wasn't talking about Cyber Monday when he said this, but I think the quote has some relevance:
"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."
The rational mind is a wonderful thing. It's really because of the attention that society as a whole has put to this side of the brain that we have a lot of the convenience and ease we enjoy in our lives today. It wasn't that long ago that survival took a lot more time and energy. Rational minds created things like industry and technology that have radically changed the way we live.  Even farmers that survive from their crops don't depend completely on their own supplies for food. They go to grocery stores, maybe on the way home from a producers board meeting and pick up something for supper. I know a few dairy farmers but I don't know any that make their own butter and  ice-cream, at least not on a regular basis. I know a lot of people that supplement their heating costs by burning wood, but I can tell you it's not always easy to buy a cord of wood when you need it because not many people cut it anymore. Instead of working that hard, we survive by other means.  We work in offices, or plants, or in those shops and stores that sell things to other people. We survive by using our rational minds. 

But, like Einstein referenced, we've rather let that rational mind get a bit out of control. We have allowed it to "up the anty" on what we consider survival.  I saw a shopper out on black Friday quoted as saying "times are tough so one has to find a bargain wherever you can". He wasn't shopping for food and a winter coat. He was looking for a new T.V. and a laptop! See, that doesn't really seem to me to qualify as "tough times", except in our rational minds. We have become servants to that driving force in our heads that says we must continue to produce, gather money, and spend it on something or another. We aren't buying canned goods to get us through the winter, we're buying 60 inch T.V's, faster laptops, devices with more apps, and things I don't even understand, but somewhere in the back of my rational mind, I think I might need- to survive? We honor the servant in us all that figures we have to keep working, wrack up the overtime, and make more money so we can live an easier life. I'm not really sure that makes sense when you stop for a minute to let that sink in. We usually don't because we are too busy listening to the rational mind that says there is work to be done if we're ever going to be able to buy those $500 winter boots that you can't actually wear in snow because they would be destroyed- but wouldn't they look good in the office???

But what about that intuitive side of the brain?  What might it suggest if we listened? In today's picture, Albert Einstein is pointing to the right side of our head- not the left. The left is that side that is the rational servant. The right side is where our intuitive, creative, feeling side comes in. Dr. Bolte-Taylor explains the two functioning sides of our brain really well and I've summarized a bit in this earlier post on her book.
The right side of the brain connects you to your feelings. It is concerned only with "the now".  It doesn't worry about what happened in the past. It isn't concerned with what might occur in the future.  It really isn't preparing for survival- it just "is".  Dr. Bolte-Taylor describes right side thinking as a pretty blissful place.

It's that concern with the past and the future that drives the rational mind. We become so concerned about what we had to do without earlier in our lives, or in lives gone by, and try so hard to set ourselves up better for the next week, next year, this Christmas, our retirement that we become slaves to that "survival panic".

It is from the right side of our brain that we feel the connection to the universe and to the divine. Maybe that's where our real "gifts" are. For some people that may be a true sense of creativity ,the expression of which gives them indescribable joy. For others it may be gifts of healing, of counselling, of invention, of "feeling outside the box". While the rational mind worries about survival, the intuitive mind just enjoys thriving. What a shame to be working so hard to survive that you never take the time out to thrive.

I think it might be time to bring our rational minds, as a  collective society in check.  I think it's time to consider if we have let the threat of survival run so far that we've lost the concept of what we really need. I'm not suggesting we throw out our conveniences and entertainment- not at all. I'm just suggesting it might be time to consider whether or not we are so busy honoring the servant inside that we have forgotten to go out and play.

Maybe it's time for some Scleranthus and mittens and some "me time"!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday: Mysterious Potential?

I've always thought the American tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving in November instead of October, when we celebrate in Canada, made sense. Kind of a nice way to go into the Christmas season and really  mark a beginning of what then could be a month long "season" or time of year. But the idea of "Black Friday" really does, to me, seem a little black!

Black Friday is a retail concept. It is the busiest shopping day in the U.S., I guess because people have the day off and are starting to think of Christmas.  In order to capitalize on that thought, retailers offer huge sales as a way of encouraging spending. It's how they put their own business accounts "in the black".

I goggled Black Friday Pictures and got over 6 million hits. The first few I looked at, including the one with this post, were all photos of frenzied crowds. People were lined up, shoulder to shoulder, spending money, waiting to spend money, or fighting over spending money- sometimes all three at once.  There are already accounts of minor injuries from pepper spray used by a shopper looking for an advantage, gunfire exchanges in a mall, and injuries from a fist fight in a department store.  And all that before the stores even really officially opened this morning! Wow! To me, that brings a whole new meaning to the title "Black Friday".

Nina Ashby in, Simply Color Therapy, writes that "black is comprised of all colors in an unmanifest state which means they are there but they haven't yet been brought into being". She goes on to explain that if you stand outside in the country on a moonless night,  the grass under your feet is still green, the flowers are the same blue, purple or yellow they were in the daylight,  and rocks are grey or brown or shades of colors. But without light, you really can't see that. Everything is hidden a bit even though the potential is still there. And, I guess,  most people's trust and knowing allows them to accept that.

We tend to consider the color black as being evil, negative, or absorptive.  But that's really not fair.  As Ashby writes, it's more about "mysterious potential" and just because we can't see clearly doesn't mean there isn't lots of potential there.

So I guess in all that sea of frantic people and money exchange, price tags and pepper spray, there probably is some mysterious potential. No doubt some people will find that. You'd still never get me out in that mess!!At least, not without a healthy dose of Bach Flowers!

First, I'd want to take Aspen for protection.  It can shield you from the negative energy of others. It's helpful for sensitive people that might feel the "black thoughts' of some of those bargain hunters without really knowing where the feeling is coming from.

If I was a retailer, particularly in places where pepper spray and guns are legal, I'd want to set up an aromatherapy pot of Cherry Plum! Cherry Plum can help people that feel they are on the verge of a breakdown and are afraid they may loose control.  Maybe if all those people could inhale a good strong dose they could find a more rational, calm, way to hunt for the mysterious potential.

I'd want to keep some doses of Gorse on hand.  I'm not sure if I think this should be handed out before people go into a store, or when they leave- probably both.  Gorse can help when you feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel.  Gorse could help restore your trust that there really is color in that blackest of days.

Holly definitely should be in ample supply.  It's helpful that it's a flower used during the Christmas season.  Holly as a Bach Flower could help temper the competitive, jealous feeling of shoppers who think someone else found the mysterious potential and snapped it up already.

Without question, before stepping foot in any retail place today, I would have to take the Bach Flower Impatiens. It can help you relax and cope calmly with that long line-up, those slowly walking people and those that are digging way into the bins for the mysterious potential.

I think a lot of those shoppers must be Oak types. Oak is the Bach Flower for people that are brave, strong and reliable. They have enormous endurance, persistence and patience and can stand up to a great deal of stress.  I figure for sure, the people that camp out overnight to be at the front of the line must be Oak people. But when Oak types fall, they crash to the ground.  And if anything is going to zap the energy of the Oak type, it just might be the pressure of black Friday bargains. Oak could help them recognize the need to take time off to relax and look after themselves- at least stop for a hot chocolate in the food court.

I can't imagine being a clerk in retail today.  So for all those wage earners, I'd offer a shot of the Bach Flower Star of Bethlehem. It's indicated for the after effects of shock or a trauma. To me, being out in the retail world, must definitely qualify as shock and trauma today. I imagine if you've watched hundreds of people struggle to find mysterious potential, you might be finding it hard to see the light in the world yourself by the end of the day.

Maybe the mysterious potential that we struggle to find on Black Friday is actually found within. Maybe it's the ability to withdraw yourself from the masses and find a peaceful connection with something far removed from the physical world of retail? And anyway, is anyone home cooking the turkey??

Thursday, November 24, 2011

New Beginning & Facing Conflict

Yesterday afternoon, in my part of the world, it felt like something changed. We had the first snow storm of the season. It was heavy wet snow without much wind and it seemed to just cover everything with this beautiful blanket of white. It was a picture perfect day to just watch the snow, and feel very protected by a heavy layer of white.  Kind of like a cocoon. 

But yesterday didn't really start out that way. First of all we had a couple of days of weather warnings and predictions. People argued about whether or not the weather forecasters, news reporters, and emergency managers, knew what they were talking about. Some people argued that we would only get rain, an it wasn't any big deal. Some people scrambled to get snow tires put on their cars and there were arguments in tire shops about the back-log, and the ability to schedule everyone in. People tried to do a million things "before the weather started".  People argued about whether or not to cancel meetings and appointments based on a prediction alone. Everyone just seemed a little on edge. More than a couple people seemed rather "poised for a fight", over what exactly, it wasn't really clear. Conflict was in the air.

The early morning hours were tense. Certainly if you were trying to drive anywhere you were feeling the loss of traction, particularly if you hadn't made it through the tire line. More than a few people were fearful and anxious on their way to work or activities, fighting slick conditions, traffic delays, no doubt hollering at other drivers that weren't driving right for the conditions, and  already worrying about the trip home. There were tons of delays, car crashes, and fender benders. The decision to close schools didn't come without some strife, angst, scrambling and conflict. Buses were delayed, some kids were at school and sent home, others were caught sort of in-between. Nothing seemed very clear or settled.

But somewhere in there, everything did get settled out.  People either got to work or turned around and went home. It became  pretty clear the predictions were accurate. Schools were closed, kids got home, decisions were made.

New beginnings don't always come without some conflict. Perhaps that explains the early morning hours of yesterday.  Conflict can be a bit messy, sloppy and slippery. Sometimes people and things get hurt or broken a bit. Depending on how we handle conflict, our repair bills may be costly. But that doesn't mean that conflict should always be avoided. Sometimes it's just part of the transition into a new place.

If you find the conflict phase difficult, congratulations- you might be human!  If you are avoiding conflict at all costs, you may start to find that "all costs" have really piled up on you to the point that you are blocking new beginnings. And that doesn't really feel very good either.

There are four Bach Flower essences that address avoidance of conflict. They include Agrimony, Clematis, Centaury and Water Violet.

Agrimony types avoid conflict by becoming the joker. Not only do they not want to put themselves in a conflict situation, they don't want anyone to be there. They are the ones in the line-up at the tire shop that try to deflect arguments by changing the subject to something pleasant, like the great hockey game that Sidney Crosby played his first game back. Deep down they are as frustrated and conflicted as everyone else but they pretend it doesn't bother them and go to elaborate efforts to try and convince themselves that they really feel that way.  They are the first ones to suggest you go have a drink in the bar to wait it out. Agrimony conflict avoidance is a learned skilled. We are often taught this as a method of socialization. But it prevents self expression if used in excess. Sometimes you really do need to figure out exactly how you feel and admit that not everything in life is pleasant. Sometimes you need to tell other people that you feel that way if you want anything to change in the world, or you ever want to get to the front of the tire line!

Clematis types avoid conflict by retreating to a world of their own. If you saw a kid out there waiting for the bus yesterday perfectly happy to just stand there and be covered in snow and not do anything about the fact that the bus wasn't coming- you probably saw a Clematis kid!  It's a common reaction in some kids. The Clematis child doesn't use the waiting time to build a snowman. They don't walk back home to get a drive. They don't text anyone to see why the bus might not be coming. They just go to their "happy place" and dream about hot chocolate in front of the T.V. If you never break out of the daydream, your dreams can't change into reality. Clematis can help you take some action, like walking home, so that the hot chocolate and T.V. dream can become reality.

Centaury types avoid conflict by giving in. Centaury types are anxious to do the right thing. They already had their snow tires on, so when three co-workers called them in the early morning hours and wanted a drive to work they agreed ,even though they really wanted to cancel the out of town meeting the night before. They "white-knuckled it" all the way to work and even agreed to stop at the Tim Horton's drive thru for coffee when they really wanted to just stay moving straight ahead. They bought the coffee for everyone but didn't dare drink their own until they made it to their desk by which time it was cold. It seemed easier to agree with everything those co-workers said and asked for than to risk a confrontation. After all, it was probably ridiculous to be such a "nervous ninny".  Centaury can help people find a way to say no. It can help them get in touch with their own true feelings. You might find the courage to suggest a teleconference from home.

Water Violet types avoid conflict by withdrawing. Water Violet types love a snow day because it will mean the office is quiet and they can work undisturbed. Despite the fact that they own a Hummer, no one would dare ask them for a drive to work because they are too aloof and perhaps condescending. When they get rear-ended and pushed into a four car pile-up, and all tow trucks are backed up for four hours, they have no one to call for help. You might have seen them walking to work yesterday. If you had of given them Water Violet, they might have accepted your ride to work and taken you out for lunch in return.

Today, according to We'Moon, we enter a New Moon phase. So that's about beginnings. And it feels like a beginning out there. It's just different somehow.  The sun is out and the snow is already melting, but even if it all melts away, it doesn't feel to me like we will be back to where we were a couple of days ago, before the first snow. It feels more like winter now and thoughts of Christmas are starting to make a bit of sense. It feels like we've moved on to something else. Yesterday's struggles and conflicts seem to have made way for a calm and restful night and a new energy this morning. Time to make a snowman and bring out the basket of mittens!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sun and Moon in Sagittarius & Bach Flower Impatiens

According to my We'Moon book, today the Sun is in Sagittarius and on Thursday the New Moon will be in Sagittarius as well. That brings forth a pretty powerful "call to action".

Sagittarius is a fire sign. Sagittarius are about the action, movement and change that fire represents. Just like a rip roaring fire, the focus of those born under this sign is usually up and out- towards the mountain tops, beyond the constraints of the earth or deep into the wilds of nature.

Because they like to look beyond the obvious, Sagittarians often have a grasp of the big picture, but they trip over the details close to the ground and close to home. Sagittarians hate fences, rules, and structure of any kind. They often rebel against, or just flat out ignore, those kinds of constraints. They are better at "save the world" ideas, then they are at balancing their checkbook. In fact, most Sagittarians likely don't own a checkbook, or if they do, they are using it as a doorstop or they have put it under the wobbly leg in the coffee shop table so others won't spill their coffee when they sit down.

All this outward and upward energy of the sun and then a new moon in this sign may generate movement. We may find it difficult to sit still, or impossible to sit down and work out the details. This kind of restlessness calls for the Bach Flower essence Impatiens. Impatiens is a match for those that feel the world is just not happening fast enough. People that respond well to Impatiens often want everything done instantly or better yet, yesterday! If you see yellow traffic lights as a signal to speed up, start the wood fire with a blow torch, or have mastered the art of filling your coffee mug while the brew is still dripping, you might benefit from a few drops of Impatiens. 

All that  swirling, fiery energy, may make everyone a bit impatient, and with that can come a sense of frustration. Sagittarian energy encourages people to work alone and do things on their own  because they are too impatient to take the time to explain the project to others. It can feel like everyone else is moving slower than you and with such upward thinking you may overlook the talented people right in front of you. Taking Impatiens can help you stop and breathe for a moment and realize that everyone is doing their best. It can help you realize that perhaps others are covering in the details you may have missed in your haste. It can help you slow down your brain a bit so that thought and action can actually work together to result in achievement of goals.

Fire Science 101 states that to have fire you have to have three things: heat, fuel, and oxygen.  Take away any one of those three things and the fire goes out. Sagittarians bring the heat to the party, but they may well forget that some sticks, dry brush, and a log or two are needed.  Once that fire gets going, you need oxygen to keep it lit. The Sagittarian energy needs space, oxygen, and  breathing room in order to feel alive. Put a bucket over that heated fuel and the fire goes out.

We're all in this together. Some people are the heat source that suggest you light a fire and roast that marshmallow into a totally new food group in the first place. That's the kind of energy that is floating around out there today, and under Thursday's New Moon.  The New Moon phase itself is all about starting new things and bringing in new energy. It's about changing solid masses into something with a bit more texture. This will be a real time of action, change, new ideas, and starting great things. But that type of energy requires balance from people that are well grounded  and solid enough to agree to fuel the project. You will also need some pretty blustery creatures that are willing to fan the flames and stay awake to make sure it doesn't all go out.

In order to toast the perfect marshmallow you have to start with fire, but you might need some of Dr. Bach's Impatiens in order to find the patience and calmness to wait long enough, keep the fire tended to, and when  the embers are hot and glowing, create that perfect transformation. Bon appetite!

Monday, November 21, 2011

8th Chakra, Thymus & Bach Flowers

Although the primary chakras have traditionally been considered to be the 7 primary ones, there also exists an 8th Chakra that is said to become developed once you have moved through the other seven. This 8th Chakra is considered to be the "Seat of the Soul" and is sometimes referred to as the High Heart Chakra.

I've done a couple of blog postings on this chakra.  The first one included basic information of it as the high heart chakra In another posting I explained the significance of malachite as a healing element for this chakra  I didn't plan this, so it rather took me by surprise, perhaps freaked me out (in a good way) when I went to post this one today and discovered that the dates when I last was focused on this chakra were almost exactly a year ago. I don't know the significance of that, but it sort of inspired me to keep writing!

This 8th Chakra is located midway between the heart and throat chakras.  That puts it physically in alignment with, and resonating with, the thymus gland. Biologically, the thymus gland functions in immunity. It is considered part of your lymphatic system, but as an organ, it isn't perhaps as well understand as some of the others.  It gets pretty "high tech".  It isn't just "average, every day, protection from disease stuff", it has very specific, targeted attraction, and adaptive immunity functions. Immature cells are first produced in your red marrow. Unlike other white blood cells that are created and mature in your marrow, these thymus lymphocytes (t-cells)  travel as undeveloped babies, through the blood stream and lymph to your thymus.  Once these cells get to your thymus they mature and differentiate in very specific ways and become capable of responding when and if you need them. For the rest of your life. All this is done before puberty because this organ becomes less and less active as we age (at least the part of it that we are aware of).  That kind of goes with the theory that "everything you need you already  have when you come into this world," in my opinion.

So both the t-cells and the 8th chakra are focused on differentiating self from others.  For the T-cells they hang around waiting for foreign physical invasions.  When their specific memory is triggered by a antigen (foreign, not one of us good guys) they surround and immobilize it, rendering it harmless to self.  A "T-cell" count is a common medical diagnostic test. Blood is drawn and the T-cells are counted.  Too many T-cells might indicate disease such as mononucleosis, or leukemia or myelomas.  It means your body is working hard against something it considers bad.  A lower than normal T-cell count might signify AIDS/HIV, viral infections, cancers, Hodgkin's, or recent radiation therapy. Low levels more or less explain that you are "compromised" or not as able to "fight off the bad guys" as maybe you could be.

Maybe it's just what I'm "tuned in to" lately, but it seems to me that there has been a rise in immune disorders. A lot of people seem to be getting diagnosed with auto-immune problems and rather vague immune problem conditions. Hmm...Does that mean for some reason collectively we need to pay some attention to the development and balanced functioning of our 8th chakra?  That could just be a huge non-scientific leap in assumption. Then again....

Emotionally the 8th chakra is said to be what really connects your physical body self to the divine. The seat of your soul really is that knowing, that life purpose, that reason for being. For a great explanation of this check out this quick youtube video!

Dr. Bach believed that emotional imbalances where what prevented the body from being able to heal itself. His line of essences was designed to bring our emotions to balance so our body could heal itself.  So it seems to me, Bach Flowers should be particularly helpful to try and get an unbalanced thymus back in order and a disconnected "seat of the soul" emotionally secure again.

Dr. Bach didn't match his essences to chakras. They are meant to be matched personally to your emotions and by that manner you may find relief of physical symptoms. But it can often be tricky to really figure out which emotions might not be in balance, particularly when you are trying to look within.

It seems to me that there are three Bach flowers that have a particular connection to the 8th chakra and to some extent the thymus and immunity.  They are Beech, Centaury, and Chestnut Bud. There are others that might resonate as well, such as Crab Apple or Walnut, and but I think Beech, Centaury and Chestnut Bud are worth considering for sure.

Beech is indicated for irritation and intolerance of others.  That sounds a little like the T-cells lining themselves up to attack anything that isn't considered "self". When we are feeling critical of others it's often because we aren't quite so secure in our own beliefs, direction and thoughts. Interestingly, Beech is often the essence to turn to with allergies and sensitivities- there appears the immune system again.  Taking Beech may help you ease up on judgements of others and therefore find yourself more tolerant to let others be. This often comes when you feel more tolerant and forgiving of yourself as well.

Centaury may also be indicated for imbalances of the 8th chakra. Centaury types are over-sensitive. They can be quite submissive in nature and often neglect self for others. They tend to give too much of themselves and are easily imposed on. They can be bullied easily and they can also be constant "rescuers", very helpful to others to the point of loosing a sense of self.  Centaury is about not having clear distinctions between self and others.  The lines start to get blurred. Physically this can result in decreased or  low energy levels, backache and strain, and anaemia.  Taking Centaury can help balance the need to take care of self and really nurture yourself as much as you would others. It's about finding what you need for you and then supplying  it to yourself.  You have what you need within, you just need to allow that to work for you rather than giving it all away.

Chestnut Bud seems to me to have a powerful connection to the 8th chakra.  Chestnut Bud is indicated when you aren't learning from experience.  The 8th chakra is all about memory connections.  When balanced, this chakra understands old memory codes, past lives, and past lessons and brings that memory into the present to work for you. T-cells are these memory coded cells that recognize a past event and work to prevent the same "bad thing" from happening again.  They may have to work the first time they see the "bad guys" or those things that aren't "part of self", but once that memory is there- it's there forever.  Chestnut Bud can help you use your past experiences in positive ways. That may translate into reappearing health problems starting to improve.

Today's picture is an electron microscope view of a T-cell that comes from the Journal of Cell Biology.  I imagine they meant it to be highly technical and informative, but I actually thought it was quite beautiful , perhaps because of the colors.  The blue part is the receptor portion of a T-cell and the green "stuff" is proteins on the T-cell surface that help embrace the bad guy to demobilize it. The blue and green colors together are really the color that resonates with the 8th chakra. Hmm....

Lots of unsubstantiated ideas, assumptions, and thoughts in the material above. But maybe that's what the 8th chakra is all about- a leap of faith because your soul actually remembers something your body can't quite get it's mind around...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Snow Suits & Mittens

The weather took a dramatic turn in my part of the world last night.  It's been unseasonably warm all fall, but last night the wind changed, a cold front blew in and although I haven't actually seen snow falling, there was a suspicious white dusting on the hay this morning.

I'm not complaining.  Not yet at least, it's still early in the year. I feel sorry for anyone that doesn't get to experience a true northern climate.  Not only do you miss out on all kinds of snow activities, but you miss the experience of winter clothing.

First there is the snowsuit. We all had to wear them.  It seemed like it took hours for someone to get you into this thing.  I think these suits were designed by the same people that make space suits or one of those deep pressure diving suits.  You aren't even expected to be able to get into this yourself.  Someone has to be assigned to aid you.  There is a lot of pushing and pulling and yanking involved. There are zippers and strings that aren't designed to be reached from the inside.  In most households the number of snow suit wearers greatly outnumbered the appliers. This meant that if you were first you had to wait a long long time for everyone else to be properly attired.  Not only was this a hot wait, but usually round about the time the last zipper on the last suit was done up, the first person realized they had to go to the bathroom. Hmm...

Once you were encased in this thing, movement was severely restricted.  That's why in all those winter photos, the kids are standing with their arms straight out, their feet firmly planted in the snow and no movement is obvious.  They can't.  You can waddle a bit from side to side and once practiced, you can move your arms without bending at the elbow but that's about it.  You know those snow angels you see in the snow?  Those aren't a game.  Those are attempts by snow suit wearers to get up once they have fallen down!!! It's a wailing and thrashing of arms and legs that anyone who's ever worn such a suit understands.

But here's the thing.  If you've never had to wear one of these snowsuits, you don't understand the wonderful, incredible, rite of passage experience the first winter you get to wear a "grown-up person coat"!  This is true freedom and a heady experience. For at least the first few years you are still issued snow pants. But they are separate from the coat.  This means you can apply them yourself.  This also means you can accidentally on purpose leave them behind in the school coat room.  I think there may be entire rooms of unclaimed snow pants in most elementary schools.  The snow suits are rather colorful but snow pants, perhaps because they were meant to make that leap to being a bit more grown-up, were always navy blue or black.  Perhaps they were these somber colors so that they could be interchangeable once lost or mislaid.  In the early stages, your snow pants had kind of a bib attachment, but as you proved your ability to withstand frostbite, you got just the pant variety and the suspenders disappeared as well. You can almost run in these free form pants. You can actually do things with your arms and you can move your upper body separately from you lower body. You can throw snowballs, you can get on and off a toboggan, you can help pull the little snowsuit wearers out of the snow bank they are stuck in.  It's wonderful.  You're one of the "big kids". No better experience.

Snowsuits are one of those things that truly have evolved. Somewhere along the way, I'd say one of the initial wearers, once they were let out of their suit, decided it was there life purpose to create a better design that would allow for movement.  The material is thinner now, but even warmer. The zippers and strings have been replaced with Velcro. You don't see so many snow angels.  It's a whole new world.  But it almost seems like our DNA still remembers the immobility factor because kids still stand there immobile once you put them in these things. You have to remind them, that in fact, they can move.

No doubt about it- snow suits were torture devices.  But mittens!! They are a whole different thing.  I love mittens. Some people think that when they are grown up they are supposed to wear gloves.  That's a mistake in my opinion.  Gloves are to your fingers, what the snow suit was to your body.  You can't move your fingers around in those things, you're movement is pretty restricted, and once your digits are separated from each other, it's actually pretty cold in there.  Mittens feel snugly to your fingers I think.  They get to still feel free inside a soft covering. Unlike gloves, mittens are colorful and happy.  Gloves are just too somber and grown up for me.  Mittens make me smile. You can't look at mittens without thinking about building forts and packing snowmen and eating a fist full of snow (we weren't supposed to eat snow, but we all did).

You couldn't catch me in a snow suit to save my soul.  But I am an adult mitten wearer and proud of it.  I love getting my mittens out when I see the first snowflake.  I wear my mittens to high level meetings.  I don't hide my mittens in a purse or briefcase. I put them right beside my coffee cup. If the subject gets too serious I just look at my mittens and I feel better about the world.  If the meeting gets boring, I look at my mittens and think about how good recess is going to feel. You can't point and accuse with mittens on. You can't poke someone in the chest and start a fight. You can't hold them in one hand and snap them in the other like an army commander from an old movie, or a mean teacher, or a snobby high society person.  Mittens are just kind of happy things and a reconnection with the good parts of being a kid.

Unlike the snowsuit, the gloves, the boots, and all the rest of the winter gear, mittens can be put on and taken off  in a flash.  You can put them on and take them off all by yourself. In my mind, there is nothing like a pair of homemade red mittens to make you feel safe, secure, warm, happy and connected with your inner child. Ahhh.... happy winter!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Review: The Virgin Cure

I'm still sort of working out this life purpose/survival skills/job stuff from yesterday's post.  Maybe part of the reason I seem a bit focused on this subject  is due to what I'm reading or maybe I'm finding these books because I'm focused on basic survival type stuff.  Whichever came first, I recently finished Ami McKay's The Virgin Cure. I loved it.

Usually I'm way behind the masses on what I read.  I typically find books that were bestsellers long ago and discover them after everyone has already "been there, read that".  But I was pretty much lined up to get Ami McKay's latest.  Her first novel, The Birth House, is a real favorite of mine and I knew without even reading the back cover, that I would appreciate this one as well. Besides, she's a Nova Scotia writer and I support that!

Both of her books combine Wise Woman knowledge, some historical fact, traditional cures and potions, and just a bit of mystic.  Good combinations in my opinion.

The Virgin Cure, is definitely a book about survival. The novel is set in New York, lower Manhattan actually, in 1871. Moth, the main character, at the age of 12, is sold by her mother to a wealthy woman to be a servant. The first 12 years of her life were no picnic either, but Moth has a personality and perhaps a life purpose, that ensure she will thrive despite the odds. She goes through some pretty murky worlds of begging, circus type sideshows, and brothels along the way. But somehow I always had this sense that Moth was going to fly and I appreciated that.  Took some of the angst away during the reading!

This book really got me thinking!  On so many levels and on many different subjects.

In the late 1800's , syphilis was a common disease that affected and killed many. In many circles, the mere mention of the disease was taboo. Neither the cause nor cure was well understood. Rumors, myths, prejudice, and ignorance around the disease were widespread. Many of the treatments were as brutal as the disease. People who had or were suspected of having the disease were hidden away, shunned, and avoided out of fear and misunderstanding. They were considered "dirty", and of low class and morals. There was a common belief  that if a man with the disease could have sex with a female virgin, his blood would be cleansed and he would be cured of the disease. This misconception allowed young girls to become commodities to be bought, sold, or traded, sometimes even by family members. It also spread the disease and increased the death toll in a portion of the population (very young girls) that might otherwise never have been unexposed. 

Now take the above paragraph and change the date to the late 1900's/early 21st century. Put today's date in if you wish. Do a computer "search and replace". Replace the word "syphilis"  with HIV-AIDS. The tragedy is, that without a single other change, the paragraph will still be correct. Hmm....

Moth hasn't been dealt a very good hand. But she really doesn't dwell a lot on those facts.  She's too busy in survival mode maybe. She doesn't turn her back on where and who she came from.  She uses the skills that have been handed down to her both through nature and nurture and tweaks them to be her own style. It works for her. And that makes me think about the idea of life purpose and how perhaps we owe it to ourselves to consider from whence we come. Perhaps those ancestral traits are in us for a reason.  Maybe they need to be modified a bit. No doubt they need to be adapted to our present situations, but perhaps they would point us to both purpose and survival. Maybe they would help enable us to thrive. Hmm...

At least in this part of the world, society has changed a lot in a couple of hundred years. We do have child protection laws, health care and social programs that would prevent the course of events that occurred to Moth- I think. But I wonder if some of those changes haven't always been in the right direction. I felt the same when I read some of Jeannette Walls books always strikes me when I read  books from this era  is how smart and capable teenagers were.  If we have  advanced so much since then, and have grown so much in educational programs and information dissemination, why do we think that teenagers today are so less capable? Shouldn't they be more capable of surviving and thriving?  Why don't we trust them to find their own way anymore?  Before you send social services to my door, I'm not suggesting at all that we "throw them into the streets", or sell them off to a higher bidder. I'm suggesting we look at them with a bit more respect and acknowledge the survival skills they have deep within them. Maybe we could help them test those skills out a bit.  Isn't there a middle ground where we could nurture them but allow them to spread their wings a bit too? Maybe we should just ask them what they really think they want and need from us. Hmm....

But you don't have to think this hard.  You can just enjoy the book. It's well written with engaging characters.  You really feel like you're walking the streets, wearing the clothes and experiencing Moth's life. You might get some good remedy ideas in there.  You might thank your lucky stars that fashion has changed. You might want to consider your own roots and your family backgrounds.  After all, that's how Ami McKay came to tell the tale in the first place.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Life Purpose vs Job & Career

The phrase "life purpose" seems to be something we now rather casually throw around in conversations and writings. The danger with such common use of a phrase is that we distort the meaning somewhat in our repetitive use. In my opinion, somewhere along the line, or at least in some circles, the term has become linked to jobs and careers.  I don't believe the two are necessarily linked.

In the past, I don't think people put much thought to either life purpose or job and career.  Perhaps there weren't as many choices and decisions to be made.  You didn't grow crops to "be a farmer", you grew crops if you wanted to eat in the winter.  In my part of the world, if someone in your family had a fiddle, the instrument might get handed down to you. Somewhere along the line on a cold winter night, someone might teach you some basic principles of playing it, and if you showed talent, you got to keep the fiddle. You didn't "become a fiddler", but you might get an extra mug of beer or a drink of whiskey in encouragement of your playing. Having an ability to play the bagpipes might get you free passage on the ship heading from Scotland to Nova Scotia, but you still better have some seed potatoes in your sporran for when you arrived at the wharf or you were going to go hungry.  Farming, or fiddling, or shoeing horses wasn't "who" you were, it was just a part of "what you did".  Easier to distinguish perhaps.

I think some early professions might have started to meld the idea of life purpose and job.  I think the first few healers, doctors, judges, or preachers might have really felt their job was something they were "called" to do and could only do because they had a "gift" for the task. If you were good at healing people, you might be given enough potatoes in exchange for your gift  that you didn't have to plant your own. Maybe it's the idea of money that messed things up a bit?

Today, as early as 14 or 15, kids are told they have to have to start making career decisions that they are told will affect the "rest of their life". They are supposed to start to decide what they are talented or gifted at and pursue those talents.  I think this is where we start to confuse who we are with what we do. And with that confusion comes the idea that there are certain "what you do's" that will make you "more of a who".

We all know not to do this. Intellectually, we understand that the jobs people do don't make them the person they are.  We know that the lamp-lighter, the street sweeper, the scullery maid and today's equivalents could all be highly intelligent, very gifted, enlightened souls. But, in my opinion, our voice of reason might not really match up to our emotions there.  I think we have a bit of a disconnect with how we truly, deep down, feel about that. Somewhere in there we seem to think there is a connection with soul, gifts, jobs and monetary reward.

So in today's world where jobs and careers seems to be disappearing at a rapid rate, we experience a lot of angst. We encourage those 14 and 15 year olds to "follow the market trends" and choose careers that will sustain them through down trends and economic shifts. Maybe we should be teaching them how to grow potatoes?

Life purpose is something quite different than a job.  It's something that is felt within the 8th chakra, at the seat of your soul.  It's where your reason and emotions understand who you are in the much bigger scheme of things.  Perhaps it's a DNA code, maybe it's a contract your soul made, maybe it's something you worked out with the divine, whomever or whatever you believe the divine to be. It's way beyond survival and therefore way beyond jobs status, career aspirations and "what" you claim to be in any professional attachment.  You job is how you survive in the world, you life purpose is how you thrive in the universe.

Jobs can come and come.  Careers can be switched, rejigged, lost, retrained, given up, retired from. Life purpose is meant to be discovered. And it comes from within. Unlike a job or career, a life purpose can't be taken away from you.  It's yours to uncover, yours to develop and yours alone to understand. It won't necessarily help you physically survive in the world, in my opinion.  Other people feel differently about that.  Followers of "The Secret" for instance might believe that once you find your passion or life purpose you are meant to turn it into how you survive in the world. I'm not so sure about that. I think that's a bit of a "get rich scam" that might just leave you a bit hollow on the inside. But that's just me.

The good news about life purpose, is that it is not tied to physical survival.  It is tied to emotional and spiritual survival and growth though. Once you can separate the two, you will find a whole lot more peace and survival, on all levels, becomes easier. When what you do is just important in terms of keeping you fed and clothed and not supposed to fulfill you on a spiritual level, it doesn't seem so important how you make that happen.  And if someone takes that away from you, you might find it easier to re-invent the job, and find another way to provide basic needs.  If you've made the mistake in thinking that job was "who you are" the loss is not recoverable.  Much more angst. Much more pressure.

There are lots of Bach Flower essences that can be helpful when the search for survival skills becomes difficult. Wild Oat can help you choose a career direction when you have multiple talents and abilities. Walnut can help with the difficulty of changing circumstances and the need to rethink your survival options. Red Chestnut can help if you're worried about how your family might be impacted by your changing circumstances. Pine might help if you're one of those "Christmas university grads" that is feeling a bit guilty about the realization that despite having spent a lot of someone else's money, your survival skills aren't really suited to that university education. Elm can be helpful when survival becomes an overwhelming responsibility.

But perhaps what might be most helpful would be the Bach Flower essence Holly. Holly might help you distinguish between survival and life purpose. Holly resonates with the High Heart Chakra, that place where you actually know there to be a difference. Holly can help you find your personal connection to soul and find the peace that only that type of harmony can bring. The Perelandra Soul Ray essences may be very helpful for finding and repairing this connection as well.

Maybe we all need a reality check.  Maybe those 14 and 15 year olds are much more in tune with their life purpose while society is trying to shove them towards survival skills they don't think they really need.  Maybe they recognize the difference and aren't willing to put so much emphasis on the survival skills that we think they should.  Perhaps they are working with a higher connection and really developing that sense of life purpose. Maybe we should allow them to foster that connection and encourage them to understand the difference. Maybe as a society we've actually mastered the basic skills required to physically survive on this planet. Maybe instead of seed potatoes we should be putting malachite in our sporrans in order to travel to a new world. Perhaps what we need now is to foster that greater connection and  find the focus to thrive rather than survive. Maybe that's the change we're feeling.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Animal Signs: Elephant

I haven't had elephants appear on my front lawn or anything, not even the pink elephant variety, but for some reason they were "on my mind" today. They are definitely a powerful animal totem and therefore deserve a blog post in my opinion.

Elephants as an animal sign or totem animal are said to represent commitment, strength, loyalty, ancient power, royalty and family.  The elephant is considered "feminine energy" and a very grounding strength.

Elephants have been revered throughout time as intelligent caring creatures. They  have been and still are, honored by many cultures. In Buddhist tradition, Buddha picked the form of a white elephant for many incarnations, thus seeing a white elephant is considered a manifestation of the gods. In Hindu tradition, the god Ganesh, who is considered the "remover of obstacles", has the head of an elephant.

Elephants show great affection for, and are very loyal to, family members. When a baby is born, the entire community of elephants gathers around and celebrates this new life. Newborns enter into a community of love where everyone helps to protect, nurture and teach them. Not only does the elephant community support the babies, they also support the new mothers and help them develop their nurturing skills to be great parents. They live in matriarchal societies where the oldest female elephant has the role of leader and advisor. Elephant leadership is an inclusive type that is concerned for the welfare of all. Perhaps, elephants have always been living in a type of Aquarius Society.

Elephants are powerful communicators and it is believed they can communicate telepathically over great distances. People with the elephant as a totem animal may well have advanced telepathic abilities. Daniel Mapel in, Into the Heart of the Wild, writes that drawing on elephant energies can help people feel connected with family members even when the physical connection is not possible. He reports that people taking elephant essence have been able to travel away from  family still maintaining a grounded sense of connection with those at home.

As one of the largest land animals, the elephant is certainly no flighty lightweight that could be accused of loosing connection with the earth or blipping off to another dimension or daydream.  They maintain a very steady, grounded, ancient connection to the earth, yet it is that ancient wisdom that enables them to be so wise and advanced. Although they are heavy, bulky creatures they move quickly and with a swinging gracefulness. They truly understand  bringing wisdom into their life on earth. With their quiet, slow, graceful nature and deep telepathic communication skills they seem to have mastered bringing 7th chakra type knowledge into the grounded focus of the 1st Root Chakra That to me, might be the ultimate balance.

Elephants are said to experience very "human emotions".  Personally, I think all animals experience emotions and I don't think we can really claim emotions to be exclusive to the human experience, but perhaps elephants have shown their emotions in ways we identify with. They seem to cry with both joy and sadness, truly grieve the loss of one of the herd, and have been known on occasion to fly into rages- usually in an effort to protect or claim revenge. I don't think there is any one Bach flower essence that really signifies elephant energy, but I think the essences might be very helpful to elephants in distress. Call me if you know of one!! Seems like they would also make wonderful candidates for proving distance healing techniques.

Elephants do show us that by supporting one another our ability to thrive in the world is enhanced.  They are one of the longest living creatures on earth and they have done that by living together in harmony and support. They listen to each other in ways we may never really understand and they show wisdom patience and compassion.

As a totem animal, elephants are said to help guide you to new energies and power by understanding ancient wisdom.  They can give you insight into the power of the three feminine energies of child, mother, and wise woman or crone. To that, I say, "You go girl"!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Day of Elevens

Today in the 11th day of the 11th month of 2011.  All those elevens speak to some pretty powerful energy. In numerology, eleven is a Master Number. It is said to reflect transformation of the physical into the Divine. This isn't "doomsday stuff", it is positive, new beginnings, open heart and mind possibilities. A chance to move forward with ease.

There are a lot of organized events around this date that seem to focus on everything from large group marriages, to focused individual meditations. It kind of feels to me that no one really knows what to expect, but there is an air of positive expectation around the day and whatever it might bring.

Some of the events that have been predicted or anticipated, relate to a quantum shift  in the earth's Crystal Grid System. Lucia Rene talks about this system in her book Unplugging the Patriarchy  The system is said to function for the planet in similar fashion to the way the chakra's work within the human body. So, on today's date, the opportunity may be to bring increased light energy, and higher vibrations to the planet. It's about an ability to transform, not  on an individual level but on a "whole earth" level. 

I'm not sure I understand much of this. In fact, I might not really understand any of this!  What I do understand though, is that it likely doesn't matter what my mind and head think about all of this.  I doubt it makes any real difference to the cosmic set -up as to whether or not I can figure out the science or mystic significance behind today's date!

I think it's enough to just feel good about the day.  And to me, it does just feel good today in some unexplainable way.  My mind says it shouldn't really feel so positive.  In my part of the world it is storming.  We have high winds and driving rain as I type this.  People are already experiencing flooding and this is likely to increase over the next 24 hours. There's a good chance the power may go out before I finish this. It's Remembrance Day and that alone usually  feels kind of dreary and heavy to me.  Not so today.  It just feels lighter in some indescribable way to me.

Maybe that's the kind of "cosmic opening" people are referring to.  Maybe it's about feeling lighter in our hearts or at some energy level that we can't quite put words or science too. Maybe it's about letting go of fear, of old ways of doing things, of  letting go of the analysis. Maybe it's about just allowing something greater than us to balance things out and bring us to a new level.

Here's to the peace of global balance however that may happen.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Full Moon in Taurus

Today is a full moon.  According to my We'Moon 2011 book, the full moon is in Taurus. Combine that type of moon phase with a pretty powerful tropical storm brewing off our coast, set to combine with another weather front that will bring heavy rainfall and wind just in time to really dampen Remembrance Day Ceremonies tomorrow, and it feels like there is some heavy energy out there.

The Moon in Taurus is said to ground us and cause us to slow down and take a look at our deeper roots and natural connections. When under this kind of moon influence, it's appropriate to examine your physical being, see what might be needing your attention, and get outside to find the nature your soul may be craving. Such deep, grounded roots resonate with the First Chakra and our need to feel safe and secure in our environment.

A lot of people have been telling me that they haven't been feeling as impacted by this full moon as they typically are during this powerful phase in the moon's cycle.  Maybe that's because this moon actually connects us and squares us with the earth, rather than "taking us away" to the cosmos where we might feel light-headed, dizzy and find it difficult to sleep.

It seems very appropriate to have the moon in Taurus in November, particularly at this time of the month when we consider past wars, grievances, losses and gains. It's also a time when you can't ignore nature. Leaves are turning and falling all around us, the earth seems to be preparing itself for change and rest, and most people have some sense of a wish to hibernate- if only for a couple of days or a weekend.  Our bodies start to prepare for the coming winter and we switch our focus to homey traditions.  We put snow tires on our cars to keep us connected to the earth. 

To feel safe and secure in a physical space  is a wonderful cozy feeling.  To not feel safe and secure, to not have that sense of physical protection can be terrifying. The Bach Flower essences that help balance the Root Chakra include Rock Rose, Sweet Chestnut Clematis  

There is a bit of a price to pay for being that grounded, slowed down person that sees the sacredness in nature.  People born under a Taurus moon don't like to change quickly.  They prefer slow changes and they like to think about things, adjusting slowly rather than full speed ahead.

So perhaps we will feel the slow comfort of the Full Moon in Taurus, but have a bit of difficulty moving out of it once it starts to wan, once the high winds and heavy rain of a storm blow in.  For that, you might want to consider having some of the Bach Flower essence Walnut around. Consider it a "back up plan", once the speed kicks up a notch or two after the full moon.

But for today and tonight at least, enjoy the Full moon in Taurus and celebrate it by being good to yourself. Prepare a safe next and settle in. It's a great night for a plate of ginger cookies and a good book!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Asteroids, Impending Doom & Bach Flowers

Are you having that sense today that something big, black and unknown might be hurtling straight towards you ? When you feel that dark sense and have no idea what's causing it, it is somethings described as the "sense of impending doom".  Emergency responders often experience this. They just have a feeling that a bad call might be about to occur.  It's the thing that makes you check your radio batteries, re-stock your supplies, maybe stick close to home, put your gear in the car, or make sure you have your cell phone or pager with you.

This sense of gloom doesn't have a definitive cause- you don't know why you feel that way, you just do.  But perhaps the feeling really does come from some point of awareness we aren't quite in touch with.  Maybe we feel the full moon phase (it's actually full on Thursday), maybe we sense incoming storms or changing weather patterns. Certainly there might be a feeling that people get in earthquake prone areas when that first really deep deep rumbling is going on, long before it actually reaches the surface.

So if you're having this sense today... here's the thing.... A 400 metre-wide asteroid, affectionately named 2005 YU55 by NASA, is orbiting out there in our moon's orbit, taking a close swing towards the earth today. Before you tuck your head between your legs, or dive under the desk- read on.  It's been well-tracked by scientists and they have ruled out any chance of impact.  It isn't anticipated to do any damage to us or the moon. Apparently a similar event occurred with a similar sized object in 1976 and if you're reading this, chances are that didn't adversely affect you either.

But maybe, just maybe, when something the size of an aircraft carrier is orbiting "close"  to us, we feel it on some cellular level? Without the aid of at least a pretty high powered telescope, you're not going to see this thing. Tomorrow, or later tonight when it's moving further away instead of closer to, you might start to feel a bit better, your impending doom might feel lighter and yet, you might be unable to explain why.

We humans, don't always deal well with our emotions. We like to analyze things and figure out why we are feeling the way we do. Have you ever noticed that animals don't have trouble sleeping? They just sleep or they don't.  Humans sometimes toss and turn unable to stop the analyzing process. It's what makes us humans, and it's sometimes what keeps us up at night. It's can also be what turns the sense of impending doom into known fear or extreme terror. Luckily, there are some Bach flower essences that might be helpful to prevent this process.

Mustard is the essence that helps in the very initial phase of that "sense of doom and gloom". If rather than putting a lot of analyzing into why you feel this dark cloud, you take a couple of drops of mustard, you might allow your body to balance out and find joy, peace and stability. Mustard can help you "shake off" that deep cellular connection to changes within your environment that you can't see, feel, and perhaps, don't need to analyze.

If you're too late for Mustard because you have read Heather's blog, surfed the net, watched the news, or called some friends and already found an object, event, or possibility to create fear that matches with your impending doom, you might benefit from Mimulus. Mimulus is helpful when you have turned that unknown fear into something tangible- like a storm, an asteroid, a disease, job loss, or poverty. We like to make our feelings match with what we see, so we can be pretty good at creating a scenario that acknowledges our cellular fears. Taking Mimulus can help you balance that fear, so that you allow your sense of action and realistic thought to match with your emotions.

If you're way too far gone for Mimulus and you moved from known fear into total terror, you might benefit from Rock Rose.  If you've done so much research into asteroids for instance, bought the movie, and now don't believe the scientists, are sure there is an "asteroid destroying part of the earth conspiracy theory", are pretty sure that asteroid is on a track heading right for your house where it will equate to a direct hit at a 7.0 earthquake level with a following tsunami, Rock Rose might do wonders for you. Rock Rose can help restore calmness and presence of mind so that you can face events realistically rather than adopting a frozen in fear, sense of helplessness.

We put our emotions on in layers. The older we are, the more layers we tend to have developed in our efforts to sort out our feelings and experiences. Sometimes, when we analyze instead of just acknowledging feelings, we build the layers even higher.

Bach Flower essences work on that layered effect. So if you find yourself in a Rock Rose state, once you take the Rock Rose, you might need to follow up with some Mimulus, and once you've taken the Mimulus you might need to follow that up with some Mustard.  It's all about getting to your true core and sense of self where emotions and experiences are balanced and harmonious, allowing your body to react effectively to what is really around you.

It's about being "prepared and not scared". It's always a good idea to check your stock, have a survival kit ready, and have a plan of what you might do an emergency.  Cell phones are not helpful if they aren't turned on or don't have charged batteries. Flashlights with good batteries can go a long way to helping you take effective action during storms and emergency situations. So if that sense of impending doom motivates you to be prepared- allow that feeling to move you forward.  But once you have prepared, be careful that you haven't created a monster that now layers you in uncomfortable ways. And perhaps your survival kit should include a bottle of Rescue Remedy, or a remedy or two that's right for the way you experience fear.

After all, that asteroid is expected to remain 0.8 Lunar Distance away from earth.  1 Lunar Distance is equivalent to 384,000 kilometers.  It seems like, if you're remaining anywhere on earth for the next few hours,  you have picked a pretty safe vantage spot.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Book Review: Gap Creek

I read Robert Morgan's, Gap Creek on the weekend.  Once again, I'm way behind the times. This book was first published in 1999 and was exalted to new heights in 2000 when it Oprah fell in love with the story and deemed it one of the Oprah's Book Club books. I missed out on all the hoopla, but received the book in a box of borrows from a friend. I didn't really expect to like this book that much.  Didn't really think it would be "my kind of book" and started to read it more or less because I was at the bottom of the box and too lazy to search any further.  By the first chapter I was hooked.

The novel is set in the Appalachian mountains in the late 1800's and is subtitled "The Story of a Marriage". It starts out with a graphically described illness and that's probably what had me hooked.  I like reading about the types of cures and medical treatments used in the past. Lots of times they turn out to still be effective today. Not so in this book. Within the first few chapters two people die from completely different causes. But the reason I kept reading was because it was told from such a "matter of fact" approach.  You knew there was caring and a sense of loss, but the main character, Julie, just picked up the pieces and moved on without a whole lot of analysis. And that's the way, Julie, and the rest of the book is told.

Julie is 17 and very much in love when she marries and moves off the family farm to live with her husband a day's walk away. She knew her husband- to- be, Hank,  for one month before the marriage. Apparently it was love at first sight, cemented with one walk home from church, a Sunday dinner with her family, and then the rest of their lives together. It wasn't an arranged marriage. She didn't know his family, or much about him except he looked good and appeared pretty smart, or at least a bit crafty. At the time, Julie was working as "hard as a man" and really holding up the family farm.  Her mother and her sisters depended on her and she felt she had to work hard to keep them all alive. When Hank comes along, she briefly wonders if she can leave her family, but again, not much analysis there. She goes off with him.  He doesn't really promise her a different life.  There is no talk of luxuries or easy living. It just "is" and everyone, including Julie's family accepts that.

The rest of the book chronicles their first year of marriage. It's a story of "living off the land" and surviving by shear determination and hard work. I loved reading about how they worked the land , planted crops,and made do with what was there from nature. When adversity strikes, Julie and Hank don't spend time considering options, they just "do". When their only milk cow strangles itself during a flood, they briefly wonder if they can use it for meat.  When they decide they can't preserve the meat, they just put their energy into digging a grave and live without milk or milk products. There are no phone calls made to seek advice, there is no crying or wailing, no thought to begging or borrowing milk, there don't search the Internet to try and figure out ways to preserve meat, there are no tweets sent out for help! They just move on. They don't think about the "what ifs" or "if only".  They just move on to the next option.

I kept waiting for the big life changing event to happen in this novel.  Which is not to say there wasn't a whole lot of things going on.  This is a busy plot line.  There is death and destruction, life and growth, floods, hunger, violence and love.  You name it, it's there, and yet I kept hoping something big would happen that would change Julie's situation. Sort of the "win the lottery" scenario I guess. It didn't.

It wasn't until I got to the end and accepted the fact that the "one big thing" wasn't going to happen that I realized how much did occur. I realized that the relationship between Julie and Hank had huge changes within that first year, not because of any big one thing, but because of a million events and occurrences and opportunities to grow without a lot of outside influence. Hmm...

Maybe there wasn't a lot of change because Julie didn't need to change.  She had everything she needed from within and she knew that.  Julie is the ultimate balanced Cerato Bach Flower type.  She trusts herself and goes with her intuition and just does what needs to be done.  She doesn't ask for opinions or weight the consequences, she doesn't analyze from multiple angles she just "does" and moves on without regret.

That doesn't mean she doesn't take advice and help from others. Her life really improves when she reaches out in the community and develops some female friendships. She recognizes the strength that comes from sharing the pain and leaning on others. She just doesn't expect it. She takes the help when it's offered and gives help when she can, but she survives because of what she knows inside. When Hank doesn't turn out to be everything she might have hoped for, she doesn't walk away or try to change him. She accepts what is, keeps herself intact, and moves through it. She doesn't give in or back down, she makes change occur by doing things herself without blaming anyone for what might be lacking. They grow together and she allows that growth to occur without expectations.

Robert Morgan writes from his ancestral roots. This is a work of fiction, but the character Julie, is based on Morgan's Grandmother and the stories he heard about her. Although the story is about life in the Appalachians, I think it's about life at that time period, regardless of where one might have lived. Perhaps we all come from that strength of character and ability to survive.  For sure, we all have what we need to survive from within.

Maybe Julie and Hank did "win the lottery" after all. I think they felt like that as they walked back up the mountain. They are definately a different couple a year later, having grown together in a nunber of ways. But they are still the same individuals. The core remains and they have become greater than the sum or their parts. And that, just might be the key to winning the relationship lottery! But you'll have to read it for yourself!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Holly as a Worldview

You might have read a couple of my earlier posts on Bach Flower essences as "worldviews" and not been able to relate to any of them.  If that fact alone made you kind of angry, or at least supremely ticked off- keep reading.  This blog might be for you. 

Holly is one of the Bach Flower essences that is prepared by the boiling method. It addresses a pretty serious, often deep seated state of emotion, and like the other essences prepared by this method, is meant to bring transformation. Holly can be a type as well as a passing state or emotion, and often occurs over the passage of time as a habitual way of reacting to events and situations- a worldview in my opinion.

Holly is often recommended for anger, jealousy or hatred.  It describes a lot of strongly negative emotions that both burn within a person and are also expressed outwardly.  Holly is the classic "road rage" personality. Cherry Plum can also describe that out of control rage, but for Holly, the rage stays long after the car is parked.  Unlike Cherry Plum where there more often a fear of loosing control than true outward manifestation, when in a Holly state people often react violently and develop a volatile personality.

Anger in itself isn't wrong- it's an emotion we all have from time to time. It's what keeps us alive sometimes. But if you dwell on the emotion it tends to build and grow even larger. In Bach Flower Remedies: Form and Function, Julian Barnard describes Dr. Bach explanations behind the Holly state. Dr. Bach believed anger is a reaction to an invasion to one's sense of self.  Invaded by physical or non-physical factors a person may act in outrage as a natural survival response. But when that outrage becomes habitual, Dr. Bach believed the anger was a reaction to a foreign invasion within the boundaries of self. Rather than being a homeostatic reaction to an outside influence, it indicates that homeostasis has failed and one constantly feels under attack from within. It is because of that internal invasion force, that the Holly state may manifest itself in cancers or other invasive diseases.

Holly is closely connected to the heart Chakra. Dr. Bach chose Holly as a remedy to provide protection from everything that is not Universal Love.  The Holly state is said to develop because of a feeling of a lack of love.  Holly is recommended for the type of sibling rivalry that may occur when an older child feels threatened by the attention a parent may be paying to the baby. The child may feel their sense of self  invaded by the new family addition and they react  by acting out violently. The older child feels their allotment of parent love is threatened or love is no longer available to them.

When Holly becomes your worldview you start to feel suspicious and see everything as a potential assault against yourself. You take external actions very personally.  You see that erratic lane change, or slow moving vehicle in front of you as specially cutting you off or purposely delaying your moving forward. Instead of seeing the world from a place of love, you see the world with anger and suspicion. This cycle builds and in the harsh Holly worldview you become bad-tempered and hard-hearted. Then other people are less likely to shower you with love and kindness, only proving your initial hypothesis that they were out to get you!

The Holly plant is a contrast of dark and light.  The leaves are dark green while the flowers appear as white clusters in direct contrast to the leaves before the red berries appear. Holly as an essence carries that transformative ability to bring light from the darkness and is a powerful essence in this ability. It can turn negative to positive or darkness to light. As a remedy, Holly acts on the point of choice, turning negative energy to positive through loving  intention.

The Holly remedy helps to open up the heart so you can be united again with universal love,self love and the absence of invasion. Once transformed, the Holly person is generous, able to give love freely without any demands for return. Their worldview can change quite dramatically to seeing compassion and love behind the  actions people take.  Once they feel that inner harmony, Holly types radiate a willingness to share. Secure in the knowledge that their own heart is not under invasion, and love is not being denied them, older siblings become fierce protectors and willing playmates, happy to share their toys and give of themselves. Because they react with love they begin to receive love, not only from their parents, but from the baby as well.

The road rage driver has the capacity to become the most courteous of drivers as well.  When they don't feel under attack by the world, they are the drivers that go out of their way to let others merge in, and give up parking spaces in crowded malls "just because". 

Holly is considered a catalyst in the Bach Flower remedies.  It prompts action and may be given when other remedies fail to have the desired effect or if too many essences seem indicated all at once.  There is no fence sitting for Holly types. They are movers and shakers. Whether they choose the dark or the light is the only question.

Christmas is coming and Holly is a strong symbol of the season. Here's hoping we can all start to see the positive light in the world rather than give in to the darkness. A lot of energy work is focusing right now on the heart and that universal heart connection  Maybe we all could use some of the transformed Holly Worldview.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chestnut Bud for Repetitive Mistakes

Have you ever been on one of these merry go rounds?  You start out with one foot on the ground, one on the structure, and you get the thing spinning.  At some point it starts going fast enough that you take your foot off the ground and just hang on for dear life. The point about these kind of merry-go-rounds, unlike the carousels you find in amusement parks, is that this type is "self-propelled".  There is no "on/off" switch.  You decide when to put your foot down and speed it up or slow it down. Of course,  a lot depends on who is on there with you. The more people on the structure, the faster you can get it going.  It's a favorite for big bullies because they can get the thing going so fast you're dizzy, sick, scared, and not having fun anymore. But it takes a lot of courage to jump off.  Even when you aren't enjoying the ride in the least, it feels a little safer than having the courage to leap.

We don't always learn from past mistakes.  We keep going back to that merry-go-round and hopping on thinking the ride is going to be different.  More often than not, I think, we make collective mistakes.  We all get back on there and think we're going to have a different ride.

What spurned this thought for me, was watching some big business decisions, being covered in the media.  It seems sometimes businesses lately want to close down. Usually it seems they have been kind of "bled dry".  They aren't making money, it isn't making sense, their product isn't sustainable, the same way of doing business isn't working. They want to quit.  But it's hard to leap off.  The "thing" is going so fast that a lot of people might be hurt if they leap or are pushed, off. Hence  government (we) try to just load up the merry-go-round, as though by adding more people (or cash and incentives) we can make the ride better. It seems to me like putting another mistake on top of the first one and the next one, the next one and before you know it, the whole thing is spinning and no one knows how to put their foot down and get off.

On a personal level, if you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over again, the Bach Flower Chestnut Bud can be very helpful.  When you're in a Chestnut Bud state you feel like you aren't making progress in life. Sometimes this results in falling for the wrong type of partner over and over again. Or you stay in an abusive relationship thinking it going to change, but it doesn't. Or you stay in a job situation that just doesn't really work very well for you.  This type of emotional cycle can often lead to reoccurring physical issues like migraines or ulcers.  Sometimes the physical signs are easier to detect than the repetitive emotional mistakes.
Taking Chestnut Bud can help you see your mistakes the way other people do.  People that aren't on the merry-go-round can watch that thing going round and round and see that isn't looking like fun.  But once your in the spin, it's hard to identify that. Chestnut Bud can help you find that point of detachment or distance so you can see your life and the pattern of recurring events better.

There is nothing wrong with mistakes.  That's how we learn.  The trick is to use the mistakes as a learning tool applying the knowledge and ability gained from the mistake to make change happen. Albert Einstein said, "insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". If that "same thing" is in fact a bit of a mistake in the first place the results are never going to get better.

Sometimes we all need the objectivity that Chestnut Bud can bring.  We need to step back, take a look at what we have been doing and reassess. It's not about ignoring or denying the mistakes. It's not about finding blame or someone to punish. It's about seeing the mistake, finding the lesson and using that experience to create a new world or set of circumstances. Just because that's "always the way we've done it" doesn't make it right. In fact, that might be what is making it wrong.

The merry-go-round really only needs one person to put their food down.  That's enough to start slowing the thing and before you know it, it's safe to get off.  You really don't have to take a wild leap. You just have to put your foot down and apply some drag, some slowing down, that gives you the time to observe, to catch your breath and think. That's the power of Chestnut Bud.

  When you step off the merry-go-round you usually feel a bit wobbly.  You might be dizzy, and a bit disorientated. It's not always clear which way is up, or which direction you should help towards.  That's why it's best to sit for a moment. Breathe in, breathe out, look at the horizon, consider how you got to where you are, and use that information to move onward.  Maybe you can climb to new heights if you head for the monkey bars!