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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year Day & Waxing Moon in Gemini

Good thing we had a snow day yesterday to calm everything done a little and restore energy and sense of self. All that might be required for today it would seem.  Today is February 29th and therefore a Leap Year Day. It also, according to We'Moon 2012, marks the Waxing Moon in Gemini.  Lots of "stuff" floating around out there today.

The whole leap year "thing" seems more than a little confusing and quite analytical. The theory of it all in brief, is that it takes just a little bit longer than 365 days for the earth to make it all the way around the sun. It takes 365.242199 to be exact. But our Gregorian Calender has 365 days in a precise fashion. I guess it would be kind of confusing to break the year into 365.242199 days.  So.. every once in awhile we have to play "catch-up" and add an extra day.  If we didn't do this we would loose about 6 hours off our calender every year and after 100 years or so we would be "off" by about 24 days. That doesn't mean we would change weather patterns, it means that after awhile the seasons wouldn't be quite lined up with what we agree to be the days of the year. The calender would tell you it was spring when it actually felt like winter- or vice versa - I'm really totally confused about which side of the equation we would be off on!!!  There is a lot of science behind this "adding an extra day thing".  It isn't exactly done every 4 years no matter what.  There are 3 criteria that have to be met to make it a leap year. You have to be able to divide the year by 4 evenly for starters.  If you can also divide the year evenly by 100 it's not a leap year, unless the year can also be divided evenly  by 400.  Apparentlyy this explains why 2000 was "allowed" to be a leap year- it met the 3rd criteria.  Wow!  Confused??? Way over my head in the mathematical figuring... And then you can even get into Leap Seconds!!!  They are even more confusing. Who does all this calculation!!? People have been doing this math for a long time it seems. Julius Caesar in the Roman empire introduced the concept of Leap years. If you want a better or more thorough explanation of all this (can't imagine you would!!) you can go to  - and good luck.

What really strikes me once I shake the number dance out of my head, is how we have agreed to all this.  It seems so much an external construct the very idea of date and time and yet, across the world we agree on this.  We have different time zones and date zones but we all agree on the concept and have worked out how different areas of the world can all fit in there together. How did this happen?? We can't even agree in a little village or town how we should best spend our taxes, or what is healthy to eat every day and we agree that someone can just make today February 29th?  Hmm...

It also strikes me how hard we work to make our analytical calculations fit with the way we feel.  We feel different seasons.  We feel when it's winter and when it's summer. We can feel when the weather is transitioning to spring or fall.  We say things like "it feels like spring out there today".  We really don't need a calender for that. Yet we want to make sure our calenders, our externally controlled ideas, line up with the way we feel.  To avoid a disconnect between that, we just throw in an extra day every so many years or so.

It seems we really depend on that calender to tell us what to do. We celebrate according to the calender. It must be really confusing if you're born on a leap day.  When you celebrate your birthday?  Do you change it every year?  We say when it's the first day of spring or the last day of winter according to our calenders.   Many plant and harvest according to the calender. We seem less connected with nature and more in tune with the calender on the fridge it seems. Hmm...

On the same day that we are experiencing an "extra day", we have a waxing moon in Gemini.  The waxing moon is a good time to draw things to you  And here we have a whole extra day to draw energy towards us.

When the waxing moon is in Gemini, you might feel things really being sped up. The moon in Gemini is about juggling possibilities, speeding up thoughts and nerves.  Today you might find yourself getting  a lot of information thrown your way. Conversations may be very quick and continual and you may feel yourself getting drawn into that speed of multiple thoughts or ideas.

There is a cautionary note about the waxing moon in Gemini.  We should be careful to appreciate the stillness and solitude of the day and not get so caught up in the speed of action or the volume of information that we don't see down to the depths for answers. The energy of this waxing moon can be quite superficial in it's speed and action.

In my opinion, if you really want to get to the depths of things, you have to consider how you feel.  You have to stop for a minute when everyone around you is talking and think about how you feelHmm...

Maybe we should do less looking at the calender and our watches and do more feeling. Perhaps we should connect with ourselves and nature a bit more and consider how we really feel rather than what we are being told to do. Maybe we should plant when it feels like spring rather than what the calender says.  Maybe we should spent that "extra day" today doing what feels right rather than what we think others expect us to do or what our planning calenders direct us to do.

Today can also be considered an "11" day.  If you add up 2 and 9 you get 11 (I feel a bit more confident about that  math than the math behind the leap year!), and 11's in numerology are considered powerful .  It's a good day to connect with your spirit. To do that, you have to slow down your thoughts and incoming information a bit and just feel. Let you spirit and your feelings direct you  to the energy you want to bring towards you and the dreams you want to create.

Instead of trying to fit nature into our thoughts and analytical calculations, maybe we could let up a bit on the intellectual pursuits. Maybe if we  felt our way through this extra day, and the energy of a waxing moon we'd have a clearer idea of what is really right for our soul. Maybe we could think less and feel more. Maybe it doesn't matter what day it is on the calender as much as what you do with the day and what you become. Maybe it's about leaping forward in the right direction for your spirit.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Snow Day

Yesterday's robins turned out to be right. Today is a "snow day"!! Yippee!! In my part of the world a snow day means school is canceled because of weather. It's a cause for unexpected celebration. It always has been and I think always will be- at least in my heart. It's probably the possibility of a snow day that gives me the gleeful anticipation feeling of a pending storm.

I've lived in other places in the country where people didn't even know what "snow days" were. I found that very sad. I think you really miss out on something if you don't know the feeling of waking up at the usual time in the morning only to realize you can go right back under the covers and sleep a little longer. Maritime kids  often go to bed at night asking for the "percentage" of chance their parents will guess for a snow day. If weather is predicted, or it's windy and snowing out there, a chance exists you won't have to go to school in the morning. It's the chance aspect that is the most delicious.

I don't think it's that Maritime kids hate school really. And even when you're past school age, and past having school age kids around, many people still look forward to "snow days".  It's just part of the culture I think and something we all look forward to.

The thing about a "snow day" is that you get a break from your routine.  You get to spend your time in an unanticipated, often unstructured, sort of way.  You get to sleep in, stay in your pajamas a little longer- maybe even the whole day.  It feels like a sweet treat when you get to do something special.  It might be reading a book that isn't school work, or making cookies, or a snowman, or watching T.V. or "all of the above".  It's just fun to have all that free time ahead of you without anyone telling you what to do.

A snow day is totally different than a weekend.  See, weekends get structured.  There's a list of things that wait all week for you to do on Saturday and Sunday.  It used to be chores. I think now, for most kids, it more about sport practice, but it's still structured. And even if you like doing it, it starts to feel a bit like something you have you do and that gets kind of heavy sometimes.

Maybe a snow day appeals to the Water Violet in all of us.  Water Violet types love to be "hunkered down", in the cave, safe and sound, with a good book, a solitary activity and no distractions from other people. They enjoy being alone. Some people like that feeling more than others, but everyone has a bit of all the emotions in them.  A snow day brings out our Water Violet tendencies.

Even Rock Water types like snow days.  Rock Water types are often pretty inflexible. They stick to routines and regiment. Maybe it's because of that that inflexible nature that they actually like snow days.  Snow days somehow force us out of the routine and there's nothing that can be done about that! Maybe we like that push that forces us to relax, let go, and just be. Hmm...

Not everyone gets to take the day off on a snow day.  People still have to go to work and for some parents it's quite a juggle I'm sure to cover off child care and still get to work and get it all to work out.  But  around here at least, I don't think there's a lot of angst about it all.  Everyone expects to have a snow day or two or three or four or more during the winter months. Because the kids are home from school a lot of people "have" to work from home. Employers seem pretty understanding that it might take you longer to get in to work, or you might have to stay home.  A lot of office buildings shut down as well.  It seems people are starting to catch on.

I saw a lot of really happy kids today.  We didn't really get that much of a storm so people were "out and about".  I saw kids with their parents.  A few of them were in the mall.  Some of them were at the coffee shop. Some of them were tagging along at work.  I didn't see anyone looking anxious about that. It was as though everyone was enjoying a break the routine and just "going with the flow".  Everyone was smiling. Hmm...

I could probably write a whole lot more about snow days, but it's a snow day so I'm going to quit working! It's time to pour a hot chocolate, curl up with a good book, and enjoy the chance to be free of all constraints.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Animal Signs: Robin

I went looking for "blog inspiration" today as a subject wasn't quite coming to me. The sun was shining, it felt like a great day to get a bunch of errands done around town and sometimes some little thing someone will say will inspire me. Maybe I was trying to hard.  Seemed like people were a bit slow and grouchy today. Maybe it's just Monday, maybe people were up late last night watching the Oscar's and not so happy to be at work today. I didn't hear any inspiring words.

So I turned to nature for inspiration and went for a walk in the woods.  Everything seems very quiet- kind of as though nature felt kind of slow and sleepy today too, and that didn't seem to quite match with the bright sunshine or how I felt inside. 

I met my ducks and had a conversation but I've already written about them  Nothing else seemed to be "out and about". I was starting to think it would be a 'blog-less" day when all of a sudden I came across a flock, and I mean flock of robins!  Ahh.. now that's what I was looking for.

I saw a flock of robins on someones lawn the other day.  It wasn't just one or two birds. The whole lawn was covered.  I casually mentioned it to someone.  Turned out he was quite an expert in birds and he explained that they really aren't "our robins". It's still too early for "ours" to appear.  Apparently these are robins that belong in Newfoundland but have made their way in land because of very stormy weather off the coast. 

The robins I saw today did quite a bit of talking.  I have no idea what they were saying, but it sounded like quite a party.  I have some friends from Newfoundland and when they are excited, nervous, or have dipped into the Screech heavily, I can't understand what they are saying either. So maybe these robins are newfies. Hmm...

Robins are definitely an animal sign according to both Steven Farmer and Daniel Mapel. Farmer in Animal Spirit Signs  suggests  the appearance of robin means it's time to let go of anything in your life that's outmoded and stagnant.  He writes that Robin is a symbol to let of attachment to drama and allow the joy to flow in.

Mapel, in Into the Heart of the Wild, writes that the Robin is a symbol of nurturing and a symbol to look after yourself in gentle ways. He also suggests Robin energy helps us create harmony out of chaos. They are considered a grounding energy.

In my part of the world, the robin is unquestionably considered a sign of Spring. The first appearance of the robin is a welcomed event no matter who you are.  Maybe that's why the thought that the robins we were seeing weren't quite "ours" was a little disappointing.  Maybe spring still isn't really here yet.

It turns out there is a storm barrelling towards my part of the world with the potential for some snowfall, high winds, maybe some rain.  So that explains the quiet in nature it seems.  Often the woods is pretty quiet just before a storm.  That also explains the way some people are feeling today.  Some people seem to react to impending storms with aches and pains, unsettledness and sometimes a bit of quiet grouchiness. Other people react to impending storms with a sense of anticipation, a bit of excitement- which also explains my mood today.

So given an approaching storm, maybe those robins really are Newfoundlanders that have decided to extend their layover a bit until the winds are a bit calmer. Newfies are good at that kind of thing.  They can make what others see as adversity an adventure. They seem pretty good at nurturing and making a party out of just about any situation- harmony from chaos I guess.

I'm going to interpret the robins I saw as a symbol of that new life and happiness that both Farmer and Mapel write about.  I don't think it matters if the Robins are newfies or "home growns'.  I don't think they are forecasting the weather as much as they are forecasting a sense of revitalization, opportunities, and new growth. And that can happen in any season, and from my point of view, is always welcome.

"Long may your big jib draw" (may the wind always be in your foreword sails" and be careful it sounds like it might get "some rough out" tonight!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fear of Food

If you've been following along, none of those temper flare-ups I witnessed this week resulted in food fights, but I have noticed some different reactions to food over lunch meetings, and that got me thinking...

We humans spend a lot of time in the pursuit of food no matter where we live. If we aren't physically engaged in finding, growing or preparing it, we are spending a lot of our income on it. It all comes back to "putting food in our mouths" in seems.

Our relationship with food seems rather complicated. It's a bit of a "love/hate" thing. We worry and suffer when we are lacking food. We also worry and suffer when we have too much food. We struggle to find the balance.

North American culture has really opened up to the dangers of food in the past few years. We are concerned with how it's grown, what's put into it, and how we are affected by it. Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia have come out of the closet and effort has gone into finding ways to help people that suffer from such ailments. Much of this awareness, research and development has been very positive, but in my opinion, there may also be a negative side effect.  Perhaps we have increased our fear of food just a bit.

There actually is a word for "fear of food".  It's called cibophobia. Often people with this fear are misdiagnosed as having anorexia.  But unlike anorexia, where the fear is of the affects the food will have on body image, cibophobia is really fear of the food itself.  The symptoms of cibophobia all actually make good solid sense if kept in balance.  They include concern for highly perishable foods like mayonnaise and milk. It makes sense to be cautious of that, they can harbour deadly bacteria, but it's about concern versus fear. Another symptom is over-concern for expiry dates. Again, that makes sense, there is a reason to have that date on there, its' about concern and awareness versus fear and anxiety to the point of total avoidance that tips the scale. Another symptoms is avoiding certain food altogether perceiving them to present above-average risks to health.  Again, a point of fuzziness in my opinion.

Only a generation or so ago, if you wanted to loose or gain weight, which you likely did more for health reasons than for over-concern for appearance, you would be instructed to either eat less or more.  The foods you put into your body likely didn't change nearly as much as the amount. That seems to have changed.

We have a much greater variety of foods thanks to globalization among other things. As much as that has opened up our world and choices it seems to have increased the confusion as well.  You can find people and programs that promote diets including; fat-free, high-fat,  gluten free, dairy free, vegan, organic, sugar-free, no carbohydrates, all carbohydrates, etc. etc.  For every diet suggestion there is a "counter-suggestion". For many we have created "movements" to provide a certain healthier approach to food supply.

Many alternative health providers focus on diet as part of your overall approach to health.  Some will suggest you eat according to your dosha.   Some will suggest a very restrictive diet in an effort to find your "set point", slowly introducing foods back in to the mix once you've sorted out allergies, intolerance and sensitivities.  These approaches can all be helpful. Like everything though, I think it has to be about the balance.

I think all this focus on regimes and restrictions can contribute to your fear of food. I wonder if we are creating a generation with more than a little cibophobia. Efforts to restrict intake of certain food groups or items or ensure intake of others, needs to be balanced with pleasure, enjoyment, and perhaps availability. If you find yourself explaining or apologizing for your food choices, without anyone asking, you might be tipping the balance a bit. If you've asked for the ingredient list or the food preparation plan and the recipe before you choose your meal in a restaurant and you don't have a severe food allergy, I think you might be tipping the balance.  If you feel sick after eating an item you worry might have included an ingredient you've been trying to avoid for no reason other than it's "on your list", you might be tipping the balance. If you find yourself avoiding or feeling uncomfortable in social situations that involve food, feeling it would be rude not to partake, you might be tipping the balance.  It might just be that your efforts to eat healthy have turned into an obsession and cibophobia.

There are some Bach Flower essences that can help you find the food balance. Rock Water is the first that comes to mind. It's helpful for people that have become overly rigid in their approach to life. Often this involves severely restricting themselves in diet programs. Rock Water might help you relax your approach a bit so you can bring the concern over food choices back into balance.

Mimulus is the Bach Flower essence that is indicated for known fears. If you know you have tipped the balance to a real fear of certain foods, that isn't in your best interest, this Bach essence could be for you.

And then there's the Bach Flower essence Cerato.  It's helpful when you're lost your sense of trust in yourself. I believe we all intuitively know what foods are good for us and which we should avoid. I think it's a survival instinct that is most likely still intact- just buried pretty deep within us. I imagine this might not be a collective instinct but quite personal in nature. One person's dairy free diet might be perfectly right for them and totally wrong for another. Balance is a personal attribute. It is found from within, nourished from within and does not need external support. That's the healing nature of Cerato.

There are seven recipes in Sweet Shack & Bach Bar. Each recipe has ingredients that resonate with the chakra it is intended to soothe. One of the recipes happens to be gluten-free.  One of the recipes is dairy free. All of them can be made with organic ingredients.  None of them are sugar-free. All of them can be tweaked and modified. Some of them might remind you of your childhood. Some might soothe you. Some might comfort you. Whether they are good for you or not is an individual decision and should be made from a balanced, non-fearful place. I know and trust you can make the right decision.

I believe food can be joyful as well as sustaining. I believe it can bring people together in celebration. I think food can reveal our individualaity, and our culture. I think food should be honored rather than feared. I think food can help us find our balance.

Bon appetite!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Solar Flares and Temper Flares?

It has been a busy few days in my part of the world and I've been witness to some pretty intense encounters. I've seen tempers really flare up in unusual places and situations it would seem. I've seen this happen in business meetings, between friends, between co-workers and among strangers. It hasn't just been in my part of the world. There have been media reports of armed police needed to intervene as people fought over the ability to buy new shoes at a cost of a couple of hundred dollars! Strikes abound with no end in sight and lots of damage incurred. And international tensions continue to escalate in many  parts of the world. The only commonality between all these events seems to be in the level of intensity. Some of the encounters I have personally seen have left me speechless- and believe me- that's unusual! 

Maybe all this is just a "sign of the times", coincidental, or "that kind of week", but when I see trends like that I like to dig a bit and see if there might be an explanation beyond the obvious.

The New Moon was in Pisces, so I guess that could contribute to the flowing emotions.  But personally, I've seen a whole lot more fire than water, so I'm not convinced that's it.

We are in a period of pretty intense solar flares. I've written about solar flares before  They do seem to have affects on us. They change the ionization, that means changes in our atmosphere and how could that not on some level affect us. The Global Coherence Initiative reports that solar activity has been scientifically linked to increased violence, homicide, suicide, heart attacks, strokes, depression, fatigue and irritability   Well, I guess that explains some of what I've seen. But not only is there scientifically evidence of these affects, this information was first discovered by the Russian scientist Tchievsky in 1916! So it's not as though this is anything really new to us. And yet these actions and reactions seem a bit "new" or different to me.

It has occurred to me to wonder which actually comes first.  Is it the solar flares that tweak us humans just a bit so that react in outward, and inward, displays of unrest and energy? Or is the universe responding to our intense energy outpourings by releasing solar flares? 

Solar flares are a release of energy.  Maybe the universe is saying "Whoa there you guys!  You're getting a little crazy down there. We're going to have to loosen the tap just a bit to balance out all that stuff you're willy nilly throwing around down there. We can't have all that energy just floating out there without releasing something to find a balance."  Maybe it doesn't matter which action comes first. For every action there is a reaction- isn't that the most basic premise?

This week has been a pretty busy one for Bach  Consultations. People seem to suddenly be feeling the need to find emotional balance in these intense times.  There is even an intensity to the remedies these days.  People aren't just shedding superficial layers like Beech for some mild irrationality or Mustard for gloom with no known origin.  People appear to know very much what they want to shed and I'm talking about real transformative stuff like lots and lots of Cherry Plum for the fear of loosing control, and Gorse for true hopelessness and despair.  Lots of Holly is going out the door these days as people look for that catalyst to change old patterns, habits, and deep seated insecurities.  People are looking for, and finding, change.  I think that's the point, and I believe that's the way to use this type of energy for good.

From my vantage point of witness, not participant, in those intense encounters this week I've observed some strange aspects to the encounters.  Not only were they a bit shocking in their appearance. The outbursts seemed to come "out of nowhere" and the precipitating agent didn't seem to be at the level that would normally warrant that type of response.  But on a number of occasions the "fight" was unusually "one-sided".  I saw a couple of outbursts that I'm pretty sure on another day might have lead to an out and out brawl. I've seen others that I was sure were going to at least meet with an equal counter attack. And yet they didn't.  It was as if you could just see that energy get thrown out to the middle of the room; stop, drop and roll, in perfect fire suppression technique. It fizzled to nothing.  Now that's a change! Hmm....

So maybe we really are in a period of change.  Perhaps new patterns of interactions really are starting to develop. Or at least, old ones are dying out.  I think that's what evolution is all about. I think that's the way to create a better world, a better life, and a new way of being. I believe the first step to internal change is being able to acknowledge and balance our emotions and if it takes solar flares to do that, bring them on. And if we are creating the solar flares by throwing that stuff out there- to the universe I say, "thanks for the release". Together we move on.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Moon in Pisces

According to my We'Moon 2012 book, today is a New Moon in Pisces.  Ahh.. so that explains those emotions of the past couple of days perhaps. 

I've written about the New Moon in Pisces before  The New Moon is always about beginnings.  It's a chance to start all over again each month.  That in itself feels like a pretty good thing.

Pisces is a water sign.  Unlike the fire signs that often are  full speed ahead in transformative, perhaps non-feeling ways, Pisces if a looser, flowing, type energy. We'Moon writes that the Moon in Pisces helps us become aware, sometimes painfully, of our feelings. It is a creative energy for sure, and that creativity is driven by emotions and right brain type activity.

It might just be the circles I'm traveling in these days, but I seem to have received a lot of reminders today about it being a New Moon in Pisces.  I got three or four emails or newsletters that mentioned the fact. I got information about new starts, and begnning over and starting fresh. Hmm... It seems to me like the world might just be feeling the pull of the moon and it's changing forms just a bit more. It seems we are responding to that pull. At least that's what I'm feeling!

One of those emails about the New Moon in Pisces suggested today is a really good time to sit for a moment and consider how you feel about your place in the world.  Today would be a good time to consider if you are where you want to be, if you are surrounded by people that love and support you,  and honor your feelings and your place in this world.

Today is a good day to ask yourself if you are "living your dream".  In my opinion, that might be a somewhat dangerous question to ask yourself in the light of the New Pisces Moon, if you don't at least have a box of kleenex's handy. But perhaps that's what tissues were invented for. The energy from the New Pisces Moon can help you sort out those emotions and feelings. You really can't pursue your dream if you don't address your feelings and decide if you're on track or not in the first place- despite how we wish we could avoid the assessment perhaps.

If you're flowing between happiness and despair as you assess your feelings- a few drops of Scleranthus might help! It might also help you find that connection between feelings and logic so you can pull your dream into action.  

With the moon's energy in a position to support new starts and direction, it might also be a good time to consider Wild Oat. If you've been uncertain as to which dream you want to pursue, or unclear where your true feelings lie, it might be the Bach for you.

Maybe the best gift you can give yourself during highly emotional times is the "right to feel", "just feel".  Sounds like that Vagus nerve could use some "me time" In true water sign fashion, just let the emotions come like a tidal wave. Let them wash over you and back out again (that back out part is important!), leaving you with a whole new start and clean path ahead.

Enjoy the waves!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Depressed Teenagers: Bach Flower Help

It isn't easy being a teenager.  It's a tumultuous time.  The teenage years are about transformation from child to adult and that kind of change and fluctuation is both wonderful and horrible; sometimes both at the same time. If you've made it to adulthood you probably remember some of the angst that came with getting to that point. We expect teenagers to go through this and consider it "normal".  A lot of parents, and teenagers as well, take comfort in knowing this is considered "normal".  There are charts and questionnaires you can fill out on-line to determine whether or not your depression is "normal" versus "clinical". I guess the comfort is that if this is "normal, expected, depression" then "this too shall pass" and we can carry on with our lives letting the emotions play out. After all, "we've all been through this", "it's normal to feel that way".  Hmm....

Aren't we working to evolve through our lifetimes?  Don't we try to make things better? Better for ourselves, better for our children, better for the next generation? So, if that's the plan, wouldn't it make sense to help kids get through that "normal depression" a bit easier? Sometimes, in order to move foreword, it helps to take a look back.

Richard Louv, in "The Nature Principle", suggests more teenagers, people of all ages really, may be experiencing what he called "nature-deficit disorder".  Louv, who also wrote, "Last Child in the Woods", writes that our increasing connectedness to technology has left us disconnected from nature and suffering as a result. We suggests that by consciously walking away from cell phones, computers, head-sets, text messages,and television, and engaging in outside, "no-tech" activities we can experience a boost in spirit.

In my part of the world, when we complained to our parents about being "bored", "frumpy", "sad", or if we even looked mad, we were often sent outside to "do something". It might have been a cleverly designed strategy to uplift us from depression, but I'm suspicious it was more a plot to get that kind of negative, consuming, and contagious, energy out of the house and away from them! Louv doesn't suggest you go back to that strategy exactly.  He doesn't suggest you kick them outside with a bag of breadcrumbs and hope they come back restored.  In fact, the suggestion that a teenager disconnect from their lifeline is not going to have a positive result for you I don't think. %20He He suggests you go outside with your children and find ways to engage in activities that will get all of you away from the technology for awhile and in the presence of nature. He has some great ideas for doing that in his books. His ideas are about helping teenagers find ways to spend time in nature that makes them want to disconnect from their "lifelines" for a period of time. It's not about taking technology away from them.

Of course, if you  look backwards for solutions to the present, sometimes it helps to go back to the 1930s. That's when Dr. Bach was discovering 8 Bach Flower essences out of his line of 38, that fit under the emotional category of "despondency and despair". Guess where he found this line of emotional self-help and healing? In nature! During walks through the countryside he found,  Larch, Pine, Elm, Sweet Chestnut, Star of Bethlehem, Willow, Oak and Crab Apple. These all fit within the section  of despondency and despair and any of these, and others,  might be helpful for teenage depression. Here's a short phrase match up for each of those 8 essences:
Larch- lack of confidence; self-esteem
Pine- guilt; self-reproach
Elm- overwhelming responsibility
Sweet Chestnut- mental anguish
Star of Bethlehem- shock; sudden disappoints; transformation
Willow- self-pity; resentment
Oak- exhausted but struggles on
Crab Apple- poor self-image; embarrassed by personal imperfections
Most of those descriptions sound like "normal" teenage- angst to me and if a few drops of an essence could help balance those feelings and release some depression, why wouldn't we use it? Bach Flower essences aren't addictive. They don't produce side effects. They don't interfere with other medications or treatments. They don't mask emotions. They don't change your external circumstances, they balance you from within. Hmm....

Teenagers are smart.  In some ways they might even be smarter then adults! If you don't think so, give any one of them the technological device  you can't figure out how to use and see what happens! But we might be selling them a bit short. We might be encouraging their disconnection from nature. We might be denying them some help and support that could get them through the rough spots. Maybe we have our own heads buried in the devices and technology, the extra work and not enough time syndrome? Maybe we need their problems to be "temporary" and "normal" so we don't have to focus on them and can worry about our own angst?

Maybe you could use some connection with nature yourself. Maybe you should go outside, find a spot in the sun, in the woods, or by the water, and open up a book on Bach Flowers.  Sweet Shack & Bach Bar could be an easy-read start. See if the idea of Bach Flowers makes sense for you or your teen. Do some research on-line with your technology.Maybe a good present to give a teenager is not a new upgrade for "the device" or a gift card to download more songs or movies. Maybe it's a Bach Consultation.

Do your research,  then take a walk with your teenager. Experiment. Consider planting a garden with them this spring. Plot out your space, look through some seed catalogues. Let them "plug in" to the device but see if over the course of time, that device might just get left behind or ignored as they connect with nature and find some peace in the rough seas of growing up.

Just because "we all suffered through it" doesn't mean the next generation has to. Surely we can do better than that!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cottingley Mystery: The Ultimate Fairy Tale

I spent the greater part of the day in the Accountant's office. This is NOT a pleasant experience for me. It never has been and I doubt ever will be, even if I make millions which seems rather unlikely given my experiences today. All that to say, I really needed a diversion away from hard core reality so I turned to my bookshelves and decided to browse through "The Ultimate Fairies Handbook" by Susannah Marriott. 

This is an interesting book, given to me by a friend who supports my need for "other world distractions" and a co-conspirator in a few childhood pranks I think.  Perhaps that's why the section that caught my eye was an explanation of what is known as, The Cottingley Mystery.

In 1917, two teenage girls (11 and 16 years old) claimed not only to have seen fairies in their English garden, they had the photos to prove it. Their photographs showed the friends in poses with quite modern looking (for the early 20th century), tiny dancing figures. Today's photo is one of those pictures. They didn't appear like orbs, unknowingly there and appearing only when the photo is developed, rather the girls seemed to be posing with the fairies. That might have been a clue in hindsight. But these girls must have been very convincing storytellers and the public very receptive to believing because the photos went "viral". Their story was written by Arthur Conan Doyle and the story and the photos were  published for the Christmas edition of The Strand magazine. The paper sold out in days. The girls got new cameras out of the deal as well, and were instructed on how to use them so they could get more pictures.

In 1983, at the age of 76, Frances Griffiths, the youngest photographer admitted the first 4 pictures had been faked.  It wasn't some widely clever or talented trick of photography.  They had cut out figures from a magazine, pasted them on hat pins, and arranged the photos.

Three things really strike me about this story. The first is how long those girls carried the secret. Amazing! Neither one of them told on the other despite what must have been some pretty incredible pressure. As the author of a few tall tales myself, and some events of deception, I'm quite familiar with the guilt of having a "little white lie" take on gargantuous proportions. Long before those two cameras were presented as gifts I would have had to spill the beans for sure. It probably would have been round about midnight the first day my mother took the pictures to the Theosophical Society meeting. I can only imagine the relief Frances must have had when she finally revealed the truth.

The second thing that strikes me about the story is how much people wanted to have living proof of the existence of fairies. I understand photography wasn't nearly as advanced as it is today, but honestly- cut out figures pasted on a hat pin!! To believe that proves the existence of fairies, I think you must really want to believe. And there is nothing wrong with that, in my opinion. The way this story went "viral" in the 1920s also shows how much so many people wanted to be connected with something from "beyond".  It seems as though it's human nature to feel we are not alone in this world. We know it deep in our hearts, but still crave evidence of such existence. Hmm...

The third thing that is very interesting about the story is that there was a 4th picture in the series that was published. It was taken with the new cameras that were gifted to the girls. Apparently this picture is not like the other three. It's more blurred than the others and the fairies don't seem to be posing with the girls as much as they are freely floating forms. When Frances "came clean" about the scrapbooking techniques, she stood firm that this fourth picture was not faked, and the images in it were completely real. Frances claimed that one picture proved what the girls knew in their hearts- that fairies really were in the garden. I can't see any reason why she would lie on that one. Nor do I choose to believe she did. Instead, I take that to mean  those two young girls really did experience something from beyond and they wanted to show the world. It would seem like the fairies must have supported them in that quest when they appeared for the final picture. I wonder if the girls were worried when they went to try and get that last picture? I think not, otherwise they would have been madly scrambling for pictures and paste again. I think they were confident in what they knew to be there and perhaps that's why they kept the secret for that long.

We all need to believe in pixie dust and magic and positive beings that can't often be seen.  I can't see anything wrong with that. To me the Cottingley Mystery is the ultimate fairy tale and I'm happy to believe. And on a day of facts and figures and harsh reality, I am more than  thankful for the distraction!

All you need is faith and trust and pixie dust!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Star of Bethlehem for Disconnection

Star of Bethlehem has come up recently as an indicated essence for a number of people. I've written about this Bach Flower essence before. One of it's prime indications is for the after effects of shock or trauma. For that reason it is included as one of the five essences in Rescue Remedy.

During the Italian Renaissance, artists were particularly interested in botany. They used plants as symbols in their paintings and often scattered plants throughout their canvas to reveal historical significance. For instance, Leonardo Da Vinci painted the infant Jesus holding a flower from the Genus Crucifer to foreshadow his future crucifixion. I didn't come up with this stuff myself!  Julian Barnard reveals this information in his book, Bach Flower Remedies: Form & Function.  Barnard also writes that when Da Vinci sketched Star of Bethlehem he didn't draw it as it actually looks. Instead, he drew the leaves as wild swirling lines. This was unusual because Da Vinci usually painted very accurate depictions. Barnard suggests Da Vinci might have been revealing the inner character of the plant through his sketch; a combination of static perfectly symmetrical flowers with swirling life force movement. Hmm...

Star of Bethlehem brings balance and calm to people that are caught up in a whirlwind tornado of life trauma and drama. The essence of the plant at the core is a delicate, pure white flower that opens only on warm clear sunny days. This part of the plant is compared to the inner soul or your inner knowing. Surrounding this pure, white, six-petaled, geometrically perfect flower, is a swirling mass of green leaves with white stripes. The leaves often disappear by the time the flower appears.

So the Star of Bethlehem plant seems to speak to that disconnect we sometimes feel between our inner selves, our souls, our peaceful perfect core, and all the swirling mass of materialism, activity, angst and distraction that can be "life in general".

In my opinion, society as a whole consciousness is waking up more to that inner being. People are reconnecting with soul purpose, with what they really believe, feel, and consider important in life. Society is starting to see the facade of organizations and structures that surround us in a swirling mass of activity, drama and sometimes, trauma. We see how our lives are often caught up in the race to achieve, gather, and surround ourselves with things that really don't touch how we feel.

That kind of inner connection and knowledge can be very inspiring. It can also be a bit painful if you have this sense of a "greater self", a "grand plan", and inner knowledge that isn't quite a fit for your day to day activity. Life is changing, priorities are shifting, and we are feeling the fire of change. Past patterns and structures are breaking down or changing and we're establishing a new order to life experiences. But that kind of change can be quite a shock to the system. Sometimes that shock of change  is experienced as grief and distress.

Star of Bethlehem is one of the few essences that is prepared by the boiling method.  That seems particularly shocking for such a delegate fragile, pure flower. Other essences like Holly, Elm or Red Chestnut seem more natural for this process. They seem hardy, tough, even prickly, so it makes sense that boiling would be needed to draw their powers out. But the boiling method speaks to real transformation powers and that's what Star of Bethlehem is about. This is an essence that breaks the patterns and reforms. It is not for a gentle condition. It is about a real change in state, a new way of being, a new order to your being.

We need to get reconnected with our inner, pure core. It's from within that we find power and peace in perfect balance. And when we find that inner strength, the swirling nature of day to day events and the drama tornadoes will just wither away and no longer be prominent.  We won't hide behind or inside that mass of green leaves. We will stand in pure geometrically perfect alignment with our soul.

Dr. Bach said Star of Bethlehem was "the comforter and soother of pains and sorrows". I don't think there can be any greater pain or sorrow than a disconnection between your true self, your inner core and your outer manifestation. When you realize there is a  difference between who you know you can be and the role you are playing, the pain is great and sometimes shocking.  Some people never realize that difference and therefore never get the chance to transform and become the best they can be.  But if you're in the process of great transformation, a few drops of Star of Bethlehem may provide huge comfort as you find the balance.

Here's to the power of transformation and the peace found within.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bach Flowers for Valentines

Today is Valentine's Day. It's a day to celebrate love I guess. It's a day that has some pretty confusing historical roots in my opinion. It can also be a rather confusing, "out of sorts" day. It can be a day of relationship measurement more than relationship celebration.  If you are a teenager today, you probably feel what I mean.  If you've been around a teenager today, you'll probably know what I mean.  If you've ever been a teenager, you'll probably remember what I mean.  For that reason, the gift of Bach Flowers might be the best Valentine's present you could ever give or receive.

Unfortunately perhaps, there's no one Bach Flower indicated for Valentine's day.  It can be rather difficult to put a description on your emotions or feelings and we all react differently, but  a few possibilities for the day include; Agrimony, Cerato, Cherry Plum, Chestnut Bud, Clematis, Crab Apple, Gentian, Honeysuckle, Larch,  Red Chestnut, Scleranthus, Water Violet, Willow and Holly.

If you're smiling and pretending you love the whole pomp and circumstance while inwardly you're crying, Agrimony might help you take off the mask. If you've turned into the class or office clown making jokes about the amount of chocolate you've consumed, the valentine decorations and the flowers, when deep down you feel like screaming, this might be the Bach for you.  If you've suggested you all go out to the bar after work to laugh at all the poor smucks that are celebrating today- this Bach is definitely for you!

If by lunch time today you've sent more than 100 texts asking your friends whether or not you should accept that invitation or extend that Valentine's invitation, give that "possibly perfect gift", or  help you choose what you should wear tonight, Cerato might be the Bach Flower for you.  It can help you trust your self and your inner knowing. Cerato can help you trust your own judgement as to what, and who, is right for you. It can also help you save on the cell phone bill!

If you woke up knowing you were just going to have a lousy depressing day because it's Valentine's Day, Gentian could be the Bach for you. It's helpful when you're feeling depressed or discouraged and you know exactly where the discouragement is coming from. It can help you realize, in fact, you may be making good progress in life. You might realize you have lots of good friends and a few too many cinnamon hearts and sappy engagement ring commercials aren't going to take that away from you.

If by the time you read this, you've seriously considered, or worried that you might, violently shred anything that in any way resembles a valentine decoration, crush chocolates, flowers, or flush paper hearts,  Cherry Plum is the Bach Flower for you. It is for the fear of losing control and Valentine's Day can do that to people! It's also helpful if you are afraid to lose control or let go of someone or something. Hmm... Cherry Plum can help you calm down so you can think rationally. After all, there are some things that just don't flush well and a clogged toilet on Valentine's Day won't likely improve your mood!!!

If you have dreaded this day for a week because you always have a lousy day, date, non-date, or experience on Valentine's Day, Chestnut Bud might be the Bach Flower for you. It's for people that keep repeating the same mistakes.  Like it or not, every February 14th is going to be Valentine's Day, it's what you do with the day that can change. Chestnut Bud can help you take advantage of your past "miss takes" and use them to move forward and improve your situation.

If you've been buying romance novels, watching Netflix love & romance movies, dreaming of the "knight in shinning armour" or the "sleeping princess", and are shocked to discover no incoming texts, phone calls, or appearances of that kind of activity in your life today, Clematis might be the Bach Flower for you. It's helpful when you are so caught up in dreamland you loose track of ,and interest in, the real world. Clematis can help ground you enough to consider the knight with the somewhat rusty armour or the over-achieving, hyper princess.

If all the focus on the "beautiful people" today has left you feeling embarrassed by that imperfect body, skin blemishes, crooked nose, mis-matched, last season,  clothes or clumsiness, Crab Apple might help you get through the day a bit easier. It can help you accept yourself and your imperfections. It can help you relax about yourself on a day when a lot of focus is on being someone for somebody else.

If you've been focused on elementary school Valentine's parties where everyone got cards, cake and Kool-aid. If you're wishing for the days when  "true-love" wasn't really the serious affair it is today, Honeysuckle might be for you. It's the remedy to consider when you're dwelling so much on the past, even if it wasn't actually that perfect, that you find it hard to deal with the present.

If you have taken advantage of the marketing focus and significance of the day and bought a very special Valentine gift for someone and lack the confidence to deliver it- Larch could be helpful for you.  It can help you take the risk.

If you're that elementary school teacher today that is worried about whether or not all the kids will get an equal number of Valentine's cards and no one will be damaged for life,  Red Chestnut might be helpful for you. If you're a parent of one of those teenagers and are so worried about their angst to the point that you're taking it on yourself and sending multiple texts to see how they are doing throughout the day, this is the remedy for you.  It can help you care with compassion but not anxiety.

If you mood has switched from ecstatic to depressed multiple times before noon today and you can't make a decision to save your soul, Scleranthus might be helpful. If you're confused over the choice of two possibilities (or people), and you've spent more than 5 minutes trying to decide which chocolate you want to eat first, consider Scleranthus to balance your mood. If the swings of happy to sad have anything to do with the amount of chocolates you've already consumed- there might be some lessons in that too!

If you've been perfectly content without a partner, making it on your own, and doing your own thing for the past few years, months, or weeks, and suddenly today you're feeling lonely, Water Violet might help you through a rough patch.  Water Violet types are capable and confident on their own and are rarely lonely, but because they don't feel the need to develop big social networks, they occasionally find themselves suffering without support or excluded from events. Water Violet might help you develop some healthy, warmer relationships so you do have support when you need it.

If everyone else has the perfect date, the perfect life, and the perfect situation but you, Willow might be helpful. If seeing that perfect couple walking hand in hand today makes you want to trip them, this remedy could be for you. If you're feeling that life has left you short-changed in the "love and relationship" department and you're more than a little bitter, feeling victimized about that, consider Willow and reassess.

Finally, if my earlier post about the search for a soul mate and the need to find love from within struck a cord with you but you just can't "get there", Holly might be helpful.  We have everything we need inside us to be complete. I'm sad to admit it doesn't come from chocolate. In my perfect world, on Valentine's Day I'd pipe Holly through the ventilation system of every school, office complex and high rise. It just might allow you to connect with your soul within so you could open your heart and find inner harmony.

Happy Valentine's Day for your soul.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Book Review: The Violets of March

I read Sarah Jio's The Violets of March over the weekend. It got me thinking...

The novel is a love story set in a small Island community.  Jio does a really wonderful job of setting, in my opinion. I was "on the Island", smelling the salt air, eating the food, and enjoying the wine, while I read.  It's was a great stormy weekend read. The main character in the novel is a writer and she struggles with her writing finding inspiration during the book. As I writer I really appreciate reading about that. While the reading helps me procrastinate actually writing, it does also help me feel the urge to "get at it again" . I appreciate both that gentle nudge and the peaceful distraction.

In my opinion, Jio also does a good job of going back and forth between two different time periods. This isn't easy to do and often isn't done well in writing, but Sarah Jio manages this well. The main character finds a diary and through this diary discovers both past and present mysteries and heals herself in the process.

Jio's novel describes how family ties, patterns, and personalities, often continue to be played out in successive generations. That's the part that "got me thinking".

I think there is a soul reason for being born into the situation and family to which you enter this world. I don't think family lineage, genetics and upbringing are by accident. I think they fit into your purpose in some way or another. The "trick" may be to figure out the pattern and perpetuate what is positive and change what might be destructive and I imagine for everyone there is a bit of both.  I don't think the links have to be biological. I believe the family or people that  nurtured you  play every bit as big a role even if you aren't genetically linked. And there is probably even more lessons in that.

We can see clear evidence of family patterns in stories of abuse, alcoholism, disease, artistic talents, career tendencies and in the case of Sarah Jio's novel, partner selection, attitudes, joys and angst. We often repeat the patterns of our parents, grandparents or relations.

Sometimes we inherit real gifts. The attitudes, strengths, perseverance and tenacity of your forefathers might have put you in a "advanced" state.  Perhaps you inherit a successful business and continue to develop it to great heights. Maybe you follow the restless pattern of movement your parents or grandparents had and end up setting down roots somewhere far away from where your family began. It can take a long time for seeds to grow to fruition and I think it's often important for family members to keep watering the seeds, and nurturing the roots so that huge growth can be achieved over several generations.

Sometimes we inherit more difficult lessons.  Perhaps we are born into families with difficulties and struggles so that we can change those patterns. By disrupting the pattern perhaps we move our entire lineage through destructive patterns and plant healthier seeds for the future.

If you're feels a bit lost for direction and purpose, you might find the Bach Flower essence Wild Oat could help. Wild Oat can help you straighten out your goals and find your path .  You might find the essence can help you sort through the lingering aspects of generations of heredity to identify what you want to keep and what you wish to change.

As I read The Violets of March, I also considered how helpful it might be to do a bit of digging into your ancestors.  If you are lucky enough to still have your parents, grandparents or other relatives around you it might very helpful to have some deep and honest conversations. Perhaps they had a unfulfilled dream or a future goal that might just strike a cord for you. Maybe you have a shared path to some extent. Perhaps they have paved part of the road ahead for you. Perhaps you'll find out that there were some hidden or suppressed talents that might help you develop your own with confidence. Maybe they've made some mistakes that you can learn from. Wise Woman wisdom is worth every ounce.

Or maybe you'd just like to snuggle down with a good read. If that's the case, enjoy The Violets of March.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Desperately seeking a Soul Mate???

It's pretty hard to ignore all the Valentine Day's hype that's out there.  It seems to have started even earlier this year and it seems like this weekend is "Valentine Weekend" as opposed to just one day on the 14th. I guess a marketing opportunity is not be missed, especially during tougher economic times.  I still feel the same way about Valentine's Day that I did last year.  I still think adults can learn from teenagers and I believe teenagers are changing the world. I hope they take over the advertising world soon rather than continue to be the targeted market.

I see lots of  hype this year to "find your soul mate".  Weeks ago I started seeing this in arenas that I consider a bit more "spiritually advanced" than mainstream advertising and that really disappointed me. I saw workshops designed to help you connect with spirit guides and angels to find your soul mate. I've seen offerings of  special readings designed so you could find just who your soul mate is, where they might be living in the world, or if they were in fact the person you thought they were. It seems like now we're connecting Valentine's day with an increased quest for a mate for our soul and according to experts we need help to do that.

See, the thing is, I don't believe any one's soul needs a mate!  In my opinion, your soul is absolutely, 100%, perfectly complete, all on it's on.  I do believe you can feel a bit separated from your soul. I think this happens when we don't feel good about the individual path we are on, or become confused about our direction in life- a bit "off track" from our goals and happiness.

That kind of separation can cause real angst of that I'm sure. But I believe it's dangerous to try and fix that angst by an external means. Finding the connection to your soul is a personal endeavor. No one else can do that for you. You don't need someone else to do that for you.  And another person, or another soul cannot "complete" you, despite the temptation to believe that.

To think that someone else's love or admiration of you can solve all your problems, make you feel safe, secure, loved, and fulfilled is the attraction of the marketed "soul mate finding solution".  It's what a lot of dating services rely on. The idea that someone else can fix your inner self just doesn't add up. It can be a welcome distraction to divert yourself away from internal searching. It's a great procrastination tool. It can also ultimately cause a lot of pain and take you further away from trust in self.

Collins Canadian Dictionary defines soul mate as " a person with whom one gets along well because of having shared interests and experiences".  So, by definition, a soul mate is just a "good buddy".  Nothing wrong with that!  It would seem, according to the definition, that you could and perhaps should, have multiple soul mates. There is nothing in the definition that suggests a soul mate is someone that "completes you" or fills any void or gap.  The definition seems much lighter than that and seems to be another way of describing a friend. By definition then, I think we all  need as many soul mates as we can find.

Collins Canadian Dictionary also defines soul-searching as "deep examination of one's actions and feelings". That seems like pretty independent action. There's no mention of a mate in there.  If you have independently searched your soul and examined how you want to act and what makes you feel good, then you should have an easier time finding a buddy or two that share similar actions, motivations and feelings. That's Sacral or 2nd chakra type development. When you have a balanced sacral chakra you understand what motivates you as something separate from the motivations of others. That's what a lot of teenagers are focused on- finding themselves, their true soul in the midst of lots of options for actions. When you find the balance, you don't need that outside affirmation to know and define yourself. You don't need someone else to "complete you".  When teenagers resist peer pressure it's because they have developed their 2nd chakra in healthy ways.

In today's picture, both those individuals have complete and separate chakra systems. There's no meshing of the chakras. Two people don't come together to develop a newly combined chakra system. There's no "mating" there.  It's an independent source of energy that is fueled and reinforced from within and through your connections to your soul. The people you meet along the way can help you maintain your balance,  but they can't give you balance. That's something between you and your soul.

So if you're looking for a way to spend your money and fuel the marketing machine, I suggest two actions. Buy a big package of those multiple Valentine's like you used to get  in grade school. Give one out to every Soul Buddy you have or want to have. Celebrate the connections you have through shared interests and common experiences. Appreciate the connection they have to your life and the way they allow you to balance your chakras and connect with your soul.

If you want to give something to someone that is very special in your life, and has a special spot in your heart, -do it. But give it in honor of their soul, in the beauty you see in them as an individual soul, separate from your own inner being, and appreciated for that uniqueness.

If you want to have a special Valentine card, a box of chocolates, a bouquet of flowers, or that cute little stuffed creature holding a heart, buy it. Buy it for yourself.  Do it in celebration of your complete, 100% perfect, couldn't be better, soul. Don't wait for someone else to complete you- complete yourself!  Find your soul and honor it.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Animal Signs: Duck

For the past couple of days it seems I have been seeing ducks everywhere I look.  This morning when I got an email picture of a mallard duck from a friend,  I figured it was time to look Duck up as an animal sign and see what's up.

In "Animal Spirit Guides", Steven Farmer writes that the appearance of a duck means it time to have fun and even get a little silly.  He suggests Duck symbolizes the time of turmoil has passed and one can release any pent-up emotions that might have been suppressed during tough times. Farmer goes on to suggest the appearance of a Mallard Duck in particular, means you should pursue any new idea that comes to you. It's time to develop and pursue it into manifestation.  Hmm....

Well, if you've been following along on this blog, this really makes sense as we move through the Full Moon into it's wanning phase.  It's been a pretty intense time of emotional turmoil under the Leo Moon Now maybe it's time to move out of that emotional intensity and take a break.  During that break from drama, perhaps we can move those projects along,  letting go of the feelings, concerns, and turmoil that might have been holding you back from acting on  and securing your goals.

I watched the ducks for awhile. It looks like it might be kind of fun to be a duck.  They didn't seem as busy or industrious as some other creatures.  They were kind of cruising around, going with the flow, talking to each other, not a whole lot of stress. I watched one guy in particular.  He kept walking out on the ice until he got to the very edge. When he got close to the open water he stopped. As his weight stayed there for a few minutes, the thin layer of ice gave way and next thing he knew he was floating along.  He kept doing this on different pieces of ice.  He seemed pretty independent in this enjoyment, and I believe he really was enjoying it. He didn't seem frustrated at the lack of support from the ice, it looked like a fun game.

I watched a few ducks float around seeming to be in a direct collision course with each other, but at the last second, one of them would veer off just a little bit,and they would end up in the same direction.  It too, looked like kind of an enjoyable game.

The smaller ones often seemed to tow behind the slipstream of the guys ahead, sometimes they crawled out of the water and had little naps on the ice.  They don't seem very worried about safety, the struggle for food, or basic survival.  It seems as though they as secure in the fact that they can get what they need and have some time to just float around enjoying the day as well. Hmm..

So it would seem to me that Duck energy really represents a balanced Root Chakra approach to life. Ducks seem to trust that their basic needs will be met and, having that sense of faith , they can relax and allow for some light-hearted fun. They don't buy into the idea that a storm is on it's way so they should hoard a bunch of food. They don't seem to be focused on  the drought of  past seasons when foot might have been a little lean.  They just take what comes and when a new game, a new swimming hole, or a particularly juicy bulrush stem floats into view, they are ready to take advantage of that.

In "Sweet Shack & Bach Bar", Samantha was experiencing some Root Chakra issues.  Wise Woman served her Rock Rose, Sweet Chestnut and Clematis.

If you are so terrified of past events or future issues that you can't find the time or ability to allow yourself  play time, Rock Rose might be helpful. I don't think the Ducks I was watching  were having any less survival issues than other creatures in the wild, they just don't seem that worried about them.  They accept the day for what it brings and so they make the time to play on the ice a bit, and venture towards the ledge, knowing that even if the ice gives way it's no big deal.  They can swim.

Sweet Chestnut speaks to Root Chakra issues as well.  We can get really caught up in issues and problems. We get all  twisted and knotted up  in the reasons why we can't do what we think we want to do. Our projects look too big, our goals too far out of reach, and our angst so great that we take ourselves to the limit of our endurance and beyond. Sweet Chestnut can help face problems with optimism and peace of mind. Perhaps if we took a few drops of Sweet Chestnut we could take a break from our own angst, go for a swim and see what the other side of the river looks like.

Duck energy is about the kind of productivity that comes when you are relaxed and in the moment. When you're open to new ideas and not panicked about where your next meal will come from, or not flying away in fear that stranger is out to get you, sometimes a few seeds or a bread crust or two just land on the rocks in front of you.

Ducks can fly away whenever they want to it would seem. But they are also skilled swimmers and great floaters. They seem pretty grounded. I wonder if some of them eat Clematis seeds?  Clematis is the Bach Flower that can help you bring those great ideas and projects into manifestation. Clematis helps bridge the gap between dreaming up what you want to do, and bringing those ideas into your reality. It provides the balance to get your thoughts on paper.

As I watched the ducks, a silly, goofy, children's book idea floated into my mind. It features flowery bathing hats, synchronized swim teams, and independent ducks with unique dreams. No big issues, no huge morals, just an easy float on a sunny day....

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Finding Your Inner Lion

Today the Full Moon is in Leo. Emotions are high and creativity is unleashed. The symbol for Leo is the Lion. With all that power and opportunity floating about, it might be a good time to connect with your inner lion.

Most people have a private self and a public self.  Often there is quite a disconnection between the two. People around you  might be seeing you as  quite timid, shy and reserved; a kitten,  while inside you know you have the roar of the lion. To balance the disconnect is often the key to balanced emotions and positive interactions.

Not only is the Lion a symbol for Leo, it's also considered a totem, power, or spirit animal. Steven Farmer, in "Animal Spirit Guides", writes that when a Lion shows up it may mean you're much stronger than you think.  Isn't that what the Lion discovered in The Wizard of Oz? All that courage and dignity is found within. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of that.

Daniel Mapel, in "Into the Heart of the Wild", recommends Lion for people that want to claim their deepest personal authority and spiritual power. He writes that Lion helps support you in connecting with your inner archetypes of King and Queen.

Assuming that you're somewhere, anywhere, on earth right now as you read this blog, and if you're not I'd love to hear from you too!, I think there's a good chance you feel as though you have taken on a project that may seem overwhelming. Maybe it's always been like that no matter what era you live in, but for sure in this fast pace of radial changes, conflicting ideologies, and shifting vibrations, we're challenged to "keep the faith". I also believe that deep down everyone knows they have the necessary skills to complete their project, whatever that might be. But sometimes that knowing is buried really, really, deep. And when that knowledge is covered up with loads of insecurity, past failures, failed attempts, unhelpful patterns, and thoughts and emotions from others, it can be pretty difficult to find the knowing. That's when you need to call on your inner Lion to dig through all that and face the mirror . That's when it's time to admire your flowing mane, impressive jaw-line, large teeth, wise watchful eyes, twitching ears, and retractable claws.

There are some Bach Flower essences that in my opinion, particularly resonate with Lion energy. They include; Larch, Agrimony, Centaury, Mimulus and Elm.

Larch is the essence that first comes to mind when you could use some help to find your Lion. Larch is helpful when you suffer from a lack of confidence. When in a Larch state you are secretly aware you have the ability to achieve your goals but you refuse to try for fear of failing. It can be helpful when you need a boost of confidence to complete a project, stand up in front of a group of people, take a test or exam, or complete an interview.

Agrimony might be helpful if you are hiding your Lion by putting on the mask of a kitten. It can be helpful if you're avoiding that project because you are afraid of conflict and discomfort. Rather than let your Lion roam when in an Agrimony state, you pretend to be a playful kitten in a effort to distract yourself and others from a project that really should get done. You might even be a bit too taken by cat nip in an effort to suppress your discomfort!

Centuary could help you set your Lion free if you've got him tied up and caged because of other people. If you've allowed a bully to force your Lion back into the cave, Centuary might be the essence for you. You don't have to come out roaring, clawing , hunting for prey, and directing the pride, but a few drops of Centuary might help you express your need to open the lock and take a confident stroll on your own chosen path.

Mimulus might help you transform from a scared kitten to a confident lion. If your Lion is being held back because of fears you can easily identify, such as public speaking, loss of friends or job, poverty, or other people, Mimulus might be indicated. It can help shy, timid, personalities find the quiet courage to stand up for themselves with their emotions under control.  A few drops of Mimulus might help your Lion come out of the den, stretch,  yawn, and face the difficulties in order to achieve the goals.

If you're feeling like an exhausted old cat without any kitten, let alone lion, energy, Elm might be the essence for you. Elm is helpful when you momentarily loose your confidence because you feel overwhelmed by responsibility. Elm can help when you have temporarily lost your "lion-ness". It's a passing state, helpful if you usually beautiful well-conditioned mane feels a bit scraggly.

The point is Lion energy is not only "out there" but also within. And it's definitely worth finding your Lion energy when faced with difficulty times and life in general. Bring your Lion out of the cave and into the open where you can soak up some sun and revitalize.

Maybe tonight you should roar at the moon!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Full Moon in Leo

The air feels kind of heavy to me today in contrast to what I actually see. This morning was the first time that I really felt the earlier sunrise as the days start to lengthen. It felt brighter out, but not lighter.  That's the kind of contrast that seems to be "out there" in my part of the world today from my perspective. The sun has been making an appearance in a brilliant way that is much appreciated, yet it still feels heavy.

Maybe it's because we are moving into the Full Moon in Leo.  According to my We'Moon 2012 book this doesn't actually happen fully until tomorrow, but perhaps we are experiencing that full moon pull today. We'Moon also identifies this phase as a Full Moon in Leo. Hmm...

I wrote about the impacts of a full moon in Leo before .  So this is another cycle of drama and fiery energy.

The energy of Leo is a call to action. People born under a moon in Leo are said to be inspirational to others and cultural leaders. But there is a dramatic intensity to Leo that might just send up a bit of a flag if you're feeling a little "off" under this energy influence today. Like perhaps a lot of Fire signs, if a Leo is bored, there can be a tendency to create an emergency just for the sake of excitement.

Today there is a feeling of contrasts in the atmosphere. Seems like the air is heavy and yet the sun is by times shining very brightly and that doesn't quite add up. The air is warming up dramatically today in my part of the world but the wind is also picking up and carrying quite a chill. One minute the sun is out and the next there is heavy cloud cover. That kind of contrast and change can be difficult to adapt to. The danger, particularly under the influence of Leo I think, is that we try to "fill in the gap" or explain how we are feeling by creating a scenario that covers it.  I guess we want to explain that external/ universal/nature locus of control

 When the air is heavy we can sometimes decide to explain that by thinking we are depressed. And if we're not sure why we are depressed, it's usually pretty easy to pull some kind of circumstance in to provide yourself with a reason!  Once you get set on that circumstance, reason, and energy, you're very likely to create exactly that- a depression.  It might just be that the reason didn't actually come first. I think there are times when we feel some universal force first and then fill in the blank with the reason.

We aren't often content to exist in this vacuum alone.  There can be a tendency to pull others into our mood-if only to feel justified in creating the scenario or the mood in the first place.  Under that Leo influence, there's a really good chance you could get pulled into someone else's emergency. That's the drama tornado effect . Be careful you don't get sucked in to one today!

There are lots of Bach Flower essences that could be helpful on a day like today if you're feeling the pull of the moon. Many of them I've mentioned in the previous blog post links.  Today might also be a really good day to have a bottle of Perelandra ETS Plus around. It can really address that "other world quality" that could be impacting your electrical system. 

In my opinion, recognizing the fact that the pull of the moon, the influence of Leo, and a multitude of forces we have no understanding of might be affecting you  might just be all you need. To recognize that fact, and not fill in the blanks with some earthly problem or issues, someone else's drama, or another "scene from the play", might be all the protection you need.

Today is a great day to follow your dreams, shine your light, discover your inspiration and move yourself forward in the direction you know to be right.  And both tonight and tomorrow night, no question about it, will be a great time to express yourself by howling at the moon!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Vagus Nerve and the 7 Chakras

As is often the case, having written the title for this blog posting, I don't really know where it's going to go from there, but here goes.  I came across some very interesting information about the Vagus nerve that seems to have inspired me to follow this thread a bit.

It seems that from both a science perspective and a spiritual perspective, people are examining the Vagus nerve and it's affect on our bodies these days. When both "sides" are looking at the same thing, that always intrigues me.  Must mean there is something to be gained from the intersection of that research.

The Vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the human body.  It extends from within the brain on a winding road throughout the body down through the intestine. That's science.  The Vagus nerve also, just so happens, to be the only nerve in the body that is present through each one of the 7 Chakras- from Crown Chakra through to the Root. Hm...

This nerve is part of the parasympathetic nervous system which means it's about slowing things down. It is in direct contrast to "fight or flight". When the parasympathetic system is "in control" we are in fact "in control". We are calmer, able to think clearer, and experience less fear. Since these responses travel throughout the whole length of that nerve, that means we are calmer throughout all of the 7 chakras. That seems like a good thing!

Apparently science has also discovered that the Vagus nerve is stimulated when we feel empathy. When we connect with someone else's emotions and feel for them, even if it's through watching them on television or seeing a picture, that connection stimulates the Vagus nerve.  We often feel that connection in our heart- the 4th Chakra.  Sometimes we feel that lump in our throat- the 6th Chakra.  Sometimes we feel something in our Root Chakra, particularly if we connect on a fear level for that other person.  Sometimes we get a rush to the solar plexus, the 3rd charka. It's actually not the fight or flight feeling, it's the parasympathetic Vagus nerve giving us a jolt and reminding us that we are connected in some way to the plight of others.

The Vagus nerve it would seem taps into other people's energy. People that are highly sensitive to others, to energy sources, and their intuition, have highly toned, readily functioning Vagus nerves. Science confirms that the Vagus nerve is attached to emotions, the right side of our brain, more than thoughts, that logical left side of our brain. The Vagus nerve participates in controlling our moods.

Medical science has found ways to stimulate the Vagus nerve. There are methods used in the pre-hospital field to stimulate the Vagus nerve for the purpose of slowing down a rapid heartbeat. There are also techniques to stimulate the Vagus nerve to reduce clinical depression.  Research is underway to find less invasive techniques to do this.

If your Vagus nerve was severed you would have difficulty speaking, breathing, eating, and most likely, a quite irregular heartbeat. It would seem you would also have very unbalanced chakras- all 7 of them! That, and clinical depression to boot! Hmm...

Is there a "so what" to be gained from this?  Maybe... Perhaps we try to block our Vagus nerve. Maybe in our world of hard-core business, logical thinking, "fight to get to the top", we unconsciously sever our Vagus nerve just a bit, or from time to time.  When we give in to the stressful world of the sympathetic nervous system and make decisions based on fear, anxiety and what seems like logical thought, in a fast-paced stressful atmosphere, we override our parasympathetic system. We try very hard to over-ride our emotions because that won't get us ahead. Ahead of what??

Maybe we should work on toning up our Vagus nerve a bit. Maybe we should allow ourselves to feel empathy and emotions, and accept the connection we have with others and with all energy around us. Maybe if we acknowledged that connection and celebrated it's existence we wouldn't be "short-circuiting" throughout that Vagus nerve. If we could allow the energy and impulses to flow in a constant and smooth fashion we might even out our moods, balance our chakras and react from a calmer more relaxed place of emotional stability.

I know empathic people that try to put up shields and block that type of flow in an effort to not be "sucked into" other people's negative space. I understand that need and I think it has it's place.  But I'm also trying to think outside the box.  Maybe we can't really block that anyway despite our efforts. I wonder if we just end up with spurts and starts and short circuits throughout the system.  The parasympathetic system is pretty automatic and not within that "conscious" control. Perhaps if we just "let it flow", show no resistance, and continually let it run through us we wouldn't "trap" that negativity in one chakra or the other.  In the spirit of the parasympathetic response, this isn't about "doing" anything. Instead it's about stepping back and "allowing" energy to flow the way it normally would if you didn't put up a fight or flight. Maybe that's what "going with the flow" is all about? if

I don't have a witty concluding paragraph for this post- sorry.  But that's what "flowed" through me. Perhaps thanks to  that Vagus nerve connection, I'll get some comments and discussion as to what you feel about this...