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Monday, April 30, 2012

Indecision & Uncertainty

It's Monday morning and after a couple of cups of coffee, some email replies that only led to more questions, some web surfing that had me seriously considering a PhD course I'd really like to take, a couple of  half hearted attempts to get "settled into some work", a "to do list" made, but not followed,  and more than a bit of procrastination, I decided to focus on writing a blog post.  That sounded pretty good until I realized I couldn't decide what I should write about.  Hmm....

A cup of tea, a ginger cookie, a bit more aimless wondering and I realized what I should be writing about was perhaps indecison and uncertainty!  Sort of that "no idea where I should start" syndrome that often follows me around.

I've written about this feeling before. It's a pattern for me. If you search "indecision" and "uncertainty" in the search button you'll find a few musings.  If you're procrastinating yourself, you'll be set for a few minutes!  But, if you'd like to follow me in my path to get out of this pattern, keep reading.

Dr. Bach put his 38 essences into 7 categories.  One of those categories in "uncertainty".  Within this category, there are a total of 6 essences. These include;  Gentian, Gorse, Cerato, Scleranthus, Hornbeam and Wild Oat. Sometimes, when selecting the right essence, it can become a process of eliminating the potential suspects.

Gentian and Gorse really don't address the type of uncertainty and indecision I'm feeling. Gentian helps when you are feeling discouraged or depressed when facing difficulties. It can help if you're feeling the obstacles are so great that you don't know where to start.  That's not my issue today. Quite the contrary- no real obstacles but myself.

Gorse is almost a degree up from Gentian. The Gentian state of discouragement can sometimes progress to Gorse and is described as extreme hopelessness and despair. If all those obstacles just won't go away and you can seem to make a dent in the problem, you may find yourself slipping into a Gorse state when you  just give up. It can take a few drops of Gorse to discover there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Both Gentian and Gorse speak to a sense of depression that doesn't fit with my restless uncertainty.  Quite the opposite, I feel "all things are possible". Hmm...

So that leaves Cerato, Scleranthus, Hornbeam and Wild Oat.

I've written a lot about Cerato.  In my opinion, it's a real fundamental essence. Cerato is helpful when you need to connect to your inner self a bit and trust your inner wisdom. When you're in a Cerato state you ask around for other's opinions. You ask for help and suggesitons and keep seeking advice, not really happy in the answers you receive. Well, I did consider asking a couple of people about that PhD program. I considered setting up some meetings to see if I could get sponsorship. But I wasn't really looking for advice. Perhaps that's a deeper layer, but for the moment, on Monday, these feelings seem a bit more superficial.

Scleranthus is the really helpful essence if you can't choose between two things. This essence is near and dear to my heart.  If I had been torn between taking the day off and getting down to work for instance I would consider this essence. I'm not even close to two alternatives at this point.  The possible options seem endless and equally exciting.

With a number of possibilities in sight we're talking about Wild Oat. I am a frequent flyer for this essence as well.  Wild Oat personalities become easily bored and unsettled.  They  often try several different careers (or PhD's!) but continue to drift. With so many opportunities available, they become undecided which way they should turn. This partially describes where I might be, although Wild Oat is frequently reserved for major decisions or being at a cross-roads. It's helpful for the big questions of career, partner, or finding a true path.  I haven't ruled it out yet, but I'm going to think about Hornbeam.

Hornbeam is sometimes referred to as the "Monday morning feeling" essence. I guess I should think about that on this- Monday morning! When in a Hornbeam state you tend to procrastinate and lack enthusiasm for the tasks at hand. Ah ha...  Hornbeam speaks to a mental weariness rather than a physical one. Perhaps that's hard to tell after three cups of caffeinated drinks, but even before those cups I really wasn't lacking in energy- just focus.

Hornbeam is a deciduous hardwood tree.  It's an extremely hard timber.  Hornbeam was used in the days before iron and steel for the moving parts of machinery. The toughness of the wood was described as being more like a horn than a wood- hence it's name. Yet the wood catches on fire easily and burns with a fierce intensity of both heat and bright flame. In Bach Flower Remedies; Form and Function, Julian Barnard claims there is no folk lore around the Hornbeam tree. It's just admired for it's beauty in flower and it's utility in timber. No mystery, no big secrets, just an ability to transform energy into action. Sounds like the "Just Do It" slogan. And who can argue with that on a Monday morning!

Bottoms up!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bach's Anti-Bully Solution

The concept of bullying is far from a new concept. We've been hearing about bully problems in schools and workplaces for years. There are a multitude of programs, courses, strategies, and "fixes" developed.  In my opinion, they aren't exactly working. Although we definitely have an increased awareness of the issues, I'm not sure we have solved the problem in any significant way. 

The issue of bullying in schools became highlighted in the most notorious of ways on April 20th 1999 when 12 students and one teacher were killed  in the Columbine School shootings. Twenty-one others were injured.  The shooters, both high school students themselves, also died.. Later investigations highlighted the fact that they had been bullied and that, perhaps fueled their revenge.  Eight days after that event, on April 28th 1999, a 14 year old student in Taber Alberta who had also been the victim of much bullying, walked into his high school and shot two people, killing one. Canadians could no longer pretend those kinds of things didn't happen around here.  The complicated issues behind what makes someone a bully, why people are bullied, and what might break the pattern became a science.

In my opinion, 13 years later, we can't deny the fact that bullies create bullies.  It would seem that the capacity to be both a victim and the aggressor exists within us all. Perhaps rather than treating the two entities as separate problems or people, we should be acknowledging the fact that every bully has been, or is, a victim and every victim can become a bully. Hmm...

There's a Bach Flower for that!

When Dr. Bach was creating his line of 38 healing essences, he first developed the 12 healers. These first essences address soul qualities or personality types.  After those had been developed he created the next 7 essences which he called the Seven Helpers. The essences within this category are not inherent soul types. They address what has become a chronic emotional response to life experiences.  The essence Vine is included within this category.

The Vine essence is prepared from the flower buds of the grapevine plant. In "Bach Flower Remedies Form and Function", Julian Barnard compares the emotional state of Vine with the growth of the plant. Grapevines are cultivated just like bullies. Every time the plant puts out a new shoot it is cut or tied into a particular form. Barnard writes that the Vine personality experiences the same type of control.  Every time the child has an impulse to express themselves they are limited, shot down, or ridiculed.
"Whatever the individual story, the Vine types begin to learn that the only way to gain control is to follow that example and become in turn bullying, dominating, forceful adults. It is a learned approach to life." (Barnard,pg. 176)
Grapevines have a tendency to climb up and over others. They don't have a strong trunk or core, so they attach to something else and curl around it in quite a restrictive manner in order to reach the light themselves. It's a blind search. The vine keeps reaching out until it finds something that it can seize upon.  Just like the way a bully searches the playground (or the office tower or the community) looking for someone they can pick on. They are looking for a source of strength and support. Perhaps we're all looking for that at one time or another.

In the cultivation process, everything around the grapevine is removed. The world around the plant is very controlled. The vines are encouraged to grow in one way only. Do we do the same with bullies?  When we see the problem beginning do we try to remove the stimulus?  Do we isolate them by suspending them from school. Do we take away their technology so they won't have their "tools".  Do we put in more controls and trim them back? In doing that, do we give them ideas of how they too could control others by taking away, giving orders, and restricting access?

Dr. Bach wrote a lot about relationships between parent and child. He felt the Vine personality occurred when parents or a close relative tried to dominate or control the child.  There is a tendency to "blame" family relationships when we see bullies developing. But I think we need to consider there to be a much wider circle of influence today than there was in the 1930's when Dr. Bach was considering such things. I don't think all bullies get their ideas on how to control and dominate from their parents. I think it's something we perpetuate in our culture. It's the "climb to the top" mentality. It's the search for physical and material gain.  We reward vertical growth more than horizontal spreading. Hmm...

Is there a point to my ramble?  I think so.  First of all, we could give the Bach Flower essence Vine to people (children and adults) that seem to be focused on controlling and dominating others. When balanced with compassion, the Vine tendencies of ambition, assertiveness, and the search for the light are great attributes. It's what we want in leaders, teachers, bosses and parents.  The essence can help people be determined without dominating. The core of the grapevine, the grape, is sweet and juicy and highly useful! That's why we try to cultivate it.

But perhaps we could also acknowledge and reward self expression and horizontal spreading. So when kids and adults seem to be testing out a shoot and going in a direction we might not have anticipated, perhaps rather bringing  them back by force, rules and controls we could allow that self-expression .  Perhaps we should see that as their chance to find their core support, their trunk, their spine.

Perhaps there is a reason why bullying in schools has become the focus. I'm not blaming teachers or parents. But I think the system might be a bit broken.  I think the school system looks a bit like a vineyard.  New growth and unusual flowers are considered weeds to be trimmed and dug out. Success is measured in terms of vertical height and curriculum outcomes. Sitting still, printing neatly, and focused attention are highly rewarded as "controlled" behavior. We are all about "control".

What if we rewarded self-expression for it's originality and creativity. If  adults, saw and believed, really believed, in the value of thinking outside the box, finding new ways of doing old things, and encouraged dreaming, maybe the potential bullies wouldn't see any value in trying to control those that express themselves that way.  It wouldn't be a weak point. Maybe if we pointed out how colorful, unique and cheery those mis-matched socks with the striped leggings, the lace ballet skirt and the flowered shirt worn backwards to Kindergarten looked, there wouldn't be suicides or homicides over wearing the "wrong" runners to High School.

Grapevines still grow in the wild.  They still attach themselves to other plants and search for the light. They make it to the light. They grow horizontally as well as vertically.  They still produce sweet, juicy grapes. It isn't the Vines we need to get rid of. It's the process of cultivation that could use a closer look.

During this school shootings/bullying "season", I'd like to see less examples of "no bullying: and "zero tolerance" and more tolerance of each other. I'd like to see less focus on the differences between the bully and the victim and more focus on the similarities between the two. Instead of "zero tolerance" I'd like to see 100% tolerance. It's the perfect time of year to celebrate new growth,and shoots of self-expression.  I think I'll start my own bullying program.  I'll call it  WEEDS. It will stand for We Encourage Extaordinaary Dreamers in School. No cultivation allowed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Role Assignment & 7 Chakras

Shakespeare's character Jaques in the play "As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7 ", says:
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages."

This phrase has become pretty common in our culture and in my opinion, that signifies how true to life it appears to be. Perhaps it provides some guidance if we pay attention.

A lot of spiritual advice suggests that our life journey can be compared to a theatre production. We take on roles and play our parts with the freedom to change the lines, step out of the act, or sit in the audience if we so choose. It is often suggested that we create drama to amuse ourselves and then get so caught up in the role and the production that we loose sight of who we really are or want to be. Hmm...

I sort of "forgot all that" and was explaining to a friend how I was a little unclear of what my "role would be" in a drama being played out or, "soon to open in a theatre near me".  I told her I was waiting to see what role would be expected of me, having recognized that even within relationships, our roles and the parts we play often changes, or should change, as we carry through our journeys.  This friend is a true "Wise Woman" and in the fashion of  true wisdom, in one line, delivered a very profound message to me. She told me ,"you have only one role to play; that of loving person, and you should do whatever feels right to you, without waiting for a role to be assigned."

Wow! At least that's how I reacted.  So simple and yet so profound.  I guess I had got caught up in the casting call and lost sight of the overall production. I guess I was waiting for the Director to type cast me into something, give me my script, send me off to costuming, and provide my cues for stage direction on when to enter and exit.

So there I was waiting, when in fact, I don't really take direction that well in the first place! Nor do I like waiting. I'm not sure where I thought the Director would come from. I think I would have been very critical of such management.  I would have wanted to re-write the script no doubt. I imagine I would have fought the use of heavy make-up, and elaborate costuming- not comfortable to me. I have issues with right and left , so no doubt, I would have exited when I should have entered and vice versa.

That Wise Woman advice gave me great comfort.  I can handle one role. I can perform one character attribute: loving. I don't have to wait for a script. I don't have to think about stage directions I'm not comfortable with and might trip over. I'm get to "ad lib". I guess I'm more comfortable with "Improv" that with Shakespearean productions.

Shakespeare's character Jaques claim we have 7 acts.  These were in reference to stages of growth from infancy to old age. I think I want to change that piece.

I can't see the number 7, in reference to life's drama as anything but a reference to the 7 basic chakras. Perhaps that's not the way Shakespeare meant it, but I'm taking over the direction of this production remember.

I am going to bring my one character attribute; loving, into all 7 chakra acts. Within the Root Chakra I will recognize that I am safe and secure in this production without being dependent on any other characters. I can perform this one-person play. While I love the other characters, I don't need them for safety. I can let characters go if they need to move to other settings or out of town performances. I will move to the Sacral Chakra confident that this personal level of loving security allows me to use my creativity to adjust the setting, the costumes, and the props. If I feel I need a little more energy to bring my inner character to center stage, I'll just adjust the lighting and let it shine on my third chakra.  This will give me the power to love myself and my character deep in my heart. From that balanced Heart Chakra I can radiate that love onto other characters without  taking anything away from my own core performance.  I'll bring love into my Throat Chakra so that I can really speak my truth and be clear in my communications. I will be able to project my voice to the back of the theatre. It will come from the heart , not only from the logical, filtered,rehearsed, side of my brain. I don't need a teleprompter or some other Director to feed me lines, I'll just tap into the Third Eye Chakra where intuition will guide me throughout the performance. No need to memorize lines!  As I tap into that knowing, I'll connect to my higher self in the Crown Chakra and realize the truth. I am the star of this performance. All I have to do is be me!!

This production may require some Bach Flowers.  Sometimes I'm a little more comfortable with comedy than tragedy. I'll take some Agrimony if I find myself reaching for the mask.

I think all actors need Larch every once in awhile.  It will keep me confident that I do have what it takes to perform. A one-person play is perhaps a bit risky, but Larch will keep me determined and capable.

If I feel a moment of stage fright and I'm frozen in fear, unable to remember what my one role is- I'll take a few drops of Rock Rose.  It too, might be appropriate for every back stage/prop room.

I only have to direct myself in this production. If I loose sight of that and starte worrying if the other players have memorized their lines, I'll take a few drops of Red Chestnut. It will keep me compassionate without the worry.

I think I might be tempted as it gets closer and closer to "show time" to call in a consultant or two.  There are probably all kinds of "out of work Directors" looking to provide advice and take over.  If I feel myself hunting through the want ads, I'll take a few drops of Cerato. It will keep me trusting myself.

I can hear Wise Woman clapping from the balcony.  It's always more fun to play to an audience. I appreciate her supporting my efforts.

"The show must go on".

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Animal Signs: Loon

All of a sudden it seems there is quite a night time symphony going on in my part of the world.  The Peepers seem back for the season, there are birds everywhere, and in the past few days a loon has joined in. The first night I heard him I thought that was kind of strange. Maybe I had just dreamed it. Loons are more a fresh water lake species than an ocean bird.  But yesterday I found him happily floating along on the waves by the shore seemingly quite content and not a bit lost.

It just so happens this Loon is far from lost. He's a "new-age, radically- thinking" Loon. A quick fact check reveals that loons are a species that has shown an incredible ability to adapt. They have developed large nasal glands and specialized kidneys that allow them to ingest seawater and eliminate the excess salt for a net water gain.  With the threat of salt water intrusion along the coast due to Climate Change, these guys are way ahead of their time. In fact, this ability to filter sea water is being studied for it's application to structures that could allow the desalination of water for human use. Who knows, in a few years you might need a flock of these guys hanging out around your well! 

The Loon is also considered a Spirit or Totem Animal.  On it is reported "The haunting call of the Loon tells you that the hopes, dreams and wishes you have tucked away will come to the surface." It is suggested when a Loon shows up you should pay attention to your dreams and awaken your imagination.

In, Animal Spirit Guides, Steven Farmer recommends you pay attention to you dreams, especially those that stay with you through the day. Farmer suggests the appearance of the Loon may indicate these dreams have powerful messages and teachings for you. The Loon Spirit is seen as a bit of an astral traveller helping you connect between layers of consciousness.

The dream focus of the Loon seems to resonate with the Bach Flower essence Clematis. Bach Practitioners commonly recommend this essence for people that are day-dreamy and unfocused.  It can be very helpful with children that seem caught in a world of their own and have trouble focusing on school work.

But it occurs to me that it's all about the balance.  Maybe we are a little too focused on dreaming as a bad thing in our Bach Flower use of Clematis.  Perhaps you are feeling a bit stuck in the heaviness of this world and have lost touch with your imagination.  If that's the case, maybe Clematis can help you reconnect with your dream level consciousness where ideas and innovations are first conceived. May a few drops of Clematis can encourage you to dream and provide the strarting point to pursue your imagination.

I think that's the power of the Loon.  I rather imagine there was a Loon out there that dreamed of having more space to swim around in.  I figure he was a little bored with the confines of his small lake and imagined big waves, and salty shorelines. I'm willing to bet he was ridiculed a bit for his dreams. Perhaps the other loons labeled him a "dreamer". His teachers probably claimed he "lacked focus" and wasn't "grounded". He probably scored high in flight school and low in surface diving. I imagine his early efforts to live in the ocean probably brought on a few stomach aches and bouts of high cholesterol. I'm glad he persisted. Without his ability to dream and his persistence ability to listen to his dreams and bring them to reality I wouldn't have the experience of "my Loon".  And I'm really enjoying the song he sings.   I admire dreamers and I love a rebel!

Pleasant dreams. May they fertilize your schemes. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ionic Toothbrush

It is my experience that when you enter the world of alternative health ideas, modalities and options, you have to expect a lot of scepticism. I'm used to eye rolling and flat out arguments. I've stopped really trying to justify, explain or worst of all, convince anyone. Now I only offer suggestions and information when asked and on this blog! But every once and awhile, something works so well, and the evidence seems so clear that I allow a little bit of gloating.  Hence today's story.

It feels like I'm a "regular" at the dentists' office.  I noticed when they re-modeled. I admire the changing artwork.  I notice when haircuts change. I know how the kids are growing and who has moved away. So we were all surprised when the records showed I hadn't had a check-up in 6 years!!  It seems I have done a lot of sitting in the waiting room, dropping off, or picking up. Meanwhile, my own teeth have been allowed to go un-checked, uncleaned,and  un-x-rayed. 

So today was the day.  I'm pretty sure everyone in the office was sizing me up for dentures.  Six years! Scandalous.  I had to explain a number of times that I hadn't been away, or sick, or boycotting- I just didn't realize it. I was braced for the dental hygiene lecture in "long version".  The one about not brushing enough, or the right way. It includes the explanation of why regular check-ups are so important, and heaven forbid the one about flossing! Apparently, flossing the night before doesn't count when it's been 6 years! I'm not condoning my irresponsibility. I'm not suggesting it's right to avoid dental check-ups. I'm just telling the story.

And the story makes me smile brightly.  Because... the x-rays revealed no cavities.  Not even that "little one we are going to watch" cavity. Despite the goggles and the heavy duty equipment there wasn't much plague build up. No "scaling" whatever that is - required. No one told me I hadn't been brushing right. No one even mentioned the floss. They kept looking in disbelief, but there you have it- a perfect check up. Hmmm.. Scandalous!

So I thought I'd mention what I have been doing because it would seem I'm doing something right?  For the past 6 plus years, I have been using an ionic toothbrush. Today's picture shows one.  I got the picture off the Soladay website

If you go to the website, this is what you will find as a description:
"The Soladey ionic brush has a light-activated titanium dioxide rod (semiconductor) inside the handle. When exposed to any light source (a fluorescent bathroom light, a plain light bulb or sunlight), the photo-sensitive titanium rod inside the Soladey ionic brush converts light into negatively-charged ions (electrons). The rod releases these ions, which blend with saliva to attract positive (hydrogen) ions from the acid in the dental plaque on your teeth.

The acid is then neutralized and plaque is disintegrated – a scientific approach to a cleaner and healthier mouth! Toothpaste is not required as water (saliva) is the acting ingredient – oral hygiene now becomes not only natural, but also economical!"

I'm not really sure how I came across the ionic toothbrush. It was just one of those things that I thought I'd try and it felt right.  I stopped using toothpaste the day I got the brush. I wasn't really trying to avoid toothpaste, although a lot of people do because of the multiple ingredients in most brands. Some people believe toothpaste, in itself, is harmful. I just found when I used this toothbrush I didn't need toothpaste and I like the fact that I have one less thing to buy! My teeth feel really clean when I use the toothbrush and in all other respects (include mouth odor) I just don't notice a difference. Every once in awhile I soak the brush part of the toothbrush (it comes off and you replace it every couple of months) in colloidal silver

I have only one disagreement with the information on the website.  They claim one of the benefits of the toothbrush is that it's easy to carry in your purse or backpack.  That's true. But do NOT leave it in your purse or backpack if you intend to go through airport security.  I spent a long time in one particular airport explaining my toothbrush really was a toothbrush, taking it apart to reveal the rod was not some sort of knife or device, and demonstrating it's use as a toothbrush!! Was a tough presentation.

Today, the hygienist didn't seem as interested or impressed with my toothbrush story as the security guards (yes plural) were at the airport. Since I started using different things I've got pretty used to hearing that rather than alternatives actually working, if I've got positive responses, it must be due to genetics, or sheer luck.  Most commonly I get a version of, "If you had to work as hard and endure as much stress as the rest of us  do, you'd be sick (or have cavities) too".  Hmm... Perhaps that's true.

I scheduled another appointment in a year's time, but I left the free toothbrush, and sample toothpaste on the counter. I've got my own thanks. I'm still smiling!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Red Chestnut Bach & the Root Chakra

I find myself in a bit of a wait and worry mode these days. I don't do waiting very well. I'm prone to impatience for sure and have taken my fair share of the Bach Flower essence Impatiens. But that's not really what this felt like so I decided to focus on it a bit. That led me to researching the Bach Flower essence Red Chestnut from a new perspective.

When I want to dig deeper into a Bach Flower essence, I often turn to Julian Barnard's book, "Bach Flower Remedies: Form & Function". This book explains the botanical nature of the essence as well as Dr. Bach's findings and often goes much deeper into his experiments than some other books.

It turns out, like all of the Bach Flower remedies, Dr. Bach discovered Red Chestnut seemingly by accident.  But in this case it was really an "accident" that led him to Red Chestnut. It was the 1930's remember, and Dr. Bach was chopping wood.  Can you see where this was going?? He slipped with the axe and "gashed his wrist" according to Barnard's account. He was treated with first aid measures but was in shock; pale and shaky from loss of blood. His friends, the ones that treated him, were anxious and worried about him. Dr. Bach felt that anxiety and believed their worries were making things worse for him.  He was feeling their concern and internalizing it. To make a long story short, he went wondering in the woods, and thus discovered Red Chestnut, the Bach Flower essence that is recommended for "worry and over concern for others".

But here's the part that strikes me.  Dr. Bach didn't discover this essence and pass it over to Nora Weeks and the friends that were "throwing out" this worry and anxiety. He didn't suggest that if they could calm themselves down by taking the essence he might actually feel better.  He took Red Chestnut himself. Hmm...

I think it is a very basic human trait to feel worry and concern for others.  There is a level of connection, particularly with people close to us, and we blur the boundaries between self and others sometimes. We seem to socially accept that we should feel this type of concern. Parents should worry about their children, friends should worry about each other, and perhaps there is something wrong with us if we don't.

Although we believe we should worry and be concerned for others, it seems we want to externalize it. We want to fix the other person that is "going through" this trauma or drama. It's easier to "fix" others than"fix" ourselves. But once you take it on- you own it. And the worry of Red Chestnut gets you right in the Root Chakra, your center for safety and security.

According to Barnard,  Dr. Bach believed the Red Chestnut anxiety, worry or imbalance, was partly based  upon a memory. At some point in the past, something did happen to someone you love and and this present event triggers that memory. A person in a Red Chestnut state "calls up" those accidents, mishaps, drama and trauma, and projects that image onto a loved one and the present event. This can set up a cycle pattern in people that are close to each other.  A classic example of this is the situation that can occur when a small child falls.  Often, before the child cries he looks to the parent.  If the parent looks upset, the child starts to cry.  Then the parent figures their worse fears have been fulfilled and there really must be a serious  injury.  Before you know it, both parent and child are in a weird circle of worry and crying. They both loose their sense of safety, security and confidence. The emergency department is filled with such cases on any given day. Red Chestnut helps to stop that pattern.  Perhaps it should be freely handed out in all emergency rooms. I'll add that to my ideas of reformed health care

The red flowers of the Red Chestnut are powerful. They speak of an empathy and an understanding where you can truly appreciate how others feel. A few drops of this essence helps to balance your sensitivity so you can be in the present, and not overwhelmed by past remembrances and triggers that disrupt your sense of personal security. When balanced yourself, you are actually in a position to give emotional support to others rather than perpetuate the cycle. The red of the flowers resonates with the red of the Root Chakra. From that balanced place of personal safety and security we can extend our empathy without causing further harm. It seems sometimes our connectedness requires separation.

Maybe it's a good day to make ginger cookies while I wait!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dandelion Wine & Living in the Moment

I spotted the first dandelions of the season over the weekend.  I love these guys and I'm always happy to see them. They are quite a gift from nature as I discovered last year . I'm really struck by how cyclical nature is. It was almost exactly a year ago that I was noticing the dandelions and here they are again- right on time.  That kind of preciseness gives me a good chance for "do overs" I think.

See, in last year's post I wrote about how you could eat dandelions in salads and use them for medicinal purposes. But I didn't put my dandelions in a salad, I decided to make wine.

I picked 8 cups of dandelions tops- not the greens, just the tops. I dissolved a package of yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water and set it aside. I washed my dandelion tops and put them in a big stock pot with 16 cups of water. I added 1 cup orange juice, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 3 tablespoons lime juice, 8 cloves, 1/2 tsp. powered ginger, 3 tbs. orange peel, 1 tbs. lemon peel and 6 cups (gulp!) of sugar.

I brought the whole thing to a boil and let it boil for an hour. I stirred it and felt very "witch like" with my brew. It smelled heavenly! After an hour, I strained the mixture through cheesecloth and let it cool.  When it was warm, but not hot, I stirred in the yeast.  I put the lid on top and let it stand overnight.  It was quite a bubbly concoction the next morning when I poured it into bottles.  Rather than cork it, it's best to just cover the bottles with cheesecloth and store it in a darkened place (sounds magical and witchy again!- I put it in the cold room) for three weeks.

This stuff smelled so good everyone wanted to drink it right away. It really did taste good. But I was pretty determined to make wine so I bottled it and following the instructions. At the 3 week mark I checked it out. It was bubbling like crazy. It still smelled really good. I strained it again, put it in new bottles and  put a twist top on it loosely. I tasted some of it. It was awesome! It was bubbly like a beer and had about the same alcohol content at 5 or 6%. I considered just drinking it then.

But I hoarded my dandelion wine.  I thought if it was at 5% alcohol now, in a few months time I might have 20 proof or so!  I also imagined bringing those 4 bottles out at Christmas time when there were no more dandelions around and enjoying the medicinal effects and the taste of spring.  I kept thinking about my wine, but it never quite felt like the right time to bring it out. I was "saving" it for something.

Round about Christmas I broke out the first bottle of dandelion wine.  It was horrible!  Undrinkable. Vinegar like, no alcohol content, and nowhere near the experience I had imagined.  So disappointing!  Where had my wonderful smelling, sweet tasting, brew gone??? Hmmm...

So the moral of this story in my opinion is: live in the moment.  I think when nature presents you with something like dandelions, you're meant to enjoy them right away. I think nature knows best, and I guess that means dandelion wine should be enjoyed when there are still dandelions around.  It isn't a Christmas wine, it's a deck wine, to be savored in the sunshine. Maybe it should be called dandelion beer.

It seems I have this pioneer gene in me that believes I should be preserving things to use later. It's an old emergency plan to avoid starvation I think. But really, cucumbers taste much better than pickles, strawberries fresh in the bowl are so much better than strawberry jam, grapes are way better than grape jelly, and peaches are heavenly with the juice dripping from your hands onto your bare toes in the grass, and just don't compare when canned ( know because I tried that too).  And if you've ever canned anything in the heat of the summer when the fruit was in season, you'll quickly realize how unnatural that is.

I think nature is trying to tell us to stop worrying and planning for the future and just live and be in the moment. If you've got more peaches than you can eat, share them with your friends rather than squeeze them into a jar. Nature will continue to provide for us through all the seasons.  Less face it, in my part of the world I really don't run the risk of starvation by Christmas if I haven't made jams and preserves.

Dandelions resonate with the third chakra.  They connect us to our center of power and self-control. Perhaps the message is to let go of trying to control everything.  Most of all, to stop trying to control nature and just enjoy what's in front of you right now. The third chakra, when balanced, allows us to make decisions that are in tune with our emotions, not just our intellect. Hmmm...

So this year, if I get a bumper crop of dandelions, I going to make dandelion beer. I'm going to drink it when it smells good, is bubbly, and refreshing. In between sips, I'll set my glass down in the warm grass right beside a dandelion patch. I might call some friends and share all the bottles at once. I think I'll have a party. I'm going to ignore that little voice of intellect that tells me I should hoard, preparing for a hard winter, preserve for tough times ahead. I will connect with my third chakra, safe in the knowing that I have the personal power to thrive, not just survive.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Signs of Miracles?

The Peepers are back!  I heard them two nights in a row. Last year I wrote about the peepers when they arrived.  As an animal sign they signal us to see miracles in everyday things. It seems they have arrived pretty early this year.  Perhaps that's a sign of miraculous things in itself?

Since the experience with the Hawk  has allowed me to consider things from a new perspective, I thought maybe I'd see what Steven Farmer had to say about frogs. In "Animal Spirit Guides", Farmer writes that the frog might be a sign to emotional cleanse oneself. He suggests you take it as a sign to really feel your emotions and allow yourself to cry and release any emotional toxicity.  Farmer writes Frog energy is a sign of a slow and steady transformation and movement from an old life to a new. Farmer suggests you call on Frog Energy when you want to release your life from, people, places and things that no longer fit with your present lifestyle and who you are.

It does seem that Farmer sees the Frog from a bit of a different perspective than Mapel, but in the end  they are both talking about the appearance of miracles. Maybe that is what spring is all about and perhaps if we allowed our bodies to tune in, we could experience the same amazing transformation.

Humans are pretty drawn to the idea of miracles.  We want "miracle cures", "miracle signs" and "miracle saves". Maybe we like the shock and awe affect. Yet there are so many miraculous things happening all the time that we, in fact, take for granted and no longer consider their miraculous nature. I guess that's what the peepers are singing about. They want us to look around and see the miracles in the everyday.

From Farmer's point of view, it would seem, in order to take full advantage of the transformative nature of a miracle, you might need to shed a few tears of toxicity. You might need to let go of pent up "stuff" in order to find room for the transformation, the miracle within. Hmm...

A couple of years ago I planted some crocus bulbs in a pile of horse manure.  You don't get much better an example of released toxicity than a pile of manure I wouldn't think.  Every year out of that pile come beautiful flowers. It seems more than a little miraculous to me. Yet without that released  material they wouldn't have what they need to mature and I wouldn't have transformation in the pile!

For some reason, the crocuses appeared in a pretty unique order this year. The yellow ones appeared first- only the yellow ones. The other day the purple ones suddenly appeared all over the place and mixed in with the yellow ones,  all at once.  Today the white ones have arrived. I forgot they were even planted in there.Hmm...

That color order seems pretty much a sign as well.  I figure the yellow ones appeared to provide the burst of energy required for personal power and growth. Yellow resonates with the third Chakra  It's the energy, power and self-esteem we need to make the transformation happen.

Then along comes the purple crocus.  I've written about them earlier.  The Purple Crocus, like the peepers, is a sign to release the tension of emotions and "old stuff".  The Purple crocus resonates with the throat chakra according to Sabina Pettitt from Pacific Essences  The color purple also resonates with the 6th Chakra or the third eye. That's our source of intuition.  It would seem from the third eye we come to understand the way in which we need to be transformed and what type of change would reconnect us to our ultimate path. 

The white Crocus and the Peepers arrived at pretty much the same time. I'm going to consider that the ultimate connection. White resonates with the Crown Chakra and helps us connect to the divine, to that universal nature that is all around us and is, in itself, miraculous.

Universal energy, that connection with Spirit, the ability to heal, the power to transform is always available to us.  That's what makes it so miraculous: the fact that it's actually, "everyday". I guess sometimes we need a few signs to remind ourselves of that.  A good cleansing cry, a walk through the poop, and listening to the song of the peepers may be all that's required.

Release and enjoy the miracle of change!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Animal Signs: Hawk

I was dive-bombed by a Hawk the other day while walking in the woods.  He came out of nowhere it seemed and flew straight for my head, missing by what felt like, mere inches.  The phrase from my childhood, "it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye", started to make sense for the first time.  He didn't go very far past me but took up residence in a nearby tree and continued to scream. Then his mate, on the other side of the trail screamed back. Turns out she was sitting in a huge nest, high in the trees. You don't have to have any special powers or abilities to understand that communication.  Apparently I had walked onto private property without an invitation and this couple was not open to spontaneous visits without calling ahead first. Maybe it was a case of new, or soon to be new, parent jitters. I didn't linger to ask for more information.

A few days later and I'm seeing those Hawks all over the place so it seems only fair to give them some air time on the blog.

Like the commanding nature of the Hawk, their spirit is considered powerful as a spirit animal guide or totem.
Hawk's are associated with Power and Magic.  They are considered messengers that awake vision and inspire higher levels of consciousness.

Steven Farmer in Animal Spirit Guides, writes that when a Hawk shows up it may mean you are caught up in the details of a situation and you could benefit from stepping back to get a greater perspective. Farmer explains the Hawk may indicate you are caught up in emotional turmoil and have lost your perspective. Hmm...

It occurs to me that getting lost in the details is sometimes a coping mechanism in stressful situations. By getting very focused on the immediate task at hand and acquiring some tunnel vision, we protect or insulate ourselves from seeing the wide angle lens picture. Getting immersed in the details of a project, the science of an illness, the logical analytical side of our brain, we can stop or delay "feeling".  We create our own emotional turmoil by writing the "to do" list deciding there is a way to work our way out of the situation.

I've taught Stress  and Time Management programs encouraging students  to write down their goals, set objectives to achieve the goals, and tasks that would help meet each objective. Such step by step, logical thought keeps you "on track" in measurable, achievable ways. Hmm....

I look at coping mechanisms a bit differently now. I think such analytical, practical thought might be a cover-up.  I think this focused attention allows you to keep going on a path, to keep doing, to keep achieving, to cope with a situation or event such that your output doesn't appear to change. I'm not sure that's a good thing. I think "cope" might mean "ignore" or "power through" and I don't think that's the point. 

Perhaps events that challenge us are meant to be viewed from that wide angle, high level, in the clouds,  perspective the Hawk takes. Perhaps from that level we can open up our Vagus nerve a bit  and accept the connection with others. Maybe in doing so we wouldn't block out our feelings by "coping" and paying attention to details and action.  Maybe we would just sit and be there for a friend. Maybe we could just sit and be there for ourselves.  Maybe we wouldn't try to take it all on, take it in stride, power through. Maybe it isn't about fighting our way through using the sympathetic nervous system, stress management techniques, and the logical left side of our brain.  Maybe we could just allow the right side of our brains to take over our hearts and feel our way through to the vision.

Hawk energy encourages us to see the overall view. It's from that perspective where we can find magic, creativity, vision and power because we aren't lost in the details.  We don't need to dig for the proof  or bury ourselves in the plans and the tasks because we can see from a higher place, an omniscient point of view. Because the Hawk spends time observing and studying the situation, when it is time for action they are quick and decisive. They are very effective at protecting their home and family because of this. They don't get distracted by the little things along the way.

Farmer writes that when a Hawk shows up you should pay attention to your surroundings because you are about to receive an important message.  Maybe there is more to come, but I think I already got the message. I think I was so caught up in my own thoughts and my brain that I wasn't feeling the connection to nature. I was "coping" instead of "experiencing". I wasn't really walking through the woods, I was reviewing my "to do list" and thinking about what I could do to change circumstances. I had no idea the Hawks were even there until they almost hit me. He came at me from the right side of my head, another message to open up that side and just let things flow. Less thinking, more feeling. 

Maybe we could all use a bit of that!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Full Moon in Libra

Well, it's officially Easter weekend in my part of the world. This always feels like rather a strange and confusing holiday to me. There are parts of it I "just don't get".  I was going to cheat on the blog today and just re-post last year's Easter blog.  Always kind of interesting to me when I feel the same a year later.

So that's the way I still feel about Easter but it doesn't seem fair to let Easter celebrations or focus overshadow a Full Moon. And today the Full Moon is in Libra. I'm pretty sure the Spring Bunny is aware of that!

According to We'Moon 2012, a full moon in Libra really warms our hearts and heightens our aesthetics.  What a great time of year to experience that energy, when the world is coming to life with spring colors and melting temperatures.

We'Moon writes that those born under a moon in Libra are natural mediators. They want everyone to get along and play nicely together. They tend to be very positive and see the beauty and the good in everything. This external admiration is almost opposite to the internal, self-directed energy of Aries and the energy that abounded with the previus New Moon  So if you've been feeling a bit of a push/pull between internal wants and needs, and the needs of others and social obligations the past few days perhaps that's why. It can often be quite a relief when the Full Moon actually arrives. It's as though we are finally released of the pulling force of moving into a new energy and now we can "just be".

The Full Moon energy of Libra is all about relationships. We put ourselves in relationships in order to grown and learn.  As much as we think we want our relationships to be harmonious, easy, kind and nuturing, sometimes it is through conflict that we grow the most and the fastest. Hmm....

This Libra Moon energy may present the opportunity to be challenged by conflict. I'm not suggesting fighting over the colored Easter eggs  you might have found that were on your neighbour's property.  I'm suggesting it might be a time to think about how you feel about conflict and identify how you could use it for growth. In particular, it might be a good time to consider whether or not you are avoiding conflict at all costs and preventing your own growth as a result.

Libra energy enables us to be senstive to conflict. We can see who isn't happy and we can uncover areas of social injustice and inequality. But that kind of revealation is likely to make us uncomfortable. We may be tempted to gloss over it, distract attention to something else rather than bring opposing forces out in the open.

It seems to me that Libra energy, and what we are likely to eperience in this Full Moon Phase is a direct match for the Bach Flower essence Agrimony. Agrimony can help you balance the need for harmony with an ability to speak your truth and stand up for what you believe in. It can help you communicate your real feelings openly rather than putting on the cheerful mask and crying on the inside. When Agrimony and Full Moon Libra energy is balanced, your cheerfulness and positive outlook comes from a real sense of self-acceptance and inner joy.  It's positive energy that is truth, not cover-up.

The attempt to avoid conflict can also create indecision. When you're trying to avoid potential disharmony you may jump back and forth between two choices or possibilities. If you're putting on the Agrimony mask to avoid the "elephant in the room", you may find yourself fluctuating between the extremes of happy and sad, contented and restless, optimistic and pessimistic. The Bach Flower Sceleranthus, in combination with Agrimony can help you even out that flip flop nature. Sceleranthus can help you maintain your poise and balance once you've taken off the mask and found your true direction.

So, if I go back to last year's Easter post, armed with this knowledge and the Full Moon in Libra energy- here's what I think. I think that hen and bunny really need to take a look at their relationship. I think the hen needs to speak up and tell the bunny there's no way he can take all her eggs. They are important to her and she's labored over them. I think the bunny should stand up and explain that first of all, he is a Spring Bunny, and not an Easter Bunny. I think he would most likely tell the hen that it's not the eggs that are so important as much as he wanted to bring color to the world and have people get outside and explore in nature. I believe the hen and the bunny would agree that people often don't explore unless they think there is treasure to be discovered, so there is some value in the egg coloring activity.  I think after a few drops of Agrimony, the hen will realize that only the fertilized eggs are really important to her and she would be relieved to give up a few of the other eggs ,and the heck with what the rooster says anyway. After a few drops of Scleranthus I think the Spring Bunny can travel in a much straighter line and put those eggs in pretty obvious places that people will admire and enjoy. That straight line will give him a whole lot more time to stand up on his hind legs and bask in the glow of the full moon. 

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Alternative Pain Remedies

Humans don't like pain.  Whether it's physical, emotional, or a combination thereof, we don't deal well with it. It's instinctual to avoid pain. We have created a whole "anti-pain" industry. Just look through the contents of any drug store.  There is usually an isle marked "pain-relievers", but most of the contents of the other isles make claims about getting rid of pain as well.  We have created medications for relieving pain in infants, young children and adults. We even have medications for day time pain as opposed to night time pain!  Let's face it, we usually don't look for medications unless we have some kind of pain. It's the pain that makes us take notice and seek treatment and if we can't treat it with over the counter medications, we'll turn to a physician for a stronger pain reliever. Hmm...

In the world of alternative medicine, pain is looked at differently than it is in conventional modalities. Pain is considered a sign that your body is working on something and sending you a signal. Pain isn't something to be suppressed or ignored. Whether emotional or physical, it is a signal of dis- ease in the body. It isn't considered something to "get rid of", it's a sign to start looking to your core for the real issue, the root of the problem.

Because the aim of alternative therapy is not to "block pain", you won't find "alternative pain remedies" like today's title suggests. Instead, the focus is on where the pain is, what causes it to be better or worse, how your behavior is affected, how you feel about it, and what is going on in your life that makes it appear or disappear. You pay attention to the pain and monitor it's progress on the way to healing.

I don't think most people understand that when they start on the path to alternative healing. The first time you take Arnica for an injury and feel the immediate relief and rapid healing, including a decrease in pain, you're hooked on the idea. When you take Ledum for painful, itchy bug bites and see the swelling go down and feel the soothing relief, you're ready to switch to this "new kind of stuff". Hypericum for a crushed finger, a bumped funny bone, finger slammed in the door, or a toothache and you're ready to open up shop selling the stuff.  A few sprays of Rescue Remedy when you feel a panic attack coming on and you're sold on the idea.  A lot of people understand the benefits of using homeopathic and alternative modalities in acute situations. The onset is sudden and identifiable, and the relief is as well.

However.. A lot of people "fall off (or "on" I'm never sure which) the alternative healing wagon", when they experience pain of a more chronic nature. Even some people that swear by natural medicine, organic foods, and alternative cures, reach for that conventional medicine "pain killer" when they have a headache, a backache, muscle and joint cramps, pains, and general soreness.  Usually they say they do this because they "had to go to work anyway", they "couldn't afford to rest any longer", they "couldn't take time off", or they "couldn't wait for the pain to go away".  Maybe that's a good case for truly complementary medicine and a combination of conventional and alternative modalities. But maybe there's something else that might work.

Magnesium Phosphate is a homeopathic preparation that is sometimes called the "homeopathic aspirin" because of it's success with aches and pains. It works for headaches, earaches, teething pain, neuralgic pains like sciatica, and menstrual pains, to name a few. If you've got the type of pain that is relieved by heat, such as a hot water bottle or a hot compress, Magnesium Phosphate just might do wonders for you. This remedy works best by dissolving it in warm water.  Add 4 to 7 tablets to a cup of hot water, stir vigorously to dissolve and sip frequently.  By the end of the mug of magnesium tea, you just might find your pains have subsided.  You can repeat as needed.  It usually comes in a 6DH or 6X preparation like today's picture suggests. You can find it on-line or in most health food stores.  If they don't have it, they should be able to order it in for you. 

If you can't think straight because of pain, or if the pain is a combination of emotional and physical (and most are), a few sprays of Rescue Remedy might prevent you from heading down the drug store "pain killer" isle. After a couple of sprays or drops, you might even remember that Magnesium Phosphate "tea" would be a good idea.  You might decide that in fact, you can relax for a bit and take the day off, or delegate your work to someone else. It you've been wearing your shoulders as earrings because the world isn't moving fast enough and you are  more than a little tense in your neck and back, Rescue Remedy might relieve your neck and headache pain. Then you might remember that Impatiens essence alone might do that as well.

If you're experiencing some strange electrical type pains that come and go in a fleeting nature and can't really be defined, described, or make sense, Perelandra ETS Plus might be helpful for you. If this type of pain is something new for you and feels like it's due to an expansion or a connection to something you can't define, ETS Plus might do much more for you than a pain killer. If none of this paragraph makes any sense to you, stick with Rescue Remedy.  If it makes so much sense you're jumping out of your seat right now- ETS Plus if for you!

 I believe there is a place for complementary medicine and there may well be times when conventional medicine has the pain killer you need to heal. But I personally think, we are overusing painkillers in an attempt to "get on with our lives" without making any concessions to how our bodies feel.  I think killing the pain, often kills the opportunity to heal. I also think it might just be a bit easier and actually seem more "natural" to reach for a painkiller instead of an alternative remedy. It's what we are programmed to think now.  You can get with a new program. Just add some alternative remedies to your first aid kit or medicine cabinet. Label them clearly so you don't have to think about how to use them and when.  Put them beside your "over the counter stuff" so you'll at least consider them when you have lost some cognitive thought because of the flight from pain syndrome. 

Relax, boil some water and make some Magnesium Phosphate tea.  Cheers!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Kubler-Ross Stages & Bach Flowers

April is a month of transitions. There is a saying that "change is never easy". I don't quite agree with that. I  think change comes naturally and very easily. It's the acceptance of such change that gives us some angst. Moving towards something new, even if it's welcomed, natural and inevitable,  means we leave a piece of something else behind. We grieve that passing.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross is a pioneer in the grieving and change process.  Although she was born as one of triplet sisters, she seemed to have proven her uniqueness throughout her life.  Perhaps because of a difficult childhood, she understood her destiny to be a focus on the humanistic perspective of death and dying. In 1969, she published her landmark book, "On Death & Dying", in which she introduced the Five Stages of Grief.  Her stages, or cycle (they don't always happen in order) of grieving is still accepted as a model to explain what can be expected and how we need to process many types of change, not just death.

We go through this process whether we recognize it or not when we grieve. It can be quick or slow.  It's easy to get "stuck" in a stage and it can be difficult to make the transition.

I studied the 5 Stages in very clinical applications a number of years ago. I taught the stages to others in a number of different forums. I believe her work makes theoretical, scientific, sense. Now I look at her work from a new perspective. I see a unique knowing and universal truths in her message.

I also see Kubler-Ross's stages as similar to peeling the layers of an onion away to get the core. This is what  Bach Flower healing is based on and I see opportunities to combine the two theories.

Kubler-Ross's First Stage is referred to as Denial.  This phase is a temporary defense mechanism.  We can't believe this is happening to us. "I feel fine, how can I be dieing"? We don't want to accept the facts, information or reality. We don't want to believe change is in front of us so we pretend it's not. This is a coping mechanism that allows you the adjustment phase. Some people get locked in this stage though.  To help "unlock" the phase, in my opinion, the Bach Flower essence Agrimony might come in handy. We set change up as conflict and when in an Agrimony state you avoid conflict at all costs. You try with all your might to ignore the "darker side of life" and make light of situations rather than confront them. If you mind can't do it alone, you might turn to drugs, comfort eating, or alcohol to help suppress the underlying discomfort. Agrimony can help you accept the less pleasant side of change and move through to the next stage.

Kubler-Ross's Second Stage is called Anger. People dealing with change can be angry at themselves or others and often this anger gets directed at those most close to them. This can be a difficult phase for everyone! The anger of this stage is quite focused in blame. We try to find a spot to place or direct our discomfort. We believe ourselves to be a victim of something and we struggle to find the source. We resent the fact that we have to go through this while others don't. Life isn't fair.  The Bach Flower essence Willow might help you move through this anger, resentment and bitterness. Willow can help you look within instead of focusing on external factors.

In Kubler-Ross's model, Anger turns to the Third Stage of Bargaining. "I'd give up all my possessions if only..."It's usually a negotiation we try to do with whatever we consider to be the higher power. We promise a reformed lifestyle if only we were given more time, or this change to pass us by. It's the classic wish to turn back the clock for just one second so that the future might have taken a different form. The Bach Flower Honeysuckle might help you move through this phase smoother. In the Honeysuckle state you find it difficult to accept the present circumstances because you feel over attached to the past.  Honeysuckle can help you let go of this attachment and clinging nostalgia so you can move forward in the reality of the present moment. It's about accepting the change that's already occurred.

Moving through that acceptance can be tough.  Kubler-Ross's model identifies the Fourth Stage as Depression. When you can no longer deny, find a reason for, or negotiate your way out of the change you face, it can be down right sad. That's grieving. It's a process of detaching and disconnecting. Kubler-Ross doesn't recommend you try to "cheer someone up" at this change. I think we make that mistake a lot in order to make it easier for us personally.  This is a stage we all need to process. The Bach Flower Gorse won't prevent that processing, but it might help you find your inner sense of faith. Gorse can help you use change as a positive experience.

Kubler-Ross's fifth and final Stage is Acceptance. Ahh... that's the peace we're all looking for when we experience change, we just don't know that until we can get there. It is a place of emotional detachment and objectivity. We no longer judge events as "good" or "bad", we just them as as part of the journey. When multiple people are involved in transition or change, it's uncommon to go through the stages at the same time. People that are dieing usually get to the stage of Acceptance long before their loved ones do. When some people in your circle find acceptance before others, the rest of the group often tries to talk them out of it. We misinterpret acceptance for "giving up". When you've found Acceptance, the Bach Flower Cerato can be very helpful to to keep you there. Cerato allows you to trust that inner wisdom and follow it no matter what others' are trying to tell you. Cerato allow you to accept the change as being your path and in that moment you can follow it blissfully guided by your own higher power. Today's picture the Cerato flower. All focus of this flower is towards the center. The petals have a herring-bone path towards the center. The flower only lasts for a day upon which the petals close and the flower collapses. It twists into a spiral and forms a focus of indrawn energy. It is all about finding our individual center, our true path, our inner soul.

When Dr. Bach was making his healing discoveries, Kubler-Ross hadn't even been born.  She didn't make any connection between the stages and Bach Flowers.  But in my opinion, the connection is obvious and feels right. But that's just me. The flowers are personal in nature. You need to find what's right for you as an individual. So too, the stages of grieving and acceptance of change is personal and we all need to find what is right and peaceful.

May you find your path and travel your journey.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Book Review: Dime Store Magic

I found Kelley Armstrong's, Dime Store Magic a few days ago. It's definitely worth sharing.  Armstrong is quite an accomplished author with a long list of publications. Dime Store Magic is from her "The Otherworld Series". 

The main character in Dime Store Magic is a witch. But unlike witch characters in a lot of other series, Paige is very modern and firmly entrenched in the new world as well as the old. She has very modern and typical issues including self esteem, self-employment, diet, exercise and of course, like all good witches; romance. Although she's only in her mid-twenties she has "inherited" a teenager and therein lies a host of problems!

Her teenage dependent is also a witch, but  unlike Paige, her newly acquired "daughter"  comes from a line of black magic practitioners. Paige struggles with her own thoughts about this and where to draw the line. Like many parents, Paige really has to figure out how she should adapt to her daughter's abilities.  Paige struggles to allow evolution while maintiaining core values, accept talents from the next generation she might not even understand, and nurtur her child in a safe environment with appropriate boundaries and guidance.

Paige also discovers that even within the protective confines of a closely knit Coven, fear of the unknown and unusual can penetrate the ranks and destroy the group. As Paige accepts the talents, abilities and ideas of her daughter, she finds her own world expanding and evolving. That expansion is not always met with acceptance from  her own group of friends and mentors..Hmm...

Dime Store Magic is from Armstrong's, "The Otherworld Series", but I found myself finding the plot line only too believable in this world as well. There is a wild cast of characters including Demons and Half-Demons as well as witches with multiple talents. But these talents and character types don't complicate the reading of the story. It's easy to follow, believable in nature, with just the right amount of magic to be pleasantly distracting and non-disturbing.

Armstrong has an amazing website that any author would be proud of. It's an interesting read in itself.  If you get confused on the characters' abilities you can just reference Demonology 101 on her website and get the summary.

Armstrong truly has created a whole other world, but she's brought real life issues to that world and in my opinion there is more than a few lessons to be learned from her writing that could be applied in the here and now.

One of those lessons might just be that as we expand our minds we enter into a new realm of possibilities. Perhaps rather than labeling things and events in our lives as good or bad, white or black, we should consider abilities and challenges as opportunities for growth. Maybe if we stopped attaching labels and trying to categorize everyone and everything into  "good" or "bad", "us" and "them" we could eliminate underlying fear and go with the flow.

Perhaps that's when we can find our true power.  Who knows, maybe you too have a spell or two within you just waiting to be properly cast!