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I grew up hearing the saying, "There but by the grace of God go I". I heard this expression a couple of times in the past week and it gave me pause to consider it again. In my part of the world, this expression is so common you sometimes don't even think about it's meaning. In fact, it has been taken to mean quite a few slightly different things. It's something you say to suspend judgement on someone. It's meant to mean that you don't know what you might have done if given the same circumstances. You can't imagine how they are feeling and yet you keep imagining. It's usually mean as almost a prayer of thankfulness that you were spared something. It's the sense of being lucky at the same time as you feel for those who haven't had it as good as you. I think, it's an old saying for what we now to call "survivor's guilt".
Survivor's guilt is a very complex array of emotions. It's common language in crisis and stress management. We recognize it as a "thing" people experience when they see others involved in crisis and drama for which they have escaped. It's very common in rescuers and can be part of a post traumatic stress syndrome. I've written about it before http://pixiedusthealing.blogspot.ca/2012/06/survivor-guilt-vagus-nerve-and-bach.html It's generally accepted that the more "connected" you are to a victim, the greater your sense of survivor guilt. But what it takes to make that connection is extremely individual in nature and is not necessarily related to geographical or genetic connections. It may be that Vagus Nerve connection. As the ripple effect of our consciousness spreads, I believe we will experience more and more survivor guilt. Whenever one of us sufferers, the rest of us feel that angst but in a slightly different way.
Dr. Bach created one combination remedy. It's called Crisis remedy and trademarked by Nelson's the distributor of Bach Flower essences, as Rescue Remedy. It is the essence to consider for victims of crisis, trauma or drama. It contains the five individual essences of Star of Bethlehem, Cherry Plum, Rock Rose, Clematis, and Impatiens. It soothes and settles people under stress and provides the calming relief so they can think their way through situations. I highly recommend it for trauma. I sometimes wish we could pipe Rescue Remedy through the ventilation systems of schools and office buildings. I think there are entire communities right now that could benefit from Crisis Remedy as a free mail-out give-away. Hm....
But, it occurs to me, that for every person that could benefit from Crisis Remedy, there is at least one person that perhaps could benefit from a slightly different combination remedy I'm calling Survivor Remedy. This remedy is for those who, to some degree feel "untouched or on the periphery", "lucky to be uninvolved" or "but by the grace of god go they". Depending on which side of the life preserver you are on, you may need a slightly different remedy. If you're the one throwing the preserver, or are once, twice, or further removed from the situation but still impacted, I'm suggesting Survivor Remedy may be a good match for re-balancing. My combination Survivor Remedy will have essences from the same categories as Rescue but slightly different effects. Survivor Remedy includes; Red Chestnut, Aspen, Water Violet, Pine, and Mustard.
Red Chestnut is a prime ingredient in Survivor Remedy. Red Chestnut is within the category of fear and fear plays a factor in survivor pain. When we hear of crisis events, and are touched by survivor guilt, our deepest vulnerabilities open up. For most people, that means we worry about our loved ones. "What if that happened to someone I loved"? "How would I possibly survive?" By it's very nature, survivor guilt is focused on others and once that vibration becomes opened up your vulnerability extends. You don't fear so much a similar event happening to you, you worry that it could happen to your family or friends because that feels like a more tragic point for you than personal survival. When you feel a connection to someone else's angst, you experience a "tribal sense" and you immediately feel the treat to your own "tribe" whomever that might be. In this Red Chestnut state you create the worst case scenarios in your head and may become fearful to even let loved ones out of your sight. If you find yourself trying to check-in and connect with everyone you love just to make sure they are okay- you're likely in a Red Chestnut state. Red Chestnut will help you relax your hold on your tribe. It will help you put your personal circumstances into perspective so you can care with compassion but not anxiety.
Aspen is also included in Survivor Remedy. Like Red Chestnut, Aspen is included within Dr. Bach's category of fear. Aspen helps to balance unknown fear. If you've connected for some reason and in some way to an event that you are by all outward appearances actually pretty removed from, you've really "picked up" a vibration that although it feels very real, at the same time is unclear it's it origin. You may feel suddenly anxious, a panic attack type sensation and there is no obvious cause for this sensation. That's the Aspen state. You feel highly anxious and worried but unlike Red Chestnut, you can't even identify the worries enough to run them into a scenario. Aspen helps release you from that "free floating anxiety connection". It helps you to find that inner state of peace and can realize this is not your "stuff".
Water Violet is included in Survivor Remedy. It replaces the Impatiens essence that is included in Rescue Remedy. Both these essences are within the category of Loneliness. When you're immediately involved in an emergency you can develop "tunnel vision". You only see what's directly in front of you and you tend to isolate yourself from those wanting to help because you think you are the only one that can do it right- the only one that sees the problem. When you're a bit removed from the action of the event in a survivor capacity, you may find you want to isolate yourself because the world feels too scary, uncertain and painful. It's easy to remove yourself from others so you don't have to feel the pain the take it on. While "staying in the cave" may keep you away from the angst going on in the world, it may also keep you away from the good going on in the world. You may find yourself isolated from the company and companionship of your tribal community. Water Violet will help you get out there and find good vibrations to connect with. It can help you develop warmer, happier relationships so you can use your sense of empathy in a positive way.
Pine is the Bach Flower indicated for the state of guilt and for that reason is included in Survivor Remedy. In my earlier post http://pixiedusthealing.blogspot.ca/2012/06/survivor-guilt-vagus-nerve-and-bach.htmlI explained how Pine could help you let go of the feeling that you are somehow to blame for everything that causes others pain. Dr. Bach included Star of Bethlehem from the category of Despair and Despondency, in Rescue Remedy. In Survivor Remedy I've replaced that with Pine, from the same category. Star of Bethlehem helps to balance the after-effects of trauma or shock. Pine helps to allow yourself to be removed from the shock and trauma in the first place. It' the "let go" and "let be" remedy.
The final essence in Survivor Remedy is Mustard. Dr. Bach gave Rescue Remedy to a sailor that had managed to drag himself to shore in pretty rough shape. Clematis was part of the remedy to prevent the victim from slipping into a state of unconsciousness, that dream-like state where the world feels better. Clematis in included in the category of Insufficient Interest in the World. In Survivor Remedy it is replaced with Mustard from the same category. Although they are in the same category and both suggest that disconnection with the present, to me they are almost opposites. Rather than being connected to a dreamy place, Mustard is indicated when you are connected to a gloomy place. Mustard helps address that "sense of impending doom" that can overtake those experiencing survival guilt. The Mustard state is similar to Aspen in that the origin of this state appears unknown, or without cause, but instead of the fear that Aspen helps balances, Mustard helps to life that sense of depression. In the Mustard state you feel a connection to the "dark side" and the remedy can help you return to the peaceful, joyful life you have been given.
One of the greatest dangers of connecting with Survival Guilt in my opinion, is that once connected to that vibration you become that vibration. You will find a fear that you can name and identify with if you focus long enough. Your worry for your tribe will be manifested in some way. You will convince yourself that you are to blame and eventually others will believe that as well. Your sense of impending doom with turn into a deep-seated depression and the very angst that pulled you in the first place. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Once again, the lesson I believe is about shinning our light into the shadows, not crawling into the cave of darkness. So rather than be pulled into that vibration of angst and pain, you do say thanks that "by the grace of god that isn't your journey". You find your inner light, your inner peace and happiness and by doing so you may find you pull a victim or too into your beam of your light so they too can find the relief and happiness of peace once again.