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Herbal Highway Show – Flower Essences for Grief

flower essence for grief

Listen to the Herbal Highway Show October 2018

It is always a pleasure to be a guest on the Herbal Highway Show on KPFA public radio. Host Sarah Holmes and I spoke about flower essences for grief. Here in Sonoma County, CA, we are in the first anniversary of the devastating wildfires, and so many of us are still working through the profound loss of last year. Flower essences are such a great help in working through grief, helping the emotion to flow and release.
In this show we discuss many aspects of the grief experience:

  • what grief feels like in the body
  • the energetic of grief and how it relates to the season
  • flower essences for shock
  • flower essences for healing the broken heart
  • flower essences for calming the anxious mind
  • flower essences for grief

Note: there were some technical difficulties at the very beginning of the show so the feed starts a little late

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The Trouble With Heroes

flower essence for change

No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again. I mean, sometimes I just want it to stay saved, you know… for a little bit.

I feel like the maid, “I just cleaned up this mess, can we keep it clean for 10 minutes?”

Captain Incredible

We all love heroes. Showing up at the most perilous moment, displaying enormous courage and taking great risk, the hero saves the day.

And then what?

Well, then we go back to our daily routines. The very same routines and habits that created the situation where a hero is required in order to keep us from plunging off the cliff.

A culture that glorifies heroism is a culture that is perpetually out of balance. When the little things are not attended to, waiting until there is an enormous problem that threatens our way of being…this is when we require the extraordinary measures of heroism. The huge energy output that is required for a heroic act is the complete opposite of sustainability.

This mindset is pervasive in so many aspects of our lives. We love crash diets, 6 week exercise boot camps, extreme cleanses, and weekend seminars that will “change our lives forever”! Each New Year or birthday is a trigger to turn our lives around, ideally in 30 days or less. Unfortunately, these huge (heroic!) changes and programs almost never stick.

It is just not the way real life works.

We forget that life is made of the little things, the everyday small choices and decisions we make.

We forget that we have much more in common with the trees in the garden than we do with the car coming off the assembly line. Each day, a tree takes in sunlight and exhales oxygen, and slowly, slowly, every day, grows and matures. If it is growing in a good place, it grows straight and strong, deeply rooted and productive. In the right season, it flowers, and bears fruit, and in the winter, it sleeps.

Paying attention to our bodies and spirits, cultivating our wellness through steady, gentle, and natural methods, we can avoid circumstances that require heroic actions. True change comes about slowly, organically, over time. When we plant a tree in our garden, we do not step out the next morning and expect it to have grown six feet. Neither should we expect ourselves to radically change overnight.

But change is possible, and flower essences are a wonderful guide and support for the process.

Nature has been a profound partner in my evolution, and I delight in witnessing my clients feeling the changes and shifts in their own lives. Each flower has something unique to offer, and engaging with the essences daily and over time, you too will experience the growth and healing Nature offers.

Flower Essences That Support Balance

flower essence for change
Schisandra is one of the first essences I think of when a client is seeking balance. It supports us as we navigate shifts and changes, and helps us stay grounded and calm. One woman reported her experience with Schisandra flower essence saying she noticed significant changes in herself – she had stopped over committing herself and was feeling much more rested and positive about the work she was doing.
flower essence for knowing what is right for you
I love the Five-Leaved Chaste Tree essence for its ability to help find your own path to balance. This flower essence is very helpful for those who tend to look to authorities for guidance on the best program for exercise, diet, etc. The truth is, you are a unique being with unique requirements. You may certainly find guidance in programs others have created, but the “perfect” program will be one you discern for yourself based on the wisdom in your body and spirit. This essence can help you connect to your intuition and fine tune what is needed for you right now.
flower essence to let go of old patterns
Yellow Catnip flower essence is a perfect partner as you work to illuminate the underlying issues that keep you out of healthy balance. It helps you discover unconscious assumptions you may have absorbed from your family of origin or culture that simply don’t work for you. Allowing these imprints to be released can relieve you of a huge burden you didn’t even realize you were carrying.

I created the Balance series of combination formulas out of my years of experience helping my clients find balance in their lives.

One of the three formulas is likely to be a good fit for you, and if you are beginning a self-care program with flower essences it may be easier to use an intentionally designed formula like these to address your challenge. You can learn more about selecting your essences here. And, if you would like more help, I’d love to hear from you. I offer private consultations and custom formulas just for you.

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The Vulnerability of Being Seen

rose flower essence for heart healing

How would you show up in the world if you weren’t constantly doubting yourself, holding yourself back, shutting yourself down?

What impact could you make if you weren’t worried what others would think?

Letting yourself be truly seen is an act of vulnerability.

So often, we betray our true self and put on the mask of social conformity. In order to fit in, we polish off our uniqueness and compress ourselves into the mold of what is expected.

We do this because we have been shamed for being ourselves. Shaming is often used as a tool to gain compliance or obedience and is used everywhere from grade school to the office. Fortunately, we are starting to learn how damaging this is, and the culture is starting to change.

But not soon enough, for we live with the effects of this legacy. Every day, we shut down our ideas for fear they will be judged unkindly. We worry what others will think, and our inner critic constantly tells us all the ways we fail to measure up.

This sucks a lot of the joy out of life, and making any progress in your life’s work takes so much energy. What would happen if you could actually heal this?

I love to share how wonderfully flower essences can work for this issue. Taking your essences a few times a day, over time, you will experience enormous relief and release. As a practitioner, I love seeing my clients shed the weight of feeling constantly judged and criticized.

I created the Innocent formula as a self care tool so you can be empowered to start your own journey of healing.

Each flower essence has unique talents to heal elements of this experience. My work as a practitioner is to select and match flowers to individual needs. I have drawn upon my years of experience working with clients, and, in partnership with the flowers, I have created a formula to help you develop a new relationship to vulnerability and release the toxic legacy of shame.

All the rose flower essences relate to wounds of the heart.

Experiences of shame shut down your natural heart radiance, closing you in on yourself and diminishing your light.
rose flower essence for heart healing
The Wilmott’s Rose flower essence is a soothing feminine presence that holds your heart in a loving embrace. Old wounds can be held in her gentle presence and restored to wholeness.
rose flower essence for self acceptance
Another rose essence, the Lady Banks’ Rose, helps when you have a hard time accepting your imperfections. Being human is a challenging job, and we often make mistakes or fail to live up to our own ideals. This essence can help you smile at yourself, let go of your need to be perfect, and accept that we all are works in progress.
flower essence for shame
I reach for the Ussurian Pear flower essence constantly in my work with clients. This radiant light energy helps you connect to your pure and Divine nature. So many times, our life experiences leave us feeling tainted and damaged. This essence helps you recognize that these were just experiences, and nothing can touch your true self.
flower essence for self acceptance

Two lilies help to ground the formula into the body.

The fabulously orange Leichtlin’s Lily helps you to release self-judgements about your body and appearance. We are all constantly bombarded by marketing messages selling us products to fix our “flaws”. What if we could see ourselves as uniquely beautiful, full of character, and simply perfect as we are?
restorative flower essence
The White Lily comes up again and again in formulas, and holds a crucial role in the Innocent formula. When we have been made to feel “less than”, we feel we have to constantly be giving and serving in order to be accepted. Part of the healing process is to start giving back to ourselves so we can feel grounded and solid in the knowing of who we are.
flower essence for clearing blocks
The flower essence of the Sikkim Crabapple (research essence not yet released) shares the clearing qualities of Bach’s Crabapple, with the specific talent to release blocks caused by thoughts and ideas that not yours, allowing your soul light to flow through your life and physical body.

Each essence in the formula was carefully selected to harmonize together and create a healing field to support you in your self-care.

As you take and work with Innocent formula, you will find yourself feeling stronger and less reactive to the judgements of others, less worried about feeling embarrassed, and more loving to yourself. You will begin to see your vulnerability as a strength, a positive force for true heartful connection with others.

The world needs all of us to show up to be seen and heard, and the flowers are here to help.

If you are wanting more help, why don’t you get in touch? I’d love to hear from you, and would be happy to schedule a private session to create a unique formula for you.

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Privacy and the Purple Sage Flower Essence

flower essence for privacy

What Nature has taught me about privacy.

Is there anything more relaxing than walking alone through a garden, a park, the woods? You have time to decompress, clear your mind and let go of all the little dramas after interactions with friends, family and co-workers.

Ahh. Totally alone, no one watching, free to be completely yourself.

I can confess to holding this unconscious assumption, and have more than once been startled out of my human-centric thinking by the perspective of Nature intelligence.

One of the most vivid experiences was when I met a Salvia. I was fascinated by the plant, as I knew Dan Shen to be an important herb in Chinese Medicine. But I had not yet made a connection to the spirit of the plant, as I would do before making an essence.

So, I sat down next to the group of sage plants, pulled out my notebook, and began making careful notes about the features, the growth habit, flowers and leaves. Careful observation is a good starting point when you want to start to develop an understanding of the qualities of the plant and is part of my practice as I get to know a new plant.

After several minutes of studious examination and note-taking, I heard a very clear and direct voice in my mind asking “Well, now that you have looked us over, would you like to talk?”

Chagrined, I realized I had been examining the plant and treating it as an inanimate object. Imagine someone walking up to you, never saying a word of greeting, and pulling out a hand lens and writing down details of your appearance. How rude!

Duly chastened, I apologized to the vibrant intelligence I had ignored up to that moment, and explained my interest in making a healing essence. Immediately, it began to explain how to dig up the roots and start to prepare the medicine. Then was my turn to explain that this was going to be different, and the process of co-creating a flower essence. There was a definite moment of surprise, as this sage knew very well how it had always been prepared as an herb. But, after I explained the process and intent, it was willing to try something new.

And, so we began.

Making the Purple Sage flower essence was a remarkable experience, and each time I attune with the plant I gain new understanding of the essence. I find it hard to sum up the qualities of the essence in just a few words, and each time I explain the essence to someone I describe it slightly differently.

Perhaps the best explanation comes from the plant itself. From my attunement notes:

The primary use of the essence is of throwing off undesired energies. These energies can take the form of unwanted attention, of notice when privacy will better serve.

If a person is to take our essence, several effects may be noted. The primary noting is that one feels a deeper sense of privacy, no matter how much outside stimulus there may be.

You view privacy as the mater of excluding outside influence. As you are seeing in your world – the technology today makes this an illusion. The fact is, all can be known. Secrets can no longer be kept.

Now, what is privacy in truth? When you are here in the garden do you feel privacy? Are you kidding? Living beings surround you everywhere – the attention of multiple conscious energies is always upon you. Do you you feel differently now?

So – the notion of privacy illustrates the fallacy of human illusion – the illusion that you can ever be alone, that what you do can ever be in secret. This has never been the case.

Now, we get to the point. In the world of humans, you may experience unsought attention from other humans. On some level, you draw these attentions, even though you may fear and reject them. But, they are drawn in your direction for some reason. Why would they be drawn?

Our essence can begin to clarify your field of the energies that attract the attention. In this way you will experience privacy from unwanted attention – it is more that the signaling stops drawing them in.

This concept was unfamiliar to me, but the longer I think about it the more interesting I find it. And, I think, more and more relevant to our lives as we navigate 21st century concerns about privacy and data gathering.

The lesson I take from the Purple Sage is how to dance with the reality that we are always being witnessed by Nature, and now, by human-created algorithms. But, intent is all, and benevolent helping forces surround us, waiting for us to become aware and ask for help. Now too, as participants in digital culture, we can become more aware of how our data is being collected and used – and if it is being done to serve us better, anticipate our wishes and generally be helpful, all the better. Recognizing our interconnection with all beings, and engaging with flower essences like Purple Sage in order to keep our energy fields clear to avoid attracting unwanted attentions can be a good energetic hygiene practice, in addition to more mundane practices of becoming a better informed consumer of web and social media.

Making flower essences can be an “Alice down the rabbit hole” experience, often surprising and even mind-bending. You may read more of my attunement notes from Purple Sage here. And on the more mundane level, this post was inspired by all the waves created by the GDPR and my adventures in updating my privacy policy. Rest assured in my commitment to be a good and trustworthy partner in conscious business – I appreciate your trust and engagement in this process of making the world a better place for all forms of life.

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Flower Essences For Our Animal Companions

Rescue Remedy for horse

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018 – from 1-4pm

Class at Gathering Thyme

1447 Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA 94901
$45 pre-registered, $50 at the door
for information call Gathering Thyme at 415 524 8693

Would you like to learn how to help your animals with Flower Essences?

Modern life can be as stressful for our animals as it is for us. Flower Essences are gentle, safe and natural healing remedies that can help the entire family feel better, release emotional and behavioral issues, and live together more harmoniously.

This class will cover the basics of Flower Essences and what they can do, how, when and why to use them, and highlight the essences Kathleen uses most often to help her clients’ animals.

Many of the challenges our pets face have roots in early traumatic experiences, so essences for these issues will be addressed. There will be time for questions and discussion of specific recommendations of Flower Essences for the animal companions of the participants.

You will learn:

What flower essences are and how they work
How to select flower essences for your pets
Options for giving essences to any animal – from house pets to livestock or exotics

The class will cover animal applications of the flower essences from Healing Herbs and FES, and selections from Kathleen’s own essence line, the Flora of Asia.

Discussion time will be an opportunity for you to bring forward your own animal cases. Do you have an anxious dog or cranky cat at home? Together we will come up with ideas of flower essences that can help everyone feel better. (Please leave your pets at home, thanks!)

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Flower Essences To Help You Sleep

flower essence for fried nerves

Does your mind keep you awake with constantly circling thoughts?

Do you wake up in the night and can't get back to sleep with all your worries and to-do lists?

So many of us struggle with our overactive minds. Thankfully, there are flower essences to help.

One of the first flower essences I think of when a client tells me they can’t sleep is Bach’s White Chestnut. This valuable essence is helpful when your mind creates looping thoughts that circle without resolution. There is often an element of worry in this, and you are likely to review your to-do lists and feel anxious about all you have to do. Taking White Chestnut flower essence can bring great relief and help turn your thoughts off so you can rest.

If this pattern of sleeplessness is only occasional, you may simply keep a bottle of White Chestnut flower essence near your bed and take a few drops when you need it.

If instead this pattern is a recurring theme in your life, it would be valuable to take White Chestnut on an ongoing basis to help shift the pattern completely. While you can certainly simply take drops from the stock bottle two to four times a day, you may wish to create a dosage bottle for yourself. This option allows you to more easily work with a few essences at a time to support deep and lasting change. Take the essences for at least a month to start with. (You may wish to read my post on how long to take flower essences.)

While White Chestnut is the first flower essence I think of in this situation, when I work with a client I will seek a fuller picture of what is going on in their life in order to fill out the formula with essences to support them in healing this pattern. For instance, if underneath the circling thoughts is a base level of anxiety they will need essences to support them to feel safe. And many times there will be a tendency to worry that can be eased with the right essences.

Flower Essences To Ease Worry

All the Chestnut flower essences are helpful with different aspects of worrying.

flower essence to ease worry
Himalayan Chestnut helps you let go when you fixate on the actions of others, helping you connect to the love you have for the person and release the frustration you feel when you see them acting against their own interests.

Of the Bach essences, the Red Chestnut is indicated when the worries are focused on others, like family members or pets, rather than oneself. Sweet Chestnut works on the deepest pattern, when you feel absolutely hopeless and distraught.

Flower Essences To Ease Anxiety

flower essence for anxiety
Holly Grape helps those who have always spent their lives in high alert. Many times this is a survival strategy from living in a household where guardians were volatile and the child must constantly watch out for and try to manage the moods of the adults. The Holly Grape flower essence helps you feel safe and protected through a connection with the earth and your home so you can start to down-regulate your nervous system.
flower essence for fried nerves
Round Leaf Vitex is an excellent option for those whose nervous systems are operating at unsustainable levels. It soothes fried nerves, and helps you prioritize self care.
flower essence for calm breathing
Yulan Magnolia helps you restore your breath. When we are feeling anxious, we tend to breathe shallowly (and conversely, shallow breathing will spark feelings of anxiety). Learning to become more conscious of our breath, and breathing more deeply and fully, will help ease anxiety. Taking Yulan Magnolia flower essence can aid in this process energetically, helping to restore your sense of peace and grounding.

Acupressure Points For Sleeplessness

Learning a few acupressure points can be very helpful when you experience sleeplessness. When you wake up and can’t get back to sleep, take your essences and do acupressure to help yourself relax and sleep.

Large Intestine 1 is located on your index finger. To apply acupressure, simply make contact on each side of your index finger at the level of the base of the fingernail. Use the thumb and forefinger of one hand to apply slight pressure. There is no need to squeeze, you are simply making a contact to aid the qi to flow. Hold for a minute or two as you feel the area under your fingers warm, remembering to breathe slowly and deeply as you start to feel calmer. You will want to switch and work the opposite index finger as well.

Conception Vessel 17 is located on the center of your sternum (the breastbone) at the level of the nipples. (This direction always creates some amusement among my female clients, so I will qualify it as being the original location of the nipples!) I usually use my index, middle and ring fingers together, and slide down the skin until I find a slight hollowing on the sternum and rest my fingers there. Once again, remember to breathe and pay attention to the sensation under your fingertips as the qi flows.

Working these acupressure points will help you fall back to sleep. It gives you something to do rather than be frustrated that you can’t sleep, reminds you to breathe calmly, and gives your mind a focus point so it can become more quiet.

I offer private consultations and custom flower essence formulas to precisely meet your needs. Why not get in touch and see how much better you can feel?

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How Long Do I Need To Take A Flower Essence?

Dr Bach's flower essence for clarity

I was in a session with a client the other day when she asked me how long she should take the flower essences I was recommending for her.

I expect every practitioner has a different perspective on this, but I begin to answer this question by offering Dr Bach’s guideline:

Take a particular flower essence one month for every year you have had the problem.

As often happens, this guideline is often followed with a quick bit of math, then an expression of dismay! For so many of my clients a flower essence addresses lifelong issues, and the prospect of needing to take an essence for years is a bit overwhelming. I completely understand, and can offer some refinements to the guideline from my own personal experiences, and from working with clients.

First, I like to set an expectation that you will be taking a flower essence for a while.

Once we have identified a core issue, one that is clearly a pattern (and often established in childhood), and matched it with a primary remedy, you will want to engage with this essence over time.

This core issue is often resonant with one of the Bach flower essences known as the Twelve Healers. Dr Bach felt each of us was born with the purpose of learning one of these great life lessons, and he identified these primary essences as matches for an array of personality types.

One of my intentions as a practitioner is to support my clients as they shift on the deepest levels. To do this does take time.

Taking a core remedy for one month or less is like playing “whack a mole”. You are likely to experience an easing of the issue, but it will pop back up again relatively soon, and you will be right back where you started.

But if you continue taking the essence, even after you feel improvement, it will continue to work with you. An essence that works with a lifelong issue can be a profound teacher, and you will continue to see facets of the imbalance resolving as you continue. In my own experience I have had awareness shifts that help me see how my pattern has impacted many aspects of my behavior and relationships far beyond the more obvious situation that suggested the type essence.

For a lifelong issue I recommend working with your type remedy for six months.

This is a long enough period for the essence to work, illuminating and releasing many of the aspects of the pattern as it manifests in your life. Then, after the six month time period, you may evaluate and see if you would like to continue with this essence. I have found that I tend to feel “done” with it after six months, but will keep it in mind to reevaluate and possibly start taking it again after a year or so. As you have worked deeply with the essence, you may see additional layers emerging over time and recognize qualities that relate to the type essence, and want to reengage by taking the flower essence again.

Now, life continues as we work on these deeper issues, so formulas will also contain flower essences to help you in many other aspects of your life. Essences can help ease transitory issues, give support for current situations, and create conditions to fulfill your hopes and goals, even as you work on deep and lifelong patterns. As the custom formula is tuned to you, and where you are each month, you will receive many layers of support for precisely the elements of help you are needing.

If you think you might benefit from a custom flower essence formula, why don’t you get in touch? I look forward to hearing from you.

You can schedule a session, or learn more about flower essence consultations here.

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Garden Walk Series 2018

flower essence for clearing

Experience the beauty, fragrance and splendor of wild nature growing in the garden jewel of Sonoma Valley. Quarryhill Botanical Garden is famed for its vast collection of plants from China and Japan, set in a secluded garden of tranquil ponds, gently rolling paths and scenic vistas.

March 17th, April 28th, June 9th, and July 21st 2018

Saturday mornings from 10AM to Noon

The sequence of walks has been carefully scheduled during the flowering season so participants can experience rare wild plants in full bloom. Each walk will highlight the energy of the season, from the ancient grace of the magnolias in early spring, to the exuberant and fragrant roses and colorful lilies that bloom as spring and summer unfold. Your guide, Kathleen Aspenns, will weave a rich tapestry of history, lore, botanical knowledge, and the healing gifts of the flowers during your stroll in the garden.

Register Here

General admission to the garden is $12, payable at the visitor center.

Quarryhill Botanical Garden
12841 Highway 12, Glen Ellen, CA 95442

Highlights of the Seasons


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Winter in the Garden

flower essence for perseverance

Celebrating winter’s beauty on a chilly gray day, enjoying the many berries and rose hips on display. I visited the Blue Evergreen Hydrangea, the Okinawan Holly, and two members of the rose family, the Yeddo Hawthorn and the Shillong Rose.

I walked in the garden near the winter solstice, and reflected how much change can happen in one year. One of the most devastating changes is the loss and damage resulting from the wildfires this fall. My heart goes out to everyone coming to terms with losses both personal and collective.

It has been a privilege to be of assistance and share the gift of healing and comfort flower essences can bring to these invisible wounds. I hope that you all reach out to Nature for help as we walk in the darkness of the year. Here are a few images from my walk in the garden to share with you, and bring a little beauty in your day.

There are just a few hardy blooms in this time, but so much else to enjoy in the garden. This is the season to notice details, the time to slow down and really look. It is amazing how much there is to see – I was particularly fascinated with berries this visit. The fleshier fruits of the earliest spring blooms have mostly been enjoyed already by the bird population. The crabapples are always a favorite of the robins. Now, the sturdier berries and hips are beginning to reach peak ripeness and color.

flower essence for shift
The shiny blue berries of the Blue Evergreen Hydrangea are hard to miss in winter. They last well into spring because every bird and animal knows to avoid them. This plant is a primary healing herb in Chinese Medicine, it is a powerful antimalarial. The leaves are used – but not as often as in the past because it is also a powerful emetic. I can only imagine how much you would regret eating these berries. They do look pretty toxic. (Nope, I have not tasted these!) Even as a flower essence, this plant requires respect.

flower essence for openheartedness
The female Okinawan Holly is loaded with berries now. Like all hollies, only the female plants bear fruit – the males stand quietly to the side and are largely unnoticed. I’m always amazed how from one week to the next the shrub goes from bent to the ground with berries to picked clean. The birds can somehow tell when they are perfectly ripe, and descend for a feast. To me, the generosity of spirit of the holly shines through in this season of relative scarcity. The healing message from Okinawan Holly flower essence is all about openness and giving from the fullness of your heart. We can all use a gentle reminder to find our generosity, especially during the holidays when we may have to endure the relatives we prefer to avoid the rest of the year.

flower essence for collaboration
Berries on the Yeddo Hawthorn are not particularly showy – deep blue but not shiny at all. The leaves do create a lovely counterpoint with reddish blushing. I really love this plant, and admire its sturdy nature. When I designed gardens professionally I specified this shrub often in plans because I knew I could count on it growing happily pretty much anywhere I planted it. In its native habitat in Japan it grows near the ocean, a very difficult location for plants. When I got to know this plant as a wild shrub I developed a new fondness, and continue to enjoy it as a healing essence. This flower essence is helpful to create a team spirit in those (like myself) who try to do it all alone. This essence encourages you to reach out to ask for help and collaboration. You will likely find yourself pleasantly surprised how interested and helpful people can be.

flower essence for perseverance
The white flowered (yep, just plain white like a million other wild roses) Shillong Rose is remarkably colorful in all other possible ways. For one, she maintains shiny, deep green foliage all year. The canes and stems are distinctly orange or red, with the strong new canes appearing nearly lacquered. And the berries mature from a coral orange to a startling red with a bit of frost. I use this flower essence so often in my practice, and for myself too. This essence gives you strength to do the hard work involved in learning new skills, developing a business, or in any venture that requires sustained effort to succeed (as far as I can tell, that is pretty much all of them).

You can see these plants in all their flowering glory by following the links and viewing the galleries. I love to share images so you can get to know these beauties in other seasons, and not just the few days a year the flowers are at peak. There is so much to notice and admire, and each time I spend time with the plants I learn new things. It is a never ending cycle, and each year I see something I have missed before. Nature is full of wonders.

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Supporting Yourself In Loss and Grief with Flower Essences

flower essence for grief

This fall has been a time of loss for me and for my community. In October, the North Bay area endured the worst fires in California history. Lives were lost, thousands of homes are in ruins, and the entire area was blanketed in smoke and and a palpable sense of fear for weeks. My home was at risk, and was thankfully spared, but I lost my beloved horse in a terrible accident as she was being evacuated.

And now that we are more than a month away from the events, what now? Our culture has such a limited understanding of loss – there is the belief that grief can be wrapped up within a two week time frame. “We have moved on, why haven’t you yet?”

The initial shock phase does often recede within a few weeks, but the grief process is not over, not by a long shot. My clients often express to me feelings of inadequacy, that there must be something wrong with them to still be feeling so badly months later.

But of course there is nothing wrong with them, they are simply working through their grief. There is comfort in hearing the journey is one humans have always taken, that there are known stages, and that while they will always feel pain over their loss, they will indeed start to feel better. The feelings of loss will eventually be tempered by the memories of happier times, and the possibility of a bright future.

Flower essences can be a great help to you as you heal your grief. They do not medicate the pain, or keep you from feeling your loss, but they do give you support and the strength to process it. Emotions are by their nature fluid and move through the body, and your grief must too. Allowing your emotions to flow will keep them from becoming stuck, and prevent them plaguing you in the future.

Flower Essences To Support You In Loss and Grief

A combination formula designed to assist the grieving process is an excellent starting point for most people. As you work through the phases, issues specific to your loss may arise and indicate particular flower essences that you may add to the formula you are using, or use separately. Adding an essence or two to customize a formula to your individual needs can be an excellent way to enhance your healing.

I created the Flora-Therapy Loss and Grief formula to work with this life passage. Grief has been a significant part of my life experience, and I regularly guide my clients in their healing as well. The wisdom of Nature speaks to this shared experience, and the flowers are ready and willing to help us heal from the pain, gain perspective on our suffering, and find the joy and love within our life as it is now.

The Flora of Asia Flower Essences in Loss and Grief Flora-Therapy Blend:

flower essence for grief
Gigantea Rose – the song of this rose can sustain the heart in the darkest of times and give comfort to those who have suffered great losses
flower essence for loss
Lavender Aster – helps you find the perspective of celebration for what was, and deepens appreciation for what was learned and experienced
flower essence for change
Morrow’s Honeysuckle – aids you in accepting impermanence and the inherent instability of life, while honoring the gift of the love or life that has gone, helping you accept the change and find hope for the future
flower essence for balance
Schima – helps you hold a sense of inner stillness and balance in chaotic or shifting times so you can find and maintain your center
flower essence for grief
Soul’s Rose – teaches you to fully embrace the experiences of both love and loss, not attempting to insulate yourself against loss by not fully loving
flower essence for grief
Yulan Magnolia – helps ease tension held in the chest by elevating the spirit, helps to restore natural breath pattern after shock or grief
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Setting Intentions and Listening to Intuition

flower essence for clarity and intuition

In my practice, I collaborate with each client to create a healing intention to frame the flower essence formula to best serve them in the month ahead. A well crafted intention can guide a formula, and help her maintain focus on her desire for growth, change, and healing.

Recently, I was consulting with a client who had suffered a great deal of loss in the previous few months. A major relationship had ended, entailing a move and disruption to her work life. She was really struggling with intense feelings of grief and sadness. As we talked, I shared with her how normal it is for her to be feeling this way, and how flower essences could give her support, and soothe her through this painful passage.

As we wrapped up our conversation, I asked for her ideas on an intention for the flower essence formula. She had recently been introduced to the practice of intentions, and a friend had suggested an intention for her of “joy and gratitude”. She had been saying this intention to herself several times a day, as is often recommended.

When I asked her how this intention resonated with her, she burst into tears.


My practice towards intentions is to set an intention that is a little bit of a stretch, but does not feel a million miles away from current reality. The problem with a lofty intention is that it sets off our inner bullshit meter.

Your bullshit meter is an important, even vital, part of your safety equipment. It lets you know when someone is lying to you, has bad intentions, or can’t be trusted. It also lets you know when you are lying to yourself.

So many of my clients express a wish to enhance their intuitive capacity, which I wholeheartedly encourage. But the notion of intuition being like Glinda the good witch descending in a bubble of light…while that may happen once in a while, more often our intuition talks to us in a grounded, visceral way. Developing your connection to your innate, embodied intuition can absolutely save you from all kinds of misery. And everyone can learn to listen to their bullshit meter.

I think everyone has experienced doing something that they later thought “I knew I shouldn’t do that”. The trick to life is to listen, and not do it! This is your intuition, your everyday, mundane, life-saving intuition. Ignore it at your peril.

How to Hear Your Intuition

To learn to listen to your embodied intuition, I encourage students and clients to simply test how statements feel to them. Sitting quietly, tune into your body, particularly the sensation in your belly, solar plexus and chest. Then, make a statement that is absolutely true, such as stating the name that is on your birth certificate. Follow this with a statement that is absolutely false, such as “my name is Meryl Streep”. Try a few options with this and feel into your body. In almost every case, people have expressed surprise how clear and unmistakable it is once they knew the significance of the sensation. There is a lot of variation in where you will feel the true or false sensations, so it is best for you to practice and see where it is for you. Many people feel a tightening in their solar plexus for false, and a warm or tingly feeling in their chest for true. But everyone is different, you have to learn what it is for you. Regular practice can strengthen your skills and you will learn a great deal of refinement with the technique.

Setting an intention that has no basis in your reality and repeating it to yourself is a fine way to short circuit your intuition, because you are silencing your bullshit meter. Much better is to set an intention that is just one or two steps from where you are presently, to set your direction and create an attainable goal. For this client, for whom “joy and gratitude” provoked tears, I suggested something closer to “I am healing and feeling better each day”. You want to feel encouraged by your intention, not shut down by it.

Flower Essences To Develop Your Intuition

One of the first steps to hearing your own intuition clearly is to clear the clutter in your field. As we go through life, we pick up energetic debris from people and environments. A regular clearing practice will help you let go of all the stuff that isn’t your own, and help you start to identify your own signal in the midst of all the noise.

There are many options and practices for clearing. A wonderful way is to get out in Nature and simply take a walk, breathe in fresh air, and move your body. Bathing in salt water, whether the ocean or in your bathtub, can clear your field beautifully. And of course, there are many crystals you can carry or have near you that have clearing qualities.

One of my favorite ways to quickly clear my field is to use Centered Floral Mist. I spray all around myself, filling my “bubble” with clean fresh energy. The Himalayan Cedar essential oil is cleansing and protective, and helps me ground into the earth.

Flora of Asia Flower Essences for Intuition

Corydalis linstowiana flower essence for intuitionBlue Corydalis is one of my favorite flower essences to build trust in the process of personal development. The dramatic cases of awakening tend to get the attention of book publishers, but for most people, developing spiritual awareness is a slower, organic process. Blue Corydalis helps you trust in your own process, and have faith that you are going in the right direction.

Osmanthus delavayi flower essence for intuitionDelavay’s Tea Olive flower essence helps you slow down and notice more. The world around us is noisy, chaotic, and fast moving. This can prevent you from seeing and feeling the still, small voice within you that is key to accessing your knowing. This flower essence helps you connect to a deeper rhythm and the wisdom that arises from stillness.

Illicium simonsii flower essence for intuitionIllicium is the perfect flower essence for self-development practices. It helps you gain clarity and awareness of what is really true. This essence clears the clutter and noise, helping you build patience and calm. For the most part, inner wisdom does not come in sound bites as we rush around. We have to slow down, center ourselves, and listen deeply.

Ceratostima minus flower essence for intuitionLittle Cerato guides you into connection with your higher self, while helping you keep your grounding and roots. Opening to the world of spirit can help you set your intention and course of action on this plane. Learning to bridge the worlds, so that we can act from our highest selves in an embodied way is an important practice in personal development.

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Recovering From Trauma With Flower Essences

flower essence for shock and trauma

As a service to my community, for the first weeks in the crisis I offered trauma flower essence formulas at no charge for those impacted by the fires here in Northern California. These formulas were focused on easing the shock and fear, down-regulating overactive nervous systems, and helping people start to feel safe again.

This tragedy has affected so many people. It is heartbreaking so many perished in the quick-moving flames, and the number of homes destroyed or damaged is unprecedented. Even if you were one of the lucky ones to have a home to return to, the stress of evacuation and weeks of fear and uncertainty lingers.

One of the strengths of flower essence therapy is to ease shock. Even weeks after the actual events you might still feel numb, unfocused, unable to function, and not quite in touch with where you are. In Chinese Medicine, these are symptoms of Shen loss. The Shen is roughly translated as spirit, and makes its home in your energetic center, your Heart. When a shocking or life-threatening event happens, the Shen departs like a flock of birds when startled. My work, in partnership with the flower essences, is to help your Shen come home.

Flower Essences for Shock and Trauma

Star of Bethlehem, one of the original essences from Dr Bach, is absolutely one of the first essences I reach for in cases of shock and trauma. It calms and soothes, helping you reconnect with yourself and feel safe. This essence is also indicated in cases of trauma or abuse that took place long ago. While it is always ideal to work with trauma right away, the reality is many of us continue to suffer from traumas that occurred early in life and continue to impact us today. Star of Bethlehem is an important essence to help heal trauma, no matter when it happened.

Yulan Magnolia has a strong affinity to the breath and the life force. When we are frightened, we tend to hold our breath or to breathe very shallowly. When we are unable to resume normal breath patterns, we will tend to feel anxious. Drawing attention to the breath and resetting a deep calm breathing pattern helps to bring your nervous system back into a state of relaxation. I have found the Yulan Magnolia to help restore this rhythm and remind us to reconnect to the breath after a shock.

Round-Leaf Vitex is another flower essence that has been useful in trauma. Many of my clients are women who, even before the emergency, were running at nearly full speed all the time. Balancing home, family and work is never easy, and the addition of a crisis was too much for their nervous systems to handle. The Round-Leaf Vitex flower essence helps you recognize when you are doing too much and helps you build in margins of extra energy so you have a reserve.

Arnica flower essence is just as important a remedy as in its homeopathic form. Like the homeopathic Arnica, I think of the keyword as “shocking blow”. So when the “shocking blow” is physical, like a fall, take the homeopathic version, when it is emotional, take the flower essence. Arnica flower essence helps you restore your sense of self and center after a shocking event.

Yarrow is another flower essence that had a place in nearly every trauma formula I made recently. Many companies make essences from different species and varieties of Yarrow, which all have individual talents for healing particular types of wounding. For trauma formulas, I have most often used Yarrow from Alaskan Essences, and from FES. Both of these essences help to strengthen the etheric field after shock. Any kind of trauma can weaken our boundaries, our energy field that keeps our system intact and integrated. Yarrow repairs the etheric field, and rebuilds your energetic boundaries.

These are just a few of the many flower essences useful in shock and trauma. Each formula I make is tailored to the individual. It is important to recognize we all are impacted in different ways by life events, and each person will need a different type of support for recovery. Flower essences are precise healing tools to help you heal, whether from a recent trauma or one long ago. If you are suffering, I hope you reach out. Nature is eager to help you feel better.