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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.

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The Making of the New Floral Mists

flower essence mists

The Flora of Asia Floral Mists began to take form in the summer of 2014. It has been a three year process of creation, and I am now happy to announce they are ready, and to share these delightful healing mists with you.
My intention was to create four beautiful and useful formulas that would help people and animals feel better in their environments. I wanted each blend to feel and smell wonderful so people would love using them. The simple and pleasure-filled act of misting yourself and your space can bring huge benefit to your peace and wellbeing.
The first step was to create a concept of what each formula was to accomplish and who it would help, and then create a blend of flower essences to create the energetic framework for the formulas. Each of the Flora of Asia flower essences in the blends was chosen for the qualities it brings to the blend, and selected based on my years of experience in creating and using these essences myself and in my professional practice.
Once the intention was clear, and the flower essences blended to create the structure, it was time to create an essential oil blend to complement the flower essences aesthetically and energetically. Each essential oil brings not only a fragrance, but mental/emotional/spiritual benefits, and was intentionally selected to enhance the blend.
I consulted with John Steele, aromatic consultant and fragrance designer, to confirm my oil selections and for advice on blending practices. All the oils in the Flora of Asia mists are from his company, Lifetree Aromatix. His reputation for quality and integrity is unmatched, and he has decades of experience in aromatherapy and ethnobotanical uses of the oils.

Blending Trials

flower essence mists
Just a few of the blending trial bottles…

Once I had selected the oils that would make good matches for the mists, I started blending trials. Varying the proportions of each essential oil in the blend brings about vast differences in the aroma and energetics of the final mist. For each blend I created up to a dozen different possibilities and tested each one. It is surprising how different they all were, and how much one drop more or less of a minor part of the blend could change everything.
Taking careful notes was a crucial part of the process, as it was really easy to mix up which blend was which. Over the years, the bottles multiplied and threatened to take over my office space!
A few of the blends just wouldn’t come together, so I started from scratch with completely new oil selections.
After each round, once I had a few options for each type of mist, I got feedback from my development team. I worked as Jane Bell’s assistant practitioner while she was developing her Hawaiian sprays, and brought my experience of working with her through the extensive blending process of her sprays to the Flora of Asia mists. She was happy to assist with feedback on the possible blends, and we discussed the aromatic and energetic aspects of each.
I also brought in my husband, Ron Washam, to help. He is a sommelier and wine judge with decades of experience analyzing the bouquet of wine. His feedback on the harmony and interaction of each fragrance profile was insightful and added a valuable perspective on each of the mist blends.
This process took nearly a year, as each round of blending trial requires time to rest in the bottle to get an accurate idea of the final result, before adjusting the blends for the next round of trials. At the end, I had two or three good options for each mist formula.
So, I waited a year, letting the mists rest. After the year, I retested my semi-finalists to see if they were holding up and still had the aromas and energetics I was looking to achieve. I was very happy to make my final selections knowing the products I released would smell and perform just as well over time as when they were made.

I’ve been using and enjoying the Flora of Asia mists – they are lovely, subtle but potent. Kathleen did a wonderful job in matching these essential oils with the flower essences.

John Steele, aromatic consultant, author and fragrance designer

Meet the Flora of Asia Floral Mists

Centered helps you come back to yourself, grounded and supported by the safety and stability of the forest. This formula is designed to support you in the most stressful situations, allowing you to stay in your center, respond calmly, and act from a place of clarity and balance.

Uplift elevates your mood and lifts your spirits. It is perfect for times when you need to finish a tiresome task or find enthusiasm for the job ahead. Mist yourself, breathe in, and reset your mood for a brighter day.

Peace helps you take a deep breath, slow your racing mind, and access a quiet space within. Mist yourself and bring your focus to your heart. Taking even a moment to center yourself will guide your actions throughout your day and help you feel calmer and less stressed.

Harmony helps create more pleasant and productive interactions at home and work. Mist generously around shared spaces for a lighter, brighter and more harmonious environment.

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Shillong Rose | Strengthen Your Connection to Purpose

Shillong Rose Flower Essence – a partner to strengthen your connection to purpose

I’ve been reflecting on Shillong Rose as it bloomed so abundantly this spring. This lovely rose has been a source of inspiration as I work to share the message of the healing qualities of Nature and the benefits of flower essences. The Shillong Rose flower essence is an excellent partner for anyone who is immersed in the creative process and making the consistent effort required to accomplish any extended project. This flower essence strengthens your connection to purpose, maintaining your awareness of the big picture vision even as you slog through the hard work of making it happen.

Developing a New Flower Essence

In the process of co-creating a new flower essence I compile information and observations from a variety of perspectives, as well as my own experiences of taking the essence. Once I have developed a basic understanding of the essence, I look for further insights in the reflections of clients and other practitioners who use the essence.
deep red stems on the Shillong Rose flower essence

Observing the Form

One of the ways of understanding the qualities of a flower essence is to observe the form of the plant. I closely observe the way it grows, the rhythm of life as it moves through the seasons of the year. Each element I notice enriches my understanding of the qualities of this particular species, and helps to differentiate what may, at first glance, seem to be similar plants.

The Shillong Rose (Rosa longicuspis) shows an extremely vigorous habit of growth. Like so many of the Chinese species roses, it grows exuberantly as a vining shrub. The grouping of roses where I made the flower essence is roughly the size of a minivan. This rose is not shy about taking up space.

It is worth noting the appearance of the canes and prickles. The deep red color is prominent, especially in wintertime. Unlike most roses, the Shillong maintains foliage year round. The deep green color and shiny surface sets off the bright white flowers in spring and the coral hips in fall and winter. Each cane rises strongly, but is easily able to adapt and bend to accommodate where ever it is growing.

The Chinese Medicine Perspective

Overall, the picture of the Shillong Rose is resonant with the Wood element of Chinese Medicine. The strength and forcefulness of growth is tempered with fluidity of movement. Each cane rises strongly, but is easily able to adapt and bend to accommodate where ever it is growing.

deep red color of the canes of the Shillong Rose flower essence

This flower essence has a natural affinity to the psyche of the Liver, the Hun. The Hun is the energy that helps us to push, to create and design our lives the way we wish. It is forceful, with purpose. The Liver is regarded as the general, the one who thinks strategically and plans for success. According to Pablo Noriega in his book Bach Flower Essences and Chinese Medicine, “When in balance, Hun gives us direction for planning our lives, which, seen from a transcendental perspective, implies finding a way to carry out our own life’s purpose.”

Attunement with the Shillong Rose

When I make an essence, I open to the spirit of the plant in a process called attunement. This process gives me insight into the qualities of the flower essence, and I ask the plant for a message. Over the years, I reconnect with the plant and receive additional information and further levels of understanding as to use.

Our red stems indicate an aspect of bloodedness – deep passionate rooting, drawing life and nourishment from the earth herself. For without grounding, all will fail. To be fully grounded and nourished by the life beneath you – this is important. In whatever way each one draws life, in the way appropriate for the individual biology – drawing life, thanking life, giving gratitude for the daily gifts the planet gives – these are all deeply nourishing, both to body and to spirit.

One of the elements the Shillong Rose impressed on me was the aspect of time, that planning and work efforts take place within the framework of time as it unfolds. We can be very impatient that our desires are not coming to fruition right away. The flower essence encourages us to keep going, to keep working, and to trust that all is unfolding in proper time.

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Learning to Say “No” | Flower Essences for boundaries

Centaury flower essence for boundaries

Do you have a hard time saying “no”?
Do you say “yes” even when you really don’t want to?

This may be great for everyone around you, until you reach your limit and are exhausted. Many women suffer from the toll of giving beyond their abilities. It is hard to be in mental and emotional balance if you are constantly being drained dry. Your mood and outlook will definitely suffer, and eventually your body will too.

You may need to build up to saying “no” by starting with little things. Whenever you are asked for a favor, check in with yourself and see how you feel about it. Try giving yourself a little time and space to think before automatically saying yes.

The trick to learning to say “no” is to use it as a complete sentence.

Certainly, being polite is wonderful, and expressing apologies is often appropriate, but there will almost always be a moment of discomfort at the end of “no”. This is where you are going to want to give in and do whatever the other person wants. Learning to allow this moment of awkward is key to setting a boundary.

The reason it feels awkward is because you may have never done it before, and the person you are interacting with has probably never seen you do it either.

You have just re-negotiated the rules of your relationship and it comes as a surprise. Fear not, a respectful friend will recognize that you are not able to do what they want, and will come up with another solution. And if you find yourself surrounded by people who cannot accept your new boundaries you may wish to distance yourself a bit and cultivate new friends who are not looking for doormats.

When I started learning to say “no” I was concerned that others would think me to be selfish and unkind. What I have found is I am so much more likely to say “yes” when I know I can say “no” if I want. Being free to say “yes” when you want to is liberating, and you can give from an openhearted place – because you know where your limits are.

Flower Essences to support you as you learn to set boundaries

Centaury flower essence for boundaries

One of the primary flower essences for this issue is Dr Bach’s Centaury.

I use this essence often in my client work as so many women have this challenge. The traditional indication for Centaury is for the doormat personality, the one who can’t say no to anyone. This willingness to give is a laudable quality, but in the Centaury personality it is way out of balance. This person will give beyond her ability, and will drain her emotional, physical, and financial batteries dry. You do not need to be such an extreme case to benefit from Centaury flower essence, it can help you if you recognize a need to develop better self care in any of your relationships.
Siberian Yarrow flower essence for boundaries
Siberian Yarrow flower essence can be a valuable addition to a self care formula. All the yarrow flower essences help you develop boundaries, and strengthen your sense of self. The Siberian Yarrow has the quality of helping you share space, learning to peacefully interact with others, not needing to reactively withdraw. Developing boundaries is a daily practice – we have many opportunities at work and at home to refine and negotiate.
Okinawan Holly flower essence for boundaries
Okinawan Holly is another flower essence I draw on for clients who are finding new balance with giving and receiving. The plant has a distinct signature of difference between the male and female (with the male Okinawan Holly a spinier and more upright form than the rounder leaf and softer growth form of the female). I find this essence to soften the extremes, balancing excessive tendencies, whether a tendency towards over-giving or one of contraction and unwillingness to share.

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Flower Essences to develop healthy boundaries

flower essence for boundaries

So many of us have been taught to be “nice” above all else. We want to be liked, and to be nice we must bend over backwards to accommodate the wishes of others. But inside, you are likely to feel unappreciated and stepped on, and eventually you will begin to feel resentful.

Setting healthy boundaries is a valuable life skill.

Learning to set boundaries is a process that involves some self-reflection.

Recognizing the signs takes practice. For many of us, having our boundaries crossed is something we have been taught to accept. If your preferences have been ignored from childhood, and you were regularly compelled to obey the directions of authority, your boundaries have been comprehensively dismantled. Learning to rebuild boundaries will take some time, and will require you to develop new skills such as learning to say “no”.

First, recognize that setting boundaries is your job.

The other person is not to blame for crossing a boundary you have not set or defined clearly. How are they supposed to know what is ok for you if you don’t tell them?

How to recognize your boundaries have been crossed.

Surprisingly, many people don’t recognize the signs of a boundary violation. It is actually quite easy to tell – you will feel angry.

But, you say, I never get angry. And besides, anger is a negative emotion, and I am a nice person. Anger is destructive, dangerous, and bad.

For years, this is exactly how I felt. I firmly believed anger was an un-evolved emotion, that “good people” didn’t allow themselves to express it (and even feeling it was really a bad sign!).
I am so grateful to have read Karla McLaren’s book The Language of Emotions – her work has helped me see “negative” emotions in a much more forgiving light.
She describes anger as an “honorable protector”, that anger, like all your emotions, is simply an energy that moves through your body. Anger arises to help you set and defend your boundaries. It can be as simple as that – when someone starts to cross your line you can very clearly say “hey, step back please”. The sensation of rising energy gives you the strength to put out a hand and say “no”.

Seeing anger as a force looking out for your protection changes it from something to be avoided and repressed to something with a valid message for you.

The anger we fear, the raging, out of control force, is anger that has been denied and bottled up for a very long time. Learning to notice the arising of anger in its early stages will help you learn to work with it so it does not need to become so large and overwhelming.

Setting Boundaries

It is important to recognize that boundaries do not need to be rigid or inflexible.

You can define and negotiate them throughout your interactions with others. Some relationships may require firmer boundaries than others; you may offer more leeway with a close friend than a casual acquaintance. It is a constant dance, checking in with yourself and making decisions based on how much you wish and are able to offer at any point in time. Your emotional responses will guide you and help you navigate.

Flower Essences to help you recognize and set your boundaries.

A good first step may be the Balance I: Caring for Self and Others flower essence combination formula. Learning how to balance your own needs with those of others will always be a work in progress, but is crucial for your personal sustainability. If you are putting out way more energy than you are taking in, your body will eventually object.

flower essence for boundaries
China Rose flower essence is an excellent choice to learn to set boundaries. This rose offers the most beautiful fragrant flowers, but maintains her space with a strong structure and serious thorns. She teaches openhearted giving from a place of strength and abundance.

flower essence for boundaries
Siberian Yarrow flower essence, like all Yarrow essences, helps you develop a strong protective field. When you have poorly developed or undefined boundaries it can be hard to tell where you stop and others begin. Siberian Yarrow helps you interact with others, sharing space while maintaining your autonomy.

In my practice with clients I find that many women have poorly defined or nonexistent boundaries, and often feel resentful and frustrated.

I can sympathize, I have experienced this myself and have felt all the self-judgement and shame around feeling this way. When we work with this issue together it is important to work slowly and strengthen your boundaries so you can become aware when you are giving beyond your ability to do so. It takes time to get in touch with feelings of anger, and to start to release it in small and healthy ways. Flower essences, used skillfully, can help you slowly and safely start to let go of old resentments and aggravation. Over time you can develop a healthy relationship with all your emotions, even anger, and use them appropriately.

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Three Flower Essences to Enhance Your Intuition

Blue Corydalis Flower Essence

Many people think intuition is just for the spiritually gifted. Rare, special, and somebody who is not you.

I disagree completely.

I see intuition as a completely natural part of life, something that is normal and accessible to everyone. It is something that absolutely everyone has and can tap into, a simple skill that can be developed.

One of the definitions of intuition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary is:

the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference

This definition shows the basic assumption that the only thought or understanding is coming from “rational thought” – i.e. the brain. This notion is outdated. In 1991, neurocardiologist Dr J Andrew Armour introduced the term “heart brain” after his discovery of the complex and intrinsic nervous system in the heart. The heart is in two way communication with the brain, and is able to make its own decisions. There is also research to indicate the presence of intelligence in the digestive system as well.

Our cultural bias that values only the intelligence and reasoning power of the brain is missing valuable information and insight that comes from the intelligence centers of our bodies. But how can we learn to connect to and develop our facility with this type of intelligence?

I teach many of my clients a simple way to start connecting with the intelligence of their bodies. It is a type of kinesiology, or muscle testing, that can help you get a basic yes/no answer from your body. Once you learn what a yes or no feels like in your body, you can start to develop more awareness of the signals your body uses to communicate with you.

Flower essences can also assist you in attuning to your intuition by helping you quiet your mind, become more receptive to the wisdom in your heart, and develop trust in your insights.

Working with flower essences and the intelligence in Nature can help you connect to your natural intuitive gifts.

Three Flower Essences to Enhance Intuition

Corydalis linstowiana flower essence

Blue Corydalis flower essence is one of my favorite essences to help you connect to your intuition. The trick to understanding the reality of intuition is to realize that it is not a constant stream of information, instead coming in flashes and moments of insight. The challenge is to integrate these bursts, trust in the information, and take appropriate and sustained actions to follow the guidance. Learning to trust what you have received, and holding the knowing so you can act is the gift of Blue Corydalis flower essence.

Alnus japonica flower essence

Japanese Alder flower essence is another essence I reach for to help a client develop trust in herself. This tree helps you develop courage and quiets self-doubt. The essence gives a deeply rooted and grounded quality, helping ease the chatter in the mind and settling into the wisdom and connectedness of the body.

Ceratostima minus flower essence

Little Cerato flower essence is helpful for connecting to the higher self, the guiding spirit of your life. The essence helps you maintain a grounded connection to your body as you open to higher realms of intelligence. This little blue flower reminds you of your connection to Source, and helps you shift your perspective from separateness to unity.

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Living the life you choose – Flower Essences to release old patterns

flower essence for balance

So many of us are struggling under the burden of living a life we have not chosen. We may feel uninspired by our work, disconnected, and lacking any sense of joy in our lives. This is a common issue many of my clients seek my help to heal. Luckily, there are many flower essences that help uncover the roots of this issue, releasing you from the weight of imprints and beliefs that are not actually your own.

flower essence for clarity

Cerato Flower Essence

One of Dr Bach’s original flower essences, Cerato, speaks to this issue directly (Ceratostigma willmottianum). This flower essence helps you connect to your deep sense of knowing, the truth of who you are. The classic indication for Cerato is someone who is constantly asking for advice, yet never able to make a decision or take action based on any of it. They are stuck in the loop of seeking guidance, and will ask anyone they meet, whether or not the individual can offer pertinent advice or not.
This pattern often emerges in someone who has been overwhelmed by domineering authority figures and was never able to learn to trust their own thoughts or feelings, unable to develop their own guidance system over time. We all make mistakes and wrong turns, the the challenge in maturing is to learn to correct and make better choices. But if we have become paralyzed by an overbearing personality, we may never have learned to trust ourselves. Cerato is helpful to restore the primacy of our own inner guidance system – we can seek wise counsel from others, filter it past our own knowing, and then take appropriate action.

The Magnolias in general act on the initiating soul impulse of embodiment and purpose. This family of flower essences assists the seating of your spirit into your physical form, and guides you back to the knowing of why you are here and what you came to do.

flower essence for releasing

Kobushi Magnolia Flower Essence

The Kobushi Magnolia flower essence (Magnolia kobus) is beneficial when you were deflected from your path by cultural or familial pressures, pushing you into a life path that was not of your choosing. For instance, your family may have insisted you study to be a doctor or lawyer when your true interests were elsewhere. Many people bow to the will of their families, and find themselves deeply unfulfilled later on. Kobushi Magnolia can help you identify and reclaim your gifts and interests that were not allowed to flourish, and may only be barely remembered. You may have been taught to disdain and diminish your talents. Kobushi Magnolia flower essence will help you uncover and nourish them.

flower essence for releasing limiting beliefs

Siebold’s Crabapple Flower Essence

Another essence that works on this issue is the Siebold’s Crabapple (Malus sieboldii). It has a similarity to Bach’s Crabapple, in that the overall energy of the remedy is one of clearing. The Siebold’s Crabapple’s healing gift is to release the false concepts that were absorbed from your family or culture, ideas that a part of you knows to be untrue, but still impact your life. This flower essence helps you release these imprints fully, so they no longer “run in the background” of your mind.

flower essence to release family issues

Persian Walnut Flower Essence

The Persian Walnut is another I use often in situations where family or cultural beliefs cause trouble in the present. The Persian Walnut (Juglans regia var kamaonia) is a non-domesticated subspecies of the English Walnut (Dr Bach made his essence from the domestic walnut, Juglans regia). I find the wild species to have a more direct resonance to the aspect Dr Bach referred to as “link-breaking”. The Persian Walnut flower essence is specific to releasing the karmic or tribal ties obliging you to conform to the expectations of others. It can help you release these ties that do not serve your growth, while keeping the benefits of generational wisdom and experience.

There are many flower essences you can call upon to help you overcome patterns that were placed upon you by family or culture. While not all of these influences are problematic (and some are very useful), the ones that inhibit your growth can be modified or removed so you can accomplish your goals. Having these patterns active is much like driving with your brakes on – it is very hard to move forward and takes so much more work and effort.

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Matsu Purple Sandalwood flower essence

As time goes by, I like to revisit each plant and gain more insight into the essence. This message is from an attunement earlier this month. Slowing down and appreciating the moment is certainly always a valuable thing to remember.

Our essence can aid those who have need of peace. There is so much stimulation in your realm, and your lives seem so hurried. It is wise to keep in mind that this is all but an illusion, and not truly accurate. Perhaps it is more clear to think of it as a construct, a vehicle or medium in which your experience is processed. For the establishment of your incarnation seems to proceed along a line – you see the progression of your life in an unbroken linearity. Through the mutually accepted lens of these all around you, you form an agreed upon reality. Do not mistake this agreement for absolute truth. It is simply a lens that allows you to process and understand your experiences.
So, our essence addresses this mystery – how can you create more spaciousness within your linear experience? Your physicists can tell you time is not absolute – there is considerable “wiggle room” you have not tapped into. Paradoxically, you can have far greater experience of enhanced time when you slow down. Let us clarify, going faster, doing more, acting from an adrenalized state – none of these things will achieve your goal. In fact, it will be quite the opposite, for you will subjectively experience less time, as well as shortening your incarnation in years by burning your system prematurely. This state is surely contrary to the goal.
Therefore, offer yourself the gift of time. The essence can create greater awareness of the spaciousness you already have, and truly lengthen the perceived and actual time you have.
Take time to relish your experiences. These moments of appreciation will go far to reset your physical clock, enhancing your health and slowing down your aging.

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Formosa Lily – bloom sequence photos

Formosa Lily flower essence

The Formosa Lily (Lilium formosanum) shows a remarkable signature in the way the flower blooms.  The buds form upright, then reflex downwards as they mature.  The buds then rise again to bloom outwards like trumpets.  Once the bloom has finished the seed pod develops pointing upwards again.

This cycle reminds me of a sun salutation.  Sitting with the plant, I am told the essence is for bringing cycles of healing to completion – in becoming fully aware of the issue to be healed, bringing it into the light of awareness, and allowing that light to penetrate and heal.