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Summer and the Heart

flower essence for uplifting the heart

This article was originally published in Sentire Magazine, Issue 8:June 2019

Click pdf to see as published:Sentire 8 pdf

Writing long form articles for Sentire has been deeply enjoyable, allowing me to expand on ideas of flower essences interweaving with Chinese Medicine and the seasons. This article covers the Summer season, which is joyous, but also with challenges that can be helped by our flower essence allies and acupressure. Enjoy!

Early summer is a delightful time in the garden.

The temperature is pleasant, trees are blooming, and roses are in their prime. It’s easy to see the connection between this season of warmth, openness and gentle expansion and the Chinese Medicine concept of the Heart.

The realm of the heart is a frequent area of focus for all of us engaged in the study and use of flower essences. We refer often to matters of the heart, from heartache and happiness, and to the idea of the heart as a center for empathy and guidance.

The importance of the heart is also foremost in Chinese Medicine theory, as it is central to the health of both the mind and the body.

The emotion associated with the Heart is joy, and it provides residence to the Shen.

What is the Shen?

Shen is often translated into English as spirit, but can also be accurately described as consciousness or mind. The Shen is the spirit that resides in the Heart which guides and interacts with the spirits of your other organ systems, such as the Hun spirit of the Liver. When you are calm, the Shen is able to reside in the spaciousness of your Heart, providing a wise influence to guide your life, as well as maintaining the healthy function of your body. Without this organizing force, the systems of the body fall into disarray that may eventually manifest in disease. As the health of the body and mind are inseparably interlinked, there will also be mental and emotional distress, with signs such as anxiety, lack of focus, worry and even depression.

The Role of the Heart

Modern science considers the heart to be a pump that circulates the blood. The role of the Heart is much larger in Chinese Medicine, and includes the organ itself, while incorporating elements that influence the health of the entire body. The quality of the function of the Heart energy is primary to the physical and mental health of the individual – if the Heart is not calm and balanced, none of the other functions of life and health can run smoothly.

Studies in mainstream medical literature have shown that 60-90% of illnesses have stress-related components.

The Cartesian split between mind and body is becoming harder to defend, and the approach of treating physical disease as wholly unrelated to the mind and emotions of the patient leaves many people feeling hopeless.

In Chinese Medicine, the Heart is characterized as the emperor of the body. The role of the emperor is to maintain order and calm, ruling wisely and taking appropriate actions. The Heart is a calm and spacious environment and provides residence for the Shen, which then provides inspiration and guidance. The Shen and the Heart direct all functions of life, maintaining health of the body and mind.

Anything that upsets the Heart will disrupt the Shen and cause risk to health.

Factors that upset the Heart include stress, conflict, lifestyle and environment. One of the statements from classic texts is that “the Heart loathes heat”. In Chinese Medicine theory heat can be high temperatures creating heatstroke or an internally generated heat such as a fever. Heat can also be more abstract in that it describes any type of overactivity such as agitation of the mind or the emotions.

Normal emotions are experienced without injuring the stability of the Heart, but any time an emotion is too strong or long lasting there is a potential for imbalance. An emotion that stays in the body, as in cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder when a trauma is repeatedly triggered and experienced over and over, causes lasting imbalance and harms the Heart.

Working with Shock and Trauma

In normal situations, the qi is rooted securely in the body, guiding the functions of general health. In a stressful situation, the qi leaves its base in the lower body and rises into the chest and head. This is termed heat rising, and correlates to the fight or flight response of the nervous system. Heat rising feels like panic – your mind may race or freeze and you will be unable to focus or think clearly. You may have an exaggerated outward response or you may shut down and be unable to function.

If a person is generally healthy in mind and body the shock of an event can pass through and they will be restored to a normal state of calm in a relatively short amount of time.

But if the shock is repeated, or the stressful situation is ongoing, there will be an injury to the healthy function of the Heart and the Shen will be disturbed. Without healing support, the health of the body is at risk.

Using flower essences after shocking or traumatic experiences is as essential as any other type of first aid.

Five Flower Formula was created by Dr Bach for this type of situation and, ideally, should be offered immediately, and often, to support the release of the fear and trauma, creating a calm inner environment so the Shen can be restored. The Post Trauma Stabilizer formula from FES is also an excellent choice and one I often recommend to clients and friends. I advise taking any of these crisis type formulas as often as possible, even a drop every few minutes, while you are recovering from the immediate aftermath of a shock or fright. In the days and weeks following, taking these essences four or more times a day will be supportive as you rebuild your resilience. Once the effects of the immediate crisis have passed, you may follow up with targeted essences to address any lingering issues.

The Pattern of Shen Disturbance

When I first spoke with my client “Susan”, I found it a challenge to get a word in edgewise.

She spoke quickly, and recounted many of the doctors, diagnoses, and therapies she had experienced. Even though Susan had received the best of care, she was still sick and in pain all the time. As she told me her story, it became clear how stressed and miserable she was, and that she rarely felt any rest or relief.

As she talked, I gently attempted to steer the conversation to the ways flower essence therapy could help her feel better. We talked about essences to help calm her mind and ease the anxiety that kept her in a constantly stressed state.

When the body is perpetually in a sympathetic nervous system state, that of fight or flight, the natural processes of restoration and healing cannot engage.

Learning how to access the parasympathetic response (rest and digest) is essential to recovery of health, and flower essences can be an important part of the overall strategy to regain health. I advised her on breathing exercises, acupressure and holding her intention for healing as she took her essence formula. Even a few moments of calm, repeated regularly, can begin the process of resetting the nervous system towards balance and health.

Chinese Medicine recognizes Susan’s condition as a Shen disturbance. This can be caused by physical or emotional trauma of any kind, whether it occurred in childhood or more recently. The Shen is described as a flock of birds resting in a tree that fly away when startled. If the shock is severe or repeated, the Shen may not fully return home to the Heart.

Signs of Shen Disturbance

A person with an unsettled Shen will often suffer from mental agitation. This may show up as distractedness, lack of focus, poor memory and excessive talking. The nervous signs can include restlessness and inability to fully relax or sleep well, nervous irritability and startling easily. They may feel depressed, dull and tired, and worried.

Reading through this list, you may recognize Shen disturbance as a vastly common experience in modern life. Thankfully, we’re blessed with flower essences to help ourselves and our clients. For each of these signs, we have essences to help ease them, and bring our spirits back to health. In Susan’s case, in the time we worked together she developed the inner resources to see her life more clearly and was able to leave the toxic relationship that was causing her such distress. She began to make choices that supported her mental and physical health, and step by step her situation became better. Now Susan leads a life she loves, full of warmth and connection, and her physical conditions have stabilized and improved.

Flower Essences for Mental Overactivity

Delavay's Tea Olive flower essence for calm
Giant Burnet flower essence for nervousness

Dr Bach’s Vervain is a primary essence to counter signs of heat that manifest in excessive mental activity or garrulousness. The cooling qualities and general downward energetic of the remedy can calm and soothe what is a very distressing internal state.

I use Delavay’s Tea Olive (Flora of Asia) to help people slow down enough to focus and start to process their thoughts. When the Shen is disturbed, the mind races so quickly that ideas or information don’t have a chance to sink in, and concentrating is impossible. This essence brings spaciousness into the mind, helping you think clearly and calmly.

Giant Burnet (Flora of Asia) is another flower essence that is helpful to cool heat. When there is an excess of activity in the body or mind, this essence helps it to release and restore a natural state of calm. I find this essence especially helpful when the digestion is upset by the mental state.

Using gem essences with flower essences helps to anchor the desired shift into the body. Aquamarine gem elixir (Alaskan Essences) is one I reach for over and over to calm and cool the mind. Nearly everyone can benefit from this soothing essence, not only in cases where the Shen is unsettled.

Flower Essences for Nervous Agitation

When you are not able to fully rest and sleep well, it is very difficult for your body to heal and restore itself.

Japanese Beautyberry flower essence for centeredness
Tea flower essence for calm
Schima flower essence for peace

Calming down the nervous system is an essential first step in the restoration process. Fortunately there are many flower essences that guide the system into this state. In most of the formulas I create for my clients I include several essences from this category, as they are so important for healing.

Calming and centering flower essences help to secure the qi, rooting it into the body. Japanese Beautyberry (Flora of Asia) encourages your energies to remain in your center, connecting to a still place that exists no matter how chaotic your outer circumstances may be.

Members of the Theaceae family share qualities that enhance calm presence. The flower essence of Tea (Flora of Asia) calms the mind and the nerves, drawing your attention and awareness into your center.
Schima (Flora of Asia) offers a similar energy, and adds an element about healing dependency on stimulants such as caffeine. The habitual overuse of caffeine so endemic in our culture is well known to deplete the nervous system.

One of the best gem essences to calm nervous agitation is Jadeite Jade (Alaskan Essences). I love the soothing qualities of this stone, and find the essence to be deeply grounding and calming in a formula.

Flower Essences for Nervous Depression

When the Shen is disturbed, there can be a type of depression characterized by low energy, dullness, and unsettled worry. The individual will have trouble adapting to changes and lack a sense of perspective of their life.

Borage (FES) is a useful essence in so many situations, and is helpful here too. It provides a sense of stout-heartedness and gently elevates depressed Heart energies. I love Chiming Bells (Alaskan Essences) for its joyous qualities, a natural state of healthy Heart energy. Taking this essence over time will help to restore the pattern of the Heart.

All the rose flower essences work with the energy of the Heart, and can help with different aspects of restoring Shen.flower essence for uplifting the heart

Gigantea Rose (Flora of Asia) essence gives a sense of hope, a light at the end of the tunnel, buoying your spirit. There is a quality of radiant fullness this essence imparts that can remind you of your natural state, and help you find your way back. Wild Rose (Bach) can give hope and perspective to someone mired in disheartenment and worry. It remains a favorite in cultivating little sparks of joy that can build into optimism.

The loss of equanimity that comes along with Shen disturbance results in an inability to place life events in perspective.

flower essence for stability

Without the grounding influence of wisdom, even minor challenges feel insurmountable and deeply distressing. I find essences from the conifers to be helpful as they provide the perspective of ages. The conifer family is about 300 million years old and essences from these trees provide a grounded and timeless wisdom. White Spruce (Alaskan Essences) is particularly relevant in cases of Shen disturbance as it helps to re-integrate lost soul parts and restore connection to higher sources of wisdom. Yunnan Pine Pollen essence (Flora of Asia) has a potent grounding quality that stimulates release of everything non-essential so you can take stock of your situation, and then engage in aligned action.

Acupressure to Support a Calm Heart

Modern life is stressful, lives are increasingly busy, and most people are under-rested and over-stimulated. In my practice, I regularly teach clients acupressure points to support the Shen.

Developing a self care routine that involves flower essences and acupressure can create moments of calm to build on as you make the lifestyle changes that are within your power to make.

Working with just a few points each day can be beneficial in building resilience as well to the situations that are outside of your control.

In addition to taking flower essences you can integrate acupressure into your daily routine. Utilizing the three regulations of body, breath and mind (fully described in the Winter edition of Sentire 2018 article Chinese Medicine and Flower Essences) you can work intentionally with the qi flows that calm the Shen and support the Heart. You may wish to apply an appropriate flower essence (or from your formula of essences) to your fingertip as you make contact with the point.

Take up a position with your body where you can reach the point without straining, engage in deep and regular breaths, and lightly contact the point. Following the directions to find the point, gently stroke over the skin in the area and notice where your fingertip tends to gravitate. This can be a little hollow place, it may feel a little different than the other areas, or you may simply find your fingers resting in the same place each time you stroke over the area. Make a gentle contact and keep your mental focus aligned by attending to your breath and the sensations you may feel under your finger(s).

One of the points I recommend to nearly every client is Conception Vessel 17 (CV 17). This point is on a channel of qi running along the center and front of the body. Acupressure on this point has many beneficial effects that include calming the Shen and alleviating tension in the chest, allowing deeper breathing. Find CV17 by stroking the midline of the body at the sternum. Most guides list this point as at the level of the nipples, which always creates a moment of amusement for my female clients. I modify this direction by saying “the original location of the nipples”. You will know you have found the point when you start to feel your breath deepen and a sense of calm spreads through you.

Pericardium 6 (PC 6) is another important calming point. The Pericardium is considered to be the protector of the Heart, calming strong emotions and clearing heat so the Heart stays calm and the Shen is settled. PC 6 is found on the inside of each wrist. To find the point on your left wrist, bring the left palm up in front of your face. Bend your hand inwards, creating a crease at the wrist. With the right hand, place your ring finger at the level of the crease, with your middle and index fingers alongside. Your index finger will now be at the correct level of the point, simply find the center of the wrist between the two long bones that make the forearm. Spend one to three minutes here, then switch sides to work on PC 6 on the other arm.

Once you have spent some time with these points, you may wish to connect with Heart 7 (HT 7). It is the source point for the Heart channel, with a strongly calming effect on the Shen. It is indicated for all the signs of Shen disturbance such as anxiety and restlessness, poor sleep, and inability to relax. This point is a direct connection to the Heart, and should be used with a good measure of respect and mindfulness, so I recommend working with other calming points first. Once you are feeling calm and focused, start acupressure on HT 7.

To find HT 7, locate the bone on the pinky side of the wrist. Most of us will remember striking this bone on accident and feeling significant pain and tingling. This sensitive area is where HT 7 is found. If you follow the line of wrist crease towards the inner surface of the wrist, and bend your hand inward slightly, you’ll find a hollow just past the bone. There is some disagreement at the precise location of this point, and its location does vary a little from person to person. You can explore this area with your fingertip and you will know where your HT 7 point is located from the experience of calm that happens when you apply acupressure to HT 7. You’ll likely start to feel deeply peaceful, and even yawn as the qi begins to flow.

When you align your healing work in harmony with the seasons, you are supported in your intentions by the greater forces around you. This summer, cultivate your Heart energy by working with flower essences that benefit the Shen, add calming and mindful acupressure, and you will create a spacious environment in your Heart to stand you in good stead no matter what life throws your way.

If you would like help navigating the flower essence process, I welcome you to get in touch. I offer private consultations and custom flower essence formulas tailored precisely to your needs.

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Supporting the Liver in Spring

This article was originally published in Sentire Magazine, Issue 7:March 2019

Writing long form articles for Sentire has been deeply enjoyable, allowing me to expand on ideas of flower essences interweaving with Chinese Medicine and the seasons. This article covers the Spring season, which is joyous, but also with challenges that our flower essence allies and acupressure can help us with. Enjoy!

Is there anything more remarkable than seeing a dandelion growing through a tiny crack in pavement?

A more inhospitable environment is hard to find, yet the dandelion seed manages to strike a root into the earth to grow lush green foliage up into the sunlight. This springtime feat illustrates the power of life force, and provides an example of the energetics of the Liver as described in Chinese Medicine.

In the Spring, the Liver qi rises strongly with all the energy and enthusiasm of the season. When the body and emotions are clear and healthy, this energy can do its job of providing impulse and direction. When the Liver energy is out of balance or blocked, the result is irritability and frustration, even a sense of depression. Without the guidance of the Liver, you cannot plan your future or organize your daily life. It behooves us to support healthy Liver qi in this season so we can ensure good physical and emotional health, and make the most of the year ahead.

The relationship between the emotions and the health of the body is a two way street. Each of the organ systems has a related emotion. Any emotion that is very strong or long lasting can negatively affect an organ, and an organ out of balance may manifest in a disrupted emotional state.

In Chinese Medicine, five of the Organ systems are considered to be homes for spirits, which can each be understood as aspects of consciousness. Each spirit provides a higher perspective on the function of the affiliated organ, and when functioning well, guides the person in the fulfillment of their purpose or life mission.

The Shen is the spirit that resides in the Heart. We can think of this spirit as our consciousness, and our link to the wisdom of Heaven. When the Shen is fully at home and awakened, you will feel inspired and vibrant. Your eyes and complexion will be clear and luminous. This spirit is supported by and gives direction to the other four spirits, and is the liaison between you and Heaven.

The Spirit of the Liver is called the Hun, and provides the Shen with inspiration, creativity, life force and a sense of direction. The Hun (pronounced hoon) helps in maintaining emotional balance by preventing the repression of emotion as well as managing emotional excess. When emotions are routinely blocked or repressed, the qi of the Liver stagnates and disrupts the Hun. When the Hun is disturbed, you’ll feel irritable and angry. This anger is often repressed, misdirected, and may build up into indignant outbursts. Over time, depression may develop.

An important function of the Hun is to support sound and peaceful sleep. My Chinese Medicine practitioner, Sean Fannin, describes it as an anchor which allows the boat of your spirit to float calmly in sleep. Your dreams can then provide insight and guidance to your soul.

Another element of Hun disturbance is a loss of direction in life.

When you are disconnected from your inner guidance and vision you’ll feel aimless and ineffective. When the Hun is in balance, you can think clearly and strategically thereby supporting your ability to make decisions and plan your future. In her book Five Spirits, Lorie Eve Dechar states “…(the Hun carries) the insights and intuitions of the Shen into the realm of matter and manifestation by creating a course of action and deciding on priorities. They give us a sense of direction and a vision for our life.”

Clearing a Lifetime of Stuck Liver Qi

I was raised in a profoundly repressive environment where children were never allowed to express themselves. My parents were members of a fundamentalist doomsday cult, and obedience to authority in the home was strictly enforced with corporal punishment. As I grew up, I was thoroughly conditioned to be pliant and agreeable. I never learned how to set a boundary or express my wishes, and knew into my bones that it was never, ever ok to show anger.

My recovery has been a lifelong process, but I am embodying more and more of who I am every year. Learning to connect to the life force of the Liver, and developing a relationship with this powerful and seemingly dangerous energy, is a significant part of my healing, and is a big part of my work as a flower essence practitioner helping women (and even a few men) to recover their vitality and sense of purpose in life.

While my experience was extreme, many women experience cultural and familial conditioning to repress the life force of the Liver. Women are encouraged to smile, be nice, and placate those in authority roles. Those who don’t obey these unwritten rules are described in extremely unflattering terms and shamed into submission.

Learning to connect to your vital Liver qi, and restoring the guidance of the Hun, has myriad benefits. You will feel relief when years of bottled emotion is allowed to flow, and when you set healthy boundaries there will be space to feel safe, recognized and valued. The miasma of depressive energy lifts, connecting you to your natural vitality and life force.

But first, you must encounter the paper tiger of anger.

Fear of Anger

The sensation of Liver qi rising can feel overwhelming if you’ve never developed a relationship with it. When it has been methodically repressed, it becomes stronger in an effort to break down the blockage. It can feel like a destructive, overpowering force when it is not permitted to flow.

Liver qi is strong and pulsing, pushing all obstacles out of its way. When Liver qi is thwarted the sensation is of profound frustration. When your Liver qi rises, you will feel a powerful force rising up in your body. This force can be channeled into taking action, setting a boundary, or speaking out.

If you have never learned to use this energy, it may feel dangerous.

My clients who had a parent who “blew up” in anger, or who acted violently, recognize this energy in themselves as a threat and prevent it from flowing. They may repress this flow of qi so completely that their Hun cannot provide its qualities of guidance and inspiration.

In order to reconnect with this life force, it helps to develop a better relationship with anger.

I admire Karla McLaren’s description in her book The Language of Emotions. She describes anger as our honorable protector whose function is to maintain healthy boundaries.

I have had many interesting conversations with clients when I’ve introduced this idea of anger as protector, which can seem strange at first. If you’ve always thought of anger as being a negative emotion, it is very easy to judge it as a bad thing. Following this logic, you would believe “good” people would not express “bad” emotions. Many of us have been trained to repress, and deny we ever feel, these negative emotions.

If you start to explore the concept internally, and reflect back on the times you have felt angry, I think you will discover some version of a boundary violation in each circumstance. By learning to use this energy, this anger, in a skillful way, you can stand up honorably and set a clear boundary. Anger gives you the backbone to stand up for yourself and for others when a wrong is being committed.

Learning to Work with Anger Safely

A fear of anger is completely understandable. When it has been unacknowledged and repressed for a lifetime, anger can feel like an uncontrollable and destructive force that, if unleashed, would result in disaster.

Many of my clients cannot talk about their anger, and feel overwhelmed even to think about it. Going very slowly and letting my client set the pace is an essential part of the process. Offering powerfully catalytic essences to stimulate the release of anger would be unethical and inappropriate, and profoundly distressing to the client.

Building up a sense of safety and containment with gentle and supportive essences is a good start, along with gentle reminders that eventually, with support, she’ll be able to connect to this source of vitality and life force. As a component of a structured formula, we can begin to touch and release the bottled up emotions in a contained way.

One useful warning to anyone embarking on the flower essence process is to understand emotional clearings. If a client is unfamiliar with how flower essences work, she may expect that her uncomfortable emotions will dissipate, never to return. This is often the short term result for clients, and when they start to feel unwanted emotions again, they report that the essences have stopped working. I reassure them that the essences have strengthened their system and given them the resources to now allow this emotion to flow, and that this is a process with great benefit at the end.

I explain that an emotional clearing is an intense experience, and may feel overwhelming, like a sudden violent storm. But I was taught, and my experience has shown, that these emotional clearings are limited to a couple of days, and once they have passed, the sense of relief and lightness is dramatic. I recommend having Five Flower formula on hand and to take it, even as often as every few minutes, to aid and ease the process. Other crisis type formulas can be used instead – I love Soul Support from Alaskan Essences and Terra from Bloesem Remedies for this purpose.

Flower Essences for Anger

Holly (Bach) is always a good starting point to clear excess emotion. Whenever emotions become too strong or uncontained, Holly can assist in settling the Shen and supporting the Hun in maintaining emotional balance. Holly is a broadly applicable remedy, and I find it helps to connect to the heart and find compassion for yourself and for others.

Closely affiliated with the energy of the Liver is Dr Bach’s Impatiens. This essence is well known to smooth irritability and frustration, both signs of stuck Liver qi. This essence was Dr Bach’s type remedy, and the description from Julian Barnard’s book Bach Flower Remedies Form and Function states “ The positive aspects: gentle, balanced and relaxed. And the down side of the personality? — tense, irritable and impatient.” This description accurately defines the Liver qi in smoothly flowing state and in a stagnant or blocked one.

Scarlet Monkeyflower (FES) is an excellent choice for a fear of anger. This essence speaks to the balancing qualities of the Hun, that it is neither healthy to repress emotion or to express it in an extreme way. Offering Scarlet Monkeyflower flower essence can help in cases where skillfulness in expressing forceful opinions or creating boundaries has never been developed.

Easing Frustration and Learning to Set Boundaries

Trifoliate Orange flower essence for stagnant qi

Clearing stuck energies is a year round task of the Liver, but the force is particularly strong in the Spring. The flower essence of Trifoliate Orange (Flora of Asia) clears emotional and energetic congestion, along with any stagnant energies or beliefs that prevent you from living in flow. There is an interesting correlation with Chinese Medicine food recommendations in that sour flavors like citrus are considered beneficial for the Liver.

Beech (Bach) helps to smooth out prickly irritability. I find this essence to be very helpful for women who experience emotional irritation around their menstrual cycle, a classic sign of blocked Liver qi. Beech helps to smooth out the jagged edges, helping them recognize the origins of the emotions they are feeling, so they can begin to make internal changes and learn to better support themselves.

Artemesia flower essence for frustration

Willow (Bach) is indicated when the qi has been blocked and resentment, and a sense of victimhood, has set in. There is a stuckness and inflexibility to the mental state, a heaviness that resists acceptance of what is. The surface expression of irritation may have sunk into the body, flaring inflammatory or arthritic symptoms.

I find Artemesia (Flora of Asia) to be invaluable when life refuses to go according to plan. This essence eases frustration and helps you make peace with what’s actually happening. This is the essence for our inner child’s temper tantrum.

China Rose flower essence for boundaries

Rock Water (Bach) is often indicated for cases when the Liver qi is not flowing smoothly. The rigidity of the Rock Water type manifests in tension both mental and physical, preventing the easy movement of qi and emotion. The essence is made from naturally flowing spring water, making it a obvious good fit for modeling flow through obstacles.

Setting boundaries is a valuable life skill.

So often, “nice” people are secretly angry that others walk all over them, harboring resentment under a smiling exterior. China Rose (Flora of Asia) can help you learn to lovingly set a boundary. After all, no one can respect a boundary that you never set.

Poison Oak (FES) is an essence for those who tend to set boundaries in a reactive, even hostile manner. This essence can be very helpful in moderating this tendency and helping them feel safer in interactions with others.

Flower Essences to Support Vision and Drive

Golden Larch flower essence for ego
Japanese Alder flower essence for inner guidance

The Liver gives creative drive, the ability to plan and strategize, and the resolve to execute and achieve success. We can support these aspects of the Liver with essences to guide our intentions for the Spring, and the coming year.

If you are unsure of asserting yourself, and concerned that you could overwhelm the will of others, Golden Larch (Flora of Asia) provides a moderating influence. This essence helps you tap into your will forces, while staying connected to the wisdom of your heart.

To lead wisely, you must be willing to take considered risks. The Japanese Alder (Flora of Asia) helps you connect to inner guidance and take concrete action to achieve your goals.

Developing Courage and Resoluteness

Without the energy of the Liver running smoothly, we become indecisive and easily discouraged. Borage (FES) provides a gentle encouragement to help you meet the challenges of life.

If you have ever lived near wild-growing blackberry, you won’t have any trouble imagining it’s qualities as a flower essence. Blackberry (FES) offers the qualities of resolve and overcoming obstacles. In the garden it grows through, over, and around everything in it’s path, resisting all efforts to manage it.

Acupressure Points for Spring

Giving yourself the gift of regular acupressure will greatly assist your physical and emotional wellness year round.

I find it especially important in the Spring, as any blocks to healthy flowing Liver qi will be exacerbated, resulting in the unpleasant emotional symptoms of frustration and irritability as well as flaring of any physical issues. In Chinese Medicine physical pain is considered to be caused by stuck qi in the body, so helping your Liver qi flow will ease symptoms of soreness or stiffness. Apply your chosen flower essences or formula to your fingertips, or directly on the point, for added focus and intention to your acupressure routine.

Regular acupressure on Liver 3 (LIV 3) can do much to support the smooth healthy flow of your Liver qi. LIV 3 is a calming point that relieves frustration and repressed anger. General irritability and tension will also be eased, and this is an important point to relieve physical pain.

The Gall Bladder channel is paired with the Liver, and it is useful to move the qi in these “downstream” points to help clear the way so Liver qi can flow well. Two points that are easy to find and use are Gall Bladder 21 and 20.

Gall Bladder 21 (GB 21) is found on the upper slope of the shoulder, about 2/3 of the distance from the base of the neck to the shoulder. If you feel the muscles in this area, you will feel a seam between the muscles that run on the front side and the back side between the shoulder and neck. You will likely find a sore spot if you palpate between these muscles, indicating you have found GB 21. Gently hold this area with your fingertips, and allow the qi to flow. Acupressure on this point eases neck and shoulder stiffness and pain and relaxes tension.

Gall Bladder 20 (GB 20) is found at the base of the skull. Reach your fingertips behind your ears, and find the soft hollow right below the bone at the base of the skull. Nodding your head gently will help you find the right spot. Apply acupressure by pressing slightly up and inward to the center of the head. This point is excellent to relieve tension headaches and a stiff neck.

In Harmony with the Seasons

Our modern world and the technology all around us are both a blessing and a source of disconnection and stress. Learning to cultivate your inner landscape in harmony with seasonal rhythms will bring you more ease and smooth challenging passages. Each time I ground my consultations in the reality of the greater cycles of the natural world, my clients find meaning and a deeper connection with Nature.

Drawing correlations with the energy of each season and learning how seasonal cycles affect your inner world help you reconnect to your relationship to Nature.

If you would like help navigating the flower essence process, I welcome you to get in touch. I offer private consultations and custom flower essence formulas tailored precisely to your needs.