A few months ago, I went with my fiance to a herbal healing shop called Rosemary's Garden up in Sebastopol, Ca. He'd done some reading about herbs that can be helpful for foot and joint pain (such as arnica, which lessened my pelvic bone pain post-childbirth), and Rosemary's Garden turns out to be a local mecca for healing herbs, tonics, teas, and tinctures.
I looked around while he scooped herbs out of jars, and I discovered a collection of flower essences–Bach's Remedies. Then I noticed the cute, purse-size flower essence sprays near the cash register from FES (Flower Essence Services) –labeled with promising names like Fear-Less, Grace, Grief-Relief, Magenta Self-Healer, Grounding Green, Mind-Full, Post-Trauma, Sacred Heart, Illumine, and Flora-Sleep. Oh my God, I thought, I've hit on the mother-load! Every aspect of my being is going to be cured!
I mean, maybe.
The herbalist said, "These are wonderful," when I asked about the sprays. There was a time when she used both the Grief-Relief and Grace essences together during a rough patch in her life — "I'd spray them both one two or three times, a few times a day." I asked her if they have to be sprayed anywhere in particular (on the wrist, under the tongue, etc.). "No, you can really spray them anywhere." She sprayed her formulas in her mouth, like a breath spray, then also around her body and head, kind of like perfume or, I suppose, like bug spray (fear, grief, and anxiety being the blood-sucking mosquito).
It was the "Fear-Less" spray that really caught my attention (and my connection to it was confirmed by the fearful feeling I had about having to reveal myself as fearful in the purchase of the cure for fear). Beneath its name, the Fear-Less label read, "Composure & containment when challenged by fear, anxiety or panic." Yes, yes, I want that; I want to be the sleeping cat undisturbed by the sirens, honking, and arguing just outside the window. I love composure! Composed, confident, calm – that's me at my best.
These days, I use the Fear-Less flower essence formula every few days, when I feel like I need an extra layer of protection. I spray it into my mouth (two pumps usually; three when one of the sprays hits my chin or cheek or I'm feeling high-risk), then I'll spray it onto my neck just under my chin and on my voice box (my thinking there is that I want my voice to be true), and then I give one, big spritz over my head so that it settles on the crown of my head, hair, and shoulders. You can spray this stuff wherever you like — it's very much up for interpretation. (For example, you may feel that spraying it right into your mouth, ensuring its contact with your system, is the way to get your money's worth.)
For me, the absence of fear is courage. Courage means speaking up for myself. So, I actually have been thinking of the "Fear-Less" spray as my "Speak Up" spray. Speak up, speak true, be honest with how I'm feeling and courageous about the worth of my feelings. Sure, I'll be the first to raise my hand! I'll risk asking a 'dumb' question! (Actually, I'd stopped noticing the label actually reads "Fear-Less" until writing this post.)
But what are flower essences? And, do they work? I can answer only one of those questions; I can define flower essences for you. Even with this explanation, I have to admit that the whole thing is a mystery to me. I don't truly "get" it. That said, I don't think flower essences are meant to be scientifically "gotten." Does that stop me from spraying? No. Flower essences heal by vibration, or energy. In Eastern medicine, this would be called Qi ("chee"). It's not visible energy. Some people can feel it, others can learn to feel it. I've heard Qi described as "heat" or a feeling like excitement or butterflies in the stomach. One way to think of it is like heat — you add heat, and it interacts with your system and changes it, like heat wilts spinach and makes broccoli bright green. The flower essence energy interacts with your emotional energy, and has a positive influence on it.
Flower essences are created in one of two ways: one, the flowers are placed in pure water (mineral water) left to 'cook' in the sun, and then the water is extracted to create a mohter remedy; or, the flowers are placed in pure water (agian, mineral water), heated mechanically, and then the water is extraced to create the mother remedy–from which all remedies are taken.
Note: brandy is used as a preservative in all flower essences that I know of; while the tiny amounts of it aren't going to intoxicate you, at all, I do mention this becasue some of you may need to avoid flower essences on principle for this reason and to maintain your sober spirit.
Clear as mud? You can read more murkiness here.
(Rosemary's Garden has a virtual shop if you want to visit but can't make it there by foot, plane, or train.)
I hesitated to post about this, for fear of endorsing a product. I truly can't say whether or not flower essences "work," but I wanted to share my experience because it's working in some fashion for me. I've come to trade my morning holding-a-stone-and-being-thankful-ritual for this spray. I sprayed before my series of recent job interviews (and just accepted an awesome job). I sprayed before a day of back-to-back conference calls. I sprayed on a day when I suspected myself of entertaining ideas of self-sabotage. And I spray on days when I feel confident and forthright, but want to add some insurance to that state. I like the tangibility of the spray–the feel of the mist–and the ritual created by noticing the bottle, deciding to use it, and pumping while thinking courageous thoughts. Its an opportunity for me to make a wish (prayer), as I think, "I'm going to speak my truth today and be assertive of my needs. I'm going to speak up, fearlessly." I do it just in the morning.
Here's a link to the Fear-Less spray. All the other remedies listed above are there, too. The flowers included in the Fear-Less spray are: Red Clover, Mountain Pride, California Valerian, Oregon Grape, Mimulus, Rock Rose, and Green Rose; and also essential oils: Bergamot, Lavender, Ylang Ylang, and Cistus.
If you're already into this, or want to truly explore it, you might want to read the Flower Essence Repertory book , which is a healer's reference–a listing of various conditions and ailments and the flower essences and combinations that are appropriate for treatment (Rosemary's Garden).
My bottom line was this: when do I not feel good gazing upon a flower? Flowers = good. I am drawn to flowers, their complexity and design astound me and I feel good and timeless looking at them. So maybe there's really something to this.