Navigating the Emotional Rapids with Flower Essences

Recently, I was discussing how to navigate intense emotions with a client. She was frightened by the prospect of facing a big challenge in her life, and I was encouraging her to try to open to the experience. This is a common cultural issue, as we are generally not taught how to experience our more difficult emotions like fear or anger. We may have been shamed by our parents or peers for feeling fear, so we learned to repress it. These emotions then build up, and can feel very daunting to face.

The emotional experience is generally of short duration; emotions flow like water.

The problem arises when we have not learned to allow the flow, and instead repress or bottle them up. When these long repressed emotions are finally acknowledged and allowed to move, they can move very intensely, like water bursting forth from a dam. Part of my work as a flower essence practitioner is to encourage people facing this daunting experience to recognize that the best way is to move through the experience rather than trying to avoid it.

One image that works well came up in a recent consultation. She recalled an experience of river rafting, and how frightened she was of the upcoming rapids. The river was a perfectly safe one, and her group had an experienced guide, so she realized her fear was not truly necessary. But still, she dreaded the rapids and worried about falling out of the raft. After the group went through a few rapids, she realized she could face this intense experience, and that her anticipation of the fear was actually worse than the experience itself. Even falling out of the raft was not that big of a deal. It was actually refreshing!

This adventure mirrors the experience of facing and releasing intense emotions. We tend to dread the surfacing of old and stored emotion, frantically back paddling and trying to find a way around. But truly, the way through is like navigating the rapids. You may get wet or fall out of your raft, and it is guaranteed to be a ride, but once you have gone through there is peace on the other side and a sense of relief, stillness and completion.

Like going on a river trip, you will want to be well prepared to work with your deepest emotions.

When I work with a client, it may take many months before she is ready to face them. It is worthwhile to remember the benefits of going through this process. Having these stored emotions can result in being truly blocked in life. So much energy is being used to hold them back that there is little left for growth, change, or the fulfillment of dreams and goals. Once these blocks are released, you will be surprised at how much easier life is.

Until you are prepared, lots of nurturing and supportive flower essences are in order to build a foundation of strength. It truly is an organic process, and it becomes clear when there are signs of the emotional rapids are coming up. I let the client know that these emotions are arising to be experienced and released. The first time a client experiences this she tends to be displeased, as she started taking flower essences to feel better, not worse. And this definitely feels worse! Fortunately, I have guided many to navigate these rapids, and can assure her that, while this is an intense experience, coming through the other side will be worth every moment.

I recommend having emergency flower essence formulas around, as a sort of life vest for these emotional rapids.

It is best to continue taking your base formula of whatever essences you are working with at the time as they will help support you as you navigate through this experience. This blend of flower essences is your raft, and has brought you safely to this place, and will help get you through. But you may need a little extra support when things get intense. Here are a few essence formulas I recommend. They can be taken as needed in addition to your regular flower essences. You may even want to take a few drops every ten minutes when you are in the most intense phase of your emotions.

Rescue Remedy (AKA Five-flower Formula) by Bach

This classic formula is popular for a good reason. It has broad application for many types of fear, shock or trauma, and has helped many through tough times. I am rarely without a bottle in my bag – if you don’t need it, you may run into someone who does.

Soul Support by Alaskan Essences

This is an excellent support formula for any transformational experience. I particularly like the Fireweed flowers as a component to help rebuild your energetic system after an emotional clearing.

Crisis-Desert Emergency Formula by Desert Alchemy

This formula is useful when you are feeling overwhelmed by your emotions, and feel as if you may “drown” in them. 

Terra by Bloesem Remedies

I love this combination and recommend it often when the emotional crisis is spiritual, or arises from a karmic or ancestral issue.

Flower Essences For The Holidays

article originally published in Vibration Blog, Dec 11, 2010

While the holiday season is full of fun and heartwarming connections with friends and family, it can also be an incredibly challenging time. The added stress of planning parties, cooking, cleaning and shopping can push us far off balance. Throw in traveling, and spending time with rarely seen family members and you have the recipe for holiday stress! Fortunately, flower essences can support us and help us enjoy the holidays.

Holly and Pine have been used as holiday decorations for as long as humans have been seeking help from the green world to survive cold, dark winters. The evergreen foliage of both plants gives us hope that the sun will shine again and warm, pleasant days will return. As flower essences, they also have powerful resonance with issues surrounding the holidays. Holly (Bach) is a broadly applicable essence for anyone feeling unloved and hurt. It can help with siblings feeling slighted in the gift department, or grownups who re-enact old family dramas each time they meet. Holly helps us realize that there is enough love and attention to go around, helps us to be happy for our friend who received the gift we really wanted for ourselves.

Pine (Bach) is equally resonant this time of year. Many people experience feelings of guilt when we can’t meet the high standards of perfection our culture seems to demand. We are bombarded with images of perfect gatherings, lavish presents and shining, happy families – reality just doesn’t match up. Guilt can become a heavy burden to carry. Pine can help relieve this unproductive emotional state and help people accept their imperfect, but well-meaning and heartful, efforts. Pine helps us understand that we are all just doing the best we can with the time and energy we have available, and our families and friends appreciate us for it.

For many people, the holidays trigger feelings of depression. Instead of being able to enjoy gatherings, they reflect on lost family members, or how life seemed brighter in years past. Chiming Bells (Alaska) can help them find the joy in daily life and experience the pleasure that connections with others can bring. Single Delight (Alaska) remedies feelings of disconnection and isolation. It awakens them to the awareness of their interconnectedness with their soul family, even if they can’t be with them in person.

The end of the year is a time for reflecting on the past year and our accomplishments. Holiday “brag letters” from our family and friends may leave us feeling like our lives are not going well and that we are not measuring up. Columbine (Alaska) promotes appreciation for our own unique qualities and gifts. Comparing ourselves to others is not helpful, whether in appearance or outward accomplishments. Columbine helps us see our own beauty and worth. For those whose work or life may be less than glamourous, Lace Flower (Alaska) can help. When we feel insignificant, and that our contributions are not important, Lace Flower helps us realize that we all have a part to play and that everyone’s role is necessary. A woman whose time and energy are devoted to being a mother may not feel as important as someone who is pursuing a lucrative career, but her work is equally valuable. Lace Flower can give that mother perspective and help her feel the value in her work and life.

While the holidays can be stressful, it is important to take a step back and give thanks for all the good things in our life.  Flower essences can provide this needed perspective and help soothe our challenging emotions so we can enjoy the pleasures of the season.

Kathleen Aspenns is a Certified Flower Essence Practitioner and Tellington TTouch Method Equine Practitioner living in Sonoma County, California who works with people and animals of all kinds including dogs, birds, giraffes, vervets and warthogs. Kathleen has trained extensively with Jane Bell, Steve Johnson and David Dalton. She is available for telephone or Skype consultations.