Bach Flower Remedy Red Chestnut

My son has a way of causing my heart to burst open like no one else.  This part of parenting is so wonderful.  My son can also trigger deep distress.  This part of parenting is so hard, especially when you come from a long line of women who worry.    

My son was born with gut issues and feet issues.  A gigantic portion of my time, energy, and money has been spent on helping his gut heal and stay in balance, as well as physical therapy and podiatrists.

While all of his issues can cause challenges in the present, if not addressed adequately, they can create tremendous problems for him as he ages.

I spent years in a chronic state of worry about his health and his physical development.  Every moment was a moment of prevention - what do I need to do now to make sure things don’t get worse and cause more suffering later.

Except that I was suffering with this approach, and my son was suffering from my anxiety about his situation.  My worry impacted my sleep, my ability to experience joy, my ability to experience ease in the present moment when all was actually well.

I am thrilled to say that as of today, this is no longer the case.

I attribute this to 3 things: my commitment to changing this dynamic, my commitment to learn from my predicament, and the Bach Flower Remedy Red Chestnut.

Dr. Bach’s description of Red Chestnut is:

For those who find it difficult not to be anxious for other people. Often they have ceased to worry about themselves, but for those of whom they are fond they may suffer much, frequently anticipating that some unfortunate thing may happen to them.

- The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies

The Bach Centre adds this:

Red Chestnut fears are natural, normal concerns magnified to the point where they have a negative effect on the people who are the object of concern, undermining their confidence and self-belief.

When we are in this state the remedy helps us send out calm, unworried thoughts to our loved ones, so that instead of making everyone anxious we are rocks on whom others lean.

My experience was exactly this.  I am now able to support my son without the constant underling buzz of distress.  It didn’t happen overnight, but with persistence I was able to transform my worry into being a strong, compassionate guide for my son in the area of self-care.  The process of looking inward while taking the remedy also helped me stay connected with the spiritual perspective that my son is on his own path, with his particular predicaments, and my job is to help him learn how to navigate those in an empowered way.  I cannot save him from his challenges, but I can help him see them as opportunities for growth.

When we work with the remedies for a long time, the shift is long lasting.  Every so often I witness myself entering into the worry space, but now I am able to interrupt that and reconnect with my deeper knowing.  It may be that in the future something will happen that will trigger my worry again in an acute way.  Should that be the case, I know I can return to Red Chestnut.  Then I will learn more about how to achieve equilibrium when hard things happen.

Re-Claiming our health with Rainbow Eating

The health of our gut and the balance of our gut microbiome is critical to our overall health and wellness.  In the world of holistic health, the gut is seen as the root cause of many physical and emotional imbalances.

Rainbow Eating, which means having all the colors of the rainbow on our plate, is a way to improve the health of our gut and our ability to be nourished by the food we eat.  Like all holistic practices, it does so on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels.  

Read more: Re-Claiming our health with Rainbow Eating

Claiming Voice Through Self-Awareness

Over the past few months, my son has been complaining about being bored at school but more recently his inner light really began to dull.  I reached out to his teachers who offered two things: first, they gave him "break cards" which he can use 3 times a day.  This means that he can put the card on his desk whenever he feels like it and take a walk around the school.  Second, they asked him to fill out a sheet 3 times a day where he checks in with himself and writes down a fuller picture of what he's experiencing when he's feeling "bored".  They want to understand what bored means to him, and they are asking my son to take an active part in problem solving with them.  Both amazing ideas.

Last night he told my husband and I that he only did this sheet once, and he doesn't believe it will be helpful.  We told him that we fully support this plan and why.  The reason is this: we can't change something we don't like unless we understand ourselves more clearly in that situation.  Whatever the challenge, having more awareness of ourselves in the challenge, is the most important first step.  Self-awareness continues to be of utmost importance as we go through the process of change.

Being able to see more possibility comes from knowing ourselves better.  We can ask ourselves:

In this situation, what are my triggers?  What are my vulnerabilities? What are my strengths?

Once we know what hooks us, we can foster softness and compassion, rather than rigidity.  We can both honor ourselves for where we are while figuring out how to change patterns that aren't working for us.

Blessings to you on this journey of self-discovery as a means of learning how to be more satisfied!

 

xo,

Jen

 

 

 

The Women are Gathering: Balancing Divine Feminine and Masculine Post-Election

Today the same conflict my husband and I have been cycling through on and off for our entire relationship came to another head. “This is it,” I said. “I won’t stand for it.”  I’ve said these words before, but something felt different.
It seems I’ve gone to the next level of speaking up and drawing my line in the sand about how I want to be treated and spoken to.  This reminds me of the spiral of healing.  I’ve been here before so many times, and yet I have come around again to learn and master the next part of the lesson.
This time around, my husband is acknowledging the shift. He says to me, “I’m acting the same, but you have less tolerance for it.”

Read more: The Women are Gathering: Balancing Divine Feminine and Masculine Post-Election

Emotional Hokey Pokey

Moose.  My love.  My Regal Beagle.  A couple months ago I sat on my floor crying, thinking about how it might be time to give him away.  My vet had just told me that he was showing early signs of disk disease.  I went into despair, a place I’ve visited many times before about Moose but hadn’t been to in a while.

For a moment all I could think about were the things I haven’t been able to do because of the time and money I’ve already spent on his healing, and the pain and suffering that was to come as his back worsens.

I moved on to my upset about his behavior.  Despite our training, I still wasn’t the most effective Alpha and he was still too aggressive on walks and when people came to the house.

On top of it all, my long time dog sitter had recently and abruptly become unavailable. The freedom I had once known of dropping him off for a day or overnight was now on hold.

Enough was enough.

Through my tears I told my husband that Moose restricts me physically, emotionally, and financially.  He keeps me from doing things that I love.   

Perhaps you can hear some of the root of my suffering - regretting the past, anticipating the future, and feeling blocked by outside forces.

We can all go down this road, but the art of life is learning not to live there.  We can imagine each situation as a blank canvas before us.  We take our paints and brushes, and we turn this &*^$ around.  An emotional hokey pokey.  Whenever I struggle, this is my mission.

To achieve this transformation, I ask myself the following questions: What is my struggle telling me I need to bring more into my life?  What will help me embrace my unique path?  What resources can I call upon to transform fear into a loving, creative solution?

On this particular day of despair, I consulted with my spirit cards, my wise husband, and my flower remedy.  I also became inspired by the book Gizelle’s Bucket List.  With these supports I realized:

Moose is not here to teach me how to be restricted, Moose is here to teach me how to LIVE.  This setback can help me learn how to have more fun and less worry.  In the present, Moose can run and play and enjoy being active.  THIS is what I need to focus on.

Beginning to shift from fear to positive potential set more in motion.  I remembered what my insightful friend Brian Arnell once said to me: Moose is like my own private graduate school.  Moose’s emotional and physical health issues have taught me volumes about healing.  I bring everything I learn from our relationship to my personal and professional practice.

My breathing softened and went deeper into my belly.  Not only am I am deeply passionate about the healing process, facilitating healing is one of my gifts.  I opened to the place of honor and gratitude for my unique life curriculum.   

It then occurred to me that the new gentle lead leash I was using was actually making a difference in Moose’s behavior.

Perhaps all of this meant we were ready for an adventure!

So…..I shared my revelations with my family and we decided to take Moose to Marsh Creek State Park.  It turned out to be one of our best days both with Moose and as a family.  We kept the gentle lead on Moose and he was well behaved the whole time.  He rode with us in the motor boat, cruised with us on the paddleboards, and swam with us in the lake.  We picnicked at a beautiful spot where we all ate and rested peacefully.  I didn’t spend one minute fretting about time because I didn’t have any pressure to get back home to take care of him!   I did have some moments of worry when he drank the lake water but I kept returning to this mantra:

We are strong enough to handle this.  Our life is more fulfilling and joyful having this time together.

I’m happy to share that Moose and I have come out of this period with a deeper and more trusting bond.  He is calmer, his health is stable, and my heart has burst open once again.  My animal healer friend even said he’s not doomed, he can get help for his back.  Did you know there are doggy chiropractors?  I found one chiropractor that invented a tool for both pets and humans to use on their backs to release trigger points.  It’s proven to be very effective with migraines so it might be a good present for my husband……

I notice that when I’m pursuing the positive possibility in a challenging situation, one discovery leads to another, each discovery a blessing.  That’s when I know I am working with the universe and being taken care of by the powerful force of love.

P.S.  Working to find a positive solution does not mean squashing our feelings.  I was able to move through in this manner because I first honored my feelings of despair and thoughts of giving him away.

P.P.S. I’m sending you much love for whatever comes your way today that needs to be honored and turned around into a more fulfilling direction.

xo,

J

Claiming Voice and Parenting

My son teaches me every day about claiming voice. When I can't claim my voice in a healthy way, I don't allow him to have his. I would rather work things out with him in such a way where neither one of us has to feel powerless. I still have to set healthy boundaries and limits, but I strive to do so in a way that fosters connection rather than resentment.


I fail over and over again, and I also succeed. Having my intention clear helps me stay the course and apologize when I fall short. Sometimes my son and I find our voices when we debrief about a conflict or power struggle gone awry. After the fact, when we’re both calmer, I can hear him say what he thought was hard or unfair and learn something about myself and the process.  I can then use his experience to find a solution that feels more cooperative and respectful to both of us.

 

I have also been keeping this poem in my mind and heart since the day he was born:

 

On Children: Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Claiming Voice Through Ritual

A few minutes before my client arrived I was changing the flowers in my office vase.  As I took the dying flowers out, I was feeling unsettled about throwing them away since there were still some robust flowers atop the dying stems.

It occurred to me that these flowers were a metaphor to my client’s experience.  He was in the process of uncoupling a long term partnership.  Parts of his relationship were dying, yet there were many beautiful elements of their relationship that would remain intact.

I became inspired to use the flowers in his session.

We spent the first half of the session talking.  Significant connections were made between his past experiences, his present situation, and his future dreams.

For the second half of the session I invited him to do a ritual.  The metaphor resonated with him and he agreed.

The ritual was this: As he picked off a piece of a dying stem and threw it into the trash, he verbalized something he was letting go of as his relationship was changing form.  Then, as he picked a flower off a stem and placed it next to him, he verbalized something beautiful that he was taking with him from his experience.  He alternated back and forth until he felt complete.

As much as he gained from our exploration in the first half of the session, it wasn’t until he did this ritual that I witnessed a deep and powerful shift.

The ritual brought him safely into his emotions.  Now he was talking and feeling and accessing his highest wisdom - an embodied  integration of mind, body and spirit.  In each piece of letting go and identifying beauty, he was able to honor his grief and loss as well as his strength and his optimism.

He left the session more raw and vulnerable than I’ve seen him before, but also more empowered and clear.

And the flowers - how grateful I am for their healing powers!  Showing us the way through nature's cycles of growth, loss and rebirth.    

Claiming Voice and Anger

One of the most confusing areas in Claiming Voice is how to effectively process and express anger. Anger is such a powerful emotion, and most of us have been exposed to polar extremes of scary, destructive anger, or passive, suppressed anger.
There is very little space in this culture for learning how to deal with it well. I wish every school had conflict resolution as a core part of the curriculum.

Read more: Claiming Voice and Anger

An Angel in San Francisco

We went into a store in Chinatown and my son Nathaniel’s whole being lit up.  Knowing that we each get something special when we travel, he knew right away what he wanted.  He walked over to the mask section and began to try them on.  The one he picked looks like something out of the Mad Max movie.  (I’ve never seen it but that’s been a consistent reaction.)

The mask is creepy, pretty scary, super intense - and he proceeded to walk through San Francisco for the rest of the day with it on his face.

I stayed quiet but I was very uncomfortable.  I kept thinking, “This is so weird.  My son is so weird.”  I had fleeting analyses running through my mind about why my son wanted and needed to present himself to the world in this way.

At one point he asked us to take a video of him dancing with the mask on.  He had been working on a series of dances from the video game Fortnite, the latest of which was called Pop Lock.  He also did his own beat boxing as the music.  We agreed to do a video and in a public  area we filmed his performance.

I felt a slight shift in my psyche and my body.  Hmmmm.  He’s being very creative.  This is a really cool back drop for his video.  I can’t believe my shy son is doing this out in public.

We went into another store so I could buy a hat to combat the San Francisco chill.  Nathaniel was at the counter looking at something.  I overheard the man at the register say to him, “I like your mask!”  The man was young, good-looking, and had a killer smile.  When I went up to the register to buy my hat, Nathaniel came to show me something and walked away.  The man said to me, “Oh wow, that’s your son?  I dig that mask.  It’s weird, but it’s cool!  You know?”

I said, “Yes!!!  I know.  That’s EXACTLY the line I’ve been dancing all day.”

The young man ran off to get something he needed to ring up my hat.  When he returned Nathaniel joined me again at the register.  The man asked where he got the mask and my son responded with a confidence I don’t usually see when he’s talking with a stranger.

As we were wrapping up our transaction the man said to him, “Keep it up, buddy!  Keep wearing your mask and doing your thing.”

And as we walked away, I looked back, and while we locked eyes, the young man once more flashed that killer smile my way.

And I knew that he was one of my angels, sent to show me that all is well, and that both my son and I are being held in the light of love when we live in alignment with who we are.

I felt reunited with my core truth.  I can’t negate creative expression!  I hold creativity in my top five of life values!  And hello!  We’re even part of a community that by many other people’s standards do some pretty weird creative stuff.

We continued to travel around the city for a few more days.  It became an interest for all of us - my son, me, my husband - to film my son doing his dance and his beat boxing with his mask on, in as many cool locations as possible.

But now as I watched him perform, I saw an artist.  I saw a boy Claiming his Voice.  I noticed that he received many positive responses.  And I felt so grateful for my angel.  I got the message: All I have to do is support my son to do his thing, and help him recognize when and where he gets the response that he deserves.

And this goes for the rest of us.  Be who you are and surround yourself with people who encourage you to do so.

Blessings on your journey of creative self expression!  May you know when your angel has come to help carry you forward in light and love.

Claiming Voice Through Fear

It’s taking a village to heal my puppy from a traumatic start in life that’s led to chronic physical and emotional issues.  Pursuing healing for him has been one of my most intense life challenges thus far.  My patience and trust in the bigger picture has been repeatedly tested and at times has resulted in mental and physical depletion as well as financial risk.  

But as someone who’s completely driven by a desire to learn about healing, I am not surprised that Moose and I have found each other.  I’ve been learning so much about the healing process through this relationship.  

Read more: Claiming Voice Through Fear

Healing through Apologizing

There are few things as important in relationship as apologizing and forgiveness.
In the past few months, I've been growing in the area of apologizing.
After some painful conflicts in my life, I've looked in the mirror and acknowledged the part of me that says, "I'm sorry, but...."

Read more: Healing through Apologizing