Monday, February 15, 2010

Flower Essences

I was rummaging through a bag of essential oils I brought with me and discovered a couple of Bach flower essences that I purchased some time ago. Dr. Edward Bach's story is pretty fascinating and you can find it here.

When I first bought the remedies, I liked the idea, but I have to admit that I was pretty skeptical about their efficacy. When I found them again I decided to give them an extended try. The suggestion is to use the remedy daily for a month or until the issue resolves.

Chestnut bud (shown at left) "helps you observe your mistakes objectively so you can learn from them and move on." The remedies are directed at specific personality characteristics or emotional states and similar to homeopathy, they work on a subtle as well as physical level. Also similar to homeopathy, there is no danger in side effects or interaction with other types of medications. The remedies are safe.

Given my history of alcoholism and the continued return to it, sometimes after years of abstinence, Chestnut Bud seemed like a good remedy for me. Many years that I drank I drank because I felt hopeless about the prognosis and the methods of recovery available. I surely wasn't objectively learning from my mistakes and moving on.

An interesting thing has happened and I wonder if it's related to my taking the remedy. I've begun to clearly see how I have projected my shadow around alcoholism onto other people - oftentimes those closest to me. I would convince people that it would be okay for me to drink again, and then I would become angry at them when it didn't work!! In some cases, I stayed angry for a long time and placed the responsiblity for my actions in someone else's hands.

Today I'm able to see this aspect of my personality without judging myself and I realize that these are amends I need to make. I've been reluctant since my AA experience to even approach any kind of amends. Mostly because I truly believe that we all do the best we can at any given time and usually we have no intention of hurting other people. For a long time I've practiced apologizing as quickly as possible when I realize I've done something wrong, but amends seemed like a bigger thing than that to me. Plus, when I was in AA, anytime I attempted amends with someone they looked at me like I was crazy. The exact nature of my wrongs went deeper than whether I stood you up for a date, got drunk and passsed out on you or threw up in your bathroom. I still don't really believe in approaching others with amends. I believe in living them. Words don't mean a thing if you don't stop doing the action - which is why for years I made sure people knew about my problem and that I had a habit of not staying sober despite my best intentions.

I'm grateful for the gift of seeing this clearly and the ability not to beat myself over the head with it. I think all that projection caused me to feel a lot of unneccesary guilt.

I also got Agrimony - "helps you communicate our true feelings rather than hide them behind a cheerful face." I'll report back on that one when I start it.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this report on the Bach flower remedies. This feels like a really big and good breakthrough re the projection. Wow.

Craig said...

A wonderfully clear-eyed discussion of 'amends.' I agree completely.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

Wow an honest and amazing post here for so many to read, and I love the Bach Remedies and have used them for years for various and asundry needs.

Thank you for your honesty, openess and willingness.


Olivia said...

I enjoy reading your reflections as your continue on your journey, Angela. I too enjoyed reading your perspective on amends. Love, O

Mary LA said...

Each time I have surgery I come around from the anesthetic swearing at the nurses and threatening to kill someone. No amends necessary.

I think amends has to do with deliberate and intentional harm done to others. When I was drinking (not drunk but trapped in addictive cycles) I chose to do some brutal and hurtful things that had lasting consequences and broke relationship. Some of these actions had to do with my need to control others' perception of my drinking.

Interesting perspective, Ang.

miss*R said...

I love Bach Flowers.. and take them often and yes, they do work.
we have our own here in Australia called Australian Bush flower essences and they are made from all our native plants.. the theory is that they suit our genes here better than remedies from the northern hemisphere.. I take both as I have genes from both sides of the world :)

Diva Carla said...

Hi Angela, I have been working with a friend who blends bach flower essence for my stuff. It's powerful all right. Best wishes as you receive help from these powerful and subtle plant allies!