Sunday, August 12, 2007

Walnut - Protecting the Young Seeker's Heart

Paul and I played the "Pick three videos at random and guess the connecting theme" game again this week. We got three "guy" movies — "The Bourne Identity," "True Lies," and "The Road to Perdition"—and enjoyed them all. All pretty violent and action-oriented but very different in terms of tone, pacing, and—in the case of Arnold Schwartzenegger—acting ability. You'd think the "violent guy" thing would have been theme enough but several others came about. Identity and preserving one's life while being in relationship with a significant other were the main ones. Most of these movies revolved around running away from bad guys, killing bad guys, blowing things up, trying to save and protect a loved one, and keeping from being killed oneself–all the stuff one would expect in an action guy flick. But the identity stuff kept coming up, too: "Who am I?", "Who is this person I married?", "Who (what kind of man) is my father?"

Interestingly enough, I got back to working on my Flower Essence book this week and felt drawn to investigate Walnut, a Bach flower essence I rarely use. There's a photo of the Walnut flower on this blog today. The Walnut tree has both male and female flowers. The male flowers are more showy—long pendulous catkins—while the female flower (shown above) looks just like a woman's womb. The walnut's fruit (the nut) grows inside the womb of the female flower which expands and forms a protective outer covering until the nut grows to maturity.

Dr. Bach used only female flowers to make his Walnut Flower Essence. It's used to help people develop the feeling of inner protection they need to nurture the development of a new identity while shedding an old one. It's for those who want to follow their own ideals and create their way in life but feel so vulnerable to other people's influence that they are easily thrown off their paths. It's especially useful during times of great transition.

This was a helpful description for me to read because I've been wondering about a behavior I've been exhibiting for a long time. Paul and I have created a little womb of safety around us to the extent that we rarely get together with most of our friends and family and NEVER see others. I stopped going to my dance and marimba classes and, lately, we both have been wanting to break out of this protective shell we've created and get out more. I'm sure that's in the making but, even though I've been worrying about this pattern, I haven't wanted to do anything about it very often until lately. This week I've been processing a lot of feelings related to family of origin and the society I grew up in and how important it has been for me to learn to protect my dearest dreams and respect my own path. That's been a VERY hard thing because, even though I've fallen off my horse and have tried to live a more conventional life many times, this time I really can't. It's just too important to me to follow this choice of career through, too many things I have left to do.

Dr. Bach railed against societal and parental interference in the books he wrote on Flower Essence Therapy. He felt that interfering in the development of a person's ability to manifest their own unique life purpose through criticism and shaming was one of the most damaging things that happened to young people. Healing that wound and the profound effects it has on the human psyche was, perhaps, the driving force behind his work.... and the work that Paul and I do.

We meet a lot of people who can't imagine why they should bother getting up in the morning. They go to work and perform their tasks with little or no enthusiasm, rush back home and pour themselves a tall one. Friday is the happiest day of their weeks. They all claim they don't know what they want to do. But when we talk to them long enough they always tell us what they like. They just don't believe it's possible. They once wanted to write books or do art or be healers like us. They want to do the things society, or their parents, or their friends or other loved ones tell them is crazy. "Yeah, you can do that." Goes the popular refrain. "But don't quit your day job!" Always said with a snort or a laugh. Sometimes gently if it looks like it means so much.

I once brought a basket of perfume to my dance class and quietly explained to an acquaintance that I intended to make my living, partially, designing perfume and selling it. He laughed, loudly. "Make a living selling perfume?!! How are you going to do that?!"

Oddly enough, it hadn't occurred to me that I couldn't. His comment threw me for a loop, for a minute. Was this a crazy thing? But in situations like that I always think about the woman who started Burt's Bees, on a shoestring budget, with little more than sweat and determination as her guide. Or J.K. (Joanne) Rowling who finished writing her first Harry Potter book as an unemployed single mother living on state benefits who knew that conventional wisdom said that she really must find herself a job. She intended to get a position as a teacher but knew if she did that, between working and taking care of her child, she'd have no time and attention left to write. So she worked like a madwoman, whenever she had a chance, to get her first novel done before financial pressures—or the shame of living on government handouts—forced her to stop. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was the result.

From Wikipedia:
In 1995, Rowling completed her manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on an old manual typewriter.[29] Upon the enthusiastic response of Bryony Evans, a reader who had been asked to review the book’s first three chapters, the Fulham-based Christopher Little Literary Agents agreed to represent Rowling in her quest for a publisher. The book was handed to twelve publishing houses, all of which rejected it.[30] A year later she was finally given the green light (and a £1500 advance) by editor Barry Cunningham from the small publisher Bloomsbury.[31][30] The decision to take Rowling on was apparently largely due to Alice Newton, the eight-year-old daughter of the company’s chairman, who was given the first chapter to review by her father, and immediately demanded the next.[32] Although Bloomsbury agreed to publish the book, Cunningham says that he advised Rowling to get a day job, since she had little chance of making money in children’s books.[33]
Well, we all know what happened instead of that.

Joanne Rowling knew the importance of creating a safe haven for one's heart. She took on the pseudonym of J.K. to nurture her project and give it a chance to be accepted by young boys who might be too ashamed to be caught reading something written by a woman in her culture. She gave little Harry Potter a Hogwarts Academy in which to nurture his own heart, talents, and dreams. And gave the world the vision of children growing into their full potential doing things their Muggle neighbors would never allow.

"You're a wizard, Harry!"

And now you know the importance of this haven of safety we've adopted in order to create. Sorry, if you're one of the people we haven't seen in some time. Sometimes you need a little protective space in which to maturate.

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