Saturday, December 29, 2012

Using Walnut Flower Essence in a Formula to Open the Heart

 I've been updating labels for my Mama Love Flower Essence Aromatherapy products so how I created each one is on my mind a bit. Tonight I worked on Open-Hearted Loving and found myself musing over the use of Walnut flower essence in it. This is a mostly guided formula so it wasn't what I might have chosen if left to my own understanding at the time I made it. But tonight it made sense. Here's what the Flower Essence Society says about this essence, one of the original Bach flower remedies:

Walnut Flower Essence

Positive qualities: Freedom from limiting influences, making healthy transitions in life, inner strength to follow one's own path and destiny

Patterns of imbalance:
Overly influenced by the social expectations or values of family or community, past experiences or beliefs that inhibit the soul's evolution 

An interesting choice to put into a formula for loving relationships. And yet I find that in the midst of relationship issues that would otherwise tend to polarize us the biggest factors I have to struggle with are the beliefs I have been indoctrinated with that fuel my anxieties and infect the situation with suspicion, doubt, incrimination and pain. "How could anyone act that way?!! He/she must be.... [fill in the blank with some kind of condemnation]" or sometimes worse "There must be something wrong with me for being with him/her."

It's hard to keep one's heart open with those thoughts going on. In fact, these beliefs were taught to us to keep us safe by not allowing a too open heart to get in the way of what many people think of as wisdom. Being too soft-hearted is a bit of a concern. You let people "get away with murder" with too soft a heart. At least that's what we're taught. But that's not what Open-Hearted Loving is about. You can set limits and boundaries with an open heart. You can get divorced, move out and still love. And you can have heart-to-heart conversations and work the tough stuff out. It's about having faith enough to have those conversations and make decisions together from a place of trust, not fear.

1 dram oil

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Sunday, December 09, 2012

Choosing To Expand the Possibilities for Mama Love

When I first started my Mama Love flower essence aromatherapy business I had multiple food allergies— soy, corn, dairy and the very hardest one to deal with of all, wheat.  It took a long time to get over but I made healing my highest priority and eventually rid myself of my sensitivities one by one. Mama Love was developed at a time in my life when awareness of sensitivity issues weighed heavy on my mind. As a result I made my products to the very strictest aromatherapy standards aiming to make sure it was safe for most people most of the time. Pregnant women in their first trimester and people with extreme sensitivities probably shouldn't use essential oils at all but my products were designed to be safe for just about everyone else.

Still, even back then, I intended that Mama Love products be more than just healing. I also wanted them to smell good so I used aromatherapy principles in conjunction with ideas I picked up from the artisan perfume community. I dowsed for a list of ingredients for each healing purpose I proposed and when there was more than one appropriate combination, keeping in mind a few basics like the use of top, middle and base notes, I'd choose based on what most pleased my nose. Unfortunately, that's where the comparison to perfume ended because most commercial perfume isn't concerned with healing principles. They use strong concentrations of plant materials (if they use natural ingredients at all) combined with a large variety of chemical scents, emulsifiers, extenders and alcohol. When most people complain of being allergic to "perfume" what they're really reacting to is being doused in a synthetic chemical soup.

I liked my perfume-like formulas at aromatherapy strength. In fact I still do and sometimes even layer on more than one at a time, knowing I can safely get away with it. But the general public doesn't think like that. They're used to intensely scented perfume and when I receive any less than glowing feedback it's always that it doesn't smell strong enough—it's not about healing first for them!

Fast forward several years. I'm no longer constantly battling sensitivities, we've all been through a devastating worldwide financial crash, and to be honest I'm kind of sick of most of my attention being sucked into what's been wrong and how to fix it. Like a lot of people I've been wanting a little more sensual pleasure and luxury in my life. And suddenly I find that I want my formulas to smell stronger, too.

I'm currently in the process of creating a version of my most perfume-like products in eau de parfum strength or stronger and have been considering whether to make an alcohol based version like most perfumers do. I also needed to find an organic natural preservative to increase the shelf life of the sprays I already make. But my health-oriented attitude rejected alcohol. After all, the latest trend in natural perfume is to avoid it. It's even a marketing point: "alcohol-free!" Nobody says why that's a benefit except for the occasional comment that it can be drying to the skin but I do know people who think they have to avoid even traces of alcohol because of allergies or alcoholism.

I struggled with this for long time and spent hours trying to find an alternative. But finally I realized that I was attempting to cater to an extremely tiny segment of the population and to a fear-based perfectionistic inner demon that wants to placate the most finicky point of view. Vodka is a great preservative, it has very little smell and organic versions can even be found. I called a local liquor store and they had it. But, you know, sometimes you decide to change a long time point of view and the universe decides to play a joke on you. Are you sure you're okay with using ALCOHOL? Is it "safe," is it PC, what will the hypersensitive neighbors think? I plowed ahead and the liquor store owner handed me the only bottle of organic vodka he had left in the store... It was made of WHEAT. Wheat, the substance that used to give me heart palpitations, severe hypoglycemic symptoms, and multiple allergic symptoms that frightened me enough to send me to the doctor and took a really long time to eradicate. It stopped me in my tracks. I can eat wheat now but I still think of it as a potential poison. But it isn't. I took a breath and took it home. I choose to go forward and open the door to new possibilities.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Flower Essence Aromatherapy Spray for the Holidays


Hey Mama Love, do you have a nice flower essence aromatherapy formula I could use to help the holidays feel more Christmasy and less stressful? And, oh yeah, by "Christmasy" I do NOT mean smelling like a Christmas Tree! Do you have one I could use all year round?

I do! Its called Comfort and Joy and it's my personal favorite for everyday use. But with essential oils of Cedarwood, Bergamot and Cinnamon  and flower essences of Larch, Zinnia and Rock Water it's perfect for the season. It reminds me of hot tea with cinnamon while being cuddled up with friends next to the fire, enjoying the moment, laughter and fun.

And now it's available as a room and body spray! Close your eyes, spray Mama Love for Comfort and Joy around your head and body, and feel your energy shift. Or spray it in your home to increase positive feelings (and improve the scent) in a room!

Available through my website or right here on this blog.

1 oz Spray

2 oz Spray


Monday, November 26, 2012

Organic Flower Essence Aromatherapy Room Sprays

Do I have a blog? Sometimes I forget! And, boy, did I forget to announce something big: I have a new line of Mama Love room and body sprays!

 Why sprays?

Well, first of all, they work better this way. You can spray them all around your head and body to diffuse the healing effects throughout your body and energy field. The scent lingers on your clothing and hair. The product is the same strength as my entire Mama Love line but it seems to last a longer time.

But it's not just a personal product — you can also use it to change the feeling in a room or to scent and add healing effects to a favorite article of clothing or a child's toy.

And, last, they are so fun and convenient. It's Thanksgiving so I recently bought whipped cream to put on pumpkin pie. I lingered on the carton of whip-it-yourself whipping cream. I know, I'm supposed to want to do it from scratch but when I reached for the already-made whipped cream in a can my heart leaped up. Whoever invented that stuff must have been a kid at heart. It's easy, you can get creative with it, spray it on your partner and — oh yeah! You can use my flower essence aromatherapy sprays like that, too! :-)

Visit my website or the spray section of my Etsy shop to find them all.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mimulus Flower Essence for Taming the Monkey Mind

Mimulus
Monkey Mind. If you've spent any amount of time around Buddhists you've certainly heard this phrase used to describe the incessant drunken chatterings of a person's typical mental state. Fear monkeys are especially noisy: "What if? What if? What if this happens or we're not prepared for that? What if the plan goes wrong? What if we have no plan? Can we trust this situation, this person, this thing? omg, omg, omg, etc, etc, etc."

Calming the mind is a central tenet of almost all forms of meditation. Paul says really overstimulating the mind can get you to the same place— maybe because learning to focus in the midst of overstimulation requires the most intense focusing of all? I'm not sure but one thing I do know is that calming those fears almost always involves getting those monkeys to have a little faith.

Faith frequently comes from experience. If you learn how to float and go with the current while getting to the shore you'll be far less likely to fear falling into the stream. Likewise, if you can at least address the fear and anxiety with positive choices about how you might handle those what ifs you can bravely go forward despite the fears. You know you can handle the consequences. When I lived in Santa Cruz, CA and rehearsed fears about what I might do in an earthquake while in my bed at night, my husband helped me calm those fears by intellectually describing where the most structurally sound places in the house might be. My gameplan was to find the nearest doorway (my bedroom doorway is what I always visualized from my anxiety-ridden bed) and stay underneath it. So when the Loma Prieta earthquake did hit in 1989 I ran to my bedroom doorway and did stay safe while chimneys collapsed into piles of bricks, cabinets opened and flung out their contents, and big heavy mirrors and framed pictures fell off the walls and shattered into big shards of pointed glass in the other rooms. Of course, I wasn't actually in my bedroom at the time of the earthquake and there were doorways much closer to where I had been at the time... but it worked out nonetheless.

Giving my mind something to hold onto is a strategy I've used since then with some success. The what if's prefer to have intellectual answers even if the answer is what if that scary thing does happen? Could you live with that? Could you recover? Is the possibility of success worth the risk? If my thought is some version of  "I guess so" then I go for it. If not, then I choose another path.

Monkeyflower flower essences all address exaggerated fears. The original Monkeyflower Bach flower remedy, Mimulus, is for known fears rather than nonspecific. People who benefit from Mimulus know what they're anxious about and generally it's the everyday kind of thing like how to make a living, talking with people, being alone, fear of accidents or illness. The remedy brings clarity to those imagined and real fears, quieting the Monkey Mind and enabling the person to develop more courage and confidence.

There are many other essences that address different aspects of anxiety. I have an excellent one for releasing worry and fear that includes Larch (for countering negative expectations), Rock Rose (for deep panic or terror), and White Chestnut (for quieting the mind). There are also other Monkeyflower remedies. I use Purple Monkeyflower (for fears around spiritual or psychic phenomena) in my Trusting Inner Guidance formula and Pink Monkeyflower (for social anxiety) in my Attracting a Partner formula.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Angelica Flower Essence for Deep Spiritual Support

Ancient folklore of many Northern European countries ascribe great healing properties to Angelica. Supposedly, during the Black Plague an angel came to a monk in a dream and told him to use this particular herb to treat the sick. It was made into candy and used extensively to protect against contagion of all kinds, including spiritual diseases coming in the forms of spells or enchantment.

Angelica is an impressive plant found in cold wet climates. It grows 4-6 feet high and has large deep roots and hollow stems. The flowers, which are numerous, grow in large globular umbels and have a very noticeable sweet aroma. It grows best in very nurturing environments with rich soil near flowing water but can survive highly adverse conditions and severe frosts as well.

Umbels consist of many tiny flowers spraying outwards from a central point like the spokes of an umbrella. In the spiritual language of plants they represent the integration of ideas and energies being brought together into a balanced whole. The umbrella shape also symbolizes protection. The height of the plant and its white color indicated to earlier cultures that this protection came from spiritual (angelic) realms, hence the name "Angelica". Its tendency to grow in nurturing environments indicates that those who use this flower show a need for great nurturance but the plant's ability to withstand quite severe conditions attests to its actual strength. Angelica Flower Essence is recommended for anyone in spiritual crisis or in the midst of a major life transition especially when one feels isolated or cut off from spiritual guidance and support. Metaphysically, the height of the plant and the depth of its roots connected by a hollow open channel describes the state of being one needs to return to in order to feel safe--an open channel for spiritual guidance grounded to the safe security of the earth or material world.

According to the Flower Essence Repertory by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz: "Angelica flower essence especially encourages the individual to develop a relationship with the spiritual world, transforming an overly abstract or intellectual viewpoint into a genuine feeling for spiritual presence and spiritual beings. This awareness is particularly enhanced for that group of spiritual beings who immediately border the human kingdom: the angels."

That may be true for many people but since I already had a gift for hearing guidance psychically it did something better for me. It allowed me to feel safe with that gift. I could tangibly feel the inner channel that runs though the center of a person's body clear out. I felt noticeably more grounded whenever I used it and when I needed additional support to heal hormonally-driven panic symptoms and insomnia I used the Chinese version of Angelica, Dang Gui, with enormous and immediate success. I was guided to use Angelica essential oil in my Support for Troubled Times flower essence aromatherapy formula. That was so powerful and well-received it launched my career as a flower essence aromatherapy product maker. I also use it as a flower essence in Trusting Inner Guidance. Angelica is a special gift and I particularly recommend it for any difficult or even joyous transition where a person needs a little guidance and spiritual support.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Vine Flower Essence

© Copyright Sheryl Karas
I recently wrote an article about using Vine to loosen the grip of internalized authority figures -- those inflexible inner voices that attempt to obstruct our every move, especially when we're attempting to disrupt the conservative status quo. You know, like Republicans in Congress filibustering everything originating from Obama! Only, in this case, I was talking about our inner Congress and ways to break the deadlock.

That was a week ago but still Vine is on my mind. Julian Barnard, who wrote Bach Flower Remedies -- Form and Function, says that since grapevines are some of the very earliest cultivated plants they need to be viewed as a species that exists in a chronic relationship with human beings. Not only that, their cultivation can be seen as so harsh compared to how they would be in the wild that the relationship should be considered one of great subjugation. In order to force its energy into producing the kind of fruit the farmer wants grapevines are always cut to a stump, two to four shoots are tied to wires or along a trellis while the rest are cut away, and those shoots are constantly tended and pinched back to force its growth in the desired way. At the end of the growing season the plants are cut or burned back to stumps again while poorer producing plants are torn out entirely. It's an extremely harsh life, one that would be deemed intolerable to human beings.

Try to imagine what it would be like to be treated in such a way. Matthew Shepherd, the gay man who was tied to a fence in Laramie, Wyoming and then beaten and killed for being who he was went through that experience. Now imagine what it's like to live this way—the horror and anguish, the deepest fear and despair, and the fury and possibly -- for some people -- the need to control should one escape so it will never happen again. Like a Vine plant they use their tendrils to use whatever means they can to climb to the top. And when they seize power they grasp it with an iron fist, thickening their position and using it to force their will. People who try to dominate and force their positions on others often come from family and societal backgrounds where another's will was forced on them. Their personal self-expression would have been forced into a highly controlled mold by their families, church or, for example, a limited small-town community's point of view. And there's nothing they want to destroy more than a young upstart (like Obama) who would otherwise want to go his own way and force a change they don't want on them again.

When I think about flower essences I always think about the healing of polarity. What's the opposite of tight domineering control? Wild grapevines run free when left to their own devices. They climb here and there wherever they want to go, roaming and exploring far and wide but rarely produce the quantity and quality of food they do in captivity. The fruits they do produce are, of course, sweet and highly prized or humans would not have attempted to cultivate them. In human terms they could make a good living producing fruit like that --they just a need a little discipline! But that's a western civilization point of view. A wild grapevine doesn't have to worry about making a good living -- they just innately live and do what they will with their gifts. But in the society we've created  it seems like not being disciplined enough with one's gifts and talents can lead to subjugation or disaster. If you don't find your own way doing something more "fruitful" you'll wind up working for Walmart or some other minimum wage employer, essentially working for "slave wages" or worse until you do!

But what if the lesson in healing the polarity of Vine -- being a highly subjugated but prolific producer vs living free but not producing so much -- lies in allowing in a more gentle healing version of reality than our western civilization allows? What if the wild grapevine was seen as producing enough by just being itself? What if what you did naturally—whatever you found interesting to explore or do -- could lead to a great life? It might not have to be the highly structured and very stressful but affluent life that you might have been taught to think is the highest pinnacle of success. It might be a modest life or one of incredible affluence: where the achievement of what you most desire and enjoying doing most is the sign of great success and there's no fear that every need will be met. Saturn (structure and control) versus unbridled Bacchanalia? Vine flower essence loosens the hold of the inner and outer demand for authoritative control so the voice of one's Higher Power can heal the dichotomy and lead the way.

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Addendum: It's been a few weeks since I wrote this and I just stopped using Vine flower essence for myself a couple of days ago. I was experimenting with using Vine to deal with an overly authoritarian inner voice and an interesting breakthrough happened: I suddenly had an enormous burst of enthusiasm for a project I've put off for at least a year and have easily mustered the lacking self-discipline to follow through! Ahh, the healing of the dichotomy and not what I would have expected. But the self-discipline that came was of a very different nature from the inner beating I had been trying before. Funny that. Left to my own devices I heard my inner guidance and, instead of rebelling as I had been, I dove into the rather involved task and got started on another set of projects, too.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Inner Democrats and Republicans -- Healing the Conflict Within

Our latest newsletter is online for Mama Love and our spiritual counseling and healing practice. This month's article is about healing the war between our inner Obamas and Republicans! http://healingcommunicationnews.blogspot.com/2012/10/october-2012-healing-communication-mama.html

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Latest Mixed Media Painting

© Copyright 2012, Sheryl Karas and Paul Hood
This is my latest mixed media painting incorporating acrylic painting, photography (by Paul), collage and other techniques. I'm pretty excited by it because of the way that it combines the realistic quality of a photograph with the freer, more impressionistic quality and textures of paint. It is 24" x 30." And even though I always have included a link to buy prints of my art in the past, I'm not inclined to in this case. The original will be for sale when I've done enough in this series to be less attached to seeing it on my wall.

Paul and I enjoyed the process of doing the photo shoot with the model who posed for this painting. We're looking forward to doing more photo shoots and photographic portraits and/or mixed media paintings as soon as we can arrange them!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"Back On Your Feet" Means It's Time to Begin Moving Forward

Louise Hays says that foot problems often represent fears of the future that keep you in place instead of moving forward. Our feet are part of our foundation— the part of our bodies we use to travel under our own power. In modern interpretations of chakra theory the feet, legs and base of the spine correlate with first chakra issues of physical well-being, safety and security. What lodges there most relates to family of origin issues—if you had a father and mother who kept you safe and well fed, and never filled your head with fear for your well-being (and that continued enough throughout your life) you don't need to worry. Because you probably don't worry about your safety as much as many others. But if you grew up with abuse or neglect, worried about where your next meal would come from, or were taught to worry about how to keep a roof over your head... well, that's another story!

In the last year recession-related problems led to me needing a day job. I got one after a VERY long haul of looking, sending in resumes and going to interviews. It's not a good job but it keeps at least some of our expenses covered and gets me out in public, meeting people and "moving ahead." People tell me I'm fortunate to have one at all. Unfortunately, I'm on my feet all day and by the end of my shift I can barely walk at all until I've rested in the shade of a tree or back home for a half hour or so.

My feet feel like someone's been stepping on them and I've been assuming that it's the pressure of standing all day that's been getting me down. But recently I was guided to try one of my Mama Love flower essence aromatherapy formulas on my feet and lower legs—"Doing New Things with Confidence"—and I immediately noticed a significant difference at least for short periods of time. My feet would feel better and so would my point of view.

But I'm not doing new things—I need to.

Last night Paul and I allowed a new point of view to come into our conversations about the future. We could be moving again although we don't currently have a plan for doing so. We could be making a career move. We don't know but just the idea that we were now on the same page about it freed something up for me. And, more miraculously, all of a sudden my feet were pain-free!

Some of the tension, of course, returned some time later in the evening—my mindset is still in process with this—but the obvious connection was very unexpected and yet clear. My feet have been "stepped on," at least metaphysically. And now the purpose of using "Doing New Things with Confidence" makes even more sense to me.

That's the formula I created to help me travel! It used to be called "Traveling Easy" but later I discovered myself reaching for it whenever I had to do something I wasn't confident enough about. Doing New Things with Confidence is for moving forward, moving out, trying something different, and approaching the process of creating change with enthusiasm and a sense of optimism.

Instead of seeing the steps we need to take as fraught with danger, imagine preparing from a place of security and moving forward with an air of positive expectation and adventure.

Doing New Things with Confidence...
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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Aloe Vera Flower Essence for Balance

Another image you've probably seen here recently -- Aloe Vera, the flower essence for those who need to balance workaholic tendencies with rest and relaxation. It's an essence I frequently need but almost never take the time to use. Yep, that describes the kinds of issues an Aloe person has to a tee.

Aloe is best-known for its rejuvenating qualities.  When the plant has adequate water it repairs its own broken or shriveled leaves almost immediately. Medicinally, Aloe is a fast-acting treatment for burns and inflammation. It helps heal peptic ulcers, colitis and other digestive disorders and acts as a tonic for the liver.

Aloe is a large succulent plant indigenous to the hot dry climate of East and South Africa. The long yellow tubular flowers opening to create an elongated bell-like shape hang down in clumps from an erect central spike. The flowers lower on the stem droop dramatically as they open towards the earth. Symbolically, one could think of this energetic pattern as an intense inner force driving one upward accompanied by the drooping quality of those aspects of the self exhausted by the climb.

Like Agrimony, yellow-flowered Aloe represents another way third chakra issues with self-esteem can wreak havoc with one’s emotional and physical well-being. But rather than drowning their feelings in partying and alcohol, people who need Aloe tend to be driven workaholics who stave off self-blame and criticism from others by proving their worth through over-accomplishment. They need the same healing Agrimony types require but from a spiritual perspective they tend to be slightly more aware of who they are—they believe they are capable of great things—but they use that awareness unskillfully. They’re so hard on themselves that they collapse from overwork and lack of emotional sustenance. The life of a workaholic is harsh and dry like the desert an Aloe plant enjoys. Yet the Aloe is succulent, juicy, fleshy and strong, the very antidote to the life it leads. The leaves of the plant radiate out, star-like, from its center, reaching out and up to catch any drop of moisture and retain it within. Just as the flower spike rises up from this center of nourishment the Aloe person’s psyche needs a nourishment source of its own. That’s the healing this plant has to offer.

Those who need Aloe need to nourish their inner core through rest, food, social interaction and all those pleasures that nurture one’s physical and emotional life. They need to learn that their self-worth is more than than the sum total of their activities. More than anyone they need to rest deeply, knowing they are of value to the universe just lying still. When one’s self-worth comes from knowing who one really is—a manifestation of the healing life force of the universe—one no longer has to attempt to prove one’s worth through overstriving. One’s drive for accomplishment can then come from a centered, more healing place and the level of activity required to bring one’s hearts’ desires to fruition will tend to reflect that healthier balance.



The image accompanying this blog post is available as a print or greeting card in the Mama Love Flower Essence Print Shop.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Agrimony Flower Essence for Honestly Facing What Lies Within

If you've been following my blog you've seen this image recently. It's the Tarot deck card I drew for Agrimony Flower Essence.

Agrimony is a member of the Rosaceae (Rose) Family. It grows abundantly throughout Europe and Canada in fields, prairies and along roadsides where there is sun or light shade and moderately dry soil. It stands about 2-3 feet tall and has narrow deeply cut graceful leaves.  The flowers grow in clumps around an upright central spike. The tiny yellow individual flowers reach up towards the sun and resemble a 5-pointed star made up of rounded petals. The flowers and leaves are sweetly aromatic, somewhat like apricots.

In the symbolism of flowers, blooms that grow all clumped together on a single upwardly-pointed spike are like people who congregate in clusters in a steeple-capped church. For that reason one of the common names for this plant in England is “Church Steeples.” And yet we come together for spiritual upliftment in churches and synagogues and mosques not because our religions require group participation – we could and people often do practice alone—but because we desire it.  It’s easier to feel uplifted surrounded by like-feeling individuals than in our private cottages filled with our private nightmares. And that is, in fact, what people who need Agrimony are in need of: release from the private inner torment they feel but never let other people see. Their compensating pattern is to seek comfort through uplifting (i.e. entertaining) activity with others. They’re the life of the party, the one who buys the round of drinks, the one quick to tell a joke and always attempting to keep things light and cheerful.  Their trademark is staying away from heavy feelings and the methods they use to numb the pain they would otherwise feel—compulsive endless social activity, alcohol and drugs—can lead to addictions and nightmares of an even greater sort.  People who need Agrimony are so used to leaving their pain behind they often need help to know how they feel at all.

Medicinally, the Agrimony plant is used to help heal ulcers and the kind of digestive complaints which usually come from swallowing intense emotion, especially self-blame, anger and fear. It is used for liver disorders (a big factor in alcohol abuse) and is said to be an effective remedy for jaundice. Interestingly enough, yellow is symbolic of the third chakra which has to do with self-judgment and self-esteem and the liver is a third chakra-situated organ. And, with Agrimony being a member of the Rose family which has always been associated with matters of the heart, we can intuit that connecting the third chakra issues of self-esteem with the healing that comes from one’s heart—essentially releasing self-blame—is likely to be an attribute of this essence’s healing power.

Agrimony flower essence helps a person accept and show their true self. This is essential for healing of any sort so it is often recommended that people who are out of touch with their feelings use Agrimony as the first step of any healing journey even though the deepest pain may lie somewhere else. It helps people honestly face their pain so the transformation and healing they need can then occur. It would be rare for a person to use Agrimony alone as their only means of self-care for what lies underneath is what they’ve actually been running away from. Agrimony helps a person feel their connection to their higher power from within so they needn’t depend so heavily on external stimulation for emotional solace.

Flower Essence Art -- Images to Heal, Learn and Grow

Mama Love is growing bit by bit. I've been working on and off on a flower essence self-awareness deck -- used like a Tarot deck - but haven't found financial backing for it yet. That's why there have been long off periods -- needing to focus on paying the rent!

But I'm back to getting it done and out there. As a beginning I'm getting the individual images with a paragraph or two of text each on my Mama Love site. It's still in its infancy stages but you can follow the progress as I proceed through blog posts week by week. Several images are in the Mama Love Flower Essence Print Shop now.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Painting the Buddha

Here's what I've been working on this weekend. You may have seen something like this on this blog before. The first ones were digital paintings -- a combination of digital composite photography and photomanipulation with digital paint on top. This was printed in multiple sheets on my inkjet printer, collaged to canvas and painted on top. The original photograph was one I took of a very weathered garden Buddha. I took out the background and added a pattern I painted based on a piece of batik printed fabric. I just added a final light shimmer of copper paint. I loved that but it made it really hard to photograph.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Needing Rest and Relaxation -- Aloe Vera Flower Essence Art

This was me last night—literally asleep at the computer after too long a day of working on art for my Mama Love flower essence shop. I'm turning images I've been doing for a flower essence Tarot deck into greeting cards and making them available as prints. But there are at least 40-50 of them ready now and 30-40 more in the works plus selling them on the internet means I'm also needing to create a web page with Paypal buttons for each one! I spent hours getting 5 ready to be online and 3 actually up this week. Obviously this is a very long term project. How long? I actually had one of those Blueberry Macs when I started drawing the deck! (I work on a laptop now.)

This is the image for Aloe Vera, the flower essence you might use if you're prone to burning the candle at both ends. You can find prints and greeting cards with this image in my Mama Love Print Shop now!

Prices include shipping — sigh! I forgot to say that...another thing I need to add to those pages now.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dinosaurs on Route 66, Revisited

Thought I'd try a different color treatment of this photo I took of the Route 66 dinosaurs in Holbrook, AZ at night. I got a real kick out of this scene. It was such a surreal experience to find this roadside attraction just 45 minutes away from where we used to live. Prints of this image are available in our Etsy shop.

Sedona Sculpture Garden

I loved seeing this kinetic sculpture garden nestled in the trees on a recent stay in the Southwest. This was in Sedona in a district filled with art galleries — really a turning inward on the trip we were on, a period in which my partner Paul and I developed an understanding of how important the arts were to both of us as a direction we wanted to go in our lives. I saw those whirling wind sculptures and I didn't just see the art. It transformed the scene into a magical surreal landscape filled with wonder and possibility. Prints of this image are available in our Etsy shop.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Agrimony Flower Essence Art

There's an old song: "People say I'm the life of the party because I tell a joke or two. I might be laughing loud and hardy but deep inside I'm blue." Agrimony Flower Essence is used for honestly acknowledging and addressing the pain you might try to mask by putting on a happy face.

This image is designed to help you understand the essence of this flower's healing. By buying a print or greeting card to have your home you can use it to remind yourself to notice how you really feel when you're spending too much time pretending you feel differently or partying the pain away. Remembering what's really most important is the first step in having the life you most desire.

People often use our spiritual counseling services when they're looking for help in determining a healthier direction for their lives. When you're ready to have an honest look at what will move your life forward check out our website and give us call!

Are We Famous Yet? Artists on the Move!

© 2012 Paul Hood
Well, probably not. But the Chico Enterprise Record just printed a nice article about us and our July window show at Ellis Arts in downtown Chico today. Check it out: http://www.chicoer.com/entertainment/ci_21080273/artists-get-into-spirit-at-ellis-art-engineering

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Being a Flower Essence Product Maker

One of the things I like most about creating my Mama Love flower essence aromatherapy formulas is the alchemy involved in putting together just the right combination of ingredients for each one. It could be easy: I could add one flower essence known for a specific purpose to one essential oil known for a similar purpose and be done with it. But that's not what I'm all about.

When I created my very first formula I was going through a very rough time, going through a divorce, losing a long time home, and found myself crying all the time. I asked for guidance as to what flower essences and essential oils to use, checked it with book learning, gave it try and found it incredibly effective. I shared the story of that particular experience in this video.

It was inspiring to me. I wanted to help other people with it. And so Mama Love Products was born.

Every Mama Love product is created in a similar fashion. I choose a life issue I think might be helpful to people usually from my own life experience but sometimes also by request. I ask for guidance, combine it with book learning and increasingly my own experience, test it on myself and other people, and when I'm satisfied put it out. What's interesting to me in the process is how my guidance expands my understanding of what underlying issues may be most at play and, therefore, what ingredients would be most effective.

For example, I recently reintroduced Mama Love for Renewed Faith & Optimism, a personal favorite that links ingredients for relieving depression with those for increased patience and a playful spirit. I wouldn't have put those together on my own! "Patience? What's that in there for?" I once thought. But I realized as time went on how much my own sense of discouragement was affected by my impatience and frustration not to be able to see things move as fast as they once did before the Great Recession. It's one thing to maintain confidence and stick-to-itiveness when things are happening; it's quite another thing to do so when spending has slowed down, business owners are more cautious, and you and your products are still relatively unknown. Optimism requires patience, yes indeed.

What I have to offer is unique in the business. I intentionally wanted to create a product line that smells as nice as a decent all-natural perfume. In addition to choosing essential oils for aromatherapy purposes to complement the flower essences I use I think and design like a perfumer. Once I choose appropriate oils I narrow the choices to those that create a wonderfully sensual experience of great base, middle and top notes. But, unlike an actual perfume, it's made to aromatherapy standards so it's safe to use liberally two or three times a day.

I made them for me! And I love using them. But I also love that other people are enjoying them, too.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Independence Day

Our latest newsletter on freedom and independence from self-imposed chains is online... http://www.healingcommunicationnews.blogspot.com/

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Which Mama Love Formula Should I Use?

Sometimes people write to me with great confusion about what Mama Love product to use for the simple reason that they sense that their healing project is multi-phase. They wake up one morning and realize that HAVE to get old distress that's been holding them down out of the way. But then what will they do without that excuse anymore? Will they be forced to tackle something new, something they've been too afraid to do for a long time? So the questions begin: "I think I ought to do this, but maybe I ought to deal with THIS first! But then, what about THIS? And what about THAT -- maybe I need to do that one first. I have SO many issues!"

We all do. But since so many aspects of a person's existence ARE tied together just pick one. All the related issues will fall into place to be dealt with one by one.

Yeah, yeah I know. Pick ONE? That's the problem. Which one?

It doesn't matter but what DOES matter is to get started. I always suggest beginning with your first thought when asking the question: where's the most important place to begin right now? It doesn't matter what your 2nd or 3rd thoughts are. The 1st thought is the starting block.

A common scenario for many people right now has to do with picking up the pieces after a trauma. Maybe you've been body slammed by major loss— unemployment, foreclosure, death, serious illness. You'll, of course, need to make use of whatever help and tools you can but the emotional flattening can often be worse than the actual reality (which is bad enough). If you're dealing with deep despair, shock, grief and pain and saying or thinking things like "How will I cope? How can I go on?" that's the time for Mama Love Support for Troubled Times. It provides a deep soothing relief that feels like being held safe in a loving mother's arms.

If the trauma is interfering with sleep  or accompanied by terror you will probably want to add Releasing Worry and Fear and/or Restful Sleep. The most important thing—before moving into what you're going to do next—is to work with the feelings that are right in your face. When you've released enough of that your ability to think clearly should eventually return.

Now you're ready to get back on your feet again and you're determined to do so but the doors are being slammed in your face no matter what you do. Maybe your job has been made obsolete by digital or internet technology. Maybe you've been out of the market too long or you have to make some other change but you don't know what. Again, gather all your resources (perhaps get a few spiritual counseling sessions). And if you still want flower essence aromatherapy support consider Manifesting Life Purpose. It helps stimulate the imagination and increase mental clarity and, when you're fully inspired, assists in pursuing your new direction (or re-imagined old one) with purpose and enthusiasm. And if you have to do something new and you're feeling concerned? Try Doing New Things with Confidence.

What? Now that your new career is underway, you wish you had a boyfriend? There's a Mama Love "app" for that. And when you've already got a wonderful guy, celebrate your relationship with some Open-Hearted Loving or relax with Comfort and Joy.

There's a Mama Love formula for all kinds of things but if you really can't pick one, set up a spiritual counseling session with me or with me and my partner Paul. We can explore the issues together and help you chart a better course. If you want, I can create a custom formula based on what we discover. And/or you might choose to use our assistance to support your journey and work with what comes up every step of the way.

Monday, May 07, 2012

The First Step Is To Dream — Don Quixote Woodcut-Style Print

© Copyright 2012 Sheryl Karas
The reposting of this image caused a fair bit of consternation. After all, Don Quixote did not actually aspire to tilting at windmills towards the end of his life. He regretted what he had done and all the trouble he had caused his friends. And at a certain point in our personal journey Paul and I saw Don Quixote everywhere and took it as an "impossible dream" fantasy warning — not to be so caught up in chasing the dream that we get hurt in the present day.

And yet in the book Sancho Panza begs his friend to take up the battle again at the end of life—his inspiration and enthusiasm meant more than the pain and suffering. So rather than throw this image I did a few years ago away I started to think about it again more benignly. The first step in any adventure / business plan / positive direction IS to dream, to believe that what once might have seemed out of the realm of possibility IS a potential just beckoning to be fulfilled. You just need to take care of the present day requirements as you sally forth.

This version of my Don Quixote design is now available as a print directly from me and Paul. Frame one and enjoy it on your wall!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Business Duck (Rubber Ducky in a Tie)



Put Paul Hood, some leftover paint, and a rubber duck together and what do you get? New products on Zazzle!