Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Choosing Flower Essences Using the Power of Intention

When most people—and I'm going to include myself in this—go in search of a healing solution our primary motivating factor is usually PAIN. Emotional and/or physical distress that we just want to STOP! And that's understandable—of course, we want that.

So when someone approaches me with a desire to interrupt a long-standing pattern or current day acute distress they always start with the idea of what they want to change. "I'm not sleeping, I'm worried all the time, I need to know what to do about it!" And being the dutiful helper I start out by thinking the same way. . . until I check my guidance and occasionally get offered a really different solution than what I typically would expect.

When I received my flower essence practitioner training we were taught to not only look at what the client wants to change but what they want to feel instead. What do they intend?

So, for example, suppose you ARE worried all the time because you're facing some challenges that involve making changes and you don't know what to expect. The concern as it usually gets stated is "I need to stop being so anxious and afraid. Do you have anything for that?" And I do! My most popular formula, in fact, Releasing Worry and Fear is great for that.

But what if we reframed the request in terms of what the client wants instead? "To feel more relaxed." Okay, I'm still pointing them to Releasing Worry and Fear. But if I say "relaxed about what?" the answer expands to "the future, of course, and how I'm going to handle it!"

Now I'm starting to look at Larch which is for more positive expectations and, therefore, greater confidence to tackle the process of making the changes desired. If we have more conversation and ask why you are concerned about how you're going to handle things, I might hear that you've had a significant setback (Gentian) or that the project is a long-term one requiring inner strength and determination. If at that point, I ask you to set an intention, I might hear that you might have had a tendency to give up in the face of overwhelming obstacles (again, Larch) but that you intend to have the resolve, inner strength and fortitude to persist in this situation no matter what!

Now I'm thinking you could greatly benefit from a formula I make called Resolve and Determination that has Larch, Impatiens (for acceptance of long-term process) and Penstemon (for great inner fortitude and perseverance).

And that is a very different formula! Does that mean using Releasing Worry and Fear would be wrong? Yes, on one level but it's perfect on another. For example, maybe you need to calm down so you can even imagine a course of action for the future. Use Releasing Worry and Fear first. Then do some intentioning (visualizing and thinking about what you want to create instead of  obsessing about what you fear) and set some goals. When that process is complete, now you step into your power and use Resolve and Determination to help you move ahead.

I offer flower essence consultation if you want help with this process, and my partner Paul and I can work with you separately or together as spiritual counselors and healers to take you even further along.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Chocolate and Roses with a Social Conscience

One of my recent customers, Kristi Wilson, has a handmade gourmet chocolate shop on Etsy called Sweet Impact Chocolates.  She offers some of the most gorgeous confections I have ever seen—check these out! But not only are they beautiful, they are made with a social conscience. You see, way too much cacao is grown using child slave labor! Sweet Impact's chocolates use ingredients free of child labor and Kristi donates 10% of all sales to help NGO's working with children in the countries where cocoa production is stealing their futures. And she makes an effort to make sure that most of her ingredients are Fair Trade and/or organic. 

Kristi contacted me about my organic pink rose buds and petals and we struck up a conversation about what her plans were. Turns out she wanted to use the buds to decorate her newest chocolate creations so I made an effort to send her a batch of mostly buds alone. And look what she did with them! So pretty! And not only that, she said the batch sold out really fast. I love hearing things like that and it is such an honor to get to share what she does on my blog. Go support Sweet Impact! I can't think of anything more fun than eating something gorgeous and delicious that supports such a worthy cause.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Don't Be Silent—The U.S. and the World is Suffering from Han (Haan)

Last night I was watching Anthony Bourdain's show about Koreatown in Los Angeles and the concept of Han (or Haan) was discussed. Han appears to be a deep culture-based state with severe emotional and physical symptoms such as chronic acute heartburn, heart palpitations, dizziness and insomnia—people have even died of it! There is no word in English that expresses the condition (yet). Wikipedia defines it as a "collective feeling of oppression and isolation in the face of insurmountable odds, the overcoming of which is beyond the nation's own capabilities. It connotes aspects of lament and unavenged injustice."

I hesitate to say that the solutions are "beyond our nation's capacities" (yet) but, certainly, many people on my Facebook Friends list have expressed such beliefs and we KNOW that Donald Trump's ability to get elected despite his years of obvious perhaps-criminal behavior—how many times has this man been sued for HOW many reasons?!!!. Again, HOW MANY TIMES?—was related to a widespread feeling of anger and injustice among white working class and suddenly-drowning ex-middle class Americans since the crash of the economy in 2008 (and for wide swaths of America long before). The rise of Bernie Sanders among Progressives (of all races and religions) came from a similar place: deep distrust, grief and anger at status quo (Neo-Liberal) Democrats and conservative Republicans participating in allowing our culture to be laid to waste by corporate interests. And now it's worse than ever and operating blatantly in plain sight.

Being the healing-oriented person that I am, I immediately wondered about healing solutions that might help. But this is no ordinary personal-level experience that can be solved by plain old individual-oriented solutions alone! I am working with Angel's Trumpet myself (for the ability to surrender at times of deep transformation) and I can't say the flower essence blend I'm using has had no deep effect.

But when it comes to societally-based injustice, individual solutions without societal-level, planning, organizing and change keeps perpetuating the myth that we are incapable of collectively moving this nation forward. And by the way, this condition is certainly not a U.S. phenomenon alone! No, there is a global wake-up that widespread inequity has to be addressed or suffer the consequences.

The easiest first steps: don't be silent! We can march and we can protest—at least. And we can organize and plan actions to get things done.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Newsletter about Flower Essences and Shelter Pets

My latest Mama Love newsletter is about using flower essences with shelter pets. My cat Chloe, shown here with the roses, was a shelter pet and was as sweet a kitty as you'd ever want one to be! But she needed a little help along the way. Read about her amazing transformation using flower essences here!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Larch Flower Essence is This Flower Essence Product Maker's Best Friend

Larch Flower Essence

Larch Flower Essence, one of the original Bach Flower Remedies, has so many uses I do believe it is the flower essence I use most often in my product line and in my life. I always think of Larch as the flower essence for lack of confidence but, oddly, I don't usually think of myself as inherently lacking in confidence. On the contrary, I was the "A" student who graduated at the top of my class. I know I have many talents and, typically, I have tended to have success at practically anything I choose to take on. 

However, the things nearest to my heart (the arts) were presented to me as practically impossible to make a living at and, at the same time, deemed the most valuable. In other words, I was inculcated with the belief that the best thing I could be (and something I was always told I had some talent at) would be a near-fatal way to try to make a living. And whenever I have tried to do so anyway (who even does this without some positive belief in themselves?), I have barely broken even on supplies and come nowhere near being able to take care of myself. . . so back to the normal work world I go, feeling deeply disappointed and defeated and, I think, done with it. 

Except when I'm not.

You'd think I'd have given up for good already—this has been a lifelong struggle. I try and give up, try and give up, each time starting again with less confidence that I will succeed than before. And yet there's this hook: people tell me they love my work, I get into juried shows, and I do sell a piece or two from time to time. And so I get rewarded, the old driving desire gets stirred up again, and despite all attempts to resist it, I'm back at it

And that choice—being willing to try again—is what Larch is for. The Larch personality has some fragility and lack of confidence because of setbacks, disappointments and adverse circumstances —Larch tends to give up—but, like the Larch seed itself, it can often succeed (when given the chance) in conditions far more adverse than average. If a Larch person can overcome their tendency to expect failure, they become strong and determined and success of some sort is sure to follow! 

Of course, the specific kind of success you want is not guaranteed. I can't seem to stop myself from putting a "be realistic" caveat on it. But even so, I can wholeheartedly say that—despite the desire to keep a centered perspective in a world full of unexpected surprises that often have the potential to shift a person's expected trajectory (it's happened or I wouldn't be writing about Larch!)—this flower essence still never fails to improve my mood! I start to feel like the considerable setbacks of the past and even present do NOT cast my dismal-feeling future in concrete. To the contrary, I stop expecting failure, I stop fretting, I stay in the potential of what can be created from this place. This allows dreaming and visualizing about the near and far future to even come in again. And the feeling of positive possibilities inherent in these visions actually often manifests (sometimes instantly!) in positive experiences taking place.

Reiki-infused dosage bottles or sprays of Larch are in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Simple Way to Make Your Own Rose Water

Fragrant wonderful Rose Water is a lovely ingredient you really must try if you haven't already. Rose water lemonade was my introduction -- so delightful! Rose-flavored almond milk with just a touch of honey is also a treat. It is used in Persian and Middle Eastern cuisine, especially for sweets like Turkish Delight and Marzipan. In Pakistan and India it is used to make Sweet Lassi and to flavor other dairy-based dishes like rice pudding. In fact, Rose Water is used in many cuisines around the world, but in the United States it is so rarely used it's thought to be a gourmet delicacy. And, for that reason, I always assumed it must be difficult to make. 

Not true! Some companies (and individuals) make a a rose hydrosol which is made through a distillation process, but if you have a stash of dried organic Rose Petals like I always do in my tea cabinet, it's crazily easy just to make a very strong Rose Tea, cool it and keep it in the refrigerator to be used in similar ways! Here are the basics:

First, use ORGANIC roses! Other roses are often heavily sprayed and are really not fit for edible uses. 
(That goes for the hydrosols, too! Get ORGANIC if you plan to use it in food!) To make Rose Water Tea you can use fresh rose petals but, for some reason, many people claim the dried petals are best for this purpose. (I don't have any roses at my place these days or I'd tell you for sure!) Red or pink roses have the strongest flavor (and the best color).
  1. Put 1/4 cup of dried rose petals into a saucepan. (If you have fresh petals, use 1/2 to 3/4 cup.)
  2. Add 1 1/2 cups water.
  3. Cover and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce temperature to the lowest setting that still allows the water to simmer.
  5. Simmer 5-10 minutes, until the color of the rose petals has faded. Pink roses took 5 minutes.
  6. Leave the lid on and cool completely.
  7. Pour water and petals through a strainer into a clean bottle. Some people use cheesecloth to strain thoroughly. I'm going to use mine fairly quickly and it's just for me so I didn't bother and it worked just fine. Some people recommend using a dark bottle. Mine is stored in the dark of a closed refrigerator so I used a clear mason jar and that's okay.
  8. Well-strained rose water will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks or on the counter for up to one week. Use a dark bottle if it is to be stored outside the refrigerator.
Rose water is used sparingly in most recipes -- a teaspoon or tablespoon goes a long way! I tried three times more than that my first time and it was way too much. I liked a teaspoon added to a cup of warm milk with a touch of ground cardamon and honey. A tablespoon of Rose Water with a splash of cranberry juice added to a pint glass of soda water over ice was a nice treat. I am looking forward to stirring some into a dish of vanilla ice cream, and using it in rice pudding is supposed to be divine!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Indian Pink Flower Essence for When You Feel Like You Need to Be Multi-Tasking Too Much of the Time

Indian Pink Flower Essence
Does this look like you? Relaxedly handling multiple calls, piles of work, interruptions, etc. with a smile on your face? Yes? Awesome! (You don't need this flower essence.) But if you find this to be a very stressful situation OR if you gravitate to this kind of situation because you like lots of activity and keeping yourself busy but then find yourself increasingly overwhelmed and unable to focus, that is when Indian Pink Flower Essence can bring great relief! I just added Indian Pink dosage bottles infused with Reiki to my Etsy shop.

Flower Essence Aromatherapy for Inner Strength and Protection

Mama Love for Inner Strength and Protection
Do you ever feel emotionally depleted, exhausted even, after a day or even a few minutes of being around other people in a helping capacity? Like you've put so much of yourself aside to listen to and cope with the behaviors of other people that you just need to take a nap? Or conversely, does someone (your mother? a friend?) put so much well-intentioned effort into "helping" or advising you on your life that you can't get their influence out of your head enough to hear your own inner voice? Having appropriate boundaries can make a significant difference, so much so that I developed this Reiki-infused flower essence aromatherapy formula to help you come back to your clear-headed, grounded self when you've lost yourself and have an easier time building and maintaining healthier boundaries so you can interact with other people in a more positive way.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Emotional Healing for Those Suffering through the Trump Administration

Over the years I have noticed that sales of certain products follow the news—not the little everyday things, but larger events, the bigger trends. It's no surprise then that sales of my Restful Sleep flower essence aromatherapy formula skyrocketed since Donald Trump was elected. The number of people reporting severe insomnia since the election has sleep researchers quite concerned. Americans of a certain stripe are up in arms, shocked and horrified on a daily basis, and simply put, they're not sleeping.

Therapists have called it "election stress disorder" or, now, "headline stress disorder."  So many people are suffering from clenched jaws and teeth grinding since the election that Vogue Magazine has even written an article specifically on how to deal with it. I've sold practically nothing but stress reduction formulas for months.

With one glaring exception: sales of Open-Hearted Loving have risen significantly. Since that has never been one of my very best sellers I have to take note. I also know that this is the formula I personally found myself turning to when my own jaw clenching and teeth grinding reached horrifying proportions. I followed my inner guidance on this one, because I never would have thought of it on my own, but I noticed improvements fairly quickly and over the course of a month I saw huge improvements so I've been thinking about this a lot. It’s very common to shut down our hearts when we’re in fear —it feels much more powerful to be angry—but it’s not healthfully sustainable. My first impression when I use this formula is a sense of relaxation, maybe deep relaxation depending on how much you need it. And, of course, that is not specifically what I created this formula to do! But then something else happens. The armoring around one's heart—which always manifests as tight bands of muscles in the upper chest, shoulders, perhaps neck and jaw—softens. I find myself able to breathe more deeply and then love returns. (Expect tears of relief or, sometimes, temporary grief for the way we behaved while shut down.)

I also believe that this formula opens our hearts to our inner "heart's desires." For health and mental stability it pays to return to what we love instead of just coping with what we fear.  So in my case, it helped me want to do art again after being too busy with politically-motivated activity. Not that there's anything wrong with that—and I haven't stopped— but balance is a very important thing. We need to shift into being able to create what we love and want to see more of (or a return of) instead of being caught in an endless cycle of terror, anger and reaction. 

If you want to make use of Open-Hearted Loving as a healing project over the course of a month (the recommended length of time), consider getting the 1 oz sized bottle. I used it as a body oil when I got out of the shower every day—just rub a little between your hands and apply it lightly wherever you like (arms, legs, chest, shoulders, neck) and then again late in the evening. It smells wonderful! (One of my favorites.)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Lady's Slipper Flower Essence for Spiritual Purpose

Lady's Slipper Flower Essence
Isn't this a gorgeous flower? I remember seeing these from time to time in New England, and once here in Chico, CA, but they are very rare. And it's very inspirational when you do see them! Which makes sense to me because I'm pretty sensitive to the energy of plants. Lady's Slipper is used for bringing spiritual purpose into your daily work and for grounded spirituality in general. And, in case you thought it actually looks like a flower than exudes sexuality, you're right! It helps brings spirituality down into the root chakra. It helps with sexual depletion and nervous exhaustion and other first chakra issues.

The company I buy Lady's Slipper Flower Essence from takes GREAT pains to harvest sustainably. I joined them on a flower essence making trip, learned about how they do this, and saw their process myself so I feel good about offering dosage strength bottles infused with Reiki of Lady's Slipper in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Impatiens Bach Flower Remedy for When You Hate to be Slowed Down

Impatiens Bach Flower Remedy
Ha ha! I was SO impatient with the process of creating new listings the day I decided to add Impatiens Bach Flower Essence dosage bottles to my Etsy shop, I'll never forget what this flower essence is used for again! :-D

Monday, May 15, 2017

Hornbeam Bach Flower Essence for When Life Drags You Down

Hornbeam Bach Flower Essence
Hornbeam popped up for me recently. Sometimes life weighs heavily on us. It can feel like you're working and working and working but getting nowhere in your life! (Depression, anyone?) Hornbeam can help you either find new enthusiasm for the tasks at hand or, sometimes, find your way to changing the conditions of your life! More often, it helps you find the energy and enthusiasm for whatever has to be done. I just added Hornbeam dosage bottles infused with Reiki to my Etsy shop.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Holly Bach Flower Essence

Holly Bach Flower Essence
Holly is a foundational formula, important for so many uses, but it's one A LOT of people could use right now! I just added dosage strength bottles to my Etsy shop infused with Reiki.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Why I Love Flower Essences

Cymbidium Carnival © 2017 Sheryl Karas

What do I personally like about flower essences?

They work! Usually instantly (if you’ve chosen the right one).

They’re safe! They are basically a homeopathic approach where a minuscule amount of a substance (in this case, usually flowers lightly heated in spring water in the sun) enable your body to bring forth the inner healing processes you need. (I KNOW this sounds strange, keep reading!) People often say they work “energetically”—I think we just don’t have the scientific tools to make sense of the decades, if not centuries, of empirical evidence that has been accumulated about them. Because there is so little plant material used in these products, they are a very safe approach—if you choose the wrong essence, they won’t do you harm. (They won’t do anything.) They have no harmful physical side effects. 

(One caveat: RARELY, but occasionally, some people find the process TOO energetic and their body/mind creates resistance to the process which for them might manifest as a headache or rash. Again, this is RARE and almost always happens because a person has resisted the feelings under the surface of the main complaint for a long time. Stop using the flower essence and try again at less frequent intervals to slow the process down and/or talk with a flower essence practitioner such as myself to get an essence or essence formula to address the reasons why you’ve been sublimating those issues if you want to continue with this approach.) 

They work in fascinating ways: the same essence can have different effects depending on what state I am in when I take them. For example, when I first used my “Trusting Inner Guidance” formula it helped me feel deeply grounded. Later, the same formula helped me feel more spiritually aware and open.

And they are not just instant fixes (if you can call them that at all). They can have instantaneous effects (when you REALLY need them, such as when using the most famous Bach formula, “Rescue Remedy” or my “Releasing Worry and Fear” formula, during an acute phase of an emotional crisis, for example). But primarily, I find that they work best over time (2-3 times daily for at least a month) for creating deep transformation and amazing breakthroughs that can reset your orientation in a positive new direction with long-lasting effects. Better than long lasting if you add awareness practices such as counseling to understand and integrate what you may learn from them.

And best of all, for me, flower essences have been my teachers. I am a student and practitioner of energy healing (Reiki Master/Teacher, student of Five Element Chinese Medicine and the energetics of herbs and plants of many sorts). When I use flower essences I often feel immediate energetic effects (especially if this is one I particularly need). For me, this has been the most amazing discovery and the flower essences have, perhaps, taught me more about the energetics of various mental and emotional states than any other practice. 

For example, I learned that when I’m nervous and easily upset, it’s almost always because I’ve pulled my energy up away from my roots and am really experiencing the effects of being ungrounded. It makes a person off-balance and overly vulnerable. There are many reasons why people get in the habit of doing this , but I learned through the martial art practice of Aikido how important it is to bring one’s energy down to the lower torso in order to be strong and effective. Flower essences often do this instantly, pointing out to me how important this is again and again. 

And this is just ONE example of what I have learned using them! Sometimes I feel energy clear out from my upper body and out the top of my head — telling me that I’ve been stuck in mental dialogues doing me harm. Sometimes I feel energy clearing up and down my inner core, both grounding and clearing out a passageway for healing influences to come back in.

To me this is, as I said, the MOST fascinating and exciting aspect of using flower essences. . . and the most challenging for me to be willing to discuss in public. I’m much more scientifically oriented than this! I’m not the most woo-woo person on the block. BUT that means I have explored this as a scientist might, using one experiment after another (on myself, on my cats, with friends who let me) to gain the confidence to put these products on the market. I even have been a participant in the Flower Essence Society Research Program, providing them with case histories, and eagerly reading the results of other people’s research. 

It’s been an eye-opening journey for me for 15-16 years at this point. Come join me!

Friday, May 05, 2017

Gentian Bach Flower Essence

Gentian Bach Flower Essence
Gentian is a flower essence I have often wondered why I never get guided to use more often. Corn and Larch are ones I use more often when I feel discouraged. But I did receive guidance to use Gentian in a formula I made for activists after the election of Donald Trump. I guess that setback felt so devastating for so many people that people felt overwhelmed about how the damage he was inflicting on this country would ever be overcome. And that level of discouragement is what Gentian is used for most. I just added it as a dosage bottle infused with Reiki to my Etsy shop.