Saturday, January 26, 2008

FLOWER ESSENCES: Emotional First Aid, Boomer-Plus Edition

Remember "flower power” in the 60's? Flowers symbo­lized peace, love, and goodwill. Flower essences have another kind flower power that promotes peace on earth from the inside out for they help heal emotions. Flower essences are infusions of flowers in fresh spring water, charged by the sun, fixed in a small amount of preservative. A few drops of essences are taken several times a day under the tongue. Essences are chosen by matching your current emo­tional issues with the correspond­ing flower essence, proven in repeated case studies to catalyze that emotional pattern to comple­tion.

The essences heal at the vibrat­ory, ether­ic, or soul level, so a little goes a long way. Each drop of essence contains the vibrational pattern of the flower's energy. Flower essences do not suppress feelings. On the contrary, they seem to open us up in a deep and receptive way to the process of embrac­ing and moving through them. Without resistance, feel­ings are much less painful and more quickly resolved.

The flower remedies were first discovered in England in the 1930s by
Dr. Edward Bach, a homeopathic physician. Dr. Bach believed that pain, suffering, and illness are oppor­tunities to grow and discover ourselves. To avoid the tran­sitory walk through pain is to say no to whole­ness. For this reason, tools like flower essences, which enable the spirit to face and work through feelings, are so valuable.

Bach's flowers tend more toward heavier issues, like depres­sion, guilt, jealousy, trauma, and grief. There are 38 Bach remedies—39 counting the multi-purpose combination, Rescue Remedy.

The North American Essences have been developed over the past several decades. Marriage and business partners Patricia Kaminiski and Richard Katz are the keepers of these essences, also known as the
FES Quintessentials. They live in Nevada City, CA where they operate Flower Essences Services surrounded by gardens of wildflowers. I feel privileged to have trained as an essence practitioner with these two highly spiritual, on-purpose mentors, dedicated to healing our planet through better com­munion with nature.

The FES Quintessentials cover a larger variety of issues. Releasing a relationship, feeling grounded, contacting your own inner sense of conscience, opening up to draw in friendship, and getting in touch with your inner child are just a few ex­amples. There are 103 essences, with new and exciting research essences continuously in development.

This brief introduction to flower essences and some of the pioneers in the field is just that. There are many other wonderful essences and essence-makers, among them
Whole Energy Essences of Concord, MA, makers of fruit, flower and gem essences. Desert Alchemy of Tucson, AZ makes healing essences from cactus and other desert flowers, including a whole range of blends for astrological cycles. Ancient Forest Essences of Gualala, CA creates remedies from a variety of pines and other long-lived trees, infusions made at sacred sites throughout the world, and essences chosen to represent the positions on the Native American Medicine Wheel and their meanings. If that isn’t creative enough for you, Pacific Essences makes infusions from sea creatures. Barnacle is one of my favorites, for “radical trust,” when we cling, like barnacles on a boat helm, to what was, rather than leaping into the void and meeting our next opportunity for growth.

But, wait—there’s more! This month,
Vibration, an ezine on flower remedies to which I have contributed periodically during its decade on the Internet, is having a special edition just for those of us in, or approaching, the fast lane to Social Security—or those already getting their checks. If you already know and love flower essences or are intrigued by this introduction, don’t miss Vitality at Any Age: Aging and Essences.

I didn’t know it when we moved into this house, but I was destined to become a spokesperson for getting the most out of later life. I live in a veritable oak tree house. This week’s picture of the oaks off our deck is just another way of sharing my views. Here’s the serendipity: Among many other fascinating revelations in the Aging and Essences issue of Vibration, you’ll learn how oak trees are the seniors of the botanical kingdom. Co-editor Donna Cunningham tells us, “Oak flower essence …is the most powerful remedy for anyone who's struggling with seniorhood or who wants to get even more out of these blessed years of being an elder.” That makes it the essence of cool aging and the signature flower remedy for the Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights Blog.

Flowers help us honor and remember key milestones on our journey. Intuitively, people have always linked flowers and feelings. They are the gift of choice in our most emotionally charged times of transition: birth, death, illness, marriage, anniver­saries, and celebrations of all kinds. Flower essences help us celebrate life by freeing stuck energy that keeps us in the painful past by giving us the present of “the present”--and a new start.


Note: This article is provided purely for informational purposes. Readers are asked to make their own determination regarding the quality of the services and products described above. This article is not meant to be advice, and the information is not meant to replace medical or psychological treatment.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Believe Everything You Hear

Last time we talked about two simple tips to begin expanding your intuition—alone time, especially spent in meditation, and learning not to criticize your creations, thoughts, or ideas. These include strong feelings or a sense of knowing that might crop up as you develop your inner eyes and ears. Same goes for any funny little messages you might pull out of thin air.

Let me give you a couple examples. When I used to do tarot readings, using the Motherpeace round deck, I had a special way of using the cards with my clients. First, I’d ask them what images jumped out at them, while I listened carefully. Next, I’d say what jumped out at me. Only last would I consider any classical meaning of the card. Between us, we very often got a closer, more personal interpretation than “going by the book.” The blend of my stand outs and my client’s would give a profound reading of his or her subconscious. My observations often added a perspective or insights--what s/he was too close to a matter to see clearly. The cards simply pulled out the client’s inner knowing with a little help from me as interpreter. Synthesis of an experience isn’t so easy while you’re in the middle of it, especially when it involves strong emotions or complex situations and choices.

I remember one reading in particular where my client drew a card—which one I couldn’t tell you now—but as she did, the old train tune started ringing in mind, The Atchison, Topeka & the Santa Fe. The process made it mandatory for me to spill the beans on anything I “got.” I felt ridiculous telling her about this goofy song.

As we began exploring the context of her situation, it became clear that she was feeling railroaded to make an unwanted change by her love interest. So, that’s what the train song was saying! The mere realization that she felt coerced was the key to empowering her to get out of a gnarly dilemma.

Second, and most dramatic, was my intuition on where I’d find my birth mother. (Complete details of that drama will be in my second book, COMPLETE CIRCLES: More Hot Flashbacks from My Lost & Found Life.) From the beginning of my six-month search, I “knew” she was in San Francisco, only 90 miles away. In the beginning, I pooh-poohed this thought as wishful thinking. “You just want it to be convenient,” I said, talking to myself as though I were completely delusional.

By this time in my life (1986), I was tired of ignoring intuitions that turned out to be true. I figured I had nothing to lose to give it a shot. San Francisco is exactly where I found her, even though she was originally from the East Coast. I had no conscious reason to believe she would have conveniently relocated nearly next door to me. Finding her changed both our lives for the better in a big way. What I would have missed if I hadn’t listened to myself—at last?

Let me reiterate, both of these intuitive “hits” sounded ridiculous to me! Consider believing everything you hear with your inner ear, and if it seems goofy, take notes and realize you just may not have put it all together yet. These intuitive scraps are like puzzle pieces that you learn to fit together with time, trial, and error.

About once a year, I have what I consider a seminal dream—one that lays out something big that’s going to happen to me in the months to come. My dramatic dream in 2006 had a lot of symbols about being on a one-way road straight up. It was lighting up all my fears of success and the responsibilities that would go with it.

But in that dream, a Mervyn’s store was prominent. It drove me crazy for months till I finally figured out what it meant. MERVYNS turned out to be an anagram. Rescramble the letters and you get MY NERVS. I was struggling with high interocular pressure and a possible diagnosis of glaucoma.

To protect your eyesight with glaucoma, you have to lower the (interocular) pressure to avoid damage to the optic nerve. Suddenly, I saw the double entendre! To protect my vision, I had to lower the pressure. This applies to my creative vision, too, and lowering the pressure is why Mervyns—MY NERVS—was beside my road to success. I’d have to tend to my nerves, keep the pressure in my life down, if I were going to pull off this writing life and all that goes with it.

Journal everything! Dreams, crazy things you think or hear. The only way to learn your personal symbology and messages from “The Supremes” is to play with these tidbits. In one of my favorite books on the subject, Higher Creativity by Willis Harmon and Howard Rheingold, the authors pay much homage to how answers bubble up when we’re “offline”—playing, dreaming, or doing something else other than what we normally do. Something right-brained and non-linear. This works the same as the meditation and quiet time mentioned in the last post.

Of course, this is unlikely to happen with one mediation, long-distance run, or ride on the Ferris wheel. Inspiration/intuition loves repetition, even ritual, and I have a hunch this is one reason why knitting has become so popular again. Gathering that wool into a lovely creation allows for woolgathering of another kind. My own Messages from on High are so hilariously delivered, at times, they also keep me in another kind of stitches.

Let me know about your progress in amping up your intuition by slowing down your thoughts … and allowing those really helpful and life affirming mind messages to jump up and be heard.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Insighting a Riot

Ever since I started writing HOT FLASHBACKS, COOL INSIGHTS: I have tried to remember when I first realized I was highly intuitive and how I developed this useful skill. And I do mean skill, not gift. While some of us are better wired from the get-go for transmissions from the cosmic soup and collective consciousness, I believe anyone can rewire their house.

Granted, certain hormonal events took my transmissions off that chart, but the wiring was already there and in frequent use. My complete hysterectomy just flipped the switch. It stuck ON. I sometimes wonder how I can run this much intuition without a brownout, blackout, or an electric bill so high, I’d be tempted to move to Amish Country.

One way I learned to listen to myself and put my ear to the ground of extrasensory perception, a good name for simply heightened senses: I spent a lot of time alone as a kid. (That old photo is me at three.) I was raised as an only child until I was six, during my most formative years. My brother was much older, left the nest early, but I was the oldest kid in my neighborhood. When you’re four and the kid next door is two-and-a-half, you have nothing in common after the first five minutes. Out of boredom, I would start lording it over the little kids. If I didn’t get sick of myself, their mothers shooed me away. I needed to go pick on someone my own size—except that there were only six houses within walking distance and only two of them had children.

So, I spent lots of time learning to entertain myself. Don’t remember what I did before I could hold a #2 pencil and write. (I can barely imagine such Dark Ages before written language.) I remember a lot of crayons, construction paper, blunt-tip scissors and coloring books; also being glued to the Tube. Early TV shows were so wholesome and creative. Some of my faves were Kukla, Fran & Ollie, Tom Terrific, and, of course, Ding Dong School. I annoyed my mother to tears with “time to go get your mothers.” She was busy playing Betty Crocker, doing whatever ‘50s mothers did to make homemaking a full-time career. She couldn’t have cared less about Miss Frances and her overly cheery, daily dose of what we did at boob tube school each day. I think Mom considered rewiring her, as in pulling the plug.

The late, great Betty Bethards, a San Francisco Bay Area psychic, was my first spiritual teacher in the late ‘70s when I began seeking something to fill the void when I left the Catholic Church. Like most gurus, she is a staunch advocate of daily meditation. She taught a wonderful, simple style that is great for the newbie. Whether it’s Christian contemplative prayer, Buddhist meditation, or Transcendental Meditation, so popular in the ‘70s, you have to spend time alone and much of it quiet time, to hear yourself think-- and to listen to hear Spirit or Inspiration talk back.

I believe this quiet time or any other form of being alone with your mind is the one necessary environment for developing intuition. We need techniques to let go of our own mind chatter, then to allow free-flowing input of thought forms. Some of them will be our issues sorting themselves out—but sort they will, and you’ll find the nuggets of answers versus a ball of confusion. If you’re quiet a little longer, inspiration and true genius will pop in, along with directions about what to do next to make your life work. Call it creativity, intuition, the Holy Spirit—whatever you call it, it’s the nectar of a fulfilling life. Guess you could say I believe God is in your own head; however you perceive Him/Her/It/Them. (I like the expression God/Goddess/All That Is.) Intuition is merely a pipeline to divine direction, one you can tap into by sitting still.

Another way I was lucky: I didn’t have a lot of early critics. My mom thought the sun rose and set in me, that anything I created was a masterpiece. Just like my mom, your Inner Mom has to be supportive of you, if you’re going to start reading in-between the lines of life. It shocked me that grown-ups lied so much—that I could tell they were lying. I wouldn’t dare call them on it, when a person was bigger or more powerful, even if I knew they were completely full of it. Actually, my intuition—and yours-- will lead you to solve your own problems without having to embarrass them or make them lose face. Let the law of karma take care of them while you rock on. However, once I was older, wiser, and in my own power—all bets were off. When the stakes are high, I’d have to call ‘em on their crap.

I feel a little subversive sharing these tips! Especially since, at various times, I’ve used these skills to make a living. Thank heaven there’s not a teamsters union for psychics or I’d be kicked the truck out of the place for giving away trade secrets.

Yet I figure, I’m like the Do It Yourself Network—DIY. There are those who will take the time and trouble to do it themselves. Others will hire a repairperson. I have done both, and doing it yourself when it comes to seeking direction is much more empowering. Imagine access to divine inspiration and cosmic repair 24/7!

But if you’re a do-it-yourselfer who’s dying to make your life work better, stick with me. We’ll really start to see things together. This is how I think it should be, people having this skill so highly developed, we have direct conversations with Spirit like Tevye’s chats with God in Fiddler on the Roof.

All other fabulous applications of intuition and insights aside: Imagine what a riot it would be, if everyone developed their inner lie detector.

NEXT: Believe Everything You Hear

Saturday, January 5, 2008


My brother Don was born on January 6th, the feast of the Epiphany. This day Christians celebrate the coming of the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem. Even though he was anything but religious, Don always got a kick out of being born on the Day of Kings. Once I asked him how a guy born in Chicago on the Day of the Three Wise Guys couldn’t do more for me with his other “family” connections. (If he really had them, I know he would have!)

All kidding aside, this feast has always held huge personal importance to me on its own, never mind my brother’s birthday and the double entendre of epiphany as the term for a sudden synthesizing insight. On that meaning, this is the bridge to two posts on how to develop your intuition and insights. (I swear, there’s a clue why we were given two I’s/eyes.) But before we go there, let’s mine the metaphors in this incredible Christian feast, the culmination of the Christmas Season.

First, who were the Magi? If you haven’t already heard this rumor, I’m proud to share as a stargazer myself that they were astrologers. Magi is the plural of the word magus. defines magus as a magician, sorcerer, astrologer—or a Zoroastrian priest. In English, the term may refer to a shaman, sorcerer, or wizard; it is the origin of the words magic and magician.

One obvious case for the Magi as astrologers: they were following a star.

From a metaphorical perspective, I see the Star simply as the ultimate cosmic hint to look Up for guidance—to find the overriding love that saves us, cherishes us, and teaches us our interconnection. Jesus was both human and divine; so are we. The Star is the same spark of the divine that guides us to our intuitions and insights. No wonder I love the Bethlehem Star. It is my personal symbol of following Spirit wherever It leads me. It has taken me to some odd places at times.

I can imagine the Magi also wondered where on Earth this quest for the child was taking them. Their names were Balthazar, Caspar, and Melchior. They were three sages from the east who came bearing gifts for the infant Jesus. We all know the gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

There are more metaphors in the gifts. One of the best summaries I have heard comes from a website that sells
three gifts ornaments: Gold represents a gift fit for a king; frankincense is a symbol of Christ's divinity and His priestly role; myrrh, which was common in medicine and embalming, symbolized Jesus as the Great Physician and also his ultimate Passion. Translated a bit less religiously, our divine half is regal; it contains spiritual leadership, and the gift of healing—even resurrection. While the details may vary individually, this treasure awaits us when we follow the star to the birth of love within ourselves.

Epiphany is the 13th Day of Christmas. Again, because of a lot of calendar confusion and cultural differences, there are various ways the
12 days are counted. Most consider them to start on Christmas and end on January 5th, the twelfth day. The evening of January 5th is also known as the Twelfth Night—Epiphany Eve. The date of this post is so special; Shakespeare even wrote a play with the title, Twelfth Night. Ironically, it’s a comedy about mistaken identity.

I can’t think of anything more sychronistic! It proves Shakespeare was “tuned in.” The birth of Christ is about our “mistaken identity,” our lack of realization that we, too, are part of the divine family. Life is a divine comedy; we just don’t always get the joke. I read a great post by a teacher, describing Shakespeare’s probable reasons for naming his play:

In naming …Twelfth Night, Shakespeare probably wanted to summon up images of the Epiphany as it was kept in his own time: a period of holiday abandon in which the normal rules and order of life were suspended or else deliberately inverted, in which serious issues and events mingled in a confusing way with revelry and apparent madness.

Sounds just like a slice of modern life to me!

In my family, we leave up decorations until the Wise Men come on January 6th. Different cultures have varying traditions, including presents on Epiphany rather than Christmas or making a
King’s Cake.

Whatever your beliefs or resonance to Epiphany the feast, the other kind of epiphany is the stuff Hot Flashbacks and Cool Insights are made of-- a sudden, intuitive perception of, or insight into, the reality or essential meaning of something. If there is a Hot Flashbacks Holiday or Holy Day, it is Epiphany.

So, Happy Last of the Transition-to-Winter Holidays, Flashback Family. Now you know why one of my favorite songs ever is
Shining Star by Earth, Wind, and Fire. Follow your own Inner Star of Bethlehem. It’ll bring you epiphanies on all the other days of the year, too.


Photo Credit:

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

It Runs Downhill

Note: And now for something completely different—a new blog template for 2008! Let’s start the New Year off right with a laugh and one of the kind of pet pieces you’ll find in HOT FLASHBACKS, COOL INSIGHTS—the book. Here’s Bear in his “Groucho Barks” get-up. This is his alter ego to King of the Hill.

I learned the expression shit runs downhill when I worked for the government. It refers to unpleasant duties passed on to underlings by superiors—or the results of their bad decisions, a stinking pile some poor stooge is forced to clean up. Aside from the bureaucrazy, I’m sure it runs downhill in any big organization. And there are no handy little pick-up bags in a dispenser, like at the Dog Park, vet, or pet store.

Once I retired from government service, it still ran downhill for me. Only now, it’s literal—in my own back yard. Big, steaming links of it. My goofy Yellow Lab drops them daily. I just watch ‘em roll. He likes to pee downhill, too, even if he wets his front paws in the process. What a doofus.

Bear has never been the brightest star in the constellation–although no one who has ever met him would deny–he’s one of the most loveable. Our home is twelve feet above the ground below, the fertile flood plane of a year-round creek. We have dirt and ground rock steps that take both people and pets to the lower level. But Bear still prefers to take the hills directly. Even though illness has made his legs weak, he still shuffles his way down, like an old man on a mission. First, he stops to break wind and enhance the beauty of the hillside with his decorations.

I think I am missing a business opportunity here. With two decks off my house, I could invite spectators to bet on the Dog Do Daily. We could number the rolls and bet on which one comes to a stop first. This would also give me greater incentive to clean up more often. I get busy, and it piles up. Since I know my Inner Monk would never let me put little numbers on the sides of them like baby horse blankets for wagering purposes, I’d have to stick with the daily half dozen—a small enough number to site and track. (Number One is by the tree stump; the Number Two #2 is located by the pile of leaves, etc.) More than that would confuse me or I’d run out of landmarks. And once they’re dried up, the things don’t roll worth a nickel. Who could make any money off that kind of small change?

I am an altruistic person. I believe in sharing, whether it’s time, talent, or yucks. How can I keep a daily spectacle like this to myself? Even if you wish I would have?

I know there is a lesson here. I’m supposed to have the insight edge. Here’s what I think:

My dog is the only one who has his shit together. You let it roll, you take a stroll, and if you act stupid enough, your mom—or some other nurture nut—will clean it up for you. Now you know why one of his nicknames is Poopy Dog. Besides, it takes two to tangle, as my Mom used to say. It gives us overly responsible types something to do-do.


Win a free copy of the Capitol Crimes Mystery Anthology, including Joyce’s short story, Digital. Details. Send your friends to Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights for Valentine’s Day. Better than candy! (No calories)