Book Excerpt

The Healing Power of Flower Essences
An interesting subtitle for this book could have been “Sunshine Wattle and the Power of Flowers.” When I first caught a glimpse of the “Dr. Seuss-looking” Sunshine Wattle, it was love at first sight. You could call this flower a “Zen essence,” since it nudges us toward unconditional acceptance of the beauty and joy in the present moment. It is these very qualities that flower essences help to restore in us that inspired me to write this book. Flower essences hold within them the remarkable energetic power of healing at the cellular level and, as a result, can change lives in dramatic ways. As a complementary, energetic healing therapy, flowers and their potent essences hold a vital key for the challenges we face in the world today.

“People do not weave the web of life; they are merely a strand in it.
Whatever one does to the web, one does to oneself.”
—Chief Seattle

Although this book isn’t meant to be an anthology of flower essences, the last chapter does contain valuable reference materials which includes: 84 flower essence descriptions, 13 aromatherapeutic essences, an alphabetized index, diagnosis form, and a dosage guide. The spirit of this book is meant to awaken you, the reader, to a sense of wonder at nature’s healing gifts that grow wild in far-flung fields and in our own backyards. As a collective village, we may overlook what is most obvious, especially the humble flowers that grow around us. Shining a light on the healing power of flower essences will hopefully give you an opportunity to open to its life-affirming possibilities.
I’ve changed the names of the people that I’ve worked with to protect their privacy. However, their stories are accurate and have been documented to inspire and instruct. By including diagnostic tools, exercises, and checklists, my sincere hope is that the healing power of flowers will speak to you and that you will be inspired to try them for yourself. To round out the presentation, I’ve added a number of inspiring quotes that I collected over many years. This book is dedicated to sharing a sense of wonder and joy through words and the silence that surrounds them.

“In the cherry blossom’s shade;
there’s no such thing as a stranger.”
—Kobayashi Issa

Rediscovering an Old Friend
It was a long, chilly, gray spring day—the kind that we seemed to experience for two months running. A rolling mist from the Bay of Fundy hugged the North Mountain like the frothy foam on top of a latté. So when the clouds finally dissipated a little and the sun broke through the bits of blue sky, I felt as if I were born again. My first few months of living in a meditation center on the peninsula of Nova Scotia, Canada, left me hungering for the brief, but ecstatic summer months that were to come and go in the blink of an eye. I was in my early twenties during that first summer of discovery, and in those warm, bright Acadian days, my fascination with flowers began. It felt as if I was rediscovering a long-lost, treasured friend. I remember the exact moment, too.

“Little things seem nothing, but they give peace,
like those meadow flowers which individually seem
odorless but all together perfume the air.”
—Georges Bernanos

The old farmhouse we lived in sat at the base of a mountain located in the Annapolis Valley, the verdant land sandwiched between the North and South Mountain range (running 93 miles along the Bay of Fundy coast). In fact, the property went right up to the North Mountain’s summit. When I ventured out that first time and began to walk up the mountain, a meadow suddenly appeared as if out of nowhere. Why this area of land didn’t accommodate the evergreen forest that grew on every other patch of land on the mountain will always puzzle me. When I reached the meadow on that spring morning, the blanket of wildflowers took my breath away. I soon discovered the proud, delicate blossom of a few pink Lady’s Slippers. Later I found out how rare they were, and that one should absolutely not pick them, as they need to cycle through the seasons to regenerate themselves. But at the time it was just a pretty pink flower. I also found the curiously named Goatsbeard, which I first thought was a dandelion, but upon further inspection noticed the leaves to be different, and its cousin Devil’s Paintbrush, which was a brilliant orange. The green Solomon’s Seal, with its arching stems and feathery, creamy-white mass of tiny flowers, were growing in the shaded areas along the edge of the meadow. The list (whose names and properties I discovered later on in my research) goes on. I sat amongst them, felt their healing power, and heard their gentle voices. I wondered about their existence: what birds had dropped the first seeds on this small but fertile meadow, hidden deep within the densely, forested mountain.

“When you are inspired by some great purpose,
some extraordinary project,
all your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends
limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction,
and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world.”
—Patanjali

It all began that morning—the wonder, delight, and fascination with flowers amidst the silence and harmony of nature. Later, I was to learn that others, especially the pioneers who discovered the healing properties of plants, often experienced it in a similar way. During that brief morning of “flower meditation,” I knew that I had touched upon the mystery and majesty of an ancient world, and it opened me up to its limitless possibilities.

“If you want to make your dreams come true,
the first thing you have to do is wake up.”
—J. M. Power

Eight years later, my husband Matthew and I found ourselves in South India working on a special publication, I was the designer and Matthew was editor of the project. It was in this ancient land that I first discovered Bach Flower Essences. A German mystic, Lucy Cornelssen, was a dear friend and teacher, and I visited with her often. Her quiet dignity and peaceful presence drew me to her again and again. One day, I saw her take a vial from an end-table drawer and put two drops from it onto her tongue. She saw my questioning look and instead of telling me what she had just taken, she handed me a well-worn book and told me to read it. It was an Indian edition of a book on Bach Flower Essences. I devoured the book; it was a revelation to me, and a clear understanding of something I intuitively knew to be true.

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns
in order to look at things in a different way.”
—Edward de Bono