Pear Essence: Emerging Peacefully from Crisis

What, another post about Pear Essence? Yes, that’s right. This flower essence could be considered the most important of our 20. Though it may be argued that whichever essence you need at the time is the most important! While I’ve talked about many components of Pear Essence in other blogs, this is the first time we’ll focus on the color of its blossoms: pure white, pristine white, white-white. Read on . . .

 Bill and Joe were driving back from town last week. The moonless black night sky hovered over the freeway, preventing Bill from seeing the stalled semi-truck in the lane ahead. No flashing emergency lights, or lights of any kind, gave them warning. The car rammed into the huge truck at nearly 50 mph, much like hitting a brick wall.

For both men to walk away from this accident was nothing short of a miracle. Bill’s airbag functioned. Joe’s did not and unfortunately his seatbelt did little to neutralize the collision. Bill suffered a bruised ankle and shoulder. Joe suffered several damaged vertebrae as well as a broken clavicle and a few ribs.

The impact deployed the airbag feature – as well as their limbic systems. Bill and Joe’s fight or flight instincts charged into action. Shifting into survival mode ensured that they would pull through this crisis.

The limbic system is summarized in the wisdom of biofeedback pioneer Dr. Jeffrey Cram, as documented in The Essential Flower Essence Handbook: “We are ‘internally wired’ in such a way that if, for example, a saber-toothed tiger were to come charging toward us, the blood in our skin would be shunted away from the skin and into the muscles to make us stronger. If we tore our skin while fighting the tiger, we wouldn’t bleed as much due to this protective, or survival, response.”

Similarly, the car crash that caught Bill and Joe unawares parallels the sudden attack of a tiger. These are the circumstances that respond particularly well to the message of Pear Essence. It wordlessly says, “It’s okay. Everything’s going to be fine.” Even if a longer healing must ensue as for Joe, this flower essence “bathes us in a waterfall of peace.”

White happens to be the exact opposite of the color of the sky on the evening of Bill and Jo’s accident. The color of peace, as noted in the petals of the pear tree’s blossoms, is white. It is the absence of color. In fact it’s considered to be a shade rather than a color. It’s also an amalgam of all the colors of the spectrum. In this sense, while containing everything (all our conflicts and tensions), it appears to be the absence of everything (resolution and relaxation). What a metaphysical conundrum!

While apple blossoms are often shaded with a pinkish blush and blackberry blossoms can be ornamented with a pale lavender, the petals of the pear blossom are pure white. The color itself is visually pacifying. It symbolizes purity, serenity, and stillness. The blossom of the pear – growing in clusters much as friends might group together to support each other – symbolizes hope and friendship.

We could say energetically, that conflict sounds “loud.” It clashes; it’s discordant, disharmonious, warlike. Contrarily, Pear Essence embodies the absence of any conflict amidst the resolution of all strife. It is “the sound of silence.”

To summarize, Pear Essence can offer comfort in times of sudden and accelerated emergencies. It’s been said that the eyes are the windows of the soul. Likewise a hundredfold for flowers as the doorway into the soul of plants and trees.

When we gaze into the soul of flowers – their blossoms especially – we see through that window into their very essence.

3 Flower Essences For Coping With Change: Avocado, Cherry, and Pear

We’re living in challenging times. Anxiety, loneliness, isolation, stress: which of these states are you facing?

Here’s a group of flower essences that can help you.

But first, a story from last week about how one woman tried to overcome all 4 attitudes by resuming her exercise-of-choice – swimming – that had fallen by the pandemic wayside.


To Swim or Not to Swim: That is The Question

The local health club remained in code-purple status, raising red flags for safety. The half-chlorinated/half-salt water indoor pool with its wall of windows overlooking tennis courts and landscaped greenery would have to remain a dream for future swims until conditions changed.

The water temperature at the Yuba River North Fork hovered at 40 degrees. I didn’t care. A wetsuit, I surmised, would surely make it swim-able. I didn’t care. I swam until I couldn’t feel my fingers and toes. For about 15 seconds. At that point, I began to care.

The longing to swim and to experience its fortifying benefits would have to be put on hold a little farther into the season until isolated outdoor swimming would become possible once again.

Still, it was worth a try.


Living in COVID-land

Nearly a year of pandemic fatigue has passed, offering us previously unexperienced challenges for inner growth. In various ways, people are learning to deal with their individualized burn-outs. Conflicted reports fill the media, adding confusion to the laundry load of issues that confront us on a daily basis.

With the world now in the early stages of relief from the vaccine – itself met with a mixed welcome – a more virulent strain of the virus is encroaching on our already taxed ability to cope. People of all ages are advised to withdraw from contact both physically and socially, being shuffled in directions that seem to rub against the grain of their humanity and human nature.

As social beings, we are being directed to separate, distance, and isolate from this shape-changing foe that continues to threaten  our loved ones’ lives as well as our own.

COVID has deprived us of some of the activities we most love – that make our day, and our heart, fare better. Things that were previously easy for us may have grown more difficult. Things that were difficult may now seem impossible. Activities to which we gave only minimal attention in the past now take great effort – food shopping, doctor appointments, and taking proper amounts of exercise.

The bottom line is,  we’re living in a near-constant state of fight-or-flight alert.


Calling on The Support of Flower Essence Friends

What to do? Raise your energy. Balance your energy. And strengthen your personal magnetism. This is exactly how flower essences, in their innate wisdom from Mother Nature, work with us. Consider this quote from The Essential Flower Essence Handbook:

“Our challenge being to change and uplift ourselves, where do we begin? What tools are at our disposal? As children, we go to the mother for comfort. As adults, we can still return to the bosom of the mother for nourishment and answers to our ills-our Mother Nature and the loving remedies that she proffers to us so abundantly through the plant kingdom.

“Flowers are conscious, intelligent forces. They have been given to us for our happiness and our healing. This unique form of herbalism called flower essences is a concentrated encapsulation of pure life force, readily at our disposal.”


Avocado, Cherry, and Pear Essences to Treat Yourself

I miss swimming. What activities are you missing? Avocado Essence, with the key words of good memory, is also for homesickness – a form of missing something, some place, or someone dear to us. The avocado tree produces  clusters of small white flowers that grow in cycles. It experiences a growth period and then a time of rest. Perhaps this cycle offers us an example of how to live: to take rest in the absence of those we love for a time, knowing that the future surely holds a welcome reunion.

Cherry Essence, for cheerfulness, is prepared from the blossoms of the sweet cherry tree, though the sour, ortart, tree varieties also yield fruit. The sweet-fruited trees require much space around them for optimal growth. You might say they do best when distanced from other trees, thus exemplifying an impersonal and even-minded perspective, just as we may find ourselves breathing deeper when we give ourselves space from our troubles.

Pear Essence, for peacefulness and emergency support, is our quint- essential flower essence. It’s all about being okay with whatever happens – in addition to  whatever doesn’t.

Pear offers the consciousness of a deep contentment that is not dependent on any outer circumstances, even during a global pandemic. You may find yourself surprised by how often you’ll want to take this flower essence – and give it to others!


5 “Essence Enhancers” to Build Your Magnetism

Explore these 5 points as you take Avocado, Cherry, and Pear Essences – singly, for best results according to our research. Try each flower essence for 1 week, sequentially, for starters.

  1. Wrap your full energy around a new/old creative project. Give yourself permission to “get lost” in it. Take care of yourself – with permission, you might say, from your Self!
  2. Whatever you feel is missing from your life, give that “something” to others. Feeling lonely? Call a friend, maybe a distant one. Feeling bored? Do something new that you’ve never done before. Feeling grumpy? Watch or read a good comedy.
  3. Be vigilant and aware of your thoughts. Keep them positive, even grateful. Don’t slump – either in your posture or your attitudes!
  4. Spend time in nature – and all the better if that time is spent in exercise! Research shows that not exercising is the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Don’t merely jog in nature: commune with it.
  5. Repeat the accompanying flower essence affirmation every time you take your dosage. For Avocado: “I accept willingly all that comes to me, for all things are divine gifts of love! For Cherry: “I swim gaily on the sea of life, joyfully breasting the dancing waves of bliss!” For Pear: “Smilingly I greet life’s difficulties, seeing all of them as gay flowers in a meadow that nod with encouragement and opportunity.”

Lastly, give yourself permission to have fun. Shake up your routine and indulge your healthy whims. Do something kooky (and safe). Take very good care of yourself. Be creative. Be grateful.

Remember your purpose. Remember your own essence that makes you unique and special.

Most of all, remember your joy!

Banana Essence For Emotional Distancing: Who Knew

Who knew that our lives would be thrown into such chaos and uncertainty in only a few months’ time? Who knew how much energy would be expended for daily tasks we once performed so quickly and easily, like shopping, running errands, etc.?  Meanwhile we’re watching our country’s economy careen like a roller coaster off its tracks. Who knew that quarantine could have such a kickback for people’s emotional natures, or that going unmasked amidst spiking virus number might restore their sense of independence and freedom, if only symbolically, qualities that are especially important to the natural temperament of Americans?

This is a time for emotional as well as social distancing. And that’s the hidden message of Banana Essence. Social distancing, as has been said in jest, means “keeping 6 feet apart instead of 6 feet under.” Emotional distancing is about remaining unattached to the drama that is currently playing out in the world.


About This Un-Understood Flower Essence

To be honest, Banana Essence is one of our least understood flower essences. Whenever this essence emerges in a consultation, the client will often ask, or appear as if she wants to ask, “Are you suggesting I’m a proud person?”

Quite the opposite. The way I was trained to work with flower essences is based on the principal of resonance. A flower essence can only help you if that quality already exists within your nature, such that taking the corresponding flower essence has the potential to resonate with and strengthen that quality.

“Humility can sometimes be confused with low self-esteem, low confidence or meekness,” reported 3 professors at the University of Michigan – Toni Antonucci, Kristine Ajrouch, and Noah Webster. “But researchers have come to realize that being humble generally indicates the presence of deeply admirable personal qualities. It means you have the ability to accurately assess your deficiencies without denying your skills and strengths.”

In other words, There should be neither a superiority nor an inferiority complex. If you’d like to project your energy outward rather than seeking to draw people’s energy to yourself, this is the flower essence for you. Instead of having a big ego, this flower essence can allow you to have a big energy.

The Flower/Fruit/Folklore section of The Essential Flower Essence Handbook describes the humble banana stalk’s properties as the following:

“The name, Musa paradisiaca, includes the edible varieties and alludes to the ancient myth that bananas existed in the garden of Eden. Musa sapientium translates as “fruit of the wise men.” Wild bananas date back to prehistoric times and are now cultivated in all parts of the tropics as well as in the region from India to New Guinea. This seedless fruit grows on a giant herb and not a tree, with a stem of overlapping leaves. The plant reaches a height of ten to thirty feet. A flowering stem emerges at the plant’s apex carrying the male flowers. Higher on the stem are the female flowers, or hands, which hide twelve to sixteen bananas each. Bananas are rich in fiber. Their high potassium content aids the muscular system and they are helpful in feeding the natural acidophilus bacteria of the intestines. The peels also help with migraines, hypertension, skin sores and rashes.”


And Now – Back to These Times

Never in our lifetime have we faced the challenges of masking, distancing, quarantine, and lockdown.

“The nature of the disease makes you confused,” Anthony Fauci reported recently. “The nature of the disease sets it open to multiple different interpretations of how serious this is, and with that how serious you should be taking the disease.”

In light of the pandemic with case numbers currently spiking in previously untouched parts of the globe, it behooves us also to be vigilant about our emotional health. The self-honesty and self-forgetfulness promoted by Banana Essence offer to us that sense of standing on a mountaintop and regaining perspective, based on the process of distancing ourselves from our emotions. This is also the title of my children’s book, Bradley Banana and The Jolly Good Pirate, with the young Bradley on his way up the “metaphorical mountain.”


Feelings Versus Emotions: What’s The Difference

Consider this yogic explanation of the difference between feelings and emotions, explained in the context of the heart chakra. Feelings are pure, steady, and intuitive; emotions are agitated or confused feelings. 

The heart chakra is divided into 2 sections: upper and lower. The lower part stores our emotions, as the heart chakra is the pivotal point that connects the 3 lower and the 3 higher chakras. Here, the heart’s energies are subject to a downward pull by those 3 lower chakras; hence the possible sense of agitation. The higher part of the heart chakra is the pure feeling center where our life force is drawn upward toward the 3 higher chakras.

One offshoot of this pandemic that corroborates the need for Banana Essence was expressed well in author Savitri Simpson’s summation of how current challenges are affecting people emotionally: 

“I feel that the increasing erosion of people’s spirit is, in a way, more mental and emotional than physical for just about everyone these days. I certainly feel it in myself. Restlessness and hopelessness—thoughts that this will NEVER end—I’ll never again get to swim in the river, or go to the grocery store on my own, or chat with a friend in person, or go to a community event, or on and on …But of course that would be true if I died, anyway (ha-ha). Maybe in this pandemic, I feel like a zombie (the walking dead)? Ah, how dramatic.”

Many people these days seem to feel a strong negative undertow – meaning we have to raise our energy and keep our thoughts and actions uplifted. One woman, in the senior years/high-risk category, found herself emotionally bent out of shape from not practicing emotional distancing when she insisted on having plain, not fruited, yoghurt in the mornings—a luxury not presently available to her, as a friend shopping for her had bought the wrong flavor. 

One woman in the U.K., a medical secretary, wrote of Banana Essence: “I resumed taking it last Wednesday evening and was mightily relieved.  I do feel ‘something inside’ has shifted. I feel a little stronger and less sensitive emotionally and, dare I say it, can say ‘sod it, no’ to negatives which arrive yet are not mine.” 

You could say that, more than ever before in our lifetimes, it seems that circumstances are forcing, not asking, us to make choices every moment about how to think, how to behave, and how to respond to others. These choices can be supported by the emotional distancing offered to us in Banana Essence.


Other blogs on Banana Essence:

Banana: The “Maybe You’re Right” Flower Essence

Bradley Banana and the Jolly Good Pirate

Banana essence: to improve our “hearing” – Letter and answer.


Flower Essences and Our Strange New World

“Love is but a song we sing
Fear’s the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry.”

– The Youngbloods, band of the 60s

             The Youngbloods folk-rock band

How Music Mirrors Current Events

The above lyrics from a folk rock song of 6 decades ago eerily seem to detail the tests of our current-day world. Those were the first offshoots of the hippie era when the values of the previous generation literally went to pot and when, as one blogger wrote, sex was invented by the Baby Boomers. Meanwhile today, words like lockdown, quarantine, and social distancing are now tossed around like a bittersweet candy. COVID-19 has created a new world. Some people are terrified of it, others are cavalier.

Recently I posted this quote on the Spirit-in-Nature Essences Facebook page: “I see a lot of people being like, ‘I would survive the corona virus. I’m taking my chances.’ The way I see it is like, ‘Yeah. I’d survive it. But I might carry it to someone who wouldn’t.’ And that, folks, is the problem.”

This attitude exhibits the need for

Peach Flower Essence for unselfishness, where we hold paramount the realities – and lives – of others around us. The positive qualities of this flower essence are: concern for the welfare of others; empathy; maturity; nurturance; consideration; compassion; and sensitivity to the needs of others.

The negative aspects that express the need for this flower essence are: selfishness; self-involvement; thoughtlessness; “looking out for Number One”; constrictiveness; exploitive nature; and an inability to relate to other’s realities.

How does Peach Essence apply to The Virus? The message of this flower essence is to teach us that, in caring for the needs of others as well as our own, we too are nurtured and energized. While many people are practicing social distancing, we’re also faced with the urgency of social awareness and the need to expand our sense of family beyond the nuclear family, or what is called “us 4 and no more.”

A New Way of Living in This New World

            In the days before social distancing

Frank M. Snowden, a professor emeritus at Yale of history and the history
of medicine, authored the newly published book, Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present. Professor Snowden commented in a recent interview, “We have to think that we have to work together as a human species to be organized to care for one another, to realize that the health of the most vulnerable people among us is a determining factor for the health of all of us, and, if we aren’t prepared to do that, we’ll never, ever be prepared to confront these devastating challenges to our humanity.”

As if the virus wasn’t bad enough, an earthquake a week ago engulfed Salt Lake City, as one of my clients last week mentioned. When Jeff felt the 5.7 earthquake, he thought, “This is beyond conspiracy and bad luck, there’s really a message here – to unite.” Next came a chemical leak of hydrochloric acid nearby in the copper mine. “They were considering the evacuation of the entire town of 100,000 people in the metro township of Magna.”

Our world is both collapsing and accelerating at the same time. COVID-19 seems to be flushing out both the best and the worst of human nature.

People with littleness may get littler; likewise for those who are big-spirited and humanitarian. On the bleaker side, some Chinese-Americans now fear for their safety, being wrongfully blamed for what the leadership calls “the China virus.” On the brighter side, some people have begun reaching out to help others, the young’uns, at safe social-distancing, delivering food and medications to the elders.

Apple Blossom Flower Essence for Your “Wellness Arsenal”

There’s yet another flower essence to add to the grouping of the 4 presented in the previous enewsletter to complete the set that includes Pear, Tomato, Strawberry, and Spinach Essences.

Apple Essence, for peaceful clarity was formerly described for promoting attitudes of healthfulness. The apple tree’s blushing pink blossoms grow in clusters of 5 as early as April, their subtle yet sweet scent drawing bees for pollination. The petal colors radiate freshness, and the apple tree itself, native to Europe, with its crooked branches and health-giving fruit, represents the twists and turns of our struggles to reach that place of true clarity.

The Apple Essence definition has since been expanded upon greatly in The Essential Flower Essence Handbook. In relation to COVID-19, Apple Essences touches on thoughts of worry and fear far beyond simple concern and taking practical precautions.

With new information about the coronavirus surfacing almost daily, for example, it’s now come to light that the ratio of asymptomatic cases to those who are very ill is hovering at 7 to 1. This dynamic begs for  a new social awareness – to “smile on your brother” with respect  to his potential vulnerability as well as our own.

The peaceful clarity of Apple Essence is based on information and intuitive perceptions that, once assimilated, helps us move forward with the power of the Apple Essence Affirmation:

With a crisp, clear attitude toward life I view my problems with ever fresh solution-consciousness.

In conclusion are these words from the Youngbloods’ song that serenaded  an earlier era of blossoming social consciousness:

Come on people now,
Smile on your brother,

Everybody get together
And love one another right now.

Snowy Moves To Heaven: The Loss of a Beloved Pet

In the introduction to my spiritual memoir, From Bagels to Curry, I wrote to my brothers about our father’s imminent passing from this world:

“May these words help your heart to heal from loss and be filled with the joy of his spirit.”

How often have those words circled around to be offered as a healing balm to others who deal with this same universal experience – the loss of a loved one, and often a beloved pet.

Here’s Marnie’s story that she shared before her tears had dried over the passing of her Snowy:

Thank you, Lila, so much for your time yesterday. I immediately began using our flower essences.

About 6pm that evening, Snowy came to me and we connected and communicated. I felt like she was asking me how much time I could spend with her in the next month. I explained my schedule to the best of my knowledge and let her know my availability. I sensed she needed to know if I was ready to let her go. She seemed ready to move on. Though I felt she was willing to stay around longer if I needed her.

It seemed that we mutually agreed it would be okay for her to move forward. I made a phone call to the vet, and of course it was after hours. First thing this morning, the call was returned. We set up an appointment for Wed morning.

Snowy had a rough night, as did I – sleeping on the floor with her, as she didn’t want to sleep up on the bed for very long. I told her it would be another day and she didn’t seem to like that idea. It felt to me like she was ready now.

So I made a few more phone calls and found someone who would see her today – although I had to bring her to them, which wasn’t the plan. I talked to her about it and she seemed okay about going there. It was close by and she knew the doctor.

At 4:30 this afternoon, my son and I took her to the animal clinic. They helped her move on. We completed her life outside under a tree she seemed drawn to, and she behaved as though she was very much at peace.

Me? Well, it was a day of selfish tears that made for very swollen eyes and a red and runny nose, not to mention a heavy heart.

I knew Snowy would wait for me to be ready. But in our “discussion” yesterday, with me going back to work and being gone so much, it felt like she wanted me to let her go. So I did.

Now I’m sure she is romping about, chasing birds and butterflies. My heart is happy for her.

Sorry this correspondence is so long, but I’m sure the flower essences helped us both come to the agreement/decision as to what was best for her. Do you think I should I stay on the essence program you gave me, or should I alter it? If so, to what? Thanks again for your guidance.


Dear Marnie,

Even though it’s now the middle of the night your time, I wanted to write you immediately upon receipt of your letter.

It surely seems you did the right thing, at the right time.

It sounds like our consult and the flower essences may have helped you to tune in to what was the best thing for Snowy. What a blessing. It sounds like you had beautiful closure and communication in this process of letting your beloved girl move on to her new life in the heavenly realms.

To answer your question: yes, please stay on this program exactly as it is. It was designed for you, either with her staying in this world or leaving it. Grape Essence helps us to keep loving a loved one who departs. Coconut Essence is to help transmute our love to her, as she is now without the form you used to know, and also to realize and focus on her freedom and well-being. Pear Essence is for peace in your heart that you did the right thing. Raspberry Essence is for compassion for yourself and to help erase any sense of guilt you might be holding onto.

Marnie, please don’t worry about your “selfish tears.” Snowy’s leaving is surely a great loss in this world for you. The tears are a part of your healing. It’s okay and natural to grieve. This is a time to be very gentle with yourself. When the grief subsides a bit, chances are that you will feel her with you, closer than ever, maybe even as though she’s with you at night or somewhere in the house. This often happens for pet owners, especially when the love between them and their pets runs deep.

Also remember that your other fur children will need you more now because they too are grieving her absence, even if they weren’t very outwardly close as a group. They too experience a sense of loss, as this is a big change for them to adapt to. So everyone, including yourself, may need a little more TLC in the time ahead.

Please stay in touch, and write any time.

Blessings and prayers,
SINE Founder

Other blogs on pet loss:
The Mercy Passing of Euthanasia
Flower Essences For Sorrowful Times

Affirmations, Anyone?

Recently one of our Home Study Course students who had just completed her Level I Certification wrote in with this concern.

“I do have one question, please?  When giving out these dosage bottles to various friends and family is it best that they say the affirmation when taking their flower essences?  I have a friend who is a complete perfectionist. I feel the affirmations may get her caught up in trying to do it right or something?  I’d wondered if she might do better to focus more on the inner shifts that were happening rather than the affirmations, but I may be incorrect with this thinking.  Your advice would be welcome.

“With appreciation, Sara”

My response:

In general, it’s a good idea to use the affirmations, or at least to suggest them and then people can choose to say them, or not. I feel it’s at least important to make this point, even for our more perfectionistic clients. This person may need to run the affirmations through her perfectionistic attitudes according to her own way of being, her own personality, and her own life choices. Affirmations can be very powerful when done consistently and correctly in conjunction with a flower essence regime.

Here is a concise explanation of affirmations from The Essential Flower Essence Handbook:

“The scientific term for affirmations is autogenic training. The best times to practice them are upon falling asleep or awakening. These specific times are known as hypnogogic states. Thus, immediately before sleep and upon arising – including nap time—are the most beneficial times to repeat affirmations – and to take flower remedies. These are the periods when we can most easily penetrate the realm of superconsciousness, also called the Higher Self, that place within us where true inspiration and intuition reside. Or, we might say that these are the times when the door to the subconscious mind stands ajar and the essences are able to penetrate more deeply than during regular waking hours.”

Interestingly, both animals as well as children don’t really need them! Nor could animals say them, of course – the point being that our human minds and brains are more complicated and complex. Affirmations are very strong and supportive tools that complement the usage of flower essences.

Personally, I’ve not seen them complicate matters or detract from our inner work and growth, but rather the opposite. Some clients may choose not to use them – but at least they’ve been given that option!

Another point is, yes, there’s the possibility for this woman that adding affirmations to the mix might veer her off course. But to not suggest them to her removes that opportunity. The chance that they might provide her with significant help is very strong.

So let’s see what happens! Please keep me posted.

Take care, and thank you for writing.

Other blogs on Affirmations you might enjoy reading:

One Flower Essence, One Affirmation (Singles Vs. Combinations)
Affirmation Cards: Playing With a Full Deck
Flower Essences for the Affirming Mind
Negative Affirmations: To Avoid Like the Plague
Coconut Theme/Signature Essence: Thinking in Affirmations 
Affirmations – A Deeper Look at Our Deeper Self

Flower Essences For Sorrowful Times

Valerie wrote to us:

“I recently used the Flower Essences to assist me with a deep sorrow I was feeling at the loss of my dear cat and companion Princess. After her passing, she has been coming to visit me at night, and I have felt her on the bed at my feet or near my legs. That seemed to bring me some comfort, as I could sense she was with me.

“But one night, she rested right beside me, just like when she was here in 3 dimensions. It was so real to me that, in a semi-awake state with my eyes still closed, I felt her beside me. I did what I always did when she joined me in the middle of the night – I reached out to give her a cuddle.

“When I did so, my hand only felt the bed covers. It jolted me. After that experience, the sadness was not constant. But whenever it returned, it was big.

“I decided to use the flowers to help me. I chose Cherry Essence. And Princess did return. It was so subtle, the way I began to realize that my observations became more about all that is around me and how fortunate I am.”

Cherry Essence reminds us of our inner happiness, coupled with a sense of even-mindedness – the kind of good cheer that originates within us and is merely reflected in the outer objects and relationships in our lives.

Valerie continues, sharing an experience that greatly impacted her:

“Slowly I began to notice that my days and nights were filled with greater levels of gratitude and appreciation. I haven’t exactly broken out laughing but I feel better, even though I still feel and miss Princess’s presence. Also I notice the things that are not as they were. I feel Princess is trying to assist me in figuring out how to be with her outside this dimension – but I am not there quite yet.”

Thank you for sharing, Valerie, and keep up the good work.

The Buck of Self-Esteem Stops Here

Jeanine used to love singing in the choir. Her alto voice was as strong as ever and Rob – the choir director and also a fine bass – lead the group with an ear for pitch, blend, and rhythm.

Problem was, they were no longer together after several years of a close relationship that appeared to be headed toward something lasting. What’s more, Mirjana, his new girlfriend from Croatia, stood directly beside Jeanine in the alto section. Attractive, successful, and pitch-perfect, the new girlfriend was an up-close reminder to Jeanine that she felt minimized and disrespected. Plus Mirjana was 12 years her junior.

Several events in Jeanine’s life seemed to deflect her sense of self-esteem. She’d learned to repeatedly blame others for her own lack of honoring of herself. Jeanine had applied to join the choir’s smaller singing group. Not being chosen nor given the courtesy of an explanation, she felt at a further loss.

“Would you feel better if you’d been apologized to in both situations,” I asked her one evening as we sat watching the sunset over the western ridge.

“Yes, of course!” she replied emphatically. “Absolutely. That’s what I deserve.”

“But wouldn’t that be a frail victory? Might you feel as shaky in your self-esteem as before the apologies?”

“What do you mean?” Jeanine asked.

“I mean, aren’t you externalizing the true source of your self-respect by expecting that others can, and rightfully should, give it to you? That it’s their job to restore to you what you feel is missing?”

“Oh,” she said, her gaze wandering from the sunset. “Is it really that simple?”

“You answered your own question. How can people reflect back to you a quality that you yourself don’t believe you have?”


It’s important that we learn to esteem ourselves, especially if a lifelong habit of doing just the opposite is a part of our character resume.

Here are a few suggestions:

Let go of the past. Leave behind any lack of self-esteem that may stem from parental harshness or the sometimes-fickle friendships of earlier adolescent peers.

Re-invent yourself. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, as the oft-quoted bumper sticker affirms. What better day than today to live the life you want? Only you can make it so!

Affirm, without ego, your own greatness, goodness, and worthiness. This is no one’s job but yours. The saying that “the buck stops here” means the responsibility for these qualities is yours alone. It cannot be delegated to anyone else.

U.S. President Harry Truman coined the phrase, “the buck stops here.” By this, he meant that all presidential decisions, and the responsibility for them, were ultimately his.

Find freedom in knowing that the buck of your own self-esteem stops, and begins, with you. Or to quote another figure of speech, the ball’s in your court. The decision of how you play it – and where you place the ball of your self-esteem – is yours alone.

May You Live in Interesting Times

“May you live in interesting times.” This well-known Chinese prophecy can be taken as either a curse or a blessing, depending on how you look at it. Yet its origin/author remains unknown, and the Chinese themselves seem to know nothing about it. One online source traces the aphorism to the ominous statement that “We move from one crisis to another. We suffer one disturbance and shock after another.”

That describes my odd lunch last week with my friend Drew and the story I relayed to him. We settled in at a restaurant that we both enjoy – more for its ambiance, to be honest, than its menu. The brick walls and wooden floors create a certain inviting, rustic warmth to the high-ceilinged main dining room whose large windows overlook a quaint, turn-of-the-century-looking section of Grass Valley in Northern California. Its narrow streets would probably never know the tensions of full-on traffic jams and its charm might only be heightened by some plucky banjo music in the background and the sound of horses clomping outside before being tethered to their hitching posts.

In some bizarre comedy of errors, it took the waitress 3 trips to get our orders right. Apparently it was a “bad-chef day.” The cook must have been distracted, adding items to both our orders that were not on the menu, and omitting some that were. Raw scallions, for one thing, don’t agree with me. The waitress assured me they were thoroughly steamed – which they weren’t. So I picked out the tiny green circles with my fork and made a perky little Lego-like pile out of them beside my plate.

Indeed, I was in that moment living in interesting times, with a dish that in no way resembled what I’d ordered. The conversation turned to my own experience of the Chinese wisdom.

“It seems everyone’s getting angry with me right now, and I don’t know why,” I said to Drew. My friend listened with attention, impatient for the waitress to bring more half ‘n half for his coffee refill.

I continued. “First, a friend got upset with me on the phone. I had to assure her I didn’t mean what she thought I meant. Then another friend, from whom I’d just had a great massage, got all stomp-y and hurrumph-y when I admitted I hadn’t followed her advice to use cold packs for a bruised  shoulder.”

“Hmm,” he said supportively. “Maybe there’s something else going on here, ya think?”

“It seems like everyone’s thoroughly miffed with me lately. I really don’t feel I deserve that kind of treatment.” Another sliver of raw scallion emerged from my tofu scramble, and I balanced it on top of the pyramid-shaped pile next to my plate.

“Well, maybe there’s a lesson to be learned,” Drew offered. “When a situation repeats itself, I often find it’s to catch my attention.”

“Could be.” We finished the meal and split one of the restaurant’s specialties, a bear claw pastry, warmed by my request in the broiler. (Personally, I avoid microwave ovens like the plague, even though it sometimes causes me to get teased  by my close friends.)

After running a few errands, I went for a swim at the health club – gratefully a mostly-salt-water pool, with less chlorine than most pools. The water, for me, is a welcome sanctuary – a place that’s safe, healing, and restorative. As was often the case, swimmers had to double up in their lanes. I chose a middle lane with a woman whose hands disappeared with notable grace into the water on her crawl strokes.

The pool felt cold at first. Half a lap later, the chill disappeared from my bones. Suddenly, my lane-mate stopped swimming. She stood upright in her cap and goggles, looking distressed and puzzled.

“You know,” the woman addressed me curtly with a growl, “you should ask permission before you jump into someone’s lane. I might have run into you.” I marveled at the paradox of human nature – how someone who swam with the lithe ballet-like poise of a dancer could harbor such ungracious emotions.

Seriously? Somebody in the pool is angry at me too?

“You’re right,” I replied, a little steamy-tempered yet determined not to show it. “Next time, I’ll do that.” I smiled at her and swam on. Within less than half a lap, I got it. This was no arbitrary chain of events. It wasn’t coincidental that I’d come to the pool to escape the angry barrage of people who’d turned on me for no apparent reason – and then ended up sharing a lap-lane with one of them. It was the perfect scenario to add to my personal “interesting times” list.

As history repeats itself, as the saying goes, I’d magnetized this particular person – angry, scowling, and impatient – to help me learn an important lesson, one that I’d attracted to myself yet again to be certain that I got the message I needed to complete my inner homework:

Is anything worth the price of giving up my inner peace?

Each of these 3 individuals presented me with the same choice: to react, to get defensive or upset, or to challenge them on what seemed a completely unnecessary criticism of my behavior. Given the circumstances, didn’t I have every right to react? After all, most swimmers simply jumped in an occupied lane and began swimming!

Instead I chose to hold onto my peace.

As I swam past my lane-mate, she again stopped, mid-lap. There she stood, catching her breath as she studied me. I responded with a smile – a genuine smile lacking sarcasm or resentment – by way of letting her know, “We’re good, it’s all good.” Perhaps she felt badly for speaking to me so harshly. My lack of reactiveness had apparently given her the psychic space, and the permission, to realize that she’d spoken with unnecessary coldness to a stranger.

The year was 1966, when Robert Kennedy delivered these words in a speech:

“There is a Chinese curse which says ‘May he live in interesting times.’ Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind.”

And so, may we each learn to live, non-reactively and peacefully, in these creative times. And may all your scallions, if you wish, be lightly steamed.

Victim or Yogi – The Choice is Yours

In the timeless tale of the “Battle of Kurukshetra,” as described in India’s ancient scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna serves as the charioteer of his beloved disciple Arjuna. He counsels, “Oh, Arjuna, be thou a yogi.” What more perfect advice is there to give the warrior facing an opposing army of thousands of soldiers armed for battle!

Were we to convert this counsel to modern-day parlance, it might read, “Oh, Arjuna, man up!” In essence, Krishna advised his soldier-disciple to accept, if not embrace, his dharma (divine duty) and plunge headlong into battle against his “inner enemies” that must be annihilated to assure victory for himself and his righteous armies.  At the heart of this symbolic story, we see that Arjuna’s greatest adversaries were his own attachments, personified by his enemy-cousins.

“Be thou a yogi,” in this context, means to play the role of conqueror, not victim. Arjuna’s example encourages us to own and embrace with joy every test in our lifetime that it may be vanquished by our good qualities, with divine assistance, and thus become unnecessary to repeat.

Liz came for a consult just yesterday. An attractive woman, she arrived at my office, dressed for the business world, her makeup and jewelry as flawless as her skin. Liz admitted that she harbored a mixture of anger, grief, and resentment that, as the director of a team of 30 co-workers in a prestigious Chicago marketing firm—everyone had been let go without warning. She and each of her colleagues—well-educated, talented in their professions, and all-round good people—felt blindsided. The dismissal, as they perceived it, seemed unjust and undeserved. What had they done to receive such treatment, they asked each other in stunned incredulity.

“I seem to have this pattern,” Liz said. I get into a great company and then my division is killed. This scenario is a major paradigm in my life. It’s the fourth time it’s repeated itself, down to the smallest detail.”

Here’s how our conversation went:

Me: Do you know the story of the battle in the Bhagavad-Gita?

Liz: Yes.

Me: In this work situation you described, do you feel like a victim?

Liz: Yes.

Me: Is your spiritual path the most important part of your life?

Liz: Yes.

Me: Would you rather be a yogi, meaning one who takes responsibility for the events that come to you, such as this—or a victim, living in a state of powerlessness and blame of others?

Liz: I get it. I’d rather be a yogi-warrior!

Me: When do you want to start?

Liz: (Big smile.)

In “From Bagels to Curry,” I wrote about the conflicted yet loving relationship between my father and myself, and my acceptance of taking responsibility for the lessons I needed to learn in drawing him into my life as my parent:

“The yogic doctrine of karma and reincarnation has helped me to understand that I chose him as my father, not the other way around—nor by some random cosmic coincidence, the tenets of karma being too vast to delve into here.”

It can be very helpful to perceive our major challenges and obstacles in this world as neither punishment nor coincidence. They are not random, unfair, or undeserved events. In truth, these situations are our opportunities, even gifts, according to the Indian scriptures. If we to try to wriggle out of them, the very people playing the roles of villains and enemies in the drama of our lives will most likely be replaced with carbon copies – people just like them. This serves to ensure that we are not yet released from the opportunity to do battle with our life’s challenges that allow us to emerge stronger and closer to our final victory.

The choice is ours: victim – or yogi. What will you choose?