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Chapter 32 Shadows on a Screen: Flower Essences for Menopause and Codependence

“The work is easy and the medicine is not far away. If the secret is disclosed, it will be so simple that everyone may get a good laugh.”

-Chang Po-Tuan

It’s always good to remember that we are not our symptoms, and that we can laugh even in the process of resolving them.

Let’s take a look at two current issues and how to apply flower essences: menopause and codependence. These subjects were selected because (1) both affect great numbers of the population; (2) although menopause is physiologically based, it includes a wide range of emotional symptoms; and (3) conversely, codependence, though primarily a psychological illness, also affects the physical body through increased stress levels, eating disorders and the toll of addictions; and (4) both topics touch the lives of men and women alike-men need to be informed and sensitive to the changes of their partners and friends in menopause (“men, oh, pause!”), and codependence affects practically everyone to some small degree.

TREATING MENOPAUSE WITH FLOWER ESSENCES

Menopause signifies the ending of the menstrual cycle due to decreased levels of estrogen and progesterone. Each year, approximately one and a third million women reach this stage in their lives. Within the next decade, this figure will double. An estimated ten to fifteen percent of menopausal women experience virtually no discomfort; an equal percentage are incapacitated by symptoms (see lists below).

Typically beginning between forty-two and fifty-five years of age, many women experience it earlier or go through surgical menopause as a result of hysterectomy. A wide range of treatment options from Hormone Replacement Therapy to Chinese herbs are available. Flower essences also offer a depth of comfort and strength.

PHYSICAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL SYMPTOMS

The range of physiological menopausal symptoms includes:

Changing periods
Excessive bleeding
Heart palpitations
Hot flashes
Urinary incontinence
Frequent urination
Breast tenderness
Skin sensitivities
Brain static
Headaches
Nausea and dizziness
Gastric upset
Aching joints and muscles
Osteoporosis
Greater risk of heart disease
Insomnia
Fatigue
Weight gain
Vaginal dryness
Lowered sex drive

Psycho-emotional symptoms of menopause may be experienced as:

Anxiety
Insecurity
Confusion
Moodiness
Irritability
Anger
Depression
Mental
fuzziness
Stress
Disorientation
Memory impairment
Emotional oversensitivity
Paranoia

MENOPAUSE FURTHER DEFINED

Women in menopause experience anywhere from all to none of the above symptoms. Responses to the menopausal years range from, “piece of cake!” to “you’d better have your life together first.” Is there life after menopause? Educated women of today now view this important rite of passage as a time of renewed vitality and hope, even referring to hot flashes as “power surges.” Our culture, sadly, not only worships the false god of youth, but also tends to revere the graying, balding man over the graciously aging woman. At last, we are beginning to honor the image of the respected tribal crone and her invaluable contribution to society.

To facilitate the changes and challenges of menopause, all twenty flower essences may come into play at one time or another. Here we can see that all of the essences do the same thing in restoring us to a state of balance and that each of the essences may be used for any particular issue. The key to narrowing the selection is to simply tune in to the individual’s temperament and most pressing needs in order of importance. Consider the following essence interpretations:

SPIRIT-IN-NATURE ESSENCES APPLIED TO MENOPAUSE

ALMOND Emotional balance, equilibrium, restoring a sense of proportion.
APPLE For clarity during changing physical and emotional states.
AVOCADO For mental sharpness in understanding the menopausal process; for learning its lessons; confusion; disorientation.
BANANA For nonidentification with menopause-induced changes; for deep calmness and detachment when symptoms interfere with that calmness; knowing that “this too shall pass.”
BLACKBERRY The ability to introspect; to retain a sense of clarity and perspective about symptoms and thus handle them better.
CHERRY For the lighter emotional symptoms; grumpiness; for hope; for “emotional-roller-coaster days.”
COCONUT The perseverance to ‘come out the other end,” whether “the pause” lasts one year or ten.”
CORN In times of mental fatigue or exhaustion; whenever the need is felt for an “energy treat”; for seeing menopause as a new and exciting stage of life.
DATE For self-nurturing (fill the bath with sixteen drops of Date Essence and scented herbs-light a candle and incense, and let yourself be nurtured); for judging others; “No one understands me” attitude.
FIG Being too hard on yourself; comparing self to others; thinking you should be doing better than you are.
GRAPE For loneliness, isolation; for feeling unloved, especially for taking it out on others (adult temper tantrums).
LETTUCE Emotional stillness; for issues preventing sleep and proper rest.
ORANGE For despair; depression due to hormonal shifts; feeling overwhelmed by symptoms; inability to cope.
PEACH “Poor me” attitude; for giving to others to the point of exhaustion; realizing that giving to yourself is equally as important; honoring the importance of caring for your special needs.
PEAR “Emotional earthquakes”; feeling shaky, uncentered; for emergencies of any kind; sudden changes due to hormonal shifts.
PINEAPPLE Self-doubt; for the ability to turn symptoms into tools for self-enhancement; self-image issues; for emotional reactions to weight gain.
RASPBERRY For oversensitive feelings; remaining non-reactive to other people’s shortcomings; sensitivity to other people’s joys and pains.
SPINACH To not take symptoms/changes too seriously; to make light of the many psycho-physical transformations.
STRAWBERRY To understand your new role during and after menopause, to adjust with dignity to the new messages of your body and mind, also to resolve any lingering sell-worth issues triggered by menopause.
TOMATO For the instability created by adjusting to different medications, to be strengthened and personally empowered by the opportunities for growth which menopause offers.

TREATING CODEPENDENCE WITH FLOWER ESSENCES

Now, to address another globally pervasive issue. Codependence is a new word for an old pattern that we would call a dysfunction. What does dysfunction mean? To be dysfunctional means to be disconnected from our feelings. We may, for example, fear abandonment in a relationship. But, instead of recognizing that feeling and discussing it with the person with whom we are in a relationship, we might express anger instead. A functional person, on the other hand, would recognize and be in touch with a feeling, analyze what’s behind it and then be able to explain that feeling and its origins to another person.

Codependence, basically, is dysfunctional nurturing. Both men and women do it, though the typical male pattern is to withdraw and deny any needs altogether. Dysfunctional caregiving creates dependence; healthy nurturing encourages independence. The codependent individual typically comes from a dysfunctional home, that can usually be traced back through many generations. These familial symptoms include any or all of the following: alcohol or drug abuse; physical, emotional or sexual abuse; excessive arguing and resultant tension; and compulsive behaviors such as overworking, dieting or gambling.

All of these behaviors preclude honest intimacy.

Codependence is a form of addiction-not to substances but to other people, making it far more subtle and complex than other addictions. For this reason, codependence requires longer to recover from than substance abuse. A codependent relationship may form between a mother and child, a friend and friend, with a lover, spouse or sibling, or even between a customer and car mechanic. Codependent individuals, in very small or great ways, tend to react, blame, feel powerless, depend on outside circumstances to make things right within themselves, deny and control, are denied and controlled and basically seek answers and confirmation outside of their own inner wisdom. They are, in a word, emotionally infected with character weaknesses that lead head-long into suffering. The beauty of such lives go unclaimed, unacknowledged and unexpressed.

This sounds serious and very “stuck.” In order to apply the art of flower essences successfully, it’s helpful to understand this explanation of the codependent personality. Emerging from codependence is a onestep-at-a-time process. Our history is not our destiny. We can reinvent ourselves. Let’s remember the power we do have: the power to take charge of our lives, to be loving and whole. Beneath the superficial mud of dysfunction lies the perfect diamond of our true nature. The supportive message of flower essences is simple: we can heal. The following list offers some “essential” guidelines for help.

SPIRIT-IN-NATURE ESSENCES APPLIED TO CODEPENDENCE

ALMOND To calm an addictive personality; to withdraw from a sense of need; for obsessive/compulsive behaviors.
APPLE For a healthy self-image; for cleansing destructive emotions.
AVOCADO For consciously remembering to use the tools for becoming “undependent”; to be aware when old patterns surface.
BANANA For perspective on the nature of codependence; for acting instead of reacting; realizing we deserve neither blame nor credit.
BLACKBERRY To provide deeper insight into symptoms and solutions; for pure, constructive thinking.
CHERRY For cheerfulness during setbacks; to counteract the downward pull of addictive personalities in one’s home and work environment.
COCONUT For stamina to persevere; for sticking with support groups and other supportive measures.
CORN For fostering the belief that every day is a new opportunity to be whole and happy; to break the illusion of “being stuck.”
DATE For the tendency to find fault with others instead of focusing on your own issues; for nurturing directed toward yourself.
FIG To learn to accept and honor your own feelings; to not be too hard on yourself for “blowing it.”
GRAPE For finding the source of love within yourself rather than expecting others to provide that fulfillment.
LETTUCE For clear communication of thoughts and feelings; expressing yourself creatively; for “knowing that one knows.”
ORANGE For hopelessness; despair; for giving up; for faith to find systems that workbooks, friends, groups and therapists.
PEACH To serve others out of wholeness and not neediness; to serve yourself when there is genuine need; to become a healthy c aregiver.
PEAR For trauma or crisis; for difficult or abusive relationships.
PINEAPPLE For lack of confidence, specifically for work-related issues; to “let your light shine.”
RASPBERRY For wounds sustained from abusive relationships; to forgive the abuser and to not in turn become abusive and recreate the pattern.
SPINACH To recapture a lost childhood; to deal more lightly with ongoing, difficult issues.
STRAWBERRY To dissolve the need for approval; to cleanse guilt and self-blame; for damaged sense of self by role models in childhood.
TOMATO For finding the inner courage and strength to become the loving, functional person you have always longed to be; also for addictions; facing and overcoming fears.

THE LIGHTER SIDE

We have now more thoroughly examined both a physiologically and a psychologically-based condition-menopause and codependence. Through this study, we can see the play between character strengths and weaknesses-and that self-improvement is fully within our power. Menopause and codependence, in this light, are opportunities for profound growth.

When we view our lives impersonally, we see only images of light and dark. Our joys and pains are like mere shadows on a movie screen. Flower essences help us to turn obstacles into opportunities and to become vibrantly whole in the process.


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Contents
Introduction

PART I

1 The Consciousness of Flowers
2 The Evolution of Flower Essences
3 Flower Essences: Seers, Sages and Herbalists
4 The Origin of Spirit-in-Nature Essences
5 The Flower Essence Experiment: A Biofeedback Brainstorm
6 How Flower Essences Work
7 To Everything There Is a Season: The Flower Escence Spectrum Chart
8 Theme and Plot Flower Essences
9 The Door Ajar: How to Use the Flower Essence Chapters

PART II

10 Lettuce Flower Essence: “The Unruffler”
11 Coconut Flower Essence: “The Uplifter”
12 Cherry Flower Essence: “The Good Cheer Messenger”
13 Spinach Flower Essence: “The Uncomplicator”
14 Peach Flower Essence: “The Selfless Mother”
15 Corn Flower Essence: “The Energizer”
16 Tomato Flower Essence: “The Purposeful Warrior”
17 Pineapple Flower Essence: “The Confident One”
18 Banana Flower Essence: “The Humble Servant”
19 Fig Flower Essence: “The Non-Disciplinarian”
20 Almond Flower Essence: “The Self-Container”
21 Pear Flower Essence: “The Peacemaker”
22 Avocado Flower Essence: “The Mindful One”
23 Apple Flower Essence: “The Clear Mental Skies”
24 Orange Flower Essence: “The Smile Millionaire”
25 Blackberry Flower Essence: “The All-Purpose Purifier”
26 Date Flower Essence: “The Conscious Cookie Jar”
27 Strawberry Flower Essence: “The Noble One”
28 Raspberry Flower Essence: “The Healer’s Healer”
29 Grape Flower Essence: “The Rewarder”

PART III

30 Making Flower Essences, Taking Flower Essences
31 Symptom and Core Approaches for Flower Essences: A Few Case Studies
32 Shadows on a Screen: Flower Essences for Menopause and Codependence
33 The Joyful Art of Flower Essences Consultation
34 Little Blossoms: Flower Essences for Our Children
35 Four-Footed Friends and Other Critters: Flower Essences for Pets and Animals
36 Flower Essences: Finding The Essence of Life
37 Recipes in Harmony with the Nature of Flower Essences
Spirit-in-Nature Flower Essences Index