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.”
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.
The range of physiological menopausal symptoms includes:
Nausea and dizziness
Aching joints and muscles
Greater risk of heart disease
Lowered sex drive
Psycho-emotional symptoms of menopause may be experienced as:
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.