Keywords: Peacefulness, Emergency Support
(excerpted from The Essential Flower Essence Handbook)
Qualities: Love, Devotion
Message of Self-Mastery: Realization of the inner source of love; purity; loving without condition, demand, or expectation; patience with others’ shortcomings; flowing with the longer rhythms in relationships; healthy sexuality; for transcendence.
Pattern of Disharmony: Negative emotions such as envy, greed, lust, jealousy; for issues of abandonment, including separation, divorce, or death; neediness; cruelty; loneliness; feeling disconnected; feeling alienated; a noncommittal nature; vulnerability; “sour grapes” attitude.
By loving all, I become whole. I need nothing, for I am ever one with Spirit!
|A sharing nature||Loving without expectation|
|Having sexual problems||Grieving the death of loved one|
|Unrealistic in expectations||Noncommittal|
“I was already drinking grape juice like crazy, so I decided to take the essence. I immediately felt calm and loving, sort of an inner smile. It seemed on Grape that people just wanted my energy. The eighteenyear-old daughter of a friend asked me to hug her, and a whole family in a restaurant came up and started talking to me in detail! I was on vacation and it was a calm and loving trip for both my husband and me.” -JS, Plano, TX
“I was lonely, overwhelmed, severely stressed as a single mother and burnt out. Plus, I had this ugly boil on my face and was very self-conscious that brought up a lot of body-image issues. I woke up the next two mornings after taking Grape feeling a definite change for the better. I had been so unhappy before!” -MH, North San Juan, CA
“Grape helped me with the emotional issues around PMS. I used to chew out my family and have suicidal thoughts. Now I only have two rough hours instead of two weeks to deal with each month.” -SVC, Nevada City, CA
“This one (Grape) helped me to know who I was. I’ve had to deal with the reality of not being close to my husband. On Grape, I felt light and was hugging myself.” -UK, Salt Lake City, UT
“Grape helped me within one week. I started writing poetry. I’ve never been able to do that before! It felt like it opened my heart. I’d be driving around and verses would come to me, first in the form of prose, so I started writing them down. When I went off Grape, the poetry stopped- so I’m thinking of taking it again.” -BM, Dallas, TX
“I’d been wanting a relationship for some time. I met a woman and had a lovely romance the night I started Grape. That doesn’t happen to me often!” -RR, Pahoa, HI
“Love is a fruit in season at all times.” -Mother Teresa
One of the oldest cultivated fruits in history, grapes were grown by the ancient Egyptians about six thousand years ago. These thornless vines climb by tendrils and produce tiny greenish flowers in clusters. Roughly six to eight thousand different varieties have been identified. Grapes contain significant amounts of fiber, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, B and C. They are rich in curative properties, and the juice is often used for fasting. Soothing to the nervous system, grapes also assist the bowels, liver, kidneys and bladder. The darker varieties of grapes are high in iron, making them an excellent blood builder.
(see explanation of The Essence Spectrum Chart)
Our journey ends in Quadrant IV’s final house with the quality of love. Grape resides at the Spectrum’s zenith of the feminine half, for love makes us receptive. We have now observed the inner odyssey through each of the essences, gathering the special gifts of each quality like a bouquet of varied wildflowers. From Raspberry’s yearning to aid the healing of a hurting humanity dawns the devotion of Grape’s genuine love. Internalizing the lessons of this last house, our quest for wholeness is now complete.
Love is the essence of relationships-with a partner, a child, a parent, a friend and with ourselves. We are relational beings. As the popular song says, we are “people who need people.” Although not everyone is cut out for or desirous of a close love relationship, here are some facts to consider:
“Health statistics reveal our innate need for relationship. People who are single over long periods of time tend to suffer from depression to one degree or another; they have weakened immune systems and so are more vulnerable to disease and have a shorter life expectancy. They are also less efficient in the workplace, and less able to weather crisis or disappointment. It is practically commonplace for a widowed person to go into decline, to become ill and even die within a year or so of a spouse’s death-whether the marriage was a happy one or not. And numerous studies have demonstrated the withering effect of neglect or lack of affection on babies.” 14
The positive Grape state is one of an open heart, willing to take the risks involved in opening up to others. “I’d rather be hurt a thousand times,” said a friend, “than lose the capacity to love.” In fact, a common response to Grape is crying, a sign of a closed heart in the process of opening. “I had shut down from past relationship wounds,” Chloe confessed to her massage therapist. “I cried a lot for two days on Grape and then felt fine-changed.” Phil recounted a similar story: “I cried for three hours a couple of days in a row. I just felt this impersonal sadness about the separation of mankind from its source. As a result of these few days, I now feel a greater awareness. Many insights have come.” Laurel’s story, too, illustrates how Grape can benefit us in the dance of relationships in which we sometimes, unwittingly and unintentionally, step on our partner’s toes:
“Geoff and I are both under much pressure in regard to selling the house and the timing of an interstate move. It brings up a lot of stuff and some of our patterns are as old as our relationship. We fell into one of our patterns of disagreement and, as usual, it felt awful. He yells, I cry. We both seemed to be in that twilight zone of being misunderstood.
“When he went to work, I put two little Grape drops in a glass of spring water on the counter and sipped it whenever I walked by. I noticed within hours that I was feeling differently than I would have before under similar circumstances. The first word that comes to mind is that there was a ‘softening.’ Somehow, some of my thoughts loosened up. I didn’t feel so heavy-hearted. I had more kind words to offer my two kids. The key here is that even without further interaction with Geoff, I felt something had been worked out.
“Anyway, I have to tell you-as odd as this seems to put it right out there on paper-there was a point late in the afternoon when, as I mulled over the experience I was having, the words came into my head that. . .I have become love. If that isn’t a profound moment, I can’t imagine what is. Even though I have not sustained the exact feeling of that moment, I still have a sense of it.”
The simple message of Grape is unconditional love. “You learn to love by loving,” St. Francis of Sales explained. “Begin as a mere apprentice, and the very power of love will lead you on to become a master in the art.” And a Jewish saying which humorously illustrates Grape’s love coupled with acceptance advises: Love thy neighbor, even when he plays the trombone.
Poets throughout the ages have extolled love’s power and beauty. “Take away love and our earth is a tomb,” mused Robert Browning. “Man, while he loves, is never quite depraved,” philosophized English essayist Charles Lamb. Indeed, we do feel deprived in the negative Grape state. This essence deals directly with those periods when we feel a lack or loss of love in our lives from death, divorce, separation, loneliness, emptiness or experience feelings of abandonment. Any sense of neediness, isolation or disconnectedness sounds the warning signal on the negative Grape condition. How do we recognize this state? It just doesn’t feel good. Something is missing and that something is part of ourselves.
Grape is the perfect essence for the loss of a loved one. The message of this essence is to look within, and then give to others the very love we feel has been lost.
“It is better to have loved and lost,” counsels the poet Tennyson, “than never to have loved at all.” If we have loved and lost, our natural defense mechanism-and a symptom of the negative Grape state-is to shut down and fabricate barriers to ward off the fear of future disappointment. Unfortunately, this action only creates more problems.
Love is powerful and its absence in any form can be a major source of suffering. Mother Theresa of Calcutta, who nursed thousands of the homeless, hungry and ill, once said that she found no suffering greater than the loneliness of people in America’s crowded cities. To make matters worse, we are accustomed to looking for sources outside ourselves to heal this deepest of pains. And while relationships are a vital source of connectedness and nurturance, the lesson of Grape is to find that love from within. The best cure for loneliness is to befriend the lonely; the remedy for grief is to comfort the grieving. Life becomes dry without love. Like the grape vine that entwines its leaves around whatever it grows on, it is our nature to develop divine love and devotion.
To live a full life, our heart’s feelings must be awakened. Don’t wait in the hope that others will love you. Love them spontaneously, whatever their feeling for you! Grape helps to develop selfless love for everyone and everything. Best of all, it helps to develop a love for God and for all true and noble qualities.
(see explanation of Theme Flower Essences)
Grape themes tend to have a roundedness to their appearance. Even if they are not overweight, their presence emits a certain fullness. Oddly enough, you may not be able to recall their physical features in their absence. The reason for this phenomena is simply that it is their spirit which leaves an impression and not their physical attributes. One Grape theme mentioned that her close friends and family always tell her that she’s lost weight-even though it has remained the same since high school-and they invariably buy her clothing at least two sizes too large! Grape themes are very huggable. Their extra-special hugs accompany their approachableness and warmth. In their presence, you will feel childlike, accepted, nurtured and, most of all, inspired by the depth and breadth of their ability-and yours-to love unconditionally.
FAMOUS THEME PERSONALITIES
- Padre Pio
- Albert Einstein
- Norman Rockwell
- Paramhansa Yogananda
- St. Therese of Lisieux
- Johann Sebastian Bach
- Brother Lawrence
- St. John of the Cross
- Daniel Considine
Our Grape theme is personified by an obscure Italian priest, Padre Pio, who bore the stigmata on his hands and feet for the last fifty years of his life. So great was his divine love that his continuously bleeding wounds, although a source of unrelenting pain, barely distracted him. Before his passing in 1968 at the age of eighty-one, thousands came to take confession from him and hear his 5 a.m. mass that often lasted hours instead of the traditional twenty minutes. Scores of crowds witnessed his utter absorption in a depthless devotion and thereby found that same source of unconditional love awakened within their own hearts.
The Capuchin priest describes his inner life in these words: “I no sooner begin to pray than my heart becomes filled with a fire of love; this fire does not resemble any fire of this lowly earth. It is a sweet and delicate flame which consumes yet causes no pain. It is so sweet and delicate that it satisfies and satiates my spirit to the point of insatiability.” Many miraculous healings surrounded Padre Pio’s simple life. To this day, over a million people visit his tomb each year in the small town of Foggia, their pilgrimages honoring the divine love that poured so effortlessly from his humble spirit.
CONFESSIONS OF A GRAPE THEME: IN CONNIE’S WORDS
(A note here: Our gracious Grape, with a strong Raspberry subtheme, articulated the spirit of this theme with such insightful clarity that I have taken the liberty of leaving her testimony virtually uncut.)
“I grew up in a very loving family, the third of four children. Middle America, suburban, having all the material things. First color TV on the block, big swimming pool, all the stuff. Everything was right out of Ozzie and Harriet until about puberty when my father started drinking and my mother was probably going through menopause, but nobody ever talked about what was happening if they weren’t doing too well. As a result of this time, there are definitely some issues in my life. That was an era when people didn’t get counseling. We didn’t even know people who were divorced. It was the ‘nifty fifties.’
“I was a very happy child-I really was. I was outgoing, an A student, real cute, teacher’s pet. It all worked for me. I felt like I had the world by the tail. In adolescence, that all changed because I didn’t have a Barbie Doll body. Also, the hippie flower child revolution was happening, and I was searching for meaning. So I went right into that whole drug subculture scene. It felt very meaningful to me, like I was exactly in the right place. I made a great hippie.
“My father was a real lover of nature. So we would leave suburbia and our postage-stamp backyard and go out into the woods of Michigan with the birch trees and the deer. I had a sense from very early on that I related to God in nature. I always drew a lot of inspiration there. I was aware of how wide open, how different I felt in nature. I felt fed. Nature was food to me. Things made sense in nature. You know, it was okay that a tree died because it went back into the earth and recycled itself. It made sense that there was a chain of command in the animal kingdom. But suburbia didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t want to wear those blouses with bows.
“My official job title? Family counselor. I’ve got a lot of humor; I spend a lot of time making jokes and lightening up the situation when people are having a hard time. People tell me I’m a very nurturing individual. I’ve always felt serviceful. I feel full when I give to other people.
“I would say I am a loving person. I love people, I really do. I feel a lot of unconditional love and compassion for others. I think people feel safe with me. They can tell me yucky things about themselves and know that I will still be their friend and keep confidences about issues that they have. I think devotion is my path-to perfect that heart quality and to take all the love that I have for people and expand it into seeing that it’s God I love in them. I think that’s what I’m doing.
“I love my children to the point of attachment. It was very difficult letting go of my oldest child when she went off to college. I went through a real grieving process quite unexpectedly, much deeper and more profound than I thought might happen. It was very expansive for me to let her go out into the world and know that I personally would-n’t be able to protect her-and that I had never really been the one doing that anyway. To be able to see that she would be protected by others was big for me.
“I love grapes. I have grapes planted all over my yard. I just love grapes, I love grape juice, and used to love wine too. I hang out under the grape arbor. I like to take my journal and sit out there on my blanket. We have these beautiful little trellises of grapes. And I love grape leaves, the shape of them. I do a grape juice fast every year when grapes are in season for usually three or four days, fresh and watered down a bit if it’s too intense.
“As I was telling you about sitting under the grape vines, I had this memory of going to my grandmother’s. She lived out on a lake and her whole yard was bordered by grapes. I remember just being so happy there. We got to make wine. She let us step on the grapes in a little washtub. She made wine every year and it was kind of a big family thing to get together and press the grapes.”
WRAPPING IT UP
Grapes are a fruit rich in myth and folklore. The Bible mentions their existence during the lime of Noah. Ancient yogic teachings tell us that grapes, when fermented, carry a vibration of passion instead of pure love. In Omar Khayyam’s famous “Rubaiyat,” grapes are referred to in four separate quatrains, symbolizing a state of ecstatic love.
And what of the quality of devotion, also encapsulated in Grape? The word devotion stems from the Latin root vovere, meaning “to vow.” When we commit ourselves to the act of loving, that love acquires the quality of devotion. Devotional love is a love beyond change, regardless of the passing of time. Perhaps you have heard this generalization about the sexes when a couple marry-that the woman expects the man to change and the man hopes the woman never will. Both partners here are expressing the need for Grape.
Too often, attachment masquerades as love. The lyrics of current popular songs and also of music throughout the ages glorifies this kind of codependence. “I’m gonna make you love me, oh yes I will,” affirms a song of the 1970s. And from an old Irish ballad, “I wish I was in the young man’s arms that broke the heart of mine.” Self-seeking love is binding; genuine love is liberating. Pure love finds its fulfillment in the simple act of loving.
Grape thereby helps us remove the veil of emotional poverty that steals over us at times and to heal that dryness of the heart that arises from the many sorrows that life lays at our feet. This essence helps to uncover our heart’s natural ability to love and in so doing, to forget ourselves in the process to the point where the lover, the beloved and the act of loving become as one. Love, “the rewarder,” is its own reward.
It is said that at the time of our death, we are met on the other side by an angel who asks of us, simply, “Did you love more each day than the day before?” If we can answer to the affirmative, then we have achieved the greatest possible achievement.
|GRAPE||Contrasted With:||Companioned With:|
|Cherry||inner freedom from outer circumstances||for finding fulfillment within ourselves, for a playful, loving nature|
|Peach||loving from wholeness instead of need||selfless love, loving service|
|Pear||for the peace acquired through genuine love||for an upward flow of dependable energy; strong, unwavering love|
|Raspberry||for compassion and deep caring||for a heart that is both open and fearless|
When you’re out shopping, dining, in line at the movies or anywhere in public, observe relationships and how people treat each other-mother and child, same-sex peers, older couples, boyfriend and girlfriend. Mentally note the dynamics between people. Are they loving? Courteous? Expansive with each other?
Review the relationships in your present life and the quality of love you give to others. Note areas that need improvement and resolve to work on them.
Meditate, ending each session with a focused prayer from your heart to send love out into the world.
Stand in the sunlight, both drawing in and sending out rays of love through all the cells in your body.
Try this cure for loneliness-befriend your own mind. Involve yourself in creative projects. In other words, make your “alone time” dynamic.
Buy some flowers for yourself or a loved one.
Take yourself out on a date; enjoy your own company.
Am I dreaming? you ask yourself. This can’t be what it’s like to pass on. There was no pain, just an effortless wafting into the clouds. These are light clouds-not the clouds of an impending thunderstorm, but the soft, billowy clouds that get whooshed away by the slightest icy breeze on a sunny winter’s morning.
You are floating, floating, many pounds lighter than you ever remember being while on earth. You can still speak, but your voice is now only an echo of itself. You can see yourself, though you are now only a translucent shadow. Light, everything is ligh.t And the most wonderful thing is that you have no fear-only a deep peace and an even deeper sense of being cocooned in a very great love.
And you can fly! What fun to look down on the mountains! How little they look, how tiny the earth. Your life, from this vantage point, looks like a checkerboard; your most loved friends and family, like chess pieces moving to and fro. The wind, like a warm breath, steals up behind you. It takes shape aurally, forming words. The words come into focus, like tuning in a radio dial.
“Did you learn to love more deeply each day than the day before?” The voice comes from nowhere and everywhere. Just as the thought forms, how to answer-a plane flies overhead. It startles you from reverie. You awaken from the dream.