The Powerful Bloom of Flower Essence
I met Lindsay Fauntleroy in the middle winter. We were both studying Five Element Chinese medicine and Alchemical Healing with Master Lorie Dechar, and had just started a year-long course of study. It was the largest snowstorm of the season, and we were tucked away at the Stony Point Center in upstate New York, working with the seasons and the elements-- examining nature’s ability to heal and awaken the spirit. Over the course of that weekend and the year, Lindsay introduced me to the magic of flower essences. Since then I have become both a patient and a student (I am currently enrolled in her Flower Essence Certification course). I am constantly inspired by the way she works, and the soul healing that is possible with the use of flower essences, so I asked her to describe them and how they work.
WHAT ARE FLOWER ESSENCES?
Flower essences are vibrational plant remedies used to help us get out of our own way so that we can live fully and authentically. Often when I am speaking about flower essences, they get confused with essential oils, which are used in aromatherapy. Flower essences are like a sibling to essential oils, and they are taken internally very much like you would take an herbal supplement. I have a student who once brilliantly called flower essences “vitamins for the soul,” and I think that is spot on.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
We often hear that at any given time, we are only using 10% of our brain. The other 90% is our subconscious mind.
The analogy is like that of an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg that peaks above the water represents our conscious mind: what we can actively perceive with our five senses, study, memorize, and mentally process of at any given time. But beneath the surface? That’s where the magic is. Our habits, our instincts, our autonomic nervous system are all relegated to that 90% that we don’t have to think about. And it’s a good thing too, because imagine how difficult our lives would be if we had to remind ourselves to breathe or remind our hearts to beat. Can you imagine? Most of us wouldn’t make it.
The problem is that our subconscious mind also contains an encyclopedia of conditioned responses and beliefs that were formed primarily as infants, in early childhood and in situations of high stress of trauma. In psychotherapy, these patterns are called maladaptive schemas; in yogic philosophy, these patterns are called samskaras. These emotional responses and beliefs, which are often in conflict to our stated (conscious) intentions, are accessed rapidly without us even being aware of it.
This is where the magic of flower essences come in. They bring awareness to the subconscious habits, behaviors and beliefs that no longer serve us so that we can evolve into our fullest potential. It’s like taking a flashlight down deep under the water to look at “what’s down there?” beneath the waters. As we examine that part of the iceberg,that 90%, change begins to happen. We can start consciously creating new responses to situations, we can start embodying new truths. And as we do so, change starts happening around us.
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER THEM/START USING THEM?
I was introduced to flower essences about 15 years ago when I was trying to get pregnant. I had recently been diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, and was devastated. As any woman trying to conceive might tell you, the process can bring up literally every fear or insecurity you’ve ever had in your entire life! A close friend had Bach Flower remedies in her home medicine cabinet and started offering them to me. I was hooked. They are such a subtle and profound medicine, and I immediately started feeling shifts in my emotions, my mood, and the choices I was making. I felt incredibly aligned. I believe that the flower essences, combined with acupuncture, changed my life. After that, I began to study both flower essences and acupuncture with the intention of integrating the two in a clinical practice.
HOW DO THEY SHOW UP IN YOUR PRACTICE NOW?
The majority of patients in my practice are prescribed flower essences as a tool for deepening the work we begin in our sessions together. In that way, patients can stay at the center of their own healing journey, and they are able to bring a little piece of magic home with them. I work with a repertory of over 500 flower essences, and my patients are often relieved to find that there’s a bit of plant medicine to help them get underneath mental or emotional blocks that they’ve been experiencing for years.
I’ve also recently introduced a line of five-element inspired flower essences, which makes it possible for my patients to share flower essences to their friends, family and loved ones.
WHAT IS YOUR GO TO FLOWER ESSENCE RIGHT NOW?
I’m using a lot of the flower essences that resonate with the Fire Element. In Chinese Medicine, the Fire element corresponds to how we connect with others, as well as how we experience the emotions of joy and love. I personally love how this ancient philosophy really holds true in modern times! So many people coming into my clinic are concerned with their most important relationships, even if our work together began with their physical health or career. The energy of the Fire Element gifts us with the capacity to reflect on how we interact with others, and the flower essences open us to new ways of seeing and being so that those relationships can evolve.
I am prescribing a lot of OPEN, which is a blend for opening the heart and gaining insight into the ways we block our hearts with distrust or fear. I’m also prescribing WHOLEHEARTED, because it is such a great ally for broken-heartedness, and that feeling of disconnection and apathy that arises when we are disconnected from ourselves. And then of course, in this political climate, I’ve been working quite a bit with a formula I call QUEENDOM, which supports women as they step into positions of leadership with confidence and the ability to listen to their intuition. It’s like the “Wonder Woman” of my Elementals collection!
Lindsay Fauntleroy is a licensed acupuncturist, certified flower essence therapist, Alchemical Transformation Coach, and a certified Yoga Alliance yoga instructor. She practices in Manhattan and Brooklyn and teaches certification courses in Flower Essences, Business, and Women’s Leadership.
It’s so hard to pick a few flower essences that are favorites- there are so many that I love!
Pretty Face (Flower Essence Services)
Many women in my practice face challenges accepting the beauty of their bodies. Pretty Face helps us to accept our own unique beauty and confidently shine it out into the world. It’s really helpful for those who are trying to gain weight, lose weight, or desire to change any aspect of their appearance, because it helps us to accept the premise “I am fundamentally beautiful, no matter what.”
Indian Pink (Flower Essence Services)
Life in the city tends to be a very frenetic! There are always lots of activities, events, demands on our time. I offer Indian Pink (Flower Essence Services) to my patients who have a lot going on. Indian Pink supports them “in the midst of their crazy,” and helps them to effectively prioritize their to-do lists.
Deerbrush (Flower Essence Services)
Deerbush is also one of my favorites these days. Deerbrush helps us to align our heart and mind. In our society, which is so focused on logic and reason, it is often easy to bypass the desires of the heart for something that seems to “make more sense”. We are often so used to doing this that we don’t even realize that deep down, we want something else. Deerbrush helps to bring that awareness to the surface, so that we can be more clear and honest in our interaction with life.
Holly (Bach Flower Essence)
When we look at Holly, the plant itself, we see this tiny, delicate flower surrounded by thick, thorn-like leaves. In the same way, we often build a tough exterior to block the vulnerability of our hearts. Holly is a great heart balm -- it helps ease anger and distrust. I use it any time there is anger or jealousy, or any emotion, really, that gets in the way of connection.
White Chestnut (Bach Flower Essence)
is a go-to flower at any time of the year because it helps to still the mind! It’s a great tool for those who are developing a meditation or mindfulness practice because it helps to bring awareness to the repetitive thoughts that circle around in our heads. I find with White Chestnut, many of my patients are able to sleep better, meditate longer, or just simply be more present in their day without living “in their heads."
WHERE TO BUY
Oceans & Rivers Acupuncture & Wellness 1841 Broadway, Suite 505
New York, NY 10023
Brooklyn Satellite Office: 197 Clifton Place
Brooklyn, NY 11216
www.OceansandRivers.com (718) 913-0037
Illusrations by Rina Jakubowicz