FEP07 Grief and Loss

Show Notes:

Grief is a natural process, not a disorder or illness to be treated. It’s an emotional, physical and spiritual response to change. Flower Essence Therapy seeks to meet the person where they are on their journey and match them with flower essences to support their unique situation.

Flower Essences discussed during the show:

Suggestions:

Dr Alan Wolfelt https://www.centerforloss.com books Understanding Your Grief and Journey Into Grief

Show Transcript

Rochana Felde [00:00:48] Grief is a natural process and not a disorder or an illness to be treated. It’s an emotional, physical and spiritual reaction to change which involves losing something in your life. Moving, changing jobs, ending a relationship, and especially, the death of a loved one, are common causes of grief. Flower Essence Therapy seeks to meet a person where they are on their journey and match that person with essences to support their unique situation. Hey Kathleen. Great to be with you again. What are some essences that you like to use supporting someone on their journey with grief? 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:01:39] Hi Ro, it is nice to be here again, and I always enjoy spending time with you. You know, grief is such an interesting topic, because it is a natural part of life, like you were saying, and I think that if we look at essences from the perspective of helping us process grief, and helping us move through grief, that’s the approach that I try to take with clients. Talking to them about my view on grief, it being something that we work our way through, and then we have all these emotions that we need to work through as we go, rather than that there’s an essence that can suppress or help you avoid experiencing it. Do you think that that’s kind of a different perspective? I think that that our culture is not “grief literate” in the least. And, we think that grief is this discrete thing that happens for about a week or two maybe, you know, once the funeral is over, you should be back to normal. What do you think? 

Rochana Felde [00:02:47] Absolutely. You know nobody really wants to talk about it, and it’s very challenging for the person going through it because it’s not supported by society, especially if it goes on much longer than, as you say, a couple of weeks or so. I’ve been reading books by Dr. Alan Wolfelt lately and he wrote the books Understanding Your Grief and Journey Into Grief. And I really love his writings on this. Rather than treating it as a psychologist, companioning that person and what they’re going through. And he has something called the six needs of mourning that are first, accept the reality of the death. Let yourself feel the pain of the loss. Remember the person who died. Develop a new self identity. Search for meaning, and let others help you. So this is a more gentle, supportive, nurturing way to walk through this journey. I feel that flower essences are a perfect way to match those needs rather than it being steps or phases or anything like that. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:04:18] Oh yeah, I like that approach. I haven’t read that work, it sounds really interesting. And both of us have have been walking a grief journey and really experiencing it deeply from the inside which I think informs our work. And it can help us with others who are also experiencing it. You know, I think that learning a little bit more about the Kubler-Ross stages of grief – she never intended those to be linear stages, just segments of grief. But I think that it got turned into “well, now I’m in this phase, and the next I’ll be moving on to that phase”. But it’s such an organic process, and it just loops around, and in each season, and each segment of your grieving process you’re going to revisit things. And having essences to help support you can be an incredible help, and give you a container for that grief rather than making it go away. And I think that I like that companioning concept. 

Rochana Felde [00:05:26] Yeah it’s a great word. And I’ll just tell the listeners, I recently, six months ago, lost my father and Kathleen graciously offered to make me a custom essence. So you know that the process of Flower Essence Therapy, it was great to have that support. Even though I do this for other people, it’s almost impossible to really do it for yourself. So having a support system, and letting people help you is such a big part of that process, and I’ll just thank you again Kathleen for that support because it was so helpful at that time. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:06:14] Well it was my pleasure to be able to offer that to you. And really, I was paying it forward because when I lost my mother coming on five years now, a fellow practitioner offered to me in the same way. And I think that it’s one of those things, that when we’re in that place we often have a hard time reaching out for help because we’re just so deep into it. But to the degree you can, I’d really recommend for everyone to just ask for help and find an ally. And you’ll really get to know your friends in a new way. And those who have had grief experiences are gonna be really helpful to you, and those who haven’t had them yet are not really going to be able to understand what you’re going through. 

Rochana Felde [00:06:59] So true. It’s just so true. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:07:04] You know for anybody who’s listening, who’s experiencing grief, you know that it runs this huge gamut. You know, we’re talking about the grief of a parent, certainly the loss of a person in our life is a huge loss. But there are many, many other losses that take place in our lives, from moving, or changing jobs, or changing schools, all of these things are grief experiences as well. And thank goodness we have the essences to help us. 

Rochana Felde [00:07:38] Yeah. And when you lose a person, depending on the role that they had in your life, that experience is very different for everyone. It’s different for all the people who lost that person. Each person has a different experience, and then depending on who they were in your life that can really impact your identity in different ways. And so I like flower essences to assist with those pieces too. If losing someone that you were in a relationship, or married to for decades, and relied on, and now you don’t know how to do various things without them. That’s a whole piece of it. So in addition to the grief, that person is trying to to navigate concepts of identity, and confidence, etc. It all can come up in different ways. If you are losing a father, that can have different aspects than, for example, losing a mother. So, it’s all related, but can it impact us in different ways. I think different flower essences can assist in these specific, unique combinations of experience. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:09:09] Right. And I think that this might be a good time to introduce what I consider the grief first aid formula, which is Grief Relief from the Flower Essence Society. I recommend that a lot, especially in that initial phase where it’s shock as much as anything else. I think that a rescue or first aid kind of formula is extraordinarily helpful to help stabilize someone at first. And then later, there will be a time when they need something more specific or tailored. But it’s really good to know that it exists and that it’s available. Is Grief Relief one that you use a lot too? 

Rochana Felde [00:09:48] I do. I do love it. It has all the key elements for grief and you know it comes in that convenient spray for people. I do like that a lot. Well, you know there are some great formulas. Alaskan Essences has Soul Support and Calling All Angels that I use. And then, have you tried that Benediction oil? I love that. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:10:17] I just gave a bottle of that to a friend whose mother was in the hospital, and the whole family was there. And there was just so much going on, and I just said “Here take this and everyone put it on your heart and it will help.” It gives you this container to hold your heart as you go through something really difficult and painful. And also I like it just in general. I love to use it when I’m feeling like I need a little more support. 

Rochana Felde [00:10:43] Absolutely. I recommend it all the time and the fact that it has that “rosy” smell, that beautiful scent, and that you can just apply it right to the heart. It really gets in there and gives people a loving container on their body. So yeah, I had only just discovered that blend last November and it helped me immensely. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:11:17] And I think maybe we could explain all of that. So, the Grief Relief formula is a flower essence formula that is available from the Flower Essence Society. And it’s a combination formula blend, with a number of different flower essences in it. And I think they also add a little bit of essential oil, I forget what the essential oil is. So it has a little bit of a flavor. I think it’s minty, is that right? 

Rochana Felde [00:11:40] Lemon balm. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:11:41] And so it’s not  pure “true” flower essence. It has a little bit of a smell and taste. And then there’s Benediction oil. Is a topical use oil which is infused with some essential oils and it’s also infused with the flower essences. So it’s a different way of using flower essences that it allows you to use it topically. And it’s it’s quite easy to understand because it really it smells good and it feels good. It’s a nice bridge for using flower essences. 

Rochana Felde [00:12:18] Yeah. Thanks for that. But, speaking of roses, they’re so key in supportive formulas, especially for grief and for the heart chakra. And I know that you have some very special roses in your collection. You want to talk about some of those? 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:12:39] Absolutely. Since we started on the topic of the heart I think that that’s a good place to start. As good as anywhere, because all of the roses resonate with the heart chakra and the heart area. And there are a lot of different roses, you know, use whatever you’ve got in your collection if you have any at home on hand. Like, Wild Rose from the Bach essences is an amazing essence. And so I would just reach for that. You use what you have available, and then you can get something else when you are able. But you know, if you’ve got something on hand that’s a rose, well, try that and see how that can help you. I really think that the essences have a way – there’s an intelligence there so they can really meet you where you are and help you in what you’re asking for. So if you have an essence on hand that doesn’t speak directly to your issue you can still ask for help. And they can do a lot more than what their description might say. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:13:34] But one of the essences that I’ve made in my Flora of Asia collection is the Soul’s Rose. The Soul’s Rose is so helpful for the grief experience. It’s really aligned with the grief experience, of having loss and helping you to be able to get to the place where you can find the love within that loss instead of the pain of the loss. So it helps to soothe that aspect. In the presence of the plant, it has this incredible warm and fragrant presence. Iit holds you in this place of remembering the good parts, remembering the love that you have for the person, or the situation, and helping to soothe that hurt, allowing it to flow. 

Rochana Felde [00:14:23] That’s beautiful. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:14:24] I love that, and I know you have some roses too, that you’re friends with. 

Rochana Felde [00:14:30] I made friends with the Sweet Briar Rose, it is one of my favorites. It’s also called Eglantyne and it’s very similar to the California Wild Rose. It’s sweet smelling, it smells like apples when you rub the leaves, and it is a really strong heart medicine. It acts on emotional, spiritual, and physical imbalances of the heart chakra as well. It works with pain of heartache by promoting and mending the rebuilding of that area and instilling a strong sense of self-love. So any time I think of self-love I think of it. Of course, all the roses help with that. But the Wild Rose and The Sweet Briar Rose I really like to use to remind someone about loving themselves, and to have that softness of attitude towards themselves. And I think that it helps us find strength by realizing that love is the strongest power in the world and that it is always present in our lives. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:15:48] That’s really beautiful. When you were talking about that rebuilding process, that’s when I started thinking about the Fireweeds because they are really helpful for that rebuilding, and more specifically River Beauty which is a type of Fireweed. This is from the Alaskan Essences. River Beauty grows along the banks of rivers and grows in areas that have been washed out from winter storms. The river banks tend to change quite a bit over the years, and River Beauty is one that can come in and colonise an area that’s been washed out or changed, altered significantly, by the flow of the water. And River Beauty as an essence is is helpful whenever there’s been this overwhelm of emotion. In this case it would be an overwhelm of grief, a really dreadful experience that’s happened to you, and you’re just trying to find a way to rebuild after that, or process that experience. And River Beauty can target on that very specific situation. 

Rochana Felde [00:16:59] That’s a great visual. I mean that thought of a flood or a washing away the banks of a river. And water represents emotion, and floods of emotion and overwhelm. You know overwhelming emotion which happens, it absolutely happens in a grief situation. So I love that idea of those flowers coming up and repairing those banks. That’s great. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:17:29] Yeah I when I think about Flower Essence Therapy I’m thinking along these terms, because of my background as a horticulturist. And I think that if we see ourselves as as ecologies, and we look at our lives as being an ecological reclamation project that we can kind of take some signs from nature, of how does nature rebuild this. In what way would nature come in to help restore this situation. And so in those sorts of circumstances, if you’re thinking about the way plants heal after huge changes and huge washing through, you know, I think that you can get some insight on healing that way. 

Rochana Felde [00:18:11] Yeah absolutely, I do love looking at how they are in their environment and the way they grow. It’s all a clue to their energy. Lovely.

Kathleen Aspenns [00:18:25] And moving out of the heart specific area, we could talk about some of the other essences that are really specific for grief. And I think Bleeding Heart is on both of our lists as a primary grief remedy. Do you have a story that you like to talk about Bleeding Heart? Have you “met it in the wild” as it were? 

Rochana Felde [00:18:45] You know what. I haven’t met that one in the wild and I have been wanting to for so long. But I have worked with it, and worked with its image a lot. I did some graphic design for someone and went through hundreds of bleeding heart pictures. If listeners haven’t seen what this looks like, it’s pretty amazing in that it looks like little hearts hanging off of a stem. That’s what it looks like. It’s not hard to figure out, right? So yeah it is definitely a heart chakra strengthener and it offers unconditional love. And it’s particularly used when there’s heartbreak or broken heart due to a loss. How do you like to use it? 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:19:41] Yeah I really think about it being for those intense stages of grief when your heart hurts. It literally hurts, and the grief is so fresh and so raw. That’s when I think about bringing in Bleeding Heart. I think that it’s also really great for working with the wounded child. Whenever there’s a piece of loss that relates to the child part of you. So when we lose a parent, when we lose a grandparent, or when a child loses something in their life, Bleeding Heart is a really great “go to” essence. 

Rochana Felde [00:20:18] Yeah. And and that is so true that grief has absolute physical ramifications. I mean the chest can physically hurt. There’s all sorts of physical aspects to grief. It’s one of the hardest things that you go through in life, because it’s on all the levels, and it’s exhausting. It really is. The body and the mind are doing a lot of work. It’s real work to go through grief and to try to navigate it and walk through it. Grief can get lodged in the lungs. I’ve recently experienced this with bouts of bronchitis right after the loss of my father. I mean, it’s really interesting  how that can correlate. You know, the mind and the body are not separate. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:21:23] They never have been. We decided they were, but they are not. I think that there is, once again, this Chinese Medicine angle. Chinese Medicine draws a clear correlation between the lungs and grief. And the season of fall is the season of the lung, and the affiliated emotion is grief. I personally experience feelings of grief when the season starts to turn. And sometimes this can be related to something, something that I know what it is, and sometimes not, but it’s just part of that experience of feeling that heaviness of the lungs, heaviness of the chest. I think that’s a crucial element to working with grief, to know that’s a thing, that really can be a physical thing, and to start working with essences to help with that. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:22:20] The Yerba Santa is an important essence for that particular constellation of symptoms, that the Flower Essence Society makes. It’s a California native. I know it grows up in the hills near me. It has a quality of helping whenever the grief gets somatized like in bronchitis, or sticky heavy coughs. 

Rochana Felde [00:22:47] Yeah. Yerba Santa gets in there and helps to break that up. That constriction, the grief constriction, and helps us look at the grief that may be deeply embedded in there. And maybe a current grief is really tied to all the grief that we haven’t completely processed from the past. I think the Yerba Santa helps with uncovering that in a gentle way things that are really internalized and maybe have been repressed for a long time. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:23:31] That’s such a good point. Because of the culture, and a lot of our life experiences, if we’ve experienced losses in the past and haven’t been supported, or had the time, or the space to be able to work our way through them, they’ll just hang around, they’ll wait for you, and they’ll come up another time. And sometimes they can be stimulated by a new grief experience and all of a sudden every other experience that you’ve had, that was not possible to process at the time is ready to come up now. I think it’s worthwhile to think about, because sometimes the smallest thing can trigger something. What seems fairly inconsequential can trigger a lot of old grief, or a lot of connections to those old experiences when you didn’t have the support to handle them and process them at the time. I think that’s a good point to remember, because it’s a complicated and sticky situation. Grief, it’s not an easy topic and it’s not something that we often get a lot of support around. I know that I’ve been surprised at how long it takes. 

[00:24:45] You know, culturally it’s that two week period where it’s like “Aren’t you done with that yet?” And then you’ll meet people months later, and they just have no memory of your loss. A friend was telling me –  you know, we don’t have a physical reminder to people that we’re grieving. You know in Victorian England they’d wear mourning clothing. They’d wear black for a year and they’d have special jewelry and that would signal to everyone around them that they were in mourning and it went on for, I think, a year and possibly longer. There would be that signal to others, and now it’s like you’re just supposed to get over it. And that’s just not the way it works. And these things can really reverberate. There’s a stage – I think the first two weeks are almost like having a head injury. You’re kind of shocked and numbed and you don’t realize how impaired you are. It’s really important to be careful when you’re driving because you’re not really there. And that’s just the first phase. And after that is when it gets really challenging. That’s when you need more support, not less. 

Rochana Felde [00:26:00] Yeah. You know you really haven’t started processing in those first couple weeks. It’s shock and survival. And we don’t know what to say to people. There’s a lot of cultural clichés of things that people say to you. So not only does somebody have to be person in mourning, and be going through this, but they’re not getting support, even from their closest friends and family. They are saying things like “oh you know now they’re in peace in heaven” or all the kinds of things that people say. Or the expectations from a spiritual perspective that we shouldn’t grieve, because you know their spirit is in heaven, or free, or whatever that belief system is – it doesn’t help. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:27:13] It doesn’t help. Yeah there’s a lot of traditions that try to bypass the pain, and want to get right through that part, because that’s the messy, awkward, human part, and get right to the elevated spiritual perspective. But you know, you might be able to get there sometimes, but a lot of times you’re just going to hurt. And as somebody who’s been on both sides of that equation, I think that the best thing that you can do to help a friend who’s grieving is to just be present for them, and just hold them in a space. Ask them questions about their beloved, ask them to tell you stories. Being able to talk about the person who’s lost is so healing. It’s not something that that you can finish in a few weeks. It’s wonderful to be able to help hold that person in that regard. “Tell me about your your parent. Tell me what they did.” And if you have a story to share about your memory of them, that’s a wonderful thing to offer, rather than the cliche. If you can just really be real, and just be present and hold space you can do a lot of good to help your friend grieve. 

Rochana Felde [00:28:26] Yeah, companioning. I love it. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:28:36] I’ll get the name of that book from you and I’ll put it in the show notes for anyone else who’s interested. It’s a it’s a big thing and we will all get there someday. It’s good to have a little bit of preparedness. Even though nothing really prepares you for the experience, but you’ll find out really who can help when you get through that experience, about the people that you can lean on. It’s been surprising to me the people that have shown up in my life. And I’ve been really grateful for them to help me through my experiences. I feel like I have to bring in Rose Quartz at this point. Rose Quartz, you know, the gemstone. And the essence Alaskan Essences makes, a beautiful Rose Quartz essence. And I feel like I really want to have that in this field right now as we’re talking about grief because it’s really soothing to the heart. And it helps to heal – the energetic is a type of “undenting” of your heart. So when your heart gets a little damaged, or bruised. The Rose Quartz helps to pop it into its natural shape again.  

Rochana Felde [00:29:51] I love that. I just love that, and it’s funny because I have various pieces of Rose Quartz. And I have one shaped like a heart and it’s very common to find it shaped like a heart. So that is so perfect the way that you describe. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:30:07] Well it’s it’s an actual sensation that people have reported when taking that essence. So whenever I put it in a formula I’ll talk about that because it can be a mild sensation to kind of a noticeable sensation. There have been people reported during taking Rose Quartz where they thought they were having some sort of an episode of the heart. And you know, it’s a heart healing. It’s not a heart attack. So it’s just good to know that that you could experience a physical sensation around your heart, and to know that the Rose Quartz can create that, and that it’s a healing experience. So it’s interesting. I think Rhodochrosite is also one that that I use quite a lot in this circumstance and for me the Rhodochrosite energy is a little different. It’s a little more like soothing an old hurt that wasn’t helped. It’s very much for when the inner child was crying, and no one took care of him or her. To help heal the wound when when nobody noticed that you were in pain, to hold that space and heal that space. 

Rochana Felde [00:31:21] And you use Kunzite as well? 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:31:22] Sure. Not as often, but tell me about what you use Kunzite for. 

Rochana Felde [00:31:28] Well, it’s in that Calling All Angels formula by Alaskan, and I have several pieces of it as well. And it’s got a beautiful bright pink color. So I feel like there’s a brightening of joy in the heart. And then there’s also an angelic connection to spiritual love. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:31:52] I like you bringing that up, because I think that is another phase of working with a grief situation. Because all of these things can be operating at all the same time. So bringing some hope, and some elevation, and some connection to spirit within a formula is incredibly helpful to start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And so Kunzite would be totally that. I always think of it as an angelic, and you often use it to ground the essence Angelica in a formula. Because the gems and the flower essences are working on different levels. The gem essences are really getting into the physical realm, and grounding these shifts into the physical realm. So Angelica I think of being this really wonderful elevator to help you recognize that angels are present in your life. 

Rochana Felde [00:32:46] You know I don’t I don’t know if we can not talk about Borage. It’s a flower essence that is used a lot for any situation that requires courage. Borage is for the courageous heart, and really has an affinity with the heart. It helps with sadness, and any sense of loss, and helps give that power and courage to confront these exhausting emotional situations. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:33:19] My keyword for it is stout heartedness. You know, it’s that energy of “well, this is really hard, but we’re gonna do it anyways. Come on team, let’s go!” I think of the hobbits when I think of Borage. You know, them getting together and working together as a team in order to do something really challenging. So I think Borage is that energetic to give your heart a little boost, a little lift, in order to accomplish something. And that accomplishment can be just getting through, just helping you get through a tough time, a dark time. I also think of Yulan Magnolia for this, for this particular scenario. It is one of my Flora of Asia essences. And the Yulan has that quality as an herb, the buds are used as a lung remedy. And so it has a natural affiliation for lung issues, which affiliates to grief. And the essence of the Yulan Magnolia gives you that moment of hope, that ability to breathe in. You know, if you think of when you’re grieving, and your heart is heavy, and you tend to slump, and your lungs and your chest tend to close and collapse a little bit. Learning to counter that by lifting your heart, and opening your lungs, to help you breathe in, and be inspired. Really, that inspiration of life, of finding a way to OK. And a fresh approach of working through. 

Rochana Felde [00:35:05] That’s interesting. I use a Red Box Eucalyptus a kind of similarly. Well, there’s just a lot of movement with it. Well, with all the eucalyptus, you know herbally eucalyptus is used for opening the lungs, it’s used in steams. It’s used in aromatherapy, it’s used in teas. And the flower essence, I think what you described, with opening the chest – like if you’re hunched over and constricted, that broadening and opening, and standing up, and then moving – it really gets that energy moving through the body. So if that’s a place that’s really stuck in a situation, I’ll add eucalyptus. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:36:08] Interesting, that makes a lot of sense. One piece that I’d hate to get through this topic without mentioning, would be the issue of ancestral grief. I think it’s something that a lot of people carry with them in their DNA. Who knows where it’s stored really, but I think that so many of us have so much grief in our histories, in our family histories, and in our our lines, in times where it was not possible to process at the time. You know so many of us have grandparents, or parents who were impacted by wars, and dislocations, and exterminations. And there’s so much grief, just buried in our bodies, that we picked up, and we carried for our ancestors. And we can help to heal our line by working with this grief. And each time we touch in on our own grief, we may working back in the timeline, and working back into the ancestral line. Are you familiar, do you work with this concept? 

Rochana Felde [00:37:18] Definitely. And for that I I like working with Western Red Cedar, and also Himalayan Cedar. Western Red Cedar helps access those ancestral memories and helps honor our ancestors. So it’s used a lot in an ancestral work. I really like the Himalayan Cedar as well. That is more of a social group, or spiritual family connection which brings a sense of security. And I like that when going through through grief. It’s been used as a temple incense by Tibetan Buddhists and it so it has a real calming meditative quality, a quality of connecting to divinity. In fact its name is Cedrus deodara. It’s a divine cedar that grows in the Himalayas but it’s actually planted all over. I see it in landscaping in California, and probably many other parts of the country. And so I like that it gives a nice grounding strength, courage, and sense of stability in our soul group. It gives a feeling that you have a clan or tribe, or whatever you want to call it, of supportive entities that have your back. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:38:58] Yeah that’s that’s really important. One of the essences that I also think about – and it’s not a tight correlation to what you’re just saying. But I think sometimes these waves of emotion can wash over us. And sometimes we don’t even know where they’re coming from. So having that that grounded support of the cedars, I think that that’s a wonderful container. And then maybe we can shift some of that with some Cinnabar. Cinnabar as a gem essence is wonderful for things that are kind of buried or encapsulated, a type of old toxin. You know a grief that doesn’t move, a grief that it can’t be expressed, becomes toxic. And so I  think of it along those lines, of helping to move some of these old things that have not been possible to touch previously, or to process, or to work through, Cinnabar can help to kind of start pulling them free. 

Rochana Felde [00:40:05] You know I haven’t worked with Cinnabar essence, so that’s really interesting to hear. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:40:10] It’s not one of the sweet loving ones. It’s pretty intense but it’s just the thing. Because if we’re talking about ancestral stuff it’s not light fluffy stuff.  We’re not talking about, you know, holding our inner child here. We’re excavating, Indiana Jones style. It could be pretty intense. And I think Mustard might actually be an interesting sort of middle ground for helping to to shift some of these things. Because I think of Mustard whenever something just hits you from behind – all of a sudden you’re in this huge funk, and you’re not even really sure how it happened. You can walk into a room, or it just strikes you out of the blue. And Mustard helps to shift that heavy, sticky, dense sadness. Or it is oftentimes termed depression in the descriptions of Mustard. But I think it’s just that kind of that emotional gunk that just hits you out of the blue, and Mustard helps to shift that. You think about the mustard fields we have in California. I’m in a wine growing area where there’s a lot of mustard growing in the fields and you come upon a field of mustard blooming in February, when everything’s gray and gloomy  and dim, and all of a sudden boom! You get this huge burst of the sulphur yellow and it’s that energy, of just, woosh! 

Rochana Felde [00:41:43] Light! 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:41:46] And you’ve made friends with Mustard as well. 

Rochana Felde [00:41:50] Yeah I’ve sat in a field of it, and made the essence, and what I’ve noticed is the way that it it grows tall pretty quickly. And I know in that time of year it really does give the sense that light is returning, that light will prevail. And then there’s this strength about it. I mean, the seed and the spice for culinary use. I mean, it’s a strong spice. There is nothing wimpy about mustard. And it has that strength and faith and confidence, standing tall in community. It grows in communities. And I think it also repairs symptoms of poisoning on the etheric levels. So that is something that’s interesting to think about. I don’t know how to explain that. Is something that I sort of experienced with it when attuning to it. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:43:00] Interesting. Yeah. All of these essences have so many different aspects and facets. So there’s something there that’s speaking to you, it might be really interesting to do more research on. Because that sounds a lot like that Cinnabar topic that we’re talking about. I think about it like when you drive around, as an empath or a sensitive, you can just be moving through life and you can be picking up on these “grief segments”. Just as you walk down the road you can be picking up stuff from somebody else, or you could be picking up the energy of what may have happened in the location. And so I wonder if the essence of Mustard can help remedy those little… I don’t even know what to call them… They’re not things but they’re like little bursts of of emotion or energy that you can… 

Rochana Felde [00:44:02] Yeah it’s well it’s bringing light you know. So it’s shedding light, you know, where there wasn’t light before. And so there’s a real sense of hope. I think that comes comes with that. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:44:17] Love it. I think also many essences are like that. The essence gives us that hope. You know no matter what they do, they are these gifts of nature that that offer us a way forward, that offer us the ability to embrace what is and and keep working towards something better. Plants never give up.

Rochana Felde [00:44:45] Right, and flowering flowers in general. When a plant flowers there’s this sense of hope that comes from … That is such a beautiful expression of life, that then turns into fruit and seed and the seed goes into the earth and then a new plant is born. You know it’s just that cycle. And the flowers that have that light infused yellowy golden hue like the Mustard. And St. John’s Wort is another great example. Those really embody that light energy. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:45:30] Yeah exactly. And for me the next step would be literally what’s next. Looking forward. When you’re working your way through through a grief experience it’s also useful, after you’ve gone through the first initial really tough stuff, to be able to be inspired. Even though there’s still more to do. You can find a way in to what your next step will be. What coming up for you for the future. And I think that’s one of the pieces that when I’m creating a grief remedy for someone, it’s always nice to give them that guiding light of what could be happening for them and that could be those angelics that connect you to the spirit kingdom. But also I think there’s there’s some nice things that can be offered – you know the asters are an interesting group of flowers in that they bloom late in the year. They bloom in the late summer and fall, and they have that energy of of helping something come to completion, and helping you connect to what was good about it and then to move forward after that, even if it’s no longer happening. So I’ve made a Lavender Aster which really talks to that sense of celebration of a graduation. It’s bittersweet having a graduation. It’s bittersweet having a going away party because you’re not going to be there anymore and the situation isn’t going to be happening anymore. You know a celebration of life is sad but also beautiful. So in those same ways, Lavender Aster can help you connect to the heart-brokenness and also the sense that this was really a great experience that I would not have given up for the world. And I know that essence maker David Dalton of Delta Gardens has a wonderful series of Aster essences that are really all about grief. And I think I’d be remiss not mentioning his series because they’re really helpful to help somebody navigate grief. 

Rochana Felde [00:47:42] Yeah we’ve both had him as a teacher and the Aster set is really interesting. There are asters I had never heard of, the Wood Aster or the White Aster etcetera. So they all have their place in different aspects of the grief process. One that I’d like to add in there and that sort of the next step is… really what’s happening is someone in grief is developing a new self identity as they go through the process, because now they’re that person without a father, or without a mother, without a husband. And so that’s an aspect of moving forward, that new identity, the way you see yourself. I think Jasmines are really great support for that and finding that spark of divinity within one’s self and finding meaning and purpose in life and providing that support for your new kind of you as you go forward. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:49:02] That’s beautiful and that’s such an important topic to think about because you know there’s a big hole in your life when something passes, when somebody goes, and your form changes to accommodate that that space. And I think that you’re really right to respect that place of when you’re supporting somebody who’s grieving to recognize that there’s a lot that’s going to change. And a lot of who you are, who you think you are, is going to shift and change to accommodate that. Thanks for sharing that piece. 

Rochana Felde [00:49:35] Yeah absolutely. Gosh there’s so many… I think we’re running out of time to talk about we might need to do a part two. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:49:44] I think we keep finding that to be the case. I don’t think we’re going to run out of things to talk about anytime really soon. So anyone who is listening to this, and experiencing grief, I think that the biggest thing is to be kind to yourself, to reach out to people who can help support you. Because, like you were saying Ro, that companioning process – we really need community to help us in this. And plants can be part of that community to help. Is there anything else that you’d like to add? 

Rochana Felde [00:50:22] Yeah I mean you know you’re not alone. We know everyone on this planet will lose someone. It’s just the way it is. If they haven’t yet, it will happen and we’re all kind of learning, we’re all in this together as as we go. Society changes slowly. Sometimes it changes fast, but it does change slowly when it comes to things like this, especially in our culture here. You know, not wanting to talk about the hard stuff, not wanting to face it. And the irony is that everybody’s facing it. So you know you’re not alone. And there are so many people that actually do this work and are happy to walk on the path with you. Flower Essence Practitioners, anyone in the holistic health industry pretty much. And there’s a lot of great books and supportive websites. So I list a few of those but just remember that you’re not alone, and that if you just hold space for yourself in love, know you’re gonna get through it. 

Kathleen Aspenns [00:51:48] Thanks for that. That’s really beautiful and I think that’s lovely to have some resources for people who are experiencing this, and it’s just been beautiful spending this time with you. Oh I know both of us have this topic close to our hearts and this is one that really informs the work that we do.

[00:52:39] This podcast is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. We are not physicians and do not diagnose prescribe or treat medical conditions. Please consult with your own physician or health care practitioner regarding the suggestions and recommendations made by the hosts and guests of the flower essence podcast. 

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