FEP44 The Courageous Heart

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Thich Nhat Hahn  

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Kathleen Aspenns:
[00:00:39] Hey, flower lovers. It’s good to be with you again. Ro and I have been reflecting on, meditating on our next topic, and we wanted to share some ideas that we’ve been coming up with on the topic of courageous hearts. This has been a really challenging few years and a lot of us are feeling it. And we’re feeling that we’ve lost a lot, a lot of things have changed and changed forever. And what do we do with that? And how do we go on? How do we choose to make that courageous choice to keep our hearts open, to keep connections, to really do that internal work of staying present, of being around a lot of reactivity and a lot of grief and a lot of anger. And how do we navigate all of this? And that’s our topic today, and it’s really nice to be here with you again, Ro. Let’s dig in, shall we?

Rochana Felde: [00:01:45] Yeah, yeah. I feel like it’s been a time of falling away where we’ve been like–  everyone on this planet has been affected by the pandemic. I mean, nobody, regardless of your beliefs or personal experience, the fact is, is that directly or indirectly, no one has been left untouched by the pandemic of the last couple of years. And on top of that, we are having more and more environmental disasters because of climate change, so there’s a deep grief there. And also another set of circumstances that have caused many people on the planet, stress, anxiety, fear, and we’re just left in this wake of destruction, it feels like, all of these layers peeling off.  And then a whole other aspect is the kind of social evolution that we’ve been going through with cancel culture and so many people that we may have formally learned from, looked up to, celebrities, that information comes out and they’re not who you thought they were. So many people have questioned their beliefs on politics, religion, spirituality, and changed their beliefs over this last period of time. So we’re really in this just transitional place, and it’s kind of, I feel like, collectively, it’s leaving us feeling like, where do we go–? Where do we go next? What do we do now? We’re just kind of stripped bare of everything and how do we emerge from this?

And one of the things that I keep hearing when I communicate with, like the Redwoods, some of my plant allies, and the way that I’ve been feeling is that we just have to find ways to come together and be in community. It’s learning to speak to each other again, regardless of our belief systems, because we’re going to need to help each other. We really need to help each other to survive, that’s kind of it. So that’s where I’m at and that need for having that courage, heart-centered courage and compassion as we go forward seems to be the strongest thing that we really need right now.

Kathleen Aspenns: [00:04:56] The aspect of how hot the cultural temperature is, you were mentioning cancel culture – and you see that a lot on social media, absolutely brings the temperature up. You see people reacting and they’re basically shouting at each other. And a lot of these relationships can come unmoored because of this disconnection. If you’re in social media time, like Twitter is classic for this, where people are just shooting their mouths off, and you lose that connection that you’re actually speaking to a human being, and you’re more in your own head, and your own head just starts to feed and spiral, and you just get angrier and more frustrated, and you forget that this is another human being that you’re talking to. And I think in part, this experience of being more isolated from usual people that we interact with has amplified this tendency and being constrained in many ways, both for taking care of our communities and for taking care of our own health and all that, we’re in these restrictions. And so that’s going to make us more frustrated and more angry as well. And then, we’re in a pressure cooker with our families and our loved ones. We really want a break, but we are all stuck together, right? So it’s really amplifying a lot of these challenges that I know that we’re both experiencing and everyone we talk to is experiencing.

Rochana Felde: [00:06:49] Yeah, and it’s given people social anxiety that didn’t used to have social anxiety. So that’s kind of breaking new ground for a lot of people that are surprised that it’s happening to them when they never had that before. And I think people are wondering where they belong. We’ve just been isolated and on so many levels, it sort of leaves us to– and with everything that’s fallen away, it leaves us to wonder, who are my people? How do I reconnect? Who do I reconnect with? How do I reconnect? So there is all of that is part of getting– and it’s not even just like a physical thing, you know, it’s like, Oh, things are opening up, let’s go out here, here. That’s not really what I’m saying. I’m talking about the sort of emotional spiritual level of connection where in order to go through what we’ve gone through in the past two years, we have emotionally also cut ourselves off. We’ve had to, right, in order to survive. So now it is opening that back up, that part of ourselves back up again.

Kathleen Aspenns: [00:08:13] For me, it’s a little bit like any kind of a post-traumatic scenario that we have these really strong parts who can step in and get day-to-day business done. These are the parts who got creative and pivoted and did all the things that had to be done. And then, when things get more stable again, when you start to see light at the end of the tunnel, when you start to feel more supported by whatever, that’s when everything has to come up to be processed. And so, so often, and I have these conversations with clients, that once the crisis is over, that’s when the emotional stuff really emerges and they think, but everything is so much better now. Why am I feeling so bad? It’s like, well, yeah, now you are strong enough. Now you are resourced enough that you can deal with this. It’s ready to come forward.

Rochana Felde: [00:09:20] Yeah. What a time, what a time we are in. And some of my learnings from this, this whole concept of community have more to do with the small forest town that I live in and the extreme fire threats and evacuations that we’ve had over the last couple of years. And now, what this town has been doing to make it more fire-safe and to help our communications because we frequently lose power or any access to communications, and so there’s been a group of us that have gotten involved in amateur radio. And I have my little amateur radio. So I’m interacting with people for this purpose that I would have not normally ever interacted with, and I feel like this process of working within your community, and I think all the people who’ve already maybe moved away and started to homestead or tried to become more self-sufficient over the pandemic, they’re probably realizing this too. But you can’t really do it on your own. You can’t survive by yourself on your own. You really need to have a community. So we have a couple of different kinds of communities. We have our Soul Tribe type people, which is all of our flower essence people here. This is one kind of community. And we have our family and our close friends. But then there’s that broader sort of humanity community and that I feel like it starts at home. It starts locally, right? It starts near you. And working on building that helps– it helps to widen the perspective that I think would help the whole planet, like it would just help the whole world. That’s how we start to come together. And that is a message that I’ve just heard repeated by the mighty Coastal Redwood that I had an attunement with yesterday. And the story is, the understory, it’s what is in the ground, it’s under our feet, it’s how we connect through our roots. And it was a really powerful message, and I feel like– I don’t know if that makes sense, but I feel it kind of brings all together this concept of how we move forward, we move forward together, and not saying that in some new-agey platitude way. It’s like a really grounded, rooted survival way.

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Kathleen Aspenns: [00:45:06] 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 healthcare practitioner regarding the suggestions and recommendations made by the hosts and guests of The Flower Essence podcast.

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FEP43 Self Acceptance

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