Archive for September, 2010

Bach Flower Remedies

There are times when we feel overcome by negative thoughts and emotions.  This causes turmoil within us and in our surroundings.  The Bach Flower Remedies are a tool to help instill balance and harmony in a natural way.  I use them as one of many ways to help establish peace, order and connection in daily life.

Bach Flower Remedies are a simple and complete set of 38 flower remedies meant to establish a balance in one’s body, mind and spirit. The remedies are prepared from non-poisonous wild flowers and represent a full spectrum of human emotion.  They are benign in their action and are not habit-forming. They can be taken by people of all ages with absolute impunity.

In my work as a life coach I offer Bach Flower Remedy consultations during times when a client is stuck in some way and is open to temporarily working with a technique that shifts focus from thinking, planning, and taking action, to one where their feelings take center stage and they can simply express, without censor, what their feelings are.  I will listen for underlying negative thoughts and recommend certain Bach Flower remedies to them.  I do not “prescribe” or advise. I offer my reasons for recommending each essence. My client decides for herself if what I say resonates. We discuss each recommendation, of which there could be any where from 4-7 at one time.  Those that resonate with the person, go into the remedy bottle.  Those that don’t resonate stay out . This is congruent with coaching, for you are the best expert about what is right and best for you.

About Bach Flower Remedies:

Bach Flower Remedies were discovered in the early 1930s by Dr. Edward Bach, a London physician, surgeon, homeopath and bacteriologist who believed that disease and sickness could be  traced back to negative feelings and thoughts. Dr Bach believed that the body, mind and spirit were interconnected and that when they were out of balance, illness could occur.  To Dr. Bach, each negative emotion had a corresponding positive one, which he termed “virtues”.  The goal was not to eliminate the negative, but to “… flood our natures with the particular virtue we need, and wash out from us any fault which is causing harm.”

The Bach Flower Remedies are used in over 60 countries as a complement to other forms of health treatment.  They have become part of a whole healing spectrum and not as an alternative to any other treatment. As such no claim is ever made that the Bach Flower Remedies treat or cure any physical ailments.  As a Bach Flower Registered Practitioner   (BRFP) I have a deep respect for these boundaries.

I offer individual Bach flower consultations from my office in West Seattle. The fee for a one-hour consultation is $75 and includes one personalized remedy bottle, a booklet briefly describing each of the 38 remedies, and one e-mail follow up.  Additional consultations within a 3-month period are $65.  Contact me. Please identify in your message that you are interested in a Bach Flower consultation.

Be Well,


Viveca Monahan, BFRP

To read  more about Dr Bach and the Remedies you can visit the web site of the Bach Centre at

When We Had Time

I believe the tragedy of our modern culture is how little time we have to amble and hang out with our neighbors, our families, our friends, and ourselves. The tragedy becomes more apparent as each passing year seems to race by faster than the one before. I wouldn’t even mind it if I understood what was so important that we were too busy to chat with our next door neighbor.

Grandma Mary lived across the street for 50 years and was living there when we moved in.  Grandma never hurried.  She woke up in the morning, made a cup of coffee, and watched a little morning network TV.  When my children were little they would call Grandma over every morning for coffee.  She would amble on over.

Then later in the afternoon we would put on the kettle once more and Grandma would be summoned, which she always accepted.  We had time then.  I had time to drive Grandma Mary to her doctor and she had time to take me to lunch.  I had time to take walks because Grandma Mary, at age 85 had time to romp with my small children.  And then she had time for yet another cup of coffee down at Minnie’s on the corner.

Minnie had time to bake cookies and make coffee.  Neighbors had time to walk over and sit around gossiping, sipping, chewing and just plain being neighborly.

As my kids got bigger, they got to run across the street and bring Grandma for coffee.  When they got bigger still they could walk all the way to the corner and have cookies with Minnie and Mary and Chuck and Laura and the Dotties .and Jerry and Margaret, Sonny and Marion; and Bill and Grace.  Virtually every one of these dear people passed away before my children became teenagers.  But the memory of people who had time for them is very much alive.

excerpts from Viv’s Journal 12/2/05

3 a.m.

Dear Sisters,

The time is 3:30 am and I’ve been awake over an hour.  This is not unusual; I’m getting used to it.  So I went to the New York Times headlines to read the latest news and was intrigued by this new and improved way homeland security  is handling perceived security risks.  Apparently airport security has unlimited license to go ahead and fondle, tweak and grope anyone they choose, right there in front of the gawking crowds -all in the name of protecting America from terrorists.  My advice to you, dear sisters, is when you go to the airport this holiday weekend, go ugly.  It seems that attractiveness might set off security alarms at some check points.

Here are some tips to help you look your worse.  Wear gray sweats one size too big if you’re on the svelte side and one size too small if you’ve got a few rolls.  You want to look appropriately unattractive, but not too revolting.  Wear a little makeup so you don’t look suspiciously depressed, but don’t overdo it or you may attract attention.

And if you prefer not to go ugly,  I have some  ideas to help preserve your dignity should you be selected for a fondle.  You know those cherry red  noses that honk when you squeeze them?  Why not  stuff a couple in your bra cups.  Or install a musical card to the butt of your pants that croons : “Oh baby, oh baby, oh baby” when touched.  Or (ooh, this is nasty) place a stink bomb where the sun simply  never shines- just in case.

Remember when  our mothers used to harp  about clean underwear in case of a hospital emergency?   Please remember her wisdom when  choosing your travel outfit.  Buy a brand new bra or wear a black one.  You don’t want everyone seeing your graying straps.  And if your breasts still hang above your naval, by all means, wear a push up.  It will save security a little time and you’ll look mahvelous.

Happy Thanksgiving.  Happy Travels!



From Viv’s Journal11/23/2004


Food is delicious when prepared well.  Unless you are a fat juicy summer peach tasting perfect just as you are.  It’s yummy to drink coffee at the bakery, biting in to a freshly made glazed donut or ruggulah.  Sirloin steak medium rare with garlicky mashed potatoes and asparagus, the thin kind with a squeeze of lemon, a pat of butter, and a dash of salt.  Oh my God.  This is best eaten when you are really hungry.  It is absolutely best when eaten during a diet when you take the time to really prepare it well and make it pretty on the plate with curls of parsley and carrots to brighten the plate.  Umm.  Everything tastes better when dieting.  You appreciate what you’re eating, fully conscious of the flavor, texture, smells and colors.

Food, yes, delicious.  And yet that isn’t the whole story.  There are moments that hang off the shrub of an hour perfectly ripened by the rays of time.  That precise juicy moment when you say YES.  YES, I’ll marry you.  YES, I’ll play with you.  YES I’ll accept your offer; your invitation; your generosity.  YES, I’ll pick up my roots and move to the other end of the country.  YES I’ll accept the job.  YES I’ll come to your poetry reading; take that photo; hold your little hand while you splash in the wading pool.  YES to walks in the park, laughing at the moon, the movies, at parties and picnics.  Fun time with you.   Spectacular moments savored in delicious memory sauce simmering on the back burner, ever changing flavors.  Made most delicious by making them with you.

From Viv’s Journal May 19, 2008

Bach Flowers: my personal journey

This was an essay I submitted to the Bach Foundation as part of my Bach practitioner training.

The first time I encountered the Bach Flower Essences I was in the midst of a full blown hormonal depression.  It was a typically cold, dark and rainy Wednesday in the middle of the winter of 2003 here in the Pacific Northwest.   I was perusing the aisles of our local Puget Sound Consumer Cooperative (PCC,)  an organic health food store which carries  homeopathic remedies, herbal essences, and so forth.  I sought relief for my low feelings and didn’t want to take the pharmaceuticals offered to me by a psychiatrist.  I came upon the yellow Bach display and found the booklet The 38 Bach Flower Essences. A helpful guide to the use of 38 flower essences to balance emotions and enhance well being.  I perused through the booklet and felt compelled to put it in my cart.

Later that day I sat down and read through the booklet and started to recognize myself in some of the descriptions of the flower essences.  I suffered for many years with “hormonal” mood swings, feelings of inadequacy, mild depression, mild intermittent anxieties, distraction, lack of focus, painful feelings of envy and a host of other not so pleasant feelings from time to time, and without warning.  This booklet seemed to address most of those feelings, which gave me a sense of connection to the flowers immediately.  At the time the flower I resonated most with was White Chestnut, for my chronic mind-spinning thoughts about how my teenage son was treating me.  I was also chronically stewing about my husband and how he interacted with my son and with me.  I couldn’t get the thoughts out of my head.  Once I was through ruminating about one thing, another idea came along to plague my mind.   There were many times I experienced this mind spin and I liked that there was a “remedy” for it.

I am a journaler and was writing in my journal before, during, and after my regimen of White Chestnut.  I would record the mind spinning thoughts and take my drops four times a day, sometimes more often.  It got so that I would notice the instant my mind went off into rumination and I would record it.  After several days I noticed that I was thinking a lot more about my clients and began stewing a bit over the type of clients I was serving.  Was I really in the right niche for me?    What I didn’t catch on to immediately, but realized much later, was that my ruminating over my son’s behavior was healing and underneath it was another layer of troubling thoughts that had to do with my lack of clarity about my life’s work.  I was uncertain about my direction and found myself stewing more and more about it.  At that point I chose Wild Oat for my lack of clarity about my work as a life coach, while continuing with the White Chestnut.  I soon found myself going to PCC each week and buying one or new two bottles.  Within several months I went to the Bach Foundation website and learned there was a course of study and I filed that information for a couple of years, while taking drops periodically, until I finally signed up for the distance learning foundational course in 2006. It was during this period my son moved out of the house in a traumatic manner and broke my heart.   During the six months I took to complete that course, my life was in constant turmoil around him and the situation.  My journaling, combined with the Bach studies, is what saved my sanity during those months.

During this time that I was studying, my daughter was entering high school and experiencing her own personal challenges.  I began to discuss the Bach Flowers with her, and together we found essences that resonated for her. By this time I had purchased the entire Bach remedy box and all 38 remedies.  My daughter was often drawn to Larch for confidence, White Chestnut for those whirling thoughts, and Mimulus for anxieties about going to high school.  Schleranthus came in handy because she was forever challenged with indecision among her outfits.  Over the years, Bach Flowers has become a bit of a shorthand language for us.  All she has to say to me is “I need some larch”, and I understand she’s feeling insecure about something.  It helps me provide useful support to her rather than assuming things.  She often asks me for a session where we sit down; she’ll talk and I’ll listen, jotting down possible remedies and discussing these with her.  We’ll put together her bottle, which she’ll carry in her purse.  She generally reports positive feelings almost immediately.

I find myself using the remedies in my work as a life coach for those times when a client is stuck and regular goal setting, coaching, planning and list-making doesn’t provide relief.  I might offer to end the coaching session for the day and move into a Bach Flower consultation. This often helps because my client is relieved from having to “work on” his challenge and simply describe how he feels.  The flowers give us a language.  “I’m terribly worried about my son and can’t stay focused on my writing” (Red Chestnut?)… “I guess I don’t want to room with Mary at the conference because I like to be alone”… (Water Violet?).  These sessions help  us get to the core of the matter.  When a client “gets it” that she’s a Water Violet type of person, it helps her forgive herself for not wanting to participate with all the festivities and so forth.  This is a great tool.

Several years before I discovered Bach Flowers at the PCC, I had been seeing a naturopath. I remember she gave me a bottle of Bach Flower Remedies and explained to me that I might become a little weepy and not to worry.  At the time I had no idea what was in that bottle.  I found some notes recently from that time and saw she had prescribed Star of Bethlehem, Olive, and Willow.  Indeed during the time I was taking those remedies I was weepy, sensitive, reflective.  I remember that this was part of the treatment for the old scar tissue built up around cervical cysts I suffered from.  What I appreciate now is how effective those Bach remedies were and I didn’t know anything about them.

The Practitioner Course has kept me intensely focused on the remedies, learning about them, reading, writing, having numerous sessions with clients.  The course has cemented the remedies into my life and they are now part of how I see myself and sort out many of life’s dilemmas.  The remedies give me a simple language and a beautiful lens from which to understand my own feelings and to balance my emotions.  I find it easier to be compassionate toward others when I feel frustration with them.  It has become a tool I use often when I feel out of balance.  I’ll take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle.  I’ll pour my heart out on the left side and suggest remedies for myself on the right.  This is the same simple method I use for my friends, family, and clients.  We talk, I write, I jot down essences.  Once we’ve gotten it all down, I’ll review the list of remedies I considered and choose the most appropriate to discuss with my client.  This almost always ends up helping right away – even before essences are taken!  The essences do their  deeper work.  I trust that.  The Bach Flower Remedies have changed my life and helped me find a wholeness I never before knew.  They have become a part of my daily life, and a way to find relief when I feel out of balance.  When I feel anxious, worried, or upset I probe deeper for meaning.  When I feel angry, jealous, or vengeful I seek understanding of its source and what action I must take.  I don’t accept confusion as an appropriate mind set, but rather as a symptom of underlying need.  What is this indecision?  Can I not make up my mind to stay or go?  (Sclerahnthus?); Am I deeply worried about my loved one’s safety and that’s why I can’t decide? (Red Chestnut?)  Maybe I’m not so indecisive, but keep asking others for their take on the situation (Cerato?) instead of going forth as I know in my heart I should….

I like to see myself as a practical, grounded, rational person who believes that all of life is interconnected, even in death.  Out of death comes new life, and an endless life process connects all that was, is, and will be to each other.  The life-force from the flowers contains the very same life-force that exists within each one of us.  It follows, therefore, that when my life force is out of balance, there exists a corresponding force to bring it back.  From what I’ve learned about nature in general, there could be many other methods to create balance- unique flowers, aromas, colors, light therapy and so on.  The Bach Flower therapy is a contained system that holds within it the healing potential for all emotional imbalances.  I find great comfort in this, as I choose to keep my focus on this one therapy exclusively and not confuse my wandering mind with all the endless possibilities outside the system!  The Bach Flowers have extended my life coaching practice as a way to help people become unstuck when conventional thinking and planning isn’t working for them.  This brings a much-appreciated balance to what can often times seem like mental work.  Introducing the Bach Flowers offers the possibility for relaxing into what simply is, instead of trying so hard to change oneself or one’s circumstances.  Answers come one step at a time, as one’s own truth unfolds.

In closing I want to say that since that first day 6 years ago when I met up with the Bach Flower booklet, through my years of living gently with the flowers, and proceeding with my training as a practitioner, my life has taken on new meaning.  Then I was 50 years old and now I am 56.  Much of my life prior to Bach was consumed by tormented thoughts and confusion.  My work with the flowers has been gentle, calm, non-frenetic. It grounds me. I have supported a dozen others with the flowers and without exception they have reported a similar grounded sense of clearness and calm.  The flowers have become friends. The idea of them makes me smile.  I feel a sense of connection to the shimmering, rustle of the Aspen tree and a sense of security with the lovely rock rose now growing in my garden.  I see the brave and powerful oak in some of my closest friends, including my dear husband.  Dr Bach said to “accept the Remedies as part of life.”  It is my joy to report, that I do indeed accept the remedies as part of life.  I appreciate that I found my way to them and look forward to supporting others with the remedies for the rest of my days.     Namaste.

Financial Coaching

Tending Your Cash Garden:

The goal of Cash Garden Coaching — People are clear about their finances.  Formerly anxious, fuzzy, confused, overwhelmed people find clarity and peace in matters of their money.

My clients are women and men of all ages, most of whom have ADD or something like it. They are confused about their finances and don’t know what they have or how to find out.  They are worried about their future. Many are self-employed working from home, although some hold full-time jobs.

My clients are kind, creative, authentic and generally optimistic people.  They have fallen on hard times or maybe the truth has finally caught up with them. They’re ready to take charge, face themselves, face their inner  Trolls, and move on.

My clients can expect to receive a lot of value from me.  I provide tools you can use every day, and resources to help you through the hard times.  I keep in touch regularly and honor my agreements with you.  My intention is to help you acquire what you need in order to stay focused and connected.  My fees are reasonable to begin with.  And I am always willing to have an open and honest conversation about money.  If we are not working together, it isn’t because you can’t afford to pay.

I offer a way for my clients to see their progress- visually, kinesthetically and audibly. When we create the goal, we set up major signposts along the way – benchmarks that measure progress. We co-create ways to celebrate.

I am sensitive to my client’s individual and personal needs, which is why I do not have a pre-packaged program for you and your financial well-being.  We spend the time we need to discover what you want to accomplish.  I help you create a major goal and the steps toward reaching it.  This is very concrete.  You have sought coaching because you lack clarity.  You will begin to feel clear and in control from our very first session.

The most important part of our process is honoring our agreements.  I will encourage you to keep your agreements with me, with others, and with yourself.  I will do my best to model this in my own life and in relationship with you.

I offer a 90-minute financial coaching session for $145, either in person or on the telephone.