Author Archive

My Mother My Child: A Daughter’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s Disease. Part 2

This is part 2 of a 3-part story

During the first few months we lived together, Mom regularly asked me if it was time to go back to her real home where she lived for 31 years devotedly taking care of another family’s domestic needs. After a while she stopped asking. Six months passed and then a year. I had long since abandoned my school plans and began my career in the tax and accounting field. The hours were long and the work all-consuming. Mom would stay in the apartment most ofthe time, but learned how to walk to the shopping center and back again. During warm weather she would bring her knitting and sit on a bench all day. Mom would often say how happy she was to be with her daughter. We went often to the beach. Mom so loved the ocean. I took her grocery shopping, to the hairdresser, to Philharmonic hall. it was a wonderful year for me, too. Shewas taking care of me, too. She washed my clothes, prepared meals for me, sewed, sang and told stories… the same stories over and over again about how adorable I was as a baby. She told how she would pick me up and hold me for hours wondering if there ever was a more beautiful child. There were aspects of my life I wanted to know about but she couldn’t remember. Those memories were forever swallowed up by her disease.

Life went smoothly along. Mom was fairly independent. I’d go to work and she would go off to the shopping center, watching the people go by, and knitting beautiful, colorful blankets day after day after day. I convinced myself that there had been a mistake in her diagnosis. My mother did not have Alzheimer’s Disease. There was nothing wrong with her. she was simply a lovely, innocent little lady who passed her days in the sunshine while waiting for her daughter to come home. She would call me at the office every day at 2:00. She would ask the receptionist in her singing Swedish accent: “Can I please speak to Viveca (Vee Vee Ca)”. And that’s the way it went every day.

One day she did not call. When I called the house, there was no answer so I ran out of the office and drove to the shopping center. Not finding her, I drove around the neighborhood thinking the worst. Finally I called the police. What seemed like an hour later, a policeman escorted a terrified little mom to the door. He found her walking along the middle of the parkway. She had forgotten her way home. Poor Mom! I held her in my arms while she sobbed and sobbed. I held her a longtime, feeling deeply in my bones that this was just the beginning.

After that episode Mom decided that she didn’t want to go for those walks anymore. It was too cold, and besides, her knitting was becoming too heavy. Of course.

During those first two years life was me and Mom, our cat and my job. I absorbed myself totally in work and when I wasn’t in the office, I was home studying tax law. I tried to arrange for housekeepers to come but Mom wouldn’t let them in. She did not want any strangers in the house. She ws content to sit alone knitting her blankets and watching TV. She continued to call me at 2:00. As the weeks went by, she would often forget to call and eventually she stopped calling at all.

Sometimes I would come home from work and Mom would be quite cross. She’d tell me there were men in the house bothering her. When we talked more about it, I realized that she was referring to characters on TV. It was tax time and a voice would often come on television wagging a finger directly at my mother. It was a public announcment about the earned income credit. As he wagged and pointed he said “The IRS might owe you money!” Mom heard, “I want your money.” She was red-faced and angry yelling at him, shaking her finger up close to the tv face “You will not get one cent of my money. Not one cent!”

There were some mornings when Mom would beg me not to leave. she would be on her hands and knees, grabbing my legs sobbing and pleading. During those episodes I would sit with her until she calmed down. I held her hand and tried to soothe her. I looked into daycare, but they were not accepting disoriented people.

One warm and sunny spring day, mom suddenly decided she would go for walks again. I made the trip with her several times to make sure she knew the way, and she remembered perfectly! I battled with myself as to the wisdom of letting her go. I gave her a special bracelet with our address and my work number and a watch with an alarm to remind her to call me. My worries for her safety were outweighed by her need for this freedom. I let her go.

We lived in New York together for four years. Mom never got lost again. she had rosy, healthy cheeks and made several beautiful blankets, each simpler in pattern than its predecessor. She was holding on. Over time, she knit less and less. Eventually the knitting stopped.

To be continued.

Alzheimer’s Disease Resources

My Mother My Child: A Daughter’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s Disease

This is part one of a longer story.

I was 28 years old when Alzheimer’s disease sneaked its way into our lives. It was the Fall of 1982 and I was just coming out of a two year post-divorce reclusive period. I was back in school, dating, and starting a new job. I felt free from the burden of my heart ache and guilt. I now could do anything I wanted and spent lots of my time in bookstores and travel agencies seeking information about the world, preparing to explore it fully. I sat this one Thursday afternoon in my studio apartment, wrapped in a soft yellow shawl sipping tea and sorting through brochures about Tahiti, Bali and New Zealand. These were the lands of my dreams- exotic, beautiful and far away.

The telephone interrupted my dreaming. It was My mother’s doctor with a diagnosis for me. Alzheimer’s Disease. He explained something about plaques and tangles in the brain and described the gradual deterioration of memory. I waited for him to mention a pill or therapy that would cure my mother’s problem. I asked him. The doctor lowered his voice in reply: “there is no known cure.” He explained that Alzheimer’s is a progressive, irreversible brain disorder that usually affects persons over age 60. (My mother was 65), but some individuals in their 40s and 50s are afflicted. “I’m very sorry.” He invited me to enroll in a new research program for people like my mom. I made those arrangements with him and hung up.

I sat in my room shivering in the dusk while the full meaning of what I learned sank in. My mother has an irreversible brain disorder which will gradually take her away from me, her only child. How will I take care of her, pay the bills, go to school? What about my new life and dating again and finding a husband? Who will want me? Where will we live? I felt certain in that moment that my life was over.

During that next year life just kind of went on. Mom continued working as a live-in housekeeper. I went to school and work. I put travel ideas on hold, though. I would receive regular phone calls from mom’s employers who shared details of her forgetfulness: sugar in the fridge, brooms in the clothes closet, chicken bones in the laundry hamper. I felt impatient with them. Couldn’t they pardon a few inconveniences? After all my mother had served them well for over thirty years. What was wrong with these people?

We participated in the Alzheimer’s research program. We met with various doctors, social workers, psychologists, students and other interested parties. Mom was asked to answer again and again such questions as who is the President of the United States? do you know what day it is? What year is this? Please count backwards from ten. Mom would laugh as she struggled with the answers. Why, Kennedy was the President. Everyone knows that! She looked at me for help and I squeezed her hand encouraging her to answer the best she could. Secretly I found the whole thing annoying. What difference did it make what day it was? I explained to these people that my mother lived a simple life. She was kind and thoughtful. She loved all living things, and she never ever forgot to feed the birds. She was self-reliant and very practical. There wasn’t anything she couldn’t mend with simple tools or needle and thread. She sang beautiful soprano and read scores of books by Dale Carnegie, Howard Vernon, and Norman Vincent Peale. She believed that if you only filled your mind with pure and simple thoughts, your life would be blessed with happiness and good health. Wasn’t this important? They smiled politely and nodded. Some would place a reassuring pat on my arm. I can still remember the click of ball point pens recording whatever they were finding notable and continuing to ask their relentlessly dumb questions.

After a year of this, the whole thing seemed too inane to continue. These visits were not helping my mother and they were a great hassle for me. Meanwhile the stories from Mom’s employers continued. She was now mixing the darks with the whites, throwing $100 silk panties in the hot cycle and flirting with the repairmen. She would have to go.

I found us an apartment and gave Mom the master bedroom with private bath. She hated it and was angry with me for making her live there. She wanted to work and be useful. She wanted her old room at the house she lived in for 31 years. If I had to pick the most agonizing period of my mother’s illness, this was it. She had enough understanding to know something terrible was happening to her yet I could not find the words to ease her suffering.

~To be continued.

One Point in Time

I sat there among the paper, projects, commitments, emails, bills, promises and looming deadlines. And I sat and continued to sit, unable to move on any of it. Full blown inertia set in and I was hopelessly stuck in it. This familiar moment in time is one I relive over and over and have little warning when it will show up. Several inner sparks tell me to gather the bills, write an email, or sort through the file. Others say create a plan, prioritize, call someone. Still more admonish my laziness;others push my head into my hands and plead with me to do something! No thought of threat or reward can lift me. I have lost many opportunities, much money, jobs, potential clients and a few friends over the years- all traceable to one or more of these quick sand moments in time.

On its face this does look like simple procrastination or laziness. I have work to do and promises to keep and I am doing nothing. There are reasons why I’m in this predicament- most of them the results of choices I made. I took on too much. I waited too long. I over-promised. I allowed too much to accumulate. I did procrastinate and succumb to more interesting pursuits instead of doing what needed to be done when it needed doing. This is all true. There is no one to blame but myself.

I have shelves lined with advice for how to organize my time and space; how to manage my things and my schedule. These are valuable resources in my life and in my work as a life coach. The myriad tips and tools for managing oneself are like bricks and mortar for creating an empowered existence. Each tool is an opportunity to build a stronger foundation and a calmer, more successful life. I can start fresh each day with a new way of being: From this day forth, all my incoming mail and papers go in the red basket. Starting right now, I check my emails three times a day and turn off my Blackberry between the hours of 2 and 4pm. I do a lot of cooking on Monday nights so that I need not cook for several days. As soon as I accept a new project, I outline its parameters and create a time line for completing it. These are all tools I use to create order in my life. When I commit to these kinds of activities, over a period of weeks, months, and years, much of the mundane aspects of living are automatically handled. With the start of these kinds of habits I have come miles on this journey toward living a fully harmonious life.

And yet even the finest sieve lets particles through. Despite my efforts to form good habits and commit to them, I sometimes forget to turn off the Blackberry. I’ll sign up for a Monday night exercise class or the red basket is co-opted for another purpose, leaving the incoming papers to fend for themselves. Without a contingency plan, there go the systems. This partially explains why, on this particular day, I sat there among the paper, projects, commitments and looming deadlines and felt so overwhelmed. My pre-frontal cortex, that part of my brain that plans and organizes and handles the details of my life, seemingly shut down. All the books, advice, tools, programs, habits and support groups in the world could not help me in that precise moment. I was stuck.

One Point in Time:
Sitting there at my desk at 7:07pm, mental wheels spinning wildly, I saw in my mind’s eye, a large period. I picked up my pencil and drew that large period on a piece of paper. Then I put my finger on that period. I thought of it as a pause button. STOP! Stop spinning. Stop thinking, ruminating, judging, deliberating, drowning. STOP. Breathe. Keeping my finger on the dot, I then I drew a small circle. What should be the very next thing I do? I wrote it in the circle. (walk to ladies room). When I returned to my desk I put my finger back on the circle. I drew a triangle. What is the very next thing I should do? Pack up to go home. I put my finger on the triangle, took a moment to pause and breathe. I packed up to leave. I drew a square. What next? I wrote in the square Go Home.

This whole process from the moment I drew the first period to the time I locked my office door took 7 minutes. At another time I would have sat there until 10pm feverishly plugging away. During my pausing moments, I focused only on what I need to do in the next moment. You can only fill a moment with one activity. My periods and other patterns represented those moments for me- one at a time. They allowed me to pause, and consider what do I really need to do next. I could take myself home to my family and make dinner for us, and sit down and eat it. Once I did that, I came to my home office and drew a diamond shape: 10 minutes plan for tomorrow. I made a list of 5 important things to take care of, with a reminder to place Periods through out the day in order to STOP, breath, notice, and decide. What’s Next?

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,

Viv

Viveca Monahan, BFRP

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

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!

Love,

Viv

From Viv’s Journal11/23/2004

Delicious


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.

Definining “Purpose”

There is the grand purpose that answers the question “Why am I here?”  The answer is what gets you out of bed in the morning.  It’s what motivates you to take care of the string of little things because the big one is on the other end. Your Grand Purpose is the Star upon which you train your eye and your body  follows. You may or may not be able to identify your Grand Purpose, but it’s there.  It’s always there.  You get a sense of it even when you can’t define what “it” is.  Grand Purpose goes by other names like “calling,” “life’s work,” “mission.”  What they all have in common is the scale of meaning.  It encompasses the whole of your life even when you are not focused on it.  Indeed, even when you are unaware it exists.

Then there is your ever-changing mini purpose,”What should I be doing right now?”  … Am I doing it?