As a Virgo to the core and utter pragmatist, the idea of using flowers as a cure for my emotional and psychological issues seemed, to put it bluntly, silly. I'm all for decorative vases and gardening, but flowers as medicine? No way.
So when I read about Heidi Smith and the work she does at Moon & Bloom in a Vanity Fair article, you can bet no one was more surprised than me when I booked a flower essence therapy session for myself. Despite the many hours I've spent doing psychotherapeutic work (doctors, medicine, science), the draw to this not-so-mainstream form of healing was powerful ... inexplicably so.
According to her website, Smith specializes in integrative and flower essence therapy, and "healing and transformation through consciousness and Plant Spirit Medicine." Despite rereading the "about" page a dozen times, I was still unsure what I was walking into.
But in a fit of "why not?" (and a recent, nagging communication issue I'd been having with a loved one), I figured it couldn't hurt. If nothing else, I'd have a new story to tell about that time I went to flower essence therapy. (My I-floated-in-a-pitch-black-salt-chamber-for-better-skin story was getting old.)
I arrive and am welcomed into Smith's small, quiet, intimate space and after performing a quick ritual on herself (she closes her eyes, sets an intention for our appointment, and takes a few drops of her flower essence), we begin.
She explains that we'll spend the hour doing a general intake questionnaire, followed by meditation, and after assessment, she'll figure out what essences will serve me best. But first, we talk a little about what these essences are, and why she believes in them.
Smith tells me flower essences come from preserved blossoms that hold the "signature" of the flower, which contains a subtle energy that can resonate with the body. Each essence and combination has a unique energy and alchemy that will elicit a different response in every client. Basically, flower essences are used as "vibrational tuning forks" to help unblock patterns that can inhibit someone.
I nod and tell her I sort of understand, and then we begin the intake. It starts off simply enough: When's your birthday? Are you on any medication? What do you do for a living?
Then it gets real.
Without feeling nosy or invasive, she's asking questions I've never even asked myself. I talk about my relationships, my family, my self-image. I find myself responding without a beat, recalling memories and instances from my past that, at the time of occurrence, I never thought would resurface. I'm having verbal, emotional diarrhea in front of a complete stranger, but am oddly totally fine with it.
I haven't touched any flower essences yet, but maybe just being in the same room as them is already helping me break down that communication block I'd been struggling with. Maybe their vibrations are slowly jiggling it loose.
"Does your job feel like your true calling? Have you ever experienced trauma you might be holding on to? Do you hold tension in your neck because I just got a pain in my neck and I'm wondering if it's coming from you?"
I tell her I have a hard time getting started on things that are important but breeze through inconsequential stuff. I say that I know my dream job is something I'll have to create since it likely doesn't exist. I confess I'm not good at letting things go when there are emotions involved.
She asks if I'm spiritual, and when I give her a boring answer about being raised Jewish but these days only really associating with the religion culturally, she rephrases and question: Have I ever had a spiritual experience?
For the first time in my life, I realize I have some clairvoyant tendencies — that experiencing déjà vu psychologically, only to find myself in that same situation physically within a few months, had a name. That it doesn't make me crazy. That when I joke about inheriting some "witchiness" from my maternal grandma, I actually might not be joking.
She writes it all down in a calm, steady hand. She never once rolls her eyes or stifles a laugh when I say something I know would sound ridiculous to anyone else. She is understanding embodied.
Then we work on "focusing," a meditation-like technique that starts a lot like a seated Savasana — eyes closed, deep breaths, grounding, scanning the body for any discomfort or signals.
I'm breathing more deeply than ever, and my head, chest, and arms feel like they contain a balloon that fills and fills and fills every time I take a breath, constantly expanding to make room for what's inside.
I start to feel a little wobbly, uncomfortable with not being able to see and orient myself in the space. She asks if I want to acknowledge the feeling. I don't want to, but I do it, and immediately everything equalizes. My feet are flat on the floor, my limbs are pleasantly heavy, I have no desire to scratch the itch that's been festering on my scalp for five minutes, and I realize there's a tear slowly making its way down my cheek.
When she invites me to open my eyes again, a sense of calm has invaded my usually active mind. As cliché as it sounds, I'm feeling very level and peaceful, and I notice that my voice has become hushed, my movements languid.
And then my hour is up.
I am calm on my walk to the subway. I am calm when a tourist cuts me off as I go to swipe in. I am calm navigating the crowded F-train platform. My usual desire to take out whatever book I'm reading the second I step on the train is nowhere to be found. For the first time in a truly long time, I have no need to do, to distract myself with an activity, to be heard or seen or even acknowledged. I just am, and that's okay.
A few days later, I pick up my unique flower essence that will "address psycho-spiritual issues, support therapeutic goals, and enhance overall health." As per Heidi's instructions, I start using it three times a day with intention. I set a phone reminder and when it goes off, I stop what I'm doing, close my eyes, breathe deeply, set an intention, and let three drops fall onto my tongue.
Via email, she tells me my essence contains cinquefoil to clear my energy field of vulnerabilities, queen of the meadow for acceptance of my power, and golden amaranthus to help me let go of over-control and tune into "the ease of life."
After a few weeks, I can't say I notice a huge change, though I do think that stopping throughout the day and taking a minute to refocus and set an intention helps me get back on track when things get nutty or I feel like I'm drifting away from what I should be doing. And come to think of it, that aforementioned communication matter hasn't reared its ugly head in quite some time.
I remember that change can happen on many levels, and even though I might not be conscious of something, that doesn't mean it's not working. So I'll continue to take a minute to stop, breathe, and be, whether I'm feeling it or not.
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