Mimulus Bach flower remedies Simone Knorr

I didn‘t notice the arrival of spring this year. Suddenly everything was green, lush, and beautiful, and I hadn’t been aware that springtime had been creeping up upon us. So why had I missed my favourite part of the year? Because I let my mind be caught up with what Putin was doing with Ukraine; his brutality, seen daily in the news – it stunned me. I couldn’t look out to my surroundings in March, April, and May; I wasn’t observing Nature, my attention was elsewhere, caught up in the horrors of war.

 (If you haven’t read my last posting about Putin called ‘The evil of ‘Vine’ it is here.)

When I noticed that I hadn’t noticed spring coming, it got me thinking. What is the difference between worry and rumination? Rumination is the White Chestnut state where thoughts and problems go round and round in our heads without reaching a result. I wasn’t ruminating about Ukraine; I was in a continual state of tension and concern. It was like background static -  a lingering threatening quiet tone telling me that the world is out of kilter. I experienced negative thoughts, but they were very diffuse, I was worried but not turning a specific problem over in my mind. Worry and rumination overlap in that they involve negative thinking, and yet they are distinctive.

My worry and concern were about the future. What about the bereaved and separated families? What will become of the 10 million refugees? How will Ukraine survive the Russian onslaught? In contrast, when I have a White Chestnut state; it is about something that has already happened, it is about the past. Intrusive thoughts can occur but that was also not an aspect of my Ukraine anxiety; I had no intrusive thoughts, more a steady background noise. The White Chestnut state can mean blowing up little things out of proportion, someone might say; ‘don’t be so overly concerned about xyz!’. There seems to be little danger of underestimating what Putin’s decision to go to war means to the future world and the stability of Western democracies.

Another reason I was so numb to Nature this year was my continued work on research about my family’s history during World War II. The Ukraine war meant past and present atrocities all fell into one sad space in my mind making me painfully aware of what war means to humanity. I did a posting on my family a few years ago called ‘Breaking Decades of Silence’, which is here (if you’re interested).

For now, I’m on Red Chestnut (for my worry about the refugees and people fighting), Mimulus (for my fear of the dramatic changes to stable world order), and Walnut (protecting me from Putin’s evil doings - so he doesn’t get inside my head). I hope the mixture and my personality remedies will help me regain my inner quiet; I’ve also decided to follow the news less. However, what gives me hope is the rapid growth of renewable energy that Putin is provoking as we free ourselves from Russian energy sources and the solidarity the Western world is (mostly) demonstrating. How are you dealing with a world out of balance? I would love to read your comments.

The Mimulus flower photo is from my colleague Simone Knorr, BFRP. Thanks to her :-)

Further training courses taking place this year, check them out: Marketing for practitioners

Mindful communication - heighten your abilities to understand your clients.


I hesitated before I wrote this piece, I was not at all sure how to write it.

The Bach Centre recommends using the ‘story-feelings-remedies‘ formula as guidance to find which remedies are appropriate in a certain situation. The story of this blog posting is shocking in its immensity. On 14. July 2021 floods in Germany of unprecedented intensity swept 181 lives away. Hundreds of houses, dozens of villages, kilometres of roads and rail tracks and bridges and very many people’s livelihoods were decimated. As of 28. July, 73 people are still unaccounted for and are officially missing, hundreds were injured.

As I publish this piece, the clearing up has been going on for two weeks. Mud is being shovelled out of cellars and houses, ruined furniture and electric appliances are being carried out of homes to be scrapped. Roads have been cleared but thousands of people are still without fresh drinking water, electricity and gas and they will be for months to come. It is shockingly chilling that many of the dead cannot be identified because DNA tests to identify bodies are not possible. Why? Because homes have been washed away and tooth or hairbrushes (with people’s DNA) no longer exist. Likewise, dental records. 

Western Germany was not the only area hit by these floods: Belgium and Holland were also subject to intense rainfall in a short space of time and people drowned there too. Just to give an orientation of how the rain came down: one little river, usually 60cm deep, flowing gently through a sleepy German village turned to an 8m high violent torrent within only 24 hours.

Moving on to the feeling part of the above formula, it‘s clear that the tragedy left thousands of people in a deep state of shock. The extent of the catastrophe, its magnitude, left people completely disorientated as they face the loss of everything they had ever owned. Many only had their lives left - everything else was destroyed in the floods. Look at the woman in this photo… she’s made herself something to eat in what is left of her sitting room. Note the tide line indicating how high the water was in the room.


As people got busy trying to clear the devastation up, the shock was counteracted by activity but deep desperation is still continually surfacing. I too found myself in a state of shock and disbelief - I had never seen anything like this in Europe before. Happening only a few hundred kilometres to the north of where I live. We’re ‘not used to‘ this kind of tragedy. In our minds… this belongs to third world countries…but it doesn’t, does it?

On the positive side of things, overwhelming, heartwarming solidarity arose in the community as 1500-2000 helpers each day from outside the catastrophe area drove in to lend a hand. Double that amount at the weekend. Millions of euros have been donated by the public and of course, the government will support the flood victims. But can money really solve this?

The remedies relating to this story are not difficult to identify: Star of Bethlehem and Sweet Chestnut seem top of the list but I also wonder about Gorse for hopelessness and maybe Wild Rose for resignation. I know that I for one, am starting to resign about national governments lack of notable action to counteract climate change and climate collapse. I fail to see decisive action on greenhouse gases as the cause of global warming and a factor promoting extreme weather events.

I’ve puzzled now for two days on how to conclude this piece. I simply don’t know and will leave it at that.

floods 4

Photo: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images. The water recedes, destruction remains: Jutta Schnelleckes, 72, in her room that was once her lounge in Bad Neuenahr. Cars and lorries on the B265. Photo: EPA




Studying the various Bach flower remedy plants through the years means being familiar with how they behave. We usually only think of animals as behaving (or people) but I think plants behave as well. This year, after a cold April and during a wet May I was surprised at the behaviour of the red chestnut trees around me. They were pale. They looked washed out. I could have understood if it had only been one tree here and there looking a bit ill but they all looked wrong. Usually, the red of red chestnut trees is a cheer to the eyes after a long winter, this year they looked drab. It could hardly be due to lack of water because we‘d had a lot of rain I thought. And it couldn‘t have been due to some kind of local mineral deficiency as they all looked dull, faint and faded. (Yes, I did start to feel a bit sorry for them and concerned.)

One day I decided to investigate the phenomenon and was surprised by what I found. I had been giving courses (as some of you know) on the botany of the Bach flower remedy plants and I had shared with participants that white chestnut trees signal to insects by changing the colour of the flowers whether they have been pollinated or not. Red for don’t bother to visit, yellow for yes please! A participant in one of the courses asked if red chestnut (Aesculus x carnea) does this as well as it is a hybrid of Aesculus hippocastanum (white chestnut) and Aesculus pavia. I was not sure of the answer but I said I don‘t think so. I was wrong.

close up wh. Chestnut

Managing to pick some of the red chestnut flowers, although they were up high, this is what I found: the flowers were all pale because they were yellowish (on the right in the photo below), only a few were the familiar red colour. They had the same genetic mechanism as white chestnut trees only I had never observed this! They had not been pollinated and were looking dull for this reason. Why had they not been pollinated? Because it had rained heavily for weeks. (If you’re a bee and get a raindrop on your head, that is death by concussion! So stay at home.)

red ch.red yellow

So there you go, a new learning point, I was delighted. Above all at Nature’s mastery. And thank you to the participant who asked the original question, I'm afraid I don't know who you are :-)

POSTSCRIPT from my colleague Gwenda Kydd,  BFRP: 'It's an interesting phenomenon and happens elsewhere too - seemingly it improves the success rate of pollination (as most insects see red flowers as black, they no longer look worth visiting). An experiment which looked at 2 plants from the same genus showed striking differences (just gave a talk where I talked about this today!)...Weigela coraeensis has flowers that change colour – from white to purple - when they are pollinated but Weigela hortensis, has flowers which don’t. It was found that the colour-changing flowers achieve 95% pollination, compared with 25% in those which don’t change.' Read more on Gwenda's work here.


Often, I look with astonishment at the primate Homo sapiens. I marvel at its unique cognitive capabilities distinguishing it from other mammals. On the other hand, disturbingly, I also see its destructiveness towards its own and other species - and towards its environment, Planet Earth. Part of humankind’s uniqueness is our ability to use language in a highly differentiated way. We read and write, we use terms abstractly. We symbolize our experience in literature and poems (and a lot else) and language influences our experience. An example: the postpartum phase of life in the Mother wearing her sleeping child in carrier. Portrait of woman carrying her little baby in sling in the fields on summer day.UK today differs from that 100 years ago when a period of strict rest for women was normal and issues such as postpartum depression, (while mood changes must have also existed), had not yet been labelled as such. Therefore, devoid of a label, postnatal depression could be said to not have (yet) existed. Language shapes how we see things, even how we feel and gives us a specific view of the world. So this posting with its title Impatiens broke my arm probably woke associations in your mind (as someone familiar with the states that the Bach remedies stand for) of something to do with speed or impatience. You are right. 18 days ago I got out of the shower, my mobile rang and, forgetting that I had wet feet, I sprinted to answer before my mailbox took over.  I don’t have a carpet or a wooden floor in my flat, but shiny white tiles. I slipped and fell dramatically, the whole weight of my fall caught in my left arm and hand that I instinctively stretched out. The pain was excruciating and I knew that either my arm or wrist was broken. At the end of the day, along with the pain and my new plaster cast, I was simply grateful to live in a country with a good health care system. I'd received excellent attention at the hospital and the doctor was delighted "how well" I had broken my arm (not my wrist). His eyes glinted. It was an uncomplicated break.

So now I have slowed down, my Impatiens streak is pretty out of action at present. Impatiens at Mt. VernonThe book I’m reading at the moment is a memoir by Josie George. The author lives A Still Life as she is chronically ill. Her descriptions of her perceptions and experiences of living which has no hint of Impatiens are stunningly beautiful and I finish this piece with a quote out of her book about a daffodil undressing. I am only halfway through but know already that when I've finished, I'll re-read it.

"My son asleep, I sit on the sofa for a long while in the silence, and when my thoughts finally stop, I realise I can hear something. It is the dry crackle of a daffodil bud in its vase on top of the gas heater, slowly plumping itself to open, pushing against its paper casing to split it, ready to unfurl. Minutes go by and then I hear it again, the faintest rustle, little by little, push by push, until it grows still again, spent. I can almost feel its gentle eagerness. How much is wrapped up in each bud. How tight and full it must feel, and I think: I know that feeling. At least now I can say that I’ve been so quiet, I’ve heard a daffodil undress."

bach flower remedy blog

A Still Life: A Memoir Josie George


Have you found yourself in the new pandemic now sometimes longing for the past? Those carefree pre-Corona days when we mixed with others as often as we wanted, devoid of caution? I catch myself in this mode now and again and it reminds me of the Bach flower remedy Honeysuckle. People who need Honeysuckle live in the past - when things seemed better. In a true Honeysuckle state, people can become melancholy with remorse, longing for the past that no longer is. This hinders being present in one’s life now. Honeysuckle bachblüten

But couldn’t we all do with a bit of escapism, a bit of wonder and MAGIC in the pandemic now that we are still having to navigate? Another Bach flower remedy that I think of when we find it difficult to live in the present is Clematis. In this state, we are either living in an imagined future or withdrawing into a world of our own, therefore also finding it difficult to relate to present circumstances and people in the now.

There is a special upside to the Clematis state: living in one‘s own world can also mean that someone is highly creative. In this context, I think of my colleague Inga Berkensträter who has created a series of wonderful Happy Fellows, each figure a delightful representation of the various states of the Bach flower remedies. They are available as postcards. Cicely Mary Barker is well known for her delightful paintings of flower fairies: magical elves incorporating the spirit of flowers and trees. On the right, the clematis flower fairy. Clematis flower fairy

In my new and upcoming webinar about recognising the flowers and plants used to make our 'magical' remedies I will be including pictures of Barker‘s flower fairies. They have enchanted me since I was 7 years old when my dad gave me her book Flower Fairies of the Wayside (which I still have, a bit tattered, but much loved). Further details here if you are interested in joining an international group of flower remedy fans online on 19th & 26th September.

Something else to share: a few weeks ago I became a grandmother. Everything went well and mum and baby are doing fine. The baby is, of course, the most beautiful in the whole wide world, but then - isn‘t every newborn that? New life is a never-ending wonder: a tiny new baby is simply… magic.

Bach flower remedy blog flower power

Coming out of lockdown

On the evening of 9th March, I drove to my partner‘s place 170 km away from where I live. It was an eerie drive as the roads were already empty although it was early Monday evening. The lockdown was imminent; people were scared. I stayed with Joe for 11 weeks during the lockdown. I was out in the country, worked on my thesis, occasionally went shopping, saw no one and otherwise watched how the world dealt with the pandemic.

Bach flowers blog

On Tuesday, 26th May, I returned to Freiburg, my hometown in the south-west of Germany. Everything was the same, but different. What have I learnt during the lockdown?

That I only need about 30% of my stuff.

That the skies are bluer when Homo sapiens‘ mobility is drastically reduced.

That fear of infection as a motivation to change behaviour manifests itself differently in different countries.

Although I am English I live in Germany. My family lives in England, and I‘m studying at an English University, so I have many connections to the UK. It was shocking for me to see how incompetently the UK government managed (mismanaged) protecting the public from the Coronavirus. Those of you familiar with the Bach flower remedy Agrimony, might recognise in Boris Johnson several aspects of the Agrimony personality structure:

·       putting on a smiling face in grim situations

·       a lack of authenticity

·       being jolly when things are serious (very serious)

·       enjoying being in the middle of things

·       being in denial.

That is what I observed in the U.K.‘s Prime Minister, and I felt this attitude led to the lockdown and physical distancing being started much too late. The result is thousands of unnecessary infections and deaths, untold suffering. (Something similar has happened and continues to happen in the USA. But I won’t get into a rant again about Trump. See my previous posting on him if you want to read what I think of him and the remedy archetypes he seems to have.)

In Germany (where doubtlessly German order and discipline played a role) Angela Merkel appealed publically in a TV broadcast early on to the population to take things seriously because the situation is serious: stay at home. She appears to be a Rock Water-Water Violet-Oak-Vine person, but she does get things done. Politicians went into overdrive in dealing with the crisis. For example, a compensation scheme for self-employed was implemented and within a few weeks and I received compensation for the work I could no longer do. (Alexander Technique lessons and a Level 2 Bach flower remedy course.) Things worked efficiently, people felt safe. Today Germany has one of the lowest death rates from the pandemic. The UK, with Brexit lurking in the background, has been dramatically hardly hit and my heart aches because lack of fear led the government to delay taking measures. Sometimes a Mimulus state is healthy: fear of known things, like a potentially deadly virus that is currently pandemic.Mimulus flowers

Upon my return to Freiburg, I started throwing things out that I hadn‘t missed. It feels good to get rid of stuff, for example, dozens of books that I know I will never look at again. I will be restructuring my life completely, and that feels good.

Regarding the blue skies: the Corona crisis will seem minor to a full-blown climate breakdown - if it happens. Humanity still has a small window of time to restart the economy based on sustainable, Green policies. This is the one side of the dramatic corona crisis which I see is an opportunity, let‘s hope humankind is intelligent enough to use it.

Bach flower remedy blog



We are still in the roller-coaster process of adapting to how the Coronavirus pandemic, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, has ripped into our lives. Our everyday life and everything we take so for granted (took!) has been gradually, in some countries abruptly, dismantled. I’m writing this on the last day of March and the first of March already seems light years away.

Have you noticed how quiet it is? The background roar of traffic has gone. How quiet the skies have become, empty of condensation trails. But birdsong seems louder, the air seems clearer, the sky bluer. In the wood a few days ago my shadow fell on some anemones just coming out; the picture spoke to me.Bach flower remedy blog Corona

These strange happenings make me think of the Bach flower remedy Walnut which helps us adapt to new phases in life. This flower essence also helps break the link to the past („normality“?) and not be so easily influenced while we adapt to a new phase in life. The main source of influence at the moment is, I guess, the daily news showing that the infection rate of Covid-19 continues to increase and the death rate tragically and threateningly continues to rise.

Everybody is reacting differently to the pandemic: I know of someone in London who is so anxious that taking medication is necessary. I know a young woman who is expecting her first baby and is remarkably calm, taking things day by day. Most of us are on gradient somewhere in-between. The Bach remedies that help us come to terms with fear come to mind: Mimulus, (fear of infection) Aspen, (an eerie diffuse fear, more difficult to pin down to something) Rock Rose, (feelings of panic) Red Chestnut (worrying about loved ones) and Cherry Plum (fear of losing control). The list is potentially very long at present in the realm of anxiety, worry and fear. White Chestnut has helped me not dwell on thoughts about the pandemic and stay in the present.

White chestnut flowers pretty close upI feel blessed that family, friends and people I work with have come closer together in recent weeks to help one another make sense of what is happening. I hope all of you reading these words are having similar experiences. Humans are social creatures, and the toll of isolation cannot yet be assessed.

Philip Larkin, a Yorkshire poet (1922 – 1985) wrote:

Reaching for the world, as our lives do,

As all lives do, reaching that we may give

The best of what we are and hold as true:

Always it is by bridges that we live.

How would we feel and manage though the pandemic without the internet? When we get through this (and we will get through it, but it might take the whole year) I think humanity will start living differently: Our hyper-globilised world will get an update to a more local one with less worldwide travel, perhaps with more respect for Planet Earth. I often think that Homo sapiens forgets is only one of a million other species on this planet with a right to be here. (Yes, I'm aware of the righteous Vervain undertones of that sentence!) We will have more work from home as digitalisation comes into its own. I also believe that cooperation between nations will emerge as the way through and not America first strategies and the like. 2020, the year which sounded so enticing, will be remembered as a dark year of crisis. We are only a quarter into the year, and the new now is still profoundly unfamiliar.

Wishing everyone inner calm and patience with your kids if you are at home with them (and perhaps working from home too). Wishing you trust that it will come right if you are worried about someone. Speedy return to health if you are ill. Wishing you all precious online contacts. And of course good use of the Bach flower remedies to support your emotional health. Take care.

Walnut sign



It‘s nearly two years since I‘ve written anything for this blog. As some of you will know, I went back to university, and this was the reason for discontinuing. So what has brought me out of hibernation? The answer is a) my Vervain streak combined with b) the unprecedented environmental crisis in Australia caused by widespread incineration of the landscape and property. The word „bushfires“ somehow don‘t seem to capture the immensity of the crisis; the word appears belittling to me. But I am not an Australian perhaps Australians are happy with the term.fernkurs bach blüten

My heart goes out to the millions of Australians who lived with a dangerous level of air pollution for months. Thousands were displaced as they have fled the approaching fires and around 2000 properties have been lost. Up to now, over 30 people have died in the flames. Millions of animals have perished as have bushes, plants and trees. It will take years for the continent to recover. Inconceivable trauma has come into being. Mercifully, rain has now eased the situation.bachblüten fernkurs bach centre

My Vervain streak plays a role as I write this post as an active member of the German Green party and I’m highly sensitive to what we’re doing to the planet. (For those new to this blog I‘m English, but I live in Germany.) Vervain people react strongly to what they feel is wrong or unjust. How we humans treat our environment seems so often misguided to me, and I think that the happenings in Australia are connected to ‚environmental ignorance‘. The government is openly supportive of the coal industry and in denial regarding connected rising temperatures and lack of rainfall.

As an infamous Impatiens person, global countermeasures concerning climate change are happening much too slowly for my liking. I‘d like to see instant decarbonisation of the energy sector, although I know that is unrealistic.  

What remains is for each and every one of us to try and reduce her or his carbon footprint as drastically as possible. I have stopped using aeroplanes. I use public transport to go to work although it takes longer. I feel uncomfortable driving my car now, which I still do sometimes. I put on a pullover in winter instead of turning up the heating. I look out of the window to the mountains of the Black Forest in winter and see no snow, it worries me.

IMG 6831Hope I see in the worldwide Fridays for Future movement and the young and eloquent climate activist Greta Thunberg. Out of nowhere, a movement has developed pressurising politics and governments to take urgent climate action. In my home city of Freiburg I participated in the demonstration last May, where between 20,000 and 30,000 people were out on the roads shouting ‚What do we want? Climate justice! When we want it? Now!‘ I think it‘s fair to say that the Vervain personalities were collectively out on the roads that day and during consecutive demonstrations.IMG 6762

The positive side of the Vervain personality is awaking enthusiasm for the cause they believe in. Let‘s hope this energy will reach the politicians in time. I think Vervain people also have a positive mindset. I’m not resigned to climate change (Wild Rose), I’ve not lost hope (Gorse), but I am impatient get things moving. How does this topic play out for you? Looking forward to your comments.


Yes, I have been quiet. It was not only that I have had a lot to do, but also that something happened at the end of January. It was a Tuesday and actually, three things occurred on one day. Firstly, I heard that someone who is important to me is terminally ill. Secondly, I had a car accident.

I had driven into the end of a traffic jam, had to brake sharply. As I did this, I switched on my warning lights and checked my rear mirror to make sure the car behind me had enough braking distance. I saw he did. But looking again, a split second later, I saw that the car behind the car behind me was going much too fast and that an accident was imminent. I braced myself for the crash and then it came, more a loud thud than anything. I remained seated for a few minutes and took some of the rescue remedy, calming myself. Then I got out and went to the two men whose cars looked demolished. My car was not badly damaged as the car behind me had only been pushed into me. The man who had caused the accident thought things were 'not that bad' - I was surprised at his judgement. The man who had been pushed into me asked if I was ok. I said I was shaken but not injured. The police arrived, the cars roared past us. It was cold. I went to sit in my car again and tried to reach someone on my phone to talk to. Neither my partner, nor son or daughter or girlfriend answered. I noticed how much need I had to talk - to talk and digest the accident. Bach flower remedies accidentSoon, a policewoman came and took my report. I then got out of the car again and spoke to the driver of the car that had ploughed into the car behind me. I said I was surprised that he didn't ask if I was ok. He answered that he thought I was a just passenger. The tense way he was smiling and minimising things made me realise he was in Agrimony mode (denial).

After a while, I could continue my journey. I drove home slowly, thoughtfully. My daughter and girlfriend rang me back and I took time at a stopover to talk. By the time I was home, I felt ok. But when I unpacked my things from my time at my partner's place the third thing happened that made me wake up more than anything else. The Elm bottle that I'd had with me fell out of my bag and broke. I have been using the remedies for 30 years this year and it is actually only the second time a bottle has broken. So I have taken the message to heart and been taking it easy. That is why I have not written anything for the blog for a long time...IMG 20180130 175758

Elm is the remedy when we feel overwhelmed. Yes, I'd thought, it is all a bit much at the moment: clients, courses, studying for a PhD, the news of the terminal illness, an accident ... message heard and understood.


As 2017 draws to a close, I have started reflecting on the year. On the world political stage it certainly was a turbulent year.  Beech Winter skaliert

While I reflect, I am answering some questions in my journal that I took from the German weekly newspaper, DIE ZEIT.

Translated, they go like this and I hope you find them as intriguing as I do:

Was 2017 better or worse than you expected?

Who incorperated hope for you in 2017?

Who was a disappointment?

What was your greatest personal success 2017?

...and your personal failure?

What made you happy this year?

autumn leavesWhat annoyed you the most?

What was the biggest surprise?

What was missing in 2017?

Which headlines would you have preferred not to have read?

What would you like to correct, either in yourself or others?

What was the most important thing you learnt in 2017?

What was the nicest place you visited 2017?

What was your best moment?

What was your kindest act?

What‘s your headline or heading for 2017?

What was your most exciting moment?

What question that occupied you in 2017 has remained unanswered?

What do you wish for your country in 2018?

So I thought I'd share these questions with all Bach flower interested people who dip into my blog. Reflecting raises awareness and awareness raises our consciousness. And isn't that something we can all do with a bit more of? It is raising awareness that I think is one of the great strengths of the Bach flower remedies. We can only make a good combination for ourselves by answering the question 'how do I feel?' And to answer that question honestly we have to be aware and conscious of our emotional habits!


I'd had a vague Wild Oat state for about one and a half years, starting at the end of 2015. That meant a question about my path in life had repeatedly come to mind. I found myself thinking: 'Is that it? Is there anything else out there?' My life was moving smoothly, without stress - but there was this niggling question regarding the future that popped in and out of my thoughts. I was (superficially) content with seeing clients and giving courses, but things were not really engaging me enough, I was a bit bored and in a groove. But approaching my 60th birthday, it was clear I was not going to start a new job or something like that. I did not even bother to take the remedy Wild Oat because it was not acute, there was just this vague, intermittant question, 'is that all?!'.

Wild oat Bachblüten

Then, on the first of February this year (2017) I scrolled all the way down my Facebook feed, something I rarely do, being too Impatiens, (impatient) to take time for things like that. Right at the bottom was the offer of a three year research position with a scholarship at an English University on pregnancy and the Alexander Technique, (My other occupation along with being a BFRP is teacher of the Alexander Technique.) I contacted my Alexander colleague who had published the position on Facebook and asked if I could apply although I had completed my undergratuate degree 38 years ago. She said 'yes' and encouraged me to write the necessary research proposal for the application.

I spent March this year doing exactly that and the strange thing was that from the start I was sure that I would be offered a place. I was sure I would be successful, that this was 'mine'. Often I had to have a good stern talk to myself, saying this certainty is unfounded and could lead to disappointment. But the certainty would not go away.

I was offered an interview via Skype in April and despite all excitement, it went well. Two days later I was offered a place and again two days later, I accepted, delighted.

So in September I became a student again, work has slipped into the background, I have become a researcher and am loving it. I can stay living in Germany but will be visiting the University four times a year for three weeks. These days so much is possible via the internet. For this reason my blog posts will become less frequent, I will be focusing on this project. hull uni

A Level 1 that had been planned for September recieved no registrations, the first time that has ever happened. I was pleased (!) about that, fate was organising things perfectly. In the same month, I also had to move flats having been given notice very suddenly, but that is another story. So there I am in my new flat with a new 'life status.' I only work two days a week now to have time to study.

Those of you familiar with the Bach flower remedies will understand why I have taken a lot of Walnut recently!

Photo, on campus :-)

footprints in the sand bach flower remedy blog

At the end of August I moved flats. It was of course a lot of work and exhausting, but also exhilarating, for I’d found a wonderful new place. For the main move involving furniture, I’d asked around for help from strong young men and an acquaintance had suggested two refugees she’d been looking after who’d been in Freiburg for a couple of years.

I didn’t know them personally but trusted it would work out; I was told that one was from Afghanistan/Iran, the other from Somalia. I picked up the van and then the two helpers at the arranged meeting point. So far so good. My first impression of Ali and Hakim was a sorry one; I saw the wary, dull and closed look in their eyes. They were polite and already spoke good German but they were disturbingly distant. We started the move and they cooperated well with one another and worked hard, heaving my things efficiently and trudging up and down the stairs in the old, then the new flat. We drove back and forth and especially while driving I made attempts to ‘reach’ them and help them feel at ease with me – but was not very successful.

At midday I invited them out for lunch and hoped to chat and understand more about their lives. Maybe they would open up a little. I asked them why and how they had come to Germany.

They told their stories willingly while they hungrily dug in to their meals. Both had left their families at the age of 16 and fled to Europe looking for safer lives in freedom. Both had experienced dramatic, life threatening situations in the Mediterranean. Hakim had been in a small boat for 11 days with 200 people, water had run out on the 7th day. Ali’s boat had capsized between Turkey and Greece. Both told me they cannot swim. On the way they had been imprisoned, robbed and alone. They had left cruel racism, deep poverty and civil wars behind them, their families had supported their fleeing to Europe. Their stories were chilling, I listened carefully, showed my concern and was deeply moved by their courage.

Then something heart-warming happened. During the afternoon their behavior eased, they started laughing, seemed happier with one another and with me, and there was suddenly generally more energy about. They spoke to me spontaneously, and became open. I realized that what we call ‘peeling the onion’* with the Bach flower work can also happen within hours. These two young men had been able to let go of some of their dark past by talking. This had freed them up and enabled happiness and teenage lightness to enter their actions.

I paid them well, adding extra because they had been so hard-working, reliable and conscientious. On the way to the train station I wished them all the best and that their visions and dreams would come true in Europe. As I left them standing there, I looked out of the window to wave goodbye. Hakim was digging hungrily in to the remains of his lunch. Ali was simply standing there and his face was alight with a huge happy smile as he waved me goodbye. I saw a very different person to the one I had picked up only 8 hours ago.

*We often talk about "peeling the onion", in connection with the BFRs i.e. starting with the surface emotions and allowing the remedies to work and reveal what, if anything, lies underneath. In the situation above, perhaps a traumatic Star of Bethlehem state overlayed all emotions as well perhaps the battered and distressed hurt of Willow and the toughness of Oak, struggling on, despite all odds.These states may have led to the cautionary distance of Water Violet...perhaps Larch was in there too, a lack of self-confidence with me, as I was initially unfamiliar to them.

In 2017 alone it is estimated that thousands of people have drowned in the Mediterranean on their way to Europe.

rescue 17

Until recently, my use of the crisis mixture (which Edward Bach called 'the rescue remedy'), had thankfully been confined to minor household mishaps. Sometimes I wondered how I would react in a real emergency, a bike or car accident - and with strangers. My father was extremely squeamish: the mention on TV of 'injection', 'inoculation' or BLOOD would send him scooting out of the living room, pale- faced. How would I react in an emergency, with injured people and at the sight of blood? At some point in one's life I reckoned, statistically, one would experience an emergency...

The answer came a few weeks ago: Joe and I were enjoying a quiet Sunday afternoon in the garden. Suddenly next door there was a dramatic thud and sound of smashing glass and then hysterical screams from the man who lived there. 'That doesn't sound good!' I said to Joe. I jumped up and ran over, sure that something bad had happened. I rang the bell and the neighbour's girlfriend opened the door only to immediately slam it in my face again, saying, 'he doesn't know you! He won't let you in! He's bleeding badly!'

Joe joined the scene and shouted to his neighbour through the window: 'Nick! what has happened?! Nick! Open the door!' The dramatic screams and shouts continued. I went back to the front door and rang again and again, the door re-opened and there he stood, covered in blood, shaking and clasping his arm which he held in a towel.

'I wanted to walk through the glass door and the wind blew it shut just as I was walking through it!' He lifted the towel to show large, deep multiple cuts on his right arm. I quickly told Nick to lie down and I touched his shoulder with one hand and pressed the towel to his wounds with the other. 'An ambulance will be here soon,' I calmed him and Joe ran back next door to call one. I told him to bring the rescue remedy with him. Nick was obviously in a state of shock and repeated again and again what had happened and how he had lacerated himself. He had already removed numerous glass pieces from his wounds. I was totally disconcerted about the masses of blood. Nothing was spurting I cooly registered, no artery had been injured. Joe came back with the rescue remedy and I told Nick briefly that this would calm him. I gave him 4 drops directly into his mouth in rapid succession over the next 8 - 10 minutes. The ambulance could be heard in the distance when Nick had calmed and almost casually asked for a cigarette. I smiled to myself, remembering the original rescue story that Bach told of a sailor who had nearly died. Upon rescue and administration of the crisis mixture, he'd also asked for a cigarette.

The medics arrived, briefly asked what had happened, Nick showed his injury and we left the scene with some positive words to the patient.

A few weeks later I met Nick on the road outside his house and asked him how things had gone in hospital. He showed me his arm, covered in numerous livid scars. 'Wow' I said, 'that must be about twenty stitches...'

'Thirty-two', said Nick seriously, 'it took them 1,5 hours to sew me up.'

'The injections must have hurt', I said, concerted. He nodded and then thanked me wholeheartedly for being with him after the accident. 'Everything is healing very well. Apart from the scars, I'll have no lasting injuries.'

I smiled at him and wished him well.

Healing Herbs

be nice

In March this year I booked a train journey to Berlin. Three weeks prior to my travel date in July, I received an email informing me that that I should check the updated time table. I discovered that instead of having to change trains in Frankfurt and Erfurt there was now a direct connection. That was good news. Freiburg is 800km away from Berlin, it is a 6,5 hour journey.

Time to go: having already arrived at the station, 30 minutes prior to my departure, I looked at my mobile phone and was surprised to be informed that my train 'no longer existed'. The advice was to contact someone at the information desk. As I could see the train already announced on the platform where I was standing, I was DB 17very uncertain as to what was happening.

There were two men at the information desk: I chose the man on the right and organised myself mentally to acute politeness as I approached. The people manning Deutsche Bahn information desks are stressed and famous for their unfriendliness. I asked if he could-help-me-please and explained that I’d been informed that my connection no longer exists. I showed him my ticket and the email. He confirmed that the train to Berlin (direct) was on time but told me in a bored voice that I would still have to change trains as stated on my ticket. As I had booked early (he explained), I had a special price requiring me to adhere to given trains. Disappointed, I humbly accepted, thanked him and walked away. I went back to the platform. Sitting there, a niggling inner voice (I like to think of it as a positive Cerato voice) said but why has the system sent you an email saying my connection no longer existed? I went back to the information desk to ask the other man for advice.
Again, choosing my words carefully, I said, „excuse me, your colleague has already given me information but I'm still not sure about the situation…“ I smiled enchantingly at him. To no avail.
He pounced: „my colleague has already given you the information and now you want to hear exactly the same from me?“
Prepared as I was for the worst, I managed to lightly say, „no, I am just confused and am asking for a little help.“ I showed the email and my ticket, he softened and agreed to check the connections.
This solved my problem, the connection from Erfurt to Berlin had been cancelled and that was why the system had alerted me. As he filled out a form to confirm that I had the right to travel directly, an awkward silence hung in the air. Trying to ease the tenseness (but perhaps a bit provocatively) I said meekly, „well, you could praise me for my brightness, couldn't you?“

A weak smile flickered over his face but he did not speak. Now it was my turn to not be nice and my Vine personality popped out: Loudly enough, so that the first man could hear, I said, „if I had followed your colleagues advice, I wouldn't have arrived.“ The first man (who had followed the situation while serving other enquirers), snapped immediately, „you would have arrived  - but later!“
Now speechless, I thanked the second man for his help and walked back to the platform. My Vervain indignation was up and out. Vervain is sensitive to injustice and I was angry and annoyed.

I sat on the platform and concentrated on the fact that I now had a direct connection and within minutes I calmed and shook off the dissonance. It came to my mind that people who are content do not have to be unfriendly, so, after a while, I felt sorry for the men and forgave them. Our everyday lives are peppered with interactions with strangers and being nice does not really need more effort than being not nice. But the prerequisite is feeling good, being happy.

'We can judge, therefore, our health by our happiness' ... Edward Bach

Berlin hauptbahnhof

Sleep Bach flower remedies

Sleep. We cannot live without it. With a sleep deficit, we lose quality of life: we are tired, have less energy and motivation, our mood becomes negative and we may be over-sensitive and tend to over-react. Sleep deprivation causes stress. Everyone knows the wonderful feeling waking after a good nights sleep and the dragging feeling after a night tossing and turning.
Sleep quality changes as we grow older. When I was a child I went to bed, fell asleep instantly, there followed blank, dark nothingness (perhaps some dreams) and then I woke up, refreshed. It happened with uncomplicated regularity.
bach flower remedies and sleepIn contrast, after becoming a mother, I developed hyper-vigilance at night. My sleep developed a flimsy lightness. I heard everything, my partner joked that I could probably hear the grass growing. If one child was not coughing, the other had a high temperature and was muttering strange things, or the baby was restless and in pain with ear-ache. I was on duty all the time. Even if everyone was healthy and quiet at night, the years of being mother to infants led to me forgetting how to switch off. I would lie awake paying attention to all noises. When the kids grew up and nights became less vulnerable to disturbances, the menopause turned up with its own associated sleep problems (hot flushes etc.). What I sometimes wonder about is why men seem to have a deeper sleep than women.

Below I have listed some less obvious Bach flower remedies that can help when we are having trouble sleeping. Our sleep quality at night reflects how we have gone through the day. It is usually tense energy during the day that causes sleeps problems at night...

- Tense exhaustion from helping others and neglecting own needs. Centaury.

- Can't switch off, enthusiasm flowing for a great new project. Vervain.

- Stressed through too much responsibility, unable to delegate, doing everything oneself, others are incompetent. Vine.

- Stressed through doing too much oneself, too impatient to wait for others to complete tasks. Impatiens.

- Annoyance and repetetive thoughts regarding the incompetence of others. Beech and White Chestnut.

- Injured, hurt, offended and repetetive thoughts hindering sleep. Willow and White Chestnut.

- Overwhelmed and tense through too much responsibility and work. Elm and Oak.


Bach flower remedies sleep

Walnut sign

The deeply disturbing happenings in London in past weeks stunned me. I was born in London, have family living there. So, whether it was repeated terror attacks or the horrific fire in a block of flats with numerous deaths and casualties, I was, like millions of others, overwhelmed by so much disturbing news.

A remedy to help us not be influenced by outside circumstances is Walnut, made from the walnut tree, Juglans regia. Usually, we select remedies according to emotional states. However, the Walnut state is pretty 'unemotional'. There may be new circumstances, a new job, a new phase in life (like pregnancy), or the loss of a loved one to digest (a separation for example). Walnut is helpful when change is in the air. What happens when Walnut is needed is that, due to new circumstances, we are perhaps not quite as stable as usual. Hence, we are more easily influenced. But a Walnut state does not really involve any dramatic feelings, it is more a 'circumstantial remedy'.Female flowers walnut

I have been taking Walnut since the end of May because I will be starting a major new project in September and my regular life and work in Freiburg will change dramatically. Walnut seemed subtley to help me deal with the traumatic news from the UK ... I caught myself making the decision to not watch the news, avoid newspapers or reading articles online. 'Protecting' myself from outside influences in this way also made me feel a little guilty though. Isn't that just avoidance and denial?!

Pine emotional baggageSo out came the Pine remedy too. As days went by, my inner voice became clearer again. She was telling me that all I can 'do' is make sure I am in a good state myself. She wispered 'that is the best way to guarantee peace and a conducive atmosphere in your surroundings'. These insights made me feel a little less helpless.

While of course my heart goes out to the injured, homeless, bereaved and traumatised, I slowly found myself less lost in the the immense pain that the happenings have induced.

'You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, been told, forgot, it's all there. Everthing influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.'  Maja Angelou American poet


You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot - it's all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive. Maya Angelou
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/mayaangelo578841.html?src=t_influences

I have been thinking about panic these last two weeks. It all started with the flowering of rock rose in a neighbours's garden. Not the yellow wild rock rose (used for making the remedy to help in panicky situations), but a cultivated red version. Pink hybrids are also flowering at present. Rock rose 2017

Then the horrendous Manchester attack happended on 22. May. I wrote in my diary: As bewildered shocked silence slowly gives way to sadness, I realise how numb the terrorist attacks are making me. 'Not again', says my mind as I try to grasp the horrific news. A pop concert. 22 murdered people, 69 injured, countless traumatised, for life. Unimaginable panic and terror and pain. The pointlessness of it all. Wondering about the person who did this, his state of mind. I keep thinking about the panic people must experience when caught up in an attack. There is something sick inside our society that allows such hatred to develop. After days of withdrawal, not wanting to interact with the world, not wanting to let the news enter my mind, I slowly start participating again. Have been taking Water Violet for the withdrawal and White Chestnut, among other things.

RockRoseAusschnitt skalA week after the attack I was feeling more balanced again. I was alone at Joe's place, (my partner), he was off on a business trip. On the evening before he left he asked, "are you frightened of spending the night alone in the house?" "No," I answered, which was true although the house is quite out in the country.

On the following morning, I opened the windows upstairs to air the house and went downstairs to work. About an hour later, I emerged and heard someone moving around upstairs, or someTHING: I felt the sting of icey panic crawl down my spine. I knew the front door was locked. Who or what was in the house? With my heart pounding, I went upstairs, towards the noise and heard ... fluttering. A bird had flown into the house and was frantically flying against the kitchen window. I quickly caught it in my cupped hands. I was calm now but could feel the tiny heart beating in panic in my hands. I spoke to it quietly and marvelled at its delicacy. It was a fledgling, just out of the nest, the feathers on the top of its heard had not yet grown. Strangely, its heart calmed while it was in my hand, its panic receeded. I thought perhaps that is how it feels in a nest:close and cosy. Maybe that is why it calmed. After a quick photo I let it go - and it zipped away into the morning.

blue tit 2017 skal

READ a chapter from One Person's Journey about waking up in a house on fire.


anger bach flower remedies

A while back, I looked at anger triggers and the associated remedies. Recently, while in a difficult situation (with someone mad at me), I thought afterwards it would be interesting to look at the emotional reactions we have when we become the recipients of someone’s wrath.
My instinctive reaction for many years has been to “fight back” – especially if I feel the anger is unjustified. This comes from the Vine corner of my personality, wanting to be right. Often, it is associated with feeling indignant - a Vervain state. Vervain people are sensitive to injustice. However, this strategy leads to escalation and arguments, and costs energy. People get excited and maybe things are said that one regrets. This type of reaction can be destructive.

So, being aware of this habitual reaction (and after a few liters of the Chestnut Bud remedy over the years), I have learnt not to react, or at least to react less if someone flares up. This is not easy, and certainly depends on how mindful I am in the situation and who the person is who is getting angry with me. This ‘not reacting’ is like a cool and gentle Water Violet state. I withdraw, go quiet and observe. Maybe I can say something to calm the situation. Perhaps I have to walk away.

One of the most difficult things about being on the receiving end of someone’s outrage is avoiding a Willow state. By this, I mean bypassing feeling offended, hurt, becoming bitter or a victim. Obviously, if someone has hurt us, it is normal to feel hurt. By ‘avoiding a Willow state’ I mean being able to cultivate the ability to let go when things have calmed down. This means reconciliation and accepting someone’s apology (if offered). It means not going off in a huff.

Another reaction that can be observed when someone is on the receiving end of anger, is making light of it; laughing it off, not taking it seriously. This may be an effective strategy, but it may also be an Agrimony state. Think of a child whose mum or dad easily and angrily scolds them. Joking and appeasement might get them out of the firing line but can also lead to a lifelong habit of not taking hurt seriously.
Sensing and being on the recieving end of animosity can also fill us with fear and make us lose self-confidence. It might also lead us to feel guilt and self-approach. So if this has become a familiar reaction, the remedies here would be Mimulus, Larch and Pine.

Perhaps the best way to deal with anger when it flairs up is to recognize one’s own role in triggering it and quietly acknowledging that. I helped an old lady with her heavy luggage recently. When I put her suitcase down, it tipped over onto the dry and dusty ground. As she lent over to right her case and dust it off, she had a little angry (accusing) outburst directed at me exclaiming, “Look what you have done to my new suitcase!” I didn’t have the presence of mind to say, “oh dear, sorry about that, I didn’t notice the ground was uneven.” That would have probably been the wisest reaction. Her vehement reaction surprised me, above all, because I had just helped her. Later, on the same day, I encountered an angry car driver, I annoyed him at a roundabout because I wasn't fast enough. I smiled whole-heartedly at him, even gave him a wave. How delightful to see that his anger dissolved immediately - he waved back, a huge grin lighting up his face.

Bach flower remedy blog letting go

past present future Bach flower remdies

How much do we have to know about the past to understand the present?

My paternal grandfather was born in 1885. He grew up in a lost world of yesterday, prior to two devastating world wars. I was born in 1958 – he was 74 years old when I was born, I was his first grandchild. He was very present during my childhood in England but I knew little about him although he died aged 94 when I was 22. My grandfather's name was Bruno and he never talked about his past life prior to enforced emigration with his family from Czechoslovakia because he was Jewish. Nobody in the family talked about that.

Bit by bit hidden facts have excruciatingly emerged. The most devastating fact I learnt in 2004, a quarter of a century after Bruno's death: he had had two sisters and both had perished in concentration camps during World War II. His son, (my father) had sent us the passport of Bruno's sister, Margarete Lanzer. In this passport which had survived the decades my father had noted these sad, never previously mentioned things on the inside front cover. Bruno's other sister was Else, (born 20. March 1887) her husband’s name was Karl Federmann.

Initially, stunned, I had no idea what to do with this knowledge, then I started using the internet to search for Else and Margarete knowing that the Nazis had meticulously documented every step of their murderous activities. The Honeysuckle mood of the past Honeysuckle bachblütenwould overcome me and I’d spend every spare hour tracing, reading and wondering about what had happened. I often had to take the Honeysuckle remedy because I felt so drawn to the past - I easily got absorbed and lost there. Above all, I wondered why no one had ever spoken about it. Today I think there are two reasons for the silence: the pain of loss and guilt; the guilt of the survivors. But perhaps there was also a third reason, my grandfather simply did not know how to talk about it all.

Margarete was a year older than Bruno so they must have been close as children, growing up together; she was his big sister. They also lived as adults in the same town, Troppau (now Opava) in Czechoslovakia. The sisters were transported from Prague in 1941 with their husbands: Margarete to the Theresienstadt Ghetto on 17. December, Else was transported earlier to the camp in Lodz, Poland on 21. October. They were by this time middle aged women and had no chances of fleeing and setting up new lives with their husbands anywhere else like my grandfather, who had already fled to England with his family in 1938. Business connections enabled him to safely start anew in England.

When my cousin and I went on our trip into the past in 2016 (read part I of Breaking decades of silence) we also visited Margarete and Else’s last known address in Prague which they had shared. It was haunting to stand there and I thought about the terror that must have gripped them as they waited for what was inevitably to come. Margarete survived for a year in Theresienstadt and was in charge of the laundry there. On 18. December 1943 she was transported to Auschwitz and either died in the gas chamber or of illness. I have not yet had the courage to dig deep into the archives to discover Else’s fate.

While in Prague last year, we visited the Pinkas synagogue. In the 1950s two people had laboriously painted the names of over 77,000 Jews from Bohemia and Moravia who had been murdered by the Nazis. It was one of the first memorials for the millions of Jews murdered by the Nazi terror regime. And there, suddenly, shockingly, in front of us were the names of Margarete and Else on the walls. And still tears sting my eyes when I write about this and think about the unimaginable suffering my great aunts and their husbands went through - and millions of others with them.

IMG 2337

Getting Things Done GTD

I am a great fan of planning my week and reviewing the previous one. This comes from years of applying the GTD ‘Getting Things Done’ methodology of David Allen which I wholeheartedly recommend. In Bach flower terms, GTD is (among other things), about transforming Hornbeam (procrastination) states and increasing productivity without stress.

While doing GTD recently there were names of several friends on my list who I'd planned to call, but hadn't. I’d just rather sheepishly transferred them onto my to-do list for the following week. In a flash, I scanned my mind for the reasons for not contacting them and realized there are several remedy states that hinder us socializing. For me it was a combination of Oak (enjoying working a lot and long), Walter Violet (being happy alone, not having a great need for seeing others) and Olive (too tired to go out after work anyway). I am sure the strict Rock Water part of my personality got in the way too: “first work – then play”.

Other states can also hinder us going out with friends:
If someone is overwhelmed by everything (a working mum for example) and in an Elm state she won’t have the capacity to socialize. If someone is feeling gloomy and perhaps in need of Mustard, one does not feel like meeting people. The same goes for Star of Bethlehem (shock and trauma) and Sweet Chestnut states. The latter remedy is helpful in times of deep despair and anguish – that is not a time when we feel like being out and about.
Someone with a strong Beech character might not have many friends as s/he is critical of others. Not many will be up to his/her ‘standard’. I am not sure if a true Vine personality will have lots of friends either…this character is strong and self-confident in the positive state and dominant in the negative. So maybe they are only true friends with other Vine characters?

The real socializers among the remedy characters are:
-    Agrimony (the heart and soul of a party and joking about being in dire straits: socialising distracts from his or her problems)
-    Honeysuckle (copious reminiscing with school friends about old times)
-    Heather (talking keenly at people rather than with people at every opportunity)
-    Chicory (the beloved family is gathered around them, frequently, regularly)
-    Vervain (at a demonstration with hundreds of others, for a good cause).

In case you are wondering, I’ve rung everyone now and we’re meeting soon!

Next time: Breaking decades of silence, part II. Read part I here.

Read 38 short stories about the remedies in my book One Person’s Journey.

Preview the first 30 pages here.
Bach flower remedy blog

Gudrichova 41 1930s Auschnitt

Part I. Growing up in south-east England in the sixties and seventies, I was unaware of my Jewish heritage. Sure, I knew that my father originally came from a place called Czechoslovakia and I had often wondered what language his parents (my grandparents) spoke with one another. I also knew there had been a large house that had been left behind in Czechoslovakia, but more than that… not really.

I no longer recall how, but around the age of 18, I realized my father and his family had been Jews and had fled the Nazis in 1938. The part of Czechoslovakia that they had come from had previously belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and that is why my grandparents spoke German. (In 1918 the Czech state was founded as the Austro-Hungarian Empire fell apart following World War One.)

My grandparents died in 1979 and 1980 and my father in 2005 without us ever talking about events. I never asked my father what it was like as a thirteen year old to leave his country, come to England and learn a new language. And, although my grandfather died when I was 22, I never asked him how he adapted to living in a new country aged 53. But they also never offered to tell me. It was not spoken about; only in recent years have I come to understand why.

But I have a cousin, the daughter of my father’s elder sister – and in 2015 we became pretty obsessed with understanding this unspoken past and the events shrouded in silence. Jules is one year younger than I am and her Jewish heritage had also never been mentioned.

We had some old photos of the house where her mother and my father had grown up, and we knew the name of the town they had come from: Opava. We were both sure that the house still stood. One day in January 2016, after we had decided we must visit the past and the house, I emailed several people listed on the website of Opava’s Town Hall, attaching a grainy copy of a photo of the house, asking if anyone was familiar with it and saying why we were looking for it. For weeks no answer came and then, out of the blue, a woman called Martina contacted me with photos of the house she had taken just the day before. It was a very moving moment and I was suddenly overwhelmed with tears; the past was indeed still there. I was not only touched and moved, an intense feeling of suffering overcame me. It was the deep, heart wrenching all-encompassing Sweet Chestnut suffering. Jules and I spent much time up to our planned visit in April (which Martina kindly offered to organize) simply weeping with one another on the phone. I was surprised and pretty overwhelmed about this sudden intense emotion which was not really mine; it was as if I had entered a ‘memory trace’ of indescribable anguish.

But of course, the Holocaust, the Shoah.

April 2016: After two days in Prague (more on that in a future posting…) we drove to Opava. We arrived early at the house which had been taken over by a state calibration institute. Again, tears flowed as we got out of the car and saw the house for the first time. My grandfather had finished building it in 1929; there was a sign commemorating this outside the entrance gate. The family had only spent nine years there before having to flee to England. We were shown around by very kind and friendly people now working in the house. They had often wondered who the previous owners had been as many loving details had survived the decades. The most touching object was upstairs - the dressing table my grandfather had built for his pretty young wife … it was still there. I was overcome by a sense of her sitting there, young and vibrant, looking out over the wide planes of Moravia as she prepared for her day many, many years ago. Her happiness, her contentment in the wonderful house - it was as if I could suddenly dock on to these ‘memory traces’ too.

We left feeling lighter and somehow relieved although I had fought with tears the whole afternoon and it was a exhausting experience.

jules an meAnd there the house quietly stood as I turned to look at it one last time as we left: still majestic but a little tainted and time battered. It stood there simply on its mound overlooking the area and watching us people - as it had steadily done for the last 87 years.

Read part II of Breaking Decades of Silence here.









Holly is often thought of as the remedy of choice when looking for a remedy for anger. But Holly is only for the jealous, aggressive, envious, suspicious type of anger. It is the spikey type of anger, like the plant.Holly bachblüten


There are other remedy states that include anger in the negative state, let’s take a look:


Someone in a negative Impatiens state will get angry if they are held up; they feel annoyed and tense due to impatience. I have yet to understand why men suffer from this type of anger more frequently than women while driving a car, especially at traffic lights and roundabouts ;-) Impatiens Bach flowerA Vine person can get furious if someone does not follow their orders and do what they say. I really truly know someone who says “if you did what I said, we wouldn’t have any arguements.” Huh!
vine bachblütenThe Beech state involves intolerance. So a person needing this remedy can get infuriated by the shortcomings of others, it is an indignant, sharp, annoyed, critical displeasure.Beech Bachblüten

Chicory is the state of ‘needy love’ – someone giving to their loved ones with expectations coupled to their ‘love’; their loving attention has a coercive quality. If they feel they have given much but not enough is coming back they can feel offended, a smouldering type of demonstrative, demanding exasperation.

Chicory bachblütenThe Willow anger is also smouldering, someone has been hurt and they are bitter and offended. It is the anger of resentment, but it is a quiet indignation that they swallow and may only show non-verbally.

Willow bachblütenCherry Plum is a rather extreme state, someone is so tense, they feel could explode and do something they will regret. So there might have been something that has made them furious. A small child having a paddy has a Cherry Plum state, they can be difficult to reach when they freak out.

flipping out and a dad dealing with itThe Vervain anger is fuelled by a sense of identifying with something that is wrong in their opinion. Think of the angry emotions that flow in demonstrations against nuclear weapons or war or more recently against Donald Trump. The Vervain anger is fuelled by a keen sense of justice.

Vervain Bachblüten

So, remember to think where does the anger come from? when looking for a remedy to deal with anger!

Statue of Liberty

Writing this is an attempt to digest what is happening in the USA. It is also rather difficult because, since Donald Trump has been in office, there has been a flurry of activity on his part, much of which seems to be impulsive.
But looking back, my story goes as follows: when Trump came onto the scene late 2015, I was stunned by his brash, loudmouth manner. Usually I can recognize the negative Bach Remedy states and personality traits in others quite easily, but he confused me.

Things that baffled me were his
-    obvious lack of political experience but unawareness of such
-    his confrontational and dividing approach (why?)
-    persistent use of social media
-    boasting of being able to grab women where he wants
-    overreacting if criticised

After I stopped being stunned, I took a closer look and realized that much of his behaviour points to Heather. His need to be in the limelight, the almost childish ego, his attention demanding tweets and facebook postings – this is the self-centredness and neediness of the Heather personality in the negative state. The way he does his hair - he obviously also regularly artificially tans himself - also indicate Heather.

Then I saw his striving for power and that he is not an integrating team player, but a tyrannically dominant person. If you are unaware of his role in the painful and degrading reality TV show ‘The Apprentice’ look here. Be careful, it hurts.

He is owner of approximately 500 business that he ran and, if you have not seen it, watch his overbearing communication with the CNN reporter who wanted to ask him a question.
This all points to Vine, the remedy for the self-assured who can be inflexible if someone does not obey their orders. In the positive state they can be great leaders. In the negative state they are oppressive, intolerant people using force to get what they want. In the very negative state they are tyrannical dictators.

His critical intolerance and lack of empathy and understanding of others makes me think of Beech.

But I was looking for a bigger story and I asked myself what do I really pick up from him? I saw his lack of authenticity and sincerity, he is not a genuine person. His non-verbal communication is excessively expressive. This made me think of Agrimony, the remedy for people hiding their problems, troubles and hurt behind a smiling façade. Is Trump wearing a mask? If so, what might he be hiding behind it?

The penny dropped in my mind when actress Meryl Streep spoke about his bullying a journalist with a debilitating health condition during Golden Globe awards in January 2017. That predictably led Trump to hit back saying Streep was one of the most overrated actresses and justifying himself. There is a clip of the situation in question if you have not seen it. It is very clear and yes, he was being very nasty.

So he was furious again, but about what? That he had been criticised? That must be part of it but as I started to see the larger picture, I realised Trump might actually be a very, very hurt person. The anger that so easily comes out (he is amazingly easily riled) might have something to do with not feeling accepted and acknowledged by people he would like to be accepted and acknowledged by. This is hateful revenge; hitting back is the aggressive negative Holly state. It is also known that bullies bully others to detract from their own discomfort and inner hurt.

If I am right here, then this points not only to the anger of Holly but also the smouldering hurt resentfulness of Willow. Perhaps Trump covers anger and hurt with an easily penetrated layer of Agrimony?

Everyone needs to be seen and to feel respected. What might happen if something goes wrong in this area? If someone from an early age repeatedly feels hurt and “not ok”? Especially for those with a strong need for confirmation, (which a Heather person will have), if they don’t get what their narcissistic ego needs, their ego will become warped as it fights to get the recognition that it longs for. I believe that Donald Trump has an extreme Heather and Vine personality but is also very hurt inside. I think this anger is his driving force. He is striving for confirmation and recognition and, by becoming President, that need might superficially be satisfied.

To round this up, Trump is also self-declared “germaphobe” who dislikes shaking hands. So I thought of Crab Apple too.

His appeal to voters must come from others with a similar “hurt” and their identifying with him. People who feel left out and hard done by, who feel life is unfair and that they have become victims of Washington politics.

I could advise you via Skype if you would like Mr President. Taking the remedies would help become less thin skinned. They would reduce your self-centeredness. They would support you on a healing journey of introspection. The remedies would make you more aware, less reactive and angry and, above all, more presidential, the positive leader you obviously so long to be. And perhaps you would find just a little peace of mind and would not have to mess up the world while you are proving yourself.

Agrimony Sun method

Bach flower remedies hospice work

The saddest day of a friendship must be the day when you see your friend the last time because she is going to die soon. I saw Caroline the last time on a blustery October day last year; she was in the final stages of cancer.

Her husband showed me in, greeting me with a quiet “thanks for coming” and led me to her room. She had asked for another remedy mixture. Caroline lay in her bed, shrunken and small as a little bird. She regarded me with big clear, bright eyes. She was happy to see me and I gave her a hug, sat down as close as I could and took her hand. It was fragile and warm but it felt empty and lifeless because it was no longer being used to do things.

Looking around, I commented on the row of postcards on the wall next to her, spiritual leaders who were comforting and accompanying her on the final journey. She explained in a thin voice who is who. She had been involved in Buddhism for many years.

I gave her the little present I had bought with me: postcards of flowers. She studied them, relishing the bright colours.

“You are not in pain, are you?” I ventured.
“No, but I can’t keep my food down anymore,” she responded. “But I am still drinking; otherwise there is danger of dying of dehydration.”
“And how are you being looked after? Does your GP come in?”
“He comes in when necessary, apart from that, a carer comes in regularly. She thinks it could only be a matter of days…”
“And what’s your feeling?” I asked cautiously, thinking she is much too lucid and present to go soon.
“Not yet, I like living too much…” she answered wryly.
I said how impressed I was and how brave I thought she was. She said the praise did her good.
She seemed more surprised than anything that this was happening to her.

“You seem to be doing a lot of surrendering…”
“Surrendering” and then she added, thoughtfully, “and letting go.”
“Letting go of the children?” I asked.
“Yes, that’s the most difficult.”
“And what about Richard?” he was her husband.
“No, that is ok,” she said.
I asked if she was bored because she could no longer be up.
“It is so very boring and the waiting –“ her voice trailed off.

“But I have finished my book about my illness,” she said after a little quiet between us. I congratulated her. “But I am not happy about the title. I offered a few words that came to my mind. She considered, pleased. “Light,” she said quietly, “that sounds good, that word must be part of the title.” We chatted for a while about books, writing and literature being a passion that we shared; she had five books on the market. She wanted to give one of her books, signed, to my oldest daughter. I helped her sit up and with a shaky hand, she wrote a dedication. She was obviously very disconcerted by her unstable writing and her failing hand. How something belonging to everyday life and previously easily done was now connected with effort. The slipping away of normality.

I reached to my Bach remedy set that I had with me. I did not want to stay too long and tire her.
“You are not frightened anymore, are you?” I asked. There was definitely a change in outlook since the last time I had seen her three weeks ago.
“No, I took the Mimulus that you left me after your last visit.” I had left her a stock bottle to be used directly when needed along with her mixture.
Gently I said, “and what about your niceness?” She was a Centuary person and we had often spoken about her type remedy in the past.
“I am improving” she said wryly. “Mostly it is about not feeling guilty and accepting the situation.”
“Do you drift away often? Do you sleep a lot?” I asked.
“Yes, and the exhaustion… cancer is so very exhausting.”

I took out the little bottles and explained which remedies I was adding to her beaker.
“Walnut is the remedy for a new phase in life, it helps us adapt and not be influenced by those around us.” I paused to make sure she understood how I meant it. I saw she did.
“Red Chestnut will help you not worry about the children.” I paused again.
“Olive is for the exhaustion, and Pine to help you not feel guilty.” Another short pause.
“Willow we have had in the mixture all along. It helps us accept fate and not feel a victim.
Centaury is your personality remedy, as you know.” I gave her a little wink. She smiled.
“And Clematis is for the drifting away, the sleepiness.”
There was no question of any remedies like Sweet Chestnut, (for great anguish) Gorse (for hopelessness) or Wild Rose (for resignation). Here was a gentle soul whose time had come and was travelling the most difficult journey we all have to take with dignity and calm.

She called for Richard. Caroline wanted to make a donation to the refugee that she knew I was looking after. I showed a her photo of Ayana that I had on my mobile phone and told Caroline briefly about her journey across the Mediterranean with 400 other people, how a woman had given birth on the boat. Ayana had fled from Eritrea. When Richard came into the room, her youngest daughter came in at the same time to give her mother a pill. Caroline said she wanted to donate a bit more because Ayana was pretty.
Tut-tutting, her daughter said, “She gets more money because she is pretty?”
Caroline said, decisively, “no, because she has had a tough time and anyway, she who is dying can say what she wants!” I smiled at Caroline’s quick wit.

The daughter whom I had known for twenty years left the room. I told Caroline and Richard that I was working out of town the following week but I’d ring when I got back. “Bring me some fresh air with you,” she said cheerily, but not very convincingly. The words hung awkwardly between us, as we all knew she might no longer be alive when I returned.
I gave her a hug, said goodbye and left.

Standing outside, I looked up into the pale blue sky, and saw some birds circling up high. I saw the distant mountains of the Black Forest and felt the autumn breeze on my face. I heard some leaves rustle. My very aliveness suddenly felt very uncomfortable.

And as I drove away deep sadness overcame me.




Bach flower remedies and pregnancy

One of my favourite Scleranthus stories goes as follows: a midwife told me about the antenatal classes she was regularly giving and that after the class, the group always went out for a pizza together. Confronted with the choice of over twenty different types of pizzas in the restaurant, she regularly had difficulty choosing which one she wanted and was always the very last to order. And still then she dithered, unable to decide, feeling uneasy because the waiter was waiting and everyone was watching her indecisiveness. It was an uncomfortable situation that repeated itself week in, week out.

Towards the end of the antenatal course she had started taking Scleranthus because she could not decide whether to send her daughter to school at the age of five or wait a year until the child was six. And during that same week the class also went to the pizzeria together. But this time, surprisingly, she was the very first to order. Everyone noticed and laughed, wondering what had come over her. In her mind, smiling to herself, she immediately coupled her ease of deciding which pizza she would like to taking Scleranthus for the situation with her daughter.

ScleranthusFrom Dr. Bach's Scleranthus description: Those who suffer much from being unable to decide between two things, first one seeming right then the other.


One day a while ago, my printer suddenly started making very alarming screeching-grinding noises and refused to work. I opened it up and looked for things that were blocking the works, I could find no screwed up paper anywhere or paper clips in the way. I switched it on and off (that so often helps) but after that, it still made wrong noises and I could not find the cause. I gave it a break for half an hour. Then I unplugged everything again and took it outside into the sunshine. Here I talked nicely to the machine, saying how well it had served me the last three years. I studied the handbook and took the hint to clean a certain part with alcohol. Having no alcohol at home, I found myself in front of my remedies pondering which precious one to sacrifice. I decided upon Gorse because I had the most of that remedy. The situation did appear rather hopeless to me but this was not my reason for choosing Gorse. I was almost reconciled to buying a new printer; this was just a last try. I put Gorse on a cotton-bud and twiddled around here and there, still talking encouragingly to the machine. When I plugged it in again it started making all the right sounds, I was delighted - suddenly it functioned perfectly again. I spent the rest of the day walking around with a grin on my face and saying to myself thank-you Dr. Bach!
Gorse Bach flower remedy

From Dr Bach's Gorse description: Very great hopelessness, they have given up belief that more can be done for them.


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Bach flower remedy blog at HeathrowThis happened on the way back to Gemany after a visit to the Bach Centre in May 2015. I am sure I was more sensitive to the happenings because of the place I had just visited. I had arrived early at the airport and was just sitting and feeling the hum of Heathrow, simply watching. Something of a luxury these days I think.

After a while, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a man walking very slowly in my direction. He was not old but he nevertheless walked with a stoop. At one point he just stopped and stood for a while. When he moved on again, it was obvious that he was in pain and maybe for that reason, perhaps also on medication. He came in my direction and laboriously sat down at the internet terminal near where I was sitting. He was of Indian or Pakistani descent. He took several seconds to do this due to his discomfort. I could see over his shoulder that he logged into Facebook. After several minutes he put his head on his hands and rested, maybe he slept. He had no luggage with him. I felt perturbed and uncomfortable. Here was someone in a close up Red Chestnutpoor state but I did not feel courageous enough to ask if I could help him. What could I do anyway?

After about ten minutes, an airport pastor walked by and spontaneously I jumped up and said, signalling in the man’s direction, “I think there is someone here who needs help.” The pastor disengaged from the person he was with and went up to the man. Crouching down low, he gently asked if everything was alright. The man raised his head a little and said he was just tired. The pastor hesitated, assessed the situation again, and with a non-demanding voice asked politely about travel arrangements and if he could see his documents. The man said he had flown from Paris two days ago to see his sister in London. Taking his time, choosing his words, the airport pastor commented that had no luggage with him, and, quietly joking, asked, “didn't your sister mind?”

The man answered wearily, “she knows about my condition.”

I could hear something about a degenerative back condition. Again came a gentle question: “if you don't mind me saying so sir, you give the impression as looking as if you're in need of medical assistance, is there anything I can do for you?” The unobtrusiveness, the caring, the sensitivity and at the same time the professional clarity, was stunning.

“Have you taken your medication? Have you had breakfast?”

“No” came the quiet answer.

“Have you got any money with you?”

Again I could hear “no” as an answer. Moved, with tears stinging my eyes, I reached into my purse and took out a note and offered it to the pastor whose face lit up with a smile as I offered the money. The pastor helped the man up and they slowly went off together to find some breakfast.

About an hour later, my path crossed that of the pastor and I spoke to him. I told him how his way of dealing with the situation had deeply impressed and moved me. He said, “I think there was more to it that met the eye, but sometimes there is nothing more you can do.” I understood. The thought passed through my mind that here was a positive Red Chestnut person who had found his vocation. Perhaps the place was unusual – Heathrow airport – but the place does not matter, does it?


From the Bach Centre website: Red Chestnut in the positive state “helps us send out calm, unworried thoughts to our loved ones, so that instead of making everyone anxious we are rocks on whom others lean.”

Bach essence Red ChestnutDr. Bach’s description of the negative state:

For those who find it difficult not to be anxious for other people. Often they have ceased to worry about themselves, but for those of whom they are fond they may suffer much, frequently anticipating that some unfortunate thing may happen to them.

Bach flower remedy blog

In January 2015 road works started at the top of the street I work in. New water pipes had to be laid. This meant pneumatic-drill and digging noise with large, loud machines. I was immediately worried when I saw the building site as I knew it would creep up to my consultation room which is at the front of the house. As week for week the workers with their heavy machines and deafening noise approached, I feared losing work and clients; it was quite obvious to me that I would not be able to work while they were doing the road in front of where I work.

My apprehension was simple: I am self-employed and I thought “no work, no money”. I envisaged at least three weeks of disturbance, disruption and having to cancel clients at short notice. Looking round for a solution, I asked colleagues if I could have some time at their place. But it was difficult to say when I would come; planning was not possible even though I talked to the road workers. They could not say when they would reach my part of the road. I bravely took Mimulus for my concerns of losing work and clients adding Aspen because there was this apprehensive, diffuse aspect to my worry. I also dosed myself with White Mimulus flowersChestnut as I kept thinking about the situation and could not get it off my mind.

Time passed, springtime came and then suddenly, one morning after Easter, the five sturdy workers were in front of the house with all their machinery, tools and equipment, ready to demolish the asphalt. I decided on a whim (or as a result of taking the remedies) to go day by day and see what happens.

Fertilised aspen flowersDuring the first week, amazingly, all was quiet when I was there. Once, when the final words in a Bach consultation had been spoken, a pneumatic drill started up, shaking the house violently in its foundations. It was like a dramatic symbolic message, loud and clear, underpinning what had just been said. My client and I burst out laughing. During the second week, arriving once at midday, I asked the workers if they could please now take a lunch break as I had a client. They happily and good naturedly complied. And during the third week as well, there was never once a disturbance for me and my clients while the road was being done.

I came to see that when I was there, regardless of the time of day, (which varied considerably) it was always quiet. I decided I had a building site Guardian Angel that was unobtrusively coordinating the workers activities when I was around.

White chestnut flowers pretty close upThis experience, initially of my anxiety and then the unproblematic consequences of the road works made me again realise how often the mind jumps to conclusions. That is, at least my mind often does that. I had had no trust. The unproblematic outcome was rather uncanny but also a big “don’t jump to conclusions” lesson to me.

Bach flower remedy blog letting go
A client asked me recently "what is the remedy for letting go?" Of course, there is no one single remedy, but it got me thinking on this topic: I mused that our present state of mind has been formed by past conditionings and prefers the familiar to the unfamiliar. Additionally, we inherit personality traits from our parents. That is why we have emotional habits; we are “programmed” through both experience and genetics. We can often observe (usually more easily in others that ourselves), that people repeatedly behave in ways that are not beneficial, and we may wonder why they do not break the habit. Taking the remedies raises our awareness of these habits and paves the way for change: For how can we change and let go of something we are not aware of?

Here is a non-exhaustive list, briefly described and in no particular Agrimony flowersorder, of emotional habits we can let go of with the help of the remedies:

- let go of of the fear of showing how one really feels with Agrimony
- shame and guilt can be released with Pine
- strong convictions coupled with the drive to share with others can melt with Vervain

Vervain flowers
- self-righteousness and dominance habits can be let go of with the help of Vine
- specific fears can be let go of with the help of Mimulus

- let go of repetitive and troubling thoughts with White Chestnut

- rigidity and excessive self-discipline can be let go of with Rock Water
- let go of habitual haste with the help of Impatiens
- let go of feeling hurt, bitter or offended with the help of Willow
- apathy and resignation can be let go of with Wild Rose
- let go of worry about loved ones with the help of Red Chestnut

Oak flowers- let go of excessive work and a sense of duty with the help of Oak
- discouragement after a set back can be let go of with the help of Gentian
- let go of loved ones and expectations from them with the help of Chicory
- the past and memories can be let go of with the help of Honeysuckle
- let go of the habit of being critical and intolerant with Beech

Writing this has reminded me of one of my favourite quotes from Edward Bach: “Possibly the greatest lesson of life is to learn freedom. Freedom from circumstance, environment, other personalities and most of all from ourselves…” (I know I have already posted this quote in the entry about his philosophy... I am a fan.) And it has also reminded me of how much stuff we carry with us that we can let go of....

I do not think that acute emotional reactions like Sweet Chestnut (extreme anguish and emotional pain), the shock and trauma of the Star of Bethlehem state, the panic and terror of Rock Rose or the intense state of fear that Cherry Plum has - of doing something terrible - are states we can "just let go" - I think these have to heal with time and/or circumstance.

Would love to hear from you via a comment, your e-mail will of course not appear! Scroll up to find where to comment.

Chicory 2016 3

Have you ever sulked because someone close to you has not reacted how you think they should have and you felt offended and hurt? I mean, you really did a lot for them, you love them very much and now they are not giving anything in return. This behaviour is also called going into a huff. I like that expression. The Thesaurus tells me that the origin of this word is mid-15th century from the sound of breathing out, expiring with indignation. The negative Chicory state is about caring and loving people one is close to but getting uptight if “not enough” comes back in return. You have been attentive and now you expect some reciprocation. If that does not turn up, one might become demonstrative – to get the message home. There is an implicit deal: I have done something for you, now you have to do something for me, or at least be nice to me, “love” me. It is the opposite of unconditional love, and I guess we all do it at one level or another. Someone in a negative Chicory state can also be over-anxious and interfering in that s/he has plenty of ideas what could be better for the “loved one.” 

Chic 2016 1

One of the first things a child does instinctively in its life is cry to get the attention of its mother and the message is FEED ME! She will usually then nurse the child and at the same time, love and care for it. This is of course, normal behaviour. However, this interaction pattern has to modify if emotional balance is to develop as the child matures. We all know kids who cry to get what they want from their parents, this is when the “Chicory mode” becomes demanding and coercive: Have you ever waited in a supermarket queue watching a child pressurizing a parent by having a screaming fit because the mum or dad won’t buy the sweets they want? Always makes me feel uncomfortable when I see that scene. (And the supermarkets do intentionally place sweets at children’s eye level, reckoning with this kind of behaviour.)

Transforming a negative Chicory state means comprehending that real love interaction with those close to us means giving without any strings attached. In a positive Chicory state we lose our neediness and then it is no longer necessary to act with emotional blackmail, or to be huffy. One gives without expecting anything in return, allowing the loved person become totally free. The positive Chicory person spreads selfless security, genuine love, kindness and warmth with no restrictions. And I suppose getting there (just for a few moments) is a life long task ;-)

Edward Bach has the following words to say on this topic: “If we but sufficiently develop the quality of losing ourselves in the love and care of those around us, enjoying the glorious adventure of gaining knowledge and helping others, our personal griefs and sufferings rapidly come to an end. It is the great ultimate aim: the losing of our own interests in the service of humanity.”

 Chic 2016

Read previous blog postings via links on the right or scrolling down!

emotional baggage bach flower remediesEmotional baggage is a metaphorical term implying a "load" that people carry with them. It means that negative feelings we have not let go of are affecting present behaviour and mindsets. That can be the pain of disappointment or rejection, trauma, any kinds of distressing previous experiences and their memories. Emotional baggage comes to the fore in relationships and is often rooted in childhood. This is where the beauty of the Bach remedies comes in. Using them, we ask “how do I feel?" Honest answers will uncover emotional baggage and lead to resolving it, for we alone carry our baggage, no one else. And we alone can let it go.
Here are five remedies, briefly described, that came to mind while I was thinking about this topic. Certainly, there are more and I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Pine emotional baggage- Someone who carries a state of shame and guilt with themselves has a Pine state.There have been shocking revelations about child abuse in the Church recently. Many victims kept quiet for years and the abuse must have had a major effect on their ability to have happy and satisfying personal relationships. One gets an inkling of what kind of trauma and "emotional baggage" the victims must have carried (and perhaps still carry). Pine helps get over shameful, guilty, self-reproachful feelings. Photo: the flowers of the pine tree, Pinus sylvestris

Red Chestnut bachblüten- A child who has lost a parent during childhood may carry a continual fear throughout their life about others they are close to - their children, partners, the remaining parent - that something may also happen to these people too. Red Chestnut helps us relax and develop trust that everyone has their own journey in life and that we can only influence it to a certain extent. We have calm thoughts towards loved ones in a positive Red Chestnut state, not worried ones. Photo: the flowers of the red chestnut tree, Aesculus x carnea

Willow bachblüten- Many people carry a lifelong resentment towards their parents. In the negative Willow state one feels one is a victim and it is their parents fault that one has problems, feels bitter and resentful. (And no, I guess no one has perfect parents, and no one is a perfect parent either!) Willow helps heal, forgive and forget and develop a mature, constructive relationship with parents. Photo: flowers of the willow tree, Salix vitellina

water violet emotional baggage- Some children learn to withdraw early in life if their parents or teachers are critical, dismissive or aggressive. Later in life a person who has not learnt to talk about their feelings might clam up when difficulties arise. Which in turn creates more difficulties. This is the negative Water Violet state and it makes us feel protected in isolation; others cannot reach or hurt us. It is the remedy of choice if one withdraws in emotionally challenging situations, resisting others getting close to us. Water Violet helps reduce aloneness and nourishes the ability to connect with others. Photo: the flowers of the water violet herb, Hottonia palustris

Agrimony 2016 2

- Another pattern that can develop in childhood when a young person is repeatedly confronted with critical comments or aggression from attachment figures is the habit of brushing over difficulties. One learns to make small of problems, humouring those around with false cheeriness, avoiding the real issues because it hurts too much. This strategy leads to lack of authenticity and estrangement from one's true self. Agrimony is the remedy of choice if this kind of habit has developed. It helps us become the person we really are. Photo: the flowers of agrimony, Agrimonia europaea

Sometimes Edward Bach’s writing style may appear a little outdated. He was a child of his times (as we all are) and that was Victorian. Here, in a nutshell and in present day words, is how I understand Edward Bach’s wonderful philosophy:

-           we are here to fulfil our potential and develop ourselves

-           everyone has a unique personality; unfolding it is part of life's journey

-           accepting negative patterns and developing virtues makes for well-being

-           learning and collecting experience is what life is all about

-           if you are truly happy, you are healthy

-           inner peace is the foundation of well-being

-           personal harmony means aligning our personality with our Higher Self

-          we may trust our inner voices

-          influencing others is a source of dis-ease*, freedom is our birthright

-          being genuinely present is part of healthiness

* the word disease originally comes from the opposite of “ease” and did not originally mean illness.

Are there any aspects of Bach’s teachings and philosophy you do not agree with? I would love to read your comments!

Here are some inspirational Edward Bach quotes, the first of which I find especially relevant with regard to the terrible attacks the world has recently experienced:

“True, hate may be conquered by a greater hate, but it can only be cured by love: cruelty may be prevented by a greater cruelty, but only eliminated when the qualities of sympathy and pity have developed: one fear may be lost and forgotten in the presence of a greater fear, but the real cure of all fear is perfect courage.”

p. 2 - Ye Suffer From Yourselves Out of my window 2

“The action of these remedies is to raise our vibrations and open up our channels for the reception of our Spiritual Self, to flood our natures with the particular virtue we need, and wash out from us the fault which is causing harm. They are able, like beautiful music, or any gloriously uplifting thing which gives us inspiration, to raise our very natures, and bring us nearer to our Souls: and by that very act, to bring us peace, and relieve our sufferings.” p. 5 - Ye Suffer From Yourselves

Gorse Bach flower remedy

“Possibly the greatest lesson of life is to learn freedom. Freedom from circumstance, environment, other personalities, and most of all from ourselves: because until we are free we are unable fully to give and to serve our brother-men.” p. 6 - Ye Suffer From Yourselves

Clematis Bach flower remedy

“We … are personalities down here for the purpose of gaining all the knowledge and experience which can be obtained through earthly existence, of developing virtues which we lack and of wiping out all that is wrong within us, thus advancing towards the perfection of our natures.” p. 10 - Heal Thyself

Bach remedy Honeysuckle 1

“…let us not fear to plunge into life; we are here to gain experience and knowledge, and we shall learn but little unless we face realities and seek to our utmost. Such experience can be gained in every quarter, and the truths of nature and of humanity can be won just as effectively, perhaps even more so, in a country cottage as amongst the noise and hustle of a city.” p. 25, Heal Thyself

Read Heal Thyself, and Ye Suffer From Yourselves by downloading the texts from the Bach Centre website.

blackbird rescue remedyI was sitting quietly at Joe's place reading one afternoon when there was sudden thud on the window and, looking up, I realised that a bird had flown into the glass. I could see a few downy feathers floating in the air. Jumping up and shouting to Joe who was in another room, I ran to the balcony (his lounge is on the first floor) and lent over expecting to see a dead bird. A blackbird lay about 4m below on the wooden terrace, its right wing stretched out at such an angle that I was sure it was broken. I was already running downstairs when I thought of the rescue remedy and called to Joe to bring it from the kitchen. He joined me a few seconds later and gave me the pipette of the little bottle which he had already opened. I started to carefully approach the bird, I could see that the bird was breathing fast and its eyes were closed. I talked quietly and avoided sudden movements and anxiously took the bird into my hand. Briefly, I marvelled at its perfection, it was a young male bird, probably a fledgling from last year and it had a few white feathers around its beak. I quickly put several drops of the rescue remedy on its beak. Immediately, it opened its mouth and eyes and shook its head, its dazed eyes blinking at me. It did not panic in my hands. Luckily, neither its neck nor wing was broken. I gave it more of the remedy and then, still murmuring quietly, and moving softly, I stood up and placed it in the bushes for it to recover. Half an hour later Joe reported that the bird was no longer there.

bird 1088105 180BLACKBIRD

A day later we arrived by car at Joe’s place after shopping and, as I got out of the car, I noticed a blackbird in the hedge next to the parking place in front of the house. I stood still, mesmerized by an almost tangible contact to this bird, feeling its bright black eyes watching me. To my amazement, it hopped twice on twigs towards me, instead of flying away, as one would expect. I saw that it was the same blackbird from the accident the previous day – it came so close that I could see the white feathers around its beak. As Joe got out of the car and spoke to me the bird was startled and it flew away leaving me touched and very surprised...Blackbird bach flower remedies

We know Dr Bach’s story of The Travellers, the remedies as figures walking through a wood. I have had some fun updating the story into the internet as follows ;-)

Fotolia 5155900 XS

Agrimony is surfing happily under various identities with a well functioning alias and several pseudo-names. Avatar games are the right thing for her. Cerato has just set up a forum looking for help and advice from others. Rock Rose has just discovered she’s opened a phishing mail and is panicking because her online bank account might get hacked. Impatiens is annoyed with her browser which is crashing; she clicked it too often, it hadn’t opened quickly enough. She is moving to her smart phone and has just hit the touch screen 6 times.

on the SmartphoneRock Water is working on her collected data from recent weeks about her jogging progress. She has a Cloud-connecting health monitoring device and is aiming to improve her condition via disciplined self-tracking. Scleranthus is trying to book her summer holidays online. She went to a site and then to another and another and could not decide where to book, and is now going offline. Elm is going offline too, she’s overwhelmed by everything.

Vervain has just set up a lengthy Cc. list in her email account to all her contacts. She wants to get everyone to join the latest worthy campaign, asking all friends and acquaintances to sign but also pass on the link to all their contacts!

Oak is studying the online manual on page 262 of the pdf, plodding on until she understands how to use the new iPad, she will not give up until she has finished reading. on the iPad

Heather is busy writing a detailed customer review for Amazon (3 pages) about her experiences with her new vacuum cleaner. Water Violet is hesitating liking something on Facebook, but does enjoy quietly reading what people have posted. Mimulus is also hesitant online, she’s a bit frightened of the internet, she has heard of all the alarming things that happen to people who register anywhere. 

OnlineCherry Plum is about to throw her tablet PC on the floor any minute now because the programme she installed last week is not working. The online help portal is not helpful, not only that, the newly installed programme seems to have disturbed the whole workings of her computer and she cannot open any of her documents.

And then there is someone offline - Clematis - she has forgotten her computer password and is sitting there quietly, dreamily and cannot login…smile 5


Next time: The crisis mixture and treatment of a wild animal, an excerpt from my book One Person’s Journey. Short stories about Dr Bach’s flower remedies.

The prettiest village ever seen

The fairy tale atmosphere I felt at Mt Vernon I also sense as I start my walk around the village of Brightwell-cum-Sotwell where the Bach Centre is situated. I am aware that the village has a 1,000 history. There are no street lights or lamp posts alongside the roads, there are no markings on the road, and neither can I see any signposts for traffic. There are dozens of old thatched cottages with lush front gardens and I spot a few houses that obviously stem from Tudor times, perhaps earlier. Many of the houses have dates incorporated into their walls and I start a little competition with myself trying to find the oldest house. If it weren’t for the few cars lining the road here and there it would be easy to imagine that I had travelled in time and I was now in the mid 19th century. 

Sotwell thatched house1688 Sotwell  Sotwell house

Some of the hedgerows are huge and tower over the road; they are certainly at least a hundred years old. The variety of plants along the wayside indicates a healthy ecosystem, bees hum and birds are singing loudly, competing with one another. Some enormous oak trees also line the road which are certainly several hundred years old. There is something amazingly undisturbed about the village which I decide is one of the prettiest places I have ever seen. I come across St James church and know that this is where Dr Bach was buried in 1936. Strangely, there is an old red chestnut tree next to the church and also a holly tree at the entry to the graveyard. 

Walking around the old graveyard (I cannot go into the church as it is locked up), I quickly spot Dr Bach’s grave with the inscription Behold I am alive for evermore which touches me, and tears prick my eyes for a few seconds. I realise for the umpteenth time how this one man has touched ten of thousands of people and gratitude swamps me as I silently walk away.

Dr Bachs grave

 St James church Sotwell

Watch a photo story with music on YouTube about Brightwell-cum-Sotwell and Mt. Vermon which summarizes these first three blog posts...

Brightwell-cum-Sotwell - website

Next time: The Travellers – I have updated the piece Dr Bach wrote about the characters as remedy personalities wandering in a wood. In my version new the figures are now on the Internet. ;-)

Are you familiar with his original story? If not, here it is.

Join me for a step inside Mt. Vernon

After the brightness and warmth of a summer’s day outside in the garden, it is cool inside and rather dark. Mt. Vernon is a very small house which was built in 1892. Having entered the front door, there is no hall, I stand infront of the stairs leading to the next floor where the Bach Centre offices are. To my left and my right are two little sitting rooms. I step into the left room and see the dark bulky furniture that Dr Bach made in the winter's of his time at Mt. Vernon. 

Victor Bullen Nora WeeksDr Bachs typewriter the left front room at Mt. Vernon

Everything appears quaint and old fashioned and has been hardly altered since the thirties; it is like a miniature museum. I sit down in one of the old chairs and take a look around. Again here I sense an almost uncanny peace, as in the garden. It is easy to imagine previous owners chatting here in evenings long past. I see Dr Bach’s black typewriter and think of some of his writings he typed on that (probably) loud and cumbersome machine. 

There is a bookshelf, also recognisable as having been carpentered by Edward Bach, he had an unique style. Old and new books on flower essences are askew in it and I walk over to browse with curiosity. Looking around, I see two water colours and wonder if Nora Weeks was the artist, one is of her and the other is of Victor Bullen*. 

the bookshelves at Mt. VernonLounge Mt. Vernon2nd living room at Mt Vernon

The familiar photo of Edward Bach is over the fire place. I see a poem painted on wood over the fireplace and ask myself who wrote this so apt poem: Deep Peace of the Running wave to you. Deep Peace of the Flowing Air to you. Deep Peace of the of the Quiet Earth to you. Deep Peace of the of the Shining Stars to you. Deep Peace of the Son of Peace to you.

I take time to flick through the visitors book, marvelling at the wide range of countries from where people have come from to visit the Bach Centre: Japan, Australia, Canada, South America, Scandanavia... for some reason I have never felt drawn to write anything in there although this is my third visit to the Centre. I wander out of this front room, it leads to the shop at the Centre which I then take a look at. A wide variety of products to do with Bach remedies are on sale here as are books in the previous room. Although I am drawn to the commerce surrounding the remedies, I decide to retreat and walk back into the garden, down the steep steps and then out into the village.

* Nora Weeks and Victor Bullen were Edward Bach's assistants.

Next: in the village where Dr Bach lived: Brightwell-cum-Sotwell

More about Mt. Vernon in my book: One Person's Journey, short Stories about Dr. Bach's flower remedies. Find out more now!


A feast of flowers - a visit to the Bach Centre

It is a glorious June day with clear blue skies and, as I walk up the rather steep steps, I see the little Victorian red brick house perched in front of me. It stands there simply, unobtrusively. Before going into the house, I wander around the garden and sense a strange peace - not that it is quiet though, the sparrows are twittering loudly, the insects buzzing, Nature is vibrant here. The peace is atmospheric, almost like a pleasant weight that can be felt - and it surprises me. I vaguely think while walking around that it might perhaps have something to do with the peace people have within themselves when they visit this garden.

up the steps at Mt. VernonBach Centre gardenBach Centre Mt.Vernon

Mt. Vernon was Dr Bach's home for the last two years of his life (1934 - 1936) and the garden is semi-wild. A surprising number of remedy plants grow here and indeed grew here in Dr Bach's days too. Those plants used for his system that do not grow in the garden can be found in the surroundings, apart from olive and vine. Wandering around, I stumble on masses of startlingly beautiful star of Bethlehem - bunches of pure whiteness. Agrimony nestles in one of the front beds and honeysuckle adorns the front porch, flowering lavishly. I am lucky to be visiting in summer, and delicate water violet is tentatively flowering alongside the more robust mimulus in the pond. Sitting down on the bench near the pond, I watch some dragonflies dancing over the water. Later, when I resume my tour around the garden after a short contemplative rest, I spot clematis which is winding itself around anything in reach (and itself) and is blooming profusely.

Star of Bethlehem at Mt. VernonHoneysuckle at Mt. Vernon Aspen at Mt. Vernon

Delicate wild roses are flowering nearby, pink and perfect and are being visited by nectar hungry bees. I see slender heads of the wild oat grass nodding in the breeze. I notice a large gorse bush and rock rose. Both these plants with their bright yellow flowers look strong and healthy and radiate vitality. I am enchanted by the stark blueness of cerato and chicory flowers, their heads swaying gently in the breeze. Impatiens has made a corner its own and probably has to be maintained as it grows so fast, it can suppress other plants. The trees in the garden that I discover include holly, cherry plum and elm. And I notice tiny oak and chestnut trees, probably only in their second year. The acorn and conker must have been buried by a squirrel in some past winter. 

The most impressing Bach plant though is the large, stately aspen at the back. Its leaves rustle quietly and continuously - even when the wind is still. I take one more look around, absorbing the atmosphere, the magic and the peace and then take a step indoors into Dr Bach's house.

Wild rose at Mt. Vernon Cerato at Mt. Vernon Impatiens at Mt. Vernon

Beautiful photos of all 38 Bach flowers are in my book, One Person's Journey, short Stories about Dr. Bach's flower remedies. Find out more now!

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Nicola's blog

My book 'One Person's Journey' is now only available as an ebook.

Further training courses:

Mindful communication course; September 2022

Marketing for practitioners

Previous blog postings:

- The evil of 'Vine'

- Finding meaning in life

- Corona - again

- Deadly floods

- A red chestnut discovery

- Impatiens broke my arm

- Goodbye 2020

- Magic

- Coming out of lockdown

- When normality slips away

- Our house is on fire

- The Elm bottle breaks

- When nearly everything changes

- Our social lives and genes

- Two refugees

- A nasty accident

- Friendliness

- Sleep

- Panic

- Someone mad with you?

- Breaking decades of silence (II)

- Who is not socialising and why?

- Breaking decades of silence (I)

- Who gets angry and why?

- Hey, Mr President!

- The saddest day

- Life is full of stories

- At Heathrow

- Building site Guardian Angel

- Letting go

- Specifically Chicory

- The Travellers - a fun piece!

- Emotional baggage

- A wild bird and the rescue remedy

- The garden at Mt.Vernon

- Inside Mt. Vernon

- Brightwell-cum-Sotwell

- Edward Bach's philosophy

Nicola Hanefeld 15My name is Nicola Hanefeld, I am English but I've lived in the Black Forest area in Freiburg, Germany, since 1981. I was a biology teacher before I left England. I have been a BFRP since 1997 and am also a trainer for Bach Centre approved courses. I have three wonderful children, all grown up now. I'm a member of Greenpeace and am also a teacher of the Alexander Technique.

Alongside the Bach flowers, photography is one of my passions. Another passion is writing and you will find many stories relating my journey with Edward Bach's amazing remedies in my book One Person's Journey.





View "One Person's Journey" as an eBook

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