And I write this blog post with this exact scenario in mind: my personal experience of dealing with the loss of my beautiful dog, who has generously and selflessly shared my life for almost sixteen years.
The trouble with experiencing grief, though, is that no matter how kind the people around you are and how many beautiful condolences you receive, you just never feel like anyone around you understands what you are going through. It is almost as though you feel trapped within a bubble: everyone can see you and to them you look as though you are your normal self, but your outlook is hazy and you feel isolated and alone.
And what has compounded this feeling of isolation is that I am grieving for a pet. To me, this has meant that I have felt almost as though I am unjustified in grieving: unlike expectations held for the loss of a parent, partner or another significant person. Feelings arise such as assuming that others will judge you as over-reacting, emotionally unstable or even selfish for putting so much energy into an animal’s life. But grieving soon makes you realise that all you are doing is perceiving others through your own system of judgements, values and beliefs – rather than these being the real emotions or reactions of the people around you.
So it is from this situation that I am most able to testify to the strength and effectiveness of the Australian Bush Flower Essences. Despite the fact that I have used them for many years now, know of their amazing 20-years + case histories and have taught them extensively within the official College Course structure for over two years, nothing proves its efficacy better than when you have to put it to the test for yourself.
And I can honestly say that I am not sure how I would have coped and faced the situation with as much strength, if it were not for the Bush Essences. Life doesn’t stop just because you are grieving, so you often don’t feel you have permission to stop, rest and grieve. However, the Essences have meant that I haven’t had to stop for so long: I have been able to process the long stream of emotions that have reared up one by one, and still continue to meet my obligations.
As anyone who has faced grief will know, it is actually a mixture and progression of emotions that make up the entire state. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying, famously described a model made up of five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and then finally acceptance. This is where the Australian Bush Flower Essences have really come into their own, as they skillfully aided my progression through these emotions (which as yet is still a work in progress!) but have prevented my getting stuck within any one damaging emotion for too long.
Obviously denial is the first stage that I fell into, as you simply believe that it is all a bad dream: everything seemed surreal (the true meaning of that much mis-used word!) and I felt as though I were moving under water. Emergency Essence was what I used in the midst of the loss, as it primarily deals with emotions like fear, terror, despair, and the potential for all these emotions to leave you feeling ungrounded and unable to make stable decisions.
I am very fortunate to have moved through this denial stage immensely quickly thanks to my use of Emergency Essence, and this enabled me to face the situation head-on, own my emotions and keep moving forward. Once I was able to face the situation I was in, I felt the onslaught of sadness which I had to face and had been preventing myself from feeling. As many of us know, sadness unchecked has the potential to lead to depression (one of the stages described by Kübler-Ross), and this was where I most noticed the impact of the Essences I chose to take next. I made up the combination Red Suva Frangipani, Waratah, Bottlebrush & Sturt Desert Rose to assist with the different emotions that were likely to be contributing to my sadness or would present themselves afterwards: Red Suva primarily deals with the broken heart that feels it will never mend; Waratah deals with the potential that the sadness has to evolve into despair; Bottlebrush deals with embracing the concept of letting go of the loved one you are missing; and Sturt Desert Rose deals with any guilt that arises from the false belief that you could have done something more for your loved one while still alive that would have made you a more loving or better person.
Next I was faced with a seemingly unreasonable level of anger at the whole situation: anger at people who didn’t care about their pets but were still graced with their presence; anger at the people around me who didn’t understand my unique situation while I was caring for my dog in her older years; anger at myself for the times I took my dog for granted; anger at the world in general. The Essence that assists with anger is Mountain Devil, and also adding in the Essence for resentment, Dagger Hakea, can be helpful as well for those negative emotions which stem back to prior events. Since there is a strong association with anger evolving into guilt, Sturt Desert Rose again is very helpful in conjunction with these Essences.
I have since cycled many times through the above sets of emotions (including short stints in the bargaining stage), and know that each time the emotions don’t feel so intense. What is most important through the whole process is to ensure that you permit yourself to feel each emotion, and then just as quickly let it go. Since this is not always the way we have learned to deal with our emotions, this is where Australian Bush Flower Essences become so important for us: emotions that are not processed, faced and released will eventually emerge somewhere down the track, and often in the form of dis-ease (refer to the amazing work of Candace Pert if you want to learn more about the link between emotions and our health – or even better, enrol in an Australian Bush Flower Essences College Course with me to explore the entire concept in much greater detail).
Despite not being entirely through the whole process, I know that I will get past this confidently and quickly because of my continued use of the Australian Bush Flower Essences which have enhanced my ability to comprehend, interpret and understand the entire process I am going through. As a last thought, I would like to leave you with this quote from influential psychiatrist, Carl Jung, who so aptly said,
“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness and the word happiness would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.” —C.G.Jung
The Australian Bush Flower Essences enable us to realise this truth and to deal with anything that life may throw our way so that indeed, whatever doesn’t kill us DOES make us stronger.
Until next time, be well!
Clare ~ Baliena Flower Therapies
© 2010 Clare Chapman T/As Baliena Flower Therapies, All Rights Reserved
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