The New Me

It was high noon Monday. The gig was up inventory was low. I had fantasized predicted that Emily’s late summer bottling marathon was going to last forever until her October break. But it didn’t take a psychic person who could count to five to see that since Emily departed back to her life at college, a large number of our Flower Essences had vanished into thin air done what our Flower Essences do. They had been sent off into the wider world into your hands.

So this morning, I dove back into the job that, up until I broke my arm. had been mine.

I began to bottle again. I think I can safely say that I will no longer need to do the arm rehab exercise that required me to do 10 reps X 4 times a day with a two pound arm weight.

An average day of bottling requires me to lift a two pound box of bottles up and down to the bottling gizmo twenty times to fill twenty bottles. Then this is repeated with fifty more boxes. That makes for 1000 reps with a two pound arm weight. I think that is enough.

And my rehab putty activities to help me improve finger strength and dexterity? Also now unnecessary. Will is going to be a very happy camper tonight when he inherits my putty collection. I may not be able to use my left hand with any skill, speed, or dexterity yet, but bottling is going to give me a lot of practice. And that makes me optimistic about my long term recovery of most of my arm and hand skills. I may never want to move as fast as I used to (having found genuine joy in moving slower this summer), but someday I probably will have a choice about that again.

But let’s go back to the stuff of legends where we left me at the bottling sink……….. Because I had fiddled while Rome burned done other things instead of bottling these past few weeks, pretty much everything required extra steps. There were no 2 ounce red shisos bottled. There were also no 2 ounce bottles washed. There were also no 2 ounce bottles racked in boxes ready to be washed. There were also no 2 ounce bottles out to be racked….. You get the picture.

By necessity, I was moving further and further away from what I had originally thought of as the task at hand….. and everything I was doing to get myself back to square one I was doing at the speed of a terrapin. Because that’s my new speed! And generally, I am loving my new speed. But not so much this morning. There were just toooooooo many hovering faces.

I began to think I needed a four hour coffee break in town needed to pull a Sarah Bernhardt with a dramatic scene about my arm needed to learn how to bark, needed to wave a white flag of surrender, because every time I saw one of today’s three shippers, they were standing in front of me with their heads tilted and sympathetic smiles on their faces, telling me most earnestly, “Molly we are out of Baby Blue Eyes.” “Molly we are out of Sage.” “Molly we are out of Chamomile.” Molly we out of A LOT of the new Camino Essences.” “Molly we are out of Anxiety.”

Basically we were out of everything.

While I let my fingers do the walking began to fill in the inventory gaps, the shippers read me excerpts from the mail. This always lifts me up. What lovely, lovely letters you write! It always makes me feel so grateful that I get to be here. Yes, even today, when I was more turtle than hare. Your letters took me from half glass full to cup overflowing in a nano second. And that is a pretty remarkable thing for a terrapin like me.

PS We are having problems with the archives on the blog. My apologies! While Ben tries to figure out how to fix this, please know that all the past blogs are there and can be accessed if you just keep scrolling down through the current blogs. I am particularly loathe to have you lose easy access to the Camino blogs, so we are trying hard to fix this problem. Like so many computer events, this seemed to happen out of the blue and yes, fixing this problem has been another more turtle than hare moment for us……… While we all wait for the fix, can I read you an excerpt from your dear letter to us?

Late Summer at the Farm

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Last night at dusk, the farmers who hay our field came to take away their second cutting from the field. It was a bit of a Marx brothers moment as a truckload of bottles had just arrived for us. The driver had taken his 48 foot tractor trailer past our farm, way down our dead end road where he found himself very, very stuck. Jim went down the road to try and help him turn around. About two hours later, he and the poor truck driver returned victorious. The driver was amazingly cheerful, even philosophical, noting that, “These things happen.”

However resigned he was to one mishap, he was not ready for another. He halted his mammoth truck in the middle of the road in front of the farm blocking all traffic including the many farm vehicles on our field and all the neighbors coming home from work. As we set to work unloading boxes and relaying them to our barn, it was quite a circus of confused vehicles. Jeison, former staffer Yesenia’s charming cousin from Costa Rica, showed up and in his ever gregarious way explained to each arriving vehicle that there was simply no where to go. Big dogs and little dogs from all over the hilltop appeared to watch as all able handed people unloaded tens of thousands of bottles. The truth is that the above photo of the big hay rolls peaking through the Joe Pye Weed gives an impression of a quiet evening that wasn’t very quiet.

None the less, by early this morning all the hay rolls were gone, Jim had repaired the damage done down the road by the tractor trailer truck, a year’s worth of bottles were tucked in our barn, and the fog that sits in the valley on fall mornings was there to remind us that even though its been a glorious stretch of sunshine, cold is coming.

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This cold, even to the point of frost is just what the grapes need to sweeten them a bit.

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but exactly what we don’t want for the red shiso which is very sensitive to frost. So we begin our dance of waiting as long as possible to harvest the red shiso so as to have the deepest maroon colored crop possible while not waiting too long so as to have no crop at all.
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And of course we are grateful for every frost free day that gives us Flowers like this spectacular late season Daylily called Ripe Grapes

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or the Montbretia which we fell in love with in Ireland and now grow here.

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We are need time to harvest the bumper crops of peaches, plums, pears, and apples of this marvelous fruit year.

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And time to mellow out under the fruit trees with the dogs, who as ever, have their priorities in order.

The Field of the Stars Flower Essences

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THE FIELD OF THE STARS COLLECTION ( All Essences available and already flying out the door!)

This collection of Flower Essences was made by Elizabeth Sheehan as she walked the ancient pilgrimage route across northern Spain known as the Road to Santiago de Compostela or the Camino, which in Spanish means ‘the Way’.
The five hundred mile Camino offers the pilgrim a course in healing. Located on powerful ley lines, the land of the trail is very high in vibration and holds significant divine purpose. In addition, millions of pilgrims have walked the trail with a single-minded focus on their spiritual lives. This has cleared the trail of much ego static and imbued it with the spiritual wisdom the untold pilgrims learned on their journeys.Elizabeth made 19 Flowers Essence mixes on the Camino. After returning to Green Hope Farm, she spent time with each Flower Essence mix, seeking to understand its energetic gifts. She discovered that the healing intention of each Essence dovetailed with what had happened to her at that place on the trail. This reflects the nature of the Camino as a very specific course in healing, with different places on the Camino acting as classrooms for different spiritual challenges. To walk the Camino is to step into a healing groove carve by divinity and to partake in a divinely orchestrated healing journey.
In her definitions, Elizabeth shares both the universal gifts of the Essences as well as a description of what she was learning at that point in her journey. I thank her for bringing us these wonderful Flower Essences and making it possible for those of us who haven’t walked the Camino to partake of its healing gifts.
And now, I turn this document over to pilgrim Elizabeth. P7040286.JPG

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE CAMINO
For well over a thousand years pilgrims from all over the world have walked the Camino.

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Because medieval pilgrims began their pilgrimages at their front doors, trails to Santiago begin in places all over Northern Europe. At the French and Spanish border, many trails converge into one five hundred mile trail across northern Spain that is known as the Camino Frances. This spot of convergence is the small town of St. Jean Pied de Port in the foothills of the French Pyranees. From there, the pilgrim route goes over the mountains and across northern Spain to one of two places. The Galician city of Santiago de Compostela is the traditional ending for Christians while the seacoast peninsula of Fisterra was the traditional ending place for Celtic and other pre-Christian pilgrims.

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Santiago de Compostela translates as St. James of the Field of the Stars. The name refers to the Christian disciple St. James. The story is told that after James was beheaded by Herod, his remains were put in a stone boat that floated across the Mediterranean to come ashore near Fisterra. The story does not end there, for in the year 807 a shepherd is said to have found the remains of St. James in a field illuminated by a multitude of stars. At the spot where the remains of St James were found, a cathedral was built to house his bones. No one is certain that the bones belong to St. James, but his long association with the trail has forever linked him to this pilgrim route.

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During the middle ages, the Camino was considered one of three major pilgrimages that a Christian could walk to atone for sins, to thank God for blessings, or to ask for divine intercession. The first two routes were to the more remote destinations of Rome and Jerusalem. This meant the third pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela was the most affordable, accessible, and therefore vastly more popular pilgrim route with literally millions of pilgrims walking this trail during the middle ages. Many of the hostels along the route have been giving shelter to pilgrims for over a thousand years.As noted, the tradition of walking this route is older than the discovery of St James’ remains. For the souls waking the trail in Celtic times, the end of the trail was 100 km beyond Santiago de Compostela at a seaside promontory of Fisterra.

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Before the discovery of the western continents, this spot on the coast was thought to be the end of the world, hence the name Fisterra, which roughly translated means “end of the land.” Fisterra, where the land falls away and the ocean goes out into the unknown, has been a place long associated with ideas of transition. On arrival at Fisterra, it is still a pilgrim tradition to burn something of significance that you have carried along the trail or to throw your walking stick into the ocean, thus signifying the completion of one part of one’s journey and a new beginning.
Pilgrims including St Francis of Assisi, Charlemagne and the Spanish monarchs, Isabel and Ferdinand, walked the Camino. The pilgrimage lies on land that has long been seen as sacred by many different groups of believers. Part of its strength comes from how it aligns with the Milky Way constellations. This alignment reflects its spiritual purposes beyond the ownership of any one religious group.

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After falling into quiet times, the trail has seen a return of pilgrims in the last few decades. This reflects how the trail holds timeless spiritual gifts in its very ground, gifts offered with infinite generosity to the hearts of the more than one hundred thousand people that walk the trail every year.

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MY JOURNEY AND HOW THESE ESSENCES HAPPENED
I set out on the trail in June of 2008 with little or no idea what awaited me along the way, and with little more than my slightly too heavy backpack and my own courage to guide me. I set off from St. Jean Pied de Port, one of the more popular starting places in southwestern France.
Along the way, many Flowers called to me to be included in the Flower Essence mixes. All of the Flowers involved in the Essences were very clear about their purposes. Each of the Essence combinations is named after a place near where the specific Flowers were collected. Each Flower Essence combination holds both a personal story for me as well as a universal healing dynamic.It is often said that the experience of walking the Camino is one of intensity. Everything is heightened. The major spiritual issues of your life journey are brought into focus to be seen and resolved. In an effort to make the dynamics crystal clear, the characters you meet, and the emotions you feel are sometimes larger than life. The journey reveals many things by bringing everything to the surface.This collection offers support to see our spiritual journeys with clarity. It offers ways to heal, release or move through specific dynamics each of us face on our journey through life. The collection is about the flow of the hero’s journey. It is about the way in which our lives run in cycles of growth.
The trail teaches many things, but one of the most important gifts that it bestowed upon me was that it helped me to be exactly where I was. These Essences, made throughout my journey, help us experience all the stages of the hero’s journey, knowing that each stage, either beautiful or painful, will pass and a new landscape, a new moment of the journey will arrive.
The trail has a history of being claimed by many different religions or groups. But the trail, its Flowers, and the Flower Essences in this collection are clear in their purpose to serve the light in each of us as individual souls. In doing so, the Flowers and these Essences help to heal some of the ancient wounds that have long been a part of the Camino.
Each Essence is named after a place on the Camino. The definitions explain the spiritual dynamic of each place as I experienced it. Along with each of the Essence definitions, I wrote a short description about my personal experience on the trail during this stage in the journey. My hope is that sharing this will help explain the Essences’ gifts and helps us all heal and live our heroic journeys.

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MESSAGE FROM THE DEVA OF THE CAMINO:
I am healing at its deepest core. I am not a façade of spirituality or religion. I am the oneness of land and spirit. I have come to share the ancient gifts of healing that this land can give to humans. I have long been covered in blood, shed by confused souls battling for the illusion of ownership of my pathway. I have lain dormant for many years as the battles raged on. I have come again in this modern age to guide souls back to their true journey on this Earth, a shared journey.The Flowers along my pathway hold an exponential amount of healing energy that will assist all that use them in being able to get down to their real work. I am the combination of the physical and spiritual planes as they come together to aid each soul in finding their way to healing. I am the grounded vision of the future, if humanity can do the work that they are being called to do. I am the reassurance that as each soul faces the inner journey, it is a gift to the light of the world and one that cannot be denied.The vibration of my pathways is swiftly rising. I must be clear that the work is more valuable now than ever before.
I am the courage.
I am the journey back to wholeness.
I am a trail of light, the will serve the world through every soul it touches.
I am the taste of what the planet’s vibration will now need to become and a view into the intensity of the light in the ages to come.

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Roncesvalles, Zubiri, Arre

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Roncesvalles
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Keynote:
Courage
Being able to summon the strength to take the first step in a journey. Allows the body to access the reserve of energy needed for the initial change into new ways of being.

As I sat in the pilgrim’s office in St. Jean Pied de Port, I wanted to begin my pilgrimage, but conventional wisdom suggested I had arrived at the starting point too late to do the first day’s 25km/15 mile walk up and over the Pyranees into Spain. Yet, I was very eager to start. Then again, part of me was unprepared to hike that day. I was wearing long pants and my bag was filled with extra food and stuff that I had planned to jettison before hitting the trail. But a group who had arrived on the train with me had decided to begin, so I quickly joined their pace and set off. I needed reserves of physical energy that first day when I climbed up and through the mountains. And for that reason the Flowers that I collected on those open plains and lush mountaintops helped to fuel the first leg of my journey. When I got to the first night’s destination of Roncesvalles, I knew the trail had already given me the gift of the strength to begin.

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Zubiri:
Keynote:
Flow
Allowing the momentum of you life to fuel its forward flow. Entering a state where expending energy on creative activities essential to your path creates energy rather than depletes your reserves.

Zubiri was a place that I passed through on my second day of walking. The trail wound down off the slopes of the Pyrenees and into the valleys below. The day was crisp and bright. The light, the land, and all the Flowers brought such joy to each step. I found that the forward arc of each of my feet, meeting the ground on the winding trail, recharged my body and spirit, much in the way that a hybrid car recharges itself as it drives.

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Arre:
Keynote:
Conviction
Trusting your life’s pacing and standing by it with fully centered and grounded conviction.

Albergues are the hostels just for pilgrims that line the route of the entire pilgrimage. Arre was a town with a beautiful albergue where I spent my second night. That day, I had walked over 40k/24 miles. I still felt the buzz of energy from the life force of the trail when I had an interaction that challenged me. I was sitting in a courtyard surrounded by ancient rose bushes and pilgrims’ laundry hanging out to dry when an Australian woman came and joined me. She was very chatty and told me and the other pilgrims I was sitting with her reasons for being on the trail. Then she asked me about my journey. As soon as I told her about where I had walked from and my excitement to move fast, she quickly opened up into a stream of disapproval. She told me that I was not listening to the trail and that my mode of walking was wrong. I was affronted, but knew that my wisdom about my own pace was in accord with my journey. We receive challenges like this from the universe all the time, those Angels in disguise that call us to stand in our truth, no matter what reasoning the outside world throws at us.

Puente la Reina, Los Arcos, La Rioja

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Puente la Reina:

Keynote: Clarity
Lightening your energetic load and being clear about whom you travel forward with. Learning discernment about who sees your worth and can actually support your growth.

Puente la Reina is the city where I spent my third night on the trail. Previously I had walked with a man from Denmark who had been part of the original group that I started with on the first day. During this day of walking, I walked ahead when he needed to slow down due to his knees. This departure happened on the outskirts of Pamplona, a city famous for the running of the bulls. This moment of moving ahead was one of clarity. It was a moment when I knew that I needed to keep moving forward and that there were other souls further ahead who could better support me in my journey. Because this man reminded me of a person with whom I hade recently parted, this felt like a big moment for me.

That night in the albergue I met a charming German boy with whom I had much in common. Like myself, he had been a teacher. Like myself he was trying to figure out his life. I was encouraged by my first taste of being with young people. Before this moment, the trail had felt full of older people either on their own or in couples. That evening, before everyone disappeared off to bed, I asked the young man if he would like to walk with me the next day. He told me that would be ok if we woke up around the same time, our pace was the same, and it just happened. “Yea sure, whatever.” he said. This was not the enthusiastic response I was hoping for. If he did not want to make the effort in the smallest way, then I needed to go on and seek people who would. The trail was teaching me discernment about my choices of traveling companions and my worthiness to travel with kindred spirits.

In Puente la Reina, I also lightened my pack by leaving behind my heavy, but brand new sleeping mat. I left it with a gulp in the albergue, but did not miss its weight and bulk on my back for one minute. On the trail everything in one’s pack must be essential. Flushing out all the things that were not needed was a favorite pastime. I found the practice could be almost completely translated to the all the things we carry internally as well. Hence I set off before sunrise in the company of two Italians who spoke not a lick of English, in an effort to lighten all types of loads.

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Los Arcos:

Keynote: Release
Finding the bravery to move ahead on your own and at the same time being open to support from unusual places and activities.

This was a particularly tough stretch of the trail for me. I was traveling with two souls that were very kind but spoke no English. This night we slept in a small town at the base of a beautiful mountain with ruins of a castle on top. The village was nearly deserted. The only life seemed to be the ice cream truck that rolled through town in the afternoon. The castle could be seen from miles off and when it came into view I had one of those experiences of recognition that is core deep, but often completely mysterious. The next morning brought me to another internal crossroads. One of the Italians had left before dawn and the other was having severe problems with his achilles tendon and the dreaded tendonitis, something I also was starting to feel. On the flat and empty plains, covered in nothing but grain as far as the eye could see, I set off walking totally on my own. I was solo for the first time on the trip. When I lost sight of my Italian friend behind me, I knew I was truly in the universe’s hands. What that morning brought was the narrow and winding streets of Los Arcos, the most delicious cookies I have ever eaten in my life, as well as the company of an older German man who wanted to practice his English with me. He shared with me that his mother was named Elizabeth, just like me. These gifts though small, helped me to feel taken care of. I walked on with the growing awareness that the trail would support me along its length.

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La Rioja:

Keynote: Creativity
Discovering your unique autonomy, cultivating your deep creative strengths, and then turning them into assets in obtaining the life you desire.

This essence came from a beautiful and very proud region of La Rioja. This small, but autonomous region is known around the world for its wines. Many hours were spent walking in rust red soil next to the fields where the grapes grew. This summer happened to be one of the rainiest in Spanish history and the trail beside the vineyards was both breathtaking and crazy making, because the mud was thick, wet, and deep. It would cling to the soles of your shoes, and could topple your wobbly balance at any moment. I must admit I took a few not so graceful falls, but I blame it all on my pack. As I encountered clusters of people out in the fields and the occasional lone farmer, it became clear that the grapes were a source of life both economically and spiritually for the people of this region and for that reason the land vibrated with the energy of respect and gratitude.

As a community of Flowers, Angels, Nature Spirits, Dogs, Cats and even some People, Green Hope Farm can be a funny place……and I love telling you all about it!