A Thank You for Your Testimonials

Thanksgiving included four dogs, four cats and twelve people around the table. This was a smaller group for us than most years but a zesty one.

From past Thanksgiving posts, you know how much I like finding out guest’s childhood Thanksgiving menus then including their twists in our meal. This year’s newcomers meant the addition of a broccoli cheese rice casserole which proved very popular as well as a very complex take on sweet potatoes in which things were mashed, pummeled, ground by hand then finished off with marshmallows submerged in the sweet potato matrix. It was a serious hit.

Thanksgiving remains my favorite holiday especially since Ben has taken over full responsibility for the turkey. I love that the week before Thanksgiving I can wish everyone we connect with here in the office a Happy Thanksgiving because it is a holiday that belongs to all of us.

Strange weather also seems to be common ground for just about everyone we connect with these days. Here in the north country, we had a serious snow storm on the day before Thanksgiving which morphed into a string of unseasonably warm “spring days”.

The newly planted spring bulbs have been confused enough to be poking their heads through the ground.

What do you say to a brave little fleet of Crocuses who stand poised to blossom? No! No! No! doesn’t seem to stop them. I am hoping that some last minute additional mulch will.

Most of the farm projects are inside right now- Even with the soil still warm, there comes a moment when the shovels get hung up for the season ANYWAYS.

I continue to work on the next edition of the Guide. In addition to trying to rework every Flower Essence definition with input from the Angels, Elementals and you all, I’m also sorting through all the testimonials you sent us for use in this next edition. Many of you have asked that we put these testimonials on the website as well as into the Guide, so I am making one big document to post on the website.

When I started this project a number of weeks ago, I had several hefty files of testimonials we had saved since the last guide was printed. It is an incredible adventure to read your stories, and it fills me up with a great deal of gratitude. With every healing story I read, I feel so lucky to be part of Green Hope Farm Flower Essences.

Here is a letter I am going to put into the section on Flower Essences and Rescue Animals:

The best story, however, is my rescue fight dog. He was almost catatonic when the rescue group saved him. All of his teeth were gone & he hadn’t seen the light of day for almost a year. He was still pretty messed up when I got him. He had serious irritable bowel & lots of fears. I started him on the remedies the minute they got here. He was feeling really poorly for about 4 days- then, the next morning my eyes almost fell out of my head! When I went downstairs to feed him, I was greeted by a new dog! He was standing up (not cowering in the corner,) wagging his tail & really glad to see me! His energy had completely shifted & he hasn’t looked back since. His digestive problems were solved & he has since had nothing but pick-up-able poops! His whole space has great energy to it. It took me four months to get him to go outside. Now, he’s put 2 & 2 together & knows to go outside to “do his business!” We have gotten him some toys & he loves to romp & roll around in the sun & play like a puppy! They think he’s between 10-12 yrs old- but you couldn’t prove that today! K.B., Louisville KY

Isn’t that something to be thankful for? So many more letters to share soon. Bless each and every one of you who takes a moment to tell us your Flower Essence stories. I am so glad to be working on this project so all of you can hear all these stories! As I pour over these letters there is one other thought that fills me…….

Thank goodness your handwriting is a lot better than mine!

A Celebratory Bonfire

Some of you have been asking us what we are doing to prepare for 11-11-11.

I am never quite sure what these events mean, but I like how they give us all a sense of occasion and an opportunity to celebrate new beginnings and our collective spiritual journey.

During the Harmonic Convergence in 1987, we camped out in our half built house. It was our very first night in our new home and very special to get up at dawn to greet the sun rising over our first farm crop of buckwheat, planted to improve the soil.

With 11-11-11, we decided to have a BIG bonfire.

IMG_4726

Jim, Emily, her friend Charlie and I dragged brush from the pile between Ben’s land and our land.
IMG_4728

Sometimes I have been put in charge of making the bonfires. As an earth sign, this doesn’t play to my strengths. Much as I need fire energy, a fire I build can often molder along in a dismal sort of way. So this time I asked Emily and her friend Charlie who are both Aries to build the fire.
IMG_1154

It was Ben’s thirtieth birthday last week so the bonfire was part of his birthday celebration. Here he is talking to MayMay about the blaze.

IMG_1157

It was a great decision to leave Charlie and Emily in charge of the fire. It lit with one match and was a towering inferno within about ten seconds. Here they are enjoying their creation, having been told they are now in charge of all future bonfires.

IMG_1210

We also saw this fire as a dhuni, a purifying fire into which we could symbolically throw bindings and attachments. I was glad to have a chance to write down things I wanted to let go of and throw this list in the fire.

And when the blaze settled down, we also used the embers to enjoy a few ‘smores. After all Will hadn’t had a snack in fifteen minutes and he was famished!

Indian Pipe

IMG_4703.JPG

Anyone wondering if we are all connected would have plenty of food for thought after a week or two shipping orders at Green Hope Farm. We have about a thousand Flower Essences on offer but in any given week, there will be particular Essences from our enormous array that fly off all over the world in a flood of independent orders. Lately one of the Flower Essences that has been rushing out the door is Indian Pipe.

There is so much to say about this beloved Flower Essence!

Indian Pipe was used by Native Americans as an herbal decoction to calm querulous and restless children especially those with fevers. It was also used for pain relief. As a Flower Essence, Indian Pipe helps people remember the abiding reality of peace beneath tumultuous events. As the Angels describe it, Indian Pipe helps us experience the ocean of God’s love ever present beneath the surface waves.

With its profound connection to Native Americans, it comes as no surprise that Indian Pipe Essence also holds a template for balancing the four winds and the four elements. Domesticated animals particularly love it for the support it gives them to regain this sense of elemental peace and unity with nature whenever this awareness has been lost to them.

Many animals can benefit from Indian Pipe right now and thankfully, their people are ordering it for them. Animals are part of the Elemental kingdom so they see their job assignment as absorbing and rebalancing the vibrations around them, but right now, there is too much for them to absorb and stay balanced at the same time. The accelerating vibration of the planet leaves many animals absorbing the chaos of their people’s reactions to the changing planet as well as other chaotic vibrations around them. This is one of the reasons we suggest Golden Armor for the animals as it buffers them from all this extra dissonance.

Indian Pipe is also extremely helpful for the animals in the present circumstances. It eases them back into a primal experience of self, an experience that by its essential nature is peaceful. In the wild, animals know how they must live. They do what they need to do to survive, but they maintain an experience of unity with their world throughout all their daily activities. Domesticated animals can lose this experience of unity and fall into the illusions of the human community of otherness, separation and loss. This tends to happen more when their people are stressed, and the tumult on the planet is leaving a lot of us stressed. While Golden Armor helps animals not take on our illusions in the first place, Indian Pipe helps restore the animals to their natural state of oneness with the natural realm if they have temporarily bought into our vibrational confusions.

We shouldn’t be so surprised that animals might need a roadmap back to their natural state. They find themselves in worlds that are not of their creation and in the energies of dissonance that would never be something they would create. They have no natural roadmaps back from a place they never would have created. Fortunately, Flower Essences can show them the doorway back to their own balanced self.

Us humans need Indian Pipe just as much as the animals for we too need support to cut through the sway of illusions of separation to come into an awareness of the seamless unity and abiding peace of all that is.

I had a very Indian Pipe healing this past summer that reflected this Flower’s deep kindness and ability to help us snap out of our mind funks. To back up a moment, Cranberry Lake, the place in the Adirondacks where I went to every summer of my early life, was always my favorite place on Earth. As a child and young adult, I couldn’t really imagine life without this place, and it never occurred to me that I would have to imagine this. I am still having a hard time completely wrapping my head around the truth that the place is gone from my life.

My love for this place was all about my experiences there of feeling one with the natural world. As a very small child I felt a kinship to the rocks, trees, waters and most particularly the Flowers of the place. It was no surprise that the Adirondack collection was one of our first collections of Flower Essences. To meet with Adirondack Flowers along a trail or at the water’s edge was to visit with friends, so of course these friends were the ones I turned to first when I began making Flower Essences.

On a practical level, when the place in the Adirondacks fell away from my life, I had to figure out other ways to source the Flower Essences. For a number of years, my kids continued to visit Cranberry Lake, and they took on the responsibility of making needed Flower Essences but this was always a bit touch and go as Flowers don’t always return to exactly the same spot from season to season. I could tell the kids to look for Yellow Water Lily in South Flow or Small Woodland Orchis in the swamps of Cowhorn Pond, but the Flowers were not always there. Nonetheless, we made do until last summer when the kids were told they couldn’t visit the family camp anymore either. With this full stop to visits, I had to get more serious about finding all the Adirondack Flowers near the farm.

The problem was that while I knew where some of these Flowers grew around here, there were several Flowers I had never seen in local woods or fields. So this summer, every woods walk was a search for some of the missing Flowers. There were two that I was particularly concerned about: Titan and Indian Pipe. As a wild orchid, Titan can’t be grown from seed or transplanted, not that I knew where to transplant it from. I really had no idea where to begin with my search for this one. As far as Indian Pipe was concerned, I was certain it grew around here, but it was another one I had yet to actually find. I map my world by where Flowers grow, but this one had eluded me, and my inventory of its Essences was low low low.

One August afternoon I was fussing over an enormous potted Dombeya Wallichii tree that spends the warm months outside the greenhouse in a place right by our front door. As I plucked untidy leaves and tied up leggy branches, I suddenly noticed two Titan orchids growing just a few inches away from the Dombeya’s pot . Not only were there two healthy Titan plants, but they were about to bloom. Three feet from our front door!

You can imagine my gratitude, joy and relief. The arrival of these orchids was truly the answer to a prayer. I was still glowing a few hours later as I took a woods walk with the dogs. As I went over the discovery of the Titan orchids in my mind, I was in a glow, but a tiny part of me was still concerned about finding Indian Pipe.

As my mind began to turn this niggle into a full blown worry, I glanced up into the woods ahead of me. A shaft of brilliant sunlight illuminated a patch of earth under a hemlock tree, and there in this swath of sunlight grew a glorious clump of Indian Pipe, the first I had ever seen in New Hampshire!

Sometimes no matter how Flowers try to disguise themselves as just beautiful props on stage set Earth, their intense love beams out and envelops us in greater realities. In that moment, I bathed in the peace of Indian Pipe and in an awareness of the immense generosity and tender love that is the natural world around us. In that moment, I could feel myself, at long last, lay down any burden of worry about finding Adirondack Wildflowers for our ongoing collection.

Riding the LP

Back twenty five years ago, there were a lot of Angel groups in our valley and at one of the meetings I went to where a bunch of us were seeking Angelic guidance, an Angel gave us all a piece of advice that stuck with me. This Angel spoke of the vibration on the planet increasing as part of our spiritual evolution and described the pressing need for all of us to stay centered in our hearts and inner divinity as the vibration increased. This Angel used the analogy of an LP record. This is now a very outdated analogy, but I liked the analogy then and still do. So I am going to share it, because just about now it seems like a pretty helpful image.

The Angel explained that at the center of a record, the spin was manageable. If we were placed there at the center, we would be able to handle the movement even as the record got spinning faster. The Angel said that as the planetary vibration rose, it would feel like a record spinning faster and faster. This Angel suggested that as events and vibrations sped up, being centered in our hearts was going to make all the difference and was going to be like staying in the center of a record while the record turned. The alternative of being in our personalities was like trying to stay on a record at the outer edges. It would be a crazy if not impossible ride and one that would keep going until we remembered to go to our hearts and the Divinity anchored there.

Of course, this analogy is an obscure one for those young people who have never seen a record player spin a record, but for me it somehow caught my attention. So much of what the Angels said to me back then sounded so dramatic but also stuck in the back of my mind. In so many of the messages I began to receive internally and that I heard from others, the Angels encouraged us all to learn how to stay centered and grounded to our own inner guidance and Divinity so that no matter what was going on around us, even a volcanic eruption, we would be able to stay calm and hear and act from our inner guidance clearly. I remember being quite startled by the volcanic eruption reference, but now it doesn’t seem quite so nutty.

It was good to get this Angelic advice back when the vibration was slower and begin to work on this centering thing, because it feels to me that we are in that time the Angels spoke of. So many radical changes are happening so fast that any capacity for the mind to mull endlessly over any situation before deciding what to do has been lost. We have all needed to do a sort of moment to moment improvisation from the heart as we deal with so much stuff flying at us. And I for one am finding the focus on staying centered and receiving comfort and guidance from within my only way through. There has been so much change in my world this last month that the habit to stop and center, pray, listen and be still for a few minutes every hour becomes a life saving habit.

Back when the Angels gave me those first in-services, they also gave me the heads up I would be disinherited by my family or as they put it, “not get anything from my childhood world.” At the time, I really couldn’t wrap my head around this bit of information. When I wasn’t doubting my inner listening skills, I could only imagine that what the Angels were telling me was that there was going to be a flood in coastal Connecticut that would take out my family’s home. I was far away from understanding the family of origin dramas that were about to explode around me. However, this month, after over a decade of family of origin explosions, the last ( I hope) shoe dropped in this drama. My mother (who never liked me) died, and I learned that her threats to cut me out of her will had become fact. The place in the Adirondacks and everything else is not to be part of our family’s ongoing lives. Then a series of other deaths, losses and illnesses among beloved friends followed my mother’s death to the point where last night Jim actually had to remind me I was also dealing with her death as well as all that had happened in the weeks since.

I am not feeling sorry for myself or feeling unfairly burdened with this kind of turmoil. Just about everyone whom we talk to or email or visit with through the mail is going through as much if not more. The animals too are having a time of it. We are, quite simply, on a planet in the throes of major change and that means change for all of us. I am grateful for the way the Angels have been part of our preparations for this time and grateful for the unceasing ongoing support of Divinity in every moment. To go to our hearts is to be filled with an experience of not being alone in all this turmoil.

Divinity not only prepared us with hints of things to come and ideas about how to adapt, but Divinity has sent in other tools to support us. Right now I feel the focus of the Angels and Elementals work with our Flower Essences is to help our physical systems to adapt to the higher frequencies so we can ride out these changes more easily. For example, Linden and Pink Magnolia, described two blog posts before this one, are focused on helping upgrade our electrical circuitry to accommodate these higher vibrations.

They are also offering new Essences including Cape Fuschia “Moonraker” that help us go to that centered place within us, the center of the record so to speak. Someone told us yesterday that there is a book on the market right now called “The Storm Before the Calm”. The title alone brought a lot of comfort to us. We will adapt to the heightened vibrations. These are good changes for us. It is going to make for a planet where love prevails, but it is a bit of a rocky ride to get acclimated to this change and so good to know we are not alone and help is available and ever within us.

The Art of Being a Beginner

I have asked Elizabeth to write about her third trip down the Camino- This is her first post about Camino Tres.

IMG_0725
In late spring I felt the Camino calling me back for a third round, and once I hit Spanish soil two months later, there was no turning back. And that is when things fell apart. My two other treks had begun in June, but this time I began my Camino in July. Unbeknownst to me, this meant I was in a jam even before I got to the trail.

During my last Camino in 2009, I arrived in Madrid with my sights set on St Jean Pied de Port, the small French town that is the Camino headwater just over the Spanish border. And in 2009, the trail gods were with me. A high speed train took me to Pamplona and a taxi took me from there to St Jean Pied de Port. This time the story was filled with a looming specter that I had underestimated: the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona.

The Running of the Bulls made me a beginner again. The trains from Madrid to Pamplona were full with no tickets available. Madrid was buzzing with people all bent on going to Pamplona for the festivities, and I had no backup plan. I’d done this twice before, how could I feel like such a novice? How could I still be stumbling around like this was my first rodeo?

One metro ride, three lurching, lumbering slow trains and a taxi ride later I was in Pamplona but not yet to St Jean and the beginning of my journey. I haggled a posse of Americans from the train into letting me sleep on their floor, but somewhere to pass the dark hours was all I really got. Pamplona was alive all night, and herds of drunken revelers traipsed over me like rush hour traffic. I curled my back to the wall and wondered what rabbit hole I had fallen down.

Morning came and my taxi ride out of sunny Pamplona took me towards that familiar French town of St Jean and the starting gate I knew so well. As I left the old city of Pamplona, the streets were empty and the sun was creeping into all the dark corners of night soaked revelry. I sighed with relief to leave that trouble behind.

But a turn north proved more worrying. The Pyrenees were dark, not dark like night or even creeping dawn, but dark like weather, like soaked clouds of doom hanging around long after the sun had risen. There was no doubt about it. There were rainstorms in the mountains, and I had no protection against such a foe.

Back in the states, in a moment of temporary insanity, I had left my rain jacket at home. To be fair, it was 95 degrees as I meticulously packed my small cache of clothing into my pack, and my brother’s haunting notes about his Camino in July had send heat shivers across my skin. He said that nary a drop of rain fell in the 30 days he spent on the trail. The sun had been his ruthless companion, seeking him out with dehydration and sunburn in every waking moment. Being a New Englander by birth, I was a bit fearful of weather so hot that it crippled one’s ability to walk, because my primary job would once again be walking. So the rain jacket was forgotten. Better to carry a tube of sunscreen.

In other places, rain is annoying, but in the Pyrenees it feels dangerous, like an enemy suddenly lurking in the misty land ahead, one you can’t really play off as innocuous. I felt armor-less. Even a pathetic non-rainproof rain jacket like the one from my first Camino would have been welcome. At least I could have appeared to have a line of defense. My taxi driver turned down the American rock music and pointed out the obvious fact that it was raining in the mountains. Then he asked me if I had good gear for “very bad and unpredictable weather.” I nodded mutely and felt my pulse rising. I was unprepared. With over 1000 Camino miles under my belt, I was a beginner again.

After running around St. Jean Pied de Port like a crazy person in search of rain gear, I was at the edge of town covered in plastic. My backpack cover was (thankfully) in place so all the contents of my bag would be dry no matter what. My body though was still adjusting to the sheet of thick blue plastic curled around my torso, flaring out to my elbows in wide sleeves and spilling out to my knees like some open flap skirt. I now owned a poncho and needed to wear it too. Call it revenge for all my disparaging remarks in ‘The Trail’ in regards to this article of clothing. I was now officially eating crow.

IMG_0067
I’d become my own object of mockery. The rain enjoyed my costume and felt pleased enough to halt its deluge for a few hours. The sun even peeked its head around the distant peeks. I shoved the blue creature into my bag like a dirty secret and darted up the mountain for the first short day of walking to Orrison, the farthest I could go after my late start. I hoped the universe had laughed enough at me and my poncho and I would not be forced to wear it again. But I was a beginner again, and it seemed I was a bit of an unlucky one too.

The next morning dawned and after two Caminos of beautiful mountain crossings, I was greeted with walls of white and the smug sting of more rain. Not only would I have to wear my new poncho, but I would be caught in a tunnel of white for the rest of the day. Also my new shoes were doomed (because what’s the point of paying for the gorex waterproof kind right? Silly for July in Spain- extravagant even!).

That afternoon, when I arrived in Roncesvalles on the far side of the mountains, I was startled to once again be a newbie. The old monastery building that had housed pilgrims for as long as anyone could remember and had cradled me twice was closed. There was a new albergue, the Spanish word for pilgrim hostel, and it was as modern as they come. Impersonal cell blocks of bunks ringed each floor and the spaces for gathering were harshly lit and cavernous. This was new and jarring. Would there be anything familiar about this familiar journey?

In the days to come I would find the trail a place changed. Sometimes for the better as in the new influx of families walking the trail with their children. In the past, I had seen only a single child under the age of fourteen, and the one I had met looked bored and lonely in a world of adults. But with the change of season to the month of July, I was suddenly waiting for the sink behind a five year old on tippy toes and watching fathers lope by with baby carriers instead of backpacks. I even crossed paths with a family walking from France who had brought a donkey along with their three children, one of whom was not old enough to walk let alone amble down the trail. Many people I met talked about the joyful feeling of traveling alongside little pilgrims in warm family herds as well as the admiration they had for the pregnant woman walking the trail in her second trimester.

The Camino was suddenly blooming with life, and it was bliss to sit down at the end of the day and let it flow around me. I was happy to welcome such a sweet thread to the trail, happy to be a beginner with such pilgrims by my side. One of my most beloved companions deep in the journey was nine-year-old Martin who had been walking the trail in sections since he was six. He was more of a veteran than me but still willing to camp out on the floor by my bunk and help me practice my Spanish. Next year, he will go all the way to Santiago, and something tells me his time as a pilgrim has only begun.

IMG_0540

But there were other currents of change and signs of unsettling shifts. These elements made me feel clumsy and distant from a trail I felt I knew so well. It was like returning to an old friend to find her changed in way that make her feel very, very far away. I was a beginner as I navigated the chaos of San Fermin and the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, because even after traveling through it to get to the trailhead, I had to return to walk her streets three days later. I had always been at the far end of the trail, nearly five hundred miles away from the festival when it spilled its sticky, smelly, chaotic, dark energy all over the Camino. I would only see clips of the running on the TVs in bars, never seeing what lay beyond the two minute run of the bulls down the main street of the city. I was horrified enough, but the things that the cameras didn’t show were so much worse. There was death in the arenas and drunkenness in the middle of the morning, trash and unconscious people littering the streets, parks and church steps. Not a single surface was spared, not even the ancient trail. This time I would walk through Pamplona during the second day of the festival and the pain I felt for the Camino was acute. I had been so naïve. I was humbled to realize that the Camino had to endure this barage of darkness every year. I wondered if the ripple of toxic energy could be felt down the length the trail, like a living spine.

And I was a beginner in my own smaller realm. I had already betrayed the weakness in my packing skills but there were other cracks that showed how new this particular Camino was for me. Connecting to others, buying food, washing my clothes, packing my bag, waking up before dawn. All these elements felt strangely foreign. How could this be? I spent several days feeling dejected and unsettled by this strange new dance I was engaged in with the Camino. Where was that old familiar feeling?

And then I realized where the disconnect had begun. I’d thought I could pick up where I left off. I thought I could skip the introductions and just go back to being familiar. No need for a handshake or polite questions, I’d wanted to take off my shoes and curl up in the Camino’s arms like old times.

My last contact with the Camino was in Santiago after five hundred and fifty miles, and it had felt great. I was strong and familiar with the trail beneath my feet. We were close, closer than close. I had wanted to pick up the thread where I left off two years ago, but this was not the way the Camino or any living relationship works.

Now I was at the beginning again. There were awkward pauses and stilted attempts to connect. No way around it. I had to earn our closeness again. I had to listen. I needed to be present to the present, rather than caught up in the past. I spoke with several other Camino regulars (it is surprising how many return again and again to the trail), and we all agreed we felt a bit like people waiting to get our sea legs or waiting for a love one to recover from amnesia and embrace us again.

We all remembered how good it could be, how good it had been so the reality of the new relationship felt, well…. new and put a fresh panic in even the most seasoned vets eyes. We were old timers, so why did we have to put up with the business of being green again?

This question dogged me for many a hundred kilometer, but eventually I found solace in the silence of an empty early morning trail and realized that being a beginner was OK, healthy in fact. Some of the newness was great and some of it was rough but the two balanced each other out. I had already identified and festered over the negatives, but the positives seeped into me like thick morning dew into my non-waterproof sneakers, slowly but with a powerful impact.

To be a beginner was to be alive to the present. If this Camino was going to treat me like all the other newbies, then it was also going to hold my attention, smack me around a bit and show me what was happening right now for her and for those of us on her trail. I had eaten, breathed, dreamed and chronicled the Camino for so many years that I wanted to be with my old friend again, but my old friend was still alive and changing, facing new challenges to her integrity and bringing aboard new strengths. If I could be OK with feeling new, then she could use my help in coping with all the newness.

After that morning alone with the Camino, I felt I was still fumbling, but I wasn’t as lost. I was plugged back into the current challenges of a spiritual trail, even if I forgot to wear my hat and let my nose get burnt, or spilled my new fangled water bottle all down my leg. I was still learning, there was time to figure it all out.

IMG_0239

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!