The Wise Choice of Eccentricity

Online dictionary definition for the word ECCENTRIC-
from the medieval Latin eccentricus, not having the same center

1. adj., departing from a recognized, conventional, or established norm or pattern
2. adj., deviating from a circular form or path, as in an elliptical orbit
3. noun, one that deviates markedly from an established norm, especially a person of odd or unconventional behavior
synonyms given for eccentric: strange, bizarre

Many years ago, a friend, mentor, and psychologist with decades in the trenches of the mental health field told me that she felt women who followed the culture and lived within the cultural values were destined for lives of depression and that only those who were eccentric in their own authentic way escaped this fate.

She told me this at a moment in my life where I was getting a lot of negative attention for my eccentric choices.

I took her words to heart. Depression, something that I had experienced in my teens and early twenties, was not something I wanted to revisit nor did I want to go back to trying to stuff myself into that tiny box of familial and cultural expectations as I did during those early years.

Galvanized by her words, I kept on with my unusual choices springing from my heartfelt guidance. And I practiced ignoring the judgments of others. After all, what were a few critical people compared with the agony of folding myself back into the status quo?

And anyways, I hadn’t exactly found myself swimming in compliments when I tried to fit in. My first job after college swept me into a community where even when I tried to dress the part and fit into the place, something about me gave me away as someone in the wrong place. And the community noted this by calling me, “Granola” even as I smothered myself in fair isle sweaters, grosgrain headbands, monogrammed accessories, and wide wale corduroy pants like a model for the Talbot’s catalog. All this Preppie Handbook gear and I fooled no one! But the deeper problem was that this was a community authentically right for some people, but not for me.

A number of years into this struggle to conform, I gave up. The crisis of Elizabeth’s birth with her cleft palate and hearing difficulties swept away most concerns including this desire to fit in.

What an unexpected and joyful benefit to a scary time. I stopped trying to be someone I wasn’t.

However, my work was not done when I gave up my preppy wardrobe. I still had to find a way to live beyond either opposition to the culture or in alignment to it. Eccentricity is a different orbit for each of us and I had to figure out how to find my own true course.

What I discovered was that the process to be our eccentric and authentic selves is a work that can’t be done in RELATIONSHIP to the culture. It must be done out of a place of heartfelt and regular self examination, removed from the culture. This meant going within as opposed to responding to external stimuli.

A small example of the need to go deep inside order to figure out what was right for me was my evolving relationship with the Thanksgiving holiday. In my early twenties, I was restless with this holiday, but I didn’t know myself well enough to understand what it was about the holiday that made me bored and fatigued. I assumed it was the food and decided to go rogue on the menu. I hosted a number of Thanksgivings for Jim’s family or for mine in which I radically altered the menu with the rather forceful attitude of TO HECK WITH ANYONE WHO MISSES THE PUMPKIN PIE . One year we had paella. One year we had lamb. I think that was the year everyone had the stomach flu so we all saw the lamb coming and going. So delightful. So special.

These changes made no difference to my sense of exhaustion about the holiday because mine were knee jerk reactions, not actions arrived at from my own heartfelt sense of the occasion.

As the years unfolded and I kept on trying to find balance, I discovered a real love for Thanksgiving as well as a way for me to articulate my appreciation for the day in an authentically Molly way. From my life outside the cultural norms (in fact, WAY outside them!), I came to a deeper appreciation for a holiday that is for EVERY American, not just those from the prevailing religious or cultural traditions. I also realized that I liked the way the familiarity of the traditional meal gave even the most diverse crowd a feeling of comfort and common ground.

Out of this understanding came a way to celebrate Thanksgiving that fills me up and feels true to me. This involves a big crowd. I pretty much invite anyone I run into to come for dinner, but the invitations don’t come from any sense of social obligation which is very freeing for a recovering WASP. I often don’t know some of the people I have invited. They are friends of friends or family of friends and I like this. I like the feeling of adventure in having an enormous unknown group. This strangers in a strange land has gone so far that recently a man at the post office introduced himself to Jim and Jim remarked, “Yes we’ve met, you came to Thanksgiving at our house last year.”

This year, the count for dinner is 26, but this number is fluid as who knows what the next three days will bring. I like that I don’t really know who or what to expect. When the meal begins we will learn everyone’s names thanks to Will’s place cards. And no matter the crowd, the dinner will be a chance for me to welcome whomever the universe wants to send and be thankful for this gathering.

I love the mystery and expansiveness of this.

I also have stopped trying to say something new via the menu. My defiant choices were always wildly unpopular with my children and who can blame them? They like pie and gravy and mashed potatoes (and really, who doesn’t?).

I also realized that what I really wanted all along was to have our guests feel at home and the traditional Thanksgiving menu is one way to do that. To satisfy the rebel within me, I try to find out what dishes outside my usual menu are part of the traditional meal for those who are coming. Then I throw these dishes into the mix.

I also have given up my martyr routine which involved me cooking everything for everyone and then acting aggrieved. This routine was part of my family of origin DNA but not part of my heart’s true self. I now make a big chart on the kitchen wall and assign pretty much everything to someone else. In fact, this year, Ben is cooking the turkey. Letting go of this job is a first for me, though Ben has kindly agreed to allow me to be his official back seat chef, a role which lends itself to much drama.

In general, I have learned that being eccentric doesn’t mean I have to have blue hair and serve tofurkey. It’s all a lot more fluid. Why, even the fair isle sweaters are looking inviting these days, and truth be told, I am wearing wide wale corduroys today because the office is freezing cold.

Being eccentric is finding the center of my own orbit and moving from there, wherever it takes me, even if it is a loopy circle back to a place I visited a long time ago. It’s a changing dynamic, one requiring a constant re-examination of choices that worked at one point but may no longer work anymore or may suddenly work again after a respite. It’s simply living with a lot of unknowns and getting comfortable with that.

Not surprisingly, when I started to make Green Hope Farm Flower Essences I looked to make Flower Essences that would support me to know what was authentically me, align with an ever unfolding sense of myself, and help me to live in this flow (plus accept that for many people including my relatives, my eccentric path is a major problem).

All Ego Contracts Null & Void, To Hear the Angels Sing, Carry Less, the family river trio of Black Currant, Bloodroot, and Borage, The Alignment Garden, and Wild Rose are only a few of the Flower Essences created in response to my desire to live from my own center, not from another imposed on me.

Why even the first Essence made here, Cosmos, is all about expressing one’s own heart felt truth, not another’s. Then, of course, there is the oft mentioned Flow Free to help me keep letting go of who I think I am in favor of a new deeper layer of understanding. Who knows? Maybe next year it will feel right to have that tofurkey served in a monogrammed purse. I will keep you posted.

Yesterday, I heard of a young woman friend who is feeling a sort of, “grass is always greener” feeling about her life. I had a conversation with the Angels about her situation and was both surprised and not surprised by their suggestions. They steered me to the Venus Garden Essences and also the Camino Essences explaining that she is in the throws of a major paradigm shift in her life and that these Flower Essences will support her to alignment with a new unfolding purpose as well as let go of situations and ideas that no longer support her life path or are part of her authentic self.

One of the tricky things for this young woman is that she is living a life of glamorous travel, money, high profile career success, and other things which the culture defines as the gold standard for the woman of today. No doubt every bit of cultural feedback this woman is receiving tells her that she is living the ultimate life, the right life, and that any nagging feeling that something is off is HER PROBLEM.

It is all a bit twisted because the culture not only sets the standards, but insists on telling us that WE MADE THESE STANDARDS ALL BY OURSELVES when really this is not true. The standards of the culture were not set by the individual for the individual. They are simply a different more gilded cage than the standards which contained women of different eras.

Yes in some ways, much is better than earlier eras. People can tell me that they think I work for the devil, but they can’t actually burn me at the stake for it. But in many ways, women of today have just been given new strait jackets to replace the old.

So when I see this young friend, perhaps over the Thanksgiving holiday, I am going to suggest she look at the Angels suggestions of Essences that will take her into herself more deeply and into a deeper dialog with her heart. I am going to suggest to her that her feelings of restlessness are not a reflection she is ungrateful, but a reflection of the fact that her own elliptical orbit is calling to her. I am going to suggest she embrace her inner eccentric and never let go!

As sufi poet Hafiz said, “The place where you are right now, God circled on the map for you.” And this young friend is in a good place if a painful one, the beginning of a more authentic life, outside the confines of cultural ideals. What a blessing disillusionment always is. The fact that this young friend has had so much worldly success and found it wanting is her ticket to freedom. And the fact that she could take on the outer journey with such aplomb tells me she will take to this vastly more interesting and true inner journey with great courage and determination.

And I plan to be there with a box or two of Essences!

Letting Go of Outcomes

This seems to be the story of life, letting go of outcomes.

Why is it so difficult for me to remember how often the best things in my life have happened when I let go of what I think the plot line is or should be?

Not that I have gone kicking and screaming through all changes, because sometimes the letting go actually happens while I am paying attention to the wrong things and don’t know I am letting go!

The Angels use this method of distraction a lot with me, and really, who can blame them? It works!

One regular area where the Angels have field day with me and can work wonders while I misunderstand or limit the plot line is in the creation of Flower Essences.

In my own defense, I have little resistance when my own imaginings drop away in the face of what actually is going on with the Angels’ brilliant creations. This kind of letting go of outcomes is FUN!

One of my favorite examples of this happened about fifteen years ago. Lynn and I went off to Bermuda intent on making Flower Essences from every Flower we thought would help with prostate issues. Lynn’s husband was having some concerns with his prostate and we were on a mission to make Essences from what we delicately called, “P Plants.”

Perhaps I have recounted this before, but one particularly hilarious moment of our P Plant Mission came when I was lowering an enormous long bright red and prickly Flower from a Monkey Tail plant into a canning jar in the gardens of a fancy Bermudian resort owned by one of Lynn’s friends. It was an ever so ever so British resort where we frequently stopped for afternoon tea. When we spotted this Flower, all bets were off as we shamelessly went for it. Needless to say, the guests of the resort looked on at our antics, horror stricken by our unseemly behavior.

This was one of those trips where we came home with several enormous suitcases full of cases of chilled Flower Essence water, relieved that the security person at the airport had known Lynn since she was a child and now knew all about our crazy project with these “lotions and potions.” Thanks to her friend, we would be ushered through to our flight as if we were carrying the crown jewels. And maybe we were!

Ah the world before 911! Now, the only journey most of our tropical Flower Essences make before they leave for your homes is from our greenhouse to the bottling room. Not nearly so exciting!

Anyways, once home with our treasure trove and with guidance from the Angels, we mixed our collection of P Plant Flower Essences with more Essences from the farm and called the mix, Flow Free. The first bottle went to Lynn’s open minded husband, one of many guinea pigs in the early days of the farm. His turn around was swift and surprising to both his doctors and himself. We were so pleased with ourselves.

But it would only be as the years unfolded that we learned that this mix was so much more than what it seemed. It would be another instance of happily letting go of outcomes.

Our first description of Flow Free suggested a focus on urinary tract issues. But right away, it was used by you for so many diverse reasons and suggested by the Angels for every kind of flow issue in creation. As I have mentioned before, it is an Essence I take every day, per Angelic direction- maybe to help me to go with the flow of outcomes!

Pack Leader is another Essence that already has a much bigger mission than I anticipated. It is so wonderful to let go of my expectations about this one as your stories pour in. This week I have heard of Pack Leader being used for a person heading up a union negotiation, a woman running a conference of alpha dog males, a person solving some serious problems among work peers, and then of course there are those of you using it for what I thought it was going to be about, being pack leader with your dogs.


That situation is the easiest to photograph!

Pack Leader Redux

I have been away this week at the home of a ninety year old friend. Her husband took a swift turn into the very worst of health and is in the neuro-intensive care of a nearby hospital. My friend is deaf, unable to drive, and suffers from memory issues. She was coping in her life situation mostly because her husband was a little bit younger and a little more spry. Once he fell so ill, the situation called for someone to move in with my dear friend. So I decamped from Green Hope Farm knowing that Deb, Elizabeth, Sophie, and Jess would carry the day in the office and with all the dogs and that Jim and Will would be fine on the home front.

My friend’s family doctor made a house call right after I settled in to help me sort out the pills ( which no doubt tells you how far out in the country and in the last century we are that a doctor would make a house call). The doctor asked that I not leave my friend unattended for more than a few minutes. Because my friend set off her smoke alarm three times with burning pans within the first few hours of my arrival, the doctor did not need to say anything more. I knew it was an excellent call.

Me arriving and then not budging was a more difficult challenge for my friend than for me. There was much organizing, sorting, cleaning and other housekeeping and cooking to keep me busy and I enjoyed taking care of my friend since I like mothering. For her, there was great distress about her husband and a new life where all her routines and comforts had abruptly gone out the window.

The one problem for me was that I knew I had to eventually return to my own responsibilities and her four very adult children were resistant to coming to relieve me. Each had their own spin on why they couldn’t be there. Since I have known my friend for a good thirty years, I had seen her move heaven and earth to do anything and give everything to these four children. I also knew that all four of them had the resources to be there for their mom. Instead, they were telling me in our daily, sometimes hourly calls how marvelously their mother was coping in the situation without them. Since I was actually WITH their mother and KNEW FOR A FACT that this was not true AT ALL, our conversations were complicated.

Green Hope Farm Flower Essence remedies seem to always get created by the Angels when I need them most, and never was this more true than with our great new mix Pack Leader.

During the last week, I have needed Pack Leader’s vibrational support to be a calm assertive leader to support my friend in this extremely out of balance situation. While my experience was one of meeting with immovable objects again and again, I found myself able to respond to the behavior of my friend’s children and to other challenges with a measured calm and a detachment which was an enormous help to me. I felt immeasurable grateful for every bit of serenity this remedy afforded me, because in the past, I have gone through similar crises in a way that was a lot more exhausting, taking on useless emotional battles and keeping a more fevered pitch. This time, for a number of days, I felt calm as I spoke calmly.

Nonetheless, Pack Leader is a remedy I have more to learn from. As I got more tired- my friend was up each night at 3 am in a state of worry- I began to find it more challenging not to respond to the children’s excuses with emotion. I definitely lost my cool when the eldest son started to dictate a message in french to me about someone at the Sorbonne. Like I could give a hoot which way the accent went on the guy’s name! Yes, I am a bit testy STILL about that one so Pack Leader has more to teach me!

In any case, I kept at it with these phone calls, kept the cups of teas rolling and one day when someone else arrived for an hour I had a most Zen experience taking my friend’s very anxious dogs for a long walk. I knew it would help them immeasurably to get to have a real walk to release their tension and I looked forward to it myself, Having never walked four on a leash at once, I found it a mystical experience to get them all moving at my side, one with each other and me, their temporary pack leader. What a difference it made the rest of our time together to have me know the dogs in that way.

Last night, a week had passed and I finally wore one of the children down enough to have her agree to come and relieve me. I passed the baton to her at 8:40 pm with grateful thanks to divinity and Pack Leader.

Gratitude Flowers



These Flowers from the Gratitude Garden have given way to the cold grey skies of November.
Is it any wonder that in these chilly months with nary a Flower outside, we fill our world with bright boxes


and daily chocolate.