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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Red Chestnut Bach & the Root Chakra

I find myself in a bit of a wait and worry mode these days. I don't do waiting very well. I'm prone to impatience for sure and have taken my fair share of the Bach Flower essence Impatiens. But that's not really what this felt like so I decided to focus on it a bit. That led me to researching the Bach Flower essence Red Chestnut from a new perspective.

When I want to dig deeper into a Bach Flower essence, I often turn to Julian Barnard's book, "Bach Flower Remedies: Form & Function". This book explains the botanical nature of the essence as well as Dr. Bach's findings and often goes much deeper into his experiments than some other books.

It turns out, like all of the Bach Flower remedies, Dr. Bach discovered Red Chestnut seemingly by accident.  But in this case it was really an "accident" that led him to Red Chestnut. It was the 1930's remember, and Dr. Bach was chopping wood.  Can you see where this was going?? He slipped with the axe and "gashed his wrist" according to Barnard's account. He was treated with first aid measures but was in shock; pale and shaky from loss of blood. His friends, the ones that treated him, were anxious and worried about him. Dr. Bach felt that anxiety and believed their worries were making things worse for him.  He was feeling their concern and internalizing it. To make a long story short, he went wondering in the woods, and thus discovered Red Chestnut, the Bach Flower essence that is recommended for "worry and over concern for others".

But here's the part that strikes me.  Dr. Bach didn't discover this essence and pass it over to Nora Weeks and the friends that were "throwing out" this worry and anxiety. He didn't suggest that if they could calm themselves down by taking the essence he might actually feel better.  He took Red Chestnut himself. Hmm...

I think it is a very basic human trait to feel worry and concern for others.  There is a level of connection, particularly with people close to us, and we blur the boundaries between self and others sometimes. We seem to socially accept that we should feel this type of concern. Parents should worry about their children, friends should worry about each other, and perhaps there is something wrong with us if we don't.

Although we believe we should worry and be concerned for others, it seems we want to externalize it. We want to fix the other person that is "going through" this trauma or drama. It's easier to "fix" others than"fix" ourselves. But once you take it on- you own it. And the worry of Red Chestnut gets you right in the Root Chakra, your center for safety and security.

According to Barnard,  Dr. Bach believed the Red Chestnut anxiety, worry or imbalance, was partly based  upon a memory. At some point in the past, something did happen to someone you love and and this present event triggers that memory. A person in a Red Chestnut state "calls up" those accidents, mishaps, drama and trauma, and projects that image onto a loved one and the present event. This can set up a cycle pattern in people that are close to each other.  A classic example of this is the situation that can occur when a small child falls.  Often, before the child cries he looks to the parent.  If the parent looks upset, the child starts to cry.  Then the parent figures their worse fears have been fulfilled and there really must be a serious  injury.  Before you know it, both parent and child are in a weird circle of worry and crying. They both loose their sense of safety, security and confidence. The emergency department is filled with such cases on any given day. Red Chestnut helps to stop that pattern.  Perhaps it should be freely handed out in all emergency rooms. I'll add that to my ideas of reformed health care

The red flowers of the Red Chestnut are powerful. They speak of an empathy and an understanding where you can truly appreciate how others feel. A few drops of this essence helps to balance your sensitivity so you can be in the present, and not overwhelmed by past remembrances and triggers that disrupt your sense of personal security. When balanced yourself, you are actually in a position to give emotional support to others rather than perpetuate the cycle. The red of the flowers resonates with the red of the Root Chakra. From that balanced place of personal safety and security we can extend our empathy without causing further harm. It seems sometimes our connectedness requires separation.

Maybe it's a good day to make ginger cookies while I wait!

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