By Jane Ellen as told to and edited by Jann Garitty
Editor’s note: In the book Flowers That Heal, Patricia Kaminski introduced the Four Levels of Flower Essence Response (4 R’s) by writing: “In analyzing thousands of cases submitted to the Flower Essence Society in the past two decades, four major stages of transformation have been identified. Not all of these stages are operative in every case, particularly the latter two stages are more likely to occur when several cycles of essences have been used, and when inner work accompanies the application of the essences. These stages of transformation demonstrate the inherent potential of flower essences when used with skill, intention and consideration...Although they generally occur chronologically, they can sometimes operate contemporaneously, or in a slightly altered sequence.”
Following is Jane Ellen’s unique approach to working with her clients utilizing the 4 R’s. It is a potent process-oriented method of healing in which she guides her clients in a course of flower essence therapy that effectively tracks the progress and results.
The 4 R’s is the key process by which Jane works one-on-one with clients providing personalized blends. “I can’t imagine another way of working with flower essences if one wants deep, cellular-level, alchemical transformation. For those wanting more than symptom relief, the 4 R’s offers a perfect format for understanding, tracking and integrating the transformative process, and for creating new choices and responses to life. For me, the 4 R’s process is what ‘flower essence therapy’ is all about; without it, I don’t understand what it is.”
Utilizing the 4 R’s is not so much a process of getting rid of an imbalance and living forever in a positive quality, but rather, provides a method for witnessing how patterns of imbalance and positive qualities “show up” or manifest for an individual on physical, spiritual and emotional levels. Through the experience and conscious understanding of these two opposite states, a third new perspective is created. This alchemical transformation has one standing in new relationship with the original themes being addressed.
Jane says, “Most of us were raised with the concept of looking for a cure, or a fix for what ails us, seeking to just ‘be happy or feel good.’ When entering into the transformational process, it’s important to remind ourselves and those we are serving, that the goal is to bring our conscious awareness to the themes and challenges presenting, and shifting our relationship and our responses to them, rather than seeking a fix or a cure; flower essences offer tremendous support for the process. For example, someone who tends to face life with fear may always have the propensity for fear, yet as they continue to address the issue with flower essences, they will find themselves responding to fear in new and different ways, allowing them to feel much more empowered in the way they move through life.”
“The way I came to understand the power of the four stages and their value was through case study work. I learned about them because they are included in the requirements for the FES certification process. I have interpreted differently Patricia Kaminski’s intention for the process as outlined in the book, Flowers That Heal. For five years, I have witnessed consistently, and with profound and amazing accuracy, that allowing each of the four stages a complete 28-day cycle creates the opportunity for extraordinary transformation. Frequently, clients will decide to continue receiving their blend for a fifth month, wanting to be sure to allow themselves ample time for full integration and anchoring of the changes taking place. With a rich and thorough understanding of the 4 R’s, it is deeply moving to track and bear witness to the meaningful shifts occurring within each stage.”
For example, Jane was experiencing old sorrow and grief which she held in her lungs. With a long and consistent history of getting bronchitis twice a year, she chose to receive the support of Yerba Santa flower essence in combination with several other resonant essences. Within the first month, she had protracted bronchitis which lasted all the way through the third stage, through the end of the third month. However, she hasn’t had bronchitis again since that time. “I considered this an extreme case because it lasted all the way through Stage 3, but it resulted in a profound healing for me. I believe the degree of my physical experience matched the degree of old sorrow and grief being stored in my lungs. Often, during Stage 1, there is movement happening on the physical level with both the ‘patterns of imbalance’ as well as the ‘positive qualities’ for one or more essences in the blend as we establish a new center of balance.”
Also important to the process utilizing the 4 R’s Jane believes, is that the client is educated about the four stages: “It is part of my role as a flower essence practitioner, to give them printed information so that they can reread about the stage they’re currently in throughout the four month process. It’s a resource that assists them in tracking what they’re experiencing. People are able to witness for themselves how amazingly accurate and consistent the process truly is. For example, it’s important they know that there may be movement on a physical level during the first month, reflecting both the patterns of imbalance and the positive qualities, and that that movement will be informative. I like to use the analogy of a pendulum that’s been stuck or held in one position for a while, and that as we introduce deeply resonant flower essences, the pendulum’s holding pattern releases or relaxes. There is tremendous wisdom in the way in which the essences choose to touch each individual. Sometimes, prior to the arrival of the release or relaxation commonly experienced in Stage one, one must first become aware of how the physical symptoms or patterning is being expressed in the body, in which case one may have experiences with the patterns of imbalance.” Jane finds that it is common for people in the first stage to need more rest and often they eventually feel very, very uplifted—the reward of the release. In addition, dream activity can be very active for almost everyone, especially in the first two weeks of Stage 1.
“Most of the time, when someone comes for flower essence support, no matter with what they present, there’s enough depth in the theme for the four stages to apply. If the issue is of a lighter nature, I call upon pre-made formulas and then do not track the four stages. Say for example, if someone is beginning a new job, is somewhat nervous, and that’s all they present with, I talk more about what the nervousness is in regard to, how it manifests for them, and maybe a particular pre-made formula is appropriate. In those cases, I have not tracked the four stages. The majority of clients I serve wish to address deep themes, and we utilize the 4 R’s, which they fully embrace and value.”
Eveline, aged 59, is currently in week 10 of the 3rd stage of her process working deeply with themes in regard to her relationship with her mother during childhood, and how that has influenced her life. She has chosen to focus on her feelings of vulnerability being “seen in the world,” in understanding her life’s work, in giving and receiving nurturing, with her relationship to money, and with ongoing feelings of depression. All of these facets are interwoven and related.
In the first month with her blend, Eveline experienced incredible joy, and was hopeful and engaged in life, reflecting her immediate movement into the positive qualities of relaxation and rejuvenation. During weeks five through eight, Stage 2 experiences of “realization” and “recognition” were reflected through her “witnessing” several patterns of imbalance relating to the themes she was addressing with essences in her blend.
Now, in Stage 3, Eveline had called Jane in the middle of the tenth week. When Jane heard the pain and frustration in Eveline’s voice, she knew that Eveline was in Stage 3. “Eveline shared that she was having a difficult time, and that everything was back to her old patterns. She was not yet aware that she was in her third month when she said, ‘I’m back in all my old patterns, and I feel terrible.’” Eveline asked for a refill bottle of her blend. When she stopped by to pick it up, and Jane explained she was in the third stage, she said, “Oh, that’s what it is!” It was some relief to her to realize that and attribute her feelings of “setback” to Stage 3 of the process. “That’s a perfect example of the value of the client knowing about the stages; I could then say to her; ‘You’re half-way through the third stage.’ I encourage them to really acknowledge the depth of the work that they are doing with themselves, the depth of soul work. If they had not stayed with Stages 1 and 2, then they wouldn’t have reached Stage 3. The discomfort felt often speaks of the potential for healing…much like the expression, breakdown leads to breakthrough. It is a testament to how deeply they are going through the transformational process for true alchemical change.”
Current essence selection for Eveline
(Note: The essences of Mariposa Lily, Pink Monkeyflower and Sunflower were in Eveline’s prior blend, and were carried forward into this new blend for further healing.)
Blackberry and Wild Oat – to assist her in recognizing her gifts, and to bring them out into the world; clarity was just beginning to come forward with regard to her writing being one gift she’d like to value and present in the world.
In the subsequent session, Jane suggested it might be helpful for Eveline to lay out her affirmation cards once again as she had done before. (Read Jane’s method for working with clients and affirmation cards, Flower Essence Selection Process with Clients.) Eveline struggled with the lay out, trying to relate to it and deepen into what had been happening for her. All of a sudden, Jane received an intuitive impression of another possible layout of her cards, what was “core” for Eveline. Jane asked, “Can we try an experiment and shift the cards into another layout?” When Eveline agreed, Jane completely rearranged the cards and Eveline said, “That’s it – that’s what I’m working on!”
California Peony was positioned at the base of her card layout to help engage Eveline in her lower centers and to empower herself by allowing her life force as a foundation.
Sunflower – at the top encouraging Eveline to shine in the world with her own individual identity. Cupping one hand over the Sunflower card, and one hand over the California Peony card while viewing the core layout, Eveline felt that the California Peony was sending energy up through her, and Sunflower on top was beaming down on her. She joyfully explained, “I love that I’m receiving from above and below.”
Eveline loves to write and expresses beautifully. She has a clear, deep understanding of flower essences and tracks them. Jane suggested it might be healing for her to write her story about using flower essences, what she was facing in herself and share it with her daughter. Eveline decided that she would write to her daughter in a journal her daughter had gifted to her.
Once Eveline moves through the work with these essences, her core remains, her “essence”:
Jane comments that it’s sometimes frightening to do this depth of work because it is so difficult; though by feeling the depths, one eventually touches the heights as well. Jane observed Eveline as she put her hands over her face and said “Oh, this is so scary!” The statement was an indication of Pink Monkeyflower and Eveline’s fear of being seen. However at the same time, Eveline also left with a feeling of excitement about the thought of writing for her daughter. She said to Jane, “I would like to ask you, would you read something I’ve written and tell me what you think?” Jane suggested that as Eveline moved into Stage 4, she could bring in the writing and read it aloud to Jane so that Eveline could have the experience of reading and hearing her work while Jane held space as a witness to it. At that point, Eveline put her head down and covered her face again. Jane says, “Pink Monkeyflower (and Sunflower) is probably one of her archetypal essences—reflected in her frequent gesture of covering her face, often right after she’s been seen. She’s in the ‘teeter-tottering’ energy of Stage 3, and I just want to applaud her for staying present with that very movement, while continuing to stay focused on her intentions for herself!
“Once we arrive in potent Stage 3, the next step is to immerse ourselves in the ‘witness role,’ to stay awake, with our eyes wide open all the way through. This is a perfect time to re-read the descriptions of the patterns of imbalance and positive qualities for each essence in the blend, as well as to refine the intentions that were set at the beginning of one’s relationship with their personal blend. When we find ourselves experiencing the imbalances, we must say ‘hello’ to them and observe how they show up in our body, how they affect our life, our relationships, and our ability to live the life we want to live. The very same is true with positive qualities; this process of conscious observation can be quite enlightening, and is certainly empowering. Often in Stage 3, any remaining physical patterns relating to the themes being addressed, and the essences being received, may show up for further attention and reconciliation.”
“If one moves to and through Stage 3, then the opportunity to do deep choice work begins in Stage 4. It feels like the ‘icing on the cake.’ If we’ve genuinely been with Stage 3, then in Stage 4, we can savor the shifts that are integrating while learning to feel at home with this new posture and with ourselves. We become aware of new resources within ourselves that just weren’t there before. Sometimes, depending upon the depth of the themes being addressed, when a person reaches Stage 4, the themes are completely dissolved or resolved. Often when someone rereads descriptions of the essences they’ve been receiving, they wonder how they chose them in the first place, which is a reflection of the complete transformation through which they’ve gone.”
“Other times in the midst of Stage 4, people will feel that they’ve suddenly regressed back to Stage 3 because they are experiencing difficulties or agitation. In fact what often occurs, is the emergence of the next layer with new themes presenting. If challenge or agitation appears in the midst of Stage 4, I listen closely to how they are describing their experiences. I listen to hear if what they are describing resonates with their current blend, or if new themes and new flowers are appearing. Most often, I encourage people to stay with the current bottle and finish it because the new themes will only become clearer to them as they complete their journey with the essences they’ve been receiving.”
In the 4th month, it’s not uncommon for someone to say that they are not done, and they want to continue with the same essence formula for another month. “They like what’s happening and are people who deeply value and honor the timing and wisdom of their internal process; they are people who cherish and seek out this type of transformational journey with Self.”
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