Emotional Detoxification"

by Richard Leviton

Featuring an interview with Patricia Kaminski


Part 4


This series—reprinted with permission of the author and publisher—is Chapter 8 from

The Healthy Living Space;
"70 Practical Ways to Detoxify the Body and Home"

by Richard Leviton
Published by Hampton Roads Publishing Company, 2001 $21.95

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Part 4

Remedying the Four Basic States
of Emotional Toxicity with Flower Essences

Based on more than twenty years of clinical consultation with hundreds of clients, Kaminski describes four basic states of emotional toxicity. Using these four categories, she says it is possible for a person to categorize oneself and thereby select appropriate remedies to start the process of emotional clarification. The four basic categories are hostility, depression, stress/tension, and anxiety/fear, all of which are presented in more detail below. The strategy is simple: a group of compatible remedies will undo the emotional knots that produce the overall style of reactivity, such as hostility or depression.

The idea is simple: examine your typical style of emotional reaction when you are pressed up against the wall. What is your usual response when "push comes to shove"? Do you get mad, depressed, stressed out, or afraid? From this small act of self-observation, you can see which of the four categories you fit into, says Kaminski. Then within the chosen category, decide again which of the nuances of that basic emotional state best describes your emotional style, and select one flower essence and use it for a month or two (see figure 8-1).

These are not absolute categories, by the way. They are meant only as provisional definitions of emotional experience, says Kaminski—general, perhaps broad, guideposts to help orient you to your emotional reality. Further, the flower remedies are not first aid conveniences, like aspirin, producing a quick resolution of the problem. They work slowly, deeply, organically, from within you; generally you should allow a month or two for lasting results, she notes.

It is useful to compare the action of flower remedies to intestinal cleansers. A kind of dredging work is started by taking either. In the case of intestinal cleansers, odd, uncomfortable, but transient mental and physical states are experienced as the intestines get cleansed. Similarly, while taking flower remedies you can expect an upwelling of strange, unfamiliar, or deeply familiar emotions; the process may make you feel unsettled, but then, it's supposed to. You can't expect to clarify and resolve emotions without some confusion and seeming emotional chaos during the process. But remember: it is a process, and one with an eventual positive and beneficial conclusion. So it is worth it to stick out the ups and downs of the emotional process flower remedies can precipitate.


This first category includes feelings of hostility and lack of trust. As we saw in the case study above, it especially afflicts the heart, both physically and as the center of our affective life. This affliction then gets projected aggressively outwards onto the world in overly assertive, aggressive, even potentially violent, behavior. It is about a loss of trust by the heart and a lack of open space for the heart, for a sense of vulnerability and emotional exposure. Borrowing a term from traditional Chinese medicine, Kaminski calls this state yang, meaning, fiery, intense, strong, hard, active, outward-tending. But it is a state of emotional imbalance.

Flower essences recommended for this emotional state to help curb the overly yang disposition of the heart:

Holly: Holly helps one develop an equanimity and sense of spaciousness in the soul, says Kaminski, freeing one up from the felt need to react hard against the world. It helps one be more inclusive and expansive, to feel less isolated from others, to experience love in connection with other people.



Oregon Grape: This is indicated if a person feels paranoid or self-protective or expects hostility from others even when this expectation is not warranted by the facts. The person tends to feel they are likely to be attacked, from anywhere. In contrast, taking the remedy will help generate a sense of loving inclusion of others, the expectation of good will coming from others, and the ability to trust in the goodness of other people.

Oregon Grape


Willow: This remedy is needed when one feels resentful, irritable, bitter, or that life is unfair and has cast one as a victim, or when one has too many hard edges to the personality. Willow will help produce a feeling of acceptance, forgiveness, a flowingness with life, the ability to yield and bend with circumstances, to stop rigidly holding on to negative emotions or some old, unnecessary part of oneself, and the willingness to take responsibility for one's life. Willow helps to decongest dammed up, internalized emotions that can lead to—as it were, congeal into—painful, stiff joints and muscles, even arthritis.



Beech: Beech is needed if you feel critical, judgmental, intolerant, and have perfectionist expectations of others; also if you have an oversensitivity to your social and physical environment. You project your inner sense of inferiority, imperfection, and insecurity onto others, and seek to feel safe by condemning others. Beech helps undo this by generating feelings of tolerance and acceptance of the differences and imperfections of others.

Zinnia: As described earlier, Zinnia helps evoke feelings of childlike playfulness, humor, amusement, and laughter as a counterbalance to the tendency to be heavy and hard-hearted.



Flower essences recommended to help heal the underlying lack of emotional vulnerability that accompanies hostility:

Borage: Borage also helps undo the heaviness of the heart and opens up the hidden areas of grief in the heart. Borage instills courage, upliftment, a sense of light-filled buoyancy, and "fresh forces of optimism and enthusiasm."



Bleeding Heart: This essence is indicated if you form relationships based on fear or possessiveness or emotional codependence, or if you have poured great amounts of love into a relationship that subsequently failed (or the person died or moved away), leaving you wounded and heartbroken. The remedy helps one rebuild heart forces from within, generating a capacity to love unconditionally with an open heart, and to forgive those who have hurt you.

Bleeding Heart


Golden Ear Drops: You can benefit from this flower essence if there are suppressed toxic memories of childhood or feelings of pain and unexpiated trauma from earlier events that produce emotional instability. Look for evidence of emotional amnesia and the "unconscious residue of traumatic memories," says Kaminski. This remedy will help cleanse the heart and may literally produce tears as a form of emotional discharge, she adds. It helps you reconnect with your childhood and see it as a source of emotional well-being, not toxicity.

Golden Ear Drops


Calendula: A person can benefit from this remedy if one tends to use sharp, cutting, argumentative words as a psychological defense in communication with others. Calendula brings warmth to the spoken word, so that it generates good will and understanding and not division and hurt. It also helps to calm down the adrenal glands, which can be revved up in a state of chronic argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness.




As the second category of emotional toxicity, depression is in many respects the opposite of hostility. It is a yin condition, a turning inward, a cold, damp, passive, soft, yielding, sinking quality. There is no fire here, and the person retreats from the world and, in effect, from active expressions of self and will. Cancer is typical of this state of emotional toxicity, says Kaminski. It would be mistaken to think of depression purely in biochemical terms, as only a brain-bound condition, she says.

It is also about whether our will has fire in it, and enthusiasm for life and taking action. A person with this condition is liable to develop alcohol dependency, but alcohol is poison for depressives, says Kaminski. "Alcohol has so much fire in it that it drowns out our own fire." Depression is often "a loss of connection (especially in the will) with the spiritual world and a loss of hope in that connection; one becomes submerged in the narrowness of the personality (the opposite of the hostile person who inflames their sense of self)."

Sometimes the person's sense of self is so uninflamed—so passive and watery, so to speak, so lacking in inner will—that one is easily overcome by foreign disease agents, such as cancerous cells, or even parasitic energy organisms, thoughts, and feelings from the outer world, Kaminski notes. "At its worst, one can become overcome and possessed by entities because one's ego is not strong enough to ward off these negative disease-producing influences." (For more on this subject, see chapter 9.)

Flower essences recommended to help heal the deep underlying wounds of depression include:

St. John's Wort: A need for this remedy is indicated by physical and psychic vulnerability, the lack of rootedness in the world leading to an overexposure to the light. Such people have a tendency to get sunburned and develop allergies as part of their over-sensitivity, and they have a very active psychic life, but an ungrounded one, leading them to lose their connection to the physical body, says Kaminski. "This weak association to the body results in a propensity for invasion or attack from negative elemental forces or other entities, especially during sleep." This remedy helps a person circulate the light throughout the physical body and undo psychic blockages that drain off one's vital energy.

St. John's Wort


California Wild Rose: Here the condition is apathy, resignation, and the inability to organize and spark the forces of will through the heart so that one can take hold of one's responsibilities and life tasks. People needing this remedy find it hard to take emotional risks, need to insulate themselves against wounding, and may even be alienated from the social world. The remedy instills a feeling of love for the Earth and human life, and an enthusiasm to serve others. This flower gives one the courage to love, to love life, and even to wear the "crown of thorns" life inevitably gives you.

California Wild Rose


Scotch Broom: This remedy is indicated when a person feels weighed down and depressed, overcome with despair or pessimistic views, especially with regard to one's relationship to large social events. The soul feels burdened with negative scenarios of great social upheaval and travail, and this unrelieved weight leads to resignation, paralysis of the will, and depression. Scotch Broom sparks feelings of optimism about being able to affect the world positively; it imparts a sense of caring, encouragement, hope, and purposefulness.

Mustard: Feelings of melancholy, gloom, despair, and depression without obvious cause suggest this remedy. The soul feels darkness and is overwhelmed by it, especially as its onset seems inexplicable. Mustard helps one gain emotional equanimity and joy, and identify forgotten or suppressed events that may have triggered or sustained the depression.



Gentian: If you feel doubt or discouragement after a setback, Gentian can help. Gentian helps build resilience in the face of impediments and obstacles, and it provides encouragement to see these setbacks as opportunities to learn more about oneself by shifting one's perspective on life and identity. Skepticism and doubt get transformed into faith and confidence.

Sweet Chestnut: This remedy is helpful when you feel strong despair and anguish and something akin to what is traditionally called "the Dark Night of the Soul." If you need this you are probably suffering acutely, seemingly being tested to the breaking point. You probably feel deeply alone, possibly suicidal. Sweet Chestnut helps instill a deep sense of courage and faith that comes from trusting the spiritual world to not let you down and to help you out of the "rock bottom" of your depression.

Sweet Chestnut


Love-Lies-Bleeding: In this case, a person feels an intensification of pain and suffering due to isolation. The suffering can be intense, either bodily or psychological in nature, and it pushes one's awareness deeply inward; such a person is "truly deep-pressed," comments Kaminski. This remedy does not so much provide immediate relief from this state as it helps the person move consciousness outward from the over-personal identification and isolation into something more transpersonal. It is a shift in perspective and meaning from the inside to the outside, from the personal to something beyond it; it provides a context that thereby eases the suffering because suffering now has a role and purpose.



Yerba Santa: This remedy is recommended when you feel emotionally constricted, especially in the chest; when you have internalized grief and melancholy; or have deeply repressed emotions stored away, as it were, in the deepest recesses of the heart. Typically, your breathing is disturbed and congested, and you are liable to respiratory diseases as the soul wastes away within, consumed by the intense energies of unrelieved sadness or grief. Yerba Santa helps free up the flow of emotions so that feeling and breathing may be harmonized.

Yerba Santa


End of Part 4

"Guidelines for Emotional Detoxification"
by Richard Leviton

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 5



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