Thursday, June 20, 2013

'Bach' with a Bang! A "Rescue Remedy" Rant

I know, I know. I have been veering off course for some time now. My apologies. As with all moms, I am forever in the throes of trying to balance life and kids and somehow, I just wasn't finding the inspiration I needed to write a new post. Throw in the new job (yes commuting to the city daily, sigh) and voila! You have one hodge-podge of stress and little time for anything else.

Fear not, however, as I am 'bach' to talk about Rescue Remedy and how I have used it in different situations.

Bach remedies are essentially flower essences that are homeopathically prepared (for FAQs on homeopathy, please see my links section on the home page) and address emotional imbalances by gently transforming negative emotions into positive ones. The most common of these is a combined essence called "Rescue Remedy" and this is a blend of 5 of the flower remedies (there are 38 in total) which help with stressful situations. As with homeopathy, the key to identifying the correct remedy is to really look at the emotional state of the individual; however the Rescue Remedy blend basically addresses the main causes of stress and thus works well on children. It contains:

Impatiens
Keynotes => Impatience & the frustration that comes with it. Prefers to be alone. Low energy [Hmm, all moms with small children?!]
Positive Change => Teaches empathy and understanding of and patience with others.
Star of Bethlehem 
Keynotes => For trauma and shock, whether experienced recently or from some time ago. Withdrawn.
Positive Change => Teaches the ability to come to terms with the trauma and regain sense of normalcy.
Cherry Plum
Keynotes => Fear of losing control of one's mind/thoughts, especially afraid of doing something bad. A child in the middle of a temper tantrum is an e.g.
Positive Change => Teaches trust in one's wisdom and the courage to charge ahead, even in the face of adversity.
Rock Rose
Keynotes => Extreme panic or terror - a child just having woken from a nightmare for e.g.
Positive Change => Provides courage in the face of fearful situations. Creates a sense of calm
Clematis
Keynotes => Dreamy state, not connected to reality and lives in imaginary world 
Positive Change => Brings clarity and focus - teaches ability to stay grounded in reality

Rescue Remedy can be used for 'acute' situations i.e. ones which are not chronic and are temporary. Examples (for kids especially but by no means limited to):

-- Before an exam
-- Before & after a doctor/dentist visit 
-- First day of school
-- After a shock (e.g.death in the family)
-- To calm general anxiety
-- To help calm an overactive mind before sleep (Rescue Night)

My first experience with Rescue really goes back to the time that my father passed away. I used it a lot along with homeopathic remedy Ignatia (which is for grief) and truly believe that it helped me get through this very challenging time in my life. Since then, I have used it for both R & Z to help them sleep better (Rescue Night) and also generally when tantrums were nigh and not an ounce of patience was in sight (Rescue Kids).

You can purchase the remedy in many different forms, the most common of which is liquid in an alcohol base. If, like me, you don't want the alcohol based one, you can use Rescue Cream, Rescue Kids, Rescue Night Melts or Rescue Pastilles which are all equally effective. {See Where to Buy section to purchase}

For treating more long term emotional issues (or more complex ones), it is best to consult with a Bach Flower Practitioner who can help determine which remedies best apply to your child. Often a practitioner will make a customized blend and ask that you administer a few drops several times a day over a period of several weeks. To find a practitioner, check out http://www.bachcentre.com/found/ref/usa.php that gives a listing for the USA by state and you can search by other countries as well.

You know - one of the core reasons why I love natural remedies, and try to learn about as many as I can, is because they give me hope; the hope that there are cures out there for my family that I can rely on, that are safe and easy to use. As many a theorist on happiness has pointed out, hope is really one of those essential 'tools' in life to help you stay happy. On that note, I leave you with a quote (by self-help author Dr. Anthony Robert) that I came across recently:

"Hope is the expectation that something outside of ourselves, something or someone external, is going to come to our rescue and we will live happily ever after.”

With hope,
~S~

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ode To My Dad

I never really thought of my dad as a real individual until very recently. I know it sounds weird but I guess one thinks of one's parents as different entities in a way. I never really paid attention to his personality or to what he liked/disliked. Sure, I knew things about him but I always took that knowledge for granted and it was only when he passed away that I began to remember random facts that gave me many a light bulb moment. For example, I didn't link my love for chocolate to his until last year when one day, while sitting drinking tea, I realized how he always brought back chocolate when grabbing a newspaper from the local corner shop or when filling up the car at the petrol station. Even when he became diabetic, he continued to find ways to eat chocolate and made sure that his fridge was always stacked with sugar-free goodies (which I raided when all else failed and not a single chocolate-resembling edible was in sight).

Even though he seemed like a very unemotional person on the outside, from the inside, my father appreciated art and music and loved animals - and I mean loved them! He wanted dogs, birds and chickens in our garden (much to my mom's chagrin) and his eyes would light up when he spoke of his childhood pets.

I also never appreciated what an involved dad he was. Now, with kids of my own and my mommy antenna always in tune, I can see what a great father he truly was - not only do I remember him always being around, he took us out to the park, for doughnuts & milk on the way back from the car wash and my favourite of them all, trips to London to his office.

Oddly enough, my dad was also the face of encouragement in the family - while my mom was ever strict about getting good grades and was naturally the one who did our homework with us, my dad was the one who always said, "Don't think about the people who did better than you, look at the ones who you did better than" and yet he was so, so proud when we brought back good results. 

When he died, what struck me the most about my dad's personality was his kindness - people came up to me at his funeral, many of whom I didn't know, to say how my dad had helped them in different ways - finding a job, giving advice and financial support that ranged from loans to reimbursing his office security guard's lunches because he didn't make that much money. What melted my heart was when people said how much my dad loved his daughters.

This July will be the 5th year my father hasn't been around and it has been a long, difficult period of time to say the least. I miss his advice, his laughter, just his presence, at every waking second. And yet I remember him with a smile and hope that my kids will inherit their grandfather's kindness and his positive attitude. I leave you a quote from poet Anne Sexton:

"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was" 


~ S~



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Teach Your Child Compassion

I'm so tired of hearing bad news everywhere lately. It bothers me so much that my whole day goes south from then on and I often wonder how this world got so messed up, so violent, so utterly hopeless. Yes, I'm sure you International Relations and Political Science gurus out there can come up with a number of academically sound reasons along with perhaps some equally sound suggestions on how to fix it but in my simplistic mind, the solution is clear: spread the messages of compassion, of kindness, of love. Oh, I know what you are thinking - that I'm very na├»ve and that I am viewing this complex world of today too simplistically, but see, like my views on health, I'm rather holistic in my beliefs too - don't just (to borrow a term from my manager) "band-aid" the symptoms - get to the root of the issue and fix it from there. Don't get me wrong, I undoubtedly believe in gun control or increased school safety for e.g and think they are much required first steps in addressing the number of shootings we see here in the US BUT they are not, by far, the only. If every single one of us treated the people, we met and interacted with daily, with respect and love and also spread that message of love via social media, word of mouth and more importantly, our actions, I can guarantee it would have a domino effect - granted, the results may not be visible immediately and yes it may take a generation for it to really take hold in a way that has long lasting impact but think about it for just one second - it really doesn't take much to set it in motion. If we can share pictures, our kids' achievements and our work woes, why cannot we encourage those around us to be kind? I am amazed, constantly flabbergasted in fact, at the number of people who overlook a simple "hi" when met with in a work kitchen or those who skip saying a quick "thanks" to their train conductor, bus driver or cafeteria lady. 

Where has basic compassion gone?

We, as parents, have to reinforce these concepts with our children. We need to teach them to *understand* why a bully may act the way he/she does or why a friend is sad. By doing so, not only are we teaching our children to be better human beings, we are giving them hope and trust in humanity in general - a 'tool' to get through those bad moments in life and make some sense of them. 

I recently read an article about an Amish community that not only forgave but comforted someone that killed several of their children out of grief over the death of his own infant child. We talk about the Lanzas, the Chos and the Harrises with contempt and hatred but what about compassion? Those kids weren't born like that - circumstances, their parents, hell life, made them that desperate that the only way they were able to express their frustration was through mass murder. How bad must their lives have been for them to do something that an average person would never dream of doing? I'm not condoning what they did or even saying that it is easy to overlook such a huge crime - I am simply saying *understand*. Perhaps if they had had friends that overlooked their initial 'weirdness', friends who had tried to connect regardless of it, they may have had a reason to value their own lives and others'.

Leaving you with a quote for the day:

"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive" ~ Dalai Lama

~S~