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If you haven't read Part One of this PMS series, please go back and read it now. It provides an important foundation.
The physical symptoms of PMS are enough of a challenge, but the emotional aspects can be even worse for many women. And, unfortunately, much of the "self care" and "mindfulness" strategies barely even scratch the surface...like trying to clean a locker room with a toothbrush.
Ever feel totally overwhelmed, angry, tearful, anxious, worried or irritable during that time of the month? Someone tell you to "just breathe" and you want to wring their neck? Try to go to yoga to sweat it out, but feel knocked over by someone else's cologne wafting through the studio?
PMS can make practicing law unnecessarily challenging, and practicing law can make the PMS unnecessarily challenging. It becomes a vicious cycle, and it is embarrassing or looks like lame-ass excuse-making to talk about it.
What a trifecta: being a lawyer, experiencing the physical symptoms, and the inexplicable emotional variations. When we are in the throes, it can seem impossible to step back into that neutral space (sometimes called witness consciousness or the observer and what Brooke Castillo has termed "passing through neutral") long enough to get perspective on any of it.
Part one of this series addressed some strategies I employ and products I use to get physical relief, but I know from years of personal experience that if we stop there, we miss the amazing opportunities PMS presents to us to become superwomen.
"Wait, what? This is an opportunity? Opportunity my ass," you might be thinking.
I will cover the Opportunities of PMS in the next post, but for now, let's create an energetic bridge from the physical into emotional relief -- and even gifts -- of PMS.
Still with me?
Flower Essences provide an energetic bridge from the difficult physical and emotional cocktail of PMS into a space of greater awareness, where we can process the challenging emotional and energetic aspects of PMS. Flower Essences are a gentle, yet powerful assist that helps us get from point A, physical and emotional misery, to point B, emotional relief, to point C and beyond -- the stages of increasing awareness and consciousness. Points B and C and beyond therefore become a Positive Cycle, and get us out of the vicious one.
When on the Positive Cycle, each subsequent "time of the month" teaches us to manage our bodies and minds in a new, better, more empowered way. Our improved perceptions and experience of the physical symptoms work to alleviate the symptoms. Our deeper and more grown-up nuanced awareness of the emotional aspects work to alleviate the negative emotions.
I am not saying we live a life free of negative emotion. That is not the point of life anyway -- the lawyergoddess knows that sometimes stuff sucks, and acceptance of that fact of life on earth doesn't mean she is going to get a ticket from the law of attraction police. (Proof: I have been a varsity team complainer off and on, and still have an amazing life!) Like seasons, there are changes; there are times that blossom and bear fruit, and there are times when things wither, rot, and freeze. How well we roll with it is so much of our experience. There is a great deal more to say about this that I'll cover in future posts. For now, you probably are here for emotional relief. So let's get on with it!
A Starter List of Flower Essences for PMS Relief
Shasta Lily: for being strong and remaining feminine in a masculine environment. Feeling like the old boys' network has got you down? Feel like you have to "tough it out" or that "there's no crying in baseball?" While this flower is not specific to PMS, this one is so useful for women learning how to better manage their energy in male "dominated" professions, that I include it here.
Agrimony: this is one of the original Bach remedies from England, for the type of person who covers up difficult emotions with a happy face, or buffers with addictive behaviors (sweets, intoxicating substances, too much social media....) to stuff down the emotions. My favorite in-depth discussion about this essence is at the Healingherbs UK site.
Mariposa Lily: this is one of the key essences for healing one's relationship with one's mother, and ability to nurture and be nurtured. Often, difficulties with the physical experience of being a woman stem from an emotional difficulty with being a woman in this world. Even if one reads the FES description of this remedy and it sounds a little extreme or intense, it is worth taking a deeper look: For example, we may feel that our relationship with Mother Earth is troubled. Or, we may feel that our relationship with the archetype of the Mother in our culture is suffering. Many people, women and men included, benefit from Mariposa Lily at some time in their lives when they feel "orphaned" and alone in a situation. For another angle on this category of issues, Evening Primrose is another powerful flower essence that can bring valuable insight to one's PMS experience.
Chocolate Lily: this flower, with its dark color, helps women who deal with an aversion to the physical aspects of their cycles, so they can learn to accept them more gracefully. Some who have worked with this essence report that it addresses chocolate cravings as well.
California Valerian: for anxiety about the future and insomnia; aids peaceful acceptance of life experiences due to better understanding of past experiences. Why do I include this as a PMS remedy? Instead of counting sheep, sometimes we count all the mistakes we made earlier in the day, or a year ago, or when we young and dumb. This tends to happen more during PMS when sleep is disrupted. In addition to addressing the physical aspects of sleep -- which I will cover in more depth in future posts -- California Valerian can help with the emotional aspects.
Pedicularis: for hypersensitivity and crying fits, leading to seclusion; aids insight into one’s underlying true identity and connection to Earth wisdom. Sounds kinda far out there? A friend of mine described the Pedicularis state beautifully when she described how the crying starts to 'cry itself' in heaves...from somewhere else. That's awful in the moment, but there is spiritual gold somewhere in there once a certain level of relief and detachment can can get us to the witness place.
Cherry Plum: This is one of my favorite essences for PMS stress. I resisted trying it for years because I was scared off by the description -- it sounded way too extreme for me. But let me help you by describing what I think it is good for. Now, when we have PMS and part of us feels like we are one email, traffic jam, or spilled-coffee-on the-keyboard incident from completely losing our shit, yet some part of us knows that we are basically sane and this too shall pass, Cherry Plum can help. Understand that "white knuckling" thing too well? Cherry Plum helps us release the death grip on trying to control our circumstances....I linked you to the 1 ounce bottle. Throw it in your work briefcase. You're welcome.
Pomegranate: this essence aids us when we feel ambivalence and inner conflict about female roles. It also aids joyful expression of feminine creativity Many women feel torn between "traditional" women's roles and "modern" opportunities. Sometimes this manifests physically as infertility, PMS, and other issues with the reproductive organs. This essence works on some very deep, archetypal levels. So, let's get all Carl Jung/Joseph Campbell with this for a moment. Think of the goddess Persephone and the pomegranate seeds. Where and when have let ourselves get talked into into doing stuff we don't want to do? How does that still ultimately help us become more authentically creative? How is this universal to the experience of being a woman in this millennium or any other? Pomegranate flower essence warrants several posts all to itself!
Self-Heal: this essence is truly multi-purpose. It helps those who over-rely on external advice for health problems. We need Self Heal when we run around buying every supplement on a list, or read every book, or spend all our time studying health information rather than just making decisions and giving stuff a shot (for that matter, Cerato is helpful too.) Self Heal awakens our inner healing forces and helps us listen to our bodies. It comes in an essence form and in a wonderful soothing lotion called Self Heal Creme by FES.
Mala Mujer: yes, that's Spanish for "bad woman." Please look past any reaction you may have to the name of this plant and own it for its power; it's wonderful for softening the bitchy edge we sometimes get during PMS. For our own sake.
There are many more flower essence remedies that are helpful for women, and even more that may be helpful for one woman or another's PMS that aren't necessarily "women's" remedies or "PMS" remedies. I don't suggest by any means that you run out and buy every essence on this list -- that would be like mixing all the paints in your watercolor kit until you get mud. If one or two really spoke to you, get those; less is more. Or you can work with me directly.
And, stay tuned for Part 3 of this series, where we will dive into the specific mindfulness practice that works (for me), and the critically important thought work that will tie all of this together.