Release Perception Now

Today I invite you to release perception now as part of your end of year review.

A little Story

I love to learn new things and what better way to take classes than in the beautiful backdrop of Bok Tower Gardens. On an early Saturday afternoon, I was enjoying a class on making a succulent wreath. The instructor, Jill, was efficient, prepared, and gave us both hands-on instruction and a booklet to take home, that included the care of our succulent wreath.

The Class Was Great

The 26 or so women in the class were all excited as they created their own wreath versions. I was feeling a little rushed and didn’t quite finish before it was time for me to leave. Jill was cleaning up the tables and rather than speak up, I just watched as she scooped up the plants I hadn’t used, returning them to the selection tables.

I thought, “I’m fine. I don’t need them. My wreath is beautifully full.”

Realization of a Hole Unfilled

Coming home, I was showing off my creation, when I realized I had a hole ready for a succulent. I let Bok Tower know, and Jill sent me a quick, short reply in an email. I perceived annoyance in the email, even though she offered any succulents I felt I needed to complete my wreath.

When I stopped by to select a plant, Jill was busy talking to customers. She efficiently responded to my presence and instantly realized what I needed when I told her my name. As I followed her to the tables of succulent plants, I apologized for aggravating her.

“I’m not aggravated,” she replied.

At that moment, I realized my perception was totally wrong. Jill was merely efficient, and didn’t mince words in her email or in person.

I released a breath with an audible, “Ah”.

Lesson Learned

I hope in reading this story, you will choose to release perception now, and in preparation for 2020. After all, when you release perception, you are less stressed and happier. And let’s face it, the only person you can really affect is yourself.

May you have a safe and happy new year!

How to Create Flower Essence

Flowers bring me so much joy, learning how to create flower essence drew me to a class at Bok Tower Gardens. Our instructor, Stephen Kane, a certified herbalist and member of the Bok Education staff, presented information on the origin of flower essence, the steps to create our own, and provided everything we needed.

The history of flower essence

A physician in England, Dr. Edward Bach, left his lucrative practice in London to pursue research into the effects of flowers as a homeopathic method for treatment of various physical ailments. By 1932 at the age of 46, he had developed his first of 15 remedies. His estate in Oxfordshire still produces his remedies and they can be purchased online. Since his method of determining the proper combination of flower essence shifted from the scientific method toward an intuitive one, why can’t anyone create flower essence themselves, for their own health?

How to determine which flowers to use

Like Stephen Kane, I also believe our intuition will guide us to the flowers we need. He asked us to close our eyes and imagine which flower to use. For me, the image of Horsemint immediately came to my mind. As both a gardener and a life long student of botany, I’m familiar with many native Florida plants. I knew exactly where this plant grew in the Polinator Garden. There is an understanding at Bok Tower Gardens that visitors refrain from picking flowers for obvious reasons. Imagine my surprise when I saw Horsemint as one of the dozen flowers Stephen had collected.

Combining multiple flowers

Stephen recommended we limit combining flowers for essence to five different types. Our table of flowers was next to a rosemary hedge. I felt as drawn to it as I was to the Horsemint, adding 2 of the blue flowers. Similarly, as I returned to the line of flower choices, the rose seemed to call me forward. I picked two of the swollen green rose hips with the drying stamens tickling my fingers and added four petals to the mix. Finally, I pinched a single Spanish needle flower as Stephen had told us it has amazing antibacterial properties.

Final Steps for Flower Essence

We all screwed the lids on tightly and turned our squat mason jars upside down on the sunny mulch of nearby fruit trees. As time was limited by the class restraints some took their’s home to stew longer. I continued with the process. First I turned the jar right side up. Then I fished out the flower material, and topped off the container with French Brandy to preserve the flower essence indefinitely.


The process was so easy, I created a new batch this morning using two different native Passion flowers from my pesticide-free garden. Butterflies are some of my favorite visitors. Consequently, I planted Passiflora incarnata for the Gulf fritillary larvae and Passiflora suberosa, known commonly as corky stem Passion flower to attract the state butterfly, Zebra longwing. Earlier this year I captured a video of Zebra longwings in their air dance.

Tips and Process for Creating Flower Essence

NOTE: Most prescription drugs and over the counter drugs are derived from plants. As there can be reactions between these types of drugs, so too can there be reactions with homemade flower essence. Always consult your physician and pharmacist before combining flower essence with drugs you are taking.

  1. Use glass containers throughout. Mason jars are readily available and inexpensive.
  2. Water needs to be pure, or local without additives. Well water is the best option, but if unavailable let tap water stand uncovered overnight.
  3. Select flowers in a pesticide-free environment, ask permission, and always take only what you need. Wild plants are ideal.
  4. NOTE: if you have any allergic reaction (itchy or watery eyes, swelling or rash) to handling the flowers, don’t use them to make essence.
  5. Wash your hands and pick the flowers by pinching them off the plant. Clean in between plants with you are harvesting a variety of flowers that will not be combined.
  6. Limit flower combinations to five different types.
  7. Tighten the lid and let the flower / water mixture sit outside in the sun a few hours.
  8. Remove all the plant material and toss into your garden or compost pile.
  9. Top off the container with brandy, plain vodka, or apple cider vinegar as a preservative.
  10. To use, add one or two drops to a container of water. Yes, homeopathy is all about less is more.

NOTE: Most prescription drugs and over the counter drugs are derived from plants. As there can be reactions between these types of drugs, so too can there be reactions with homemade flower essence. Always consult your physician and pharmacist before combining flower essence with drugs you are taking.

If you’re in Central Florida on December 15, 2019, I’m teaching an Introduction to Japanese Meditation class. Stay tuned for more information or even better,  sign up for my weekly newsletter. You’ll never miss a blog or an announcement.


Taking a Leap of Faith

Have you ever found yourself taking a leap of faith? Or is safety in the shadows more your style? As I have spent more energy and time getting to the essence of my life, journaling, meditating, living in the moment, and listening to my heart, I find I’ve stepped out of the shadows and into the light. Two weeks ago, I spent four days on a woman’s retreat in the Poconos. It was my first visit to the area and I looked forward to a little fall color in addition to the companionship of like minded women.

Highlights of the retreat

Of course, the food was amazing. We had two participants sharing kitchen duty that included a professional chef. The lodge was laid out to accommodate all seventeen of us comfortably. We met with our three leaders from Inner Soul Retreats in the great room for morning restorative yoga, instruction and discussion, and many energy changing techniques designed to open our hearts to the possibilities each of us sought.

A few of us spent an hour hiking along one of the trails in hopes of seeing a waterfall. The dry summer nixed that idea. Instead we came upon the zip line we had heard about. For me, the idea of experiencing a zip line had never been considered due to my lifelong fear of heights. Earlier, when a roommate described her experience on a particularly long zip line in Hawaii, my fear was amplified.

Overcoming a lifelong fear

Imagine my surprise when after a technique shared with four other women, I lost all fear of the idea of the zip line! As the facilitators left to inquire about members of our group taking the tandem zip line plunge, I was right there with my cash, ready to signup.

It never occurred to me I’d need to hike up to the zip line platform. I suppose since all the blood was rushing to my leg muscles as I navigated the steep climb, I didn’t think about the jumping off part. Standing in line, two by two, held a little anxiety, but watching the freedom of letting go exhibited by the young group in front of us helped. I also saw I could hold onto the strap connecting my harness to the metal trolley.

Finally the time had come. We received our instructions again, “The safety line is off. You can sit now. Okay, lift your feet!”

I was actually zip lining, suspended in midair above the rocky terrain, holding onto dear life, my fingers clutching the strap, my eyes wide open taking it all in. Suddenly we connected with the bungee breaking system. Wow, that was startling. I hung in my harness as my partner was first directed to climb the movable staircase enabling the attendant to disconnect her contraption. As I walked up the stairs, I imagined this is how Pinocchio must have felt.

The Second Trip

My companion had opted for a single ride and was busy getting out of her harness. I started my climb up the trail with much more anticipation than my first time. Soon the rest of the second-timers joined me in line for the platform. Now my fear was gone replaced by excitement. I couldn’t wait to go again. This time I planned to let go and dance like John Travolta in Pulp Fiction.

As my feet left the safety of the platform, my spirit rose and I released my grip. My gyrations probably looked hilarious, but I felt alive and truly free for the first time in my life. Even the braking at the end was fun.

The Effect of Conquering Fear

What was my takeaway from the zip line? Taking a leap of faith I literally stepped into uncharted territory. By conquering one fear, it was so much easier to step into my life. Now my confidence soars and I know I can do anything. There are no limits.


If you’re in Central Florida this December, I’m teaching an Introduction to Japanese Meditation class. Stay tuned for more information or even better,  sign up for my weekly newsletter. You’ll never miss a blog or an announcement.