A Report by Melissa E. Penn
Patricia E. Meyer, a flower essence professional, and I met less than two weeks ago; it was a fortuitous meeting for me. (For more information regarding Patricia Meyer and her work please see www.patsgarden.com.) As a Bach Flower Practitioner, I am familiar with the healing properties of flower essences. Yet, I have been unable to heal myself with the essences available to me.
As Patricia and I began to share our life stories, it became clear that Patricia was the mentor that I had been searching for. Not only does her expertise cover over 30 years of practice, but her diversity and familiarity with the world's flower essences gives her a repertoire that far exceeds my own.
During our conversation, I spoke about being adopted at the age of six weeks (my first six weeks of life were lived in an incubator at a medical facility). Having been gifted with inherited psychic skills, the challenge of living within a family that does not share these gifts (nor embrace a comfort with them) has caused me much discomfort throughout my life.
For adoptees, the task of essentially “living a role in someone else's script” is a challenge each of us faces with differing degrees of success. It is difficult to find a sense of identity, for many feel as if their life is a fraud, which in a sense, it is. For me, the impact of adoption continued to affect my daily life in negative ways and I spent over $100,000 on psychological therapy to develop the integration and understanding to navigate my life and develop a core personality.
Notice I do not use the word “heal,” for that would not describe the results. At best, I reconciled to facts I could not change, losses I could not repair and a family that I neither related to, nor liked. Yet, I am an extremely social person and needed the intimacy of close interaction, so I created a network of trusted friends with whom I share empathetically and have adopted as “family.”
For most of the year my friendships serve me well. But as holiday seasons approach, my anxiety mounts as my friends return to their childhood homes, the media fills with pictures of family gatherings and my hard-won equilibrium crashes.
Adoptees call this place “the abyss”: it is a place of existential angst, for within it, there is no reflection of the self, no past from which to build, nor any sense of truth from which to construct a future. Falling into this abyss is dangerous for it is truly the abode of suicide and primitive rage. It is a pre-verbal, “snake-brained” pit of despair, and entering it is not recommended.
My years of therapy assist me to hold back the flood of emotions, make choices to nurture myself in significant ways and stay clear of the rim of the pit. However, I can feel the precariousness of my perch and the maw of the darkness is very, very close. I have never spent a holiday season without crashing into it at least once during my 49 years of existence.
To attempt to speak about these dark feelings has been incredibly painful. Even to approach the subject constricts my throat, fills my eyes with tears and locks the breath inside my body. There had never been an exception to this. Always, always, any conversation that turns to the subject of “family” is like a gut punch and takes extreme mental effort to override. Which brings me back to my conversation with Patricia: she, as a trained healer, observed my reactions as I spoke about being adopted, for the pain held in my voice always betrays my outer composure. She took note.
Later, she spoke about a remedy with which she has worked closely: Mariposa Lily (developed by FES in 1985). She reported that the flower had “talked" to her about “…being a flower whose bulb remained safely rooted between protective rocks, yet whose flower grew brightly and thrust boldly over the rocks.” (I confess to being overwhelmed and I do not remember her exact words.) Yet, Patricia inspires trust and her compassion towards me was evident. I took her up on her offer to provide me with a bottle of Mariposa Lily essence.
She prescribed a dosage of four drops every morning for (and here she took her pendulum out and inquired as the months that would be required: one, two, three…) six months. The length of the treatment time seemed to surprise her, but I smiled with irony for I knew the depth of the emotional trauma that she was proposing to treat.
I began the treatment the next day and have taken the remedy every day since. Nine days later, I was attending the Yizkor portion of Yom Kippur services—a Jewish commemoration to the dead. Much of the service deals with the endless flow of life from ancestors long past that will continue through “us” into the future. Obviously, this is a difficult experience for all that have lost loved ones, but for me who never knew them in the first place, it is particularly painful. Yet, this year there was no reaction, none.
So subtle was this change that I did not notice the absence of the usual angst until after the Yom Kippur service had concluded and the congregates were breaking their fast. Laughing and joking, we noshed and replenished ourselves after our twenty-seven hour fast. The usual questions were exchanged between strangers, and I fielded a few about my “family.” It was then that I noticed that I answered the questions in a matter-of-fact voice, even making a small joke.
I paused. I observed. I went out onto an outside balcony and stood looking over the vista. I deliberately poked at my psyche. I was curious about why I was not reacting to a lifetime issue. I dredged up a memory guaranteed to have an impact—here's what I noticed: a small poke in the gut. Just that, a little twinge and the serenity of calm balance. I probed a bit farther and realized that there was some sadness, but it was distant and far away. The reaction was appropriate to a loss that had happened in the distant past and had been appropriately mourned. I wondered what had rendered this change? Then I remembered the flower essence.
There is absolutely no other explanation for this remarkable change, save that of Mariposa Lily. To date, I have had forty-four drops of the remedy, less than a teaspoon's worth, and my life has radically changed. For the past few days, I have tried to jump into the abyss, attempting to upset the equilibrium I am experiencing. It remains firm. It isn't that I am avoiding the thoughts or even the emotions. Rather, as old memories fade with time, the raw emotions concerning my hidden and lost past have also faded. I can think about them, but they are not intruding into my emotional structure. There are small petals of hope unfolding in my heart that this will remain so.
I write this report as a gift to other adoptees, for while I cannot recapture my lost years, perhaps this story will guide this remedy into the hands of others—particularly those who care for adopted children. If the Mariposa Lily flower essence can reduce their feelings of abandonment and hopelessness for even a day, let alone a lifetime, there are no words to express its importance.
I do not know how the next weeks and months will unfold, but I have decided to put myself through a test. For years, the task of searching for my biological family has been too overwhelming, painful and frustrating to complete. Legal obstacles, callous officials and bureaucratic red tape have ended my every attempt and has been a wash of apathy, defeat, or despair. I am going to test this remedy to the maximum by undertaking the search in earnest. If I am able to complete it, this Mariposa Lily flower essence will have finally, and compassionately, healed me.
Today, I wrote this story, much as I write any other. I struggled with a word or two, but the content didn't cause me pain. A minor miracle in the world at large, but a major milestone in mine, for there is so much that I want to say about the experience of adoption, so much I want to communicate but have failed at every attempt to do so, overwhelmed by the pain of trying. Now perhaps, under the healing of these little drops taken daily, I can write about what I've learned, felt and integrated about the circumstances of being an adopted child.
Once again the power of flower essences has manifested in my life; time will tell what the future will hold, but for me, it is a very, very New Year.
October 15, 2005
Melissa Ellen Penn, MA, SD, has provided spiritual direction and spiritual practice instruction to the religious and spiritual communities of Northern California for 20 years. She provides ceremonial guidance for Rites of Passage: Birth, Transition, Liberation, Union and Death for interfaith and spiritual people. She is a reclaimer of feminine wisdom, spirituality and spiritual authority, and a healer of mind, body, and souls seeking change and support.
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