It is hard to imagine when you are going through a place of confusion and darkness in your life that anything good could possibly come out of it.
Well, let me tell you – anything is possible.
2023 marks the 40th anniversary of Pacific Essences, and I am pretty sure these Essences would never have been born without the experience of my personal health crisis.
I was working for the federal government as my contribution to our adventure of surviving on five acres (which was actually 25 acres) with my husband Michael, connecting with Nature as guided by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, communicating with plant devas because the Findhorn books had accidentally dropped into our laps in a bookstore, and just generally being in love with each other and all of life.
At some level I loved my job as a community development officer. It meant that I got to meet people and try to solve community problems with government funds – solutions like setting up daycares, helping women get back into the work force after maternity leaves, and upgrading skills for people who wanted to have access to other workforce options. I kept getting promotions and increased job security, and perhaps that increased security was a factor in how my life unfolded.
One day I crashed and burned. For the first time in my life, I felt fear. Not necessarily a specific fear, but fear somehow associated with the notion that I might wake up at 65 with a pension and my life would be over. One night driving home from the office, I literally felt like I could not keep the car on the road. It was as if I was going to be ‘beamed up.’ Although I was not a big Star Trek fan, I somehow knew about other dimensions and I was not at all ready to explore them – especially not without Michael with me! I mean, if we were going to be ‘beamed up,’ we were going to be doing it together, right?
In retrospect I guess I was having what might today be called ‘panic attacks’ or ‘anxiety attacks.’ I am eternally grateful that no one gave me that label and suggested anti-anxiety meds!!!!! Every couple of weeks Michael drove me 70 miles to Toronto to see a chiropractor named Dr. John LaPlante. Except Dr. John was much more than a chiropractor. He had two treatment rooms and in one there was a Radionics instrument through which he could tune in to the frequencies of different organs and systems in your physical body and turn some dials on the instrument to play optimal frequencies to any system which was either in excess or deficiency. In the other room there was a regular chiropractic adjustment table. But before he even touched your body, he would scan it with his hand about 8–15 inches above your body and ‘feel’ what was out of balance. The corrections could be anything from gentle manipulation of fascia to a chiropractic adjustment – always very gentle with no force. After the treatment he would send me home with a bottle of flower essences.
One of the facets of our work environment was that we all drank lots of coffee, ate Tim Horton’s donuts daily, and smoked cigarettes. This behaviour was always exacerbated when we had a ton of money allocated from the federal government for our communities, and thus needed to put in tons of overtime to do the work necessary to assess the impact and sustainability of the projects. So as I navigated this experience of vulnerability and helplessness, I took some time off work and allowed Mother Nature, our farm, and Michael to hold me softly and allow me to heal. I stopped eating sweets because if I did the panic would immediately take over my Body/Mind. I drank way less coffee. And I cut back, but did not quit, smoking. After a few weeks I thought I was ready to go back to work. So one morning I set out and got to that place on the road where, a few weeks earlier coming home late at night, I thought I was going to be ‘beamed up’. All of a sudden, I felt complete terror again and realized that I could not do it. So I turned around and drove home. Michael came out of the greenhouse when he heard the car and I ran sobbing into his arms, wailing, “I couldn’t do it! I couldn’t do it!” And he responded, “It’s nearly lunchtime. Would you like a bowl of soup?” To this day, I see that as the perfect response. He fed absolutely no energy into my crisis, and he didn’t label it as anything special.
That year for our anniversary, Michael took me to a retreat at a Sufi Centre in upstate New York. We were there to attend a workshop with Dorothy McLean, co-founder of Findhorn. But in fact, since we were already deeply immersed in communicating with the devas (plant spirits), we went off and found another workshop which was much more engaging: Shiatsu with Wataru Ohashi. This was the beginning of my lifelong passion for Traditional Chinese Medicine and Energy Healing. This model made sense to me – and it worked. If you balance the energies, you stay in health and well-being. When you move into excess or deficiency it affects the whole. Oriental Medicine spoke to me in a way that I understood viscerally: too much sugar gave me a burst of energy, but it was not sustainable and burned up too quickly. Moreover, learning shiatsu gave me greater compassion for my fellow beings. When I laid my hands on the hara (soft abdomen) of the person on the tatami mat in front of me, and silently asked them to show me where was excess and where was deficiency, I was honoured and humbled to be able to feel that energy with my hands and then through gentle pressure along meridian pathways help that Body/Mind return to balance. From the very first class we understood that emotions could harm the organs and sick organs would impact the emotions. I totally ‘grokked’ it – the wholeness and connectedness of all of us, Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual.
So that’s how the journey began. I quit my job, we sold the farm, and moved to Manhattan to study shiatsu with Ohashi. When we returned to Canada, we moved to the West coast. Having experienced flower essences as one of the pivotal pieces of my personal healing journey, we spent lots of time in Nature exploring the plants of this amazing rainforest island. It seemed like second nature to make them into Essences, and when Dr. John came out for a Naturopathic conference and I said to him, “I don’t know how I think I can do this,” he looked at me with profound love beaming from his eyes and said, “You’ve done this for lifetimes.”
It’s such a blessing in this moment, on the eve of our 40th anniversary as Pacific Essences, to look back on this journey and see some of the different turning points and choices which led to this day. I remember on one of the darkest days turning to Michael and saying, “Maybe if I get through this, I will be able to help someone else.”
Look what happened!
This year we will have many celebrations of different sorts to help you find the Energy Medicine from Nature that will assist you on your own healing journey and the fulfillment of your life purpose. Connecting to your life purpose, and living it, is a huge contribution to your health and well-being.
So I invite you to explore more deeply the ancient art and science of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the ancient art and science of healing with plants as a way to transform your life. To begin this exploration, we offer you a new video on our YouTube channel called ‘144 Healing Vibrations from Nature’ – a visual introduction to the beautiful conscious energies that contribute to Pacific Essences.