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International Flower Essence Repertoire
May 2010 Newsletter

Wisdom of Compassion

I have often tried to think of the best way to describe the orchid essences in brief, to find one statement which 'fits' them all. This isn't simply an exercise in semantics, since it is also about trying to understand them at their deepest level as well as trying to discern just what is common to them all. "Helping our spiritual journey" was one phrase I briefly favoured; while it is correct, it sounds trite and leaves me dissatisfied.

I'm inclined of late to say that they wish to help educate our heart and mind. And one of the best examples of that notion (to my mind) is seen with our essence called Wisdom of Compassion (photo of the orchid is shown above). When Heather Decam and I made this essence in February 2003, and sipped the mother tincture, we both had the feeling that this essence had great significance for helping our hearts to learn a new way of relating to one another, to our fellow human beings.

Our normal approach to essence making had been to choose an orchid which felt especially vibrant in our greenhouse, but not to make initially any effort at guessing or defining its qualities - we would always wait until we had meditated on the mother tincture. We didn't want to risk projecting our own thoughts or feelings on the orchid, but to simply let it 'speak' for itself when we sipped the mother tincture.

However on this occasion Heather was startled to hear this particular orchid call out to her when we entered the greenhouse: "Make an essence with me; I'm about Compassion." She mentioned this, and so we made the essence. By sheer chance the essence was made on the Tibetan anniversary of the Buddha's enlightenment. And there is a strong sense of a Buddhist teaching of the heart with this essence.

Prior to meditating on Phalaenopsis Sussex Silk (the orchid was a 14th-generation hybrid) I had never understood the Buddhist notion of loving compassion. I had read about it, but I never felt able to grasp its concept in my heart. Yet that is what this orchid's essence conveyed, in beautiful simplicity. One's heart opens out and flows out to the world like a gentle wide river, embracing the pain and travail that is all around us, yet without this pain and travail causing pain within one's heart or being. Instead there is simply a clear feeling of loving compassion within the heart, which feels like a blessing both on those around one, as well as a blessing within one own's heart and being.

Prior to this essence, I had never had this experience. But thanks to this essence, from time to time that blessing, that river of compassion suddenly is there, flowing out to all the people I am surrounded by at a motorway service station, or in the plane I have just boarded. And in that moment, in that space, somehow all is safe, and right, and good. Its as if momentarily one is seeing the deeper reality of our spiritual being, which is ultimately beyond the travails of our daily existence.

I am deeply grateful to this orchid for what it has managed to share with me... I don't know of any greater lesson the heart may learn than what this beautiful orchid wishes to share with us. And I am also grateful to Heather for being so very good at listening.

New Book out now

The big news of the month has to be that our book on the Living Tree Orchid Essences is now here, available finally! There was a minor glitch at the printers which caused a 10-day delay, and as well there were last-minute alterations which I felt needed to be made... But at last we have Orchid Essence Healing, I'm delighted with the work of the printers, who met the challenges which this photograph-intensive book presented, and met those very very well.

We paid considerably extra to have the book sewn rather than simply glued, a somewhat unusual choice for a book with just 128 pages. Yet I felt it was important, as the sewn binding enables the pages of the book to open much more easily, to reveal the photos of the orchids which are the book's most important feature.

On a project like this, many book publishers these days are having the printing done in Poland, as there are big cost-savings to be had. However my priority in publishing the book ourselves was to have the best possible print quality, and this meant working with the same firm which not only prints our brochures etc., but had also printed our Compendium of Flower Essences 8 years ago. David Jenkins has many years experience in the printing business, and knows just which quality of Forest Stewardship Council certified paper to use, and at what weight to properly handle all the ink we would be putting on the sheets of paper as they went through the presses.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for me arose from the fact that David's operation is based near Brighton, nearly 700 miles away from Gigha. Getting 3 tons of books delivered that distance was going to be both expensive (e.g., nearly £1,000) and would have taken 4 or 5 days. Given our delays, I wanted to have the book to send out to our customers as quickly as possible. So last week I drove down to Brighton with a 12 foot trailer in tow, and arrived just as they were wrapping the last pallet of the books. 12 hours later I was at a hotel on the edge of Glasgow, for a few hours sleep, then up early to get home to Gigha. Though rain had threatened, we had sunshine while unloading the books, and my wife Emma had organized her two young boys, and 3 other people to help us unload the 8,000 books, which were all tucked away in the storage room at the back of the house within 90 minutes. And it felt a great relief to be home, with the long journey finished, and to be able to get the books packed and dispatched to folk all over the UK, Europe, Japan, Canada and the USA.

As I have mentioned before, we are keeping the price of the book low at just £8.99 retail, to enable as many of our friends and customers as possible to enjoy reading it, to learn more fully about the Living Tree Orchid Essences.

Click here if you wish to order the book now.

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