Flower Essences for Boundaries
In a world of overstimulation and endless possibilities for connection, opportunity, and demands on our time, the concept of setting boundaries has become a hot cultural topic. That said, I have to admit that for years whenever I hear someone talk about setting boundaries, my eyes would glaze over a bit. As an empath who very much benefits from stronger boundaries, but who also revels in the inspiration and connection to the unseen that my sensitivity can bring, the hard-tack line of “setting boundaries” often felt too crunchy to be comfortable. Or often too nebulous to fully grasp. How does one actually go about “setting boundaries”? And how do I know that I’ve done it well?
Then, something big changed. Or I guess I could say, I got so overwhelmed in the on-going years of my life that I changed, and I realized I needed to devote myself to this idea of setting boundaries with as much fervor as I do to expanding my connection to the subtle energies of living world. And once I did I realized… the two go hand in hand.
So I started setting more boundaries in my life. Which, to me, looked like saying no to most people’s requests for my time or energy when it didn’t feel entirely life-giving to me. And an amazing awareness came into my being. Over time, I realized that setting boundaries is not about cutting yourself off from the world, it’s about learning how to truly feel the lushness of your innerworld. It is about opening, and protecting, the joyful kaleidoscope of your inner experience. Setting boundaries is a way to make deep contact with your own essence, that “mainstream” of your own being, so that you feel ever-more full, content, enlivened— so “in joy” that you can truly enjoy life.
Plants are amazing boundary holders. Whether through thorns or poisonous compounds, alleopathic roots or other adaptive strategies of growth— plants find a space in the world, and they claim it as their own. All plants are boundary holders, but some are true experts in this realm.
I’ve found that working with these plants as flower essences internally, as well as externally on key acupuncture points, has been an incredibly powerful way to invoke life-giving boundaries for myself setting limits on the exhausting demands of mytime and mental space, so I can truly be able to bloom. Keep reading for three of my favorite boundary-holding flower essences and a few key acupressure pairing points to try.
Sister ivy (or Poison Ivy) is one of the most potent boundary holders we encounter as human beings. Flourishing in spaces that have been disrupted by human contact, sister ivy draws a hard boundary with us careless bi-pedal trespassers. As far as we know, human beings are the only creatures that are allergic to the benign urushiol oil produced by this plant. It is a strong message: this land has been tread on enough, it is time to draw a boundary so it can heal.
Sister Ivy can help us draw hard boundaries when we feel tread upon to the point of exhaustion. It is also a flower essence for helping us to embrace the meaning behind our most difficult moments. When we integrate the hard-knock lessons of our lives, including the one that Sister Ivy herself can bring, we make way for a powerful surge of intention, energy, creative control and growth.
I like to pair Sister Ivy with Pericardium 9, which is located at the tip of your middle finger (on either hands). Physically, the pericardium is a muscle that surrounds and protects our heart from pathogens. In Chinese medicine, the pericardium is also the energetic protector of our heartspace, like the rose hedge around the cottage. When we are feeling distinctly trespassed upon, it’s helpful to nourish the pericardium, supporting the hedge to grow higher so we can feel safe within. Located at the very edge of your physical space, I like to use this point when you need to draw an immediate boundary with the outer world.
Known as an incredible heart healer, a gatekeeper to otherworld, and traditional easer of grief, Hawthorn’s most powerful healing indicator (and most recognizable ID characteristic) is its thorns. Straight backed and prominent, a Hawthorn’s talons are what marks this tree as the powerhouse that it is. The thorns of Hawthorn teach us a valuable lesson— in order to heal the deepest wounds and access the most profound states of magic, we need to have good boundaries. A solid container is what makes it possible for us to access the medicine inherent to the center of our beings, and from that place of receiving our own medicine we begin to open the gateway to experiencing the enchantment that is possible in this world.
I often pair Hawthorn with the legendary Pericardium 6, or the Inner Gate. I’ve heard PC 6 called the “most effective point in acupuncture” but I just love it because it has immediately calming effects. Located about three finger widths down from your wrist crease right in the center of your arm, PC 6 is particularly helpful when you are having deep stress, anxiety, or insomnia, as a result of the pericardium being over taxed. As a gatekeeper itself, Hawthorn has a wonderful resonance with this point and will help to bedeck this entrance into your innermost self with both beauty and protection.
Known for its uses as a physical medicine in times of deep body trauma, Opium poppy helps protect us from the debilitation that comes from overwhelming moments of pain. As a flower essence (which, yes, is legal!) I’ve found that opium poppy can create a literal shield around both your energetic and physical body, guarding you from unnecessary harm, guarding your resources of hope, and securing a sacred space within which you can recuperate and heal. An important ally for those who have been victimized or feel deeply vulnerable. Opium Poppy is also helpful for setting boundaries with the inner demons that sap of energy, such as negative thought patterns, relentless self-criticism and addiction. Opium Poppy will defend you from the darkness— both within and without— so that you may begin to reclaim your ability to be free.
I love pairing Opium poppy with DU 14, or Da Zhu (the great hammer). I was first turned onto this point by my friend Ro Giuliano of Dreamers and Diviners when I was teaching in New York (a place where boundaries are pretty much the bagel and butter of daily existence) and I have used it ever since. Just apply a drop at the base of the neck, directly in line with your shoulders (I usually put a drop on my finger first and then just press and hold). This point is known to help “release the exterior” or expel external “evils”, which to me just means that is releases anything that isn’t you and doesn’t belong inside your terrain. Opium poppy is skilled at helping us to see what is us, and what isn’t, releasing the thought demons that haunt us so we can reclaim our inner terrain.
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If you are interested in any of these essences you can find them in the shop here. Try mixing up the pairings to see which ones work best for you and, as always, follow your intuition.
Happy boundary setting!