The person who needs Elm is capable and handles responsibility well. She sees her work not as a duty, but as a vocation. She is enthusiastic about what she does -- which often involves assisting in the well-being of others -- and committed to overcoming obstacles to achievement.
One day, though, an onslaught of rush work hits her desk, her daughter suddenly remembers materials she needs for a school project due the next day, and her son develops a painful toothache. Our heroine begins to think that the sky is falling. "Overwhelmed" is the most succinct description of what happens to people whose ability to gracefully and efficiently handle a great deal of responsibility suddenly collapses.
This Elm condition is usually temporary. It can occur during the holidays, when piles of unwrapped packages (or imaginary piles of unbought ones) compete for attention with children who need to rehearse for a pageant, a yet-to-be-planned holiday feast, and the imminent arrival of in-laws. Moving time can also be Elm time for most people.
The state of needing Elm is distinct from being in a chronically overwhelmed condition. People in that state don't typically handle responsibility well. They may also identify having too much to do with being needed and important (a number of flower essences can relate to that condition).
It's also important to distinguish the Elm condition from that of someone who needs Centaury. Such people are often described as "willing slaves." They are the employees who always work overtime because their bosses ask them or who give up their life plans in order to take care of a demanding (but often healthy) parent. They may habitually take on more than they can handle because they lack the ability to say no. They lack this ability because they believe their sacrifice will earn them love.
Sometimes, too, people get confused between Elm and Oak. Both syndromes involve taking on too much, but people who need Elm do so on a temporary basis. People who need Oak tend to be always overburdened. Others habitually turn to them for help because they are rarely able to refuse requests. Although they are often chronically exhausted, they never give up.
Elm people genuinely enjoy efficiently handling multiple challenges. Trouble strikes because they're so accustomed to doing what they do well that even a temporary lapse in their abilities traumatizes them more than it would less capable people. They may think they're losing their edge. They may worry that they're aging.
The Elm essence helps people at such times. It eases their feelings that they have become weak and powerless, and reminds them gently that, admirable as their accomplishments are, they are more than these accomplishments. It fills their hearts with the magical words, "This, too, shall pass," and the equally magical word, "Delegate."
Elm helps them recover from their temporary lapse and resume a role of responsibility. With this flower remedy to help them, they will take a break before they reach the breaking point.
"Anticipate" is another powerful word for the Elm vocabulary. Don't wait until the sky is falling before you take Elm; get out the bottle as soon as you begin to feel overwhelmed. Plan for times when you know your responsibilities will be increased. Take Elm ahead of time, sit down, and decide how you can make your responsibilities manageable.
Elm is also useful to take when you are planning something in the more distant future and already feeling overwhelmed about it. You're having a big wedding in six months. You're planning a career change. Or you're moving. I'm planning a move to a location a thousand miles away from my present home in 2004. I will be moving myself, three cats, and the equipment and inventory for my business. Having written this article, I've concluded that it's never too early to take Elm.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Connie Barrett does flower essence counseling for people and pets, including by email. For more about Connie's work and links to her previous articles in Vibration, visit her Frequent Contributor's Page.
ART CREDITS: The leaf photo came from an excellent page about trees,
A Nature Walk. Clip art from Clipart.com.
The World Wide Essence Society does not mean to imply any recommendation of nor give certification to any individuals or companies above. This article is provided purely for informational purposes. We ask consumers to make their own determination as to quality of the services and products offered above. This article is not meant to be advice, and the information is not meant to replace medical or psychological treatment.
©2003 Vibration Magazine/The World Wide Essence Society