Alexis Smart wants to help you find emotional and physical balance.
The alchemist was raised with an appreciation for herbal and homeopathic medicine, but it wasn’t until she battled a malady similar to malaria that those became her passions.
Unable to find a helpful diagnosis or treatment via Western medicine, Smart turned to flower remedies and was healed by the first one she took. Since then, she has become an expert, using the essences with clients to address the inextricable link between body, mind and spirit. (Not to be confused with aromatherapy or essential oils, these preventative essences, taken as drops under the tongue, are unscented and prescribed based on feelings and mood.)
Here, Smart—a different kind of flower child—explains why happiness, dependent on balance, is found through gratitude:
Live The Process: Your mother treated your childhood maladies with homeopathic remedies. When did you come to realize that you wanted to help heal people in the same manner?
Alexis Smart: I had been through a lot of emotional trauma in my twenties, and then I got sick in Egypt in 1999 with a malaria-like illness. I had fevers for five years and became very weak. Conventional doctors were not able to help me, either with a clear diagnosis or treatment, so I began to investigate how to heal myself and discovered my passion for plant and vibrational medicine. That’s when I knew I had a calling. I just wasn’t sure of what kind of practice I wanted to pursue. But, after I had my first flower remedy, I knew this was what I wanted to do.
I had tried all sorts of alternative therapies, but nothing had worked. Then I tried a flower remedy and it brought me back to feeling like my old self again, whole and happy, in three weeks. This showed me that I had only been focusing on my body and had been ignoring my spirit. For so long, I had been sure that, if I could just identify the pathogen that was in me and take the appropriate medicine, I would be all better. So, this experience profoundly changed my way of thinking. I immediately began to study the flowers and gave them to my friends and family. Then I went to a genius homeopath, Richard Pitt, who specializes in tropical illness, and he cured me of the fevers with only one dose of a homeopathic remedy. This further confirmed my faith in this type of medicine. I believe that if I hadn’t suffered the way I had, I wouldn’t have learned the compassion that is required to do this kind of work, nor would I be such a believer. I see the illness now as my biggest teacher.
LTP: How has your extensive study of homeopathic medicine shown you the direct connection between physical and emotional distress?
AS: Homeopathy views the individual as a whole and sees no separation between emotional and physical symptomology. The symptoms may manifest in different areas, but you will see that the vital force expresses an imbalance in the same way on all planes: physical, mental and emotional.
Even the language of a person describing his or her state will express this. For example, you may ask a person with a skin irritation to describe how it feels and she will tell you, “It’s an angry, irritated rash.” And, as you get into how she is feeling emotionally, she will use words like “angry,” “irritated” and “reactive” again. The body expresses the same disturbance as the emotions. During homeopathy study and in my own practice, I have found that if someone has a malady, 95 percent of the time there is an emotional disturbance, grief or shock preceding the physical manifestation of illness. Once you treat the emotional distress, the body’s innate self-healing mechanism kicks in and the physical symptoms improve. Emotional state is the most important thing when considering remedy choice, in both classical homeopathy and especially flower remedies.
LTP: Besides using flower remedies, what comprises your personal wellness routine?
AS: Because I work so closely with people all day, to stay balanced, I need time alone. To be in nature, even if it is only in my little front garden around the lavender and jasmine, is good for me. I take time every day for myself, to sit quietly in my room, drink tea, study and look out the window.
I walk a few miles every day around Silverlake and take ballet twice a week. I eat mostly home cooked meals with food from the farmer’s market. I love the weekly ritual of the market. You can shop intuitively and eat seasonal, organic produce that connects you with where the food comes from. I incorporate the Blood Type Diet, “Body Ecology Diet” and Ayurvedic principles into my dietary choices. I am a big believer in probiotics, and I drink vegetable juice and Noni juice every day.
I also go to the Korean spa once a month and get a body scrub, and I am slowly fazing out all toxic beauty and skin products. I use Evan Healy skincare products, as they have the added benefit of my flower remedies inside.
LTP: What advice would you offer those who are interested in flower remedies, but are unsure of which would be most beneficial?
AS: Dr. Bach, who discovered flower remedies, created this system to enable us to heal ourselves. That is why he wrote very little, and simply, about the remedies—so it would be easy to figure out what you need. That said, it is very important to clear trauma first, otherwise the other remedies won’t work as well. If you have had physical or emotional trauma in your past, I would start with Star of Bethlehem. Take drops under the tongue four times a day for one month; then you can move on to other remedies.
If you can identify your issues, you can treat them, so doing a little writing is helpful. Write down three wishes. Then, ask yourself, “Which emotion or condition in my life is in the way of my having these things?” Go with the first answer that comes to mind. Then, you can look up the list of Bach remedies and see which ones match your feelings. If you wish you could be a writer and your obstacle is that you don’t have the confidence, then you would take Larch for confidence, for instance. Try to stay away from theorizing or intellectualizing your response and focus on how you feel. Don’t judge yourself if the feelings are not so pretty. If you are still confused, you can ask a trusted friend, “How do you think I am? How do you see me?"
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
AS: I believe happiness is our natural state, when we are not making it conditional on something outside ourselves. I feel lucky in that I have always gotten great joy out of the little things in life, the simple pleasures like cooking dinner with friends who make me laugh. My happiest moments have been when I am full of appreciation. When I am quiet enough and peaceful enough in myself, I am more open to that joy, to the feeling of a lovely breeze, the smell of jasmine and orange blossoms; I do find happiness comes more easily to me by the sea.
LTP: What does it mean to you to "Live The Process" and how do you do that every day?
AS: Someone once told my mother that her life was her work of art. I love that idea—that how we live our daily lives is a creative process. I like to live that way: to create beauty in my life and to share that with others. Helping others see the beauty in their own lives and in themselves is part of that.
I try to be a better person, to see where I could be kinder both to myself and others. I think maintaining lightness and laughing, while doing all of this “work” on ourselves, is a must. I delight in the fact that refining our natures is an endless lesson, and that we never reach the end of our own becoming.