Language in the Garden (How it’s Difficult to Make Ikebana Arrangements Right Now)


I’ve been writing a lot recently but it hasn’t been here on my blog. So many words now fill up my time and space that I’m seeking out the garden more as I continue to pick up the pieces and move on with my life. Removing the weeds, editing the garden spaces, and tossing out plants that have not been successful has never felt so good, but I am finding it difficult to speak with flowers.

A Year of Ikebana is the blog I started last September just after my Grandma Virginia passed away. At the time my marriage was already being examined under a microscope and it was clear that something in that relationship had to change. As this blog had been so successful for me, I thought that actually trying to practice Ikebana on a daily basis—much as I used to exercise—could somehow calm me enough to get through whatever stormy waters I’d have to face in the coming months.

I wanted to feel beautiful again since that had been lost in my marriage and I wanted to make beautiful things. There was that need to build something as something else was falling apart around me. But I never had any idea how deeply those little arrangements would work their magic on me, and in time, I’ve sat in awe at the power the practice of Ikebana can have since it has the ability to transform something hidden inside of all of us.

Yes, it is said to be a therapeutic and spiritual practice. The life energy of the plants flow through you just as your emotions touch them. Sometimes you can speak through one another, and sometimes it just doesn’t click. It’s a marriage and a relationship that means a lot more to me than I’d ever thought it would and when I was confronted with the separation and then divorce from my soon-to-be ex-husband my arms became heavy.

They were so heavy when I went to think about Ikebana that I couldn’t lift them. My arms refused to move and my hands were conspirators. They are slowly coming back now though, but it’s been in jumps and starts. I’m seeing too how my arms need to be held and coaxed into the practice again, cherished in the way they always should have been I suppose since I use them, along with my hands, to speak. They’re part of this instrument called voice too.

The image above is a recent effort and I was deeply touched by it when it came together. A lot of what’s going on inside of me came out and I’m sad that my arms have become heavy again but tomorrow that might change.

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