Today was spent arranging flowers at my local Shambhala Buddhist Center.
This was the first arrangement of the year using collected material from gardens rather than greenhouse flowers from the grocer. It is always a treat to have native plants to work with. I am still very much a beginner at Ikebana arranging. However, I do enjoy and get lost in the hours of practice. I worked with another sangha member to produce jointly 8 arrangements for the shrineroom and outer rooms. We started our work session with a half hour of sitting meditation which always helps to settle me so that I can see and respond more clearly to the natural material I am using for the arrangements.
We pruned several of our fruit trees yesterday and I saved budding limbs of apple, crabapple and plum to use today. Over the course of the weekend they should open up their buds and provide some new blooms for the meditators to appreciate as they practice. The tulips and iris will also open and add more color and bold form to the delicacy of these arrangements.
My flower practice creates fairly full compositions, but with practice I strive to simplify so that one day I will be able to express the totality of the universe in 3 or 4 expressive lines of plant material. For now I am learning more about myself and what it takes to work with the world skillfully as I do this practice.