Ikebana Club: Perfection Not Required

Congratulations to our Ikebana Club on its first meeting.  Tunde Nemeth, one of the members, was inspired to share her experience with us in this post.  The next meeting is March 16th at 7:30 PM.

Perfection Not Required

Tunde Ikebana

I’ve always loved flowers and I’ve always admired the Japanese art of Ikebana and wondered how it was done. So, when I saw on our Shambhala centre website that an Ikebana club was to be part of the contemplative arts program, I had to go and check it out.

As soon as I opened the door, I could tell something was different – the heady, clean fragrance of eucalyptus filled the air, and the main entry room was in the process of being transformed into a florist shop – the table, covered with plastic, had on it an array of clippers, vases, and florist’s frogs, and on the floor beside it sat two red plastic buckets chockablock full of an astonishing variety of greens and flowers to be used in our arrangements. A quartet of aspiring Ikebanists awaited instructions.

Much to my delight, the basics were not so very difficult, so after only an hour or so, even the rank beginners among us (yours truly, that is) had managed not only to learn a thing or two about technique, but also to create something lovely – lovely enough, in fact, to leave several arrangements at the center for display during the upcoming weekend’s “Golden Key” retreat. Perfection of design was not a requirement; perfection lies in the flowers themselves, in the greens and the pebbles and the other materials.

All that is required is an open heart.

With an open heart, you can learn to listen to what the flowers are telling you: where each stem needs to be, which way it wants to lean, which part of the arrangement it belongs in, what other elements belong with it. They may have other things to say as well, and it’s only by listening with your heart, by opening and softening, that you can begin to sense what those things might be.

I’ve always talked to flowers when arranging them in a vase. I never knew they could talk back, if only I had the ears to hear.

– Tunde Nemeth (member, Palm Beach Shambhala Centre), February 22, 2016