"Mrs. Dalloway said that she would get the flowers herself." (Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf, first published 1925).
I always buy the flowers myself. Clients rarely comment upon them, but they're generally there. Fresh and bright, sitting silently and unremarkably in my therapy room. I like what they add to the environment, and find they bring in their presence something rather hard to define...
I enjoy choosing them, and tend to mix it up as the seasons change. Lillies are a firm favourite, and my room often boasts a lofty fragrance (which was helpful when someone managed to spill a large Grande Hazelnut Latte towards the end of last year). Currently, I have tulips. They're bright yellow.
Somehow, whilst adding a splash of colour to an otherwise largely neutral decor, the flowers stand for more than decoration. They convey a hopefulness which can often be helpful. They are friendly, and offer, I trust, the warm welcome I seek to offer each person who comes to see me.
They represent an offering - a small thought, and a celebration - an honouring of the purpose of my encounters with those whom I feel privileged to walk alongside. No two flowers are the same - just like those I work with. Both are precious, and have extraordinary potential.
Each vase provides some helpful parallels with the process I seek to catalyse - flowers require care and maintenance. I change their water, and add the food supplement. They don't like being left for too long by the radiator, and appreciate a good dose of sunlight. Whilst some last a surprisingly long time, change is inevitable - rarely do clients see the same flowers twice. Each session is a new beginning, and it seems important therefore to reflect this with vibrant, and alive buds rather than tired or decaying flowers.
In the middle of London, I like to have some nature nearby and close to my work - by bringing it indoors, I am reminded and comforted by the sheer beauty of my flowers of our relative insignificance in comparison to the power of the natural environment.