Thursday, 12 January 2012

Bright and beautiful

"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. 

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