Monthly Reports

As of October 2013 I will no longer be writing these updates.

          My life is calm and solid now.

With the help of plant and floral materials I’ve soothed the inner varmint.

          Be kind.

               Be positive.

                    Respect yourself.

          Be healthy. 

May to July 2012

Started to walk on my sea legs again. Saw the Pacific Ocean and let my garden grow out of control. Sometimes a garden—or any other thing for that matter—which was once a refuge (and something safe) needs to be forsaken for foreign lands and adventure. We must leave places to find ourselves.

I let plants die just to know I could do it.

I learned to let go and I grew.

I learned to listen again.

And I remembered the sound of silence.

February to April 2012

Ikebana inspired me. I believe it will inspire me again. I like to speak with plants, but sometimes there are periods in your life when you simply don’t want to speak. It’s a times like these that every day is a kind of upheaval, and you’re holding on as your feet fly up over your head, and all you want is for the day to arrive when you’ll feel your feet on the ground again. You’ll be barefoot. There will be sun on your toes. In your mind, there will be no worries. Life will be beautiful.

Divorce is like this and I can say that now. Chronic illness can be like this too. These are not the golden days, but they are the dark ones, often you’ll feel that you’re alone in an empty room talking to yourself. Solitary moments should never hurt this much, but they do, and can—and will.

This blog was started in an effort to open myself up, to open up the inner emotional pain, and with that came the end of an important relationship in my life as my husband opened up too and said he couldn’t keep going. Since we’d never really agreed where we were going in the first place, this is no longer such a surprise. For years, we never went anywhere. Motionless. But the garden grew on and on.

I chose to open myself up with flowers back in September, to heal some of the chronic pain. I wanted to push away something that had been in my way for years. Now that a medication has helped my physical pain, I choose Ikebana again to work on the emotional pain, and also as a wedge to keep opening myself up to the world that was so difficult to live in for so many years as someone who had a very painful autoimmune problem that caused her to be numb.

January 2012

The sun is out and it has been a warm and dry winter so far. The beauty of the stark winter sunlight against the barren garden is not lost on me. January was a very difficult month emotionally, but I’ve come out of it stronger. Scraping by to make arrangements was a good thing too.

My thoughts beforehand were that January would be a difficult and lean month for materials. I was wrong. In the starkness of its lines I found more variety than beforehand. It had me thinking differently about many things.

The essentialness of things has become more important to me again. This had been lost to me along the way. The new medication has eased a great deal of the chronic pain I’ve felt for years, and I now know that it’s difficult to be your essential self with your mind humming, drowning out the noise inside of you. I attempted to murder it everyday and this made me an angry person—never succeeding made me angrier.

In February I’ll begin to grow again, sooner than the garden, earlier than the return of the sun that will give me warmth. Travel plans will be made and friends will be seen. My new vases from San Francisco will appear more often and I will continue to seek others. In other words, I will walk beyond January by placing one foot in front of the other.

December 2011

The biting cold kept me indoors a lot more than I’d wanted this past month. Discovering once and for all that the cold air brings on asthma complications was something we’d been considering for years. At the end of the month I was prescribed a completely different medication for this problem.

I think it’s safe to say now that the medication has been working, but I’ve developed a head cold after all of the holiday fun. We had our most amazing Christmas Eve ever and my husband and I built our entire event by bouncing ideas off of one another. For both of us, creativity has always been something we’ve not been very open about with the whole wide world. Now that he’s out as a winemaker, I guess it’s time for me to open myself up to the creative world too.

There was a freedom and fluidity this past month. On a few festive occasions I went overboard and loved every moment of sharing it with my closest and dearest friends. Not everything felt as structured, but this didn’t terrify me. I was still able to edit.

January will involve a lot of creative production for me and a return to my normal business operations. It will also include my first trip to California for 2012. Maybe I will finally find more of those ikebana vases that’ve escaped me thus far. At least I can begin shopping for the seeds for the arrangements to come this next summer before I wrap this all up in early September back on Alcatraz.

Happy New Year!!!

November 2011

Progress has been made this month on many Ikebana fronts. Just recently I completed my first Nageire arrangement so that means tall and thin vases can now be used with more regularity. I am ready for that now.

We celebrated Thanksgiving this past month too. In honor of the holiday I made my first really large Western style arrangement for the buffet. It was surprising to everyone I was able to do so. I really have never made such large arrangements at all and have never kept so many flowers around the house.

For the first time in years I’ve wanted to write again, seriously write, and I want to continue on that path now. Part of this whole process has been to see how Ikebana helps me as a chronically ill person and I can say that it has slowly opened doors to rooms I’ve shut up deep inside of me. Some days I tire of doing it daily, but I am definitely not stopping any time soon.

December is an open time for us. It is dark and dreary so we will fill our days with friends and food. My hope is to finally track down a few more vases, and hopefully, get out a bit more to make Ikebana outside of the house.

October 2011 

Joining the Sogetsu Ikebana class was an amazing gift to myself. Even though I am still repeating the first lesson until I am ready for the second one, I don’t mind at all. There is so much that I’ve been able to learn by repeating the lesson over and over.

Daily practice has become easier. No matter where I go there are always materials to use, and  I am also excited to find new items in the coming weeks and months. Not sure what to look for, or what I will make, but I am full of hope and curiosity.

It was a month of creativity for me, and in general, I am feeling much more positive. There have been moments of relaxation too. My life has been filled with more adventure.

November will be about home. My husband will be back in Oregon and my daily routine will be enriched by his return. It will grow darker outside, but inside we will light the fire and host friends and loved ones for dinner.

September 2011

I am truly a beginner—and to remind myself of this daily is refreshing. My eyes are grateful that they’ve been seeing nature again with a child-like precision. For a few brief moments each day nothing can come between me and the plant material I am working with at that time—nothing.

These first few weeks were merely about moving a few muscles around and I have been exercising my limbs a bit. There were no books to copy since I’d put them down. September was my warm up month.

Our city is full of amazing places for “inspiration.” This month I remained close to home because I know the plant material around me well. I enjoyed making items in other peoples’ gardens too. Sometimes it really is overwhelming how much beauty is all around us.

October is when the books will begin to come back. I will be in classes too. This is when I hope to get a feel for a more independent hand.

One Response to “Monthly Reports”

  1. dkprinzing October 25, 2011 at 8:55 PM #

    Hi Ann, so glad to see you’ve started this fabulous project! It will be fun to follow you – and learn along with you. The meditative practice of ikebana really fascinates me – and I will enjoy experiencing it through your blog,

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