First I'd like to say- just to be clear where I’m coming from - I’m not a scientist or expert of the mind, but I do have my own humble opinions on this that have developed over time, not only from practising but watching others too. I'll bang on about them a bit now.
As you may already know, there’s something about carrying out a focused activity with the hands that seems to connect the mind directly to what our hands are doing: measuring, balancing, linking colours, shapes and so on, resulting in the world we ordinarily perceive melting away around us. We are not giving part of our attention but the entirety of it.
If you’re a reader it is likely you’ll know this sensation; much like getting lost in a great story you are no longer aware of things happening around you. It’s just you and the book (or flowers, in this case) in your existence at that moment and what a moment that is! Time becomes elastic - hours can pass without awareness of time, the sounds around you blurring and merging until you don’t really hear them at all anymore.
The occupation of your mind on such a singular activity seems to rid us of extraneous thought, allowing us to pass into a zone of perfect harmony.
That’s what flower arranging is to me in its best moments; an opportunity for a lovely mental drift while watching beauty emerge from my hands. The unsurpassed joy of creation with materials that are already so beautiful in their own right. Placing them into pleasing patterns has become a way for me to level myself and zone out in a happy place.
I won’t pretend it’s all smelling roses, learning any new skill at first comes with challenges such as the mind-bending feeling it can give us, not to mention the odd ‘I don’t think I can do this’ moments. Ultimately though, when we push through and overcome those feelings, the sensation of things clicking into place - when it suddenly makes sense and you’re actually doing it - gives such satisfaction that you know it was worth it. You may even feel you want to do it again!
We all have our own reasons for wanting to engage in a creative activity but I think the one thing that links here us is that flowers are inherently good for the soul. And aren’t we all searching for things, particularly in the fraught times we live in, that ease our very beings?