How is Bonsai your therapy?

What has bonsai done for you in your life? How has it changed it? What kind of therapy or therapeutic response do you get out of doing the practice and everything that goes along with doing bonsai? How do you see the world with now doing bonsai? How have you changed?

Bonsai is my therapy for many things with de-stressing and finding focus. With moving to a new place, I went straight to look at my trees and be present. With the days before getting married and having the jitters, I went and worked on my trees. Creating new friendships and making life long positive growth through the trees and how the inspire and provide so much more. I feel I see life more clearly and represented in a simplistic way. I believe everyone should do bonsai and or just be able to have access to look at it. My life has changed in the way that bonsai (and my wife) has given me the motivation to start school for my horticulture and landscape design degree. I am so happy to see where my life is going to go.

I would love to hear your thoughts and how you perceive bonsai as a therapy.

-Keep on diggin-

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I just started my bonsai journey in early 2020. I had never really kept houseplants, and the few that I had died of mysterious causes. When I found Ryan and Mirai and bonsai on YouTube last year, I was so hooked. I’ve been involved with art in many ways through my life (I’m a musician and an architect), so bonsai is finally a vehicle allowing me to plug into nature in a deep, artistic way. I look at the natural world with different eyes now, appreciating all the details of various trees and plant species, and I love being able to keep my little plants alive with the horticultural knowledge I’ve gained.

So I’m not sure if therapy is the right word for me. Rather, I’d describe it as a new way to experience the thrill of art. Watching people engaging with something, anything in this crazy world, with such intention and beauty and intelligence that it takes your breath away. I experience that regularly while watching Ryan work, and I experience it on a smaller (but still very satisfying) scale in my own bonsai work.

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Bonsai gives me something to think about at night as I try to wind down for the evening. Even when I’m not actively working on my trees or looking at them, it allows me some focus to ignore whatever else might be bothering me.

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Early last year, I learned that some different struggles throughout in my life were actually related to each other, and that the cause was Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. While this wasn’t a huge shock (people I love had been suggesting it to me for a long time), it did help me to understand the way I think.

I’m an actor, and if I’m not working (which is a lot!), or find myself otherwise unoccupied for a long time creatively, or even find myself just pretty low, there’s always the threat that something unwelcome could fill that cognitive vacuum. And once it’s there, it can take several dark months to get out of that hole.

Practicing bonsai is what we who deal with OCD refer to as an “ego-syntonic” obsession–meaning a good one! It helps drive out ruminative, harmful thoughts by replacing them with creative, problem-solving, and meditative ones. It’s something we love, something that’s part of who we are, and something we love sharing with others.

I have little idea why I fell into bonsai, but now that it’s here, I’m tremendously thankful for it. Growth is living.

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When I am working on my trees and listening to classical or jazz music, I detach from the world and all its ills. Even before Covid, racial injustice and the negative political climate I was able to relax and watch my trees transform. Bonsai has helped even more in 2020 than ever before. I feel I can commune with nature and tell a story with each tree! Connecting with members of Mirai who share this passion makes it even more rewarding!

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I love that while working on my trees and caring for the pre-bonsai plants that I am not listening to political adds! Also very grateful that Mirai live is without adds.

The live streams and mini stream are like a meditation for me. The podcasts are as close to sitting down with friends as I am allowed. So thank you for the therapy and the distant communication! I have not yet needed to resort to psychiatric therapy, but the stress of isolation is real. So yes, I use bonsai as a meditation and as a goal to improve myself: my technique, my knowledge of horticulture, AND ACORDING TO Todd, much needed improvement on my wiring! :face_with_raised_eyebrow: The gods of bonsai say I am a work in progress. So I pray for a long period of improvement and some serenity achieved by communing with nature.
I am trying to learn from the best, and expand my horizons. Thank to all who tolerate me in this forum.

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Heyyy, I just realised that today is my one year Mirai anniversary! :grinning: Very fitting for this little retrospective.
Looking back, I don’t think I fully appreciate yet how much the practice of bonsai and Mirai with its amazing content and community helped me staying sane through what was a very challenging year for me. In 2019 in short order I lost the job I loved at a place where I had worked for 13 years, then my dad unexpectedly passed away and next Corona turned all our lives upside down.
During all of this, Bonsai and Mirai gave me something positive to focus on when sadness or anxiety threatened to overwhelm me. Even in the darkest moments, focusing on my trees managed to dispel bad thoughts, gave me something to look forward to and brought back joy to my life.
And on the bright side, unemployment and lock-down gave me an awful lot of time to care for my trees, improve my skills and expand my knowledge about bonsai considerably (I must have watched a large part of the Mirai library by now, several times in some cases. :smile:).
And before you wonder, I am currently very happy that I recently found a great new job, even if this means that I’m no longer able to spend quite as much time working on my trees or watching Mirai. :wink:

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