I wake every morning and reach for my journal. I write whatever has occurred to me in the quick moments after waking. I am always surprised by how much I fit into those first breaths of awareness. How much I feel through into my being in the early hours of the day. I meditate, eat, breathe, then walk over to my studio. I have several things I can do, but there is nothing that gets me into my body like the throwing of a pot. The rhythm of clay is much slower than the rhythm of human energy, you see.
Clay is alive. It goes through many phases on its way to becoming, and on its way there, the potter must pay attention, pay respect, and in the end, collaborate in a way that celebrates a letting go of control.
When I sit down at my wheel, I must slow myself down. Clay is soft, slow, consistent. If I listen to it, feel into it, it can slow me down as well. Each moment I am at my wheel I am appreciating. I am not just happy that I have the ability to throw, I can see that my particular form of throwing expresses my inner life. When I am angry, I inevitably throw off-kilter. I ruin pots more often than not because my heart is in my anger, and anger is a hungry beast that steals effort from any external endeavor. My sad pots are thick-rimmed and sometimes wonky. My happy pots are loose, lovely, rhythmic. In order to work with clay, I create a relationship with it which requires listening to feedback in the form of behavior. No matter what, my pots will tell me a story if I am present.
This is how I have been working through the grief of the loss of the love of my life. I have been examining how I have been able to get out of the way when I needed to, and how I failed to get out of the way when it would have been helpful. Through my art making practice, I have been getting constant feedback from my materials and my creative wanderings that have bolstered my confidence and reminded me of who I am and what I am capable of.
It's not that I think that throwing pots or even making art is the solution to everyone's emotional challenges. I am not suggesting that everyone take up a hobby. The value for me is putting my whole heart into something so soon after it has been smashed into thousands of pieces. I am taking risks with my heart after I have been crushed, and it has reminded me of my courage. It has reminded me of my magic.
I have never been more satisfied than I was in this relationship to which I gave my all. I am so proud of myself for having faced my fears and loved anyway. It is the same with my art. The more I can engage whole-heartedly, the better the result. This is not to say that the art I make is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, it means that the process I undertake with which to make a piece is one which reflects back to me all that I need to know in each moment that I am engaged.
For now, that is enough. I will work through my heartbreak whenever I make anything I put my heart into, and maybe someday, when I sit down at the wheel, I will have the opportunity to work through something else.