And Round And Round We Go
Can’t even begin to express how the clay centers me. How meditative it is, how much I’ve grown in the process of learning, and how much it’s changed my outlook on life, work, and the proverbial pursuit. Though my quick morning meditation is essential (as mandatory as my green tea, in fact) and now a part of my everyday, the mindset that results from an entire evening in the clay studio is different. The long hours of time spent almost literally in the clay has provided such a freedom of breath and clarity of purpose that is hard to describe... especially in a city obsessed with speed, optimization, and productivity.
What is it like to pause?
What is it like play?
What is it like to be quiet?
What is it like to be alone?
What’s it like to have no expectations about output?
What is it like to take up space? To take time? To take a breath?
And as you take, you give.
And there's the rub: as the wheel keeps spinning, how do you harness that energy and create something out of the constant movement? To get rid of "the wobble." To create something still, something beautiful, something balanced–from something spinning.
Potters will tell you how. You have to put your weight behind it. Especially if you're petite, you have to throw with your whole body. Not just your hand, your arm, your shoulder. You won't be able to center a lump of clay spinning at insane speeds with just your puny little human arm. (Electric wheels can go up to 240 RPM, and this is the part of the process where your wheel is turning fastest.) You have to lean into it, tuck your elbow into your hip, and thrust the force of your entire body to center the clay. You have to use your whole body and your whole being because if your mind wanders for a split second, the clay will fly right off the wheel.
And I can't help but think of that as a metaphor for everything else in life.
So how do you give more of yourself into the act? How do you lose yourself, your sense of time, your sense of urgency, and then find yourself as a result? And find that time is really the only thing that matters? Time is all we have, and we have such a puny amount of it. I mean, what does time even mean, really, except an arbitrary construct we as humans have established to quantify our existence?
Even if you're puny, it'll be fine. As long as you’re centered, it’ll be fine. And even if you’re not, there’s more clay to start over again.
Isn't that beauty and art and life and time and all that matters? And isn't it also all that doesn't matter?
Everything and nothing matters. That's the point of it all: to be still while you're spinning.