As happens with most of my pieces as they are waiting to be fired, I envision what they will turn out to be after the final step. The building, carving, burnishing, sanding and loving have been completed. One month of drying has come to an end. It was now time for the piece to enter the final phase of creation - the slow, low fire of the kiln with a quick exit at 1000 degrees into a pillow of sawdust and smoke. Unfortunately, for one piece, she never made it that far before tragedy struck. As I carried the piece out to the kiln, I sat her on a side table to prepare the fire brick within the kiln. As I turned back around, out of nowhere, my two large, rambunctious dogs, came barreling toward me, running into each other and the table. Before I could reach out and catch the falling piece, the large carved top of the piece hit the table and smashed into many, many clay teardrops.........closely followed by my own. In the early morning light, I screamed.......and cried........and cursed the dogs, the timing of it all and most importantly myself. The "should of, could of, would of", inner dialogue began. I started berating myself for everything and anything, as well as my husband for the way he set the kiln up all the way down to the uneven ground on which it sat.
I walked away from all of the emotional mayhem and drove to yoga. My sweet friend, Anna, was teaching, and I felt relieved. After class, I went home, and between some tense words and moments with my husband, he set about building a platform in which to create a level firing surface for the kiln and the table. Meanwhile, I set about with a Dremel tool along with a whole lot of prayer, magic and cussing, and proceeded to transform the piece into something else. The piece fired the next day, and to my amazement, I am pretty happy with the results.
The reason I relay this story is this.........no matter what drama, trauma or invalidation occurs, whether it is given by ourselves to ourselves, from another to us, or witnessed out in the world, there is always a chance to create a new beginning. ALWAYS. I had to forgive myself for my own invalidations; I did not deserve the treatment that I rendered unto my very own soul. So it is with others in our lives. If we are being openly criticized, berated or otherwise put down, please, please, please remember this.......You don't DESERVE it. Don't make excuses for the perpetrator of those words, no matter what they call it - whether it be "feedback", "constructive" criticism or an other shiny, shitty term they want to use. It's meant to suppress, control and cage your soul. PERIOD. If you believe them then you have shot yourself through the heart and the lesson will come up again and again until one day, you finally stand up for yourself and realize that they are speaking of their own fears, regrets and insecurities. If they can make you believe that it's you that needs fixing, their job is complete. They can take the spotlight of doubt off of themselves and place it securely on your shoulders and in your universe.
We can all be better than we were yesterday..........the question is, "Better by someone else's standards.......or your own?" If clay has taught me anything, it is to be kinder to myself and to listen to my own intuition and the soul of the universe. Everything else will take care of itself...........and with that, we can begin again.......