Keeping My Word

As a long practicing Massage Therapist, whenever a client wouldn't schedule after their appointment I would always say, "I am here whenever you need me." And I meant it.  Fast forward 22 years, and I am now standing on the precipice of my own move and evolution as a person, a therapist, an artist.  I am the person who isn't rescheduling........... In a very vulnerable way, I have gone through the emotional tumult of feeling as though I'm not keeping my word.  I have always been a loyal kind of girl; once I call someone my friend they are my friend. Period.  As a lot of us do, I never thought things would change.  I thought that I would always be here for my clients and I could be, at times, the one stable place that they could come to to get out of the chaos of daily life.  And then............things change, life happens and we either recognize it, readjust our sails and lean into it or we resist it and allow the friction to envelop us.

Clay has taught me that, as in life, there are more things in motion than I am aware of.  I may have a "fixed" idea of how I want a piece to turn out and honestly, that just sets me up for either disappointment or revelation, and it's all about how I view it.  With our impending move to the mountains of Western North Carolina all of the seats of the emotional roller coaster are available to me.  It's my choice which one I sit in.  Should I sit in the front seat leaning into the wind, the change and the excitement?  Or do I sit in the back with a look of abject terror strewn across my face, hoping and praying the bird that just flew by doesn't crap in my face? The position I choose changes on a daily basis, sometimes hourly.  But, in a beautiful, messy, sort of way, that's what the freedom to choose is all about.  Our emotional "being-ness" isn't supposed to be a final destination, it's a journey.

As I say Goodbye to all the clients and friends that I have made over the past few decades, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I will STILL be there whenever they need me.  In this chapter, it may be a phone call, a thought, a wish of light moving toward them, but I will hold them in my heart wherever change takes us all. And I know, just as the sun rises tomorrow, they will be there for me.

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The Beauty of Trust

Many times in my life, I have come to a crossroads.  Whether it was with a person, situation, direction or in a moment of creation, I felt I needed to reach out and trust someone other than myself.  There are a lot of folks that would LOVE to tell me what to do!  And, there are sometimes, I do so desperately desire to give up control and let someone else run my life and make the decisions.  But, having lived through a few of these experiences, I have learned a few things.

1.  When you ask someone for their advice, opinion or viewpoint, be ready for the answer.  It may not be the answer you long for or one that you expected.  But, if you have chosen that individual for their insight, be prepared to receive it.  

2.  Check your own agenda, and their motivations.  Not everyone has your best interests in mind; they have theirs.  Whether it is unconscious or not, they are speaking from what they want and desire.  It's human nature.......sort of. Which leads to the next point.......

3.  Ask an expert.  If I need help with a financial situation, I will ask a financial expert.  If I need help with creativity, or relationships, or cooking........I will ask someone who has a much higher level of expertise than I possess.  I want to grow, not have somebody else agree with me.  

4.  Having a few people you trust is priceless.  How many people do you really need to trust?  One, five, twenty?  In my experience, I have a couple of people that I trust with my life.  I also have a few people that I trust with certain areas of my life.  Sometimes trust is only needed per subject area.  I am happy to pay someone for their expertise because it is an even energy exchange.  If you truly want to learn, pay someone for their knowledge.  You will walk away with fresh new insight, and they will walk away being compensated for their brilliance.

5.  Trust your own voice.  If you are in doubt, ask someone for their input.  Listen, acknowledge what they are saying, process it, but if it doesn't fit for you and your life, it doesn't fit.  So many times we KNOW the answer, we are just looking for validation. That's fine, but to constantly rely on other people's input about your own path will lead you to dependency and, one day, you might look back and realize this isn't your beautiful life.  It's everyone's idea of your beautiful life.

6.  Trust that the Universe, God and your higher self "has got your back". This has been the most difficult for me.  I'm a "can do" kind of gal.  I never want to feel indebted to anyone.  But here's the secret.......if your intentions are clear and true, what you are working to bring to life will happen. The higher powers that be - they want you to ask.  Life breeds life.......beauty breeds beauty.  

7.  Get clear........really clear.  By asking for someone else for their viewpoint, you are sometimes getting clear on what you don't want in this world and that's just fine.  Most of time, I have figured out what I do want by figuring out what I don't.  Finding your own voice is sometimes messy with a few failures thrown in for good measure.  But the question is,  What else is worth doing?  Every day is a new chance to figure it out.......

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The Addiction To Which There is NO Cure

I touched clay for the first time less than 5 years ago.  Since that glorious, destiny filled day, I have been addicted to it.  What part of clay, you may ask, is so intoxicating? Well, to make order of my addiction, allow me to take this from the top. When I first open a new bag of earthenware, I plunge my head deep within the bag to take a big deep breath of all things earthy.  The scent of the clay is something akin to that beautiful sweet smell that happens just after the rain in the mountains.  It is at once filled with dirt, water, grass and sky.  The scent is so heady to me that I lose myself for a moment, lost in memories of all the hikes I have taken in my heaven which goes by the name of North Carolina.

As I roll out the clay to fit it into a bowl for forming, I marvel at it's movement, the way it's smooths out onto the canvas and the feel of it beneath my hands.  As I take the time to mold the clay, it is taking it's time molding me.  I know, for certain, that clay has made me a better person.  A calmer, more patient, loving individual.  Earth has a way of doing that, if we just open up and allow it to do it's work.

When I roll out each coil and sculpt it in to the body of the piece, I love the feeling of anticipation, never knowing where the process is taking me.  I always feel like I'm just along for the ride - never in control and, for once, not only enjoying the feeling but embracing it.  The stress of living is long gone by this point; it's just me and the clay.

Next in my long list of addictions is the carving and burnishing of a piece.  This can sometimes takes hours, days or weeks.  I used to hurry through this step, impatient to see the finished product.  But you know what?  It just doesn't matter anymore.  I have heard 1,000 times that the journey is more important than destination.  Now, I finally get it.  Each piece is a journey of it's own as well as a pathway to the next creation just waiting to be born.

The firing, smoking and polishing of the clay is another step that is full of excitement knowing that the piece is never, ever finished until it comes through the fire.  Kind of like all of us.  We must all go through the fire to become tempered, smoothed, soothed and wise......

Who would want to find a cure for that?

The Power of Progress

I have been sitting at my pottery table for a few hours today.  Lots of other things have gotten in front of creating lately.  A move, work, obligations, holidays, the list has been quite long.  I have had pockets of birthing my "soul babies" during this time, with a very large (literally) success of firing the biggest piece to date.  She is almost 20"H and 16"W.  To me, she is all sorts of big and beautiful.  However, she was followed by an epic failure while carving another large piece.  It collapsed onto itself as I was pushing the envelope of size and structure.  I have a tendency to push my way a lot in life; sometimes it pays off, sometimes is doesn't. I have been feeling some anxiety lately - nothing of substance that I can put my finger on, but anxiety none the less.  I realized during a period of "emotional palpating" this evening that I tend to walk myself out onto the preverbal limb a lot, especially with my art.  A lot of people might view me as courageous, or naive, or simple, or delusional.  What others think doesn't really matter in the long term scheme of things.  However, what I think does.  You see, I have an overwhelming desire to push the envelope in my life as well as my art.  I am quite terrified every day about it, sometimes having to remind myself to breathe............simply in and then out.  But if I don't do it for myself.........who will?  If I am not the change I wish to see in the outer world as well as my inner world, then who is?

I don't want  to look back on my life and have regrets of "should have", "could have", "would have" and "if only".  Yes, I hear "no" my fair share; I get discouraged, disillusioned and have moments of great self doubt.  But have you ever met a person who doesn't?  It comes with the territory of discovery - get used to it.  It doesn't mean you are not "good enough" - it just means that there is another door, another creation, another discovery just waiting for you to find it.  If you stop looking, your future, your life and your destiny could disappear before your eyes.Image

Show up for your Life..........Yes, it can be terrifying.  But guess what?  I could use a little company :)

The Birth of a Pot

I recently had the opportunity to create some awards for a wonderful organization that supports the arts in my community.  I rarely create "for" someone else.  I usually just begin and let the clay universe take it from there.  My motto is to "let go and let clay".  The more I release control of the outcome, the more the piece shows up. But creating for someone else is a very different mind set.  It takes getting into their space a bit - figuring out who they are, where their "essence" shows up.  I spent many hours contemplating before my hands even touched the clay.  I simply asked the universe to show me the way........and it responded.

After the pieces were finished, dried and fired the time came for me to hand them over.  I did it with a "business as usual" attitude but soon fell into a well of sadness.  I couldn't for the life of me figure out where the blues were coming from - the pieces turned out well, they were handed over in one piece and I had completed the goal I set out to achieve.  And yet......there it was, staring me in the face; a deep sense of sadness and loss.

I pulled up my "big girl panties" and went off to yoga.  One of the best remedies for me when I am faced with depression is exercise.  So, there I was in the middle of a particularly challenging class with my favorite instructor, Jess, when it dawned on me.  As I quieted my mind of all of the external noise and put my focus on my mat and my physical being, it freed up my space and my spirit to wander.  I realized that the sadness and loss I was feeling was for handing over my "soul" babies.  Those pieces which I had put such thought, time and love into, were gone in an instant and off to their forever homes. After a day or so, I was able to acknowledge my emotions, cry for their leaving and be liberated from my dark cloud.

I created these pieces, not for myself but for others that had taken their passion and purpose and turned it into an art form.  They were never mine.........they were meant for these special peopleImage and I was only a conduit to let them take shape. I can only hope that the individuals who received them felt the love..........