Wisdom

On Storms and Life and Pottery

Have you noticed how life is what happens in the middle of the storms? Or maybe it is the other way around: storms are what happen in the middle of life. Either way, there’s a co-mingling, that if not omnipresent, happens enough to deserve notice.

Pop-up storms often come at inopportune moments, don’t they? We’re living life, going about our business, and here they come: pop-up storms raining down on our parades.

Like the car accident that my Dad had the day before my brother’s wedding, or my Mom’s false teeth breaking just a couple of days before I got married. There she was home by herself holding her broken teeth in her hands and no car to get her to the dentist. Like any resourceful woman planning a wedding, she wrapped them in a napkin and walked the 6 blocks to the dentist’s office to have them glued back together avoiding all conversation with neighbors along the way.

Sometimes storms do render us speechless like that. My first time to the Grand Canyon, I drove into Arizona from Nevada and then did a circular loop north through parts of Utah before turning back west toward Las Vegas. All in one day! That was a bit of a storm itself, you might say.

I was awestruck by the beauty of the canyon, the colors, and the grandeur. Then, it stormed. Not where I was, rather off in the distance. Like one of those Las Vegas shows with spectacular visual and audio effects. Except I couldn’t hear a thing, I could only see it. An artistic display of lightning and rain in a backdrop of sienna, reds, oranges, yellows, bronze. A silent movie that rendered me quiet, less I miss something. I remember the canyon. I cannot forget that storm.

The other day I was “living” part two of one of my 52 Dates with Myself: the pottery throwing date. I’m still pondering that one.

Sitting with my instructor at the wheel, she a young art student from the local college already appreciating the nuances of her art and grasping the art of teaching others. My lump of round clay successfully turned into a nearly round bowl under her tutelage.

I was glad of it, this end product. But really it was the process and the feeling of it that intrigued me most.

So many different things happening at once and all acting upon the clay. My foot pressing down on a pedal causing the stone wheel to turn. Clay plopped in the middle of the stone. Drizzling water over it. Thumbs working from the center of the ball. Turning, pressing, angling, feeling – the process of molding.

Like life that spins round with pressures and choices and emotions.

It was easy and fun to experiment with various choices at the pottery wheel. Spin faster and adjust the angle of my thumbs. Apply pressure from the inside, now the outside. Pull up. Pull out. Every adjustment had an impact on the shape, the feel, and the look of my clay.

I felt the power of it. I impacted its stability. I determined its usefulness and it’s functionality. I established its beauty.

I felt the responsibility of it, too. With one small movement I could change its course, do damage, give it purpose or leave it be.

At once, I felt the fragility and the possibility. Needy. Malleable. Useful. Willing.

Yes, so much like life.

Now, a couple of weeks later here I am ready for the next steps. What to do with the hardened bowl? I can leave it as it is, a rough, hardened clay form. Or, I can try my hand at decorating and glazing it. Definitely, I want to do that.

So, on a bright, sunny, hot summer day I make my way to the storefront studio, pick out my colors and paint brushes, and excitedly establish myself at a table where I begin to paint.

Unbeknownst to me, the storm is brewing. It quickly shrouds the day in a blackness filled with 80 mph winds, hail, and heavy rain. The glass storefront windows shudder and shake. Water begins pouring in from under the door and even between the seals of the windows. Leaves and small branches sail by. Cars stop in their places along the road, as their drivers can no longer see to make progress. With the young clerk, I look around for our best option of a protected area. But we don’t go. Instead, we watch and speak only in glances.

Very quickly, the storm moves through and is over. Sunshine reappears giving a momentary glistening effect just before it absorbs the moisture and reasserts itself as a humid summer day.

The mood in the pottery studio relaxes. I paint. The storm has come, and it has gone, inserting itself again into one of my life experiences. Co-mingling with me in the journey. No doubt, we’ll meet again.

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Categories: Artistic Dates, Challenges, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

7 Lessons from an Unexpected Date

I reckon being ill as one of the great pleasures of life, provided one is not too ill and is not obliged to work till one is better.  ~Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh, 1903

Often surprises create positive emotions within us. Maybe like surprise birthday parties, surprise proposals, or surprise gifts.

Other times surprises wreak a bit of havoc on our emotions. Perhaps like a large cell phone bill or an unexpected break-up of a relationship. Or even like my recent unexpected date with the operating room and the subsequent longer-than-expected and longer-than-desired recovery period.

But, hey, I just happen to have this ongoing project of 52 Dates with Myself.  And, as the project leader and manager, I have full authority to determine what constitutes a date. So, yes, a surprise date in the OR most definitely gets counted!

Besides, look at just a few of the things I’ve learned so far: 

  • Wheel chair drivers really should have to take a driving test.
  • IV – doesn’t mean I have to give the same nurse 4″ times to get the intravenous drip set.
  • Pain pills often have acetaminophen, so be sure you do the math before the brain fog from the narcotics kicks in.
  • When you’re near the top of the emergency triage list, you get to witness and experience the full professionalism of the medical staff.
  • My capacity for exhaustion is much larger than I ever imagined.
  • My tolerance for pain not so much.
  • Recognition and gratitude for caregivers can never be overdone.

In spite of all this, I still prefer the dates I get to choose and plan.

Ponder & Chat: What lessons have you learned from one of your life’s surprises?

Categories: Challenges, Reflections, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How My Dates are Connecting Me to the World

As I’m nearing a quarter of the way through this journey of 52 Dates with Myself and my 50th post, it seems appropriate to introduce you to some of my fellow bloggers who have encouraged me along the way. Whether you’re into poetry, gardening, painting, cooking, or the general beauty of life and community, you’ll find something special from each one. I’m grateful to these and others who’ve encouraged me along the way these past few months!

June 5, 2012 – Meet Liam Rainsford. My adventure in painting connected me to painter Liam Rainsford of Ireland. You’ll definitely want to visit his site and check out the beautiful time lapsed videos of his paintings. For those interested in painting, he offers an amazing art school for beginners right on his website. I’m honored that he would “Like” one of my posts and give me a chance to “meet” him.

May 22, 2012 – Meet Dan & Mindy Soulsby. This inspiring young couple have a thriving sustainable farm and have created a nonprofit called Project Garden Share that helps connect people who need food with those who grow it. Dan worked for a number of years at Disney in Los Angeles before returning to his home state of Ohio to “live his dream.” I’m honored that he would “Like” one of my posts on gardening and give me the chance to “meet” him.

May 22, 2012 – Meet Stephanie – A Modern Christian Woman who has one of the best recipe blogs going. I’m honored that she would “Like” one of my posts on gardening and give me the chance to “meet” her.

March 23, 2012 – Meet Preetam Nath and his Manipal”s Photo Blog. Showcasing the talent of photographers of Manipal University in India – you’ll love the variety, beauty and life captured in this wonderful site. I’m honored that Preetam would “Like” one of my posts and give me the chance to “meet” him and the wonderful photographers of Manipal U.

February 23, 2012 – Meet Angela Marie – One-in Creation. From the early days of my journey of 52 Dates with Myself Angela Marie has been there encouraging me, commenting, and liking. She shares beautiful, heartfelt poetry and art from her site. I’m honored to call her my friend, to dialogue with her and to receive her multiple “Likes” along the journey.

Categories: Commitment, Reflections, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Word of Encouragement on Painting (& Life) from Vincent

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Ponder & Chat: How does this principle apply to other areas of your life? What’s happened when you have lived this principle?

Categories: Artistic Dates, Date Ideas, Reflections, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why is what you do today important?

What you do with today

More wisdom from this week’s adventure in 52 Dates with Myself

Categories: Challenges, Commitment, Reflections, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If you never did, you should…

Dr. Seuss Quote

Dr. Seuss wisdom discovered on one of my 52 Dates with Myself

Categories: Reflections, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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