Tuesday, March 22, 2011

LIFE as Therapy

I've been brewing this one for a while.....

while sitting at the pottery wheel
while watching my children playing
while contemplating life, and what will come of this life,
while digesting the feeling that new things are coming my way

while hearing of the parenting troubles, and marriage troubles, and schooling troubles of some of the people closest to me

the idea that this life pushes my buttons;
the right buttons, in just the right way, at just the right time.
The idea that LIFE provides me with the opportunity to grow.
to do things differently than i had before. or to think of things in a new way.
That LIFE is therapy.


I've been working at the pottery wheel a lot lately. And I have had the privilege of seeing my children working at the wheel too. This is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.

My sons little hands, wrapped around that clay.
centered. and gentle and firm. and responsive.
and going with the flow. and feeling the clay, as soft and responsive as it is.
And learning the lessons that one learns, from working with clay.

Clay is a lot like people.
It can be soft and easy to work with, or it can be tough and hard and feel like sandpaper on your skin. It can be molded, or it can be over-worked. One can put too much pressure on it, and it becomes un-glued, or looses its form and turns into a wonky mess.

Yes, clay and people have alot in common.

And what I've been learning is that whether the clay is easy or hard to work with depends a lot on me; the person working with it.
It depends on whether I am centered and in good spirits;
it depends on whether I have added enough water;
it depends if I am making movements that are slow and rhythmic.
Supportive, but not controlling.

The clay becomes an outward manifestation of me;
of my emotional state and of how I am treating it.
Much like my relationships with people become mirrors of my self and the other. Of how we treat and feel about each other.


What a beautiful gift that me and my children get to learn together; and that my children are learning about some of life's principles from clay.
The Clay has become the mentor.

Which has me thinking about one of my mentors. My friend Trey.
Trey died when my daughter was still a baby. Trey's wife is a potter, and so my thoughts have wondered back to him as I've been working. Trey had a huge impact on me, and in my life. As I was finishing high school, he wanted for me to become a councilor, like him. He was a gifted councilor; and I suppose, he saw something in me that told him I could do what he did. At the time I rejected the idea, because I looked up to him so much. Which is awfully ironic. I didn't believe I could ever live up to the standard he had set. to be as powerful and kind and gifted as he was at his profession. AND the idea of going to MORE school right after graduation wasn't very appealing to me at that time.

But I've been reflecting. And remembering him. and thinking about some of the things I have experienced.
***And the things I have learned the most from,
have been the hardest things to go through.***

LIFE has been my teacher.

And I have been thinking a lot about becoming a councilor, because I really appreciated SO much having Trey's guidance and help, as life taught me some hard lessons. Perhaps, I could do it. I am beginning to believe. maybe.

Which brings me to lessons I've collected. Lessons in acceptance. Lessons on knowing when to go with the flow, and how to know when the flow needs a little directing. Lessons on commitment. And appreciation. and unconditional love.

As some of you know, my birth experience with my daughter was not very natural. (I really will have to go into more detail in another post.) And I learned SO many lessons from it. As I did from the next few years learning how to be a mama. And how to be a wife. A partner.

Honestly, becoming a mama and a wife was nothing like I had imagined. At times, I felt like I had woken up in a sleep-deprived maze of expectations. My own expectations and others. Not that it was a bad thing; just not anything like I had pictured. ever. And I could have given up. many times, I could have quit, in one way or another. I could have shut it all down and refused to learn the BIG lessons life was offering to me. I could have said "this is too hard, it is nothing like I expected". In fact, I'm pretty sure I did say that. ALOT. and I'm pretty sure that at times, I still do. But I did not give up. And I am glad that I have stuck with my commitment.

And some days are better than others. and some weeks and months are better than others. And I am glad I have not given up. I have looked at the ways my marriage was different than I had expected; and after I got past faulting the marriage itself, I started to fault the picture in my head of what my marriage "should" look like. I began to accept things about myself and about my partner that were maybe NOT going to change. I tried loving those parts too. I tried valuing PEACE more than being right; more than the faulted image of marriage I held in my head. I tried applying unconditional love towards my partner. towards our marriage. This was hard. Really hard. ***And I wish more people would talk about this stuff. Because we all go through it. The same stuff. And so many people are too embarrassed, or proud, or private, or scared to share it. And so we feel alone; as we try to wade through these difficult LIFE lessons.

And being a mama felt surprisingly hard. At least while I was trying to "mama" like someone else. Talk about not going with the flow. I was allowing other mama's to direct the flow of my parenting. Oh the lessons of life!

Yes, LIFE is therapy.

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