Last week I spoke of inertia, and this week has been about momentum. Where once in my life I had long stretches of nothing and no one to occupy my time, this week has been full and rewarding with synchronicity and soulful doings.
Since I left retail at the beginning of the summer I have been rediscovering parts of myself. You shut a lot of yourself down in certain work situations. Retail certainly taught me humility, or maybe it was humiliation. In either case it put me out in the public in a way that I wouldn't have been. I can be kind of a hermit at times. I have traded one form of public interaction for another though and now I am teaching and speaking in front of groups on a regular basis. I'm not sure if the retail helped with that, but for my own peace of mind we'll just say that it did.
When I made the decision last week to get back into my clay work, I was immediately gifted with a fortuitous "coincidence". Previously I had to drive to the next closest city an hour away to get supplies, but this weekend was the grand opening of a ceramics supply store right here in the center of town. Sure it could just be random chance, but what are the odds that it would open the same exact week I began to get my hands dirty again in the studio? I tend to suspect some magical agent was involved in this, or perhaps some precognition on my own part.
So I came back into my studio, confronted by months of neglect with difficult clay and found that it had stiffened further so slab building was impossible. Quite simply it was too hard to be rolled out. So I went to plan B which was to use my extruder (a giant size play dough fun factory for ceramics). I literally had to punch the clay into shape so it would fit into the barrel of the extruder. Due to the extreme toughness of the porcelain, when it came out of the barrel the tube bent and tore in crazy directions. As an evolved being I took a breath and then exhaled, "FUUUUUCCKKKK!" Then with that calming ritual completed, I cut the odd shapes loose from the equipment and set them aside. After cutting them down a bit I began to see directions that I wouldn't have thought of pursuing without the initial imperfections. I came out of it with three very unique pots which I then carved to enhance the forms that I co-created.
All of this came out of the difficulties I was having with my materials. In the past some of my best work has come about due to problems I had to solve, or because I had leftover material that I didn't want to go to waste. I often liked it better than what I had planned or envisioned. This taking in of the current conditions and working with them to transform and create is the driving force of alchemy. Whether it is turning lead into gold or spinning air and space into a dense mound of clay it is a magical process. It is challenging and fascinating and learning how to turn what comes our way into opportunity and blessings is part of the way of the alchemist. Some things take a bit more thought, ingenuity, and energy to transform than others, but the densest material often yields the most spectacular end results.
So how about you? What perceived negative situation or material can you rework into a golden opportunity? What problem can be transmuted into a brilliant alchemical solution? This is not the same as positive thinking, it is better, it is transformative thinking. What if everything that arises around you could be used as a stepping stone to a major transformation? What if what weighs you down could be decanted into fuel that would rocket you up to your shooting stars where you wishes and dreams dance? It won't be easy, but if you can learn to work with what you are given then you will become the Alchemist, master of destiny, servant of the Divine, and you will hold dominion over the matter of your life. Seems like a cool gig if you ask me. Try it on for a bit and see what solutions rise to the surface of your life.
Peace and Blessings,