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We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

Joseph Campbell

I’ve talked before about my deep love of creating pottery; it’s a peaceful, spiritual and fun practice for me. It was one of those things that came to me as a whisper – just this thought, lingering in the back of my mind for years, telling me that this was something I needed to try.

You know how Oprah is always talking about listening to that whisper? I used to think those whispers only came to people like Oprah, until I heard the whisper tell me to get my hands dirty and throw some pottery.

The other day, I was working on the throwing wheel with a mass of clay that I intended to turn into a vase.

It wasn’t going very well.

When I stopped the wheel to take a look, my vase was all screwed up. Somehow, I had nicked the side of it and made a big dent. There was also a big lump of clay on the lip that I could not get smoothed out. I was really disappointed; I had thought this was going to be a good one. But now, it was lumpy and dented and clearly wrecked.

I sat there for a minute. Honestly, I was almost in tears, embarrassed that I had wrecked it, thinking I should be better than this. Would the other people in the class look at my lumpy, dented failure and giggle?

But then I heard another whisper.

It’s a pitcher.

That lump in the lip is there to be curled out to become the spout.
The dent in the side needs another matching one on the other side – they are finger holds.

I just thought it was a vase. When really, it was a pitcher the whole time.

Just like I thought I’d live in Los Angeles forever. When really, it was just the right place for me to be for a while, before moving on to the next phase.

Just like I thought my ex-boyfriend was “the one.” When really, he was just a lesson about why relationships are never fulfilling if you are a dependent, incomplete person.

Just like I thought my old job was the only thing I could ever do. When really, it gave me wonderful experiences that I can now bring to my completely overhauled and much more authentic life.

All the suffering I’ve ever felt was a consequence of wanting something to be other than it was. It comes from fighting reality; of wanting the pitcher to be a vase or wanting to mold people into someone they are not.

When I step out of my ridged assumptions and my belief that I am in total control, I can accept the world as it unfolds. I can hear the clay whisper.

Let the pitcher be a pitcher. It may be unexpected, but the best things always are.

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