Friday, October 10, 2008

getting centered

Learning how to center clay on the wheel is the most challenging part of learning how to throw. I was taught by a master teacher, and my whole class learned how to center and throw within a very short time because of his skillful teaching. I think right about now is a good time to think about the metaphor of centering clay and getting centered in life. I bring this up because of the drums of fear and panic that are beating in all corners right now. Apparently we are in the depths major financial crisis, and unless you are living under a rock, we all know the words that are getting repeated over and over again.

There is something about chaos of panic that can set you free from the daily monotony. We are coming up on the 19 year anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, which I experienced in full effect in Santa Cruz. It was the single most terrifying event of my life, but it was also one of the most meaningful. It totally released me from my own daily insecurities and problems that I was experiencing at the time, and put front and center exactly what was important: being alive along with your friends and family. It was an extremely valuable lesson to learn in my late teens, and I still can't think about that time without having an overwhelming emotional response of gratitude that I was able to experience it.

Change is happening; it's going to happen and it's out of our control, much like an earthquake. When I start feeling scared about what's happening and how it may impact me, I think about how much more important it is that I stay centered with my work, my husband, and my friends. For me that means staying calm and focused, and not spending to much time letting my imagination run wild, and not indulging in a lot of conversation about "the markets" or "the economy". I don't really understand any of that shit, and the majority of my friends don't either. Most of us are repeating what we hear in the news, which is pretty useless. I would really love it if we could all think about how major change can bring so many blessings to our lives rather than darkness, and how essential change is to make life worth living in the first place. In the short-term, change can be very uncomfortable and scary. But no matter what happens, we are still all going to be on this planet, alive, and together. How great is that?