Live in the Moment
My challenge to myself this year was to do new things. Live in the moment. Be uncomfortable.
Trying ceramics has long been on my list of things I want to do. I actually found a teacher (English speaking, named Abbey and near home — an unbelievable trifecta) and I reached out.
Signing up was easy. Learning how to throw pottery on a wheel was less easy.
Almost five years ago, my middle child Maya, asked for a rainbow birthday cake. You know the cake, the one with six layers of different colors, perfectly stacked one of top of the other. This request began my baking career, one in which I trained on YouTube, ordered my tools from abroad, and practiced until each layer was flat and the frosting was smooth.
Throwing pottery felt similar. I needed to apply a specific pressure, learn techniques and use new tools. With baking, I felt the need to be perfect because I didn’t want to disappoint my kids. I spent hours planning and executing themed cakes (horses, super heroes, and even camp fires), and some were excellent and others were just okay. Did my kids see the mistakes? Was the cake less yummy for the imperfections? No. My kids were just super excited that I made something close to what they asked for.
When my hands first met the clay, I had the desire to make it just right. Perfectly smooth. Even edges. And then I remembered baking, and that rather than shoot for perfection, I wanted to enjoy the process. I thought less about the outcome and more about each step as I was doing it.
Applying even pressure to make sure the clay was centered.
Two fingers in the center to create an opening.
Middle fingers gently raising the sides to create the shape.
Sponging off the extra clay.
It helped that my teacher was relaxed and amazing but mainly I reminded myself that this was supposed to be fun. A chance to feel like a kid. Get dirty, make mistakes and try again. To live in the moment and know that it is all about the process and less about the outcome.
**The woman in that photo is my great aunt. Her name is Betty and she was a little bit of a black sheep. She never married, never had children and she worked for as long as I knew her. In this photo, she is standing outside of a local movie theater in Brookline, MA watching as Johnny Depp arrives at a premiere. She has become an international meme for “living in the moment” because of her lack of phone, but the irony is she was too old for technology and really good at being early, hence the front row placement. Mainly, Betty was very good at just doing her own thing, exactly as she does in the photo.