The shortest version
This is a story about offering beauty and intention to you or someone you care about. "There is a voice that doesn't use words. Listen." (Rumi)
The short version
The first half century of my life was, I noted spontaneously during my early 50's, devoted to survival, management, balancing the demands of a family and the demands of a cultural system. I was in my left brain. It helped me multitask. I suspect this could be part of anyone's story.
I made a statement, mostly to myself, that I was going to devote the second half of my century to my right brain. In general, my family had grown up and out, and I had somehow managed to create a life situation whereby I could live within my means, whatever those happened to be. I did not have many material wants or needs. I am almost physically allergic to malls. I prefer to be hiking in a natural rather than an urban landscape.
As with many, I had managed, but I hadn't found whatever center we were told was probably there. The phrase "I don't know what I'm going to do when I grow up" was a worn out mantra, an acceptable excuse in a world full of folks in reactive, rather than proactive, mode. I felt, as always, restless.
I took a pottery class offered by a friend in 1999. I discovered, or perhaps released, some long (and quietly) suffering potter in my dna. I found myself both excited about pottery and, surprisingly, good at it. Being a potter was nowhere on my left brain radar screen. I went to the best eastern schools. I had a doctorate. I was, in the fantasies of my left brain, supposed to be fasttracking, well, something, even if the reality of my life was that I hadn't even found the track, much less started running on it.
A potter friend started playing with crystals. I was free enough from whatever iron bands I'd allowed to be placed on my psyche to feel some juice in my bloodstream. I started playing with them myself. Having been largely scientific in my left brain life (a computer programmer, a college professor), I was not associating "crystals" with blue smoke wu wu. Rather, crystals were simply, visually, enchanting. The light play that happens in one's brain when a crystal pot is given a chance to sing is nothing short of a photon dance.
I didn't realize how captivating this experience was for others until I started selling my pottery at the local Farmers Market. I watched the stream of folks move down the booths, having picked up their carrots, strawberries and fresh flowers, heading for the guys who sell baked goods a few booths down from me. Pottery was clearly nowhere on their mind. I'd watch them walk by, glance at the pottery, and their left brain was in task mode: "You don't want pottery. You want a croissant." But while their left brain was directing their feet, their right brain was in sudden chaos. "What was THAT" was the message that took about 6 seconds to penetrate the cerebral cortext, and, almost like clockwork, the person would stop, turn around, and come back to my booth like a moth to a flame. This for something I knew they had never seen before. "Wow!", I would hear, "this is Gorgeous!!". I've come to predict that first word ("gorgeous") from virtually every visitor to the booth. They would uniformly become tentative, afraid to pick up a pot lest it break in their hands. I'd grab the one they were admiring and shove it unceremoniously in their hands, to their shock, and tell them to walk out into the sunshine and look at it.
My pot-holding stranger would stand in the middle of a crowded stream of people, and, for several seconds, her world would shrink to the pot in her hand. Rotating it, studying it, being completely lost in her experience of it, fascinated, delighted, arrested.
You can't experience this from the photos on this web site. It's like the difference between a photo of a snowflake and being outside with your tongue out when its snowing. It's like the difference between a photo of a couple kissing and kissing.
(For an overall perspective on my story, visit Centripetus)