So many things in the world seem so off kilter lately and I find myself thrown off balance. Our country seems to be reeling like a ship in a hurricane, we are lost in a sea of scandals, greed, corruption, racism and sexism.
I'm afraid for our safety and our sanity.
And I know I'm not alone. I can feel the fear everywhere. I live in Portland, Oregon, which has been known for an artistic vibe, casual atmosphere, green trees and rain. Unfortunately, now, because of one person's hatefulness, we are known as the place where women are threatened on trains and men who defend them are murdered.
When you have a president who spews hateful, racist words, pushes himself to the head of the line of diplomats and uses our country's resources to further his own greed, these kind of things are going to happen.
I am off center in more ways than one.
I feel all this in my body, mind and soul. I've been more tired, lately. My mind spins with the news and the possible consequences. My body has, quite literally, been thrown off balance, too. My left knee was injured so badly, I had to stay off of it for most of a week. Now I can walk again, slowly, but every step requires careful attention and balance.
I see that I've taken balance for granted. I've assumed that my body, mind, home, state, country are on an even keel moving along in a balanced way. Taking that for granted, I see now, is a big mistake.
All of life is a balancing act.
My balance lately comes from my clay. Throwing on my wheel this week showed me just how important it is for me to be centered. If I lean a little too far to the right or left, my clay wobbles. Pulling it up into a form that is strong, only works if the clay is centered. And for the clay to be centered, I have to be centered.
I have to be where the clay is: in front of me, on the wheel spinning. I have to center my body in the chair. My feet have to be level. My breath, yes even my breath, needs to come in an even, easy, centered way.
Throwing keeps me centered in my body, mind and, yes, soul.
My studio work does too. When I'm painting or designing or sculpting or even putting on handles, my focus is right there on each piece. If my mind wanders, so does my paint brush, my fingernails, and my pressure on handle attachments. And, let's face it, who wants a wonky mug handle? Not me!
So, I guess I have my answer to all the curves the world is throwing my way: Center and throw.