Fear Cracked Open

” You don’t know ahead of time how cracking a pot can affect your life,”…..

Now , in the middle of the Raku class, he asked,  “Is anyone interested in cracking pots?”…

I looked in my studio; it was hard to choose a good pot, knowing it would be broken.

Kevin placed a small, thin, very used white towel on the cement floor…
I was to hold my bowl firmly in two hands and then band the bowl on the floor.
I held my breath

I could feel my body constrict, I could feel myself holding back.

“You’ll have to bang harder, ” Kevin said

“LET GO!” I shouted to myself silently.

I tried a second time.  Again , no success.  “You’re hanging on so tenaciously,”  my judging mind said. “as if your life depended on keeping the bowl just the way it is.”

On the fifth attempt the bowl cracked.

The effect of the bowl cracking was visceral.  I took a long deep breath, feeling great relief-a release.  Release from what?  I didn’t know, but the expression “fear cracked open” came to mind.  Perhaps my judge was loosening her grip on me.

jugsSave the slivers,” Kevin said.  ”  These little pieces are important”
“If the piece is there, we’ll have a use for it.  When we’re putting the bowl together it is necessary to have all the parts.”

When I finally held my own pieced-together pot in my hands a circle was completed.

I looked at my bowl and saw it was beautiful.

In the past, no matter what I did or accomplished, I still felt that something was missing.  When I put the pieces of my cracked pot together, I saw that nothing was missing.


I saw that I was WHOLE.

That same week a letter came from a woman who had spent years living with and writing about the Shakers.  In her letter I read “The Latin root of the word ‘perfect’ means only ‘finished’, not ‘without flaws.'”

We start out whole. Complete.  Along the way, we may feel that something is wrong, or missing.  We aren’t way we’d like to be or the way we think we should be.  A crossroads, a new stage in life, a turning point, a crisis, when we feel we may crack or we do crack, can be a difficult, frightening time.

And, sometimes we deliberately crack our own bowl.wabi sabi vase

With time and great care and tender patience, we can reexamine the pieces, knowing that when we are ready a solution will come, We can glue the pieces back together.

This bowl looks far more interesting, more beautiful than before it broke.  the pieces are the same, but it’s a different bowl then when I started.

Excerpt taken from  Everyday Sacred by Sue Bender

Posted by | Paul Reynolds
Paul has been a yoga teacher on the Island of Kauai for many years and is the facilitator of the weekly Living the Question Blog - a repository of wisdom and inspiration. Paul also produces and hosts Le Guru is You Radio Show, showcasing everyday gurus.

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