Nearly 25 years ago I took my first class in ceramics. First beginning with hand-building and then moving to the wheel. I straddled the wheel, elbow tucked into my side, hands around the mound of clay moving around and around and around the spinning circle. I worked toward learning the delicate balance of the right amount of water and clay, pressure and force to center the clay perfectly in the middle of the wheel. Centering the mound of earth into a wedge also centered me. My whole being focused on the process as I entered the flow of making, searching for my own inner delicate balance.
One of my teachers shared M.C. Richards book, Centering, with me, a book I return to every now and again for inspiration in all my creative practices, and attempts to create a more balanced life. I rarely get my hands on clay these days, but the importance of a creative practice that allows me to enter some sort of flow state is how I start my day, and moves me towards a more centered day..
For the past two years, I begin my mornings by updating my calendar and by making a hand-drawing meditation. I trace my left hand, and then write something within the hand. Sometimes it’s inspirational, sometimes it’s stream-of-conscious, sometimes I paint a previous entry that feels relevant for the day. Here is a small sampling:
I am remind of this quote by MC:We are transformed, not by adopting attitudes toward ourselves but by bringing into center all the elements of our sensations and our thinking and our emotions and our will: all the realities of our bodies and our souls. All the dark void in us of our undiscovered selves, all the small light of our discovered being. All the drive of our hungers, and our fairest and blackest dreams. All, all the elements come into center, into union with all other elements. And in such a state they become quite different in function than when they are separated and segregated and discriminated between or against. When we act out of an inner unity, when all of our selves is present in what we do, then we can be said to be “on center.”
It is this inner unity that I strive to achieve, even if only for those few minutes when I am writing and drawing early in the morning, getting ready for my day.