Show and Tell: Zen Non-Attachment Revisited

August 17, 2008

In a previous Show and Tell I presented a pot that I had made. As I was removing it from the kiln, I dropped it on the ground and it immediately broke. In that post, I talked about the pot as an example of how pottery has taught me to practice Zen non-attachment. I also talked about how this attitude does not extend to TTC.

Today, I present to you a different pot that I made. It also met an untimely demise, but I didn’t drop this one. This one experienced an “incident” inside the kiln.

The “incident” occurred when one of the shelves collapsed during the firing. The glaze was in the molten stage, and pots fell onto other pots and they got fused together. When they were taken out of the kiln after the firing was complete, some pots ended up with chunks missing, and some like today’s Show and Tell pot ended up with extra chunks attached.

Here is the difference between the first Show and Tell pot and today’s. The first was broken because of my own carelessness — entirely my fault. The second was destroyed because of someone else’s error combined with the laws of physics. Although neither bothers me very much, it’s hard to say which one bothers me more. I feel a little bad for dropping the first pot, and I also think that the person who loaded the kiln with the second pot should have been more careful.

Now bear with me while I extend this metaphor to infertility. Even when a specific cause can’t be identified (as in my case), the cause(s) do exist. Female factor, male factor, combination. Genetic, age-related, disease-related, etc. I know people for whom the cause of their IF stems from past actions taken by one partner, such as a vasectomy that can’t be successfully reversed or damage caused from a sexually-transmitted infection. I know other people who never did anything that could have led to IF.

I’m not here to play the Blame Game, but with all of the emotions surrounding IF, blame sometimes occurs. DH and I are among those who never did anything in the past that could have led to our current problems. But what if one of us had made a choice that directly contributed to our current IF? How would we react now? Would the “innocent” one blame the one who had made that fateful choice? From what I’ve seen of others, some couples refrain from blame, and some can’t help it.

Even though the doctors have never diagnosed DH or myself with anything that would explain our IF, I believe that our difficulties result from some sub-clinical endocrine issues that I inherited. I don’t blame my relatives for passing the problems on to me. I can’t really blame myself for how my body works either. Yet, I do. Just a little.

It would be great if my non-blaming attitude for pottery extended to IF. But with pottery, I can always make another one. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way with babies.

12 Responses to “Show and Tell: Zen Non-Attachment Revisited”

  1. JuliaS Says:

    Neat analogy and nice looking pot. I kind of like the extra bits. Sometimes what you expect and what you get turns out to be a bit of a surprise.

    As for blame – I do that, even years later when it no longer really matters anymore the what or wherefores. Several months after we found out I was annovulatory, we found out dh had a varicocele and low count. I was actually relieved it wasn’t “all my fault.” I felt like it put us on equal fault footing. Karma’s a pain though – eventually recurrent miscarraige tipped the guilt scales over to my side again. :0(

  2. Kristin Says:

    You are so right. “It would be great if my non-blaming attitude for pottery extended to IF.” It is so hard to avoid blaming your body when infertility abounds.

  3. Kristin Says:

    Beautiful pot (even with the additions), btw!

  4. Murgdan Says:

    …and I was thinking what a beautiful pot, flaws and all. Because none of us is truly flawless. I’m liking your zen analogy–and am keeping it with me as we begin our IF testing this week…

  5. Stephanie Says:

    Neat analogy and insight.

  6. Nity Says:

    Blame and guilt are intertwined in feelings about IF for me. It’s so hard to want either feel guilty and blame myself or blame hubby and feel guilty. Ugh. Nice analogy.

  7. Danielle Says:

    The pot is beautiful! I enjoyed the analogy, playing the Blame Game sucks! Even when we’re playing it in our heads, to ourselves.

  8. chicklet Says:

    I’m with the others, nice post and analogy.

  9. Arian Says:

    Love the pot. Even with its extra bits. I think that adds character!

  10. Lori Says:

    You’ve made me revisit some unpleasant emotions.

    Even though neither Hubby nor I did anything to cause IF, I still placed blame and was very angry for a long time.

    You pottery and zen-ness are giving me something to think about today. Thanks!

  11. Martha Says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful and insightful post. I send you my best. Thanks also for stopping by my blog.

  12. topcat Says:

    Wow, I’ve always admired people who can do pottery … I LOVE pottery. I think it looks great!


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