Perfect Moment Monday: Zen Non-Attachment Put to the Test

November 17, 2008

Perfect Moment

This week’s Perfect Moment was hard won.

Recovering from Friday’s hysteroscopy meant that I had to wait until Sunday to head to the pottery studio.

When I arrived, two of my pots had finished going through the glaze fire. I’d used both to test a new glaze, so when they ended up ruined (bubbly glaze that had run and stuck the pots to the shelf), I wasn’t concerned. Then I realized that another piece I’d done should have been fired too, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Then I realized that another piece was missing. And another. And another. Consulting the detailed notes that I keep on each piece, there were at least half a dozen that had disappeared. Several of them were fantastic pieces that I’d been working on for months; some of the best work I’d ever done. I’m a very inconsistent potter, and plenty of my stuff ends up being total crap, but several of these could legitimately be sold professionally, for a lot of money (though these were all intended either for me or as specific gifts).

My first thought was that someone had stolen them all. Because of work and travel, it had been a few weeks since I’d been in the studio. In that time, someone must have recognized their brilliance and snatched them! They only left the two mangled testers. Bastards!

The dream I’d had about all of my pottery being gone when I got to the studio turned out to come true! Well, almost — there were some unglazed pieces left. But some of the very best ones ever, including the replacement for the wonderful pot I broke a few months ago, were gone. With some of the others, I had tested and expanded my limits as a potter. Some of them were pieces I’d attempted half a dozen times before finally succeeding with this one. Many of them involved literally hours of finishing work such as hand-carving designs. And now, they were gone. All gone.

I was absolutely livid. I called the pottery teacher at home, but no one answered. I was bursting with rage — it has been years since I have been this angry.

I was so pissed that I could not bear to stay another minute. What if everything else I make will also get stolen someday? I packed up everything and headed out in a huff. On my way out, I thought I would mention it to the lady at the front desk (who has nothing to do with what goes on in the studio), just to document the outrageousness.

Me, shockingly calmly: I can’t find a bunch of my pottery anywhere. I can’t imagine where all of those pieces would have gone.
Lady: Oh, were those part of the kiln fire that got destroyed?
Me: Huh?
Lady: It was awful. The entire batch was totally destroyed. All of the shelves collapsed and I guess everything got crushed.
Me: Oh.

It wasn’t malice after all, it was… human error? Mechanical failure? Random chance?

I have written before about my Zen non-attachment to individual pieces, which applies whether the damage occurs through my own error or
someone else’s. But it’s never happened before that so many pieces shuffled off this mortal coil, all at once. I had exceeded the limits of my Zen non-attachment.

I was no longer angry, but still very stunned. Unfit to drive, I walked into a nearby boutique that sells free trade clothing and gifts. I’d bought a gorgeous handbag there a couple of months ago (vegan leather, but you’d never guess it!), and thought I’d calm myself down with some retail therapy.

And then I found the socks.

Delightful, hand-knitted socks made from recycled cotton. So soft and comfy. Beautiful color combinations. Whimsical patterns. My first thought? Good luck socks for an IVF or IUI!

But not for me, for someone else… one of my bloggy friends!

In this act of altruism, so much of my negativity dissipated. I spent at least 10 minutes carefully choosing a pair. Imagining someone else’s delight at receiving them. Visualizing the socks shuffling down the hallway of a hospital or clinic… a brave woman wearing nothing but a hospital gown and these socks. Hoping that these lucky socks might indeed turn out to be lucky for their wearer.

And slowly, a very very imperfect moment became a Perfect Moment.

Were these meant for you? Or maybe someone whose story you’ve been following? I would love to send these socks to someone who will be doing a cycle in the near future. I’d like to hope that they’re carrying some good karma after all of this. Please nominate yourself or another blogger in the comments — or by email [babysmilinginbackseat at gmail daaaaht com] if you want to keep the nomination a secret. In case there are multiple nominations, to break the tie please include a guess as to the color scheme I picked out (there are several colors represented, so just name a couple of colors). The other tie-breaking factor is that I’ll need to get a mailing address from the recipient, so if you nominate someone who does not consent to receive them, that person will un-win and I’ll have to give them to someone else.

I will reveal the socks and the recipient at Show and Tell next weekend, so you have until Thursday night 11/20 at midnight Eastern time.

Postscript: The socks didn’t entirely cure my mood. When I got home, I explained the day’s horrors to DH. He declared that pottery is never supposed to be stressful, because that is what I do to get away from stress. We decided that maybe I should create my own studio at home rather than working in a public space (still thinking that over). He was sweet, kind, attentive, fun, helpful, encouraging — even moreso than usual. Call it Perfect Moment #2 — I have Perfect Moments with my husband literally almost every day, but this time he was truly exceptional.

Head to Weebles Wobblog to see more Perfect Moments. Let’s hope that everyone else’s days were more unequivocally perfect.

7 Responses to “Perfect Moment Monday: Zen Non-Attachment Put to the Test”

  1. I love this post of yours. I’m sorry about your pottery, though. 😦 As for the socks, what a fantastic idea! I look forward to seeing them, and finding out who the lucky recipient is!

  2. I am in awe of he monks that occasionally come to town and spend a week painstakingly building a sand mosaic. It’s on display for a few days and then they destroy it, to demonstrate the impermanence of things.

    It breaks my heart each time. As did the story of your lost pottery. The lost pieces of you.

    And then you got out of yourself and into another, and found compassion in your husband. I love the way you blended perfection with imperfection.

  3. Cara Says:

    Wow – what a story. You would think they might have called potters to say they may have lost some pieces…but hey – what can you do.

    I love how you took imperfect and made it perfect.

    I’m attemtpting to so the same…see my PMM post.

  4. luna Says:

    this is just a beautiful post. what a tragic loss for you. truly the test of non-attachment when it reflects your vision and craft.

    I do love the karmic concept of the socks though. that is really so very perfect.

  5. Imogen Says:

    Shame about the pottery 😦 What a fantastic idea about the socks. You rock!

  6. Susan Says:

    I would be devestated to put that much time into a project and it not turn out! Ugh.

    Love the sock idea and would love to buy a pair! *You could start a business!

  7. MrsJoyner Says:

    Thank you so much for my birthday comment! It made me feel really special!! This post is really very touching..You are going to make someone else happy out of a situation that was upsetting to you. That..pretty much rocks!

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