pottery passion: my necessary hobby
Once a week I go to Hudson Valley Pottery to make things out of clay. I do this for one reason: I love it. I also have other more intellectual reasons: it informs my work, I am challenging myself to expand my skill-set, it keeps my creative mind sharp – all true. But the deeper and more mysterious truth is that when I am making something out of clay all my daily stresses move to the side and politely wait for me to finish. The experience is like being absorbed in the present moment, alone with creative intention, living in the "zone."
Not to get on a metaphysical tangent, but I call it mysterious because I don't know why this happens – feeling all connected to the Universe, that is.
I first thought it was a result of the singular focus on something. But then why don't I feel that connection when I'm singularly focused on changing Lars' diaper or cleaning food-goo off the floor?
I've decided that it must have something to do with the act of creating, and the act of creating must have something to do with feeling connected to really big Universal things like Spirit – or can I even say God?
But wait, there is one other fundamental element that has to present too: I have to be creating for the act of creating. Not for money, fame or adoration. How weird (and inconvenient) is that? As soon as I start thinking about what product is going to launch me to stardom, I'm basically f%#cked. To feel connected I have to make something with absolutely no desired outcome – I have to let the material tell me where to go. And this seems to be really easy with clay.
So back to justifying my weekly pottery class. I spent many hours asking myself if this mysterious, metaphysical, Universe-communing creative time was worth it. It's not, after all, my "work" and has no financial value. Let's be real – it's a hobby. More importantly, I would be giving up valuable family time with my son and husband. I would be missing adorable moments of discovery like learning the difference between a backhoe loader and a combine harvester, or saying a new word like "poopy-butt".
I debated with myself endlessly, then finally discussed it with my husband who came to the conclusion that "a happy wife is a happy life." So, with his blessing I gave myself this weekly creative gift.
And I know that it's making me a better mother and wife: I'm more present and connected when I am with my family, I'm less distracted and more involved in the creative act of parenting, I miss my family more when I'm away and enjoy my family more when I'm at home.
And this makes us all happy.