“Describe how you’ve felt over the past 16 months in 16 words – one for each month of this pandemic.”
Concerned, Uncomfortable, Worried, Anxious, Scared, Angry, Sad, Impatient, Doubtful, Disappointed, Bored, Content, Hopeful, Optimistic, Expectant, Enthusiastic!
That is quite the variety of feelings. You might understand the first handful of emotions because maybe you experienced them yourself, but those last 3 – optimistic, expectant and enthusiastic? Yes! I have felt optimistic and lately I have felt especially enthusiastic about the new work that I am making.
How did I get there? Meditating helps a lot and is something that I have been practising for about 3 years. Other things that help me are spending time in nature and my garden, exercising, and practising positive self-talk. In terms of my career as a potter, I don’t have the broader view, so I don’t know what is coming as a result of this changing world. Thinking about how my future will look feels impossible to predict because there are so many moving parts to consider and that’s overwhelming. Thinking about the past and “how it used to be” isn’t helpful either. I’ve heard it said that “all your power is in the NOW” and I am beginning to understand what that means.
Meditation is certainly a useful tool for stress, and I’m sure collectively we have all been feeling stress for the past year and a half. Meditation quiets my mind and often times I have intuitive thoughts or get amazing ideas as a result of having quieted my mind. Sometimes I get these ideas while actually IN meditation or while doing another focused practice – yoga. These ideas get me excited about work and then feelings of optimism and enthusiasm for executing my new ideas follow.
Creating new work is common, usual, but now, more than ever, a necessity.
In April of 2020, the burning pain in my wrist turned into more. Tendonitis is pretty common in folks who do work with our hands making repetitive movements, and as a potter that is pretty much the job description. Nearly the entire time the pandemic put a halt to life as we knew it, I’ve been hurting.
In the beginning it was incredibly painful. Now it’s only painful when I do too much, and as all things go, if you think about life, we are using our hands all day long for every little thing. In the beginning it was painful to brush my teeth, pull up my pants, comb my hair, and vacuuming the house was definitely over the top! I had to rely on my left hand to wash the dishes, pull laundry out of the washing machine, use a dust rag and vacuum. I had to use my husband to cut vegetables and bread.
Presently my plan is to hand build everything, because using the potters’ wheel isn’t an option. I’m excited to discover new methods of construction, and new ways to use my tools. I’m eager to expand the textured designs I make on clay, and to experiment with new glazes. Hand building an entire collection is breathing new life into my work! Can you feel my enthusiasm?