Open and Receive! Now is the time.

Last week we explored the relative merits of opening ourselves as individuals.  For potters, opening is an essential process.  Opening is the step that forms the base of the piece that we’re going to make, and it’s what unleashes the magic of movement!

After wedging, weighing the clay and centering it on the wheel, we must establish a base for our creation, and then we open the form.

To do that:

1 ) Wrap your left hand around the ball of clay that has been centered on the wheel.

2 ) Place your thumb in the center, with two fingers of your right hand touching your left thumb.  This keeps you ‘in touch’ with the piece and stabilizes the process.

3 ) Plunge your thumb and fingers into the ball of clay – deep enough to leave the desired base, and not so deep that you thin and weaken the foundation of your form.

4 )  Pull the clay slightly toward you to open the piece according to what you’re making…more for a bowl, less for a cup.

Turning a piece on the wheel and creating a piece of pottery is similar in many ways to giving birth!   In the beginning there is only the idea of a new being/form.  Then at the moment of conception, the developmental process is set in motion. There is a plethora of possibilities for shaping a lump of clay!

Opening is certainly an essential part of giving birth.  Before there can be an embryo, a woman must open herself to receive.  As the birth process begins, so does the opening of the cervix.  Once the cervix is fully open, everything changes!  Prior to this moment, Mother Nature has been generally in charge of things. Once the cervix opens itself fully, allowing the infant to exit the womb, the mother’s participation is required.  This transition is tricky though, for as the gauntlet is passed from nature to human control, there is a pause that requires a lot of breathing!  Then the pushing begins, and as with the pushing of the clay on the wheel, it takes energy. Working with the rhythms of the body, and assisted by some subtle pulling from the midwife, the mother must vigorously push until the infant is able to free himself from her body and make a debut as a viable human being!

Not all of our endeavors require us to open fully, as in pottery making.  We must be discerning, assess the situation and circumstances, and adjust to the appropriate aperture. Does the situation require us to act as a plate, or simply a cup?

Those of us whose intention is self-development though, must be open to the process of re-birthing ourselves. Like birthing a child it requires strength and courage and involves hard work, assistance, and some pain.  And as with childbirth the memory of the pain is erased by the joyful outcome!  Joy lives in the process of creation whether it be a hand turned bowl, an open healthy breath, or a new world view.

Breathwork can be the assistance needed to get through what might feel like a birthing. Engaging in somatic breath therapy is one way to free yourself from chronic stress and old habits allowing in joy! In fact, the role of practitioner facilitation is to be compassionately present with your spiritual needs and help you recognize your true essence much like a midwife. Breathwork is not religious or dogmatic nor does it offer analysis as a psychotherapist or counselor might. Instead guidance and support are provided as you uncover your own answers and connect to a more authentic sense of self through the use of the breath. Ultimately though this is your journey and you are the authority in deciding your path.
Check out our upcoming classes and workshops posted on the Clay Alchemy from the Voice of Clay website here,  remember that breathwork and chart readings are 40% off during the 40 days of Lent – now through April 5th 2015, and know that we are here to welcome and support you in re-birthing!

shannon Burke