Is it Ours?

There will be many situations in life that you might find yourself wondering in the words of the Talking Heads……..”This is not my beautiful life…….how did I get here???

I have found in my own life, there have been situations within relationships that have developed so slowly that I didn’t even see the shit storm coming.  I was so damn busy being flexible and making myself smaller to get along with another that I was unaware that the relationship was out of balance until it was too late.  I had been “had”;  not only by the other persons agenda but by my own delusions.  How could I have made myself smaller, once again? With clay, I can move slowly, releasing control and just sit, for the most part, in the back seat. Clay is easy to trust;  life situations are a little trickier.  When there is more than one person, there will always be more than one intention or agenda.  Most of us meet people where we are – not where they are. It takes time to allow a relationship and our personal motivations to surface.  Below are some of the questions that I am beginning to ask myself when dealing with personal relationships.  They are a way to give myself clarity, clearing the decks of my delusions and to assist in getting to the truth more quickly.

1.  Is this an experience that I am not only learning from but evolving? Not every relationship or situation can be rosy all of the time.  A lobster has to be damn irritated by the shell that they are outgrowing before they decide to be vulnerable and shed it for a larger one. It’s wise to figure out whether you are growing and evolving from your present situation.  Can you see it as a gift for future relationships? Is so, than persistence may be in order.

2.  Is everyone winning? Not just me or the other person – but God and the Universe as well.  Well, that’s pretty damn clear.  If all parties aren’t winning, time to stop playing. Period. I, personally, want no part in a relationship where there has to be a loser.  Leave that to the ball field.

3.  Is this experience or relationship making me a better person?  One of the greatest lines in the movie, As Good as it Gets, was spoken by Jack Nicholson.  He looked at Helen Hunts character and said, “You make me want to be a better man.”  If a relationship is creating ill will, bitterness, resentment, you may want to look and see inside yourself and ask “Is this the person I am meant to be?”  Being around another that inspires you to be a better person every day is a friend worth having.

4. Is the problem mine to fix or is someone laying it at my feet?  Manipulation – such a sneaky game. If others can get you to believe that the problem is solely yours, then you will be fixing a problem you don’t really have the answer to.  Not a good plan.

5. Am I bringing light to another or onto a situation?  The light of one candle can abolish the darkness.  If you aren’t the light bringer then look closely at your intentions and motivations.  Bringing darkness to another persons life is just plain shitty.  Don’t do it.

6.  Is this a game of control and suppression or one of liberation and freedom? If all that is happening in a relationship or situation is an attempt to gain control over another person, then you may want to check your motivations.  If you don’t experience a sense of freedom and liberation when you are around the other person, or there is no sense of play, is it healthy to have in your life?

7. If it is indeed a shit storm, is it MY shit storm?  Be really honest with this one.  Step back, take at least 10 deep breaths and get clear about who actually owns this particular storm.  It is a rare person who accepts responsibility for their own shit and does something about mucking out the stalls. If it truly isn’t your shit storm, refer to #4.

Now, you may be asking yourself the question, “What in the hell does this have to do with creating art?”  Well, here’s the deal – if you fill your life with storms, you will never get to a place of peaceful quiet where you can listen to your Muse.  There will be no room for the ethereal, divine moments where the light of authenticity shines through. Yes, please………….more of that 🙂

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The Finish Line………sort of

It’s been almost a year since I decided to “climb that tree and venture out onto that limb” by registering for a three week stay at Ghost Ranch in Abuiqui, New Mexico.  With a much needed grant and a surprising emerging artist award, I was able to fund my trip and relax into the exploration of my artistic boundaries.  I had no idea how my experiences would influence or inform my work.  All I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, is that it would.  

Fast forward to today.  I just returned from delivering 24 new vessels, 3 wall sculptures and 13 pendants to The Gallery at Flat Rock, located in Flat Rock, North Carolina.  My one person show, “Sacred Ground, Bringing New Mexico Home”, opens on Friday, July 14th.  All of these pieces have been inspired by my trip – most of them created using micaceous clay which is indigenous to New Mexico. 

There is an overwhelming sense of satisfaction, accomplishment and sadness in the completion of this grand adventure.  I have been so ensconced in the flow of the work, the evolution of my artistic voice and wanting to make those that believed in me proud.  It filled every waking, and most sleeping moments.  I have had revelations and disappointments, moments of “creative” orgasms and periods of obstacles that are all part of the process.  What I can tell you, unequivocally, is that it was all worth it.

I have learned more, pushed through fixed conditions, ventured into almost every “what if” moment with action and determination.  Did I make worthy art?  Did I do clay proud?  Honestly……..I have no idea.  That really isn’t for me to say.  What I do know is that, to this point in my life, given all that I am, I did my very best.  And that, my dear friends, is enough ❤️

Please visit my website for more information on the upcoming show and artist talk – http://www.lucyclarkpottery.com

The next adventure awaits!!!

The Heart of the Matter

There are areas in our lives that only the heart can give counsel.  A perfect example of this for me is my love affair with clay.  Every damn time I let my head rule my heart it ends in a broken heart and sometimes broken pottery.  It is so easy to convince myself to create inside a box of conformity – to make only what sells or would appeal to a mass audience.  Now, let me tell you, I can make a strong case for that.  I could talk about money, bills, obligations and dog food.  I could make my heart believe that it doesn’t know what it wants to create by restricting it to live by all of the rules set forth by my mind. Talking down to it, trivializing its desires and generally making it feel less than worthy.

But here’s the deal……….when I allow my head to make decisions for an area that only my heart has mastery, it works out about as well as going to my accountant for a cold.  Realizing that each part of us has expertise for certain areas of our life is a profound wisdom.  My heart can handle matters of the heart beautifully; if I listen carefully, my body can tell me exactly what it needs; my nervous system can tell me when to take a break and my mind can do the budget.  All seamlessly, with complete clarity, if only I honor their expertise.

And when I truly let go and let clay have her way……..well that’s a magic carpet ride❤

For the Love of Community

For the most part, I create in solitude.  Oh sure, there is an occasional “drive by loving” by one of my dogs or my husband, but in general I am left to my own devices.  After being introduced to the art of hand building pottery by the Worley Faver, a master potter in Florida, a lot of what I have achieved over the past eight years has been from the “fly by the seat of my pants” school.  Honestly, it has been my preferred way of learning.  The trail and error, the joy of success, the pain of setbacks, all have mostly been witnessed either alone or by my husband, who never fails to be kind and understanding. 

I was a little anxious, to say the least, to enter a three week workshop with another instructor and with even more trepidation, a room full of other students of the craft.  The noise, the commotion, the randomity……..all a backdrop for my concern.  

What has transpired over the last 10 days has been quite profound.  The one other student who is my age, is not only my roommate but has become a kindred spirit.  Along with her friendship and the stellar instruction of Clarence and his assistant Ricki, I have quickly understood the importance of community.  In addition to that beautiful band of misfits are a few other instructors and students who have come into the studio at night to touch clay and share space.  There is an ease of community that I simply didn’t expect.  A coming together of ideas, inspiration, trust and openness that I wasn’t aware that I even missed.

Being an artist can be a lonely road – lots of hours are spent alone in the studio, sometimes in a vacuum where we tend to ask the question…….”Does this suck?”  It has been a true blessing to be around these beautiful souls from different walks of life – authors, beaders, poets, potters, storytellers, jokesters, photographers, ranchers and yes, even those damn college kids.  What a wacky, wonderful, crazy community that I have walked into.

Below you will find my instructor, Clarence Cruz, master potter and resident funny man who happens to be wearing my very first hand built lid. He keeps us laughing and creating all day and sometimes into the night………..he is a true gift to the craft and to his students.  I am one incredibly lucky girl 🙂

Trusting the Process

Trust……..it’s a big deal.  I have spent an enormous amount of my life cross-examining my choices.  At times, I have become paralyzed by the self interrogation that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  The “what ifs” of Life……..they can trap a person into distrusting their gift of intuition.  That beautiful, higher voice within them that knows exactly what to do.  

As I was walking today in this beautiful country having spent 6 hours in the studio, I realized that trusting the process is paramount to life.  There comes a time when all the “wringing of hands” has been done, all of the worry and doubt has run its course.  A moment in time where you just have to trust the process.  Trust the inner voice guiding you to brilliance, trust the people who believe in you, trust wholly in yourself.  I realized that if I don’t trust myself, how can anyone else?  Realizing that I am worthy of my own trust, my own intuition – that I can rely on my own voice…….well it feels like I just opened my very own self imposed jail cell…….and I had the key all along.

The Beauty of Trust

Many times in my life, I have come to a crossroads.  Whether it was with a person, situation, direction or in a moment of creation, I felt I needed to reach out and trust someone other than myself.  There are a lot of folks that would LOVE to tell me what to do!  And, there are sometimes, I do so desperately desire to give up control and let someone else run my life and make the decisions.  But, having lived through a few of these experiences, I have learned a few things.

1.  When you ask someone for their advice, opinion or viewpoint, be ready for the answer.  It may not be the answer you long for or one that you expected.  But, if you have chosen that individual for their insight, be prepared to receive it.  

2.  Check your own agenda, and their motivations.  Not everyone has your best interests in mind; they have theirs.  Whether it is unconscious or not, they are speaking from what they want and desire.  It’s human nature…….sort of. Which leads to the next point…….

3.  Ask an expert.  If I need help with a financial situation, I will ask a financial expert.  If I need help with creativity, or relationships, or cooking……..I will ask someone who has a much higher level of expertise than I possess.  I want to grow, not have somebody else agree with me.  

4.  Having a few people you trust is priceless.  How many people do you really need to trust?  One, five, twenty?  In my experience, I have a couple of people that I trust with my life.  I also have a few people that I trust with certain areas of my life.  Sometimes trust is only needed per subject area.  I am happy to pay someone for their expertise because it is an even energy exchange.  If you truly want to learn, pay someone for their knowledge.  You will walk away with fresh new insight, and they will walk away being compensated for their brilliance.

5.  Trust your own voice.  If you are in doubt, ask someone for their input.  Listen, acknowledge what they are saying, process it, but if it doesn’t fit for you and your life, it doesn’t fit.  So many times we KNOW the answer, we are just looking for validation. That’s fine, but to constantly rely on other people’s input about your own path will lead you to dependency and, one day, you might look back and realize this isn’t your beautiful life.  It’s everyone’s idea of your beautiful life.

6.  Trust that the Universe, God and your higher self “has got your back”. This has been the most difficult for me.  I’m a “can do” kind of gal.  I never want to feel indebted to anyone.  But here’s the secret…….if your intentions are clear and true, what you are working to bring to life will happen. The higher powers that be – they want you to ask.  Life breeds life…….beauty breeds beauty.  

7.  Get clear……..really clear.  By asking for someone else for their viewpoint, you are sometimes getting clear on what you don’t want in this world and that’s just fine.  Most of time, I have figured out what I do want by figuring out what I don’t.  Finding your own voice is sometimes messy with a few failures thrown in for good measure.  But the question is,  What else is worth doing?  Every day is a new chance to figure it out…….

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How Strength can be My greatest weakness

If you know me for any length of time, you will quickly realize that I am a strong person.  I have taken pride in the fact that I keep my body strong, my will in place and my ability to care for myself at the top of my priority list.  I care enough about others to avoid being a burden to them due to my lack of being present in my own life.  Someone once told me that I can’t “will” everything into existence.  My response to them was, “Why not?”

But here’s the deal…………sometimes “being” strong is a way to avoid vulnerability which in turns keeps us from intimacy.  If everyone around me believes that I am strong enough, that I can handle everything that Life, God or the Cosmos throws at me, then I have done a wonderful job of avoiding being vulnerable.  As i have gotten wiser, I have realized that I don’t have to lay my soul and vulnerabilities out for everyone to trample on, I just need a few people in my life that I can trust with those precious commodities.  For me to believe that I can be there for others, and not allow others to be there for me – well that just creates an imbalance in the soul universe.  The people I have in my life are of my own choosing.  It is my responsibility to choose well.  As a wise woman recently said to me, The Universe has got your back.  Trust in it.

That is true strength.Mermaids Diving