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Your Life as Clay

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Have you ever made pottery? More than likely, if you are like me you haven’t. I am sure you have seen people who have, maybe you have watched a video or maybe all your pottery experience is from watching Ghost. Yet I’m sure you have a basic idea of how making pottery goes.

The artist grabs a clump of clay. They knead it and work the clay till they have expressed all the air possible out of the clay. From there they place it on the wheel and spin it till they make the desired shape. It could be a bowl or a jar maybe even a cup. Whatever is created is then dried and placed in a kiln. Where they cook it to make the clay hard. They may glaze it or add other flourishes to it. And they fire it again. When it comes to pottery the kiln is a very important step.

The Metaphorical Clay

So what does clay pottery have to do with helping men to connect and lead their sons? Funny you should ask! You and your life are the clay. You may see some of the metaphors in the point that you’re able to be shaped and become anything you want. You as a person can be very malleable. You can take shape and then change that shape.

Yet all this shaping and prepping is easy at the beginning. Well not always easy, yet it is doable and at times the clay can be very resistant to shaping. Much like you and I are we can resist we don’t want to be that bowl. You have other idea’s aspirations. That is when others are trying to have you live out their story.

It is great when you see that you take the wheel and you shape your story or in this case your life. There are things that can affect how your lump of clay will turn out.

Outside influences

You have your family making suggestions. You have society telling you that you cant make a jar that round! It has to be square. You will never hold enough if you go with a round jar. You have the ability and power to make those choices.

You also have your immediate family where you have their factors to consider. Work and how you make a revenue for your family comes into account also. Along with your habits, do you smoke or drink too much? Do you watch way too much evening news? All of these outside influences can be used to strengthen or add impurities into your clay.

Some influences may cause chitterings or a series of small irregularities on the outer edge or rim of pottery ware. These may not be anything big but they could affect the integrity of your life. While others could become frizzlings, or mainly a decorating fault, typified by the curling over or frizzling of parts of a decoration.

A clay stained hand of a potter engaging in a craft work of pottery or molding

All of these influences are under your control. You can add or take away from your life. You see something that is weakening your objective then you can choose to remove it. Maybe you want something more. Then you can choose to add it.

What you add to your clay is entirely up to you. Nobody else can add to your clay without your approval. This is where so many people falter. They have so many impurities in their life and then want to blame others when it falls apart in the other steps. They allowed and sometimes even encouraged that integrity reducing impurities into their life or clay.

Into the Fire

As mentioned earlier an important step for a piece of pottery to become functional is that we have to put the pottery into the kiln and fire it. If you want your pottery to be durable you have to go through this process.

The whole process of firing your clay makes may molecular changes to the state of the clay. Yet firing is done at different stages. The first is drying the clay this gets rid of the water that is trapped in the clay you have to go slow or the expanding steam will cause your pot to crack or even explode. From there the temp is increased which removes the water the is bonded to the different materials in the clay. From here the temp in increased up to 2400° to cause the actual chemical composition of the clay to change and become more durable. Those types of changes are permanent.

red flame

Once you have fired your pottery it is fixed in that position. You cant go back. That can be quiet scary so I understand why so many people are afraid to do the hardstep.

This process is the part most people don’t ever want to take. I mean come on who wants to be in the heat of a fire. It is hot and uncomfortable. At times that discomfort can even be so great that it can be downright painful.

Yet those who face the challenge of going into the kiln, they are facing those big challenges in their life that can literally make your break you.

For us when we are being fired we are having the old ways of thinking burned off. Those limiting beliefs are transformed into a better and stronger mindset. What we are able to do becomes realized. Suddenly you can handle a lot more weight. You are able to handle the work of holding your water without the day after day of a crisis of older mindsets.

You have the friends who don’t serve you leave your life and that can be painful yet when those friends leave you have new friends enter your life. Those friends become the crystalizing effect of the new you.

When It Breaks

Like clay, you can also get over fired. Yet in your case, I would say that is we humans can become too hard. We want to go through the experience and all of a sudden we won’t budge and we can get to the point where we are brittle. We lose the ability to empathize and allow for new experiences to happen. We become “set” in our ways.

Then again if we are fired too long and suddenly things change we can even become broken but there is hope. Again much like pottery when broken there are solutions to those problems. It all depends on what you are willing to do.

blue broken plate on gray concrete floor

Gluing

Sometimes when things like pottery are broken we try to piece it back together. We take all the pieces and we reassemble the pieces together and hold it all together with glue. This works but often those b[places where we try to bond the broken parts together with alcohol or other bad habits it can give the impression that we are all “together” yet those joints are never as strong as it was before.

Often the problem is that there are extra fine pieces or little chips that either can’t be found or just cant reattach. These often show the weakness and we work way too hard trying to protect that jar. That level of protection can actually render that jar unusable.

Other times the break maybe clean and easily fixed a little work and it is as good as new and may even be stronger than before. That depends on the quality of the clay used and how long it was fired.

Mosaic

Yet another way to fix a broken plate or bowl is to take those pieces of experience, then add them to a whole new experience. Much like a mosaic if you take the piece of a broken jar or plate and sometimes even break them down to smaller pieces you can then fashion them to a new life and make an even more beautiful and even stronger work of art from the damaged remains of your previous experiences.

So many times we have our life set in a way that we believe to be perfect we have a marriage that is the storybook tale. Then some type of impurity is introduced. Maybe it was an affair or perhaps some type of addiction. Suddenly you are developing cracks in your jar. You desperately try to mend the fissures. You love that life. That is your jar. You have filled it with love and hope and you can’t seem to stop the leaks.

Eventually, those cracks compromise the whole jar and it falls to pieces. You have a choice. Take those pieces and just throw it away or take the experiences and apply them to a new life.

We are like clay. That may be why the bible says why clay was used to create us. It could be that God knew that we were vessels to carry many different experiences. Maybe why we are able to shape our lives so easily. That could be why so many people fold under just a little bit of pressure while others are able to hold up for years. Some are willing to face the kiln of life and become durable while others stay green never committing to anything and are not willing to serve even themselves. We all have the ability to face the fire and when we come out of the other side we are stronger than before.

Are you struggling with being durable? Or did your creation fall apart? If you would like help creating the mosaic of your new life I can help you do just that. Set up a call and we will talk it out.


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About Bryan Goodwin

I like being able to help people find their "why" and achieve the personal freedom they desire. Besides writing for Relaxed Male I also am a life coach. By helping men find the leader that is found in each and every one of us. I do this by encouraging men to get outdoors and find the balance they are missing. Realize that they need to be in contact with the outside as often as they can. It is not only good for them but for their families and relationships.

1 Comment

  1. Brian very good post this is something that really speaks to me, and should speak to a lot of people very well written thank you for writing it

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