On the Cutting Edge
Some days, everything I touch ends up on the floor.
Well, don’t cry over spilled milk, right? Isn’t that what people say?
I ask you: Is that supposed to be helpful?
Depending on how many ingredients have ended up on the floor, I would rather swear and show my frustration, thank you very much.
Life’s little challenges can seem daunting, but I may have something that will help. It’s a simple question you can use to help reframe your problem.
How is this perfect right now?
Last weekend, I dashed off to Denver in search of adventure. I found a private glass blowing class on Groupon. For the record, glass blowing is not as easy as it looks and the constant danger of disfiguring yourself or others with third degree burns is imminent and terrifying. The oven housing the liquid glass is 2100 degrees. It’s like looking into the depths of hell – literally. It’s so hot that your brain freaks out and wants to run away, not calmly gather the raw material for an art project.
But I do love to try new things, so on this day I embraced the inferno ensconced in a hidden garage in Loveland, Colorado.
My instructor Dan (let’s call him the Willie Nelson of glass blowers) was a complete delight. He was reassuring and enthusiastic about teaching this newcomer. Decades ago, he was literally one of the few glass blowers left in the country. His passion runs deep.
He helped me craft a paperweight, a solid orb with my choice of color dabbed in somewhere along the way. Dan was stood right next to me talking away, which boded well lest I get distracted by the inferno where the glass was heated and the color melted. Things could get ugly fast and Dan was right there to avoid disaster.
It wasn’t long before my circular paperweight was looking more oblong than round. I suspect it was my lack of turning consistency when it came to moving about the studio with my molten glass on a stick. There is a point in working with glass when you sit and turn the blob inside of what looks like a flowerpot with a hole in the side. You first wet the pot, then gently lay the glass in it all while turning, turning, and turning some more. Turning is imperative and can be stressful. Not enough turning morphs what should be a circle into an oblong. Putting the glass into the wet flowerpot also helps shape the product. Due to my unnecessary force and too little water, my paperweight got stuck for an instant, scarring it for life.
As I prepared to leave the studio that day, I was drawn to a beautifully colored vase Dan had for sale. I just knew I had to have it, so I bought it and stuck it in the seat pocket of my car, where it stayed for the entire weekend. I could eyeball it each time I drove around, which was pretty often. The beautiful green vase evoked warm memories and I couldn’t wait to put it somewhere special in my house.
Arriving home from an exhilarating but tiring weekend, I unpacked my things from the vehicle. Just as I was about to grab the glass vase, it hopped out of the car and onto the asphalt.
It shattered everywhere.
I stared at the shards and brought my hands dramatically to my face. I couldn’t believe I had done that! I was overwhelmed with sudden sadness. It was a curious and intense response to a broken piece of glass. I held back tears I was so disappointed.
My husband was glad to have me home. He had cooked a meal in case I was hungry. He knew I was forlorn about the vase and he eased compassionately into asking more about my weekend to slowly change the mood. My son was excited to see me too, but he was even more excited to see the loot I had scored at the Asian grocery store. Even though I tried so hard to hide my disappointment over the broken vase, the truth threatened to spill from my watery eyes.
Once everyone was in bed, I started to coach myself. I mentally asked, “How was it perfect that the vase broke?”
And here is what I knew to be true:
First, my experience was amazing! I had photos, memories and a great story to tell. The vase had nothing to do with my warm memories of the weekend.
Second, I had ultimately purchased the vase to support the artist. Just because the vase no longer existed for me, my support endured. He still had my payment.
Finally, I had learned that day during our session that Dan had lost a child to leukemia. I had lost a vase, but he had lost a daughter. I had come out pretty well if all I had to do was sweep shards into the garbage.
I have not missed that vase since identifying those three truths about why it was perfect that the vase broke.
In fact, the broken vase has given me a great blog story – and a story for cocktail parties to come!
It turns out the perfectly formed vase was fleeting and produced by the master. I was left with the imperfect, oblong-shaped paperweight that I made myself.
A true gift of my imperfection.
Well played, Universe.
Peace & Light,
The Busy Buddha
Talk Back to the Trio
Tell us about a time you experienced something not-so-great and eventually realized it was a blessing or a powerful lesson.