How to Make a Big Pot

I was chatting with my son, who is a potter, about what it takes to make really big pieces on the wheel.

Last year, he’d often come back from class to report that the piece he had thrown had collapsed. Week after week he’ spend two hours at the wheel and have nothing to show for it.

That’s not happening to him this year and I asked him why: is he being less ambitious with his projects or has he just gotten better?

He said the answer was pretty simple: speed.

Last year he would try to get a piece from tall to tall-and-wide really quickly – in two or three minutes. A new teacher this year explained that the process needs to take closer to 30 minutes. The simple fact is, the clay cannot transform and stretch that fast.

We often ask ourselves whether we are able to change as if it’s a binary thing. More often still, we notice our pace of change and feel it’s not fast enough.

Of course, change is possible, we just need to recognize how slowly or quickly we can stretch and transform.

Old habits, old mindsets, old attitudes, old limitations. They’ve made themselves part of our psyche and part of our personal story. We took years, maybe even decades to build them up. Should we expect that they’ll just fade away after a few minutes, weeks, or even months?

Our biggest barrier to change isn’t ability, it is attitude: the willingness to stick with things long enough to have  our efforts bear fruit.

Don’t let your results after a few days, weeks or even months dictate what you can accomplish. Your change, your stretch, your transformation – they’re all happening.

The trick is to understand, and to embrace, the pace of what is possible


2 thoughts on “How to Make a Big Pot

  1. Another insightful analogy, Sasha, and, as always, one I needed to hear this morning. I swear that you and Seth have a window to my (home) office and see my daily struggles. You both address them directly so often. And while I always find personal growth and appreciation in your posts, I do realize that this means my struggles are shared by a much wider audience. I appreciate what you do and hope that you keep doing it. Now, I’m off to learn how to make a bigger pot and stretch a bit, slowly. Congrats to your son on learning what it takes to succeed at his desired goal, and for having a father that can stretch that to encompass bigger ideas. I really enjoy how you look at the world.

  2. Thank you for sharing, Laura. It turns out that most of our (collective) struggles and challenges are more similar than different…it’s at the heart of our shared humanity. Keep at it!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.