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true balance...

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…he draws his strength from the soil of his own nature and his life experience. This is spring water. I feel the difference between this inspiration and that of others very strongly. His stance… is a true balance, not a measured middle…– Shōji Hamada writing about the potter, Bernard Leach

Finally with a bit of quiet time over the long holiday weekend, I began a new book. Never made it past the introduction because this quote stirred something in me and set me writing…

… the soil of his own nature and his life experience…

A potent concept. The unique grit and alchemy of all that is you as a source of strength. What a beautiful way to view every memory, every choice, every bit of your past, as useable and necessary to what you create in the world. No shame, no apology, no anger, nothing to hide, nothing to push out. All of it composted together to create something rich and fertile and perfectly itself.

No one has walked the places your feet have taken you, no one can speak with your voice, no one can express the intricacies of your point of view. No one can create or be or do in this world, as you can.

a true balance, not a measured middle…

What I hear in Hamada’s words is that balance isn’t always in the middle. It isn’t always equal pieces and parts, it’s the sense of one thing in relation to something else.

Perhaps at times, we need more of one thing than another. Perhaps balance is not about an equal middle point of distribution, but a deeper listening into a larger space that puts attention where it needs to be.

True balance, as a whole body awareness, rather than a logical determination.

This quote stalled me from reading further in the book because it poked at some deep inquiry I’ve had for awhile. Years ago, I visited a woman’s home, and it was the clearest sense I’ve ever had of balance… She was a single mother, full time professor and artist, and her home seemed to embody… her. There were no lines between her work and her living and her relationships – which is not to say she worked all the time, but that her work and her life and how she loves were one in the same. And even as a stranger, I could sense this in her serenity, the simplicity of her home, and the texture of her paintings… She’d experienced so much chaos in her life, but her response was... true balance.

If I reorganize how I move through the day, sense balance as something more fluid, take in information from external sources with grace and a grain of salt… might the space from which I create (which is to say, live my life, since this in its very essence is a series of creative acts) have more flow, fewer tangles…

always in motion,


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  • Loved this message felt inspired to respond. I feel that my husband drew “his strength from the soil of his own nature and his life experience” and was my inspiration to continue to grow myself in this life, I guess similarly. He is now in a care facility with Alzheimer’s at a young age (onset early 60s) and I’m left to grow on my own even though I feel stalled and stuck in the soil of my own life (with a half acre of soil in the yard wanting my attention) and with this sudden change and grief. However I move through grief and sadness when I feel it and feel that I too have created that balance in home, life and work that feels peaceful and serene; and I feel it always, inside and outside of myself no matter where I am or what I’m doing. Thank you for your words and I’m looking you up!! I plan to write out my “Letters to Jim” one day so why not get inspired because I could use some more of that!

    Christine on
  • I, too, have experienced so much chaos in my life and some might say my response is true balance… but not always. I strive to make that my truth.

    Syd Swanson on
  • I too resonated with “the soil of his own nature and his life experience.” Even lovelier is to go through what remains of my life here with “grace and a grain of salt.“ Love the image of flowing hair with less tangles as a way of thinking about balance. You have such a way with words Fia, thank you.

    Karen Carnahan on
  • Thank You 🥰

    Barb on

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