I grew up with no religious practice and a healthy does of skepticism about religion. Too much harm in the name of god for me.
But the absence of religion didn’t mean that I was void of spirituality. Being an outdoorsy type, hiking and biking, I I lived a spiritual life with the mountains and forest as my sanctuary. The only dogma I followed – the Golden Rule. In many ways I still feel that way, I just don’t do as much hiking as I used to. This practice served me well for many years.
Eight years ago I learned of a religion that mirrored my spiritual beliefs – Unitarian Universalism. I began going to church every Sunday – a shock to me and my friends. But I was drawn to the community of the place, and the assembling of like minded people all pursuing their own spiritual journeys. It was a great place to deepen my own journey. I began to meditate. I studied paganism, buddhism, hinduism, taoism, christianity, judaism, and islam and further defined my own spiritual beliefs.
Just after finding the UU church, I began taking pottery classes. For many years, the two were separate endeavors. But as clay took a firmer hold in my life, the two presented a scheduling conflict, and church was losing out. Last year, when I dove deep into clay, I stopped going to church with any regularity. But as before, I found I didn’t need a church building to build a spiritual practice.
I spend 3-4 days in the studio each week and I find myself as spiritually involved as ever. It seems my original nature-based spiritual beliefs had just taken a more micro turn to focus on one of earth’s most plentiful resources – clay. I joke to my ministers and church friends that I am still going to church, its just that my sanctuary is the studio. But it isn’t a joke. I am learning fundamental spiritual lessons in the studio that no amount of worship, study or meditation ever taught me.
What lessons you ask? Oh, come on, I can’t give it all away in one post. And they are too numerous to do justice here. I will be exploring and sharing these spiritual lessons of pottery as an occassional installment to this blog. Check back regularly or subscribe so you don’t miss a word.