Sometimes life’s lessons can come from the most unexpected and magical places. For Krystal, it’s pottery. This week’s episode of Breathe In, Breathe Out features the five lessons that pottery has taught her about life and self-care.
Think meditation is hard? Do me a favor, take a slow deep breath in and now breathe out. Congratulations, you just meditated. Hi, I’m Krystal Jakosky, and this is Breathe In, Breathe Out: a Weekly Mindfulness and Meditation podcast for anyone ready to own their own shit and find a little peace while doing it.
Welcome back to Breathe In, Breathe Out. I’m Krystal Jakosky, and as always, it is such a thrill to be here in the podcast studio, just cuddled up. I’ve got a nice big shawl wrapped around me, keeping me warm as we just enjoy. And I was smart. I put an oil heater out here, so it was actually cozy and delicious. So loving it today. I wanted to talk a little bit about pottery a while back. I was exploring self-care and different things that would bring me joy. Fill my cup, just make me excited to be living life. I tried floating and I tried a lot of different things. One thing I’d always wanted to try and was really nervous that I wouldn’t do good at was pottery. I fell in love with pottery. I fell in love with throwing the clay and just the meditative nature of it.
There were frustrating moments where I was just so annoyed because I couldn’t get the clay to do what I wanted it to do. And then there were other moments that were so rewarding and things went so smoothly and perfectly. I would sit back and say, yeah, I totally did that. you’ve got to see this. It’s not necessarily instant gratification because you have to, you throw a cylinder and then you shape the cylinder and then you have to let it dry a little, and then you can add handles or lips or designs, and then you have to let that dry. Then you have to let it fire. And after it’s fired, then you can glaze it if you want to. Then you fire it again. So it’s a drawn-out process. And yet they’re just little successes all along the way that makes you feel so good.Read More
The other day I went out and my intention was to throw six mugs. I wanted to throw six mug bodies. And what happens is you start to throw it and if it goes wrong, like sorely wrong, you end up taking it off of the wheel and squishing it into a rainbow arch and putting it on your wedging table to dry out a little bit. And this day I was a little bit frustrated with some things that had gone on. I kept mulling different scenarios and issues over. I was not present. And I ended up with six rainbows. I mean, on the one hand, I did really good because I focused and I said, no, no, no. I’m going to keep trying. And I didn’t give up. On the other hand, I ended up with six rainbows and it was because I was not fully present.
So I was thoroughly disappointed that day, bringing my frustrations from outside the studio only helps to manifest insight and life is like this. When you have a problem, an issue of frustration with one relationship and you carry that into another moment, you’re not as present. And your encounter with this new person can suffer. It is not as amazing as it could have been. Let me say this in a different way. Say you’ve had this encounter with someone at work or a good friend, and it was really negative and frustrating. And that evening you are meeting with another loved one. On the one hand, you’re excited about meeting with this loved one. And yet, on the other hand, you are still frustrated about what happened earlier in the day. Instead of being able to be present in this moment with this fabulous person that you love, the encounter is tainted by the experience that you had earlier and how frustrated you were there.
Life is so much better when I’m present. When I try to drop everything else and be in that moment, making eye contact, truly listening, truly connecting, letting go of the upset and the frustration, and just being here. The second thing is I’ve learned from pottery is I have to set an intention. I literally have to set it as an intention in pottery. When I go in there and I am throwing, my hands are so just mucked up with the slip from this pottery, from the water, the water, and the clay together. And if somebody calls me or somebody texts me if I don’t intentionally set that time aside, then I get frustrated and it’s constantly interrupted. Instead of giving that time for myself, I end up giving it to other people or giving it to a frustration of being interrupted. And you can’t really touch your phone when your hands are such a mess, it’s not going to recognize your thumbprint and your phone just looks, uh, it’s a muddy catastrophe.
So I have to set it as an intention. Not only that, if I don’t set it as intended, I find it hard to get out there. I find it hard to find the time to go to the studio and play for a couple of hours. Because once I get out there, I lose track of time, and 4, 5, 6 hours later, I’m still playing. So if I don’t set that intention, that I’m going to go do pottery, it’s not going to happen. And in life, if we don’t set that intention, I am going to be present, or I am going to do this, I am going to give myself some self-care or I am going to nurture, or I’m going to water the plants so they don’t die. If you do not set it as an intention, it will not happen.
Number three, I have to verbalize and enforce. This is all about setting boundaries. I have to let those who might need me in that afternoon, namely, my husband know that he needs to come to talk to me if he needs something because I’m not going to look at my phone. And I have to put my phone on do not disturb. Otherwise, I’ll get frustrated with all of the interruptions, and throwing fantastic objects will not happen because I’m constantly interrupted. I have to verbalize and enforce those boundaries. Don’t bother me. I’m doing this. So easy to apply in real life, right? Setting boundaries with those around us, with our boss, with our loved ones, it’s not easy. Please note the sarcasm there. It is not easy. And yet it is so important for us to say, no, this is my boundary. This is the one I’m willing to do.
This is how far I’m willing to go. And then I’m done. I am not going to cross that boundary because I know that it will just give me upset and frustration. So pottery helped me see this in force and verbalize. If I do not tell somebody, this is my boundary, they are totally unaware, which means that they will continually encourage me to go over the boundary to break it, to do more than I was willing to do, which can leave me exhausted or resentful and frustrated that things are not the way I want them to be. So verbalizing them so that not only you, but those around you know what your boundaries are and then enforcing it for yourself because nobody else is going to enforce it for you. Number four, not everything will work out. At least in my eyes. As hard as I may try, there will always be pieces that fail for one reason or another.
And what I see as a failure, somebody else may absolutely love. There is a Superbowl mug out there to prove my point. I did not think that it was the greatest and somebody adored it in life. We work on things. We make an attempt and it may not happen. It may fall through and we may get really frustrated and disappointed. And yet somebody else may look at it and say, damn, that was an amazing accomplishment. That was really impressive or good job. I’m proud of you for ABC or XYZ in my eyes may have been a failure, but in somebody else’s, it was a success. Think about it.
And the fifth thing that I have learned from pottery is to not expect perfection. The first time that I try is a sure-fire way to ensure a need to start over multiple times, as much as I hated to hear it while taking piano lessons, practice, practice, practice, not practice makes perfect just practice.
This is how you improve any skill. No one is going to sit down and be perfect at something. The very first time they try, there are going to be mistakes. You’re going to have to work at it. You’re going to have to learn. You find new tips and tricks. You learn how to improve and be better at it, whether it’s sports or crafts or hiking or whatever it is that you are doing, it takes time. And there can be a lot of fun in taking that time and learning new things, and yet expecting perfection. The first time that you try to shoot a basketball expecting perfection, the first time that you try to throw a mug or a teapot, which by the way, I have not attempted because I hear that they are really difficult. The first time is practice and you get to keep practicing and you keep playing around with it.
As you improve, I’m sure you see how this applies in daily life, as it has more than applied pottery. I learned that my mugs need two pounds of clay, or I’m just going to be frustrated and annoyed, but I didn’t know that until I practiced and played around with it and figured out what really works. Do I want a really small squat mug that holds like 10 ounces? Or do I want something bigger that holds 16 ounces? Because I really want to just sit down with a delicious cup of tea that will last a little bit longer. So I hope that you’ve enjoyed my little tangent on the things that I’ve learned from pottery. I know I have, I know I’ve enjoyed just sitting back and ruminating on the different things that we can learn from the different things that we do. Life is an adventure and we just get to keep learning and changing and growing and improving. And it’s just amazing. So pottery is a new thing for self-care for me. And I am constantly just trying to find time and setting that intention to go out and play and have fun. I really hope that you are finding those things too, that teach you something. And yet, also bring you a ton of joy. I’ll see you here next time on Breath In, Breathe Out.
I hope this moment of self-care and healing brought you some hope and peace. I’m @krystaljakosky on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube and I hope you check us out and follow along for more content coming soon. I look forward to being with you again here on Breathe In, Breathe Out. Until next time, take care.