Letter from the Director – March 2024

The Beauty of Becoming

“Enjoy the beauty of becoming.” – Mandy Hale

I recently did something I’ve always wanted to do. I took a pottery class. It was a wheel throwing class which means you use a wheel that spins to create pieces out of clay. I’m a very creative person and I expected to be able to make some decent things. Maybe not amazing things, but something recognizable as a cup or a bowl. It was not to be!

Creating thrown pottery is a lot harder than you might think. Artistic, creative me was actually pretty awful at it! I asked the teacher over and over, “What am I doing wrong?” She answered, “You are a beginner. You are doing nothing wrong. You are learning.” 

It was a perfect response and it settled me. Once I accepted the “beginner” mindset, I could enjoy the process. I tried and failed, tried and almost succeeded and failed, and tried and failed again. My teacher told me my creations were beautiful. I laughed – not out of a dismissal of her words, but because of the pure joy it was to be a beginner. It was fun. I was covered in splatters of wet clay. My face, my shirt, even my shoes had gray streaks on them. I let go of perfection. I let go of being the best. I let go of everything except the beauty of becoming. Becoming a beginner again. Becoming the creator of imperfect things. 

Oh, Friends, what a joy it is to cast your lot with imperfection. Because then, you get to experience the beautiful work of becoming more. That’s growth and satisfaction rolled into one. 

I returned to the pottery store to paint my imperfect pieces. I hadn’t realized that to get a brilliant coloration on your pieces, you needed to paint them with 3 coats of paint. It took me 4 hours to paint my 3 imperfect and rather small pieces, but I relished every second. I was becoming . . . what? I was becoming a beginner and with that I was becoming true to my own definition of success. To succeed means to begin with a heart open to joy.

Spring is seducing middle Tennessee right now with patches of yellow and bright green. There are warm days interspersed with chilly days. There is rain combined with sunshine. The beauty of becoming it all around us. So it is also with our writing projects. No matter where we are in the process, the writing is becoming what it is meant to be. Celebrate and enjoy that! It’s great to finish a piece of writing, but it’s also great to be in the “becoming” stage, to fully live in the evolution of our own good work, imperfect and messy . . . and beautiful nonetheless.