This has been reposted with permission from the writer, Anna Lee Campbell
This Earth Day was tough. It is usually one of the days of the year that brings me the greatest joy. Not only is it a day for reflecting on all the beauty our Great Mother has to offer, it’s also the day I became a Mother, 17 years ago, to the joy of my life, Satto.
As I felt deeply into the pains this year, reading headline after headline of people’s suffering during this pandemic, the brink of economic collapse, world hunger, climate change I kept reminding myself of the chrysalis, creation, and the darkness of the womb, fertile earth where seeds are sown and how growth emerges slowly from this point. My tears have been heavy these past weeks but I have worked hard to keep from numbing, to allow myself to feel into and witness all this pain that we are being asked to address, knowing these tears offer a necessary release and a nourishment for the seeds of change to grow.
As a nonessential, I’ve been struggling to find my way through this. Knowing in my heart that my work is essential and that there must be something that I can offer during this time but not knowing what that was or how to move forward.
Beginning on the recent full moon I began exploring throwing bowls in porcelain. A clay I don’t normally work with but the purity of the white was calling. A blank canvas, and an ability to focus on the simplicity and beauty of the form.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been spending a lot of my meditation time working on clearing and opening the chakras, creating a clear channel for source energy to flow. It’s my intention, but believe me, it doesn’t often feel clear. These days it often feels more murky. White light is the color that emerges when you encompass all the colors of the rainbow and direct it at a certain point and it has been calling to me.
Still feeling lost but finding solace in my time in the pottery studio on this Earth Day and New Moon in Taurus I began working in stoneware, creating similar forms. Until recently I still wasn’t sure why or what I was doing but I knew that the best way to move forward is to follow my inner stirrings, to let my heart lead, and if I keep my focus there the answers will come.
So far the clay I’ve been working with is also recycled. These current pieces are being built from the discards, and failed work of my students who I miss dearly and also mine. There have been quite a few flops over the past few weeks, but it’s an homage to rebuilding.
Sitting at the wheel today I thought about how we are nourished and how we can offer nourishment. Memories came flooding in of working at Amma’s kitchen, a monthly vegetarian soup kitchen in the city. We started serving there just before Satto was 2, and continued until his sports activities took over our weekends. It was always a highlight of the month. The early days were housed in a church in the lower east side and then moved to a church in Harlem, where it is still located. Homeless people were served but it was eye-opening to discover a majority of the people weren’t homeless, they were the elderly on fixed incomes. They would light up when Satto would come by to speak with them and offer to help clear their trays or any little tasks a young child could do.
If you are not aware of Amma, she is known as the hugging saint. Amma means Mother, and her entire life has been dedicated to easing suffering and offering love to others.
Today I realized how I can serve in a small way. Proceeds from the sale of my bowls will go towards funding her charity Embracing the World, which has soup kitchens in 40 cities in the US and in other countries throughout the world. Her soup kitchens only skim the surface of her offerings to the global community. I love her hugs, her heart, and her ability to walk through this world and lead with compassion. My bowls are still forming but they are being formed with loving intentions and I look forward to being able to share them with you soon.
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