Where the pot’s not – revisited

Photo by RF._.studio at Pexels

A potter friend tells me that she thinks of her work as ‘making beautiful space to hold beautiful stuff well.’ You’ve probably guessed that she’s a gifted poet, too. I was thinking the other day about connections and remembering – the kind that resonates and vibrates across time and space. Mulling this some more today, I re-membered (brought to life again) Lao Tzu, the great Chinese philosopher who lived around 500 BCE. What he said long ago, and I wrote, quoting him, more recently in 2015, still seems worth contemplating in February 2022:

Where the pot’s not
windinmywheels.com – 20 June 2015

The uses of not

Thirty spokes
meet in the hub.
Where the wheel isn’t
is where it’s useful.

Hollowed out,
clay makes a pot.
Where the pot’s not
is where it’s useful.

Cut doors and windows
to make a room.
Where the room isn’t,
there’s room for you.

So the profit in what is
is in the use of what isn’t.

Lao Tzu

Ecology, economics, gender, politics, poverty, religion, sexuality. Walls keep getting in the way. So, wearily, we return to same old, same old, same old. Cycling round the same old certainties. And the pot’s become more important than the life it’s made to contain. In the melting pot of our early 21st century societal debate it strikes me as absolutely true that Where the pot’s not is where it’s useful. When and where we’re hollowed out we learn to hold water.

Where the pot’s not
windinmywheels.com – 20 June 2015

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