Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What's in a Breath? - A Shitty Month, Gratitude, and Some Bottled Emotions

Recently I was able to participate in Bottled Emotions, which was a super cool event sponsored by the Rutter Family Art Foundation and conducted by the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio at Work | Release, a local venue in the Norfolk NEON Arts District.  From the event page - "Bottled Emotions is a participatory performance in which the public is invited into the hot glass studio to exhaust their emotion into an oxygen mask that is attached to the end of a blowpipe. In this free clinic the concentrated emotion inflates the molten glass and these feelings give shape to the mass. These emotions are “disposed of” in a cathartic fashion and the glass in recycled into other projects."

The concept was that you visited a makeshift "medical clinic" that was cleverly installed with a mobile molten glass kiln trailer. Arriving at the front desk A "nurse" checked you in and you had to fill out a couple forms. One was a real world release waiver, that among other things, warned of the potential dangers of blowing glass. For the record, I don't think anyone was afraid of that part, as the crew running the event are masters of their craft. On the other form you listed your "bottled up emotion" you wanted to release. You then took a seat in the waiting room and waited your turn. While waiting I was able to capture a photo of one of my friends who cleverly decided to release "This entire shitty month."  She later said it was a great feeling, bringing an almost immediate sense of lightness to her spirits. 

Melissa Gumley designer and owner of ADHD Driven clothing releases "This entire shitty month" as Charlotte Potter, Chrysler Museum Glass Studio Manager and Program Director expertly crafts the glass creation. Photo: Jeffrey Sargent

I was 007 and grateful
Many people chose to release things such as fear, anxiety, stress, a month from hell, etc. (kind of a theme there), and definitely all good stuff to expel!  Anyway, I felt and feel pretty damn good these days, so was inspired to go the other direction.  The emotion I chose to release was gratitude.

I'm truly thankful for the people, as well as the experiences, both positive and negative, I have had in my life...way way too many to possibly list here.  Gratitude is often what I set as my intention as I begin meditation or yoga practice. It definitely helps still my mind when I focus on my breath and maintain a sense of Muchas Gracias to the world.  As humans we can tend to over focus on our negative aspects - perceived shortcomings if you will.  Not only do we beat up ourselves, but also our communities and our society as a whole.  Follow any political campaign and negativity is most likely the rule vs. the exception as candidates try tearing their opponents down while building themselves up. 
While all this negativity can serve to give ourselves and others a much needed kick in the butt to make positive changes, it can tend to bring our spirits down if it consumes too much of our emotional energy.  
What are you grateful for? I bet you could fill a page in no time at all. Take some time today to inhale the good and exhale some gratitude.

"Inhale the good and exhale some gratitude"
Me & Charlotte Potter. Photo credit to Benjamin Boshart