let it go.

June 4, 2013




s+p vase



I tend to overthink things. You could call it a convenient quality or a hidden burden–I usually identify it as both. Though these days I feel like it tends to get in my way. I’ve got a great gut instinct, but that brain of mine tends to override it almost every time.

I think pottery is trying to teach me my big life lesson. It is teaching me patience and self-compassion…that’s a lot for a hunk of clay.

Recently I hit a wall with my lessons. I was so frustrated with myself for not recreating the vessels that I had envisioned in that overworked mind of mine. Sensing that, the three seasoned ceramicists I work with all gave me the same advice in different ways: Let it go. Close your eyes, empty your mind and fill your hands. Trust your process.

In short, be kind to yourself and take the journey.

So that, friends, is my golden ring I’m reaching for in life. I’m trying to let go. Expected outcomes be damned.

What about you? Do you feel like you trust your process or do you tend to overthink things, too?


  • Anika

    This picture is beautiful! See your smiling face soon!!!

  • Mau

    I’m definitely an over-thinker. Letting go and trusting my instinct (and God/fate) is something I struggle with everyday. :-/

  • Desi

    I’m a thinker for sure, but I’m getting better. I feel like I swing one way (over thinking), then swing the other (I don’t really care). Sometimes I hang out in between which is the sweet spot.

  • Torrie @ a place to share...

    am i an over-thinker?

    is the sky {in california;)} BLUE??

    maybe this is why pottery (in college) was so challenging/frustrating for me. and sketching, too~ for that matter.

    letting go. trust my process… working on it as well:).

  • dana

    You know I have always been a “thinker” but ever since having children the “thinker” has slowly disappeared. It was about a year into my first child where I just realized that I have no control over this person, no matter how hard I think or plan, she will inevitably squash that plan to smitherines. I slowly started to let go, go with the flow, go easy on schedules and plans and “how they should be” -- it’s a journey, that’s for sure!

  • ptkate

    I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one living in my head!

    And Dana, you are right: having children certainly makes you realize that you can’t control life! However, on the flip side, it has made me worry more, too. I constantly remind myself that the kids need to take their own paths, too and that they need to get hurt sometimes (either emotionally or physically--hopefully not too much, though!) in order to grow up feeling confident in themselves. But that fiery love for them makes me want to protect them. Thus…the worrying. :)

  • 180360

    I tend to over-think things constantly. Ironically, it’s usually about everything other than my art and creative process. But I remember all too well being frustrated in my ceramics classes. Pottery is SO much harder than it looks. I found that it requires this fine balance of tension and relaxation.

    • ptkate

      Yes--exactly, Kim! I think I’m at that weird beginning stage in pottery where the thinking is still overriding the process. I love handbuilding. It’s not as hard for me and I like that I can keep it wonky looking without risk of it collapsing. When I do that, I feel like the “over think” goes away for a bit. :)

  • curatetheday

    I am a complete over thinker. Most of my life I have liked it. The problem is that when you have kids, thinking becomes almost a luxury. I still engage it in constantly, but over thinking takes time and now I have less of it. So, I get frustrated when I am stuck and can’t just move ahead because of over thinking and perfectionist qualities. I also feel like the is a pressure to perform or achieve a certain outcome. And when you have a limited block of time, say a class or the hours the kids are in school, this is only amplified. I think your teachers advice is spot on.

    Another thought is to pick one piece you love the look of and want to achieve and study it. Know that it will take time to learn the process. And often in doing that, something else, wholly your own emerges. Read that piece by Ira Glass called, On Creativity. He talks about the creative gap. You just have to keep going. xo

    • ptkate

      Great points, Karina. And I had forgotten about that Ira Glass piece--I’m glad you reminded me of it. I love it. It is so relevant and gives me hope with the creative process! Thank you so much for your thoughts and advice!

  • Brandi

    It’s funny, but what pottery is teaching you, archery is teaching me. I’ve been learning how to forgive myself, trust myself, be in the moment, enjoy the moment even when it doesn’t turn how I hope it might… Sometimes when I’m making a shot, I repeat a Sanskrit mantra in my head that roughly translates to “my actions are blissfully free from outcomes”. Easier said than done, but I’m learning, always learning.

  • Uncle Beefy

    OMG -*total overthinker*! TOTALLY! I know that’s a lot of emphasis and all-caps. Sorry. But that’s how much it touches a nerve in me. Such a problem for me and, digging deep, probably rooted in fear and used as a distraction from action.

    Loving Brandi’s Sanskrit mantra offering and *really* need to incorporate that one, for sure!

    • ptkate

      I LOVE the emphasis and all-caps! :) Your self-analysis sums me up too, I think. It’s pretty paralyzing, isn’t it? Gah. I think the first step in changing is recognizing the issue though, right? BTW, We are so overdue for our time together. We need to catch up! I’m going to email you, mister. We’ll get our acts together and get a date on the calendar sooner or later… xo

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