The Magic Bowl

A forum for Al to post his musings
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AlFike
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The Magic Bowl

Post by AlFike »

As many of you know I have a cherished hobby of making pottery. I'm blessed to have my own studio on our property and its my hangout when the weather is poor or I have a sale to produce for. Yes, this little hobby has grown into a source of income although if you tally up the expenses versus income, I doubt that it is a credible source. Like all hobbies, I do it for pleasure and it is a creative outlet which I have mastered to some degree.

My most productive times are before Christmas as I sign up for a few Christmas craft sales .My hobby then becomes a somewhat serious affair counting up product as a busily produce bowls, plates, mugs and casseroles on my wheel. Glazing these beauties is always the challenge and I have as many disappointments as I have triumphs. In one recent firing I pulled out a real looker of a bowl. It was various shades of blue with red flecks and a gold rim. This is a new combination for me and one that my wife Jeanne encouraged. This attempt was stunning and I brought it to her to show it off. She heartily approved and I was surprised that she didn't want it for herself. So I got to put it out for sale at a recent crafts fair, front and center thinking it would be one of the first items to be sold. Things were selling as I anticipated but the beautiful bowl was admired but not bought. Several hours had passed and I was having a good sale so was busy taking money, wrapping and encouraging those browsing to buy. I'm a pretty good salesman when I want to be and over the years have honed various techniques to push the undecided into buying. Things were going well but no sale for my beautiful bowl. Others less beautiful were flying off the table but the belle of the ball had no dance partners.

There was a bit of a lull at my table until a lovely dark haired lady came by and went right for the magic bowl. She embraced it like it was a baby and gazed into its complex center which was like its own little world. She looked at the price which was not onerous but not fire sale either and her face dropped. It was clear that to buy such a luxury was beyond her normal behavior or maybe pocket book so she put it down and told me how much she loved that bowl.We both agreed and I said that it was my favorite piece of the sale . She also muttered something about getting some money but I didn't see her come back until almost the end of the day. She came with a friend whom I believe she wanted to see if she would buy the bowl for herself as kind of a act of sublimation. Her friend was an older lady whom I assumed was her mother but when I asked she said that she was a dear friend. The friend picked up the bowl and asked if this was the one that she admired. Upon confirming that it was, she immediately said that she was going to buy it for her. Now her friend didn't seem to be all that rich either. An obvious senior citizen and probably living on a pension but was hell bent on buying that bowl for her friend. It was not a power struggle but the dear lady was so overcome and shocked that her friend would do this that she started to exclaim " no, no , no I only wanted to show it to you" I'll pay for it but you could see by the look on her face that she didn't have the money. She was embarrassed but also something else was going on. Her friend made an exceptionally lovely gesture of generosity and acknowledgement about the love bond that they shared. She was making a statement of love, a tribute of sorts. The dear lady got all teary eyed and after her intial resistance accepted the gift. The older lady forthrightly thrust a hundred dollar bill into my hand and at the same time asked her friend if she wanted a mug too. Of course she protested but the lady insisted and put a mug in my hand to wrap up with the bowl. They eventually went happily on their way and we exchanged our sentiments of joy about the outcome.

This event stuck with me afterwards because of the bit of drama but mostly because I felt a part of something beautiful that happened between the three of us. Although I was a minor actor in this play, I also played my part in facilitating the event. I believe that God did something there which will last in all our memories for some time. The friend gave willingly, excitedly and insistently a gift of love. I believe that the friend had a very good soul, one which acted in love and I bet was Divinely prompted. I think that the bowl facilitated some sort of healing for the dear lady who received it. Of course I could not know the circumstances but intuitively I felt that it was an important event for both of them.

What did I get out of this exchange? I learned, or rather relearned a valuable lesson about love. Love can manifest in all kinds of ways. I made the bowl in love, I put my love into it in the form of admiration and I think that that dedication made a difference to that object. It transformed it to some degree and it had a purpose to it which was fulfilled. Some of you may think that I'm making a bit much of this nice but not profound event and you may be right. When I later related the story to Jeanne and Hal ( who is staying with us for a short while), I began to tear up and something came up from deep down. A sure indication to me that something important happened . I realized that it is in this form of unrestricted and no strings attached giving that harmony is created and sustained. Love bonds come with generosity of spirit and sometimes materially too.

Mother Theresa used to say " give until it hurts". I was faced with such a prospect not a day later as we were out to dinner with friends. I believe many of you are familiar with Terry Coyote and his beautiful wife Christine. They facilitated a drumming circle and pipe ceremony on our front lawn at the August retreat. As I was selling my pottery, Jeanne, Hal, Judy and others were having a drumming session in a nearby church . Jeanne and Judy invited them to dinner at a restaurant and I was able to attend that. Now Jeanne did the inviting which became a crowd of about 10 people. Now I wanted to pay for four of us but Jeanne said that we invited all to attend. Soooo, as I battled in my mind about paying this substantial bill, I thought of the bowl story. Its not as if I didn't have the cash as I had just finished my sale. I just didn't want to spend so much of it. But the example of the bowl urged me to get over my reluctance and be generous. I paid and now do not regret it. It was an act of love. Now I can't afford to be so generous all the time but when the occasion demands it, I will feel less reluctant to follow through. The bowl incident healed me a little too.

You never know How God is going to help you grow and heal . It surprises me how creative God is in His efforts to help us along. The key is to allow the transformation of our thinking to happen. Be alert to these sorts of opportunities. Don't push them aside because there is some element of discomfort. If you pass a test or gain some new insights, try not to forget them and incorporate them into your consciousness. In the end, whatever it is that is a form of payment for the lesson is well worth the expenditure. God always gives back much more than it costs you. Joy within is priceless and God always looks after our well being. May you all be as generous and creative as your life allows. I see how important that is for me. With much love and appreciation for all the richness of life.......Al
Endless journey,endless Love.

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Maureen
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Re: The Magic Bowl

Post by Maureen »

Dear Al,

What a touching display of the many links love has unto its destination. Al, as you have shared the depth of what seemed like the beginning of the story with you in your creation of the magic bowl to how the love touched the two beautiful friends, then onto the blessing of love you were able to come to share through the gift of a meal, onto sharing with Jeanne and Hal the magical exchange between the 3 of you as the bowl and mug were gifted, and now onto us who read your heart felt experience. The magical love just kept on flowing and will continue to do so through the woman who received your beautiful pottery creations as she relays how the pieces came to be hers and how her friend had been so generous. You, dear Al, are linked with the continuous flowing gift of love forever in the magic of the bowl and mug. A continuum of blessings for all.

Thank you for continuing the flow of love by spreading it here!!

Great blessings to you and the continued creation of pottery pieces - beautiful story :)
Maureen

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Geoff
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Re: The Magic Bowl

Post by Geoff »

Dear Al,

A lovely story, but why did Jeanne not offer to "cover" you for the dinner? LOL. I thought that was the story line!!! Seriously its a great story.

hugs
Geoff.

Vee
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Re: The Magic Bowl

Post by Vee »

Dear Al,

Such a lovely story. I certainly don’t believe that you are "making a bit much of this nice but not profound event”.
Something of a similar nature happened to me over the last couple of days, and reading how you analysed your story, I felt that similar things were behind mine in a way.
Here is my story:

The beginning of it goes back some time. In March I played in a resthome I had not been to before. Everything was set up beautifully, and an eager crowd was waiting. Then I began playing and “ouch”, what a horrible sound. Badly out of tune, pedals did’t work, only about 3 playable octaves, so I resorted to very simple early music, that doesn’t need a pedal, but still felt I was murdering beautiful music. However, the residents still appreciated it hugely.
I tolerate a fair range of “duds”, but this one was the king of duds, and decided not to go back there until they would fix it or replace it. Great disappointment……. I spoke to the tuner who had looked after it( who happens to be a friend) and he said it wasn’t fixable.
He also said, that the manager was pretty hopeless and like in many of such places, wasn’t prepared to put money into that.

Now move ahead to these times….
Last friday afternoon a retired piano teacher friend told me, that there was the estate of a friend of hers (who had also been a piano teacher), who had passed away, being cleared and that there was a good piano in that. There was impatient family, the house was sold and everything had to go…in a hurry… My friend asked me if I knew anybody who might be interested in the piano.( it would just be given away to a good home, as there was no time to try to sell it) I immediately thought back to the March event, and I trusted the judgment of my friend, that the piano was good.( I have checked the make online as well) She is a musician after all.
I rang the home, but by then it was friday evening and nobody around to deal with it. However, they did pass it on, and we managed to get the manager to contact the person responsible for dealing with the piano, and I spoke with him as well, giving advice as to transport and tuners. He made short work of it, and the piano was at its new home yesterday afternoon.All done in the one day,yesterday.
Now it is settling down, and will be tuned in a couple of weeks, and I’ll be there playing it.
Everybody concerned is happy.
The daughter of the woman who passed away, that her mother’s loved instrument found a good new home.
My friend who passed the info my way, being happy to have helped out.
Myself as another link and a chance to help the residents of this home have some fun ,and the activities coordinator no longer disappointed that I didn’t want to come back….she was thrilled.
All sort of links came together just at the right moment. Yes, and then one wonders….

I cannot turn this into a story like you did Al, but you’ll get the gist of it…

Much love,

Vee.

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jeanne
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Re: The Magic Bowl

Post by jeanne »

oh, Vee! What a wonderful story! There is no greater joy than being part of God's Mighty River of Love, touching souls by being a channel of Love! I really hope that some day we will meet you and be blessed to hear you play! Thanks for sharing! With love and admiration.... Jeanne :P
Stay centered in Divine Love and expect miracles to happen!

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AlFike
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Re: The Magic Bowl

Post by AlFike »

Thanks Vee for sharing. I'm always amazed how serendipitous events can be linked together to bring amazing results. I think God works to make those linkages and bring harmony. Your story certainly illustrates this very nicely indeed. Great story and lovely to hear from you. Much love........Al
Endless journey,endless Love.

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Geoff
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Re: The Magic Bowl

Post by Geoff »

Dear Vee,

That is a wonderful story and exactly how Father's plans work out.

hugs
Geoff

Vee
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Re: The Magic Bowl

Post by Vee »

Dear Al,

There is something more I wanted to respond to.
You would have had a frequent customer for pottery, if I had been living nearby. I’ve never been able to resist buying such things at private stalls or home businesses. We have a very good potter living next-door, and there is a lot of her stuff here, and also, there is a local pottery group, who exhibit in an old cottage nearby, a virtual museum.
I’m avoiding those places now, as we just cannot fit in any more, after collecting so much in many places over the years.
Some of my neighbour’s pottery was given to me by her husband( who has since died), when he had to take a trailer load full to the dump, so called “seconds”.( they wouldn’t have sold and had become unfashionable) He felt very bad about dumping that stuff , and I was happy enough to take some of it, when he was standing there next to his trailer, hating the task on hand. Not long ago, when she came for a meal here, she saw the lovely soup mugs that were once meant to be dumped, and in which pumpkin soup just looked magic, because of the colour combinations. But that indicated some of the love her husband had for her work( and her) and she certainly didn’t mind me having those pieces. I have pieces here too, that have something really special about them, and that business with interesting glazing results I’m also aware of. A matter of luck sometimes( perhaps). Handmade pottery is so very different from factory built stuff, and sets of “the same” pieces are usually never quite the same, but that is the fun of it.
Must say that the copious quantities of coffee mugs have proven handy during house concerts.
Do you do the salt glazed pottery as well? That is so lovely.
If I ever meet you, I must have a piece of yours as well.
And if you ever have any “seconds”, I hope Jeanne sneaks them out of the backdoor, before you get a chance to dump them…lol.

And Geoff…..I just don’t know what has hit me lately. It is just an endless combination of
“coincidences”, making for a very happy life. But you are on to it, I think.
Today I gave a public concert and am still buzzing from that occasion. Everything felt good about it, the feel of the place, the audience, the quality of the lovely grand piano, and I was totally inspired today, but that has become a much more common experience.
It all resonates between the people present and the performer, and somehow you dig deep into what the music is trying to say and sometimes it is as if your hands are not doing the playing any more.

And Jeanne, anybody involved in creativity is a very lucky and privileged human being. It gives such scope of communication. But I must say, that as soon as the ego plays no longer a part( ambition, money etc) the soul is freed up, and becomes a much more relaxed communicator.
My life just consists of gardening and music now. I think that you probably have some earthly paradise there where you are living now, because of the gardening background. Gardening is “painting” with plants and trees I think. Our garden will be superb in about a month’ time, when fully summer.
I wished I had known about all of this DL business before, because we visited friends at Campbell River in 2009, and have had a good look around Vancouver Island, and as they picked us up at Vancouver airport, we also saw Stanley Park and some nice areas there, before crossing on the ferry.

Much love,

Vee.

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jeanne
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Re: The Magic Bowl

Post by jeanne »

Hi Vee,

Well you have really got me chuckling to myself!! ;)

you said: And if you ever have any “seconds”, I hope Jeanne sneaks them out of the backdoor, before you get a chance to dump them…lol. I could share many funny stories (now legends) about Al's seconds. :lol: I don't think any piece has ever ended up in the dump! Maybe my kitchen, Christmas Gift Grabs....sold as "seconds" --but usually given away to beggars!

Another story I like to tell about Al is that every Christmas one of my esteemed community colleagues would do all his "one stop shopping" at our place, buying up Al's pieces for his friends, family and staff! One year I BEGGED Al to let ME keep a special bowl that this colleague wanted to buy... but Al quickly dismissed my protests, promising to make me another one. Well you can imagine how delighted I was when my colleague surprised me...gifting me with the beautiful bowl! :P But that's not the end of the story... Al turned around and sold it AGAIN! :roll:

Vee, if you ever get a chance to return to the Pacific Northwest, you will always have a place to stay with us in this beautiful garden and sanctuary. Truly a gift from God, it is our greatest pleasure to share it, especially with others who come for respite and to pray with us . Here is a link to a you tube video of our home (now 6 years old, another gift to us from a refugee from Colombia who stayed with us for awhile). Where we live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBxZH-c ... e=youtu.be .
And another you tube Stella made for us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mT_hxKD ... e=youtu.be.

Right now we have a guest from Queens, New York staying with us for 10 days (Hal Eisenburg)....a young social worker who is recovering from burnout, working with youth in the trenches there. This weekend, guests are coming long distances for a mini retreat -- from Victoria, Edmonton (Alberta) and all over the Vancouver lower mainland area to pray and feast and enjoy music together! Wish you could join us! We especially look forward to meeting "Kevin" who is also from New York! We only "met" Kevin recently in this forum and he is coming to pray with us! :P It is the same Kevin who prayed with Hal, Helge and my sister Judy at different prayer circles in Queens!

If you are able to come back, maybe we could plan a circle road trip to Campbell River.... all connected by ferries in this scenic area of magnificent fjords (rivaled only by those in New Zealand, as I understand!)

And it would be awesome if you could play at my mother's residential care facility! She and the other residents would LOVE it, as you well know! Thank you for your stories and for being such a beautiful channel of Love! God Bless, Jeanne
Stay centered in Divine Love and expect miracles to happen!

Vee
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Re: The Magic Bowl

Post by Vee »

Dear Jeanne,
That is a lovely invitation, Jeanne, and thank you for your generosity, but I don’t know if I ever would be able to take you up on it. We have not travelled since that long trip in 2009, as soon after that we had those bad earthquakes here( for us, the Sept 2010 one was the worst) and the endless organising of repairs afterwards. It is now very difficult to get medical travel insurance for my husband, so he doesn’t expect to travel anymore, apart from perhaps Australia. I don’t feel like leaving him alone here and go on a trip myself.
We used to travel a lot, but don’t miss it now.
However, one can never know what the future could bring.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get those movies to play. I got the right pages, but it always ended up in “error”.
A folder with photocopied music has always been standard in my luggage, so if I ever go, that would come along.I always play from music nowadays, my memory is just the pits.
When I play in the various homes, I take four folders with me crammed full of music, packed in a heavy backpack, so there is always enough to choose from for any kind of piano I may come across.

I’m sure happy, that none of Al’s pottery is wasted……and those stories make me wish for more……..

Much love,

Vee.

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