Hard Lessons Learnt


Tough day yesterday in the studio. It began with discovering that a ring I had made the day before had to be remade. I was at the final polish stage when I noticed a hairline gap at one point of where the bezel meets the back plate -  because I was recycling my silver and rolling out the back plate, I'd obviously missed a bit filing, hence the gap. Invisible to every eye but mine, my heart sank as I had to put the beautiful ring back on the bench to be cut open carefully to remove the stone, and then rebuilt.

There are days that are pure magic in the studio, when everything flows, when the rhythm of the song you are playing pulses through you and into the metal between your fingertips. Everything is in unity, and beautiful things happen.

This wasn't one of those days. The mojo just wasn't with me. And I could feel that. I should have walked away then. Stepped away from the bench and handled other tasks. But no, I was determined for a happy outcome. I took a pendant from the shelf that I have been in love with since I made it, the beautiful piece of marbled buffalo turquoise. I wanted to remake it into a ring. A birthday present to myself.

But there was a great resistance in me to cut open the setting to release the stone - the setting was a perfect flow and I didn't want to break open the relationship between metal and stone, which worked perfectly in this unique piece.

So I tried other avenues. Creating a bezel to set the entire piece into. The idea was to drop the pendant (having removed the bale) into the new setting, and fold the silver over to create a ring. Well, thing after thing went wrong. The juju of the day wasn't improving. I should have put it down and walked away.

But I didn't. After the failure of the various setting challenges, I thought I'd try and solder the ring to the piece (with the stone in it), using a cooling agent on the stone to help protect it from the heat. Now I KNOW that turquoise is a fragile material. I KNOW THIS. Deep down, I even knew that it wouldn't work. I did. But still I pressed on. Determined to go against all odds and come out a winner.

The stone exploded out of the setting, leaving a stench of burnt organic matter and other unfamiliar smells - the backing, the glue ... For a moment, I looked at it in disbelief, as though I was shocked at what had happened. I must have believed, deep down, that only good things happen to me, that I can pull of miracles, that if I want it to be so, it will be. Well, this time it wasn't to be. I killed a stone. I killed a beautiful piece of jewellery. And I was left to feel the pain of that.

Because everything is a sacrifice. That stone was dug up from the earth that made it. Some man broke his back with an axe in the hot desert sun to pull up the raw material, his heart cheering upon discovering some beautiful rough. Another burnt their fingers at the grindstone to cut, shape and polish the stone just so. A little bit of their heart going into bringing out the best of the rough into this sweet finished cab. Then it got peddled. In the words of dear Leonard: "bought, and sold, and bought again". Finally, I discovered the little cab in a dusty store in Albuquerque, having flown half way around the world and then back again to bring it home. I set it into a beautiful setting. See how much energy this one stone held? And in one careless, somewhat aggravated moment, because things weren't going my way, the stone ceased to exist. It exploded beyond the elements of its existence, leaving behind the shock of evocation.

A valuable lesson learnt today.  A sore heart, but a wiser one. Most lessons in life come at a price, usually it's the most vulnerable that are sacrificed in order for the bullies, the troopers, the fighters and the thinkers, to come to the heart. To yield up their egoic battles with the world and themselves, and remember to love. Many tragedies that occur on the earth plane bring us collectively back into feeling. We become kinder to one another in the face of death and destruction. We become more generous, more sympathetic. Our worries and concerns fall away as we feel the suffering and sacrifice of another. Imagine a world where everyone was living with that awareness in their hearts at all time. Imagine. ... It starts with you and I, my friend. It starts with you and I.