Nested bowls of belonging

Co-becoming is a meditation where something arrives on the page,

beautiful, like a silt deposit loosed from a swollen river,

silt that is soft, fine and nutrient-rich, and lit with glints of mica.

Delve into the silt, meet the layer of clay.

From this clay shape a bowl,

over time, and with care,

with which to hold the knowing.

Almost a year ago I imagined them. Nine nested bowls, each representing a layer of aliveness, from inside the body out to the edges of the universe. I knew I was to make them, and in doing so, that I too would be made.

And that’s how it was. As I held each lump of clay, then shaped and smoothed these concave mandalas, each one a little larger and more difficult to make, the clay held me. The support I felt from this act of working with alive earth (no metaphor, clay is full of tiny bacterial beings that aid its malleability) was astonishing. The medium was intelligent, humbling, and teaching me what to do.

The image of the bowls came with the vision of the Co-becoming Plunge – a series of meditations, writing practices and creative projects to become more intimate with the animate world. We started from the inside of the body, the air that becomes body through breath, slowly widening over the weeks to finally encompass the vision of the entire cosmos. The bowls were a way to ground the experience of meeting this lively intelligence. Because it’s no small thing, to meet the world in this way.

To experience the space between world and self as a collaborative project that’s been going on for aeons – to suddenly find yourself witness to this, brought intimately, almost shockingly close to something vast and beautiful – it’s very hard to describe. And it’s even harder to remember, because it’s so far from cultural norms. The bowls were my way to support the remembrance of this profound way of knowing and being. They live now on my altar, each bowl playing a role in devotional practice: honouring and acknowledging the sentient presences and our co-creative process. 

Due to interest, I’ve decided to run the plunge online as well as in-person. Please get in touch soon if you are interested or have questions. And a few scholarships are available, so don’t hesitate to ask if you are drawn to the work but are financially constrained. I aim to be as generous as the work is, while also continuing to raise funds for the Yolgnu community, the Gay’wu group of women. You can read more about it here.

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