The first birthday I shared with the man I was to marry, I made him a mug.
It is no longer a mug. Just as our relationship and our life together has evolved and deepened over the years, from courtship to marriage and more, so too has the mug changed its form.
Years ago, I glazed his mug at a paint-your-own pottery place. My father was Hungarian—from Budapest—and I created a pattern modeled on Hungarian folk art, something I’ve always admired. I gave it a creamy background, with a red and black design. The inside, I painted red all over.
My husband enjoys a personalized birthday present, and used the mug every morning for his coffee. He always washed it up by hand ,and sat it in a place of honor on the kitchen counter—a symbol of connection and love. Until the day it broke. I don’t remember how it broke, but we both felt shattered for a while.
Life contains so much symbolism, doesn’t it?
We have the power to change the ending. It’s something many say, and something we all know. Yet somehow, it is easy it is to forget. It is easy to latch onto an interpretation or narrative, and feel that it is the truth. Then the truth morphs into a Greek tragedy, if we let it.
I packed away the broken pieces of the mug. I just couldn’t put them out with the rubbish. I thought it was done and dusted, but it was there neatly stored in the back of my mind.
When I meditate and during savasana, I often see colors and patterns and movement. Sometimes I come away with an idea or understanding or an emotion. I do what I can to approach my yoga with openness, or to set an intention. I’m never quite sure what I’ll come away with after my practice.
One day, long after the mug shards had begun to gather dust, it came to me that you could also make mosaics at the paint-your-own pottery place. They had lots of shiny, little glass tiles to spark creativity, and you could glue them into a design.
I wanted to know if could I use the broken mug to create a mosaic. The lovely staff were intrigued by the idea and we forged ahead. To begin, we shattered the mug even more, hammering it into smaller pieces. I chose a plate and got to work, transforming the mug so it became an expression of the evolution of our love, our relationship.
When I designed the mosaic, I didn’t cram together the pieces of the mug. I felt it needed room to breathe. This is part of what yoga does and how yoga helps us connect deep into ourselves—to glimpse who we really are and understand what we want to keep and what we want to shed.
Often, we have scant time and space and quiet in our life to cut through the noise and busyness. Maybe we cleave to other voices so much that we lose sight of our own voice. Yoga gives us the shapes and the space to let the dust of our thoughts settle so we can tune into who we are and the way forward.
Sometimes the path where yoga leads us materializes unexpectedly. What yoga can help us come to realize is that who we are can even contain shattered pieces that become new, different, or whole with a solid purpose.
Sometimes we’re not so much changing the ending as shaping it into a new chapter.