The Pain Pot


A friend of mine, Rosally Roffman told me about the pottery pain pot that a friend had given her.  She was asked to some words on a slip of paper. These words, then, were put into the pot – so that the pot would hold the anguish and the pain would be released.  

When the pain pot is filled, the little scraps of paper can be torn to shreds. They can be buried in the ground in a ceremony of “releasement.” They can be thrown into the garbage – good enough for them.

If you were to write six words that are expressions of pain, what words would they be?  What is it in your life that needs attention? That needs to be cured? A relationship? Maybe write a letter:  “John, I am telling you this.”  Let it rip!  It goes into the pain pot.  There now—feel better?  You’ve wanted to say that for a long time.  

Here is a poem by Vivian Smallwood that was published in Life on the Line: Selections on Words and Healing, published by Negative Capability Press.

The Wake

After  a while they will go away
With their trays of food and their pleasant faces.
After a while I can wash the vases
And close the door that is still ajar.

What do they think that doors are for?
Maybe something needs shutting out,
Maybe something needs shutting in,
Something that they don’t know about
        And haven’t the right to know.
Whatever it is, is up to me
To lift the latch or to turn the key,
        To hold it or let it go.

Nothing but kindness brings them here.
Nothing but kindness makes them stay.
I tell myself how kind they are
But I watch their faces, I watch the clock.
        I know what a door is for.