The Mental Arts Tidbit (Mar. 3)
Wisdom of Amphorae
The Mental Arts Tidbit for the Day
The creation of classical ancients
Molding these containers with their immortal hands
We think not of when they were whole vessels but instead broken
Pieces of stories scattered at the bottom of a once bustling river city
Along with the rest of civilization
Once it held the finest in the land
Olives, rose, vinegar, and wine
My lovers, losses, lords, and ladies
They lay in the riverbed
Jagged, sharp, but not quite dead
This poem, called “Scattered Ashes,” was inspired by the opening scene of the Disney movie Hercules, where various characters dance on Greek amphorae. An amphora is a container frequently used to hold various materials, like oil or wine. They were used widely in shipping, both in Greek and Roman times.
For me, the broken amphorae was a symbol of when a container’s life ended — when it was discarded, or broken, its original purpose was finished. Yet, in leaving behind their fragments, all of them combined tell a story about the life that was lived.
In martial arts, the biggest thing that I struggle with is change. So much change has happened in terms of energy, motivation, skill, challenges, friends, coaches, and training environment in the past year.
I have lived it, yet I am not sure if I’ve experienced it.
On a smaller scale, every time I train, I’m reminded of moments when I’m forced to discard the container of who I am and finding new containers to inhabit. Yet they are not fully lost from my memory — rather, I can choose to remember the parts that matter, while simultaneously having new experiences.
Try This Tidbit
Reflect on the containers that you have built in your training. What did they hold? Are they serving their purpose any longer?