Kneeling on the hard concrete patio, there was a chill to the air as dusk began to fall and I quickly scribbled my feelings on dishes using permanent markers. With safety glasses in place, I placed a plate gently inside a small banker’s box. My adrenalin rushed as I tightly gripped the hammer and brought it down, angrily and repeatedly on the fragile dish ware. At first my hits were staccato-like, trying to pulverize the plate into oblivion.
As I moved through the scribbled set of spare plates, at times large chunks of ceramic shrapnel would land on the patio. One large piece jumped up and scraped along my right middle finger where dark red blood soon followed. This did not stop me; using alternate grips with the hammer to avoid more scrapes, as I was beyond the point of stopping to find gloves.
The power I felt was AMAZING. I then began to revel in the amount of destruction I could do with one smooth hit. Soon the weight that I had been carrying around my chest was lifted, the weight on my shoulders soon followed. My prevailing emotions moved from anger and sadness to empowerment.
Originally, I had planned to throw the plates into a dumpster. Yet I wanted to feel the action of the breaking at my own hands. I now see the benefit of really feeling it. Maybe next time I’ll wear gloves… maybe.
There was such a sense of peace after everything was adequately broken. In fact, I was proud of my destruction. There was also beauty in the melodious way the broken pieces chimed as they collided with one another while I cleaned up.
Looking back, I see how I was able to break some of the habits of my thinking patterns just by breaking plates. That night, I broke up with some of my anger. Afterwards, I felt enlivened and relieved of many blockages. Over a week later, I still do. Since then, I’ve learned a few things, too.
Several people have shared with me the Greek tradition of breaking plates as a form of celebration. One Greek friend even gave me pointers on buying the plates from the Dollar Store instead of the thrift store for ease of breakability. She also spoke to the exhilaration felt with breaking plates while shouting “Opa!”
I have also read of how some Buddhist monks break green glass in pillowcases to help relieve the feelings of anger. What’s interesting about this is that my next calling is to nicely decorate a plate before I smash it, which seems akin to the sand mandalas created and then destroyed by Tibetan Monks.
Since following my calling to break stuff, I now realize how ceremonial and freeing this very act can be. If you plan to follow, please do so safely.