Cultivate Imperfection


This old bowl used to belong to my grandparents. When my Papa passed some years ago and my Grandma had already gone, it was one of the things I was drawn to and felt a big enough connection to for whatever reason to bring to my home and claim as my own. Maybe it was simple aesthetics. Maybe it was because I remember candy residing in there when I was younger. Whatever the reason, I brought it home years ago, promptly stuck it in a closet and forgot about it until very recently. 

This bowl used to be a bright, blinding silver. It sat proudly amongst my grandparents belongings, reflecting proudly anything that would approach it. Now it is tarnished and dusty after years of isolation in one of my closets. Dormant and purposeless. Patiently waiting for a rediscovery. If my grandma were around to see it now, I’m almost definite her immediate response would be to grab some silver cleaner and a rag to polish it back to its former brilliant and shiny glory.

I took this bowl out of my closet a few weeks back and did clean some of the dust off but left the patterned tarnish marks of isolation and placed it on a shelf in my studio, again only to leave it be and to not really think about it so much.

Yesterday, it caught my eye as I had been listening to singing bowls recently and I thought that, even though this is not a traditional singing bowl that claims to be perfectly tuned to our chakras, I’d grab a mallet, hit it and give it a listen.

I struck it once and the most beautiful tone emanated from this bowl. Low, deep, full of character and resonance. And I couldn’t help but strike it again and again, eager to hear it again while patiently waiting for the entire vibration and energy to dissipate after each strike.

And now I am realizing that this bowl has a renewed purpose for me. It had a purpose and beauty to my grandparents and now it has evolved to serve a new and different purpose. As for the tarnish, I intend to keep it exactly how it is. Time has made it this way and has given it a unique character that nothing else can. It will continue to tarnish and age but it’s underlying tone will stay the same. I’m confident that if I had struck this bowl with a mallet 15 years ago while it sat shiny and proud in my grandparents home that it would’ve made the same exact tone it does today. It’s underlying being constant while it builds experiences and character around it, growing and evolving. 

We are all tarnished, and yet we can all continue to sing with our true being when we are discovered, isolated, forgotten and rediscovered. Your tone does not change, but your markings inevitably will. Own them and be proud of them while exuding your true purpose throughout.

Evan Scharfeld

Cultivate Yoga