red hot sword

November 19, 2020

Face centered to body centered cubic. A lesson in metal and life.

red hot sword

Prepping for the next radio show with Transformation Talk Radio. I provide an outline for the team. Four sections (15 minute segments of the hour long broadcast) which will guide the on air conversation. Forging A Life: Truths in Creation of Katana (the show) brings to life the personal growth concepts which are inherent through the process of making Japanese style swords. For me the analogies flow. I’ve learned about swords through osmosis over the years from Howard who is the craftsman/artist and my husband.

There is a phase when the sword is plunged into molten salt, “cooked” for a specific period of time then removed and allowed to air cool. This process is repeated several rounds. Each cycle is timed. The temperature of the molten salt precise. This is called thermal cycling and is part of heat treating the blade. It refines the internal structure of the steel. On the microscopic level during heat treating molecules shift from face centered to body centered. Think of dice with their dots on the sides. That’s face centered. Outside. On the surface. If the dots moved to the inside center of the die they’d be body centered. Body centered steel has all kinds of good attributes for the sword.

Face centered to body centered is the perfect metaphor for personal growth. Self actualization. When we are face centered the focus is on appearances. What will people think? Am I keeping up with the Jones’? Fearing failure because we’ll look dumb. Face centered we march in tune with societal expectations. We cow to the preferences of our family, school, church, and work peers. We are unstable. Easily rocked. Less connected to ourselves and others.

When we are body centered. Centered in our body, in who we are. The focus is on authenticity. We believe in our own assessments. Think independently. We can trust our intuition and have grace for the process of becoming. Body centered we are grounded and resilient. It is also connectional. Being comfortable in our own skin opens us to link up with more people and gives capacity for deeper relationships.

The shift from face centered to body centered happens as the steel cools. In goes from yellow-white descents through orange, bright red to dull red. Then the steel will suddenly brighten. It’s almost like the steel takes a deep breath. It is the energy produced as the molecules shift from face to body. It is electrifying to watch. It’s the same with the human spirit. You shine bright and produce energy when you are genuinely you. When you connect with your center.

Yes it takes emersion in some intense heat, but, the beauty in self trust, the strength to stand firm in who you are is embodied. Your value is confirmed at the molecular level.

For Your Best Possible Self
Coach Christine Clark

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