Pearls, the beautiful opalescent pebbles found within oysters are, surprisingly, borne from a lifetime of healed wounds. Oysters don’t like foreign substances slippin’ on in between the mantle – which is sort of like a tongue, except not really at all – and the shell. So how do they fight an incoming parasite, for example? By mummifying the little fucker with layer upon layer of nacre, an iridescent death goo secreted from the not-really-a-tongue mantle.
So, truth: If an oyster does not incur any irritants or injury in its lifetime, it will not produce a pearl. That is to say, the gorgeous pearl does not become a gorgeous pearl without the pain – and in fact, it is literally scar tissue. (Points for literally using the word literally correctly – don’t hear that every day.)
Anyhoo, I came across a related article on the interwebs yesterday and it got me to thinking about a quote I read recently. Because I can’t specifically assign it to anyone, though, Ima paraphrasing best I can, here….
(No, not the meme – but weird, right?) THIS: “Once you get it – really get it – your regrets and pain will fade. The power of your now will show you the importance of what you lived.”
To be clear, I’m not diminishing the act of aligning with our pain – either my own or that of another. Pain is real, tangible, and so unique to each one of us. And I am not a proponent of pushing our hurt deep into our gut, giving it space to ferment and eventually poison our hearts. (Done that, and it ain’t pretty – or fair, for that matter – when it finally percolates to the surface!)
So my point is this: The “now”, in that possibly trite paraphrase above, is the pearl – all shiny and brilliant in its painful path to become. It wasn’t an easy journey – because if it were, it literally wouldn’t exist. (Literally the second grammatically correct use of literally I’ve seen today, wow!)
The title of this blog is a zen proverb – one that I both balk at and resonate with. Easy enough to say, much harder to do. And in truth, the supposed “easy” thing – ie. “hanging on”, is actually the creator of the drag. And eventually? The pearl too.