Making Pearls

Making Pearls

Most people have an idea of how a pearl is made already, but for those who don’t, don’t worry, I’ll quickly educate you.  It starts with an irritant, usually a parasite (not a grain of sand), getting into the respiratory system of a clam, oyster, or mussel.  The oyster, clam, or mussel then secretes a coating around the irritant called nacre.  After time goes by, this secretion builds until we have that valued treasure we have a pearl.


We all have irritants in our lives.  When I was a kid, I was an easy target for bullying.  Seriously, I could play hide and seek by turning sideways.  That was one of my irritants.  It was my childhood fear every day when I went to middle school and high school too.  Now, I could have tried to live with it, waited until someday I’d be out of school, move somewhere else, and live my whole life feeling defeated, despaired, and have a list of irrational fears for the rest of my life, but instead, I turned to martial arts.  I let the bullying and the self-loathing fear I felt become the fuel for my practice and jumped into it with both feet.  Here I am 40 years later, and my martial arts practice has turned into not only a treasure for myself, but for everyone who I impact on a day to day basis like my students, family, and friends.  I like who I am and who I’ve become.  BTW, there are no bullies in my life.  The only things I’m afraid of now are sharks and bears!


But, the treasure I possess is so much more than not being afraid of bullies.  When you look at things like focus, self-discipline, leadership, confidence, problem solving skills, the ability to remain calm in times of high stress, etc.  These all came from my martial arts training.  I could go deeper into this story and tell you how these skills have saved my life and possibly the life of others, but I’ll save those for another time.


The point of all this is, when you find that one thing that is your irritant, that source of uncomfortableness, you can let it bring you down, OR…, you can make something of it.  Choose to make a pearl!

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