When a bit of sand gets into an oyster, the oyster doesn’t cry and complain about how unfair it is, or tell the sand to get out. It responds by reflex, slowly and patiently surrounding the grain of sand with layer upon layer of a white substance. It doesn’t happen overnight, but ultimately this layering becomes a pearl that we humans value and consider beautiful.
Contrary to the oyster, when the grit hits the fan for us humans, the usual response is to cry and moan, rant that it’s unfair, and generally resist the whole process. Most of us grew up learning that this is the appropriate way to respond to challenges. After all, that’s what we saw everyone else do. In our unconscious state we blame others for our dilemmas, or rant at God asking WHY ME? It may be a diagnosis of cancer, a spouse who leaves, a job lost unexpectedly, betrayal by a friend, or a myriad of other challenges that can confront us.
Yet in the anguish surrounding the difficulty there is always the still small Voice of Spirit, nudging us to trust the process, guiding us to begin surrounding the grit with layers of awareness, acceptance, forgiveness, and transformation. Unlike the oyster, we are at choice. We can continue to go down the path of anger and depression or choose to allow the grit to help us grow. Like the oyster, the layering process takes time.
Many people turn to a spiritual path when dealing with a crisis. Suddenly the need to connect with a Higher Power for comfort is apparent. In my case, it happened in my twenties when I was working for the welfare system in Los Angeles. I was overwhelmed with the bureaucracy in the department and the huge needs of the people I was attempting to help. Coupled with my perfectionism, I couldn’t possibly get everything done. Running on coffee and cigarettes during the day, I used alcohol at night to relax and sleep. Emotionally and physically I was depleted. Then a friend introduced me to meditation. At the time meditation sounded like a weird thing to me, but intuitively I knew it was the answer. In only a few weeks my life turned around and I was solidly on a spiritual path. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to say that was the last crisis I even experienced? But of course that would be untrue. During the ensuing years I’ve been through other challenges large and small. But the difference is- I now have the inner resources to deal with them effectively.
Sometimes when people have been on a spiritual path for a while and feel they’ve been doing their best to practice forgiveness, say their affirmations and otherwise stay on the path, the challenge hits even harder because they believe “we create our own reality.” They feel guilty and ask themselves, “How did I create THIS?” I’ve done that a few times! But guilt never helps the process. Because we all have an unconscious mind, things we don’t seem to want will get created, no matter how many affirmations we do. When the unexpected grit happens, it’s time to strengthen those spiritual muscles even more by meditating, listening for guidance, practicing forgiveness, and loving ourselves in the process.
So the next time grit gets into YOUR oyster, remember the image of layering it with white, symbolizing the light of Spirit illuminating the recovery process. Be gentle with yourself and know that “this, too, shall pass.”

Author's Bio: 

Patricia J. Crane, Ph.D. and partner Rick Nichols recently published their inspirational anthology, Pearls of Wisdom for Living a Richer Life, with contributions from forty-one authors worldwide. Look inside the book, www.heartinspired.com, or www.amazon.com.