Have you ever thought about oysters. I mean, REALLY thought about oysters?
If you’re feeling life is tough these days, remember, you could be an oyster.
No seriously. Well, not in the sense that you could actually be an oyster. That’s probably not going to happen.
But there is definitely something to learn from the humble oyster.
I remember one time I was by the ocean in Greece, walking along the cliffs. I looked down at this particular point, and I could see all these oysters clinging to the cliff’s edge, either side of the water line.
And I got to thinking, man, what would life as an oyster be like? Think about it. You’re clinging to a hard rock face for dear life, as waves come in and out, each one battering you with water and sand and shit.
And after each waves comes in and pummels you against the rock, it goes out again, sucking you off the rock edge, like some sort of vacuum cleaner on curtain lint.
And this happens every few seconds. Smash, suck. Smash, suck. Smash, suck. Night and day. Day in, day out.
And this relentless pummelling is your baseline reality. It’s not something that happens to you now and then. It’s constant. Sure, some days it’s worse. Storms roll in and the waves become ferocious. Other days it’s not as bad. But still, pummel, pummel, pummel. That’s your life.
And you think you’ve got it tough.
Of course, the oyster is well-adapted to this reality. It has a shell.
It’s has a tough outer shell to protect it from the hammering waves, while the soft business of oyster life goes on inside.
… Now that we’ve come this far, watch me try and pull off one of the ballsy-est metaphors in the history of blogging.
You are an oyster, and the waves are…
… wait for it…
… your heart.
Humans have an intense emotional life. Like, super intense. Our minds are now able to expand out over staggering horizons. I can tune in to the war in Syria. I can tune into the reality of people who have lost their homes to bush-fires. I can feel the sadness of people who have lost children to school-shootings.
And that’s not to mention my immediate emotional reality. The death of a loved one. The frustration of a failing relationship. The dull-ache depression of a life going nowhere.
Pummel, pummel, pummel.
Our lives are constantly being battered by a relentless emotional reality.
So what do we do?
Or more specifically, embrace your oyster-ness.
Just as the oyster has developed a shell to protect itself from the battering waves, I think humans also have a shell that protects the pure life within from the pounding of their emotions.
The trick is to bring our awareness within the protection of this ‘shell’. If you are still enough and quiet enough, you can find a place within you where the troubles of the world – and all the grief and the sorrow your heart feels – can’t touch you.
A soft squoosy centre – the essential centre – where the magic of life happens.
This is something we all have, but we let our awareness spend too long outside the shell, where the battering of our emotions becomes horrific after a while.
So that’s what I reckon.
Come inside the shell, and find your peace.
I think I’m going to take on the oyster as my spirit animal. I might get one tattooed on my ankle….
… with some fancy cursive font beneath it…