Broken Shells

Walking along the beach are the remnants of broken shells. I walk, head bent downward, looking for the perfect shell. But I am drawn towards the colors and patterns, the bits and pieces of shells that have broken apart. So, like my life, I muse.

I return home with a collection of broken pieces, ready to put them into a type of soul collage. One of the things I have finally learned to understand and to actually cherish are the broken pieces in my life—the imperfect shells, the bits and pieces of life’s lessons that make up my life.

Have you ever walked into a store that has shelves lined with shells—all cleaned up and polished—sitting neatly in a row? Funny, but I have never purchased any of these. They just don’t seem real. Sometimes I even find myself wondering if they even came from the ocean.

What I do cherish is the clear, glass vase filled with remnants of shells that I have collected in my walks along the beach. They sit by my bath where I can study the beauty, charm, and tapestry of color that they create when placed together. So I have learned to cherish the bits and pieces, the collection of experiences that have created the beauty of my life.

What I once viewed as broken and marred, I can now see as a part of a greater masterpiece—each thing, each life experience necessary. Every shell a lesson. Every broken piece an important part of breaking me open to a greater reality creating a larger picture of my life.

What shells do we place around are hearts that must break before we open up? What needs to crack open, what rigid structures need to loosen so that we can see who we really are? We hold so many misconceptions and untruths about ourselves. Being broken open is so necessary for us to live an expanded life.

What concepts of God do we hold that limit what we are able to receive? What outdated messages about whom God is and what God’s intentions for our lives are? Without experiences that shatter our preconceived ideas about ourselves, about others, and about God, we remained trapped and unable to grow and change.

What we need is a new paradigm about life. Rather than idealizing the perfect and the polished, we need to embrace life’s experiences and learn to see beauty in a new way. Perhaps true beauty lies in the collective strands of what we have once viewed as failures. What if we were to see our mistakes and hard lessons as the treasures of our life—as the building blocks to authenticity and wisdom?

Wisdom is the feminine aspect of the Divine and She is found by walking the pathway of life. When we open our eyes we begin to realize that She lies along the beaches in the fragments of shells that represent the myriad experiences of humanity as they shed old ways of being, allowing themselves to be broken apart in order to be reborn into something new.


Jan said…
This is a lovely and thought-provoking post, Julie. I will never look at bits of shell on the beach in quite the same way again. :-) And, like you, I might look at those perfect shells in the store, but I have never bought one. And now that I take a look at a few of the shells I collected this winter while in Florida, my favorites are ones with little holes in them. Heart holes, I imagine, to let the love in and let the love out. :-)

Blessings to you! And Happy Solstice!
Julie Smith, MS said…
I like this Jan, "heart holes--to let the love in and let the love out" Nice. I actually got my shells from Florida. We were just in Ponte Vedre for 8 days and it was wonderful--minus my sunburn! We are like little moles here in the NW after a long winter! I came home with a huge bag of shells to ponder are wonderful time there and bring back the energy of Mother Ocean. Ahhh...
Libba said…
Thank for for writing this beautiful piece! So healing to envision the perfection of the "broken shells" toward expansion.
Julie Smith said…

You are most welcome! Thanks so much for stopping by.

Many blessings to you!