Earlier this summer, my family and I packed our bags for a vacation on Sanibel Island, Florida. Sanibel is known for its abundant seashells, so I promised the women in my summer writing circle that I would bring some shells home to share with them.
Early in our trip, I found myself looking for perfect, unbroken shells. But I soon realized the broken ones were much more interesting.
As I turned these shells around in my hand, studying their unique cracks and holes, I noticed how the light entered their inner chambers. Some revealed spiral staircases, others let in tiny pinholes of light. Many had jagged edges, while others showed softer results of sand and salt water dissolving them over time.
I imagined that each broken shell had a story to tell, a story about its unique imperfection. This reminded me of the quote by Rumi, "The wound is the place where the light enters you."
Isn't this true for all of us – especially now, as our country and world is caught up in so much brokenness?
After returning home, I carefully sorted through my shell collection and picked an interesting variety to take to my writing class. I placed them in a clear glass bowl.
As we passed the bowl around the circle, I invited each woman to close her eyes and let her hand fall upon one of the shells, trusting it was the one she was meant to receive.
I then asked each writer to imagine the story of her shell, letting the broken parts serve as an entry point. Here's what one woman wrote.
On a personal note, as some of you know, I'm in the midst of a huge transition in my life. Soon, my daughter will be leaving for college. This is already leaving a mark on my heart. For perspective, I will remember my seashells. Like the author Anne Morrow Lindbergh, who wrote so elegantly about the sea, I will let take my lessons from the shells. I will learn once again how to let the light enter through the broken places. I will open to the new, exciting adventures waiting around the corner.
Are you an soulful entrepreneur with a story that feeds your work? If you'd like to learn more about how to weave your life experience into your writing, let's chat.
Writing prompt: Find an object in your home that has a broken place or flaw. What story does this flaw have to tell? Feel free to share in the comments below.
Author and Branding Consultant
I am passionate about helping mission-centered business owners share their message through compelling written and visual content.
My memoir, What I Gave to the Fire, is available in both print and Kindle formats on Amazon.com.