Wonder of the World Of Rocks

April Nurse
May 8, 2022

Life takes grit! It takes small doses of courage spoon fed to our fearful inner child day after day, until we finally learn to trust ourselves. For many, the pandemic interrupted our autopilot leaving us face to face with an unmotivated and fearful version of ourselves. Processing and progressing in the face of who we have become takes grit. Recently, I had the pleasure of teaching a few brave women how to find courage with a little grit.

These wonderful students, enrolled in our eight week beginning class which focuses on cutting, shaping, and setting gems and minerals. Each woman came with a story, a lot of curiosity and a fair amount of nervousness . Faced with fear I had the honor of addressing the doubtful inner children. -Let me show you what you can expect, but remain open to the unlikely. The worst may happen but I have your hand steadfast in my own, have no fear. I’ve walked this path many times and if something new arises that we don’t yet understand, we’ll use what we know to understand it better.- Fear is valid, but it may be put to rest by the support of experience and confidence in lessons learned. I have made so many mistakes in my life, at least now I’ve got a full toolkit and the capacity to use my tools for good . I know I’m not alone in this. Anybody who makes mistakes in class can rest assured they’ll be supported. And so we should support ourselves as we go through life. Mistakes are inevitable. We might as well be kind to ourselves when they happen.

The hands-on work of shaping stone exposes the truth of a person. Everybody makes mistakes; stones are dropped, cracked, broken, exploded even. How a student reacts to these setbacks is very much reflective of how they deal with setbacks in life. I like to remind students that a cracked stone is an opportunity to adapt and create a new vision. How lucky care we to unexpectedly find ourselves holding two gems instead of one? How satisfying to reshape a mistake and make something beautiful. It was a proud moment watching a student break a stone on the first day and laughingly repeat my words “…and now I have two!”

At times the students would be so focused on finishing their pieces they’d rush to the end. Gently I’d remind them to pause, wash up, and walk their art out into the sunlight. Every flaw, every blessed scratch, and crack becomes visible in the light. It’s so easy to miss under the intensity of focused progress. The way the grit and water run through everything during the shaping process, coating and blurring the final result, is a part of the journey. Admittedly, it can be hard to appreciate. Instead of cursing the deceptive mud, it helps to remember that the grit is the gem itself shedding the weight of its old self under our evolving guidance. With our focus on the emerging shimmering jewel, we often forget that the rough material had to undergo the harshest treatment of cutting, sanding and polishing before at last meeting our approval. Care, patience, and gratitude are the least we can offer the grit that makes our transformation a reality.

Stepping into life after the pandemic can feel daunting. Many of us are peering at ourselves as though for the first time. As we unfreeze from our quarantined emotions I offer you the tools I offer my students. Be gentle with your process and ever more gentle with yourself. Acknowledge your fear for what it is (it’s valid,) and then remember you’ve got everything you need to overcome. It would be a shame to let a little fear ruin what might be a lot of fun. Slow down! Don’t race to the finish; instead take lots of breaks, take your time and inspect your progress in the light of truth. You may not be where you want to be, but all that grit is proof you’re making progress. While we all want to get to the jewel, we can’t lose sight of the work that happens before hand. Making a jewel of life takes courage, patience, gratitude, and a little grit.

If you’d like more information on shaping stone please visit VistaRocks.org