Transform Irritation to Inspiration

An oyster responds to the irritation of sand by secreting a substance similar to its iridescent pearl-like lining.  In time the sand dissolves and forms a pearl – the irritant becomes a beautiful part of the oyster.  Is there a message here from nature that translates to human experience?

Our humanity is the common denominator of human experience.  We all sense, feel, see, hear, smell, and touch.  But we vary in how we respond to what we sense, hence the exquisite distinctions one person has with another.  To live peaceably, dealing with irritation is at times a formidable challenge.

Is it possible to respond to irritation like the oyster does, by exuding a response that builds beauty rather than creates adversity?

The goal is to live such that we build an inventory of appreciation for fellow humans that enables us to respond to irritants by covering the irritation with constructive human substance including love, trust, and empathy.  Empathy, for example, is a choice that can lead to meeting irritation with understanding and a drive toward peace.  Thich Nhat Hanh says;

The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions.

Indeed it is a matter of relationship art to create our own unique human response to the grist in the gears of our daily life.

The challenge:  Turn irritation into inspiration by overcoming destructive impulses with the golden restraint of treating others like we want to be treated.


Joe Klinehamer
Joe Klinehamer
Excitement in life comes from learning, loving, and dreaming. Capturing the essence of past learning, tuning consciousness to exactly what is happening now, and taking a beachhead in the future is the dream. Seeking perfection but settling for excellence is the journey toward both meaning and value creation. Change the world not with one extraordinary Nobel-achievement but with many mini-impacts that add to mighty. My parents placed a mantle on me early in life: Never Satisfied. It captured a DNA drive to know more, do more, be more. Not a blessing or a curse but just who I am. Recently a friend said with edgy respect, that I have a restless mind. In a stroke of early luck, the college program I elected was a BA in Natural Sciences and Math, requiring all the heavy science and math stuff but also significant courses in philosophy, literature, art, and history. In the first quarter of life science and math were prominent tools. but in the following two quarters, the right brain has negotiated a great deal with the left brain to expand opportunities to learn and produce. For example, in management and leadership now 40 years, the art side of life including EQ and other Qs has moved to the battlefront. Just to think is a privilege and challenge, but to push into new territories of insight, such as in how to lead people and be led by them, is exhilarating and a never-ending discovery path. With the remaining one hundred words, I was born in Pennsylvania to German Irish parents, reared in a conservative religious environment, and attracted to science in part through the magnetism of NASA. While earning a BA and MS in Chemistry, I met the love of my life Carol and now partner for a half-century. Our two children and four grandchildren while being the recipients of our love and care have helped us become and grow as adults – learning laboratories where mutual growth occurs as love meets the diversity of generations. Today I seek to challenge tomorrow aggressively.

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