Pearls-of-peace Farmers

Pearls and purple sensation allium (retirement stage)

We will be pearl farmers in this blog, pearls-of-peace farmers. I read online directions for how to “farm pearls” at home: “Place a small bead made from another oyster’s shell into the reproductive organ (if you can find it).” Hmm…this is getting interesting. “Place a piece of another oyster’s mantle (the organ which makes the shell) with the bead…close the oyster, put it back in water, and wait for 2-3 years.” This pearl-raising makes waiting 9 months for a baby sound less daunting. However, some pearls fail to form in their parent shell and some babies fail to thrive. Miscarriage and other baby traumas are more common than most people realize.  

At a further point along personal odysseys, some individuals cannot wait for their retirement. Then they arrive “there” and do not find the peace of mind that was imagined. Successful pearl farming may appear to be an easy way to make a living, but it is a long-term investment. A successful retirement also is a long-term investment of time and money for a quality outcome. More importantly, I believe that a quality retirement experience requires one to rewire their personality and ability skillset in this important developmental stage of living. Regardless of your present age, what parts of your personality might benefit from rewiring?

The word rewire has meanings for both electricity and psychology. Rewiring refers to replacing faulty electrical wiring when thinking of electrical work. Psychologically, rewiring is a personality self-reorganization to provide a greater sense of purpose and meaning. Like pearls strung together for a necklace, you have various parts of your personality strung together. Is it time to restring or rewire?

Pearls of Peace—PoP quiz:

  1. What is your association to pearls?  

My first pearls were a gift from my mother-in-law. She gave me her mother’s pearls. Legacy pearls are a metaphor for ancestor importance.    

To read more about Jan and her books, please visit Janis Johnston’s website.                    

By Janis Johnston

Janis Clark Johnston, Ed.D., has a doctorate in counseling psychology from Boston University. She has worked with children, families, and groups (ages 3-83) with presenting issues of anxiety, depression, trauma, loss, and relationship concerns. She initially worked as a school psychologist in public schools and was awarded School Psychology Practitioner of the Year for Region 1 in Illinois for her innovative work. She was a supervising psychologist at a mental health center, an employee-assistance therapist and a trainer for agencies prior to having a family therapy private practice. Recipient of the 2011 Founder’s Award for her dedication to the parenting education of Parenthesis Family Center (now called New Moms), and the 2002 Community Spirit Award from Sarah’s Inn, a domestic violence shelter and education center, Johnston is an active participant in numerous volunteer activities supporting children and families in her community. A frequent presenter at national psychology and educational conferences, Johnston has published journal articles, book chapters, and two books -- It Takes a Child to Raise a Parent: Stories of Evolving Child and Parent Development (2013, hardback; 2019, paperback) and Midlife Maze: A Map to Recovery and Rediscovery after Loss (2017, hardback; 2019, paperback). In addition to augmenting and supporting personal growth in families, Johnston is a Master Gardener and loves nurturing growth in the plants in her yard.


  1. When I think of pearls, I think of my mother’s that I now own. I remember when she got them and how special they were to her. The clasp broke and never got fixed, just as some things in life don’t get fixed until years later. I recently did some work with my inner self and got the clasp fixed for an old inner part of mine, another bead. I had no awareness I needed to fix the clasp to wear my inner pearls again. Not only can a clasp break, but the pearls need restringing in ways that now caress and fill my heart with light and healing, I so treasure.

    Recently I named my new horse Pearl. I lean into my rewiring and restringing; unburdened and far more energized to ride in the direction I long for. I hadn’t thought consciously about this inner pearl for a long time. My new Pearl is a good steed to freely carry me on to my next beads of adventures..


  2. Your comment on the “broken clasp” is so true. It often takes years before we get around to repairing or rewiring some parts in our personalities that no longer serve us well. As you continue to lean into rewiring, may you and your new horse named Pearl have many peaceful rides.


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