5 Best TED Talks to Find Your “Injured Pearl”, and Healing Through Painting

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I write these two words?



Do you think of what you’ve done for others?  Gifts, holiday shopping, absorbing, eating, creating, swallowing, taking in knowledge, giving a warm greeting to a friend?

The best things in life are free.

Every day, we’re giving out information, acknowledgements, our energy, parts of our spirit, and we’re also taking in inspiration, words, thoughts, images and dreams.

How do we balance what we take in from this world and what we choose to give?

A good affirmation that centers me in this question is: I breathe in light, I breathe out experience.

Try it and see what happens.

What can you “take in” today?

Anyway, this resonated with me on a personal level, because I realize how much writing I’ve been doing, sharing my story with college campuses, and I’ve been thrilled to see stories about me published in Seventeen and Cosmopolitan.

But what I realized is, if all we do is share our own experience, soon we run out of it.

How to Receive:

And so this week, my intention has been purely about what I can take in from this world.  How can I listen to the stories of others? What new knowledge can I gain this week?  What energies can I absorb from the universe and from the beautiful world around me?

It was one of the best weeks I’ve had in a while.

TED TALKS: The Ultimate Inspiration!

I want to share a bit of what I learned – about 1% of it!  Here are some Ted Talks that have really changed my life this week.  I’ll just give you five that have inspired me, and hopefully you can pursue more yourself and share with me!

  1. A Ted Talk about listening: Check out 5 ways to become a better listener. He gives great tips that can really enhance your world!

  2. Story Corps: You will be amazing at how this man set up one simple booth to record intimate conversations, which started a revolution. Listen to the talk here. If you had to pick one person to have a conversation with that would be recorded for generations to come, who would it be with? I would pick my grandmother, who I still think of every day.

  3. Bene Brown on the power of vulnerability: I’ve talked to many people who have said this speech changed their lives. Give it a good listen. My favorite quote is how she defines courage: To be able to tell who you are with your whole heart.

  4. Janine Shepard was an olympic skiier, until a near-death accident changed her life forever. I don’t want to give the ending away, but wow, talk about turning a detour into a surprising, amazing opportunity! I love her spirit an I love her story. Listen to A Broken Body is Not a Broken Person.

  5. Post Traumatic Gifts: Last but not least, learn about the gifts of Trauma in a heart-wrenching, inspiring story: Post-Traumatic Gifted. I’ve been learning so much about the Upside of Trauma and how individuals have used a difficult experience as an opportunity for growth, just as I have with my own detour. This story brought tears to my eyes and truly showed me the power of the human spirit.

How to find the PEARL in the dirt:

How do you make it through trauma, through difficulties, or through a detour in life?

I’m sure you’ve heard the word Resilience plenty. People say it’s the “key to making it through difficulties” or the “secret to happiness“, which it can be.  But how do you build resilience?   What does resilience mean to you?

I’d like to answer that with this quote:

“A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life. It is the tear [that results] from the injury of the oyster. The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life. If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl.”

-Stephen Hoeller

The Gifts of Hard Times and How to Find Yours:

We build resilience by finding the gifts of trauma – the upside, by realizing what beautiful pearl can come from the dirty sand of trauma. We bless our mess. We find gratitude.

This quote by Stephan Hoeller is always one that I’ve kept as a personal healing resource. I see the blessings of my detour every day, which have made my life incredibly beautiful, deeper and richer than it could have ever been.

Who knew that healing from PTSD would inspire me to spread messages mental health awareness and speak out about sexual assault on campuses?

Resilience in the Studio

So I decided to make art inspired by this quote, because creativity has truly been a way to spot the gratitude in my trauma. It has allowed me to process the emotions I’ve experienced along my detour, and transform them.

As always, I started by just making splotches on my canvas – no plan in mind, and as much as my inner critic wanted to chime in, I tried to shut it out and just feel my paintbrush on the canvas.

I felt the sadness I experience sometimes when I think about what I’ve lost in my life:

I took the quote to heart and decided to make a mini-book out of felt to share it:


I made a tiny little oyster – that wounded, healing soul which out of sand, produced a precious pearl.  Behold: My oyster made out of FELT! (That makes it vegan, right?)

The final product?  The beautiful pearl from an injured oyster – on canvas!


I’m proud of this piece.  It is, in fact, the injured pearl produced from an oyster.  It is the gift of trauma.  Just like my discovery of art.

A pearl is one of the many unexpected gifts of a detour.

So today, Detourists, I ask you – what pearl will you find on your twisted journey?

If you don’t know which way to go once your path has been detoured, don’t worry.  Just keep traveling.

Your pearl awaits.

Share yours with #LoveMyDetour so we can all cherish our injured pearls together.

I #LoveMyDetour. Now tell me why…you love YOURS!

Amy Oestreicher